Korean tacos with quick cucumber pickle

Korean tacosInspiration for this nominally Korean dish comes not from Seoul but from the streets of Los Angeles, where apparently the popular Kogi BBQ truck has spawned a number of imitators around the U.S.

I’ve never been to Los Angeles and have never had Korean tacos made by anyone other than myself but I liked the sound of the idea and wanted to create my own version, gluten-free and low-FODMAP, of course. They came out delicious, a fusion of different flavours into a perfect marriage. (I don’t think the fact I’m in a mixed marriage myself is influencing me.) Continue reading

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Chicken mole (gluten-free, low-FODMAP)

Chicken mole with saffron rice and corn salsaFeliz cinco de mayo! We celebrated Mexico’s day (not Mexico’s independence day, as I previously thought, but the commemoration of the Mexican army’s “unlikely victory” over the French at the Battle of Puebla, according to the all-knowing and ever-infallible Wikipedia) by making mole poblano (meaning from Puebla). Or, as I called it to sell it to my four-year-old, chocolate stew.

I love mole but haven’t made it often because the many recipes out there always seemed so complex and involved lots of ingredients not readily available to me. I don’t have the time or resources to search out three different kinds of chiles, nor the inclination to cook with a cup of lard. I can’t readily find tomatillos or avocado leaves (?!? one recipe I saw called for these) in England and high-FODMAP ingredients like garlic, onions and raisins would bother my belly.

Without all the above-named ingredients, was I going to be able to come up with an authentic-tasting, relatively easy-to-make mole? If you’re sceptical, I don’t blame you. I wasn’t entirely sure myself that I’d be able to pull it off. But I DID. Oh, how I did. This mole had all the rich, complex, smoky taste I craved, and yet I could serve it to my kids without them complaining it was too spicy (I added more cayenne pepper at the table for myself). Continue reading

Gluten-free stuffed Brazilian cheese bread (pao de queijo)

Cheese-stuffed cheese breadI have a new addiction. I was first introduced to Brazilian cheese bread several months ago when I ran across the Bolitas stall in the Oxford covered market. These were delicious. Then a Brazilian friend of mine brought some homemade ones to a little party at our house. These were even better. But when I made my own and had the results straight out of the oven, they were sublime. My whole family attacked them, even the picky little girls. Still steaming, crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, most of them stuffed with little surprises, they were the most delicious thing I’ve had in I don’t know how long. The only problem was that we ate way too many of them.

These little cheese puffs are surprisingly easy to make, especially with a stand mixer. It would definitely be harder without, as the recipe calls for a lot of mixing of hot, stiff dough. I saw a lot of recipes online but the one from theKitchn looked most like what I was after: gooey, puffy, no mini muffin tins involved. However, I wanted mine to be stuffed, and I wanted them to be cheddary, since my family and I love cheddar. So I tweaked the recipe slightly. This is what I ended up with. Continue reading

Moqueca de peixe: Brazilian fish stew

Bowl of fish stew with peppers

When I decided to designate this week Brazil week, I didn’t know I would end up making something surprisingly akin to Thai curry, only without the burn-your-tongue spiciness or the fish sauce. When I tasted my moqueca de peixe (fish stew), however, it made me realize how much of our world cuisine is interconnected, whether directly, the way Japanese curry probably evolved from curries originating further west in Asia, or indirectly, the way similar ingredients (fish, coconut milk, vegetables) produced similar results in different parts of the world such as Brazil and Thailand.

I should say that real Brazilian moqueca may be a bit different, primarily because I didn’t use any dende (red palm oil). Nor did I search it out, as it’s high in saturated fat, my cupboard space is limited, and I don’t foresee many other uses for it. I used olive oil instead. There is actually another type of Brazilian moqueca, moqueca capixaba, from the state of Espirito Santo, that uses olive oil instead of dende. That dish, however, doesn’t use coconut milk, so mine is a bit of a hybrid. That’s OK with me. My life and family are about hybridization, and as any gardener knows, hybrids are often the hardiest.

As I was researching moqueca de peixe, I found a huge range of recipes online, some very similar and some a bit different. I ended up not following any particular recipe but using what I thought would be tasty, based on the most common themes in moqueca recipes. Here’s my version. It’s easy, quick and gets even better after having sat for a day. Continue reading

Sweet potato coconut muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Sweet potato muffins in baking tinsWhen I decided to focus on the Dominican Republic this weekend, I was attracted by a recipe for a recipe for pan de batata from the excellent Aunt Clara’s Kitchen Dominican cooking blog. It looked to be naturally gluten-free and probably tasty. However, it looked more like pudding than bread (“pan” means bread) or cake, and other pan de batata recipes I saw on other sites confirmed this. I didn’t want pudding. I wanted muffins. Partly because they freeze well and go nicely into lunchboxes. Partly because, well, I just like muffins.

In addition to the aforementioned pan de batata recipe, I found a couple of gluten-free sweet potato muffin recipes that sounded good, one at The Roasted Root and one at Meg’s Vegucation, but neither of these seemed 100 per cent perfect to me, though the Roasted Root one ended up being my rough template. It’s true – although I was going to be baking with the notoriously difficult coconut flour for the first time, I couldn’t resist experimenting a little.

Continue reading

Chicken with wasakaka

Roasted chicken with bowl of roasted vegetables, citrus parsley sauceOur whole family loves roasted chicken and we also love fun words, so when I was researching our Dominican Republic weekend and I saw a recipe for pollo con wasakaka, or roasted chicken with garlic sauce, it was hard to go past. Unfortunately, garlic is high in FODMAPs, so I knew I was going to have to come up with an alternative. I’m a little ashamed to admit just how easy it was. Continue reading