Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}


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Kichari (Kichdi) – mung beans and rice

Another Indian veg recipe here! It’s been a busy couple of weeks and my stomach’s been wonky, so I’ve been mostly eating potato chips and meat rolls (ok, fancy name for sandwich meat rolled up) and finally I had a minute to cook last night. Whew!

I’ve been wanting to try kichdi for a while, so last night was the night. Kichari or kichdi is a basic dish, using mung beans (moong dal) and basmati rice. In India, when your stomach’s not feeling good, they might give you jeera rice (cumin seed rice) or kichdi to soothe your system. Jeera rice is easy to make in the rice cooker – just make regular rice, and before you turn on the rice cooker, add cumin seeds that have been fried in oil just until they crackle, dump in both seeds and oil. Many of the kichdi recipes I’ve been seeing call for a pressure cooker, and I don’t have one, so I made this on the stovetop.

You can add any vegetables you have, and I love potatoes, so I added those.

Here’s a link to a proper kichdi recipe – I adapted this one, given what I had and my limited time: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/moong-dal-khichdi-recipe/

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup mung beans, split and rinsed
1/2 cup rice
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1/4 t Ginger (I used powdered because it’s what I had – add enough for your taste)
3/4 t Cumin seeds
1/4 t Turmeric powder
Hot pepper, if you like it hot, or chili powder
Salt
Water as necessary
Potatoes, precooked and cubed – you could also use raw, but then add them in time for
them to cook
Oil

METHOD

First, rinse your mung beans and then soak the rice and beans together for about 30 minutes. I did this by putting them in a bowl with water to cover.

I put about 2 Tbsp oil (I used olive) into the pan and, after it was hot, I dropped in the cumin seeds and let them fry until they crackled. Then I put in the chopped onion and let it soften until translucent. I added my spices after the onion was translucent and then stirred well. Then I drained my rice/beans and added them to the pot, with about 2 cups of water (you’re going to cook the rice/beans in this water, so make sure there’s enough, and check back to make sure you’re not burning the bottom of the mixture), which filled my pot as full as I wanted it. I didn’t want it too full, to avoid boiling over.

Bring this mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently, then cook for 20 – 30 minutes, or until rice and beans are nice and soft. Add the potatoes a little bit before the end and stir well.

This mixture can be either thick and mushy or have a runnier consistency like porridge – it’s up to you and how much water you add. If you notice that it’s turning out thicker than you’d like, add more water and stir!

I served this with curd (plain yogurt or raita) and it was yummy. I did find it a bit bland, which doesn’t surprise me in food for invalids, so I’m spicing it by the bowl. No photos, I keep eating it before I can take one. lol I’ll try again this evening.

Enjoy!

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Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk)

I’ve been drinking this mixture for a couple weeks now, and I really enjoy it. It seems to decrease my craving for sweets – somewhat sits in the place in my heart that I had reserved for the forbidden hot cocoa. I’ve also been feeling less achy in the joints, and my sprained ankle has definitely been improving a LOT since I’ve been drinking it. I’m following a recommendation that people with arthritis can try drinking it 2x day to start, as I have arthritis and also an injury. I know eventually I’ll have to cut it down to 1x day so I don’t turn yellow… but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy it.

I’ve tried making this with several different kinds of milk: dairy (cow’s) milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, all of these cut with water (when I’m running out of milk), and today I got a box of “Silk” almond + coconut milk, unsweetened, and am trying it. It’s delicious – all the rich sweetness of coconut milk without being as cloying (I tried full-fat coconut milk with the cream the first time and it was a bit too much). I actually found even this to be a bit rich, so I cut it about 60/40 with water (the 40 being the water).

There are many different “recipes” for golden milk out there. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing and you can find your own groove, if you want to try it. :}  The consensus seems to be that adding freshly cracked black pepper to the turmeric helps the body use the active compounds in the turmeric more effectively, and same goes for a little oil or fat or some kind. When I was making this with cow’s milk, I figured I had the fat covered. But after I switched to almond milk, I thought: why not add a little oil?

I also wanted to make a turmeric paste to make the process easier, and there are several schools of thought on this as well. I combined a couple for this end result, as follows.

PS: Here’s the video that started me on this journey.

TURMERIC PASTE (my recipe)

Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small saucepan
Add turmeric powder until it’s a loose paste
Crack in some black pepper
Add cinnamon, ginger, etc as you like (I usually add a pinch of ginger near the end)

Simmer this paste for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the turmeric to “cook” and release its active compounds into the oil. After 9 minutes is up, pour into a glass container (carefully) and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To make the golden milk: I “chip” off a little bit to put in milk in a saucepan, let it melt and heat with the milk, add a little honey to a cup, and then carefully pour the golden milk into a mug and drink it.

WARNING: turmeric will stain your clothes, counters, cupboards, sink if it’s porous, hands, and whatever you touch with it LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS. I’ve ruined a dishtowel. Your sponge will be oompa-loompa colored. Just so you know. Usually a little dab of baking soda and water on the counter will let you rub out the stains… but don’t take it for granted. Treat this like nuclear waste just to be safe.

Ok!! Enjoy drinking your golden milk!


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Ayurveda, I’m thoroughly enjoying my flirtation with you.

Recently, I sprained my ankle. I had a big dance workshop coming up in two weeks, so I followed the recommendation of a couple different people and started drinking turmeric milk: “Golden Milk” (recipe forthcoming). Then I started craving the taste of it, and realizing that I wasn’t as obsessed with sweets as usual, because something about it was satisfying that urge. And, I could feel a difference for the better in my knees as well as my ankle, which was healing very well.

So I started doing some research into anti-inflammatory foods, like turmeric, and I kept reading more and more about Ayurveda. And I thought, well, what I’ve been doing isn’t working out so well for me, so perhaps I’ll give this a whiz.

Ten days in, I’ve almost stopped eating sugar entirely (something I thought I could never do), and I’m not craving it. At all. I’ve also noticed my pain is less and my energy is higher. So, whether that’s “Ayurvedic cooking” or just that I needed more legumes and vegetables, well – I’m loving it!

The dosha I’m having trouble with, and need to eat to pacify, seems to be Kapha. My brain seems to be Vatta, which diet I have been eating for years, but my body is getting into more and more pain and trouble – and it seems to be Kapha. (I say “seems to be” because I am sooooo not an expert.) This means lots of bitter, pungent, and astringent foods: normally my LEAST favorite thing. But I thought, well, I can try the spices to start without upending my whole diet. Let’s see what we see!!

Almost immediately, I stopped craving sugar, and I’ve gone from being someone who eats cookies after every meal, has sugary breakfast, and drinks sugary beverages all day long – to not having had sugar in seven days (other than honey in my ginger tea. Ok, I did fall off the wagon last night when I was out, but they had gluten-free sticky toffee pudding and who can resist such a lure? NOT ME. lol) So I’ll be sharing the recipes I’ve been cooking during this experimental period, along with new ones I try, so if you’re curious or just love Indian food (probably the majority of what I’ll do, at least in the early days), you can come along. So far, I’ve made chickpea curry, aloo gobi, and lots of turmeric milk and ginger tea. I’ve started snacking on pumpkin seeds and almonds instead of chips. I’ve also cut dairy milk, because I’ve noticed it makes me bloaty and swollen and grumpy – although I’m still eating cheese once a day. Hey, I’m not Superwoman. And I’m sure there’s some eggnog in my future, although I may be able to find the dairy-free kind. Mmmmmm. Eggnog.

OK. So, here ends my explanation of why some of my recipes will be getting a more vegetarian, less sugary, less salty work-over in the near future. Hope that’s ok with you. Mwah and xoxo.