Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pork and Cashews with a Black Peppercorn Sauce

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this dish's ingredient list, but luckily it did not disappoint. The cashew taste isn't very prominent, but it pairs nicely with the tangy vinegar and spicy black pepper. This dish made quite a bit of sauce, so I'd recommend serving with some rice or naan to help you finish off the extra sauce. As a reminder, if you're using a tougher cut of meat, you'll want to simmer for longer. I used boneless pork leg and simmered the chicken with the cashew sauce for 2 hours to reach the desired level of tenderness.

One year ago: Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider and Parsnips (perfect for snowy days)
Two years ago: Broccoli Cheese Soup (not to be missed)
Three years ago: Peanut Curry Noodles with Seared Shrimp and Scallops (I think other people have made this more than I have at this point!)

Pork and Cashews with a Black Peppercorn Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/4 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/2 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Combine ginger paste, garlic paste, and turmeric in medium bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Refrigerate covered 30 min - overnight.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cashews and stir-fry until honey-brown, 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from skilled with slotted spoon and transfer to a blender jar.
3. Add coconut, 1/2 cup water, vinegar, peppercorns, and salt to blender. Puree to make a smooth nutty paste.
4. Reheat oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and sizzle for 10 seconds.
5. Stir in onion and pork and cook until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Add cashew sauce to skillet. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and braise until meat is fork-tender, 12 - 15 minutes.
7. Stir in tomato and allow to warm, uncovered, 2 - 3 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Pork with Spinach and Cream (Saag pork)

I'm used to ordering Saag paneer, but I don't think I had ever tried pork before. This comes together very easily and is true to the flavours of saag paneer. If you're using a tougher cut of meat than the pork loin chops recommended by the recipe, you'll want to add more cooking time to ensure the pork is tender. In the notes, the author suggests using mustard greens instead of spinach. As luck would have it, there was a GIANT bunch of mustard greens at the farmer's market over the weekend for $1 and I couldn't resist. The mustard greens added a nice extra layer of flavour to the dish.

One year ago: Sauteed kale with hot pepper and cumin
Two years ago: Blueberry-Lemon Cheese Crumble Cake
Three years ago: Pear, prosciutto, and goat cheese pizza (an excellent combination!)

Pork with Spinach and Cream (from 660 Curries)

1 1/4 lb boneless pork loin chops, but into 1" cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp Bin bhuna hua garam masala
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup tomato sauce
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves or mustard greens, well rinsed and finely chopped

1. Combine pork, cream, garlic paste, garam masala, and salt in medium bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 min - 2 hours.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and sizzle, 5 - 10 seconds.
3. Add pork with marinade. Cook until pork turns light brown, 5 minutes.
4. Stir in tomato sauce. Lower heat, cover, and simmer, 12 - 15 minutes.
5. Pile greens atop curry and cover. Cook until wilted, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Stir greens into curry and simmer, covered, until pork in fork-tender, 8 - 10 minutes. Serve.

Cubed Chicken with Tomatoes and Fresh Coconut

The stereotype for Indian curries is often very rich, heavy dishes. This dish is far from that stereotype with the bright flavor of coconut and a bit of heat. Light and fresh, this is a great quick and easy dinner.

One year ago: Bulgur and vegetable pilaf
Two years ago: Roasted Vegetables with Hazelnut Gremolata
Three years ago: Lemon Sabayon

Cubed Chicken with Tomatoes and Fresh Coconut (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
4 medium garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp Kolhapuri masala

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover skillet, and cook until seeds stop popping, 30 seconds.
2. Add garlic slivers.
3. Add chicken and stir-fry to sear, 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato, cilantro, masala, salt, and turmeric. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cooked, 8 - 10 minutes.
5. Stir in coconut. Let warm a minute or two in serve.

Wok-Seared Chicken Breasts with a Fennel-Tomato Sauce

Hello, my name is Amy and I'm an Indian food addict (Hi, Amy!). I know I go through phases with my cooking, but Indian seems to be one style that I come back to often. And when I come back, I remember how much I love it and don't want to stop cooking it! Of course, it really doesn't hurt that with a stocked Indian cupboard, it's cheap for me to make Indian food. For example, for this recipe, I needed to buy a tomato, cilantro, and a red onion. That's it! (The chicken was hiding pre-cut in the freezer.) One note if you're considering jumping on the bandwagon, it's worth seeking out an Indian store (or other ethnic market to buy spices from). My 200g bag of cumin seeds was $2.50 at the Indian store compared to $5 for a tiny bottle at the grocery store.

This particular dish is full of Indian flavour with a slightly smoky twist and delicate fennel. Restaurant quality, healthy, and ready in less than 30 minutes.

