Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ropa Vieja

1 lb. flank steak
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 Cubanelle or green pepper, thinly sliced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 (16-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
½ cup halved, pitted green olives
⅓ cup sliced jarred pimiento peppers
3 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

Season steak with salt and pepper. Sear until browned on both sides; transfer to plate.
Add onion and peppers; cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add tomato paste, cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, and bay leaf; cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes.
Add wine; cook, scraping bottom of pot, for 1 minute.
Return steak to pot with stock and tomatoes; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until steak is very tender, 2–3 hours.
Remove steak, and shred; return meat to pot with olives, pimientos, capers, and vinegar. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.


Vaca Frita

1 lb flank steak
Things to cook the steak with
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon salt
Olive Oil to coat the pan

Cook the steak. Simmering for a while works, stewing for a while works too. You'll probably want other things to flavor it. Usually takes a couple of hours. See "ropa vieja" recipe for more details. Shred the meat using your hands and/or a fork.
Add salt, garlic, half of the sliced onions, and the lime juice.
Coat a frying pan with olive oil and add mixture to the cold pan without heating the oil.
On medium heat stir the meat constantly, adding additional onions and more oil gradually as needed.
Once the onions are soft and the meat cooked, raise the heat and sear the meat until it’s slightly brown and crispy.
Serve with white rice and black beans, or plantains, or all three!

Source: and

Alton Brown Hummus

Chickpeas, cooked (1 lb when still dry)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
Powdered sumac, optional

Place the chickpeas, garlic, and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and process for another 15 to 20 seconds. Add the lemon juice and water. Process for 20 seconds. Add the tahini. Process for 20 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.

To serve, transfer the hummus to a bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, to taste, if desired.


Monday, February 4, 2013


Spicy bellflower root side dish

Ingredients: (4 servings)

3 ounces of dried bellflower roots (about 85 grams)
¼ cup hot pepper paste (gochujang)
3 Tablespoons of hot pepper flakes
1-1.5 Tablespoon of soy sauce
2 Tablespoons of rice syrup or corn syrupn (optional)
1-1.5 Tablespoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoons of white or apple vinegar
2 stalks of green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil


Soak dried bellflower roots in cold water overnight (for 8 to 12 hours) until the roots are soft.

Drain and scrub with about 1 Tablespoon of coarse salt to remove the bitterness. Rinse and drain.
Combine the hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, rice syrup, sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic, green onion, and sesame oil in a mixing bowl.

Add the dried bellflower roots to the paste and mix it all together by hand.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer it to a serving plate. Serve with rice, and the leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Source: adapted from

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mangshor Jhol

Mangshor Jhol – Bengali Mutton Curry


1.25 lbs mutton with bones (lamb or goat), cut into 2 inch pieces

For marinating:
3 tablespoons strained or Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon mustard oil
2 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and made into a paste or grated
1.5 tablespoon garlic paste
2 green chili pepper, muddled into a coarse paste

For the sauce:
3 medium red onion, sliced in thin half moons (about 4 cups)
1/6 cup oil (prefer. mustard oil)
2 bay leaves
1 red dry chili pepper
3 medium potatoes, peeled and each divided into 4 parts
1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons red chili powder/cayenne (Optional or adjust to taste)
2.5 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin
fresh lime – to drizzle on the curry after cooking


Wash the meat well and pat it dry. Whisk all ingredients for the marinade and in a big non reactive bowl, combine well with the meat; let it sit for at least 2 hours, overnight works better.

Peel the potatoes, cut them to size, and sprinkle salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder on them. Rub the salt and the turmeric on the potatoes. Heat about 3/4 tablespoon oil in a deep pan or pressure cooker and fry the potatoes on high heat until they start browning on the edges – about 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same pot/cooker, add the rest of the oil and add the red dry chili pepper and the bay leaves. When the pepper turns dark, add all the sliced onions and fry them at high heat for about 12-15 minutes, while tossing them frequently till they start to brown.

Add the marinated meat to the pan (save if there are any leftover marinades) and add the rest of the turmeric, salt, chili/cayenne powder, coriander powder and roasted cumin powder. Toss well  and cook the meat. You will have to to toss it frequently to prevent it from sticking to pan. It will take about 15 minutes for the meat to be kind of browned and for the liquid to dry up. This is kind of braising the meat with the spices. The meat and the onions will be browned (but not burned) and the spice mix will coat meat pieces.

Add 4 cups of warm water, add the potatoes and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid (or pressure cooker). Cook till meat is almost done and tender, falling off the bone. If you are using a pressure cooker, add the potatoes and water to the cooker pan and pressure cook until done as per instructions.

Drizzle with fresh lime juice right before serving.

Serve with hot rice or Naan or any flat breads.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saag Aloo

1 lb fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach
1 lb fresh mustard, kale, or collard greens
8 small or 4 medium sized potatoes (1 lb)
5 tbsp ghee or oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 green chilies or 1/4 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garam masala

Pick over, wash, drain, chop greens.
Peel potatoes, cut small ones in half or medium ones in quarters.
Heat ghee in large frying pan. Add cumin, then in 10 seconds add garlic and chili. Stir, add potatoes. Fry until browned, 5-8 minutes. Add 1 cup greens. When they get limp (1/2 minute) add 1 cup more. Continue until all are incorporated. Add a little boiling water, reduce heat, cook until tender, 20-25 min. Uncover, cook until excess moisture evaporates, about 15 minutes. Increase to medium, continue frying, stirring gently until almost dry and the butter begins to glaze the vegetables.
Add garam masala, turn off heat, check for salt, serve. Good with robust dishes like beef or tomato sauces.

Gosht Do-piaza

"Meat with twice as many onions"

1/2 c. light vegetable oil
2 tbsp garlic
3 tbsp ground, grated, or crushed ginger
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red pepper
2 lb lamb, in 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large onions (about 2 lb), peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch

Heat oil in a big heavy-bottomed pan, add garlic and ginger. Fry over medium until light golden. Add turmeric and pepper, fry 10 seconds.
Add meat and mix. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, let meat cook in its juices for 15 minutes or until the moisture is absorbed (leaving oil behind); it'll look dry. Stir often so it doesn't burn.
Add salt and 2 cups boiling water. Stir well and simmer, covered, until very tender and liquid turns into a thick sauce. About 1 hr or 1:15. (can set aside or freeze at this point.)
Add onions, mix. Put heat to high for 15 seconds, then turn off heat. Let steam, undisturbed, don't uncover, for 5 minutes. Check for salt and serve with bread.

Source: Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni, pg. 166-168