Thai Fried Fish with Tamarind Sauce and Coconut Rice

By xoxo

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The first time I tasted this mouth water, delicious fried fish was on the Island of Ko Samui in Thailand when Amer and I were honeymooning. It was one of our last nights and had just finished touring the five islands. Amer had a romantic candlelit dinner set up for us on the secluded beach. When the chef brought out the fish, it looked amazing. But when we dug into the dish, it was fireworks. It was so good, I am pretty sure we licked the plate clean.

Our trip to Thailand changed our lives. Well, our foodie lives. We cook Thai dishes all the time. And when we discovered Sun Foods, an amazing Asian market in St. Paul, our food life came full circle. When you live in Minnesota, good seafood is either hard to find or on the expensive side. This place has it all. Variety of fish (which they clean and descale for you!), shellfish, different cuts of meat, spices, herbs…it’s great. So the other day we were there, we went to town as usual. We bought a couple pieces of Golden Pompano, which is a medium flavor fish that holds together very well when cooking, especially when you fry it! I made a tamarind sauce (tamarind is a sticky, sour tasting fruit that can be found in a paste in specialty stores) to top the fish with and a side of coconut rice. Mmmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmm!

2 Fish, recommended: Grouper, Red Snapper; Golden Pompano (cleaned and descaled)

½ cup of flour

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Salt and black pepper

Sauce

1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, minced

4 tablespoons fish sauce

4 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

4 tablespoons of water

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes

8 springs of cilantro, chopped

For the fish, score at an angle all the way to the bones on both sides. This will help the fish cook faster and add crispiness. Add the flour and garlic powder to a large, shallow bowl and mix. Dip the fish into the flour and coat well. Add the oil to the wok on medium heat. Once you see the oil smoking a bit, add the fish and cook on low heat if you prefer your fish to be very crispy. Fry on the first side for 10 minutes and the second side for 5 minutes. Don’t move the fish around too much, it will start to break. Remove fish on a paper towel and set aside.

Prepare the sauce. Add a teaspoon of oil to the wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and stir for 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, sugar, tamarind paste, sprinkle of red pepper flakes and water. Mix well and let it come to a boil. If too thick, add more water. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Pour over fish and garnish with cilantro. Serve with coconut rice.

Coconut Rice

1 can coconut milk (14 ounces)

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon sugar

Sprinkle of salt

1 1/2 cups of uncooked jasmine rice

In a saucepan, combined the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt and stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Add rice. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is tender

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Asian Short Beef Ribs

By xoxo

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God I love meat. Really, really love meat. Did I mention how much I love meat? I’ve always wanted to make a dish with bone-in short ribs. Being Muslim, we don’t eat Pork, so it’s not easy to find beef bone-in short ribs. So recently, life just got a little better. Our good friend introduced us to an Asian market in the cities. My husband and I didn’t know what to expect when we drove up to the market, but when we entered, our eyes lit up. Since we live in Minnesota, good seafood is either really expense or only in specialty markets. This Asian market has it all…good seafood, beef short ribs, other great cuts of beef and lamb, all kinds of vegetables and all sorts of amazing herbs. It literally changed our lives.

When we got home, we knew right away we wanted to cook the beef short ribs. We couldn’t resist. They looked so good…too good to pass by. My husband is obsessed with Asian food, so we braised the short ribs in an Asian marinade for almost 4 hours. They turned out delicious! The beef was so tender, falling off the bone. Yum! I paired it with a simple Lo Mein with assorted mushrooms. Can’t wait to make this again!

1 lb. short beef bone-on ribs

Salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 cup sake
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 T ginger, minced
2 T hoisin sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Good sprinkle of red pepper flakes
2 shallots, minced; ½ cup green onions finely chopped

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat. Sprinkle the short beef ribs with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Once the pot is hot and starts to smoke, add the short ribs. Lower heat to medium-high and sear on all sides of ribs until golden brown.

While ribs are searing, add the sake, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, orange juice, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and sprinkle of red pepper flakes to a bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Once the ribs are seared, remove from pot and add them to a plate with a paper towel to remove access oil.

While the pot is still hot, add the shallots over medium heat. Stir shallots for a few minutes and then add the sake-soy sauce. Add the seared ribs to the liquid and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Braise the short ribs for 3-4 hours covered until beef is tender and falling off the bones. Add green onions to stew.

Lo mein noodles

1 T sesame oil

1 T vegetable oil

1 cup of assorted mushrooms
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T ginger, minced
1 bundle of green onions, chopped
1 handful of basil, chopped
1 package of lo mein, cook following directions on label
2-4 T of braised beef sauce

Garnish: bean sprouts and finely chopped green onions

In a wok, add the sesame oil and vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the assorted mushrooms, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a couple minutes until mushrooms are almost cooked. Add the green onions and basil and lo mein noodles, along with 2-4 tablespoons of the braised short beef sauce. Mix well and served with braised short ribs. Garnish with bean sprouts and green onions.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

By xoxo

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RE-POST! Just made this for the hubby the other day…one of our favorites!

I am 100% Palestinian. But by the amount of Indian food I cook, you would think I have some Indian in me. My husband, Amer, is convinced that I do. If either of us have any Indian blood in us, it is my husband. After all, he is the one who got me to love and really appreciate the yumminess of Indian food. Not that I never really liked it, I just never was drawn to it. Maybe because it is similar to Middle Eastern food in the way they both are known for their stews and rice. I was always eating Middle Eastern stews at home, so I never really craved Indian food.

I a teenager, I was obsessed with bollywood movies that were in English. I loved the stories, the music and the beauty of the culture. I have now also added my love of Indian food to the list. When Amer and I were planning our honeymoon, India was actually on top of honeymoon destinations. We ended up going to Thailand (truly amazing), but still hope to go to India soon.

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes. I love the creaminess of the tomato, with the pops of different spices and the char on the grilled chicken. It makes for a perfect meal with some basmati rice and sweet green peas. This is my version of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Marinade
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks

Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
8 roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 ½ cups basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen sweet green peas

For the marinade, add the plain yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt and pepper to a bowl and mix well. Add your chicken thighs to the yogurt and mix in well. Marinate overnight.

When your ready to make the sauce, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes and then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Sauté for another minute. Add the tomato paste, mix well with the rest of the ingredients and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the tomato paste cooks down and become a little dark. Add the garam masala and paprika. Sauté with the tomato paste for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes and its juices, water and the salt. Bring to boil and then lower heat to simmer. Cover the skillet and cook for about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened.

For the rice, add the oil to a pot. Add the rice and mix with the oil for a couple minutes toasting the rice lightly. Add the water and salt. Bring to boil and then lower heat to simmer. Cover pot and cook for about 15 minutes until rice is fluffy and cooked through. Turn off heat and add the sweet green peas. Fluff the rice with the fork and integrate the sweet green peas.

Meanwhile, while your stew and rice are simmering, remove chicken from the refrigerate. Turn your grill on and brush it with olive oil. Once it is nice and hot, remove chicken from the marinade, shaking off extra liquid. Grill chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes until the chicken is charred. If it is not cooked through, that is okay because it will cook through in the sauce.

Place sauce an a blender and process until smooth. Add the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with basmati rice.

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