September 22, 2011

Fish Brochette in Green Curry Sauce.

I suppose you know the rules by now - please read my welcome note. In sum, for every recipe of mine that you try, you are too fed one hungry (or more) person (s). Let God's Energy of Abundance circulate and touch as many people as possible through your contribution.

I had in mind a mix of dried beans for dinner. I soaked them overnight, boiled them for over 4 hours and they remained hard. The grocer tricked me. He said they were fresh, I believe he has been hoarding them since the days of when beans were first discovered. So there goes the beans.

Fortunately, I had bought a small piece of salmon filet and small piece of cod filet. Was planning to cook them tomorrow - Friday.

It's an old habit that I have kept from my Catholic school days which thankfully are OVER. The food and everything else was awful, but on Fridays, the nuns insisted on feeding us fish, for religious reasons. They argued that Fridays are for fish as per Jesus recommendations. Thank God for Jesus recommendations, that was the only thing I was able to swallow in that school. So I guess unconsciously I kept that rule - Fish on Fridays.

So with my beans being hard as stone, I had to cook something. What better than fish on wood skewers. Am sure you've seen those small wooden skewers in your supermarket. Get them you can do wonders with them. If you don't have them, don't worry, just follow...end result is the same.

I delved into my spice cabinet, that looks like a small spice bazaar, and found a jar of green curry paste. I also had a can of coconut milk. Et voilà, the recipe manifested itself.

Needless to say if you don't like Spicy, then this is not a recipe for you.

So for two you will need double of what I had.

- 2 small pieces of salmon plus two small pieces of cod filets, or any fish of your choice, skinless and boneless.
- a jar of green curry paste - readily available in all foodstores
- a small onion finely chopped
- 2 gloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger or some ginger powder (green curry paste already contains ginger but I like ginger - so if you're not too much into ginger, skip that bit)
- fresh cilantro, 5 branches, leaves only - minced
- coconut milk
- Thai fish sauce or Soy sauce, otherwise just use salt
- half a sweet green pepper bell cut in squarish pieces
- 2 wooden skewers - if not skip that part.

Preparation :

- wash fish and pat dry (I wash everything so yes, fish included)
- cut in equal thick chunks
- put them on wood skewers with pieces of sweet pepper bell in between - for example, 2 pieces of fish, one piece of green pepper and so on...
- in a deep non stick frying pan with a tiny bit of cooking oil, put the fish skewers until golden cooked, it is important because fish breaks easily - turn them occasionally so you can have them golden like all over.
- in a small frying pan - with a tiny bit of oil, fry your onions, ginger and garlic mix.
- pour over the fish, make sure to gently mix well
- dilute your green curry paste into the coconut milk (read instructions on your jar for measurements), mix well.
- pour over fish and add the fresh cilantro. Make sure to cover the fish with the coconut milk /green curry mix. Let it boil once and turn heat to low, occasionally turning the skewers so all the fish gets the flavor.

As I said this is a HOT dish. You need to balance out with something sweetish.
Here comes the art my dears. White rice cooked with desiccated coconut, dried raisins, and milk. Wait, don't frown--- read on. It is so tasty. You will thank me for it.

Rice preparation : You can't have shortcuts here, follow as indicated.

For two you need :

- 1 cup of Basmati rice
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of desiccated dried unsweetened coconut
- about 3/4 of a cup of boiling water
- half a cup of regular cold milk (skip skimmed milk)
- a tablespoon of dried raisins
- salt to taste.

- Wash rice thoroughly
- fry onion in hot oil until tender
- add rice, coconut and salt
- mix well
- add boiling water then cold milk. mix well.
- let it boil once and lower heat to minimum until all liquid absorbed. If you feel your rice is still hard just sprinkle some more boiling water.

Serve with the spicy fish.

P.S: if your curry paste is really tooo spicy, you can add to the coconut milk 1 to 2 small teaspoons of sugar (preferably brown) that will even out the hotness that is oh so good!

Enjoy !

September 20, 2011

Couscous Royal

I have to go through the motions again - if you are new to my blog, you are asked the following - every time you try one of my recipes - you are to feed one (or more) hungry person(s). Keep the Energy circulating. You've been given, you give back and you get back 10 fold. Simple no ?

Now for tonight's recipe - it's Couscous Royal - will make you feel like royalty, trust me. But made easy...I love easy and simple.

Now if you are a vegetarian - you do exactly same but skip the meat. Read on, I will tell you how **

If you're not a vegetarian, know that Couscous Royal consists of Meat, Chicken and Merguez.
For the sake of convenience, am skipping the meat bit. Contend yourselves with Chicken and Merguez. If you can't find Merguez, keep it to chicken.

What is Merguez ? it's basically a lamb/beef spicy sausage, found in North Africa, in particular Tunisia and Algeria. If you can't find Merguez in your local shop, don't fret, just settle with Chicken.

Assuming you do find Merguez where you live

You will need for 2 the following :

- 3 Merguez cut in equal pieces (I like to cut them because I like things thoroughly cooked)
- 2 large pieces of Chicken (up to you - drumsticks or chicken breasts, if drumsticks make it 4 pieces), with skin and bone.
- 1 large onion
- half a cinnamon stick
- 3 bays leaves
- 3 whole cardamom grains
- 4-5 cloves
- a few pepper corns (whole pepper)

For the vegetables you will need :

- 2 small carrots
- 1 and half cup of shredded cabbage
- 2 leeks chopped
- 1 turnip cut in chunks
- 1 courgette - stripped like a "zebra", then cut vertically then in two like thick sticks
- 1 celery stick - cut in equal pieces
- 4 branches of parsley, chopped
- 2-3 branches of fresh coriander/cilantro chopped

For the sauce you will need :

- the chicken stock which you will save (see later)
- about 1/4 spoon of Couscous spices also called Ras al Hanoot (which you can find in any North African shop and consists of ground: black pepper, dried chili, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves)
- an added dash of ginger powder
- an added dash of paprika
- an added dash of cinnamon
- and 1/4 tsp of HARISSA - Harissa is a Spicy Hot Tunisian paste, (found in all North African shops) if you can't find Harissa just use red cayenne pepper.
- about 1 1/2 tbs of tomato paste. (keep in mind - not too light red, not too burgundy red for color)
- 1 can of canned chickpeas, rinsed and soaked in warm water with CUMIN.
- salt to taste.

Of course if you like it lukewarm skip the extra spices and just stick to the Couscous spices ready made mix.

For the actual semolina - i.e the Couscous itself :
you can find easy to prepare couscous, that takes about 5-7 mn. you don't need a couscousier (special pot for couscous)

So for 2 :

- 1 cup of couscous (read directions on pack but usually it is 1 cup and a bit of salted boiling water for one cup of couscous)
- a handful of sultanas or dried raisins
- a tsp of cumin seeds or powder
- one knob of butter or about 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil
- and a handful of the tinned soaked and drained chickpeas (see above).

Be patient, I know it looks like a long recipe but it's really very simple. We are going to take it one step at a time :

First the chicken :

- wash your chicken thoroughly and boil it with: the bay leaves, cloves, onion cut in 2, cinnamon stick, cardamom grains and pepper corn. Cover with enough water, bring to boil and let it cook gently until tender.

IF you are going to use Merguez sausages :

- wash them, cut them in pieces and in a non stick pan with NO oil, fry them until cooked. Set aside.

Meanwhile the Vegetables :

I always take the easy way - I cut them all in pieces as described above and steam them for about 15mn in electrical steamer . If you don't have a steamer, just boil them until HALF cooked

Once your chicken and merguez are ready...

- use the chicken broth drained and put in a deep non stick pan, dilute the tomato paste, the harissa, the spices, the chopped herbs (parsley plus coriander), add your chicken, your sausages, your half cooked veggies and a handful of drained chickpeas - they must be covered with the chicken broth, otherwise add a little water. Mix well, let it boil once and let it simmer on a slow low heat until all the flavors are absorbed.

Now for the semolina or couscous itself.

- follow the directions on your couscous pack, choose the easy couscous that takes 7 mn max.
- in a large deep pan, put your couscous grains, a handful of drained chickpeas (the ones you soaked before), some sultanas or dried raisins, add the cumin, plus a knob of butter or olive oil. Using a fork, mix well and separate the grains occasionally until they are all fluffed...

Serve with the chicken and merguez sauce.

** For Vegetarians, skip the chicken and merguez, just use boiling water with 1 vegetable stock plus your half cooked veggies, chickpeas, spices, and herbs...and proceed as above

Sahtein in Arabic or Bon Appétit.

September 17, 2011

Kashmiri Chicken Curry.

If you are new to my blog, please read my welcome note first - basically put - if you try one of my recipes, you are to feed one hungry person. Keep the Energy flowing.

The other day a friend who knows how much I relish spices, gave me a little box of Kashmiri curry. It looked different from the other curry mixes I've seen. Kind of darker and oh, the smell.
So of course I had to use it ASAP. I started digging around for a typical recipe from Kashmir, and most were quite complicated and time consuming. Finally stumbled on one, that is easy to prepare, takes about 45mn max, and is sooo will just love me for it (I hope) :-)

But first, you will need some Kashmiri curry mix. If you are into spices like I am, am sure you know places where you can buy those delicate mixes. If not, and that's quite unfortunate you will have to prepare your own mix, or just settle for your regular curry which is quite a shame really.

If you want to prepare your own because you can't find it ready made, here are the following spices you need to use in equal measures.

Ground : Coriander, cardamom, caraway, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, fennel, aniseed, turmeric, all spice. Have fun mixing. Trust me, settle for already made.

So let's get to the Kashmiri chicken curry, with perfumed rice and yogurt salad.

Chicken Curry for 2 :

- 300 grams of boneless, skinless WASHED chicken filet, cut in small chunks
- 1 cm of FRESH ginger finely minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 2 small onions finely chopped
- 2 tsp of Kashmiri curry
- 5-6 branches of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves only - minced
- about 80--100 grams of yogurt (full fat forget skimmed for now)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- a pinch of saffron threads (not powder)
- 2 tsp of minced bleached almonds
- 2 tsp of unsalted minced pistachios (without the outer skin of course)
- 1 tbs of cooking oil
- salt to taste if your chicken cube stock is not salty enough.

Preparation :

- stir fry finely chopped onions in hot oil, until tender
- mix in your garlic and ginger paste plus the curry and stir for 2 mn or so
- add your chicken cubes, mix well and leave until they are golden (ish), use medium heat
- add chopped fresh cilantro.
- meanwhile grill pistachios and almonds with a tiny bit of oil, until almonds go light gold
- dilute 1 cube chicken stock in 1 cup of boiling water, add to the chicken, stir and leave it
COVERED on medium heat for about 10mn or so.
- after 10mn, add HALF of the almonds and pistachios, the yogurt and threads of saffron
- MIX well and leave covered on medium heat for another 15mn or so
- look for texture and consistency. Not too liquid, not too thick.

Rice preparation for 2.

- you can take the easy way out and just prepare BASMATI rice (paraboiled rice is FORBIDDEN in my kitchen) or go for something a little more interesting and oh so tasty.

In either case :

1 cup of rice for two is usually sufficient.
WASH rice thoroughly until the water comes out clear of any starch
heat a little oil add your rice, plus salt, mix well
add ONE cup of boiling water, let it boil once and leave on VERY LOW heat until water is completely absorbed

Now for the interesting bit :

Prepare rice as above, but add some ground cardamom and some EDIBLE dried rose petals, just a pinch. If you don't have edible rose petals, use a bit of rosewater.

Serve with the curry and decorate rice with the rest of almonds and pistachios and sprinkle some rose petals on top.

A cool refreshing salad that goes with this meal is Cucumber yogurt salad.

- cut cucumber in small pieces
- add yogurt, enough to cover the cucumber
- add salt
- add cumin
- add dried mint.
- add a dash of pepper
- Mix well and serve cold.

Serve all the above with MANGO chutney and finish off with a refreshing, mango sorbet with pieces of fresh mango mixed inside topped with fresh mint leaves.

And don't forget KASHMIR nor those who don't have the luxury of food.

Bon appétit.

September 11, 2011

Veal, Prunes and Almonds Tajine.

This is a non lucrative site, every time you try one of my recipes, all am asking you is to feed one hungry person in whichever way you choose, in return. Let the Energy circulate.

Tonight's recipe comes from Morocco, a Tajine of Veal, dried Prunes and Almonds and a Moroccan Carrot salad.

A Tajine is cooking bowl with a cover, made of earth, which can only be used in an oven. I don't have a Tajine, but that will not prevent me from enjoying the exquisite Moroccan cuisine. Hence I found a way around the Tajine bowl.

Every country has its sweet and sour recipe, Morocco is no exception. We have a similar dish in Iraq but instead of Prunes we use dried Apricots.

For this Tajine dish and for two persons you will need the following (rough measures)

- 250 grams of pieces of veal cut in smallish chunks for stewing. I use veal with no fat, no skin, no grease, no nothing. Veal cooks faster than beef. Alternatively you can always get beef.

- 50 grams of finely shredded FRESH Ginger.
- 2 medium size onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 2 Tbs of cooking oil
-1/2 cup of finely chopped FRESH Coriander/Cilantro and Parsley
- Saffron in powder or threads - a generous pinch.
- 12-14 dried prunes
- 1 tsp of honey
- 2 Tbs of Sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup of bleached Almonds (i.e no skin)
- salt to taste.


- soak your dried prunes in cold water for about 10mn
- heat the oil and stir fry the chopped onions and garlic until golden brown.
- add the grated ginger, minced parsley and coriander, and the saffron
- mix well and let it cook for a couple of minutes on a medium fire
- now put your chunks of veal and mix well, leave for a few minutes until the veal takes in all the flavor of the mix and COVER
- pour in some hot water just enough to cover the veal. mix well
- leave it to cook on a medium fire until tender. Keep it covered, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile :

- get a small frying pan and grill your sesame seeds until golden - be careful sesame seeds burn quickly you don't want them to taste bitter. So grill them lightly and put on the side

- in a little oil, fry your almonds until golden, set aside.

By now your veal is cooked, and tender.

- pour in the prunes, and the honey into your stew, mix well and let it cook for a few more minutes.
- heat your oven to medium, pour the whole content of saucepan into a glass dish, cover it with the fried almonds and put in the oven for about about 10 mn or so. Make sure it does not dry out. So keep checking. You must have enough sauce left.

- Upon serving, sprinkle half the quantity of your grilled sesame seeds on top. Serve with rice.

Carrot Salad.

This is a delicious salad, that goes well with this Tajine.

Preparation :

- Shredded carrots
- black olives
- dash cinnamon powder
- dash cumin
- salt, pepper
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- freshly squeeze orange juice
- sesame seeds grilled
- olive oil.

Prepare the salad sauce by mixing equal amounts of lemon and orange juice, add the salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and olive oil and mix well.

Pour on top of the shredded carrots and black olives mix, decorate with rest of grilled sesame seeds.

To finish ...

Serve some Green Tea with resh Mint and add some Pine nuts to it. Best served in glasses not cups.

Bon appétit.

September 10, 2011

Fish Yassa - Senegal

Please read Welcome Note first----it's over there, yes there on the right hand corner of the blog.

Tonight I ended up cooking something I had no intention of cooking. I thought I took out the meat to defrost, turns out I took out the fish instead. So I found myself with a lovely filet, waiting to be cooked.

I must say I was disappointed because I really wanted to prepare that other recipe which I will share with you tomorrow insha'Allah but since it was Fish, so be it.

Just as it so happens, a Senegalese friend of mine, told me of a fish recipe. He was a little drunk when he gave me the measures, so I researched it and simplified it.

Fish Yassa.

I used cod filet because this is what I had, am told you can use any fish. Personally I like it easy and quick. So filet is perfectly fine.

For two people you will need

- 2 pieces of Fish filet about 300grs.
- 2-3 onions finely chopped
- 2 gloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 tbs of DIJON Mustard
- 2 tbs of FRESH lemon Juice
- 2-3 tbs of cooking oil - I use sunflower
- red chili /cayenne - I like it hot so 1/4 tsp or a little more for me
- black pepper - a dash
- 2 flat tbs of Tamarind syrup - if you don't have tamarind use Soya Sauce, but Tamarind is much nicer.
- 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 vegetable stock (cube)
- 1 cup of boiling water.
- vegetables: I used frozen peas and carrots (about half a cup) and 2 potatoes peeled and sliced in cubes, or you can opt for one potato and some Brussels sprouts (sliced in 2) or regular finely chopped cabbage - about a handful.

Preparation made easy :

- heat oil and put the minced onions and garlic until tender and golden brown.
- add your chili, pepper, cinnamon, Dijon mustard, Tamarind or Soya sauce, lemon juice and stir well on a medium heat, mixture should look like a paste.
- now add your cube/stock diluted in 1 cup of boiling water, stir well
- put in your vegetables, let it boil once and then lower heat until all your vegetables are cooked and the sauce thickens, but make sure it's not too thick. So add a little water if necessary (remember it's not a soup)


- In a separate non stick frying pan - heat a good quantity of cooking oil, I stress on that bit, the oil must be really hot because you will be frying the fish in it. If the oil is not hot enough, the fish will break into pieces. We don't want that to happen. So be patient and heat your oil well before putting in the fish. If you don't like it fried you can grill it instead. I prefer fried because the fish stays hard.

- the fish must be fried until GOLDEN BROWN and a little crispy.

- remove the fish, put it on a kitchen towel paper to absorb the oil and leave aside.

- once your sauce is ready, put the fish inside the sauce and cover it well with your mix so it can absorb all the flavors.

- prepare rice and serve Fish Yassa on top of rice.

Enjoy and see you tomorrow Insha'Allah for a new recipe.

September 3, 2011

Chicken Mafé - Senegal.

If new to blog, please read my Welcome Note first - if you're too lazy I'll sum it up for you : if you try any one of my recipes, you are to feed one (or more) hungry person in return.

Tonight we are heading to Africa. West Africa in particular, Senegal to be more precise.
The following dish Chicken Mafé is also cooked in Gambia, Mali and the Ivory Coast.

You can use any meat you like, lamb, beef goat or chicken. I use chicken because I don't like lamb, never tasted goat and beef takes too long to cook.

So for 2 you will need the following :

- 2 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken filet cut in medium chunks or 250 grms
- 1 cup of cut potatoes in medium size chunks
- 1/2 cup of sliced carrots
- 1 tbs of cooking oil
- 1 tbs of tomato paste
- 1 cup of fresh tomatoes cut in small pieces
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3 gloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 tbs of fresh ginger minced (optional- for me it's a must)
- 1 cup of hot chicken stock or 1 cup of hot water
- 1/2 cup of unsalted peanut butter
- salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation :

- heat the oil and saute until golden brown the chicken pieces. Boneless skinless chicken is best as peanut butter is already full of calories, you don't need to add with more animal fat.

- remove the chicken and put aside

- using same pot, put the onions and stir fry them for about 4 mn,

- add the minced garlic and ginger and saute for another 2 mn

- add the tomato paste and the peanut butter and mix well

- add chopped tomatoes and mix well

- add the chicken pieces, and the potatos and carrots and mix well on a medium fire

- leave to simmer for a couple of minutes until the vegetables give some of their juices.

- now add your water or chicken stock, with salt and pepper to taste.

leave to cook for about 20-30mn or until your vegetables are tender. Make sure to add a little water and occasionally stir. You need a stew like not a paste like mix.

Serve with rice or with couscous on the side.

- if you are going to prepare rice, add a handful of dried raisins and some powder cinnamon.
- if you are opting for couscous, add raisins and ground cumin.

Best suited salad to accompany is a salad made of avocados, tomatoes, spring onions, radish, all sliced covered with fresh mint with an olive oil and fresh lemon juice dressing.

Enjoy and a thought or more for Africa - in particular Libya - the gate to Africa.

PS: If you are a vegetarian, proceed as above, skip meat but add more vegetables of your choice such as cabbage, eggplant, squash. okra.