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Friday, March 09, 2018

Spicy Chongqing Mala Chicken and Spanish Roasted Potato Tapas for CBC

I will be presenting these two dishes on Saturday for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Nadia Kidwai.  They are using local ingredients for flavours from Sichuan, China, and Spain.  Both are quite simple to prepare with big flavours.  

Chongqing, Sichuan Mala Chicken 
4 chicken thighs (available at St. Norbert's Farmers Market from Wildfire Farms)
cooking oil for frying
1/4 cup of chili peppers (or less, to tastes) Try4-5 chilies to start
1 and ½ tbsp. Sichuan peppercorn
1 root ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions, white part and green part separated and cut into small sections
1/2 cup skin-on peanuts (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sesame seeds, or as needed
pinch of salt


1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
¼ tsp. white pepper powder
2 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
small pinch of salt

Cut the dried chili peppers, discard the seeds and then soak the peppers in water for 15 minutes. We are doing this so we can fry the peppers later and prevent burn the peppers.

If using bone-in chicken thighs, remove bones and cut chicken into bite-sized cubes. In a large bowl, marinade the chicken cubes with all the marinating sauce. Mix well and set aside for around 10 minutes.

Heat up oil in wok or pan for deep-frying. Heat until really hot (you can see bubbles when you put a chopstick in). Add the chicken cubes in and fry until golden brown. Transfer out. I recommend frying the chicken by batches. After add the chicken cubes, let it stay for a short time (possible about 40 seconds to 1 minute) until one side is browned and then slightly stir the chicken and fry the other side.

Clean out the wok with a cloth or paper towel and add only ½ tablespoon of oil and then fry the peppers for 1-2 minutes over slowest fire until most of them becomes dark red. Add Sichuan peppercorn in and continue frying for another 1 minute over slowest heat.

Push the spices to one side and add ½ tablespoon of oil in wok and fry ginger, scallion white, peanuts and garlic until aromatic.

Return the chicken cubes, add roasted white sesame seeds, sugar, salt and scallion green sections. Mix well and serve immediately.

Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

3 lb potatoes (try the Viking variety available at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market)
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt

Roasted Garlic Dip

2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1 tbs olive oil
5 tbs sour cream
4 tbs mayonnaise
hot smoked paprika, to taste

Roast the garlic for 25 minutes at 350ºF until caramelized. Let cool enough to handle. Squeeze out and mash. Mix in a bowl with the sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with salt and paprika. Chill.

For the potatoes, cut each potato half into 3 wedges and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and salt and toss well. Transfer to a roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 1- 1/14 hours, or until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with roasted garlic dip.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Korean Pizza and Moroccan Squash Soup on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

Yesterday on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Nadia Kidwai, I presented two dishes that are easy to prepare, delicious, seasonal, and can be made quite locally yet originate from Morocco and Korea.  Moroccan Squash soup is warming and spicy and quite comforting.  Korean Pizza, or Bindettok, is so fun to make and eat and is great for party foods, celebrating, or make with leftovers.  Bindettok can be made in so many different ways, from soaking Mung Beans with sweet rice and grinding it for the base, to any flour mixture wanted.  For that reason, I've labelled the recipe Gluten-Free.  You can make it with quinoa flour, pea flour, rice flour, etc and still have great results.

Moroccan Squash Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
pinch coarse salt
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs butternut, kabocha, or calabaza squash halved, peeled and seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (about 6 cups) Available at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market
2 tbs good tomato paste (Millad's Supermarket)
1 tsp La Kama Spice Mixture (1 tsp each of ground ginger, turmeric and white pepper, good pinch of grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and optional cubeb pepper)
1/2 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
1/2 lb crumbled chevre
1 tsp or more to taste Harissa paste
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook onion in heavy bottomed pot or casserole dish (tajine) on medium low heat with the olive oil until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes
2. Add the squash, cover with parchment paper and/lid and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add tomato paste, spices and 4 cups of hot water and bring to a boil. Then simmer until the squash is tender, about 20+ minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Blend in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the cream and 3.4 or the cheese and the harissa at the end. Puree until velvety.
5. Bring up to heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve into warmed bowls and top each portion with a light sprinkling of the remaining cheese.



1 cup flour
1 cup water
pinch salt

Whisk flour and water and salt together until smooth.  Then add your optional fillings as follows:

1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped kimchi
1/ cup chopped mushrooms
2-4 chopped green onions
shrimp (I used New Brunswick shrimp from Gimli Fish)
1/2 cup red peppers (or any colour that you prefer)

Dipping Sauce:  soy sauce, black vinegar, grated ginger, chopped green onion, white pepper

Add options to the batter and cook in pancake form in a medium hot pan for a few minutes per side, flipping twice.  Enjoy with dipping sauce.  You can also use scissors to cut up the Bindettok for ease of serving.


Friday, February 09, 2018

Kalbi - Korean Beef Short Ribs on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

Today,  on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Nadia Kidwai, I will be presenting these amazing Korean Beef Short Ribs.  First of all, the beef.  Wonderful meaty beef short ribs from Wildfire Farm.  I also love Korean food.  It is wonderful to sit together and enjoy meals in Korea.  This recipe is so simple to prepare and even easier in an Instant Pot!  You can leave out the marinating time if using the Instant Pot.

I'm serving these ribs with Cook's Creek Kimchi, also available at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market on Saturday and the PopUp market at VIA Rail on Sunday.

Kalbi  Korean beef ribs in Instant Pot*

1 onion, sliced thinly
8 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbs grated ginger
1 Asian Pear, grated finely
2 cups beef broth
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
2 (+) tbs Kochujiang (gochujang – Korean pepper paste)
2 tbs rice or black vinegar
1 tbs good sesame oil (dark toasted and single ingredient)
1 tbs black pepper
1 tsp sea salt

For the garnishing and serving:
1 bunch green onions, sliced for garnishing
2 tbs sesame seeds
Fresh herbs, such as Perilla leaf, mint, coriander, basil, etc.
Shredded carrots

1. Combine onion, garlic, ginger, grated pear, beef broth, soy saucy, sugar, vinegar and sesame, Kochujiang, pepper and salt.  Place beef ribs in the marinade and let sit, chilled, for a few hours.

2. For the Instant Pot method:  Place ribs into the pot and pour over the marinade.  Shut and lock the lid and seal the valve.  Set the Instant Pot to cook under high pressure for 45 minutes.  (Press Manual or Pressure Cook, the + button until it is set to 45).  Let the pressure release naturally.  If it hasn’t after 25 minutes, release it to venting.  Check that the ribs are tender.  If not, continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes under high pressure.  Serve with rice, kimchi and garnishes.


*  If you have a slow cooker, place ribs and marinade in slow cooker for 4-6 hours.  Remove ribs from cooker and brown if desired.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sichuan Whitefish and North Indian Cheela (Gluten Free flatbread!) on CBC!

This morning, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Nadia Kidwai, I presented a dish from North India and a Sichuan fish dish.  So yummy together as well as quite simple to prepare!

The local whitefish is related to salmon, caught wild in Manitoba, and is higher in omega fatty acids than in salmon.  It is a sustainable fish.  This fish was brought down yesterday from fishers 9 hours North of Winnipeg.  It is available at Gimli Fish.  

The Pea Flour that I used for the Cheela, was from Tamarack Farm.  Traditionally, this lovely flatbread is made with Chick Pea flour, or Besan.  The local pea flour is a wonderful ingredient for this incredibly simple dish!

Sichuan Crispy Whitefish

1 whole whitefish (available at Gimli Fish)*
2 ½ tbs shaoxin rice wine
2 ½ tbs finely chopped ginger
½ tsp salt
Oil to deep fry fish in wok
2 -4 spring onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ½ tsp chilli bean paste
1 cup stock or water
2 ½ tbs soy sauce
3 tsp sugar
2 tbs Chinese black vinegar
1 tbs corn flour

At 1 inch intervals, cut scores into the fish diagonally through to the bone on both sides.

Mix shaoxin rice wine with 2 tsps ground ginger and salt.  Place the fish into a dish and spread the wine, ginger, salt mixture all over the fish.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat wok filled ¼ of oil, to medium heat.  Holding the fish by the tail, slide in to cook.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the fish, or until brown on both sides.  For extra crispy, dredge the fish first in corn starch.  After cooking, drain fish on paper towel and set aside. 

Remove oil from wok, leaving 1 ½ tbs of oil.  Heat oil to sauté green onions, ginger, garlic, chili bean paste for about 10-20 seconds.  Add rice wine, water or stock, soy, sugar, and black vinegar and bring to a boil.  Add fish and heat, covered, for another 10 minutes. 

Cook up the remaining sauce in pan with a bit of water and corn starch until thickened.  Serve over the fish with fresh coriander and/or more green onions.


Cheela with Local Pea Flour

There are many variations of this very simple flatbread.  It can be prepared plain or with many kinds of spices and vegetables.  This one today is made with Tamarack Farms Pea Flour, instead of Besan, or Chick pea flour.  This is also a Gluten-Free flatbread.

2 cups Pea Flour (available today at St. Norbert’s Farmer’s Market from Tamarack Farms)
1 tbs chat masala (or chilies, garam masala, etc.)
1-2 chopped shallots (I used dried shallots today)
Salt, to tastes
Water, to make a smooth batter, like a crepe consistency
Oil, for cooking

Combine pea flour, seasonings, salt, etc in a bowl.  Stir in water to make a crepe batter consistency.  Heat pan and spread like a thin pancake.  Pour 1 tsp oil on the sides and cook on medium heat until each side is golden.

Serve hot with dishes or chutneys.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Kitcheri on CBC

This morning, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Nadia Kidway, I presented the following dishes.  I made these for a few reasons.  It is a New Year and we all need help with ideas for keeping New Year's resolutions, be they about your own health, or about buying local food and supporting local producers.  These dishes are very healthy and are recommended for recovering from illness, as a cleansing diet, and great vegan proteins.  These are also delicious.

Kitcheri 1 (Red lentils and Basmati Rice)
1 cup Basmati Rice, washed
1 cup Red Lentils, washed
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander
1/8 tsp asafetida
In a small blender:
1" inch ginger
1 Green chili pepper (optional)
1 head garlic cloves
1-2 pieces of fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
(blend until smooth)

8 leaves curry leaves
4 cups Water (or combination with coconut milk)
1 1/2 tsp salt

 Options:  Cooked squash, cubed

  1. Start instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add black mustard seeds and cook until popping.
  2. Add sliced onions and stir until translucent and starting to brown.
  3. Add ginger mixture with curry leaves and brown, then add rice, lentils and water. Stir in salt. Close lid with vent in sealing position. 
  4. Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  5. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally (NPR)
  6. (optional) For tempering, heat ghee in a small pan and add the red chili powder to it. Add it on the cooked Kitcheri.

Kitcheri 2 Quinoa and yellow split peas

1 cup Brown quinoa, rinsed (Available at St. Norbert’s Farmer’s Market at Tamarack Farms)
½ cup split yellow lentils
1 yellow onion, sliced
4-6 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tbs Turkish Baharat (or your favourite spice blend)
2 cups favourite vegetable such as spinach, kale, sorrel, etc, chopped
1 small acorn squash, baked and scooped out
½ cup good tomato paste
chopped tomatoes, to preferences
½ cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Wash & drain the dal & quinoa
  2. Chop all veggies.
  3. Heat the oil & add the spices, sauté for a minute or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the mung dal & quinoa.
  5. Desired amount of broth, bring to low boil & then cover & simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft & soupy.
  6. In the final 10-15 minutes of cooking, add the chopped vegetables.
  7. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro
  8. Optional garnishes such as fresh sprouts from Fresh Forage, dried chili mango slices from Food for Folks, etc.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fennel Seared Scallops on Creamy Fennel and Rosemary Pasta on CBC

This morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host Laurie Hoogstraten, I presented the following dish using Nature's Farm pasta, Scallops from Gimli Fish, butter from Notre Dame Dairies, and love.  

Fennel Seared Scallops on Creamy fennel and rosemary pasta
2 scallops per person (large dry scallops are available at Gimli Fish)*
ground fennel
drizzle olive oil
salt and pepper

1 pkg Rosemary and fennel pasta (from Nature's Farm and available at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market)
1-2 shallots, sliced
1 tbs butter (Notre Dame Butter)
drizzle olive oil
1/2 - 1 cup cream, depending on amounts
1/2 cup (+) white wine
splash Pernod or Ouzo
salt and pepper, to tastes

Prepare sauce by sautéing shallots in butter and olive oil.  When soft, add the cream, wine, Pernod and season, to tastes. 

To sear scallops:  dry scallops off on a paper towel and dip in seasoned ground fennel.  Bring a pan to medium-high heat with butter and olive oil, to prevent burning.  Brown (sear) scallops on both sides when ready to serve immediately.

When ready to serve, prepare pasta and toss with sauce.  Top with seared scallops. 

*Dry scallops are an excellent quality scallop as they have not been injected with a type of saline preservative.  Dry are preferable as they can brown, whereas the wet scallops won't. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Turkish Sticky Figgy Pudding, aka Fig Meshnun, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

 Tomorrow, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show, with host Nadia Kidwai, I will be presenting the following dessert.  This was a huge hit at my former restaurant and I made this by popular demand today.  The cakes/puddings, can be prepared in advance, as can the butterscotch sauce, to make your holiday feast easier.

Always use the best ingredients for baking.  We have such great eggs, from Nature's Farm, butter, from Notre Dame Dairies, and flour, from Prairie Flour Mills. There are very few local flour mills in Manitoba.  Try out the flours from Tall Grass Bakery and Prairie Flour Mills!

Fig Mešhnun
Sticky Dried Fig Pudding (Fig Mešhnun)
1/2 pound dried figs, finely chopped
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 ounces butter (at room temperature) (I used Notre Dame Butter)
9 ounces superfine sugar
3 free-range eggs (I used Nature's Farm eggs, available at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
9 ounces flour

Butterscotch Sauce
8 ounces butter
7 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter 12 five-seven ounce metal molds, a 10-inch square cake tin or a 10X8 inch jelly-roll pan.
Put the figs, boiling water, and baking soda into a bowl, then stir well and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Mix the ginger into the flour, then sift onto the mixture and fold in.  Stir in the fig mixture and pour into the buttered molds.  Bake for 15 minutes.
While the puddings are baking, make the butterscotch sauce.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally, but not too much or it will crystallize.
After 15 minutes baking, spoon a bit of the sauce on top of each pudding and then return to the oven for 5 more minutes, or when a skewer comes out cleanly.
To serve, unmold the puddings onto dessert plates, then invert them so the sticky surface is on top.  Serve with extra sauce.