Monday, July 27, 2015

Instant Uthappam (Indian Pancakes With Veggies)

Uthappams are reminiscent of a pizza minus the cheese and no gluten since only rice and besan (garbanzo flour) are used. They are wonderfully flavorful pancakes; traditionally Uthappams are made with Dosa or Idli batter. So, what does one do if there is no leftover batter? I made these wonderful Uthappams with a fresh batter using flours which worked very well.

Rice flour, garbanzo flour, asafetida, etc are readily available in Indian markets.

Uthappam With Dal Chutney 
Uthappams are very popular for brunch. They may be eaten any time of day although not typically for breakfast. Serve them with one of more of your favorite chutneys - Dal, coconut, sweet potato, or bell pepperSambar and raitas are popular accompaniments also.

Ingredients:

Topping:
1 Carrot, shredded
1 small Onion, any color, finely chopped
1 small Bell Pepper,any color, finely diced
1 small Zucchini, shredded
1 ripe Tomato, thinly sliced
1-2 Hot green Chiles, minced
1 small bunch Cilantro, chopped

Veggies for Topping
Veggies mixed & ready 
Batter:
1 cup Rice flour
1 cup Besan
1 pinch Asafetida
1 pinch Turmeric
1 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
Oil for cooking

Method:

Mix the flours with salt and spices. Add enough water to make a not too thick or thin batter. If you have a little time, add a pinch of yeast to the batter, stir well, and set aside. If you need the batter right away, add a pinch of baking soda instead and stir well.

Prepare the veggies and combine in a bowl.

Now you have a choice to make: 1. mix everything together or 2. keep the veggies as topping. Either way, the pancakes are delicious.

Heat a skillet over medium heat; lightly coat a little oil with a paper towel (be careful to not burn your fingers).

Spread about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the batter on the skillet, drizzle a few drops of oil all around it, and quickly sprinkle some of the toppings on top of the pancake. You may use a lid to make sure everything cooks well.

Flip the pancake carefully so as not to displace the toppings. Remove to a plate.

Proceed with the rest of the batter to make more uthappams. Any leftover batter may be saved in the fridge for a couple of days.

Serve hot off the griddle or warm with the suggested or your favorite chutneys and a raita if you like.

Enjoy!!
Cooking the Uthappam
Variation: If it is too much of a bother to keep the topping separate, just go ahead and combine the toppings with the batter and proceed with cooking the uthappams. They will be fine and taste great; just a different look :). I added red cabbage to the list of toppings here.

With the addition of veggies stirred into the batter, the uthappams are often thick; in order to cook better, I make a little hole in the middle and drizzle a little oil while cooking.

Batter with Toppings mixed in
Uthappam all ready to plate

Friday, July 24, 2015

Creamy Cilantro Dip & Dressing


Creamy Cilantro Dressing
Needless to say that we adore this dressing :-) ~ since I keep making quantities of it often! It goes well with green salads with lots of crunchy veggies; our favorite is with main salad meals - the Mexican themed Fiesta Salad for an example. I make a large jar of it and it lasts for a few days of pleasure. It is great as a dip for fresh veggies or as a topping for home-made nachos too.

Fiesta Salad with Frijoles De La Olla
I add a small piece of apple instead of the typical addition of sugar which mellows the bite as well as for a subtle sweetness. Remove and discard cores from chiles if you like the dressing to be mild; if you like it spicy, leave cores in or add more chiles - adjust as you like. The nuts not only give the dressing creaminess, they also add to the body. Feel free to adjust the various ingredients to suit your own taste and requirements; but do try making it.

Pick the key limes that are a little golden (indication of maturity - I think the mature limes are more flavorful than the hard green ones) and heavy for their size; the heavier they are, the more juicier they will be!

Although not a requirement, a high speed blender makes it a breeze; traditional or hand blenders will work fine too. 

Makes about 1 cup (Dressing will stay fresh for about a week)

Ingredients:

1 bunch Fresh Cilantro/Coriander
1-3 Fresh Serrano/Jalapeno chiles, stemmed and cored
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic
1 slice fresh Onion
1/2 small apple, cored
1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds, Cashews, Almonds, or Peanuts
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 Key Limes, juiced
Water, as required

Method:

If the seeds or nuts are raw, the two options are to use them raw or toasted. If raw, soaking them for a couple of hours or up to overnight will be beneficial. They may be purchased already roasted or roasted at home in the oven or in a dry skillet - either way it should take a few minutes.

Wash and drain the herbs, chiles, garlic, etc. Trim chiles, peel garlic; keep most of the stems of cilantro - just trim the stem ends.

Place the first nine of the ingredients in the carafe of a blender; add half the lime juice and just a couple of tablespoons of water.

Process the dressing until finely pureed and pulverized into a smooth dressing. Scrape down the sides of the carafe with a rubber spatula. Add a little more water as required to facilitate blending.

Taste; adjust the taste with more lime juice, salt, etc.

Pour dressing into a clean glass jar; swirl the carafe with a couple of tablespoons of water to gather up every bit of the dressing and pour into the jar.

Stir well, and thin more with water if necessary.

Taste and adjust with more lime juice or salt as needed.

Drizzle on the salad and mix well.

Eat and Enjoy!!

Creamy Cilantro Dressing With Salad

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Multi-Grain Spiced Kichdi (Multi-Grain Risotto With Indian Spices)

I love this well-spiced Masala Kichdi with assorted grains and lentils - it is hearty as it is delicious and I could eat it every day! It is fragrantly spiced but not hot and is suitable for children as well. When serving you may want to remove the chiles to avoid a child or someone unfamiliar with Indian food getting an unpleasant surprise! Although the chiles give a wonderful aroma to the food, they are not meant to be eaten.

Obviously you don't absolutely have to have so many different kinds of grains and lentils to make it wonderful; just a couple each will do just fine; the basic proportions are 1 part grain to 1, 2, or 3 parts legumes (dals) - use whatever combinations beguile you. I wanted to see how many different kinds I could put in; Red, Black, or Arborio rice and Amaranth are a couple of more possible additions.

I prepare the Kichdi in the pressure cooker. Prepare the seasonings and add to the cooker and proceed according to manufacturer's directions on using the pressure cooker. I always make this amount or more as kichdi stays fresh for about a week and freezes well. It thickens upon cooling; add a little hot water to thin as required.
Multigrain Kichdi
Ingredients:

Kichdi Mix: Combine the following grains and legumes and keep them in a jar. When you want to make kichdi, you just have to measure it out! 1/8 cup each Assorted Grains: Barley, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Steel cut Oats, Cracked Wheat, Farro, etc. 1/8 cup each Assorted Lentils/Legumes: yellow Toor Dal or split peas, split Mung Dal  (with/without skin), Chana Dal, Masoor Dal (red lentils), Red Chori/Black-eyed Peas, etc. You may use as few or as many types of the grains and beans. There should be either 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 ratio of lentils/beans to grains - I tend to use a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, our family likes the taste and texture that more legumes add to the kichdi!

Kichdi Mix With Assorted Grains and Dals
 2 cups Kichdi Mix
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 piece 2" Cinnamon Stick
7-8 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (optional)
5 Dry Red Chiles
1/2 tsp EACH - Cumin and Fennel Seeds
2 Tbsp grated fresh Ginger
1 pinch Asafetida/Hing
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1-2 tsp Sea Salt
Earth Balance (vegan Butter substitute) to serve
Raita,  Beet Salad, Chutneys, Pickles, Papadams, etc to serve

Method:

Soak the kichdi mix in a bowl with plenty of water to cover; let soak for half an hour. If you prefer to cook right away, soaking is not absolutely necessary - although soaking may have the benefit of hydrating, ridding any undesirable elements like arsenic and phytic acid as well as helping to cook  a little faster.)

