Tag Archives: vegetarian

Matar Paneer Curry – Peas and Cheese

Sometimes the simpler the food the more rewarding for your taste buds.  Visions of many beautiful vegetarian tables with paneer, lentils, and pickles seem to stay with me.  The memories range from restaurants to friends houses after school, to street side travel shacks and many more…..but they are always vivid and connect me to a rich past.

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Growing up our family were big meat eaters…it would not be “food” without lamb or chicken 🙂 However, every now and then we would have a vegetarian day where Paneer would be the showcase.

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When I first moved to the US, store bought  paneer (cheese)  was not an option so making the paneer at home was the only way. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cheese is the best but sometimes a working girl needs a premade handy version so dinner can be cooked at moments notice.

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The local Asian stores now have the most amazing Paneer available so I keep a block in the fridge or freezer for quick dinner situations.

This is a curry, which as always is spicy, tangy, rich, gentle, soft and ever so delicious.

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I have paired it with butter rice, lentils and pickles. Naan or roti would be perfect with the platter.

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Matar Paneer

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick and easy matar paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 block of Paneer cubed ( I used Nanak Paneer)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large  chopped red onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 7-8 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 inch ginger – grated
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Directions

Putting it together:

  • Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic cloves,  ginger and  onion into the pan and fry this for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened.
  • Blend this sauce in a food processor ( there should be any need to add water)
  • Using the same pan  add 2 tbsp oil into the pan on medium heat, add
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they pop, add turmeric coriander and chili powder.
  • Now you can add the prepared tomato sauce mixture and bring the mixture together.
  • Throw in the cumin powder and a few tablespoons of water and let it cook for a few minutes. Do stir to ensure it does not start sticking
  • Add yoghurt into the sauce and continue stirring.
  • Add the frozen peas and then the paneer cubes
  • Adjust for salt and water for consistency and cover and  cook the curry for  on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with Cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or bread.

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Sharing on Fiesta Friday!

Cauliflower and Peas Curry – Matar Gobi

Cauliflower has become a staple in the house and is an ingredient in a variety of dishes spanning cuisines. I used riced cauliflower as a substitute for rice which has been a phenomenal adjustment of carbs in our diet.

When you combine cauliflower with a nice tomato curry you just can’t go wrong. My local Traders Joes store has made it even easier for me by selling already riced cauliflower which saves me a ton of time and the mess on my counter with grains of the vegetable flying around 🙂

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This is really easy to make and just perfect for a cold winter day. Serve with some flatbread or rice with a side of pickles.

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If you love cauliflower do check out my other recipes:

 

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Riced Cauliflower and Peas Curry - Matar Gobi

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a savory tomato curry with peas and riced cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Cauliflower – grated
  • 1 cup of frozen organic peas
  • 1 cup of peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch fresh ginger – grated
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies – chopped
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida or hing(optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Mustard oil ( or oil of your choice)

Directions

  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender
  2. You can cut the cauliflower in florets and grate them or buy a riced cauliflower bag
  3. In a large pan add 2 tbsp oil and cumin seeds, once crackling add cauliflower and cook for 3-4 mins until slightly brown. Set aside.
  4. In a pan warm up another 3 tbsp of oil, add green chilies, cloves, grated ginger, and asafoetida, and .
  5. Add pureed tomatoes and let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add  turmeric, chilies powder and kasoori methi and let the mixture cook until the oil starts to separate from the tomatoes
  7. Add the yoghurt and mix well
  8. Add frozen peas, cook for a minute and add the cauliflower.
  9. Do not cover the pan and use a dash of water as needed. This will only take a couple of minutes
  10. Top with lemon juice and fresh cilantro.

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Taking this to Fiesta Friday with the fab  cohosts  Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health

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

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

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
  • Print

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
  • Print

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

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