Tag Archives: cumin

Ethiopia…

Thursday, September 27 –

This dinner was equal efforts on the part of Bestie Extraordinaire (spicy mixed vegetable stew and wine), ChinUp with assistance by MyBuddy (chicken stewed in red pepper paste and wine), BestestFianceEver (dishes and cleanup), and me (spicy lentil stew, naan, rice, and plain yogurt). Three cheers for everyone making this dinner so delicious!

The spicy lentil stew was incredibly easy to make. I took the dried lentils and cooked them just like it said to on the back of the package (1 cup of lentils to 4 cups of water for about 35 minutes). I cooked the onion and garlic in plain butter instead of the spiced butter (I should really make some soon, I do love these spices…) until they were translucent. Then I added rounded tablespoons of all of the spices. Yes, I know that little t’s in recipes are usually supposed to be teaspoons, but I like things strongly spiced, remember? So tablespoons it was! In next went the tomatoes and the paste, some of the salt and pepper, and then the broth. I let it all simmer together until all of the other food was ready.

Everything was a brilliant shade of red – the veggie stew was brown with a hint of red, the lentil stew was red with a hint of brown, and the chicken was a brilliant shade of red with white little eggs floating on top. And the smell – mmmhmm. That’s what food dreams are made of. The dinner was supposed to be served with injera, but because of my terrible crohn’s experience with it the only other time I’d had it, I decided to go with naan and rice instead. With a dollop of yogurt on top, dinner was served.

I started off with the different dishes next to each other, but not mixed. In the end it was all scooped together and each of them blended together deliciously with the others. I was so excited for left-overs, let me tell you what. If you have a love for stews with a touch of spice, these are definitely recipes that you should think about making. Especially with the cold weather coming and the need for warm soup starting to settle in, save these to your computer!

Ethiopia
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com and www.interlog.com)

Yetakelt W’et (spicy mixed vegetable stew)

  • 1 c Onions; finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 T Berbere
  • 1 T Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ¼ c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 c Green beans; cut into thirds
  • 1 c Carrots; chopped
  • 1 c Potatoes; cubed
  • 1 c Tomatoes; chopped
  • ¼ c Tomato paste
  • 2 c Vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ c Parsley; fresh, chopped
  • 2 Batches Injera
  • Plain yogurt or cottage cheese

Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix in the parsley. Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese following the same serving and eating procedure as for Yemiser W’et. Servings: 6. Note: Try making this dish and Yemiser W’et for the same meal. In Ethiopia, it is customary to offer several stews at one time, and people eat some of each kind.

Yemiser W’et (spicy lentil soup)

  • 1 c Dried brown lentils
  • 1 c Onion; finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic; minced
  • ¼ c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 t Berbere
  • 1 t Cumin seeds; ground
  • 1 t Paprika; sweet Hungarian
  • 2 c Tomato; finely chopped
  • ½ c Tomato paste
  • 1 c Vegetable stock or water
  • 1 c Green peas; fresh or frozen
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper; fresh, to taste
  • 3 Batches Injera bread
  • Plain yogurt or cottage cheese

Rinse and cook the lentils. Meanwhile sauté the onions and garlic in the niter kebbeh, until the onions are just translucent. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and sauté for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock or water and continue simmering. When the lentils are cooked, drain them and mix them into the sauté. Add the green peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste. To serve Yemiser W’et, spread layers of injera on individual plates. Place some yogurt or cottage cheese alongside a serving of w’et on the injera and pass more injera at the table. To eat, tear off pieces of injera, fold it around bits of stew, and, yes, eat it with your fingers. Servings: 8

Doro Wat (Ethiopian chicken stewed in red pepper paste)

  • 2 lbs Chicken, leg and thighs, skinless
  • 1 Lemon juice only
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 T Gingerroot, peeled, chopped
  • ¼ c Oil, butter or niter kibbeh
  • 2 T Paprika
  • ¼ to ½ c Bebere paste
  • ¼ c Red Wine
  • ¾ c Water or Stock
  • ¾ c Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ to 2 t Cayenne Pepper
  • Option 4 Eggs hard-boiled

Mix together the chicken pieces, lemon juice and salt and in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, puree the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender. Add a little water if necessary. Heat the oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large pot over medium flame. Add the paprika and stir in to color the oil and cook the spice through, about 1 minute. Do not burn. Stir in the berbere paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion-garlic-ginger puree and saute until most of the moisture evaporates and the onion cooks down and loses its raw aroma, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to burn. Pour in the water or stock and wine and stir in the chicken pieces, cayenne to taste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Add the whole hard boiled eggs and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with injera bread or rice. Servings: 4-6

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El Salvador…

Wednesday, August 22 –

Slow. Cooked. Pork. Need I say more? Yum.

