Spiced 3 bean Soup with Collard Greens Preparation Time:15 minutes + soaking time for beans Cooking Time:40-45 minutes Ingredients
- 1 cup black beans soaked overnight
- 1 cup Masoor dal or Puy Lentils
- 1 1/2 cups Red Kidney beans soaked overnight
- 1 sweet potato (with white flesh) peeled and chopped into fairly big cubes (optional)
- 1 red onion chopped fine
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tomato chopped fine or 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp heaped curry powder or any masala powder (I used meat masala powder)
- 1 tbsp red chili powder or to taste or 1/2 chilli powder + 1/2 pepper powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 big bunch of collard green (about 6 cups chopped leaves packed )
- 1 bell pepper or cherry pepper chopped
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Cook the Kidney bean and Black beans till they are half way cooked.
- Heat a wide mouthed deep bottomed pan (I used a Dutch oven) and heat the olive oil. When hot add the onions and garlic. Let saute till the onions become translucent.
- Add in the ginger and saute for a couple of minutes followed by the bell pepper, let saute for a few minutes.
- Add in the curry powder, chili powder and cumin powder and mix it well into the onion mixture.
- Now add the soaked masoor dal and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add about 3 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Continue to simmer till the masoor dal/lentils are almost cooked about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the kidney and black beans and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the collard greens, salt and more water if required. (We like the soup fairly thick with just a little bit of the liquid, so adjust water accordingly.
- Let it continue to boil for another 20 minutes or so. Towards the end add the cubed sweet potato. Cook for 3-4 minutes more and turn off the heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Toasted crusty bread goes great with the soup.
Friday, May 17, 2013
A couple of months ago when Google announced it is going to discontinue it's Google Reader I started looking around for alternate rss readers and settled on Feedly . I have been using it for a month and has been good. It imports subscriptions from Google Reader so switching to it was quick and easy. Just saying, in case you were looking for a reader.This soup came about because of a need to use greens and lentils/beans and avoid carbohydrates in the form of wheat or rice one night of the week. Pretty simple and tastes even better the next day. Feel free to use any beans you prefer. I have used kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, chick peas all to good effect. I have used masoor dal which looks very similar to Puy lentils. Use one or the other.Having ignored Collard greens for a good 10-15 years I have started cooking with it regularly now. Unlike most greens that wilt and get soggy once cooked, collards maintain their shape and methinks it is a good candidate for soups. If you are not familiar with collard green (I am not sure if it is available in India) think of the texture of murunga keerai(drumstick leaves) or agathi keerai (humming bird tree leaves?!) leaves when cooked. Update: As per Anita's comment Kohl Rabi is a great substitute for Collard Greens.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Some people like it hot some like it sweet. In my case I like them both equally and there in lies my food problem. I tried to avoid stealth sugary foods like flavored yogurts, smoothies and fat free everything but try is the operative word here. Without the stealth there are quite a lot of straight forward sugary stuff that I tend to eat knowing fully well what they are. To compensate this sugar eating
not exactlyI also go overboard eating spicy foods Indian pickles being foremost.
Unfortunately all this had to come to an end when someone pointed to my expanding bottom and middle. Did they really have to? The reins have to be thrown in and something done about it. My complacency came from the fact that I exercise regularly. I had portion control under control for a while till I let it fall in the wayside again because I exercise. Anyway no more blinkers on, back to belt tightening. This does not mean I am going on a crash diet or any such thing just that I have started exercising portion control again, controlling the snacking and trying to put control on runaway carb consumption.Spring and Summer are the perfect times to start eating less carbs as there are a lot more vegetables and fruits to choose from. Took a leaf out of Nupur's philosophy of regular pantry cleanout and starting to whittle down my collection of lentils and beans. Now to the recipe, I found a recipe for Pique in the lifestyle book our realtor sends regularly. I have never heard of Pique before. This spicy vinegar soaked vegetables is right up my alley. I started a search of Pique recipes to see how they are made and their variations. The one I saw in the book and what I found online were very different. I found out that Pique is usually made with vinegar and fruit juices - pineapple rinds. I did not have pineapples and so followed the recipe in the book which made no mention of pineapples. I used cilantro seeds instead of the leaves that the recipe called for and completely omitted any oil. It is so very easy to put together and a condiment suitable on all kinds of things. Any crunchy vegetable will work here.I don't think the peppers or the other vegetables in the pique are eaten but are more for flavoring the vinegar which is the condiment is used for seasoning. The vinegar gets topped to keep it going for a long time. My purpose was totally different I wanted the vinegary vegetables rather than the vinegar itself. But hey the end use is up to you. I do not use oregano which is the herb used for seasoning so I skipped that one.
Pique - Puerto Rican hot sauce Preparation Time:10 minutes Cooking Time:20 minutes Ingredients
- 4 Cherry Peppers and+ Serrano chilies + 6-8 Thai chilies (use any you have on hand)
- 6-8 cloves of garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced thin
- thinly sliced carrots (I did not use them)
- 1/2 tsp of coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp of peppercorns
- 1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt (non-iodine salt works best)
- a pinch of sugar
- 4 cups of distilled white vinegar
- juice from half a lime
- Keep Ready: Clean glass jars for storing the pique
- Slice the chilies in half and remove the seeds. (If you are only going to use the vinegar just make slits and leave the chilies whole).
- Bring 1 cup of water to boil and add the chilies, garlic, ginger and the carrots, leave for a minute or two and drain completely. Add them to the glass jars. Add the salt and sugar to the jar.
- Heat the vinegar to just below boiling, squeeze the lime and add the vinegar to the glass jar over the vegetables.
- Gently pound the coriander seeds and pepper corns and add them to the jar.
- Let it cool and come to room temperature. Cover with a white cloth and place the jar lid and let sit in the sun for a couple of days before using.Works great over steamed vegetables, rice and as a condiment for pretty much anything.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Mathy meen kuzhambu is a specialty of Kerala that has become a much loved by everyone in the house. Sadly I have never tasted it till a few years ago. The curry was talked of highly by DH's SIL tasted in Kerala on her numerous visits there. The very first time we tasted nor surprise there we were hooked too. The problem is we cannot visit Kerala every time we want to taste this curry so I had to get down to business and learn to make the curry myself. The curry itself is not hard provided the right ingredients are on hand. I found Gambooge or Goraka as it is called in Srilanka on my last visit to the Srilankan grocery store which is an important ingredient for this Kerala style fish curry. Unlike in TamilNadu where we use tamarind pulp for fish kuzhambu, in Kerala Kodumpuli or Gambooge is what is used for the sourness. Smoky with a subtle sourness it indeed is perfect for fish curry. The toughest part is finding fresh sardines. I found a packet of frozen sardines in the Indian grocery store. Sardines in general are very smelly fish. I did not realize the frozen fish were not cleaned. If I had known I would have never picked them up. Glad I did not know and this is how the fish curry came to be. As for the smell in the kitchen sink a combination of besan flour (kadalamavu), distilled white vinegar and baking soda took care of it. Sprinkle each of them i nthe sink and wash off after about 1/2 hour or so.
Anyway once thawed for the cleaning part, the fish scales had to be removed and then a cut is made from the tail along the abdomen all the way to the head. Do NOT cut all the way thorough as to split the fish in half , just enough to get the innards and then the gills out. I left the head in but it is ok to chop it off too. Once cleaned rinse them clean, add a tbsp of turmeric powder and mix it into them and let them be till you get the other ingredients ready.
Shallots are a must for this curry. The other onions will work too but shallots are the best for this. If you do not have Gambooge tamarind will work in a pinch but make the pulp as thick as possible or use tamarind paste. I had Bharathy of Spicy Chilly's recipe to guide me in the process.
Mathy Meen Kuzhambu - - Spicy and Sour Sardines curry with Gambooge Preparation Time:20-30 minutes Cooking Time:45 minutes Ingredients
- 12-16 cleaned sardines
- 4-5 pieces of gambogee washed and soaked in 1/2 cup of water
- 10 shallotes (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups) chopped
- 4 green chilies slit
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder if using regular red chili powder about 3/4 tbsp or to taste
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder or sambhar powder
- 2 tsp of regular chili powder only if using Kashmiri chili powder
- 5 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp of roasted and powdered methi/fenugreek seeds
- salt to taste
- 2-3 tsp of turmeric powder
- seasonings: curry leaves 2 sprigs, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and methi seeds all about a pinch
- Wash and clean the fish, rub it with turmeric and set aside.
- In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and when hot add the seasonings, cumin,methi and mustard, let the mustard seeds pop and then add the curry leaves.
- Add the green chilies and onions and let it saute till they become translucent, now add in the garlic and ginger and saute till the onions start to turn brown.
- Add the chili powders, sambhar powder/coriander powder and salt, mix it in well and add about 3 cups of water (the water should be enough to submerge the fish you have on hand after the gravy thickens a bit).
- Let it come to a boil and let simmer takes about 6-8 minutes. Now add in the gambogee water and all. You do not have to squeeze like you would regular tamarind. Let boil for another 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the fish gently and let them all be immersed in the curry. Cook for another 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle the fenugreek/methi powder. Turn off the heat. Let sit. The longer the curry sits the tastier it gets.Note: 1. If you do not have sardines or do not want to use it other fish will work with this curry as well methinks. 2. Sardines have a lot of scales and bones so be careful while eating and watch for the bones.