Category Archives: Food

Dal chilla – savory lentil crepes

Its hot and humid but soaking in the warmth while browsing cookbooks is how I tend to enjoy my weekend afternoon. I was looking a vegan lunch idea and stumbled upon so many wonderful “Chilla” recipes, These crepes called “Chilla” or “Cheela” are so simple, wholesome and savory that I couldn’t wait to experiment with a version of my own.

I have used 3 types of lentils here…Urad, Masoor and Chana and some rice flour. You could use soaked rice as well but I had the rice flour in my pantry so went with it.

The lentils have been washed and soaked for a few hours. They were then ground into a paste along with the rice flour and then I let the batter ferment overnight. I just put it in my cool  oven.  It was so cool to see it bubble and rising by the morning.

Once the batter is fermented, add the herbs and spices and use water to bring out the consistency of pancake batter.

Cooked on both sides to a warm golden brown and served simply with coconut yoghurt raita and pickles was just perfect.

The recipe measurements below are just setting some guardrails but  this is not an exact science. Feel free to experiment and taste along the way!

Chilla - Lentil Crepes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Wholesome Savory Treat

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Urad Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Masoor Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Chana Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 inch Finely chopped ginger
  • 3 -4 Finely chopped red or green onions
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Directions

 

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and soak for 4 hours

 

  • Grind the lentils in a food processor, add the rice flour and blend until a batter like consistency
  • Let ferment in a cool oven overnight
  • The batter will rise a little which will tell you that it has some fermentation. Add the herbs, veggies and spices and use some water to bring it to a pancake consistency
  • Heat the griddle or cast iron pan until quite hot. Keep the heat to medium and pour in the batter. Use a teaspoon to oil the edges and the middle. Once bubbles start to form and the edges are brown, flip the pancake/crepe and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
  • The crepes should be soft and warm brown.
  • Serve hot and deliciously!

Sharing at at Angie’s Fiesta Friday # 283. Thanks to the co-hosts  Antonia @ Zoale and  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Za’atar baked Cod with Zucchini rice

Glorious Summer!!

The weekend summer farmers markets are in full bloom. The joy of sourcing local ingredients is sweet and satisfying. Not everything is local though so it’s a journey to get to totally local sourced for the mind and body.

Za’atar Cod, Zucchini Rice and Fresh tomato salad

This was a beautiful Cod fillet and my Za’atar is home made with thyme and oregano that I have grown and dried. Saw a stand at the farmers market selling Za’atar and Olive oil which I am sure would be amazing to use. So if you are not making it at home buy from the local farmers and small businesses.

Za’atar Cod, Zucchini Rice and Fresh tomato salad

The tomatoes were just ripe and vibrant and ready to cut so I kept it simple with fresh mint and lemon juice.

The fresh zucchini also called for simplicity so it has been sautéed with a touch of cumin and fresh large green onions.

This plate reminds me of what good clean and abundant food this earth has given us to respect, enjoy and feed our souls.

Za’atar Cod, Zucchini Rice and Fresh tomato salad

Fish and Marinade

  • Cod filet – 1
  • Za’atar – 2 tbsp
  • Lemon zest – 1 tsp
  • Good olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt if needed

Zucchini rice

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 small yellow or spring onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Tomato Salad

  • A couple of yellow and red tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Lemon zest ( use the same lemon to zest)
  • Celtic sea salt – a sprinkle

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Coat the fish with the marinade ingredients and set aside for 15 mins.
  • Chop up the Zucchini in small pieces and slice the onions
  • Heat the olive oil and add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the onions.
  • Sauté the onions until they soften, add the red chili powder and the zucchini.
  • Sauté for a few minutes until the zucchini is just tend.er Salt to taste and add the rice.
  • It will take a couple of minutes to combine and heat everything through.
  • Prepare the tomato salad by chopping the fresh ingredients and combining through with the salt and lemon juice.
  • Bake the fish for 10 mins in a 400 degree oven.
  • Serve beautifully!

