Saturday, March 28, 2009

Island Style Fruity Rice

For our 3rd wedding anniversary, the hubby and me went to the Florida Keys, for the first time. There, in Key West, FL, we had this wonderful dinner in a restaurant called "Rum Barrel". I know that the island, the magnificent surroundings and of course the pirate theme of the restaurant played a big part on our moods. Still the scent of the balsamic seared Tuna, the exotic spice blend in the rice served with it, haunts my palate. Thus, here lies the inspiration for this concoction. I did not use much spices as I did not want the rice to be over powering, as it is intended to be served with fish. The result was scrumptious. Bon Appétit!

Servings: 2

  • Cooked long grain rice - 3 cups
  • Kiwi fruit - 2, diced
  • Pineapple - 1 cup, diced
  • Dried cranberries - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Jalapeno - 2, diced
  • Red Onion - 1 small, diced
  • Lemon Pepper - 1 - 1.5 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Extra Virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • 1. Chop the fruits and veggies, set aside.
  • 2. In a wok, heat the oil, add the chopped onions and jalapeno. Saute for couple of minutes.
  • 3. Add the lemon pepper and salt, stir to combine. Add the rice. Saute on high heat for 3-5 min, till the rice has absorbed the flavours.
  • 4. Add the chopped fruits, stir to combine. Saute for 2-3 min. Turn the heat off.
  • 5. Serve immediately as a side to some grilled fish.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pollock in Egg Wrap

Servings: 4

  • Pollock fillets - 1 lb (450 gm), (4 pcs)
  • Eggs - 4
  • Lemon Pepper - 2 tsp
  • Paprika Powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Black Pepper - to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1. In a tray mix in the lemon pepper, salt, chili powder, paprika powder and cumin powder. Rub the Pollock fillets with the spice rub generously. Let it marinade for at least half hour.
  • 2. In non-stick pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil till smoking hot. Sear the Pollock fillets, one at a time, on both sides, approx 2 - 3 min on each side. Remove and let it rest on a plate.
  • 3. Clean the pan with a paper towel to remove any fish oil residue.
  • 4. In a bowl break one egg, beat in a pinch of lemon pepper, salt and black pepper. Do this for each egg, separately.
  • 5. Heat olive oil in the pan, pour the egg mixture (1 egg for each fillet), on medium-high heat, so that as soon as the egg heats the pan, it will cook on the bottom side.
  • 6. Lay one Pollock fillet on the egg, and fold the egg around the fillet to create a wrap/parcel. Cook for 1-2 min, turning once, so that the egg will be cooked through. This will result in a super moist fish in the middle with a crispy egg wrap. Do this for the rest of the 3 fillets/eggs.
  • 7. Serve on a bed of cheesy mashed potatoes or a side of the Island Rice.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beef & Cheddar Bread Sandwich

Servings: 2-4

  • Cheddar Cheese Loaf Bread - 1, cut into 1 inch thick slices
  • Italian/ Flat leaf parsley - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
  • Tomato - 2, sliced
  • Ketchup - as needed

  • For the beef burgers:
  • Ground Beef - 1 lb (450 gms)
  • Jalapeno - 1, finely diced
  • Onion - 1/2 small, finely diced
  • Italian Seasoning - 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Breadcrumbs- 1/2 cup
  • Salt - to taste, (account for the saltiness of the soy sauce)
  • 1. In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients for the burgers. Work the meat with your hands quite roughly so that the meat sticks to your hand. Form them into 1 cm thick flat disks. The recipe yields 4 patties.
  • 2. On a baking/cookie sheet spray some oil. Place the beef burgers on the tray. Broil them for 3-5 min, till cooked through or to your preference of rare/well done. Take the tray out and flip the burgers with a thin spatula. Broil for couple more minutes on this side. Let it rest for 3-4 min.
  • 3. Meanwhile, toast the sliced Cheddar breads till crispy. The baked in cheese will melt inside while the outside of the bread will be crunchy.
  • 4. Assemble the sandwich as follows, first place couple of slices of tomato on the toasted bread, topped with a layer of the chopped parsley, place hot beef burger on top of the parsley. The heat from the burgers will wilt the parsley and make the sandwiches very fragrant. Add some ketchup and top with another slice of the bread. Your sandwich is done.
  • 5. You can serve the sandwiches like this or, if you have a Panini/sandwich presser, press the whole sandwich to get the charred press marks and serve.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fish Kebabs

Servings: 4-6

  • Canned Mackerel fish - 1 can (1 lb/450 gms)
  • Potato - 1 lrg, boiled and mashed
  • Carrot - 1 med, boiled and mashed
  • Green beans - 1 cup, steamed and mashed
  • Onion - 1 med, chopped
  • Garlic cloves - 2 , crushed
  • Cilantro - 1 cup, chopped
  • Egg - 1
  • Breadcrumbs - 1/2 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. In a non-stick pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic and the onions. Saute for 2-3 min till the onions are translucent.
  • 2. Add the canned fish, salt, all the dry spices and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer on med heat, till all the water has evaporated and fish is dried out of moisture. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid any burns at the bottom of the pot. Once the fish is processed, turn the heat off and let it cool down.
  • 3. In a bowl, mash in the potatoes, beans and the carrots with a fork for a coarse texture. Make sure there is not too big a lump.
  • 4. Mix in the fish, cilantro, egg and bread crumbs with the mashed up veggies. Form into disks, roughly about 1/2 cm thick and 2 inches in diameter. The recipe yields about 12-14 kebabs.
  • 5. In a non-stick pan, heat enough oil for deep frying. On med-high heat, fry the fish kebabs, till crispy and dark brown, about 2-3 min on each-side. Serve hot as it is with some dipping sauce. It can also be served with pita bread or even rice.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philly Cheese-Steak

Servings: 2


  • French bread sticks - 2, foot long size (you can use any long bread rolls)
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Jarred Capers - 1 tbsp, drained
  • Cooked Beef Steak - thinly sliced, 8 oz per person/sandwich
  • Cheese slices/shredded - up to preference, I used combination of Swiss and Provolone cheese
  • Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
  • Salt & pepper - to taste
  • Chili sauce - to taste (optional)
  • Ketchup - to taste (optional)
  • 1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan.
  • 2. Add the onions and capers, saute on high heat for 3-4 min till the edges are browned up.
  • 3. Add the sliced steak meat, soy sauce and pepper, saute for 3-4 min till the meat shrivel up and gets a bit crispy.
  • 4. Cut the bread sticks in half, length wise. Spray some olive oil on the inner side and toast till preferred crispness.
  • 5. Top one side of the bread with the beef steaks, top with cheese and serving of chili sauce and ketchup. Broil for 2-3 mins, till the cheese has melted and bubbly. Serve.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cayenne Shrimp with French-cut Beans

Servings: 4

  • Frozen* French cut beans - 1 lb (450 gm) bag, defrosted
  • Shrimp - 1 lb (400 gms), devein**
  • Onion - 1 med, finely chopped
  • Garlic cloves - 2, minced
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • 1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a non-stick wok. Add the onions and salt. Saute till they are translucent.
  • 2. Add the garlic, saute to infuse the fragrance. Add the cleaned shrimps and all the dry spices. Saute till they are curled up and bright red, and the oil has separated from any moisture released from the shrimps.
  • 3. Meanwhile, place the defrosted beans in a microwavable bowl, sprinkle 1.2 tsp of salt and microwave on high for 2 min.
  • 4. Add the beans to the shrimp, saute on high heat till the excess moisture released from the beans have evaporated, for about 4-6 min. Turn the heat off.
  • 5. Serve with plain white rice or with any side of your choice.
*You can of course use fresh beans. If you choose to do so, wash and cut them in french style. In a microwavable bowl, place the cut beans, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook in the microwave for 3-4 min, until they are softened but still crisp and bright green.
** You can also remove the shell and the tail if you do not like it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweet Chili Beef Sub

Servings: 2

  • Soft crust french bread sticks - 2, foot long size
  • Minced Beef - 1/2 lb (250 gms)
  • Carrots - 1 med, finely chopped, to yield 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 1 med, chopped
  • Celery - 2 sticks, chopped, to yield 1/2 cup
  • Jalapeno - 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic cloves - 2, minced
  • BBQ sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Ketchup - 3 tbsp
  • Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt & pepper - to taste
  • American Slices Cheese - to preference
  • 1. In a non stick pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add the onions and garlic, saute till the onions are translucent.
  • 2. Add the remaining vegetables. Saute for 2-3 min.
  • 3. Add the minced beef, saute on high heat till the meat changes colour to brown.
  • 4. Add the sauces and the dry spices and 1 cup of water. When adding the salt, take into account that the soy sauce will be salty. Reduce the heat to low-med. Simmer for about 20-25 min, or till the water evaporated and sauce reaches a thick sticky consistency.
  • 5. Meanwhile, cut the french sticks in half, lengthwise. Spray with some olive oil spray on the inner side and toast to your preferred crispness.
  • 6. Once the meat sauce is done, let it cool for 5 min. Then spread a generous amount of the meat sauce on one side of the breads, top with some slices of cheese (I used American Slices, you can use any cheese of your choice) and broil for 1-2 min, till the cheese is bubbly and browned.
  • 7. You can serve the subs as it is, or top with some crispy lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce for extra bite. Bon Appétit!
*For a vegetarian version, I had substituted the meat for same amount of chopped button mushrooms and followed the same methods. That also tastes pretty good.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stir-fried Okra

Servings: 2-4

  • Okra - 1 lb (500 gms), washed & cut into bite size pieces
  • Onion - 1 med, thinly sliced
  • Dried red chili peppers - 3- 4, torn in half
  • Salt- to taste
  • 1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a non-stick wok.
  • 2. Add the chili peppers, saute to infuse the oil. Add the onions and salt. Saute till the onions are translucent.
  • 3. Add the cut okra, saute on high heat for 6-9 min stirring continuously, or till cooked through. Saute until your preference of crispness. I personally do not like the slimy texture so I fry it for extra long. Make sure not to overcook though, as then the colour will not stay as green.
  • 4. Serve with plain white rice, or any side of your choice.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bengali Style Hilsha

Servings: 4 - 6


  • Hilsha fish - 6 steaks, (6 pieces cut off the whole fish)*
  • Eggplant - 2 cups, cut into finger length wedges
  • Idaho Potato - 2 med, cut into finger length wedges
  • Green chili - 2 - 3, sliced lengthwise (seeds removed if you don't like the heat)
  • Onion - 1 med, thinly sliced
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 2/3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • For the spice rub:
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. First wash and drain the fish steaks. In a bowl mix in the spices for the rub. Coat the fish steaks with the spice rub evenly, rubbing all over the flesh. Let it rest for 1/2 hour.
  • 2. In a non-stick pan, heat 4 tbsp oil, pan fry the steaks for 2-3 min on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • 3. Add the onions and salt to the oil, saute till they turn translucent. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and all the dry spices (chili, cumin, turmeric, coriander) and stir combine. Simmer till the added water evaporates and creates a thick spice mixture. Return the fish steaks to the spice mixture and gently flip over to combine overall.
  • 4. After few min, remove the fish from the spice, add all the vegetables to the pan and stir to combine. Make sure to coat all the vegetables. Saute for 4-5 min on high heat. Carefully lay the fish steaks over the vegetables. Add 3 cups of hot water to the pan, to make sure to soak the fish and the vegetables properly. Simmer on med heat for about 30 min, covered.
  • 5. After 30 min, uncover the lid, carefully stir to rearrange the veg and the fish, simmer for 5 more min uncovered to reduce the gravy to a thick consistency. Turn the heat off and let it rest for 10-15 min before serving. Serve it with plain white rice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chips Crusted Chicken Cutlet

