12 April 2006

Transcript for the April 12, 2006 Recipe

Hey there VeganFreaks, it's Dino. Unfortunately this week it got kind of difficult for us to schedule a proper interview with Bob and Jenna, so instead Bob said it would be okay if I just submitted a regular audio file so that you guys could have my segment as you normally would!

Anyway, I got a question from Ariix talking about how she would like to have Indian food, but she would like it to be lower fat than what you typically get in a restaurant. Now, just to give you guys a heads up if you go to an Indian restaurant, chances are you're going to be getting Indian food that's from the north of India, which tends to be slightly higher fat than the stuff from the south of India, which is really light and...really light on the stomach and pretty low on the fat.

So I guess I'd like to share a couple of recipes with you from south India, which are Indian food, that are very low in fat and really healthy for you.

The first one I'd like to share is called Cootoo, which is essentially a mix of vegetables, a little bit of spices, and absolutely no oil at all. The bulk of your fat from there is going to be coming from the coconut milk. So here's how this works: you get together your favourite vegetables, such as chayote squash, maybe some carrots, potatoes, possibly some onions, maybe some, I don't know, tomatoes if you want to, eggplant, zucchini, whatever kind of vegetables you'd like. And you throw them in a pot with about 6 litres of water, 3 or 4 Tablespoons of fenugreek seeds, about a Tablespoon of Turmeric powder, and let the entire mess boil until it gets cooked. Then in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add on about a pound of cabbage and let that cook down until the cabbage is done.

5 minutes after that is done, throw in 2 or 3 ground chilis and maybe about 1 cans worth of coconut milk, which is about 10-12 oz, give or take. Let it come to a full boil and let it boil for another 5 minutes, give or take, just to get the coconut milk incorporated. And serve it over brown rice, just like that, it is really simple, and tastes really good. Now the flavouring is mostly going to be coming from the fenugreek seeds and the Turmeric, oddly enough, does add a little bit of flavouring. And the chili, however, it tastes really good because it's got this light vegetabley flavor that you don't normally get with most vegetable dishes cooked in oil.

Another really good idea is something called Rasam, which is a sort of split pea tomato type of soup. How it works is that you get about a tablespoon of oil l and heat it up in a large pot until it is very very hot, throw in about a teaspoon of black mustard seeds, and a couple of shakes of asafoetida, and then throw in a handful curry leaves and let them explode and pop. When that is done throw in about 2 or 3 tomatoes, a tablespoon of Turmeric powder and 2 or 3 T tamarind paste, not tamarind concentrate, just get the regular tarmarind paste. if you have tamarind concentrate, just thin it out by half with water, and pour it in. let the entire mixture come to a full boil land get about a teaspoon of rasam powder, you can buy in the store, pre-made. I don't have time to get into all the different spices that go in there or the technique, but you can definitely google it. Throw in about a Tbsp of that and let the liquid come to a full boil and let it sit for about 10 minutes at the boil. That's your basic basic Rasam. If you want to supplement it with a little bit more nutrition, maybe add in about 1lbs worth of cooked yellow split peas and possibly, if you feel like it, garlic and onions for flavor, and most definitely lots and lots of fresh ground black pepper. It's sort of the base of the flavors for rasam.

Another really easy one is what we call Keera Cootoo, which is essentially spinach soup sort of thing. You get a tsp of oil, get it in a pot and heat it up really hot. throw in about a tsp of black mustard seeds, let them pop, throw in one onion, and sauté until it gets softened, and throw in about 2 or 3 lbs of spinach and about 3 or 4 cups of water. Stir everything around until it gets completely combined and let it come to a full boil. By that time the spinach should be cooked and the spices should be completely incorporated. You'll have a spinach soup that you can now serve over brown rice, or eat it all by itself. It's really good all by itself.

Another really easy one is a sort of s. Indian split pea soup. Somebody asked about it on the forum, so I'm going to go ahead and give you my response. A curry powder is sort of a dreaded shortcut you want to avoid when making Indian food because it ends up making everything taste the same. Instead try making south Indian split pea soup and you'll have stellar results.

Here's how it works. Boil up some yellow split peas in a pressure cooker or just let them boil in a pot until they're tender. While the split peas boil, have prepared one teaspoon whole mustard seeds, one tsp whole cumin seeds, and 1 tsp coriander seeds that you crush lightly. You can throw it into a ziplock bag, just crush it with a wine bottle or with a rolling pin. 3-5 stalks of curry leaves. if you can get it, 1/8 tsp asafoetida, if you have it, 1 tsp turmeric powder. Get one onion and mince it up really finely. Get 2 cloves of garlic and mince that up really finely. A small amount of ginger, grated. 2 tomatoes roughly chopped. A small chili, finely chopped. If you're doing the split peas in a pressure cooker it should take roughly 10-15 minutes to cook, an by this time you will have finished preparing all your ingredients. If you're boiling them on the stove in a pot, it will take roughly 45 minutes to an hour.

Either way, whether or not your split peas are ready, put on a pot of rice and have it cooking while you make the soup. Now in a large stock pot with a heavy bottom, pour in about 3 T of peanut, canola, corn, vegetable, or safflower oil. Turn up the heat to high and let the oil get hot. This takes about 30 seconds. When the oil is hot, pour in the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds. In about 30-45 seconds, the seeds should start to pop and explode. Pour in the crushed coriander seeds. Immediately put in the curry leaves, if you have it, they're going to explode. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, chilis, asafoetida, if you have it, and the turmeric powder. Stir the onion mixture until everything is combined with the fat and spices. A good way to check for that is to look at your onions and if they've all gone completely yellow, then you're doing the right thing. Turn the heat up to high and continue to stir until everything is combined. Pour in the tomatoes and stir the tomatoes through to combine. Drop down the heat to medium low and cover the pot.

While you're waiting, brew up some coffee, adding 3-5 cardamom pods, a sprinkle or 2 of nutmeg, and about 1 tsp cinnamon powder to the coffee grounds. Brew as you normally would. As soon as the coffee is done brewing place the pot into the fridge.

By now the tomatoes should be softened. Pour the cooked yellow split peas into the pot with the tomatoes. Stir to combine all the ingredients together. Increase the heat to high. Sprinkle in salt to taste. when the pot comes to a full boil, let it boil at high heat for about five minutes. I should make a note right now, when you're pouring in the split peas, you're pouring them in with the water you cooked them in, and not drained, this is what provides all the water for the soup. After they've been boiling at high heat for about 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit until the rice is cooked.

When you're ready to serve, pour 1/4 cup of cooked rice on the bottom of a bowl and pour on 1 cup of the split pea soup. fill up a tall drinking glass with ice and pour the coffee over the ice and serve with the soup. Feel free to experiment with other beans as this is a really simple recipe that you can do with pretty much any bean and it will come out pretty well. And the cool thing about it is that you're using about 3 or 4 quarts of water to 2 or 3 Tbsp of oil, so you're really not getting that much fat.