Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cabbage Curry and Hummus

The Recipes
  • My cousins taught me how to make these.
  • We dipped carrot sticks, slices of yellow bell peppers, and tortilla chips in the hummus as an appetizer to appease our stomachs while we worked on the curry.
  • The hummus recipe came from Greek Cooking by Rena Salaman and Jan Cutler. It serves 4 to 6.
  • The curry recipe came from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi, a cookbook I'm told is like Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Indian food. The recipe actually uses cauliflower, but my cousins decided to use cabbage instead. It serves 4 to 5.
  • The curry goes well over basmati rice with a little plain yogurt or raita added on top of the curry to cut the spice if needed. The curry also goes well served without rice.


The Ingredients:
14 oz can of chickpeas, drained
4 tbsp tahini
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper

The Directions:
0. To make fresh chickpeas instead of canned, soak chickpeas overnight in a pot with an extra few inches of water above the chickpeas (they will expand). Then put the pot in the fridge to make later or cook for two hours, bringing to a boil then simmering.
1. Reserving a few whole ones for garnish, coarsely mash the chickpeas in a mixing bowl with a fork. If you like a smoother puree, process the chickpeas in a food processor (we used a processor) or blender until a smooth paste is formed.
2. Mix the tahini into the bowl of chickpeas, then stir in the chopped garlic cloves and lemon juice. Season to taste and garnish the top with the reserved chickpeas. Serve the hummus at room temp.
*Variation: Process 2 roasted red bell peppers with the chickpeas, then continue as above. Serve sprinkled with lightly toasted pine nuts and paprika mixed with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Spicy Cabbage with Braised Tomato

The Ingredients:
3-4 tbsp ghee (purified butter) or vegetable oil
1" piece of fresh ginger root, scraped and cut into thin julienne (we just scraped then grated)
1-2 jalapeƱo chilies, cored, seeded, and slivered (VERY optional :) )
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large cabbage, cut in half then in long layers of strips
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
3 large tomatoes, each peeled and cut into eighths (we might've used more tomatoes, and we used canned)
1 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh coriander or minced parsley
butter (optional)

The Directions:
1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large nonstick casserole or saute pan over med-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, drop in the ginger, chilies (optional), mustard and cumin seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds pop and turn gray and the cumin seeds turn brown. Mix the ground coriander, turmeric, and salt in a little bowl, then stir into pan. Stir in tomatoes with sauce (if you used whole tomatoes from a can, put them in then break into smaller pieces with a spatula), stirring for a few minutes. Then add cabbage strips, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 min, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the vegetables from sticking, or until the cabbage leaves are just tender.
2. Uncover, raise the heat and stir-fry to evaporate all the liquid. Just before serving, sprinkle with the garam masala, fresh herb, and add a knob of butter, if  desired.
*Note: If using cauliflower instead of cabbage, brown the flowerettes with the spices and then put in the tomatoes.

For the basmati rice, if using: cover rice in pot with water, boil, then turn to low and heat for about 20 min.

The Evidence

My cousin-in-law pretending to be a strict supervisor.
My Take on the Bake
I'm beginning to love Indian food (and I already was in love with hummus). I didn't use the chilies and it was still spicy enough/cool enough for me, but I added the yogurt to cut it just a little and for the texture effect. This meal was yum-diddly-scrumptious!

We used canned whole tomatoes instead of ones from the grocery store because my cousins said the ones at the grocery store are picked green, shipped, then sprayed with ethylene to change color. But canned tomatoes are picked ripe and preserved that way, so they preserve more of the tomatoey flavor. They pointed out to me that canned products have salt in them, so if you use canned tomatoes, you should readjust the amount of salt you add (as in none for this recipe). So they recommended buying fresh tomatoes at a farmer's market in the summer and using canned ones in the winter. They also recommended the use of iron pans instead of Teflon because the coating eventually rubs off and gets in your food, and then the chemical in the coating never leaves your body.

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