Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Monday, April 23, 2018

Roasted Poblano Pepper and Pineapple Salsa

Roasted Poblano pepper and Pineapple Salsa

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, but, it is never too early to enjoy Mexican-inspired foods.

Poblano peppers seem a bit pricey, so, I indulge every once in a while and bring a few home to fire roast and incorporate in some home-made dishes.

Roasted Poblano pepper and Pineapple Salsa

In addition to roasted poblano peppers and pineapples, I added some diced green apples, Walla-walla sweet onions, corn, black beans, and red bell peppers to bring a mix of textures and flavors to this salsa.

Some of the pineapple juice from the canned pineapples, plus lemon juice, and a generous dash of seasoning that includes salt, oregano, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, and some ground bay leaves is what I went with for this recipe, and, as usual, I didn't measure accurately. But, since seasoning can be adjusted to taste, it should be fine.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, April 16, 2018

Collard Greens Stir Fry with Fried Tofu

Collard Greens Stir Fry with Fried Tofu

Fall greens from last year are at the end of their lifecycle, flowering and going to seed now. If I am not too lazy, I hope to save the seeds and use it again this year.

After the cold winter, it is refreshing to see the hardy annual greens in the garden survive and thrive till they give up: Kale, Chard, and Collard greens. Arugula has flowered and gone to seed as well. Time to dig up the patch and start afresh...

Anyway, I have been incorporating these greens from the garden in my cooking lately. Collard greens is a special favorite thanks to their sturdy leaves and their tender stems that cook up easily.

Collard Greens Stir Fry with Fried Tofu

Some collard greens from the garden, plus  carrots, and bell peppers, along with hunks of onion-flavored fried tofu come together in this simple stir-fry. Use any favorite stir-fry sauce, I tend to go with whatever is handy to throw together and am in the mood for, and I don't measure exactly.

Spring onion and garlic shoots have been popping up, fresh and happy as ever so I liberally garnish the dishes with these beauties.

Bui's Natural Tofu is my go-to store for getting tofu that I enjoy.
(Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Bui's Natural Tofu)

Onion flavored fried tofu (pictured in
Red and green bell peppers
2 cups chopped collard greens, stem and all

Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce, if preferred)
Sesame oil
Rice vinegar
Agave nectar or Grape Molasses (or, just brown sugar is fine)
freshly grated ginger
minced fresh garlic

  1. Heat some sesame oil in a pan, add the ginger and garlic, and stir fry till aromatic, then add the bell peppers, carrots and collard greens
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce, adjust flavors to taste and keep handy; usually, I make more than needed and save the rest for another day
  3. When veggies are slightly tender, add in the sauce, stir fry, and finish cooking.
  4. Garnish with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, April 09, 2018

Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd

Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd

Bitter gourd is another favorite of mine, which is an acquired taste for many, thanks to its -- er, bitterness.

Indian bitter gourd is about 5 inches long and deeply ridged with a darkish green skin. Chinese bitter melon is about 7 inches long, or even 8 inches, with thicker flesh and lighter color and milder flavor, still quite bitter, of course. I like both varieties, and each lends itself well to certain types of dishes, as in the many bitter gourd and bitter melon recipes shared here.

Tempeh, fermented soy beans, lends itself to many interesting additions. Here, it is sauteed with onions and spices and used as a stuffing for Indian bitter gourd.

Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd

Bitter gourd is gently slit and the seeds are carefully removed first, then par cooked in boiling salted water before stuffing and pan-cooking.

1 cup crumbled or diced tempeh
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

4 Indian bitter gourd
1 Tbsp tamarind paste (sold as Sour Soup base in Asian stores)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup vegetable broth
salt to taste

2 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Heat some oil in a pan, add the tempeh and the spices with a splash of broth, cover and cook the filling
  2. Meanwhile, slit, remove the seeds, and par cook the bitter gourd in boiling salted water till slightly tender; drain and pat dry
  3. Stuff the slit par-cooked bitter gourd with the spiced tempeh mix
  4. Stir the tamarind paste, remaining broth, and brown sugar and keep handy for basting
  5. Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet, place the stuffed bitter gourd, add the basting liquid from the previous step, cover and cook till bitter gourd is softer and has absorbed the flavors from the liquid
  6. Remove the lid and continue to cook if a crispy bottom is preferred

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Eggplant Flavored With Fenugreek, Nigella Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds, Black Pepper, Curry Leaf, and Peanut

Eggplant Flavored With Fenugreek, Nigella Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds, Black Pepper

It's been a while since I posted any new recipes here. I've been making some of the staple comfort foods that I've already posted here, plus, I've been lazy.

The never-ending title for this post is basically the ingredients list. Eggplant is eggplant: people love it or can't stand it. I am crazy about it, as can be seen from the zillion-odd eggplant recipes here featuring this gorgeous purple berry.

The spices bring in the kick that eggplant seems to lack. Also, cooking the eggplant just enough so it is tender but nor mushy brings some texture to this dish that can be appealing.

 6 Italian eggplants, sliced into long wedges
1 medium onion, sliced thinly

1 tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
6 to 8 curry leaves
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts

salt to taste
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp vegetable oil for sautéing


  1. Toast the spice/flavoring ingredients on medium low heat till aromatic, just a few minutes, then cool a bit and grind to a coarse powder and keep handy
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the grated ginger, turmeric powder, onions and the cut eggplant; sprinkle some salt, stir well and cook till partly done
  3. Add in the spice/flavoring powder from step 1 and toss to incorporate well, continue cooking till eggplant is cooked to your liking
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm as-is or with a side of brown rice or quinoa

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spicy Pan-Seared Salmon with Feta Sauce

Spicy Pan-Seared Salmon with Feta Sauce

There seems to be a fish theme going on here lately, with this third post in a row. The wild Alaskan salmon caught over summer and frozen for later is now so handy for a quick and sumptuous meal.

Some fresh greens from the fall garden was handy for this dish: Lacinato kale and Baby Romaine leaves make a lovely crisp bed of salad to serve this spicy pan-seared salmon dish.

Salmon was rubbed with a mix of spices: cayenne pepper powder, berbere powder, salt, onion powder. Mix the spice powders in some ghee to make a paste and rub on the salmon.

Home-made ghee is an indulgence every once in a while - a recipe shared here over a decade ago: Home-made Flavored Ghee at Delectable Victuals

The fusion of flavors is one of my favorites - the spiciness from Ethipioan berbere and the buttery flavor and aroma from the Indian ghee, plus the Mediterranean flavors of Feta sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and olives makes this a richly flavored dish.

Spicy Pan-Seared Salmon with Feta Sauce

Feta sauce: Crumble some feta, stir in some thick Greek yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, marjoram sage, and oregano. I blend it into a smooth thick dressing-like sauce consistency.

Pan-seared Salmon: Heat some oil in a cast-iron skillet and place the salmon skin side down first and sear well till skin is crispy; flip so that the side that is rubbed with the spice mix is now getting seared, then, turn down the heat and cook till salmon is cooked through and flaky.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lahori Fish Fry

Lahori Fish Fry

In keeping with the fish theme here, this Lahori Fish Fry is a perfect snack food that can be made into a meal with some standard accompaniments.

Over summer our fresh-caught Alaskan Halibut was frozen for later use so as to savor the flavor and make the catch last longer.

Halibut and Salmon seem to be the only two fish that kids and the other adult seem to relish the most, cooked up in any which way that suits my mood.

Typically, Lahori fried fish is not served with any sauce, it is enjoyed as a fried snack food along with chutney. The seasoning and batter mix makes all the difference, bringing this dish alive, requiring no further enhancements.

However, I decided to make a simple sauce and serve with rice for dinner one evening.

