Tangy meets spicy in this apricot chutney

I bought a batch of apricots from the farmers market and while they were yummy, they had a level of “new to the season” tartness to them.  Contemplating a variety of baking projects to use up the apricots, I hit upon an idea; could they take the place of tomatoes in a favorite, spicy chutney?

My excitement kicked up a couple of notches when I saw the farm fresh red onions waiting to be invited to this party.

Quickly, I assembled the ingredients.

05498AA3-1A46-4920-9C99-F58FABF3E95C

A few quick steps and out emerged a chutney which was fiery, tangy and super yummy!

Ingredients:

4 farm fresh apricots, seeded and cut into small chunks

2 farm fresh red onions, leaves removed and finely chopped

3 green chilies, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 dried red chilly

1 heaped teaspoon hot curry powder

2 tbsps oil (I used avocado oil)

Salt to taste

1 heaped tsp cilantro leaves for garnishing

How To:

Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed pan or wok and when hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dried red chilly.  When the mustard seeds stop crackling, add the onions, green chilies, ginger, and garlic and fry till the onions turn brown.

Add the chopped apricots, toss with the onion mixture and cook covered till the apricots are close to done.  They should be easy to smash with a spatula.

Add the salt and curry powder, mix well, turn off the stove and garnish with fresh cilantro.

The chutney is ready in 15 minutes and goes beautifully with steamed rice, flatbread, as a spicy condiment with eggs and more!

PS: Everyone’s spice tolerance varies, so please feel free to adjust the chilies and curry powder to suit your palate.

First blush of love with kohlrabi

Yes, you might say that for someone who cooks often, I’ve been living under a rock.  I had never tasted kohlrabi and while I had spotted it at farmers’ markets, I had never adventured to cook with it.  But all that changed with a recent discovery – that it is a versatile vegetable that is low in carbs.

“What does it taste like?”, I asked my favorite farmer.  She said it had the slight spiciness of a radish married with the crispness of a green apple.  I proceeded to buy a bunch and cautiously tasted a slice.  The taste and the texture translated into my aha moment – this might be a good low carb substitute for potatoes in any number of dishes, enabling my husband to indulge in a version of some of his favorite high carb foods.

The stew that I created is a favorite from my childhood days.  Dad and mom made this concoction of ginger, green chilies, potatoes, onions and coconut milk which was the perfect accompaniment to steamed rice or fresh bread.  Out went the potatoes and in came the kohlrabis to make their debut in this simple, yummy comfort food which turned out to be a big hit.

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized farm fresh kohlrabi, skin removed and chopped into cubes

1 large red onion chopped into pieces the same size as the kohlrabi

6 green chilies, 2 finely chopped and four sliced vertically (less if you can’t tolerate heat)

1.5-inch piece ginger finely chopped

1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1 cup coconut milk

How To:

Place all the ingredients except the coconut milk in a pan, cover the vegetables with water and cook covered till the kohlrabi is firm but done – a fork inserted should slide in easily, but the vegetable should retain its shape (about 15-20 minutes).  At this point, there will be some water in the pan, but it will not be watery.

Add the coconut milk, mix gently and simmer the mixture for a few minutes.

Turn off the stove and wait 10 minutes before serving the stew with steamed rice or bread.

The result is super yum and a gift for those on a low carb diet.

Tip:  You could also puree this and serve it as a soup and it tastes amazing, the combination of chilies and coconut milk playing a tropical dance on your tongue!

If you cook kohlrabi frequently, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

A Netflix episode of Chef’s Table inspires this dish

Like many of the foodies in the universe, I love watching food shows, listening to food podcasts, buying and getting cookbooks from the library….you get the gist.

A few nights ago, I started watching Episode 1 from Season 3 of Chef’s Table on Netflix.  In this episode, Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist monk from South Korea, espouses the virtues of cooking as a soulful process and how vegan food made with the simplest of ingredients can transport you to a state of bliss.  I don’t know if it was her energy, the beauty of the temple grounds, her artistic way of transcending simple ingredients or her penchant for storytelling that had me glued.  But when she narrated how her father transformed from feeling sorry for her because she gave up eating meat into a content man after tasting her shiitake mushrooms cooked with sesame oil and soy sauce, I could not rush out fast enough to grab ingredients to create this in my kitchen.

While Jeong Kwan did not necessarily share a recipe, it was simple enough to try.  I took the shiitake mushrooms and cut little indentations into the caps like she did.  I proceeded to saute the mushrooms in sesame oil and soy sauce with just one modification, the addition of thinly sliced ginger.

The result was a melt in your mouth amalgamation of flavors, one that took minutes to create but whose taste made me want to savor every bite 🙂

3AE152B0-C2A8-49C1-BC5C-3F3561D05334

Ingredients:

2 four oz packets of shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark sesame oil

One inch square of fresh ginger, thinly sliced

Salt – only if needed

How To:

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut two slits crosswise across the caps (see picture).  Gently wash and dry the mushrooms.  Heat the sesame oil and when it is warm, add the ginger and fry for a minute.  Add the mushrooms and toss gently in the oil taking care that the mushrooms don’t break.  Add the soy sauce and toss the mushrooms gently again, coating with the soy sauce and sesame oil.  Add salt only if needed.  Cook for two-three minutes and turn off the stove.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you’ve created a dish from an episode of Chef’s Table, we’d love to hear about your version!

PS.  I’d like to give a shout out to chef Eric Ripert, a follower of Buddhist principles, for bringing us the talent and wisdom of Jeong Kwan.

 

 

With Food, Travel and Experiences

%d bloggers like this: