Thursday, April 24, 2008

Surprising Soya - Uncommon yet delicious Soya Recipes




Soybeans can be broadly classified as "vegetable" (garden) or field (oil) types. Vegetable types cook more easily, have a mild nutty flavor, better texture, are larger in size, higher in protein, and lower in oil than field types. Tofu and soymilk producers prefer the higher protein cultivars bred from vegetable soybeans originally brought to the United States in the late 1930s. The "garden" cultivars are generally not suitable for mechanical combine harvesting because they have a tendency for the pods to shatter on reaching maturity.

Among the legumes, the soybean, also classed as an oilseed, is pre-eminent for its high (38–45%) protein content as well as its high (20%) oil content.

Immature soybeans may be boiled whole in their green pod and served with salt, under the Japanese name edamame (枝豆,) Soybeans prepared this way are a popular local snack in Hawaii, and are becoming increasingly popular in the continental United States. Because of the proclaimed health benefits of soy, edamame has been featured as an ideal snack alternative in fitness and healthy living magazines such as Real Simple. Edamame is sold in the frozen vegetable section at some larger grocery stores, and as ready-to-eat snackfood in many Asian delis.


In China, Japan, and Korea the bean and products made from the bean are a popular part of the diet. The Chinese invented tofu (豆腐), and also made use of several varieties of soybean paste as seasonings. Japanese foods made from soya include: miso (味噌), natto (納豆), and edamame (枝豆). In Korean cuisine, soybean sprouts, called kongnamul (hangul:콩나물) are also used in a variety of dishes such as doenjang, cheonggukjang and ganjang.

Although Soya is more commonly used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes, I have listed some surprising dishes from other nations such as Indian, Greek, Malay and others. Hope you enjoy this uncommon yet yummy recipes!

Tofu Seekh Kababs

Ingredients

1 lb pack of Tofu Ground (the regular grocery store variety)
10 Serano Peppers (or 5 hot green chillies)
1 large Onion another for garnish
3-4 cloves Garlic (medium sized)
Ginger
All purpose flour
Salt to taste
Garam Masala powder
2 Tsp Oil
1 bay leaf
1 red chilli for tempering
1/4 cup of water
Coriander leaves for recipe and garnish

Method:


Grind Onion,Garlic,Ginger and Coriander leaves to fine paste.
heat oil add red chilli to the oil ,add a bay leaf,add paste immediately add salt and garam masala powder.

Saute for 2-3 mins till oil and paste are separated from the edge of the pan.

Mix flour and water to a pouring consistency.

Add above paste to tofu mixture in pan.

Leave it on medium heat for about 3-4 mins.( The mixture should not be dry totally)

Put the mixture on Skewers (wrap around each skewer)

Grill over Charcoal /in the oven and YUM!!!!......

Serve with lemon and onion slices.


Green Tofu Soup

Ingredients

Kale or Spinach - 1 cup
Pinto Beans (soaked or canned) -- 1/2cup (if pinto beans is not available use rajma or white channa)
Onion - 1 cup (cut into pieces)
Tofu - 1 packet (extra firm)
Garlic - 1 clove
Ginger - 1 tsp.
Green Chilli or Jalepeno - 2
Oil & Cumin seeds for seasoning.
Salt to taste

Method:


Cut extra tofu into medium cubical piece.

Heat oil in a pan & season cumin seeds. Add onion, garlic & ginger & saute for a while. When onion becomes transparent add kale, chilly & pinto beans to it & saute for a while. Let it cool for a while.

Grind them till it becomes a semi smooth paste. Pour the paste into the pan & add water to it.

Now add the tofu pieces & allows it to boil. Removes it from the heat when the soup starts to thicken.

Serve hot.

Tofu Treat


Ingredients

Extra Firm Tofu - 1 pack
Gram Flour (Besan) - 150 gms
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chilli Powder - To taste
ChatMasala - To taste
Oil - For Frying

Method:


Cut extra firm tofu into squares.

Crush garlic and mix with tofu then add salt and chilly powder. Let it marinate for half an hour.

Make batter of gram flour(besan) with water and add salt and chilly powder(like batter for pakora). Dip tofu pieces in it deep fry in oil. Sprinkle some chat masala on it.

Serve hot with Green Chutney or Tomato Ketchup.

