Monday, August 31, 2015

Saint Lucia - Grilled Curried Chicken and Coconut Pineapple Rice

Saint Lucia is an island country in the Caribbean Sea. I'm always drawn to meat/fruit combination meals even though I usually don't like them. Let's see how this one work out!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch chili pepper
4 chicken breasts
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup Jasmine rice
2 slices pineapple


In a bowl mix the oil, curry powder, garlic and chili pepper.



Rub this marinade into the chicken breasts. I cut the chicken in half horizontally to make it easier to grill evenly. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for a few hours.



Warm up the coconut milk in a pan. Bring to the boil and then add the rice. Stir well. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook like that for about 40 minutes until the rice is cooked. 



Chop the pineapple into small pieces.


Grill the chicken turning it once so both sides are grilled.



 Stir the pineapple into the rice adding some salt & pepper to taste.




At last, a meat/fruit dish I enjoyed. The rice was fantastic cooked in the coconut milk. It made for really creamy smooth rice which had the sweetness from the pineapple. I especially enjoyed the coconut milk in the rice combined with the pepper I added. The chicken was tender and it's curried flavour went well with the sweet rice. A very nice combo! Leigh and Erin both ate the chicken and Leigh also enjoyed the rice.  JD and I want to experiment with more ways to cook rice now. Good job, Saint Lucia. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Namibia - Lamb Potjiekos

Namibia is a country in southern Africa. Because of the Namib Desert it's one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 kg lamb
  • 2 onions
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can baby carrots
  • 3-4 small potatoes
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ⅓ cup milk

Chop up the lamb and saute it in the oil. Add some salt & pepper to season it. Remove from the pan for later.


Add the chopped onions to the pan and saute them for a few minutes. Then add the spices, grated ginger and garlic. Stir well.



Add the water and return the lamb to the pan. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour.


Add the cubed potatoes and simmer for a further hour.


Add the milk and carrots, simmer for a final 15 minutes and it's done.



This dish smelled really nice as it was cooking, all we could smell was the cloves and it was a bit like Christmas for a while. The textures were all lovely, the lamb was tender and the vegetables were soft. The sauce was thick and coated everything really well. Taste was a bit lacking except for a really strong spicy blast that obliterated everything else. We expected it'd be more like curry with it having curry powder as an ingredient but it really wasn't somehow. Sadly not really worth the several hours of simmering.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tonga - Kumquat Chicken

Tonga is an island nation made up of 177 islands in the Pacific Ocean. I've never eaten a kumquat so I'm interested to find out what flavours it'll give to a chicken dish.


Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
8 kumquats
4 spring onions
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cloves garlic
2 red chillis
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon chinese five spice
1 teaspoon dried basil



Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, water, cornflour and sugar until the sugar dissolves.


Add the garlic, chillis, ginger, five spice and basil.


Halve the kumquats and remove the seeds. Put them in the dish.


Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the dish. Stir well.


Cover and put in the oven for 40 minutes at 190C.


 Uncover and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.


 Slice the spring onions and use as a garnish.


This chicken dish had really powerful flavours and aromas. The sauce was thick and sweet while the chicken was tender and had taken on the dark brown colour of the soy sauce. JD ate the cooked kumquats but I found them too bitter to eat. The strong sauce was nicer mixed in with rice. The texture of the chicken was interesting, it had taken on a kind of grainy feel maybe from being cooked for so long in the soy sauce/vinegar sauce. It was great to try this dish as it had some different flavours than we're used to but I don't think we'll be having it again. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Suriname - Bami

Suriname is a South American country which was colonised by the Dutch until the 1970s whose language is still spoken there today by the majority of the population. I'm ashamed to say I thought Suriname was an African country, this blog challenge is certainly helping my geography knowledge. :D

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp oil
2 pork chop
250g raw shrimp
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red chili
2  bay leaves
80 g dried vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
100 g green cabbage
100 g bean sprouts


Chop the pork up into small pieces.


 Saute the pork in the oil. After a couple of minutes add the shrimp too and continue to cook.


 Add the sliced onion, chilli, chopped garlic and bay leaves.


 The vermicelli needs soaking for a minute or two in boiling water to cook it. Then drain it and add it to the pan with the bean sprouts, sliced cabbage and soy sauce.


Stir fry everything until the cabbage is slightly softened.


This dish is easy to make and can be done all in one pan, which we enjoy. The crunchy texture of the bean sprouts and cabbage were lovely in among the very soft vermicelli noodles. The tiny pieces of pork were a nice addition to the meal but we couldn't tell the shrimp apart from the pork as we were eating it. The whole dish had quite a plain taste and sadly we'd used our last two tablespoons of soy sauce for the recipe so we couldn't add a bit more to taste afterwards. A nice stir fry, easily made for a quick meal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

India - Mungi Daal Ka Pakoda

It was hard to choose a food for India. So many foods from different regions looked delicious which made it difficult to pick just one. I settled on this pakora recipe because one of JD's favourite foods is lentils and neither of us has had them this way before.

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow lentils
1 teaspoon chilli
1/2 bunch coriander
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Oil to fry pakodas


Soak the lentils in 1 cup of water for a few hours.


The recipe said to grind the lentils into a paste but ours were resisting so we put them in the food processor to teach them a lesson.


Add the chopped coriander, salt, turmeric and chilli.


 Stir well to mix all the ingredients.


Heat up some oil and fry small spoonfuls of the batter.


 Drain and serve with some raita to dip.


These were great. We didn't know what to expect but the pakodas were really crispy and light on the outside with a softer denser centre. The texture was similar to cornmeal in the middle. It was a bit disappointing that we couldn't taste the chilli or turmeric in the pakodas so next time we make them we'll add more seasoning to our tastes. They make for a fantastic quick snack and both JD and I were pleased to have tried them. A very different way to eat lentils but likely the most delicious way to have them. :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Democratic Republic of the Congo - Potato Dish








Formally known as Zaire, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a Central African country. Which was awkward because Zaire was also in my original list of 196 countries even though it's not a country anymore. So I had to double check all the ones I've done to find the elusive 196th country. All sorted now though so you can relax :)

Ingredients:

4 potatoes
1 handful spinach
1 onion
1 green pepper
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can chick peas


 Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in salted water for 8 minutes.


Meanwhile chop the onion and green pepper.


Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the drained potatoes plus all the other ingredients.


Saute until the potatoes are soft and everything else is cooked.


This looked really appetising and smelled great while it was cooking. The flavours were very subtle and were improved with a grind of salt. It was a nice hearty dish to eat and felt like I was eating good healthy food. Lovely!