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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kerala Chicken Curry

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 rounded tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2-3 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup onion, thin, long slices
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, thin slices
a few curry leaves *
1 tbs vinegar
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup first thick coconut milk from 1 cup dry unsweetened coconut**
2 cups thin second coconut milk **
3 sweet potatoes, small dice

(step 1)

Mix coriander, cayenne, turmeric and pepper together and set aside.

(step 2)

Fry mustard seeds in hot oil and saute onion, garlic, ginger and curry leaves in a larger cooking pot.

(step 3)

Move onions to the side and fry the spice mixture in the oil and stir for a few minutes.


Add meat, vinegar, salt and stir for a few minutes.

(step 5)

Mix thin second coconut milk and cook. Close the pan with a deep lid with a splash of water. When the meat is done, add the sweet potatoes.

(step 6)

After the sweet potatoes are cooked, stir in the thick first coconut milk. When the curry thickens, remove from heat.

(step 7)

Enjoy with roti, rice, naan, etc.

* Curry leaves are available at Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame.

** To make your own first and second coconut milk, measure out one cup dry unsweetened coconut into a blender and add one cup very hot water. Blend well and strain. This is your first coconut milk. Take the drained blended coconut and return to the blender. Add another cup or two of very hot water and blend very well again. Drain. This is your second coconut milk.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rich Moroccan Soup

(soup starting to simmer - photo by Karen)

This recipe can be made with a rich meat or vegetable broth. If using a vegetable broth, I recommend making a hearty mushroom stock along with other vegetables. I like to add dried porcini mushrooms for that earthy flavour. If using a meat based stock, use a dark meat stock or make a very rich chicken stock. For this one, I used a stock from Elk meat and added a chopped elk ribeye steak to the mix.

1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tbs good olive oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced width-wise
3 medium carrots, cut into thin coins
1 1/2 - 2 cups medium dice sweet potatoes or yam
2 cups cooked chickpeas (Soak dry chick peas over night and cook until al dente in fresh water. If using tinned chick peas, rinse well in cold water to remove tinny taste)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tbs ras el hanout
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
salt, to taste
4-6+ cups rich stock
Optional: 1 chopped cooked steak or cooked roast meat
Also, use favourite vegetables such as a variety of peppers, cauliflower, parsnips, etc.

Saute onions on medium low heat in a soup pot with the olive oil until caramelized. Add chopped meat and zucchini. Add Ras el Hanout and stir. Add in remaining vegetables, chickpeas and garlic and stir. Pour in broth and bring to a slow boiling simmer. Add brown sugar and salt and let simmer until flavours are well incorporated.

Enjoy on a cool day for extra warming.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

By Request - Bitter Gourd Vattichularthiathu - AKA Karela

(photo by 3Quarks Daily article)

Okay, Malayalam is a really difficult language but the food is phenomenal.
Bitter Gourd is also known as Karela. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is held to have blood sugar regulating properties.

1/2 kg bitter gourd
1 tsp chili powder (cayenne)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup onion, thin long slices
Salt - to taste
1/2 cup oil

1. Slit open the bitter gourd, remove the seeds and cut into thin round slices.
2. Mix it with chili powder, turmeric and salt.
3. Par cook the bitter gourd slices in 1/2 cup briskly boiling water.
4. Fry the onion pieces in hot oil until crisp and golden brown in colour. Lift out and drain.
5. Add a little more oil if required and fry the bitter gourd. When crisp, lift it out and drain.
6. Mix the onion and bitter gourd together and serve.