Tag Archives: Cook

Creamy Grits with Sweetcorn, Avocado and Spring Onion

Creamy Corn Grits

As the evenings are getting colder, I have been going through my pantry to see what I can use to make warm, hearty dinners.

pearl barley and grits were both competing to see who gets to me first

Grits won because I had an avocado which needed to be used. So, I thought of teaming the two with some tomatoes and spring onions.

Corn
Corn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This recipe becomes rich and comforting thanks to the creamy avocado and a bit of cheese (both good healthy fats).

Also, it is fuss-free, doesn’t require too many ingredients and can be made in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

1 cup grits (corn dalia)

3 cups water

1 bunch spring onion (scallion)

100 grams sweetcorn kernels

1 small ripe avocado

2 tomatoes

Chicken or vegetable stock cube (optional)

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon grated cheese (I used Cheddar)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, prepare the vegetables. Wash and chop the spring onion, keeping the white and the green parts separate.
  2. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  3. Wash the sweetcorn kernels (if using canned, drain and keep aside).
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and when it heats up, add the spring onion (reserving some white part for garnish).
  5. Turn down the heat, add tomatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sweet corn and salt, mix, cover and cook for further 2 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat to high, add water, stock cube is using (I used chicken for this recipe) and let it come to boil.
  8. Once it start boiling, add the grits, mix well, turn down the heat to minimum, cover and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Make sure to check in-between in case it is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  10. While the grits are cooking, peel and finely chop the avocado.
  11. Once the grits are cooked, open and add the avocado and cheese. Give it a good stir, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.
  12. Turn off the gas and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a pasta bowl and garnish with the reserved spring onion.
  14. Serve with some chilli sauce. I like mine with the hot Tabasco.
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Speeding up the Soaking Process for Dried Beans

Dried Beans

If you are anything like me, at times, you will forget the whole “soak the beans overnight” part of a recipe.

In such situations, I find the following helpful.

  1. Wash the beans in a saucepan.
  2. Add water (ratio of 1 part beans, 3 parts water) and put on a burner.
  3. Bring the water to boil rapidly and turn off the burner.
  4. Cover and keep in a dark place for four hours.
  5. By now, the beans should be nicely plump and swollen.
  6. Cook according to your recipe’s instructions.

You are invited to share your tips and tricks on how to speed up the pre-soak process for dried beans.

Hope this helps!

Cooked Sprouted Moong

Sprouted Moong Cooked

I tend to sprout whole moong beans at least once in a week and, depending on what I fancy making, let the beans germinate for 2-3 days on my kitchen window platform.

One cup of raw moong multiplies 3-4 times as seen in this plate of uncooked sprouted moong.

Sprouted Moong Raw

Cooked sprouted moong is my go-to dinner when I fancy something simple and fuss-free as was the case last night.

Ingredients

One cup moong beans

1 teaspoon chilli powder (or according to taste)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin poder

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon oil

Juice of 1-2 lemons (depending on size)

Method

  1. Wash and soak moong beans for 8-10 hours.
  2. Drain the water and put soaked moong beans in a container with holes so that excess water drains and there is room for air to circulate. Place the container with holes on another container so that its bottom doesn’t touch any surface directly.
  3. Cover and leave for 24-48 hours.
  4. When you are ready to cook the sprouted moong, heat the oil in a wok like pan.
  5. Mix chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt to taste in a bowl.
  6. Add asafoetida to the hot oil.
  7. Add the dry masala powders from step 5 (keep the heat to minimum so that they don’t burn).
  8. Add lemon juice and give everything a good stir for 30 seconds.
  9. Add the sprouted moong, stir once again so that everything is mixed well.
  10. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  11. Switch off the gas and let it sit, covered, for further 5 minutes before serving.

you can serve this as a side-dish to an Indian meal

Courgette/Zucchini Steak with Bean Salad & Avocado dressing on a bed of spinach

Courgette Steak

For dinner last night, I fancied only vegetables. At the same time, I wanted to make something warm since the weather’s getting cold.

A ripe avocado (given by the same friend who had given me the hass one) was urging me

use me

There is no recipe as such but the following is how I put together a healthy, cosy but what looks like a sumptuous meal.

Courgette Steaks

Courgette jaune
Courgette jaune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washed and cut in half (along its length) a yellow courgette. Then, I marinated it in some umami paste along with lemon juice and olive oil. Just before cooking, I put everything in a hot pan. Cooked courgette for 10 minutes each on both sides. The end result was a lovely steak like vegetable. The reason I used yellow courgette was because they tend to have thicker skin which works well for such cooking method.

Bean Salad

Washed, soaked and boiled a cup of kidney beans with a pinch of salt. Rinsed them in cold water and doused them with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and salt. Added two very finely chopped onions and let the salad sit for some 8 hours for the flavours to blend. Before eating, added some steamed sweetcorn kernels.

Avocado Dressing

Whipped 3 tablespoons plain, mild yoghurt with Coleman’s mustard and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Added diced avocados. Left this outside for a couple of hours so that I could have it at room temperature.

Spinach

Washed a bunch of spinach and put it in a saucepan with a lid. Cooked it with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

Bringing it all together

The spinach was sat on a plate on which came the courgette steaks along with the bean salad and avocado dressing.

A delicious, healthy, low-fat dinner.

Purple Cabbage Paratha/Purple Cabbage Flatbread

Purple Cabbage Paratha

Also known as red cabbage, this variety of cabbage is often used in salads, coleslaw or eaten raw.

In the last few months, I have been toying with the idea of experimenting with it and the opportunity came when my friend Meher (she who’d got me the haas avocados) gave me a head of red cabbage to play around with.

so what are you going to do with me

Asked the under-utilised vegetable. And here’s the end result – a twist on the conventional cabbage (gobi) paratha.

Ingredients

Half head finely grated purple cabbage

1 cup wheat flour

Half cup ragi flour (optional)

One large grated carrot (optional)

A spoonful of minced ginger and green chillies (or according to taste)

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon ajwain/carrom seeds

1 teaspoon Haldi/turmeric powder

1-2 teaspoons ghee

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except ghee) to make a pliable dough. There is no need for water, the cabbage releases sufficient moisture.
  2. Pinch balls and roll them on a floured surface.
  3. Cook in a pan with flat surface, 10 minutes each side.
  4. Smear with a smidgen of ghee and eat hot.

you can use only wheat flour if you like, ragi flour is optional but increases the nutritional content

carrots are also optional; you can use grated courgette or grated radish or stick to purple cabbage only

Layered Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Avocado Salad

Image

Last night, I had one of the best meals I have ever cooked even if I say so myself!

without further ado

Let’s get on with this yummy salad which came about as a result of my very good friend Meher who got me a haas avocado

this one is dead simple and the best part is that you can adapt the basic premise of this salad to suit your taste

Layer One (bottom layer)

Ingredients

  • A handful of amaranth leaves is what I used but you can use any salad leaves you fancy such as iceberg lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or even a mixture of leaves and fresh herbs.

Preparation

  1. Wash the leaves (and herbs, if using).
  2. Pat dry with kitchen towel or put in a salad spinner. The idea is to get all the moisture out.
  3. Do this a couple of hours beforehand so that the leaves are water free when you transfer them to your dinner plate.

Layer Two (sitting above the leaves)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (depending on size and appetite)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used garlic pepper seasoning from my pantry)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Wash and clean the sweet potatoes.
  2. Slice them in half vertically and either leave them intact or cut them in two depending on their size.
  3. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and salt in a non-reactive bowl.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, mix them well with the marinade, cover and leave till the time you are ready to eat.

Layer three (sits above the sweet potatoes)

Ingredients

  • 250 gms your choice of mushrooms (I used the plain white variety)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (any type of wine or sherry vinegar will also work well)

Preparation

  1. Wash or wipe the mushrooms.
  2. If small, you can leave them whole or split them in half or quarter depending on their size.

Layer four (the top of the salad)

Ingredients

  • One ripe avocado
  • A spoonful of prepared mustard 9I used Colemans)
  • 3-4 tablespoons mild yoghurt (Greek yoghurt works well here)
  • one grated cucumber (optional)

Preparation

  1. Whisk the yoghurt.
  2. Add cucumber (if using) and mustard.

Cooking and Assembling

  1. Heat a frying pan. When hot, add the sweet potatoes and all the marinade.
  2. Make sure they sit in a single layer, cut side down.
  3. Cover, turn down the heat to minimum and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, uncover and flip over the potatoes.
  5. Once again, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, place them on top of the leaves and herbs which form the base on your plate.
  7. Add the vinegar to the pan to deglaze it along with a couple of spoonfuls of water and the mushrooms.
  8. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. While the mushrooms are cooking, peel and chop the avocado and immediately add it to the yoghurt mixture.
  10. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on top of the sweet potatoes.
  11. Add any liquid from the pan to the yoghurt avocado mixture, give it a good stir and pour this over the mushrooms.
  12. Voila – your layered salad is ready!

substitute, improvise, replace!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can use whatever you fancy. Chicken or boiled eggs instead of avocados. Broccoli instead of mushrooms. Salad leaves of your choice. Use whatever is available, seasonal, cheap and fresh.

Just follow these steps for layering:

leaves followed by carbs followed by vegetables followed by protein

If you try this out, let me know how you get on and which ingredients you substitute!