Thursday, February 14, 2019

Easy Vegetable Korma With Coconut Milk (Vegetable Curry South Indian Style)

Easy Veg Korma 
Easy Vegetable Korma With Coconut Milk is a mild, naturally sweet curry that can be tweaked with an extra chile or another pinch or two of cayenne to give a bit more kick. This is a redo of a recipe from a friend (not sure of the origins of the original recipe); by the time I was done with the changes, it turned out absolutely scrumptious! 

This Veg Korma is a hearty curry and maybe served as a stew on its own or over your favorite hot cooked grains, with breads, etc. It maybe accompanied with a dal, salad, etc also if desired.

There are no added fats other than what is in the coconut milk; light coconut milk maybe used if preferred. 

Notes:

Other veggies maybe used to make Veg Korma. Use brown, yellow, or white skinned onions for this dish.

For best flavor, I usually grind the coriander and cumin seeds rather than use the store-brought ground spices.

Coring the chiles makes for a mild stew; if a spicy curry is desired, include the core and/or add more chiles.

If using canned chickpeas, chickpeas, drain and rinse before adding to the Korma.

Ingredients:

1 large Onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeño/Serrano Chile, cored and minced
1 one-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated 
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp ground Coriander seeds
2 tsp ground Cumin seeds
1-2 pinch Cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
1 1/2 cups water
1 can Coconut Milk
2-3 pieces of 1-inch Cinnamon sticks
2 Stems fresh Curry Leaves
Sea Salt
2 large Carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick chunks
2 cups freshly cooked Chickpeas OR One 15-1/2-oz. can
1 small cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets (about 4 cups)
4-5 Sweet Potatoes, cut into chunks (about 1 lb)
2 medium tomatoes, diced medium
1 -2 cups freshly shelled Peas
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

Nuts/Seeds for garnish
Hot cooked Grains/Breads for serving

Method:

In a 5-6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, cook the onion with a pinch of salt over medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until beginning to color and caramelize, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle a little water as necessary to keep the onion from burning. 

Add the chile, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until they soften. 

While the onion mixture is cooking, heat a small pan and add the cumin seeds; stir and shake until they start to puff and pop a bit and become fragrant, about 30 seconds or so. Add the ground coriander, cumin, and cayenne; stir for a few seconds to toast the spices. Tip the spices into the onion mixture.

Add the water, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, and 1 tsp salt to the pot; bring to a boil. 

Stir in carrots along with the curry leaves and continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, bring back to a boil, and place the cauliflower and chickpeas on top. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes or so. 

Stir in the tomatoes and peas along with the curry leaves and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add a little boiling water if the Korma is too thick. Remove from heat.

Allow Korma/curry to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Stir in cilantro. Taste and correct seasonings; add a little salt and/or cayenne if needed.

Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.

Serve hot garnished with nuts/seeds if you wish.

Enjoy!!

Easy Veg Korma

Friday, January 25, 2019

Simply Savory Oatmeal (Oats with Turmeric, Pepper, & Cumin)

A bowl of  warm Simply Savory Oatmeal is delicious and satisfying to dig into any morning/time! I often enjoy a bowl of savory oats with lots of veggies and beans stirred in for dinner too. It is just like the Oats Kanji with the addition of spices. You can of course make this into overnight oats by preparing everything the night before but cook it. In the morning (or anytime really) pop it in the microwave, in a pan, or pressure cooker for a fabulous and delightful breakfast! Try it and see for yourself.

I typically use gluten-free rolled oats; they cook fast and don't need much planning. If you prefer to use steel-cut oats, see the Notes below for directions.

Notes: Steel-cut oats will require more time to cook but is quite delicious prepared this way; allow about 30-40 minutes for cooking in a regular pan or pressure cook to reduce the time considerably. Cook steel-cut oats with the salt and spices according to the package directions. The oats maybe prepared ahead up to this point, reserved in the fridge, and reheated as necessary. Stir in cooked veggies and/or beans if desired. Serve warm/hot with your favorite toppings and sides.

1-2 Servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Water
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Freshly ground Cumin Seeds

Optional Add-ins

1/2 - 1 cup Diced Veggies: Carrots, green beans, Peas, Asparagus, etc.
1/2 - 1 cup cooked Beans of choice

Optional Toppings

Toasted Nuts: Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts, etc
Toasted Seeds: Hemp, Sesame, Sunflower, Pepitas, etc
Nut Butters
Non-dairy Yogurt

Optional Sides

Toasted Papadams
Vegetarian Kimchi
Achards des Legumes
Indian Mango/Lemon Pickles

Method:

Bring the water to a boil in a 2 quart/liter pan.

If using fresh veggies, add them now and return water to a boil.

Stir in the oats with salt and spices; cook stirring often until oats are soft, about 5 minutes. Or alternately, after returning the mixture to a good rolling boil, turn off heat, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.

