Burmese-style beef curry (Ame Hnat)

While this is a beef recipe, you can substitute lamb or, if vegetarian, any number of firm vegetables, such as cauliflower, golden beets, or red potatoes.

  • 1-1/2 lbs beef
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 20 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised

Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Put the onions, garlic, and ginger in a blender or food processor and puree into a fine paste (add a bit of water, if necessary). Line a strainer with cheesecloth and pour the puree into it, separating the liquid from the solids (and keeping both). Pour the liquid into a dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot. Add the beef and lemon grass then bring to a simmer and cook until the beef is tender, an hour or so.

Meanwhile, in a wok or wide skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add in the ginger/garlic/onion solids, the turmeric, chili powder, and salt and stir fry, turning frequently. The mixture will absorb the oil at first; move it around so it doesn’t burn (lower the heat if you have to. After half an hour or so, the mixture will become a rich, dark brown and the oil will separate out from the curry mixture. Keep it on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender.

Add the beef and its cooking liquid to the curry, discarding the lemon grass and stirring to combine thoroughly. Cook over a medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and you have a thick “dry” curry. Serve over rice garnished with cilantro and green onion.

Choco Dot Pumpkin Cake

I learned this recipe from actor F. Murray Abrham, at a potluck in Cambridge when he played King Lear at the American Repertory Theater.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can/16 oz. pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegtable oil
  • 1 cup All-Bran cereal
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and spice, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy, add the pumpkin, oil, and all bran. Mix until combined. Add in the flour mixture, stirring until just combined, stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in either a 9x13x2″ ungreased baking pan or bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or so, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.