and I love browsing second hand book shops.There are lots of treasures to be found there and the price is right too. Recently I bought 3 old cooks books. The 3 books cost a total of $9. I like the older cookbooks because they are not about the shiny pictures or fancy lay outs, but more about authentic recipes. I bought a japanese cook book, a book about making all sorts of pickled veggies and an Indian cookbook.
I love Indian food, and many moons ago when I lived in New York, I would very frequently eat at Indian restaurants. I especially enjoyed stuffing myself at the lunch time buffets. So yesterday I decided to do a bit of Indian cooking. I followed a few recipes as I had never made it before. I don’t use recipes often, and many times I will use a recipe as the basis and then will add my own interpretation of it. But with Indian food and their delicate spices, I decided to follow along and see what would come from it. The only “unique” ingredients that are a must have for what I’m about to show you, are one or two stalks of lemon grass and a few kaffir lime leaves. To accompany the Indian recipes I made some of my favorite Indonesian Coconut rice.
The kaffir lime leaves are an integral part of South East Asian cooking in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Laos. The leaves and fruit are said to have medicinal properties. The actually lime is from what I understand not edible and so acidic that you can’t cook with it but it gets used as a cleaning agent. Never the less, the leaves have the power to impart tremendous flavour into a dish.
So let’s start with the rice. 2 cups of rice (jasmine or basmati works well), cup of coconut milk, 1 and 1/2 cup of water. 1 tbsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, 3 kaffir lime leaves, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger and half a stalk of lemon grass. (beat the lemon grass a bit to release the oils and flavor and then tie it in a knot. That way it’s easy to take out when it’s cooked. Put all the ingredients in a pot, stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. It’s done when all the liquid is done. A little trick. Let the rice rest for about 15 minutes before serving and after removing from the burner. If you ever try and make this, you owe me a comment afterwards and you must share with everyone that this is some of the, if not THE best rice you have ever tasted, deal? Remove the lemon grass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves before serving
Next I had 2 sausage patties (Whole Foods carries a brand called Southern Raised. Their pork products are simply delicious. I buy their bacon which is thicker and tastier than any packaged brand and their sausage patties. It’s in the butcher department) and put them in my cast iron skillet. Next I cut up a piece of lamb shoulder chop (One of the cheaper cuts.) into bite size pieces. When the patties are half way done, chop them into pieces with your spatula, and then add the lamb. Mix together well. Now add 2 tbsps of tomato paste. mix well. add 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of coconut milk. Add some spices. This is what I added, mustard powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and a bit of chili powder. Let it simmer on low heat.
Next ( this is getting good right ? 🙂 ) wash a head of cauliflower and break it into florets. They don’t have to be small. Cut your self 2 small green chilles or 1 jalapeno, or a scotch bonnet pepper if you like it really hot. Decide hot hot you want it and pick your pepper accordingly and add some or no seeds. I used a hungarian wax pepper. They are light green and long. They have spice but not too hot. almost like a milder jalapeno but with just as much flavor. 3 cloves of garlic chopped. 1 tbs garam masala, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp salt and a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger finely sliced in to thin strips.
Put you oil of choice in the pan. I used some ghee and butter. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, when they start to pop, which is pretty quick, add your garlic, ginger, wax pepper/jalapeno/ chillies. Stir and then add the cauliflower. Fry it all up for 2-3 minutes until the cauliflower get a bit of browning to it. Next add in the garam masala, stir well. add 1/4 cup of water (for one head of cauliflower) cover and turn down the heat. Let it simmer until the cauliflower is soft but not mushy. Now if you want to kick it up a notch, you can add a dash of heavy cream, or 2 tbsps of cream cheese at the end and mix it all in so you have a bit of a cream sauce. Chop up a bit of cilantro and sprinkle as flavor enhancer.
I was blown away by how good dinner was last night. It tasted like a restaurant meal and it made me think of how expensive restaurants really are and how much money you save if you don’t go out to eat all that often. This entire meal cost me about $10 and there was enough for 4 adults. That’s right $10 for four adults. The only way this would cost you more if you have to buy the spices too. But even then you would still come in around $20. And then you have the spices for many more meals.
Make it a great day…hope you’re eating something yummy for dinner.