Tag Archives: Main dishes

saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.

Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice.  I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.

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For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.

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Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.

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saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a fusion dish inspired by kashmiri and persian cooking

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  lb turkey
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hing ( asafetida)
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Pink Salt to taste

Cabbage

  • 1/2  head of white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron blooming in a tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Chopped Parsley and Mint for garnish
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Squeeze the water out of the grated onion through a muslin cloth or a colander
  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Let it get to smoking hot temperature.
  • Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they barely get brown.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for about 10 mins until tender
  • Add the blooming saffron and the turmeric and continue to cook for 5 mins.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Add the meatballs and combine until heated through.
  • Garnish with chopped Parsley and Mint

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Sharing this at the fiesta at Angie’s with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod

Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is here….a lot of us think about food ( I do), what to make that feeds the soul and brings a deep smile to friends and family. A lamb shank where the meat falls off the bone….just right with apricots and saffron. This has a Mediterranean flair and is a melt in your mouth recipe and guarantees second helpings ( make more:) )

lambshanks-1-2The key is good grass fed organic shanks. Ask the butcher and he will prepare them for you. I went to whole foods and got four cleaned meaty shanks.

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Use good dried apricots – just soak then in warm water while you prepare the shanks. The saffron is from Kashmir…my love affair with saffron is perpetual. If you want to get the “real thing” from the valley check out this online store as they will deliver worldwide Kashmir Box.   Soak a few strands in warm water while you are cooking.

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Harissa is such an incredible hot chili pepper paste. It adds just the right amount of heat to this dish. I found mine in a tube at the local store.

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A heavy bottomed pan is needed. You could use a slow cooker for this dish as well.

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Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a melt in your mouth lamb shank with apricots and saffron

Ingredients

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  • 4 grass fed lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 head of garlic – minced
  • 2 tablespoon spoon Harissa
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
  •  Zest of 1 fresh lime
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 5-6 dried  apricots – halved and soaked in water for 2o mins
  •  A coupe of thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 cups hot broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint for garnish
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Soak the saffron with the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of warm water for about 10 mins
  3. Take the clean and dry shanks and sprinkle salt and  pepper. Rub it into the meat
  4. Brown the shanks in oil until they are evenly browed on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  5. In a heavy bottomed pan, use the remaining oil from the shanks and  sauté one chopped onion and 1 head of crushed garlic for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  6. Add 1 stick of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and 2 tablespoons of harissa. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes
  7.  Add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir in saffron mixture. Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth. Season with black pepper and salt. Careful not to over salt at this point, you can adjust once the broth has reduced.
  8. Once the broth is boiling, transfer pot to oven and bake for about 2 hours, covered, until meat is  beginning to fall from the bone.
  9. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning
  10. In the last half hour of cooking add the apricots. At this point you can remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the liquid.
  11. Serve Shanks on a platter and pour the juice over it. Top with chopped mint and cilantro.
  12. Serve with a crusty bread or rice.

Taking this delicious dish to Angie’s where the co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love

Rista – Kashmiri Cuisine

From the land of dreamers, poets, artists, emperors and saints comes a cuisine that inspires all your senses.

Modern Kashmiri cuisine  tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror)  invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.

The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Thus came an elaborate feast preparation called Wazwaan. “Waan” refers to a “shop” in Kashmiri.

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Continue reading Rista – Kashmiri Cuisine

Quinoa and black beans stuffed peppers

Peppers are just delicious, sweet and versatile. I had a lot growing in my garden but the crop is over now so  these were a great find at the farmers market. According to wikipidia  The bell pepper is the only member of the Capsicum genus that does not produce the  chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with your palate.

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I love stuffing vegetables especially eggplants and zucchini. You can check out my eggplant recipe, you will love it. Now I am sharing my stuffed pepper recipe…a bit healthy  and vegan and protein packed.

I roast and char my corn on the cob on an open flame and remove the kernals. you are welcome to use boiled or frozen corn. The zucchini and celery is very finely chopped to the size of the corn kernels.

The black bean are from a can but I would have much preferred to soak and cook the black beans if I had the time. Continue reading Quinoa and black beans stuffed peppers

Spice Crusted Tuna with Greens and roasted vegetables

When you find perfect wild Albacore tuna steaks, you just want to come home and cook them. Cook may be a strong term for these beautiful steaks…just seared for a 1-2 minutes does the trick. Delicious, soft succulent melting with the veggies and soft boiled eggs. Continue reading Spice Crusted Tuna with Greens and roasted vegetables

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey meatballs

When the spiralizer came into the house many months ago, we were thrilled to create exciting salads and dishes with spiralized beets, carrots, cucumber, zucchini etc….It is a fabulous tool and easy to visualize new and exciting recipes when you look at the pretty noodles of a wide array of vegetables.

What I never really visualized, is actually using the noodles as a replacement for spaghetti noodles….never sounded that interesting. How can this plain zucchini replace full-on taste of delicious pasta?  Well, I was just plain wrong  in having resisted making this before …. I have to say I am a believer! What a fun and incredibly nutritious way to ditch the carbs and processed pasta intake and opt for this.

I can’t wait to try more recipes with the zucchini noodles but for now let me share this one

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You will need a spiralizer, I bought this basic one with a stand from Amazon. To make zoodles, trim the ends of your zucchini and place between the spiked handle end and the blade, then turn the handle. The noodles will just flow out beautifully.

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You can steam or saute them. I chose to saute in this recipe with a little avocado oil, salt and pepper.

Keeping with the “lean” theme, I made turkey meatballs and pan fried them in olive oil. The whole thing takes no more them 30 mins to pull together.

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Turkey meatballs

  •  1 lb ground organic turkey
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive or avocado oil for pan frying

Noodles

  • 3 yellow or green zucchini – spiralized
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1large chopped tomato
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 5-6 mushroom chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste
  • Combine all the ingredients for the Turkey meatballs and pan fry until brown. Do not overcook. Set aside on paper towel while you make the sauce.
  • Add oil to a pan and saute the chopped onions, mushrooms, thyme and bell pepper
  • Add garlic and tomatoes and cook for a couple of mins.
  • Add basil, lemon peel, salt and pepper and mix it around until it looks like a sauce but tomatoes are still chunky.
  • Add the meatballs and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. The meatballs are ready when heated through.
  • Add oil to a pan, when heated add thyme and garlic.
  • Add the noodles and fry for all of 1 min ( maybe 2). Salt and pepper to taste
  • Plate the noodles with the meatballs on tops and garnish with basil

Sharing this with Angie @ Fiesta Friday co-hosted Mollie @ thefrugalhausfrau and Johanne @ the frenchgardenerdishes

Also sharing on Throwback Thursday.

Keema Baingan ( Eggplant with Minced Lamb)

This dish is inspired by my amazing and talented sister in law, Sadia Durrani who specialize in classic Old Delhi food and teaches culinary skills in India. She posted this over 2 years ago and I can’t believe it took me this long to make it. If you want to watch the original recipe from her check out this link

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My vegetable garden here in Virginia is overflowing with the cutest purple eggplants that I have used in this dish. I kept a few whole just slicing them to the stem. The rest I cut in cubes with the skin on.

Minced lamb and eggplant can be found in many cuisines, my favorite is the Egyptian or Lebanese Mahshi when the eggplant is stuffed. You can find the vegetarian version in my post Mahshi Batinjaan Bi Zayt – Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant.

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If you have been following my blog you know that I use a pressure cooker for a lot of my cooking. You can use a pan and increase the timing,

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Ingredients:

5-6 Purple eggplants

1 lb lamb mince

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 green chilies

2 chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. garlic ginger paste

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp red chili powder

salt to taste

1 tbsp. oil ( I used avocado oil)

1 tbsp. ghee

Chopped fresh mint and cilantro for garnish

Putting it together

  • Chop the eggplants, keep a few whole just slicing in quarters until you reach the stem.
  • In a pressure cooker, add oil and the garlic. Add the minced meat.
  • Fry until it loses the pink color ( a couple of minutes)
  • Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, red chili and salt and continue frying for a few minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
  • Add the eggplant, about 1 cup of water and pressure cook for about 5-6 mins. If use a pan, cook for about 30 mins until the eggplant is blended with the meat.
  • Add chopped green chilies and chopped mint and stir
  • Heat the ghee in a pan, brown the onions in it and pour over the dish.
  • Garnish with mint and cilantro and serve with naan or rice. A side of cucumber raita would make it perfect.

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Fiesta Friday # 130 is on and I am taking this dish.  Thanks to our co-hosts this week, Aunt Juju and Petra.