Coconut

Coconut Curry Chicken

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This recipe came out of a hat! I was trying to come up with a coconut recipe with chicken, but one that would be simple and of my own. Here it is, I hope you like it. My family did! 🙂

Ingredients: Chicken legs or thighs (2 per person), salt, pepper, 1 can of coconut milk, 1/4 white onion, cooking oil.

  1. Start by using either chicken legs or thighs. They will naturally add much more flavor to this dish.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper (approximately 1/2 TBSP of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.)
  3. Add some oil to a hot pan at medium heat.
  4. Add the chicken and let it brown on all sides.
  5. Add white onions (1/4 of an onion) cut in rings or julienne.
  6. Add 1 can of coconut milk. You can find these in the Asian aisle or International aisle at your local supermarket.
  7. Add 1/2 TBSP of brown sugar to the sauce in the pan.
  8. Make sure the liquids cover the chicken half way through. If you need more liquid add water and 1 tsp of salt.
  9. Put a lid on the mix and lower the heat to low. Let it continue to cook for 30 minutes and check that the liquid does not evaporate. You may need to add water and salt to make sure you end with a sauce.
  10. Suggestions: When ready, serve with white rice or potatoes, and a green salad.

Enjoy!

 

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp in Coconut Sauce

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp in Coconut Sauce

I felt compelled to prepare this delicious fish stew. I had some fresh fish and shrimp waiting for me to work some magic on them. This dish reminds me of Cartagena, my home town, as the base of the flavor is the coconut milk. I made it even more Colombian by adding fried plantain as a side. It is heavenly! I hope you agree with me.

Recipe ( Serves 3 Adults )

2 portions of Mahi Mahi (red snapper is also a great alternative for this dish); 10-12 raw shrimp without shell, tail and deveined; 1 can of coconut milk, 2 bay leaves, 1/2  tsp of saffron strands; 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 TBSP white sugar, 1 TBSP salt.

 1. Start by sauteing the fish in a hot pan with 1 TBSP of canola oil. Once it’s cooked on both sides, add 1/2 TBSP salt and take the pieces out from the pan and set aside.

2. Repeat step 1 for the shrimp.

3. Add the coconut milk to the pan making sure to scrape the base of the pan to pick up the fish and shrimp flavors and mix them with the coconut milk. Add the shrimp and the fish to the sauce.

4. Season at this point with saffron, the other 1/2 TBSP salt, cayenne pepper, oregano and add the 2 bay leaves. Let it continue to cook on medium heat. Once the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat and let it continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serving suggestions:

South American and Caribbean cooking wouldn’t have this without a delicious side of white rice and plantains. Other sides: steamed broccoli and cauliflower, mashed potatoes.

Note: I did not use fish stock in this dish as it is really not needed, so it is optional. If you start with fresh ingredients, the dish will reach outstanding levels of flavors and will taste absolutely delicious! I do recommend adding some extra fresh seafood (fried calamari on top, or clams to cook in the broth) for more heartiness.

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Fish stew in progress.

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Fish Stew in a Delicious Coconut Broth

I am on a permanent diet, so I served a light portion without the broth. If you are not on a diet, then the best way to serve this dish is in a bowl with some liquid at the bottom. 🙂

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp with Plantains, Broccoli and Califlower

Green Lentil Pancakes with Coconut Honey

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Lentil Pancakes topped with coconut honey and humus. Side by side with: White rice and beef.

Green Lentil Pancakes

.. Delicious! This is Vinaya’s recipe. Vinaya and I have known each other for close to 15 years, she’s seen my kids being born and grow. One day she showed up with this delicious dish and I had to ask for the recipe. So instead of writing the recipe, she got me a batter of the green lentils mix she had made at home for me. Speechless, and full of joy, I could not help but try this recipe myself and add my original coconut honey recipe!  Here it is..

Ingredients

1 cup of green lentils soaked in water overnight, 1 tsp salt, 1 TBSP ginger and green chiles (optional.)

Remove water reserving only 1/4 cup of the liquid, Grind the lentils coarsely with the 1/4 cup of water. Mixture should look like this:

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Green Lentil Pancake Batter

Set your grill ready with medium heat and 1 TBSP of oil. Add one spoonful of batter or more, depending on your preference. (I was feeding my kids, so 1 TBSP of batter worked great.)

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Once ready to serve you may top them with humus (picture here shows red chili humus.)

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We also had coconut honey (see recipe below) as optional if you prefer a sweet topping. 🙂

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Coconut Honey

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk; 2 TBSP cornstarch; 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup; 1/2 cup white sugar; pinch of salt.

In a small saucepan, at medium heat, whisk the coconut milk with the cornstarch until cornstarch dissolves. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and let it boil while stirring frequently so mix does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

 

Paletas

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Dictionary definition: “Latin American ice pop, usually made from fresh fruit.” In Mexico, Central and South America these are sold in little carts pushed by the “paletero” (ice pop salesman.) These ice boxes on wheels only fit around fifty “paletas,” a personal adventure. Leisurely, the paletero calls customers out of 90 degree homes during usually fierce warm weather of coastal cities (without seasons.) A simple, familiar, homespun, natural trade.  Overtime “Paleterias”, unique shops selling paletas, have been recently attracting foreigners in touristic towns. The experience is quite different although still somewhat magical, as in the case of “La Paleteria” in Cartagena in the old walled city. A long line of customers stands between you and the paletas. The bright colorful line of paletas stand neatly arranged bringing back childhood memories. Flavors are posted in the shop chalkboard: Coconut, mango, pineapple, lemon, papaya, tamarind, chocolate, vanilla, and many more. Finally the taste is absolutely refreshing and authentic. What a wonderful treat. Absolutely a must, if you are ever in Cartagena.

Coconut Rice in Cartagena

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This summer we visited “Cartagena de Indias”, Unesco world heritage, a true gem and my home town! On our flight there, mental notes of wonderful gourmet restaurants flew through my mind. Once there we made the Rosario Islands a must! We had a blast! It didn’t take long to realize how the city had adopted fusion cuisine and wonderful new restaurants. Although happy with all that, my mind was set on going back to my roots. The way my Dad used to WOW my Mom was by simply taking her out for a nice romantic dinner at the “Club de Pesca.” So many memories remain attached to the 480 year-old wall structure for me and my siblings. This takes me to the Fried Coconut rice served there. Not only it’s perfectly moist, but it has just the right texture! If you want to try it at home, then here is the recipe with some tips:

Ingredients: 2 Cans of coconut milk, 1 or cups of rice (depending on how much rice you’ll make), 2 small boxes of raisins, panela (sold as piloncillo in the US markets international aisle) salt and 1/2 cup of sugar (brown sugar works best.) Dutch oven with lid works best (closest to the ‘caldero.’) Tip: Ratio of rice to liquid for best results would be 1 cup of rice: 2 cups of liquid.

Here is the other part of this story. A new word, “Titote”, needs to be introduced here. Titote is the caramel that must be prepared at the base of the dutch oven, as the first step. To prepare the Titote, add the coconut milk, sugar and half of the raisins to the dutch oven. Watch it carefully and mix well occasionally. Once it is close to becoming candy (with a dark brown color) then you know you have reached the right consistency. Add the liquid of the second coconut milk and add more sugar. Add a pinch of salt (literally.) The salt will help enhance the wonderful flavors. Add the rice and the rest of the raisins. Mix well. Let it simmer until all liquids have evaporated. At that point cover the dutch oven with the lid and move heat to low. Time to cook is usually 1 hour on low.  Enjoy!