Tag Archives: Pressure Cooker

Quick Cuban Style Black Beans~ Tasting Latin American

A few years ago I began teaching Mexican cooking classes at the local kitchen store. I also became very interested in learning some of the most popular dishes of Latin America. Besides Mexican food, Puerto Rican and Cuban food are also some of my favorites. The recipes are similar in ingredients when it comes to all three cuisines, with a few differences. Unlike many Mexican dishes, Cuban and Puerto Rican recipes will almost never include chile peppers in their ingredients.  For a while, I just could not get passed the idea of cooking without any chile peppers, lol! But, for a few years now, I often prepare meals and donate them to friends in need or groups of volunteers that help with local community projects.  And for those recipes, I have learned to scale way back on the chile peppers. It’s just my way of trying to help when I can and volunteer my time. As many of you know, I have been blessed with my dream job of working from home, cooking  and developing recipes  I love for the Hispanic Kitchen site.  It has been the most rewarding experience and continues to be a great blessing in my life. It’s the Hispanic Kitchen that inspired me to step outside my Mexican comfort zone and try my hand at a few popular Cuban dishes.  My friend Norma Torres, who is an awesome chef, blogger and recipe developer for Hispanic Kitchen as well prepares these most delicious Puerto Rican and Cuban recipes.

Quick Cuban Style Black Beans
Quick Cuban Style Black Beans

The Hispanic Kitchen site literally have thousands of delicious recipes posted from all over Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean.  Foods from Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia are all equally delicious and ere definitely on my “To Try” list! For today’s post I am starting out with a quick and simple recipe for black beans. I prepared my first recipe for Ropa Vieja,(you can find recipe on my blog) which is a popular Cuban beef dish and is typically served with black beans and rice. And after spending all that time preparing the Ropa Vieja, I wanted a quick, but flavorful pot of black beans to serve with dinner that night.

Quick Cuban Style Black Beans
Quick Cuban Style Black Beans

Pulling ingredients I had available in my pantry and refrigerator, the Goya Jamon seasoning gives the beans a subtle flavor of smokiness. And the Knorr Sazon with garlic, onion, cilantro and achiote is great for any rice, bean or meat dishes. I keep them in my pantry at all times along with my regular spices. A quick and fresh version of sofrito is as easy as tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and onion. Freshly made is always the better option.

Quick Cuban Style Black Beans

Ingredients

2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
1/2 jalapeño, seeded. Here I go with the chile pepper!
1/4 cup water
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white or spanish onion, diced
15 ounce can black beans in it’s broth
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Goya Jamon season packet
1 Knorr Sazon with achiote, garlic, onion and cilantro season packet
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste

*This recipe will have more broth than usual

Directions

1. In the blender, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeño (if using), 2 tablespoons olive oil half of garlic and half of onion. Pulse to blend until fairly smooth. I prefer to not add salt at this time since the season packets both contain some salt.

2. In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the remaining garlic and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the sofrito tomato mixture from the blender to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Taste for salt, cumin and pepper and season to taste. Remove from heat, garnish with some fresh cilantro and ladle beans with broth over rice. Yields 4 servings.

Next time, I will try the low and slow version for this recipe using a smoky ham hock and dried black beans.
Next time, I will try the low and slow version for this recipe using a smoky ham hock and dried black beans.
Tex Mex meets Cuban! How about some Ropa Vieja Nachos with smoky black beans, tender flank steak, jalapeños and your favorite melting cheese.
Tex Mex meets Cuban! How about some Ropa Vieja Nachos with smoky black beans, tender flank steak, jalapeños and your favorite melting cheese.

You can find the recipe for Ropa Vieja and Homemade Tortilla Chips-Totopos right here on my blog site. Just type it into the search bar or  search under catergories.

Using homemade chips or a good quality store bought chip, this is a tasty twist on traditional Tex Mex Nachos.
Using homemade chips or a good quality store bought chip, this is a tasty twist on traditional Tex Mex Nachos.

Black Beans Prepared In The  Pressure. Thanks to one of my favorite Chef’s Tyler Florence, I finally decided to take the plunge and cook a batch of black beans in my pressure cooker. It seemed simple enough. With a few “La Piña” touches added to the recipe I was on my way!

My first time cooking black beans in the pressure cooker. I will never cook them any other way!
My first time cooking black beans in the pressure cooker. I will never cook them any other way!

Ingredients

Olive oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound black beans, rinsed
1 packet Goya Jamon seasoning
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups water

*5 quart pressure cooker

I used a 5 quart pressure cooker for 1 pound of black beans
I used a 5 quart pressure cooker for 1 pound of black beans

1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pressure cooker pot. Heat to medium, add onions, garlic, serrano, bay leaves and cumin seeds. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Then right before you cook, add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the beans. The oil prevents the beans from foaming up and clogging the valve. Very important that you don’t skip that step. Follow manufacter’s directions for pressure cooker. Lock lid, heat to medium/high until safety valve seals and locks. When the pressure valve begins to spin, turn heat to low and set your timer for 35 minutes.  after about 20 minutes, I turned the heat up slightly to finish cooking. Gently remove from heat. Once lock and seals opens and releases, them remove the lid.

Just took the lid off and all that steamy goodness aroma...aaaaahhh!
Just took the lid off and all that steamy goodness aroma…aaaaahhh!
All the times I have cooked black beans, they have never, ever come out this beautiful!
All the times I have cooked black beans, they have never, ever come out this beautiful!

Spicy Dishes with Asian Flavors~ Fusion Cooking

Spicy Asian Shrimp with Black Thai Rice. The first time I tried black Thai rice was a few months back. I had heard about it on the cooking channels, then was lucky enough to find it at my friend Kim’s bulk food store. I love a good food challenge, as long it plays out in the comforts of my own kitchen, lol! The first time I cooked it, it was a marathon, or at least it seemed, of rice cooking, soaking, sauteing, until I finally was happy with the results. It cooks up alot different than regular white or even brown rice. It’s more like a wild rice, but very starchy and a little sticky. Even with all that I still enjoyed it very much and thought I would give it another go. This time I broke out my pressure cooker to do the job. It cooked the rice in half the time. The shrimp recipe was adapted from Nigella on the Cooking Channel and it sounded so delicious. These are the things that happen while walking on the treadmill, ha, ha, ha! Makes me work out even harder and help pass the time. The shrimp texture after poaching and marinating in the sauce reminded me of  a shrimp cebiche recipe I prepare. And knowing that my better half is not that crazy about cebiche, I decided to take half of the recipe and saute the shrimp after marinating for a short while. Both recipes worked as far as I am concerned and would definitely try them again.

 

Chinese Noodles with  Indian Spiced Jumbo Shrimp & Spinach ~Asian/Indian Fusion September 5, 2014. Found these great, already cooked Chinese noodles for stir fry! Love them!

Chinese Noodles with Shrimp and Spinach
Chinese Noodles with Shrimp and Spinach

8 jumbo shrimp, cleaned and peeled
*Spices 
Coriander
Cumin (I use cumin seeds and crush them in a mortar)
Turmeric
Cayenne
Garam masala
White pepper
Salt
Grapeseed oil

2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 hot peppers, your choice (I used 1 serrano and 1 cayenne), minced
2 mild peppers, your choice (I used 1 Anaheim and 1small red sweet pepper), diced
3 cups fresh baby spinach
3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup water
14 ounces KA-ME brand cooked noodles for strir fry

*Cilantro and green onions for garnish

Chinese Noodles for Stir Fry
Chinese Noodles for Stir Fry
KA-ME brand Chinese Noodles for stir fry, Hokkien style
KA-ME brand Chinese Noodles for stir fry, Hokkien style
Indian Spiced Jumbo Shrimp.
Indian Spiced Jumbo Shrimp. I sometimes find it easier to cook the shrimp on these skewers.

 

Directions

1. In a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of each of the spices listed above. Stir well to combine and season the shrimp on bothe sides. Reserve any remaining spice mixture.

2. Preheat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil to medium/high heat for a few minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side or just until pink. Remove from pan onto plate and cover loosely.

3. In that same pan, add one more tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir fast so the garlic does burn. Add the fresh peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts down.  add a pinch of remaining spice blend. In a small bowl, combine the Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sriracha, sesame oil and water. Stir well to combine. Once spinach has wilted, add sauce from bowl, cooked noddles and shrimp. Toss until combined just until warm. Serve right away. Garnish with cilantro and green onions. Yields 2 hearty servings.

