Of all the dals in Indian cuisine, dal makhani is perhaps one of the most glorious ones. It’s packed with flavor, a smooth creamy texture, tanginess from the yogurt and tomatoes that go into the stew and you can eat it by itself with a dollop of yogurt or with rice or roti. It really stands on its own. This recipe is for pressure cookersRead More
Hello from Auckland, New Zealand and my last post of the year! I’ve been spending my time with my family and friends, eating my way through this lovely city and taking in the gorgeous scenery and landscapes. I’ve tried Kūmara potato chips and scampi which have been delightful! I’ve also shopped and picked up quite a few local New Zealand cookbooks and can’t wait to tell you all about them when I’m back. Passion fruit ice creams are very popular here which as most of you know, I LOVE!Read More
Spring is a lot of things, like all these things I planted last year in the garden at the back. The excitement of vegetables growing is also met with a nervousness of when harvesting might be appropriate. Should I chop the artichokes now or wait till later? Should I cut the chive blossom or just let it continue to flower and do nothing with it. When you grow very little as is the case with most home urban type farming, you tend to put your produce on a pedestal and admire it because once you eat it, it is gone! There's a certain level of pride and excitement when you wake up every morning and stare at what's growing in your garden because you've planted it, nursed it, protected it against the weather and the annoying armies of ruthless bugs and predators. You've both been through a lot and developed a relationship. Yup, gardening on a small scale is an emotional experience and I think will always be one for me.
But Spring also marks the arrival of all the lovely vegetarian friendly cookbooks and this year, I'm particularly excited for one of my closest and dearest friend's Chitra (of Brooklyn Delhi) whose new book on South Indian vegetarian food, Vibrant India was recently released. Not only is the book a wonderful collection of cherished traditional family recipes on South Indian food but Chitra also adds a little contemporary twist, while simultaneously making everything approachable for the home cook.
I love dosas and I've made them on the blog before but this time, I wanted to share Chitra's recipe which is a little different but is tasty! And there's a sambar recipe too which I could probably eat daily by the gallon!
Chitra is also giving one lucky reader a copy of her new book. All you need to do is leave a comment below and share what your favorite Indian vegetarian dish is. Don't forget to leave your email. The contest will run for one week from April 22nd to April 29th, 2017. One random winner will be chosen and will have 24 hours to respond, or I will have pick another winner. Good luck and happy cooking.
Chitra's Dosa and Sambar from Vibrant India (Ten Speed Press, 2017)
Makes 18 crepes /serves 6 to 8
2 cups uncooked long-grain or basmati rice
1⁄2 cup urad whole gota or urad dal, preferably without skin
2 tablespoons chana dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1⁄4 cup cooked rice
1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt (not iodized)
Ghee or mild flavored oil such as canola, for frying
Making Dosa Batter
Wash the uncooked rice and place it in a bowl. Add enough filtered water to cover the rice by 2 inches. (Filtered water is important in case there is a high amount of chlorine in your water, which will inhibit fermentation.) Rinse the urad whole gota and chana dal and place in a separate bowl with the fenugreek seeds. (Good-quality urad will give off some bubbles when rinsed in water.) Add enough filtered water to cover the urad by 2 inches. Soak both mixtures, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
Note: If you don’t have leftover rice, make some to include in the batter the next day. This ingredient adds crispyness but is not mandatory.
