I can't tell you how excited I was to be cooking in banana leaves! Yes I'm easily amused.
All these recipes come from the excellent September 2007 Latin issue of Gourmet magazine.
For the ribs I used the guajillo peppers because the New Mexico peppers I had on hand are hot and I wanted to see how the other spices came through without being overpowered by heat. Plus I like the tangy smokiness of the guajillo's.
The ribs were wonderful and the guacamole was a perfect tangy accompaniment. I actually forgot the bay leaf but I wasn't left thinking, "this would be perfect with a bay leaf" so it was no big deal. I will definitely make these again! I may even try it with the New Mexico Chiles.
I liked the rice but it was a pain in the butt to make. I'm not sure the end result was worthy of a repeat. Also my rice wasn't getting brown and my arm was getting tired from stirring so maybe it would have been better if I had browned it.
I suck at frying because I never do it so my Sighs of the Bride could have been crispier. The fruit on the other hand was marvelous.
Ribs in banana leaves
Sighs of the Bride with Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup
Mixiote De Carne
Gourmet Magazine, Sept 2007
Adapted from Estela Salas Silva
3 oz dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles(I used guajillo) seeded and stemmed (I did this over a bowl with kitchen shears)
3 tbs annatto seeds
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
6 lb beef short ribs or lamb shoulder with bone cut into 16 pieces(I used beef ribs)
3 banana leaves or 8 (11 inch square) pieces of parchment paper
8 Turkish or California Bay Leaves
-Fill a 2 qt sauce pan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add chiles to boiling water and remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered until chilis are softened and have turned a brighter red, about 10 minutes.
-Meanwhile, toast annatto and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring until fragrant and a shade darker. Transfer to a bowl to cool then grind to a powder.
-Transfer chiles to a blender with a slotted spoon, then add 1 1/2 cups soaking water, seeds garlic, vinegar and 1 tbs salt. Blend until smooth at least 2 minutes. Pour sauce into large (3-4 qt) shallow container and cool to room temp for 10 minutes.
-Sprinkle meat with 2 tbs salt, add sauce and turn to coat. using tongs or wearing gloves to prevent staining. Marinate meat, covered and chilled for at least 8 hours.
-Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle.
-Holding both ends of a banana leaf, drag leaf slowly over a burner on medium high heat until it changes color slightly and becomes shinier. Repeat on other side and with remaining banana leaves.
-Cut off tough edges from banana leaves and cut 8 11 x 11 inch squares, discarding remainder. Put each leaf on a 12" square of foil, then arrange 2 pieces of meat and some sauce in the center of each leaf using all of the sauce, and top each mound with a bay leaf(if using California bay leaves use 1/2 leaf). Fold in all sides of banana leaves, then wrap tightly in foil. Arrange packages, seam side up, in 1 layer in a large roasting pan and add just enough water to measure 1/8 inch in bottom of pan (about 2 cups).
-Bake adding more water as necessary to prevent pan from becoming dry until meat is tender and falling off the bone(open package to test) about 3 1/2 hours for beef and 2 1/2 hours for lamb. Discard foil and bay leaf and serve meat in banana leaves. Do not eat banana leaves.
-Notes: Meat can be marinated up to 24 hours in a bowl. Leftovers keep for 3 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
Adapted from Roberto Santibanez
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh serrano chiles including seeds or to taste
1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh epazote leaves or 1 tsp dried(I used dried)
1 large garlic clove minced
1 tbs fresh lime juice or to taste
3 firm-ripe avacados
6 oz small fresh tomatillos(about 6) husked rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup minced white onion
Stir together chiles through lime juice and add one tbs salt in a bowl, mashing slightly with a fork. Halve and pit avacados, then scoop flesh into chile mixture. Stir in tomatillos and onion mashing avacado coarsley with a fork.
Mexican White Rice
Gourmet September 2007
Though this rice mainly functions to sop up the meat's red sauce, a quick sauté with garlic and onion and the use of chicken broth as well as water means it can hold its own.
Makes 8 servings
3 cups long-grain white rice (1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
Bring about 6 cups water to a boil and pour over rice in a bowl. Soak rice until it has turned a more opaque white, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a clean kitchen towel to dry, at least 1 hour.
