IFR daily

Daily Indian food, as it's cooked in my kitchen. Sometimes, not-so-Indian. No frills. No props. Just good food. A phone blog.

Category: non-Indian

No Longer Shepherd’s Pie

1.25 lbs ground bison (or lamb)
2-3 tbsp oil
2 medium to small onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Thai green chile, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sambal oelek
Juice of half lemon
1 tsp sugar
(Or use Worcestershire sauce instead of last 4 ingredients but I think my combination works better)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup broth or water
3 large red potatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp milk
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp breadcrumbs

Boil potatoes in their jackets.
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft on medium-high stirring frequently, no need to brown. About 7-8 minutes.
Add green chiles, soy sauce, sambal oelek, lemon juice and sugar. Stir.
Add ground bison, stir fry while breaking it up to ensure that it doesn’t clump together as it cooks.
Add carrots.
Mix in flour and then slowly add broth.
Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
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Add salt, about 3/4 tsp, depending on the sodium content of your broth, soy sauce and sambal oelek.
While this is cooking, peel and mash potatoes.
Add butter, several grinds of black pepper, cheddar cheese and milk. Add about 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as well as butter as desired. This mashed potato mixture should not be dry.
Transfer ground bison mixture into oven-proof casserole.
Heat oven to 375F. Use convection bake, if your oven has it.
Spoon mashed potatoes over bison mixture and spread out evenly over the top.
Seal the edges well with the mashed potatoes or else the sauce will bubble through in the oven. I forgot to do this and some sauce bubbled through. It doesn’t look great and softens the mashed potatoes a tad but otherwise, not much harm done if you forget.
Mix Parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs (and a few grinds of black pepper) and sprinkle evenly over the top.
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Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow the casserole to sit for 5-10 minutes once out of the oven, before serving.
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Enjoy!

*based on this recipe.
I don’t remember cheese in the shepherd’s pie recipe that my mother baked but it tastes good!

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata

2 tbsp oil
1 cup diced onion
2 red peppers
1/2 lb baby spinach, coarsely chopped or not
2 big cloves of garlic
2 hot green chiles
1/2 dried red chile (optional)
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup Parmagiano cheese
1/8 cup dill leaves, loosely packed and chopped
A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
Few grinds of black peppercorns

Slice red peppers into strips and lightly caramelize them on a cast iron griddle.
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Mince together garlic and green chiles.
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Heat oil in a 12 inch saucepan. Add onions with a good pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and green chile mixture. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

Beat eggs with milk and the rest of the salt and a few grinds of black peppercorn. If you like, crumble a dried red chile into the egg. It looks quite pretty.

Add caramelized red peppers.
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Add spinach.

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Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, until spinach is wilted and the resulting mixture is not very wet.
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Spread the vegetable mixture evenly over the saucepan. Mix cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over the vegetables.
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Sprinkle chopped dill evenly over the cheese layer. Carefully pour beaten egg mixture into saucepan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped cilantro.
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Cook covered on medium-low until eggs are set, about 7-9 minutes.
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Cut into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

This is based on a recipe for a red pepper and spinach quiche from NYT. I made a frittata as my oven was otherwise occupied.

Thai-inspired Chicken Curry with Udon Noodles

1 lb chicken tenderloins, diced into bite size pieces
2 packets pre-cooked udon Annie Chun’s organic udon noodles
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2-3 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 splashes of Tamari sauce
1-2 splashes of fish sauce
2-3 splashes of rice vinegar
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
2 tbsp Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
3-4 cups of water
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
Some cilantro for garnish

Rehydrate shiitake mushrooms according to instructions on packet. I do not bother to squeeze them out before I add them to my soups and curries.
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In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil and sauté diced onions for a couple of minutes. Add splashes of Tamari, fish sauce and rice vinegar.
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Add other diced vegetables. I was trying to finish off my celery and my sweet peppers. You could use zucchini, broccoli, carrots (thin slices), or any combination of veggies that appeal to you. I also had some shoots growing out of my onions. Since these are edible, I added them with the diced onions to mellow their sharp flavor. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
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Add diced chicken and Thai red curry paste and mix well. Spread everything out so that the chicken cooks quickly. Stir only a couple of times.
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Add coconut milk. Stir to mix and add 2-3 cups of water. Add more to thin it down to the consistency you like. Since we are adding noodles, I thinned the sauce down to almost soup-like consistency.

Drain shiitake mushrooms and add them to the curry.
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Bring to a simmer and add udon noodles. Use a fork to break them up as they warm. Gently fold them into the curry as they separate.
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Sprinkle crushed peanuts, garnish with cilantro and enjoy hot!
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This is a quick one-pot meal for weeknights. If you make your own Thai curry paste, more power to you! Use that as it will no doubt be more flavorful than the bottled stuff. If you have dried udon noodles, use those or use any other noodles of your choice. I stock Annie Chun’s pre-cooked organic noodles as they help cut prep time in the mornings if I find I have to put together a lunchbox quickly. They are a boon on busy weeknights as well. If I’m out of noodles, I serve this curry over steamed rice.

If you have Thai basil, use that instead of cilantro. I brought my Thai basil inside before winter but it didn’t do well.

Pasta with garlic, spinach and green onions

3 cups dry gemelli pasta, cooked
1 tsp truffle Olive oil (optional)
2 tbsp Olive oil or avocado oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb baby spinach, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, diced small including stalk
1/2 cup diced ham / turkey / chicken, cooked (optional)
2 cups marinara sauce
1 dried red chile
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup grated parmagiano reggiano

Heat the two oils in a large pot and quickly sauté minced garlic, making sure it doesn’t caramelize or burn.

Add spinach, green onions and meat, if using, and continue to cook on medium heat. When the spinach has wilted some, add cooked pasta and the marinara sauce and heat through. Stir in a folding motion so that you don’t separate the gemelli. If you like more marinara sauce, go ahead and add more.

Crumble red chile over the pasta, add salt and mix well.

Just before serving, stir parmagiano into hot pasta.

Sorry, no pictures! It’s all gone. We had it for dinner last night. Medha took some for lunch and there was about 1 cup left that I just polished off for breakfast.

The marinara sauce I use can be found at Costco. We like it so much that I use it as pizza sauce, too.

You can use any other pasta of your choice. I love how the flavors get tucked into the twists of the gemelli strands.

This can be a one-pot meal if you use the same pot for cooking the dry pasta as well as the final dish. Just make sure that the pot is dry before you heat oil in it. The one-pot thing, not counting the colander used to drain the cooked pasta, is very important to me as it means fewer dishes to wash. It does, however, take about 10-15 minutes longer to cook as the pasta could be cooking while you are sautéing the veggies.