Vegetarian Friendly Thai Curries *Asian Grocery Store

So, as I promised on my Facebook page here is a mini haul of Thai curry pastes which are vegetarian friendly. I made a trip to a nearby Asian grocery store and took some pictures in-store.

Note: Avoid Thai curry pastes that has scallops, shrimp, or fish sauce. If you can’t figure out any ingredient then just Google it. I am sure there is always one vegetarian friendly curry paste in the grocery store. So don’t give up. ūüôā

I have used the products of this well known Thailand company named ‘Namprik¬†Maesri’ for almost 6 years now, and trust me I like them a lot. Maesri¬†doesn’t carry all the pastes which are vegetarian friendly, but I found six curry pastes and one dipping sauce which are absolutely vegetarian friendly.

They are packed with flavors and you just 2-3 tablespoons curry paste per coconut can. So I always freeze the rest of the paste in the freezer and it stays well for months. Moreover, this brand is easily available in almost all the Asian grocery stores.

Here are my recommendations:

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Panang Curry Paste

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Masaman Curry Paste

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Karee Curry Paste (Yellow Curry Paste)

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Kaeng Par Curry Paste

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Prik Khing Curry Paste

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Green Curry Paste

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Satae Sauce: Warm this dipping sauce and serve it with veggie eggrolls, fresh spring rolls, or Asian dumplings.

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Vegetables & Basil Pesto Risotto

I made this recipe for a potluck party recently, it is made of simple ingredients which will be easily available in your pantry. As a thumb rule this recipe has to cook on low heat through-out and it actually took me an hour and half to do all preparations and cooking time. So, it is a long process, but I feel it is worth it.

You can complete your Italian menu for a party with this rice dish and serve it with veggie lasagna, pasta salad or any pasta dish, Caesar salad (without anchovy paste), minestrone soup, garlic bread, pizza or calzones, and/or with classic tiramisu cake/triffle. So any combinations from above can make your dinner party shine.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups of Arborio Rice

6 cups of vegetable broth (Add water if you run out of vegetable broth)

1/4 cup of cooking wine (any brand)

1 and 1/2 cups of finely chopped vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, defrosted peas, and mushrooms)

(Note: Other optional veggies are zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, french beans, pearl onions, artichokes, spinach)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1/2 onion medium size (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of basil pesto

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley + 1 tablespoons for garnish

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (fresh)

2 tablespoons of butter + 1 tablespoons for finishing the risotto in the end

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cups of Parmesan cheese (good quality, don’t use processed one like Kraft)

Salt and pepper (according to taste)

Method:

1. Take a pan and add olive oil and butter. Keep the heat on low.

2. Add onions and garlic and saute them until slightly golden brown.

3. Add vegetables and cook them for 2-3 more minutes. Add salt and pepper little by little.

4. Now add arborio rice and toast it for few minutes.

5. Add cooking wine and vegetable broth (1 cup at a time, cover the lid, and again add 1 cup of liquid).

This step will ensure that arborio rice will develop starch and the risotto will be creamier. Add salt and pepper little by little.

6. Keep adding liquid (use vegetable broth, if you run out then use water) and cook the rice on low thoroughly. Check if the rice has cooked well or not. If not add more liquid. Don’t rush this process, as it is the most important one.

7. Add finish up the risotto with basil pesto, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, peas, parsley, and butter. Check salt and pepper and add if needed.

Note: You can add 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese if you want to make it creamy. 

8. Garnish it with parsley and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot/warm.

Ingredients Sautee Veggies in butter + EVOO Arborio Rice Cooking Wine Vegetable Broth Add peas, parsley, and basil pesto in the end IMG_9611 Garnish Serve

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

I have posted a lot of fall recipes this season and here is one more.

Soups and fancy bread together is a perfect combination and I am serving my roasted pumpkin soup with fancy cranberry-walnut artisan bread I got from Traders Joes. You can get any artisan bread for this recipe.

My friends always ask me how do I experiment with new vegetables and my instant response to that is I don’t think about my recipe first, I first pick a new appealing vegetable from grocery store, bring it home, and then think about creating a recipe.

