Slow Cooker Thai Curry

I love my slow cooker and I love Thai curry!  I have been trying different slow cooker recipes gearing up for the Summer.  I always associated slow cooker to Fall/Winter, but I realized slow cooker comes in handy (even saved many dinners) during Summer especially when you live in a 100 plus year old house without central air… I adapted this Thai curry recipe from here;  instead of beef, I added chicken; instead of beef stock, I added chicken stock; and depending on your taste adjust the amount of curry paste, sugar and fish sauce.  I also added bell peppers, carrots, zucchini,  and  bamboo shoots; used regular coconut milk instead of light milk, omitted jalapeno,  and garnished with cilantro.  

302011_10151628391986449_837147461_n

Serving: 8

  • 2 pounds lean beef stew meat
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion (1 onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk  (** I used regular coconut milk)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
  • 4 cups hot cooked jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

**See the adjustments I made above (in the introduction).  

  1. 1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain. Place beef in a 4-quart electric slow cooker; sprinkle with salt.
  2. 2. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Spoon onion mixture over beef. Combine beef broth and next 6 ingredients (through jalapeño); pour over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  3. 3. Stir in spinach. Cover and cook on LOW for 15 minutes or just until spinach wilts. Serve beef mixture over rice; sprinkle with basil leaves.

**There are different types of Thai curry paste; these are the 2 brands I use the most.  In my opinion, the canned paste is slightly less spicy and hot than the paste in a tub.  

IMG_8160

My opinion:  Ohhhh, loved it!!!  My family couldn’t keep away from this curry!!  My children wanted to eat this day after day, but after day 2 we finished it up and they were really sad.  Use the recipe as a base and adjust it to your own taste (as you can see, that’s what I did).

Loco Moco

I think I’m finally catching up (I think…).  Now it feels like Spring has finally arrived and in the midst of ups and downs with families, friends and relatives I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel (sort of).  I am posting one of our favorite food “Loco Moco”!!  My husband requested this for his birthday dinner in mid-February (yes, I’m about 2 months behind with my post) and I happily agreed since it’s been ages since I made this.  Loco Moco is one of the Hawaiian specialties – with Japanese style hamburger patty placed over hot steaming rice, sunnyside up egg on top of the hamburger with generous amount of gravy; a true comfort food.  Read the history of Loco Moco here.

IMG_8002

It’s been such a long time since I made this; I lost the original recipe I had 😦   I searched online to see if I can find a similar recipe and this came the closest and it tasted pretty darn good!

Serves 4:

Rice:

2 cups (rice measuring cup) short or medium grain white rice

Hamburger Patties:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs for sunny side up or over easy

Gravy:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the rice according to your rice cooker manual (or how you are used to cooking).

Make the gravy. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and continually stir for 5 minutes or until the mixture turns golden-brown. Whisk in the beef broth, ketchup, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Keep whisking and bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until desired thickness is reached, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large bowl, mix beef, onion, one egg, panko, salt and pepper. Divide in four and make flat oval patties. Heat oil in a pan and grill patties over medium heat for 5 minutes then flip and grill both sides until cooked through.

Fry eggs sunny side up or over easy.

When rice completes cooking, place in serving plates and top with the cooked hamburger patties. Ladle the gravy and top with a fried egg.

My opinion:  I always loved Japanese style hamburgers while growing up, so naturally I fell in love with Loco Moco (which adopted this Japanese style hamburger).  I don’t know how else to describe this, just a pure comfort food.  You have to try this!!

Cuban Style Dinner–Part 4 “Avocado & Red Onion Salad, and Fried Plantains”

You may be pleasantly surprised from this unexpected taste from  Avocado and Red Onion Salad!!  When I first ate this many years ago I got hooked on it!  This salad compliments very well when  eaten with the Cuban Pork Roast or all by itself!! 

We love sweet fried plantains here – I deliberately chose plantains which were really black, and still let them sit on the kitchen counter for few days!

Avocado & Red Onion Salad:  yields about 6 servings

IMG_0385

4 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 small red onions (2 large or 3 medium), peeled and halved
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice from 1 lime

Put the sliced red onions in a nonreactive bowl, sprinkle Kosher salt and massage the salt into the onion slices.  Make sure the salt is well blended in the onions.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, add about 1/2 cup of ice and fill the bowl 3/4 way.  Add the avocado halves and gently swirl them around so that all surfaces are immersed.  Keep the avocados in the ice water for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, gently pat the avocado halves with paper towel and store on a plate or bowl with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.   This ice water process is to prevent the avocados from darkening. 

IMG_0376
(These are avocados were cut 5 hours ago!! By soaking them in ice water the skin is protected from darkening). 

Rinse the onions well (2-3 times under cold water).  Squeeze out extra liquid.  By this time, the onions are all wilted and went through semi “pickling” process. 

Slice the avocados and place them on a serving dish.  Arrange the onions on top of avocados, squeeze lime juice over them, and sprinkle salt and pepper!! 

Fried Plantains:  yield 4-6

IMG_0378

3 large (or 4 medium) really dark plantains – the skin should look black
Oil

Slice the plantains any way you like.   I just chopped the plantains into 4 pieces and mashed them in this plantain mold :
IMG_0377

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, lower the heat to medium-low and place the plantain pieces.  Brown both sides of the plantains.  I usually cook about 3-4 minutes each side.  These plantains were really sweet so I didn’t add anything – sometimes if the plantains aren’t that sweet I sprinkle some sugar over the cooked plantains.

Rest of my Cuban Style Dinner:

Part 1 – Cuban Pork Roast

Part 2 – Black Bean Stew

Part 3 – Pork & Chorizo Stew

Cuban Style Dinner–Part 3 “Pork & Chorizo Stew”

This alone can be a very sufficient and delicious meal, but combine this with the Black Bean Stew and the Cuban Pork Roast, Avocado & Red Onion Salad, and Fried Plantains you have one big power meal!!

IMG_0387

Serves about 6:

1-1/2 pounds lean boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-size cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice from 1 lime
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 pound chorizo (if you can, find a really good authentic chorizo at a Latin American market)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon cumin

In a nonreactive bowl, sprinkle the pork with the salt, pepper, and lime juice, cover and let marinate 2 hours, refrigerated.

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil.  Drain the pork from the marinade (save the marinade) and add to the skillet, cook until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to low and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cook until onion is tender (6-8 minutes).  Add the chorizo, tomatoes, sherry, cumin, and reserved marinade and bring to boil, after that simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Cuban Style Dinner–Part 1 “Cuban Pork Roast”

I’ve been trying to procrastinate writing this post since Friday night.  Friday night I made sumptuous Cuban style dinner (yes, I realize I should be humble about this, but it truly was delicious) for my family and my cousin’s family.  The dinner consisted of Cuban Pork Roast, Pork & Chorizo Stew, Black Bean Stew, Spanish rice, Avocado & Red Onion Salad, and Fried Plantains.   I adapted these recipes from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen, by Mary Urruthia Randelman & Joan Schwartz.   For many of these recipes I adapted a lot based on my ex-sister-in-law’s cooking style (she was from Ecuador who lives in Miami).   I will try my darn best to write down the steps to making these wonderful dishes!!

IMG_0390

Let’s start with the Cuban Pork Roast (Puerco Asado):  Start prepping this the day before the actual dinner/meal.  This will yield about 8 servings. 

One 5-pound boneless pork loin (I used two (2) 2-1/2 pound boneless pork loin)
8-10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup Mojo Criollo (can be bought at many Latin American stores and some major American supermarkets)

IMG_0335

Day before, score the roast all over its surface with the tip of a knife.  In a mortar or food processor, combine the garlic and oregano and make into paste.  Fill the slit you made in the pork with the garlic and oregano paste.

IMG_0334

Place the pork in a nonreactive dish, rub it with the remaining garlic paste, salt, and pepper

IMG_0336

Pour the lime and orange juice, red wine and Mojo Criollo.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Turn over the meat the next day so the other side can marinate. 

IMG_0337

Preheat the oven to 350F, remove the roast from its marinade (preserve this marinade for making the Black Bean stew).  Place the meat in a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 2-1/2 hours (internal temperature should reach 165F).  When the meat is done, transfer it to a serving platter, cover it with an aluminum foil and allow to sit 10-15 minutes before slicing. 

IMG_0382

My opinion:  very moist and flavorful roast!  We really loved this dinner (kind of funny saying this of my own cooking).  With this left over pork roast you can also make various sandwiches, especially the Cubano sandwiches, which I will post a little later. 

Cuban Style Dinner-Part 2 “Black Bean Stew”

This is great on roasts and rice!! 

IMG_0386

Makes about 6-8 servings:

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
3 – 16ounce cans black beans (I substituted 1 can with black eyed pea )
1 teaspoon ground cumin
few dashes of hot sauce (any brand)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of Cuban Pork marinade OR 1/2 cup Mojo Criollo

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add garlic, onion, and bell pepper, stir until tender (about 10 minutes).  Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add the beans, marinade/mojo criollo, cumin, and hot sauce, stir to blend.   Add salt and pepper (you may not need salt and pepper depending on how strong the marinade is). 

Simmer, covered until heated through – about 20 minutes.  Serve this hot over rice and/or roast.

Rest of my Cuban Style Dinner:

Part 1 – Cuban Pork Roast

Part 3 – Pork & Chorizo Stew

Part 4 – Avocado & Red Onion Salad, and Fried Plantains

Chicken Tagine

IMG_0282

I recently made a purchase on my long time wishlist (drum roll~) – Tagine!! The photo below is my new “Le Souk Ceramique” tagine, made in Tunisia. 
IMG_0226
I’ve been wanting this for a very long time, but for a claypot, it’s a bit pricey.  I finally convinced myself that if I don’t get it now when would I get it?  Think of all the money you’ve saved by not going to Morocco or Tunisia to buy this beautiful claypot!  After “curing” the tagine for 2 days (1 full day of soaking in cold water, air drying it for few hours, rubbing olive oil into the pot, baking in the oven for 2 hours, and finally gradually cooling down the tagine for few hours). 

I’ve also been under the weather, so I wanted to eat something with a kick, and what a perfect way to use my new tagine to accomplish this!  There are so many tagine recipe out there, I even had few in my recipe file (given to me by a friend who lived in Morocco), but I couldn’t find it, I’m sure it’s somewhere.  I found a simple looking recipe by Jamie Oliver for Beef Tagine, and all I did was substitute beef with chicken, and added some more vegetables. 

With any tagine, it’s always recommended to cook over low heat, and to use a heat diffuser. Heat diffuser will even out your heat and eliminate any hot spots and burn in one area.   Mine looks like this:
IMG_0275

Serves: 4-6
• 600g stewing beef (I used chicken thighs and drumsticks)
• olive oil
• 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
• a small bunch of fresh coriander
• 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
• 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
• 800ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
• 1 small squash (approximately 800g), deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
• 100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
• 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

For the spice rub

• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 level tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix**
• 1 level tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1 level tablespoon ground ginger
• 1 level tablespoon sweet paprika

**Ras el hanout
(Arabic for “top of the shop”) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root. (I just added a little of each spices here, except for orris root). 

Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with cling film and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight – that way the spices really penetrate and flavor the meat.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole– type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.
IMG_0276
IMG_0279
(see how low the heat is?  by using the heat diffuser, even with this low heat the mixture inside bubbles)
At this point, add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.
IMG_0280

Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.

IMG_0283

My opinion: This was such a wholesome comforting food.  We ate this with couscous and I just love how the spices penetrated into the chicken.  The meat fell off the bones and I just love the vegetables, especially the addition of prunes was really yummy!  I’ll have to look for my Moroccan tagine recipe and make it again!!

Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken with Chiles

Are you surviving in this busy baking season?? Truth be told I’m not sure if I am!!  I feel like a bear preparing for hibernation; I’m constantly “foraging” and grazing as I go back and forth cooking and baking.  I don’t seem to be getting enough food in me because I’m constantly hungry!!  I’m going up and down the stairs trying to take care of things, kneading and mixing, washing, wiping, oh my gosh, would it ever end?!  During this crazy time,  do you know what really hits the spot?  This Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken with Chiles!  I’m benefiting from Andrew Zimmern’s (host of Bizarre Foods) persistence in getting this recipe from a Thai café in Penang.  This chicken dish is filled with lemongrass, garlic and other spices you feel instant energy welling up within you!  Definitely something I need to eat during this busy season!

IMG_5496

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 shallots, chopped (2 cups)
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, tender inner white part only, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 12 small skinless, boneless chicken thighs (3 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 Thai red chiles
  • 5 dried árbol chiles, split lengthwise and seeds removed

  1. In a heatproof bowl, soak the árbol chiles in the boiling water until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the árbol chiles with the Thai chiles, lemongrass, shallots and garlic and puree until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the turmeric, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add half of the chicken thighs and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes total; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Add the chile puree to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer over moderately low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium pot of salted boiling water, cook the carrots until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain. Add the carrots and peas to the chicken and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mint and season with salt. Transfer the chicken to a platter and spoon the sauce over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                         

Make Ahead
The cooked chicken can be refrigerated in the sauce overnight.
Serve With Steamed rice.