Tofu-Rice


Ingredients

Hard Tofu 225 gms. small cubed,
Basmati Rice 1 cup (cooked earlier)
Onion medium 1 chopped small
Tomatoes medium 2 chopped small
Garam Masala 1 tea. spoon
Salt to taste
Garlic 3 podes crushed
Ginger 1 inch piece crushed
Green Chillies 1 crushed
Whole Cloves 4
Cinnamon Stick 1 inch
Black Pepper corn 5/6
Bay leaves 1/2
Cumin seeds tea spoon
Turmeric powder optional
Ghee/Butter 2 tbl. spoon

Method:


In frying pan heat ghee/butter. Add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, black pepper and cumin seeds until done.

Then add onion and saute until golden brown. Add tomatoes and saute until gee comes out. Add garam masala, garlic, ginger, chillies and bhunao for 2/3 minutes. Add tofu cubes and bhunao for 4/5 minutes, stir continuously. Add cooked rice and mix well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve with Onion-Tomatoes Raita or plain Yogert.

Claypot Soya Bean Paneer

Ingredients

3 soft Beancurds, cut into six rectangular pieces each.
2 cloves Garlic,minced
1/2 cup boneless Chicken
Half Carrot (shredded)
2 young Corn(sliced thinl)
2-3 stalks Spring Onions (cut into 2cm lengths)
1 Red Chilli (sliced thinly)

Sauce ingredients:

1 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
a few drops Sesame Oil
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp sweet Plum Sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp thick Soya Sauce

1 tsp Cornflour mix with 2 tbsp water
Oil for deep frying

Method:


Heat a wok or kadhai, leave it for a few minutes until it's hot, add in enough oil to fry the bean curd. Put the bean curd once the oil is hot.Fry in low fire. Once the beancurd is slightly brown in all side, dish out.

Combine the sauce ingredients except the cornflour mixture together and stir well.

In a claypot , heat 2 tbsp of oil and saute the minced garlic, once the the smell arise, add in chicken pieces and stir, add in carrot, young corn and the sauce. Stir well.

Leave it to simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add in salt, sugar and the cornflour mixture finally. You can pour the sauce over the beancurd or mix the beancurd into the sauce. Close the lid.

Garnish with spring onions and sliced chilli before serving.

This dish is best eaten when it is still hot.

Cream pie with tofu

Ingredients
100 g cookie crumbs (for example Graham crackers)
60 g white sugar (for the crust)
4 tablespoon vegan margarine
450 g tofu
175 ml water
150 g rice flour
500 g white sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla flavour
salt to taste

Servings: 6


Recipe directions
To make the cream pie crust, mix the cookie crumbs, margarine and sugar in a bowl with a spoon. Transfer this mixture into a 20 cm pie pan and form the pie crust.

To make the cream pie filling, blend the tofu in a food processor until smooth. Add the water and rice flour in a saucepan ad cook on medium heat until boiling while stirring continuously. Continue to boil on low heat for 1 minute. Add this mixture to the tofu and blend again. Add the remaining sugar, lemon juice, vanilla flavour and blend again until smooth. Add salt to taste. Put this cream filling on the pie crust.

Refrigerate the Cream Pie for 1 hour before serving.


Greek salad
Total servings: 4

Ingredients
4 Tbs wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp basil, dried
1 tsp tarragon, dried
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 cup green or black olives
2 Tbs olive oil
250 g firm tofu, cut in small cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped

Directions
To make dressing combine first 6 ingredients and blend. Pour dressing over the tofu and refrigerate 1 hour.
In a small salad bowl combine the tofu and dressing with the other ingredients. Toss lightly.

Serve Greek salad chilled.

Tofu and carrot cake
Total servings: 5



Ingredients
200 g soft tofu
250 g wheat flour
200 g apple sauce
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
250 g brown sugar
500 g carrots

Directions
Mix the soft tofu, wheat flour, apple sauce, sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla sugar and cinnamon to obtain a soft mixture.

Shred the carrots very fine a a food processor and add to mixture. Pour into pan and bake in oven for 50 minutes at 180°C (350°F).
Serve the Tofu and Carrot Cake when it's cooled down.

Tofu risotto


Ingredients
250 g soft tofu
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 garlic glove, minced
250 g shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 cups rice
50 ml dry white wine
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Servings: 4


Recipe directions
Add onion, garlic, olive oil in a pan and cook until golden. Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.

In another pan add in rice, wine and vegetable stock and simmer until all water has been absorbed and rice is tender but still firm.

Add mushroom mixture, basil and pureed tofu. Mix well, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Hawaiian stir-fried tempeh
Total servings: 5



Ingredients
500 g tempeh
1 large onion, chopped
1 can pineapple pieces
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 green or red pepper, cut in rings
1 large carrot, sliced
1 small cans of peas
1 small cauliflower, broken in small pieces
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs corn starch

Directions
Cut the tempeh in small cubes and fry in the oil until brown. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic and continue frying until the onion are soft.

Stir-fry the fresh vegetables. Add the drained peas and the pineapple juice. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the pineapple pieces, soy sauce and the starch dissolved in a bit of water. Bring to boil and heat a few seconds until tickened.

Serve the hawaiian stir-fried tempeh with rice.

Tempeh salad with peanut dressing
Total servings: 4

Mixed vegetable soup
Ingredients
250 g sliced tempeh
3 large potatoes
2 large onions
3 large carrots
2 Tbs oil
1 glove garlic
3 ribs of selery
1 small cabbage

Servings: 6


Recipe directions
Put peeled potatoes and sliced carrots into pan and add 2 cups of water. Boil for 15 min.

In another pan, cook the chopped onions and garlic until tender, then add the cabbage and celery and cook for 15 min. Mix the contents of the 2 pans together, add can tomatoes, 5 cups of water and the cubed tempeh and simmer for 25 min.

Bring to taste with salt, pepper, thyme. Serve the mixed vegetable soup hot.



Ingredients
6 Tbs Peanut butter
2 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs lemon juice
100 ml water
1/4 tsp chilli powder
250 g tempeh, cut in 1 cm cubes
150 g carrots, cut in strips
1 green pepper, cut in small pieces
200 g soya sprouts
4 Tbs oil
4 lettuce leaves
1 small marrow, cut in strips

Directions
To make the dressing mix the first 5 ingredients.

Bake the tempeh in the oil until golden brown. Drain and let cool down.

Blanch the carrot, marrow , soya sprouts and green pepper in a bit of water for 3 min. Drain and cool down.

On a plate put the lettuce leave and put the tempeh and vegetables in the middle. Cover with the dressing.

Serve the tempeh salad with peanut dressing immediately.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Something Fishy going on in your kitchen - Delicious SeaFood Recipes



Singapore is a great place to be when it comes to food. There is lots of variety available since it is a hot spot for many different cultures such as the Chinese, Malays, Indians, and many others.

Seafood is one of my favourite ingredient especially prawns, crabs and squids. Since my husband and two son only eat fish and do not try any other variety, I don't get to try out all those yummy seafood dishes as much as I would like. Usually, only when I have a get together, I have the excuse to make seafood dishes as well as the normal mutton and chicken dishes.

Here are some of my favourite Seafood dishes as well as some of the more famous seafood dishes of Singapore.


Chili Crab

Ingredients :

2 Fresh crabs approximately 500 g each
1/2 cup Plain flour
1/4 cup Cooking oil
1 medium Finely chopped onion
5 cm Fresh ginger finely grated
4 cloves Finely chopped garlic
5 Red chilies, finely chopped
2 cups Bottled tomato pasta sauce
1 cup Water
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon Rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Soft brown sugar

Method :
Wash the crabs well and scrub the shell.

Using a large cleaver, cut the crabs in half and rinse well under cold water, carefully removing the yellow gills or spongy parts.

Hit the legs and larger front nippers with the flat side of the cleaver to crack the shell. This is to make the eating process easier.

Lightly and carefully coat the shells with a little flour.

Heat about 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a large wok and cook 1 1/2 crab at a time, carefully turning and holding the crab in the hot oil until the shell just turns red.

Repeat with the remaining crab halves.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and cook the onion, ginger, garlic and chili for 5 minutes over medium heat and stirring regularly.

Add the tomato sauce, water, soy sauce, chili sauce, vinegar and sugar. Bring to boil and cook for 15 minutes.

Return the crab to the wok and simmer, turning carefully in the sauce for 10 minutes or until the crab meat turns white.

Do not overcook.

Serve with steamed rice.

Fried Squid Sambal Recipe
(Sambal Goreng Sotong)




Ingredients : Serves 4-6

500 g Small squid
2 Onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dried shrimp paste (belacan)
2 strips Lemon rind
5 Fresh red chilies
3 tablespoons Peanut oil
1/4 cup Tamarind liquid
2 teaspoons Palm sugar or substitute
1-2 teaspoons Paprika

Method :
Clean squid, discarding head, transparent spine and everything in the body cavity.

