Kale with Carmelized Onions and A Kale Story

Kale with Cumin and Caramelized Onions

Kale with Carmelized Onions and Cumin

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

A kale dish with caramelized onions and raisins that takes kale to a very different level.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium sized red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups of freshly chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoon raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil on medium low heat for about 1 minute and add in the onions, cook the onions low and slow and they soften, curl and gradually turn golden brown. This does need some attention and about 10 to 12 minutes to get to the golden brown color.
  2. Remove about half the onions with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add in the ginger and cook for another minute.
  4. Add in the cumin and cayenne pepper and mix well.
  5. Add in the kale and stir well, until the kale is wilted.
  6. Stir in or garnish with the reserved onions and serve.
  7. Stir in the raisins and cook until the raisins are heated through,
  8. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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Kale is everywhere including  in our backyard. The large and hearty plants are growing happily spreading their curly, curvy, purple veined leaves of goodness.

This year’s kale has a story- what I would like to call a kale story. Of course, somewhere in this kale story is my favorite creation with kale. A simple and very flavorful creation with just cumin and lots of caramelized onions.

It is not such a surprise that Kale is quite the trend these days, because for those following a vegan diet or even otherwise, Kale offers you a chock load of calcium, iron and a good balance of Vitamins.

My kale story ties me back to my general emphasis on conscious living. My attempts at conscious living started several years back with a trip to Denmark. I was amazed at how wasteful our lifestyle here in the US was, compared to the general eco-friendly lifestyle there. People instinctively used reusable bags at the grocery store, and men in suits biked to work. Lots of food was eaten raw, and the list could go on. I felt like the big, bad, wasteful American and I wanted to change, just a little, inculcate some of this change into the two young people in our household. There is more to conscious eating, this than stopping by your local farmer’s market, of course, that is always a good start!

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Most of this year’s kale has been from my daughter’s tiny patch, and all of this started with the school science fair. I was hardly surprised that after working through quite a few different ideas, her experiment choice was around plants. She wanted to study the effect of light on plant growth. For her experiment, she studied the effects of growing seedlings under red, green and blue filters and concluded that red worked best.

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Since, she was going to actually plant some seedlings, we decided to work with Kale. We figured this way, she would be able to complete her experiment and we could use the “fruits” or in this case the leaves of her efforts. The blue plant did need some CPR from dad, before we could move it along further, but all three survived and are still thriving.

Image 1-horzAlong the way, she informed me that her friends mother had an instagram and would be sharing the science fair on instagram, and inquired whether I might do the same? Well, a few months ago when this was happening, I did not have an instagram account, however now that I do, it is a little too late to share this. I did make a mental note to monitor her play dates a little more closely, as she is anything but social media ready. I am not ready for her to be social media ready.

Kale with Caramelized Onions

Working through this kale dish, which has become a family favorite is much simpler. This is something we all agree on. This is a simple and festive dish, with the magical complex sweetness of the caramelized onion, melting into the raisins offering a gentle balance to the light and bitter notes of the kale.

Kale with Carmelized Onions and Cumin

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

A kale dish with caramelized onions and raisins that takes kale to a very different level.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium sized red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups of freshly chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoon raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil on medium low heat for about 1 minute and add in the onions, cook the onions low and slow and they soften, curl and gradually turn golden brown. This does need some attention and about 10 to 12 minutes to get to the golden brown color.
  2. Remove about half the onions with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add in the ginger and cook for another minute.
  4. Add in the cumin and cayenne pepper and mix well.
  5. Add in the kale and stir well, until the kale is wilted.
  6. Stir in or garnish with the reserved onions and serve.
  7. Stir in the raisins and cook until the raisins are heated through,
  8. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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Beet Greens with Potatoes and Nigella Seeds – Alu Laal Shager Chorchori

Stir Fried Beet Greens and PotatoesToday is an incredibly hectic day, the last day of mom’s visit, I seem to want to pack everything between these last few days. The children have been feeling the same way, too! I think my poor mother has critiqued countless versions of Maacher Chop, supervised the picking of several buds of Mocha or banana blossom flowers.

She has in turn watched my daughter current dance piece and listened to her piano pieces enough times to forget that Beethoven might have really existed and the little fellow too has regaled her with his art work and music.

Beet Greens_Squaremed

 

Meetings in a world where family members do not live close to each other, often entail farewells and tonight was her last dinner with us for this visit. Among other things, I cooked some beet greens with potatoes, using a simple Bengali seasoning. My love for Beet Greens is well known, and to add some spark to our family repertoire I created this recipe to join the other summer recipe that is already a family favorite.

The delicate reds in the leaves seep into the potatoes giving them a pretty and very unique color. This recipe is also created for Stephanie, for her Dog Days of Summer event that supports her kickstarter project. I hope that you will consider stopping by to support the project.

Beet Greens with Potatoes and Nigella Seeds – Alu Laal Shager Chorchori

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Beet Greens get a nice Bengali touch, from the addition of nigella seeds. A colorful seasonal recipe that will warm and brighten your table.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil (can be substituted with regular olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1 small to medium red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 fingerling potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, slit
  • 2 cups finely chopped beet leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil on medium heat for about a minute.
  2. Add in the nigella seeds and add in the onion and sauté it for 3 to 4 minutes and let it turn lightly golden at the edges.
  3. Add in the ginger and sauté well.
  4. Add in the potatoes and mix well. Add in the potatoes and the salt and mix well and add in sugar.
  5. Stir in the green chilies and mix well.
  6. Add in the beet leaves and cook for 4 minutes, stirring and mixing well until the beet leaves wilt and mix into the potatoes.
  7. Serve as a side to any meal of your choice.
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Bengali Red Lentils and Brocolli

Red Lentils with BroccoliWe have heard of people describing food in poetic and comforting terms, and the closest thing that evokes poetic feelings for me is well made red lentils or mushoorir dal. We Bengalis can rapsodize about these buttery smooth lentils every day of our lives. Well, today’s variation of red lentils goes beyond poetry, this variation is an accomplice in my efforts to get my mother to enjoy broccoli.

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Chances are if my husband was reading this post, he would like to highlight that the broccoli, I speak of is not just any old florets of broccoli, they are like almost anything else that I cook in summer, tender stem pieces of green beauteousness, that he has grown. This year, I have truly been thrilled to see how enthusiastically, mom has been relishing my crazy forays in the kitchen. However, I am a believer to get someone to like something, we need to start traditional.

Brocolli Plant

To be fair to mom, she is a little confused. Chances are she first about broccoli when President Bush was around, and we all know what his views on the broccoli are. Well, times they are a changing. We have a different captain of the ship today, and this is what President Obama feels. Gosh! who knew that there was a correlation between broccoli and politics! Despite, being a politically obsessed family, I knew that it would take more than just presidential endorsement to have mom give a nod to the broccoli, it would take the comforting and quintessential red lentils and then some.

Lentils and Broc

Well, jokes aside, all things considered I paired the broccoli in a simple stew of red lentils.  A tender delicate comforting bowl of well seasoned goodness. The broccoli cooked along side the red lentils was cooked in a typical no fuss Bengali manner, none of the fuss, associated with green and blanching or icing the vegetables. It was simmered till tender soft in pools of the thick and buttery soft red lentils laced with gentle kisses of spices. I finished this off, with the traditional tempering of golden crisp onions.  Growing up in our house, not all lentils got the caramelized onion
finish, this was left for the comforting and soothing lentils.

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Buttery red lentils, soft and flavorful broccoli and delicate bits of caramelized red onion. What do you expect a mother to do? A few bites later she declared, “onekta kopir moto (a lot like cauliflower)”, considering that the mild mannered cauliflower was a family favorite, looked like we had a winner!

