Steamed Buns with Crispy Calamari & Korean Sauce

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Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.

For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.

This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.

Ingredients:

10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.

500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)

For the coating:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of panko

1 cup of cornmeal

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt

4 eggs, beaten

For the Korean sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 of a cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

10 radishes, thinly sliced

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

Extra:

1 litter of vegetable oil

Coriander for garnish

 

Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.

To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.

Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.

Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.

Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.

Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.

Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.

Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

My Festival Burger (Coconut Crusted Chicken Burger with Spicy Coriander Sauce & Caramelized Pineapple)

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Summer is around the corner and that also means that festival season has started. When I first moved to the Netherlands, outdoors festivals were one thing I was very eager to experience. My husband had already talked non-stop on how good they were here. Good music, dancing in the sun with my love and of course great food. I was sold! So when Hellmann’s asked me to create my own festival burger and share it with you, of course I said yes!

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I have not been shy about my love for burgers, veggie and meat alike. With festivals lasting about half a day, we would always end up satisfying our hunger with burgers. The smell of the grill would just draw us in. And what better topping to a burger than a creamy and tangy sauce that will get your taste buds going with every bite? That’s why I created this crunchy and juicy coconut crusted chicken burger served with caramelized pineapple and a tangy & spicy coriander sauce, which I made with Hellmann’s. It is summer on a bun!

Now to the fun part, you can win 2 tickets to De Parade (You can choose the location). The only thing you have to do, is write a comment under the Instagram post of this blog post telling me what your favorite festival burger with Hellmann’s would be. It can also be vegetarian. You have until next Friday July 1st to participate. I will then choose a winner and make her or his favorite festival burger into a recipe! The contest is now closed, winner was chosen on Instagram.

This recipe makes 4 burgers.

Ingredients:

For the chicken marinade:
400gr of chicken breast (about 2 pieces of chicken breast)
500ml of buttermilk
½ a teaspoon of salt
½ a teaspoon of onion powder
½ a teaspoon of garlic powder
½ a teaspoon of paprika powder

For the chicken coating:
55grs of shredded coconut, unsweetened (1 cup)
60grs of panko breadcrumbs (1 cup)
½ a teaspoon of garlic powder
½ a teaspoon of onion powder
½ a teaspoon of salt
4 eggs, beaten
115grs of all-purpose flour (1 cup)

For the caramelized pineapple:
250grs of ripe pineapple, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of sugar

For the spicy coriander sauce:
300grs of Hellmann’s
½ bunch of coriander
1 ½ tablespoons of sriracha sauce, or more to taste
Juice of ½ a lime

Extras:
300ml of vegetable oil to cook the chicken
40grs of wasabi arugula or any lettuce of your choice
4 buns of your choice
Garden cress for decoration (optional)

For this recipe, I marinated the chicken in buttermilk overnight. This is a step that you can skip but I do advise you to do it. It requires minimal effort. It will take you about 5 minutes and it is worth it. The buttermilk will help tenderize the meat and the result is a very flavorsome and moist chicken.

So the night before, I placed one piece of chicken breast in between parchment paper and flattened it with a rolling pin, especially on the thicker parts. You want the whole piece to have the same thickness so that it will cook evenly.

You can also use a meat tenderizer. Repeat for the other piece of chicken. Then slice each peace into 2 even pieces, so that you have a total of 4 patties.

Make the marinade. Place the buttermilk in a medium container or bowl. Add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika powder. Mix well and add the pieces of chicken. Cover it and let it rest overnight in the fridge.

The next day, start by making the spicy coriander sauce. Blend 300grs of Hellmann’s with the coriander, sriracha sauce and lime juice. You can also put it in the food processor. Transfer it to a small bowl and keep it in the fridge covered until ready to use.

To make the caramelized pineapple, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Then add the sugar, mix it for a minute and then add the pineapple. Swirl the pan from time to time until the pineapple caramelizes. This will take about 7 minutes. Set it aside.

Then prepare the coating for the chicken. Have one bowl ready with the beaten eggs. In another bowl, mix the dried coconut with the panko, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Have another bowl ready with the flour.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade. First coat the chicken in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the coconut/panko mixture. Because I like it extra crispy, I did this twice per piece of chicken. Repeat until all 4 pieces of chicken are well coated.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken. It is important that the oil is not super hot; otherwise the crust will get dark before the chicken is completely cooked through. This will take about 5-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Once the chicken is fried, start to assemble each burger. Place a handful of wasabi arugula or lettuce of your choice on the bottom of your bun and then place the fried chicken on top. Top it with the spicy coriander sauce, caramelized pineapple and if you want also add some garden cress. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Fried Avocado Tacos with Strawberry & Rhubarb Salsa

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I saw rhubarb at the market a few of weeks ago and this recipe popped into my head. Then when I decided to make it, I went to the only stand where I had seen it and of course they didn’t have it anymore. So I kept coming back to check until this past Saturday when they had it again. Kid in a candy store kind of excitement on my end. I am thrilled about spring produce since with it comes new dishes and hope for better weather. And with hope, I really mean it since you never know if it’s going to be a warm or not. But seeing more produce at the market makes me happy and I am also looking forward to seeing more variety of flowers. We bought a rhubarb plant about a week ago at a farmer’s market and we are hoping that it will grow nicely so we can eat it later. Both my hubby and I love plants and with our new apartment with a garden being delivered this summer, we already ordered online plenty of seeds to plant.

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Going back to the tacos, the avocado fries are very crunchy because of the panko coating. I added some honey to the salsa to balance out the sourness of the rhubarb.

This recipe is for 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

12 small tortillas

About 1 cup of vegetable oil for pan-frying the avocado

For the fried avocados:

2 avocados, halved, pitted and sliced lengthwise (I made them not too thick)

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups of flour

3 cups of panko

Salt

Garlic powder

Onion powder

For the salsa:

1 rhubarb stalk, sliced lengthwise in 2 and then finely sliced

1 red onion, finely chopped

5 large strawberries, hulled

5 tablespoons of chopped coriander

2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

1 ½ tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

Sliced the rhubarb in two lengthwise and then finely slice it. Place it in a saucepan with boiling water over medium heat. Let it cook for only 1 minute (if you leave it too long it will become mush). Then drain it and chop it the same size as the onion.

In a large bowl, mix the onion, strawberries and rhubarb.

In a small container with a lid, mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, some salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake it to emulsify the dressing for the salsa. Then add it to the mix of the onion, strawberry and rhubarb. Add the chopped coriander. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Set it aside until ready to use.

To make the avocado fries, first add some seasoning to the coating. Place the beaten eggs, flour and panko in separate bowls. Add some salt, garlic and onion powder to each bowl and mix well.

Then coat each avocado slice in the flour, then the eggs and finally the panko. Once all the avocado slices are well coated, pour the vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Have a large plate lined with paper towels ready. Fry the avocado slices in batches until golden on both sizes. Place them in the prepared plate to soak up the excess oil. Season them with some extra salt if desired.

Once the avocados fries are done, warm up the tortillas in a pan. Place a few avocado fries on each tortilla and top with the salsa. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Papa Rellena (Potato stuffed with Beef)

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This is a very popular Peruvian dish which can be easily made in any country. Traditionally it has a bit of Peruvian chili paste (Aji panca) but you can also use any hot sauce or skip it all together. I’m out of Peruvian chili paste at the moment so I just used Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper sauce. I also coated them in panko, because I find that you don’t get a nice even color with just flour. Plus panko adds crunchiness, so I am all for it. This is one of my childhood favorites and my mom still makes it when I visit her.

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This recipe makes about 7 stuffed potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the potato mash:

1 ½ kilos of potatoes, use starchy potatoes like Russet (or how it is called here: kruimige)

Salt

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the beef filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

300grs of minced beef

1 tablespoon of Aji panca, or any hot sauce

¼ cup of tomato puree

50gr of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup of raisins, chopped

2 boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Pinch of sugar

Salt

Pepper

For the salsa criolla:

2 red onions, chopped

2 bird’s eye chili, chopped

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Juice of ½ lime

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Extras:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups of vegetable oil for pan-frying

 

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps. Then cover it and start making the filling.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and minced beef. Cook until the beef starts to get brown. Then add the garlic and hot sauce, cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, olives, raisins, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring, or until the beef is cooked through. Then turn off the heat and add the coriander.

Place the eggs in a saucepan, add boiling water and let them cook for 8 minutes. Peel off the shells and chop them. Add them to the meat mixture and mix well.

