Tag Archives: spinach

Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogger friend Teagan of the Three Ingredients Serial fame invites her readers to send in three ingredients for each episode of an ongoing mystery story which she posts in installments.

Teagan uses the ingredients sent in by her avid readers to decide how to move the story forward on ‘per episode’ basis. Her abundant creativity and the clever way she makes use of these ingredients means that each episode takes us on a twisting, turning and teasing ride.

Today’s soup recipe is an ode to Teagan’s three ingredients serial.

I was planning on making a very simple spinach and carrot soup. Some tart yoghurt, ginger garlic paste and paste of minced chillies and ginger were beckoning me from the refrigerator. So, I decided to use these three ingredients (which I would otherwise not consider using in a soup) to create an Indianised spinach and carrot soup.

Mighty pleased to say that the soup turned out to be absolutely superb. So much so that there are a couple of other recipes patiently waiting their turn to be posted but this one’s jumped the queue!

a warming, spunky soup which makes you forget how healthy it actually is

Ingredients

250 Grams spinach

1 Medium size carrot

1 Medium size onion

1 Head of garlic

1 Teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

1 Teaspoon green chilli-ginger paste

1 Tablespoon tart/tangy/sour yoghurt

1-2 Teaspoons oil

1 Cup water

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Thoroughly wash the spinach.
  2. Wash, scrape and roughly chop the carrot.
  3. Boil the spinach and carrot in one cup of water and a pinch of salt.
  4. Once cooked, let the vegetables cool down completely.
  5. Blend the vegetables till you get a puree like consistency. It is okay if a few carrot pieces remain whole.
  6. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  7. Peel and chop the garlic.
  8. Heat the oil in a pot.
  9. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat and throw in the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt.
  10. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the pastes of ginger-garlic and chilli-ginger.
  12. Add the yoghurt.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add the pureed spinach and carrot.
  15. Check for soup like consistency. Add more water at this stage if you find it too thick.
  16. Check for salt and add a bit more if you feel it lacking.
  17. Bring to a rolling boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  18. Enjoy hot with some bread stick or crusty loaf.

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A Very Leafy Egg Curry

A Very Leafy Egg Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Very Leafy Egg Curry

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever possible, I try to “healthyfy” conventional recipes. This could be through ingredients or cooking method.

So, when we were having an eggetarian friend over for dinner, I decided to cook an Indian style egg curry but with the addition of leafy vegetables to boost its nutritional value.

inclusion of spinach, amaranth leaves (lal saag) and fenugreek leaves resulted in this very nourishing egg curry

You can add whichever greens you can find. As for the fenugreek, I used the dried leaves (kasoori methi) but fresh ones would taste just as good.

Delicious with some roti, naan, sliced bread, tortilla, crusty roll or even plain rice.

Ingredients

10 Eggs

500 Grams fresh tomato

1 Cup ready tomato puree (packet/can)

500 Grams Onion

1/2 Cup ginger-garlic paste

1 Large bunch spinach

1 Large bunch amaranth leaves

1 Small bunch fenugreek leaves (or 2-3 Tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves)

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon chilli powder

1 Tablespoon turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon garam masala

1-2 Talespoons oil

4 Cloves

4-5 Cardamom

10-12 Whole black peppercorns

2-3 Bayleaf

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash, roughly chop and puree the tomato in a blender (without water).
  2. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  3. Chop and wash the spinach.
  4. Chop and wash the amaranth leaves.
  5. If using fresh fenugreek, chop and wash.
  6. Hard boil the eggs.
  7. Once the eggs have cooled down, peel them.
  8. With a knife, make a cross at the base of each egg, away from the yolk side.
  9. Heat the oil in a large wok like pan.
  10. Once the oil is hot, add the bayleaf, cloves, cardamom and peppercorn.
  11. Next, add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt.
  12. Mix well, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  13. Uncover and add the ginger-garlic paste.
  14. Stir it into the onion and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  15. Add the pureed fresh tomato along with packed/can of tomato puree.
  16. Throw in all the spices: coriander, cumin, chilli, turmeric and garam masala powders.
  17. Mix well and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes.
  18. Add about 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
  19. Add the chopped leafy vegetables (and dried fenugreek, if using).
  20. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
  21. Now, carefully, drop in the peeled eggs. Push them down gently with the back of a spoon so that they are submerged in the sauce.
  22. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  23. Once the egg curry is cooked, take the pan off the flame and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Quinoa, The Kedgeree Way

Quinoa Mackerel Kedgeree

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quinoa, The Kedgeree Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original idea was to use quinoa instead of rice in a mackerel kedgeree. However, for some reason, my water judgement went a tad haywire and so I ended up with a quinoa kedgeree which was a bit wet. Still, the end result was really delicious and I will be repeating the recipe (with more success the next time I hope!).

The mackerel used here was fresh. But for kedgeree, tinned fish would work quite well.

My following version of quinoa mackerel kedgeree is adapted from Jack and Jamie.

enjoy hot with wedges of lime or lemon

Ingredients

2 Medium sized mackerel

2 Bayleaf

4-5 Peppercorns

1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa

2 Onions

1 Head garlic

2 Tomato

1 Cup green pea

A handful of spinach

2-3 Green chilli

Fresh ginger the size of your thumb

3-4 Sprigs fresh parsley

1-2 Teaspoons ghee

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

3-4 green cardamom

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Teaspoon coriander powder

1 Teaspoon cumin powder

1 Teaspoon garam masala

Salt to taste

1 Egg

Juice of 1 Lime or lemon

Method

  1. First, prep the mackerel. Place it in a pan and add water just enough to cover the fish.
  2. Add a pinch of salt, bay leaf and peppercorn.
  3. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes till the fish is cooked.
  4. Remove the fish to a plate and let it cool down.
  5. Reserve the poaching liquor (you can remove the bay leaf and peppercorn if you like).
  6. Once the fish is cool enough to handle, separate the flesh from the bones.
  7. Leave the flesh in large chunks and set aside.
  8. Wash and chop the spinach.
  9. Wash the green pea.
  10. Peel, wash and dice the onion,.
  11. Peel and slice the garlic.
  12. Wash and chop the tomato.
  13. Wash and slice the chilli.
  14. Wash and grate the ginger.
  15. Wash and chop the parsley.
  16. In a bowl, combine the powdered spices – turmeric, cumin, coriander and garam masala.
  17. Heat the ghee in a frying pan.
  18. Once it is hot, lower the heat and add the mustard seeds and green cardamom.
  19. Stir for 30 seconds and throw in the chopped onion and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  20. Uncover and add the garlic, ginger and green chilli. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  21. Uncover and add the chopped tomato. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  22. Uncover and add the quinoa, peas and powdered spices. Mix well.
  23. Now measure the poaching liquor and add it to the pan along with additional water, if required. Usually, the ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2 or 1:3.
  24. Stir everything together, bring to boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  25. While the quinoa is cooking, hard boil the egg.
  26. At the end of 20 minutes, uncover the quinoa pan and add the spinach, lemon juice and mackerel flesh. Combine very gently making sure that you don’t break up the fish.
  27. Cover and cook for 5 minutes till the spinach is wilted.
  28. Take the pan off the heat.
  29. Shell and quarter the egg.
  30. Plate the quinoa kedgeree. Garnish with parsley and egg quarters. Enjoy hot.

A Lesson in How Not to Make Gnocchi

Sweet Potato & Spinach Gnocchi

 

 

 

 

 

WordPress tells me that KookyCookyng “stats are booming” and that I am getting lots of traffic. This is very humbling to know and I welcome all my readers, old and new, with open arms.

In light of this positive development, you may wonder why I would want to post an experiment gone wrong.

When I had started this blog, I had told myself that I would share my kitchen successes as well as disasters. Talking about the latter would be a useful exercise for me (1) in case I want to attempt a particular recipe again, (2) in case my readers can take away any learning from my failure, and, (3) in case my readers can put me right based on their own experience.

While it is nice to celebrate triumph, it is equally important to acknowledge failure. And today’s gnocchi recipe was a complete failure, although you wouldn’t think so looking at those innocent looking pillows above!

I have some sorghum flour in my larder and was wondering how  to use it in an innovative way. Suddenly, I thought of gnocchi and so searched for sorghum gnocchi. Seems like it was not a kooky idea after all. There are some gnocchi recipes out there which call for sorghum flour.

Next, I thought of substituting potato with sweet potato. That was also a tried and tested option by some bloggers.

So far, so good.

Than, I came across a recipe for sweet potato and spinach gnocchi. My mind told me that this was even better (as in healthier) so why not give this a go.

So I boiled some sweet potato. Also boiled some spinach, squeezed out all the water and chopped it finely. Got some sorghum flour and got started on the dough which came together totally fine (or so I thought the time).

I managed to make ropes out of the dough, cut them into pieces and even indent them with a fork for that gnocchi effect.

Next, I refrigerated the gnocchi for a few hours.

