Monday, June 27, 2011

Mulligatawny

Mulligatawny is a traditional Indian, curry flavored soup. I first tried it at White Tiger on Capitol Hill, and that's still my favorite version of it. The recipe I used comes from guiltykitchen.com. My version was definitely not as good as some that I've had in restaurants, but it was still okay. I think that that the big mistake I made was the type of coconut milk I used. I accidentally bought some Trader Joe's light coconut milk, instead of the regular stuff. Real coconut milk would have added a bit more thickness, which my version was lacking. If you try this recipe yourself, make sure you get the right stuff.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 granny smith apple (or other tart apple), peeled, cored and diced
1″ piece fresh ginger, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp crushed chiles (optional, if you want it spicy. Adjust to taste.)
1 cup brown rice
1 400ml can coconut milk (shake the can well before opening)
1 1/2 litres chicken stock, low sodium
1 14oz can diced tomatoes or 1/2 lb. fresh diced tomatoes, seeded and peeled
2 precooked chicken breasts, diced (I marinated the chicken with some olive oil and a blend of the same spices used for the soup.
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
sour cream and cilantro to garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. In  a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add vegetables, apple, ginger and garlic and sauté until translucent.
2. Add spices and rice, stir and cook 2 minutes.
3. Pour in stock, tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir and bring to boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for one hour, stirring every ten minutes or so to prevent the rice from burning. (I sauteed the diced chicken breast while the soup was simmering.)
4. Add chicken breasts 15 minutes before done and finish with lemon juice to enliven the flavours.
5. Garnish with sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.

The Results:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mango Ice Cream


For my birthday my lovely girl friend signed us up for a cooking class at CulinAerie. The class we took was on Indian summertime favorites. If you're looking for a place to take a cooking class in DC, I would highly recommend them. The staff and the instructor were very knowledgeable and helpful and the facility was excellent. The dishes we made included raita, green chutney, vegetable samosas, lamb kathi rolls and butter chicken (murg makhani), all of which were very good. The highlight though, was an amazing mango ice cream.

This mango ice cream recipe is incredibly simple, but remarkably good. The result is smooth and creamy with a rich mango flavor. The key to the recipe is to use Alphonso mango pulp, rather than diced or pureed mangoes. This is a somewhat obscure product. You probably won't be able to find it at your local supermarket, but its available online and in some Indian markets. I found it at the Indian A-1 Grocery store in Arlington, Virginia.

The there are only three ingredients in this recipe:
One 30 ounce can sweetened alphonso mango pulp
One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
One 8 ounce package extra creamy cool whip.

As you can tell from the ingredient list, this is not a healthy recipe. All you need to do for this recipe is mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, pour them into your desired container and freeze them for about 7-8 hours (or as necessary).
(I didn't mean to include my TV remote in these photos. Having ESPN on in the background while I cook makes me feel manlier about running a food blog.)

The Finished Product

And once again, Sawyer attempting to disrupt my food photo shoot.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chinese chicken and broccoli

Chicken and broccoli is a Chinese restaurant staple. It was also one of may absolute favorite dishes growing up. My sister and I ordered it from our local Chinese delivery place so much that we just had to give them our address and they knew what we wanted. This recipe from the food network does a really good job of replicating restaurant quality chicken and broccoli. It has a flavorful and rich brown sauce which is absolutely delicious. I was very happy with how this turned out.

On the side I decided to make some fried rice, using another recipe from the food network. This didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. The rice was mushier than I would have liked. The culprit may have been the store-brand long-grain white rice I used. A better quality rice may have come out better. I think this recipe is definitely worth another try.

Chicken and Broccoli
Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed
3 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced on an angle
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
About 1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 to 6 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat.
4. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
5. Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes if using. Stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 minutes.
6. Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through.
7. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like.

Fried Rice
Ingredients:
1/3 cup plain vegetable oil, like soy, corn, or peanut
1/3 pound black forest ham, diced, or about 2 cups cooked, cubed or shredded meat (I chose to leave this out since I don't eat pork)
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 whole scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, white and green separated
1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) medley frozen corn, peas, carrots
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice, white or jasmine rice, grains separated

Directions:
1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the ham and cook stirring occasionally until lightly browned.
2. Add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant.
3. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Add the frozen vegetables. Cook until just defrosted but still crisp. Transfer contents of the skillet to a large bowl.
5. Return the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir the eggs constantly and cook until almost set but still moist, then transfer egg to the bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps.
7. Add the scallion greens. Transfer to the bowl.
8.Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.

The results: