Hi Folks, it’s Nik from A Brown Table. I’ve recently launched my first supper club series, #ABTSUPPERS as a way for me to share my food and story with people. Cooking and eating have been my favorite tools to share my culture and experiences as an immigrant with family and friends over the years; it’s what inspired me to start my blog and share my story through food. The supper club is also a way for me to celebrate the diversity of the rich and colorful fabric of this country with people.
I wanted a more relaxed and casual feeling for the supper club, one where my guests could come eat, drink, have fun, and relax. Entertaining in outside spaces has its own special charm and, as the weather warms up and the plants start to bloom, it made for the perfect backdrop. The table setting included items that were simple, yet elegant. I love simplicity in design and that is exactly how I wanted my table to look, from the clear glasses to serve water and wine to the accompanying linen napkins.
This first supper club was centered around using coconut as a common ingredient in each dish, using recipes that I had grown up with at home and some that I had reinterpreted as an immigrant. Some items on the menu were traditional, while others less so. For example, the Cafreal sauce that is traditionally used to flavor chicken underwent a transformation. I took the recipe and ingredients apart and re-imagined it as an herb sauce to accompany my beet and bean crostini using coconut vinegar. The other dishes on the menu use coconut in some form or another to add flavor and texture. The chicken stew made with grated coconut is a dish that carries the perfect balance of heat, spice, and aroma along with wedges of deep fried potatoes that was served with a pilaf scented with coconut oil, cardamom and cloves. To end the meal, a semolina cake made with five different forms of coconut that included the sugar, the cream, the oil, the milk, and the meat, all folded together and then baked and served with a side of sweetened chilled milk infused with cardamom. Though every bite at the dinner table celebrated coconut as the key ingredient in the menu, it also acted as a window of sorts, one that helped to present the idea that as immigrants we are part of the rich fabric of society.
NOTE: The Halcyon Sauvignon Blanc was provided by the Coachman Hotel. Cookware for the event was provided by Staub USA and table settings by west elm. Guests provided voluntary contributions that were donated to the ACLU.
Roasted golden beet and cannellini bean crostini with cafreal sauce
Makes 12 servings
Beet and cannellini bean topping
6 large golden beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cans cannellini beans, drained
1 cup crumbled fresh feta
1 bunch fresh dill
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 425F. Rinse and scrub the beets under running cold tap water. Then peel and dice them into cubes. Transfer the beets to a roasting pan and toss with the olive oil, chile flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring the contents of the pan every 10 minutes until the beets are tender and just about to start browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the beets have cooled, fold in the beans, feta and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
2 serrano peppers
1 inch piece peeled ginger root
1 bunch fresh cilantro
4 black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
0.5 – inch piece cinnamon stick
seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
2 tablespoons coconut vinegar
salt to taste
Place all the ingredients from the serrano peppers to vinegar in a blender and pulse until you get a smooth paste. Add a little cool tap water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.
4 sourdough or whole-grain baguettes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon salt flakes to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the baguette into ¼ inch thick slices. Brush with olive oil and arrange on about four baking sheets. Toast the bread slices for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
To assemble crostini, place 1 to 1 ½ generous tablespoons of the beet and bean filling on a toasted slice of the baguette. Drizzle with a teaspoon or two of the sauce and serve immediately.
Chicken coconut stew
Makes 12 servings
1 cup shredded coconut (fresh or unsweetened desiccated)
6 to 8 Kashmiri chilies (reduce if you want it less hot)
6 garlic cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
6 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon turmeric
seeds from 3 green cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
2 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
6lbs boneless and skinless chicken
1 cup diced white onion
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
6 large russet potatoes
salt and pepper as needed
Place all the ingredients from the coconut to the tomatoes in a blender and pulse until you get a smooth paste. Add tap water as needed to allow the ingredients to move in the blender. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan with a lid on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes until they turn translucent. Then add the chicken pieces and brown them on each side which should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the ground ingredients from the blender and stir, cook for another 4 minutes. Then add enough tap water to cover the chicken and bring the contents of the saucepan to a rolling boil on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally and cook for about 60 to 90 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked and tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the potatoes. Rinse the potatoes under cold tap water and then peel them. Quarter the potatoes and let them sit in an ice-cold water bath to prevent them for browning. Heat enough oil in a medium-size cast-iron pan or Dutch oven on high heat. Once the oil is hot, take a few potato quarters and dab them dry with a clean kitchen towel, deep fry them in the hot oil until they turn golden brown and transfer them to a tray lined with parchment paper to absorb any excess oil. Fry the potatoes in batches. Season with a little salt. Once the chicken is cooked, add the potatoes to the chicken stew and serve the stew hot.
Coconut, Clove and Cardamom Scented Pilaf
Makes 12 servings
3 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil [or vegetable oil}
3 to 4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods, cracked
6 cups water
Clean the rice for any dirt and stones. Rinse the rice under cold running tap water in a fine mesh sieve until the water is no longer cloudy. Soak the rice for one hour in water.
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid on medium-high heat. Add the cloves and cardamom to the hot oil and stir for about 30 to 45 seconds. Drain the rice and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the water and increase the heat to high and bring the contents to a rolling boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the rice until all the water has evaporated and the rice is completely cooked. Remove from heat and cover the saucepan with the lid. Serve the rice hot or warm.
Makes 12 servings
4 cups semolina flour [fine grade]
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups coconut sugar
1 cup sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
8 tablespoons unsalted butter plus a little extra to grease the pan
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 can full – fat coconut milk
¼ cup cream of coconut
1 ½ teaspoons rosewater
1 cup unsweetened desiccated shredded coconut plus extra to garnish the cake
4 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
4 green cardamom pods
Grease and line a 12 X 9 – inch rectangular baking pan with butter and parchment paper cut to size.
In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the semolina, baking powder, and salt. Keep aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the sugars, oil, butter and eggs on medium-high speed for about 3 to 4 minutes until pale yellow and creamy. On medium-low speed whisk in half of the dry ingredients until combined, then add the coconut milk, cream and rosewater and mix for 40 seconds. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and the desiccated coconut and whisk until there are no visible flecks of the dry ingredients. Transfer this mixture to the prepared baking pan and wrap with parchment paper. Allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight and bake at 350F for 1 hour until the cake is golden brown and firm in the center. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack, then cut the cooled cake into 12 equal rectangles.
To prepare the milk, crack the cardamom and transfer it to a medium-size saucepan. Add the milk and sugar and heat on medium-low until the liquid simmers and just starts to boil. Cover with a lid and allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Remove and discard the green cardamom pods.
To serve, place a piece of cake in a serving bowl. Pour as much of the chilled milk as needed. Garnish cake with a little toasted coconut.