Swiss Chard & Chickpea Curry

 

So I peeked in my fridge the other night and was saddened by the dire vegetable situation in my kitchen after a long holiday weekend. So I headed out to Trader Joe’s in search of some hope for my cooking situation. Lo’ and behold, the shelves were bare. So I headed down the block to the trusty local kosher grocery store, and amazingly, there was some beautiful fresh swiss chard. It being the beginning of the new year and time for healthy new year’s resolutions and better eating plans, swiss chard is the perfect healthy green to be that representative to ease us into this special moment.

Swiss chard is a fabulous, hearty green that can adapt to any situation. It’s somewhere in between kale and spinach in terms of durability? Can greens be durable? I say, yes. Anyhow, they cook down nicely and pair well with most flavors. It also cooks up quickly, so it’s great for those evenings where you get home at 6pm and dinner needs to be ready before the half hour episode of The Simpsons is over. Am I the only crazy busy mom who does that? I try not to, but to be honest, the occasional park the kid in front of a show moment is the only way that dinner will be cooked and bellies will get filled.

Curry is the perfect wintery dish. It’s comforting, warm, spicy and pretty healthy. And if you follow some of my other recipes on here and also my instagram, you’ve probably seen a fair amount of similar dishes. It’s such an easy meal to turn to as I usually have all of the base ingredients at home already.

I quickly set up some basmati rice to cook. Basmati rice also mostly babysits itself while it cooks.

I sauteed up some onions, garlic and ginger and curry spices. Next, I added in the chopped swiss chard and let that cook down a little bit. I then added some chickpeas, a small amount of broth and some diced tomatoes. I added in a small amount of salt. I let everything simmer for a little bit – five to seven minutes and I was ready to go. By the time the curry was ready, so was the rice.

I tried to keep the heat level on this dish more mild so my kids would eat it, and eat it they did! Hope you enjoy this as well!

Swiss Chard & Chickpea Curry
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tsp teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 large bunch of green swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • additional salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil in a large pan.
  2. Add in the onions, ginger and garlic and let soften for a couple minutes.
  3. Stir in the spices and cook another minute.
  4. Add in the swiss chard and let it cook down for a few minutes, stirring well.
  5. Add in the drained chickpeas, tomatoes and broth. Stir everything well.
  6. Let simmer for five to seven minutes, stirring every so often.
  7. Taste and add salt as necessary. If you’d like some heat, add in some cayenne or red pepper flakes.
  8. Serve with warm Basmati rice.
  9. Enjoy!

Tuscan Kale & Cauliflower Curry with Chickpeas

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If you’re anything like me, you run in to roadblocks in the kitchen almost every day. What to make, ingredients to have on hand, cooking time, etc. It’s life. We get by. Even if dinner ends up as cereal with milk, there usually aren’t too many disgruntled customers.

If you follow my dinner posts on Instagram, you probably already recognize some of the usual suspects in my kitchen. From throwing in an egg for protein to tossing every vegetable in the pan – dinner can be anything. Play with the flavor.  Swap out the veggies. Switch your proteins around. It’s all good.

You also know that I love curry. From a haphazard cabbage curry to a polished palak paneer, curry rocks. When served over Basmati rice, it is perfect. It’s one of those dishes that spring from nowhere on a busy evening. You can take advantage of whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand and it’s quick to prepare. Add in a protein and go to flavortown and you’re there. Your dish has arrived. Dinner is served.

Well it happens that way in my head. A few more steps are thrown in. But like I said above, a great curry can be born from whatever you have lying in your fridge. Well, most of the stuff. Don’t try and make a curry out of marshmallow fluff! Did I just admit to having marshmallow fluff in my house? Oops.

This curry I’m sharing with you, like the others, was born out of necessity. Some amazing Tuscan Kale was taking over some valuable real estate in my fridge and I didn’t want it to go bad. My husband wanted something with chickpeas. I wanted the kale. It’s cooperation. Or something like that. Regardless, it tasted great, it’s a great vegan curry and it cooks up super fast.

I heated up a large pan with some olive oil and add in some onion, garlic and traditional curry spices.

Next I added the cauliflower and it it cook a few minutes to soften. About 5 minutes.

I then added the Kale and Chickpeas. The kale will wilt pretty quickly.

After that, I added the canned tomatoes and some vegetable broth.

I let the mixture cook for another 5-10 minutes – letting all of the flavors meld while simmering.

While everything cook, I had some basmati rice going in my rice cooker.

Dinner took about 20 minutes to cook. It was perfect – especially for these chilly days.



Hope you enjoy!

Tuscan Kale and Cauliflower Curry with Chickpeas
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tsp teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, washed and broken up in to florets
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan Kale, washed and chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup vegetable broth

Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil in a large pan.
  2. Add in the onions, ginger and garlic and let soften a bit. About 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in the spices and add the cauliflower florets.
  4. Cook about 4-5v minutes to allow the cauliflower to soften.
  5. Add in the kale and the chickpeas. Stir well to mix up the spices. Allow the kale to wilt a bit. About 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add in the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir well and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Taste and season as necessary with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with warm Basmati rice.
  9. Enjoy!

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Curried Spinach and Chickpea Veggie Burgers

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Let me tell you something about myself. I love veggie burgers. I often judge a restaurant by three things; their veggie burgers, their grilled cheese and their onion rings. I know they sound like simple dishes, but often, they’re what I turn to when I go out to eat. And if those dishes are not good, uh oh.

So I’m always trying out new flavor combinations for veggie burgers at home. It’s a great weeknight dinner and they tend to freeze well for future meals.

This spinach and chickpea burger fell together. I was in the mood for a falafel flavor without the falafel and the mess it comes with. I needed simple. I also had some spinach I wanted to use up and I didn’t want to turn it in to a salad.

I’ve been keeping my Cuisinart food processor out on the counter lately, so these came together super fast.

I mixed up a can of chickpeas, an onion, some garlic and the spinach in the food processor. I then added some spices.

I formed them in to burger shapes and then lightly fried the burgers in a pan that was coated lightly in olive oil. I just wanted them to brown and hold together.

I then placed them in an oven at 375 to finish cooking.

I enjoyed these with a salad, while my kids devoured them on a sandwich thin along with extra spinach and sliced avocado and French fries on the side. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Curried Chickpea and Spinach Burgers
 
Author:
Recipe type: Burger, Sandwich, Veggie Burger

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bag of baby spinach – about 3 cups
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Mix everything together in a food processor.
  2. Form mixture in to burgers.
  3. Pan fry in a large sauté pan.
  4. Finish cooking in an oven at 375. It should bake for around 10 minutes or so.
  5. Serve them dressed with your preferred burger toppings. Enjoy!

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Palak Paneer

So I had this lovely brick of paneer cheese. I had to make dinner. I would go back to my first curry and make some mutter paneer, but I was out of peas. I did have some spinach sitting in the freezer though. I decided to make some palak paneer. J loves spinach curries, as do I. I knew that this wouldn’t sit well with one kid, but the younger child would be happy with this. You can’t please everyone.

Palak Paneer
Ingredients:

1 pound of spinach
prepared paneer, cubed
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. veg. oil
1 tbsp. butter or ghee
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. cumin
chili powder to taste
salt to taste

Clean the spinach well. Steam the spinach in a pot and squeeze out the liquid.

In a large saute pan, heat the vegetable oil and the butter or ghee.

Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger.  Cook until soft. Mash up the mixture a little.

Add the spices to the mixture.

Add the paneer. Let the paneer cook a bit. Paneer doesn’t melt – so no worries.

Add the spinach. Mix up well. Add the chili powder and the salt to taste.  Add a bit of veggie broth if the gravy is too thick.

Serve over basmati rice.

Enjoy!

Curry Turkey Burgers

The hubster did the Trader Joe’s shopping this weekend, and excitedly brought home a package of ground turkey. I’m not usually a fan of turkey, so I kind of shoved it to the back of the fridge.  Today was the day. Had to use it or freeze it. Burgers sounded good for today. I’ve been on a curry kick and these burgers hit the spot. I served these with some curried sauteed onions and mushrooms and broccoli on the side, but they would be excellent with a side of  baked sweet potato fries.

Curry Turkey Burgers
Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic paste
1 tbsp. ginger paste
2 scallions, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried coriander
1 tbsp. curry powder
salt
pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

Form into patties. This recipe mkde me around 8 small burgers.

Fry the burgers on medium-high for a few minutes on each side. Transfer to a 425 degree oven to finish cooking, around 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Mushroom and Tofu Curry

Everything tastes good as a curry. Almost everything.

On any given night, I know that if I can’t figure out a thing to make – I can always put together a curry. Just a few veggies, some ginger, garlic, and spices – is all it takes. Curries are very forgiving and adaptable. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Cook it all up and throw over some yummy basmati rice and you’re good to go. It’s that easy.

Tonight’s dinner was mushroom and tofu curry over basmati rice. Yum!

Mushroom Tofu Curry
Ingredients:

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger – paste or minced
1 green chili chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. garam masala
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 package of firm tofu, drained and chopped up
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 package frozen, chopped spinach (optional – I added it because I needed to use it up)
1 large tomato, chopped
handful of toasted and sliced cashews
salt

In a large saute pan or wok, heat the pan on medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and toast the mustard and cumin seeds for 3o seconds.

Add in the other teaspoon of oil and add the onions, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Saute for a few ,more minutes, until the onions are soft. Add in the spices.

Add in the tofu and mushrooms. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add in the tomatoes and spinach. Add in the broth. Taste and see if it needs anything. Here is where I will add more chili powder or extra spices and salt. Toss in the cashews and stir.

Serve over some steamed Basmati rice. Enjoy!

Rava Dosa with Masala – Do you Dosa?

If I were to be reborn in to some new life, I hope it could be in to an Indian family. I would love to grow up with the flavors and colors of Indian cooking.

My adventures into Indian flavor and cooking began when I was in college and was living in a largely Indian neighborhood. Peeking into Madras Mahal on Lexington, the first dish I ordered was Mutter Panner. A curry with peas and cheese. The flavors popped in my mouth, and I needed to explore more.

Running into Kalustyans and into the India Bazaar store, I explored the various flavors. Once I had a kitchen of my own, I was free to explore more. The one thing I never ventured into, was the world of dosa making. I have tasted my fair share, but it was never my highlight of an Indian meal. I didn’t have the equipment, and it seemed like too much work to try to make them.

This morning, in speaking with the hubster, I asked him what I should make. To which he replied, “a masala dosa, of course.” Of course that’s what he wanted. The one thing I was really not ready to make. I had plans to spice shop in Jersey City’s Indian markets today…so there was no excuse. We could easily have the ingredients here and ready. While at Patel market, I found a Tawa right by the checkout. I guess it was fate.

With the ingredients and spices in hand, I set out to make dinner. The potato mixture was easy and came out perfect. Not so much with the dosas. The first three were tossed. The fourth was somewhat edible. The fifth was getting there. By the sixth, I finally got it! I had also had enough playing with dosa making for the night and the Oscars were about to start, so we called it a night and chowed down. I am glad I now know how to make the dosa though. Next time, I will be an expert.

Here’s my fancy shmancy new Tawa!

Rava Dosa with Masala
For the potato masala mixture:
Ingredients:

3 potatoes – boiled, roughly mashed
1 tsp. urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 small red onions, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
peas, handful
1 carrot, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. chopped curry leaves
1 tbsp. veg. oil
1/2 cup water

In a large saute pan, heat the oil oil on high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Toast for less than a minute. Add the onions and chili pepper. Saute for a minute or two. Add the carrots, tomato, and the peas. Add the spices. Add the water and cook for a few minutes. Cook until the carrots have softened and the water has evaporated a bit. Stir in the potatoes. Mix in the chopped curry leaves and cilantro. Set the potato mixture aside or gobble it up. It tastes great on its own. It may need a little bit of salt, but taste it and see.

For the Rava Dosa:
Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup semolina or rava
1/4 cup maida flour (all purpose flour)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 curry leaves, chopped
3 coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp. ginger
4 cups water (approx – you may need more for consistency)
vegetable oil + 1stp
Equipment – a flat griddle or traditional tawa pan or use a large flat fry pan (see pic above!)

Mix the flours. Add the salt and water to it. Toast the spices in 1 tsp. of oil. Transfer the spices to the flour mixture. Let the batter sit for about 30 minutes. Stir the batter. It shouldn’t be too thick. More of a thick milk consisteny.

Heat the pan on high. With a paper towel, wipe oil on the pan. Do not pour.

With a ladle, spread the batter on the pan. Moving from the outside in. The batter should be very very thin on the pan.This does take practice.

After a couple minutes, sprinkle a dab of oil and some butter on to the dosa. When it starts to brown, fold it over.
Serve the dosa with the masala mixture or with the traditional sambar. Enjoy!


Please note: Your first few dosas may need to be tossed. Your first few dosas will not look like the giant beautiful cornucopias you can get at the local Indian restaurant. That’s totally ok. Have fun with it.

Cabbage & Chickpea Curry

I love quick and easy. I thrive on quick and easy.

Tonight was no different. Monday night. Come home from work. Five minutes to make sure I have what I need to get some food on the table. Once again, I am trying to use things up. Hate throwing up random remnants of food in the fridge. I also like dinner to be stretched to lunch the next day.
In the mood for curry. I scrambled together the spices, set up some Basmati on the stove, and peeked in the fridge. Like some divine presence, I found cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, and chickpeas all ready to go.
Came up with this:
Cabbage & Chickpea Curry
Ingredients:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (mine were from a can)
3 cups cabbage, shredded (or you can use the bagged mix)
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)
salt
In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions. garlic, and ginger. Cook for 4 minutes.
Add in the spices and continue to cook for a couple minutes.
Add in the cabbage, carrot, chickpea mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir every so often. I chose to add some vegetable broth, but it is not necessary…I just like my curries to be a little saucy so the rice can soak up the yumminess.

Sample a bite or two from the pan. (I promise – I won’t say a word).

Serve over Basmati rice.

Enjoy!

Cooking with my Dad: Vegetable Samosas

I grew up in a family of foodies. My ideas about food and how to cook it are definitely shaped by my parents. I often find myself calling them to run recipe ideas by them, in addition to the standard needed parenting advice. When I come home to my kitchen, I miss my parents looking over my shoulder telling me how something needs to be cooked or how to accomplish the task better.

I was overjoyed by the opportunity to cook with my father on a recent trip back home. He is an excellant father and an excellent cook. I was still curious to see how it would play out as he is a bit possessive of his kitchen. Originally I thought I would do some sort of traditional Minnesota dish like hotdish that has never seen the light of my parent’s kitchen or mine, but instead we chose to cook something that we knew we would enjoy eating.

We chose to do a slight adaptation to Bonnie Stern’s samosa recipe from her Heartsmart Cooking series. It’s is an ode to my parent’s cooking roots, as they took cooking lessons at her cooking school in Toronto back in the day. Below is the recipe as we prepared it.

Vegetable Samosas

2 potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots or 8 baby carrots, diced
2 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of peas

1 cup of hummus, (the recipe called for chickpeas, which we didn’t have)
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. of garam masala
2 tsp. curry
1 tsp. fenugreek
Egg Roll or Wonton Skins
2 tbsp. oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 375.

Begin by sauteeing the potato/onion/carrot mixture in olive oil. Sautee for around 10 minutes. After about 8 minutes, add in the ginger and the other spices. Saute a couple more minutes.


Add in the peas and the hummus, stir a bit. Add in the chopped scallions. Add in the water. Let everything cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

On a baking sheet lined with buttered/greased parchment paper, lay out the wonton/egg roll skins. Put 1-2 tablespoons into center of square and then fold into a triangular pocket. Seal the edges with water.


Brush the triangles with olive oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned. Enjoy!

They were yummy! I will definitely make this again. I think I prefer these to the fried version that I have at the Indian restaurants.I will add some garlic to it next time.

Chana Saag Aloo

Lunchtime at work can be rough. The combined smells of a hundred or so employees heating up and eating their home cooked meals can be rough. I do have one colleague who tends to have nice smelly lunches. So my dinner idea was stolen from her lunchbox.

After a long week of Passover with no rice, I was craving basmati. What better to go alongside, then a curry? Chana Saag Aloo is a very simple and cheap dish made up of ingredients that I usually have on hand in my pantry and freezer. Extra bonus is that there was plenty left over for lunches the next day.

There are many recipes for this dish; this recipe is based on what I had on hand.

Chana Saag Aloo

2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 tsp. of curry powder – rough estimate, truth is I shake it all in and guesstimate when it’s enough
1 tsp. turmeric
Salt
1 potato, diced
1 can of chickpeas
1 block of frozen spinach
can of diced tomatoes
cup of vegetable broth
cup of half & half or coconut milk

Cook some basmati rice as instructed on the package. The rice cooker works wonders. Start by sautéing the garlic, onion, and ginger in some olive oil. Sauté.
for 5 minutes. Add in your spices and the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. As that starts to soften, add your chickpeas. After 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, stir and simmer on low until ready to eat. Serve over the yummy rice. Enjoy!

 

About the picture…curries don’t always look pretty and appetizing. They just don’t. They are really yummy though…so please partake in this adventure.

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