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Friday, October 09, 2015

Kohlrabi Beet Spicy Chickpea Balls (Koftas) with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

kohlrabi kofta best kohlrabi recipe

Koftas are a favorite at home - can be made with anything essentially. Am partial to vegetable koftas. Typically koftas are fried balls and are served with spicy sauce, as a side for rice or roti or naan.

This time, I decided to baked the kohlrabi-beet koftas and serve them with cooling creamy yogurt sauce, garnished with fresh crisp veggies.

I was glad to incorporate chickpea flour, rice flour and oat bran into this recipe. These can be deep fried, if preferred.

Since kohlrabi and beets are full of water, I retain their juices and adjust the flours accordingly to get the dough into shape-able consistency.

Kohlrabi Beet Spicy Chickpea Balls (Koftas) with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

These kohlrabi kofta balls make a good substitute for meatballs as they are fairly sturdy can can soak up the sauce without falling apart easily. So I throw them in marinara sauce and serve them with spaghetti sometimes. The cooked Kofta balls can be cooled a bit and then stored in the freezer. I've usually used the frozen koftas within a week.

When the ingredients list looks long and some of the items therein seem non-mainstream in some recipes, rather than walk away from the dish or possibly reject it for future attempts, I try to make an educated guess about substitutions and follow the recipe in spirit and see what turns up. Not that this is a complicated recipe or anything...


For the Kohlrabi Kofta Balls:
1 cup finely grated kohlrabi
½ cup finely grated beets
2 Tablespoon finely grated red onions
2 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoon cumin powder
2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
⅓ cup fine oat bran⅓ cup rice flour
½ cup chickpea flour
salt to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil for the dough
plus oil for spraying or drizzling before baking

For the Creamy Yogurt Sauce:
½ cup plain thick Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Tahini
&frac12 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes½ teaspoon dry dill weed
1 to 2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

For Garnish:
baby English hothouse cucumbers, sliced
sweet cherry or grape tomatoes halved
small red radish, sliced
cilantro, chopped
spring onions and chives finely chopped


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 420°F
  2. Kohlrabi Kofta: Combine all the ingredients to form a dough that can be shaped into balls 
  3. Arrange the 1.5 inch diameter balls in a roasting pan, drizzle or spray some oil
  4. Bake in the 420°F oven for about 25 to 35 minutes till cooked through; turn the balls halfway through to brown all sides
  5. Creamy Yogurt Sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a blender and whip to a smooth creamy consistency
  6. Serve the Kohlrabi Beet Koftas with Creamy Yogurt Sauce topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, cilantro, and spring onions

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Kohlrabi Oven Fries

best kohlrabi recipes fries baked roasted

Since Kohlrabi is juicy, it is not easy to make it into crispy fries. Perhaps dusting with flour and deep frying at the right temperature can get it close to home fries. But, I suspect it will still remain a bit soggy.

Anyway, I wasn't going to deep fry. So, I oven baked these kohlrabi sticks. Not quite thin as shoestrings, but not quite chunky as wedges. Adjust the cooking time for the size of the cut kohlrabi.

best kohlrabi recipes fries baked

With a mildly sweet flavor that is delicate, kohlrabi bulbs have quite the crunch when tender, almost like a crisp apple. I like to toss them in slaw and salads along with tart apples and baby red radishes.

roasted kohlrabi fries

The basic idea is not very different from roasting potatoes: Place in a roasting pan in a single layer, drizzle with oil or spray some oil, sprinkle salt, a dusting of brown sugar (for caramelization) and paprika. Bake in a 440°F oven for about 50 minutes depending on how thick-cut the "fries" are; flip halfway to brown all sides.

I let mine char a bit - I'd like to say 'on purpose' as burnt foods can bring out some delicious flavors if done right - but, sadly, I just ignored the timer's beep and let the fries sit in the oven too long after the oven was turned off.

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Roasted Kabocha Squash, Chard, Kale, Quinoa Salad

Roasted Kabocha Squash, Chard, Kale, Quinoa Salad

Winter squashes are here. With its relatively thin-ish edible skin and sweet and soft flesh, Kabocha squash is a favorite with me. It cooks up fast - roasted or steamed - and needs very little to enhance or boost its flavor.

