Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Stew

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Wowwie! This is so wonderfully flavorful and warm and cozy and I might or might not have finished 3/4 of the whole batch in one go.

I’m a huge fan of chickpeas in almost any form – curries, hummus, spiced and dried, in desserts (yes, desserts! google chickpea desserts and don’t knock it before you try it) – so it was inevitable that I would love this stew specially since it involves lots of olive oil, spices and spinach (my favorite vegetable by far – it’s so versatile!).

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It can take a while to cook if you soak and boil your own chickpeas, which we always do at home, but if you use canned chickpeas this is a super quick dish to whip up for lunch.

The recipe is technically for four people but since last time I made half the batch for my mom and I, there wasn’t enough left for my mom (oops!), I will definitely be making a bigger batch next time. And even if there’s some leftover, you can keep it in the fridge and it’ll make a great leftover lunch or dinner the next day.

I served it with brown rice but you can serve it with any grain – millet, quinoa, basmati rice etc. or even with some crusty bread like sourdough or a baguette.

Forgot to mention – the stew itself is accidentally vegan and gluten free! (I love it when that happens hehee..)

It was based on this recipe I found on food&wine but I changed it up quite a bit 🙂

Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Stew

serves 4

  • 1.5 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin powder, pinch ground cloves, pinch black pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1-2 tsp chili powder (adjust chili according to personal preference), 1/2 tsp salt
  • ~3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15oz cans (reserve the water!)
  • 2.5 tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 large tomato or two small, diced and the seeds removed
  • salt, to taste
  • handful sultanas/dates/raisins (I recommend sultanas)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped finely
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • fresh coriander/mint/parsley to top (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mash the crushed garlic with the saffron and the spices. Add a couple tablespoons of the chickpea liquid.
  2. In a skillet or a deep pan, heat 1.5 tbs olive oil.
  3. Add the onion and tomatoes and stir on low heat until softened and browned.
  4. Add the spiced garlic paste and cook for another minute
  5. Pour in the chickpeas, 1.5 cups of their liquid (if there is no more liquid, use water or stock) and the sultanas
  6. Bring to a simmer and add in the spinach. Lower the heat a bit, and let simmer for around 2 minutes until spinach is fully cooked.
  7. Transfer to your serving dish and top with 1 tbs of the olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs.
  8. Serve with rice, quinoa, cous cous, millet or crusty bread.

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Lentil Millet Vegetable Stew

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This is a take on indian ‘khichdi’, a simple traditional stew made with lentils, rice and vegetables. I used millet instead of rice and added some masala to brighten it up.

It’s a one pot meal – all the veggies, lentils and grains are dropped into a pressure cooker with some ghee and spices and voila, in twenty minutes you have a complete meal.

It’s already vegetarian but if you use oil instead of ghee and omit the yogurt topping, it’s vegan!

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This dish is a nutrition power house!  Protein rich from the lentils and millet, high in fibre, full of vitamins and minerals! Millet is one of the best sources of copper and manganese, while the ginger and yogurt aide digestion.

Did I mention it’s creamy, comforting and delicious?

mhm.

I have used carrots and bottle gourd (an indian vegetable) this time, but most vegetables work really well in this type of stew or khichdi. Use whatever produce you have at home – Zucchini, Spinach, Kale, Beans etc. would all be fine. Just keep in mind some vegetables like greens decrease a lot in volume when cooked so you would need to use more of them to start with. If you don’t have millet feel free to use rice.