It has been a while since I participated in one of the events that I liked a lot, MLLA, or my legume love affair an event started by Susan to celebrate lentils, that is currently with Lisa and is hosted this month by Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen.

Bengali Red Lentils and Brocolli

Cook Time: 25 minutes

A comforting creation with red lentils garden fresh tender broccoli seasoned with hints of ginger, cumin and caramelized onions.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup split red lentils
  • 2 cups of water or 3 if using the stove top
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 11/2 teaspoons powdered cumin
  • ½ pound of tender broccoli florettes
  • For the tempering and finish
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in the pressure cooker or the cooking pot add in the water, turmeric, salt, ginger and cumin and cook under pressure for 4 to 5 minutes, or simmer the lentils until soft and smooth. This takes about 25 minutes and needs to be stirred occasionally.
  2. While this is cooking cut the broccoli into small pieces, tender stems can be chopped into smaller pieces along with the florets.
  3. Add to the lentils and simmer for another 7 minutes, until the broccoli is tender crisp.
  4. While the broccoli is cooking, peel the onion and cut into a fine dice.
  5. Heat the oil and add the onion and cook the onion on medium high heat until the onion is nice and golden, this will take about 5 to 6 minutes.
  6. Add in the green chillies and mix this into the lentils and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  7. Squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle with the chives if using.

Notes

If not using a pressure cooker, this will take much longer.

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Spinach, Broccolli and Red Onion Quesadillas – Castello Moments

Que_blogMy son is a cheese buff, for his young age, he loves the idea of trying out different cheeses. So, it was not much of a push for me to participate in the Castello Moments cheese campaign, and work on this sponsored post.

Currently, the line has three hard cheeses the Classic Bergkase, the Hirten and the Weissbier, each of which have their own distinction and character. What I ended up with are family sized wedges of all three of them. I decided to work with the Hirten for this recipe. A crumbly textured cheese with light pine and caramel notes, I felt that this would hold well to the spicy flavors of my kitchen. There are few things that work better in my kitchen than, cheesy quesadillas. I remade these later, using a combination of jack cheese and sharp cheddar.

 

I first tried the cheese as a simple snack, it slices into pretty slightly crumbly slices and works well with most of the red wines in our house. Moving on to the cooking domain, I had made a simple pasta dish pairing it with broccoli, the pictures for my pasta dish are lost in the latest tech shuffle.

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This weekend, I was inspired to make my own tortillas and I shall save that experience for another post, because it is certainly worth its own place in the sun. These tortillas were then converted into quesadillas  pairing them with garden fresh broccoli and some comforting spinach to boot. I usually do the same thing with a mild tasting cheddar and jack combination. My son has however pronounced that this cheese is better, so it looks like we have a thumbs up for the Hirten.

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The cheese is definitely a hard cheese, which I found makes it a little difficult to grate, however, it slices easily and I used the slices for the recipe.

Brocolli and Cheese Quesadilla -

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

A simple recipe for quesadillas.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or Grape seed oil for cooking
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of finely chopped broccoli
  • 12 6 inch sized whole wheat tortillas
  • 11/2 cups of sliced or grated cheese (such as cheddar, jack cheese or the hirten cheese, used here)
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves

Instructions

  1. In a small pan add about 1 tablespoon of the oil, add in the onion and the broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften to the point of being tender crisp.
  2. Heat a large skillet, place the tortilla over the skillet and begin heating.
  3. When the tortilla begins to turn warm, sprinkle with some of the cheese on one half, add some of the broccoli mixture and some baby spinach leaves and some more cheese.
  4. Cover the tortilla with the other half and press down with a flat spatula.
  5. Lightly sprinkle with the oil and let the half moon quesadilla turn a little crisp, turn on the other side and repeat to let the cheese melt.
  6. Remove from the fire and cut into wedges and some with some guacamole if desired.
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Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home – enter by clicking on the banner below. Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA. 
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Chili Tofu and Technical Issues

Chili TofuThis month has been a busy and balanced month. In various ways, the flavors of this Chili Tofu, synchronizes with the kind of month that I have been having. The flavors are sharp and full of fun.

I have managed to squeeze in a few days of vacation, spread over the few weeks that my mother is visiting. Since these vacation days are loose days, without any major purpose other than taking things at a slightly slower pace, and fitting in some, together time with mom, they have been immensely relaxing. I have filled them with shopping, catching up with Bollywood movies, and I some loose errands and bits of time for myself.

It is the simple things in life, that sometimes help in creating balance. Those rare simple things that we often do not think of getting into our lives.

I have been enjoying creating new dishes for mom. She seems to want to take a break from the regular cuisine of her days. To my surprise, she has also been wanting to learn some new flavors, and one of the recipes that caught her fancy was this Chili Tofu. This recipe is a lighter take on the Indo-Chinese style chili dishes. The flavors here are presented with a generous

Acadia National Park

Somewhere in the middle of fireworks and traffic, we managed to get in a week on the road, travelling up to ME, to Acadia National Park. It always amazes me to see the natural beauty of these sanctuaries, offering us beautiful family friendly recreation that works for all age groups.

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The local was beautiful and rejuvenating, but just a tad too hot, although the young people in the group did not seem to mind. The kids enjoyed the junior ranger program a lot. This was their second try at this, with the first one being at Yellowstone.  I was happy to be away, the long drive allowed me to actually read and finish a really interesting novel when I was not driving.

I am a die hard night person. Well, one of my planned projects was to back up and organize an SD card that had a select 125 pictures. Except that I had a novel experience planned, and not a pleasant one at any rate. Somehow, this disk had gotten whacked out, all the files appeared deleted… I managed to detect this about 10 new pictures, once I noticed the new sequencing of numbers. Emotions, ranged for shock and disbelief to a need to fix things.

The internet is a wonderful place. After some research, I realized that the data might be retrievable after all. I had broken the cardinal rule here, I had recorded over the data. While this was not intentional, that is what the new pictures were doing they were copying over the old data out of their own volition.  Following a bunch of threads, I landed on this page and actually did manage to retrieve quite a lot of my data.

Chili Tofu-2

This now brings me back to this recipe, and the post that I had started a while ago when the spring onions were first surfacing in the markets. The preferred tofu for this recipe was the firm slice able variety.

Chili Tofu and Technical Issues

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

A simple and flavorful stir fry with sharp green chili and fresh tasting green onions.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 whole green onions
  • 3 green chilies minced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups of slice able tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 3 pods of garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Separate the whites and green of the onions. Chop them both and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl mix in the green chilies, soy sauce, white wine, sesame oil and honey and mix well.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick wok, until very hot.
  4. Carefully add all the tofu, single side down and cook for about 1 minute on both sides until the tofu is lightly browned.
  5. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  6. In the oil add in the ginger and the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add in the white onions and saute for 3 minutes, until the onion is nice and translucent.
  8. Add in the tofu and mix well. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes, until the mixture is absorbed.
  9. Add in the spring onion greens and cook until wilted and serve the tofu with a side of rice.
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Spicy Mushrooms with Garlic, Black Pepper and Chives

Summer often reminds of the shorter shelf life of things, with fruit ripening more quickly, herbs drying out if not tended carefully. For me, summer is also the season of fermentation (think dosa), easy banana breads and simple stir fries that tend to showcase the best of the fresh produce that is so readily available.

 

Mushrooms with Red Onions and Black Pepper

This is where today’s Spicy mushroom stir-fry recipe comes in handy. This lovely stir-fry is adapted from Indian Inspired Gluten-Free Recipes a book packed with flavorful and easy recipes.

Ones that fit into the fast paced days that I have been having the past few weeks. Yes, so far, it has not really been an easy, breezy summer. With my mother visiting, I have been trying to eke out more time in already packed days to spend with here, but it has been a very pleasant visit. I play with stir-fries all the time and it is always fun for me to see how the same few ingredients combined differently can offer different nuances in taste and texture. Given the high temperatures that we have been having these stir-fries are just perfect to keep your kitchen time down to a minimum, without any compromise in flavors.

The recipe is so simple and not fuss, that it is difficult not to stick to it, however I did play around with it just a little adding some fresh chives towards the end along with the cilantro. Also, added a very small hint of fresh lime. It actually turns out that this recipe has become the new household favorite, even, mom loves it and my husband actually does not notice that it is not made with homegrown produce. In fact, he does not even think about the aborted attempt at growing mushrooms. We all have some failures, when working through our passions and mushrooms were the one that got away, from my husband’s backyard.

That is another big deal, in the house, particularly the three peak months of summer, we are swimming with produce and my ever vigillant husband tries to ensure we do not waste any gas, in procuring our summer meals. What I really enjoy as a side bonus, are the empty crisper shelves in my refridgerator. Since, the produce is picked just when we use it, I do not need to store anything.

This allows me to throughly clear these shelves and wash them out with baking soda and lime, allowing me a sense of freshness that is all important and soothing especially during these summer months.

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Turnips with Carmelized Onions and Toasted Lentils

TurnpmedAmong other things, the highlight of this week has been tender and tiny Japanese turnips. These have found there way into out little yard, after I picked up a bunch of these tiny perfectly formed turnips at the farmers market about two years ago… Since, then we have been growing our own, and I cook them simply, with a lot of flavor, not much action, not unlike the recipe that I shall be sharing with you.

 

Speaking of farmers markets, the Pleasantville Farmers Market, aka, my local market started amidst the rain last weekend. I popped my head in amidst all the rain, actually with the daughter. Had a little more time today. Loved some of the more interesting additions. Yarn, Flowers and even and an extended segment. This is exciting since it gives me more to check out.

Yarn at the market

Today, has ended on a pensive note, it was my brother’s birthday. Turns out it was Suvir Saran’s father’s death anniversary. The man’s eloquent thoughts of my father, reminded me of Dad. I cannot always voice my feelings in such depth. I want not to be greedy and complain about not having Dad around, but I cannot help it. I really wish he was here, with us weeding, savoring the simple freshness of our garden helping us feel lively with his presence and infectious laughter.

Back to the recipe, the recipe is all about simplicity and flavor, influenced by this event that I had running on the blog. It is perfect for the turnips that use a hint of flavor and are cooked to delicate and crisp translucency.

Turnips with Carmelized Onions and Toasted Lentils

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

A simple stir fry with turnips and turnip greens. Perfect over warm toasted bread and cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium sized red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pods garlic, very finely chopped
  • 11/2 tablespoons split yellow moong lentils (soaked for 1 hour)
  • 3/4 cup small fresh turnips, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 1 cup of turnip greens, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil and add in the cumin seeds and wait until the seeds begin to sizzle.
  2. Add in the red onion and cook the onion until it is a pale toffee color and the kitchen begins to smell softly fragrant.
  3. Add in the garlic and saute lightly for another two to three minutes.
  4. Add in the lentils and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the lentils are nice and toasty and a few shades darket.
  5. Add in the turnips and mix in gently. Stir in the turmeric, salt and the red cayenne powder and mix well. Cook lightly until the turnips are soft and shimmering.
  6. Mix in the turnip greens and cook until the greens are wilted.
  7. Stir in the cilantro and garnish.
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Pasta Primavera House Style and a Mixed Day

Today was guaranteed to be a mixed bag kind of day, and as I get ready to sleep, ok scribble some lines and sleep, I try and resign myself to its inevitable mixed quality. Pasta, especially a spring time Pasta Primavera is what works for such mixed days.

SP1medIt is on days like this I appreciate the words of wisdom from Scarlett O’Hara that promise that tomorrow is another day! It always is, especially in spring when the mornings are bright or rainy. I cherish both, I love the soft spring rain, walking through patches and puddles sometimes arriving with wet hair to work much to the chagrin of some of the people at work, mostly my lovely assistant. As I say, you can take the girl out of Kolkata, but not Kolkata out of the girl.

Pasta Primavera (House Style)

To this end, today’s offering is a simple pasta dish, that I wish to call Pasta Primavera (housestyle). Yes, it is my take on a very springy pasta dish, that I have cobbled together with the new tender asparagus, corn and new fresh green peas. Chopped in lots of chives and muddled all of these together with some parmasan, garlic and olive oil. If your mom is a pasta lover like me, this simple dish full of complex flavors might be what calls her name.

Either way wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend with fresh flavors, good food and lots of love.

 

 

Pasta Primavera (House Style)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

A simple pasta toss with garlic and olive oil as a lot of yard to table vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried pasta (any shape, I am partial to bow-ties)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 11/2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped tender asparagus
  • 1/2 cup fresh green peas
  • 1/2 cup corn fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives or garlic chives
  • 11/2 tablespoons minced thyme
  • 1 lime or lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of water and salt for about 7 to 8 minutes or al dente per package instructions.
  2. Heat the oil and the butter and add in the garlic and gently cook stirring frequently until the garlic is a pale toffee color and very fragrant.
  3. Add in the red pepper flakes, stir in the asparagus, green peas, corn and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pasta, working quickly to let the pasta and the ingredients coat well. Add salt to taste.
  5. Add in the chives, thyme and squeeze in the lime or lemon juice.
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Onion and Kale Fritters – Mixed Up Piyanjee

Onion Pakoras with TeaI recently ended up as a part of a conversation somewhere in the facebook world on authenticity and after sort of supporting both sides of the arguement I am not really sure where I ended. Well, I am a Libra, I know when I was growing up following one’s zodiac was serious business. I will date myself even further and tell you that a popular book amongs me and the friendship clan was Linda Goodman’s Zodiac Signs, which it turns out was the first astrology book to make the New York Times Bestseller list, illustrating the fact that I had company in my silly reading. In case you are wondering, a the Libran symbol are the scales and they are supposed to always work towards balancing things. And whenever my equilibrium shifts a little I make some variation of onion fritters also called piyanjee in Bengali.

Well, while the bit on equilibrium is not entirely true, we do love these onion ring fritters in my house. My husband of course calls them pakoras. Actually, these classic naturally gluten-free and vegan-fritters are called different thing in different parts of India, but all tend to have the same lovely crisp and savory sweetness of red onions cloaked in nutritious and crispy chickpea batter.

Onion Pakoras or Piyanjees

 

 In fact, the line in our household is, you say pakora, I say piyanjee, lets call the whole thing off. Well, the interesting thing about these fritters is that they can take a whole assortment of variations, depending on the nuances of spices used. I have used some thyme from are garden in lieu of carom seeds to make this particular version. It is available in bounty and adds a nice and simple touch of freshness. I also added some curry leaves and tender kale leaves on a touch of whimsy. The kale was in lieu of spinach which is something that I normally add.

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The only caution that I offer is to ensure that you are working with medium hot oil, ensure that the batter is not too thick, there should not be too much batter over the onions, as it will overpower the sweet crispiness of the onions.

Onion and Kale Fritters – Mixed Up Piyanjee

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: about 20 fritters

An variation of classic Indian onion fritters with kale, onions, thyme and curry leaves. Perfect with a cup of tea!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby kale leaves or spinach
  • For the batter
  • 1 cup of besan or chickpea flour
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 11/2 tablespoons thyme or 1/4 teaspoon carom seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Separate the pieces and layers of the onions and set aside with the kale or spinach.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the besan, thyme, red cayenne powder, salt, turmeric and cilantro.
  3. Stir in about 1 cup of cold water, this should be done gradually to ensure a batter that is slightly thinner than pancake batter, but thick enough to coat.
  4. Stir in the onions and spinach.
  5. In a heavy bottom skillet add about 1 and 1/2 cups of canolla oil, about 11/2 inches deep. Heat the oil until a crumb when tested dances up to the surface.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons of the batter, gently allowing the onions to fan out in strands.
  7. Fry on medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, this should NOT be done on high heat.
  8. Turn and fry again, the color of the fritters should be a comfortable golden brown color.
  9. Remove from the fire, drain on paper towels and serve.
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Rice and Curry and Carrots?

 

I have been guilty of something! I have found yet another great cookbook and I have kept this news all to myself.

Well, today Ihave decided to come out and confess, before you find out and tell me that I do not share. In fact, I have been cooking a lot of seasonal carrots and the excellent Carrot curry recipe in this book, tipped the balance and promted me to finally begin talking about the book.

I got a copy of Rice and Curry over this summer. Rice and Curry, is a wonderful book on the cuisine of Sri Lanka, written by fellow Hippocrene author Skiz Fernando.

The lovely island nation of Sri Lanka has been on my list of places to visit, but it is unlikely that I shall be visiting the island anytime soon. At this time this book is the closest that I can get to experience and taste this lush tropical island. However, this book with its detailed introduction that offer you a good visual and cultural orientation to the island.

I met Skiz at the IACP blog and book fair in NYC earlier this year and loved the way he talked about his book and knew that I would definitely enjoy reading it.

It has been an integral part of my kitchen since I got it. The book is written in thoughtful prose, that is vivid without being overly sentimental. It interjects a picture of Skiz’s family thereby bringing to life the life in Sri lanka as well as family anecdotes that are narrated with a sense of humor. The cuisine is close enough to Indian cooking, for me not to have to add several additional spices to my already overflowing spice shelves, however there is enough differences for me to add diversity to out dining repertoire.

carrot curry_blog

 

The nicely illustrated pages show you spices, colorful scenarios and offer a personal perspective to Skiz’s take on Sri Lankan cuisine. He attributes recipes to family members, I found the story of their 80 something family maid Leela who had been with the family for over 32 years, beautifully presented and  very touching. I have marked Leela’s Chillaw Curry as something to try out sooner rather than later.

I have tried a few of these recipes and they all work well, over time you shall see these featured on this blog.

Skiz, emphasizes the essence of the cuisine in the form of two curry powders, a lighter raw curry powder and a stronger roasted curry powder. The is an extensive use of coconut in the cuisine of the island to use up the the fruit of the coconut tree that grows in prolific abandon all around the island. Since, the cuisine is generous in its use of cayenne pepper powder the coconut offers a good balance of depth and richness to balance the heat.

This post shares, the raw curry powder recipe as well as the carrot curry recipe that I have been making a lot, recently. Yes, you guessed it, there are still a lot of carrots that we dig up as we need them from the garden. The raw curry powder, being a lighter blend has been used in this recipe.

Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 11/ tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Instructions

  1. Grind all the ingredients in a coffee blender and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Notes

Recipe Source: Rice and Curry, S.H. Fernando Jr. Pg 41 Hippocrene Books, Inc 2012

BTW, this blend can be bought pre-made by Skiz from www.foodoro.com

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Carrot Curry - Karat Kirata

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (I used a medium sized red onion)
  • 2 to 3 green chilies chopped
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of raw curry powder (see recipe)
  • 1 dried red chili chopped (I actually omitted this)
  • 1 teaspoon Maldive fish ( 1 used 1 tablespoon of fish sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (1 left this out)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (1 used 1/2 cup for a drier consistency)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. 1. Wash peel and chop the carrots (he recommends doing this in 1 inch long strips)
  2. 2. Heat oil in pan, saute the onions, chilies, and curry leaves until the onions are transluscent.
  3. 3. Add carrots, curry powder, maldive fish (see my substitution), fenugreek seeds and toss for a few minutes.
  4. 4. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Notes

Recipe Source: Rice and Curry, S.H. Fernando Hippocrene Books, 2012

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