Posts Tagged peas

Curried Chicken and Potatoes

I seem to have developed an addiction to garam masala. It’s good in curries, on cooked greens, even sprinkled over popcorn. The fact that I’d never even tried Indian food until a few months ago seems to be no deterrent at all to now trying a new Indian recipe every week or two. It’s delightful; how did I go almost twenty-seven years without tasting the cuisine of an entire sub-continent?

Last week Mr. B and I were both sick, in need of comfort food, but also in the mood for something new and different. A curry of chicken and potatoes, spooned over warm naan, fit the bill perfectly.

I adapted this recipe rather heavily from e-curry (a blog I can’t seem to stop reading), replacing tomato sauce with one made from carrots among other things.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the marinade:

6 T Greek yogurt

3 T lime juice

1 T turmeric

1 T chile powder (less if you don’t want it too hot. Hatch pepper is pretty mild, though)

1 t mustard powder

1 t salt

1- 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts

For the curry:

3 T vegetable or olive oil

1 potato

2 t garam masala

1 t turmeric

1 t salt

marinated chicken

1/2 cup carrot sauce (substitute tomato sauce if you like)

2-3 hot chiles

1 T brown sugar

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup lime juice

1 cup peas (optional)

Directions

Combine all marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a zip top bag.

Mush them together and add the chicken. Marinate at least an hour. Overnight is better.

Cut the potato into large chunks (about 12). Heat the 3 T oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the potatoes.

Sprinkle the potatoes with turmeric and garam masala and salt.

Crank the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken and its marinade.

Add the carrot sauce* (or tomato, if using)

Add the broth and stir well. Split the chiles lengthwise and add them as well.

Stir in the brown sugar.

Cover the pot and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lid and Stir in the lime juice. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes until the sauce is the desired consistency. Add peas directly if you like. Mr. B does not care for peas  so I cooked them separately and stirred them into my portion.

Serve with warm naan or over rice.

This is good, hot, just-spicy-enough comfort food. For a little more kick, add a few dried pequin peppers before simmering, or a dash of very hot sauce.

* I’ve made carrot sauce here before, but (1) frankly I’m embarrassed at how this blog used to look (not that it’s all that much better now…) and (2) that sauce is bay-leaved and parmesaned and otherwise Italian influenced, so here’s a more basic straight-up carrot sauce.

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

2 T olive oil or butter

2 t salt

2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water

1/2 cup white wine

Directions

Heat the oil or butter in a pot over medium-high heat and add the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until the carrots caramelize.

Add the broth or water an simmer, covered, about 15 minutes

Remove the lid and add the wine.

Continue cooking to reduce the liquid by about half.

Turn the now-soft carrots and liquid into a sauce using an immersion blender, a blender, a food processor, or a potato ricer and patience.

Add any flavors you like, serve over pasta or use to replace tomato sauce in any recipe.

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Stir Fried Pumpkin and Greens

A friend asked me a while back if there was any possible use for those inexplicably tiny pumpkins one finds at the grocery store. Sure, small children paint faces on them and people without extremely rambunctious cats may put them over the fireplace for decoration, but that’s not really useful.

They make little owls feel taller, too.

I have an answer. Actually, I have quite a few answers and they all revolve around one simple but apparently little-known fact: pumpkin is not just for pie. Sure, it perks up beautifully with a dash of cinnamon and a generous scoop of brown sugar, but pumpkins are just as good in savory recipes as they are in sweet. In this instance, stir fry. Combine sweet pumpkin, bitter greens, and peas (snap peas would have been better, for the crisp texture) for a delightful Western stir fry.

It pains me that I’ve run out of Chinese hot mustard powder. I ran out of it almost a year ago, and just can’t seem to get up the energy to drive into the city for more. If you like mustard, see if you can find the hot stuff. If you can’t find it, just use an lot of ordinary mustard powder. Hate mustard? Some Chinese five spice, or just chili powder and nutmeg, will do the trick nicely.

