Tag Archives: cumin

Easy Pigeon Peas

Since going vegan, I’ve easily had guacamole and chips for dinner at least once a week. It sounds weird when I say it out loud, but it’s the reality of my vegan lifestyle. That said, I was in no mood for guacamole tonight. So I threw together a pigeon pea dish.

 

Ingredient list:

1/2 dried pigeon peas or gandules
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 tbsp tomato paste
dash of annatto powder
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I boiled the pigeon peas in 2 cups of boiling water for a few minutes and then set it aside for an hour. Then, I heated a pot, browned the garlic and onions in olive oil until the onions were translucent, and then added the diced tomato. Once the tomato was softened to my liking, I added the peas, the spices, tomato paste, and a cup of water. I covered the pot until it boiled and the water had dried out a bit. I served the pigeon peas over some garlicky fried rice.

I was definitely in need of something more hearty than guacamole for dinner and this fit the bill! –Melissa

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Kafta? Kefta? Kofta? All that matters is that it’s vegan!

You may recall that I went to Pita Inn for lunch on my birthday and, while I loved the falafel that I had, I couldn’t help but be a tiny bit envious of my friends and the delicious smelling meat dishes they were eating. So, I made vegan kefta kabob.

Traditional kefta kabob is usually ground beef seasoned with parsley and onion. I substituted with Gimme Lean Ground Beef, and I plan to try it out with seitan and tempeh in the future. The recipe below makes about 2 servings.

Vegan Kefta Kabob

1/2 lb ground “meat”
1/4 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, roasted and chopped.
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of coriander
Sea salt
olive oil (if frying)

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed them together. Then I put the mixture in the fridge to sit for about an hour.

I formed the “meat” into small patties. Kefta kabobs are usually put on a skewer and grilled. I thought about putting these in the oven, but opted to fry them since the “meat” is very lean.

I fried them in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

I served the kefta with some roasted tomato and onion and dill rice.

The recipe is good enough as is, though I plan to use more garlic and add fresh ground pepper to the mix. I also need to try and replicate the awesome hot sauce from Pita Inn!

I love veganizing my favorites! –Melissa

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Daal Biryani

Bryani is a dish that’s a regional specialty in one of my co-workers’ home town, Hyderabad, India. She gave me her recipe which calls for lamb and asked me to know how the vegan version pans out. I told her I planned to use lentils and she corrected me, “daal” so that’s what I’m calling it. We used the following:

1 cup of lentils or black-eyed peas, soaked and drained
1 cup split lentils, washed and drained
2-3 chili peppers (we’re using 2 jalapeños)
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of turmeric, sliced

some curry leaves if you’ve got them
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 carton of silken tofu
juice from 1 lemon

2 medium onions, sliced into strips
4 smallish tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium white mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pinch of cumin seeds
3 bay leaves

corn oil

1 cup of basmati rice

Put a tablespoon or so of corn oil into a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Heat it until they start to sputter, then add the onion, peppers, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, tofu and lemon juice into a large pot, add a little corn oil and stir fry. Add about 1.5 liters of water and use a hand blender to mix everything into a smooth creamy broth.

Chop your veggies while that heats to a simmer.

Now mix in the veggies, legumes and rice.

We added eggplant in addition to mushrooms. They’ll float to the top, this isn’t a problem; it means you won’t need a lid.. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice and legumes are tender. This will take about 1 hour give or take 15 minutes on low heat. You can also bake it at 350F/180C in your favorite baking dish for about an hour.

This is a great meal for hungry people who like curry. I don’t know how it measures up to the carnist version, but we managed to eat all of it within 2 days and considering it was almost too big for the pot I was using, this is really saying something. Brent wanted to add some chopped green peppers to the mix immediately before serving next time for a sweet crisp crunch and I agree that would add something. If you try it, let me know. Enjoy!

This is Christie, signing off!

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I Love Freeze-For-Whenever Olive Black-eyed Pea Burgers!

I’ve been battling mooshy burgers since I started making vegan burgers. I’ve found that if they’re firm enough, they’re often too dry. If they’re moist enough, they moosh out the side of your bun. What is a girl to do?

I decided to experiment with making frozen patties because it seems to work so well for all those store bought brands. I assembled the following:

1 cup of black-eyed peas, soaked OR 1 can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup of sliced olives

1/4 cup of mushrooms, chopped (optional)

1/4 onion, chopped

1/4 cup bread crumbs (I chopped some gluten-free bread in my food processor)

1 tbsp onion salt

1 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coriander

2 tbsp corn oil

red pepper flakes and salt to taste

If you’re using dried beans, take a moment to microwave them in water 3-4 times at 2 minute intervals to soften them slightly. We put all the ingredients into a bowl and I set my expert moosher (that’s Brent) to power moosh. It wasn’t long before it was looking and smelling like burger material so I started scooping the mixture into some plastic freezer safe containers.

I made sure that the patties were compacted and of a relatively uniform thickness, about 1/2-3/4 inch. I put a piece of plastic wrap over it and then used the next one to help compact the burger. I put them in the freezer until I was ready to use them.

These were actually some of the best burgers Brent and I have prepared. They were moist and held together and had a pleasing dense texture. They tasted enough like ground beef to be a little disturbing. I have no desire to eat cows!

I am going to take a moment to discuss why ground beef isn’t so great for your body. The obvious stuff aside (cholesterol, saturated fat, hormones and antibiotics) cooking beef or any meat is a tricky business. Preparing meat for food means balancing microbial contaminants with carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meat is cooked. Big agribusiness has made the case that they cannot ‘efficiently’ process large volumes of animals without some inherent contamination by the animals’ feces. This means that if you buy meat, it’s got poop on it and the law says that’s okay. They cover their butts (pardon my language) by saying, “Cook it thoroughly.” Which translates to, “If you get sick it’s your fault for not cooking it thoroughly.” Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of people that get some form of food poisoning or another every year from eating meat.

So fine, meat is ‘safe’ if you cook it thoroughly but back to the issue of how cooking fundamentally changes the composition of what you’re eating.  Smoked and cured meats have long been the accused culprits of causing colon cancer partly because of how they’re prepared: prolonged exposure to heat. Cancers of the digestive tract are among of the most common and more deadly kinds of cancer, one in 6 will get it and one third of those will die from it within 5 years of being diagnosed.

So you can follow some tips to reduce the risk of introducing carcinogens into your diet or you can skip straight to legumes and other plants (including black-eyed peas!) which have long been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. One of the likely reasons for this activity is phytic acid . This is one of those small molecules that makes biochemists like me swoon but it’s properties speak for themselves. In the context of a Western diet the ability of phytic acid to sequester certain minerals that, in excess, can cause the kind of oxidative stress on the lining of the digestive tract that can eventually lead to cancer. Phytic acid when bound to fluoride from your drinking water, for example, will be excreted in your waste. Still, you can easily reduce the amount of phytic acid by soaking legumes them overnight or sprouting if you’re worried.


I think I’ve rambled enough. Time for burgers! Just pop them out of their frozen container, no thawing necessary and cook on medium high heat until they start to brown. Mine are a little charred… probably why they reminded me so much of ground beef, but they were definitely firm on the outside and moist and delightful on the inside. Yay!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Lentil Mushroom Loaf

This particular experiment will have to have another go. I wanted to make a lentil loaf in the spirit of meat loaf. Meat loaf always concerned me as a kid because I couldn’t tell what it was made of except that I always saw cousin Mary dumping crackers and meat that had been into the refrigerator long enough that not really be called meat anymore into a bowl and later, meatloaf would appear. Hmmm… I wonder if I should talk to a therapist about that. Anyways, my experiment involved the following:

1 carton of silken tofu

2 cups of mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of lentils

3 cups water

2 cubes of ‘beef’ bouillon

1 tsp sage

1 tsp thyme

1 pinch nutmeg

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of flax meal

salt and pepper to taste

I cooked the lentils with the water in my microwave with the bouillon. I heated them at 2 minute intervals until the water was all absorbed.

When they were ready I put them into my food processor with the rest of the ingredients.

