Indian Food

Lentils and Quinoa

Served Lentils and Quinoa

Lentils and Quinoa

Quinoa has been recently been given a boost in popularity due to its many benefits! What I like the most is that it is extremely low in  carbohydrate and it fills me up much more than pasta, rice or bread, without the calories! 🙂 It is very low in cholesterol and sodium and it has magnesium and phosphorus. It’s a great source of manganese, all great nutrients so important for me and my family.
In terms of flavor I  must say I had to try several recipes to start to enjoy and learn how to prepare it well. My husband and kids followed my footsteps and now I have to prepare double portions since they all want some.
Here is my favorite recipe. It is perfect as comfort food and great for any time of the year. That said, I can also see this recipe making a great cold weather crock pot or potluck meal.
  1. Prepare lentils per package directions. Prepare 2 cups of lentils. When seasoning, only add salt, pepper to taste and one basil leave. It’s best if you prepare the lentils from scratch. I recommend that you avoid the temptation to use canned lentils. The flavors will be better if you do not use canned lentils.
  2. Prepare quinoa per package directions. Prepare 1 cup of quinoa. When seasoning the quinoa, add:
    1. 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. If you don’t enjoy spicy foods then change the red pepper flakes part to 1/4 tsp.
  3. Mix the two preparations in one saucer or pot when both of them are ready. Let them cook for at least 10 minutes together. Add peas and carrots to the mix and allow the mixture to continue to cook for another 10 minutes, mixing well.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle dry parsley on top of each serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Some pics to illustrate the process.. and to explain why I love this dish so much. 🙂
Quinoa

Quinoa in the Bag

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Fully cooked Lentils

Mix of Lentils and Quinoa

Fully Cooked Lentils and Quinoa Cooking with Peas and Carrots.

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Yum! It’s ready to enjoy!

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Green Lentil Pancakes with Coconut Honey

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Lentil Pancakes topped with coconut honey and humus. Side by side with: White rice and beef.

Green Lentil Pancakes

.. Delicious! This is Vinaya’s recipe. Vinaya and I have known each other for close to 15 years, she’s seen my kids being born and grow. One day she showed up with this delicious dish and I had to ask for the recipe. So instead of writing the recipe, she got me a batter of the green lentils mix she had made at home for me. Speechless, and full of joy, I could not help but try this recipe myself and add my original coconut honey recipe!  Here it is..

Ingredients

1 cup of green lentils soaked in water overnight, 1 tsp salt, 1 TBSP ginger and green chiles (optional.)

Remove water reserving only 1/4 cup of the liquid, Grind the lentils coarsely with the 1/4 cup of water. Mixture should look like this:

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Green Lentil Pancake Batter

Set your grill ready with medium heat and 1 TBSP of oil. Add one spoonful of batter or more, depending on your preference. (I was feeding my kids, so 1 TBSP of batter worked great.)

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Once ready to serve you may top them with humus (picture here shows red chili humus.)

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We also had coconut honey (see recipe below) as optional if you prefer a sweet topping. 🙂

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Coconut Honey

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk; 2 TBSP cornstarch; 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup; 1/2 cup white sugar; pinch of salt.

In a small saucepan, at medium heat, whisk the coconut milk with the cornstarch until cornstarch dissolves. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and let it boil while stirring frequently so mix does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

 

Chai & Chai – Presents Guest Chef ..

IMG_20140116_201003_055 (1)Offering a fascinating concept, at the heart of the University of Colorado Medical Campus in Aurora Colorado, Chai & Chai stands out as the unique place to eat. Enas (from Jordan) and Kublai (from India) opened this world stage where Chefs from every corner of the world prepare authentic ethnic cuisine for lunch. For dinner one can rely on Indian and Arabian cuisine always.

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That said, the menu is “open”, but the theme is shared. Zucchini was the theme when I went to try them out. I was fortunate to eat Kusa-bil-laban and my husband had an Indian delight also made with zucchini. Tikka Masala and Dum Biryani were also part of our delicious feast!

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Kublai explained that the origin of the name derived from the fact that while these two cultures are filled with rich lifestyle and language differences. Chai is the one word that brings them together. Both Indian and Arabian cultures enjoy Chai tea usually at the same time of day, and often.

For dessert they brought us Jilebi (Indian funnel cake) and a delicious Arabic sweet treat, Asabea Zenab.

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The poster at the door announced an upcoming Thai event with Chef Sue of Siam. This Thai chef would be showcasing a 6-week program exploring Thai cuisine at lunch time. Among the dishes announced were: Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles, Massaman and Green Curry, Spring and Egg Rolls.

I was pleased with the food and the service, but most of all, with the family atmosphere. A family (Mom and Dad) behind the kitchen waved hello, as their son prepared a wonderful, fresh, warm Naan bread for us.

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I would gladly go back and hopefully in time to taste Sue of Siam’s Thai cuisine or the next guest Chef. As Kublai explained, Chai and Chai is an ongoing project not at its 100% yet. If you want to know more about them, their website has cool pictures and Kublai keeps it updated with featured Chef’s information. I hope I can get to visit Chai & Chai again (http://www.chaiandchai.com/); I truly enjoyed every bite! 🙂