Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thai Seitan Stir-Fry

Seitan("say-tan), also known as wheat-meat or mock meat, is made from wheat by washing away the starch until only the wheat protein or gluten is left. You may find this on the menu of some Chinese or Thai restaurants.

You'll find seitan in the refrigerated or freezer section of natural food stores or some grocery stores. Seitan can be cooked in many ways. It can be stir-fried, baked, broiled or grilled.
I had this pack of seitan in my refrigerator for some time. Couple days ago, I came across a recipe in one of my books, The Vegetarian Bible, and tried it for dinner. It came out very good. My daughter who is not a big fan of mock-meat, relished it.

1 package(8 ounces) seitan, drained and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
3 cloves garlic
1 piece peeled fresh ginger(1 inch)
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C lime juice
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt
3 T oil
1 medium oinon, chopped
2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 C fresh broccoli florets
1/4 C shredded fresh Thai basil(or regular)
3 green onions, sliced diagonally
4 C baby spinach
4 C cooked rice
1/4 C roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Place seitan slices in medium bowl. Combine jalapeno, garlic and ginger in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt; process until blended. Pour mixture over seitan; toss to coat. Marinate at least 20 minutes.
2. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and broccoli; stir-fry 4 minutes. Add seitan with marinade and green onions. Bring to a boil. Stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender(3 minutes) and seitan is hot. Add spinach in batches, stirring until wilted.
3. Stir in basil just before serving. Serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.

I used sesame oil. It gave a nice flavor to the dish. Thai basil brings a beautiful aroma to the dish. I also used some cauliflowers. Bok Choy could also be used instead of spinach.

Eggplant And Coriander Tostadas

This year I'm having a good harvest of eggplant. I've been finding a lot of recipes with eggplant these days.Last night I roasted eggplant with yellow pepper and onion and topped crispy French bread with it. It was an awesome dinner. We had it with Creamy Corn Soup. It is easy to make

1small eggplant, cut into cubes
1/2 red pepper(capsicum), cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 small loaf wood-fired bread, cut into 12 slices
1 small ripe tomato, halved
2 T chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 oz slivered almonds, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Put the eggplant, capsicum,onion and oil in a large bowl and mix to coat. Spread 
out in a a single layer in a large roasting pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another 10 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, add garlic and season with salt and pepper.
2. Placce the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes,or until crisp. Rub the cut side of tomato onto one side of each bread slice, squeezing the tomato to get as much liquid as possible, then finely chop the tomato flesh and add to the vegetables with mint and cilantro.
3. Spoon the vegetables on the tomato side of bread and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

I used yellow pepper instead of red, and used toasted peanuts in place of almonds. I spread a little hot sauce on the bread for spice. I used crusty French Bread.

Cauliflower Pulav

I was talking to my friend last week, and as usual, our conversation moved to food. We got to discuss different kinds of pulav. I got inspired, and decided to make Cauliflower Pulav last weekend. This is the first time I tried it this way. It turned out very delicious indeed. I served it with Peas Kurma. It was so good that there was no left over for my brother to take home.

2 T Oil
1 Bay leaf
1 small piece cinnamon
2 cloves
1 cardamom
few cashew nuts
1 Onion, sliced
2 C Cauliflower florets
1 Potato, cubed
2 C Basmati rice
2 C Coconut Milk
2 C Water

To make paste/ pound:
2 Pods garlic
1-inch piece Ginger
4 green chili
1 t Saunf

1. Wash and soak rice for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cardamom,and cashew nuts, and fry for couple minutes.
3. Add sliced onion and cook till it is translucent. Stir in the ground masala, and fry for 3 minutes.
4. Add the vegetables and mix to coat.
5. Stir in coconut milk and water. Bring to boil.
6. Drain water from rice and stir it into the saucepan. Add salt. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook till rice is done, about 15- 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with Kurma.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Idiappam or Sevai(Rice Noodles)

Popularly known in Canada as String Hoppers, Sevai or Idiappam is a delicious South Indian dish made with rice flour. It is home made rice noodles. It is a tedious job to make it the traditional way. When I was in college, my neighbor taught me an easy way to make this. I love to eat it plain with sweet coconut milk. My mom makes lemon sevai and coconut sevai. It is similar to lemon rice and coconut rice. In Tamil Nadu, people have it for breakfast.  I had brown rice flour at home and made Sevai with it for lunch one day last week.

2 C rice flour or Sevai flour
4 C water
1 t salt
1/2 t oil
2 C sweet coconut milk

1. Boil 4 cups water in a heavy bottom pan with salt and oil. Stir in the rice flour. Keep stirring to make a dough. Make sure that there are no lumps. Reduce heat and stir till the dough is cooked. A tooth-pick inserted should come out clean. Remove from heat and keep covered.
2. Take enough dough in Sev maker and press to make noodles over greased idly plates.Steam cook for 10 minutes. Remove from cooker. repeat process with remaining dough. Serve with sweet coconut milk or make lemon or coconut sevai. Look for recipe below.

Lemon Sevai
Juice from one lemon
Mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, red chili and green chili,and curry leaves, for seasoning
salt to taste
1 t turmeric powder
1/4 t asafoetida

Loosen cooked and cooled plain sevai(2 cups) in a  large bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, chili and curry leaves. Stir in turmeric powder and asafoetida. Remove from heat and stir this to plain sevai, along with lemon juice and salt. Serve with coconut chutney.

Coconut Sevai:
1/2 C fresh shredded coconut
Mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, green chili and curry leaves, for seasoning
salt to taste
1/4 t asafoetida

Loosen cooked and cooled plain sevai(2 cups) in a large bowl.
Fry coconut in 1 teaspoon ghee to golden brown. Remove from heat and mix it with plain sevai.
Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in the same pan and temper mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, green chili and curry leaves. Mix this with sevai. Add salt and asafoetida and mix gently. Serve with coconut chutney.


Paneer-Makkana Curry

Recently I bought a lot of Paneer, as it was on sale. As I was browsing through my recipe books, I came across this recipe that had lotus seeds and paneer. It looked interesting. I have used Makkana(lotus seeds) to make kheer. They taste like popcorn when toasted. I thought that it would be a different way to cook them and made it for dinner.  It was delicious.

3/4 C grated onion
1/2 C grated Khoa
1/2 C milk
1 C thick curd(yogurt)
1 t red chili powder
1 T cumin-coriander power
salt as required
1/2 t Garam Masala
1/2C chopped tomatoes
1/2 C green peas
1/4 C Makkana(puffed lotus seeds)
1/2 C Paneer cubes, fried
Cilantro for garnish

1. Roast Makkana in little oil; keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a broad pan to medium heat, and fry onion till golden.
3. Add cumin-coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir for a couple minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes.
4. Stir in whipped curd and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add cooked peas, and makkana  with just enough water. Cook till it becomes thick.
5. Add milk, khoa, and fried paneer cubes. Bring it to a boil and remove from stove. Garnish with cilantro before serving.