Cuban Vaca Frita

Cuban Vaca Frita

 

Cuban Vaca Frita

Cuban Vaca Frita

This popular Cuban dish is fresh and juicy. It’s very easy to cook, though it takes some patience. The key to vaca frita or "fried beef" is slow-cooked beef the Cuban way. You can prepare this step in advance. Quick frying is the second and last step in the preparation.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1.25 lb brisket or skirt steak
  • 1 green bell pepper quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper halved & sliced
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 1 large onion halved & sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic or more to taste
  • 2 limes or lemons for juice
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Vaca Frita Culinary Spice Kit

  • Cumin, orange peel, ancho chili, oregano

Suggested Sides

  • cooked rice
  • a fresh salad
  • black beans recipe in the notes
  • fried plantains recipe in the notes

Instructions
 

Step 1: Cooking & Shredding the Meat

  • In a POT, add meat, the quartered bell pepper & onion, 2 cloves garlic, and salt to taste.
  • Cover with water. Close and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to low. Cook at least for 2 hours until the meat starts to fall apart.
  • Take the meat out. Shred it into 1/2-inch thick chunks. Keep the broth. Set aside.

Step 2: Frying the Vegetables

  • In a PAN, heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium heat.
  • Fry sliced onion and bell pepper with a pinch of salt until the onions are translucent.
  • Scoop the vegetables out. Set aside.
  • Keep the remaining oil in the PAN.

Step 3: Frying the Meat

  • In the same PAN, add meat, 3 cloves chopped garlic, and Vaca Frita spices.
  • Fry over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until the meat is golden brown but not crisp.

Step 4: Finale

  • Return the vegetables to the PAN to reheat.
  • Turn off. Add 2-3 tbsp lime juice and salt & pepper to taste.

Serve

  • Serve with your preferred sides.
  • Optionally, add more lime juice.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Substitute beef with chicken thighs. 
  • Optionally, add up to 1 cup of the broth in step 4).

Recipe changes for variation with Mojo Sauce (spiced fried onions):

  • (Step 2) Fry onions and bell peppers separately.
  • (Step 4) Return only the bell peppers to the PAN and don't use lime juice.
  • New Step: To mix the Mojo sauce, place fried onions in a BOWL and season with lime juice and optionally chili or chipotle to taste.
  • (Serve) Top with Mojo sauce.

Recipe for fried plantains as a typical side:

  • Peel 2-3 plantains and cut them into 1/2 inch slices.
  • In a PAN, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat.
  • Fry plantain slices until they turn golden on both sides.
  • Season with salt to taste.

Recipe for black beans as another typical side:

  • In a POT, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add 1 can black beans (rinsed).
  • Season to taste with salt, cumin, and black pepper.
  • Fry beans for a couple of minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the broth from step 1 (cooking the meat).
  • Cover the POT and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Keyword ancho, chipotle
Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Indonesian Nasi Goreng

 

Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Indonesian nasi goreng is second on the list of the world’s most delicious meals (voted by CNN readers). Because its original purpose was to use up leftovers, it’s best prepared with rice from the day before and you can be creative with your choice of vegetables. Optionally, add meat or shrimp. We recommend giving tempeh a try. For any combination, the earthy aromatic taste of galangal makes this dish outstanding.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 2-3 cups vegetables of your choice (see notes) finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • 4 cups rice cooked on a previous day
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • soy sauce or tamari (see notes)
  • agave syrup or sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • salt

Optional

  • 0.5-1 lb shrimp precooked
  • 1 bunch green onions finely sliced
  • 1 cup peanuts finely chopped
  • fish sauce or anchovy paste to taste
  • 1 lemon for juice
  • 1 cup fried onions

Nasi Goreng Culinary Spice Kit

  • Galangal, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, amchoor, tamarind

Instructions
 

  • In a large PAN, heat 3 tbsp oil.
  • Fry onions and garlic over medium heat until onions turn slightly brown.
  • Add vegetables and fry them over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes (see notes) until they are almost cooked.
  • Add 2 tbsp soy sauce (see notes), Nasi Goreng spices, 1 tbsp syrup, and salt to taste.

Optional

  • Add 1-2 tbsp anchovy paste or 1-2 tsp fish sauce. Add shrimp. Mix well.

Finish

  • Add the rice. Stir over medium heat until the rice is well blended with all ingredients and reheated.

Optional

  • Garnish with green onions and peanuts.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice, fried onions, and/or add a fried egg.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Vegetables

  • For instance: carrots, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, cauliflower or broccoli florets, peas, zucchini, mung bean sprouts.
  • Leftover vegetables are fine as well. Reduce the frying time accordingly.

Soy Sauce or Tamari

  •  Substitutes with a similar taste are: coconut aminos, liquid aminos, or Worcestershire sauce.

Variations

  • Add 0.5-1 lb chicken breast or tempeh, cut into 1/4 inch strips or cubes, together with the vegetables.
  • Place a fried egg on top of the rice. 
  • Add any pickled vegetables as a side.
Keyword amchoor, galangal, nutmeg, tamarind
Goan Vindaloo

Goan Vindaloo

 

Goan Vindaloo

Goan Vindaloo

Vindaloo is a worldwide popular dish from Goa, India. Its origin is the Portuguese dish "carne de vinho e alhos" (meat cooked in wine vinegar and garlic). The sour-spicy dish came to Goa with Portuguese explorers in the 15th century and was adapted to the local taste and ingredients.
We recommend to try it with pork or lamb, though it takes a bit longer to cook. Vindaloo is usually very hot. Our spice blend has only a little kick, not hot at all. You can adjust the heat level to taste with fresh chilies.
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Goan
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Ingredients

  • 1 .25 lbs chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head garlic smashed or grated
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1/4 cup vinegar wine or apple cider
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • sugar brown recommended
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Suggested Sides

  • Boiled potatoes, rice, or naan bread
  • Roasted cauliflower, cooked peas, or pickles

Optional

  • Fresh chilies to taste chopped

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Cumin, coriander, turmeric, white poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, Kashmiri chili

Instructions
 

Marinade

  • Season the meat with salt & pepper to taste.
  • In a BOWL, combine garlic, ginger, vinegar, mustard, chilies (optinal), and Vindaloo spices.
  • Add the meat and mix until all meat is well coated with the marinade.
  • Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Cook

  • In a POT, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Fry the onions until they turn brown.
  • Add meat. Fry the meat for 5 minutes over high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Cover the POT. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently.
  • Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 cup of hot water. Mix well.
  • Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat until the meat is falling apart. Stir occasionally.
  • Add more sugar and/ or vinegar to taste.
  • Serve with your preferred sides.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Optionally, start with 1/8 cup vinegar for the marinade and add more vinegar to taste during the cooking.
  • Substitute the chicken with duck or with lamb or pork stew meat. Adjust the cooking time in the last step.
  • Substitute the chicken with garbanzo beans and/or cubed vegetables (for instance eggplant, cauliflower, and/or sweet potatoes).  
Keyword Kashmiri chili, white poppy seeds
North African Ras El Hanout

North African Ras El Hanout

 

North African Ras El Hanout

North African Ras El Hanout

When a spice shop owner in North Africa uses its magic to create an extraordinary spice blend, it is called Ras El Hanout, "head of the shop". The quantity and quality of the selected spices depend on the wealth of the customer. This recipe includes a blend of 23 ingredients, including precious long pepper, grains of paradise, rosebud, and mace. You will love it!
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Algerian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Tunesian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1.25 lb chicken breast or thighs cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 lb white carrots roughly cut
  • 1/2 lb turnips roughly cut
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Ras El Hanout Culinary Spice Kit

  • Cumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, grains of paradise, ginger, nigella, caraway, cinnamon, rosebud, mace, anise, brown mustard, turmeric, chamomile, long pepper, cardamom, fenugreek, cloves, chili, lavender

Suggested Sides

  • couscous
  • rice
  • boiled potatoes

Instructions
 

Vegetables

  • In a POT, steam carrots and turnips or cook them over low heat in a little bit of water with salt to taste.
  • Use only as much water as needed to prevent the vegetables from burning.
  • Once the vegetables are tender, mash them with a fork or potato masher. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Chicken

  • In a large PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken, Ras El Hanout spices, and salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Fry the chicken until it is cooked through and turned brown on all sides.

