Sunday, 15 March 2009

Round the world in 80 plates

Yes, I'm chuffed with chickpeas. Cuckoo for kadala. Ga-ga for garbanzos. Bonkers for bengal gram.

Well, we've had chickpeas two days in a row, anyway!

Last night, we had chickpea quinoa pilaf, with spinach and tomatoes, and a sort of squash thoran that I made up. (A thoran is a kind of dry south Indian curry that has coconut in it.) It was great!

Today for dinner, I attempted to make Kadala Curry from a southern Indian cookbook. Wow, was it hot, even though I cut the red chiles down from 7 to 3, and then was faint-hearted enough not to add them all. We love highly seasoned food, and even we couldn't get over how hot it was. I'm thinking the author must use a different size red chile than what I bought, but it calls for 'dried red chiles' and what I bought is just labelled 'dried red chiles.' Anyway, now I know that in this book, forget the amount called for and go with what my instinct tells me is right. I don't know why this happens to me so often when I attempt to try a recipe word-for-word. There is no way any human being with a functioning mouth could eat that curry with 7 chiles in it--not the ones I bought anyway! The results were very tasty, if too hot, but there's always next time. The sauce was great for sopping bread in!

Anyway, that's chickpeas twice in two days. Not every meal, though.

For lunch, I went all out with a Japanese menu: white miso soup, chirashi zushi, kimpira cabbage and sauted tofu blocks with black sesame seeds. It was so scrummy. We had a house guest who said nothing, but ate everything (except her smoked takuan pickle and pickled ginger with sisho leaves--I forget we eat 'out of the ordinary' things until someone comes round.) Maybe I overwhelmed her with all those little plates and dishes, but I do love Japanese tableware!

Between meals, I made champurrado, which I haven't made in years and years. It's a Mexican hot chocolate thickened with corn masa. You use something called a molinillo to whisk up a froth on it. Yummy.

Veganized champurrado

2 mugs full of soy milk
6 tablespoons Mexican hot chocolate mix (or a mixture of approximately 3 heaping teaspoons cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste, and a pinch of ancho chile pepper--adjust all amounts to suit taste)
1 tablespoon corn masa, mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of water
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt

Heat soy milk in sauce pan, add chocolate mixture. When beginning to simmer, stir in corn masa and cook until thickened, then add vanilla and salt and whisk up a froth, if desired.

And for breakfast, it was vegan french toast with fresh strawberries and maple syrup. (Houseguest wouldn't eat hers. Never mind--she said she wanted toast. Derek ate most of hers anyway!--She did text us when she got home to say thanks for all the food, so that's good!)

It was certainly a culinary trip around the world today, then!

This renewed interest in cooking is probably not going to help my attempts to lose a couple of pounds, but oh well. I'm sure it will soon pass, and I am trying to keep things relatively healthy--and they are all definitely still vegan!


Derek said...

I loved the varied and exotic food you made this was like the old days when you spent most of your time in the kitchen!! Hurrah for your new cookbooks and dinner ideas!! :)

hugs from hubby x

Tess said...

Which cookbook is this? 'Cos those first two meals look REALLY scrummy :D

I'll have to come up some time to try some of your cooking :)

I'm not working atm so maybe sometime soon. If not maybe the summer or even easter holidays? That's if I'm not imposing. Just haven't seen you guys in ages! How long has it been?

Morandia said...

sounds wonderful... although chuffed still sounds like a negative word, not a positive word to me. Oh well. You need to move back here and become my personal chef. I would love it!!!!

Carla said...

I don't know about personal chef. It wasn't that good, but not bad for homecooking. :)

Morandia said...

I'm a southern girl.... home cooking = personal chef for me *GRIN*