Friday, July 12, 2013

Munchies: Farm-fresh Corn Fritters

July’s Let’s Lunch theme is Munchies, in honor of #Letslunch founder Cheryl Tan’s new short story in The Marijuana Chronicles, edited by Jonathan Santlofer. Other authors in the anthology include Lee Child and Joyce Carol Oates...Woot! So proud of my friend!

Anyhoo, for a while I was stumped as how to come up with post to support the theme o.0 Luckily Cheryl explained that any food that satisfied the munchies that we all get from time to time would work. Well, I live in Texas and knew exactly what she meant -- Fried Food! Yup, nothing satisfies the munchies as hot, fried food straight from the stove.

 And since I like to cook with seasonal produce, I turned to our local farmers' market for ingredients. We seem to be experiencing a wonderful bounty of sweet corn...

So of course, I decided to turn them into some yummy Asian-style fritter! In Bangladesh we call them pakoras and have them on rainy evenings with tea. Well, since I'm in Texas, imagine me saying cheers with an ice-cold beer and hot spicy corn pakoras :)

 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour (also known as besan)
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups corn kernel (fresh off the cob, frozen or canned)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced red onions
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
Oil for deep frying

1.  In a mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder and turmeric.

2. In another bowl, break eggs and whisk with milk. Add in the corn, onions, cilantro, peppers and stir.

3. Add the flour mix into the wet mix, stirring with a fork from time to time to blend and break up lumps. You should end up with thick colorful batter.

4. Heat the oil in a wok or small frying pan over medium-high heat (the oil should be at least 1 inch deep). When the oil is hot, drop in a 1/4 tsp. of the mixture. If it sizzles and begins to cook, the oil is ready. If not, the oil needs to heat a little longer.

5. When oil is ready, drop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into the oil - this will be 1 fritter. Add as many tablespoons to the oil at one time as you have room for in your pan, without allowing fritters to touch or join together.

6. Allow fritters to cook at least 1 minute before disturbing - or until they have a more solid form - then gently turn them with your tongs or a spatula to fry the other side. Fritters are done when they're golden-brown on both sides.

7. Remove from oil and allow to drain on an absorbent towel or paper. Continue cooking the fritters in batches until all the mixture is used up.

8. Serve with Cilantro-Mint sauce or sweet-chili sauce found in Asian groceries.

 For more tasty munchies, follow #LetsLunch on Twitter or visit some of the other celebratory posts:

 Hapa Mama's Fry Sauce with an Asian Twist

 Cheryl's Spam Fries with Key Lime Mayo at A Tiger in the Kitchen

 Annabelle‘s Scallion Pancakes at Glass of Fancy

 Linda‘s Sam Sifton’s Trinidadian Chinese Five Spice Chicken at Spice Box Travels

 Pat’s Sausage Rolls at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

 Emma’s Homemade Pizza Rolls at Dreaming of Pots and Pans

 Anne Marie’s Awesome Simple Sandwich for Munchies at Sandwich Surprise

 Lisa’s No-Wait Nachos at Monday Morning Cooking Club

 Vivian‘s Spam Bacon & Kim Chi Sandwich at Vivian Pei

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flavors of the Bayou: Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers Recipe & Story Excerpt

Hi, y'all! I'm honored to present Linda Joyce, a sister writer and foodie. So wonderful to meet friends who enjoy some of my favorite things -- good food and good books! 

I’m excited to spend time with Rashda and the good readers of Hot Curries and Cold Beer. Thank you for having me as a guest.

And no good guest comes present-less to a party, therefore I’m offering a giveaway. For everyone who leaves a message here, their name will be entered into a drawing for a goodie bag from me. The delights of the prize are related to cooking, things I picked up when in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

Remember, you must leave a message along with your email address to be entered to win.

In Rashda’s post Finger Lickin’ Good Curried Ribs on 2/8/13, she mentioned Mardi Gras. Well, Rashda is to Food and Texas what I am to Southern cooking and Mardi Gras. And one cannot possibly be from The Big Easy, Baby! without having a love of food. However, I got a double whammy. I’m an Irish/Cajun New Orleanian and half Japanese, too. Isn’t that a culinary treat! *grins*

Per the definition of Foodie from the Urban Dictionary 
My interest in food fits definition #1.

A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation...

I enjoy simple food, for example, oysters. They’re luscious when raw on the half shell or roasted with drizzled garlic butter or in seafood gumbo or just deep-fried. A most versatile frutti di mare.

Now, my gumbo recipe is a closely guarded secret. However, if you come to my house, you know you’re really special if I make Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers. Of course, okra has to be in season—I pick it from my husband’s organic garden. Here’s the recipe:

Crab Stuffed Okra Poppers

Begin by making the dipping sauce: Remoulade sauce. It needs to chill while making the Okra Poppers.

Mix together in a glass bowl:

1 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. chopped parsley
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tsp. horseradish (or to taste)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash paprika

Now for the Poppers

Heat oil to 375 degrees in a large deep pot when ready for deep frying poppers.

1) Start with about 20 fresh, young okra, about the size of your middle finger.
Wash, dry, and cut long ways.
It helps if the cut is a 1/3 to 2/3 split so the smaller part will become the “hat,” so to speak, of the okra pod. Keep both pieces together until stuffing.
Remove seeds.

2) Make Dredge:  Combine in a flat pan (I use a pie pan)
1 c. Panko
1 c Bread crumbs
¼ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper if you like a little bite.

3) Dredge: Beat together in bowl
1 large egg (or 2 small)
½ c dry white wine. (wine can be omitted. May have to add another egg)
Dash of salt

4) Make Crab Stuffing:

1 cup crabmeat
½ c. bread crumbs, or panko
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. mustard (I prefer a Dijon)
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg, beaten
5 tbsp. real mayonnaise
Salt to taste.

Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl.

5) A - Stuff okra with crab. Pack gently. Replace “hat” so pod looks whole again.
    B - Dip stuffed okra pod into Drench
    C - Dip pod into Dredge
    D - Deep fry 4 to 6 for about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
    E - Remove from oil and drain on plate with paper towel.

Serve warm Okra Poppers with chilled Remoulade Sauce. Bon Appetite!

Yes, I am a foodie and it’s part of my heritage and culture. I’m also a writer, and there’s no better way to immerse a reader in setting and culture than by including food in my story.

In my novel, Bayou Born, Branna is having lunch for the first time with James, and this is what ensues:

   “I’ll have the side salad, the garden-salad sandwich and lemonade. Fresh squeezed lemonade. You don’t find that every day.” She looked up into the waitress’ plastic smile, then handed over the menu.

     “Garden sandwich?” James asked. “Not the special? Don’t tell me you’re one of those women who only eats rabbit food. Or don’t you eat southern?”

     What did he mean by that? “Of course I eat southern cooking. I’m from Mississippi. My daddy’s family is from Loosy-ana. My comfort food may be different than yours—there was no seafood gumbo or jambalaya or stuffed mirlitons on the menu—but I promise you my comfort food is southern. I happen to like what the menu says about the specialty sandwich.” She cocked her head, daring him to challenge her decision.

     “Mur-la what?” the waitress asked.

     “Chayote squash or vegetable pear at the grocery store,” James answered. “I want the fried grouper sandwich with fries, please.”

If you want to know more about Branna and James in Bayou Born, the book is available for Kindle now. It will be available in print at Amazon and The Wild Rose Press in mid-April, and Barnes and Noble mid-May.

I invite you over to my place at and please join me at Linda Joyce Contemplates where I blog.

Twitter: @LJWriter

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Cover Girl for Miss Millennia

Miss Millenia Magazine

April 2013

So, wow. I'm April's Lady Lennia and theme is Giving Back. I was chosen because of my UNICEF project with A Tale of Two Djinns. Totally humbled and honored. And grateful.

You do what you can and sometimes the Universe answers back in wonderful ways. If I had to be on the cover of a magazine (Lol, what a hardship...not!), I couldn't imagine a better one than Miss Millennia. It seeks to inspire, encourage and empower young women. Again, wow.

They asked me to blog with them for all of April. I'm going to use this opportunity to share about things that concern me: violence against women, human rights, poverty, equality, courage and community. I'm also going  to share about projects close to my heart: UNICEF, the Peace Ambassadors of West Texas, Valentines at the Soup Kitchen. And, of course, I'm going to share about people who inspire me.

Thank you, Universe!

If you are interested, here's my Miss Millennia interview. I'll keep you updated about the blogs.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grill Me, Baby Giveaway

I met author Sophia Knightly online and was immediately floored by her friendliness and energy. She's a bundle of positiveness. So when I heard she was having a HOT special for her book, "Grill Me, Baby" I had to invite her to the blog.

The heat is on…

Raised among women who taught him to cook at his family’s Buenos Aires restaurant, master chef Paolo Santos deftly works his culinary wiles—and his gypsy charm—on posh Flamingo Island’s female clientele.

The tastiest tidbit on the island, though, is cool, elegant Michaela Willoughby. The redhead’s slender curves are as enticing as her rabbit-food menus are maddening. And she’s his main competition for the chance of a lifetime.

