Ginger Paste Recipes

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Banana Flower Salad (Goi Bap Chuoi Chay) Recipe

In case you were wondering, banana flowers really are the flowers of the banana plant. They are also known as banana blossoms or banana hearts. The taste is reminiscent of artichoke hearts. They are consumed throughout Southeast Asia and also in India as well. In fact, I bought the banana flowers I used in this dish from an Indian market.

Gỏi bắp chuối chay literally means vegetarian banana flower salad in Vietnamese. It's a popular dish in the Buddhist community where many recipes, due to dietary restrictions requiring vegetarianism, are made to simulate meat. Banana flower salad is thought to imitate the flavor of gỏi gà, Vietnamese chicken salad. Other recipes use ingredients such as tofu skin or fried soy gluten that are chewy and resemble the stringy texture of meat.

This is a dish that is not only exotic but tasty as well. You might not make it every day, but it's definitely something you should try.


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Punjabi-Style Chaat (Layers of Tomatoes, Raita, Ginger Garbanzo beans, Mint Sauce and Tamarind Chutney) Recipe

Chaat is an Indian snack. There are many varieties but they all use similar ingredients. If you think of it as in Mexican food where you see salsa, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans and cheese, repeated in many different dishes, similarly chaat is made up of a crispy fried bread called puri and garbanzo beans, tomatoes, yogurt, taramind, mint sauce and spices.

This particular version of chaat is one Lulu's aunt makes whenever she has a family get-together at her house. Since it's more constructed than many of the other chaats, it's got distinct layers. She usually serves it with potatoes as well, which I didn't have on hand; I'm going to post my personal favorite later on, which is called dahi papdi chaat.

For those of you who think Indian food is mostly butter chicken, tandoori chicken or palak paneer, there is a whole world of cuisine that I've been introduced to since I got married I never knew existed. I love South Indian food in particular and I'll try to put up some recipes from that region.


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Ginger and Cilantro Sweet Corn Salad Recipe

This recipe was inspired by Daddy's friend's wife, Anu Auntie. We had a scrumptious dinner at her home while we were visiting the East Coast last month. The dinner was so delicious, and in particular she prepared a ginger corn salad that was out of this world.  It was sweet, a bit spicy and had very complex Asian flavors. 

Corn is in season and it is very inexpensive right now at my local market. It's only a dollar for 4 ears. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to attempt to recreate this wonderful corn salad. I steamed and grilled the corn, cut ooff the kernels, and seasoned them with a lot of Asian flavors like ginger, soy sauce, cilantro and plum sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The idea of a gluten-free chocolate cupcake came up during a dinner with friends. Laura's husband has a gluten allergy and was telling me the challenges she faces. I found out that she often uses chickpea flour as a replacement for all-purpose flour.

Chickpea flour is common in savory dishes in Indian cuisine and is the main ingredient in paratha, a flat Indian bread. I was concerned that its heavy, grainy flavor would be too prominent and overwhelming for a dessert. I added a wide variety of flavorings like fresh ginger, cinnamon, rum, Medjool dates and of course chocolate to cover this up. The result was a dense chocolaty cake that has the internal consistency of fudge. The addition of cherry cream frosting is a nice complement to the fudgy cupcake and adds a bit of moisture to cover up any remaining grainy texture of the chickpea flour in the cupcake.


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Magret de Canard Roti au Miel Epices (Cardamom, Ginger, Mango and Star Anise spiced Honey Roasted Duck Breast) Recipe

I find duck meat to be very sophisticated. So whether you're throwing an elegant dinner or you're having a romantic dinner, duck is the perfect choice.

I'm used to making a French preparation of duck, but I wanted to use oriental flavors for this recipe instead.  I decided to use star anise and honey as the base for the glaze. Star anise is a classic Asian flavor, and I have some very special honey at home that I try to use whenever I need a sweetener for a dish.  Last time I was in Paris I got a jar of raw honey from my sister's in-laws who are honey makers in Amiens, a town in the nothern region of France.  It's just out of this world.


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