Holler will be hosting November's Edition of No Croutons Required. This month we are asking for hearty soups or salads containing pasta.
Somehow or other, I've had more kitchen disasters in the last few weeks than I have had in the past two years. First, there was a cornmeal shortbread that tempted me, and although the dough was delicious, it didn't hold together and into the trash can it went. After that, there were the little discs of goat cheese that I tried to fry up to serve with sautéed portabello mushrooms. It was all good until it was time to flip them over. I ended up with a glob of cheese, but I spread it over some toast and topped it with the mushrooms, and so managed to salvage dinner. Finally, we come to this recipe for savory cheese crackers.
Pancakes were an obvious choice, especially when you can salvage the last few peppers from the vine along with some vibrant green parsley. A comforting treat any time of day, I adapted this Dosa recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian to suit my tummy. Delightfully satisfying for breakfast, lunch or dinner, serve with some chutney, such as Fresh Tomato Chutney, or as a bread alongside an Indian meal as a substitute for Naan.
Indian Rice Flour PancakesOther Indian fried savories to be enjoyed:
1 cup of unbleached white flour
1 cup of rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 cup of yogurt
3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 - 3 jalapenos or hot green chilies, finely chopped
dash of cayenne
dash of ground coriander
dash of cumin
dash of turmeric
peanut oil for frying
Combine the flours, salt and yogurt in a food processor. Add the water and process until you have a smooth batter. Add the remaining ingredients, pulse for a few quick seconds and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir a few times.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium low heat. When hot, pour in roughly 1/3 cup of batter. Swirl it around a bit so you get a roughly 6 - 7 inch pancake. Add another teaspoon or so of oil to the edges of the pan, cover and cook for roughly 6 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is reddish brown. Gently flip the pancake and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes or so. Transfer the pancake to a plate, cover with foil and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Makes roughly 8 pancakes.
Chickpea Flour Pancakes with Crushed Peas and Cilantro (Pudla)
Savory Rice and Urad Dal Pancakes (Dosa)
Savoury Mung Dal Pancakes
Inspired by a recipe I found in Vegetarian Times for Jamaican tempeh patties, I reworked the filling and came up with this bean and veggie version that I served to my Dad this past weekend. I never can resist trying out new creations for my esteemed dinner guests.
The result was a spicy mixture of plump kidney beans filled out with shredded carrot and mashed sweet potato enclosed in a spicy pastry. I meant to add peas to the filling and forgot, but I am including them in the recipe because I think they would provide a pleasing contrast and accompaniment to the mixture.
I served these savory turnovers with some leftover Tomato Chutney, but any tomato-based sauce would be good, though no sauce is needed at all.
Vegetarian Jamaican Patties
For the pastry:
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of curry powder
3/4 teaspoons of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of cold butter
3/4 cup of cold water
For the Filling:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 - 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
a pinch of sea salt
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 small sweet potato, boiled and mashed
1 cup of cooked kidney beans
1/3 cup of frozen peas
1/4 cup of dark rum
To make the crust, combine the flour, curry powder, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is reduced to little pieces. Add the water, and process until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
To make the filling:
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, and stir and fry until they soften. Add the garlic and jalapenos to the pan, and cook for another minute or so. Toss in the spices, herbs and salt and stir for 30 seconds. Add the carrot, mashed sweet potato, kidney beans, frozen peas and the rum to the pan. Stir and cook for another few minutes.
To complete the patties:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Knead the dough a few times on a floured board. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll out piece of dough into a roughly 6 inch round. Place a heaping tablespoon of the dough in the center of the round, brush the edges with water. Fold the circles in half, pressing the dough together. Crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the patties are golden brown.
Makes 12 spicy patties.
This uncooked tomato chutney adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine by Yamuna Devi is a refreshing choice to serve alongside fried or baked savories calling out for some extra zip. Much like salsa in texture and flavour, I served this incredibly easy to prepare chutney with Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Rice Flour Pancakes.
|Fresh Tomato Chutney|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Published on October 26, 2008
Fresh-tasting and zesty uncooked tomato chutney — simple to prepare and delicious on flatbreads and savories
Print this recipe
Toasted Fresh Coconut and Tomato Chutney
Fresh Coriander Chutney
Coconut and Mint Chutney
Roasted Toor Dal & Coconut Chutney
World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown has become a favorite cookbook of mine. There are over 250 straightforward vegetarian recipes from around the globe, and each one is adapted to the modern kitchen. The instructions are easy to follow, the pictures divine and each chapter begins with a bit of history on each region's vegetarian traditions. This book has served me well when I wanted a quick but flavorful dinner idea, and also when I wanted something to serve to esteemed dinner guests. Each recipe has a certain elegance, even the most basic dishes, and you simply can't fail to be inspired as you flip through the colorful pages.
Wanting to make a special meal for a dear friend on his birthday, I decided upon these split pea dumplings with a coconut curry sauce. This dish is from Mauritius and the Indian influence on this African island's culinary traditions is very much apparent here. There are a few steps to this recipe, but it is truly a delight to make and well worth the effort when you sit down with your plate to savor the little curry-coated pea cakes on a bed of hot rice.
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.And knowing that dark and bitter days are soon to follow the autumn season, I would still gather apples and make delicious treats from them … like this warm and fragrant breakfast cake. Neither too light nor too heavy, neither too sweet nor too bland, but just that ideal fall flavor combination of apples, cinnamon and oats.
~ Martin Luther
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is the early bird this month with this colorful Chinese Soup that she cooked up instead of a stir-fry. In addition to baked tofu and noodles, this slightly spicy, sour soup has a healthy dose of veggies such as chard, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, peppers and peas. This is a nourishing and filling soup anytime of year and can easy be adapted to the seasons. (Melbourne, Australia)
Our next entry is this unique Pumpkin Chili from Ashley who clearly has mastered the method. Consisting of pumpkin, black beans, kidney beans, peppers, tomatoes, and seasoned with some beer, paprika and poppy seeds, this stunning meal in a bowl is sure to warm even the chilliest autumn soul. Serve with some crusty bread for a real feast. (Binghamton, New York, USA)
From Alexa of Artsy-Foodie we have this substantial Miso soup designed to cure all that might ail you. This comforting soup is made up of white miso, broccoli, carrots, green onions, tofu, rice pasta and further flavored with cilantro, ginger, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. (Washington, USA)
Holler, my co-host of No Croutons Required, submits this gorgeous Carrot, Spinach and Lentil Soup. This thick and creamy soup made up of shredded carrots, spinach, lentils, onions, garlic and a hint of lime and cayenne, is an elegant autumn meal solution served along with some crusty bread. (Scotland, United Kingdom)
Arundathi submits a hearty and nourishing Mulligatawny Soup consisting of Moong Dal, apple, coconut, carrot and spiced with garam masala, peppercorns, turmeric, and curry leaves. Mulligatawny, literally meaning pepper water, is an anglicized version of Indian Rasam and is enjoyable and satisfying anytime of year. (India)
Shira of Petit Pois offers up an earthy Eastern European Mushroom and Barley Soup that she describes as a rib liner. The goodness of fresh and dried mushrooms are combined with barley, carrot, celery, onion, rosemary and beer. Serve with bread and cheese for a very satisfying cold weather meal. (France)
Val of More Than Burnt Toast gets creative with a Jamie Oliver recipe and comes up with a spicy Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup that she serves in the pumpkin shell! Perhaps even better than pumpkin pie, this delightful blend of pumpkin puree, hot chillies, garlic, ginger, spices, lime, rice and coconut milk is sure to impress dinner guests. (British Columbia, Canada)
No roundup of hearty soups would be complete without a borscht recipe. Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf comes up with a Vegetarian Beet Borscht that includes pasta, along with more traditional ingredients such as beets and potatoes. This wholesome soup is seasoned with dill, cashews, spices and lime. (New Jersey, USA)
Pumpkin is a popular choice for warming soups and our next entry is a Creamy Pumpkin Soup from Lubna of Yummy Food. Worthy of being a staple on any Fall menu, this simple but elegant puree of pumpkin chunks, onion, cream, vegetable stock and pepper is a refreshing and warming choice for a cool autumn day. (Bangalore, India)
Priyasuresh of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes is up next with this Creamy Cabbage and Barley Soup. A lovely accompaniment to any meal, this blend of cabbage, barley, tomatoes, onion, carrot, and dried basil is not only good for you, but a real tummy warmer. (Paris, France)
From Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons we have another pureed Cabbage Soup. Roasted onions, garlic and cabbage are done in a pressure cooker, grinded together and seasoned with salt and pepper. Srivalli tells us this tasty soup is filling on its own, but suggests serving it with some brown bread which sounds like a fine idea to me. (India)
Mansi of Food and Fun comes up with a rich and creamy Carrot Soup that she was inspired to make after enjoying a bowl at a restaurant. The goodness of carrots are combined with garlic, coconut milk, cloves, lemon juice and whipping cream. A winter warmer indeed! I'll take two bowls please. (California, USA)
Allie of Yum in Tum takes advantage of seasonal produce and comes up with this delightful Pumpkin Ginger Soup. A simple puree of pumpkin, ginger and simple seasonings, this soup is easy and fast to make, meaning you won't have to wait long to linger over a warming bowl. (Houston, Texas, USA)
Tracy of Vanilla Bean Cafe comes up with a curing Spicy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. Fresh garden squash is here combined with onion, jalapeno pepper, granny smith apples, carrots, whipping cream and temptingly spiced with cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne and garnished with fresh parsley. (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
From Saroja of Kitchen-Kollections we have an immunity boosting Celery Soup. This vegetable soup includes celery, carrots, onion, garlic, corn and tomato. Though it is not required, some croutons were added to this nourishing and warming bowl of goodness. (Farmington, Michigan, USA)
Srimathi of Few Minute Wonders whipped up a batch of Spicy Corn Bell Pepper Soup that was gone in 30 minutes. This comforting and nourishing soup brings together the goodness of corn, red pepper, red onion, tomato, green chilies, cilantro, veggie broth and cream. Serve with bread or lavish roll ups for a very satisfying meal. (San Diego , California, USA)
Mahimaa cooks up a Creamy Vegetable Soup in her Indian Vegetarian Kitchen. Cabbage, onion, garlic, corn and carrots are complimented with some beans and milk. Mahimaa served this healthy, pressure cooked soup with some whole grain garlic bread. You can't go wrong with classic veggie soups like this. (Los Angeles, California, USA)
This Sweet Potato Squash Soup with Pinto Beans and Chard is my contribution this month. A good choice for a mid-week meal, delicata squash adds a pleasant sweetness to this hearty bowl of pinto beans, carrots, garlic, onion, tomato and chard. Good for you and tasty too. (London, Ontario, Canada)
Lysy of Munchkin Mail takes advantage of the autumn harvest and comes up with this delightfully thick Roasted and Toasted Squash and Corn Soup. Roasted squash and toasted corn add an extra burst of flavour, which is complimented by some red pepper and leeks, garlic and onion. A very satisfying choice for a chilly evening meal. (Warwickshire, UK)
Ruth of Once Upon a Feast submits a stunning Hodge Podge Bean Soup that she based on an Adzuki Bean Stew she made previously. Starting with a roasted vegetable broth, Ruth added some chickpeas, navy beans, tomato paste and some chipotle in adobo. Some more broth was added to tone down the heat, and finally some adzuki beans. A spice lovers delight, this will warm you on even the coldest of days. (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Hanne who posts at Freshly Made comes up with a Spicy Pumpkin Soup for our event. The goodness of pumpkin comes together nicely with red lentils, garlic, hot chilies and coconut milk. This pretty pureed soup is a perfect autumn treat. (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Chow of Chow Vegan makes a Vegetable Chowder that she serves in mini sourdough bread bowls! Not only do you get to enjoy this blend of onion, leek, carrot, red potatoes, soy milk, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms, you get to eat the bowl too. This inspired creation is a good choice if you want to impress dinner guests. (San Francisco Bay Area, USA)
Nina of Miss.Adventure @ Home makes Pasta E Fagioli. This cold weather vegetarian favorite is made using homemade vegetable stock, pasta, black-eyed peas, carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, dried herbs, green beans, swiss chard, lima beans and a bit of Parmesan cheese. This is clearly a feast in a bowl! (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Rita from Pink Bites offers up an exquisite French Onion Soup that is sure to appeal to even the most staunch carnivores. Layered with flavor, Rita's version is made with yellow onions, fresh thyme, garlic, white wine, veggie broth, day old bread and Gruyere cheese. This is sure to warm even the coldest tummy. (Seattle, Washington, USA)
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen makes a vegetarian version of a popular Portuguese creation named Sopa de Feijao Branca e Legumes (Black Eyed Bean and Vegetable Soup). The veggie power of potatoes, onion, carrots and cabbage meets tomato paste, black eye beans, chili powder and marinara sauce. Serve with dinner rolls for a truly comforting dining experience. (Goa, India)
Divya of Dil Se takes advantage of the abundance of pumpkins and enters the fray with this lovely Pumpkin-Zucchini Spaghetti Soup. Pumpkin, zucchini, spaghetti, and carrot are seasoned with garlic, ginger, chili powder, cumin, dried herbs, red wine vinegar and some fresh parsley. This creamy, elegant soup was served with some breadsticks. (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Rachel of The Crispy Cook comes up with an economically satisfying Autumnal Peasant Soup. This hearty vegetarian pottage brings lentils, celery, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes together with onion, garlic and dried herbs. A tasty choice for a frosty autumn evening. (Saratoga County, New York, USA)
From Rupa of A Virtual Vegetarian we have this flavored filled Mexican Pozole Rojo de Jalisco. Made with hominy, a white corn kernel that has been slaked in a lime solution, along with tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, tortillas, ancho chilies, garlic, and cilantro, this colourful soup is garnished with red onion, radish, cabbage, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime. A multiplicity of textures and tastes come together in this most satisfying one bowl meal. (Northern California, USA)
And last, but not least, Kim of Live :: Love :: Laugh :: Eat! submits this tempting Split Pea Soup that is a twist on an old classic. Dried split peas, a chipotle chile in adobo sauce, carrots, broth and miso paste are tossed into a slow cooker. The finished result is garnished with bits of green onion. Easy, tasty and satisfying! (Portsmouth, Virginia, USA)
Holler will be hosting the November Edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the end of the month for the theme and the winner of this month's hearty soup challenge.
After an evening meal of rich and greasy foods like the fried Indian pastries I had for takeouts the other night, a wholesome homemade oat porridge with fruit for breakfast feels cleansing and invigorating to the body the next day. If you're still groggy from all the oils and carbohydrates, there's nothing faster or simpler. And with a basket on hand of the plumpest, juiciest apricots I've seen for almost a year, an oat porridge cooked in apple-cranberry juice with diced fresh apricots became irresistible.
By now everyone is familiar with the advice to eat whole grains as part of their daily diet, but many people still don't know how to go about getting them properly. Whole grains are widely marketed these days in all kinds of breads, granolas, cereals and snacks, but unless you're familiar with the actual process used in their productions, you're better off without them. Most commercial whole grain products are baked at too high temperatures — it's quick and efficient for the producers, but these temperatures destroy most of the nutritional content of the foods. Another common problem in modern production processes is the use of rancid grains — the outer layer of the whole grains are especially susceptible to becoming rancid quickly without freezing.
Most importantly, however, the grains used in most commercial processes have not been soaked before being cooked. All grains contain phytic acid in their outer layer, or bran, that when left untreated combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. Soaking grains in warm water or yogurt overnight allows enzymes and lactobacilli to break down the phytic acid so that the mineral benefits of grains are realized. Soaking and fermenting is also crucial for breaking down complex proteins like the gluten found in oats into simpler components that are much more easily digested by the body.
And oats are just about the perfect grain for starting the day with energy, naturally sweet and soothing, and a terrific source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, fiber and B vitamins. Samuel Johnson once noted that oats are "a grain used in England to feed horses and in Scotland to feed the populace," which might be why there were so many splendid specimens of English horses and Scots. Oatmeal porridge was a staple breakfast food of older Canadians, and it's so quick and easy to make there's no reason why it shouldn't become a staple for a new generation as well.
On the subject of processed foods, I've never understood the need for "quick" or "instant" oats when ordinary rolled or steel-cut oat flakes cook about as fast as it takes to pour a bowl of corn flakes when the oats have been soaked the night before. Like other marketed whole grain products, instant oats are pre-cooked at nutrient-destroying temperatures before they even get to your cupboard, and contain unnecessary preservatives and artificial sweeteners besides. On the other hand, old-fashioned rolled or steel-cut oats are almost as good as using the whole oat groats, because they've only been lightly processed with light steaming and rolling or cutting.
Almost Instant Oat Porridge
For my porridges I employ a variation of the old muesli technique in which I soak the oats in an equal amount of plain whole-fat yogurt and whey overnight at room temperature, and sometimes with a small piece of cinnamon stick tossed in for flavor. One-third cup of dried oats usually makes a good-sized serving for most people. If you find the idea of leaving yogurt overnight at room temperature unappealing, don't worry — it is perfectly safe since the broken-down lactic acid in yogurt prevents harmful bacterial culturation, and brings out the natural tangy flavor of yogurt as an added bonus. Whole grains should always be eaten with good fatty dairy products to provide the catalyst for mineral absorption in any case, and soaking the oats in yogurt is the easiest way to do this.
The next morning, bring an amount of water and/or fruit juice equal to the amount of oats to a light boil. Stir in the soaked oats, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for just a few minutes until thick, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. Just before taking the oats off the stove, add fresh or frozen berries, fruit or raisins, seeds or nuts, and stir in for thirty seconds. Swirl in a bit of maple syrup, raw honey or molasses if you crave a little extra sweetness.
Take the oats off the stove and let cool for just a few minutes before serving.
It just so happens that my new copy of 660 Curries has plenty of tasty alternatives to plain rice to serve alongside you favorite curry dishes. I decided to try this easy recipe for Lime-Flavored Rice with Roasted Yellow Split Peas as the flavours seemed particularly complimentary to the Chickpeas with a Coconut Sauce I planned to make. My dinner guests were not disappointed.
I'm sending this along to Srivalli who is hosting Rice Mela in celebration of rice. The idea is to expand our repertoire of rice dishes.
Lime-Flavored Rice with Roasted Yellow Split Peas
1 cup of basmati rice
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds
1/4 cup of yellow split peas, well rinsed
2 - 3 dried red chilies
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon of turmeric
handful of dried curry leaves
2 fresh cayenne or 3 green chilies, seeded and cut into thin strips
Rinse the rice in a fine strainer. Transfer to a bowl, fill with water, swish around, drain, and repeat until the water is clear and no longer cloudy. Drain, cover with water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Drain and air dry for 15 minutes.
Soak the split peas in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, stirring occasionally until they turn grey and begin to sputter and pop. Add the split peas and dried chilies and stir and fry until the split peas turn a reddish brown colour.
Now add the drained rice, stir and cover with 1 2/3 cups of water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.
Combine the lime juice, turmeric, curry leaves and fresh chilies in a small bowl. Fluff the rice with a fork, pour in the lime juice mixture, stir with a fork until well combined.