Korean BBQ Steak Salad

I am on a serious Asian flavour kick lately.  With the sticky hot weather it is great to be able to lean on all the flavours but not be heavy.  It also helps me from getting thoroughly sick of salads!  But even with air conditioning, the suffocating heat and humidity the idea of pasta and such doesn’t appeal.

I had made this dish a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner and I knew our kids would love it so now that camp is over it was time to make it again.  Their summer adventures are over and school starts next week so we’re getting back into routine again.  Our daughter is applying to universities and our son has four more years left before he flies the coop.  It goes by so fast.

I have a Williams – Sonoma cookery book simply called Asian.  A lot of thought went into that, obviously.  I adapted it based on the ingredients I had on hand.

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I made the dipping sauce/dressing and the marinade at the same time.  I did this several hours prior to grilling.  We’re still working on our bedroom so I knew I also wanted a quick dinner where I do most of the work before we exhausted ourselves painting and installing flooring.

Now I’ve tried the technique that the book mentions twice but without success but I’ll go over it and then just say not to stress or worry about it because you will still get the flavours needed.  They say to make a paste of sugar and garlic with the back of your knife.  I’ve seen it be successful on shows but for the life of me I couldn’t get it to do as it was supposed to.

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Chop up 4-5 cloves of garlic and add a tablespoon of brown sugar.  Attempt to make it into a paste.  Swear a bit then say to the hell with it and add 2/3 of it to one bowl and the rest to a smaller bowl.

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Add 6 tablespoons of soy sauce in the larger bowl and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce in the smaller bowl.  A tablespoon of sesame oil in the large and a couple of teaspoons of the oil in the smaller.  A tablespoon of rice vinegar in each bowl.  A small handful of sliced scallions in each along with a tablespoon of water.   In the larger bowl grate an inch/2.5cm cube of fresh ginger.  Add a dollop or two of the Gochujang paste to the dipping sauce.

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Mix both well.  Set aside the dipping sauce for later.  I had a pound of steak tips so I cubed them to be about 2in/5cm in size.  Toss the meat in the marinade, make sure the meat is well coated and covered.

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Cover and chill until it’s time to grill.

Fire up the grill and put the meat onto skewers.

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Grill it until the desired doneness.  We prefer medium rare for our beef.

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Once it’s done, add it to the salad and use the dipping sauce as a dressing.

Korean BBQ 9 2018It is also great as part of an Asian tapas night or over rice.  But for now we’re keeping it light until the cooler weather finally arrives.  Hopefully that comes soon!

 

Pineapple Asian Chicken

I have a little vent before I get to my recipe.  Thursdays are my grocery shop day and I headed to our co-op.  They leave water out for the dogs which is great on hot days like this but the whole front is covered by concrete which gets quite hot.  When I pulled in I could hear a dog whinging.  There was a small dog tied up outside on the hot concrete.  It kept lifting its paws.  I took out one of my cloth bags and laid it down and the pup immediately sat down on it.  I sat on the bench to wait for the owner so the dog could keep it’s paws off the concrete.

I only waited a couple of minutes before the owner came out.  She was not happy with me at all!  I said the dog’s paws were too hot because of the concrete and she very dismissively said the dog was fine.  I didn’t leave right away and said if a dog keeps trying to lift all their paws, they aren’t all right.  She was a bit shirty with me but I didn’t care and then she noticed the cloth bag and asked if it was mine and tossed it to me.  Honestly, while I would never tie my dog outside somewhere, if I did and someone said the pup was distressed I wouldn’t be bitchy about it!  I really don’t understand people.

I hope I got my point across!

Last week while we were running errands I got peckish and grabbed some turkey jerky.  A very strange texture but the flavour was really good so I made note of the ingredients as I thought it would make a great marinade for some chicken wings I needed to use up.

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Now I don’t get anything for “promoting” the ingredients in the picture, they just happen to be what we like to buy and use.  In a bowl or container add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Finely chop 2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on their size, and grate 1in/2.5cm cube of fresh ginger.

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Whisk until the ingredients are well blended.  Taste and adjust the flavours as you like.  Toss the chicken wings to coat well.

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Marinate for at least an hour, I marinated for most of the day.  When it was time for dinner I fired up the grill and prepped the ingredients.  Out I go to grill the wings and find we ran out of gas.  Thank goodness for the stove top griddle so I got that heated up and began to grill the wings.

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I also grilled some mushrooms and jalapeño as sides to the salad.  It’s much easier on the grill as the wings are surrounded by the heat.  When it is stovetop you have to keep turning and making sure nothing catches while you are trying to get it cooked through.

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Serve on top of a salad and enjoy.  A very easy meal to throw together if you have a crazy busy day.  🙂

Spicy Pork in Lettuce

When the kids are away the parents will play.  While the kids were off having the time of their life at camp we thought it would be fun to have friends over for dinner.  I was still going through the withdrawal from the fibro meds so food had to be simple.  I was a hot mess and a few days before I couldn’t really get out of bed so my husband was questioning my sanity.  I won’t go into detail on how often he does that.  😉

I was in the mood to do Asian tapas.  I did up chicken satay, Korean BBQ steak, some spring rolls and spicy pork in lettuce.  If you can find the type of lettuce that gives you small cups go for that.  I couldn’t so had to use Romaine lettuce.

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I chopped up a healthy handful of scallions and 2 garlic cloves.  Peel an inch/2.5cm cube of ginger and set aside.  In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and heat up.  Once the oil is hot add a pound of ground pork.  As it starts browning add the scallion, garlic and grate the ginger into the skillet

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Add a few tablespoons of Gochujang, which is a fermented hot chili paste, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and a few splashes of lime juice.  Simmer to allow the flavours to develop.

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Adjust the spicy heat as needed.  If you want more, add more Gochujang or red pepper flakes.  Season with fresh ground black pepper.  You shouldn’t need salt given the other ingredients.

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As I was finishing this dish our friends showed up so it was a quick photo so not to be rude.  Plus I had to make the Mai Tais.  First time making them and we’re totally hooked. Such a good drink to go with Asian tapas.  🙂

Using the Carrot and Keeping Things Positive

Yesterday was a much needed day for so many people.  There has been so much rhetoric and hatred that seemed to have been winning out and leaving a lot of us feeling adrift and shocked.  But yesterday was an historic day.  It was a day that millions across the world stood up peacefully and said we don’t accept that.  The reports today are estimating that nearly 3 million in the US alone showed up which made it the most represented protest in US history.

I know it was called the Women’s March but it was inspiring to see that men and children joined in as well and that we are standing up together and rejecting the hate, rejecting the notion that we are going to be dragged backwards.  I’m afraid we will for awhile but I hope that we will not be silenced and we will fight to move our rights forward for all.

In our little town we had a turnout of about 500 people.  It was fabulous, though as I looked round you could see people of my parent’s generation and all I could think was that they must be so irritated they have to march for this again.  Signs around the world definitely bore this out.

Here are some of my photos of yesterday to share with you.

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I think if we can keep this positivity and using the carrot instead of the stick we can do so much.  Well, except voting.  That’s going to be a very big stick.

In the middle of tax season starting and standing up for ourselves I am finding time here and there to be creative in the kitchen.  Not as much as I’d like but it’s that time of the year!

We had great success with the carrots in the garden.  They came out massive but very sweet and tender.  There was the last large one to use up and because the kids love soup this time of the year I made a carrot ginger soup.  There are a lot of recipes out there with orange juice but that would that would make this soup super sweet so I went the savory route.

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In a saucepan heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Chop up about half a red onion.  You want to end up with a 1/2 cup/4oz or so.  Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves.  Begin to saute while you cube the carrot.  Obviously if you don’t have a massive carrot, cube 4-6 of them depending on size.  Add the carrot to the saucepan.

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Add enough chicken stock to cover the carrots and bring to a simmer. Grate fresh ginger into the pan. I did about an inch/2.5cm square. Then add a small handful of fresh tarragon.

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I seasoned this with sea salt and pepper.  I wanted a little kick to this so I added a bit of red pepper flakes.  Once the carrots are cooked through puree and add back onto the heat.  Add a cup of cream and slowing heat that through.

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Add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy with your favourite bread.

I sincerely hope that yesterday is the beginning of hope and positivity where we find our strength to stand up against the drumming of fear.

 

Be Thankful

I’m not sure if my kids were looking forward to Thanksgiving because of the family day or because I’ve been saying for months “once it’s done you can play Christmas music.”  🙂

Pretty sure it’s both! They had the day before off from school so they spent time making Thanksgiving decorations.  I love that they still get into stuff like this.  But what I really love is that they get the real meaning of the holidays.

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My daughter put this up in our dining room and it just warmed my heart.

Of course after Thanksgiving we are faced with what to do with the leftover turkey!   We did end up with less that I thought we would because of a mix-up with the order at the co-op.  I had ordered a 15lb turkey that would come from a local farm that employs and takes care of homeless vets and vets with head trauma.  So it was a win-win for us.

However, I got a message the day before picking it up from the co-op saying the turkeys came in “a bit small”.  I called back asking how small?  8lbs!  I’m sorry, that’s not a bit small!  That’s half the size!  Fortunately they had other options.

But back to the leftover turkey!

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After the usual having the turkey meal a couple of times and turkey sandwiches we floated a few ideas for dinner and the family consensus was to have a curry.  You would think we’d get sick of curry but there are so many variations and it seemed like a fun idea.

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I was in the mood for a Thai influence.  Because the turkey is already cooked, this is a very quick dish to throw together.  Which is what I needed because we were still working on redoing the room.

In a skillet heat up a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil.  Finely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic and a couple of scallions.

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Saute for a few minutes and add a couple of sliced mushrooms.  Then mix in a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and about 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.  Dice up a red pepper and grate about an inch square piece of fresh ginger.  Add to the skillet.

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Near the end of cooking add the turkey.  Finish with about 40z of coconut milk, a splash of lime juice, a tablespoon of red curry paste, and a few dashes of red pepper flakes.

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My husband made up his naan.  Sometimes I think I just make curry so I can get that naan!

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And because it was officially after Thanksgiving we enjoyed this watching a Christmas movie.  Let’s just say the kids are very excited about this season.  🙂

 

Mushroom Curry and I’m Getting Too Old for This!

As I sit here and write this post, I ache from the neck down.  Why?  Because my husband and I seem to really like saving money by doing house projects ourselves.  By last night we were seriously questioning our sanity.  Our current project is redoing our lounge.  We are hiring someone to do the drywall and mudding.  So maybe we’re finally learning.  Maybe.

But for three days this weekend we brought back the room to the studs. God the mess!  It gets everywhere despite our best efforts of blocking off the room.  Let’s just say me climbing in and out of the window is not the most graceful thing to behold.  But I can’t wait for the room to be finished so it’s worth the effort.

As you can imagine, not a lot of cooking happened.  No energy!  But this is a curry I made a few weeks ago when my in-laws were visiting.  This is a great dish for those that don’t eat meat.  It is also very easy to make on those busy nights.

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I made this on the mild side but you can easily turn up the heat with more chilis.  Again I used my “Best-ever Curry Cookbook” but as you know I changed it up.  Primarily because of the ingredients I had on hand.  In a skillet heat up a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Add about half an onion chopped and cook for a few minutes to soften.  Add 4 cardamon pods, 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric, 1 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of coriander, 1/2 tsp of garam masala, and a few pinches of black pepper.

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Chop up 2 garlic cloves and one chili, cook for a few minutes.  If you want this on the mild side remove the white and seeds from the pepper.  Add about 10oz of chopped tomatoes.  Season with salt and grate a 1 in/2.5 cm sq piece of fresh ginger.  Bring it to a simmer.  Half or quarter (depending on the size) of about 12 oz of mushrooms.  I used white button mushrooms.

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We also had this with the peshwari naan my husband made.

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This was a lovely warming curry.  My MIL, who isn’t the biggest fan of curry, really enjoyed it.  🙂

Chicken Dopiaza

It is amazing how fast a month can fly by with family visiting.  It was a great time but we’re now back to reality with getting the garden cleaned up before the snow comes.  Which doesn’t look like it will be long now for snow.  Higher towns around us got snow last night though for us it has just been bucketing rain.  This week we had the wind show up on time to shake the trees free of their leaves.

Autumn wasn’t as spectacular as it can be but it was lovely to see the colours, fortunately my in-laws were here for the short peak.  They got some really nice pictures to bring back home.

We’ve started a sort of a tradition of when we are all together we do a curry night.   I do two, one spicy and one on the mild side for my MIL.  This dish was definitely spicy but with loads of flavour.  I used the recipe for Chicken Dopiaza from “The Best Ever Curry Cookbook”but I changed it a bit.  One I was restricted with some ingredients and two I wanted this to use as few dishes as possible.  Especially since I was doing two curries!

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This would probably be a great dish for a cold given how much onion it calls for.  And ginger!  A cure for sure.  In a skillet heat up vegetable oil and add 8 cardamon pods, 2 bay leaves, and 2-3 chilis, chopped.   If you want this dish to be milder (crazy I know!) use less chilis and/or remove the seeds.

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Chop two small onions and add to the skillet.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.  Cube about a pound of chicken breast and add to the skillet. While the chicken is cooking grate a piece of fresh ginger which is about 1″sq/2.5cmsq.

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Then comes the fun part, adding all the fabulous spices!  Add 1 tsp of ground coriander, chili powder, and ground cumin.  Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric, ground pepper, and sea salt.  Add a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.  Adjust the seasoning as needed.  If you want it even spicier add more chili powder.

The recipe calls for 8 small onions.  I bought 5 cipollini onions and quartered them.  Add them to the skillet and cook through.

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My FIL requested peshwari naan for curry night.  My husband looked up the recipe and made some.  I was a bit worried, given the stuffing, how it would pair but it worked really well.

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This had quite the kick to it.  One by one our eyes started watering.  But the heat didn’t overwhelm the flavour of the dish.  Like I said, possible cold cure!

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

As anyone with a garden knows, you have some great successes and some disappointing failures.  Up until this year we have done really well with rhubarb.  This year they are very anemic.  We were able to freeze a few stalks but to do this jam I had to make a trip to the co-op to get more rhubarb.

When I made the Victorian Sponge in England this year I used my MIL’s rhubarb ginger jam.  It was absolutely delicious.  I couldn’t wait for rhubarb season.  Didn’t realise it wasn’t worth the wait.  So we will have to figure that out for next year.

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I had about 6 stalks.  Slice the rhubarb and add it to a saucepan.  Add about a 1/4 cup of water and a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Bring it to a simmer.  I wasn’t sure how much ginger I should use so I started with a piece about 1 1/2in/4cm by 1in/2.5cm.  Grate into the sauce pan.

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As the rhubarb starts breaking down start adding brown sugar.  To get the right balance with the heat of the ginger, the tartness of rhubarb, and the sweetness of the sugar, you need a lot of sugar.  I used about a cup and a half for this.  But add the sugar a bit at a time until the balance is right.  The heat and tartness of the ingredients will be different each time.  Simmer until the jam begins to thicken.

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This isn’t lasting long.  By the time the weekend was over there was just enough left to process one jar.  Guess I’ll be going back to the co-op!

