Beef Kare Kare is a rather unique way to cook beef. This Filipino dish combines stewed beef and yummy stir fried vegetables with a delicious, taste-bud friendly sauce made of peanut butter and ‘bagoong’ – a sautéed dried shrimp paste! Sounds interesting? If you are a serious foodie, this is one dish that you must try out. If you like peanut butter, you will love it.
‘ Bagoong Guisado ‘ is a sautéed shrimp paste. This condiment is really quite tasty! Unlike Thai or Malaysian shrimp paste, it is sautéed, and comes in small bottles. You can even have it as a condiment along with your rice.
My filipina friend, Lyn tells me that I must add enough peanut butter to be able to taste it. It isn’t supposed to be a hidden flavor. Two other special ingredients are used in Kare Kare. One being the Banana Blossom. Although I love it, I didn’t want that texture of the entire blossom affecting the smoothness of the dish so I used banana blossom flower that comes dried in packets. The second special ingredient, is Atsuete/ Annatto /Achiote Seeds. These seeds were introduced to Filipino cuisine by the Spanish and are often used as a natural coloring agent. The seeds have a mild peppery aroma, when fried, similar to sichuan pepper – I felt. They are also known as ‘Poor mans Saffron ‘ and can help to give rice a yellowish color similar to the color imparted by saffron, but much cheaper! When fried in oil, as in the Kare Kare, they give a nice reddish color. The seeds however must be removed after frying as they taste bitter.
Quite a unique sounding dish. Wouldn’t you say? It is quite yummy, I tell you .
Vanpayar Ularthiyathu | Brown Bean and Shallots Mash
Vanpayar Ularthiyathu is the classic Kerala comfort food. The ‘brown beans’ (red cow peas / red gram / ‘red chawli’) are a brownish version of the ‘green bean’ or whole ‘mung dal’. It also looks similar in shape to the ‘black eyed bean’, except it’s smaller.
In Kerala, this dish is very often served with rice porridge, where the Kerala ‘Rose Rice’ is used: an indigenous variety of rice grown in Palakkad District of Kerala. It’s a chubbier grain and is found throughout Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka.
The beans are cooked prior to stir frying with a delicious blend of shallots, garlic, pepper and dried red chilli and then mashed lightly to add a very-yummy-creamy quality.
This vegetarian item may be served with rice or even chapatis, but the classic combo will forever be Kanji and Payar ( Porridge and Beans). Poppadum’s , pickle and shallot chutney are also often served on the side. ‘Kanji and Payar’ is also often served when you are under the weather or suffering from an upset stomach.Read More
Dill Pickles | Easy Homemade Refrigerator Pickles (with slideshow)
These dill pickles are my favorite instant pickles.. They may be used just after 24 hours. It’s no doubt that home made products, usually beat the flavor and reliability of store bought. Pickles are no exception! And the dill pickles from the store usually contain too much sugar and artificial coloring! Make your own fresh, crunchy dill pickles, that require no special pickling equipment and temperature control. You will be surprised how easy they are to make. First time I made these, I was amazed at how good they were. Fresh and crunchy, retaining the nutrients of the fresh cucumber.
Obviously, Dill weed is essential in making the pickles. Fresh is always preferred but the dried herb may be used if you can’t find it! And when it comes to pickling cucumbers, they say the the kind of cucumber that make you burp, are best for making pickles, due to the higher lever of cucurbitacin. You can use whole cucumbers, spears or slices. I tried a few varieties and I found these snacking baby cucumbers to be the best for my pickles. If I want to use them for burgers, I simply slice them up after pickling. We use these pickles in salads on a regular basis.
Asparagus Dip | Creamy Simple Asparagus Spread
This Asparagus dip, is extremely quick and easy to make! Quite tasty and even kids will enjoy this vegetable in spreadable form! I am always looking for ways to get the kids to eat certain veggies.. Sometimes, a dip is the easiest way to achieve this. Creamy and tasty, its super, served with toasted pita wedges.
Asparagus is a member of the lily family and has been found to be an aphrodisiac, since ancient times. It is packed with nutrients. High in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, beta -carotene, vitamin E, zinc, manganese and selenium.
It’s also especially rich in detoxifying compound, glutathione, which can help destroy carcinogens. For this reason, asparagus may help fight or protect against certain cancers.
Gambooge | Fish Tamarind
Gambooge – Also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta, Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), Brindleberry, Kudampuli, Pot Tamarind, Malabar Tamarind or Fish Tamarind. This fruit looks like a small green pumpkin. The ripe fruit is yellow.
Fish Roe Fry | Kerala ‘Palinjeen’ Fry
Fish Roe Fry is a favorite in our house. Whenever I get good fish roe (Fish Eggs), I usually prepare it in this way. Both female fish roe (Hard Roe) and male fish roe (Soft Roe), may be used.. In the picture, I have used only the Hard Roe of King Fish. The roe is cooked in spiced and seasoned coconut milk before frying (scrambling) in coconut oil. Yum!
Salted Egg Yolk Chicken | Batter Fried Chicken in Egg Yolk Sauce
Salted Egg Yolk Chicken is a delicious and rich tasting Fried chicken in a special creamy sauce that is very popular and trendy here in Singapore. The salted egg yolk sauce is also used in many other dishes, prawns, crabs, rice etc…
Salted eggs are a preserved food product, very common in Chinese cooking. Duck Eggs or Chicken Eggs are soaked in brine or packed in salted charcoal to preserve them. The eggs are sold in the supermarket, often covered with a thick layer of salted charcoal paste. Sometimes, they are sold with the salted paste, removed and vacuum packed. I have seen salted eggs in Philippines cuisine as well, where they undergo a similar process. These are dyed pink to be be distinguished from the fresh eggs.
I was introduced to cooking with these by my friend in Singapore, Michelle. These preserved eggs have a briny aroma and the yolk is bright orange in color as well as firm textured! The whites are quite salty and the yolk has a rich and less salty flavor. There are many dishes that use these salted eggs, and are popularly used in the Chinese Mooncakes. The salted eggs, from chicken taste somewhat different, the yolk being less rich.
The salted egg yolk sauce is really popular in Zi Char dishes! Zi Char ( ZCze Char/Tze Char/Zhu Chao) is a term used to describe Chinese home-style dishes cooked to order. They are cooked quickly in very hot woks , usually. They are wallet friendly and mouth watering!
Katira Drink – Perfect for Ramadan! This Refreshing, Rehydrating and Cooling Drink is a Hunger Buster too! Known simply as Katira Drink here in Singapore, it is loaded with some cooling ingredients. This drink is popularly served during the Month of Ramadan, when it is time to break the fast for the day.. Simply put, it is a Rose flavored milk with the added cooling benefits of Gum Tragacanth, Basil Seeds and Malva Nut. In Singapore evaporated milk and rose water is used along with rock sugar to flavor the milk… but this is an acquired taste. My family prefers a good rose syrup and very light milk.. that is a combination of cold skimmed milk and iced water. Check out the video to have a look at the ingredients used.
Fig Iced Tea
This Fig Iced Tea takes advantage of the natural sweetness of Dried Figs to reduce the refined sugar content. A refreshing twist on the regular Iced Tea.
The Fig is one of the oldest fruits known to man. It is often described as “nature’s most nearly perfect fruit“. Studies have proved that dried figs have a high level of phenol makeup, which is more rich in antioxidants, than other fruits. Phenol is used as an antiseptic to kill micro-organisms.
Due to the essential fatty acids omega-3, omega-6 and phytosterol found in dried figs, they help to reduce cholesterol. These fatty acids are crucial to the proper functioning of the heart, brain and nervous system.
Since figs do not naturally contain fat, sodium or cholesterol while also have high levels of fibre, they tend to be an ideal food for those trying to lose weight. This, in spite having the highest natural sugar level amongst fruits. Figs also have a higher mineral content than any other known fruit. Good source of Potassium, Calcium and Iron.
Figs are believed to boost strength and energy and recommended for long term patients during recovery. They are known to aid in physical as well as mental difficulties. Figs are also recommended in the treatment of asthma, coughs and chills.
Spanish Orange Cake | Gluten free and Fat free
This ‘ Spanish Orange Cake ‘ is one of my favorite Gluten free recipes! The cake is so moist and light at the same time. It’s perfect at tea time or with a cup of coffee. Invite the girls over for this one! Very easy to make. This cake uses unpeeled oranges that have been boiled till very soft, the day before. The cold oranges are then crushed after removing any pith (white fibrous part) or pits (seeds) to prevent the cake from tasting bitter. Boiling the orange actually boosts the orange flavor which sort of dissipates while bakingif you use freshly crushed orange (I tried). If you love Orange desserts , you will love this cake!