Tag Archives: rice

Corn on the Cob Curry

2 Jul

IMG_3056You can spend several years traveling all across India and still find distinctive dishes that you have never tasted before. There are thousands of regional dishes and over hundreds of ways of preparing each of them. This is the very reason India and Indian food is paradise for food enthusiasts. Just when you think you have tried every dish a region has to offer, you will surely stumble upon another unique flavor profile.

A few years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to a Corn on the Cob Curry. I had never eaten corn in a robust coconut gravy laced with tamarind paste and finished with a classic South Indian tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilies. This dish harmoniously married together different textures and several spices; there was perfect equality among all the ingredients with no element dared to over-power another.

This adaptation of my mother-in-laws brilliant recipe features  just in time for the height of corn season. So go ahead and add something more than just butter and spice to your Corn on the Cob this summer. Continue reading

Dinner for Two: Skillet Chicken and Rice

26 Oct

Ever faced a conundrum where you need 2 chicken breasts for dinner and have a package of three chicken breasts? I have had more than my share of these nights when I have a package of three chicken breasts and only need to grill or bake two for our dinner. The third is usually saved for a salad or a soup except per chance I stumble upon a great dinner idea.

I recently purchased Monica Bhide’s latest cook book – Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen and have a running list of all its recipes that I have to try. Earlier this year, I also took a food writing course with Monica. She has been a great source of inspiration for me and was the final push I needed to start writing this blog.

The Sunday Night Skillet Chicken and Rice recipe from the book was one of the top recipes on my list. It so turned out that I recently found myself with one chicken breast in the fridge and had the ingenious idea to use that recipe to create a hearty meal for two. I scaled down Modern Spice’s recipe to feed two, and made only a few minor modifications. This is really a heartwarming meal with big, bold flavors and is easy enough to make on any night of the week.

Skillet Chicken and Rice Recipe
Recipe adapted for Modern Spice’s Sunday Night Skillet Chicken and Rice
Yields: 2 servings
Time: Active 20 minutes Inactive 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
1-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ large red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 green chili, seeded and diced (optional)
1 medium-large Roma tomato, diced
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
Salt to taste
½ pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (See note)
½ cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of water
Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Notes:

  • Depending on the size of the chicken breasts ½ pound is either one large chicken breast or 2 smaller ones. You can also use boneless skinless thighs.
  • This recipe is very easy to scale up. Just double all the ingredients and use 2 cups of water. Cooking times will vary very minimally.

Method:
1) In a 10-12 inch deep lidded skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Within 1-2 minutes when you get the aroma of these spices, add the onion, ginger paste and garlic paste. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the onions soften and change color. Add the green chili (if using it) and cook for 1 minute.
2) Add the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the oil separates from the side of the mixture. Adding a pinch of salt at this stage speeds up the process of breaking down the tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to mash the tomatoes as they cook. Make sure you stir this mixture occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the skillet.
3) Add the chili powder, turmeric, coriander and salt to taste. Cook stirring constantly for another minute.
4) Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes, until all the pieces are white on the outside and almost cooked through.
5) Add the rice and water and bring to a rolling boil. Once is has reached a rolling boil, reduce the heat cover and cook for about 16-18 minutes on low heat, until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. The final dish will be barely moist.
6) Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Ginger-Garlic Fried Quinoa

9 Oct

One of my favorite restaurants in New York City is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s  Spice Market. It is a chic and sexy restaurant in the Meatpacking District that specializes in South East Asian street food. Over the years, my husband and I have worked our way through most of its food and cocktail menu and every taste is worth writing home about. Some of our all time favorites include the spicy Thai fried chicken wings, the Nonya seafood laksa, and the ginger fried rice. Spice Market’s ginger fried rice is possibly my favorite fried rice.

I recently came across an old New York Time’s post where Mark Bittman shared Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Ginger Fried Rice recipe with a few modifications to it. Bittman uses Jasmine rice but I decided to recreate this dish with quinoa. I have come to realize that quinoa works as a great rice substitute for bold Asian flavors as it absorbs the flavors very well.

