Tag Archives: Indian cuisine

Here’s a Pilaf for Meatless Monday

I had planned to make dinner at three in the afternoon, but you know what happened? I couldn’t for the life of me find the bay leaf! And I needed that bay leaf! I searched high and low for it and came up empty. So instead I had to wait for 5 o’clock to roll around so I could ask mom where she had hidden it.

Well when she came she too could not find the packet of bay leaves. It is as though they have gone missing!

Well luckily dinner is super-fast and easy tonight, with our without the bay leaf! So I just started dinner at five, two hours later than I had hoped. But I can tell you I did make some homemade raita at three-ish. That can hint off the theme for tonight’s meal.

But if you are not so culturally experienced in cuisines, tonight’s theme of a meal comes from India! And you know what? It fits with Meatless Monday!

Indian Pilaf with Raita

I love Indian cuisine. So much that I told my parents the other day that I should fall in love with an Indian so that his mama and I can be in the kitchen together so I can learn proper traditional Indian food. Sounds good does it not? I guess I should go down to Durban for that. Apparently that is where all the Indians are located in South Africa.

Anyway, I got the recipe from here, but pretty much followed the recipe except for the fact that I didn’t have a bay leaf. This fact really annoys me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup (250g) Jasmine rice
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 cup (170g) frozen assorted vegetables, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tomato, chopped small
  • 1 Large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped finely
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • Juice from one lemon
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

Spices

  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mango, baked
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak rice in water for a half hour, while soaking add all spices excluding cumin and Garam Masala together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large pan, heat oil and cook cumin until its aromatic (10 seconds)

  3. Add minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies to oil and cumin mix, fry for a minute and then add chopped onion and cook until lightly caramelized.

  4. Once onions are lightly browned, add spices in small bowl to mixture as well as thawed vegetables. Mix and cover and cook for five minutes.

  5. Add chickpeas and chopped tomato to mix and combine.

  6. Now add strained rice and 1 ½ cups water to mixture and gently fold in. Allow mixture to begin to boil at medium heat and cover and turn to simmer. Cook rice for 10-12 minutes or until rice is cooked completely.

  7. Once rice is cooked, add lemon juice and stir lightly. Turn heat off and add Garam Masala to the mix.

  8. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and raita to lessen bite.

  9. Enjoy!

Pretty easy right? Yum yum. But do you know how to make raita? If not here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cucumber, grated
  • 1 cup (250ml) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon, Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions:

  1. Grate half a cucumber (with skin on) and press until dry with paper towels. Once drained place in a small bowl.

  2. Add minced garlic and yoghurt and mix thoroughly.

  3. Sprinkle Garam Masala and mix well.

  4. Once ready to serve, sprinkle chili on top and enjoy!

So the recipe for the raita I got from here, but it didn’t have garlic in it and well I LOVE garlic (plus isn’t raita meant to have that spicy kick that garlic makes?) so I added that key ingredient.

If you checked out the original recipe for the pilaf you would have noticed that it called for Mango Powder. If you were anything like me you would have wondered what the hell that was. Well I googled to see how to make it and was pretty bummed to find out it takes five days to create. BUT if you are interested in creating it click here to find the recipe.

Vegan Indian PilafIf you aren’t a fan of spicy I would opt out from adding chili powder to the raita, otherwise follow all that is above. It should make a spectacular meal that you will very much enjoy!

I know I did.

So if you make this meal I hope you do enjoy.

As they say in Hindi:

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें or

Apanē bhōjana kā ānanda lēṁ

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Jam Packed Nutritious Curry!

I am so glad that even though my family is carnivorous, they enjoy vegetarian meals. I guess that makes them more omnivorous, but I like deeming any red meat eaters as solely carnivores.

For tonight we all enjoyed a wonderful meal of curry with pumpkin and chickpeas.Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry on a bed of Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin, chopped (I used a store-bought bag of chopped pumpkin)
  • 1 ½ cup Spinach
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 ½ cans cubed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Handful chopped coriander

Spices:

  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • ½ Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pan on the stove at medium-low heat and allow coconut oil to warm up. Once liquid add chopped onion and garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant. Add spices to the onion mixture and allow to become aromatic.

  2. Pour in cubed canned tomatoes and coconut milk and mix well.

  3. Add chopped pumpkin to liquid and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Once pumpkin is soft add chickpeas.

  4. Once warmed up, add spinach and kale to curry and allow to become wilted and serve immediately. Top with fresh coriander and enjoy.

Pumpkin, Chickpea, Kale, and Spinach CurryYou can serve this with a side of bread or on top of some rice. I went for brown basmati rice as that is all we had. This meal was actually made of whatever goods we had in our house. Well mostly that is. My mom had to run to the grocery store as soon as we found out we didn’t have cumin in any of our spice drawers. That was pretty disastrous. Well not really, improvisation is an easy task, but cumin is great for a lot of other dishes too.

As for the use of both kale and spinach – I ran out of spinach so I decided to add more green with some kale. Usually meals contain either one or the other, but what’s wrong with both!?

This meal is my mom’s favourite. Last year when I first made it during my month of making pumpkin obsessed meals, I had to make it two or three times because she loved it so much. This though is the first pumpkin curry of 2014. Not bad eh?

And it is a great way to show my Dutch pride with an orange looking meal. Although it is 100% Indian being a curry and all. Oh well, orange meal to show my Dutch pride during the end of the Olympics and an Indian meal to show my love to my Indian boyfriend? That sounds better.

If you end up making this you can exclude the kale from the mix and use 2-3 cups of spinach instead. Also if pumpkin isn’t on hand, go for butternut squash! Both are equally delicious.

I hope you enjoy your meal! Or rather बॉन एपेतीत as said in Hindu. 

Dinner where Indian Curry meets Cajun Shrimp

When you live in a world of expatriates you learn to find normality in multiculturalism. Be it by just living amongst several different people  of different backgrounds or eating multicultural cuisine types, you are more open to the foreign aspect of life. With all my moves, I now live a life of cultural combinations.

So last Sunday when my mom went out for her friend’s birthday gathering it gave both my sister and I a free day to enjoy shellfish such as shrimp. Mom does not like shellfish which means her children do not eat it either, this means when she leaves the house we can enjoy the small things she dislikes. The top of the food pyramid of products which cannot be had when mom is home is shrimp.

Because mom knew she was going out Sunday night she decided to buy chickpeas and spinach knowing full well that those are two items I love to either cook with or just have to eat, so I decided to make a chickpea and spinach curry to go with my shrimp. This is where my multiculturalism comes in. For our Sunday dinner my little sister and I had a chickpea curry over a bed wild rice with a side of spicy Cajun shrimp and a yoghurt dip with lemon and chopped cilantro. Yes, that is a combination of Cajun (from Louisiana) and Indian cuisine.

Luckily the two together tasted delicious although it was very foreign. I mean who combines such things? What a weird confused cuisine type of night.

Chickpea Spinach Curry and Cajun Shrimp

Here is the recipe for the Spinach Chickpea Curry:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoons minced (or grated) fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Combine spinach and your preferred broth in a powerful blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Set spinach puree aside.

2. Heat butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. As soon as it melts, add the ginger (1/2 teaspoon for a milder ginger flavor) and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add garam masala, cumin, coriander and curry powder. Toast the spices for 3-4 minutes, until they are fragrant and take on a deep color.

3. Add spinach puree to the pan, along with the lemon juice. Cook for about a minute, to bring the flavors together, then add the chickpeas. Continue cooking until the chickpeas are heated through and all of the watery liquid cooks down leaving a puree. Add more broth if you end up needing to make adjustments to the consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Suggestion: serve with rice.

When I made this I used just a bit too much broth making the simmering process for the chickpea spinach curry lengthy, but using half a cup should make the simmering (thickening) process much shorter for a quicker meal.

Below you can see the recipe for the Spicy Cajun Shrimp:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (500 grams) shrimp
  • Shrimp Seasoning:
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    pinch cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 (6 oz) container plain yoghurt
  • ½ Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Naan bread (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix together the above spices. Sprinkle half of shrimp over 1 pound of peeled shrimp.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan — try to get the spiced side down — and saute 5 minutes until done, flip shrimp around and add remainder of spices and cook further.

3. In the meantime chop cilantro and mix with plain yoghurt and lemon.

3. Toast a few pieces of Naan (such as Kontos brand) and serve with cooked shrimp, a spoonful of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon.

Now I know the combination of both Cajun and Indian seems quite bizarre, but it tasted pretty darn good. Although I know my sister likes chickpeas a lot and thoroughly enjoys shrimp, so that could be why.

If you think about giving this a shot, you may prefer the different parts of the meal separate. I won’t judge!

Spinach Chickpea Curry with Cajun ShrimpBut it does taste wonderful, separate or combined! So give’er a go!

¡Y buen provecho!

Tofu Curry on a bed of Mash

I’ve been living life all wrong and I realized this today. Why eat mashed potatoes when everyone knows they are so filled with calories when you can have a wonderful substitute which is so much better for you and that much more delicious? I realized that potatoes are so not the way to the heart but cauliflower is.

For dinner tonight I’ve made cauliflower mash with a tofu curry. This meal is extremely easy and so good. Keep in mind that I did not even have all the spices needed, so if I find it good how it is then imagine what it would be like with the correct spices! Heaven!

Tofu curry on a bed of Cauliflower Mash

To make this I made the mash first but in reality I could have done it whilst the spices and tofu were combining in the pan. Alas I used the same pan for both the mash and the curry so I did the mash first then washed the pan and made the curry.

In light that one should make the curry before the mash I will provide you with the recipe for the curry first. With that the recipe I followed can be found here, while the recipe for the mashed cauliflower can be found here.

  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup tofu, cut into small pieces
  • Water as needed
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

Spices

  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, and ginger to oil and sauté until brown.

  2. Once fragrant, add spices and mix well. Then add chopped tomato and green peas and mix well. Next add tofu and mix.

  3. Add enough water to make a gravy and allow to simmer blending flavours together.

  4. As flavours bind make your cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pan pour water inside (an inch in depth) and add about ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling add cauliflower and allow to steam for five minutes or so.

  2. Once soft, drain cauliflower of water and add milk, butter, and goat cheese to mix. Blend well with stick blender or place into food processor and mix until smooth.

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

By the time the cauliflower mash is complete your curry should be finished as well. Now you can place enough of the mash in a bowl-plate and make a little hole in the centre to put more of the curry in. Add the curry to the cauliflower mash and enjoy.

Tofu Curry with Peas on a bed of Cauliflower Mash

Want to know a weird and funny fact about the stick blender? When I used to work in the kitchen upon getting my education in the hospitality industry my one teacher would call it a dildo. Because of that whenever I see this tool I have to hold back on calling it such an awful thing. Mr. Young if you’re reading this you’ve changed my view on such a simple thing like the stick blender for life!

Well this meal was completely filling. So much so that I actually couldn’t finish my plate. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t succeed.

Unable to FinishThat’s when you know it is truly too good that you want to finish but just can’t go through with it.  I would like to make this again, maybe with the correct herbs if that is possible. The cauliflower mash will be a must, that’s for sure.

I hope you also make this. You won’t regret it!

As they say in Hindi, कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये !
(please enjoy your meal)

Chickpea and Kale Curry for Dinner

What’s with the kale craze?

In the Netherlands there are some vegetables that cannot be found, but since realizing what the direct translation of kale is in Dutch, it’s been something I am interested in. In Dutch kale is called boerenkool (farmers cabbage) and until I recently figured that out, I thought you couldn’t find it here just like you can’t find spaghetti squash. Luckily that is a leaf which is easily found.

When I was in Canada late spring of this year, I noticed that my active fit friends would add kale to all sorts of smoothies. They would also be using it in salads and all sorts of other healthy meals. Since I admired my healthy active friends I was interested in the food and decided to see if we can find this same leafy green in the Netherlands. Thankfully it was easily found.

So for tonight’s meal I found a perfect curry with kale. I was looking online for something with chickpeas and found this lovely photo of a chickpea kale curry while the blog didn’t have a concrete recipe to follow, but photos with information to follow, so I measured out my own ingredients which can be seen below:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried coriander flakes
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 bunch chopped kale

Directions:

  1. In large pan, pour olive oil into pan and allow to get hot at medium heat. Once hot, add chopped onion and cloves garlic to pan. Mix until all is coated and fragrant. Once translucent add herbs and mustard to onion mix and stir until all is covered in herbs. Do this for 30 seconds.

  2. Once spices are aromatic add drained chickpeas to onion mix and stir until all is coated in herb mix. Add can diced tomatoes and coconut milk and mix well. Turn up heat of flame and allow tomato chickpea mix to boil. Once boiling turn to simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

  3. As curry reduces taste. If flavour is mild, add ¼ teaspoon coriander, fennel, cumin, 1/8 a teaspoon ginger, and ½ teaspoon of garam masala. Extra herbs

  4. Once flavour is suitable to your taste, add a bunch of kale to curry and mix in well. (I suggest you only add one bunch at a time as the kale absorbs a lot of the liquid)

  5. Enjoy!

*If you eat the curry with rice, make rice as per box instructions during the time of simmering the curry.

Curry of Chickpeas and Kale
Curry of Chickpeas and Kale

How delicious does that look? The recipe above makes 4 servings. Four servings which every one of us enjoyed the last fourth of the serving.

If you don’t know about the benefits of kale, here is a great link for it!

This recipe was honestly fit for a king. A true recipe for royalty. If you decide to make it I am positive you will enjoy it greatly!

ਮੌਜਨ ਕਰੋ – Enjoy your meal in Punjabi