Spiced Swordfish Bowl with Red Rice, Cashews, Cranberries, Tomatoes, and Yogurt-Lime-Honey Drizzle

Experimenting with yesterday’s Sri Lankan spiced swordfish. Made a quick drizzle (1 T yogurt, 1 T lime juice, 1 t. honey), cooked some healthy Sri Lankan red rice (similar to brown rice, with a lovely nutty flavor), and stirred in some salted, roasted cashews, dried cranberries (sultanas would be more traditional, but I love the added tang from the cranberry), and fresh summer cherry tomatoes.
 
This was sweet and hearty; a comforting meal. If I were doing it again, I think I’d add some kale salad, either in place of the red rice, or in addition — the fresh green would be nice. And I definitely would want to up the spice level for me — sliced pickled jalapeños would be a great addition. But that said, yum. 🙂

Sri Lankan-Spiced Baked Swordfish

This spice preparation is one we’d traditionally use for deep-frying. In a hot country, a quick deep-fry is perhaps preferable to having a hot oven on! But I rarely deep-fry anything, so I wanted to see how it would do baked. Delicious!
 
You could certainly flake it into a salad, maybe accompanied by grilled peaches and a lime-honey yogurt dressing. I’m planning to try it soon in a bowl preparation, with red rice and a sunny-side-up egg on the top. But for my lunch today, I just had one of the swordfish steaks straight up, with a piece of fresh fruit — perfect.
 
Ingredients:
1 lb swordfish steak
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 TBL lime juice
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 T oil
 
1. Preheat oven to 400.
 
2. Mix spices, lime juice, and oil together in a mixing bowl and add fish; coat thoroughly.
 
3. Optional: Heat grill pan on stove on high; when pan is hot, add fish steaks and cook 3 minutes. (This is mostly to get the pretty char marks and a bit of that flavor; you can totally skip this step if you want.)
 
4. Turn steaks over (char-side up) and put on a foil-covered baking sheet; bake 20 minutes. Serve hot!

Beef Pho (ish)

I didn’t actually eat the whole chive blossom in my pho — but I could’ve. 🙂
 
Basic method for something beef pho-like (no claims to authenticity, as I am new to cooking this kind of food). Start with beef broth (in my case, boil several cups of water and add beef broth paste). Add some sliced onion, sliced carrot, fresh ginger, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, Thai basil, scallions or chives, cinnamon stick, star anise, fresh lemon juice, fish sauce if you have it, salt. Simmer until well-blended and tasty.
 
Bring some water to a boil, add vermicelli noodles (or shirataki noodles if you’re doing the paleo thing, or daikon cut very thin) and turn off heat, let steep 3 minutes, drain.
 
Serve by slicing raw steak thinly, pouring boiling broth over it, adding noodles. If you have bean sprouts (which I didn’t), add those. If you have more Thai basil, add some more on top (I forgot). Nice with a little hoisin sauce and/or sriracha. Garnish with chive blossom for pretty.

Grilled Veggies with Couscous

Not really a recipe; I’m just getting used to using our grill to profitably and deliciously use up our farmshare veggies, plus a peach. 🙂  I was making this for a potluck; serves about 10-12, I think, as a hearty side, or 4-6 as a dinner.
 
3-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced diagonally
7 zucchini, cubed
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 peach, halves or quarters
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup dried sultanas
1/2 c. cashews
1 box couscous
water, salt, pepper, olive oil
1/2 t. turmeric
 
1. Prep veggies and peach, tossing each variety separately in olive oil, salt, and pepper. You could do them all together, but they’ll have different cooking times, so that way lies disaster, I think.
 
2. Heat grill to around 300-ish. Our grill is old and flaky and seems to only go that high at the moment, so I’m not sure what would happen if you cooked at higher heat, sorry! Spread out sweet potatoes in a single layer and grill 8-10 minutes, flip, cook another 8 minutes or so, until cooked through. Remove from heat.
 
3. Stir turmeric in with zucchini (along with salt, pepper, olive oil), then spread zucchini cubes in a vegetable grill pan and place on heat. On other part of grill, spread out asparagus. Grill until cooked through — maybe 5-10 minutes for asparagus, a little longer for the zucchini. Keep an eye on the asparagus, as they burn easily, esp. if they’re very thin.
 
4. Start couscous going, following directions on box. I boiled two cups water, added a little salt and butter, dumped the box’s worth of couscous in. Add sultanas and cashews, stir, and cover for 5 minutes. The sultanas and cashews will soften nicely while the couscous cooks. It will be even tastier if you do this in chicken broth, but I was aiming for a vegan dish this time, so stuck to water. Vegetable broth is also good if you have it on hand.
 
5. If the zucchini is done, remove it from the grill pan and toss the onions in there. Stir zucchini into couscous.  Place the peach halves (or quarters) on the grill and cook for a few minutes, then turn, so it’s grilled all around. When onions are done, stir them into couscous.
 
6. When everything’s done, taste each component and toss with more salt / pepper if desired, then layer in dish to your pleasure. I did the sweet potato slices around the outside, then piled the couscous in, then topped with a circle of peaches and asparagus in the center.
 
If doing again, I might add a yogurt sauce on the side, though I don’t think it strictly speaking needs it.
 
Note: You could absolutely add grilled fish or chicken or lamb to this, of course.

Quinoa / Red Rice with Tandoori Chicken, Lime-Masala Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped Green Chilies, and Honey-Lime-Yogurt Drizzle

These fancy bowl things have long names. Another yummy experiment, and only about 30 minutes to make (assuming you pre-marinated the chicken in a tandoori-spiced yogurt earlier in the day).

Pre-heat your grill pan, then start the chopped mushrooms sautéing in a separate pan in butter, masala powder, salt and lime juice. Five minutes in, the grill should be hot, and you can turn the mushrooms down to simmer while you roast the peppers and then grill the chicken (3 minutes each side on high). Chop some chilies and mix up a drizzle while the chicken’s finishing cooking (3 more minutes each side, on low, covered), and you’re good to go. (The chopped chilies could be served on the side so people can spice to taste; I love chomping into them.)

I have to be honest, though, chicken breast doesn’t excite me. It’s just a little dry, even when you marinate it in overnight. But the roasted peppers, sautéed mushrooms, and yogurt drizzle did do a nice job balancing that, esp. with a little lemon squeezed over the top. Personally, I like breast better when it’s chopped in more of a chicken salad sort of thing, so it stays really moist. But truly, if I made this particular dish again, I’d use chicken thighs instead.

 

(As a side note, while the bowl looks very pretty like this, it would be easier to eat if you cut the chicken and bell pepper into smaller pieces. And that slice of grilled lemon on the top is purely decorative!)

Quinoa & Red Rice Bowl with Mackerel Curry

I’ve been experimenting with alternatives to white rice, and alternatives to the traditional Sri Lankan way of eating rice, which is a big plate of rice with a little curry on top. That’s reasonably frugal, but also pretty high in starch and low in fiber (things I pay attention to as I get older and my metabolism slows down).

The problem is that it just doesn’t work to simply reduce the amount of rice and add in quinoa, because you can’t eat it the same way, rolling up the rice and curry into satisfying little balls with your hand and popping them in your mouth. The texture is wrong, the rice and curry won’t hold together in those proportions, etc.

So I figured maybe there was something to this quinoa bowl thing that’s so popular right now, and maybe if I tried to compose a Sri Lankan bowl, that might work better. The red rice + quinoa (cooked in a mix of chicken broth and water) on its own was a little dry, esp. after the first day, so I knew I wanted to add plenty of unctuous rich flavor. Fried egg was an obvious contender (egg hoppers are classic Sri Lankan food, and so delicious), and mackerel curry is nicely traditional (and deliciously spicy). Avocado lent another creamy element, and a cool balance to the heat, and a crisp kale-coconut-onion-tomato sambol was the perfect vegetal accompaniment.

