Bindya Bedi’s chicken curry

Adapted from The Age and read at NewsELA

  • 1 kilogram chicken thighs 

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste 
  • 1 squeeze of lime 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Ingredients for the curry:

  • 1/4 cup of neutral oil (coconut oil or ghee, my pref)
  • 4 medium-sized brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled 
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced 
  • 1 to 2 green chillies (we used 1 Jalapeño chili pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 4 to 5 cardamom pods 
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns 
  • 4 to 5 cloves
  • 4 tomatoes, or 1/2 a cup of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder 
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground garam masala 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • cilantro, to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, marinate the chicken thighs in the ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle (or food processor?) to grind the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies to a paste and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds. Roughly pound all of the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) and add to the oil. Once they start to make popping sounds, add the onion paste. Heat over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a golden-brown paste and the oil starts to separate. 
  3. Next, add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric, red chili powder, and ground coriander. Cook until the tomatoes just start to form a paste. Add the chicken, garam masala and 1/2 cup of water. Bring the curry to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and continue to cook over a medium heat.
  4. After 20 to 25 minutes, uncover the pan and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the water evaporates and the curry starts to thicken. Once the curry is ready, switch the flame off.
  5. Serve with your choice of naan or basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.

I read this in a NewsELA article, which I subscribed to as a science teacher. They offer loads of readable current news, including in science and health and social justice. Some changes from the original recipe: we used organic coconut oil, although I would have been equally happy with ghee. We speeded things up with using a garlic press and grater for the ginger for the marinade paste, and added a coconut oil to keep the chickens moist. I ran out of whole cloves, so I added some black mustard seed for appearances. And rather than the mortar and pestle method for the onion-garlic-ginger-chili mixture, we used a smoothie blender. We did use the mortar and pestle to grind the whole spices though! Make sure you turn on your ventilation — these are some powerful aromas when you start frying!

***Marinade reminder: we mixed ACID (lime) + SALT + OIL (ghee) + HERBS/SEASONINGS/SUGAR (ginger / garlic) + TIME (30 minutes).***

~Jessica

Kaeng phet (aka Thai red curry)

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola/peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large rice cooker, cook rice. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken, onion to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in red curry paste and garlic, ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in broccolini until just tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat; stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately with rice.

Kaeng phet literally means spicy curry, but it is known as “red curry” in the West (Wiki). This is a class Thai dish: red curry. The paste I picked up at the local grocery packs a real punch! Apparently Panang curry differs in that it’s sweeter rather than spicier, creamier, and contains peanuts. I would like to try to make Phanaeng curry (possibly refers to the Malaysian island state of Penang) next time. I used green bell pepper instead of the broccolini, subbed mushrooms for the chicken, and added diced turnip because I had it. Unfortunately did not have cilantro or lime on hand, of course, but did have scallions! Somehow missed the garlic, but did add garlic powder (not remotely the same, I know). Spicy, but I can eat it with more rice to balance that out.

~Jessica

Turkey chili with beans

Adapted from smitten kitchen and a Whole Foods ingredients list

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds ground turkey (I used 1 lb.)
  • 2 cans 15.5 oz dark kidney beans, drained (I used Teasdale Chile verde beans and Goya Frijoles negros)
  • 1 14 ounce (400 g) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned vegetable stock or turkey broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa or cornmeal (I used corn starch)
  • 1/3 cup chili powder (I used paprika instead — sweeter flavor)
  • oregano, basil
  • cilantro, chopped, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Place a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, stirring well, and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the celery.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Gradually add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in all of the spices (e.g. chili powder, cumin), cocoa (thickener), and tomatoes (and tomato paste).
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, bell pepper, salt, and vinegar (or lime juice), stirring well.
  5. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more. Adjust flavor with your spices of choice. Top with the chopped cilantro.
  6. Garnish with cheddar, sour cream, and jalapeno, as you like it. Serve hot, with cornbread, if desired.

Turkey is good brain food, and Whole Foods has a Tequila lime turkey chili with beans that we would get, before I tried this recipe. I love the tomato paste that comes in metal tubes, like at Rewe or Kaufland or Edeka, because you wouldn’t have to worry about finishing the tin or storing the unused bit. I added ½ a carrot because I had it on hand and I didn’t think it would detract from the primary flavors. Wish I had some cheddar to grate on top!

Happy Boxing Day,
~Jessica

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Fried salmon with fresh tomato and avocado salsa

Adapted from My Colombian Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil over the salmon. Coat completely. Combine cumin, salt, and pepper and sprinkle mixture over the fish.
  2. When the pan is hot, place fish, skin side down. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes, more or less, depending on your taste. When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and top with the avocado salsa.
  3. To make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set the salsa aside until serving.

I picked up an avocado at the corner green grocer. Had diced white onions and no fresh lime (not the season), and leftover (Whole Foods organic) cilantro from last time. I bought some local cherry tomatoes of different shapes and colors from Whole Foods, splurge! I forgot and used 1/2 lemon instead of the 1/2 lime still in the fridge (it was very dry though). I steamed a broccoli crown (over cooked a little bit more than the 4 minutes I should have done) for extra vegetable. And served over a bed of 1/2 organic brown, 1/2 Chinese white rice.

~Jessica

Avocado salsa

Adapted from Food 52

Ingredients

  • clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ripe avocado, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, (omitted because I don’t handle spice)
  • 1/2 tomatillo, roughly chopped
  • scallion, roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fold everything gently together in a large bowl. Some of the avocado will mash naturally, but most of it should keep its shape, which tastes divine. Do the garlic and lime juice first, letting them mellow out while you chop up the rest of the ingredients. Serve fresh.

I first read about this in my Google News feed, on Salon. Took way more than five minutes to prep though. Served atop of my crispy pan-seared salmon on vegetable pasta.

~Jessica

Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Equipment:
Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!

~Jessica

Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Berry cheesecake galette

Adapted from smitten kitchen

1 pâte brisée (a pastry dough)

Filling
125 g blackberries (I used strawberries)
250 g creme fraiche (cream cheese might be preferable)
8 spoonfuls of granulated sugar (feel free to use less)
1 spoonful cornstarch
1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Juice of half a lemon/lime
Pinch of salt
A few scrapings zest from 1/4 lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk, beaten with a splash of water
1 spoonful of turbinado or coarse sugar for sprinkling
1 spoonful chopped pistachios (optional)

 

IMG_20160923_205209.jpgPreheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a round baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix the berries, 1 spoonful of sugar, citrus, and cornstarch; stir to combine, set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the eggs until fluffy. Beat in 7 spoonfuls of sugar, citrus zest, vanilla, salt.

Carefully drape the pastry dough in the prepared pan, letting the edges hang over the sides. Pour in cream cheese batter, then spoon the berry mixture over. Lightly swirl them together. Gently pinch the dough edges into loose creases and loosely lay the creases down over the filling; repeat all around.

Lightly brush egg wash around the edges of the dough. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar and nuts. Bake until golden brown, 35 minutes. Cool completely, and store in the refrigerator before serving.

~Jessica

Bun Chay

Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad). Adapted from smitten kitchen and Cooking with a Wallflower

4-8 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli
12-18 large shrimp
peanut oil

Sauce
1 lime, the juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 cloves garlic, minced
ginger, finely grated
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
Chili pepper/chili paste, miso, Asian fish sauce, mirin (rice vinegar, if you can find it)

Greens
mixed greens
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro)

Garnish
2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
scallions
toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, dissolve the sugar. Leave for 15 minutes. Refrigerate extras and use within a few days.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Toss vegetables with 1 spoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped marinated protein. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste. Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.