Tag: garlic

Stuffed Zucchini, Eggplant, and Peppers (Kusa Mahshy)

Stuffed Zucchini, Eggplant, and Peppers (Kusa Mahshy)

Here is another one of my absolute favorite Middle Eastern dishes. “Mahshy” literally means stuffed, and I love all things mashy. Stuffed vegetables, stuffed grape leaves, and stuffed cabbage are all fantastic dishes in the Middle Eastern kitchen. Parsley and mint are prevalent in most […]

Chicken Salad Pasta Shells

Chicken Salad Pasta Shells

When I saw Giada making these on TV I knew it would be a hit in my family. I never eat regular chicken salad or tuna salad because I strongly dislike mayonnaise and other processed condiments heavy in preservatives. This chicken salad is a genius […]

Hummus

Hummus

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This Middle Eastern staple has made its way all around the world and is a huge hit! This perfectly flavored chickpea puree provides fiber, protein, and healthy omega 3 fats that are filling, satisfying, and perfectly low in calories. Chickpeas are quite high in fiber, protein, folic acid, magnesium , and zinc and are great for reducing cholesterol and blood sugar.  Hummus makes an excellent spread in sandwiches or a dip for veggies, which makes it a filling snack but lower in fat than mayo, ranch dressings, and other less healthy options.  No wonder this dip is so popular! I love my hummus extra lemony and garlicky, and that’s the beauty of making this easy dish at home- you can add as much or as little flavor as you want. You can vary the flavor, color, and texture by including preferred vegetables such as parsley, beets, roasted red peppers, carrots, or my favorite:  cilantro with jalapeƱo! Hummus is traditionally prepared with tahini paste, which is basically sesame seed butter. 

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As with all of my recipes, I do not use any canned products here, and try to keep everything as natural and homemade as possible. Nothing is more satisfying than enjoying something perfectly concocted in your kitchen and knowing exactly everything that is inside.

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I start with 1/2 cup of dried garbanzo beans or chickpeas. These should be sorted for stones or dirt and washed. Many people need to soak the beans overnight before boiling the next day, but if you use a pressure cooker like I do, no need for that hassle! Simple toss the chickpeas into your pressure cooker, cover with water, add a quarter of an onion, and cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Do not add salt in the pressure cooker as it inhibits cooking. Once the peas are cooked, its as simple as pureeing the little gems with tahini paste in your blender with your favorite spices and flavors! The basics that I must include are salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Its important to reserve some of the water the chickpeas cooked in or have fresh water on hand to thin out the hummus as needed. I forgot about the water at first and had a very THICK dip to start with (it happens!). But no worries,  this is something you can vary depending on how thick or thin your prefer your hummus to be. This dish is really fool proof! When in doubt, start with a little and add more as needed šŸ™‚ I make my hummus in a flash with my trusty Vitamix blender, which does require at least 1/4 cup of water in order to pull all the ingredients downward into its funnel of fury shredding every ingredient into a silky smooth dip!

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Hummus
Serves 4
A delicious and healthy chickpea puree dip with sesame paste, lemon and garlic
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c dried chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans)
  2. 3/4 c water
  3. 1 small onion, quartered
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/4 tsp pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp cumin
  7. 1/4 tsp paprika
  8. Juice of 2 lemons
  9. 4-6 cloves of garlic
  10. 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp for drizzling
  11. 2 tbsp of tahini paste (sesame seed butter)
  12. parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Sort the chick peas for dirt, stones, or old pieces and wash well. Place chickpeas into pressure cooker and cover with water, about 1 inch above the peas. Add 1 quarter of an onion and cook over high pressure for 1 hour. Do not add salt until after the beans cook. Once done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  2. Strain the chickpeas and reserve some of the liquid for thinning out the puree (or you could use fresh water).
  3. Pour 1/4 c water or cooking liquid from the chickpeas to a Vitamix blender or food processor. Reserve some whole chickpeas for garnish and add the rest into the blender.
  4. Add Tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and garlic cloves. Pulse to combine all ingredients, then puree on high until the mixture is smooth. If using a Vitamix, it is helpful to use the patented push stick to move everything downward into the blades. Add more water if needed to thin it out. Add the olive oil at the end and pulse again until well combined. Taste and add more lemon or garlic to your preference. I usually have at least 6 garlic cloves in mine because we love the taste!
  5. Spoon the hummus onto a serving platter, carve lines into the top with a fork or butter knife and drizzle olive oil on top. The oil will settle into the lines. Sprinkle paprika, chopped parsley, and arrange the reserved whole chickpeas in the center to garnish.
  6. Serve with cucumbers, or any favorite veggies, pita bread, crackers, or spread onto sandwiches!
Notes
  1. While the chickpeas are cooking, roast a red pepper in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and add to the blender to make roasted red pepper hummus. Or you could add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and half a jalapeƱo pepper to make a zesty, spicy green hummus!
Sugar & Garlic https://sugarandgarlic.com/

Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)

Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)

This dip is SO flavorful, zesty, and delicious! Roasted eggplant, fresh garlic, lemon juice and a dash of tahini sauce are what make up this delicious spread. Traditionally the eggplant is charred or grilled first to impart a smoky flavor, and some people use some […]

Best Guacamole Ever

Best Guacamole Ever

This is my all time favorite snack! I became addicted when we lived in Miami and had avocados in abundance, and it was served in many dishes. I use guacamole as an appetizer when entertaining almost every time, as a snack for my kids, and […]

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

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With fresh garlic, ginger, and turmeric root blended in a sauce of lemon and tomato how could anyone resist this? My 100% authentic Indian girlfriend, Farheen, suggested which spices to use and taught me the importance of using fresh whole spices to toast and then grind before use. The difference between doing this and not, is the difference between smelling and, well, NOT SMELLING. The fragrance and flavor is immensely improved when you toast your spices whole and grind them fresh. I simply use a food processor. 100% worth the extra step.

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The fragrant preparation of dry toasting whole seeds of cumin and coriander in a pan is very rewarding. Grinding and pounding with a mortar is extra fun for the kids- or a stressed out adult. I combine the toasted spices with paprika and some cayenne to achieve the awesome flavor imparted to tikka masala. I use only fresh turmeric and ginger. Fresh turmeric root has such a powerful flavor and is very beneficial for your health. Aside from the stained yellow fingers, this is one fabulous root to incorporate into savory cooking for a major flavor impact. 

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The mariande involves a deliciously zesty yogurt-lemon-spice sauce that the chicken bathes in overnight, or at least 2 hours. I use chunks of chicken breast because it is a lot less preparation and eliminates the whole step of chucking the meat off of the bone after it cooks. Because this recipe uses a flavorful marinade and simmer sauce, juiciness is not compromised at all. 

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Once all those flavors get well acquainted with the chicken, you char-grill it or broil it in your oven. Grilling tastes much better, of course. 

tikkasugarandgarlic2014-18 The chicken does not need to be cooked through while grilling or broiling, as it will still simmer in the tikka sauce. 

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I use a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil + a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter or “samna”) to impart the essential buttery flavor, without having to use the 4 heaping tablespoons of ghee originally called for! 

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let it sizzle…

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 …until nice and caramelized with some tasty burnt parts!

Tomatoes, lemon, and cilantro are then added and pureed with an immersion blender.

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Add milk or cream- whatever your dietary preference is.  Cream and butter are traditional and necessary for the classic creamy and buttery taste, but even I feel that would be too heavy. I prefer a dash of cream or milk with lemon and tomato being the dominant flavors of the sauce.

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Add the chicken and the remaining chopped cilantro and serve with rice or naan. SO GOOD.

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Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 6
A hearty and flavorful chicken dish, full of lemon, garlic, and fragrant spices!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 7 pounds chicken breast pieces, skin removed
  2. 4 tablespoons toasted ground cumin
  3. 3 tablespoons toasted paprika
  4. 3 tablespoon toasted ground coriander seed
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric root
  6. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 12 cloves garlic, 8 whole, 4 minced
  8. 4 tablespoons fresh ginger root
  9. 3 cups plain yogurt
  10. 1 cup fresh juice from 6 to 8 lemons, divided
  11. Kosher salt
  12. 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  13. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  14. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  15. 1/4 c sliced shallots
  16. 3 cups diced tomatoes
  17. 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  18. 1/4 c cup heavy cream (optional)
  19. 1/4 c milk
  20. 1/2 c vinegar for washing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash chicken pieces with vinegar and salt. Place in a large rimmed baking dish.
  2. Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a pan over medium heat, moving around frequently so that it does not scorch. Grind in a food processor or spice mill. Toast the paprika over medium heat in pan.
  3. Combine cumin, paprika, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside 4 tablespoons of spice mixture.
  4. Combine remaining 7 tablespoons of the spice mixture, 8 whole garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons ginger, turmeric root, yogurt, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of salt in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined, and garlic and ginger are minced. Pour marinade all over chicken pieces, stirring well to ensure good coverage. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
  5. GRILL: If cooking on a grill, preheat the grill and spray olive oil onto the grill tray. Scoop up chicken pieces and shake off excess marinade off of chicken and place over hot side of grill. Grill without moving until well charred, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until second side is charred, another 2 to 4 minutes. (Chicken may not be completely cooked through, which is fine as it will cook more in the simmer sauce). BROILER: If cooking in the oven under the broiler, line a pan with heavy duty aluminum foil (to prevent charring and stuck on stains) and preheat the broiler to high with the rack set as close to the top broiler as possible to fit a pan under. Shake off excess marinade off of chicken and place on foil-lined pan. Broil until charred and blackened on surface, about 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven (chicken may not be completely cooked through, which is fine as it will cook more in the simmer sauce). Be careful not to dry out the chicken!
  6. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a large pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add onions, remaining 4 cloves of grated garlic, shallots, and remaining 2 tablespoons of ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until dark and beginning to char in spots, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the olive oil and allow to heat then add the reserved spice mixture stirring frequently for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and half of cilantro, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Simmer for 15 minutes until tomatoes are juicy and soft. Puree using a hand blender.
  8. Stir in cream and milk and remaining half cup of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, then set aside until chicken is cooked.
  9. Transfer chicken chunks to the pan of sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, then serve immediately with rice or naan.
Notes
  1. *The marinade yields a large quantity. I save half of it for later and cook only 3 pounds of chicken at a time for my family, but make the same amount of the simmer sauce for 3 pounds of chicken as it is so delicious and good on the rice or naan! Make the entire quantity if cooking for 6-8 adults.
  2. *Cream and butter may be completely omitted and the dish will still taste fantastic but this will take away from the traditional and characteristic creamy Indian tikka masala flavor. I substituted some milk and used just a bit of ghee to impart the buttery flavor. Making ghee at home is very easy and smells/tastes amazing! If you are interested in seeing this method, leave me a comment below!
Adapted from Serious Eats J Kenji Lopez-Alt
Sugar & Garlic https://sugarandgarlic.com/
 

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

  This is easily one of our favorite dinners in my home. It is my husband’s favorite dish I cook, and he only gets it when he’s REALLY good ;). This dish is perfect because it is so versatile with what vegetables you can add in, as well as […]

Maqlooba

Maqlooba

Literally, maqlooba means upside down or flipped over. That is exactly what this dish is- a pot full of deliciousness, flipped over onto a plate for serving. The first time I had this was at my friend’s house for dinner, and yes she is Palestinian. […]