The next morning, drain the urad and fenugreek, saving the soaking liquid. Place the urad mixture in a blender (an Indian wet grinder is best, but a powerful blender also works well). With the machine running, slowly add about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid to the container, until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy batter. You may have to grind the urad in batches, depending on the size and strength of your blender. Do not let the batter overheat. To check that your urad has been ground finely enough, drop a little into a bowl of water. If it rises to the top, it has been ground enough. Pour the batter into a large mixing bowl. Repeat the same process for the rice, in batches if necessary, using about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid. Once the soaked rice is ground, add the cooked rice and grind further. The batter will be smooth but will feel slightly grainy to the touch. Pour the rice batter into the mixing bowl with the ground urad mixture, and add the salt. Mix the ground rice and urad together with your hand. The heat in your hand is good to kick-start the fermentation process while also adding more wild yeast. You should have a loose, thick batter that falls through your hands easily but also coats your fingers. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set it in a warm place. The batter needs to be at a temperature of 80° to 90°F to ferment. (I usually place my batter in the oven with the light on and a large bowl of hot tap water below it. I change out the water a few times to keep the oven warm and humid. Home cooks in cold climates use many different methods, from placing the bowl on a heating pad to wrapping it in a blanket.) Depending on the temperature, your batter could take 8 to 20 hours to ferment. When fermented, it will have almost doubled and will look puffed up on the top. It will also have a sour, fermented smell. When you scoop it with a spoon, it will be a frothy mass of bubbles. Note that in colder climates, your batter may not rise as much, but if it has a frothy, bubbly look and smells fermented, you can start making dosas with it.
Cooking a Dosa
Stir the batter a couple of times. Ideally, you have a thick, flowing batter; it’s thicker than crepe batter. If too thick, add filtered water little by little. Before cooking the dosas, set a little bowl with ghee and a teaspoon, a metal spatula, a cup of water, and a few paper towels or a silicone pastry brush by the stove. I use a 1⁄3-cup measure to scoop up the batter and a large, slightly curved serving spoon to spread it in the skillet. Put a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet* over medium heat. Put a couple of drops of ghee in the skillet and lightly smear it all over using a paper towel or silicone pastry brush. A technique that restaurants use is to stick a fork in the top of a cut onion and put the cut side down on the skillet to smear the oil. This step helps to make the surface of the skillet more nonstick. At this point, you don’t want to add too much oil, as this will make it difficult to spread the dosa evenly. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet to check whether it’s hot. If the water sizzles, it’s time. Turn the heat to low. Scoop up 1⁄3 cup of batter, using your measuring cup, and pour it into the center of the skillet.** The batter should sizzle a bit when it hits the skillet. Starting in the middle, swirl the batter outward in a circular motion, using the bottom of a large, slightly curved serving spoon, a flat ladle, or the measuring cup, until you have spread it out into a round dosa that is about 9 inches in diameter. It is important not to press down too hard with your spreading utensil. The reason a slightly curved or flat utensil is best is that if the bottom has too much contact with the skillet it will become hot and make it difficult for you to spread the batter. Spreading should happen more on the top surface than on the bottom. When you’ve finished spreading the dosa batter, turn the heat back up to medium. Wait a few seconds for the dosa to sizzle a little in the pan, and then drip about 1 teaspoon of melted ghee around the edges of the dosa and on top. If you have an oil sprayer, that will do the job efficiently. Cook until the dosa is dried out on top and you can see some browning and crisp spots appearing on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. When it’s ready, the dosa will peel off easily when you slide your spatula underneath. If you see the dosa browning but it is still sticking, just lower the heat and wait a few seconds. Then probe around the edges with your spatula until you find an area that starts to give, and usually the whole dosa will unstick once you start to pull it up from that spot. Flip your dosa over for a few seconds and then flip it over again. Fold the dosa in half in the skillet and slide it onto a plate for serving. You must cool down your skillet so you can easily spread your next dosa and prevent it from sticking to the pan. To cool it down, sprinkle a little water on its surface. When the sizzling stops, heat the skillet back up for your next dosa. Stir the dosa batter well before scooping up batter for the next one. You can refrigerate leftover batter; it will keep for about a week. If you do this, bring your batter back to room temperature before making the dosas. This will ensure that your dosas have a nice golden color when cooked. I personally prefer to make dosas right after the batter has fermented, as it results in the best texture and color.
*If using a nonstick skillet, you can reduce the amount of oil used to cook the dosa.
**To make a paper dosa, which is thinner and crunchier, you can use 1⁄4 cup of batter and spread it thinner in the skillet. For extra crispiness, use your spatula to flatten the batter down once you have spread it.