I mixed it until relatively smooth and then put it into my loaf pan. I baked it at 350F/175C until a toothpick came out clean – about 45 minutes. We sliced it up and made it into sandwiches that were hearty, savory and aromatic. The sage and thyme definitely made a great combo with the mushrooms and lentils.

I think that the flavors were good but I might add some cumin and coriander along with soy sauce instead of salt. It developed a nice firm crust but I think that more flax meal would make it stick together better. I might also not blend up the mushrooms I think the presence of whole mushrooms will make this more visually attractive. A diced onion might help that too. This was delightfully moist but the texture was more like paté than loaf. There will definitely be a next time.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Tofu Rogan Josh

So… Indian food… awesome… yeah. I’ve got a few Indian colleagues and one of them gave me her recipe for lamb rogan josh and I did my best to veganize it.You’ll need the following:

1 package water packed tofu, pressed and chopped into bite-sized chunks.
1 package of baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1-2 tbsp corn oil or other oil suitable for frying
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, minced
1 pinkie sized piece of turmeric, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
15-20 curry leaves
2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 14oz tin of peeled plum tomatoes
1 lime, juice and zest, cut in half
curry leaves, to taste
salt and pepper to taste (garam masala works instead of pepper)

Getting the ingredients together was the hardest part. Finding fresh curry leaves was a mission but we did… did you know they grow on trees? I didn’t know that before our quest for curry leaves. They’re pretty important for this dish so I recommend seeking them out.
To start, add the onion to a large pot with the corn oil and fry it on high temperature until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic, turmeric, curry leaves and ginger and keep frying. Add the dry spices and zest and keep frying.This should look and be very dry. When the spices become fragrant and everything in the kitchen smells awesome

Add the tomato, 1/2 lime juice and cream cheese and mix. If you’ve got a hand blender, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, before the tomato gets too hot, put it all in your blender and mix until smooth.

Add the tofu and mushrooms and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes so the tofu takes on the flavors of the dish. Stir in the green bell pepper and coriander 10 minutes before serving.

So we served this with quinoa and red wine and it was not too far off from what I’ve had in restaurants: tart, creamy, herbal and rich. Did I mention I love Indian food?

It was loaded with veggies, protein and exciting herbs. Even if it wasn’t authentic, it’s still delicious and good for you. We hope you get to try it.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Rice Cooker Cuisine: Persian-Inspired Rice & Lentils

This dish was my attempt to recreate the dish I had at Noon-O-Kabab a few weeks ago. As you’ll see, my creation doesn’t look anything like adas polo, but it was easy to make, made my kitchen wonderfully fragrant, and was a pretty good replication in terms of flavor.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils (I used red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

I put the brown rice and lentils in my rice cooker pot, rinsed them, and then added water to fill up to the 2 cup line. I did measure out the water this time around for those of you who don’t have a rice cooker: it was just under two cups of water. I also want to note that the rice was slightly undercooked, so I will go with 2 and a half to 3 cups of water next time. I put the pot in the cooker and then turned it on.

Immediately after pushing the “on” button, I prepared the garlic, onion, and dates. I then heated some olive oil in a pan and browned the garlic, onion, and dates along with the spices. When the onions were nearly translucent, I removed it from heat and then added it to the rice cooker pot, stirring it in to the rice and lentils. Tip: use a wooden spoon or spatula when mixing stuff around in a rice cooker! Anything metal can scratch the pot and that is no bueno.

I stirred the mixture every 5-10 minutes to keep it from sticking. It stuck a bit anyway. Sigh. The above photo how it looked when the rice cooker first thought it was finished. I gave it a quick stir and pushed the “on” button again, and it cooked for at least another 5 minutes.

Finished! I had a moment of panic at first (uhhh… where did my lentils go! I need my protein and iron!) but the lentils had gotten mushed in with the rice pretty quickly.

I sprinkled some salt and pepper on tomato, onion, and bell pepper and broiled it in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. They were a great accompaniment to the rice and lentils.

Mmmmm… cinnamon…. –Melissa

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Rice Cooker Cuisine: Persian-Inspired Rice & Lentils

This dish was my attempt to recreate the dish I had at Noon-O-Kabab a few weeks ago. As you’ll see, my creation doesn’t look anything like adas polo, but it was easy to make, made my kitchen wonderfully fragrant, and was a pretty good replication in terms of flavor.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils (I used red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

I put the brown rice and lentils in my rice cooker pot, rinsed them, and then added water to fill up to the 2 cup line. I did measure out the water this time around for those of you who don’t have a rice cooker: it was just under two cups of water. I also want to note that the rice was slightly undercooked, so I will go with 2 and a half to 3 cups of water next time. I put the pot in the cooker and then turned it on.

Immediately after pushing the “on” button, I prepared the garlic, onion, and dates. I then heated some olive oil in a pan and browned the garlic, onion, and dates along with the spices. When the onions were nearly translucent, I removed it from heat and then added it to the rice cooker pot, stirring it in to the rice and lentils. Tip: use a wooden spoon or spatula when mixing stuff around in a rice cooker! Anything metal can scratch the pot and that is no bueno.

I stirred the mixture every 5-10 minutes to keep it from sticking. It stuck a bit anyway. Sigh. The above photo how it looked when the rice cooker first thought it was finished. I gave it a quick stir and pushed the “on” button again, and it cooked for at least another 5 minutes.

Finished! I had a moment of panic at first (uhhh… where did my lentils go! I need my protein and iron!) but the lentils had gotten mushed in with the rice pretty quickly.

I sprinkled some salt and pepper on tomato, onion, and bell pepper and broiled it in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. They were a great accompaniment to the rice and lentils.

Mmmmm… cinnamon…. –Melissa

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Hearty Blackeyed Pea Stew!

Step over Fergie, turnips are here!

This was an incredibly simple stew. I add a lot of extras because lately I’m obsessed with having as much variety in my diet as possible. I used dried black eyed peas because I find their texture is similar to canned beans and not unpalatable to people who prefer the texture of canned.

1 lb. dry black-eyed peas
1 large turnip, cubed
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 large celery root, skinned and cubed
1 finger sized piece of turmeric, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp olive oil
salt and chili paste to taste
 
Soak the peas in filtered water for 4 hours, overnight if possible but it’s not necessary. Rinse them thoroughly. In a pot add 1 tsp olive oil, garlic and turmeric and heat until the garlic and turmeric become fragrant. I also added some cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds but they’re not necessary. Add the peas and 1 liter of filtered water. Bring to a boil. Let it cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or till the peas are halfway done. Add more water if required. Add the coriander, turnip, sweet potato, and celeriac (celery root) and cook for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat, add lime juice. Garnish with cilantro if you like.
If you want, you can substitute 4-5 stalks of chopped celery for the celery root, 4-5 chopped carrots instead of sweet potato and potato for turnip. Celeriac or celery root can be hard to find so regular stalk celery is fine. I am digging the unusual veggies lately. It’s also been raining sideways thanks to our first notable tropical storm of the season so we’re having our equivalent of a snowy winter day… at 80 degrees F. This was a hearty stew that kept both of us fed for a day and I kept sneaking spoonfuls between meals. Don’t tell Brent.
This is Christie, signing off.
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Polenta Balls

I really wanted just a simple salad for dinner tonight, but I wanted something to accompany it. So I came up with this simple and yummy and versatile recipe using instant polenta.

Polenta Balls

4 tbsp instant polenta
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
1 cup boiling water

First, I combined my dry ingredients in a bowl while the water heated up.

I added the boiling water and mixed it all together until it thickened and was the consistency of polenta.

I shaped the polenta into little balls, placed them on a baking sheet, sprinkled some salt on them, and baked them in the toaster oven for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. While they were toasting, I made my salad.

My salad should have been prettier, but my avocados were gross, I forgot ‘cheese,’ and I forgot to get some olives. It was still good, though: a nice mix of butter lettuce, tomatoes and green onion tossed together with some olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.

The polenta balls turned out exactly how I had hoped: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I’m excited to try making more with different spices.

Yay! Polenta Balls! –Melissa

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