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Monday, April 30, 2012

Schezwan/Szechuan Cauliflower (Indo-chinese style)

The Chinese population in India adapted their cooking techniques making it more palatable to locals (my-to do list: Visit Chinatown in Kolkata next time I'm in India).

I love Indo-chinese - it was one of the first cuisines I tasted as a child that seemed different from the traditional Bengali fare I usually had at home *sigh*- other than the Mughlai, North-Indian, South-Indian, and occasional pasta (elbow/macaroni) breaks. Now, I have access to most major cuisines of the world, or at least some versions of it. But Indo-chinese still remains one of my most favorites. A minimalist vegetable fried rice accompanied with chili chicken will lift my mood any given day. And have I declared my undying love for steamed dumplings in this space yet? The world seems a brighter place with good food. :)

You know the drill, first cut the florets into pieces of equal size, steam in microwave for 5 mins(depending on size, may skip). Add to batter(I like besan(gram flour): corn flour in 3:1  with a drizzle of soy sauce and water added incrementally for right consistency) and fry in batches in hot oil in a deep frying pan.
Drain the oil in paper towels (very imp)
In a separate wok, saute bite-sized bell peppers and red onions , add minced ginger -garlic, szechuan sauce, soy sauce. No need to add salt if you are not using low-sodium soy sauce.
Add the cauliflowers , toss and serve with minced green onions and slit green chilis

You can use paneer or tofu instead of cauliflower, though I don't like to fry paneer,(unless I am making bhurji).Prefer to place them in warm water instead to soften the paneer. You can substitute the cauliflower with veggie mix/cabbage, chicken or filleted fish too.

See also, Link 1 [delhibelle]

Bonus Recipe: Kopi bhaja (cauliflower fritters)
Cut Cauliflower into florets, add salt, turmeric, garlic powder+herbs mix, besan (chickpea flour) and deep fry in oil. Drain excess oil in paper towels. Serve hot.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The essential Asian greens

I love bok choy with roast duck, and bit of greens/fiber with any fatty food.

Here is a recipe for Choy sum with oyster sauce, though you can not go wrong with a basic sauté with minced garlic and nigella seeds (Kalonji) either. Just remember to wash them thoroughly before cooking. (I prepared methi-begun (eggplant) recently, with a dash of kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce) while serving)

My local Asian grocery provides a plethora of options, and I will add to this post as I discover new ways of eating my greens.

Wonton soup with gai lan (Chinese Broccoli)
How I did it for a midnight craving:

  1. Boil chicken stock in a soup saucepan (or anything deep), add pre-made wontons/gyoza.
  2. Wash the green thoroughly, chop or tear with hands. Add in the saucepan just over the stock when the wontons are almost done.
  3. Add soy sauce and a little butter/sesame oil/chili oil on the leaves.  Toss well. The leaves will wilt further in the hot soup, so you can stop the heat.  Eat warm. Add pepper if you want. 
  4. You can add sugar snap peas, sliced carrots, bok choy, and any leftover meat too. 
Day 1 (Gyoza and gai lan)

Day 2 (1+ Carrots, snow peas and bok choy)

Day 3 (1+ Maggi Masala/curry powder with noodles)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chicken liver pâté

For Fredo
One of my French friends, introduced me to pate, and I have been addicted to it since, especially the ones from Three Little Pigs with truffles. However, I decided to make some at home, I found a video here.[videojug]

I have seen this made with mostly cognac or port wine, you can use any cooking wine you prefer. I didn't have any truffles, I used shiitake (how predictable :D) instead.

Nutritional data on chicken liver, here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicken in mustard and tomato sauce

  1. I marinated the chicken pieces(thighs with bone cut in halves with kitchen shears) in mustard sauce and vinegar overnight. To make it extra spicy, you can add slit Thai chilis.
  2. Shallow fry the chicken in mustatrd oil so it isn't pink anymore.
  3. Remove from oil and drain. Use the same oil to fry onions and diced tomatoes. Add red chili powder, a little plain yogurt and cook well till oil separates. (You can bake the whole think with very litle oil, but I am going the curry way)
  4. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro.

See also, Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff [allrecipes]

And this, for low-fat meal ideas

Lamb shoulders with rosemary and garlic and some veggies

  1. You need to marinate the lamb shoulders in soy sauce, rosemary sprigs and freshly crushed garlic cloves in a ziplock overnight. I think it is best to use meat fresh out of grocery aisle. I used a pounder to tenderize the lamb cut.
  2. The day you want to bake, dice some of your favorite veggies- I used yellow zucchini , asparagus and white onions- rub olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and some rosemary twigs. I tossed a few dry-roasted Szechuan peppers on a whim too.
  3. Would be great on an outdoor grill, but it's raining out, so I am taking my chances in an conventional oven, which is good because I can have the retained juices to eat with grains if I want to.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 500F (about 120 C), sprinkle some garlic powder if you have them. Don't bother otherwise. Cook both sides to your desired doneness. 
Tastes  lot like a Moroccan Lamb tagine I once had.

 Here's some antipasto I can have anytime really. (with Olives, smoked Gouda cheese, Pepperoncini, Mango and Salami )

And a guilt-free dessert: Greek yogurt topped with honey and rose syrup.
 Add dry fruits and nuts at will.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cookout ideas

Spring cookout: Hot wings, asparagus and zucchini in lemon pepper

Grilled vegetables go well on a pizza, in a sandwich or with a steak. I love to have them with lemon juice, pepper and salt- no fuss. If you like, you can add balsamic vinegar and your favorite herbs too. Use skewers, instead of Aluminium foil if you prefer the grill marks.

My favorite veggies for the grill usually are:
Red onions
Corn on the cob, broccoli and cherry tomatoes are good too.

Update: May 2013

 Tilapia fillet with thyme and spices(pepper, Mrs. Dash)
 Chicken thighs marinated in yogurt and grilled with rosemary
Veggie mix




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My fav fruit cheese combo

Holland Smoked Gouda and red grapes

Pear and Slilton blue cheese

Strawberries and St. Marcellin .(soft, creamy)