(Story by Lynn Cline)
What’s in a bowl? Why, anything and everything, from soups and salads to candy and cherries, with or without the pits. For centuries, bowls have held things we hold dear, from a nourishing meal to the ability to enhance the body, mind and spirit. (Think, for instance, of Tibetan singing bowls used for healing and meditation.) The oldest known bowl, discovered in fragments in China’s Yuchanyan Cave, dates back some 18,300 years. That’s a lot of nourishing and healing across the millennia. We thought we’d celebrate the potent roles of bowls in our March wellness issue by sharing a few simple recipes for nourishing and comforting fare—all served in a bowl!
Ahmed Obo, Chef and Owner, Jambo Cafe
“This is a popular dish, something I’d always make for visitors who’d come to my house before I opened the restaurant. It is something that I grew up with, but after that, I made this recipe from my memory of growing up. It’s a traditional dish, a specialty on Lamu Island, where you cook it with lamb and a fusion of different cuisines. You could make it with fish, shrimp and a vegetarian version. But I particularly love it with chicken. It has been on my menu from day one.”
Jambo Coconut Chicken Curry
½ cup olive oil for cooking chicken
½ large yellow onion, diced small
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon ginger powder
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced fine
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ to 2 Tablespoons each of curry powder and turmeric
1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
3 pounds boneless chicken thighs and breasts, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
Olive oil, for cooking
Heat olive oil in a deep-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the onion and garlic 3-5 minutes until soft. Add all of the spices, mix well and cook 3-5 minutes until the spices start to stick to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste until softened, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat if needed. Add the tomato, cooking 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in coconut milk and chicken or vegetable stock, mixing thoroughly. Turn up heat to medium-high and boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and add the salt, simmering for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While sauce is simmering, sprinkle chicken with curry powder, turmeric and salt. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil until shimmering. Cook the chicken in batches until the flesh is firm. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Transfer chicken to the curry sauce and serve.
Jambo Cafe is located at 2010 Cerrillos Road in College Plaza Shopping Center in Santa Fe, jambocafe.net, 505.473.1269.
Scott Eastburn, Chef, Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen
“The star of this dish is the spicy tahini dressing. Creamy, nutty and tangy with a hint of spice, this versatile sauce can work as a salad dressing, a condiment or as a sauce in this dish. I stumbled upon this sauce shortly after our first Chinese New Year celebration one year ago. Mixed with stir fry vegetables and chilled noodles, a dish was created where individual components are both celebrated and brought together in a cohesive and addictive way.”
Warm Noodle Bowl with Spicy Tahini Dressing
Spicy Tahini Dressing
1 cup tahini
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tamari
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons sambal
2 cups chilled Asian noodles
2-3 Tablespoons neutral oil such as sunflower
1-2 cups chopped vegetables per serving
3-4 ounces tahini dressing per serving
4-6 ounces protein per serving (optional add-ons include tofu, tempeh, shrimp or house-made buffalo sausage)
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients for spicy tahini dressing in bowl with wire whisk. (Can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.) Chop 1-2 cups of hearty stir-fry vegetables per person. (Can be prepared one day ahead.)
Prepare and chill about 2 cups of Asian-style noodles (glass, soba, rice, udon) according to package directions. (May be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated. I find this works best if noodles are kept wet.)
Stir fry vegetables in an oiled wok or deep sauté pan on high heat using a few splashes of water until vegetables are cooked and tender. Add 3-4 ounces of dressing per serving to stir fry and mix so sauce comes to simmer.
Add stir fry with sauce to drained chilled noodles. Toss and serve. Top with fresh cilantro and optional prepared protein. (A simple marinade for proteins for this dish is tamari with a few dashes of garlic powder and ginger.)
Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen is located at 1512 Pacheco Street, Building B in Santa Fe, sweetwatersf.com, 505.795.7383.
Xavier Grenet, Chef and Owner, Restaurant L’Olivier
“I grew up outside of Paris, eating French onion soup when it got cold, in the winter. My grandmother, my grandfather and my mom all cooked onion soup. It was something we ate to feel better because it makes you sweat. They used to call French onion soup the poor man’s soup in France, because onions were growing everywhere and easy to find. Everyone has their own recipe and adds their own things. I add white wine and beef broth. And I add soy sauce. I don’t think many people do. But everyone does it a little differently. I enjoy this soup with a glass of Chablis.”
French Onion Soup
2 ½ ounces butter
1 pound yellow onions, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups dry white wine
4 cups beef stock
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 baguette, sliced at an angle into slices 41/2-inches thick
8 slices Emmental cheese
Parsley, for garnish
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions to the pan and salt them right away. Caramelize onions by cooking for 20 minutes over medium heat, constantly stirring so they don’t burn. Stir in white wine and reduce over high heat. Add beef stock and soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
While soup is simmering, pre-heat broiler. Toast baguette slices. Ladle soup into four bowls, top with baguette slices and cover with 2-3 slices of cheese per bowl. Broil with a watched eye and serve, garnished with parsley.
Restaurant L’Olivier is located at 229 Galisteo St. in Santa Fe, loliviersantafe.com, 505.989.1919.
Gurubachan Kaur Khalsa, Chef and Owner, Mata G’s Vegetarian Kitchen
“When I travel, I try things and then I create a recipe that tastes similar. When I was in Cabo San Lucas, we stayed in a hotel where the chef made some delicious food like this dish. With my food background and what I know about the taste of spices, like saffron, I made up my own recipe for this dish. I made up most of the dishes that I make in my restaurant…My idea in opening this restaurant was to show how wonderful vegetarian food can be—how tasty and healthy.”
Moroccan Couscous with Tofu Shish Kabobs
1 10-ounce box of couscous, cooked according to directions
Saffron Garbanzo Tomato Sauce
4 cloves garlic, cut into pieces
3 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 20-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
Pinch of saffron
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
Salt, to taste
Sauté garlic in olive oil until slightly brown and scented. Add onion and cook until transparent.
Add garbanzos and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, water, saffron, cumin, coriander and salt and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Garlic-Soy Sauce for Shish Kabobs
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup tamari, soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Amino
1 bulb of garlic
Combine all ingredients in a blender until liquified.
Vegetable Tofu Shish Kabobs
8 10-inch metal skewers
1 each green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and cut into large squares
2 large onions, peeled and cut into large squares
12 large white mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
3 zucchinis, cut into large cubes
1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch squares
Alternately thread vegetables and tofu on each metal skewer. (Be creative with your palette.)
Position oven rack so it’s below the broiler and pre-heat the broiler. Liberally brush vegetables and tofu skewers with Garlic-Soy Sauce and place skewers on baking sheet. Broil in oven for 4-5 minutes, then turn skewers over, brush with more sauce and broil for a few more minutes, until browned. You can also cook these on an outdoor grill for about 5 minutes, turning, until well grilled.
Serve couscous in the middle of a bowl, ladle Saffron Garbanzo Tomato Sauce on top and place vegetable tofu shish kabobs on top.
Mata G’s Vegetarian Kitchen is located at 116 Amherst Dr. in Albuquerque, mata-g.com, 505.266.6374.