C’s Chile Verde

Pork and green chili stew = happy

Hey Everybody! Long time no blog. Yeah, life has a way of taking over when one isn’t blogging. And also, one is kind of lazy. But one – okay me, well I’m back and I’ve brought with me an actual cooking video. As we find ourselves firmly entrenched in fall with winter on the horizon, I give to you the gift of chile verde. It’s a spicy and savory pork and chili stew – I prefer the Spanish spelling when naming the dish, the Anglo spelling when talking about actual chilis. It’s the perfect meal to keep you warm and satisfied on the inside and happy to be alive. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful stuff. Also, it’s bien rico (rather, extremely delicious).

I first encountered chile verde as a wee lad growing up in San Jose, CA when my parents took my sister and I to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Burro.  Now having experienced a lot of good (and terrible – in NYC for sure) Mexican food, I’m not sure El Burro would necessarily hold up as a great Mexican restaurant. But there’s something about that dimly lit cavern of a restaurant – with it’s big leather bucket seats,  the pictures of bull fighters and rustic country scenes on the walls and the tortillas chips served with the most watery and bland (in retrospect) salsa – that holds a special place in my heart.  I remember my dad would always order the chile verde which consisted of tender cubes of pork served in a sea of really hot (temperature-wise) mildly spicy green sauce.  In between mouthfuls of chorizo enchilada (my go to dish at the time) I remember tasting the stewed pork and thinking, “not bad, not bad at all!”  Since those formative years, chile verde has become one of my go to dishes both when I order it, say stuffed inside a chimichanga or as a stand alone stew that I love to cook myself.  So, what follows is my version of chile verde,  a recipe that I’ve kind of developed over the last few years through trial and error and tasting of other versions of chile verde. For example, I used to not use tomatillos but after eating chile verde with tomatillos,  I now find them to be a a vital ingredient imparting the necessary acid or tartness that counter balances the spiciness of the chili and the richness of the pork.  So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: (as usual amounts are approximate)
1 head of garlic
2 mid sized onions
5-6 poblano chilis
1 1/2 lbs of tomatillos (can use tomatillo salsa)
1 1/2 pounds of potatoes
3-4 carrots
4 lbs of pork shoulder meat
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (for marinating the pork)

This is how I do it:

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Dildar’s Aloo Tikki and Tamarind Chutney

Beautiful aloo tikki with homemade yogurt and tamarind chutney

In the brief time I’ve known Dildar (aka Guru) and his wife Roompa, they have proven themselves to be not only witty and attractive (perfect date material – good thing they’re married to each other), but also gracious hosts and fantastic cooks. Together with Alka (also a fantastic cook), they are The Foodist Colony. Once a month or so, they cook for and host supper club during which they prepare a delicious multi-course meal (each course is served with a drink or cocktail of Dildar’s creation) for a select number of lucky guests . Now, I have yet to partake in one of these fabled meals, but I will soon. To tide me over, I was fortunate enough to invite myself over to Dildar and Roompa’s apartment to video and sample one of Dildar’s childhood favorites: aloo tikki served with tamarind chutney.

It’s tough being me. I know. But that’s why this blog exists – to share with all of you, the delicious things I get to eat. Count Dildar’s aloo tikki among them. And count yourselves lucky to be given his recipe and these oh so informative cooking videos. Please enjoy!

Dildar’s Aloo Tikki Recipe:
Ingredients
3 – 5 russet potatoes
2-3 red onions (diced)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (white)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds (roasted)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 egg (for egg wash
panko bread crumbs
canola oil (for frying)

Here’s how he does it:

Tamarind Chutney Recipe:
Ingredients
2 cups of water
3 tbsp of tamarind paste/ concentrate
1 tsp roasted ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 -1/2 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp pepper (white)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp sugar

This is how he does it:

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Shefali’s Palak Paneer

And now in contrast to the previous post, we bring you something completely vegetarian AND delicious (yes, such things do exist): palak paneer – aka saag paneer. In English it translates to spinach cheese which doesn’t quite do it justice because it’s such a rich and sumptuous, complex dish that when you’re eating it, you can’t believe that it’s just well, basically spinach with some chunks of tofu textured cheese. And as prepared by my beautiful wife Shefali, you’ll see how easy it is to cook. Click on the picture below for the full recipe and video.

Shef slaving over a hot stove

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Shefali’s Baigan Burtha

And we’re back and with a recipe to boot! It has been a while. I know. Right now winter is quickly descending upon us in the northern hemisphere and for those of us who live in areas like NYC that means, winter jackets, hats, gloves and lots of roasted root vegetables, soups and if you’re me, heavy meaty stew type dishes. Well here’s a dish that will take you back to summer with it’s light vibrant flavors and fresh ingredients.  Also, I shot this video a few months ago when it was summer.  All good things taken time.  Isn’t that what they say? So really, it’s not so much a seasonal dish so much as a delicious one. If you can get eggplant, you can make baigan burtha.   This is Shefali’s take on it. By the way, this is also Shef’s you-food debut as a contributing cook – she’s been seen as a contributing eater several times.  So, I hope you enjoy the full video and the recipe.

Shef cooks up burtha

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