Tag Archives: coconut oil

Paleo Rogan Josh

I don’t really understand or care about the Paleo diet. But I did really like this Rogan Josh recipe, the first time I had it. So I decided to make it myself. The ingredients are:

  • Beef, 2 pounds
  • Onions, 2 medium, diced
  • Coconut milk, 2 cans
  • Coconut Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Water, 1 cup

And for the spice blend:

  • Sweet Paprika, 2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne pepper, 1/2 tablespoon
  • Ground coriander, 4 teaspoons
  • Ground cumin, 4 teaspoons
  • Ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons
  • Chili Powder, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 2 teaspoons
  • Ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoon
  • Ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon
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The ingredients.

You may want to start by browning the meat in the oil, because that can take a while, depending on the size of your pot. I browned mine in two batches. Be sure to let the meat sear for a good length of time before disturbing it, to ensure it develops a nice, crispy crust.

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Browning…

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Browned.

While the meat is doing its thing, you can assemble the spice blend:

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Spices!

And dice the onions:

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Onions!

Once all the meat is browned, return it to the pan, along with the onions. Cook until the onions themselves have begun to soften and brown a bit.

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Brown some more.

Then add in the spice mix, stir for about 30 seconds to allow the spices to warm in the oil and grease, and then add in the water and coconut milk.

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Soon-to-be deliciousness.

Cover and simmer for about an hour to allow the meat to tenderize and the sauce to reduce, and you’re done.

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And done.

You may find, as I did, that the sauce has reduced a bit more than what you really wanted. If so, ameliorate by adding in a bit more coconut milk.

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Massaman Curry Paste

Before you make a Massaman Curry in the Thai book I’m working through, you need to make a constituent ingredient – the paste. And that requires quite a few ingredients, some of them esoteric. They are:

  • Jalapeno peppers, 4, dehydrated
  • Onions, 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Garlic, 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Lemon grass, 1 tablespoon, chopped
  • Shallots, 2
  • Galangal, 2 thin slices
  • Star anise powder, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin, 1 tablespoon
  • Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro, dried, 2 tablespoons
  • Kaffir lime skin, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil, 5 tablespoons
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The ingredients.

For instance, the recipe called for star anise powder. I didn’t happen to have any powder handy, but I do have the star anise. So it was a simple matter of using our spice grinder to create the powder we needed.

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Unground.

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Ground.

Similarly, with the cilantro. I didn’t have any already dried, so I dried some myself, like so:

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You wash it…

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Put it in a pan lined with parchment paper…

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…And some indeterminate time later, voila!

Galangal can also be hard to get. It’s a ginger-like root that I’ve only ever found in Asian markets. The last time I got any, I got a lot, and froze the excess. Some I froze as slices – seen here – and the rest as shredded galangal. As for the jalapenos, I tried drying some myself – both in the oven and in the open air. But that didn’t work so well, so I had to order these from Amazon.

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Galangal and jalapenos.

The Kaffir lime zest was the hardest to acquire. Normal lime zest simply won’t do; the Kaffir limes have an entirely different flavor, as does their zest. They’re one of the flavors that make certain Thai dishes – and Thai pastes, like this one – taste the way they do. But no matter where I looked, no one carries Kaffir limes – not even the Asian markets I’ve visited.

Fortunately, I found a grower in California that will ship you a box of fresh Kaffir limes – if the season is right. I ordered mine in December, and now that it’s January, I see that they’re still available. This is their 5-pound box:

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The box the limes came in.

Preparing the limes was an involved process – I had five pounds, after all. First, I washed them. Then, I zested with a microplane. Finally, it made no sense to throw away the lime juice, so I squeezed them all and froze the juice – enough for two complete batches of carnitas.

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About a third of the limes I got.

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The zesting process.

I froze the zest as well, to retrieve and use later, as required.

With all that prelude out of the way, making the paste was relatively straightforward. You prepare the onions and garlic, like so:

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Onions & garlic.

