Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Cook-up Rice… Vegetarian Three Bean Cook-up Rice

Vegetarian Cook-up

The new year is almost here. If you’re Guyanese you’re probably rounding up your ingredients for your New Year’s eve cook-up rice and fried fish. I usually make a slamming black eyed peas and beef cook-up. When I was living in Guyana, my mom’s New Year’s eve cook up always had black-eyed peas, salt beef, tripe and beef. A. I hate tripe, b. I can’t find salt beef where I live and c. after eating pepper pot and all the goodies from Christmas, I feel like I need a bit of a break from all of that. So to start the new year off on a healthier note, I am sharing my recipe for a simple but tasty, three bean vegetarian cook-up. Hope you give it a try and enjoy on old year’s night (as we Guyanese say and/or New Year’s day!

Click on the link for a video tutorial (hint: I’m in this video, in case you were curious to know what I looks like, ha ha).

Yummy goodness!

Yummy goodness!

Vegetarian Three Bean Cook-up Rice (8 Generous Servings)

Ingredients:
1/2 can of black eyed peas (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
1/2 can of chick peas (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
1/2 can of kidney beans (about 1 cup of cooked peas)
2 cups long grain parboiled rice
1 can coconut milk, diluted with 4 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 can of petite diced tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped)
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp dried thyme (Guyanese thyme preferably)
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp casareep
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp oil

Directions:

Warm oil in a large (heavy bottom) stock pot, on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft and slightly brown. Add tomatoes, thyme, basil and 1/2 the granulated garlic and cook down until all the water from the tomatoes has evaporated. Add the black eyed peas, kidney beans and chick peas. Add the remaining granulated garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add rice and mix together. Add the coconut milk and water mixture, then add the casareeep. Mix together. Increase the heat to high and bring up to a roaring boil. Let boil covered for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the rice is fully cooked. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. When rice is cooked and all the liquids have evaporated, serve and enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Hope you guys enjoyed this video, I had fun making it!
2. I am using canned products in this video to give those of you with busier lives a quicker alternative for making cook-up rice.
3. If you prefer to soak your peas, just use a 1/4 cup of dried peas/bean for each of the peas/beans listed above.
4. If you have comments or questions don’t forget to post them in the comment section below.

Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!

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Sunday Brunch… Cheese pies (Mini Quiches)

Guyanese Cheese Pie

Where did all the time go? It feels like ages since I last posted a recipe.

Here’s the run down on where I’ve been and what’s been going on. I decided to take the summer off from blogging. We went away on vacation and when we came back, I just couldn’t get myself back on a proper schedule that allowed time for blogging. People always asked, how do you find the time to blog with a baby? And I always said easy, I blog when he’s napping. Well, he doesn’t nap as often anymore and when he is napping there are so many other things to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking and taking pics when I can, but I can’t seem to find the time to edit and post new recipes. Then, I decide to do a fitness challenge for the month of September. Thirty days of clean eating and working out! So cooking Guyanese food was not on the agenda. I just couldn’t cook and bake all that deliciousness and stick to my plan. So here I am, I made it through the 30 days, started the Insanity workout program and am finally figuring out time to blog. I have a back log of recipes, so check your emails often!

Now for this recipe. A subscriber and friend asked for this one. The last time I made cheese pies, before this time of course, I was in high school, making these pies in Home Economics. So I had to do some research for a recipe. I tried the basic quiche recipes on foodnetwork.com and even Googled some Guyanese cheese pie recipes, but none came close to what I consider the best cheese pie I’ve ever had, the cheese pie from Fogarty’s. I’m not sure if there’s is still the best, but it was good when I was growing up in Guyana. It had a distinct flavor and after 3 tries I nailed it!

For this simple recipe you will need Pastry Dough, cheddar cheese, eggs, milk,   bell peppers, mustard, scallions and a bit of hot pepper. I'm using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper.

For this simple recipe you will need Pastry Dough (about 1 lb), cheddar cheese (7 ounces, shredded), eggs (4), milk (1 cup), bell peppers (1 mini, finely diced), mustard (3 tbsp), scallions (2 heads finely chopped), 1 tbs granulated garlic and a bit of hot pepper. I’m using Guyanese wiri wiri pepper.

The first time I made these pies, I used a cheap, pre-shredded mild cheddar cheese and it was terrible. The cheese didn’t melt and the pies tasted awful. This time I used a really sharp Australian cheddar with a flavor similar to Anchor Cheddar. It was perfect.

Add 1 cups whole mild and 4 eggs to a measuring cup. Whisk in mustard and garlic powder and finely dice hot peppers.

Add 1 cups whole milk and 4 eggs to a measuring cup. Whisk in mustard and garlic powder and finely dice hot peppers.

Roll out pasty dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to fill a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.  Line muffin pan with pastry dough.  Fill dough 1/2 way with shredded cheese, add milk until cheese is almost covered.  Then add diced bell peppers and scallions.  Top off with a bit more shredded cheese.

Roll out pasty dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to fill a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.
Line muffin pan with pastry dough.
Fill dough 1/2 way with shredded cheese, then add diced bell peppers and scallions. Add milk until it covers cheese.
Top off with a bit more shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine had a bit of souffle action going on while backing because I over filled the cups.

Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes.
Mine had a bit of souffle action going on while backing because I over filled the cups.

See below for the pastry dough recipe.

Let cool after baking then enjoy!

Let cool after baking then enjoy!

Guyanese Cheese Pies (Makes 12)

Ingredients:
Crust
1 lb short crust pastry dough:
4 cups flours
1 cup vegetable shortening (1 stick)
1/4 cup butter
about 8 Tbsp ice cold water

Filling
1 cup whole milk
7 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs
3 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 mini red bell pepper (or 1/2 large bell pepper), finely chopped
2 heads of green scallions, finely chopped
1 wiri wiri pepper finely chopped
1 tsp granulated garlic

Directions:

Crust
Rub/cut/mix shortening and butter into flour until mixture forms a bread crumb like texture. Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pinch mixture together to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Separate mixture into two and chill in the refrigerator for as least 1 hour. When chilled, use dough to make any Guyanese pastry combination.

Filling:
Combine milk, eggs, mustard, pepper and granulated garlic in a measuring cup. Whisk until completely mixed together.

Assembling:
Roll pastry dough out until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut into circles large enough to cover a cups in a muffin pan. Grease a muffin pan with butter or cooking spray, then line with pastry dough. Fill muffin pan with cheese until about 1/2 way up each cup. Then add a bit of scallions and bell peppers. Pour milk and egg mixture into cup, until is covers the cheese. Then top off with a bit more shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Be sure to let your pastry dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before working with it.
2. I liked the rich flavor of mustard in these pies you can choose to add less mustard if you wish.

Happy Baking!

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Pholourie… fried split peas dough deliciousness!

Guyanese Pholourie

Before I even start this post, let me just give a shout out to all my new subscribers and all those that have also subscribed to my youtube channel (metemgeeblog). I am forever humbled by your willingness to check out and try my recipes! Also please check out this webpage gotoguyana.org. It is a tourism site that features everything you need to know if you want to visit Guyana. While you’re visiting the site, check out my article on Guyanese hospitality. I am sure many of you can identify with what I have to say. Love you all!!!!

Now for this pholourie (pah-lou-ry) recipe. At first I thought about putting this under quick and easy snacks, but making pholourie takes time and patience, but the end results are totally worth it. I kinda, sorta made this recipe up, but isn’t that the case with most of my recipes? My grandmother used to make the most delicious pholourie. She died before I became super interested in cooking, so I couldn’t get the recipe from her. My mom hardly ever makes pholourie and when I asked for a recipe it was something like this, two handfuls of flour, a dash of curry, a pinch of geera. I mean, seriously mom! So after many tries, more like failures I finally made pholourie that my husband was willing to eat! I’ve made it a couple of times now with consistent success so I felt confident to share. This pholourie is not dense. It has a light crunchy texture on the outside and soft dough on the inside. I’ve had some dense delicious pholourie in the past, and those are often made with yeast. My pholourie are made with baking powder.

Well let’s get cooking. Enjoy the video below!

 

 

I love my pholourie with mango sour. Yummy!

 

Guyanese Pholourie

Pholourie (Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup split peas
2 cups of boiling water
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp geera
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 cups of oil for frying
1/2 and then 1 cup of water
Food processor or blender

Directions:
Add split peas and hot water to a small mixing bowl and let soak overnight. Once peas has doubled in size (after soaking overnight), drain water and rinse. In a food processor or blender, combine onion, garlic and rinsed, soaked split peas. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend/process until it form a smooth paste. Remove paste from the processor/blender and add to a large mixing bowl. Then add curry powder, geera and garam masala. Mix together thoroughly, adding an additional cup of water. Then add flour and baking powder. Continue to mix together until it forms a pancake-like batter. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before frying.

When ready to fry, add oil to a medium saucepan on high heat. Once oil is hot, spoon mixture (using a dinner spoon) and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry for about 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a few sheet of paper towel to allow the excess oil to drain. Continue frying small batches until all the mixture has been fried. Serve with some mango sour or achar.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Traditionally you fry the pholourie mixture by scooping it up in your hand and squeezing little drops, through the space created by your thumb and index finger. I wanted to demonstrate how dangerous this could be in the first part of the video and ironically burned my hands pretty badly while doing it. I thought about included that footage but decided against it. Using a spoon is much safer.
2. Spray the spoon with some cooking spray or dip it into some oil before you start scooping the mixture and it will help the mixture to just slide right off the spoon.
3. I know some of you may have different methods of making pholourie, don’t be afraid to share.

Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Side… Pok Choy with a bit of teriyaki sauce

Guyanese Style Pok Choy

I love vegetables. Simple with no meat or additives. Just seasoned right. Pok Choy or Bok Choy as it is commonly known to non Guyanese, is one of those vegetables that you don’t want to over cook, or over do (as we Guyanese say). It is best enjoyed in a simple flavorful dish, where you can truly taste the crunchiness of the leaves and deliciousness of the pok choy. The recipe below, is quick and simple and highlights the flavors of the pok choy.

Start with about 4 bundles of fresh pok choy.

Start with about 4 bundles of fresh pok choy.

Cut off the head (part holding leaves together), then wash the leaves individually to remove sand.  Be sure to wash white stalk thoroughly.  Then chop into small pieces.

Cut off the head (part holding leaves together), then wash the leaves individually to remove sand.
Be sure to wash the white stalk thoroughly.
Then chop into small pieces.

Then in a saute pan, cook 1/2 onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 3 roma tomatoes (diced).  You can use about 2 tbsp olive oil to cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are slightly brown.

In a saute pan, cook 1/2 onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 3 roma tomatoes (diced).
You can use about 2 tbsp olive oil to cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes.
Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are slightly brown. Add a bit of salt and pepper to increase flavor.

Add the pok choy and toss together.

Add the pok choy and toss together.

Then, add about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. The one I am using is by LeChoy and is actually a marinade and is not as sweet as some teriyaki sauce can be.

Then, add about 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce. The one I am using is by LeChoy and is actually a marinade and is not as sweet as some teriyaki sauces.

Add salt and pepper to taste, mix together and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, mix together and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Serve with your favorite starch (roti or rice)!

I had mine with rice and fried fish.

I had mine with rice and fried fish.

Pok Choy with a bit of teriyaki sauce (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 bundles of pok choy
3 roma tomatoes (diced)
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Cut head from pok choy bundles. Separate leaves and wash individually to remove sand and mud. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Add oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When hot, add onions, garlic and tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft and onions are brown. Add chopped pok choy. Toss together, then add teriyaki sauce and remaining salt and pepper. Mix together and cook for about 5 minutes, or until whites of the pok choy stems are a bit tender. Remove from the heat and enjoy with your favorite starch (rice or roti).

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Sometimes you are unfortunate to find Pok Choy that has more white that green on the stems. You will need to throw away or save for stir fry, most of the white part of the stem. You need to have a good balance between the white and green of the stem or the dish will taste watery and less flavorful.
2. I get my Pok Choy from the Asian markets. They seem to have them in a wide variety.
3. If you are using a really sweet teriyaki sauce you can reduce the amount to just about 2 tbsp.
4. If you don’t have teriyaki sauce but you have cassareep, you can use about 1 tbsp of cassareep and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. The flavors will net out to be just about the same.

Happy Cooking!

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Baigan Choka… Roasted Eggplant

Baigan Choka

I don’t have a gas cook top / stove / burner. My cook top and oven are electric. Which means there’s no flame for roasting peppers or tomatoes or other vegetables, especially eggplant for baigan Choka. I LOVE baigan choka. In fact, I love eggplant, period. Since I don’t have a way to cook it during the winter months, I can’t wait for summer when we fire up our grill and start cooking outside. These past few weeks we’ve cooked all our meals on the grill. No joke! Which means my house is free of food smells (if you know me, you know I have a slight OCD about food smells. Ha).But it also means that I made baigan choka!!! One of my viewers and good friends asked me a while back to share my baigan choka recipe so here goes. It’s really simple and the hardest part is roasting the eggplant to perfection.

For this recipe you need 4 simple ingredients: Eggplant (I'm using two fairly large eggplants), 1 large tomato, about 4 cloves of garlic and about 5 heads of green onions (not pictured)

For this recipe you need 4 simple ingredients: Eggplant (I’m using two fairly large eggplants), 1 large tomato, about 4 cloves of garlic, half a wiri wiri pepper and about 5 heads of green onions (not pictured)

Wash the eggplant and tomatoes.  Then, make 2 inch slits (with a knife), lengthwise along the entire eggplant.  Peel the garlic cloves and cut in halves. Insert haves into a few of the slits in the eggplant.

Wash the eggplant and tomatoes.
Then, make 2 inch slits (with a knife), lengthwise along the entire eggplant.
Peel the garlic cloves and cut in halves. Insert garlic halves into a few of the slits in the eggplant.

I placed the eggplant and tomatoes and the rest of the garlic on the grill to roast. You can also roast your garlic this way for the choka, but I was making a dish for dinner that required roasted garlic, so I was killing two birds with one stone.

I placed the eggplant and tomatoes and the rest of the garlic on the grill to roast. You can also roast your garlic this way for the choka, but I was making a dish for dinner that required roasted garlic, so I was killing two birds with one stone.

After a while the eggplant wasn't getting the char I needed so I moved it to the burner of the grill.  If you are making this at home, you can put directly on the flame on your stove. Juices will leak from the eggplant and that can be very messy so be careful. Once one side of the eggplant becomes charred (roasted), turn on the other side and continue to roast.  At home, you can place the tomato on a fork and roast over the open flame as well.

After a while the eggplant wasn’t getting the char I needed so I moved it to the burner of the grill.
If you are making this at home, you can put directly on the flame on your stove. Juices will leak from the eggplant and that can be very messy so be careful.
Once one side of the eggplant becomes charred (roasted), turn on the other side and continue to roast.
At home, you can place the tomato on a fork and roast over the open flame as well.

What the ingredients looked like after 30 minutes of roasting on an open flame

What the ingredients looked like after 30 minutes of roasting on an open flame.

Let the eggplant cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. You want it too cold, but cool enough so you can work with it.  Insert a knife under the skin and pull skin towards you to create an opening or access to the flesh.

Let the eggplant cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. You don’t want it too cold, but cool enough so you can work with it.
Insert a knife under the skin and pull skin towards you to create an opening or access to the flesh.

Use a fork to scoop out the fleshy parts of the eggplant from the charred skin.

Use a fork to scoop out the fleshy parts of the eggplant from the charred skin.

Finely dice green onions and 1/2 of a wiri wiri pepper (you can use scotch bonnet peppers if you don't have wiri wiri peppers).  Saute in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat.  The olive oil gives it a great flavor.

Finely dice green onions and 1/2 of a wiri wiri pepper (you can use scotch bonnet peppers if you don’t have wiri wiri peppers).
Saute in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat.
The olive oil gives it a great flavor.

Place the fleshy parts of the eggplant that you removed from the charred skin, and the roasted garlic, in a plate or serving dish.  Then, remove the skin from the tomato. Add the tomato to the eggplant and garlic. Using a fork, crush tomato and garlic and mix together with the eggplant.  Finally, add the green onions, pepper and salt to taste (about 1 tsp).  Mix together and serve hot with your favorite type roti. I had mine with sada roti.

Place the fleshy parts of the eggplant that you removed from the charred skin, and the roasted garlic, in a plate or serving dish.
Then, remove the skin from the tomato.
Add the tomato to the eggplant and garlic. Using a fork, crush tomato and garlic and mix together with the eggplant.
Finally, add the green onions, pepper and salt to taste (about 1 tsp).
Mix together and serve hot with your favorite type of roti. I had mine with sada roti (recipe to follow).

 

Baigan Choka / Roasted Eggplant (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants
1 large tomato
4 cloves garlic
5 heads green onion
1/2 wiri wiri pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Wash eggplants and tomato. Using a knife, make 2 inch slits lengthwise along each eggplant. Peel garlic cloves and cut into halves. Stuff halves into a few of the slits along the eggplants. Add to an open flame and roast for about 30 minutes or until the eggplants are completely charred and soft. Rotate eggplant so that all sides are roasted evenly. Roast tomato on an open flame until the skin is charred and easily removes from the flesh. Finely chop the green onions and pepper. Add oil to a small saute pan on medium heat. Add green onions and peppers and saute for about 3 minutes.
When eggplants are completely roasted, remove charred skin and scoop fleshy part and roasted garlic out with a fork. Add eggplant to a serving dish. Then, remove skin from roasted tomato. Add tomato to the eggplant and roasted garlic and crush with a fork. Add green onions, pepper and salt. Mix together and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can choose not to cook the green onions and add them raw. It gives it a nice crunchy taste.
2. The tomato I used had a lot of water. So it made my baigan choka a bit watery. It also had a sour/tangy taste which also affect the taste of the choka, so choose your tomato wisely. Roma tomatoes or vine ripen tomatoes might have been a better choice.

Happy Roasting!

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Pone… Cassava and Coconut Pone

Cassava Pone

Last weekend, I picked up about 2 lbs of cassava (yuca) from H-Mart (Asian supermarket). My intentions were to make cassava ball and maybe try making some metemgee (I know, I know… the metemgee recipe is long overdue). I started peeling the cassava and started thinking about cassava pone. Once I mentioned it to my hubby and mother-in-law, I knew I would be making pone.

If I had to describe pone, I would say that it is like a crustless pie or a soft, flourless sweet bread. When I googled pone, I found out that it originally referred to a Native American dish of flat cornmeal cakes baked in ashes. I started to wonder if pone is an Amerindian (Indigenous Guyanese) dish and whether it originated from similar beginnings! Perhaps they substituted cornmeal for cassava because cassava grows in abundance in Guyana. I’ll keep digging. Someone, somewhere has to have a story to tell about how we started making pone (smile).

Now for this quick and easy pone recipe. I promise it’s really simple, but it takes about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to bake so allow yourself time for that.

For this recipe I'm using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

For this recipe I’m using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency. Traditionally you would grate the cassava with the fine side of a grater. Thank God for modern technology!

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow. Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, about 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Mix together well.  Then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow.
Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Mix together well, then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When cool cut into squares and enjoy.

Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy.

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Cassava and Coconut Pone* (Makes 9 servings)

Ingredients:
1 lb cassava (peeled and diced)
2 cups of shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add cassava to a food processor and process until it forms a fine paste-like consistency. Then, process coconut flakes in the food processor until fine. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cassava, coconut, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, all spice and vanilla essence. Mix together, then add water. Continue to mix until a soft batter is formed. Place batter into a greased baking dish (batter should be no more that 1 inch thick) and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until pone is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let cool. Once pone cools, cut into 9 squares. Enjoy with some mauby, sorrel or ginger beer.

*Recipe a modified version of the Cassava pone recipe found in Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.”

Tips and Ramblings:
1. If you don’t have a food processor feel free to grate your cassava. Just don’t cut it into cubes first.
2. I rarely get fresh coconuts where I live so I have to improvise.
3. Originally I thought the pan was too big for the pone I was making but the pone was about 1/2 inch in thickness and had the right about of crunch to it. Next time I will try putting it into a loaf pan.
4. These were devoured the minute I was done taking the pictures and they were so delicious.

If you try a recipe, leave and message and let me know how it came out. Also let me know if you added or took away anything, maybe I can try it your way! Follow me on instagram @metemgeeblog or check out my youtube metemgeeblog.

And as always,
Happy Cooking!

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Vegetarian Side Dish… Katahar Curry

Katahar Curry

Katahar is a relative to the Jack Fruit family. In fact, many mistake it for jack fruit. The young/green katahar is usually cooked in a coconut curry broth. The mature/ripe katahar is used only for its seeds, that are boiled and eaten as a nutty, meaty snack.

Before I made this dish, I hadn’t eaten katahar in over 13 years. Every time I visited Guyana it was not in season. When I lived in New York, I rarely longed for Guyanese food because it was so readily available. A few weeks ago while visiting my mom, we went shopping in little Guyana and what did I see on a vegetable stand on Liberty Avenue? Katahar of course. So I bought two katahar/s, packed them in my suitcase and brought them to Denver.

I should state as a disclaimer that katahar is quite time consuming to cook, from peeling, to the actually cooking, it takes like 2 to 3 hours, if you’re lucky. So I let the katahar sit in my refrigerator for almost 3 weeks, putting off cooking it every time I saw it in the fridge. Sadly, when I finally decided to cook it, one of them was completely rotten and the other one was salvageable but a bit brown.

 

Now for this dish…

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar. Then, separate the "flesh" from the seeds/nuts. Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds. Finally, I shredded the flesh in to tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar.
Then, separate the “flesh” from the seeds/nuts.
Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds.
Finally, I shredded the flesh into tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

Now for the curry…

Prepare a curry paste I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.  Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Prepare a curry paste!
I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.
Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt.
I mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker (without the lid on, just like you would a sauce pot) on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry almost brown in color, add the katahar.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry is almost brown in color, add the katahar.

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and salt to taste. Then, reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar Curry (Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1 medium katahar (peeled and prepared)
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp geera
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
2 cups coconut milk
5 cups water (for pressure cooking)

Directions:
Peel and separate katahar flesh and nuts/seeds. Peel nuts and cut into halves. Shred flesh into tiny strips.
Prepare a curry paste by combining onion and garlic in a food processor with about 2 tbsp water. Add curry powder, granulated garlic, geera, salt and garam masala to processed onion and garlic. Add oil to a pressure cooker on medium heat, with lid off. When oil is hot, add curry paste. Saute curry paste until the liquid evaporated and curry is almost brown in color. Then, add katahar, followed by water. Increase heat to high, add lid and pressure cook until flesh and seeds are tender. When katahar is fully cooked add coconut milk and a bit more salt to taste (of needed). Reduce heat and let simmer until curry broth thickens.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. You can peel and prepare the katahar overnight. It took me about an hour to peel the little katahar I had.
2. You can add more spices or pepper to the curry paste. I have a pretty good curry powder that has loads of spices so I often don’t add anything else to my curry paste.
3. I didn’t want the curry to lose the richness of the coconut milk, through the pressure cooking so I chose to add the coconut milk towards the end as a thickening agent.
4. I had to check my pressure cooker 3 times and add a bit more water before the katahar was fully cooked. It pressure cooked for like an hour.
5. Logic tells me this would be a great slow cooker dish, so next time I am fortunate to come across katahar I will try it in the slow cooker. Of course I also need to buy a slow cooker, first. (smile)

Happy Cooking!

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Guyanese Bread…Whole Wheat Plait Loaf

Whole Wheat Plait Bread

I love oven fresh bread but I don’t bake bread often. I mostly make homemade bread when I make pepperpot, once or twice a year. So when, one of my subscribers asked for a bread recipe and wanted a whole wheat version, I was super excited to get in the kitchen. I know, I know. I must be some kind of crazy person that gets excited about baking. But, I really do.

For this recipe I made a video tutorial. As usual there is no audio, so don’t adjust your volume. :-).

Whole Wheat Plait Bread

Whole Wheat Plait Loaf (Makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp oil (for oiling the bowl)

Directions:
Combine 1 tbsp brown sugar, yeast and water in a small bowl. Mix until sugar dissolves. Let sit until yeast ferments (about 5 minutes). Combine milk and butter in a measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts. Set aside and let cool. When cool add fermented yeast. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, remaining brown sugar and salt. Mix together. Then, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Knead together to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Shape into a tight ball. Place in a grease bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and let sit until dough doubles in size (about 1 hour). After dough rises to double its size, separate into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a strip. Plait strips together. Place plaited dough into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit until doubles in size. Once dough doubles, brush with a bit of water and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When bread is golden brown, remove from oven and brush top with butter. Remove from pan and let cool.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. I live in dry Denver that is also 5280 feet above sea level, so bread baking is often a challenge. I brush the top of my bread with water to prevent it from getting crusty while baking. I also bake it low and slow. Most bread recipes will say bake at 375 or 400 degrees. Try this temperature first and if for some reason it doesn’t work you can increase the heat.

Happy Baking!

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Carrot Pilaf…and Fried Tilapia with a cucumber salsa

Carrot Pilaf and Tilapia

During this week, I had a craving for tilapia. So I made a quick rice pilaf and fried some tilapia. The meal felt like it was missing something. So I went to my refrigerator, pulled a few ingredients and created a cucumber, avocado and tomato salsa. I tossed it all in some lime juice and cilantro and the flavors were just what the fish was missing. Plus, the lime juice over the fish was pretty tasty.  This meal is perfect for a weekday dinner and the left overs were equally delicious.

 

First the pilaf…

 

In large stock pot on medium heat, saute1 large onion (thinly slices), 6 cloves of garlic chopped and about a handful of plum tomatoes (halved). I used about 3 tbsp of canola oil.  When the onions are a little brown, add 1 cup of shredded carrots, followed by 2 cups of rice.  Mixed together, then add 1 tbsp dried thyme, about 3 tsp salt, and a pinch of fresh ground pepper.  Then, add 4 cups of vegetable stock or water.

In a large stock pot on medium heat, saute 1 large onion (thinly slices), 6 cloves of garlic chopped and about a handful of plum tomatoes (halved).
When the onions are a little brown, add 1 cup of shredded carrots, followed by 2 cups of rice.
Mixed together, then add 1 tbsp dried thyme, about 3 tsp salt, and a pinch of fresh ground pepper.
Then, add 4 cups of vegetable stock or water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until rice cooks and all of the liquid evaporates.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until rice cooks and all of the liquid evaporates.

The finished product…

Carrot and Rice Pilaf

Now the tilapia…

First I washed the fish with some lemon juice and salt.  Then, I created a dry rub with:1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tbsp dried  oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder and 2 tsp salt.  Coat fish in dry rub and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

First I washed the fish with some lemon juice and salt.
Then, I created a dry rub with: 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder and 1 tsp salt.
Coat fish in dry rub and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

Frying the fish…

Combine a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs and a cup of flour. Mix together thoroughly.

Combine a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs and a cup of flour. Mix together thoroughly.

Coat fish in the bread crumb mixture.

Coat fish in the bread crumb mixture.

Add about a cup of oil to a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish. Fry on each side until fish is golden brown (about 2 minutes). Drain fish on a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess oil.

Add about a cup of oil to a frying pan on high heat.
When the oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish.
Fry on each side until fish is golden brown (about 2 minutes).
Drain fish on a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess oil.

 

For the salsa…

Peel and dice 1 large cucumber and 1/2 of a large avocado.  Finely chop 1 slice of red onions. Cut 1 cup of plumb tomatoes in half.  Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Then, add the juice of 1 lime.  Finally add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper. Mix together.

Peel and dice 1 large cucumber and 1/2 of a large avocado.
Finely chop 1 slice of red onions.
Cut 1 cup of plum tomatoes in half.
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
Then, add the juice of 1 lime.
Finally add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.
Mix together.

Bringing it together…

Top the fried tilapia with the cucumber salsa, be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish.

Top the fried tilapia with the cucumber salsa, be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish.

Put the rice and fish together and enjoy!

Put the rice and fish together and enjoy!

 

Carrot Pilaf (Serves 6 large portions)

Ingredients:
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plum, halved
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 cup of shredded carrots
2 cups rice
4 cups vegetable broth or water

Directions:
Add 3 tbsp oil to a large stock pot on medium heat. When oil is hot, saute onions, garlic and tomatoes. Once onions cook and become a bit soft and brown, add shredded carrots. Then, add thyme, salt, cayenne powder and rice. Mix together then add vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until rice cooks. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

 

Tilapia (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 tilapia filets
2 lemons (juiced) and 1 tbsp salt (for washing fish)
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 cup oil for frying

Directions:
Wash fish with lemon juice and salt. Make a dry rub by combining thyme, granulated garlic, salt, oregano and cayenne powder. Completely coat tilapia and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. When fish is ready for frying, combine bread crumbs and flour and coat fish with the mixture. Add oil to a large frying pan on high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish. Fry on each side until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes each). Remove from oil and drain on a few sheets of paper towel.

Cucumber, avocado and tomato salsa (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber (peeled and diced)
1/2 large avocado (peeled and diced)
1 cup plum tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 limes (juiced)
pinch of cracked black pepper
pinch of cayenne powder

Directions:
Combine cucumber, avocado, tomatoes in a small mixing bowl. Add lime juice followed by cilantro, black pepper, salt and cayenne powder. Mix together and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. When I made the rice I added way too much oil for sauteing the onions. I was busy getting my 9 month old out of the kitchen and into his play yard and wasn’t paying attention. The rice came out a little bit greasy but it was still pretty delicious. So be sure not to use more that about 3 tbsp oil.
2. You could add coconut milk to this dish if you like, but since it’s a pilaf I skipped the coconut milk.
3. You could add about 1 tbsp brown sugar for a little touch of sweetness to the rice.
4. Don’t over cook the tilapia or it will be pretty dry. You want it to have a bit of crunch but still moist.
5. Be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish, it will give it a really tasty flavor.

Happy Cooking!

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Roti, Roti… Potato Roti (Aloo Paratha)

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If you don’t know by now, I love roti! Once in a while I make aloo parathas or potato rotis. Not because, I don’t like them, but because they are so delicious I can’t stop myself when I make them and eat way too many. If you are not sure how to make roti, check out my recipe for paratha roti before attempting this version of the paratha. Trust me, it will help a lot in the first part of the dough making.

Potato roti or aloo paratha, is a potato filled flat bread that is seasoned with Indian spices. It goes great with curry of any variety! I love mine with channa curry (chick peas curry or chola). My husband loves his with shrimp curry. My mom always made hers with chicken liver curry, which is also really delicious.

So here’s the recipe…

Making the dough…

In a mixing bowl combine: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp butter or ghee and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix together until butter is incorporated into the dough.

In a mixing bowl combine: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp butter or ghee and 1/4 tsp salt.
Mix together until butter is incorporated into the dough.

Add 3/4 cup water to flour mixture and knead together to form a soft dough.

Add 3/4 cup water to flour mixture and knead together to form a soft dough. Let dough sit for an hour.

While waiting on the dough,  prepare the potato filling…

Peel and dice 1.5lbs potatoes. Add to a saucepan and cover with water. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.

Peel and dice 1.5lbs potatoes.
Add to a saucepan with 1/4 cup chopped onions, 1 tsp salt and cover with water.
Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.

When potatoes are fully cooked, drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Crush with a potato masher.Then, add 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper or chili flakes.

When potatoes are fully cooked, drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
Crush with a potato masher.
Add 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper or chili flakes.  Then, mix together.

Bringing it together…

After about 1 hour, divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Then roll into smooth balls.

After about 1 hour, divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
Then roll into smooth balls.

1. Flatten a dough ball into a small round disk.2. Fill with 1/3 cup of the potato filling.3 and 4. Close up the dough dish to form a large round ball.5. The difference between a filled dough ball and a regular dough ball.

Flatten a dough ball into a small round disk.
Fill with 1/3 cup of the potato filling.
Close up the dough dish to form a large round ball.
Notice the difference between a filled dough ball and a regular dough ball.

Cooking the rotis/parathas…

To make the baste, add 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of oil to a small bowl. Microwave until the butter melts, then mix together.

To make the baste, add 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of oil to a small bowl. Microwave until the butter melts, then mix together.

On a floured surface roll a filled dough ball into a large round dish about 1/8 of an inch thick.

On a floured surface roll a filled dough ball into a large round disk about 1/8 of an inch thick.

On a warm skillet on low to medium heat add the rolled out roti. Then flip over using a metal spatula. Baste with the butter and oil mixture. Then repeat on the other side. Roti will inflate (swell up) into a large ball.

Add roti to a  warm skillet on low to medium heat.
Then flip over using a metal spatula.
Baste with the butter and oil mixture.
Then repeat on the other side.
Roti will inflate (swell up) into a large ball.

Placed cooked roti on a few sheets of paper towel to help absorb some of the oil from basting.

Place cooked roti on a few sheets of paper towel to help absorb some of the oil from basting.

The finished product.

The finished product.

I had mine with channa curry and my husband had his with shrimp curry. Yummy!

I had mine with channa curry and my husband had his with shrimp curry. Yummy!

Potato Roti / Aloo Paratha

Ingredients:

The dough:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp butter or ghee
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

Potato filling
1.5 lbs potatoes peeled and diced
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Baste:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil

Directions:

Making the dough: Combine flour, baking powder, butter or ghee and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix together until butter is fully combined with flour. Add water and knead to form a soft dough. Cover with a damn paper towel and let sit for 1 hour. After an hour, separate dough into six pieces and roll into smooth balls.

Making the filling: Add potatoes, salt and onions to a small pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Then bring potatoes to a boil on high heat, cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and drain water. Crush potatoes using a potato masher. Add cumin, masala, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to potatoes. Mix well and set aside.

Filling the rotis/parathas: Flatten a dough ball into a small round disk. Fill disk with 1/3 cup of the potato filing. Close disk up to form a potato filled ball. Repeat process for the remaining pieces of dough.

Cooking the rotis/parathas: For the baste, combine 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of oil in a small bowl. Microwave until butter melts, then mix together. On a floured surface roll a potato filled ball into a large flat disk about 1/8 inch thick. Place on a warm skillet on low to medium heat. Flip over and baste with butter and oil mixture. Flip over and repeat. Cook roti for about 2 minutes on each side making sure to baste both sides. Roti should become completely inflated. Remove from heat and place on a few sheets of paper towel to allow excess oil from basting to drain. Repeat process until all the parathas are cooked.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. Please see my paratha roti recipe and video for more details on how to make the roti dough.
2. Potatoes must be mashed to a smooth consistency or it will be hard to roll the parathas out into a disk without it tearing.
3. When filling the dough balls with the potato, you can adjust the filling amount if the dough is being stretched too thin.
4. When rolling out the roti, please ensure that the surface and dough ball is completely floured. Roll gently to prevent the roti from tearing.

Happy Cooking!

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