29 March 2010

Tina's smoked salmon chowder

Tina made a delicious pot of smoked salmon chowder for dinner one blustery night. I haven't made it yet but I intend to very soon - it was perfect! Tina grayed out items she omitted in her recipe but can be used otherwise.

Serves 6

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup water
6 cups fish stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried dill weed
8 red potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lb flaked or chopped smoked salmon
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  1. Place the bacon into a large pot set over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes to release some of the drippings, about 10 mins. Then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook and stir until veggies are tender, about 15 mins.
  2. Stir in green onions, then pour in the water and fish stock. Season the soup with salt, pepper and dill. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 20 mins or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Cotinue to cook and stir until the mixture is light brown, about 3 minutes. Pour in a little bit of the milk to thin the roux. Stir the roux into the pot with the veggies. Pour the rest of the milk into the pot and heat through, stirring constantly.
  4. When the soup had thickened slightly, stir in the white wine. Mix in the lemon juice, smoked salmon and corn. Cook over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Ladle into soup bowls to serve. Sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro on top.

24 March 2010


A unique feature of Konkani cuisine is the use of ground fresh coconut in dal. Here is one example, which is one of my favorites. It is best enjoyed with white rice and a simple vegetable.

1 cup toor dal, soaked for 1/2 hour
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
4 tbsp blanched spinach, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tsbp fresh/ frozen coconut
1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted in oil
3 red chillies, roasted in oil
2 tbsp tamarind paste

Grind the coconut mix to a fine paste in a blender using a little warm water. In a pressure cooker or over low heat, cook the dal along with turmeric. When cooked, mash the dal well an add the cooked spinach to it. Boil the dal well, and add the coconut paste mix to it. Add salt per taste, and check for sourness. The dal should have a mild sour taste; if more is desired add more tamarind. Cook for about 5-8 mins more.

To temper the dal, heat 2 tbsp oil in a separate vessel and saute the garlic for 3-4 mins. Add this to the dal at the end.

Remember not to cook the dal for too long after the coconut mix has been added as this can cause the coconut to spoil.

15 March 2010

Braised collards with ginger and chili-pepper

Serves 3

1 bunch collards, stemmed and cut into thin strips
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, minced
Ground black pepper
  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil, stir in onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add ginger and jalapeno. Stir for a few minutes
  2. Add collards, salt to taste and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and let cook for 20 mins. When done collards will be chewy soft with a little bite.
  3. Uncover, stir in butter and let the water cook off.

Roasted winter veggies and Kale soup

Back in January when I had enough of the ample winter squash supply in my CSA share - I chopped half of them up into cubes and roasted the rest with soy sauce. Then froze them in ziploc bags and pyrex containers. I used roasted squash for this soup. Serves 4

1/2 squash, halved, drizzled with soy sauce, wrapped in aluminum foil anf roasted at 425 deg until you can easily pierce it with a blunt knife
2 carrots, roughly cubed
1 potato, cubed
1 large red onion, cubed
1 turnip, cubed
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped in strips
3 springs of fresh thyme leaves
2 crushed red pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oevn to 375 deg. In a baking, add potato, carrots, onion, turnip, crushed red pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and a healthy glug of olive oil to coat.
  2. Roast uncovered until potatoes are cooked through and onions have caramelized at the edges.
  3. Process roasted veggies along with the squash pulp until a few chunks remain.
  4. In a soup pot combine processed veggies, kale and thyme. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover and cook until Kale is done, about 20 mins.
  6. Taste and adjust for salt.

14 March 2010

Boozy French Toast

Smitten Kitchen's recipe was so tantalizing, it HAD to be made this weekend!

Serves 2-3

6-8 slices bread (you can use any bread)
1.5 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp of your fav liqueur *
1/4 tsp salt
nuts, orange zest optional (I used walnut pieces)

Grease a baking dish well and arrange bread slices in two layers. Sprinkle nuts over the bread slices, making sure to lift the top layer and sprinkle in-between.

In a bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients. Pour the mix over the bread pieces. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and leave overnight in the fridge for the bread to soak up the liquid.

Next morning, pop it into the oven at 425F for 35-40 mins until the egg mix is cooked. We enjoyed it on its own, but you can also have it with maple syrup or fruit.

03 March 2010

Mushroom Dumpling Soup

This light soup was perfect for a chilly morning lunch!


3-4 cups stock (I used chicken)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped into quarters
1/2 cup carrots, cut into pieces
1/4 cup shelled corn
1/2 cup broccoli
frozen dumplings/potstickers, 6-8
1 tsp chilli paste (I used sriracha)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Heat stock and when boiling, add vegetables. Cook till veges are tender (took about 10 minutes). At this time, add the cilantro, chilli paste, soy, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Check for salt and allow soup to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in the frozen potstickets and cook per instructions. Garnish with some more cilantro, if needed. Enjoy right away.

Mooli Dal

My grad school years started my first experimentations with cooking. One of my roommates, J, used to make this mooli dal which I absolutely love. The cooking somehow reduces the pungency of the mooli and complements the dal well.


1 cup toor dal, washed and soaked for 1/2 hour
1 large mooli, cut into rounds
sambhar powder, 1 tsp
turmeric, 1/2 tsp

For tadka (tempering):

1 green chilli, cut small
2-3 red chillies, broken into small pieces
cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp

In a pressure cooker, put the soaked dal, mooli, sambhar powder, and turmeric and cook for 2 whistles. This may take upto 45 mins if cooking on an open fire. When done, add some water if the dal is too thick, and return to a boil on the stove. In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp oil. When hot, add the tadka ingredients and allow seeds to brown slightly. Pour this tadka over the dal and mix well to incorporate.