Massaman Curry

I’ve had a bit of a love for Penang curry lately, but tonight Massaman won the battle.  In no way is this totally authentic, since I wasn’t planning to put either carrots or potatoes in and those are both always found in Massaman curry.  Served with Sticky Thai chicken wings and jasmine rice this made a fantastic dinner, quick and easy but oh so tasty.

Massaman Curry

Tonight this was a vegetarian dish with cauliflower, broccoli and bok choy but you could easily add a protein if you like.  In Thai lessons we learned to add thinly sliced meat and then NOT stir it until it is cooked through.

Thai chicken curries are so simple to make, and come together very quickly.

Get everything ready first and when its time to cook it will happen before you know it!

  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped (in Thailand, every cooking class I took had us cutting 1/2 an onion into 6 pieces)
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tbsp each minced ginger and lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp Massaman curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk (don’t use the lite version)
  • 3-4 cups assorted vegetables, in bite size pieces

Mix together and set aside: 2 tbsp each fresh lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar

Heat peanut oil in saucepan until shimmering and add onion pieces, stir until slightly softened and add garlic, ginger, lemongrass and curry paste.  Saute to bring out the flavours in the curry and aromatics.  Add coconut milk and stir well.  Add vegetables and cook just until crisp tender.  Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar.

Thai food should have a great balance of sweet, spicy, salty & tangy.  If this doesn’t yet, keep making adjustments until it does!

 

Korean Bibimbap

Quick disclaimer here …. this is unapologetically inauthentic!  At Fat Boy Moves in Mexico City we ate Bibimbap a couple of times and this is my version of trying to replicate that in my own kitchen, minus of course the stone bowl to serve it in….

Bibimbap

What’s missing you say?  Any authentic Bibimbap will have a soft egg on top!

In terms of recipes, this is more of a guideline.  I’m sure you can find lots of real, true Korean Bibimbap recipes out there, but for my own preferences, in my kitchen, this was pretty delicious.  I think it is key to have either a cast iron frying pan or a stainless steel pan to get the rice nice and crusty.

First, make a sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chile garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp gojuchang

Taste the sauce, I can’t say that enough, make sure it is delicious …. each of those components will be slightly different by brand so hit a balance you like.

Second, make pickled cucumbers:

  • cut about a 4 inch piece of cucumber in half, lengthwise
  • scoops out seeds and slice very thinly

Put cucumbers in a bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp each of salt and sugar.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp rice vinegar and mix well.  Set aside.

To assemble you will need:

  • cooked rice
  • protein (if you like, easy to just make it vegetarian also)
  • stir fried veg
  • pickled cucumbers
  • sesame seeds
  • cilantro
  • slivered chives

Thinly sliver nori sheet and toast until crispy

If you are using a protein, cover your steak, chicken or prawns with a light bit of gojuchang and allow to marinade for an hour.  Grill, and once rested, slice into bite size pieces.

Prepare the vegetables you are going to use, today I used coloured sweet peppers, onions, snow peas, bok choy and cabbage.

Heat fry pan until very hot, add neutral oil and sauce some ginger and garlic.  Add in vegetables and stir fry just until tender.  Set aside.

Reheat the pan, barely cover the bottom with sesame oil and then cover the bottom with the rice.  Allow to sit undisturbed until the rice is heated through and the bottom develops a nice golden brown crust.

Centre your cooked vegetables on the rice, scatter the protein around the edge and garnish with the pickled cucumber, toasted nori and sesame seeds.  Drizzle over the prepared sauce and enjoy!

 

Almost Shake Shack sauce!

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Almost famous all right …. Make your own Shake Shack sauce.

 

This creamy sauce will take your home made burger right to the level of that famous burger at Shake Shack.

In order to replicate the burger all the way – make sure you use good beef, 1/4 pound of it per burger, and cook it on a flat surface … without greasing the pan!  That creates the crisp exterior.

Use soft potato buns, lightly butter and grill or toast.

Lettuce, tomato, pickles and this amazing sauce will complete the deal.  And you may never buy another burger!

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 slices kosher dill pickle
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
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Maybe not the best presentation photo, but this creamy, slighty tangy sauce takes your burger to lip smacking, napkin required level.

Cornbread Muffins

I’ve tried a few corn muffins or corn bread, but so often they turn out a little dry or too grainy.  These were absolutely perfect, so moist and delicious with the taste of the corn.  I found the recipe on “Once Upon a Chef” and for the first time, didn’t tweak a thing!

corn muffins 2

Light and fluffy, moist and delicious – what more could you want from a cornbread muffin?

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup milk (preferably whole but low-fat works too)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°Fdegrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. (I prefer to use non-stick cooking spray so the muffins get nice and crisp on the edges.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, break up the eggs with a whisk. Whisk in the honey and then the milk. Add the milk mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir until just blended. Do not overmix; it’s okay if there are a few lumps. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup almost full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are set and golden. Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm.
corn muffins 1

I served these with a slightly spicy chipotle beef stew, so I didn’t want any extra spice here, but next time I might try mixing in a little jalapeño and gouda cheese …… yum.

Beef Short Ribs in Cinnamon Red Wine Curry

Be prepared for the whole house to smell amazing for a couple of days after you prepare this specialty. I particularly love it in the fall or winter when it also seems to help warm the house….

Don’t be alarmed by what may look like a lengthy list of ingredients, most are items in the pantry anyway, and if not – try out something new and find more ways to use it.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

2 tbsp ghee (or butter (ghee is clarified butter)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 large onions, finely diced (you should get about 2 cups)
10 cloves garlic (yes, really)
1 cup pureed fresh tomatoes (in the winter feel free to use canned)
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp mexican chili powder
1 whole piece cinnamon bark (about 3″ long)
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine (make sure to use one you would be happy to drink!)
2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs

Use a large pot for this, with a heavy bottom.

Melt ghee or butter on medium heat. Once melted add oil and cumin seeds. Let seeds sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add onions. (Your house smells amazing already, doesn’t it?)

Take your time with the onions – part of the rich flavour in this dish is from allowing the onions to get nice and browned, slowly. Once they are a rich gold colour add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is a golden brown also. The longer the onions spend slowly getting dark the more rich flavour the curry will have.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Reduce the heat to low and add tomatoes, fenugreek, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chili and cinnamon bark. Stir well and slowly increase heat to medium. Allow to cook until the ghee starts to separate from the tomato mixture (you will notice pockets of clear liquid on top).

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once - makes everything so much easier.

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once – makes everything so much easier.

Stir in red wine and chicken stock – bring to a boil. Allow to cook, stirring enough so that it doesn’t stick, until once again the ghee separates from the mixture.

Add short ribs, stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 4 hours.

NOTE – the cinnamon is meant to be subtle in this recipe … just a hint of it. While it is cooking, if you notice a strong cinnamon scent, remove it from curry, it has done the job.

At this point, I have also put the curry into the oven and just forgot about it for that time, while the house simply became more inviting …

Professional chefs and equipment probably get this ready for the simmer in 20-30 minutes, but it always takes me an hour to develop that colour in the onions and complete the prep stage.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice. A perfect dish to accompany this? My roasted tandoori cauliflower with mint & cilantro sauce.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve.  If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast.  Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size.  Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve. If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast. Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size. Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

This curry is beyond delicious. If you want to make it a vegetarian dish it is easy enough to do – use all vegetable oil to sauté the onions and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock. When it comes time to nestle the short ribs into the stock just substitute ribs with any of your favourite vegetables. If you are using root vegetables that take a long time to cook go ahead and put them into the curry early. If using vegetables that take less time, put them in the curry closer to the end of the cooking time.