The plan was to serve these gnocchi with some spiced up tomato sauce so I got started on the sauce which turned out totally delicious.

The excitement was building.

I put water on boil for the gnocchi and when it got to the rolling stage, I carefully dropped them in, one at a time.

Now, at this stage, I expected them to start surfacing but they didn’t. I didn’t want to disturb them and since I was supposed to boil them for only 3 minutes, I was standing over the hob to keep an eye on them.

Suddenly, I could see the water going cloudy. I put a fork in the water only to discover that  all the gnocchi had disappeared!!! They had basically broken down in the water.

It was disaster time.

As the tomato sauce was ready and waiting, I consulted my flatmate friend (I was cooking for us both and she was a very understanding guinea pig!) and we both decided to throw in some spaghetti in the same water; with sweet potato, spinach and sorghum, it was very nutritious so we thought it would be a shame to waste it.

The dinner was salvaged by the fact that the spaghetti cooked well in this – what I can only describe as – gnochhi water and it tasted divine with the tomato sauce.

When I look back over the recipe in my mind, I think the thing that went wrong was the fact that I didn’t use enough sorghum flour. For 250 grams sweet potato and a bunch of spinach, I used only 2 to 3 tablespoons. I should have used much more.

If I had sauteed the gnocchi in some olive oil (which I almost did before deciding to boil them), it would have been fine. And next time I make gnocchi, I will test a couple in boiling water first before adding the rest of the batch. Else the saute route is the one I will take.

All’s well that ends well and this is one time that I can honestly say to these sweet and innocent pillows:

mea culpa; it is not you, it is me

But I haven’t given up on gnocchi yet. If anything, this failure has made me even more determined to master the art of gnocchi making!

Palak Aur Ande Ki Bhurji/Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Spinach

Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Spinach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There used to be a restaurant called New Kabana in north London run by a Pakistani couple. This restaurant served some of the best Punjabi food ever.

Both, the husband and wife, used to cook in the kitchen as well as work the tables.

The restaurant itself was very basic; you could bring your own booze and more of a cafe like atmosphere but as they rightly say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Each dish that they served stood out on its own, no two curries tasted the same, each item was freshly prepared once the order was placed. It was one of those places you went for real, honest food and not the atmosphere.

The restaurant used to be a short drive from where we live in Golders Green so it was very conveniently located for us but the food was so exemplary, we would have even driven long distance if it was elsewhere.

Sadly, the restaurant shut down and we haven’t been able to find a worthy successor yet (although my parents tell me that they have recently discovered a new restaurant which is just as good, which I have still to try).

I have been on a nostalgia trip since last night when I cooked this scrambled eggs with spinach

Spinach for Spicy Scrambled EggsI don’t eat enough eggs so decided to make bhurji. I like sneaking in a vegetable or two wherever I can as long as it matches the rest of the ingredients. So, I decided to use spinach in my bhurji recipe.

New Kabana’s recipe for palak paneer used to be different from the ones we are normally used to. The spinach was chopped (not pureed) and the paneer used to be crumbled instead of cubed.

So this recipe is like their palak paneer except that paneer has been substituted with scrambled eggs.

DuckduckGo doesn’t throw up any other recipe for palak aur ande ki bhurji; have I created a new version of the popular Indian scrambled eggs ;-)?!

You can enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on your appetite or food mood. Serve it on toast or eat it with sliced bread, tortilla, crusty roll, roti or naan.

Ingredients

2 Cups Spinach

2 to 3 Eggs (depending on their size)

1 Onion

1 Tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

2 Tomatoes

2 Chillies

1 Teaspoon cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon garam masala powder

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Chop and wash the spinach.
  2. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  3. Wash and chop the tomatoes.
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl and set aside. Do NOT break them or whisk them.
  5. Take a wide bottom frying pan and place it on high heat.
  6. Pour the oil into it.
  7. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and lower the heat.
  8. Stir the cumin seeds for about 15 to 20 seconds.
  9. Next, add the onions with salt to taste. Cover and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
  10. Uncover and add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  11. Add the tomatoes, chopped chillies, turmeric and garam masala. Once again, mix well, cover and let this cook for about 5 minutes till the tomatoes become soft and squishy.
  12. Uncover and add the spinach. Keep stirring till the spinach starts wilting.
  13. Once the spinach is almost cooked, tip in the eggs.
  14. Now keep stirring the eggs till they simultaneously cook and amalgamate with the vegetable base.
  15. Once the eggs are cooked, cover the pan and leave it on low heat for a couple of minutes.
  16. Take the pan off the burner and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Note:

  1. If using frozen spinach, cook according to instructions on the packet.
  2. You can adjust the quantity of chilli according to your taste.
  3. This is one dish best eaten hot so don’t make it ahead of time.

 

Fat Free Amaranth Leaves & Broccoli Soup

Fat Free Amaranth Leaves & Broccoli Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having been introduced to amaranth leaves fairly recently, till now, I have only used them raw in salad as a substitute to lettuce.

So, when I got a bunch of this reddish/purplish leafy vegetable yesterday, and seeing as how it was my soup day, I decided to pair it with broccoli for another one of my fat free soups.

The amaranth leaves which I got were deep purple but at times, you can also find the green variety.

Fat Free Soup of Broccoli & Amaranth LeavesOnce cooked, amaranth leaves lend a slightly acidic taste to the final dish. This was a pleasant discovery because even before I had started preparing the soup, I was wondering whether to add a couple of dollops of yoghurt at the end. But when I finally tasted the soup, there was no need.

For this recipe, if you can’t find amaranth leaves, you can use swiss chard or spinach. If you do use amaranth leaves, along with the colourful leaves, use only the tender stems as the tough ones are too fibrous.

Surprisingly, this soup turned out to be very filling. I had it on its own but it would be equally delicious with some bread.

Ingredients

200 Grams broccoli

2 Cups amaranth leaves

Vegetable stock cube

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and roughly chop the broccoli. Use the base if it is tender.
  2. Wash the amaranth leaves.
  3. Place the broccoli and amaranth leaves in a pot along with salt, 2 cups of water and the stock cube.
  4. Bring to boil, cover and let the vegetables cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Take them off the heat and strain the vegetables retaining the cooking liquor.
  6. Blend the vegetables and transfer them back into the cooking liquor.
  7. Mix well and cook on low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes till the soup is heated through.
  8. Serve hot.

 

Fat Free Pumpkin, Cabbage & Spinach Soup

Fat Free Pumpkin, Cabbage and Spinach Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The festivities are over, decorations have been taken down and it is back to routine as we get into 2014. In my case, this also means it is back to my alternate-day-soup regime.

When I started having soup every other day beginning of last December, I felt healthier and guilt-free about the excess over Christmas and New Year. And the best part was that I actually lost weight even though I was feasting and indulging.

I think this is a more practical, enjoyable and stress free approach to  weight management (as opposed to over indulging and then going on crash or excessive diets to lose the pounds).

say hello to a filling and deliciously creamy soup

Today’s soup features pumpkin, cabbage and spinach. Pumpkin provides just the right body and a slightly sweet touch to counterbalance the otherwise “bland” taste of boiled spinach and cabbage.

The soup is surprisingly flavoursome and creamy. And of course, so low in calories!

Ingredients

250 Grams pumpkin

1 Cup cabbage

250 Grams spinach

1 Stock cube

1 Teaspoon allspice powder

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, we need to prep the vegetables. Wash and cube the pumpkin. Leave the skin on, it provides additional taste.
  2. Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.
  3. Wash the spinach. Retain stems if tender.
  4. In a large pot, put the pumpkin and cabbage.
  5. Add the stock cube, salt to taste and 2 cups of water.
  6. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Open the lid and add the spinach.
  8. Cover and let this cook for 10 more minutes.
  9. Once the vegetables have cooled down, strain them retaining the cooking liquor.
  10. Put the strained vegetables in a food processor or a blender. You want to make a puree but try and leave whole some pieces of cabbage and pumpkin.
  11. In a soup pot, add the cooking liquor.
  12. To this, add the pureed vegetables, allspice powder and freshly ground black pepper.
  13. Heat it gently till bubbles start appearing on the surface.
  14. Switch off the burner and serve hot.

Note:

  1. I had used chicken stock cube. You can use vegetable if you prefer.
  2. If you don’t have allspice powder, blend some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and add a pinch of this mixture to the soup.

Here is how I had chopped the pumpkin and cabbage. You can see that I’d not peeled the pumpkin.

Pumpkin and Cabbage Ready for Fat Free Pumpkin, Cabbage and Spinach Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding spinach once the other two vegetables have partly cooked.

Spinach for Fat Free Pumpkin, Cabbage and Spinach Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooked pumpkin, spinach and cabbage ready to be pureed.

Cooked Pumpkin, Cabbage and Spinach for Fat Free Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End result: a delicious bowl of fat free pumpkin, cabbage and spinach Soup

A Delicious Bowl of Fat Free Pumpkin, Cabbage and Spinach Soup

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.