Kabocha Launji

This is a winter pumpkin dish my grandmother used to make.  It was one of my favorites.  She used to use a small deep orange pumpkin, I am using a Japanese pumpkin, called Kabocha squash, because that is what I have on hand.  I also like Kabocha because it has a creamy, sweet flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

Launji Ingredients

  • 1 medium Kabocha squash
  • 3 Tbsp of ghee ( if you want to keep it vegan use grape seed oil instead)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Starting at the 6 O’ Clock position, and then going counter clockwise the spices are as follows:

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 20 pods of green cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder

PREP:

Launji Prep

  • Chop the Kobocha into large pieces.  Keep the skin on if the squash you are using has an edible skin.  There are lots of nutrients and fiber in the skin.
  • Using a spice grinder, grind the 20 cardamom pods into a fine powder.  The cardamom powder is shown in the small bowl on the lower right.
  • Toast the cumin seeds.  Let them cool to room temp. and grind into a fine powder.  The toasted cumin powder is shown in the small bowl on the lower left.

COOK:

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  • Coat a large stainless steel skillet with grape seed oil or ghee.  Place on medium heat and get the oil hot.
  • Add fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chili flakes.  Toast until seeds are slightly brown and you can smell their fragrant aroma.  Watch the seeds closely and stir frequently so the seeds don’t burn.
  • As soon as the seeds are browned, add the Kabocha.  Toss together and cook until the Kabocha is browned on the edges.  This should take about 7 minutes.

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  • Once the Kabocha is browned add, the toasted cumin powder, cayenne powder and 1/2 of the cardamom powder.  Reserve the other 1/2 of the cardamom powder for later in the recipe.Launji Cook 7
  •  Toss together and let the spices toast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the cinnamon powder and the remaining cardamom powder

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  • Toss together and let cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss together.  Cover with the lid.  Turn the flame to low.  Cook until squash is tender.

Traditionally, this dish is served with plain home made yogurt, lentil soup and rotis.  You can buy the yogurt or make your own using My Mom’s Yogurt recipe.  The lentil soup is called dal, I posted my Autumn Dal (split mung beans with kale)  last year.

Today I served it with spicy pan-fried Black Drum that my hubby brought home 2 days ago.Launji with Black Drum

Here is a photo of his catch and how I prepared it.

The Black Drum is the large fish on the far right.  The 4 little fish are trout.  My hubby fileted the fish and I coated the filets with my Indian Spice Mix.

I then pan fried the filets and then de-glazed the pan with our local Texas, Messina Hof Gewurztraminer. I made a pan sauce by adding a pat of butter.  Gewurztraminer pairs well with spicy Indian food.

RECIPE TIP:  Use the wine you are going to drink to make the pan sauce.  This way the dish will match your wine.Launji with Black Drum and Wine

I am so lucky to have a hubby who catches fish for me.  I rarely get a Black Drum catch, so I was so glad to have it.

Hope you like this recipe.  Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS:

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches of green beans
  • 2 cups of fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro leaves
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies (serrano or Thai Bird)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons Sambal Oelek (Indonesian hot chili paste available in most U. S. markets)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (this ups the umami flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon of black bean garlic sauce
  • white pepper and sea salt to taste

PREP:

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms Prep

  • Trim the ends of each bean and cut it into thirds.  You will end up with 4 cups of prepped beans.
  • Mince the chilies, ginger and garlic
  • Thinly slice the onion and mushrooms
  • Tear the cilantro leaves from the stems
  • Cut the lime so that we have it ready to squeeze later in the recipe

COOK:

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  • Coat a large stainless steel skillet with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Add the onions, chilies, ginger, garlic, yellow mustard seeds and half the coriander leaves.  Reserve the other half of the coriander leaves for garnish.
  • Turn the flame to medium and sauté till golden brown

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  • Add the shiitake mushrooms
  • Continue sautéing till the mushrooms are brown and caramelized
  • Deglaze the pan with the fish sauce and the soy sauce

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  • Add the green beans along with the Sambal Oelek, the black bean/garlic sauce and the oyster sauce.   Toss everything together
  • Cover with a lid.  Cook for 5 minutes.  The beans will stay green and crunchy.
  • Turn the flame off and leave the lid on till you are ready till serve
  • Just before serving adjust the salt and pepper to taste and toss in the reserved cilantro leaves for a pop of freshness.

Serve on a platter and top off with a fresh squeeze of lime juice.  Here I have served it with Asian Brown Rice Pilaf and Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna.

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms Feature

HOPE YOU LIKE IT.  LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS.

 

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna

I am very lucky to have a husband who catches fish for me.  He is very good at cleaning and fileting the fish.  Once he preps the fish, I cook some right away and the rest I freeze in food saver bags.  Whenever the freezer starts looking empty, he goes fishing again.  On his last fishing trip, he had his first ever catch of Black Fin Tuna.

Black Fin Tuna

He cleaned the fish and carved out four loins.  I used two loins for this recipe and froze the other two.  In retrospect, I should have made Poke from the two I froze.  This fish was so good, that I shouldn’t have frozen it.  Next time I will make Poke and post it.

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INGREDIENTS:  serves four

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Ingredients

  • four, 6oz to 8oz pieces, of tuna (if you don’t have Black Fin Tuna, then you can substitute Ahi Tuna which is more readily available.)
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to coat the pan and 1 tablespoon to coat the fish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
  • lime to squeeze on top
  • I made an Asian Spice Mix by combining the following:
    • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
    • 1 teaspoon crushed Szechuan peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
    • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

PREPPING THE TUNA:

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Prep

  • Coat the tuna with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
  • Sprinkle all sides with an even coating of the Asian Spice Mix
  • Combine the black and white sesame seeds
  • Roll the oiled and spiced fish pieces in the sesame seeds to coat evenly

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Feature

COOKING THE FISH:

Sesame Crusted Black Fin Tuna Cook

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and get the oil hot.  Not smoking hot, just hot.
  • Add the fish and toast the sesame seeds 30 seconds on the large sides and 15 seconds each on the thinner sides.  The seeds will toast and the fish will remain rare in the center.

Squeeze some lime on top just before serving.  The lime brightens up the flavor.

This can be served with a veggie, a grain or a salad.  I have served it here on a bed of Asian Brown Rice Pilaf and a side of Green Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms.

Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms Feature

I will post the Asian Brown Rice Pilaf in the future.  For now please go to my Buckwheat Pilaf recipe.  Use Brown rice instead of buckwheat.  The cooking time will be longer, about 45 minutes on low heat.  Use peanut oil instead of grapeseed oil.  Use yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones.  Leave out the cumin seeds and peas.  Instead of black pepper use white pepper.  This changes the Indian flavor profile to an Asian flavor profile.

ENJOY AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENT SECTION.  I love to hear your feedback.