Thotakota Fry/ Amaranth Leaves Fry

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I have enjoyed amaranth since I started eating them in 2011 when my Mother-In-Law brought them back from a trip to her home village in Seesilee, Andhra Pradesh, India. They were fresh and organically grown at her parent’s farm in the middle of the “rice bowl”. So, I usually post photos of my recipes made but I am currently missing my camera’s memory card. The above photo is from Google Images and it is of amaranth leaves. I encourage all who eat this to use a bit more oil than normally would use in leaves to impart the flavor when cooked. You can use amaranth leaves in salads raw as well. This recipe is my Mother-In-Laws and she is a Telugu lady who really enjoys hot food (karaam), but adjusted this recipe for me. I hope you enjoy and make amaranth leaves apart of your weekly diet!

Amaranth is also enjoyed by the Greeks and they have several recipes. I have not tried any, but someday when I get to make some homemade goat cheese and make a Greek amaranth fry, I will certainly post it!

4-5 bushels of amaranth leaves trimmed and chopped

1/2 onion chopped

1 sliced and chopped green chili pepper

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 diced tomato

3 Tbs of oil- I prefer Olive Oil or Sesame Oil

4 Curry Leaves

2 garlic cloves pressed and pealed

1/2 Tsp of salt- to taste

In a wok heat oil and add garlic for 25 seconds then onion and green chili pepper and fry for 1 min. Add turmeric, curry leaf and tomato and cook for 3-4 min. Add the amaranth leaves and stir ingredients together slowly, add salt. Cook until the greens are wilted yet a bright green color, about 5-6 minutes. Turn off stove, let sit for 1/2 hour and serve with Chapathi or Pulka.

The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

Variations of this recipe I have found:

http://homemadetelugurecipes.blogspot.in/2011/02/thotakura-amaranth-leaves-fry.html

http://www.sailusfood.com/2010/01/20/thotakura-vepudu-amaranth-leaves-stir-fry-3/

 

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Awesomely Easy Grape Juice

ImageIt’s that time of year in India where we have tons of grapes available. When I first came here I had no idea of  the variety of crops that Indians grew and to my surprise grapes were in large abundance here! I have every kind of grape I want and my favorite grapes in India, so far, are called Bagalore Blue Grapes. To celebrate my fondness of these grapes I began making grape juice for my daughter instead of buying it. You may or may not need sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of the grapes when you cook them. Be careful if you use seeded grapes as I do because if you crush the seeds it will make your juice bitter. I choose seeded grapes as they have better mineral and vitamin content than hybrid ones. One interesting fact about grapes is the hazy white coating you see on them is not a pesticide or herbicide but the grape’s own defense against bacterias, bugs and molds. Make sure you wash your grapes well, I always wash my fruits and vegetables with 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 liter of water, then rinse.

The Recipe: Serves approx. 8 glasses of grape juice

2 Kgs of Seed Bangalore Blue Grapes or Concord Grapes—any blue/black/purple grape with seeds. (approx 4 1/2lbs)

2 Cups of Water

2 Large pots

1 Fine Sieve/Cheesecloth

Instructions:

After removing and cleaning all the grapes from the stems place into a plastic Ziploc or plastic cover and take a rolling pin and gently mash the grapes without crushing seeds. Put the crushed grapes into a large pot and simmer on med for 10-15 minutes slowly adding water and stirring and mushing grapes occasionally not letting the grapes stick to bottom of pan or crushing seeds. Once cooked, take sieve or cheesecloth and put over another large pot and ladle the grape mixture into the sieve/cheesecloth and gently crush the mixture and extract the juices- Please remember that cheesecloth will soak up some of your juice so I prefer to use a fine sieve. Cover and let sit for 1-2 hours. Discard or use the grape pomace in anyway you choose and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze in portions up to 5 months. It can be watered down because it is very concentrated or you can add to carbonated water etc. Only add sugar if you think it needs it. There will be some sediment at the bottom, but I usually stir it up as it adds more nutrition to your drink! Enjoy!

Homemade Raw Cashew & Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream Sundae

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To make Coconut Milk:

6 Fresh Coconuts Shredded- Personally, hand grated yields the most creamy milk

1 liter of Distilled Water

2 Large Mixing Bowl

1 Heavy Object to “press” the Coconut Milk out

Cheesecloth (Do not use a Nut Milk Bag for Coconut Milk)

In Large mixing bowl the coconut shredded and add 500ml water. Press and mix the water into the coconut and squeeze over and over producing a white milk and adding water as you go, remaining 500ml. Let sit for 2-3 hours.I use a smooth Geode bookend to press and mix the coconut milk out. Transfer into a cheese cloth over another mixing bowl and squeeze the milk out of the coconut.Do this with all the shredded coconut and then store in a Zip Lock for a second pressing. Should press remaining coconut within 2 days. Reuse coconut in many different ways, dry at low temp in oven.

Making The Coconut Ice Cream

1 Liter of Fresh Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup of Caster Sugar or Sweetener of Choice and amount varies to taste

1/2 soaked Tahitian Vanilla Bean scraped

1/2 Cup of Coarse Sea Salt

4 Cups of Cubbed Ice

4 Ziplock Bag large

1 Metal Canister with lid

Add Sugar, Vanilla and Coconut Milk mix well. Divide the mixture into the 4 ziplock bags and close. In metal canister add ice and salt and shake with lid to mix together a few times. Take each ziplock bag and put into canister with salty-ice mixture and open bag and stir to get it to freeze up. Each bag can take up to 4-5 minutes. Once turned into ice cream store short term in fridge while getting sundae ready!

Assembling the Sundae

Take local honey and coat bottom of dish. Add 1 Bag Ice Cream to bowl. Dribble honey ontop. Crack raw cashews in hand and sprinkle. Two Pinches of Caster Sugar on top for crunch! Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Chai For Two

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  • 4-5 teaspoons of Assam Black Tea Powder or any black tea loose
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 TBS Sugar, Jaggery or Coconut Palm Sugar

In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Boil on low for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Do NOT stir when you are boiling it, just let it do it’s thing!

Chai is traditionally served in small cups or glasses depending on locality. Indians do not drink a large mug of tea like in the Western countries. about 300 grams (4.5 oz) is all they need. Chai is regularly served when anyone comes to the home in India! If no visitors for the day then regular tea-time is at after 4 and if your outside you can enjoy all day! When visitors come, we ALWAYS offer a drink and some kind of food item. Chai and biscuits (or cookies in Western World) are usually the best visitor snack as it is quick and easy to prepare and allows for time to converse!

Happy Tea Time!!

 

Indian Veg Tacos

6 Whole Naans sliced evenly in half

For Filling:
1 1/2 cans Pre-COOKED Chickpeas/chana/garbonzo organic beans Whole No Salt
3 Whole Tomatoes diced
1 julliened cucumber without the seeds
3 carrotts julliened
2 Onions diced
1 Bunch of Cilantro-Corriander do not chop until last
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1 tsp Ground Red Chili
Salt to taste

1 cup of fresh Paneer or a very mild high fat low melt cheese crumbled well try not to mash

2 cups of lettuce or cabbage shredded

Thick Curd Sauce:
1 cup fresh curd or greek yogurt plain
1 green chilli minced without veins and seeds
1 tbs shredded corriander leaf
1/4 cup of minced cucumber
Salt to taste

Red Masala Dipping Sauce:
1 Onion diced
1 green chilli diced
6 Whole tomatoes skinned and diced
1 tbs of tomato paste—-this is optional and makes sauce thicker but not easily availible in India.
5 whole cloves
1 inch strip of cinnamon broke into small pieces
1 tsp cumin seed
2 to 3 pods of cardamom or elachi
1 whole dried red chilli sliced
1/4 tsp hing
2 tbs oil
2 to 4 tsp of red chilli powder depending on how much heat you want.
4 tbs butter unsalted
1/4 tsp turmeric

Bean filling:
Take lemon spices and salt combine in a bowl and set aside. Combine onions, tomatoes, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and cooked whole beans and mix well then add the lemon spices. Put in refrigerator for 30 min to 1 hour.

Paneer: in a bowl lightly toss salt and pepper with a small pinch to season taste.

Curd Riata:
Take curd, small pieces of cucumber, green finger chilli and combine in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Masala Dipping Sauce:
In a saute pan take oil onion and green chillis saute on low heat trying not to burn for 3 to 4 minutes. In a small pan take all whole spices and toast for 2 minutes to get oils out, then grind and set aside. Add garlic ginger paste and cook for 2 minutes adding 1 tbs water after 1 minute. Then, add tomatoes to the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes on low. Add tumeric, hing, salt and chilli powder, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes do not let burn and when it looks as if it is add water slowly while stirring adding all the water. Slowly add butter melting and continuously stirring Add all ground whole spices to tomato in pan.
***In a bowl take a rubber spatula to season and mix water into the tomato paste for a thicker sauce.*** Can omit this step. If want a more authentic curry base and add 3 more fresh peeled tomato, but cooking time will increase to low for 20 minutes.
Add 2 tbs corriander powder, salt and freshly chopped corriander/cilantro. Stir well and continue to cook for no more than one minute. Corriander powder makes sauces thicken a little so use always at end. Go to blender and puree the sauce and press through seive.

Plating Up:
On a table place a bowl of shredded cabbage, organic greek yougurt sauce, chickpea mixture and seasoned paneer.

Warm naan and fill with each ingredient starting with sauce, paneer, chickpea mix and cabbage.  Roll and eat. Can use either sauces together or separately.

Paneer and Spinach Crepe Filling

1 cup fresh paneer diced
3 cups spinach
1 cup Wild Mushrooms or Crimini Mushrooms sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs olive oil
12 Crepes

In a saucepan take oil and wilt the spinach adding salt and pepper 2 minutes into cooking. Take it off the grill and set aside. In pan take mushrooms and let cook dry and add a little pinch of salt. Set aside. Once spinach has cooled add mushrooms and paneer. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste. Now fill crapes and enjoy!

You can use feta in place of paneer. Mozzarella, too.

Super Easy Fruit Topping

An use with any desert, pastry or topping where called for.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup berry wine or a good desert wine
Can use port wine or deep red
10 oz cherries
12 oz of blueberries
Can use any berries
Zest of orange and lemon
Combine wine and sugar together over med high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until Sauce thickens and reduced. Add berries and remove from heat. Refrigerate until use.