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Posts tagged ‘curry’

Curried Kale Pancakes with Maple Glazed Onion topped Eggs!

Now I  know that all of the experts say that the key to a good food blog is enticing pictures of the dish that pull people in to read further and maybe even attempt your dish.

But I made something so delicious for brunch today, that I just had to tell you about it immediately.  I wasn’t even thinking that I would write about it because I had no idea it would be so good.   But then we gobbled it down and I never got a chance to take any pictures!

Hopefully just my description of the item will be enough to do the trick for you!

As anyone who has been following this blog for any length of time knows all too well,  I am a big fan of kale!  And that I like to use it in untraditional places.  Case and point in my kale pancakes.  But I have to say that this recipe is one of most looked at postings on this blog.  And in fact, if you Google kale pancakes, it is the first item listed!  On ALL of the interweb!!

So this morning I felt like making some eggs, but was out of bread for toast and it is a bit of a dreary winter Sunday so I didn’t feel like going out to get any.

What to make?  I didn’t really feel like anything too sweet………of course the kale pancakes!

So I whipped up a batch of the pancake batter, only I changed it up a bit and actually this version is completely Vegan.

Into the blender went:

  • 2 whole cloves fresh garlic
  • about 2 cups worth of ripped kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 cup ( or more till you achieve right consistency) chick pea flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

Whiz that all up in the blender and then let sit a bit.

Meanwhile, heat up your skillet ( I used two at a time to move things along quicker).

Once they are ready, add a bit of butter or oil of your choice and make your pancakes as you normally would.

Keeping the cooked ones warm in a low oven.

Once your pancakes are all cooked, use one of the skillets to caramelize an onion.

When it is well caramelized, douce it with a generous glug of good maple syrup!

Meanwhile, in the other skilled, fry up as many eggs as needed.  I did them to a nice “over easy” so that when you put them on top of the pancake and cut into them, the nice creamy yoke will ooze all over.

When ready to assemble, place pancakes on the bottom, then over easy eggs and then top with the maple covered onion!

Oh MAN was that good!

And if you were so inclined, feel free to add a little bacon or sausage to the equation and some extra maple syrup on top and you will have an impressive brunch item indeed!

I really wish I had a picture for you, cause it was THAT good!



A Soup Accident

Let this be a cautionary tale to all who venture into the culinary world.  Not only to those of you who feel that you know your way around, but especially to those who are timid in the kitchen.   For let it be known, that it doesn’t matter HOW good of a cook you think you are, mistakes CAN happen!

I had the day off and it was a bit miserable out so I didn’t really feel like venturing out to the store and thought that a nice soothing bowl of soup would be in order.

I always have the usual suspects on hand, carrots, onions, celery, the base of any good soup.   I also had some nice cremini mushrooms to use up and had a nice jar of split yellow peas.

So I set out to make a nice curried split pea mushroom soup.

Into the Dutch oven tossed diced:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery ( leafy ones if you have them)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

I stirred those and let them cook till they became a bit wilted.  Then I added:

  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup rinsed yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

This was stirred well and cooked for a few minutes then I added about:

  • 3 -4 cups of water ( or enough to completely submerge everything else)

Stir again, bring to a boil then turn down to a lower temperature to simmer.

Simple soup.

But  I felt I would be a little more ambitious because I thought this is what we will have for dinner so I better make it a little more substantial.

So I called The Chef at work.  “Hey, do you have any meat in the freezer?”

Whenever we eat roasts or whatever, and there are left overs ( rarely but it happens) The Chef wraps them up and tosses them in the freezer for “your soup”.  

I am often just as guilty with brocoli butts or ends of asparagus, wrapped up and tossed in the freezer.

So our freezer is filled with a lot of weird little frozen bags of stuff waiting to become “soup stock”.

“Yes, there is a bag with a few beef short ribs in there, just enough to beef up some soup.”  The Chef replied

I hung up the phone and went to the freezer.  I grabbed the first bag I found of hard brown squares.  Perfect.  I unwrapped it and dropped the frozen together hunk into the already simmering soup.  Didn’t matter that they were frozen solid, they would thaw quickly and cook up in the soup. 

I went on about my business.

About a half hour later I went back to stir the soup and make sure the meat had loosened up so I could stir it properly through the soup.

Imagine my surprise, when there was NO meat to be found!!!    What the WHAT??

“Oh no” I thought as I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.   That wasn’t the short ribs was it?

From time to time The Chef will go all “Haute Cuisine” on me and will spend the day making the Fancy French Stuff!

For instance, he will spend a day, painstakingly making demi glace.  A process cooking meat down and down further to make an exquisite nectar used in fancy sauces.   Then he will put it into ice-cube trays and freeze it for later use.   Do you see where I’m going with this??

This is the kind of stuff that only a cube or two would be required to add eminence flavour to your dish.

So yeah….I dumped a WHOLE bag of frozen demi glace cubes into my soup.

Is that a problem you ask?   Well, firstly I just wasted a very precious product in plain old soup and I just made the soup SUPER rich!

Oh well.

I kept digging in the freezer and finally found the meat I was looking for.  Good thing, because now with the rich beef flavour of the soup, I might as well actually have meat in it!!

I have to admit, it was some fine tasting soup but………I’m gonna be in trouble when The Chef goes to use his demi glace!!

Singapore Noodles

Back in the day, I used to eat a LOT of Singapore Noodles! 

Back when I lived in Montreal, I used to work as a Stage Manager in live theatre, so every Thursday night, I would call in the order from the lighting booth and then after the show,  we would swing by the Kam Shing restaurant on Cote des Neiges Blvd to pick up a big order of Singapore Noodles and General Tso Chicken.

Those were the days!   I could still eat shrimp back then.  In fact, it was while eating those noodles every week that I started to notice “the trouble”.  I always dread the thought that I may have over eaten shrimp to the point of being allergic!!

Oh well……so now I make my own, without the shrimp of course!

Feel free to add shrimp if they are no trouble to you.  Or substitute with chicken or tofu or like in this particular version, there is nothing at all!

Firstly, you will need:

  • 1 pack thin rice stick noodles (rice vermicelli)

Then, thinly slice up:

  • 1 red or green bell pepper  ( or half of each)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot into match stick size bits
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage
  • 3 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 cup of mung bean sprouts ( but I didn’t use any)
  • 2 green onions

Then for the sauce mix together:

  • 1/4 cup water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar  ( or favorite sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  ( or 1 tsp soy sauce )
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste

Start by boiling some water for you noodles, either in a pot or a kettle.  When the water boils, turn it off and add the noodles or pour boiling water over noodles in a bowl, stir to soften them.

Rice vermicelli noodles

Then in a skillet or a wok, heat some oil then add, peppers, carrots and ginger. 

Once they get a head start, add the cabbage and if using, bean sprouts.  Add a bit of the sauce to help cook down the cabbage.

Drain the noodles and add to the skillet, toss into vegetables.

Add the remaining sauce and the green onions, toss quickly till noodles are completely coated.

Singapore Noodles

Serve immediately.  I garnished with some chopped cilantro and black sesame seeds.

Ah the memories!

Butter Chicken Wrap

The BEST thing about making a really good dinner…….is having left overs to use for your lunch the next day!! 

( See yesterday’s post if you are just joining us)

I am one of those people who, due to my schooling and my own research,  can NOT knowingly eat microwaved food!  There, I said it.  But obviously you will need to be the judge of that for yourself.

So I am always looking for something interesting to take to work for lunch that doesn’t need heating.  And unfortunately left over dinner items usually fall into that category.

The Chef suggested that I mix a bit of the rice with the butter chicken and put it in a wrap!

Well, “why not?” I thought.

So while the chicken and rice were still warm I wrapped it up in a big tortilla.  If you do it while it is warm it is easier to work with and makes the tortilla more pliable.

Then put it in the fridge over night and take it with you in the morning.   It will firm up nicely in the fridge and that way won’t squish out when you eat it.

But when you get where you are going, don’t put it back in the fridge.  Keep it out so that it comes up to room temperature by lunch time. 

This will make it much more pleasant, and you are perfectly safe to do that if it is just a few hours.

In fact, that was always one of the original uses of curry powders, to preserve things in places without refrigeration!

Made a yummy yummy lunch!

Butter chicken wrap

Lamb Curry review

It was good.  But it wasn’t great.  ( See yesterday’s post if you are just joining us )

I think there could have been too much wine or too much chocolate.  I have NEVER uttered those words before in my LIFE!!

The flavour was good, but just a bit too intense.  Not in a spicy way, but in a just too strong way and I used the proper amounts from the recipe.  But yes, if I made it again I would only use  half of what both those ingredients were called for.

We spent the afternoon at the movies and came home to the warm comforting smell that filled the house!  It smelled great and it looked great.

It wasn’t spicy per say but after a few minutes of eating it, we both noticed that we were sweating!  So it is a great dish for a cold winters night, or if you are warding off a cold!

This would make a great slow cooker dish too by the way.

I was thinking that you could easily substitute chicken or beef for the lamb and if you wanted to make a vegetarian version by using chick peas and sweet potato.

I made up a nice big pot of basmati rice to go with it.  Normally I would never use white rice, you know, the processing and all, but when it comes to Indian food, that’s where I make the exception.  Brown is fine but….

I tossed a couple of whole cloves and a few cardamom pods into the cooking water and then fish them out again when the rice is ready.   Just adds another layer of fragrance to the whole dish.

It was good just a little strong.

But a perfect idea for a Sunday night in Fall.

Lamb curry

Tonight I’m making some  South West Shepard’s Pie  ( click here to see that recipe ) and so I have just added the left overs from this into the chili part of the dish to add some extra flavour.

It’s in the oven baking as we speak.

Lamb curry

To eat or not to eat?  We can go off on a whole debate about whether or not it is appropriate to eat meat or more specifically lamb but we’re all grown ups and you are free to choose whatever it is your are comfortable doing.

My “holistic philosophy” is to try and put the best things for you into your body.  Be that from a nutritional, ethical, spiritual or otherwise point of view.

We are blessed with some very fine lamb in these parts, they lived on nice farms and were ethically cared for so I feel fine that they did this for me.

There, Sunday sermon over.

This recipe is based on a recipe I watched a nice lady on the Food Network make.   Her show is called “Spice Goddess” and her name is Bal Arneson.  Her show is about making Indian food look easy.  So I thought I’d give her recipe called “Once a Month Lamb Curry” a try.

Now as I am always trying to emphasize here, you “do the best you can with what you’ve got”!  You don’t always have to follow a recipe to the T for it to turn out great, especially with things like soups and stews and sometimes things can turn out even better than it was supposed to.

If you don’t happen to have the exact ingredient, then use something similar or something completely different!  It’s OKAY!

Now obviously if you have important dinner guests that you need to impress trying some crazy new thing might not be the best approach, but when you are just trying to please yourself and have a creative time…….do as you will!!

So let’s start the curry, it takes a couple of hours to cook so if I keep talkin it won’t get done!

You will need the trusty Dutch oven.  Get it on the stove and get it heated up.

Ingredients called for:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder ( I didn’t have shoulder so I used de-boned leg)
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil ( I used olive)
  • 1 red onion chopped ( I only had “plain old yellow”)
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh garlic ( I used five cloves chopped)
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger ( I used about a 2 inch hunk chopped)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds ( I only had ground cumin)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala  ( I had that!)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste ( I used a whole of one of those small cans)
  • 1 green chile finely minced ( I used one of those thin red ones, but chili flakes would do too)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (WHAT??  Hey whatever, it’s chocolate, I’m cool with that!)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes ( I used four Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 red pepper seeded and chopped ( I had a small orange one kickin around too so I had both)
  • 1 cup red wine ( Okay.  I feel bad wasting wine in food but sometimes you gotta sacrifice!)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Extra water as needed



So it’s a bit of a shopping list of stuff to do but on a Sunday morning I find it therapeutic to chop things.

May I suggest you do all of your chopping first before you get started.  I didn’t and felt quite rushed as things were called for!

Start by mixing the flour, coriander, salt and pepper in a bowl.  

Then chop lamb into bite size cubes ( leave a little fat on but not too much) and then toss into the flour mixture and toss till coated.

Add oil to Dutch oven and when heated add lamb bits a few at a time so they aren’t crowded and give them a tap over the flour bowl before they go to the pot to get off excess flour.

Brown on all sides ( don’t crowd as they say) and then transfer to a different dish while the rest gets browned.  Keep doing this till they are all browned.

Meanwhile back in the pot……

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir till they get a nice colour on them.  Then add cumin, garam masala, tomato paste, chile and chocolate chips stir well.  Then into the pot goes chopped tomato, red pepper, browned meat and red wine.

Stir all that in with another pinch of S&P and if you need to add a little water, now is a good time.

Put the lid on and turn down to a medium low heat, like #3 on my stove, and let the magic do it’s thing for about 2 hours.

So that’s where I am with it.  

I will let you know how it turns out!

Indian style chicken and red lentils

See now this is a prefect example of how easy it is to be creative in your kitchen and use what you have.

This all started when I was looking at the online flyer from my local grocery store and saw that they have something called “Tandoori red lentil soup” on sale this week their “home meal replacement” department.

I thought to myself ” hmmm… that sounds good, bet I could make some of that!”

So I punched that title into our friend Google and a whole bunch of recipes appeared.  I looked at a few and some seemed more complicated than others and so I went through the ingredient lists to see if I could get away with making any of them without having to go to the store!

This is what I came up with.

I started by taking out the trusty dutch oven and over medium heat drizzled in a bit of olive oil.

Then I added:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • about an inch of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley finely chopped ( cilantro would be MUCH better here but I was without!)
  • about a cup of finely chopped baby spinach  ( it was on it’s last legs in the fridge so in it went!)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

I let those cook a bit and get to know each other.

Then I added :

  • 1/2 cup rinsed red lentils

Stir those in and make sure they are well coated.

Then in a small bowl I combined:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • zest of two lemons ( keep lemons for juice later)
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Make a hole in the vegetables at the bottom of the dutch oven to expose the cooking surface and pour in the spice mixture.  Stir it around a little to “toast” it which will release the flavours.

Then mix everything in together.

Then add:

  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes ( feel free to use fresh but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 small tin tomato paste

Stir well.

Now you could stop here and have a lovely vegan item, just put on some rice and you are in business.

You could also add a tin of say chick peas or the like if you were so inclined.

But I can only feed the Chef vegan items so many times a week so I also added a couple of chunked up raw chicken breasts.   Cooked would be fine too.

Stir it all up, put on the lid and let’er simmer till the chicken and lentils are good and cooked.   Red lentils pretty much just disintegrate into a nice thick sauce so no need for any thickening agents.

Indian style chicken and red lentils

But I know what you are thinking.   “This doesn’t sound like soup!”

You’re right.   I mean, it COULD be soup if you wanted to add a bunch more liquid and thin it out, but we are eating it on rice for more of a “something I found on the Indian buffet” type item.

Add the juice from the two lemons just before you are ready to go to the plate.  It will balance the flavour and give you a shot of vitamin C to boot!

I of course added a little steamed kale on the side, cause I’m crazy that way!

What we had for dinner

And there you have yourself a hearty, tasty, week night, comfort dish!  

And I didn’t even have to go to the store!!

Yam hummus

Hey Vegan friends and yam lovers!  You are going to love this one!

I made it mostly by accident because I didn’t have the regular hummus ingredients and had to improvise a little!   What a great accident it was!

Here’s what happened.

Peel, cube and boil up some nice yams.  Or if you happen to have some left over roasted yams, they would be great too! 

Boiled yams

Then add to the food processor:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic 

Whiz them up first and alone to make sure they are good and chopped to avoid big mouthfuls of raw garlic!

Then add:

  • the boiled or roasted yams
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smokie paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Now here is where it gets crazy!  I didn’t have any tahini, the tradition binder of hummus, so I used peanut butter!!   My favorite anyway!!

  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter ( preferably the “just peanuts” kind)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

And I didn’t actually add it to this batch but if you wanted to add a little shot of maple syrup to this to sweeten it up a bit, that would be fine.

Whiz these all up until nice and smooth.  Put into your favorite bowl and garnish if you like, or just jump on in!

Yam hummus

Yummy and healthy too!!





Now as we all know, Toronto has many fancy restaurants and places that represent every cuisine in the world.  But the one place that I long for and try to visit every time I am in Toronto is a place called Gandhi Indian Cuisine on Queen Street West.  Feel free to google it because they don’t have a web page of their own but people have plenty to say about it.

Gandhi Restaurant

Sandwiched in between Herbie’s Herbs and some boarded up place on a rather “evolving” block of Queen Street near Bathurst, it is still worth the trip.

The first time I ever became aware of Gandhi was when I was observing a certain rock star going about his business, living his life and he wandered in there.  I had seen the place before but had always found it a little intimidating, but if it was good enough for him then I should brave it!

I mentioned the whole incident to some work colleagues who were all like “WHAT??  You’ve never BEEN??”

So that settled it.  In I went.

For those of you not familiar with a roti it is a large flat bread, kind of like a tortilla only larger and made of a different flour.  It is then filled with something and then wrapped up like a package ready to eat.

They are popular in parts of East Asia but also in the Caribbean or West Indies.

I had only ever had Jamaican roti before and so I was a little confused as to what to order.  The only thing on the menu that I recognized was the butter chicken so that’s the kind of roti I chose.  The nice lady asked me how hot I would like it.  The choices were mild, medium, hot and then some sort of crazy hot.   I still enjoyed a fairly strong constitution back then so I bravely requested hot.

They even make their on roti bread there on this big flat press type machine, so they are super fresh.   That’s why it takes a few minutes to prepare each item.  

The place is very small so most people get their food to take away.

I received my package and went home.

Note to self:  “Next time, get medium”!

My butter chicken roti was delicious but I think I was a bit ambitious to think I could handle the hot.  It took a very long time to eat because I had to keep stopping in between to cool my mouth down, but it was great.

Since then, I have always ordered the medium and it too is still pretty hot, but a manageable heat.

On this trip to Toronto I wasn’t sure if I would get to go, but I was meeting up with a friend and it was she who suggested it and I couldn’t turn her down!

As a vegetarian she ordered the Malai Kofta Roti which are veggie/cheese balls in a creamy curry sauce and I of course, sticking with tradition, as I am prone to do, ordered the butter chicken roti…….medium.

We scurried off with our package.

After the rotis are folded up they are stuffed into a rectangular take away box that you can pop in the oven when you get home to re-heat.  Although rotis are perfectly delicious at room temperature……maybe even cold.

My favorite thing to do is take the lid off and then cover the container with a plate, hang on to both and flip them over, popping the roti on to the plate.

Roti out of the box

Now I always attack the roti by cutting into the centre and then cutting in down the middle and eating one side first.  I have delusional thoughts that I will save the other half for another time, but that is never happened.

Butter chick roti

I was at my friend’s house so I had to be polite and not lick the plate!

So glad to have had the pleasure.  If spicey is your thing, then this place is a must do!

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