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

Spring seems to be back!  The air is fresh and the days are beautiful.  I hope it lasts awhile.  I wasn’t ready for summer and the sticky heat.  It was lovely being in the garden yesterday getting in the last of the tomatoes.  If only we can get rid of the rabbits.  They are back!  Which means putting more bloodmeal down around the veg so they stay away.

Because it was so cool I took the opportunity to make a warming dish while I still had the chance.  My first Moroccan meal, years ago, was a dish similar to this.  We ate it with our hands round a coffee table, sitting on the floor, in the traditional way.  It was delicious.

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Heat up several tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Season chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper on both sides.  Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.  Brown both sides of the thighs then transfer to the oven to cook through.

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In the skillet cook about 1/2 -3/4 cup of chopped onions and 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped until the onions have softened.  Add a few sliced mushrooms.

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Add a cup of chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  I didn’t have any fresh ginger (forgot to put it on the list!) so I used ground ginger.   Start with a 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1-2 teaspoons of ground tumeric, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1-2 teaspoons of paprika.  Allow to simmer for a bit.  Taste the broth and adjust the spices as needed.  At this point I added more tumeric and paprika.  Everyone’s tastebuds are different.  Moroccan chicken 4 2016

Dice up half of a red pepper, a great colour to go along with the tumeric, and add the pepper and the chicken to the broth and simmer for a few minutes.  While this had been cooking I cooked up the couscous according to the instructions on the package.

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Layer the ingredients and serve.  Make sure you put enough of the broth on the couscous as couscous can be a bit dry.  Which isn’t good for a nice meal!

Beef Vindaloo to Welcome my Husband Home

You know, Christmas comes the same time every year.  Yet every year I find myself in full scramble to get it all done.  I swear I will start in September.  Unfortunately good intentions are not a guarantee!

I should finish the gifts I’m making today and get everything wrapped and under the tree.  Then there is the dump run and grocery shopping.  But I should have plenty of time tomorrow to decorate the Christmas cake.

My husband had to do a business trip last week.  Luckily it was only four days rather than the two weeks last December but I still wanted to make a nice home cooked dinner for him.

I was in the mood for curry and thought I’d try beef vindaloo.  Beef you say?  There are areas in West India that have Muslim and Christian communities that eat beef and add in the fabulous flavours you find in India, amazing dishes happen.

Vindaloo has it’s roots in Portugal and was originally based in wine and garlic but gradually evolved to have vinegar instead of wine.  When a lot of people hear vindaloo they think off the charts for spicy food but that isn’t always the case.  I didn’t make this crazy spicy but you can if you add more hot pepper.

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I adapted a recipe from the Best-Ever Curry cookbook.  I used ground cumin instead of the seeds and I could have sworn we had fenugreek but nope so I had to leave that out.  The recipe did call for a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.  To be honest I didn’t miss it.

In a spice grinder, grind up 3-4 chili peppers or hot peppers of your choice, 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn, 5 green cardamon pods, and 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds.

In a small bowl add the spice mix, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 4 tablespoons of white vinegar.

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Set that aside.  Chop up a large red onion and saute in olive oil until softened.

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In a food processor add the onions and spice mix.  Process until it is a paste.  In the skillet add a bit more oil and start browning stewing beef.  I used just under a pound.  The recipe called for two pounds.  As it is browning, finely chop a couple of garlic and grate a piece of ginger about 1-2 inches square/3-4 cm square.

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Cook for a couple of minutes then add the onion spice paste.  In addition to that add a scant tablespoon of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, and 1/2 a teaspoon of ground tumeric.

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Stir well then add 300ml/1 1/4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.  Cook for at least an hour.  You want the sauce reduced and the meat tender.  My husband made naan to dip into this curry.

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I was a bit worried because there was only enough for about 1/2 a cup a serving for the four of us.  But with the naan we were stuffed.  I love that our kids love the spicy flavours, they really liked this.