Thursday, March 23, 2017

Eggplant & Sweet Potatoes in White Poppy Seed Sauce

Misti Alu Begun Posto
White poppy seed sauce (posto) is one of my favourite dressings to use on stir-fried vegetables. This type of sauce gives any vegetable a thick and creamy gravy. White poppy seeds have a calming effect, is best eaten with hot and steamy rice, followed by a long mid-afternoon nap.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Singapore Egg Noodles with Shrimp

Singapore Egg Noodles

I generally make Singapore noodles with rice noodles, but egg noodles work just as well. This is a one-dish meal that can be made in under 30 minutes and is a great lunch idea. Accompanied by a serving of pan-fried dumplings, this hits the spot and keeps you satiated for a while.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Baked Apple Delight

Baked Apple Delight
The smell of porridge in the air meant that it was a weekend in winter or spring in Darjeeling. This resort town in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, sits at an elevation of 6,700 ft. above sea level. It's backdrop is Mt. Kanchenjunga which is among the world's highest peaks.

During weekdays, our kitchen was the domain of Kanchi who arrived in the wee hours of the morning so she could make us breakfast before we left for school. The weekends were always special because Mum took over kitchen duties. Winters were spent in Calcutta, but we returned to the mountains in the early part of March while it was still pretty cold. Porridge made from old-fashioned oatmeal was a favourite part of breakfast because it warmed us up and was filling to boot!

Fast forward several decades to a time when consuming sugary desserts are a no-no so this combination of porridge and apples is a welcome addition to dinner. So easy to prepare, the memories of my childhood evoke images of my mother's nurturing nature, with the creation of this all-time favourite.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dal Makhani - Buttery Lentils

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani which translates to Buttery Lentils is generally made with a lot of butter and cream. This is a lighter version (inspired by the late Tarla Dalal) of a dish that originated in the Punjab region of India. It's a popular dish among truckers who dine at truck stops all over India called 'dhabas'. Because it is made so rich with butter and cream, it is served on special occasions like weddings and festivals.

The base is a combination of whole urad dal and rajma or red kidney beans. The legumes are soaked overnight and pressure cooked the next day with onions, ginger and a variety of spices. In place of dry kidney beans, I used a can to save time.

In spite of using only half a stick of butter, these lentils were creamy and delicious. They go well with hot, steamed rice or with a variety of Indian breads.

Urad Dal

Skinned Black Gram or Urad Dal

Split Black Gram

Whole Black Gram
Here is an interesting excerpt on the benefits of consuming Urad Dal as part of your daily diet.

"Some types of dals or lentils are healthier when compared to other dals. For example, the black gram dal and moong dal are considered healthy as well as nutritious for their amazing properties. Urad dal, also known as white lentil or black lentil is a kind of bean that is grown in the southern parts of Asia. Also known as black dal, urad dal is used as a major ingredient in Indian cuisine for preparing a healthy diet. 

Both black and yellow urad dal are used for preparing a variety of dals with different flavours. It is highly valued due to its numerous health benefits. For example, Urad dal has protein, fat, and carbohydrates which is required by the body. If you are looking for a protein-friendly diet, then opt for urad dal. This dal is one of the richest sources of proteins and Vitamin B. 

Urad dal is also good for women as it has iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium which makes it a healthy pulse. Urad dal is also rich in fibre which makes it easy to digest. Some types of dals are good for the heart as well. For example, urad dal benefits the health as it is good for the heart. Consuming urad dal helps to reduce cholesterol and improves cardiovascular health.

Moreover, if you are feeling lethargic and lack energy, then have black gram. It is one of the healthy pulses for vegetarians as it boosts energy in the body and has rich iron content which fights several health issues." 

For some of the amazing health benefits of including urad dal (black gram) in your diet, read more at:

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Garlic Sauce

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Garlic Sauce
Lee Kum Kee makes a great tomato-garlic sauce, but when that's not available it's quite easy to assemble similar ingredients. Shrimp takes such a short time to cook that it's perfect when dinner needs hurrying up. 

I used half a pound of large shrimp (20-30 shrimp per pound) that were already peeled and cleaned. The base of the sauce is tomato puree that was made spicy with the help of Gochujang (Korean chili paste) which has a hint of sweetness. For a more tomato-ey taste, tomato ketchup added both colour and served to thicken the sauce. Minced garlic and Thai red chili peppers along with a sliced onion rounded out the flavours.

This shrimp dish is best served over a mound of steamed, long-grain rice.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes
Craving something wholesome and delicious first thing in the morning generally leads me straight to a breakfast loaded with carbohydrates. Oatmeal or porridge, which I love, takes some time and effort to prepare, so here is a low-carb, gluten-free and delicious alternative, for diabetics in particular.

These delicious 5-ingredient oatmeal pancakes go from pantry to table in under 15 minutes and are a cinch to make. Using a package of instant oatmeal flavoured with maple syrup and brown sugar (the box stated 50% less sugar than the regular) eliminates the need to add sugar to the batter. Top the pancakes any which way - with more maple syrup or fruit compote and/or nuts. I simply sprinkled pumpkin pie spice over my pancakes and paired them with a couple of veggie sausage patties. 

Savoury Oatmeal Pancakes

I've made savoury oatmeal pancakes before and those were delicious too.