In Galicia —the country where I am from— albacores start to show up in markets by mid August and last around a month. I like to buy a whole fish (7-10 kg) and make many dishes out of it (see the marmitako recipe.)
This one is the simplest I know and uses tomatoes, another omnipresent ingredient during the summer (Frankly, I don’t buy fresh tomatoes for the rest of the year.)
- 750 g albacore, in large chunks
- 3 medium sized potatoes, in medium chunks
- 3 large and ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed
- Bay leaf
- Olive oil
- In a pot just large enough to barely fit the potatoes in one layer, add water until almost covered. Then add bay leaf, olive oil, tomatoes and salt and cook until the potatoes are tender and the sauce thick.
- Add albacore, gently shake the pot, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Let rest another 5. Check one chunk and, if not done, cook for another 2 minutes. Try not to overcook the fish.
- Done. Pure summer joy.
Very simple. For coconut lovers (Personally, I need a very sour sambal to eat this type of stews).
- 1 kg pork shoulder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large onion
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 minced fresh red chili
- 1/2 cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- 1 cup thin coconut milk
- Cut the pork in medium cubes and rub with salt and pepper.
- In a pot, brown the meat.
- Add finely chopped onion, garlic, chili and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add kecap manis and coconut milk, bring to the boil and cook until tender (1 1/2 hours).
- Serve with rice.
I was very intrigued when I saw the recipe. It starts looking West as a very Indian curry but finishes looking East adding lime juice and fish sauce just before serving. This step changes the whole thing.
- 1 kg chicken thighs, cut in medium pieces
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons dried chilies, toasted and crushed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 3 medium onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 5 curry leaves
- 4 teaspoons garam masala
- lime juice
- fish sauce
- Sprinkle the turmeric, cinnamon, dried chilies and allspice over thie chicken. Rub lightly and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Add some oil in a pot and fry chicken until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, place onions, garlic, ginger and fresh chili in a food processor and puree.
- Push the chicken pieces to the sides of the pot and add the onion puree. Fry for 5 minutes.
- Add garam masala and curry leaves and fry briefly.
- Add water but do not cover the chicken completely. Bring to the boil and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.
- When done, add lime juice and fish sauce.
- Serve with rice.
Deep red curries always look delicious. This recipe is a simplified version of the one from Charmain Salomon’s book “The Hot and Spicy Cookbook”.
* 750 grams of leg of lamb, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
* 1 onion, sliced
* 2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 4 cloves
* 3 cardamon pods, crushed
* 2 teaspoons tomato paste
* 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped.
Mix meat, garam masala, flour and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and then shape into meatballs.
Fry the onions, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamon until the onions are browned. Then add the rest of turmeric, chili, tomato paste and a glass of water.
Add the meatballs and cook for half and hour.
When almost done, toast the saffron, crush, mix with a tablepoon of water and add to the pot. Finish the dish sprinkling chopped coriander on top.
This recipe comes from the book Asia, The Beautiful Cookbook. It’s belongs to a series of books from the early 90’s when the internet was not a thing. Many recipes have the lost sense of simplicity I crave.
* 1 kg of beef or veal shank
* 4 large onions
* 8 cloves of garlic
* A piece of ginger
* 1 stalk lemon grass
* 1 tablespoon ground coriander
* 2 teaspoons ground clove
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
* 2 cups thin coconut milk
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 red chillies
* 8 candlenuts (or 34 raw cashews)
* 10 small new potatoes
Cut the meat into cubes.
Chop the onions, garlic, ginger and white bottom of lemon grass and process in a food processor to a purée.
Brown the meat in oil, add the onion purée and fry for another 5 minutes.
Add the spices and shrimp paste and give it a stir.
Add coconut milk and bay leave. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Grind the nuts and and to the sauce. Cook for 1 1/2 hour and add more water if needed.
Serve with white rice.
Colorful dish with a punch thanks to the panch phora. And easy, very easy.
* Half a cauliflour, broken in small florets
* 1 tablespoon of panch phora
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* A slice of ginger, minced
* 2 red chilli, sliced
* 1 teaspoon of turmeric
* Vegetable oil or ghee
Fry the panch phora in oil until the mustard seeds starts to pop.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the rest of ingredients and a little bit of water.
Cook until the cauliflower is tender but still retaining some of its crispness. Eat with steamed rice.
When I tried baked beans for the first time I thought how absurd and disgusting was that mixture of ketchup and beans and why would somebody would want to eat pig fodder. Then I found this recipe. The difference between Heinz’s and mines are best explained trying this out:
* 1/2 kg white beans, cooked
* 3 tablespoons of dark molasses
* 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 4 tablespoons of vinegar
* 4 rashers of bacon, cut in small pieces
* A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
* One onion, finely cubed
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Mix everyhing in a Dutch oven and cook in the oven for 3 hours, stirring every 45 minutes. That’s it.
I’ve named this soup after my grandmother, who came up with this recipe trying to find a way for my sisters and I to eat vegetables. The three of us still love this simple soup and I am using it myself with my sons with the same goal in mind. I admire how she solved a problem using a deep understanding of the limited ingredients she had at hand. Nowadays innovation is the goal in itself, leading most of the time to a rootless mixing of ingredients (Thai-Mex, Japo-Spanish, you name it) and overcomplication which will be lost as trends change over time. On the opposite side, there is my grandmother handing us a recipe still being used after two generations.
The soup uses unto, rancid pork back fat, a flavoring ingredient from Galicia and Northern Portugal. The best way to get a similar flavor would be making a light stock with prosciutto bones. If you cannot get any of those, use unsmoked bacon fat.
* 2 cups of potatoes, finely cubed
* 2 cups of green beans, finely cubed
* 2 cups of carrots, finely cubed
* 1 large garlic clove
* A small piece of unto, unsmoked bacon fat or 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cover the vegetables with just enought water and boil until very tender.
Meanwhile, mash the fat, garlic and salt to make a paste and add to the soup.
This recipe comes from a book I bought in Naples. I could not find a single reference to it anywhere. It has no ISBN and the name of the author is missing. I got it from a street vendor selling all kinds of odd stuff. Very napolitean.
The recipe is very simple. As always, use the best ingredients you can find to let the flavors shine.
* A medium onion, finely chopped
* Half a stalk of celery, finely chopped
* A handfull of basil leaves, finely chopped
* A handfull of parsley, finely chopped
* 4-5 cups of boiled beans
* Olive oil
* Salt and pepper
1. Gently fry everthing but the beans until the onion is translucent.
2. Add beans, stir and cook briefly.
3. If you have stale bread, put a slice on each plate and cover with the beans.
This recipe was published many years ago in the great Spanish blog Ondakin. It’s a family recipe (from the blog’s author’s mother) so I follow it without changing a comma. It’s a nice summer dish for cooler climates or even hotter ones if you don’t mind sweat running down your forehead.
- 1/2 kilo of tuna
- 1/2 kilo floury potatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 Italian green pepper, sliced
- 1 choricero pepper (or any sweet non-smoked dried chilli)
- 2 medium oniones, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Cover the choricero pepper or dried chili with boiling water and let it soften.
- Gently cook the onions in olive oil until traslucent. Then add carrots, peppers and garlic.
- Keep cooking for a couple of minutes and add peeled, seeded and choped tomatoes and white wine. Cook until the alcohol evaporates.
- With a rounded knife scrap the flesh of the chorizero pepper and mash into a pulp. Add to the pot.
- Add potatoes. The best way to make chunks is with a fork, sticking a fork in it and twisting it until a piece breaks apart. The potatoes will thicken the sauce better than clean cut with a knife.
- Add water and cook for half an hour, until the broth is slightly thickened.
- Add tuna, cover, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Do not overcook or you risk drying out the fish.