Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Sausage and Okra Gumbo

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 30, 2016


IMG_1495

I recently became allergic to shrimp, so when I saw this gumbo recipe (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/09/chicken-and-okra-gumbo.html) that used chicken, it immediately caught my eye.  Its a great recipe, written as is.  I made some modifications, which involved changing the order in which I proceeded, upping the spice level, eliminating the beer,  substituting sausage for chicken and adding bay leaf, fresh tomatoes and cilantro.  Also,  I  reduced the amount of flour in the roux because I found the soup to gummy otherwise.   The result were delicious!

 

IMG_1488

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds italian sausage  (you can substitute this with  skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces or use a combination of sausage and chicken)

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

3 large stalks celery, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

3 medium sized tomatoes, coarsely pureed in the food processor

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2-3 tablespoon cajun seasoning

4-6 cups  chicken broth  (I use Better than Bullion and water)

8 ounces fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 bay leafs

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley, mined

4 green onions, chopped

For the roux:

1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Optional: 4 to 6 cups cooked rice to serve on the side hot sauce

IMG_1491

 

Methods:

1. Add 1 tsp of oil to a dutch oven or other large pan with a tight fitting lid.  When hot,  add the sausage and cook through.  Remove the sausage from the dutch oven and set aside.  If you are using chicken, add a little more oil and brown the chicken on both sides and remove from the dutch oven.

2.  While the sausage is cooking, chop the onions, peppers, and celery and garlic  and puree the tomatoes in food processor.  The original recipe suggests you chop it together, but I do this separately for each vegetable.

3. Add the remaining oil to the Dutch oven and heat until shimmering. Add chopped onions, season with salt, and sauté until translucent.

4.  Add the celery and garlic, cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, then add the peppers and sauté until vegetables have softened and are beginning to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

5. While the vegetables are cooking, make the roux: First, melt the butter in the microwave (about 30-60 seconds.  Mix the flour into the butter till it is completely dissolved.  Place flour and butter in microwave-safe dish. Continue to microwave, stirring every minute, until roux is a peanut butter brown.  This takes anywhere between 4 -10 min, so check continuously so that it does not burn.  The roux and the dish will be very hot, so be careful.

6. When vegetables have cooked, add the tomatoes and okra to the dutch oven, stir in tomato paste, better than bullion (if using), bay leaf and cajun seasoning black pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

7. Stir in roux  (the roux can sputter, so keep the flame low).

8. Slowly stir in water (if using Better than bullion) or chicken broth  until mixture has thickened. Cover and simmer until okra is very soft and chicken(if using)  is tender, about 20 minutes.

9.  Season to taste, and add the scallions and cilantro (or parsley).

10. Serve with rice, season with hot sauce if desired.

IMG_1494

Posted in Main Dishes, Meat | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shortbread Cookies

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 6, 2016

IMG_1343

Shortbread cookies

I loved shortbread cookies and this recipe caught my eye because it had rice flour in it.  In Indian cooking, rice flour is often used in deep frying for providing a crisper texture that all purpose flour cannot provide.  I guess that rice flour is doing the same here.  The cookies have a lovely texture and take about 5 minutes to put together although rolling the dough out is not quite as easy as I thought it would be.  The recipe was taken from the following website, with only a couple of minor changes: adding salt and the demerrara sugar: http://www.rotinrice.com/2013/12/shortbread-stamped-cookies/

 

IMG_1342

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup rice flour

½ c pwd sugar

2 sticks salted butter room temp.   If unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.

IMG_1340

Method:

  1. Mix the flours together. Set aside.
  2. Using the paddle attachment and a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, cream butter and sugar till fluffy- this takes a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Cut dough into 2 equal portions. Saran wrap and refrigerate 15 min.
  4. Roll out first disc between sheets of plastic wrap so that it is about ¼ inch high.
  5. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut out cookies using a 3” stamp or a biscuit cutter and place on the prepared sheets.
  7. Bake at 350deg F for 20 min until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
  8. Cool completely on a mesh rack and store in an airtight container.

IMG_1341

Notes:

1. I had trouble rolling the dough and stamping out the cookies (dough was too soft).  I rolled out the second half between sheets of saran wrap,  placed the rolled out disc in the freezer for 10 min and then stamped out the cookies.  This worked pretty well, But maybe I will roll the dough into logs, cool and cut into rounds the next time.

2. I got 18 cookies, although the recipe said 12, so I must have rolled the dough out too thin. Still the baking time of 20 min for first batch and 19 min for subsequent batches was perfect.

3. I sprinkled some demerrara sugar onto onto the rolled out disc and rolled the sugar right into the disc. This added a nice texture.

 

Posted in baked, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whole Wheat Naan (Indian Leavened Flat Bread)

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 28, 2015

IMG_1207

Naan as anyone who has made a trip to an Indian restaurant knows is an Indian leavened flat bread (most Indian breads are unleavened).  Given their high cost at the grocery store, I decided that I would try my hand at making these at home.  I found a recipe that uses Indian whole wheat (atta) flour at a website called Monsoon Spice.  While atta  is  technically a whole wheat flour, this variety of wheat has been bred over millennia to have very little bran and thus a relatively high glycemic index.   Regular whole wheat is not a great option for naans either since it is  tough-tasting and not at all delicate like a naan, typically made with all-purpose flour, is supposed to be.  I had read some place that whole wheat pastry flour, which is whole wheat flour ground superfine,  was a very good whole-wheat flour to use in breads, pizzas and even pastries (!) so I decided to give it a shot.  I was very pleased with the naans this produced, very supple and delicate.  So here is the recipe with a small number of adaptations from the original.

IMG_1197

 Ingredients:
2½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I am guessing that this can also be substituted by whole what pastry flour)
¼ cup warm milk
¾ – 1 cup Yogurt (I used 1 cup)
1 packet Yeast
½ tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1-1½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Oil
Warm water for kneading

Flour for dusting and rolling the naan.

Ghee/butter for frying and for brushing on top.

Toppings: anything you like. I used: Nigella seeds (kalonji), garlic & chopped cilantro.

IMG_1205

Method:

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk (110˚F).
2. Mix flours, baking powder and salt.  Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, slowly add  yogurt, oil and yeast. Add little warm water as needed. Continue to knead till you get a soft pliable dough, about 7-10 min.   You can also make your dough in a high-end blender or food processor or you can knead by hand.
3. Make a smooth round dough ball and coat with a thin film of oil.  Cover the dough with a cheese cloth or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough doubles  in size.  I turn my oven on at the lowest setting for 5 min and then turn it off and let the dough rise in the oven.
4. Punch down the dough to release air and divide it into 8-12 equal  sized balls.

IMG_1206

Cooking the Naan: 

There are several ways to cook the naan: in the oven, on a grill and on a griddle on a stove top.   The recipes for all of these are available on various websites.   I used a Lodge cast-iron griddle on the stove as follows:
1. Heat the tawa/griddle till quite hot.

2.  While the griddle is heating, roll or stretch the dough into a round or tear-drop shaped flat bread about 1/4 inch thick.   Sprinkle your toppings and gently press them into the dough using a  rolling pin.  I pressed a few Nigella seeds on both sides.
3. Flip the naan and sprinkle a little water and  place the water side down on the heated griddle. Cook for a minute or so  until you see a few bubbles form and  then flip. The naan should have brown blisters/spots on the side that was down.

4.  Cook the second side for a minute or so as well.  If desired,  smear some ghee/butter to the top of the naan before serving.

Serve with curries, pickles or any Indian meal.  Naans also make a great pizza base.

IMG_1208

Flavoring/Tempering the ghee (tadka): Optional

As an alternative to smearing ghee alone on your cooked naan, you can temper the ghee with nigella seeds, minced garlic and cilantro and smear this concoction on the naan right before serving.  Simply heat 2 tbs of ghee in a small sauce pan, add the nigella seeds, minced garlic and chopped cilantro till the ghee turns aromatic, a matter of few seconds.  Take the ghee off the fire and your schmear is ready.

Posted in Asian, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Indian Food, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 17, 2015

IMG_1148


This hot and sour soup by Boston chef Joanne Chang is the best I have had  It is super quick and a very good weeknight meal.  I made some changes to it, mainly because of what I had on hand.  The only major changes I made were to increase the garlic, add sautéed cabbage, reduce the vinegar and omit the salt.

IMG_1140

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish (I omitted because I did not have it on hand)
  • 8 ounces ground pork  (you can use ground chicken or omit entirely)
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth (I used Better than bullion).
  • 1 pound firm tofu cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Half a head of cabbage shredded finely (the original recipe calls for 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I omitted, seems unnecessary)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste  (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish

IMG_1142

METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally till the pork is browned. Break up the pork as you stir.
  • Remove the pork etc from the pan.  Add the remaining vegetable oil to the sauce pan and heat up.  Saute the cabbage with a bit of salt at high heat, 3-4 min. till cabbage wilts and browns.  Do not add too much water into the pan along with the cabbage or the cabbage will steam and taste mushy.
  • Add the stock  to the cabbage, then add the tofu and pork along with the garlic, ginger and scallions.

IMG_1143

  • In a small bowl, mix sugar (if using), vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and add to the soup.
  •  Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup and adjust the flavors.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallion and cilantro.  For a more substantial meal,  serve on rice.
  • Instead of adding the cabbage to the soup,  I think it would work really well as a garnish.

IMG_1145

Posted in Asian, Chinese, Main Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hot Pepper Jam/Thai Chili sauce)

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 19, 2015

IMG_0901


I love the Asian chili garlic sauce because it goes with everything from a samosa, to noodles, to empanadas to a marinade for chicken or fish.  It can make your whole day if you have this around.  I have looked at a lot of these recipes and wanted to make one that did not have dried shrimp (I am allergic) or fish sauce.  A common complaint about the home-made versions is that using corn starch just not give it the gel-like constancy of the commercially available sauces.  To sort this problem out, I liberally adapted this recipe from the hot pepper jam recipe on the Kraft Sure-Jell website.  I use only hot peppers,  I added salt and I drastically reduced the amount of sugar.  With the pectin being boiled with the peppers, this is a one-pot deal and literally takes 5-10 min to be ready.

I always make jams in small batches so I don’t have to be bothered with canning.  I freeze whatever I don’t use and the frozen stuff seems to be good for a year or so.  But if you make a larger batch, please play it safe and learn how to can from any number of websites.

IMG_0902

Ingredients:

1 cup  chopped red, hot peppers (I used cascabels,  but fresnos, serranos or jalapeños are other choices; if you cannot tolerate heat, substitute some of these peppers for red bell peppers).

1/2 cup cider vinegar  (This really is part of the flavor so try to stick with this vinegar. I would guess that if you needed to substitute this, the best option would be rice vinegar or some other mild vinegar).

1 pkg. powder Fruit Pectin (I used Sure-Jell)

Salt to taste

2 cups sugar (or a little bit less)

Method:

1. Coarsely pulse your peppers in the food processor and place them in a medium sized pan. Add vinegar and salt. Stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil  on high heat, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

3. Ladle into clean jars.   Let the jars sit on the counter for several hours.  You will get 2 jars out of this.  Put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.

IMG_0908

Posted in Asian, condiments, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: