Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter and Black Beans

This soup is amazing: hearty, comforting, and DELICIOUS. It also happens to be both vegetarian and vegan, although you could certainly add meat to this dish (chicken and beef would go well here). This soup honors fall flavors while paying homage to both Thai and African culinary traditions. I would say the addition of the Thai curry paste, lime, and brown sugar makes this soup Thai-African fusion.

Time: 1 hour

Serves 4-5, adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced very finely
1/2 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1 quart vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (or sunbutter for those allergic!)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
3 tsp brown sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the curry paste and cinnamon.  Stir for a minute so that the olive oil gets infused with spice.  Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, bell pepper, and jalapeno.  Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.


2. Add the beans and broth.   Add the peanut butter to the mix.  Add the red pepper flakes.

3. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer.  Cook until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.


4. Stir in the lime juice and brown sugar.  Season with salt and black pepper, if needed. Top with chopped cilantro.

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Honey Roasted Vanilla Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

The leaves are turning color which means autumn is around the corner  and sweet potatoes arrived at the farmers’ market last week! This is the season for delicious roasted root vegetables and fruits! I LOVE sweet potatoes: highly nutritious and highly delicious! The following recipe is simple and can be easily tailored to your tastes. If you love cinnamon (I do), add more! You can swap the brown sugar and honey for maple syrup, agave syrup, molasses, whatever you like! You can also make a large batch of this and eat it throughout the week by reheating it. A batch of roasted sweet potatoes will last for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Time: 1 hr 15 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hr

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral oil such as canola or safflower)
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 4-5 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or Apple Pie Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces and put in a baking dish.

3. Pour the vegetable oil over the sweet potatoes, just enough to cover the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, pepper, a dash or two of lemon or lime juice, and a drizzle of honey over the sweet potatoes.

4. With your hands, mix all of the ingredients together so that everything is well integrated with no major clumps.

5. Place the baking dish into the oven and set a timer for 1 hour.

6. Every 20 minutes, stir and flip the sweet potatoes as necessary to allow them to brown evenly.

7. After 1 hour, check to see if they are tender by tasting. If they’re not as tender as you’d like, roast for 10 more minutes.

8. When the sweet potatoes are tender, take them out of the oven and serve immediately.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

Thai Curry with Tofu, Eggplant, Potatoes, Sweet Red Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil

Disclaimer: Delete Mai Thai and other Thai restaurants off your phone’s Contact list, because once you see how easy and delicious it is to make this curry, you’ll never call them again!

I’m a fiend for curry and Thai curry is one of my favorites. There are many different Thai curries (Massaman, Panang, Red, Green, Yellow, Karee, Kaeng Kua, Khing, etc.), each with a unique flavor that stems from the different ingredients in their pastes. If I was an authentic Thai chef, I’d grind my spices in a pestle and mortar and crack a coconut and strain its milk. Let’s just say I’ve tried to make authentic curry before in just this manner and ended up with multiple bruises on my forehead and a chipped countertop. Since I’m a college a student with no time, the following recipe is one that I’ve made up over the years and is as convenient as can be without sacrificing taste. You can use any protein you want (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, duck, etc.) and any vegetables or fruits you want (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, etc).

Again, this recipe is a simple concept where you can mix and match to find your favorite combination:

Concept: curry paste + coconut milk + protein + vegetables = delicious curry.

This is a great recipe for making a huge batch and reheating the leftovers throughout the week. Curry will taste even better the next day when all of the flavors have had time to mingle. A batch of curry will last for about a week in the fridge.

If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, you could use light coconut milk (best deal is at Trader Joe’s, $0.99/can). However, this will make your curry runnier (since light coconut milk is essentially diluted coconut milk) and, in my opinion, less delicious. You could do 1 light can, 1 full-fat can to compromise, but from my own experience, just use the unadulterated coconut milk and eat less of it. Trust me, the taste and texture of your curry will be absolutely amazing and it will be worth it.

Chao Koh is the best authentic brand of canned coconut milk for foodies and Thai home cooks alike, but is unfortunately not available at Safeway, TJ’s, or Whole Foods. The next best brand Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk, which is available at Whole Foods.

Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp of neutral oil such as canola, peanut, safflower, or vegetable

2 13 oz cans of coconut milk

1 can (4 oz, or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste (or any curry paste)

1 medium eggplant

3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small potatoes)

1 14 oz box of firm or extra firm tofu (spongy tofu, tofu gan, or any form of tofu will work, but firm will hold up better in the curry)

1 red bell pepper

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Heat up a medium to large pot to medium heat.

2. Stir fry 4 oz (or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste with 2 tbsp of oil.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir to integrate the curry paste with the coconut milk. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, chop the tofu into small 1/2 inch chunks.

4. When the mixture boils, add the tofu and stir thoroughly.

5. While the tofu is cooking, chop the eggplant and potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks.

6. Add another can of coconut milk and add the chopped eggplant and potatoes. If the liquid doesn’t cover the newly added eggplant and potatoes, add some water, but not too much, since the eggplant and potatoes will reduce down as they cook.

7. While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking, remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and slice the pepper into thin strips.

8. After 20 minutes, check to see if the eggplant and potatoes are tender by sticking a fork or chopstick in it. The potatoes should not be too hard or too mushy. If they’re too hard, let them cook for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Once the potatoes are tender, add in the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve immediately over jasmine rice or just by itself. Garnish with fresh basil leaves to add verdant color, fresh flavor, and texture. If you like it spicy, you can also garnish with fresh chilies.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

Eggs, Greens, and Tomatoes

This recipe is less of a recipe than it is a concept. That is, once you know the basics, you can go to town, or as I’ll mention below, places around the world!

The concept is this, and it is easier than you might expect:

Eggs + veggies + additional toppings/spices = a fast, delicious, and healthy meal with endless combinations!

You can internationalize this, too! Add some garam masala to Indianize this culinary concept.

OR, try adding some soy sauce, Shao Hsing rice wine, Asian sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and chopped cilantro to Sinicize the concept! Whisk yourself away to Greece by adding oregano and feta for some Greek flavor, or for an Italian twist, toss in some fresh basil leaves, thyme, oregano, crushed red pepper, and mozzarella. Mamma Mia, indeed!

Other ingredients that I would highly recommend: red curry paste (or any other curry paste), caramelized onions, roasted garlic, chili oil (or any other flavored oil), Chinese 5 spice (jerk seasoning, taco seasoning, or any other seasoning blends), sriracha, harissa, different kinds of cheeses, etc.

 

This concept is also a great way to use up your leftovers from last night.

 

Try to use canola, peanut, vegetable, sunflower or other oils that do not burn at medium to high heat. Most imported olive oil has high acidity, and because of this, burns at high temperatures. Depending on the type of olive oil you use, it can burn and not only impart a bitter taste to your food but also become carcinogenic.

Serves 1

Time: 15 minutes

2-3 eggs

Handful or more of chard or any other dark leafy green (spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, sweet potato leaves, etc.)

1 ripe tomato

2 tbsp of canola oil

1 small block of pepper jack cheese (or any other cheese. Feta is also a favorite of mine)

Seasonings (any kind you want, I like Mrs. Dash’s salt-free Extra Spicy Seasoning Blend)

Salt and pepper (to taste)



 1. To save time, heat up your skillet at medium-high heat.

2. In the meantime, dice your tomato, chop up your chard and separate the stems from the leaves, and cut your small block of cheese into small cubes.

3. Add around 1 tbsp of canola oil to the skillet. Throw in your tomato and chard stems and let them soften for a minute or two.

4. Throw in your chard leaves and let them wilt, which should take less than a minute.

5. Set aside your chard and tomato mixture in a separate bowl or on a plate.

6. In the same skillet (no need to wash), heat 2 tbsp of canola oil at medium heat.

7. Crack 3 eggs into the skillet and let them sit for about a minute. Once the whites are no longer translucent, break the yolk and swirl them around. Now move your egg mixture around constantly until they become scrambled eggs.

8. At this point, dump in your tomato and chard mixture and stir.

9. Once all of the ingredients are well integrated, add the small bits of cheese and other seasonings and stir to combine once again.

10. After about a minute, the cheese should have melted and the seasonings should have permeated your food nicely. At this point, you can add any fresh herbs or spices, add salt and pepper to taste, do a quick toss, and serve.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

My Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal

You can make this oatmeal ahead of time in a big batch and refrigerate the rest; simply microwave it for a minute or two to reheat it. You can make a large batch or a small one, just make sure the oats to water ratio is about 1:4. A batch of cooked steel cut oatmeal will last for about a week in the fridge. You can use rolled oats (which take less time to cook), but steel cut oats are preferred due to their nutty flavor, chewy texture, and higher nutritional content. Dates are easier to chop when they’ve been refrigerated. To pit a date, slice a date in half lengthwise and the pit will come out easily. If you’re watching your sugar intake, omit the maple syrup, as the banana and dates provide enough natural sweetness. Oatmeal is incredibly versatile: you can top a bowl with fresh or dried fruit, nuts, spices, cocoa powder, Nutella, nut butters, ground flax seed, etc. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes

1 cup of steel cut oatmeal (cheapest in the bulk section at Whole Foods. You can also get a bag from Bob’s Red Mill or a tin of McCann’s)

4 cups of water

1 ripe banana, sliced

Chopped pecans (as many as you like)

3-4 Fresh dates, pitted and chopped (international produce section at Safeway)

Cinnamon (to taste)

Vanilla extract (to taste)

Maple Syrup or honey (optional)

Greek yogurt (optional)

1. Boil the water in a medium sized pot.

2.  Dump the steel cut oats into the water, reduce heat to low.

3.  Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.

 

4. While the oatmeal is cooking, slice the banana and remove the pits from the dates and roughly chop them.

5. In the last several minutes of cooking, add in a small amount of vanilla extract and cinnamon and stir. The oatmeal will be done when it is not too watery and has a thick nutty texture.

6. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl, top it with the sliced banana, chopped pecans, chopped dates, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

 

Happy eating!

 

Love,

Yang