We like this salad served in generous portions as a complete light lunch, but it could work just as well as a course in a more elaborate meal.
Kung Pao Chicken is a staple of Chinese restaurants in America, but don't be fooled. It's the real deal that traces back to China. The heat in the dish comes from fiery dried red chiles and the singular, mentholated bite of Sichuan peppercorns. Throw in some soy sauce for saltiness, a hint of honey for sweetness, and black vinegar and rice wine for sourness, and you have a balanced and aromatic dish that's done in under 30 minutes. But how spicy is it? Well, you decide. Use five chiles for relatively mild, ten chiles for relatively painful, fifteen chiles for call the relatives, I'm dying.
If you prefer not to use veal, the same preparation can be made with thinly sliced and pounded chicken breast, pork, or another cut of beef. In the German-speaking world, this is called Schnitzel Wiener Art, or Viennese-style cutlets. But any way you cook it, it's a hearty and delicious main course to make at home.
The secret is the secret ingredient: kimchi, the fermented preparation of cabbage, scallions, radishes, and spicy chili powder that is the pride of any self-respecting Korean cook. The fermentation process builds deep, complex flavors as well as probiotics that are great for human digestion. We get our kimchi from J&H Farm in Brooklyn, a local bodega that sells a variety of home-made kimchi prepared by either grandma, ma, and son – and labeled accordingly. (If you're ever in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, get some of their kimchi).
Once you have the kimchi, this recipe takes about as much time and work as frying up an ordinary egg. But, oh the flavor! If your mom is the adventurous type and likes things a bit spicy, make it for her this Sunday. It'll be a brunch she won't soon forget.
As a lifelong latke zealot this is a hard for me to admit: pakoras are possibly the best veggie fritters ever. They hail from the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, and much like latkes usually include potatoes and onions. But the similarity ends there.
Where the latke layers on more neutral ingredients like egg and corn starch, this pakora recipe hits the pedal with chilies, cilantro, ginger, a half dozen spices, and eggplant and then binds them all together with earthy chickpea flour. That might sound a little complicated but unlike latkes, pakoras don't require you to squeeze out excess water from the vegetables, which significantly reduced the overall prep-time and mess. The first pakoras will start emerging from the oil 15-20 minutes after you begin. And the result: a herbaceous, spicy wonder of a mouthful that will make you feel very accomplished without much effort. If Indian cooking has a gateway drug this, my friends, is it.
A well made taco delivers the perfect balance of meaty umami, corny starchiness, limey acidity, and oniony bite. The centerpiece of our taco is without question the skirt steak, a cut that's immensely flavor but, untreated, a bit tough. These qualities make it a perfect fit for a marinade of lime juice, garlic, cilantro and cumin, which tenderizes the meat and lends it brightness without overwhelm its essential steakiness.
Try it on a night when you want to enjoy a delicious steak and still stay responsive. You won't regret it.
But don't let the name fool you. Chraimeh is one of the most boldly flavorful fish preparations you'll ever encounter. A North African dish that traces its origins to Sephardic Jewish cuisine in Libya, it combines the pungency of caraway and cumin, the heat of chiles, the sweetness of paprika and tomato paste, and the bite of lemon juice and garlic. The name is an agony, the flavor a revelation.
We cooked it here with swordfish steaks but other fish steaks, like salmon or halibut, will work just as well. Unlike most fish dishes, it's also easy to make ahead, and can be served either hot or just warm. Couple it with bread for a hearty appetizer or with rice for a main course.
While generally served for breakfast, shakshuka also makes a great light dinner and a knockout brunch when guests are coming. Make the sauce a day ahead, and 15 minutes before the brunch bell, just turn up the heat and crack in the eggs.
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