Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 Ingredient Ice Cream - Coffee Almond Crunch

Coffee Almond Crunch Ice Cream
Get ready for a new dessert experience! There is no cream or any dairy product in this ice cream and it also has no added sugar. That makes it diabetic-friendly which makes me very happy. I saw this concept on Pinterest some time ago but only today got around to trying it out. It uses just 3 ingredients, is very simple to make and tastes really good! But best of all, there's no need to haul out that ice cream maker.

Burmese Shrimp Fried Rice - Pazun Htamin Kyaw

Pazun Htamin Kyaw
This recipe was inspired by Promilaa Bhatia's post on the Burmese Food Lovers' Kitchen in Facebook. Her delicious vegetarian recipe was modified to add shrimp for us non-vegetarian folks. The modified recipe is provided here with her permission and blessing.

As in any other fried rice recipe, it is best to use day old rice that has been refrigerated overnight so that the rice absorbs all moisture. I've used Basmati rice, but jasmine or any other long-grain rice would work just as well.

Burmese Bottle Gourd Broth - Buthi Hinjo

Buthi Hinjo
Burmese meals almost always include a bowl of Hinjo (soup) or Hinga (sour soup). These soups are composed of different vegetables in very light and clear broth. Unlike a soup course in a Western meal, Hinjo is not served as a first course. It is sipped throughout a Burmese meal because it serves to wet and cleanse the palate so that the distinct tastes of salty, sour, bitter or sweetness can be better enjoyed. Water is rarely served at a Burmese table; Hinjo is served in its place.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
3 cups water + 2 cups chicken broth (vegetarians use 5 cups water)
1 tsp. shrimp powder (vegetarians use 1 heaped teaspoon julienned nori)
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (optional)
1/2 bottle gourd/lauki, peeled and cubed (seedless cucumber works too)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
salt to taste
Lime, cut in wedges
2 green onions, sliced thin

  1. Divide lettuce and green onions between 4 bowls & set aside.
  2. Bring water and chicken broth to a boil and turn heat down to med-low.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until lauki is soft.
  4. Ladle soup over lettuce in the 4 bowls (lettuce will wilt in hot broth).
  5. Serve with wedges of lime.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Minced Meat with Red Beans & Potatoes

Rajma with Keema & Alu
I saw a recipe on a food blog for minced meat cooked with garbanzo beans, but couldn't find it again. It didn't matter because there were no garbanzo beans in the house. A can of red beans, smaller in size than kidney beans, inspired me to make Rajma which I pumped up with minced meat and diced potatoes.

Rajma is a one-pot vegetarian meal that is usually made with kidney beans and without meat. Canned beans drastically reduce the time it takes to cook the beans. As the beans cook and break down, they serve to thicken the gravy and impart a creaminess to it. 

This stick-to-the-ribs comfort food is ideal for rainy and cooler weather. 

1 lb. minced lamb or beef
1 (14 oz.) can red/kidney beans, rinsed in several changes of water & drained
1 russet potato, diced
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 tsp. cardamom pods
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. shah jeera/cumin seeds
1 large tomato, minced
2 large onions, peeled and minced
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. ginger paste
2+ tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika/chili powder
1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
2 cups beef broth, set to a simmer
salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sputter cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise and cumin seeds.
  2. Add onions, garlic and ginger paste and stir-fry until onions turn translucent.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, coriander-cumin powder & Kashmiri mirch.
  4. Simmer until tomatoes break down and oil resurfaces.
  5. Add minced meat and potatoes and stir-fry until meat browns.
  6. Stir in garam masala powder and beef broth, bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low.
  7. Adjust salt to taste, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until gravy reduces to about 1/2 cup.
  8. Garnish with ghee, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish
Serve over steamed Basmati rice or with naan or chapatis.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chili Chicken

Chili Chicken
(with ground chicken)
GrandBoy #3 spent the evening with us last week and we had 'walking tacos' made with ground chicken. 'Walking tacos' are a salad of taco meat, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, julienned cucumbers, mild salsa, et al, that are mixed well with crushed doritos. Each person is handed a package of doritos which is crushed in the bag. The chips are topped with taco ingredients and mixed well right in the bag. The idea is that each person is able to walk around and enjoy the bag of 'walking tacos'. It's a great on-the-go dinner that is fun to eat.

There were only three of us for dinner that day, so there was half a package of ground chicken left that I froze to use later. The entire package of ground chicken was browned with onions, garlic and tomatoes, and at that point half went into the 'walking tacos' and half was frozen.

Today, all I had to do was add the sauces, peppers, green onions and quickly stir-fry it for dinner.

Tilapia Fillets Cooked with Slices of Raw Mango

Tok Maach
This dish is to die for! In Rangoon (Burma/Myanmar) this was made with whole Topshe maach (Mango Fish). I used filleted fish pieces which is not the same at all! Mum used to make it with Topshe maach, potatoes and wedges of green mangoes. A Bangladeshi market opened up in our neighbourhood and I found frozen raw mango in packages. I used about 10 slices in a pound of fish and it came out too tangy. Perhaps the unsweetened, dried mango slices in Mango Fish are a better bet or the amount of raw mango slices should be cut down drastically and ground to a paste before adding to the gravy.

Stir-Fried Spinach & Potatoes

Palang Shaak Alu
I’ve noticed that if spinach is cooked uncovered, it retains its bright green color. Omit ghee to make this a vegan dish.

Roasted Split Mung Beans with Chayote Squash

Bhaja Mooger Dal Squash Diye
Toasting split, yellow mung beans just until golden brown in a dry skillet gives these lentils a deep & rich flavour. It takes about the same amount of time for the julienned chayote squash and lentils to cook. The ghee can be omitted to make this a vegan dish.

Corn Salsa II

A popular accompaniment to an Indian meal is a chopped salad of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, green chilies and cilantro tossed with lime juice and salt. I added corn kernels and green onions to the mix and came up with this colorful salad.

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.