Baltimore/DC friends: Come join me for a cooking demo and holiday social this Sunday! $10 entry to cover grocery costs, space limited to 30 guests. Click here for more info. See you there!
Mas Riha is a fish curry from Maldives, the small group of islands to the Southwest of the Indian subcontinent (it’s officially the smallest country in Asia). The dish is very representative of Maldivian cuisine, which is based on three main staples: fish, coconut, and starch.
While many people associate curries with hot, humid weather, I prefer them in the cold of winter; to me, the contrast of bitter cold weather and tropical food tends to embolden the curry’s flavors. This week is our first real glimpse of winter on the East Coast (there’s snow on the ground as I type this), so it seems like the perfect time to share this recipe. Fish curry is just about perfect, since it needs so little time to cook; you can easily throw together this entire delicious meal in less than 30 minutes.
Brudet is a fish stew from Croatia, similar to an Italian Brodetto or Greek Bourdeto. All three are based on the Venetian word brodeto (“broth”). The recipes for each dish are similar; in fact, if you ever find yourself traveling along the Adriatic coast and see a similarly-named dish on a restaurant menu, you can probably bet it’s going to be a delicious fish stew cooked in a tomato base.
While there is a lot of variation to this dish, I like the Croatian version because it is an easy and unassuming approach to making soup. Marinate some fish for a while, then throw everything together at the proper time; it’s a true one-pot dish. Traditionally this dish is made with a mixture of fishes, to include eel, rockling, or coral trout; since they’re hard to come by, I think any firm white fish should be okay. I used cod. Adding shrimp and mussels also gives the stew a more rich and satisfying flavor.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana is a traditional recipe from Portugal, made from a combination of pork, wine, paprika, clams, and black olives, and typically served with roasted or fried potatoes. When a reader first suggested I tackle this dish, I was floored by the seemingly odd ingredients list; but much like Chicken Marbella, the offbeat ingredients mixed together perfectly to create a unique taste that’s more than the sum of its parts.
While the name might lead you to believe that this dish originated in the Alentejo region of Portugal, it’s actually from Algarve (the Southernmost point of the country). Legend has it that chefs in Algarve gave the dish this name to let diners know that the pork was from Alentejo-raised pigs, who were fed acorns and had a flavorful meat. At the time, pigs in Algarve were fed fish scraps from the burgeoning canning industry, and was not considered very tasty. Some argue that the addition of clams to the dish was a way of masking any “fishy” tasting pork.
Mohinga is a Burmese rice noodle soup not unlike many other rice noodles soups found in Southeast Asia, like Pho and Laksa. Mohinga is unique in that it uses a catfish soup stock and it’s typically served for breakfast.
There are many variations of this dish out there, but the most common versions usually include chickpea flour (which I omitted since it’s legume-based) and banana tree stem (which I wasn’t able to find in my area). The fish used to make the stock is often pan fried and added to the soup upon serving. To replace the chickpea flour and pan-fried fish, I used crushed up fish and rice fritters, which was my recipe from last week. It ended up being a very good decision.
Mankind has been dealing with leftover rice for a long time. While some common uses for old rice are fried rice and congee (rice porridge), rice cakes are also a great way to clean out the fridge. Many variations of rice cakes are made using leftover rice that’s pressed together and steamed or pan-fried. When ingredients are mixed into the rice cake, they often take on a different name, fritter.
In putting together this recipe, I looked to create a dish that has an ideal macronutrient ratio (40% fat, 30% protein, 30% carb), which I achieved by mixing in fish and an egg yolk, and pan-frying them in coconut oil. They came out great, and I plan on using this recipe as a baseline for future creations.
Update: Congratulations to Erin W., who won the giveaway!
I think the upcoming release of Elana Amsterdam’s Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry marks an exciting time in the Paleo movement. This value-priced book is coming right when Paleo is spiking in mainstream appeal, and the book sports some really delicious and ultra simple recipes, which will be really helpful for those curious about changing their dietary habits for the better. Moreover, there are enough new recipes in here to keep seasoned Paleo eaters busy for a while.
Ikan Bakar is a popular grilled fish dish (say that 3x fast) in Indonesia and Malaysia, usually sold by street vendors. The fish is marinated in sambal – a Southeast Asian chili-based condiment – and grilled over banana leaves. Popular fishes used for the dish include tilapia, skate, snapper, sea bass, or stingray.
While this is a very exotic-sounding dish, it’s surprising that all of the ingredients can be easily found during a trip to your local Asian market. Banana leaves are commonly sold frozen in large sheets for very cheap – usually a dollar will get you as many as 20 leaves. Bear in mind that frozen banana leaves are more brittle than fresh, and don’t hold up to heat as well – so you’ll want to get plenty of them, at least five leaves per fish.
Earlier this month I was contacted by Austin-based Beetnik Foods to try a sampling of their foods. While I’m not one to turn down a free meal, it’s not often that I’m impressed enough to share products on my website (if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a little obsessive about what makes it on my front page). I was happy to see that their food philosophy lines up with mine – start with great ingredients, then make great food – and the food was delicious and easy to make. So I thought I would take a second and share my experience.
A few weeks back I did a guest recipe for Nom Nom Paleo, and I thought I’d share it here on my site for posterity’s sake.
Langostinos (Pleuroncodes Monodon, also called “squat lobsters”) are small, lobster-like crustaceans most often fished off the coast of Chile. They are found in abundance worldwide, but sadly, they are rarely caught for human consumption; instead, they’re used as feed in fisheries, mostly because they carry a certain pigment that helps color farm-raised salmon and trout. They have a sweet, shrimpy tasty to them and can be found for relatively cheap – so if you can get your hands on them, definitely give them a try.
This recipe in particular is modeled after a traditional Mexican soup, Caldo de Camarón, which is typically used with shrimp. If you don’t have any langostinos on hand, shrimp can be used with this recipe.
My buddies at US Wellness Meats recently sent me a box of goodies to cook with, so for the next few weeks you’ll see some of their products popping up in my recipes. I couldn’t be happier – everything I’ve tried from this place is downright awesome.
When eyeing their Alaskan scallops, I knew some sort of pork needed to be paired with it, but I couldn’t decide. Bacon-wrapped scallops? Done to death. Sausage? Maybe. Both? Now we’re talking. So I whipped up one of my rare “thin-air” recipes – which are actually pretty hard for me to do, since I love recreating traditional recipes more than anything.
This dish only uses a few ingredients and seasonings on purpose – to hone in on the natural taste of the scallops, sausage, bacon, and kale. I also kept the portions a little small, so this dish is perfect for a light, tasty, and slightly messy lunch.