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Monday, June 16, 2014

Stir Fried Noodle Curry

Handful of rice noodles
1 cup brocoli
1/2 cup peas
1 cup potato, cooked and quartered
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 medium onion sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Basil or Cilantro

1 tbsp tamari, soy sauce
2 tsp panang/red curry paste
1 cup coconut milk, lite is fine
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder

Spicy Chickpea Crepes

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala (or your favorite curry powder)
2 tsp coriander powder
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch stick ginger, minced
1 cup cottage cheese, drained (or 1 cup paneer, frozen for a while and then grated)- exclude this for vegan option
4 tsp canola/sunflower oil

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ethiopian Style Chickpea Stew

H and I love Ethiopian food. There is more than a subtle variation on the spice blends used when compared to Indian cooking. Berbere, the spice mix used in this stew is pretty similar to the Indian 'Garam Masala'. (which is my favorite spice mix, ever!) Spice mixes taste best when freshly ground but if you dont want to spend hours finding, measuring, roasting and grinding, try to find a local spice store that will do this for you if you can. Believe me, it makes all the difference! Here in Seattle, I often walk by World Spice merchants and that's how I discovered 'Berbere', wafting through their doors! :-)

The composition of spices make this stew more of a 'hot at the back of your mouth' kind of dish. Perfect for a cold fall or winter day. It will probably not have you downing glasses of cold water like hot green chilies would. We ate this all on its own with a little spring onion and feta sprinkled on top. But it would go very well with rice, pita, flat breads etc This stew also freezes very well!

Preparation Time: 25 minutes roasting, 30 minutes cooking
Serves: 6

2 cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed well and patted dry
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
6 small or 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 inch stick fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp coriander powder
4 tsp berbere spice mix
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
4 cups broth
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
Salt to taste
Spring onions (garnish, optional)

Preheat the oven to 450F
Mix the chickpeas in a bowl with the olive oil and cumin powder
Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and pop into the oven for 25 minutes. (Halfway through, pull the pan out and give it a little shake to evenly roast the chickpeas)

In a heavy pot (I used my cast iron dutch oven), heat the remaining olive oil on medium high
Add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute until the onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes
Add the spices and mix until fragrant, about 2 minutes
Add the tomato paste and the tomatoes, mix well
Cover and cook until the tomatoes break down, about 3 minutes
Add the liquids (broth, water and wine if using) and stir
Add the potatoes and carrots, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are done, about 15 minutes
Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes on medium low heat
Season with salt to taste
Garnish with spring onions

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

Fall time- the leaves do their yearly dance with the wind, one last show before winter sets in. I think it's my favorite season! I know it can get cold and rainy. But imagine curling up on the couch, looking out over tree tops at dusk with the fading sunlight reflecting off the puddles of water, washing all those turned leaves in a shimmer of gold.

Are you still with me?

Last week we bought this beautiful butternut squash from our local farmer's market. I wanted to saute it in oodles of butter and eat as-is. Thankfully, good sense prevailed and I decided on a healthier soup. I still couldn't get the taste of butter out of my head so I decided to roast the squash with a thin rub of ghee (clarified butter) and salt. While I was at it, the 2 ripe red peppers in the fridge called out to me. I had a little extra 'rub' left, so I tossed them into the oven as well. The resulting roasted pieces were good enough to eat. But no! Off they went into the blender to become a satisfying soup that is very filling. I would serve this with a few crackers and not much else- it's a meal on it's own!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (Roasting time: 1 hour)
Serves: 6-8 as a side

2 large red peppers
1 medium-large butternut squash
1 can lite coconut milk
3 cups broth

1 tbsp of your favorite curry paste (I used panang curry paste. Use more or less depending on your 'heat' tolerance levels)
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp ghee (melted butter works fine too)- use coconut oil for Vegan
Salt/Pepper to taste

Pumpkin seeds/Pine nuts
Yogurt-exclude this for vegan
Cilantro (optional)

Roast the veggies:
Preheat the oven to 375F
Peel and chop the butternut squash in half. Remove the seeds and cut into quarters.
Wash and chop the red pepper in half. Remove the seeds.
Mix the ghee with the cumin. Brush/rub this over the veggies.
Place the veggies on a roasting pan face down and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove from the oven and bring to room temperature
Blend the veggies to a paste with a little water if needed.

Soup's On!
Heat the coconut milk on medium-high until hot. Stir in the curry paste. Add the broth and stir well.
Stir in the blended, roasted veggies and season with salt/pepper to taste

Serve with a dollop of yogurt and garnished with pumpkin seeds and cilantro (optional)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tomato Soup with Caramelized Onion and Mint

I was craving a roasted tomato soup. Roasting adds a fullness and depth that you just cant get without the time spent in the oven. But it was not to be since I did not have whole tomatoes that I could roast. I did have some beautiful red onion though which I caramelized in my heavy dutch oven along with some dried red chili flakes and garlic. A handful of mint brings out the freshness of the tomatoes and highlights the tartness wonderfully.

The end result is a full bodied soup that's sweet, hot and fresh! I served this up with some fresh  crusty garlic bread broiled with some mild cheddar for a couple minutes- yumm!

Prep Time: 1 hour
Serves: 3


1 large can plum tomatoes (About 3 cups of tomatoes)
1 large red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp, Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
Feta cheese for garnish.

Heat a heavy pot on medium high and add the olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. Saute for a couple minutes.
Add the onions, a pinch of salt and the sugar. Stir.
Let the onions caramelize, stir frequently. This should take about 20-30 minutes
Add the tomatoes and heat through for about 5 minutes covered.
Puree the mixture in a blender and transfer back to the pot.
Mix in the salt and mint. Heat for a couple more minutes and serve with some feta cheese on top.

Cucumber Mint Salad


3 Persian or English cucumbers, sliced thinly into rounds. (Use a slicer or a mandolin)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbsp red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves. Chiffonade.

Mix all the ingredients together. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, covered in the fridge before serving.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rustic Tomato Soup with Cannelini Beans

Every dish has a story. This one began with a cool fall evening and 2 tired souls!

Soup is perfect for a cold, fall evening. This one was a meal-in-a-pot and very hearty served up with warm crusty bread and a splash of good olive oil. (I used some lemon infused olive oil)

Serves 4
Preparation time 30 minutes


2 tbsp olive oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped roughly (or a large can of tomatoes- crushed or diced)
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yellow squash, diced
1 can cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed
2 cups broth
1/2 cup milk (for vegan option, use almond milk)
*1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary (and extra for garnish)

1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika (or to taste)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)

Salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, garnish


Heat a heavy pot on medium with the olive oil
Add the onions and garlic, saute until soft
Add the coriander powder, paprika and red pepper and stir until fragrant
Add the squash, tomatoes and basil. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are squishy

Turn off the heat and use a hand blender to puree the vegetables roughly. (For a more rustic soup, don't puree until completely smooth) If you don't have a hand blender, transfer to a regular blender and pulse a couple times until desired consistency is achieved.
Transfer mixture back to the pot, add the broth and cook on medium heat
Whisk the flour and milk in a small bowl and slowly whisk this mixture into the soup. Whisk until you see no floury lumps
Season with salt to taste
Add the beans to the soup
Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes (this is to allow the soup to thicken and cook the flour)
Turn off the heat and add the rosemary to the hot soup just before serving

Serve with fresh cracked pepper, rosemary leaves or a chiffonade of basil and a splash of good olive oil. This soup tastes amazing with a side of warm, crusty bread.

* The flour and milk mixture is equivalent to adding cream to the soup. It does the same thing- thicken the soup. I used flour and milk as a healthier alternative. You could also try using coconut milk instead (1/2 cup) But remember to cook on low heat after adding the coconut milk, else the soup will separate.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Watermelon Mojito Sorbet

(I apologise for the lack of a picture here. It was one of those times when we were running out the door, sorbet in a cooler, trying to make it in time for an ice-cream social at a friends place. It was a ton of fun! We sampled some amazing desserts, home made wines and ice cream. I think it's an awesome idea and want to plan something myself soon!)
This summer I have been experimenting with ice cream and gelato recipes. I still haven't found that perfect 'healthy' recipe for ice cream. The consistency is always a little icy-er than I'd like it when I skimp on the heavy cream. Or it could be my ice cream maker. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

This weekend our new mint bush was taking over the deck, so I decided to chop it down to size and use the fresh mint leaves in a multitude of things- punch, soup and a sorbet! 

This sorbet is very fresh tasting. It would make a perfect palate cleaner between courses of a heavy meal!


3 cups watermelon juice
1 cup water
1 cup cane sugar 
(or to taste- depends on the sweetness of the watermelon. Also remember that once churned, the sweetness intensifies. So aim for a moderate sweetness before the mix goes into the ice cream maker)
1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
2 tsp corn starch (dissolved in 2-3 tbsps of water)
Zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup lime juice (I used about 4 limes)
1/2 cup vodka (A citrus liquor would also work here- I used part vodka part limoncello)
2 Tbsp mint chiffonade

Bring the water, juices (watermelon, lime) and sugar to a gentle boil
Stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat.
Chop the mint and add this and the zest to the juice. Steep for about 20 minutes.
Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a gentle boil again. Stir for a couple minutes until slightly thickened.
Stir in the liquor/vodka and mix well until combined.
Chill in the refrigerator until cold and freeze in an ice cream maker (5 minutes before it is done, add in the mint chiffonade)
Place the sorbet in the freezer (front portion- the back is too cold), for a couple hours to harden

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nutella Cookies

I love hazelnuts. I love chocolate. This was an easy culinary decision.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Makes about 32 small cookies
Bake Time: 15 minutes

1 cup whole wheat white flour/ all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 and 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate
(I used schraffen berger 70% dark, chopped into small pieces. You could also use semi sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, cold
1 egg, room temperature

Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy
Add the egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt- mix well
Mix in the flour until incoorporated
Gently mix in the chocolate and nuts

Using a cookie scoop, place dough (about 1/2 tbsp each) onto buttered and floured cookie sheets with 2 inch spaces between each cookie.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven (top 1/3rd shelf) for about 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden
Gently place on a cooling rack and cool for atleast 5 minutes before digging in!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blueberry Maple Coffee Cake

Continuing the saga of blueberry related recipes, here is a coffee cake that will pick you up any afternoon. Enjoy with your favorite mocha or a cold coffee on a hot summer day!

It is not very easy to lighten up baked goods but I've been inspired by many culinary blogs out there that focus on natural cooking. This cake is sweetened mostly with maple syrup and blueberries. Feel free to substitute for any other berry as well. If you dont like the flavor of maple syrup (what!!), you could use equal parts of agave nectar, brown or cane sugar, even honey!

The cake is moistened with the berries and greek yogurt. The amount of butter has been more than halved from a traditional coffee cake recipe. I used fat free yogurt.

The whole wheat flour makes for a more crumbly cake and is substantial. So a thin slice goes a long way with this cake! I think the orange and the rosemary bring out the freshness of the berries and just remind me of summer. I think next time I'll experiment with raspberries, honey and lemon zest. Maybe a different nut as well- pine nuts?

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: ~40 minutes
Serves: 12 modest slices


1/2 stick of butter- room temperature
1/2 cup maple syrup- room temperature
1 egg or 1/2 cup applesauce- room temperature
1/4 cup greek yogurt (fat free is ok)
2 tbsp milk (reduced fat is ok)
2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups blueberries

1/2 stick butter- cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Beat the butter until fluffy in a large bowl with a whisk. Add in the maple syrup, egg/apple sauce, vanilla and zest and beat well. Sift the flour with the baking powder and soda. Mix in the rosemary. Add half of this to the butter mix. Stir. Add the greek yogurt, stir well. Add the rest of the flour and stir until barely combined. Moisten with the milk and add 1.5 cups of the berries in. Stir gently. Scrape the batter into a well buttered and floured cake pan (1 used a 1 pound loaf tin. You could also line the pan with parchment paper instead of flouring it)

Heat the oven to 350F

Make the topping- In a food processor- pulse all the ingredients about 20 times until the mixture resembles a crumbly, doughy texture. Using your fingers crumble 1/2 of this onto the cake. Sprinkle the remaining berries on top and crumble the rest of the topping onto the cake. Flatten very gently very with your fingers.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Cook in pan for a couple minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.