Bengali Curry x2

29/11 – 2011

We had special company with us on this week’s trip to Bangladesh, the lovely long-time-no-seen Barbro came to see us.

Loïc contacted his former colleague and friend Queb very late in order to get some tips or recipes, and he answered … even later. His very useful tips could therefore unfortunately not be followed. We keep them for the next round! ;-)

We found lots of different recipes, among them many different types of curry. We went for one based on fish, the other on cauliflower and potato, both very promising! It might be incorrect to do the way we did, but we served both curry, together with rice, on the same plate. This might take us to the Bengali cuisine’s purgatory… Let’s hope it won’t.

Once again, we went to the store Taj Mahal on Kammakargatan and found all the spices we needed at a very reasonable price. A place to recommend. Again.

OK, Let’s get it going with the cookin’! We begin with the  Bengali Fish Curry, better known (?) under the name বাঙ্গালী মাছের কারি 

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4.8 dl water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds thick whitefish fillets, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

Preparation:

  1. Bring the tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, salt, and water to a boil in a four quart saucepan; reduce heat to medium and maintain a simmer.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook the fish in the oiled skillet until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to the saucepan.
  3. Heat a separate skillet over medium heat, and toast the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds until fragrant, just a few seconds. Stir the spices into the saucepan. Simmer until the flavors integrate, about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Now it’s time for the ফুলকপি ও আলু তরকারি, a.k.a. the cauliflower and potato curry

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cauliflower, cut
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, cooked 5 minutes and cubed
  • 100 gram green peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • piece of gingerroot, grated
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • green coriander, chopped

Preparation:

1. Fry the cumin seeds for one minute;
2. add the potatoes and fry 4 minutes more.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the green coriander, salt to taste and 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook for ten minutes.
4. Sprinkle with green coriander.

We had a really lovely dinner. The cauliflower and potato curry was the most tasty of the two, maybe this was due to the fish we used (cod) but it probably mostly depends on the spices. We managed to make the cauliflower and potato curry quite spicy but still within the frame of what is bearable for sissy European tastebuds. The fish curry was more neutral, or maybe a bit more refine. It could probably be made better with such an easy thing as a bit more salt. Bangladesh definitely deserves a second visit!

One last thing before leaving South Asia for the Caribbean! Barbro brought these huge and beautiful amaryllis, that still hadn’t bloomed. This is how they looked like 3 days after our dinner:

Experience from a Kenyan trip

When Loïc was in Kenya in the beginning of november, he came in contact with the Ugali. He learned that Ugali is the most common staple starch of much of Eastern and Southern Africa. It is made of maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with water, supposedly to a porridge- or dough-like consistency.

Loïc was of course quite curious to try this main element of the (East) African cuisine, and ordered it despite firm warnings from his guide… And it turned out that the warnings were founded: This ugali was very dry and compact, to the extent that he was not able to eat it, even drowned in the nice hot sauces you see behind!

We will have to make our own Ugali next time we are in the region… hopefully with a nicer result!

The Bahamas & Bahraïn combo

14/11-2011

One week behind schedule due to Loïc’s travel, we decided to try for the first time to make a combined meal when receiving Katrin and Lars-Ingmar for dinner. From Bahraïn, we took the inspiration for starter and main dish, while Bahamas would serve a drink and the dessert.

We started the dinner with a Baba Ghanoush served with pita bread. Baba Ghanoush is a dish based on  roasted  and mashed aubergine, blended with virgin olive oil, tahini and garlic, mixed with various seasonings such as e.g. lemon juice, cumin and chili powder. The Bahraïni recipe we found also included yoghurt. It is eaten all across the Middle East as a starter or as a side dish.

