Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Sausage and Okra Gumbo

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 30, 2016


I recently became allergic to shrimp, so when I saw this gumbo recipe ( 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!




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




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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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.



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


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

A handful of cilantro, minced



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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Beef Rendang (Malaysian/Indonesian Beef Stew)

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 9, 2012

This is arguably the most iconic dish of Indonesia, Malaysia and the surrounding regions.  Even for a non beef lover like me,  this is an amazingly satisfying dish because it tickles every taste bud on your tongue, the sweet, sour, salty, spicy and the Umami (I am told there is also a fat receptor on your tongue, but I haven’t heard about this in a while). I have tried making rendang before and did not like the results.  This recipe from Rasa Malaysia, however, is perfect.  I made only one or two substitutions:  I swapped out lemon zest for Kaffir lime leaves and added extra ginger for galanga, simply because the grocery store did not have these items, but this should be done only in a pinch.  I don’t have a powerful blender and the lemongrass stalks did not get fully pureed in the food processor.  I found the lemon grass chunks annoying while I ate, so I am going to try either just bruising and then taking out the lemon grass or some other substitutes,  like lemon essence and lime juice.  Sorry,  I am not a purist and just want the food to taste good.


1 1/2 pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into cubes  (I could not find the boneless stuff, so used 2.5 lbs of bone in short ribs)
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 cloves, whole
3 star anise, whole
3 cardamom pods, lightly crush
1 lemongrass (cut into 4-inch length and pounded)
1 cup thick coconut milk (decant the top half of a can without mixing)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds ).  You can use 1 tsp of tamarind concentrate
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)  or zest of 2 limes (a poor substitute, but will do in a pinch)
6 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut, see below)
1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste (brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar)
Salt to taste

Spice Paste:

5 shallots
1 inch galangal (I substituted 1″ginger, do this only if you have  to)
3 lemongrass stalks (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water and seeded)  (I used a single fresh Fresno pepper: my gang here would not go for this level of heat, although I would love it)


  1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.
  3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  6. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.
  7. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.
  8. Serve immediately with steamed rice and save some for overnight.

Toasted Coconut: 

  1. To prepare the kerisik or toasted coconut, just add the grated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuosly until its turns golden brown.  You can buy fresh frozen coconut at any Indian Grocery Store and toast it for a few min on a cast iron griddle.  It can burn very easily, so be vigilant.

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almond sheesh kebabs (badami kebab)

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 12, 2012

Every recipe in Smita Chandra’s “Indian Grill” is a gem.  I have no idea why this book is not better known and used.  But if you can find it, you should grab yourself a copy.  These almond kebabs are among my favorite recipes from this book.  The kebabs are unbelievably well-seasoned and their taste lingers on your tongue long after you have eaten them.  A note about adding eggs to the kebab mix:  when it works, it really binds the meat and add flavor.  But depending upon the fat content of your meat,  an egg can sometimes add too much liquid, causing your kebab to fall off the skewer during grilling.  I start with 1/2 egg, adding the rest once I know that the meat is going to cohere.  You can also omit it, if necessary.  If your kebab insists on falling apart even if you don’t add the egg, just shape it into a hamburger and serve it with hamburger buns.


2 tbs. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

1 in ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup ground almonds, unsalted, unroasted

1/2 large egg

salt to taste

14-1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp gram masala

1lb ground lamb or beef (I buy 91% lean lamb or 96% lean ground beef)

lemon juice


In a skillet,  heat the oil over a high flame and add the cumin seeds, stir for a few seconds, until  fragrant.

2. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 min. until lightly browned.

3. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

4. Transfer the mixture to a food process and process until smooth.

5.  Add half a beaten egg to the mixture and process again until incorporated.

6.  Now add the ground almond and all the spices and the salt and pulse to mix.

7.  Add the meat and process until the ingredients are fully mixed and the meat thoroughly minced.  If the mixture looks stiff, add the rest of the egg.

8.  Transfer the kebab mix to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour so that the flavors blend and the mixture firms up a bit.

9.  Heat the grill to a medium heat.

10.  Mould the kebabs onto skewers in sausage shapes about 4-6 inches long.  (Do not despair if they dont adhere to the skewer.  You can simply make patties out of the meat and eat as an upscale hamburger).

11. Grill covered for about 10 min.  turning once to ensure even cooking. Uncover the grill, turn up the heat and char for a few minutes.

12 Slide off the skewer and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice before serving.

13.  Serve with a rice pilaf, raita/yogurt dip or any Indian flat bread.

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Chile Braised Pork Tacos

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 5, 2012

Anytime I ask my son what he would like for dinner, the answer is always Mexican.  He definitely got exchanged  in the hospital and really belongs with a nice Mexican family, who is wondering why their son craves Indian/Jewish foods!  A few weeks ago, he went so far as to place check marks against recipes in Sunset’s Mexican Cookbook, in case I was tempted to oblige.  This dish is described by Sunset as a basic pork filling for a taco or burrito.  It is really delicious and simple to make.  There is nothing but pork, dried peppers and a few spices in the original recipe.  However, I also added some onions and sweet red and yellow peppers, because I just can’t bear to cook meat alone.


2 lb. lean boneless pork butt, cut into 1″ chunks

3 cups water

6-8 small sweet peppers, chopped coarsely

1 onion, chopped

8 dried ancho chiles or 3 tbs. sweet paprika (if you want this less spicy, adjust to your tolerance)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

2 tsp dry oregano leaves

2 tbs. red wine vinegar


garnishes (shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole etc).


1. Place meat in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and add water.  Add half the salt.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer until meat is tender (about 1 hour).  Skim off excess fat.

3. Remove stems and sees from chiles, break into pieces and whirl in a coffee grinder (or blender) until finely ground.

4. Add to pork along with garlic, salt, oregano and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens (35 min-45 min). Taste and adjust the salt.

5. Serve with heated tortillas and garnishes.

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