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Cooking from Mighty Spice (and Mighty Spice Express) Cookbook by John Gregory-Smith

LulusMom Sep 3, 2011 09:29 AM

After reading beetlebug's excitement about this book, I started getting excited too. I ordered it and, after one read through, got even more excited. My list of recipes I want to make is in the mid-to high 20s. Since others (I'm looking at you, Pikawicca) said you'd be interested in a thread devoted to the book, I finally decided to cave and make one. I apologize to dkennedy and her wallet.

Just a reminder about the usual Chowhound rules about not giving exact recipes for copyright reasons.

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  1. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 3, 2011 09:33 AM

    Copying my earlier posted review of Mexican Chicken with Yogurt and Almonds (p. 75)

    I made the Mexican Chicken with Yogurt and Almonds. I will be honest with you - this choice of recipe was based more on having certain ingredients around the house that I needed to get rid of more than it being the most intriguing. That said, we really liked this very much. Homey, delicious, spicy but not overwhelmingly so so that I didn't have to worry about Lulu who (thanks to a friend) has suddenly started saying "I don't like spicy food" (as she eats spicy food that she hasn't been told is spicy). I sort of made 1 and a half times the recipe, so some of the spicing might have been a bit off, although I think I did a pretty good job of keeping it right as he wrote it. I could have taken it spicier, but I was thrilled with it nonetheless. Again - very homey, delicious. Basically braised chicken thighs, some garlic, then roasted red peppers (I added a yellow one too for more color) and roasted jalapenos (he called for red ones, I used green serranos), almonds ground but with still a bit of chunk to them, sliced scallions, juice of an orange, yogurt. Serve with tortilla chips (family *very* happy). I especially liked that bit with the little chunks of almonds in there. I have a feeling the leftovers will be even better. This would be great sitting in front of the tv watching football; fancier than chili but still very tasty and comfort food-ish.

    I have the Indian Spinach and Curry Chicken bubbling away on the stove now. That will be dinner tonight - will review once we've tried it.

    9 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom
      herby RE: LulusMom Apr 26, 2012 03:53 PM

      Thank you for this review, LulusMom! Now that I got the book and made one successful dish out of it, I am eager to go deeper:) I have two quilting friends over for dinner next week and plan to double the recipe because I can't imagine that 4 chicken thighs will serve four people and would like a bit of a leftover. Do you think I should double everything, even yogurt? I am thinking of serving this with brown rice and follow with a salad of mixed greens from Plenty.

      1. re: herby
        LulusMom RE: herby Apr 26, 2012 04:39 PM

        I'm a little nervous about me being the one helping you decide how to do this, since it seems we have fairly different tastes (no judgement there, just always seems to be the case). But I would say that we were 3 people (and honestly, my husband almost counts for 2 with his bike-rider's appetite) and I did 1 1/2 times the recipe, and we still had leftovers. I think rice to round things out and a salad will definitely help stretch this. I'm not sure how spicy you like things - I tend to always want to up the spices in this book; knowing that makes this book work wonderfully for me. If you like things less spicy, then doubling everything would work just right. Otherwise, maybe a bit less yogurt, a bit more of the things that appeal to you the most. I truly hope I'm not steering you in a direction that doesn't suit your tastes. What I can say is that this was a surprisingly big hit for us and just rereading my post makes me want to make it again.

        I look forward to hearing how it works out for you, and have my fingers crossed that you enjoy it even half as much as we did.

        1. re: LulusMom
          herby RE: LulusMom Apr 26, 2012 06:01 PM

          I know we had our tastes differences in the past but think that mostly it was the technique that I was not able to replicate - stir frying rings the bell - and when your meat steams instead of frying, any amount of good spice is not going to save the dish! I love things spicy, nice and hot:) One of my friends is allergic to all kinds of seeds - mustard, corriander, cumin, etc. - ginger of all things, canola oil and so on. She loves food but is getting very bored with her limited spices; this dish seems to have everything that she can eat and provide very nice flavour. So, I really want to double and she can take some leftovers home too if she likes it well enough:) The amount of yogurt got me a bit concerned - if I double it, I will be adding 2+ cups to the dish that sounds a bit too much. The same with the chicken stock... Maybe I wil increase the liquids by 1/4 and double the spices.

          Have you looked at Adria's The Family Meal? He provides quantities for 2/6/20/75 and they are not straight multiplications. I'll have to have a look at his liquids and extrapolate from there.

          Thanks, LulusMom! I will report in a week - the dinner in question is next Thursday.

          1. re: herby
            LulusMom RE: herby Apr 27, 2012 02:19 AM

            That is so nice of you to want to send leftovers home with your friend. OK, so I think I'd have the extra broth and yogurt on hand and see how the dish is looking and tasting, and then you can decide if you want to add the additional or not.

            I'm trying to imagine a life without coriander, cumin and ginger ... eeek! Poor friend. Good luck with this.

            1. re: LulusMom
              herby RE: LulusMom May 4, 2012 07:54 AM

              I made Mexican Chicken last night and it was a hit:) Unfortunately, my friend is allegic to so many things and I did not use any chilies, only red bell pepper. Even so it was not spicy (I love spicy food!), it was full of delicious flavour. I doubled the recipe but did not increase chicken broth and yogurt. Maybe because I cooked it in tagene, the amount of sauce was right. I served it with brown rice and steamed broccholi. There is a bit of leftover, enough for one serving and I will add a bit a Dunlop's chili sauce when I warm it up - bet it will be even better:) I think the key to this dish is a hit of smokey flavour from chared pepper.

              Thank you, LLM, for pointing this dish out for me!

              1. re: herby
                LulusMom RE: herby May 4, 2012 10:15 AM

                I'm thrilled to hear that it was a hit for you, and for our friend too. I'm completely with you on adding the hot sauce when you eat it without her.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  herby RE: LulusMom May 5, 2012 10:28 PM

                  The leftovers were good and spicy with the addition of Dunlop's pepper sauce but I did not like it as much as the first night. Some dishes do not improve over time but it could have been me not liking leftovers in general. The smokey pepper flavour changed somewhat, the almonds softened too much... But the first night it was so good that I will definitely make it again!

      2. re: LulusMom
        sarahcooks RE: LulusMom Dec 31, 2012 01:37 PM

        Mexican Chicken with Yogurt and Almonds

        I got Mighty Spice for Christmas and this was the second recipe I tried. Ohhhh so good. Really delicious and with a really different flavor. I'm so used to certain flavors in Mexican dishes (probably because most are more Tex-Mex) and this had a really different flavor profile. It took much less time than I expected as well, and I had dinner done way too early! I will definitely make it again, and maybe get some soup plates because it's just begging to be served like that. My jalapenos had virtually no heat, so it could have been spicier, but who would have guessed jalapenos could be that mild? I served this with the Mexican rice in Bayless' Salsas That Cook (another Christmas gift based on recommendations from Chowhounds!) and that was equally delicious and paired beautifully.

        1. re: LulusMom
          monbakes_downunder RE: LulusMom Nov 11, 2013 01:18 AM

          Mexican Chicken with Yoghurt and Almonds, p. 75

          I made this tonight. I enjoyed it... BF LOVED it. I didn't have any jalapeños on hand (couldn't even find them at the supermarket!) so I used a few Birdseye chillis instead. This was still nice without the jalapeños but lacked a bit of heat so I added some extra fresh chilli to mine once it was done. The sauce thickened up really nicely once off the heat. Very comforting on an unseasonably chilly November night here.

        2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 3, 2011 03:29 PM

          Indian Chicken and Spinach Curry (p. 70)

          Weirdly, I find myself not making the recipes I'm *most* attracted to in this book, but working off what makes the most sense given either what I have in the house or what I'll be making in a day or two. So, this was one of those that looked good but didn't especially interest me, but it seemed to me to work well with the dinners I had planned the evenings around tonight. So ... it turned out to be wonderful. Everyone in the family loved it, including Lulu (who, according to her, doesn't like spicy food - ha!).

          You boil some water and cook the spinach a minute or two until just starting to wilt. Save the water (at least 1/2 cup) and add that with the spinach to a processor until blended. Set aside in a bowl. In the same (now empty) processor now mix garam masala, salt, chopped onion, chopped tomato, garlic, ginger, green chili (he calls for 1/2 green; I used a whole serrano) and a little water until smooth. Heat oil in saucepan (I used the same dutch oven I'd cooked the spinach in, minimum clean up) and throw in 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (I used more - probably at least 3 teaspoons, I love cumin) until crackling, then pour in tomato mixture, stir, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, put the cooked spinach, the bite sized chicken (he calls for thighs, but I ended up using breast meat) and, if you want, 1/4 cup cream (I went for the cream). Cooked about 15 minutes. This was all fairly easy (once chopping the onion, tomatoes, chili, garlic and ginger was done - and those don't need much chopping since they're going in the processor), and the clean up can be done while the stuff is simmering. I served it with store-bought heated naan, and man, this was the easiest clean up in the world. And a delicious dinner. Husband said "can you put this in rotation? Not as much as Bloke's pasta, but still, in rotation?" (he LOVES JO's bloke's pasta). Overall, a surprisingly big hit; just make sure that if you like things spicy, you up the things you like best (for me, the chili and the cumin).

          5 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom
            BigSal RE: LulusMom Jan 17, 2012 06:42 PM

            Indian Chicken and Spinach Curry p. 70- half recipe

            This was much better received by my Mr. than the Bangkok chicken was last night. We used a thai chili, canned tomatoes, 1/2 T of oil (instead of 1), 1 1/2 t cumin seeds (instead of one) and omitted the cream. Like LLM mentions, this recipe is fairly easy to put together and the clean up is done while things are simmering away. I was surprised how tender the chicken was even though it is cooked on med-high heat. We served this with jasmine rice (we were out of basmati). We were both pleased with the results and am feeling rather virtuous for eating such a healthy, yet flavorful meal. Thanks again to LLM for testing out the recipe ahead of time. I feel like I'm cheating a little by benefitting from all the notes of LLM and bb. Thank you. More to come tomorrow.

            1. re: BigSal
              LulusMom RE: BigSal Jan 18, 2012 02:37 AM

              Cheat away! i'm thrilled that someone is enticed to want to try these recipes. They are varied enough that you don't feel like you're eating the same type of food each night, and most of them are pretty easy too. I'm now remembering just how much we liked this (especially husband) and thinking "hmmm, maybe time to make it again, now that the cold weather is coming in." Thanks for the reminder, and so glad you liked it.

              1. re: BigSal
                LulusMom RE: BigSal Jan 18, 2012 02:39 AM

                PS - can't wait to find out what you're making next.

              2. re: LulusMom
                greedygirl RE: LulusMom Aug 7, 2013 03:41 PM

                Indian Chicken and Spinach Curry, p70

                I made this last night - I used a whole chilli but seeded it against my better judgement. I should have left the seeds in as this was a little lacking in oomph. Or perhaps my chilli was lacking. Whatever, it was tasty but needed more spice.

                1. re: greedygirl
                  LulusMom RE: greedygirl Aug 7, 2013 04:55 PM

                  I really hate that about chilies these days. You have no idea how hot they'll be. Sometimes a jalapeno tastes like they always used to taste - hot. But usually these days they're sort of wishy-washy. Sorry it was too bland!

              3. greedygirl RE: LulusMom Sep 5, 2011 12:54 AM

                Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry, p59

                We absolutely loved this - it was plenty spicy from the chilli, fragrant with lemongrass, and the tamarind water added a subtle tang. Easy too and I got a very handy tip about lemongrass!

                Briefly, chop 2 stalks of lemongrass roughly starting from the fat end (he says to stop when there are no more purple rings - I never knew this) and whizz it in a mini FP with 3 cloves of garlic. Transfer to a bowl and add diced chicken (he says thigh but I had breasts), 1tsp chili flakes, 2tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp sugar, 1.5 tbsp fish sauce. Mix well and leave for at least 30 mins or overnight in the fridge.

                Make the tamarind water using a nugget of paste and some hot water, and sieve to remove any solids.

                Stir-fry the chicken mixture with a sliced red pepper for a few minutes, until the chicken is starting to brown, then add the tamarind water and a tbsp of soy sauce and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced and sticky and the chicken is cooked. As I was using breast rather than thigh, I cooked it for slightly less time and there was still a little bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan.

                Really good with some plain steamed rice. Mr GG had requested something spicy, and he loved it. A definite hit. One thing though - he says this would serve 4 with 500g of chicken. I used 2 chicken breasts, just less than a pound, and we ate the whole thing. It would have served 3 at a stretch, but no way 4 unless you've got other dishes as well.

                4 Replies
                1. re: greedygirl
                  LulusMom RE: greedygirl Sep 5, 2011 02:21 AM

                  Sounds really good. On my list.

                  1. re: greedygirl
                    LulusMom RE: greedygirl Sep 20, 2011 04:35 PM

                    My turn on the Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry

                    I also used chicken breasts, and played around a bit with the spicing. Possibly less lemongrass than intended (lemongrass stalks here vary SO widely in size) but double the chili flakes (and I would likely triple the next time) and I used 2 peppers instead of just one so that I could pretend that I was serving a vegetable with this and not have to make an extra dish. Very very nice meal. I wouldn't really call it spicy so much as very nicely flavored. Almost like a slightly spicy sweet and sour chicken without the cloyingness or fruit. We all lapped up every bit on our plates.

                    One thing I find with this book is that I think it helps to know your own preferences and to know a bit about cooking already. I know what spices I like lots of, and what sorts of things I don't need to double, and I think that helps make most of these dishes big hits. I guess that is true of most books, really, but especially since this one revolves around the idea of spices, I think it is especially true.

                    1. re: greedygirl
                      MelMM RE: greedygirl Mar 4, 2012 07:26 AM

                      Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry, p. 59

                      A little late to the game, but I made this last week. Made pretty much as written, except that I de-pulped actual tamarind pods instead of using paste, and upped the chili flakes a bit. I chopped the garlic and lemongrass in a food processor as directed, but it never really made a paste as described in the recipe. More like a finer and finer dice. I guess I could have just moved it to a mortar and pestle, but I figured the ultra-fine dice was good enough. I felt like the quantity of the ingredients was just a bit more than I like to cook at one time in my 16" wok. It took a little longer than the 3-4 minutes specified for the sauce to reduce completely.

                      This was not a big hit at casa MM. It was really just a question of balance. Too much garlic for our taste, and it overpowered the lemongrass. If I were to make this again, I would reduce the garlic down to one clove, and add some ginger to balance it out. This is partly just a matter of personal taste. I am not crazy about a lot of garlic on its own.

                      1. re: greedygirl
                        herby RE: greedygirl May 8, 2012 02:46 PM

                        Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry, p. 59

                        I made this today and did not love it. Lemon grass (which I love) is a delicate spice compared to garli and chili and it got completely lost in other spices. I made it as written but marinated overnight because of change in plans and wonder if this is the reason. Did all of you marinate for 30 minutes? Oh well... cann't all be winners:)

                      2. j
                        johngs RE: LulusMom Sep 5, 2011 08:37 AM

                        Hi Guys, I am thrilled that you have been experimenting with my new book, it was so exciting to read your posts! let me know which other recipes you try and how you get on, i would love to know!! take care

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: johngs
                          greedygirl RE: johngs Sep 5, 2011 11:17 AM

                          Hello John. Thanks for popping by and congratulations on the book. There are lots of things I want to try.

                          As you're here, could I ask you a question about the twice-cooked pork on p111. As I'm a Fuchsia Dunlop fanatic, I do always have chilli bean paste in the house. Presumably I could use that instead of the chilli paste recipe? How much, and do I still need to add it to water and reduce it down?

                          Thanks in advance!

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            johngs RE: greedygirl Sep 6, 2011 02:16 AM

                            haha she is amazing!! t

                            his is a hard one as i dont know how strong your chilli bean paste is. when ever i use mine at home, lee kum kee brand, i use about 1 tbsp per person, this is medium heat. you would not need the hot water as the chilli bean paste has already been cooked.

                            but i would suggest adding loats of chopped garlic into the wok once the pepper has browned. soy sauce would be optional extra - i just love it and cant help but add some!

                            1. re: johngs
                              greedygirl RE: johngs Sep 6, 2011 04:43 AM

                              I use Lee Kum Kee as well, although I also have a Sichuan brand that my local Chinese supermarket now stocks. Thanks - will give it a try.

                        2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 5, 2011 03:54 PM

                          Nice of you to stop by Mr. G-S. I have a crush on your book (something I didn't really realize was possible until a year or two ago). I hope I'm able to do your recipes justice.

                          Stir-Fried Squid with Chili and Cilantro (p. 145)

                          So all I could find was frozen calamari rings, and they didn't really smell so wonderful (frozen seafood seldom does, right?). So I started feeling nervous. But ... another huge hit. You heat veg. oil and add chili flakes and garlic, fry for about 30 seconds, then add the squid and do for 2-3 minutes (this is where I was nervous - my squid was cut differently than in the instructions, and it was this frozen stuff - would I fry too long?), then add oyster sauce, fish sauce and lime juice, fry another 30 seconds, and then toss in some chopped cilantro. I upped the spices by about an extra 1/2, and could have done more (but I"m BIG on spice). Served with rice and an asian cucumber salad. Squid not at all overcooked - very tender in fact. Everyone loved it. Lulu even said "This is really great Mummis, I like it so much." Aiming for a raise in her allowance, now that she expects to take gg out for dinner ...

                          I think this same recipe would work with lots of different proteins - tofu, shrimp or scallops, chicken. Another hit.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: LulusMom
                            greedygirl RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 01:03 AM

                            I was so taken with the squid and chorizo salad recipe on p45 I totally missed this! Sounds great, and I think Lulu should get that raise.

                            1. re: LulusMom
                              johngs RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 02:18 AM

                              love it! frozen seafood can be a bit off putting, generally i would just leave it in cold water , to naturally de-frost before cooking with it, exactly the same as fresh.

                              am thrilled you guys are loving the recipes. spread the word for me and keep the comments coming!

                              1. re: johngs
                                LulusMom RE: johngs Sep 6, 2011 02:28 AM

                                Yes, I defrosted under cold water for about 7 minutes. Did the trick. I was surprised at how tender it ended up being.

                              2. re: LulusMom
                                beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 5, 2011 07:39 AM

                                Stir-Fried Squid with Chili and Cilantro (p. 145)

                                Huge, huge, huge hit I loved everything about this dish. It was quick, easy, delicious and the squid was extremely tender. Plus, it was pretty in the bowl.

                                So, the changes I made.

                                3/4 lbs of squid bodies and tentacles. I cut open the squid as directed but also cut that in half lengthwise before scoring.

                                I kept the ratios of the pepper flakes, fish sauce, lime juice and cilantro as written. But, I decreased the amount of oyster sauce by half (2T down to 1T) since I find oyster sauce a bit overpowering. This was the perfect amount for my taste buds.

                                Also, if you have Dunlop's salted chiles on hand, I think that would be a great sub for the chile flakes. I thought about doing that, but was serving this with stir fried mizuna. I used the salted chiles for that instead.

                                I was a bit sad that I only made 3/4 lb for the two of us. But anymore, may have led to the undesired steaming effect.

                                Highly, highly recommend this recipe.

                                1. re: beetlebug
                                  LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 5, 2011 07:57 AM

                                  If you liked this, try the scallops. I loved the squid, but the scallop dish was out of this world (bumped up, etc.).

                                2. re: LulusMom
                                  LulusMom RE: LulusMom Jan 1, 2014 06:12 AM

                                  Did a variation on the stir-fried squid with chili and cilantro last night. Made it with shrimp (not quite a pound - we'd been well fed at a party a bit earlier) and then instead of rice I added some rice vermicelli at the end of the stir fry. This soaked up the little liquid there is, but it was a huge hit. Husband loves dry Asian noodle dishes and this had just the right hint of spice/flavor with the freshness of the cilantro and lime juice. Definitely a do-again meal, and really easy (even after the wine drunk at the party). Served with EGOR's silken tofu and avocado and a nice crisp sauvignon blanc.

                                3. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 06:14 AM

                                  Yeah! I'm so happy you guys like it. There is always that bit of responsibility of mentioning an intriguing cookbook. Especially since I still don't have the cookbook and I hadn't cooked from it yet. I'm going to find my two posts on that other thread and post it here. I also made a third recipe that wasn't as successful. It was the beef with thai basil, or something like that. There is an internet recipe for it. But, while it wasn't how I envisioned the dish, part of it was user error (beef started to steam after I seared it) and part of it was the dish I served it with (very spicy that it threw everything else out of whack).

                                  Where is my library copy? I am really going to start saving my pennies in earnest.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                    LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 6, 2011 08:08 AM

                                    Sorry to hear you had a bad one - and thanks for telling us which one it was. Also glad you'll repost your previous reviews here. I can't thank you enough for telling us about this book. I want to make so much from it.

                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                      LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 14, 2011 03:50 AM

                                      This isn't the first cookbook you've gotten me hooked on, bb. I remember you being the first to mention Flexitarian, and that superb tofu dish. Thanks for always speaking up when you see something great.

                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                        mirage RE: LulusMom Sep 14, 2011 05:15 AM

                                        Not to mention she was the first person to mention Eat Your Books.
                                        Trend setter, that beetlebug!

                                    2. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 10:33 AM

                                      Here are some internet sources of recipes.






                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                        beetlebug RE: beetlebug Jan 13, 2012 03:19 PM

                                        Another recipe that looks quite intriguing. Dumplings look like a misnomer though. They look like pork meatballs in a fragrant broth. I think rice noodles would be an excellent accompaniment.


                                        Must buy this book soon.

                                      2. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 10:33 AM

                                        Reposted from new fall cookbook thread

                                        Lemongrass chicken with chiles.

                                        I made the lemongrass chicken with chiles and it turned out great.


                                        The spicing might be ok but it's hard to tell since I didn't make the full amount. All the on-line recipes use 1 lb. 2 oz of protein. I have a smaller wok (12 inches) and have found that 1 lb of meat pushes the limit between stir fry and steam. So, I usually get around 3/4 lb and a 1 lb of meat. I did so with the chicken recipe as well.

                                        So, I didn't use the full amt of lemongrass, garlic and ginger. I did use two thai chile peppers (could have used more but I didn't know how spicy they were). But, when I put in the fish and soy sauce, I forgot to use less. And, it was a bit too much for the amount of meat I had in there.

                                        But, other than prepping the lemongrass, this was a quick, easy and delicious meal. I'm going to make a few more on-line recipes and hope that the library will soon acquire a copy so that I can take a closer look. But, if this one recipe is any indication, this could be a winner of a cookbook.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                          LulusMom RE: beetlebug Jan 9, 2012 03:59 PM

                                          I finally got around to making the Vietnamese Chicken with Chili and Lemongrass (p. 56). I think I had held back a bit because I was so overwhelmingly and surprisingly thrilled by Vietnamese month (which was, what, something like 3.5 years ago??) and didn't think it was worth bothering. But this recipe was so easy, and I was so in the mood for that flavor profile, that I went for it. And I'm so glad that I did. We all loved it. This is one time when I didn't up the spice. It was great. We definitely could have gone spicier, but this was very very tasty. Everyone in the house loved it. Husband said "if we found this at a local restaurant, it would become our local Asian place." Yay! So ... very easy. 6 lemongrass stalks are prepped and run through a processor. Heat wok and add the lemongrass, 4 garlic cloves and 1 red chili (all chopped); after about 30 seconds add the cut up chicken and stir fry for 3-4 minutes; then add a sauce of soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar, quickly stir fry to incorporate flavors, then a handful of chopped cilantro. He suggests serving over rice noodles but I served it over jasmin rice with a side of roasted broccoli. Really surprised that I liked this as much as I did (given my love of the other Vietnamese cookbooks), but I really loved it, and so did the others. I really love this cookbook. Thank you beetlebug!

                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                            BigSal RE: LulusMom Jan 9, 2012 08:05 PM

                                            I cannot believe I have resisted cooking from this book for as long as I have with all of these great reviews. I am going to give this book a go.

                                            1. re: BigSal
                                              LulusMom RE: BigSal Jan 10, 2012 02:40 AM

                                              Rereading my review, I'm a little embarrassed by how often the words like and love come up. Eeek! But, we really did enjoy this very much.

                                              If nothing else, see if your library has a copy of the book and try a recipe or two. Don't be afraid to alter spice amounts to suit your tastes. It has certainly (love love love) been a hit around here.

                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                mebby RE: LulusMom Jan 10, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                Absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about -- we know you well enough to know that when you gush, it must be great! Your enthusiasm (and beetlebug's) was good enough for me to order the book sight unseen. It just came this weekend and I haven't cooked from it yet, but I've flagged a ton of recipes, so thank you both.

                                                1. re: mebby
                                                  LulusMom RE: mebby Jan 10, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                  Thanks Mebby. Good to feel understood. I'm excited that you got the book, and flagged so many recipes. I hope they work out as well for you as they have for us.

                                                  1. re: mebby
                                                    Gio RE: mebby Jan 10, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                    I finally ordered a copy too, Mebby, thanks to the rave reviews on this thread so I'll be joining in when it arrives. This week, with any luck.

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      LulusMom RE: Gio Jan 10, 2012 04:54 PM

                                                      Woohoo!!! Two new people joining the party!!!

                                          2. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 6, 2011 10:35 AM

                                            Chicken Kadahi

                                            I made the chicken kadahi as one of my hurricane meals and it was really good, even with my less then stellar planning.


                                            What I really like about these recipes is that they are pantry ready recipes and I only had to buy the protein.

                                            Once again, I made about 2/3 of the recipe (3/4 lbs of meat) but kept the spicing levels the same. I also only had one large CSA tomato v. the 4 tomatoes (apparently, I ate the others without thinking about it) and the squirrels had decimated my own. But, this was still a delicious dish.

                                            Stir fry cumin, briefly, then add a chopped onion. Cook until golden and then add in chopped garlic, ginger, chili (I used red jalepeno), tomato, garam masala, tumeric and salt. Stir fry until the tomato begins to break down. Then add the chopped chicken and green pepper and cook until done (about 15 more minutes). Add a swirl of lemon juice and serve with basmati rice.

                                            Lots of flavors and textures in this dish. While it may not have the complexity of some indian dishes, this took a significantly less time. This is more similar to a Madhur Jaffrey indian recipe v. a Julie Sahni one. It actually reminds me of MJ's Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook, which I really need to pull out again.

                                            I served this with sauteed greens and broccoli.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                              LulusMom RE: beetlebug Dec 29, 2011 03:51 PM

                                              Been a while since we had something from this book, and we were all missing something spicy. So tonight was my turn on the Kadahi Chicken. I messed with it a bit, so take review with a grain of salt, but the good thing is, we really liked it a lot.

                                              I pretty much doubled the recipe, except for the tomatoes. This is just a thing of mine - I'm not crazy about the combination of ginger and tomato. So I used 1 drained can of diced tomatoes, and my husband said he was very happy that I hadn't used more. Instead of doubling the green pepper, I tossed in a large handful of cleaned, halved green beans. As JGS says in his headnote, the lemon juice really freshens the tastes of the curry. This is great and really easy, and we'll make it again.

                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                Allegra_K RE: LulusMom Dec 29, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                I made this dish tonight as well. I had a really hard time deciding which recipe to delve into, as they all look so tantalizing.
                                                I, too, took liberties with the ingredient list, so this may not have turned out exactly as it should, but alas. Used a poblano in place of the green pepper, added red pepper. Omitted the chili, which was a mistake, as all of the capsaicin in the poblano apparently got on my hands instead of in the dish (gotta love that chili burn, even hours later), and the end product was quite mild.
                                                I used "tomatoes" from the produce dept. One of the saddest sights to see is a pile of pale, rock-hard tomatoes in the middle of winter. Should have opted for canned. The resulting cooked down tomatoes in the dish had a pasty pinkish hue, and there was one very tense moment when I thought that I had put a forkful of raw chicken meat into my mouth, to realize that it was in fact a member of the nightshade family.
                                                The meal was nice. It didn't wow me, but if I were to try this at the height of produce season, things would be different. I thought that perhaps a touch of black mustard seed would go nicely in there. I served it with basmati rice, but chowing down on the cold leftovers later, I think I preferred it just by itself.

                                                After seeing all of the posts about this cookbook, I took it out from the library. Amidst all of the hectic rush that is the holiday season, I didn't even crack the book open until this morning, the day before I have to return it. What a book! I'm upset with myself that I didn't peek at it sooner, as there seem to be many quick and delicious recipes in there. I'm frantically scanning the pages to my hard drive that I want to try (and there's plenty in there) before I have to take it back. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I could see myself purchasing this in the near future.

                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                  Bean Counter RE: LulusMom Dec 29, 2011 08:20 PM

                                                  I've made this too and enjoyed it. Son thought it was a little heavy on the cumin but I love cumin and thought it was perfect. Really like your canned tomatoes solution as I think it would be better that way this time of year.

                                                  1. re: Bean Counter
                                                    LulusMom RE: Bean Counter Dec 30, 2011 02:29 AM

                                                    I love cumin too. I end up using canned tomatoes during a lot of the year. Those things in the store (as described by Allegra K so well!) are tasteless, and you have to go to the work of cutting them up for ... blah. I'm so glad you liked the dish, and that Allegra is wildly copying the book. Funny that we all made this at the same time. Credit for finding this book has to go to beetlebug, who first mentioned it in another thread.

                                                2. re: beetlebug
                                                  MelMM RE: beetlebug Mar 4, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                  Kadahi Chicken, p. 78

                                                  Made this last night. Used red bell pepper instead of green, just because that's what I had on hand. I also used lime, added at the table, instead of the lemon juice. I also reduced the quantities of the chicken (to 10 oz) and the bell pepper (correspondingly). This was an amount that I felt fit nicely in my wok.

                                                  This was a hit. A cross between a curry and a stir-fry, or more like a stir-fry with some Indian flavors, it was a nice change of pace from what usually comes out of the wok. The only thing I might do differently next time is hold back some of the garam masala to add in the last minute or so of cooking, instead of adding it all with the tomatoes.

                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                    Gio RE: beetlebug Aug 31, 2012 04:14 AM

                                                    Kadahi Chicken, Pg. 78

                                                    It took me eight months to get to the point where I actually cooked something from this book instead of reading recipes and recipe reports. Now I wonder why it took that long. The Kadahi chicken was a good place to start. We loved every last bite. The previous reports were instrumental to our success and have already been described in detail. Here are the ingredient adjustments I made... those not mentioned remained in the original.:

                                                    Organic non-GMO canola oil for vegetable, 1 T cumin (yeah we like it), jalapeno for green chili, 2 t garam masala, 1 t turmeric, 1.77 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 green bell pepper, lemon juice. Followed the directions exactly then sat down to a plate of delicious curry. Spicy, exotic, full of heady flavor. The aroma permeated the room. Served with steamed jasmine rice and the Riata on page 163. On to the Chili and Basil Scollops Saturday evening...

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      beetlebug RE: Gio Aug 31, 2012 05:03 AM

                                                      Funny you just posted this. I just pulled out the recipe 10 minutes ago because I'm going to make this tonight. Now I'm really looking forward it.

                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                        LulusMom RE: beetlebug Aug 31, 2012 05:21 AM

                                                        And I'm making the lamb with cumin tomorrow night! I love this book. Glad to hear your first foray was a good one Gio.

                                                  2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 12, 2011 04:11 PM

                                                    Dongbei Cumin and Cilantro Stir-Fried Lamb (p. 99)

                                                    Some of you may know that I'm not a big red meat eater - maybe 4-5 times a year. But we had tried Cumin Lamb in Sydney's Chinatown this year, and I'd been completely enamored of it - couldn't get enough. So, even though my one previous foray into cooking lamb was not good (putting it lightly), I thought I just had to try this. And ... I'm really glad that I did. My husband's first comment was that using a wok (which I'm in the process of buying) would make a big difference on the sear, but that it was very tasty. A few minutes later he said "You know what? This is one of the best things I've ever eaten. Can you start making this often?"

                                                    This recipe calls for 1.2 ounces of lamb steaks, tenderloins or boned loin chops. My (U.S.) Whole Foods had no idea what I was talking about, and sold me something like lamb chunks of some kind - they seemed like fillets to me, but I know very little about meat, so I can't really be trusted. But I got them home and thinly sliced them, as the recipe asks. You start by heating your pan and putting in cumin seeds (he calls for 2 tsps - I used 4), garlic (again, he calls for 3 cloves, I used 6), and 2 dried red chilies, chopped (I only used 3, could have used more easily). Stir fry this for about 10 seconds, then add the lamb and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the lamb starts to brown. At this point add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar (I stuck with these original amounts and was perfectly happy), stir fry for another 10 seconds and then toss in the chopped 2 handfuls of cilantro. Served with rice (and Radically Simple's roasted spinach - my husband thought this was a perfect combination). It really was absolutely delicious, even to this wary meat eater. Sorry, JG-S that I felt the need to buck up the spices, but it made it absolutely perfect for us. We loved this. And I think it will be requested again in the next month (which, for us, is a short time period between first and second times).

                                                    16 Replies
                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                      herby RE: LulusMom Sep 12, 2011 05:24 PM

                                                      L'sMom, could you kindly paraphrase the recipe? It sounds wonderful and I have a leg of lamb sitting in the fridge waiting my attention:) It is 1.2 lbs of lamb not ounces, right?

                                                      1. re: herby
                                                        LulusMom RE: herby Sep 13, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                        Hi Herby, happy to help, and you're absolutely right - it was 1.2 lbs of lamb. I will give the amounts listed in the book, and you can choose whether or not to jack them up depending on your tastes.

                                                        Heat wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons veg. oil, when smoking hot, add 2 tspns cumin seeds, 2 dried red chilis roughly chopped, and 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped. Stir until fragrant. Add the lamb and stir fry 3-4 minutes, or until the lamb starts to brown. At this point stir in 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and stir fry for about 10 seconds, then 2 handfuls of cilantro (the stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped). Mix well and serve with rice. Slicing up the lamb (it should be thinly sliced) is probably the most work intensive part of this recipe. It was so simple. Still hearing raves this morning

                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                          herby RE: LulusMom Sep 13, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                          Thank you, LulusMom! I have a friend tomorrow for dinner and will make this - sounds easy and yummy. Made Roden's meatballs with almond sauce tonight and will take for lunch tomorrow. Looks and smells delish and such a change from the usual tomato sauce.

                                                          1. re: herby
                                                            LulusMom RE: herby Sep 14, 2011 03:48 AM

                                                            I hope you like it as much as we did. Let me know - fingers are crossed.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                              herby RE: LulusMom Sep 14, 2011 06:28 PM

                                                              LulusMom, I did make the lamb dish tonight and it was good but not spectacular. I think the main problem is that I could not get the wok very hot though the oil got to the smoking point but once the lamb went in, it cooled the pan and it steamed more than fried... I do not think I do well with recommended dishes and wonder why is that. I made the chicken dish that gave me recipe for in another thread and served it to different people (I made too much for some reason) with mixed results. The best results I had with the spinach meatballs from the Smitten Kitchen - the kids, big and small, just gobble them up.

                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                LulusMom RE: herby Sep 15, 2011 03:57 AM

                                                                Sorry to hear that Herby. Did you up the spicing at all? Maybe we just have different tastes?

                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                  herby RE: LulusMom Sep 15, 2011 05:03 AM

                                                                  I definitely used the spicing - doubled the cumin as you did and loved that (I love cumin), good portion of garlic which I could hardly taste in the finished dish. I think the problem is my old electric burners that are not right for the wok. I should have used a flat bottom pan instead. I am taking leftovers for lunch - maybe will taste better the next day?:)

                                                                  1. re: herby
                                                                    LulusMom RE: herby Sep 15, 2011 05:35 AM

                                                                    I certainly hope so. Electric burners aren't much good, I have to agree.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                      herby RE: LulusMom Sep 15, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                      I liked it better for lunch:)

                                                                      1. re: herby
                                                                        LulusMom RE: herby Sep 15, 2011 03:45 PM

                                                                        Yay! At least there is that.

                                                                    2. re: herby
                                                                      beetlebug RE: herby Sep 15, 2011 05:37 AM

                                                                      It may have not been the wok. It could have been too much meat in the wok. I've noticed from the web recipes, that he calls for well over a lb of meat for each recipe. My 12 inch wok can only handle between 3/4 lb to 1 lb of meat. And, the closer it gets to the 1 lb weight, I have to be really careful to spread the meat out to prevent the steaming effect.

                                                                      Also, for this recipe, I would use this technique for the meat:

                                                                      Stir fry the aromatics. Put the meat in and let it sear for a minute. I usually dump the meat in and then spread it out with my fingers so that's almost in a single layer. This will help it caramelize. Then, finish the recipe.

                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                        herby RE: beetlebug Sep 15, 2011 11:13 AM

                                                                        You are right, BB! I tried to spread the meat but the sides of the wok were not as hot as I would like them to be - I blame the old element for that, it just does not get the heat well enough up the wok while the bottom gets smokey hot. I will try again with half the meat and that would probably work well

                                                        2. re: LulusMom
                                                          johngs RE: LulusMom Sep 15, 2011 06:05 AM

                                                          haha dont you worry!! it's al about spicing things up to your own level!!

                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                            greedygirl RE: LulusMom Sep 30, 2011 12:47 AM

                                                            I made this lamb dish for dinner last night and we were very happy. I used two lamb steaks, which probably weighed around 300g once trimmed, but the full amount of spices, substituting a tsp of hot chilli flakes for the two dried chillis. It was plenty spicy enough and quite yum. And incredibly easy and quick to make, especially as my rice (brown jasmine) was ready and waiting in the rice cooker. Would probably work with beef as well.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                              beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 13, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                              Dongbei Cumin and Cilantro Stir-Fried Lamb (p. 99)

                                                              This was great. I forget what kind of lamb I used (I think they were shoulder steaks?). Anyway there was a lot more bone then I thought and I didn't want to waste the bits of meat on the bone. So, I first browned the bones with cumin and chile and then placed them to the side. Then, I followed the recipe for the meat section (upping the spices) and when the lamb was almost done, I re-added the bones into the dish. Chewing on the meat off the bones had a great spicy, cumin-ey flavor.

                                                              This is a excellent dinner dish. Although, despite having many delicious lamb with cumin dishes here and in China, I think I prefer beef with cumin overall.

                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                JoanN RE: beetlebug Oct 18, 2011 05:02 AM

                                                                I made this last night, with upped spices, and just loved it. I cut slices, probably about 3/8" thick, from a boned leg of lamb I had bought at Costco and they were gorgeous slices of lamb. I did, as bb suggests, press the slices against the wok in a single layer for about 45 seconds until they got a good sear. This is something I do almost automatically now when stir-frying meat and it makes a huge difference, especially when stir-frying nearly 1 and 1/2 pounds as I was last night.

                                                                This may be the recipe that convinces me I like cumin lamb as much as I do cumin beef. Before last night, beef was winning out. Lamb just caught up.

                                                            2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 15, 2011 03:52 PM

                                                              Shrimp and Lemongrass Rice Noodle Salad (p. 46)

                                                              I made many modifications to this, so I'm not really reviewing the recipe as written at all, but here goes. First of all, I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a side salad or an entree, especially since it called for 9 oz. of rice noodles, so I doubled it because I wanted a main course all in one dish. It was MORE than enough for 3 of us, and there are tons of leftovers. I doubled everything (and wish I'd remembered to do more than double the chili), and I added to the rice noodles, shrimp, 1 red bell pepper and cilantro an extra pepper (yellow for color), cubes of peeled, seeded cucumber and a few scallions. Again, I doubled the dressing as well. I made in advance since he says you can chill in the fridge to let the flavors "really develop." Weirdly enough, what I found maybe a bit *too* lemongrass and limey when I first made it had much less flavor hours later at dinner time. Still pleasant, but not any kind of ka-pow. That said, the extra vegetables gave it a lovely crunch, and a nice color, and it was a refreshing main course salad. But ... not at all spicy or flavorful enough for me to make again as is. I can see making a batch of it for school lunches or something though, but not for us for dinner. Not a bomb at all, but also not the hit that the other recipes I've tried in the book have been. Probably very much up some peoples' ally - refreshing and clean flavors.

                                                              1. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Sep 18, 2011 08:16 AM

                                                                Moroccan Cinnamon and Lemon Chicken (p. 67)

                                                                I made a few revisions to this - added 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, at least 1 tsp ground cumin, and used a can of jalapeno enhanced chopped tomatoes instead of the 2 tomatoes called for. Aside from that made as called for. You heat a dutch oven with some olive oil, add chopped onion and a cinnamon stick and cook until the onion is just turning golden. Add the tomatoes, tumeric, black pepper and salt. Mix together and then add skinned, bone in chicken (I used thighs). Cover this with alternate layers of potato and lemon slices (since there is only one lemon used, there really isn't any choice but to put the lemon in between the potato slices). Stick in the oven and let cook for an hour, then bring back to the stovetop, uncover and simmer for 15 minutes so that the sauce reduces. Stir in chopped parsley.

                                                                I love moroccan food, and on a chilly, gray night this was right up my alley. Not the greatest Moroccan chicken I've ever had, but tasty, and fall off the bone tender. It definitely needs the extra spicing for my tastes (the cumin and coriander). My family was in a grumpy mood, and my husband said he wasn't sure he thought the lemon went with the other flavors. Sigh. Lulu liked it, and finished her bowl. So I would have to say a mixed success. I wouldn't rave about this dish - there are so many truly outstanding moroccan recipes, but this (especially with the canned tomatoes) was pretty darned easy, and was a nice, warming comfort food at the end of a miserable and grumpy day. And since it has vegetables and a starch in it, I didn't even feel like I had to make couscous or a salad or anything - one pot meal.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Sep 19, 2011 08:27 PM

                                                                  LulusMom, reading this review made me think of a chicken recipe I love that is not Moroccan but Greek, and similarly uses tomatoes and a bunch of warm spices (though it's not spicy, but mellow). It seems like something you might like based on what you say above. It's this: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                  I use skinless, bone-in thighs (I hate flabby braised chicken skin) and simmer it until they're just about falling off the bone. I also cut back on the water and usually skip the tomato paste and sugar, which don't seem necessary with less water and the sauce nicely cooked down. I have used ground cinnamon and allspice when I didn't have whole on hand. (Just thought I'd add those details, in case the recipe seems appealing.)

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                    LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Sep 20, 2011 02:24 AM

                                                                    Looks like a lovely thing to have simmering away on a cold afternoon. Thank you - I've just bookmarked it. And I'm with you on the flabby chicken skin thing.

                                                                2. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 29, 2011 11:31 AM

                                                                  Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken (pg. 72)

                                                                  My library copy came in and this was first on the list. This was the recipe that first caught my eye in the bookstore, and during my long wait, I had blown this recipe up in my head. I had really high expectations and I kept thinking, soi polo fried chicken, soi polo fried chicken, soi polo fried chicken. This is one of my favorite dishes from a small restaurant in Bangkok. Crispy, juicy fried chicken, with tons of fried garlic chips on top. And, I kept thinking that this recipe would replicate that.

                                                                  And it didn't. This isn't the recipe's fault at all. Completely mine especially since nothing in the recipe seemed to indicate that it was soi polo chicken. This isn't even really fried. I need to manage my own expectations.

                                                                  But, this recipe lacked something. It was a bit one dimensional and I can't quite put my finger on it. The dish did grow on me as dinner progressed and the leftovers were tasty.

                                                                  So, slice up about 8 cloves of garlic (I used about 10). Then stir fry in oil and remove from the wok. Stir fry the sliced chicken (I used thinly sliced chicken breast, a little less then a lb. Also, I let the chicken sit in the wok for a minute before stir frying). Add black pepper (I used a tablespoon), fish sauce (I used more then the 2 t called for), juice of one lime and the cooked garlic. Stir and serve.

                                                                  I stir fried the chicken in two batches to ensure proper spacing in my smallish wok. The breast meat was remarkably tender. I was a bit shocked by that - I'm more of dark meat eater but had a random chicken breast in the freezer. But, the flavors weren't quite balanced. I could have used more lime juice and probably more fish sauce. Sauteed chili peppers would have added more flavor as well.

                                                                  The chicken flavor was better if I had a bit of garlic with each slice and if I dragged it through the sauce. But, on it's own, it lacked a bit of oomph.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                    LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 29, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                    This is disappointing - I'm about to make this for dinner tonight. I'll up the fish sauce too (and have cut up at least 10 garlic cloves). will also add some hot peppers or red pepper flakes. Will let you know what we think.

                                                                    Been out of town for about 5 days, and came back to a dead computer, hence my lack of posting. I'll be making another dish from this book on Saturday. Glad you finally got the book at least!

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                      beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 29, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                                      I'm sure your version will be better since I was thinking this would be a completely different dish. Also note, I used less chicken then called for and with more of the spices. I would also add more lime juice. Do you have salted chilies in the fridge? I bet those would be great if you stir fried it with the chicken.

                                                                      Good luck on the computer issues.

                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                        LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 29, 2011 02:10 PM

                                                                        Thanks for the tips. I've just added a bunch of red pepper flakes to the regular black pepper. Maybe put something like sriracha on the table?

                                                                        thank goodness for my mini. Otherwise I'd be computerless. Hoping to be back up and running real time soon.

                                                                    2. re: beetlebug
                                                                      LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 30, 2011 02:22 AM

                                                                      Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken

                                                                      thanks to the beetlebug for test driving this recipe. I did add a bit more fish sauce (probably just doubled the amount) a little more lime juice, much more black pepper and some red pepper flakes as she suggested. And ... we loved it. I think probably expectations had something to do with it. This was so quick and easy to make, and for me the combination of the fish sauce and lime juice with the almost sweet (big) chunks of garlic and red pepper was wonderful. Husband raved, and when I asked Lulu if she liked it, she nodded, smiled and said "nice!' I do think the addition of the hot pepper was imperative for me - I even added more at the table to my own plate. I left my garlic in pretty large pieces, and it was almost like roasted garlic in with the chicken. Served with rice and roasted broccoli. Easy meal, everyone happy.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                        beetlebug RE: LulusMom Sep 30, 2011 05:29 AM

                                                                        So glad you enjoyed it. Did you use white or dark meat?

                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                          LulusMom RE: beetlebug Sep 30, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                                          White. Normally prefer dark, but it came out nicely moist.

                                                                      2. re: beetlebug
                                                                        BigSal RE: beetlebug Jan 16, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                        Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken (pg. 72) half recipe

                                                                        Tonight was my first recipe from Mighty Spice. Learning from the sage advice of LulusMom and beetlebug, I increased the black pepper, lime juice, garlic and fish sauce and added a thai chili pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I also used half of the oil (just 1 T instead of 2). So quick to pull together after work. This was a hit for me. I liked the peppery chicken. It reminded me of maybe what the Ottolenghi peppered tofu could be like. The sweet garlic slices were a nice complement to the other elements. My husband liked it ok, but probably wouldn't ask for it. I went a little heavy on the black pepper and red pepper for him, but he said it was a good excuse for him to eat pudding. I plan on trying a few more of the recipes from this book, including the scallop and basil...can't wait!

                                                                        1. re: BigSal
                                                                          LulusMom RE: BigSal Jan 17, 2012 02:41 AM

                                                                          I remade the basil and scallops on Sunday night, and they were still very good, but maybe not quite as good as the first time. Sometimes this happens with me and I can never figure out why. I think it may have had to do with the quality of the scallops. Note: Husband still thought it was incredible, and Lulu gobbled hers up.

                                                                          Any excuse for pudding!

                                                                        2. re: beetlebug
                                                                          greedygirl RE: beetlebug Feb 6, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                          I made the garlic and black pepper chicken tonight, as written. No chilli, just pepper and garlic, lime and fish sauce. We loved the simplicity of it - didn't think it needed any chilli. Mr GG raved.

                                                                          Served with stir-fried choi sum with oyster sauce, adapted from Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Very nice meal.

                                                                        3. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Oct 1, 2011 04:20 PM

                                                                          Chili and Basil Scallops (p. 146)

                                                                          OK, so I'm afraid that I'm starting to sound like a broken record, and that people are going to stop believing me. But seriously, we really really really liked this dish. Yes, I could have gone with more than 2 chilies, but it was so good as was, and the little bit of sugar with the fresh basil was a very nice touch. Recipe is basically: heat oil until smoking, add garlic and chilies and stir fry 30 seconds, then add sliced red onion (a nice touch - gets melting and goes well with the sweetness of the basil and sugar against the spicier stuff) and stir fry another minute, then toss in scallops. Stir fry these until the edges start to brown. Then add soy and fish sauces, sprinkle in a bit of sugar and black pepper, mix well and cook another minute or so until scallops are cooked. Toss in 2 handfuls of chopped basil leaves. Yum. I served with jasmine rice and roasted green beans. I'd make this again and again; very easy, very tasty.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                            beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 13, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                            Chili and Basil Scallops (p. 146)

                                                                            Not much to add to LLM's report. I'm also a broken record. Absolutely terrific dish and quick and easy to boot. For me though, I think the edge goes to the spicy squid dish v. this scallop dish. Although neither C nor I would turn down either.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                              BigSal RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 04:21 AM

                                                                              Chili and Basil Scallops

                                                                              This will be on tonight's menu if I can make it to the fishmonger tonight. I happened to find the recipe online and a John Gregory-Smith video. Here it is for those that don't have the book. http://steamykitchen.com/19262-chili-...

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                BigSal RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 06:51 PM

                                                                                Chili and Basil Scallops (p. 146) half recipe

                                                                                I made this as written except that I used 2 thai green chilis (it was a little much for my husband) and a generous 1/2 T of oil (instead of 1 T). I echo LLM and bb. This is a great dish and easy to make. Flavor rich for such minimal effort. After trying three recipes (all after work), I understand why LLM and bb are such fans. This has been a welcome discovery.

                                                                                1. re: BigSal
                                                                                  LulusMom RE: BigSal Jan 19, 2012 02:36 AM


                                                                                2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                  Gio RE: LulusMom Sep 2, 2012 06:41 AM

                                                                                  Chili and Basil Scallops, (Pg.. 146)

                                                                                  The second dish we made from the book was this delightful scallop/chili/basil recipe and boy did we like it. Used 1 2/3 lbs fresh as can be sea scollops, the sliced red onion (next time I'll dice it), 2 small serranos (could have used more), 1 T fish sauce, 1/2 handful fresh basil (large leaf - quite enough for us)... the other ingredients remained as listed. Cooked to golden crust perfection. What a creative mixture of flavors. Wish I were at the beach, such was the evocative image.

                                                                                  Served with steamed jasmine rice and the luscious Old Fashioned Tomato Salad from Frank Stitt's Southern Table: heirloom tomatoes, Kirby cucumbers, sweet onion, S & P, basil, parsley, EVOO, honey-cider vinegar (1 T apple cider vinegar + 1/2 t honey. YUM)

                                                                                  Seriously delicious dinner.

                                                                                3. greedygirl RE: LulusMom Oct 11, 2011 01:20 AM

                                                                                  Shredded beef tacos, p86

                                                                                  I was a bit sceptical about this as I was cooking it, but in the end it was very good, and we both enjoyed it.

                                                                                  You start by bringing a pan of water to the boil, add 500g of braising steak and cook gently for half an hour. I wasn't convinced that this method was going to give me shredded beef, and when I took the meat out it seemed rather tough and dry, and certainly not fork tender. But once it had cooled a bit, I shredded it by hand fairly easily and once it was mixed into the sauce, it was fine.

                                                                                  The sauce: cook an onion and 3 cloves of garlic in some olive oil until golden, then add chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, jalapeno (I used two small green chillies instead, unseeded for heat), white wine or cider vinegar (I used cider) and tomato puree. I didn't have any regular tomatoes so used cherry tomatoes and a bit of passata instead. Cover and cook gently for 20 mins, before taking of the lid and letting it cook down to a thick sauce. At this point, possibly because of the cherry tomatoes, my sauce was looking a bit dry, so I added some more passata before mixing in the beef and letting it all heat through.

                                                                                  To serve, warm the tortillas and put the beef in the middle with some lettuce, sliced radish and sour cream. I didn't bother with the suggested feta cheese. Roll or fold as you like - I folded as my tortillas were on the small side.

                                                                                  Yum! Can't wait for the leftovers.

                                                                                  1. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 13, 2011 08:47 AM

                                                                                    Ciya Shish Kebabs (pg. 94)

                                                                                    This was a huge winner of a dish. I was struggling with what to make for dinner last night and decided to do a quick flip in this book. And, the book fell on to this page so it was all meant to be. A fairly easy dinner although I did have some slight assembly issues.

                                                                                    First, make the beef kebab sausages. Take 14 oz. ground beef and mix it with cumin, salt and pepper. I upped the cumin by a fair amount - I used almost 1 T v. the 1 t called for. I also threw in some aleppo pepper for good measure. Roll this into 8 sausage shaped kebabs. Mine were probably fatter than called for and not as long.

                                                                                    Broil the kebabs until finished (about 3-4 minutes per side).

                                                                                    Meanwhile, chop up parsley, mint and walnuts and slice fresh mozzarella.

                                                                                    Also, spread a bit of plain yogurt on a tortilla (I used fage). Then sprinkle a bit of parsley, mint and walnuts onto each tortilla. Add a few slices of mozzarella. When the kebabs are finished, place 2 kebabs into each tortilla and roll it up tightly.

                                                                                    Lastly, heat up a pan and add a bit of oil. Fry up each tortilla packet for about a minute per side. These will make a total of 4 wraps with 2 kebabs in each wrap.

                                                                                    These were delicious. Mine weren't pretty because I'm not very good at working with tortilla. My first batch kind of fell apart. I didn't warm the tortillas first so they were stiff. I don't really use tortillas that often and this didn't even occur to me. The second batch, I did quick warm up over the gas burner and that did the trick nicely.

                                                                                    Regardless, this was a huge hit. The yogurt and melty cheese with the fresh herbs and the spiced beef were just a lovely contrast. I think toasted pine nuts would also work nicely in place of walnuts. Also, I think the walnuts would be better if they were slightly toasted as well. It gave a great crunch to the wrap. Now that I'm thinking even more, toasted nuts incorporated into the meat would also probably work well.

                                                                                    Anyway, the book has to go back to the library tomorrow so I'll have to put this back on my re-request list and on my xmas list.

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                      LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 13, 2011 10:26 AM

                                                                                      Oh good, I have this as one of the few meat dishes on my must make list (which, surprisingly, is still very long despite having made something like 10 things from the book).

                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                        LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 17, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                                                        Beetlebug, You've convinced me to make this next week, but I have a few questions. I'm thinking of serving it with pita instead of tortillas, and having it just sort of sitting on the pita so that it can be rolled however the person wants - I'd still heat the pita with the cheese, etc. Think this would work? Second, how about switching the fresh mozz. for feta? Does that seem like it would be too strong? I had also considered switching to pine nuts, as you mentioned. Thanks as always.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                          beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 17, 2011 05:29 PM

                                                                                          I think pita would be quite tasty with these kebabs. I suspect that it will be much easier to roll in the pita. Just be careful of the bread to stuff ratio since pita can overwhelm the sandwich (I'm always ripping off miscellaneous pieces from my sandwich).

                                                                                          My only concern would be the grilling part, in so far that the interior may not get warmed up enough and that the cheese may not get as melty. I think pre-toasting the pine nuts/walnuts may be key with the pita. I also think that feta would be delicious but maybe use less of it so that it doesn't overwhelm the meat.

                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                            LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 18, 2011 02:24 AM

                                                                                            Thanks so much beetlebug. This is all really helpful. I had sort of just assumed it was pitas, not tortillas, and so when I read your initial post had to do a little mental dippsy doodle to get myself back in place. Will think about this and those changes.

                                                                                            BTW, I'm the same about sandwiches with pretty much all kinds of bread (except probably baguette) - always tearing off the extra bits. It annoys the heck out of my husband, but i just don't want all that bread on there.

                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                              LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 18, 2011 06:44 AM

                                                                                              After thinking about your response I've decided to go with it as is, aside from switching the nuts to pine nuts. Thanks again for the help.

                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                            greedygirl RE: beetlebug Oct 24, 2011 01:40 AM

                                                                                            I made this the other night as a quick dinner. Because I was tired, and had to go to work afterwards, I skipped the walnuts and the parsley and mint, and stuffed the whole lot into a warmed pitta instead of using the tortillas.

                                                                                            It was still pretty good - next time I'll use all the ingredients and toast the tortillas and I'm sure it will be pretty great.

                                                                                            BTW I spent half an hour before making the meal looking for my copy of Mighty Spice. I couldn't find it anywhere and it was driving me crazy. Eventually I found it wedged behind a radiator next to a desk! That will teach me to leave cookbooks scattered round the house!

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                              LulusMom RE: greedygirl Oct 24, 2011 02:27 AM

                                                                                              I don't like it when my books try to sneak away from me.

                                                                                              I plan on making this (Ciya Shish Kebabs) tomorrow night, along with the tomatoes with zaatar pesto from Radically Simple. Aside from using pine nuts instead of the walnuts, will be making as written, although I'm a little nervous that the tortillas I bought might be too small. Think I got the 6 inch instead of the 8 inch. Oh well, will make do, and will report after.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                beetlebug RE: LulusMom Oct 24, 2011 06:15 AM

                                                                                                If your tortillas are on the smaller side, think about making the sausages a little bigger and then only using one in the wrap. Even with my bigger tortillas, I had problems wrapping up my two smaller ones. I also am not that adept at wrapping tortillas.

                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: beetlebug Oct 25, 2011 04:26 PM

                                                                                                  So I made the Ciya Shish Kebabs, and they were fantastic. A pain in the neck, but truly delicious. I guess they only sell one size tortilla in the UK, since no size is mentioned in the recipe list. I bought the smallest ones, obviously not thinking it through. But thanks to bb, I was fine. I did use pine nuts instead of walnuts, and upped the cumin to at least 1 tablespoon (and could have used more) and added a bit of cayenne (again, wish I'd used more). Other than that, made just as written (yes - beef!). Family raved. I was surprised by the use of mozzarella instead of feta in this, but loved the way it melted and went with everything. Also have to say that the use of tortillas for middle eastern food (this) while using pitas for mexican (the tacos) really weirds me out, but hey, I loved the tortillas with this, so I guess he knows a lot more than I do (although on the tacos, I will fight to the death on how wrong that is). I ended up using one kebab per 6 inch tortilla, and still having a hard time wrapping them, so made about half just sitting on the pan open faced. And guess what? Still delicious. Really a big hit here. Served with the zaatar pesto tomato salad from Radically Simple and everyone was very very happy with the meal. Thanks again J G-S, for another great family meal. And thanks to bb (again, as so many times before) for the tips.

                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                    mebby RE: LulusMom Feb 23, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                                                                    Made this one the other night (with some modifications) and a hit here as well. I used to frequently do the much-frowned-upon thing of making separate meals for adults and kids, given a late-working spouse and picky kids, but since I split up with my husband last year, I've been trying to find meals that deliver enough flavor for me while also satisfying my "let's keep all the components on the plate separate" children (while also healthy -- try dating after 20 years - yikes!).

                                                                                                    Anyway, my adjustments:
                                                                                                    - lamb instead of beef (we are lovers of the lamb, picky kids notwithstanding)
                                                                                                    - pistachios instead of walnuts (had on hand and seemed at least as appropriate)
                                                                                                    - I grilled instead of broiled, as my oven was on the fritz
                                                                                                    - per beetlebug's suggestion, I made one larger kebab for each 8" tortilla and found wrapping much easier (albeit still messy!)
                                                                                                    - I forgot the lemon wedges for serving, but I bet they'd be delicious
                                                                                                    - cut the oil in half and didn't miss it
                                                                                                    - for the kids' version, reduced the sumac, left out the nuts (they love, but not mixed into anything) and upped the mozzarella vs. yogurt ratio
                                                                                                    - on mine, I added more sumac and some marash pepper to the yogurt dipping sauce, gave the tortilla a slather of good-quality store-bought harissa sauce before wrapping, and reduced the cheese slightly

                                                                                                    My daughter (11 y.o.) and I loved it -- she especially loved the "ooey gooey cheesiness." My son (7 y.o.) thought there was a weird flavor (I suspect the yogurt), but when I put the lamb kebab into a tortilla with some shredded mexican cheese he was completely happy and ate the whole thing.

                                                                                                    Yum. Will repeat.

                                                                                                    1. re: mebby
                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: mebby Feb 23, 2012 03:03 PM

                                                                                                      I hope the life changes you've gone through make life better for you mebby. Dating after 20 years - I shudder at the thought. Brave new world.

                                                                                                      We all really liked these a lot, and I'm glad they were a hit with your family too. If only they were a bit easier to put together...

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                        mebby RE: LulusMom Feb 23, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                                                                        Thanks, LLM, I hope so too! It's definitely a new adventure/challenge in ways not just culinary...

                                                                                                        The wrapping was a PITA, but for a no-frills non-company meal, I chalked the few cracks and oozy bits up to extra deliciousness -- and delicious it was!

                                                                                          3. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Oct 18, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                            Char-Grilled Cilantro and Mint Chicken (p. 64)

                                                                                            We liked this, but it wasn't out of the ballpark for us. I accidentally bought breasts instead of thighs (I keep doing this, and I really don't know why - I much prefer thighs). You make a marinade from mint, cilantro, a green chili (I doubled), yogurt, garam masala (I think this was the item that kept it from being a much bigger hit with me), lemon juice and salt in your processor. Put on the chicken, then wipe off when it is time to cook (save half the marinade for serving) rub olive oil on the chicken and either put in a grill pan or a skillet. I used the skillet. I was surprised by how tender the breast meat was (was it because of being in the marinade for 6 hours?). Served with a middle eastern type chopped salad and pita wedges. Lulu was going nuts dipping the pita into the (since I doubled the chilies) sauce. This was tasty, but again, I think somehow the garam masala was the wrong note for my taste buds. I felt like it should have been something else, although I'm not really sure what. Maybe cumin? Sumac? Everyone finished everything on their plates, and all nodded that it was a pleasant meal, but no one was clamoring for seconds or asking me to make it again. Not in any way a bomb, but not a huge hit either.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                              LulusMom RE: LulusMom Oct 23, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                                                              Leftovers of the Char-Grilled Cilantro-Mint chicken just eaten and raved about. So it was more a hit the second time than the first (this comes via my husband). He ate it as a sandwich on pita with the yogurt sauce.

                                                                                            2. beetlebug RE: LulusMom Nov 3, 2011 07:34 AM

                                                                                              Za'atar Lamb Cutlets (pg. 104)

                                                                                              Quite delicious and easy. Especially instead of making my own za'atar mix, I used Penzey's. Actually, the method of cooking lamb is so fast and easy, I can see myself experimenting with different flavor profiles.

                                                                                              Rub lamb cutlets with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and spice mix (the author has you putting everything in a bowl and mixing it up. But, I didn't want to wash an additional bowl so I laid everything on a plate instead). Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

                                                                                              Heat a skillet under smoking. Add lamb cutlets and cook on each side until done. The instructions stated 3-4 minutes per side. My cutlets were thin and I did about 1 minute 30 seconds per side and that was perfect.

                                                                                              If I had read the headnote before now, I would have also sprinkled the lamb with sumac. Next time.

                                                                                              1. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Nov 15, 2011 03:55 AM

                                                                                                Coconut and Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry (p. 54)

                                                                                                Husband has been away a lot, and I wanted him to come home to something he wouldn't have eaten on his travels (visiting family and then to Switzerland). This was the perfect thing - a nice flavorful dish that also had a homey quality to it. To be honest, it wasn't at all what I expected given the photo (I somehow channeled Vietnamese, when clearly this is more Indian if you look at the ingredients) but we all really enjoyed it. I doubled the chicken to 2 lbs, and pretty much doubled everything else (except the garam masala and the red onion). This meant also doubling the coconut milk and therefore adding a whole can which gave it a slightly creamier look than in the book photo. This was fairly gently spiced but delicious.

                                                                                                Mix cut up chicken with garama masala, chili powder and salt and let sit (at least 30 minutes, which I didn't have, but it was still very good), saute curry leaves, chopped red onion and ginger until soft, add the chicken and cook about 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk and white wine vinegar (I think next time I might sub lime juice for this) and cook another minute or two, then finish with some additional crumbled curry leaves. I served over rice with some roasted broccoli.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                  lilham RE: LulusMom Nov 21, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                                                                  I made this last night and it was so flavourful. It's a simple dish, mimimal prep and cooking time, with a very simple list of ingredients. Mr lilham says this Mighty Spice book has definitely earned its place on the bookcase! We served this with steamed rice and sauted white cabbage.

                                                                                                  This will definitely be on our weeknight dinner menu regularly.

                                                                                                2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Dec 11, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                                                                  Quick question for John Gregory-Smith or anyone else more familiar with Indian cooking than I am. There are two different curries that call for coconut cream that I've noticed. I'm thinking of making the Allepy (sp?) Shrimp which is one of those recipes, but I'm holding back because I have never cooked with coconut cream in anything but a dessert. Does it bring sweetness to the dish? Would coconut milk work in its place? If I don't want a sweet dish, should I just overlook those with coconut cream? Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Dec 11, 2011 04:20 PM

                                                                                                    LulusMom, it sounds like you are thinking of cream of coconut (of the Coco Lopez type). I don't have this book, but think this is not what is being called for here. The coconut cream that is related to coconut milk is what I would assume he is calling for, and like coconut milk it is unsweetened. If you have a well-stocked Asian market, you may be able to find coconut cream in cans or aseptic boxes, but if not you can buy full-fat coconut milk, let the can sit, and don't shake it before opening, so it stays separated; the thicker, fatter layer at the top, which you can spoon off, is the cream.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 11, 2011 04:32 PM

                                                                                                      Wow, thank you Caitlin. No, I had never heard of this stuff, and just assumed it was cream of coconut (exactly like Coco Lopez). How much difference would regular coconut milk make? Ah, I see that you're saying I could use the thick layer of cream from a can of coconut milk. We have a few good Asian markets in town, and would maybe Latin markets have it too? Again, thank you. This is a product I'd never heard of or seen before.

                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 10:11 AM

                                                                                                      If the curries you were considering that call for coconut cream use it in a similar way to the Coconut and Lemongrass Salmon Curry Allegra linked below, I'd say just to use coconut milk. The context where I've seen the coconut cream I described used is along the lines of using it as the fat in which to fry curry paste before proceeding with the recipe, not using it in quantity as he does. I'm sure coconut milk is really most suitable, and it's what I'd use in that salmon recipe, for example.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 18, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                                        Thanks Caitlin. I've been looking for the coconut cream, and all I find is that sweet stuff so far. Good to know that coconut milk will likely work. Appreciate your help.

                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                          dkennedy RE: LulusMom Feb 3, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                                                                          If you are still looking for coconut cream and can't find it, look for a brand like Bangkok 50/50 - if you don't shake the can, when you open it, the the thick hard part that has risen to the top and solidified is the "cream." Use only the cream and discard the watery stuff or use it for a different recipe.

                                                                                                    3. b
                                                                                                      Bean Counter RE: LulusMom Jan 10, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                                                                      Was just visiting liete's culinaria and they were featuring the gung bao chicken from this book which reminded me to post here since I've made it. First I don't have a wok so the first time I made it I did it in a regular as skillet and it stuck horribly but still tasted good. The second time I used a nonstick pan and it turned out fine. Loved the Szechwan peppercorns as this was the first time I've used them in anything. I'd make this again because it is quick and good. I skipped the peanuts because I didn't have them but I'm sure they'd be delish.

                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Bean Counter
                                                                                                        Gio RE: Bean Counter Jan 11, 2012 04:14 AM

                                                                                                        This looks delicious. Can't wait to make it Here's the link for those who don't have the book...

                                                                                                        1. re: Bean Counter
                                                                                                          MelMM RE: Bean Counter Jan 11, 2012 07:07 AM

                                                                                                          I made the Gung Bao Chicken recipe as well, and liked it very much. I did it in my cast iron wok outdoors. I have purchased this book, but haven't cooked from it besides this one recipe. Maybe since I'm not getting anywhere with the Pepin COTM, I'll start cooking from this book and post here.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bean Counter
                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: Bean Counter Jan 11, 2012 07:13 AM

                                                                                                            This is one of the chicken dishes I haven't tried yet. But you and MelMM have convinced me that I need to try it. Unfortunately husband will be away quite a bit, and in between he's having surgery and thinks they might need to graft some skin from his mouth, so no spicy food. But as soon as he's better. So, did either of you feel like you wanted to bump up the spices a bit on this one?

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                              MelMM RE: LulusMom Jan 11, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                                              I increased the number of chiles just a bit, but otherwise made it as written. Because you add the garlic and ginger at the end of cooking in this recipe, they don't mellow, and I wouldn't feel a need to increase them. I would increase the chile and perhaps the Szechuan peppercorns.

                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                JoanN RE: MelMM Jan 11, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                Ingredients (substituting thighs for breasts) on hand. Even, amazingly enough, the unsalted peanuts. Going to make this tonight. I'll be curious to see how it compares with Dunlop's, which I like a great deal. Interestingly, her recipe calls for "at least 10" dried red chiles for 2/3 pound of chicken, although she says to discard as many seeds as possible, which would of course dissipate their effect.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                  BigSal RE: JoanN Jan 11, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                  I look forward to reading your review. I think I'm going to dig out this book. This cold weather has me craving spicy food.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                    herby RE: JoanN Jan 11, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                    I heard not once on the foodnetwork that seed in chilli peppers have no heat and that the bulk of the heat is in membranes. Thechileman.org seems to agree and says:
                                                                                                                    Capsaicinoids are produced by the glands at the juncture of the placenta and the pod walls. It is spread unevenly throughout the inside of the pod although concentrated most in the central placental tissue. Contrary to popular believe seeds are not sources of heat. However because of their proximity to the placenta, they do occasionally absorb some capsaicin.

                                                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: herby Jan 11, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                      Wow, that goes against everything I've ever heard about peppers. Interesting. I always leave the seeds in to make sure I get as much heat as possible. Learn something new every day.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                        herby RE: LulusMom Jan 11, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                        I used to do this too (leave seeds in) since I love hot food but now take them out and it makes for much better texture in most recipes, imo.

                                                                                                                      2. re: herby
                                                                                                                        JoanN RE: herby Jan 11, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                        I knew about the ribs, but the seeds *occasionally* absorb *some* capsaicin? I understand they are hot by association, but I just went into the kitchen and cracked open a couple of different kinds of dried chiles and let me tell you, those seeds were definitely picante,

                                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                      JoanN RE: MelMM Jan 12, 2012 05:34 AM

                                                                                                                      I made the Gung Bao Chicken last night using chicken thighs instead of breasts and upping both the chile and Szechuan peppercorn quotient as MelMM suggested. I also added a teaspoon of sesame oil at the end just because I love that stuff.

                                                                                                                      I liked this, but it won’t replace Dunlop’s version for me. Comparing the two recipes, Dunlop uses more of just about everything for a lesser amount of chicken and, at the end, adds a sauce comprised of sugar, potato flour (or cornstarch), dark and light soy, black vinegar, and sesame oil. Those sauce ingredients add a complexity and depth of flavor to the dish that is missing in the Gregory-Smith version. This version was a bit easier to prepare, mainly because there are fewer ingredients to measure, but not enough to compensate. Don’t get me wrong. It was good. I’m sure if I hadn’t made Dunlop’s I’d have higher praise for this recipe.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: JoanN Jan 12, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                                                                        The Dunlop bar is pretty darned high. Probably why I hadn't made this recipe. Thanks for the report. I love the idea of adding the sesame oil.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                          JoanN RE: LulusMom Jan 12, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                          Yes, that is indeed a problem. Once you've made a Dunlop recipe, you can pretty much kiss goodbye other recipes for the same dish. Although I do love his Cumin and Cilantro Stir-Fried Lamb, which I think is right up there with Dunlop's Beef with Cumin.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: JoanN Jan 12, 2012 08:41 AM

                                                                                                                            It's the only lamb dish I've ever enjoyed (and, by the way, it is all thanks to you talking about how much you loved it once).

                                                                                                                            I was nervous about making the Vietnamese dish that I made earlier this week because I loved those books so much, but it was such a big hit for us.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Bean Counter
                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: Bean Counter Feb 5, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                    Finally got around to making the gung bao chicken, and it was another hit. Weirdly, I was one of the (probably the only) people who wasn't in love with the Dunlop version. I have no idea why - I'm guessing I was having a bad day or something, but I seem to remember thinking it had too many peanuts. I will have to check the differences between the two recipes because this was a big hit. Lulu wasn't allowed peanuts back then, so was fed something else, but I remember my husband loved it. Anyway, this time around we all loved it, although Lulu said "Mom, I really like the chicken, but I'm sorry, I don't like the way the peanuts are done." And she could have a point - I had slightly burned them. Didn't bother me or my husband. I made just as written, and again, really liked it.

                                                                                                                  3. The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                    Camping onto this thread so I can read about all of your endeavors. I think I'm going to try a couple of the online recipes to see if I need a copy of this book. I sort of feel like I do...


                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 18, 2012 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                      The great thing is that with the links, you can try a few things out first, just to see. Some of these recipes are really easy, definitely fit the "I don't have much time but want something tasty" bill. If there is (and I *think* there is) a link for the chicken with lemongrass and chilies, and it appeals to you at all, I'd try it. I though that one was a breeze to make and very good.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                        beetlebug RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 07:45 AM


                                                                                                                        Embarrassingly enough, I am still using the internet links since I don't own the book yet. Apparently I was a bad hound this year since no cookbooks were underneath the tree. :-( But, I'm going to make up for that myself.

                                                                                                                    2. Allegra_K RE: LulusMom Jan 18, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                      Here's a few more recipes

                                                                                                                      Indian chicken and spinach curry, Sri Lankan friend rice with cashews, nuts and egg, Pomegranate, fennel, orange and watercress salad: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Aut...

                                                                                                                      Chilli and Basil Scallops: http://steamykitchen.com/19262-chili-...

                                                                                                                      Jetalah Pineapple, Cucumber and Chili Salad, Coconut and Lemongrass Salmon Curry: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/lifestyle/so...

                                                                                                                      Black Pepper and Chili-Seared Tuna with a Carrot and Apple Salad: http://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recip...

                                                                                                                      Persian Lamb Stew: http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes...

                                                                                                                      Lebanese Rice with Lamb and Aubergines: http://www.stylenest.co.uk/food/recip...

                                                                                                                      Chargrilled Moroccan Chicken, Sprouting Broccoli and Couscous Salad: http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes...

                                                                                                                      Roast Lebanese Leg of Lamb with Spiced Lentil Purée: http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes...

                                                                                                                      Grilled Halloumi, Tomato and Olive Salad: http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes...

                                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                                        TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jan 22, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                        [Black Pepper- and Chili-Seared Tuna] with a Carrot and Apple Salad (p. 128)

                                                                                                                        I picked this book up during the February COTM nominations because I've seen it discussed a lot on here and was curious. I'm excited to be cooking from it. I only made the salad portion of this recipe because I was looking for something to go with the BF's octopus dish for dinner and we have an overabundance of apples and carrots from the weekly CSA box. I started to get a bit uncertain of the dish while putting it together, but the end result was excellent. Crisp, clean flavors that weren't overwhelming and went wonderfully with the octopus.

                                                                                                                        Putting together the salad requires a bit of time and chopping. Toast the peanuts. Whisk together lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce to make the dressing. Then, throw in seeded and thinly sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced apples, grated carrots, thinly sliced scallions, thinly sliced red chilies, chopped mint, and chopped cilantro. Ground the peanuts in a food processor and top the salad with the peanuts.

                                                                                                                        This was a great little salad. I want to try it with the tuna at some point, but have a feeling it will be making a frequent appearance as a side salad without the tuna as we tend to almost always have the ingredients for it on hand.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: TxnInMtl Jan 22, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                          I'd overlooked the salad part of this. It *does* sound like a lot of chopping, but it also sounds really great. I'm a sucker for sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and chilies together. Not sure how I missed it, as I have gone over this book a lot of times, but thank you for pointing it out.

                                                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                                                          TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jan 24, 2012 05:05 PM

                                                                                                                          Kerala Korma (p. 68)

                                                                                                                          This is definitely not the most appetizing looking dish (the BF compared it to gruel), but it was tasty. This wasn't at the top of my list to make, but it saved me running out to the store for lemongrass that I would need for some of the others. The flavors are mild, but if you like coconut-based curries and cashews, this is a good bet. I doubled the chili, coriander, and cumin.

                                                                                                                          It comes together easily. The coconut cream (or milk), cashews, ginger, chili, coriander, cumin, and salt are blended in a food processor to make a smooth sauce (mine was a little more on the slightly chunky side). Oil is heated in a saucepan and finely chopped onion is cooked until golden. The sauce is added and heated, then some curry leaves. Sliced chicken thighs get dumped in with lime juice, cover, reduce to low, and simmer under cooked through and sauce thickens (mine seemed to be a bit loose still, but still tasted good). Make sure you have plenty of rice to soak up the sauce!

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: TxnInMtl Jan 24, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                            The big question: did you use coconut cream or milk? I'm debating this one. I like spicier curries, but at the same time, it seems sort of homey.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                              TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jan 24, 2012 06:15 PM

                                                                                                                              Coconut milk. I had less chicken than the recipe called for, so I thought about just using the cream from the top of the can, but it seemed like such a waste (and the recipe calls for 2 cups which would take cream from at least 2 cans). I think without realizing it, I did scale down the sauce a bit because I just put a can in which is less than 2 cups (while doubling some of the other seasonings). Generally I go for spicier curries too, but this worked for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

                                                                                                                          2. The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Jan 25, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                            My copy of Mighty Spice arrived yesterday! I haven't dipped into it yet, and won't at least until this weekend, but I'm very excited. Any recommendations for favorite recipes I should try first that are easy and don't call for any hot peppers or peanuts? (Ie., recipes that are baby-friendly).


                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 06:04 AM

                                                                                                                              Off the top of my head the spinach and chicken curry comes to mind. But given that I mostly bought the book because of the spice/heat business, I'll have to think some more for others. I guess almonds would also be off limits for the time being? Otherwise I might suggest the chicken with yogurt and almonds.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Jan 25, 2012 06:16 AM

                                                                                                                                Spice isn't a problem at this age for him, but I think chili is a bit much. If I could pick the chili out or add it at the last minute, I think that would be fine.

                                                                                                                                We haven't been given the go ahead for nuts yet. I wonder if there's a way for me to just add the almonds at the very last minute in that chicken with yogurt and almonds dish?


                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                  Been a while since I made it, but I can't see why not. Just save a portion for him, then add the chopped almonds and maybe give it a few more minutes simmer?

                                                                                                                                  I totally understand on the nuts. My pediatrician had me so nervous (husband has many allergies) that I didn't give Lulu peanut butter until she was almost 4.

                                                                                                                                  I'm probably not the best person to ask about the relative spiciness of any dish.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Jan 25, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                    He actually really likes spices (so far he's a fan of Mexican food and Carribean food) so spice in general is okay, I just feel nervous giving him any kind of hot pepper unless I can pick it out.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                      Yes, we don't want to surprise him biting into something like that! I'm proud of him liking those spicy things. Good on you both.

                                                                                                                                      Lulu now smirks up at me sideways when she says she doesn't like spicy food, as if it is our little joke (and while gobbling down something spicy). So I seem to have cleared that road bump.

                                                                                                                            2. t
                                                                                                                              TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jan 31, 2012 05:27 PM

                                                                                                                              Chinese Pork Dumpling Soup (p. 15)

                                                                                                                              I've been curious about this recipe since before I bought the book as I somehow ended up with too much ground pork in the freezer. In the end, I loved the broth, but thought the meatballs needed a bit more seasoning to them.

                                                                                                                              To start, you mix together ground pork, grated ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. You're supposed to let the ingredients sit for 30 minutes or overnight for the flavors to meld. I went with 30 minutes, so maybe that's part of my problem. To make the broth, you combine stock, star anise, ginger, and garlic. The recipe calls for sliced ginger, but I keep mine frozen and just grate as I go (I think I picked that tip up somewhere on CH), so I used grated, but slightly less. After you form the meatballs, they get lowered into the broth, along with scallions, Chinese leaf lettuce, cilantro, and a bit more soy sauce. For some reason, our CSA box loves to give a single tiny bok choy plant to us, so I used that and supplemented with some red cabbage from the bowling ball sized cabbage we got last week. The red cabbage turned the broth a brilliant shade of purple which looked ... interesting, but made finding some of the star anise shards a bit more fun. The broth is brought to a boil and everything is cooked until the pork meatballs are done. I'm hoping the leftovers manage to pick up some of the broth flavors before lunch tomorrow! I'm wondering if a bit of rice wine or maybe some dark soy sauce might've helped out the dumplings a bit more.

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                dkennedy RE: TxnInMtl Feb 3, 2012 03:37 PM

                                                                                                                                My copy of Mighty Spice arrived at the library today so I am finally going to get to join in with this discussion. Can't wait to scour this thread over the weekend to get ideas!

                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: dkennedy Feb 3, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                  Yippee! Hope you like it even half as much as I have. I'm planning to give the Gung Bao chicken a try this weekend. I think if you like Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican and/or middle eastern food, you'll surely find something to like in this book. And if you like things spicy, make sure to bump up the spices a bit (I see that TxnInMtl found the meatballs in the dumpling soup to need a bit more seasoning, and I've had the same experience with the recipes. YMMV).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                    dkennedy RE: LulusMom Feb 3, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                                    Just finished reading the thread. Encouraged by all the positive reviews with very few so-so recipes. Also super excited at the prospect that many of these are easy throw togethers!!!!! I am not very good at making use of easy recipes. Will be back to report soon.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                      dkennedy RE: dkennedy Feb 11, 2012 07:49 PM

                                                                                                                                      Feta, Walnut and Nigella Seed Salad, p. 21

                                                                                                                                      This is my first recipe out of this book and my new favorite salad. A really satisfying main course type salad, with chunks of feta and freshly toasted walnuts as the main flavor components. The salad dressing is a light, fresh, lemony vinaigrette. The nigellas seeds add that indescribable something, and the greens (recipe calls for tarragon, parsley and mint but I substituted arugula and baby greens), round out the flavors nicely.

                                                                                                                                      Tried it the next day without the walnuts (I had run out) and it really wasn't the same. Flavors are perfectly balanced as written. Really wonderful.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                        dkennedy RE: dkennedy Feb 11, 2012 09:19 PM

                                                                                                                                        Pomegranate, Fennel, Orange and Watercress Salad, p. 22

                                                                                                                                        We made this salad tonight to accompany grilled rib eye steaks. A great first course salad, shaved fennel, pom seeds, and orange segments dominate this salad, with watercress sort of added as a garnish. We loved it, but I think I would replace the peppery watercress with arugula. Pretty on the plate too.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: dkennedy Feb 12, 2012 02:44 AM

                                                                                                                                          I love walnuts in a salad. I'm going to make (again) the radicchio, walnut and gorganzola salad in Italian Easy Two this week. And I'm thinking of the other italian one .... forgetting which cheese was in it right this second, but from Trattoria. It was something like just walnuts and the cubes of cheese (daggonit, I wish I could remember which cheese) and it is pure heaven. No greens at all, so not the healthiest thing in the world, but still fantastic. [edit: is it maybe pecorino?]

                                                                                                                                          I'm so glad you've having success with the book. Your reports are going to have me looking at the salad section of this book again, and definitely trying something.

                                                                                                                                2. w
                                                                                                                                  walker RE: LulusMom Feb 12, 2012 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                  I got this book from SF library; the only one available was from Sacramento system, of all things.

                                                                                                                                  Anyway, I tried the Herb and Spice Pilaf Rice I thought for that amt of rice (almost 2 cups) it needed more than 2 cardamom so I put 5 small ones. One thing about the recipe bothered me; it called for 2 handfuls of cilantro, 2 handfuls of parsley. I don't like such imprecise instructions in a cookbook. Does this mean before or after stemming? Also, I have small hands, then what? I just had to do my best at estimating this.

                                                                                                                                  I liked it and would make it again. Easy.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: walker Feb 12, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                                    I'm in the East Bay, and also saw that no Bay Area libraries have this book, which seems surprising.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Feb 12, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                      I have the book, but just checked my library to see. They don't have it either.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: walker
                                                                                                                                      walker RE: walker Apr 21, 2012 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                                      I've now made this rice several times and have decided I like it a lot; even good cold the next day. I make an effort to get organic cilantro/parsley -- so much nicer.

                                                                                                                                      A really nice basmati rice is Zafarani Reserve .. I find it at Indian stores.

                                                                                                                                    3. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Feb 21, 2012 03:23 PM

                                                                                                                                      Alleppy Shrimp Curry (p. 136)

                                                                                                                                      This was just sort of eh for us. Not sure exactly what the problem was. it was fine, but given that I'll make almost anything with curry, coconut milk and shrimp, this was one of the least exciting I have tasted. First you make a curry paste of 1 green chili (I used 2), 1 red onion (my husband thought possibly it was too oniony), a 2 inch piece of ginger, 1/2 tsp. turmeric and salt in your mini-processor. Heat veg. oil and toss in mustard seeds, then the curry paste until fragrant. Add coconut cream (here I used coconut milk instead; perhaps this was my problem) and the juice of one lemon (we thought lime might have been a bit nicer) bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook through, add large pinch of crumbled curry leaves. We served over jasmine rice. I served this with roasted cauliflower and carrots with cumin seeds, and to be honest, it was the tastier item on the plate. Again, not bad, just not special. A rare disappointment from this book.

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                        walker RE: LulusMom Feb 21, 2012 03:28 PM

                                                                                                                                        I was intending to try this some day; what do you think would improve it, other than lime juice and your extra chili? (Was it not too hot for Lulu?)

                                                                                                                                        It calls for dried curry leaves; I don't have any right now but when I go to the Indian store, I wonder if fresh (I think they have fresh ones in the freezer) would be better.

                                                                                                                                        Did you get shrimp that you peel and prepare yourself? I think these have much more flavor.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: walker Feb 21, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                                          Ach, just lost an answer I'd typed to you. Hate when that happens. Not at all too hot for Lulu (I tend to find these recipes need a little kick in the heat department - they're usually very good, but not hot enough for my tastes, which is easily remedied); definitely I'd go with lime over lemon; fresh curry leaves sound like a good choice. I think the addition of fresh cilantro or scallions (or both) at the end would be a nice touch. I used frozen shrimp, so you may well be right that this was part of the problem.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                            herby RE: LulusMom Feb 21, 2012 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                            I do not think that mustard seeds belong in this spice combo and would take them out. Definitely use limes as they are closer in taste to Indian lemons and fresh curry leaves are much better tasting than dried. I would possibly add about same amount of chooped tomatoes as there is onion.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: herby Feb 22, 2012 02:43 AM

                                                                                                                                              Funny, we both enjoyed the mustard seed. And I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes in asian food (the mix of tomato and ginger hits me as odd, somehow - my weirdness, not anyone else's). But yes, the lime and fresh curry leaves should help.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                herby RE: LulusMom Feb 22, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                That's why we have so many cookbooks, right? Our tastes are so very different. To me, Punjabi kind of food starts with onion, garlic. ginger and tomato while South Indian food will start with mustart seeds, fenugreek seed, curry leaves and tamarind or lime juce. Tumeric is an often companion to many dishes. Always enjoy your reports, LM, even if our tastes are different:)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                          herby RE: LulusMom Aug 29, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                                          Alleppy Shrimp Curry - p. 136
                                                                                                                                          Finally made this dish and as LLM describes it so well I will not repeat. I made as written but with fresh curry leaves that I put in along with coconut cream. I was expecting company for dinner and made the sauce a few hours earlier; shimp went in as I was heating up other dishes. We all liked it and I did not mind just one chili because everything else was pretty spicy. I love the sauce and will make it again for sure.