Serve

  • Serve the chicken on a bed of vegetable mash with your preferred sides.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Substitute the chicken with turkey, lamb or pork tenderloin, sirloin beef, or your preferred steak. For lamb or beef, fry it to your desired doneness.
  • If you really want to miss out on the turnips, substitute them with potatoes.
  • Substitute white carrots with colored carrots.
Alternatively, use the Ras El Hanout spices for one of the following recipes:
Keyword grains of paradise, long peper, mace, nigella, rosebud
Moroccan Couscous 7 Vegetables

North African Couscous aux Sept Légumes

 

Couscous aux Sept Légumes

North African Couscous aux Sept Légumes

'Couscous with seven vegetables' is a traditional dish in North African countries and much loved by its visitors. Saffron supports the rich flavor of plenty of fresh vegetables. Don't worry about the chopping! Luckily, the vegetables are used in a larger size for this dish. Couscous is also cooked with lamb or sheep. A typical topping is Tfaya, caramelized onions, raisins, and cinnamon. With Tfaya, arrange for a longer cooking time.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1 lb chicken pieces with skin or lamb or beef
  • 10 oz couscous
  • 1/2 small white cabbage quartered
  • 0.5 lb pumpkin cut in 2-inch thick pieces
  • 0.5 lb carrots cut in half
  • 0.5 lb turnips or daikon cut in 8 pieces
  • 1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro or mixed finely chopped

You might have

  • 1 medium onion halved and sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt

Optional vegetables as (partly) substitutes

  • 1 large zucchini halved and cut lengthwise
  • 2 tomato/es quartered
  • 1 cup green beans

Optional

  • 1 cup garbanzo or fava beans (from a can, rinsed)
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Tfaya

  • 4 medium onions halved and sliced
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] paprika, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, saffron
  • Pouch [2] cinnamon, cardamom

Instructions
 

Tfaya (optional)

  • In a POT, melt butter.
  • Add sliced onions, salt & Couscous Spices [2] to taste.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to detach the onions.
  • Add 2 tbsp of water.
  • Cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the onions are soft. Stir occasionally.
  • Add raisins and sugar.
  • Cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the onions are caramelized. Stir occasionally.

Stew

  • In a large POT, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  • Fry meat and onions until the meat turns slightly brown on all sides.
  • Add vegetables, salt to taste, and Couscous Spices [1].
  • If you use zucchini, add them after 10 minutes.
  • If you use lamb or beef, cook meat in water and spices until it's almost tender, before you add the vegetables.
  • Add 2.5 cups of water.
  • Cover POT and bring to boil.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Add the herbs and optionally garbanzo beans and/or raisins and Couscous Spices [2] to taste. Mix well.
  • Continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes until all ingredients are soft but not mashed.

Couscous

  • Prepare couscous according to package instructions.

Serve

  • On a large plate, serve stew over couscous.
  • Optionally, top with Tfaya.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword cardamom, cinnamon, saffron
Sichuan Beef

Chinese Sichuan Beef

 

Sichuan Beef

Sichuan, also known as Szechuan, is a province in China. It's the origin of Panda bears and Sichuan pepper. This spice is very common in Asian cuisine. It is not related to pepper and has a very special taste with a citrus note. Notably, Sichuan pepper creates a numbing sensation in your mouth. Try it sprinkled over your dish or use the remainder in a dish with beans or mushrooms.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb sirloin beef cut into thin strips
  • 12 oz vegetables see below, cut into thin slices
  • 6-8 oz noodles see below, cooked
  • 2 tbsp cooking sherry or wine
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp corn starch or arrowroot
  • vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • salt

Sichuan Culinary Spice Kit

  • [1] Ginger, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves
  • [2] Sichuan pepper

Suggested Vegetables

  • Broccoli, carrots, mushrooms

Suggested Noodles

  • Lo mein or any long thick noodles

Instructions
 

Marinade

  • In a BOWL, mix beef with 1/4 cup soy sauce, Sichuan [1] spices, and up to half of the Sichuan [2] spices.
  • Let marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Cook

  • In a large PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over high heat.
  • Stir-fry beef (keep the marinade for later) for about 1 minute until it changes color.
  • Take the beef out and set aside.
  • In the same PAN, add 2 tbsp oil. Stir-fry vegetables over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and sherry halfway.
  • Add 1 cup of water, the marinade, and salt to taste.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are just cooked.
  • Dissolve starch in 1 tbsp water. Add the slurry to the PAN. Mix well. 
  • Stir in the noodles. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes.
  • Return the beef and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until it's just cooked.
  • Sprinkle some Sichuan [2] spices on the plated meal (optional).
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Substitute beef with chicken breast.
  • Substitute beef with tofu (see below).
Sichuan Tofu
  • Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Mix the marinade without the tofu.
  • Drain the tofu for 30 minutes in a large strainer.
  • In cooking step 1), bake the tofu in the OVEN at 350°F until it turns brown. Set aside.
  • Continue with steps 2) to 4) without changes.
  • In step 5) substitute beef for tofu.
Keyword cinnamon, ginger, Sichuan pepper, star anise