turmeric spice-seed almond cookies

turmeric spice seed almond cookies gf

My earliest memory of cookies are not fond ones. I blame it all on my kindergarten "Sports Day" (aka worst time of the school year) where we'd have to run across the field and pick up a cookie off a bench, eat it and then run back to the other bench and eat another one, the vicious cycle would continue a couple of times, I can't remember for how long but I think it was long enough! It was something I dreaded (I was a very lazy kid) and worst of all the cookies were not at all tasty. Now, come to think about it, I don't think it made that much sense, run and eat a cookie, No, No, No! Thankfully, I don't run across any fields for cookies but I will definitely run to the kitchen to whip some up.

almond cookie spices

My grandmother would get a dozen or more cookies that were lightly spiced and flavored with fennel and cardamom. They were fat, round and fragrant with the aromatic spices that were blended into the dough. This is my take on those cookies she had happily pick up from her baker.

I take great pride in my heritage and love infusing the flavors of Indian cuisine in everyday cooking. These cookies are extra special because they also bring back wonderful memories with my late grandmother from whom I have watched and learned to cook from. I made these cookies with Bob's Red Mill almond meal/flour and then added some turmeric for color and a whole buncha seeds for flavor and spice. These cookies are deliciously crisp and thin, flavored with fennel, flax and poppy seeds and colored with turmeric. But there's also a delicate hint of black pepper for that extra amazing little kick. 

I had a really hard time trying to come up with a name for these almond cookies. The turmeric kept hinting at "Golden cookies" but I kept debating with myself, I finally settled for something a little less glamorous but hopefully does it justice. Either way, I hope you love the cookies as much as I do! 

turmeric spice seed almond cookies in can

I used Bob's Red Mill Almond flour in these cookies and the cookies turned out perfect. The flour has fine grains making it easy to work with. The folks at Bob's Red Mill are sponsoring a giveaway for one lucky winner, all you need to do is go to the Rafflecopter widget and follow the instructions. 

You can win a bag of their delicious Almond meal flour and a $20 gift card to their store. So go ahead enter and best of luck!!!

This contest will run from April 4th through April 12, 2014.

Disclaimer:

 I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.

turmeric spiced seed almond gf cookies

turmeric spice-seed almond cookies

yields:

30-34 cookies

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (5 1/8 ounces) almond flour (Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 cup (7 5/8 ounces) sugar 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons flax seeds

2 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 large egg

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients from the almond flour to the black pepper with a whisk until all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

2. Whisk the egg lightly in a small bowl. Fold the egg into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until completely combined. Bring the dough together into a ball, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.

3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. 

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and take a generous teaspoon of the dough, mould it into a small ball with the palms of your hand and place it on the baking sheet. Bake 9 cookie dough balls at a time and space them around 2 inches apart from each other, for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. The cookies will rise during baking and eventually flatten. Once baked, allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

spicy black bean kebabs

spicy black bean kebabs with mint yogurt sauce

I made you some kebabs, spicy Indian kebabs that are hot and tasty. And these guys are meatless too, so you can feel a little less guilty, if you decide to eat several, like we did. Yup, that's right, there's black beans and flaxseed meal in these little fat kebabs that make them terribly tasty. Plus, they are simple to make without too much fussing! Okay, maybe the black beans need some T.L.C. but that's really all there is to it. 

spice grinding

I've based the seasoning off a popular type of Indian kebab called the "seekh" kebab that is usually made with ground beef or lamb meat and rolled into long cigar-shaped structures. Since I strayed away from the traditional kebab recipe, I shaped the kebabs into flat discs so I could double-duty any leftovers as sliders the next day. By the way, the ground flaxseed meal is a delicious texture addition to the kebab.

