Go Ahead Honey Gluten-free Lunchbox Entry: Indian Tiffin Recipes

September 27th, 2010 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Chickpeas, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Go Ahead Honey Event, Indian, Lunch, Naomi Devlin, North India, Nut Free, Quinoa, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Web Event, Zucchini 8 Comments »

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.

Here is Ali’s roundup of gluten-free lunch ideas

I also entered this post in Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

More International Lunches from the Book of Yum:
Vegetarian Bento with Burdock and Lotus Root and Inari Zushi
Fusion Tiffin with Thai Lemongrass Corn and Quesadillas
Spinach Sesame Onigiri (Japanese Rice Ball) for Bento
Assorted Avocado Fusion Onigiri recipes for Bento

Looking for more inspiration for your Bento or Tiffin Box? Here are some of my favorite sites which have recipes that can be adapted to be gluten-free:
Just Bento (Japanese recipes)
Just Hungry (Japanese recipes)
Maki of Just Bento and Just Hungry’s Cookbook:
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go
Cooking Cute (Japanese recipes)
The Cooking Cute cookbook:
Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches
Lunch in a Box (no longer being updated)
Week of Menus (How about a Korean recipe bento?)
Hapa Bento (Japanese cuisine)

Indian Baby Zucchini, pattypan squash, and tomato dry curry recipe
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.
zucchini blossom pakora fritter recipe
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!

Special Indian Quinoa Recipe
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!
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My Adopted Gluten-Free Blogger- Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried

June 6th, 2008 yum Posted in Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger, Blog Event, Fellow Food Bloggers, Gluten Free Blogs, Naomi Devlin, Recipe Review, Sweet Potato Flour 6 Comments »

This month the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event was hosted by the always helpful Thomas Dzomba at The GF CF Experience. I was momentarily at a loss- which of the fabulous bloggers that have recently come across my radar should I adopt? Gazing at my recently updated list of gluten-free bloggers I happened to spy Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Naomi is a force to be reckoned with in the gluten-free blogging community, not only for her incredible recipes, but also for her famous monthly Go Ahead Honey it is Gluten Free Blog Event. Naomi is also a pretty darned cool person all on her own, and is a homeopath across the sea in Bridport, Dorset. Naomi infuses her recipes with healthful ingredients in a creative way, and her blog is fun and interesting to read to boot. The tricky part for me this time was picking just one recipe. Luckily I was immediately inspired when I saw her photo for Sweet Potato Pitta Bread. Something about that orange, fluffy crust adorned with sesame seeds called my name, big time. And just like that, I had picked a recipe.

One slightly tricky thing about Naomi’s blog is that measurements are in ounces, and need to be weighed. Luckily I have a super handy kitchen scale that I picked up at Amazon just for these problems. Also, the recipe called for exotic sweet potato flour- this might seem like another problem except recently I discovered an incredible Korean Market, han kook in Sunnyvale that carried Sweet Potato Powder. This sweet potato powder was mixed with cornstarch, so if you want to buy some make sure you read the label. I don’t know if it is ever mixed with wheat starch, but anything is possible.

So, armed with all the ideal ingredients (except for date sugar), on one quiet weekday afternoon I prepared my ingredients, roasted a sweet potato, and tried Naomi’s tempting recipe.

I skinned and mashed my sweet potato, and as I was sifting the flour over it I started to have a really good feeling about the recipe. Sometimes you can just tell a recipe is well constructed. I got even happier as I mixed the dough. It was pliable and easy to work with, if a little sticky.

I shaped balls of dough:

And then I deviated from Naomi’s instructions a little. I put the ball of dough inside a quart sized ziploc bag:

And pressed it out into a circle by hand. It was so easy!

Without using any flour, the pita circle peeled right off:

I placed the dough circles in a pan:

I let the dough rise for an hour (although it didn’t rise much) and then baked it. The dough smelled and looked good, but unfortunately it didn’t puff for me the way it did for Naomi. I think it’s just one of those subtle things that happens when you get the recipe just-right. Then I split one of the pita to make a super tasty egg salad sandwich with fresh tomatoes and basil for garnish. Mmm… (And yes, tofu egg salad would have been just as good, if not better, but I was out…)

Our verdict?
I really liked the recipe and the balance of flours. The sweet potato added vibrant color, nutrition, and a great texture. Sorghum isn’t my favorite whole grain flour, but it worked here. I think Naomi’s come up with a winner with this recipe! DH liked it, but he didn’t rave. He is notoriously difficult to thrill with bread, though, and remember, he’s a glutenoid.
Any Changes?
If I were to make the recipe again, I think I would increase the yeast, because the pita really didn’t rise much for me. I think that would lighten them a bit and maybe (but not necessarily) make it more likely that they would do that lovely puffy air pocket thing. Many of the recipes that work well for me and are really reliable really amp up the yeast and I’d like to see what would happen here if I did that- I also might not let the dough rest before I rolled it out, or possibly might refrigerate the dough, but that’s crazy talk.
I had fun with this recipe and am so glad this event spurred me to make one of Naomi’s lovely recipes. And now, I really ought to get together an entry for her “go ahead honey” event, hosted this month by Ginger Lemon Girl. If somehow you haven’t seen Naomi’s blog, please go and take a look at her super-fabulous collection of recipes. Toothsome recipes that caught my eye include Poppyseed Cardamon Cake, Carrot Pulp Bread, and Peanut Butter and Coconut Mufins, but I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg.
* * *
Important Event Info:
For those interested, the next Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event will be held between June 23rd- July 7th. If you are interested in hosting, please comment immediately. I had the feeling that someone had asked to host this month, but I can’t track down the comment or email, so please, if that was you, please post a comment here and let me know. If we don’t have any takers, I’ll host this month. Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness will be hosting next month. Participants- you can always check the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger Headquarters to verify the host(ess) and event dates! Thanks, dahlings! So glad we’ve managed to keep this fun event going!

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