Indian Cuisine: Lentil Soup (Khatti Daal)

I had just blogged about an Arabic Lentil Soup recently.  Here is another version of Lentil Soup. Minoo made an Indian version of Lentil Soup at the Caring Place Community Kitchen. Lentil is comfort food in India and it is a daily diet as a lot of the population are vegetarian. Lentil is rich in fiber and protein. Indian Lentil Soup differs from others not only on the use of spices but the way the spices are added to the Lentil Soup. The sizzling action of adding the fried spices at the end of the cooking process makes the difference.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup masoor (a brown skin lentil which are red inside)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 5 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying spices
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 to 3 whole red chilies

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Vania also did some research of the health benefits of some Indian spices.  Vania, thank you for sharing.

Cumin Seeds:

  • good for digestive disorder like diarrhea, nausea and morning sickness as cumin seeds help digestion
  • rich in iron and help absorb nutrient into our body
  • detox body by helping our liver
  • reduce risk of cancer
  • boost our immune system

Turmeric:

  • If used with cauliflower, it prevents prostate cancer
  • helps liver detox
  • prevent or slow down Alzheimer disease
  • is a natural anti-inflammatory drug
  • is a natural pain killer
  • helps loose weight
  • used to prevent depression
  • helps treat skin conditions

Cinnamon:

  • lowers LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
  • helps regulate sugar for diabetics
  • reduces cancer cell production
  • relieves pain from arthritis if combine with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of honey
  • improves memory
  • is a good source of manganese, fibre, iron and calcium

Star Anise:

  • prevents flu
  • cures stomach ache due to excessive gas
  • prevents headache

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Indian Cuisine: Ground Meat Curry

For the main course, Minoo made a Ground Beef Curry for the Indian theme at the Caring Place Community Kitchen. I did not use beef on the title as most population in India are Hindus who do not eat beef. I do not want to be offensive. You can substitute the beef with other meat like chicken, turkey, lamb or pork.

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This Ground Beef Curry is loaded with spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dried red chili flakes. Vania, a volunteer for the family services did a research on the benefits of eating spicy food and here are what she found out:

  • spicy food helps to prevent degeneration of the brain and nervous system
  • helps with prevention of depression and migraine
  • helps increase metabolism which is an important factor in weight loss function
  • use for pain and inflammation management
  • good for blood circulation
  • lower blood pressure
  • cancer prevention (Capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers, attack and kill cancer cells
  • improve digestion
  • improve sleep pattern

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Indian Cuisine: Spiced Chai Tea

This is the last community kitchen at the Caring Place for 2009.  The reason is the Caring Place kitchen is fully booked for Christmas parties until end of the year.  Minoo has chosen an Indian theme for this meeting.  I love to learn cuisines from other culture.

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Minoo made a popular Indian drink which is the Spiced Chai Tea.  The black tea is flavoured with various spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove.  You can serve it with milk or as it is.

In India and Pakistan, Chai Tea is called Masala Chai.  Masala means spices.

Chai Tea is served in many restaurants/cafes.  Here are some of them:

Ingredients

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black tea (strong, loose leaves black tea such as Assam)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar or any sweetener as preferred like honey or palm sugar
  • optional spice: star anise and peppercorns (for a stronger taste)

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Beets in Orange Butter Sauce

For dessert, Minoo made Beets in Orange Butter Sauce.  Minoo roasted the beets the night before as it takes some time to do it.  Roasted beets are sweeter and have a deeper flavour than boiling them.

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To roast beets, preheat the oven to 375F.  Rinse beets clean and place in on a piece of aluminium foil.  Drizzle with some vegetable or olive oil.  Fold the foil over the beets and seal the package.  Bake until the beets are tender from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size and number of the beets.

You’ll probably need a pair of disposable kitchen gloves when handling beets as it will stained your hand reddish or purplish.

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Crispy Baked Cauliflower

Minoo made a side dish to go the Arabic Lentil Soup.  It is an amazing Crispy Baked Cauliflower.  Accompanying the cauliflower were Kale Chips.

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The Crispy Baked Cauliflower has a hint of spiciness and they are really crispy. A great finger food and healthy snack.

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Here is an article about all the science backed health benefits of cauliflower, written by editor in chief of Well Being Secrets.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cauliflowerets
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened cornflakes, crushed (or bread crumbs)
  • 2 egg whites

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Arabic Lentil Soup

>Minoo resumed the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen with 3 recipes.  The first recipe is a lentil soup.  Lentil or daal belongs to the legume family.  Lentil is high in protein and is an important part of the diet for India which has a large population of vegetarians.  Lentils come in many variety with colors ranges from yelllow to orange to green, brown and black.

Regional seasonings can change the character of lentil soup. Minoo made the …

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Arabic Lentil Soup:

  • add 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Other regional variations are:

North African Lentil Soup:

  • add 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads or powder with onion and 1 x 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed with broth.

Persian Lentil Soup:

  • add 2 tablespoons orange juice or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel or lemon peel just before serving.

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Orange Poached Pears

For dessert, Minoo prepared Orange Poached Pears.  This dessert is best served chilled.  You may served the Orange Poached Pears with some vanilla ice-cream, leave out the syrups.  The pears can be cut into smaller pieces and serve with your favourite yogurt along with some granolas for breakfast.

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This Orange Poached Pears recipe serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups orange juice (we used freshly squeezed orange juice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 orange, cut in strips
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, and quartered lengthwise

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Butternut Squash Apple Soup

This Butternut Squash Apple Soup is another great recipe in using winter produce. Cold weather calls for a hot bowl of soup.  This creamy soup is flavourful and heart warming.

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This soup can be prepared in 40 minutes or less.  The trick to a great butternut squash soup is the simple addition of one tart green apple to balance the sweetness of the squash.

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One of the better way to prepare the butternut squash is to roast it.  Simply cut the squash half lengthwise, lightly brush with vegetable oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes in a 350F preheated oven until it is softened.  Roasting brings out the sweetness of the squash as the sugar content is caramelized.

Butternut squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and A, magnesium, manganese and potassium.   This recipe serves 4 to 6.

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Moroccan Chicken and Rice

The main dish which Minoo planned for the South Arm Community Kitchen is a Moroccan Chicken and Rice dish. We were surprised with the use of winter squash in this rice dish.

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This Moroccan Chicken and Rice dish is a all in a pot dish.  It has protein, vegetable and grain in this dish.  This recipe is adapted from Alive Magazine and it serves 4.

The butternut squash and raisins add sweetness to this rice dish.  This is a good recipe to make use of winter squashes which are in season now.  They are cheap and nutritious.

Here is a tip to peel the tough skin butternut squash.  Microwave the whole squash, on high, for 2 minutes.  This softens the skins, making it easier to peel. (more…)

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Autumn Salad

It’s been a while since the South Arm Community Kitchen meet. The reason is because the coordinator of the Richmond Community Kitchen, Minoo was away on vacation for three weeks. Minoo had a great time in Germany with families and friends. She is fully charged for the coming winter.

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Minoo started off the South Arm Community Kitchen with four recipes. The first item is an Autumn Salad featuring pear, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.  Here are some tips on buying pears.  Buy pears that are unripe to ensure they arrive home without any bruises as ripen pears are soft and easily bruised.  An unripe pear can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to ripen on the counter.  To speed up the process, place pears in a paper bag along with an apple.  Close tightly and check for ripeness in 1 to 3 days.  Store ripened pears in the fridge.

This Autumn Salad is adapted from Alive Magazine and it makes 4 servings. You can easily doubled the recipes to serve 8.  The goat cheese lends some saltiness to this lightly tangy salad.  It’s a great way to start a meal. (more…)

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