Caribbean squash and Kabocha squash were handy, plus the weather dipped to the 70s so that turning on the oven was not as self-destructive as it can be on the 100 degree days.

Slice the Kabocha, toss in some olive oil, sprinkle some salt if preferred and roast  in a 425°F oven for about 12 minutes. (Thicker slices might take a little longer).

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in stock (or water plus some salt) in a rice cooker. I prefer 1:1 quinoa:stock. When done, stir in some lemon juice and olive oil, if preferred.

A bunch of kale and chard from the home-garden came in handy to boost the salad. Simply saute them with a dash of salt and a splash of lemon juice.

When ready, toss the quinoa and chards+kale together, arrange roasted Kabocha on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

A simple salad for the sweet autumn days...

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Purple Yam Ube Kachori and Mushroom Poblano Pepper Savory Kachori

Purple Yam Ube Kachori

Kachoris are stuffed fried breads from India, usually with savory filling, served with chutneys. Mung beans, chick peas, peas and carrots, potatoes are some of the popular stuffing. They are perfect tea time snacks and are good travel bread, much like parathas and rotis.

I had some ube purple yams and wanted to try Ube Kachori. But, rather than make it savory, went with the natural sweetness of the yams enhanced by flavorful coconut flour.

Purple Yam Ube Kachori

A sack of coconut flour has been lending itself well to some of the recipes and am liking the results so far.

For the savory kachori, a mash-up of mushrooms, Poblano and Anaheim peppers came in handy.

I prefer the dough to be seasoned a bit with salt and spices, or brown sugar for the sweet kachoris, but, that's optional.

Purple Yam Ube Kachori

The trick is to fry at medium-low heat, and usually I find that I am not the best person to deep fry anything. However, these turned out all right.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup warm water (plus or minus a few Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon red chili powder (optional)
Salt to taste
oil for deep frying

1 teaspoon coconut oil 
1/8 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup steamed and mashed purple

2 button mushrooms
1 Anaheim or Poblano pepper
1/4 shallot
1/2 inch piece ginger
1/8 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon coconut oil


  1. Dough: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the liquid a little at a time till a soft elastic dough forms; cover it and set it aside while getting the filling ready
  2. Sweet Filling: Steam the ube purple yams, mash them, add coconut flour and coconut oil to be able to shape them into smallish balls about 1.5 inches diameter
  3. Savory Filling: Finely mince the ingredients (except coconut flour and oil) and sautee it in coconut oil till rawness goes away; off heat stir in coconut flour and shape into 1.5 inch balls
  4. Heat the oil at medium low to about 350 ° F
  5. Divide the dough to make enough 2.5 inch diameter balls; flatten each ball in the palm while pressing the center to form a cup or a bowl shape; place a filling-ball and gather up the dough into a ball again with the filling enclosed; flatten this loaded dough ball with the side of the palm
  6. Deep fry in oil till golden brown all over, on both sides
  7. Serve warm with chutneys and dips

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Purple Yam Ube Oven-Roasted Fries

Purple Yam Ube Oven-Roasted Fries

Filipino Purple Yams, Ube, promptly show up at the local Asian market during season every year. They have a gorgeous purple flesh and a delicately sweet taste, primarily used in desserts.

Purple Yam Ube Oven-Roasted Fries

Since I am not fond of desserts much, I went with a simple oven-roasted purple yam fries. Tossed in coconut oil with a dash of salt, single layer in a roasting pan, in a 425°F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. That's it. A perfect Autumn snack ready in no time.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Caribbean Squash Coconut Cumin Koottu

Caribbean Squash Coconut Cumin Koottu

There are days when I barely make it home from work - not just the traffic, but the killing headache and associated nausea makes it all the more challenging to get home safely. Focused on deep breathing during the commute, all I can think of is getting home, hugging an ice pack and curling up on the sofa...

And on such days, just to make it fun for the kids, they get cereal or waffles or pancake puffs or something topsy-turvy for dinner - something that Papa can easily handle after his longer day at work.

I saw this West Indies/Caribbean Squash at the local market - it didn't have a specific name, so, not sure what it is called... Its taste and flesh reminded me of large sections of Matthanga, which along with Elavan made the delicious Olan, the best version, of course, being my mom's. I've always had a soft spot for Matthanga, it has a delicate sweet flavor, with a pumpkin-like soft texture when cooked.

Anyway, other than the fact that cutting and cleaning the squash is a pain, this is a simple dish that comes together quickly.

Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with naan, paratha or brown basmati rice.

3 cups of diced squash
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
cilantro for garnish

for the coconut paste:
¼ cup grated coconut
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
2 or 3 dry red chilies

½ teaspoon split urad dal
¼teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coconut oil
6 to 8 curry leaves, if handy


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the turmeric powder and the squash, some salt and water, cover and cook till squash is soft but not mushy, drain any excess water
  2. Meanwhile, grind the coconut paste ingredients together
  3. Stir in the coconut paste and the brown sugar, adjust salt to taste
  4. Tempering: heat the oil, add urad dal, when it turns golden brown add the mustard seeds; when mustard seeds pop, add curry leaves if using, turn off heat and pour over the squash curry

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Stuffed Snake Gourd with Coconut Flour and Chickpea Flour

Snake gourd has a distinctive taste and texture that I grew to love thanks to my mom's cooking. There are just two or three different ways in which she usually cooks it, almost always with coconut or with lentils or both.

The one issue I've always had with snake gourd is that it can be too mature and bitter if not picked when tender. Mature snake gourd tends to be woody and chewy, and not suitable for consumption.

This time, I was in the mood for stuffed snake gourd. Much like stuffed bitter gourd, it is easy enough to scoop out the pulpy innards and par-boil the snake gourd cylinders in some salted water.

The filling or stuffing was the tougher decision. Any old stuffing would be fine, like, seasoned ground meat, flavored brown rice and barley, Textured Vegetable Protein TVP, beans or lentils with quinoa and veggies... but, I wanted something different, something easy to make, yet flavorful. So, I turned to my newest obsession: Coconut Flour.

Chickpea flour and Coconut Flour stuffing:

¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup finely diced onions
¼ cup finely dices tomatoes
¼ cup cooked chickpeas
salt to taste
2 Tablespoon coconut oil

Simply heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and tomatoes, saute a bit, then add the flours, keep the heat at low and stir continuously till the flours turn a light nutty brown, not too dark. Stir in the chickpeas and turn off heat. That's it.

The filling would be powdery flour mixture that might have a beady breadcrumb-ish texture, which will clump up nicely when packed tight. And that's what I was going for.

Fill the boiled snake gourd cylinders and bake them in a 425°F oven for about 15 minutes, with a touch of oil brushed on. Turn the stuffed snake gourd cylinders in the oven half way through cooking to brown on all sides.

Serve warm, garnished with spring onions and cilantro, drizzled with Lemongrass Flavored Coconut Milk Sauce as in the Stuffed Kohlrabi recipe.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Snake Gourd with Chickpeas and Coconut

Snake Gourd with Chickpeas and Coconut

Snake gourd, when cooked just right, has a wonderful blend of textures - a mild crunch from the skin and a mellow softness from the flesh.

Snake Gourd with Chickpeas and Coconut

No fanfare this time, just a simple coming together of flavors that mean comfort for me. Growing up primarily on Palakkad cuisine, coconut was ubiquitous, as was plenty of vegetables. So, I went with a touch of salt, turmeric, and dry red chilies, with the proteins coming from chickpeas. I could eat a plate of this whole and call it a sumptuous dinner.

1 large snake gourd, cleaned and sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas, seasoned
2 to 3 Tablespoon dry grated coconut
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 dry red chilies, broken into smaller pieces
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
salt to taste
just enough water to immerse and cook the snake gourd

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds; when the mustard seeds pop, add the dry red chilies, allow to toast a bit, then add the turmeric and snake gourd and saute a bit
  2. Season with salt, cover and allow to cook till snake gourd is tender but not mushy; drain any excess water
  3. Stir in the chickpeas and dry grated coconut, stir well, serve warm

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Peach Chili Salsa

Peach Chili Salsa

At the Farmers market, I've grown addicted to eating the fried Kenyan bread, Mandazi, which comes with a sharply piquant chili chutney. Of course, there is barely half a tablespoon of chutney that comes with each bread, and I wasn't going to eat several fried breads to satisfy my chili chutney craving.

Peach Chili Salsa

After one such excursion, while the fire from the chutney was still blazing in my tongue, I decided that some equally fiery salsa was called for to enjoy the small bag of tortilla chips we had stashed away for the weekend treat. The other adult enjoys piquant foods way more than I do, and has better tolerance for chilies than me. So it was going to be a special treat to be enjoyed with a good pint of dark beer.

Now, peaches are in season. Peaches and nectarines and plums make wonderful sauces and chutneys, bringing a fruity aroma and mildly sweet flavor that complements many dishes. So, to balance the fiery chilies, I went with mildly sweet peach and nectarine to make this simple uncooked salsa.

Simply grind the ingredients, adjust flavors to taste and enjoy.

1 peach, chopped
1 nectarine, chopped
½ teaspoon brown sugar
3 Thai green super chilies
3 dry red Japanese chilies
1 Tbsp lime juice (more to taste)
salt to taste

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Beets and Purple Carrot with Brown Rice, Barley, Mung Bean Cutlets

Beets Carrot Brown Rice, Barley, Mung Bean Cutlets

What to do with leftovers might be a troublesome prospect for some. It happens to be quite an exciting enterprise for me.

About 1½ cups of stuffing for the Stuffed Kohlrabi in Coconut Sauce was leftover (on purpose). Also, some purple carrots and beets and red cabbage were handy. That's how these loaded Beets and Purple Carrot with Brown Rice, Barley, Mung Bean Cutlets came about.

1½ cups Barley, Brown Rice, Mung Bean prepared as shared in Stuffed Kohlrabi recipe
1½ cups combined grated purple carrots, beets, red cabbage, lightly sauteed with salt
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup fine corn meal
Up to 1 cup all purpose flour (a little at a time, as needed)
salt to taste
oil as needed

2 to 3 cups of Panko seasoned bread crumbs


  1. Combine the sauteed purple carrots, red cabbage and beets with the brown rice+barley+mung-bean filling
  2. Add the corn meal and coconut flour and stir till incorporated
  3. Add some all purpose flour, a little at a time, to make a thick dough-like batter that can be shaped into golf ball sized spheres
  4. Have the Panko breadcrumbs hand on a plate
  5. Heat a pan to medium high
  6. Press each dough ball into the breadcrumbs and flatten a little; also, press in breadcrumbs to the topside so that both surfaces are coated
  7. Place gently on the hot pan and cook; flip and cook both sides till breadcrumbs get crisp and golden and the cutlets hold together
  8. Serve warm with favorite chutneys, including Green Papaya, Green Mango, Kohlrabi Chutney

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Okra Rellenos: Fried Cheese-stuffed Okra in Coconut Flour Batter

Okra Rellenos: Fried Cheese-stuffed Okra in Coconut Flour Batter

Chili Rellenos comes a close second to Mirchi Bajji (Milagai Bajji or Molaga Bajji, colloquially), when done right. Okra Rellenos is just one step away from this, especially since Stuffed Baked Okra comes close, without the frying.

I am not an expert at frying foods. I invariably mess with the batter and ruin it, or not have patience to check the oil temperature and therefore either burn the outsides or get them soggy with oil. I think it is a subconscious defense mechanism: If I don't do it right, then I won't be eating a lot of fried foods, and that must be just fine.

Anyway, I do like to try out different batters, just for the fun of it. I like the tried and tested ones, no doubt. Since I had a big sack of coconut flour and chickpea flour, I wanted to see if the batter made with these two would turn out all right.

Okra Rellenos: Fried Cheese-stuffed Okra in Coconut Flour Batter

Stuffing is easy this time - just some cheddar and mozzarella sticks plus finely minced pickled jalapeno.

for the batter:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ chickpea flour
2 Tablespoon fine cornmeal (optional - I like the gritty crunch it adds)
2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup buttermilk
1¼ cup water (plus or minus a few Tablespoons)
salt and chili powder or smoke paprika powder for seasoning the batter

okra and filling - cheese, jalapeno

Oil for deep frying


  1. Combine the dry batter ingredients in a bowl, add the buttermilk, then slowly add the water; try not to overstir; coconut flour absorbs water quickly so alternate adding water and stirring to get the batter to a pancake batter like thick yet flowing consistency
  2. Slit and stuff the okra and keep it ready
  3. Heat the oil for frying to medium
  4. Dip the stuffed okra in batter and deep fry in batches
  5. Serve warm with chutneys and dips

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Green Papaya, Green Mango, Green Kohlrabi Spicy Chutney

Green Papaya chutney Green Mango, Kohlrabi Spicy Chutney

There's something utterly delectable about the combination of tangy sour and peppery piquant with a touch of delicate sweetness that has made it universal. Cuisines around the world have come up with local versions of this combination leveraging the indigenous ingredients.

Green Papaya chutney Green Mango, Kohlrabi Spicy Chutney

Raw green mango chutney and thokku are fairly common in Indian cuisine; and so is green papaya and kohlrabi. After the Purple Carrots, Purple Cabbage and Beet Relish, I was craving for more such combination chutneys and relishes.

Green Papaya, Green Mango, Green Kohlrabi Spicy Chutney

There was enough green papaya left after the Green Papaya and Purple Carrot Thai Salad.

There was enough kohlrabi left from the big bunch I picked up at the Farm market.

There were two green mangoes I had picked up because I like mangoes and liked the price.

The stars practically scrambled to align themselves for this particular Green Papaya, Green Mango, Green Kohlrabi Spicy Chutney to come into existence.

2 cups grated green papaya
2 cups grated kohlrabi
2 cup grated raw green mango
2 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
4 green chilies, finely diced or minced (seeded first, if preferred)
1 whole lemon, zest plus the lemon sections finely diced
1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar (1 Tablespoon if the green mango is too sour)
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup Pomegranate red wine vinegar
¼ cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
salt to taste

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil

  1. Heat the ¼ cup coconut oil in a pan and add the grated ginger and all the rest of the ingredients, stir well, adjust salt to taste and allow to simmer in medium heat
  2. Tempering: heat the oil in a small pan, when shimmering add the mustard seeds and allow to pop, turn off heat
  3. Once the liquid has cooked up and the chutney has thickened to a spreadable consistency add the tempering, stir well and preserve in jar using the boiling water canning method
  4. If not canning, allow to cool and refrigerate and use within ten days

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stuffed Kohlrabi in Coconut Milk Sauce

Kohlrabi stuffed with brown rice and barley in coconut milk sauce

I was lovingly lingering over the brilliantly colorful vegetable array at one of the Sauvie Island farm markets the other day, coming up with recipes on the fly, exploring the different ways I could cook each of them, when I was jolted out of my reverie with a 2 minute warning from the other adult which meant, I am heading to the checkout and if you want anything you better add it to the basket now or forever hold your peace.

So I grabbed a big bunch of kohlrabi (at $1.99 a bunch it was unbeatable), some sweet corn on the cob, and a bunch of purple radishes and dashed. Cippolini onions, scallop squash, and apricots will have to wait till my next trip.

stuffed kohlrabi barley brown rice coconut milk

The kohlrabi bunch had six large bulbs plus oodles of earthy greens. The raised eyebrow quizzing What are you going to do with all this kohlrabi? from the other half was met with my own patented grin reassuring Oh tons of things, you'll see! 

And so it is that I've been making kohlrabi dish after kohlrabi dish, wishing I had grabbed another bunch at the farm market before rushing off.

After boiling it tender but firm, the innards can be scooped out and added to the stuffing to enhance the kohlrabi experience. The scooped out bowls of boiled kohlrabi can then be filled with the stuffing, ready for steaming and simmering in the sauce.

stuffed kohlrabi vegetarian brown rice and barley coconut milk sauce

The stuffing can be anything, really - TVP, lentils, flavored brown rice or quinoa, barley or freekeh, mashed leftovers, ground meat... whatever the mood calls for.

This time, I wanted to make a vegetarian stuffing that can stand on its own as a side for another meal, so I went with Brown Rice + Barley + Mung Dal + Veggies, mildly spiced with cumin and caraway.

stuffed kohlrabi coconut milk sauce brown rice barley mung beans

The easiest way to make this particular stuffing for me is to throw the barley, brown rice, and mung dal in the rice cooker, with some salt and enough stock and cook it till done. Meanwhile, chop the veggies, saute with cumin and caraway seeds, then add in the cooked barley+rice+mung mixture, stir well and adjust seasoning to taste.

Kohlrabi stuffed with brown rice and barley in coconut milk sauce

Sauce can be anything from simple Bechemel to plain tomato sauce. I wanted to use the lemon grass from my garden so The Thai style coconut milk sauce came about.

2 or 3 whole kohlrabi

For the stuffing:
½ cup cooked barley
½ cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup cooked mung dal
¼ cup finely chopped red and orange peppers
¼ cup finely chopped red onions
¼ cup finely chopped red cabbage
¼ cup grated carrots
¼ cup grated zucchini
¼ cup chopped kale
1 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
the scooped out innards of the boiled kohlrabi
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
salt to taste

For the cooking sauce:

Kohlrabi stuffed with brown rice and barley in coconut milk sauce

Some home-garden lemon grass plus dry red chilies and garlic cloves were mashed and pounded in a mortal and pestle to a coarse consistency
1 14 oz can or about 1½ cups of coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil
salt to taste

  1. Slice the bottom of kohlrabi just a millimeter or two to make it sit on its bottom comfortably without wobbling
  2. Nestle 2 or 3 such kohlrabis in a pot with enough stock or water to immerse them, cover and allow to boil for 20 minutes till a skewer inserted into the middle slides in smooth and tender
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing: heat the oil, add the cumin and caraway and the veggies, stir and saute, then add the cooked rice+barley+mung dal and fold it all in to make a uniform mixture
  4. Remove the boiled kohlrabis, slice the top, scoop out the innards and add the innards to the stuffing and mix well
  5. Stuff the boiled kohlrabis with the prepared stuffing
  6. Sauce: Heat the teaspoon of coconut oil in the pot, add the crushed/pounded lemon grass+chilies+garlic and saute till aromatic, add the coconut milk; then gently place the stuffed kohlrabis, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes till sauce thickens
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with the sauce drizzled on, or on the side

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kohlrabi Stuffed Kale and Fennel Naan with Home-garden Lemon Cucumber Raita

kohlrabi naan

The unassuming basic naan recipe lends itself well to boundless additions and variations.

Much like the Mint Fennel Garlic Naan, this recipe starts out with Fennel and Kale added to the dough; but, to take it a step further, sauteed and flavored kohlrabi is stashed into the dough when making the naan.

Instead of Kohlrabi, Daikon radish or Opo squash or Chayote squash can be used.

kohlrabi naan

Peel and grate the kohlrabi finely; heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and saute the grated kohlrabi with salt and turmeric powder till cooked and fairly dry. Since this will be enclosed and folded in the dough, it cannot be runny.

Fennel and Kale being handy in the backyard garden, I went with those. I needed to find ways to use them up. But, any other herbs and greens can be used instead.

kohlrabu kale stuffed naan indian flat bread

The naan dough is pretty much the same as Mint Fennel Garlic Naan, so, prepare as usual and let it rise. The only addition is grated sauteed flavored kohlrabi folded into the naan as it is rolled out for cooking.

kohlrabi kale fennel naan indian flatbread

My preferred method of making naan using gas stove:
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat
  2. Brush one side of the rolled out naan dough with water and place it water-side down on the hot skillet
  3. Allow bubbles to form on the top surface
  4. Transfer the part-cooked naan to a wire frame, flipped now so the uncooked side is down over the flame
  5. Hold the naan on the wire frame directly over the flame till cooked through, shifting and moving it to cover all its surface
  6. I prefer some mild charring as it adds character and flavor

Serve warm with vegetable curries,  chutney, and raita.

Here I serve it with a simple Indian chickpea curry called Cholay, and a yogurt-based raita made with home-garden lemon cucumbers.

lemon cucumber home garden

For the Lemon Cucumber Colorful Raita:
1 Lemon cucumber,grated
½ Green apples, diced
¼ Red onions, sliced thin
Orange and Yellow Mini Peppers, chopped finely
Green Spring Onions, chopped on a bias
Thai green chilies, slit and chopped on a bias
Cilantro for garnish
Greek Yogurt

lemon cucumber raita

  1. Cut the lemon cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp and grate finely
  2. Chop some mini orange and red peppers, red onions, green apples, spring onions, and Thai green chilies if preferred
  3. Combine the grated lemon cucumbers and all the finely chopped veggies, along with thick Greek yogurt and stir well; season to taste
  4. Garnish with chopped cilantro

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

Kohlrabi Greens with Home-garden Chard Coconut Cumin Kalonji Mung Bean Koottu

Kohlrabi Greens with Home-garden Chard Coconut Cumin Kalonji Mung Bean Koottu

The kohlrabi greens along with fleshy, juicy kohlrabi bulbs came together with some home garden chard and mung beans for this simple koottu with cumin, Nigella sativa seeds, coconut and chilies as the primary flavoring.

Although it looks pretty involved with a lot of ingredients, it is actually a very simple, earthy dish. As always, flavors and spices can be adjusted to taste. Since the greens and kohlrabi are fairly bland, the layering of flavors helps develop this dish. The starter flavor of garlic, chilies and mint brings an appetizing aroma, and the finish with the flavoring coconut+cumin+nigella paste rounds out the dish.

1 kohlrabi plus a small bunch of kohlrabi greens with stems
6 to 8 large chard leaves with stems
1 medium vine tomato, diced
½ cup split yellow mung beans
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 whole lemon
salt to taste

Kohlrabi Greens with Home-garden Chard Coconut Cumin Kalonji Mung Bean Koottu

Flavoring Paste:
1 Tablespoon Nigella sativa (aka kalonji) seeds
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
4 Tablespoons dry grated coconut

Starter flavor to be crushed in mortar/pestle:
3 green chilies
12 mint leaves
3 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon urad dal
½ teaspoon mustard seeds

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the Starter flavors crushed, a pinch of salt and turmeric, and saute till aromatic
  2. Add the mung beans, 4 cups of water, chopped kohlrabi, tomatoes plus the greens
  3. Sprinkle salt, stir well, cover and simmer till kohlrabi and mung beans are cooked
  4. Meanwhile, combine the Flavoring Paste ingredients and grind into a fine powdery mixture
  5. Optional Tempering: heat the oil in a small pan, add the urad dal, when it turns golden brown, add the mustard seeds, when mustard seeds pop remove from heat
  6. When kohlrabi and mung beans are cooked, stir in the Flavoring paste, stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice, top with tempering, and serve warm with basmati rice or naan

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Almond Panko Encrusted Baked Stuffed Okra

Almond Panko Encrusted Baked Stuffed Okra

Sometimes, the work involved to get the finished product seems worth the effort. Sometimes, not. I think this dish is worth the time and labor, although that depends on how many okras one wants to prepare at a time in this manner.

Nutty, crispy coating, along with spicy stuffing makes these quite the versatile finger food. I decided to make just about 15 to 16 okras at this time, just enough as an appetizer for the two adults. Kids will take the sole courtesy bite per the house rule and declare it delicious but unsuitable for them at this time.

Almond Panko Encrusted Baked Stuffed Okra

Stuffing can be anything that will fit in the slit - grated cheese, sliced onions, jalapeno, even any cooked meats as long as it is minced or chopped small enough to fit. I went with simple mint chutney and thinly sliced red onions.

Almond Panko Encrusted Baked Stuffed Okra

16 medium sized okras
1 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs
1 cup ground raw almonds, seasoned
1 cup buttermilk
Stuffing: store-bought mint chutney, red onions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 °F
  2. Slit the okra but not slice it all the way through
  3. Push a thumb through the slit to get the sides separated enough to make a smallish pocket
  4. Slather some chutney and push in a small amount of stuffing
  5. Leave the stuffed okra in a shallow bowl of buttermilk 
  6. Mix the ground almonds and Panko seasoned crumbs together and keep it handy in a plate
  7. Take a few okras at a time out of the buttermilk, press into the almond+panko crumb, turn to coat all sides
  8. Place in a greased roasting pan; fill the roasting pan with these prepared crusted okras
  9. Drizzle with oil and bake for about 20 minutes till okra is done and the crumb coating is crisp and golden brown
  10. Remove from heat, serve warm with dips and chutneys

