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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lumaconi with Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Chard

Large snail shell lumaconi is wonderful to stuff with favorite filling and serve warm or at room temperature. Sometimes, leftovers become the filling. This time, some pesto with Greek yogurt and sauteed chopped spinach came together to make the filling. Served with roasted sweet potatoes and beets, this was a sumptuous meal one weeknight.

Now that it is cold and rainy, the last of the kale and chard from the garden were waiting to be used up. Am told they'll manage winter fine and keep yielding, but they seem quite sparse now.

Saute some kale, chard, garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt, then add a splash of lemon juice and set aside. Roast the sweet potatoes and beets. Meanwhile cook the lumaconi to preferred doneness, drain, coat lightly in favorite vinaigrette.

Simply toss the roasted beets, sweet potatoes, sauteed kale and chard, with lumaconi and serve warm.

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Sunday, November 08, 2015

Thukpa Tibetan Noodle Soup

Soups are perfect for rainy autumn evenings, be it hearty and chunky or clear and brothy with just a hint of vegetables and noodles.

Thukpa, ubiquitous in the northern Himalayan regions, is a version of noodle soup that is always popular as it is easy to make and easy to enjoy.

Some wheat noodles and veggies come together in broth/stock, with ginger, garlic, red onion, cilantro, spring onions, carrots, spinach, and optionally chicken, simmered gently, with a touch of garam masala powder for flavor and heat.

Of course, the authentic recipes call for making wheat flour noodles as little dumplings in the soup, but I went with packaged ready-made noodles from the store... One of these days, I might try my hand at the wheat flour fresh dumpling-style noodles for Thukpa.

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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken with Vegetable Mash

Nothing extraordinary about this recipe, but I still wanted to share it here because it's one of my favorite ways to use up bits and pieces of veggies that are left over at the end of the week.

Half a zucchini, a small wedge of red cabbage, half a red onion, a bunch of celery bottoms, and half a bell pepper were waiting to be used. Simply chop them up, grind them into thick paste-like consistency, sauté to use as a starter for the curry.

Add this veggie-medley starter, some stock, cut chicken breasts, potatoes and carrots to the slow cooker and allow to simmer gently for 6 to 8 hours. Usually, I start this curry the previous night and serve it for dinner the following night.

Rub the chicken pieces with garam masala or curry powder before tossing into the slow cooker for an Indian style curry. Or rub it with achiote and adobo sauce with some cumin and oregano for a Mexican style dish. Adjust spices, herbs, seasoning to taste.

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Sunday, November 01, 2015

Millet and Lentil Stuffed Golden Danish Squash

I picked up a few Golden Danish/Acorn and Amber cup and Golden Kuri squashes at the farm market, hoping to make hearty roasted veggies and soups. But, the Golden Danish was perfect for stuffing and baking.

The Stuffing: 
1 cup millet
½ cup lentils
2½ cups stock or water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste

  1. Cook millet and lentils in the rice cooker, adding salt/seasonings as preferred, plus some olive oil; fluff with fork when done and keep handy
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and saute favorite veggies - onions, red cabbage, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, grated carrots, adding favorite seasoning - I used lemon pepper seasoning plus some garlic powder and parsley
  3. Stir in the cooked, fluffed millet+lentils and adjust seasoning to taste

The Baked Golden Danish:
  1. Wash and clean the skin of the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the pulp and seeds; slice off a thin portion of the squash on its curved side so it will sit flat for baking
  2. Lightly brush with olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and bake in a 400 °F oven for about 30 minutes, cut side down; then flip the halves so the cut side is up, and add a dab of butter to each half and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes; turn oven off
  3. Remove from oven, stuff each half with the millet+lentil filling, top with Pepperjack or Cheddar cheese, return the stuffed halves to the oven and bake for a few more minutes till cheese melts - the residual heat in the oven is plenty for this, even if the oven is off
  4. When ready to serve, top with feta and chopped spring onions, serve with a wedge of lemon

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Poached Pears in Moscato and Port

Poached Pears in Moscato and Port

Poached pears with a dollop of ice cream is the older child's recent favorite dessert. Being a dessert-o-phile, she enjoys a variety of fruit pies and cobblers rather than cakes and cheesecakes and other decadent sweets. And, not being a dessert fan, I rarely make desserts unless there is an occasion to celebrate or the older child talks me into it.

Poached Pears in Moscato and Port

Nothing out-of-the-ordinary about these poached pears. I made one batch with super sweet Moscato wine and another batch with Port for the rich red color. And, when I thickened the Port sauce, I also mashed in some frozen strawberries that we had picked and saved earlier in summer.

Combine the wine, some water, sugar, vanilla in a sauce pan, place the peeled pears in it cover and simmer till pears are a bit tender yet firm. Remove the pears and continue to thicken the liquid in the saucepan to a syrup.

Drizzle warm syrup on the poached pears and serve with some vanilla ice cream.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kohlrabi Eggplant and Lentils with Kale Basil Rice

The last of the Italian basil from the garden needed to be used up. So, the basil, plus a few Lacinato kale leaves from the garden came together for the delicious Basil Kale Rice.

The heady aroma of Italian basil, plus some coconut oil, along with kale makes this rich green rice a meal of its own, especially when topped with some toasted walnuts and black currants.

Here, I serve the Basil Kale Rice on the side, with the Kohlabi, Eggplants, and Lentils stew, slow-cooked with layers of flavors.

Ingredients for the Basil Kale Rice:
½ cup finely chopped basil leaves
1 cup finely chopped Lacinato kale leaves
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or any preferred oil)
2 cups cooked brown rice
salt/seasoning to taste

Heat the oil in a pan, add the finely chopped basil and kale, sauté till aromatic, add some salt and seasoning; then stir in the cooked rice. That's it.

Ingredients for the Kohlrabi, Eggplant, Lentils Tagine/Stew:
½ cup green lentils, soaked
1 medium kohlrabi bulb, sliced
1 medium globe eggplant, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped chunky
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 green chilies, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups vegetable broth or water
a few threads of saffron, soaked in a few Tablespoons of warm water (optional)
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley or 2 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon each of marjoram, thyme, oregano
Juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve on the side
a few tablespoons of oil


  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the garlic, ginger, chilies, and onions, a pinch of salt and sauté
  2. Add the green lentils, broth or water, cover and allow the lentils to par-cook to medium doneness
  3. Then, add the kohlrabi slices, green bell peppers, the saffron water, if using, all the herbs and spices, a sprinkling of salt, cover and cook on medium-low heat till kohlrabi and lentils are done.
  4. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan and brown the eggplant slices, just till the outsides are golden brown
  5. Arrange the browned eggplant slices on top of the lentils and kohlrabi, cover and cook till eggplant is soft but not mushy
  6. Off heat, splash some lemon juice before serving

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roasted Amber Cup Squash with Israeli Ptitim

Roasted Amber Cup Squash with Israeli Ptitim

Unlike its giant cousin moghrabiah, which I cook on and off, Ptitim or Israeli Couscous, as it is labeled in the markets here, has become a staple in my kitchen. Especially because of quick cooking time in rice cooker: just 1:1 ptitim:stock, with some olive oil, herbs, and spices in the rice cooker and it is ready to eat.

I was fascinated by the variety of squashes at the farm and picked up quite a few, ambitiously determined to cook them over the autumn weekends before they start decomposing.

A couple of squashes and Cloud 9 eggplant, some kale, tomatoes and peppers from my garden made weekend cooking a lot more fun over late summer and early fall.

Roasted Amber Cup Squash with Israeli Ptitim

Having grown squash in my garden and finding it heartbreaking to see only a handful get pollinated and bear fruit while the other flowers simply ended up boosting my summer salads, I have a weakness for these beauties.

Roasted Amber Cup Squash with Israeli Ptitim

The Buttercup squash from my garden, as well as Sweetmeat squash, barely bore a couple despite me waking up early and meddling with the flowers to try to get them going some days.

Roasted Amber Cup Squash with Israeli Ptitim

Anyway, Amber cup squash has thin-ish edible skin, with a golden orange flesh that is on the sweet side. This time, I partially peeled the skin and cubed them for roasting.

Along with Japanese eggplant, red onions, and green bell peppers, the Amber cup squash was tossed in olive oil and roasted in a 450°F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.

