One thing that never would have occurred to me before I had a child is that a nice, thick dal makes the perfect baby or toddler food. If it is the right texture, Baby Yum enjoys spooning it into her own mouth and even popping little hand-made balls of dal into her mouth. While some of the baby-safe foods I’ve made have been a tad boring (organic carrot puree, anyone), dals have been a fun dish that both I and Baby Yum can enjoy eating. This morning I was determined to make us a tasty dal for breakfast that Baby Yum could enjoy with some jowar roti or sorghum flatbread. Unfortunately, I was all out of my favorite dals- toor dal and red lentil. The only lentil I had in any quantity in my cupboard was organic split green peas from Whole Foods. I was all set to make some split pea soup (which Baby Yum also enjoys), when I noticed a recipe for dal on the side of the bag. It sounded a tad bland, but I was inspired. So, I googled up some split green pea dal recipes, thought about it for a bit, and came up with this tasty dal. I hope you enjoy eating it as much as we did in our household, where it met with the approval of all the ladies in the household- me, Baby Yum and my dairy-sensitive Mother, too!
*Dal also make great food for those who have had dental work done or have to be on a liquid diet for any reason! You can add water and puree in blender as needed. Beats a smoothie any day, in my book.
1 Cup organic green split peas 4 cups water 1 bay leaf 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 Tbsp. oil (I used olive, but grapeseed,canola, mustard, or coconut would work too) 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 1/2 cup diced onion 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tomato, finely chopped 1 tsp. salt
Rinse and drain split peas, and put in a soup pot with the water, bay leaf and 1/2 cup onion. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on medium-low for an hour or until tender. Add water as needed if split pea mixture gets too dry or starts to brown on the bottom and stick to the pan. Stir occasionally as needed. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet on medium and add your cumin seeds. When they turn brown, add your onion and saute for a few minutes. Add the ground spices and mix together. Turn heat to medium low and let onion turn translucent and start to caramelize. Add your tomato and saute until tomato softens, 4 or 5 minutes. Ladle spice and onion mixture on top of your softened split peas and gently fold together. If desired, you can add some water to your skillet, swirl it around the pan to collect all the yummy spices that are left on the bottom of the pan, and pour that into the split pea mixture as well. Turn heat to low and let flavors mingle for 5 minutes or so. Turn off heat and serve!
Original Source:Inspired by various sources but my original creation. Please do not replicate without permission
This month I happened to notice that Ali of the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen was hosting the wonderful monthly blogging event called Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, and I was inspired to join! This event was created by the lovely Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Ali chose the inspiring theme Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch! I always love planning lunches, especially when I can get inspiration from countries that have wonderful packed lunch traditions like Japan and India. I have waxed joyous many times on the Japanese onigiri, or rice ball, and the Japanese Bento Box. But India has quite a bit to offer the packed lunch as well with their practical but chic stainless steel tiffin lunchboxes. When I was lucky enough to go to India in person, I snatched up quite a few tiffin lunchboxes and started a personal small but treasured tiffin collection.
Once Ali threw down the challenge, I started thinking about what dishes would be good in a tiffin. Lately I’ve been eating more quinoa than rice, and so a quinoa dish was a given. I could have packed my favorite quinoa masala recipe, but this time I thought I’d make a more basic recipe that would be the base note for the meal, rather than the star component. I riffed on a favorite rice cooker recipe, adding more spices and peas for fun. Lately I’ve been reveling in the fresh offerings at the Farmer’s Market, and I’ve got a serious crush on baby zucchini and zucchini blossoms. I decided to make a highly seasoned and decadent (but still healthy!) baby zucchini and baby pattypan dry curry that would travel well and complement the quinoa pilaf. And then, influenced by Japanese bento where a high-protein fried treat accompanies rice and vegetables, I decided to end on a slightly decadent note with a pakora (chickpea flour fritter) zucchini blossom. It tastes lovely hot, cold, with ketchup or simply kissed with salt, and marvelously blends the fresh flavor of the blossom with hearty, savory chickpea batter.
And so, a healthy Indian vegetarian (and vegan) lunch menu was born. Baby Yum is too little for such lunchbox menus as yet, but I think you’re never too old to treat your adult self with a healthy and delicious lunch, whether it be in a paper (or eco-reusable) bag, tiffin, or bento box. And when Baby Yum is old enough for school, I hope she’ll enjoy eating this type of International, vegetarian feasts as much as I will enjoy making them for her.
1/2 lb baby zucchini 1/2 lb baby pattypan squash 2 small tomatoes or one medium tomato, cubed and dusted with salt
2 tbsp. of olive or canola oil, divided 1 1/2 tbsp. ground coriander 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp. ancho or cayenne chili pepper (or paprika for kids) 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/2 tsp turmeric 1/4 tsp salt
Clean zucchini and pattypan squash and towel dry. Cut Baby zucchini in half lengthwise, and cut pattypan squash in half horizontally so that you have two circlets, one having a pumpkin-like stem and os one not.
Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large nonstick pan on medium high and then add your baby zucchini so that you have one layer in the pan. You may have to do this in batches. Let it brown for a minute or so and then lower the heat. Let brown for 8 minutes, turning halfway through to get even browning. Remove zucchini from pan and reserve. Heat the remaining oil on medium high again and put a single layer of your pattypan squash in the pan. After a minute or so, lower heat and brown for 5-6 minutes. Turn halfway through or as soon as the bottom layer is brown and brown the other side. Add the zucchini back into the pan and add your spices, mixing thoroughly. Let the spices heat up and brown slightly. Add the cubed tomatoes and mix again. Let the tomatoes cook down slightly and then take off burner. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. Serve!
*vegetables can be replaced with Okra if desired.
Original Source:Adapted from a recipe for Okra Supreme from The Best of Lord Krishna’s cuisine cookbook, but changed to be a new recipe. Please do not replicate.
Batter: 1 cup chickpea flour pinch baking soda 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper) 1 tsp roasted ground cumin 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup water
canola oil for deep frying
1 farmer’s market package of zucchini squash blossoms
salt for taste
Combine pakora batter ingredients in a small bowl.
Pour enough canola oil in a small, deep pan for deep frying. Heat on high until hot but before reaching smoking point. If oil is too hot, fritters will burn. If not hot enough, the fritters will absorb too much oil. Oil is ready when a drop of batter rises to the surface immediately and sizzles. Lower heat to medium high to keep at correct temperature.
Dip your squash blossoms into the batter, coating all sides evenly. Drop them into hot oil, turning frequently so that the blossom browns evenly.
Remove fritters from oil with tongs or metal strainer and set on rack to drain. You can reheat them later in the oven on 375 and they will taste hot and fresh!
Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.
Good with ketchup, chutney, or even plain!
*this photo is of whole baby zucchini and blossom from my first experiment with this recipe. However, I found it better to just batter and fry the blossom separately, and those are the versions pictured in the tiffin photos!
Original Source:Pakora batter based on the Bombay Cafe, variation my own. Please do not replicate without permission.
5 tsp sesame oil 1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained 1/2 – 1 cup green peas 3 1/2 cups water 3 tsp fresh lime juice 1/2 tsp. turmeric 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
Heat sesame oil in your rice cooker and then add your black mustard seeds and cumin. Heat until seeds pop and then add your quinoa. Heat the rice cooker again (by pressing cook), stir the quinoa, and let it cook a few minutes. Open rice cooker and add your peas, water, lime juice, turmeric, and salt. Stir. Start your rice cooker cycle again and let cook. Can keep warm in the rice cooker for a bit or serve immediately. Enjoy!
Original Source:Inspired by an old recipe for rice but radically altered to be my own. Please do not replicate without permission.