Coconut milk

Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Coconut  milk is a common ingredient in many tropical cuisines, such as Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Vietnamese, Peranakan and southern Chinese, as well as Brazilian, Caribbean, Polynesian, and Pacific islands cuisines. Even in non-tropical cuisines around the world, thanks to canning, dehydrating and freezing, coconut milk has become a widely used ingredient in a myriad of dishes, both sweet and savory.  I use coconut milk mostly for curries and soups, as well as the occasional dessert. When using it for soups, I usually prepare a Thai or Thai-inspired soup. Today however, I did not make my usual tom-kha-gai (Thai chicken/coconut soup), but rather a simple, tasty beef/coconut soup. No fancy herbs, seasoning or other hard-to find ingredients, just simple items which you’ll regularly find in my cupboard and chiller.
Nevertheless, the strong beef flavor combined beautifully with the coconut milk and made for a great lunch 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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P.S.
Although I usually don’t find it necessary to strain soups through a fine paper or cheese cloth when cooking for one-self at home, I recommend it in this case. If you don’t, the  coagulated impurities from the broth show up clearly as dark spots in the light-colored soup once you have added the coconut milk.
While not a flavor or textural problem, it just looks better when strained 🙂
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Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Click here for more  Noodle Soups on ChefsOpinion
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Karachi Butter Chicken

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Link to  
Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food


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This  dish of course got got its world wide fame from the omnipresent version sold in Indian restaurants all over the planet, and since India existed long before Pakistan, it is safe to say that Butter Chicken was born in India, not Pakistan.
However, the version I am featuring here is the version which my sous chef Said taught me while I was working and living in Karachi, Pakistan.
If you wonder – Pakistan  was  one of the most beautiful, interesting and fascinating places Maria and I have lived. We only met very nice, gracious, openhearted, kind people who wanted to have nothing to do with the stuff that has turned the world off to this wonderful place.
Sadly, as in many other areas around the world, ignorant, devilish minorities spoil the country and make it a hell for hardworking, straight, honest people who want to live their life in peace and harmony.
But – this is of course another subject for another time and place to discuss……
Ok now, back to happier, tastier thoughts:
The  food in Pakistan’s  larger cities is marvelous, varied and highly seasoned, mostly  Indian in origin but with a great influx of Persian-, Chinese- and Afghan-cuisine among others. While I was living in Karachi, I was lucky to be able to learn a lot of home-style recipes from my cooks and sous chefs, (besides the commercial food we served in the hotel), who took special pride in showing me the great food their families had cooked for generations. The meals Maria and I had in Pakistan were truly among the best we were lucky to enjoy anywhere in the world 🙂
So many happy memories of gracious people, amazing food and wonderful friendships……….
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more info about Pakistani Food
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Link to Garam Masala

Link to Naan
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Pakistani Butter Chicken

Pakistani Butter Chicken

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Pakistani Butter Chicken

Pakistani Butter Chicken

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners



Here  is another hearty recipe of wonderful comfort food.
Many folks are familiar with Jamaican dumplings and some have become addicted to them like I have.  Although in their most basic form they are made of  just flour, water and salt, as part of a soup or stew they can be mind-boggling great because of their unique texture. As for the taste, I usually add garlic paste and cayenne pepper to give them a bit of extra umph 🙂
The traditional shape of Jamaican dumplings is a thick disk shape with an indention in the center. Spinners are made of the same dough, but they are “spinned” between your hands to shape them into tapered tubes, which is the shape I prefer.
As for the protein in the bean soup, use whatever you like and/or have at hand. Chicken, pork, salt beef, fresh beef, even seafood or just root vegetables. Of course, smoked ham hocks are the price in today’s lunch’ version, which could not have been more tasty and delicious.


Bon Appetit !  Irie, Mon !

