Wednesday, February 22 –
It has been a while, but we finally got Sassy Country Girl back as a guest (and a guest dessert chef!). As always we also had Wonderful Boyfriend and Roommate Extraordinaire, who brought the wine for everyone to share.
This recipe threw me off a little, mostly because I thought I was smarter than it… and I wasn’t. I thought for four people I should use two onions rather than three. I also thought that I’d use chicken breast tenders because they take less time to cook and they are easier to eat once they are in your bowl. But I didn’t think about the amount of broth that went into it. So other than the change in chicken meat type and the one less onion, I made the recipe exactly as it called for (ok, I maaaaaaaaaay have put in ” heavily rounded” teaspoons for the spices, but I did stay pretty close-ish!). I put all eight cups of broth in and I kept thinking it would simmer down. And it didn’t. So there I was with a HUGE pot of curry-flavored broth with some chicken in it.
Which means, I have to point out, that I boiled meat. *ahem* Weird, I know. I simmered the chicken in the broth and I didn’t even think twice. And it turned out pretty tasty! So maybe I have to amend my no-boiling-meat rule to occasionally let it happen. Maybe.
On the side we had the noodles (which I should have read as FRESH noodles, but didn’t) and the variety of toppings. It was like the best of curry and pho put together in one dish – different, but smelled amazing.
So into the bowl went the noodles, then ladled over the top was the chicken and broth, then on went the toppings with a squeeze of lime juice.
And it was amazingly JUST LIKE the idea of curry and pho together, in all the right ways. It was spicy without being too salty, it was soupy but let you slurp your noodles, it was the perfect warm-your-belly comfort food for a cold evening. However, if I had to do it all over again I would use four cups of broth instead of eight, but that’s just hind-sight. The flavors and toppings were perfect and I highly recommend warming your belly with them!
Things I have learned: I boiled meat and it was good. Need to rethink my rules about cooking, I guess! The recipe calls for fresh egg noodles but I used dry and they were still amazingly tasty. I need to add that type of noodle to my grocery list.
Now, on to the dessert. Sassy Country Girl made two different versions of the same thing, and I’m going to let her tell you all about it in her own words.
Banana Shwe Gye Cake ~ Sassy Country Girl
Hello Sassy Country Girl here, I joined in this week’s dinner and since I love dessert… I offered to bring Banana Shwe Gye Cake, a traditional Burmese Dessert (that and I was not able to find a good cocktail recipe!). The first ingredient is Semolina… after a google search of Semolina I found that I could substitute Farina or better known in the US as Cream of Wheat, while I was at the store I checked the baking isle for Semolina and found Semolina Flour (my Safeway has yet to fail me)… not sure I bought both. I split the recipe in half using each flour so we could see what the difference would be if any. Cream of Wheat is much more coarse then then Semolina Flour (which is commenly used to make pasta’s) however not as fine as flour. I started by browning the Semolina Flour and Cream of Wheat, the flour browned very quickly while setting the smoke detectors off “Smoke Detected in the Kitchen, EVACUATE!” (Yes my smoke alarms talk to you!) The Cream of Wheat however took much longer to brown. Setting those aside I combined the milks, water, eggs, sugar and banana, brought to a simmer and added the Cream of Wheat to one pan and stirred till thick…. Looks like brown Cream of Wheat and was very sweet! Then added the butter, which just seemed strange, not how you would typically make a cake… placed this batch in a bread pan. Went back to the Semolina flour, added it to the banana mixture, this batch thickened up very fast and was much darker then the Cream of Wheat. I added the butter and placed the mixture in another bread pan. It says to put then pans on a baking sheet and good thing cause the butter bubbles over, the cakes did not rise and remained the same color while cooking. After an hour of baking I added the poppy seeds and broiled. Cooled (they just looked like cream of wheat with butter, they appeared to have the same constancy as when they went in the over) covered to let them sit overnight. The next morning they had fallen about an inch, the tops were brown like the photos online and the centers were lighter, looked more like very moist bread. So now it comes time to eat them…. Thankfully the Roommate Extraordinaire picked up ice cream because this was a flop! The Cream of Wheat was better than the Semolina Flour, but they were more like overly moistened Banana bread, not good. The recipe calls for the cake to made in a 9×9 pan… there is no way this would have all fit in a 9×9 as they bread pans were full to the top. However if made in a 9×13 maybe it would have baked out more of the moisture… Oh well always an adventure, until next time…
Sassy Country Girl
Burmese Chicken Curry
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 large onions, chopped finely
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon ginger finely minced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 teaspoon garam masala
- 4 whole chicken breasts and 3 whole chicken legs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bayleaf
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup chick pea flour or dried yellow split peas
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- salt to taste
- 2 lbs fresh Chinese egg noodles
- Peel and slice 12 garlic cloves crosswise. Fry them in 4 tablespoon oil until they are golden. Remove and cool.
- 3 hard cooked eggs quartered
- 2 red onions slivered lengthwise
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 2 limes or lemons cut into wedges
- 1 bunch fresh coriander sprigs, trimmed.
- 2 tablespoon crushed dried Asian Chili peppers sauted in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Heat the vegetable oil in an 8 to 12 quart pan or Dutch oven. Stir in the turmeric and cook it for one minute. Add the onions and cook on medium heat stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp but not browned, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cayenne, cumin, coriander and garam masala. Cook and stir the mixture about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat them with the onions and spices. Add the cinnamon, bay leaf, and chicken broth, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Mix the chick pea flour with 1 1/3 cups water, or grind the lentils to a flour in a blender or mortar and mix 3/4 cup of the resulting flour with 1 1/3 cups water. Stir the mixture into the soup. Add the coconut milk, cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Thaw egg noodles if frozen. Put noodles in a large pot of boiling water and boil for 6-7 minutes. Drain noodles and stir in a couple of teaspoon of vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together and set aside.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully lift out the chicken pieces. Remove the meat from the bones and return it to the sauce. Add fish sauce and salt to taste. Serve the noodles of a platter and the curry and condiments separately. Diners first serve themselves to noodles, then the curry, then to the condiments they like.
Banana Shwe Gye Cake
- 2 cups semolina (shwe gye)
- 2 cans (13.5 oz each) coconut milk
- 1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
- 1 tablespoons poppy seeds
- nonstick cooking spray
- water (as needed)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set pan on foil-lined baking sheet. In a dry skillet, roast semolina over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat when semolina changes color. Next, combine the coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water, evaporated milk, eggs, Sugar and bananas in a large pot and stir over medium heat for 4–5 minutes or until mixture starts simmering. Pour in the roasted semolina over the mixture and continue stirring slowly over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add the butter or margarine and stir briefly. Pour the thick batter into the baking pan and bake for 1 hour, when the top is evenly golden brown. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place the cake under a broiler and broil for 2–3 minutes. Then let cool in room temperature, cover and leave overnight. Makes 6-10 servings.