Quick Whistling Pressure-Cooker Brown-Rice & Quinoa Kichdi

In India, whistling pressure cookers are the norm. These cookers let out lively whistles when enough pressure builds up through the opening on the top, and one uses a different number of whistles to cook different things. 4-5 for meat, 2-3 for vegetables. An internet search will bring up lots of fun reviews about whistling pressure cookers. Check out this informative post by missvickie.com.

If you want a dish to help you jump into Indian cooking, this is the post you’ve been looking for!

I have had to become an expert on quick, comforting, tasty recipes during my residency (Which I am graduating in 2 weeks from by the way – AH!). You can’t beat placing all the ingredients in the pressure cooker, hanging out on the dining table doing some work while the whistles happily increase your anticipation of the upcoming meal, and then adding some spices fried in oil to finish the job.

This recipe has creaminess from Indian daal but has some added complexity to its texture from brown-rice and quinoa as well as some of the veggies. You can use any vegetable you want, but I highly recommend you add some kale because the stems add crunchiness. The flavor is enhanced by elements that add tanginess. Tomatoes help with this, but I would also recommend one slice of lemon or a spoon of tamarind concentrate. We try to stay away from dairy on this blog, but a dollop of creamy greek yogurt mixed into a bowl of this baby really takes it up a notch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown-rice
  • 1-1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups red or yellow split daal (Masoor or Toor Daal which can be found at an Indian store or online. This can be substituted with Moong beans which are more easily found at an American grocery store, but the creaminess from the other 2 types  adds a lot to the dish
  • 1/2 cup moong daal
  • 1 bag frozen kale
  • Any other veggies you would like – I add carrots, beans, peas, okra, spinach. I’m personally not a fan of bell peppers for this dish. Butternut squash adds a nice sweetness and makes the dish milder
  • A spoon of tamarind concentrate or the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 can of preservative-free diced tomatoes not from concentrate or 3 diced or cubed tomatoes
  • Curry leaves if you have them
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 2-3 jalapenos if you would like a kick

Tempering spices:

For more information on what Indian tempering spices are, check this page out 

This is a nice youtube video explaining the process. 

For tempering in this dish, use the following:

  • Cumin
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Dried red chilis
  • fresh curry leaves
  • chana daal
  • Urad daal

If you have none of the above, no fear. Cumin alone will suffice to take the dish up a notch. 

Method:

Recipe is made for a 6.5 liter pressure cooker

  1. Place all ingredients except tempering spices in pressure cooker with water filled half way up to the top
  2. Wait for 4 whistles. They sound like this “choo choo choo choo… wheeeeee!”
  3. Turn off the stove. Wait for the whistling to completely stop before taking off the lid. Taking it off too early can be dangerous and can cause serious burns
  4. In a separate small frying pan or wok, add 3-4 table-spoons of oil. Preferrably ghee, coconut oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil or sesame oil. Olive oil has a low smoke point so is not ideal, but I am not going to lie, I use it all the time.
  5. Add your tempering spices. When they start to spatter and their fragrance is released as they are cooking, they are ready. If you are using urad daal and chana daal for your spices, they also start to turn a little golden.
  6. Add the oil and tempering to the kichdi and mix together. The oil will spatter when it comes into contact with the watery ingredients so keep your head and face far away as you add it.
  7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt as an option.

Enjoy!

– DS

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Simple Vegetarian Chawamushi (Steamed Egg Custard)

Steamed egg custard might not sound appealing, but the silky smooth egg texture, paired with savory flavors really makes it a great healthy comfort food.

Egg yolk is rich in protein, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and even Vitamin D, but the level of these nutrients vary depending on the source…i.e. health/environmental conditions of the hens. So be sure to use eggs from organic, free-range chickens. FullSizeRender-4

I learned this recipe from my grandpa when I was 4 years old. So this entry is a tribute to him, who would make this dish for me whenever I was hungry…as it was the only dish he knew how to make. My grandpa is not one to know his way around a kitchen…so the fact that this is his signature dish speaks volumes about the delicious simplicity of steamed egg custard.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, organic eggs
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 stem of scallion/spring onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cups of enoki mushrooms (you can also use crimini or other types)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Black sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Whisk eggs, vegetable broth together, stir in one direction.
  2. Add the chopped scallions, mushrooms, salt and pepper into the mix and stir gently to avoid adding air bubbles. Remove any excess air bubbles on top of the mixture.
  3. Place an aluminum foil over the mixture for steaming. You can steam the bowl by placing it into a larger pot or wok that has about an inch of water. Alternatively, you can do the same thing, but place the bowl into a rice cooker (with the water) and cook it that way.
  4. Steam the egg mixture for 15 minutes in medium heat. Careful not to overcook. You can test if it is done by poking a fork thru the egg mixture…the fork should be clean of runny egg if its done.
  5. Remove the egg custard bowl from the steamer, and drizzle some sesame oil on top, and pepper for taste. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Easy Marinated Beets

I love beets! They are nutritious, filling and delicious.

Beets have natural nitrates, which lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow. They also contain high level of antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory properties make them a powerful protector against cancer. The fibers in beets (and carrots) are beneficial for our digestive track (help to fight against colon cancer) and support our cardiovascular system.

Here is a recipe for a fast and easy marinated beets dish that packs in a lot of flavor. Perfect as a side dish and great addition to a salad. Portable and chilled, this beet dish is great for pot luck or picnic as well.

Ingredients: (serving 4)

  • 4 beets, cubed
  • 1/2 of an onion, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the beets (peeled) into a saucepan filled with water, and bring it to a boil in medium heat. Once the water is boiled, turn the heat to low and let the beats simmer for another 15 minutes. Note: avoid overcooking as they will be in the skillet later.
  2. Remove the beets and cut them into cubes.
  3. In a skillet, cook the cut onion and garlic in olive oil until they become translucent. Add the cut beets, then season with salt and pepper. Toss the mixture for ~3 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, olive oil and water together, and whisk the mixture until the ingredients are properly mixed.
  5. Place the cooked beets/onion/garlic into a sealable container, and pour the vinegar mixture over it.
  6. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for ~1 hour, and it is ready!

-NZ

Vegan Matcha Milk Tea Drink

Warm weather often triggers my craving for cold beverages. Recently, I’ve been drinking a lot of iced matcha milk teas. Matcha is a finely milled green tea powder. Traditionally served during the Japanese tea ceremony and in ancient Chinese culture, it is trending back…You see it added to many modern food products, such as matcha noodles or matcha ice cream. matcha drink

To stay healthy (and save some pretty pennies), I decided to make my own vegan version of the matcha milk tea…here it is:

Ingredients:

  • Soy milk, or your favorite milk substitute (1/2 cup)
  • Matcha powder (2 teaspoon)
  • Hot water, just boiled (1/3 cups)
  • Ice (1 cup)
  • Agave, or other sweeteners (1 tablespoon)

Directions:

  1. Mix the matcha powder with the hot water, stir until the matcha powder are fully dissolved.
  2. Add the agave to the matcha mix. You can also use other sweeteners based on your preference.
  3. In a blender, add soy milk, ice and then the matcha mix. Blend in high until smooth. Enjoy!

-NZ

Korean-Style Tofu Stew (Soondubu Jjigae)

Healthy Chrysanthemum Tea

I’ve been enjoying Chrysanthemum tea lately. It has a refreshing and lightly fragrant taste, and it’s great hot or chilled. The Chrysanthemum flower has been cultivated in China since 1500 B.C. and been a staple in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2,000 years. Rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A (important for skin and immune health), Chrysanthemum flowers are also rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Note, if you want a caffeine free tea option in a Chinese restaurant, ask for Chrysanthemum tea (aka Ju Hua cha) as many Chinese restaurants will carry them, especially if they have a large Chinese patron.

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces risk of coronary artery disease and decreases blood pressure. Clinical studies in China and Japan have shown it relieves symptoms of angina (aka chest pain from heart disease)
  • Liver detox
  • Immune boosting and helps to fight against allergies. Traditional Chinese medicine has used Chrysanthemum tea for its “cooling effect”, which helps against fever, sore throat and sinus congestion.

Brewing instructions:

  1. Steep a handful of chrysanthemum flowers in hot water at 90°c (194°F) to 95°c (203°F) for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the liquor turns light yellow.
  2. You may try brewing this tea with a bit of rock sugar.
  3. Serves well hot or cold.

-NZ

Vitamin D rich Vegetarian Foods

Winter can be hard for many, including those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the lack outdoor time often prevents many from getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for many functions of your body, including the immune system, bone health as well as for your mood and cognitive function. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to everything from depression, heart conditions, asthma, cognitive impairment, to cancer.

So what kind of vegetarian food can I eat to get Vitamin D?

  • Egg yolks
  • UV-grown mushrooms

You can also take supplements:

Cod liver oil– Vitamin D are generally in fatty fish and liver, so cod liver oil supplement is a good way to get Vitamin D. The amount can vary depending on the supplement. You can find 2 types of vitamin D supplements:

  • Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)
  • Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)- preferred. D3 is significantly more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and is converted by your body into the active form faster than vitamin D2.

How much Vitamin D suppelment shall I take?

This really varies based on your vitamin D level, which you can get it checked with your regular blood work. General recommendation for those with Vitamin D deficiency is to take ~8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to raise their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. For normal supplementation, Vitamin D council recommends for adult to take 5,000 IU of vitamin D.

-NZ