Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew // Hurricane Season in Bermuda

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

A lot has happened here in the last 2 weeks. I apologize to all, because I skipped out a week on posts! It’s just one of those weeks you know? The main thing that happened was that Bermuda experienced their first hurricane of the year. Hurricane Joaquim (a category 3 hurricane) stormed past just shy of Bermuda on October 4th. Many would think that if a hurricane was making it’s way towards a tiny tropical island, everyone would be panicking; however, Bermuda is always extremely well prepared in dire weather situations like this. Just last year the island survived not one, but two hurricanes in one week!

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Thankfully this time around there was no damage to the property we live on. We were the lucky ones and didn’t lose our power and had our Internet running smooth the entire night! It ended up being a lovely night in of pizza and Netflix, even little Ollie barely even noticed the wind blowing outside the door.

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew
Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Besides the hurricane, Dan and I both celebrated our birthdays and my dear friend Desiree also got hitched! It was a packed two weeks of cake and a lot of champagne to say the least. I have to admit that I’ve been indulging more than normal lately (I partially blame Dan for his constant need for waffle cones and ice cream after dinner). As Bermuda is dipping into the end of hurricane season, the nights here have considerable cooled down. We can finally wear jeans at night! One of my favourite fall recipes that I always have friends asking for is a curried red lentil and kale stew. It’s my go-to recipe that I make a big batch of when I’m feeling like I need to eat clean for a few days. It’s a perfect meal to start off the week healthy with the protein packed lentils and super food kale. I like to eat it with a big dollop of yogurt on top and a dash of Valentina hot sauce. And if there happens to be a storm brewing outside your door, this soup will definitely keep you warm and cozy.

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew
a bunch of Kale tough stems removed and roughly chopped
1 cup of dried red lentils rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 28oz can of whole or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
4 cups chicken or veg stock or more to taste
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (if you like some extra heat)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent about 5 minutes and then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook for a few minutes more.

Add the bay leaf and spices and cook until fragrant.

Stir in the can of tomatoes and break them up with a spoon if whole. Add the chicken stock, lentils, and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils are cooked and fluffy about 20-25 min.

Add in the kale and continue to simmer until the kale is cooked. Add more stock or spices to taste. If you wish to have the soup a bit more of a soup consistency, use a hand blender to blend until your liking. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt

For most of my childhood the only relationship I had with cauliflower was at holiday meals with my family and it was always served sautéed with an entire can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. It probably was actually a recipe for an easy casserole found on the can label, but somehow got lost in translation with my Chinese mother. So the result was the two ingredients simply heated up and mixed together. Don’t get me wrong, this dish is comfort food for me, it reminds me of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners of roast turkey and with sides of BBQ pork and rice.

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt
Harissa Paste

These days one my favourite way to prepare cauliflower is simply roasting the florets that have been tossed in olive oil and spices. A nod to a restaurant in Vancouver called Nuba, their version called Najib’s Special is deep fried until light and crispy, an appetizer I adored when I frequented their Kitsilano location. My go-to starter for those that are vegetarian/vegan/GF, it’s not overly filling, but is certainly satisfying when shared with friends.

PS: I think the French word for cauliflower sounds beautiful, it’s chou-fleur!

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt
Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt
Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt

Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa-Tahini Yogurt 
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon harissa paste
2-3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
a squeeze of lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together until a smooth consistency in a small bowl.

1 large cauliflower head
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
a squeeze of lemon juice
parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 424 degrees. Cut cauliflower into large florets and toss with a few glugs of olive oil, spices, sea salt and pepper. Space the florets evenly on roasting pan. Roast for approximately 20-30 minutes until tender, set under broiler for another few minutes to brown. Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley to serve. Drizzle tahini-harissa dressing over cauliflower reserving extra for dipping.

Fried Fish Gua Bao “Sandwich”

Fried Fish Gua Bao
Fried Fish Gua Bao

If there is one thing you have to try while visiting Bermuda, it would definitely be a fish sandwich. Who would ever say no to crispy battered fish, sandwiched between a toasted loaf, dressed with crunchy slaw and creamy tarter? Whenever Dan and I have friends visiting, one of the must-do’s on the list for our guests is to take them to Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy for their famous fish sandwich. Piled high with crispy battered fish as tall as a fist, Art Mel’s sandwich really is a sight to see. Even my brother and his fiancée loved it so much they went twice in the week they were visiting.

Fried Fish Gua Bao

Bermudafoodie.com is currently holding an Island wide contest with local restaurants in search of the best fish sandwich. 40 restaurants are participating and if your belt can stay notched in, you have until August 14th to try each one. Needless to say, Bermuda loves their fish sandwiches.

Fried Fish Gua Bao

In honour of Bermudafood.com’s contest, I decided to create my own version of a fish sandwich. I knew that I wanted to incorporate some of my Asian heritage into this endeavour and at first I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. I didn’t think slapping some Asian condiments on top of fish warranted enough creativity, so I started to think about the carb portion of the meal and a light bulb went off in my head. Ah ha! I can wrap the crispy deep fried fish in a Chinese mantou bun!

Slightly sweet and steamed to softness, I grew up on this dough in the form of barbecue pork buns where the filling is actually enclosed. Bao, in Chinese, literally means ‘to wrap’. So instead for this recipe, I was inspired by the Gau Bao, a Taiwanese street food item that has been in the limelight in the last few years due to trendy eateries such as Momofuku and Baohaus. With raisins kneaded into the dough, the bun has that same hint of sweetness that makes Bermuda’s Fish sandwiches one of a kind. Add tempura styled fried fish, zesty citrus slaw and spicy tarter and you have my spin on a fish sandwich. Part Bermuda and part Chinese, this is the Fried Fish Gua Bao!