                                                                                                                                        3. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Feb 23, 2012 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                          Nasi Goreng - Indonesian fried rice (p. 186)

                                                                                                                                          Another hit. A bit on the salty side, but a very tasty fried rice. You make a paste from shrimp paste (or fish sauce, which is what I used), 1 red bell pepper, 3 garlic cloves, 1 red chili (he wants it seeded - I used one red chili and one serrano and didn't deseed), a pinch of sugar and 1 tsp garam masala. Heat wok and add 1 chopped onion, cook until browned, add the paste, cook until fragrant; add 5 cups cooked cold rice and 3 tablespoons soy sauce. He says to stir-fry continuously 4-5 minutes. OK, no problem, except he also says "meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and fry the eggs" at which point I need to ask "just how many arms do you have, Mr. Gregory-Smith?" I felt like a cartoon character, madly stir-frying as well as I could while also cracking and frying the eggs. It all came out fine in the end; Lulu's egg went in first, husband's second and mine last since I like mine basically raw. Serve the rice topped with the fried egg. I loved the runny yolk oozing down into the rice. Served with sliced red and yellow peppers which helped take away from the saltiness. A really nice and easy (except for the double frying business) meal.

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                            lilham RE: LulusMom Jun 3, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                            Nasi Goreng p186

                                                                                                                                            A very nice and quick rice dish. I made it with one red chilli and one red capsicum, both deseeded. (Not sure what serrano is). Because I used freshly cooked rice from a rice cooker, I didn't stir-fry the 4-5 min asked after the rice was added. Once the rice, onion, spice paste and soy sauce were well mixed, I took it off the heat and proceeded with the fry egg.

                                                                                                                                            I served it with roast cashews and Ottolenghi's cucumber and poppy seed salad. The slight sweet and sour taste of the cucumber works really well with the rice. The nuts bulk up the meal so I don't have to serve it with meat. My husband and 1 year old both loved this. (I made an omelette with the nasi goreng inside for the baby. Instead of fry egg on top of rice).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                              Gio RE: LulusMom Sep 9, 2012 06:41 AM

                                                                                                                                              Nasi Goreng, Pg. 186

                                                                                                                                              We Loved this fried rice, an Indonesian dish. For once I had the requisite 5 cups cooked rice from a few days ago when we made more than the usual amount for a meal just so I could make the nasi. I had small serranos so used 2 and kept the seeds in, used 1/2 a red bell (capsicum) but seeded and de-ribbed then roughly chopped it. The spice paste, made in a mini FP. consists of: garlic, garam masala, red peppers, shrimp paste, soy sauce, red chillies and a bit of sugar (we use organic raw for everything).

                                                                                                                                              After chopped onions are stir-fried, spice paste is added and stir-fried then the rice and stir-fried till the rice is heated through. Instead of frying the eggs however the rice in the wok was pushed to the side and lightly beaten eggs were poured into the well. They were scrambled a bit then slowly mixed with the rice. This is a Grace Young method and I like to use it when I can.

                                                                                                                                              This is such a quick, easy and delicious rice. Spicy, and full of umami from the shrimp paste and garam masala. Another ohhh and ahhh dish for us. I seriously think this will trump Mai Pham's ketchup ridden fried rice which we were gaga about at first taste. Additionally, I served Andea Nugyen's Spicy Cabbage Salad from her Into the Vietnamese Kitchen on page 50. Something I've made umptynine times and we love it each and every...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                BigSal RE: Gio Sep 9, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                You have me craving fried rice at 10 AM! I like the use of shrimp paste in this, although my husband objects to the smell.:) I'll have to look into the Spicy Cabbage Salad too. Thanks Gio!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                  Gio RE: BigSal Sep 9, 2012 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Too funny, Sal... I liked it so much I had it for breakfast a few hours ago: A scoop of the nasi heated up in the light broth of Nugyen's poaching liquid. More broth than rice. G had grilled and buttered a few slices of Italian country bread and I thought I'd dunk and slurp... but after a few bites of the toast I decided the rice was fantastic on its own. Coffee after that was out of the question.

                                                                                                                                                  The cabbage salad dressing has fish sauce so the combination of salad and fried rice was heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: BigSal Sep 9, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, we have had some serious objections to the smell of shrimp paste in this house (and I agree with them) so I used the fish sauce that JGS said was ok in its place.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                      Gio RE: LulusMom Sep 9, 2012 08:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Well I guess I'm lucky because G has a very diminished sense of smell, therefore his need to add more hot stuff to his dishes leaving me to use all the stinky stuff I want.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: Gio Sep 9, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I remember having to apologize to one of the babysitters about the smell. Took a few days to clear it out of the house. I love the taste but ...

                                                                                                                                                        I've gotten to the point where I actually love the smell of fish sauce. My husband can't stand it, although he likes the taste, so whenever I'm cooking with it I make sure he leaves the room when I'm adding it. The good thing is that the smell seems to dissipate much faster than shrimp paste does.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                        BigSal RE: LulusMom Sep 9, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Ha! Good to know that fish sauce works too.

                                                                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                                                                  TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Feb 23, 2012 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Vietnamese Star Anise and Lemongrass Chicken Claypot, p. 61

                                                                                                                                                  Vietnamese isn't my favorite Asian cuisine, but when I gave the BF a choice between a few chicken dishes that we had the ingredients for, this is what he chose. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this dish, although next time i would probably up the lemongrass, star anise, and red chili a bit. Overall, this is a great low effort dish for a weeknight. Oil is heated in a saucepan and star anise is added until fragrant, then sliced onion until soft, then chopped garlic. Chopped chicken thighs, smashed lemongrass, red chili, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and chicken stock are then stirred in. The mixture is brought to a boil, covered, and simmered on low for 20 minutes. Lid is removed, heat increased to medium, and cooked for five minutes more to reduce the liquid. He suggests serving with rice. Somehow, we were out of normal rice (despite having Japanese and arborio on hand), so I served with the rice pilaf from the book using bulgur instead.

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                                    Karen_Schaffer RE: TxnInMtl Mar 22, 2012 09:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Vietnamese Star Anise and Lemongrass Chicken Claypot, p. 61

                                                                                                                                                    I finally got my library copy (only one in the Santa Clara county system!), and picked out this recipe while sitting in the parking lot. Txn describes it well. It took longer to prep everything than I expected (well, mostly because I spend a lot of time trimming fat and tendons off of the boneless skinless thighs -- they're not convenience foods for me), but then the cooking was fast and easy.

                                                                                                                                                    I used green onions instead of a regular onion. I used a can of chicken broth, about 1 2/3 c instead of the 2 1/2 c called for, but it was enough to cover the ingredients. And we ate it as a soup, rather than putting it over rice. The two of us polished off the whole dish -- it's really just chicken poached in a spicy, flavorful broth. I made a southeast Asian cole slaw to go with it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Karen_Schaffer Mar 23, 2012 05:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I feel kind of dumb asking this, but did either of you use a clay pot? I'm assuming a dutch oven would work?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                        Karen_Schaffer RE: LulusMom Mar 23, 2012 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                        No, it's a good question since it's in his title, but he just calls for a saucepan, and that's all I had anyhow. I certainly checked the recipe before I decided to make it. Doesn't need to be as large as a Dutch oven even. I think he should have left the clay pot out of the title, myself.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: Karen_Schaffer Mar 23, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks - now I don't feel so foolish. I did read saucepan in your (or TiM's) review, and just assumed it was some other part of the preparation. I'm working my way through this book, and will add this to my list. Sounds like you weren't overly thrilled with it but liked it well enough? I tend to love Vietnamese food, so it should be up my alley.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                            Karen_Schaffer RE: LulusMom Mar 23, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                            We loved the flavors of it, but it seemed too plain somehow, just chicken and onions in broth. Very blah looking (and rice would not have helped, imho). I'm sure I'll make it again, because the flavor was great, but I think I'll add some quick-cooking greens towards the end, and maybe some cellophane noodles.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: Karen_Schaffer Mar 23, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Great, great info. Maybe something like baby spinach and sliced scallions?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                Karen_Schaffer RE: LulusMom Mar 24, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Sure, or even chard, kale, mustard greens, beet greens, etc. Since it simmers for 20 minutes, the longer cooking greens could just be added sooner rather than later. Now I feel like making it again!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: Karen_Schaffer Mar 24, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  You have to love a one dish meal. And I've been trying to get more kale into our diet. And I loved radish greens the time I cooked them from Flexitarian.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                                        beetlebug RE: Karen_Schaffer Apr 2, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Vietnamese Star Anise and Lemongrass Chicken Claypot, p. 61

                                                                                                                                                        We both loved this. Taking into account of the previous reports, I decided to treat this more like a soup v. a main dish (although it was our main dish). I thought this was a deliciously simple dish with a lot of complex flavors going on. The lime juice and fish sauce gave each other a contrasting umami goodness to it all.

                                                                                                                                                        I used more aromatics then called for and a bit less chicken. And for the fish sauce, I used about three to four glugs. I also used boxed stock but didn't bother heating it up separately. Towards the end of the simmer time, I put in chopped chard. I had leftover jasmine rice so I quickly microwaved it and put some into two bowls. Then, I ladled the soup right into it.

                                                                                                                                                        I also think this would be delicious with rice noodles. But, I loved it with the jasmine rice. Almost like a rice porridge, if I had more rice.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Breadcrumbs RE: LulusMom Mar 27, 2012 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                      After posting this in WFD, I remembered this thread...

                                                                                                                                                      Szechuan Chicken and Cucumber Salad – p. 37

                                                                                                                                                      Truly scrumptious! A hot, sour, sweet and spicy dish that made a quick and satisfying weeknight meal. I prepared the dressing and roasted my chicken the day before to save time. I adapted the recipe to our tastes by substituting lime for the lemon juice and Thai bird chilies for the mild chili flakes since we like our dishes spicy and, I’ve never heard of mild chili flakes in any event. We were both famished this evening so to make the dish more substantial, I also tossed in some noodles. This was so flavourful and exceeded our expectations on all counts. I’ll definitely be making it again as it’s perfect for dinner on a late or busy night.

                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                        Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Sep 7, 2012 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Szechuan Chicken and Cucumber Salad, Pg. 37

                                                                                                                                                        Loved this chicken salad. Great use of an already roasted chicken or indeed any pre-cooked chicken pieces from which the meat can be sliced and chopped. I used peanut oil for the vegetable oil and did use the lemon juice.

                                                                                                                                                        The salad consists of cooked chicken ( I used Sunday's left-over roast chicken) chopped in chunks, seeded chopped cucumber, and a handful of chopped cilantro. The delicious dressing is made by whisking together oil, chili flakes (I used crushed red pepper flakes, not mild), ground Szechuan peppercorns, a bit of sugar, light soy sauce, and lemon juice.

                                                                                                                                                        Toss the prepared chicken/cucumber/cilantro in a bowl. Warm the oil over heat then remove from heat and add the dressing ingredients, whisking till melded. Pour over the salad. Toss & serve. What could be easier? I served the salad on roughly chopped arugula (I have a ton of it so it will show up all week), jasmine rice cooked in salt-free chicken broth, and a Fuchsia Dunlop stir-fry of beet stems and wax beans. Yums all around...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                          dkennedy RE: Gio Sep 7, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I am going to steal this idea for tonight's dinner.Thanks Gio!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen RE: Gio Oct 23, 2012 11:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Can anyone provide the ingredient measurements for this Szechuan Chicken and Cucumber Salad for Westminstress? The recipe we found by Googling didn't mention the Szechuan peppercorns at all.. Here's the recipe we found: http://nycitygirlcooks.wordpress.com/...



                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 23, 2012 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Just happen to be making something from the book tonight so it is handy. Here you go:

                                                                                                                                                              2 1/2 cups cooked chicken with skin and bones removed
                                                                                                                                                              1 cucumber
                                                                                                                                                              1 handful chopped cilantro leaves

                                                                                                                                                              3 tablespoons vegetable oil
                                                                                                                                                              2 tablespoons mild chili flakes
                                                                                                                                                              1 tsp. ground szechuan pepper
                                                                                                                                                              1/2 tsp. sugar
                                                                                                                                                              2 tablespoons light soy sauce
                                                                                                                                                              juice of 1/2 lemon

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Oct 23, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Excellent, thank you! Sounds delicious!


                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                  Westminstress RE: LulusMom Oct 23, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks to TDQ, LLM and blue room, we just polished off this salad for dinner. It was really tasty and a great use for leftover roast chicken. This is definitely not boring food! I only had 11/2 cups chicken and used 2 tiny Kirby cukes (didn't bother to deseed as they were so small) and used the full amount of dressing. Like BC I've never heard of mild red pepper flakes. Mine are pretty spicy, so I reduced them to 1T and that was plenty for us.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: Westminstress Oct 24, 2012 02:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I'll have to add this one to my list. I really love this book. We had the Vietnamese chicken with lemongrass and chilies last night from it, and it was, as always, great. Served with a Jamie Oliver salad I will report on in the adjunct thread (sneak preview: we liked it a lot too!).

                                                                                                                                                          2. herby RE: LulusMom Apr 20, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                            After reading your enthusiastic reviews, I finally succumbed to Mighty Spice - bookcloseouts had it for $11 and that sealed the deal. The book arrived today and I will be looking through it to come up with ideas for lunch for 5 and maybe something simple for tomorrows ladies lunch for 3. If any of you have ideas, please share!

                                                                                                                                                            1. herby RE: LulusMom Apr 26, 2012 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                              GOLDEN TEMPLE LAMB CURRY p. 98

                                                                                                                                                              Amazingly no one made this dish yet. I love Indian food but it is such a labour of love that I typically save making it when I have an appreciative company. This one came together in no time and tasted as authentic as the one you slave an hour over the hot stove:)

                                                                                                                                                              I made a few small changes along the way but mostly followed the instructions. Onions in India are red but they do not taste the same as NA red onions - I used normal yellow ones and did not chop but rather sliced lengthwise as Indian cooks do. However you chop your onions, they are cooked in veg oil (used grapeseed) until golden. I then added the cubed leg of lamb (just a piece, about a pound) and browned it a bit. In the mean time tomatoes (canned), fresh ginger, garlic, chili powder, garam masala, cumin and salt are processed in FP until smooth. This goes into the pot where onions and lamb are having a party and all is simmered gently for 1.5 hours. I let it cool and reheated for dinner - so good! Spicy but not burning hot, flavourful and so easy!

                                                                                                                                                              Mexican chicken will be the next dish that I will try thans to LulusMom excellent review. I am also interested in Coconut and lemongrass Salmon Curry but have not seen any reviews - sounds good though and I need to use that piece of salmon!:)

                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                nomadchowwoman RE: herby Apr 26, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                That sounds do good, herby. I must make this soon.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                  BigSal RE: herby Apr 26, 2012 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with nomadchowwoman...this does sound good (and healthy). Thanks for your report.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                    herby RE: BigSal Apr 26, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I hope both of you, NCW and BigSal, make it and report back. I served with it rice cooked with black cardamom, cloves and cumin seeds (as I often make it) but there was no need for anything but plain fluffy rice.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                      nomadchowwoman RE: herby Apr 26, 2012 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      That's a good idea on the rice--I have plenty of black cardamom and not nearly enough uses.

                                                                                                                                                                2. herby RE: LulusMom May 5, 2012 10:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD WITH A CHILI, STAR ANISE, CINNAMON AND LIME DRESSING - p. 210

                                                                                                                                                                  I was asked to bring a fruit salad to a freind's birthday Indonesian dinner and a quick search for ideas on EYB lead me to this recipe. The recipe is for 4 servings and we were 10, so I doubled the dressing ingredients - sugar, cinnamon and star anise - but did not increase the amount of water and used the juice of three rather large limes instead of 4. The recipe said "1/4 chili flakes" which is obviously a typo - I crumpled the whole red dry chili into water/sugar mixture and added a big, fat cinnamon stick, and 4 star anise; once the sugar dissolved, I let in bubble very slowly for about 15 minutes and let it cool while preparing the fruit. I did not used papaya because I could not find a ripe one and passion fruite was outrageously expensive. I had a mixture of pineapple, start fruit, dragon fruit, kiwi, black grapes, mango, banana and pomegranate. Added lime juice to the dressing and dressed the salad four hours before it was served.

                                                                                                                                                                  Everyone raved, I loved it and my apartment had an amazing, exotic, almost not identifiable aroma when I returned home:) Definitely a keeper and everyone wanted the recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. beetlebug RE: LulusMom May 9, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Squid and Chorizo Salad (pg. 45)

                                                                                                                                                                    Another winner from this book. The most time consuming thing about this recipe was drying the squid off and then cutting them into rings. There are so many different flavors and textures going on and the chorizo worked surprisingly well with the squid (I was skeptical but had to use the chorizo).

                                                                                                                                                                    Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chorizo and cook until it is crisp. Add the squid and cook until it is cooked though (about 3 minutes). Add lime juice and set aside.

                                                                                                                                                                    In a separate bowl, combine chopped red onions, parsley, black olive and a red chile. Add the squid to the salad and voila. I also added a kind of watercress to the salad to make it more of a complete meal.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. t
                                                                                                                                                                      TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jun 11, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Estella's Mexican Beef-Filled Peppers with a Pecan Sauce - p. 92

                                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't thrilled with this recipe. It came out a bit bland and too watery for me.

