Category Archives: Food

Kashmiri Chutney – Dodh AL ( Bottle Gourd in Yoghurt)

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 yoghurt and tart chutneys.

In the series of Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight sweetness to the table of spicy food.

In my version I have omitted the honey and the raisins but do add them if you prefer the sweetness. I also made a vegan version by using coconut milk instead. Either way it will come out just superb.

These are images of Bottle Gourd growing and being sold in the floating vegetable gardens on the Dal Lake in Kashmir. A visit to the pre-dawn vegetable market on the lake is a memory that does not leave your soul.

Dodh Al - Bottle Gourd Chutney

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Kashmiri Chutney

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • One small bottle gourd, seeds removed and grated
  • About 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of full fat yoghurt ( plant based yoghurt is fine)
  • 1 tbsp organic honey (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black cumin
  • a few strands of saffron crushed
  • 1 tbsp of yellow raisins (optional)
  • chopped cilantro and mint leaves

Directions

  • Boil the gourd and garlic until tender about 5-7 mins. Drain the water and cool. ( you can save the water for soup or broth in other dishes)
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Add this to the yoghurt and mix the other ingredients.

Serve as a side topped with black cumin and cilantro/mint leaves. This is also perfect as a dip with pita bread.


Vost Haakh t, Nadir ( Lotus stems with Amaranth leaves)

From the land of dreamers, poets, artists, emperors and saints comes a cuisine that inspires all your senses.

Modern Kashmiri cuisine  tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror)  invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.

The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Thus came an elaborate feast preparation called Wazwaan. “Waan” refers to a “shop” in Kashmiri.

Nadru or Lotus stems/roots are a delicious curious vegetable very popular in Kashmir (India). They are often fried and served as a street snack food. For the dinner table, the 2 most popular recipes are Nadru Yakhni (yogurt sauce)  and Nadru Palak ( Spinach). This recipe is a variation of the latter but you can try our the delicious yogurt recipe in my earlier post or my step by step guide on wikihow

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Lotus Stem is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C.

In this recipe I have the closest I could find to Vost Haakh or Wousta Haakh (red kashmiri spinach). Our local international market carries an abundance on “Shen choy” and I have fallen in love with it. These are Amaranth leaves and need to be washed through and picked off the stems. They impart this beautiful red color to your broth.

The ingredients are simple and the recipe is simple. I always use a pressure cooker with root vegetables as it locks in the ingredients and saves time but you can use a heavy bottomed pan.

I have served it with onion relish

I have served it with white rice and red onion chutney with cilantro and mint ( will post the recipe).

Take the time to make this and you will love it.

Ingredients are as follows, please adjust to taste

  • 2-3 mid size lotus stems
  • I big bunch of Shen Choy ( red spinach)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder ( adjust to taste)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • Salt to taste

Heres how to cook it:

  • Pick the leaves of the spinach from the stems and wash thoroughly
  • Scrape of lightly peel the tope layer of the lotus stem.
  • Slice the Lotus Stems in 1/4 inch slices and wash thoroughly
  • Add 1 tsp of mustard oil to a pressure cooker and heat until smoking. Add the lotus stems with some salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for about 5-6 whistles. Remove from cooker ( liquid and all) and keep aside.
  • Using the same cooker,  add mustard oil  and heat until smoking
  • Add chopped shallots and the garlic
  • Fry of a minute and add the greens
  • Add salt and Fry the green until completely wilted
  • Add cardamoms, ginger powder, fennel powder cumin and cloves
  • Pressure cook for about 2 whistles
  • Remove the cooker cover and add the turmeric and chili powder and fry a little
  • Add the cooked lotus stems and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
  • This has a beautiful and unique flavor and is best served with rice.

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
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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