saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.

Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice.  I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.

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For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.

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Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.

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saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a fusion dish inspired by kashmiri and persian cooking

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  lb turkey
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hing ( asafetida)
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Pink Salt to taste

Cabbage

  • 1/2  head of white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron blooming in a tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Chopped Parsley and Mint for garnish
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Squeeze the water out of the grated onion through a muslin cloth or a colander
  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Let it get to smoking hot temperature.
  • Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they barely get brown.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for about 10 mins until tender
  • Add the blooming saffron and the turmeric and continue to cook for 5 mins.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Add the meatballs and combine until heated through.
  • Garnish with chopped Parsley and Mint

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Sharing this at the fiesta at Angie’s with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod

Coconut Orange Cake

The beauty of a simple cake sweet and infused with grated orange peels and coconut. This recipe is perfect for a sunny weekend afternoon which I spent making this with my teenage daughter.

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This cake speaks to you with its simplicity and yet complex flavors. Use a organic whole fat coconut milk, really good grass fed butter and home dried orange peel and it will amplify the flavors. Butter can be softened at room temperature or a few seconds in the microwave. I much prefer the room temperature approach

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I personally don’t have much of a sweet tooth ( and therefore less sugary recipes on my blog :() but making this for my family is always a labor of pure love.

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You can frost this cake with whipped cream or coconut cream cheese frosting. I kept it simple and naked to its own glory. A dollop of fresh cream on the side will add the minimal right touch.

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Coconut Orange Cake

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

The beauty of a simple cake sweet and infused with grated orange peels and coconute

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic cake flour ( Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut flakes ( unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoons kosher salt1 cup
  • 1 cup/1 can whole coconut milk
  • 1 stick of organic grass fed butter ( softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 3/4 tsp ground orange peel
  • 3 large eggs

Directions

  • In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat sugar and butter on medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg until well incorporated before adding the next one.
  • Add coconut milk, vanilla and orange extracts and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • The mixture should be pale and fluffy
  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt and coconut  in a bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredient in small increments to the wet ingredient and continue to blend with the mixer.
  • Using a 9 inch cake pan, grease with butter and dust with flour.
  • Pour the cake batter in the pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 mins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Dust some fine sugar on the cake and serve with coconut flakes, whipped cream and berries or with orange slices.

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This cake is at the  Fiesta Friday #166 table withAngie and co-hosted by Mollie and Ginger.

Also sharing at

Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.

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In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.

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There are layers of flavors in this recipe.

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With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.

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The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing

The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.

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CilantroChutney-5702Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.

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This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.

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Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a gluten free tostada layered with steak and fermented vegetables

Ingredients

Tostadas

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Cold water for the dough

Beet and carrot salad

  • 1 beet and 1 carrot – grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • Pink salt

Steak

  • 1-2 portions of organic grass fed steak

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ( 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Watercress leaves and goat cheese for garnish

Cabbage Pickle: Recipe can be found here

Directions

  • Blend the ingredients for the Cilantro sauce adjusting the salt to taste
  • Marinate the steak in the cilantro sauce for an hour or overnight if you have the time.
  • Combine the ingredients for the beet and carrot salad and set aside
  • For the tostadas, combine the flour, oil salt, pepper and eggs. Add water in small increments, just enough for the dough to come together. It will be crumbly.
  • Using a tortilla press between plastic wrap, press the tostadas out gently. You have to be careful as the dough is crumbly with the gluten and it may take a couple of tries.
  • Pan fry in olive oil until both sides are browned.
  • Grill the steak, 5 mins on each side and let it rest for 5 mins. Slice in  2 inch pieces.
  • Using the tostadas as a base, top with the beet mixture, steak pieces, red cabbage pickle, cilantro sauce and watercress
  • Top with goat cheese or any other cheese you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of the cilantro sauce.

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Jhuls is the solo cohost this week at Fiesta Friday. Do check out her blog at  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
Also linking up on Saucy Saturdays

Fermented Food experiments #2 -Beet Kanji

Fermented foods are just beautiful  not only for the taste buds but also for your gut.  Ancients culture have propagated fermented foods for preservation and taste through the centuries. The souring action if microbes that produced fermentation have been critical in our diets throughout  the globe.  Similar foods can be found in every culture,  just called something different.
Indian “Achar” or “Kanji” are great examples and so is the fabulous “Kimchi” from Korea.
My personal story takes me back to the late 1970’s where as a young girl spending lazy winters vacation in Lucknow, India  I would watch my grandfather ferment and pickle various vegetables in earthenware and produce the probiotic liquid called “Kanji” in India. It  was delicious, tart and healthy and the joy of helping my grandfather  while he worked on these beautiful foods is a memory that is permanent ink in my soul.
True to foods that nourish your soul and help you remember your history, in this series I am sharing different fermented food s I am experimenting with.
Click here for a previous recipe of Kashmiri Achar
Click here for a previous recipe of Red Cabbage Pickle

In this edition: Fermented Beet tonic – Kanji

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BeetKanji-5786This fermented beet pickle and tonic fascinates  and mesmerizes with its deep violet color and tangy taste. There many health benefits of both the beets and these are just amplified through fermenting.

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“Kanji”  is usually a pungent combination of water, mustard seeds, beetroot and carrots and is full of digestion-boosting friendly bacteria and enzymes. I have only used beets here so the color is quite intense. Beets are high is sugar but the fermentation breaks the sugars down and makes this drink a healthy tonic. Very similar to Kvass which is an eastern European fermented beverage commonly made with rye bread.

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Fermented Beets - Kanji

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a zesty beet fermented drink and pickle

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 large organic beets
  • 3 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 whole red chilies ( Serrano)
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 6–7 cups filtered water

Directions

  • Wash and Slice and dice the beets in bite size pieces. I like to leave to skin on for organic beets.
  • Crush mustard seeds with mortar and pestle just to a coarse grind
  • Place the diced beets and carrots into a half-gallon glass jar.
  • Add the Serrano pepper, mustard seeds and salt.
  • Add the water, leaving one-inch of air space between the top of the water and the top of the jar. Tightly cover the jar.
  • Ferment the kanji for 2-3 days at room temperature.
  • Stir with a clean wooden spoon and taste. If it’s tangy – it’s fermented and ready
  • You can transfer the jar to the fridge and store for a few weeks.

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Enjoy a cup or bowl of this delicious liquid and eat the pickles beet and add them to your salad.

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Divine!

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Sharing this at Angie’s Fiesta Friday

Fermented food experiments #1 – Red Cabbage quick pickle

Fermented foods are just beautiful  not only for the taste buds but also for your gut.  Ancients culture have propagated fermented foods for preservation and taste through the centuries. The souring action if microbes that produced fermentation have been critical in our diets throughout  the globe.  Similar foods can be found in every culture,  just called something different.

Indian “Achar” or “Kanji” are great examples and so is the fabulous “Kimchi” from Korea.

My personal story takes me back to the late 1970’s where as a young girl spending lazy winters vacation in Lucknow, India  I would watch my grandfather ferment and pickle various vegetables in earthenware and produce the probiotic liquid called “Kanji” in India. It  was delicious, tart and healthy and the joy of helping my grandfather  while he worked on these beautiful foods is a memory that is permanent ink in my soul.

True to foods that nourish your soul and help you remember your history, in this series I am sharing different fermented foods I am experimenting with.

Click here for a previous recipe of Kashmiri Achar

In this edition: Red Cabbage Pickle

https://foodforthesoul00.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/redcabbagepickle-5765.jpg?w=474

Continue reading Fermented food experiments #1 – Red Cabbage quick pickle

Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger, the possibilities of creating dishes is endless. This cuisine brings to the world  the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The  subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.

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I am fortunate to have a store within a mile that carries fresh Thai ingredients ( except for Kaffir lime leaves). Kaffir lime leaves are essential flavoring in Thai cooking and I found a wonderful online store for a bag of dried leaves. The smell is heavenly.

Lemon Grass ( or Takrai) is widely available and sold in bunches. The edible portion is about 4-6 inches from the root. The rest can be used for flavoring broths.

lemongrass-chickenI am using fresh mushrooms but If you have dried shiitake mushrooms just soak them in warm water until they are soft and use the broth in cooking as well.

Continue reading Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Kashmiri Pulao – Rice with mushrooms and vegetables

kashmiripulao-9050-2This medley of rice and vegetables is inspired by the Kashmiri Pulao that uses morel mushrooms. I did not have the wild expensive mushrooms so used the dried  shiitake I hand in my pantry. Soaked in warm water for about 20 mins brings out the earthiness and the umami flavors. Don’t discard the golden liquid from the mushrooms, it adds immense flavor.

kashmiripulao-9046I also used cauliflower in this recipe…cut in florets and pan fried with a touch of sea salt.

The basic Kashmiri pulao recipes packs a punch with whole spices…I have used cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, whole pepper, dried ginger and bay leaves.

Saffron is my favorite and it had been used blooming in warm water.

I have also added soaked almond, walnuts and raisins…feel free to experiment.

Once again I am honored to be c0-hosting and feasting with such amazing and talented virtual friends at Fiesta Friday. Our host Angie has done such a wonderful job providing us with this forum and inviting us to a global table. I am also honored to be co-hosting alongside Jhuls and am a big fan :), do check out her blog if you have not already.

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Kashmiri Pulao with Mushrooms and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a flavorful pulao with fragrant spices and vegetables

Ingredients

                                                                                     

  • 10 pieces dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups of cauliflower bites (about 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice washed and soaked for 10 mins
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 onions chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 black cardamoms
  • 5-6 green cardamoms
  • 5-8 whole peppercorns
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tea spoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2  1/2 cup water ( including the mushroom broth)
  • Grapeseed oil for frying the vegetables
  • 1/2 Almonds, walnuts and raisins soaked for 30 mins and chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • /recipe-ingredients]

Directions

  • Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Strain the water and slice the mushrooms. Save the water to cook the rice.
  • Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm  water
  • Dice the cauliflower and pan fry in oil until just brown
  • Drain, slice and Fry the mushrooms and set aside
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and chopped onion, sauté until translucent.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Now add the soaked rice and vegetables.
  • Add the ginger powder.
  • Add water (including the mushroom water) to cover the rice plus 1/2 inch.
  • Salt to taste
  • Squeeze 4-5 drops of lemon juice in the mixture and let it cook on low/medium heat for 20 minutes until the rice is done.
  • Using 2 tablespoon of ghee, fry the nuts and raisins until just toasted and add to the rice when serving.
  • Serve with a side of mint raita

Beautifully fragrant and delicious.

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Also linking up at Suacy Saturdays

great food and discovery of the soul

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