Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tandoori Chicken


5 cloves
2 dried guajillo chiles (if you can't find these, then use 2 chiles de arbol, and more paprika for color)
2 green cardamom, husks discarded, seeds retained
1 black cardamom, husk discarded, seeds retained
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 cup whole fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
1 tablespoons malt vinegar or lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 -inch thumb ginger, peeled and minced
1 packet boneless skinless chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds usually)
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couple of extra limes, for garnish


To make the marinade, toast the cloves, whole chiles, both types of cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds in a cast-iron skillet until fragrant, 3 minutes or so, shaking the pan. Then, pour the spices into a spice grinder and grind them until you get a fine powder.

In large bowl, whisk together the spice mixture you just made with the yogurt, oil, malt vinegar, salt, ground cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger until well combined. It should smell amazing! Taste and adjust with more salt if it needs it.

Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade and set aside; you're going to make a sauce out of this reserved marinade.

Prick the chicken thighs with a fork. Add the thighs to the rest of the marinade, and toss to coat. Marinate at least 1 hour in the fridge, and at most overnight.

When you're ready to cook, line a baking sheet with foil, and turn your broiler on. Place each chicken thigh on the baking sheet, making sure each one is coated with the marinade, but isn't swimming in it. Cook the chicken thighs under the broiler until starting to blacken, about 5 minutes. Then turn the oven to 350, and cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F, another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan, along with 1/2 cup water and the honey. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, whisking all the time. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl or gravy boat for serving.

Serve the chicken thighs with a fresh squeeze of lime and a drizzle of the sauce.

Butter Chicken


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 cup half-and-half
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Add all ingredients to list


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.

Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Baking in Bowties - Meat Pies!


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound ground beef sirloin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Coarse salt and ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for rolling
2 pie crusts (9 inches each), homemade or store-bought


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium; add cabbage and potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Add beef; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, and 1 cup water. Cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, and sauce has thickened, close to the consistency of a gravy. Lightly mash mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll each crust into a 14-inch square; cut each into 4 equal squares. Place 1/2 cup filling on one half of each square, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the filling. Brush borders with water; fold dough over filling to enclose. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. With a paring knife or scissors, cut 3 small vents in each.

Transfer pies to 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets; bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Thai Curry Chicken Fried Rice


1/2 piece chicken breast, sliced
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon massaman curry paste (add more as needed, to taste)

1 can 13.5 ounces coconut milk
2 cups cooked rice
(optional) 1 teaspoon peanut oil + 1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon lime juice (or lemon juice)
(optional) chopped cilantro for garnish


Place chicken breast in a small bowl, and add 1 teaspoon light soy sauce and cornstarch. Mix well with fingers until chicken is coated with a thin layer of starch. Marinate at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce, the oyster sauce, the fish sauce and the sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When oil is warm, spread chicken slices onto skillet. Grill for 2 minutes, until the bottom side turns golden brown. Flip and grill the other side, until the surface turns golden brown. Turn to lowest heat and transfer chicken to a plate. Set aside.

Pour 1 teaspoon of oil into the same skillet and turn to medium high heat. Add red pepper and cucumber and stir until the vegetables are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Turn to low heat. Transfer cooked vegetables to the plate with the chicken.

Add 2 teaspoons of oil, green onion and garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times until fragrant. Add curry paste and coconut milk, then stir to mix curry with the herbs until fragrant. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and rice. Use spatula to chop rice into small chunks. Chop and stir the rice until mixed well with curry paste.

(Optional) Use spatula to move the rice to one side of the skillet. Add oil and egg on the other side. Wait until egg is slightly cooked on the bottom, then mix the egg with rice. Stir a few times until egg is cooked.

Add chicken and vegetables back into skillet. Mix the sauce with a spoon and swirl into the skillet. Stir to mix everything well, for 1 to 2 minutes. Stop heat, add lime juice, and mix with spatula again. Carefully taste the rice and adjust seasoning if needed.
Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Baking in Bowties! Irish Cream Brownies



3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Irish cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup Irish cream
1/4 cup whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line an 8"×8" pan with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat while stirring frequently, melt the butter and chocolate chips.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, Irish cream, and vanilla and mix until well combined. Stir in the egg just until incorporated. Do not over mix.

Fold in the flour mixture just until no more streaks of flour remain. It will be very thick.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and use a silicone spatula to even it out.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top no longer appears wet. A toothpick inserted into the sides will come out with some moist crumbs on it, but not totally raw batter. The brownies will continue to bake as they sit in the pan.

Once the brownies have cooled, prepare the ganache.

Place the chocolate chips and Irish cream in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream just until steamy and on the verge of simmering.

Remove from the heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and Irish cream and stir until all the chocolate chips are completely melted. Let cool for about 15 minutes before pouring over the brownies.

Cover and store at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerate for up to 4 days. For fudgier brownies, refrigerate.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baking in Bowties! Cha Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

Recipe courtesy of Faydreh ;)

Just a couple notes about this recipe.  Even though I halved parts of the initial recipe to make less pork and filling, you'll probably want to make at least two batches of the dough.  The cha siu is fantastic just eaten with rice, but with how much filling is made, and to have lots of delicious buns, make more than one batch of dough. <3

Char Siu
About 1 lb of pork butt/shoulder
1 1/2 TB dark soy
1 1/2 TB light soy
1 1/2 TB honey
Salt to taste
1 1/2 TB Oyster Sauce (make sure Oysters are actually in the ingredients)
2 TB whiskey
3 1/2 TB Hoisin sauce
pinch pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder

Line a large roasting pan with foil. Mix up all ingredients except the pork and set aside.

Cut your pork into 1"x1" strips, trimming away excess fat. Place in the roasting pan and pour the sauce over the top.

Turn to coat, and let marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, put your oven rack on the second closest position to the broiler and preheat the oven with the broiler for a few minutes. Broil pork for 20-30 minutes. Turn and baste at 8 minute intervals. Pork is done when the thickest section is cooked all the way through (no pink). Watch for burning sugar, and some of the edges will and should get a little crispy. If your pan turns dry (mine didn't), add a little water a few TB at a time
Let cool to room temp, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.

2 tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp dark soy
2 tsp ketchup
1 TB sugar
pinch pepper
3 TB chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TB peanut or vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced onions
1 cup roast pork
2 tsp Shao-Hsing wine or sherry

Mix oyster sauce through sesame oil and set aside.

Mince your onions and pork.

Get a wok or sauté pan hot and put in the oil. Add onions, lower heat to low, and cook until onions start to turn brown, just a few minutes. Add pork and raise heat to medium-high, stir-frying for a few more minutes until pork is heated through, about one minute.

Reduce heat to very low, add wine or sherry, and mix well, cooking for another minute or so. Add sauce ingredients and stir-fry until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and put in bowl. Let cool to room temp then refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight (yes, again! Basically you want it cool enough to handle comfortably) You can make the dough while you let this cool and rest in the fridge.

2 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup plus 4 TB sugar
1 1/3 cup hot tap water
5 1/3 cups high gluten flour (look for flour that says best for bread machines)
2 egg, beaten
3/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the hot water. Set aside in a warm place for 30 - 60 minutes (the colder it is inside the longer it will take). Yeast is ready when the top is foamy and light brown. When ready, add flour, egg, and oil, stirring continuously with your hand or a wooden spoon (I prefer the spoon). Stir and knead for several minutes until dough is cohesive and sticks together instead of being a gooey gloppy mess. You may need to add more flour, I think I added about ? cup more a tablespoon or so at a time.
When you feel you can knead it without it sticking everywhere, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Re-flour and scrape up work surface as often as necessary to prevent sticking. When ready to rise, put into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until about tripled in size, anywhere from 2 - 5 hours.

Making the Bao

You'll need 2 large cookie sheets, and 16 squares of wax paper cut into approximately 4"x4" squares.

When the dough is ready, divide the dough in half, and put half on a work surface, and the rest back in the bowl with the damp cloth on top. Knead the half you have out for a few minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces by rolling out into a log, and cutting in half, then cutting pieces in half until you have 8 equal pieces.

Roll the pieces into balls, and put back what you're not using at the moment in the bowl under the cloth.

Stretch/press to make a little bit bigger and make the edges thinner, and spoon a scant tablespoon or so of filling into the well. Hold bao in one hand, and with the other, pinch two sides shut.

Turn the bao a half turn, and pinch the opposite two sides shut.

Now pull the other open corners shut together. You'll be pinching a total of 4 times. Then do a final pinch, and kinda twist the whole bottom together to make sure it's sealed.
Don't make your dough too thin, or the filling will bust out when you go to bake it

Place you bao sealed-side down on a wax paper square. Repeat for all your bao.
Let rest in a warm spot for about an hour, or until they've risen a bit. A puffy, risen bao!

When risen, lightly mist the bao with water and using a pastry brush, brush the outside with a beaten egg. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Rotate trays 180 degrees about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mushroom Risotto

6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.