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Fall Soup

We are well into November and there is no doubt that Fall has arrived unlike the hide-and-seek that Summer played, at least in this part of the world. The evenings are dark and gloomy, especially so after the time change. It is so cold, even inside the house, that I don’t feel like spending long hours in the kitchen to cook. Time for one pot dishes (are you listening?) and more specifically, soups. Nothing feels more comfortable than snuggling over a warm bowl of soup and to make it more luxurious, some garlic bread.

Fall is the season for squashes and melon, and my local produce store has an abundance of these. These beauties look very tempting; it takes a lot of self-control to not splurge and buy lot more than the two of us can possibly consume. Over the years, I have devised a system whereby I don’t buy more than one variety of squash every week, lest I end up wasting them. Anyway, it was time to buy butternut squash last week, which, to me, is easily the best among equals. They have a vibrant orange color with a deep nutty, sweet taste that is amplified when roasted. I have made pasta with these occasionally but the soups are easily the best.

Roasted Butternut Squash – Apple Soup

1/2 Butter nut squash (cut vertically)
1 Apple – cored and cubed
1/2 Onion – chopped coarsely
1 Tomato – quartered
2 Green Chillies – split length-wise
1/2 cup Black (kala) Channa – soaked for about 8 hrs
Seeds from 1 Pomegranate
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
1 Tsp Tamarind paste
1 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt (more or less, based on your taste buds)
1 Tbsp – roasted and powedered coriander, cumin & redchillies
2 Tsp Oil

Chop the butternut squash into 4 big pieces, brush them with oil and roast them till they are fork-tender. Scoop the roasted squash using a spoon, while leaving the skin intact. Alternatively, you can peel the skin before roasting the squash.

In a thick-bottomed vessel or a cast iron pot, add a tsp of oil, followed by onion, tomato, green chillies, apple and salt; close the lid and let it sweat for a while.

After about 10 minutes, add the roasted squash, kala channa, tamarind and the coriander-cumin-red chilly powder. Let this cook for another 10-15 minutes. Do *not* add any water.

Add a cup of water and puree this concoction either in a blender or using a hand-held blender. Add the almond butter and pomegrante seeds, not before saving a couple of spoonfuls for garnishing, and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Ladle it into soup bowls, garnish with the reserved seeds and serve. Perfect meal for Fall evenings.

For those of you who are wondering at the unconventional list of ingredients: I did not follow any recipe for this soup, that I made yesterday and improvised as I went along. I craved for something that is spicy but sweet, nutty and tangy, which resulted in this soup. So, be creative and feel free to add or omit ingredients that you prefer (or not) and believe me, you will not go wrong 🙂

More Thursday Challenge pictures.

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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Cooking, General, Soup

 

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Peppery Cauliflower

I was introduced to the world of blogs a few years back, when the blogs were few and far between and it was easy to follow the handful of blogs. Then, the blogs proliferated and much as I would have liked to keep myself abreast, it is just not possible to read all the blogs that pique my interest. That’s where Google Reader came to my rescue and whenever I found a blog that I liked, I followed it by adding it to my reader (*hint hint* add my blog to your reader, if you haven’t done so already 🙂 ). Anyway, my friends and I share and exchange notes on the blogs that we follow and I have come across quite a few new blogs through them.  One such gem is Mriganayani, oh I love the name, introduced by my dear friend, Arch.  I scanned through her blog and the one recipe that caught my interest was Cauliflower Pepper Fry.  I love pepper (so much that I add it to my chai, for kicks!) and the combination looked like a match made in heaven.

I followed her recipe to the T with few minor changes and made it dry, as I was going to have it with rice.  This goes perfectly with rice as well as rotis and may make an awesome sandwich filling too.

1Tsp Black pepper
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
2 red chillies
1 Tsp ghee
1 Onion – cubed
1 onion – chopped
1 caulilfower – cut into florets
1 Tsp – Turmeric
1 Tsp -salt (more or less based on your taste buds)
1 Tbsp – Almond Butter

For Thalippu (Tempering)

1 Tsp – Mustard
Few curry leaves
1 Tsp  – Oil (Vegetable or Sesame or Coconut)

Saute the cubed onion with the spices (Black pepper, cumin & red chillies) in ghee and grind them to a paste.

In a deep dish, add the ingredients for tempering and wait till the mustard finishes it dance and cools down.  Now, add the chopped onions, wait till turns semi-translucent and then add the cauliflower, turmeric and salt.  Close the dish and let it cook till the cauliflower is almost done.  I like my cauliflower cooked but crunchy, so I just cooked for about 7-8 minutes, if you want it well done, cook for a little longer.

Add the ground paste at this point along with the almond butter and cook it for a few more minutes.   At this point, if you find it a little spicy, you can tone it down by adding another tsp of ghee or almond butter.

Eat with rice & dhal / yoghurt or with rotis or just as is, as a little snack.  It is perfect, any which way!

If you do not have access to almond butter, just follow the original recipe and add a handful of cashews (or almonds) when you grind the ingredients.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2010 in Cooking, Desi

 

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Cream of Broccoli

All of us know what I do when life gives me tomatoes, so what do I do when life gives me Broccoli? To those of you who are wondering, how come miraculously life gives me first tomatoes and then broccoli, here is where I sheepishly admit, it is not life, it is me. I really do get greedy, when I see fresh vegetables and get more than the two of us normally eat. Then, I come up with “creative” ways to use these in every dish I make – regardless of the cuisine. So, you will see sweet bell peppers in my pulao, brussel sprouts in my korma, all varieties of squash in my kootu, radish / squash in my noodles, all varieties of spinach in my pasta. While I try and keep the base of the dish true to its origin, the add-ins of vegetables are decided based on my imagination and produce selection in my refrigerator. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Cooking, Italian

 

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