Sephardic Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce

This easy and delicious fish in peppery tomato sauce is flavored with garlic, coriander, harissa, and piquant capers, bathed in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. It’s another one of those “Jewish” recipes you may not recognize as Jewish. In America we tend to think of “Ashkenazi” food as Jewish, call it a day, and forget about the Sephardim. This is a terrible mistake, since Sephardic food (Spanish, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, and North African) is spicy, flavorful, and has much more variety than its Eastern European cousins.   In fact, one day, I want to skip the Eastern European Passover and have a Sephardic one instead! Goals! 

I’ve adapted this recipe from The Book of Jewish Food , which says that fish is  considered a symbol of abundance, making it a favorite dish for Friday night (Sabbath) meals. Fish was also popular in Morocco and Italy for weddings, as it was thought to symbolize fruitfulness. For Rosh Hashanah, it was served with the head left on, so Jews would be “ ‘ahead with good deeds and serve as a model of goodness. ’ ”  I think this dish certainly fits the bill.

The nice thing is that you don’t have to wait for a holiday or a special occasion to make it. It’s ready in about 25 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.

If you’re not familiar with harissa, it’s a hot chili garlic sauce used for fish, chicken, and lots of other dishes in North Africa. As I am writing this, it occurs to me that it’s a bit like African sriracha sauce.  If you have some, or can get some, use it. If not, a mixture of cayenne and paprika will work just fine.

I also saw another, similar recipe (called chraime) that referred to this as Sephardic “gefilte fish.” Never having been a big fan of gefilte fish, I’ll take this recipe in a New York minute!

The dish will work with any firm fish, such as grouper, red snapper, or cod. I used cod from Trader Joe’s (the frozen fish is inexpensive and good quality). Serve it with rice (as I did), or make it with couscous.




Peppery Fish in Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: North African

one

Peppery Fish in Tomato Sauce

A Sephardic Jewish fish dish that's festive enough for a special occasion, but easy enough for a Tuesday. Works with any firm fish and it's ready in about 25 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion (about 1/2 C), chopped
  • 1 T neutral oil, such as canola or sunflower
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp harissa or 1/4 tsp paprika plus a generous pinch of cayenne)
  • 2/3 cup crushed tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar (depending on how sweet the tomatoes are, you may not need this)
  • 1 1/2 tsp capers (drained and patted dry)
  • 1-2 fish steaks (about 1/2 lb. total)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (or a sprig of fresh if you have it)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in the frying pan on medium heat. Add the onions and gently cook for a few minutes until they soften and start to turn color (don’t let them burn!). Add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute (until it too starts to change color). Add the harissa (or cayenne/paprika) and stir.
  2. Pour the tomatoes into the pan, then add the salt, sugar, and the drained capers.
  3. Now add the fish steaks and spoon the tomato mixture over them in the pan.
  4. Cover the pan and let it all simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, and flip the fish over on the other side. Spoon more sauce over it and add the coriander. Put the lid back on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.

Notes

You’ll want to use a larger skillet so you have enough room to turn the pieces of fish over without breaking them.  

Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Try sriracha or chili garlic sauce instead of the harissa paste (with a bit more coriander added this is similar to a Tunisian version of this dish)
  • Use cumin, tomato paste, and both sweet and hot peppers in the sauce
  • Add olive oil, then the fish, then top that with one or two whole garlic cloves, more salt and pepper, and more coriander, and let it cook on a grill for half an hour (if you like fresh cooked tomatoes, put them under and over the fish

Try These Other Fish Recipes

Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce




Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

I’ve been fighting the creeping crud and nothing helps fight germs better than a big bowl of soup, preferably spicy soup.  This Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup is perfect. The spicy broth clears the sinuses, the garlic, ginger and chili sauce have antibiotic qualities, and it tastes good too.

I adapted the recipe from a recipe I found on Epicurious.  It’s not just smaller quantities though. My version has less sugar, and is a bit spicier (I wanted the heat more than sweetness). Gotta fight those germs!  Also, since I didn’t have tahini handy (and wouldn’t want to buy it just for this), I ditched that and used peanut butter instead.  I didn’t have seasoned rice vinegar either, so I substituted the regular kind. Their recipe cooked the chicken by boiling it in the soup.  I decided I wanted more complex, caramelized flavor, so I cooked it with the cabbage.  And, since I didn’t have sherry I reasoned that since sherry was essentially fortified wine, that some red wine and a drizzle of honey would work just fine. It did!

This is enough for one generous serving, or two smaller ones, depending on how hungry you are.




Chinese Chicken Cabbage Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Chinese

one serving

Chinese Chicken Cabbage Noodle Soup

Spicy chinese chicken cabbage noodle soup fragrant with garlic, chili garlic sauce, and scallions. Not too hot and not too sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken thigh (or 2 smaller ones)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sherry (or use red wine and a drizzle of honey)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (divided)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp peanut butter*
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 12 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 5-6 leaves cabbage, shredded or chiffonade**
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 oz long noodles, with water to cook

Instructions

  1. Cut up the chicken thigh into strips and put them in a small bowl.
  2. Add the soy, sherry, and half the sesame oil to the bowl with the chicken.
  3. Let sit about 20 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the garlic, peanut butter, ginger, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce.
  5. In a large, sturdy pot (a Dutch oven will work nicely), heat the rest of the sesame oil, and the canola oil on medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and the scallions.
  6. Cook for five minutes until the cabbage softens slightly.
  7. Add the chicken mixture and cook another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the broth, increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down a bit and let the soup simmer for five minutes.
  9. While the soup is coming to a boil, fill a saucepan with water and heat to boiling. Once it's boiling, add the noodles and cook 5-8 minutes until al dente.
  10. Once the noodles are done, drain them in a colander.
  11. Pour the soup into a large bowl, and add the noodles.

Notes

*If you use unsweetened, natural peanut butter, add a little sugar or honey

** How to chiffonade:

Take the cabbage leaves and stack them on top of each other. Then roll them up like a cigar. Cut them across (the short way) so you end up with long, thin ribbons.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Add some sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or snow peas to the soup (when you cook the cabbage and scallions)
  • Substitute bok choy for the cabbage
  • Want it spicier? Drizzle the finished soup with some sriracha or more chili garlic sauce
  • Go with the original recipe and use the tahini instead of the peanut butter
  • Like it less spicy?  Use sriracha in the recipe instead of the chili garlic sauce




 

Tools and Ingredients for Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup

Huy Fong Sauce Chili Garlic

This is great for lots of recipes: put it in Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, chili citrus chicken thighs, sesame noodles, or add a kick to scrambled eggs or meatloaf. Or, mix it into mayonnaise for chili aioli.


Nakano Rice Vinegar

This is just about essential for Asian cooking. Use it in this recipe, or for an Asian cole slaw. Baste meat with it, or combine it with some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and scallions for a quick dipping sauce.


Kadoya Sesame Oil

Another essential for Asian cooking, great for salad dressings, shrimp, or teriyaki. Use it in Chinese cucumber salad, or saute it with some spinach.

 

More Asian Recipes

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

Two of my friends have been raving about this chicken chili verde recipe for years.  I finally decided to try it myself, and they were right.

Ideally, this should be made with Hatch chiles.  Unfortunately, while New York is a wonderland of food, fresh Hatch chiles are a bit scarce.  So, I had to make do with the canned variety.  If you can get them fresh, by all means use them! Instead of regular canned tomatoes, I used tomatoes mixed with green chiles.

There are no beans, just chicken, peppers, a few spices, and chicken broth. It’s not too spicy, and easy to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to simmer!




Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Mexican

one serving

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Chicken chili verde with cumin and oregano.

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large chicken thigh, cut up into pieces
  • 1 tsp flour
  • generous pinch cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can green chiles (4 oz can)
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (10 oz can)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 T chicken broth
  • 1/2 small fresh jalapeño pepper
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and saute for two or three minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until it browns (about 3-5 minutes).
  4. Add the flour, and stir to coat the chicken.
  5. Add the cumin and oregano and stir.
  6. Add the can of chile, the can of tomatoes with green chiles, the water, the chicken broth, and the jalapeño pepper.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Turn the heat to low and simmer for an hour.

Notes

This is one generous dinner serving or enough for dinner one night and lunch later.

Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

  • Line a bowl with tortilla chips, add the chili and top with shredded cheese
  • Use pork and/or beef instead of chicken
  • Add a potato (peeled and cut into chunks) to the chili
  • Try some fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • Go for the Hatch chiles if you can get them (remove the stems and boil them for ten minutes first)

Tools and Ingredients for Chicken Chili Verde


Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies – 10 oz

This can is just the right size for this recipe. No leftovers! It’s not too spicy (I think it comes in hotter versions too) and adds a lot of flavor.  You can also use it to make cheese dip.


Old El Paso Chopped Chiles 4.5 oz Can

Amazon only sells this single can to Prime members (or if you have access to their fresh service), but if you do, then go for it. They’ve got the Hatch chiles too, but you have to buy an awful lot of them at once!

