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CRAB – 20 Minuten!

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Today my dear friends I invite you to Bangkok – for a visit to the largest outdoor market in the world – to be precise; to Chatuchak Weekend Market on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road.

This market, also known as JJ Market is offering, with over 15,000 stalls, an eclectic variety of goods, from antiques to pets.

Going there is as much enjoyable as tiring – this place is literally huge, very crowded (even in the early mornings) and one can easily get lost in this rabbit warren of very narrow lanes.

But not to worry, there is always a smiling face helping you out and a place where to sit for “people watching” and, most of all, to enjoy one of their delicious foods.

My friend Yui one day invited me to accompany her to this Market since she wanted to buy a few items for her house in Bangkok. Good enough reason for me to have yet again another look at some of the stalls I was interested in on one of our previous visits to this vibrant city.

We arrived early, hoping to beat not only the rush of visitors but also the heat – but of course many people had the same idea and we found the place already somewhat crowded, but it did not spoil our fun at all.

After a few hours!! of walking, talking, bargaining and buying the items Yui had wanted, our feet started to object. What better idea than to go and have one of those wonderful foot massages, for which Thailand is famous for, amongst other things. I just love to have my feet massaged by a Professional that I, without fail, always fall asleep, but waking up totally rejuvenated.

Soon it was lunchtime and Yui took me to one of her favourite food stalls where she suggested I must try her friend’s Crab and Sweetcorn Soup. I do so love soups, of all kind (or nearly) and especially Thai soups.

Gratefully we sat down, ordered and very quickly a steaming bowl of my Crab soup arrived. It truly was so good, that I tried to make this at home once back here in India.

This dish is so easy to make and in fact only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

So I will not let you wait much longer, but share with you my version of Chatuchak Crab and Sweetcorn soup.

Ingredients
(for 4 portions I used here…)

½ x pack of frozen Crabsticks (finely chopped)
¼ x pack of Thai Glass Noodles
½ x cup of frozen sweet corn
¼ x cup of the green only part of Spring Onions (finely chopped)
¼ x cup of Peanuts (dry fried)
1 ½ x cup of Vegetable Stock
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
5 x Kaffir Leaves (or lime zest)
1 x Tbsp dry red chilli flakes (or more if you like the heat)
2/3 x Tbsp Lime juice
2 x tsp of Sesame Oil (or plain vegetable oil)
Salt (to taste)

How I made this:

In a large vessel I boiled the noodles in the vegetable stock with Sesame Oil.

Next I dry fried the peanuts, stirring all the time.

In a separate pan I sautéed, just for a couple of minutes, (in 1 tsp of oil) the chopped spring onion greens, the previously fried peanuts, Kaffir leaves, chilli flakes, lime juice and little bit of salt.

When this was done and the noodles cooked, I then transferred those to the above mixture and added the vegetable stock bit by bit to until I had the right liquid consistency.

Before serving I added all the chopped crabsticks and mixed everything well together and then served.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

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Meatless Bolognese all Paseo

……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..

Meatless Bolognese all Paseo

June is the month of Saint Antony of Padova and for many years we have travelled to this lovely city, saying our prayers at the shrine in the Basilica and seeing our friends, some of whom actually live or work at the Basilica.

But alas, this year sadly we were not able to travel – but we do so hope that there will be soon a ‘next time’.

So it was a chance for me to telephone a couple of our friends in Padova and have one of our pleasant little chats.

Whilst speaking with Antonia, she somehow mentioned a mutual visit to a charming restaurant on our last trip called “Bastioni Del Moro” in Via Pilade Bronzetti (roughly translated to “Ramparts of the Moor). This is a place which is mostly frequented by locals. We always prefer those kind of restaurants whilst abroad.

Antonia, who is a Vegetarian, ordered her food, Spaghetti con Bolognese. This raised an eyebrow with me – Bolognese? How could she!!! She just smiled and urged me to taste from her plate. And gosh, was I glad I did – it was absolutely delicious and no mincemeat (Keema) in sight. Pure vegetarian, a dish laden with beautiful vegetables and lentils and I really did not miss the meat at all. To be honest, I had forgotten all about this dish and now, speaking to her, I wanted this recipe very badly.

Since then I have made this “Bolognese” a few times, served with pasta, rice, to be eaten with chapatti or naan. Next time I will make thin pancakes, stuff those with my “Bolognese” and serve this dish as a ‘faux lasagne’.

So here it is, and I am happy to share it with you. Of course, as usual, I have given this recipe a little tweak here and there. Do give it a try and you too will be surprised how truly delicious it is.

Ingredients:

1 x large onion, finely chopped
4 x garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
3 x carrots, coarsely grated
2 x large celery sticks – chopped
2 x Tbsp Olive oil
½ x cup of red lentils
4 x large tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ x Tbsp tomato puree
2 x cups vegetable stock
1 x Tbsp mixed (dry) Italian herbs
1 x Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
Salt and pepper to taste

And this is how I made it:

Gently fry Onion, garlic, carrots and celery in oil for appr 5 minutes or until they are all soft.

Add lentils, tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, herbs and chilli powder as well as salt and pepper. Stir.

Cover vessel partially with a lid and simmer for 20 or so minutes – timing depends on how soft you want your lentils.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

Jimmy Stewart’s Chicken and Wild Rice

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Jimmy Stewart’s Chicken and Wild Rice

In my birth country, Germany, we do have a saying “Wer die Wahl hat – hat die Qual” (loosely translated: “He who has a choice – has the agony” and this quote was very appropriate for us last night.

It was dark quite early outside, the heavy Monsoon rain was pelting down with gusto, streets were nearly empty and we needed something light to cheer us up.

What better choice than looking into Jo’s extensive film library and choosing a film for us to see. We had not seen a film with Jimmy Stewart, one of the Hollywood greats of yesteryears, for some time, but now we had the problem of choosing one for this evening from a selection of the following films:
Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, Bell, Book and Candle, Anatomy of a Murder, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and How the West was Won, etc.

In the end we chose “Anatomy of a Murder”, a well-acted and well-directed Courtroom drama by Otto Preminger, which we had seen quite a few times before – and it still had not lost his appeal!

But, when Jo took out the disk from its case he found an article he had kept for a long long time, one of Jimmy’s favourite chicken recipes, which apparently Jimmy liked to cook in his own kitchen. We decided to re-create this dish (although Jo does not eat chicken!) for me, and hopefully you, to enjoy.

I more or less stuck to the original recipe. I only added one or two items in order to give it a little bit of “umpf” and instead of using Wild Rice, as favoured by him, I had to use best quality Basmati Rice, since Wild Rice was not readily available here.

Hopefully you will like this preparation – as much as I enjoyed eating it.

For 2 hungry people or for 4 on slight “diet” you will need:

Ingredients

4 x chicken drumsticks

1 x green capsicum (or half green/half red) (chopped)
3 x sticks of Celery (chopped)

1 x large onion (chopped)
2 x large red chillies (chopped)
100 x gr Champignons (Button mushrooms) (sliced)
1 ½ x cup of Rice (half cooked)
Butter
Flour
1 x cup of chicken broth
½ x cup of dry white wine
Breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

And this is how I made it:

In a pot cook chicken pieces, celery, peppers, onion, red chillies, salt and pepper covered just above all this with water.

Cover and cook over low heat for app. 1 hour (or until meat is tender).

After this time, add the pre-cooked rice (drained).

Now make a sauce consistent of butter, flour and ½ cup of chicken stock and ½ cup of wine.

Cook, stirring constantly until thickened.

Add the sliced mushrooms and stir.

Butter a casserole dish – and add all your chicken/rice mixture.

Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and bake in pre-heated moderate oven for 45 – 60 minutes.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

THAI STREET FOOD – PEANUT NOODLES


“……… I DO THIS MY WAY! …..”

For so many years now JS and I have been to Bangkok at least 3-4 times a year. It’s a relative easy (and very economical) flight from Kerala via Singapore.

And even though we always stayed in our lovely hotel and enjoyed Chef’s wonderful food besides the many lunch/dinners we relished at various other special places for us, I still joined our friends to try Bangkok Street food occasionally. And before some of you might disapprove, let me tell you, I have never ever been sick once – knowing of course where to eat helps. Some places were recommended by local friends, while some I found of my own accord.

Last time we were in this vibrant city was for their water festival “Sonkran”. The ‘Sonkran’ of this year is over and yes, we missed not being there with our friends and participate in the fun.

I too used to buy occasionally my Street food like they did, sit on some steps in front of one of those huge shopping centres and watched the spectacle, mainly children (of all ages!) getting soaked.

So here today I like to share with you this quick, simple and delicious recipe, my own version of “Peanut Noodles

For 2 people you will need:

100 gr medium egg noodles (or more if you are hungry)
1 x Tbsp Oil
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 or 2 x large onions, sliced
½ x of 3 different coloured Capsicums, seeded and roughly chopped
½ x of a medium sized Courgette, also roughly chopped

150 gr unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

Now for the dressing

4-5 Tbsp Oil (I like to use Olive oil here)
Grated rind and the juice of 1 x lemon (to taste)
1-2 x red hot chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
Some fresh chives, snipped (or Thai Basil)
2 x Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Here is how I do this “… my way

Cook noodles, drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in wok; add onions, garlic and all the remaining vegetables.
Cook appr for 3-5 minutes until they start getting brown and soft, but be careful, you do not want the vegetables too soft.
Add peanuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
In small bowl whisk together oil, grated lemon rind and 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, chilli, chives (or Thai Basil), Soya sauce and Balsamic vinegar (to taste). Add salt and pepper.

