Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
An intense but balanced blend of smoky, hot and pungent flavours from fried spices, fresh and dried hot peppers, and mustard seeds popped in hot oil complements an earthy and buttery mixture of beans in this simple but beautiful and fragrant Indian-style chili. Black chickpeas (actually brown) and whole urad beans are easily obtained at any Indian grocer, as are black mustard seeds and asafoetida.

Adapted from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries, this book is quickly becoming a favourite tool for incredibly fast and easy midweek meal ideas.
Black and yellow chickpeas in a sweet and spicy sauce

1/4 cup dried black chickpeas
1/4 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 cup dried red kidney beans
1/4 cup dried whole
urad beans
2 tablespoons
ghee, or a mixture of butter and olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 whole dried red chillies
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 large tomato, diced
4 fresh cayenne peppers, slit lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Thoroughly rinse the dried beans together under running water, rubbing them between your palms. Soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain the following day, and cover with several inches of fresh water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of the rich cooking broth.

Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil mixture over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds and quickly cover with a lid. As soon as the seeds stop popping, about 20 to 30 seconds, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the dried red chillies, honey, cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and asafoetida, and cook for a minute or so in the hot oil. Now add the tomato and fresh cayenne peppers, and return the pan to the stove. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the beans and the reserved cooking liquid, and simmer for 15 minutes or until a thick sauce has formed.

Season with salt, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot. Serves 4.

Caramelized Corsican Apple Tart

Caramelized Corsican Apple Tart

Over the years, I have collected a lot of recipes for apple treats. One such recipe is this apple tart that I remember every autumn as one of the most heavenly custard-like fruit desserts I have ever enjoyed. I only made it once, years and years ago, and though I had such fond memories of this fruity tart, I never did make it again, distracted each year by other apple creations to test out in the narrow amount of time I set aside for baking. This year I was determined to see if my memory served me correctly, and the occasion of a dear friend's birthday provided the needed inspiration. To complete and accompany an entrée of split pea cilantro dumplings in a coconut curry, I served up the famed Corsican apple tart.

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Pear and Fig Whole Wheat Pancakes

Fresh Ontario pears and sweet dried Calimyrna figs lend these crêpe-style whole-wheat pancakes an elegance that entirely belies the small effort that goes into making them. Adapted from a Readers Digest recipe for those of us who think more in cups and spoons than milliliters and grams, they'll add instant warmth to your kitchen and breakfast table.
Pear and Fig Whole Wheat Pancakes


3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups whole fat milk
1 large egg
butter for greasing


1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds Bartlett or other pears, cored and chopped
4 ounces dried Calimyrna figs, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
zest from 1/2 orange

Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Make a small well, and pour in the milk with the egg. Stir until smooth, then let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 200°. Lightly grease a small 7- or 8-inch non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. When hot, pour in a half cup of the batter and tilt the pan to cover the bottom. Cook for 30-45 seconds until the surface is mostly dry and the underside is a golden brown. Flip the pancake and cook the other side for another 30 seconds or until it is set.

Transfer the pancake to a sheet of parchment paper. Repeat the process until four pancakes have been cooked, separating each cooked pancake with another sheet of parchment paper. Wrap the finished stack of pancakes and parchment paper in foil and keep warm in the preheated oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the filling in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the pears and figs, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Remove the pancakes from the oven and lay out on separate plates. Spoon a quarter of the filling mixture into the center of each pancake and fold over in the middle. Serve hot, with warm maple syrup or fresh whipped cream on top.
Other breakfast pancake ideas you might like:

Baked whole wheat crêpes with apple blueberry sauce

Baked blueberry and peach pancakes

Baked strawberry pancakes

Spiced pumpkin waffles

Banana oatmeal pancakes

Cottage cheese blintzes and peach-plum compote

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

This recipe for pumpkin scones I'd bookmarked for over a year, and only just now got around to making them. I enjoyed these biscuits flavored with pumpkin pie spices before a dinner as well as for a dinner accompanied by hearty Italian bean and pasta soup, and again and for dessert together with roasted pumpkin seeds. Dense, but flaky and moist, these are quite possibly the most satisfactory baked breaded delights I have produced to date.

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Curried Black-Eyed Peas

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Here is another quick and easy bean curry that I was inspired to make after consulting my trusted copy of 660 curries. Elegant, but satisfying enough to placate the agitated masses.
Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard, Cumin and Curry Leaves

1 cup of dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 heaped teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of ground asafetida
1 - 2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
a generous handful of dried curry leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro or parsley

Soak the black-eyed peas in enough water to cover overnight. Drain, transfer to a large pot, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover and simmer until the beans are soft - about 40 - 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cook until they turn grey and begin to pop. Immediately add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, asafetida and hot peppers. Stir and add the tomatoes, tomato paste and curry leaves to the pan. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are thickened. Stir in the black-eyed peas and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the parsley or cilantro and serve over hot basmati rice.

Serves 4 - 6.

Roasted Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Admittedly, pumpkins are a bit of a nuisance to clean. The seeds must be separated from the goo, and paring the skin from the flesh is a task I would hand over to my sous chef if I had one. But it is not a thankless task. Oh, not at all. There is no finer treat perhaps than homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. This recipe is a variation on my standard recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. I soaked the seeds with some tamari and sea salt and sprinkled them with some cayenne before roasting. Warning: these are addictive.

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Chickpea Pumpkin Burgers

Chickpea Pumpkin Burgers

Two little pumpkins, too many recipes was I tempted by. For a few weeks the pretty little squashes graced my kitchen table while I imagined the occasion for their sacrifice. The carving knife was finally brought out after I saw Helen Graves' pumpkin and chickpea burgers. While pumpkin butchering is a rather laborious experience, the yield is worth the effort: a few cups of flesh stashed away in the freezer, and roasted pumpkin seeds, scrumptious patties and wholesome pumpkin scones were offered up this past weekend. Certainly a cure for the onset of the winter blues.

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Hearty Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

Hearty Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

As I was considering what to make for November's No Croutons Required, I remembered this hearty bean, vegetable and pasta soup that I used to make at least once every winter. Served with crusty bread, this soup is always a filling and warming meal on a cold snowy day. Colorful and nourishing, it's also very easy to make. This time I served the soup with pumpkin scones for a very comforting meal on a chilly day.

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Brownies with Dried Fruit

Most of the treats that appear on Lisa's Kitchen are savory, but bleak days call for dark and decadent solutions. Rather like chocolate cake, these brownies are based on a Nigella Lawson recipe. I wanted a moist, gooey brownie, without the crunch, so I added some dried fruit instead of nuts. The flavour of the fruit pleasantly underlies the rich chocolate taste, and adds a bit of chewiness besides.

Sugar High Fridays is hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook this month. The theme is sweets that dazzle and glitter. Not many can resist the lure of moist dark chocolate. Yes, even this savory girl nibbled on a warm piece.
Brownies with Dried Fruit

1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
375 grams of dark chocolate
6 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 cups of chopped dried fruit (I used dates, figs and a few prunes)

Grease or line a 12 X 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large, heavy bottomed pot.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, chopped fruit and salt.

Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the egg and sugar mixture. Beat to combine and then add the flour and fruit and beat again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for roughly 40 minutes, or until the top dries and begins to crack slightly and the interior is dark and gooey.
Other brownie recipes you will be sure to enjoy:

Cocoa Brownies with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing

Peanut Butter Brownies

Quick and Easy Fudgy Brownies

Mushroom Pulao

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
I have a confession to make. I actually used canned mushrooms for this dish. Yes, I, who takes an essentially purist approach to cooking. While remaining realistic, I rarely use canned tomatoes or sauces, never purchase pre-prepared dressings, make my own pastry and go with fresh herbs and produce whenever possible. So why would I use canned mushrooms of all things when I can easily pick up a bag of mushrooms at the local grocery story or market?

I can only plead mushroom addiction. Lover of all things mushroom, I was cruising past the kosher clearance bin shortly after passover a few months back at the grocery store near my home when the cans of mushrooms caught my eye. I stopped to investigate and couldn't resist purchasing a can, reminded as I was of the Mushroom Pulao that I enjoy whenever I visit Curry's Restaurant here in London Ontario. I'm not entirely certain Curry's uses canned mushrooms for their rice dish, but I've cooked with mushrooms for many years now and was never able to recreate the texture of the mushrooms. Freshly fried mushrooms cannot be matched but there is just something about the chewy and juicy little slices of 'shrooms languishing in a tin that cries out for consumption. You only live once.

And yeah, I also used frozen peas.

In this recipe, I assume you are using fresh mushrooms, but canned mushrooms can be substituted if you are craving the canned mushroom experience.
Mushroom Pulao

2 cups of water
1 cup of Basmati rice
generous handful of green chilies, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of oil or ghee
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely chopped
roughly 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
sea salt
2/3 cup of peas
parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Rinse the rice well in a fine strainer. Transfer to bowl, cover with water, swish it around a few times, drain and repeat until the water is relatively clear and no longer cloudy. Drain, cover with water and soak the rice for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to air dry for 15 minutes or so.

Make a paste of the ginger and chilies in a mortar and pestle. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium pot or medium-high heat. Fry the cumin seeds until they darken a few shades. Add the onion and cook to soften. Now add the ginger chili paste, stir and add the mushrooms and tomato. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Add the spices and salt, stir and now add the rice to the pot. Stir and fry for another minute or so. Add the peas and pour in the water. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let sit for a few minutes, fluff with a fork and serve, garnished with a bit of parsley.

Spicy Mushroom Pulao Rice

Red Bean and Squash Soup

Red Bean and Squash Soup

After years of relative neglect I've been lately re-discovering winter squashes as a cold-weather kitchen staple, based on the premise which has been suggested to me that our seasonal nutrient requirements correspond with what is obtained in seasonal produce. There is an appealing sense of natural justice and propriety to this claim, but it wouldn't seem to hold quite as much merit by the time February or March comes along, unless all we'd need by then would be onions, cabbages, and root vegetables.

In the event that I'm not about to stop buying oranges or bananas at any time of year, or even berries for that matter, winter squashes are still a lovely base for autumn and winter soups, stews and other pot dishes. Usually a fine source of fiber, potassium and beta carotene as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, iron and manganese — depending on the variety — winter squashes are also simple to cook with and adaptable to all sorts of other ingredients, herbs and spicings. This colorful and hearty soup, adapted from Canadian Living, takes very little time to prepare and cook, and is a tasty way to warm and fill the belly on a cool day.

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Black-Eyed Pea Patties with Chili Sauce

Looking for something different to serve to a special friend of mine who happens to adore black-eyed peas, I consulted my treasured copy of World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown. Once again, I was attracted to the two chapters devoted to African recipes. This one is Nigerian in origin, and is served with pilipili, which essentially means chili sauce. Ms. Brooks suggests using canned beans, as the traditional preparation involves rubbing the skins off. I decided to use dried beans, neglected to rub off the skins, adjusted the measurements slightly and came up with bean patties instead of the smaller cakes featured in the book. The earthy taste of the black-eyed peas really come out here, and is perfectly complimented by the chili sauce.

I served these for dinner, along with Rice and Green Lentils in Coconut Milk to incorporate the essential grain component of the meal.

This is my contribution to World Food Day - Time to be Thankful, an event hosted by Ivy, Val, and Giz. I'm thankful that I have access to good food, have acquired the means to transform it into something not only nourishing but delicious and most of all, I am thankful that I have loved ones to share with.
Black-Eyed Pea Patties with Pilipili

For the bean patties:

1 cup of dried black-eyed peas
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 - 2 fresh green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup of unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
oil for frying

For the pilipili:

2 red bell peppers, seeded, and halved
2 fresh green chilies, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
juice from one small lemon

Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain, transfer to a large pot, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover and cook until the beans are soft - roughly 40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Pulse the beans, adding warm water a tablespoon at a time until you get a smooth paste that has a consistency much like a thick cake batter. Add the onion, green chili, salt, eggs, flour and baking powder. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

In a large non-stick pan, heat a shallow pool of oil over medium heat. When hot, drop in heaped tablespoons of the batter and fry until golden on each side.

To make the chili sauce, put the peppers in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are soft - roughly 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor, along with the chillies, salt, garlic and lemon juice. Process until well combined. Serve with the bean patties.

Makes enough to feed 4-6 people.
You might also enjoy these Northeast African Millet Patties.

Chickpeas with Mango Powder (Amchoor Chana)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Chickpeas with Mango Powder (Amchoor Chana)
660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer is proving to be one of the wisest cookbook investments I have made lately. There is an abundance of easy but deliciously satisfying curry recipes that are ideal for days when you want proper nourishment without the fuss. The extensive chapter on legume curries is one that I continue to explore, as most of my meals are centered around beans and legumes.

Amchoor powder is readily available at Indian grocery stores. It is made from unripe green mangoes that are dried and turned into a powder. It adds a tangy, slightly sour flavor to Indian dishes. If you do not have mango powder on hand, you can substitute the juice from one lime.

Chickpeas with Mango Powder (Amchoor Chana)Chickpeas with Mango Powder (Amchoor Chana)
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on November 10, 2008

A simple but wonderfully spicy and tangy tomato chickpea curry

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  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or a mixture of butter and oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 - 3 black cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons mango (amchoor) powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • generous handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 small red onion or shallot, finely chopped
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight covered in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until for 1 to 2 hours or until the chickpeas are soft. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or butter and oil over medium heat in the same pan in which you cooked the chickpeas. When hot, add the cumin seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks, and stir for 1 minute. Now add the ground spices, stir, and pour in the tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until for 5 to 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are reduced.

  • Now add the chickpeas, the reserved cooking liquid, and half of the chopped parsley or cilantro. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt.

  • Serve hot, garnished with the remaining parsley or cilantro and the chopped red onion or shallot.

Makes 6 servings
Chickpeas with Mango Powder (Amchoor Chana)

Vegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping

Vegetarian Cassoulet with Bread Topping

An old legend about cassoulet relates that the popular French bean casserole was invented in the southern French town of Castelnaudary during an English siege in the Hundred Years War. Unable to venture outside the town walls to collect fresh vegetables, the townspeople invented a rich and hearty repast with their preserved stock of dried beans and herbs, cold storage vegetables, and pork sausages and duck fat. A more contemporary legend has it that we vegetarians can dispense with the copious meats that are added to traditional cassoulets and still enjoy a robust, filling and delicious meal that's perfect for cool fall weather.

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Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto Beans

Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto BeansAt least once a year towards the end of the summer I'm confronted with the problem of disposing of an absurd number of jalapeños from the over-zealous plants in my garden. Giving dozens away to friends and family turns out to be an inadequate solution, and I'm not especially partial to the taste — or labour, to be honest — of preserving them. So jalapeño-heavy recipes it must be then…

Even people of average tolerance to heat should not be deterred by large quantities of hot peppers when they are tempered with plenty of dairy — east Indians have happily known this for centuries, serving cooling bowls of yogurt raitas with their spicy dishes. So last year I made an extraordinarily simple jalapeño pie loaded with jalapeños and lots of cheese and eggs that was surprisingly easy on the palette.

Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto BeansThis year I went with loads of jalapeños and cheese again, but in a more elaborate Mexican-style pie with plenty of cool sour cream, pinto beans, and some lovely fresh local sweet corn. Layered like a lasagne but with soft corn tortillas instead of pasta, this is a firm but deliciously gooey pie that goes beautifully with a green salad and vinaigrette to cut the dairy.

If you're still not sure about using twenty whole jalapeño peppers, reduce the amount by as much as half, or chop them into finer pieces. The crisp juiciness of fresh jalapeños makes them a must in my consideration, but if you do use canned jalapeños be sure to reduce the amount a little and cut them finer.

This is my contribution to Food and Fun's Vegetarian Thanksgiving Celebration. Mansi is looking for tempting dishes to please the vegetarians at holiday time.

Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto Beans

Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto Beans Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto Beans
Recipe by
Cuisine: Mexican
Published on November 4, 2008

A Mexican-style ”lasagne” pie with layers of creamed and spiced pinto beans, corn, cheese and jalapeños baked between soft corn tortillas and topped with more cheese

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Bean layers:
  • 2/3 cup dried pinto beans
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • large handful fresh coriander, chopped
Cheese and corn layers:
  • cooked kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn (or 3/4 cup frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated aged Cheddar cheese (about 5 1/2 oz)
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
You will also need:
  • 10 soft corn tortillas, 10" or larger
  • 2 9-inch flat-sided pie plates
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 20 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 oz)
  • chili powder for garnish
  • To prepare the bean layers, rinse the beans under cold running water and soak overnight under several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse, and place in a small saucepan covered with several inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain and remove the beans to a small mixing bowl. Mash the beans with a potato masher and mix with the sour cream, chili powder and coriander.

  • Prepare the cheese corn layers by stirring together the corn, Cheddar cheese, sour cream and chili powder in a separate mixing bowl.

  • Preheat an oven to 300°.

  • If necessary, trim the edges of the corn tortillas to sit comfortably but fully within the 9-inch pie plates. For each of the pies, brush one side a tortilla with olive oil and place oiled side down in the bottom of the pie plate.

  • For each pie, spoon a quarter of the bean layer mixture onto the tortilla and spread evenly. Place a tortilla on top, and spoon and spread a quarter of the cheese corner layer mixture over that. Scatter half the jalapeños evenly over the cheese and cover with another tortilla. Repeat a layer of the beans, add another tortilla, and repeat a layer of the cheese and corn. Cover with one more tortilla and brush the top with a little olive oil.

  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble around the edges and the top tortilla begins to brown. Remove from the oven, turn on the broiler and move the oven rack to the top. Scatter the remaining Cheddar cheese and sprinkle a little chili powder over the pies. Place under the broiler, one at a time if necessary, for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese on top begins to bubble. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

  • Run a rubber spatula around the edges to loosen from the pan, and slide the pies onto serving plates. Serve in wedges, with a little extra sour cream if desired.

Makes 6 – 8 servings
Baked Cheese and Tortilla Pie with Jalapeños, Corn and Pinto Beans

Rice and Green Lentils in Coconut Milk

Once again I have consulted my copy of World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown. Forgoing the simple task of deciding on a bean and soaking it the night before, I was focused on split dals and legumes, and a grain to balance it all out. This one pot creamy rice and lentil dish from Tanzania turned out to be the perfect mid-week meal solution. Like the Split Pea Cilantro Dumplings in a Coconut Curry I made, this recipe comes from the chapter on dishes from Central, East and Southern Africa. Much like a khichari in texture and spicing, the Indian influence in the Eastern region of Africa shines out here. I modified the recipe to suit my spicy tastes.
Rice and Green Lentils Cooked in Coconut Milk

1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 - 3 hot red chili peppers, finely chopped
1 cup of green lentils, rinsed
1 cup of brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
2 cups of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown. Now add the garlic, ginger and hot pepper and stir and fry for about 1 minute. Throw in the spices, stir a few times and then add the lentils and rice. Stir and pour in the water, coconut milk and add the salt. Stir to combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook, without stirring for 40 - 50 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft and tender. Check the dish periodically in case you need to add more water.

Serves 4.
Other African dishes you might like:

Northeast African Millet Patties
Nigerian Baked Beans
African Bean and Peanut Soup
Ethiopian Lentil & Mustard Salad (Azefa)
Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Stew)