Four years ago, the same day the Taste-Buds started. I cannot believe it has been so long already! Although the blog has changed from its original format and my Taste-Buds moved on from blogging, I still consider it as this common venture that gave us a lot of fun and taught us new things. It even helped me get over my baking aversion, I can make some very decent cookies and brownies now, I even made a custard from scratch (supervised by Clint), but I did all the steps myself! A big breakthrough for me!
Category Archives: Pork and Red Meat
Lebanon has been ruled by the Ottomans for 400 years, same as many surrounding countries. While countries were considered Turkish provinces, Lebanon (known as Mount-Lebanon then) enjoyed a semi-autonomous condition, till fights erupted and the nation was placed under a new system called Mutassarifiyah. Then Turkish rulers were assigned to Lebanon to stabilize it, in a declining Ottoman Empire. The ruler had the nobility title of Pasha, and was called Mutassarref which literally means executor. Daoud Pasha was the first assigned to the job and rumor has it that this dish was a favorite of his and was called after him. I don’t know how true that last part is, but the preceding mini History lesson is.
For those who have seen Shawerma sold in a restaurant or even a little joint have probably seen the impressive way it is cooked. You can hardly reproduce the same thing at your home, but you can get a nice taste from the version you make yourself.
Since I have posted an info page about Moghrabieh, I noticed that it arose a lot of interest. And since then I have been meaning to post a recipe, but you know my story with taking recipes from my mom. And I wanted her recipe in particular, because Moghrabieh comes out perfect with her.
I haven’t written for the blog in a long time, or managed to do the challenge. I have finally mustered up the courage to write an entry.
I still haven’t done the challenge, and here is why.
Jambalaya has been a favorite dish of mine for years. I enjoy the spiciness the dish delivers in addition to the multiplicity of meats. It was created in Louisiana by Spanish settlers attempting to mimic paella with the new and available ingredients in their new location. The Creole versions and the Cajun versions are similar, the major difference being that the Creole version includes tomatoes.
Jambalaya offers flexibility in its preparation as one can use any combination of meats/seafood they desire and it can be served in combination with either rice or pasta. For a basic recipe, I have included one of Emeril Lagasse’s (which I believe is incorrectly dubbed “Cajun Jambalaya”). This recipe looks similar to the ones I enjoy and should give us a good foundation on which to build. I hope you will find a satisfied palate with this challenge. Bon Appétit !
- 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
- 4 ounces chicken, diced
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3/4 cup rice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
- Salt and pepper
Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.
Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
After almost a week of trying to find the right window of opportunity, I finally found the time to make the Breyani on Wednesday morning. Immediately after getting off work (at about 8am), I was off to the store to gather my ingredients. It was actually nice shopping so early in the morning since most people were either just heading to work, or were not awake yet. I’m not a fan of the holiday crowds. I always feel like I am dodging cars in the middle of a busy freeway when walking the stores this time of year.
This recipe required numerous spices of which I only had about half of. In addition, some of the spices are not used that often in every day cooking here in the US. To my relief, I found all of them but the saffron at the first store I hit. I decided to go with beef instead of lamb in this dish since buying this much lamb would surely empty my entire Christmas savings account. I also had to settle for dry spices instead of fresh ones in some cases as I did not want to drive another 30 miles to an Indian store for solely this reason. I could not believe how much saffron was at the second store. They wanted about $15 for not even a pinch of the stuff. There was even a choice between 3 brands, all about the same price! I reluctantly chose one to ensure I got the fully authentic experience.
I did my shopping along the week to get all the ingredients/spices for the Breyani. I meant to prepare it on Sunday (October 6). I even asked the maid at the office where I can find a place that sells masala and similar spices. She is Sri-Lankan and I figured that they use something similar in their cuisine. She pointed a close by place, but after some asking and a lot of running around, I declared myself forfeited. I don’t know if it is the maid’s broken Arabic, the people who did not know the place but pointed different spice stores or it was me who did not get the directions: result was no masala. I tried the supermarket but the masala I found had most of the spices I got. I even found a Breyani mix, but again it had the same spices I already had.
For this challenge, I decided to bring something traditional. I wanted my friends to experience something truly cultural. It is a meat breyani/biryani. I did not find many good recipes online, so I used one that my mom has made before. I have to warn that if you are willing to make this recipe, it takes a lot of time!