Curry Sweet Potato Stew

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In my last blog post, I shared Jack’s food allergy diagnosis. It forced us into a wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and cashew-free diet. I am have been avoiding most of nuts—besides peanuts, he tested negative for those–until more testing is done too. The other day I realized Jack won’t be able to eat most Indian foods now because they contain ghee. My little Fijian baby loves going to Indian restaurants! So I decided to make my own little curry creation that he could eat.

Curry Sweet Potato StewIMG_6949

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs coconut oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, mince
1/4 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs mango powder
1/2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs gram masala
1/2 tbs paprika
Red chili flakes, to taste
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups spinach, chopped
Salt to taste

Add the quartered sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and boil until tender.

While that’s going, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

Once it the oil is heat, add the bell pepper. Cook until tender.

Add shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the curry powder, mango powder, ground coriander, gram masala, paprika, and chili flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot.

Mash them slightly. A few chunks left over are fine, we aren’t making a soup.

Add the spice and veggie mixture to the pot.

Add the coconut milk to the pot and mix well.

Season with salt as desired.

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And there you have it! A tasty pot of sweet potato stew!

IMG_6954The boys are pan-fried chicken and I had lentils. Jack decided he wanted lentils later too. A lovely warm dish for the fall!

Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy

This recipe is one of the freezer meals I made a few weeks ago. I wanted something filling and flavorful to enjoy after a long, hard day. I thought of freezing one of my Samosa Pizzas, but I didn’t quite know how to store that. Then I though a casserole would be nice, very hearty from all the potatoes and it would freeze very well. And I had just bought a big bag of sweet potatoes, too.  So I essentially made a bigger batch of the potato filling from my pizza recipe, but used sweet potatoes instead. As for the gravy, I wanted something more the usual cilantro chutney. Something creamier, to really stand up to the sweet potatoes.Like how well hash browns go with saw-mill gravy. So I made up a cilantro version.

I made the casserole in disposable pan and covered it in foil. The gravy I made the day of, but you could freezer it as well. Just put it in a freezer bag.

This recipe makes one 8 X 10 pan, and 1 cup of gravy.
Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy
Filling

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp mango powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs ginger, peeled and minced

1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp garam masala

2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or any other vegetable mixture you like)
Dough 
2 cups baking mix (I used Bisquick)
2/3 cup water
2 tbs tamarind chutney
Gravy 
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup water
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tbs flour

Add the peeled sweet potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cook until they are soft.

While the potatoes boil, in a small pot add the vegan butter and melt over medium heat.

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander powder, and mango powder. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the garlic, ginger, and onions. Cook until the onions soften a little and it’s very fragrant.

Turn off heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain well and return to the pot.

Add the frozen peas and carrots, and the spice/oil mixture. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the baking mix, water, and tamarind chutney. It should make a wet dough, like for dumplings. Set aside.

Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray.

Spread the potato filling evenly.

Tear off dumpling-size pieces of the dough and evenly distribute over the filling.

Cover with foil.

To make the gravy,  blend the cilantro and water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

add the oil to small pot over medium heat.

Once the oil is heated, add the fennel, cumin seeds, chili powder, and garlic salt. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the flour and quickly whisk it into the oil. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the pureed cilantro and whisk in quickly.

Cook for 3-5 minutes, until it begins to thicken slightly.

Remove from the heat and pour into another container to cool

Now you can let it cool, then pop it in the freezer.  Or you can bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. To bake after being frozen, 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. To thaw the gravy, place it in warm water and heat in a pot on the stove once it’s liquid again. You may need to add a bit more water on the stove to keep it from thickening too much.

I popped this in the oven after a long road trip to LA and back this weekend. It was totally what my whole family needed. Nutritious, tasty, and filling, Even the baby loved it. I hope your family loves it too!

Curry Vegetable Quinoa


One day I wanted fried rice, but I had no rice. But I had quinoa though. Then I realized I had no soy sauce. But I had a ton of Indian spices. So I looked up what I could make and came across a recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen called Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. It looked good so I decided to make my own version.

Curry Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 piece of ginger, pealed and minced
1 small white onion
Kernels from 2 ears of corn 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces 
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 jalapeno, minced
Dash of asafetida
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilnatro

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. 

While that cooks, heat the coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder, and chili powder. Cook for a minute, just until it becomes fragrant. 

Add the ginger and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Add the corn kernels, bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender. 

Once the quinoa is done, fluffy gently with a fork and let it sit for a minute. 

Add the quinoa to the skillet. 

Add the tomato juice, jalapeno, and asafetida. Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cilantro.

A flavorful Indian version of fried rice, with plenty of protein from the quinoa. No need for meat or egg!And don’t be afraid to make a big batch of this, the flavors get even better the longer it sits.

Samosa Pizza

I have declared my love for pizza on here before. But I have never professed my loved for samosas. Delicious little fried pastries filled with veggies and spices then dipped in flavorful chutneys. What’s not to love? I am not a big fan of fried foods, but these are something special. I always order them at Indian restaurants and am heartbroken when I have share. So why would I not combine two of my culinary favorites?

This recipe makes 1 pizza.

Samosa Pizza

2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsb vegan butter, divided
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp mango powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 ball of pizza dough, homemade or store bought is fine (try my recipe)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tbs ginger, peeled and minced
4 tbs tamarind chutney (if you don’t happen to have a mother-in-law who makes some, it’s pretty easy to find in stores nowadays
Cilantro chutney (try my recipe)

Fill a large pot with cold water and add the potatoes.

Cover and bring to boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough for a fork to be easily inserted.

While that boils, in large skillet melt a little butter.

Add the chopped carrots. Cook until they begin to soften.

Add the frozen peas. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, then set aside.

When the potatoes are soft, drain well and set aside for the sec.

Return pot the potatoes boiled in the stove over medium heat, add the remaining butter and let it melt.

Add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Toast them for one minute.

Turn off the heat.

Add the potatoes back in and mash/mix in with the butter. Don’t mash until totally smooth, leave some chunks.

Mix in the coriander powder, garam masala, and mango powder.

Stir in the peas and carrots.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Roll out your pizza dough into your desired shaped. Place it in a pizza pan.

Pre-bake the pizza crust into the oven 7-10 minutes, just until they are lightly golden.

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool a bit.

Spread on the tamarind sauce.

Now glob on potato mixture. Spread it in an even, thick layer.

Next sprinkle on the minced ginger and garlic.

Bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Top with the cilantro chutney, and some extra cilantro if desired.

This was soooo good. We devoured the whole pizza pretty quickly. I just realized I need to make this for my soon-to-be son one day because it incorporates two of his heritages–Indian and Italian.

Slowcooker Dhal

Forgive me for being tardy to VeganMofo! I volunteered to be the Chapter Advisor for the UC Santa Cruz chapter of my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. This week was recruitment, and for those of you who are not Greeks,  all I can say is it is insanely time consuming. It was well worth it though. I am more than happy to help share the love of Gamma Phi to the next generation.

Anyways, a few days ago I made another one of my go-to meals: crockpot dahl. When I was still in college, I used to do this over the stove but it really does come out better in a slow cooker. I have posted a recipe about lentils before, and I eat them often because they are so versatile. There are so many ways to prepare them, but this is just my basic version.

Crockpot Dahl
3 cups of dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 tbs of curry powder
1/2 tbs of cumin
1/2 tbs of turmeric
Chili powder, to taste (I used about 1 tps because I like it spicy)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste.
Cilantro

This recipe is so easy.

Rinse and pick over the lentils.

Mince the garlic.

And dice the onion carrots, and tomatoes.

Another lovely treasure we have uncovered in the house!

Now add all the ingredients into a crockpot.

Set the crockpot to simmer or another low setting.

Check it every once and awhile to make sure nothing is burning. Add more water if needed.

It is ready when the lentils are soft and it has the consistency of a thick soup.

I served it over rice and top it with cilantro and  this amazing tamarind chutney Michael’s mom makes.

Thank you Mrs. Reddy!

Easy, delicious and healthy!

Curry Ramen

Holy cow, I am 25 years old today! It feels like just yesterday I posted my recipe for the cupcakes I made for my birthday last year. I also can’t believe how much has changed in just a year! I graduated, moved to California, and am dating an amazing man who I am planning a happy life with. I am so grateful to finally have my (almost) adult life. Michael’s birthday was last Sunday, and since our birthdays are only five days apart, we had a joint party last Saturday. My past five birthdays have either been gone horrible wrong (try getting chased down the streets of Melbourne drunk by a British guy dressed as a ninja while you are wearing an alien costume) or just me. So it was very nice to celebrate with friends for once.

Thank you Mrs. Reddy for the lovely cake! 
So, for my birthday I decided to post a recipe for one of my favorite lazy weekend lunches: Curry Ramen. It’s a more adult version of the classic college staple. I have talked about how to jazz up your basic package of ramen before, but this is kicking it up several notches. It combines the goodness of a big bowl of noodles, the creaminess of curry broth, and you even get some nutrition from the vegetables. 
This recipe makes 2 servings but can easily be multiplied. 
Curry Ramen
4 cups water
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tps of ginger, minced
2 packages of Oriental flavored ramen (make sure you get one that has no meat flavorings)
1/2 tbs curry powder
1/4 tbs cumin
1/4 tbs turmeric
1 cup frozen vegetables (I use peas, carrots and corn)
1 can coconut milk
1/2  block of extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, to taste
Mince the garlic and ginger.
In a large pot, add the water and the minced garlic and ginger. 
Cover and bring to a boil.
Remove the flavor packet from the ramen noodle package and add to the pot.
Add the curry powder, cumin, and turmeric.
Add the frozen veggies. Cook for a few minutes until no longer frozen. 
Add the noodles. Cook as long as the directions on the package indicate. 
Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk and tofu. Stir to combine. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Divide into two bowls and garnish with cilantro. 
Now enjoy your grown-up ramen—even if you are laying around in your pajamas watching TV like  a little kid I plan to do this weekend.

Roti and Cilantro Chutney

Here are the other two dishes from my awesome Indian dinner. Like I said in my last post, I had never heard of roti before. I have always had nice fluffy naan bread at Indian restaurants. But Michael said his family eats roti, which is more like a soft tortilla, so I thought I would try making them. I looked up some recipes and watched a few videos, and thought I would give it a try. I knew they were not going to come out perfect because I do not have a rolling pin and I used all purpose flour, not wheat flour like the recipes  call for. Also, since I had never had them before and do not know that much about Indian cooking, I had no frame of reference. But, being a good girlfriend, I went ahead anyways.  Michael said mine tasted right, but were too crunchy. I will try making them again, following the same recipe but actually following the method more correctly.

However, my cilantro chutney was amazing and Michael had no complaints. The aloo mattar was good on it’s own, but was fantastic with this chutney.



Roti
1/2 Cup Whole wheat flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of Oil

Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon vegan butter 











In a small bowl, mix together the flour, water, and salt into a soft dough. 


Add the oil and knead together until it is no longer sticky. 


Transfer the dough to flat surface and divide into 4 round balls. 


Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with some oil. 


Roll the balls into 1/8 thick rounds. 


Ok, so I had a hard time with the following steps….


Place the rounds into the skillet and cook for a few seconds until the edges begin to curl up and bubbles begin to appear on the top. 


Flip it over until the bubble appear on this side as well. 


Flip over again and begin to press down and rotate the roti. Repeat all the way around until it puffs up and becomes golden in a few spots. 


Remove from the skillet and brush with some vegan butter. 


Repeat with the remaining rounds. 



Cilantro Chutney
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 garlic clove
2 serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 tbs of salt
1 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp of asafetida
Water, if needed


Put everything into the blender and blend until smooth.  


I was very satisfied in with this whole dinner, and can’t wait to try making more Indian food…and hopefully not “white people Indian food” as Michael called it. Hope you like it too!







Aloo Mattar

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long, I’ve just been lazy. But I am going to make up for it with a totally awesome meal. The other day I couldn’t decide what I want to make for dinner, so I asked my boyfriend. He usually says “I don’t know”, but this time he actually had a request! He wanted this gravy peas and potato dish his mom used to make. After some research on the internet, I found what he was talking about. This recipe is based on the one from Manjula’s Kitchen called Aloo Mattar (Potatoes and Green Peas). And, he’s family eats roti, which I’d never heard of before. I am used to naan bread, but I thought I would try making it. And, since I had cilantro in the fridge, I decided to make a chutney too. I will post the other two recipes later, but here is the aloo mattar for now. 


A few of the spices might take a bit of work to find, but if I can find them on the Big Island, I am sure you can too. 

Aloo Mattar

3 medium boiled potatoes

2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 cup frozen green peas

1 minced green chili, minced

1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon asafetida
2 tablespoons coriander 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika 
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro 



Peal and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  
Add them to a pot of cold water and bring to boil on the stove. Cook until soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
Add the onions and cook until translucent. 
Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. 
Add the frozen peas and cook until warmed. 
Add the potatoes. 
Add the minced green chili, cumin, asafetida, coriander, turmeric, paprika, turmeric, and gram masala.  Mix together well and cook until for about 10 minutes, covered, and stirring occasionally. 
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with some cilantro. 
It is good on it’s own, but it is amazing with the cilantro chutney, which I will post tomorrow. Michael’s only complaint was it is more like “white people Indian food”….my answer was “well, a white girl made it!” hahahaha.  I really suggest this dish, it’s easy and so freaking good. 

Indian Inspired Pizza

I have toyed with the idea of making an Indian style pizza for awhile. Should it be on naan bread? Should I try to make my own naan bread? Cheese or no cheese? Curry sauce? Tomato sauce? I could never make-up my mind so I never made it. This Friday, I really wanted some curry spice for dinner so decided to just give it a try and tweak is next time I make it. I decided to make it on normal pizza dough for now, no cheese, and both curry and tomato sauce. It came out pretty good but I think naan bread would be better for next time.

Indian Inspired Pizza
1 ball of pizza dough (try mine)
1/2 cup hummus (try mine)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup curry sauce (try mine)
1/4 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup frozen corn

Pre-heat the oven to as high as it will go .

Microwave the frozen veggies and then stir in the curry sauce.  Set aside.

Roll the dough out into desire shape and thickness.

Spread on the hummus.

Pour on the diced tomatoes.

Lastly top with the veggies.











Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the toppings are hot. 

I love the contrast between the spicy veggies and the creamy hummus. Went lovely with a glass of rosé. Next time I will attempt to make my own naan. 

Pindi Chana

I fell in love with Indian food while I was studying abroad in Australia. There was a little place right on campus that was pretty cheap. It was also conveniently on the walk back from the tram so I would get some when I got off work on occasion. The menu rotated every day but there was the usual selection of curries, chutneys, and such. I have looked-up the recipes for some of my favorites before, but they scared me. Tons of weird spices, ingredients I have never heard, and insanely long cook times. But the other day I wanted something spicy so I decided to search for a simple recipe (there had to be one, India is a very big country, someone has to be lazy like me!) I came across a site called Indian Food Forever and found some really tasty sounding recipes. Then I saw it—a recipe that was easy and I had almost everything it called for already. And It has chickpeas, one my favorite foods.

Pindi chana is pretty much curried chickpeas. What intrigued me the most about the recipe was that the chickpeas are soaked overnight with teabags. This give them a deeper, earthier flavor that stands up against the curry. I cannot find much information on the origins of the dish, the one website I found was half in Hindi, which I sadly cannot read. 
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans if you prefer, are one of the oldest vegetables know to man. They have been around since biblical times and even spread to the Roman Empire. Apparently some cultures even use them as substitute for coffee (I think I will stick with my Kona coffee). Chickpeas are high in zinc, fiber, folate, and protein. I love to make hummus with them or have them cold on a salad.

Pindi Chana
1 cup dry chickpeas
2 bags of black tea
1 onion, chopped
1 two inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 clove of garlic
1 green chili, de-stemed and chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt to taste

Rinse and pick through the chickpeas. Cover with water and add the tea bag. Soak for at least 6 hours, I left mine overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and add to a large pot. Cover with water, cover and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain off the rest.

Heat some oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden.

Add the chopped ginger, garlic, and chili sauté for another a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, reserved liquid and all the remaining spices.

Simmer uncovered until the majority of the liquid is absorbed.

I garnished mine with some more spices. I didn’t feel like waiting for rice to cook, so I threw a sweet potato in the microwave for a minutes and served my pindi chana over it. I loved the orangey-yellow color palate.