This dinner we had BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire (salad and wine), Hot Momma, Mr. Hero (wine, mead, and tortillas), BabyBear, and LightsOn (wine). It was still nice enough to eat outside, but not so imagehot that it was miserable to cook dinner. Win all around.

I started with pork early in the morning. I put 3.6 pounds of pork shoulder (the only good pork cut I could find at the late-night hour I was out shopping at the night before) into the crock pot and poured on top one can of pureed tomato sauce. Then I sprinkled the salt and pepper and the teaspoon of cumin. Set on 6 hours on low, I left for work and let it simmer all day. When I got home I shredded the pork and left it to simmer on warm.

Next I made the flan, which was something that I had never made before. I made it exactly as it’s written – and ended up baking it for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. I tried testing it with a knife like it says, but custard sticks to a knife anyway, so I switched to the toothpick test and had much better luck.

While that was baking I made the salsa, which simmer on the stove for a while and then I blended it with an immersion blender. I set that aside while I finished the rest. I put the rice in the rice cooker without anything fancy in it. I made the veggie and bean mix in a separate pot and then mixed it altogether in the rice cooker to serve.

We plated the salad and dressing on the side, then piled the pork, rice and beans, and salsa into fresh-made tortillas from the store. The pork was absolutely heavenly. Theimage mix together as a burrito was pretty delicious, and overall the food disappeared quickly. The flan was good, the texture was good, but it wasn’t everyone’s favorite dessert. Apparently flan is “no cheesecake!”

Successful dinner and I’m happy everyone could join us!

 

El Salvador
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.catholicreview.orgsouthamericanfood.about.com, and www.whats4eats.com)

Salvadorian-style Chicharrón – Chicharrón Salvadoreño

  • 3-5 pound pork butt
  • 1-2 cups salsa
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon saltimage
  • Black pepper
  • tortillas to serve

Preparation:  Cut the pork into several large pieces and place the meat in the slow cooker with 1 cup salsa, the cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or 4 hours on high) or until pork is fork tender. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving liquid, and shred finely with fork or using a food processor (fitted with the plastic blade). Place shredded pork and reserved liquid in a large skillet and saute until liquid evaporates and pork starts to brown slightly. Stir in remaining salsa until desired consistency. For making pupusas, add pork and salsa back to food processor, fitted with metal blade, and process with short pulses until finely ground.

Casamiento

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Directions:  Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for two to three minutes, until tender. Stir in the drained beans, some of the bean liquid, and salt and pepper. Cook at medium-low until heated through. Add rice and stir until cooked through. Adjust seasoning and add a little more bean liquid if necessary. Serve hot.

Salsa Roja

  •     Olive oil — 3 tablespoons
  •     Onion, chopped — 1/4 cup
  •     Garlic, chopped — 1 clove
  •     Serrano or jalapeño chile pepper, chopped — 1
  •     Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped — 2 cups
  •     Dried oregano — 2 teaspoons
  •     Salt and pepper — to taste
  •     Cilantro (optional), chopped — 1/4 cup

Method:
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, garlic and chile and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the tomatoes and oregano and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool a bit.
Puree the tomato sauce in a blender until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir in cilantro if using and serve.

Flan de Leche (Latin caramel custard)

  • Sugar — 1 cup
  • Water — 1/4 cup
  • Eggs, beaten — 4
  • Sweetened, condensed milk — 1 (14-ounce) can
  • Whole milk or water — 2 cups
  • Vanilla — 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sugar — 1/2 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the 1 cup sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Place over medium heat and boil the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to turn a honey brown, around 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the caramelized sugar from heat and pour into a 9-inch cake pan or in equal amounts into each of 6 individual ramekins, swirling to coat the bottom. You may not need all the sugar. Place the cake pan or ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them without touching.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, condensed milk, whole milk or water, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Pour into the cake pan or into each of the ramekins.
  • Fill the baking pan with enough warm water to come about 2/3 of the way up sides of the containers. Place in the oven and cook until a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean, anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. Do not overcook your flan or it may curdle.
  • Remove the custard(s) from the water bath and chill well. Run a knife around the edges of the custard, invert over a serving dish and serve.

Variations

  • Flan de Café (Coffee flan): add 3-4 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the milk-egg mixture.
  • Flan de Coco (Coconut flan): substitute 2 cups of coconut milk for the sweetened condensed milk. Or simply stir 1/2 cup shredded coconut into the milk and egg mixture.
  • Flan de Piña (Pineapple flan): Makes 4 servings. Caramelize the sugar and pour into containers as above. For the liquid, boil one cup of pineapple juice with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Allow the the juice to cool, then beat in 4 eggs until smooth. Pour into individual ramekins and proceed with the recipe. Popular in Puerto Rico.
  • Pumpkin Flan: increase to 5 eggs and add 1 cup pureed pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • The basic ratio for a custard is 1 egg to 1 cup liquid with sugar added to taste. The liquid used in most recipes varies widely and can be heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk. Mixing these liquids in different amounts is also common. Experiment to find the flavor and richness you like best.
  • For a richer, thicker flan, substitute one of the eggs with two egg yolks.
  • In Argentina, flan is often accompanied by dulce de leche.

Egypt…

Wednesday, August 15 –

Last week’s dinner was a little painful, mostly because I was frying food and it felt like it was 90* outside. Ugh. But the dinner and the company more than made up for the torture in the kitchen. It was BestestEverFiance, Bestie Extraordinaire (who brought ciders and pita to share), and LittleLamb (one of my friends that I’ve known the longest that should get a huge kick out of that name).

I started this off by mixing the lamb with the onion and spices, letting it sit while I mixed the falafel mixture. Then I mixed the tzatziki mixture and put it in the fridge to stay cold. Once everything was prepped, I started frying the falafels. I chopped the chickpeas with a pastry cutter, so there were bigger chunks of chickpeas in the patties. But I tasted them as they were done frying and they still tasted like the falafel I was hoping to have. Bestie Extraordinaire helped to make a tomato/basil salad and formed the meat patties for me. The lamb patties went into the same pan that I cooked the falafel in. We toasted some pita in the oven and then brought everything outside to serve on the picnic table we have to enjoy the nice weather.

The falafel was perfectly browned, nicely seasoned, and had great flavor. They disappeared really, really quickly. The kefta were ok, in my opinion, but didn’t knock my socks off. I’ve definitely done better work with lamb before. I would have wanted more seasoning in them and a bbq flavor instead, if I made them again. The tzatziki was cold and delicious on everything we ate. The tomato/basil salad was a perfect addition to break up the fried flavors. And pita is always a good decision.

 

Egypt
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com and www.allrecipes.com)

Kefta (Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)

  •     Ground lamb or beef, or a mixture of the two — 2 pounds
  •     Onion, minced — 1
  •     Fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped — 1/2 bunch
  •     Ground cumin — 1 tablespoon
  •     Cinnamon — 2 teaspoons
  •     Allspice (optional) — 1 teaspoon
  •     Salt and pepper — to season
  •     Oil — 1/4 cup

Method:

Place the ground beef or lamb, onion, herbs, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl and knead together well. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle and make the meat easier to handle.

Form the meat mixture into balls, patties or ovals the size of a small egg.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame and, working in batches, sauté the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through. Browned meatballs can also be finished in a 350ºF oven.

Serve as is or in pita bread as a sandwich with tzatziki sauce.

Variations:

  1.     Keftedes (Greece): add some breadcrumbs and a little red wine to the meat mixture.
  2.     Köfte (Turkey): add some breadcrumbs and form the meat into a sausage shape on skewers. Oil the meat well and grill over hot coals.
  3.     Before frying, you can roll the kefta in some flour and shake off the extra to help them brown.
  4.     Experiment with different seasonings–coriander, cayenne, sesame seeds.

Falafels

  •     1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and mashed with fork
  •     3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  •     1 small unpeeled red potato, shredded
  •     1/4 cup diced red onion
  •     2 cloves garlic, crushed
  •     1 egg
  •     1 tablespoon olive oil
  •     1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  •     1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •     1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •     1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  •     1 cup canola oil for frying

Directions:

Combine chickpeas, 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, red potato, red onion, garlic, egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cilantro, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.

Form mixture into 2-inch patties. Place 1/4 cup panko crumbs in a shallow bowl. Gently press patties into the crumbs to coat.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Fry patties in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Set patties aside.

Tzatziki Sauce

  •     8 ounces plain yogurt
  •     2 tablespoons olive oil
  •     1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •     1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  •     3 cloves pressed garlic

Djibouti…

Friday, July 19 –

It isn’t very often that I have no left-overs at all. This dinner is one of the few that I can happily say was devoured – every bite of it. There were five of us for this dinner – Wonderful Boyfriend, Bestie Extraordinaire, ChinUp, and DangerD.

I started with the stew, figuring that it could simmer as I cooked the samosas. I put regular butter into my soup pot (I just didn’t have the time to go hunt down niter kebbeh, so instead I doubled the amount of berbere I put into the stew) along with the spices and one chopped up onion. I let the onion start to soften, and then in went one peeled, chopped russet potato, two medium peeled and chopped carrots, and a cup of green beans that I chopped in half for easier chewing. After ten minutes, in went the tomato, tomato paste, and veggie broth. I let this simmer, stirring occasionally, as I made the samosas.

The samosa recipe I decided to edit a little. I took one onion and one leek, chopped them up and then mixed them together. That looked like too much in the way of veggies compared to how much meat I had, so I scooped away half of it to save for a later dinner. I cooked one pound of ground lamb with the salt, pepper, and lot of cumin. (I didn’t measure the spices, I just sprinkled until it felt right. I coated the meat with the cumin until it was clearly powdery.) Then I threw in the onion and leek and let it finish cooking down. Instead of making my own dough I used pre-made pie crust. I cut the crust into six wedges, stuffed them, folded them up, and then put an egg wash on top. I put them in the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes and then checked every five minutes until they were golden brown on top and bottom.

On the table was also salad (made by the wonderful ChinUp), yogurt to put on the stew or samosas, and toasted naan to scoop it all up with.

The salad was crisp and amazing with fresh heirloom tomatoes. The samosas were so good that I could have blinked and they would all have been gone. With the light, flaky, buttery crust and the cumin and lamb flavor melting in your mouth, I should have made three times as many. The stew was spicy, flavorful, and I managed to cook the veggies just long enough to make them soft but not mushy. The naan was a little crumbly (it was the store-bought kind) but it was still a good idea to serve with the stew.

Not only was this dinner delicious, it was the perfect combination of flavors and textures to serve together. I highly recommend this for any dinner (but maybe a colder, fall day so that you can really enjoy the spicy stew). Cheers!

Djibouti
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://healthy-life.narod.ru/wor_ek57.htm)

Spicy Mixed Vegetable Stew (Yetakelt W’et)

  • 1 c Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tb Berbere (dry)
  • 1 tb Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 c Green beans, cut in thirds
  • 1 c Carrots, chopped
  • 1 c Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 c Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c Tomato paste
  • 2 c Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c Chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Instructions:  Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the niter kebbeh for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the parsley (optional). Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese.

Djibouti Samosas (Samboussa)

  • 2 l oil
  • 500 g flour
  • 2 kg minced meat
  • 5 onions, finely diced
  • 3 leeks, finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:  Sift the flour and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Add just enough water so that the mixture comes together as a stiff dough. Shape into a ball and allow to rest. Meanwhile add 4 tbsp oil to a frying pan and fry the meat for a few minutes. Add the onions and leeks season with salt and pepper then fry until the meat is done and the onions have softened. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and cut into triangles. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of the triangle and fold over to form a samosa. Heat the oil in a wok until almost smoking and place the samosas one at a time in this. Cook until golden brown and crisp on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Allow to cool a little then serve with African hot sauce.