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Recipes

Sarson, Rice, Dal

I received a bunch of ingredient suggestions from the Safal Team this month, with one caveat; there should be at least one khichdi recipe amongst the lot. I confess, that while khichdi, is one of my favourite dishes, and I’ll take some care to ensure there’s pickle, raw onions and desi ghee when eating it, I’ve never, ever thought of cooking it, let alone actually cooked it.

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This recipe was created for The Right Side of Life, a Safal community on Facebook. If you’re interested in eating healthier and involving food in different aspects of wellness, this is a group for you. We’re planning lots of activities and content for this group that I’m sure you’ll love!

So, this is my first time making any sort of khichdi, let alone some of the more elaborate one’s you’ve probably done. Be kind please. The haldi is missing from this recipe on purpose, so the colour ends up a nice, bright green.

Ideally, I must have pickle, ghee and raw onions with my khichdi.

Ingredients:

  • Step 1
    • Masoor Dal, 1/2 cup, washed and drained (about 100gm)
    • Rice, 1 cup, washed, pre-soaked for 30 minutes and drained (about 200 gm)
    • Salt to taste
    • Green chillies x3 pieces, slit
    • Garam masala x1 tbsp
  • Step 2
    • Sarson/Mustard leaves, 1 bunch, washed and trimmed.
    • Ginger, 1″ piece, finely chopped
    • Garlic, 6 cloves, finely chopped
  • Peanuts, crushed
  • Garnish
    • Chilli Pickle (I used Safal)
    • Raw onions
    • Ghee (I used Mother Dairy)
    • Peanuts, whole

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients from ‘Step 1’ into a cooker, mix well, and cook until the rice is done, but not too mashed.
  2. Put all the ingredients from ‘Step 2’ into a cooker, mix well and cook for 1 whistle. Remove, drain and puree finely.
  3. Mix the outcomes from ‘Step 1’ and ‘Step 2’ with the crushed peanuts, pour into a plate, garnish with the ingredients from ‘Garnish’, and serve.

Notes:

  • Adjust garam masala and chillies to your liking.
  • Sarson ka saag sometimes has thick stalks. Peel these stalks of the fibrous outer casing, coarsely chop and add to the ingredients of step 2. I would also consider blanching these and adding them to the garnish or whole, like the peanuts, for crunch.
  • The role of the peanuts is for added crunch. I forgot to add the peanut garnish.
  • Given the number of pickles we have in this country, it is easy to vary flavour profiles simply by changing the pickle used.

Categories
Recipes

Chili Cherry Pork

Given the huge chunk of roast pork I had left over, things needed to be done that encouraged us to eat the stuff before it went bad and here’s one. I made this as an evening snack for Indu, when she returned from work.

The peanut chili chutney was a blend of roasted peanuts, dried red chillies, ginger, lemon juice and salt, the whole pounded with some oil. The leftover preserving liquid was a 40% sugar syrup with 2gm of tartaric acid added. You could just soak cherries in a similar syrup, and omit the tartaric acid if you wish.

On speaking with Rhea later, an inveterate cook and consumer-of-pork, I realised cherries, the liquid and pork were natural companions, given the sweet and sour nature of it all, which is why the combination tasted so very delicious.

PS: I tried adding the sesame seeds, salt and lemon juice to the dip after taking the photo.

Ingredients:

  • Roast pork, diced
  • Peanut-chili chutney
  • Preserving liquid from cherries
  • Cherries (preferably without the pits)
  • Lemon juice
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Cooking oil as required

Method:

  1. In a little oil if required, toss the pork with the peanut-chilli chutney, then add the cherries and some preserving liquid, and toss a bit more. Drizzle some lemon juice just before taking off the flame.
  2. In the cherry preserve liquid, add some sesame seeds, salt and lemon juice.
  3. Serve both together, using the liquid created in step 2 as a dipping sauce.
Categories
Recipes

Grilled Paneer with Mango

This is a tasty and fun platter that all of us enjoyed at dinner. When you’re eating it, remember to try different combinations of individual elements on the platter and I’m sure you’ll have a great time too.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Carrot, 3 medium, sliced
  • Any chili powder/paste of your choice. I used a Tibetan version.
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, sliced
  • Paneer, 600gm, sliced x4
  • Cucumber, 2 med, sliced thick
  • Mango, sweet, 1 large, 3 slices without skin
  • Coriander, handful, finely chopped
  • Spinach, 100gm, blanched, squeezed, divided x3 portions
  • Lemon, halves x 3
  • Peanuts, roasted, 6 tbsp
  • Yogurt, whipped, 3 tbsp
  • Any chili sauce, 1 tbsp. I used Huy Fong Sriracha sauce.
  • Orange juice, 1 tbsp
  • Sesame oil, 3 tbsp
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Oil for cooking/grilling

Method:

  1. Saute carrots, garlic, chili until cooked. Season, keep warm.
  2. Mix yogurt and chili sauce well. Reserve.
  3. Put orange juice, sesame oil, salt and pepper into a bottle. This is a version of vinaigrette. Mix well. Reserve.
  4. Grill slices of paneer until done as desired. Keep warm.
  5. Assemble. Drizzle with vinaigrette. See video for details.
Categories
Recipes

Spicy Seed Spread

This seed spread is spicy and flavourful and tastes wonderful on a piece of toast. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Set 1
    • Peanuts, roasted, 6 tbsp
    • Chilies, red, dried, 1 tbsp / 3-4 pieces or per taste
    • Black peppercorns, 1 tsp
    • Honey, 2 tsp
    • Salt, 1 tsp
    • Garlic, 1 tbsp
    • Enough refined oil to blend smoothly
  • Sesame seeds, 1 tsp
  • Sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Blend all ingredients in set 1
  2. Mix with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Serve as a dip with vegetables or on toasted bread

Notes:

  • This is a very high calorie mixture. Please use it sparingly.
Categories
Recipes

Rice Bowl #1: A Surprise Visit

Cherie had a friend coming over and I so like feeding people in addition to trying to expose kids to flavours they may not have tasted before. This was Holi and we were confined to our quarters all day; a good opportunity to cook, not that I really need one.

Given how much I adore bowl meals, and how great they taste, and how great they look … I went with making a rice bowl for our early dinner.

These bowls have different components and can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. At it’s simplest, your rice bowl could be just rice, broth and one topping. Me? I like ’em grand.

One point of caution: the more the toppings, the bigger the bowl.

As with quite a few, perhaps most of my food, concepts keep forming and are continually considered, discarded and adopted, until the final picture makes complete sense.

The first thing I needed was rice, which Indu took over. I suck at cooking rice. I asked her to please make it sticky. The next ingredient was broth. Now that’s usually tricky, since broths need to taste really good. Something like with Dal-Roti, the dal needs to be delicious or the whole meal is a goner.

Whenever I buy pork, I save the skin for stocks, soups and broths. It’s full of gelatin and is a great use for pork skin, which many tend to discard. So, into the pot of water it went, followed by Tibetan chilli paste, whole onions (with skin, chopped in half), tomatoes (whole, chopped in half), garlic (whole pod, chopped in half), dried basil, aniseed (saunf), peppercorns, green chillies (whole), fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. It cooked on low heat for about 3 hours, was then strained and further reduced until the consistency and intensity of flavours were how I wanted them.

I take quite a bit of pride in being able to rustle up a variety of dishes using only what’s in my kitchen at that point, and this day was no exception. Rummaging through the freezer, vegetable basket and other locations was a fruitful exercise and threw up stuff enough to complete the meal.

A few shrimp turned up in the freezer, which I blanched and tossed with sliced cucumber, sliced carrots, pork bits (trimmed from the pork skin) in a room temperature mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, sugar and sesame seeds.

This combination is great by itself and maybe some noodles for a delicious cold salad

On one hand there are meals we can literally eat without looking at our plates. That’s one of the reasons we overeat – there’s virtually no interaction with the food. Then there are meals like these that demand interaction and simply cannot be eaten without paying attention to what’s on our plates. I try to make most of my food such.

Cherie took over making Ramen eggs, which have solid whites and liquid yolks. If you like your fried eggs sunny side up and dislike solid, dry, cooked-through, boring yolks as we do, you’ll love Ramen eggs. The rule of thumb is room temperature eggs, perhaps soaked for a bit in warm water to raise their temperature so they don’t crack, cooked for 6 minutes in boiling water and then placed in an ice bath for 3 minutes. The initial 6 minutes cooks the whites and the ice bath stops the cooking process so the yolks remain liquid. Given we don’t really have eggs graded by size in India, you may need to experiment. I find this timing works best with brown eggs that have thicker shells than white broiler eggs. The yolks have vivid orange/yellow hues too and look lovely. They taste better as well.

See how the two eggs on top are squished against each other? That’s because the yolks are liquid inside. This is how you can tell you’ve done a good job without cutting them open.

I found these beautiful soup bowls in Majnu ka Tila (Delhi) that are larger than average, which we usually use for bowl meals. You also want to think about how the food will be eaten. If with chopsticks or forks, ,then the ingredients need to be somewhat chunky so they can be picked up easily and the rice should be sticky or clumpy. If spoons are preferred, then the ingredients must be chopped smaller.

A bottle on the window sill turned up some raw peanuts that were then pan roasted with oil and salt. Cucumber and carrots were cut into sticks and drizzled with sugary vinegar. Spring onion greens were chopped.

For meals to be interactive, the diner must be rewarded for paying attention to the food. Different combinations of flavours and textures are what we need to do so. Think of crisp, crunchy, soft, sour, sweet, chilli and so on that the diner can combine in different ways so as to deliver different experiences with every bite.

Finally, I found a bottle gourd and some kohlrabi greens. The bottle gourd was finely sliced, steamed and soaked in soy sauce. The greens were trimmed, blanched, squeezed (really hard) into a ball, chopped finely (or into bite sized pieces) and then mixed with finely sliced raw garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Finally, our meal was ready. What remained was how to plate it. Sure, it’ll be mostly mixed together when eating, but it must still look pleasing at first glance. For example, if the rice were placed on the side with the rest of the ingredients on the other side then the broth would drown half the ingredients and they wouldn’t be seen. After considering a couple of scenarios, I went with rice at the bottom, the toppings on the side and the broth poured into the middle, allowing the broth to be unseen, in favour of the rest being visible.

This meal tasted wonderful, was satisfying to cook and to eat. This format is great for enjoying food and conversation together and makes for a lively table. I hope you cook and like it. :)

Categories
Recipes

Egg Salad – Take 2

Who says egg salads have to be a mess of chopped boiled eggs in a sloppy dressing? Sure, it’s a comforting combination, but you can do better.

This egg salad is a delightful mixture of eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese and flavoured oils that you’ll absolutely love making and feeding to your friends, family and children.

When you eat this salad, there’ll be a surprise in every bite – the crunch of nuts, a burst of moist sweetness from the grapes, the satisfying smoothness of cheese, crisp onions, juicy bell peppers and more.

Nutritionally, this egg salad has very low carb content, some fat and plenty of different nutrients. It’s great as a quick, light breakfast or a snack that’ll satisfy without slowing you down.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Eggs, medium size, beaten, scrambled
  • 1 Bell pepper, red or yellow, chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, toasted
  • 1/2 Onion, medium size, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Olives, sliced
  • 10 – 15 Mint leaves, torn
  • Handful Coriander, with stems and roots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cheese of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon Peanuts, salted and roasted without oil
  • 2 Strawberries, medium size, sliced
  • Handful Grapes, sweet, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil, Chinese
  • Half a lemon, juice of
  • Salt and pepper as per taste

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients and serve

Serves 2

When you cook and eat this salad, I want to know how it worked for you, the changes you made, why you made them and what your version tasted like. So, do leave a comment, okay? :)