Take about 1 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the beef filling in the middle and them shape it into a sort of football. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the stuffed potatoes are done, have the coating ready. Coat each potato in the egg, then flour, then egg again and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potatoes in batches. I like to do only 2 at a time because they get golden quite fast. And you need to be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since the are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them right away with the salsa criolla.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Crispy Onion Rings

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These onion rings are super crispy because of the panko and cornmeal coating. They are so addictive. I posted this picture about a month ago on my Instagram account and since some people asked for the recipe, I thought of just placing it here. I made them again today as a topping and side to the burger below which I made for lunch. It has wasabi arugula dressed in a simple vinaigrette, a beef patty, Chili Gouda, chimichurri, a fried egg and topped it with the onion rings. It was so good!

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Ingredients:

2 medium white onions cut into about 1cm slices

1 cup of Panko

1/2 cup of cornmeal

A good pinch of paprika powder

A good pinch of onion powder

A good pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

Salt

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 litter of vegetable oil

 

In a medium bowl, mix the panko with the cornmeal, paprika powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with some salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs. Have a large cutting board ready to place the onion rings and another one lined with paper towels.

Dip each onion ring in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally coat it well in the panko mixture. Repeat for all.

Heat up the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the onion rings in batches until they are golden. Then place them in the prepared cutting board to absorb some of the oil. Enjoy while still warm.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Panko Crusted Cauliflower Steaks with Greek Yogurt & Sriracha sauce

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The cauliflowers were calling my name at the market. I got one and I made it into “steaks”. But instead of roasting them in the oven, I covered them in a panko-cornmeal mixture, and then pan-fried them. To feel a bit less guilty about frying them, I made a sriracha sauce with Greek yogurt instead of mayo. The result is crunchy goodness drizzled with a cool, zesty, sweet and spicy sauce.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

4 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

1 ½ cups of cornmeal

1 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of paprika

½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the sauce:

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of sriracha, or more to taste

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

Salt

Topping:

Chives for decoration

 

To make the sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and trim the end of the stem but leave the core intact.

Slice the cauliflower from the center into 4 “steaks” of about 1 to 1 ½ cm thick.

Mix the panko, cornmeal, paprika, onion powder & salt in one plate. Place the flour on another plate and the beaten eggs on a separate plate.

Coat each cauliflower in the flour, then the egg and finally in the panko mixture.

Add some vegetable oil to a pan over medium heat. You’ll need a bit more than ¼ of a cup.

Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower steaks. Cook until they are golden on both sides. This will take about 3 minutes per side. Place the steaks on a cutting board lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

Serve the steaks with a drizzle of the sriracha sauce and some chopped chives.

Green Salad with Tonkatsu and Sesame Vinaigrette

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Yesterday night, I went with my hubby to Pocha Factory to eat Korean fried chicken wings in the pop-up they hosted in Amsterdam. We knew the fried chicken wings were really good from last time we went there. This time around, Korean BBQ beef sliders were added to the menu and they were served with a secret sauce. They were so good! If you are in Amsterdam, check their social media to know when they will host a pop-up again. The place was full so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s soon.

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OK, so back to the recipe. This is a super easy Asian style salad. I love the crunchy pork cutlets which are still juicy in the center, the crunchiness of the sugar snaps and radishes. And of course the sesame vinaigrette which just brings everything together. And you can also serve it as rice paper rolls. Ad if you don’t like pork, you can make it with chicken, or make it vegetarian by using tofu instead.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

4 pork cutlets

300gr of sugar snaps

8 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup of edamame

400gr of arugula, I used wasabi arugula which has a bit of a stronger flavor

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

8 tablespoons of flour

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the vinaigrette:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

Juice of 1 lime

 

For the edamame, just follow the instructions on the package. I usually buy it frozen but this time I got it ready to go.

For the sugar snaps, I just sautéed them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil until tender-crisp. You can also just blanch them.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To make the Tonkatsu, place each cutlet in between parchment paper and flatten them using a rolling pin.

Place the flour, beaten eggs and panko in separate plates. Add salt and pepper to each plate and mix it in.

Season each cutlet with salt and pepper. Then coat each one in the flour first, then the egg and finally the panko. Press with your fingers so each piece is completely coated in panko.

Add some vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the breaded pork. I cooked 2 at a time. They will need about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Make sure that the oil is not extremely hot though, otherwise it will brown too fast and the pork won’t be thoroughly cooked. Place them on paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Then transfer them to a cutting board and thinly slice them.

To plate up, divide the arugula between 4 plates. Then add the sugar snaps, radishes and edamame. Place each sliced cutlet on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

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