Tag Archives: cilantro

Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea Curry

29 Oct

Part of the Indian meal I prepared recently for friends with divergent dietary preferences included this Black-Eyed Pea Curry. It answered a number of needs: it is vegetarian (vegan, actually) and is an excellent source of protein. And it goes nicely with drier, less saucy dishes such as the Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes. Not that dry dishes can’t be saucy in their own ways–that eggplant was quite a palate teaser. This dish, with mellow coconut milk, is a nice counterpoint.

Black-Eyed Pea Curry
Serves 4-6

2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
1.5 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne or sprinkle of chili flakes
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 c. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt, or one small vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 c. canned coconut milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
2 tbsp. minced cilantro leaves

Preparation
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until it starts turning golden brown at the edges. Add the next 6 ingredients (through the cayenne/chili flakes) and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the back of a slotted spoon until they disintegrate.
2. Add the black-eyed peas, the water, the salt/bouillon cube, and the sugar. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until liquid has reduced slightly.
3. Add the lemon juice, cook for one more minute, then sprinkle with the cilantro just before serving.

Recipe is adapted from 5 spices, 50 dishes by Ruta Kahate.

Recipe: Pakistani Chicken Patties

3 Dec

These patties are from an old New York Times recipe for Pakistani Seekh Kebabs. I first tasted them cold, at a picnic on the edge of a river after a hike with our friends. Our friends brought the patties as their picnic contribution, and they (the patties) were heavenly (though our friends are quite nice, too).

You could grill these, but you would miss out on the main reason to pan fry them in olive oil: the onions. As the patties cook, some of the onions fall out and turn golden brown in the olive oil. There is a battle at our house for those onion bits; their appeal cannot be underestimated.

So, hot or cold–all parts of these patties are delectable. We eat them with curried couscous (a bit of cross-cultural fusion) and the accompanying Cilantro Mint Chutney.

Pakistani Chicken Patties
Serves 8

Patties
2 lb.  ground chicken (or turkey, or combination)
1 egg yolk
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. turmeric
¼ c. cilantro, leaves and stems–finely chopped  (Note: if you are buying the cilantro in a bunch, you can use 1/3 for the patties 2/3 for the chutney)
2 teaspoons salt

olive oil

Cilantro Mint Chutney
1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. mint leaves
1/2 c. cilantro, leaves and stems
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I’ve used 1/2 tbsp. vinegar in a pinch)
1/2 tsp. sugar

Preparation
1. For patties, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet, shape meat mixture into patties with a spoon, and cook the patties in batches until golden. Serve with couscous and Cilantro Mint Chutney.

2. For chutney, combine ingredients in a blender or a small food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Refrigerate up to 2 days.

Recipe: Carnitas and Poblanos with Cream

13 Nov

My daughter informed me that the one thing she really looks forward to every evening, amid the many hours of homework she puts in, is dinner. A really good dinner has the power to make everything else — mounds of homework, the day’s worries — fade away. In this, she is her mother’s daughter.

This is one of her favorite dishes. It is a bit involved, but well worth the effort. Carnitas means “little meat” in Spanish; it is pork that has been cooked twice.  The pork in this version is braised, shredded, and then lightly fried. I have always served it with another dish, Poblanos with Cream (also known as Rajas) because the combination is so nice.  Poblanos are chili peppers–darker, smaller, pointier, and just a tiny bit hotter than green bell peppers (capsicums). Though most recipes for Rajas do not include mushrooms, mushrooms and cream have an affinity for each other, and I simply had to add them. With black beans and some chopped tomato as finishing touches, this is a meal for all the senses. Pile everything into a warm tortilla, roll it up, and enjoy.

Note: When cutting the raw poblanos, protect your hands. Poblanos are not a very hot chili pepper, but you do not want to cut them with bare hands and then accidentally rub your eyes. You will not be happy.  Since I do not have kitchen gloves lying around, I pop a plastic sandwich bag on each hand, and then proceed. Not the most elegant solution, but necessity is the mother of invention.

Carnitas  and Poblanos with Cream
Serves 6-8

Carnitas
3 – 3.5 lb. pork  (shouldn’t be super lean; boneless country-style ribs or non-loin boneless pork chops are good, as is cubed pork for stew)
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. black peppercorns

1/4-1/2 c. canola oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp. (or to taste) chicken bouillon powder, preferably a brand without MSG
freshly ground pepper
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped (I cut off the top of the bunch of cilantro at the point where leaves end and stems begin, discard any sub-par leaves and big bits of stem, then chop everything else)

Preparation

Pork
1. Place the pork, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a large stockpot, add water to cover by about 2 inches, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until pork is tender. Add water if needed. Let pork cool in broth, if possible. If you are short on time, remove pork with tongs and place on a rimmed baking sheet until cool. With very clean hands,  shred pork, discarding any fat that may be on the meat. There should be about 6 c. total. If not, adjust amount of bouillon powder accordingly.

2. Heat 1/4 c. oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add onions, and cook until soft and slightly golden. Mix in shredded pork, taking care to distribute onions and oil as evenly as possible. Let pork cook without stirring for a few minutes until bottom layer is golden and getting crispy, then scrape up browned pork from bottom of skillet, and let new layer of pork on bottom of skillet get crispy. Repeat several times, until pork is golden and there are ample crispy bits throughout. Add up to 1/4 c. more oil as needed to keep pork from sticking and drying out too much.

3. When pork is just about done, add bouillon powder and pepper, and mix in very well. Cook for a few more minutes, check seasonings, and turn off heat. Add chopped cilantro and mix through.

4. Serve with flour tortillas, Poblanos in Cream, black beans, and chopped tomato.

Poblanos with Cream

5 large poblano chilies
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz.  mushrooms, sliced
1 c. cream
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut poblanos in half lengthwise, and cut out the white membrane, including all seeds. Place the poblanos skin up on a baking sheet and broil until skin is bubbly and black, checking frequently. Immediately place poblanos in a glass container with lid, and put on the lid. Leave for 15 minutes, then remove the poblanos, peel the skin off, and slice into strips. Reserve.

2. Heat oil  in skillet, then add mushrooms and sauté until liquid has been released and mushrooms are soft; add poblano strips and sauté for a few more minutes. Add cream, and simmer gently until heated through. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe: Thai-Style Quinoa Salad

26 Aug

Quinoa is an Andean super food–one that has been cultivated for thousands of years. A source of complete protein, it is used and cooked like a grain, though it is technically a seed.  Because of its “exceptional nutritional qualities, its agro-ecological adaptability, and its potential contribution in the fight against hunger and malnutrition,” quinoa has been honored by the United Nations: 2013 will be the International Year of  Quinoa.

But quinoa deserves praise for its gastronomic adaptability, too. In this case, it makes a successful appearance in a salad with flavor origins a world away from the Andes. This salad, with its strong Thai accents, is a deliciously light and crisp summer dish.

Thai-Style Quinoa Salad
Serves 8-10
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced (if using English cucumber, no need to peel)
1/3 c. chopped fresh mint
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing
6 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce (can substitute tamari or soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Add quinoa, salt, and 1 1/2 c. water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Place in a large serving bowl and let cool completely.

When quinoa is cool, add red bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber and mix well.

To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce/tamari/soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Gently mix in the mint and cilantro.

Source: Raising the Salad Bar, by Catherine Walthers

Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

7 Aug

Chinese Chicken Salad has undergone many iterations since it became a popular dish in the  United States early last century. One thing is certain: none of the versions appearing on US menus originated in China, where raw vegetable salads were (and are not) a prominent part of the Chinese diet. In fact, the sesame-ginger version may have come into being in California. But the ability of a dish to be adapted according to cultural preference, taste, and availability of ingredients is a key factor in its ultimate adoption, and each new dish added to a repertoire paves the way for ones that follow. So, even if this cross-cultural creation is not  “authentic,” the  combination of garlic, ginger, sesame, scallions, and soy sauce is unmistakably Asian.

This is a light dinner-time salad that somehow satisfies even the heartiest of teenage appetites. And, if that cilantro in your herb garden is nearing its peak, you can use some of it here.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 8-10

4 chicken breast halves (1.5-2 lb.), sliced in half horizontally
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Marinade
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. mirin (or dry sherry + pinch of sugar)

Salad ingredients
6 c. thinly shredded green cabbage
1/2 c. sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 carrots, grated
1 English cucumber, washed but unpeeled, diced into small pieces
1.5 thinly sliced hearts of romaine (about 6 c.)
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
chow mein noodles (optional)

Dressing
6 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. dry ground ginger, or 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1.5 tbsp. sesame oil
6 tbsp. canola oil
sprinkle chilli flakes/crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Marinate chicken in marinade for about 15-30 minutes.

Toast sesame seeds in large frying pan; remove from pan and set aside.  Add about a tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and cook chicken over high heat. Remove from pan, place on a cutting board, and let cool.

Add salad ingredients (except chow mein noodles) to large salad bowl; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. When chicken is cool, cut across the grain into bite-sized strips and add to salad bowl.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately, with chow mein noodles on the side (if desired).

Recipe: Orange-Ginger Salmon with Ramen Cabbage Salad

30 Jul

Ramen noodles don’t frequently appear on our dinner menus, but this salad is the reason my children started eating salmon.  With cooked ramen noodles, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro (from the herb garden) in a light orange-honey dressing, it has been a family favorite for years. And since I only make this salad as an accompaniment to the salmon, the kids quickly came to appreciate the whole package. It also helps that the two parts of this meal (adapted from an old Redbook magazine recipe) look so nice together.

Orange Ginger Salmon with Ramen Cabbage Salad
Serves 5-6

Marinade
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. orange juice
3 tbsp. honey
1 heaping tsp. ground ginger, or 1.5 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

2 lb. salmon fillets
3 (3-oz.) packages Oriental-flavored ramen noodles, broken into halves
1 (1o-oz.) bag grated carrots (about 4 c.)
1 (1o-oz.) bag shredded red cabbage (about 4 c.)
1/4 c. packed chopped cilantro

Dressing
3/4 c. orange juice
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 seasoning packets from the ramen noodles

Combine marinade ingredients in glass 9×13 baking dish. Place salmon fillets in dish and let marinate while preparing the salad, turning salmon occasionally.

Combine dressing in ingredients in a large salad bowl, mix well, and add carrots and cabbage, tossing to coat. Cook noodles in boiling, unseasoned water for two minutes, drain, and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess water, set aside to drain further, then add to cabbage mixture and mix well.

Remove salmon from marinade and broil (or grill) about 5 minutes per side, basting with marinade. Place on platter. Just before serving, add cilantro to salad and combine. Serve salmon with salad.

Recipe: Cumin-Scented Black Bean Salad

17 Jul

This is a perfect summer salad, because unlike the rest of us, it doesn’t wilt. Its Latin accents, with a bit of seasoned rice vinegar thrown in as a counterpoint, are just the thing for a summer’s eve when it’s too hot to cook.

Black Bean Salad
Serves 4-6

1 15.5-oz. can black beans, well drained
3 tbsp. finely diced red onion
2 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (can vary amount to taste)

Dressing
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice

Combine dressing ingredients in medium serving bowl. Add salad ingredients (except cilantro) and mix gently. Just before serving, fold in cilantro.