I am not yet very creative in the kitchen to come up with my own recipes, so I like to share some of my favorite ones that I am using from cookbooks or from recipes on-line. This time of the year, the fall, brings here in Canada already some colder weather. We had our first night frost a few weeks ago. For me it is the time of year to make some tasty warm beverages. I do drink a lot of rooibos tea already, but the next recipe is a treat that I make in the weekends. It is a non-caffeinated version of Chai and it is a recipe from the book “Flavors of Health” by Dr. Ed Bauman and Chef Lizette Marx. I met them at a natural nutrition conference a few years ago in Tucson and bought their cookbook. It has a wealth of healthy and nutritious recipes.
The ingredients are:
- 1 cup of water
- 8 green cardamon pods
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 ¼ inch or 5-6 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 star anise pod (I actually like the flavour of star anise and add a few more)
- 2 cups of almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of rooibos tea or 2 rooibos tea bags
- Put the water and the spices in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduced the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes
- Add the milk and maple syrup and heat to a strong simmer. Do not allow to boil.
- Add the tea and turn off the heat. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes or longer if you like to have a stronger rooibos taste.
- Pour the chai through a strainer
You can keep the spices and have them in the refrigerator for a few days and re-use them again for another special Chai.
Special Tomato Soup:
I am not yet very creative in the kitchen to come up with my own recipes, so I like to share some of my favorite ones that I am using from cookbooks or from recipes on-line. This time of the year, the fall, brings here in Canada already some colder weather. We had our first night frost a few weeks ago. For me it is the time of year to have some hearty foods like soup. This is my favorite tomato soup. it is a recipe from the book “Flavors of Health” by Dr. Ed Bauman and Chef Lizette Marx. I met them at a natural nutrition conference a few years ago in Tucson and bought their cookbook. It has a wealth of healthy and nutritious recipes. The miso, mirin and the roasted garlic and red bell peppers make this soup a very special and tasty version of a tomato soup.
The ingredients are:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee (ghee is a variation of clarified butter that originated in India)
- 2 medium onion, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, diced (I do not like celery at all and leave it out)
- 2 medium carrot, diced.
- 1 ½ tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
- ¾ cup of mirin (rice wine)
- 2 pounds or 1 kg of ripe tomatoes, chopped or 2 large cans of whole tomatoes
- 1 head of garlic (roasted)
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
- 6 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon black pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup of red miso
- 2 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger
- ½ cup of plain yogurt
- 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
First how to get the roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 375°C or 190°C.
Select a large bulb of garlic. Slice of the stem end (not the root end) of the garlic so that the garlic is slightly exposed. Layer a piece of foil with a pice of parchment paper and place the garlic bulb in the center. Drizzle about 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil on the exposed cloves. Wrap securely in the parchment-lined foil. Roast in the oven until cloves are very tender; about 1 hour. When done, the garlic cloves will be quite soft. Allow to cool slightly, then squeeze out the garlic.
Now, how to get the roasted red bell pepper:
Preheat oven to 375°C or 190°C.
Cut the bell peppers in half and discard the stem, seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut side down on a parchment-line baking sheet and bake in oven until skins blister and loosen. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and top with a plate, or place them in a paper bag and fold it closed. Set aside for about 10 minutes to further steam and loosen the skins. Then peel away the skins. Once the skins are removed, the peppers are ready to be sliced into the soup.
Ok, we are now ready to prepare the soup.
- Heat a stock pot over medium heat and add the oil or ghee. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat the vegetables for about 15 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. Add the ginger and stir for another few minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the mirin and then add the tomatoes, roasted garlic, and red peppers. Sweat for another 15 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, starting with 6 cups (with fresh tomatoes I find that this is sufficient but you can add more broth later if necessary). Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Taste. If the tomato flavour is not strong enough, add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. I have never had to do this. Season with pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup needs thinning, more stock can be added.
- Pour a cup of soup into a bowl and whisk in the red miso until smoothly incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Combine the ginger with the yogurt. Garnish each serving of soup with a few slivers of green onion and the yogurt mixture.
Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
One of my favourite recipes is for Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) I found a recipe on-line for Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) by eCurry. Even though I checked if I am allowed to use existing recipes this website is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved, so I will include the link.
There are few things I like to mention:
- It is definitely not easy to find all ingredients in the supermarket. I do not always have the opportunity or time to go to an Indian or Asian supermarket or food store. So, I make this recipe with the ingredients I can buy. E.g. I have not found methi/fenugreek seeds, methi/dried fenugreek leaves and black cardamon. I check on-line what a good substitute is and try to get that. A good alternative for fenugreek leaves is mustard greens. For Fenugreek seeds I use mustard seeds. The first few times I made this dish I bought the green chili peppers. Unfortunately, they are often in a package of more than 2-4 peppers and actually one to two makes the dish already spice enough for me. So now I do not add the peppers anymore but use the cayenne pepper instead to make it spicy. I realize that this might not give the same taste but it is good enough for me.
- Regarding the lemon in the marinade. I tend to have a bit too much lemon in the marinade and the taste of lemon does come up quite distinctly in the chicken so be careful not to use too much lemon.
- I am not a good multi-tasker in the kitchen which means that this recipe takes quite a bit of time for me to make. I do not mind as I know I have made the dish from scratch with mostly fresh ingredients but it means it is typical a dish to make in the weekends when I have the time to spend a few hours in the kitchen.