African Style Rice

I know what you must be thinking (maybe), ‘why is Dax posting about an African style rice recipe when it is so close to Cinco de Mayo! Shouldn’t he be posting about some Mexican recipe instead!?’.  I thought the same thing, for only a second, but this recipe is too good not to post. Of course I will be knocking out some sort of Mexican torta in a couple of days, but in the meantime, the focus is on an African style rice dish that is loaded with awesome spices.

This recipe was inspired by a couple of different thoughts. One being the chicken suqaar sandwich and some flavors of Indian food that I recently had. When the two came together, it was a match made in heaven. This is a recipe that is a one pot meal, and one that you could eat throughout the day, or week. It makes plenty and has you questioning the spice blend.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.

Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.

Now add in the garlic, ginger, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?

Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.

Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.

I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.

This African style rice was pretty darn awesome, and pretty to boot due to the turmeric. Hope you enjoy.

African Style Rice
Author: 
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.
  2. Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.
  3. Now add in the garlic, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?
  4. Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.
  5. Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.
  6. Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.
  7. I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.

 

Beef Tongue Tacos

I remember years ago when my coworkers and I went to our local taqueria  and one of my colleagues ordered beef tongue tacos. I didn’t flinch at all as I was used to plenty of my friends eating ‘weird’ things in my life. I always had an interest in beef tongue, and on a recent visit to my favorite taqueria, I decided to get a beef tongue taco, or taco de lengua, and base my own recipe off what my experience was with theirs. To say the least, the beef tongue taco was amazing, not only in how ‘beefy’ it tasted, but also in texture. I swear, if I served you own, you would most likely think it was some type of beef. That’s when I decided to take things in my own hands, and head back to the meat department and order a tongue.

I did not tell anyone the following day (well I told my daughter as she was baking a cake) what I was making as I wanted to surprise them when I was going to serve the tongue tacos the following day. Were they surprised? Yes.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Making the beef tongue takes a few hours to make, but it is totally worth it, plus you are left with some awesome beef stock when you are done.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.

Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).

Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.

Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

It is everything I love about a simple taco. A slightly charred flour tortilla with a bite from the jalapeno and onion, along with the tartness from the lime. I’m in. Now with the nicely charred tongue, and now I have a new favorite taco.

Short of the story… DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS! The new things can be down right amazing.

Beef Tongue Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.
  3. Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
  4. After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).
  5. Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.
  6. Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.
  7. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.
  8. Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

 

Filipino Bicol Express

It has been weird in some ways not sharing a weekly recipe creation with all of you. Fortunately, however, my family was able to disconnect (well except for my kids and their darn devices) and take a week long road trip. Where you may ask? Tennessee, the whole state and wow was it a blast. I think, and I hope we got so much in during the week. I went down on a mission, a different one than my wife and probably kids for that matter, and that was to try some of the best barbecue and fried chicken I have ever had; hands down ever. In summary Rendezvous ribs and barbecue nachos, Gus’s Fried Chicken, Peg Leg Barbecue ribs (got the last rack and it was only noon (they opened at 11)), and Hatti B’s Nashville hot chicken. So with that said, I’m ready to share with you a great recipe, and one that has some heat to it, much like Hatti B’s!

Bicol Express is a Filipino dish that finally has some heat to it. Don’t get me wrong here, I love pretty much any Filipino dish that has come my way, but I’m always questioning in my mind ‘Do they not use any heat when cooking?’.

This is the perfect answer to that question. I love how the Filipino’s use vinegar, garlic, and lots of black pepper in some of their dishes, and that is right up my alley, but this recipe has me. It’s a stew with very simple ingredients. It’s comforting. It has the perfect heat, and is great served alongside rice.

Filipino Bicol Express Recipe
Filipino Bicol Express Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb pork belly, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 tbsp roasted shrimp paste (this stuff stinks but brings such umami)
  • 1 whole onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 14 fresh chilies (Thai Bird, Indian Green Chile, or Serrano) of your choice, stems removed, chiles sliced in half
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cooked rice, optional

Start by heating a medium sized pot (you will cook everything in this pot) on medium heat, then add the oil. Once the oil comes to temperature, add in the cubed pork belly.

Cook the pork belly, turning along the way, until all sides become browned.

Once the pork is browned, add in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Give a good stir, and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or so.

Next add in the shrimp paste. Turn on your vent on high as this stuff has some funk (good funk), and continue to stir. Toss in the chilies, stir again, then add in the coconut milk.

How to make Filipino Bicol Express
How to make Filipino Bicol Express

Bring this to a simmer, and cook for about 1 hour, on low, stirring along the way.

Before serving, taste and season with any salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to dig in. I like to serve with a small bowl of rice to the side, along with a soup bowl of the Bicol Express. This dish is rich, creamy, spicy, funky, and overall totally comforting and right up my alley. Don’t be scared of the chiles as you can eat around them. The chilies overall bring that subtle heat to the dish overall, but if you are searching for a bit of that chili punch when eating, go ahead and bite into them! Hope you enjoy, and it’s great to be back!

Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia

Gosh, I do love jalapeno poppers, don’t you? I love the actual surprise, not only with the piping hot cheese but the uncertainty if the jalapeno is going to be on the mild side, or the hot side. I prefer the hot side. With that said, Filipinos are notorious for making really awesome egg rolls, what they call lumpia, or lumpia shanghai.  My wife introduced me, or should I say her family introduced me to these styles of egg rolls. Their wrappers are crispy, and inside is an array of things such as ground pork, potatoes, small shrimps, and green beans.  This is how my in laws make them, and one that I often make for my family, only with this exception. The exception being the fact that I had four large fresh jalapeno peppers on my cutting board, just staring at me and wanting me to do something with them. That’s when I figured I would try out some new egg roll, or lumpia wrappers, and instead of going the classic lumpia way, I decided to stuff some and fry them up. Were they excellent? You bet your butt they were.

Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia Recipe
Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 lb ground pork, cooked and cooled
  • 4 jalapenos, stems removed, cored and seeds removed
  • 1 russet potato, skins removed, cubed and cooked until just tender
  • 2 cups of cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste

Gently fold the cooked, cubed potatoes into the cooled pork mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and give a gentle stir.

Take one cored jalapeno pepper, and using a small spoon, stuff the meat mixture, gently packing it in, into the jalapeno. Fill it to the top, and repeat with the remaining peppers.

Reserve the remaining meat mixture for making more lumpia, or use more jalapenos and repeat the process with however many you would like. Again, I only went with four as I knew I would be the only one eating the ones with peppers.

Next, take one egg roll wrapper and lay out with the point in front of you, can towards you.

Place the stuffed jalapeno pepper, about a quarter way, in the middle, closest to you. Fold the sides over, take the point closest to you, and begin to roll, bringing in the sides if necessary. Refer to this image if needed. Roll just about 90% to the top, then brush the point with the beaten egg. Roll and seal.

How to make Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia
How to make Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia

Do the same with any remaining pork mixture, using about 1/2 cup per lumpia.

Heat the oil in a small pan, and bring to a medium heat. Once heated, add a few of the lumpia and cook until the wrappers are a golden brown.

Remove the lumpia with some tongs or chopsticks, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil.

Continue cooking the remaining lumpia.

Let these cool for a few minutes before digging in. I plated mine on a bed of lettuce, sliced in half to expose the delicious pork, and showered the plate with some roasted peanuts.

Grab a cold beer or glass of wine, and dig into these jalapeno stuffed lumpia. I hope you enjoy!