Vegan Meat balls in a tomato sauce.

Vegan Meat balls in a tomato sauce.

I have always looked at meat balls in a sauce and wanted to create the same exact vegetarian or vegan version of it. So here goes:

Ingredients for the spinach balls:

1 cup of spinach finely chopped

1/2 cup potato cooked really well

Spices- turmeric, salt, cayenne, garam masala or curry powder, coriander and cumin seeds crushed-all 1/2 teaspoon

Rice flour- 1tablespoon

Oil for frying- any

Preparation:

Take a big bowl, add all your spices and mix well, add chopped up spinach and toss then throw in the well cooked potatoes and mix with your hands to make a dough. Let it rest in the fridge for a half hour. Once you take it out prior to frying them add 1 tablespoon of rice flour and mix well again. Rice flour gives you that golden brown surface.

Take a frying pan, add oil and you could either deep fry if you like it really golden brown or you could shallow fry and it still tastes delicious.

Ingredients for the Sauce:

Onions- 2 large chopped

1 tsp Ginger garlic paste or 1/2 inch of fresh ginger and 5 cloves of garlic

Green Chili- 2

Tomatoes- 4 diced

Oil

Salt to taste and 1 tsp of turmeric powder and curry powder

Preparation:

Place a pan under medium flame and saute ginger garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil and as soon as garlic starts to turn golden, throw in chopped onions, green chili’s and diced tomatoes along with the spices and salt and let it cook down with a lid to a pasty consistency. Blend this to a sauce with 1/4 cup water and cook for another 5 minutes until simmer and then transfer the spinach balls.

Garnish with cilantro!

Chutney- A Series!!!

Chutney- A Series!!!

I belong to the Southern part of India and we make a lot of traditional dips otherwise popularly known as “Chutneys”

in the Indian food culture.  One can play with this idea and make so many variations of chutneys once you have a basic understanding of making a chutney.

I have picked 3 of my best Chutneys for you—-

1) Coconut Chutney

Toast 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen but thawed coconut in a pan under medium flame  with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil with chopped green chili, 2 teaspoon of roasted Bengal gram lentils and salt to taste. Blend in a food processor or blender to turn into a semi smooth paste.

Garnish with Cilantro, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

COCONUT CHUTNEY

2) Tomato Chutney

Take a pan under medium flame and add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 1 cup of chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds,

1 teaspoon of red cayenne/ chili powder, 1/2 inch of grated fresh ginger or paste, 3 garlic cloves finely chopped and sautĂ© with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt to taste and blend to a fine paste. Garnish with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

TOMATO CHUTNEY

3) TRADITIONAL “THOGAYAL” OR LENTIL CHUTNEY WITH COCONUT

For this chutney, you need 2 teaspoons of Black gram lentils or Black Lentils – although its called black gram these lentils are white on the outside with black seed inside -its called ” Urad dal” in the Indian food culture. You also need 1 teaspoon of Split chickpeas which is yellow in color. Toast both these in a pan under low flame with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Add 1/2 cup of coconut- fresh or frozen grated thawed- and toast with salt and 2/3 fresh red chilis. If you don’t have fresh red chili substitute using cayenne powder. Throw all of this in a blender and grind with as little water as possible. I also add a small piece of fresh tamarind. If not available you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice for acidity. In my household growing up this was one chutney that was never garnished and was gobbled up before it got to the table:)

TRADITIONAL NAME “THOGAYAL” OR LENTIL COCONUT CHUTNEY
Sweet Travels – Lancaster, PA

Sweet Travels – Lancaster, PA

Firstly, hope everyone is enjoying your holidays and a very Happy 2020 to all!

As you all know all my trips be it small or big is surrounded by nothing but Food, Food and Food 🙂

So we decided to take a short drive with fam to Lancaster, PA just to break from routine. During my drive to PA, I was browsing vegetarian places for food stops as always and to my surprise came across plenty of options. During my stay and later on with numerous conversations with restaurant owners I came to know that a huge population in that area was vegan/ vegetarian.

I decided to pick a few that seemed interesting to me. So here goes :

The first one we tried was on Christmas Day and happened to be the one that was open and was packed.

1) Oka Asian Fusion

Primarily Japanese cuisine, Oka’ s menu was packed with delicious Sushi/ Hand Rolls of various kinds. The interesting part of the menu was a vegetarian section which had a good number of vegetarian choices for sushi rolls.

We decided to try the Avocado Peanut Sushi roll. And trust me guys – I am not a huge fan of sushi at all. This one was delicious and I have to admit that I ordered another plate of it after wiping clean the first plate:))

The menu also offered some fusion dishes like the vegetarian pad thai and spicy basil with tofu that we also tried and was delicious as well.

2) Issei Noodle

A small warm and cozy restaurant which smells delicious as you walk in. Once again, one of popularly recommended places which had plenty vegetarian options since the menu has a vegetarian section.

This place is known for its exceptional Ramen bowls so we ordered

Spicy Tan Tan Ramen :

Although it was not on the vegetarian section of the menu the waitress gave us the option of customizing this dish minus meat and fish sauce and substituting with fried tofu and people when I tell you – how delicious this dish was – I inhaled the dish and it was gone.

So hearty and healthy !

Haru Warm Ramen : was the next dish we ordered which again the waitress offered to substitute the pork and shrimp with tofu and vegetables. This dish was equally delicious.

The kids love curry dishes so they ordered a Red Curry dish with rice which was made mild and was so hearty too.

Last but not the least we ordered dessert which were 3 flavors of house made Mochi – Coconut flavor, Mango and the Red Bean. It melts in your mouth and by far the best Mochi I have had.

3) Roots

This casual urban vegan joint was so refreshing. The owner Rob makes his own Seitan from scratch and food is delicious.

We ordered a butternut squash pizza with caramelized onions , vegan Banh Mi and buffalo cauliflower. I would say each dish tasted so fresh and I understand all the vegetables and mushrooms are sourced locally.

This place has no freezer or uses no microwave so the food is pretty much fresh and made to order.

For dessert we ordered a Vegan orange cake to be honest to which I had very low expectations. How can one be successful baking a cake without eggs, cream and butter ??? But my friends – it simply blew my mind off. The cake was delicious with fresh oranges when you slice through. A place worth visiting and giving a shot for sure.

4) Upohar

This global vegetarian Restaurant I cannot emphasize how much I loved visiting.

Owners Puerto Rican Chef Christina Maldonado and Kolkata descent Srirupa Dasgupta create a global vegetarian menu which features a variety of dishes not limited to:

Syrian Rice, Green bean sauté, Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Syrian Kale, Cuban black beans, Yucca, Yellow rice with Pigeon Peas and fried sweet Plantains.

Christina, when I mentioned Love for extreme spice levels got a small container out which had this sauce – made out of ghost peppers, green chili, habanero and star anise. Mind you we had to get 2 more of those small containers and wiped it clean and ordered a TO GO 🙂 – WARNING – It is extremely spicy!!! I grew up eating high level of spice so thoroughly enjoyed it.

Christina and Srirupa are not only extremely talented Chefs as you can tell the food is homely and super flavorful yet healthy and delicious. They are women who also wanted to give back to the community by training refugees and who bought in their household dishes to the table and giving them a new life.

In Bengali language “Upohar ” means a gift.

Upohar is truly such a gift to the community and I say this since I have eaten at so many traditional Indian fare buffet places – this one was truly exceptional and global bringing Cuisines from all over the world to the table and to top it all – VEGETARIAN !!

Last but not the least – ORDER the FLAN people. By far the best FLAN and yes I am not ashamed to say I had Christina pack a second order of flan to take back home along with my container of ghost pepper concoction ( wink wink)!!!

Thank you Christina for the awesome experience. And I look forward to coming back here more…..HIGHLY RECOMMEND !!

Until next time … lots of love and wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and most importantly a healthy 2020 !!

Steamed flattened Rice Dish

Steamed flattened Rice Dish

poha

 

On a cold sunday morning when I look out the window, its raining outside and the clouds are consumed by fog, my heart was seeking for a hot mug of coffee and some hot breakfast dish to go with it while I lay under the blanket:)

Suddenly a dish comes to my mind. A very dear friend had mentioned the dish and it stayed in my sub conscious for a while now….so quickly got up and turned on my coffee machine for a hot cup of coffee.

The steamed flattened rice in India, commonly known as Chura or Poha, is rice which is flattened into flat, light, dry flakes. This dish is very nutritious and is a great snack or great for breakfast/ brunch.

Meantime, for the STEAMED FLATTENED RICE DISH,

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of flattened rice

3-4 green chilies finely chopped

1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds

1 teaspoon of turmeric

4-5 curry leaves

1 inch of ginger finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1/2 cup of peanuts (optional)

Cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

Firstly, take a sieve and add the flattened dry rice flakes to it. Take a nonstick pan and add some vegetable oil to it under medium flame. Once the pan gets warm, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and wait for it to splutter. Add finely chopped ginger, garlic,peanuts and onion to the pan and saute well. Add turmeric and salt to taste and mix well.

While that is cooking, let cold water run through the sieve with flattened rice flakes for about 3-4 minutes and make sure it is soaked completely. Transfer the wet flattened rice flakes to the pan with onions cooking and mix everything well. Now cover the pan with a lid for 5 minutes and let it cook. Remove the lid and let cook for 2 more minutes so all the water evaporates and gives a crunch to the rice flakes. Add lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Serve with a mint cilantro chutney or eat it as is!!!!Enjoy!

With much love from my kitchen to yours…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couple’s Cooking Class@ the beautiful Landsdowne Resort.

Couple’s Cooking Class@ the beautiful Landsdowne Resort.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, outdoor and food

 

Please join me and the very talented Chef Marcus Repp of Landsdowne Resort by signing up for a Couple’s Cooking Class on February 10th at “The Great Room ” at

LANDSDOWNE RESORT

44050 Woodridge Parkway,

Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Please contact  703-729-8400 for more details.

Please sign on Event Brite. Cost: $15 (After Evenbrite fee, customer pays $17.89).

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/couples-cooking-class-tickets-41873745500

 

Here s the link to an invite on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1939702806247456/

Hoping to see a lot of my friends on February 10th at the Couple s Cooking Class!

Much love as always…..