Tag Archives: onion

Chicken Machboos

This recipe is a winner. I’ve modified it slightly so it’s somewhat less dry; otherwise the original is just as good. The ingredients are:

  • Chicken, 3 large breasts
  • Onions, 2 large, diced
  • Diced Tomatoes, 2 cans
  • Garlic, 5 cloves, sliced or minced
  • Ginger, 1 tablespoon, minced
  • Jalapeno, 1-2, diced
  • Cilantro, 3 tablespoons, chopped
  • Parsley, 2 tablespoons, chopped
  • Chicken stock, 4 cups
  • Basmati rice, 2 cups
  • Loomi, 2-3
  • Green cardamom, 5 pods
  • Cloves, ground, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick, 1
  • Salt, 2½ teaspoons
  • Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
  • Baharat, 1 tablespoon
  • Rosewater for sprinkling
  • Ghee, 3 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons
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The ingredients.

Again, some of these ingredients may be hard to find. This is rosewater, and you can find it online, though you may also be able to find it at your local Asian market.

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Rose water.

These are loomi; again, they can be found online, or at your local spice merchant.

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Loomi

Finally, this is baharat, a spice mixture. If you’re so inclined, you can try making it yourself, but as you can see, I bought mine.

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Baharat.

First, do some frying: heat the oil, and brown the chicken on both sides, then remove.

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Browning.

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Golden.

Next, add the ghee to the oil that remains and fry the onions until they start to brown.

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Ghee, pre-melt.

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Onions, pre-brown.

You can use this time to prep the next ingredients – the jalapeno, ginger, and garlic. Then add them to the pot and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

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Three ingredients.

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Added to the pot.

Then add more stuff – the baharat and turmeric, to be exact – and cook for another minute or two.

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Spices added.

Now the chicken goes back in, along with a few other choice ingredients: the tomatoes, loomi, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and chicken stock. Make sure you perforate the loomi with innumerable holes before you plunk them in; a knife will do fine.

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More stuff goes in.

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And the chicken broth, too.

Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer, covered, for an hour or so. Meanwhile, you can prep the cilantro, parsley, and the rice. Make sure that you soak the rice in water for at least 20 minutes.

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Rice is nice.

When the pot is done simmering, you should simmer it some more – but this time, with the rice and the herbs added to the pot. Let it alone for another 20 minutes, so that the rice has time to soak up the liquid.

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Post-simmer AND pre-simmer.

Finally, sprinkle with the rosewater, which is optional but recommended. 1-2 tablespoons should be enough, but feel free to adjust to your own liking.

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Voila.

You can also shred the chicken if you want; it’ll probably end up that way anyway: it’s so tender it tends to fall apart. And it’s delicious. Highly recommended!

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Gai Pad Bai Gaprow

This is my favorite Thai takeout dish, so why not try to make it myself? Well, it’s been a long journey, hamstrung by a lack of certain ingredients, but I finally managed. Those ingredients, by the way, are:

  • Chicken, minced, 2 pounds
  • Bell peppers, 1-2
  • Mushrooms, 1-2 cartons
  • Onions, 1-2
  • Jalapeno peppers, 3-12 (depending on how hot you want it!)
  • Hot basil leaves, 2 cups
  • Sugar, 4 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce, 1/2 cup
  • Oil
  • Canned green peppercorns, 2 teaspoons
  • Shallots, 8, minced
  • Garlic, 12 cloves, minced
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The ingredients.

The first one you may have trouble locating is canned green peppercorns. I had to go to an Asian market to obtain mine.

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Peppercorns.

But the other was harder still – hot basil, otherwise known as holy basil, or tulsi. I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I ultimately bought some seeds and grew my own. Which, you know, took a while, but the results were delicious.

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Happy hot basil.

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The prunings.

Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, the first step is to blend. Some recipes alternately call for mashing with a mortar and pestle, but I decided to blend instead. Blend what, you ask? The shallots, the hot peppers, the garlic, and the peppercorns.

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Pre-blend.

