Follow Me On…

Sides

May 172014
 
Monji Achar - KohlRabi Pickle
Share

Kohl Rabi Pickle

While most of the world was making something sweet for the Mother’s day and indulging in creamy decadent desserts, the scene at our home was the opposite. It was a day of savory indulgences and a day of “Home Spa”. My daughter’s idea of making me have a great mother’s day was to have her Dad cook up a storm of savory things while she presented me with the make up supplies and a “gift certificate” to redeem. The gift Certificate read, – “Personalized make up services by Shloka”.

I am NOT a make up person. I just don’t have the skills or the patience to apply all things make up. My biggest make up achievement is applying an eye liner in a straight line without smudges and that too happens on rare occasions. So it was hard to let the teen do her thing on my face. But I did. Hard as it was to sit and let her enjoy the havoc she was playing on my face. But she was having fun and I think Mothers all over the world enjoy that the most. When the kids are happy and content – the moms are happy and content. I would sum it up as a nice mother’s day celebration, despite the ‘mismatched makeuped’ eyes 😉

Exquisite Make up ;)

Exquisite Make up ;)

As has become the tradition for our home, We start by celebrating and remembering my Mom by making or eating a dish that she loved making or eating. It is a ritual that comforts me and my daughter as we both miss her so very much. It comforts us to remember her by the loving memories she left behind. So for this Mother’s day, we enjoyed my Mom’s favorite pickle dish – The Monji Achar – Kohl Rabi Pickles in Mustard Oil.

Kohlrabi is from the Brassica oleracea family of veggies. I always find it at Sprouts and Whole Foods just when spring begins. I have also spotted it in Asian Grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets. While I have never had to explain what I was buying to the farmer ( it would be so wrong if they didn’t know what they had farmed, wouldn’t it?) or to the checkout person at the Asian grocery, I always have gotten weird, cross eyed, confused look at the local grocery and at The Whole Foods.

Kohl Rabi Pickle-4

To give some credit to the Whole Foods checkout person, he/she usually just scans it after the confused look and tries hard to maintain the faux impression that they know everything about what they sell. The people at the local grocery store however range from confused looks to asking a co worker, calling the manager or sometimes simply asking me, “do you know what this is called?” I have learned my lesson. I usually just tell them  the PLU code and then inform them that the produce is known by the name Kohl Rabi.

Kohl Rabi Pickle

 

Sometimes someone goes to the extent of asking, “ So what do you do with it?” Despite having a deep urge to tell them the obvious, “Well! We eat it”, I usually go on a long lecture mode to explain how many ways we can cook it and the general nutritional benefits of a simple, unassuming Kohlrabi. Needless to say, if my daughter or the spouse are with me, they leave the area without a trace or sound. They disown me in the moment! It’s happened far too many times – so much that my daughter asks me in advance if I am going to buy any “unusual” produce when she comes along for grocery shopping.

Kohlrabi pickle

This is the single most important vegetable after the “Haakh” (Greens) in Kashmiri cuisine. We love it in more ways than we can tell. So today I am sharing the much loved Monji Achar! This was my mom’s favorite pickle.

Kohl Rabi Pickle-5

The Kohlrabi is a mild tasting vegetable, even though it is from the Brassica family. It’s sweet tasting with a crunchy texture. The fermentation with spices and the preservation with the salt and oil makes this pickle a real treat to eat. Crunchy with just a hint of tartness. It is mostly eaten with plain rice, a dish of haakh and yogurt.

Monji Achar – Kohlrabi Pickles in Mustard Oil

Monji Achar – Kohlrabi Pickles in Mustard Oil

You will need a clean and sanitized glass or ceramic jar to make the pickle in. Mason Jars work really well.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Kohlrabi with greens
  • 2 Tbs Brown Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain/ Bishop's weed
  • 4 tbs Cayenne/Kashmiri Chilli powder/ chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 C Mustard Oil
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1/4th tsp Asafetida

Instructions

  1. Wash and pat dry the Kohlrabi along with the greens.
  2. Separate the greens from the Kohlrabi and cut them into halves.
  3. Use a salad spinner to completely dry out any remaining moisture from the leaves, then as an additional precaution, spread them on a paper towel for a couple of hours to dry up further.
  4. once the greens are dry, wrap them in a fresh paper towel and store them inside the vegetable compartment, until needed.
  5. Peel and cut the kohlrabi into medium sized cubes. Spread them onto a paper towel or a kitchen cloth and leave them in the sun for a few hours, until the moisture dries up a bit and the edges look slightly shriveled.
  6. Remember- we are not sun drying them. We are using the heat from the sun to partially remove the moisture from the kohlrabi.
  7. Coarsely grind the mustard seeds and ajwain using a spice grinder. You don't need a fine powder of these spices, so just give them one whiz in the machine.
  8. Take a wide bowl and put this mix and the salt and other spices and oil into it. Mix well . Add in the kohlrabi and the greens, mix really well.
  9. Using a clean dry spoon fill the kohlrabi spice mix into a clean jar. Once you fill the jar, press it down with the spoon, to allow the oil to float on top.
  10. Cover and close the lid and leave in the sun for a few days to ferment and develop flavor. Once the Pickle acquires the required and preferred tang, store in the refrigerator to maintain the crunchiness.

Notes

1. We are keeping the greens separately inside the fridge as leaving them out will dry them out completely and they will turn yellow. 2. It takes almost a whole day for the kohlrabi to lose some of its moisture. If you are keeping it in the sun, a few hours might be enough depending on heat and atmospheric moisture on the day.

http://www.spiceroots.com/monji-achar-kohlrabi-pickles-mustard-oil/

 

 

 

Share
Feb 152013
 
Kashmiri Walnut Chutney
Share

Walnut is a significant part of Kashmiri culture. It is said that that the four kernels of the walnut represent – Dharma ( guiding principles by which we live life ) Artha ( Meaning of life ) Kama ( desires) and Moksha ( Nirvana). It is also believed to be symbolic of the four Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Atharva and Sama.

The whole walnut with the shell on is an essential element in all Kashmiri rituals and important religious festivals. The Festival of Herath ( Shivratri) – The celebration of the union of Shiva and Shakti – being the most important of them. An earthen pot is filled with water and walnuts and prayers are offered. Three days after the Pooja, the walnuts are shared with neighbors, friends and family. So while you are sending out the Prashad (sacred offering), more is coming your way too.

Kashmiri Walnut Chutney

Kashmiri Walnut Chutney

In Kashmir, walnuts are an essential part of Birthday celebrations, Sonth ( spring festival ) and the Navreh (New year ). And with so much emphasis on its use, it was kind of hard to not like them when I was young.

So if you are a Kashmiri, like me, you have a lot of reasons and ways  to eat walnuts – like this walnut chutney.  If you are not a Kashmiri, you still have a lot of reasons to eat walnuts and the walnut chutney.

They help with weight management : Even though walnuts are high in calories and contain fat, they can actually help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals can boost your health and help you to avoid eating too many other foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition. So munch on.

They help with diabetes – Studies have found that a diet supplemented with walnuts may positively impact individuals with diabetes.

Walnuts help improve Sleep :-  The body’s pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin that induces sleep and helps regulate sleep. This hormone is found in walnuts–making walnuts a great evening or bedtime snack for improving your sleep.

And I am sure you already know about the heart health benefits of walnuts  since they are a good source of  potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids .

Walnut is out ingredient of the week at 38 powerfoods blog group. Do visiit  Jeanette at jeanetteshealthyliving ; Martha at Simply Nourished Living ; Mireya at Myhealthyeatinghabits ; Alyce at More time at the table ;  Minnie at thelady8home.com , Casey at  Sweetsav to read their stories and recipes on walnuts.

 

 

Walnut Chutney

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes

Walnut Chutney

This is a quintessential chutney from Kashmir. There are many variations and this is a basic version.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C mint leaves, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 C walnut halves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4-5 thai green chilies ( adjust quantity as needed- this is HOT)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbs water

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a blender.
  2. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Use as a chutney with Indian meals or a dip with vegetables and kebabs
http://www.spiceroots.com/walnut-chutney/

Share
Jan 072013
 
Smoky Eggplant Dip - Baigan Bharta
Share

Smoky, smoldering and clandestine. That has been my affair with the guy named clove, ever since we got together for the Alu matar Smokin’.  We have been meeting off and on, more on than off for he is just too irresistible.  What’s not to like in a guy who makes me look like I am the greatest cook?  He makes me look good, oh yes he does!  But since it is a brand new year and I really don’t want to keep him a secret anymore, I am declaring it out loud.  This is going to be the year of clove in my kitchen.  There ! I said it.

In addition to the smoky pungent taste, the cloves have therapeutic properties and have some of the richest antioxidants of all spices.  And did I tell you that they act as wonderful breath fresheners?

A fire roasted eggplant is quite flavorful by itself.  The best baigan bharta  is made on smoldering coals or a wood fire. Slowly roasted eggplants on wood or coal fire have a taste that can just not be matched by any other method. However, cooking them on an open stove top flame comes a close second and so does roasting them in an oven. No matter which method you use, a baigan bharta with cloves added in takes it a few notches up.  The already smoky flavor gets matched with pungent smoky clove. The result is worth a try.

Serve this Roasted Egg plant dip (for want of a better description for baigan bharta) as a game day appetizer.  You will in fact make them stop watching the game for just a bit to ask you what’s in it 😉

 

Roasted Eggplant Dip – Baigan Bharta

Roasted Eggplant Dip – Baigan Bharta

Smoky, smoldering and sensational.

Ingredients

  • 2 Globe Eggplants
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1.5 C chopped tomato
  • 1/4 C chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp clove powder
  • 1- 2 thai green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder/paprika/cayenne
  • 2 tbs chopped garlic
  • 1 tbs chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbs mustard oil
  • 1tsp mango powder (amchur)

Instructions

    prepare the eggplants
  1. make deep incisions all around the eggplants and cook them on open flame/ grill.
  2. Alternately cut them in halves lengthwise, and roast cut side down in the oven at 450*F for 25- 30 min
  3. Once the eggplants are cooked through ( tender all through), allow them to cool off.
  4. Then peel the skin off and keep the eggplant aside.
  5. make the dip
  6. Heat the mustard oil and allow it get slightly smoky
  7. Reduce heat to medium and add the cumin and wait for it to splutter
  8. Add in the onions and let them cook until they get transparent and start browning on the sides.
  9. Add in the ginger and garlic and saute until garlic browns slightly.
  10. Add in turmeric, chillipowder, and tomatoes and cook for about 4- 5 minutes on medium heat.
  11. Add in the eggplants and mix well. Now add in the cilantro, green chillies, mango powder, salt and clove powder.
  12. Cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring every now and then, until everything mixes in well.
  13. Serve with strips of pita bread as a dip or with roti and dal as a side dish.
http://www.spiceroots.com/roasted-eggplant-dip-baigan-bharta/

Share
Aug 172012
 
Cumin infused Mushrooms
Share

 

Mushrooms!! The hobbits were fond of them. The very sweet shy people of the shire. They loved their beer, their pipe and their food, especially mushrooms.  Every time I read the Lord of the Rings or watch the movies, I find myself cooking mushrooms in different ways. Until I finish watching the movies or reading the books, my kitchen witnesses a plethora of mushrooms.

Yes, I did say every time. I read the book every couple of years  and watch the extended version of the movies at least once a year. It’s kind of like my forever story book and I love the magical worlds it transports me to.

So the hobbits are fond of mushrooms and I figure,  much before mankind realized mushrooms could be eaten,  the hobbits  had known the magical properties  (read health benefits), of the fungi. Since Hobbits like them, I like them.  Except for gathering them on my own, which I assume would be quite dangerous since I don’t know how to identify the ones that can kill me with a whiff,  I like everything about mushrooms.

Mushrooms are quick and easy to cook and usually do not require too much of anything to bring out their fabulous taste. A little oil, a touch of salt, a bit of a fresh herb, a hint of garlic and you have an amazing meal ready.

For today’s 38 Power Foods Blog group, I have a very quick and easy recipe that I like to usually eat on top of toasted bread or as a filling in a whole wheat roti.

 

38 Power Foods blog group  focuses on one ingredient each week taking inspiration from the book ; Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of the whole living magazine. Each week we all  come up with recipes, stories, articles to encourage eating nourishing food.

Who is we all ? The following wonderful people who make nourishing food and talk about it on their blogs. Do check what they have come up with this week. Also, If you are a blogger and  love the idea of being part of the 38 power foods, we would love to have you join us.   Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.

Jill and Margo at Saucy Cooks;

Jeanette at jeanetteshealthyliving ;

Martha at Simply Nourished Living ;

Mireya at Myhealthyeatinghabits ;

Alyce at More time at the table ;

Casey at BookCase foodie

Bambi at adobodownunder

Mushroom Stir fry with green onions and cumin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 C sliced green onions
  • 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Heat the pan and add the oil.
  2. Add the mushrooms and some salt.
  3. Stir and fry until the moisture evaporates and mushrooms crisp up a bit
  4. Now add the garlic and cook until garlic is a mild brown
  5. Now you add the cumin and mix it all
  6. Add in the green onions and cook until just done
  7. sprinkle some pepper flakes. mix and remove from heat and serve.
http://www.spiceroots.com/mushroom-stir-fry-with-green-onions-and-cumin/

Share
Jul 062012
 
Beetroot Parfait
Share

 

The Plot :  38 Power Foods Blog group

Summary : 38 Power Foods blog group will focus on one ingredient each week taking inspiration from the book ; Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of the whole living magazine. Each week we all will come up with recipes, stories, articles to encourage eating nourishing food.

Co conspirators : ( it will be nourishing for your foodie health to visit these blogs and see what they have come up with)

Jill at Saucy Cooks;

Jeanette at jeanetteshealthyliving ;

Martha at Simply Nourished Living ;

Mireya at Myhealthyeatinghabits ;

Alyce at More time at the table ;

Sarah at everything in the kitchen sink;

Casey at BookCase foodie

Episode #4 – Beets.

 

This week I made beetroots in many different ways. I made the standard raita ;  recipe for which I have shared in a previous post.

I sliced them thin, infused them with fennel and baked them into chips. I also made the recipe that I am sharing today –  of a beetroot parfait;  which is kid tested and approved. My daughter loved it and ate it without any fuss. She usually stays away from beetroots in any other form.

Beets provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Traditionally, In India it is  given to expecting mother’s as part of their special diet. And is also suggested for people whose hemoglobin levels are low.  It truly is a power food with research backing up all claims, so it really is not a myth.

While reading up on the benefits of beets, I found out that the beet leaves were equally nutritious and hence a power food. Last week, I and my friend Jill from Saucy cooks  were making Samosa and we  added the greens to the potato stuffing. The result was super delicious. And It made us feel a little better about frying up the samosa.

I love the fact that you can go buy a bunch of beets and use up the entire plant. Super convenient, economical and in plain words – A real Power food!

 

The parfait style yogurt based beet dish was a wonderful addition as a side dish. We grilled some chicken using tandoori spices, and served this as a side dish. Instant hit!

 

 

Beetroot Raita or Parfait if we may

51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 small parfait glasses

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size beetroot
  • 2 Cups beet root greens chopped
  • 1/2 C plus 1/2 C yogurt divided
  • Salt ( only if you really want)

Instructions

  1. Wash the beet well and make some deep incisions in it with a sharp paring knife
  2. put it in a microwave proof dish and cover with a plastic wrap.
  3. pop the plastic wrap with the knife once or twice
  4. cook on high for 3 - 5 minutes
  5. when it is done , it will be soft and buttery
  6. peel off the outer layer and discard it ; chop the rest of the beet
  7. take 1/2 C yogurt and put in the blender along with the beet and blend them well -almost like a puree
  8. Now blanch the beet greens and shock them in cold water
  9. Put the greens into a serving bowl, layer with some plain yogurt and then top it off with the beet root yogurt mix puree.
  10. Serve with any grilled spicy dish. Or serve as a parfait for a snack.
http://www.spiceroots.com/beetroot-parfait-or-raita-if-we-may/

Share
Jun 282012
 
dill and potatoes1
Share

 

 

Since June 9, 2012 Colorado has been witnessing wild fires. Hundreds of homes destroyed , healthy green forests under ash, thousands of people evacuated – Colorado is burning. The forecast for the week does not bring any relief. The temperatures are going to be soaring thus making the fire fighting much more harder than it already is.

I know most of you have seen the photos on the Internet and watched it on TV. I know everyone who saw or heard about it has said a prayer and felt sorry for the people who are going through a tough time right now.

If there is something I have learned from my experiences in extremely difficult situations it is this : We, the human race, are a resilient and determined lot. We survive. We move from despair to hope. We slowly rebuild our communities, we count our blessings, we say Thanks.

We are a fascinating lot. For the rest of the world, the life goes on as usual. Nothing stops for anyone. I wonder if that is part of our survival. To keep doing what we are doing and keep oiling the machine called life. With prayers on our lips and faith in our heart, we busy ourselves with doing.

I am praying and sending thoughts to all people fighting the fires and all the people whose lives have been disrupted by it. But I needed to DO something positive. I needed to feel hope. I needed the courage to take a deep breath and think everyone and everything will be OK soon.

So I set out to bake with my daughter. We made chocolate lava cakes & tried our hands at making a blueberry jam. Both of them were not great successes, but it was something to do together with my daughter and it made me realize that it was ‘doing’ that gives us courage and hope and that is how we survive.

Here is a humble recipe that I want to share with you all today.

Dill Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Dill Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 med size boiled potato
  • 2 tbs fresh dill chopped
  • 1 Thai green chili, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice boiled potatoes in rounds
  2. Heat oil and add in the chopped chili
  3. add in the sliced potatoes and turmeric if using
  4. Fry until the edges crisp up.
  5. Sprinkle salt.
  6. Add in chopped dill - mix in..switch off the heat. cover and let it sit for a bit to let the flavors seep in.
  7. Enjoy with roti and a bowl of dal.
http://www.spiceroots.com/the-humble-dill-potato-and-a-rambling-mind/

 

 

 

 

Share