Aloo Fry

This is a fun and easy way to add variety to a meal and a good way to spice up ho-hum potatoes.  You don’t have to serve this with a curry dish but it certainly goes well with one.  This could be served with baked chicken and vegetables or anything else you desire.

I had just finished making a vegetable stock from vegetable scraps and I boiled the potatoes in the stock, instead of boiling them in water.  Regular water would have worked just fine, but the broth seemed right for the dish.

Ingredients:

3 large red potatoes, washed, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Salt, to taste

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp cumin

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 dry chile de arbol

2 Tbs cooking oil

Cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are nearly cooked.  Strain potatoes and rinse under cold water.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok and add the chile de arbol.

Remove the chile de arbol after 30 seconds.  Add chopped onions and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat.

Add ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes until the onions are lightly browned.

Add the spices, along with salt to taste.

Add diced potatoes and stir for a minute or two.

Sprinkle some water over the potatoes and cover the wok and cook for 5-8 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the wok.

Sprinkle a little more water if needed and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked.

Turn off the heat and add lemon juice.  Add chopped cilantro and serve.

London Broil

If hearing someone say “London broil” conjures up mental images of a rustic steak house in merry old England I have some disappointing news for you.  London broil is an American concoction, used to describe a method of preparing lean and tough cuts of beef.  Specifically, flank steak or top round.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with lean or tough cuts of meat and one of the best methods to overcome the challenges that lean meat presents is to cook it at a very high temperature and for a very short period of time, hence, the appeal of broiling.  If broiling is not an option, a smoking hot cast iron skillet will work just as well.  In fact, one of the advantages to using a hot skillet rather than a broiler is that you can see and test the meat for doneness while it cooks.  If you prefer your steak cooked well done, don’t bother cooking a London broil.  You’ll wind up with something akin to leather.

So, I wanted steak tonight but I didn’t want to pay top dollar for a steak dinner.  Enter the London broil.  This recipe will feed up to 4 people, but I’m making it for 3.

Ingredients:

2 lbs London broil (top round steak)

1 Tbs coarse salt

1 Tsp finely ground salt

A pinch of cayenne powder

1 Tbs coarse black pepper

5 russet potatoes – wedge cut

2 cups cooking oil (I use canola oil)

1 lb fresh green beans

1/2 sweet onion – julienne cut

steak sauce (about 1/4 cup) – see recipe below

Directions:

Fill a skillet with oil, nearly half way and turn on the heat to low/medium.

Wash the potatoes and cut into long wedges.  Add potatoes to the skillet and cook for about 1/2 hour, turning the potatoes occasionally, to avoid burning.  When the fries are golden brown, strain the oil, sprinkle with salt and a pinch of cayenne, and arrange them on a large oven-proof serving platter.  Keep warm in a 225° oven.

While the fries are cooking, let’s prepare the steak sauce and green beans.

For the steak sauce:

Mix the following items together:

2 Tbs ketchup

1 Tbs softened butter

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp hot sauce

a pinch of brown sugar

For the green beans:

Steam green beans for about 15 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Stage in a warm place.

On a clean cutting board, cut the raw steak into serving sized portions and remove any large, white portions of fat.  Sprinkle coarse salt and black pepper on each side of the pieces.

Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove to medium/high.  Add 1 Tbs oil.  When the skillet begins to smoke, it’s ready for the steaks.  Carefully add the steaks to the hot skillet.  Turn steaks over after 2 or 2 ½ minutes.  Cook for another 2 minutes, or until meat tests medium rare.  Turn the heat off and leave the residual steak juices in the skillet.

Pull the fries out of the oven and arrange the steaks on the platter, along with the fries.  Baste the steaks with the steak sauce.  Don’t worry about getting some of the sauce on the fries…your family and friends will thank you.

Turn the heat back on to low and add 1 Tbs of butter and the onions to the skillet and stir until the onions are softened.  Add the green beans and stir.  Once they are done, transfer to a serving dish.

For those of you still clinging to the mental picture of a merry old England, you might consider calling this dish London Broil and Chips.

Cheers, mate!