Curried Red Lentil Soup


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Curried Red Lentil Soup

Modest cook that I am, I must say this must be one of the best lentil soups I have ever prepared. I adapted it from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. Easy to prepare, this dish is a good choice for a mid-week meal or anytime for that matter served with rice or an Indian flatbread. Slightly smoky, spicy and creamy, this healthy blend of ingredients is warming and won't fail to tickle your taste buds.

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Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

My regular readers will know how much I enjoy making various types of biscuits. My latest attempt were these moist buttermilk and Cheddar biscuits with a golden brown top. Savory biscuits such as these ones make a nice treat for lunch and an ideal accompaniment with most any meal and would certainly be a welcome addition to the Christmas table. Easy to prepare and very filling, the only drawback is the amount of dishes and clean up after you are done baking, but I can assure you it's worth the effort. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, simply add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup and add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes. Any remaining soured milk that is left over will keep in the fridge for three or four days.

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No Croutons Required - Festive Photos for December

The theme this month for No Croutons Required was to come up with a festive photo. It has become a tradition to deviate from our usual practice of asking for vegetarian soups or salads as December is a busy time of year and it's fun to share images of winter landscapes and Christmas preparations. There are some talented photographers out there and I am excited to see the submissions. I am not much for decorating my home for Christmas, and I hoped to send in a picture of a Christmas treat to Jackie, but the deadline for submissions is today, so I am sending along this picture from a few weeks ago when we were hit with nearly 4 feet of snow in a matter of days.

I will be hosting the next edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of January for the challenge.

Green Bean and Borlotti Bean Risotto

Green Bean and Borlotti Bean Risotto

My photos here do not do this dish justice. A creamy combination of arborio rice, romano beans, crunchy green beans and Parmesan cheese is a perfect remedy for a diner who is suffering from a lack of appetite. A complete meal on a plate, it is worth the effort of stirring frequently to achieve your desired consistency. Consider serving with a salad, such as my famous vegetarian Caesar salad or perhaps with Bengali-style potatoes.

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Chickpeas with Mushrooms


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
As I noted in a previous post where I announced a giveaway for Madhur Jaffrey's new cookbook At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, the first recipe I tried from this delightful collection was this spicy Chickpea and Mushroom dish. How could I resist considering chickpeas and mushrooms are two of my very favorites and they pair so well together. This dish can be served as is but I decided that I liked the idea of presenting it in a wrap topped with yogurt and a sprinkling of hot sauce. I adapted the recipe slightly, but generally stuck to Ms. Jaffrey's instructions. For an extra special mushroom treat, serve with a generous portion of Mushroom Curry as a side.

I am also submitting this recipe to Priya, who is hosting My Legume Love Affair this month, a most popular event started by darling Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

Chickpeas with Mushrooms

1 cup of dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked in enough water overnight to cover
1/4 cup of ghee, or olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
10 - 12 mushrooms (cremini or white button mushrooms), sliced into wide strips
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 small tomato, diced
2 -3 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
sea salt to taste

8 - 10 tortillas
fresh parsley
chopped tomatoes


Begin by cooking the chickpeas. Drain, transfer to a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and cook until the chickpeas are buttery soft - roughly 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick. Stir and fry for a minute. Now add the onions and stir and fry until the onions begin to brown - roughly 5 minutes. Toss in the ginger and garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and then add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to lose their liquid. Add the tomato, chopped chilies and a 1/2 cup of reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or water). Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cooked chickpeas to the pot, along with the salt and 1 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or water). Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for another 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve as a wrap, place a few tablespoons of the chickpea mushroom mixture in the middle of a tortilla bread. Add some finely chopped tomato, chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and finely sliced onion if desired. Wrap, transfer to a plate and top with fresh yogurt or sour cream drizzled with hot sauce or with your favorite chutney or salsa.

Serves 6.

Other spicy chickpea recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Shredded Paneer with Tomatoes, Chilies, Mushrooms and Chickpeas
Chickpea Vindaloo
Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy
Spicy Chickpeas with Ground Pomegranate Seeds

On the top of the reading stack: 1,000 Indian Recipes

Audio Accompaniment: Marsen Jules

Spicy White Cheddar Shortbread Crackers

Spicy White Cheddar Shortbread Crackers

Shortbread is a treat anytime of year, but it has long been a tradition to serve this delicacy at Christmas, usually as a treat sweetened with jam. This year, Gay Lea Foods has provided me with a sample of their butter and two new innovative recipes to grace your holiday table this year. While the banana coconut cream shortbread sounded appealing, my taste for savory and spicy drew me immediately to the chipotle and white Cheddar shortbread crackers. Light and buttery with a wonderful cheese flavor and a perfect piquancy from habanero powder — I didn't have chipotle on hand — my husband and I couldn't stop eating them as soon as they had cooled down! Very highly recommended for entertaining at this time of year, or for a snack if you're not so inclined to share! Although the recipe makes about 30 crackers, they're so light that they'll disappear much faster than you would expect — do double or triple the recipe if there's going to be more than a handful of people, and if there are any left by any chance they will keep in a tightly sealed container for up to a week.

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Spicy Mixed Dal Soup


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Spicy Mixed Dal Soup

There is very little that is more comforting for the chilly weather than a combination of mixed dals combined into a thick nourishing soup with warming spices. Quick and easy to make, with the delight of sweet tamarind in the mix, those who enjoy Indian creations will not be disappointed.

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Christmas Giveaway at Lisa's Kitchen

I recently discovered that Madhur Jaffrey has come out with a new cookbook entitled "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey." I own several of her cookbooks, including "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking", "Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian" and "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking", among others. I was curious about her latest collection and without even having a chance to browse through the book before ordering it online, I bought two copies, thinking I would give the second copy as a gift, or use it for a giveaway to thank all of my readers for their loyal support.

Though her latest cookbook is not vegetarian, there are plenty of tempting and healthy dishes for vegetarians and vegans to try and enjoy. Those that fancy meat and fish will also not be disappointed. The curious cook will find recipes for spice blends, starters, soups, vegetables, dals, grains, condiments, drinks and even desserts. One of the most appealing aspects of Ms. Jaffrey's books is that she makes Indian cuisine accessible and easy for those inexperienced with traditional Indian cooking and for those who are more familiar with Indian techniques, the possibilities to created unique and wholesome dishes are endless. All of her recipes can be made with ease without sacrificing flavor or nutrition. Her descriptions of Indian traditions and cooking techniques are invaluable and the personal anecdotes are charming. Well written and beautifully presented, this is certainly a volume you will want to add to your cookbook collection.

Soon I will be sharing her recipe for Chickpeas with Mushrooms which turned out beautifully.

I've decided to offer my readers a chance to win this cookbook. For a chance to win simply leave a comment in the comment section by the 25th of December. I will ship out the book to the winner of the random draw in the New Year. Because of postage costs, I am sorry but this giveaway contest is only open to residents of Canada and the US.

Potato Cauliflower Soup with Brown Rice

So simple but so comforting, this steaming bowl of thick and creamy potato soup is just perfect for a chilly winter day - so much so that when it's simmering on the stove it's really all I want for supper. But potatoes, onions and milk don't quite cut it as a meal proper, so I often treat potato soup as a base for adding other complementary nutrients and flavours without compromising the simplicity and comfort that makes its appeal, as with this soup, in which cauliflower and brown rice lend a hint of elegance and a lovely bit of sweetness and nuttiness to the wonderful flavour of the potatoes, as well as a healthy portion of extra vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

A little thyme and a garnish of grated aged cheddar cheese round out a wholesome and revitalized soup that's still just as simple, warming and comforting as the old standard we've all come to love.
Potato Cauliflower Soup with Brown Rice

1 cup cooked brown rice (1/2 cup dried)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small head cauliflower (1 1b.) cut into florets
2 large potatoes (1 lb.) diced
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
aged cheddar cheese, grated for garnish


Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a moment or two, then swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Toss in the thyme and stir once. Add the cauliflower, potatoes and rice and cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Pour in the milk and heat the soup throughout.

Remove from heat and season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with grated cheddar cheese.

Serves 4 to 6.

Other potato dishes from Lisa's Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Scalloped Potatoes with Coconut Milk
Crunchy Potatoes, Bengali-Style
Potato, Onion and Stilton Frittata

On the top of the reading stack: Food and Drink

Audio Accompaniment: Shuttle 358

My Legume Love Affair - The November Edition - 29

It is a pleasure to display a wonderful array of legume recipes this month. My dear friend Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook offered me the opportunity to host MLLA for November. Lots of healthy and tasty vegetarian recipes to choose from here. A big thanks to Susan for organizing this event and thanks to all who submitted their recipes. The random draw has taken place and Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy is the lucky recipient of a six-bag assortment case of dried beans from Hurst Beans and a choice of a cookbook or food related book from Amazon for up to $15.00US. Congratulations Tanvi and your Cornmeal Crusted Black Beans & Green Gram Cutlets will be gracing my table soon.


Shundal
from Bird's Eye View, of Food and Laughter located in Gurgaon, India. There is no picture of this dish, but it sounds lovely and she shares this darling picture of dolls instead.


Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
from Jeanette's Healthy Living located in Conneticut, US. This spicy and pretty soup is pure comfort food indeed.


Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash
from Janet of Taste Space, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A gorgeous dish that is just perfect for the cool weather.


Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

from Samantha, located in Ottawa, Canada, and though she does not have a blog, she has kindly submitted this delicious recipe containing lentils and lots of delicious veggies. The photo has been contributed by Susan.


Tofu Tikka Masala
from Denny of Oh Taste n See, located in Seattle, WA, US. This lovely curry dish would certainly be heavenly alongside the Oats Roti that was served with this tempting creation.


No-oil Mattar Paneer
from Priya of Enveetu Kitchen located in Sharjah, UAE. One of my favorite Indian dishes and as far as I am concerned, you can never have enough recipes for this delightful dish.


Wild Rice and Lentil Soup
from Claire of Chez Cayenne located in Houston, Texas, US. Such a flavourful and warming combination of ingredients.


Mashed Tapioca with Sprouted Green Peas and Coconut
from Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen located in Texas, US. Served with rice, enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack, this is truly a treat.


Dhokla/Steamed Gram Flour Cake
from Anu of Truth Personified, located in Los Angeles, US. Made from scratch and inspired by her mom, this creation is unique and oh so tempting.


Spicy Chickpeas with Ground Pomegranate Seeds
from Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, located in London, Ontario, Canada. Lots of spicy goodness in this dish.


Cinnamon Spiced Chickpea & Sweet Potato Salad
from Megha of Live to Eat, located in India. Healthy, tasty and such a treat for any vegetarian or carnivore.


Sambar Vegetable Soup
from Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food, located in California, US. South Indian creations such as this are irresistible, especially with mung beans.


Sambar (Lentil and Vegetable stew)
from Akheela of Torviewtoronto, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This lovely dish featuring toor dal and lots of spices is sure to please those who enjoy Indian food as much as I do.


Eggplant Rice
from Akheela of Torviewtoronto, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Tamarind and split legumes are combined here with rice and eggplant for a most nourishing meal.


Eggless Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon with Chickpea Flour
from Graziana of Erbe in Cucina, located in Italy. These lovely pancakes will surely please the palate.


Yam, Black Bean and Amaranth Burritos
from Janet of Taste Space, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This creative dish could not fail to please, and the presentation is simply divine.


Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa Salad
from Janet of Taste Space, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Quinoa combined with black beans is a delightful and healthy dish.


Mung fudge (Ashoka halwa)
from Sowmya of Vegetarian Cultural Creatives located in Indiana, USA. This south Indian sweet is often served at weddings. I'd be sure to enjoy this for any occasion.


Dahi Gujiya-Stuffed Lentil Dumplings In Yogurt Sauce
from Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy, located in USA. Urad dal shines here, especially topped with tamarind chutney.


Peanut Jaggery Balls
from Priya, of Enveetu Kitchen, located in Sharjah, UAE. Such a delightful treat that could be enjoyed on any occasion.


Rajma Cutlet
from Priya of Enveetu Kitchen, located in Sharjah, UAE. Sprouted kidney beans are transformed into a delicious crispy starter.


Quinoa, Chickpea and Fennel Salad
from Vanessa of Sweet Artichoke, located in Switzerland. Quick to prepare, this dish is certainly a complete meal in itself.


Warm Autumn Three Bean Salad,
from Apu of Annarasa - Essence of Food, located in USA. This warming salad is perfect for autumn weather, especially served with soup and freshly baked bread.


Mexican Rice Salad
from Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe, located in Melbourne, Australia. This spicy Mexican inspired dish would be most perfect for a picnic indeed. I am flattered that Johanna based her recipe on my Brown Rice and Two-Bean Salad.


Pumpkin, Black Bean and Leek Chilli
from Mango Cheeks of Allotment 2 Kitchen, located in West of Scotland. Lots of chilies in this spicy dish and I certainly could not resist a bowl that includes pumpkin, black beans and borlotti beans.


Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup
from Chaya, of Comfy Cook, located in New York, USA. Cannellini beans shine here with marinara sauce and veggies. Certainly worth going back for seconds.


Quinoa Twice Cooked
from Chaya of My Sweet and Savory, located in New York, USA. Black beans go along nicely with nutty quinoa and tomatoes in this dish.


Green Tuvar Ghassi/Lilva Gassi/Curry
from Veena of Veg Junction, located in India. This dish with fresh tuvar was inspired by a dish her mom often makes.


Black Bean Chili
from Honey Bean of Bee and the Fruit in the Kitchen located in USA. This delicious chili is not only pretty but quite tempting too.


Mung Beans and Buckwheat Groat Soup with Leek and Salvia
from Bril of Brilblog, located in Valsorda on Garda Lake Italy. Some of my favorite foods are in this dish that is a complete meal in itself.


Cornmeal Crusted Black Beans & Green Gram Cutlets
from Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy, located in USA. This baked cutlet with a cornbread crust is certainly healthy and how could I resist?


Penne Pasta with Lentil Sauce from Jayasri
of Cooking is Divine, located in the United Kingdom. Brown Lentils really fill out this easy to prepare dsh.


Fava Bean Dip (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Low-Glycemic, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)
from Valerie of City Life Eats, located in Washington, DC, USA. Fresh fava beans are used in this dip that is surely worth the time it takes to make.


Tomatillo Peanut Kuzhambu
from Denise of Oh Taste n See, located in Seattle, WA, US. This colorful spicy dish was originally a korma.


Akara - Nigerian White Bean Burgers
from Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, located in New York, US. This traditional African dish includes habanero peppers and is fried in a healthy red palm oil. Serve as a veggie burger or over a bed of salad greens with your choice of garnish.


Lentil and Wild Rice Pilaf
from Matt of Hurst Bean Blog, located in the US. Garlic and herb flavoured lentils are combined here with the sweetness of dried cranberries, crunchy nuts and wild rice. Quick to prepare, this dish would be a lovely side addition to any meal or even as a meal in itself.

Priya of Mharo Rajasthans's Recipes will be hosting the December edition of MLLA.