Year 2020 so far been pretty unpredictable to say the least but it’s been given me time to work on some of my Culinary Wishlist for 2020. It’s a list of culinary things the boyfriend and I want to try together to learn something new & improve on our culinary skills, and just have fun in the kitchen. In 2019, we set out with 12 things on the wishlist (you can read more here) but for 2020, we chose to keep only 9 things on the list due to our schedules and whatnot.
Brad’s Recipe from BA :
I love all things Bon Appetit and especially Brad Leone and his fermentation station. I am relatively new to the world of lacto-fermentation but after watching his videos, I was really inspired to do some fermentation projects at home..and so far, I have tackled fermented mustard, homemade kimchi (I did a vegan version), fermented ginger-garlic paste, and homemade sriracha!
Fermentation is essentially a controlled rotting where we want beneficial microorganims like bacteria and yeast to flourish. Fermenting foods makes them more digestible, nutritious, and adds more depth of flavor!! There are mainly three types of fermentation :
Lactic acid fermentation – when yeasts and bacteria convert starches or sugars naturally found in fruits/vegetables into lactic acid in foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yoghurt and sourdough bread.
Ethyl alcohol fermentation – where the pyruvate molecules in starches or sugars are broken down by yeasts into alcohol and carbon dioxide molecules to produce wine and beer.
Acetic acid fermentation takes place when alcohol is exposed to air and is converted into acetic acid, commonly known as vinegar!
Helpful resources and links:
Fermented Mustard : I love using it as a spread and it’s spicy and bright – really worth making at home it also makes a great gift. This is a great recipe and really easy to follow!
Vegan Kimchi : Love kimchi on everything – rice, stew, as a condiment, and dumplings (recipe to come soon). If you have leftover rice, make kimchi fried rice for a quick meal.
Making croissants, the iconic French pastry is a labor of love, patience, and harmonious relationship between flour and butter. I spent an afternoon learning how to make croissants from a dear friend Tim, who patiently walked me through every step of the way.
Key points I took away:
use quality ingredients – good European butter and make sure the yeast is active!
read the recipe before hand, weigh ingredients, and know your oven
double the batch, share with friends/families/co-workers/neighbors…or freeze the dough so you can have freshly baked croissants when your heart desires
I have yet to do the whole process all by myself but my friend Tim, sent me home with laminated dough so I can shape and bake later. I made mini-croissants a few days later which tasted + looked okay, definitely not as great as his (first pic above). I also love the fact that you can play with different fillings – sweet or savory!
Nepali Food from All 3 Regions :
Being a Nepali, I am embarrassed (and regret that I didnt take time to learn earlier) that I don’t know much about the country’s history, stories behind rituals/festivals, and various ethnic cuisines. My initial plan was to feature few food/recipes from each geographical regions (the Himalaya in the north, the central hilly region, and the Terai in the south) but I consulted Prashanta Khanal, who writes a Nepali Food Blog at The Gundruk and he suggested, Nepali food is better represented by ethnic foods rather than regions. During this pandemic, I have cooked few Nepali dishes but I have a long way to go. I will be sure to come back and update!
Aloo Nimki : A popular street food in Dharan, Eastern part of Nepal is like Nepali nachos without the cheese. Nimki is deep-fried flour tortilla strips with cumin and caraway seeds. To make aloo nimki, use aloo nimki then layered with rice puffs, chopped onion, tomatoes, seasonings, and spicy potato gravy. I used few youtube videos as a guide and made some adaptations along the way. It’s a really delicious snack and if you like crunchy/spicy things – you will enjoy it. If anything, just make nimki to go with your afternoon tea.
Rikikur (The Sherpa potato pancake) : Humble potatoes are a staple in Sherpa (an ethnic group from Nepal who have lived in the high altitudes of the Himalayas for generations) household. It is used in many dishes, including pancakes, stew, dumplings, or simply boiled as an afternoon snack. I made Rikikur recently, recipe from The Gundruk and it was a simple and comforting meal.
Laphing : Laphing is technically not a Nepali dish but it has made it’s way to Nepal (esp in Bouddha and few spots in Kathmandu) along with Tibetan and Chinese people. It is a cold noodle made with mung bean starch, wheat starch, or potato starch served with spicy soy-chili based sauce. There are few variations of laphing but I think the ones in Nepal are typically made with wheat starch. Laphing wasn’t around while I was growing up but now it’s a popular street food very famous among young generation.
Laphing takes a bit of pre-planning but it’s relatively easy to make with basic ingredients. I have followed this recipe many times and it comes out really well.
Nepali-Style Donuts : Nepali donuts are yeasty, chewy, and are not sweet/glazed and they are one of my favorite things to eat while I am in Nepal with milk-tea (chiya). I am not quite sure about the history but it’s pretty popular in Kathmandu (and maybe other parts of Nepal?). I followed this recipe and it turned out great.
That’s all for now friends. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe & healthy.
Tell me, what have you been cooking? Anything new, fun? Or, old favorites?