If the oats are soaked overnight, heat the oats until hot. Stir in the cooked veggies and beans if using.

Serve warm/hot with your favorite toppings and sides.

Enjoy!!


Thursday, January 24, 2019

No Cook Confections - Quick & Easy Date-Almond, Cashew-Coconut, & Date-Walnut Bites

Happy New Year everyone! I wanted to start the New Year with a sweet, healthy option for satisfying the craving for a little sweet something.

These quick and easy Date Bites are delicious little confections for those times when you want something sweet but healthy.  Although similar to the digestive Masala Date Bites, these confections are exactly that - simply little confections to satisfy a sweet tooth! - so use only a smidgen of spices. They really are very easy as well as quick and take only about 10 minutes to make plus chilling time.

Date Bites store well in the fridge; if longer storage is needed, they freeze well also.

NOTES:

If the dates are soft and moist, use them straight up. If they are on the dry side, sprinkle with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of warm water, let them soak for 10 minutes or so until the dates are soft, then proceed.

Chill the date mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Chilling helps to firm it up and form into bites. Moistening the hands with a sprinkle of water will help prevent sticking.

Alternative to rolling into balls, the date mixture maybe pressed into a pan lined with parchment, chilled until firm, and cut into little squares, about 24.


The date bites maybe rolled in Cocoa Powder, Matcha (Green Tea) powder, toasted Sesame seeds, other ground Nuts, etc which are other lovely options.

About 24 Bites

Date Almond Bites

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Almonds, raw or toasted
1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon/1 tsp ground Cardamom seeds
1 cup Dates, pitted
1/4 cup Finely chopped Pistachios, Hemp seeds, OR Finely chopped Almonds

Method:

Process the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped; add the spices and dates and process pulsing until finely chopped and mixed well.

Scoop the almond-date mixture into a container and put in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Chilling helps to firm up the date mixture and form into bites.

Shape into small patties or balls and roll them in pistachios, almonds, or the hemp seeds and chill until serving. Moisten hands with a little water now and then to avoid the date mixture sticking to hands. Store the Date-Almond Bites in a covered container in the fridge.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

Cashew-Coconut Date Bites

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Cashews, raw or toasted
1/2 tsp ground Cardamom Seeds
1 cup Dates, pits removed
1/2 cup dried unsweetened  Coconut, finely grated, divided

Method:

Process cashews in a food processor and pulsing until finely chopped; they maybe chopped using a  blender or a knife also.

If only shredded coconut is handy, no worries, just process until finely grated.

Add the cardamom, pitted dates, and half the coconut. Process until finely chopped and the mixture comes together. Spoon into a bowl and chill for about 15 minutes or so.

With moistened hands (to avoid the date mixture sticking to hands) form 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into small balls.

Place remaining coconut in a shallow bowl, and roll the balls in the coconut. Place the date bites in a covered container and store in refrigerator.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

Date-Walnut Bites

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Walnuts, raw or toasted
1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
1 pinch grated Nutmeg
1 cup Dates, pitted
1/4 cup Finely chopped toasted Walnuts

Method:

Process the walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped; add cinnamon and dates and process pulsing until finely chopped and mixed well.

Scoop the walnut-date mixture into a container and put in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Chilling helps to firm up the date mixture and form into bites.

Shape into small patties or balls and roll them in the chopped walnuts and chill until serving. Moisten hands with a little water now and then to avoid the date mixture sticking to hands.

Store the Date-Walnut Bites in a covered container in the fridge.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!!



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Butternut/Pumpkin Creme (Simple & Delicious Winter Squash Soup)

So simple, yet, so delicious! Just a few ingredients transforms winter squash into an wonderfully scrumptious creamy golden soup! Although we call it "Creme", there is not a drop of cream or other fat/oil in this lovely soup. Butternut/Pumpkin Creme is naturally gluten, dairy, and fat free. The pepper and cayenne complement the natural sweetness of the squash and nutmeg elevates the luscious golden cream to the next level.

Use your favorite winter squash; or try any of the ones pictured below. We love this cream so well that I often make a double batch so there is plenty to enjoy and share with a friend.

Butternut squash is often available already peeled and cut - the hardest part of prep already done! so it is easy peasy and quick.

Onions maybe omitted; if you omit them, a pinch or two of freshly ground cumin maybe added.

Butternut (Winter Squash) or Pumpkin Cream


Pie Pumpkin in the back, Delicata in left corner,
Butternut in the middle, and green Kabocha
Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups)

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs Butternut squash/winter squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 small Onion, diced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1-2 pinches Cayenne (optional)
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Cashews, preferably raw
1 pinch Nutmeg

Optional Garniches
Freshly ground pepper/paprika/cayenne
Grilled corn kernels
Toasted Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds
Herbs
Coconut Milk, chilled

METHOD:

Place butternut, onion,cashews, turmeric, nutmeg, salt to taste and cayenne if using, in a pan with a cup of water; cook until squash is tender. Check to make sure there is enough water and the veggies do not scorch or burn. Let cool a little.

Puree the cooked veggies and process until smooth and silky. The veggies may need to be pureed in 2 or 3 batches. Although I prefer a regular blender for the silky texture it gives, an immersion blender maybe used as well. Add a little extra water as needed to get the right consistency and thinness.

Pour the puree back into the pan and heat through. 

Serve hot with additional freshly ground pepper and your favorite garnishes.

Enjoy!!

Butternut Cream with Grilled Corn Kernels

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Red Onion Salad With Lime Juice

Red Onion Salad
Red Onion Salad, though simple, is quite delicious served as a side salad or as a topping for other salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, and main dishes in many cuisines - Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, etc. The lime juice, chile and the herbs bring a burst of fresh flavor to every bite.

We love this as a condiment to most meals. Although limes are the citrus fruits of choice (key limes as well as other limes are equally delicious), lemons work fine also. If red onions are not handy, other kinds may be used which then will be simply "Onion Salad" :-).

Variation: If tomatoes are added, then we have Red Onion & Tomato Salad! Stir in two thinly sliced tomatoes. Adjust the amounts of lime juice, chile, cilantro, and the seasonings if tomatoes are added.

Ingredients:

1 medium Red Onion, finely sliced/slivered
1 Red Bell Pepper, very thinly sliced
1 hot Red or Green chile (serrano or jalapeño), cored and sliced thinly
2-4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 Lime/Lemon, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Red Onion Salad
Method:

Slice or cut into slivers the onion very finely; a sharp knife, mandolin or a slicer comes in very handy for this.

Put the onion in a bowl, cover with a pinch of salt and ice water and let rest for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Soaking in the ice water removes the sharpness or bitterness of the onions and renders them mellow.

Assemble the salad: In a bowl combine the driained onion with the rest of the ingredients adding lime/lemon juice to taste; mix well. Serve immediately or reserve up to an hour or two in the fridge.

Red Onion Salad is best eaten fresh but is still tasty enough chilled in the fridge for another day or two if there are leftovers.

Enjoy!!

Seasoned Salt With & Without Onion/Garlic

Seasoned Salt is a handy item to have in the pantry; it is fabulous to spice up everything from sliced veggies/salads, roasted, steamed, boiled or grilled vegetables, and your favorite recipes. Although commercial preparations are available, many have fillers, preservatives, anti-caking agents, etc. This easy home-made seasoned salt is quick and easy and the ingredients can be adjusted to personal tastes and preference.

Have fun experimenting with different amounts and proportions or your favorite herbs. If you like a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika.


Ingredients:

Seasoned Salt Without Onion/Garlic
1/4 cup Kosher or Sea Salt
4 tsps ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
1/2 tsp Celery seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp Asafetida (optional)

Seasoned Salt With Onion/Garlic
All the ingredients above
1 tsp Garlic powder
1-2 tsp Onion powder


Method:

If using celery seeds, process in a spice grinder with a little of the salt until pulverized and proceed with the recipe.

Stir together all the ingredients for the appropriate seasoned salt you prefer and store in a clean, dry, airtight container.

Use as desired. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mexican Seasoning Mix (Homemade Spices For Beans & Veggies)

Mexican Seasoning Mix is an important spice mix for the pantry; it is not limited to seasoning only beans for burritos and tostadas but is also great for spicing up stir-cooked veggies (think fajitas!), rice, corn, Mexican Fiesta Soup, veg chili, etc! In fact, stir in Mexican seasoning mix into any recipe where you'd want to add a bit of spice. We love to slather grilled/steamed corn on the cobs with a concoction that includes lots of the Mexican seasoning mix ..... more on that soon :-).

Although commercial mixes are readily available, most have unknown "spices", sugar, or fillers such as corn meal; homemade is the way to go if one wants to eliminate all those. This is an easy and quick recipe that lasts well if kept clean and dry.

If you like to eliminate onion/garlic, omit them; the seasoning mix is delicious with or without them.

Mexican Seasoning Mix
INGREDIENTS:

About 1 cup

3 Tbsp New Mexico Chili powder 
2 Tbsp Paprika
1-2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp ground Chipotle Chili powder
3 Tbsp Onion powder 
1 Tbsp Garlic powder 
1-2 Tbsp ground Cumin 
1 Tbsp dried Oregano, crushed
1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground Black Pepper 
1/2 - 1 Tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt

Directions

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Pour into a clean, dry, jar with a tight fitting lid. Store the spice mix in a dry cupboard.

Use as needed; for spicing Frijoles (Pinto Beans for burrito, taco, etc), you might like to add 1-2 Tbsp or more to taste for each cup of dried beans after the beans are cooked. For stir-cooked veggies or rice dishes, add about 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp depending on the level of spiciness required.

Enjoy!!