Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Ramen Bowl

So Thanksgiving here in Canada is just another weekday. I have been making these composed noodle soup bowls lately (you put all the ingredients in the bowl first, then pour the broth over the top) and I wanted to make one with the goodness of thanksgiving in it. Well it turned out fantastic! One great thing about these noodle bowls is you can customize each one -- so the vegetarians in our family had tofu, and I put some chicken in mine! We definitely want to make this again, so here is the recipe.

(makes 3 hearty bowls)

Ingredients (very approx, I did not measure anything):

-- ramen noodles for 3 people -- I bought the ones in individual packs and used 3 packets
-- approx. 1/2 med winter squash like butternut
-- 5 ounces baby spinach
-- 1 lb mushrooms (I used crimini)
-- 1 inch knob ginger, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
-- 1 onion, chopped
-- 1 stalk celery, chopped
-- 4 slices bread, cubed
-- 3 tablespoons butter
-- 1 tablespoon oil
-- 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
-- 1 T. better than bullion soup base (vegetarian)
-- 1/2 block med tofu, cubed and/or 1/2 cup cooked chicke
-- sage
-- thyme
-- soy sauce
-- green onions, sliced thin


1. Measure 3 large noodle bowls worth of water into a pot -- this will become your broth! But for now it is your boiling bowl. Put pot on stove, turn on to high heat until water boils.

2. Wash and cut squash in half, clean out seeds, then slice squash with skin on into 1/2 inch slices. When water is boiling, boil squash until soft but not falling apart -- I did not time this, but maybe 10 minutes? When squash is done, remove from boiling water with tongs and set aside. When squash is cool, use a knife to cut off the peel, you should have nice rings of cooked squash.

3. Then add your ramen noodles to your boiling water, cook until done, maybe 2-3 minutes for the kind you buy already soft. Take out of pot with tongs and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, in a second pan, make Stuffing Croutons -- saute the celery and 1/2 onion in 2 T. butter until soft. Add in 1/2 t. fresh thyme and 1/8 t. dried sage. Add in cubed bread and set on medium, keep the pan on medium and keep mixing every now and then until the bread is toasted and crispy. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile, in a third pan, fry mushrooms in 1 T. butter and 1 T. oil until brown, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Dump into the broth, then in the same pan fry garlic in some oil until cooked (watch it because it burns easily!) Dump that into the broth when you are done.

6. Now you flavor the broth -- add in 1 T. of Bullion mix, 1/2 t. salt, pepper, ginger slices, the rest of the chopped onion, and 1 t. fresh thyme. Let that boil for at least 15 minutes or until onions are cooked through. Taste the broth, add more salt or soy sauce or whatever you think it needs to be tasty -- this broth will be the main flavoring of the dish! 

7. Add all the soup ingredients directly into the empty soup bowls -- I like to fill approx. 1/2 with noodles, then stick 3-4 slices squash in on one side, then a big handful of spinach (fresh is OK because the hot broth will wilt it down) then 1/2 cup tofu or chicken per bowl.

8. Carefully ladle boiling hot broth onto your ingredients. Add approx. 1/4 cup stuffing croutons and sliced green onions onto the top. Serve! (with hot sauce and extra soy sauce, if you like)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Corn Chowder - light and delicious!

We went apple picking this weekend, and the farm also offered U-Pick corn as well! Of course we had to take some home. I decided to make some corn chowder with our fresh corn, and I was glad I did! This recipe is a lot lighter than some of the other recipes I googled, and truly worthy of corn just off the stalk. The real genius here is making a corn cob broth that captures every last bit of sweet corn essence.

The minimalist's Corn Chowder

Adapted from Mark Bittman


  • 4 to 6 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped, optional
  • 1 cup milk
  • Parsley for garnish


1. Shuck the corn and use a paring knife to strip the kernels into a bowl. Put the cobs in a pot with 4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the butter or oil in a saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add the onion and potatoes, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes; add the tomatoes if you're using them and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.

3. After the corn cobs have cooked for at least 10 minutes, strain the liquid into the onion-potato mixture. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture simmers. When the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, add the corn kernels and boil for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add the milk and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Avocado Garbanzo Salad

I'm willing to bet this dish one of the most delicious healthy things you can prepare in 5 minutes or less. It's sort of like a deconstructed guacamole salad. Tonight we ate it with bread on the side, although tortilla chips would be good too. Good as a meal or as a hearty side dish.

Avocado Garbanzo Salad

-- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
-- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (from a can is fine)
-- 1 small tomato, cubed, or 1 large handful of grape tomatoes, halved
-- 1 or 2 T. of red onion, chopped small
-- 1/4 lemon
-- salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Squeeze lemon on top. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Vegetarian wedge salad

I don't often buy iceberg lettuce, but when I do, I make this salad. This is a steakhouse classic and what I think of as the "steak" of salads because you have to use a knife and a fork to eat it. We love this salad in the summer -- it's cool and crisp, rich and satisfying, and you can make it in 10 minutes. I live in a house of vegetarians, so here is our vegetarian version of the salad, but if you happen to have some cooked bacon on hand and crumble it on top, that's a happy thing too. Also -- if you don't think you like blue cheese dressing, try making it yourself before giving up entirely.


makes 2 BIG servings, or maybe 4 appetizer servings



-- 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
-- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
-- 1/2 tsp. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (can use soy sauce if you don't have this)
-- 1 small squirt prepared mustard
-- salt
-- pepper
-- 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
-- 1/4 cup milk
-- 1 ounce blue cheese


-- 1 head iceberg lettuce, tough outer leaves and core removed, wedged into 4
-- 2 tomatoes, diced
-- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
-- OPTIONAL: 1/2 lb mushrooms, diced and sauteed with plenty of salt
-- If you really like blue cheese -- add extra crumbles to your salad


1. To make dressing, mix all ingredients in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.

2. To assemble salad, put 1 or 2 wedges of lettuce on a plate, drizzle with lots of dressing, sprinkle with tomatoes, red onion, mushrooms (if desired), and extra blue cheese (if desired)


Sunday, July 12, 2015


Pongal is a fluffy savory rice and lentil dish that is commonly eaten for breakfast alongside vada, sambar, and chutney -- but it can be eaten at any meal. Mahesh loves it and it is very easy to make, today I got the recipe from Amma.



-- 100 ml (between 1/3 and 1/2 cup) Green Gram Dal
-- 1 3/4 cups rice, uncooked
-- 1 heaping Tablespoon Ghee (or oil)
-- 1 1/2 t. whole black peppercorns (can break up for a more spicy taste)
-- 1 1/2 t. whole cumin seed
-- 6 curry leaves, roughly chopped
-- 2 T. peeled and minced ginger
-- 1/4. cup cashews
-- 1 t. salt


1. In a hot dry pan, toast dry dal over medium/high heat until it is very hot to the touch, about 2 minutes.

2. Turn off heat, add dry rice to the pan, and using residual heat in pan, toast rice for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Add ghee, peppercorns, and cumin to a small saucepan or tawa, cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add in curry leaves, ginger, and cashews and fry for another 2-3 minutes or until brown and toasty.

4. Pour rice and dal into a large pan that will go into the pressure cooker. Add 6 cups of water, salt, and contents of small saucepan. Cover and cook for 3 whistles or until rice and dal are cooked throughly.

Enjoy with sambar and/or chutney!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Potato Curry - With Skin

Potato curry is the most popular vegetarian Indian curry (at least in this house). My mother-in-law makes two versions, this is her "skin on" variety. And, because I am so awesome, I even took some photos so you all can see what this one looks like!!



-- 6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks (pictured below), and rinsed to remove extra starch.

-- 2 T. oil 
-- 1/4 - 1/2 t. whole mustard seed
-- 1 1/2 - 2 T. urad dal
-- 3 dashes asofetida
-- 1 1/2 T - 2 T. dried curry leaves (these are not powdered - if it is powdered use much less)
-- 1 t. salt
-- 1/2 t. spicy chili powder


1. Add approx. 2. T. oil to a hot pan, heat up over medium heat. Add in mustard seeds and cook until they pop.

2. Add in urad dal, and cook until a little brown. Add in the rest of the spices, and mix around and cook a bit.

3. Add the potatoes into the pan, and stir so they are coated with the spices and oil.

4. Mix and fry with cover off for a couple minutes, then cover and steam for approx. 10 minutes, until cooked through. Then take the cover off and fry for approx. 10 minutes more over med-low heat, until fried up a little.


You can eat this with rice and sambar, rice and rasam, or rice and Vetta Kozambo and raita, etc. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cracked Wheat Uppama with vegetables

Upama is sort of like "fried rice" in Southern India. It is commonly made with cracked wheat, rice, and puffed rice, although you can make it with quinoa or any small grain. Here is my mother-in-law's version, made with cracked wheat or broken wheat (I think this is what we call bulgur wheat) and loads of vegetables:

Cracked Wheat Upma with vegetables


1 cup broken wheat -- cracked wheat
3 Tablespoons oil
1/2 tsp. whole mustard seed
1 dash asofetida powder (optional)
1 onion, finely cut
1 green chili (spicy small one), minced
1 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger
3/4 tsp. salt.
1 big 2 small tomato, finely cut
1 large handful cabbage, chopped small (about 2 cups)
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped small
1 carrot, chopped small


1. Dry fry the broken wheat in a dry pan until it is hot to the touch -- the idea is to take away all the moisture so it is not sticky. Set aside.

2. Put 3 Tablespoons oil in the pan, heat up. Add 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed. Heat until it pops, if you want add one dash of asofetida powder.

3. Add in the onion, cook until transluscent, then add in the tomatoes, green chili, salt, and ginger, cook for a while, then add the rest of the vegetables and saute until cooked -- you are looking to cook them through, not brown them too much. NOTE: you can substitute the cabbage, bell pepper, and carrot in this recipe for 3 cups of pretty much any other vegetables you like, chopped small

4. Add your 1 cup of bulgur wheat and 2 1/2 cups of water to the vegetable mixture, boil until about half the water is evaporated, then put the contents of the pan in a pressure cooker (or in a metal container that goes in a pressure cooker) and cook for 3 whistles. Then it will be done! NOTE: If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can boil it until the wheat is cooked through.

Serve with coconut chutney -- Amma adds coriander and mint leaves into her coconut chutney to serve with this.