Thursday, June 28, 2018

MUNG BEAN SPROUT SALAD WITH PEANUTS

Mung Sprouts Salad is a delicious snack or side dish; the lime juice and spices give it a snappy fresh flavor and piquancy perfect for a quick pick-me-up. Mung Sprout Salad is a version of Indian street fare. Although the salad can be made simpler without the veggies, we love the colorful and flavorful additions. The wonderful thing about this is that while amazingly satisfying, it is not a calorically dense food; so enjoy without guilt :D.

We enjoy the fresh and crunchy sprouts any time of the year but particularly in the summer when we love lighter foods. It is quite similar to the Sprouted Bean & Lentil Salad, Kale Bhel Salad and Chundal/Sundal. Sprouting beans, peas, lentils, or seeds makes their nutrition more available and easier to digest. Most bean, pea, and seed sprouts are also edible raw; exceptions are kidney beans, pintos, and limas - usually all big beans need to be cooked until well done.

Sort, soak, and sprout the whole mung beans. Sprouting may take 2 or 3 days depending on the weather. During warmer months, they sprout pretty quickly.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sprouted Mung beans, rinsed and drained
1 handful fresh Radishes, quartered and thinly sliced, about ½ cup
1 fresh Carrot, quartered and thinly sliced, about ½ cup
1 small Cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced, about ½ cup
½ Red Onion, finely diced
2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
1 fresh juicy Lime
½ tsp Black Salt (Kala Namak)
¼ - ½ tsp Cayenne
¼ - ½ cup toasted peanuts

Optional
Small Romaine leaves
Endive
Mini Peppers

METHOD:

Toast the raw peanuts in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden without getting too brown; peanuts which are blanched or with skins are fine. Pour into a plate to cool completely. This maybe done ahead of time and the toasted peanuts stored in an airtight container.

Fresh mung sprouts are mild flavored, delicious and fine to eat raw. But if you prefer, bring about 3-4 cups of water to a boil; add salt and the sprouted mung and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain, add cool water and a few ice cubes to stop the cooking and drain well again.

Tip the sprouts into a mixing bowl along with the radishes, carrots, red onion and cilantro.

Sprinkle the black salt and squeeze half the lime over the salad; sprinkle with a little cayenne. Add the cilantro. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt, lime, cayenne, etc.

The salad is best when freshly made. The component veggies and herbs maybe prepared ahead of time and kept chilled in the fridge; add salt and lime juice just before serving.  

Top with the peanuts just before serving. The salad maybe served in small bowls or plates, with romaine or endive leaves to scoop, or spooned into the sweet mini peppers.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tzatziki Or Raita (Greek/Indian Non-Dairy Cucumber Salad/Dip)

Tzatziki/Raita
Tzatziki (zat-zee-kee) is very similar to the Indian Raita. It never ceases to amaze me that so many wonderful ideas are shared among the various cuisines of the world - imagine meeting the familiar raita in Greece :)!! Other cuisines also have similar salad or dip recipes.

Only a couple of the ingredients are different; both are delicious! Raita or Tzatziki, both maybe served with a meal or as a starter or dip with some fresh warm flat breads.

NOTES:

Persian, English or hot house type of cucumbers have thin skins and need no peeling.

Garlic is first minced finely; then using the flat side of the knife, mash by dragging while pressing down the knife back and forth over the garlic until finely macerated.

If you prefer to not use tofu, a plain unflavored non-dairy yogurt maybe used; if using non-dairy yogurt, it does not need processing. Just add the yogurt along with all the other ingredients and mix well.

Ingredients:

1 cup any Non-Dairy Yogurt OR Tofu Yogurt

Tofu Yogurt:
1 cup silky or firm Tofu, well-drained (about 1/2 block or 7 oz)
1 Tbsp juice from Fresh Lemon 
1/4 tsp Sea Salt or to taste

1 - 2 small Persian type Cucumbers, coarsely grated

For Greek Tzatziki:
1 clove Fresh Garlic, minced and macerated (See notes)
2 Tbsp Fresh Mint Or Dill, minced
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For Indian Raita:
1/4 small Red Onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro and/or Mint, minced
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds, roasted and ground

Method:

Tofu Yogurt: Place the tofu and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and whirl until smooth; scoop into a bowl.

Squeeze the excess fluids from the cucumbers with your hands, discard the fluids (or add to your water for a refreshing beverage), and add cucumber to the tofu yogurt.

Choose Indian or Greek flavorings:

Add the ingredients of choice to the yogurt except the olive oil or cumin; mix well.

Serve the Tzatziki with the olive oil drizzled on top and Raita with ground cumin sprinkled on top.

That's it! Serve or chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Oven-Roasted Aloo Gobhi Without Fats/Oils (Cauliflower & Potatoes With Spices)

Wow, no fat added in this luscious Aloo Gobhi - an all time favorite dish you can enjoy guilt free! Roasting leaves one free to do other things. If you wish, Aloo Gobhi maybe cooked on stove top; cook in a skillet or Dutch Oven with a tight-fitting lid on low heat until the veggies are tender and then uncover to finish cooking for the moisture to evaporate a bit so the veggies are not soggy.

I usually serve Aloo Gobhi with roti, rice or other grains and a bean dish like Dal, Rajma, Dal Makhani, or Chole and some type of a chopped salad. Delicious!

Variations: Add colorful sweet peppers, carrot slices, and/or peas - whatever is in the fridge or suits your fancy at the time.

About 6 - 8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
3 Medium Potatoes, scrubbed clean and cubed
1 medium Onion, diced
1 Tbsp freshly grated Ginger
1 tsp ground Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Kasoori Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
3-4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish

Spice mix:

Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 Tbsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Kashmiri/Red Chili powder Or Paprika

Directions:

Place the cauliflower, potatoes, and onion along with the ginger in a large bowl. Add the spice mix and toss well to coat.  Let sit for about 10 minutes - this allows the salt to draw some of the moisture in the veggies and lets the spices coat and cling to them.

Start heating the oven to 400 degrees F while the veggies are resting.

Prepare a large rimmed baking pan and line with parchment paper to fit.

Toss the veggies to mix well and tip them onto the pan and spread evenly.

Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 30 - 40  minutes. Check occasionally, stir to cook evenly and add a little sprinkle of water if necessary to keep the vegetables from drying out too much. Alternatively, cover the veggies with a same size baking pan for the first 10 - 20 minutes so they don't dry out but are moist.

Sprinkle the garam masala over the veggies, stir to combine, and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Remove Aloo Gobhi from the oven when done and mash a few of the potato pieces with a fork.

Sprinkle the crushed Kasoori Methi and the chopped cilantro and mix gently; let rest covered for about 10 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with cilantro. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Taro Stems With Coconut (Chembu Thandu Thoran)

Taro Stem Thoran w/Rice & Taro Leaf Lentil Stew
Taro Stem Thoran is a delicious side dish to go with any type of Indian stews made with lentils or served by itself with rice, other grains or breads. I like to roll it up in a roti burrito fashion for a lovely snack or lunch on the go. If I do not have enough taro stems, I like to add kale or chard (silver beet) stems, their leaves or diced zucchini, also. Beet greens and stems are great too. This time added chard stems.

I used very mild green chiles, New Mexico Chiles - the plants were gift from a neighbor :)! The taro and chard were homegrown as well.

If using dried coconut, use unsweetened.

Ingredients:

14-16 fresh Taro Stems 
1 Tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana Dal
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
2 dry Red chiles, broken into two
1-2 Green Chiles, chopped
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup grated Coconut, fresh, frozen or dry

Method:

Trim the taro stems and remove the strings like a celery by lightly peeling. Slice the stems in medium slices or chop into small cubes.

Heat a skillet with the oil and add mustard seeds, the dals and red chile; when mustard seeds subside popping, add green chile, curry leaves, and the taro stems. Stir well, cover and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes or until soft and cooked well.

Sprinkle the ground cumin and the coconut on top and stir and cook until hot.

Remove from heat and serve hot with rice or other grains and sambar, a dal or bean dish.

Enjoy!!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Black Bean Burgers (Gluten and Dairy Free)

Black Bean Burger
Burgers are popular with or without a bun piled with all the traditional additions of lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, etc or  tucked inside the pockets of pita breads with your favorite fixings for a very satisfying meal. Black Bean Burgers are not exceptions; they are fabulous additions to the comfort food repertoire. I like serving these burgers on crisp shredded Romaine lettuce along with avocado slices, tomatoes and onions with some fresh salsa, tomato chutney or  tomato sauce for topping.

The burgers may be made a day or two ahead and grilled with a little barbecue sauce to warm them. These burgers are not as tough as the store-bought ones and hence need to be handled gently while cooking and grilling.

I used crushed tortillas and added a bit of organic rolled oats to bind; the tortillas add to the southwest flavors along with the spices. Whole grain bread or cracker crumbs may be used if you don't need to go gluten-free.

Two 15 oz cans of black beans maybe used instead of cooking your own. If you use canned beans, you may not need too much salt as they typically have lots of it already.

Extra burgers maybe frozen for up to 3 months.

8 large burgers

Ingredients:

1 cup dry Black Beans, cooked
1 Bay Leaf
2 dried hot Peppers
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, shredded
1 medium Beet, shredded
3-4 sweet Mini Peppers
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
4 Scallions, finely chopped
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
2 Corn Tortillas
2- 4 Tbsp gluten-free Oats
2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds,freshly ground
2 tsp ground Coriander seeds
1-3 tsp ground New Mexico Chiles
1/2 - 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne (optional)
1 tsp Salt or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Oil for brushing skillet

To Serve:

Burger buns, English muffins
Lettuce, your favorite kind
Tomato slices
Avocado slices
Onion slices, raw and/or caramelized
Dill Pickle slices
Mustard, prepared
Vegan Mayo
Hot Sauce and/or BBQ sauce

Black Bean Burger Ingredients

Method:

Sort, soak and cook the black beans with the bay leaf and whole dried chiles until soft. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard bay leaf and chiles and drain while still warm; reserve the broth for mixing to make the burgers if needed or add to soup. Beans maybe made 1-2 days ahead and reserved in the fridge or frozen upto 3 months.

Process the corn tortillas if using into coarse crumbs; spread on a plate and let dry while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Shred/finely chop carrots, beets, garlic and peppers using the food processor. Scoop into a large bowl.

If using home-cooked beans, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Mash the beans using a potato masher or use a food processor to mash them coarsely with a few pulses.

Add the other burger ingredients including the chopped/shredded carrots and beets except the scallions and cilantro and pulse a few times just until combined. If the mixture is too soft, add a little more oats and pulse a couple of times to incorporate. Turn out the mixture into the bowl.

Fold in the scallions and cilantro; taste. Adjust spices and seasonings.

Chill the bean mixture for about one or two hours or overnight if possible.

Form the bean mixture into eight equal patties (or make more smaller ones) and cook them in a skillet or griddle lightly brushed with oil over low-medium heat until on both sides are browned - about 5-6 minutes per side.

Serve hot with your favorite accompaniments. Enjoy!!
Black Bean Burger