Raita is a cooling dish that accompanies many spicy curries. It is usually made with a yogurt base, but I use milk kefir because they are very similar and the kefir is easy to make at home. The cooling properties of milk help to balance the heat from many Indian dishes. One of the most common varieties is cucumber raita, so I made one with raw lotus instead. It goes perfectly well with the Lotus Stalk Curry from last week. Continue reading
Mikans are a seedless variety of tangerine. After zesting six mikans for another recipe, I knew that I had to act fast before they dried out. I wasn’t going to eat them over the course of a day, so I did what anyone with a high-powered blender would do. . . I drank them.
To be clear, this is a dessert, and probably the best fruit smoothie that I’ve ever had. It’s bright, warming, and comforting. The tiny specs of vanilla bean warm my heart and I’m pretty sure that I’m in love. Continue reading
I can’t get enough of purple vegetables. At the farmer’s market last week, I found gorgeous purple carrots. I thought to snatch them all up, but opted for a small healthy bundle. I’ll cross my fingers for more this week. In the meantime, I’ll share with you a simple salad that will showcase the carrots. I could hardly stop myself from eating the whole bowl. It’s super delish! After we gobbled down this salad, I regretted my display of self restraint. Continue reading
My kitchen spices are some of my most prized possessions. I’m delighted when I open an Indian cookbook, notorious for long lists of unusual spices, and can prepare any meal within. We enjoy frequent relocations overseas. My primary concern is whether the movers will ship my spices, and if not, where can I hide them in our belongings? After that, I start to worry about getting our cat, Skeletor, to his new home. Priorities.
As a spice collector, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never had Chinese 5-spice until I made it this week. So obviously, I am now an expert. It’s delicious! I’m generally not a fan of store-bought spice blends; I feel like it stifles my creativity. This seemed like a mystery blend, and I wasn’t sure how it would taste. What is a Sichuan peppercorn anyway? Continue reading
I’m enamored with the array of purple vegetables that I find in Okinawan farmer’s markets. One such delight is the fujimame, but it is also known by several other names including hyacinth bean, dolichos lab-lab, pharaoh bean, Egyptian bean, Indian bean, and Chinese flowering bean. It’s no surprise that this bean gets around, considering its beautiful appearance and crisp texture. Continue reading
We spent New Year’s Eve in Kyoto this year with my sister-in-law and her beau. It was beautiful and busy, but most restaurants were not open. It seems to me that Japanese people take their holidays very seriously. I mean, where are people going to eat? Options limited for dining and drinking, we made the best of the situation and bought kimonos to stroll around the streets of Gion, greeting passersby with “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!” During our stay, we ended up eating at an okonomiyaki place twice… in one day. Yes, it was that delicious, but our hand was a little forced by the occasion.
Kyoto is in a region of Japan that is well known for its okonomiyaki. The name for this savory, grilled “pancake” translates as okonomi, for “whatever you want,” and yaki, for “grilled.” I particularly like how easy this is to throw together. I think it’s a great, last-minute meal for cleaning out the refrigerator, which is appealing to my frugal senses. I purchased a gigantic head of cabbage for fewer than two bucks and had to make plans for using it up. After Mexican and Vietnamese inspired coleslaws, I still had a lot leftover. Okonomiyaki is the perfect vehicle for hiding lots of veggies into a quick and delicious dinner. Continue reading
Kitchari is like the Ayurvedic version of chicken noodle soup. It’s great for cleansing, resting the digestive system, and for when you’re feeling under the weather. Also, it’s a nourishing and comforting food. I especially like kitchari when I notice that my digestion is off from eating too many meals away from home.
The basics of kitchari are basmati rice, mung dhal, and plenty of water. This can be cooked into a watery soup or a thick porridge. The mung (or moong) dhal are split and de-hulled mung beans. Instead of the whole green mung bean, look for the split yellow type. They cook faster and are easier to digest. Mung beans are balancing for all the doshas. White basmati is also easier to digest than brown basmati. Continue reading
I made some steamed beni imo and was feeling ho-hum about mashed beni imo or a soup. I wanted something crunchy, like roasted beni imo or beni imo chips, but I don’t have a real oven. We only have a fish grill, which works great for… um… fish. And nothing else. So, I made sweet potato cakes in a pan.
These can be made with any ol’ variety of sweet potato. Beni imo is my fav, it’s local, and that’s what I had in my pantry. I went with Indian spices, but it’s a pretty flexible recipe, so use whatever strikes your fancy. Garam Masala is a combination of roasted spices. If you don’t have this on hand, I have a recipe for it here! It will only take a few extra minutes and is totally worth it. Plus you can store it for several months. Continue reading
Yes! I did it again. Ice cream. Well, since my last ice cream post, l’ve discovered that people are much more excited to read about ice cream recipes than various gourd curry recipes… Dessert bloggers get all the love. So, today I bring you a Japanese squash dessert!
I found kabocha at my local farmers market, but I think you can easily find it in the states too. Kabocha is a type of winter squash. It’s sometimes called a Japanese Pumpkin. It’s fairly sweet, which means less added sugar and more winning. Continue reading
So many names for this guy! So, is it really a gourd or a melon? When ripe, it’s used as a vegetable, but the unripe “fruit” is very sweet, and is used as a fruit. Interesting? I think so too! At least the Japanese could decide on one name. It’s called a Tougan (冬瓜). The kanji in this word is for winter 冬and melon瓜. Yay for fun with kanji! Why did this winter melon show up at the farmers market last month and not in December? It actually ripens during the summer, but because of the waxy exterior, it lasts long through the winter.
This vegetable is useful in ayurveda for both pitta and kapha. It’s very cooling for pitta during the summertime. It helps balance acidity for those with pitta issues like ulcers. It is also useful for diabetics and those desiring to lose weight. It’s also a diuretic so it will support in detoxification. Continue reading