Tag Archives: vegetables

Brussels the South Indian way :-)

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The Yuletide festivities are upon us and there are so many delicious seasonal Winter produce in the markets and Supermarkets out there. A typical seasonal veg here that our family loves is Brussels Sprouts. But I wanted to share with you a way to use them instead of the usual steaming or roasting, which is definitely a great way to get the full flavour of Brussel Sprouts, but you can also bring them alive with some gentle spices ūüôā

This is my favourite way of using Brussel Sprouts and using South Indian spices to make a light stir fry, or Poriyal as called in Tamil Nadu. It’s visually pleasing when you pair the Brussels with bright yellow Sweetcorn and garnished with coconut. I love the way this curry is not too fiery¬†as it uses gentle spices and so if you don’t like hot curries all the time, then this is perfect for you! You can leave out the dried red chillies completely if you are serving it to children.

A non-stick or ceramic pan is best for making this ‘Poriyal’ so the Brussels don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

If you are in a rush you can steam the chopped Brussel Sprouts in the microwave with a tablespoon of water. This will reduce the time needed for them to cook in the pan.

What you need:

  • Brussels Sprouts – 4 cups, finely chopped
  • Sweetcorn – 1 cup (defrosted if frozen)
  • Coconut – 1/2 cup – freshly grated or the unsweetened desiccated coconut¬†is fine
  • Ginger – 3 inch piece – finely grated
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Oil (flavourless) – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1 tsp or to taste

To Temper:

  • Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds -1 tsp
  • Split Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Whole dried chillies – x2
  • Asafoetida – a pinch

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the black mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping add the other ingredients under the ‘To Temper’ list above.
  2. Add the chopped Brussels Sprouts, sweetcorn and stir fry for 5 – 10 minutes until the Brussels are cooked (you will need less time if the Brussels Sprouts have already been steamed in advance)
  3. Finally add the salt, coconut and lemon juice and mix well. Check seasoning and serve ūüôā

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Kerala, mykitchenadventures, south India, south indian, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Keep your finger on the Pulse!

Today, Sunday 16th October 2016, is World Food Day. Why does this matter? Well one of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. One of the world’s poorest populations are farmers and other primary food producers, who are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters. So to address this issue as well as the ever increasing world population, a more sustainable way of producing food is now an urgent issue. This is a worldwide problem, not just for poor countries.

The global message for World Food Day 2016 is ‚ÄúClimate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.‚ÄĚ  2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses (beans, peas, chickpeas & lentils) by the United Nations and so I was very fortunate recently to have been invited to the Cookhouse in Borough Market where other bloggers and I were treated to a fabulous demonstration about Pulses by Jenny Chandler.

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The venue was perfect for this event with a lovely view of the Market and a great demonstration platform where you could clearly view every step of the demo.

Jenny is such a lovely person and she exudes her passion for pulses and food in general when you meet her. She started off by explaining how pulses are such an obvious answer to some of our food problems in this country and abroad as well as her work with the UN to promote pulses as a sustainable food.

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The ‘Pulses’ organisation does huge amounts of work to encourage farmers in this country and around the world to grow more pulses and create a more sustainable environment for people. Do check out out their website for more information on Pulses, recipes and how the countries are collaborating to help climate change and food security.

Did you know peanuts are classed as a pulse?

Jenny’s love of world food, and especially food from the Mediterranean, is apparent when she talks about the different ingredients she uses in her recipes and it was nice to hear how her experiences around the Globe have influenced her work and her passion for pulses.  It is this global experience which is highlighted in her upcoming demonstration kitchen residency at Borough Market

Thursday 3rd November 12.30-2pm – The Americas

Thursday 10th November 12.30-2pm – Africa

Thursday 17th November 12.30-2pm – Asia

Thursday 24th November 12.30-2pm – Europe

I know which of these themed demo’s are attracting me – how about you? ūüôā

It was nice to see how a simple meal of Quesadilla’s could be made using homemade re-fried beans and then adding this to a flour tortilla with spring onions, chopped coriander leaves, jalepeno peppers. The thing I am going to try out when I make these is adding Wendsleydale cheese as Jenny explained how it’s not always easy to get Mexican cheese and so Wendsleydale comes close to that kind of texture. Yum!