Rinse and drain well; have 5 to 7 cups of water ready; adding more water makes for a soft kichdi (like that pictured) .

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot and add cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamoms, and red chiles; reduce the heat to low, add the cumin and fennel and stir well and cook until spices brown a little and are fragrant.

Stir in ginger, curry leaves and asafetida carefully; cook for a few seconds.

Tip the grains in and then the water carefully into the pot.

Add turmeric and salt; stir well and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer slightly covered stirring occasionally until all the lentils are soft (about 40 minutes) adding a little hot water as necessary. Let rest covered for 10 minutes.

The kichdi should be soft and creamy but not soupy.

Serve hot with a pat of Earth Balance if you like. Kichdi is traditionally served with raita, pickles and papadams. A chopped salad may be served instead of the raita.

Enjoy!!
Masala Kichdi

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Frijoles De La Olla (Flavorful Bean Stew)

This simple but rib-sticking stew, is made with various beans in different parts of Mexico; although different, they are seriously yummy. We often think of pinto beans as the traditional frijoles; but other beans such as black, kidney, and Peruano are also used; I have seen some cooks mix pinto and kidney beans for a colorful dish. Whichever beans you use, it is sure to become a favorite!

Onions, a bit of garlic, fresh or dried chiles, a splash of oil or a pat of butter, etc may be added to the olla (cooking pot) depending on the individual cook. Some people cook the beans with the chopped onions and garlic which cook and melt into the beans without a trace. One woman told me that she cooks the onions in oil until they are practically black, strains out the onions, and adds the oil to the beans for the best flavored beans! Though I have tried the various recipes (not the blackened onion though) and enjoyed them all,  from the simplest - which is just plain beans cooked with a chile or two, and a little salt, to beans cooked with onions and garlic sauteed in a little splash of oil.

Frijoles De La Olla is very useful to have on hand; I like to cook a great big batch of beans to use in various recipes during the week as well as freeze a few portions for a 'rainy' day! Besides being delicious on their own, Seven Layer Dip, Mexican Lasagna, Tortilla soup, and Enfrijoladas are just a few of the recipes that could be prepared utilizing these beans. If you mash up the beans, you will have something like  Frijoles Mexicana or soft beans perfect for heaping on Tostadas or rolling up in burritos. I often serve them as part of a "one-plate meal" salad.

The way these beans disappear, it is probably good to make a double or triple batch to make sure everybody gets their fair share :)! This recipe may be doubled or tripled - just make sure you use a large enough cooking pan to accommodate the larger amount of beans. Soaking is not strictly necessary but cuts down on cooking time and may aid digestibility. As always, pressure cooking the beans significantly helps to cut down on cooking time as well as fuel.

Black Bean Frijoles With Salad
8 Servings

Ingredients:

2 cups Pinto, Black or Peruano Beans
1 - 2 Dried/fresh hot chile
1 Onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 - 2 Tbsp good Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
1 tsp Sea Salt or to taste

Toppings for serving:
Salsa of your choice
Avocado cubes
Non-dairy Sour Cream
Non-dairy Cheese
Chopped onions
Cilantro
Romaine lettuce
Pickled Vegetables

Method:

Clean and sort the beans, rinse, cover with plenty of fresh water and let soak overnight.

Drain the beans, rinse and add enough fresh water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the whole chiles on top.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat so the beans are simmering gently; cook until soft stirring occasionally. Add boiling water as necessary if the beans dry out. The beans may be pressure cooked also. When the beans are done, fish out the chiles and discard.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the onion and garlic.

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and turmeric stirring often until golden.

Stir in the paprika, and cook for another minute.

Tip the spice-onion mix into the beans and simmer for at least 30 minutes; they could be simmered up to 1 hour or so. Just make sure to stir occasionally and add hot water as necessary.

Serve hot or warm with your favorite toppings.

Any leftovers may be stored in the fridge or in the freezer for longer storage.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kale Bhel Salad (Green Salad with an Indian Twist!)

As you may have already guessed, we are crazy for salads these days! So to make the everyday salads exciting, I make them with a different international flair each day. :) (Check out the Pad Thai Salad) The nice thing about all these salads are that you can prep them ahead of time and assemble at the last minute. 

Kale Bhel salad is as tasty as it is healthy (mostly :-}) with a little addition of Bhel Puri Mix - an Indian snack mix readily available in Indian markets! Any crunchy veggie may be used in this salad. For the dressing, mix fresh lime juice with some green and sweet chutneys. Other greens also may be used in this salad. For a mild salad, remove the core from the hot chile or omit it altogether; if you like it spicy, leave the core and seeds in and/or use more chiles.

Our family loves this salad; when I made the traditional Bhel Puri, it was not difficult to add a few more greens and veggies to make it healthier. If the little addition of the Bhel Mix helps everyone to love a salad and eat more of it, the more power to it!

Green and Sweet chutneys, Bhel mix, etc are available in Indian Markets. You can use Indian brown chick peas or garbanzos; these may be home cooked or canned.

Kale Bhel Salad


4 Servings

Ingredients:

4-6 oz Baby Kale
4-5 leaves Romaine Lettuce
1 wedge Red Cabbage
1 small Red Onion
1 large Carrot
1 Turnip/Jicama
1 medium Cucumber/Zucchini
1 bunch Cilantro
1 Hot green Chile (like Jalapeno or Serrano) (optional)
1 cup cooked Chick Peas, drained
1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts
1 cup Bhel Puri Mix + a little extra for topping
Lime wedges

Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh Lime juice
1/4 cup Each, GreenSweet Chutneys

Method:

Wash and trim all the veggies. Thinly slice the kale, romaine, and cabbage into a chiffonade. Thinly slice and chop the red onion. Place in a large bowl.

Grate/shred the carrot and turnip/jicama; add to the bowl. If you prefer, these may be chopped too. I like the different textures of chopped, shredded/grated, etc.

Finely dice the cucumber, finely chop the cilantro, and core and mince the hot chile. Add all the veggies to the bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients and taste; it should be strong tasting - when mixed with the salad, it will be just right.

When ready to serve the salad, mix the prepared veggies with the chick peas, peanuts, Bhel mix, and half the dressing. Mix only what will be eaten as the salad will get soggy if left too long.

Divide the salad among the serving plates or bowls, top with a spoonful of the Bhel mix, and serve immediately. Pass the extra dressing and the lime wedges to squeeze as desired.

Eat & Enjoy!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pad Thai Salad (Raw Veggie Noodles With Peanut Dressing)

A fabulous salad to turn anyone into a salad lover! The sinuous vegetable noodles add color and crunch to this amazing dish. Once the prep is done, store everything in the fridge until serving time; a wonderful make-ahead dish. Although the tofu may be added without any cooking, my family loves well-flavored tofu; so I saute small pieces of it with red pepper, ginger and garlic.

I used an inexpensive peeler-like shredder that I got from a Japanese market. But one may use a regular peeler, a mandoline slicer, a spiralizer, or just a plain old sharp knife.

I used the vegetables on hand but other veggies may be used as preferred. Chinese pea pods or sugar snap peas, baby bok choi, napa or green cabbage, tender kale, bell pepper, etc may be used.

Veggie Noodles


Veggie Noodles With Lime, Dressing, and Tofu
4 - 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Medium Zucchini
1 Large Carrot
1 Daikon Radish or a piece of Jicama
Small Slice of Red Cabbage
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1 bunch Green Onions
1 small handful Thai or Regular Sweet Basil
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
1 block firm Tofu (14 - 16 oz)
2 Tbsp Each, Toasted Black Sesame seeds and chopped Peanuts

Peanut Dressing

1 tsp Hot Pepper flakes
1 Tbsp Brown OR Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup Peanut Butter (crunchy or smooth)
1-2 Large Limes, juiced
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos OR Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Tamari/Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh Ginger
1 clove fresh Garlic, finely minced
Water as needed

Method:

If you are cooking the tofu, cut into small pieces and cook with a little oil and a pinch of salt until they begin to brown a little. Stir in 1 clove minced garlic,1 Tbsp grated ginger and a pinch of hot pepper flakes. Cook on low heat turning often but gently until the tofu pieces are browned a little more. Set aside.

Prepare the dressing: combine all the ingredients in a jar. If liquid aminos is not available, increase the soy sauce to 2 Tbsp. Add half the lime juice first and taste the dressing; add more as needed. Thin the dressing with water but keep it a bit thick. Refrigerate until needed.

Wash, trim, and prep all the veggies & herbs:

Shred the zucchini, carrot, radish/jicama into noodles or cut into thin pieces.

Thinly slice the red cabbage.

Trim the root ends off the bean sprouts.

Thinly slice the green onions (both the white and green parts) on the diagonal.

Chop the basil and cilantro.

Place all the prepped veggies and herbs in a large bowl.

Assembly: Mix only as much of the salad as will be eaten right away. If left standing the salad will get soggy as the salt in the dressing draws out moisture from the veggies. Add enough dressing to moisten and coat the salad well. 

Mix the tofu into the salad or serve separately.

Spoon into individual bowls or plates and top with toasted sesame and peanuts.

Pass lime wedges to squeeze on top and more of the dressing as desired.

Eat! Enjoy!! 

Pad Thai Salad Ready to Eat!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Green Chile Khoota (Spicy Green Chile and Peanut Chutney)

One would not think that combining chiles with peanuts would produce something as delicious as this chutney. This amazing chutney can be eaten as a relish with any snacks, breads, on toast, or mixed with any warm cooked grains. When mixed with warm rice/quinoa, millet, couscous, etc, and a bit of oil or Earth Balance(vegan butter substitute), it is scrumptious! It is very easy to make. Although a mortar and pestle would work very well, a food processor makes it a breeze!

I had learned to make it from a friend from Mumbai eons ago. I do not recall that she added either the mustard seeds or the lime juice but I often like to add them for the lovely flavor. Another delicious addition is 1 teaspoon of crushed fenugreek seeds; add them when the mustard seeds begin to pop and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Cored hot chiles or mild green chiles may be used if you prefer a less spicy chutney. Chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) may be added for a slightly different but equally delicious variation.

Green Chile Khoota (Chutney)

1/2 cup blanched Raw Peanuts (without skin)
1 T Oil
1 pinch Mustard seeds (optional)
1 pinch Asafetida
1 pinch Turmeric
1/2 cup Hot Green chiles (Jalapenos, Serranos, etc)
1 tsp Kosher/Sea Salt or to taste
1/2 Lime/Lemon, Juiced
1 cup Cilantro, chopped (optional)

Coarsely crush/chop the peanuts. Chop the green chiles coarsely and pound them a little using the mortar and pestle - you may have to do this in batches. If using a food processor, place the green chiles in the bowl and use the pulse option a few times to chop the chiles coarsely.

Heat the oil in a small skillet or pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds; when they pop, stir in the asafetida and the crushed/chopped peanuts.

Stir and cook the peanuts until they just begin to color slightly.

Add turmeric, salt, and the green chiles and stir for a couple of minutes until the chutney is heated through.

Turn off the heat and and let cool a little - about 5 minutes or so. If using cilantro, add it after removing the chutney from heat.

Stir in the lime/lemon juice; taste. Add more lemon/lime and or salt as desired.

Mix well and store in a sterile glass jar in the fridge. This chutney can last about a couple of weeks; but we never have a chance to find out as the chutney disappears rather quickly!

Serve warm right away or cool or cold with your favorite meal or snacks.

