Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sour lentils Lucknow style

... or Lakhnawi Khatti Dal

I picked this up from Classic Indian Cookery by Julie Sahni and I first made it because I had tamarind pulp anyway (for making pad thai), but I've returned many times since and it has become a regular dish around our house.

Ingredients:
- 250 g pink lentils
- 1,25 L water
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 inch piece if ginger, finely chopped
- 1 heaping tbsp tamarind pulp
- butter
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt

The lentils were brought to a boil together with ground turmeric and finely chopped ginger.[1] After simmering, partially covered, for 25 minutes, tamarind pulp was added[2] and cooking was continued for about 15 minutes. At this point I am usually happy with the texture and simply season it with salt before serving.[3]

While the lentils finish, butter was melted and when starting to brown added garlic paste, paprika and ground cumin - the spices were stirred into the butter in the hot pan before transferring to a bowl.

The lentils are served with the spiced butter (stirred into the lentils just before digging in), freshly chopped coriander, raita, chutney, rice, and flatbreads.

[1] In my experience, when lentils first start to boil they tend to foam a lot and need a lot of stirring at this point in order for the pot not to spill over - after a few minutes this foaming subsides.
[2] The original recipe calls for dissolving the tamaridn pulp in boiling water and straining it to rid it of fibrous strings - but all the brands of tamarind pulp I've bought have been too highly processed to contain any fibrous material to be removed by straining. Hence I use the tamarind directly.
[3] The orignial recipe calls for beating the lentils to smooth the puré. I never bother with this.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Bean quesadilla

Just a quick idea that turned out really well.
Ingredients:
- wheat tortillas
- grated cheddar
- beans
Here I used the mashed red beans, but I think any kind of suitably thick bean mash would work.
A tortilla was placed on a dry non-stick pan on medium heat, added grated cheddar, bean mash and cheddar again, then another tortilla. Flipped over when the tortilla is lightly browned and the cheese melted.
Served with sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce and avocado.
Delicious.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Red Beans with cumin

Another variation of beans. I made this with red kidney beans, but I guess it should also work for other varieties.

Ingredients:
- 1-2 tbsp duck fat
- 1 small, brown onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed, then chopped
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced
- 1 can red kidney beans
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin

The duck fat was melted in a pot on medium high, and the onion was cooked in the fat for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic and the jalapeño. When the onion was turning golden, the beans and their liquid was added, plus some water used to rinse out the can. The beans were brought to a boil before adding lime juice. After about some 5-10 minutes, the beans were mashed and cooking was continued - with occasional stirring - until the texture was thickened just right.

I was very happy with the resulting beans.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Sri Lankan Dal

Inspiration: The Essential Asian Cookbook (in Danish translation)

I was leafing through this book one last time to see if I could find justification for keeping it. I noticed this recipe for a Sri Lankan dal, but concluded if that was all the book could still go. And so it did. But this recipe has come to stay - with a few modifications.

The original called for curry leaves and lemon grass which I've replaced with lime leaves. I tend to use more of the dried shrimp than the original recipe calls for. Also, I've adjusted the amount of water as I found in my hands it had too much of a tendency to get burned with the amounts in the original recipe.

Ingredients:
- 5-6 yellow onions, sliced
- rapeseed oil
- 1 handfull dried shrimp, chopped [1]
- 1 fresh green chilli, chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 400 g red lentils
- 0,5 L water
- 0,5 L vegetable stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
- 10 lime leaves

The sliced onions were fried golden in the oil (for some 5-10 minutes) in a large pot, after which about half of them are removed from the pot. At this point, chilli, dried shrimp and turmeric was added and stirred briefly till fragrant. The rest of the ingredients were added and the pot was brought to a boil before reducing the heat and letting it simmer till the desired texture was achieved (I've found this can take 30-60 minutes). Seasoned to taste with salt and served with the reserved onion.

Additional sides:
- chopped coriander
- rice and/or flat breads
- chutney
- raita

[1] I am planning to try replacing the chopped, dried shrimp with shrimp paste once I run out of dried shrimp.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tarka dal

Inspiration: Anjum Anand / BBC Food Recipes

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking up a Rick Stein recipe that also employs dried split yellow peas, and after trying it out a few times it's surely become a standard in this household - with a few minor modifications from the original.

Ingredients:
- 225 g dried split yellow peas (chana dal)
- 9 dL water
- rapeseed oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- optional: chili

The dried split yellow peas were brought to a boil in an uncovered pot - best to keep an eye on it as it tends to foam a lot. The heat was reduced, and the pot was covered and allowed to simmer for 40 minutes. After removing from heat, the boiled peas were mashed coarsely.

Onion, ginger and garlic (and chillies, if used) were fried lightly golden in oil together with ground cumin in a large pan. Tomatoes were added and heating on medium high was continued for some minutes until the tomatoes could be easily mashed with the spatula. The mashed peas were added to the pan together with the rest of the spices. After stirring together it was allowed to simmer till the desired texture was obtained (I prefer my dal somewhat thick).

Serving suggestions:
- freshly chopped coriander
- rice and/or flat breads[1]
- raita
- chutney

[1] After moving back to Copenhagen I haven't baked my own naan even once. I find that the Lebanese breads sold at every green grocer is a suitable substitute.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mushroom tomato sauce for pasta

For dinner last night I wanted a pasta dish, that should incorporate mushrooms, be meatless and go well with a glass of (cheap) red wine. The latter notion sent my thoughts towards a tomato-based sauce and reminded me of past experiments adding anchovies to achieve a greater depth of flavour.

Ingredients:
- 90 g jar of anchovies in sunflower oil
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel, finely chopped
- approx. 2 dL white wine
- 300 g brown mushrooms, medium diced
- 3 tomaotes, diced
- 200 g small tomatoes, diced
- 70 g can of tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- fresh basil
- fresh oregano
- water
- salt
- pepper

First the vegetables were chopped.
The oil from the anchovies was poured into a large pot and heated on high. The anchovies were chopped and added to the pot. When the anchovies were starting to brown the onion and fennel was added and the heat reduced to medium-high. After a few minutes white wine was added in 3 portions, the liquid being reduced between each addition.
The mushrooms were added and when they collapsed a little after a few minutes, the heat was reduced to low before adding tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed garlic, basil and oregano. The pot was covered and allowed to simmer while boiling pasta. The sauce was stirred occasionally and added water in small portions to ensure it didn't go to dry.
Seasoned to tate with salt and black pepper just before serving with wholegrain spaghetti and freshly grated hard Italian cheese and lettuce.
.. and of course the planned glass of read wine. We were very pleased with the result.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Quick Ramen

On our trip to Japan earlier this year I discovered a new found joy: noodle soup. Thanks to my daughter's (equally newfound) fondness of noodle soup we explored a host of different noodle soups on our 10-day trip to Japan: Udon, ramen, soba...

The ramen made the bigger impression on me and I found myself craving it after we got back. I have indulged repeatedly at Mikkeler's Ramen to Biiru (Japanese for 'Ramen and Beer') Nørrebro location.

With inspiration from Bo Bedre's December 2016 issue we felt like a quick ramen after all the roast-potatoes-gravy that is the Danish fare around winter solstice.

Ingredients:
- 1 L chicken stock
- ca. 5 tbsp duck roast cooking juices [1]
- 250 g egg noodles [2]
- 250 g brown mushrooms [3]
- 200-300 g pointed green cabbage [4]
- 1 tbsp sesame oil [5]
- a 2-3 cm piece of ginger, shredded
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3-4 tbsp sesame seeds

In a pot oil was heated and the cabbage sauteed for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms. After an additional couple of minutes, shredded ginger, chicken stock, duck juices, soy sauce and oyster sauce was added and the pot was brought to a boil.

Meanwhile the noodles were boiled in a separate pot.

Portions of noodles were added soup and decorated with thinly sliced scallion and sesame seeds.

It wasn't quite as deep a flavour as the ramen I've bought in the past, but quite good for how easy it was. I am still interested in trying a more elaborate recipe.

