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.




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 stewEasy Mediterranean Fish Stew

Variations on this stew are popular all over the Mediterranean, as well as in San Francisco.  Make it (and eat it) in half an hour. Or, go up to to the point of adding the fish, freeze the stew, and then finish and eat some other time.

greek fish with lemon and tomatoesGreek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

A quick marinade, and a fast pan-fry produces a delicious dinner in a few minutes.  One bowl, one pan, one meal.

 

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Fish with an Indian flair.  It’s flavored with cumin, garam masala, and just a bit of ginger, all bathed in a creamy yogurt sauce.

 

 pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan Fried Tilapia in Lemon Butter Sauce

A simple lemon-butter sauce, a pinch of mustard, and a sprinkle of rosemary add a lot of flavor without a lot of effort.  Ready in fifteen minutes.

 




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 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

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Ingredients

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.

Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle
Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle

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.


Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle
Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle

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 Noodle and Soup Recipes

 

easy singapore noodles with chickenEasy Singapore Noodles with Chicken for One Person

Got leftovers? This easy, flavorful stir-fry dish with chicken, noodles, and veggies is a great way to use them up.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Another takeout classic, which you can easily make yourself.  Some recipes call for non-standard household ingredients like tahini or sesame paste. Great, but not necessarily available everywhere. But, lots of us have peanut butter! Use that instead. Then slurp up the noodles.

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

This is practically instant soup. Just dump, pour, heat, and eat. The whole thing takes 10 minutes if you have cooked leftover beef.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSzechuan Chili Noodles Recipe

Like dan dan noodles? This version is much simpler, with more readily available ingredients. Make the chili oil, make the noodles, toss in the veggies, and mix it all together.

 




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!



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 thighChili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Lime juice and zest add a sweet, citrusy tang, balanced by the heat of chili garlic sauce, and a hint of honeyed sweetness. Just marinate and bake.

 

spicy stovetop chili recipeSmall Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

This chili packs extra heat.  Spicy, flavorful, and delicious. Sized for one! No giant pot to finish.

 

chili garlic chicken thighChili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Think wings with a lot less fuss and mess. No frying, you just bake it. And only four simple ingredients.

 

 

 




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

I recently found myself craving spicy sesame noodles. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding a ready-made recipe that appealed to me. One recipe was too sweet, another was too bland.  Yet a third called for ingredients I didn’t have at hand, like tahini and sesame paste. While those would be good, I dislike buying an entire jar/package/bottle of something just for one recipe. It did give me the idea to include some ginger, which I liked. Besides, I wanted spicy sesame noodles right then and there, not several hours or days in the future!

So, I combined and improvised.  And, of course, cut down the recipes from eight or four people to just one serving.

I also didn’t have long  rice noodles, only linguine, so I used that.  If you use rice noodles, follow the directions on the package to cook them.  There are instructions in the recipe for both.  If you only have linguine (or even short pasta) use that and don’t worry about it.

So, instead of a ready-made recipe, I ended up with my own twist. But, I’m happy to say it turned out really well.

A bit of a warning about this recipe. As is, it’s really spicy, since that chili garlic sauce packs a punch, so if you prefer a milder version, leave it out.

It’s great for a hot summer day, as it requires only that you cook the noodles, and nothing else. Just chop, mix, arrange in a bowl, and eat.

 




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person Substitutions and Variations

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

More Spicy Noodle Recipes

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Exactly one serving of hot, spicy soothing soup. And it only takes a few minutes to prepare too.  You don’t have to simmer it for hours.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSchezuan Chili Noodles

Think Dan Dan noodles, but faster and easier.  You only need a few ingredients, and you don’t have to order out either.

 

easy singapore noodles with chickenEasy Singapore Noodles with Chicken for One Person

Nobody knows how this got its name. It’s not really from Singapore. But, it is crunchy, slightly spicy, warm, and delicious. Also a good way to clean out the fridge.

 

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Infused with garlic, chili, and just a touch of sweetness, this is a wonderful, quick soup that’s perfect for a cool fall day.

 




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).




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

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

Quick, and pantry friendly too. This dish requires only a few fresh ingredients, and some spices. It’s got plenty of flavor though, from onions, garam masala, and cumin.

 

chicken with mushrooms and tarragonChicken with Mushrooms and Tarragon

Delicious French food without going out (or getting a big bill at the end). Only takes one pot and about thirty minutes to make.


homemade chicken shawarma
Homemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce

Can’t go to your favorite Mediterranean takeout place? Make your own. No fancy equipment needed. You can make it right in your oven.

 

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Delight your taste buds and clear your allergy head with this crispy, sweet, and spicy chicken recipe. And it’s pantry-friendly too.

 

 




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 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

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.

More Small Batch Soup Recipes

curried chicken soupCurried Chicken Soup

A delicious, low-effort soup that cuts through congestion and fights germs. Cut up some vegetables, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer.

 

mushroom barley soupMushroom Barley Soup Small Batch for One Person

Comfort food like my grandma used to make.  Rich, hearty, and delicious. Cooked slowly to bring out the full flavor.

 

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

This soup is fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, and a hint of sweetness from honey.  Nutritious too (lots of cabbage, noodles, and chicken).

 

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked.  Just pour in the ingredients, and let it cook. Nothing fancy, and it’s all done in one pot.

 




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 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 enchiladaCranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

A delicious way to use up holiday leftovers and transform the flavors.  This is sweet, spicy, and tangy too.

 

sweet and sour jelly turkey meatballsSweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

Remember those jelly meatballs you had as a kid? They’ve now grown up and gotten more complex.  Less sweet, more spicy.

 

easy leftover turkey soupEasy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

The classic leftover turkey soup, chock-full of potatoes, carrots, and (shhh) frozen veggies. Why chop if you don’t have to?

 

turkey pot pie for one personTurkey Pot Pie for One Person

Tender turkey, sweet peas and carrots all wrapped in a flaky all-butter crust. Make the crust (as I did) or buy one. It’s all good.