Baingan Bharta

I’ve been on an Indian food making deal lately. I’m not sure if my attempt is to start eating more healthy, or if it is to get rid of an array, and large quantity of Indian spices. Who knows, but I’m leaning more on the side of trying to eat more healthy, and I think Indian food, for the most part, is a good example of using great spices that are good for you, as well as getting more vegetables incorporated into the meat. This is a perfect example of this type of dish, baingan bharta.

Baingan bharta is roasted eggplant dip, similar in some ways to baba ghanoush. This one however uses different spices, and really makes it an awesome eggplant curry that is perfectly paired with naan, or other Indian style bread, or better yet served with a small bit of rice.

Baingan Bartha Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole eggplant, medium to large in size
  • 2 whole vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 whole red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 whole green Indian chili, stem removed, or 1 for less spiciness
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro

The beauty of this is the roasting of the eggplant. Much like baba ghanoush, you can get your charcoal grill going, and place the eggplant directly onto the coals so you get that awesome smoky flavor into the dip.

If you do not have a charcoal grill, you could roast on high heat in the oven until the flesh is nice and charred all the way around the eggplant.

Once the eggplant cools, and trust me you want it to cool, remove the skin, and reserve the rest of the eggplant.

Chop the eggplant into medium sized cubes and set to the side as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

To a food processor, add the tomatoes, green chili, and ginger and pulse until you have a salsa like consistency.

How to make baingan bartha

 

To a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add in the canola oil, letting it come to temperature. Add in the cumin seeds and let them begin to pop, only a few seconds, then add in the bell pepper, and tomato mixture. Give this a good stir and let it come to a simmer.

Next add in the remaining spices, and continue to stir. Once all of the spices are incorporated, add in the chopped eggplant. Let this cook on medium heat, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Everything should begin to thicken, just a bit. Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.

Now you are ready to serve. Add some of the eggplant dip to a serving dish, top with some cilantro, and serve alongside warm naan or cooked rice.

This stuff is highly addicting. It has all of those great Indian flavors that you would expect, along with some spice from the chilies. Let’s just say my daughter loved this, and I did as well. If you are looking for another great eggplant dip, give this one a try. I hope you enjoy!

Baingan Bharta
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Dips, Sides
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole eggplant, medium to large in size
  • 2 whole vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ whole red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 whole green Indian chili, stem removed, or 1 for less spiciness
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. The beauty of this is the roasting of the eggplant. Much like baba ghanoush, you can get your charcoal grill going, and place the eggplant directly onto the coals so you get that awesome smoky flavor into the dip.
  2. If you do not have a charcoal grill, you could roast on high heat in the oven until the flesh is nice and charred all the way around the eggplant.
  3. Once the eggplant cools, and trust me you want it to cool, remove the skin, and reserve the rest of the eggplant.
  4. Chop the eggplant into medium sized cubes and set to the side as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  5. To a food processor, add the tomatoes, green chili, and ginger and pulse until you have a salsa like consistency.
  6. o a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add in the canola oil, letting it come to temperature. Add in the cumin seeds and let them begin to pop, only a few seconds, then add in the bell pepper, and tomato mixture. Give this a good stir and let it come to a simmer.
  7. Next add in the remaining spices, and continue to stir. Once all of the spices are incorporated, add in the chopped eggplant. Let this cook on medium heat, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Everything should begin to thicken, just a bit. Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Add some of the eggplant dip to a serving dish, top with some cilantro, and serve alongside warm naan or cooked rice.

 

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Loaded Fajita French Fries

For whatever reason, I have been thinking of loaded fries lately. Not sure if I had nachos on my mind, or maybe it was those darn kimchi fries I made not too long ago, but it was time for me to take some action and get down to it and make a batch of fries. I had set out a rump roast the previous evening and not knowing what to do with it, I decided to turn it into some Mexican fajita meat, and beat down my craving for fries. This is when the whole idea of fajita french fries came into play.

Loaded Fajita French Fries

Think of this as everything you love about fajitas, but stacked on top of crispy cheese fries. Addicting, delicious, and something perfect for snacking on with some friends. Typically flank or skirt steak are used for fajitas, but the rump roast turned out just fine, especially in a great marinade.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb rump roast, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of your favorite french fries, cooked
  • sour cream, optional
  • salsa, optional
  • 3 tbsp canola oil

Start by marinading your meat. Mix the brown sugar, half of the lime juice, garlic, and soy sauce in a baking dish, and mix until the sugar dissolves.

Add in your rump roast, and gently toss to combine the marinade. Cover and let this marinate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

To another bowl, add the peppers and onion, and toss in the other half of the lime juice, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cumin powder. Give a good stir, and cover and place in the refrigerator.

How to make loaded fajita french fries

When you are about ready to make these fries, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the oil and give it a nice swirl.

Lay in your meat, being careful not to crowd it, and cook on both sides until it is nice and caramelized. You may have to wash out and scrape your skillet and repeat as the sugar from the marinade may stick to the skillet. Repeat with any remaining beef.

During this time, cook your french fries until they are nice and crispy.

Once the meat is cooked, cut into thinner strips.

To another skillet, add in about a half tablespoon of oil, and on medium-high heat, add in the bell peppers and onions. Cook until they are just slightly softened.

Remove the fries when they are crisp and top with the shredded cheese. Return back to the oven until the cheese is nice and melted.

Remove the cheesy fries, and top with the sliced beef and bell peppers and onions. Drizzle on your salsa and give a little dollop of sour cream.

Now get in there and dig in.

Talk about comfort food! The crispy cheesy fries paired with the peppers and beef. Whoa. Don’t even get me started on the beef. My kids saw the beef right away and wanted me to make them some Mexican street tacos (which I did) and I thought they were going to eat it all, preventing me from making my fries! Hands down a fun dish to serve up. Fajitas in french fry style. What’s not to love. Hope you enjoy!

 

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Char Siu Pizza

Last week I had a real hankering do get some pho for lunch. There is this great place (finally) near where we live called Pho King. They have some of the best pho in town, in my opinion, and as I was pulling into the plaza, I noticed a new shop called Lucky’s Chinese Bakery. I had to stop in, and boy was I glad I did. This place was full on busy with Chinese workers slinging all sorts of stuffed buns. There was whole roasted duck sitting in front of me, along with char siu and crispy roasted pork. I thought I was in heaven for a second, but then I snapped out of it and began ordering. I ordered both porks, and a few buns, then went home to sample everything. EVERYTHING was really, really good.

I had plenty of char siu, a style of sweet barbecue pork that is chopped up, leftover, and as I was making pizzas on my Kettle Pizza, I decided to come up with a char siu pizza. It was great.

Char Siu Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, rolled or tossed into 12″ round
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Chinese char siu, sliced and cooked
  • 1/2 whole jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp light cornmeal

Pretty basic stuff, but the great thing, at least in my opinion, is that you get that sweetness from the char siu that is balanced by that subtle heat from the jalapenos. A perfect marriage in my opinion.

How to make a char siu pizza

Heat your oven to the highest temperature, with a pizza stone. In my case, I use the Kettle Pizza, which I think I have mastered pizzas now, and again get it up to the highest temperature. I find that around 620 degrees, in that area is a great temperature to get a pizza cooked in a matter of minutes.

While your stone is heating up, make the pizza.

Lightly dust a pizza peel with the cornmeal. Shape your dough and lay it onto the peel.

Lightly toss on the sauce, cheese, onions, jalapenos, and sliced char siu.

Slide the pizza off of the peel onto the hot stone, and cook for a couple of minutes. Once the dough begins to cook, in my case pretty quickly, take some tongs and turn it 45 degrees to prevent any hot spots.

Once cooked to your liking, remove it from the stone, and slice and serve.

I love experimenting with new pizza ingredients, and this one was no exception. It was perfectly balanced in flavor and I will make it again if I have any leftover char siu. Hope you enjoy!

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Poutine Potato Skins

Poutine. If you have never had poutine, you must seek and consume this wonderful recipe from Quebec, Canada. Yes, our friends to the north created this recipe where you have twice cooked fries, topped with cheese curds, and smothered in a brown gravy. It’s bar food at it’s finest. It’s messy, and it’s really, really good. I’ve been thinking about poutine for quiet some time now, and recently I decided to take the idea of poutine, but twist it up a little bit. This is where the poutine potato skin came into play.

Poutine Potato Skins

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package McCormick Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 small handful of french fries, cooked
  • 1 cup of white cheese curds
  • scallions, sliced (optional)

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.

Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise.  With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.

Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.

Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.

During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.

How to make poutine potato skins

Once the potato skins are nice and crispy on the exterior, remove from the oven, and add a few crispy french fries into the bottom of each potato. Yes, more potato in a potato.

Top with cheese curds, and pour on the hot brown gravy. Shower with sliced scallions if you desire.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. Let me tell you. There is poutine, and there is poutine that just got a whole heck of a lot better. Not only are these a bit more mess free, but it’s the perfect vehicle to serve in. You get the nice and crispy potato skin, the crisp texture of the fry, and then those darn delicious cheese curds, still with some squeak, and the saltiness from the brown gravy.

Poutine Potato Skins

I’ll admit, I ate three of them. My kids had no interest (I should say my oldest), but my wife, who I was skeptical if she would enjoy these, LOVED them.  Let’s just say I will be making these again soon. Hope you enjoy!

Poutine Potato Skins
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package McCormick Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 small handful of french fries, cooked
  • 1 cup of white cheese curds
  • scallions, sliced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.
  3. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.
  4. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.
  5. During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.
  7. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.
  8. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.
  9. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.
  10. During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.
  11. How to make poutine potato skins
  12. Once the potato skins are nice and crispy on the exterior, remove from the oven, and add a few crispy french fries into the bottom of each potato. Yes, more potato in a potato.
  13. Top with cheese curds, and pour on the hot brown gravy. Shower with sliced scallions if you desire.

 

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