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Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts

June 13, 2016

Mint Chutney - Minty Freshness with a Spicy Kick

Refreshing Mint Chutney

This past Friday (6/10), we celebrated National Herbs and Spices day with Mint. 

I love mint. It's one of the easiest herbs to grow. Just sow some seeds in soil and watch it spread like wild fire. Every once in a while, we just chop off a bunch and make something with it. With the hot weather lately, we decided to go with mint chutney. It's cool and refreshing.

This chutney can be eaten with rice and/or spread on bread and enjoyed as tea sandwiches.

- 3 cups Mint leaves
- 3-1/2 Tbsp Chutney powder
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- Size of lime of Dry Tamarind, microwaved for 45 seconds and set aside
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or as per your taste)
- 1 Tbsp Brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Dhanjeera powder (ground coriander and cumin seeds)
- 1/4 cup Dry coconut powder (optional)
- 1 tsp Vegetable oil

Separate the mint leaves form the woody stems, and then wash and dry them thoroughly. Next, chop the leaves finely. In a shallow pan, heat oil on low-medium flame, and the chopped mint. Fry them until wilted and keep aside and let it cool.

In a blender, add the cooled down mint along with the other ingredients. Next add 1/2 cup of water and grind to a coarse sauce like consistency. Additional water may be added if needed. Adjust the salt and spice level.

And Voila!! It is ready to be served and enjoyed. We enjoy eating this chutney with rice, roti, idlis and/or pongali.

January 24, 2013

For the Love of Peanut Butter

Oh Peanut Butter, Oh Peanut Butter
You so creamy and smooth
Oh Peanut Butter, Oh Peanut Butter
And so chunky and crunchy
You go with everything and anything
Please don't ever part from me!

Today is National Peanut Butter Day and I thought I would start by telling everyone how much I love it. What do you think? I think, it's simple and right to the point. My newest trend or topic has been to follow food-related events/holidays like this one. Everyone I know loves peanut butter; it's made with one of the best ingredients: PEANUTS!!

That's a lot of PEANUTS!!
Here are some facts that you may or may not know about peanut butter (Wikipedia):
- Popular in North America, Netherlands, United Kingdom & parts of Asia
- Commonly used as a sandwich spread; especially for PB&J sandwiches
- The US and China are the main exporters
- Has some good health benefits: protein, Vitamin B3& E, Magnesium, & Dietary Fiber

Other uses include in making cookies and candy (like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups). Putting sweets aside, we love using it in many of our Indian recipes. It makes our dishes more creamy, and also enhances the flavor:

With so many different uses and varieties (smooth, chunky, nutty, organic, non-fat) of peanut butter to choose from, this is one food trend that is sure to "stick around".

Have you had your serving of peanut butter today? How do you enjoy peanut butter? 

Read all about last week's food event, International Hot and Spicy Food day which fell on January 16th.

May 15, 2012

~*A Special Mother's Day Weekend*~

Mother's Day started on Friday for us since I couldn't wait to give my mom and grandmother the flowers I bought for them. I left work early and drove straight to the local florist (been going there since my prom). I had a floral arrangement made for both them; sending lots of love from my sister, dad and me.

They loved the burst of color from all the various flowers: lilies, daises, mums, roses, hydrangeas, and carnations. The florist inserted shimmering crystals into some of the flowers for that extra sparkle. Only the very best for the special ladies in my life.

My mom is "one of a kind" and she deserves things that are also just like her. So of course, I had to give her this brooch.

A great find from Red Ribbon Gift Shop, Morris Plains NJ 
Once gift giving was complete, I kicked my mom out of the kitchen and started on the next surprise; it's something crunchy and peanut buttery.

April 2, 2012

~Not So Bitter Karela Curry~

You learn many lessons in life; some stick with you and some don't. My favorite is "don't judge a book by its cover". It applies not only in life but also in cooking. Just because it looks different, doesn't mean it tastes bad or is bad for you.

Sometimes it's quite the opposite; like in the case of the Karela aka The Bitter Melon. Karela is a green, prickly and bitter tasting gourd or melon. It's probably the last to be picked among the more popular vegetables like eggplant or bell pepper. However I don't think people know that this vegetable is really quite good for them. Among the Asian and African countries, Karela is noted to have medicinal value to treat many illnesses. Karela juices and pills are also available for daily consumption.

We enjoy eating Karela in a number of ways: Steamed and stuffed with masala, stir fried, and in a gravy based curry.
Last night we picked up some fresh Karela from the Indian grocery and made the gravy based curry as one of the curries for the week. The addition of the peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut and milk tone down the bitter taste of karela.

1 ½ lbs Karela/Bitter Melon
2 Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 2 Dry Coconut powder
- 2 to 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
½ tbsp Chili powder
½ tbsp Salt
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
½ tsp Turmeric

Cut the ends of the karelas and chop them longitudinally and then cut into thin slides.  Heat oil in a pan, season with mustard and cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add onion and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add turmeric and chili powder, karela and salt. Mix well and cook under low-medium heat until karela is cooked well. Now add peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut, and milk and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until all the milk is absorbed. Serve it with rice or rotis. 

***Quick Tips:
- Karela can be substituted with Kantola (another type of bitter melon, which isn't as bitter). You can find it in the frozen section in most Indian grocery stores. If using this vegetable, reduce the brown sugar and peanut butter measurements. 

March 18, 2012

Tangy Tomato Chutney

Who says you can't play with your food and eat it too? These idlis really know how to "chill" out and soak in the flavor! Can't wait to pop 'em in my mouth!

One of my favorite South Indian dishes is Idlis. They are savory steamed cakes made with husked black gram and rice. You'll never find idlis without the accompaniment of the chutney powder and/or sambhar. However lately, I've been craving for something different; that's not traditional and doesn't require a lot of preparation. We experimented with a few ingredients and came up with another option. It's called Tangy Tomato Chutney and it's also a great dipping sauce for vadas, dosas, garelu (mini lentil patties) and even paratha

Chutney Ingredients:
  • 1½ lbs Firm Red Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 to 4 Green Chilies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Salt, adjust for your taste
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil, for seasoning

Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add green chilies and mix well for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, brown sugar and mix well. Cook them under closed lid for 5 to 6 minutes and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then blend the cooked vegetables along with peanut butter under pulse mode to making sure all ingredients are mixed well. Once it reaches a smooth consistency, transfer the sauce into a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite dish. 

March 13, 2012

Achari Chayote Curry

Achar is a very popular Indian pickle. Raw mango or lemon are most commonly used to make it. Other varieties include mixed vegetable, gooseberry, or coriander. It's a great accompaniment for flat breads and rice. We like using it as the "sour" taste enhancer in many of our curry (gravy based) dishes. One of them is the Achari Chayote Curry. Chayote (from the squash family) looks like a fat green pear and has a mild flavor.

- 3 Chayote, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 2 tbsp Mango Achar (crushed variety)
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Place the pressure cooker or skillet on medium to high heat and add oil for the seasoning. Then add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add turmeric powder, stir and mix in the chopped chayote. Then add salt and ¼ cup of water and pressure cook for 5 minutes (If using skillet, cook until soft by stirring every couple of minutes, add additional water if needed). When the pressure is released, open the cooker, add peanut butter, achar and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are mixed in evenly. (If using the skillet, just add in the ingredients once the vegetable is cooked thoroughly.) Now it's ready to be served. Enjoy with some rotis or warm rice/quinoa.

***Quick Tip:
- If chayote is not readily available, try the recipe with long squash or zucchini.

October 6, 2011

Green Apple Salsa

Have we got a treat for you! Today's recipe highlights two ingredients that are quite different from each other, both in taste and texture. One is an herb used as a garnish in many Indian dishes and the other is used to make America's famous apple pie. You guessed it, coriander and Granny Smith apples.

These two ingredients are combined to make one sweet and tangy flavored sauce which we like to call Green Apple Salsa. It's great for dipping your favorite chips. Ours is hearty pita chips.

Here's what you need to get started:
- 1 Green Apple (Granny Smith variety), cored and chopped into small cubes
- ¾ cup of Coriander/Cilantro leaves, chopped finely
- 3 Garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
- 2 Green chilies, chopped small
- 1 tsp of Peanut butter
- A pinch of Turmeric powder (optional)
- ½ tsp of Salt (Adjust to your taste)

Put all the ingredients except for the peanut butter and grind to a coarse texture. Now add the peanut butter and blend again to mix well. Taste to check the salt and adjust if needed. 

***Quick Tip: It can also be used as a spread on finger sandwiches instead of mint chutney. 

September 27, 2010

Sweet And Sour Toast

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he mentioned having an Okra smoothie for breakfast. He said it was delicious and very healthy. I took his word for it and made sure not to ask for the recipe. He's a bit of a health nut, so he is always on the lookout for nutritious meals. I'm not saying I'm into unhealthy stuff but I cross the line at green gooey shakes.  My usual day starts with toasted wheat bread and a glass of orange juice.

So on one of  my daily breakfast sit downs, it hit me. My breakfast meal is already healthy but it lacks pizazz. Then my mom told me that she also eats toast in the morning but tops off it off with some chutney.  She said that she was sick of eating it with peanut butter or jelly everyday. That's an interesting idea, I thought.  

And so I present to you my new breakfast item:  Toast with Chinese Okra Chutney

Chinese Okra
- 3 Chinese okra/ Tori / Squash, approx. 8-10” long
- 1 tbsp of Tamarind pulp, (use the bottled brand)
- 1 tbsp of Peanut butter
- 2 tbsp of Idli podi*
- 1 tsp Salt, or as needed
- Half tbsp of Brown sugar
- 2 Green chilies

Peel the squash and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Then cut the chilies into two pieces. Saute the squash along with green chilies in a sauce pan along with salt and turmeric until soft. Set aside to cool. In a blender or food processor blend the squash mix along with all other ingredients listed.  Adjust the salt and sweetness as desired. It tastes great as a spread on toasted bread slices because it has the sweet and sour flavors blended together in one. And you can serve it with hot rice/ rotis or use it as a chutney or relish with any appetizers.

*If idli podi is not available the following powder can be used as a substitution. In tablespoon oil roast 2tbsp coriander seeds (dhania), 2 red chilies and 2 tbsp chana dal. Powder them to a coarse grain along with salt.