I wasn’t even hungry, but dear reader, I DEVOURED this bowl, and was tempted to fry another egg and go back for seconds. Experiment: wildly successful. (Bonus, this would be easy to pack up and take to work to eat with a fork in the office.)

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll try it with beef curry, for poor Kevin, who doesn’t appreciate fish. Pretty sure that will also work great, keeping all the other elements the same. (A little seeni sambol added in wouldn’t hurt either…)

Curried Chicken Livers with Onion

Note to self — on a day when you had a fair bit of blood drawn (routine check-up stuff, not to worry), maybe it’s not the brightest choice to a) eat lightly and then b) go workout with the trainer at the gym. I had to sit down partway through because I got light-headed! It’s all fine; a few minutes of rest put me right.
 
Then I came right home and made myself a quick batch of curried chicken liver — high in iron, rich and fortifying. You could eat it with rice, but I like it best on buttered toast. Small portions would make a great (intense) appetizer. I’m feeling much better now.
 
Curried Chicken Livers with Onion
(15 minutes, serves 2)
 
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 T butter or ghee
1 t. red chili powder
1/2 t. Sri Lankan curry powder
3/4 t. salt
1/8 c. ketchup
1 T lime juice
1/2 lb. chicken livers
1/4 c. coconut milk
 
1. Sauté onions in butter on high, stirring, until golden.
 
2. Add chili powder and stir about 30 seconds, then turn heat down to medium and add curry powder, salt, ketchup, lime juice. Stir to combine, then add chicken livers and fry for a few minutes, stirring very gently.
 
3. Stir in coconut milk and simmer about 5 minutes more, until livers are cooked through. Serve hot with rice or bread.
 

Beef and Pickle

Short-grain rice, Sri Lankan beef curry, Thai carrot salad, my friend Kat’s watermelon radish quick pickle, and some sliced bell pepper. Yummy — I especially like how the pickle enhances the spiciness of the beef curry. Also, it’s ridiculously pretty.

Sri Lankan Beef and Potato Curry

Beef and Potato Curry / Mas Kulunga Kari

(1 hour, serves 6)

This was my favorite dish growing up, the one my mother always makes for me when I come home, and the first Sri Lankan dish I learned to cook, when I called home desperate from the dorms, begging her to teach me how to make it over the phone. It’s also the first Sri Lankan dish my husband, Kevin, learned to cook — I came home once from a long plane flight, walked into the house, smelled the scent of this curry, that I hadn’t even known he had learned how to make, and promptly burst into tears. Enjoy.

3-5 medium onions, chopped fine

2 TBL ginger, chopped fine

4-5 garlic cloves, sliced

3 TBL vegetable oil

1 tsp black mustard seed

1 tsp cumin seed

1-2 TBL red chili powder

3 lbs chuck steak, cubed, about 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 TBL Sri Lankan curry powder

1 heaping tsp salt

3 pieces cinnamon stick

3 cloves

3 cardamom pods

1 dozen curry leaves

1/2 cup milk

3 medium russet potatoes, cut into large chunks

2-3 TBL lime juice

1.  In a large pot, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic in oil on medium-high with mustard seed and cumin seeds until onions are golden/translucent (not brown), stirring as needed. Add chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring. Immediately stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and curry leaves.

2.  Add beef and stir on high for a minute or two, browning the meat. Add milk, stirring. Cover, turn down to medium, and let cook half an hour, stirring occasionally.

3.  Add potatoes, stir well, and cover again. Cook until potatoes are cooked through, adding water if needed to maintain a nice thick sauce (and to keep food from burning), stirring occasionally. Add lime juice; stir until well blended. Serve hot with rice or bread.