Sorghum Salad

I have been eating out way more than usual, given that i am new to the Bay area which is any foodie’s heaven. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know what i’m talking about. So when i eat at home, i try and eat healthy and incorporate a colorful platter of veggies either in the form of roasted veggies or a mixed vegetable soup or a salad. And when you have a dad who can put any food processor to shame when it comes to chopping veggies, it is a pleasure to eat vegetables. I love adding grains to my salad because it gives a nice bite and is very filling too. Sorghum known as Jowar in India is an ancient grain that has been in countries like India and Africa for several decades. In America, sorghum was primarily used as a cheap sweetener or livestock feed until the gluten-free diet became popular. From pancakes to popcorn, sorghum has become a common household name in America. Compared to rice and wheat, sorghum has higher calcium content and is packed with iron, protein and fiber. This salad is packed with delicious vegetables and is both adult and kid approved which makes it a wonderful dish to serve at parties.

sorghum salad

Ingredients

1 cup sorghum

5 red radish, finely chopped (if you are using the long variety, use 1)

5 Persian cucumbers, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 raw green mango, finely chopped

1/2 cup raw peanuts with skin

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

salt

pepper

Method

1. Place sorghum in a large pot with 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked well. Alternatively, you can cook sorghum in a pressure with 3 cups of water for 3 whistles.

2. Cook raw peanuts on stove top with sufficient water or pressure cook them until soft, drain and set aside.

3. Place all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl, add sorghum and boiled peanuts. Mix well.

4. Add olive juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.

5. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

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Vegan Eggplant And Potato Stir-Fry

Its been almost two weeks since I posted anything on the blog, the longest break since I started this blog about 18 months ago. It is not because I haven’t been cooking, its just because I’ve been busy with other things. That said, I am going to try and be more regular with my posts. Our meals lately have been quite simple but healthy and flavorful and something that can be put together without much effort. One such recipe is this simple stir-fry. I am not a big fan of eggplant, but Yumjay is and therefore this vegetable appears on our menu at least once a week. And since i add potato to this stir-fry, I eat it without complaining. This recipe calls for basic Indian spices, the ones you can easily find in any supermarket. You can use any type of eggplant, I have used the small Thai eggplants you find in Indian grocery stores. This stir-fry along with dal, rice or roti makes a wholesome, delicious weeknight Indian dinner.

eggplant potato curry

Ingredients

5-6 Thai eggplants, cut into wedges

1 medium russet potato, skin peeled and cut into wedges

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon black gram/urad dal

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

5-6 curry leaves

salt

Method

1. Heat oil in a pan and when oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.

2. Add cumin seeds and let it cook for 30 seconds.

3. Add black gram/urad dal and cook till it turns slightly brown.

4. Add curry leaves and asafetida, cook for 30 seconds.

5. Add eggplant and potatoes, along with the powdered spices and salt, mix well.

6.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of water and cook covered for 5 minutes.

7. Uncover and cook on medium flame for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and well roasted.

 

Paneer and Green Peas Curry/ Mattar Paneer

Paneer aka Indian cottage cheese has become quite popular all over the world. It is not dairy-free but rennet free, so certainly a good option for vegetarians. This cheese doesnt melt at high temperatures, therefore it can be safely used in curries. If you have dined at an Indian restaurant,  you would have seen a whole page dedicated to paneer curries. Hidden among  tikka andbutter masala, you might have seen this humble mattar paneer masala. Mattar in Hindi means green peas and this in my opinion is a healthier version compared to paneer butter masala or tikka masala unless you decide to make this vegan paneer tikka masala. Every family in India, especially North India may have their own authentic recipe for making this dish. This is my way of cooking this dish and it is quite flavorful without being greasy. You can use organic extra firm tofu and leave out the cream for a vegan version of this recipe. Serve this curry hot with rotis or rice and pair this with baked golden beets fritters along with masala coke for a simple and complete Indian meal.

mattar paneer

Ingredients

1 cup cubed paneer

1/2 cup green peas ( i used frozen)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 one inch piece cinnamon

2 cloves

1 teaspoon red chili powder (reduce the quantity if you want it less spicy)

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala (available in Indian grocery stores and Whole foods)

1 tablespoon cream

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Method

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add cinnamon and cloves, cook for 30 seconds.

2. Add chopped onions, cook until they turn golden brown.

3. Add minced garlic and ginger, cook for a minute.

4. Add chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt, cook till they turn soft.

5. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste when completely cooled and set aside.

