Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vegetable Korma

A delicious, healthy vegetable dish served in a creamy sauce. Add some tofu or paneer (Indian cheese) to bulk up the meal that is a main dish all in itself.

Vegetable Korma                                                                    Serves 2

1/2 c EACH chopped vegetables (cauliflower, green peas, green beans, red bell pepper, corn)
1 c paneer, cubed
3 tbl oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 green chilies, chopped
1/2 tbl ginger powder
1 tbl coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk or coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp garam masala

Optional vegetables: cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots.

1. In a cup mix milk and cornstarch, set aside.
2. In a wok or deep pan add enough oil to shallow fry paneer until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
3. In a saute pan, heat 3 tbl oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and heat until they crack. Add all the spices from chilies to bay leaves and stir for 1 minute.
4. Add the vegetables and mix well with the spices. cover and let them cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Mix in the fried paneer. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture and cook until the vegetables are tender.
6. Remove the pan from heat. Mix in garam masala.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 145.6 calories per serving

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homemade Tortillas (Roti)

Growing up in California, it is very hard to not appreciate the Spanish culture that has sprung up since the 1800's and the massive immigration of families, histories and foods that put in their deep roots.

Tortillas are my favorite staple. Something that I have to have in the kitchen at all times.

I love them as wraps, crunchy chips, crispy tostadas, sprinkled over soup, sopping up sauce from a curry...the uses are limitless.

Being the frugal girl that I am, I decided to finally attempt making these soft bad boys myself. It was a fun and scary evening.

After I had that childlike prideful moment of “look what I made!” I realized how easy these were to make and more flavorsome to boot!

I will definitely be investing in a tortilla press this year. Not that I mind my irregular tortillas, they still taste great.

Homemade Tortillas (Roti)                               Serves 4

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbl vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding flour or water if needed. Let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-in. circle.

3. In a large nonstick skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until light brown spots appear and they puff up slightly. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat process with the remaining dough.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 258.4 calories per serving.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Another enticing eggplant recipe that can be made quickly for dinner. Under 30 minutes.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce                                          Serves 2

2 American eggplants/bringals
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl ginger, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 red bell pepper/capsicum
3 tbl vegetable oil
For the sauce:

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl corn starch
1/2 cup water

1. After cutting eggplant into 2 inch pieces, soak in salted water to prevent eggplant from turning dark.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
3. Heat up oil in a pan to medium heat, and saute ginger, garlic, green onions, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder for about 1 minutes.
4. Turn heat to low. Drain eggplant well, then add chopped eggplants and bell pepper to saute pan, stir well and let cook, covered for 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
5. Add the prepared sauce, and cook another 1 minute. Sauce will thicken quickly.
6. Garnish with fine shredded green onions. Serve with rice.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 179.6 calories per serving.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chai Banana Fritters

If someone asked me earlier what a fritter was, I couldn't tell you. But after going to the fair and seeing people just raving about how yummy they were I decided to try my hand at it.

I had to look it up. Thanks Wikipedia! :A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep-fried.

Ok...sounds like a doughnut...sounds like sweet and sour pork...sounds like fish and chips from a restaurant... I have been eating "fritters" for a long time and didn't even know it!

In my fritter experiment I had some ripening bananas on my shelf so I went with banana fritters. But that sounded too plain so I threw in my favorite spice combo: Chai. I also don't stay restrained to keeping the food whole, as traditional fritters are. I mashed these bananas up for a uniform flavor.

Result: These reminded me a lot of Chinese doughnuts, but better! Chai Banana Fritters melt in your mouth with a fresh taste from the bananas on a sinful backdrop that only fried food gives.

Chai Banana Fritters                                            Serves 4, 4 fritters each
                                                                                                   Time: 20 mins

4 medium ripe bananas (black on the outside and mushy inside is perfect)
1 c flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 chai tea bags, open bags and empty contents
1 tbl sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

Oil for frying
2 tbl sugar for rolling

2 tbl coconut milk+1 tbl flour for added sweetness, roll in coconut shavings.
Caramel sauce, topping
1 tbl hot chili powder

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small cup or bowl.
2. Mash bananas into a pulp; I left mine a bit chunky. Mix four into bananas until you get a thick batter. 
3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok (about 2 in) to medium heat. To make sure that your oil is hot, drop a quarter teaspoon from the batter in the oil, when it sizzles your oil is ready.
4. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, scoop batter and drop 3-4 spoonfuls slowly into hot oil. Fry and turn until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
5. Repeat until batter is gone. You will make approximately 10-12 fritters depending on the size spoon you are using. Roll warm doughnuts in sugar or dust with confectioners sugar. 
Serve with your favorite ice-cream or enjoy alone.

Calories Calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 245.1 calories per serving. This calculation is made with the assumption the reader will roll the fritters in sugar, it does not include calories of oil absorbed during frying. 

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Empanadas with Egg Sofrito

I was torn between making Huevos Rancheros for dinner and making something new. 

So....I made a new version of Huevos Rancheros! Instead of a crispy tortilla, you have a cheesy, spicy empanada insead.

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Empanadas with Egg Sofrito

Serves four dinners, plus four extra for freezing/lunch

To make the pastry                                                                               

4 c wheat flour
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6oz) COLD butter
2/3 c COLD water
2 tbl white vinegar
2 egg

1. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt with a whisk. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk vinegar, eggs, and water, slowly add liquid to the dough; kneading gently until combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in the fridge until needed.

For the filling
1 c chopped chorizo
2 c cooked pinto beans
1 onion, diced fine
2 green chilies/jalapenos, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh coriander leaves
1/4 lb. of shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a saute pan, add chopped chorizo and dry fry on low. Don't worry about adding oil, as the chorizo will release its own grease and crisp the pieces up nicely; approximately 8 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

2. Add onion, chilies and garlic to remaining chorizo grease, saute on low until onions are soft. Add beans, spices, and a splash of water; let beans fry for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan and mashing beans occasionally; adding more water to prevent them from burning.
3. Mash the beans once tender until they resemble thick mashed potatoes. Stir in cheddar cheese, coriander leaves and chorizo. Let mixture cool 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 1/8″ thick. Cut dough with a large lid or coffee can into 4in or 6in diameter circles. I got 8 empanadas out of this. 4 for dinner, 4 for the freezer :)

I used a teacup saucer to measure

5. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each empanada. Fold the dough over each other, making a semicircle, and press the edges with a fork to fully enclose the filling.

6. If making ahead, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated up to 2 days. When ready to bake: brush with an egg wash or milk. Bake the empanadas for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep in the oven to warm.

Sauce and Egg

1/2 onion, diced
1 green chili, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 small tomatoes chopped or 1/2 can chopped tomatoes

1. Clean out the same saute pan. Drizzle a little oil and add onions and chilies; softening the onions on medium heat. Once translucent, add the tomatoes and the juice the tomatoes are packed in. If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them first, then add. Note: that fresh tomatoes will take longer to cook as canned tomatoes are already cooked to begin with. Add cumin and salt, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.

2. Crack 4 eggs slowly on top of the sauce. Cover with a lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until whites are cooked and yolk is set (I like mine a little runny, like poached eggs).



To Serve

On a plate, place 1-2 warm empanadas. Top with sauce and one egg. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, salt and pepper.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 545.2 calories per serving