Servings : 4

  • Chicken Breast Fillet - 2 large, (2 lb), boneless and skinless
  • Crinkled Potato Chips - 2 cups, crushed roughly
  • Milk- 1/2 cup
  • Plain flour - 1 cup
  • Garlic Salt - 1 tsp
  • Pepper - to taste (but be generous as it tastes pretty good)
  • Oil- for frying
  • 1. Slice each chicken fillet in half lengthwise, to make two flatter disks.
  • 2. Place a plastic wrap on the cutting board, place the fillets on the wrap and with a meat tenderizer, flatten the chicken fillets into 1/2 cm thick fillets. If you do not have a meat tenderizer you can use a rolling pin to flatten the meat. Be very careful when flattening, as the flesh is very delicate and will rip or smash up if you do not do it gently.
  • 3. Sprinkle some garlic salt (1/2 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper on the fillets. Bear in mind that the potato chips will also be salty. So, the seasoning should be done a little less than you would normally.
  • 4. Sprinkle the flour on the fillets to coat.
  • 5. Crush the potato chips and place them in a flat plate or on another cutting board.
  • 6. Put the milk in another plate, sprinkle some more black pepper and garlic salt (1/2 tsp) in the milk, carefully dip each chicken fillet in the milk and then dredge them in the crushed chips to create a crunchy coating.
  • 7. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and immediately fry the fillets till they turn crispy and gold brown, over medium heat, about 3-4 min on each side.
  • 8. Serve it with a side of roasted vegetables or potato fries or with green salad or even in a sandwich like I did.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tandoori Chicken

Servings: 2 (1 whole chicken per person)

  • Cornish hens - 2, (about 300-350 gms each) whole & skin-on, cavities cleaned
  • Plain Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Lime juice - 1 tbsp
  • Jarred Capers - 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste - 2 tsp, freshly made
  • Ginger paste - 1.5 tsp, freshly made
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tsp (I like it hot)
  • Shan Tandoori Spice mix - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Ketchup - 1 tbsp
  • Butter - 1/2 cup, melted
  • 1. Clean the chickens thoroughly. Wipe up any moisture with a paper towel. Set aside
  • 2. In sealable bowl, mix in all the ingredients (except the butter) for the marinade. Rub the marinade thoroughly all over the chickens. Make sure to stuff some of the marinade inside the cavities and underneath the skin.
  • 3. Marinate for 2 days, sealed and refrigerated or minimum of 2 hours. However, the longer you marinade the tastier it gets.
  • 4. On the day of cooking, take the chickens out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before roasting.
  • 5. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). Tie the legs of the chickens or set it in with a roasting skewer, so that they will not open up while cooking.
  • 6. Wrap a roasting tray with some aluminum foil. Place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Clean the top rack and spray some oil on it to avoid sticking.
  • 7. Melt the stick of butter and mix it in with chicken marinade. Place the chickens, leg side up, directly on to the top rack. Bake for 1.5-2 hours, basting it with the buttered marinade every 15 min. When you baste it, turn the chickens as well so that it will cook and get charred up all over evenly.
  • 8. The tray on the bottom rack will be collecting all the dripped off juice from the chicken. If you like, you can place some potatoes, onions etc, on the tray before you place it on the bottom rack, under the chickens. The vegetables will be cooked in the marinade dripping from the chickens and taste absolutely fabulous.
  • 9. To check that the chicken has been cooked all the way through, place a knife on the thickest part of the chicken, if the juice runs clear, you chicken is cook.
  • 10. Once cooked, let it rest for 10 min before serving. Serve with any side you like. I serve the Tandoori chickens with freshly baked rolls and potatoes baked in the dripping juice of the chickens. Bon Appétit!