Category Archives: Vegetables

Sangeeta’s Beet Hummus

I have the very very good fortune of knowing gifted, intuitive cooks who – apart from being close friends – are willing to share recipes, thoughts, innovations, suggestions.

Sangeeta is one such, and one of my dearest treasures is the handwritten cookbook she gifted me over 30 years ago.

Now a passionate advocate of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Sangeeta continues to experiment and tweak, and this hummus recipe is the first of many to come (I hope) from her current kitchen.

  • Half a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight (none of the canned stuff)
  • Salt
  • half a sliced onion
  • 2 pearls sliced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and soaked for at least an hour
  • Beetroot,
  • Whole garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • pickled lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the chickpeas on low heat in plenty of water, adding a little salt halfway through. Keep skimming the top of water to remove any grey foam.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to the water.
  3. Roast beets in oven with the whole garlic, salt and some Italian seasoning, covered, for the first 20 minutes and then open, so it caramelizes a bit.
  4. Once everything has cooled down, blend the lot with some pickled lemon ( I chuck  them in some salt and leave  them to pickle for about 2 weeks … tastes good in so many things).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with olive oil.

Served it with crudites, wholewheat pita grilled with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and chicken kebabs.

Thanks much Sango, as always !

Burratinas before dinner …

This gets done in a flash when all the ingredients are assembled … fresh burratina from Puglia, tomatoes on the vine, sweeter than sweet, olive oil, fresh basil, avocadao oil, a terrific balsamic reduction and a dash of salt and pepper.

  1. Place a burratino in the serving dish, drizzle the avocado oil over it.
  2. Add sliced tomatoes, scatter the basil leaves.
  3. Grind a bit of sea salt and pepper onto the cheese.
  4. Splash a bit of the balsamic reduction over it in a nice ruby red rich squiggle.

Tastes better than it looks, these pix don’t do it justice. But oh, the burst of flavours, the freshness of the ingredients, the crunch of the seasoning. Don’t need a single thing more.

Some pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

 

Pam’s stir-fried Paneer

Another light, easily made dish. Stir fry, serve.

Paneer is a fresh cheese from South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. It is unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer or curd cheese, made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar or any other food acids.

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  • paneer, cubed
  • a bit of oil
  • whole jeera (cumin)
  • pinch of sugar
  • green capsicum, cubed
  • 1 big onion, cubed
  • salt
  1. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin/jeera and when it sputters, add the capsicum and onion and stir fry till just about done.
  2. Add the paneer, sugar and salt and give it a bit of a toss till flavours are blended.

Great with chappattis or rice.

Thanks Pam.

Pix borrowed off the net.

 

Pam’s Beetroot Salad

Had this @ Pam’s on a hot summer afternoon, at lunch, and it was lovely.

I normally dislike beetroots, but these half boiled ones retained a hefty crunch.

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  • Beetroot, parboiled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 to 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • green chili (as per taste), de-seeded, chopped fine
  • dressing – salt, pepper & lemon juice
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Toss all together.

Pix off the net, with thanks.

Kuko’s Broccoli-Date-Pomegranate Salad

Another winner from the Kuko table !

Source and mix. Serve.

  • Broccoli florets, steamed
  • Pitted dates, sliced
  • pomegranate arils
  • toasted almond slivers
  • honey mustard dressing

Honey mustard dressing

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  1. Mix vinegar, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dijon and honey in a bowl.
  2. Whisk  to combine, stream in the olive oil.
  3. Once combined and emulsified, taste, adjust salt, honey or vinegar as necessary.

Recipe for the dressing from http://violetmeyer.com/honey-mustard-dressing/

Veronica’s Sambal Tomat (tomato hot sauce or relish)

A sambal (or sambel as in Javanese) comes in many varieties and tastes; they are piquant, spicy, chili hot … and are made from a mixture of variety of chili peppers and secondary ingredients like shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice or other vinegars … in myriad combinations.

This one is to die for, literally, a simple hot relish made with chilies, tomatoes, shallots and garlic.

  • 4 big red chilies, cut into 4
  • 3 to 4 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 to 12 large-ish shallots, halved
  • 6 pods garlic
  • salt

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Fry the garlic and onion in a little oil till softened. Add the chilies and stir till cooked and soft. Cool, and mash well with a mortar and pestle. (You can also blend it coarsely, but Veron assures me the taste is not the same).

To the remaining oil in the pan, add the tomato and stir till cooked and soft. Give it the mortar-pestle treatment separately.

Mix the two pastes, add salt as required.

Bottle, refrigerate.

