Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentils)

prettypolymath.com

Ethiopian has to be one of my favorite cuisines in the world. There is a huge Indian influence on Ethiopian cuisine due to the the spice trade between both countries throughout history. Trade between the state of Gujarat (where I’m from) and Ethiopia was so frequent that the Ethiopian word for tobacco is surat- the port city in Gujarat where it came from. Both cuisines/cultures eat with their hands, includes tons of spices and lentils in their food, and have lots of vegetarian/vegan dishes.

The most common spice mix, or masala as I would call it, in Ethiopian cuisine is berbere spice. This spice mixture is bright red, fragrant, spicy and super warming. Usually it’s made with a mixture of toasted whole and ground spices. I made mine with just ground spices because well..ain’t nobody got time for that. Plus I don’t have a spice blender. It takes just a few seconds to whip together and the spice mix can be used for meat rubs, stews, and just about anything else.

In addition, this Mesir Wat (Ethiopian red lentils) is typically served with a flatbread called injera, which is a cross between dosa and sourdough bread. It’s made of teff flour, which can be tough to find. Therefore, I usually serve it with rice or whole wheat crepes (my version of a injera substitute). If you love Indian food and want to try something new- this is the perfect place to start!

Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentils) + Berbere Spice Mix

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-5 people

Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentils) + Berbere Spice Mix

Ingredients

    Berbere Spice Mix
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed, seeded and crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Mesit Wat
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3.5 tbsp berbere spice mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup red lentils

Instructions

    Berbere Spice Mix
  1. Mix all spices in a small bowl and mix. This will make 1/4 cup of spice mix.
  2. Mesir Wat
  3. Heat oil in medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add onion and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions for 3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add garlic and ginger. Saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add berbere spice mix and saute for 30 seconds. Add water and tomato puree and stir until combined. Add the red lentils and stir. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, naan, or injera!

Notes

Adapted from Jenessa's Dinners

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2015/03/27/mesir-wat-ethiopian-red-lentils/

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Vegetable Manchurian

vegetable manchurian

My husband is OBSESSED with Indo-chinese food. Indo-Chinese cuisine is basically Chinese food thats been adapted to suit the taste buds of Indians. It’s spicy, sweet, sour, and nothing like curry. Vegetable manchurian takes a Chinese inspired sauce and pairs it with Indian-inspired vegetable koftas. Manchurian is purely made up by Indians and is really not THAT close to Chinese cuisine, but it is the most popular among Indians. If you’re a huge nerd like me then check out this CNN article that explains the cuisine’s history. This dish is great served as an entree or appetizer. It’s also super quick to whip up and very flavorful!

Vegetable Manchurian

Yield: 12 Manchurian balls

Serving Size: 2-3 servings

Vegetable Manchurian

Ingredients

    Manchurian
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup cabbage,shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, shredded
  • 1 serrano chile, shredded
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves,minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • cilantro (optional)

Instructions

    Manchurian
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the shredded carrot, cabbage, onion, and spices. Sprinkle in the all purpose flour and cornstarch and bring together. Add in additional flour if needed. You want to be able to roll the mixture into loose balls.
  2. Het oil in a large frying pan (I used my deep fryer) to 375 F. Roll the mixture into 1 inch loose balls and deep fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain excess oil on paper towels.
  3. Sauce
  4. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and sweat for 1 minute. Add in ginger and garlic and stir for another minute. Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and Sriracha. Cook for another minute.
  5. Dissolve cornstarch into 1 cup of water. Add this to the skillet and stir well. Keep stirring until the sauce is nice, thick and glossy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the Manchurian balls to the sauce and toss to cover. Serve immediately while nice and hot! Garnish with scallions and cilantro.
http://www.prettypolymath.com/2015/03/24/vegetable-manchurian-2/

Manchurian (1)

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Bourbon Candied Orange Peels

Candied Bourbon Orange Peels

Every once in a while my husband gets  bottle of EtOh as a gift. This time it was bourbon. I planned on making some vanilla essence with some of it and these orange peels with the rest. It’s my take on an Old Fashioned cocktail which is usually bourbon and bitters that’s garnished with a slice of orange. These candied orange peels became my husbands new obsession and he ate pretty much half of them in one day. They’re bitter, sweet, with a hint of bourbon at the end. I dipped a few in milk chocolate because..well… it’s chocolate and it makes everything better.

