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Leena Cooks: Dan Dan noodles

By on Mar 13, 2014 in Chinese food, Leena Cooks, Main, Meat, noodles, Pork, Spices | 0 comments

The first time I tried dan dan noodles was at a little Chinese dumpling and noodle shop in Australia. It had a very dry sauce, made only of meat and spices, and was probably one of the hottest dishes I’ve ever eaten. My husband loved them, but I found the heat to be so overwhelming, I couldn’t concentrate on the other flavors in the dish. Indeed, this dish hails on the Sichuan province of China, one of the spiciest regions in the world. I decide to research my own dan dan noodle recipe, one I could tailor to both my husband’s and my own heat preferences. According to Fuchsia Dunlop’s book, Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, dan dan mian is a dish that is made differently by every street vendor. Her version includes no sesame paste, and focuses more on the clean flavors from the Sichuan peppers. While Food52’s recipe used douban chili paste, a spicy,...

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

By on Aug 8, 2013 in Indian Food, Leena Cooks, Recipes, Spices, Sweet treats, The Gastronomical Leena, Vegetables | 0 comments

It’s no secret that even though I am half Indian, it took me a hot minute to actually enjoy eating Indian food (SO thankful I am out of that stage!). But like any sugar-addicted kid, Indian sweets were another story. They were my jam as a kid, pretty much the only thing I would eat regardless of their contents. And let me tell you, my Lila Khaki and Rajni Khaki (aunts for you non-dots) can cook up a STORM of Indian sweets. The colors are so fun–white and pink color block, pastel green, sometimes edible foil, a super-fun looking treat for kids. Funny story–both of my Khakis came to visit me for one of my birthdays, somewhere around age 10 or 11. My dad told them I really liked the Indian dessert gulab jamun (deep fried dumplings soaked in rose water syrup), which I did. He neglected to tell them that since they are basically donuts soaked in syrup, I could barely put...

Leena Cooks: Her Own Ancho Chile Powder!

By on Feb 1, 2012 in Leena Cooks, Recipes, Spices | 5 comments

Last week, I was buying ingredients for a new Mexican chicken recipe, and nearly peed and slipped on it. The two chile powders the recipe called for cost a total of $17! Hell no! I decided to hit my local Mexican grocery store, find some dried chiles and make my own chile powder. Screw you, McCormicks! The recipe and heaps of food porn after the jump. When it comes to buying dried chile peppers, I find the best place to shop is a Mexican grocery store. Beware of buying the peppers in a bag, like I did, as they tend to be really dry. A lot of Mexican grocery stores will have bins of dried chiles to choose from, and the chiles should be be flexible, not dry and crackly. : Leena’s homemade chile powder : A great and cheap alternative to store bought chile powders! 2 ounces dried chile peppers of your choice (I used ancho here, and chipotle in a later recipe) Put on rubber gloves or...