Sunday, September 21, 2008

quick dinner

Sometimes (aka most nights) i get home late after a 50 minute stinky (in a delightful way) subway ride and I need a super fast dinner, that's not cereal. 20 minutes cooking, max. This is where leftover rice works well. I made this last Wednesday after a long long day of teaching to disgruntled students. But they'll be all right.
I recognize that most of my meals seem like my other meals. This is supposed to have a "middle eastern" flavor because of the chickpeas and parsley, but it could be "Indian" style as well.

Lemony Parsley chickpeas with rice
prep/cook time: 20 minutes
1 tomato, chopped
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp of cumin
juice of one lemon
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
pre cooked rice (day old)
pita bread
plain yogurt (optional garnish)
butter/oil for cooking

1) saute onions in oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softer, add garlic.
2) add cumin, rice, and if necessary, a bit of water
3) add chick peas
4) add tomato, lemon juice. Continue to cook over lower-medium heat until the peas are slightly softened
5) remove from heat. Add chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with pita and yogurt

Sunday, September 14, 2008

International Solidarity with 9/11/73

(A riff on Chilean stew, with South Asian elements)

It's been a while since I've updated, and this is because I've moved. But I finally made it over to Jackson Heights, Queens, the south Asian capital of New York city. Man, i've never been to South Asia but I've been in South Asian districts of London and it felts very similar- busy, chaotic, incredibly diverse (in the south asian groceries by my parents' house in exurb Atlanta, I am typically the only non obviously S.Asian looking person). But I felt very much at home with the Central American, South Asian, East Asian populations mixing with the occassional white urban gentrifier.
I bought really cheap cauliflower, a few pickles (including a mango one for one of my roommates), and a good garam masala (I refuse to pay a dozen plus dollars for the Whole Foods/Dean and Deluca variety). I went home, looked around the fridge and came up with this: (it's a marriage between Tomatican- a Moosewood cafe version of Chilean stew, and Aloo Gobi)

Butter (Lima) bean and cauliflower curry with brown basmati rice
(approx time: 40 minutes)
serves 2-3 (I am hungry so I ate about half)

1 frozen pack of butter beans (approx 12 oz)
1 can of chopped tomatoes (Hunts or Muir Glen, everything else taste tinny)- you could also use 1 fresh tomato and some tomato paste and water)
1/2 cauliflower head (or whole)
1 small onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1/2" of ginger root, diced
1 jalepeno or similarly hot peper chopped, or 1/2 teas of cayenne
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon or less Garam Masala
salt to taste
oil or ghee for sauteeing
brown or white basmatic rice

plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, Indian relish

1) cook rice (as much as you want- i did 1 1/2 c.) according to directions (typically 2:1 water to rice for brown, 1.5:1 for white).
2) Brown onions in oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, jalepeno for 2-4 mintues, until onions are tender and the peppers are making you cough (a little)
3) add spices except garam masala to onion mixture, stir for 1 minute
4) add tomato/canned tomato. Let simmer for 2 minutes
5) add beans and cauliflower. increase heat to high until this starts to bubble and lower to a simmer. Add lid and stir occassionaly, 10 minutes (if the liquid is too low, then add some water) until the beans are tender but cauliflower still has some bite
6) add Garam Masala- stir another 2 minutes
7) remove from heat. Serve rice and any garnishes

It doesn't look pretty but it tasted damn good:
(that green stuff in the middle is coriander relish, coriander being the Queen's way of saying cilantro).

On an somewhat related but important for me anyway topic, I love Indian medicine remedies,
especially for the gastro-intestinal area. Imagine my delight as I found these in the checkout "impulse buy" area for a mere $1.99:

They are "special pills for all gastric disorders, indigestion, wind flatulations and other digeston disorders." I took some with water before eating dinner. They tasted a bit like farts and here I am, having eaten a bit too much, feeling comfortable and carefree. Thanks Chiran1a!