                                                                                                                                                                      To make the filling, onions are sauteed until golden, then you add a mixture of ground beef, chopped garlic, ground cumin, ground cloves, chili flakes, chopped almonds, chopped tomatoes, and beef stock. I doubled the chili flakes, but still didn't get much from them. I should've followed other recipe advice for this book and doubled the cumin and cloves as well. He instructs you to finely chop the tomatoes. I'm wondering if they also should've been seeded as well to reduce the moisture in the mixture. My tomatoes were a bit on the large side and seemed to be entirely too much for the beef, so I left one out. I'd be tempted to try just using tomato paste instead for this if I were to make the recipe again. The filling is cooked until the beef is cooked and the sauce reduces down. I let mine got longer than suggested, but it was still quite watery, so I just tried to drain it while putting it in the pepper. Chopped cilantro is added to the mixture before it is used to fill bell peppers. The bell peppers are then cooked until soft and turning golden brown. To finish it off, sour cream and pecans are blitzed together in a food processor and the sauce put on top of the peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                      All in all, it wasn't bad, but it also wasn't great or something I'd make again. I think with a bit more spice and a less watery mix, it would be better though.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                                                        herby RE: TxnInMtl Jun 11, 2012 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I've made many stuffed beggies including peppers and decided that I do not care for them at all. Tiny eggplants stuffed with lamb Indian style are the only ones that I truly enjoy but do not make very often for some reason. Need to correct this situation:)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                                                          TxnInMtl RE: TxnInMtl Jun 17, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Just to report back on this. I was speaking with a friend who's not on CH but also has this book and had made this recipe. She used canned tomatoes in this recipe due to not having good tomatoes in season when she made it and had no issues with it being overly watery or bland (although she likes things much less spicy than I do).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                                                                                                          TxnInMtl RE: LulusMom Jun 11, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Jetalah Pineapple, Cucumber, and Chili Salad - p. 30

                                                                                                                                                                          I made this salad to go with the beef-filled red peppers as suggested. While the peppers disappointed, I really enjoyed this salad. The pineapple, cucumber, tomato, and chili all worked together nicely and it's not something I would've thought to throw together on my own. To make, sliced red onion (I used some spring shallots), rice wine or apple cider vinegar (I used apple as I'm low on rice wine vinegar), and sugar are mixed together with a pinch of salt and left to sit. Meanwhile, you get to spend a lot of time chopping. Pineapple, cucumber, and red chili are thinly sliced. A tomato is seeded and roughly chopped. Everything is mixed together with the onions and topped with a lot of ground black pepper. I was a bit skeptical of the pepper, but it worked. Overall, the salad was a success and I'd make it again.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                                                            herby RE: TxnInMtl Jun 11, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for reporting on this salad, TM! I completely overlooked it and will put it on my "to make" list.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                                                                                                                                              Gio RE: TxnInMtl Sep 14, 2012 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Jetalah Pineapple, Cucumber, and Chili Salad, Pg. 30

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh yes, this was a different but seriously delicious salad. Refreshing, spicy and a great compliment to a meatball recipe I had made to serve with it. Not much to add to Txn's description. I too used apple cider vinegar, Bragg's organic... I love that stuff. All the listed ingredients were at hand so it was an easy matter to put it all together.

                                                                                                                                                                              There's another half of pineapple in the fridge and I might just do a replay of the salad when we make grilled marinated chicken, and potato salad on Saturday night.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                                                                                              michaelak79 RE: LulusMom Sep 20, 2012 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Cheese Quesadillas with a Green Mole Sauce p. 157

                                                                                                                                                                              Parsley, Cilantro, 2 green chiles (I used Poblano), scallions, lime juice, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, cumin seeds, olive oil, vegetable stock and salt and pepper are blended in a food processor until smooth then simmered on the stovetop for 30 minutes and re-blended. Served with cheese quesadillas made with mozzarella.

                                                                                                                                                                              The cheese quesadillas were fine, I mean they were just basic cheese quesadillas. Although I had never used mozarella for a quesadilla before. It was nice, just a bit of salty flavor, but otherwise mostly a vehicle for the sauce. Which was fine, because the sauce was DELICIOUS!

                                                                                                                                                                              I've never had a green mole before, but I will seek it out now. The sauce was fresh and light with a hint of warmth from the cumin and a mile undertone of spice from the chiles. I will make it again. It would be a great pair for grilled chicken or fish. We also stirred some into our scrambled eggs which was delightful as well.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Oct 25, 2012 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                OK, this cookbook keeps popping up in various conversations, so I've taken it out of the library (again) thinking I need to give it a closer look.

                                                                                                                                                                                You know me and my familiar refrain as of late: I'm looking for quick weeknight-type recipes. I've gone through this thread and culled anything that anyone described as quick or fast. Are there any other favorites you'd describe as "weeknight fast"? (or any on my list below that you'd strike?)

                                                                                                                                                                                Szechuan Chicken and Cucumber Salad page 37
                                                                                                                                                                                Gung Bao Chicken page 60
                                                                                                                                                                                Vietnamese Star Anise and Lemongrass chicken claypot pg 61
                                                                                                                                                                                Kerala Korma pg 68
                                                                                                                                                                                Bangkok Garlic and Black Pepper Chicken pg 72
                                                                                                                                                                                Cya Shish Kebabs pg 94
                                                                                                                                                                                Dongbei Cumin and Cilantro Stir-Fried Lamb pg 99
                                                                                                                                                                                Stir-fried Squid with Chili and Cilantro pg 145
                                                                                                                                                                                Nasi Goreng pg 186


                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                  Gio RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 07:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Szechuan Chicken and Cucumber Salad and Nasi Goreng are my 2 favorites so keep them... LOL. Seriously, I've made both recipes several times and we still love each. I've used left over nasi as an ingredient in an 'ad lib' soup and it adds such wonderful flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Vietnamese chicken with lemongrass and chilies is fantastic and quick. Just make it two nights ago. Also the chili and basil scallops. Maybe the chili part is nervous-making with a young child, but once he's happy eating spicy, I'd definitely add both to the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I would say, from your list, that you need to maybe rethink the Shish Kebabs. While they're easy enough to make, putting them together seemed aggravating to me. That said, they were delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Basically I find most of the things in this book fairly quick to put together; some require a bit more time on the stove than a stir-fry, but none of them (with the exception of the kebabs) has had me feeling like things were taking a long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Oct 25, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, LLM and Gio. I'll make those adjustments to my list. That should get me rolling anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny, when I page through this book looking at the recipes, they all seem pretty simple. When I took this book out of the library in January of this year (which is when I first posted in this thread) somehow, these recipes seemed daunting. I don't know why, but I think I thought they were going to have only 5 ingredients, instead of 5 spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I'll see if I can get a couple under my belt in the next few weeks before I return it to the library.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                        dkennedy RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 10:36 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't realize you you don't own this book. This is a great resource for you. With a few notable exceptions, the recipes are relatively straight forward and quick to prepare.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My personal favorites:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Feta, Walnut, and Nigella Seed Salad, p. 21
                                                                                                                                                                                        Soy Eggplant Salad, p. 34
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tamarind Chix Stir Fry, p. 59
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sticky Szechuan Pork, p. 108

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: dkennedy Oct 25, 2012 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          You're all (LLM, Gio, lilham, DK) fantastic, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And, no, I've stubbornly resisted buying this book even though many of you wiser than me have gently tried to nudge me to have a look at it. I was wigged out by all the nuts and chiles I was going to have to avoid feeding my child, but now I think I need to give the book a change and just adapt. Grind the nuts to a paste or add at the table. Dial down the chiles or add at the table. Or omit if it seems okay to do so. Now that I'm having another look at this book, it looks very delicious and pretty easy...


                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                      lilham RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would add
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sri Lankan devilled monkfish p117 (I've used all sorts of frozen fillets for this)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Kadahi chicken p78

                                                                                                                                                                                      I also love the fattoush salad p33 with roast chicken and potatoes. The roast obviously isn't fast, but the salad is very very low effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                        Gio RE: lilham Oct 25, 2012 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh I agree about the Kadahi Chicken! It was the first recipe I cooked from the book... It's absolutely delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: lilham Oct 25, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm another huge Kadahi chicken fan, and it is very malleable. I've made it twice, both times adding whatever vegetables I happen to have in the fridge so that I don't need to fuss about making another dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Going to have to try that Sri Lankan deviled monkfish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                          herby RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Glad to hear that you found the time to renew your library card, TDQ :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Tropical Fruit Salad p. 210, Alleppy Srimp Curry p.136 and Golden Temple Lamb Curry p. 98. Lamb cooks for 1.5 hours but hands-on time is about 10-15 minutes; definitely too spicy for a child - you could put a pinch of chili powder instead of 2t or not use it at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen RE: herby Oct 25, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the tip about modifying the lamb. That's the kind of recipe I might have just passed over...

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also picked up a copy of Saving Dinner!

                                                                                                                                                                                            Renewing my card was embarrassingly painless. The worst thing about it was the man in line ahead of me who was texting while the librarian was trying to explain something to him and his child. I wanted to throw him out of line saying if he couldn't pay attention his turn was over.


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you on tossing that guy right out of the library!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Quick note about the spicing: keep in mind that for some of us (me!) the spicing is already on the mild side, so it shouldn't take much to make it ok for tender young mouths. Given what you've mentioned about feeding TDPrince many other cuisines, it may already be subtle enough that he's ok with it. But yes, the first time definitely do lighten it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Oct 26, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                OK, that's 19 recipes I've tagged! That ought to be enough to get me started!

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you,


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 26, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm excited! I hope you like whatever comes first.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Nov 23, 2012 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I finally ordered Mighty Spice through interlibrary loan, but was so busy I didn't get to spend much time with it, and it's due tomorrow (no renewals with IL loan, and a $1/day late fine!). I did cook a few things from it, though, and it seems they're all recipes no one else has reported on.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Indian Fish Cakes with a Cilantro and Coconut Chutney, p. 122

                                                                                                                                                                                          What's interesting is that I recently made cod cakes from a Sephardic recipe in Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem that were similarly spiced, with lots of cilantro and in that case ground
                                                                                                                                                                                          cumin. These are a bit simpler, ingredient-wise, as they have no binder, and taste rather different, as they're made with salmon. They're quick to make, save for a half-hour chilling time, and made a nice weeknight meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                          First, the chutney is made by whizzing cilantro, mint, just 1/4 tsp. garam masala, lemon juice, and coconut milk smooth in the FP. Then the fish cakes are made by pulsing salmon (wild sockeye), lots of cilantro, a chopped green chile, garam masala and ground coriander, and salt in the FP. The mix is chilled, formed into patties, and cooked a few minutes per side in a skillet. I think it would be best to pulse the cilantro and chile first to finely chop before adding the fish, because those stayed a bit rougher than intended and I didn't want to overprocess the salmon.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I served them with roasted zucchini and the "goes well with" suggested Herb and Spice Rice Pilaf, report to follow.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Nov 23, 2012 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Herb and Spice Rice Pilaf, p. 180

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a pretty typical basmati pilaf that would work well with both Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes; I served it with the Indian Fish Cakes with a Cilantro and Coconut Chutney on p.
                                                                                                                                                                                            122. I don't really agree with his cooking method, but more on that below. I made a half recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Both slivered almonds and cashews are to be dry-toasted in a skillet and set aside (I just used the almonds). Then onion, cardamom pods, and cumin seeds are sauteed. Meanwhile, basmati is soaked for a few minutes and rinsed, then cooked in a saucepan in chicken or veg broth (I used veg), with the onions, etc. tipped in. Here's where I differed with JG-S: I added the rice to the skillet in which I'd sauteed the onions, because why dirty another pot? I'd rather soak the rice in a bowl, which goes in the dishwasher. Anyway, once the rice has absorbed the stock, a tea towel is put under the lid so it can steam off the heat, after which the toasted nuts are stirred in, along with a good amount of parsley and cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This was good, but I think the texture of the rice would be superior if it were sauteed for a minute or two before the stock went in, as is done in many rice pilafs.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Nov 23, 2012 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Pomegranate, Fennel, Orange and Watercress Salad, p.22

                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this for Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a great addition to the meal - fresh and crisp, and a nice counter to all the soft and rich dishes. The recipe title pretty much describes it: shaved fennel (I did this with food processor's slicing blade), segmented oranges, watercress leaves, pomegranate seeds, and a bit of minced red chile (which I neglected to buy) make up the salad. The dressing is lemon and orange juices, olive oil, crushed fennel seeds, and S&P. I used a container of harvested pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe's for ease.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a great combination, with the crisp fennel, sweet orange, peppery watercress, and tart
                                                                                                                                                                                              pomegranate, and nice and colorful. Leftovers hold up well, too. Really nice to have something
                                                                                                                                                                                              both brightly flavored and seasonal this time of year. Actually, it seemed very familiar, and I remembered that I'd made a similar fennel, orange, watercress salad with walnuts from ENYT, but I love the pop of the pom seeds more, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom May 28, 2013 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Looks like Gregory-Smith has another book coming out this year (Aug in the UK, Oct in the US), "Mighty Spice Express."


                                                                                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                  lilham RE: The Dairy Queen May 28, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is seriously bad for my wallet. I know I just need this book if it's anything like Mighty Spice. Here's the amazon UK link


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio RE: The Dairy Queen May 28, 2013 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just pre-ordered my birthday present. Here's the US link:


                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen May 28, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This one I won't even try to hold back from. I really love Mighty Spice. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gio RE: LulusMom May 28, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        JG-S's Mighty Spice Kitchen FB page:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: Gio May 28, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you, Gio, but Facebook exhausts me. I find it so tedious to wade through all of the posts in search of the nuggets. Is he posting lots of links to his own recipes or is there just a lot of junk on there? (too lazy/tired/overwhelmend to look myself, I'm very sorry.)


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen May 28, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I'm one of those who refuses to have a facebook page, so I'm not allowed to look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                            lilham RE: Gio May 28, 2013 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Gio for the link. LLM and TDQ, it is a fb page for JG-S's online magazine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            From a quick glance it features recipes from both JG-S and other guest writers, including for example Diana Henry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: lilham May 28, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where has that website been my whole life?


                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you!


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: lilham May 28, 2013 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ooooh, JG-S *and* Diana Henry?? Be still my heart, or my stomach, or whatever ... happy happy. Thanks to you both!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                            lilham RE: The Dairy Queen Nov 1, 2013 05:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still haven't got mighty spice express, but it's on my wish list. I noticed today the kindle edition is now a seriously bargainous £5.03.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll hear about my job situation in a couple of weeks. It will be one of the things to treat myself with. But just a heads up to anyone lusting after this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (Wonders if you can buy UK kindle books from overseas)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: lilham Nov 1, 2013 06:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've wondered that too (about being able to buy UK kindle books here in the US). Next time there is a book available there but not here on kindle, I will have an excuse to buy it and find out the answer for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck with the job! I have yet to cook from MSE, but I have marked quite a few things I'd like to try. Right now I'm excited about the COTM and very busy with stuff at home; but still, need to get on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gio RE: lilham Nov 1, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mighty Spice Express did arrive here last week. After thumbing through it I wasn't as excited about cooking from it as I was about his first book, even though I haven't made as much from that book as I'd like to. yet. I don't mind that many of the recipes are for two servings because that's how many we are here and I'd probably increase them anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  emily RE: Gio Nov 1, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was very little I was interested in making in MSE so I returned my copy...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emily
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lilham RE: emily Nov 1, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting to hear that many of you aren't that impressed by MSE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: emily
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      herby RE: emily Nov 1, 2013 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Same here. I gave the book good look through and nothing jumped and said make me. So back it went. A couple days later Vietnamese Street Food arrived and I am very excited to cook from it. Just started new full-time contract and need to settle into it before I have time and energy to play in the kitchen. But soon :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        emily RE: herby Nov 1, 2013 09:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have Vietnamese Street Food in my shopping cart. Amazon US only shows the Kindle preview - I found that Amazon UK has the expanded preview, for those who are interested in taking a peek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    AGM_Cape_Cod RE: lilham Nov 16, 2013 04:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, you can't buy UK Kindle books. I tried with a book that isn't out here yet. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: AGM_Cape_Cod Nov 16, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      boo hoo! Thanks for letting us know though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. emily RE: LulusMom Aug 7, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, finally received my copy of Mighty Spice. I'm kind of confused about what to think (and whether I should keep it). My first impression is that the recipes look a bit simple and, dare I say, somewhat dumbed down compared to my more focused regional cookbooks, but perhaps this is just a bias since the book covers so many cuisines. I'm used to cooking out of Dunlop's books and have a treasure trove of Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, etc. books. What's the appeal of Mighty Spice among those of you who love it? Are the recipes just simpler (but not as good), just as good, or both?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emily
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LulusMom RE: emily Aug 7, 2013 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think it sort of depends on which recipe you pick, but obviously I'm a big fan. I *do* however always oomph up the spicing (usually by at least doubling it). I'm probably the only person who feels this way, but by doubling the spices I actually prefer his gung bao chicken to Dunlops (heresy, I realize). I think the lemongrass chicken (forget what it is called but it is one of the first chicken recipes) is one of the best recipes I have (again, bumping up the spices). There is a lot to explore in this book. If you like spicy food just look for something you've never tried and give it a go. The recipes definitely are easier than an authentic (say) curry recipe, but they are also really tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      emily RE: LulusMom Aug 7, 2013 06:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks - sounds good. Dunlop's gong bao chicken is one of our all time favorites!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: emily
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lilham RE: emily Aug 8, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are definitely right about the simplicity of the recipes. I found this is a major advantage of the book. It's not authentic, but it is very flavourful. I agree with LlM that you might want to oomph up the spices a bit. However I like it not too spicy to start with because then they are safe to serve to my 2 year old. For example I always deseed my chillis now. Before my daughter, I never do it even if the recipe specifically say to deseed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see this as a family friendly, weeknight book, for those who want ethnic and flavourful meals. (Though tbh I cook like this in the weekend too now).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      By the way, I found Dunlop very hard to spice down. The dishes are so chilli laden that I feel if I remove them, there will be nothing left to the dish. It could be that my favourites are always the hot ones. Like cold dressed chicken in red oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. lilham RE: LulusMom Aug 12, 2013 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vietnamese turmeric and chilli spiced cod with rice noodles, peanuts and herbs (Cha ca la vong)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You can find the recipe online at JG-S website http://www.mightyspicekitchen.com/rec...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This one is a massive disappointment. The whole dish tastes under spiced and very bland. The title says the cod pieces are chilli and turmeric spiced, but as far as I can see, it's only coated with turmeric and flour. The noodles would probably be ok if the fish is very flavourful. But bland noodles with tasteless pieces of cod really aren't our kind of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On the upside, this is probably the only meal my 2yo has eaten the meat in the last 3 or maybe even 6 months. She doesn't eat anything but carbs normally. I remember the last time she ate the meat was chicken goujons. Mr lilham said the cod looked and tasted like fish fingers. (My daughter is no budding foodie and the only meat she will eat, it seems, is fried chicken and fish fingers).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LulusMom RE: lilham Aug 12, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So sorry to hear this, but thank you for the warning. Interestingly (at least to me) my only massive disappointment from this book was also a noodle dish - a salad. Very bland and boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: lilham Aug 12, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey, thanks for the tip on a toddler friendly dish! HA! (But, sorry about the giant bummer for the grown-ups at the table.)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Nov 9, 2013 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cambodian Seafood Amok (Mighty Spice Express, p. 88)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First review and recipe from the new book! And ... it is a STRONG winner! Yay. First of all, I have no idea how to pronounce amok. Is it like running amok or does it rhyme with hammock? Would love to know. As far as I know, this is the first Cambodian food I've ever tried, and we loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is basically a seafood curry over rice noodles. You make a curry paste in your mini processor from ginger, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, dried chilies, salt and pepper, peanuts and peanut oil. Cook your noodles. Heat the curry paste in a wok until fragrant, add coconut cream (I used coconut milk), fish sauce, lime juice and fish and mixed seafood (we used tilapia and shrimp) and cook about 5-6 minutes. Put the noodles in a bowl, cover with the curry, top with chopped cilantro and prepare to be very happy. This was one of those recipes that serves 2, so I doubled it. Instead of making it 4 dried chilies, though, I made it 5, which turned out to be a mistake. In MS the recipes always seemed a little on the tame side for my taste, but in this case maybe not so much. While my husband and I were moaning (seriously!) with happiness at the taste, Lulu could only eat 3-4 bites. But boy, we loved it. Husband said it was out of the ballpark good. I served with a salad with an Asian dressing. I think one could easily add some vegetables to this or use tofu instead of the seafood. A strong start from this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lilham RE: LulusMom Nov 11, 2013 02:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the review. I was having doubts about buying this book. Still would love to hear more about it before making up my mind on this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: lilham Nov 11, 2013 03:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Husband will be out of town starting tomorrow, but next week I hope to try another recipe from the book and will post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Nov 15, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for taking the plunge and being the first to try a recipe from MSE! I'm so glad it's a winner.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Westminstress RE: LulusMom Feb 13, 2014 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cambodian Seafood Amok, p. 88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, LLM, for flagging this recipe. We really enjoyed it! Like you, I doubled the recipe. For my fish I used hake, squid and a few large scallops cut into pieces. The hake practically dissolved into the sauce (is there anything good that can be done with that fish? I should try it in fishcakes) but the dish was still good. For the coconut cream I used about 1/2 package of creamed coconut and 11/4 cup water. This made for a VERY thick and rich curry. A bit too rich for my taste, actually, but that is not the fault of the author. I held back on the chilis so my kids could eat it, then my husband and I had to add a bunch of sriracha to ours. Totally agree that the spice is a KEY component of this dish. It didn't take me 15 minutes as advertised -- more like 30 for 40 -- but that's still pretty good for homemade curry on a weeknight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                monbakes_downunder RE: LulusMom Nov 15, 2013 01:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chicken Morita with Avocado Sauce (Mighty Spice Express, p. 67).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This wasn't the first recipe I was drawn to in Mighty Spice Express, but I realised I had all of the ingredients at home for dinner in a pinch tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You place garlic, smoked paprika, chilli powder, sun dried tomato paste (I just used regular tomato paste), tamarind paste, olive oil and a small amount of sugar in a food processor and grind to a smooth paste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Then bash chicken breasts (I used thighs and they worked fine) with a rolling pin until about 1.5cm thick. Prick the chicken with a fork and rub the paste over both sides. Grill for 7-8 minutes on one side (until golden), then flip them over and grill for 7-8 minutes on the other side. While chicken is cooking, put an avocado, juice of 1/2 a lime, natural yoghurt, a small handful of coriander and oil into a blender/food processor and blend to a smooth paste. For those who like a bit of heat I would up the chilli in the paste for the chicken (I am planning to do this next time I make this dish). I could have also gone for more coriander in the avocado sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JGS suggests serving this with steamed basmati rice and lime wedges. I served with wholemeal tortillas instead of the rice, just scooped the chicken and some sauce into a piece of tortilla with a squeeze of fresh lime over the top (really lifted the dish IMO). All in all a very successful dinner - especially considering I would have bypassed it any other night! Bonus points from me for minimal cleanup and serving size for two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monbakes_downunder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: monbakes_downunder Nov 15, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd totallly ignored this on going through the book. A little hard for me to imagine the tamarind paste with the sun dried tomato paste, but the rest of it is sounding very tasty. Glad it was a hit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PS - my first recipes from the last book were made under the same circumstances - knowing I had the ingredients and just going for it, and then ended up being huge hits for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  monbakes_downunder RE: LulusMom Nov 16, 2013 01:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phipp Street Stir Fry (Mighty Spice Express, p. 66)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Round two from Mighty Spice Express in as many nights! This was a really quick, easy stir fry. First you cook 140g vermicelli noodles, drain and leave until stir fry is ready. Then, make a spice paste of lemongrass, chilli and garlic in a mini food processor. Heat groundnut oil (I used peanut - have never seen groundnut oil in Aus) in a wok over high heat until smoking. Stir fry thinly sliced chicken thigh strips for 5-6 minutes until golden at the edges. Add the spice paste and stir--fry for 30s or until fragrant. Add leaves from a baby gem lettuce, 2 t fish sauce and 1 T of light soy sauce and squeeze in the juice of half a lime - at this point I got a bit carried away and accidentally added the juice of a whole lime. Stir fry all of this until lettuce is wilted and chicken cooked through. Toss the stir fry with the noodles and serve!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really enjoyed this and so did the BF - but I definitely went overboard with the lime! We added broccolini in with the lettuce for a bit of extra greenery which I really enjoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monbakes_downunder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    greedygirl RE: monbakes_downunder Nov 16, 2013 01:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think peanut oil and groundnut oil are the same thing. Looks tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      monbakes_downunder RE: greedygirl Nov 16, 2013 03:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just googled, and so it is! Don't I look a bit silly now...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monbakes_downunder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen RE: monbakes_downunder Nov 16, 2013 04:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not at all. You look brilliant as, under pressure, you made the perfect "substitution" for an unfamiliar ingredient!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Besides, many of us unfamiliar with groundnut oil have wondered.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          monbakes_downunder RE: The Dairy Queen Nov 16, 2013 05:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, TDQ :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Nov 18, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Essaouira Monkfish Tagine (MSE, p. 174)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thinking back on the Moroccan dish I made from the original MS, I'm thinking that maybe Moroccan isn't JG-S's strong point. I love Moroccan food, and should have followed my instincts by making some substitutions. This was a nice meal, perfectly pleasant, but didn't have the flavor profile that I was hoping for - adding a bit of coriander and using cayenne instead of the paprika and chili powder probably would have made me very happy. Maybe adding cilantro instead of parsley at the end too. But again, a perfectly nice meal and easy to put on the table - and with the carb and lots of vegetables included.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Neither my regular grocery store nor Whole Foods had monkfish this week (both had it last week) so I subbed cod. You cut the cod into pieces and squeeze lemon juice and add a bit of salt to them and let sit for 10 minutes. Peel and slice 3 carrots, 2 red bell peppers and 4 garlic cloves; saute, add a can of diced tomatoes, a little water and the spices (cumin which I jacked up, paprika, ground pepper, chili powder, sugar); partially cover, cook, turn the fish over, cook some more, add chopped preserved lemon, black olives and parsley. Serve over couscous (which he's had you make first off so it is sitting ready). The dish is lovely - lots of pretty reds and oranges and the black accent of the olives. And the fish came out perfectly - flaky but soft. So there were good things, and I do think by using my own ideas on what spices should go into this I could make it into a big hit with our family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Dec 6, 2013 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dongbai Roast Cod with Stir-Fried Spinach and Peanuts (MSE, p. 126)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let me start by saying that I have a fairly bad cold and my nose is stuffed up, and things aren't tasting the way I think they normally would, so I'm not sure it is fair for me to be reviewing recipes right now. This recipe was incredibly easy to put together. First bites I liked it - in fact very much. But I grew a little tired of the flavor, even started to think that the ingredients didn't work together. My husband liked it. Lulu ate all of hers (although she didn't seem enthralled by it or anything). So - here it is: you take chili flakes and sesame and cuming seeds and pulvarize in your mini-prep (you also save some whole bits for later). You add this to oyster sauce, soy sauce and honey. Slather the cod pieces with it, then put them on a baking tray and drizzle with whatever of the sauce is still there. Add remaining dry spices to the top. Roast. Make rice. For the spinach you heat your wok, add a bit of chili oil and some peanuts, then the spinach, then light soy sauce and red wine vinegar (he says in the headnote that traditionally this would be black vinegar, so I went with that since I have some) and cook one minute more. My peanuts got burnt (I seem to have this problem every time in my wok) but overall a very easy recipe, and the cod was moist and tender and just the perfect texture. I think that (oddly, given my love of chili flakes and cumin) in the end I was sort of wishing for more of the sweet part of the sauce. Again, this could well be my cold talking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note: there is a typo in this recipe. Two different times he says to scatter the fish with the remaining dry spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. LulusMom RE: LulusMom Jan 2, 2014 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pineapple and Lime Pie (MSE p. 200)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Lulu's words "heavenly." Super easy if you take the short-cuts I took. Instead of making a graham cracker crust I bought one of those ready-made ones. Instead of cutting a full pineapple I bought one that the grocery store had cut and cored itself and then just used half of it (the rest goes to breakfast) and cut that into the bite sized pieces needed. Given that even without using those shortcuts he claims it takes 20 minutes, this should give you an idea how quickly this come together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So, I cut up my pineapple and added it to a small skillet with sugar and a pinch of chili flakes (which, I've just noticed, isn't in the ingredients list, but IS in the instructions) and cook this until the pineapple has started to soften and the sauce has thickened. Let cool a bit. I then got out my kitchenaid mixer and put the 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream it in along with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and the zest and juice of a lime and set it to go while I cleaned up a bit from dinner. In no time at all it was ready for filling the pie crust, and then the pineapple and sugary juices are spooned on top. Delicious and deceptively light tasting. I'd make this again - it would be really nice for company if serving an Asian dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          herby RE: LulusMom Jan 2, 2014 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's it?! No baking? The crust was pre-baked then, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Another question, LLM: these last recipes are from the 'Express' and not the original one, correct?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: herby Jan 2, 2014 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No baking on my part with the store-bought crust. Sort of passed over whether it would have needed baking in the recipe as written. And yes, when I put MSE I'm meaning Mighty Spice Express.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              herby RE: LulusMom Jan 2, 2014 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So strange, when I asked about the book I could not see the bracketed part, just the recipe name, but now it is all visible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: herby Jan 2, 2014 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That kind of weird thing happens to me too - not to worry at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dkennedy RE: LulusMom Jan 2, 2014 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks LLM. I just went onto Google Books and copied the recipe. Sounds super easy - esp. with your short cuts, and not too decadent. Will put the ingredients on my shopping list for this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: dkennedy Jan 2, 2014 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ridiculously easy, and very tasty. Not sure about the "not too decadent" part though. I mean you're pretty much eating whipped cream. But so is mousse, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                dkennedy RE: LulusMom Jan 2, 2014 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I didn't factor in the cream. I was thinking in terms of added sugar. The cream part is very decadent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: dkennedy Jan 2, 2014 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes - good point (and one I will only think of from now on when making/eating this dessert). It is definitely low on the sugar in the cream. Of course there is also sugar when one cooks the pineapple (said in a whisper).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lilham RE: dkennedy Jan 3, 2014 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for sharing this. It sounds just so easy. The recipe is also online here

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (I use pinterest to pin online recipes I'd like to make).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. juliejulez RE: LulusMom Jan 5, 2014 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm happy to see this thread. I just received a copy of Mighty Spice Express, purchased with some Christmas money. I've done a quick flip through and marked some stuff, but need to go through it more extensively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. juliejulez RE: LulusMom Jan 13, 2014 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thai Pork with Noodles & Lemongrass & Lime Dipping Sauce p. 108 Mighty Spice Express

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just purchased this book so this was my first recipe to try. It says to use a 1 1/4lb pork loin, but I just used a tenderloin. It also says to cut into 4 pieces but I just did 2. You mix up a rub of sorts from crushed garlic (I used my press), black pepper, sugar, rice wine (I used bourbon, no rice wine at my store), fish sauce, and oil (recipe calls for peanut, I just used vegetable because my store's prices were too high for peanut). You rub that all over the loin and pop it in the oven to roast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the meantime you make the sauce out of lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, chili powder, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. You also get the water going for the noodles, and take green beans, cut in half, and get those ready. You throw the green beans in with the noodles. The recipe calls for medium egg noodles which again, my store didn't have, so I used udon noodles. Once cooked you add in oil, fish sauce, and lime juice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After the pork is done, you slice it, put on top of the noodles, then put the sauce on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After I sat down to eat I realized I totally left out the lemongrass. I was going to use a paste since that's all that was available at my store. But, the sauce was still delicious without it, and I enjoyed this meal, we'll see how it is as leftovers. The only thing I would do different next time (other than adding the lemongrass!), I would add more green beans. It only causes for 5 ounces, which isn't that much at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Westminstress RE: LulusMom Jan 21, 2014 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sumac Chicken with Black Gremolata and Tomato Salad, MSE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  recipe here: http://www.eattravellive.com/recipes/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I chose this recipe because I had most of the ingredients on hand (including bunches of parsley and dill, which needed using up). I'd give it a solid B+. Chicken parts (I used drumsticks) are roasted with red onion, garlic and new potatoes, all seasoned with sumac, thyme, olive oil, s&p. While the chicken is roasting, you make the gremolata, which consists of olives, chili, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parsley, dill, whirled in a mini-processor, then combined with chopped walnuts. And you also stir together a tomato salad (I used quartered grape tomatoes) seasoned with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sugar (I also added a bit of salt).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He says the whole thing will take 45 minutes, but this timing is reliant on the chicken cooking in 35 minutes. In my oven, the chicken took almost an hour. I knew going in, though, that it would never cook through as fast as indicated, so I was able to adjust my expectations and the cooking times accordingly. Other than that, the directions were very easy to follow and the dish was flavorful. It's just that at the end of the day, this set of eastern mediterranean flavors isn't my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This dish was similar to two Diana Henry dishes involving roasted chicken with red onions and potatoes that I've made recently and very successfully. I thought the DH recipes worked better -- the chicken was more flavorful and for whatever reason (maybe the marinade) the onions browned up better and were therefore tastier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm still looking forward to trying other recipes from this book.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Westminstress RE: LulusMom Feb 24, 2014 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vietnamese Bun Cha, MSE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Like the other two recipes I've tried from this book, this one came together pretty easily despite having multiple components, and it was full of flavor. You start by making a Vietnamese soup broth by simmering diluted chicken broth with fish sauce, lemongrass, lime juice, sugar and spices (black pepper, cinnamon, star anise). You soften rice noodles in hot water. And you fry up some super-quick pork patties made by stirring the ground meat together with lots of chopped fresh mint, cilantro and a bit of fish sauce. Serve the rice noodles and pork patties with the broth--and lots of mix-ins like fresh chiles, scallions, bean sprouts, more herbs, etc.--as a one dish meal. (For the non-pork eaters out there I think you could easily sub ground turkey or chicken.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When looking at the recipe, I was thinking it seemed like lots of broth and not too much meat, but I decided to go with the recipe proportions as written. And I was right. Too much broth, not enough meat. If you are the type who likes vietnamese noodle soups, I would highly recommend this recipe (but double the meat). It is fast and probably better than anything you can get in a restaurant in the U.S. unless you happen to be in Orange County, CA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am only so-so on noodle soups as a category of food; as a result I was lukewarm on this recipe and probably would not repeat it as written. I would do the pork patties again as they were easy and good, but I would serve them over rice noodles with a nuoc cham sauce. As for the leftover broth, it is going into the freezer to await the next leftover roast chicken, at which point it will become delicious, noodle-less Vietnamese chicken rice soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: Westminstress Feb 24, 2014 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the tips. If I end up making this I'll look at your notes and make the changes you've suggested. How do the patties compare to the SE Asian turkey burgers from Gourmet Today, if you've made those?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Westminstress RE: LulusMom Feb 24, 2014 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've not yet tried the SE Asian turkey burgers. They've been sitting on my "to make" list forever! But looking at the recipe, these are much simpler. Literally just the meat seasoned with fish sauce and chopped herbs. I'm sure standing on their own the GT burgers are tastier. But these take about 1 minute to put together (OK, five, if you include time for prepping the herbs) and are served as part of a meal that includes lots of garnishes, so that makes up for having fewer ingredients in the burger itself.

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