Amaranth

Posted September 25, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Amaranth has been used for centuries in India particularly during periods of fasting associated with religious celebrations. It is actually a seed of a plant related to pigweed. Cooked amaranth has a sticky gelatinous texture compared to something like cooked quinoa, which has a nutty texture and is great when used in salads, burger, or pilaf. To celebrate 25 years cooking with amaranth (seed) in my western kitchen I wanted to share this picture of amaranth below.

Amaranth

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Amaranth (Chau lai)

Posted August 30, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Amaranth, known as chau lai, is a vigorously growing vegetable in warm weather. Certain varieties of amaranth can grow between one to six feet tall. Young leaves and stems can be harvested periodically for a long time during the growth. It was one of the vegetables grown for seeds and leafy greens in my dada-dadiji’s farm (paternal grandparents) in the northern hills of India. There are a number of different species of amaranth and a huge number of varieties within those species. Amaranth flowers can look spectacular ranging in crimson red, to dark purplish and yellow in color (depending on the variety) and may produce a huge number of seeds. Amaranth seeds are used in a variety of sweets and flour while amaranth leaves are cooked the same ways we cook any green leafy vegetables. As we approach the end of summer, I like to take advantage of the chau lai growing in our garden. I’ve been growing amaranth in my backyard garden mainly for greens for over three decades. Here I would like to share a couple of pictures of amaranth plant in my garden.

Amaranth (Chau lai) Amaranth

Bounty of Summer

Posted August 19, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Summer is a perfect time to enjoy desserts prepared with strained yogurt. These desserts can often be assembled in a variety of ways within 15 minutes. What makes the summer especially a good time for these types of desserts is the abundance of a various fresh fruits that go very well with yogurt. Enjoy the pictures below of desserts I have made incorporating yogurt and various fruit.

Bounty of summer Peaches with yogurt cheese topping Sliced peaches

Chickpea Sprouts

Posted May 25, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

We are deep into the spring season and it’s a time when I like to take advantage of the fresh herbs, sprouts, and assortment of seasonal greens I was accustomed to during my childhood years in the northern hills of India. I am fond of sprouts due to their versatility and often incorporate them into my cooking during the spring and summer. Fresh sprouts such as mung, chickpeas, and adzuki (muth) are great choices to match up with various herbs such as cilantro or basil.  Readers can refer to my posts on February 2, 2012  and April 10, 2012 which provide recipes for chickpea and adzuki sprouts.  One of our family favorites is a side dish of sautéed chickpea sprouts with an assortment of side dishes present in the Indian kitchen.  I am particularly fond of dried chickpeas as they can be used in a number of ways – ground, fermented, boiled, pureed, steamed, braised, sautéed, deep-fried, baked, roasted and of course sprouted. The process of sprouting is quite simple and I thought I would share some pictures of recent chickpea sprouts.  During the spring and summer I will often incorporate them into either salads or as a sautéed dish.

Sprouts

Green Chickpea Sprouts

Before sprouting

Mango Cheesecake

Posted April 10, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Mango is a versatile fruit, often used sliced, cubed, and pulped. Mango is often used for celebratory occasions in Indian cuisine, utilized in solid desserts as well as drinks such as mango lassi. Mango can even be ground into Amchoor or Umchur, a powder made out of unripe sun-dried mangos, and used in various spice blends. Mango is one of our family favorites and readers of this blog will be familiar with my prior posts on October 26, 2011 and August 30, 2012, illustrating how mango is incorporated into a number of occasions.  Below I would like to share three pictures illustrating how we  incorporate mangoes in preparing a variety of desserts.

Mango Cheesecake

Shrikhand

Sliced Mango

Mustard (Lai)

Posted April 1, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Welcome to spring 2013!

With the arrival of spring every year I like to take advantage of the cool weather crop like mustard that can be grown in a short growing season here in the Northeast and again in the fall before the hard frost. I’ve been growing mustard, known as lai in my nani’s kitchen, mainly for greens not only in the spring but also during the fall. Freshly harvested produce is vibrant in color and tastes so good that you don’t even have to add any spices or seasonings except some basic salt and black pepper. Below I am sharing three pictures of 2012 spring since the winter last year was quite mild in New England. Last year by this time I had beautiful mustard blooming in my garden. Please see my entry posted on March 31, 2012 on this blog.

Mustard (Lai)

Blooming Mustard

Mustard seed pods

Quinoa Simply Delicious

Posted March 2, 2013 by vchokshi
Categories: Blogroll, Cooking, Food

Quinoa Simply Delicious (1)

Being an avid gardener my garden wouldn’t be complete without quinoa (bathuwa) greens. Over the years I have grown a variety of vegetables in the small garden simply by experimenting with different seeds I had preserved. Quinoa is quite versatile seed that is gluten free and is easily digested. It can be prepared by using whole seeds, coarsely ground quinoa flour or simply by using the combination of both in making a variety of sweet to savory dishes particularly while fasting when the grain based diet is avoided. As I have mentioned on my blog, the Indian cooking varies dramatically from region to region with its own distinct flavors. Brought up in the northern hills of India, my mother often used quinoa seeds in many forms and the leaves were cooked as any leafy greens like amaranth (chau lai), spinach, fenugreek, radish leaves and mustard. 2013 is the International Year for Quinoa that was declared by the United Nations. Please see my entries posted on August 19 and September 20, 2011 on this blog.

1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric – optional
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
13/4 cups vegetable stock or as desired
1 cup cubed cooked sweet potatoes
Nuts of choice

1) To prepare this dish simply follow the steps given for the Spicy Quinoa recipe posted on November 29, 2010 on Nani’s Indian Cooking blog except season liberally and use the vegetable stock instead of water. Just before serving add the nuts of choice if desired.

Yield: 4-6 servings.