Kimchi fried rice

Fried rice cooked in spicy kimchi, bok choy, scrambled eggs, scallions and gochugaru! Makes a hearty and delicious family dinner for the cool fall and winter evenings.

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I love Korean food and we are so lucky to have an amazing family owned restaurant in town that we often visit. I was introduced to Korean food only 3 years ago, when we did our kitchen renovation. In those 3-4 months we visited many restaurants and this Korean restaurant in town is still one of our favorite. It was at this restaurant that I was introduced to the Kimchi – a traditional Korean side dish. When you arrive at the restaurant they offer several side dishes ‘Banchan’, such as salad, kimchi, fish cakes, sprouts,etc. I loved the taste of Kimchi right away and is my favorite side dish. Funny part is that each person in my family likes one specific side dish and absolutely dislikes the rest. So other than me, no one else really cares for Kimchi.

I have read a lot about the health benefits of Kimchi. It is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C but its biggest benefit is, in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. I would love to make my own Kimchi some day, but for now I buy myself a container from the restaurant itself. Kimchi and the Korean chili powder, ‘gochugaru’, is also available in local grocery stores like trader joe’s and whole foods in the US.

There is an amazing food blog called tworedbowls.com that I follow. They have some incredible asian recipes and stunning photos! I love their recipes and one recipe that I found very interesting is “Kimchi fried rice”.  I thought this was a great way to get rest of my family to eat Kimchi, as we all love fried rice in our home. Fried rice is our go-to weeknight family meal and I thought I could use a new fried rice recipe. So todays recipe is inspired from the blog tworedbowls.com.  I have changed some of the ingredients from the original recipe to suit my food preferences.

Here is how I make it:

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Chop kimchi, bok choy and scallions. Dice onions and mince garlic cloves. Cook rice and keep aside. Recipe calls for a day old rice but I always forget to do this. So I start making fried rice by first cooking the rice and letting it cool while I work with other ingredients.

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Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok and scramble 3-4 eggs. Keep aside. In the same wok add remaining oil, sauté onion  and garlic until onions turn translucent. Add chopped Kimchi with the liquid and cook on hight heat until all the liquid disappears.

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Add chopped bok choy (or any greens like chard, spinach), half of the scallions and cook for another 2 mins on high heat. Add cooked rice, scrambled eggs and mix well. Add gochugaru and remaining scallions. Mix well.

IMG_9994.jpg Serve the rice topped with egg cooked sunny side up!

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Recipe:

Prep time: 10 mins  Cooking time:25 mins  Total time: 35 mins

Ingredients:

3 cup chopped bok choy
3-4 eggs
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup chopped scallions
4 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of Kimchi chopped with liquid
6 cups of cooked rice (I use Jasmine rice)
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1-2 eggs to fry on top

Directions:

  1. Cook rice and keep aside. Recipe calls for a day old rice but I always forget to do this. So I start making fried rice by first cooking the rice and letting it cool while I get other ingredients ready.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok and scramble 3-4 eggs. Keep aside. In the same wok add remaining oil, sauté onion  and garlic until onions turn translucent. Add chopped Kimchi with the liquid and cook on hight heat until all the liquid disappears.
  3. Add chopped bok choy (or any greens like chard, spinach), half of the scallions and cook for another 2 mins on high heat. Add cooked rice, scrambled eggs and mix well. Add gochugaru and remaining scallions. Mix well. I usually do not to add extra salt to the fried rice but you can add some salt to your taste. (Note: I cook the rice with some salt)
  4. Serve the rice hot, topped with an egg cooked sunny side up!

Enjoy!

Lentils with drumstick Leaves

After weeks of indulging into festive foods, its high time to share some healthy and everyday dishes that I cook for my family. Lentils aka Daal is a favorite dish in my home. My boys love all sorts of daals. I feel happy and satisfied to see them eating healthy and protein packed foods (at least for weekday dinners).

During my recent trips to Indian grocery store, I noticed some greens that I had never seen before. The label on them said ‘Drumstick leaves’. Not knowing how to use them I did not buy them. I was curious what they were used for. After researching a little bit I found out that these leaves are a nutritional power-house. Here is the nutrition information from wikipedia: The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitaminsvitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotenevitamin Kmanganese, and protein, among other essential nutrient  Continue reading “Lentils with drumstick Leaves”

Broccoli and Tofu Cutlets

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Today’s recipe is adapted from my aunt’s broccoli and tofu cutlet recipe. She makes some of the best cutlets and this is my most favorite one! I have devoured her cutlets for years  before I finally decided to make them myself. Continue reading “Broccoli and Tofu Cutlets”

Beet Salad -A celebration recipe

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For my birthday this year, a good friend of mine gave me an amazing book – ‘Share’ : A cookbook that celebrates our common humanity by Women for Women International (WFWI). The underlying message of Share is simple: for all our apparent diversity―as individuals, societies and nations―our actions, however small, can have an exponential, positive influence both on the world and the lives of others. Nothing more beautifully conveys our interdependence than the food we eat. The recipes featured in this uplifting book―provided by contributors who are all actively engaged in humanitarian issues, as well women from the eight countries in which Women for Women International (WfWI) work.

I am in love with the illustrations in this book. The night I received this book, I was up past midnight going through it. One recipe that caught my eye right away, was a beet salad recipe by Zainab Salbi, founder of women for women international. I love beets and it had many ingredients that I use everyday. Last weekend I finally decided to make this recipe.  As I was making it, I wasn’t sure how it would come together. However, when I tasted it, the flavors were out of this world! The flavors of sesame seeds, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh ginger along with all the chopped veggies were heavenly. This probably is one of my most favorite salads and I am going to make this again and again.

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I made some changes to the original recipe. Instead of using raw beets, I used roasted beets. I also replaced carrots with fresh orange bell pepper that is now in season and I added some grape tomatoes. I followed the rest of the recipe and it indeed was a celebration of colors and taste on my plate and my mouth!

Continue reading “Beet Salad -A celebration recipe”

Stir fried Tindora {Ivy Gourd}

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Ivy gourd, also known as Tendli, Tindora or Tondle is a tropical vegetable that grows on a vine. It looks like baby cucumber, with a very mild crunchy taste. I remember eating it in a very typical rice dish called “Tondle bhath” which was served with a cool buttermilk drink flavored with cilantro and fresh ginger. In 2010 when my mom was visiting me she taught me this amazing stir fry version that can be enjoyed with Parathas. It is a simple recipe that starts with a tempering mustard seeds and then cooking the tindora with turmeric, cashews, green chilies. Finish up by garnishing with fresh coconut, lemon juice and sugar. The outcome is a very unique combination of flavors as well as textures, the soft and juicy tindora, creamy cashews and the crispiness of the coconut in a mildly spiced sweet and sour tindora stir fry.

Continue reading “Stir fried Tindora {Ivy Gourd}”

Purple Cabbage Parathas {flatbreads}

 

 

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I love buying cabbage, both purple and green, to add to salads and tacos. You’ll probably find some sort of half-cabbage head, in my refrigerator,  tightly wrapped in clear plastic because it keeps forever. It always comes through in a jam when I forget to pick up salad greens or purples! They are my back up veggies in the fridge. Today, I decided to use up the purple cabbage I have been saving in the refrigerator to add in my salad. It has been a rather cold week and I am in no mood to eat cold salad. So decided to use it up to make some ‘garam-garam’ parathas. The best way for me to chop cabbage is to mince it food processor. After all the cabbage was finely chopped, I realized I was out of cilantro. I had some kale (another hardy multi-purpose nutrition powerhouse)  on hand, which I thought would make a good substitute to add some greens. So chopped kale leaves, ginger and green chilies and made a brand new kind of Parathas… Yum! I love starting with simple ingredients and turning them into hearty, filling and super healthy dish. Did you know that Anthocyanin rich purple cabbage (beneficial for the nervous system and fighting free radicals)  has 10 times more vitamin A and twice as much iron as green cabbage?

Continue reading “Purple Cabbage Parathas {flatbreads}”

Mung bean sprouts salad

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Did you know that 2016 is the United Nations International Year of Pulses (IYP)?

Check out more details on Pulses, the nutritious seeds for a sustainable future at – http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/about/en/

My pantry is always stocked with variety of pulses that include whole pulse like chickpeas, split pulses with the skin on, and split pulses with the skins removed. Pulses are packed with protein, making a great alternate to animal protein and are low in fat and high in fiber. Pulses when stored in airtight and dry containers have a long shelf life and can be used in a variety of dishes.

One of my favorite beans is the mung bean. The recipe here is a super easy, healthy and filling sprouted mung bean salad that can be prepared in no time. You can add any vegetables that you like, squeeze some lime juice, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and Enjoy!

Continue reading “Mung bean sprouts salad”

Methi/fenugreek-sweet potato Paratha

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Parathas in my family can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s everyone’s favorite dish that brings smiles, memories and a fun conversation that always leads to what stuffing we love in our parathas. This is my first paratha blog post and I promise many more with some unique combinations that we love.

While in India, my husband used to travel extensively for work. His most vivid memories while traveling in north India, that he tells us about, are of eating piping hot parathas on cold winter mornings. He loves dipping them with pickles and yogurt. My older son eats them without any condiments, while my younger son loves them with ketchup. For me, Parathas bring memories of my mom making them and the aroma of fenugreek leaves and ghee all over the kitchen as mom served them hot off the pan, ‘garam garam’ as she calls them.

There are lots of recipes for parathas including a variation of fillings that they can be made with. I do not have a favorite yet, as I feel like I am still discovering more. Today’s recipe uses fresh fenugreek/methi and sweet potatoes added directly to the wheat flour, along with some spices to make the dough. Sweet potatoes give these parathas very soft yet crispy texture!

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Continue reading “Methi/fenugreek-sweet potato Paratha”

Chana masala

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Chana masala (spiced chickpeas) is a staple in my kitchen and definitely my go-to dish when entertaining. This intensely spiced, tangy, aromatic dish makes for a healthy, protein packed dinner.

This dish can quickly be made if you have the spices roasted and blended in advance (or you can use ready made chana masala spice which is readily available). I recently made a batch of this spice blend to speedup my weeknight cooking. After researching quiet a few recipes and several trials, I now have the perfect recipe that I am thrilled to share with you! This blend uses Kashmiri red chilies that give the dish a deep orange color and just the right amount of heat and dried mango powder to enhance the tangy tomato flavor. The spice blend uses few basic spices and can be made ahead in a big batch or can also be made while you are sauteing onions for this chana masala recipe. Here is the recipe using my chana masala spice blend that can be made in a jiffy.

Continue reading “Chana masala”

Stuffed Okra

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Last week when I was shopping for my Indian groceries, I saw fresh okras that immediately took me down the memory lane. Stuffed Okra or Bhindi as we call it in India, is my absolute favorite Indian vegetable that I had almost forgotten about for a while. My mom used to make these often and they tasted simply divine with fresh rotis. Since the time I started cooking I have made many variations of okra,  though my go to recipe is the simple sauteed one with lots of garlic in it. But this time when I saw it I somehow only thought of the stuffed okra that I grew up eating. I couldn’t wait to bring them home and make the stuffed okra. As I was making it, I wondered if my boys would like it. Especially my older son, who really enjoys Indian food. When it was ready and served, he was curious to taste it but also skeptical about eating whole okras. It took me about 5 minutes to find out that he ended up eating pretty much all of it! So glad I made it after so many years. Now I will have to make it more often, as it is so simple to make, with only few basic ingredients!

Continue reading “Stuffed Okra”

Vegetable hakka noodles

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Did you know that noodles are considered to be a symbol of good luck during the Chinese New Year? For my family noodles are a great weeknight meal that everyone loves. Since I started making them at home few years ago, we have almost stopped the takeout and instead enjoy these healthier home cooked, low sodium version. I usually make them with a lot of colorful vegetables like red and green peppers, carrots, purple and green cabbage, lots of garlic and scallions. So, grab a pair of chopsticks and get ready to enjoy these yummy noodles!

Recipe

Prep time: 10 mins  Cooking time:10 mins    Total time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

6 cups of uncooked noodles
1 cup finely chopped green cabbage
1 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
1 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup red peppers cut into thin slices
1/2 cup green peppers cut into thin slices
1/2 cup onion cut into thin slices
8 garlic cloves minced.
1/2 cup green scallion chopped fine
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp cooking oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain the noodles, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pan and onions and garlic. Saute and cook for 2 mins.
  3. Add all the other vegetables except scallions. Cook for 2-3 mins.
  4. Add the noodles, soy sauce and red chili sauce. Mix well and cook for another 2 mins. Turn the heat off and add scallions. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

 

Banana Avacado Chaat

Today’s inspiration comes from a delicious Indian restaurant, Rasika, that we dined at during a recent family trip to Washington DC. I can’t thank my cousin Darshan enough for his recommendation. The food, the atmosphere and the Chef’s humble and friendly attitude were inspirational. The drinks and appetizers were so unique compared the Indian dishes we’re use to while dining out. One dish that resonated with all of us was the banana chat which was an incredible blend of sweet, tangy and spicy. We would have never tried it if it was not recommended. While we all love to experiment with food we generally don’t like bananas in any form mixed into our meals. When the appetizer arrived we were surprised to see the bananas grilled and perfectly stacked on the sides. With hesitation we took one bite and we were hooked. My husband and I couldn’t stop digging into the amazing flavors! With a few bites remaining, I took a snap so I could recreate it as soon as we got back.

Recipe:

Prep time: 2 mins  Cooking time:2-3 mins    Total time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado
1 Ripe but Firm Banana
2 tbsp of tamarind chutney
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
cilantro to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel the banana and cut it half lengthwise and then cut the 2 halves in the middle to make 4 pieces. Put grilling pan on medium high  heat, brush the bananas with olive oil and grill the banana’s until they turn golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it.
  2. Peel and cut the avocado into bite size pieces. Add tamarind chutney, salt and cumin powder to it and mix well.
  3. Dish the avocados in the middle of a plate. Put the grilled bananas on the sides. Sprinkle with some red chili powder. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!