Pickled onions are one of my favorite "condiments" to accompany Indian food. They are crispy, tangy, and slightly sweet, and pair well with almost any Indian dish. Actually, they also taste amazing with non-Indian foods: I often eat them with Mexican food, barbecued meat, or even stir-fry.
One of my Mom's best friend's is an excellent cook, and the first time I tried quick pickled red onions was at a dinner party at her home. I was reminded of how much I loved them when she brought them to my Mom's birthday dinner party last spring, and having them again inspired me to try my hand at making them. They are very easy to make: you only need 4 ingredients and 1 hour of time.
Happy new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Hubby and I spent time at home with family and attending a wedding where we saw many friends we had not seen in some time. I am sure you can imagine, as is customary when getting together with loved ones, that we indulged in more sweets and rich foods than usual. With the fresh start that comes with a new year we are in detox-mode in our household! That means lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lean protein. One of my favorite detoxing meals is this tandoori chicken salad!
This recipe for tandoori chicken is one of the very first Indian recipes I ever learned, and it actually comes from one of Hubby's closest friend's mother. We would often make this recipe during the summer and cook the chicken on a grill during poolside barbecues in our former home of Atlanta. Even though it is January and I have no access to a grill right now, the chicken cooks very well in an oven--it is so moist and flavorful!
Diwali, "the festival of lights," is one of the most important Hindu holidays. Every year it falls on a different date sometime between October and November because the date is calculated based on the Hindu calendar. Diwali is a celebratory time when people light candles and firecrackers, clean and decorate their homes, buy and wear new clothing, buy and give presents, and enjoy feasts of food. Of course, as with all holidays, eating sweets is a big part of celebrating Diwali! This year I decided to take a traditional Indian sweet and put a spin on it with American fall flavors.
Laddoo is a traditional spherical-shaped Indian sweet. Laddoos are generally made of some combination of flour, ghee (butter), and sugar. Often other ingredients are also added to the mixture, such as spices, raisins, and nuts.
One of my favorite types of laddoo is a Besan Laddoo. Besan is flour made from chickpeas (bonus! these laddoos are gluten-free!) which is easily found in any Indian store or most grocery stores. I have very vivid memories of being a little girl and eating besan laddoos made fresh by my mother and grandmother in the dining room of our house; I have always loved the nutty taste and smooth texture of a besan laddoo. In lieu of traditional Indian spices, however, I decided to update the besan laddoo with a beloved American flavor combination--cinnamon and brown sugar!
Today was an incredibly grey and rainy day--to the point where we had a tornado warning and I had to hide in a stairwell for 15 minutes--which made me want to cook something comforting. I had a few vegetables from the farmer's market and decided to combine them with chicken to create a curry dish that I could just eat with a spoon. I can't overstate how perfect this dish was on such a gloomy day!
The base of the curry is a combination of coconut milk and tamarind. The two ingredients work perfectly together: the rich creaminess of the coconut milk is balanced out by the sour and tangy taste of tamarind. The combination of coconut milk and tamarind is popular in Kerala, a coastal state in southern India. Fish is eaten frequently in Kerala because it borders the sea, but I chose to use chicken this time. You can easily make this a vegetarian/vegan dish too--just omit the chicken and add more vegetables!
It is finally fall! It has been feeling cooler the past few weeks, but fall officially began a few days ago. I love the cool mornings and evenings, and the sunny but mild afternoons. I am one of those people who perks up at the idea of pumpkin-flavored everything, but moreso for homemade pumpkin bread and pumpkin ravioli than a pumpkin-spiced latte. To me, there is really no better way to celebrate the start of fall than to combine beautiful winter squash with warm and comforting soup!
I adapted this recipe from one in the book The Kind Diet. I am attempting to be a vegan for an upcoming ten-day religious holiday and was looking for good vegan recipes. This soup recipe is fantastic because it is incredibly filling from the combination of lentils and butternut squash. It is also packed with all the nutrients you need--fiber, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins A, C, and E from the butternut squash; protein, fiber, folate, and iron from the lentils; calcium and iron from the spinach; the anti-oxidant lycopene and Vitamin C from the tomato; and of course, the many health benefits of spices like turmeric and cinnamon. This soup is an absolute health bomb!
Exploring Indian cuisine and trying to learn the recipes of my family. I hope to help and inspire others along the way.