Tag Archives: garlic-ginger paste

Aloo(ve Affair) Gobi

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cauliflower florets
  • 3 c cubed potatoes
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium green chile
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

I forgot to get a prettier picture before this was all there was left in the pan. My bad.

After recently falling in love with this dish from my favorite local spot, I have had the usual seemingly-never ending infatuation with all of the reasons beyond its deliciousness why I am in love with it:

meatless! dairy-less!
cauliflower! potatoes!

Because though I am not a staunch vegetarian, I have been cutting back on meat enough to know what a difference it makes in my health to do so. To naysayers who decry vegetarians for that lack of essential dietary elements (protein! calcium!) I posit that you either click the links above, or research on your own what’s actually available as nutrients in all the stuff that grows outta the ground.

That being said, let me continue into this current love affair.

Ok, so prep is gonna take a bit over the skinny minute. Finely mince your onion, garlic, cilantro, chile (I just used a jalapeno) and tomato. Put oil in a pan on ML with chile, garlic and onions. Let cook until the onions are translucent; stir in turmeric so that everything begins to glow like the sun. Add mustard seeds, tomato and cilantro and dial it up to M until you hear the seeds crackling. Turn the heat back down to ML and stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cumin and coriander. Add tsp by tsp of water to this process if at any point you begin sticking to the pan (well, not YOU. You know what I mean.).

This is what my dish wants to resemble when it looks in the mirror.

So in the 15-20 minutes or so it takes for those onions to get translucent, get the stars of your show ready. Disarticulate a medium head of cauliflower, set aside. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces (I tried to strive for cubes, but I am also realistic about my fine motor skills).  Stir them into the (assumed ready) almost paste-like mixture in the pan. Once coated, it’s the florets’ turn. Stir in about 1/3c water to make their union more pleasurable. Add another 1/3c water and let the pan come to a gentle boil on M, then stir and reduce heat to ML until everything is fork-tender. Even were you to make some of the grievous missteps which I did not mention here (I am still learning you, potato.), this dish will garner silent smiles and 4 spoons!

 

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Not Yo Mama’s Ramen [5 Spoons!]

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package extra firm, pre-cubed tofu
  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 package Hakubaku ramen
  • 1/4 c dumpling sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 c water
  • 1 cube vegetable boullion
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp asafoetida

(blurred only by the steam of deliciousness)

This meal requires a full day and night of preparation, so plan accordingly and make sure your Big Girl Britches are on. The early afternoon before, drain your tofu and instead place it to soak in your own marinade overnight. Put your dumpling sauce, vinegar, garlic paste and 1 tbsp of soy sauce together and pour over the tofu and let set in an airtight container until the morrow. Take special care to occasionally rotate the container at intervals to fully soak each cube.

The next day, you can go ahead and slice your cabbage while the mustard seeds warm in ghee on M. Add cabbage when the mustard seeds begin to pop and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir fry the cabbage for about two minutes, adding 2 tsp – 1 tbsp of soy sauce, turmeric and asafoetida. Add .5 c  water, cover and turn the burner to L. Cabbage should be wilted and tender, not sloppy country-kitchen style. Unless you’d really like that or have no teeth.

Start safflower oil out on M, then turn to MH. When hot, add your drained tofu cubes and begin frying with impunity. This took longer to do than I thought it might, so when they’re beginning to show signs of crispy edges, do this:

Mix vegetable boullion and remainder of the tofu marinade with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Put in ramen.

Move back to your tofu pan and keep the spatula twirling. Squirt in about 2 tsp of soy sauce and stir vigorously to coat. When they begin to share the same medium shade of brown, remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels while you prepare the bowls. Put some ramen and a little broth in the bottom of your bowl. Top with cabbage, then top the cabbage with tofu.

I have never fried tofu — in fact, this is only my second time cooking with tofu at all. I certainly did not quite expect its ensuing deliciousness! This got to be one of those rare dinners where I enjoyed everything on my plate instead of acting my own critic. Plus I was rather proud of myself for ensuring the tofu did not become part of an incongruous meal where animal products were also involved. To be fair to the ‘fu ‘n all. I am very obviously not a vegetarian simply an admirer of its health benefits — as someone who just months ago was nearly bed-bound I absolutely cannot refute the differences it makes to eliminate a lot of those quintessentially American food choices.

Of course, a 5 spoon meal is reason to dancey-dance all its own.


Color Theory Cooking

In my pantry today:

  • 1 head kale
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 1 c dried moong dal
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 16oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small dried red chili pepper

This will end up being a lot less visually attractive than when it starts, but isn’t that the case with much of life anyhow? At least, here, today, it will a visual let down apologized for by great taste and nutrient fever.*

Grab a stock pot and in it put your oil, onion and mustard seeds; let that cook on M for 10-15m. That’s plenty of time to chop up your head of cabbage and to de-vein your kale. When the onions begin to brown or mustard seeds begin popping (whichever comes first) add your cabbage. Stir to coat and let cook for 5m before adding in your kale. Stir, add water, cover, reduce heat to ML. Start your moong dal to boiling. Look through your cupboards for inspiration on what to do next. Pull out a can of tomatoes and all the aforementioned seasoning devices.

After the cabbakale is a little languid and more reasonable to open discussion, add the ginger-garlic paste and garlic powder. Stir thoroughly. Add tomatoes and remainder of your seasonings (except the dried red pepper) then stir and let sit until the dal is ready.
I didn’t need to drain the beans — they cooked in a small pot and absorbed all the water into a near-oatmealesque texture which worked well with the waterier texture of the stock pot contents. Combine dal and kalbbage, crush up dried pepper and sprinkle into the two as you merge them faithfully into one. Serve over that Basmati rice you had time to make yesterday.

 

 

*”Nutrient Fever” isn’t really a thing.

Dirty Cous Cous

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c ground sausage off the tube
  • 2 c leftover cous cous
  • 1/5 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 c broccoli slaw
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Because I am currently on a major “destroy all holiday leftovers” bandwagon, today I cleaned out the refrigerator and ordained the tupperware container of Leftover Cous Cous as tonight’s meal, along with its sidekick Open Bag of Slaw. And as I had mistakenly bought too many rolls of sausage for the New Years Day family potluck, this one seemed to insinuate itself.

Start your sausage off on M and flatten with spatula. Let it cook for a minute or so, then start flipping and breaking it up as finely as desired. Once it’s showing almost no pink, add the onion. Let it cook in with the sausage for about 2m, then add the broccoli slaw and mix together. Add your pastes and paprika and continue stir frying pan contents until the slaw begins to yield. Turn off the heat and fold in your couscous, adding salt slowly as you do. Serve once everything is hot, or put the lid on your pan and walk away. I’m not here to judge.

Middle Easternish White Beans and SCIENCE!

In my pantry today:

  • About 2c. soaked-n-cooked white beans
  • 1 medium-large-ish yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • Jar of roasted red peppers
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

So I did a little kitchen reconnaissance on Google concerning What The Hell To Do With White Beans. This recipe sounded good, and I figured I could whip something akin to it up. Because plain baked beans are boring. And too sweet. And I don’t have bacon or brown sugar in the pantry. But I have a lot of beans and a lot of rice. Nothing is impossible, and whereas I don’t care for the flavor journey of traditional baked beans I do still firmly believe that beans and rice don’t have to be boring.

Cook the onion in the ghee on M for about 10m. Add diced red peppers (to taste/I used a generous 1/4 c) and ginger-garlic paste. Transfer the whole mess to your food processor and make it a delicately chunky puree. Put tomato paste in the hot pot (turn heat down a little during this) to let it melt, then add the puree back. Mix it well and bring it back to a low boil. While it’s spit-bubbling, add the remainder of the spices and mix for a minute or so while low-boiling. Add your beans. Bring back to a low boil and turn off the pot. I am serving this tonight over, of course, Basmati rice.

Do you have a chronic illness? I watched this video last night and imagine hope the recipes on this blog get to adjust to a diet just like the one described therein. I took notes, people. Right now I am four months into a SNAP card not-really-a-battle-because-it’s-DSS-and-they-can’t-help-the-confusion; once I receive the ability to cook with a little extra help (that also validates my poverty!) I hope to switch more completely to a “Hunter-Gatherer” style diet. I once loved to cook because I loved to eat (and I’m Italian!). I want to cook now for my body. I have a friend with MS who is following a Paleo diet and seeing the positive results; when I watched the above-linked video I cried quietly while furiously scribbling words like “polyphenols.” I’ve recently learned how important what you put in your body can be (16lbs to go before I’ve lost 100!) and the clinical affirmation you’ll see therein is enough to stand me up like a soldier. I want to make myself better. I want to be able to sit in repose like everyone else. I want to make my “eyeball seizures” stop. I want my memory back. I want to be able to intelligently communicate with other people face-to-face again. My lucidity remains between my brain and fingertips, but it seems to wander off during real-time interactions. As per this video, the human brain literally shrinks in conditions like mine. I am not surprised; in fact, I am grateful for the explanation. Not knowing is worse, always. Be good to yourselves.