Archive for the ‘Dill’ Category

* Aloo Masala in Wonton Cups with Savory Granola

Posted on February 26th, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Bake, Cilantro, Cuisine, Dill, Entree, Ginger, Indian, Snack.

Aloo Masala in Wonton Cups

One can all this delicious vegan appetizer an an open-faced samosa.  Essentially, it has all the goodness of the samosa without the deep fry and work.  Crunchy eggless wonton skins, brushed with mustard oil and baked till golden brown filled with spicy potato curry and topped with a savory granola reminiscent of the South Indian snack, muruku.

The North Indian-style aloo masala curry recipe itself is originally from my friend, Sabah Akhtar, who taught me how to make the curry using the pressure cooker — apparently a lot of Indian folks do that these days!  Totally cuts down on the time one needs to whip out a good curry.  Her potato curry is full of fresh flavors as she folds in a bunch of fresh herbs at the end.  I adjusted the recipe a little to give it more spice and kick, but it’s pretty much her recipe!  You can skip the cups and granola and just make this hearty curry as an entree.

Chef’s tip:  Panch phoran is a Bengali five whole seed blend of fennel, cumin, nigella (onion seeds), fenugreek and yellow mustard in equal proportions.  You can mix them yourself or buy them pre-blended at most indian grocery stores.  Sabah also adds an eggplant to the curry (at the same time you add the tomatoes) and it gives it a richer, more complex flavor.

Wonton Cups:
24 wonton skin, eggless if vegan
1/2 cup mustard oil

1. Brush skins with mustard oil and press into mini muffin cups.
2. Bake in 360F oven till golden, about 7 minutes. Let cool.

Aloo Masala:
2 Tablespoons mustard oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons panch phoran mix
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 small yellow onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano, seeded, minced
3 large russett potatoes, half inch diced
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup water

1 cup peas
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped

1. Heat a pressure cooker under medium heat.  When hot, add mustard oil, follwoed by panch phoran mix and red pepper flakes.  Fry till spices pop.
2. Add  onion and saute under low heat for 10 mins, add ginger, garlic and serrano.  Saute for another 5 min.
3. Add potatoes and stir to coat.  Add salt, tomatoes and water.  Bring to boil.
4. When boiling, close lid and bring pressure  to the first red ring  over medium heat.  Adjust heat to stabilize at first ring and cook for 4 minutes.  Release pressure using cold water release method.
5. Remove lid, add peas and  cook till desired doneness.
6. Remove from heat and gently fold in chopped cilantro and dill.

Savory Granola:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wheat flakes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cashews
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup water

1. Mix all the ingredients together and bake in 325F oven till golden brown.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of aloo masala into the prepared cups, and top with savory granola.

Aloo Masala

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* Kuku Persian Omelette

Posted on April 4th, 2009 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Black Pepper, Breakfast, Cardamom, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cuisine, Cumin, Dill, Eggs, Entree, Green onions, Mint, Parsley, Persian.

I first tasted kuku at my friend’s Tammy’s dinner party.  Not knowing what it was called or its origin, I remembered it was absolutely tasty and exploding with herbal freshness.  Tammy is my citizen du monde friend — from the Bay Area to Chicago, New York, London and now Paris….like those ad taglines for high end perfume.  But it was really from her Persian background, as I found out years later….although I still didn’t know what it was called. In a casual conversion with my Persian neighbor in the laundry room, I learned it was called kuku and eaten during the Persian new year.  That’s when the kuku exploration began.

Kuku is essentially a Persian fritata.  Many Middle Eastern stores sell a kuku mix, and the advieh mix.  But you can make your own from scratch.  Just make sure you use all fresh herbs….the dried ones are just not the same.

Chef Tips: Make your own Advieh with this recipe: In a coffee /spice grinder, add 1 X cardamom, cumin, ginger and dried rose petals, 2X cinnamon and 0.5X cloves and grind into a fine powder.

6 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons Persian Advieh
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup garlic greens, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
2 tablespoons dried barberries, reconstituted

2 Tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, flour, advieh, salt, and pepper. Lightly beat in the chopped garlic, herbs and barberries.
3. Using a 10-inch oven-proof  skillet, melt butter.  Add fenugreek until the fenugreek pops.  Turn down the heat a bit. Add the eggs and herbs mixture and cook over medium-low heat — gently stir in the beginning then run a spatula underneath the sides of the omelet and tilt the pan so the uncooked eggs slide to the underside.   Cook until the eggs are just set.
4. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until well set and puffy. Remove from oven, slide kuku onto a large plate, cut into wedges and serve.

Serves: 4

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* Cha Ca — Salmon in Tumeric and Dill Oil

Posted on September 10th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Cilantro, Cuisine, Dill, Entree, Fish, Fish sauce, Galangal, Green onions, Herbs, Mint, Pork, Rau Ram, Salmon, Street Foods, Tumeric, Vietnamese.

This picture was taken eons ago on my first gen digital camera…before I got my VR lens and my D70.  But the memory of that meal at Cha Ca La Vong in Hanoi is still as vivid as ever.  You climb this steep stairs, or more aptly called, a ladder, to get to the second floor of this nondescript shop lot in the old town of Hanoi.  As immediately as you sit down, a charcoal stove appears, together with a variety of Asian herbs and a simmering pan of bright orange tumeric oil.  This was the most simple and memorable meal I had in Hanoi.  I was heady with the smell of turmeric, dill, rau ram and all the wonderful Vietnamese herbs and the sweet smell of fried fresh fish.  Or was it the carbon monoxide from the numerous charcoal stoves in the room that was making me giddy?  I have tried to reproduce the recipe based on that memorable meal sans charcoal.

Chef’s tip: Make sure you have everything mise-en-place before you start cooking. The cooking itself literally takes minutes.  Traditionally, the freshwater snakehead fish is used.  Catfish or tilapia is a good substitute.  I like it with the more fatty salmon.

And here’s an updated picture 10 years later.

3 inches of galangal – Thai ginger
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 Tablespoon tumeric powder
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon grapeseed/ safflower oil

1 ½ lb fresh salmon (tilapia or catfish works well, too)

1 (4 oz) package of thin rice vermicelli, cooked and drained

8 approx. 2”X4” pieces of butter/green lettuce leaf, ribs removed
12 sprigs mint, chiffonade
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
½ bunch cilantro, tear into smaller sprigs
½ bunch of green onions, julienned, separate white from green
1 cup Rau Ram – polygonum (Vietnamese Mint), chiffonade
1 cup Fresh basil, chiffonade

1 lb dill, stemmed, cut into 3 inch strip
1 ½ cups of grapeseed/ safflower oil

Nuac Mam:
1 red chile, diced finely / 1 tablespoon Sri Racha sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 Tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons fish sauce

½ cup roasted peanuts
2 limes, cut into wedges

Preparing the Fish:
1.    Grate galangal and mix with 2 tablespoons warm water, squeeze juice and discard solids.
2.    Whisk together marinade ingredients with galangal juice
3.    Cut salmon into 1 inch cubes and marinate fish for at least a half hour.
Preparing the vegetables and rice vermicelli:
4.    Bring a pot of water to boil.  Drop rice vermicelli in, bring to boil again. Cover for 15 minutes.  Drain and fluff.  Place in the middle of a large platter.
5.    Wash and clean all vegetables, spin to dry.
6.    Sliced fennel and onion finely. Place onions in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.  Drain.
7.    Chiffonade herbs except dill. Set herbs and vegetables around the rice noodles on the platter.
Cooking the fish:
8.    Heat a cast iron pan or a wok on high heat
9.    Add oil and cook salmon till golden brown.
10.    Add the dill, cook for 1 minute.
11.    Toss in white part green onions.
12.    Ladle salmon over the rice noodles, sprinkle with ground peanuts.
Just before serving, toss together to mix in herbs and vegetables.
Preparing the nuoc mam dipping sauce:
13. Blend together all nuoc mam ingredients.
To serve:
14.    Serve with nuoc mam, cut lime and freshly cracked black pepper on the side.

Serves: 6

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