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
Ingredients
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

Directions
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!

Notes
*vegetables can be replaced with Okra if desired.
zucchini blossom pakora fritter recipe
Ingredients
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

Directions
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.

Notes
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
Ingredients
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
Directions
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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Gluten-Free Vegetarian Indian Recipes: Jeera Aloo Potato with Cumin Recipe and Indian Spinach Dip Recipe

December 11th, 2008 yum Posted in Dressing of the Week, Indian, North India, South India, Vegan 9 Comments »


In July I wrote about the joys of the North Indian dish, Aloo Jeera, or potatoes with Cumin. I posted one of my first attempts at a Aloo Jeera Recipe. I enjoyed the dish, but still I wanted to experiment more. My friend Archana’s Mom lives in Bangalore and is legendary for being a fantastic cook. I asked Archana if she had a good recipe for Aloo Jeera, and she passed on her Mom’s instructions. There weren’t any proportions for the spices, so I played with the amounts and fiddled with it a bit for out taste. The first time I took off the lid of the pan, the smell that wafted out took me straight back to our hotel in Bangalore and their fabulous Aloo Jeera. It was the one thing I wanted no matter how bad the traveler’s sickness got- it soothed with the creamy potatoes and beguiled with the rich oil and I just couldn’t get enough with tasty white long-grained Indian rice. When I tasted the recipe freshly made, I knew this home cooked version was a winner that would transport me back to our delicious time in India any time I wanted. In a way, even though I can’t have dinner at Archana’s Mom’s house, I almost feel like I did… and that’s pretty cool. If you can’t visit India anytime soon but wish you could… or if Indian restaurants aren’t working for you and your gluten-free diet- try this recipe. I think you’ll be very glad you did.

Oh- the spinach dip was supposed to be made with yogurt, but it turned out our yogurt had a little more “life” than I was hoping for. Instead I tried making it with sour cream and loved it so much I can’t imagine it any other way. It tastes great with the potatoes and rice and even the spinach-hating DH ate it without complaint. I added some fresh, salted, sliced tomatoes- this meal made me so very happy.

Dal Pakora and Cilantro Chutney
Madras Style Green Beans
Wholegrain Gluten-Free Indian Flatbread Recipe
Baked Gluten-Free Samosa Recipe- vegan and Chebe versions

Archana’s Mom’s Jeera Aloo Cumin Potato Recipe
Ingredients
5 or 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 tbsp. peanut oil or favorite oil
1 whole minced onion
1 tbsp peeled and microplane grated fresh ginger
1 tsp black mustard
2 tbsp. jeera (whole cumin seeds), separated into 1 1/3 tbsp. and 2 tsp.
3 fresh kari/curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
generous sprinkling of salt
Directions
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan on medium heat. Add your minced onion and grated ginger and let begin to cook and turn translucent. Then move onion and ginger away from the center of the pan and add one more tablespoon to the center of the pan. When the oil is hot, add your mustard and 1 1/3 tbsp. jeera, letting it begin to pop. (Reserve the additional 2 tsp. of cumin seeds). Add the kari leaves, coriander and turmeric and mix into the mustard and jeera. As it heats, combine with the onion and ginger. Toss in the cubed potatoes and fold in the spices. Let brown for a few minutes. Then add a small amount of water to the pan and cover. Let cook for ten minutes or so and then take off lid, turning over potatoes to brown other side. Add a little more water. Cook for 10 more minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Then take off lid and make another small space in the center of the pan. Add another tbsp of oil to the center and add your extra 2 tsp. cumin seeds. Let them brown and start to pop and then spread them out on the bottom of the pan beneath the potato mixture. Let potatoes get brown and crispier for another two minutes, and then turn them one more time and let them get crispy on the other side. Serve with your favorite rice, an Indian style salad (salted fresh veggies with fresh lime wedges), and a refreshing raita.
Tia’s Indian Spinach Sour Cream Raita Recipe
Ingredients
Huge handful or two of fresh spinach
1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat sour cream (I like Daisy’s)
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
sprinkle of paprika or chili powder
sprinkling of salt (optional)
Directions
Cook fresh spinach in microwave with a splash of water until cooked. Remove, drain and chop. Combine in a small bowl with the sour cream and freshly toasted cumin seeds, along with a sprinkle of paprika. Fold together and serve immediately.
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