Then you melt the oil (I used coconut, but you don’t have to).

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The oil-melting process.

Add the onions, garlic, and dried jalapeno, and fry until golden brown.

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Fry until…

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…golden brown.

Then add everything – first the other ingredients, and the stuff you just fried – into a blender, and blend, blend, blend. Once you do, then you’re done, and you can put it in a jar and put that in your fridge or freezer, as you like.

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Blending.

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Blended.

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Chicken with Basil in Green Curry

I made this tonight, and it was delicious. The ingredients:

  • Chicken, 2 lbs, thinly sliced
  • Bell peppers, 2, sliced
  • Mushrooms, 1 package, washed and quartered
  • Bamboo, sliced, 1 large can
  • Jalapeno, 1, sliced
  • Green curry paste, 6 tablespoons
  • Hot basil leaves, 2 cups
  • Coconut milk, 1 can
  • Fish sauce, 6 tablespoons
  • Sugar, 6 tablespoons
  • Coconut oil
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The ingredients.

Like I did, you may find “hot basil” hard to come by. It also goes by the name of “holy basil” or “tulsi” and – at least in my experience – it’s completely inaccessible in Asian groceries, no matter how well-stocked or authentic they may be. So, in the end, I grew my own. It doesn’t take that long, and you can get your seeds, like I did, from Fedco.

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Growing these only took 2 months or so.

Then, when the time comes, you can just pick the leaves you need, like I did.

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You don’t want to substitute Thai basil or Italian basil. The taste is substantially different.

The other ingredient that you may need to prepare in advance is the green curry paste. You can see how I did so here.

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All lined up.

Finally, you may want to prepare many of the ingredients before you start cooking. You don’t need to, but it can make the whole process smoother.

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Oil in a pan.

As for the cooking, first melt some coconut oil.

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Cooking the chicken.

Then add the green paste, cook for a hot second in the oil, and add in the chicken. It helps if your wok is on high heat.

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Chicken: cooked.

It’ll take a few minutes for the chicken to cook. When it’s done, or very close to it, feel free to add most of the rest of the ingredients. That is, the pepper (bell and jalapeno), mushrooms, bamboo, sugar, fish sauce, and coconut milk.

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More yummies.

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More deliciousness.

Once that’s all cooked down as well as you’d like it to, turn off the heat and add in the basil leaves. Stir them in, and enjoy!

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This was legitimately yummy.

I found the curry very flavorful and tasty. Though I should add that it has a bit of a kick. If you want less of a kick, just skip adding in that last jalapeno.

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Chicken Moambe

Versions of this dish are prevalent in central Africa; it’s considered the national dish of the Congo. The first time I made it, I more or less followed this recipe; the feedback I got was that I should add more tomatoes. Accordingly, the ingredients were as follows:

  • Chicken breasts (two)
  • Lemon juice (6 tbsp)
  • Paprika (1 tsp)
  • Salt (2 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (2 tsp)
  • Coconut oil (2 tbsp)
  • Onion (2 large, chopped)
  • Garlic (6 cloves, minced)
  • Ginger (1-inch piece, minced)
  • Diced Tomatoes (4 14-oz cans)
  • Peanut butter (1 cup)
  • Collard greens (1/2 bunch, shredded)

The original recipe calls for palm oil instead of coconut, so if you can find it (unlike me) you may want to use that instead.

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The ingredients.

First, combine the salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice, and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.

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The spices.

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The marinade.

It’s not really enough marinade to immerse the chicken, so I just made sure the breasts were coated, and let them set. I also cut the breasts in half, making each one half as thick as it was before. But you do you. You may also want to shred the collard greens, and remove the thick stems.

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Collard green pieces.

Next, melt the oil and start frying the onions – cook until browned, and then add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the chicken and browning it as well (it’s a big browning party!)

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Adding the oil

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Adding the onions

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Browning the onions

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Browning the chicken.