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Lentil Millet Vegetable Stew

(Makes 1 large serving, just multiply the ingredients to make more)

Ingredients:

  • ~1.5 – 2 cup vegetables diced
  • 1/4 cup lentils (I used green split mung – mung (gram) lentils work best)
  • 1/4 cup millet
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1.5 tsp ghee/oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder (can substitute with indian spices of choice like cumin, coriander or turmeric powder)
  • salt to taste
  • plain yogurt + coriander/cilantro to top (optional)
  1. Wash the millet and lentils
  2. In a pressure cooker turn on medium heat and add the ghee or oil
  3. When the ghee/oil becomes hot, add in the diced onion and sautee until browned
  4. Add in the vegetables, ginger, spices, millet and lentils.
  5. Add ~2.5 cups of water
  6. Put on the lid and cook for around 20 minutes
  7. Release the pressure and remove the lid
  8. Serve and if you wish, top with yogurt and herbs

Sweet Potato & Spinach Curry with Millet & Arugula

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I love arugula. Call me weird, but the bitterness is appealing to me? It’s one of the only leaves I’ll have raw. Raw spinach? bleh. Lettuce? tasteless. collard? ew.

But I’m not exactly fond of salads. They’re not filling enough or they’re doused in way too sweet dressing or they’re bland. So instead I like my arugula on pizza or in dishes like this. This dish is absolutely complete. Soft, fluffy millet, warm spicy curry, mellow sweet potato, bright acidic cherry tomatoes and sharp arugula.

I recently discovered millet as a grain. Prior, I’d only had millet flour rotis which are very popular in India and ‘baajre ki khichdi’ which is a millet stew cooked traditionally in lots of indian ghee and milk or cream. I had never actually had millet by itself. But a few weeks ago my mom picked up a bag of organic mixed millet and I fell in love! Its softer and less chewy than grains like quinoa and brown rice. It also has milder, less nutty taste.

The next component of the dish is the curry! This is a spicy, improvised curry that I sort of made up as I went a long. It has garlic, onion, coconut milk and a generous dash of spices. The sweet potato really balances out the spiciness.

And last but not least, the cherry tomatoes. We don’t normally have cherry tomatoes at home because they’re not always available here. We have to go to speciality grocery stores and even then, they’re quite expensive. But boy are they worth it! They’re spunky and colorful and they just elevate the dish.

I really hope you try out this dish. Even if you don’t have all the components – improvise! No millet? Use rice or another similar grain. No arugula? Skip it, or another raw green. No cherry tomatoes? Use normal diced tomatoes! Don’t have all the spices? Use a store bought curry powder, garam masala or thai spice mix instead!Don’t like sweet potato or spinach? Use other veggies – normal potatoes would be fine and you can substitute in any other vegetable under the sun. Pumpkin or zucchini would be wonderful here!

Oh, and I forgot to mention – this is accidentally vegan 🙂

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Now on to the recipe!

Sweet Potato & Spinach curry

(makes 3 portions)

Ingredients:

  • olive/vegetable oil
  • 2/3 tablespoon diced garlic/garlic paste
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 small or two medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1.5 cup spinach (or just 2 handfuls) cleaned and chopped roughly
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/cumin powder, 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/2-1 tsp chili powder, dash of black pepper and salt to taste
  • 3-4 handfuls arugula, cleaned
  • cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 2 cups cooked millet or any other grain

Directions:

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and when it’s hot, add in the garlic, onion and ginger.
  2. Keep mixing and when the onion and garlic are lightly browned, add in the sweet potato, around 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
  3. Cover and let simmer on low heat for around 15 minutes.
  4. Add in the spices and 1/4 cup more of the coconut milk, stir well
  5. Cook for another 10 minutes until the sweet potato is tender, stirring well throughout
  6. Add in the spices and the rest of the coconut milk, stir until the curry is thickened and the spinach is cooked (about a minute)
  7. Remove from heat
  8. Remove the stems from the arugula (unless you can take the bitter taste of the stems then leave them on) and arrange a handful on the plate
  9. Divide the millet into three portions and place a portion onto the plate
  10. Top with cherry tomatoes and a generous helping of the curry
  11. Squeeze some lemon juice on top if you’d like.
  12. Enjoy! 🙂

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Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

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A wonderful palette of flavors and textures in this dish. Who knew something so healthy and nutritious could taste so good?

Feel free to mix up the veggies in this, but I love the combination of these because there is such a variety in size and crunch. The wild black rice is crunchy while the brown rice is hearty and nutty, the mushrooms and peas are soft and sweet while the carrot and cabbage blend in perfectly with the chewy (in a good way!) rice.

This dish is extremely high in protein, fibre, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C and iron all the while being comforting and delicious!

Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dry wild rice
  • 1/2 packet button mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup finely diced cabbage
  • handful peas
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • chili powder, according to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Cook the rice according to instructions or just boil for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the vegetables.

Heat a wok or a large pan and spread the olive oil

When the oil is hot add the garlic and onion and sauté until browned. Add the peas and cabbage and cook for a minute and then add in the mushrooms and carrot. Add the soy sauce, honey and chili powder and cook for a few minutes, mixing well.

Add the rice, mix everything again and then cover the pan to let everything cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot.

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Grilled Cheese

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Okay so I was in the mood for something cheesy. Well, when am I not? But anyway.
So my cheese cravings lead to a craving for a cheesy, hearty panini.

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But I didn’t have a panini press. Or good cheese. So when I remembered a post on everybodylikessandwiches where she made her own panini press,  I decided to make my own faux panini press too. And I improvised with the cheese using cheese slices (no judging). Which lead to this sandwich.
It couldn’t be simpler – I sauteed some spinach, broccoli and mushrooms and put them between two bread slices with some cheese and garlic butter.
You could use whatever vegetable combination you want but I think greens and mushrooms are the best in this type of sandwich. Next time though, I think I’ll add in some corn…. And if you’re not a garlic person, unlike me, feel free to omit the garlic in the butter. And of course, you some shredded mozzarella or parmesan would probably be much better in this, if you have it!

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Vegetable & Cheese Panini
Ingredients

  • Two slices Bread
  • 1 Cheese Slice/ around 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon butter mixed with 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup spinach & 4 button mushrooms (or any other vegetables)
  • 1/2 onion
  • salt, black pepper, oregano, chili flakes
Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onion and sautee until browned.
Add vegetables (if using greens, add a few minutes after the other vegetables)
Add the spices according to taste and mix everything well.
Remove from heat.
Spread the garlic butter on one slice of the bread.
Place the cheese on the other.
Spread the vegetables evenly on one of the bread slices and top with the other.
Put the sandwich on a heated pan and place a plate on top. Put something heavy like a mug on top and press down. When the sandwich is browned, remove the plate, flip the sandwich, and repeat with the other side.

When both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted, remove from the heat.

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Vegetarian Larb!

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I adore Thai food. Growing up in singapore, I got access to lots of amazing, authentic Thai cuisine and needless to say, I fell in love. Some of my favorites are Som Tum (raw papaya salad, Phad Thai, Khao Na Pla (Honey Sesame Fish), Red Curry and of course… Larb.

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Larb is traditionally made with minced meat, onions, ginger, garlic lime juice, mint and fish sauce but I decided to give it my own twist. Taking inspiration from this recipe, I made a vegetarian larb by using grated tofu, thai chilli sauce, soy sauce and adding lettuce to make it more vibrant.

Tofu Larb

1 serving

Ingredients
1 tsp oil (sesame, canola, vegetable or olive oil would all work well)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp lime/lemon juice
1 tablespoon thai chilli sauce
1/2-1 tablespoon soy sauce (depending on taste)
100 gram tofu
handful mint or coriander or basil (I used coriander)
2 lettuce leaf

Directions
Grate tofu into fine bits or if it’s soft, you could mash it with your hands.
Dice ginger, garlic and onion
Cut Lettuce into threads
Heat oil in a skillet
Add ginger, garlic and onion and cook until browned, stirring throughout
Add tofu, soy sauce and chilli sauce and mix everything well
Cook for a few minutes until tofu is cooked

Add herbs, lettuce and lime juice and mix everything well before serving

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