Monday, August 27, 2018

Curried Shrimp Fried Rice

I’ve been making  a lot of fried rice lately. The further along I get in my pregnancy, the more I have come to appreciate recipes that come together quickly and are mostly made from pantry ingredients. In between all of these fried rice dishes, I took a break to lab my friend Azlin Bloor of's Kedgeree, a rich fish and rice dish with wonderful aromatics and a rich curry. This dish is certainly inspired by Azlin’s Kedgeree and is a quick and fairly easy weeknight meal. Especially if you already have rice to use up.

Curried shrimp fried rice

2 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 lb shrimp, deveined & cut into 3-4 pieces each
1/2 yellow onion, diced
5 jumbo eggs
1 cup frozen English peas
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
~2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
Pepper, to taste

Method: melt butter and add sesame oil, then onions. Saute until onions begin to soften (3 - 5 minutes). Add garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric. Cook for one minute. Add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are cooked through (about 4 minutes). Add peas, rice, soy sauce then crack the eggs right into the rice. Season with pepper and mix everything well. Cover pan and cook until the eggs are cooked through (3 - 5 minutes), stirring once or twice. Serve as a stand alone meal.

Notes: if you have ghee try using it in place of the butter. If you are planning to serve this dish to company, add 1 / 4 lb whole deveined shrimp and after they have cooked through set them aside as a garnish before you add the rice. You can also garnish with minced cilantro or sliced spring onions. If you are cooking your rice from scratch I recommend cooking 1 cup in half water half vegetable stock, a half tablespoon of butter, half teaspoon of sesame oil, a teaspoon soy sauce and a half teaspoon cumin seeds.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Quick, Rich n Easy: Beans n Greens

When I say beans and greens, what comes to mind? I'll tell you how I've come to think of it: as an idea with legs. This is because my foodie friend, Justine, casually mentioned she was serving it for dinner in a vegetarian mole pie topped with savory cornbread. It sounded very intriguing. What sort of beans? What kind of greens? Whatever she has on hand!

As she made the dish again and again, over time the mole sauce fell by the wayside - instead evolving to use bacon and crushed red pepper to develop as complex a flavor. The cornbread got served alongside. As a combination it sounded like a rich southern dish, sure to become a classic with how easy it is to make-- which is where my idea of it differed from hers. She is a master at cooking quick beans in her pressure cooker, whereas I do not have one. Yet. What we do share in common is access to a wonderful variety of delicious canned beans. And what I lack, these days, is enough time in the kitchen (as well as a time saving pressure cooker).

When she reminded me that it was originally a Mark Bittman recipe, its versatility made a lot more sense. The beauty of Bittman's recipes is that they're more guidelines than a concrete idea of a dish. They are often very open ended--ideas with legs, you might say. I looked up his original recipe and was surprised to see it had from scratch chickpeas and broccoli rabe, made rich and delicious by an abundance of olive oil and a generous amount of garlic. It sounds amazing and I am certainly going to try it one night when I have more than 90 minutes to simmer those beans to perfection.

The brilliant touches of adding rich bacon fat and a pinch of hot pepper were added by Justine as she improvised and let her own take on the recipe evolve. I have made a quick version of this idea with canned pinto beans and red chard. It takes less than 20 minutes of cook time and is great for a quick weeknight meal. It'll even be done before your cornbread, depending on your recipe. I like shortcuts and don't have a good recipe for it, so I used a box mix from Krusteaz to make my cornbread and was delighted with how long I was able to keep it moist and fresh tasting.

Beans n Greens

Serves 4

2 (15oz) cans pinto beans, drained*
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1” pieces
12 oz bunch Swiss chard
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper, to taste
(Optional) up to 1 cup chicken stock*

Method: in a large frying pan over medium heat, sweat the bacon until it has just begun to render (~5 minutes). Add the onion and saute until soft. Add garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Saute another minute. Add chard, salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until just tender (roughly another 5 minutes). Add beans and stock (or can liquid; see notes). If you are not adding any liquid (see notes), continue to saute chard until it is to your liking for the finished dish and add beans at the end.

*Notes: I used the canned beans undrained, and using the liquid from both added too much gravy to the finished dish. I would use the bean liquid again, but some do not like the tin taste that sometimes lingers. If you are of that camp but find the finished dish too dry sans liquid, use up to a cup of stock until it reaches your desired consistency.