Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Today is the 31st of December and another eventful year is ending. One of the best things I did this year was to start my blog and have enjoyed every minute of it. I hope everyone reading this post has enjoyed making the recipes as much as I have enjoyed creating and posting them.

This is my last post for the year and marks the end of holiday meals as well. Risotto is a very comforting dish but rich as well. This one is made with wild chanterelle mushrooms. They have a very distinctive shape in the mushroom world — they look like tiny trumpets. Their taste is earthy and delicate and the texture is very silky. Because of their delicate flavor, they are best combined with mild flavors that won't overwhelm the beauty of these gorgeous mushrooms. In their raw from, they are a little spongy - and since they are wild, have a lot of dirt on them, compared to farmed mushrooms. It is best to use a medium-bristle brush to remove the dirt - washing in water will completely water log them and ruin their taste.

Lots of butter (kidding- some butter) and some parmesan cheese enhances the silky texture of the mushrooms and makes for a very creamy risotto. I use Porcini mushroom stock to deepen the mushroom flavor in the rice, but if you don't have it in your neighborhood, you can substitute with 2 cups of vegetable stock.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

6 oz chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with butter over medium high heat. As the butter melts, add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute till they are translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute for about 8 minutes till the liquid released by the mushroom dries up and the mushrooms have taken on a golden brown color and silky texture.
  2. Set aside till they are ready to be added to the risotto.
For the risotto
1 cup arborio rice
1 cube Porcini mushroom stock [In the U.S. they are available from Italian grocery stores]
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
½ medium sized shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra Parmesan cheese for the table
White Truffle oil (optional)

1. Heat a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil. Add the minced shallots and the minced garlic and cook till they are translucent. (It is important to ensure that they are not brown since they will change the color of the risotto).
2. Add the rice and sauté with the shallot and garlic mixture till the grains of rice are well coated with the butter mixture and the rice is opaque.
3. If you are using the stock cube, dissolve it in 2 cups of hot water and keep the stock simmering on another burner. If you are using vegetable stock, keep it simmering as well.
4. Add about ½ cup of simmering stock in the beginning and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding ¼ to ½ cup of stock at a time and repeat the process until the mixture is creamy and a bit loose. The rice should not become mushy and should have a slight bite to it. This process takes about 20 to 25 minutes. If the stock is over during the process, and the rice has not reached the right doneness or consistency, add warm water.
5. Now add the ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese and fold it in into the rice. Finally add the sautéed mushrooms and mix in with cheese and rice mixture. Serve in bowls with an extra grating of Parmesan on top. If you want you could make it extra special and finish with a few drops of truffle oil.

Serves 3.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roasted artichoke chips

Artichoke chips are extremely addictive without being unhealthy since they are roasted and not fried. The hardest part is to prep them. Here is a video from Ocean Mist farms which teaches you how to prep artichokes. The key to good artichoke chips is to trim enough off the top of the artichoke to ensure that the whole chip is edible and you are not left with the hard fibrous bits above the meat of the artichoke. In the picture below, I left a little too much of the top on and ended up with some hard spiky bits - will remember the next time. Also, slicing them thinly ensures quick cooking and crispy chips. Just a simple toss in olive oil and a little bit of seasoning and you have deliciousness.

Roasted artichoke Chips
1 large Globe artichoke per person
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil per artichoke
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Clean the artichokes and slice them thinly. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes and they are done.

Crunchy Thai salad with peanuts

Fresh, vibrant, refreshing, crunchy, sweet, tangy are all the words that come to mind when eating this salad. It is a great antidote to the holiday meals that we have eaten in the last couple of days. The lemongrass dressing gives this coleslaw like (of course sans mayonnaise) salad the Thai touch. Lemongrass is very common in Thai cuisine and of late I have embraced this wonderfully fragrant "grass". Hence the Thai inspired recipes on my blog in the recent past.
If you have never used lemon grass this is a great recipe to try it with and this tutorial will help to buy, clean and prepare lemon grass for any dish that uses it.

Crunchy Thai salad with peanuts
One vine-ripened tomato
1 red bell pepper
2 small seedless, Persian cucumbers
½ small red onion
1 medium carrot with tops (those are fresher and sweeter than regular carrots)
8 large leaves of iceberg lettuce
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
Lemongrass dressing below

Salad Prep

  • Remove the core and seeds of the tomato and cut it into thin strips lengthwise
  • Remove the core and seeds of the bell pepper and cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch long strips
  • Peel the cucumbers and cut into thin strips. The best way to do this is using a mandoline, failing which, slice the cucumber into thin slices and then stack them to cut into matchsticks
  • Peel the carrot and cut into matchsticks
  • Chop the onion vertically into thin slices and then separate the pieces
  • Shred the iceberg lettuce into thin strips

Pour the dressing into the bottom of the serving bowl and pile up all the prepped veggies on top finishing with the lettuce. Toss when ready to serve. Add the roasted peanuts and give it one last toss.

Serves 4 to 6

1 ½ tablespoons finely minced lemon grass, tender parts only
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon palm sugar

Stir all the ingredients until the palm sugar is well integrated into the dressing.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stir fried vegetables with lemon grass

This is a Thai inspired stir fried vegetable dish, infused with lemon grass, garlic and chili flakes. The lemon grass is fresh and vibrant, and the chili gives it the quintessential Thai heat. The sauce is a combination of light and dark soy sauce with a little bit of sweetness from palm sugar to counter the heat from the chili flakes. The palm sugar has a caramel like sweetness and rounds out the sauce beautifully. Finally lime juice is added for that tangy flavor.

This is one of the most flavorful stir fries I have created in a long time and you might agree once you try it.

Stir fried vegetables infused with lemon grass
1 celery stalk
4 oz cremini mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
6 stalks of plump asparagus
15 green beans
2 big handfuls of baby spinach
2 large broccoli stems (I saved them from a broccoli roast that I had made earlier this week) – can substitute 1 head of broccoli instead
5 teaspoons canola oil
3 tablespoons very finely minced fresh lemon grass (tender parts only)
1 ½ tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking sherry
1 teaspoon palm sugar
2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoon lime juice

 Vegetable prep 
  1. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and cut them into quarters.
  2. Cut the zucchini vertically down the middle and then slice each half into thin slices on the diagonal
  3. Cut the celery talk into thin slices on the diagonal – looks prettier and increases the surface area for the sauce to cling to.
  4. Trim the woody ends off the asparagus and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  5. Trim the green beans and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Cook them in the microwave covered with a little bit of salted water for 4 minutes.
  6. Peel the fibrous outer skin of the broccoli stems if using and cut the cleaned stem into thin slices on the diagonal. If you are using broccoli florets, separate the florets and cook them in the microwave with a little water for 3 minutes.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, mix the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and the palm sugar till the sugar dissolves. [It can remain a little grainy - the heat from the pan will melt the sugar eventually].
Cooking the stir Fry
  1. Once the vegetables are prepped, heat a wok or a large sauté pan with canola oil over high heat. As soon as the oil is hot, add the minced lemon grass, minced garlic and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds, ensuring that the garlic does not burn.
  2. Add all the prepped vegetables except for the baby spinach and toss with the lemongrass, garlic and chili mixture. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes till the mushrooms start to brown. Then add the rice wine and the salt and stir. Cook till the wine is absorbed by the vegetables. Add the soy sauce and sugar mixture and mix well into the vegetables. The vegetables will start to take on the color of the dark soy sauce after cooking for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add ½ cup water at this point to create a light sauce and cook for additional 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and finish with the lime juice.
 Serves 3.

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe and mushrooms

When the weather is cool, baked pasta and a salad is a favorite go to dinner. I like the fact that the dish can be assembled ahead of time and baked before dinner. In this casserole, all the items are individually cooked to impart the most flavor without being humdrum.

Broccoli Rabe adds a nice spicy pungent flavor and the cremini mushrooms are meaty in every bite. I used short cut rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni which is half the size of the regular rigatoni and lends itself to the sauce going inside the tubes and makes the pasta moist.  I add freshly grated parmesan for the salt and cheesy flavor to permeate the entire dish and stud it finally with cubes of fresh mozzarella which after baking becomes this super gooey delight. The second picture below shows how goeey and stringy fresh mozzarella gets when melted - almost looks like noodles.

Baked Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe and Mushrooms

1 bunch broccoli rabe
10 oz mushrooms - I used cremini, but regular button or a mixed mushroom medley would work
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, home made or store bought (I used Rao's marinara sauce)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh salted mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice them into ¼ inch slices. The slices should not be too thin otherwise; they will not live up to their meaty bite.
  3. Heat a large heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium high heat with extra virgin olive oil. Add the chili flakes and minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to a minute ensuring that the garlic does not burn. Add the sliced mushrooms in as much of a single layer as possible to brown them. Let it cook over medium high heat for a couple of minutes, till one side is golden brown; then toss them to brown the other side. Just before the mushrooms are ready to be taken out, add the ½ teaspoon salt. The last minute addition of salt, ensures that the mushrooms do not become watery and have a nice golden crust. Remove from pan and add to the casserole dish. You will require a 13x9 inch glass or porcelain dish.
  4. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Trim the ends off the broccoli rabe and dunk them into the boiling water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes till the broccoli rabe has wilted but still retains its vibrant green color. Remove from the water with tongs and drain in a colander. Once the water has drained, chop the rabe coarsely and add it to the casserole dish along with the mushrooms.
  5. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook a couple of minutes shy of the cooking time mentioned on the box. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven while baking. Drain the pasta and add it to the casserole. Pour the 2 ½ cups of tomato sauce and mix it into the pasta, mushroom and broccoli rabe making sure that the vegetables are evenly spread out.
  6. Now sprinkle the parmesan cheese and lightly mix into the dish. Finally arrange the mozzarella cubes all over the casserole dish, ensuring once again that it is evenly spread out so that everyone gets a fair share of the cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the middle rack of a preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, till the sauce it absorbed by the pasta. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 with a salad

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blinis with Mozzarella and Red Bell Pepper pesto

Blinis are Russian pancakes made with buckwheat flour and leavened with yeast. Sometimes sour cream is added to the batter, instead of as a topping. However, these blinis are made with rice and lentils which are soaked for 6 to 8 hours, ground and then fermented for another 8 hours. They are called Uttapams in India and like blinis are a popular South Indian breakfast. I have made them sized like pancakes, since they are easier to flip and they cook quickly. Red onions and mozzarella cheese make a nice savory topping and a red pepper pesto is a great accompaniment.

Rice and Lentil Blinis with Red pepper pesto
2 cups long grain Carolina rice (any long grain rice will do)
1/2 cup white lentils (skinless split urad dal available in an Indian grocery store or on-line***)
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (grated cheddar is also great)
Canola oil

1. Wash the rice and soak covered with 2 inches of water for 6 to 8 hours. Wash the lentils till the water runs clear and soak covered with 2 inches of water for 6 to 8 hours as well. (Do not mix the rice and lentils, since they require different amounts of time to be ground to a fine paste).

2. Drain the water and grind the rice and lentils separately till they are a fine paste. A heavy duty blender is required to do this. [I use a 14 speed Oster blender.] If required, add a little water during grinding to keep the machine moving. Once the rice and lentils are ground to a fine paste, mix them together, add the salt and beat well with a spatula to incorporate air into the batter. This will help the batter ferment and produce a nice fluffy blini. Keep the batter covered in a warm place. The oven works well - I place it in the oven with the oven turned off, but with the light on inside to provide some warmth to help the fermentation process. After 8 hours check to see if the batter has risen and looks fluffy. If it has, then you are ready to make the blinis.

3. Heat a non-stick griddle over medium high heat. In the meantime, whisk the fermented batter well to incorporate air and for the batter to have the right consistency. The consistency should be thicker than pancake batter - it will be spreadable but not pourable. When the griddle is hot, add a scant 1/4 cup batter and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of the chopped red onions and cook over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes till the bubbles appear like in the picture above (very similar to a pancake). Add a few drops of canola oil through the hole and around the blini to crisp the bottom. Flip and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes. Add another few drops of canola oil around the blini to crisp the second side. Flip once again and sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the blini. Cover the griddle to melt the mozzarella.
4. Serve with the red pepper pesto.
Makes about  15, 4 inch blinis

Red Pepper pesto

1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
¼ teaspoon asafetida (optional – if you can get it, it adds an extra dimension)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoon chana dal
1 teaspoon black gram dal
4 teaspoon canola oil
1 dry red chili or 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1/3 cup chopped tomato (seeds and pulp removed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat a small saute pan with canola oil. Add the cumin seeds, chana dal, black gram dal and dry red chili and saute for about a minute till the chana dal is golden brown. Then add the onion and saute for a minute till it softens. Add the bell pepper and cook for 3 to 4 minutes till the edges of the bell pepper are slightly brown. Add the chopped tomato and the salt and cook for 2 more minutes. Let the mixture cool. 
  2. Grind the cooled mixture in a food processor to make a coarse paste.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stir fried cauliflower with onions

Cauliflower is considered a very boring vegetable. Of late there have been a lot of recipes with roasted cauliflower which brings out the best in the vegetable. Stir frying cauliflower with aromatics also infuses the cauliflower with a lot of flavor and turns a bland vegetable to something wonderful.

In this simple stir fry, the caramelized onions add tons of flavor and the sauteed urad dal provides the crunch in every bite.

Stir fried cauliflower with onions 
1 ½ lbs cauliflower (florets only)
¾  teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoon broken urad dal without skin 
1 large red onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cup)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
¼  teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  1. Chop the cauliflower coarsely into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with canola oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and the urad dal. As the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the asafoetida, chili flakes and the chopped onion. Saute over medium to medium high heat for about 5 minutes till the onions turn a golden brown color. 
  3. Add the cauliflower and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and mix with the onion mixture. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes and then cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing every 3 minutes till the cauliflower is soft. Remove cover and cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove to serving bowl and serve warm with pita, chatpati or rice and a gravy of lentils or any other vegetable or non-veg curry.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side along with a couple of other dishes

Chocolate and Raisin Bread Pudding

Bread pudding was known as the poor man's pudding in England, since it was made with stale bread moistened with water and sugar and other ingredients. Today it is far from a poor man's pudding. Bread is soaked in a custard of milk, eggs and sugar and then baked. The decadent version will have cream, buttery breads like brioche, lots of dried fruits and sometimes alcohol. A nice rich vanilla, bourbon or caramel saue would complement the pudding very well.

My version is made with Pullman bread which is light and airy, good vanilla extract with vanilla beans, and enough eggs to form the custard without making it eggy. I also add raisins for texture and a few bits of really dark chocolate for that chocolatey flavor without adding extra sweetness. The end result is a light bread pudding, that you can make often without feeling guilty.  I serve it warm by itself, but it tastes great with some fresh heavy cream poured over or a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.

Equipment: 10.5 x 7 inches porcelain or glass baking dish

5 slices white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes - I used Pullman bread
1/4 - 1/3 cups raisins (Use more if you love raisins)
1 1/2 cups 2% milk, heated but not boiling
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 oz of dark chocolate bits (72% cocoa)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine the bread cubes, melted butter, raisins, chocolate bits and cinnamon in the baking dish and mix well.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, being careful not to scramble the egg mixture. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and set aside to soak for 5 minutes.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The cooking time depends on the type of dish that you are using. Glass dish takes a little less time.
Serves 4 to 6

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beets, apples and mixed greens with a curry vinaigrette

This salad is inspired by a salad from the Greens vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. It combines sweet, tart, crunchy, spicy and fresh to create a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. The beets provide color and sweetness, walnuts add crunch, apples add crunch and sweetness and the juicy currants add another level of texture and sweetness. I use a mixture of tart and sweet apples to balance the flavors. The curry vinaigrette is spicy without the heat and marries all the ingredients to create this harmonious balance.

Beets, apples and mixed greens with a curry vinaigrette
3 small beets
3 scallions, white parts only finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped into small pieces
3 oz mixed greens like spring mix, washed and spin dried
1/2 granny smith apple, cut into thin strips
1/2 Braeburn or Fuji apple (I like the crunch and sweetness of these varieties), cut into thin strips 
Curry vinaigrette (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Leaving tails and an inch of the stems on the beets, put in baking pan with ¼" water, cover and bake them until tender when pierced with a knife, 25 to 40 minutes depending on size. Do not overcook them.
  2. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices and then cut them vertically into matchsticks. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and half the minced scallions. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar to complement the sweetness of the beets. Set them aside for an hour.
  3. Cover the currants with hot water and let them stand to soften for 30 minutes. Then drain and dry them with a kitchen towel to remove extra water and add them to the cooked beets. Add the apples, walnuts and the remaining scallions to the beet and currant mixture. 
  4. Toss with the remaining dressing. Add the greens and mix once before serving. Check the seasoning.

