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West African Peanut Stew

14 Feb

Old Man Winter, you bastard.

Cold ears. Dry skin. Static-y hair. Runny noses. Short days. Long sleeves. Slush.

I’m having a mild bout of winter blahs. I’ve been busy watching the Olympics and not motivated to do much extra, such as cooking interesting things and writing about it. I’m afraid the ole’ blog has suffered!

I’m sorry.  I’ll be better.

I hope this post makes up for it, because it is the perfect antidote for a cold winter night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chili, I really really do. Everyone should have a killer recipe (like this one!) in their repertoire (arsenal? I can’t decide). But let’s face it, sometimes its boring. Like stir fry. I could make it blindfolded.

May I suggest something to shake things up? How about this spicy and hearty peanut stew? Try it out! It was seriously satisfying.

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West African a Peanut Stew
(Serves 4-5. Time: 1 hour. Adapted from Saveur) 

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh red chilis
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Fresh lemon

Directions
1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large pot and brown chicken drumsticks over medium high heat until browned on all sides (approx 10 minutes). Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, prep onions, garlic, ginger and 1 chilli and add to hot pot once chicken is removed. Sautée with a more oil until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
3) Add spices (turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves) and fry for about one minute.
4) Add tomato paste and cook until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter. Stir until melted and incorporated.
5) Return chicken to pot along with stock (or water) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
6) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 25 minutes.
7) Add sweet potato and cook until tender, about another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
8) Season with salt and add roasted peanuts and second chopped fresh chilli. Finish with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Yum. This stew is really filling, and made great leftovers. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender, but I’m sure it would still be great vegan-ized with tofu. I liked the crunch of the peanuts.

I served it over couscous (aka the lazy-man’s rice) with salad. The next day we had it with sautéed balsamic mushrooms, salad and flatbreads.

Note: my peppers were not extremely spicy, so I did not de-seed them. Proceed with caution if you think yours may be hotter. Also, if you think the stew is too thick, add one more cup of liquid.

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What are your favourite winter recipes? How do you stay sane at this time of year? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading.

M

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Vegan Thai Green Curry with Tofu

21 Jan

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Things I Dislike:
1) being windswept
2) fluorescent lighting
3) the term “amazeballs”

Things I Like:
1) great cover songs
2) magazine subscriptions arriving by mail
3) green curry

Hopefully you like # 3 too.

Here is a simple recipe that really hit the spot on a cold, cold night.

Vegan Thai Green Curry

(30 minutes. Serves 2 with some leftover)

  • 1 small white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 handful fresh green beans, sliced thinly
  • 5 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, cut into smallish cubes.
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • Zest of 1/2 fresh lime
  • 3 kafir lime leaves
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Coconut oil (for frying)
  1. In a hot pan, fry thinly sliced onion, mushrooms and red pepper with coconut oil until soft. Add curry paste and mix well.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed garlic. Cook until fragrant and stir in the coconut cream and almond milk.
  3. Add kafir lime leaves. Bring to a low boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add tofu and seasonings (sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice). Adjust according to personal taste.
  5. Finish with broccoli, green beans and cilantro (do not over cook). Remove lime leaves. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  6. Serve immediately with rice!

Notes: 

In Thailand, restaurants usually have four condiments on the table:  sweet (sugar), sour (lime juice or vinegar) , salty (fish/soy sauce) and spicy (chilies) . People generally customize their dishes according to their preferences. Feel free to try this! Or, if you trust me, this recipe is balanced to what I think is just perfect.

I used Aroy-D brand green curry paste. It is pretty hot! Depending on your taste, maybe add less curry paste to start off.

I used Arvinda’s kafir lime leaves. They are like bay leaves, but have a lush flavour that add dimension to this curry. You can buy them at most grocery stores.

Coconut milk varies widely from full fat to lite. For this dish, I used coconut cream (about 6 tablespoons or 1/2 can) of the full fat version.  Coconut cream is the really thick creamy stuff that rises to the top of the “light” versions. If you want to use lite coconut milk, add the whole can and reduce the almond milk to only 1 cup.

Cut the peppers thinly, and the green beans too. I sliced the beans in half lengthwise (slightly tedious) , but worth it for the overall texture of the dish.

Please add fresh basil to this dish if you have it! I sadly, did not.

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Enjoy!

M

Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu

3 Dec

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I realize that my blog has been rather meat-centric lately. Although I’ve had some vegetarian posts here and there,  it has been awhile since I’ve shared any vegan dishes.

I’m certain come January when I’ve had my fill of Christmas-y cheese puffs, sausage rolls and pâté that I will concentrate on super healthy, veggie-filled recipes again.  That’s the plan. 

So, this one is for you in mind, vegans. And for me, a little head start on 2014.

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To continue on with my Indian kick, I present you with…

Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu 

  • 1 fresh green chili (I used jalapeno)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat is best)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying spices and tofu)
  • dash liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Cut tofu into thick slices and press between paper towels to remove moisture for about 20 minutes, while preparing the sauce. Top with something heavy, like a cookbook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan at medium-high heat melt coconut oil and add 1 tablespoon garam masala. When it begins to puff and bubble, add garlic, ginger, chopped green chili and tomato.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining spices and cook another few minutes until well mixed and fragrant.
  4. Stir in tomato paste, and then tomato puree. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add coconut milk, sugar and liquid smoke.
  5. Using a hand blender, blend sauce so that it is creamy and smooth, and all the spices are incorporated. Simmer until liquid has reduced about 1/4 (25 minutes or so). Add fenugreek leaves.
  6. Meanwhile, in separate pan, fry tofu slices in hot oil with salt until browned and a bit crispy.
  7. Remove from oil and chop into smaller bite sized pieces. Add to sauce.
  8. Serve curry with basmati or naan, top with fresh cilantro or more dried fenugreek leaves.
  9. Enjoy!

As for you meat eaters, fear not. This recipe is a real spicy, rich, hearty winner!

The sauce makes a great base, that would be good with almost anything; chicken (duh), chickpeas, tempeh or even pineapple. This recipe is pretty quick and easy as far as curries go. It smells amazing while it’s cooking and makes a pretty decent yield.

On a side note, in terms of views, November has high and above exceeded October (my previous best)  on Food, Mostly. It is super exciting to see the blog growing, slowly and steadily. I really appreciate all the sharing and comments from you guys. I love the engagement (that’s the whole point!), so if you like what you read, I encourage you to keep writing and sharing. It makes my day!

A sincerest,  “Thank You”

Maddie

An Indian Feast and a Recipe for Chicken Vindaloo

21 Nov

On Sunday I cooked an Indian dinner for seven, as a long overdue “thank you” to our friends that helped us move way back in April. (Long. Overdue).

This may have been the most elaborate meal I’ve made to date.

I tried to find authentic recipes. I made palak paneer, eggplant bhartha, butter chicken (my mum’s recipe!),chicken vindaloo, sweet potato chutney, salad, rice, and a tangy lemon cardamom tart for dessert (to be featured in a future post). My favourite (as in, the only one I wouldn’t tweak at all) is the one I want to share with you today.

The chicken vindaloo was the winner! (Sorry mum, I didn’t use the heavy cream in the butter chicken after all. Sometimes mothers really do know best)

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This is what 10 hours in the kitchen looks like!

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But make no mistake, cooking for lovely people is one of my favourite ways to pass the time, and the day flew by.

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Chicken Vindaloo

Spicy, tangy, delicious.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 onions)
  • 2 tbls fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tabls paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I used rice)
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbl tamarind paste
  • 1 tbl tomato paste

For Chicken Marinade: 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbl fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbl fresh ginger
  • 1 tbl garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 healthy glugs olive oil
  1. In bowl or ziplock bag, marinate chopped chicken in yogurt mixture for at least an hour (3-4 is probably perfect, I did 5)
  2. Once ready to begin cooking, preheat oven to 400
  3. In hot pan fry onions until browned. Then add garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, assemble spice mixture in small bowl.
  5. Once oven is hot, cook chicken in the marinade for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  6. Add spices to onion mixture and cook a few minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  7. Add tamarind and tomato paste, as well as water.
  8. Using hand held blender or food processor, blend mixture until smooth.
  9. Add vinegar and honey.
  10. Once chicken is cooked, transfer (along with cooked marinade) into the sauce
  11. Cook uncovered over a low simmer until sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and cilantro. Serve over basmati rice with naan.

This dinner was a huge success. I was so worried about not making enough food, but turns out I was way off. Today is Thursday and there is still a ton of leftovers in the fridge! (Although the vindaloo was the first to be polished off and half the lemon curd ended up spilled on the floor. Oops!)

I will definitely try out the butter chicken again and refine the other recipes as well.

Indian is my favourite cuisine. It is really fun to make, and especially EAT.

I’m hungry.

What’s your favourite Indian dish? 

Creamy Coconut Curry with Tempeh and Lentils

16 Oct

As soon as I came home tonight, I knew it would be one of those dinners. You know. The whipped together ones. The ones you can’t believe actually turned out to be tasty, based on the sheer lack of provisions at hand.

That and the fact that for days I’ve been eating rice for breakfast, because we don’t even have eggs, bread or cereal.

Upon raiding the pantry, I did discover some lentils and coconut milk (and spices, naturally).

This curry was awesome! Sometimes I enjoy the challenge of being my own imaginary iron chef.

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This was very healthy too, served on quinoa with a side of salted cucumber. Remember this post touting the benefits of tempeh? It is like tofu’s cool older brother. And miraculously my cilantro was still fresh because of this method!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil (I’m even out of coconut!)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 medium green chili (I used 1 fresh jalapeno) , seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can lentils
  • 2/3rd of a package basil tempeh
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  1. Fry up onions in oil until browned, and then add garlic and ginger.
  2. Add spices and toast over medium heat- cumin, fenugreek, turmeric , garam masala, salt, pepper, cayenne until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add tomato paste, chopped chili and brown sugar, cook another few minutes.
  4. Add coconut milk. Puree mixture with hand held blender until smooth.
  5. Add lentils, kaffir leaf  and tempeh ( I use Henry’s Gourmet Organic Tempeh with Basil)
  6. Let simmer for 20 minutes (or longer) to allow flavours to blend. Finish with fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Obviously, if I had more veggies, I would have added them. And perhaps some cashews. However, this sauce makes a great versatile base for whatever ingredients you happen to have in the fridge.

On a separate note, this post is a bit of a milestone for me, its my 30th! (Post, that is!) Hurrah!

When things get busy , it can be sometimes difficult to cook, take photos and post. And sometimes, even with the best intentions,  I’ve made some flops, like this one: Image

Looked lovely, but sadly this salmon masala’s fish flavour was too overpowering for the delicate sauce. Sometimes recipes need a few tries to get right. But I aim to post more often in the future!

My New Year’s resolution in Jaunary, 2012 was to start a food blog. I knew I loved to cook, but nothing about blogging. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve really enjoyed the process.

So, sincerely, from me to you, thanks for following Food, Mostly!

Immy May

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