Saturday, March 30, 2013

Anda Curry (Egg Curry)

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Egg curry was one dish that I was able to experience when I had dinner at an Indian friend's apartment three years ago. They cooked it the traditional way by preparing their own curry spice which to me was a surprise. I always thought you just bought a bag of curry spice and that was it. Never in my right mind did I think that there are actually variations to the "curry" powder being sold in stores. 

The dish they served was a bit thick on the sauce and was perfect when paired with naan or roti. I tried making my own version of this dish using a Madras curry powder mix and it was quite tasty. However, I found another version where pureed tomatoes are added to thicken the sauce and I thought I'd give it a go. Not having a functional blender at the moment, tomato paste will have to do however. I also decided to use quail eggs instead of chicken eggs. Aside from being aesthetically appealing, I just thought that quail eggs were not as imposing as chicken eggs in terms of eating them whole.

I made use of Asian chili powder when I made this dish and it came out really spicy. If you cannot take the heat, use the regular chili powder from McCormicks. It will give you a hint of heat but never too much that it will leave you gasping for water. I actually had to make some cucumber raita to help cool off the heat. Other than that, this is one tasty dish.

Anda Curry (Egg Curry), Adapted*

3 trays quail eggs, (24 pcs per tray)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups water
2 large onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 green chilis, deveined, deseeded and diced finely
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric acid
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt and pepper

1. Boil the eggs in a pot with enough water. Cook until hard-boiled. Allow to 
    cool for 5 minutes and peel off the shell. Set aside. 

2. In a large pan, roast the coriander, cumin, and red chili powders with the 
    garam masala and turmeric acid over medium heat. Once they start to 
    release their aroma, add the oil and mix well. 

3. Add the ginger, onions, green chili and garlic. Saute until softened. Season 
    with salt and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil. 

4. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and add the tomato paste. 
    Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add the cooked eggs and simmer for another 5 minutes. Check for flavor 
    and adjust accordingly. 

6. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with steamed rice. 

* Indian Curry:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meatballs and Sausages Spaghetti

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This is my signature spaghetti sauce for adults whenever I am tasked to make spaghetti for a party. This sauce is a combination of three recipes that I compiled together. First off is the traditional marinara sauce from Sophia Loren's book. The addition of meatballs and sausages were inspired by a friend of mine who served her spaghetti this way during dinner at her place. My meatball recipe is a takeoff from Michael Chiarello's meatball recipe that I made more simple. And lastly, the third inspiration is from Lou Malnati's basic tomato sauce recipe which I found online.

Now, let's start with the sauce. As noted above, this basic sauce is inspired by Sophia Loren recipe and further improved upon by a recipe of Lou Malnati's signature tomato sauce which uses minimal ingredients and opts for better quality ingredients instead. This is really the key to this basic sauce that can be used for both spaghetti or even as a pizza base. The other secret is to let it simmer for at least 30 minutes until the sauce is all bubbly and thick. You can adjust the sauce to taste but I prefer mine on the sour side. 

The meatballs are also easy to make based on a recipe from Michael Chiarello. It gets fried until just browned and then they are fully cooked in the sauce. Simmering them in the sauce adds a new depth to their flavor. As for the sausage, my sausage of choice are mild Italian sausages but you can substitute them with any sausage you like. To finish, cook the dried spaghetti al dente and mix with the sauce and share this wonderful dish with the family. 

Meatballs and Sausages Spaghetti

Meatballs and Sausages:
2 lbs fresh Italian sausages
2 lbs ground pork
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 large egg
salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil + more if needed

1. Combine the ground meats, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, thyme and 
    egg in a large bowl and season the meatball mixture with salt and pepper. 
    Roll into 1-inch balls and set aside. 

2. In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the sausages by boiling them in 
    1/2 cup water. Once the water has boiled off, prick the sausages to 
    release its juices. Continue to cook until the sausages are browned. 
    Remove from the pan and set aside. 

3. Add the olive oil to the same pan and fry the meatballs until just browned. 
    Set aside.  

4. Save the oil used for frying the meatballs. 

Spaghetti Sauce:
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 lbs tomatoes, diced (or 2 -30oz canned diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

1. To make the sauce, saute the garlic in the frying pan used to brown the 
    meatballs and sausages. Cook until slightly golden.

2. Add the tomatoes and saute until softened. Add two cups of water and 
    bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tomato paste, oregano and season 
    with salt and pepper. 

3. Cover the pan and lower the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes. 
    Continue to check every 10 minutes and add some water when the sauce 
    gets too thick. 

4. Check for flavor and adjust accordingly. To finish off the sauce, slice the 
    cooked sausages into thirds and add into the sauce. Add the meatballs as 
    well and continue to simmer until ready to mix with the cooked spaghetti. 

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
To use as a spaghetti sauce, cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions while the sauce is simmering with the meatballs and sausages. Once al dente, drain the liquid and mix the cooked pasta with just enough sauce to cover the noodles. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a topping of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Stewed Duck (Patotin)

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Patotin is a dish I never understood growing up. It is quite popular especially during fiestas just as much as goat meat seems to be the star of the show on such occasion. Both are cooked as a stew or as a casserole and people go crazy over them. For me, give me your regular chicken and beef any day. However, there seems to be a mystique surrounding both dishes as the way they are cooked are very time and labor intensive and there is always the right way too cook them because otherwise, the taste will be a bit off. This must be part of their attraction since you don't usually serve them on a regular basis especially when you have to cook them for the whole day. 

I've cooked goat stew when I lived in Tennessee a few years back. It was a way for me to prove to my Indian friends that they don't have the monopoly on the most scrumptious goat stew in Asia. They loved what I cooked then but there will always be some cultural preferences but I was okay with that. Now, for the stewed duck, I really have no idea where to start with this. I remember my cousins growing ducks in our backyard for food but I never saw how it was prepared. I never tasted it nor did I show any interest in learning how to actually cook one. It was only last year when my friends and I had dinner together and we had this stewed duck that my friend made. Everyone loved it and I gave it a taste and it was delicious. Sadly, it wasn't enough to get me hooked. It was only after I made my cassoulet that duck became something I wanted to explore in the culinary sense. Thus, here is my take on my friends stewed duck recipe. She not only taught me her recipe, she also delivered the dressed ducks for free. Thanks Anna Mae. Love you always!

Stewed Duck (recipe of Anna Mae)

4-5 lbs whole duck, dressed
juice of 2 30-oz fruit cocktail
juice of 30-oz pineapple tidbits, reserve the pineapple for later
1.5 liter Sprite
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried bay leaves
juice of 15 calamondin (or 2 lemons)
4 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Marinade the duck in a large glass bowl with the vinegar, garlic, juice of 
    the fruit cocktail, soy sauce, lemon juice, a tablespoon of salt and black 
    pepper. Store in the fridge overnight.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the marinated duck over 
    medium heat.

3. Transfer the duck into a deep pot and pour the marinade over it. Add the 
    juice of the canned pineapple, the bay leaves and the whole bottle of 
    Sprite and bring to a boil over medium high heat. 

4. Cover the pot and lower the heat to low and simmer the duck for about 
    3-4 hours or until the meat is tender. 

5. Add the sliced pineapples and check for seasoning. Adjust with salt and 
    pepper if necessary. Continue to simmer for another 2 hours. 

6. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened and
    reduced to about 3 cups. Check for flavor one more time and adjust as 

The duck will be cooked thoroughly and will be falling off the bones. If you prefer your duck a bit less mangled and still intact, you can pull out the duck when it is tender and continue to cook the sauce until thickened. At this point, you can return the duck to finish cooking in the sauce. Let it rest for about 30 minutes before serving.