Tag Archives: spices

African Beef Sauce

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I need a little Africa in my life!

Last week, my friends Taylor and Bethany came to visit. While they were here, they treated Ben and I to a special dinner. Since food is expensive here, and we don’t often buy meat or certain fruits and veggies, they gave us the gift of yummy by taking me shopping and buying me groceries for an awesome meal.

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We decided to make one of Ben’s favorites: meat sauce on rice, Africa style. Well, sort of. We didn’t have any curry powder. But I improvised, and it turned out great!

You need:

  • A couple pounds of beef
  • Rice
  • Oil for frying
  • An onion
  • 4 oz of tomato sauce
  • 2 T pilau masala
  • 1 T of garlic
  • 1 t of ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Chicken broth (or bouillon cube and water)

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Prepare rice.

Cut the meat into one-inch cubes. Slice onions.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry onions until translucent. Remove from pan.

Fry meat until thoroughly cooked.

Add spices to meat and stir.

Add tomato sauce, water/broth, and onions. Allow to simmer.

Slowly whisk in corn starch until sauce is thick.

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Serve sauce over rice. Pair with tropical fruit and salad. Enjoy!

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Foodie Tuesdays: Persian in an Hour

Today’s recipe is one of one my most successful food attempts of all time. It is close-your-eyes-and-enjoy-the-moment delicious. My husband told me that this is the best way I’ve ever made chicken and that I have to make it again.

Now, that’s what I like to hear.

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I have honestly never thought of trying Persian food before yesterday. Our neighbor down the hall is leaving the island in a few months, and he offered us the spices, food, and first aid stuff he doesn’t plan to use before he leaves. Do we have the most awesome neighbors ever, or what? Some of the spices he gave us are used in Persian food. He explained their uses enough to me to be able to Google intelligently and find some yummy recipes.

Behold, zeerah polow and chicken.

Zeerah polow is rice with cumin seeds. This and the chicken should take about four hours to make the right way, but I only had an hour before dinner time, so I sped things up a bit. Here’s Zeerah Polow in cut-time.

Gather your ingredients:

  • Brown rice, 3 cups
  • Cumin seeds, 3 tablespoons
  • One chicken quarter or two breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Plain yogurt, one cup
  • Dried mint, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon
  • Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Paprika, 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, 1/2 tablespoon
  • Flour, one cup

Rinse rice until the water is clear. Boil six cups of water and add rice. Simmer. Scoop rice from the bottom of the pan to the top every few minutes.

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Toast the cumin seeds in a pan. Set aside.

When the rice is done, drain rice and mix with cumin seeds.

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Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Cut into strips.

Mix garlic powder and yogurt. Let chicken marinate in the mixture for ten minutes.

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Mix flour and rest of spices in another bowl.

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Heat oil 1/4 inch deep in a skillet. Coat chicken in flour/spice mixture and fry in oil until the chicken is cooked and the batter is crispy.

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Serve with limes. Enjoy!

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Foodie Tuesdays: Indian Kidney Beans

I love making ethnic food. Especially when I have absolutely no idea what it is. Today, I tried something that I’ve never made before, and it was a winner. An empty-the-pot-and-ask-for-more winner. Kidney beans and rice with rajmah masala!

Sometimes, Indian food is a little to spicy for me– sometimes it is way too spicy for me. This, on the other hand, was the perfect amount of spicy and savory.

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I got the box mix last night from my neighbor. He was cleaning out his kitchen and offered me a bunch of cool spices and other yummy things– perks of having an awesome neighbor! If you don’t have as box mix, you can make your own rajmah masala from spices in your kitchen.

You will need:

  • Kidney beans (2 or 3 cans, or a package of dry beans, prepared)
  • Three cups of rice
  • Small onion
  • Tomato or tomato paste
  • Rajmah Masala, either packaged or:
    • Crushed coriander, salt, dry mango, pomegranate seeds, chili, cumin, musk melon, black pepper, slack salt, fenugreek leaves, cloves, mint, nutmeg, dry ginger, bay leaf, cardamom seeds, caraway, mace, cardamom green.
    • If you don’t have all the ingredients, no worries– go with what you have.

Prepare beans and rice.

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Mix all the spices together.

Chop onions, fry in a pan until golden brown. Add tomatoes.

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Add a tablespoon or so of the spice mix, stir until it forms a paste.

Mix the spices and onions into the beans. Let simmer for a few minutes.

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Serve beans over rice.