Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Calamansi Juice With A Twist

Recently together with all the home cooking and home baking I have found a new frontier, making my own drinks/juices! It's been fun brewing and mixing different concoctions for drinking pleasure with the meals, especially with our hot weather, there is nothing like downing some fresh minty drink.

However, I had noticed that in the last 2 weeks, I had finished a significant amount of brown sugar. The amount that usually stays untouched for a while, unless I am making cinnamon rolls, was gone in just two weeks. 

Then it hit me, in all the fun and juice bottoms-up we have been consuming a lot of sugar. So I got determined to try out other drinks that require minimal sugar, or at least just honey. For this, I also had to make sure I ordered 1kg of commercial honey. True story, grocery bills are so high when you make everything at home.

From my last week's Tesco order, I had a good amount of calamansi limes, and what better time to make some calamansi juice. And no, this is not the bottled calamansi juice.

I squeezed juice from 7-8 pieces of calamansi lime. Be sure to cut the top small section, cutting through the seed will give bitterness. Added some 2-3 tbsp of honey, some salt, and the twist here, some apple cider vinegar! Add some water and give it a taste, adjust the taste as per liking. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out, especially with the ACV twist. Not just healthy, its yummy too! And of course I top it up with some bruised mint leaves, and get this, ginger slices, just because!

And since it turned out so good, I am roaring to try other combinations next! Happy trying!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tomato Sambal Recipe

Online shopping is a boon to most of us. We don't have to step out of the house, drag the kids, or even our own feet, and make our way to the store, to purchase those sweet things we want to buy. And now, with Tesco online grocery shopping, things have just gone sweeter!

Living in a condo now, it is rather a chore to do grocery shopping buying all those bulky items, and gather the whole family to transport things upstairs. In this case, online shopping is really useful that you can plan, pick and add your items to your cart. 

However as with anything online, it has several disadvantages. One being you can get carried away, over-buy, and in my case, accidentally buy things in larger amounts or sizes. A month ago I ordered RM1.80 worth of fresh turmeric, and I received turmeric so much that I am still using it up slowly. One of the things I made was this tropical juice. Ever since, I have also added fresh turmeric in most of my cooking.

Two weeks ago, I had another Tesco delivery fiasco, when I received 2.5kg of tomatoes, and some obscene amount of calamansi limes (I had ordered RM3 worth). I put my thinking cap on and got planning!

I took the big amount of tomatoes to my stride (and into the fridge). I decided to make some tomato sambal that would go with rice, and even for our idli weekends (oh yes, there is such a thing in our household).

To my embarrassment, I realise that I did not snap a pic of the tomato sambal. However, I can still share the recipe of my sambal here.

For the sambal, I take about 3 onions, 5-6 cloves of garlic, about 3-4 inches of ginger, 7-9 dried chilli (soaked in hot water), 2cm of raw turmeric. Give it a nice blend with some water. Set aside.

Heat the pan with some oil, add 2 chopped onion and lemongrass (chopped too), sautee till fragrant. Then you can add the blended mixture, and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes or longer if you need to. Halfway here you can add 5-6 chopped tomatoes. If you feel the sambal is drying up very fast, you can keep adding water to your desired consistency. Season with salt and brown sugar to your liking. In my case, I keep trying till I get it right. The level of heat of the dried chilli really differs every time.

Tomato sambal goes well with plain rice, nasi lemak (especially if you are going vegetarian) and even with mee hoon! 

Everything has a silver lining. I started using turmeric into my sambal paste since the over-buy of turmeric and I have discovered turmeric really enhances the taste and gives the sambal a vibrant red hue. After the tomato sambal I used the calamansi to make some refreshing juice which I will share soon. Happy trying!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Malawi Dhal And Potato Salad Recipe

Dhal is something grew up eating, like 5 days a week. It was our main protein provider, save for the Sunday feast. Through time I got so tired of eating the yellow lentil soup that I hated the very sight of it, till I moved away for my higher education, and then working far from home, when I realised how it formed the taste of home for me, till today.

Presently dhal is in our weekly menu, paired with stir fried vegetables and raita, or just yogurt. The thing about making a pot of dhal is that it can last for more than one meal. This way if I make it for lunch, we eat with rice. And for dinner on that day, I just make capatis to add some variety, and the dhal still remains a hit.

Dhal is not just main source of protein, but you can also load various vegetables into it. Usually I do cauliflower, brinjal, potatoes, tomatoes and radish, that is apart from the onion and garlic. Here's how we go about making a hearty pot of dhal:

As you can see in the picture below, I prepared the dhal stew in a pressure cooker. About 1 cup of malawi dhal and a handful of masoori dhal. Let it soak or just start cooking right away. Add some brinjal, potatoes, tomatoes, radish and cauliflower, and also chopped onion and garlic. You can reduce or increase the amount of vegetables as you like.

In fact, in this dhal stew, I had included 4 additional whole potatoes, which I will scoop out once the dhal is cooked, to be mashed with some ingredients for a nice potato salad, Indian style.

For this stew, I seasoned with some turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fish curry powder, and then some salt. 

Let it cook in the pressure cooker for about 3 whistles, around 20 minutes. Once done, let it sit for 30 minutes before doing the tempering.

For the tempering, heat some ghee in a pan. Add asafoetida, dried chilli, mixed spices and cumin seeds. And of course, don't forget the curry leaves. Once the seeds pop and get aromatic, you can take it off the heat and throw everything into the cooked dhal.

 Add some tamarind paste, and give it a last boil. Once it  comes to a boil, add in chopped coriander leaves. Give a stir and leave it uncovered for a while, so that the coriander don't turn black.

Remember the whole potatoes I boiled together with the dhal? Here they are, with some finely chopped onion, garlic and coriander leaves. And some Indian pickle masala. Season with salt and olive oil. 

Works best mashed with bare and clean hands. I can't help tasting and tasting as I mash this.

In fact this potato salad is similar to the filling that we make for aloo parathas, or potato stuffed parathas. After we had the dhal and salad for lunch, I used the remaining potato salad as filling for capati, and voila, we had hearty aloo parathas for dinner! Nothing beats that, really!

Till then, here's hoping my kids never get tired of their dhal doses. Happy trying!


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