Fried Egg Sambal


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Eggs are an ideal solution for a quick and healthy dinner, especially when the air is thick with humidity and the last thing you want to do is hover over a hot stove. This recipe is slightly adapted from Meena of Hooked on Heat. Her blog is the focus of Tried and Tasted, a monthly food event started by Zlamushka and hosted this month by KC of Kits Chow. Meena has loads of delicious and straightforward recipes and I was tempted by many of her vegetarian creations, but finally settled on this egg sambal because I always enjoy dressing up one of nature's most versatile foods! For those unfamiliar with the term, sambal is spicy condiment popular in Southern Indian and Asia.

I served this dish alongside some pan fried mushrooms with paprika for a truly tasty and satisfying meal.
Fried Egg Sambal
Adapted from Hooked on Heat

4 large eggs
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 - 3 hot green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of coriander
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 - 3 tablespoons of butter or oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Begin by frying the eggs. Heat some oil or butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook the eggs uncovered for a few minutes and then cover them with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the yolks are just set. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat more oil or butter in the pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the ground spices and hot chillies, stir and fry for a few seconds and then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture thickens up.

Add the fried eggs to the pan and gently toss to coat. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for a few more minutes, or until the eggs are warmed throughout.

Serves 2-4.

More recipes featuring eggs from my kitchen:
Shakshouka
Cheddar and Mushroom Shirred Eggs
Indian-style Baked Eggs Florentine

Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
One of the most interesting chapters of my highly treasured copy of Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries is the section entitled "contemporary curries." As if his more traditional Indian recipes weren't tempting enough, the fusion-style offerings are a must try for cooks looking to spice up Western dishes. A perfect example is this spicy version of macaroni and cheese. There are infinite ways to prepare mac and cheese, but I think this must be the first time I've come across an Indian-style preparation. I honestly cannot recommend this creamy combination of pasta, paneer and spinach highly enough. Paneer lovers like myself will certainly want to give this a try.

Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
This is a stove top version, making it a good choice for hot summer days when you really don't want to turn on the oven but can't resist serving up an old classic with a special twist. You could also try this recipe with goat cheese or Feta instead of paneer with stellar results.

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Stuffed Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Olives

Honestly, no introduction is needed ...

Stuffed Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Olives

Craving mushrooms and inspired by Soma's stuffed mushroom recipe, I came up with these spicy delights containing my favorite trio of sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and olives. The earthly mushrooms are complimented perfectly by the sharp and tart flavors of the stuffing. I served them as part of homespun gourmet dinner with a mixed green and beet salad with fried haloumi cheese, but these would be an ideal choice to serve as an appetizer to guests, or as part of a meal made up of little bites or tapas.

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Breakfast Quinoa Porridge

Breakfast Quinoa Porridge

Although technically not a cereal grass, quinoa cooks like a grain, tastes like a grain, and is used like a grain … with the important difference that no grain can rival it for its food value. With an almost perfect balance of essential amino acids, quinoa is an unusually complete source of proteins in the plant kingdom and, as such, an especially important nutritional resource for vegetarians. And as a very good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E, this ancient staple food of the South American Andes richly deserves the name given to it by the Incas: "mother of all grains."

But it's as much for its unique taste and ease of use that I've long extolled and practiced the benefits of quinoa in my kitchen. As simple and almost as quick to cook as white rice, the light and fluffy texture and delicately sweet and nutty flavor of cooked quinoa makes it a tasty and healthy alternative in a variety of grain recipes…

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Potato Leek Soup With Watercress, Green Lentils and Fresh Goat Cheese

Potato Leek Soup With Watercress, Green Lentils and Fresh Goat Cheese
When my good friend Jacqueline suggested leafy greens as the main feature of our No Croutons Required Soup and Salad Challenge this month, I hesitated for hardly a moment before picking watercress for my entry. Odd, since I haven't used watercress for years now, but a fortunate inspiration since its flavor is among the most distinctive and stimulating of all leafy greens.

In this recipe, thick rounds of tangy soft fresh goat cheese soften and balance the peppery sharpness of a warm bowl of watercress soup. Loaded with potatoes, carrots, leeks and green lentils, it's also a filling and nourishing meal in itself while keeping an easy and summery appeal. Serve with fresh bread and butter on the side for a quick and simple but satisfying light dinner, in or out of doors.

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Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
In addition to cookbooks, one of the greatest sources of culinary inspiration is certainly fellow bloggers. I've printed off, bookmarked and starred literally hundreds of recipes that I've come across since I started Lisa's Kitchen just over two years ago. While it is certain I will never manage to cook each recipe that catches my attention (there are simply not enough meals or time in a day), it sometimes happens that I am trying out a blogged dish within days of discovering it. This was the case with Pooja's Kerala-style Chickpea curry, a dish we are told is commonly eaten for breakfast along with steamed rice cakes in that region.

I always have a healthy variety of dried beans on hand and after reading through Pooja's recipe, remembered the rather neglected black chickpeas at the back of the bean and grain shelf. Brown in colour, but commonly referred to as black chickpeas, they are smaller than the more popular yellow chickpea and denser and chewier. This unique dark curry is pungent and aromatic and served with nutty brown rice, a satisfying and balanced Indian vegetarian dinner.

Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

Adapted from Pooja's Kerala Kadala Curry with Roasted Coconut and Aromatic Spices

1 cup of black chickpeas

2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
6 cloves
1/2 teaspoon of cardamon seeds
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 star anise

3/4 cup of dried coconut
2 medium shallots, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida
2 - 3 hot green chilies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
generous handful of dried curry leaves
2 large tomatoes, finely diced
2 1/4 cups of water
sea salt to taste


Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain, transfer to a large pot with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover and cook until the chickpeas are tender - roughly 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, dry roast the coconut over medium low heat for a few minutes. Add the shallots to the pot and continue to stir and dry roast until the coconut turns a brownish red colour. Grind to a powder and set aside.

In the same pot, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise and cardamon seeds for a few minutes. Grind to a powder and set aside.

Again in the same pot, heat two teaspoons of sesame oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds to the pan and stir and fry until the mustard seed turn grey and begin to pop. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, for about five minutes. Now add the ginger and cook for another minute. Toss in the asafoetida, stir and then add the hot chilies, coriander, cumin, cayenne, paprika, chili powder and turmeric. Stir fry for a minute and then add the tomato, curry leaves, dry roasted ground spices and salt. Cook for roughly 5 minutes, or until the tomato is softened, stirring frequently.

Add the chickpeas to the pot, along with the roasted coconut and the water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serves 4.

Other Indian chickpea dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Channa Masala
Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce

Asparagus Pesto Rice

Asparagus Pesto Rice

Looking at fresh local asparagus in the market again this past weekend, I reminded myself as I do every year not to take its availability for granted. Thus starts an annual but limited dash to eat this glorious vegetable on every possible occasion, usually with just a quick steaming and a sprinkling of lemon juice and sea salt to enjoy it in its simple perfection.

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Pinto Bean and Zucchini Hummus

Pinto Bean and Zucchini Hummus

Among the "little foods" of the eastern Mediterranean meze tradition that form such a wonderful and varied source of inspiration for vegetarian dining in the summer, nothing beats hummus for versatility, convenience and protein. Zucchini lends a western Mediterranean flair to this spicy but rich and earthy hummus made from pinto beans instead of chickpeas, with yogurt along to add a pleasantly light refreshing tang.

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Mung Beans with Mixed Vegetables


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Legumes are an essential component of a healthy vegetarian diet. Indeed, legumes are packed full of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins making them a positive benefit to any diet. Inexpensive, with a long shelf life, easily digestible if prepared properly, filling and simply delicious and inspiring, meat eaters and tofu addicts would do their body well with a little concentration and substitution.

One of my favorite beans is the versatile oval-shaped whole green mung bean. Particularly easy to digest, especially when soaked overnight, cooked along with some spices, this mildly sweet little legume can easily be transformed into an entree that will quell thoughts of a decadent dessert.

I highly recommend using fresh peas for this recipe, but do take care to make sure the pods you purchase actually contain decent sized peas. I spent roughly fifteen minutes shelling a pound of pods that yielded a scant 1/4 cup. Usually my sweetie brings home a highly prized bounty for the larder, but even the most seasoned of shoppers can be distracted by appearances and the dictates of the grocery list.

Frozen peas can be substituted for the fresh ones. Add them near the end of the cooking time so they retain their plumpness.

While we are talking legumes, do note Susan's ongoing My Legume Love Affair, a monthly event celebrating the goodness of the bean harvest, hosted this month by Annarasa. Consider this my submission for June.

Served with Lemon Brown Rice.
Mung Beans with Vegetables

1 cup of whole mung beans
1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium potato, diced
1 cup of fresh peas
3 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 inch piece of ginger, shredded or finely chopped
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of fenugreek leaves (methi)
2 - 3 hot green chilies, chopped
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
juice from one small lemon
sea salt to taste


Soak the mung beans in enough water to cover overnight. Drain, transfer to a large pot along with 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, fresh peas and potato to the mung beans. Stir, cover and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the mung beans are soft - roughly 15 minutes.

Heat the ghee or butter and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop. Now add the ginger, chilies, fenugreek leaves, cayenne, turmeric, coriander, and asafetida. Stir-fry for another minute or two. Transfer this mixture to the mung beans and vegetables, along with the lemon juice and salt. Continue to cook for another five minutes so the flavours can blend.

