What does one do with a plethora of fresh green onion tops ? Having no patience for blanching and freezing, I decided to chop them and dehydrate them in the lowest temperature in my oven for about 5 hours. Now that I have green powder, I wanted to make a delicious, wholesome soup mix, the Instant kind, that can be cooked by just pouring hot water… When it comes to wholesome food, nothing like a combination of rice and dal ( carbohydrates and protein).. So here goes!!! Continue reading “Instant “Kichdi” Soup”→
“Can you name some spices that are native to India?”, whenever I ask any class at school, Instantly a couple hands shoot up and I hear, “Curry.” I have heard it so many times over the last seven years, that now….whenever I am talking about food and spices from India, my opening line is, “Curry is not a spice!” Now lets talk about the real spices – Pepper, Tumeric, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Mace and so on……
What has food got to do with Robots? Well! Dinners fund the passion for building Robots. So all our dinners have been fundraisers for our Robotics team – X Team. About 16 of them. Our very first dinner was for the earthquake victims in Nepal and the second one was for a soccer coach’s baby that needed an operation . After that, all our fundraisers have been for X Team Robotics. This Jan 27th, X Team dressed as Musketeers, won the Montana State Championship, at the FTC ( Robotics competition) in Bozeman. Thanks to my world famous designer niece, Karishma @ http://www.KKristina.com, who designed these awesome costumes for our Musketeers. It was really an exciting moment for all of us to win the top award after four years of Robotics.
Our X Team – Musketeers in action at the state tournament in Bozeman
So our Feb 11th fundraiser will help fund our trip for Super- regionals Robotics tournament in Tacoma, Washington from March 9th – 12th.
The Feb Indian dinner will be served by X Team at Creperie as usual
The food is prepared with mostly local & organic – fresh ingredients & homemade spice blends! Almost all the dishes are Gluten free except for Naan & Vegan except for the Chicken dish & Raita and usually set up like this : –
The Feb 11th menu is : –
Mulligwatany Soup : Organic Toor daal simmered with assorted veggies in a sauce comprising coconut, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and tamarind
Khus-Khus Chicken Masala: Local chicken cubes simmered in an aromatic sauce comprising roasted shallots, tomatoes, garlic, ginger spiced with (white poppy seeds, Cayenne pepper,cloves, and cardamom and )
Alu : Local Yukon potatoes seasoned with a blend of Spices( Tumeric, Coriander, Cumin, Garam Masala )
Cholle-Palak: Organic garbanzo beans cooked with Spinach and flavored with a sauce comprising, garlic, ginger, tomato and other spices
Pulao : Basmati Rice with peas, almonds and fresh pomegranate seasoned with garam masala
Naan : Local white flour bread (is used to scoop up the meat/veggies)
Raita : Homemade Yoghurt blended with grated Cucumber and Garam masala ( can be added to meat/veggie dish to make it milder)
Spicy Black Chutney: A spicy blend of Hot peppers, ginger, garlic and goda masala and salt (to be added to the meat/veggie dish to make it more spicy)
Drink – Chai Tea: Freshly made hot, creamy, fragrant with black tea, fresh cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and sugar
Dessert: Gulab Jamun ~ doughnut like balls soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom and rose water…..
To make a Reservation contact Ish at Cookingwithish@gmail.com Dinner seating at 5:30 PM , cost $ 33
Now Kichdi is also also known as a mish-mash; an assortment of different ingredients thrown together!!! And this blog post seems like a mish-mash of robotics, Feb 11th dinner menu and now a recipe.. mmm! A kichdi recipe fits in perfectly with the scheme of things… Also it is a fast and a quick dish to prepare.
Daal and Rice in bowl
Wash the Rice and Daal 4 -5 mins
Add Ghee to hot pan
Add Bay leaf, ginger, garlic
Saute for 3 – 4 mins
Saute for 3 – 4 mins
Add the soaked rice and daal
Saute rice and daal
Let it water come to a boil
Cook for 20 – 25 mins
1 Cup rice
1/2 Cup daal (Red lentils or yellow Mung daal)
3 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of frozen peas and assort veggies
2-3T Avocado Oil/Ghee
1 Bay leaf
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
1 Cup Sliced onions
1 Cups chopped Roma Tomatoes
1/2t Cayenne pepper
1-2 T Garam Masala
Salt to taste
Method for making Kichdi
Wash rice and daal in cold running water about 4 -5 times till water runs clean and soak for 15 – 20 mins
Heat Oil/ghee in a 5 qt pan
Add Bay leaf, garlic, ginger and saute for 2-3 mins
Add onions and saute for 3 mins more
Add peas and other veggies and Saute for 2 mins
Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 mins
Cover and cook for 3-5 mins, till all the tomato is softened and blended well with the onion mixture
Put washed rice and ground daal along with hot water in a pan
Add Tumeric, Cayenne pepper and salt
Let it come to a nice boil
Lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes, until all water evaporates
This lovely tree in my backyard is my inspiration for making this cake. I have been enjoying the sweet, juicy plums along with the squirrels…. but then there are so many more, so I tweaked a recipe of Fig Almond cake ( from NY times) & made it my own……
Very Simple, 4 steps is all it takes ….. Here are the ingredients ~
1 1/3 C Walnuts, 1/3 C + 1 T Sugar, 1/4 C Whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 t Baking Powder, 1/2 t Cinnamon, 1/2 C Coconut butter, 3 Eggs, 2 T Honey & 12 – 14 plums
Put all the dry ingredients together in a food processor a dry grinder and pulse until well blended together
Whisk the eggs, butter & honey together until well mixed, then add in the dry ingredients & blend well.. All I used was a wire whisk…
Put the batter on a greased pie plate, top it off with sliced plums on top with a drizzle of 1 -2 Tbsp sugar on top
Bake at 350 degree F for 30 – 40 minutes until done in the middle & Voila!
And the flavor… a nice mix of sweet, tangy and juicy… my boys loved it!!!
“Half a spoon ( about 1 teaspoon) is enough!”, my mother would say. The first thing I learned about cooking veggies was “add some haldi ( turmeric)” after about two – three minutes of sauteing, be it potatoes, peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, they all needed that little bit of haldi, followed by a dash of salt. Cook on low heat for about 20 – 25 minutes until done, finish with a sprinkle of garam masala. Simple, easy & delicious!
My mom’s spices were all freshly ground and stored in this Namak Daani ( spice box) a standard feature at many North Indian homes. She could whip up 5 – 6 dishes for a crowd coming over for dinner in a couple hours. Be it 15 people or 50 people, her estimate on how much to make was always perfect. And the food always delicious!!! She kept it simple, by using Haldi and Garam masala as her primary spice agents. To get that touch of tanginess in Cholle ( garbanzo bean masala) she would add freshly crushed Anardana (dry Pomegranate seeds), or raw green chillies to spice up the saag( steamed greens) or raw chopped red onions on the side to add that crunch to the daal.
Quick Cabbage Stir Fry
Add cabbage & banana peper
Saute for 2 minutes
Blend well, saute for another 2 mins
Drizzle oil and blend
Add Garam Masala
Enjoy with Roti & plain yoghurt
4 C chopped Cabbage 1 Banana Pepper 1 t tumeric 1 t Garam Masala 2 T oil
Put the chopped cabbage and banana pepper on a non stick skillet
Saute for 2 minutes
Add Tumeric and Salt and blend well for 2 more minutes till it is soft and slightly cooked
Drizzle oil and blend for another 2 minutes on high heat
Dry turmeric would always be spread out in the sun before being taken to the mill to be ground into a fine powder. After I moved away from home, I always got to bring a jar back, each time I visited them, for the next 20 years. My father dutifully made packets for me to take along, even though I had plenty of stock. So, I could share fresh turmeric powder with my friends as well – the abundance of it all.
Now, I look at the few jars I have left and wonder if I should leave them as keepsakes, as this tradition of drying and grinding turmeric at our home in India has come to an end….
I made Squash Blossom – Dolmas today! Thanks to my friend who plucked 50 blossoms from her garden and a suggestion by Ronit Penso of Tasty Eats. They were super delicious and easy to make. It reminded me of the time, we soccer moms stood around the kitchen counter making samosas for a fundraiser! Dolmas would be fun to make in a group, they would be healthier and quicker to make too… maybe next time.
All I did was, wash the blossoms, fill them with the rice filling, fold them, arrange them in a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and bake them at 400 F for about 20 minutes till the edges turned crisp. As for the filling, I added chopped Parsely & Mint ( 4 – 6 tbsp), Lemon juice ( 3 – 4 Tbsp), Red pepper flakes ( 2 Tbsp) and Sesame oil ( 2 Tbsp) to about 2 cups of cooked Basmati rice.
1 – 2 Tsp of filling in the blosson
Fold the blossom
Arrange them on the baking tray with a drizzle of oil on the top
Bake at 400 F for 20 mins
Filling – Cooked rice flavored with mint, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and salt
I baked some of the Blossoms plain, and they were good too, nice and crisp. Either way, a good Appetizer….