Chinese Noodles with Indian Spiced Jumbo Shrimp and Spinach
Chinese Noodles with Indian Spiced Jumbo Shrimp and Spinach

 

 

My Spin on General Tso’s Chicken August 13, 2014. I have experimented with a few recipes for General Tso’s Chicken in the past. So far this one is my favorite to date. I have been working with a few masa harina (corn flour) recipes and I decided to try using it in my coating mixture for the chicken in this recipe to see how it fried up.  I was very pleased with the results and more importantly so was my husband. This is the dish he orders ever single time we eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Yes!!  Sonia 1, Chinese restaurant 0!! Cook at home for the ones you love as much as you can. It’s magic.

My spin on General Tso's Chicken
My spin on General Tso’s Chicken
Testing out different recipes using masa harina instead of all purpose flour
Testing out different recipes using masa harina instead of all purpose flour

 

General Tso’s Chicken 


1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs and breast, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons masa harina flour
* if not using the masa harina, just bump up the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons
Oil for frying, I used canola

For Sauce
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
1/4 cup orange preserves
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (I used garlic chile sauce)
*if you go with the savory/spicy chile sauce, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar to the sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

You will also need
4 cups steamed jasmine rice
4 cups steamed broccoli

 

My twist on a Spicy General Tso's Chicken
My twist on a Spicy General Tso’s Chicken

 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, add the chicken and water. Use your hands to massage the water into the chicken until it it mostly absorbed. Add the spices listed and mix well. Add the cornstarch and masa harina flour and stir just until combined. Set aside.

2. For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, preserves, chile sauce, sugar (if using), cornstarch and vinegar. In a saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chile flakes. Saute for a few minutes, then whisk in the sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until sauce becomes thick. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

3. Preheat 1 cup of oil in a 10 inch skillet to medium heat for 5 minutes. Fry the chicken pieces for 4 minutes per side and drain onto a plate line with paper towels or onto a wire rack. You can keep them warm in a low temperature oven.

4. When ready to serve, warm the sauce and toss with crispy chicken pieces. Serve over your favorite rice and steamed or roasted broccoli. Yields 4 servings.

 

 

Spicy Asian Shrimp with Black Thai Rice
Spicy Asian Shrimp with Black Thai Rice

 

12 ounces jumbo shrimp, cleaned and peeled (about 20 shrimp)
*enough boiling water to cover shrimp
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Sauce 
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeño, minced
3 red super chiles, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons brown sugar

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For Thai Black Rice 
1 cup black rice
4 cups chicken broth
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
*this rice was cooked in a 5 quart pressure cooker

 

Black Thai Rice cooked in the pressure cooker
Black Thai Rice cooked in the pressure cooker

 

Directions 

1. Transfer cleaned shrimp to a glass heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over shrimp. Add juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir gently and let sit until shrimp turn pink. Drain and rinse with cool water, set aside.

2. Combine all of the ingredients to prepare the sauce. Stir well, taste for salt and then pour over cooled shrimp. Cover and chill for an hour.

3. To a 5 quart pressure cooker, add the black rice, 4 cups of broth, lime juice, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Secure the lid and heat to high. Once safety valve locks, turn heat to low and continue cooking for 22 minutes. Carefully remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. During this time the valve will release and the rice will absorb more of the broth. Fluff rice with fork before serving and serve shrimp in sauce over rice. Yields 4 servings.

Notes~ If you are not feeling that adventurous to try cooking the rice in the pressure cooker, you can cook it on the stove top, Saute the rice in a little olive oil at medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, checking to make sure it does not run dry. This was my experience the first time I cooked it anyway. I tried steaming it and soaking it to remove some of the starch, but it still took that long. it will not be fluffy and separate like regular white rice. It tends to be more starchy and sticky, but still tasty.

 

Spicy Asian Shrimp with Black Thai Rice
Spicy Asian Shrimp with Black Thai Rice


 For the Sauteed Version Spicy Asian Shrimp

Spicy Asian Shrimp
Spicy Asian Shrimp

 Prepare the sauce as directed.  Add the raw shrimp and marinate for at least 1 hour. Remove shrimp from sauce/marinade and shake off excess liquid. Reserve the sauce. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium/high heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes per side or until it turns pink and curls slightly. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. To the hot pan add the reserved sauce and 1 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Cook for a few minutes, add shrimp back in and cook just until shrimp is warm. Pour over steamed jasmine rice and toss gently to mix.