Thursday, October 12, 2017

Indian Vegetable Korma

Cooked vegetables, in a rich and flavorful nut sauce, resembles popular Indian Vegetable Korma. If you vegan or vegetarian, korma just must be on your menu.

Blog's Category: Healthy, Indian, International, Vegan,  Vegetarian

- This is South-Indian version of Indian korma (or kurma). Korma is vegetable, or chicken, stew, cooked in thick, rich sauce. While other Indian regions use yogurt or cream as a base for sauce, South Indian cuisine uses coconut based sauce. That is why this South-Indian variation is just perfect for vegans. Did I mention it is also extremely delicious?

- Although naan bread is perfect to eat with korma, I enjoyed my korma with a nicely toasted "everything" bagel, smudged with a cream cheese (it could be avocado or even slice of Manchego, one of my favorite types of sheep's cheese). Also korma is great served with rice, as pictured here.

- You can use frozen vegetables for korma, but I prefer fresh ones.. maybe just frozen green peas :) 

- Here is the least of vegetables well-suited for korma: potato, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green peas, sweet potato, butternut squash, even spinach or kale. Use any combination of them to your liking. Potato and green peas are highly recommended though.

- One more great feature - korma doesn't lose its perfection after staying in a fridge for a few days, which makes it ideal for make-ahead dish, or take-to-work-lunch ;)

Indian Vegetable Korma

    • 1 c frozen green peas
    • 2 c cauliflower floweretts 
    • 1 c green beans
    • 1-2 small yellow squash, diced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
    Other ingredients
    • 1 c raw cashews
    • 1 c dry coconut flakes (unsweetened), or you can use fresh coconut 
    • 1 small piece of cinnamon (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
    • seeds from 2 cardamom pods (or 1/2 tsp cardamom powder)
    • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/2 cumin powder)
    • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust according to your love for spicy food)
    • 1 tbs coriander seeds (or 2 tsp coriander powder)
    • 1-2 green chilies (omit if you don't like spicy food)
    • 1" of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
    • 3 tomatoes, diced
    • 10 curry leaves (optional, they are tricky to catch in Indian grocery stores)
    • 1 c water
    • 4 tbs olive oil (or ghee if you are not vegan)
    • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional, can be bought at Indian grocery)
    • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
    - Soak nuts and coconut flakes for at least one hour or overnight.

    - In a large pot, place vegetables, add water to barely cover vegetables, bring to a boil, then simmer until completely cooked. Meanwhile prepare sauce.

    - Grind dry spices (if not using already ground ones). In a blender, add soaked cashews, coconut, all ground spices, green chilies, tomatoes and water. Process until still grainy but smooth. Add water if needed, it has to be of consistency of pancake batter.

    - Now we need to cook sauce, before adding it cooked vegetables. For this, add olive oil to a pan, pour sauce in and cook at medium heat, stirring for about 15 minutes until sauce will be cooked - you will see exactly when it happened, water content reduce and olive oil will separate.

    - Partially drain water from cooked vegetables leaving about 1-2 cups of liquid in a bottom of your pot with vegetables. Pour your cooked sauce on top, add curry leaves and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally. Now, enjoy!!

    In Pictures

    Pouring water for soaking cashews and dry coconut flakes

    Pouring water to cook my vegetables

    I used whole cinnamon bark, not cinnamon powder. I'm not big fan of cinnamon in a savory dishes. Despite that I loved when I bit on a tiny pieces of cinnamon in a final dish.. surprise :)

    I have grinder dedicated to grinding spices. For an easier version, I think, just use store-bought ground spices.

    Don't repeat my mistake blending sauce in a food processor - I had it all spilled under a central spinning section of my processor. Use blender :)

    Well, I had some spillage/disaster/mess but after all sauce was done.

    Actually, I used a small piece of butter along with olive oil. 

    Starting to cook my korma sauce.

    Cooked sauce goes on a top of vegetables.

    Salt in..

    I didn't have fresh curry leaves, but I had a dry ones. Rub them between palms and add there. No problem if you don't have curry leaves at all.

    That's my korma lunch. Delicioso :)

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017

    Vietnamese Mung Bean Crepes with Shrimp

    It's not your typical European crepes, tender affair for a breakfast or dessert. Vietnamese crepes are rather a meal, packed with proteins, flavors and .. fun!

    Blog's Category: Appetizer, Healthy, International, Perfect Breakfast, Seafood, Vegetarian

    - Batter for Vietnamese crepes is based on a dry yellow split mung beans, soaked and blended with coconut milk, rice flour and pinch of turmeric, which gives crepes its beautiful signature golden yellow tint.  

    - This dish consist of four parts. 1)  First is actual crepe batter. 2)  Second - filling, in our case it's onion, shrimp and bean sprouts, but it can be virtually any kind of meat, mushrooms, beans, vegetables. Traditional filling ingredients are onion, shrimp, pork, beef, bean sprouts. 3) Third is a sauce. Usually it's a staple Vietnamese sauce, simple but complex in flavors ;) 4) For serving, you will need greens - lettuce, mint, cilantro. These greens are a perfect side to our fried crepes.

    - Don't be intimidated by this recipe. Actually, in my humble opinion, regular crepes are much trickier to fry than Vietnamese.  Just collect all required ingredients, mix it up and enjoy very healthy and delicious meal. 

    - To make sauce, I used mortar and paste. If it sounds like too much work for you, just throw all ingredients for sauce into a blender. 

    Vietnamese Mung Bean Crepes with Shrimp

    For 8-12 crepes (depending on a size of your skillet:


    • 1/2 cup dry yellow split mung beans 
    • 1/2 can coconut milk
    • 1 cup rice flour
    • 1 cup corn starch (or potato starch)
    • 3 cups cold water
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3-5 tbs olive oil for frying (or oil of your choice)

    • 1 lime, juice only
    • 2 tbs sugar
    • 2 tbs fish sauce
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
    • 1 small fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced

    • 1-2 onions, sliced
    • 40 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 2 cups bean sprouts
    • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
    • 10 mint leaves (optional), thinly sliced
    • lettuce (optional), to serve with
    - Soak mung beans for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Meanwhile make sauce. In a mortar, grind sugar, garlic, half of sliced chilies and a half-teaspoon of lime juice into a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add remaining sauce ingredients. Set sauce aside. If using blender, simply blend all ingredients together, besides chili pepper. Add your sliced chili pepper after blending.

    - To make crepe batter, drain and rinse soaked mung beans, then place them in a blender, add coconut milk, blend together. In a large bowl mix remaining batter ingredients with blended mung beans. You will get pretty thin batter. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare your filling and side ingredients.

    - To cook crepes, heat skillet with about 2 tsp oil. Place shrimp and onion and stir fry for a few seconds. Pour about 1/2 cup of crepe batter over, sprinkle some bean sprouts over and let it cook, covered, for about 2 minutes on a medium heat, then fold crepe in half and transfer to a serving plate.

    - Serve right away, with a sauce and greens. You can wrap crepe into lettuce, or vice versa :) Enjoy!

    In Pictures

    If you don't like spicy food, remove seeds from chili pepper. Working with hot pepper, don't forget to wear gloves, especially if you will be taking out your contact lenses today going to bed ;)

    Making sugar, chili, garlic paste for sauce. 

    Adding a few drops of lime juice helps.

    Finishing making sauce

    Beans swelled nicely, being soaked for awhile. But 30 minutes of soaking will suffice. 

    Rinse them

    Blending with coconut milk

    This and next three pics - mixing blended mung beans with a rest of batter ingredients

    Ready for action. By the way, all previous steps can be done in advance. Prepared batter can be kept in a fridge for up to three days.