Saturday, March 30, 2019

Miso Soup with Chicken Wontons

When my day gets too hectic, the siren song of food television calls. Whenever it is on, I watch Fish The Dish. The host is funny, irreverent and fun to watch. Spencer Watts plays to a nonconformist crowd. His recipes are quirky but delicious. His exuberance seeps through the screen and inspires me. So this soup is attributed to him. Most of it is the same. His recipe calls for handmade prawn dumplings. Mine are Trader Joe's mini chicken cilantro wontons. The rest stays.

White miso and dashi broth are the cornerstones of this soup. Both these Japanese ingredients give an immense boost and umami taste. Most well stocked grocery stores have them or if not there's always Amazon! Layers build up with scallions, soy sauce, mirin and enoki mushrooms. If you have these items, the soup comes together in a flash. If not, try to source them. This is a miso soup that packs a power punch. But be warned. If you make the soup ahead of time, it will separate. All it takes is a stir before you serve and it will be good as new.

Adapted from Spencer Watts Fish The Dish TV Show
Serves 4

5 cups Water
2 teaspoons Dashi granules 
3 tablespoons White Miso paste
2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin
15-20 Enoki Mushrooms or thinly sliced Cremini Mushrooms
2 Scallions
2 Teaspoons Butter
16-20 mini Chicken Wontons ( I used Trader Joe ones)
Cilantro leaves 

Bring water to a simmer.

Add dashi granules. Stir to dissolve.

Stir in miso paste. Whisk well. Bring to a light boil.

Slice scallions thinly.

Cut the bottom ends off mushrooms so you have about 3 inches of cap and stem.

Add soy sauce, mirin, scallions and mushrooms to lightly boiling soup. 

Slide butter into soup.

Drop chicken wontons into soup. 

Boil for 4-5 minutes till dumplings float to the top. 

Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and slurp away.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Paneer Kofta in Methi Gravy

Methi and paneer, a lovely pairing is on the menu today. I haven't had much of an inclination for Indian, but a block of paneer stares at me when I open the fridge. I had better use it before it goes bad. 

I grate paneer into long thick strands.To give the koftas bulk, I add grated boiled potatoes. Thinly sliced green chiles and finely minced cilantro give it freshness. A little arrowroot goes in to bind the koftas. Walnut-sized balls are deep fried. The gravy begins with the trusty Indian quartet of browned onions, ginger, garlic and pureed tomatoes. I add a bunch of chopped fresh methi or fenugreek leaves. Spices are sprinkled in. A little water helps the gravy cook. The cooked gravy is then pureed and poured back into the pan. Thinned out with a little more water, the crisp koftas float for a short bit. It is a lovely meal. Soft koftas simmering in a thick gravy. A little tedious, but so rewarding.

Serves 4

2 cups grated Paneer
1 cup grated boiled Potatoes
1-2 green Chiles, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Arrowroot 
1/2 Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 large white Onions
4 Ginger coins
1 tablespoon Garlic paste
4-5 small Tomatoes
1 cup fresh Methi leaves
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder
2 teaspoons Coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Water

Place paneer, potatoes, chile, cilantro, salt and arrowroot powder in a bowl.

Mix it gently and form walnut sized balls.

Heat 1 cup oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Test oil by dropping a small bit of potato in. It should spring to the top immediately. Fry 5-6 balls at a time till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

Chop onions and tomatoes roughly.

Heat canola oil in a saucepan.

Add onions to hot oil and saute till golden brown. 

Add garlic, ginger and chopped tomatoes  to onions. Saute for a few minutes.

Wash methi leaves and squeeze dry. Chop roughly.

Add methi leaves to onions and saute for 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle turmeric, chile powder, coriander powder and salt to onions. Saute for a few minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water to onions, bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes. 

Blend onion mixture till smooth. Pour it back into the pan.

Heat onion puree till bubbling. Add more water to thin out the gravy if it is too thick.

Slip koftas into gravy and cook for a few minutes till koftas are warm.

Serve with rice or chapatis.

The koftas are delicious. Soft and spicy, paneer and methi is undoubtedly a very pleasing pair.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Grilled Shrimp Shashlik

The grill sits in its winter jacket, awaiting warmers climes. But my stove top devices gets a good workout. All you need is a powerful exhaust. Or else that smoke detector will ping to kingdom come! 

I love shashlik. Usually a meat or chicken version comes to mind. This time I apply the same basics to shrimp. A pureed marinade of dill, parsley, cilantro, onion and garlic is fragrant and fresh. The shamrock green paste is poured onto deveined, butterflied and seasoned shrimp. Since it has no acid I let the shrimp marinate overnight. A few hours should suffice if you haven't the time for an overnight marinade.

