Tag Archives: indian

Cauliflower to the Stage!

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In my pantry today:

  • 1 M head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1.5 c frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, chunked
  • 1 M-L red onion, chunked
  • 1 M-L jalapeno, chunked w/seeds
  • 1.5 c parsley w/stems
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (bone broth if’n you got it)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cumin
  • dash asafoetida

I was in the mood for Indian. Specifically, cauliflower and peas. If I wanted this meal to be culturally relevant, it’d be served over rice and/or with naan… but, y’know, carbs. Thankfully cauliflower is a too open-minded piece of produce to let this be a delicious pipe dream: it will star in the show both playing itself, and in the role of rice.

garliconionjalFirst thing: Haphazardly dice garlic, onion, and jalapeno. Don’t hurt yourself, but enjoy knowing that it doesn’t matter how pretty these look before heading into a food processor. Put them in the pan with both oils, turn heat up to M for 10m then reduce to ML. Add parsley, mix. Let them mingle until translucency happens.

caulTake your cauliflower florets to the food processor first. In small batches, pulse only enough to break it up into near-rice consistency. Pour it all into a bowl and set aside.

Return to the pan, increase heat to M and add your spices. Coat everything and let it cook for about a minute. Turn off heat, let the pan cool for a minute then throw it all in the food processor until all that remains is a wet paste. Return it to the pan, add diced cherry tomatoes, broth, and peas. Bring to boil over M then reduce heat to L. Stir in cauliflower. Bring it back up to ML while you fold it all together, then when it returns to a simmer cover and turn to L. Walk away for 15-20m, then come back and… CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE:

  • Turn off the stove and let it sit for the day in its own warm mess until dinner
  • Turn the heat back up to M until your desired consistency is reached, serve
  • Turn off stove for an hour. Decide you’re hungry, cook a quick chicken breast and have dinner for lunch.

Untitled-2This ended up being better than I’d initially hoped, with all the right levels of spice (for me: if you’re generally a wimp, check your jalapeno seeds at the door). I couldn’t wait until the dinner hour to eat a hearty portion.

What I did right: Cauliflower as its own rice means more phytonutrients and less sugar. I’m always happy to include turmeric and coconut oil in any reasonable fashion, and hiding parsley was a win-win.

What I did wrong: Forgot to marinate a chicken breast in advance, thinking “since this is for later I’ll wait on choosing/cooking a protein.”

What I might do next time: Pulse the cauliflower even more lightly so it’s chunkier. Add a little chili powder and/or fenugreek.

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Slap Yo Rajma-ma Good

In my pantry today:

  • 1 15.5oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c sweet yellow onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2-1 c water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • dash asafoetida

rajmaThis rajma restored my faith in what a single can of kidney beans can deliver apart from being in the ensemble of a pot of chili. While your onions and garlic cook to a diaphanous state on L for the next hour, you can easily assemble the other ingredients, do the dishes, take a shower, set up the coffee pots for tomorrow and start a load of laundry. Promise.

When the time becomes right, turn up the heat to M and mix all the seasonings in with your onions until a nice loose paste forms. Stir in the tomatoes slowly then gently mix in the beans. When a boil is a nigh on M, reduce heat to L and cover. This can be eaten right away but is better left to ruminate on its own flavors for a little while. After a 6 hour wait, this was 5 spoons of delight.

The First 5+

In my pantry today:

  • 1.25 c frozen spinach
  • 1.25c blanched, chopped kale
  • 12 0z canned tomato sauce (plain)
  • 1 L yellow onion
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetia

P1100258I had some major cupboard rearranging to do so I started the onions in oil with mustard seeds on ML and let them rest largely unattended for about 30m. Sprinkle on turmeric a few minutes in, mix. Turn stove to M an mix in pastes and other spices until a gummy mound forms; dispatch the mound with your spatula and a small dollop of tomato sauce. Add greens and let the food processor run for a couple of minutes; spoon it back into the pan and stir in the remainder of your tomato sauce. Heat and eat, or add paneer, meat or a meat substitute — I threw in some cooked chana dal (split chickpeas) and served it over Basmati rice. I ate this for lunch and again for dinner… and maybe I heated my dinner in a small Ikea skillet then ate it then licked the skillet. Don’t you judge me.

kaleI know that eating foods of color is the way to go, so I feel really good about not only the outstanding 5+ spoons of taste this delivers but also because the recipe is full of enough greens for me to want to add a +. Following the Wahls Diet is my goal, but still isn’t entirely possible — both financially (SNAP only delivers so much) and… because I am still a product of my fatty culture and will submit to its baser dietary desires.*

 

 

* Don’t you judge me.

Saag’s the Way We Do It

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 lbs turnip greens, washed stems cut
  • 3 c baby spinach/arugula blend, washed
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable ghee
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
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vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E, and K plus many more all-stars

This was worth the day’s adventure in making this from scratch recipe as “from scratch” as possible. I’d remark in a more witty and urbane fashion, but I admit that from this and from about thirty unrelated other things I am wiped out. For the first five hours of my day, however, I was on point.

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don’t pa’sneer

Start first with the low rent paneer. Obviously, this is the one non-vegan aspect of the recipe. Preheat the oven to 350° and spread an even layer of ricotta cheese over a [I used an 8×8″ and the paneer was too thin so go with something a little smaller] baking dish and bake for 45-60m until the edges of the pan begin to brown. Let cool then slice into cubes or crumble into a topping.

carte blanching all 3lbs of 3 greens at once

Meanwhile your oil/ghee should be warming to ML. Add diced onions, garlic, mustard and cumin seeds. Let cook over ML heat until onions begin peeking translucent. While they’re warming up to the notion, trim and blanch your greens (well, boil them for about 10m if you don’t care for chewing your saag). Drain well and set aside. Turn heat up closer to M in the pan; when you hear a mustard seed or two crackle, add the ginger-garlic paste and other dry seasonings. Mix together until one gelatinous mass then add in the flour. Use the juice from the diced tomatoes if liquid is needed. Scrape all the seasonings off the bottom of the pan and mix until a paste-like consistency. 

saag2

just prior to pasting

Add in the greens slowly, mixing all the while. Then plop the entire mix in your food processor, add milk and spin until the creaminess you desire is reached. Serve with paneer over Basmati rice. This is a 5 spoon dish of healthy delight (well, 4 if’n you count my too-thin paneer but let’s not do that) and was commemorated by having half its contents frozen for later revisitation.

Tomorrow’s Lentils Get Corny

In my pantry today:

freezerlentilsOk, so it was still just a thaw-and-eat meal (and one made with love!) and would’ve been perfectly fine without any additions. But we were hungry. And it was cold. So this happened and it was good. 5 spoons!

 

Ramen Salad Soup ft. Hunnộy Chicken

ramensaladsoup

In my pantry today:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • marinade (below)
  • soup (below)
  • 1 handful of ramen noodles
  • 1 c kale
  • 1/3 c shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 c shredded carrot
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 2 spritzes olive oil cooking spray
  • some water

Hunnộy Marinade:

  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp red hot chili powder
ramen

I am mindful that this recipe mixes some ingredients and methodologies common to very separate Asian countries.

Marinate your uncut (other than extraneous fat trimming — go to town with that part while remaining true to your own taste for extraneous fat) breasts in the above mixture in a sealed plastic bag or tupperware container and let it soak overnight, or all day or any arbitrary set of several consecutive hours you like. It’ll help things along tomorrow (or later) if you go ahead and prep the other stuff, too. Nearly mince your kale and massage a drop or two of sesame oil into it; let that sit untouched for no less than fifteen minutes, and no more than a couple days (kale is hearty). Slice a thin round or two from a split cabbage* and grate some carrots; put in a baggie and into the fridge. And, really, making the broth would cut down the chicken/noodle timing issue so go ahead and do that (at least a little in) advance of the other stuff.

Soup:

  • 3 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp red hot chili powder

I mean, you don’t have to do all of this the day before (although the meat would most benefit). Whenever you do make the soup, season but don’t bring it to a full boil until it’s time to boil the noodles.

When it’s time to cook the chicken, preheat a pan to M/MH. When hot, spray with olive oil cooking spray and slide a shaken wedge of animal into the pan. Spoon a little of the marinade over each. Let cook (slide it around so it doesn’t stick) on that side for 2-5 minutes or until chicken shows a white-to-pink gradient when viewed from the side, flip and let the other side cook in the same fashion. Add little drops of water/marinade respectively to keep caramelization or sticking to happen. After gradient shows same range on this side, drop 1/4 c water into the pan, cover it and reduce heat to ML for 10 minutes. Now is the time to start your noodles: bring the soup to a low boil then split the ramen in half before throwing into the pot so that they fit into said pot; stir. Return to chicken (assuming the right amount of time has passed) and slice each breast as thinly as possible. Put slices back into pan and coat with the thick marinade leavings. When noodles are done, don’t drain but divide the pot contents between two large bowls. Layer on kale, cabbage, chicken and carrots. While this did end up being a little more work than for which I’ve trained myself, it delivered spicy cold weather deliciousness at 5 spoons.

 

 

cabbagepeas*All that cabbage I made the other day was divided in half, and respectively: frozen and with peas over Basmati rice at 4 spoons (that cabbage is GOOD after sitting in the fridge a day). The rest of this same head cabbage is chilling in freezer purgatory, and a smidge bit of it still lives in a tiny plastic home in the fridge. Cabbage: one if the cheapest vegetables may also be its heartiest.

Today’s Lentils, Tomorrow’s… Lentils.

In my pantry today:

  • 1-2c lentils (cooked)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • 1 orange jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5-2c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

This wasn’t going to be a freezer storage item, but life falls as it may and tonight was not its night (and tomorrow’s gonna be the night for what’s in the crock pot overnight now). I’m going to chalk it up to a preliminary success in my desire to have meals prepared ahead of time.

Start not-as-finely-chopped peppers (it is important right away to note that the jalapenos should have no seeds left), onion and garlic out on ML in a ghee/oil combo. Make sure the mustard seeds and kala jeera are in there too. Stir and sit back — when the mustard seeds commence to poppin’ turn off the heat. Spoon contents of the pan into a food processor, add curry powder, asafoetida, flax, tomato paste and 1c almond milk then puree everything into a single, succulent sauce. Spatula it back into the pan, add lentils and however much remaining almond milk you’d like. Heat everything to a near-boil and turn off the stove. When the sauce cools, either eat or freeze! I did taste this before it went on staycation in the icebox and I cannot wait until it gets to come back out — 4 spoons.

 

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!

 

Another Fun Sauce Served Over Rice! With Kidney Beans!

  • 1.5 c cooked kidney beans
  • 6 blanched tomatoes
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 sprig basil (optional)

I never mean to start out with a list of ingredients wildly at odds with my socioeconomic standing. There are a lot of staples in the cupboard, and staples for me are the items you’ll see repeated — garlic, onions, curry, hot chili or cayenne pepper, different cooking oils. I find that maintaining a foundation of things like these makes making tasty meals possible on a budget… but it can force me into ruts. You all know I like sauces that go over rice — ah, but I am so much more!

…I say this as I go into another sauce/rice recipe, of course, but my intentions with it are good! I have just learned how to blanch tomatoes and I was hot to do another batch. In familiar tradition, these blanched and diced and drained tomatoes became another sauce. Their journey, however, was a noble one.

After blanching, dicing and draining off the more watery tomato juice, add your tomatoes (about 3c diced) to a pan that’s had garlic, onion, mustard seeds and kala jeera simmering in its oil foundation on [heat to M then reduce to ML after 5m] for a good 20-30m. Add remaining seasonings and stir, let come to a boil on M and keep it in ML-M uncovered for an hour or so — until everything has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a little before pouring into the food processor. Pulse until smooth then return to the pan, this time with a little coconut milk and lime juice. Mix everything together well as you fold in the beans, then top with a sprig of basil and cover. Turn heat back to M and let it steam for just a minute or two before serving over Basmati rice. 4 spoons!

Shakarkand Curry (or “A Shakarkand a Priest Walk Into a Bar…”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c lentils
  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 14.5 oz can [chicken or vegetable] broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp ground brown flax
  • 2 tsp yellow curry
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida

So I’ve been roasting sweet potatoes at will lately — I hate that I’m inspired by anything a fast food chain does, but I can’t help but be by the sweet buttery spread that accompanies one of these “Signature Sides” from Wendy’s®. I’ve duplicated — nay, improved upon — their formula and that recipe is forthcoming. But back to the copious number of baked sweet potatoes in my refrigerator.

This one is gonna be a not-sinful-dessert-or-sometimes-meal option. It’ll be a curry! We’re gonna take the soft already-baked pulp out of the skin and set it aside. Start your minced onion and garlic in your oils warming to M. When full heat is reached, reduce to ML and let them cook until the onions become translucent. At that point, add your sweet potato and mash it into the pan. Add seasonings and flax and continue mashing. Once you feel good and smash-happy, add the broth slowly and dial it back to a more gentle pulverization. Once it’s a happy family, let simmer on M for just a minute then slowly stir in your lentils. Let the whole mess simmer together for 15-45m before serving over Basmati rice. 5 spoons!

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