Indian Aloo

I’ve told you that lately I have been on the Indian food craze. I must go in spurts on this kind of stuff, whether it be Asian cuisine, American comfort, or Mexican style food, but this whole flavor arena of Indian cooking has got me sold. What I love about much of Indian cuisine is not only all of the earthy spices, but the warmth that surrounds you when eating it. Anything similar to a curry sauce has got me, and this one in particular got me real good. It’s basically a lightly fried potato that gets bathed in an awesome sauce. It’s a great side dish, or heck even a main course.

Indian Dum Aloo

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 20 baby yukon gold potatoes, cleaned
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 whole green chili peppers, stems removed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • rice, cooked (optional)
  • naan, optional
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding your potatoes to a pot and fill with cool water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, and cook just until fork tender.

During this time, make the paste, or sauce if you will.

Add the ginger, tomatoes, turmeric powder, and green chilies to a food processor. Pulse until you have a salsa like nice sauce.

How to make Indian Aloo

 

Once the potatoes are cook, strain and set to the side.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and after a minute or two, add the canola oil. Once heated, add the potatoes to the skillet, and give the skillet a nice swirl. You going to crisp the skin on these potatoes for about 8 minutes. Once they are getting crispy remove the potatoes to a plate and reserve for later.

To the same skillet add in the cumin and mustard seeds, and let them sizzle for about a minute, stirring along the way.

Next add in your onions, and cook these until they are super tender, but not caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the cinnamon, garam masala, and coriander powder.

Add in the sauce and continue to stir. Add in your salt, and yogurt and give another good stir. Once the sauce begins to simmer, add in the potatoes, and again stir. Cook for about 10 more minutes to let the flavors meld.

Now you are ready to plate. If you are not already anxious to eat this due to the aroma in your kitchen, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you!

Serve alongside rice or naan, or other warm Indian bread, and shower with fresh cilantro if you desire.

Hope you enjoy!

Indian Aloo
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 20 baby yukon gold potatoes, cleaned
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 whole green chili peppers, stems removed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1½ tsp salt, to taste
  • rice, cooked (optional)
  • naan, optional
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by adding your potatoes to a pot and fill with cool water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, and cook just until fork tender.
  2. During this time, make the paste, or sauce if you will.
  3. Add the ginger, tomatoes, turmeric powder, and green chilies to a food processor. Pulse until you have a salsa like nice sauce.
  4. Once the potatoes are cook, strain and set to the side.
  5. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and after a minute or two, add the canola oil. Once heated, add the potatoes to the skillet, and give the skillet a nice swirl. You going to crisp the skin on these potatoes for about 8 minutes. Once they are getting crispy remove the potatoes to a plate and reserve for later.
  6. To the same skillet add in the cumin and mustard seeds, and let them sizzle for about a minute, stirring along the way.
  7. Next add in your onions, and cook these until they are super tender, but not caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, garam masala, and coriander powder.
  8. Add in the sauce and continue to stir. Add in your salt, and yogurt and give another good stir. Once the sauce begins to simmer, add in the potatoes, and again stir. Cook for about 10 more minutes to let the flavors meld.
  9. Now you are ready to plate. If you are not already anxious to eat this due to the aroma in your kitchen, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you!
  10. Serve alongside rice or naan, or other warm Indian bread, and shower with fresh cilantro if you desire.

 

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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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Pho Style Chicken Stock

Do you love Vietnamese pho as much as I do? Sometimes I feel I cannot get enough of it. If you have never tried pho, please go out and try it, or better yet try making your own. The broth is unique in the sense that I know you will fall in love with it. It has notes of cinnamon, star anise, and roasted onions and ginger that it has you slurping up those noodles, beef, and bean sprouts like you were some sort of soup ninja. As pho is typically done with beef, there is also a chicken pho that is just as great. So recently I decided to make a big batch of pho style chicken stock to be used in some of my braises, and a base for ramen throughout the week. This stock is so good that you can simply reheat any day during the week, and drink it from a cup.

