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Chengdu-Style Spicy Crab

I have been a fan of authentic Szechuan cuisine since I first tried it at Z & Y Restaurant in San Francisco a few years ago. I love the bold, pungent, and spicy flavors. This recipe is my riff on the flavors from that region.
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Goan “Colossal” Shrimp Curry

Once again I will try my hand at an international dish. This time we go to India’s smallest, yet richest state, Goa, which is in western India. Goan cuisine is famous for its wide variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconuts and curries are widely used in Goan cooking along with chili peppers, spices and vinegar, giving the food a unique flavor. Fish curry with rice is one of the main dishes in this region.  A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known as Bebinca is a favorite during the Christmas holiday, which was the inspiration for this dish. I found the dish to be like most of the Indian dishes I have prepared, except the coconut milk which I have found more common in Thai cooking. This dish is BIG on flavor and, because I happened to find colossal shrimp at Fairway, the dish is big — just check out the photo of an uncooked shrimp. It has a has a nice amount of heat for the foodies who love spicy dishes (but not over-spicy). Bon Appetit!

Colossal Shrimp!

Colossal Shrimp!


4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp fresh crushed black pepper
3 tbsp water
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 lbs of shrimp
1 cup coconut milk
1 medium tomato diced
1 tsp salt
4 hard-boiled eggs
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
Your choice of rice to serve (I used basmati)



Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the coriander, fennel, turmeric, chili powder, and pepper. Add the water and make a paste. Reduce the heat to medium, add the paste to the onion mixture, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and salt, bring to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, shell the eggs and, using a sharp knife, make 4 slits lengthwise on each egg without cutting through. Add the eggs to the pan along with the shrimp and increase the heat to cook for 6-8 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and half the cilantro. Remove from the heat and transfer the curry to a serving dish. Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Goan Curry Shrimp


Chevreuil aux Pois Chiches (Moroccan Venison Stew)

The delicious spicy cuisines of French colonial North Africa have left their mark on French cooking, which some of you know I’ve been exploring. This dish is traditionally prepared with lamb (d’Agneau), but tonight I will use venison since I have an abundance of it from a friend who hunts. Lamb stew meat should be easily available at most local markets so don’t break your neck looking for venison. The word “tagine” is the name for the conical-shaped pottery dish in which this delicious meal is usually cooked. I don’t have a tagine so I guess pots and pans have to do. 🙂 Despite the lengthy ingredient list and multiple steps, this dish is simple to make for the home cook so I encourage all to try this recipe. Dont be shy, leave feedback telling me if it worked for you. Bon Appetit! (special thanks to George Perkins for donating the protein for this dish)

Moroccan Venison Stew


1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas soaked in cold water overnight

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp powdered saffron or paprika

3 lbs of venison stew meat OR lamb shoulder trimmed of all fat cut into 2 inch pieces

2 medium onions coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced

2/3 cup golden raisins soaked in warm water

10-20 black olives (such as a kalamata)

2 preserved lemons or the grated rind of 1 lemon

6 tbsp fresh cilantro

salt and pepper

cous cous (to serve)


Drain the chickpeas, rinse under cold running water and place in a large pan, cover with water and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain the chick peas and return to pan and cover with cold water  and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 -1 1/2 hrs until peas are tender. remove from heat and add about 1 tsp salt and set aside. In a large bowl, combine half of the oil (2 Tbsp) with the sugar, ginger, cumin, tumeric, saffron or paprika,pepper and about 1 tsp of salt. Now add your lamb or venison and toss well to coat all sides and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add enough lamb to cover the pan in one layer but do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning the pieces to brown all sides, then transfer to a large casserole dish. Keep browning all the lamb in batches until all the lamb is cooked and in the casserole. You may find you have to add a little more olive oil between batches.

Add the onions to the pan and stir constantly until browned. Stir in garlic and tomatoes along with 1 cup of water, stirring and scraping the base of the pan. Pour this mixture into the casserole and add enough water to cover. Heat the casserole dish on the stove top, bringing the stew to a boil and skimming off any foam, then reduce and simmer for an hour.

Drain the chickpeas and add to the lamb with about 1 cup of the drained off liquid. Stir in the raisins and the liquid they soaked in, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the olives and sliced preserved lemons or lemon rind and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes, then add half the chopped cilantro.

About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the cous cous according to package instructions. Serve side by side or with the stew over a bed of cous cous, and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

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