The quinoa soaks in the flavors and aromas of the nutty sesame oil and savory soy sauce. It comes together with the crisped ginger-garlic and softened leeks to create a party of flavors and textures in the mouth. So go ahead and try this recipe with quinoa or use up leftover brown or white rice to make this. Either way you will be creating a scrumptious crowd pleaser.

Ginger-Garlic Fried Quinoa
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Ginger Fried Rice
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 3 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (See note)
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
3 tablespoons vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and green parts, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon sesame oil
3 large eggs (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Notes:

  • You can use leftover rice – brown or white rice work great in place of the quinoa. Just make sure the rice is a day old, otherwise you will have mushy fried rice.

Method:
1) Place the quinoa and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. When it has reached a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer and cover and cook till all the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).  Quinoa appears soft and translucent when it is cooked and a ring is visible on the outer edges of the grain. Use a fork to fluff the cooked quinoa and set it aside.
2) In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook till it is crisp and brown. Keep stirring this so that it does not burn. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the fried garlic and ginger to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
3) In the same skillet add the remaining oil and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until they are tender but not brown. Make sure you stir the leeks occasionally to ensure that they do not burn.  Season them lightly with salt once they are cooked.
4) Now add the quinoa to this skillet and stir it with the leeks. Season this with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and ½ tablespoon of sesame oil. Taste the quinoa and adjust the soy sauce and sesame oil as needed.
5) If using the eggs in a small skillet fry them to sunny-side up, till the edges are set but yolk is still runny. Season the eggs with some pepper and drizzle with a little soy sauce and sesame sauce.
6) Divide rice among 3 plates. Top each with the fried garlic and ginger, followed by an egg (if you are using eggs).

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad

1 Oct

If you roast a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken for a meal, it’s extremely plausible that you are left contemplating about what to do with the leftovers. Leftover classic roast chicken is one of the most versatile ingredients that can be pieced into a multitude of recipes.

Last week I was working on creating a recipe of a fall inspired whole roast chicken (recipe to follow in a few weeks) and found myself with plenty of leftovers. I decided that we would use the leftovers in a chicken salad the following night. The next day I found myself overcome by an urge to indulge in some Thai food and opted to give the leftover chicken a Thai twist.

My favorite Thai salad is Yum Woon Sen Salad – a bean thread salad tossed with a tangy and spicy dressing and crunchy peanuts. The protein in the salad is typically shrimp and occasionally ground chicken or ground pork. I was confident that the cooked chicken would absorb all the wonderful flavors of the dressing and would make a great substitute for the shrimp.

I used Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen(Thai Noodle Salad with Shrimp) Recipe, but made several modifications as I wanted to work with ingredients in my pantry and fridge. This is usually a first course, but it makes a delectable and well-rounded one pot entrée for 2 people.

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen Recipe
Serves: 2 (as a main course), 4 (as a salad course)
Time: 20 minutes from start to finish

Salad Ingredients:

4 oz rice sticks/rice vermicelli (See note)
1 ½ cups of shredded cooked chicken
⅓ cup peeled and thinly sliced red onions (See note)
½ cup diced tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 peeled cloves of garlic, minced and fried
2 tablespoons of either roasted peanuts or fried noodles (See note)

Dressing Ingredients:

1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of chili garlic paste (See note)
1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of warm water

Notes:

  • Traditionally a Yum Woon Sen salad is made with cellophane or bean thread noodles. Feel free to use those, if you have them on hand.
  • If you do not like raw red onions, shallots are a great milder option.
  • Traditionally this salad is topped with slightly crushed roasted peanuts. I had a box of La Choy Fried noodles, so decided to use those instead. You can use roasted peanuts or fried noodles.
  • Chili Garlic Paste can be found in the international aisle of major grocery stores and in Asian markets.

Method:

1) Cook the noodles per the package instructions and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
3) Toss the shredded chicken in the dressing.
4) Place the cooked noodles in the bowl that you are going to serve the salad. To this add the onions, tomatoes, mint, cilantro, fried garlic, dressing and chicken.
5) Toss everything together to blend well. Taste and adjust the lime juice, chili garlic sauce or fish sauce as needed.
6) Top with the crunch of your choice (fried noodles or peanuts) and serve immediately at room temperature.

%d bloggers like this: