Archive for June 2012

Quinoa Halwa

June 10, 2012

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tablespoon ghee
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom
1 cup milk or water
1/3 cup granulated sugar or to taste
1/8 cup chopped dried apricots
1/8 cup chopped dried cranberries

1) Soak quinoa in a bowl for about 15 minutes (preferably overnight). Wash it thoroughly using a fine mesh sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
2) To prepare this halwa simply follow steps #1 to #2 given for Amaranth Halwa posted on January 14, 2011 on Nani’s Indian Cooking blog.
3) Heat ghee in a 2-quart saucepan (preferably nonstick) over moderate heat. Add quinoa, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant. Add more ghee if needed. Reduce the heat as low as possible and gradually add milk, while stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. (The easiest way to cook this halwa is to simply combine all the ingredients except sugar, apricots and cranberries).
4) Reduce the heat; cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is tender, approximately 20-25 minutes. Add the last three ingredients to quinoa and stir constantly until sugar has completely dissolved. (At this point I prefer using a handful of nuts – almonds or pistachios and additional ground cardamom).
5) Cover and let stand for at least 10 minutes undisturbed. Using the tines of a fork fluff the quinoa before serving and garnish if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Fenugreek (Methi)

June 8, 2012

Fenugreek, also known as methi, is used extensively in my nani’s kitchen. The whole seeds are used in drinks, tarka (spice-infused ghee or oil) and ground for various spice blends, pickles and even fudge like flour desserts. Fenugreek seeds as a spice play a vital role in Indian cooking regardless of its regional diversity. The herbaceous plant grown from fenugreek seed is one of the most often used leafy greens not only fresh but also in the dried form known as kasoori methi. Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) is one of the key ingredients used in preparing a variety of commercial spice blends that adds its aromatic flavor. Fenugreek leaves are used the same way as any leafy greens except I call them bitter greens and sprouted seeds add slightly bitter taste to salads.