Monday, August 18, 2014

5 Vegetables Cooked in Coconut Milk

5 Vegetables in Coconut Milk
The people of Bengal in India cook a vegetable curry using a mixture of 3, 5 or 7 different vegetables. The vegetables are of different colours, texture and taste. In this dish I have used white potatoes & radish which have a firm texture and bland taste, orange sweet potatoes and green peas that are sweet and melt in your mouth, and purple Japanese eggplant with the skin on that are soft. A squeeze of lime at the end of cooking gives it a tangy flavour that goes well with the rich creaminess of the coconut milk.

All the vegetables are cut in cubes of similar size.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

5 Lentils Stew - Panch Mishali Dal

Panch Mishali Dal
made with fresh vegetables
2nd Try made with frozen vegetables
Panch mishali dal is a welcome change from the simple dal that is served on a regular basis. There is a richness to this dish which comes from combining different varieties of lentils. Any combination of lentils that is available can be used. Because it is hearty and sticks to the ribs, this dish is best suited to cold and/or rainy weather.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eggplant in Yogurt Sauce

Doi Begun
I used Japanese eggplants for this recipe, but any type of eggplant will do. During my years of cooking eggplant, I've noticed that if it is chopped prior to cooking, it helps retain its shape better if the pieces of eggplant are marinated in salt and set aside in a sieve in the sink for half an hour. Especially if the skin is left intact, eggplant tend to be somewhat bitter and the marination in salt eliminates this tendency. 

Greek yogurt imparts a creamy texture to the gravy in this dish. The yogurt should be taken out of the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before cooking. It also needs to be whipped well and added to the hot pan after reducing the heat to low, one tablespoon at a time and mixed into the gravy with each addition. The yogurt is added a tablespoon at a time so that it does not separate. Be very gentle when adding the yogurt so that the pieces of eggplant do not disintegrate.

Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Potatoes & Shrimp

Phool Kopi Alu Aar Chingri
This is a popular dish in Bengali households in India. Alu Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) is a common item on menus at Indian restaurants and is a favourite vegetarian side dish. The addition of shrimp in this recipe takes it up a notch to satisfy the non-vegetarian palate. The shrimp can be omitted if you wish to serve Alu Gobi in its vegetarian form.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Taiwanese Style 3 Cup Chicken

3 Cup Chicken
In the Serving Bowl
Over the weekend, we had a guest from Taiwan staying with us and she mentioned this dish. I had seen it being made on TV and hunted down a recipe some time ago. Pauline and I shopped for the ingredients at the Asian market but we didn't get around to making it. 

Today we're going to a concert with friends and I've made this one-pot dish for dinner. We'll have it with steamed rice and a salad.

From what I gather, it's called 3 Cup Chicken because it uses equal proportions of dark sesame oil, dark soy sauce and wine (I used rice wine) for the sauce. It's really easy to make with very little preparation involved.

One recipe grabbed my attention because it marinates the chicken pieces in baking soda for 10 minutes and then thoroughly rinses the pieces under running water. It's incredible how beautifully soft the chicken becomes with this little trick.

I added some umami to the dish with the addition of a little Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce). There's plenty of salt in the sauce ingredients so I didn't add any more.

Refrigerate left-overs because this tastes even better the next day!

1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. baking soda
20 slices ginger
20 cloves garlic, smashed
1/3 cup rice wine
1/3 cup dark soy sauce (regular soy sauce is ok too)
1/3 cup sesame oil
1½Tbsp. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tsp. sugar
1 large bunch Thai basil
4 stalks green onions,  cut in 1” lengths

  1. Mix chicken with baking soda and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Rinse chicken well under running water, mix with a little salt and oil & set aside.
  3. Stir rice wine, soy sauce and kecap manis in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Stir-fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  6. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides. 
  7. Add remaining ingredients except basil and green onions.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. 
  9. When sauce reduces to ¼ cup & reaches a syrupy consistency, garnish with basil & green onions.

Serve over steamed rice.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beli Mashi's Rogan Josh

Kashmiri Rogan Josh
2nd Attempt Using More Kashmiri Mirch
Beli Mashi (Mum's elder sister) wrote this recipe for me by hand, but I couldn't find it, so tried to recall from memory how she made it. It turned out so well, it was as if she was by my side while I was cooking it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Burmese Dinner

Burmese Dinner Last Night
Clockwise from top left:
Bitter Melon with Shrimp
Dinner is Served!
Green Beans
Chayote Squash with Shrimp
Fish Hsipyan with Pickled Bamboo Shoots
Steamed Basmati Rice
 The Bitter Melon with Shrimp and Fish Hsipyan with Pickled Bamboo Shoots dishes were recipes that were posted by members of the Burmese Food Lovers' Kitchen on Facebook. To protect their rights, I have provided a link back to their recipes on that group. If you wish to view their recipes, you may request to be added to the BFLK group by submitting a request here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bengali Garam Masala

Bengali Garam Masala
Clockwise from top:
Cinnamon Sticks
Cardamom Pods
Garam Masala is a mixture of ground spices that is a common ingredient in Indian cooking. The bottled or canned variety, such as McCormick's brand, that is available in most North American markets is a blend of several ingredients. This mixture of spices is used to add warmth and flavour to meat, poultry, seafood and other Indian dishes. In India, the mixture of spices in garam masala varies from state to state and from household to household.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Baked Herbed Cod Dinner

Baked Cod with Green Beans Almondine
 & Pan Fried Potatoes
on a Bed of Basmati Rice
Who knew cod could taste so good? 

I generally avoid buying cod because they're pretty tasteless, fall apart easily and doesn't seem to be able to withstand simmering in a gravy. These fillets, however, were thick, meaty and very fresh. They turned out to be succulent and flaked easily after baking. Any fish fillet will work in this recipe.