Showing posts with label gluten free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gluten free. Show all posts

Dec 18, 2017

2017 Holiday Recipe Roundup!

Treat your family and friends to something sweet this holiday season. I've got vegan, gluten-free and no-bake recipes, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to cherry and coconut to cardamom. Whether you're looking for something new or you just want to add options to your holiday party repertoire, check out some of my most popular recipes from the last few years. Enjoy!

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Kashmiri Cardamom Cookies-Buttery and tender, this simple to prepare eggless cookie features Kashmiri walnuts and the warm flavor of cardamom. Can easily be made vegan too. A perfect cookie to make for any holiday

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Bollywood Banana Bread- An American classic done Desi! Good old banana bread gets a Bollywood makeover. This recipe makes a tasty, dense, moist loaf that tastes even better the next day! It freezes well, can be made eggless or "veg," and makes a great holiday gift.

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Chinese Chews- These old fashioned chewy date cookies are baked in a pan, cut like bars, and then rolled in granulated sugar to give them a unique knobby shape. A nostalgic recipe that's easy to make and perfect for holiday platters, snacks, or packed lunches.

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Cherry Cardamom Snowballs- A touch of warm cardamom spices up chewy cherries in this tender and buttery cookie. So easy to make and so pretty too!

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Mexican Chocolate Snowballs- A spicy twist on an old favorite with almonds, chocolate, cinnamon, and a pinch of chili powder. Buttery, delicately spiced, and rich with chocolate flavor this egg free recipe can easily be made vegan too. A simple to make treat to serve any holiday!

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Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos- Easy, eggless, gluten-free and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.

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Pistachio, Rose, and Cardamom Snowballs- A classic American Christmas cookie gets a flavor makeover with rich pistachios, delicate rose, and spicy cardamom! Buttery, tender, and eggless these snowball cookies are always a hit no matter what the occasion. These beautiful treats can easily be made vegan and would be a delicious addition to any holiday platter.

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Classic American Oatmeal Cookies- Buttery, sweet, with a hint of spice and a texture that's a delectable combination of crispy edges with delightfully chewy centers. Embellish them with raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, dried cherries, or chopped dates as you choose. This tasty recipe can easily be made vegan too. Great as a snack or gracing any holiday platter!

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Hawaiian Coconut Cookies- From the beautiful island state of Hawaii comes this eggless sweet treat. Tenderly crisp, buttery, and rich with the flavor of coconut these cookies are sure to please anyone's palate. Such an easy recipe to make and perfect for any holiday platter.

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Red Velvet Snowball- Get festive with this recipe for buttery, chocolatey, and meltingly tender Red Velvet Snowball Cookies! An easy to make, eggless, and nut free treat that be made vegan too. The perfect addition to any holiday platter!

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Persimmon Cookies- Spicy, moist, and tenderly soft these persimmon cookies are truly a Winter treat! Lavishly laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and walnuts this recipe is full of the flavors of the season. So simple to make and the easiest answer to the question, "What do you do with persimmons?"

Happy baking and sharing!
Bibi

Nov 21, 2016

Ingredients: Red Millet, Finger Millet, Ragi, Kodo, Keppai

Red millet, finger millet, ragi, kodo, and keppai are all names of an annual plant grown as a cereal across Africa and Asia. Red millet was originally a native of the Ethiopian highlands of Africa but has been cultivated in India since the Iron Age. This hardy plant thrives in a variety of climates and can be made into a wide range of nutritious foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages. 

Eleusine coracana or red millet growing in the neighbors' field

Red millet or Eleusine coracana is called kodo or ragi in here in Nepal. It is usually planted during the arid Fall and Winter after the Monsoon season in Nepal. It is often interplanted with pigeon peas or maize as you see in the above photo of my neighbor's field. Red millet is extremely pest resistant and once harvested the seeds store nearly indefinitely. Freedom from moulds or insects and long storage capacity make red millet an important crop in risk-avoidance strategies for Third World farming communities. With a 1 tonne per hectare yield, it has the highest productivity among millets grown in the world. The straw from red millet can be also used as animal fodder.

Methionine
Red millet is a nutritious source of calcium, iron, fiber, and the essential amino acid methionine. Methionine is often lacking in the diets of vegetarians and cultures who subsist on starchy staples such as rice and maize. As an essential amino acid methionine is important in angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. Red millet's high fiber content and low glycemic index score make it an excellent choice for those suffering diabetes too. It is also easily digestible and gluten-free.

Dhido thali

Dhido
is a traditional food in some areas of Nepal made from a thick paste of boiled red millet flour. You will find dhido eaten as a staple in areas of the Himalayas where the altitude and aridity do not allow the cultivation of wheat or rice. It is a lot like mush or polenta with a bit of a nutty flavor. Dhido is usually eaten with a dollop of butter or ghee accompanied by pickles, chutneys, curried vegetables and yogurt. It is served steaming hot as it hardens upon setting. To eat it you tear off bits by hand and dip it into one of the tasty sides served alongside. 

Kodo ko Roti

Red millet is also eaten as a pancake like flat bread called kodo ko roti. The millet flour is mixed into a simple batter with water and a pinch of sugar. The batter is then fried in a bit of ghee. Kodo ko roti is usually served with a variety of pickles, chutneys, and dal. To eat kodo ko roti one tears off a piece of the roti and uses it to scoop up the condiment of choice.


Nepalis are avid home brewers and distillers. Red millet is used to make a variety of alcoholic beverages. In the photo above you see an earthenware and copper still with firewood underneath it ready for use. There are many similar types of stills in various sizes in different communities across Nepal. Earthenware is preferred to for the fermentation process. Copper is preferred for distilling since it removes sulfur-based compounds from the alcohol that would make it unpleasant to drink. 


Rakshi is a traditional distilled alcoholic drink made from red millet or rice in Nepal and Tibet. It is clear like vodka and is reputed to taste much like Japanese sake. Rakshi is not aged before consumption and is usually stored and sold in plastic fuel containers as you see in the above photo. In 2011 Rakshi was deemed by CNN to be of the world's 50 most delicious drinks and was described thusly, "Made from millet or rice, Rakshi is strong on the nose and sends a burning sensation straight down your throat that resolves itself into a surprisingly smooth, velvety sensation. Nepalese drink this home brew to celebrate festivals, though some think that the prized drink itself is the reason to celebrate."

Newari lady in Kathmandu pouring rakshi from an anti (brass pitcher) into a pala (small clay bowl) for drinking

Rakshi is often served during special occasions in Nepal.
The alcoholic drink is poured from a great height via a brass pitcher with a small spout making an entertaining spectacle. This requires an expert hand and is an an art in itself.

Tongba containing chhaang with a perforated bamboo straw

Chhaang is a fermented beer often made from red millet in Nepal and Tibet. To drink chaang a fermented mash of red millet is first placed in a special drinking vessel called a tongba as you see in the above photo. Hot water is then poured into the tongba and left to steep for about five minutes. A fine bamboo straw with a perforated filter tip is then used slurp up the diluted alcohol out of the fermented mash. Hot water is replenished in the tongba until the all alcohol has been extracted from the mash.


Nutritionally, ecologically, and gastronomically, red millet is a truly versatile grain that is making a comeback in South Asian cuisines. During colonial times red millet was considered a coarse grain suitable only for the laboring classes. Nowadays, red millet is touted as a fashionable and healthy 'super food.' One can find all sorts of delicious preparations of red millet such as laddoos, biscuits, halva, and pakora all across the Indian subcontinent. (As well as alcoholic beverages.)

Jun 10, 2016

Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos

dates puffed rice cereal sweet dessert ramadan easy laddoo balls recipe

"Laddoos" or "laddus" are ball shaped sweets popular in South Asia. Easy, eggless, and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.


Here I've taken an old fashioned American recipe and "Desi-fied" it a little with cardamom and ghee. Variously called "humdingers" or simply "date balls" these tasty treats graced many a Thanksgiving and Christmas platter in my home when I was growing up in the US. For some reason we Americans love breakfast cereal in our sweets. Dates and rice are familiar favorites to the Desi palate so these are sure to please all around. 


