January 25, 2015

Vegetarian Thai Massaman Curry

Blogging Marathon# 48: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: 1 Cuisine -- 3 Dishes
Dish: Thai Massamun Curry
After the refreshing first course of yesterday's Green Papaya Salad, I have a spicy, sweet and tangy Thai Massamun curry today. This curry is very aromatic and flavorful and uses a variety of Indian herbs and spices. I thought the curry tasted a lot of tangy, sweet South Indian pulusu.
If you have the curry paste already prepared and ready to go, then this dish does not take long to make. This curry is also very versatile and can be customized to ones likes and dislikes. I added some tofu puffs that I had in the freezer to amp up the protein, but regular tofu or soy chunks can also be used instead.
Vegetarian Thai Massaman Curry

Massamun Curry Paste Recipe (Vegan)

Massamun is supposed to be the heartiest of all Thai stew-like curries. The curry paste used to make the curry is complex and elaborate, containing more ingredients, especially dry roasted flavors, than any other curry pastes.
Massamun Curry Paste Recipe
Even though it is a long list of ingredients for the curry paste, most of them are readily available in a well stocked kitchen or a grocery store. I've never seen fresh galangal or kaffir lime leaves in any of the stores that I go to, but luckily I found some canned/ jarred ones in Whole Foods that I picked up right away. They keep in the fridge for quite a while and are quite handy in making Thai curry pastes and other dishes.

January 24, 2015

Thai Green Papaya Salad (Vegan Recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 48: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: 1 Cuisine -- 3 Dishes
Dish: Thai Cuisine -- Thai Green Papaya Salad
My theme for this week's blogging marathon is pick 1 cuisine and cook 3 dishes. Valli gave us 4 countries to choose from and I went back and forth between Arabian and Thai cuisines, but finally ended up picking Thai. So for the next 3 days I will be posting 3 different courses of Thai dishes.
Thai Green Papaya Salad (Vegan Recipe)
Today is a very famous Thai salad made with Green Papaya. My husband used to travel to Thailand quite frequently and he had nothing but praise for this Green Papaya salad. He tasted them at many street vendors and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. We were at a party in a Thai restaurant recently where they served Green Papaya salad, it looked amazing but had dried shrimp and fish sauce in it, so we couldn't taste it. But it definitely inspired me to make the salad right away at home.

January 23, 2015

Turkish Bulgur Pilaf (Firik Pilau)

I made this Pilau or Pilaf to go with the Turkish Fasulye/ Barbunya Pilaki that I made last week. The recipe is from 'The Middle Eastern Vegetarian' cookbook by Sally Butcher. The original recipe uses Freekeh is young green wheat and has been used for centuries in the Middle east. It is a versatile and nutritious grain and can be used in soups, salads, cakes and bread, as a cereal and can be used in place of rice.
Turkish Bulgur Pilaf (Firik Pilau)
After all that information on freekeh which I thought I had in my pantry, I was bummed to see I used it all. So I went to plan B and used bulgur instead. Roasted buckwheat can also be used instead of freekeh. The pilaf turned out delicious even with the substitution.

January 19, 2015

Makhani Paneer Biryani

Blogging Marathon# 48: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Biryani of different Styles
Dish: Makhani Paneer Biryani
Here's a delicious biryani made with paneer for all paneer and biryani fans. Paneer is cooked with tomatoes, spices and some cream to make a lip smacking curry that is layered with basmati rice and then baked off (or cooked on dum) for an awesome tasting biryani that is sure to wow anyone.
Makhani Paneer Biryani
I had more than a gallon of 1% milk that needed to be used up real fast, so I made paneer flavored with cumin seeds, ground coriander, chili flakes and kasuri methi. Now that I had that in the fridge, I was looking for recipes to use it and found the recipe for Makhani Paneer biryani here. It sounded like the perfect dish to make with my homemade flavored paneer.

January 18, 2015

Jordanian Rice Pilaf (Vegetarian Mansaf)

Blogging Marathon# 48: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Biryani of different Styles
Dish: Jordanian Rice Pilaf 
For Day 2 of this week's blogging marathon, I have vegetarian version of Jordanian National dish, called Mansaf. Traditionally mansaf is made with lamb but the vegetarian version is filled with lots of vegetables. This recipe is from 'The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian' cookbook by Sally Butcher.
Jordanian Rice Pilaf (Vegetarian Mansaf)
I bookmarked almost all of the pilaf recipes from that cookbook. Some of the Middle Eastern Pilafs are quite elaborate with lots of flavors and textures. This Jordanian pilaf is one of those elaborate dishes. Rice is layered with spicy vegetable layer which is in turn smothered with some sharp creamy garlicky yogurt sauce called jameed (or laban moutboukh). According to the author, the secret of Mansaf  is the inclusion of this yogurt sauce. Jameed is made with strained yogurt.

January 17, 2015

Balehannu Halwa (Coconut - Banana Halwa)

This is the final dish I made for Sankranthi. The actual festival was very low key, but we are heading to our cousin's place this weekend for some belated celebrations. My cousin puts up a beautiful golu and she also celebrates 'bhogi pallu' for the kids.
As I was thinking of what to bring, I found this interesting halwa with coconut and banana in 'Vegetarian Cookbook of India' cookbook by Mridula Baljekar. I had bananas that needed to be used up before leaving for the weekend, so this was a perfect recipe to make good use of them.
Balehannu Halwa (Coconut-Banana Halwa)
Also the recipe uses dry grated coconut cooked in some whole milk to give the texture of fresh coconut. Finding good fresh coconut is a little difficult here, but I always have dry grated coconut in my fridge, so this is a very convenient recipe to make for me.

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