Rather than make a batter, I decided to keep the seasoning and flour mixture dry and coat the fish with it and fry the pieces in batches, much like Indian pakoras.

2 cups cubed halibut pieces
vegetable oil for frying

Lahori Fish Seasoning Mix:
1 cup chickepea flour
¼ cup rice flour
½ tsp crushed carom seeds (ajwain)
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp crushed caraway seeds
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp powdered clove
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chaat masala
4 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp sambal oelek
2 Tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
1 cup water
cornstarch as needed to thicken


  1. Make the chaat masala and keep it handy; can prepare ahead and store it in an airtight container
  2. Combine the Lahori fish fry seasoning ingredients to form a smooth dry mixture
  3. Coat the halibut pieces with some cooking spray and add the Lahori fish fry mix a little at a time, stirring well, until all the fish pieces are coated well
  4. Fry in batches and drain in a paper towel
  5. Make the sauce and toss in some of the fried fish in the sauce, serve with rice; reserve the rest of the fried fish minus the sauce to enjoy as-is

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, October 20, 2017

Halibut Stir-fry

Halibut Stir-fry

Over summer, some fresh-caught Alaskan Halibut got frozen and put away to relish later in the colder months of the year.

This seemed like a good time to thaw some small pieces and cook them up with an interesting sauce and some stir-fry veggies.

I went with colorful peppers and onions for the stir-fry as I had a good batch of them handy from the farmers market. The stir-fry sauce is an impromptu made-up one, which is how most of my stir-fry sauces are, where I don't bother to measure accurately, just adding a bit of this and a dash of that and calling it good when the proportions seemed right.

Tender quick-cooking fish pieces
sesame oil
colorful pepper and onions sliced

Stir-fry sauce (approx.):
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sambal oelek
2 Tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
4 Tbsp seaweed dashi stock or vegetable broth
cornstarch and water as needed for thickening


  1. Marinate the thawed fish pieces in some of the stir-fry sauce, saving the rest for stir-fry
  2. Heat some sesame oil in a wok, add the peppers and onions and stir-fry a bit, then add the marinated fish and the remaining stir-fry sauce and cook till fish is done
  3. Serve warm 

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Riced Cauliflower Pizza

Riced Cauliflower Pizza

Having tried riced cauliflower as a - well - as a rice substitute to go with curries, I wanted to try making riced cauliflower pizza that is all the rage. It was simple enough, and I liked the results, so, wanted to jot it down here.

Mix the grated cauliflower with some herbs and cheese, pat down on a cast iron skillet, thick enough  to form the pizza crust. Bake in a 400 °F oven till crust is well formed.

Riced Cauliflower Pizza

Remove from oven, top with pizza sauce and toppings and some low-fat part-skim mozzarella and bake for a few more minutes till cheese is melted and the pizza looks ready. That's it!

Riced Cauliflower Pizza

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 13, 2017

Bulgur & Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash

Bulgur Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash

Among the squashes, the sweet and meaty winter squashes are my favorite. Not all winter squashes are alike, so, my preference is further refined by the varieties that I've had so far that have the texture and flavor that I consider 'meaty' and mildly sweet.

I am not a fan of spaghetti squash or other similar squashes with a pronounced stringy texture when baked/cooked. I like the chunky meaty texture of Butternut, Blue Hubbard, Sweet Meat, Kabocha, Red Kuri, Delicata, and Danish/Acorn.

Millet & Lentils Stuffed Golden Danish Squash is a favorite. But this time, I went with a mixture of bulgur and tempeh for the stuffing. To quick cook bulgur, I pour some boiled water over it and soak it while getting the veggies ready. To add a kick to it, I sprinkle some Tabasco™ sauce on the squash before stuffing and baking.

Bulgur Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash

One medium acorn/Danish squash

½ cup crumbled tempeh
¼ cup bulgur

½ cup chopped onions, tomatoes, chilies, garlic
¼ cup cooked corn
¼ cup cooked black beans
¼ cup diced red and green bell peppers

flavoring herbs:
fresh (or dried) oregano, basil, fennel leaves to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil for sauteing

topping: Feta and Parmesan as needed

flavoring spices:
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder

Tabasco™ Sauce (optional)

  • Prep: Soak the bulgur in boiling hot water; pre-heat the oven to 400°F; Cut the squash in half, scoop out the pulp and seeds, and make a wide well for the stuffing; spritz some water and rub some salt on the inside of the squash halves and microwave for about 6 minutes on high power till par-cooked
  • Stuffing: Sauté the onions, tomatoes, chilies, and garlic in some oil, with a pinch of salt; add the rest of the veggies, soaked bulgur, and tempeh once onions turn translucent, stir in the flavoring spices, cover and allow to cook till flavors meld
  • Baking: Sprinkle some Tabasco sauce on the par-cooked squash halves, then fill them with the stuffing and bake in 400°F oven for about 30-45 minutes till squash is roasted to a fine golden brown, and the skin is lightly crispy
  • Garnish: Top with feta and Parmesan, some spring onions, cilantro if available
  • Serve warm with extra feta and Tabasco sauce on the side

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Slow Cooker Watermelon Rind Relish (Puli Pachadi)

Slow Cooker Watermelon Rind Relish

Watermelon rinds being watery and edible and mild, it is used in quite a few Indian dishes. With its texture and taste bland enough like Ash gourd or Opo Squash or Chayote squash, it lends itself well to spicy dishes.

Slow Cooker Watermelon Rind Relish

Puli Pachadi is a thick south Indian concoction made with tamarind, jaggery, ginger, and chilies; with or without the addition of grated coconut. One such concoction is Puli Inji (Tamarind Ginger) which is one of my favorites, the way my mom makes it.

Borrowing the idea of Puli Inji, I added watermelon rinds - just the white portions that kids discard usually. Most of the work is done by the slow cooker. The labor-intensive part is to salvage the rinds and cut even chunks out of them for this recipe.

Add the water melon rinds to the slow cooker along with enough of tamarind paste, grape molasses, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, Thai red chilies, whole black pepper, and salt to taste. Slow cook on low for about 5 hours till the liquids congeal and thicken to ooze concentrated flavor.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Kidney Bean, Sweet Potato, Kale Soup

Kidney Bean, Sweet Potato, Kale Soup

Soup seem to be the dish of the month. Thick hearty soups, light brothy soups, cheesy creamy soups, chunky filling stews... with a hunk of sourdough or olive bread to mop every last drop up. Of course, these days, the bread is reserved for the kids, the adults are trying not to indulge in dense carbs for a while.

Kidney beans and sweet potatoes already evoke a thick hearty soup; add in some kale and bok choy and chard, plus some onions and tomatoes and garlic for a good measure, and the soup becomes irresistible.

For spices, I went with turmeric powder, paprika, and Madras curry powder, plus some bay leaves and a sprinkling of powdered nutmeg for the warm notes it adds to the dish.

I soaked the kidney beans in hot water while I got the other ingredients ready; and then threw the soaked kidney beans with some sweet potato chunks and vegetable broth in the pressure cooker.

While the kidney beans was soaking, I chopped up some onions, tomatoes, garlic, kale, bok choy, and about 2 cups of diced sweet potatoes for pan-roasting.

When the pressure cooker is going, sauté the veggies -- onions, garlic, tomatoes, bok choy and kale -- with some salt and Madras curry powder. Pan-roast the sweet potatoes with some salt and brown sugar, and keep handy.

Once pressure cooker has finished its cooking, smash some of the kidney beans and sweet potatoes to form the thick base for the soup, add in the sautéed veggies and simmer gently till flavors meld.

Dish up into bowls and add some pan-roasted sweet potatoes just before serving.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Lentil Balls Veggie Soup

It's getting nippy here heralding the gorgeous season of autumn. I love every season for what it offers, and I await with anticipation all the changes each season brings, but, I must admit I am a bit more partial to Autumn than the other three.

The pageantry of leaves bursting with bright red, deep burgundy, sparkling yellow, shocking orange, and even dark pink, clinging valiantly, only to eventually abandon the tenuous attachment, leaving the starkly bare trees forsaken for the winter.

Colder weather means more warm soups and casseroles, fresh-baked breads and quick biscuits.

Lentil Balls Veggie Soup

I make Steamed Lentil Balls on and off and freeze a batch for other uses. Steamed lentil balls when crumbled and sauteed add the much-relished crunch and protein to vegetable sides in the Paruppusili dishes.

This brothy lentil balls soup is quick and simple for a weeknight meal, especially if the lentil balls are already made and frozen. Simply toss in the frozen lentil balls into simmering vegetable broth, add some veggies and herbs and spices, allow to cook to lentil balls are fork tender again but not too cooked that they fall apart. That's it.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Home Garden Veggies

This is not a recipe post per se, but, it seemed like a good time to bid adieu to the spring and summer garden which is a mini-indulgence for me.

I am not a die-hard gardener, nor am I gifted with a superb green thumb, but, I love plants of all sorts. I've managed to get by for the last decade or so working on a small patch in the backyard early spring through end of autumn, learning a little each year and getting a little better at it.

Some plants in the garden are perennial, of course, and they've been returning every year for a few years now without much coaxing from me.

And some are what I choose to plant each year - staples being eggplant, tomatoes, chilies, greens, peas, beans, and squashes - both summer and winter ones. Plus, a handful that catch my fancy -- like, kohlrabi, collard greens, cauliflower, cucumber that I planted this year.

Planting certain herbs and veggies in close proximity to each other tends to help - like basil with tomatoes and peppers, catnip near squashes, chilies with eggplant, sunflower near just about every patch, plus onions and garlic shoots wherever I can squeeze in a few, to keep aphids in check.

Composting is a way of life, and I've been experimenting with Lasagna gardening. We don't use pesticides, so the yield is unpredictable. When possible I try using natural repellents like chili powder garlic spray as needed to keep the cabbage moths away.

The picture collages shared below are not as stunning to behold as the plants were in the garden at peak season, but, they capture the essence of summer for me so I can stash away the memories of walking into the backyard and picking what's ready and making a meal out of it most days.

There was the usual herbs and garnishes like mint, oregano, fennel, basil, Thai basil, and spring onions...

Peas, peas, peas when it was colder in spring time... and, am hoping that fall peas survive and yield fine as well...

Greens both tender and fairly mature -- like, fenugreek, mustard greens, rainbow chard, kale, collard greens, beet greens, Romaine lettuce...

Green beans and wax yellow beans....

Some potatoes...

Tomatoes of a few favorite kinds...

Eggplant -- Ichiban being my favorite...

Zucchini and winter squash....

Chilies - Kung pao, Lemon drop, Thai red, and Ghost peppers!

Red currants, black currants, grapes, pears...

Some of the fall crop is surviving, and maybe I will get to post an update in a month or so about the kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, garlic, spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, peas, and lettuce growing in the garden.

For now, it seems like all I can do is save the seeds to plant next year and hope that I have the energy and interest to do some gardening again next growing season.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Chunky Halibut and Potatoes in Spicy Gravy

The rich aroma and flavors that come about when sautéing onions to the point of caramelization is irresistible. Throw in organic home garden sweet cherry tomatoes and some finely grated ginger and minced garlic, the combination is giddying.

That's how this Halibut and Potatoes dish started -- with a rich base for the gravy brought in by prolonged gentle sautéing of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, with a sprinkling of salt and turmeric powder.

Meanwhile, halibut was rubbed with Ethiopian Mekelesha spice powder and some salt, and allowed to marinate for a while. Chunks of potatoes were steamed just enough so they can finish cooking with the gravy.

When the onions are almost caramelizing, add in the halibut and potatoes, splash some water, cover and allow to sweat and simmer till fish is cooked and potatoes are fork-tender.

Drizzle some fresh lemon juice, garnish with spring onions and cilantro, serve with warm cooked pearl millet and Sprouted Moong Bean Salad.

Over the last few years, portioned plated meals for dinners has become the norm. I rarely do family-style meals anymore. However, I do make the portions quite small to start with so we can go for seconds to simulate family-style dining.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stuffed Sweet Red Peppers

Stuffed peppers happen frequently in my kitchen, even if only the adults in the family enjoy it.

Most of the time the stuffing is leftovers - typically rice and beans, or TVP, or millet or quinoa. When I found these colorful beauties at the farmers market, I knew they would come home to get roasted/stuffed.

Here's a variety of stuffed veggies showcased in a previous post.

This time I went with some leftover basmati rice sauteed with onions, tomatoes, Ethiopian berbere spice powder, stirred in with some dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Roasted Beets, Swiss Chard, Pear Salad

A bunch of organic beets was just $2.00 at the farmers market. I bought a bunch, roasted the beets and saved the leaves for sautéing.

Some organic Rainbow Chard was handy in the backyard home garden, so, got a few of those chopped up with the beet greens, sautéed in olive oil, with a hint of salt and black pepper.

Some Asian pears were ripe and ready in the backyard as well, and these pears have a crisp crunch and perfect sweetness that goes well with most salads.

Some feta or goat cheese, plus a simple Greek vinaigrette is all it takes to serve up this chock-full-of-goodness salad.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Amaranth Leaves Thokku

Fresh amaranth leaves from the farmers market is something I am getting used to, but soon will have to let go as the fall rolls in and fresh produce tapers out when the farmers market closes for the season.

Thokku is a south Indian catch-all term that is used to refer to sautéed grated vegetables packed with flavor. My favorite is spicy Chilli Thokku, but, I make thokku out of just about anything, including Kohlrabi, Mango, Green Papaya Thokku which was all the rage last year and the year before when I canned a few jars of them.


  1. Chop up the amaranth leaves finely, even run them in a blender till they feel pasty. 
  2. Heat some oil in a pan, add some mustard seeds and when they pop, add the prepared amaranth; add in some salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, tamarind paste, white vinegar, and a hint of brown sugar and allow to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently
  3. Continue cooking, adding a bit more oil as needed till amaranth is fully cooked and the flavors meld
  4. Cool and store in a mason jar in the fridge, or can it in boiling water bath

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Sweet-and-Sour Peanut Filling

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

It is no secret that I love eggplant, as evidenced by the wide array of Eggplant Recipes shared here. While I don't eat eggplant everyday, it does seem like I am rather partial to it. On and off I avoid nightshade family which include eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes to help the gut recover. Choosing ripe red peppers and ripe red tomatoes and and ripe purple eggplant seems to work so far.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

Small Indian eggplant, when ripe, is just a little bigger than a large egg and perfect for slitting and stuffing to make spicy dishes. This time, the flavorful sweet-and-sour masala paste for stuffing is made with peanuts, tomatoes, dry red chilies, plus my favorite combo for sweet-and-sour: tamarind paste + grape molasses.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

[Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with these brands, these are just the ones available where I shop]

Simply grind the masala paste, make cross-wise slit in the eggplants and slather the paste inside. Reserve some of the paste for the gravy, if preferred.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

For the peanut masala paste:
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
4 to 5 dry red chilies
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp grape molasses
2 Tbsp tamarind paste
salt to taste

