Monthly Archives: January 2016

Vermicelli Salad (Chinese Style):

Vermicelli Salad-finishd product
Vermicelli Salad-finished product

I am really not a big fan of pasta in any shape or form. OK, I’m lying, some shapes and forms are more palatable than others. All in all, I’d be quite happy without its presence on my table whatsoever. However, my husband happens to absolutely adore pasta. In every shape and form!! Being the nice wife that I am, and being Miss Guilt in flesh and blood, I do break down and cook some form of pasta every now and then. One has to be fair I suppose, and some sort of compromise is a normal part of any relationship; pasta is mine.

I concocted this dish in one of my more desperate guilt-ridden moments, and it actually turned out pretty good. I even willingly make it every now and again.

It’s got pasta, chicken, loads of crunchy vegetables, and makes an ideal one-dish meal. It is delicious hot or cold. I prefer it on the cold side, actually room temperature, great for a buffet spread for large gatherings.

And did I mention? my husband loves it!!! so it is a savior for me.

Ingredients:

I’m sorry guys, I did not weigh any of the ingredients, so just use your own judgement!)

5 vermicelli balls (you can use more if you wish, I just prefer to drown mine in vegetables, for obvious reasons!!)

2 cups of chicken broth

1 chicken breast fillet

a medium piece of broccoli

2 medium carrots

1 medium onion

½ red pepper

½ a yellow pepper

a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger

one lemon for squeezing

soya sauce to taste

Method:

Crush the vermicelli balls in your hand, just to more or less separate the strands. You don’t want too small or too fine. And you defintely do not want the kind that is sold crushed. It is way too fine!!

Drizzle with some olive oil and pan fry the vermicelli turning constantly. Do not get distracted as it tends to burn pretty quickly

get it to a nice golden brown as in picture #4

add the chicken broth, some soya sauce, cover the pan and turn down the heat

keep checking as you may need to add some more broth (every brand of vermicelli differs, so don’t take it for granted.)

check for doneness and remove from heat. Make sure you don’t over cook, you want the pasta to be al dente

uncover the pan and set aside

slice the chicken into thin strips, sprinkle some salt, some red pepper flakes and stir fry. Add to the vermicelli pan

slice your veggies as in picture #7, and stir fry each separately. Keep in mind that you want them on the crunchy side.

As each vegetable is done, add it to the vermicelli pan

squeeze the juice of one lemon

add some soya sauce to taste

and mix well to incorporate all ingredients

I always use the fingers of both hands to mix and toss gently, this way you’re less likely to make mush out of it

that’s it, you’re done…

 

Enjoy!

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Dada’s Lentil Soup

Dada's lentil Soup-14
Dada’s Lentil Soup

Its been a while since I posted anything! Not that we haven’t eaten God forbid, a very unlikely proposition for a couple of foodies like us! There has just been so much food around with the holidays, all sorts of goodies, and cookies of all kinds, and it just felt like posting more recipes is really not what everyone would be looking for these days.                   We’re all in the same boat I’m sure, and we’re all in need of a food brake every once in a while.

Today I thought I’d post a really good lentil soup, perfect for wintery days. Also a definite comfort food! And since this soup smacks of my childhood, I thought that in the process I’d tell you about Dada.

Dada is Egyptian for Nanny. Our Dada joined our family when my middle brother (3rd on the sibling scale of five) was just 3- months old. She stayed on for the next two as well; brother #3 and myself, ranking 4th and 5th on that scale. When the nanny hat no longer fit, Dada switched to cook, housekeeper, and anything-else-needed hat. To us five, she was 2nd mother, and a much valued and loved member of our family.

It was in Dada’s kitchen that I first learned to love the world of everything food and its preparation. You will certainly see Dada’s name tagged on to many of my recipes. Even though I have adapted and changed many of those recipes throughout the years, she still remains the inspiration behind them.

So here is to you Dada, the first of many recipes in your honor: Dada’s Lentil Soup.

Ingredients:

soup:

1 medium onion

1 medium potato

1 medium tomato

1 medium carrot

2 cups red lentils

8 cups chicken broth

croutons:

a couple of days-old bread

cumin seeds

sea salt

Method:

soup:

chop your vegetables roughly (they will be blended later)

add some olive oil & sautee lightly

add the lentils

add the broth

cover & simmer until lentils cooked and vegetables tender

you may need to add more water in the process, and adjust the salt as well

blend smoothly to a puree. We like this soup thick-ish, adjust (by adding more broth) to suit your taste

set aside for now

croutons:

Dada used to fry the croutons and drain them on paper. I prefer not to fry, so I use the oven. Also she used to add cumin powder to the soup after its been blended, I prefer to use the method below with the roated cumin seeds, I find it gives more character to the soup.

while your soup is simmering, work on the croutons

slice into cubes

place in roasting pan

add sea salt, cumin seeds & olive oil

mix well with your hands and place in a 200centigrade oven with fan

bake till golden coloured (mix occasionally while roasting)

let cool slightly

remove the croutons to a serving bowl

you will be left with lovely roasted cumin seeds & sea salt in the tray, add this mixture to your blended soup and mix to distribute evenly.

Serve with extra croutons on the side.

Most Egyptians like to add lemon juice to their soups, especially this one, I don’t. So try it with and without, and decide for yourself.

Enjoy!