A splash of lemon juice and olive oil, a dash of salt, and a pinch of pepper tossed with the cooked ptitim, topped with roasted Amber cup squash and onions and eggplant and bell peppers, and maybe some feta, makes a sumptuous Fall dinner.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

Some of the kohlrabi bulbs I brought home became baked kohlrabi kofta balls and oven-roasted kohlrabi "fries". And the remaining kohlrabi bulb became this easy-to-make-on-a-weeknight delicious Cream of Kohlrabi soup.

best kohlrabi recipe Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

I love the pressure cooker for cooking certain foods. While there are a lot of studies (and myths) floating about regarding loss of nutrients and picking up harmful chemicals in pressure cooking, one has to do one's own research and figure out what makes sense.

Making soups and cooking beans in pressure cooker is something I've made peace with a long time ago. When veggies are cooked in stock/liquid and the liquids are retained in the soup, I am satisfied that nutrient-loss is not alarming enough for me to reconsider at this time. The whooshing whistle of the pressure cooker annoys the kids, but, it is almost music to me. Almost.

Simply chop the onions, garlic, kohlrabi, chilies and pressure cook in vegetable broth with favorite herbs and seasoning. Then, puree it, right in the pressure cooker with a hand blender. Stir in some fat free sour cream or beaten Greek yogurt for a distinct flavor - allow to cool a bit before stirring this in so as not to curdle it. Or, if adventurous, can stir in heavy cream and grated cheeses, simmer gently to a thick consistency.

1 large kohlrabi bulb, cut into smaller chunks
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 Tablespoon grated ginger
2 seeded jalapeño or Serrano chilies (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth
herbs and seasoning: thyme, parsley, marjoram, even shiso or other favorite herbs
salt to taste

For creaminess:
I've used any combination of grated white cheddar with cream cheese and a little bit of heavy cream
, maybe some thick Greek yogurt and sour cream beaten lightly, stirred in after cooling a bit....

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kohlrabi Greens with Golden Kuri Coconut Cream Soup

Kohlrabi Greens with Golden Kuri Coconut Cream Soup

I couldn't resist another giant bunch of Kohlrabi from the farm market for just under two dollars. The Kohlrabi greens along with some Golden Kuri squash from the farm went into a delicious coconut cream and coconut milk based mildly-spiced soup, with fresh lemon grass from my garden.

Kohlrabi Greens with Golden Kuri Coconut Cream Soup

The variety of Winter squashes available these days is astounding. My favorites tend to be medium-sized thin-skinned with orange flesh and sweet flavor-- not too huge as that will make chopping and cleaning a problem. Not a big fan of spaghetti squash or too-mild acorn squash, I go for meaty Kabocha, Golden/Red Kuri, Butter/Amber cup, Golden Danish, Delicata and such, which can be eaten with the skin on. Who can keep track of these fancy names each variety gets? Butternut squash is an all-time favorite, although I do get some help cutting and peeling it.

This is a simple soup, using thick rich coconut cream and coconut milk and Thai flavors, perfect for Autumn. Served with thin rice noodles, Thai cucumber salad, and deep-fried spring rolls, it is a huge feast for a relaxing weekend.

But, for a weeknight, just the soup would do, in all its hearty glory.

Kohlrabi Greens with Golden Kuri Coconut Cream Soup

Between the lemon grass in the garden and the citron leaves from the Myanmar store, Mingala International Market, I am addicted to Southeast Asian flavors.

3 cups chopped kohlrabi greens, stem and all
2 cups diced Golden Kuri squash, skin on
1 small Walla Walla sweet onion, diced
water or stock as needed
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For flavoring (pound in mortal+pestle):
some lemongrass leaves/stalk, chopped and ready for pounding
1 or 2 Thai green or red chilies
1 or 2 Kaffir lime leaves or citron leaves
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoon grated ginger


  1. Flavoring: Combine the ingredients in a mortal & pestle, and pound till thick paste comes together
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a pot, add the onions, flavoring, saute till aromatic
  3. Add the kohlrabi greens and kuri squash, stock, season with salt, cover and simmer till veggies are par-cooked 
  4. Add the coconut milk and simmer till veggies are done, stir some coconut cream if preferred
  5. Garnish with spring onions and cilantro and serve warm

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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
½ teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ 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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