One thing that constantly stumps me whenever I cook a dish is thinking of other dishes to accompany the main course. You can only serve mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower so many times before you guests think you’re not a really creative cook. You can have a stupendously delicious main course but without that side dish of carbohydrates that will serve as your filler, the whole meal can fall flat instantly. These side dishes serve to complement the main dish, mellow out some of the flavors while enhancing others, and as I’ve said before, it helps fill up your guests, sating them during the meal. [Read more…]
Baked fish pilaf is a delicious Indian recipe that you can whip up anytime. You can eat it as is, but it is often served with papadums (crispy flat bread) or naan (soft bread).
3 teaspoons chicken powder
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup tikka masala curry paste
1 1/3 cups basmati rice
450g frozen fish fillets, thawed, cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
100g baby spinach
Pappadums or naan bread for serving
Preheat the oven at 180C and lightly grease a baking dish with oil.
Place the boiling water in a heatproof jug. Add the chicken powder and mix well. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3-5 minutes or until it is soft. Add the curry paste and cook it for another minute or until it becomes fragrant. Stir in the rice and cook it for another minute until it is coated in oil. Pour in 3 cups of the stock mixture. Set the heat to high and bring it to a boil.
Transfer the rice mixture to the greased baking dish. Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Add the fish, carrots, peas and the remaining chicken stock. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake it for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Add the spinach and cover it. Set it aside for 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Serve with papadums or naan bread.
Photo Courtesy Of: jetalone
Pilafs are common in Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and East African cuisines. Unlike risotto, it is not as creamy. In fact, it is a bit drier but sometimes fluffy. There are different variations of it depending on where it is prepared.
As for mussels, I often eat it baked, in soups or paella until I found this interesting recipe. It has a Mediterranean feel and taste to it because of the spices. In fact if you are a fan of five-spice you can add some as well, but if you do not like cinnamon or the star anise after taste from the five-spice I think bay leaves are a good substitute.
The lemons help remove the fishy taste, but you can do without it if desired. Ginger or ginger powder may be added to the other spices for this purpose. For aesthetic reasons it is nice to keep the shells on, but for this recipe we decided to remove them.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
1kg mussels, scrubbed, de-bearded and shells removed
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, turmeric and cinnamon sticks for 5 minutes, until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Season it with salt and pepper.
Put the rice in the pan and stir. Cook it for 1-2 minutes until the rice is coated in the spice and garlic-onion mixture. Pour in the chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook it for another 8-10 minutes. Once the rice is almost cooked, add the mussels and the peas. Mix well. Season it with salt and pepper to adjust the taste. Cover and cook for another 8-10 minutes until the rice is soft. Turn off the heat.
Let the pilaf stand for 5 minutes. Keep it covered the whole time. After, stir in the chopped parsley. Divide the mussel pilaf into individual plates and serve warm with lemon slices.
Photo Courtesy Of: topsyntages.gr
Shrimp kabsa is a delicious Middle Eastern recipe that is a meal in itself. The spices infuse so many flavors on the rice and shrimp. Make sure to let the water evaporate, because unlike risotto, it is not meant to be moist. In fact, it should be a little dry. You can also add raisins if desired.
1 pound shrimp, heads removed and peeled
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon Gulf Baharat Mix
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-1/2 cups water
2 green chilis
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven at 350F.
Heat the sunflower oil in an ovenproof pan over medium flame. Sauté the onions until they become translucent. After, stir in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it is fragrant. Add the shrimp, tomato paste, tomatoes and the baharat spice mix. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.
Place the rice on the pan and slowly pour in the water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover it for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is done. If there is still water, you may cook it uncovered for a few more minutes. Make sure that all the water evaporates.
Cover the pan in foil and bake it in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. After, let it stand for 5 minutes. Transfer it to a plate and sprinkle it with toasted pine nuts.
Photo Courtesy Of: snowpea&bokchoi
No time? Want something easy, tasty, quick and extremely healthy? Then try this dish. It takes less than thirty minutes from start to finish.
It’s also very cheap to make – you can use frozen vegetables to save time and work, and can easily add some meat as well as or in place of some of the vegetables, and change the vegetable stock for a meat one!
To serve 4
100g Frozen Chopped Onion
2tsp Plain Flour
1 Vegetable Stock cube, dissolved in 150ml Hot Water
250g Frozen Asparagus
200g Frozen Peas
200g Frozen Broad Beans
1tsp Mixed Dried Herbs
600g White Rice
75g Cashew Nuts
1. Gently fry the Onions in the Butter until three or four minutes. Take off of the heat, and stir in the flour, before slowly adding the Vegetable stock, stirring all of the time.
2. Add the frozen Vegetables and the Mixed Herbs, and simmer with a lid on for five or six minutes.
3. Start to cook the rice, whilst at the same time, fry the Cashews off in a non-stick frying pan, constantly moving and tossing them, so that they are golden all over.
4. Stir the Vegetables and Cashews together making sure that the sauce is covering everything.
5. Serve on top of the rice.
If you’re going to use meat in this dish, take out some of each vegetable, and make sure that the meat is hot through before serving. Replace the Vegetable stock cube with a Meat Stock cube (if possible, the same flavor as the meat!)
Photo Courtesy of Avlxyz