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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Thai Lemongrass and Ginger Dipping Sauce

I thought it was funny the other day while driving my daughter on one of my errands, that when prompting her with the classic ‘what do you think we should have for dinner?’ question, she immediately responded with lettuce wraps and sticky rice. I find that funny because most kids here age would probably say things like pizza, or hot dogs, or burgers. Sticky rice and lettuce wraps. I’m glad my kids not only are able to experience new things that I make for them, but they appreciate and have fun interacting with things like sticky rice.

Anytime I make sticky rice, I always, always make a batch of some type of dipping sauce. Some of my favorites are the Thai shallot sauce, as well as a Thai three sauce, but one dear to my heart is a very simple sauce that is so addictive. It’s the Thai lemongrass dipping sauce.

Thai Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

This sauce is not only great with dipping your sticky rice into, but you can drizzle it on grilled meats, lettuce wraps, and everything in between.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced into a paste
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 whole lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Add everything to a small mixing bowl, and let it sit out on your table until you are ready to serve. How to make a Thai Dipping Sauce

 

You could go as simple as the chilies, garlic, lime, and fish sauce and that still makes an awesome sauce, but the addition of the lemongrass and ginger really enhance this sauce. My daughter, who is curious with various chilies, was dipping a bit of her rice into the sauce, and it’s funny when they do explore the reaction on their faces. This was a bit too hot for my youngest, but I have a feeling years from now she will be answering me when I ask what she would like to eat that it is going to be something along the lines of ‘sticky rice with that spicy dipping sauce’.

Hope you enjoy!

 

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Filipino Kare-Kare

I’ve been married to my wife now for a couple of handful of years, and as she is from Filipino descent, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of Filipino cuisine. I’ve tinkered with giniling, adobo, afritada, lechon manok, the torta, chicharrones with rice, lumpia shanghai, and even a take on sisig, but there is one thing I haven’t tried yet, and that is kare-kare.  You see, my father-in-law is from a province from the Philippines known as Papanga, and they are known for their cooking, and one of their traditional dishes is kare-kare.

Kare-kare is essentially a stew, typically made with oxtail, however other variations do exist. Now I’ve purchased oxtail for my father-in-law in the past, typically from my local Mexican supermarket, but I’ve never smelled, nor tasted this authentic Filipino stew. So as I was at the market a few weeks back, I saw some folks buying oxtail in bulk, and that led me to some interest. I moseyed over there and asked how they were going to make those oxtails. They politely said, that they braise them and serve them with vegetables. That sparked that idea of making kare-kare, and that’s when it began.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Let’s get started.

Now, let me state that not only was this awesome, but I got two thumbs up, with almost a bit of a giggle (because it was that good) from my father-in-law. That meant a lot to me. I also would state that you can go a number of different ways with kare-kare, but this was my take on it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs oxtail, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1/2 lb beef tripe, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 10 cups of water
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bundle of snake beans, or green beans cut into 3 inch segments
  • 5 baby bok choy, rinsed
  • 4 baby Asian egg plant, cut in half
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of toasted, ground rice
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp roasted bagoong (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbsp annatto powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding water to a large soup pot. Add in the oxtail, and bring to a boil. When the scum comes to the surface, skim with a large spoon and discard. Continue boiling until all of the scum is removed, about 3 hours or so.

Next add in the tripe, black peppercorns, fish sauce, and bay leaf. Continue to cook at a low boil for about 1 hour, then remove from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for making kare-kare

Now you might be wondering why I put it in the refrigerator overnight. I do this, not only because my mother-in-law recommended it, but I knew that it was going to have fat from the oxtail that would surface, and I wanted to remove that for a cleaner stew.

So the next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the 1 inch hardened fat that surfaced.

Return the stock pot back to the stove, and bring to a medium heat.

The next couple of steps will get you to have a few pans on the stove. Once your stew comes back to a simmer, remove the oxtail from it and place them on a plate.

Next, heat up a small skillet on medium heat, and add in the oil, and the annatto powder. This gives the great color to the kare-kare. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add in the onions and garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the annatto oil mixture to the stock and give it a good stir.

Add in the roasted shrimp paste as well as the peanut butter and toasted rice. Give another good stir, and continue to simmer the stock.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a bit of oil onto the carrots and egg plants, and cooke until tender, about 30 minutes.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Next, get a stock pot out and add with water, about half way up. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the snake beans, and cook for a few minutes. Once cooked, add them to a bowl of ice water to blanch them. Strain and reserve them for later use.

Do the same with the bok choy.

To a large skillet, bring it to a medium-high heat, and add the oxtail. Brown both sides, and then return them back to the stock.