One year ago: Homemade pork and veal sausage
Two years ago: Raspberry Lemon Souffle
Three years ago: Guacamole Burger

Wok-Seared Chicken Breasts with a Fennel-Tomato Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (2 1/2"x1"x1/8"), finely chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium-size tomato, cored and finely chopped
2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves, soaked in bowl of water and skimmed off before use
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp Punjabi garam masala

1. Preheat a wok over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil. Sprinkle in cumin and fennel seeds and let sizzle, 5 - 10 seconds.
2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until light brown, 2 minutes.
3. Add chicken and sear, 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato, fenugreek, cilantro, salt, cayenne, and turmeric. Cook, uncovered until tomato has softened, 2 minutes.
5. Pour in 1/4 cup water and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked, 5 - 7 minutes.
6. Stir in garam masala and serve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fish Fillets with a Cilantro-Cream Sauce

Cilantro, cream, and spicy chiles are a fantastic combination. This recipe has a 30 minute to an hour marinade, but the time doesn't seem so bad when it cooks up in less than 10 minutes.

One year ago: Stir-Fried Chinese Leaf Cabbage
Two years ago: Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
Three years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Fish Fillets with a Cilantro-Cream Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1 cup firmly packed cilantro
1/4 cup firmly packed curry leaves
6 cloves garlic
4 green chiles, stems removed
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 lbs skinless, firm-fleshed fish fillets
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. Pack cilantro, curry leaves, garlic cloves, chiles, and salt in food processor. Process until minced.
2. Spread herb blend on both sides of fish fillets. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and sear fillets, 1 - 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate.
4. Whisk yogurt and half-and-half together in small bowl. Pour into skillet and deglaze.
5. Return fillets to skillet and spoon sauce over them. Simmer, basting, until starting to flake and sauce thickens, 3 - 5 minutes. Serve.

Yellow-Cooked Salt Cod in Chili Sauce

I have a problem with most fish dishes in that I get bored with them mid-way through eating. With a weekly seafood box, that's not really a good habit to have. Luckily, this richly flavored fish had me eager to finish the entire thing ... even if I had managed to cut off a good portion of my thumb during dinner prep. I can't comment on the level of difficulty for this dish very thoroughly, because I was instructed to remain seated so I wouldn't black out, but I assume it couldn't be that bad, because August had very few questions other than if we had ingredients and where they were hiding.

One year ago: Beef Slivers with Cilantro
Two years ago: Buttermilk Biscuits
Three years ago: Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Yellow-Cooked Salt Cod in Chili Sauce (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

2 code fillets with skin (1 lb total)
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tbsp dried chili flakes
2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 cup stock
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
1 red chili, thinly sliced
4 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced
1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup peanut oil

1. A couple of hours before cooking, run salt into cod fillets and place in fridge.
2. Before cooking, rinse cod and pat dry.
3. Heat peanut oil in wok over high flame. Add fish and fry on both sides until golden. Set aside.
4. Heat wok over high flame and add 3 tbsp peanut oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
5. Add chili flakes and sizzle until fragrant.
6. Splash Shaoxing wine in wok and add stock.
7. Bring liquid to boil. Add soy sauce and immerse fish fillets. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for a few minutes, spooning sauce on fillets.
8. Transfer fish to serving dish.
9. Add chili to sauce in wok, stir.
10. Add scallions and vinegar to wok. Stir.
11. Remove wok from heat, stir in sesame oil, and drizzle liquid on fish.

Dry-Fried Beef Slivers

I was a bit skeptical of the cooking times on this dish, but if you're patient with the beef, magic happens. The beef loses its water and crisps up as it fries in the oil. It ends up being incredibly flavorful with just a bit of a char. I was also suspicious of the inclusion of celery stalks but they worked surprisingly well. The dish ends up a bit spicy with just a touch of numbing from the Sichuan pepper. Definitely worth repeating.

One year ago: Warm Spiced Limeade
Two years ago: Five-Spice Beef Stir-Fry
Three years ago: Eggs en Cocotte with Pesto

Dry-Fried Beef Slivers (from Land of Plenty)

1 lb lean beef
4 celery stalks
1 1/2" piece ginger
2 scallions, white parts only
1/3 cup peanut oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 - 3 tbsp Sichuanese chili bean paste
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
chili oil
1/2 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper

1. Cut beef evenly into thin slices and then across the grain into fine slivers, discarding fat and gristly.
2. Chop celery into 3" section and cut lengthwise into thin strips to match beef.
3. Peel ginger, slice, and cut into fine slivers.
4. Cut scallion whites into fine slivers to match ginger.
5. Add peanut oil to wok and heat over high heat.
6. Add beef to wok and mix well. Stir-fry beef for about 10 minutes. Beef will lose its juices, water will become cloudy and clear, and beef will finally become crispy.
7. As meat dries out, splash in rice wine.
8. When oil is clear, reduce heat to medium, push beef to the side, and tilt wok so oil runs down. Add chili bean paste to oil and stir-fry until red and fragrant, 30 seconds.
9. Add ginger and scallions and mix everything together. Cook until fragrant, 10 seconds.
10. Add celery strips and soy sauce and stir-fry until cooked.
11. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
12. Serve with a drizzle of chili oil and Sichuan pepper sprinkled on top.

Shredded Beef with Sweet Peppers

This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that's visually appealing too. The beef cooks for a very short time, so it stays plenty tender and juicy. I used all red bell pepper instead of a mix of red and green.

One year ago: Stir-Fried Shrimp Sambal
Two years ago: Pork and Sweet Potato Stew
Three years ago: Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Shredded Beef with Sweet Peppers (from Land of Plenty)

1/2 lb lean beef
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Sichuanese sweet bean paste mixed with 2 tsp water
peanut oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
3 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp chicken stock

1. Cut beef against grain into very small slivers.
2. Place beef in bowl with marinade ingredients and mix well.
3. Cut peppers into long, thin strips to match beef.
4. Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl.
5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in wok over medium heat. Add bell peppers and 1/4 tsp salt and stir-fry for a minute until just cooked. Remove and set aside. Rinse out wok.
6. Add 2 tsp oil to beef and mix well.
7. Add 3 tbsp of oil to wok and heat over high flame.
8. Add beef to wok and stir-fry briskly.
9. When meat strips have separated, add sweet bean paste and stir-fry 10 seconds.
10. Add peppers and mix well.
11. Add sauce to wok. Stir until thickened. Serve.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Changde Rice Noodles with Red-Braised Beef

This beef is meant to be served over rice noodles with broth. I cut back on the amount of noodles and used some of the beef cooking liquid as a sauce for the noodles. The beef in this came out meltingly tender with just the right amount of spices for the meat. You could also make this more American in style and serve alongside mashed potatoes.

One year ago: Potato Rendang
Two years ago: Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers
Three years ago: Simple Tomato Sauce

Changde Rice Noodles with Red-Braised Beef (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)
1 lb braising beef steak
2 tbsp beef dripping or peanut oil
2 1/2 tbsp chilli bean paste
a few slices fresh ginger
2 pieces cassia bark
1 star anise
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 scallion
1/4 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 cao guo or 3 cardamom pods

1. Cut beef into bite-size cubes. Place in saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off the froth. Remove beef with slotted spoon and set aside. Strain cooking liquid and set aside.
2. Heat dripping or oil in clean pan or wok over medium heat. Add chili bean paste and stir-fry until oil is red and fragrant.
3. Add ginger, cassia, and star anise and stir-fry until fragrant.
4. Tip in beef and add remaining ingredients. Add enough of reserved beef cooking liquid to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 2 - 3 hours over low heat until tender.

Numbing-and-Hot Chicken

Sometimes I think I have too many favourite foods to cook, but I do find myself regularly going back to Dunlop's Chinese treasures. One of the best things about her recipes are how quickly they come together. This dish packs plenty of flavour into a beautiful package - shiny chicken, red peppers, and green scallions. The Sichuan pepper gives a bit of numbness to the dish and the chili gives a bit of heat. For once I decided to actually follow the deep-frying directions properly (using lard instead of peanut oil) and the chicken came out beautifully cooked.

One year ago: Cabbage with Coconut Milk
Two years ago: West African Peanut Soup
Three years ago: Mango and Avocado Salad

Numbing-and-Hot Chicken (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)
12 ounces chicken thighs or breast, cut into bite-size cubes
1 small red bell pepper, cut into bite-size squares
1 fresh red chili, thinly sliced, or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
3 scallions, white parts cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp sesame oil
peanut oil for deep-frying
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp potato flour mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp clear rice vinegar
1/2 tsp potato flour
3 tbsp chicken stock or water

1. Place chicken cubes in bowl and add marinade ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
2. Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
3. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok over high flame to 350 - 400F. Add chicken and stir for 30 seconds until pieces separate and become pale. Remove from oil with slotted spoon.
4. Allow oil to reheat. Fry chicken again until golden. Remove and set aside.
5. Drain off all but 3 tbsp of oil.
6. Return wok to heat and add red bell pepper, chili, scallions, and Sichuan pepper. Stir-fry until fragrant.
7. Stir in chicken. Add sauce and stir-fry as sauce thickens.
8. Off heat, stir in sesame oil and serve.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Red-Braised Mushrooms

These richly flavored mushrooms make a wonderful side dish to a Chinese meal. They also work very well for timing because they have a bit of unwatched simmering time. The original recipe calls for saffron milk cap mushrooms or portobello. I used a mixture of portobello and white button with good results.

