Category Archives: Cooking

Fancy Pants Brussels Sprouts

This is now my go-to potluck dish, because no one ever brings enough vegetables and who doesn’t love bacon bits. Brussels Sprouts get a bad rap with the kids, but I think it holds up to the bitterness of the charring, which brings out the sweetness of the vegetable, all in bite-sized packages. 

Even if you subtract the bacon, nuts, and balsamic glaze, Brussels sprouts still taste pretty great just roasted on their own.

Brussels Sprouts

  • Cook 3 strips bacon chopped until well-browned and fat is rendered. Set aside bacon, chop into bacon bits when cool.
  • Toss 2 lb brussels sprouts halved in the rendered bacon fat, 2 tsp olive oil if needed, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • On foil-lined baking sheets, place sprouts sliced side down. Roast at 400 F for 25 minutes, shaking on pan 5 minutes before end, until caramelized and tender.
  • Reduce 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1.5 tbsp honey until sticky.
  • Top with bacon bits and 1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans), and serve alongside the reduction to drizzle over.

Omurice

I adore it when the Japanese language adopts words from other languages but with that lilting multisyllabic style they have. Like omurice, which is omelette (omuretsu) and rice (raisu) shoved together. It’s a totally fitting of this dish too, which is literally ketchup fried rice wrapped in an omelette and topped with ketchup.

I’ve been busy rotating and retreating to some old dishes that are easy to make in bulk, so since I had fried rice things, I decided to exercise my recently developed experience with eggs.

I worked off the recipe from justonecookbook. People keep on telling me about the really fancy version with the awesome unfurling egg pocket. I can work on that later, I guess.

Omurice

  • Make ketchup fried rice without egg:
    • Cook 2 cups rice with 80% water. Or gather as much leftover rice.
    • Saute a medium onion diced. Add 3 chicken thighs cut small chunks. Season with salt and generous pepper. Cook. Add 1/2 lb frozen veggies (e.g. corn, carrots, peas, beans).
    • Cut in cooked rice. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1.5 tbsp ketchup.
  • Make thin omelettes:
    • beat 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk.
    • Over medium heat, add ~1/2 tsp oil or butter. Pour in egg mixture, and tilt pan to coat. When it sets on the bottom, turn heat to low.
  • Optionally spread some shredded cheese down the center.
  • Heap fried rice down the center, less at the edges.
  • With a spatula, delicately fold over the uncovered side edges. It’s okay if the edges don’t meet or if they rip a little. Scoot omelette to side, then flip upside down onto plate. Garnish with ketchup.

Lamb Biryani

As a sendoff, I cooked biryani: a lavish rice and curry layered dish drizzled with butter and saffron (as far as I understand it, anyway). It’s a non-trivial dish with raw spices, including the most expensive spice in the world!

Recipe from here.


Lamb Biryani

  • Marinate ~1.3 lb lamb shoulder with bone cubed in 1 tsp turmeric, 3 tbsp greek yogurt, 1/2 tsp salt 2 hours to overnight.
  • In 2 tbsp butter, fry 1 bay leaf, 5 green cardamom pods crushed, 4 cloves, 3 cm cinnamon until crackling.
  • Add 2 medium onions diced. Saute until soft.
  • Add 6 cloves garlic minced, 2” ginger minced. Add 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp fennel powder.
  • Add lamb, 2 tbsp tomato paste, mixing well. Saute.
  • Add 1/2 cup water. Simmer for an hour, until reduced.
  • Rice: Soak 500g (2.5 cups) basmati rice for 30 minutes. Drain. Cook rice with 4 cups water with 2 bay leaves, 3 green cardamom pods, pinch salt, until 75% done, 7-10 minutes. Drain.
  • Saffron water: Infuse generous pinch saffron in 2 tbsp hot water.
  • Assemble: In deep casserole dish or pot, brush with melted butter. Layer rice and lamb plus sauce in thirds, drizzling in saffron water with layers. Drizzle top with saffron water, 1-2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tbsp chopped mint. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. OR Layer in pot, cover, cook on low for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with 1 tbsp coriander. Serve with red onion rings, lemon wedges, mint chutney.

Mint Chutney

  • Puree 2 cups cilantro sprigs (1 bunch), 1 cup mint leaves, 1/2 cup chopped white onion, 1 green chili, 1/2″ ginger, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup water as needed.