Jenny made some flavour packed Falafel, not using the usual chick peas, but delicious Fava Beans. Fava Beans are also known as Broad beans or Pigeon beans and I was surprised to learn that the UK is a big exporter of this humble pulse. I thought the use of Fave beans in Falafel made them taste less heavy and went so well with the parsley, garlic and cumin they were blended with.

I really liked the way Jenny served the Falafel in Gem lettuce leaves which means that there’s no heavy pitta bread so I felt that I was getting the most out of the Falafel’s nutrients and it can become such a light meal – a genius idea! The health benefits of grains and pulses are so important and Jenny has also highlighted these as well as amazing recipes in her book ‘Pulses‘.

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Summertime eats

Here’s a what I have been up to lately with my #CookEatInspire post. Thanks for reading all!

Suji x


COOK

During the summertime I tend to cook food that involves less time by the hob and more easy, light and refreshing dishes that suit the milder weather.  Although vegetable pulao is mostly cooked on the hob, I have used a good selection of veg here that can be pre-cooked in the microwave/steamer before adding to the pan, to make cooking time even quicker.  You can also use a Pressure Cooker, and I have mentioned the cooking times for that method below.

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The first veg pulao was named ‘Rainbow Rice’ by niece and I have decided to name it this in honour of her and let’s face it, it sounds much more fun! The ‘Rainbow Rice’ recipe was one made for my niece and nephew so has little spice, but the other ‘Bulgar Pulao’ was made for adults and you will find a more typical Pulao recipe but replacing the traditional rice with Bulgar. ¬†The cracked Bulgar wheat I find gives the dish different nutrients and more diabetic-friendly and I have tried this with other millets and quinoa too, which all give different textures.

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Rainbow Rice (veg pulao for children)

Serves 2

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I used a¬†of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn) – you need to use veg with different bright colours¬†ūüôā
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely (I sometimes use¬†spring onions instead, for a milder flavour)
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – ¬†1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Soak the Basmati rice for at least an hour to ensure you get the correct texture. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped¬†onions and sautee until¬†transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then drain the rice and add to the pan and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about¬†12 ‚Äď 14 mins until the rice and veg are cooked through.¬†If using a pressure cooker you can cook for 2 whistles instead.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using).  You could garnish with purple cabbage (cooked and chopped) for a further flurry of colour!

Enjoy seeing the faces on the children when you announce this as “Rainbow Rice”! ūüôā ¬†Ok, so maybe the older children¬†won’t be that excited… haa haa! ¬†It will perfect to take away¬†for picnics or other day outs and you won’t have to worry that your little ones haven’t had a good meal.

Try adding some cococnut milk when cooking the rice to give extra flavour and richness to the Pulao ūüôā

rainbow rice

Bulgar Wheat Pulao

I don’t use the pressure cooker for bulgar wheat as it can easily be overcooked so I find it easier to keep an eye on it

Serves 2

  • Bulgar wheat¬†– 1 cup (I used the coarsely cracked bulgar wheat¬†)
  • Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I usecoarse cracked bulgar wheatd a mixture of beans, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Onion- 1 medium sized, chopped finely
  • Chickpeas – a handful from a can (or you can use ones that you have cooked from dried)- I also add roasted tofu/seitan¬†instead of chickpeas
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Clove – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
  • OIl- 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – ¬†1 tablespoon (or veg oil if you want to keep it vegan)
  • Salt – as needed
  1. Peel and grind ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon with little water to fine paste. At this point, if you prefer to steam your mixed veg, you can do so now in the microwave or steamer.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Clove and bay leaf. Then add the chopped¬†onions and sautee until¬†transparent. Add the ground ginger cinnamon garlic past, mix well and don’t let it burn.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook everything together on medium flame for about 5  mins. Then add the Bulgar wheat and mix until well combined.
  4. Add salt, water and bring to a boil. Cook for about¬†12 ‚Äď 14 mins until the Bulgar and veg are cooked through.
  5. Use a fork to fluff the pulao carefully and then finally add the butter (if using) and you can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions.

Bulgar Pulao


EAT

Want to try authentic Sri Lankan home cooked food? Then you NEED to follow Virundhu Supperclub! I was fortunate to finally make it to their third supperclub and I sure am glad I didn’t miss it this time! It was held in the very trendy,¬†easily commutable, Docklands area and the venue had a gorgeous view of the Thames.

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The Supperclub is curated by the effervescent Ashanti Omkar who has done such an amazing job at coordinating the event and is a well known in the London Foodie circles¬†! The very talented Suhanya is the Chef who hails from such an interesting family of Keralan and Srilankan heritage and her passion for food definitely showed in the dishes she cooked for us! Her husband also helps behind the scenes and Suhanya’s¬†sister, Veena, was the Host and Mixologist for the evening and is also a passionate foodie herself.

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There were about 10 guests in total and all were fabulous company, including the wonderful Chef Kanthi and his business partner from The Curry Leaf Cafe in Brighton (one of the next stops on my Food Bucket List!).  It was a hot day and the Cocktails (and the mocktail version) served by Veena were such a welcome refreshment! The passionfruit really stood out and frankly, I could have drunk a bucketful. Sluuuuurp!

To start off the Supperclub we were served some very moorish ‘Gundu Dosa’s’ which are just like the South Indian ‘Kuzhi Paniyaaram’. It was impressive to eat these with homemade tomato ketchup and¬†Sambal (a typical Srilankan coconut chutney). ¬†There were also some yummy cutlets which reminded me of one of my Aunties from Sri Lanka who often bought these to picnics when we were younger. You will definitely find cutlets of some sort in a Sri Lankan Picnic Basket!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!

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I am not sure where to start with the main meal, as it was a typical Sri Lankan feast with so many curries to accompany the rice, as opposed to the rice being the star of the show. ¬†Sri Lanka has amazing produce and Chef Suhanya had gone to great lengths to ensure the Virundhu Supperclub menu had fresh, good quality ingredients in all the dishes. Being a vegetarian, I cannot comment on the meat dishes that were served but the other guests definitely ‘ooed’ and ‘aaahed’ at all the non veg items and especially the fresh fish that Suhanya had sourced. ¬†The highlights of our vegetarian feast were the Batu Moju (fried Aubergine) , the¬†Mallung (Sri Lankan Kale, which is also known a ‘Ponnaangkaani Keerai’ ¬†in Tamil) and not forgetting the Del (Breadfruit) curry which in Tamil is ‘Eerapilaakkai’ and which I haven’t tasted in years! It’s not easy to¬†buy really fresh Breadfruit in the Sri Lankan shops near me, so it was such a treat to taste this vegetable and Suhanya has prepared in such a delicate way so as not to overcook it and lose the amazing texture it has. ¬†You can tell when the food is so delicious, when all of the guests become silent all of a sudden and you can just sense the pleasure that this food gives ūüôā

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I’m drooling as type this and revisit the photos, as I just want to have this meal all over again! There were SO many items on the menu and my photos and descriptions do not do them justice. Some tastes you just have to find out for yourself.¬†You can tell the food is¬†made from the heart and for me it was such a warm experience and I felt transported to one of our family homes in Sri Lanka. ¬†The beautiful music collection chosen by Ashanti added to the lovely ambiance and my husband and I couldn’t help singing along to some of the classic Illayaraja tracks during the evening ūüôā¬† If you do get a chance to taste the food at Virundhu Supperclub , then I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. It will be a ‘Virundhu’ (feast)¬†for ALL your senses!

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Gundu Thosai !!!!!


INSPIRE

I am very excited to write about a very very talented person who is a continual inspiration to me both as a great food photographer and as a beautiful human being. She is the lovely Nessy Samuel.

 

 

For over a year her photography has dazzled me and continues to do so. As a food photographer and stylist Nessy has a great eye for beauty and can capture a view that you or I could have also seen, but not really focused on and so missed it’s highlight. ¬†She definitely doesn’t miss the highlights and as a wonderful¬†cook herself, she uses her own dishes as well as simple ingredients or lovely props¬†in¬†her shots. ¬†Her website holds pictures of Still Life, Floral as well as Food.¬†Simplicity in it’s most elegant form, is what I like to think of her style but in order to really see Nessy’s awesome work¬†check out her stunning portfolio: ¬†www.¬†nessysamuelphotography.com/index.html

Nessy’s use of light, angles and composition of the photo’s are really awe-inspiring and it really brings out the best in what she is trying to capture. This photo below of Romanesco cauliflower is just stunning and you can get a great feel for the textures and colours with the background she’s chosen.