More Chicken and Chili Recipes

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

 




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

It was recently Chinese new year, and I had a craving for spicy sesame noodles. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the “right’ sort of noodles.  Most of the sesame noodles recipes use long pasta noodles, usually linguine. I didn’t have linguine, only penne.  So, I made do with what I had at hand.  Feel free to use either one. It doesn’t matter.

Also, the recipes I found online were either much too sweet, or called for other ingredients I didn’t have.  The one from Allrecipes was too sweet and had too much oil.  It was also meant to serve eight people, rather than just one person.  I found another recipe from The New York Times, but that one called for tahini or peanut butter, which I didn’t have.  I did like the idea of including ginger though.

This is really spicy, so if you prefer a milder version, leave out the chili garlic sauce.




Spicy Sesame Noodle Recipe for One

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Chinese

one serving

Spicy Sesame Noodle Recipe for One

Spicy sesame noodle recipe for one. This make a great quick and easy lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry short pasta (if using penne or short pasta); if using linguine grab a handful about two inches around
  • 1 T canola oil
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 scallion (just the green part), chopped
  • 1/8 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium size saucepan about two-thirds of the way full with water and bring to a boil.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, make the spicy sauce.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients (except for the scallions and sesame seeds) in a small bowl.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour into a serving bowl.
  6. Add the sauce and stir to coat the pasta.
  7. Top with scallions and sesame seeds.

Notes

You can make this ahead and serve it cold, or eat it hot.

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person Substitutions and Variations

  • if you don’t have rice vinegar, use white vinegar
  • add strips of fresh bell pepper
  • add lightly cooked snow peas or broccoli
  • if you want a heartier meal, put in some cooked chicken
  • add 1 T tahini or peanut butter to the sauce (use the peanut butter to make a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich — yes, really)

More Spicy Recipes

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe




Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

This chili citrus chicken thigh recipe was inspired by a friend.  She used orange zest and marmalade, but I didn’t have either of those things.  And, I’m not a fan of marmalade anyway.  I figured lime would do just as well.

The citrus gives it a bit of a tang, the chili garlic sauce adds heat, and the honey adds a touch of sweetness to balance the flavors.

It’s a pretty easy, hands-off recipe.  First, you mix the marinade, pour it over the chicken, and let it sit for half an hour or so.  Then, bake the chicken, reserving the marinade mixture.  Boil that separately and pour it over the chicken when it’s done.  I have a tiny saucepan that’s perfect for this.  If you don’t have one, pour the marinade over the chicken about halfway through the cooking time (you want it to cook thoroughly, but you also don’t want the citrus to burn).





Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One Person

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Asian

one serving

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One Person

Spicy, sweet, tangy chili citrus chicken thigh recipe for one person

Ingredients

  • one chicken thigh
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp digon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix everything (except the chicken) together in a small bowl.
  3. Add the chicken thigh, turn it over to get thoroughly coated, and let it marinate for half an hour,
  4. Place the chicken on a small roasting pan and bake for an hour.
  5. When the chicken is nearly done, pour the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce it until it gets thick.
  6. Take the chicken out of the oven, and place it on your dinner plate. Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Tools and Ingredients for Making Chili Citrus Chicken


Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 5/8-Quart Butter Warmer
A small saucepan may seem like an odd thing, but it’s really very useful, and for far more than just melting butter. It’s great for the marinade in this recipe, as well as for heating or melting small amounts of other ingredients, such as chocolate, cheese (for mac and cheese), and making sauces. The pot is also the perfect size for heating milk to make hot cocoa.


Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce 18 Oz

I know sriracha is what’s popular, and I love that too, but I just can’t get enough of this chili garlic sauce. It’s great for chicken, meatloaf, chili chicken wings, omelettes, and on a burger instead of ketchup.

 

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Chicken with Peaches and Ginger for One

Chicken Florentine for One

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

 




Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

It’s creeping crud season, and while I’m not quite sick, I’m definitely not feeling quite well either. I was browsing through Pinterest and spotted a spicy beef noodle soup recipe. I was about to save it when I realized I already had one! So I made that instead.

The beauty of this is that it’s really easy, and quick, as well as being spicy (good for fighting germs), hot (the steam is good for fighting congestion) and comforting on a cold day.  I sort of got this recipe from my online friend Terry. She had posted a “recipe” (no amounts or detailed directions, just the ingredients) for a spicy beef noodle soup that sounded awfully good.

She used red pepper which I didn’t have, as well as a specialty Korean chili sauce (which I also didn’t have). However, cooking is part following what someone else is done, part inspiration, and part improvisation, so I went with improvisation.

I did have cabbage, and I also had leftover steak, sriracha, and chili garlic sauce. I figured those would work just fine for my beef noodle soup.




If you don’t have turkey stock, you could use beef or even chicken if you prefer (see improvisation!). If you want to make your own turkey stock,  the recipe is here.

Either way, once you have the stock, the rest of the soup is really easy to make and only needs a few ingredients.

Start the noodles first, then while they’re cooking, heat the stock in a separate pot and add the other ingredients. Or, you could throw everything (except the steak!) in one pot. If you do, the noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid, so you’ll need more.

Since I had the leftover steak,  I didn’t even have to cook that. If you don’t, cook that while the noodles are cooking, and then add it to the soup at the last minute.

Another thing about this spicy beef noodle soup is that with all that garlicky, spicy goodness it will kill any germs that may be plaguing you!

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Asian

one serving

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Spicy beef noodle soup for one.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried noodles (I used penne, you can use spirals or macaroni, or spaghetti)
  • 2C turkey stock
  • two small cabbage leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 squirts sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • sliced steak (leftover, about 4 oz)

Instructions

  1. Start the water boiling for the noodles in a large saucepan, add salt to taste, then add the noodles, and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes)
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat the turkey stock in a medium saucepan on a low flame
  3. Cut the cabbage in a chiffonade (that means pull of the leaves, stack them on top of each other, roll them into a cylinder and cut slices off, this should make long strips of cabbage)
  4. Add the cabbage to the stock, then the sriracha, and the garlic sauce.
  5. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them, and add them to the soup.
  6. Add the leftover steak (if you don't have leftover, start the steak while the noodles are cooking).

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use roasted gochujang (which is what Terry used)
  • Swap the steak for cooked turkey (especially if you still have turkey to use up), add that at the end, just for a minute to heat up
  • Add sliced red peppers
  • Put in some mushrooms; crimini or other stronger flavored varieties would work best




Tools and Ingredients for Spicy Beef Garlic Soup

Chili Garlic Sauce

I love this stuff. It’s got a stronger kick, and less sugar, than the sriracha, plus the extra heat (and spiciness) from garlic.  It’s great in meatloaf, on eggs, in soup, or in a sauce. Think garlicky salsa.

 


Huy Fong, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 17 Ounce Bottle
If you prefer a hint of sweetness, you might like this instead of the chili garlic sauce (or use them both).  Squeeze it over eggs, into soup, on enchiladas, or burritos.  It’s also good for stir-fry. Think of it as ketchup with a kick.

Get More Small Batch Soup Recipes

Curried Chicken Soup

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Every year after the holidays are over, we all end up with lots of leftover turkey. Lots and lots of it.  I’ve made a lot of the “standard” leftover turkey soup, with potatoes and carrots and broccoli.  This time I wanted something with more zip.  I had some turkey (naturally), some tomatoes, lime, and of course spices, so I decided to go for a south of the border flavor.  So, spicy leftover turkey soup was born.

Ironically, a friend (who translates books from English to Spanish) once told me there are no turkeys in South America, which made her job rather difficult when she had to translate some turkey recipes.

I suppose that makes this not strictly authentic Mexican food.  Authentic or not, the tangy lime, the spicy cayenne, and the cool sour cream make the soup flavorful, rich, and satisfying.



Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

three servings

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

A great way to use up leftover turkey after the holidays. This isn't your usual leftover turkey soup. It's got lime, cayenne, and sour cream for a south of the border flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 T vegetable oil, or enough to cover the bottom of a medium saucepan
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or about a quarter of a large one)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C beans
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 juice lime
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 C water
  • 1/4 turkey carcass (if it's not after Thanksgiving, use a turkey thigh)
    Garnish
  • 1/4C mild shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 T sour cream or Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until slightly softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Once that's softened, add the remaining ingredients (except for the toppings).  Simmer one hour and then remove the turkey carcass.  Let it cool for a minute or two (so you can handle it).  Pick off any remaining meat and discard the bones.
  5. Pour into a bowl and top with sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and cheese.
  6. This makes about three or four servings, depending how hungry you are. Eat one and freeze the rest in individual containers.

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup Substitutions and Variations

Since recipes are often meant to be guidelines, and since we don’t always have the exact ingredients handy, here are some substitutions:

  • If you don’t have a turkey carcass, use turkey thighs, depending on size, one or two should do it.
  • I used navy beans for the soup, you could use white kidney beans or pinto beans
  • Replace the diced tomatoes with 1/2 C peeled tomatoes (and smush them up)
  • Add a handful of frozen corn
  • Top with crumbled tortilla chips, or cut up some tortillas, fry them, and sprinkle them on top of the soup for extra crunch.

More Turkey Recipes

Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe