Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scrambled tofu with peanuts

This scrambled tofu is flavored with Indian spices, making the bland tasting bean curd more interesting. Lots of onion, garlic and garam masala make it delicious. The same recipe can be used to make scrambled paneer. I used this as a filling for a grilled sandwich .

1 block of firm tofu
1 large red onion
2-3 large garlic cloves
kitchen king masala
Garam masala
1 jalapeno
bunch of cilantro
Salt, turmeric, red chilli powder (according to taste)
1 large tomato
half a green pepper
1 tablespoon ketchup

Heat some oil add onion and let the edges get slightly brown, without stirring too much. Add the garlic, jalapenos, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and the tomatoes. Mix everything and add the kitchen king masala, garam masala and green pepper.  Drain and crumble the tofu. Keep it on a kitchen cloth or paper towel to drain as much water out as possible.  Mix the tofu with the onions and tomatoes, add ketchup and cook for 5-10 minutes till it becomes dry. Top with crushed  peanuts, cilantro and halved cherry tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Curd rice with mango and avocado

Curd rice or rice with yogurt is such a satisfying meal when eaten on a hot and humid day. It is cool creamy  and can be as simple as plain soft rice mixed with salt and creamy yogurt or it can be seasoned according to taste. I made this by seasoning it with ginger, chillies and curry leaves and mixed some avocado and mango  in it. It was creamy, delicious and very filling.

2 cups cooked rice (should be cooked in more water so that it is soft)
2 cups yogurt
a splash of cream (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2-3 dry red chillies
1 green chilli
1 sprig curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
salt to taste
1 sweet mango cubed
1 avocado cubed
a few salted pistachios (sliced)

Mash the cooked rice with the back of a spoon and add whisked yogurt and cream and mix everything well. Add salt and mix. Prepare the tempering by heating some vegetable or peanut oil. Drop the mustard seeds, as they start spluttering add the urad dal, ginger, both the chillies, curry leaves, and hing. Cover and let it stand for a few seconds. Now pour this over the rice and add the cubed avocado and mango. Serve with a side of stir fried potatoes or chips and spicy pickle.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Brussels sprouts stir fry

Most people I know are aware of the benefits of eating healthy. That means avoiding too much salt and fried food or desserts that have too much fat and sugar. There are always some articles or television programs  giving out a list of "super foods". Every once in a while there is a documentary or movie about the obesity epidemic or the food served to kids in schools, exposing the unseen side of corporate farming  (Food Inc.), making healthy choices (Hungry for change), or  the new HBO documentary "The weight of the nation".
And there are some food items that always come up in the list of good food. For example, blueberries, kale, spinach, oranges, beans, walnuts, salmon etc. It is not always easy (for me) to avoid everything unhealthy, but with an excess of processed food and unhealthy options available, I like to make conscious choices now when it comes to food. And one of the things I like to do is include as many 'good foods" that I can in my diet. One of the vegetables that gets mentioned for its micronutrient properties is brussels sprouts. But I never really liked it. So I decided to try it with Indian spices. I grated the brussels sprouts and stir fried it with some spices. It tasted really good this way and now I am looking forward to using it more often.


1 cup brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
1 green chilli
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala (or garam masala)
salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
a few raw cashews  and cilantro for garnish
juice of half a lemon


Grate the brussels sprouts in the food processor. Heat some oil in a pan. When it is hot enough add the mustard seeds, let them splutter, then drop the curry leaves, green chilli and hing. Quickly drop in the grated brussels sprouts along with the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix everything well. Cook on medium heat of about a minute then add the pav bhaji masala, and sugar. Taste for seasonings and adjust the spices if required. Cook uncovered till the brussels sprouts start  wilting but are still crunchy. It should not be overcooked. Remove from the heat and garnish with broken raw cashews and cilantro. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Serve with plain rice or chapatis.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spicy black chickpeas (kala chana)

This is a very common North Indian dish. Kala chana (black chickpeas) are delicious even in salads. I like to sprout them sometimes and after boiling them in salted water they can be added to salads with lots of chilli powder, chaat masala, lemon juice and cilantro. They can also be used to make absolutely delicious vegetarian kebabs. Here is a link to that recipe. The recipe that follows is spicy and flavorful. It tastes even better a day after, when all the spices and flavors get soaked in. I topped the chana with a potato side dish and served everything with brown rice and creamy Greek yogurt.

1 cup black chickpeas soaked overnight
2 black cardamom and 1 bay leaf
1 red onion
1 large tomato
1 sprig currypatta
2-3 green chilies
2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 heaped teaspoons garam masala or chana masala
1 tablespoon coriander-cumin power
 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
1 tablespoon oil

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the cardamom and bay leaf. Saute for a few seconds, then add the onion. Fry well till they just start getting brown, add the curry patta. Now mix all the dry spices with some water and ginger garlic paste. Add the paste to the fried onions and stir well. Add chopped green chillies and tomatoes. Once the tomatoes become soft add the black chickpeas. Season with salt and add enough water to cover the chickpeas. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and let it cook for at least 10 minutes or 5-6 whistles. Sometime I boil the chickpeas with salt and then prepare the onion gravy separately and mix the two. It tastes excellent when cooked in a slow cooker. I served it with a side of potatoes that I sauteed with onion  and red chillies and served it over some brown rice.