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Her talent does not stop here! She also has a great eye for¬†the sights she experiences on her travels and her passion for natural beauty is what I admire most. ¬†Nessy’s frames often look like¬†famous¬†paintings and I often feel like I am right there in the shot as well. ¬†Nessy’s travel photography can be viewed here:¬†https://www.instagram.com/wanderingoyster/ ¬†You will¬†see what I mean¬†and I hope she inspires you as much as she does me¬†ūüôā

 

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This is a snapshot of Nessy’s inspiring Travel Instagram profile: ¬†Wandering Oyster

 

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Is it Feb already?!

Wow. It is February. In the New Year. 2015. Whaaaaaaat?! A little freak out here!! I had so many plans (as usual) and so many things I wanted to have completed by now. Usually I would heave a big sigh and start moaning how I need to be more organised and moan about how little time there is to do everything….blah…blah…blah. But this year, unlike the “usual me”, I have brushed off the list of things I still haven’t done and can happily say ” oh well” and that I will definitely get around to it. It’s ok if I haven’t done it. For those of you who are like me – a control FREAK! – then you’ll understand how the aforementioned actions can be tough.¬†A REAL challenge in fact!

Ok, so before you send me to see a psychiatrist, haa haa, here’s¬†my first blog¬†for the new year. Yeyyyy! ¬†In addition, this month¬†also¬†commemorates a year since I started this blog and for me it’s proof that time does fly when you’re having fun ūüôā

My inspiration for the latest set of recipes, come from the need of comfort food. No matter where you are in the world, you always need that feeling that your food is like a huge hug in your mouth and makes Life feel better again. Oh yeah…you know that feeling. So my first recipe comes to you from the Far East country of Thailand which brings heat and spice to warm up even the most Icy¬†of Queens. My Thai Green curry is just my take on a big comfort food that my family and I love and I think the only difference really is the quantity of veg. Usually the Veg Thai curry that I eat at restaurants are yummy, but lack veg and I normally fight over the last pieces of veg with the person I am sharing it with. So my Thai curry does have a few vegetables that are not traditionally found in a Thai Green Curry, but I think nevertheless absorb the flavours and go together well. I am not going to preach about making your own Thai curry paste either, as the shop bought ones are not bad at all. However like most things, homemade makes a better and fresh taste and you can make it according to your liking. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Thai Green Curry with Lotus Root Fry and Quinoa

I have also had requests for a couple of traditional recipes and I have written¬†ones from one half of my family, Sri Lanka. Pittu is a great alternative to having rice with curries and is also healthier as it uses red rice which has more nutrients and is less processed than white rice apparently. Most of the time it’s steamed with grated coconut, but is equally yummy with greens and other grated or finely cut vegetables like carrots and cabbage. ¬†My family and I love Pittu with Aubergine in a tamarind gravy (Kathrikkai Kuzhambu) and Soya & Beans curry. My recipes are slightly different to the traditional ones as they don’t involve frying the veg in a lot of oil and use baking and steaming instead to retain maximum flavour, nutrients and most of all that all important comforting feeling. ūüôā I’d really like to know your thoughts on these if you try it out, or what your favourite dishes are to go with Pittu.

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Last, but not least is a sweet and satisfying dessert. I was saddened to hear that the King of Chocolate, Mr Michele Ferrero passed away a few days ago. His chocolate were the only ones that were favourites in our household and I can’t remember a Christmas without Ferrero Rocher. Good times indeed and I know his chocolate will be remembered for many more years to come as they are timeless flavours. I myself am not a chocaholic in the slightest, but Ferrero Rocher and Nutella I do love when the craving arises. So in tribute to the late Mr Ferrero, I have written my version of Nigella’s Chocolate cheesecake using Nutella. A big hug of chocolate to start¬†a great year ahead I feel :-). Click here for the recipe and I hope you like it!

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