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Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Pasta & Rice, Side Dishes, The Daring Cooks' Challenge


Spätzle with Chicken Paprikas

Spätzle with Chicken Paprikas

Total time:  35 minutes

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

2 large eggs
½ cup (120 ml) milk or buttermilk
1½ cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour (approximately – have more on hand, in case)
up to 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of herbs and spices (optional – I added 1 tsp nutmeg instead)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (3 gm) fresh parsley, chopped (optional decoration, I skipped this)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and any herbs and spices that you want to incorporate into the spätzle.
2. Incorporate the flour in small batches, by sifting in a small amount at a time and mixing until the flour is completely integrated. Keep adding flour until the dough becomes elastic, smooth and very hard to stir.
Boil a large pot of water. Dip a table spoon into the boiling water to wet it. To form the spätzle, fill the tablespoon about half way with dough, and release into the boiling water.
4. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Drain the water from the spätzle. Because it’s full of fun craters where water can hide, you will need to drain it especially well. Toss with the chopped parsley.

Seen here paired with chicken paprikash.

I pushed my dough through these holes I found in what I think is a food processor salad bowl (I really have no idea, I just found this thing in my “miscellaneous drawer” in the kitchen). I got a little warm standing above the boiling water, but it was worth it. Because the pieces were so much smaller and more spätzle-y, I only had to cook them 8-10 minutes, but I had to do two batches.

This was so fast and easy, and it made a light and tasty noodle.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, Soup and Salad, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Basic Creole Spices

Basic Creole Seasoning

Basic Creole Seasoning

Our May hostess, Denise of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need from creole spices, homemade stock and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Makes ½ cup

Total time:  8 minutes

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (33 gm) celery salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) sweet paprika
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (18 gm) coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (6 gm) freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) onion powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (4 gm) cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice

Mix together all spices in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Store up to six months

Breads and Desserts, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Pasta & Rice, Side Dishes, The Daring Cooks' Challenge



Appam, or hopper, is a rice pancake

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Total time: 12-16 hours.

1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
about ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)



My edges weren't thin all the time, but it still worked out.

1. Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. I kept forgetting to do this, so I soaked overnight. Worked great. 😉
2. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
3. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well.
4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry–they are mild tasting when cooked!
5. Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
6. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
7. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.

The leftover batter can be refrigerated for a day or 2.

Wow. These are new and amazing to me, and I will be making them again and again. I enjoyed them so much, I was looking around for more.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Pork, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry with pork

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Total time: 1.5 hours.

1 pound (½ kg) boneless meat, or about 1 ½ pounds (¾ kg) short ribs or cross ribs (or boneless lamb shoulder) I used pork!
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
1-3 green cayenne chili, finely chopped
generous 1 cup (250ml/250 gm/9 oz) finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml/6 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml/15 gm) tamarind pulp
¼ cup (60 ml) hot water

1/4 cup tamarind paste
3 cups (720 ml) water

Dry Spice Mixture:
1 tablespoon (15 ml/13 gm) raw white rice
1 tablespoon (15 ml/10 gm) coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4 gm) cumin seeds
one 1-inch piece (2½ cm) cinnamon or cassia stick
seeds from 2 pods of green cardamom


Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry with pork and hot curried chicken, with rice and appam

1. Cut the meat into ½ inch (13 mm) cubes or separate the ribs. Set aside.
2. In a small heavy skillet, roast the dry spice mixture over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continuously, until it smells amazing! You will be able to see that the rice is a toasted color.
3. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind/pound to a powder. Set aside.
4. In a large, wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, green chile, onion and turmeric and stir-fry for 3 minutes. I cooked my onions until they were golden brown. So good. Add the meat and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so all surfaces of the meat get browned.
5. Add the reserved spice mixture and the coconut milk and stir to coat the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the tamarind paste to the 3 cups of water.
7. Add the tamarind/water mixture to the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a strong simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot.

Shown here with hot curried chicken, rice, and an appam.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Baked Goan Fish with Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Goan Fish

Raw Goan Fish, ready for foil and grilling

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

One 2-pound (1 kg) firm fish, such as pickerel, trout or red snapper, cleaned and scaled – I used pink salmon
about ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
about 8 fresh curry leaves – I didn’t know where to use these, so I skipped it
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml/18 gm) fine sea salt
½ cup (120 ml/110 gm) Fresh Green Chile Chutney, plus extra to serve as a condiment

Preheat your grill or start your charcoal.

Wash and dry the fish. Cut slits every three to four inches along each side of the fish.  Grease a large stretch of foil 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil.

Goan Fish

Goan Fish, fresh off the grill with lots of juice!

Rub the fish inside and out with the lime juice, then with the salt. Stuff some of the chutney into the slits you made, and put the rest in the belly cavity. Place the fish on the oiled foil and rub the remaining oil over it. Wrap the fish tightly, using more foil if necessary.

Move your charcoal to one side of the grill or turn off the heat on one side of your grill.  Place your foiled fish on the “off” side and close the lid.  Grill 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your fish (10 minutes per pound), keeping the heat at 400F or above.  Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to rotate your fish halfway through.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Total time:  15 minutes.

