Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nozongo and Coal Grilled Chibage from Zimbabwe

BM # 44
International Cuisine
Cooking with Alphabets : Z
Category : Street Food

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers.

Today is the last day of this month long marathon where we have posted recipes from all over the world. This food journey has been rather interesting where we have twenty bloggers participating. Each one of us has worked on twenty six countries, the countries have been our choice , so we have seen cuisines of various countries and enormous new recipes.

For the last day of this marathon I will be cooking with the alphabet Z.. I have chosen to cook from Zimbabwe and for today I will be focusing on their street food but before that let's talk a little about their cuisine.

Like in many African countries, the majority of Zimbabweans depend on a few staple foods. "Mealie meal", also known as cornmeal, is used to prepare sadza or isitshwala, as well as porridge known as bota or ilambazi.This is usually eaten as lunch or dinner, usually with sides such as gravy, vegetables beans and meat that has been stewed, grilled, roasted or sundried. Sadza is also commonly eaten with curdled milk 

Rice, pasta, and potato based foods (french fries and mashed potato) also make up part of Zimbabwean cuisine. A local favourite is rice cooked with peanut butter . A potpourri of peanuts known as nzungu, boiled and sundried maize, black-eyed peas known as nyemba, bambara groundnut known as nyimo makes a traditional dish called mutakura. One can also find local snacks such as maputi (roasted/popped maize kernels similar to popcorn), roasted and salted peanuts, sugar cane, sweet potato, pumpkin, and fruits.

Coming to their street food one gets to see this around bus stations and it varies according to season. One can see roasted or boiled corn on the cob (chibage), peanuts, some varieties of beans, hard boiled eggs and lots of fruits, which include bananas, oranges , guavas.

When I made search for the Zimbabwe street food I was amazed that there was hardly any thing that I could cook. I finally decided to make peanuts, and roast corn and place fruits , so that I could show their street food. I roasted the corn on coal so that I could get the feel of the street .

Nothing much to do with the recipes today..

Wash the groundnuts well so all the soil is removed.
Using a pressure cooker , place these nuts add some salt and a glass of water.
Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
Let the pressure release.
Drain the excess water and enjoy the steaming hot nuts.
Recipe Source: here

The Chibage as they call the corn in Zimbabwe, has been roasted over the coal which tastes absolutely amazing.The Zimbabweans do not apply any spices to this , so lets enjoy the natural taste of corn.

With the alphabet Z we conclude the Around the World in 30 Days marathon. I shall be posting a recap of this series soon, but for now let's have a quick glance on the street foods served during this marathon.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Yemini Mahalabiya

BM # 44
International ABC Cooking
Cooking with Alphabets : Y
Category : Dessert

Yemen, officially known as the Republic of Yemen, is an Arab country in Western Asia, 

Yemeni cuisine is entirely distinct from the more widely known Middle Eastern cuisines and even differs slightly from region to region. This cuisine is extremely popular among the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.

When choosing from this country I decided to make a dessert. 
Mahalabiya is a sweet Arabic dessert similar to blancmange made of milk and sugar, and thickened with corn starch then laced with rose water or orange blossom water.

This dessert is often eaten during Ramamdan, after Iftar. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims world wide observe this month as fasting.While fasting from dawn to dusk they refrain from food and water. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast at sunset. The meal is generally healthy and , nutritious. They prepare lot of sweets and specially with milk and cream. 

Mahalabiya is a milk custard which is light yet delicious. It is very soothing and adding rose water to the dessert took it to another dimension. I do not add cream to the regular custard that we make so adding cream made it really creamy and we loved this rosy creamy Mahalabiya .

The dessert can be garnished with almonds, pistachios or even raisins. Since I used rose water I used some rose petals too for garnish.
Recipe Source Here

3 cups milk
¾ cups sugar or to taste
1 cup cold water
6 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp rose water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 cup thick cream
Chopped almonds , pistachios and some rose petals

Over medium heat, boil milk and add sugar.
In a bowl mix cold water with cornstarch.
Gradually combine with the boiled milk.
When the mixture thickens like cake batter, turn off heat.
Then add rose water with crushed cardamom and thick cream.
Let it cool for 2-4 hours.
Serve with nuts and rose petals.

This dessert tasted somewhere between phirni and  custard, the rose water gave a very refreshing aroma. The almonds,pistachios and the rose petals make a beautiful,delicious crunchy garnish. We all relished the dessert and it has was really quick and easy to make, as such has been added to the the most wanted dessert list.

While cooking from Around the World in 30 Days I made five different desserts from five different countries.The other four in the series are....

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bean Tortillas from Xalapa

BM # 44 
International ABC Cooking 
Cooking with Alphabets : X
Category : Street Food

City in Mexico
Xalapa, or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality

Today we are at the alphabet X in our journey of traveling Around the World in 30 days. Unfortunately we have no country in the country list with this alphabet. So the BM group decided to take up a city with this alphabet. We did have a clause here, if we were cooking from a particular country, we could not cook from that country state. Like I picked Xalapa which is a Mexican city, so I could not cook from Mexico with M.

Xalapa, or Jalapa officially is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality.

Xalapa is the home place of the famous Jalapeño peppers,as well as products made with maize: gorditas, tostadas, pasties, enfrijoladas, and chicken are common foods. The desserts that are consumed in the region are typically sweet such as cake and coconut candies, not to miss the Conchas , a sweet bread which we made for Baking Eggless Group.

Xalapa is located beneath towering volcanic peaks in the Sierra Madre Oriental, at an elevation of about 4,680 feet . Known for its scenic backdrop and its lush tropical vegetation, Xalapa is often called the “Flower Garden of Mexico.”

Finding street food from this city was rather difficult, trust me I just couldn't find any proper recipe for it. I adapted the recipe from here and made my own version of it.

After I finished cooking for this city, I found this Mexican fudge which is a street food of this city, they even have candies which look like our Indian Chikki. I could have done those two street foods too but I preferred the Bean Torillas. I made these twice. I was not happy with the pics in the first go, but everyone had appreciated these and my niece kept asking..when Ma..when? Yes she calls me Ma.

Tortillas are versatile, and you could make them with whole wheat , just like our chapatis, make them with a mix of corn and all purpose flour. The ones I have used are with half wheat and half all purpose flour.

Red, yellow, green capsicum, cut into cubes
Onion, roughly chopped
Olives, black , green
Place the tortilla on a baking tray.
Place some of the retried beans in the center.
Top these with salsa.
Garnish with capsicum, onion, olives and cheese.
Put it to bake for about 5 mins or until the cheese melts.
Drizzle some olive oil.
Sprinkle chilly flakes and oregano.

This is the picture of my first trial

Mexican Cuisine is quite a favorite at home , so here is some more of it.

Mexican Curry with Rice

Mexican Toastadas

Baked Mexican Trio

Mexican Bean Salad

Baked Mexican Rice with Cheese Patty

7 Layer Dip with Purple Corn Chips


Corn on the Cob.. Mexican Style


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Basboussa - Semolina Cake from West Bank

BM # 44
International ABC Cooking
Cooking with Alphabets : W
Meal Type : Dessert

West Bank
The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, forming the bulk of the Palestinian territories.

Ingredients Needed:

1 cup semolina
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tin or 200 ml condensed milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
Butter for greasing
Nuts for garnishing

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch saffron
Boil water.
Add sugar and once the sugar melts, cook further for 2 to 3 boils.
Add saffron.

Preheat oven to 190 deg.
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Mix butter, condensed milk, till smooth.
Add semolina, coconut, baking powder, juices and water.
Mix well, pour into the baking dish.
Arrange the nuts.
Bake for 35 minutes or till golden .
Remove and cut into pieces.
Pour the prepared syrup.
Cut into square and serve.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vietnamese - Bean Thread Noddle Salad

Cellophane noodles are also known as Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, or glass noodles. They are a type of transparent noodle made from starch (such as mung bean starch, yam, potato starch, cassava or canna starch), and water.