Enjoy!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Non-Dairy "Yogurt" Rice! (Rice With Tofu "Yogurt")

Yogurt Rice with Mango Pickle, Zucchini With Besan, Papadams
You read that right, yes non-dairy! Vegan Yogurt Rice - really and truly vegan! South Indian people raised on yogurt for every meal would appreciate the joy of this vegan version. I had been trying to make vegan yogurt a long time. I tried to find plain unflavored soy or coconut yogurt as a substitute for regular yogurt but have not been lucky to find them. Life without a yogurt substitute has not been easy - but not anymore :-). Now we can have our fill of recipes that usually include yogurt as an important ingredient!

In my quest for a replacement for regular yogurt, I made cashew yogurt; it was absolutely lovely but a bit expensive, not practical for daily consumption. Although I had toyed with the idea of making a tofu yogurt for a long time, I just honestly did not find the idea very exciting - until I did it - thinking that if it did not work, I could always compost it!

Long story short, I plunged ahead and made the tofu yogurt and liked it well. But when I made it into the quintessential South Indian Yogurt Rice, I could have cried for the joy! The simple seasonings (mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and green chile) turned it into an amazing taste treat - Oh, so creamy and satisfying! In a pinch, even when made without the essential mustard seeds, it was great. Really that good. Period. Even lifelong connoisseurs of traditional yogurt rice loved it!

No potlucks or picnics could be complete without yogurt rice! We absolutely need yogurt rice to go with the custormary Puliyodari that we adore. Now we can enjoy it to our hearts' content.

6 - 8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Recipe Tofu Yogurt:
1 block (14 oz) Tofu, preferably Silken Soft, but any will do
1/4 tsp Salt
Juice from 1 Lemon/Lime

1 cup uncooked Rice (Brown, white, Sushi rice)
1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 hot Green Chile, cored and minced
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated
1 Stem Curry Leaves, sliced
1 pinch Asafetida
Pomegranate Arils, Ripe Mango cubes, etc for serving
Mango or Lemon Pickles for Serving
Gothsu or other curries for serving

Method:

Soak the rice in plenty of water for about 30 minutes.

While rice is soaking, make the yogurt: Combine drained tofu, salt, and lemon/lime juice in the container of a blender with about 1 cup of water; whirl until smooth. Taste for lemon and salt; add more if needed. Chill until needed.

Drain, rinse and add 2 + 1/2 cups of fresh water to the rice. Stir in salt, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat until soft and water is absorbed; set aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafetida.

Remove the oil pan from heat and carefully stir in the ginger, green chile, and the curry leaves.

Return to heat and cook until the green chiles are softened.

Pour the spice mix over the rice along with the tofu mixture; stir well and check for seasonings; add a little salt if needed - yogurt rice should not be too salty.

Also add a little cool water to thin to the right consistency - it should be like a thick pudding.

Let sit covered for about 30 minutes if you can wait :-).

Serve right away or later. Yogurt Rice gets better overnight allowing all the flavors to combine and marry. Any leftovers may be stored in the fridge and served cold or gently warmed.

Sprinkle each serving with pomegranate arils, mango cubes, chopped roasted cashews, etc if you like.

Typical accompaniments are Mango/Lemon Pickles, Eggplant or another type of Gothsu, any curry, fried yogurt chiles, etc.

Enjoy!!

Notes:
You can use any type of rice you like or have on hand; I have used Basmati, Brown, regular white, Jasmine, Japanese Sushi rice, long, short, or medium grain, etc. All types of rice lend themselves to being made into yogurt rice.

Although the silken soft tofu is preferable, any type of tofu may be used. I have used all kinds of tofu with good results. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Okra With Onions and Tomatoes

Okra is a well-beloved veggie all over India. It was one of my favorites as a child! Loved it cooked simply in a saute or with onions and tomatoes. If tomatoes are unavailable, add a little lime juice or a sprinkle of aamchoor (dried green mango powder) towards the end of cooking to remove the stickiness.

Serve okra with rice/grains, flat breads like roti/chapati or naan, any dal and/or kadhi. If fresh okra is not readily available, use frozen okra!

Okra with Onions and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs Okra, stem removed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 - Tbsp Oil
1 big Pinch Brown Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Dried Red Chile flakes
1 pinch Asafetida (Optional)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 - 2 Hot Green Chiles, ends slit
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 large Tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp finely chopped Cilantro leaves

Method:

Wash the okra and drain thoroughly; spread on a kitchen towel lined with paper towels to absorb all the moisture. Let dry while you prepare the other veggies.


Wipe the okra if it is still moist; cut off the stems at the very top and slice into 1/2" pieces.

Heat oil in a large kadai (Indian wok)/skillet and add the mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the rest of the spices in the order given.

Stir well and add green chiles and onion with a pinch of the salt; stir cook for about 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften.

Add the tomato and cook for about 2 minutes or until they begin to soften.

Stir in okra and the salt and mix well.

Cover and cook over medium heat stirring often but gently so as not to break up the okra.

Remove from heat as soon as the okra are tender - they should be done in about 10 minutes.

Serve hot sprinkled with the cilantro.

Enjoy!!
Rice & Kadhi With Okra with Onions & Tomato

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Non-Dairy Kadhi (Simple Vegan Kadhi With Tofu Or Coconut Milk)

I made this Kadhi just to see if it would work using tofu or coconut milk instead of the traditional yogurt or buttermilk. And work it does - golden deliciousness!! So use tofu or coconut milk - your choice - both work brilliantly.

If green chiles are not handy, dried red chiles may be substituted - just add along with the spices to the oil. I like using both red and green chiles for their unique flavors.

After trying the recipe, you can adjust the thickness as you wish; add more besan for a thicker kadhi or more water for a thinner one. Add lime/lemon juice to your taste.

Panch Phodan or Phoran is a spice mix of whole seeds - brown mustard, nigella, cumin, fenugreek and ajwain; check this recipe for details.

Kadhi over Basmati Rice and Okra with Onions & Tomato
Ingredients:

1 cup any Tofu OR 1 cup regular Coconut Milk (not beverage)
2 Tbsp Besan
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Panch Phodan
4-5 whole Cloves
1 (1") piece Cinnamon Stick
1 small Onion, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, finely chopped
2 hot Green Chiles, cored and chopped
1 stem fresh Curry Leaf, sliced
1 Tomato, diced (optional)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Lemon/Lime, juiced

Method:


If using Tofu, place in the container of a blender with 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt and give it a whirl until smooth.

Combine the processed tofu from above or the coconut milk and besan in a bowl and whisk until mixed well; set aside. Alternately, the besan mixture may be whirled in the blender to get a smooth mixture.

Heat oil in a sauce pan and add the seeds and whole spices; when the popping subsides in just a minute or so - do not let the spices burn - add onions if using, the curry leaves, ginger, green chiles, turmeric and salt. Cook stirring for about a minute until onions begin to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes if using and mix well.

Pour the besan/tofu/coconut milk mixture into the pan and stir well. Add a cup of water to the bowl, stir to gather any besan left in it and add to the pan.

Cook the kadhi stirring often until it almost comes to a boil - you want to watch closely as kadhi has a tendency to boil over!

Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Stir in half the lemon/lime juice and taste; add more lemon/lime and salt if needed. Kadhi should be a little lemony but not sour.

Serve hot over freshly cooked grains with your favorite veggies and papadams on the side.

Enjoy!!

Non-Dairy Kadhi


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Nutmeg-scented Wholegrain Pear Muffins

These wholesome pear muffins are as delicious and tender as they are nutritious. They are one of our favorites for breakfast or tea time. Do add the chia and flax seeds for the added nutrition if you can.

When pears begin to get soft and squishy, don't throw them on the compost heap but make them into these fabulous muffins. You can use any variety of pears for these; I used a large brown  Bosc variety this time. I have not tried it with the Asian pears - they don't stick around, we enjoy them fresh and crisp!

Nutmeg-scented Pear Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup Whole Grain Old fashioned Oats
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour/Oat bran
1 tsp Chia Seeds (Optional)
1 T Flax seeds (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Organic Sugar
1/2 t Baking Soda
2 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Sea or Kosher Salt
1/2 t freshly grated Nutmeg
1 T freshly grated Ginger
1 cup Non-dairy milk (almond, rice, etc)
1 T Oil
1 large or 2 medium Pears, peeled, cored and diced

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Prepare a muffin pan with 12 cups with oil or oil spray.

 Place the pears, seeds, spices, salt and sugar in a bowl. Stir well.

Add the flours, baking soda, powder etc. and stir well to mix.

Spoon into the muffin tin.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 and continue baking for 15 more minutes or until the muffins are done when tested with a bamboo skewer near the center.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Gently tip the muffins so that the bottoms can cool without gathering condensation.

Serve the muffins warm with a little Earth balance (butter substitute) and Cran-Apple Preserves or other jam or jelly if you wish.

When cool, place in a clean container. For longer storage, freeze them. The muffins may be reheated in a regular or toaster oven until warm.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Simply Superb Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter

So easy, so simple, so tasty! No more words are needed for this lovely sunflower seed butter. Delicious served in a sandwich or with toast, fruits, and veggies; it is also good by itself on a spoon!

I decided to make my own as the store-bought ones all had sugar of one kind or another. Although I like some things sweet, I did not want my seed/nut butters to be sweet :) - so I got the seeds and got to work!!

If you purchase raw seeds, simply roast them in a skillet or in the oven; let cool and proceed with the recipe. Sunflower seeds are soft and does not take much time to process into butter. I have had this sunflower seed butter recipe in the drafts and had forgotten to post it!

Ingredients:

2 cups Sunflower seeds, roasted
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Method:

Roast the sunflower seeds in the oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes or toast them in a skillet; let cool.

Place the sunflower seeds and the salt (use the smaller quantity first - can add more if needed later) in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until coarsely ground.

Process until the mixture begins to clump and keep the motor going.

Quickly, the mixture begins to form into butter. Process until it is very creamy and as smooth or as you like it. 

Taste and add more salt if needed, and process until mixed well.

Scrape into a clean sterile jar and keep tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Serve with toast, crackers, apples, pears, bananas, veggies etc.

Enjoy!! 

Simple & Delicious Homemade Peanut Butter

Making delicious home-made Peanut Butter is even easier than making Almond Butter!  Just roast raw skinless peanuts, let cool, grind and voila! for the best-tasting peanut butter you have ever tasted :).

I buy raw, skinless (blanched) peanuts rather than go through the tedious task of skinning them myself. Peanuts are a little more work than blanching almonds. Using a kadai (Indian wok) assures even heating and browning of the peanuts. Any wok will do.

Note: Peanut butter is a concentrated food; do use caution as it is very easy to eat lots of this delicious homemade peanut butter. The serving size is a meager 2 Tablespoons!!

Ingredients: 

1 lb skinless raw peanuts
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2  Tbsp Peanut Oil

Method:

Prepare a large baking pan or sheet with paper towels - you will pour the cooked peanuts to drain the excess oil here.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in the kadai/wok. When the oil is at the right temperature, you will see a light haze over it - but be careful to not let it smoke and burn.

Add the peanuts to the oil and cook stirring constantly until the nuts are evenly golden brown  - this might take about 10 minutes. You may like to have someone helping you with the stirring with a promise of the peanut butter to taste ;)!

When the peanuts turn a nice golden brown, remove from heat and stir in the salt. 

Immediately pour the peanuts onto the paper towel lined baking pan, spread and let cool completely - about 20 - 30 minutes.

Place the drained nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, cover and process.

Process the peanut butter to your preferred consistency - chunky or smooth.

Go ahead and taste the delicious peanut butter - spread some on slices of apples or banana or a piece of toast. Yum!!

Scrape the rest of the peanut butter into a clean jar, cover and keep in the fridge.

Enjoy!!