Makes 4 servings
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
2 tablespoons unsweetened grated coconut (fresh, frozen, or dried)
1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mild-flavored oil such as canola
1⁄2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida (hing) powder
4 or 5 fresh curry leaves
1 dried red chile, broken into pieces
1⁄2 red onion, diced
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick disks
1 medium red potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
6 cups water
2 tablespoons huli powder (see below) or store-bought sambar powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, plus more as needed
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Wash the red lentils thoroughly, using a fine-mesh
colander. Thaw frozen coconut or place dried coconut in a little hot water to plump it up. Put the ghee and oil in a saucepan over medium
heat. When the ghee has melted and the oil is hot and shimmering, add one black mustard seed. When the seed sizzles and pops, add the rest of the mustard seeds and the asafetida. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan while the mustard seeds are popping. When the popping starts to subside (a few seconds), turn the heat to medium-low. Rub the curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils, and drop them and the dried red chile into the oil. Cover immediately, as moisture from the curry leaves will cause the oil to spatter. Then stir to evenly coat everything with oil, a few seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the onion and turmeric powder to the pan and fry until the onion has softened and is translucent, a couple of minutes. Mix in the carrot, potato, and a sprinkling of salt. Stir to coat with oil. Add the lentils and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Then simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until the lentils are falling apart and the vegetables are tender; this should take 25 to 30 minutes. Add the huli powder to the cooked lentils and vegetables and mix well. Add the tamarind paste and 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for salt and tamarind and adjust as needed. I like the consistency of my huli to be right in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. Add a bit more water or boil for longer depending on your preferred consistency. Mix in the coconut and simmer for a minute more. Turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot o with dosas. You can also enjoy the stew plain. When reheating huli, add water to get it back to your desired consistency, as it has a tendency to thicken up in the fridge.
Huli /Sambar powder
Makes 3 cups
3⁄4 cup chana dal
1⁄2 teaspoon urad dal
About 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mild flavored oil such as canola
2 cups coriander seeds
60 dried red chiles or 90 dried Byadgi chiles, stems removed*
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 1⁄2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1 cup fresh curry leaves, loosely packed (optional)**
1⁄2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)**
1 1⁄2 teaspoons turmeric powder
Put a cast-iron frying pan or other heavy pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the chana dal and dry-roast, stirring it all the while, until it turns a reddish golden brown and has a nutty aroma. This may take several minutes, so be patient. Transfer to a plate to cool. Next add the urad dal to the pan. Dry-roast the urad dal, stirring it all the while, until it turns a reddish golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Transfer to the plate with the chana dal to cool. The next group of spices each needs to be fried separately in a bit of oil. It takes patience, but this step is important because each spice takes a different amount of time to roast. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon of the oil to the pan. Add the coriander seeds. Roast and stir continuously until they are fragrant. Be watchful that the seeds do not burn. Transfer to a plate to cool.Add another 1⁄4 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add the dried red chiles. Stir and fry them until they warm up and become fragrant and your nose starts to tickle. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon of the oil to the pan and add the cinnamon sticks. Stir and fry until fragrant.Transfer to the plate to cool. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon of the oil to the pan and add the fenugreek seeds. Stir and fry until they turn golden brown and have a nutty aroma. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add the remaining 1⁄8 teaspoon of oil to the pan and add the curry leaves, if using. Roast the leaves, stirring them the entire time, until they have dried and start to curl up. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add the coconut, if using, to the pan. Stir it until it just warms up and becomes fragrant. Transfer it to the plate to cool. Grind the cooled spices, curry leaves, and coconut to a powder in a spice grinder or powerful blender. Mix in the turmeric powder.Store in an airtight container or glass jar. It will keep for several months at room temperature, and longer if stored in the refrigerator.
For the past few months, M has been traveling quite a bit. From Asia to Europe to Africa to Australia, he's been on the fly so to speak. One day here and one day then. And while it sounds glamorous even to me, it turns out it isn't that exciting especially when you're working and not doing much sight seeing plus sitting in a plane for long hours is no fun unless you can stretch out completely in your seat. So whenever he gets back from one his trips, I make sure to welcome him back with ribs (short or spare) because that is his the one thing he craves all the time.
This recipe has become pretty popular with us at home ever since I made it a few months ago. It's sweet, hot and full of spice and a rich aroma to accompany all those flavors. A few cipollini onions also go into this dish along with some fresh mint leaves.
A few tips to making this dish; I strongly recommend using a high-speed blender to get a thick velvety sauce and also refrigerating the entire dish overnight so you can easily skim off the hardened fat once it cools.
And all made in this gorgeous and shiny casserole from American Kitchen. One of the great features about this piece of premium cookware is that it's made locally by a hundred year old company, Regal Ware in West Bend, Wisconsin from responsibly sourced stainless steel and aluminum and comes with a lifetime warranty. The cookware is durable and the casserole I used withstood the high temperatures of the oven and it was also really easy to clean up. No stains whatsoever!
American Kitchen is giving away two beautiful pieces of their stainless steel cookware, all you need to do to enter the giveaway is to go to the little widget below and follow the instructions. The giveaway is starts on February 23 and will end on March 2, 2017. Good luck and happy cooking!
(note: this was a problem with the previous form used to enter the contest, but the code has now been fixed however, if you did enter previously you will need to reenter the giveaway using the form below, sorry for the inconvience)
Indian-style braised short ribs
makes: 2 servings
2lbs (~907g) short ribs
12 cipolini onions or white pearl onions, peeled
1 cup pinot gris
2 inch piece peeled ginger root
8 whole Kashmiri chilies
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons amchur
1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 (50g) cup brown sugar
fresh mint leaves to garnish
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 400F. Place the ribs in an oven-safe stainless steel casserole pan or a Dutch oven along with 6 of the onions.
Prepare the sauce by blending all the ingredients from the remaining 6 onions to the salt in a blender until completely combined and smooth. Stir in the sugar and taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour this liquid over the ribs and make sure they're completely coated. Cover and seal the top of the pan with two sheets of aluminum foil and press the lid firmly. Transfer the casserole pan to the preheated oven and cook for 4 hours. The meat will be completely cooked and just falling off the bones. Skim off and discard any excess fat from the surface (alternatively, refrigerate the entire pan overnight and then pull off the hardened fat and discard and then reheat the ribs over the stove before serving). Garnish with fresh mint and serve hot/warm.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by American Kitchen, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
We just wrapped up one major storm last weekend! Sadly, this tree that I've always wanted to see fell. Both Snoopy and Vesper Lynx don't like to get wet but they sure do love sitting by the window and watch everyone else on the road get drenched. Now, I'm off to NYC this week for a quick trip to the James Beard Foundation for a summit but I hope to also try a couple of new spots in the city. If you have any recommendations, share them below, please!
I'm also reading a few lovely books and I've added them to my kitchen library in the reference section; the La Boite Spice Companion and the new Cooks Science book. Both have a lot of useful information in them with photographs. I've also been meaning to share these photos from our farm in Virginia but haven't had a chance to get them sorted out until now. I bet last week must have been lovely with all the snow and frost covered mountains of the Appalachian range.
Some of you had seen my Instagram post in December of the delicious Dungeness crab curry my mom had cooked up while she was visiting us. I finally got the recipe from her and I'm sharing it here. We started with live crabs at home but you can swap in precooked crabs. If you're on the East coast, Maryland blue crabs work very well here but avoid using soft shell crabs as they're better off being deep fried.
[you might have noticed that, I keep avoiding the word "curry" and use "stew" whenever possible. I don't like to use it since it really isn't a word used in Indian cooking and its usage tends to oversimplify the breadth and variety of Indian gravy based dishes. e.g. pork vindaloo, butter chicken, dal, etc.]
- Use fresh crabs, I prefer to buy live ones but if that's not possible, go with what you can find at your local fish mart. Dungeness and Blue crabs are my favorites for this recipe.
- Buy fresh unsweetened grated coconut if you can or grate it yourself in a blender. The other option is to find the frozen bags of grated coconut from Asian markets. The same goes for the curry leaves and Kashmiri chiles.
- Also, a note from my mom: Use Kashmiri chiles and not any other chili here. Kashmiri chiles are not that hot but give great flavor and color. If you want the curry to be hotter, toss in one or two whole green or red Thai chili peppers to the blender.
- Traditionally, I grew up eating this stew with steamed rice but you can eat it with Indian flatbread such as roti or parathi. I find that naan doesn't pair too well with this.
- I use tamarind paste and the not concentrate in this recipe. You can also buy tamarind and soak 1 cup of the fruit (remove and discard the shell) and add it to 1 cup of warm water for about 1 to 2 hours. Strain this liquid and use as needed. Also, Mexican tamarind is a little sweeter than the Indian variety so keep this in mind. As always, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
my mom's dungeness crab curry
yields: 4 servings
4 whole dungeness crabs or Maryland Blue crabs or whatever crabs you like (avoid softshell crabs here) * (see notes above)
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (unsweetened)** (see notes above)
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion
6 Kashmiri chilies
6 to 7 curry leaves (fresh/dry)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
8 to 10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 inch piece peeled ginger root
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 cup tap water
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1. Clean the crabs as shown here.
2. In a medium-sized stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee/oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they just start to turn translucent. Remove the onions and transfer to a blender. Add all the ingredients from the chilies to the tamarind to the blender. Pulse until you get a smooth paste and all the ingredients are completely combined, adding minimal tap water as needed to help the ingredients move. Heat the remaining ghee/oil in the same stockpot on medium-high heat and transfer the contents of the blender to the stockpot. Stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until the paste starts to separate from the fat. Add the salt, cleaned crabs, and the remaining tap water, if you want the stew a little thinner add more water. Stir to coat the crabs evenly and increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover with the stockpot with a lid. Allow to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the crabs are cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from stove, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice.
An olive can be many things and this is true. If you taste it fresh of a branch, it can taste rather horrid. But once it sits in brine, the flesh becomes a marvelous treat or if you extract the fruit, you will be rewarded with an oil, rich with flavor and potential. But how the oil is obtained has always been a bit of a mystery to me. But I recently got an opportunity to watch the oil being made as it makes it way from fruit to bottle.
I went up to Sacramento and got a tour of the California Olive Ranch facilities several weeks ago to learn about the process by which olives are harvest for oil and what makes it taste so good. It turns out that olive harvesting happens just for a few weeks each year in Fall when the fruit is ready to be picked. Instead of collecting the olive fruit by hands, the fruit is picked by special machines which literally shake the fruit off the trees and they jump onto a conveyor belt into large container that transports them to the facility. Here the fruit is washed and then ground in its entirety from which the oil is collected. Fresh olive oil has a strong peppery taste which comes from the high content of phenols, a group of compounds that react with oxygen in the air to give that spicy taste. This flavor will mellow as time progresses. The Arbequina, Arbosona and the Koroneki are the three main types of olive oil from which various blends and varieties are created.
There were many other things that I picked up on this trip. I learned to roll my tongue and pull air in to my mouth when I tasted the olive oil. The more air that oxidizes the oil, the spicier the taste. Slices of crunchy and tart Granny smith apples are the palette cleanser of choice when it comes to an olive oil tasting.
I put some of what I learned on this trip in the recipe for these hasselback potatoes. The potatoes are sliced like a fish's gill to form a fan/accordion and then seasoned with olive oil, Maldon salt flakes and garam masala before they get stuck into the oven. You'll end up with a very flavorful set of potatoes that go well with any meal and the best part, they're easy to make!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these potatoes;
- Use Yukon Golds (somewhere in between starchy and waxy)when it comes to the potatoes in this dish otherwise my second choice would be a Norland Red (more waxy).
- You can use paneer but I prefer the taste and texture of cojita in this recipe.
- If you want to get fancy, drizzle some Arbequina olive oil (from California Olive Ranch) right before you serve the potatoes. It's fruity flavor is an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
hasselback potatoes with garam masala and cojita
yields: 6 servings
6 large potatoes (Yukon Gold preferably)
1/2 cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon Maldon Salt flakes
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro leaves
1. Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Rinse the potatoes well under cold tap water and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Using a sharp paring knife slice the potatoes perpendicular to the length keeping the cuts about 1/8th inch apart (it should like a fish gill or a fan). Make sure the cuts do not reach the bottom of the potato so the slices stay connected to the potato.
3. Place the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with the olive oil. Season them with the garam masala and salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and return them to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the potatoes with the cotija. Bake for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and garnish the potatoes with the chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by California Olive Ranch. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
We spent a wonderful week on the East Coast. Thanksgiving was spent at the farm in Virginia and we then drove off to DC to stay with our friends. I haven't visited D.C since we moved some 2 1/2 years ago and boy, has the city changed! There's a much more vibrant food scene, in fact I couldn't keep with all the new spots to try out. The city has also changed quite a bit, most of my friends have moved to the NE region of the city which is also where most of the city is growing and changing. And, I also learned quickly, that I am not at all used to chilly winds.
Let's get back to the farm, we ate a lot of good food at the farm. Fresh warm biscuits from the oven with "traffic jam", pickled beans from the farm and the last of the kale from the farm before the snow kills it off. It was a food fiesta as one should expect in Southern parts of Virginia and North Carolina.
The day off Thanksgiving, I decided to prepare a rather light brekfast because I knew we had a huge meal to face. I made my grandma's banana fritters which are one of the easiest and tastiest things to make at home and I've "veganized" them so you don't need an egg or a bottle of milk to pour into the batter, in fact I used Califia Farms sweetened almond milk. Fritters are like a mini pancake but a little different, you'll probably get them served hot, straight off the stove in a Goan household for breakfast but more so with tea in the evening. Bananas form the bulk of the batter and they make the final pancake soft and chunky. Ya don't need chocolate chips in this, just a little dash of warm cinnamon and some sugar or maple syrup for sweetness!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these fritters;
- You can use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped into the batter if you don't want to use cinnamon.
- Maple syrup or honey are good options here for a complex flavor of sweetness.
- Caramelizing the bananas in the oven helps to soften the fruit's tissue and release a lot of the liquid while also burning the sugar to create a delicious complex aftertaste in the fritters.
cinnamon banana fritters
makes: a dozen two-inch fritters
4 large bananas
1 cup (113g) whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt or regular kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for frying
Place a wire rack at the lower two-thirds level of the oven and preheat to 400F. Take the bananas and place them in a baking dish or pan and place in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until they skin in black. The skin will burst and release some of the fruit's juices into the pan (This fine and if the juice gets caramelized a little, it is a good thing). Remove the bananas from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Peel the bananas carefully and discard the skin. Transfer the fruit pulp to a large mixing bowl and scrape off any caramelized bits and
Add the flour, sugar (or maple syrup), cinnamon, salt, almond milk and 2 tablespoons of oil to the bananas in the bowl. Using a potato masher or whisk, combine all the ingredients until there are no visible specks of flour left and most of the banana is mashed up. It is okay to have a few lumps of fruit left behind in the batter.
Heat some oil in a cast-iron skillet or non stick pan on medium-high heat. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of batter on the hot greased pan and cook the fritters on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown like pancake. Transfer the cooked fritters on to a tray lined with a kitchen paper towel and cook the remaining fritters in batches of 3 to 4. Serve hot.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Califia Farms, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Egg salad is a tasty classic, in fact I think of it as comfort food. All you need are a couple of hard boiled eggs on hand to make this simple yet tasty salad. During grad school and especially during test season, I’d make a batch of egg salad almost once a week. I’d scoop out generous helpings to stuff between thick layers of toasted sourdough bread. It was my “test -time” meal, my go-to dish. This Indian-inspired egg salad version is quick and easy to make. There’s hint of garam masala and toasted coriander seeds to give it a spicy and mild smoky flavor.
The Best Food’s Organic Mayonnaise used in this recipe, has a crisp flavor and the texture is smooth. I’ve used the Original version but they also make a lot of other delicious flavors such as the Spicy Chipotle and Roasted Garlic which can also be used in this recipe. Just remember depending on the type of mayonnaise used the flavor of the final salad will change a little.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this salad;
- Always use chilled or room temperature hard boiled eggs or the mayonnaise will lose its texture if the eggs are hot.
- If you like this a little hotter, you can add 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce or add a teaspoon of thinly sliced thai green chili peppers.
- To prepare the coriander powder, toast 1 teaspoon of the seeds in a dry skillet until the seeds just start to brown and you can smell the fragrance of the seeds as they toast. This should take less than 60 to 90 seconds. Immediately transfer and grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle. Use as needed.
spiced egg salad
yields: 4 servings
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled (cold or at room temperature)
1/2 cup Best Foods Organic Mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon toasted ground coriander seed powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Chop the peeled eggs and place them in a large mixing bowl.
2. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the thinly sliced sections of the green parts of the scallions. Add the rest of the scallions to the eggs and all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Garnish with reserved scallions and serve.
There are two things I took away from the Super Bowl, both Beyoncé and Lady Gaga will always be amazing performers, other than that I didn't pay attention to much. Football is more of M's ritual and in some way a religious sports retreat that involves a lot of appetizer types of food. I cooked him his treats as promised and he ate them as expected. I think he saved some of the wings and guacamole for his lunches during the week.
Just as much as M loves his sports meals, I have my fondness for simple comfort food recipes and recipes with options to cheat and take little time to cook. There are certain dishes that I've probably eaten at least once a week growing up. Mince is one of them and though there are different ways to make mince, this Goan version is obviously my favorite. Though I've skip the carrots and the potatoes in this version (you can obviously add them in, see my kitchen notes below), this is one of my favorite meals to go to during the week. It cooks quickly and requires minimal prep work especially if you can use precut frozen veggies (no shame here). This is one of my favorite weeknight meals! Serve it with some cooked plain rice or or dinner rolls and you're good to go. If you're familiar with kheema, then mince will sound similar, it's simply a Goan version of kheema, similar flavors yet very different.
I cooked the mince in this gorgeous pan from . All-Clad's new cookware collection by Chef Thomas Keller. As with all of All-Clad's classic cookware, this stainless steel five-ply pan is a sleek and sexy beast. There's a universal lid that's equally modern and elegant to match the pan. There's a layer of copper sandwiched between the stainless steel to ensure quick and even heat for cooking. And now the folks at All-Clad are giving away one of these gorgeous 5 quart sautéuse pans that you for you to cook with! To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me what you're favorite comfort food is. This giveaway is open to all legal residents of the United States and will run from February 9th to February 16th till 12 pm. The winner will be announced and notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish;
- Though I use frozen peas, you can use fresh peas.
- I don't use finely diced carrots in this recipe (as is traditionally used) but you can always add frozen or fresh carrots. 1 cup of finely diced carrots can be added after the onions are cooked for an additional 2 minutes and then cooked as described in the recipe.
- I've also skipped adding fried finely diced potatoes. Again, 1 cup of shallow fried potatoes can be folded in towards the end and stirred for 2 minutes before removing the pan from the stove.
- I use tamarind paste versus the concentrate so use less if you decide to use the concentrate.
- I prefer the texture of canned tomatoes to fresh in this recipe and it works well here. On some days, if I'm out of fresh tomatoes, a can of tomatoes works perfectly in this dish.
CONTEST: This contest has Ended. The winner is Justin, congratulations and happy cooking!!!
yields: 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon grated ginger root, peeled, fresh
1 tablespoon grated garlic, fresh
1 lb ground beef/lamb
2 green thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 cup frozen shelled peas (or fresh)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I like to use canned tomatoes in this recipe)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1. Heat the oil in the sautéuse on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and cook until they turn light pink and transclucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds with constant stirring. Break the ground meat into small chunks and add it to the pan. Cook with constant stirring to break the meat into crumble like pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is browned, this will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro and mint. Stir and cover the pan with the lid. Add the salt and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the meat is cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from stove and garnish with the cilantro and mint leaves.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by All-Clad. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Hello 2016! I hope you guys had a fun and relaxing holiday. The East coast was warmer than the West Coast and there were days that I spent outside in shorts. I even heard that it might have snowed in San Francisco for a few minutes (not sure about this) but the way things have been I wouldn't be surprised. We visited Monticello and took a tour of Thomas Jefferson's plantation, it's worth the trip if you haven't been there.
The oddest thing happened after we got home. There are potatoes growing in my backyard! I never planted them and I can only assume that the previous owners had something to do with that. Unfortunately, they were too small for me to use so I'll have to wait a little longer before I'll get to cook them. Potatoes are comfort food at its best and if paired well, in soups they are delicious! Leeks and potatoes are perhaps one of the best combinations that exist in savory heaven. This leek and potato soup, takes full advantage of these amazing ingredients along with a couple of other special spices. A dash of turmeric and coriander in this potato and leek soup along with a sautéed topping of thinly sliced leeks and nigella seeds. To make the soup as smooth as possible, I used my "KitchenAid Torrent blender. The high horsepower of this blender helps to grind all the ingredients in the soup to a smooth and creamy consistency. Plus, there's a soup setting which makes life much easier and takes a lot of the guesswork out.
The three spices add three different levels of flavor to the leek and potatoes in the soup. Coriander imparts a smoky flavor while turmeric brightens the taste and color of the soup. The leeks get a delicious nutty flavor from the tiny black nigella seeds as they are sautéed in the ghee/oil. This is my Indian-inspired take on this classic dish!!
Here are some of my kitchen notes that you might find useful when preparing this soup;
- Note that I have not given a specific amount of salt and pepper in this recipe. If you use a low sodium/salt stock then you will need to season the soup a little more. Start with less and then adjust the amount as needed.
- Use floury potatoes over waxy potatoes when making this soup. Diced potatoes cook faster than larger pieces which will also cut down your cooking time.
- When you blend the soup, you need a blender that's powerful and KitchenAid's magnetic Torrent blender is perfect! You will get a creamy soup that has a silky texture.
3 spice leek and potato soup
yields: 4 servings
4 tablespoons ghee/extra virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2 whole leeks)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, whole
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
300 gm potatoes, peeled and diced into 0.5" cubes
1 quart vegetable stock
salt and pepper to season (see notes above)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon nigella seeds, whole
1. Heat two tablespoons of the ghee/oil in a medium-sized stockpot on medium-heat. When the ghee/oil is hot, add 2 cups of the sliced leeks and cook them until they just start to get lightly browned. This should take about 4 minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander and chili pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Then add the potatoes and cook for 60 seconds. Stir in the stock and then increase the heat to high. Bring the contents of the stockpot to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to a low. Cook until the potatoes are tender and soft about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from stove.
2. Carefully, transfer the contents of the stockpot to the blender and pulse on the soup setting until the program is complete. The soup will be smooth in texture once the cycle is completed. Alternatively, pulse until completely smooth. Transfer the soup back to the stockpot and allow to simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
3. To prepare the topping for the soup, heat heat the remaining two tablespoons of ghee/olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan and sauté the leeks with the salt for about 5 to 6 minutes until they turn golden brown. Add the nigella seeds and cook for 1 minute. Top each serving of hot soup with a generous amount of the sautéed leeks and nigella and a light drizzle of olive oil.
Disclaimer: A big thank you to KitchenAid for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.