There's also an easy to make, delicious cooling mint flavored yogurt sauce that balances the heat and spicy flavors of the kebabs. 

mint yogurt sauce

You could use canned black beans but I avoid using the canned stuff because they tend to be mushy and too moist which could make these kebabs harder to prepare, less moisture is a good thing here! It is better to start from scratch and soak the dried beans the day before, this way you are in complete control of the texture and consistency. Drain the black beans completely to get rid of any excess moisture, keeping them on a towel after boiling, also helps a lot. If you like the kebabs to be more or less hot then adjust the amount of chili accordingly.

spicy black bean kebabs

spicy black bean kebabs

yields: approximately 20-24 kebabs

ingredients

2 cups dried black beans 
a pinch of baking soda
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
2 thai chili peppers, green or red
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
1 large egg, lightly whisked 
1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying (you might need a little more)

1. Rinse and soak the beans in water overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a large saucepan or stockpot, along with the baking soda and and water and bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame. Once it begins to boil, reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook until the beans  are just tender but not mushy. Remove from stove and drain the liquid from the beans. Place the beans on a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess water. Allow the beans to cool to room temperature. You can also refrigerate the beans until they are ready to use.
2. Grind the cumin, cloves, nutmeg and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee mill to obtain a fine powder. Keep aside until ready.
3. Place the beans, the ground spices and the rest of the ingredients except the egg and vegetable oil in a food processor fitted with a blade. Place the lid on the food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly in texture. You might need to stir the contents occasionally. Do not pulse too long or the the mixture will become a paste. Transfer the mixture from the food processor into a large mixing bowl. Fold the egg into the mixture. Cover the bowl with a lid or with cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the beans to absorb all the flavors.
4. When ready to prepare the kebabs, take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the palms of your hands and flatten to form a one inch disc. Prepare the rest of the kebabs and keep aside.
5. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium-high flame. Shallow fry about 6 kebabs at a time. Cook the kebab on each side for about 4-5 minutes or until they are browned on the surface. Transfer the kebabs onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Cook the rest of the kebabs in batches and serve hot.

mint yogurt dressing

yields: approximately 1 1/2 cups

ingredients

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 green thai chili pepper
3/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/4 cup chilled water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender (immersion blender also works great here) and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a container and keep chilled until ready to serve.

roasted spiced leg of lamb

Roasted spiced leg of lamb

Every year we'd visit my maternal grandmother's house to celebrate Christmas, being a large family you could bet the celebrations would be fun and the dinner table filled. My grandmother prepared most of the main dishes and would then ask each of her four children to bring one item. We'd have an assortment of traditional Goan food and a few non-traditional dishes which if successful would eventually start to show up every year. We'd have either beef, chicken, lamb, and/or pork dishes laced with fragrant spices and coconut milk, fresh salads, braised vegetables with bread and rice. One of my grandmother's favorite non-traditional dishes that she made every year, was her delicious Chinese sweet and sour shrimp, I am not sure why she included it on her menu, but it was fantastic and none of us ever thought to question. My grandmother passed away several years ago and the family is spread far and wide but they still try to come together every year to celebrate the holidays as one.

Garlic

Since I now cook for two, our holiday meals are generally less grand with the exception of when I'm hosting a Christmas dinner for my friends. I tend to make one or two dishes that remind me of Christmas at my grandmother's house to keep my memories alive. I try and alternate the dishes each year and this time I'm including lamb on our menu. 

Spice mix for lamb roast

This roast is aromatic and you will inhale the scent of the mint, garlic and the spices as the seasoned meat hits the searing oil in the pan. The spice mix in this recipe has a few simple ingredients that impart flavor to the meat. I use coriander seeds here which have a very different and unique taste than fresh cilantro leaves (although they come from one and the same plant), coriander has a more nutty, woody and earthy smell. For the garnish I recommend using cilantro but it can be easily replaced by fresh parsley leaves. 

Roast lamb

Lamb is one of my favorite meats to cook, it is extremely popular in Indian cuisine and a highly prized treat at that. I treat the meat with extreme care when preparing it. I like to trim off most of the fat and gristle from lamb to get rid of the gamey taste that some people dislike. This roasted leg is delicious and one of my favorite ways to prepare lamb during the holidays, and it's super easy which always makes life easy because the holidays as we know can be a stressful time. I normally serve this dish for the main course with rice or bread and a few sides. 