Pix of ingredients – as always – from the web and some info on the sambel from wiki.

Kuko’s Grilled Mushrooms

I’m a sucker for food that delicious, easy to prepare and involves the least work.

So these few posts are all things Kuko, as she whips them up effortlessly, remains elegant and relaxed and entertains with gracious facility !

  • Button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, patted dry
  • Finely chopped onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • a dash of mayonaisse – a tablespoon or more
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Mix the cheese, onions and mayo and stuff the mushroom caps.
  2. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes till browned.

Utterly delicious ! She said the addition of the mayo makes all the difference and she picked this tip up when she was in the Philippines.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Elsie’s Brinjal ‘meykewerti’ (in Malayalam, a vegetable dish)

All-types-of-Brinjal

  • brinjals (aubergines) of any kind, cut in thinnish long wedges
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • 1 big or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind water (soak tamarind pulp in hot water for a bit, and extract clear tamarind water)
  • a couple of spoonfuls fresh grated coconut
  1. In hot oil, fry the onion till glassy. Add the ginger-garlic paste and chili powder and cook till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates.
  2. Add the tomato and salt and cook to a paste.
  3. Add the brinjal pieces and the tamarind water and cook till just done.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut.

Images borrowed from the web.

A Sunday lunch with prosecco and friends

Unplanned, on-the-spur-of-the-moment and impromptu, this lunch was sunny, sparkly, air-conditioned and frothy both in liquid sustenance and atmosphere : good cheer, good friends, good food (even if I say so myself).

With Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), thank you Neena.

Menu

Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. And good old G & T. And fresh, tender coconut water.

Ok, so these are not my pictures, they’re off the web, but they encapsulate the moments and are the visual ooh’s and aah’s elicited by chilled bliss on a humid summer day.

On to the food :

Kurmur, crunchy, fresh, crisp, in bowlfuls, with the drinks.

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Melon with proscuitto and a honey mustard vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was part of the plan, but it didn’t get made).

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Here’s the recipe anyway – 4 tablespoons of your best olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 20ml runny honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and a pinch of salt – mixed and stirred and shaken. Got the recipe off the net and the pix were stunning.

A Curly Kale Salad with tomatoes, olives, cubed feta, a minced red onion, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red radishes and Japanese cucumber, sliced mushrooms – and for the kick – fresh betel leaves, minced. The whole lot gently tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. And just a dash of apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate arils. Roasted sunflower seeds, scattered.

A word about the kale. A serendipitous discovery – this was organic, fresh, crunchy and wonderfully green. Home delivered by Ben of Sustenir Agriculture which practices urban farming in Singapore.

Urban farming, thus described : controlled environment agriculture : growing plants without ever exposing them to the outside world, using artificial lighting, exacting specific nutrients and controlling every aspect of the air and water environments … perfecting a plants habitat: giving them exactly what they need, when they need it. Their lack of exposure to the hazards of traditional field farming (insects, temperature changes, cleanliness and purity of water, parasites and inconsistent levels of sunlight) … ergo clean, healthy produce …

Yes, it tasted clean. And healthy. And fresh. And good, considering : kale is the king of healthy leafy greens, a widely regarded super-food that brings more nutrients to the table than any other green on the market. Rich in beta-carotenes, Vitamins K,C, A and calcium, consuming it raw, cooked or juiced will give you boundless energy. With the highest anti-carcinogenic properties of any salad, this is the mighty green that might just save us all!

Arabian Beef Kebabs

These were especially delicious, a new recipe.

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  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 fresh cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • big onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves and 4 cardamom, and some cinnamon, blended
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt
  • 100g olive oil or butter
  • ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mix all together well.
  2. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Shape, pan fry.
  4. Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.

Pita wedges tossed with sea salt, olive oil and freshly minced rosemary.

Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Roast chicken with chunks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon with cucumber and soft cheese.

And dessert was Mango Fool with Lime and Toasted Coconut

A puree of Alfonso mangoes (in season), swirled with the zest and juice of half a lemon and Greek yoghurt, chilled, then spooned into ramekins and topped with toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled with black chia seeds. (Couldn’t find passion fruit which was part of the recipe – a drizzle of passion fruit seeds. Substituted with chia).

One did float on the bubbly a bit, which is why my photographs are less than par. Some pix borrowed off the web.

Elizabeth’s Sardine Curry

David and Elizabeth have been endlessly kind, preparing different kinds of food to entice Mum into eating.

Sardines, suggested David, a curry of sardines, the easiest thing to make. I had not heard of sardine curry, and the next thing I knew was Elizabeth had made and sent across two versions, one spicier than the other. It was delicious. David said this was the standby dish in their home, the last resort almost when one was out of ideas or when guests landed up unexpectedly.

