Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blackberry frozen yogurt

DD2 picked a bucket full of wild blackberries from the farm. The wild blackberry plant as opposed to the farmed one has a lot of thorns. Even with getting pricking all over she did not stop. The taste of the wild blackberries are much more intense than the farmed ones and also slightly smaller.

She made jelly and then still had some and decided to make some frozen yogurt. She used Greek Yogurt but any strained yogurt is sufficient.

Wash and blend the blackberries.
Strain the blackberries and set the pulp aside.
Strain the yogurt and mix it into the blackberry pulp along with the honey.
Whisk the yogurt and the blackberry pulp to a smooth consistency and freeze for 4-6 hours or churn in an icecream maker.

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt
Preparation Time:15 minutes + 4-6 hours freezing time
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 2 cups of plain Greek Yogurt or (3 cups of plain yogurt)
  2. 2 cups of blackberries (any berry will work)
  3. 2 tbsp of honey
  1. Wash and run the blackberries in the blender. Do not add water. Using a sieve strain the blackberry pulp and set aside. (see note:)
  2. Through a cheese cloth strain the Greek yogurt and remove as much of the liquid as possible.
  3. Add the strained yogurt to the blackberry pulp along with the honey.
  4. Use a whisk and whisk the yogurt and berries pulp to a smooth consistency.
  5. Transfer to an ice creamer and churn for 10-15 minutes. If you do not have an ice creamer just freeze the mixture for 4-6 hours till use.
  6. Note:Wild berries have bigger seeded so has to be strained. If using blueberries or other berries which does not have as many seeds no straining is required.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Afghan Style Red Kidney Beans Masala - Lobia Masala

This summer since we are not visiting India and not planning on any major trips we decided to use the time judiciously and do a few college visits. When my mom mentioned this to my dad he was totally confused. He did not understand why a high schooler would go visiting colleges. Normally in India we visit a college only when we are admitted and that too only the day before college starts if you were going to stay at the college. You are not required to stay at the college like some universities her require of first year students. You could be a day scholar.

Anyway on our way back from one such college visit after being taken on a tour and walking around campus we were dying of hunger and were ready to pretty much eat anything. We stopped at an Afghani restaurant. We did not have high expectations, the restaurant being in a college town and all and moreover we were simply not very discriminating. We chose the buffet. Even though there were only just a few items in the buffet each one of them was excellent. Don't ask me if hunger had anything to do with it. I would think not because the DDs ordered kabobs and they were excellent too.

In a pressure heat oil, add cumin seeds. Add the onions and green chilies and saute till the onions are translucent. Add the mint leaves and saute till the leaves are wilted.
Add all the powders, followed by the tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes are soft add a cup of water.
Pressure cook for 2 whistles and once pressure is released open and gentle mash with the laddle or use a hand blender for a smoother gravy.
Add the cooked red beans and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Anyway the one that impressed me most was the Rajma. I wanted to give this a try, so I searched for Afghani Rajma and did not find many recipes. I found one on a recipe I found on Afghan Kitchen Recipes. I based mine on this recipe. It is very similar to our own Rajma Masala but with a taste of mint.

Afghan Style Red Kidney Beans Masala - Lobia Masala
Preparation Time:15 minutes + overnight soaking
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 2 cups of dried red kidney beans
  2. 1 red onion or about a cup of finely chopped onions
  3. 1 large tomato or about a cup of finely chopped tomatoes
  4. a handful of fresh mint leaves chopped
  5. 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  6. 4 garlic cloves grated
  7. 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  8. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  9. 2 green chilies slit
  10. 2 tsp red chili powder or to taste
  11. salt to taste
  12. 1 tsp oil

  1. Pressure cook the kidney beans till soft and set aside.
  2. In a pressure cooker heat oil and add the cumin seeds followed by the onions and green chilies, saute till translucent.
  3. Add in the mint leaves and saute till they start to wilt. Add the turmeric, chili powder, salt and coriander powder. Give a good mix.
  4. Add the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes and add a cup of water.
  5. Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. Alternatively cook on the stove top.
  6. When the pressure subsides open the lid and mash it with the back of a spoon. You could also blend this with a hand blender for a smoother gravy. (I did not do it.)
  7. Add the drained beans and let it simmer in medium heat for about 8-10 minutes.
Serve with rice or bread.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Grain of the Week - 30 - Sweet Brown Rice

I am simply amazed at the number of different types of rice that are out there. Each with their own quirks, tastes and textures. Some are sticky, some are soft, some are glutinous, some smelly, some fragrant, some sweet - some not, some lend themselves to making idlis, most don't and some others are colorful and are packed with nutrition while the others are just filled with carbohydrates.

This sweet brown rice like the name suggests is sweet when cooked and is sticky. It is also supposed to be glutinous and used for making mochi and sushi. Glutinous does not mean gluten.

It is quite interesting when we look at the preferences of rice among Asians. While Asia is predominantly a rice eating continent each country prefers the texture of rice in a certain way. While Indians like their rice to be cooked soft and separate, the Thais and Chinese like their rice to be slightly sticking to each other. The Japanese like their rice quite sticky that it lends itself to be used in sushi and mochi. I had the pleasure of tasting mochi and they were delicious.

Most brown rice is unmilled retaining the bran and the kernel giving it a chewy nutty texture. Since the bran is left in place and has more oils than the cleaned out white rice it tends to go rancid quicker.

Sweet Brown Rice is grown in California to make Japanese products like Sushi and Mochi. Also called CalRose this California rice variety is popular in Asian countries as an exotic rice variety. Source.

You'd all agree that there is big wonderful world out there that is filled with exciting new varieties of rice that we have not seen before. Make every effort to try finding new varieties of rice and grains that would keep these varieties alive and in cultivation.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!