main dishes

Roasted Turkey

 I sure wish I had a better picture to show off my prize Turkey I made for Eid this year but this is the best I could get with my hungry family. I was blessed to be able to cook for my in laws this year. It was the first time they had tried turkey and they all loved it. The turkey looks delicious none the less and do not let my ugly ole’ roasting pan fool you because it has quite a heartwarming background. That turkey pan belonged to my great-grandmother Clara Jolley who unfortunately is no longer with us. Since then this pan has been passed down generation to generation and I am blessed to have it now until one day I pass it to my daughter. So see its not so ugly after all is it? This was the best turkey I have ever made or ate. It was savory and moist on the inside and crispy and tasteful on the outside. Just like any good turkey should be.

1 turkey (21 pounds)
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons dried onion flakes
4 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large roasting pan line bottom with foil. Place turkey breast side up. Separate skin from meat and stuff butter in between. Pour water on top of turkey.

2. In a small bowl add onion flakes, parsley, salt and Cajun seasoning, mix well. And Sprinkle all over Turkey. Place foil on top of turkey, covering turkey only. Baste turkey every so often with juices.

3. Allow to cook for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, remove foil from top and brush turkey with honey. Place back into the oven with no foil and cook for a remaining 30 minutes.

Yields: 10-15 servings

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is a very common and traditional recipe throughout China. When my family and I were visiting Malaysia, we were introduced to many Chinese spices and dishes. Malaysia is a melting pot filled with several cultures so tourists have the opportunity to learn about many Asian cultures. This dish was very popular among all the Asian cultures and a dish you would see on most restaurant menus. You will easily get yourself addicted to this easy and filling meal, which satisfies any food lover’s palate.

4 chicken breast, skinless and boneless
3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked
4 cups cabbage
2 scallions
12 ounces dried eggs noodles
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1. Thinly slice chicken into strips. Squeeze the mushrooms dry and discard any hard parts. Thinly slice the mushroom caps, cabbage and scallion. Keep all ingredients separate.

2. In a 4-quart saucepan add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a full boil. Add egg noodles and turn heat off. Allow to sit in hot broth. Sit aside.

 3. In a 9-inch skillet on medium-high heat add sunflower oil, chicken and scallions. Allow to cook mixing well for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add cabbage and cover with a lid allowing cabbage and chicken to completely cook, about 10 minutes.

4. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. In a small bowl add salt, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar; mix well. Pour sauce over chicken mixture and combine. Reduce heat to low.

5. In a large bowl, add noodles and broth. Carefully pour chicken mixture atop noodles. Serve.

Yields: 6 servings

Peking Shrimp Stir-fry

I prefer to serve this Chinese classic with hot Canton noodles but any noodles or rice will work as a great side for this stir-fry. Most grocers carry frozen stir-fry vegetables but if not any will do that suit your taste.

12 ounces shrimp, cleaned
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
cooked noodles, to serve

1. In a small bowl add soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch and brown sugar, mix well. Add shrimp and marinate for 20 minutes.

2. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil. Add garlic, ginger and vegetables. Allow to fully cook about 10 minutes. Add oyster sauce.

3. Add shrimp with marinade. Cook until shrimp turns pink and serve.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Arabic Meat Pie

I love to make these delicious meat pies with fries for a light dinner. Everyone enjoys them and you have leftovers to snack on. Yogurt is the secret mixture in Arabic and Turkish meat pies. Please remember if that any words in blue mean that they are a clickable link. I get a lot of emails asking how to make Arabic spice mix. If you click the words it will take you to the recipe. And do not forget my ‘How to make perfect bread‘ post if you need help with the dough.

2 pounds fine ground lamb or beef
4-5 garlic cloves, mashed
1/4 bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Arabic Spice Mix
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil+ more for dough
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups water

1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water in a small bowl mix and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.

2. In a large bowl add flour, oil salt and water a bit at a time until dough consistency forms. Add a bit of oil on hands and carefully pat around oil (do not work in). Cover dough with a towel and sit in a warm place until doubled about an hour.

3. Meanwhile, In large bowl add mint, onions, tomato paste, pine nuts, pepper, Arabic spice mix, meat and yogurt. Combine well.

4. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Divide the dough into 24 balls and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll thin 15-20 cm circles. Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of meat mixture evenly over the pastries and arrange on a lightly greased baking tray.

5. Bake until dough and meat are fully cooked. Serve with laban and lemon wedges.

Yields: 24 pies