6. Add remaining oil to the pan and when its hot, add cubed paneer and pan fry till they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

7. Add cumin seeds to the pan and let it cook for 30 seconds.

8. Add ground onion-tomato paste along with garam masala, turmeric, salt, coriander powder
and red chili powder.

9. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water based on your desired consistency and bring it to a boil.

10. Add green peas and give it a quick stir.

11. Add paneer cubes and mix well to coat in the spices.

12. Add cream, dried fenugreek leaves and cilantro, mix well.

13. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Vegan Vietnamese Spring Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce

We have been having some good weather in Seattle for the past couple of days. I even stepped out without a coat yesterday. This kind of rare good weather day in Seattle calls for something laid-back, easy and at the same time healthy because i want to enjoy the weather and cook something elaborate. These vegan raw spring rolls are right up my alley because they are easy, healthy and guilt-free.

spring rolls 2

The first time i made these, i took them to a friend’s house for super bowl along with this no so healthy potato chip spirals. Since then i have been making these for lunch regularly. These are good by themselves, but when you pair it with a peanut dipping sauce or even Sriracha, they are even better.

spring rolls 4

The best thing about these rolls is you can add any veggies of your choice and tofu or any other protein. If you want to go the non-vegan route, shrimps are a good choice along with veggies in these rolls. I got my rice papers from Cost Plus World Market, you can find them in most grocery stores in the Asian food aisle. Working with rice papers may seem difficult initially, but within couple of rolls, you will totally get the hang of it.

spring rolls1

These rolls taste best when eaten immediately. If you plan to serve for a party or take it to a picnic, cover them with a damp paper towel, they will be as good as fresh.

dip

Ingredients for spring rolls

10 rice paper sheets

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

10 cilantro leaves, whole

10 mint leaves, whole

1 block extra firm organic tofu, drained and cut into thin strips

1 medium head lettuce

Other optional ingredients

cooked vermicelli rice noodles

red/orange/green pepper

cucumber

Ingredients for dipping sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons minced ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon or more red pepper flakes

Method

1. Combine all the vegetables and noodles (if using) in a large bowl. Place tofu, cilantro and mint in separate bowls.

2. To soften the rice papers, fill a pie plate or cake pan with warm water. Place a rice paper in water for 30 seconds. Remove and place on a work surface for 30 seconds.

3. On the bottom third of the sheet, place 1/4 cup of vegetable/noodle mixture. Place few strips of tofu and top with cilantro and mint.

4. Fold the bottom of the paper up and over the vegetable mixture, then fold each side toward the center, rolling gently and as tightly as possible from the bottom until completely rolled.

5. Place the roll on a plate and repeat steps 2-4 till all the ingredients are used up.

6. To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients listed under dipping sauce in a bowl. Season with red pepper flakes.

Vegan Banana Flower Stir-Fry

Banana flowers also known as banana blossoms are the flowers from a banana tree. And just like bananas, they are edible and are commonly used in Thai cuisine for a salad or soup. In south India these flowers are used to make fritters or a simple and delicious stir-fry which can be eaten along side rice and a curry like sambar. This was my first time cooking with banana flower.

banana flower

While i really liked the taste of this stir-fry, i didn’t quite enjoy the cleaning involved to get to the tender, edible leaves inside. I got this flower from my local Indian grocery store, i read somewhere that Asian grocery stores carry them in their fresh produce section, all cleaned up and soaked in water. I think that’s the way to go with these labor-intensive flowers. If you wish to spend 30 minutes cleaning one flower, here’s how to do it. Remove the dark, tough petals. Each layer will have a few pale pink leaves which are edible. Remove the stamen from each leaf along with the white plastic paper like wrapper (shown in the pic below) and discard. Save the rest in a bowl of water mixed with few drops of lemon juice. This is done to prevent oxidation.

bf1

These flowers are rich in fiber and  vitamins A and C. They taste like leeks, with a slight crunch and are cooked with Indian spices and grated coconut in this delicious stir-fry. These flowers can also be paired with crumbled lentils to make usili. Minus the work involved in getting to the edible parts, this recipe is a keeper.

bf3

Ingredients

1 banana flower, cleaned and edible parts chopped into small pieces

2 teaspoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon split black gram/urad dal

1 tablespoon split Bengal gram/channa dal

1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida

2 dried red chilies

3 tablespoons grated coconut

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

few curry leaves

salt

Method

1. Place chopped banana flower along with water and turmeric powder in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let it cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan and when oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.

3. Add black gram and cook for a minute till it turns reddish-brown.

4. Add Bengal gram and cook for a minute.

5. Add powdered asafetida and curry leaves, cook for 30 seconds.

6. Add banana flower and salt, cook for few minutes on medium heat till all the moisture evaporates .

7. Add grated coconut, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

8. Serve hot with rice.

Cabbage Pad Thai

Right before i left for vacation, i found some stray veggies hanging around in the refrigerator and among those was a bag of shredded cabbage from Trader Joe’s. They almost looked like rice noodles and that gave birth to the idea of this uber healthy Pad Thai recipe. I threw in a bunch of veggies including kale and used couple of eggs for protein since i didn’t have tofu at home. I used home made Pad Thai sauce, but you can use store-bought sauce or even use taco seasoning as we are talking about far from authentic Pad Thai here. The mildly sweet and tangy flavors from the sauce perfectly complemented the crunchy veggies. Looks like this may become a frequent lunch from now on, given how healthy and flavorful it is.

cabbage pad thai

Ingredients

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 small zucchini, cut into discs

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

handful of mushrooms, chopped

handful of kale, roughly chopped

1 hard boiled egg or scrambled egg ( substitute tofu for a vegan version)

1 tablespoon pad thai sauce

2 teaspoons oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (optional)

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (optional)

1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)

salt

pepper

Method

1. Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Add onions and cook for a minute. Add garlic and give it a quick stir.

2. Add all the veggies except cabbage and cook for couple of minutes.

3. Add a tablespoon of pad thai sauce and mix well.

4. Add shredded cabbage, mix well and season with salt and pepper.

5. Top with eggs or tofu, roasted peanuts, cilantro and lime wedge.

Italian Roasted Vegetables- A Guest Post from Elisa At Adventures In Croatia

Elisa or popularly known as Ms E blogs along with her husband Mr C at www.adventureincroatia.wordpress.com. Mr C and Ms E wanted to get away from chaotic life in London which has been their home for several decades and own a home by the sea with plenty of sunshine. Their quest for their very own “place in the sun” led them to Croatia and their blog beautifully documents their adventures along the way. I have been an ardent follower of their blog for several months and with every post, i am almost convinced to make Croatia my own “place in the sun” when i retire:) But for now, i am going to vicariously live through their blog. For those looking for a great vacation place to stay while in Croatia, please do check out Mr C’s and MS E’s holiday home. It comes with a hammock, lots of sunshine, laughter, good conversations and definitely great food and wine. Today Elisa is sharing with us a recipe for Italian roasted vegetables. It is simple, healthy and a great away to use up vegetables.

Italian roasted vegetables

Grab a couple of potatoes, eggplants, carrots, onions and peppers.

roasted italian vegetables

Chop the veggies and place them on a large baking sheet.roasted italian veggies

Sprinkle dried rosemary, salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Use 2 spoons to mix them well.IMG_7848

Bake for 40 minutes or until soft, golden and cooked through.

Italian roasted vegetables

Ingredients

2 potatoes or sweet potatoes (or a mixture of both)

2 peppers (any color)
2 eggplants/ aubergines (or a large one)
1 or 2 carrots
2 onions
dried rosemary
salt
pepper
Olive oil
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
2. Halve and deseed the pepper, then cut each half into 4-6 pieces.
3. Top and tail the eggplant/aubergine, cut it into quarters, then into 3cm chunks.
4. Clean the carrots then cut lengthwise into quarters.
5. Peel the potatoes and /or sweet potatoes (or both) and cube into 3cm cubes (part-boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes)
6. Peel and chop onions into 3cm cubes.
7. Place all the veggies in a large baking sheet.
8. Sprinkle sea-salt, freshly ground pepper and dried rosemary,  drizzle with olive oil then use two spoons to toss well to coat.
9. Roast the veggies in the top rack of a hot oven for around 40 minutes, or until soft, golden and cooked through.  Take the tray out every 10-15 minutes to toss the vegetables to they cook evenly and to check that they don’t burn.

10. Serve the vegetables with couscous or  roast chicken or grilled meats or fish.

Notes: alternative vegetables: in summer you can use more courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines.
In winter more root vegetables, parsnips, squash can be used.