Category Archives: Ethnic

Tonight’s Express Dinner: Arroz con Frijoles

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On one hot and summer day in 1995, my aunt brought me some Spanish rice and beans from a local Hispanic grocery in Astoria, NY. I was never able to forget that taste. Arroz con frijoles is an ordinary dish in every Hispanic household but for the rest of us, it’s something else; curry and masala is my daily sort of thing! I’m not sure if there are any halal Spanish restaurants in New York City because I honestly would love some rice and beans from time to time. Anyway, after a busy week with work and school, today was a lazy Sunday. I wanted to end my weekend evening with a super quick dinner and something different than the usual curry that I have. So I thought I’d treat my siblings and myself to some rice and beans!

For the Rice:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Yellow Rice
  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 1.5 tbsp Goya Sazón
  • 2 tbsp of sofrito
  • 3/4 cup of diced white onions
  • 3/4 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of diced green capsicum
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 0.74g Halal Maggi chicken bouillon cubes
  1. Add the cups of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to boil.
  2. In a frypan, add the oil, butter, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, and seasoning. Sauté for 5-minutes.
  3. Add the rice into the frypan and mix with all ingredients.
  4. Add the mixture into the boiling water. Cover pot and let the rice cook for at least 25-minutes stirring from time to time.

For the Beans:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can of Goya Red Beans – rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of sofrito
  • 1 tbsp of Goya Sazón
  • 1 tspn oregano
  • 1 tspn cumin powder
  • 1 tspn black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tspn of sugar
  1. In a frypan, add all the ingredients, stir well, and cook on medium-low heat for 30-minutes. Stir occasionally.

Note: I did not use any salt on the rice or beans because of the other seasonings, which already consist of the sodium component.

For the Corn-Bean Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Goya Garbanzo Beans – rinsed
  • 2 cups of sweet corn kernel
  • 3/4 cup of diced red onions
  • 3/4 cup of diced green capsicum
  • 3/4 cup of pitted and diced olives
  • 1/2 tspn of salt
  • 1 tspn of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tspn of everything seasoning
  1. Mix all the ingredients together!

First Time Checking out Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY

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A brief update: After a long hectic week at work, I wanted to make the best of this past weekend. I got all of my travel gifts and shopping done for England/Italy and was also able to get a few other errands completed as well. Also, a very special childhood friend, who I haven’t seen in like 15-years came to town! He is literally a walking history of my brother and my childhood! The three of us headed out to Brooklyn to check out Smorgasburg, an open market for food vendors. I mean despite the car trouble and getting stuck on the super busy Atlantic Avenue, it was a great experience!

The city skyscraper view with a side of delicious and diverse delicacies were well-worth the trip. We tried some vegan beet burgers from Chickpea and Olive and some fresh oysters from Brooklyn Oyster Party. The beet flavor in the burger wasn’t empowering and was actually quite tasty! I never tried oysters before but with a dash of tabasco sauce and lemon juice, it wasn’t so bad! This place reminds me of the Bengali street fairs that I used to go to as a kid. What also brought back nostalgic feelings were seeing people drinking coconut water from coconuts! The last time I did that myself was almost 5-years ago in rural Bangladesh!  I can’t wait to go back again!

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Quick & Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Spinach ravioli Alfredo with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes to garnish on top
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Sometimes it’s quite difficult to maintain halal eating even when choosing not to eat outside meat when going out with friends to non-desi or Middle Eastern restaurants. It may be the most “subliminal” parts of a dish that we tend to disregard; for instance, the type of stock used in a soup at an Asian restaurant or at an Italian restaurant, the cheese in pasta dishes that have animal rennet and various other ingredients that Muslims and vegetarians should be conscious of (e.g. Romano cheese or parmesan cheese).

I really love shrimp Alfredo and as childish as this may sound, I thought that I’d probably never find a brand of parmesan cheese that does not use animal rennet. However, thanks to my awesome sister-in-law, and already being the Trader Joe’s lover that I am, she told me about the shredded parmesan cheese that they carry that has microbial rennet instead of animal rennet. That sounded like pretty good news to me! I knew right then that I’d have to try to make my own homemade Alfredo sauce!

Please note that the following measurements in the recipe to make the sauce were used for a ravioli dish to serve 1-2 person(s).

Here goes nothing!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 – 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic (1-2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1.5 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3/4 tbsp of parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tspn of black pepper
  • A dash of salt to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the the butter for 1.5 minutes, add the minced garlic and give it a good stir for roughly 2 minutes on med-low heat. At this point, you should get a beautiful aroma of the garlic.
  2. Add the cream in the saucepan and stir slowly for 5-minutes.
  3. Slowly add the cheese while stirring the creamy mixture in the saucepan and let it all blend in together.
  4. At this point, add in the olive oil, parsley flakes, black pepper, and a dash of salt to taste.
  5. Stir the mixture for about 3-4 more minutes.

It literally took me less than 15-minutes to make the sauce. I saved $17 from not having to buy a simple shrimp Alfredo from the nearby Italian joint. And since I made it at home, I can just go ahead and use a good ‘ol piece of chicken breast and serve it along with a side of salad!

Bon appétit!

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