A super easy 5 minute salsa that requires only ingredients to be washed, cut and whizzed in a food processor. They all can be cut into roughly big pieces because they are all going to get chopped up small in the processor. I got the recipe for this delicious preservative free salsa from a fellow docent trainee Jane at National Museum of Singapore just yesterday. I made and served this today at a small gathering of friends and it was a SUPER HIT!
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, cut big
2 medium tomatoes, cut into big pieces
1/2 green chilli, sliced
1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
A small piece of yellow capsicum, cut into chunks
10 pieces of pickled jalapeno
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1) Wash and cut everything big. Place it in a food processor with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2) Whizz it for 3-5 secs only.
3) Check for seasonings and serve with nacho bowl, chips or dips.
We all love hummus at home. Hummus - the creamy protein-packed paste that is made primarily from mashed chickpeas which can be used as a dip or a spread.
History of the Humble Hummus
According to ancient scriptures, it was first consumed in Egypt around the 13th century but it was very different from what we having today. Early Egyptians omitted tahini and garlic and used pickled lemons, herbs, spices and other nuts instead. It was only during the 16th century that the Mediterraneans started consuming the way we do today. It is so popular all over the world and its not surprising that restaurants have sprung up recently dedicating their menu to this humble but highly nutritious dip/spread - namely Hummus Grill in Philadelphia, Hummus Cafe in Seattle and many more.
Hummus Health Benefits
Hummus, with its protein rich chickpeas, highly wholesome EVOO, raw garlic and calcium rich sesame seeds in its tahini, is packed with many health benefits. It
Basic hummus consists of chickpeas, tahini (which is essentially ground roasrted sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. I wanted to make a version with cilantro (coriander) to see how it would turn out. I used only 1/2 cup which gave a faint green shade to the hummus and a hint of cilantro flavor. I believe it will be even more delicious with a full cup.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1 can of garbanzo beans (15 oz)
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup EVOO
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
Salt per preference
3-4 tbsps water
Extra EVOO, cilantro leaves and a dash cayenne pepper for prettying it up
1) Put everything into a food processor and blend. Please don't make the mistake of putting the ingredients into a blender, like I did. It took a long time to blend it to a smooth paste. Only use a food processor.
2) Remove from food processor, pour it into a shallow serving bowl with a coloured interior for that extra impact. Swirl EVOO, add a dash of cayenne and place the coriander leave in the center.
Serve with your fav dip chips or on your wrap as a spread. It's really delicious. You won't regret trying out this super easy recipe.
Hummus is of Egyptian and Levantine in origin. But this simple mix of pureed sesame seeds and chickpeas has been devoured all over North Africa, Middle East and the Mediterranean for centuries. It makes a delicious dip, no doubt. I haven't made Hummus for a long time - I wondered why. It is quite tasty and so easy to prepare. I had it with wholewheat flatbreads called chapathis, and it made quite a nice snack.
I remember having Hummus with baked pita chips in Philadelphia when we had visited one of my husband's colleague Gaurav and his wife in 2014. We drove from Bluebell where we lived to Philadelphia which was just an hour away. Philly is a vibrant happening city, if you look past the dark alleys and certain unappealing areas.
The recipe below is for a basic Simple Hummus. You can also add coriander leaves to get Coriander Hummus or grilled Red pepper to get Red Pepper Hummus.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups )
1 can of chickpeans (15 oz)
1/2 cup of roasted white sesame seeds ( or 2 tbsps Tahini)
1 small clove of garlic
2/3 cup EVOO
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin powder
2-4 tbsps water (if needed to make the paste smoother)
2 tbsps olive oil
A dash of paprika
2 olives and a small sprig of coriander leaves
1)First, grind the sesame seeds into a paste.This is essentially the Tahini. This ought to yield 2 tbsps.
2) Then, put all the other ingredients and the tahini into a food processor and process untill the whole mixture forms a light brown thick paste. DO NOT use a blender as it takes forever to grind and you'll find yourself adding more and more EVOO or water to grind to a smooth paste.
3) Serve in a small bowl, garnished with swirls of EVOO and a dash of paprika nd the olives and coriander leaves.
4) Enjoy it as a dip for vegs, pita chips and more!
This is a basic dipping sauce using cilantro and vinegar, among other ingredients and it leaves a sweet, sour spicy taste in your mouth... Great with any fried dishes like Vegetable Spring Rolls or Lentil Patties (Masala Vadais) and many more...
Ingredients (yields 2 cups of dipping sauce)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (only 1/2 cup!)
1/4 tbsp salt
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (yes, 1 cup!)
1/2 cup sambal oelek
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Dissolve the salt and the sugar in the vinegar using a whisk for 2-4 mins.
Pour into a small pot and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring continuously.
Remove from fire and let it cool.
Pour half of this vinegar syrup into a blender and add in the sambal oelek and cilantro.
Blend for 2 minutes and then pour this mixture back into the pot with the remaining half. Mix well and your Cilantro Dipping Sauce is ready.
Cilantro can also be substituted with Chinese celery leaves.
Mushroom seasoning is used widely in a lot of Asian cuisine, to enhance the flavor of the vegetable dishes. I discovered this seasoning when my neighbor and dear friend back in Singapore, Yew Hong, introduced me to this store selling all kinds of products for vegetarian cooking. It resembles light brown granules and it is mainly made of dried mushroom and used in place of MSG without its side effects...It comes in convenient sachets, containers and packets of various sizes and is available in many Asian stores around the world.
I use it quite a bit in a lot of my Chinese or Thai cooking...it is a life saver for vegetarians because it gives a natural flavorful taste to many dishes. And it has a lot less sodium than other seasonings. Because it comes in concentrated dry granules, use it SPARINGLY! You can always add in more later per your taste preference....
Sambal Oelek is of Malaysian and Indonesian origin. Oelek means to grind and Sambal means chilli. So it basically means ground chilli.
The one I use for most of my dishes is the type I get in the Giant grocery stores here in Bluebell, Pennsylvania. (See picture) It is ground chilli with little preservatives added. Use this Sambal Oelek when you want to add heat to your dishes without impacting the overall taste.
Or if you have a lot of time in your hands or don't want the preservatives in your food, you can make your own Sambal Oelek. Please note that this homemade version is quite spicy so use sparingly. Use a glove when handling the ground Oelek.
200 gm small red chillies
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp oil
Place the chillies in water in a small pot and simmer for 15 mins. Drain and cool.
Transfer to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process.
Place in a sealed container and refrigerate after opening.
I always used to buy this milk cheese (Paneer) from Indian groceries in Singapore. It didn't help that it came with its own preservatives and just tasted so frozen. We, Indians, use Paneer in a variety of dishes eg Paneer Tikka Masala, Palak (spinach) Paneer. and lots more.
Last weekend, I attempted to make my own cheese here in America to add to Vegetable Briyani which I made for lunch. Well well well - I was pleasantly surprised that I could make Paneer at home in less than an hour!!. You will too once you have attempted to make it. I vouch that you won't go near any frozen Paneer hence.
Since I hardly step out. because of the freezing weather and zilch social life, my blog is kind of a blessing, I guess. It keeps my mind constantly busy thinking about those dishes that I have hardly given a second thought to. As the saying goes 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop'!!
So I scrolled thru a few sites to see the best way to make cheese at home. Suggestions to curdle the milk included either lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt. Lemon juice worked well for me. Though I didn't have a choice as to the type of milk I could use( skim milk will not give the same results), it is a consolation that at least homemade cheese doesn't come with the added preservatives.
Ingredients ( yields a small 200gm block)
1 litre whole milk
6 tsps lemon juice
Warm up the milk, stirring continuously to avoid cream forming on top. When heated up enough, you will start seeing steam and the milk will rise.
Immediately, lower the fire and start adding in the lemon juice. Two tsps, stir, another 2 more tsps, stir and lastly the final 2 tsps. By this time, the milk would hv curdled and the remaining whey would look translucent.
Transfer to a cheese cloth and squeeze out the whey as much as possible.
Fold the cheesecloth and place a heavy mortar over it for 30-40 mins.
Unwrap, and you will have homemade paneer! Use it in any way you like. The remaining whey water can be used to dilute veg curries, to soften chapathis or in place of water when making rice. It is highly nutritious- don't discard.
Making Vegetable Stock is easy as ABC. I cannot emphasize how easy it is.
Throw whatever vegetables which are growing old in your refrigerator into a stock pot and add 2 litres of water, rosemary leaves ( 1 sprig fresh or 1 tsp dried), bay leaves (2) and salt. These three vegs are essential though - tomatoes, onions and ginger. I usually put in cubed bell peppers, broccoli stems, celery stalks, cabbage or lettuce leaves. Let it boil and then simmer for an hour or so. Drain. I have not given actual quantity because I don't usually measure the amount of vegetables. But because I am putting in 2 litres of water, I must ensure that I do add in a substantial amount of vegetables. Otherwise, the stock will not have any flavor. Usually 2 litres of water with vegetables yields around 1 litre of stock after simmering for an hour.
Voila ! You now have the perfect base for flavoring rice, soups and many more delicious recipes...You can add lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves if your stock is particularly for chinese dishes. The flavor is indescribable. Nothing beats a homemade stock. Keeps for a month in the refrigerator if stored in a dry container.
The picture below shows the stock I made last weekend. It looks more like a clear soup.