My friend, Stephanie gave me Squash blossoms from her garden today. I have never cooked with them before.
What does one do with Squash blossoms? Well I ask Google and find many recipes that urge me to “Fill them up with cheese and then deep fry.” While other recipes call for putting them in Omelets, Frittata, Quesdillas or use them as a Pizza topping.
So now what am I going to do with them? I eat one raw, it is delicious! Then I chop some of the Squash blossoms, put them in an existing Dosa ( crepe) batter. And I make some Dosas for lunch! Delicious!!!
chopped Squash Blossoms
Added tot he dosa batter
Pour the batter on a hot griddle
The edges are brown, it is ready to be flipped
I stir fry the remaining Squash blossoms on a medium-hot sauce pan for about 4 – 5 minutes, then add them to shredded to Red Cabbage -Cucumber salad with a bit of lemon juice and a sprinkle of crushed pepper on the top.
Yummy! Next time, I will stir fry the Squash blossoms with some rice, peas ….and cumin………….
Soft, moist and yummy is how I remember Bilavalege – a steamed roti of sorts with tomato gojju, a spicy, tangy, sweet sauce. It was one of my favorites at Auntie’s kitchen. Even after 25 years, the warmth and her immaculate kitchen remain unchanged! She was really happy to show me how she made them.
Auntie enjoying the cooking process
1 Cup of Water
Heated upto boiling point
1 cup of Flour
Flour poured into hot water
Let sit for 2 -3 minutes
start blending with a wooden ladle
blend some more
And more, until well blended
Dough pot on a flat plate
To a steel tumbler (cup) of hot water, she added another tumbler of flour and let it cook on low heat for 2 minutes in a beautiful brass pot. Then blended it well with a wooden ladle before shaping handfuls of the dough into balls and flattening it into little discs.
Then she proceeded to roll out the dough disc on a plastic sheet, as the dough is sticky, before cooking it on a hot griddle
Knead the dough by hand
Sort of how it looks
Shape into dough balls
Roll them between your palms
Roll the ball out on a plastic sheet
transfer it onto a hot griddle
Turn the the roti
Apply a little bit of oil
Ready to be eaten
It used to be Mamatha’s house for me. Back then, Mamatha and me would take turns visiting each other’s houses to just chat or study together. Visiting also entailed a warm welcome and warm homemade food at both the houses. That was the beauty of going to a friend’s house, especially of a different culture, you got to eat something really different and delicious!!! Besides, every kitchen in India has a flavor of its own, own spice blends and flavorings that have been passed down in the family from one generation to another.
At Auntie Trejavathi’s kitchen, I was introduced to so many different kinds of food & different flavors. So going to her house was always a treat. The kitchen was always spic and span with everything beautifully organized and arranged. We would sit on the marble kitchen floor, while she served the food to us and everyone else, before eating herself.
The gojjus, saarus ( lentil based sauce) and the rice dishes (eggplant, peppers, mango) were super delicious and super spicy, even though she would tone down the spice level for me. I enjoyed her green pepper rice, Obbatu( jaggery stuffed wraps), Mulangi Sambhar (radish & dal), Mango rice and bilavalege – steamed roti.
As usual, I couldn’t leave without eating, so I got to eat the Bilavalege -steamed roti that I had watched her make with a side of French bean- coconut, seasoned with black mustard seeds and Obbatu as well! It was a nice visit, as we talked a lot – she about Mamatha and her grand daughters and me about my sons as we pulled up pictures on the phones & ipad. Back then, it used to be about classes, exams & grades.
The Bilavalege was delicious!!!!!
Auntie Trejavathi with Uncle
As I was leaving, I said “Barteene Auntie” ( I will be back)……. another way of saying goodbye!!!
Ingredients: 1 Cup Wheat/Rice Flour 1 Cup Water 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Oil
1. Boil the water in a saucepan or pot, add salt. 2. Place a wooden spoon in the pot and then add the wheat/rice flour. 3. Do not stir. 4. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for 1 – 2 minutes. 5. Turn off heat and stir quickly using the wooden spoon to make a lump free soft dough. 6. Knead the dough while its hot. 7. Apply a little oil to your hands, as the dough is sticky 8. Take a handful of dough and shape it into round ball then flatten it into a disc 7. Roll the round disc (on a plastic sheet/parchment paper) till they are about 6 to 8 inches in diameter 9. Cook the round disc (roti) on both sides ( about a 75 – 90 seconds on each side) – Medium heat 10. You can have it with a dip/roasted veggies of your choice