Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stir-Fried Chayote Squash & Chickpeas

This recipe was inspired by one on Facebook with a few modifications. The original recipe used green papaya and kala chana. Neither are available readily, so I used chayote squash and chickpeas/garbanzo beans. It's a very simple stir-fry using very few ingredients and is quick and easy to make.

Fish & Potatoes with Lentil Dumplings in Ginger-Tomato Gravy

Tengra Maach Alu Bori

Tilapia Maach Alu Bori
This recipe was inspired by one I saw on Facebook. I've made very few changes to the original recipe which was made with Rohu fish or carp which is not readily available in my neighbourhood. I soaked the boris in hot water to soften them up, just because this is how it's done in my family. To make the gravy, I heated the water along with the boris in the microwave and added it to the pan. 
Why two kinds of fish? The top one's for me. Made with whole bone-in fish it has cumin and chili powder in the gravy. The other fish is for Hubby, made with tilapia fillets and without chili and cumin powders. Both are cooked in a ginger and tomato gravy with potatoes and lentil dumplings (bori in Bengali).

The tomato gravy is made with Campari tomatoes which are of medium size and so sweet that it's not necessary to add any sugar to the gravy. Campari tomatoes are grown in Mexico, shipped to Ontario, Canada (for packaging I think) and then reach our markets in Michigan. Kind of a circuitous route, don't you think?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ohno Khauk Swe Made Easy

Coconut Chicken Soup
Lunch is Ready!
My bowl of Ohno Khauk Swe
I've made this meal many times and usually follow the recipe used by my family. You may notice that it's not a simple preparation, so this time I made several modifications to simplify the process. First of all, I planned ahead and did the shopping earlier in the week. Two nights before, after making sure that the ground chicken and chicken thighs had been refrigerated to thaw overnight, I made the onion-garlic-ginger-chili paste and refrigerated that also. The night before, I prepared the soup to which I made one time-saving change. Instead of roasting the half-cup of chickpea flour used to thicken the soup, I cooked half a cup of red lentils (masoor dal) in two cups of water and added it to the soup along with the coconut milk towards the end. This not only saved a whole lot of time, but also added a lovely flavour and creaminess to the soup. It also lightened the soup so it was not as rich as in the original recipe. On the day of the lunch, all I had to do was heat the soup, cook the noodles and prepare the garnishes. Using ready-made deep fried onions and garlic are further time-saving ways of simplifying the preparation of this meal.

Mutton Keema Mattar with Green Beans

Ground Lamb with Peas,
Potatoes and Green Beans

Our local grocery store sometimes stocks New Zealand lamb, and I was pleased to find ground lamb in that section. Keema Alu Mattar tastes really good with lamb and adding green beans to the mix was a big improvement.

Two pounds of this ground lamb preparation, as one of the items for dinner, fed a crowd of 6 people comfortably. I usually cook without cumin and coriander powder because of Hubby's acid reflux condition, but they can be added if you wish.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bottle Gourd with Shrimp in Mustard Sauce

Lau Chingri Shorshe Bata

Lau Chingri is a favorite dish in our household. It is traditionally made with bottle gourd, but I prefer using chayote squash because it is more readily available and to me, they taste the same. To try something a little different, I added mustard paste and it tasted wonderful!

Spinach & Eggplant in Mustard Sauce

Palang Shaak Begun Shorshe Bata Diye
To try something different, I'd made Lau Chingri with Shorshe Bata which requires mustard seeds to be soaked and blended. The paste is then strained through a tea strainer to extract just the juice, so that the dish does not get tainted with the mustard seeds. Instead of discarding the remaining pulp, it was used to make this spinach and eggplant dish which added a tantalizing mustard flavor to otherwise bland greens. 

Yellow Split Peas Flavoured with Ginger & Tomatoes

Ada Tomato Diye Cholar Dal
These lentils are generally served with luchis (puffed bread that are made with white flour). Steamed rice or chapatis also work well. The dried peas look similar to chana dal, but taste quite different. They take about half an hour to cook and soften, so it's convenient to set this up to simmer while preparing other dishes for an evening meal.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Omelettes in Onion & Tomato Gravy

Omelette Curry
Another dish that brings Mum to mind! Wish she were here to coach me through this, but I think she would approve of my improvisation. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Burmese Shrimp Fried Rice - Htamin Kyaw

Htamin Kyaw
What makes this fried rice Burmese? The addition of dried shrimp and fish sauce. Day-old white rice from the Chinese restaurant is perfect for making fried rice. A small portion of the sauces, along with dried chili flakes, mixed into the rice helps distribute taste and color throughout the fried rice. Dried shrimp imparts a lovely umami flavor to this dish.

To make a white fried rice increase the fish sauce to 4+1 tablespoons of fish sauce and omit the soy sauce. There's no need to add salt because both fish and soy sauce are loaded with salt.