2 Tbsp vegetable oil or safflower oil
water as needed


  1. Masala Paste: Combine the peanut masala paste ingredients, grind to a smooth paste and keep handy
  2. Slit-and-Stuff Eggplant: Make two slits in the eggplant perpendicular to each other keeping the stem intact; slather the masala paste into the crevices by gently opening up the slits
  3. Cook: Heat oil in a pan, add any reserved masala paste and sauté ; then, arrange the slit-and-stuffed eggplants gently, splash some water and sprinkle some salt, cover and allow to cook over medium heat; turn the eggplant gently to cook all sides evenly till cooked through but still intact
  4. Serve with Basmati rice or naan; or just enjoy it as-is, like an appetizer

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Masala Vadai, a ubiquitous south Indian fried snack, is what came to mind when I first encountered Falafel ages ago. The name was new, but the flavor and appearance was all-too-familiar. Chickpeas being a staple in Indian foods, plus all the grams and pulses and lentils, it is not surprising that versions of fried chickpea patties and lentil patties were ubiquitous in India, and I grew up taking them for granted.

Over summer, it was so much easier to make falafel on and off at home and serve with some pita or home-made naan, plus some assortment of fresh filling like olives, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, onions, lettuce, and home-made hummus.

My favorite of course was to serve falafel with little bowls of bib/Boston lettuce which seem perfect for filling with fresh veggies from the garden.

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Simply soak the chickpeas overnight, then grind them up coarsely. I like to add chopped onions and chard from the garden to this, season with salt, and knead a bit. If it seems too loose to shape, I add a sprinkling of my favorite coconut flour. With its high fiber content, coconut flour works well to thicken as needed. Chill for a hour in the fridge before shaping into patties for deep frying.

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Home-made hummus has always been a fun endeavor. Usually a batch of hummus gets made once a week or so and saved in the fridge to act as spread for wraps or toppings for salads.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves and Sweet-Sour Salmon and Lychee-Chili Sauce

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

A bunch of gorgeous Sweet Potato Leaves seemed so fresh and inviting at the farmers market that I had to bring it home and sauté it right away.

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

A hunk of Silver Salmon caught in Alaska during our recent trip was thawed and ready. Sweet-and-sour salmon was one of the requests I received while wondering how to cook up the salmon this time.

Sweet-and-sour Salmon it is, then.

Tamarind paste and grape molasses is a perfect sweet-and-sour combination that I've come to love while cooking with these two staple ingredients in my kitchen.

Of course, vinegar and sugar is a default sweet-sour combination, which I am not very fond of... so, am glad I settled on tamarind paste and grape molasses for now, that bring in a deeper flavor and an interesting layering.

(Disclaimer:I don't have any affiliation with these brands, these just happen to be the ones easily available where I shop.)

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

I grew up loving lychees (aka litchi), enjoying this seasonal fruit whenever it hits the local market. Litchi chinensis has a shell like peanuts which are peeled and discarded to get to the translucent mildly sweet flesh that has a strong odor characteristic of many tropical fruits. There were at least half a dozen varieties cultivated in northern and eastern parts of India, where the warm and humid climate and soil seem ideally suited for these lovely trees.

These days, every once in a while, I find fresh and frozen lychees at the Asian market, and bring them home for some fun smoothies and chutneys and sauces. It has a rather large pit inside, so, getting the flesh is a bit of an effort, but well worth it if one loves these fruits as much as I do.

Lychees with home garden chilies became a hot-and-sweet sauce in the form of Lychee-Chili Sauce, much like the sauce made for Lychee-Chili Chicken. This time, I served the sauce on the side as I knew kids don't care for it.

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

Sometimes, the combination of ingredients might seem like a mish-mash meal, but those are the ones I've noticed turn out satisfying as it is rather unexpected and refreshing.

The salmon was slathered on with tamarind and grape molasses, and a sprinkling of salt, then, lightly dusted with flour. It is first pan-seared skin-side down. Then, flipped to cook the other side. I peel the skin off at this stage and slather more of the tamarind and grape molasses plus salt to the now skin-free side, then flip again and sear it till flaky and cooked through.

Labels: , , , ,