Cook onion and garlic in oil in a wide 4- to 5-quart heavy pot or deep skillet over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 5 minutes, then add broth, water, and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Rice can be soaked up to 4 hours.
Rice will stay warm, covered, for about 30 minutes.
Suspiros de Novia
Sighs of the Bride Fritters
The magazine said they got their name because they're delicate.
Adapted from Estela Salas Silva
1/2 cup warm water
2 large egg yolks
2 tbs unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup olive oil for frying
confectioners sugar for dusting
-Blend water, yolks, butter, flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender just until smooth.
-heat 1/4 inch oil in a heavy 12" skillet over medium heat until it shimmers
-Spoon 1/2 tablespoons of batter into the oil about 8 at a time and fry (the batter will flatten into 2 inch wide discs), turning once until crisp and golden brown.3-4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool completely. Dust with sugar and serve with fruit.
-can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1 8 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick broken into 4 pieces or 1 3 inch piece if cassia cinnamon halved.
3 lb mixed fresh fruit cut into wedges(they suggested peaches, plums and figs which are out of season so I used a red delicious apple, a gala apple bartlett pears and calimyrna figs)
1 lime thinly sliced 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
-Bring water, sugar, lime juice and cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
-Stir together fruit and hot syrup in a shallow serving dish. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, top with lime slices and pecans.
-can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled. Bring to room temp before serving
I can't tell you how excited I was to be cooking in banana leaves! Yes I'm easily amused.
These recipes come from The Cradle of Flavor cookbook and are eyes rolling into the back of your head good.
I especially loved the dippping sauce and even after I had finished my satay, I was dipping my finger into the sauce and licking it off. I was going to make coconut lemongrass rice but it said not to cut the recipe and I didn't want a lot of leftover rice. So I just steamed jasmine rice and made a simple romaine salad.
I made the marinade for the satay a day ahead. When I initially tasted it on it's own my first impression was that it was very spicy. Not hot, as there's no chilis, just a real party in my mouth. But once it was brushed with the lemongrass oil and grilled it mellowed out. And when the chicken was dipped in the sauce it was heaven.
Also I never type a recipe as it is in the book. Instead I give my shortcuts, if there are any, and abbreviate the instructions. For example the satay recipe calls for thighs and gives instructions on boning and skinning. I just bought boneless skinless thighs. Also I cut the portions way back but include original portions in the recipe on the blog.
Chicken Satay-Sate Ayam (Teremgganu, Malaysia)
You can also make this marinade for a whole chicken or chicken legs. Also note the environmentaly friendly basting brush. It really does add flavor. I let the stalk sit in the oil for the hour the chicken was marinating.
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs fennel seeds
2 stalks fresh lemongrass hard brown bottom end cut off, tough outer layers removed and thinly sliced(1/16 ")
5 shallots coarsly chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsly chopped
1 1 inch piece peeled galangal thinly sliced against the grain
1 2 inch piece peeled ginger peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
Scant 1 tbs tumeric
4 tbs palm sugar thinly sliced or dark brown sugar
2 tbs peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
For the Satay
3 1/4 lb chicken thighs(boneless skinless)cut into 2-3 inch long and 1 inch wide pieces
1 thick stalk fresh lemongrass
4 tbs peaunut oil
30 sharp thin bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
1. Make the marinade. In a small food processor grind the coriander and fennel seedd to a powder. Add lemongrass through salt and pulse until it's the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. Make sure the lemongrass is well pulverized, otherwise it will taste bad. If paste doesn't puree properly you can add up to 2 tbs of water, one tbs a time. I did this.
2. Place marinade and chicken pieces in a bowl. Toss and let marinate at room temperature for an hour.
3. Prepare lemongrass stalk by cutting off end and peeling away tough outer layers. Smash the end with the edge of a knife so it resembles a brush. Pour the peanut oil in a bowl and let the lemongrass brush sit in the oil for at least 10 minutes. I let it sit the whole hour I marinated the chicken.
4. Prepare grill. Temperature should be medium hot and the rack should be oiled liberally.
5. Thread the chicken pieces on the skewers. Lightly baste the chicken with the lemongrass oil using the stalk as a brush. Grill the chicken until it has picked up some crispy black spots, about 3-7 minutes. Baste with more lemongrass oil and turn the skewers over, grilling until the other one is similarly browned another 3-6 minutes.
6. Transfer the satay skewers to a serving dish and let rest one minute before serving.
Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce-Sos Kecap Rawit (Indonesia)
3 fresh Holland or Thai Chilis, stemmed and sliced thin on the diagonal
4 tbs Kecap Manis(Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tbs fresh lime juice
Combine all the ingredients. Use in one sitting as chilis go limp if they sit longer than one hour.
I'm cheating here because I've made this several times and it's one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes.
It's also easy on the waistline as there's no additional fat aside from the chicken. It's up to you whether you eat the skin.
The recipe is from Hot sour Salty Sweet.
Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce-Gai yang, ping gai
Pepper Coriander Root Flavor Paste
2 tsp black peppercorns
5-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tbs coarsely chopped coriander roots
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
I took the lazy route and whirled the peppercorns, garlic, salt and coriander roots to a paste with my mini-prep until it formed a paste and added the fish sauce. The recipe suggests pounding to a paste in a mortar and pestle, and I've done that before with good results.
2 tbs Pepper Coriander Root Flavor Paste
2-3 tbs Thai fish sauce
3 lb chicken cut into 10-12 pieces
Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes(I whirled dried Thai chiles in my mini prep with the garlic)
Place the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Lower heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic/pepper mixture. Let cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Marinate chicken for one hour in flavor paste plus fish sauce for one hour at room temperature or 8 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before grilling or broiling until done. Serve with sauce.
I want to eat this all the time. Maybe that's why it's considered Mozambique's national dish.
It was so easy to put together. I cut the Piri Piri recipe in half but honestly I wouldn't mind having extra to marinate chicken or other white fish.
This is also from The Soul of a New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. I marked quite a few recipes in the book so expect more African dishes!
This is supposed to be an appetizer but I had it for dinner with rice.
Blend the following in a blender:
8 red birds eye chilies, seeds and stems removed (my local store didn't have them so I subbed 2 serranos)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbs cilantro
1 tbs chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
Shrimp Piri Piri
12 jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Piri Piri, divided
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
12 Bibb lettuce leaves(I used romaine)
Toss shrimp with 1/2 cup of piri piri and refrigerate for 1/2 hour
Heat olive oil in sautee pan over medium heat and cook shrimp until done about 2 minutes each side.. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze lime quarters over shrimp. Spread the remaining piri piri on each lettuce leaf, place a shrimp on the leaf, fold over bottom and sides to form a wrap and eat.
Lest you think I'm a glutton, that's not a huge piece of salmon. The food is on a salad plate.
And yes, I know they do not have salmon or arctic char in Madagascar but Marcus Samuelsson says the fish used in the original dish is not available in the states. My fishmonger didn't have char available so I used wild caught cojo salmon.
These recipes come from The Soul of a New Cuisine:A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson. I haven't had time to read the book thoroughly but it looks interesting.
I was looking for Sub-Sarahan inspiration since all of the African dishes I've ever made are from North Africa and are Mediterranean.
This is a recipe I will defintely make again. It's not as spicy as I thought it would be and a nice break from more traditional salmon dishes. The recipe calls for arctic char but salmon is a good substitute.
I cut the sakay recipe down to about an eighth and eyeballed the measurements.
I loved the cucmber sambal-a Cape Malay influence. The Sambal was not very spicy, despite the serrano, and complimented the salmon.
3/4 cup chili powder
1 tbs ground ginger
1 1/2 cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1 cup peanut oil
Heat a medium sautee pan over medium heat. Add Chilli powder through garlic and toast until fragrant about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Put spice mixture in blender, add salt, and blend well on low speed. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream and blen to a paste.
Store in the refrigerator in a tighly covered container for up to two weeks.
Char with Sakay
Eight 3 oz skinless char or salmon fillets
2 cups olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup sakay
1 line, quartered.
Combine olive oil, garlic and thyme and marinate fish for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 275. Place the fish in a shallow baking dish and rub all over with the sakay. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the fish from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Squeeze a lime quarter over the fish and enjoy.
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Juice of one lime
1 mint sprig, leaves only, chopped
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced thin
Combine everything and let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving.