Citrus Crisp

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Enjoy !

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Kale Mushroom Egg Rice

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I wanted to incorporate kale into my diet. The nutrients  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2.

The next new addition to my food choice this year is brown rice.   If you have left over bowl of rice or frozen rice, it is perfect for this dish.

You can also substitute the rice with noodles. Udon or ramen noodles.

As vegetables, I have Kale, mushrooms, green onions, onions. Eggs as a source of protein and egg and rice go well.

I will also use just one cooking pan for everything, cooking in batches. You can make either of the batch before or after, but do make the eggs last as they don’t need much heat.

I like using spices on the rice and will use paprika power ( chilli powder), tumeric and cumin.

For Brown Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice ( leftover rice, frozen or fresh cooked rice)
  • Chilli powder
  • Tumeric Powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Onions chopped
  • Salt

For kale and mushroom

  • Chopped Kale
  • Sliced Mushroom
  • Chopped Onions
  • Salt and Pepper

For Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • green onions

 

Lets start…

  • Heat pan and add in olive oil. Add in the chopped onions (spare some for the rice, a small quantity) and let it start to brown at the edges. Add in the chopped mushroom and stir. The liquid from the mushroom be used for Kale cooking. Add in the kale, and stir it every few minutes for about 5 minutes. If it does not look raw, it is done.

Pour out this into a serving dish.

  • Add in some olive oil and  chopped onions. Let it brown at the edges. Add in a 1/8 tsp of tumeric 4 *1/8 tsp paprika powder and 2 *1/8 tsp cumin power and stir. Add in the rice and stir well. Add salt to season the rice and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also add couple of tsp of soy sauce for a different flavor.

Pour the rice on top of the Kale Mushroom.

  • Add in couple of tsp of olive oil and add in the eggs. Eggs are cooked on low heat so, you can shut down the heat at this stage if you have a electric stove or reduce the heat to low. Add salt and pepper to season and chopped green onions. Let the eggs cook in the low heat for a bit and it should be done.

Mix the three parts of the cooking cycle together. You can mix all of them together or serve then in three parts like shown in the rice.

The total time to cook is around 15-20 minutes and would server 2 people.

Lentil Curry

A typical lentil curry is part of almost every meal in India.

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There are a lot of vegetarians out there in India. The primary protein source for them is lentils and nuts, and there are lots of variety of lentils and all of them can be made into soup/curry. Lentil is included almost every meal and there are hundreds of variety of curry. Each differing in taste by changing either the spices or changing the ingredients or adding vegetables.

I can go as far as saying that the principal behind cooking the lentil curry is the same. The spices and some of the ingredients can be changed to change or rework the flavor.

This particular lentil curry here, I blend multiple lentils. The green one, the orange one and the yellow one. Each of them have a distinct taste and they work together. You could just make it with one type of lentil if you don’t have the variety at hand.

Ingredients

1/4 cup green whole lentil  (moong dal )

1/4 cup yellow split lentil (toor dal)

1/3 cup split red lentil ( masoor dal )

mustard seed  (Optional ) – 1/4 tsp or less

4 Garlic Cloves   – crushed and minced

Ginger  –  1/2 inch grated

1 large Onions – diced

Cilantro – 15-20 strings chopped

Coconut Milk – 4 tablespoons ( optional )

Spices – Tumeric, Chilli Powder, Jeera and Coriander Powder

Salt

Tomato – Either fresh sour tomatoes (not Roma ) or canned organic diced tomatoes and tomato paste ( optional )

Lentil preparation

The lentil takes long time to cook. If you have a pressure cooker, it would really speed up the process of cooking lentil. You can cook 2 batches at the same time and freeze half the portion for another round of lentil curry. The lentil holds wells in the freezer. I use the frozen lentils for days I am too busy to make any food from basics.

You will need to wash the lentils atleast 3 times, draining the water every time.

If you are using the pressure cooker, then it should get done in 2 pressure whistle. If you are doing it on a stove top, it would take around 30-40 minutes to cook the lentil. Add salt while cooking the lentils about 1 tablespoon.

Set aside the lentil when it is done.

Note: As a variation, you can add 1/4 cup chopped onions and 2 cloves of garlic while cooking the lentil. The broth and the lentil get flavored with onions and garlic. It is a distinct strong taste. But do try this variation

Seasoning

This is called “tadaka” in India and done for most cooked meal.

1. Add in 3 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan enough to hold the lentil.

2. When the oil heats, add in the mustard seed if you want to and wait for it to pop.

3. Next add in the diced onions and saute it until the edges start browning.

4.  Time to add in the spices. 1/8 of tumeric, 3 times 1/4 tsp of chilli powder, 5 times 1/4 of coriander power, 1/4 of jeera powder.

5. With a wooden spatula/spoon, mix the onions and spices, when you see oil color change and sometimes the smoke from the spices, it means the spices are cooked.

6. Add in the diced tomato and about 1/3 tbsp of tomato paste ( for color ). Add in some salt for the tomato. If you have already cooked the lentil with salt, then you can reduce the amount of salt to add, else this is the time to add in the salt.

7. The tomato and the spices should cook for about 2 minutes. Keep a watch on it, when the tomatoes are completely mushed and all their juices cooked out, it is time to add in the lentil.

8. Add in the lentil and let it simmer. If your lentils are warm, it should take about 4 minutes else longer ( depends on how cold the lentils are )

9. Turn off heat and add in the chopped cilantro. You could also add in 4 tablespoons of coconut milk if you have it. Coconut milk it not necessary. It will make it creamer. But if the curry is spicy, add in the Coconut milk to reduce the impact of the spice.

10. Done. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving

 

Water and Curry Consistency

If you add too much water when cooking lentil and want to retain the liquid. The cooked liquid actually tastes very good.  The curry will be more on the liquid side and it will work well with rice. Try and scoop up the lentil from the bottom of your serving dish.

Lentil do need enough water to cook or they would burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. You don’t want that to happen. For each portion of lentil about 4 times the water should work. Since for this recipe we are mixing different variety of  lentil, the water required for cooking each of the lentil is different.

The split red lentil is thin and requires less water, about 3 times the amount of lentil. The split yellow one is thick and hard and requires 4-5 times water of the lentil portion. The green lentil is quite hard and soaks in a lot of water requires atleast 6 times the lentil portion. The green lentil works best if you soak it overnight ( consider soaking it if you are going to make the curry exclusive of the green ones ).

If you are going to try lentil individually, the water requirement and the time to cook these lentils is something to be considered before you zone in on the dish and plan your meal.

Goes With ?

I have had the lentil curry just as itself. It goes well with toasted garlic bread or rosemary bread ( costco). It also goes well with rice ( white, brown, wild ). Tortilla or Chapati is also a good option.

Let me know if you have questions…

Basics of Indian Cooking – Curry

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The basic theory of Indian food mainly the curry or a semi liquid dish. I am breaking it down to phases such that the sequence and the expectations is understood.

Phase 1

Seasoning the oil. This is usually mustard seeds, jeera seeds, red chilli, curry leaves etc. This is the first step. This flavors the oil. The seasoning is always added to hot oil and they should pop, but not burn.

Phase 2

The onions. This is the base for the powdered spices to be added to. There can be other additional aspects to this base, like garlic and ginger. This is what gives body to the liquid/soup. The onions are usually cooked until it starts to brown at the edges

Phase 3

Adding the spices. This is key to the flavor. There are some basic types that are used everyday. The others are special spices that are either specific to certain dishes or added as additional flavors. The mix and match and changing the quantity of these spices change the flavor of the curry completely.

  • Tumeric – The yellow spice and has a deep yellow stain. This has medicinal properties. It is an antiseptic and can be directly applied on wounds. The quantity is always 1 portion. For most curry or dish, about 1/8tsp or 1/4 tsp is all that should be required.
  • Red Chilli/Paprika Powder – There is a huge variety of these available. Mainly concentrate of 2 types. One is for the color red and the other is for the spicy level. The red color one is usually called kashmiri chilli and is mild. When used, it gives the curry a bright red color. Use another variety of a spicy one. I sometimes mix 2 types to get the color and the spice level. The kashmiri one should be the staple Chilli powder.

The quantity of the chilli powdered is three times the spoon used for tumeric powder.

  • Coriander Power – This is a powder of the coriander seed. It has a strange smell and has medicinal properties. The purpose is to add body the gravy and has a thicking effect. This is added in twice the quantity of the chilli powder.
  • Jeera Powder  – This is grind version of the jeera seeds. They have a distinct smell and is used in limited quantity. Something like 1/4 spoon. This has the capacity to overpower the dish. It is used in few dishes exclusively.
  • Other special curry powder like chicken curry masala, sambar powder etc.  These should be used sparingly. They add the special smell and taste to the dish. About 1 and 1/2 spoon along with the above spices. These special spices can be blended using a coffee grinder, but probably buying a good branch is so much easier.

Phase 4

Add the food that is being cooked like chicken or lentil. If it is lentil, pre cooked lentils is a faster option. After adding the lentil or chicken, it is cooked until it just boils. This makes sure every spice and the ingredients is blended for a well rounded taste.

Phase 5

Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

The food should sit for a while.  Atleast 15 minutes or more.

This is the format and the bases of most Indian curry cooking.

Instant Coffee

The title  itself would make you scream. But, instant coffee does exist and is ok.

I am lazy and not a morning person and cleaning and making elaborate coffee with the machine is hard. Here is what I do…

  • Instant Coffee from Costco ( Brand Nescafe Tasters Choice )
  • Instant Columbian Coffee   ( From Ralphs )
  • Organic Brown Sugar or Regular Sugar
  • Milk Frother ( from amazon – aerolatte )
  • Organic Half and Half
  • 1 tablespoon measure

Warm water in microwave about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon measure of Nescafe Tasters Choice; Add in 1/4 tablespoon on the Columbian Instant ( this is bitter and so the quantity is very small); Add in 1 tablespoon sugar.

Blend with the frother for about 30 sec to a minute. The coffee will froth and will blend well.

Add in half and half as much as you like.

Indians have coffee with milk and sugar; you can leave out the sugar if you prefer.

Voila, the coffee is ready in few minutes. No filter to throw away, no additional cleaning.

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This is picture of green coffee. My mothers family is from a place that grows coffee in India. This picture reminds me of my time hanging around the kitchen wood fire, drinking coffee and having hot Dosa and chutney or akki roti and curry.

 

Chicken Curry

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This is a simple chicken curry recipe that I make for M. She has since months started having chicken curry.

The compliment that I shall always remember is the answer to my question about her favorite food…”Mommy, I love the chicken curry that you make”

Here is the recipe for Chicken Curry

6 Chicken Thighs or drumsticks

1/2 lemon

1 and 1/2 cup of red onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

1/2  inch of garlic piece grated

1/4 or lesser of tumeric powder

1/4 of jeera powder

3 time 1/4tsp  chilli powder

4 times 1/4tsp coriender powder

3 times 1/tsp of chicken curry powder ( Sanjeev Kapoor )

1/4 cup coconut milk

Preparing the chicken

This is to tenderize the chicken. Cut the defrosted chicken thighs into about 2 inch pieces or drumstick defrosted. Pat with paper napkins if it has lot of liquid from the defrosting. Add salt ( 3 tsp ) and half of lemon. If you can leave the chicken with the salt and lemon for about 1 hr, the chicken be soft and break easily. Recommended but not necessary.

This is the first part and set aside.

The making of the dish

In a deep pan, add in oil ( olive or sunflower or any other ) and heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add in the onions.

Saute the onions for about a minute or two. Add in the minced garlic and grated ginger. Saute until, the onions start turning brown at the edges. It is time to add in the spices to the pan.

The sequence….The tumeric first, the chilli powder next, the coriander next, the jeera and then the chicken masala. Saute this for a few seconds, it should be smoke but should get cooked with the onion saute. The oil and the spices should look together, blended.

Time to add the chicken. Just dump the chicken pieces into the pan.

Mix the onion spices and the chicken together such that the chicken pieces are coated with the spices. Cover the pan.

The chicken is cooked for 20-25 minutes on timer, checking the chicken very 10 minutes for sufficient liquid for the chicken to cook.

At the end of the 20-25 minutes, turn off the heat and add in the coconut milk. This adds in the creamy taste.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Something green .

Let it sit for 20 minutes or so before serving.

Done.

Additional Ingredients that can be added to modify the recipe

  • Tomato – After the spices are added, add in a small tomato ( tangy/sour in taste )
  • Pepper about 1/4 tsp along with the spices for a peppery flavor