The ridged pan gets a light coating of canola oil. I lay the shrimp on their side. Once I finish laying them I start flipping them. In minutes the shrimp have changed to a light orange. They start to curl and you know it's time to take them out off the pan. You want the shrimp to be firm, not leathery. Pile them onto a plate. Squirt a little lime juice over them. Reach in and take a bite. You will be be pleased.

Serves 4

1 pound large Shrimp
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
2 small white Onions, roughly chopped
6 Garlic cloves
1 cup Dill fronds
1 cup Parsley leaves
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon Canola Oil ( more if needed)
Lime Juice

Peel shrimp leaving the tails on. Devein. Butterfly shrimp by slicing into the shrimp half way and flattening the body. You could omit the butterflying step if it is a bother. Its more for aesthetics and plating.

Wash and pat dry. Place shrimp in a bowl.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper.

Use a blender or food processor to make the marinade.

Puree onions, garlic, dill, parsley and cilantro to a thick paste. Do not use any liquid.

Pour the paste over shrimp. Mix well and marinate for a few hours or overnight. 

Bring the shrimp to room temperature before cooking them.

Heat a grill pan over a high flame. I used a ridged pan. Nonstick pans will work perfectly well, except no grill marks.

Add a little canola oil to the pan. Use a paper towel to distribute oil.

Lay the shrimp in the pan. 

Flip them the minute you see their color change, a minute or two later. Cook them for another minute. Take them off the pan. 

Pile onto a plate.

Squeeze some lime juice over shrimp and dig in!

This shrimp is not only enticing but a visual delight! These green flecked morsels make the perfect nibble, be it an appetizer or a light meal.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Asian Beef Stew

I look at the Asian pear in the fruit basket. It is almost opportune as I have just perused through a galbijim recipe. Korean food is somewhat comforting and confounding, a plethora of juxtaposed flavors. Conflicting ingredients that meld into the background. Short ribs Korean style call for Asian pears in the marinade. Intrigued by the addition of fruit to meat, I endeavor. Galbijim is all about short ribs. I walk another path with boneless beef. Usually stew beef is seasoned, floured and browned in oil and then added to the wet ingredients. This recipe calls for the meat to be roasted in the oven along with vegetables. The roasted meat turned dark brown and develops a wonderful sear. But you could easily saute the meat in a skillet till it is evenly brown. Veggies could be sauteed the same way as well. Oven versus pan fried... the first results in crustier meat. The pan fried meat allows for a softer surface. Both ways work. I go with the oven method, something I haven't tried before.

The stew past begins with onions, chopped pears, ginger and garlic sauteed till brown. The gravy is part chicken stock, part soy sauce and part Coca Cola. A surprise! An odd addition, so let's see how this turns out.Korean influences come into play with gochugaru, a spicy chile flake powder The browned meat goes into the stew till fork tender. Meat is fished out and the gravy is pureed smooth. Back into the pan it goes along with the meat, roasted potatoes and carrots. Finished with scallions, sesame seeds and sesame oil, the stew accompanies white rice. Braising stew fills the house with heavenly aroma, synonymous with that feel-good atmosphere.

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless Beef Chuck, cut into chunks
6 Yukon Gold Potatoes
5 Carrots
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
1+ 2 tablespoon Canola Oil
1 large Red Onion
1 Asian Pear
8 Garlic cloves
5 Ginger slices
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 7oz can Coca Cola
2 tablespoons Honey
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon toasted Sesame Seeds
2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Gochugaru (Korean Chile Flakes)
4 Scallions
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
Cooked White Rice

Heat oven to 400F.

Cut potatoes in half. Place in a bowl.

Cut carrots into inch pieces and add to potatoes.

Season with salt and pepper. 

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to potatoes and toss well.

Line a baking tray with foil.

Arrange veggies on one side of tray.

Add beef to bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix. Residual oil from the veggies coats the meat.

Arrange on other half of tray.

Bake for 30 minutes. Both meat and veggies should have browned well.

While meat browns start the stew by peeling and chopping onions and pear.

Roughly chop garlic.

Heat remaining canola oil in a deep saucepan.

Add chopped onions, pear, garlic and ginger to oil. Saute for 15 minutes till light brown.

Add chicken stock, cola, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and gochugaru. Bring stew to steady boil and cook for 15-20 minutes till pears are soft.

Take meat out of the oven and add to stew. Keep veggies aside.

Cover and cook meat for 1 hour or till soft when pierced with a fork.

Remove meat from stew. 

Puree the stew on a blender. Pour the blend back into the saucepan. 

Place over a low flame.