Serves 4.

More mung bean dishes from my vegetarian kitchen:
Moong Dal
Indian Sour Mung Bean Soup
Mung Bean and Coconut Soup
Mung Beans with Paneer Cheese

Feta and Olive Salsa

One of my favorite food combinations is feta cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes, so you can imagine my reaction to this chunky feta salsa that I originally found at Smitten Kitchen and more recently at Closet Cooking. Considering the sheer number of recipes that catch my attention in a given week, I can surely be forgiven for not rushing into the kitchen the very same day I came across this heavenly snack.

Not technically a salsa I suppose, a bit more like a salad perhaps, you can serve this with crackers and pita breads, with mixed greens, or tossed with some pasta of your choice if you can avoid scooping spoonfuls of this stuff into your mouth just as is. Not counting the time spent pitting the olives, everything is tossed together in a matter of minutes. A simple preparation, yes, but a powerfully complex and assertive taste experience.

Feta and Olive Salsa
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

generous 1/2 pound of feta, crumbled
2/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
2/3 cup of pitted kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon of dried dill
2 - 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
juice from one lime


Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and chop the tomatoes into bits. In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes with the rest of the ingredients and toss gently to combine.

Makes approximately 3 cups of salsa.

Other recipes from Lisa's Kitchen to try:
Kalamata Olive and Feta Cheese Muffins
Feta, Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Scones
Greek Feta & Olive Frittata
Olive Hummus

Vanilla Oat Pancakes

Vanilla Oat Pancakes
Served with whipped cream and fresh berries, these naturally sweet, fluffy little pan-fried cakes are a perfect treat for an afternoon get-together over tea. Served with maple syrup, they're a delicious and warming breakfast on a cool summer morning…

…and served with all three, these vanilla oat pancakes are a delightful treat for any occasion.

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Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Lemon and Tahini

If you are looking for a balanced vegetarian meal that is easy to make but full of flavor, then I recommend this earthy, yet tangy Chickpea and Quinoa salad that I made the other day when my preference was to curl up on the couch with a fat history book instead of going on an extended culinary journey in the kitchen. You may wish to serve it with this refreshing Miso, Seaweed and Mushroom soup.
Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Lemon and Tahini

For the salad:

1/2 cup of quinoa
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1/4 cup of parsley

For the dressing:

1 shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons of tahini
a few splashes of olive oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Soak the rinsed chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover. Soak the rinsed quinoa overnight in 1 cup of water.

Drain the chickpeas, transfer to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover and cook until the chickpeas are soft and tender - about 1 hour.

To cook the quinoa, bring the soaking water and quinoa to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer until the water is absorbed - roughly 10 minutes.

Toss the cooked quinoa, chickpeas and parsley together in a medium bowl.

For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the grains and beans and toss.

Serves 4.

Other ideas for tahini:
Millet and Brown Rice with Tahini and Tamari
Olive Hummus
Chickpeas and Bechamel Sauce

Toor Dal and Green Bean Poriyal


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
When the outdoors is rather uninviting, and nothing is perceived as of especial importance, one can't go wrong by focusing energy on good nourishment. Truly it is a sweet luxury to spend an afternoon in the kitchen. Poriyals are dry vegetable curries served with traditional South Indian meals. This preparation, adapted from Dakshin, was particularly appealing to me because it included not only the vegetable component of the meal, but the gritty goodness of toor dal too. Legumes are an essential element to a healthy vegetarian diet. Yellow split peas or chana dal can be substituted if you please.

On the menu with Coconut Rice and Gluten-Free Chocolate Cocoa Brownies with Cranberries and Chickpea Flour for dessert.

Toor Dal and Green Bean and Pea Poriyal

1 cup of toor dal, well rinsed
5 dried red chilies
3 cups of water
1 - 2 tablespoons of dried methi leaves (fenugreek)
1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 pound of green beans, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
a wee bit of water
1 cup of frozen peas, defrosted

For the tempering:

2 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of chana dal, rinsed
1 teaspoon of urad dal, rinsed
2 dried red chilies, halved
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
small handful of dried curry leaves


Soak the toor dal and the red chilies in 3 cups of water for at least 3 hours. Drain and transfer to a food processor along with the salt, asafoetida powder and methi leaves. Process until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a large wok, heat a bit of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped beans and tomatoes to the pan and cook, adding a bit of water if necessary, until the beans are just tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil or ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, red chilies, cumin seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to turn grey and pop, add the chana dal paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to brown a bit and turns crisp. Add the green beans and the peas and cook for another few minutes.

Serves 6.

Other toor dal dishes from my vegetarian kitchen:
Toor Dal Pumpkin Soup
Marawadi Mixed Dal
Toor Dal Palak