Weekend is for cooking! Actually everyday is for cooking! And #dohacooks nonstop! If you don’t believe it, check InstaLydia on Instagram! The old cooking club started 3 years ago continues to produce, this time spurred on by the purchase of two new high end pans from IKEA and the discovery of some new ingredients in CarreFour.
It is hard to believe that we ever functioned without these two new pans! The first pan is a heavy cast iron pan that has finally allowed the members to successfully cook meat. It’s high heat gives meat a very close approximation to being grilled outside and imparts a tantalizing smell and flavor! The heavy stainless pan just like those seen on cooking shows also allows for even cooking with nary a chance for burning any precious ingredients. What took us so long to make this basic discovery!?
This weekend’s menu was inspired by some recently discovered ingredients: lemon grass and curry leaves! I have always loved any dish out flavored with lemon grass so when I came across it at Carrefour I bought it not knowing what to do with it. Although it resembles a green onion it is tough as nails. The white end can be grated and the green end can be pounded to release the flavors. We have made many dishes with it included a to-die-for salmon with ginger and lemon grass broth. And yes, our creation will be found on Instagram!
Another absolute favorite was this weekend’s Lemon Grass Wings, a recipe well worth repeating! I marinated the wings the night before and we cooked them to perfection in the cast iron pan filling the apartment with savory smoke which fortunately did not activate the smoke alarm.
The curry leaves reminded me of the many dishes a former Sri Lankan helper used to make for me. When I found them I immediately thought of lentils. Looking at curry leave recipes quickly revealed that they often go with mustard seeds which luckily I had. It seems that many Indian dishes begin with cooking both curry leaves and mustard seeds in ghee (clarified butter). In addition to the above mentioned spices most dishes call for a generous amount of spices, in this case tumeric, garam masala, and cumin (not forgetting fresh ginger, garlic and hot peppers)
Weekends would not be complete without sweets. Ginger is an all time favorite and is quite inexpensive in Doha. So candied ginger it was!
Candied anything seems appealing so why stop with ginger? It is relatively easy to candy orange peels and as mentioned in a previous post ‘Mimi’ does a fabulous citrus collection called “Les Agrumes” which includes the simple candied orange recipe.
You can also use lemons but be careful with the temperature! When cooked at too high a heat it becomes caramelized. It then has a harder consistency more like candy which actually works well with lemon peel.