Monday, November 1, 2010

Jib's Morning Smoothie

Jibreel doesn't like to eat breakfast some mornings, but he's always willing to have a treat. So this smoothie is his morning treat:

1 frozen banana
5 frozen strawberries
half cup of milk
half cup of
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

Blend until super smooth and pour into a glass. Enjo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pumpkin Mulah (stew) with (or without) Lamb

This pumpkin stew was my mother's favorite dish while she was pregnant with me. I love it as well. It's one of the few Sudanese dishes that is sweet and savory at the same time, the sweetness courtesy of the pumpkin and onions, and a little sugar if necessary. The meat (if you choose to add any) will be flavorful and tender as long as you are careful to cook it on a low flame, slowly. Don't be impatient, like I sometimes am, and turn the flame up.

I've been looking for a recipe for this pumpkin mulah for quite some time and a friend of mine recently managed to get this recipe from her mother (while her mother was making it for lunch). So, SHUKRAN, Samiera, Sara's mom. This recipe is much appreciated!

What you need:
  • 3 medium sized onions, diced
  • 2 tbs oil for sauteeing (I like olive oil, but use what you like)
  • 1/2 pound of lamb, chicken, or beef for stewing, cut into bite sized pieces. Chicken can be left on the bone, cut into legs, thighs, etc.
  • 2 cups of pumpkin, cut into (1 inch) cubes
  • 3 tbs tomato paste or 2 cups of peeled, diced tomatoes or a large can of peeled, diced tomatoes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp kazbarah (I know, I know! But I can't find a translation! Put in whatever spices you like!) ... perhaps coriander! It is coriander - but it's not the fresh green kind. I think it's the seeds, ground. So use that :)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

What to do:
  1. Sautee the onion in a little oil until they're soft/wilted.
  2. Once they're wilted (but not cooked till brown or anything) add just enough water to cover the onions.
  3. Leave on medium heat until the water is evaporated. You want the base to be thick because the pumpkin lets out a lot of water as it cooks! So make sure your base is thick before you add the lamb and pumpkin later.
  4. Add the meat (if desired).
  5. Add the spices.
  6. Stir until the onions have disintegrated, basically until it all melts into a saucy texture.
  7. Add either tomato puree or peeled, diced tomatoes.
  8. Leave it on a low flame until the meat cooks.
  9. Or if there's no meat, add the pumpkin.
  10. Leave on low heat until the pumpkin cooks.
  11. When the pumpkin is cooked, you're done, but feel free to leave simmering for longer to soften the meat and/or pumpkin more.
Tip: If your pumpkin isn't very sweet, add a few tablespoons or more of sugar or honey to sweeten the sauce.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garlicky Chicken Strips

My son loves chicken nuggets and chicken fingers. I am trying to get away from buying pre-packaged frozen foods, so I made these chicken fingers with actual chicken (no fillers!) My son was very happy with the end result and also helped me prepare them by using a fork to give the chicken pieces their egg baths. He doesn't like gooey things, but if your kids do, have them help with the whole breading process. It's fun!

What you will need:

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips or nuggets
  • 3-4 eggs, scrambled, seasoned with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying (I use a mixture of corn and olive)
  • Marinade - see recipe below or use any marinade you like

What to do:
Place cut chicken pieces into marinade and mix well to ensure all pieces are coated. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour, or as long as 6 hours.

When you are ready to prepare the chicken for frying:

  1. Place the flour in a tray or pan with sides like a cake pan to limit the mess
  2. Place the breadcrumbs in another tray or pan.
  3. Take a piece of chicken and wipe off some of the excess marinade.
  4. Put the piece of chicken it in the egg, coating completely.
  5. After coating with egg, let the excess egg drip off and coat the piece in flour.
  6. Shake off excess flour and put the chicken back into the egg.
  7. Let excess egg drip off and coat the piece completely with bread crumbs, turning over until the outside of the chicken is coated and feels quite dry.
  8. Repeat until all pieces are coated, working carefully to ensure that the coating stays on the chicken. You can sprinkle extra bread crumbs on the coated pieces to stop them from sticking to each other.
  9. When all pieces are coated, heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan over a low-medium or medium flame. The oil is ready for frying when a drop of water dropped into it "pops" noisily. Be careful, if you use this method, though. Hot oil hurts! You can, instead, put the end of a wooden utensil into the oil. If the oil bubbles around it, it's hot enough.
  10. Place chicken pieces into the pan carefully, not touching. They should sizzle when you place them in, but gently. If the oil is loud and furious, it's too hot. Turn it down a bit.
  11. When pieces are golden on one side, or a little brown for extra crispiness, turn them to the other side. When the second side is browned, remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Press down gently on the chicken to make sure it feels firm but not hard. If the chicken is too soft, it's probably not cooked through.
  12. When you're done frying, they're ready to serve!

Yogurt and Garlic Marinade:

1 cup of plain yogurt
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
juice of one lime

Mix marinade ingredients together.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lamb and Veggies with Rice

I threw this together based on some tips my cousin, Montassir gave me about making lamb tender. He does a version with just lamb and a little onion and garlic that's delicious. I love men who can cook! This recipe has some veggies in it and I use the broth to make the accompanying rice. Even my son ate it and asked for seconds, and he may be the pickiest person I know!


For the lamb:
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 or 4 large carrots, sliced into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups of pumpkin, cubed
  • 2 zucchini, quartered the long way and sliced about 1 inch thick
  • 3 large potatoes, 1 inch cubes (peel them if you like)
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup of parsely, chopped coarsely
  • 1 pound of lamb pieces for stew or cutlets
  • 1 cup of lamb broth or water
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice or cider
  • salt
  • pepper

For the rice:
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup of parsley, chopped fine
  • 4 cups of liquid (broth or water, the broth reserved from the lamb, and apple juice in whatever combination you like)


For the lamb:
  1. Pour the olive oil into the pan. Heat it over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, put the lamb into the pan, ensuring contact with the bottom of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle a little salt over the lamb. Allow it to cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until it gets a little brown. Don't move it around.
  4. When it's gotten a little color, turn each piece over to get some color on the other side.
  5. Turn the heat down to low.
  6. Put your onions in a layer covering the lamb. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Then the carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, potatoes and apples. Just layer them, sprinkling on some salt and pepper between layers. No need to stir the pot.
  7. Pour in your liquids, bring the pot to a simmer. Cover it. Leave it to simmer.
  8. After about an hour (or when your veggies are tender if you're in a rush) sprinkle on the parsley.
  9. Take some (about a cup) of the liquid from the lamb pot and put it to the side for your rice. You can add some more broth to the lamb (or juice if you like things a little sweet) if you want more broth.
  10. Leave it to simmer for as long as you want or are able. The lamb just gets more tender and the broth more tasty.

For the rice:
  1. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pot (another pot :) and heat it over medium heat.
  2. Saute your onions and carrots until softened a little.
  3. Add in your rice, dry, and mix until the grains are coated with the oil. They'll look a little translucent.
  4. When the rice is coated, pour in your liquid and stir well.
  5. Taste the liquid. If it needs a little salt, add some. It should be flavorful.
  6. Bring the rice to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Cover and leave it for about 15 minutes. Check to see if it's ready or needs a little more time to absorb the liquid. Mix in your parsley at the end.
Serve the lamb and veggies and broth over the rice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

String Beans and Chicken - Simple

I threw this together tonight. Took me 5 minutes to prepare it and 15 minutes to cook it. My child was thrilled, calling it the best string beans and chicken ever. Yum!

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, on or off the bone
  • 1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 very juicy lime or 2 not so juicy limes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • olive oil to just cover the bottom of your pan
  1. Sprinkle the spices and half the parsley, but not the salt, over your chicken.
  2. Squeeze on the lime juice, catching the seeds. Rub into the chicken. At this point, you can leave the chicken to marinate for as little as 5 minutes, or in the refrigerator all day.
  3. When you're ready to cook it, sprinkle on the salt and rub it around to ensure it's spread evenly.
  4. Pour your oil to just cover the bottom of your pan. Let the pan heat up over medium heat.
  5. Put your chicken in, flat against the bottom of the pan when the pan is hot enough to give you a little sizzle. Leave it for 5 or 6 minutes, until the chicken browns some. (This is a good time to start your string beans!)
  6. Then turn it over, turn the heat down a little, sprinkle the remaining parsley on top and let it finish cooking. Don't over cook.
  7. Test to see if it's done by pressing down a little on the meatiest part. You want it to have some give, but not be too soft. Once it's hard, it's overdone... don't let that happen!
  8. Take it off the heat, out of the pan, and enjoy! Add an extra squirt of lime juice if you're so inclined.

String Beans
  • 1 pound of frozen or fresh string beans.
  • 1/2 tsp powdered garlic or 1-2 cloves crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 juicy lime or 2-3 not so juicy limes
  • 1 - 2 tsp of butter, depending on your taste - or none. It's not necessary, just tasty!
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine
  1. Prepare your string beans: If you use fresh string beans, trim them and blanch them for 5-7 minutes or so in boiling salted water. If you're using frozen string beans, prepare according to directions.
  2. When they're done, drain them and return them to the hot pan.
  3. Drop in the butter first, and mix a little to melt it.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
  5. Done! Delicious.