Now you are ready to serve.

Some will cook the vegetables in the stock, and I went a different route as suggested by our cousin in California. My father-in-law said this is ‘fancy’ kare-kare. I’ll take that.

When you are ready to plate, again, you can go a couple of different routes. I plated mine, arranging the oxtail and tripe, near the rice and array of vegetables, ladling the awesome sauce over the top. However you can add everything to a serving bowl, excluding the rice, mix, and serve. It’s entirely up to you.

Kare-Kare Recipe

When I offered my plating to my father-in-law, I think he was in a bit of shock. Not only how I performed with the classic Papangan kare-kare recipe, but how it was plated. He called me later in the day, thanking me of a job well done. Now I know what kare-kare is, and how awesome this stew was. By the way, have no fear of the oxtail or tripe. It’s a winning combination that will have you wanting more and more.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope to offer you a lot more Filipino recipes in the future.

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Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

Let’s face it, we have pretty bad Chinese food in the greater Milwaukee area. Granted, if I had to chose a restaurant for takeout or dine in, it would be Fortune Chinese Restaurant in West Allis. I say that because the first time my wife and I entered, we were completely out numbered by Chinese patrons. As a matter of fact, I think we were the only caucasians in the place, and the place was packed. After dining in a few times, I came to realize they had the American-Chinese menu, and the bad ass Chinese only menu. With that said, there are American-Chinese dishes that we have known to love, and this is one of them, the shrimp with lobster sauce.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

The name itself is a bit misleading, especially if it is your first time ordering it. The dish itself has no lobster whatsoever, but it is is typically a chicken stock with simple ingredients, that have eggs mixed in to make it a creamy whiteish/yellowish based sauce. A sauce so comforting, and creamy, that goes perfect with shrimp. As my wife really loves shrimp hong sue, I figured I would knock out this recipe and she how she liked it. Let’s say she just fell in love with this one.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb shrimp, (16-20’s), peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • Jasmine rice, cooked

Start by adding a few cups of water to a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. Add in the ground pork, and cook for about 5 minutes. This gets out any of the meat scum (if you will), and creates a cleaner sauce in my opinion. After 5 minutes, strain and rinse. Add the pork to a small bowl and reserve for cooking in a few minutes.

Next, get a large skillet out and bring to a medium-high heat. Add in the canola oil, and toss in the garlic, ginger, ground pork, and shrimp. Stir for a few minutes until the garlic is nice and fragrant but not browned.

Next, toss in the chicken stock, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and Chinese wine. Stir, and let this come to a simmer.

How to make Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

During this time, add the corn starch with the water, and stir until the corn starch is completely incorporated. This is called a slurry, and helps thicken sauces. It’s a hidden weapon in American-Chinese cooking, trust me.

Once you have a nice simmer, add in the slurry and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Toss in the peas. You should have this awesome looking sauce that will remind you of all American-Chinese cooking. Next, add in beaten egg and continue to stir. The sauce should darken a bit when the egg is incorporated.

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce Recipe

Now you are ready to serve.

To a serving bowl, add some rice, and ladle in some of the shrimp with lobster sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and dig in.

The end result is nothing short of comfort food. You get this awesome smooth sauce, succulent shrimp, that is balanced by subtle hints of garlic and ginger. It’s a quintessential dish that should be served more times than none. I hope you enjoy!

Shrimp with Lobster Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb shrimp, (16-20’s), peeled and deveined
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • Jasmine rice, cooked
Instructions
  1. Start by adding a few cups of water to a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. Add in the ground pork, and cook for about 5 minutes. This gets out any of the meat scum (if you will), and creates a cleaner sauce in my opinion. After 5 minutes, strain and rinse. Add the pork to a small bowl and reserve for cooking in a few minutes.
  2. Next, get a large skillet out and bring to a medium-high heat. Add in the canola oil, and toss in the garlic, ginger, ground pork, and shrimp. Stir for a few minutes until the garlic is nice and fragrant but not browned.
  3. Next, toss in the chicken stock, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and Chinese wine. Stir, and let this come to a simmer.
  4. During this time, add the corn starch with the water, and stir until the corn starch is completely incorporated. This is called a slurry, and helps thicken sauces. It’s a hidden weapon in American-Chinese cooking, trust me.
  5. Once you have a nice simmer, add in the slurry and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Toss in the peas. You should have this awesome looking sauce that will remind you of all American-Chinese cooking. Next, add in beaten egg and continue to stir. The sauce should darken a bit when the egg is incorporated.
  6. Now you are ready to serve.
  7. To a serving bowl, add some rice, and ladle in some of the shrimp with lobster sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and dig in.

 

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