Pho Style Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole onions
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • 1.5 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 quarts of water, to cover
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sake, optional
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the onions and ginger to a baking sheet, and place into the oven until they are nice and charred. You can do this on your grill as well if you desire. Once charred, add them to the stock pot, along with the chicken pieces, salt, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, sake, and sugar.

How to make chicken pho stock

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat. You will notice a bunch of chicken scum come to the top during the simmer. No fear. You want to remove all of this. Use a skimmer to remove the scum, and discard. If you do not have a skimmer, use a large spoon. Continue to remove the scum as it appears.

I cooked my stock for about 6 hours, because, hey, why not? Once thoroughly cooked, strain using a chinois, or another type of strainer over a large pot. I use the chinois, and press the mixture until all of the stock is strained. Let the stock cool, the cover and refrigerate.

When you are ready to use, add the stock (it will be thickened from all of that great chicken fat) to your pot to reheat, letting it come to a boil.

This pho style chicken stock is just loaded with awesome flavor, and again is something you can use for a couple of weeks, whether that be with a noodle soup, a braise, or as part of a slow cooker recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Pho Style Chicken Stock
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole onions
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • 1.5 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 quarts of water, to cover
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 whole star anise
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sake, optional
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the onions and ginger to a baking sheet, and place into the oven until they are nice and charred. You can do this on your grill as well if you desire. Once charred, add them to the stock pot, along with the chicken pieces, salt, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, sake, and sugar.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat. You will notice a bunch of chicken scum come to the top during the simmer. No fear. You want to remove all of this. Use a skimmer to remove the scum, and discard. If you do not have a skimmer, use a large spoon. Continue to remove the scum as it appears.
  3. I cooked my stock for about 6 hours, because, hey, why not? Once thoroughly cooked, strain using a chinois, or another type of strainer over a large pot. I use the chinois, and press the mixture until all of the stock is strained. Let the stock cool, the cover and refrigerate.
  4. When you are ready to use, add the stock (it will be thickened from all of that great chicken fat) to your pot to reheat, letting it come to a boil.

 

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Beef Cheek Tacos

I have been thinking about making tongue tacos lately. I know, many might think of this being gross, however if you have never ordered ‘lengua’ from your local tacqueria, well you are missing out. The great thing about using other cuts of beef are that they are not only tender, but the beef flavor escalates into something extraordinary, and to me that is pretty awesome. So this past weekend when I was shopping for both Asian and Mexican ingredients, and devouring some great tacos from El Rey in Milwaukee, I decided to browse around and try to find tongue. They had pork tongue, but not beef, but with that said, I saw this great package of beef cheeks. I was all in.

How to make Beef Cheek Tacos

I was not going to let my family know what I was making, and as far as they knew, it was just beef. If I mentioned beef cheeks, I knew that they would probably hesitate, and back out from trying it. So the night before, I decided to brine it, as I would have if making beef tongue. Trust me on this one, find and make beef cheeks.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Brine:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • 2 cups of water or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas

Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the way, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.

Beef Cheek Tacos

Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.

Beef Cheek Tacos

After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the beef cheeks.

When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.

How to make beef cheek tacos

When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

My son, who is now getting into onions, and one that was lingering around when I was making these tacos, tried one (I was surprised as he was not a fan of avocado, but was convinced by my sell) and devoured it.  These beef cheek tacos are probably now my favorite, and I do not kid you when I say that. The texture was spot on, and the beefiness escalated from that of skirt or flank steak, plus a heck of a lot cheaper.  Give these a shot if you are looking from some really great beef tacos. Hope you enjoy!

Beef Cheek Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Brine:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed
  • Ingredients for the tacos:
  • cups of water or beef stock
  • Brined Beef Cheeks
  • tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • shallot, minced
  • /2 avocado, diced
  • whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the ways, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.
  2. Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.
  4. After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the cheeks.
  5. When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.
  6. When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

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