2 cups (480 ml/120 gm/4¼ oz) packed cilantro (coriander) leaves and stems
6 green cayenne chiles, coarsely chopped
6-10 medium garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml/6 gm) minced peeled ginger
about 1 cup (240 ml/80 gm/2¾ oz) fresh or frozen grated coconut
1 teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) cumin seeds, coarsely ground
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml/6 gm) salt, or to taste

1. In a food processor, combine the cilantro, chiles, garlic and ginger and process to a paste. Add the coconut and process until blended. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the cumin, lime juice, salt and sugar and mix well. Taste for seasoning (it will be hot!). Keeps for about 4 days refrigerated.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Side Dishes

Dinosaur Bones Curry Rice

Cauliflower Curry

Cauliflower Curry on rice

Total time:   Approximately 1.5 hours.

Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

1 large cauliflower, washed
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
~1 tsp salt
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
8 quarter-size slices fresh, peeled ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 to 3 serrano peppers
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 c plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1 c water
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala + 1/4 tsp for garnish
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 c finely chopped fresh cilantro

Peel away the leaves at the stem of the cauliflower. Wash the head of cauliflower and trim away any brown spots by scraping them off with your knife. Turn the cauliflower on its head and cut from the stalk to the florets in one big slice, creating two halves.

Remove the fibrous outer coating of the stalk, but keep the softer insides. In a food processor or blender, combine the soft stalk pieces, onion, ginger, garlic and serranos until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Puree tomatoes, set aside.

Chop remaining cauliflower into bite size florets. In a small, microwave safe container, toss florets with 1 Tbsp of oil and sprinkle lightly with 1/4 tsp of salt. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Transfer to a large frying pan or wok and cook over medium-low heat until pieces are mostly brown on all sides. Remove florets to a bowl, but keep the heat on.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan. Add onion mix and cook over medium-high heat until mostly brown, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and cook 8-10 minutes, until most of the juice is absorbed and a nice oily sheen appears. Add seasonings and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Reduce heat to low. Slowly add water and yogurt, stirring constantly until well incorporated. Turn heat back up to medium, add cauliflower back into the pan, mix well and cover. Let simmer 20-30 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

Add cilantro and remaining garam masala just before serving.

In case you hadn’t guessed, cauliflower = dinosaur bones. I challenge you to come up with a more clever way to get a toddler to eat cauliflower.

I liked this a lot, but we decided it was just a lot of cauliflower for a main course. So I’ve relegated this to a side dish, and I probably won’t make it again unless I know I have company that’s either 1. mostly vegetarian and/or 2. loves cauliflower.

Ethnic Foods, Side Dishes, Spanish

Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Garbanzo Beans)

Spinach with Garbanzo Beans

Spinach with Garbanzo Beans

Total time:  15 minutes.

1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 onion, diced or sliced or minced
1 bunch of spinach or 1 package baby spinach
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin

In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook until golden (about 10 minutes).  Add garlic, salt, and cumin and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add garbanzo beans and spinach and heat through.  The spinach will wilt when it’s hot.

Some people mash their garbanzo beans.  I did not.

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Side Dishes

Greek Roasted Potatoes

Greek Roasted Potatoes

Greek Roasted Potatoes (about half a batch)

Total time: Approximately 1 hour.

4-5 potatoes
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c water
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp ground or crushed thyme
1 tsp ground or crushed rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper, or to taste

Gallon size plastic bag or similar container.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Wash and pat dry potatoes.  Cut each potato into 6 pieces lengthwise.

Mix together all the remaining ingredients in your plastic bag.  Add potatoes and coat well.  Dump the whole lot into a 9×13 or larger baking dish or roasting pan.

Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until tender.

At the 30 minute mark, you could add feta on top! 

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Formal Occasions, Pasta & Rice, Side Dishes, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Wara Einab or Dolma/Cold Stuffed Grape Leaves

Vegetarian Dolma

Vegetarian Dolma

Total time: 3 hours

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (a Borzoi Book by Claudia Roden, published by Alfred A. Knopf).

40 – 50 preserved or fresh grape leaves.
1¼ cups long grain rice
1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped or 4 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons crushed dried mint
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dry dill weed
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup (160 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or more


If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.

If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.


Army of Dolmas

Army of Dolmas

1. Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse with cold water and let drain.
2. Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallion, garlic, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up.
4. Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.
5. Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.
6. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag, place back in the freezer.)
7. Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or imperfect grape leaves. The tightness will help prevent the rolls from unraveling.
8. Mix together olive oil, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice and pour over the stuffed leaves. Put a small heat proof plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, if needed, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.

I used the given recipe and somehow ended up making 64 dolmas. I didn’t measure out 2 teaspoons every time, but it looked close enough to me. If you have two cups of filling, you should be able to make 48 dolmas.

I found it was best to cook them for an hour if I did my large pan (approximately 30 dolmas), but only 35 for my small pan (an even dozen). Then I let them sit in the pan for 30-40 minutes afterward before serving them warm. I like them warm, but they were still great cold the next day.

For use the next day, just leave them in the pan when you put them in the refrigerator. Heat on low for 15-20 minutes or serve cold. I froze uncooked dolmas and cooked them straight from the frozen state with great success.