My opinion:  What a beautiful union between tangy vinegar, spicy Thai chili, lemony lemongrass, and KETCHUP!!  This is one happy chicken dish and you will feel even happier eating this!! 

To make the process a little less messy (because I’m on this deadline of baking cookies), I baked the spiced chicken in the oven (400F for about 20 minutes), and followed the instructions thereafter. 

Note:  Fresh lemongrass are so aromatic and nice, however, if you want to conserve time, you can get already sliced frozen lemongrass in many Chinese/Vietnamese markets.  To be honest with you, I think the frozen kind is still aromatic and tastes wonderful. 

Tim.demdexEvent({ c_site : ‘foodwine’ });

If you can’t find dried árbol chiles (they are thin, long and red peppers and you can find these in Mexican markets), go ahead and use the dried Asian red peppers sold at many Asian markets. 

Kohlrabi and Kabocha Empanada

I’ve been meaning to make this for a while. I’ve heard of kohlrabi, and have seen them in markets, but never knew how to cook with them. 
IMG_1924
They look pretty interesting, right?  Apparently, “kohlrabi” is a German word for “cabbage turnip” (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rube for turnip).  I learned that kohlrabi is more related to cabbage and cauliflower than to root vegetables.  However, when you peel the skin and slice it, it has the same texture as turnip/daikon. 
Anyway, this recipe was adapted from different recipes, I was praying as I was making this because I switched few ingredients and the amount. 
IMG_1931
Makes about 20 empanadas:
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 medium kohlrabies, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 kabocha squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can black bean, drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon cumin
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 boxes of pre-made pie crust OR one batch homemade dough**
1 egg

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until lightly browned.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook with the onion for few minutes.  Add the cumin and nutmeg and blend the spices well. 
Toss the kohlrabi and kabocha and cook until semi soft, then add the black beans, salt and pepper,  and cook for additional 5 minutes (or more)  until kohlrabi softens. 
Roll out the dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is.  If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice.  Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 5-6 inch-ish circles from the dough.  Combine the left over cut out dough and re-flatten to cut more circles.    **I used the store bought pie crust and it yielded 20.
Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Prepare egg wash by beating an egg with a teaspoon of water, and set it aside along with a small bowl of water. 
To make the empanadas, spoon about one tablespoon of filling mixture into the center of a dough circle.  Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.   Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough.  Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle.  Press down edges.  Carefully pinch the edges to seal them tightly.  A fork can also be used to crimp the edges – but if you are used to making traditional Chinese or Korean dumplings you should be able to do this with ease!
Repeat the process to finish all the empanadas, laying them on the lined cookie sheet.  With a fork or a toothpick, prick the tops once or twice and brush with egg wash.  Bake for 8 minutes and turn over.  Bake another 5 minutes until deep golden brown and flaky.  Best served straight from the oven.  I served with fresh tomatillo salsa (bought from a Mexican store).   You can make tomatillo salsa, but the recipe I have is time consuming (but easy).  I’ll post the recipe next time. 
IMG_1934
As I said, I used the pre-made pie crust from the store.  I think this is a good recipe for busy people.  Make the filling the night before, use the pre-made crust and pop them in the oven!  I have a recipe for homemade dough, but let me try it out and I’ll post it next time. 
In my opinion, this recipe was very filling and flavorful. Kohlrabi kept it’s shape, kabocha added the sweetness, and the black beans brought all the ingredients together.  I only added cumin and dash of nutmeg, but you can add other spices too.    I was a bit concerned if my kids will like this (since they don’t particularly like cabbage and turnip, thus I wasn’t thinking they’ll like kohlrabi).  Fortunately, they both LOVED these empanadas and asked if they can take these for school lunch!

Note:  If you want to, you can save the leaves from kohlrabi.  You can stir fry, bake them in a quiche, chop them up and add in your soup or stew, etc, etc.

