Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moroccan-inspired Chickpea Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, and Kale

This giant pot of stew will feed a small army...or you'll have leftovers for a week!

1 small butternut squash
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
3 TBSP olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch chunk garlic root, peeled and minced
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dill
2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped
1 medium-sized head of kale, stalks removed and chopped

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place face down in a lightly oiled glass pan and bake at 400 degrees for about half an hour, or until tender. Remove from oven, carefully trim skin off, and chop into 1/2 inch chunks. Meanwhile, place chopped sweet potatoes in a pot with a steamer basket and steam for about 20 minutes.

Heat 3 TBSP olive oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add onions and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, tumeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne, and saute another two or three minutes. Add steamed sweet potatoes, roasted squash chunks, dill, chick peas, chopped tomatoes with their juice, and about a cup of cold water. Cover and let simmer over medium heat until the stew thickens and all flavors meld, about 20 minutes. While stew is simmering, steam the chopped kale for about five minutes until bright green. Mix steamed kale into stew. Taste and adjust seasonings.

This stew is delicious served over brown rice with chopped raisins. Top it all off with a spoonful of yogurt!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sujatha’s Karivepaku Podi (Curry Leaf Powder)

A tasty and spicy way to jazz up some plain rice! You should be able to find curry leaves at your friendly neighborhood Indian grocery.

My coworker Sujatha gave me this recipe using grams as a measurement . . . so it might take some playing around to get the right proportions.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
125 grams urad dal
10 – 12 dried red chilis
35 grams dhaniya (coriander seeds)
10 grams jeera (cumin seeds)
45 grams sesame seeds
Leaves from 12-15 stems of curry leaves
6-7 pieces of garlic
Salt to taste
20 grams dried tamarind

Head oil in a pan for 2 minutes; add ural dal and fry until it’s light brown. Add chilis, coriander, cumin, coriander, sesame, curry leaf and fry till it’s a light brown color. Make sure you don’t use too much oil here; you want the mixture to be fairly dry. Toss the garlic and tamarind in towards the end.

Dump all the ingredients in the food processor; add salt and grind. You want it to be a powder, but Sujatha tells me that if you let it get TOO fine, then it’ll get bitter. Stir it into rice, and eat with curry, raita, and other yummy Indian things.

Lemon-Caper Veggie Saute

I’ve officially discovered a new favorite ingredient: capers! (Thanks to Martha, for randomly having them in her fridge when I came over with a bag full o'random veggies and no plan for how to cook them). They give this really simple combination of ingredients an extra little salty kick to make an easy, tasty pasta dish.

Olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 small onion
1 cup eggplant, cut into cubes
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of spinach
Juice from 1 lemon
About 1 tbs capers, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan; add the garlic and onion and sauté for several minutes over low heat, until they start to turn golden brown. Add the eggplant and sauté until soft, adding a little water or extra olive oil if needed. Add the capers towards the end, allowing them to cook with the eggplant for a few minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and spinach, and cook till the greens are wilted.. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat, and squeeze the juice from the lemon over the whole thing.

Serve over whole wheat pasta. It would probably be fabulous with some fresh parmesan grated over the top :).