Urad Bean and Quinoa Kofta with Coconut Fenugreek Sauce


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Urad Bean and Quinoa Kofta with Coconut Fenugreek Sauce

Served all the way from the Middle East through India to central Asia, there are as many versions of koftas as there are tastes and preferences. Although originally made from ground meat, there are countless vegetarian versions of these little "meatballs" to be found too, many made with cooked beans, potatoes or paneer cheese instead of meat, but always with herbs and spices.

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Tomato and Parsley Barley Salad with Marinated Feta

Parsley Barley Tomato Salad with Marinated Feta

Wanting a light and refreshing salad to go along with a Middle Eastern meal featuring baked homemade falafel served up in wraps, the idea for this easy-to-prepare fresh salad is based on tabbouleh. As I had some freshly ground za'atar on hand, I decided to power up that idea to include spices, cherry tomatoes, mixed bell peppers, lightly roasted cashews, and za'atar marinated pieces of sheep's milk feta cheese.

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Creamy Mattar Paneer Recipe


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Creamy Mattar Paneer

Since mattar paneer is one of my very favorite Punjabi dishes, I have made several different versions over the years. Some included a fair amount of yogurt for a rich and creamy element, while others were more classic in that the cubes of tender milky paneer cheese were simmered in a spiced tomato gravy with a swirl or two of yogurt or cream added into the dish near the end of the cooking time. Sometimes I have included mint, and other times, choose dried fenugreek leaves to compliment and enliven the spices. This version also focuses on a thick rich tomato base which takes precedence as the vehicle for the paneer cheese and peas and, of course, a range of aromatic and hot spices, but because I also wanted to add a creamy element to the dish, I prepared a cashew paste that is included for a pleasant balance of earthy and spicy.

The paneer cubes may be pan-fried in some oil until lightly browned on the sides, before adding them to the dish. This of course makes the paneer firmer in texture and the paneer will assert a more prominent showing in contrast to the other components in the dish. As a good paneer should be firm, I didn't think it really necessary and as it has a high melting point, the cubes still hold their shape and I thoroughly enjoyed the creamier texture achieved by skipping that step. Either way, a good mattar paneer is one you won't soon forget.

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Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten-Free and Egg-Free}

Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is a small adaptation of one of my favorite peanut butter cookie recipes, one that happens to be flourless and egg-free and contains only four ingredients. I've made the original countless times, and although this adaptation is new, I've made it several times already too. No need for butter or oil when you use a natural peanut butter sans extras. One bowl, a measuring cup and a teaspoon, mix, shape into cookies, bake for just under 10 minutes and enjoy if you can be patient for another 10 minutes to let them cool and firm up a bit.

Still flourless and egg-free, I've made these cookies to be ever so slightly firmer than the original recipe but still focusing on preserving the essential peanut butter purity that makes these cookies so highly enjoyable. They may have six ingredients instead of four, but they are still incredibly easy to make and have just as much of the intense peanut butter flavor. These cookies are a peanut butter lover's delight.

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