I have not been to Angie’s Fiesta for a while and looking forward to joining Angie and Ai

Farro, Chickpeas and veggie bowl

Beautiful and vibrant spring is here and its time to embrace all the positive energy it brings with it.  Spring is the time for rejuvenating your mind, body and soul. Morning walks under blossoms and lush green trees, farmers markets, planting flowers and seeds, and of course cooking nourishing balanced food. The Yin and the Yang work together to balance your spirit.

This is a macrobiotic vegan bowl that will leave you full and happy. If you prep everything it will supply lunches for the week.

So what does it have?

  • Farro
  • Chickpeas cooked in spices
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Edamame
  • Fermented Carrots and Cabbage
  • Cilantro and green onions

Farro

Farro is a beautiful ancient grain full of protein, fiber and iron. Buy organic and cook per instructions. I soak it for an hour and cook it in the rice cooker at brown rice setting

Chickpeas

Soak 2 cups chickpeas overnight and then cook in the pressure cooker until just soft.

Add coconut oil in  a pan. Add 1/2 tsp cumin and mustard seed and with whole red chilies. Add curry leaves if you have them and let them splutter. Add 1/2 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp turmeric and saute. Add the chickpeas and let them cook until the liquid is gone adding salt to taste. Add 1/2 garam masala and lemon juice to finish.

Roasted veggies

I used eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes and onions smothered with salt, pepper and avocado oil. Roast at 375 degree oven for 30 mins.

Edamame

Cook shelled edamame per instruction

I had fermented cabbage and carrot but you can use store bought fermented veggies.

Chop cilantro and green onion and use lemon juice to top the bowl off.

Assemble as it pleases you and enjoy this gorgeous bowl!

Sharing at Angies Fiesta Friday where Antonia @ Zoale.com is the cohost

Harissa crusted Cauliflower salad

It’s a vegetable overload weekend in our household. We had pea protein packed smoothie this morning and then ran a 5k in freezing temperatures. But the sun was out which gave energy to the mind and body. Riding the veggie theme for lunch I wanted to make something that continues to feed the body with energy.

So what I have here is a simple harissa roasted and charred cauliflower that is a sensory gift to the taste buds. The fact that it is plant based and has plenty of protein is something wonderful. The cauliflower is crusted with a mix of harissa paste, Labneh and Tahini dressing that amplifies the taste. The Avocados add the much needed fat and the citrus from the grapefruit balances it all.

Harissa roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into thick steaks.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon labneh ( or greek yoghurt)
  • 1 tsp of the tahini dressing

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • Pink or Sea Salt – to taste

Salad greens and Topping

  • Arugula and Baby spinach
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Grapefruit slices
  • Sliced Avocados

Putting it together:

  • Blend all the ingredients for the tahini dressing adjust for consistency and salt.
  • Mix the harissa with labneh and a teaspoon of the tahini dressing.
  • Smother the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 mins until slightly charred.
  • Dress the flowerets with the harissa dressing and put back in the oven for 5 mins. Remove and cool
  • Remove the grapefruit meat in slices being careful to remove the skin.
  • Slice the avocados
  • In a large bowl add the arugula and spinach and dress lightly with the tahini dressing
  • Plate the green, adding the grapefruit, avocado. Top with cauliflower and walnuts.
  • Drizzle some more dressing
    • Enjoy!

Sharing on Fiesta Friday where the cohost this week is Julianna @ Foodie on Board 

Haakh Tchaman- Kashmiri Cheese and Greens

The magic of Kashmiri cooking always inspires a smile and a happy tummy. So simple and fragrant served with steaming steamed rice and some pickles. The cheese can be homemade or you can buy a block of Indian Cheese which is pretty readily available in supermarkets now.  I do find the homemade version with organic milk much better and softer.

For the greens, I prefer the leaves called Chinese broccoli but collard green work really well too. Remove the leaves from the stems. If the stems are thick, peel the skin and use the inside, they are packed with flavor

The key flavor enhancer, I find is the use of Mustard oil. You can always substitute with regular vegetable oil. I used a pressure cooking but you don’t have to, it cooks just fine in a regular pot.

Here is the recipe

Ingredients:

  • Collard greens or Chinese broccoli – 2 bunches
  • Indian cottage cheese sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • Cloves 2 pices
  • asafetida – 1/4 Tsp
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • Ground ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
  • Turmeric powder  – 1 tsp
  • Fennel powder – 1 tsp
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup mustard oil
  • 2 cups of water

Directions:

  • Fry the cottage cheese pieces in oil until lightly golden ( not too dark), remove and immerse in warm water. Set aside
  • In a pressure cooker add the same mustard oil and the cloves. Add Asafetida and garlic. Add water and the rest of the spices and bring to a boil. Add Salt to taste
  • Add the greens and pressure cook for 5 mins.
  • Remove the lid and add the cheese.
  • Cooks for 5 – 10 mins until the flavors combine and the cheese is soft.
  • Serve as a main dish or side dish with steaming rice.
Haakh Tchaman with Roganjosh

Linking at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week areMollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Kokur Roganjosh

Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite and unique taste. An art form which is then accented by how the food is served….in copper dishes, with flavorful white rice, rich yogurt and tart chutneys.

Rogan Josh is a signature dish of the Kashmiri cuisine usually cooked with lamb. This particular recipe is with Chicken or “Kokur” and therefore the title. The subtle but important difference in the preparation is frying the chicken pieces beforehand which gives it the crispy exterior.

The rest of the spices are familiar with just a slight change is the way they are used in the thecooking process that differentiates it from other curries. The aromatic whole spices are fried in ghee to bring out the oils and aroma. The touch of water further steams through the spices.

I have used Mawal here, which is responsible for the deep red color. Mawal is dried cockscomb flower and is boiled with an equal quantity of water and then strained through a fine mesh. A couple of tablespoons of the liquid are then added towards the end of cooking.  A pinch of saffron dissolved in warm milk or water is the last flavor and aroma enrichment.

This dish is cooked with love and the process of cooking it is something to be enjoyed as much and eating it. Many of the traditional ways of using the ingredients have been adjusted in my American kitchen but the uniqueness of flavor still commands the respect of the cook and the guest.

Roganjosh served with Paneer Haakh and rice

Kokur Roganjosh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Kashmiri Chicken Roganjosh

Ingredients

  • 1 whole organic chicken cut into about 10 – 12 pieces
  • Olive or walnut oil for frying
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 green cardamom
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder soaked in warm water
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons mawal liquid ( optional)
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • Salt
  • Pinch of Saffron( 4-5 strands) soaked in warm milk
  • Black pepper
  • 4-5 cups water

Directions

  • Pat dry the chicken pieces and shallow fry them in batches until golden brown. Set aside
  • Slice and fry the onions until golden, grind to a paste and set aside
  • If using Mawal(cockscomb), boil in equal quantity of water for a couple of minutes. Strain through a fine sieved and bottle it up to use as needed.
  • Add ghee to a heave bottomed pan and add the cloves, bay leaf and cardamom. Fry until they sizzle.
  • Remove from heat and add a tbsp of water and cover to let the spices steam
  • Return to heat and add the garlic, saute for a minute
  • Add chicken turmeric, chili, onion paste and salt.
  • Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil
  • Cook the chicken until tender ( about 20 mins)
  • Add the mawal liquid, saffron and black pepper.
  • Once it has returned to a boil, turn off the heat.

Serve beautifully!

Linked to Fiesta Friday with Antonia  and Kat

Koftas in tomato sauce

Something about a tender juicy meatball is so comforting and satisfying.

Kofta in tomato sauce

There is a meatball or Kofta dish in just about every culture using a variety of different meats and spices.  This recipe has been inspired by the Lebanese style of cooking similar to Dawood Basha and uses a combination of ground chicken and beef flavored with spices and no breadcrumbs. I added some feta cheese to elevate that flavor. The spices in the sauce itself are minimal allowing the onions and tomatoes to shine.

The beautiful aroma of fennel and ginger invades your kitchen as you cook this dish.

Heading to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Party where I am so excited to cohost with Alex @ Turks Who Eat. So come on over and bring your delicious dishes with you.  See you all there!

Continue reading Koftas in tomato sauce