ironamma

A new wave of vegetarian cooking!

Archive for the tag “Vegetarian”

Black- Eyed Peas/Lobia with Barley Soup

Black- eyed pea or bean, a legume that has high nutritional value (calcium, folate, vitamin A, etc) is known as the soul food of the South. This is a wholesome soup with pressed barley (oshi mugi) which gives it a subtle thickness.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups black-eyed peas – wash and soak in hot water for ~ an hour (or use fresh shelled or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup pressed barley soak with peas
  • 1 can/14 oz/411 gm cut tomatoes or 4 large Roma tomatoes dice
  • 1 large red onion – chop
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chop
  • 1 leek stalk – cut thin round slices (optional)
  • 7 cups water

Fresh blend:

  • Food process 5 garlic cloves, 1″ ginger piece, 1/2″  fresh turmeric piece, 1/4″ mango ginger  and 1 green chile

Seasoning:

  • 3 tbsp Mediterranean oil blend/canola,olive,grape seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp onion seed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder/hing
  • ~ 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Kashmiri) or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional-if tartness required)
  • 1 tbsp dry onion flakes

PREPARATION:

  • In a pressure cooker temper cumin, onion seeds and hing in hot oil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add and saute dry onion, cut onion, leek and fresh blend until light golden.
  • Add the rest of the seasoning except salt, garam masala and lemon juice.
  • Saute 3 – 4 min. Then add black-eyed peas, barley and cut tomatoes. Add 7 cups of water.
  • Cook for ~ 15 min. First on high until the steam is released then reduce to medium low.
  • Turn of heat. Wait until the cooker has released all the steam before opening it’s lid.
  • Add salt and garam masala; cook for a few min more. Mash some of the the peas and tomatoes against the side of the cooker.
  • Garnish with cilantro before serving.

*Note:

  • Enjoy with your favorite munches or scoop of cottage cheese!

Pumpkin Cream Soup

We recently were gifted a Vitamix blender from Costco. After going through some of the Vitamix recipes, my daughter and I decided that since it’s the season of “pumpkin” that we would take the Butternut squash recipe in the book and remake it with pumpkin and put our own twist on the spices. It is fun to take a original recipe and turn it into a beautiful new one, except for things like Jalapeno corn bread – don’t TOUCH that recipe. (we’ll post that closer to Thanksgiving – if you are lucky!!)

The winter evenings are coming closer, and we are experiencing colder mornings and nights – Sopa is an excellent way to warm up and be satisfied. The way we mixed all the ingredients has a South American touch. South Americans use a lot of squash, and corn in their recipes so you guys can think of the Macchu Picchu mountains while surrendering to this soup. Perhaps you will think instead of a spooky Halloween where you are in a dark pumpkin patch and an evil witch is following you. Wherever your taste buds and imagination take you, I am sure you will enjoy this blend of vegetarian soup.

 INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin – add 2 tbsp of water and microwave uncovered for 5 minutes
  • 1/4 cup of Pepperjack or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Organic 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup of V8 Juice Low Sodium
  • 1 Green Chile
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Onions
  • 1/2 cut chopped apple
  • 2 stalks of Green Onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of blended Italian spices
  • 1 cup of Tortilla Chips
  • Top with Croutons as needed

PREPARATION:

  • Take all the ingredients above. Throw it in the Vitamix blender/ or other blender.
  • Slowly blend on low speed and ramp up to the highest speed.
  • Let all the ingredients get pureed into soup form.
    • (The Vitamix does take hot ingredients so after you heat the pumpkin in the microwave you can dump straight into the blender)
  • The soup should already be warm because of the cooked pumpkin, if not transfer soup from blender into a microwave friendly dish and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with Croutons, or sliced apples.

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Midnight snack: Grilled Zucchini/Eggplant w/ Pesto

A day in my pregnant daughters life:  

My daughter writes……………..After a magical movie with my family the clock hit 11:24pm. Just in time for a Midnight snack 🙂 Should I go for the chips, cookies, or grill up something healthy. I looked in the fridge saw zucchini/eggplant that were ready to be cooked. Iron Amma has the solution. She grabs the zucchini & eggplant and chops the ends. I am hungry, I am ready to jump on the first thing that’s eatable. Iron Amma cuts long slices- fast, race car fast. Then she pulls out a pan and sprays olive oil evenly on the surface. Finally she grills the long slices of vegetables enough so they brown on the edges. I’m thinking am I just eating grilled veggies!! SURPRISE. Iron Amma has a storage of Kirklands Pesto Sauce from Costco. She plates the grilled zucchini & eggplant and glazes the pesto sauce on top for a delicious midnight snack. I scarf them down, sit in satisfied comfort till I drag my body for a sound night of rest. It’s so nice to have Iron Amma as my MOM! 🙂

Palak Paneer (Spinach + Cheese)

My neice Prerna Dubey always talks about Paneer as her all time favorite food. When Prerna was a kid, her mom would try to get her to smile for the camera.  The only attempt that would work is if her mom asks her “tell me your favorite food?” Then Prerna would give a big smile and say PANEER! The pictures turned out beautiful.

Palak paneer is a favorite of children and adults alike – a good source of protein and iron! My mom also prepared palak paneer often for all her active kids. This recipe is for all you paneer lovers.

Party quantity (for ~ 30 with other items)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 lb ( 1.1 kg) spinach – microwave uncovered (to retain it’s green color) for 4 min in 3 batches and blend finely or coarsely as desired
  • 30 oz (800 g) paneer – rectangular or cube cut (1″) – lightly brush skillet with oil and sear on both sides on medium low heat
  • 1/4 to 1 cup cream or 2 tbsp sour cream – if richness is desired (I used 2 tbsp of low fat Greek yogurt/strained yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 large tomato or 4 Roma tomatoes or use 1 can cut tomatoes (14 oz) – chop
  • 1 3/4 large white onion – chop
  • ~ 1/2 cup water to help blend mixture (eye ball it)

Fresh Blend:

  • 1 jalapeno, 2 Thai green chile, 2″ ginger piece, 4 garlic cloves and 1/2″ fresh turmeric piece, 1/4 bunch cilantro – chop and food process

Seasoning/Masala:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chile powder or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp allspice powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp broken cashews
  • ~ 3 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or 1/4 bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves or a little of both  – make powder by rubbing between the palms of your hands

PREPARATION:

  • Temper cumin in oil and butter – reduce heat add onions, ~1/3 tbsp of salt and fresh blend until translucent.
  • Add the rest of the seasoning list and saute for few min.
  • Then add tomatoes and cook until soft. Mix in the yogurt and add half of the blended spinach for few min.
  • Turn off heat and cool it to blend.
  • Mix the rest of the blended spinach with the seasoned spinach – bring it to simmer on medium low. Add  paneer and cook for few minutes more.
  • Lastly taste and adjust salt, etc.
  • Serve hot with rice, naan, pita or your favorite flat bread.

***Palak /Spinach can be used as a dip by adding sour cream or any soft cheese shown on the right for paneer, pita, bread, veggies, etc.

Ironclad Review #1! Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels

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My vegetarian family needs more protein. In the 60’s if you were a vegetarian, protein meant the cheese off a slice of cheese pizza. Luckily in the past 10 years there has been a wave of Vegan & Vegetarian products in the market that will substitute meat protein. Some products are tasteless or dry and other products really satisfy!

The Ironclad Review for the Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels is a big 3 knives out of 4. One of the better soy products on the market. Mostly organic, these morsels are easy to make and are similar to the taste of real chicken (for the carnivores turned herbivores). The orange sauce keeps the soy protein moist and chewy. Finally, with a couple bites you can fill your protein intake for the day. The only drawback is that the bag only portions for 1 person/1 meal. (9.25 ounces for $2.99). Viva la Veg!

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Tropical Fruit Smoothie


As a special request from India, here is a yogurt based smoothie that is healthy and tastes good. What a better way to start a the day than with a healthy energized smoothie!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 large ripe mango (preferably not stringy) – peel and cut chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple (Dole brand – chunks in its own juice)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 cups coconut milk (Freshly squeezed or Trader Joe’s Original)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 3 tbsp blue agave or 1 cup fresh squeezed cane sugar or to taste
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice

PREPARATION:

  • Blend hemp seeds with pineapple until smooth.
  • Then add mango, banana and coconut milk until smooth.
  • Lastly add yogurt and ice and pulsate until mixed.
  • Garnish with a cherry.

*Note

Can flavor the smoothie with few drops of vanilla, cardamom, almond or rose water extract if desired.

Mango Masala Chaat Pizza

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Our friends, Manisha, Lavanya, and Sunil, had scoped out a restaurant called “Pizza and Curry” in Fremont, CA where they ran into a Mango Chaat Pizza. Over the weekend, my daughter went to Bodega Bay with Manisha and she reinvented this Mango Chaat Pizza and it was a supreme hit. 4 pizzas were wiped out clean within minutes. We can salute to this pizza TODAY at the opening night of the London Olympics 2012 (NBC @ 7:30pm – Pacific time).

Ingredients: (1 pizza)

  • 1 Organic wheat pizza crust (can buy at Whole Foods)
  • 1 medium sized onions (sliced into thin long pieces)
  • 1 bell pepper (cut into small cubes)
  • 2.5 mangoes (slightly ripe – hard enough to cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1/4 bunch of Cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 packet of shredded Mozarella cheese
  • ~1 cup of Mint Chutney
  • ~1/2 cup of Ketchup (use the bottle)
  • 2 tbsp Chaat Masala (get at store – good brands “MDH”)

Preparation: 

  • Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  • Lay out the Organic pizza crust on kitchen table
  • Spread mint chutney as desired evenly on the pizza crust leaving 1/2 inch off the edge
  • Next, squeeze the Ketchup as desired evenly on the crust (~1/2 cup per pizza)
  • Then place cubes of mango, bell pepper, chopped cilantro and slices of onion on the pizza
  • Lastly, sprinkle shredded Mozarella cheese as desired
  • Put finished pizza either directly in the oven or on top of an aerated pizza pan
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes until top is golden and cheese is bubbling
  • Remove pizza and sprinkle 2 tbsp Chaat Masala evenly on the pizza
  • VOILA – Thanks Manisha for a wonderful Olympic Meal!

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My favorite “Beetle-Juice”

Thanks to everyone that announced their one favorite juice to drink for this heat wave!

Beetle-Juice” is my favorite juice for the heat. Sometimes I feel sluggish during the hottest days, so I not only need that cool refreshing drink at hand, but something that keeps me alert. Raw beets have a good source of Vitamin C, Iron and Magnesium to give you the essential nutrients to increase blood circulation. So why not, cool off in a pool of beet juice 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  • ~ 2 bunch of celery
  • 2 medium beets
  • 4 apples
  • 2 oranges
  • ~ 1/3  honeydew melon
  • 2″ ginger piece
  • 1 green chile

PREPARATION:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Feed fruits and vegetables through a juicer (We recommend this brand of Juicer “Omega J8006 Juicer” – excellent for making juice, pastes, and fresh squeezed oils)
  • To serve cold chill juice for an hour

GARNISH:

  • Slice of lime and stem of mint

Pasta in Spinach Pesto Sauce (4 Options)

Hope you enjoy this zesty pesto sauce with a different approach! Consider using gluten free, vegan or low calorie option for those who are sensitive to gluten or milk products or just have a desire to cut calories!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 17 oz (~ 500 gm) Raditori pasta (grooves for the sauce to stick) – follow cooking instructions on package (cook ~ 8 to 10 min in 1/4 tsp salted water and 1 tsp olive oil)
  • Gluten free:  Use buck wheat soba noodles (buck wheat is not related to wheat or even considered a “grain”, but is a nutritious fruit seed related rhubarb and sorrel)
  • 1 lb (~ 1/2 Kg) spinach – microwave uncovered for 4 min
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chile
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Food process all of the above – (microwaved spinach, pine nuts, 3 garlic cloves, 1 green chile, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar)

Options:

  • 1.  Primary:  1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup cream, 1 cup soft Fontina cheese, 2 tb sour cream, ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – blend with hand mixer
  • 2.  Vegan :  1 block soft tofu, 1 cup tofu cheese (looks like grated white jack and yellow cheddar), ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – crumble tofu (don’t puree)
  • 3.   Low calorie:  1 1/3 cup strained yogurt, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – mix
  • 4. Use soba noodles/pasta or other gluten free pasta

Seasoning:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves – slice
  • 2 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1/2  tsp black pepper
  • ~ 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (optional) for garnishing – grate

PREPARATION:

  • Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a dome pan and add garlic slices until translucent golden.
  • Then add red chile flakes, black pepper and pasta seasoning.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add spinach pesto and salt for few min before adding any one of the 3 options given and desired.
  • Increase heat to medium and cook for ~ 4 min.
  • Add the pasta and mix. Turn off heat.
  • Garnish with the desired option cheese – tofu or Parmesan or fresh mozzarella.

*Note

  • Adding Parmesan to the hot pasta first will flavor and allow the sauce to stick to the pasta.
  • I like to use Raditori pasta because the sauce fills in the grooves.

Salty Oatmeal: kick the sweet turn up the heat

I’ve decided to write about a simple, healthy and quick oat recipe that we have for breakfast. A funny incident occurred on the cruise that we recently took around South America that reminded me of oats.  My husband mixed the ingredients (mentioned below) to make the same style of oatmeal in the midst of awkward glances of everyone around on the ship. When people think of oats they think sweet… with fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.  The food court on our cruise carried abundant nuts, seeds, dry fruits, salsa, sauces, diced vegetables for omelets and a variety of other stuff.  Every morning there was hot cooked oatmeal to which we added fresh salsa, diced veggies, nuts and of course salt…

Recipe makes a one serving bowl.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 heaping cup flat oatmeal
  • 1/2 big Roma tomato – dice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro – finely chop
  • 1 Thai chile – mince (remove chile seeds to reduce heat)
  • 2 tsp ginger – thin julienne cut
  • ~ 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • ~ 2 to 4 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts or flavored  (add less salt if peanuts are salted)
  • Sprinkle on the oatmeal your favorite toppings: seeds – flax, hemp…wheat germ, etc

PREPARATION:

  • In a cereal bowl place flat oats and the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour boiling water to submerge  and 1/2″ more over the oats. Let it stand for a minute.
  • Then microwave for another minute. This way oats are cooked and not too mushy.
  • Garnish with some more cilantro and enjoy!

Note*

  • Sometimes I add the fresh blend (fresh turmeric, ginger, green chile, garlic, curry leaves, onion, sweet peppers, etc) that I make which keeps for 4 days.
  • I also enjoy it with a tbsp of strained yogurt or cottage cheese and chutney pudi (spicy lentil powder).
  • Try also with some of your leftover sabjis.

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