Here’s what you need for the Baba Ghanoush:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 125 ml yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Several whole olives

Preparation:
Heat oven to 200°C. Place whole eggplant on a baking sheet and bake until the outer shell is crisp and the inside is soft and mushy (about 1 hour). Let the eggplant cool, then remove and discard the skin and the green cap. Spoon the inside into a food processor or a blender. Add garlic, tahini, salt, lemon juice and yogurt. Purée until creamy. Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with olive oil and whole olives. Serve cold or warm, with sliced pita bread or vegetables for dipping.

For the main dish we stayed in Bahraïn and made a Bahraini chicken machboos. The machboos is similiar to the Saudi “kabsa” and according to wikipedia, these dishes  mainly are made from a mixture of spices, rice, meat and vegetables. We found the recipe on this page, and chose it because of it’s presentation as the traditional Bahraini chicken machboos. Here’s our slightly revised version:

Ingredients:

  • 7 dl water
  • 430 g basmati rice
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1-1 kg chicken (we used chicken breasts)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cl coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 green hot pepper, as desired
  • 1 black dried limes (we could find some and used fresh limes instead)
  • 6.5 ml buharat spice mix
  • 5 ml turmeric powder
  • 3.4  ml cumin powder
  • 7  ml cinnamon
  • 3.5 ml cardamom powder
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1 slice gingerroot, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cl butter
  • 4 cl lemon juice
  • a dash of rose water
  • olive oil
  • salt

Preparation:

  • Cut the chicken in half.
  • Heat the water and leave aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix the buharat, turmeric, cumin, and cardamom together and add to the mixture one teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on the chicken halves.
  • Heat oil in a large cooking pan, fry the onions until golden brown, then add to the pepper and the black limes – you MUST make a hole in each limes.
  • Add the chicken to the onion mixture and turn it over a few times in the pan. Sprinkle on the chicken a teaspoon of cinnamon and the rest of the mixed spices. Turn the contents all together so the chicken is coated with the spices, cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chopped ginger, and tomato cubes to the pan and turn the ingredients in the pan a few times. Cover again for 3 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle with the rest of the salt and pour on it water while its still hot.
  • Cover the pan and let it cook for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked. Add the chopped coriander 5 minutes before you remove the chicken from the stock in the pan.
  • While the chicken is cooking, wash the rice well and soak for 10 minutes in cold water, then drain.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and put on an oven tray, brush with some oil and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon powder and grill in the oven until the chicken is golden brown.
  • Add the rice to the chicken stock, stir, then let it cook on low heat until the rice absorbs the stock and is almost done.
  • Sprinkle rose water and lemon juice over the rice and place the butter pieces on the top. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Serve the rice on a large serving plate and place the grilled chicken halves on the top.

To finish this nice evening we had to leave Bahrain and to go west to the Carribbean. Loïc has always been very sceptical to carrot cakes (Theres wants to point out that this is plain nonsense). But he had to admit that the Bahama Mama (Carrot) Cake was REALLY good. Maybe this has to do with the fact that it was a whole lot of other things than just carrots in it…

The Bahama mama carrot cake made a success not only on our Bahamas-evening, but also at work and at school.

Ingriedients:

  • 4.8 dl sugar
  • 2,5 dl rapeseed oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 dl   flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice, clove, nutmeg and cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4,8 dl grated carrots
  • 2,4 dl crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2,4 dl pieces of coconut and/or walnuts (we used walnuts)
  • 1,2 dl raisins or cranberries (we used raisins)

Preparation

  1. Beat sugar, oil, and eggs together. Add dry ingredients fold in carrots, pineapple, coconuts, raisins or cranberries and vanilla.
  2. Bake in a greased and floured roasting pan at 175 degrees C for at least 1 hour.

We made it simple and didn’t glaze the cake. But it was absolutely not necessary!

Bahamas also stood for a really pleasant drinking experience with our lazy version of the Goombay smash.

Ingredients:

  • 3.75 cl gold rum
  • 1.5 cl coconut liqueur (we could only find Malibu)
  • 9 cl pineapple juice
  • 2 dashes of lemon juice
  • 1 dash of simple syrup
  • 1 cherry and/or slice of orange

Preparation:

  1. Stir all ingredients with ice (here’s were we became lazy, since we don’t have an ice crusher)
  2. Strain into a chilled tumbler filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with a strawberry or cherry.
  4. Drink (responsibly)

Despite the fact that we got a bit lazy, we made the drink  dissapear very efficiently. Try it yourselves, you’ll see! And we can’t even imagine how effective we would have been if we have had an ice crusher.

Zoooon Crissmast…wazabout tha ice cruusha, Shantaclaws ?

Let the aubergines roll!

8/11 – 2011

Still amazed by our first trip to Caucasus, we were looking forward to another vegetarian wonder while approaching Azerbaijan. With excellent help from this all-covering page we decided on making two vegetarian recipes: one was a touchdown and the other a fumble.

Let’s begin with the good news: the Badımjan ruleti. These aubergine roulades were simply delicious. OK, everything with mayo in it is good, but this mix was just perfect. A really nice combination of crisp and bitterness from walnuts, freshness from the dill and coriander, rounded by the sweetness of tha mayo. Just take a look at them, gorgeous!

Here’s how to do the Badımjan ruleti - Aubergine roulade. The delicate moment is preparing the aubergine (take note that  it has to be done in advance) the rest is a piece of cake.

 Ingredients (Serves: 4-5)

  • 3 large aubergines (Larger aubergines are best for roulade)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (optional, but we strongly recommend it)
  • 100 g shelled walnuts
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise
  • 5 tsp vegetable oil
  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander and dill

Preparation

  • Cut the aubergines into slices lengthways, roughly 1 cm thick, and rub salt into them. Leave for 1 to 2 hours to remove the bitterness. Rinse the aubergines and pat dry.
  • Fry the aubergine slices in vegetable oil until soft, turning over half way through.
  • (Lightly) spread mayonnaise onto the aubergine slices while they are still warm. Scatter the ground walnuts, a little of the crushed garlic and some chopped coriander and dill onto the mayonnaise.
  • Roll up the aubergine slice with the filling on the inside.
  • Serve cold.

And then the bad news (actually not that bad):

For our main dish we made a Qoz kukusu  a walnut and herb omelette.  From the all-knowing Internet we learned that: Kuku can be made with a variety of herbs, with each combination producing a slightly different flavour. It’s a popular and easy breakfast dish and can be cooked on a hob or in the oven.

Preparation time: 20 minutes – Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes or 25 minutes in the oven
Serves: 4 or 5

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 bunch of spring onions or 1 bunch of sorrel
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 bunch of spinach (Don’t use frozen, se below)
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 125 g of shelled walnuts
  • salt & pepper
  • butter or vegetable oil

Preparation

  • Grind the walnuts.
  • Wash and chop the herbs, but not too finely.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the chopped herbs, ground walnuts and salt & pepper and mix well.
  • If cooking on the hob, melt the butter or oil in a heavy frying pan. When the butter is sizzling pour in the whole mixture
  • Cover the pan and turn down the heat. When the egg has solidified, remove the lid, cut the kuku into pieces and turn the pieces over.
  • Leave to cook for another 10 minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Don’t replace the lid, as this will cause the herbs to water.
  • If cooking in the oven, rub an oven-proof dish or deep baking tin with generous amounts of butter. Pour the eggs and herb mixture into the dish and bake in a medium-hot oven for 20 or 30 minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Rub butter or drizzle oil over the kuku after you have taken it from the oven.
  • Decorate the pieces of kuku with walnut halves.23c
  • Kuku is best served hot with yoghurt, but can also be served cold and makes great picnic food.

The final product:

It’s not the Kuku it’s us. Of course we dramatize a bit, but it is like our good friend Ulf says, it’s more fun that way. Our kuku was definitely eatable but the original is probably much better. So here’s where we think it all went wrong. We wanted to use what we had at home som we made the mistake of using some frozen spinach, big no-no! We think that this pretty much killed the taste of the kuku, and also destroyed the consistence.

fortunately the roulades were so tasty that we think that our guest for the evening (Hi Joakim!) went home well-pleased and not afraid of flying back to our kuku’s nest ;-)

The veggie Aussie

25/10 – 2011

Time had finally come for us to go Down Under! We had heard about the existence of the burger “with the lot”, but wanted to get this information confirmed, so we asked some of our Aussie friends. They confirmed. That was a number one choice when it was impossible for us to get wallaby meat, emu egg, white shark filet or koala steak. :-) We didn’t even try to find any “bush food“. It would have been very interesting to try indigenous Australian bush tucker but we’ll take it when we visit Australia for real!

Here’s an interesting web page on aboriginal food: http://www.aboriginalartstore.com.au/aboriginal-art-culture/aboriginal-food.php

An Aussie hamburger is a burger with “the lot” i.e. beetroot, fried egg, bacon, pineapple, cheese, grilled onion, tomato, lettuce. We decided to make a veggie version of it. We took away the bacon (bouhouhouhou… we LOVE bacon) and replaced the regular burger with a australian lentil-based version.

Here’s the recipe for Lentil Burger Mix. Don’t do as we did, i.e. 6 thick burgers, but rather 10 thin burgers.

Ingredients

  •  2 1/3 dl Lentils (we used green ones)
  • 7 dl water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Onions, loosely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups wholemeal bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 gr grated cheddar cheese
  • Sea salt, Ground pepper

Preparations

  1.  Cook lentils in 0.675 litres of water (roughly three times the lentils volume) for 15 minutes
  2.  Fry onion and garlic in oil. Add to the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl
  3.  Add herbs, salt, pepper and mix
  4. Add eggs, cheese and lentils, and form into patties
  5. Cook as you would normal burgers (Grill, fry etc)

En route pour le grand veggie burger...

Serve, as previously mentioned, with beetroot, fried egg, bacon, pineapple, cheese, grilled onion, tomato, lettuce. Don’t forget bread and sauces (ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire) of course.

We had our friend Jocke with us and presented the burgers as a make-it-yourself-as-you-want-it meal:

Our Australian friend Shanel also gave us the recipe of the Anzac biscuits. We are very happy she did, the biscuits were easy to make, and delicious! According to wikipedia, anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.

Ingredients

  • 125 gr butter, chopped coarsely
  • 2-5 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2,4 dl rolled oats (havregryn)
  • 2,4 dl desiccated coconut (kokosflingor)
  • 2,4 dl (150 gr) plain flour
  • 2 dl (165 gr) brown sugar (farinsocker)

Preparations

  •  Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan-forced.
  • Combine butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Heat gently until butter and syrup melt.
  • Combine bicarbonate of soda and water in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over warm butter mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Roll rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Place about 4 cm apart on baking paper lined baking trays and flatten slightly.
  • Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on baking trays; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Lessons from our Australian evening:

- Thinner veggie burgers (note to self: remember to try it with bacon)
- Beetroot and eggs are really good, even on a burger
- Pineapple was a bit odd (note to self: replace with bacon)
- Ask Shanel for more recipes
- Do it yourself burger dinner is a nice interactive exercise
- Next time, don’t forget to serve Australian wine.

Unfortunately, Loïc met Julia only a few weeks after our Australian dinner, so we couldn’t get any recipes or tips from her.

And because we just can’t resist:

The real Algerian couscous

A few weeks after we had our Algerian evening (see here) we were invited for a couscous diner at Hamid’s, a good friend of ours, from Sidi Bel-Abbès… Here you go, courtesy of Hamid. Simply delicious:

Loïc took three plates. Theres wish she could have. We had to lean back for a few hours afterwards.

A really nice evening and a very good meal… but we still don’t know anything about the Kherdel!