Tag Archives: coconut milk

Vegan Raita and Kachumber Salad

Over the weekend, I made a new curry … well, new to me … or rather, a new take on a familiar curry. I found a great recipe for Chana Saag (Curried Chickpeas and Spinach) in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook, Isa Does It.

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The recipe, as I said, was for Chana Saag … Coconut Chana Saag as a matter of fact:

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Now, I’ve made Chana Masala (curried chickpeas) before and I’ve made different types of Saag (spinach curry) and I’ve made curry with a coconut milk sauce, but this recipe kind of combines all of this – chickpeas, spinach and coconut milk – and turns out a really delicious curry. Try it out why don’t you? It’s pretty easy and quick to make and it’s very tasty.

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So, yep, I decided to make the curry, but I wanted some interesting sides to go along with it. Of course, I cooked some rice – white basmati with peas (“Tom’s” favourite) – but I really wanted a salad. I did a little research on Pinterest and on the internet and discovered that curries are often accompanied by a salad called Kachumber Salad. The name alone is enough reason to make it! This salad is usually made up of chopped cucumber, tomato and onion with a bit of acid and salt as a dressing. I changed this up a bit by adding cabbage and using green onion. As for the raita (yogurt and cucumber or other chopped/grated vegetables), it’s a standard condiment for curries, so I decided to invent a vegan version of raita using cashews to replace the yogurt. “Tom” and I were very pleased with not only the curry, but the salad and the raita, so I thought I would share the love and post the recipes. I really hope you try one or more of these recipes next time you’re cooking Indian. And please use the comment section to tell me what you think.

Kachumber Salad

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1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

about 1 quarter of a small head of savoy or green cabbage, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

4 or 5 leaves mint, coarsely chopped

juice of a lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the vegetables, cilantro and mint in a bowl and gently toss. Pour in the lime juice and sprinkle in the salt and gently toss again. Leave the salad to marinate for a bit, maybe 20 minutes. If you leave it too long, the juice from the cucumber and tomato will dilute the salad. This salad is best eaten all at once. This recipe makes 3 servings.

Cashew Cucumber Raita

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1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling hot water

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps. water

juice of 1 lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and grated

1 green onion, chopped

handful of cilantro, finely chopped

4-5 leaves mint, finely chopped

Put the cashews, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, cumin, ginger, cayenne and salt in a blender and blend for 1 t0 2 minutes until everything starts to blend together. Stop, scrape down the sides and add 1 tbsp. water. Blend again for a couple of minutes. Add another tbsp. water if needed to make everything blend smoothly, but not too runny. Blend for a total of 5 minutes for the smoothest results.

Mix the cucumber, green onion, cilantro and mint together in a bowl. Pour in the cashew mixture and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes then taste and adjust for seasoning. (If your curry is quite hot and spicy, you might want to add more cilantro and mint to the raita; if it’s a milder curry, you might want to add some more cayenne and/or cumin).

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Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

The food blogging world has gone crazy for pumpkin! It happens every fall. Recipes for everything from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin falafel and beyond are coming into my in box. I haven’t joined the furor over pumpkin, but I have come across a recipe or two that has peaked my interest. This pumpkin soup for instance. Now, this soup recipe started out as this one from Dishing Up the Dirt. I was intrigued because the recipe called for preparing the pumpkins out of real pumpkins, rather than from a can or from frozen. I’d never actually done this before. So, I picked up a couple of pumpkin pie pumpkins from the market

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Not my photo! Borrowed from peacefultable.net.

and set about roasting and prepping these pumpkins for some yummy soup. It wasn’t until I got right into the recipe that I realized I didn’t like the spices called for in the original recipe. I know I should have read the recipe over first, but I assumed it was a Thai flavoured recipe. So, I changed spices in mid-recipe and came up with this beauty:

Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

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2 pumpkin pie pumpkins (or sugar pie pumpkins)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. red curry paste

2 cups vegetable broth

1 can light coconut milk

1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped

a few sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped

pumpkin seeds

Wash the outside of the pumpkins, chop in half, coat the cut sides with a bit of veg oil, place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. The baking time may take longer or shorter depending on the size or your pumpkins. The pumpkins should be nice and soft when done. Pull them out of the oven and set aside to cool for a bit.

In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a big pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and saute for several minutes until onions become translucent – you  may need to add a bit of water or veg broth to prevent sticking. Add in the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes more. Turn the heat down a bit and add the red curry paste. You will need to stir and mash the paste to incorporate it into the onions/garlic.

Back to the pumpkins … scoop out the now soft and tender flesh and add to the pot, stirring everything together. The pumpkin flesh will puree itself as you stir everything together. Add the vegetable broth and stir well. If you like you soup nicely pureed and smooth, then put an immersion blender in the pot and give it a whirl. I left the soup as is because “Tom” and I like the little bit of pumpkin flesh nibbles in the soup.

Stir in the coconut milk and finely chopped cilantro over low heat, and stir until heated through.

Serve garnished with a bit of cilantro and a few pumpkin seeds on top of each bowl of soup.

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Coconut Red Lentil Dhal

I came across this recipe in my soup file the other day. I don’t know where I got it from, it’s just a recipe jotted down on a piece of paper. I decided to try it out the other night and it turned out to be not only quick and easy to make, but delicious and filling. The original recipe called it a soup, but it is much more like a dhal. So, here is one more dhal recipe to add to my, and your, collection to go along with Spinach Dhal and Spiced Dhal and Mediterranean Dhal.

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1 cup yellow split peas

1 cup red lentils

5 cups water (or less)

1 carrot, diced

2 tbsps. minced ginger

1 tbsp. coconut oil

8 green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tbsps. curry powder

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

2 tsps. salt

1 small handful cilantro, chopped

Rinse the peas and lentils and put in a large pot with the water. Cover, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Add the carrots and 1 tbsp. of ginger and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. In another pan, heat the coconut oil, add 5 of the green onions, the remaining ginger, the raisins and the curry powder. Saute for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that nothing burns or sticks. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Stir this mixture into the peas/lentils along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle some green onions and cilantro on each serving. Rather than eat this as a soup, we ate it as we would any other thick dhal, served over a grain (in our case, brown basmati rice) and alongside a generous serving of vegetables (in our case, chopped, steamed kale). I don’t have a picture of our bowl of dhal, rice and kale because we gobbled it up before I could take a photo! Instead, I quickly spooned some of the dhal into a little bowl, garnished with green onions and cilantro and took a few pictures.

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This is a great dish to eat on a day like we’re having here in the Pacific South West where it’s been snowing all weekend.

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Catching Up

I would like to post more often to this blog. I read other blogs (see links at the bottom of my blog) and many of those bloggers post quite regularly like every week. Sometimes the posts are short and simple, sometimes they include a detailed recipe with pictures, they are about food, health, fitness or a combination, sometimes the post is just a thought that the blogger wanted to share. I wonder if some of these bloggers have a job outside of blogging. I’ve been pretty busy over the past year with university classes, travelling, working, hanging out with family, and regular attention to this blog has not been something I could dedicate myself to. Now that my university classes are over (yay), I think I can be a little more blog-focused. Not sure about weekly postings, but monthly should be quite doable. In fact, I’ve got a few recipes and ideas all ready to go today, but I’m only going to include one recipe in this post. The others I’ll dole out gradually as I get myself into the discipline and routine of regular blogging. Here’s the first one:

 

Green Thai Tofu

I invented this in the early summer when I wanted to do something Thai-ish with tofu and also wanted to use some asparagus I’d bought at the farmer’s market. Here’s what I came up with:

1 block of tofu

2 tbsps tamari

2 tbsps water

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp garlic red chili sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can coconut milk

1/4 spicy peanut butter (see picture on the right) IMG_7932

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp minced ginger

2 tbsps brown sugar

1 red pepper, diced or sliced

1 small onion, diced or sliced

about 1/2 a bunch of asparagus, chopped in bite sized pieces

a couple of large handfuls of spinach

chopped green onion

Press the tofu, then cut into cubes of triangles or slices. (See here for how to press tofu).

Mix together the tamari, water, green curry paste, garlic red chili sauce and garlic powder in a zip-lock plastic bag. Add the tofu pieces to the marinade. Let marinade for several hours. (I like to marinade over night or all day, but a couple of hours should be sufficient).

Lightly oil a baking pan and spread the marinated tofu pieces out evenly on the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Mix together the coconut milk, the spicy peanut butter, green curry paste, minced ginger and brown sugar to make a sauce.

Cook the onion in a dry pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add a tbsp of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in the sauce, the asparagus and the baked tofu and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with green onion and cilantro sprinkled on top.

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Coconut Curry Bean Thread Noodles

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The original recipe is from Vegan Express, but I tampered with it a bit:

1/2 package bean thread noodles (I used brown rice vermicelli)

1 tbsp olive oil (I used 1 tsp)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can light coconut milk

1 can baby corn

1 cup snowpeas

1 medium Zucchini, cut in 2″ strips

1 medium red or orange bell pepper, cut in 2″ strips

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3 green onions, cut in 1″ lengths

2 tbsps curry powder

1/4 tsp Thai red curry paste

salt

Cover noodles in boiling water and let stand, covered for a few minutes until soft.  Drain, rinse and cut up with scissors.

Heat the oil, add garlic and saute over med-high heat until golden.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to boil, lower heat, simmer 3 minutes.  Add the noodles and season with salt.  cover and let stand 5 minutes until noodles have absorbed most of the coconut milk.

Note:  Each time I make this, I vary the vegetables.  I think, in the pictures, I used asparagus and cauliflower and slivered carrots and no baby corn, zucchini or snowpeas.  In other words, throw in whatever vegetables work for you!

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