Ground Beef Shawarma and Rice


Two summers ago, I really got into learning  how to cook Indian food. I spent the better part of three months finding ingredients and experimenting with recipes from Raghavan Iyer’s amazing cookbook, 660 Curries. Then I got my first pressure cooker and became a little, okay, a lot, obsessed with learning how to work it and what it could do. I sort of fell a way from Indian cooking.

A few days ago, I found Two Sleevers, a blog that features pressure cooker recipes for Indian food. I was destined to fall in love with this site. I chose to try the ground beef Shawarma because I already had all the ingredients on hand and I have been curious about Shawarma ever since I have seen the Avengers.

One of the reasons I like this site is the creator provides recipes for any spice blends she uses. She doesn’t assume we all have access to an Indian store for Indian spice blends. I am always a bit concerned about how spicy a recipe is because I am a wimp when it comes to hot food. This recipe has a nice flavor but no heat.

Ground Beef Shawarma and Rice

Adapted from Two Sleevers

1 ½ tsp oil

½ cup diced onion

2 ½ cloves garlic, minced

½ lb ground beef

1  cup water

¾ cup basmati rice

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 ½ TBS Shawarma spice

¾ tsp salt

Pressure cooker:  Turn your pressure cooker onto Sauté. . When hot, add oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add onions and ground beef. Stir while breaking up the ground beef clumps.  Break it up well.  Add rice, water, cabbage, salt, and shawarma spice.  Cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes, and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release remaining pressure.

Stove top:  In a large frying pan, over medium heat,  add the onion, garlic and ground beef.  Cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a fork; drain any grease.  Add the rice, wate, cabbage, salt and shawarma spice. Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the water  is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.


English Style Madras Curry Powder


If you went to India and asked someone about finding some Madras curry powder no one would know what you were asking for.  Madras curry powder doesn’t actually exist in India.  It was created by the British in the 18th century to help them recreate the curries they had in India when they come back to England.

If you like your curries hot, this is the spice blend for you.  If you like milder curries go easy on this spice blend. You have been warned.

English Style Madras Curry Powder


1 TBS coriander seed

2 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp whole cloves

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

5-7 dried red Thai chilies

1 tsp ground tumeric

Mix everything together except the ground turmeric, and grind in a spice grinder or a mortar  and pestle.  The texture should be similar to course ground black pepper.  Add the tumeric and mix well.  Store in an airtight container for 1 month. 

Coriander Scented Untoasted Blend ( Aka Curry Powder)



I am not a stranger to making my own spice blends.  However, this blend is the first time I have ever made a spice blend grinding whole spices. All I can say is WOW!!!!! IT SMELLS AMAZING!!!!  I am sorry for yelling but I don’t have scratch and sniff posts……. yet. Seriously, I could wear this stuff as perfume.  I am very excited to try this blend in my next recipe.  Mr. Iyer suggests using this blend instead of store bought curry powder in any recipe with curry powder.  I used a mortar and pestle to grind my spices but you can use a dedicated coffee grinder to do it too. The first recipe using this spice blend will be posted on Monday.

Coriander Scented Untoasted Blend


1 TBS coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/4 tsp tsp cardamom seeds from a green or white pods

1/4 tsp whole cloves

1 dried bay leaves

2 tsp dried Thai chilies or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix everything together and grind in a spice grinder or a mortar  and pestle.  The texture should be similar to course ground black pepper.  Store in an airtight container for 1 month. 

Chicken Tikka Masala


I never really experimented with Indian food because of one unfortunate visit to an Indian restraunt where everything on the menu was scorching hot, even when we ordered from the mild side of the menu.  I wasn’t cooking for myself at the time so it never occurred to me that not all Indian food was hot and I could probably find recipes more to my taste with a little research.  Let me tell you, it sucks to be me.  I have been missing out on some really good food.

The day after I mad my red curry chicken and vegetables this recipe for chicken tikka masala showed up on my reader already scaled for two.  I guess I was destined to keep trying for Indian food.

This recipe is a little more involved then my recipe for red curry chicken and vegetables because you have to marinate the chicken for at least an hour before cooking it.  Once the chicken is marinated, however, the recipe comes together pretty quickly.  The only changes I made to this recipe was to use coconut milk instead of heavy cream because it was what I had on hand and reduce the cayenne by  half.  The substitution worked very well.

I was allowed to reprint this recipe here by the lovely blogger over at Simply Delicious. So do me a favor and go give her blog a little love.  She isn’t a completely  recipe for one or two blog but she has a lot of good-looking food on her site.

Chicken Tikka Masala


1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper, I reduced it to a 1/2 teaspoon

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tikka Masala Sauce:

1 TBS butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream,  I used 1/2 cup coconut milk

2 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 marinade ingredients.  Spread the marinade over both sides of the chicken and marinate at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.   When the chicken is done marinating, cook the chicken and set aside.  To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic, until translucent, about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Season the onions with garam masala, tumeric, cumin and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream (or coconut milk) .  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.  Simmer 20 minute or until the sauce thickens over low heat.  Add the cooked chicken and simmer 5 minutes.

This recipe is reprinted courtesy of Simply




Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables


One of the best things about being a blogger is all the awesome people you met through the comments section of your blog and other people’s blogs. I have met so many kind, supportive people who really have an appreciation of what I am trying to do here. My followers and all the people who have commented on A Solitary Feast have given me confidence to keep doing what I am doing and built me up in my non blogging life too.

One of the not best things about blogging, is the occasional person who feels they have to tear you down for whatever reason. I don’t get these kind of comments very often and long ago decided not to feed the bullshit by approving the nasty comments. However, I feel the need to address one persistent troll who calls my food redneck  and swill among other nasty things.

Dear nasty person,

I am sorry you don’t like the recipes I post on my blog. However, I don’t post my recipes for you. I post them for me. The recipes aren’t a reflection of what you like to eat they are a reflection of what I like to eat. They are a reflection of the foods I grew up eating and some of the food traditions of the region I grew up in and still live in. If you don’t like the recipes I post you are more than welcome to stop visiting me and go visit any of the billion and one other food/recipe blogs on the internet.

You say I don’t post your nasty, petty little comments because I can’t take criticism. I take constructive criticism just fine.  I have made many adjustments to my recipes based on what people I trust have said about them.  My blog is happy, positive place. I don’t post your comments because they are cruel and mean spirited to me and the people who follow and read my blog. You have been reported to the Word Press authorities.  Sincerely,  Me.

Now with that bit of stuff over and done with those of you who actually come to A Solitary Feast because you actually like the recipes I post here can move on to the recipe for today.   One of the hardest things to do when adapting recipes for one or two is finding ingredients in sizes that don’t leave a lot of leftovers.  You can skirt the issue by making a lot of ingredients, like spice blends, sauces and things like taco seasoning yourself, in small amounts. However, some things just aren’t the same when you make them yourself so I am always on the lookout for small size ingredients.

On one of my many visits to Natural Grocers during my vacation, I found small (5.46 ounce, about 2/3 cup) cans of coconut milk.  I was so excited!!!  I have several recipes in my to try file that take coconut milk but I have never tried them.  Once I reduced the recipe, it used so little coconut milk I would end up wasting almost a whole can of coconut milk.

The first recipe I decided to try was from the back of the can of coconut milk.  It was a recipe for Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables. I have never tried making any kind of Indian food before because I can’t handle a lot of  spicy hot in my food.   I thought, wrongly, that all Indian food would be too hot for me.  I didn’t stray to far from the recipe for this one.  I looked up what vegetables would traditionally be used in a curry and used carrots and onions because that was what I had on hand .  Although I liked the recipe as it was written, the next time I make it I will play around with different  spices and vegetables.

Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables


2/3 cup coconut milk

1 TBS Red Curry paste

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

8 oz cooked chicken

1/2 cup assorted cut up vegetables

1 TBS fish sauce

2 TBS fresh Thai basil, optional

Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the curry paste and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and vegetables.  Cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp tender.  Stir in the fish sauce and basil, if using.