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Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Aarti Sequeira

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 10:50am

Season six winner of "Food Network Star," Aarti Sequeira joined us in the kitchen today and spiced things up with a little international flair. Here are the recipes from today's show.  

 

Beef Kebabs with a Surprise Center

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 6 to 8 servings


Ingredients

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 (1/2-inch thick slice) of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 pound ground beef

Small handful fresh cilantro, minced (about 2 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons for sauce

1/2 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried cherries, finely chopped

2 tablespoons toasted cashews, chopped

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

1/2 cup plain yogurt

lime, juiced


Directions

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and slightly smoking. Pour into a pestle and mortar and grind until you get a fine powder. Shake into a large bowl.

Add the garlic and ginger to the mortar and pestle and pound until a paste forms. Scrape into the large bowl.

Add the beef, 2 tablespoons of minced cilantrogaram masala, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together until the meat is sticky, just a few minutes. Allow the meat to rest about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cherries and the cashews in a small bowl.

When meat has rested, divide into 16 equal portions. Roll each one into 2-inch sausage shapes. Make a long indentation in each sausage and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of the dried cherry stuffing and pinch the meat together over the stuffing. Roll the kebab between your hands to thoroughly seal it. Repeat with the remaining kebabs.

Warm the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Place the kebabs in the pan in a circular formation, making sure none of the kebabs touch. By the time you've placed your last kebab in the pan it will probably be time to start turning the first ones you set down. Cook, turning frequently, until browned all the way around and cooked all the way through, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the kebabs are cooking, make the simple dipping sauce. Combine the yogurt, the remaining cilantro and half the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the kebabs to a platter with a small bowl of sauce in the center. Drizzle the remaining lime juice over the kebabs and finish with cilantro leaves. Serve.


Aarti's Hot (not heavy!) Homemade Garam Masala:


Ingredients

3 large cinnamon sticks (if you have the kind you get at Indian stores, it's about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon bark bits)

3 tablespoons whole cloves

1/4 cup green cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 2 tablespoons of seeds)

4 large black cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 1 tablespoon of seeds), optional


Directions

Combine the cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom seeds, black cardamom seeds, if using, in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind until fine. Store the spice mix in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. Yield: about 1/2 cup.



TIPS:

Use baking soda to bind kebabs.

Let meat rest to keep tender.



Quinoa Tabbouleh

Prep Time: 20 min

Inactive Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 6 servings


Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa (red or white), rinsed

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

3 bunches of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 4 cups), see Cook's Note*

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 English cucumber, diced

Small handful jarred peppadew peppers or roasted red peppers, finely chopped



Directions

*Cook's Note: I chop the parsley and the mint by hand. You can use a food processor if you like, but I find it doesn't chop the leaves as uniformly, and has a tendency to turn them into a wet puree rather than tiny, crunchy little bites.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a small cast-iron skillet (if possible), toast the quinoa over moderately-high heat until the grains give off a nutty aroma and start to pop. Pour the quinoa into the boiling water, taking care that the pot doesn't boil over! Turn it down to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 rounded teaspoon of salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Combine the parsley, mint, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peppadews and the cooled cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, and let sit for about 5 minutes before you serve. (This tastes even better the next day!)

Another way to serve it is with the tabbouleh in the center of a platter encircled with endive or romaine leaves to scoop it up.

Serves: 6; Calories: 175; Total Fat: 10 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams; Protein: 4 grams; Total carbohydrates: 17 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 3.5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 170 milligrams


TIPS:

Wash quinoa to reduce bitterness.

Chop herbs by hand to keep crisp.



Homemade "Magic" Chocolate Sauce with Garam Masala and Ginger

Prep Time: 5 min

Inactive Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 3 min

Level: Easy

Serves: About 1 cup


Ingredients

8 ounces quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (Do not use chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala, recipe follows

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional, see Cook's Note*


Directions

Fill a small saucepan a third of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Place a glass bowl over the top of the saucepan, to create a double boiler, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Add the chocolate, coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Stir until the chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and silky.

Off the heat, add the ginger and garam masala. Stir until well combined. Allow to cool slightly and then ladle a little over a scoop of ice cream. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt, if using and ginger. Wait about 30 seconds for the chocolate to harden and then enjoy!

*Cook's Note: If you don't have coarse sea salt, kosher salt will also work.


Aarti's Hot (not heavy!) Homemade Garam Masala:

Ingredients

3 large cinnamon sticks (if you have the kind you get at Indian stores, it's about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon bark bits)

3 tablespoons whole cloves

1/4 cup green cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 2 tablespoons of seeds)

4 large black cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 1 tablespoon of seeds), optional


Directions

Combine the cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom seeds, black cardamom seeds, if using, in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind until fine. Store the spice mix in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. Yield: about 1/2 cup.


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