Oct 5, 2017

Chana Masala Veggiefied- Chickpeas with Vegetables with rice

This is a variation on the traditional north indian dish of "chana masala" - aka Chhole. most recipes that are popular from the north indian state of Punjab. Back in India, the road side truck stops are the ones that rule flavor contests on this one.

I have taken the general recipe and added lot of vegetables to it, so that it is more carb-friendly!

Chana masala is simple to make dish and you can skip most of the vegetables that we discuss here. You would need to keep onions, tomatoes, green chilis and ginger-garlic as the minimum # of fresh ingredients needed for this recipe. Some of the illustrations I will use include in mixed to rice, which is a common way to consume this in India. Many folks also eat it with rotis or chapatis or naans (naan bread). Don't forget to keep some Water H2O if things get spicy.

Note: the general procedure for most "curries" involves roasting cumin seeds in hot oil, let crackle, then add chopped red onions, sauteing those for 2 mins on medium heat, add the minced garlic, ginger, saute for a min, then add veggies,saute for 2 mins,add tomatoes, sprinkle turmeric and red chili powder- cook for a min or two, then add the pre-cooked chickpeas.

Saute the veggies in a small amount of hot oil. Start with onions, as it starts browing, add green and red bell peppers, green chilis, minced or finely chopped ginger and garlic. Red chili powder (optional for a kick), salt, cumin powder can be added.

Throw in drained chickpeas (I used a can).
Mix in the already cooked rice. I used basmati rice, added a spoon of ghee for flavor.

Mix it up to coat the rice well and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or provide them at table for garnishing on serving plate. Provide wedges of lemon or lime at the table to enhance flavors on the plate.


Sep 14, 2017

Caprese and Chhole

Mixing up Italian and Indian is not something to be done lightly. I will stop with political humor there (Indian politics), but get to briefly describing what I made for a Labor day barbecue event hosted by a British friend of mine in the US.

A simple caprese salad appetizer,easy hand held food.

A simple to make,but complex flavored chickpea rice dish. (Chana masala + sauteed veggies + basmati rice)

Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh leaf basil, Virgin olive oil drizzle.

Saute the veggies in a small amount of hot oil. Red chili powder, salt, cumin powder go well here.
Note: the general procedure for most "curries" involves roasting cumin seeds in hot oil, let crackle, then add chopped red onions, sauteing those for 2 mins on mediumheat, add garlice, ginger finely chopped pieces, saute for a min, then add veggies,saute for 2 mins,add tomatoes, sprinkle turmeric and red chili flakes - cook for a min or two, then add chickpeas.
Throw in drained chickpeas (I used a can).If you cook chickpeas fresh, then drain and add.
Mix in the already cooked rice. I used basmati rice, added a spoon of ghee for flavor.

Mix it up to coat the rice well and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or provide them at table for garnishing on serving plate.


Aug 23, 2017

Taco Tuesday - Revisited

Tuesday dinner. Homemade veggie tacos based off a texmex delight I love from a restaurant at pennstate area. Black beans were lightly sauteed with roasted cumin seeds, minced garlic, rock salt,  black pepper, turmeric powder.

Loved it though as it took under 30mins.

Bean and potato tacos
Taco Tuesday Ingredients
Cheddar cheese mixed in with Mashed potatoes. Fresh pico de gallo (fine chopped items on wooden board with lemon juice and salt). Shortcuts galore: beans from can, instant mashed potatoes from powder, corn tortillas are store bought.
Cooked and seasoned black beans
Ingredients for fresh salsa (pico de gallo)


Beans, Mashed potatoes etc.

Jun 29, 2017

Quick Cuboidal lunches

Wait, what? What is a cuboidal lunch.

Well, it's really just lunch tha's packed into rectangular tupperware. But using geometric words make things sound cooler for engineers!

Home made Indian lunch, placed in rectangular box tupperware, makes it easy to carry in another rectangular shaped lunch bag. That's all it is folks.

Pic 1: Assembled cuboidal lunch
Now, let's get on with the plan.

What you need already prepped/cooked:
  1. Dal (lentil dish) - green mung+split chickpeas featured here. (Recipe for lentils).
  2. Rice.
  3. Vegetable curry or some side (Suggestion: cooked plantains
  4. Fruits (your favorite). e.g. Peeled oranges, berries, chopped melon/cantaloupe etc.
  5. 1/2 cup yoghurt - plain, whole & with live cultures. (optional, but highly recommended)
  6. Chopped cucumber (optional) and radishes (optional, in season) or baby carrots. They add color!

Image of ruler embedded into pic 2 is sourced from http://nitasoesabdo.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html


Starchy Vegetables - Crispy Indian Style

SOUTH INDIAN LOW SPICE CURRY

General method for a south indian styled curry, especially when working with starchy vegetables like potato, plantain (green unripe banana, yams, beet root, sweet potato etc:

SafetyUse a splatter screen or a partially closed lid for preventing mustard from jumping out. Keep all things dry of water, hot oil and water drops do NOT mix.

Sweet potato curry

- (Add to hot oil at medium/high heat in this order left to right) --> Mustard seeds (let it sputter for 1-2 mins), coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chopped cashews (can substitute with peanuts or yellow split peas - mainly for texture).. All of these sputter and splatter, so a half closed lid or splatter screen is useful at this stage.

Reduce the heat a little then..

If I have curry leaves and hing (a pungent edible resin) I add them at this stage...once these were browned, I added chopped onions, let it brown or caramelize depending on taste preference. and after this..

 I add chopped ginger..(and garlic sometimes).. after couple minutes I add the sweet potatoes (or any other vegetable).. after this I sprinkle salt, turmeric and also a little bit of black pepper. Turmeric's bio-activity is best when consumed with some pepper/chili powder etc.

if you do not want it spicy SKIP the red chili powder but do use some black pepper.
if you want it spicy, add red chili powder after you add turmeric. You can also supplement with chopped green chili peppers (


lime, lemon, peeled ginger, turmeric roots


Cook to tenderness and it's ready to eat!

Similar method can be applied to most root/tube or starchy vegetables like carrot, jicama, beets, potatoes, green plantains etc.  This method it can also be used with turnip roots but cook it for lesser duration

Fresh curry leaves will be there at many Indian grocery stores. Their aroma is amazing when added to hot oil.

if you like crisp green plantain curry specifically.. check out this recipe that I posted on my blog a while ago..
 http://spicetruck.blogspot.com/2015/10/plantains-tamil-style.html

plantain curry with roasted lentils for seasoning texture

This is a recipe adapted from a live demo I conducted for my friends at New River Gorge when I had participated in a plein air painting workshop. I apologize for any errors in the language. Please let me know in comments or on my facebook page, and I will strive to fix it soon!

Thank you for your thyme :) ! 

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