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.

 

Buttermilk Fried Spring Onions

Every time I visit my local Mexican grocery store, I tend to shop around after devouring some tacos. I get the staples which typically include limes, cilantro, garlic, chilies, avocados, and tortillas. I my often look at the other great produce and always look at the great large spring onions. These are not your typical green onions that you find in most markets. These are the ones where the bulb is about 5 times larger than a standard green onion. They are known as spring onions, and as they look much like a scallion, they have just a bit more of a bite. This is when I decided to pick up a bunch and head home.

At first I was going to lube them up with some olive oil and salt, and toss them on the grill, but I figured my recent Mexican alambre had enough going on in terms of peppers, onions, and chilies, so I held off only to soak them in buttermilk and batter them the following day. These things were awesome, and now I know that I will be buying more of these spring onions!

Buttermilk Fried Spring Onions Recipe
Buttermilk Fried Spring Onions Recipe

Let’s get started:

  • 1 bunch of spring onions, tips and tails trimmed
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooking oil

Start by adding the spring onions to a sealable bag. Pour in the buttermilk, seal, and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  Next, add the gochujang and mayonnaise to a small bowl, and use a fork to blend the two together. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready for use.

The following day, add the flour, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Give a good stir. Take the spring onions, draining them from the buttermilk, and add them to the bowl.

Give a good toss to make sure the onions are well coated, then heat up a skillet on medium heat, adding in the oil.

How to make buttermilk fried spring onions
How to make buttermilk fried spring onions

Once the oil comes to temperature, about 350 degrees, gently add in a few spring onions. Cook for a couple of minutes per side (if not fully submerged), until the batter is golden brown. Once golden, remove with some tongs and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Repeat.

To your serving plate, take the gochujang and mayonnaise mixture, and with a spoon smear it onto the center of the serving plate.

Line up the fried spring onions on top of the sauce, and serve.

My wife, who was hesitant of the mayonnaise mixture, was swiping that spring onion, and biting into the perfectly cooked onion. The onion was nice and crispy on the exterior, while warm and cooked through (not limp) on the inside, and well, the gochujang and mayonnaise mixture just took it one step further.

The only downside to this recipe is that I did not make about 4 bunches of spring onions. Now I know! Hope you enjoy!

Buttermilk Fried Spring Onions
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, tips and tails trimmed
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the spring onions to a sealable bag. Pour in the buttermilk, seal, and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Next, add the gochujang and mayonnaise to a small bowl, and use a fork to blend the two together. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready for use.
  2. The following day, add the flour, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Give a good stir. Take the spring onions, draining them from the buttermilk, and add them to the bowl.
  3. Give a good toss to make sure the onions are well coated, then heat up a skillet on medium heat, adding in the oil.
  4. Once the oil comes to temperature, about 350 degrees, gently add in a few spring onions. Cook for a couple of minutes per side (if not fully submerged), until the batter is golden brown. Once golden, remove with some tongs and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Repeat.
  5. To your serving plate, take the gochujang and mayonnaise mixture, and with a spoon smear it onto the center of the serving plate.
  6. Line up the fried spring onions on top of the sauce, and serve.

 

Crispy Fried Shallots

This past weekend I stopped by one of our local ethnic markets called Cermak. I actually like shopping at this place as the have an array of ethnic aisles and pretty good produce to boot. This particular stop actually yielded a bunch of fruit, Indian chilies, and a bunch of shallots (on sale). I typically cook with shallots throughout the week, and the package had about 8 shallots for something under a dollar! I was in. Granted I did not know what I would be doing with these shallots until I decided I would make burgers on the grill.

As I was driving my son and daughter to Sunday school, I asked what they wanted on their burgers. They stated ‘plain with slow cooked onions and mushrooms’, and ‘just cheese’. That’s when those shallots sparked. I asked them if they had ever tried crispy, thin onions on their burger, and both responded with a ‘no’. That’s when those shallots sparked by attention, and hence why my entire family devoured all of them.

These are super easy to make (just get your onion goggles on to prevent the tears), and only requires a bit of time.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • salt

Does it get any easier than this? Also note, the oil that is leftover can be stored, and used in stir fry and various other saute’s, and one that has a great onion taste.

Start by adding the oil to a small pot. Add the shallots to the cold oil. Bring the oil to a medium-low heat, stirring along the way, and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until they get a nice light golden brown. Once you get that light golden brown, remove the crispy shallots with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, and place onto a paper towel lined plate.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Immediately season with salt. As the shallots drain any excess oil, they will continue to cook from the residual heat and get nice and crispy.

Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe
Crispy Fried Shallots Recipe

Place into a bowl and serve alongside, or on your favorite burger. As soon as my kids tasted them, I said ‘see what I was talking about in the car?’, they were eating them like chips. Next time I will have to make double the amount! Hope you enjoy.

Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes

Good Lord I love pimento cheese! Pimento cheese is something that I probably only make about twice a year, but when I do, I just cannot get enough of it. As a man from the North, this recipe is typically one from the South, and it is typically referred to as the ‘caviar of the South’, and I can tell why. If you have never tried pimento cheese, well, I suggest you make it yourself as it is not only super easy to make, but it is extremely delicious.

Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes Recipe
Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes Recipe

Pimento cheese is pretty diverse as well and it can be made several different ways, but the main foundation is shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. I like to twist mine up from time to time, and include a couple of different ingredients. This latest batch was used not only for some dip, but I took a twist as a side dish and made twice baked potatoes, loaded with pimento cheese. Whoa, was this ever great.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, hand grated
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz diced pimentos, drained
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 whole potatoes, cooked until fork tender
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Start by adding the cheeses, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic, and pimentos to a small mixing bowl. Use a fork, and carefully stir and blend the mixture together. Make sure everything is combined.

Grab a cracker, and spread some of that delicious pimento cheese on top. Eat. Now you have to back away, otherwise you may attempt to eat that entire bowl. Cover and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to use for the potatoes.

Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes
Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes

You have a couple of options with your potatoes. Put them into the microwave for about 9 minutes, or place them into a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. It’s your call. The goal however is to get them to be fork tender.

Once they are fork tender, remove them and let them cool slightly.

Take a knife, and carefully cut around the top of the potato. Repeat with the other one. Take the tops off and scrape any potato into a bowl. Use a spoon and scrape out the insides of each potato, being careful not to tear the skin.

To the potato mixture, add the butter, and milk. Use a fork or whisk, and mash the potato mixture. Now you are ready for the pimento cheese!

Add the potato mixture back into each potato. Generously top each potato with heaping tablespoons of the pimento cheese.

Place these onto a baking sheet, and place into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese mixture is nice and bubbly.

Dig in!

If you love the basic twice baked potato, then you are going to fall in love with these. Not only are they cheesy, and super creamy, but you get that awesomeness from the pimentos and that slight kick of garlic that make these an ultimate side dish, or heck, dinner for that matter! Hope you enjoy!

Twice Baked Pimento Cheese Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, hand grated
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz diced pimentos, drained
  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 whole potatoes, cooked until fork tender
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the cheeses, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic, and pimentos to a small mixing bowl. Use a fork, and carefully stir and blend the mixture together. Make sure everything is combined.
  2. Grab a cracker, and spread some of that delicious pimento cheese on top. Eat. Now you have to back away, otherwise you may attempt to eat that entire bowl. Cover and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to use for the potatoes.
  3. You have a couple of options with your potatoes. Put them into the microwave for about 9 minutes, or place them into a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. It’s your call. The goal however is to get them to be fork tender.
  4. Once they are fork tender, remove them and let them cool slightly.
  5. Take a knife, and carefully cut around the top of the potato. Repeat with the other one. Take the tops off and scrape any potato into a bowl. Use a spoon and scrape out the insides of each potato, being careful not to tear the skin.
  6. To the potato mixture, add the butter, and milk. Use a fork or whisk, and mash the potato mixture. Now you are ready for the pimento cheese!
  7. Add the potato mixture back into each potato. Generously top each potato with heaping tablespoons of the pimento cheese.
  8. Place these onto a baking sheet, and place into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese mixture is nice and bubbly.
  9. Dig in!