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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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


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What’s In My Belly Right Now: Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables

I don’t, as a general rule, like root vegetables. Their flavors are too “earthy”, or too sharp, or too strong. Parsnips and I have a particularly acrimonious past.

However. Yesterday, I decided to pull up my big girl pants and try some. So I ran to the grocery store and bought a bag of carrots (I do love carrots!! But who doesn’t? Carrots and potatoes hardly even count), a celery root, a potato, a yam, a turnip, ginger root, and an onion. Obviously, I didn’t have the highest hopes, as evidenced by my buying just one of everything. lol

If you’re curious about root vegetables: http://ohmyveggies.com/a-guide-to-root-vegetables/

This was the recipe that got my mouth watering: http://www.theroastedroot.net/balsamic-roasted-root-vegtables/ — great ideas here.

As always, my implementation was a little “creative”, because I forget to read steps and sometimes just add crap because cooking is an adventure. I found certain of the vegetables much more difficult to cut than I would have thought, so my arms got a workout too.

This is how difficult it was to cut the celeriac (celery root). What you see before you, RIP, are the broken remnants of the cutting board I’ve had for over twenty years. “It was the celery root what done it in.”

So here’s the edited version of the recipe I used, which is linked to above, at the Roasted Root. (I’ve had Rusted Root music going through my head all day, lol) Needless to say, I did not cut my veggies into lovely rounds and cubes. I was lucky to get them all cut; some didn’t want to Go Gentle Into That Good Night (Dylan Thomas was my sous-chef) and fought terrifically (or at least were exceedingly grumpy for inanimate objects). Here it is!

Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

1 turnip, chopped into ½” cubes
1 medium-sized yam, chopped into ½” cubes
1 big ole celeriac, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼” rounds
3/4 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated ginger (I totally forgot this. lol OOPS)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I doubled this because SO MANY VEGGIES)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I doubled this for the same reason)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Splash Worcestershire Sauce (because it is my friend)

The chopped vegetables. It took two pans. Apparently, just one of those veggies apiece was enough... the recipe actually called for rutabaga, which I didn't have. Thank heavens... I don't think I had a third pan clean.

The chopped vegetables. It took two pans. Apparently, just one of those veggies apiece was enough… the recipe actually called for rutabaga, which I didn’t have. Thank heavens… I don’t think I had a third pan clean.

Sorry about the blurry photo. I didn't check it before I put them in the oven, and now it's too late, so you'll just have to squint, I'm afraid. :D

Sorry about the blurry photo. I didn’t check it before I put them in the oven, and now it’s too late, so you’ll just have to squint, I’m afraid. 😀

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Put all chopped veggies into a large, deep casserole dish (this may require 2 casserole dishes).
3) Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grated ginger. Pour over the vegetables and mix using a fork.
4) Sprinkle the salt, cayenne pepper and cumin over the veggies and mix again with a fork to be sure everything is coated.
5) Bake 25 minutes and then remove casserole dish from oven to stir the vegetables well.
6) Increase heat to 415 degrees, place vegetables back in the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the sweet potato is softened and al dente, but not mushy.

So I didn’t read the directions particularly well and just added the spices to the sauce because, what? It’ll all get on there. Probably.

After the first 25 minutes of baking at 350 and stirring.

After the first 25 minutes of baking at 350 and stirring.

They’re delicious and this completely supports my theory that Everything Is Better With Balsamic Vinegar. (Well, almost everything.) In fact, I think I’ll go have a second bowl.