The recipe I was inspired by used more liquid and fewer noodles (1,5 L to only 100 g noodles), but I didn't feel like we had way too many noodles for the amount of soup we had. The recipe I followed also included chicken breast (but I felt like not eating meat) and boiled eggs, which I would definitely consider adding another time.

[1] For Christmas eve I made duck roast in a tray with a bit of water, and afterwards I collected the juices. These separated into duck fat and gelatinous cooking juices.
[2] Branded as 'Chinese egg noodles' - possibly not true ramen noodles, but close enough.
[3] The recipe called for shitake mushrooms, but these were not on offer at my local store.
[4] The reipce called for kale or spinach, but I decided I liked pointed cabbage better.
[5] Because I had some. Olive oil would have been just fine.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Pad Thai

Honestly, I never even considered trying to tackle such a dish as Pad Thai before reading about it in Matthew Amster-Burton's Hungry Monkey. But now it's become something that I find relatively easy and enjoy doing.

Ingredients:
- 200 g (6-7 oz) rice noodles
- water
- peanut oil
- 4 eggs
pad thai sauce:
- 30 g (1 oz) tamarind paste
- 10 g (0.4 oz) palm sugar
- 1 dL (0.4 cup) boiling water
- 30 mL (1 oz) peanut oil
- 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
toppings:
- fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- scallions, chopped
- peanuts, chopped
- fresh green chillies, chopped
- lime juice (squeezed from a wedge immediately before eating)
additional optional toppings:
- shrimp, cooked
- tofu, sliced and fried
- chicken breast, fried and sliced
- fresh mint leaves, chopped
- zucchini, chopped
- bean sprouts
- rucola (rocket)

The rice noodles are divided into portions of equal size and soaked in warm'ish tap water (separately) for some 15-20 minutes while cutting the toppings and preparing the pad thai sauce.

First I make the pad thai sauce - tamarind paste and palm sugar are placed in a bowl and added boiling water. This is stirred from time to time to dissolve both. (I've read that some brands of tamarind paste will require straining, but with the brand I use (Pantai Norasingh) everything dissolves - and the palm sugar tends to be lumpy, so dissolves more easily in the hot water). The rest of the sauce ingredients are stirred into the pad thai sauce.

When softened, the rice noodles are strained.

Peanut oil is heated in a large frying pan - when hot 2 eggs are added and stirred for half a minute before adding one portion of drained rice noodles and half the pad thai sauce (make sure to stir it just before as it tends to separate). The eggs and noodles are stirred in the pan until the liquid is absorbed, then transferred to a plate. Then the other portion is prepared similarly. Both portions are garnished with the selected toppings.

Sometimes I use a hot and sweet chili sauce instead of fresh chillies.

Un jour...

One of my current colleagues apparently has 3 interests outside of work: Wine, women and tennis.

Recently I asked him for some recommendations for wines and he gave me a list of 5 wines currently available at Systembolaget. He was almost apologetic about the fact that there were no Italian wines on his list - but there simply weren't any available that were good value for the price.

One of his recommendations was "Un Jour..." 2011 from Le Clos d'un Jour in Cahors, France. I forgot to mention to my colleague that Cahors is one of the most well-known French wine districts in Denmark. Why? You might ask.. Because the husband of the Danish queen is from Cahors.

The wine was quite good, very easy to drink. When I first poured it I noticed immediately how dark it was - more purple than red.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bloglagged 3

It's been quiet around here lately - unusually quiet.

Since my last posting our daughter was born and we've moved again (still in the Stockholm area).

Days just fly by. It's not that I don't have time for cooking these days (I'm tempted to add: obviously .. but maybe that isn't all that obvious) it's just that I'm not finding the time for sitting down and writing about it. This is something that I hope will change in the future, but I have no idea when things will start happening around here again or how much activity there'll be.

Maybe one day - when/if things start happening around here again - I'll be posting some recipes inspired by this book I recently received as a little surprise gift. I am looking forward to reading it.