Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Green Plantain Curry

I’ve made dinner several times and forgotten to take pictures… again. However, I made lunch yesterday AND remembered to take pictures!

plantains

Now, this plate looks nice, with 2 vegetable dishes and chapathis (an Indian bread). The chapathi recipe is my mother’s secret, and thus I cannot divulge it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find many good recipes online if you Google it. No, I’m serious. To eat with the chapathi, I made Green Pepper curry, the recipe for which will come another day, and Green Plantain Curry.

Star Market is full of green plantains, which means, everyone upon reading this recipe, should go buy some plantains and make this dish.

Green Plantain Curry (Approx. 5 servings)

  • 2 large Green Plantains, diced into cubes
  • Dry Coconut
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger root
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • Salt, lemon/lime
  • Brown Sugar
  • Curry leaves & coriander

Frying Ingredients*

  • Olive Oil (Coconut Oil if you want to be more authentic)
  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad Daal (available at Shaws sometimes, definitely available at Allston Market or Shalimar in Central Sq.)
  • Pinch of Asafoetida Powder
  1. Make masala (powder) from dry coconut, brown sugar, garlic, ginger & chilli powder in a blender.
  2. Cut plantains into cubes after pressure cooking with skin on in, cut in halves, in a bowl of water.
  3. Put a generous amount of oil in a pan on low flame, and wait for the oil to heat up.
  4. Add frying ingredients and curry leaves, and wait for the mustard seeds to start sputtering/popping.
  5. Then, add plantains, coating all of it with oil
  6. Once the plantains have been cooked, turn off the stove if it is electric. (If it is gas, leave it on).
  7. Add the masala and mix thoroughly so all the plantains are coated.
  8. Remove from flame, add salt, lemon, & coriander.

Serve with chapathis or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

*I specified frying ingredients so in the future, when I reference it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Think Outside the Box: Traditional School Lunches

I’m back in Boston, and the elements are conspiring against my happiness. I went grocery shopping, loaded up my refridgerator with delicious things, then made a bunch of food and completely forgot to take pictures to post them here.

On the menu forgotten were:  Waldorf-esque Salad, Basil Pesto Fettuccine, Home-made Garlic Bread, and Ice cream.

Later, I’ll post recipes ūüôā

Today is low-key, since I’m at home, doing homework until class later today. Lunch is a Peanut Butter Sandwich on Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Baby Carrots with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and Tater Tots.


lunchy

 

Happy Eating & Cooking to everyone in the new year!

On Hiatus – Still – Till Next Week

You’ve probably noticed my absence since the middle of December. ¬†Nope, I haven’t abandoned you, this blog, or my cooking. ¬†Well, actually, the last one’s a bit of a lie. ¬†Right after final exams, I booked it down to Florida (the only state in the country without snow right now) for winter vacation, maximizing my time in the Sunshine State. ¬†Guess who else lives in this state? ¬†My mother. ¬†Guess who is the best chef of all time? ¬†Yep. ¬†My mother. ¬†I’ve been eating and eating and scribbling down recipes and taking notes while she cooks and watching and breathing in the delicious scents and overall… neglected my readers.

I apologize.

In the form of an apology, one of my best friends, Karen, guest blogged last Saturday with an amazing recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie. ¬†Now, if you don’t like cherry pie, well… you’re strange. ¬†I’ve had the privilege of eating Karen’s cooking and desserts, and let me tell you… they are divine. ¬†Lucky for you, she’s snowed in in her parents house on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and provided they don’t lose power, she’ll have some more delicious recipes and interesting tidbits of history for you all soon.

Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been up to all break:

1. Applications for graduate school for International Relations at 5 prestigious schools.  They are LONG.

2. Hanging out with my family, friends and books.

3. A 5-day vacation to Orlando, Universal Studios, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Islands of Adventure: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with some of the most special people in my life.

So mostly, I’ve been reading. My goal is 50 books this year, as it is every year, and the last time I reached that was 2008. ¬†In the meantime, I’m compiling my reading for this year, so please please hit me with any and all suggestions you have! ¬†I love all genres (mostly) so don’t hesitate. ¬†Time to ramp up the intellectual stimuli!

Ready, set, go!

A little somethin’ sweet…Sweet Cherry Pie!

Hello all! ¬†Let me first apologize to you for not being the wonderful and talented Vieshnavi, and then I will introduce myself: I am sorry for the lack of Vieshnavi around these parts of late, and I am her friend, Karen. ¬†As a fellow vegetarian and former roommate of Vieshnavi, we’ve been on many veggie adventures together (what?! Panera?! You betrayed us! Why is your broccoli cheddar soup *not* vegetarian?!), have had many fine cooking experiments together (“Do you like this?” “Yeah.” “Let’s stir fry it.” “Wait…can you do that?!” “Why not….?”), and have oft lamented the lack of real vegetarian food out there. ¬†To the world out there: we don’t just eat lettuce!

Sometimes, we eat pie.

Which is the subject of this guest-blog, which Vieshnavi has so kindly allowed me to write. ¬†Pie is pretty much one of the most excellent foods on the planet. ¬†You can put almost anything into a pastry, bake it for a bit, and call it pie. ¬†According to a history of pie website out there, this dates back to the ancient Egyptians but really only came into its own when the British got hold of the idea and, in true British fashion, decided to be the absolute very best at it. ¬†Which they were, at least until the United States declared independence and took their pie with them. ¬†(To paraphrase the New Hampshire state motto: “Live free for pie!”) ¬†Apple pie is probably the most popular, as it is cheap and easy to make. ¬†Having grown up in New England, apple pie is a delicacy most decidedly not served at 4th of July celebrations, as apples are out of season and who wants old apples in their pie, but that has not stopped the rest of the country from believing it’s summery and perfect for the most American of American holidays. ¬†We tend to serve blueberry pie for that occasion, as that fruit is in season. ¬†Anyway, let’s move on. ¬†There’s a recipe here, I promise.

So now that I have made you want summer and pie (apple or blueberry or what-have-you), let me remind you that it is winter and there aren’t too many winter-specific pies out there. ¬†Though pumpkin and sweet potato are definitely in fine form this time of year. ¬†However, there are traditional winter pies whose ingredients have nothing to do with what’s in season and a lot to do with being delicious and sweet and warming up from the winter chill! ¬†One of these is cherry pie, which is traditionally served in honor of George Washington’s birthday in February. ¬†This post is a bit early for that, but it’s delicious nonetheless. ¬†And if you start now, you can perfect your pie-making technique just in time for the first big pie-centric holiday of the year.

I bet you never had a reason to get excited about Washington’s birthday before now. ¬†ūüėČ

Sweet Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

– pie pastry, enough for to be rolled out to line the bottom of an 8″ pie dish and to cover the top

– 4 cups fresh or canned sweet cherries (“Bing” cherries are pretty common, if you’re in the US). ¬†If you are using fresh cherries (which I highly recommend), you’ll need to pit them. ¬†More on that later.

– 1/4 cup of sugar

– 2 1/2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca (Picture of it here. ¬†It’s not pudding. ¬†You will, however, find it in the baking section near the pudding.)

– 2 teaspoons of butter

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Line a pie pan with 1/2 of the pastry dough. ¬†If you’re cramming and need to make pie fast, or if you just don’t particularly feel like making pastry dough, kneading it, rolling it out, and trying not to break it, I recommend grabbing the premade frozen variety. ¬†Pillsbury makes an especially delicious variety.

3. Drain the canned cherries, saving 1/2 the juice. ¬†If you’re using natural cherries, don’t worry about all that. ¬†You get to worry about pitting them, which I am pretty sure they make a tool for. ¬†However, I do not own this tool and I don’t know anyone who does (unless they received it as a gift or really like olives), and I do not have the patience to take a paring knife to every little cherry and squeeze the pits out of the halved fruit. ¬†I prefer the more organic method of squeezing the cherry until the pit shoots out. ¬†My father taught me that. ¬†It’s a lot of fun and well-worth looking Dexter on a bad day when you’re done.

4. Mix the juice (if you’re a canned cherry person), sugar, and tapioca in a bowl. ¬†Add the cherries. ¬†Toss well.

5. Pile the mixture into the lined pie pan and dot with it with the butter, by which I mean make very tiny slices of butter and put them on top.

6. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie (you can get fancy here and make a lattice if you’d like). ¬†Crimp the edges and put several holes in the top, or use a pie bird (ceramic hollow bird that you put in the center of the pie before you put the filling in; lets out the steam).

7. Bake at 425 F for only 10 minutes!  After 10 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350 F, and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Easy as pie. ūüėČ ¬†I like this pie warm or cool, and my mother likes it only warm. ¬†It’s delicious both ways, but begins to firm up after it has cooled down. ¬†It’s quite delicious, not too sweet, and the perfect reminder of summer during the cold winter months.

Oh, and George Washington’s honesty.

Tell me what you think!  Fan of cherry pie?  Fan of pie in general?  Have a great pie story or an awesome recipe or know the best place to get the best piece of pie served up?  Let us know!

Bake that Mac n’ Cheese!

I know I’ve been MIA for a little, but I’m back, and here’s what I’ve been up to:

There’s a hundred different ways to make macaroni and cheese, with every chef (self-proclaimed or otherwise) putting his or her own spin on the traditional dish. I’ve made mac n’ cheese in a saucepan melting cheddar into milk when I’m pressed for time, but for special occasions, I enjoy baking the dish, sometimes topping it with breadcrumbs.

This time, I made Mac n’ Cheese Smith Style, so named as it’s a family recipe from my friend Charles Smith. Here’s a before (as I was layering the large Pyrex with the ingredients) and an after (as my friends and I were working on seconds) picture.

beforemac
aftermac

Mac N’ Cheese Smith Style

  • 1 Lb. Elbow Macaroni Noodles (Sometimes I use Large Shells instead for variety)
  • 1 Lb. Sharp Chedder Cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups Tomato Juice
  1. Cook macaroni according to package (slightly less than done is good)
  2. Layer in casserole dish: First, tomato juice (just enough to cover dish bottom), second pasta, third cheese.
  3. Repeat until macaroni is gone (usually 3 thin layers).
  4. Only add 1.5 to 2 cups of tomato juice per layer and only 3.5 to 4 cups total.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

Of course, mac n’ cheese alone would get boring without appetizers (I made a vegetable platter with carrot sticks, celery, zucchini, and squash and balsamic vinaigrette dip), or at least side dishes so here are a couple of side options.

platter

Side Dishes

  • Tater Tots! I bought the frozen Ore Ida package at Star Market, and fried them straight out of the freezer in a saucepan of heated oil (about 375 degrees F) for about 4 minutes. You can bake them, but that’s wholly foreign to me. Welcome to the South.
  • Saut√©ed Zucchini & Summer Squash – Now I’m not sure what summer squash is still doing in stores as it’s way, way out of season, but I cut both veggies in thin, 2 – 3 inch-long strips and saut√©ed them until the center was just tender. ¬†I seasoned the veggies liberally with basil and topped it off with a little stone-ground pepper and salt.

Happy Eating!

Traditional Sambar with Green Beans & Potatoes

What is this ‘Sambar’ of which I speak? It’s almost like a stew, lentil-based and chock full of veggies and protein (from the lentils, duh). It’s a dish traditionally cooked and found in south India, and it makes up an essential component of any traditional south Indian dinner, since it has nutrients in abundance. ¬†Protein is hard to find in a vegetarian diet unless you’re into the fake meats, tofu, or such, all of which I kind of hate.

Generally, I make this sambar with French cut green beans, carrots, and baby onions, but last night, I was missing carrots. ¬†(Here’s a good recipe for Carrot and Beans Sambar by Radhika, in India.) Instead, I substituted potatoes, which works just fine. ¬†In fact, one of my favorite sambars is made with baby potatoes and baby onions. It’s cute and it’s tasty and it’s easy to make.

sambar
The basic recipe for a sambar is simple, and the veggies can be substituted as desired. ¬†However, once you start getting into the leafy greens (spinach, for example), the spices vary slightly, and the dish is called ‘huli.’ Anyway, enough theory of Indian vegetarian cooking, here’s a recipe:

Green Beans and Potato Sambar

~Serves approximately 6~

  • 1/2 cup Toor dal (if you can’t find this in Shaws, try Shalimar in Central Square or the Indian Market in Coolidge Corner)
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped in cubes
  • French cut green beans, frozen – use the same volume of beans as potatoes
  • 1/2 extra large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Tamarind paste/pulp (if you know how to soak and extract pulp)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Madras Sambar Powder
  • Salt ‚Äď to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2-3 Whole red chilli, dried or fresh
  • Asafoetida (a powder/spice that comes in a white plastic bottle)‚Äď 2 pinches
  • 2-3 Curry leaves
  • Coriander Leaves ‚Äď for garnishing
  1. Clean Toor Dal (sift through and make sure no dark pieces are there) and either pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric – this makes it cook fast. Remove after 3 whistles and let it cool down – or add 1.5 cups of water, oil and turmeric in a small saucepan and let simmer on medium-high until the lentils absorb the water, soften and expand. Stir often to prevent sticking on bottom of the saucepan, and remove from flame once all the water is absorbed.
  2. Dice oniones, chop Potatoes to 1″ cubes, and remove beans from freezer and let needed amount defrost to room temperature.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, and then add chopped onions. Sauté till they turn clear (are cooked), then add the can of tomatoes, mashing them with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the potatoes and let simmer until potatoes begin to soften.
  5. Then add the cooked toor dal (slightly mashed with wooden spoon), green beans, and  tamarind pulp.
  6. Add the sambar powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida, and salt.
  7. Cook on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins or until the vegetables are cooked well.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Happy Eating!

  • Have you ever made Sambar before?
  • If so, how do you normally make it? Do you use vegetables other than carrots, beans, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes?

Tis the Season for Some Curry: Channa Masala (or Chole)

Indian food. ¬†If you haven’t had it yet and you live in Boston, for shame. (unless you’re allergic to spice, then you’re excused. ¬†And no, “I don’t like anything except plain pasta or potatoes” is not an allergy. Just saying.) You have two options:

  1. India Quality – Kenmore Square – Delicious, affordable, variety of North Indian cuisine in generous portions so you can just eat your college-student heart out. (Or Bhindi Bazaar, right around the corner on Mass Ave, if the line at India Quality is just too long and it’s cold outside.)
  2. Learn to make Indian food! Don’t worry – everything is available at Shaws in the ethnic food aisle (Indian)! (Star Market)

On the menu for tonight, then, is:

channa masala

Channa Masala (as we call this dish in south India. It is more commonly known as Chole in north India.) and Naan

~30 minutes prep & cooking, serves approx. 5

  • Naan – sold in packages of 2 at Shaws. I generally eat 1/2 or 1 naan, but if you’re using the naan to combat the spice, you’ll probably consumer 1 to 1.5 naan. They’re very filling, though, so be careful. Also, garlic naan is my favorite, but it will increase the spice level overall.)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) – This can be found in the Spanish food aisle
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large potato, chopped to approximate size of chick peas
  • 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 1 Green chilli (serrano pepper)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Inch of ginger root, chopped
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 1 spoonful of red chilli powder (found in regular spice aisle)
  • Channa Masala Spice mix (sold in small boxes)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh, chopped coriander for garnishing
  • Fresh lime for final flavoring
  1. Chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Grind the ginger and garlic in blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can saute the garlic and ginger with the onion, but make sure to mince well.
  3. In a saucepan, heat a bit of oil (2-3 T). Add the onion and saute till the onion turns clear. Add about 2-3 spoonfuls of channa masala seasoning and saute til fragrant.
  4. Add the ground ginger/garlic mix and green chilli. Saute for a few minutes til most of the liquid has evaporated. If you like it a bit on the spicy side, add a couple more green chillies.
  5. Add the chopped tomato, potato and bay leaves and salt to taste.
  6. Cook until potato starts becoming tender. Add canned chick peas.
  7. Allow everything to stew at low-med heat for at least 10 minutes, or until liquid reduces (smashing some of the chick peas can help to thicken the sauce, if necessary).
  8. Slice the lime in quarters and squeeze on a quarter per serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro!
  9. While channa masala is simmer and reducing, butter both sides of the naan(s) and toast on a flat pan. If you’re tired or pressed for time, you can also make the naan in a toaster oven, but only butter the side facing up.

Enjoy your international dinner!

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