Tag Archives: international

Aloo Gobi & Sada Paratha

15 Aug

Indian food truly is a vegetarian’s best friend. It has distinctive, flavorful dishes, many of which are already veggie-friendly or are easily made so! If you’ve never experienced any sort of Indian food, this dish is a great way to get your feet wet and see what you think.  Aloo Gobi, or Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes, is one of my favorites and I had to try and remake my Indian restaurant staple. The recipe comes out of the great cookbook “Entice with Spice – Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People” by Shubhra Ramineni. I highly recommend this cookbook because it explains a lot about Indian cuisine and the methods behind their preparation. The author brings in personal experience from growing up surrounded by the food and breaks down a seemingly complex dish into feasible steps. I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by preparing Indian food, but with the right spices, it’s pretty simple! I grabbed this book off the shelf at the library 🙂

As a side to this dish, I quickly made some Flaky Wheat Breads (or, Sada Paratha). So easy! Basically, they’re just pan-fried flatbreads that are great to balance the spiciness of Indian food. Though, naan is far superior, but I don’t have a wood oven to make them in…yet…

Since I can’t post the recipe from the book I used, I recommend this Aloo Gobi recipe from Food.com. Pretty similar to the one I followed, but I did add whole garlic cloves, used FRESH heirloom beefsteak tomatoes (amazing) and ginger powder. To cut down on cooking time, I recommend boiling the potatoes a bit before throwing them in the skillet with everything else. It takes much longer for them to cook in the skillet. Also, fresh coriander = CILANTRO! Yum.

My next move into Indian cuisine will be Chana Saag! I had some at the Blues & Brews Festival this weekend and oh, it was soooo goooooood. A mixture of spicy, creamy spinach and garbanzo beans! Might have to make some chapati too…I’m hungry again.


Black Bean Pupusas with Homemade Salsa & Guacamole

1 Aug

om nom nom nom.

Ever since I tried pupusas at the farmer’s market last weekend, I’ve been wanting to make them on my own! Not an easy task. The dough is a bit hard to work with (it’s just masa harina and water) and it kept cracking on me when I was forming the tasty little pupusas. Ack! So, mine aren’t the prettiest or most accurate looking, but it was a fun experience and I want to try again with different flavors!

For those of you who don’t know what a pupusa is (like me two weeks ago), it’s a “traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick, hand-made corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend of the following: cheese, cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency, refried beans, or queso con loroco (loroco is a vine flower bud from Central America)”. As usual, Wikipedia has all the answers (just not for your college thesis).

This was basically the recipe I used, but the ratio of water to flour was way off. Followed exactly, my dough was overly dry and not pliable. I added at least another 1/2 cup-3/4 cup of water while working with it. The site was a good resource for the method of how exactly to form them, but I would make sure that your dough is wet enough before jumping in to rolling the pupusa (unlike me, who was impatient and ended up with the black bean filling oozing out through all the cracks). Mine were much MUCH thicker than an actual pupusa should be and you typically got a mouthful of the corn tortilla more than the black bean filling. Still, very good and filling! Especially with fresh, homemade salsa and guac on the side!

Black Bean Pupusas (Adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 cups masa harina (pretty easy to find–I got the Bob’s Red Mill kind!)
  • 1 cup warm water (I needed MUCH more than this)
  • 1 cup of whatever filling you like (in my case, black beans and green onions!)
In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time if needed, to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) This was a little tricky to do because it seemed like either the dough was too wet or too dry. Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Press an indentation in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of desired filling into each indentation and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn’t spill out. In an ideal world, this would have happened. Mine just kept cracking, no matter what I did. Ugly food can be tasty food too!

Line a tortilla press with plastic and press out each ball to about 5 or 6 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. If you don’t have a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin. Or just press them between your palms like me since you don’t have a tortilla press or wax paper!

Heat a greased skillet (or a griddle) over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done. EAT.

