Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Popcorn with Blackened Chillis and Clarified Butter

If you’re planning to stay-in on new year’s eve and watch the crystal ball drop in Times Square parked in front of your TV, then this is the best munchy snack to have on hand. No matter how much of this spiced popcorn I make, there is never enough—I challenge you to try and resist it.

3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
24 Dry Red Chillis
6 tbsp Clarified Butter (Ghee)
2 tbsp ground Coriander
2 tsp ground Cumin
2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
2 cups Popcorn Kernels
Salt (to taste)
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet or frying pan over high heat. When the oil is smoking, add chillis and sauté briskly for 2 mins until they are blackened. Remove chillis from pan on to a plate. When the chillis are cool to the touch, crush them with your hands and set aside.
  2. Melt the clarified butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add coriander, cumin and black pepper, stir well and turn off heat.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large, deep pot over high heat. Add kernels and toss in oil. Put the lid on the pot and let the kernels pop. Keep the lid on until the popping sound stops, about 5-6 mins. Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle with salt, put the lid back on and shake well. Pour popcorn into a large serving bowl, sprinkle with crushed chillis and drizzle with clarified butter and spice mixture. Toss well with a large spoon and serve immediately.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Green Beans with Almonds and Champagne-Mustard Glaze

Like the roasted brussels sprouts recipe that I posted yesterday, this is another low-hassle side dish recipe that is a great accompaniment to elaborate meals. The best part of this recipe is that you can serve it fresh and warm straight from the stovetop, or make it ahead of time and put out as a cold salad.

2 lbs [1 kg] fresh Green Beans (trimmed)
4 tbsp Butter
2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp English mustard (like Colman’s), or Dijon mustard
1 tsp Thyme (finely chopped)
Salt (to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
2 tsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
½ cup Champagne, or dry White Wine
1/3 cup slivered almonds (lightly toasted)
  1. Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 5-6 mins until just crisp-tender. Drain the beans and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water, to cool them completely and to retain the vibrant, green colour. Drain the beans well. You can prepare the beans up this point a day ahead and store in the fridge.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over high heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 mins, then whisk in the mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and let sizzle for 2-3 mins. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice and champagne and let bubble briskly for 3-4 mins until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has reduced in half.
  3. Add green beans and toss well until heated through, about 5 mins. Sprinkle with almonds and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm, or let cool and serve as a cold salad.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

In preparation for big, year-end dinners, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite and trusted side dishes. This brussels sprouts recipe plays a steady role in my fall-winter roasting repertoire and is a star player in my Thanksgiving line-call. It’s less a recipe per se and more a technique that you can doctor with any combination of your favourite herbs and savoury meats (bacon, sausage, ham). In this variation, the salty and crunchy bite of the pancetta enhances the sweet muskiness of the golden, caramelised sprouts beautifully.

4 oz [100 gm] Pancetta (diced)
2 lbs [1 kg] Brussels Sprouts (cut in half vertically)
Sea Salt (to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. In a large skillet or frying pan, render pancetta over high heat until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to drain on a paper-lined plate.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 450º F (230ºC).
  3. Put brussels sprouts and pancetta on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and thyme, drizzle with olive oil, and using your hands, toss well to mix.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 mins, then stir the sprouts with a large spoon to ensure that the brussels sprouts caramelise evenly. Continue roasting for another 15 mins. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Bundled-up Little Sis in front of the Rockefeller Centre tree.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


© Copyright 2012 Shubhani Sarkar