Reserve tentacles, cutting them off with a sharp knife just below the 'beak'.

With kitchen paper, rub off spotted skin of the squid.

Wash squid well, drain, then cut across into slices.

Put onion, garlic, belacan, lemon rind and chilies into container of electric blender and blend until smooth, adding some of the peanut oil to help the mixture down onto the blades.

In a wok or frying pan, heat remaining oil and add the blended mixture.

Stir and cook over medium heat until it is dark in color and the oil shows around the edges.

Add tamarind liquid, sugar and paprika and stir in the squid.

Cook uncovered, stirring until squid is cooked and mixture is thick and oily.

Serve with rice.

Note : In Malaysia, a higher proportion of red chilies would be used to give color to the dish, making use of paprika is not necessary.

Spiced Coconut Fish Recipe
(Ikan Kelapa)





Ingredients : Serves 4

500 g Fish fillets
1/2 cup Desiccated coconut
3/4 cup Hot water
1 clove Garlic
12 mm Fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground kencur (aromatic ginger)
1 teaspoon Ground cumin
1 teaspoon Ground coriander
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1 tablespoon Chopped fresh coriander leaves
Banana leaves
Aluminum foil


Method :
Wash, clean and scale fillets and cut into approximately 10 cm lengths.

Blend together, at high speed, the coconut, hot water, garlic, ginger, kencur, cumin, coriander, garam masala and salt until coconut is very finely ground.

Mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Put equivalent of 1 fillet of fish on each piece of banana leaf placed on square of foil.

Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of coconut mixture on fish.

Wrap leaf over, make a parcel of foil, steam for 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

Fish Head Curry Recipe
(Gulai Kepala Ikan)

Ingredients :

1 (850g) Fish Head, cut into 2-4 pieces
2 tablespoons Desiccated coconut, roasted, pounded
3 tablespoons Oil
1 stalk Lemon grass, bruised
Coconut milk from 1 coconut
1 Pandanus leaf, torn, knotted
750 cc Coconut milk from 1 coconut
5 Carambolas, halves
10 Salam leaves or bay leaves as substitute
Lime juice and salt
-

Spices (ground)
10 Dried red chilies
1/2 tablespoon Chopped turmeric
1/2 tablespoon Chopped ginger
7 Shallots
3 cloves
1 tablespoon Coriander, roasted
1/2 teaspoon Cumin, roasted
1/4 teaspoon Aniseed, roasted
1 teaspoon Peppercorns, roasted
1 tablespoon Dried carambola
Salt

Method :
Rub the fish head with lime juice and salt, and let it stand for 1/2 hour.
Drain, then rub the fish head with pounded coconut.
Heat oil and sauté ground spices, lemon grass and pandanus leaf until fragrant, then add coconut milk.
Allow to simmer.
Add fish head and carambolas, and bring to the boil.
Stir from time to time, then add salam leaves.
Simmer until the fish is cooked and the gravy is a little oily.
Serve hot.
Note : If there are no dried carambolas available, use 1/2 teaspoon tamarind juice.


Milkfish with Mango and Shrimps Recipe
(Sepat Banang)


Ingredients :

1 (500g) Milkfish or other fish
200 g Shrimps (prawns), discard the head
1 (300g) Mango, peeled and cut into long strips
200 cc Coconut milk from 1/2 coconut
1-2 tablespoons Lime juice
25 g Basil leaves
Lime juice
Salt

Spices (ground)

5 Bird's eye chilies
4 Shallots, roasted, peeled
3 Candlenuts, roasted or fried

Salt and sugar or brown sugar

Method :
Clean and gut fish and remove scales, gills and fins.
Rub with lime juice and salt.
Wash and drain.
Squeeze the mango slices with salt until tender, then rinse and drain.
Grill the shrimps and fish over hot charcoal until cooked.
Combine ground spices, coconut milk, fish and shrimps with mango and lime juice.
Mix well.
Garnish with basil leaves.
Optional : Fish may also be served simply grilled, without the coconut milk sauce.

Singapore Noodles

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 pound thin rice stick noodles (rice vermicelli)
1 pound medium shrimp
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper
2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 carrots
2 green onions
3 teaspoons minced ginger
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil for stir-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (Vietnamese brands are good), or to taste

PREPARATION:
Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 - 20 minutes, or until they have softened. Drain the noodles in a colander. Prepare the remainder of the ingredients while the noodles are soaking.

Shell and devein the shrimp if needed.
Soak the shrimp in warm salted water for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Clean all the vegetables. Rinse and drain the mung bean sprouts. Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and cut into thin strips. Shred the Napa cabbage. Peel the carrots and cut into thin slices. Cut the green onion into thin slices. Mince the ginger.

Prepare the sauce by whisking together the water or chicken broth with the brown sugar and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp. Stir-fry the shrimp until they turn pink. Remove from the wok.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the wok. When the oil is hot, add the curry powder. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then add the ginger and stir-fry until the ginger is aromatic. Stir-fry the vegetables, beginning with the carrot, then adding the red bell pepper, and the Napa cabbage. Stir in the bean sprouts. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds and then add the shrimp back into the pan with the noodles. Stir in the green onions.
Pour the sauce over, tossing the ingredients so that they are absorbed with the sauce. Add a bit more water or chicken broth if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste and adjust the seasoning , adding more sugar, salt, pepper or curry powder as desired. Cook until the sauce is absorbed. Serve hot.

Cucur Udang or Prawn fritters

INGREDIENTS

150g plain flour
1/2 cup prawn - shelled & diced
1/2 cup beansprouts
1 onion - chopped
2 fresh chillies - chopped
1 spring onion - chopped
1/2 cup water
2 eggs - well beaten
15 medium prawns
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

To prepare:

In a bowl, beat eggs and water
Add salt and pepper to taste
In another bowl, add sift flour
Make a well in centre of flour and pour in egg mixture
Mix well
Add onion, fresh chillies, diced prawns and spring onion
In a wok, heat oil for deep frying
Fill laddle with batter, add some beansprouts and cover with a little bit of batter
Then top it with one unshelled prawn
Immerse laddle into hot oil and fry till batter becomes firm and separates from laddle
Continue frying till fritters are golden brown
Remove and repeat process until batter is finish
To serve

Cut cucur udang into bite size pieces
Optional: Pour peanut sauce over it

Clams with Chilli and Basil

INGREDIENTS
10 to 12 small clams in shell (well scrubbed)
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
2 tsp garlic (minced)
2 red chillies peppers (seeded, minced & split lengthwise)
120 ml chicken stock
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp hot chilli paste (or to taste)
30 ml vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, light soya sauce and hot chilli paste and set aside
In a wok, add in oil and heat
Add in the clams, garlic and red chillies
Cook, stirring till all the clams begin to open
Add in the chicken stock mixture, stirl well and cover pan
Cook over low to medium heat for 2 mins
Add in fresh basil leaves and stir to mix
Place entire contents of pan in a warm, deep bowl
Serve warm with steamed white jasmine rice

TIP: Clams that do not open while in the cooking process should be discarded immediately. This is usually a sign that the clams gone bad. Do not overcook clams either as they will leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.


Otak Otak or Spicy Fish Cakes
INGREDIENTS
650 gm (1 1/2 lb) whole Spanish mackerel
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 coconuts, grated or (1 1/2 cups pure coconut cream from packets or cans)
One egg - lightly beaten
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 tbs sugar
8 kaffir lime leaves
Ingredietns for spice mix

4 candlenuts
20 dried chillies
40 gm galangal or 3 tsp powdered galangal
2 to 3cm fresh turmeric root or 3/4 tsp powdered turmeric
2 tablespoons crisp shallot flakes
1 stalk lemon grass
2 square inches by 3/4 inch thick piece of shrimp paste (belacan)
10 shallots
1 tbs toasted coriander seed powder

To prepare:

Fillet fish (or have the fishmonger do it for you)
Grind the meat finely in a food processor
Put into a large bowl
Wash candlenuts, cut off stalks of the dried chillies
Soak in warm water till softened for about 30 minutes, remove then drain
Cut off the skin of the galangal and turmeric root and peel shallots
Trim lemon grass
Cut all the spices into pieces
Pound or grind the first 7 ingredients of the spice mix till fine
Add the shallots last as a binding agent, then add the coriander powder
Squeeze the grated coconut for cream then strain to get the cream
Alternative: use one packet of coconut powder, adding enough water to make 1 cup (Or 1 1/2 cups processed coconut milk)
Heat wok, add oil, then add spice paste
Stir fry 5 minutes till oil exudes and the mixture is fragrant
Remove central vein of the double-leafed kaffir lime leaf and slice very finely
Mix the spices with the minced fish meat, salt and sugar
Add the kaffir lime leaves
Grease an 8-inch cake tin and put the fish mixture in
Smoothen the top with the back of a grease spoon
Bake in a bain marie (loaf tin) in a pre-heated oven at 150-175 degree C (300-350 degree F) for 20-25 minutes till skewer comes out clean when it is put into the centre of the fish cake
Serve either hot or cold with plain white rice
Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Salsa - Let's dance to these Great Recipes


I used to get confused as to whether Salsa is dish or a dance. Well, its both.

Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States), Latin and North America. The dance originated in Cuba through the mixture of Mambo, Danzón, Guaguancó, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong Afro-Caribbean influence in the music as well as the dance.

Salsa is usually a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.

The name "Salsa" is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin.

Salsa Dancers


Some people consider it a condiment, but the salsa devotees of the world would most definitely call it a food.

Salsa Basics

The beauty of salsa is its versatility and adaptability. At its most basic, salsa contains chopped or pureed tomatoes, chiles, onions, and cilantro, flavored with salt and a squeeze of lime juice. But you can play with techniques and try as many different combinations of fruits and vegetables, chiles and herbs as you can possibly dream up.


Leaving everything raw will result in a salsa with a bright, refreshing taste. Raw salsa is also known as "salsa cruda."
Roasting the tomatoes, garlic and/or chiles first will lend a rich, smoky flavor to your finished dish. If you cook the salsa, you'll trade in the fresh taste for a deeper, sweeter one.


--------------------------------------------------------------------


Salsa Shortcuts

Many people hesitate to make salsa because it involves lots of time-consuming chopping. A little chopping is unavoidable, but if you've got a food processor, you can use it to puree half or all of the tomatoes in your recipe (many people prefer to keep some of the tomatoes chunky).


A food processor can also make short work of herbs and garlic; you should toss these ingredients into the processor before you add the tomatoes.
For most other ingredients, it's better to chop them by hand so you have more control over the size and shape of the pieces--and the finished product will look nicer.
Do dice the onion by hand: food processors tend to pulverize the onion, releasing so much juice that the flavor becomes overpowering.

If it tastes good, do it!

The herb you'll find in most salsas is cilantro, but don't be afraid to play around.


Parsley, mint, basil and oregano all taste exceptional when mixed with fresh vegetables and fruits.
In the chile department, you are only as limited as the selection available at your local grocery store or farmers' market.
Set the tomatoes aside and use some other fruit or vegetable instead.
To achieve a balance sweet, savory, salty, sour and spicy flavors, add salt, lime juice or vinegar, bottled hot sauce and pinches of sugar, tasting intermittently, until you achieve that perfect mix.


Mix It Up
For the base of your salsa, try:

Tomatoes
Tomatillos
Mangoes or papaya
Melons
Peaches or plums
Pineapple
Cucumber
For flavor, color and texture, add:

Bell peppers
Jicama
Radishes
Fresh corn kernels
Avocado
Black beans
Mint, basil or parsley

Fresh California Salsa

Fresh California Salsa



4 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste


In a small mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Add jalapenos 2 teaspoons at a time, tasting after each addition to see how hot the salsa has become. Jalapeno peppers vary in heat, so it is important to taste the salsa to ensure you do not make it too hot to handle. Salt to taste. Enjoy!


Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa



1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced



In a large bowl, mix corn, olives, red bell pepper and onion.
In a small bowl, mix garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour into the corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.
Stir avocados into the mixture before serving.


Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa


3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (11 ounce) can Mexican-style corn, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, partially drained
2 tomatoes, diced
2 bunches green onions, chopped
cilantro leaves, for garnish


In a large bowl, mix together black beans, Mexican-style corn, diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, tomatoes and green onion stalks. Garnish with desired amount of cilantro leaves. Chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.


Fruit Salsa


1 tomato
1 orange, peeled and segmented
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 bunch cilantro
2 jalapeno chile peppers
garlic salt to taste


In a food processor, place tomato, orange, kiwis, red onion, avocado, cilantro and jalapeno chile peppers. Process using pulse setting until finely chopped but not quite smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, and garnish with desired amount of garlic salt.


Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa



3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, green bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno and garlic salt. Mix well and serve.


Spicy Mango Salsa


2 cups diced fresh mango
2 cups fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 serrano chile peppers, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice


In a large bowl, mix together the mangoes, peaches or nectarines, garlic, ginger and basil or cilantro.
Add the chilies and lime juice to taste; mix well. Allow to chill 2 hours before serving.