Monthly Archives: July 2014

Creamy Mushroom Pasta with pan fried Salmon

I love simple home cooking. The recipe I’m sharing today is just that. It was my dinner last night and we all enjoyed it.

My hubby loves creamy pasta and he’s been pestering me to make it. Normally I’m not a big fan of creamy pasta but that all changed when I had creamy pasta at Grand Hyatt.

We had a buffet lunch with friends and family at Grand Hyatt few years ago for my wedding reception.

The chef had to make an impromptu dish to cater my vegetarian family member. He made this luscious cream pasta that looked very appealing. When she took a first spoonful, she was so delighted. She told me to try it and when I did, it was indeed very heavenly. The creaminess and umami flavour and a little kick from chilli flakes danced in my mouth. It was out of this world.

Since then I’ve tried creamy pasta few other times but it never compared to that dish.

I’ve tried to recreate it myself at home. When I made a creamy mushroom pasta for my vegetarian family member, she absolutely loved it. So I made this again last night for whole family. It was very well received.

Here’s my try to recreate ‘that dish’.

Ingredients
500 grams of thin spaghetti pasta
500 ml of cooking cream
300 grams of chopped mushroom
1/2 cup of chopped leeks
2-3 fresh chillies finely chopped
1 and half finely chopped medium sized onion
Salt and pepper as per taste
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 bunch of chopped asparagus

Pan Fried Salmon
4 pieces of Salmon
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Put large pot of water to boil for pasta. When water boils, add a teaspoon of salt. Put pasta in the boiling water and cook if for 3-4 minutes until it’s cooked al dente.

In a pan, heat oil. Add onion and leek and sauté it for a minute.

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Add mushroom and sauté it for 2 minutes. Then add cream and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Add asparagus and chillies and salt and pepper. Stir the sauce.

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Add pasta drained straight from the pot into the sauce. Add a dash of starchy hot water of the pasta.
Mix well. It can now be served as a vegetarian dish.
You can grate some Parmesan cheese on top.

For pan fried salmon, heat non stick pan and add oil. When oil is hot, put salmon pieces skin side down.

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Cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin is crispy. Season salmon with some salt and turn it. Cook for another minute. It’s now ready.

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Serve salmon with pasta for one simple but delicious meal.

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Chicken Chowmein (Nepali-style Chowmin)

This is a simple and no fuss cooking for a fast lunch or dinner. Rather than spending on takeaways or eating junk food, I prefer making quick fix like this dish. It is home cooking at it’s best as it’s simple, easy and tasty too.

You can find this dish in every corner restaurants or in street stalls in Nepal. The ingredients differs from place to place as it’s your own interpretation to suit your need. You can put loads of other ingredients like mushroom, spring onion,eggs or seafood or any other meat. So go nuts.

Here’s my version of Chicken Chowmein.

Note: I added chicken as a topping because I have to cater for vegetarian in the family. Otherwise you would add chicken to hot oil, fry it for few minutes, then add veggies and sauce and noodles.

Ingredients
2 small sized onion sliced thick
2 gloves of garlic chopped finely
Fresh ginger julienned
1/2 of capsicum julienned
1/4 of cabbage finely chopped
1/2 a carrot julienned
400 grams of thin spaghetti pasta or Chowmein noodle (Asian Grocery)
400 grams of chicken breast or thigh fillets
Salt as per taste
2 teaspoon dark soy
2 teaspoon of vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce
2 teaspoon chilli paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
3 tablespoon of Oil

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Boil water in a large pot. Add a teaspoon of salt and a dash of oil to a boiling water so pasta doesn’t stick. Add thin spaghetti and cook it al dente.

While spaghetti is cooking, heat pan in high heat. Add oil. When oil is smoking, add garlic and sauté for few seconds. Then add onion, carrots, capsicum and toss it for 20 seconds. Add cabbage and mix.

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Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, chilli paste, and salt. Toss it for few seconds.

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Add spaghetti drained straight from the pot. Toss spaghetti with the mix and cook for 2 minutes. It’s ready to be served as a vegetarian alternative.

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For non veg, heat pan in a oil and add chicken. Fry it for 3-5 minutes until it’s golden brown or as per your liking. Add salt and cumin.

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Mix chicken wit Chowmein and serve it with ketchup and chilli sauce.

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Pukka Yellow Curry- Jamie Oliver recipe

Let me start by saying this, I love Jamie Oliver. He’s one of the greatest chef who has revolutionized the way people think, cook and eat food.

I’ve been a fan since day 1 when I started watching his cooking show called ‘Naked chef’. His cooking style inspires me because he does with so much ease. It is rustic, unpretentious and simple. I just love it.

So for last night’s dinner, I thought I will try one of Jamie Oliver’s recipe called Yellow Pukka Curry.

It looked easy, hearty and I had most ingredients in my fridge. I was little bit skeptical about adding chick peas. But to my surprise the curry turned out great. It was full of flavours and punch yet so simple to cook.

I did tweaked the recipe slightly as I was missing few ingredients but nonetheless it turned out so yummy.

So here’s my version of Jamie’s Pukka yellow curry.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

9 chicken drumsticks
3 tablespoons of oil
400 grams of canned chickpeas
Handful chopped coriander to garnish
2 tablespoon tomato passata (original recipe says 1 tablespoon tomato paste)
500 ml of water
1/2 chopped onion
Salt

Paste
1 and half medium sized red onion
Roots and stalk of a bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup of water
3 fresh red chillies
4 cloves of garlic
A knob of ginger (thumb sized piece)

(Original recipe says 1 yellow pepper but didn’t have that so I used red chillies)

In a blender add all the ingredients of the paste and grind it to make a paste.

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In a pan with heavy base, heat oil. Add chicken drumsticks and fry and sear drumsticks for 10-15 minutes.

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When it’s golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, add onion and sauté it for 1-2 minutes. Add the paste mix and cook it until liquid evaporates and mix leaves the edge of the pan. Add passata, chick peas and salt and stir.

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Add remaining liquid and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and cover the pan with a lid. Cook chicken for 45 minutes on a low heat.

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Stir occasionally. After 45 minutes, add chopped coriander. Serve the curry with steamed rice.

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Golveda ko Achar (Grilled Tomato and Coriander)

Achar (pickles) are integral part of nepali and newari cuisine. It’s served with every meal as it always add that extra punch and flavour hit to rice, daal and curry.

There are so many varieties of achar. Some are made on daily basis with fresh produce meals, others are pickled and preserved as per my previous post of daikon radish pickle.

Nepali cuisine is all about celebrating fresh and organic produce. It’s simple cooking with best fresh vegetables, herbs and meats.

We go and buy fresh produce twice a day in the local market. The best seasonal produce (fruits and vegetables) are brought straight from farm at the market by farmers and they sell it direct to consumers. There are no stalls, vendors just lay their products in the basket in designated area of the market. It’s an instant pop up market for few hours in the morning and night.

Most people didn’t have fridges and buying and cooking fresh produce twice a day was norm.

I remember when I was about 8-9 years old, I used to go to these market in the mornings with my sisters. We used to bargain and buy all these beautiful produce. Even the memory of these markets enthralls me. The sight, sound and smell used to lift my spirits. I still cherish those memories.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a very simple yet it celebrates the fresh produce and brings out the best.

I made this achar for last night’s dinner along with black lentil daal, cauliflower curry and rice. It’s a classic flavours combination that I love to eat during cold winters in Kathmandu.
Here’s a nepali vegetarian meal I had last night.

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I will share the recipe of cauliflower in future post but try this achar. It’s dead simple, rustic and goes really well with meat or vegetable curry and steamy hot momos.

Ingredients
5 small sized tomatoes
1 cup of chopped of coriander
4 dried chillies
Salt to taste
10-12 sichuan peppers

Heat oil in the pan and fry dried chillies until it’s black. Remove it from the pan and set aside.

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In the same pan, put quartered tomatoes skin side down. You can use grill to roast the tomatoes or even open fire or charcoal. For added flavour char the skin of tomatoes.

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Once the skin is charred, reduce heat to low and cook tomatoes for 10-15 minutes. The prolong cooking of tomatoes will extract water and concentrate tomatoes to enhance the flavour.

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In a mortar and pestle, add fried dry chillies, salt, sichuan peppers, coriander and pound it to make a rough paste. ( you can use blender but I’m very old school and believe that grinding in mortar pestle gives it more flavour).

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Add tomatoes and grind it with the mix to make a thick paste consistently. It’s ready to be served with your favourite meal even pasta.

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Smashed Car window

I woke up this morning and looked out the window. The sun was coming up. It looked like it is going to be a beautiful day ahead. I thought will take baby out for walk later in the day and enjoy the sun. It’s been so cold, wet and gloomy winter at this side of the world, while rest are enjoying summer. But the beautiful golden rays of sun gave me an instant lift. It didn’t last long though.

Hubby was going to work. He went out the door, but I saw him hovering around the car. I look out the window, our eyes met and I knew there’s something wrong. I looked at the car, the rear window was completely shattered and saw glittering pieces of glasses strewn all around the car. My heart sank, why would someone do that. Nothing was taken from the car and they didn’t even try to open the doors.

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We went out last night to run some errands. We took our new car and left the old car parked outside in the street. After we came home, we forgot to bring the car back in the driveway.

It was just right outside our home and in the view from our bedroom window. I’m very surprised that both hubby and I didn’t hear a thing although we are very heavy sleepers.

It’s a old car but I love it. It’s my first and I learnt to drive in that car. It gave rides to my family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. It’s been to beaches, it’s been to snow and so many places that hold good memories for me. It has seen lots of hellos and goodbyes from numerous trips to airport pickups and drop offs.

So I felt very hurt to see it smashed. I know it sounds crazy as it’s a machine not human but the emotional connection with it runs deep as it beholds all those precious memories.

I can’t comprehend what joy do people get by giving misery to others.

I called the police to report the incident. The police officer asked me to give her all the details about the incident. I gave her blow by blow and told her that there’s beer bottle pieces strewn all over the car and the road. I was thinking they might need it as an evidence and find the culprit by DNA testing. I guess I watch too much crime dramas like CSI. She took the notes and said she will send a report to my address. After I hang up, I was still expecting police to show up for investigation, but they didn’t. I was talking to few friends later and they told me normally police don’t investigate these trivial matters as they don’t have resources.

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Our car insurance doesn’t cover the extras like windows so we have to foot the bill. Luckily we got a cheap quote as of about $200 as it’s a old car, the company can’t find the new window so it’s going to be second hand window. As it’s a reputed company, I hope they will do good job.

I’m just happy that car wasn’t taken.

Keep safe and take care peeps.

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Chicken Chilli Nepali Style

I’ve been craving for chicken chilli and jhol momo (dumplings in hot tomato soup) for a while now.

Being a new parent, hubby and I are still struggling to manage time as our life revolves around our world (baby) and his routine.

Last weekend we finally managed to go out for a quick dinner. We went to this Nepali cafe. We ordered jhol momo, chicken chilli and chowmein.

The food was great especially jhol momo but I didn’t like chicken chilli as much. It was too sweet and lacked the balance of flavours. I was little dissappointed so I thought I will make it myself at home.

Last night when I opened my fridge to prepare dinner, I thought I will make chicken chilli and satisfy my cravings. I didn’t have capsicum (bell peppers) but I substituted it with mushroom and spring onions.

It turned out very well. It was saucy, fiery and tasted exactly like the ones you get in restaurants in Kathmandu.

Chicken chilli is much loved appetizer in Nepal. Nepali cuisine is heavily influenced from its neighboring countries China and India. It is basically a fusion cuisine of both and probably best of both. While the daily meal of rice, lentils, vegetable and meat is mostly based on curries and spices but more subtle than indian curries. The snacks and the appetizers are mostly inspired by Chinese and sichuan cuisines. The stir frys, chowmin, spring rolls and momos are just a few dishes that are not only the favourites but part of of Nepalese cuisine which has it’s unique nepali style flavours. The use of sichuan pepper in newari food shows the similarity with sichuan cuisine. I’ve been to few sichuan restaurants here in Oz and the flavours reminds me of newari food.

You can find chicken chilli in every menu in the restaurant. It’s my regular order along with momo and chowmin. This dish is also served as an appetizer in Nepalese parties.

Here is my version on chicken chilli recipe.

Ingredients
For Marinade
1 kilo of Chicken Thigh Fillets
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chilli powder (or as per your taste)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon corn starch powder
1 large egg
Half of lemon juice
Salt as per taste

Oil to deep fry
2 onion cut in quartered
2 medium sized quartered tomatoes
3 mushroom quartered
2 sprigs of spring onion cut in an angle
Salt
Dash of soy sauce
4 fresh chillies
2 tablespoon ketchup

(Original recipe uses 1 capsicum instead of mushroom)

Cut chicken into cubes and mix all the marinde ingredients into chicken. Leave chicken overnight or at least one hour for flavours to infuse.

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Heat oil for deep frying. When oil is hot, fry chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove chicken off the pan and set aside.

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In a pan, heat 3 tablespoon of oil and add onion, mushroom. Sauté it for 2-3 minutes then add tomatoes and fresh chillies . Add pinch of salt, splash of soy sauce and 2 tablespoon of ketchup ( I used Heinz fiery ketchup. It’s quite hot).

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Add fried chicken and stir well. Add 3 tablespoon of water to make it moist and saucy. Stir fry for 2 more minutes. Add spring onion.

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Serve with a bowl of steamed rice or on it’s own as a great appetizer.

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Chhoila or Choila (Grilled Spiced meat)

Chhoila is one of the popular spicy meat dish. It’s an authentic recipe from newari cuisine. It is eaten as a snack or an entree.

There are two types of chhoila dish, the grilled chhoila (Haku chhoila- black grilled meat) and mana chhoila (boiled meat).

In newari cuisine this is a much loved meat dish which is also part of samey baji (beaten rice with assortment of bean, meat, spicy potato, lentil patty, soyabean and achar).

Traditionally chhoila is made buffalo meat by roasting in the open fire made from hay. As only the tender cut of meat is used, the hay fire quickly chars the meat on the outside but cooking it only medium rare. This method infuses meat with a smoky and earthy flavour which is just out of this world.

The mana chhoila usually is made from offals like tripe and liver. It’s an exquisite but acquired taste. The aromatic spices and herbs make it a delectable dish.

Chhoila is made on special festivals as part of samey baji but it is also eaten as part of lunch or dinner. There’s a slight variation to this dish when it is made for regular meal. The grilled tomato purée is added to chhoila to be eaten with rice, veggies and curries.

I always make this dish when I have a craving for a spicy and hot food. It’s so simple and easy yet very tasty dish.
The beauty about Nepali cuisine and or newari cuisine is the variations it allows based on individual’s preference. You can try different versions of the same dish. The spices could be adjusted more or less on personal preference.

During winter you can get tender greens of garlic (leek). It’s not as big and fat as the ones we get here. It’s more like spring onion with flat leaves. The leek is finely chopped and added raw to chhoila mixed with all the lovely spices. This leek enhances the taste making it garlicky flavour and also adds a texture making it crunchy and fresh.

With this recipe, you can add grilled tomato paste to make it moist.

Here’s the recipe:
(Recommend to take a mint after to freshen your breath as this dish use raw garlic)

Ingredients
800 grams Meat
(I used chicken breast but you can use any tender cut of red meat)

6-8 cloves of garlic
Knob of ginger
1/2 tablespoon of chilli (or as per your preference)
10-12 Szechwan pepper (timoor)
Salt as per taste

2 tablespoon of oil (mustard oil for more authentic taste)
Dash of lemon juice
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
3-4 whole red chillies
10 Fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Pinch of asafetida (if available)

Grill the chicken breast for 5 minutes on each side ensuring meat is cooked through but still tender and moist.

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In mortar and pestle, pound fresh garlic (6-8) cloves and a knob of ginger (size of a thumb). Add red chilli powder, schewuan pepper and salt making it a fine paste.

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After meat is cooked, rest it for 5-10 minutes. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and put it in a bowl. Mix the spice paste with chicken.

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In a pan, heat oil and add fenugreek seed. Pop the seeds until it turns black. Take it off the heat. Add turmeric, asafetida and whole chilles and tip it onto the chicken chhoila.

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Add dash of lemon and chopped coriander and it’s ready to be served.

Serve chhoila with rice and curry or with salad or on it’s own as you please.

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