Ingredients (serves 1, easily doubled)

1/2 of a baseball-sized pumpkin

4-5 leaves collard greens, mustard greens, or kale

1/4 cup peas (or sugar snap peas)

1 t mustard powder (a bit less if using the hot stuff.)

a dash of mirin

a dash of soy sauce

salt, to taste

1 cup cooked rice

Directions 

Start heating a bit of butter, oil, or chile oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Peel the pumpkin. I hear the peel is edible, but the texture is rubbery and unpleasant, so I’d just peel it.

Slice the peeled pumpkin into 1/2 inch wide strips.

Dice the strips and toss them into the hot oil.

Remove the central rib from the greens. If you plan to eat it, dice it and toss it with the pumpkin immediately–It’ll need longer to cook than the leaves. If not, discard it.

Roll the leaves up tightly and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch chiffonade.

Toss the greens and peas in with the pumpkin.

Stir vigorously, adjusting the heat if it’s not sizzling well or cooking too fast.

Add the mustard powder (or whatever spices you like.)

Place the cooked rice in a bowl.

Top the rice with cooked vegetables.

Add a splash of rice vinegar.

Then a splash of soy sauce.

Stir the rice and vegetables together with your chopsticks.

Serve hot. This is a light, simple, ten-minute meal, perfect for work nights or a bagged lunch.

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Sweet Potato Dumplings in Havarti Cream Sauce

You have to understand, I was sick. I mean take two Nyquil and don’t bother me unless the apartment is on fire sick. So what possessed me to drag my delirious self out of bed and declare my intention to make gnocchi is beyond me.

I made something. It was pretty good. It was not gnocchi. I really don’t recommend cooking under the influence of powerful antihistamines. Of course, when under said influence, lots of things seem like good ideas.

The first hitch came with the fact that I generally assume about two potatoes makes a pound. This logic does not hold if you are using the biggest sweet potatoes known to man. These suckers were about a pound each. So I had to double the recipe. Feel free to cut it back down to normal proportions if you aren’t cooking for a largish family.

Ingredients (serves about 6)

2 pounds sweet potato

2 eggs plus 2 yolks

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 of a grated nutmeg (1 or 1 1/2 t, I think.)

2 t sea salt

2 1/2 cups flour, or as needed

Directions

Sorry about the glare.

 

Rub the sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt the skins. Make a nice long slice across the top, and bake at 425°F for about 45 minutes, until a fork poked into them meets minimal resistance. The one long slice makes it easier to break them open and scoop out the innards.

The insides of these were so oozingly soft that I didn’t even need to scoop out the flesh. I just grabbed the skin and pulled, and it lifted right off. It was also nice and crispy from the olive oil, so I may have noshed on the skins while making the rest of dinner. Maybe. You can’t prove a thing.

Mash or rice the potato flesh, add the parmesan, nutmeg, and salt, and mix well with a fork. Don’t use an electric mixer. Potatoes turn to glue rather easily when overworked.

Add a cup of flour, and mix that with a fork too.

Then the eggs and yolks. Then you’ll just add flour about 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing as you go, until the dough is firm enough to lift out of the bowl in one piece. I kept getting impatient and reaching in (wondering why I needed so much flour when I only used two potatoes. Not the best judgment that night, let me tell you.)

Once it is a dough instead of a sticky mess, plop it onto a nice floured surface and chop it into logs.

Then you’ll roll those logs into long snaky shapes about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. And chop those into inch long bites. At this point, all hope of gnocchi was lost, because I was tired and hungry and I was not going to form each little cylinder into a happy little shape on the back of my fork. I didn’t care that half of them were misshapen horrors. I got out my pot of boiling water and dumped them in.

Boil the dumplings, in batches if you have too many, for about 5 minutes. Once they float, you’re good to go. Set aside while you make the sauce and announce the change of dinner plans.

