Baba Ghanoush

Who is Ghanoush anyway?

One eggplant in the fridge, an adventurous sensation, and a trip to the grocery store (no tahini paste in the pantry) left me with a pretty decent Baba Ghanoush

Simplest way to replicate the recipe:

1. Remove the ends from your eggplant, broil it in the oven for a good 30 minutes until the eggplant is essentially withered (you wanna kill this thing – make it like a prune on a summer’s day, my grandma in her Jacuzzi)

2. Once the baby’s out of the oven, you scrape out its insides and discard the saggy skin

3. Use a fork or mortal and pestle to mash up that eggplant until it’s at the consistency that you would want to eat it

4. Time for the “good stuff” – Give that eggplant some flavor!!

You’re going to need 1/4 cup of tahini paste, one fresh squeezed lemon (2 tbsp lemon juice), 2 tbs olive oil, cumin powder, salt & pepper. Mix everything together!

5. Served chilled & eat with pita bread. The greater time the Baba Ghanoush is left alone, before eating, the better.

Middle Eastern, Vegetarian Foods

Baba Ghanoush

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Daal, Desserts, Indian, Soups, Vegetarian Foods

Refined Daal Makhani

Daal Makhani originated in the Punjab region of India. A staple of the North Indian diet according to first hand anecdotes, Daal Makhani, consists of lentils and cream (daal = lentils ; makhani = cream).

I stumbled upon Daal Makhani recipes by performing a google search of “Urad Daal” black daal. I’ve had this bag of urad daal in my pantry since I made haleem back in 2013. Recently I’ve attempted to convert to a vegetarian diet and saw this as a great opportunity to utilize those daal. Browsing through the cabinets, I came across that bag of black daal I used to make haleem quite some time back and wondered what type of rich recipes this lentil has to offer. It turns out Urad Daal is commonly used in Daal Makhani and having never experienced the taste I decided to give it a try applying my own techniques and taste palette.

Daal Makhani

Ingredients 

1 cup Urad Daal (Black Lentils)

1 cup Chana Daal (Chick peas)

2 inch ginger root

4 garlic cloves

1 large onion chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp garam masala

1 tbs cumin seeds (you really want this taste to come out)

1 tbs tahini paste

1/2 cup baby carrots or 1 large carrot

1 tomato

1/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

Salt as necessary

 

Process

Clean and soak Urad Daal 

Ensure you have semi-tender chana daal or chana daal in a can

In a large frying pan add ~2 tbs of Flax Seed oil (I prefer to use flax seed oil to olive oil for the added nutty flavor)

When oil heats add the spices and let simmer;

tacit knowledge pointer* I add some water once onion has caramelized so spices can continue breaking down without burning  

Add the rinsed daal to the pot along with 2 times the quantity of water

At this time at the tomato and carrots

Let this boil for about 20 – 30 minutes checking taste (make sure salt is sufficient & cumin and chili is present)

At this time, remove the tomato and carrots and mash them with a mortal and pestle

Add the mashed tomato and carrots to the daal – this will work to thicken the daal 

Let cook for another 5 minutes

Add the tahini paste – stir in, let simmer for a minute

Add the yogurt paste –  stir in, let simmer for a minute of two

Turn flame off

Serve with warm naan!

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Vegetarian Foods

Cracked Wheat (Bulgur)

A quick and simple recipe to make. This recipe is great for college students on a tight budget! The cracked wheat is very filling and nutritious!! While cracked wheat itself can be very boring, this fresh version of the recipe includes ginger and hot pepper paste which gives the wheat derivative quite some flavor. I would suggest adding some veggies to the recipe for more nutrition. Red and green bell peppers (who doesn’t love color?), and some baby carrots would do the trick.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur) 
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped garlic
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs hot pepper paste
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • Salt, of course, to taste

Process:

1. Fry onions and garlic in oil along with turmeric and chili powder
2. Add bulgur with chicken stock and boiling water
3. Add hot pepper paste and tomato paste with paprika and pepper
4. Let bulgur boil on a low medium heat
5. When bulgur needs approximately 20 minutes left of cooking time, add grated ginger
6. When finished, plate with parsley and boiled eggs for protein!

Sweating the onions... Sweating the onions…

 

Red pepper paste

Red pepper paste

Grounding the ginger

Grounding the ginger

Final Product

Final Product

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Middle Eastern, Soups, Vegetarian Foods

Red Lentil Soup

I’ve started this blog to keep a personal track of my cooking progress as well as provide recipes to others who are not only interested in learning how to cook, but how to cook efficiently and productively.  Along with my cooking journeys that sometimes fail, I will provide ways to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and maximize utility.

I decided to start with a simple recipe: Red Lentil Soup.  I first ate this dish at a Jordanian friend’s house and absolutely fell in love with the richness of the flavor and its smooth texture.  This recipe is a bit different than hers, she does not blend the soup. In Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast, after milk and dates, this would be the next dish on your palette because it was light enough for your stomach, but tasty enough for your mouth!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup red lentils
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 1 large carrot
  4. 1 large potato
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. bouillon cubes
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. 1 tbs vegetable ghee

Productivity Hint:  start with a clean kitchen, empty sink (if you don’t have a dishwasher, clean work space, and all your ingredients already out of the cabinets & refrigerator)

1.  While boiling water, place lentils in large pot

Red Lentils

2. Start to cut all your vegetables.

Chopping tip: make sure your fingers are curled in, preventing the knife from cutting your hand or nails.  I use a FarberWare chef’s knife for chopping, relatively inexpensive but very good quality.

Always cut away from your hands

(Productivity Tip)

This plastic bag increases efficiency.  After coming home from the market, I took one bag and hung it on a handle below my cutting board.  This way, after I peel my carrots or potatoes, I can easily place the leftover remnants in this bag without having to travel to the garbage can.  (When cutting up a lot of materials, this can be very useful).  Also, getting rid of waste immediately eliminates clutter on your cutting board or counter, allowing you to work better.

3.  Add vegetables to lentils in the pot along with 2 bouillon cubes of chicken broth and 1 tsp of cumin and a bit of salt

Great measuring utensil by PamperedChef

4.  Add about 4 cups of water into the pot, this should be enough water to cover all the materials.  Cover the pot and let boil.

5.  After it has boiled, let cook on a medium/high heat for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.

6.  Place the soup into a food processor and process until the mixture if of a smooth consistency.  A blender or even a hand blender does the same trick.

You want to continue ‘pulsing’ at short intervals until you see a smooth mixture (the carrot appearances as shown in this picture indicate additional processing time is needed)

7.  Place the soup back into the pot on the stove and add the ghee.  Stir and then your soup is done!  For the best taste, add a bit of lemon juice to the bowl!

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