Curry with Lentils and Greens, Lentil-filled Puffed Bread (Dal ki Kachori), and Chapaati

*Warning: this is a long post, if you successfully read this post through I know you had too much time on your hand, or you really wanted to read this!!
Few weeks ago, I got food poisoning (I think it was from “fresh” strawberry inside a cupcake frosting – at least that’s what I think, since that’s the only different food I ate from my family).  It was like living through Dante’s Inferno for 3 days and gradually getting used to eating regular food.  However, what truly lifted my spirit was the spice mix I received from Steve’s co-worker! 
Shofuso 006
I don’t even know all the spices in this mix (to name the few – mace, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, cinnamon barks, fennel seeds, black peppercorns), but this smells pure heaven!!  I told Steve’s co-worker I can easily put this spice mix around my neck and carry it with me everywhere I go!!
So, after I got acclimated to eating regular food, I was itching to use this spice.  I was told to use this spice like garam masala, just grind them prior to cooking.  I always have lentils in my pantry, I bought beet greens before I got sick and I wanted to use that so I decided to make curry with the ingredients.
Shofuso 007
I grinded about 2 Tablespoons of my precious spice mix.  I kind of created this curry recipe so the measurements are approximation.
Curry with Lentils and Greens:
3 cups of lentils (soak about 4 hours or overnight, drain)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 inches fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
about 1 pound of greens (collard, beet, mustard, etc) – I used beet green.
2 Tablespoons spice mix (you can use garam masala)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
Sauté the onions for few minutes in a medium pot over medium-hot heat.  Add the garlic and onion and heat for another few minutes.  Add the spice mix, turmeric, and chili powder – mix well with the onion mixture and sauté for few minutes. 
Add the drained lentils, and mix with the spiced onion mixture, making sure you coat the lentils.  Add enough water to cover the lentils (about 1 inch above the lentils), add the greens and stir to mix.  Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat, put the lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Salt to taste.   Note :  I made this a day prior to eating.  I think it tastes better this waySmileI loved this curry because of the spices!  This recipe has become my comfort food.  It’s great eating with chapaati, but I especially like it with basmati or short grained rice!
IMG_1849
This is my lentil curry with the greens, chapaati and dal ki kachori.  You’ll find the recipes to chapaati and dal ki kachori below. 
Okay, before I proceed with other recipes, I just want to say I found this really wonderful Indian cookbook which recently came out.  It’s called India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant.    I have few trustworthy Indian cookbook, but this one is the stellar winner!!  My chapaati and dal ki kachori  recipes came from this cookbook.  
Chapaati:
3-1/2 cups (400g) whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
melted ghee or butter, for brushing (optional)
Sift the flour and salt into an open, stainless steel tray or large bowl.  Add about 1 cup (250ml) water to the flour and start mixing until a soft dough is formed.
Divide the dough into equal pieces and roll into balls.  Flatten each ball between the palms of your hands and dust with flour.  Roll each out to about 5 inches (15cm) in diameter.
Heat a flat tawa or a heavy-based frying pan (skillet) over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add a chapaati to the pan cook for about 10 seconds, pressing with a cloth until the bread begins to puff up, then turn and cook the other side in the same way.  The chapaati is cooked when brown patches appear on the surface.  Serve the chapaati as they are, or brushed with ghee or butter. 
IMG_1848
Note:  making chapaati is more effective if you just use your hands for mixing, etc. 
Dal ki Kachori:
Origin: Delhi
Serves: 4
2/3 cup urad dal (black lentils), rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1-1/2 cups self rising flour
4 Tablespoons oil
enough oil for shallow frying
salt

Soak the urad dal in a bowl of water overnight.
Drain the dal, transfer to a blender or food processor and process to make a coarse paste.  Mix in the chili powder, peppercorns and coriander seeds, and season with salt.  Set aside.
Using your hands, mix the flour and oil together in a large bowl.  Slowly add enough water to make a stiff dough.  Knead thoroughly and then set aside for 1 hour. 
Knead the dough again, then divide it into 12-14 equal sized portions, roll into balls, then make a slight depression in the center and fill with a little of the dal paste.  Cover the dal paste completely with the dough and flatten the dough between the palms of your hands.  Roll the bread lightly on the board until it is about 3 inches (8cm) in diameter.  Repeat until all the dough and dal paste are used up. 
IMG_1852
Heat the oil for shallow frying in a deep, heavy based pan over high heat, then reduce the heat to low.  Working in batches, shallow fry the breads for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown, then turn them over and fry the other side until golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towel.  Repeat until all the breads are cooked. 
IMG_1845
These breads can be eaten either hot or cold and are good for school lunches, picnics or long journeys. 
IMG_1847
My opinions: These breads were a huge hit with my kids!!!  It takes a bit of time making, but sooooo worth it!!!