One year ago: Chicken Satay
Two years ago: Doughnut muffins
Three years ago: Baked good fun

Red-Braised Mushrooms (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

1 lb mushrooms
3/4" piece ginger, peeled
2 scallions
3 ounces pork belly or bacon, thickly sliced
1 - 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp peanut oil

1. Clean mushrooms and cut into bite-size chunks.
2. Bash ginger and scallion whites with the flat side of a knife.
3. Cut scallion greens into slivers.
4. Heat wok over high heat. Add oil. Add ginger and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant.
5. Add pork and mushrooms and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
6. Add stock and dark soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
7. Discard pork, ginger, and spring onion (or tell people to eat around it).
8. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce.
9. Stir in scallion greens and transfer to serving bowl.
10. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Farmhouse Stir-Fried Pork with Green Peppers

Another quick and easy, yet delicious option for dinner. It's dishes like these that always keep me going back to cooking Chinese food.

One year ago: Sesame-Crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce
Two years ago: Cornbread
Three years ago: Scrambled Eggs with Broccoli Pesto

Farmhouse Stir-Fried Pork with Green Peppers (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

9 ounces Italian frying peppers (or green bell peppers)
1 3/4 ounces pork belly or thickly sliced bacon
7 ounces lean boneless pork
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp black fermented beans, rinsed
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut oil

1. Cut off and discard stems of pepper. Slice into 1 1/4" chunks.
2. Cut pork belly and lean pork into thin slices. Set pork belly aside.
3. Add Shaoxing wine and soy sauces to lean pork. Mix well and set aside.
4. Smear wok with a little oil and heat over medium heat. Add peppers and stir-fry for 5 minutes until fragrant and tender and skins are golden and puckered. Remove and set aside.
5. Reheat wok over high heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Add pork belly and stir-fry until slices are golden.
6. Add garlic and black beans and stir-fry until fragrant.
7. Add lean pork and cook until it has changed color and lost most of its water content.
8. Return peppers to wok and stir-fry for another minute.
9. Add cornstarch mixture to wok and stir until sauce clings to meat.

Rice Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in Cantonese-Style Gravy

Although this came from my Thai cookbook, it has a decidedly Chinese taste to it. The original recipe calls for a pound of noodles which seemed like a bit much for the amount of beef and broccoli. I would highly recommend reducing to what you think works for you.

One year ago: Red Beef Curry with Squash
Two years ago: Multi-Grain Pasta with Lamb and Butternut Squash
Three years ago: Double Broccoli Quinoa

Rice Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in Cantonese-Style Gravy (from Real Thai)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups cooked rice noodles (see header note to reduce)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 lb beef, thinly sliced across the grain into 2"x1" strips
3 cups cut-up Chinese broccoli or small broccoli florets
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp brown bean sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp water
1 cup chicken stock

1. Heat wok over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil. Add noodles and stir-fry 1 minute to separate. Transfer to platter.
2. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to wok. Add garlic and toss until golden, 30 seconds.
3. Add beef and stir-fry until it changes color, 1 minute.
4. Add broccoli and stir-fry until bright green and shiny, 30 seconds.
5. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, bean sauce, and sugar. Toss well.
6. Add cornstarch mixture and stock. Simmer until sauce thickens, 2 - 3 minutes.
7. Pour sauce over noodles, toss, and serve.

Martin Yan's Genghis Khan Beef

I'm not entirely sure how it got to be the middle of March. This quick and easy dish is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. It has a 20 minute marinade, but a very fast cook time. The hoisin and chili combination makes a great sauce.

One year ago: Fall-Apart Lamb Shanks with Almond-Chocolate Picade
Two years ago: Impossible Chocolate Flan
Three years ago: Tostados

Martin Yan's Genghis Khan Beef (from The Breath of a Wok)

1 tbsp black soy sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
12 ounces flank steak, cut into 1/2" cubes
10 scallions
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili sambal
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
6 fresh red Thai chilies, stemmed

1. In a medium bowl combine soy sauces and cornstarch. Add beef, stir to coat, and let stand 20 minutes.
2. Cut white part of scallions into 3" pieces. Sliver green part of scallions to measure 1/4 to garnish.
3. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and chili sambal.
4. Heat wok over high heat. Swirl in 1 tbsp oil and add beef. Sear for 30 seconds. Stir-fry 1 - 2 minutes until browned. Transfer to plate.
5. Swirl remaining oil into wok. Add garlic and chilies and stir-fry until fragrant, 15 seconds.
6. Add white parts of scallions and stir-fry 1 minute.
7. Return beef to wok. Add hoisin sauce mixture and stir-fry 30 seconds.
8. Garnish with slivered scallions and serve.