September 2003 Archives

Bifteki yemistó

Bifteki yemistó

Greek restaurants often mistranslate this on their menus as "steak", and indeed, "bifteki" sounds close enough to "beefsteak" to warrant the misunderstanding. But while it is made of beef, it is more of a burger than a steak. "Yemistó" is Greek for "filled" or "stuffed". Leave away the feta cheese, and you have plain bifteki. It's the perfect meal for the last few warm summer evenings. Serves 2.

  • 350g minced beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 thin slices feta cheese
  • 2 thin slices from a fresh tomato (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon origano
  • ⅓ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • lemon juice

In a bowl, mix the minced beef with the onions, origano, cumin, pepper and salt, then divide into 4 equal parts.

Using the four parts, form 4 burgers, which should be be slightly larger and thinner than your average burger. On two of these, place one slice feta cheese and (optional) one tomato slice. Then use the remaining two burgers as "lids", applying some pressure to make sure they stay on, and close the resulting two burgers on the sides to make sure the feta doesn't fall out.

Ideally, this should be grilled on a charcoal barbecue. Alternatively, pour some olive oil into a frying pan and fry over moderate heat for several minutes on both sides. While on the barbecue/in the pan, repeatedly sprinkle some of the lemon juice over it. Be careful when turning the bifteki over, as it has a tendency to fall apart.

Serve with French fries, roast potatoes or rice.

Another Chicken Vindaloo variation

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Another Chicken Vindaloo variation

This is the latest installment in my attempts to create a Chicken Vindaloo (a very hot chicken curry). This turned out pretty decent. Serves two to three.

  • 400g boneless chicken meat, cut in cubes
  • 4 potatoes, skinned and cut in cubes
  • 1 can skinned tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh green chilies, finely chopped
  • 4 bunches fresh green coriander, leaves and stalks chopped separately
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons methi (fenugreek) leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon very hot chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece cassia bark
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 120ml lemon juice
  • salt

Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a large pan or wok. Fry the cumin seeds and the onion until transparent, then add ginger and and green chilies and fry until the onion is brownish. Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder, the green coriander stalks, turmeric and cumin powder. Reduce heat and fry for three more minutes.

Put the mixture in a blender, together with the tomatoes and some water. Whizz until very smooth.

Put 1 tablespoon oil or ghee into the pan, add the chicken cubes and fry until they're white on all sides.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan, pour in the sauce from the blender and let cook for 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes, chicken pieces, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, methi leaves, cardamom seeds, cardamom powder, chili powder, paprika, cassia bark, cloves, lemon juice and salt. For extra heat, add 2-4 crushed dried red chilies.

Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat, add the coriander leaves and garam masala. Stir well, then cover and let stand for 5 minutes with the lid on. Then serve with rice or chapaties.