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  • “Amerasian” Cuisine – StopLight Pepper Steak

    psteak

    Well, It had to happen.. The loyal fan club has started kvetching that I am introducing too many new foods, too many new ideas, too many new tastes. Seems they like boring.. (To me boring is only good in a combat zone…)

    Ah, well, here is a tried and true Asian specialty that even my fan club can make and enjoy. And just to make sure I don’t stretch any brain cells amongst my readers, I’ll use a recipe that is truly an American’s vision of Chinese food… (Also StopLight peppers are Red, Yellow and Green bell peppers, not a pepper that grows at a stop light…) 😉

    Wikipedia says:

    Pepper steak also called green pepper steak) is a stir-fried Chinese American dish consisting of sliced beef steak (often flank, sirloin, or round) cooked with sliced green and/or red bell peppers and other seasonings such as soy sauce and ginger, and usually thickened with cornstarch. Sliced onions and bean sprouts are also frequent additions to the recipe. Evidence for the dish’s existence in the United States dates from at least 1948.

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  • Meatless Monday – Vegetable Korma (Navratan Korma)

    vkorma

    As spoken prior:

    Like it or not, summer is drawing to a close, and while we still have all kinds of fresh veggies from our gardens, I can feel the breeze turning from warm and inviting to cool and chilling. Time to start thinking about autumn and winter dishes, and of those, one of the simplest and quickest is the curry.

    But it is 90 today and I have a garden full of veggies to use, perhaps a curry that takes little tending, (time over the open stove), and will deliver the full taste experience of the veggies.

    Korma (sometimes spelled kormaa, qorma, kavurma, khorma, or kurma) is a dish originating in Central Asia or Western Asia which can be made with yoghurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk; it is usually considered a type of curry.

    Korma is a characteristic Persian-Indian dish which has its roots in the Mughlai cuisine of modern-day India. Korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or cream.

    Very popular in Indian restaurants in the United Kingdom, where a korma usually refers not to a particular cooking technique but to a curry with a thick, cream-based sauce or gravy. The korma popularized in UK curry houses is invariably mildly spicy.

    Background

    Korma or kormaa, or qorma, or khorma, or kurma, (etc, etc, etc) is a mild, pale, creamy, vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry dish originating in South Asia, made with yoghurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk. Rooted in the Mughlai cuisine of modern-day Pakistan and North India, it is a characteristically creamy and silky Persian-Indian dish and can be traced back to the 16th century Mughal incursions into present-day Pakistan, Bangladesh and the North-Western parts of India. It is popular a lot in the UK and can be found in most Indian / South Asian restaurants.

    The flavor is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yoghurt or coconut milk nuts can be used but not in great quantities. Korma is generally a mild curry with either chicken, beef or lamb and only a few vegetables, such as onion and potato, but can be made as a vegetables only dish.

    There are wide regional variations of korma and other mild curry recipes. Chili is nearly always used, but the precise method of preparation results in widely different flavors.

    Overview

    1. Build Sauce
    2. Prep Veggies
    3. Cook Veggies in Sauce
    4. Serve over rice

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  • Curry Powder

    cpowder.jpg

    Like it or not, summer is drawing to a close, and while we still have all kinds of fresh veggies from our gardens, I can feel the breeze turning from warm and inviting to cool and chilling. Time to start thinking about autumn and winter dishes, and of those, one of the simplest and quickest is the curry.

    Similar to “Amerasian” food, “Yoshoku” and the like, curry really is a cross cultural dish, that borrows from a base Indian tradition, but is modified to fit the British expectation of Indian food.

    The word “Khari” from which “curry” is derived, comes from Southern India and refers to a sauce of any kind. “Curry powder” was developed by the British, who wished to take the taste of Indian food home, without having to utilize fresh spices. As a result “curry powder” in the Western world has a fairly standardized taste, but there are literally millions of curry flavors in India.

    Curry powder was largely popularized after the last world war, when immigrants from South East Asia flooded to the UK to help rebuild the economy, however, even at this stage, the Curry Powder was not ‘standard’ as each household had its own special blend.

    The late 60s and early 70s saw a rapid increase of Indian food consumption by the UK populace, this also led to the rapid increase of ‘Indian’ (which, in fact, are almost mainly owned by Bangladeshis) restaurants, as such, the tradition of keeping an own special blend of curry powder simply became uneconomical, and the standard Curry Powder was born.

    Indian cooks have ready access to a broad range of fresh spices, from which they are able to make their own mixtures. Indeed, most Indian cooks will have their own specific mixtures for different recipes. These are often passed down from mothers to daughters.

    Most recipes and producers of curry powder usually include coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek in their blends. Depending on the recipe, additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, fennel seed, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon and black pepper may also be added.

    It is also the name given to a different mixture of spices that include curry leaves, which is used in South and East Indian cuisine.
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  • Bacon Caramels

    Spoken prior :

    Sarah Hepola, on Salon.com, suggests that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion,

    “Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips.”

    Evidently my eldest has a true rebellion going on, with the latest being bacon caramels.. Sweet, salty, soft and crunchy with a hint of smoke from the bacon. But as a 1/4 oz bite of this goes for upto $6.00, I’ll look to making my own.

    Perhaps I’ll use my own double or triple smoked bacon. (Bacon that has been cold smoked, rested and then smoked again.) If one does not have access to these things, a slab of bacon, thick cut and brushed with liquid smoke is a passable substitute.

    We know bacon makes everything taste good, just like bourbon, bacon and bourbon will make linoleum tiles taste wonderful. (Depending on the amount of bacon and bourbon.) So for that extra roguechef twist, a bit of bacon, a bit of bourbon, and some of my roasted pecans, to round out the taste / texture experience.

    Wikipedia says:

    Caramel candy is a soft, dense, chewy candy made by boiling a mixture of milk or cream, sugar, butter, vanilla essence, and (more common in commercial production) glucose or corn syrup. It can also be made with chocolate. It is not heated above the firm ball stage ((250 °F), so there is almost no caramelization. This type of candy is often called milk caramel.

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  • “Amerasian” Cuisine – Katsuretsu sōsu

    Spoken previously:

    However served katsu is most commonly eaten with a type of thick Japanese Worcestershire sauce called tonkatsu sauce (tonkatsu sōsu) or simply sōsu (“sauce”), and often with a bit of spicy yellow karashi (Japanese mustard) and perhaps a slice of lemon.

    This is a fine example of yoshoku food. “Western food” but transformed for a Japanese palette, and is served with such fusion dishes as fried pork or chicken cutlet (katsuretsu), potato and beef croquette (korokke), cutlet sandwiches ( sando), fried shrimp (ebifurai), and fried oysters (kakifuai).

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  • “Amerasian” Cuisine – Katsuretsu

    Japanese “Amerasian” food, “Yoshoku”, or western food are European / American dishes that have been imported to Japan and retrofitted to match local tastes.

    To quote the New York Times 03/26/2008:

    Today yoshoku is thoroughly Japanese. It is a staple of television cooking shows and mainstream magazines. The lines outside venerable upscale yoshoku restaurants here in Tokyo are as long as ever, mostly with older Japanese for whom yoshoku provided a first taste of a Western world they had not seen. Yoshoku restaurants are also a requisite of the trendiest new shopping districts, like Midtown and Roppongi Hills, where they cater to younger Japanese whose mothers made the food at home.

    Yoshoku was born during Japan’s Meiji Restoration, the period that followed this isolationist country’s forced opening by America’s so-called Black Ships in 1854. Japanese were dispatched to Europe and America to learn about Western laws, weapons and industry. They also brought back the cuisine. Shocked to discover how much shorter they were than Westerners, Japanese determined that they would catch up not only economically and militarily but also physically, by eating their food.

    The really funny part is these dishes are now making their way back to the U.S. as Japanese dishes, in specific “katsuretsu” or simply “kastu” which stand for cutlet, which can be Chicken katsu, Menchi Katsu or a minced meat cutlet, Hamu Katsu or a minced ham cutlet, Gyu Katsu or a beef cutlet, and of course Tonkatsu, or pork cutlet.

    Katsu can be served in a myriad of ways, as a sandwich filling (katsu sando) or served on Japanese curry (katsu karē). It is sometimes served with egg on a big bowl of rice as katsudon—an informal one-bowl lunchtime dish, other variations on tonkatsu may be made by sandwiching an ingredient like cheese or shiso leaf between the meat.

    However served katsu is most commonly eaten with a type of thick Japanese Worcestershire sauce called tonkatsu sauce (tonkatsu sōsu) or simply sōsu (“sauce”), and often with a bit of spicy yellow karashi (Japanese mustard) and perhaps a slice of lemon.

    Similar cuisine with an ingredient other than pork, beef or chicken is called furai (fry)not katsu (cutlet), ebi-furai (fried prawn)

    Do note: I’ve used pork here, but as noted beef or chicken may also be used in a very similar manner.

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