Fried Fish Gua BaoFried Fish Gua Bao

Makes 8 small sandwiches
Raisin Mantou Bao 
Adapted from A Table for Two

300 g bread Flour (2 1/3 cups)
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons milk powder (optional)
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup water at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup raisins

Add the yeast to water and let it activate for 5 minutes until frothy. Add the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl of stand mixer with a dough hook and pour in the yeast water. Mix on low speed for 5-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease the sides of a bowl and place the dough inside and cover with a towel. Let the dough rest for about 1 – 1 1/2 hour until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Shape the dough into large tight log. Using a knife, cut the log into 8 equal pieces about 70 grams each. Flatten and roll each piece until smooth and place onto a tray lined with parchment paper and let rest covered for another 30 minutes.

While resting, cut out 16 small squares of parchment paper.

Take each dough and with a rolling pin, roll into a long oval shape about 6″x 4”. Fold over the dough in half lengthwise and place a piece of parchment paper on the inside to prevent sticking. Place the bun on a second square of paper. Repeat with all 8 pieces and cover with a towel and let it proof for another 30 minutes.

Set up a steamer over simmering water on medium heat. Place the buns in the steamer with at least 1 1/2” space in between. Steam for 10 minutes in batches.

*Buns freeze well and just need to reheated in the microwave for serving.
Asian Slaw
1 medium carrot
half of a small white cabbage
half of a small purple cabbage
1 green onion
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Shred carrot and cabbages with a mandolin or slice thin with a knife. Slice green onion. Mix together and sprinkle in vinegar, lemon juice and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sriracha Tarter
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more to taste)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish

Combine all ingredients for sauce and set aside.

Tempura Fried Fish
1 pound white fish sliced in small 2oz portions (wahoo, cod, tilapia, mahimahi) * always locally caught when available
squeeze of lemon juice
salt & pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 1/4 cup of cold seltzer water
oil for frying
cilantro leaves for garnish

Marinate fish with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Set aside for 20 minutes while you prepare the batter.

Mix together flour, corn starch, pinch of salt, pinch of cayenne, and seltzer water. Whisk to combine.

Drain the fish pieces and pat dry with a paper towel.

Line a plate with paper towels and in a large heavy pot or cast iron pan heat about 1/2 inch of oil medium heat until 360c.

Dredge the fish pieces in the batter and carefully drop into the hot oil, careful not to crowd the fish by cooking in several batches. Monitor the temperature of the oil throughout the fry, keeping it at least 360. Fry until crisp, light and golden brown about 3 minutes each side. Remove and place on lined plates.

To assemble, remove paper from the bun and peel it open. Slater a good amount of tarter sauce on the inside of each steamed bun. Layer the slaw and hot fried fish and garnish with a handful of cilantro.

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and BeansGrilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans

For 5 years before I moved to Bermuda I was living in a tiny 700sqft two-bedroom apartment in a 100-year-old character building on the cusp of West 4th avenue and False Creek in Vancouver. For 5 years I lived in a room that was smaller in size than my horse’s stall in a suite that had only 2 windows. My tiny kitchen literally had a hole in the wall as a pantry. This apartment housed a melting pot of personalities and was run by an old English hippie who was the owner, manger AND fix-it-guy. Tardy rent payments could easily be bribed by baking him a fresh blueberry pie. The ridiculously inexpensive rent was never raised in the 5 years I was there, so I often over looked faults such as the one washing machine that was always broken and the occasional critter visitor.

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and BeansGrilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans

Despite living in tiny quarters, I really loved where I was. A part of the reason was the great roommates and the other residents of Maybern Manor. It was almost out of a cheesy sitcom; unlocked doors for easy visitation, Sunday family supper, and nightly drinks on the shared patio, which is why I fondly called it 1617 Melrose Place (but without all the illicit romance of course). And if there was one thing that always brought us together, it was a good home cooked meal. There was nothing that made me happier than a feast with all my friends.

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans

There is one dish that always reminds me of summers spent on the back deck of 1617. This salad is a hodge-podge of ingredients that seemingly work really well together and was concocted by my old roommate (and still good friend) Kim and her previous boyfriend who is a chef. Just like the motley group of residents that made up Maybern, this salad mixes grilled vegetables, halloumi cheese, eggs, beans and even pickles. And the best thing about this dish is you can always swap out ingredients if you wish to substitute, there really are no rules.

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans

Grilled Halloumi Salad with Zucchini and Beans
Serves 2 as main or 4 as a side

Ingredients:
2 large Zucchini
1 large Red onion
Halloumi cheese
1 large Pickle minced
1 cloves of garlic minced
2 table spoons red wine vinegar
Olive Oil
A bunch of Parsley minced
3 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 can of Red Kidney Beans
Splash of pickle juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:
Pre-Heat the grill to medium flame.

Cut zucchini into 1/2” rounds, the red onion in 1” halves and the Halloumi cheese in 1/3” slices. Drizzle olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper.

Place the onions on the grill first, they’ll need about 8-10 minutes per side, then the zucchini for about 3-5 minutes per side. Set aside grilled veggies.

Coarsely chop the hard-boiled eggs and mix together with drained red kidney beans in a large salad bowl. Toss in minced garlic and pickles. Add the grilled warm vegetables.

Carefully place the cheese on the grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and gently crisped; do not over-grill.

Add the cheese to the rest of the salad. Splash some pickle juice to taste, add the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Lastly, sprinkle in the minced parsley and toss gently to coat.