Monday, 30 August 2010

Curried mung

This was a clear-out curry, because I'm going off to sit  Vipassana for ten days tomorrow & needed to use up what I had, which happened to include some half-cracked mung beans. So I found myself making a curry that is straight out of the Vipassana cookbook. I've struggled with my equanimity, during past sittings, when confronted with a bland mung bean curry on day six and rued the ruling against offering Natco mango pickle, except on day ten. I didn't look at the Dhamma Dipa recipe, but suppose it goes pretty much like the one I made up: diced onion, carrot and celery sweated with garlic and seasoned with garam masala and haldi (turmeric). The Indian Ladies (a mystical sisterhood that I have served) would use asafoetida, sooner than garlic. My mung were not uniform. Some were sprouting, but the ones on the bottom hadn't cracked. Therefore, after adding the beans and covering the mixture with water, I simmered the curry for a good half hour, adding more water as necessary, then left it to stand for another ten mins. over next to no heat. It was OK, served with the end of a bag of basmati & zhushed up with Souna's Carrot Pickle. If you don't know Souna's pickles, its no surprise, since she doesn't like to advertise but, believe, Souna is one Indian Lady (Southall Chapter).

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sprout salad

Another version of the aborted salad from the other day, with pearl barley and adzuki sprouts, mixed with diced carrot 'n' celery and macerated in a miso broth with sesame oil & soy sauce, then mixed with more bean sprouts that have started to shoot. Served on a bed of alfalfa mixed with the remains of a bag of Florette that was in the 'fridge, sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds and bestrewn with deep-fried tofu cubes. I adorned it with a dollop of store-bought mayo enlivened with the jalapeno sauce that's crept into the pic.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Red pepper & lentil pasta sauce

This is the pasta sauce they serve on day one of a ten-day course @ Dhamma Dipa, pretty much. Get eight red'n'orange Dutch bell peppers for a quid down the Lane. Slice, de-seed & roast the peppers to concentrate their otherwise rather insipid flavour, along with garlic and any over ripe tomatoes that may lurk in one's 'fridge. If there's no lurkers, as today, use tinned innit. Boil a cupful of red lentils for 20 mins, until soft, and boil wholemeal pasta twists, or whatever pasta you prefer, al dente. Meanwhile, sauté diced onion, carrot and celery. This mirepoix needs to almost caramelise in the bottom of a sauce pan with a fitted lid. Season it with paprika & cayenne. Add the cooked or tinned tomatoes, minced roasted garlic, plus any dried herbs (such as oregano) and cook through. Mix the cooked red lentils into the tomato sauce. Chop the roasted peppers finely (or whizz 'em in a food processor) and put them into the sauce, adding a splash of water if it's too thick. You can add frozen peas, or corn kernels, at this point, as you fancy.
Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pan, spoon the sauce over, stir it in and leave to stand with the lid on, over next-to-no heat, for three to five minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, if you have it, and serve with grated cheese.
I'm going to sit a vipassana course next week, so no doubt I'll be eating a version of this for lunch on Wednesday:-)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Refried brown rice & fried tofu

I soaked a cupful of pearl barley to see of it would sprout and, over a couple of days, it achieved a chewy consistency, which I though might compliment crunchy chori usli - sprouted adzuki beans - in a salad, perhaps with tamari and mirin? Having neither in store and being too tight to pay Baldwin's prices, I settled for soaking the sprouts in a sachet of instant miso soup with some diced carrot and celery, adding a jigger of sesame 'n' splash of soy sauce. I intended to drain when cold & add roasted sunflower seeds with shoyu sauce, which proved my undoing. I kept eating them, so had to make three batches & ruined my appetite for experimental salad. In the finish, I mixed a few table spoons of the sprout mix with leftover rice in the wok and served it on a bed of alfalfa, garnished with deep-fried tofu.

It seems wrong to fry tofu & it sure sucks up oil, but if you've got a block in the 'fridge that's a few days old, it's a good way to use it. You don't need to actually fry in a vat of oil, but you need enough to cover cubes of a decent size, tilting the wok as necessary. Cook on & on until they're golden. The blandness of tofu is a great backdrop for hot sauces and I bought a small bottle of Tabasco in the supermarket today for just a single one of your English pounds. Bargain!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday Brunch

Sometimes  - frequently @ weekends - only a good grease out will do. This is as close as I come, these days: no meat; but I do eat eggs & cheese. Well, I am who I am & I make no excuses. It's hard to get a really fresh egg in LDN but I buy the best available, strictly medium-sized. I've got a poacher and I do like egg sarnies, fried over-easy; but my favourite way with eggs is to scramble them, slowly, or, as in this case, make a two-egg omelette with Emmental. Time invested in roasting tomatoes with a pinch of salt before finishing them under the grill is rewarded by an intenser tomato hit, which I traditionally enhance with a drizzle of HP. 'Shrooms are sauteed and stewed in milk, like my Granny Peggy taught me, but I do draw the line at cow juice and use soya milk, instead. Plus lashings of black pepper. I'm buying Morrison's own brand organic baked beans at the mo. and Burgen soya & linseed bread, which is as close to Vogel's as my local supermarket gets.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Green chickpea curry

I love chick peas and was intrigued to discover the green variety, hara chana. I soaked & sprouted a cupful over a couple of days. Cooked 'em in a base of diced red onion & garic, sauteed with galangal & green curry paste; with a 2cm cube of creamed coconut dissolved in about 350ml water, gently simmered with the lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid had absorbed; then thickened the sauce with another nubbin of creamed coconut, garnished with beansprouts, a squeeze of lime; cooked on for a few mins, stirring, until the sprouts wilted somewhat. Served with rice (brown short grain). Boomshankah Friday!

Rewokked it for tea with lashings of Hot Headz Jalapeño sauce.