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners



Preparation :

simmer ham hocks in generously seasoned water (kosher salt, garlic paste, scotch bonnet hot sauce) until tender but NOT falling apart

simmer ham hocks in generously seasoned water (kosher salt, garlic paste, scotch bonnet hot sauce) until tender but NOT falling apart

when ham hocks are tender, remove from stock, reserve

when ham hocks are tender, remove from stock, reserve

ham hocks

smoked ham hocks


remove bones from ham hocks, give one each to your dog and his/her friends :-)

remove bones from ham hocks, give one each to your dog and his/her friends 🙂

dice meat and skin into bite size cubes

dice meat and skin into bite size cubes


add canned, strained black beans, quartered onions,  a small amount of curry powder and turmeric and coconut milk to stock, simmer for another 45 minutes

add canned, strained black beans, quartered onions, a small amount of curry powder, turmeric and coconut milk to stock, simmer for another 45 minutes

blend in electric blender until smooth, check / adjust seasoning

blend in electric blender until smooth, check / adjust seasoning

make a dough of a/p flour, water and salt, knead until the dough looks like this

make a dough of a/p flour, water, garlic paste, hot sauce and salt, knead until the dough is smooth

roll individual pieces into small tubes like this, simmer in salt water until cooked through, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size you prefer

roll individual pieces into small tubes like this, simmer in salt water until cooked through, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size you prefer

almost...........

almost………..

add meat to soup to heat through

add meat to soup to heat through

plate soup in serving dish

plate soup in serving dish

top with spinners

top with spinners

sprinkle with scallions and/or herbs of your choice

sprinkle with scallions and/or herbs of your choice

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners

Jamaican Black Bean Soup With Smoked Ham Hocks And Spinners



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please be so kind and click on the video below.  Thank you 🙂






Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup



Usually,  when we think of the combination of shrimp and coconut, Asian food is foremost in our mind. Lately, every publication seems to have a preference for food with an Asian origin or at least an Asian  influence. While I am a huge fan of Asian food, I am also very fond of the food from our closest neighbor, the Caribbean. Here now is a shrimp and coconut soup I had first put on the menu while I was working in Negril, Jamaica in the late 80’s. (How time flies when you look back)

Bon Appetit !   Iree, Mon !

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup



Preparation :

to split the coconut, saw a small inision around the outside of the coco, then crack it with the back of a large chefsknife or machete (I live in Florida where it is normal to have a machete in the house) :-)

to split the coconut, saw a small incision around the outside of the coco, then crack it with the back of a large chef’s knife or machete (I live in Florida where it is normal to have a machete in the house) 🙂

good job

good job

aaute finely diced onions in coco oil

saute finely diced onions in coco oil

season shrimp with sea salt and cayenne pepper, dust lightly with corn starch

season shrimp with sea salt and cayenne pepper, dust lightly with corn starch

add shrimp and garlic paste to pan and saute until shrimp are halfway cooked

add shrimp and garlic paste to pan and saute until shrimp are halfway cooked

remove shrimp, reserve

remove shrimp, reserve

deglaze pan with cocnac (careful, it might ignite)

deglaze pan with dark caribbean rum (careful, it might ignite)

add white wine

add white wine

add coconut water from coco, two small can of coconut milk, one small can of clam juice

add coconut water from coco, two small can of coconut milk, one small can of clam juice

simmer soup until slightly thickened

season with sea salt and cayenne pepper, simmer until slightly thickened

add diced cooked potatoes, corn and shrimp, heat through and remove from heat, dont let it simmer or the shrimp will toughen and get dry

add diced cooked potatoes, corn and shrimp, heat through and remove from heat, don’t let it simmer again or the shrimp will  get dry and tough

spoon shrimp, potato and corn into clean coconut, spoon soup on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro

spoon shrimp, potato and corn into clean coconut, spoon soup on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

my portion :-)

my portion 🙂

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup

Caribbean Shrimp & Coconut Soup







Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry / Coconut Soup

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Last night I wanted to have a spicy snack at around midnight. Had to be quick and easy. Here is what I prepared. It took about 3 minutes of actual prep time and less than 15 minutes from start to finish. (I had some blanched rapini and cooked lai fen in the fridge from yesterday’s lunch and green lips on the half shell in the freezer). What a convenient product fresh frozen seafood is. If you make sure you buy quality merchandise and handle it with care, frozen seafood will make for a great snack or quick meal in no time. This soup was just awesome  🙂
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Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry/Coconut Soup

Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry / Coconut Soup


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Ingredient’s :
Green lip mussels,   frozen, on the half shell
Lai fen rice sticks,   cooked, tossed with sesame oil
Rapini,   blanched, coarsely chopped
Clam juice,
Coconut milk,
Tomato,   chopped
Onion,   julienned
Chilis,   julienned
Scallions,   sliced
Almonds,   slivered
Limes,   juiced
Curry powder,
Turmeric,
Garlic,    paste
Ginger,   grated
Fish sauce,
Red curry paste,   canned
Maggi seasoning,
Scotch bonnet sauce,
Kosher salt,
Peanut oil,   to saute

Method :

Saute onions in peanut oil until translucent, add tomatoes and chilis, saute for one minute. Add curry paste, garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric and almonds and saute until fragrant. Add all other ingredients except mussels, noodles and cilantro and simmer for 7 minutes. Strain. Add mussels and noodles. Return to heat until heated through. Remove from heat.  Add fish sauce and scotch bonnet sauce to taste  (be careful with the fermented fish sauce, check  HERE   first).  To serve, top with cilantro.
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Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

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Usually  I prefer rice sticks or mung bean noodles in this kind of soup,
but last night rice seemed to tickle my fancy even more.
Quick and easy to prepare and oh so delicious 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Ingredient’s :

Chicken Drumsticks,   (use any part of chicken you prefer)
Chicken stock,
Bok choy,   blanched
Coconut milk,
Chili flakes,
Rice,   cooked
Lemon grass,   pounded
Scallions,   finely sliced
Ginger,   grated
Garlic,   paste
Kosher salt,

Method :

Simmer chicken, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chili and salt in chicken stock until tender but not falling appart. Remove chicken, set aside. Strain broth, add coconut milk and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. add bock choy and rice to heat through. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve, add chicken to serving bowl, ladle sou on top. Sprinkle with and sliced scallions and more chili.
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Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

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Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

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Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

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Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

Chicken, Bok Choy & Rice In Spicy Coconut Broth

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Pigs Tail And Potato Curry, Naan & Cucumber Raita

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Some folks are probably scratching their head, going “WTF” (what he food 🙂 ) when reading this. But hey, I love pigs tail and curries of any style.

Pigs tails – not everybody’s cup of tea                                read about Pigs Tail
Real curries – everybody loves those                                  read about Real Curries
European style curries – if you grew up with them…….. read about “European Style” Curries

The good thing is that if you don’t love pig’s tails, you can replace them with any other protein or vegetables.
However, here is what went on in my kitchen for today’s lunch:
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Pigs Tail And Potato Curry, Naan & Cucumber Raita

Pigs Tail And Potato Curry, Naan & Cucumber Raita

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Curry :

Pigs tails,   cut into pieces
Potatoes,   peeled, cut into wedges
Bananas,   sliced,
Baby carrots,
Peppers,   diced,
Celery,   sliced
Tomato,   diced
Ginger,   grated
Garlic,   paste
Cilantro,   chopped
Vegetable stock,
Coconut milk,
Turmeric,
Curry powder,
Kosher salt,
Cayenne pepper,
Butter,

Saute pigs tails in butter until lightly browned, add vegetables, banana, garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant. Add curry and turmeric, saute for another minute. Add stock, salt and pepper and very slowly simmer until pigs tails are tender. Add coconut milk and potatoes and simmer until potatoes are done but still firm. Adjust seasoning if necessary. To serve, sprinkle curry with plenty of coarsely chopped cilantro.

Naan :

1/2 cup   water,
1 pck yeast
2.5 cup  a/p  flour,
1/4 cup vegetable oil,
1/3 cup greek yogurt,
1 lg egg
Salt

Combine yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve, let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour with the salt. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well mixed. Continue adding flour a half cup at a time until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).

Turn the ball of dough out onto a well floured counter top. Knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky.

Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the under side is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface (see photos below). Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs!
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For Raita Recipe, click here
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

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Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

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At  first I was going to do a “authentic”  Malay, or Burmese ,or Thai, or Indonesian, or Indian, or whatever “authentic” coconut / curry / noodle / chicken dish. But then, for what ? There is a million and one recipes  (more or less “authentic”)  out there in the internet and book world available to anyone. But by now I believe  (hopefully)  that most of my readers subscribe to   “ChefsOpinion”  because of my interpretations of dishes and the ease  of which they can be duplicated more ore less closely  (adjust to whatever tickles your fancy).  So here we go,  Hans’ authentic  🙂  version of :  Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup.  Enjoy. Don’t break a leg running for authentic ingredients. Use what you’ve got available, what you like and what you can afford. The single most important authentic ingredient required for most dishes is love and passion. If you cook it and folk’s and you yourself love it –  Voilà ! Success !
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Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

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Ingredient’s :

Chicken legs,  deboned, cubed
Mee noodles,   cooked, tossed with sesame oil
Chicken stock,
Coconut milk,
Straw mushroom,
Tomato,   seeded, julienned
Avocado,   diced
Onion,   julienned
Chilis,   julienned
Scallions,   sliced
Almonds,   slivered or crashed
Limes,   wedges
Curry powder,
Turmeric,
Garlic paste,
Ginger,   grated
Fish sauce,
Maggi seasoning,
Scotch bonnet sauce,
Kosher salt,
Peanut oil,   to saute

Method :

Saute chicken, add vegetables and garlic, saute for one minute. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric and almonds and saute until fragrant. Add coconut milk, chicken stock and salt and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat. Add fish sauce and scotch bonnet sauce to taste (careful with the fermented fish sauce, check  HERE   first).  To serve, sprinkle with scallions and/or cilantro.


Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !

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Spicy Coconut Soup With Chicken, Rice & Vegetables

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Yesterday  evening I was going to make an authentic Thai or Indian dish,
but then I realized that I did not have some of the ingredients I needed in
my cupboard, so I came up with this beauty.  While it is not authentic Thai
nor Indian, Malay, Indonesian, etc, etc, I can proudly inform you that is
100% authentic  ” Hans “.
I could not have eaten better last night, so it goes to show once more that
love for food and cooking, a bit of imagination and a little bit of skill’s can
many times replace the biggest, best, most expensive recipe book    🙂
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Ingredients :

Chicken,  your choice of cut or boneless
Broccoli rabe,  blanched
Grape tomato,  whole
Green peas,  blanched
Corn,  blanched
Mini peppers,  finely sliced
Scotch bonnet,  seeds removed, finely sliced
Ginger,  grated
Garlic,  paste
Sweet chili sauce,
Coconut milk,
Limes,  juiced
Cumin,  ground
Fish sauce,
Curry powder,
Kosher salt,
Cilantro,  coarsely chopped
Peanut oil,  to saute

Method :

Saute garlic and ginger until fragrant, add curry and cumin, deglaze with sherry.
Add chicken, salt and  and stock and simmer until chicken is tender but not
overcooked – (please,  no “falling of the bone”  here). When chicken is almost done,
stir in coconut milk. Slowly simmer for another five minutes., Add all vegetables,
seasoning and lime juice  and let it all heat through.
To serve, sprinkle with cilantro and accompany with basmati rice.
To eat, mix rice into soup, small amounts at a time.

Bon Appetit!   Life is Good !
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