Truly a crowd pleaser, this recipe was originally from my 1970's 4H cookbook. However, I've been making this for so long I know it by heart. From what I understand this recipe has been around with minor variations since the 1920's in the US. In the US you can buy 8oz bags of pitted dates that measure to about a cup which is what this recipe was written for. Pitted dates are not available in South Asia so I'd recommend using "wet pack" dates as shown in the above photo. They are fairly inexpensive and are very good quality for use in baking and cooking. I do have to pit them myself which is a bit of a sticky chore. The bag you see in the photo is the standard 500g package available here which yields about 2 cups of chopped and pitted dates. When using the 500g bag as shown in the photo I simply double the ingredients in the recipe below. If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee. These are so yummy and in less than an hour you can easily whip up about 48 to 50 laddoos for any special occasion or just an after school treat!

Ingredients:
1/2 C butter, ghee, or coconut oil
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
7 - 10 green cardamoms/elaichi, seeds removed & coarsely ground (optional)
1 C dates, chopped & pitted
3 C rice crispy cereal
1 C desiccated coconut or 1/2 C powdered sugar

Here's what to do:
1) In a large heat safe mixing bowl measure out rice crispy cereal.


2) In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, dates, salt, vanilla, cardamom, and butter or ghee.


3) Over medium heat bring to simmer while stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes,  keep stirring constantly so the mixture does not scorch.


4) Remove cooked date mixture from heat, immediately pour over pre measured rice crispy cereal in heat proof bowl. Mix well with wooden or silicone spoon. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

5) When mixture has cooled roll by tablespoonful into walnut sized balls. I use a tablespoon sized cookie scoop to get uniform amounts.


5) Roll the balls in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar as desired. A round cake tin or shallow bowl works well for this. Keeps well in a sealed airtight for up to two weeks. (But they only last about two days around our house because everyone eats them.)

Helpful hints:
If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee.

May 9, 2016

Mint & Pomegranate Chutney

Fresh, bright, hot, and tangy this simple to make chutney combines all the brilliant flavors of summer.  Savory mint, sweet pomegranate, hot chilis, zesty lime, and fragrant cilantro are paired with just the right amount of spice making this a bold and refreshing companion to warm weather dishes. This summery sauce is excellent when paired for dipping with samosas, kebabs, tandoori, or any grilled meat such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish. 


This is my adaption of the award winning Michelin starred Indian chef Vikas Khanna's recipe. I used what I had on hand from my garden and added some oil, chaat masala, and fresh instead of dried pomegranate seeds or anardana. The oil tamed the astringency in the pomegranate, fresh mint, and lime juice a bit giving a smoother "mouth feel." The chaat masala contains kala namak/black salt which gives an umami boost to the chutney that's a bit like garlic but not as rough. The little bit of sugar in this recipe augments the fruity flavor of the pomegranate and enhances the floral notes in the fresh mint. Overall the effect is very Indian in taste but also quite Middle Eastern too. Choose different oils in this recipe to get different effects, olive oil for a more Middle Eastern flavor or peanut oil for a more authentically Indian flair.

Ingredients: 
1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4C onion, chopped roughly
1 tsp sugar 
2 C mint/pudina leaves, fresh, washed & destemmed
1 C cilantro/dhania, chopped roughly
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped roughly
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
1&1/2 TBS oil of your choice
1 tsp kala namak/black salt (or 1 clove garlc plus 1/2 tsp dry roasted garlic)
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Blend or grind all ingredients to a smooth emulsion in mixie, blender, or food processor. You might have to grind this longer than you think to make sure the pomegranate seeds are completely pulverized. Salt to taste and keep in refrigerator in airtight container until ready to serve.



Helpful hints:

If you don't have kala namak/black salt or chaat masala you could use a clove of garlic with a half teaspoonful of dry roasted cumin seeds instead for a similar flavor.

You could also make this with dried pomegranate seeds also known as the spice anardana. Just use one tablespoonful of anardana in place of the half cup of fresh pomegranate seeds called for in the recipe.

This recipe tastes great with different proportions of mint and cilantro, change the ratios to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

Use whatever oil you wish in this recipe to accentuate the flavors, for example olive oil will give this chutney a more Middle Eastern taste but peanut oil will this recipe an authentically Indian flair.

Apr 23, 2016

Bibi's Paruppu (South Indian Style Dal)


Every region of the Indian Subcontinent has their own unique way of preparing dal. South Indian dal preparations often feature curry leaves and coconut. I've tasted various versions of paruppu at restaurants and served as a first course at South Indian weddings. In this dish I've paired masoor dal's velvety texture with rich coconut cream, aromatic spices, and the zing of lime juice. Serve with steamed rice, rasam, papads, buttermilk, or whatever South Indian dish you love.

coconut masoor dal easy simple recipe paruppu

I make no claims that this dish is authentic in any way. It is very tasty though. I made this recipe up after tasting a similar dish at a South Indian restaurant in Delhi. I love anything coconut and the brightness of curry leaves in a dish. Unfortunately, coconuts and curry leaves are rarely available in Nepal. So I've used canned coconut cream in this dal for richness, along with cilantro and lime juice in to brighten up the flavors as fresh curry leaves would do.


Ingredients:
3 TBS coconut oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 tsp fennel/saunf seeds
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tomato, diced finely
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 C masoor dal/red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
3 TBS coconut cream
3 TBS fresh cilantro/dhania, leaves and stems chopped finely
2 tsp salt
1 TBS lime juice (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) In a large stock pot heat coconut oil or ghee with 1 tsp salt. Fry onions until just beginning to brown.  Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds. Fry for 2 minutes.


2) Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chilis, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes soften.


 3) Add masoor dal, coconut cream, 1 tsp salt, cilantro, and 4 cups water, stir well and bring to boil.


4) Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour or until dal is to desired tenderness. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure dal is not sticking to the bottom. Add water if necessary until dal is to preferred consistency. Stir in lime juice if using, salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

This recipe can also be made with urad dal or in a pressure cooker also.

I've got a lov-e-ly bunch of coconuts!

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:




Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

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!

Ingredients:
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!


Apr 10, 2016

Bihari Green Beans Masala

Bihari Green Beans Masala

The classic combination of green beans and almonds gets the masala treatment in this easy to make side dish. Green beans are simmered until tender in a velvety coconut milk sauce laced with the warmth of traditional North Indian spices. Lavish and rich enough for a posh dinner yet simple enough to make every day, this vegetarian dish fits the bill for any occasion.


I thought I got this recipe from my long lost copy of Julie Sahni's 1980 cookbook Classic Indian Cooking.  A brief perusal of the internet and this recipe turns up in a 2010 article about Julie Sahni in the New York Times. I really must replace my copy of Classic Indian Cooking. The recipes are somewhat westernized in techniques and flavor but easily tweaked to make them more Desi. Over the years I've heavily embellished and adapted Ms. Sahni's original recipe to suit my family's tastes.


Bihar is a region of North India just south of the Nepal border. It is a land of fertile subtropical plains where the river Ganges pours down from the Himalayas into India. I'm not really familiar with Bihari cuisine except to say it is largely vegetarian, uses a lot of besan (chickpea flour), and features smoked chilis for seasoning. The only Bihari food I've had the opportunity to sample was an interesting drink made from besan and a besan stuffed paratha.



Ingredients:
1/2kg/1lb  green beans, tops and tails removed and cut into one inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, finely diced or ground
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp coriander/dhania ground
2 tsp cumin/jeera. ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
9-10 almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
salt as required
Here's what to do:

1) In a kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet heat oil for 5 minutes. Fry almonds until golden and set aside if using. Add onions to same oil in pan with 1 tsp salt fry until just translucent.  


2) Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric to the fried onions. Allow to fry for 2 minutes.


3) Add coconut milk and green beans to fried onion and spice mixture. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered until to desired tenderness. This usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes.


4) Add lime juice and cilantro leaves to dish if using and stir well. Salt to taste and garnish with almonds if desired.

Our little teepee trellis of green beans.
An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:


Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

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