Lamb and fork

roasted spiced leg of lamb

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

2.5lbs boneless leg of lamb
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried mint (fresh mint can also be substituted)
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
6 cloves
2 garlic cloves, grated
kitchen twine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro/parsley to garnish

1. Wipe the lamb dry with a clean paper towel. Trim and discard any excess fat and gristle. Prick the lamb all over with a fork.
2. Grind the spices from the salt to the cloves in  a coffee mill or spice grinder until smooth. Toss the garlic into the spice mix and rub the meat all over with this spice mix. Roll the lamb to form a log and tie it tightly with the kitchen twine at approximately 3/4" intervals. Wrap the meat with cling film and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (For a more flavorful roast, I keep the meat wrapped in the refrigerator overnight). 
3. Preheat the oven to 400F and place a rack in the middle. Put the olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet (or an oven-safe pan) and place on a medium high flame until the oil begins to get very hot. Remove and discard the cling film, place the meat on the pan and sear on each side for 8 minutes. Transfer the skillet with the meat into the oven and allow it too cook until the internal temperature reaches 120F (for medium rare) or 130F (for medium). 
4. Remove the skillet from the oven and cover the skillet with a tent made out of aluminum foil and let the lamb rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This will help to let keep the lamb moist. I generally prefer to cut the lamb in 1/4" thick slices before serving.

easy south indian chicken curry

south indian chicken curry and paratha

A while back, I shared a Goan chicken curry recipe with you this time I have another curry recipe that I am very fond of, you will notice some similar and some new ingredients that make this chicken dish so different from the previous. Curries are fascinating because there are so many different varieties based on geography and within those there are even more variations based on the differences in the amount of spices and ingredients that different households use.

cloves

Making curry at home is akin to the way in which people prepare chili, you improve your recipe with time, add or leave out ingredients to suit your taste buds, make mental notes on what you would do different the next time. Over time, I've simplified the recipe and streamlined some of the prep work to make it easier for me to cook this on a weekday, if my cravings are going to get the better of me. I've also lightened the recipe quite a bit by cutting back on the unnecessary fat without compromising on the taste and quality of this delicious curry.

turmeric jar

Whenever, I cook chicken, I prefer to use chicken that's still attached to the bone and I trim off any visible fat and skin. Chicken that still has the bones gives a much more flavorful stew and soup and the meat gets to be much more tender and tastier. Except for the ground garam masala spice mix, I've used whole spices in this recipe, you can remove them before serving but I prefer to leave them in. I feel that leaving the whole spices intact in the curry showcases some of the ingredients and could perhaps even make for an interesting conversation at the table. I like to serve this curry with rice or any type of Indian flat bread like rotis or parathas and even with South Indian dosas and idlis.

For the vegetarian option, you can substitute the chicken with 2 to 3 cups of mixed vegetables of your choice such as peas, carrots, beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, or squash.

south indian chicken curry

easy south indian chicken curry

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

2 lb chicken (I used a mix of thighs, breasts, and drumsticks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
6 cloves
4 green cardamoms, cracked with pods
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or ground chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
400 ml light coconut milk
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, freshly chopped

1. Remove the skin and trim off any excess fat of the chicken pieces and discard. Wipe the chicken pieces with a clean paper towel and keep aside.
2. In a large thick bottomed stockpot, heat the oil on a medium high flame for 40 seconds until hot. Add the red onion and garlic and saute until the onion becomes translucent.
3. Add the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, garam masala, chili, and turmeric to the pot and cook for another minute. 
4. Add the chicken to the pot and brown for 4 minutes. Stir in the grated coconut and tomato paste and cook for another 1 minute.  Add the salt and coconut milk and bring the contents to a boil on a high flame, immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook the chicken for 50 minutes. Once the chicken is completely cooked, taste the curry and adjust with salt if necessary.
5. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or bread.