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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Vadouvan

vadouvan-spice-blend-ingredientfinder-230

This simple blend, from IngredientFinder.com,
contains only four ingredients: cumin, garlic,
fenugreek and onion.

 

We must admit, this was a new one for us. We received a recipe for deviled eggs for our consideration. One of the ingredients: vadouvan.

Vadou-what? We had to look it up.

Vadouvan, also called French curry, is a French interpretation of an Indian masala that mixes cardamom, coriander, cumin, curry, curry leaves, fenugreek, garlic, marash chiles, mustard seeds and roasted onion, among other ingredients. Its flavor is more familiar to Western palates than many Indian spice mixtures.

A key difference is in dried onions or shallots. The spice is thought to have originated due to French colonial influence in the Puducherry region of India. [Source: Wikipedia]

Use it in place of curry powder on fish, lamb, chicken, pork, sauces, stews, soups and vegetables. It’s a delicious pairing with dairy, potatoes, starchy grains and anything grilled.

Give a tin or jar as a holiday gift to your favorite cooks. There’s an attractive tin for $8.32 on Amazon, with free shipping on orders over $35. (Tins are preferable to jars, since light is one of the factors that reduces the potency of the spice, along with proximity to heat and moisture.)

 

MASALA VS. GARAM MASALA: THE DIFFERENCE

Masala or massala is a South Asian term for a spice mix or a seasoning of any sort. It is used extensively in the cuisines of Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The word is of Arabic origin (maslahah), originally meaning “a thing which is good and right.”

  • Masala refers to any fragrant spice blend. It can be wet (a paste) or dry (a blend of dried—and usually dry-roasted—often toasted and ground spices). The pastes frequently include fresh ingredients like chiles, cilantro, garlic, ginger, mint, onion and tomato, along with dried spices and oil. Dishes made with such pastes sometimes have “masala” in their names, such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Vindaloo Masala.
  • Garam masala refers to dry spice blends. There are many variations, from region to region and cook to cook (examples: Tandoori masala, chatt masala and even panch phoron, the Bengali five-spice blend). Popular ingredients include bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, nigella and nutmeg/mace and pepper.
 

masala-cauliflower-paperchef-230

Masala cauliflower. Photo courtesy The Paper Chef.

 
It’s time to spice things up!

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Temaki Party

What’s a temakeria?

It’s a fast-casual style eatery featuring temaki, the made-to-order, cone-shaped “hand roll” sushi. Rice, raw fish and vegetables are wrapped in a sheet of nori, seaweed that pressed into thin sheets.

In the case of Uma Temakeria, newly opened in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan (64 Seventh Avenue at 14th Street), the soy sauce and wasabi traditionally served at sushi bars is replaced with a choice of the chef’s special sauces.

Beer, wine and saké, plus tea and soft drinks, are served.

Uma implies “delicious” in Japanese, and this idea is totally uma—a healthful, lower calorie alternative to fast food. We love it, and hope there’s an Uma Temakeria in our neighborhood soon!

Uma Temakeria (pronounced OOH-mah teh-ma-ka-REE-ah) is the first “fast-fine” sushi eatery to open in the U.S., inspired by the temakeria trend in Brazil, which began in the early 2000s in beachfront neighborhoods such as Leblon and Ipanema.

Bringing the concept to the U.S. is Cynthia Kueppers, who left Wall Street to create her vision. All ingredients, including the seafood, are responsibly-sourced, fusing a trend that is growing among American consumers.

You enter the bright space, roomy by Manhattan standards, and go to the counter, where the temaki of your choice are quickly made to order. You can take a seat to dine, or take your temaki to go.

   

vegetarian-230r

Tofu temaki, one of the vegetarian choices. Just roll and eat! Photo courtesy Uma Temakeria | NYC.

 

What’s on the menu? First, there are Chef’s Temaki from Michelin-starred Executive Chef Chris Jaeckle (formerly of Ai Fiori, Morimoto and other great eateries such as Eleven Madison Park, Tabla and An American Place), with your choice of white or brown rice:

  • Tsumi Tuna Temaki: tuna and green apple in wasabi ginger sauce
  • Isara Salmon Temaki: salmon and seaweed salad with creamy miso sauce
  • Citera Tofu Temaki: red pepper and seasonal pickle in zesty citrus sauce
  • Terramaki: seaweed salad, daikon, carrot, avocado and sesame seeds with spicy mayonnaise
  • Fish ‘N Chips: the seasonal special, currently fried fluke, celery and potato chip crunch with tartar sauce
  •  

    2-maki-230

    Tuna and salmon rolls. Photo courtesy Uma
    Temakeria | NYC.

     

    Prefer a custom temaki? The attractive, enthusiastic counter staff are eager to roll whatever you’d like. Combine your rice with:

  • Protein: Atlantic salmon, blue swimmer crab, marinated tofu, yellowfin tuna or seasonal fish
  • Vegetables: carrot, celery, cucumber, daikon, red bell pepper, seaweed salad, seasonal pickle
  • Fruit: green apple
  • Sauce: avocado lime, creamy miso, tobanjan mayo, wasabi ginger or zesty citrus
  •  
    Most rolls are $5.50 (vegetarian), $6.00 (with fish) or $6.50 (seasonal special); any two rolls with a delicious side salad is $14.00.

    The sides are low in calories, each equally deserving to be included with your meal:

  • Asian Vinegar Slaw
  • Kale Salad with Balsamic Miso
  • Spicy Cucumber Salad
  •  
    Chef Jaeckle, please send us the recipes for all three!

     

    HAVE A TEMAKI PARTY AT HOME

    Why are temaki (hand rolls) different from other sushi? Because they don’t require a well-honed skill to prepare. Simply grab a sheet of seaweed, add your rice and fixings and roll into a cone.

    As the host, you don’t have to do much more than set out the ingredients, buffet-style. The guests roll their own (here’s how to roll temaki).

    It’s a great idea for a party. So take inspiration from Uma Temakeria and add some pizzazz to your entertaining. And invite us!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Homemade Bibimbap

    One of our favorite Korean dishes is bibimbap (pronounced BEE-bim-bop), a comfort food recipe that’s easily customizable to your tastes. It combines rice, protein, fresh vegetables and spicy Korean barbeque sauce.

    The dish is traditionally made, mixed and served in a Korean stone bowl (also called hotstone or dolsot). You can use a regular skillet and a dinner plate.

    With a stone bowl, the rice on the bottom becomes extra crisp and crusty and is considered a bonus, like the socarrat on the bottom of paella pans.

    Already low in calories and healthful, if you substitute a [nontraditional] whole grain for the white rice, it becomes a very nutritious dish. Consider black, brown or red rice, or barley (bap is the Korean word for cooked rice). Quinoa fans: Go for it!

    Below are five easy steps to making bibimbap at home from Bibigo, maker of Korean pantry products.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE BIBIMBAP

    Ingredients

       

    bibimbap-barnjooNYC-230

    Bibimbap served in a traditional stone bowl. Photo courtesy Barnjoo Restaurant | NYC.

  • Cooked rice—your choice of type, including steamed sticky rice
  • Cooked protein(s) of choice: bulgogi beef*, chicken teriyaki, chicken breast, ground beef, seafood, spicy pork or tofu, cooked in marinade (see Step 2 of recipe below)
  • Egg, cooked sunny-side up
  • Vegetables of choice: lightly-cooked carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach or other favorites
  • Sauce: gochujang (see below) or other traditional sauce (Bibigo makes Hot & Spicy Bulgogi, kohot, ssam sauce, and citron soy)
  •  
    *Bulgogi is thinly sliced, marinated and grilled beef. The word literally means “fire meat” in Korean.
     
    Condiments

  • Gochujang paste (see below), available at Asian markets or online
  • Kimchi
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

  • Nori (dried seaweed sheets, or laver, used to make sushi rolls)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onions (scallions)
  •  
    ABOUT GOCHUJANG PASTE

    Gochujang (pronounced ko-chu-JONG, also translated as kochujang) is a Korean hot chile pepper paste, spicy, but not too hot. It is made from glutinous (sticky) rice, red chiles, fermented soy beans and salt.

    Gochujang is one of the three indispensable condiments in Korean households, along with doenjang, bean paste, and ganjang, Korean soy sauce.

    The popular condiment is used in bibimbap as well as in bulgogi (barbecued meat wrapped in lettuce leaves), tteokbokki (a snack food made from soft rice cake and fish cake), and in salads, stews, soups and marinated meat dishes.

    You can also spread it on burgers and sandwiches for some fusion flare, use it as a breakfast condiment with eggs or hash browns, or mix it with soy sauce, rice wine and a bit of brown sugar to make a delicious dipping sauce.

     

    homestyle-bibimbap-230sq

    Bibimbap served on a regular dinner plate.
    Photo courtesy Bibigo.

     

    RECIPE: BIBIMBAP

    This dish is primed for “freestyling.” You can add whatever ingredients appeal to you, from edamame to rice noodles, to create your own signature bibimbap.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 cups steamed medium-grain rice, rice of choice, or other grain
  • 2 cups mixed raw vegetables: bean sprouts, julienned or sliced carrot, cucumber, radish, zucchini, etc.—or—1 cup raw vegetables and 1 cup cooked vegetables, such as bok choy, mushrooms or spinach
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced (about 3 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cooked protein
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • Garnish: julienned nori (seaweed sheets), kimchi, sliced green onion (scallions), toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the rice and vegetables between two serving bowls; set aside.

    2. MAKE the marinade: Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and pepper in a mixing bowl.

    3. COMBINE the marinade and protein in a skillet over medium-high heat, and stir frequently until just cooked through.

    4. TOP the rice with the cooked protein, reserving the cooking juices. Mix the juices with the gochujang sauce.

    5. FRY the eggs sunny-side up and place one on top of each rice bowl. Garnish to taste and serve with gochujang sauce.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Goat Curry

    goat-curry-aglocal-230r

    Goat curry with naan, Indian flatbread.
    Photo courtesy AG Local.

     

    Got your goat?

    AgLocal has it! The e-tailer sources its meats from family farms that treat their animals well. The goal: a marketplace where consumers can easily purchase high quality meats while actively supporting the development of sustainable, regional farms. Learn more at AgLocal.com.

    And here’s some news: Goat is the most widely consumed protein in the world. It is also one of the most sustainable animals to raise, eating mostly brush and weeds.

    Yet, while Americans love goat cheese and other goat milk-based dairy products, we rarely eat goat meat. In fact, it’s hard to find outside of international markets and butchers. Even the Italian restaurants of our youth that had goat on the menu have it no more. Where has all the goat meat gone?

    This recipe, adapted by the AgLocal Test Kitchen from the August 2012 issue of Good Food Magazine, is an easy way to introduce goat into your cooking repertoire.

     
    RECIPE: GOAT CURRY

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 pound goat stew meat
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-3 jalapeño chiles
  • Optional: small handful curry leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 can (15-ounces) pinto beans
  • 1-2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced
  • Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Naan and/or rice for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and purée. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and add the onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the peppers, curry leaves, thyme, curry powder and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for 2 minutes more until fragrant.

    2. ADD the goat meat and cook for 5 minutes until sides are browned. Add the tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and leave to simmer for 2 hours.

    3. UNCOVER and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add the beans to heat through. Slowly whisk in lemon juice and yogurt. Taste and add more yogurt and lemon juice to cut through spice if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCTS: Green Sriracha & Japanese Spicy Mayo

    musashi-green-sriracha-mayo-kalviste-230

    Green sriracha and spicy mayo: Two delicious
    new ways to heat things up. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Sriracha, a hot sauce that originated in Thailand, has become mainstream in American supermarkets. It is used as a table condiment, a recipe ingredient and a flavoring for snacks like popcorn and potato chips. Conventionally made with red chiles, it has been given a color makeover with green serrano chiles by Musashi Foods.

    Not surprisingly, it has a different flavor profile. Our resident sriracha expert says it has more of a flavor kick than his usual brand (Huy Fong, a.k.a. Rooster, Sriracha), with a heat that builds.

    You can buy the 12-ounce squeeze bottle on Amazon for $6.99 with free shipping on orders over $35. So consider these attractive green bottles as stocking stuffers for your heat-loving friends.

    Musashi Foods has also launched Japanese Spicy Mayo, the condiment used to make spicy rolls at sushi bars. It’s also delicious with crudités, eggs, fries, sandwiches and burgers, seafood and anywhere you’d like some heat in your mayonnaise. It’s the same price and delivery deal as the Green Sriracha, on Amazon.

    (Note that you can make your own spicy mayo by mixing hot sauce into conventional mayonnaise. You can control the heat this way—Musashi’s mayo is pretty hot!)

     

    WHAT IS SRIRACHA?

    Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It is made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer.

    Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce.

    The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed. Different brands can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets and in Asian groceries.

    According to multiple sources, including an article in Bon Appétit, the sauce was made more than 80 years ago in by a local woman, Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made the condiment for her family, and then for friends, to enjoy with the local seafood (think of it as a much hotter counterpart to American cocktail sauce).

    As is a common story in the specialty food business, they encouraged her to sell it commercially—and it became the best-selling chile sauce in Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold her business to a major food company, Thai Theparos Food Products.

    What’s the correct spelling: sriraja, si-racha, sriracha or siracha?

    According to Andrea Nguyen, who wrote the article for Bon Appétit: Since Thailand does not adhere to one romanization system for Thai words, many variants have emerged, chosen by manufacturers who have created their own version of the original sauce.

    However, the most commonly accepted spelling is sriracha.

    ABOUT MUSASHI FOODS

    Founded in 2013 in New York City by an entrepreneur with a passion for hot and spicy food and named for the famed Japanese Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, Musashi Foods is a producer of premium Asian sauces made from the highest quality ingredients. For more information visit Musashifoods.com.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Kimchi Fried Rice

    kimchi-fried-rice-eastandwest-yotelNYC-230

    Enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
    Photo courtesy Yotel New York.

     

    Kimchi or kimchee is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, the most common side dish in Korean cuisine. It is also a main ingredient in many popular Korean dishes, such as kimchi stew.

    Kimchi has always been made year-round, but in earlier times it was made in larger quantities during the winter months, when fresh vegetables were few. Like many societies pre-refrigeration, pickled vegetables were a winter mainstay. Here’s more about kimchi.

    In addition to Asian markets, you can now find kimchi at natural food stores, including chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

    This fusion recipe from East & West at Club Lounge combines Korean kimchi with Chinese fried rice with a western fried egg.

    RECIPE: KIMCHI FRIED RICE WITH FRIED EGG

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup kimchi vegetables, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 bok choy stem, chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal olek)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 fried eggs, sunny side up, crispy edges, salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish: julienned green onion
  • Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ garlic in canola oil and add rice. Stir fry rice for 2 minutes, then add kimchi.

    2. STIR fry for an additional minute; then add scallions, bok choy and sambal.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper, and portion into four individual bowls or one large serving bowl.

    4. TOP with crispy fried egg(s) and green onions and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Ceviche Vs. Tiradito

    When you live in a ceviche culture, what do you do for something new?

    Ceviche, raw seafood marinated in lime juice with onions and other vegetables, is the national dish of Peru—and our favorite food. While the variations in ceviche recipes seem never-ending—there’s a seeming infinite combination of seafood, vegetables and marinade recipes—Peruvian chefs have taken the concept further.

    They’ve created tiradito, a dish of raw fish similar to carpaccio, ceviche, crudo and sashimi, but garnished with a piquant or spicy sauce. It reflects the influence of Japanese immigrants on Peruvian cookery. It also differs from ceviche in the way in which the fish is cut (sashimi-style slices) and in the lack of onions. The fish can also be lightly seared.

    Both are typically served as a first course. Cool and refreshing, they are ideal summer dishes but delicious year-round (not to mention easy to make, healthful and low in calories).

    The classic tiradito sauce is made from citrus juice and a zesty paste of aji amarillo, made from the Peruvian yellow chile pepper (Capsicum baccatum) plus seasonings—grated garlic or ginger, salt and pepper. Of course, chefs can create a myriad of sauces with other ingredients.

    Unlike ceviche, the fish isn’t marinated in the sauce; the sauce is used as a dressing—think sashimi with sauce and garnishes. Common garnishes include sweet potato and jumbo white corn kernels, both native to Peru.

       

    ceviche-scallop-shells-raymiNYC-230

    Ceviche preparation of white fish with two different marinades. Photo courtesy Raymi | NYC.

     

    The key to both dishes is the freshest fish. Ask your fishmonger what’s best.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CEVICHE & TIRADITO

    In South America, marinated raw fish dishes date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn.

    In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived with lemons for the marinade, creating modern ceviche: cubed or sliced, lightly marinated raw fish. Recently, a variation has morphed into tiradito, cutting the fish sashimi-style and adding a spicy dressing.

    Tiradito derives from the Spanish verb tirar, which means to throw—throwing together raw fish with a sauce.

     

    tiradito-cucharasbravas.com.pe-230r

    Tiraditio of mackerel with a sauce of yellow
    aji chile paste. Photo courtesy
    CucharasBravas.com.pe.

     

    Here’s a tiradito recipe from Peru Delights. Prep time is 20 minutes.

    Look for the aji amarillo paste in supermarkets with a large Latin American products section (Goya makes it), at a Latin American grocer, or online. If you can’t get hold of it, use a mixture of fresh yellow bell peppers and serrano chilies to approximate the hot and fruity flavor of the aji amarillo.

    RECIPE: TIRADITO DE PESCADO

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound white fish fillets (e.g. tilapia)
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon diced chile pepper (e.g. serrano)
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garnish: 1 sweet potato cut in thick slices
  • Garnish: microgreens or sprouts
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SLICE the fish fillet very thin and divide among four plates. Sprinkle with salt.

    2. COMBINE lime juice in a bowl with the aji amarillo paste, diced chile, garlic, ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spoon over the fish to cover.

    3. TOP each portion with two sweet potato slices, cover with microgreens and serve, chilled or room temperature.

     
    MORE CEVICHE

  • Types of ceviche.
  • How to create your signature ceviche recipe.
  • Shrimp ceviche recipe.
  • What to drink with ceviche.
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Pastilla, Bastilla, Bisteeya, B’stilla

    pastilla-moroccan-kaminsky-230

    Alluring and delicious. Photo © Hannah
    Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Pastilla, pronounced “bastilla” in the Arabic of North Africa, is a traditional Moroccan dish that crossed the Straits of Gilbraltar from Andalusia, Spain. It is transliterated from the Arabic pastilla, bastilla, bisteeya, b’stilla or bstilla.

    It all means “delicious,” says Hannah Kaminsky.

    Traditionally served as a first course of a special meal, this squab pie with flaky, crêpe-like dough is more often made with chicken these days. Fish, offal and vegetarian recipes are also made.

    In traditional recipes, the meat is slow-cooked in broth and spices, then shredded and layered in the pastry with toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar.

    “I may have never known about the wonders of pastilla, the mysterious pastry with a half-dozen different spellings, if not for the ethereal prose of Fatima Mernissi,” says Hannah. “So inspired by her lavish, unrestrained words of praise, this was my call to action, to secure a literal piece of the pie for myself.”

    Looking for a vegan substitute, she turned to chickpeas, noting:

     
    “Most curious with pastilla is the incongruous addition of powdered sugar right before serving; a light dusting of confectionery snow, frosting a decidedly savory main course.

    “Humbly, I must admit, it does work, tempering the hot, bold and intense spices without turning the pastry into a dessert. Though it could still taste equally delicious without the sugar, for those as hesitant as myself, I must urge you to just give it a shot.”
     
    RECIPE: CHICKPEA PASTILLA

    Ingredients For 3-4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14-ounces) chickpeas (1-3/4 cups cooked), drained
  • 1/2 cup coarse almond meal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8-10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Optional: confectioner’s sugar to garnish
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 6-inch round springform pan.

    2. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar; cook for 8-10 minutes while stirring frequently, until lightly golden and aromatic. Add the ground cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne, cooking for a minute or two longer to gently toast the spices.

    3. ADD the drained chickpeas and almond meal, stirring to combine, before slowly pouring in the broth and lemon juice together. Cook for another minute to heat through and slightly thicken the mixture. It should be thoroughly moistened but not soupy. Season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.

    4. LAY 1 sheet of phyllo across the bottom of the prepared springform pan, allowing the excess dough to hang over the edges. Lightly brush with the remaining olive oil, and then place another sheet of phyllo on top, turning it slightly so that the points stick out at different angles. Repeat this process so that you end up with 4-5 sheets lining the pan, covering the sides completely.

     

    baklava-wiki-star-230

    This baklava, made in a star-shaped cup, shows the numerous layers of phyllo dough. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     

    5. SPOON the chickpea filling into the center, smoothing it out so that it fills the pan evenly. If you end up with a bit too much filling to comfortably squeeze in, you can always use leftover sheets of phyllo later, to make individual parcels.

    6. COVER the filling with another sheet of phyllo, brush with olive oil and repeat the same process as before, ending up with another 4-5 sheets on top. Fold the overhanging dough back over the top, smoothing it down as neatly as you can. Give it a final brush of olive oil before sliding it into the oven.

    7. BAKE for 15-18 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pie until it is golden brown (it cooks quickly at this high temperature). Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Sift a fine dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top right before serving.

    THE HISTORY OF PHYLLO DOUGH

    Phyllo (FEE-low), fillo or filo is the traditional dough of the Greek, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. It is used for pastries from the sweet, like baklava (with honey and nuts) to the savory, like spanakopita (spinach and feta).

    Phyllo means “leaf” in Greek, and refers to the many tissue-thin leaves (so thin you can read through them) of unleavened flour sheets that comprise the dough. The paper-thin layers are separated by a thin film of butter.

    The earliest form of the dough was made in the 8th century B.C.E. in northern Mesopotamia, when the Assyrians made an early version of baklava, layering very thin pieces of dough with nuts and honey, and baking them in wood-burning ovens.

    The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets is believed to have evolved in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, based on Central Asian prototypes.

    Greek seamen brought the concept home, and Athenian bakers created phyllo, the leaf-thin layers of dough, as early as the 3rd century B.C.E. Given the labor required, it was served in wealthy Greek households for special occasions.

    The dough (flour, water, oil and white vinegar) was made by gently rolling, stretching or pressing into the ultra-thin sheets. This takes time and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching into a single thin and very large sheet. A very large table and a long roller are required, with continous flouring between layers to prevent tearing.

    Machines for producing phyllo pastry were perfected in the 1970s. Today, phyllo is made by machine and available in the freezer section of most food stores, or fresh in some specialty markets.

    In preparation for baking, the dough is brushed with butter or oil; it must be worked with quickly as it dries with exposure to air. It can be cut into sheets and layered in a tin, cut into individual rolls or rolled up as one large roll.

    In any form, it is delicious!

      

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    RESTAURANT: Fast Casual Indian Food At Baluchi’s Fresh

    Baluchi's_spread-230r

    All of this awaits at Baluchi’s Fresh, and it’s
    all absolutely delicious. Photo courtesy
    Baluchi’s Fresh.

     

    Baluchi’s Fresh promises to change the way New Yorkers think about Indian food. Established by the son of a New York-based Indian restaurant family (including Devi, the first Michelin star Indian restaurant in the U.S.), it brings fresh, high quality Indian food (including hormone-free meats) to a fast food venue.

    There are rice bowls, wraps, salads and sides, using only farm-fresh vegetables; vegetarian and vegan options.

    Everything is so delicious, we can easily skip the china, silverware and ambiance and dash in whenever we need a fix of flavorful Indian fare.

    The vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices are in top form, representing both traditional dishes and street food (chaat). They include favorites such as:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Rogan Josh, Goan Shrimp, Goat Currry.
  • Vegetarian choices such as Aloo Papri, Bhel Puri, Cauliflower Manchurian, Chana Masala, Daal, Kale & Onion Pakoras, Masala Fries, Paneer Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer and Tandoori Stuffed Aloo.
  •  
    There are meat and vegetarian samosas, daily specials, and absolutely celestial onion naan, hot from the tandoor oven.

     

    Baluchi’s Fresh is located in Manhattan at 37 West 43rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The hours are:

  • Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.
  • Sunday 12 noon to 10 p.m.
  •  
    For more information and daily specials call 1.212.921.7979. The website is coming soon.

    You can take out or eat in; delivery is in the works. Baluchi’s Fresh is a great addition to the neighborhood. We hope the concept spreads far and wide.

     

    WHAT’S IN THE RECIPE?

    Here’s a quick demystification of the dishes served at Baluchi’s Fresh:

  • Aloo Papri: potato crisps.
  • Bhel Puri: puffed rice and vegetables in a tangy tamarind sauce.
  • Chana Masala: spicy chickpeas.
  • Dal: spicy lentils.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala: roasted chunks of chicken in a spicy, creamy sauce colored orange with tomato paste.
  • Goan Shrimp: tangy, spicy sauteed shrimp with coriander, cumin and coconut.
  • Lamb Rogan Josh: braised lamb chunks in a brown gravy of garlic, ginger, onions, yogurt and aromatic spices.
  • Naan: a leavened and puffy oven-baked flatbread.
  • Pakora: fritter.
  •  

    manchurian-cauliflower-beauty-230

    Cauliflower so good, people who never eat it will beg for more. Photo courtesy Baluchi’s Fresh.font>

  • Paneer Tikka Masala: cubed paneer (a fresh Indian cheese) in spiced sauce.
  • Saag Paneer: paneer cheese in a spinach sauce (or other dark green, such as broccoli or mustard greens.
  • Samosa: a savory stuffed, fried pastry.
  • Tandoori Stuffed Aloo: potatoes stuffed with paneer and spices.
  •  

    Now, head to Baluchi’s Fresh and try them all for yourself!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ají Sauce

    Hot sauce lovers should take a closer look at ají sauce, a standard in Ecuador and Peru. Aji amarillo is one of the most common types of chiles in the area, and is also one of the most important ingredients in the two countries.

    While, like all salsas, there are as many variations as there are cooks, a basic ají criollo is made from the ají amarillo (yellow ají*), along with cilantro, garlic, onion and lime.

    Each region and city has its own unique recipe. For example, ají de tomate de árbol—tree tomato or tamarillo ají—uses tamarillo as well as ají amarillo. (A recipe is below.)

    Andrés Dávila, executive chef of Casa Gangotena, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top Ten Hotel, offers tourists a journey through the different types of ají, with a selection of six sauces carefully paired with a dish that heightens the flavors of the local cuisine. He’s also sent us a standard recipe so you can make your own.

    Great for sauces and to kick up any meal with a great flavor and medium heat. Chewing on the chiles adds more heat.

  • Ají mixed with passion fruit, which colors the sauce a spectacular yellow, goes well paired with chicken or pork.
  • Ají with sambo squash seeds, a light green cream with a subtle smell and taste that goes well with white meats.
  •    

    aji-amarillo-perudelights-230r

    Ají amarillo, in shades of yellow and orange. Photo courtesy PeruDelights.com.

  • Manaba-style pickled ají, flavored and colored with carrots, is the perfect accompaniment to fish.
  • Orange ají is made with tree tomato (tamarillo) and chochos (lupines).
  • Purple ají, colored with beets, has a complex layering of fruit vinegar, grated carrots and pickle slices, goes well with both seafood and red meats.
  •  
    PICK UP A JAR OF AJÍ AMARILLO (YELLOW AJÍ) PASTE

    You can probably find a jar of ají paste in the Latin foods section of your supermarket. Goya makes it, of course, and you can find specialty brands such as Costa Peruana and Inca’s Food online.

    Aji paste is simply a purée of fresh ajis. “American fusion” uses include:

  • Mix a tablespoon with a cup of Alfredo or other white sauce, red sauce or brown sauce or gravy.
  • Add to soup (including chicken soup).
  • Add to a ceviche marinade.
  • Mix into condiments to add flavor and heat.
  •  
    *While ají is Spanish for chile pepper and amarillo means yellow, the color changes to orange as the chiles mature. You can see the deepening colors in the photo above.

     

    aji-amarillo-paste-incasfood-230

    Add bold flavor to many dishes with ají
    amarillo (yellow chile) paste. Photo courtesy
    Inca’s Food.

     

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE AJÍ SAUCE

    This classic ají sauce combines tree tomato (tamarillo), ají amarillo and chochos (lupines, or lupin beans). Lupins are a large yellow Italian bean. You can substitute lima beans or fava beans for the lupins.

    Ingredients

  • 4-5 tomatillos
  • 2 ajís (you can substitute serranos or other red chilies, or yellow habaneros for extra heat)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: cooked and peeled chochos (lupin beans)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL the tomatillos and boil them for 5 minutes.

    2. BLEND the tomatillos with ají chiles. For a milder sauce, seed and devein the chiles. You can always save a few seeds and add them in if it’s too mild.

    3. TRANSFER the mix to a small sauce pan, add the water (you can add more if you want a more liquid sauce) and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. You can also skip the cooking part; the sauce will be fresher in taste, but will need to be consumed more quickly.

    4. ADD the onion, lime juice, cilantro, optional chochos and salt to taste. Serve warm or cold.

    VARIATION: Replace the water with oil (avocado, light olive oil or a mild flavored oil) for a creamier Cuencano-style ají, and do not cook it after blending.

    Recipe courtesy Laylita.com.

      

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