Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

I went to the farm today and picked many vegetables including eggplant. I decided to make a last minute Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce. I have never made eggplant in garlic sauce but its one of my favorite dishes in a Chinese restaurant. I looked up some recipes online to get an idea of the basic ingredients. I found that I did not have many of these ingredients such as hoison sauce, corn starch, oyster sauce etc. I decided to make up my own recipe and it came out really good. Here goes....

3 small eggplants preferably Japanese eggplants
1 tbsp minced ginger root
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup of water
approx. 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp of General Tsao's sauce
2 tbsp red vinegar dressing/marinade
1 tbsp of tomato sauce
salt to taste

Heat up sesame oil and add ginger root, garlic, soy sauce and water. Allow this simmer on low while you cut the eggplant into cubes. Add the chili garlic sauce, sugar, General Tsao's sauce, red vinegar marinade, tomato sauce and eggplant. Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add salt to taste. Serve with white rice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mesir Wat - Ethiopian red lentil puree

Ethiopian cuisine is very distinct from most African cuisine. It uses many spices that are found in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. My first Ethiopian restaurant encounter was in New Brunswick, NJ about 3 years ago. The restaurant is called Makedas and it has a great atmosphere with seating on wicker furniture and all the the food is served on a large piece of Injera (bread) on a large plate. The food was great, the bread reminded me of South Indian Dosa and many of the vegetable and lentil dishes taste very familiar. There are so many vegetarian dishes to choose from, Ethiopian cuisine is vegetarian friendly since many Ethiopians fast due to religion and during that time they do not eat meat. I finally picked Mesir Wat, a red lentil dish (masoor dal). I got the basic recipe from I made a few modifications. I also used more niter kibbeh sauce than the original recipe asked for. I love the aromas from this spicy butter sauce. I would like to enter to this to the 15th My Legume Love Affair, Susan's event.

Servings: 6

2 red onions
1 cup of green beans
1 cup of carrots
3-4 garlic cloves
pinch of ginger powder
1 cup of niter kibbeh (click on the link for the recipe)
1 tbsp of Indian chili powder (mild chili powder)
1 tsp turmeric
1 lb of red lentils
2 cans of vegetable stock (4 cups)
salt and pepper to taste

optional: type of bread or rice

Make the niter kibbeh. This spicy butter sauce needs to simmer on low for about an hour. Strain the niter kibbeh into a large pot through a steel colander (a steel tea strainer works well). Using a food processor puree the onions. Add the niter kibbeh, onion puree, turmeric, chili powder, pressed garlic cloves, green beans, carrots and ginger powder. Let this simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, stir and allow to simmer on low-medium for 5 minutes. Add the red lentils and cook for 30 minutes. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Injera bread, if you cannot make or do not have access to this bread,v you can eat this with wheat tortilla, Indian bread, pita bread or any type of rice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chimichurri sauce - Argentina

I decided to enter this original recipe round-up.

I decided to make chimichurri sauce. This delicious south american marinade/sauce is normally used with meat but is versatile and can be used in vegetarian food as well. To me its Argentina's chutney! I love the original chimichurri recipe with olive oil, parsley, garlic, vinegar and red pepper flakes. I made many modifications and came up with an entirely new, different creamy chimichurri that was a great hit at dinner. I added the chimichurri to portobello marinated in balsamic vinegar. I made this into a panini sandwich.

Servings approx. 4 - should make about 6 sandwiches with sauce left over

Ingredients for sauce:
3/4 buch of parsley
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of red vinegar marinade/dressing
1/2 large shallot
2 pinches of cumin
2 pinches of chili powder
1 pinch of ginger powder
1 tsp of oregano
1 tbsp sugar (to taste if you feel its sweet enough do not add)
1 tso of dried basil
1 cap full of lemon juice
1 small green chili (add more if you like things spicy)
2-3 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp Sabra's tahini hummus
2-3 tbsp tomato sauce
salt to taste

Ingredients for sandwich:
1 package of sliced portobello mushrooms
1 loaf of bread
1 package of pizza blend or italian blend cheese
red pepper flakes

Blend all the sauce ingredients together. It seems like a lot of hodge podge. I kept adding, tasting etc. In the end I think it came out great. Even with the tomato sauce your sauce will retain its green color as shown in the picture. Marinate the portobello mushrooms on a skillet with a light balsamic vinegar, allow the mushrooms to absorb the juices while you are making your sauce. Add approx 2 tbsp of the sauce, 3-4 slices of portobello mushrooms in any kind of bread with some mozzarella cheese and sprinkle on some red pepper flakes. Yum!Cook in a panini maker, skillet or oven.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gujarati Tindora - Ivy gourd

Tindora is eaten all over India. Growing up in a Gujarati household we ate tindora quite often. It is one of my favorite vegetables but its not always easy to find. I was craving a traditional Guju meal so I bought some the other day and decided to cook it. This is my mother's recipe, its a simple and easy dish to make which can be accompanied with dal, rice and possibly roti.

Another good thing to know is that it is has many nutrients and its great for diabetics due to its low glycemic index.

Servings: 2

approx. 1 lb of Tindora
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp dhana-jeeru (mix of coriander and cumin powder, I like more masala you can put less)
red chili powder to taste
salt to taste
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp olive oil
coriander (optional as a garnish)

Cut tindora into halves or quarters. Heat oil on medium heat, add the hing. When the hing starts to sizzle add in the tindora. Add 1/4 cup of water, turmeric, dhana-jeeru, salt and red chili powder and allow tindora to simmer on low-medium heat with a cover. Periodically check to see if the tindora are tender if not add more water, cook until tender.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frankie - Mumbai's snack wrap

This is my version of Mumbai's famous Frankie. It is great for a quick lunch or it could be a great vegetarian breakfast wrap.

Makes one wrap.

1 Ore Ida Hash brown patty or boiled/mashed potatoes or home fries
1/4 onion chopped
2 small green chilli's chopped
cilantro for garnish
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp of paprika
2 tsp of chaat masala (availble in indo-pak store)
salt to taste
1/2 piece of lavash bread
Italian cheese blend (any cheese works)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro chutney to taste

Saute the onions and chilis in a pan until the onions turn a lighter red color and are tender. Bake, fry or however you want to prepare your potato's. I used boiled potato's cut into cubes. Add the potato mixture into the onion/chili mixture. Put the mixture in the middle of a 1/2 piece of lavash bread. Add the cheese on the hot mixture and allow the cheese to melt. In the meantime, add lemon juice, paprika, salt to taste, cilantro and chaat masala. Roll the wrap and cut into half in an angle.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lavash Bread Pizza

Servings: 4

1 can of tomato sauce
olive oil
1 can of tomato paste
oregano ti taste
sugar to taste
salt to taste
4 pieces of lavash bread
mozzarella (pizza blend of cheese)
approx. 1/2 onion
8 cloves of garlic (use as much as desired)
3 small green chilis

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pan or use pizza stone. To make sauce cook tomato sauce, tomato paste and olive oil. Add some oregano, salt and sugar to taste. Cut onions and use a garlic press. I like garlic so I used approx. 3-4 cloves of garlic for 2 of the pizza's. I used small green chilis for the other 2 pizza's. Heat the pizza in the oven for approx. 15 minutes or until the crust turns brown.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mexican dessert - Fried Ice Cream

Fried ice cream seems like an oxymoron. Opposites attract and the combination is delicious.
There are many ways to make fried ice cream. You can use tortilla which I think is fitting for a Mexican dessert. You can also use cereals such as corn flakes, cinnamon toast crunch. Be creative there are so many cereals and flavors of ice craem out there and you can use different types of bread. I choose to use bread. I had cinnamon bread lying around in my kitchen that I really wanted to use up and I thought it would taste great.

Slices of bread
Ice cream
saran wrap or foil (I used foil)
cinnamon (optional)
vegetable oil
egg substitute

For the batter I looked up the recipe for the proportions. The recipe I looked up makes 30-35 fried ice cream so BE SURE to use a measurement converter. I substituted Ener-G for the eggs. I did not use orange extract, instead I put a dash of cinnamon. I used butter pecan ice cream, be creative with the ice cream.

Put the ice cream in between the slices of bread and mold it into a ball, use a knife to cut around the edges and take the crust off. Freeze in saran wrap or foil till it is hard/frozen. Roll the frozen ice cream-bread in the batter. Make sure the oil is hot and be careful when you carefully place the batter covered ice cream into the oil. Fry until the batter starts turning light brown.

If you are not using bread make the ice cream into balls and freeze them. Roll the balls in batter and than roll them in a cereal of your choice. For example use coco pebbles and use strawberry ice cream. You can add chocolate powder to the batter instead of cinnamon as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yigandes Me Spanaki - Greek Spinach, Bean and Feta Casserole

Yesterday I made a Greek dish (Yigandes Me Spanaki) Spinach, Bean and Feta Oven Casserole. I used Nancy's recipe at Its a healthy side dish. I added carrots for some color and sweetness. I used lima beans instead of yigandes beans but would love to try yigandes beans as well. I did not have fresh dill so I used rosemary and thyme which tasted great. This could also be a great filling for a pita sandwich.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Guasacaca - Venezuelan Salsa

This salsa is a colorful alternative to mushy guacamole. It is very simple and quick to make. I got this recipe from Kathy. I made some modifications. I used a red onion, orange pepper instead of green pepper and 3 tbsp of a hot salsa instead of hot sauce. This salsa taste really fresh and perfect.

2 avocados
1 medium red onion
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup of cilantro
1 medium tomato
1 orange pepper
salt to taste
3 tbsp hot salsa

Braziliian Vegetable Curry

Brazilian food includes manioc (yucca), black beans and rice. Each region of Brazil specializes in a type of cuisine and is influenced by a certain region. Brazilian food has been greatly influenced by African and Caribbean countries and like the Caribbeans rice and beans are traditional dish in every Brazilian household. While I was cooking the vegetable curry, the smells and flavors reminded me of many cuisines. The coconut in the curry reminded me of Thai food. The chickpeas, onion, garlic and tomatoes reminded me of Indian food. This dish is rich in flavor and hearty. There is a lot of room to be creative.

I got this recipe from pinkcherryblossom, recipe. I made some modifications. I used yucca since it is a Brazilian staple. The yucca taste delicious in the gravy. I could not find coconut cream so I used coconut milk. I also used ginger powder instead of the root. I added very little curry powder, I did not want to overpower the flavors but just 1-2 tsp for such a large quantity of food gave the dish a lot of depth. I added extra garlic 3 cloves instead of 2. I did not roast the vegetables since I did not have that much time but I did cook most of the liquid out. I will make sure I have enough time to roast it next time. Roasting it will give it an interesting texture especially since I have added yucca to the dish. I served this with flour tortilla and ate it like an Indian curry. It was delicious!!

Servings: approx. 6


  • 1 yucca (manioc)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • pinch of ground ginger powder
  • 1 red chile, deseeded (I used a medium-hot Jamaican chile)
  • 2-3 large chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp cilantro
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of curry powder
Yucca is a very tough root and takes a while to boil. Start by boiling the yucca until the water starts turning a pink color or poke the yucca with a fork to see if it is slightly tender. It will not be as tender as a boiled potato, it will cook in the sauce later.Chop eggplant and red pepper.

Using a food processor mix the garlic cloves, chile, ginger powder and onions. Cook this sauce mixture in a separate pot.

Spray a wok with cooking spray and saute the vegetables, yucca and tomatoes. Cook off the excess water so it is not too soupy.

Add the sauce mixture to the wok along with curry powder and salt to taste. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk and cilantro. Occasionally stir the vegetable curry and allow the flavors to simmer for about 10 mintues on low-medium or until excess liquid no longer remains.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Low Sugar "Peach Cobbler" Parfait

A quick and low sugar dessert that I made up one night. I decided to enter it in the original recipe round-up.

Servings: approx. 2


2 peaches
whipping cream or cool whip
graham cracker crumbs (granola or cereal)
butter peacan ice cream (no sugar added)
splenda to taste (I used 1 tbsp of baking splenda)
1 cap of lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon

In a blender, blend peaches, butter pecan ice cream, splenda, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
If you are using whipping cream, use mixer until whipping cream has peaks. Layer the peach mixture on the bottom of the glass. Add graham cracker crumbs, whipping cream and another layer of peach mixture. Alternate as much as you like.

Korean Noodle Stir-fry

This recipe was inspired by Susan's recipe, check out her blog.I loved how she cooked the tofu in the sesame oil, soy, water mixture. I could never get my tofu to brown the way it did after I followed her method. I followed her recipe to a good extent but I did make some modifications.

I used vermicelli noodles instead of buckwheat soba noodles. I checked at all my local groceries stores and nearby asian market, unfortunately I could not find the hot pepper paste. I think I will have to go to Korea Town in New York City to find it. I used Korean BBQ sauce instead. I also used more garlic, used scallions instead of onion and added some chilli garlic sauce. Finally, rather than using sugar to add some sweetness I added some general tsao's sauce (I know its not korean but it added the right sweetness).

Servings: approx. 4


1 package of vermicelli noodles
8 ounces firm tofu
1 tbsp soy sauce mixed, 1/4 tsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp water (to cook tofu)
2 medium yellow squash into cubes
1/2 bunch of scallions
2-3 bok choy cut in thin slices
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1-2 tbsp of korean bbq sauce (add according how spicy you want it)
1/2 tbsp of chilli garlic sauce
3 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp of general tso's sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Boil water and cook the vermicelli for approx. 6-8 minutes, check the instructions on the package for cooking time. Once it is cooked drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Heat up a wok and use cooking spray. Once heated add tofu and sesame oil, water, soy sauce. Cook until the tofu browns. Once the liquid has cooked off set tofu aside.

Add cut squash, scallions and garlic and cover for a few minutes till squash looks tender. Add the bean sprouts and cover for about a minute. Add the bok-choy and cover until the bok-choy looks wilt but is still green. Finally, add the korean bbq sauce, chilli garlic sauce, general tso's sauce and soy sauce to taste. Allow for vegetables to simmer in the sauces for about 5 minutes. Finally add the tofu and noodles.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tommorrow's line-up

Tomorrow should be an exciting day. I am cooking from two countries Barbados (Bajan cuisine) and Korea. I plan to make a "Mango Fool" dessert as my Bajan cuisine and a Korean noodle stir-fry. It uses a spicy Korean sauce and combines ingredients found in Korean food but rather than using rice I was inspired by a recipe that I will post up to use buckwheat noodles. I will be going to the Asian market tomorrow and hope to find my ingredients. I hope things work out.

On another note, the country after that is Nepal and I already found a great dish called "Vegetable Thukpa" that requires a spice called lovage. There is a lot of information out there claiming that lovage seeds and ajwain are the same. I am quite confused. After calling a few spice stores in New York City (living near the city is great I feel like I have access to everything) they claimed to either have the lovage root and no seeds or to have ajwain seeds which they passed off as being the same. But I have found information claiming that this is a mistake and that they are infact different. (

I want this dish to taste authentic. Spices are very important, a signature part of the flavor and origins of the cuisine. I have emailed a Nepalese cook who has posted recipes online using lovage. I hope to get an answer. In the meantime, if anyone has any more info or can help me please let me know!! These spice stores look so interesting. I could spend a day learning about all the spices better yet take a class on them!