These noodles are sometimes confused with rice noodles , but there is a vast difference between the two.

Here is a salad made with these noodles.the recipe did not call for peanuts, but I added some roasted , coarsely ground nuts and the salad tasted amazing.this is a salad from Vietnam and I served it along with its complete meal.

Bean Thread Noddle Salad
200 gms bean thread, noodles, softened in hot water for 20 minutes
½ cup spring onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
1 to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon pickled garlic, chopped
Toasted coarsely ground peanuts
Sugar to taste

Drain the soaked and softened noodles.
Combine the noodles, spring onion, coriander ,carrots and crushed red peppers into a serving bowl.
Mix together the lime juice, soy sauce, and pickled garlic and toss with the salad ingredients.
Add the crushed nuts.

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Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables

Initially I thought pickles are popular here in India only , but while making a search I found that these are popular world wide. These may not be spices like the Indian pickles but sure are tangy and pep up the food.

Here is a quick Vietnamese pickle which I served with the Vietnamese meal.

All you need to do is peel carrots, cucumbers, radish.., you can use any other veggies too. Cut these into julienne and immerse them in a jar full of water.Add salt , sugar and vinegar. Wait for 2 days and it is done.

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Vietnamese Curry Powder

A curry powder which is very aromatic, the recipe called for a fine powder but I like my powders on the coarse side You could use it in any other curry or side dish too.

Vietnamese Curry Powder
4 large bay leaves
8 whole cloves 
1 tsp coriander seeds (or ½ teaspoon ground) 
2 tsp whole cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground) 
1 tsp whole fennel seeds 
4 star anise
½ tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp turmeric
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. 
Toast whole spices for 30-45 seconds by placing them in the hot pan and occasionally shake the pan or stir the spices with a wooden spoon to prevent them from burning.
Place whole spices in a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Store in airtight container away from direct sunlight.
Makes about ½ cup of curry powder.

The menu for the day
Vietnamese Curry  made with Vietnamese curry powder
Rice Noodles
Pan Fried Tofu
Dipping Sauce
Pan Fried Chillies
Bean Thread Noodle Salad
Pickled vegetables
Lemon Tea

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Vietnamese - Pan Fried Chilies

I am a great fan of chilies. I do not like to add too much chilly in my food, but like it on the side. With Indian dishes I love that spicy tiny green chilly with a bit of salt and lemon, the chilly is so fiery that at times I leave it half way through. Then of course I like the dry preserved chilies which are fried. There is yet another version of chili which I stuff with dry spices and cook. Well, I have yet to blog those, as it is one of my favorite recipes.

The minute I saw these pan fried chilies on a Vietnamese blog, I immediately decided to make them. The issue was to get these Serrano chilies. these are chilies which are half green half red..chilies which turn red. I was to make the Vietnamese meal on a Sunday and I kept looking for these chilies a week before, but even after going to different vendors I could not get them. I gave it up.The Sunday morning we had elections and our voting center was at a school in a narrow lane. My husband parked the car right in front of a vegetable vendor. The first thing I spotted with that lady was these chilies..I literally jumped with joy, but waited to get back to pick them. For a mere Rs 10 the lady gave me a huge pile of these chilies, I was really excited and happy and thanked her but I bet she must be wondering at my behavior, such is the joy of food bloggers .

You just need to slit the chilies. Heat just about a tablespoon of oil and in go the chilies. Season with salt and a few drops of vinegar. Toss and remove. Serve with any meal, they taste yum.
Recipe Source..here.

The menu for the day
Vietnamese Curry  made with Vietnamese curry powder
Rice Noodles
Pan Fried Tofu
Dipping Sauce
Pan Fried Chillies
Bean Thread Noodle Salad
Pickled vegetables
Lemon Tea

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