When you do you’ll get a paste like this:

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Post-blend.

Add that paste to your wok, after you’ve heated some oil.

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In the wok.

After you’ve warmed the paste for a minute or so, add in the chicken, sugar, and fish sauce.

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Adding the chicken.

Heat until the chicken is cooked.

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Chicken, cooked.

Then add in the veggies you’ve prepared.

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Veggies!

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Veggies!

When they’ve cooked down to your desired level of tenderness, add the basil leaves.

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So, so delicious.

Finally, serve over rice – with a fried egg on top, if you wish.

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Still not as good as takeout – but yummy nonetheless.

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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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Panaeng Curry

This recipe turned out yummy and nutty, though perhaps it could have benefited from a few more veggies. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 2 pounds, sliced
  • Green bell pepper, sliced
  • Red bell pepper, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Roasted peanuts, ground, 8 tablespoons
  • Panaeng curry paste, 8 tablespoons
  • Coconut cream, 4 tablespoons

And for the sauce:

  • Coconut milk, 2 cans
  • Fish sauce, 8 tablespoons
  • Sugar, 8 tablespoons
  • Kaffir lime leaves, 12
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The ingredients.

The first step is simple: mix together all the sauce ingredients and then set them aside. Ignore them pointedly and studiously.

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The sauce, being prepped.

Next, prep some of your other ingredients – the beef, the peppers, etc.

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Sliced beef.

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Sliced other stuff.

Next, heat the curry paste in oil for about a minute, on low heat. Then, turn up the heat and add the beef.

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Beef fry.

While the beef is frying, you can prep the peanuts. Unless you have ground peanuts lying around – I don’t – you may want to do as I did and use a spice grinder to grind them up.

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Unground.

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Ground.

Once the beef has cooked a bit, add in the sauce, and cook until the sauce has thickened a bit.

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Adding the sauce.

Then add in everything else!

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Adding veggies.

Cook until the veggies have reached your desired level of tastiness, and you’re done. If you want, you can serve the curry with some extra coconut cream on top.

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The final product.

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Beef Bourguignon

This is one of our favorite recipes. It’s time-consuming to prepare, but absolutely delicious. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 3 pounds, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Bacon, thick-cut, 6-8 slices
  • Red wine, 2 cups, divided
  • Onions, 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • Carrots, 4 medium, diced
  • Celery, 3 stalks, diced
  • Mushrooms, 1 pound, quartered
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon (or more, if you don’t want to waste the rest)
  • Chicken broth, 1-2 cups
  • Thyme, 3-4 sprigs, fresh
  • Bay leaf, 1

You may also want to serve with paste, or a baguette, or with chopped parsley to garnish.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to chop up the bacon, and fry it, like so:

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Bacon in a pan.

Remove the bacon from the pan – you’ll add it later. And remove most of the bacon grease as well; leave just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

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Bacon outside a pan.

Prepare your beef with as much salt and pepper as you prefer.

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Peppered beef!

Then begin to sear the cubes in batches. Don’t crowd the meat, and be sure to let it char a bit before you dislodge it. You’re not actually trying to cook it thoroughly; instead, you’re simply searing it in the bacon fat.

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Deliciousness.

Once you’re done with a batch, put the cubes in your slow cooker.

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In the slow cooker.

Add a bit of the wine to the pan, a quarter cup each time, to dislodge and scrape off whatever bits of meat may remain, pour/scrape those into the slow cooker, as well. Continue until all the beef is prepared.

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Cleaning the pan with wine.

Next, prepare your carrots, celery, and onion.

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Veggies, sweet veggies.

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Oh, and onions too.

Fry the onion in some more of the bacon grease until it’s browned, and then add in the carrots and the celery; cook until soft.

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Now they’re golden.

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Cooked in bacon grease.

Then add in a few more ingredients – the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook until fragrant, and then add the whole mixture to the slow cooker.

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With garlic and tomato paste.

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Then into the slow cooker.

Make sure the pan is clean, and then add more of the bacon grease; add the mushrooms when it’s warm, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt (to help release the liquid from the mushrooms). Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Then set the mushrooms aside – you’ll add them later, just like the bacon.

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Before.

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And after.

As for the stuff in the slow cooker, you slow cook it. Covered, on low, for 8 hours or so. Before you do, add in a teaspoon of salt, the bay leaf, and the sprigs of thyme. Also pour in the rest of the wine and the chicken broth; the liquid should come about three-quarters of the way to the top of the ingredients.

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Slow cooking.

Then, in 6-8 hours, mix in the mushrooms and the bacon, and enjoy (perhaps with pasta or good bread). It’s delicious!

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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 Beef Curry

Despite its relative lack of vegetables, this recipe was delicious. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 2 lbs, cut into one-inch cubes
  • Onion, 1/2 cup, sliced
  • Red jalapeno peppers, 6, sliced
  • Garlic, 1/2 cup, minced
  • Peanuts, peeled, 1 cup
  • Coconut milk, 2 cans
  • Massaman curry paste, 6 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce, 1/2 cup
  • Sugar, 6 tablespoons
  • Oil
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The ingredients.

First, simmer the beef with half the coconut milk for 45 minutes, in order to tenderize the meat.

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Simmering the beef.

While you’re at it, fry the peanuts, while being careful to make sure they don’t burn.

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Frying peanuts.

When they’re done, they should have a golden hue, like these:

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Peanuts fried.

Next, prepare the jalapeno peppers, garlic, and onion.

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Slices.

Fry these as well.

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Frying slices.

Then, put these into a blender, and blend into a smooth paste.

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Slices fried.

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Slices blended.

Finally, combine everything – yes, everything – into a single pan or wok, heat to boiling, and cook for five minutes. Then, enjoy!

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Delicious!

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Square Thai Omelets

These were yummy, but I couldn’t get them to be square – they ended up as more of a scramble. Sorry. The ingredients are:

  • Pork, 4 oz, ground
  • Shrimp, 4 oz, ground
  • Eggs, 6, beaten
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • Tomato, 1, chopped
  • Onion, 1, chopped
  • Carrots, 1/8 cup, chopped
  • Sugar peas, 2 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce, 2 tablespoons
  • Maggi seasoning, 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar, 2 tablespoons
  • White pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil, 3 tablespoons
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The ingredients.

The first step was preparing a few of the ingredients. I could but the pork ground, but I had to mince the shrimp myself. A knife was a relatively crude tool, but it worked well enough.

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Mincing meat.

I sliced the peas along with the other veggies, and I liked it that way. But you do you.

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Slicing veggies.

The next step starts with frying the garlic in a tablespoon of the oil.

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Garlic in a pan.

Then add the meat.

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Meat in a pan.

Then add the sugar, pepper, fish sauce, and Maggi seasoning.

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More stuff in a pan.

Then add the veggies, and cook until your desired level of tenderness.

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Still more stuff in a pan.

The rest is simple. In another pan, you’ll make four omelets. Add oil and about a quarter of the eggs.

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Eggs in a pan.

Then add some of the goodness from the other pan.

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The omelet in process.

You can try to make a square omelet, like I did, but you may end up with a scramble, like I did. Regardless, it’s good. Repeat until you’ve made everything, and enjoy.

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Good stuff.

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Panang Curry Paste

You’ll find a few recipes for panang curry paste online, but this one is derived from the Thai cooking book I’m working through. It calls for:

  • Onions, 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Garlic, 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Galangal, 2 tablespoons, chopped
  • Lemon grass, 1/4 cop, chopped
  • Jalapeno peppers, 4 ounces, dried
  • Shrimp paste, 2 tablespoons
  • Kaffir lime skin, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder, 1/4 cup
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The ingredients.

This recipe is pretty simple: combine everything and blend into a paste. Done. I didn’t use as much dried jalapeno as it called for; I sed about 2 oz. Even so, bear in mind as you blend it that it’s rather dry.

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The garlic.

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To be blended.

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Blent.

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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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