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}


1 Comment

Rice Cooker Kichari

Yummmmm!!! I just finished making this, and it’s delicious. Much creamier than my normal kichari, because my stove-top pot is too small for a proper batch, and it boils all over.

Well. So did this.

But the end result is worth it, and I didn’t have to stand there and *watch* it boil over. I was in the other room, doing something more productive while it boiled over. 😀 I’ll figure out how to fix the boiling over thing, but in the meantime, if you don’t mind a bit of a mess, this is THE STUFF here.

I took half a cup of mung beans (split and shelled) and half a cup of rice — completely forgot to soak either, but it worked out juuuust fine, except for the oft-mentioned boil over — and put them in the rice cooker with my standard 2 cups of water (for cooking rice). After a moment’s pondering, I added another cup or so of water, just for good measure and so I wouldn’t scorch the pooptarts out of my rice cooker. Plugged it in, turned it on. Left it alone. (My rice cooker only has one setting: “on”, so no complexity here).

In the meantime, I’d put some olive oil (I’m out of ghee) in a saucepan and started it heating, and chopped up a large potato and put that in the microwave to cook. Sautéed sliced onions and some garlic with cumin seeds in the oil,then added a dollop (about 1 Tbsp) of bacon grease from the fridge. If you’re veg, then this is not for you. :} Sorry. I wanted a little more richness than I could get with just olive oil. Added turmeric, curry powder, salt, and some other goodies – what I had on the counter – and let the onions get soft. The potatoes dinged, so I threw those in too, to get the benefit of the spices and oniony-ness and good mojo. Let that finish up for a few more minutes, then turned it off and went to weave in the other room.

Shortly thereafter, I heard the ungentle hissing of an epic boilover, but I really couldn’t be bothered to get up and check… what could I do, other than wring my hands and say “oh, dear, it’s boiling over”? After about 20 minutes, the rice cooker clicked into its warm cycle, and I bustled into the kitchen to move it to another bowl before it could crust to the surface of the rice pan. Put in oil, onions, garlic, and potatoes, and stirred. After I combined the mixtures, I tasted it – needed more spices, so I added them to taste.

The texture is smooth and creamy, unlike the slightly crunchy way it turns out on the stove. It’s pretty bodacious and I am gleefully happy with this recipe. HOORAY!!


3 Comments

Crockpot Butter Chicken

I’ve been planning to try this for a while, and today was The Day. I picked a slow cooker butter chicken recipe and here we go.

The recipe I’m trying today is this one:
http://www.chefdehome.com/Recipes/597/restaurant-style-butter-chicken-in-slow-cooker

restaurant-style-easy-indian-butter-chicken-slow-cooker-chefdehome-4

This is chefdehome’s image — not mine.

It looks yummy, and — if the smell from my kitchen is anything to go by – will be delicious. I hate to say this, but I basically followed the recipe, so you might as well go over to chefdehome and check her recipe out. It’s already gluten free, because it has no hing (asafoetida), which is almost always cut with wheat.

Happy cooking! I’ll let you know how this is when it comes out of the cooker… can’t wait.


2 Comments

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!


1 Comment

Aloo Palak, or spinach and potatoes

I had some spinach that needed to meet its Maker, and a couple of potatoes that were starting to think about becoming manky… so I searched for “spinach potatoes Indian” et voila! Here it is!

This recipe met a simple requirement: I had almost all the ingredients. I followed it pretty closely, except my potatoes refused to boil (the pan was too small and I was afraid of a turmeric boil-over, so I didn’t have them on high enough heat), so they eventually just got fished out of the pan and stuck in the microwave in a bowl on the “potato” setting. Sometimes simple is best, people. lol

A note to Celiacs and others following a strictly gluten-free diet: a lot of Indian recipes call for asafoetida, or hing. Almost all hing, from my research, seems to be cut with wheat flour. There’s one brand – I think it’s Frontier Naturals – that’s cut with rice flour instead of wheat, so that’s a very important consideration for us! Always ask at Indian restaurants if your meal will have hing in it before you order. Also, many hing labels I’ve seen in the past only list the asafoetida – not the wheat flour. So be careful!! I just leave it out of my cooking, because no amount of authenticity is worth the amount of illness that happens when I get glutened. :} One of the things I liked about this recipe is that it didn’t call for hing! 

http://www.food.com/recipe/aloo-palak-indian-potatoes-spinach-108787

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pan cook the spinach with garlic, ginger, onions and the green chilies for about 5-10 minutes. (I waited and added the chili powder at the end, with the other spices. Also, I cooked these in some ghee, although no oil is specified.)
  2. Remove from the pan and blend to a fine puree and keep aside. (I didn’t do this; I wanted to keep it chunky. I like chunky. lol)
  3. In the meantime boil the potatoes with salt and turmeric until done, apprximately 10 minutes and set aside when done. (Yeah. This totally didn’t happen. See note above)
  4. Heat ghee in a pan, fry cumin seeds along with spinach-onion paste and simmer for a few minutes. (You want the cumin seeds to crackle!)
  5. Add the cooked potatoes, garam masala, coriander and cumin powder and a little water if needed.
  6. Simmer for few minutes till the potatoes absorb the flavor.
  7. Add fresh cream if desired. (I didn’t, but I bet this would be delish.)

I made some jheera rice (recipe to come soon; in the meantime, you can find lots of recipes for this online!) and spooned a little of the aloo palak on top. Heavenly!!

 

In the pot!

 

I’m ready for my closeup


2 Comments

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.


6 Comments

Paneer and Onion Pakoras

Not my image; courtesy of indobase.net

Made these for the first time, went according to the recipe, and they were yummy – despite some of my spices being (I think) a little out of date. The recipe is only for paneer pakoras, but I love onion pakoras and haven’t had them in an age, so I chopped some long onion slices, dipped those as well, and — yum!!

My big tip would be to make sure the batter isn’t too thick. Mine was quit thick at first, and my first paneer cubes looked like marshmallows and the batter didn’t cook all the way through, because it was too gooey… they wanted to burn on the outside and not cook on the sides. Still yummy, once I got them cooked enough to eat, but much more difficult than necessary and not crispy!! I added more water (and salt for my taste) and the next batch were better.

I’m thinking for the next time out, I might slice the paneer thinly instead of cubing it, because melted paneer is super-yummy as well… although this may make a horrific mess… well, I’ll let you know. I’ll probably be making this again soon!!

They were also delicious the second day, which is not always something I can say about fried food. :}  If you’re tentative about cooking Indian food, or about frying, these were pretty easy for me, and they turned out pretty well!

No photos, I’m sorry — I forgot in the excitement of battering and frying! And, of course, eating. NOM.

Oh!! One last note. I don’t know why, but the paneer didn’t seem to bother my lactose intolerance as much as other (richer?) cheeses do. Part of that might be that my system might finally be mending after my December glutening, but it might be something with the cheese. Who knows? I’m just recording what I see.

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianappetizers/r/Fried-Paneer-Pakora.htm

In case this site’s down, here’s the recipe:

Paneer pakoras are Indian paneer cheese cubes or slices fried in a gram flour batter. Ah fried cheese, is there anything more indulgent? Fried Indian paneer cheese, battered and fried like a traditional Indian pakora is absolutely delicious. Enjoy these little vegetarian fried paneer pakoras as is, with a chutney or barbecue sauce.Paneer pakoras are made with chickpea flour, which is “stickier” than regular flour when making pakoras. Check in a large health food store or Asian grocer if your regular grocer doesn’t stock it. It’s a common ingredient in vegetarian Indian cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Indian paneer cheese (250-300 grams), sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan)
  • 2 tsp oil or ghee (Indian butter) – I used oil
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional) – aw yayuh, this is the stuff
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup water
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

Whisk together the chickpea flour, oil or ghee, garam masala, salt and chili powder. Slowly incorporate water, adding just enough to form a thick batter.Dip each paneer slice in batter, turning to coat well.

Fry in hot oil just until lightly golden brown. These fried paneer slices are best when they’re fresh, so enjoy your paneer pakoras hot.