Also- sorry for the blurry pictures, getting used my new camera and new lenses. Practice makes perfect!

Bourbon Candied Orange Peels

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 50 strips

Bourbon Candied Orange Peels

Ingredients

  • 3 large oranges
  • 1.5 cups sugar + additional for coating
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • melted chocolate (optional)

Instructions

  1. Score the orange peel into quarters and carefully remove the skin. Remove any strands of pith (the white part) and slice into long thin strips.
  2. Add the peels to a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and repeat this process twice. This step helps remove the bitterness from the peel so do not take any shortcuts here! Otherwise you'll get some nasty tasting peels.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, bourbon and water and bring to a simmer. Add the orange peels and cook for 1 hour while keeping the syrup at a simmer.
  4. Drain the peels and spread out on a a baking sheet. Dry out the peels in the oven at the lowest temperature setting for 20 minutes.
  5. Toss with sugar to coat and enjoy! You can also dip them in melted chocolate if you like to give them little more sweetness.
http://www.prettypolymath.com/2015/03/19/bourbon-candied-orange-peels/

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Thai Green Curry Noodles

thai green curry noodles

I’M BACK! I took a quick hiatus to focus on a super awesome project and transition to a new career. Now that things are back to normal, I can start consistently posting again! YAY!

In honor of St. Patrick’s day I made Thai green curry noodles. It’s supper quick and it’ll make you feel like this:

Green curry paste is typically not vegetarian as there is either shrimp or anchovy paste in it. I used Madhur Jafferey’s green curry paste recipe as a guideline and changed up a few ingredients based on what I couldn’t find at my grocery store. I replaced kaffir lime zest with a normal lime and birds eye chilis with Serranos.

I added shishito peppers to the mix as a garnish because for some reason my grocery store has those, but not birds eye chiles. . I recently had my very first shishito pepper and I’m slightly obsessed. Most of the peppers are sweet but every once in a while you get a spicy one. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your taste buds and brings a sense of danger and suspense to every meal. I love it! If you can find them at your local grocery store or farmers market I say go for it!

The dish is sweet, spicy, coconut-y and delicious! It takes a little over 30 minutes to make and in my book that’s a keeper. Try it for yourself!

Thai Green Curry Noodles

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3 servings

Thai Green Curry Noodles

Ingredients

    Noodles
  • 1/2 pkg of Thai noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 large bok choy, julienne outside 5 -7 leaves and cut the middle in half
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4-5 shishito peppers
  • 2 tbsp green curry paste (recipe below)
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • Green Curry
  • 2-3 serrano chiles, chopped coarsely
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, leaves and stems chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    Green Curry Paste
  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender with 4-5 tbsp of water and blend until smooth. You will get about 10 tbsp worth of paste. Just put leftovers in a jar and refrigerate.
  2. Noodles
  3. Boil a pot of water and add noodles. Let stand for 10 minutes and drain. Toss with a tsp of oil and set aside.
  4. Remove and cut the outer few leaves of the bok choy into thin slices. Trim the bottom and cut the middle portion of the bok choy in half.
  5. In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium-high. When hot add shishito peppers with soy sauce. Salt to taste and set aside once the peppers are nice and blistered.
  6. Add onions and broccoli, and the 2 halves of bok choy to the pan. Brown the bok choy and broccoli slightly, remove and side aside. You might need to add a few tsp of oil o the pan at this point.
  7. Add green curry paste and saute for 1 minute. Mix in the coconut milk. Add in the broccoli and thin strips of the bok choy leaves and stems. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 3 minutes.
  8. Stir in the noodles. Top with half the bok choy halves, scallions and a shishito pepper. Enjoy while hot!
http://www.prettypolymath.com/2015/03/17/thai-green-curry-noodles/

Thai green curry paste

 

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Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

This year I decided to partake in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! In order to participate you just have to donate $4 to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer and you’ll be paired up with 3 other food bloggers. You send each blogger a dozen homemade cookies and you receive a dozen homemade cookies from 3 other bloggers! How amazing is that! This year we raised a little over $12,00o with the help of our sponsors OXO, Dixie Crystals, California Olive Ranch, and Brownie Brittle who matched our donations.

I decided to make these yummy aromatic cardamom shortbread cookies for my matches, Taste Cook Sip, Crackers on the Couch, and Let’s Give Peas a Chance. I received yummy chocolate chip mandelbrot from Take a Bit out of Boca (so good with my coffee!!), peanut butter oreos from The Crafting Foodie and wild hibiscus salted dulce de leche cookie tarts from Flamingo Musings (life changing). Check out their website today for their recipes!

Cardamom has to be my favorite baking spice, it’s sweet, subtly spicy, and smells amazing. These cookies are very easy to make and only require just a few ingredients. You can dip them in melted milk or white chocolate like I did or eat them on their own. They go perfectly with a nice cup of tea (preferably chai) or hot cocoa. They are buttery, nutty and smell amazing. Try the for yourself!

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 40 cookies

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 14 tbsp soft butter
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. In a blender, pulse almonds until fine.
  2. Mix sugar, butter, all-purpose flour and almond flour until well combined. Mix in the egg.
  3. Take dough and shape into a fat disc and cover with saran wrap. Freeze for 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter (or whatever shape you want!) and place on a non-greased baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart since they will spread.
  5. Bake at 400 F for 8 minutes or until the bottoms JUST start turning brown. Cool on a rack. You can then eat them plain or dip them in melted chocolate and add some festive sprinkles. Enjoy!

Notes

- If you plan on using cookie cutters then you might want to freeze the dough for 5 minutes in between rolling out the dough to help the cookies keep their shape

- You can also just squish the dough down in a 9x13 sheet pan and poke with a fork and bake for 10-13 minutes. Let it cool and then cut into bars!

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/12/15/vanilla-cardamom-shortbread-cookies-for-the-great-food-blogger-cookie-swap/

Vanila Cookies (3)

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Cheesy Mexican Polenta Bowl (15 min meal)

cheesy mexican polenta bowl

I didn’t really discover the beauty of polenta until I was in grad school when I went down to visit my friend in NC and had grits for the first time. OMG it was amazing! They really know what they’re doing down there. After doing a little research I quickly realized the closest thing I was going to get to grits in Philly was polenta. Thus started the Great Polenta Obsession of 2011. I had polenta almost every other day for lunch or dinner. It was the perfect broke grad student meal because it was cheap and you could flavor it to match any mood. I could make it Indian, Italian or Mexican just with a few changes. It also helped that it took literally 15 minutes to make. This meal is perfect for a rainy (or snowy) cold night in. Creamy, cheesy polenta is the ideal comfort food. Plus this recipe  is great for families since each person can add their choice of toppings to their bowl. Everyone’s happy, fed, and warm in less than 15 minutes! Give it a try!

Cheesy Mexican Polenta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 bowls

Serving Size: 4

Cheesy Mexican Polenta

Ingredients

  • 1 cup instant polenta or cornmeal
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado,diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp cilantro
  • salsa or hot sauce to your taste

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, bring stock and polenta/cornmeal to a boil. Stir frequently to get rid of any lumps. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until it thickens.
  2. Stir in cheese, taco seasoning, salt and pepper to taste into polenta. Give the polenta good stir and make sure there are no lumps!
  3. Spoon polenta equally into 4 bowls and top with avocado, tomato, black beans,scallions, cilantro and salsa/hot sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

P.S You can make this vegan by using vegan cheese!

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/12/12/cheesy-mexican-polenta-bowl-15-min-meal/

 

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Gift Guide: Book Nerd

Gift Guide-Book Nerd (1)

1. Great First Lines of Literature Mug – $12.95
Covered with the first lines of famous novels, it’s a great stocking stuffer!

2. Alice in Wonderland Infinity Scarf – $42.00
Keep your favorite book worm warm and cozy with this cotton infinity scarf printed with the original illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

3.Louisa May Alcott Quote Cuff - $33.00
Cute statement piece that any book nerd would love. It’s made of brass and is etched with tiny books with titles such as Jane Eyre.

4. Novel Teas – $12.50
English Breakfast tea with cute little tags with literary quotes. Great stocking stuffer or gift paired up with a cute mug!

5. Pride and Prejudice Novel Sweatshirt – $44.99
Make curling up with a book even more comfy for your loved one with this literary sweatshirt from Modcloth! Add this to your list if you have an Austenophile in your life.

6. Oxford Library- Book Lovers’ Scented Soy Candle – $15.00
This awesome Etsy maker created this antique library scented candle that anyone would love. They also make literary inspired candles such as the Pemberley Rose and Sherlock’s Study.

 

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