a journey from the heart

Posts tagged ‘Indian food’

Car-campin’ cookin’

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I am recently home from a great week of car camping in the Olympic National Forest. Steven and I went with his mom, grandma, sister, her three kids, his two plus a friend, and my brother. It was a large, rambunctious, game playing, day hiking, cold creek bathing, (not all parties participated in all activities) group. And they all eat meat, packaged n’ processed food as the main part of almost every meal, including snacks. Except for me, the glaring exception.

So, what is a vegetarian, whole foods eating, lover of really good food supposed to do when faced with a week with omnivorous, processed food eating folk? Bring her own food! Lovely fresh fruits and vegetables, home-made Vegan Blueberry Muffins, hard-boiled eggs, pasture raised at Living Earth Farm, whole grains and organic canned beans. And lots of ice for the ice chests.

I made a rather tasty vegan chili one night, but alas, forgot to take pictures. However, I did take pictures of the Chana Masala. It was so yummy that even Steven’s 19 year old, self-proclaimed carnivorous son enjoyed so much he went back for seconds and thirds!

So, without further ado…

One-Pot Camp Stove Chana Masala…

Ingredient list:
Olive oil
Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Curry Powder*** Currying Flavor
Tomato, diced
15 oz can chickpeas (well drained and rinsed)
Sweet potato, diced
Carrot
Celery
Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Fresh spinach, lightly chopped
Sea salt
Cracked red pepper
Cilantro (optional – oops, I knew I forgot something)

Sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil until the onions are slightly transparent. Add a little water (to cook the sweet potato) sweet potato, chick peas, tomato, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and cracked red pepper. Simmer until chickpeas have softened and sweet potatoes are just fork-tender (about 6-7 minutes). Add chopped spinach and continue to simmer until wilted (about five minutes).

Serve hot.

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Bon appetite. Even in the woods!

Currying Flavor

I love rich, flavorful food. Tonight I knew I wanted lentils, but not just regular lentils with a little seasoning. I wanted that deep, pungent flavor that you can only get from Indian food.

Living with another person provides opportunities to dirty more dishes, but also the opportunity to flex those creative muscles to prepare a meal you will each enjoy. Of all the potatoes in the world, sweet potatoes are my favorite. My boyfriend, on the other hand, his least favorite. Being inspired I found a way to create this dish with just as much flavor and tending to not only my palate, but that of my loved one.

So, without any more ado, here’s my recipe for Curried Red Lentils.

Ingredient list:
1 cup dry red lentils
1 sweet potato
4 medium-ish potatoes of varying colors
Cauliflower
Carrots
Kale
Cilantro
Green onions
Garlic
Ginger root
Curry powder ***I make my own ~ ingredient list below.
4 cups water
Lime
Coarse sea salt ***Salt slows the cooking time for lentils; add just before serving.
Fresh ground pepper

Naan bread ***Store bought this evening, due to time.

Ingredient list for curry powder:
Cumin
Coriander
Cardamom
Turmeric
Ground mustard
Cayenne pepper
Cracked red pepper
Ginger

You know your own palette better than anyone else. I do not follow a prescribed combination of theses spices, but rather let my olfactory senses determine the amounts of each. Needless to say, I never make the same curry twice.

Enough said…on to the actual cooking!

Prepare your curry powder first and set it aside. Sauté the chopped whites of the green onion (setting the chopped green tops aside for garnish), garlic, and chopped ginger in a little oil. I used canola this evening. After about 3-4 minutes add your curry powder (I used about a tablespoon), lentils, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro and kale with four cups of water. Stir well and let simmer until the lentils are cooked (about 15 minutes).

While this is cooking, place your chopped potatoes in separate pots with about 1/4 cup water (the regular potatoes may require a little more water) and a teaspoon of curry powder and a dash of salt. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked. Drain the excess liquid from the potato pots and pour that liquid into the curried red lentils (there won’t be enough to add any potato flavor, but you get to keep the nutrients).

Serve hot with lime wedges and chopped green onion to garnish. And don’t forget the Naan!

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As always, let your palate guide the amount of each ingredient you use.

Bon apetite!