Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tibetan Thenthuk

Our delicious thenthuk and rice pudding
We made a wonderful warming soup called thenthuk the other night.  I found the recipe and a great video showing how it is made at www.yowangdu.com/.  My daughter and I watched the video together and then we tried to recreate the technique on our own.  We were not able to "pull" the noodles as fast as the video showed, but it was great fun and they still tasted delicious.  I'm pretty sure that we wouldn't have made them quite right without watching the video first!  The simple broth was enhanced with ginger, cilantro, beef and a variety of vegetables.  I wanted to make another recipe from this site called "momos", but because I had to work late Friday night we had to save those for another time. For dessert we made up our own version of  rice pudding.

Thenthuk --(reprinted here with Yowangdu's permission but share the love and please visit his site as well)
2 heaping handfuls of all purpose flour -- about 2-2 1/2 cups
about 1/2 cup water


1/2 - 1 lb. stew beef or chicken- cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion chopped
1 inch piece of ginger root
1 clove garlic
1 small tomato
soy sauce
beef or chicken bouillon
1 potato or Japanese daikon radish
1/4 bunch chopped cilantro
2 green onions chopped
1/4 bunch spinach
salt as needed
The dough is very important for this noodle soup. It needs to sit for fifteen or twenty minutes so that it can become flexible and easy to pull.
  1. If you want to make "thenthuk" for two people, put two heaping handfuls of all-purpose flour in a pot and add about half a cup of water.
  2. Mix the flour and water very well by hand and keep adding water until you can make a smooth ball of dough. Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible. You want it thick enough that it will stretch when pulled.
  3. Separate the dough into pieces about half as big as big as your fist, and roll the dough between your hands. Make the shape like bananas, or wedges. Then put oil on your hand and roll the pieces between your hands again so they won't stick together.
While you are cooking, chop 1/4 of a bunch of cilantro, two green onions, and 1/4 bunch of spinach.
The Throw-down
  1. When the broth starts to boil, you can add the dough. Take a wedge of dough and roll it between your hands so it gets a little longer. Flatten it with your fingers. Then pull the dough off in little flat pieces as long as your thumb and throw them in the pot. See how fast you can pull off the noodles... ("I hear the people in Amdo can do it really fast." - Tenzin)
  2. When all the noodles are in the pot, cook it for an additional three or four minutes. After that, you can put in the cilantro and spinach. They don't need to cook, really, so you can serve the soup immediately. Before you serve the "Thenthuk" make sure that the taste is right for you. Enjoy your food and sweat because it really makes you warm!
Check out www.yowangdu.com for the momos and thenthuk recipes.  Check out his other recipes and great photos of Tibet as well.

Our Rice Pudding

1 cup long basmati rice
2 cups whole milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
about 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup shredded or flaked coconut
golden raisins about 1/2 cup
1/4- 1/2 peanuts coursely chopped
dash of cinnamon

Melt butter in large saute pan.  Add rice and stir.  Add milk, cream and sugar and bring to a light boil.  Add coconut milk and let simmer about 30 minutes or until rice is softened to your liking.  Add more milk as needed to keep rice from burning and sticking to pan.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until it is at desired consistency. Chill until cooled.  If desired sprinkle with cinnamon.

I hope you enjoy your Tibetan feast as much as we did.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ugandan Matooke and Curried Potatoes

Matooke and Curried Potatoes
Last Friday we enjoyed a traditional Ugandan Feast. Our main dish was Matooke, which is a stew made with plantains and a peanut sauce.  The curried potatoes had just the right amount of spice to offset the touch of sweetness in the stew.  I found the basis for these recipes at Celtnet Recipes. This site says it is the largest collection of recipes from African nations.  I have found it quite useful in my recipe searches.
My kids and hubby enjoyed this meal, except my oldest daughter didn't seem to think the plantains were a necessary addition, so they ended up at the side of her plate.  Here are the recipes with the changes that I made, for you to enjoy. 



4 plantains, peeled and diced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
32 ounces organic beef broth
1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
2 T peanut butter
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Put the onions and green pepper in a small food processor.  Process until a nice paste like consistency.  Heat some olive oil in a stew pot.  Fry the onions and peppers until fragrant, just a couple of minutes.  Then add chopped garlic. Add stew meat and brown.  Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.  Now add the tomatoes and beef broth.  While the stew is coming to a boil, chop the plantains and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Add the plantains and stir in the peanut butter. Reduce the heat and cover.  Let simmer about 35 minutes or until meat is tender.  Add the cilantro and serve over warm rice.  

Ugandan Curried Potatoes


2 Idaho potatoes, diced
2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, to taste
1/2 cup water or more as necessary
1 tsp sriracha sauce or other hot sauce
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

Pre- boil potatoes in salted water, until just tender.  Saute onion in olive oil in a pan.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Stir in cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Cook  about 1 minute. Drain potatoes.  Add tomato paste, lemon juice, potatoes and hot sauce to onion mix.  Add enough water to make a good sauce consistency.  Continue simmering until potatoes are just soft but not mushy. Add chopped cilantro and serve with matooke and rice. Enjoy your Ugandan Feast!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Ok it has been crazy around here. I haven't written in a while but we have still been enjoying great food.  We enjoyed our Mediterranean foods for about 2 weeks until I finally decided we had to move on.  We didn't get  far though, because the kids chose Portugal for this week.
I've decided to make Portuguese Bean Stew or Feijao a Portuguesa that I found on  epicurious.com and Sea Bass in White Wine and Tomatoes from http://www.portuguesecooking.com
As I was cooking the bean stew, my daughter came over to see what was in the pan.  She wrinkled her nose and said, "Beans? Can't we have rice with the fish?"  I told her we were going to eat it the Portuguese way. She wasn't thrilled, but she grabbed some of the garlic I was chopping and popped it into her mouth. Then she went off to set the table.  
The recipes were relatively simple, but I realized that I had forgotten to buy the bacon for the bean stew. Oh well, I figured we could do without the extra cholesterol.  Of course, I never start cooking early enough, so my husband arrived home from work about 20 minutes too soon.  So, I turned the oven temp up to 400 to speed along the cooking for the last few minutes. (I have a tendency to do this.  It doesn't always work but this time I was lucky.)  The fish was perfectly flaky and delicious.  The beans had a nice smokey hot flavor.  My son tried hard to not eat very much and instead asked where the watermelon was. (He is the extra picky and skinny one in our family).   Everyone else enjoyed the meal, even my daughter who said, "Wow even the beans are great!"

These are only slightly different than the original recipes which were listed above.  
Sea Bass with White Wine and Tomatoes

4 sea bass fillets
1/2 onion thinly sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 bay leaf
2 allspice berries
1 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Saute onions in olive oil until soft.  Add garlic, cook about 2 minutes.  Add wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, allspice, salt and pepper.   Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook about 5 minutes.  Place fish fillets in an oiled baking dish.  Remove tomato sauce from heat and pour over fish.  Put in oven and bake about 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Add chopped parsley and serve.  

Portuguese Bean Stew

2 cans Great Northern Beans
12 oz chorizo sausage cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato paste
olive oil, salt and pepper
about 1/4 cup or water as needed

Saute onion in olive oil.  Add garlic and sausage.  Cook about 5-8 minutes, then add beans and paprika.  Add tomato paste and just enough water to dissolve tomato paste.  Simmer about 10 more minutes or until most of the water is gone.  


Friday, October 22, 2010

Mediterranean Week

This week I was inspired by a Mediterranean cook book I found in the library.  It had so many beautiful photos that I didn't want to wait until Friday's Foreign Food Fest to try the recipes.  Instead, I decided to sprinkle the dishes throughout the week.
Sunday, I made falafel pitas with veggies and sauteed olives in rosemary.  The kids helped me chop the tomatoes, cilantro and lettuce for the pitas.  I admit that I cheated in making the falafel.  I used a box mix instead of the recipe in the book only because of time.  I want to try making it from scratch someday.  For the olives, I bought Kalamata and other green Greek olives.  I sauteed a few red onion slices in olive oil then, tossed in the olives.  I added a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from my indoor herb garden (just a bunch of pots in a sunny window).
The result was delicious.  Even my 6 year old son ate all of his pita. Yeah, success!  He proclaimed that he wanted it for his school lunch the next day. Unfortunately, he only ate one bite before moving onto his grapes.  Oh well.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Foreign Food Festival Fridays

This all started when my husband and I were tired of celebrating the week's end by having pizza every Friday night with our kids. We weren't tired of our kids, just the pizza. So we decided that instead of a pie, the kids would pick a random country from around the world and I would search for recipes online, in cookbooks, from friends, basically anywhere I could get my hands on what seemed like authentic ethnic dishes. My goal was to pick at least three courses: a salad/appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
The first week was easy. The kids picked China. My daughters got out the globe and showed my son where China is. I got out the rice cooker and made some fried rice. We had some frozen pork buns and dumplings already in the freezer (we eat Chinese food a lot anyway!), so I steamed those and voila, a complete meal. I think we had ice cream for dessert. It was a huge success. The kids loved it. They made little signs saying nihao and we broke out the chopsticks. Even my 5 year old who picks at his food like a sparrow, ate everything on his plate. We all had a great time and then watched a movie. The kids couldn't wait until next Friday. Unfortunately for me, the kids picked Tuvalu. "Tuva what?" I said. They showed me that it is an island nation way off in the Pacific Ocean. It took me all week but I did find recipes that I hope were close to authentic. Since that week we have had 38 different foreign food fests. This blog is our edible journey through the world.