Now toss the drained noodles into the onion/garlic/peanut etc. mix and heat through.
When ready to serve add dressing, stir nicely to coat everything and serve garnished with fresh chives.

NB: you can also use spaghetti, if egg noodles are not available.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

I DO IT MY WAY! HUNGARIAN GULYÀS

“……… I DO IT MY WAY! …..”

I am pretty certain that most of us have a favourite ‘comfort soup’ – for some it is chicken soup, for others a nice vegetable soup, but for me my absolute No 1 soup is “GULYÀS”.

This ‘love affair’ goes back quite a few decades now and I can never get tired of this.

For you who are not familiar with this deliciousness: GULYÀS is actually a soup! And what is generally referred to as Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás) is in fact known as Pörkölt in Hungary which in fact is a One-pot dish, (sort of stew) and that’s why we can find cubes of potatoes in this dish. And as our Hungarian friend in Vienna assured us, a Pörkölt has absolutely nothing to do with Gulyás.

A few years ago JS decided literally on the spur of a moment to take me to Vienna for my birthday, a city which neither of us had been to previously. We spent two glorious weeks there, seeing “the sites”, visiting friends, etc. But the highlight of our stay was a visit to the “Wiener Staatsoper” to see a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” – no question about it, this was my most happiest birthday!

Our friends, Katharina and Sandor (who is a true Hungarian!) ‘wined and dined’ us royally during our stay, but when Katharina learned of my passion for a ‘Hungarian Gulyás Soup’, she of course cooked a splendid version of her husband’s traditional Soup for us. Thank you, my friends!

Like most traditional recipes one can seldom find the same one in two households. Every family for generations will put their own little ‘tweak’ to this dish.

And once I started writing the recipe here, floods of (nice) memories came back from quite a long long time ago.

The nearest big city to my hometown Bonn is of course Cologne. And it was and still is quite common to quickly drive or take one of the super trains to this city for Lunch, Shopping or Dinner.

And there one can find one of the famous Restaurants called “Pusztahuette” on the “Neumarkt’ which only serves one dish, and one dish only – yes, you guessed it “Gulyás (Soup)”. This restaurant is still going strong even after nearly 50 years!!! They also sell Gulyás in tins to take home and if you take your own container to this restaurant they fill it with the Soup to be enjoyed at home. Oh, how often I went there with friends for a most enjoyable meal.

Because I started to live around the world, I had to come up with my very own version of this wonderful “Gulyás” which today I like to share with you. And so, although it is not quite like the original recipe, my version is nevertheless most delicious. Maybe you will give it a try one day.

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg of pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 x Tbsp of Vegetable oil
3 x cloves of garlic, minced
2 x big onions, sliced
2 x Capsicum, I like to use 2 different colours, sliced finely
2 x medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
2 x tsp of caraway seeds
2 x tsp of marjoram
3 x Tbsp concentrated tomato paste

A very generous shot of dry red wine
3 x tsp of paprika, mild
3 x tsp of paprika, hot
1 x Tbsp of “Lingham’s Chilly sauce” – (if liked!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 – 4 x cups of water

And this here is how I do it.

Heat oil in large/wide pot.
Add meat, few pieces at the time, and brown slightly before taking it out again and keep aside.
Now add sliced onions, sliced garlic, and the capsicums, stir and let also brown very slightly.
After some time add the meat, tomato paste, the 2 types of paprika, marjoram and caraway seeds, stir well.
After 5 minutes add the water, cover your pot and let this simmer until meat is NEARLY tender.
Now add your red wine, stir, and also add “Lingham’s Chilly Sauce” and the grated potatoes.
Stir, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes maximum.

How to plate

Fill your soup cups or soup plates with this delicious fare. Sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion greens over this and finish everything off with a dollop of Crème fraîche.

N.B. Here are some tips which I learned over the years out of sheer necessity, i.e. non-availability of certain items.

If you cannot get decent Paprika use 2 types of chilli powder, one for heat and Kashmiri powder for colour.

This dish is equally delicious made from beef.

I like to add the grated potatoes, they give the Gulyás body – remember, this is not a thin soup at all.

That’s it – enjoy!

Namaskaram
Carina

TILAPIA IN A LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE

This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.

Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.

Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.

So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!

For 2 people you will need the following:

For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper

For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

And here is what you do:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.

To plate:
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.

That’s it – all done. Enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina