Monday, July 29, 2013

My Indian Kitchen: A Refreshing Summer Meal

Before I jump into today's topic I wanted to write a bit about my experience with the Whole30.  As you may remember I spent the month of June on an elimination diet where I cut out grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, legumes, soy, MSG, and Sulfites.  The beginning was quite hard as my body was detoxing from everything.  I felt sluggish and sleepy most of the time, was also having a horrible time sleeping, and was generally a very grumpy human being!  By the time the third week hit though, I was starting to feel pretty good and was noticing all sorts of wonderful changes.  I began sleeping through the night, a luxury for me as I have not been a good sleeper in recent years.  I also began waking up before my alarm, ready to face the day.  I began to have a lot more energy and I noticed feeling much stronger while exercising.  I also began tasting and smelling things differently.  Amazingly, when I ate fruit, rarely because fruits are not as nutrient dense as veggies, it tasted so sweet almost like candy!  I could smell so many things i hadn't noticed before and in general eating was becoming a completely new experience.

I learned so much from those 30 days.  I learned how to enjoy food during a meal time then move on to the next thing and not desire a snack out of boredom or habit.  I learned how my body reacted to food and how to nourish my body with food in balance.  After the 30 days were over I then learned how my body reacts to the foods I had eliminated.  One sad discovery is that I cannot by any means tolerate corn.  I love Jersey corn during the summer but absolutely do not love what happens to my tummy after eating it.  Oh well, it's a good thing it's mostly GMO anyway so am not missing much!  I also found that my body won't tolerate soy.  I ate very little soy to begin with but now I don't know that I will partake in it knowingly again.  One meal that was filled with soy and a horrible night afterwards leaves me with little desire to eat it!  I would hugely recommend the program to everyone, it is really a wonderful way to get back in touch with your body and break some of those defeating habits around food!  For more information check out the website


I have been on an Indian food kick as of late.  The Hubinator and I just returned from vacation in Florida visiting his parents and we ate quite a bit of it while there.  It is a great way to use loads of veggies and most dishes freeze well so I recommend doubling the recipes to have two meals while just cooking once.  The meal I am presenting today is a combination of North Indian and South Indian cuisines.  We found that the lightness of the meat dish is a surprising complement to the vegetarian fare from the South.  This is by no means and traditional meal but quite tasty none the less.

Sookha Keema
Dry-cooked Spicy Ground Meat

Keema is a mouthful of flavor that is great on it's own as an entree with rice or bread or can be used as a stuffing for cabbage or zucchini. I always make a double batch as it disappears very quickly around here!

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil or Ghee
  • 2/3 Cup Onions or Celery, chopped
  • 4 tsp Garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Asafoetida powder, only if using celery instead of onions
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Green Chilis, seeded and minced
  • 1 lb Ground Meat such as beef or lamb
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala, available in most spice sections of the grocery store
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions or celery and cook stirring constantly until they turn a caramel brown. If using celery, add the asafoetida and mix to combine. Add garlic, ginger, and green chilis, cook a for 2 minutes more then add in the ground meat. When the meat has begun to brown and lose it's pink color, sprinkle in the turmeric and salt. Stir to combine then sprinkle in ¼ cup hot water, cover and reduce heat. Let the meat cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the lid, the moisture should be completely absorbed by now. If it is not, increase the heat and cook until it is evaporated. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in the garam masala, lemon juice, and cilantro. Serve hot or room temperature.
Note: this is a very dry dish and should not have much in the way of a sauce or any moisture to speak of. 

As I mentioned, Keema is quite tasty with rice or bread.   I am limiting grains and gluten in my diet so I modified the next recipe to fill the space on my plate with out filling my belly with gurgles and discomfort!   Cauliflower is a great substitute for rice.  It holds up well with quick cooking and retains some crunchiness that is quite satisfying.  
To make cauli-rice: Break the cauliflower into small florets, removing as much stem as possible, saving for another use.  Place the florets into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles cous cous or.... rice!  This can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.  It is now ready to be turned into a scrumptious rice dish.

Coconut "Rice"
You can use traditional rice as well, simply follow recipe as written replacing the cauliflower with 2 cups cooked rice.

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil or Ghee
  • 2 cups riced cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp raw cashews 
  • 1/2 fresh Coconut, grated (3/4 cup dried, unsweetened, flaked coconut)
  • 2 Green Chilis, stems removed and halved
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Coconut oil or Ghee
  • 1 tsp Black Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1 tsp Channa Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida powder
  • Few Kari Leaves
Heat 1 Tbsp fat in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the cashews and fry until golden brown.  Remove to a paper towel and add the coconut.  Fry until it turns a reddish brown.  Remove as well.  Add in the remaining 2 tsp fat and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, and channa dal.  When the mustard seeds begin to pop and sputter, add in the asafoetida, kari leaves, halved green chilis, cauliflower, and coconut.  Saute for about 5 minutes until the cauliflower just begins to soften.  Remove from the pan and garnish with the cashews.

Vegetable Medley
This is a quick salad to round out a meal.  Many types of veggies can be used, I like a mixture of crunchy and softer veggies including cucumber, carrots, radish, beets (fermented are delicious here), tomatoes, and my most favorite, sprouted beans.  Whatever you have on hand will work.  I have made it with just cucumber and tomato, or even cucumber on it's own.  This salad is very versatile!

  • 2 cups mixed chopped vegetables of choice
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Black Mustard seed
  • 1 tsp Cumin seed
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
  • a few Kari leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Combine the veggies and cilantro in a bowl.  Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the mustard seed, cumin seed, and urad dal.  When the mustard seeds pop and splutter, add the asafoetida and kari leaves. Pour over the veggies, add salt to taste and the lemon juice.  Stir to combine and serve.

I love this meal for a busy afternoon when I want something flavorful and fast.  The whole thing can be made in an hour but it tastes like you have been working all afternoon.  It keeps and freezes really well, the flavors meld and improve the next day.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment