Posts tagged ‘Chili pepper’

August 24, 2011

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Coconut

This almost seems like cheating as a recipe because though it has a lot of ingredients to give it flavor it’s so, so simple. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about coconut as a flavor in savory foods. But what I liked about this dish was that the coconut lended an really interesting texture as much as flavor. This dish managed to taste fresh, as well as a little smoky and had a lovely exotic flair from the coconut. This was equally as good cold as it was warm. You also can use this cooking method with nearly any vegetable of your choice.

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Coconut

1 1lb chopped green beans (small)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

6-8 dried curry leaves (you can use fresh)

1 cry red chili

1 tablespoon urad Dahl (lentils, for texture)

1 tablespoon chang Dahl(different sized lentils, for texture)

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons oil for frying

1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium/high heat. Add the dried red chili, urad dahl, chang dahl, curry leaves,  black mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds pop. Add the chopped green beans to the pan and sprinkle with the turmeric, chili powder and salt.

Stir through the spices and then add coconut. Stir all of this together and then cover and cook until the beans reach desired doneness. I like mine crunchy so it didn’t take long at all, 7-10 minutes. If you want them softer you will probably have to add 1/4 cup water during the cooking process so the spices and coconut don’t stick to the pan.

October 2, 2010

Recipes From Around The Web


He did once set the kitchen on fire

It could have been Hungry Man dinners and Wendy’s every night for me as a kid, but I was a lucky duck and when my father found himself raising a rather rambunctious 5-year-old by himself, he reached for cookbooks and a wok instead of the keys. Two of this week’s great recipes from around the web are dishes that he made often, and recently I found myself wanting to recreate. What I remember most about my father making broccoli and anchovy pasta is that he always added to much parmesean to the sauce and he very roughly chopped the anchovies so there were often big chucks with their little hairs sticking up in the dish. Which was a little overwhelming for the young me. I vowed in my journey of recreation to finely chop the anchovies and go light on the cheese.

The Gourmand Mom has a great recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and Crazy Englishwoman Cooks! has a great recipe for Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta from Jaime Oliver posted. I combined both of these recipes but either one will give you a pasta that is both light and meaty in flavor. What I liked about Crazy Englishwoman Cooks recipe was that the stem of the broccoli was peeled and chopped and added to the anchovies, garlic and red pepper flakes. I found that the flavor that the stem picked up really enhanced the dish. I also took the advice to cook the broccoli florets in with the pasta for the last 4 minutes of the pasta cooking. I chose a rotini over spaghetti simply because that was what I had in my cabinet. When I make this again and I will because it couldn’t be simpler to make, which I’m sure is why Dad had it so heavily in rotation, I will try it with spaghetti. Not only does this dish have a great smoky flavor with so few ingredients, it is good for you and super cheap to make.

Kung Pao Chicken was always a favorite and a dish that my dad still makes. There are so many variations on this dish, some of them great and some of them awful. Rasa Malaysia has a pretty good recipe. When you read the recipe it does call for a lot of different types of sauce ingredients like light and dark soy sauces and Shaoxing wine, none of them are terribly expensive and to get a great dish with lots of flavor I recommend buying them. The three things that I did change about this recipe was that I use chicken thighs instead of breasts, I doubled the amount of peanuts and I steamed brown rice instead of white, not only because it’s better for you, but the nuttiness of the brown rice goes really well with the sauce.

Last but not least was Spicie Foodie’s Luscious Thai Chicken Pineapple Curry, which was just as easy and fantastic as she said that it was going to be. This dish was creamy, sweet and savory. I did find that the cherry tomatoes were a little weird in it, for me it was a textural issue, but in the end I did learn to like them. The dish without the added chilies is very mild, I added one like she recommended, I will probably add a couple more for next time and there will be next time! I recommend taking a few minutes and touring Spicie Foodie’s website, she is funny as well as a fantastic cook, definitely read her post about mystery canned meat.

September 14, 2010

Indian Spiced Lamb With Yogurt Sauce

The recipe you are about to read was inspired by several things. I love, love, love lamb and think that in general it is meat that

Lettuce Cup Style

American’s are afraid to embrace. Maybe it’s bad memories of a holiday dinner where the leg of lamb was cooked into dry tasteless ashy oblivion, or a memory of strange gelatinous green jelly smelling vaguely of toothpaste mashed up next to greasy pan-fried chops, maybe it’s just that we aren’t used to the taste.  The reason why lamb tastes different is because most lambs are pasture fed, and their walking for their dinner of alfalfa, clover and other grassy goodies increases a level of a compound called skatole in their meat which is what gives lamb their flavor. Here is the U.S. lambs are often feed a milder grain diet a month before they go to slaughter to mellow out the taste of the meat.  I highly recommend buying lamb that is grass finished. Either the sign should say, or ask the nice butcher. I encourage all eaters to let go of those bad memories and give lamb a chance again.

These Indian Spiced Lamb mini patties were inspired in part by Anjum Anand who was making lamb burgers as I was watching/obsessing over the Cooking Channel (shocking I know.) I wanted to stay with the Indian spice genre, and I wanted something that I could mold into smaller patties that I could them place in a lettuce cup or in a pita.  You can mold these on a stick and grill them as well. This is what I came up with.

Indian Spice Lamb Mini-Patties with Yogurt Sauce

2 lbs  ground lamb

1 large yellow onion minced

2.5 inch ginger root peeled and minced

4 large garlic gloves minced

3 green chilies (I used serrano anything will do, go as hot as you like!)

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon salt

2 scallions

Yogurt Sauce

½ cup cilantro/coriander roughly chopped

(1/2 cup minced mint, optional)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

8 oz goat yogurt (or any high quality yogurt like greek yogurt)

Pepper to taste

For Lettuce cups

1 head of Boston Butter

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

Turn oven on to boil.

Put the minced, onion, ginger, garlic and chilies in a bowl. Add the ground lamb, cumin and salt and mix thoroughly with your hands. It’s important to massage the ingredients into the meat for an even spread. Grab slightly larger than golf ball size handfuls of meat and flatten them into oblong patties, place on broiling pan and broil for 3 minutes per side.

While the meat is cooking, put the chopped cilantro/coriander in a bowl with the minced mint, chili powder and cumin, and top with yogurt. Stir thoroughly, add salt and pepper stir again. Done and done! Remove meat from oven, serve with just the lettuce and tomatoes or stuff a pita with the lamb, sauce, lettuce and tomatoes, and if you have any left over, I love to scramble some eggs with the lamb the next morning.

July 25, 2010

Tomatillo Soup with Shredded Chicken


Recently I was going through my fridge and came across some tomatillos sitting in a large Ziploc bag looking neglected. I had forgotten that I had purchased them for my friend Jesse for something he was going to make.  He then left town abandoning them and I was left staring at the tomatillos slightly confused. I had never cooked with a tomatillo; moreover, I was pretty sure the only things that I had ever had them in were sauces. I wasn’t entirely sure what a tomatillo actually was but I sure wasn’t going to let them go to waste! I fired up the computer, put my search engine in gear and started reading. Interestingly, there is scant information on tomatillos but I did find this out which I found not all that helpful but interesting nonetheless.

The name “tomato” derives from the Nahuatl “tomatl”; this word is a generic one for globose fruits or berries which have many seeds, watery flesh and which are sometimes enclosed in a membrane.

I didn’t find that many varieties of recipes either. Almost all the recipes were for various salsas, some sauces to go with enchiladas but nothing that really made my mouth water. I finally did come across this site, which had compiled several recipes from a variety of sources. Scanning through this site, I saw a recipe for tomatillo chicken soup. After reading the recipe and getting the general idea on how to make the soup I came up with the following recipe. Now, this recipe is largely dictated by what I already had in the fridge and since the entire project began from my need to not let anything go to waste I decided to take full advantage of that idea. The soup came out so wonderfully that I recommend not deviating from this recipe. This soup is bursting with flavor; it has both a smoky and a fresh flavor. It is heavier than a broth soup, but not as thick as a purée and the shredded chicken in it makes it hearty enough for a main course. Yea, I know, only a crazy woman would stand in her kitchen making soup at the end of July in 90+ degree heat, but after eating two bowls of it (my inner glutton was not controllable that evening) I was so glad that I had, and that Jesse had possessed the genius foresight to leave the tomatillos in my care.

Tomatillo Soup with Shredded Chicken

Serves 4-6

3 legs and thighs of a chicken

1 ½ pounds tomatillos husked and roughly chopped

6 large garlic cloves chopped

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 anaheim pepper, cleaned and chopped

1 red jalapeño pepper, cleaned and chopped

4 cups homemade chicken stock

4 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped

2-3 limes

Crème Fraiche

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Ancho chili powder

Olive oil

Tomatillos and Peppers Chopped and Ready

Wash and pat chicken legs dry. If your legs and thighs are not already separated, do so. Generously season with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and ancho chili powder. In a large pan over a medium high heat, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 7 minutes per side.

Seasoned and Browned Chicken

Remove the chicken from the pan. If your chicken has rendered a lot of fat, remove the fat from the pan so you are left with only 3 tablespoons in the pan itself.

In the same pan lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion sautéing them while scraping up the brown bits and spices left by the chicken. Saute the onions and garlic until they begin to soften, add your tomatillos and chili peppers and toss with the onions. Take all of this and put it in a large soup pot. Add the chicken pieces and the 4 cups of chicken stock.

Everything in the Pot!

Bring all of this to a boil and then reduce to a hearty simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and let cool. While the chicken is cooling, purée the rest of the contents in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. Shred chicken and put the meat back into the pot. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the roughly chopped cilantro. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of crème fraiche, then sprinkle the soup with the juice from ½ of a lime, or a teaspoon of lime juice and serve.

The Final Product

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July 22, 2010

Grilled Corn (and roast corn salsa if you have leftovers)

I often find myself drifting slowly and yet surely to the grilled corn stand in the street fairs of New York City, even though in the seriously hot heat, it’s not necessarily the best choice for a snack. The cobs of corn that lay side by side on the grill, being brushed with butter and then rolled in spices handed to me still cooking is a treat that is sadly often better in my head than in my mouth. Too often the corn is dry and burnt in some spots and not even cooked in others and the spice rub is so overwhelming that I can’t taste the lovely sweetness of those kernels bursting in my mouth. I set out to create a grilled corn that gave me the flavor and the textures that I was looking for. I started out with a rub.

Corn Rub

For 10 -12 ears

¼ cup ancho chili powder (I use ancho because it has a much smokier flavor than other options.)

3 tablespoons cumin

2.5 tsp paprika

1.5 tsp garlic powder

1.5 tsp onion powder

1.5 tsp ground oregano

Juice and zest from one lime

1 stick sweet cream butter room temperature

5 tablespoons course sea salt

Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl. This mix can also be used as a taco mix. Once the spices are blended add the butter to them and mix. Now add the lime juice and the lime zest and mix. In a separate dish have your sea salt ready.

When you clean the corn you are going to want to peel the outer darker green leaves off, leaving the inner green ones. Once the tougher leaves are gone peel the softer light green leaves down and away from the corn, but do not pull them off, pull the corn silk off the corn.

Clean Sweet White Corn

Once your corn is clean, rub the corn with the butter (I used my hands) and the spice mixture, once covered in spicy buttery deliciousness, sprinkle on all sides with the coarse sea salt. You can roll the ears in the sea salt but I found that method picked up too much salt and I had to brush off some of it off, but either way will work. Now that your corn is seasoned pull the leaves back up, there will be gaps where the corn is showing through which is just the way it should be.

Now take your ears of corn and place them on the grill. What the outer leaves do is steam the corn in its own moisture so that all the corn gets cooked and the parts of the corn that actually touch the grill get nice and caramelized. This I found put an end to the raw burnt conundrum of grilled corn. Cook for 6-8 minutes and then turn the corn, cook for 6-8 minutes and depending on the heat of the grill your corn should be ready. Corn cooking times will vary widely depending on the tenderness of the corn itself, tougher corns can take as long as 45 minutes to cook. Once it cools slightly, pull the leaves all the way down and serve.

If you have any left over, cut the kernels from the cob and mix in a bowl with diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt and a little chili pepper  for a quick roast corn salsa.

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