Michaela overcame her own weight issues to become Flamingo Island’s premiere spa chef. Now she has a chance to share her innovative recipes for healthy living on a new cooking show—if she can somehow outshine Paolo. His sizzling, Latin-lover looks are more heart stopping than his decadent cooking. And she’d love nothing better than to stick a fork in his outsized ego.

When the stage lights ignite, so does the competition…and a sexual chemistry no one—least of all Paolo and Michaela—saw coming. Suddenly, separating business from pleasure is as impossible as separating a scrambled egg. And the big question isn’t whose knife cuts fastest…it’s whose heart can take the most heat.

Warning: Contains two hot chefs duking it out in a lively showdown of sexy rivalry. Mix in family drama, luscious recipes and spicy mischief, and there’s more than just steam rising out of the kitchen. May cause lusty cravings for midnight indulgences. 

GRILL ME, BABY Book Trailer:

Buy link:

Samhain Coupon Code: GRILLME

Amount Off: 50% Discount off of Grill Me, Baby

Duration: March 1st - March 31st, 2013


  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve immediately or refrigerate it. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Will keep for 3-5 days refrigerated.

More About Sophia

Bestselling author Sophia Knightly loves to cook up hot romance and delicious humor in her feel-good stories. Whether it's romantic suspense, romantic comedy or chick lit, her books are fun and sexy contemporary romances that feature hot alpha heroes and strong, smart women. Her popular Tropical Heat Series books, Wild for You and Sold on You, have consistently been on multiple Amazon bestselling lists.

A two-time Maggie award finalist and a P&E Readers' Poll finalist, she believes in love-at-first sight and happy endings, and she always enjoys a good laugh. When not writing or reading, she finds pleasure in walking the beach, exploring museums, going to the theatre, enjoying good food, and watching movies. One of her favorite pastimes remains simply watching people, especially those in love! 

Visit her website at:

"Like" her Facebook author page at:

Follow her on Twitter @SophiaKnightly

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Kitchen Poem by Joy Harjo

So one of my New Year's resolution for 2013 was to read more poetry. Fortunately, I followed through...and discovered this gem that I must share:

Perhaps The World Ends Here


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat
to live.

The gifts of the earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has
been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. 
They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be
human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our
children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves
and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the
shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for 
burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and
remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing
and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Finger Lickin' Good Curried Ribs

Football is to West Texas is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It's big. It's an annual event, a sacred time, full of pomp and festivities, rituals and superstition. Life is scheduled around games.

I, however, don't understand American football. Maybe it's because I grew up with real football (what American's refer to as soccer), where the players actually kick the ball with their feet or maybe I'm just too artistic to get into the sports mentality...whatever the reason, I'm clueless.

When I first started writing for a West Texas newspaper, I was told all reporters (especially new ones) had to help cover Friday night games. I gave it my best shot and worked a few Fridays, but inexplicably found myself to be exempt from the requirement and only having to worry about my regular beats -- business and City Hall (I think the area coaches begged the paper to take me off the schedule).

Then I married a West Texan and found myself having to attend Superbowl parties. It didn't help matters when the clueless Bengali chick won part of the winning pot (pure dumb luck as some said).  Anyhoo, my understanding of American football comes down to: It's a Texas/American thang.

So when my #Letslunch posse on twitter chose game-day food as the February theme, I had the perfect recipe. What could be better game-day TV eats than ribs? Can't get more Texas than beef...and it has my usual Bengali twist: finger lickin' good curried ribs!

Here take a look:

The best part is it's an easy recipe:

2 to 3 pounds ribs (beef or pork)
1 large onion, roughly sliced
8 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled, some smashed and others left whole
2 inch piece of ginger, cut into coins (I don't even peel them because you discard them after cooking)
(2 to 3 large sticks of cinnamon
5 cardamon pods, with tops broken open
6 cloves
8 to 10 whole pepper corns
OR you could replace the whole spices -- a tradition of Bengali cooking-- with 1 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala)
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
4 to 8 dried red chillies, broken in two (optional)
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 14.5oz can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes


Put the ribs and raw flavorings (onion to ginger) into a large cook pot.

Add the spices and salt:

Add the oil and mix it up good, so every rib is nicely coated:

Put on the stove at medium low heat to cook, covered. Check on it from time to time and give it a good stir. After about 6 or 8 minutes, add the can of diced tomatoes (juice and all) and let it all cook down. Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time to make sure nothings sticking to the bottom.

Cook it down until you end up with yummy ribs like in the first picture. Sorry, forgot to time it. You can serve this with warm naan bread or over cooked Basmati rice, and don't forget the cold beer!

 #Letslunch is a group of food bloggers, cookbook authors and foodies from around the globe who hold monthly virtual potlucks. It's a lot of fun!

Check out the other yummy posts:

Annabelle's Idiazabal and Black Pepper Gougeres at Glass of Fancy
Cheryl's Mongolian Buuz at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Grace's Taiwanese Beef Sliders at HapaMama
Jill's Spiced Pecans at Eating My Words
Karen's Sporting Eats at GeoFooding
Linda's Trio of Salsas from Oaxaca at Spicebox Travels
Lisa's Sausage Rolls at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy's Crabcakes with Chipotle Mayo and Citrus Salad at A Cook and Her Books

Friday, January 11, 2013

1st New Year Kitchen Adventure: Making Parathas with Mom

Porottas/Paratha/Roti Parata/Roti Cannai, whatever name you choose to call them, are delicious. A South Asian bread with rich, flaky layers of buttery goodness. Y-U-M! Growing up, this was one of my favorite treats.

So much so that I knew the paratha-making time table of all the neighborhood cooks. One lady made paratthas as a Friday evening treat, another served them precisely at 5 p.m. every evening with tea to her son, while my mom reserved parathas for Saturday morning breakfast. Um, yes, whenever the craving hit, I'd show up at the appropriate house. Fortunately for me, Bengali hospitality is legendary and the neighbors happily set an extra plate for me.

At that point I was more interested in eating than cooking.

Then I took trips to Singapore and saw some of Indian restaurant and food stall cooks actually making them. They did some fancy dough-swinging to rival the most colorful pizza chefs. Can we say, intimidated?  So, though I loved parathas, I never attempted to make any myself.

RasaMalaysia has some gorgeous pictures of professional paratha makers.

However, a new year is a good time to try new things.   And, very appropriately, my #Letslunch buds, a global group of food bloggers, cookbook authors and food enthusiasts who hold virtual potlucks around monthly themes, chose "New Beginnings/a recipe you've always wanted to try" for January...well, parathas simply popped into my mind.

Since new things and intimidating recipes tend to be a bit scary, it's always nice to have someone experienced at your side. So I dragged my Mom into the kitchen. We got to spend some wonderful mother-daughter bonding time and I finally got to make my paratha and eat it too!

You can add all kinds of herbs and spices to the dough, or put in a filling of eggs, vegetables or ground meat to make different types of parathas. But for my first time I wanted to keep things simple. Here's the basic dough recipe:

1 cup atta or whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ghee/melted butter/vegetable oil
some flour on hand to dust


1. Mix the two types of flours, salt and 1/4 cup of fat together to make a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into 10 balls and let rest another 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle some flour on your rolling surface, select a ball and flatten it. Using a rolling pin or your fingers roll out the ball into a thin sheet (don't worry if it looks like the state of Texas). Brush one side with ghee/fat.

4. Parathas can be folded in different ways and made into squares, triangles, spirals and more.

Here's the vid of Mom showing me one:

5. Roll out your folded paratha into the shape you want. Slightly larger than you want since it tends to shrink a bit.

6. Heat a pancake griddle or a frying pan over medium heat. Lower the heat & toast the paratha in the dry pan. After a minute or two, flip it over. Make sure to regulate the heat because you want the dough to be cooked through, but you don't want to burn the bread.

7. When the bread looks done, pour about 1/2 teaspoon of ghee/oil around the paratha. Lift up at the sides and tilt the pan to make sure the fat slips under the paratha as well. After half a minute, flip the paratha. Add another 1/2 teaspoon of ghee if you want.

8. When the parathas turns a beautiful golden color, it's ready to be served! Using the frying spatula or a spoon (because the bread is HOT), fold the paratha from different directions to break the top into crispy flakes.

Oh, here's a bonus paratha making video...the chef is bound to make you smile :) (put your cursor on "bonus" for some reason the link isn't showing up in a different color).

Also, now that I successfully made parathas, I think I'll spend this year exploring different South Asian breads. Yup, I'm on a roll! There are more than 80 different bread variations in India alone, and several Bengali ones...I think I'll busy playing with dough. Wishing you good health, good eats, and good company in 2013!

Check out the other yummy #Letslunch posts:

foodnutzz's beetroot and feta varenyky

Lisa's Da Bombe Alaska

Nancie's DIY Lemongrass

Linda's Caribbean Trip & Black-eyed peas

Lucy's Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Grace's Matcha Green Tea Yogurt

Annabelle's Brown Butter Creamed Greens