  • I definitely think this is a great, basic recipe. There’s so much you can do to create more variety and different flavors, even if it isn’t traditional! A cheesy spinach-artichoke mix or something sweet like a berry mash might be interesting to try!
  • I made all my pupusas first and then threw them all onto my griddle. Yes, the griddle you make pancakes on. Didn’t even need to use any oil, but I’m sure they would have tasted even better fried…
  • Guac and salsa made this dish. Dippable foods are just so much more fun.
  • Though I had some issues with the dough, I will definitely be trying this out again. So much potential!

bright and delicious!

I HAD to find an excuse to use some of my new/used pyrex…so we made some honey-sweetened lemonade! I think it’s a little absurd for lemonade to have 2 cups of refined sugar in it! Really not good for you. Honey, agave nectar, stevia or maple syrup are far superior sweeteners! Side note: need to buy a little citrus juicer. It was so tedious hand-squeezing 9 lemons (though my significant other did 7 of them) 🙂 I think I’ll have to make an “Arnold Palmer” tonight…

Pierogi? Pyrogi? Pierógi? Yum.

26 Jul

Potato, chive and vegan cheddar-filled pierogies! They're kind of ugly, but tasty 🙂

I was feeling a bit daring and adventurous tonight, so I tried my hand at homemade pierogies! Simply put, they are like little potato-filled pasta pillows. I love pasta and I love potatoes, so this just seemed so right. They didn’t turn out exactly as I planned, but it was my first attempt, so I will improve on them next time! I tweaked the recipe from here and just kind of played with the filling to see what would taste good. I boiled some taters, mashed them, added some almond milk, Earth Balance buttah, and salt/pepper to taste. My first batch’s filling was some taters and some garlicky wilted spinach I threw together in a pan. Tasty! The second/third batches had a nub of Follow Your Heart Cheddar cheese, potato, and some chives.

Vegan Pierogi Dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup canola or olive oil (i used a garlic-infused olive oil)
  • Dash of salt & pepper
A mixer or bread machine makes this a lot easier, but it’s definitely do-able by hand!
– Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl, and knead until smooth (it will still be kind of sticky).
– Let the dough rest in the bowl (covered with a towel) for 30 minutes. (Not completely necessary, but if you find your dough too springy and hard to work with, let it rest a bit longer).
– Separate the dough into 2 parts. (Or, in my case, many little parts because i had to run it all through the pasta maker…)
– Roll one half of the dough until about 1/8″ thick. (1/8″ thick? I can’t eyeball that. Just don’t roll too thin, otherwise they will fall apart! Believe me, it happened.)
– Cut circles with a cookie cutter (Use a cup/mug/glass/whatever you have/eyeball it).
– Add a teaspoon or so of filling (depending on how big your circles are. Don’t put too much, or they will be hard to close.)
– Fold the circles in half over the filling, and pinch closed. You can also press the edges with a fork to make sure they are sealed really well. (If your dough starts getting dry, keep a bowl of water nearby and use to seal the edges).
-Lather, rinse, repeat.
– At this point you can freeze the pierogi for later, or you can cook them. (Great for a quick meal later in the week!)
– To cook, (do them in batches small enough to fit in your frying pan), boil them for a few minutes, just until they float, and then fry in oil or butter, until brown on either side. (Eh, not a fan of the frying part, though I’m sure it’s delicious. I just browned them a bit with some canola oil spray, minced garlic and scallions).

Notes for the future:

  • Add more garlic!! (maybe add some to the dough)
  • Make a simple, white (and garlicky) sauce to bring it all together. Dill would be a good flavor with this as well!
  • Make them all at once, rather then in batches…it gets tedious…

This was a really fun and super flexible dish to make, especially if you’re not all about keeping with the traditional preparation of pierogies. This could easily turn into a simple method of making some half-moon raviolis with butternut squash filling, or really, any filling! Get creative. Creative is tasty.

I just checked out this great Indian cookbook that has “Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People”. It’s approach is un-intimidating and thorough in its descriptions. It also lists some Indian markets where many of the strange and delicious sounding ingredients can be picked up. I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes! Aloo gobi, mmmmm…