Tag Archives: cumin

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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Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is delish, delish, delish. Absolutely and easily one of our favorites. We can’t recommend it enough! The ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts, 3, cut into skewer-worthy chunks
  • Yogurt, 1 cup
  • Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin, 2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper, 2 teaspoons
  • Ginger, 1 tablespoon, fresh minced
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • Jalapeno pepper, 2, sliced
  • Cumin, 2 more teaspoons
  • Paprika, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon or to taste
  • Cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped
  • Heavy cream, 1 cup
  • Tomato sauce, 2 cans
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The ingredients.

Sadly, this recipe takes a while to make – but the wait is worth it. The first step is to combine the yogurt, lemon juice, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, a teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of cumin in a large bowl. Mix it together, and coat the chunks of chicken in it. Cover and refrigerator for at least an hour.

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The marinade, part 1.

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The marinade, part 2.

Meanwhile, you may want to begin heating your grill (we used charcoal). Make sure to oil the grill grate, as this will help you later on. Once the chicken is finished marinading, thread it onto skewers (if you’re using wood, like we did, make sure to soak it first).

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Chicken, skewed.

Then, you know, place them on the grill! Turn as needed, until done.

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Chicken, grilled.

This is what that looks like, by the way:

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Chicken, grilled, part 2.

The next stage begins with heat: frying the jalapeno slices and garlic in the butter.

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The wok stage.

Then add in the rest of the cumin and salt, as well as the paprika.

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Wokking some spices.

Pour in the tomato sauce and cream, and simmer on low heat for a few minutes, to thicken the sauce.

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The sauce is the best part.

Add in the grilled chicken, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

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Homemade tikka masala.

And that’s it! Try it over rice, with the cilantro. It’s so, so good!

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I wish I had some now.

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Beef Biryani

Oh, woe is me, this was such a bland recipe. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 2.5 pounds, cubed
  • Onions, 4 large
  • Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped
  • Ginger, 2-inch piece, peeled and chopped
  • Jalapeno, 2, chopped
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch
  • Almonds, 8 tablespoons
  • Water, 6 tablespoons
  • Ghee, 2 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil, 6 tablespoons
  • Coriander, 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin, 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek, 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, 2 good pinches
  • Yogurt, plain, 1.5 cups
  • Basmati rice, 3 cups
  • Chicken stock, 10 cups
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

It took a while to make, too – though I do have a few ideas for how it could be improved.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to blend! Roughly chop two of the onions, and combine them with the cilantro, hot pepper, garlic, ginger, water, and half the almonds.

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Blending can be fun.

Blend to a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

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The aftermath.

Next, heat half the ghee with half the oil and fry the rest of the onion (after you slice it, of course) until it’s golden brown. When it is, transfer to another dish – yes, another one!

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Onions are yummy.

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Browned!

Then fry the remaining almonds briefly until they’re golden, too. Or more golden, at any rate.

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Browning almonds.

Transfer them – yes, you guessed it – to another plate, and then start searing the meat, in batches. Add more oil/ghee if you need to.

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Browning meat.

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The meat, seared.

Once all the meat is browned and moved out of the way – perhaps to another plate – you can put the blended mixture into the pot, and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in all the additional spices, as well as salt and pepper to taste.

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Re-heating the blended mixture.

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Plus spices.

Next, lower the heat and slowly mix in the yogurt. Then return the meat to the pot, cover it tightly, and simmer over a gentle heat for 45 minutes to tenderize the meat.

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Simmer.

Meanwhile, you can begin working on the other part of the biryani mixture – the rice. You should soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes, and begun heating your chicken broth.

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Chicken broth!

Heat to a boil, then add the rice (along with a little salt) and bring it back to a boil. Then cover and cook for 5 minutes.

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With rice!

After that, it’ll look like this: the chicken broth has magically disappeared, and the rice got a lot bigger. I wonder what happened?

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And now, just rice.

Add the rice to your chicken mixture (I used a slow cooker because I didn’t have a dutch oven big enough), and add the onions and almonds as well. Cover securely, and bake on high for about an hour (or 45 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 325).

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Biryani-ing.

Voila! It can be spruced up with more spices – in particular, more salt and cayenne – as well as some fried eggs and possibly some Sriracha.

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The finished product.

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Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

This recipe didn’t turn out so well for me – it was a bit thick and felt like it stuck to my insides. Maybe it’ll work better with a bit more water? In any case, it was a great opportunity for us to break out the immersion blender. The ingredients:

  • Water, 5 cups
  • Red lentils, 2 cups
  • Onions, chopped, 2 cups
  • Potatoes, chopped, 1 cup
  • Garlic, 8-10 cloves
  • Cilantro, chopped, 1/3 cup
  • Lemon juice, 3 tablespoons
  • Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
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The ingredients.

First, bring the water to a boil along with the potatoes, onions, lentils, and garlic. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until everything is tender.

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Boil, and then simmer.

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Once the simmering is complete.

Then warm the oil until it’s hot, but not smoking pot. Then add the spices – the turmeric, cumin, and salt, stirring constantly until it becomes fragrant, or about 2-3 minutes.

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Adding spices to warm oil.

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Mixed.

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two before you add the mixture, along with the cilantro, to the main pot.

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All in the pot.

This is where you get to use the immersion blender.

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A fine machine.

Add the lemon juice, and then you’re done!

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The finished product.

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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 Vindaloo

Vindaloo is one of my favorite Indian curries, both because of the heat and because of the flavor. But the flavor can vary, depending on the recipe, and you don’t have to make it hot if you don’t want to. I particularly love the flavor of this recipe. The ingredients are:

  • Chicken (2 lbs)
  • Onions (4 medium, chopped)
  • Ginger (2 tablespoons, chopped)
  • Garlic (10 cloves, chopped)
  • Tomato sauce (1.5 cups)
  • Coconut milk (1 cup)
  • White vinegar (1/2 cup)
  • Plain yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • Ground coriander (2 tbsp)
  • Ground cumin (2 tsp)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Tumeric (1/2 tsp)
  • Cayenne pepper (1 tsp+)

This time, I made the recipe using only a single teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and it’s nowhere near as hot as it ought to be. So you may want to use more – and, if you get it wrong, you can always add more in, after the fact.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to add the oil to your pan and cook the onions, garlic, and ginger over medium-high heat for about five minutes, until golden brown.

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Onions in a pan.

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Oh, and garlic and ginger, too.

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Now brown.

Next, add your colorful mix of spices – the coriander, cumin, salt, tumeric, and cayenne pepper – and the tomato sauce, and partially cover and simmer for at least five minutes, or until a thin film of oil begins to form on the surface. Then remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

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Colorful spices in a colorful bowl.

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Adding the spices and the tomato sauce.

Next, place the sauce in a blender, and blend until smooth.

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Put the stuff in the blender.

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Blend.

Then return the sauce to the pan and add the chicken, too. simmer for five minutes or so, until the chicken is partially cooked.

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Adding the chicken.

Next, stir in the vinegar and the coconut milk. Simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the center – for another 10 minutes, say.

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That beautiful orange glow.

The final step is adding the yogurt. Don’t just plop it in; whisk it first until you have a smooth mixture. Keep cooking for another minute or so, just to warm the yogurt; then you’re done! Enjoy.

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The final step.

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Green Curry Paste

Next, the green curry paste. The ingredients are slightly different:

  • Fresh jalapeno peppers (10)
  • Fresh Thai chili peppers (5 green)
  • Shrimp paste (1 tsp)
  • Cumin (1 tsp)
  • Garlic cloves (8)
  • Galangal (5 thin slices)
  • Lemon grass, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • Shallots, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • Cilantro stems (chopped, 1/2 cup)
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The ingredients.

Once again, this recipe is mostly about blending stuff together – even more so, since we won’t fry this paste at the end. So basically: add everything together and blend it until it’s smooth.

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Adding the jalapenos.

Thai chili peppers are some of my favorite hot peppers. They’re pretty easy to find at an Indian or Asian grocery; they’re much smaller than jalapenos but pack a wallop of heat.

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Adding the Thai chilis.

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Adding the cilantro.

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Adding the garlic.

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Adding the shallots.

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Adding the lemongrass.

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Adding the galangal.

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Adding the rest.

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Blend until smooth, and then you’re done!

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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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Carnitas

This recipe takes a while to cook, but its flavors are well worth it. Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds of pork shoulder
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 cups of some mixture of lemon and lime juice.
  • Water
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The ingredients.

The first step is cutting up your pork shoulder into chunks. They don’t have to be perfect cubes, but I cut mine with sides of about two inches. Make sure you remove and discard any bone.

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The meat. Don’t remove the fat! It’ll be delicious.

Next, combine the spices in a bowl – the cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Mix them all together.

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Mixing the spices.

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Mixing the spices.

Next, put all the meat and the spices into a ziplock bag. Shake. The purpose here is to coat the meat in the spices.

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Shake, shake, shake.

Next, put the coated pieces of pork in a pot. Enameled cast iron works well. Add in your lemon and lime juice, and just enough water to coat the meat. Then turn the heat on high and bring the pot, uncovered, to a full boil. Once it’s fully boiling, turn trhe heat down a bit – say to medium – but it should still be boiling away steadily, uncovered. Leave it alone for a while. Check on it periodically – maybe after an hour or so. At about the two-hour mark (give or take, depending on the size of your pot) the fluid should be nearly all boiled away.

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Let it boil.

And the meat itself should easily fall apart. The citric acid will tenderize the meat, and it’ll be imbued with tremendous flavor. Be careful not to burn the meat once the fluid is all boiled away, but you do want it to caramelize.

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Once most of the liquid has boiled away.

Shred if you like. I eat mine over rice. Enjoy!

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