“We’re having dumplings,” I said. Mr B, to his credit, just blinked and asked if I was okay. “Yes.” I said (not true) “I just hate gnocchi.” It’s a good thing he understands that I am incurably weird. Though I bet he’ll be confused next time I announce that I’m making gnocchi. Because it will happen.

But hey, I promised you sauce! And what a sauce, sharp and bitter to counter the sweetness in the potato, creamy and sticky enough to cling to the dumplings that I didn’t bother to shape, and so good I wanted to renounce alfredo sauce forever. Until I remembered how much I love alfredo sauce. But still.

Havarti Cream Sauce Ingredients

1 T flour

1 T butter

1 cup cream

1/3 pound havarti, grated

Directions

Melt the butter and whisk in the flour for a bully little roux. Add the cream and whisk a minute so that it incorporated the roux and heats enough to melt the cheese.

Add the cheese. Once everything is thick and melty, toss in the dumplings. Incidentally, I usually make sauces in my wok, because it makes tossing the pasta in the sauce ten times easier. But somehow, even in my little one-and-a-half-quart pot, we managed.

You could be done now. Just serve. You could, like Mr. B, hate all that is good in life. Or just peas. (Seriously, who hates peas?) I boiled some peas with the second batch of dumplings (hooray for multitasking) and added them to my bowl. Then garnish with a bit more nutmeg.

Lovely. They add color and texture and a different kind of sweetness to the mix. Maybe next time I’ll just make the sauce and pour it over a whole plate of vegetables. It’d be easier. That said, this was exactly the sort of thing I needed for a sick day. I think I just needed someone else to cook it. Oops.

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Stir Fry: Any Way You Like It

Stir fry is my go-to dish for last-minute dinners, quick hot lunch, and emergency solution for days when Mr. B and I just don’t want the same thing. Stir fry is fast, it’s easy, and it’s fun. I’ve been avoiding providing a recipe, though, because I don’t think we’ve ever made it the same way twice. Still, I make it all the time, and almost everything I cook can be wildly altered. I mean, that’s half the fun of cooking, right? Making stuff up as you go? So here it is: stir fry any way you like it. Just the basic principles here!

Ingredients (to serve 2)

3/4 cup of long grain rice

1 cup of water

1 T mirin

Per person:

about a cup of mixed vegetables, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of vegetables and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped meat

favorite seasonings, to taste

soy sauce and mirin, to taste

one egg, optional

You see why I was avoiding giving a recipe now, don’t you?

Directions

First, make rice. No, I don’t have a rice cooker. Tiny apartments are not highly conducive to owning a million gadgets, so I had to settle for half a million gadgets. Pour the rice and water and about 1 T mirin (rice vinegar) into a small saucepan, cover with the lid, and bring to a boil. Let it boil about a minute, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 12-14 minutes. Boring rice time is over, let’s play with veggies!

This is one I made for lunch a couple of weeks ago right before going to the grocery store. 1/2 a cup of frozen peas, diced sweet potato, sliced purple potato, and a dab of miso paste. I don’t usually go so carb heavy. Tonight, for instance, I used broccoli, asparagus, carrots, peas, and diced chicken. Mr. B had broccoli, ground beef,  and egg. Just whatever’s in the fridge. Toss these ingredients in whatever spice you want. Chinese five spice, pepper, garlic, salt, curry powder, whatever.

So, heat your wok (or heavy bottomed sauce pan) on high, add 1-2 T of cooking oil once it’s nice and hot, throw in all of your ingredients and stir furiously with a spatula or wooden spoon for a few minutes (three to five minutes?)

At this point I usually turn off the heat and throw in a little mirin and/or soy sauce and toss a moment more before mixing with rice and serving. Mr. B likes to fry his rice, too. To do that, scoop all your vegetables to one side in the wok, crack an egg into the empty half, and scoop 1/2 of the rice you made into the wok on top of the egg. Count to 10 to let the egg start to fry, then stir furiously again for about 1-2 minutes before serving.

There you go. A simple and delicious way to use those last few bites of veggies lurking in the back of the fridge.

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