Thursday, March 29, 2007

Beef Stir-Fry

The problem that I find with stir-fry is that either the sauce that I use is too sweet (such as Soy Vay) or the sauce that I make myself is not too flavorful. But I think I have finally conquered that problem. The following is a recipe that I have adapted from Simply Recipes. The All-Purpose Stir-Fry sauce is fantastic. I highly recommend that everyone try this recipe at least once. Of course, you can substitute any meat/seafood/tofu in the place of the flank steak.

Beef Stir-Fry
Serves 2

2 T vegetable oil
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb. flank steak, sliced into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 medium sized onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. of cornstarch dissolved into 1.5 T of water

Stir Fry Sauce
3 T Soy Sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili oil

1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Parboil the asparagus for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

2. Prepare the stir fry sauce and set aside.

3. In a wok, heat 1 T of vegetable oil and stir fry asparagus for 2 minutes and then remove and set aside.

4. Add 1 T more of oil to the wok. Add sliced onions and stir fry until slightly soft. Then add beef strips and stiry fry the beef for 2-3 minutes. Add the bell pepper to the pan and toss over high heat until just beginning to wilt, 1-2 minutes.

5. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir-fry sauce to the pan. Cook until the sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes. Return asparagus to the pan and the add the chili flakes. Toss the aparagus so that the sauce evenly coats.

Serve with rice or with a salad. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Egg Muffins

Any kind of Egg Muffins

(Makes about 12 muffins)

These are a common food item for most South Beach dieters. I just like them because they are easy, can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, and provide a quick and healthy breakfast.

If you decide to make large batches of these, you can freeze them. When ready to eat, just allow them to defrost for an hour or two, pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and there you go! If you only make a dozen or so, they keep well in the refrigerator for about a week. Just heat them in the morning in the microwave and enjoy!

One dozen eggs or 24 oz. egg beaters

2 T diced red bell pepper or green bell pepper

3 T chopped green onion

1 cup of shredded cheese – preferably cheddar cheese or pepper jack if you like a bit of heat.

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 T milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add tin foil liners to a muffin pan. Pour egg mixture into each of the tin muffin liners. Heat in the oven for 20 minutes.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Curried Noodle Patties

This is a dish that Heidi from 101 Cookbooks came up with. I tried it a few days ago and thought it was fantastic. The key to getting the perfect shape on this is using egg rings - definitely use them if you have them.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Khutti Daal

Before my mom left, she showed me how to make two very traditional Hyderabadi dishes - Khutti Daal and Chicken Korma. These are probably my two very favorite Indian dishes, and no restaurant can make them as good as my mom can.
Khutti Daal
Serves 2
1/2 cup masoor daal (orangey-pink lentil)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 T chopped cilantro
4 or 5 curry leaves
1 serrano chili - chopped
2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 to 3 dried red chilis
In a pot, add lentils and cover with water (water should be about an inch above the lentils). Boil the lentils until they get slightly tender, then add salt, cayenne, turmeric, and garlic powder. Allow the lentil mixture to boil for another five minutes - until the lentils have soaked up most of the water. Using a hand blender, puree the lentils. Add 1/2 cup of water, cilantro, serrano chili, and lemon juice. Allow the lentils to simmer for another 10 minutes.
While the lentils are simmering, add oil, cumin seeds, and red chilis to a small pan. Once the seeds begin to brown and pop, add the oil mixture to the lentils. Simmer another 5 minutes. That's it!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Muju's Okra (or Zucchini)

My aunt up in Baltimore made this dish for me and my mom when we visited, but she used zucchini instead. Needless to say, the dish was fantastic and that's why I wanted to put it on the website. Except I didn't have any zucchini, only okra. It worked just as well.

Muju's Okra (or Zucchini)

1 lb. fresh cut okra or zucchini (can use frozen cut as well)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced

In a pot, heat the oil; then add the onions, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, ginger, and garlic. Mix well for about 7 minutes, until the onion soften. Add the okra or zucchini. Cook for another 10-15 minutes - stirring often. Serve with naan or basmati rice.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hot and Sour Soup

My mom is in town, so yesterday I tried this hot and sour soup recipe on her. Definitely a keeper. You might have to adjust the chili oil to suit your taste though. We like it spicy in my household.

Hot and Sour Soup
Serves 4

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 small can of sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup of bamboo shoots

3 slices fresh ginger root

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

14 oz. extra frim tofu, cut into thin strips

1 T sesame oil

2 green onions, chopped

Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

3 T rice wine vinegar

2 T cornstarch

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp. chili oil

In a suacepan, combine the chicken broth, water, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer.

Place the tofu strips into a bowl and toss with the sesame oil to coat. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and vinegar, and set aside.

Increase the heat under the broth to medium-high, and return to a rolling boil. Add the tofu strips. Return to a boil, and then drizzle in the egg while stirring slowly to create long strands of egg. Stir in the vinegar and corstarch mixture. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until broth has thickened slightly. Add chili oil. Serve garnised with green onions and cilantro.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spinach and Cheese Samosas

These are not the traditional samosas you will find in an Indian restaurant. But they are just as good.

Spinach and Cheese Samosas
Makes 18

1 package of frozen puff pastry sheets
1 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onions, finely diced
1/4 tsp. each of ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Thaw the puff pastry sheets per the directions on the box. Defrost the frozen chopped spinach and drain all the water from the spinach before cooking. In a pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion becomes soft. Then add the spinach, and the cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

After the puff pastry has thawed, remove it from the packaging and open up a sheet of puff pastry. This is what it should look like:

With a rolling pin, roll out the creases from the puff pastry sheet. Cut the sheet into 9 even squares - about 2 " x 2 ". Dab the edges of the squares with some water. In the center of each square, add a spoonful of the spinach mixture and top it with some shredded cheese. Then fold over the filled square into a triangle. Score the edges with a fork. Repeat the same procedure for the second sheet of puff pastry.

Place the samosas in a preheated 400 degree oven for 18 minutes.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Kofta Korma

Leftover Koftas (see below)


Trader Joe's Korma Simmer Sauce


Kofta Curry

Chutney Pasta with Mini Koftas

Generally, Indians like pasta. Though, we just don’t like your basic marinara sauce or pesto to go along with the pasta. We have to doctor it up somehow. My cousin in NY doctors his pasta by adding chopped jalapenos and diced chicken, and my mom smothers her pasta with butter, cheese, and a TON of black pepper. Basically, we need spice.

This is my doctored pasta recipe. I added mini koftas to the fray and they turned out to be quite good.


Chutney Pasta
8 oz. cooked spaghetti
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
4 or 5 dried red chilies
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Handful of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

In a medium pot, heat the oil, cumin, mustard, coriander and red chilies until the seeds begin to brown and pop. Add the diced tomatoes, cayenne pepper and cilantro. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.

Mini Koftas

1 lb ground beef
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. cumin powder
¼ tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 serrano chili, finely diced
¼ tsp. salt
Chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Form meat mixture into mini meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and put them in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
If you want, you can freeze the koftas also and use them in a curry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Goan Prawn Balchao (from Cook’s Cottage)

This is a fantastic, and spicy, shrimp recipe from Jyotsna at Cook’s Cottage.

Jyotsna recommends eating this with steamed rice or crusty bread. I opted for the latter, which was an excellent decision on my part b/c the bread just soaked in all of the yummy spiciness.