Vegetarian Thukpa| Tibetan/North Eastern Vegetarian Noodle Soup 

This month, the theme for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Facebook group that I am part of is ‘cuisine from Arunachal Pradesh’. I was teamed up with Sharanya Palanisshamy, who blogs at Sara’s Tasty Buds,  for the challenge. My partner gave me two ingredients to build a recipe on – chilli sauce and ginger – which I decided to use to make Vegetarian Thukpa, a kind of noodle soup.

The thukpa is actually a dish of Tibetan origin, but some research on the Internet told me that it is quite popular in Arunachal Pradesh, too. I found several variations to the recipe on the Internet and, in the end, went ahead with making it the way I have seen it being done at street food stalls here in Bangalore.

Whether the recipe is authentic or not, I’m not sure (I’d love some validation on that!). What I can say for sure is that the thukpa turned out absolutely delish, and we loved it to bits. It made for a hearty lunch for the husband and me, a lovely change from the usual. It’s the perfect thing to make right now, considering the chilly weather in Bangalore presently. All in all, I’m glad I’m a little closer to the cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh today than I used to be earlier.

Here’s how I made the thukpa.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):

  1. 75 grams flat rice noodles
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Sweet red chilli sauce, to taste (I use Thai Herirage)
  4. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  5. Soya sauce, to taste (I use Thai Heritage)
  6. A small piece of cabbage
  7. A small carrot
  8. 1 small capsicum
  9. 1/4 cup shelled green peas
  10. 1 small onion
  11. 1/4 cup sweet corn, shelled
  12. A few stalks of fresh coriander
  13. 4 cloves of garlic
  14. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  15. 2 cups vegetable stock, or as needed
  16. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or as per taste
  17. 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon of oil

Method:

1. Take the noodles in a heavy-bottomed vessel, and add just enough water to cover them. Add a bit of salt and 1 teaspoon oil. Let cook on high flame till the noodles are done, but not overly mushy. Transfer to a colander, and run cold water over the noodles immediately. Keep aside, and let all the excess water drain out.

2. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop finely. Crush coarsely, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

3. Prep the veggies you will need for the thukpa. Finely chop the carrot, cabbage, capsicum and onion. Steam the sweet corn for a minute and drain out the excess water. Keep aside.

4. Finely chop the coriander, and keep aside. We will be using it for garnishing.

5. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped onion, cabbage, capsicum and carrot, as well as the shelled green peas and steamed corn. Add the crushed ginger and garlic. Add salt to taste. Cook on medium flame till the veggies are cooked, but still retain a bit of a crunch.

6. Add vegetable stock as needed, as well as red chilli sauce and soya sauce as needed. Add the cooked noodles. Mix well.

7. Cook on low-medium flame for a couple of minutes. Switch off gas.

8. Add lemon juice to taste and finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. Plain water can be used in place of vegetable stock. In that case, if you want to thicken the soup, add in a little corn flour or wheat flour mixed with a bit of water, and let simmer for a couple of minutes.

2. For a spicier version, use green chilli sauce to taste, in place of sweet chilli sauce.

3. You can add in any vegetables of your choice – beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. I used the veggies that I had in stock, to make the thukpa.

4. You can use any kind of noodles of your choice. I have used flat Thai-style rice noodles here.

5. Daal water can be used in place of vegetable stock. You may even add a dash of tomato puree for flavour.

You like? I hope you will try out this recipe for vegetarian thukpa too, and that you will love it as much as we did! 

Khao Phad| Vegetarian Thai Fried Rice

We are big fans of Thai food, the husband and I. We love how the cuisine uses very simple, earthy ingredients to create dishes that are so very flavourful. We love the way different flavours like sweet, sour and spicy meld together so beautifully in Thai cuisine. Here’s presenting a delicious Thai dish we make often at home and thoroughly enjoy – Khao Phad or Thai Vegetable Fried Rice.

Khao Phad, Thai vegetarian fried rice

A bit about Khao Phad, my way

The ingredients used in Thai and Indian cuisine are not all that different, and I have been able to replicate many of our favourite dishes at home. The husband and I enjoy knocking back a dish of Thai green curry with rice, a raw papaya salad or peanut noodles for lunch or dinner, a nice change from the usual. Like I was saying earlier, Khao Phad or Thai-style vegetarian fried rice is an all-time house favourite.

Like many other Thai dishes, Khao Phad is a medley of flavours – sweet and sour and spicy come together to create this wholesome dish. It isn’t very tough to make – once you prep up the ingredients, putting together this Thai fried rice is a matter of minutes.

I use ingredients commonly available in India – like Indian ginger in place of Thai galangal, Sona Masoori rice in place of Thai jasmine rice, jaggery powder in place of coconut blossom sugar, as is commonly used in Thailand – and the result is still very close to the original Khao Phad we tasted in Thailand. You have to try this out to understand just how simple yet beautiful this dish is!

How to make Khao Phad or Thai Vegetarian Fried Rice

Here’s how I make it.

Ingredients (4-5 servings):

Vegetables to be prepped:

  1. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  2. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  3. A small piece of cabbage
  4. 1/4 cup sweet corn
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1 small capsicum
  7. 5-6 beans
  8. 1 small carrot

Other veggies used:

  1. 1 lemon or as per taste
  2. A few stalks of fresh coriander

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rice (I used Sona Masoori)
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
  4. 2 tablespoons soya sauce or to taste
  5. 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce or to taste
  6. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder
  7. 1/4 cup peanuts
  8. 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  9. 4-5 strands of lemongrass (optional)
  10. 1 tablespoon oil

Method:

  1. First, pressure cook the rice with 2-3/4 cups of water for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release entirely. Allow the rice to cool down completely, and then fluff it up gently. Keep aside.
  2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp. Allow them to cool down completely, and remove the skins. Now, coarsely pulse in a mixer for just about a second. Do not make a fine powder. Keep aside.
  3. Now, we will prep the veggies that will go into the fried rice. Peel the ginger and chop it very, very finely. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them coarsely, using a mortar and pestle. Chop the onion, and cabbage finely. Peel the carrot and chop into batons. Chop the capsicum and beans into bite-sized pieces. Keep the veggies aside.
  4. Now, finely chop the coriander. Extract the juice from the lemon. Keep aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the lemongrass strands, slit green chillies, kaffir lime leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, capsicum, peas, beans, corn, cabbage, carrot and cucumber. Add a little salt. Stir fry on medium heat till the vegetables are cooked, but not overly so. The veggies should retain a little crunch.
  6. Turn the flame down to low. Add in the cooked rice, soya sauce, Sriracha sauce, salt to taste, crushed peanuts and jaggery powder. Mix well.
  7. Let everything cook together on low flame for about 2 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add some red chilli powder if needed.
  8. When everything is well integrated together, switch off gas. Add in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Serve piping hot.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Traditionally, jasmine rice is used to prepare Thai fried rice. I didn’t have any, so I have used Indian Sona Masoori rice instead.
  2. For plain steamed rice, I use about 3-1/2 cups of water per cup of rice. For fried rice, I have reduced the quantity of water to 2-1/2 cups. You could further reduce the quantity of water you use, if you want grainier rice. We like our rice to be well-cooked but still grainy, and this ratio works out perfectly for us.
  3. I have used ordinary Indian ginger in place of Thai galangal. If you can get your hands on galangal, you could use that instead.
  4. Increase or decrease the quantity of lemon juice, sugar, soya sauce and Sriracha sauce as per your personal taste preferences. The quantities suggested above work out well for us.
  5. I have used jaggery powder here. You could use palm jaggery or coconut blossom sugar instead.
  6. Other vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and coloured capsicum can be added to the fried rice too. I commonly use the veggies that I have on hand.
  7. If you have rice left over, preferably a day old, it works very well for this recipe. You could use that in place of freshly cooked and cooled down rice.
  8. Chunks of fresh, ripe pineapple can also be mixed into the fried rice at the end, while you are adding the lemon juice and chopped coriander. That takes the flavour of the dish to a whole new level – I do that when I have chopped pineapple handy.
  9. Thai bird’s eye chillies can be used in place of the green chillies I have used here.
  10. If you are following a vegan (plant-based) or gluten-free diet, do check on the ingredients used in the sauces. Make sure the sauces meet your dietary requirements.
  11. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.
  12. If you don’t have kaffir lime leaves and/or lemongrass, lemon zest can be used instead.

********************

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Fusion Fiesta’, and each of the participants was required to post a fusion dish involving Indian and another, uncommon (to us) cuisine.

Nimbu Rasam| Lemon Rasam Recipe

Lemon rasam with piping hot steamed rice spells out ‘comfort food’ to me. It is go-to food for the husband and me whenever we are under the weather or just need something light to eat. With the addition of some fried vadams and a simple potato curry, this rasam-rice combination becomes a platter from heaven! If you have a sore throat or are feeling feverish, fear not, this rasam has the power to soothe you like nothing else.

Interestingly, I learnt this recipe from the husband’s sister – she is an amazing cook of South Indian dishes, and this is the very first thing she taught me to make. I’ve been in love with this lemon rasam ever since. I like the fact that this is such a simple thing to make, not calling for any grinding or pre-made rasam powder, and is yet so very satisfying.

DSCN0672

Now, let’s check out how to make this lemon rasam, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):

  1. 1/4 cup toor daal
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped finely
  5. Juice of 1-1/2 lemons, or to taste
  6. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
  7. A few fresh curry leaves
  8. 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
  9. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
  10. 1 tablespoon oil/ghee
  11. A pinch of asafoetida
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

  1. Wash the toor daal thoroughly in running water. Pressure cook it with just enough water to cover it entirely. Give the daal 4 whistles, and let the pressure release naturally. When the pressure has gone down completely, mash the cooked daal well so that it forms a homogeneous liquid. Keep aside.
  2. Heat about 1/2 cup water in a pan. Add in the finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Let cook on high flame for 2 minutes. This will help extract the essence and fragrance of the chillies, ginger and curry leaves.
  3. Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Add salt to taste. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, adding a little more water if required.
  4. Add the mashed toor daal, turmeric powder, as well as about 2 cups of water. Cook on medium-high flame till the mixture comes to a boil.
  5. At this stage, check for salt. Add more salt, if required. Switch off gas.
  6. Add the lemon juice to the mixture in the pan. Mix well.
  7. In another pan, heat the oil or ghee. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add this garnish to the rasam in the other pan.
  8. Add in the chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Your tasty lemon rasam is ready! Serve hot with steamed rice and your favourite curry.

Notes:

  1. Increase or decrease the amount of toor daal you use, depending upon the type of consistency you want for the rasam. We prefer keeping it runny, but not overly watery.
  2. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use, depending upon how tangy you want the rasam to taste.
  3. Make sure all the seeds are removed from the lemon juice before adding it to the rasam. This will help you ensure that the rasam does not turn bitter.
  4. Country tomatoes are best for making this rasam. They are more tangy and juicy, and add a whole lot of flavour to the rasam. However, in the absence of these, farm tomatoes can be used as well.
  5. You can strain out the chillies, ginger and curry leaves and add only the extract to the rasam. We prefer keeping them in.
  6. You could add a dash of chilli powder to the rasam, if you feel it is too bland for you. Alternatively, you could add more green chillies, to suit your taste preferences.

Do you like rasam? What are your favourite ways of making it? Tell me, I’m all ears!

Bruschetta With Lemon Marmalade & Stir-Fried Veggies

This bruschetta tastes absolutely delicious, a welcome change from the usual fare. It is sweet and spicy and salty, all at once, and is a great way to use up the last bits of any tangy marmalade that you might have lying around in your kitchen.

DSCN1317

I have Vidya Narayan of Masala Chilli to thank for this recipe. It was she who gave me the idea. 🙂

Now, let’s see how I made this bruschetta with lemon marmalade and stir-fried veggies, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 2):
  1. 4 slices of bread
  2. 4-5 pieces of baby corn, chopped finely
  3. 1 small onion, chopped finely
  4. 4-5 medium-sized mushrooms, chopped
  5. Salt, to taste
  6. Lemon marmalade, as needed (I used Bhuira)
  7. Chilli powder, to taste
  8. Grated cheddar cheese, as needed (I used Amul)
  9. Mixed Italian herbs, as needed
  10. Paprika, as needed
  11. Sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil, as needed (I used the oil from home-made sun-dried tomatoes)
  12. 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:

  1. Let us first get the stir-fried veggies ready. Heat the olive oil a bit, and add in the chopped onion, mushrooms and baby corn.
  2. Add salt and red chili powder to taste. Mix well.
  3. Stir fry the veggies till they are cooked, but not overly mushy. Switch off the gas. Mix in a little mixed Italian herbs.
  4. Allow the stir-fried veggies to cool down a bit, while you get the base ready. For this, cut each slice of bread into half.
  5. Heat a pan till droplets of water dance on it. Place four pieces of bread on it. Drizzle some sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil over one side of the bread. Toast.
  6. Flip the bread pieces over to the other side. Drizzle some more sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil. Toast some more. Switch off gas and place the bread pieces in a serving plate.
  7. Prepare all the bread pieces in a similar way.
  8. Spread lemon marmalade evenly over the toasted bread pieces. Use as much or as little as you want. Spread the veggies on top, and add some grated cheese. Add a dash of paprika and mixed Italian herbs. Serve hot.

Notes:

  • You can keep the bread as crisp as you want.
  • Let your personal taste preferences dictate the quantity of lemon marmalade, cheese, sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil, paprika and mixed Italian herbs that you want to use.
  • I have used lemon marmalade here, as I wanted to use up the little bit that I had left over. If you don’t have lemon marmalade, any other tangy marmalade would do.
  • You could use any kind of (preferably, thick) bread to make this bruschetta. I had whole wheat bread handy, so I used it.
  • Sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil is nothing but the residual olive oil from a bottle of sun-dried tomatoes. It has the scent of sun-dried tomatoes infused in it.
  • You could use other veggies like zucchini, capsicum, etc. I used whatever I had handy in the kitchen at the moment.

 

You like? Do try out this bruschetta with lemon marmalade and stir-fried veggies as a snack or side. It is super easy to make!

Oriental Spiced Cookies With Sprig Gourmet’s Malacca Spice Blend

I love the very interesting range of gourmet food products that Sprig offers. From their Mango Jalapeno Sauce and Passion Fruit Malagueta Sauce to their Natural Lavender Extract, from their Salted Caramel Sauce and Dulce De Leche to their Coconut Palm Sugar, Rosemary And Lavender-Infused Sea Salt, Six Pepper Medley and Nam Prik Pao, every product has piqued my curiosity and made me long to work with it. I am sure every foodie – irrespective of whether it is a home cook or a food blogger or a hotelier – would want to try out these gourmet products, try to create something fun using them.

I recently got my hands on one of the spice blends from the range offered by Sprig, an Oriental spice called Malacca. It is a mix of herbs and spices that are reminiscent of the Orient or South-East Asia, and can be used to jazz up a variety of dishes. I decided to use it in some Oriental Spiced Cookies, as opposed to noodles or fried rice or salads that first came to mind. The result thrilled me, totally. The Malacca has a lovely, mysterious fragrance to it, and the cookies turned out so very beautiful, gently spiced with the same hint of the exotic to them.

DSCN0977

I used this recipe as the base, making one or two variations of my own.

Here’s how I made the Oriental spiced cookies.

Ingredients (yields 12-15 cookies):

  1. Whole wheat flour – 1-3/4 cups
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. Powdered sugar – 1 cup
  4. Unsalted butter – 1 cup
  5. Almonds – 10-12, chopped
  6. Chia seeds – 1/4 cup
  7. Milk (boiled and cooled) – 1 tablespoon
  8. Sprig Malacca Spice Mix – 1 tablespoon

Method:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Keep aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, chia seeds, salt and chopped almonds.
  3. Add the milk to the butter to make it a little runny, and add this to the mixing bowl too.
  4. Meanwhile, gently mix together all the ingredients in the mixing bowl to form cookie dough.
  5. Set the dough for about an hour in the refrigerator, covered.
  6. After an hour, get the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, grease and flour a baking tray. Form cookies out of the dough and place them on the greased and floured baking tray, evenly.
  8. Set the baking tray in the oven. Bake at about 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies turn slightly brown and crisp.
  9. Let the cookies cool down completely before transferring them to an air-tight container.

Notes:

  1. Maida can be used in place of whole wheat flour. I used whole wheat flour for the sake of health.
  2. I used the same amount of butter that the original recipe suggested, but I could have used less. I think the Oriental spiced cookies would still have tasted awesome with a little less butter, so I might be doing that the next time.
  3. The chia seeds add a nice crunch to the cookies, and go well with the oriental spiced taste. That said, they can be completely omitted if you don’t have any.
  4. This is not a sponsored post. I write this simply because I am very interested in the whole range of gourmet ingredients that Sprig has to offer.

You like? I hope you will try out these Oriental spiced cookies too, and that you will love them as much as we did!