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One-pot Meals

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Weekend Cooking: Sausage Meatballs with Gravy

This was a recipe I made a long, long time ago for Hari Raya celebrations, and at the point of time I haven’t started blogging my culinary exploits just yet. The recipe is from Emeril’s Potluck, and as you probably can imagine, this makes a potluck-sized batch.

Aside from the Essence which you may want to invest some time in (really worth the effort), the ingredients for this recipe are fairly easy to find. The Italian Seasoning and various types of canned tomatoes are available even in hypermarts like Tesco, and you can find the fresh sausages at the more upmarket grocers such as Village Grocer or B.I.G. What I found slightly more challenging is finding canned tomato sauce, but this can be substituted by pureeing canned stewed tomatoes.

I also splurged a bit on San Marzano canned whole peeled tomatoes; these are Italy’s best tomatoes, grown on volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius. Look for the words “Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino” on the can, which is supposed to indicate that these San Marzanos are the real deal. If the can doesn’t have any English on it, look for the words, “pomodori pelati interi” which means whole peeled tomatoes. San Marzanos are known for their sweetness and low acidity, which makes them perfect for making tomato soups and sauces. And my oh my, the investment really paid off.

The San Marzanos gave the sauce such a rich flavor and sweetness, I didn’t have to do much else to make the dish taste good. It was as if I made completely different recipe from the one last time, just by switching this one ingredient. So worth it!

Bring this to a potluck, San Marzanos and all, and I assure you it will be a hit at any gathering. Enjoy!

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Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Made a few more soups for Mummy to try.  A few ingredients I recently tried were tomato, which was yummy but too light, and corn which was too heavy.  Since Mummy liked the lentil soup I made I figured other types of beans would also make decent soups with the right amount of heartiness, and since I had canned chickpeas in the larder this became my next ingredient of choice.

This Moroccan Chickpea Soup turned out nicely.  I loved the spices which gave it a more ‘exotic’ Mediterranean flavor; cinnamon, cumin and paprika.  There’s also something about tender beans in rich tomato based broth which feels so comforting.  Mummy loved it, so this recipe is now in our soup rotation.

Based on the recipe by Dave Lieberman, with my own modifications.

Next experiment: minestrone, perhaps?

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Ramadan Cooking: Eman’s Chicken Mandy

It’s the last weekend of Ramadan. Gosh, time really flies.  I wanted to make Chef Wan’s briyani gam with chicken kuzi, but I was missing a few ingredients and I’ll only be going to the market tomorrow.  Since I’ll also be eating out tomorrow, if I wanted to make something, tonight was my only window of opportunity to do so.  I decided on Eman’s chicken mandy, which I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time now.

I fell behind schedule and ended up rushing to have it ready for buka puasa, so this time I skipped the smoking process and completely forgot the fried onion and cilantro garnish.  Flavour-wise I think this was great, and the rice to water ratio was pretty spot on.  The original recipe called for saffron coloring which was supposed to give the chicken a nice reddish tone, but since I don’t have any on hand and have no idea where to get it, I’m thinking of using smoked paprika next time.

Will definitely make this again.

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Ramadan Cooking: Karnataka-style Chicken Briyani

Last Ramadan I was binging on Middle Eastern recipes, but this year I stumbled upon this YouTube channel called Get Curried and was intrigued by their selection of Indian recipes.  At first I wanted to try their butter chicken, but it’s the weekend and I should do something fancier and Mom also suggested I try making briyani.

This isn’t like the briyani I’m used to here in Malaysia.  The video says this is a style specific to the Karnataka state of India, and even then looking at the comments there are a bunch of Karnatakans claiming that theirs is more authentic than the rest, so I can’t comment on that.  Nonetheless the mixture of flavors from the yoghurt, cilantro and mint, and the heat from the cili padi was really interesting and yummy, and I loved how the rice turned out nicely moist without being mushy.

I found the planning stage most exciting when making this.  I started off by mixing the saffron milk, then prepped the ingredients for the green paste.  After marinating the chicken I set a small pot of water on the stove, and prepped the rest of the ingredients while the potatoes were boiling.  I soaked the rice, then put the pot of water for the rice on the stove, and started on the gravy while waiting for the water come to a boil, which would take about as much time as required for soaking the rice.  By the time it was time to add the chicken to the pot, the chicken has been marinating for an hour as planned.  So all the tasks were timed quite nicely and the dish was ready 10 minutes before it was time to break fast.  It was a lot of fun for me.

Do try this out, whenever you’re feeling like a different style of briyani.

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Weekend Cooking: Paella

Tesco had some good shrimp and mussels in stock, and I really wanted to take my lovely Le Creuset casserole (thanks Tiff!) for a spin, so I decided to try making and perfecting a paella recipe.

I’ve made this twice now, but am still not fully satisfied with the results.  The first time I felt that the meats were not adequately seasoned and there was just way too much rice.  The second time, I used a bit too much liquid so the rice turned out a bit mushy.  Flavor-wise I think the rice was nice, but I really need to get the rice to liquid ratio right.