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Purple Pleasures: Purple Carrots, Purple Beets, Purple Cabbage, Purple Onion Relish

Purple Pleasures: Purple carrots, Purple Beets, Purple Cabbage, Purple Onion Relish

Summer is the only time we visit the farm often, naturally. During each of these farm visits that are primarily focused on berry-picking, I exercise my right to loiter in the market attached to the farm, mentally salivating and resisting the urge to grab a bunch of each and every single produce there. That is, until the other adult gently but insistently escorts me to the checkout.

While the escort maneuvre was in progress last weekend, I held up a bunch of purple carrots grinning from ear to ear. But you have a pound of carrots at home already, he reasoned. Ah, but they are not purple, I clarified. You are going to be eating a lot of carrots this week, the wise septuagenarian co-shopper explained to him genially, all the while beaming at me. I could have hugged her right then.

Purple Pleasures: Purple carrots, Purple Beets, Purple Cabbage, Purple Onion Relish

The bright purples were irresistible at the farm market and so they came home with me, with no particular agenda except to use them as wisely as possible: purple carrots, purple cabbage, purple beets, purple onions. Well, sometimes the cabbage and beets fall under the "red foods" category, but, they seemed quite the purple to me this time so purple they shall be.

¼ cup finely chopped garlic
2 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium purple/red onion grated
1 cup grated purple cabbage
2 cups grated purple beets
2 cups grated purple carrots

1 cup white vinegar
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic
1 teaspoon dried caraway seeds or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 Tablespoon red hot chili powder or ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
4 Tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste

¼ cup canola oil

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic, ginger and onions, saute till aromatic
  2. Add the grated beets, carrots, cabbage, some salt, and stir in the rest of the flavoring ingredients
  3. Allow to simmer till liquid evaporates and the relish comes together to a coarse spreadable consistency
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning
  5. To preserve it, canning is done in a boiling water bath, just standard procedure

Purple Pleasures: Purple carrots, Purple Beets, Purple Cabbage, Purple Onion Relish

Ways to savor the Purple Carrot Beet Relish:
  1. Mix with goat cheese and cream cheese and use it as a sandwich spread
  2. Stir some in with thick Greek yogurt and use it as a Wrap sauce
  3. Add a dollop of it to crackers and enjoy with cheese
  4. Toss some cooked pasta with the beet relish, top with feta or other favorite cheese and enjoy a quick tasty meal minus the tomato sauce
  5. Spread it on a pita or naan, top with avocado, watercress, snow peas and spring onions, fold in half or roll it up

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Green Papaya and Purple Carrot Thai Salad

Green Papaya and Purple Carrot Thai Salad

Trips to Farmer's Market make me giddy. So many colors, so many fresh and earthy goods  make it hard for me to pick just a handful to bring home.

Green Papaya and Purple Carrot Thai Salad

Today, I couldn't resist the bunch of purple carrots and a lovely green papaya. So, they came together for a Thai-style salad with some other items thrown in.

Green Papaya and Purple Carrot Thai Salad

[image source:]

Ever since last Winter when I got this Spiralizer as a present, it has been a temptation to put all possible vegetables through it and see how they turn out. Everything from zucchini, carrots, potatoes to beets, green papaya and raw green mangoes have been Spiralized over the months.

Rather than Mandolin slicer that I am mortally afraid of, I went with Spiralizing the veggies for this salad.

1 to 2 cups Spiralized or Julienned raw green papaya
1 purple carrot Spiralized
1 orange carrot Spiralized
A handful of spring onions sliced thin
About a handful of thinly sliced red onions
2 green chilies thinly sliced
Chopped cilantro
Crushed roasted salted peanuts
lemon wedges for garnish

1 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar

1. Combine the dressing ingredients and stir well 
2. Layer the papayas, carrots, chilies, red onions, spring onions, and dress as preferred
3. Garnish with cilantro and crushed peanuts

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