Tag Archives: Delicious

A beautiful, spicy salad with COUSCOUS Pearls

It started with the spotting of whole wheat pearl couscous in the aisles of Wegmans, the familiar packaging of Bob’s Red Mill grains beckoning me. I have never cooked with pearl couscous before, but the idea of turning these beautiful grains into a healthy lunch sounded good. I looked up a few recipes that used regular couscous and decided to throw together things in my fridge and pantry to create this wonderful, deeply satisfying salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 8-10 nuts of your choice (I used leftover macademia nuts)
  • 2 tbps raisins or craisins (I used craisins)
  • 2 tsps ras el hanout (a north African spice mix available on Amazon)
  • 2 green chilis finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

How to:

  1. Roast the couscous in a pan for 10 minutes till light brown and set aside.

  2. Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add the roasted couscous and salt and cook over a low flame till the couscous is cooked and the water has evaporated. This took me about 12 minutes.

  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.

  4. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in the pan that you used to cook the couscous, add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions turn brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, nuts, raisins and ras el hanout and toss till the tomatoes are coated with the spice.

  5. Turn off the heat and toss the onion mix into the cooked couscous.

  6. Now add the chilies, cilantro, parsley and lemon juice. Give the contents another toss and serve warm or at room temperature.


    Note: If your tolerance for spices is low, cut back the ras el hanout to one tsp and use one chili instead.

Easy, Fluffy, Pillowy, homemade gnocchi

I have been in love with gnocchi for a very, very long time. In fact, I craved these little pasta clouds of potato and flour served with tomato sauce throughout a pregnancy. But till recently, my love for gnocchi was satiated by buying the best Italian brands on supermarket shelves and eating it on my forays into Italian restaurants. But just recently, I decided to make these on my own. The process is easy (albeit a little messy), but feels at every moment like you are creating a work of art. I am so in love with this home made version that I have sworn to never really buy gnocchi ever again. Okay, with that said, here’s how I created these divine works of art.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/3 heaped cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

How to:

1. Wash the potatoes, scrub them and pierce holes. Cook in a microwave at the potato setting till completely cooked. Peel the potatoes and rice them in a ricer over a wooden board. If you don’t have a river, you can grate the potatoes with a grater that has small holes. Spread the potatoes over the board using a fork. Sprinkle the kosher salt. 

2. Sprinkle or sift the flour over the potatoes and using a bench scraper just chop all over the potato/ flour mixture.  Gather the mixture into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands, bring the ends of the dough together and press it down again. Just repeat this gently till the potato flour mixture is seamlessly blended. 

3. Dust the work area with more flour, pinch off two inch rounds of dough and gently roll it into a rope. Cut into one inch pieces using a knife and lay down each gnocchi on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Once all the gnocchi are made, press down the surface of each gnocchi with a fork to create ridges that will help the sauce cling to to the pasta well. 

4. Repeat process till all the dough is used up. 

5. Freeze tray of gnocchi for 15 minutes.  

6. Now you could bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook just for a minute or two till the gnocchi floats to the top or alternately use my preferred method and sauté the gnocchi in a bit of butter or oil till they are moderately browned. 

7. Serve with your favorite sauce. 

SPicy Dal with Coconut milk

I can eat dal anytime, anywhere. As a soup by itself, with rice or quinoa, or with rotis. My non-Indian friends are always surprised with the number and variety of dals that we make. In fact, about a week ago, I was orienting a friend through the aisles of a newly opened Indian super market and she was shocked at the colors and shapes of the lentils (dals) that flooded the aisles. This particular dal is one I make regularly in the Instant Pot. The melding of the dal with the spiciness of the chillies and ginger, the sweetness/tartness of the tomatoes, and the creaminess of the coconut milk, just create a dish that is packed with flavors. While the list of ingredients appears to be long, you will still come out with a pretty good dal even if some of the spices are missing.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tur dal, washed a few times and set aside
  • 2 tsps cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 2 tsps mustard seeds
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 7 green chilies, four finely chopped, three slit lengthwise
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups water

How to:

1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to Sauté function

2. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Sauté for a minute, till the mustard seeds stop crackling.

3. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, brown sugar, and salt and sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook Mode, add the tur dal, the coconut milk, and 1.5 cups water to the tomato mixture and cook at full pressure for 15 minutes. After that, let the pressure release naturally for ten minutes.

5. Move the pressure valve to the release position and let any remaining pressure release. Once all the pressure has been released, open the lid. You can now either smash the dal with a spatula against the wall of the cooker or run a hand blender once or twice.

6. Serve with rice or quinoa or rotis.

Enjoy!