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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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!!

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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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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