The following recipe has been tweaked with my notes on what I’d do differently next time.  From the base recipe I added a few more herbs to the stock mixture, and salt the chicken and shrimp a little for a bit more flavor.  I found using beef bacon resulted in a less salty dish and additional salt might be required, so I tried smoked chicken breast and it gave a nice smoky taste to the dish.  I also chopped my onions and bell peppers using a food processor, for a finer cut as well as to save me a lot of time. I’d use a spicier sausage next time, though, for a bit more kick.  Italian just tastes too herby and mild for me.

Try it out!

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Weekend Cooking: Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya

After cycling through quite a few Middle Eastern dishes of late, I decided to revisit some of the old recipes I made but never got around to properly document.  This jambalaya recipe based on the one by Emeril Lagasse was particularly nostalgic for me, because this was one of the first dishes I made when I started cooking at home about 6 or 7 years ago.   There was a time when Kak’mbang going back to our hometown meant having takeout or delivery every day.  This dish was my first home cooked dinner for my family, and it was the start of many many more thereafter.

This dish is fairly foolproof and not difficult to make. All you need is patience, because you’ll be spending around 40 to 45 minutes stirring the stuff in the pot almost non-stop.  The result is a light, healthy one-pot meal, great for potlucks and gatherings.

The ingredients aren’t anything too fancy either – I usually get my Italian sausages from B.I.G. lately, but I used to frequent Village Grocer and I think theirs actually taste better.  Village Grocer also carries chicken Chorizo sausages as far as I know, and you can use that for a slightly spicier flavor.  Unlike commercially packed, mass market sausages which are very firm (and cooked, I’m guessing), premium sausages like those at B.I.G. or Village Grocer or the ones by Victoria Crest are raw and therefore can be quite challenging to slice when thawed.  I usually prefer to slice them when frozen to maintain their shape.

Enjoy!

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GobbleFest 2017 Leftovers: Turkey Avgolemono Soup

I shredded the last bits of my leftover GobbleFest turkey meat and stored them in the freezer, along with the turkey carcass.  This weekend I just wanted to finish them all off and finally close the 2017 chapter of GobbleFest.  What better way to do that than to try a new recipe?

I made a casserole and a salad previously, so why not make soup this time?  I found this recipe on The Kitchn’s website, which uses only five ingredients, all of which are things I already have on hand.  I was intrigued by this Greek traditional comfort food, which uses eggs instead of dairy like cream or milk to achieve its creaminess.

It is a surprisingly bright, tangy soup, very unlike the creamy chicken/turkey soups I’m used to.  Most recipes for this soup uses a lot of lemon juice so I guess the sourness is expected, but I might halve the lemon juice the next time I make this, to see how it turns out.  While the original recipe calls for “long grain white rice”, which in my mind points to basmathi and the like, I opted for Japanese rice for a starchier porridge.  I suspect Thai fragrant rice (beras wangi Siam) would work just as well.

Another Mummy-approved dish, best enjoyed when hot.

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GobbleFest 2017 Leftovers: Turkey Noodle Casserole

When there’s a turkey dinner there’s inevitably leftovers, which opens up opportunities for more culinary adventures.  I saved the carcass to make turkey stock later, and while some of the meat I planned to make yummy turkey waldorf salad with, for the family coming over for dinner tonight I decided to try this simple yet yummy looking recipe by The Kitchn.

I tweaked the ingredients based on the quantities I had on hand.  The results were still great, and guests cleaned out their plates and the whole tray of pasta, with enough for a few people to have seconds.  Give it a try!

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Eman’s Chicken Kabsa

Mummy wasn’t feeling well a few weekends back, and I was really worried because she took so long to recover and had such poor appetite.  I decided to make something nice for her for dinner, in hopes that she’d eat more.  I didn’t want to do a lamb dish, because I figured an elevated blood pressure was the last thing Mummy needed at that point.  Finally I settled for a hearty pot of her favourite lentil soup, as well as this chicken kabsa recipe by Saudi Food Eman.

This chicken kabsa was slightly different from the version I made previously.  I like how Eman finishes her chicken in the oven, for a crispier chicken.  I would add 1/4 cup each of chickpeas and jumbo raisins next time, because Mummy seems to like that.  Try this out if you don’t have any pre-made Kabsah spices on hand.  Enjoy!

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Weekend Cooking: Lamb Meghazlia Rice

This was on my To-Make list for a while now, and finally I managed to make it this week.  Use a mix of meat and bones for a more flavorful stock; I chose lamb shoulder chops specifically for this purpose.  If you’re not keen on making your own meghazlia spice mix, I’m sure subbing with your favorite spice mix such as bukhari, kabsah and the like works just as well.  A great dish which was quite simple to make and easy to eat, I’ll definitely be making this again.

Try it out!

Based on the recipe by Saudi Food Eman.

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