Posted by: vlibrizzi | April 21, 2009

French chefs

I learned a few months ago that the word “chef” in French means “boss.” And, for a country whose cuisine is so wonderful, and for a people who take great pride in their food, it’s no wonder that the word for a person who runs a kitchen is the same word for one’s direct superior. 

C. even pointed out to me that for those restaurants which are given stars in the Michelin Guide (a true accomplishment), the guide writes the name of the restaurant as well as the name of the chef before writing it’s brief review. To the French, the restaurant’s ambience only plays second fiddle to the man or woman working in the kitchen.

And, I kinda like that. 


So, in my own neverending quest to learn how to cook French food, I met with some friends last night for our weekly cooking club to make three famous French dishes, instructed by our “chef”, a French friend who likes to make these dishes all the time. The three things we made were:

* Poulet Basquaise — a pan-fried chicken dish with white wine, red, green, and yellow onions, garlic, and onions. 

*Gratin Dauphinois — a potato gratin dish with creme anglais and emmenthal cheese 

* Financiers — small cakes made with almond powder, vanill extract, a lot of sugar, butter, and flour, and egg whites

I’m sure you could find recipes for all of these dishes online. And if you do, please consider making them. They’re quite easy to make and taste wonderful! 

Here are some photos of our cooking session last night, and below the photos, you can find the recipes for the two Pakistani dishes I made with our cooking club last week: 







































Also, for those of you who would like to try to make some of the Pakistani food that I made with the cooking club last week, here are the recipes for the two things we made: Chicken Karahi and Dal. 

Chicken Karahi
1 whole chicken (medium chicken, generally we cut it in 16 pieces)
1 cup oil
1 Large Onion (finely chopped up)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder (generally i use 2 tablespoon chilli powder, but that gets pretty spicy)
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 tablespoon ginger
1/2 kg tomatoes
2 green chillies (finely chopped up- we used 1 green chilli the other day)
2 tablespoons coriander (chopped up)
2 tablespoons lemon
2 tablespoons Qasuri methi
1. Take a wok, heat 1 cup oil. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown.
2. Add chicken, fry until chicken gets golden.
3. Add the spices; salt, chilli powder, tumeric powder. And add ginger. Mix everything together. Add tomatoes, and mix again.
4. You are going to cook the chicken on medium-medium high heat until the chicken is done. You will need to keep stirring and make sure the chicken does not get burned. When you notice the oil seperating from the mixture, that is generally when the dish is cooked.
5. Add: green chillies, lemon, coriander and Qasuri Mehi. Mix, and take off the heat. It is now ready to serve:)!
1 cup masoor (I have no clue what you call this in English) daal
2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
2 green chillies (finely chopped)
2 tablespoon corainder (finely chopped)
1. Heat the butter in a cooking pan. Add garlic and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to pop, add the spices: salt, chilli powder and tumeric powder. Mix everything for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, mix. Crush the tomatoes with the cooking spoon for 5 or so minutes. Add the daal. Mix for a minute or so. Add two cups of water, mix and cook on medium heat.
3. You will notice that the water evaporates, now add another cup of water and mix again.
4. When the water evaporates again, add another cup of water. Cook until we reach the consistency as discussed during our meeting.
5. Now add the green chillies and coriander, lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes or so. After which it should be ready to serve.
Bon Appetit!!!


  1. YUM! (of course, i would love this post…) i am going to come visit you when you get back and request that you cook me all these yummy dishes!

    might be wrong, but i think masoor dal = red lentils?

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