Sunday, July 26, 2015

Burmese Moh Let Saung - Coconut Milk & Tapioca Beverage

Moh Let Saung
This cold and refreshing drink is perfect for a hot summer day. The 3 essential components are the base coconut milk, any sweetener and delightful little bits & pieces of goodness to add some texture. I made this a couple of years ago, but since the last two ingredients can vary according to what's in your pantry or what you fancy that day, I'm providing an alternative to the recipe posted before.

The traditional sweetener is solid palm sugar that is chopped, dissolved in water and cooked until syrupy. I've made it with pure maple syrup before and with agave syrup today, so take your pick. All kinds of delightful tid-bits can be added to this beverage, such as rehydrated basil seeds, white tapioca pearls, bean thread vermicelli and bits of jello.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Eggplant in Miso-Ginger Sauce

A tub of yellow miso sits in my pantry, begging to be used. It's thick and creamy, looks a lot like peanut butter, tastes salty and smells of fermented beans. Apparently it lasts forever in the fridge. I began to research its nutritional value and came across a number of recipes using eggplant (one of my favourite vegetables) and miso. The idea of combining ginger with miso was appealing and this delicious side dish was really simple and quick to make. No salt was added because both miso and soy sauce have high sodium content.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Keema Gobi - Shredded Cabbage & Minced Meat

Keema Gobi
Mum was a working, single mother of eight. She has been my mentor all my life and inspires me in the kitchen, my home and in my day-to-day life. I believe that even though she's busy with the challenges in the next world, she is by my side just as she was when she was here.

When we were growing up in Darjeeling, India, week days flew by in a hive of activity of going to school, doing our homework and socializing with friends. Weekends were very special because Mum would do the cooking and even though we were on a tight budget, we ate very well. The pressure cooker was our friend and went everywhere with us. We spent the winters in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) and our pressure cooker accompanied us on our close-to 24-hour train journey. Life could not go on without that essential tool in the kitchen.

So many dishes come to mind when I think of Mum in the kitchen. She was very adventurous and made complex (Lobster Thermidor) and labour-intensive (Yakhni Pulao) recipes, all of which we were eager to assist with and loved. 

This is a deconstruction of a recipe she made with cabbage stuffed with minced meat. She would cut a head of cabbage in half and remove part of the inside which she chopped up and cooked with the minced meat. She would cook the meat and chopped cabbage with spices, onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes and stuff the cabbage halves with the cooked meat, tie the whole head of cabbage with kitchen twine and brown it in the pressure cooker in hot oil. The pressure cooker would then be heated to full pressure and the contents cooked without any water for 10-15 minutes. The resulting slices of cabbage were something to behold, our home was filled with tantalizing aromas and it was so delicious to eat!

I took the lazy person's way out and simply shredded the cabbage and cooked it along with the minced meat in the pressure cooker. Still delicious and evoked so many memories of Mum and our idyllic childhood.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dal Gosht - Red Lentils and Meat Stew

Dal Gosht
Lentils are a central part of Indian meals at our home. Every now and then in the summer time when it's too humid to cook, it makes sense to combine lentils with lamb, beef or chicken to shorten the time spent at the stove. This hearty stew combined with any vegetable dish and a fresh salad makes for a quick and easy dinner.

I've used chicken pieces which had previously been marinated in oil, ginger, garlic and paprika and frozen. It's defrosted overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature before cooking. The chicken curry is cooked separately from the lentils and then combined to make this stew.

My sister gave me a package of Moroccan Tagine spices (thank you, Rene) which I used to spice this dish. The ingredients listed on the package include coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, dehydrated garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, basil, cumin, nutmeg and cloves. This sounds very similar to the spices found in North Indian garam masala, which is a good substitute.