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Browning the chicken.

Once the chicken is browned a bit, add the tomatoes, the peanut butter, and the collard greens. Then cover and simmer for an hour.

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Adding the tomatoes.

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Adding the collard greens.

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Adding the peanut butter.

…And voila! I think the mixture of tomatoes and peanut butter is very tasty. Enjoy!

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Yum.

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Red Curry Paste

Curry pastes – in particular, red and green curry pastes – are the basis of a lot of Thai cooking, so to make many of the meals in my beautiful Thai cookbook, I first had to make the curry pastes, which can be preserved for later in the refrigerator. First, the red paste – the ingredients are:

  • Onions (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Garlic cloves (8 or so)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Shrimp paste (1 tsp)
  • Cumin (1/2 tsp)
  • Cilantro stems (1 tablespoon, chopped)
  • Lemon grass (2 tablespoons)
  • Dried red jalapeno chilies (10)
  • Galangal (4 thin slices)
  • Coconut oil (3 tablespoon)
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The ingredients.

Galangal – that ginger-looking thing on the right-hand side – wasn’t easy to find. I went to an Asian market, and even they had to fetch me one from the back room. The dried red chilies might also have been difficult to find, but we happened to have a bouquet of dried hot peppers in our kitchen, which included several jalapenos.

The next step is simple: you put everything (except the oil!) into a blender and process until it’s smooth.

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Adding the onion.

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Adding the garlic.

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Adding the peppers.

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Adding the galangal.

Galangal is easy to prepare – just use it like you would ginger (i.e. trim off the outer skin). For lemon grass, you also peel away the outer layers and – well, here, this link will help (if you need it).

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Adding the lemon grass.

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Adding the cilantro.

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Adding the cumin.

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Adding the shrimp paste.

Once everything is added, run the blender! Run it for a while, until everything runs together.

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Bzzzz.

Then take everything out and add it all to a skillet with the oil, and fry the paste on medium-high heat for five minutes or so. I fried mine for longer, because I found it was helpful to add a wee bit of water in the food processing stage – if you also add water to help the medicine go down/help the blades go round, you may also want to fry the paste for a little longer. But beware! With all those hot peppers, the aroma may leave you sniffling or sneezing.

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Frying.

Eventually you’ll end up with something like this, which you can bottle up (as I did) and put in the fridge.

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For later!

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Thai Ginger Chicken

Years ago, my parents got me this beautiful cookbook:

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It even has ‘beautiful’ in its name!

And it’s been my ambition ever since to go through it systematically in a Julie & Julia sort of way. Not with any desire for attention or intent to cook from it every night, but I’d still like to work my idiosyncratic way through it and blog about the experience. I’ll also be changing and adapting the recipes; sometimes to make a different portion and sometimes to account for the different ingredients I have on hand.

For this recipe, the ingredients are:

  • Oil, preferably coconut oil
  • 2 lbs of thinly-sliced chicken breast
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • 8 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • Half a cup of diced ginger
  • 1-2 cups of sliced bell pepper – preferably more than one color
  • 1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 1-2 cups of sliced onions
  • 1 habanero pepper
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The ingredients.

It’s actually really easy to cook once you prepare all the ingredients. This bowl has the sliced peppers, onion, mushrooms, and ginger.

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The bowl of slices and dices.

Oh, I forgot – dice the habanero as well:

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The heat.

Prepare the chicken and ginger as well. Remember: thin slices.

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Slicing semi-frozen chicken

I use a wok to cook this dish. High heat, with cocnut oil.

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The scene of the cooking.

Add the chicken and the ginger; cook until done or just under done.

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Cooking, cooking…

Then add everything else. Yes, everything – the sliced and diced veggies, as well as the sauce and oil and pepper and sugar. Mix together; cook as long as you like (it depends on how soft you want your veggies). Then serve over rice and enjoy.

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Yum!

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