Creamed Chicken Curry

3 chicken breast cut up
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 stick cinnamon
1 chicken stock cube
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
4 tablespoons sunflower oil

1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat, add oil and chicken, brown. Remove chicken and add chopped onion. Sauté until tender. Add garlic and ginger; make sure there is enough oil so that nothing sticks. Add cumin and mustard seed. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to “pop” (not unlike popcorn). Add turmeric and curry powder and stir constantly to prevent any sticking. Stir the “paste” until the curry powder becomes fragrant; this usually takes 1 to 2 minutes (be careful not to burn the curry powder). Add the chopped tomatoes and stir until they form a sauce (3-4 minutes).

2. Add chicken broth, cinnamon stick and chicken. Cover and simmer until chicken is done (approximately 45 minutes). Stir in the garam masala and serve with rice.

Yields: 4 servings

Indian Rice Pudding

This is my all time favorite dessert. Every time we go to an Indian restaurant, I just have to have it and yes more then once. The coconut milk and cardamom just mix together perfect and create this beautiful dish.

1 cup cooked long grain rice
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios,
1 tablespoon saffron

1. In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, combine cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium, add heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, saffron and cardamom and continue to cook until mixture begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat stirring in raisins and pistachios. Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Middle Eastern Lemonade

8 lemons
3/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon orange blossom water, or to taste
generous 1/4 cup freshly chopped mint

water (or seltzer) and ice cubes Squeeze the juice from the lemons and sweeten to taste with the sugar. Add the orange blossom water and the mint, and stir or shake well together. Pour a little into a tall glass and fill with water or soda and ice.

Mexican Taco Bake

1 pound lean ground beef
4 large soft taco shells
1 package Taco seasoning
1 cup melted Velveeta cheese

tomatoes, diced
scallions, diced
shredded cheese
sour Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 9 inch skillet brown ground beef until no longer pink. Follow directions on taco seasoning package and add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of melted Velveeta.

2. In a 9-inch round cake pan, put in one soft taco shell. Spread 1/4 of the beef mixture evenly over taco shell. Place on next taco shell, adding 1/4 of the beef mixture on shell. Repeat until shells and beef mixture is gone. Add remaining melted cheese to top of final meat mixture layer. Put in oven until heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add toppings.