Thank you Elizabeth, for painstakingly writing out the recipe.

It is reproduced below exactly as she wrote it.

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  • I can sardines in Tomato sauce ( bones removed,  retain the sauce)
  • 1 radish (sliced and fry with 1tsp oil on high heat)
  • 1 brinjal cubed
  • 3 to 4 strands long beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 1 big onion sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic split into half
  • 1piece ginger and 5 cloves garlic (coarsely pounded)
  • 2 tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1tsp fish curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • lime sized tamarind lump mixed with 3 tbsp water and the liquid extracted
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 green chili de-seeded and split
  • 2 cups water or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 sprigs of coriander leaves chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan .
Fry the mustard seeds till they sputter, then the fenugreek seeds.
Add the onions, curry leaves, green chili and garlic and fry till the onions are slightly brown.
Add the pounded ginger – garlic and sauté for 1 minute till fragrant.
Add all the curry powders and the sauce from the sardine and saute for 2 min.
Add potato, water and salt to taste.
Once potato is 3/4 cooked, add the vegetables and tomatoes.
When the vegetables are cooked add in the tamarind juice and let it boil for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves

NOTE: drumstick /Raw banana also can be added.

Photograph by Elizabeth and David.

Kumari’s Mutton & Drumstick Curry

Kumari, Mum’s helper, brought a gift of six fresh, bright green murungakas – as they are called in Tamil – with the injunction, complete with recipe, that I was to take it to Singapore and cook it for Mum, with mutton.The murungas had been gathered from her garden, and from the tree across the wall, from her neighbour’s garden.

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Murungai is the fruit of the Moringa oleifera tree (family Moringaceae) and its long thin seed pods resemble drumsticks, hence the name.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.57.08 PMMoringa leaves are popular in South Indian cooking, containing as it does, all of the essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins. But this is the first time I had heard of the seed pods being cooked with meat and it sounded interesting and I gave it a try. It was delicious.

 

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  • 1 1/2 kilos of mutton, cleaned and cubed
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 drumsticks, fresh, in 2 1/2″ lengths
  • Garam masala powder or 1/2″ of broken cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 3 pods cardamom, a scant teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • Chili powder
  • Dhaniya (coriander) powder
  • Haldi (turmeric) powder
  • Salt
  1. Boil the drumstick pieces in a little water mixed with salt and turmeric powder, till just done, still firm. Keep aside.
  2. In hot oil (in a pressure cooker) sputter the garam masala and as the fragrance is released, add the onion and fry.
  3. When translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste, fry till aromatic. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry to a paste.
  4. Add the mutton and the powders, stir well, add a bit of water and pressure cook till just done.
  5. Open, add the cooked drumstick pieces and the coconut milk and give it a swirl. Let it heat up and dish out and serve with steaming hot basmati rice.

Murunga leaves (moringa in both Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia / Malay) are particularly good for health and googled images provide details.

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This is one dish that will return to the table. Definitely. Apart from the various made with the leaves.

Images googled off the net, with thanks.

Mona’s Pumpkin with Black-eyed Beans

Another of her simple superlatives … great with plain rice.

South Indian to the core, and lovely.

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  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • a handful of fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, deseeded
  • 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

Grind the above ingredients to a fine paste.

  • black-eyed beans
  • red pumpkin, skinned, cubed
  • haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1 green chilie, halved
  • 1 tsp sambhar powder
  • salt

For the tarka / garnish

  • oil
  • dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • curry leaves
  1. Pressure cook the black eyed beans with the haldi, green chili and the sambhar powder (2 whistles).
  2. Remove the lid, add the raw pumpkin, salt as required and the ground paste. Simmer on a low flame for about 10 minutes till the vegetable is cooked.
  3. Tarka (sputter the garnish ingredients in hot oil, pour over the dish) and serve.

Roasted Pear and Apple Roquefort Salad

This one’s a winner – saw the recipe somewhere and remembered to try it out. Light, and satisfying. Prepare earlier, assemble before serving.

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  • 2 pears and 2 apples, cored, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • Olive oil, as required
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • arugula
  • 60g proscuitto, sliced
  • 60 g crushed pistachios
  • 60g Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled

Prepare the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 120g Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  1. Roast the fruit first. Toss the slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven till tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender/food processor, blend till smooth. Refrigerate. (Extra dressing can be used later as a dip.)
  3. Divide the arugula between 4 plates, stack the rings of roasted fruit in the middle, alternating between apple and pear, arrange proscuitto around the fruit. Drizzle dressing over the salad, sprinkle the pistachios and crumble the blue cheese over it all. Ready to go !

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Indonesian Vegetable ‘Urap’

This is an easily repeatable dish – brings a different flavour to the table and the vegetable. Very interesting.

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  • 500g winged beans, washed, sliced crosswise in 0.5 cm pieces
  • 300g cabbage, sliced in 1 cm pieces
  • 3 large red chilies, sliced
  • 4 or 5 bird’s eye chilies, sliced                                                             )
  • 5 to 6 shallots or 1 small purple onion                                            )
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped                                                               ) ground to
  • 50g kencur or galangal, washed, skin removed, chopped      ) a paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar                                                                                                )
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 pairs kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 250g freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add sliced beans and cook for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander, rinse under running water to stop the cooking, let the beans drain.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, drop in sliced cabbage, cook for 4 minutes, drain into a colander, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add ground spice mixture and kaffir leaves. On medium heat, stir fry for about 5 minutes, don’t let it burn. Add the grated coconut and stir to coat it with the spice mixture, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, give the mixture another stir. Remove and discard the kaffir lime leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly toss the winged beans, cabbage  and coconut mixture before serving. Good with rice and other dishes.

Recipe from The Straits Times, pix off the web. Tried it, came out well.

A Cleansing Crunch of a Salad

Beetroot, Carrot, Sprouted Mung Bean and Mint Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

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Some days you just feel your palate need a cleansing crunch and this salad is perfect for it. I just happened to have the ingredients on hand and hoped it would work – and it did.

  • I medium sized beetroot cut in thin strips – as close to julienne as you can be bothered with
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves torn up a bit

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 generous tsp olive oil
  • a squeeze of lime
  1. Lightly cook the beetroot in a small saucepan with a little water. You want to retain the crunch. Cool. (The beetroot can be left uncooked as well, depending on your preference. You may choose to grate the beetroot so it’s quite fine and doesn’t require cooking).
  2. Mix all the salad vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Combine the two.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste … and it’s ready.

Jen’s Raw Papaya ‘Subzi’ with Mustard

don’t ask for proportions … the regular, like we do our indian sabjis, but it has to be mustard-y … so the ground mustard paste … be generous !
its quite delicious

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  • raw papaya, cut in thin, small slices
  • urud dal (urud dal explained)
  • hing (asephoetida)
  • mustard seeds
  • green chilis, slit (de-seeded if you want less fire in the dish)
  • 1 dried red chili
  • a bit of water
  • salt
  • ground mustard seeds or the kasundi mustard sauce
  • chopped coriander
  • juliennes of fresh ginger, for garnish
  1. add the urud dal and hing to hot oil
  2. then add mustard seeds, slit green chili and 1 dried red chili
  3. when it stops sputtering, add the papaya and a little water and salt and cook till the water dries up/papaya is cooked(it should retain its bite, not become pulpy)
  4. now add the ground mustard seeds OR prepared mustard (kasundi) and chopped coriander

Best hot, with steaming, freshly cooked white rice.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 5.19.33 pm

Notes :

Mustard powder : do you just grind the seeds or do you soak them first and grind with green chili and salt to a paste ?

soak it, not too long and grind it with or with the chili and salt for a one time use. i guess if you want to store it, then some vinegar and salt makes sense. ask a bengali … they do a fresh grind very often … i am not the expert.

Grinding a fresh green chili with soaked mustard takes some of the bitterness away – from my Bengali sister in law.

Veronica’s Chicken ‘Aroma’

Cutting calories and food portions gets  repetitive and boring : its the same old, same old with some slight variations, at least as far as I am concerned. Its a drag to explore new variations on 100 or 150g of chicken per meal, month in and month out. Veronica, who is a part of the how shall we cook the chicken today dilemma produced this absolutely delish dish, skewered and very lightly pan fried – from watching a TV program on Indonesian food.

Measurements are, as they say in India – andaz se – or as per your preferences – increase or lessen as you desire.

Boneless chicken breasts, cubed

Coriander powder

Cumin powder

Chili powder

Turmeric powder

Garlic, minced

Shallots, minced

Ginger, minced

Curry leaves

Salt

  • Marinate the chicken pieces in the coriander, cumin, chili and turmeric powders for at least an hour.
  • In a dash of oil, fry the onion, garlic and ginger till fragrant and just browned.
  • Add the chicken pieces and marinade, and a bit more oil, if necessary. Stir fry till just done.
  • Season with salt, add the curry leaves, give it another good stir and its ready to eat.