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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coconut Meatball Curry

Delicious South East Asian - inspired curry with substitutions for those of us who don't have exotic ingredients
Source: Adjusted from Granny's Malasian Meatball Curry on

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 3 (out of 5)

For the meatballs:
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
For the curry:
- 2 medium onions, peeled
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3/4 inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp mango powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp salt
Total: 4-5 servings

1. Grind onion, garlic and ginger to a paste in a food processor.
2. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a wok or a large frying pan, and stir fry the onion paste for about 5 minutes.
3. Combine curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mango powder, cinnamon and cayenne and add a little water to make paste.
4. Add the curry paste and the bay leaves to the wok and stir fry for another 5-10 minutes until quite toasted and the oil starts to ooze out.
5. Add coconut milk and water and bring slowly to the boil.
6. While the curry sauce is heating up, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and start rolling meatballs the size of ping-pong balls. There will be about 30 meatballs, and the small size will make sure that they cook fast. While making the meatballs, stop occasionally and stir the sauce gently.
7. Once the sauce boils, add the tomato paste, the sugar and the salt and mix well. Then add the meatballs, cover and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. You can add more water if necessary.
8. Add the potato and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Server over steamed rice.

- These meatballs are really delicious, very rich - the perfect comfort food, hence calorie count omitted ;-). I will be making many more of them. The only change I might make is skipping the cinnamon, but if you are not sensitive to cinnamon, you might prefer keeping it.
- I followed the original recipe pretty closely, my main adjustments were making substitutions for ingredients that I did not have, such as Malaysian curry powder and curry leaves. I would love to try those if I ever find them. I also added brown sugar.
- I might try reserving some of the curry paste after frying before adding the coconut milk and add it to the meatball mixture - to have the flavors inside and out.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Simple Crepes

A really nice crepe recipe, great for both sweet and savory versions. 
Source: with small variations

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (230 cal)
- 1 egg (70 cal)
- 1/4 milk (70 cal cal)
- 1/4 water
- 1 tbsp butter (100 cal)
- 1/8 tsp salt
Total: 4 crepes, 470 cal, 120 cal/crepe

1. Heat the milk, the water and the butter in a microwave for 20 seconds to bring to lukewarm temperature and mix until the butter melts.
2. Whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat a frying pan on medium heat for at least 1 minute. Lightly grease with butter (only for the first crepe).
4. Whisk the batter once again before using and pour 1/4 cup per crepe into the frying pan and immediately rotate the pan to spread the batter.
5. Cook for about 1 minute and flip using a thin spatula. Cook for another minute on the other side. Remove from the pan and keep in an oven preheated to 200F until all the crepes are ready.
6. Serve with savory or sweet filling.

This is the only crepe recipe that used water, and not just milk. But on the other hand it had the most reviews on Allrecipes, so I tried it. I also saw the tip on warming up the milk and refrigerating the batter in other recipes, so I made those changes. These crepes are really light and a little crispy, and were super easy to flip. I made one savory with egg and cheese and one faux crepe suzette: microwaved orange marmalade for 10 seconds just to melt it a bit, instead of making the real orange sauce. Both were very nice.

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