Curried Parsnips

November 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Parsnips taste like a cross between a carrot and a potato and are very high in fibre. They have never been my favourite vegetable though I’ve always eaten them because I knew that they were good for me. I am a huge fan of french fries and I came with this alternative to my greasy friends. This recipe for curried parsnips is a great substitute for fries and they make an excellent appetizer or snack.

Serves 4
Cooking time 30 minutes

5 cups (1.25 L) Parsnips
water for boiling
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 ml) masala
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
1 tsp (5 ml) sea salt

1. Cut the parsnips in half lengthwise. Lengthwise cut each half into 2-3 pieces based on size.
2. Bring water in a pot to a boil and add the parsnips and boil until soft about 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium-sized non-stick saucepan on medium-heat and add half the parsnips in a single layer.
4. Cook each side of the parsnips until golden and then turn over. When all the sides are golden, add the masala, turmeric and salt. Gently toss the parsnips in the pan and cook another minute.


Long Bean Curry

October 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Long bean curry has always been one of my favourite curries and many of my friends would say the same. It’s happened on a few occasions where I’ve run into old friends and they say that they’ve been thinking about me because they are craving my long bean curry. It makes me laugh when they  wish that I had a restaurant where they could pop by and eat it regularly. This curry is best when served with a side of raita or even with some plain yogurt. If you can’t find the long bean in your ethnic grocery store, you can substitute green beans.

Cooking time 45 minutes
Serves 4

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) mustard seeds
5 fresh or 10 dried curry leaves
1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 small red onion diced
5 cups (1.25 L) long beans cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces
2 cups (500 ml) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) sea salt
3/4 tsp (3 ml) masala
3/4 tsp (3 ml) turmeric

1. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the curry leaves and stir.

2. When the curry leaves become fragrant, add the ginger, stir, add the garlic, stir for a few seconds and then add the onions. Cook the onions until they are soft and slightly brown.

3. Add the long beans to the saucepan and cook covered. Long beans have a thick exterior and take a long time to soften. Uncover the pan every 7-8 minutes and stir the beans. When the beans start to soften, add the salt and tomatoes and continue stirring occasionally. Cook until the beans soften and tomatoes incorporate and create a sauce. Add the masala and turmeric and cook for a couple more minutes and turn off the heat. Enjoy with rice, naan, chapati and a side of raita.

Winter Squash Curry

February 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

People often ask me how I cook with squash. It seems that there are two popular ways to cook squash, roasted in the oven with drizzled olive oil and salt or as a big pot of soup. Indians only have one way of cooking, they turn everything into a curry.  As a kid I detested squash curry. My mother a fanatic of squash, made it way to often for my liking.  As an adult I have learnt to appreciate the flavour of this curry and my kids love the sweetness and of it. Use a sweet squash for this recipe and serve with hot flatbread on the side.

Cooking time 60 minutes
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

4 cups (1 L) roasted squash
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
2 tsp (10 ml) black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) cumin seeds
3 cloves
7 cardamom pods
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger
5 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) diced onions
1/2 tsp (2 ml) tumeric
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) salt

1. Cut the squash in half and take out the guts. Place on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for half and hour or until the squash is cooked. Let cool. Peel of skin and chop into 1 inch pieces.

2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Crush the cardamom and cloves and add to the hot oil along with the mustard and cumin seeds.

3. When the seeds pop add the garlic and ginger and sauté until they brown about 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until caramelized.

4. Add the turmeric, stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the squash and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Depending on how much moisture is in the squash, you may need to adjust the amount of oil that you need. Cook until the squash softens and all the flavours incorporate 5-10 minutes.

Cauliflower and Masala Chickpea Curry

November 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Cauliflower is my daughter’s favorite vegetable and according to her, I never make it enough. When cooked, cauliflower is like a sponge and absorbs the flavour of any spice that you cook it with. Be careful not to over cook the cauliflower as it will lose its shape, turn into mush and not hold any flavor. You can serve this dish with an Indian flat bread and is nicely complimented with raita. Roll the leftovers in a wrap and have it for lunch the next day.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tbsp (15 ml) + 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 cloves
5 cardamom pods
pinch of fenugreek
1/2 tsp (2 ml) black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cumin seeds
1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger
1 tbsp (15 ml) crushed garlic
1/4 cup (65 ml) diced onion
4 cups (1 L) cauliflower florets
425 grams (15 oz) chickpeas
1 tsp (5 ml) masala
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
2/3 tsp (4 ml) salt
cilantro (optional)

1.  Heat a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. When it’s hot, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, cloves, cardamom and fenugreek. Cook for 30 seconds and add the cumin and black mustard seeds.

2. When the seeds pop add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 30 seconds.

3. Add the onions and saute until golden about 1 minute.

4. Add the cauliflower and stir occasionally. Cook until it starts to soften but still holds it shape, about 8-10 mins. If the cauliflower is getting dry, you can add a tbsp of olive oil.

5. Add the chickpeas and cook until the cauliflower is soft and the chickpeas are slight firm, 5-8 minutes.

6. Add the turmeric, masala and salt and cook for another minute and turn off the heat.

7. Garnish with fresh cilantro (optional).

Almond and Raisin Purple Cabbage Curry

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

This nutty purple cabbage curry is an adaptation of the traditional green cabbage curry. The best of both worlds, this curry deliciously balances the combination of sweet and savoury flavours. Purple cabbage contains higher amounts of fiber, calcium, iron and potassium than green cabbage. This curry can be served as a main meal with your favourite grain or an accompaniment to your next Indian meal.

Serves 4
Cooking time 45 mins

7 cups (1.75L) or 1 small head of purple cabbage
1/4 cups (50 ml) of red onion
2/3 cups (160 ml) raisins
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fenugreek
1/2 tsp (2 ml) black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds
1 tsp (5 ml) sea salt

1.a Slice purple cabbage into quarters.

1.b Cut purple  cabbage  into 1/2 by 2 inch pieces.

1.c Toss purple cabbage into a colander and rinse.

2. Cut onion in 1/4 inch pieces.

3. Soak raisins in hot water and set aside.

4. Heat a large deep saucepan on medium high heat. When the saucepan is hot, add the olive oil.

5. Add the fenugreek and black mustard seeds to the hot oil.

6. When the seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes, add the onions.

7. Cook until the onions are golden.

8. Add purple cabbage into saucepan.

9. Cover the cabbage mixture and stir every 5 minutes.

10. When the cabbage softens, about 15 minutes, reduce heat to medium.

11. Cook on medium for 5 minutes, then reduce to low heat. Add the turmeric and stir.

12. Add raisins, almonds and sea salt.

13. Serve this curry as an accompaniment to your next Indian meal. Or serve as a main dish on your favorite bed of grains.

Edamame and Masala Potato Samosas with Tangy Tamarind Chutney

May 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

A spin-off of the traditional samosa alu mutar (potato and peas), these labour of love samosas, will have you coming back for more. Unlike the usual doughy samosas, these are wrapped in a paper-thin spring roll pastry which creates a much lighter samosa that uses less oil. To spread out the work load, the filling and chutney can be made a day in advance.

Try using the smaller sized pastry to make hors d’oeuvre sized samosa for your next dinner party. Make the filling and chutney in advance and serve freshly cooked hot samosas to your guests.

These samosas can easily be frozen and reheated in the oven, that is if they last.

Makes 20 samosas
Cooking time 1.5 – 2 hours

5 large potatoes
water for boiling
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil + 2/3 (175 ml ) cup oil for frying
1 tsp (5ml) black mustard seeds
1 tsp (5ml) cumin seeds
2 tsp (10 ml)  + 1/8 (1 ml) tsp masala
1/4 tsp (1 ml) + 1/4 (1 ml) tsp turmeric
2 cups (500 ml) edamame
1 2/3 tbsp (25 ml) sea salt
50 sheets of spring roll pastry 25 cm x 25 cm 

Tamarind Chutney:
1/4 cup (65 ml)  tamarind
2 1/2 cup ( 625 ml) warm water
1/3 cup (75 ml) sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1 cup (250 ml) cilantro
1 tbsp (15 ml) sea salt
1 tbsp (15 ml) chili sauce (optional)

1. Wash the potatoes and bring to a boil in a large stock pot. Cook until the potatoes are soft and ready to mash, about 25    minutes. Strain potatoes and cool for 10 mins.

2. In a medium saucepan on medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is hot add cumin and black mustard seeds.

3.  When the seeds pop, add the edamame. Cook until the edamame is soft, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Add the 1/4 tsp masala and 1/4 turmeric. Turn off heat and set aside.

5. Peel and mash potatoes in a medium size bowl.

6. Add 2 tsp masala and 1 2/3 tbsp sea salt and mix together.

7. Add edamame to potato mixture and mix together.

8.  Take out the spring roll pastry from the freezer to defrost, 30 mins before use.

9. Take the pastry out of the package and place between a tea towel on a flat surface. This will prevent the pastry from drying out.

10.a Gently pull 2 sheets while being careful not to tear the pastry.

10.b Fold up the pastry leaving a 1.5 inch space at the top as shown.

10.c Fold the left corner to the right so it touches the middle of the top edge of the pastry.

10.d  Fold over the right corner to the left and make a point at the bottom.

10.e Neatly tuck under the excess pastry at the top.

11.a Pick up the pastry cone.

11.b Carefully fill the cone with 2 heaping tablespoons of filling.

11.c Gently flatten the samosa. This makes it easier to fry and uses less oil.

11.d Pull the top piece of pastry over to close the samosa.

11.e Place the ready to cook samosas on a baking tray.

12. In a medium frying pan heat 1 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot add samosas.

13. When the samosas are golden brown, turn over and cook the other side.

Tamarind Chutney

I usually use the tamarind blocks as the consistency works better for chutney than the tamarind paste in a bottle. Tamarind is sold in specialty ethnic stores and asian markets. The tamarind available in Vancouver is usually from Thailand. The tamarind blocks usually contain seeds and a fibrous pod around the seeds. After soaking tamarind, be sure to carefully check for hidden seeds even if its a seedless brands as they will end up in your blender.  

14. Soak  tamarind in boiling water for 1o minutes to soften the tamarind. With your hands, pick out the seeds and any fibrous pods.

15. Combine tamarind, water, sugar, ground cumin, salt, cilantro and chili sauce in a blender. Blend until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Chill chutney before serving.

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