Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Sausage and Okra Gumbo

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 30, 2016


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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!

 

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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

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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.

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Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 17, 2015

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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.

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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

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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.

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  • 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.

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Thai Beef Curry

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 15, 2015

IMG_0879I have been working on a grant proposal for the last month and today is my first day off.  I was looking for a meal that would make me forget about the take-outs and the pantry meals that we have been consuming for the past month.  But of course I have not been to the grocery store yet.  So I became very fixated on producing a Thai style beef curry with what I had on hand.  I wanted a Massaman curry, but only had Panang paste at home. So that is what I used but added some spices that I think go into Massaman.  What resulted was pretty darn good and tasted like a cross between Massaman, Panang and the Indonesian Rendang.  I am writing it down before I forget.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb beef chuck, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 sized pieces

2 Red potatoes cut into 1″ to 1.5″ pieces (leave the skin on)

1 large onion sliced onions (cut the onion in half, place it cut side down and slice top to bottom, not too thin)

1 can coconut milk, full fat (According to the latest,  Coconut fat is now a desired food item because it contains medium chain fatty acids!)

1/4-1/3  cup Massaman or Panang paste (I used the Mae Ploy brand)

4 black cardamoms (available at any Indian Grocery Store, use regular cardamoms if you can’t find these)

1 stick cinnamon

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

3- tbs. brown sugar, adjust to taste

3 tbs. fish sauce

Salt if needed

Water

1 tsp Thai basil dry (A bun of fresh basil would be better)

A handful of cilantro, minced

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Method:

1. Place an oven rack in the lower third of your oven and pre-heat to 325˚F.  Your rack should be low enough to fit the pot you use to cook the curry.

2.  Heat an oven-safe heavy bottomed pot (a 6 qt Dutch oven works best) on medium high.

3.  Remove the fatty, solid part  (fat) of the coconut milk from the can and heat in the pot.

4. When the fat has melted,  add the cardamom and cinnamon and about 1/4-1/3 cup of Panang or Massaman curry paste (this is super hot, so adjust to taste.  Adding to little will make a flavorless curry).

5. Add the beef and a generous pinch of salt and stir to coat the beef.

6. Add the potatoes and onions and the remaining coconut milk.  Then add enough water to just cover the curry.

7. Cover tightly and place in oven for 1.5 hours.
8. Remove from oven,  add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and fish sauce and taste and adjust the broth.  Add more salt if needed.

9. Return to the oven and cook for another 1.5 to 2.5 hours until the beef is meltingly tender and falls apart if you look at it cross-eyed.  For the last hour, take the lid of so that the gravy is reduced and the beef picks up a bit of that roasted flavor.

10. Remove from oven, taste and adjust the flavors again if needed.  Sprinkle cilantro.

11.  Eat with rice and a vegetable on the side.

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Pongal (a savory rice and lentil dish from Southern India)

Posted by fourclankitchen on December 30, 2014




IMG_0808There was a South Indian temple opposite my childhood home.  All winter,  folks gathered here in the morning after their Prabhat Pheri, a form of exercise, music and prayer combined.  After singing for some more time, they distributed a prasad, sacred food eaten after being offered to the Gods.  This temple offered Pongal, a savory lentil and rice dish,  on small strips of banana leaves.  It tasted divine and my mother claimed that only prasad could taste this good because in fact it was blessed by the gods.  I can still taste this on my tongue and smell the banana leaf steaming under the hot Pongal.

I later learned that Pongal was a standard breakfast dish in many Southern Indian homes and that as with its north Indian counterpart (khichdi),  there are as many versions of it as there are homes.

Here is a version that is pretty close to what my tongue remembers from my childhood.

A note about some of the harder to find ingredients in the tempering.  The core ingredients are the ghee (or other oil), mustard seeds and pepper corns.  The other ingredients can be omitted,  but the flavor will not be the same.

 

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Ingredients:

1. 1 cup rice  (any long grain rice will do,  I used a combination of jasmine and basmati)

2. 1/4-1/2 cup hulled moong dal (skinned yellow mung bean lentils, the  kind available in Indian and Chinese grocery stores).

3. 3 1/4 cup water (more or less depending on your desired consistency and whether you use a pressure cooker or not).  You want approximately twice the amount of water as your rice and dal combined.

4. Salt to taste.

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Tempering (tadka)

1.  2 tbsp ghee

2. 1 tsp brown mustard seeds

3.  1 tsp cumin seeds

3. 1 tsp. pepper corn

4. 1 tsp ginger  (I did not have this, but do not omit)

5. large pinch asafoetida (hing)

6.  1-2 tbsp. cashew nuts  ( I did not have this, but do not omit or substitute)

7.  1-3 dried red chillies

8.  10-15 fresh curry leaves  (do not omit)

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Method:

1.  Dry roast the unwashed mung beans in a skillet until they turn color slightly and become fragrant.  You can omit this step, but it imparts a nutty flavor to the beans and ensures that the rice and beans cook evenly.

2. Mix mung beans with the rice and wash in several changes of water until the water runs clear.

3.  Place the rice and lentil mix in a pressure cooker and add water.

4.  Season with salt (the water should taste like sea water) and pressure cook till the cooker whistles once.  Adjust for your own cooker.  If you don’t have one,  cook in a large pot, until the rice and mung beans become completely soft, but still hold shape.  The water should have all been absorbed.

5. Temper the Pongal as follows:

Heat the ghee in  a small skillet.  When hot add all listed ingredients, saving the hing and cashews for last.  When the seeds sputter and release their fragrance, remove from heat and add to the Pongal.

Mix gently,  adjust the salt and eat plain, with yogurt, an Indian chutney or sambar.

Posted in Asian, Breakfast, Brunch, Indian Food, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Curried Tofu Salad

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 17, 2012

There are those who eat tofu as a meat substitute.  I think it is a mediocre meat substitute, but is really good on its own, particularly because it can take on any flavor you ask it to.   Take for instance the red curry tofu salad our local co-op sells. It has Indian curry powder and some cajun spices in it and it tastes like a wonderful blend of the two.  Whoda thunk? Its delicious, but expensive.  You shouldn’t  pay 7.99/lb for a bit of tofu.  So I resolved to make it with the ingredients I had on hand.  My take on this salad is very close to the store bought version, its just slightly less greasy and certainly a lot cheaper.  This is definitely going to enter my lunch pantheon.  Try it and you might also get hooked to eating tofu as well.  It would also be wonderful with chicken: I will try that next.

Ingredients:

1 pk extra firm tofu cut lengthwise into three slabs

2 tbs. vegetable oil, divided

2 tbs mayonnaise (the store sells a vegan version with vegennaise: no idea how this is made, but it tastes just fine)

1 tbs. apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)

1/2 tsp old bay seasoning (or any cajun seasoning, barbecue dry rub etc.  you have)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp curry pwd

pinch of cayenne (the hot stuff)

five grinds black pepper

salt to taste

1 large carrot, shredded in the food processor or on a grater

1 stalk celery finely diced or shredded in the food processor

2-3 tbs. finely diced onion (preferably a sweet variety, do not grate in food processor)

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Method:

The day before you will make your salad, drain the tofu brick on paper towels, taking as much moisture off as possible.  Leave uncovered in fridge overnight.

Heat 1/2 -1 tbs oil in a griddle or sauté pan (the amount will depend on the type of pan you use, you don’t want the tofu to stick and you don’t want it greasy).

When hot, turn the stove to medium high and place your tofu slabs in the pan and brown, about 4 min per side (provided the tofu was drained as outlined above).

Remove from the flame and let the tofu cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile,  whisk the mayo, oil, vinegar, sugar and spices together and let the flavors blend.

Process your vegetables.

Cut the tofu into small cubes and mix together the vegetables, the dressing and the tofu.  Be gentle so you don’t break the tofu to bits.  Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and vinegar.

Let the salad sit for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving or consuming.

Posted in Asian, Brunch, Chinese, Main Dishes, salads, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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