Serves 4 to 6

Curry Vinaigrette
1/2 clove garlic, grated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon  fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Mix the garlic, ginger, curry powder and salt. Add the red wine vinegar and whisk in the olive oil.

Steamed asparagus with crispy garlic

This dish is first and foremost very tasty and then to top it off super healthy as well. A quick steaming of the asparagus retains the bright green color and all the nutrition. Dressed with chili flavored crispy garlic, slowly sauteed to golden brown, with a light drizzle of soy sauce and fragrant sesame oil it a great first course. Pair it with the Kung Pao Tofu and some steamed jasmine rice and you have an elegant Chinese meal any night of the week.

Steamed asparagus with crispy garlic

1 bunch asparagus - about 16 thick spears
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  1. Place the chopped garlic, chili flakes and peanut oil in a small skillet/saucepan (the saucepan should be really small, since you want the garlic to crisp up slowly in order to flavor the oil as much as possible). Cook on very low heat for about 7 minutes. The garlic will be golden but not brown.
  2. In the meantime, trim the asparagus of the woody end and place in a steamer for 5 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, you can also use the microwave. Remove the asparagus and let it cool to room temperature before serving. Arrange on a serving platter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the toasted sesame oil. Pour over the steamed asparagus followed by the garlic,chili and oil mixture.
Serves 3

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with peas

Brussel sprouts is our latest love from the cabbage family. Firstly, this is the season and they are available everywhere and secondly, I have been finding different ways to cook them to keep my families interest alive.

Today I created a quick and easy stir fry with sweet peas. The sweet peas accentuates the somewhat sweet flavor of the sprouts and provides a nice pop of color. To make this dish flavorful without being spicy, I add chopped tomatoes and roasted cumin powder. The tomatoes add a slight tang and the roasted cumin gives the dish a smoky flavor. We had it with pita bread, a lentil curry and a salad. Was a nice change from the usual cabbage dishes. The leftovers I made into a quesadilla for lunch with spicy jack cheese for an added kick.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Peas

1 lb Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and finely shredded
1 cup organic frozen green peas, thawed (I find the organic peas sweeter)
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon toasted cumin powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon raw brown sugar
  1. Heat a large heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with canola oil over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them pop. Add the shredded brussel sprouts and mix well. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes and add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine and continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes till the tomatoes have disintegrated and the brussel sprouts are almost cooked. 
  2. Finally add the thawed peas, cumin powder, and the sugar and salt if needed and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, till the peas have warmed through.
  3. Serve warm.
Serves 3 to 4 people.

Roasted potatoes with hoisin sauce

My inspiration for this dish comes from the Swedish hasselback potatoes and Indo-Chinese chili potatoes. Hasselback potatoes originated in Sweden as a fancy baked potato. When they appeared on a menu it meant that it was something special instead of the usual baked potato. Typically they are made with Russet/Idaho potatoes or the regular roasting potato, where they are cut into thin slices down the length of the potato, but not all the way through so that they retain their accordion like shape. I used the same technique with Yukon gold potatoes. And chili potatoes originated in India, where potatoes that are cut into pieces and deep fried. Then they are coated with a garlicky chili sauce and garnished with spring onions. Growing up I used to like that dish. Hence I decided to combine the beautiful hasselback potatoes with a garlicky Chinese barbecue sauce and came up with this creation. The crispy garlic bits and the sweet and salty sauce give the potatoes great flavor.

Roasted potatoes with hoisin sauce
8 oz small sized yukon gold potatoes
Canola oil for brushing
Table salt for sprinkling
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (Chinese Barbecue sauce)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. 
  2. Peel the potatoes and using a paring knife, thinly slice the potatoes down the length of the potato without going all the way through so that the slices do not separate. If the potatoes are wobbly, slice off a thin slice from the bottom to create a base. 
  3. Brush the potatoes with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and place them on a greased baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the middle rack and bake the potatoes for 40 minutes. By this time they should be halfway cooked.
  4. In the meantime, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, minced garlic and chili flakes to create a thick sauce.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and stuff 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of the sauce into the slits and over the potatoes. Put the tray back in the oven for another 20 minutes or till the potatoes are cooked.
  6. Serve warm.
Serves 2 - 3 as part of a multi-course meal.