Condiment Recipes

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Karela Achar Recipe (+Giveaway) Recipe

Karela Achar Recipe (+Giveaway)

12.14.11 by Jackie

Bitter melon (also known as bitter cucumber, bitter gourd or karela) is an acquired taste. That's a polite way of saying a lot of people dislike it. As the name implies, it is bitter, but when cooked properly, it can make a delicious dish. I learned this particular recipe from my husband Lulu's auntie. Sherin Auntie made achar using Indian bittermelons. What is achar you ask? Achar is to Indian cuisine what nuoc mam is to Vietnamese food. It's a popular, oil-packed Indian pickled condiment. We usually eat it with kichdi (Indian lentil rice) and raita (Indian yogurt condiment).

First, Sherin Auntie seeded the karela and cut them into small shreds. She decided to par-boil them so they'd be tender but this step is optional. She then fried them with Indian spices until it formed a chunky, thick paste and completed the process by sealing the mixture in a jar. The last bit of this recipe is time; you have to let the achar stand for a few days so the ingredients infuse and develop into a flavorful condiment. But I promise you it's so addictive, you'll keep asking for more rice so you can eat more achar.



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How to Make Chile Oil Recipe

How to Make Chile Oil

11.29.11 by Jackie

Last summer, I promised I was going to post all the recipes using the Habanero chiles that my husband Lulu harvested. I published the spicy butter recipe in the fall and now I'm going to share with you a simple chile-infused oil. The applications for the chile oil are varied; you can drizzle it over a pizza, flavor a sauce or vinaigrette or use it in marinades.

Like the chile butter I made earlier this year, this infused oil carries the essence of the Habanero peppers without as much of the heat. And the color is gorgeous!


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Spicy Butter Recipe (with Habanero Chiles) Recipe

We picked the last Habanero peppers yesterday, officially marking the end of our vegetable season. I feel a little bad about that seeing as folks on the East Coast are already dealing with snow. Sorry! I think I've mentioned that due to a very frustrating gopher infestation, my husband Lulu planted mostly everything in planters this year. We had one planter full of Habanero chiles, which are famous for being the hottest peppers in the world. If you've never gotten a chance to experience Habanero peppers, they are extremely fragrant and fruity. The flavor is almost indescribable, as is the heat follows. Our plants were prolific; three habanero plants produced over 20 cups of peppers! Of course, having that many peppers forced us to get creative with how we used them, which was a lot of fun.

The first application we came up with was a flavored butter, which oddly wasn't all that spicy to my taste. I think the casein in the butter neutralizes a lot of the heat. Trust me, if I can enjoy it, you can too. I've been married for many years now, and before, I couldn't bare the spiciness of black pepper. I'm sure it helps marrying into an Indian family, but this Habanero chile butter captures that intoxicating fragrance without being overly spicy.

I pulsed red Habanero chiles with garlic into a purée and mixed them into soft butter. I measured 10 grams for a mild butter, 20 grams for medium and 40 grams for extra spicy. You could reduce the ratio, depending on how strong you want the heat. This butter is lovely as a spread for sandwiches, in pasta or as a garnish for a juicy steak. I especially like it on whole grain bagels.

I'll slowly post all the other ways we put these peppers to use. Try them if you dare!


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Sweet Mango Pickle Relish (Hot Dog Condiment) Recipe

The last time I served hot dogs, I made sure to put out a spread of relish, mustard and ketchup. But I also made a beet goat cheese sauce that tasted out of this world. Last night, we grilled smoked apple chicken sausages and I felt like preparing another unique condiment.

I settled on giving a tropical twist to ordinary relish. I mixed diced mangoes, red onions, jalapeño pepper and capers with the pickles. The sweetness and explosion of flavors from the mango and capers were an instant hit.


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Vietnamese Shrimp Paste Sauce Recipe (Mam Tom) Recipe

As I promised earlier this week, here's the recipe for the condiment that traditionally accompanies the Northern Vietnamese dill fish dish. The dipping sauce is called mm tôm, which literally translates to "fermented shrimp sauce". It's made from fermented shrimp paste sauce (mm ruc, whose aroma smells very pungent), garlic, sambal oelek chile paste, sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice. The preparation is very similar to mm nêm, the dipping sauce used for b nhúng dm (Vietnamese beef fondue), except it doesn't contain pineapple. Both spicy sauces are very strong in taste, so if fermented paste is too overwhelming for your palate, you could ultimately use nước mắm chm (fish sauce) for a milder flavor.

Enjoy this authentic recipe!


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