Add potatoes and carrots to the stew. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut scallions thinly.

Serve the stew garnished with scallions, toasted sesame seeds and oil. White rice make a good accompaniment.

The stew emanates a beguiling fragrance. A forkful of rice and stew is biting, spicy, sweetish, salty...a different kind of stew. Sweet from the pear, onion and honey. Salty from the soy sauce, Spicy from the gochugaru. And the Coke? I cant really tell. Its there in the background, unassertive. Comfort from the East..with western influences.  

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Mayak Eggs or Korean Marinated Eggs

My sister boils and marinates  spectacular eggs. If you a fan of boiled eggs, read on with much appreciation. If you are not, know you should make the effort as these eggs are truly delicious. Her recipe come from Sikandalous, a Facebook group for food lovers.

The original recipe calls for soft boiled eggs, with runny yolks. Though I do like runny yolks on occasion, the hard boiled variety is more to my liking. So eggs are boiled for 6 minutes and left to steep for another ten in the warm water. A short soak in cold water allows the shells to peel effortlessly. 

Both dark and light soy sauces are poured into a glass bowl. Glass so the sauce doesn't react with metal.  Lots of finely chopped garlic, green and red chiles and scallions are added to the sauces. Green chiles give the sauce a spicy kick. A drizzle of honey and a whopping tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds add flavor. Whole eggs go into the marinade. Allow the eggs to sit for five to six hours before you use them. Better still is an overnight bath, resulting in a deeper flavor. The eggs can last up to a week in the fridge. The longer the eggs marinate, the darker the white parts. Today's eggs are a week old.

I love the versatility of these eggs. White rice is just one base. They've gone into grain bowls sitting alongside roasted veggies over farro. They make a very different egg salad. Munch on them for a healthy protein breakfast. Do what you will with them! It's all good.

Serves 4-6

6 Eggs
2 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
1/3 cup Light Soy Sauce
3-4 Green Chiles
2 Dried Red Chiles
2 tablespoons minced Garlic
3 Scallions
1 teaspoon Honey
1 heaped tablespoon toasted Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Water

Sesame Oil
Cooked White Rice

Boil eggs for six minutes in plenty of water. Turn flame off, cover eggs and leave for 10 minutes. Drain eggs and soak in cold water for 15 minutes. Peel and leave eggs whole.

Prepare marinade by mixing soy sauces in a glass bowl. 

Slice green chiles and scallions thinly. Add to soy sauces.

Crumble red chiles into small bits. Add to soy sauces.

Add minced garlic, honey, sesame seeds and water to bowl. Mix well. 

Drop whole eggs in to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 5-6 hours. Overnight is best. 

Mound some warm rice on a plate. 

Drizzle a little of the marinade over rice. Be sure to spoon chiles and scallions over rice.

Cut the eggs in half and nestle over rice.

Drizzle a little sesame oil over eggs and rice.

Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy.

We love them with rice. We love them plain.... we love them any which way!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Roasted Marrow Bones with Toast and Parsley Salad

My kitchen is once again my domain. The excitement that this endeavor brings is quite indescribable. Those who return to their knives, pots and pans after an extended absence will empathize with my inherent joy. Circumstances out of my control left me unable to cook and blog seriously, so this return to basics is rewarding and rejuvenating. 

Marrow bones are rarely found in the average grocery stores. So when I spot them, I know what's for lunch. Granted, marrow is not everyone's favorite. But those who love the gelatinous filling appreciate their clean simple taste. 

The butcher halves them lengthwise for me. All they need is seasonings and a hot oven. Grilled sourdough to pile the marrow onto. And a light parsley salad. Marrow is fatty, so parsley freshens your palate. 

We usually fight over tiny lamb or mutton marrow bones, so having a whole bone to myself is going to be gratifying! 

Serves 2

2 Beef Marrow Bones, cut lengthwise in half
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Sourdough Bread

Parsley Salad

1/2 cup Parsley leaves and tender stems
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon
Kosher Salt
Ground Pepper

Heat the oven to 400F. 

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

Lay the marrow bones cut side up on tray.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bake marrow for 15 minutes.

Place a stove top grill over a high flame.

Grill a few slices of sourdough bread till you have golden brown char marks, turning often. Cut bread into fingers.

Make the salad by tossing parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl. 

Take the bones out of the oven. The marrow should have a jelly-like consistency. 

Arrange cooked marrow on a platter. 

Place some toast points and salad onto the plate.

Scoop the marrow and enjoy this simple repast!

One big bone oozing marrow, is scooped onto toast points, jiggling it's way into my mouth. Lemon draped parsley adds necessary tang. These roasted marrow bones walk me through my satisfied palate...and my kitchen.