Minty Summer Fresh Babaghanoush

Finally I have my creative juices flowing, and of course it helps to have a farmers market 2 minutes walk from home. It is so convenient to have fresh produce so easily accessible, between that and fresh produce from the organic patch in my backyard even though I am pressed for time, I end up cooking and creating new dishes.

So go check out the markets in your area you too will be inspired to cook with all fresh garlic and garlicscapes, collards, chard and the beet greens and so many more wonderful, delicious vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 20-25 washed mint leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic dry or 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 Thai hot green chillies or jalapeno  ( or regular non spicy green chillies )
  • 1 tbsp.Tahini paste
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. Grill the eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees Fahreneit. till the skin is charred.
  2. Remove the charred skin from the eggplant once it cools down .
  3. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender or a  food processor.
  4. Enjoy!!! Serve with whole wheat pita wedges or brown rice crackers.

P.S .I have deliberately omitted the extra virgin oil used traditionally as using mint makes it very flavourful and delicious.

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Teff Chapati – Easy, Breezy, Gluten Free!!!!

More and more people are eating gluten free grains now a days, some out of choice and some out of circumstance. Lot of people find that they generally do and feel better on wheat free diets, off course for people afflicted with Celiac disease it is not a choice.

I am quite intrigued by the amount of interest from people from different corners of the world for the Quinoa chapati recipe and other gluten free recipes.

Therefore my new challenge is to come up with good recipes for different breads and crepes made from gluten free or alternative flours ,this can help people who want to make the switch completely to gluten free grains or even have gluten free substitutes occasionally.

I was exposed to Teff also known as ‘love bush’ many years back|,maybe 15 years .In those days I made lot of crepes by mixing different flours ( teff millet, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth etc.) with different leafy greens with delicious results. Lately I have started eating more gluten free foods so I was quite intrigued by the Teff grain for its nutritional profile and its use in making ‘Injera’ bread ( sour fermented crepe ) which is staple in Ethiopian cuisine. And because it has no gluten it has become very popular in recent times for people with Celiac disease or food sensitivities.

Teff is an ancient grain with an impressive nutritional profile. It packs  lot of good stuff in its tiny size.It packs a high mineral content, containing 17 times the Calcium and twice the amount of iron of whole wheat and barley. Generally nutrients are concentrated in the bran and germ but in Teff because  its too small to hull all the nutrients are concentrated in the grain itself making it a powerhouse of nutrients.

Teff flour is perhaps one of the easiest alternative flours to work with. The flour is easier to knead, the chapati is easy to roll and the taste is good .In all a win – win situation. Teff flour comes in white and red colour. I have used red here because of its higher iron content. I will definitely try the white Teff flour and share the difference with you.
Ingredients
  • 1/2  cup Teff flour
  • 1/4 cup and a couple more tablespoons  of water
  • 2 tsp. Oil
  • Little dry Teff flour to roll the chapatis
  • Little ghee or butter to apply on the chapatis
Tools
  • Rolling pin
  • Marble or wooden board
  • Cast iron or non stick skillet

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Method

  1. Knead the dough adding little water at a time to the flour and rubbing it between your fingers.
  2. Continue to add the water in small quantities till the dough starts to come together and is not very wet.
  3. The dough is ready when it starts to peel off your hands ( teff flour is not sticky like quinoa so its easy to get  the dough off your hands).Use a little oil or ghee to get the dough off your hands completely.
  4. Make a round ball and let it sit for half an hour or more. You should have a smooth glistening brownish ball of dough .
  5. Divide this dough into 4-5 balls of equal size. Meanwhile heat a seasoned cast iron griddle or nonstick skillet.
  6. Roll the ball between both your palms and make a smooth ball.
  7. Roll the ball in dry flour and with a rolling pin carefully roll it out an inch or two and carefully peel it off the board and roll it in dry flour again.
  8. Carefully continue to roll and repeat the above step till you have a circle of 3-4 inch diameter of even thickness. Use a spatula and carefully peel it off the board though it is relatively easy  almost like wheat chapati in the ease with which it can be removed from the board.
  9. Do not be disheartened if the chapati does not come off the board or tears while doing that. Few attempts are necessary before you get nice soft, smooth  chapatis.
  10. Put the rolled chapati on the heated griddle ( it should be on medium heat )
  11. After  20 seconds or so when the chapati loses its wet look, turn it on the other side, let it cook for another 20 seconds and you small bubbles turn it again, if the chapati is rolled evenly and without any tears it will puff up (may puff up partly).
  12. Use a paper towel or a clean dish towel to press the thicker edges so that they are well cooked.
  13. Normally a traditional whole wheat chapati is cooked in the 3 steps described above but teff chapati needs to be turned more than few times before it is well cooked. cook it on medium head so that it does get burnt or crisp.
  14. Once cooked, you may apply butter or extra virgin olive oil, or ghee and wrap in a soft cheese cloth and so that they stay soft. It is not as soft as wheat or quinoa chapati but is quite moist when fresh.
IMG_0540 - CopyEnjoy !!!

Khichdi Pulao – A simple quick one pot healthy, nutritious dish bound to satisfy the most discerning palattes

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup split yellow  mung bean lentils rinsed thoroughly ( soaked for 1 hour if you have the time )
  • 1 cup finely washed and chopped fenugreek leaves ,or 1 cube frozen leaves or 2-3 tbsp. dried leaves
  • 1 cup string beans washed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fennel bulb including the stems
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree ( from the glass bottle and should be preservative free )
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp.readymade Biryani or Pulao masala
  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. In a heavy pot heat ghee or oil and salt and and saute’ onions ,fenugreek leaves. carrots, beans,, peas and fennel
  2. Add the biryani masala to the mixture and cook for few minutes.
  3. Add the lentils, rice and salt and cook .
  4. After 10 minutes add the tomato puree ,stir and let cook on on medium heat for another 10-12 minutes till all of the water is absorbed and rice and lentil grains look enlarged and soft .
  5. At this point turn the heat off  and keep the pot covered  for another 15 minutes  so that  each grain of rice is fluffed up and separate.
  6. Serve hot with yoghurt dip or plain yoghurt ..

Enjoy !!!

Life Lessons ( Food for LIVING )

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

-Unknown Author