When given an option between steamed or pan-fried dumplings a.k.a potstickers, I always go for the pan-fried ones. They stick to the pan while cooking, and hence the name. Contrary to the term fried, they are not that fatty. For an extra spritz of oil, the dumplings are crunchy on one side, adding a new dimension. Having said that I still like steamed dumplings. This is just for a change.
Since there is not a whole lot of flavour going on with the wrapper, I kept the filling fresh and crunchy. The veggies are barely sautéed, and the cabbage is added at the last minute. The residual heat is just enough to cook it. The filling is mildly seasoned and hence the flavour comes from the veggies only.
They look and taste delicious and you can gulp down a dozen of ‘em in one sitting. But this is not one of those recipes that you do when it is almost meal time. It requires some planning and assembling, because shaping the dumplings takes some time. You can definitely make ahead and freeze ‘em and cook just before serving.
Reserve some shredded cabbage, carrots and bell pepper for plating. Put a wok on high heat. Add oil and quickly stir fry carrot, bell pepper with green chilli, ginger and lemon grass, for about a minute. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Switch off the flame and mix the shredded cabbage. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Take 6 wonton wrappers at a time and form an assembly line. Brush the edges with water, place a tbsp of filling in the center, and fold as a square or a triangle. Pinch the edges and transfer the finished wontons onto a baking sheet and keep them covered with a kitchen towel. Proceed to finish the rest.
Take a flat pan with lid and put it under medium heat. Spray the pan with a tsp of oil and place 5 or 6 filled wontons without crowding the pan. Don’t disturb the potstickers for a whole minute. After they have crisped on one side, gently pour ¼ cup of water in the pan and close the lid. The steam from the evaporating water will cook the potstickers. When all the water has dried and the wonton wrappers are transparent, they are done. Gently transfer onto a platter prepared with the reserved vegetables and serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce.
If you would like to send in your entries for Vegan Ventures, hurry up, there is only a day left for submission.
Who said a party always means lot of people and loads of dishes? Few weeks back we had a taco party, on a weekday, just the two of us. I spiced up a so-so meal into a celebration. Celebration of… well, nothing; barely making through the work week. Though it may sound crazy, it did lighten our spirits. No dishing out dinner course after course, no trouble getting dressed and looking civilized. A casual party in our PJs did make us feel ‘special’. It worked out so well that I am planning to do it more often. It is totally stress free and you can prepare whatever you are in the mood for. This can be served for 2 or 20. You can make it vegan or vegetarian. It can be healthy or indulgent. Towards the end, I even gathered everything in one bowl, crushed few taco shells and made myself a big bowl of salad; crunchy, tasty and bold. Well, you get the idea.
1. Refried beansIngredientsPinto beans – 1 can, drained and rinsed Onion – 1/2 , chopped Bell pepper – 1/2 , chopped Tomato paste – 1 tbsp Garlic – 2 cloves, minced Cumin powder – 1 tsp Chipotle chili (in adobo) – 1, minced Adobo sauce – ½ tsp Oregano – 1 tsp Salt OilMethod
Chipotle in adobo sauce is available in small cans. Chipotle is smoked jalapeno and is sold in a preserve called adobo sauce, which is ketchup, vinegar and other seasoning depending on the brand. I have used the adobo sauce for heat, omit if you cannot handle much heat.
Heat oil and sauté onion and bell pepper until soft. Add all other ingredients with ½ cup of water and bring it to a boil. Simmer until everything comes together.
2. Pico De GalloIngredientsRipe tomatoes – 3, seeded and chopped Red onions – ¼, chopped Jalapeno – 1, minced, seeded if desired Cilantro – a handful, chopped Juice of a lemon SaltMethod
Mix all of the above and let it sit for the flavours to develop.
I am not fussy about eating raw tofu. It is bland, but I compensate for it by marinating in a flavourful marinade. This recipe, which is inspired from Tassajara, impressed me, partly because it calls for so many vegetables and partly because it is so darn simple.
Even if you are a tofu hater, you will love this, because you cannot taste the tofu; well, almost. The tofu, when let to sit for 30 or more minutes, keeps absorbing all the flavours. The leftovers are even better. You can have it as such as a cold salad or make a sandwich. Since it gets better with time, this is an ideal lunch box mate. If your bread is not crusty, toast it lightly to avoid a soggy sandwich.
IngredientsFirm tofu – 1 lb Red bell pepper – ¼ cup, finely diced Celery – ¼ cup, finely diced Carrot – ¼ cup, finely diced Red onions – 2 tbsp, minced Scallions – 2, both green and white parts, finely chopped Any mixed herbs like mint, cilantro, thyme, parsley – 2 tbsp Ginger – 1 tsp, grated Green chilli – 1, mincedDressingSesame oil – 4 tbsp Dijon mustard – 1 tbsp Red wine vinegar – 1 tsp Soy sauce – 1 tbsp Salt PepperMethod
Take all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
Crumble the tofu block and place it in a clean dry kitchen towel, bring the ends together and squeeze to remove all the water. Add this to the dressing. Add all the vegetables, herbs, ginger, green chilli and lightly mix with a fork. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Serve as a cold salad or spread on a crusty bread and skewer with a toothpick for a sandwich.
I was away from blogging for a week now, but it sure does feel like a long time. Friends visit and an unexpected jaunt are to be blamed at. I did miss participating in few events, but I hope to make up for it with regular posts hereafter.
I have never laid hands on chestnuts so far. But I have longingly looked at Indira devouring them year after year. This year I was lucky to find them at Whole Foods. They were $8 a pound. Ah, what the heck. All in the name of blogging.
I roasted them like I did jackfruit seeds. But you will have to mark an ‘x’ at the top of the nut, helping steam to escape while roasting. Slowly roast ‘em on a cast iron pan, until the outer layer is dark brown in colour. The shell gently opens like a flower, as they heat through. Let it cool down a bit and enjoy ‘em while they are still warm. I was pleasantly surprised that they tasted more like jackfruit seeds, but moist and subtly sweet. The flesh was smooth and soft.
I hope to find more of ‘em throughout this winter and I would be glad to find out any recipes using chestnuts. I should thank Indira for alluring me toward these humble, yet delicious nuts, which, otherwise, would not have drawn my attention with their unassuming looks. I hope you would pay a second look next time you find ‘em at your grocery store or when a roadside vendor is roasting ‘em on an open fire.
You all know how I whine over eating the blah oatmeal for breakfast. But, over time, to my surprise, I happen to appreciate it. With mercury falling day-by-day, I am not up for cold cereal either. There is no denial that oatmeal is, by far, one of the healthiest breakfast you can have. “What cannot be cured must be endured”, says my dad. So, instead of whining, I decided to dress it up, making breakfast a treat, than a chore.
Being vegan or not, I love soy milk with my cereal or oatmeal. It lends a sweet flavour without the cholesterol. But if soy milk is not your thing, you can use regular milk. I perk it up by adding a dry fruit and a nut and/or seed. Dried berries, raisins would work too. Try unsalted, roasted pepitas, for something different. Since I decided to make one of my favourite combinations today, which is dates and pistachios, I am sending this to Chandrika’s AFAM – Dates.
IngredientsQuick cooking oats – 6 tbsp Water – 1 cup Soymilk – ½ cup Flax seeds – 1 tbsp Dates – 10, pitted and chopped fine Pistachios – ¼ cup, finely choppedMethod
Bring water to a boil. Add oats and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add flax seeds, switch off the flame and add soymilk. Garnish with dates and pistachios and serve warm.
Being vegan doesn’t mean there is no indulgence. Craving for a snack one evening, I came across these cookies. They were originally shortbread, but I reduced the fat almost by half and made them into cookies. I love lemon poppy seed muffins, no wonder I loved these cookies too. Lemon in cookies is very interesting and the poppy seeds are mildly crunchy at the back of your mouth. These cookies are a keeper.
IngredientsUnbleached all purpose flour – 1 cup Poppy seeds – 1½ tbsp Corn flour – 1½ tbsp Nutmeg – 1/8 tsp Salt – 1/8 tsp Margarine – 5 tbsp Sugar – 1/3 cup Lemon juice – 1 tbsp Lemon zest – 1 tbsp Vanilla – 1 tsp Water – 3 tbspMethod
Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix flour, poppy seeds, corn flour, nutmeg and salt together. In a separate bowl, cream margarine, sugar, lemon juice, zest and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and mix lightly. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of water at a time and knead very lightly till the dough comes together. Don’t add water more than necessary.
Line a baking sheet with silicone sheet or spray with a nonstick spray. Pinch a tbsp of dough, form a ball and lightly press flat. Bake until the edges are lightly brown, about 18-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container. This yields about 13 cookies. Recipe adapted from Tassajara.
When I say Thai, these flavours come to my mind – vegetables, spices and coconut. I improvised the recipe to include all these aspects. Sweet corn tastes great in most of the savoury cake recipes I have come across. So that was to be one of my special ingredients.
After mixing the ingredients, I realised the need for starch. And I quickly microwaved a sweet potato. And the batter was fairly sweet, hence I omitted any sweetener altogether. I was almost done and still had not added coconut milk yet, and the mixture was already moist. Debating over whether to add fresh or desiccated coconut flakes, I decided to go with the drier kind, as there was enough moisture in the batter.
Even though Susan bakes her croquettes, I pan fried them with a quick spray of olive oil. Well, I was not only running late for dinner but hungry too. The croquettes were quite forgiving. They were easy to flip without any additional oil. Now you don’t have to worry about those additional calories.
And it was perfect. The corn (I used fresh) was plump and sweet, and the lightly toasty coconut flakes added a mild, but pleasant aroma in the background. Though tomatoes were added as a garnish for their colour, I should say, they are a must, for the burst of freshness they provided complimented the croquettes. Next time, I wouldn’t even mind pulsing the corn, I would add them whole.
Blanch green beans or cook them in the microwave for about 6 minutes, until they are half done, but still crunchy. Let the beans cool down a bit and pulse ‘em in a food processor along with corn, 2 or 3 times. Take care the vegetables don’t get mushy. Transfer to a big bowl.
Wash the sweet potato. Pierce them several times with a fork. Microwave for 4 minutes. Turn the sweet potato over and cook for 4 more minutes. Slit the skin and scoop the flesh out in to the bowl with green beans and corn. Add rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Mix well and form patties.
Spray oil over a flat pan and put it on a medium heat. Neatly arrange the patties and cook for about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Garnish with thinly cut scallions and chopped tomatoes. Serve with a dipping sauce.
I was looking for an elegant one-plate dish, and came across this marinated chicken recipe. The gravy was what caught my attention, and I duly veganised it. Boy, the taste knocked my socks off. The gravy was smooth and creamy. I used homemade coconut milk, as I find the store bought ones to be excessively creamy. The chickpea flour, instead of the usual, but bland corn flour, added a subtle flavour. I am going to try this technique for other gravies too. There is nothing I would change in this recipe except, making a double batch next time.
IngredientsRoasted CauliflowerCauliflower – 1, big, cut into large florets Chilli powder – ½ tsp Olive oil – 1 tbsp Lemon juice – 1 tbsp SaltCoconut-Chickpea Flour GravyOnion - 2, small, sliced Green chilli – 2, minced Garlic – 4 cloves, minced Tomato – 2, cubed Coriander powder – 1 tbsp Cumin powder – 1 tsp Turmeric powder – 1 tsp Chilli powder – ½ tsp Cinnamon stick – 1 inch Chickpea flour/besan – 3 tbsp Coconut milk – 1 cup if homemade, 2/3 cup if store bought Oil SaltMethod
Soak cauliflower florets in salted hot water for 5 minutes. The florets not only get cleaned but softened. Drain well. Prepare the marinade by mixing oil, lemon juice, chilli powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the florets and coat well in the marinade. Leave it aside for 15 minutes.
If you are making coconut milk at home, soak 2/3 cup of grated coconut in 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Put this in a blender and grind to a smooth mixture. Drain this mixture using a cheese cloth. Extract as much milk as possible. Discard the pulp and reserve the milk.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil. After the florets have marinated for 15 minutes, arrange each floret separately on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the florets have cooked and browned toward the edges. Carefully remove the florets from the baking sheet and set aside.
For the gravy, heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté onions till light brown. Add green chilli and garlic and brown for additional couple of minutes. Stir in tomatoes, dry masalas (cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric), cinnamon stick and salt. Cook on medium low heat, until tomatoes are soft and the spices are not raw, about 5 minutes.
Dissolve chickpea flour in 3 cups of water, without any lumps and add to the onion+tomato mixture. Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. The gravy will thicken as it boils. Stir in coconut milk and heat through.
Plate the gravy with roasted cauliflower florets on top. I served mine with brown rice.
Marinade cauliflower with 2 tbsp of yogurt instead of oil+lemon juice, for a vegetarian version. Recipe heavily adapted from Vij’s.
You all know Tasty Palettes is going vegan this month, mainly to keep track of vegan recipes for my cooking repertoire. But after seeing Asha’s comment about making this an one-time event, I thought ‘Why not?’. It may be difficult to go vegan for a month even if you are a vegetarian. But we all have recipes that are tasty, healthy and most importantly, vegan. Pooling those recipes in one place would be of immense help to our vegan friends, would-be vegans and on-and-off vegans like me (if there is one!). Hence I invite you all to participate in this one-off event ‘Vegan Ventures’.
Here are the guidelines:
Vegan recipes in Indian cuisine are aplenty. From everyday dal to simple pulao, those simple and easy recipes are perfectly vegan. But try something new, a vegan recipe that you have been wanting to try, a recipe that you would entertain your vegan friends with. Refreshing vegetables, interesting vegan substitutes, chic desserts, well, you get the idea.
Any information and ideas on vegan living are wholly welcome.
Please make your entries special by creating especially for this event.
Feel free to use the logo.
Include a link back to this post.
Send your entries by November 30, 2007 to email@example.com with the subject ‘Vegan Ventures’. Include your name, your blog’s name, the permalink of the entry, a picture of your gorgeous recipe (if any) in your email.
You don’t have a blog? No worries. Send your entries with a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will post the round-up during the first week of December 07.
November is Vegan Month. Veganism is not just a diet, but a philosophy of cruelty-free lifestyle. For health/environmental/ethical reasons, some of us choose not to consume animal products. From eggs or dairy at the dinner table to fur or leather in the living rooms, there are so many don’ts in the life of a vegan.
I have almost been a vegan for about four months for health reasons. Almost, except for a cup of coffee everyday. I was energetic through out the day, without any afternoon energy slumps. Best of all, I felt good inside out. And then came the holiday season and a vacation. There ends my vegan story. But this month, Tasty Palettes is going vegan. I have decided to record few of the vegan recipes that I learnt and any new recipes I try as an aid for me and all those vegan out there.
I start with a delicious recipe from an equally delightful cookbook – Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. Written by a restaurateur, the recipes appeal to cooks, both novice and expert in Indian cuisine. I am very happy with every one of the recipes I have tried from it so far.
The vegetables called for, in this recipe were unique. Hearty potatoes, tart tomato and sweet delicious corn, served with coconut-chickpea rice, was delicious enough to make this over and over again. I have slightly adapted the recipe according to my liking. The recipe calls for red cabbage, though radicchio works equally well.
IngredientsRiceBlack chickpeas – ½ cup Grated coconut – 3 tbsp Basmati rice – 1 cup Mustard seeds – ½ tsp Curry leaves – few Oil – 1 tsp SaltVegetablesGreen cabbage – 1 cup, cut into thick long strips Red cabbage – 1 cup, cut into thick long strips Potato – 2, cut into thin half moons Corn, fresh or frozen – 1 cup Tomato – 1, finely chopped Mustard seeds – ½ tsp Cumin seeds – 1 tsp Kalonji seeds – 1 tsp Coriander powder – 1 tbsp Red chilli powder – ½ tsp Oil – 1 tsp Lemon juice SaltMethod
Soak chickpeas overnight in 2 cups of water and ¼ tsp of salt. Next morning, drain chickpeas and pressure cook until three whistles without adding water. Cook rice with a cup of water. Fluff and cool the rice till each grain is separate. In a kadai or skillet, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and coconut and toast for a minute. Add the cooled rice, chickpeas and salt. Combine thoroughly. Keep warm.
For the vegetables, heat oil in a separate pan. Add mustard, kalonji and cumin seeds, and allow them to splutter. To this, add tomatoes, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt. Sauté until tomatoes are pulpy. Add sliced potatoes, and cook for 4 minutes, sprinkling water if necessary. Finally add corn, green and red cabbage and stir for 2-3 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly cooked, but crunchy. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Place rice in a bowl and spoon the vegetables over top and serve.