Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kadhi for the So(u)l and some crunch!

I am back with the sol kadhi (kokum kadhi) recipe I promisedKokum is a fruit native to the the western region of India. Kokum is actually the sun-dried outer cover of the fruit. It has a gorgeous pink color and is used as souring agent in curries, kinda similar to tamarind. Kokum is easily available in Indian grocery stores (sold as wet black kokum), I stock mine (from Malvan :) ) when I visit home or mom sends a parcel. Sol kadhi is made by mixing the kokum extract with coconut milk, flavored with cumin, chili and garlic. My mom generally uses half of the first extract of coconut milk with half of second extract coconut milk. I just use the canned coconut milk which is believe is completely the first extract (make sure the cans are BPA free). Kokum kadhi is generally paired with the heavy non-vegetarian meals as it helps in digestion but really it can be had on its own as well. If you dont have coconut milk on hand, you can leave it out and voila you have a very refreshing summer drink!

1 cup coconut milk
7-8 kokum (soaked for 30 mins. in hot water)
2 green chillies (hot like Thai bird)
1 large garlic clove  
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves
a little jaggery
salt to taste

Using a mortar pestle coarsely grind chillies, garlic, cumin and 1tbsp coriander leaves. Fish out the soaked kokum after 30 mins and mix the ground mixture in the kokum water. Add coconut milk to the the kokum water with the jaggery and salt. Gradually dilute the kadhi to a consistency where it is not too think neither too watery. Check the taste such that it is a right balance between thee sour, sweet and salty taste!

Moving on to the crunch, since now-a-days I no longer eat chapati or rice (white rice is occasional affair) with my meals, I like to have a little crunchy sides along with the main dish and salad. Tubers are VFM of nutrition because they pack a lot of nutrients in very little calories! I have recently started making these sweet potato chips, not only do they taste wonderful they can be quickly put together as well. It is a very versatile recipe in that it can be used with any combination of tubers such as sweet potatoes, yams, colocasia root with any seasoning such as italian, lime-pepper, taco seasoning etc. I am posting the recipe that involves baking the chips, but they can be easily cooked on stove-top using a little extra oil (just don't use semolina).

1 sweet potato (thoroughly washed and scrubbed)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tbsp kasoori methi (finely powdered by rubbing between palms)
salt to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Slice the sweet potato to 1/4th inch slices with skin-on and dunk them in hot water for 10 mins. After 10 mins drain them into mixing bowl and add rest of the ingredients, toss well to coat the potatoes completely. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and stick in the oven on the lowest rack. Bake for 15 mins on each side, till done (brown spots appear on surface).

Amazing anda masala (Poached egg Indian style)

Turning primal has not only dramatically changed my health but meal prep has become a lot easier. This is a blessing because once I get home from work I only have less than an hour's worth of energy left to cook two meals (a dinner and next days lunch). Egg is the easiest to make on particularly lazy days. Pastured/desi eggs (from hens freely roaming outdoor) are rich in all the good-for-you nutrients unlike inhumanely raised factory-farmed eggs, they are delicious and buying pastured eggs means that you support small farmers who have chosen to do things the right way! I have been wanting to make poached eggs, but didn't want to eat them plain. So, I twisted my favorite mom's egg curry to resemble poached eggs. Its a very simple recipe and the end result is oh-so fabulous!

3 pastured eggs (two for dinner and one for breakfast)
1 tbsp butter (from grassfed cow's milk)
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
3 tbsp crushed tomatoes (I used canned ones)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro for garnishing

Heat butter in a pan on medium-high heat. Once hot add jeera seeds till they splutter and then the ginger-garlic paste. Saute till slightly brown, then add the onion and cook till it turns deep brown (use a little salt to fasten this process). Now add tomatoes, all the spices and cook till the oil separates from the onion-tomato mix. Add salt (and check for the other spices) and water, till it has a fairly fluid consistency but isn't runny. When the gravy starts bubbling, spread it evenly in the pan in a single layer and gently add cracked eggs one by one on top of the gravy. Take care that the yolks remain intact, the whites will spread all over the pan, that is ok. Now cover the pan and cook for exactly five minutes, at this point the eggs should be coated with a thin white film. Turn off the stove, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Today's primal dinner was anda masala (2 eggs), a small bowl of leftover spinach dal (made using moong dal) and carrot sticks.