I wanted to get it clear in my head about what were whole grains and what were not. For a long time I was under the impression that eating white rice meant eating whole grain. I was wrong. Whole grains are grains that are in their naturally occurring form. Brown rice is whole grain whereas white rice that has lost its bran and has been processed and polished would not be a whole grain.
I set about making a list of whole grains that are in our pantry. Some are staples and some that are used occasionally.
1. Brown Rice
2. Corn (usually used for making popcorn)
3. Stone ground Whole Wheat Flour
4. Steel Cut Oats
5. Pearl Millet
6. Finger Millet
Most of these grains can be cooked just like rice and used in place of rice. But our taste buds being accustomed to eating white rice protest. So the next best alternative is to soak and grind them and make dosai and most often they are so much more tastier than the dosais made with white rice. The other good thing is most often the batter does not require fermentation and they do not digest very quickly keeping you full longer.
Brown Rice lends itself nicely to fried rice or dal rice. I still would not use brown rice for eating with sambhar though.
I have not made dosai with whole corn and it is on the to try list. I have used grits and this can be whole grain or not depending on whether hulled corn or the whole kernel was used. In general beware of any final product that is white in color, be it flour or grits.
As for stone ground whole wheat flour with the bran is my favored flour for making rotis, parathas and chapatis.
Isn't it surprising that I tasted empanadas for the very first time when I made them at home last week. I first cast caught a glimpse of them on them on a vendor cart in DC about a decade and half ago and was bitten with the urge to taste it, with its strong resemblance to samosas who wouldn't be. With visions of tasty filling covered with pastry I approached the vendor and asked him for chicken or vegetarian version but as luck would have it all that was available were the beef filled ones which for some strange reason I do not eat. The filling was never the right kind for me or every other occasion I had a chance to buy them. After a while I stopped trying.
A few weeks ago on I caught an episode Healthy Flavors "Latino Inspiration for Health" on PBS where chef Jim Coleman was cooking healthy Swiss Chard and Kale empanadas. The craving to taste empanadas hit again. The very same week I found a vegan recipe for banana and black bean empanadas in the Vegetarian Times magazine I was browsing at the library. Too many signals to put off giving empananda a try. But bananas and bean did not sound right to me so I settled on Swiss Chard and Black Bean Emapandas.
Submitted to MLLA event started by Susan and the tenth edition hosted by Coco Cooks.
Recipe Source: Vegetarian Times Magazine, March 2009 issue
Makes: 15 Large Empanadas
Swiss Chard and Black Bean Empanadas
For the Dough:
1. 2 Cups of Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour (sifted to remove the bran)
2. 1 1/4 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
4. 1 tsp chili powder
5. 1/2 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
6. 4 tbsp cold butter
7. 1/2 cup cold water
1. Cut the butter to small pieces and add to the flour, salt and chili powder, and break the butter into the flour with the tip of the finger so it resembles a crumbled mixture.
2. Whisk together the apple sauce and water and add to the flour till it forms a dough.
3. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
1. 1 bunch Swiss Chard washed and cut into strips, cut the stem into small pieces
2. 1 1/2 Cups Black beans soaked overnight and cooked till soft
3. 1/2 red onion chopped
4. 4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
5. 2 tsp coriander powder
6. 2 tsp chili powder
7. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
8. 1 tsp oil
9. salt to taste
10. Egg Wash (optional)
1. Heat oil and saute the onions and garlic till soft.
2. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves and saute for a few minutes
3. Add the powders and salt and mix
4. Now add the black beans with a tbsp of water and cover and cook till the chard leaves are soft and cooked. (about 10 minutes)
5. Open the lid and let the mixture cook till it is dry.
6. 4tbsp Grated Pepper jack cheese (as much or as little as you want)
1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Divide the dough into 5-6 portions.
3. On a slightly floured surface roll each portion of the dough and cut them into 6 inch rounds and about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.
4. Place the filling in the middle, sprinkle a bit of cheese and fold them over to form a half moon. Crimp the edges. Place them on the baking sheet. Make a small cut for air venting on top. Brush with egg wash.
5. Preheat the oven to 400F and set the baking sheet inside, lower the temp to 350F and bake for 25 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes.
Serve with salsa or sour cream or chili garlic sauce.