Friday, February 25, 2011

Ginger Tea

Cold days call for warm tea. Tea that warms the soul. Well, atleast my body. With snow all piled up and rain pouring outside, I need all the cheering up I can get. Rather than cuddling up in a blanket, watching TV with a big bowl of popcorn (I used to do that in the pre-adult days, aahhh good old days), I need to get some work done. Yes, there's a long list of wok that needs to be done. So, here's my ginger tea for that cold soul. Assam tea is the best tea for this. You can use the
English tea or Irish Breakfast tea. I have the Tetley English tea.



Ingredients:- (Makes 2 big cups)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups water

1 tbsp minced ginger

2 tsp sugar

2 tea bags

Boil all ingredients in a pot. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Remove tea bags or
strain tea into cups and enjoy.

You can feel the warmth from the ginger. Happy cold day! Brrrrr!!!




Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot slaw

When I was a kid, my parents went on a trip to visit my grandparents for a week. I wasn’t allowed to miss school, so my Uncle (Mom’s younger brother) was the care taker for that week. I was probably 8 or 9 years old and was a very picky eater. I didn’t eat vegetables, meat or eggs. I survived on carbs, dairy and fruits. You can imagine how tough it was on my Mom. My Uncle was an aspiring chef and he loved experimenting with food (Well, I think he did because he always made stuff new to me). One night, Uncle made this cabbage and served with rice. I started eating hesitantly. And it was the first time in my life I asked for a second serving. That was how good it tasted. Crunchy, sweet and salty at the same time. Maybe it was because it tasted the complete opposite of the usual spiced food. I told Mom how great it tasted, Uncle told her that I ate seconds. And it was kind of a regular at home. Mom was happy that I ate it and was super easy to cook.

And my Uncle did become a chef. He worked in another city and then moved to Germany, where one day I will go and eat his food again. Here’s to my Uncle.

Ingredients:-

Half a head cabbage shredded
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp oil
Salt

Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and let it sweat. Add garlic and cook until light brown.
Add cabbage, carrots, cumin and salt. Cover and cook over low heat until cabbage is translucent. Remove cover and let the liquid dry out.


Lentil fry

Funny name. It’s called “dal fry” in Nepali. And I’m guessing the “fry” is an English word and “dal” means lentil. Great accompaniment for rice, lubricates it and makes it easier to swallow.

In the beginning of my cooking days, I thought that the lentils were supposed to be fried in some way and then cooked. When I made it, it just didn’t seem to fit the name. Well, take a look-see. This recipe makes a thick soup, so it can be eaten with breads.



Ingredients:-

½ cup red split lentils

1 small inch of ginger

1 medium onion chopped

1 medium tomato chopped

2 tbsp cilantro chopped

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Water

Salt

Cook the lentils in a pot with the ginger, turmeric, salt and about 3 cups of water.

In a separate pan, heat the oil. Add onions and let it sweat.

Add cumin and tomatoes. Add a little salt to help the tomatoes get soft.

Add cilantro. This is the “fry”.

Add this “fry” to the lentils and stir. If the lentil is too thick, add more water and boil.

Healthy food. Good source of protein with less fat. Somebody just got a second serving. Ooops!

Slacker

I blame my Mom for my slacking. She was visiting us and stayed with us for a month and half. It meant I got lazy and didn’t cook most of the time. Even if I did, it was mostly sandwiches and pasta. My Mom being the excellent and generous cook; makes generously spiced food. A total flip from what we’re used to eating and a welcome change. There were times I was hyperventilating and drinking lots of water. But it was a good change from the numbness. I’m going to try and keep up with a little bit of spiciness.

With her, came a lot of goodies. All the dried meats were thrown out by the customs at the airport. My husband’s favorite cookies got here safe and sound. They have two versions:- salty and sweet. I love the salty ones. Titaura – oh my. The quintessential food for all Nepalese girls. The rest I will cook them slowly and savor them while they last.

In the mean time, I’ve been doing some baking. We never bake bread in Nepal and I wanted to learn. I was looking for a bread machine and one day when the bread gods smiled at me, I found this beauty at the thrift store all taped up and with a price tag of $5.99.



Whoa! I snatched it up. And I was in a rush to pick up the toddler, so I didn’t even open it and check it. Took it home, googled for
a manual. And then made some white bread. Got it right the third time. Then I thought, why don’t we bake bread in Nepal. It occurred to me, we don’t bake anything. We don’t have ovens. My mom had a toaster oven when she ran a hotel. But all we did in it was toast breads. And yeast is used to make wine
and yogurt. That’s it.

Now that she’s gone and the weather is still cold, I’ll be spending some time in the kitchen. And because it’s still January, cooking some healthy food, ruining it all by the end of the month for the husband’s birthday. One little person has already asked for brownies, donuts and cake for Daddy’s birthday. We’ll see.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Back

I've been absent lately. I was on a training for two weeks in CT. We went out to eat a couple of times. The best among them was Athenian Diner in New Haven. It was a nice place with nice people. The cakes called out to me as soon as we walked in the diner, but I tried to ignore it. We ate a lot (forgot to take my camera with me so, no pictures), which helped avoid all that sweet stuff. I wish I was there during the summer, to enjoy the sea and the food. Winter is not my best season.

As I'm writing this, it's snowing outside, our first real snow. I'm not looking forward to the shoveling. Maybe, if we still have snow during Christmas, I'll appreciate it from indoors.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bitter melon

As the name suggests, bitter melon is well, very bitter. You either love it or absolutely hate it. My Mom loved bitter melon and she made it frequently. Each time she made it, we were forced to try at least one. She would reason that it kills all the bad bacteria in our stomach. I didn't doubt it because it almost kills me. Those were the difficult days. I heard stories of my Uncle getting so angry of having to eat bitter melons that he went to the kitchen garden and dug out the whole plant of bitter melon. Ha!

When I married my husband, I was sad to learn that he loved it too. Well, I tried to avoid it at the grocery store each time we pass by it. Once in a while, he picks up a couple. But I never cook it, he cooks it. The only way I've found to cut the bitterness of these melons is to salt it and shallow fry it. I still get the benefits of the vegetable (hopefully) and can brag that I eat it.

Here's the deets.

Ingredients
2 bitter melons
Salt
Oil for shallow frying

Slice the bitter melon into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
Add salt, toss the melons and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Squeeze the water out as much as you can.
Heat the oil in a shallow pan and fry the melons.

The more you fry it, the less bitter it is. That's the way I like it. Crunchy and salty. I made this the day my husband was leaving for a week long business trip. Gotta keep the guy happy before he leaves. ;-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween is bad for me

It really is. I have a hard time resisting candies. When we lived in apartments, we didn't get a lot of trick or treaters. We moved into this house in a kid-friendly neighborhood, and I bought lots of candies the first halloween. I think I bought 3 packets of candies. I ate most of it. The second year, I bought two packets and I still ended up eating most of it. This year it's on the weekend, so we will probably see more kids than last year but I bought only one packet.

I drove to Target during lunch time at work today and bought the candies and costume for the kid. That leaves me with only two days before Halloween and hopefully, I'll be able to hand out all the candies on Sunday. I was happy with that thought. Then, at 3, my boss buzzed me with some problems we were having on a project. I had to figure out a solution and to make sure I didn't miss anything, I had to talk to three people who are my seniors. At the end of the day, I emailed my boss with the solution, signed off and hopped in the car. I was stressed and hungry and the candies were sitting in the seat next to mine. What's a girl to do? Yes, I ate the candies. Five of them. Three almond joys and two Reeses. I have to hide the rest.

Yes, Halloween is bad for me.