Tag Archives: vegetarian

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
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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

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
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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

Sweet dumpling squash with Ras El Hanout and Farro

These are delightful winter beauties… you fall in love when you go to the winter remains of the farmers market with the variety of pumpkins and squashes. I am not much for decorating with them so just want to find the ones that are delicious to cook

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Sweet Dumpling Squash – the sweetest of them all! This  has a whiteish skin with green stripes. The sweet, tender orange flesh makes this absolutely delicious to feed your soul.

I baked the squash in the oven, cutting around the stem of the sweet dumplings and removing the top. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, and then baking until tender.

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Stuffing this squash takes it to another level. I have used mushrooms and farro as the key ingredient and flavored it with Ras el hanout spice blend, thyme, garlic and cilantro. Farro s a type of ancient wheat grain that is found in many Mediterranean, Ethiopian or Middle Eastern cuisines.

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While the squash roast you can prepare the filling which is sautéed mushrooms with garlic and thyme. I added the cooked farro with a generous topping of cilantro, mint and lemon juice.

The icing on the cake is the creamy poached egg on top.

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Sweet dumpling squash with Ras El Hanout and Farro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Deliciously sweet quash flavored with Ras El Hanout and stuffed with mushrooms and farro

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 4 -5 sweet dumpling squash
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1  teaspoon Ras el hanout ( Moroccan spice blend)
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • Pink Salt and Pepper

Directions

  • Combine Grapeseed oil, Ras el hanout,  1 tsp thyme, salt and pepper and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off the tops of the dumpling squash, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. . Rub the insides with the oil mixture.
  • On a sheet pan, place the squash cut-side down and roast in the oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned on the outside.
  • Add coconut oil to a pan and add garlic. Saute for a min and add the mushrooms
  • As the mushrooms continue to sweat add the thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until the mushrooms are tender
  • Cook the Farro per instructions.  I used the 10 minute farro.
  • Mix the Farro with the mushrooms and with a generous topping of cilantro, mint and lemon juice.
  • Fill the squash with the mixture, top with a poached egg and serve.

 

I am taking this at this week’s Fiesta Friday  with  Angie , Aunt Juju and Sandhya.

Thai Vegetable Soup

The simplest soups are sometimes the best…warm, tangy and so good for the soul. This soup is simple and this soup is good and this soup is nourishing.

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It was ready is just 20 mins and made this chilly winter day just a little bright. The fridge was left with a depleting stock but I found the vibrant celery sticks and fresh carrots which inspired pulling this off. I had made some fresh lemongrass paste and had dried kafir lime leaves on hand so looked like a perfect day for soup.

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The color in the soup is obtained from fresh turmeric that I minced with the garlic and ginger. It adds an earthiness but if you don’t have it on hand then don’t fret….equally delicious with out it.

For the home made recipe of lemongrass paste check it out on my blog here.

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The vegetarian version of this soup uses a vegetarian broth, I bought an organic low sodium version but homemade would be great. If you are not a vegetarian then do use a good bone broth or beef broth that will bring intensity to the soup.

Thai vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Tangy Lemongrass and Kafir Lime flavored Vegatable Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced fresh turmeric (optional)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
  • 4-5 Kafir Lime leaves ( fresh or dried)
  • Pink salt to taste
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth ( or chicken or beef for a non-veg version)
  • Cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Directions

  • Add coconut oil to a heavy bottomed pan and sauté the onions and celery until translucent
  • Add the garlic, ginger, coriander and turmeric and continue to sauté for 3- 4 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, lemons grass paste and let them blend in for a minute.
  • Add the broth and salt to taste.
  • Add the broth comes to a boil add the a kafir lime leaves.
  • You can adjust the broth and seasoning at this point.
  • Let is cook on simmer for about 20 mins until fragrant.
  • Serve with a squeeze of lemon and cilantro leaves.

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This warm soup is joining the party at Fiesta Friday. Check out the co-hosts Linda @ La Petite Paniere  and  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Thai curried butternut squash soup

Fall is here…you feel the nip in the air and the leaves have started to fall and form the red and gold carpet .

When I look outside it reminds me of a Faiz poem

This is the way that autumn came to the trees:

it stripped them down to the skin,

left their ebony bodies naked.

It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,

scattered them over the ground.

Anyone could trample them out of shape

undisturbed by a single moan of protest…..

…..Faiz translated ( When Autumn Came)

The most beautiful time of the year and perfect for this soup.

Thai Curried butternut squash soup

Continue reading Thai curried butternut squash soup

Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

A hot fiery day outside or a warm fall afternoon, a perfect watermelon from the farmers market, heirlooms tomatoes, serrano chilies and cucumbers from the garden.

It all calls for a perfectly chilled gazpacho smothered in watermelon.

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Watermelon Gazpacho

The serrano chilies break into the sweetness, the mint heightens it to superb levels…the rest you will just have to taste to believe.

They fact that no cooking is required makes it even better. Make  sure you use good organic ingredients for this dish and it is chilled for an hour or so in the fridge before serving

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Continue reading Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

Cucumber Yogurt and Dill salad

There are so many versions of cucumber and herbs in cuisines ranging from Indian, Egyptian to Greek. My version takes all these influences and create a soothing and filling summer dish.

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Perfect for the summer months especially if you have those fresh cucumber growing in your back yard. I have been so excited about my cucumber produce that has brought joy to my small garden. Nothing like picking that cucumber and serving it within minutes.

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The yoghurt can be greek or whole milk just needs to be thick. I used a grass fed organic yoghurt which was creamy and delicious.

Dill and mint ( dried and fresh) add amazing flavors and of course garlic is king in kicking the whole dish up many notches:)

You can use Pistachios or Almonds, I soaked the almonds for a couple of hours and sliced them after removing the skin.

This is when you bring out that good quality olive oil.

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</p> <p>Cucumber Yogurt and Dill salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1 container of plain yoghurt

2 cucumbers

Chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup of chopped dill

2 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 slivered almonds

Salt to taste

Good olive oil

Putting it together

  1. In bowl, mix garlic with the yogurt, lemon juice, dill, fresh and dried mint.
  2. Add the cucumbers, cumin and salt to taste
  3. Top with raisins, almonds and  a couple of glugs of  good olive oil.

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Taking this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday.