Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Morning Muffins

"BAKE from scratch" Beet & Goat Cheese Muffin
"BAKE from scratch" Beet & Goat Cheese Muffins
Muffins are a lovely start to a morning. I surely don't make them too often, but I do love them. This quarter's issue of "BAKE from Scratch" had a feature with (I believe) 7 different muffin recipes. I went a little wild with the last quarter's issue with the 8 different kinds of scones. I somehow cannot get quite as excited about the muffins for some reason. There are some that certainly piqued my interest. One of them was a recipe that contained pureed beets (making them prettily pink in color), goat cheese (for a little piquancy), lots and lots of orange zest and a whole lot of streusel.

I made these last because I happened to have pureed beets in my freezer. I used them to make a most excellently moist Chocolate Beet Cake, though if any of my readers have kept up with my blogs, they will know that chocolate is very low on my list of things to make or eat. Ergo, I still have lots of pureed beets in the freezer!

Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins

Another of the muffin recipes that called my attention was one that used Matcha Green Tea powder and black sesame seeds. I love using Matcha powder in recipes and have made many things this way. I made some really excellent molded individual Black Sesame Matcha Cheesecakes once. They were to DIE for. I made some Green Tea Lime Sables about a year ago, and a GF Angelfood Cake with Green Tea Pistachio Swirl a year ago March. I love the Green color in things, though the flavor does not always come through strongly. 

Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins
Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins
While reading the recipe for the muffins in "BAKE from scratch", I rather disagreed with the method for making the muffins, and also with the streusel for the top. I followed the recipe for the pretty beet muffins to the letter. I was unsure how much beet flavor would come through for one thing, but the streusel seemed excessive, and excessively sweet. There was as much sugar in the entire muffin recipe as was in the streusel part. To me, that was just plain overkill. The same went for the Green Tea muffins. I love sweets; don't get me wrong. I do love sweets. But sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing. I opted to skip the streusel entirely on the green tea muffins and instead use the black sesame in the recipe. One thing I particularly liked in the recipe as it was presented was the use of almond meal. This would automatically make them moist. I kept that idea. Instead of streusel, I just sprinkled the muffins with sliced almonds before baking, to make them look pretty.

square-holed muffin tin
All the recipes in the magazine were sized for jumbo muffin tins. I do not own jumbo muffin tins, though I do have a 12-well square holed tin. I believe the square shape holds a larger amount than a regular muffin tin, though I have not officially measured. I know when making this recipe, it all fit into the square holed 12-well tin, though when I made one of the other recipes in a regular muffin tin, I had to use 3 extra wells in a regular tin to accommodate. Be aware of this when pouring into the tins, and also when baking. Larger, jumbo muffins will take longer to bake through completely. I was so very pleased with what I did and how they came out. Here is my method:

Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins

makes 8 jumbo muffins or 12 - 16 regular muffins

Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins
Matcha & Black Sesame Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder 
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs 
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the wells of 12 - 16 regular muffin tin wells with cooking spray, or simply use muffin papers.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir well with a silicone spatula or a spoon, until no dry ingredients are left. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle the tops with the sliced almonds.

Bake the muffins for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove the muffins from the tin to cool on a rack. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Quick Anyday Taco Pasta Skillet

Let's face it. There are days when even the most accomplished cook wants something easy. Simple. No hassle. I had one of those days a couple of days ago. I just plain did not feel like inventing something lengthy or complicated. I had some hamburger thawed, so that was going to be the main event. I was tired of Sloppy Joes or my One-Skillet Hamburger Meal (which I made last week).
Taco Pasta Skillet
My Taco Pasta Skillet

So I went online. I am sure, if you are looking at this blog post, that you have been in this same boat, and found literally hundreds of hamburger skillets, along with ones for chicken and pork and any number of other things. Some with pasta, some with rice, and some with no carb component. This is what influenced me: my husband likes his carbs. If I served him a hamburger skillet that contained no rice or pasta, he would want it on a bun. So - since I had just made the rice skillet recently, I was looking for something with pasta. 

I found lots and lots and lots of recipes. As usual, none of them - quite - suited me. A Taco Skillet sounded good, but required a packet of Taco Seasoning. I do not buy packets of pre-mixed seasonings. They most often contain MSG, and at the very least contain a slew of ingredients that make me wonder if there is truly anything at all real in the mixture! One commonly known brand contains 6 identifiable ingredients. The remainder of the ingredient list states:
"Contains Less than 2% of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Sunflower and/or Cottonseed Oil, Natural Flavor, Ethoxyquin (Preservative)."
Taco Seasoning
Taco Seasoning
I don't know about you, but for me, this is not desirable. So, my next step was to try and cobble together a recipe for Taco Seasoning. Most recipes found online are quite similar. Most have identical ingredients, but with differing amounts. Some few have a couple of extra things. You get the picture. So again I set pen to paper and made a list of what I thought should go into a Taco Seasoning. Here is what I created:

Taco Seasoning
Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons = one "packet"
  • 2 tablespoons seasons 1 pound hamburger
  • makes five (2-tablespoon) servings

3 tablespoons commercial chili powder
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons powdered oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix all ingredients together and store in a jar with tight fitting lid, away from light and heat. 

If more heat is desired, add in cayenne powder to your desired heat tolerance.

What is a Taco, Anyway?

I guess the next step in my creation of a recipe is to ask "What is a Taco?" I think that all depends on who you ask. Almost anything can go into a taco. Any kind of meat. Cheese or no cheese. Vegetables: most often fresh tomatoes, or salsa, avocado, and many other possibilities - or no vegetables. Tortillas: corn or wheat. What goes in is at the discretion of the cook, the country and the day of the week. I am being a little facetious, but really, tacos consist of something to hold and something to fill. 

With this much leeway, most anything can be done, but obviously making something in a skillet has nothing to do with a "taco". So I am going on the idea that because it is flavored with "taco seasoning" (I'm betting tacos in Mexico do not use "taco seasoning"), and some of the things that might go into a taco are in this one-dish meal, that this constitutes a "taco" skillet. For sure, the ingredient list can be diverse. 
Taco Pasta Skillet
Taco Pasta Skillet

When I approached this concept, I started thinking about things that might be thought of as "Tex-Mex" and so corn and beans were two things right off the bat. The taco seasoning I created, at least had no untoward ingredients, and gave flavors that lean in that direction. Cheese strewn over top would be the cheese component. The pasta component is the one, glaring, outside-the-box ingredient. 

Ultimately, my husband loved it, and so did I. I served it with sour cream and I ate mine with avocado cubes. It is delicious. My husband's only commentary was that some kind of tortilla chips, maybe crumbled over top, would have given that crunchy aspect he was missing. Ultimately, I think this will be added to the small list (in my cooking repertoire) of things that can be put together in a jiffy. And, that my husband loves.

Taco Pasta Skillet

Taco Pasta Skillet
Taco Pasta Skillet
serves at least 8 hungry people

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 commercial packet of Taco Seasoning,
OR 2 tablespoons of my Taco Seasoning,  
     recipe above
1 teaspoon salt (if using my seasoning)
2 cups tomato salsa
1 small can corn kernels, drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups elbow macaroni
3/4 cup taco sauce + 3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar / jack)
2 - 4 scallions, chopped

In a very large skillet (preferably non-stick, and with a tight fitting lid) brown the ground beef until all the liquid evaporates, and the meat is browned, about 7 - 8 minutes. Add in the onion, garlic, bell pepper, Taco Seasoning and the 1 teaspoon of salt (if using commercial Taco Seasoning, it will already contain salt, so be aware and eliminate or reduce the salt) and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the salsa and the pasta, with the taco sauce and water and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir the mixture well and cover. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 7 minutes. Uncover and stir well, then cover and cook for another 7 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente. Sprinkle on the scallions, and top with the shredded cheese. Replace the lid, remove the skillet from the heat and let stand while the cheese melts, another 3 to 5 minutes. 

Serve the skillet meal with sour cream, avocado (plain or as guacamole), chopped tomatoes, cilantro, or salsa on the side.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.    

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Potato Pancakes and Huevos Rancheros

First off, I have to relate what I mean by "potato pancakes". In our house, as we grew up, my Mom would take leftover mashed potatoes, cold from the fridge. She would cut in flour as for making pie pastry (using a fork or pastry cutter) until the mixture would hold together to make balls, and then roll these balls of dough into thin "pancakes". Back then, her favorite frying medium was Crisco, so into a relatively hot skillet went a dab of Crisco, and then in went the thin, round pancake. She would cook them until the bottom was dotted with brown, then flip for a minute or so until the opposite side had browned spots, and then begin cooking the next one. These were what we knew as "potato pancakes. 

Mom's Style of Potato Pancakes
In our house, these were as much a treat as rice pudding, so whenever Mom made white rice or mashed potatoes for dinner, we would all clamor for her to "make too much." This would ensure that we would have a treat the next day. And it was a real treat to have potato pancakes, made this way. She would often serve then to us for lunch. The first one or two would be sprinkled with salt. Warm from the pan, they were nicely flexible, so she would roll them up and serve them. Once we had eaten them this way, then we would have them with a little jelly rolled in. A treat on top of what was already spectacular. 

These childhood memories stay strong in me, even at age 65. To this day, though I don't make them often, I do still make them. I even made them when I lived in Guatemala, and when making them alongside a maid named Graciela, she dubbed them "Tortillas de Papa", meaning nothing more than "tortillas made of potato" or "potato cakes". I asked her if she could try patting them out by hand, just as when she made fresh corn tortillas. She could, and she did! So, my children also grew up with my Mom's style of potato pancakes, now and again. I don't really know if they are so near and dear to their hearts as they are to mine, but they do know them. 

How are they Made?
Potato Pancakes

I have no real recipe for these. How much flour to add to the cold mashed potatoes is changeable, depending on how wet your mashed potatoes were to begin with. Last evening I started with approximately 
  • 2 cups of cold mashed potatoes. 
I added in about 
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour 
to begin, cutting it in. The mixture was still too wet and soft to form, so I added in about another 
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. 
I added more flour, in smaller amounts until I could pick up some of the mixture in my hands, make a cohesive ball of "dough" that would hold together, and then roll it out. Like with pie dough, the mixture should not be over-handled. The flour that is added will build gluten and toughen the mixture. To roll them out, sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto a surface. Form a 2-inch ball of the dough into a smooth round, then flatten it and place onto the floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top, then with a rolling pin, roll it out to about 1/8-inch thick and about 6-inches in diameter. Last evening I got 8 potato pancakes from the amount of potatoes I started with.

Heat a skillet to about medium heat, then add in a little bit of your preferred oil. I find that cooking spray works well, so as not to add too much oil to the pan. One of those "Misto" sprayers with your favorite oil would work. Set one of the rolled out pancakes into the hot pan and allow it to cook until it has formed myriad brown spots, as in the photos above. This could take from 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the heat level. Flip the pancake and cook about one minute more, until the opposite side also has browned spots. Remove to a plate, add a little more oil, and continue with the remainder of the pancakes. 
Potato Pancake Huevos Rancheros
Potato Pancake Huevos Rancheros

For whatever reason, though I have made these often enough in the past 26 years, my husband never even tasted them. Again, for whatever reason, last night he asked if he could have some of them. Since I made plenty, this was no problem. I explained that they were good just with salt. He ate them with his vegetable soup for dinner. There was one remaining on his plate, and I told him to try it with jelly. He did, and loved it! A new convert!

Potato Pancakes, topped with beans, then with eggs, and finally, with salsa
As I ate them with some pork for dinner last night, I thought of using them instead of tortillas to make "Huevos Rancheros." I felt that since they are made of potato, and potatoes (usually in the form of hash browns or home fries) are served with breakfasts, that this would be a good plan. I had beans cooked up already, just because I love them, so I was all set. This morning I got everything out, starting with two of the leftover potato pancakes. I heated some of my "refried beans" and then fried 2 eggs. To top it off I used some of my fermented salsa. It was most excellent and everything I had hoped!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tej Patta - A Much Mistaken Case of Identity

Tej Patta leaves
I have had a lot of years cooking Indian foods now, and in most every recipe, conspicuous by its absence, was bay leaf. A couple of years ago, I heard a friend say she put bay leaf in her Garam Masala. I sputtered a bit and then asked why she used bay leaf in Garam Masala? "Because the recipe said so," she said. All I could figure was that it was not a true Indian recipe. Things do tend to creep into a recipe when in the hands of someone not of the culture. Granted, I am not of the culture either, but I try to stay as authentic to the flavors as possible, going to lengths to search out the proper spices.

So imagine my surprise when not too long ago, I heard about "Indian Bay Leaf". I found that this is not a bay leaf as we know it at all, but something that looks sort of similar, and has been called bay leaf or even Indian bay leaf, when if fact it has a closer relation to cinnamon. Wikipedia has this to say:

"Cinnamomum tamala, Indian bay leaf, also known as tejpat, tejapatta, Malabar leaf, Indian bark, Indian cassia, or malabathrum, is a tree within the Lauraceae family which is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. It can grow up to 20 m (66 ft) tall."

Tej Patta - Cinnamomum tamala / C. tejpata / C. malabathrum

Called "Tej Patta" (among other spellings) in Hindi, "Tamalapatra" in Sanskrit, and called by other names in other languages or dialects, these leaves come from a tree that is in the Lauraceae family (as with Bay Laurel leaves), but comes instead from a variety of cassia tree. Tej Patta leaves bear more resemblance in flavor to cinnamon or cloves, quite dissimilar to the piney, resinous flavor of bay laurel leaves.

Bay Laurel and Tej Patta Leaves - comparison
Tej Patta grows mainly in the northeast of India, extending into the slopes of the Himalayas, Nepal and Burma. The trees are not generally under commercial cultivation, so quality is not highly regulated. Not all leaves sold have the same strength of flavor.  
Its usage in Indian cooking is mainly confined to the Moghul cooking style of the imperial courts of Delhi and Agra, in foods such as Biryani and Korma. In these regions it is used almost daily and is well known. If an Indian recipe calls for "bay leaf", it is automatically known this refers to Tej Patta, or its misleading name: "Indian Bay Leaf." 

Tej Patta is characterized by its three lengthwise veins instead of the bay laurel leaf's many branched veins off of one central vein. Note these differences in the photo at left. The size of the leaves in the packet I bought runs from just slightly larger than a mid sized bay laurel leaf upwards to about 6 or more inches in length.

If an Indian recipe calls for "bay leaf" or "Indian Bay Leaf", do not substitute a Bay Laurel leaf. Instead add just a little more cinnamon, or perhaps one clove or one allspice berry instead. The leaves are not so strongly flavored, and it is suggested that they be broken before adding to a dish to help increase potency of flavor. If in doubt, leave it out. A bay laurel leaf will lend the wrong flavors to the dish. Most things are available online these days, and true to form, I found them on

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Remade Pumpkin Loaf Really Stands Out

Pumpkin Loaf or Bread is delicious. By its very nature it will be moist and tender. With a good amount of canned pumpkin or other squash puree, moistness is almost (but not quite) guaranteed. Still, sometimes I just can't help myself and I feel the need to tinker. 

Pumpkin Nut Loaf, straight from the oven
Last week I finally got around to baking and pureeing the huge Jarrahdale squash I had bought in late September. The beautiful blue-green color of the large squash had begun to turn to light orange, ripening itself over the months. This is by far the longest I have allowed a squash like this to set before doing something with it. Since we went away over the holidays and then things got upped a bit last minute to leaving a week earlier than planned, there were many things left un-done. The squash was really large. I never weighed it, but once baked and pureed, I got 14 cups of beautiful, bright golden puree. Since I still had a few packages of squash puree from last year, I figured it was time to use some of it.

Pumpkin Nut Loaf, sliced

The museum had a closing reception for an art exhibit yesterday, and I was asked to make something to serve at the reception. "Pumpkin" bread was my thought. I had a perfectly good recipe for Pumpkin bread already (find that recipe here), but like I said, sometimes I just feel the need to tinker with a recipe and see what happens. I sat to look at the recipe I had used previously, which used 1 cup of pumpkin or squash puree. When I puree my squash, I divide it up in 2-cup batches in freezer zip-top bags. If I was going to thaw 2 cups of squash, then I needed to use 2 cups. With that in mind, I opted to double the recipe. One loaf for the reception and one loaf for us. 

As an aside, while at the art reception yesterday (a mixed bag of art styles by artists from all over the state), I met a most talented man named Jim Green. He makes bronze sculptures, and the one that was exhibited at the museum was called Marsh Song. It was of a lone cattail, with a Marsh Wren perched on the head of the cattail. The piece was about 2 feet tall. It had such a serenity to it, and yet I could just "feel" that moment of startling flight as the bird would take off. It was one of the most lovely things I have seen. We talked for a long time. I highly recommend checking out his website: to see some of his excellent work.

Back to the Recipe

The next thing I noticed is that white sugar was used in the old recipe, so I went for brown sugar. The spice amounts were also increased, and then I added in sour cream to the recipe. The brown sugar and the sour cream are going to make for a moist loaf anyway. I lowered the overall fat content by using half oil and half applesauce. I also added in a tiny mount of black strap molasses. In addition to the nuts, I used up a half cup of  some "Heath" Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits that were left over from a previous recipe. On further reflection, I might have to make this recipe again and substitute some of the Maple Flav-r Bits from King Arthur Flour. It strikes me that the burst of maple would go very well indeed. I happen to have a lot of flavorings that are not in everyone's cabinets, and I used 1 teaspoon of cream cheese flavoring with 1/2 teaspoon butterscotch flavoring. It would be just as good to use a teaspoon or two of vanilla.

The recipe is very easily mixed together using just a spatula. Here is the recipe with its makeover:

Pumpkin Nut Loaf

Pumpkin Nut Loaf, served

makes two 8 x 4-inch loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup ground nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cups Toffee Bits (Maple Flav'r Bites, or raisins, or dates)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. If desired, as added precaution, line the pans with parchment.

In one bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar with the oil and applesauce. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking to incorporate one before adding the next. Whisk in the pumpkin puree with the molasses and vanilla. Once completely combined, stir in the nuts, sour cream and any other addition desired. Once well combined, divide the batter between the two loaf pans. It will fill the pans pretty high. Bake the loaves for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. A few crumbs are fine. Allow the pans to rest for about 5 minutes, then remove the loaves to a wire rack to cool.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A New Delicious Indian Style Side Dish

I may have mentioned a time or two ;) how much I love Indian food. Everything about the flavors just hit the spot, for me. Some time ago I made a recipe for Cauliflower in Indian Spices, but had yet to try making something with cabbage. I chanced to see a recipe in passing, a few days back, and looked at it more closely. I took the usual route of looking at other similar recipes before sitting down to compose something that fit my own criteria. 
Indian Cabbage and Rice

My husband and I had been in Denver over the recent holidays, and while there I went to Whole Foods Market. We have nothing at all like that near us, so when the opportunity strikes, I take it. While there I bought quite a few turmeric roots, fresh. I always put turmeric powder into my oatmeal in the morning, mainly for health benefits, and since returning with the fresh roots, I have been grating that into my oatmeal instead. So when I sat to compose a recipe for Indian Cabbage and Rice, my plan was that fresh turmeric would be an ingredient. Hurray! Another use for the fresh turmeric. I will be sad to see it gone, truly, because the flavor is so different when it is fresh!

Turmeric - Curcuma longa

Fresh Turmeric Root
Turmeric is a plant of the ginger family, and native to southwest India. It is used throughout south Asia in cooking for its pungency and color as well as for deep golden dyes. The part used is the root, in actuality a rhizome. The roots are lifted out and sold fresh or dried and ground. When fresh, the roots are a deep orange color and the favor is described as peppery, warm and bitter. Ground turmeric is most often found in areas where the plant will not grow, and it is easily found most anywhere. It is known for the deep, golden yellow color it gives, particularly to things like yellow mustard. It is also usually a significant ingredient in commercial yellow "curry powders."

When using turmeric, whether fresh or dried, care is needed when using it, as it will stain. The intense yellow color will stain hands, nails, cutting boards and anything else it comes in contact with. 

In cooking, the use of turmeric is an excellent way to brighten colors in a dish Adding a small bit to a food that is already yellow, such as egg salad, makes the color more appealing. Turmeric is an excellent addition to bean and lentil dishes as the flavors compliment these legumes. Indian lentil and dal recipes most often call for turmeric. 

Indian Cabbage and Rice
Turmeric is most often used in savory culinary applications, although it can be used in sweet applications. A tiny pinch in a bread, cake or cookie recipe will impart golden color without imparting much flavor.  

Back to My Cabbage and Rice

I love rice, and I love cabbage. I love Indian spices. I figured this whole dish would be a match made in heaven. Speaking for myself, I just couldn't get enough of this dish last evening. I kept sneaking bites while waiting for the pork chops to finish cooking. I snuck more bites after dinner while cleaning up after the meal. While the flavors didn't jump out and scream at you, they were certainly a lovely mixture. If you look closely at the photos, you can just pick out the little bits of bright orange turmeric in the dish. Of course, dried turmeric can be used instead, and once my precious fresh roots are gone, I will make this dish again with dried turmeric powder.

Indian Cabbage and Rice

Indian Cabbage and Rice
makes 6 or more servings

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or ghee

2 whole green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1-inch true cinnamon, broken
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 "tej patta" or "tamal patra" leaf, optional
1 pinch asafoetida, optional

2 tablespoons oil or ghee

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-inch fresh ginger root, minced
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 2 jalapeno chilies, minced
1-inch fresh turmeric root, grated, OR use ground, below: 
1/2 small cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)

1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, if no fresh is available
2 - 3 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Set the rice ingredients into a medium saucepan, bring to boil and reduce to a strong simmer. Cover with a lid and time for 15 minutes. Rice should be cooked through and no more liquid visible. Set aside once cooked.

In a large skillet, heat the oil or ghee. Add in all the Whole Masala ingredients and swirl the pan until the spices begin to crackle and sputter. Add in the onion, reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Add in the ginger, garlic, chilies and turmeric root, if available. Cook and stir until the mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir well, mixing and tossing often while the cabbage cooks, about 10 minutes, or until it is as tender as desired. Once cooked, stir in the remaining 4 ingredients and stir well. 

Add in the cooked rice and stir well to completely combine and serve immediately. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.