Monday, September 17, 2018

Burmese Curry Paste

This Burmese curry paste recipe is the spicy base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.

Burmese curry does not use spices, just a paste made of onions, garlic and ginger, cooked until fragrant and then reddened with cayenne and paprika or annato. For chicken curry, you add cinnamon sticks when cooking. For fish curry, you add tomatoes and lightly crushed lemon grass stalks.

Burmese Curry Paste

I love using this curry paste for a hybrid Indian/Burmese potato curry as well. The sauce is the best!

Ingredients
4 large onions
2-3 normal heads of garlic or 4-5 small ones
About 5-6 inches of fresh ginger
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light cooking oil plus a little for the pot
1-2 teaspoons cayenne
2-3 teaspoons of paprika or ground annato

Method
Peel your garlic or buy fresh already peeled. Do not use garlic paste or chopped garlic in a jar. They have other ingredients to keep the garlic from discoloring which add a weird flavor. I spread newspaper on my coffee table and watch TV while I peel. Goes quick.


Peel your ginger and chop it finely.


Peel your onions and chop them into quarters or eighths.


Put the whole lot into a blender with the canola and 1 cup or 240ml of water. Here Ma Toe would use just oil so don't tell her about my substitution with water. Her paste is richer and her curry gets a dark red slick of oil on top when it is cooked. Divine but not as healthy. Shh. (Feel free to use all oil if calories are not an issue for you. Seriously, much richer!)

It may not all fit at once so put what you can and blend for minute or two then add in the rest. Blend until you have a smooth paste, turning the blender off and pushing the bits down occasionally.



Heat up a little more canola oil in your pot and then pour in the paste.

Cook and cook and cook, stirring occasionally. It turns green as you cook it which is pretty cool, since you put nothing green in there. I don’t know why that always fascinates me. Like magic.




Once I asked Ma Toe how to know it was ready and she said, “When it doesn’t smell like onions anymore.” I’d say about 20-30 minutes will do it.

Now add the cayenne and paprika (or annato.) Cook a little longer and stir thoroughly until the color changes.


Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.
Now we are looking more like curry! If you like spicy, you can add even more cayenne.

This is going to be enough paste for three pots of curry so let it cool a little. Save it divided in three bags and pop it in your freezer.

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.



Check out my Burmese Chicken Curry recipe here!



And coming up this Friday, I'll be posting my Burmese Fish Curry recipe too. Stand by!

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cinnamon Raisin Bread #BreadBakers

Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!


I am not a huge fan of raisin bread but my husband is. When we were first married and still living in the States, I would buy those little loaves – Pepperidge Farm maybe? – because a bigger loaf would get stale before he could finish it. Then we moved overseas and occasionally I’d bake him some cinnamon raisin bread. But it was a rare treat.

When our Bread Bakers host chose grapes for this month’s theme, it seemed like the perfect reason to resurrect my old favorite cinnamon raisin bread recipe. Then meanwhile, my husband and I decided to try to cut back on carbohydrates. The good news is that the recipe has stood the test of time and his co-workers were very, very lucky.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

If your raisins are juicy and plump already, you can skip the first step of soaking them in juice. Mine had been in the cupboard a while and that little trick revived them. This slightly sweet bread recipe is adapted from my old standby, Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980 edition.

Ingredients
3/4 cup or 110g raisins
1 cup or 240ml very warm apple juice*
2 1/2-3 cups or 315-375g flour
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (1/4oz or 7g or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or ml milk
1/3 cup or 75g butter, plus extra for the mixing bowl and bread pan
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For topping – optional
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, combined

*I used a mix of apple and orange pineapple, because I didn’t have enough apple juice. Use what you’ve got! Unless you’ve only got tomato juice. That would be weird. Just use warm water.

Method
In a small bowl, pour the very warm juice over the raisins. Leave to plump up for at leave half an hour. This can also be done the day before. Simply store the covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Drain the raisins and discard the juice. (Or save it to use in muffins or other baked goods.)

My raisins soaked up about 1/3 cup or 80ml of the juice.


Measure your sugar, yeast, salt and half a cup or 63g of flour into the bowl of your stand mixer or other bowl if you are going to use hand beaters.

Put the milk and butter in a microwaveable container and heat until it reaches between 120-130°F or 49-54°C. If you don’t have a thermometer handy, this will feel quite hot to the touch (I mean, put a finger in it.) but you should be able to keep your finger in it comfortably. The butter doesn’t need to completely melt.

Pour the warm milk mixture into the mixing bowl and give it a good whisk.

Set aside for about five minutes to make sure the yeast is active. It should start to foam up.

Add the egg. Beat until combined. Add one cup or 125g of flour and beat well.


Add more flour, a half a cup at a time until you have a soft dough and it’s too stiff to beat in the mixer anymore.

Use a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula to mix in the last of the flour. Unless you have a bread hook for your stand mixer, in which case use that now and for the kneading. If you don’t have a bread hook, scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. In either case, knead well for about five minutes.

Wash your mixing bowl out and rub with butter. Form a ball out of your dough and pop it back in the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest and rise in a warm place.

Ideally, you want it to at least double in size. This can take anywhere from an hour or two, depending on your yeast.


Tip: If your room is colder than 80-85 °F or 26-29°C, put the stopper in your sink and fill it part way up with hot tap water. Set the bowl in the sink.

While the dough is rising, grease your bread pan with butter.

When your dough has risen sufficiently, punch it down. Spread it or roll it out into a rectangle (about 12x16in or 30x40cm) on top of a large sheet of cling film on a clean counter top.


Tip your raisins out of the strainer on to a couple of paper towels and pat dry.

Sprinkle the plump raisins and cinnamon over the rectangle of dough.


Start rolling the dough up on the short side until you have a neat tube.



Tuck the sides of the roll under. Place the dough seam side down in your greased bread pan.



Set the loaf in a warm place - this could be the kitchen sink with hot water again, if necessary - and allow to rise until doubled.

When it’s getting close, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Gently brush the loaf with the melted butter and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, if desired.



Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. If you use a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 190°F or 88°C. Tent the loaf with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.

Turn it out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.



Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

Many thanks to this month's Bread Bakers host, Sneha from Sneha's Recipe. Check out all the great grape bakes we have for you!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie #FoodieExtravaganza

Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature.

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.

I am a fan of savory pies in any form. They are not only a great use of leftovers, transforming them into a whole other meal. In fact, I have been known to make extra roast beef/chicken/lamb just so I’ll have enough for pie. In the case of this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie, I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Every year that I have lived in Dubai (my seventh will start in November!) the local produce available in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets has grown and grown. This year for the first time, much to my delight, I’ve started finding mushrooms from the UAE and our neighbor Oman on the refrigerated shelves. Consequently, prices are more reasonable as well and we’ve been eating a lot of mushrooms.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza friends are celebrating the lowly but delicious mushroom with recipes in honor of National Mushroom Month. Don’t miss the link list with more wonderful mushroom recipes near the bottom of this post.

If you are a fan of mushrooms, you'll want to check out my Wild Mushroom Soup, Mushrooms Provençal and Beef Short Rib Bourguignon. That last one has only five ingredients but is probably the best beef Bourguignon I've ever put in my mouth!

Chicken and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie

This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.

Ingredients
For the filling:
1 lb 10 oz or 750g fresh baby or button mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into tiny cubes
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons whole grained mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup or 240ml chicken stock
1 lb or 450g cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup or 120ml double or whipping cream
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: cayenne pepper

For the crust:
2 packages (8 oz or 230g each) puff pastry (preferably all butter, if you can find it!)
1 egg, beaten

Optional to garnish:
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
tarragon sprigs

Method
Wash the mushrooms thoroughly making sure to remove any dirt that clings to them with a brush. Cut off any hard ends on the stems and discard.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add in the mushrooms.

Cook covered over a high heat for several minutes, until the mushrooms have released their water.

Continue cooking, uncovered, until all of the water has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to turn golden.

Transfer them to another vessel and return the skillet to the stove.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add one tablespoon of the butter. Sauté the onion and carrot until they soften. Add in the last tablespoon of butter. Once it has melted, add in the flour and stir until you have a thick paste. Cook for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour flavor.



Remove the pan from the heat.

Add in the minced tarragon and mustard, then gradually whisk in the stock to form a smooth sauce.



Return the pan to the stove and then cook over medium low heat for several minutes until thickened.

Remove from the heat and add in the chicken, mushrooms and the cream. Stir well.



Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne if using. Stir well. Leave to rest in the skillet until cooled, stirring occasionally.


Once your filling has cooled, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and unroll the first circle of puff pastry onto it.

Pile the filling onto the puff pastry and spread it out evenly, leaving a large circle of pastry around the outsides. Brush the pastry edge with the beaten egg.



Carefully cover the filling with the second circle of puff pastry to create the upper crust, gently pressing out air as you go.



Crimp the edges to seal the pie. Cut two or three vent holes in the top with a sharp knife and brush the whole pie with the egg.


You can also score the pastry with the knife, if desired. I did a sort of diamond pattern. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if using.

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.


Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown all over.

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.


Remove the chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie from the oven and leave to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.


Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.


Many thanks to this month’s Foodie Extravaganza host, Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm! Check out all the wonderful mushroom recipes we are sharing this month:


Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays, and we all post recipes using the same ingredient. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

Pin it!

Food Lust People Love: Flaky puff pasty and a delectable filling make this chicken and mushroom puff pastry pie the perfect luncheon or brunch fare. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature. This special pie will generously serve 4-6 people. Serve it alongside some freshly steamed vegetables or a crisp green salad.