Tag Archives: tomato

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just find it frustrating when you start your day early (like 5.00 in my case this morning) and you are through with your morning ritual and at your desk by 6.00 am thinking smugly to yourself, “oh look at me, I am so good, I am going to start my work day early today” only to find that there is some problem with the internet connection. I know, I know – I should learn to live without the internet, the internet is not the be all and end all, that I should go get a life. But internet is critical for my work and so whenever it goes down, specially first thing in the morning when I get to my desk as happened today, I find it freakin’ frustrating!

Fortunately, there is nothing frustrating about cooking couscous. Each time I cook this easygoing grain, I wonder why I don’t do so more frequetly. It is hassle free in that you can prep it in a matter of minutes even after the sauce or the stew accompanying it is made.

if couscous was a musician and not a grain, it would probably warble I’m easy

Ass Kicking Chillies for Couscous with Aubergine stewFor today’s couscous recipe, I made an aubergine stew with peppers and onions enveloped in my totally kooky sauce. Having never cooked with tahini before (only used it for dressing or in hummus), I wanted to experiment with it during the actual cooking process. Match that with my recently discovered love for tomato ketchup and some hot chillies and you get one creamy yet fiery sauce which totally works with the meek and mild couscous. Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide the lovely – and much desired – nutty and crunchy texture to finish off the dish.

There are plenty of different varieties of aubergine out there. I used the long and slim purple ones. As for the chillies, my greengrocer has got some red chillies which he sold to me a couple of days back. They look harmless (I am told that the big, fat ones are usually mild compared to the skinny ones which are supposed to be wild) but these beauties know how to kick ass!

If you don’t have couscous, you can try the stew with plain rice.

Ingredients

1 Cup dry couscous

150 Grams aubergine

1 Green Pepper

2-3 Hot chillies (adjust quantity according to personal preference)

1 Tomato

2 Onions

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup

A generous pinch of smoked paprika (optional)

1 Teaspoon sumac* (optional)

8-10 pitted black olives

1 Tablespoon mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon dukka* (optional)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and slice the chillies.
  3. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  4. Wash and finely chop the green pepper.
  5. Split the olives into two. If you have the unpitted variety, remove the stone.
  6. In a bowl, combine the tahini, tomato ketchup, black olives, paprika (if using) and sumac (if using). Add about half a cup of water and mix well. Set aside this sauce mix.
  7. Heat a frying pan and once it becomes hot, toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes till they turn a light shade of brown. Be careful not to burn them.
  8. Once the seeds are nicely toasted, remove them to a plate.
  9. Return the frying pan to heat and pour the oil.
  10. Once the oil beomes hot, add the chopped onions, tomato, green pepper, chillies and salt to taste. Mix well, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  11. While the onion mixture is cooking, wash and chop the aubergine.
  12. After 10 minutes, uncover and add the aubergine along with the sauce mix. Stir everything together, add some more water if you think it is needed, cover and let the stew cook for 10 minutes after which time take the pan off the heat.
  13. While the stew is resting, cook couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  14. Plate the cooked couscous with stew over it.
  15. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and dukka (if using).

Note:

  1. Dukka is a versatile Jordanian spice mixture made with roasted sesame, wheat and coriander. It can be used as a seasoning, as a marinade or even in dips.
  2. Instead of sumac, you can use a teaspoon of cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. I wouldn’t recomment lemon or lime juice for this recipe as it would become too sour. You want just a wee hint of tartness.
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Fat Free Fennel & Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup (Without Cream)

Fat Free Fennel and Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the humble tomato soup gets a lift thanks to fennel seeds and ginger

As I progress with my alternate day soup regime, I fancied a warming, creamy tomato soup and was wondering what to use as an alternative to cream. That’s when I thought of adding some sweet corn kernels.

Additionally, I had some water chestnut lying around and so decided to make us of them as well.

The end result is a really nice, full-bodied (can a soup be described so?!), creamy tomato soup which is low in calorie and very satisfying. Fennel seeds and ginger provide the heady aromatic touch.

I had this soup with turnip croutons.

another kooky recipe from my kooky imagination for my kooky readers

Ingredients

250 Grams tomato

2 Tablespoons sweetcorn kernel

3 – 4 Water chestnuts (optional)*

2 Tablespoons fennel seeds

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Wash the sweetcorn kernels.
  3. Peel, wash and chop the water chestnuts (if using).
  4. Put the tomatoes, sweet corn kernels, water chestnuts, fennel seeds, ginger and salt in a pot (pot number 1) along with 2 cups of water.
  5. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Now take another big pot (pot number 2) and place a fine mesh strainer over it. Pour the contents of pot number 1 into the strainer. Retain the liquid collected in pot number 2.
  7. Once the vegetables cool down, puree them in a blender or a food processor.
  8. Add this puree to the liquid in pot number 2.
  9. Stir well, place on a low heat and gently simmer. If you find that it needs more water, you can add it at this stage.
  10. Taste for salt.
  11. Transfer to a soup bowl, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper.
  12. Serve piping hot.

Note:

  1. Water chestnuts is optional. If you can’t get hold of them, you can add 6 – 8 cashews. Or you can skip the nuts altogether. The sweetcorn will still give the soup a nice body.

These are the water chestnuts I used. They remind me of oysters!

Water Chestnuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the vegetable base.

Tomatoes, Sweetcorn Kernels, Water chestnuts and Grated Ginger for Fat Free Fennel and Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boiling the vegetables. Would look pretty on a dishcloth, no?!

Boiling the Vegetables for Fat Free Fennel and Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetables Cooked for Fat Free Fennel and Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup

Vegetables Cooked for Fat Free Fennel and Ginger Scented Creamy Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Free Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

Fat Free Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of today’s soup recipe is that it is creamy and filling without the addition of any cream or butter.

A soul satisfying, ruby red soup to keep you warm on a cold winter’s day.

sometimes, simple is more than ample, no?!

I had it with sweet potato croutons. A match made in heaven!

Ingredients

2 Carrots

2 Tomatoes

2 Beetroot

One cup of water plus more if required

Freshly pounded black peppercorn

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and chop the beetroot, carrot and tomato.
  2. Boil them in one cup of water. I boiled my vegetables in a pressure cooker; you can cook them in a pan if you prefer.
  3. Once cooked and completely cooled, put them in a blender to get a smooth puree.
  4. Transfer to a soup pot (or equivalent) along with the cooking liquid. Add more water if necessary. Add black pepper powdered and salt to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with some croutons.

Note:

  1. To preserve as many nutrients as possible, I don’t peel carrots or beetroot. In terms of taste, there is no difference. You can peel your vegetables if you like.

You will find my recipe for sweet potato crouton here.

Vegetables waiting to be cooked.

Vegetables for Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A puree of beetroot, carrot and tomato for the soup.

Pureed Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato for Soup

Fat Free Pearl Barley Soup

Pearl Barley Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run up to the festive season, my adventure with soup has begun! For last night’s dinner, I wanted to create a soup using one of the many grains I have in my kitchen cupboard.

enter the delightful pearl barley

English: Pearl barley (Hordeum vulgare) Deutsc...
English: Pearl barley (Hordeum vulgare) Deutsch: Graupen Nederlands: Gort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a very useful and interesting link to the different types of barley out there. In terms if nutrition value, pearl barley falls below hulled barley since it is stripped of the outer bran layer. Having said that, it is still more nutritious compared to white or brown rice.

I like the chewy texture of pearly barley. Add it to soup and you have a delightfully delicious, complete meal.

The soup I made was fat free but you can use a tablespoon of oil to fry the onions if you like.

Ingredients

3-4 Tablespoons pearl barley

150 Grams pumpkin

2 Tomatoes

One whole head of garlic

2 Onions

A generous pinch of allspice powder

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, we need to cook the pumpkin and the tomatoes.
  2. Wash and dice both, add a pinch of salt and a cup of water and boil them in a saucepan or a pressure cooker.
  3. While they are cooking, peel and chop the onions and garlic.
  4. Once the pumpkin and tomatoes are cooked, strain the liquid (stock) and keep aside.
  5. Make a puree of the cooked pumpkin and tomatoes.
  6. Heat a soup pot (or equivalent).
  7. Once it is hot, lower the flame and add the chopped onions and garlic along with salt to taste.
  8. Stir it around for a couple of minutes.
  9. Now, add the pearl barley, reserved stock, 2-3 cups of water and bring to boil.
  10. Lower the heat, cover and let this cook for about 20 minutes.
  11. After this, add the pureed pumpkin and tomatoes and the powdered allspice mix. Ad this stage, if you feel that it needs more water, add some.
  12. Stir well, cover and cook for further 20 minutes.
  13. Once the soup is cooked, let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Note:

  1. Pumpkin skin is edible and nutritious so I don’t peel it. But you can do so if you like.
  2. You can substitute pumpkin with courgette.
  3. Sweat the onions in oil first if you prefer.

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.

Tomato & Ginger Chutney

Tomato and Ginger Chutney

Apparently, cooked tomatoes are more nutritious compared to raw so I try to find different way of cooking them. Here’s a yummy tomato chutney with a hint of ginger to warm you during the cold winter months!

Uses

  1. Goes very well with idlis and dosas.
  2. You can also slather it on a thick slice of bread or even use it as a sandwich spread.
  3. Use leftover chutney as marinade for chicken, fish or potatoes.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Tomato and Ginger Chutney

2 Tomatoes (roughly chopped)

2 Onions (roughly chopped)

A piece of ginger the size of a thumb (grated)

10-15 fresh curry leaves

1 tablespoon dalia (roasted chana dal)

A small piece of tamarind (optional)

3-4 dry red chillies

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1 teaspoon oil (I used sesame oil)

Salt to taste

Method

Cooking step for Tomato and Ginger Chutney

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan.
  2. When hot, add the mustard seeds.
  3. When they start spluttering, add asafoetida.
  4. After this, add the curry leaves, dali and dry red chillies. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Once the dalia starts changing colour, add the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and salt to taste.
  7. Mix well, cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Switch off the burner and let it cool down with the lid still on the frying pan.
  9. Once it is cooled, put in a food processor.
  10. Grind till you get the chutney consistency you like.

increase or decrease the quantity of ginger to suit your taste

although tamarind if optional, a little bit elevates the chutney to a new level of tanginess

Mixed Cereal and Cauliflower Paniyaram/Mixed Cereal and Cauliflower Aebleskiver

Cooked Paniyaram

Paniyaram is a type of dumpling popular in South India. It is usually made with idli or dosa batter of lentils and rice and can be made savoury or sweet.

Paniyaram is made in a special paniyaram pan with holes in which the batter is poured.

Paniyaram Cooking

Interestingly, the Danes also have a similar dish called aebleskiver, a type of sweet pancake made in a special pan with round dents.

English: This is the top side of my Griswold A...
English: This is the top side of my Griswold Aebleskiver pan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These cute dumplings are a recent discovery of mine after I was given a paniyaram pan by my beloved members on our annual meetup in scenic Kerala. I have had lots of fun experimenting with conventional and unconventional recipes.

most of my recipes have been savoury although I did try the sweet Danish version by adapting this recipe

In this post, I want to share with you one of my more unconventional paniyaram recipes. You can also think of them as savoury aebleskiver!

Ingredients

1 cup mixed cereal of your choice (I used a combination of black eyed beans, chickpeas, black bengal gram/desi chana, fenugreek, whole wheat, brown rice and pearl millet/bajra)

Image

2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour and/or rice flour and/or semolina (optional but I find that it gives some texture)

Half head of cauliflower

2 tomatoes

2 onions

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

1 teaspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tablspoon oil

Method

  1. Soak the mixed cereal for 10-12 hours.
  2. Grind the cereal with water very finely, making sure it is of pouring consistency.
  3. Leave the batter to ferment in a warm place for 8-10 hours. (If you want to skip this step, please see Tips below.)
  4. Finely chop the cauliflower, tomatoes and onions. Holes in the paniyaram pan are small so you want to make sure that the vegetables are very finely chopped. If you have a manual or an electric chopper, you can use that instead of a knife.
  5. When ready to cook, put the paniyaram pan on high heat.
  6. Mix the batter with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Reduce the heat to minimum and pour the batter in the holes using a spoon.
  8. Add a drop of oil on each paniyaram.
  9. Cover and cook on minimum heat for 10 minutes.
  10. Flip over, leave it open and cook for further 10 minutes.
  11. Once cooked, they will come out loosely from the holes. Serve with some hot sauce like the extra hot Tobasco.

Tip:

  1. If you don’t have time or the right climate to ferment the batter, use it as is. Just add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (Eno).
  2. Fenugreek seeds are optional. I add them since, apart from being good for health, they aid the fermentation process.
  3. Please don’t use kidney beans as part of your mixed cereal combination since they contain a toxic agent called lectin. As a result, they have to be cooked before being used in any recipe.
  4. Even if you don’t have paniyaram pan, you can try out this recipe. Simply make pancakes instead

paniyaram batter is very forgiving; if it is too thin or insufficient you can add semolina or any other flour like ragi flour

in case you have left over batter, refrigerate it and use it the next day to make more paniyarams or dosa like pancakes