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Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

My plate from the Indian feast.... the bhindi bhaji is the okra side.

Tonight, what started as curry leftovers for dinner transformed into an Indian feast. My dad and I sat at the island, wondering if there would be enough leftovers for dinner, and also if we should pick up some naan. From there, we decided if the meal should be over yellow rice or white. Slowly we kept throwing around ideas for side dishes, chutneys, and drinks. I browsed my laptop as we sat there, looking for recipes similar to our favorites from our local Indian bistro. (This one comes from Indianfoodforever.com, with some adjustments and changes) And we ended up with this… the leftover curry, over yellow rice, with bhindi bhaji as a side, toaseted naan, mango chutney, and home-made mint chutney. Yes, a feast.

This is the first time I have ever heard of, cooked, or eaten Bhindi Bhaji, but it turned out great for my first try. I have always loved okra, and have considered it one of my favorite vegetables for awhile. For those who can’t stand the viscous texture of it, this is NOT the recipe for you. The way this dish is cooked highlights that aspect of the okra, respecting it for how it is. Anyway, this is a relatively simple dish with relatively simple ingredients. If you have fresh tomatoes and okra in your garden, like my stepmother (and she does more than garden… fiber2love.etsy.com), and appreciate Indian food and trying something new, give this recipe a whirl!

Ingredients!

  • 1 pound of okra (this can be frozen or fresh, but if you are using fresh, it might cook a litter faster.)
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 or 2 fresh or dried red chili peppers, chopped finely. (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
Directions!
  1. Wash and thoroughly dry the okra, and cut the tops off. Then slice the okra lengthwise.
  2. Chop the onions and saute in a large pan over medium heat, until almost translucent. (about 3 minutes, depending on how finely the onions are chopped)
  3. Add in the spices, ginger, chilies, and garlic, and saute for another minute or two.
  
  1. Add the okra to the pan, stir fry for a few minutes. Then, reduce heat to low-medium and cook covered for 15 minutes or so. Fresh okra cooks faster, so keep an eye on it! Do not add any water while covered!
  2. After the okra is done, scoop the ingredients from the pan into a bowl and stir in the diced tomato and the cilantro, and salt to taste.
To Serve!
Serve the Bhindi Bhaji hot as a side with rice, naan, or toasted pita bread.
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Mmmm…

Before a few days ago, I had never had an artichoke. My recent spike in cooking made me curious on whether I could cook one or not, so I searched around for basic recipes. Well, they all were almost identical. I added a few things, like bay leaves, to mine to make it taste a little more colorful, but again, pretty much every recipe is the same. There are also different ways to cook artichokes— steaming, baking, boiling, stuffing, but I opted for the simplest one, micro-waving. Here’s the steps I used to cook my very first artichokes!

Signs of a ripe artichoke…

  • Look for ones that are vibrant green all over, free of purple or yellow spots and any dry areas.
  • Make sure they don’t have buds or flowers on them, which is a sign they are over-ripe.
  • Select an artichoke that seems heavy or dense for its size, that has tightly closed leaves. (This does not mean one that is ‘big’, just one that is compact.)

Ingredients!

  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon

Steps! 

1. Rinse off the vegetable and thoroughly scrub them to make sure the bitter “sap” is off of them. Tear of the small, hard leaves around the base of the artichoke. If the stem is long, trim it to be around 2 inches. Slice off the top of the artichoke, and then snip the tips of the leaves with kitchen scissors. Slice your artichokes in half, rubbing the lemon half over all the cuts to preserve the beautiful green color. Place them face side down into a microwave safe dish that has a fitting lid. (Don’t put the lid on just yet!)

2. Crush 2 cloves of garlic into the dish, and squeeze the remaining lemon half over the artichokes.

  

3. Place 2 bay leaves in the dish, then pour 1/2 cup water and 1/3 cup olive oil into it, covering the bottom. To finish, add a good sprinkling of sea salt, to taste. Cover the dish, then microwave for 16-20 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave and the size of the artichokes. To test if they are finished cooking, gently drop a knife into the stems of the  artichokes. If the knife goes though easily, your artichokes are done!

  

To Serve!

To serve the artichokes, scoop out the fuzzy middle part (the choke) with a spoon, being careful to avoid the heart of the vegetable. When eating the artichokes, be sure to have a bowl nearby for the discarded leaf, and also whatever you’d like to dip it in too!

A few popular dips for artichokes are…

Mayonnaise

Mixture of garlic and butter

Mixture of oil, salt and vinegar

 Melted butter

Ranch dressing

For vegans, I recommend…

Veganaise

Earth Balance (melted)

or oil, salt and vinegar

ENJOY!

 

 

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The finished product! Yummy!

     This recipe stems from Giada at Home’s recipe for Vegetable Rolls with Chili Mayonnaise. But, of course, I couldn’t find the rice paper/cellophane noodle wraps at my local grocery. So, already having the know-how to make sushi, I just used the recipe for the chili mayonnaise sauce with some vegetables and rolled that. But, obviously, mayonnaise isn’t vegan and there was also fish sauce in the origional recipe, so I substituted some things and changed a few ingredients around to make it vegan. Hope you try it!

Ingredients for the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup veganaise
  • 1/3 cup sweet thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Ingredients for the Rolls

  • 1/3 red bell pepper
  • 1/3 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 large carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 pack nori, which are seaweed wraps for sushi (about 10 sheets, you’ll only need 3-4)
  • about 4 cups cold, cooked sticky rice (short grain), I made mine the day before.

Directions

For the chili mayonnaise:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the veganaise, chili sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar, mint, and basil.
  2. Cut up the vegetables into shoots about 1/4 inch wide and 3 inches long.
  3. Mix in the vegetables and let sit.

For Rolling:

  • Place a nori sheet on your cutting board.
  • Spoon about 3 small piles of sticky rice onto it.
  • Before you spread it, DIP YOUR FINGERS IN WATER! This will make it easier and the rice won’t stick to your hands. Then spread the rice evenly on the sheet, and remember to leave about a 1 inch margin at the top.

               

  • Onto the lower half of the sheet, place a few pieces of vegetables from the sauce bowl.
  • Start slowly wrapping from the lower half up.
  • Once you get to the 1 inch of nori left at the top, dip your finger in water and slide it across the margin. (This will keep it sealed.) Finish rolling.

               

  • With a VERY SHARP knife, carefully slice the log into rolls. (You might want to junk the ends, they usually turn out uneven and loose, but the rest of the log is great!)
  • Finish rolling all of your ingredients into rolls.

To Serve!

To serve these rolls, arrange them on a large plate or seving dish. On the side, have a small bowl for soy sauce at each setting. As an extra, you could have wasabi and pickled ginger on the serving dish with the sushi. Chopsticks are great, too!

 

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Yum, yum, yum! This yellow rice recipe is the best under a hearty helping of curry with naan on the side. (I have a really great curry recipe on this blog titled “Tasty and Traditional Vegan Curry”) The bit of cinnamon in this yellow rice recipe really sets it apart from the others and gives a unique taste anyone will love. Hope you try it!

Ingredients:

3/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 pinch cinnamon

3 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups long grain white rice ( or basmati, I used Jasmine)

Directions:

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the spices and herbs over low heat until fragrant, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

Add the rice and slightly toast it (for about 1-2 minutes, stirring)

Carefully pour in all of the water and add the salt if you haven’t already.

Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the water is absorbed (about 20 mins)

When rice is done cooking, let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve under something or alone.

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