So here is the recipe for my roasted pumpkin soup:

Ingredients:

1 medium size pie pumpkin

1/2 quart of vegetable broth

5 tablespoon of maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar)

1/2 tablespoons of cumin powder

1/2 tablespoons of coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream (or whole milk)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Misto Spray)

Garnish with parsley or cilantro or pumpkin seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Cut the pie pumpkin in half, spray olive oil (Misto Spray), and roast them cut side down into a baking pan. Remove the seeds and scoop the pumpkin filling.

Add pumpkin filling and all other ingredients. Blend all together and heat up for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Note: I use soup mode 2-3 times on my Blendtec and it heats up the soup automatically in the blender.

Blendtec Soup Mode Soup

Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach and Artichokes can’t go wrong ever, either this combination is used in pasta, pizza, and puff pastry pinwheels. My husband and I love it and always order it at Cheesecake Factory or TGI Fridays.

So, I have recreated this recipe with low-fat options and the calories are way less than served traditionally. Traditionally Spinach Artichoke Dip has sour cream, cheese cream, and mayonnaise instead my version has creamy Greek yogurt, feta cheese (for sourness), and organic mayonnaise (less).

Lets check the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

3 cups of fresh baby spinach (chopped)

1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)

4 tablespoons of onions (finely chopped)

1 garlic glove (finely chopped)

1 dash of hot Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup of Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of feta cheese (crumbled)

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (With egg or eggless according to your preference)

1/4 cups of low-fat mozzarella cheese (shredded)

1 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat up a pan. Add olive oil, onions, garlic. Saute them. Switch off the burner.

Add spinach and artichokes. Let everything cool down completely.

Add all other ingredients except mozzarella cheese. Mix well.

Top it with mozzarella cheese.

Bake it for 20 minutes.

Broil it on high for 2-3 minutes until mozzarella cheese gets a light brown hue.

Serve hot with tortilla chips or crackers.

 

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

As we all know, sweet potatoes is a healthier choice over white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Iron, and Magnesium.

So any day when I crave for potatoes, this alternative vegetable definitely becomes my top choice. I utilize sweet potatoes as double baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked french fries, also them in my lentil soup. Just amazing vegetable!

For this recipe you won’t need too many ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 Sweet potato (scrub the skin and wash it well)

1 teaspoon of maple syrup (or 1 tablespoon of brown sugar)

1 pinch of salt & 1 pinch of pepper.

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon of butter (add more if you want to increase the richness)

Drizzle on top (Optional):

1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup

Crushed black pepper

Method:

I usually bake sweet potato in microwave using potato setting. It is a quicker and an easier method. You can also boil them in pot full of water or foil bake the sweet potatoes in oven at 375 for 60 minutes.

Now scope all the goodness and add all the ingredients. Mash everything and make it creamy.

Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup and black pepper.

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Basic Batter for South Indian Recipes (Dosas ‘Savory Crepes’ or Uttapam)

I must say south Indian cuisine is one of my all time favorites. Earlier, I use to buy store bought batter to create dosa/uttapam, but now I make my own batter. Usually, there are several ways to make South-Indian batters depending on the ratio of lentils and rice. Every household has a separate batter version.

Infact I have two versions for dosa/uttapam batter myself. One with lentils, rice, methi seeds and the other one with lentils, rice, methi seeds, and steel cut oatmeal. The second one is a healthier option and I will post that recipe in my next post. Both tastes equally good and you will not notice the taste variation. Even my husband couldn’t tell and he is still unaware of this fact that I put steel cut oatmeal in my dosa/uttapam batter, which is hilarious!

My version has three steps and the batter can last for one to two weeks in your refrigerator. It takes me one whole day to prepare the batter. So, I soak all my ingredients overnight: rice and lentils (individually) and the next morning grind them separately in my trustworthy Blendtec. Later I mix them all and keep them to ferment for 10 hours. At night the batter is ready to prepare dosas and vegetable uttapam. I serve my dosas with rasam or sambhar, potato onion curry, cutneys like coconut-roasted channa and yogurt- green chili chutney. My husband likes yogurt-green chilies chutney, which takes 2 minutes to prepare.

Dosa/Uttapum Batter:

Ingredients:

1 cup of Sona Masoori rice (available in Indian grocery stores)

1 cup of parboiled rice (available in all grocery stores)

1/2 cup of¬†black grams known as¬†‘urad daal’¬†(available in Indian grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)

Salt to taste.

Method:

Step 1: Overnight Process (or 8 – 10 hours)

Prewash and soak both rice together in a bowl with 4 cups of water.

Prewash urad daal and soak it with fenugreek seeds with 1 cup of water. (separate from rice mixture)

Step 2: Grinding Process (Morning around 7:00 am)

Grind both the mixtures separately (First rice and then daal+methi seeds). Separate grinding is necessary as both different textures of rice and daal will ensure crispy dosas.

If you think mixture is too dry then add more water during grinding. Now remember add water little by little. We don’t want to avoid having too runny batter.

Mix both rice and lentil batter together.

Now add salt to taste.

Cover the batter.

Step 3: Fermentation Process (10 hours minimum)

Keep the batter to ferment in a warm place. I sometimes keep the covered mixture in my oven with light on. (Don’t turn your oven on during this process).

You can cover the mixture with woolen sweater and keep it on your window sill or in a warm corner of your house.

Don’t open the cover and let it ferment well.

Step 4: Making of Dosas/Uttapam

Heat up the skillet on medium high.

Note: Keep paper towels, bowl full or water, Misto oil spray in the side.

Now pour the batter in middle and in circular clockwise form start spreading the mixture from inside-out. Just like we make thin crepes.

Cook for two minutes, spray oil. I use Misto oil spray and brush.

Cook the dosas until crispy. I like my dosas to have medium dark brown hue.

Serve with your favorite chutney, rasam/sambhar, and potato-onion curry.

whole batch of batterfermented batterbrush the non stick mpanMisto sprayClockwise Swirl -  Middle to  OutPaper ThinSuper WhiteGolden Brown - Extra CrispyPotato Curry Stuffed Dosas with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney

Acorn Squash and Mini Pie Pumpkins Stuffed with Curried Quinoa Salad

This healthy fall recipe can be prepared and served for Thanksgiving dinner. You can totally replace Acorn Squash and Mini Pie Pumpkin with Butternut Squash or Spaghetti Squash.

Ingredients:

One Mini Pie Pumpkin

One Acorn Squash

Olive Oil (Spray)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Curried Quinoa Salad Recipe:

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1/2 medium apple (chopped)

1/8 cups of dried cranberries (chopped)

1/8 cups of  maple roasted walnuts (roast walnuts with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and a pinch of salt)

2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

1 cups of quinoa

2 and 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon of curry powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons of Hot Pepper Raspberries Chipotle  

2 tablespoons of Pineapple Mango Sauce  (Picture posted below) 

Note: You can use any of your favorite sauce, salad vinaigrette, or even fruit preserves. These two sauces I am using are made from real fruits and has no corn syrup. Some options to consider: Spiced Apple Butter, Raspberries preserve, or Pepper Jelly.

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450.

Cut the acorn squash and mini pie pumpkins into halves and prick the skin with fork.

Scoop the seeds (forming a cavity)and place them cut side down into a cast iron or oven safe plate. Now roast them for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle Salt and Pepper in the cavity.

 

Curried Quinoa Salad:

Roast quinoa with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a hot pan.

Add water and cook them until water boils. Add curried powder, salt, and black pepper.

Switch off the stove and let the quinoa soak all the water. Fluff up the quinoa with fork and cool it completely.

Now add vinaigrette and other ingredients.

 

Stuffing:

Stuff the curried quinoa salad in the roasted acorn and mini pie pumpkin cavities.

Drizzle some more vinaigrette if you want.  

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IMG_9187 IMG_9196 IMG_9213Sauces I adore