Showing posts with label dhania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dhania. Show all posts

Apr 15, 2016

Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

cilantro bell pepper onion ginger dressing vegetarian creamy easy

This vegan version of the classic Green Goddess dressing is just as smooth, creamy, savory, and vibrantly green in color and flavor as the original! Traditionally this dressing is made with herbs and anchovies on a decadent base of sour cream and eggy mayonnaise. This recipe replicates those bold, lush, and bright flavors with a more health conscious blend of ginger, garlic, bell pepper, lime juice, and your choice of oil.

Truth be told, when it comes to chutneys and dressings Bibi usually just chucks whatever looks good fresh from the garden into the mixie and hopes for the best. This was definitely a very happy accident! I've made this several times with olive oil, tahini, sunflower seed oil, rice bran oil, and it is always delicious1 It mixes up to that gorgeous green you see in the photos and is every bit as luscious as the original. Don't let that chili pepper in the photo fool you, this dressing is not hot. Serve drizzled over leaves of romaine, a wedge of iceberg lettuce, as a dip for crudité, or perhaps even as a dip for samosas or pakoras!

1 large bell pepper/capsicum, seeds and white membranes removed, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger/adrak, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic/lahsun
1/2 C onion, roughly chopped
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch, roughly chopped
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
2 TBS oil of your choice (or tahini)
1&1/2 C cilantro/dhania leaves & stems, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Blend or grind all ingredients to a smooth emulsion in mixie, blender, or food processor. Salt to taste and keep in refrigerator in airtight container until ready to serve.

Helpful Hints:
I have yet to try this with an avocado blended in, I bet that would be superb!

Mar 28, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Coriander, Cilantro, or Dhania

Coriander, dhania, hsang tsai, kibara, Koriander, kothamilee, kottamalli, kothimbir, kothimli, coriandre, Chinese parsley, coriandolo, pak chee, whatever you wish to call it here 'tis:

The coriander (Coriandrum sativum) plant is an herbaceous hardy annual belonging to the parsley family. It's slender bright green branching stems grow to a height of around two foot tall. The flowers are pink or white assymetrical umbels. Coriander's fruit is usually mistaken for seeds and is a globular schizocarp. 

The plant requires moderately warm weather and well drained soil to thrive. Coriander's name is interestingly derived from Ariadne, the daughter of Minos in Greek mythology. Why coriander is associated with Ariadne I don't know. Evidently coriander has been used as a spice, herb, and perfume ingredient since the second millenium BC by the Greeks.

All parts of the coriander plant are edible. Coriander's leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, and K while it's seeds or fruits are rich in calcium, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Both the leaves and seeds/fruits of coriander have a definite citrus flavor due to their concentrations of the terpenes linalool and pinene. However, some people perceive the taste of coriander leaves as soapy or putrid. Studies seem to suggest this is a genetically determined sensitivity to the unsaturated aldehydes in coriander combined with an insensitivity to the aromatic chemicals that others find pleasant.

Coriander is called "dhania" in Hindi and Urdu. If you wish to refer to the leaves and stems of the coriander plant you would specify by saying "hari dhania" which means "green coriander." In Desi cooking the leaves, stems, and seeds of coriander/dhania are commonly used. The fresh leaves are pureed or minced into chutneys and relishes or stirred into curries and dals to impart their bold and bright green flavor. Ground coriander seeds/fruits provide a subtler flavor as well as bulk and body to numerous Desi dishes. Westerners are probably most familiar with flavor and appearance of coriander seeds seen floating in the brine of dill pickles or corned beef.

Ground coriander and cumin are a common flavor pairing in Desi cooking. The mild lemony notes of ground coriander provide a brilliant foil to the warm earthy flavor of cumin. Onions and ground coriander suspended in oil are the base of most Desi gravies and curry sauces. Ground coriander's fibrous husks lend themselves perfectly in this use as a thickener and emulsifier. The flavor of ground coriander isn't going to overwhelm you with it's mellow citrus aroma, you might not even realize it's there. In contrast to fresh coriander leaves' bold and assertive flavor the subtler notes of ground coriander remain in the background adding a just a bit of "je ne sais quoi" to the main attraction.

Helpful hints:
Whole coriander seeds will store nearly indefinitely. Once ground, coriander seeds are apt to lose flavor and aroma quickly resulting in a sawdust like flavor. That's why I only buy coriander seeds and grind them once a week for use as needed. I use an electric grinder but the seeds are delicate enough to be ground to whatever coarseness you desire with a mortar and pestle. Always store coriander in an opaque airtight container for freshness.

If you are cooking anything gamy like goat, lamb, caribou, elk, or venison try using some ground coriander with it. Ground coriander's light and warm lemony citrus flavor really brightens up gamy meat without the acidic tang of an actual lemon or citrus fruit.

Keep calm & curry on,

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