Black bean brownies

December 20, 2013

black bean brownies
I was a skeptic when I first read this recipe at the Minimalist Baker. I was wary about because black bean is not a conventional ingredient in baking but the number of reviews raving about these brownies can’t be lying, right? They’re not liars because these black bean brownies are divine! These brownies are chocolatey, fudge-like in the centre and they are gluten-free; and completely vegan. Eating
them makes this Christmas feel, how shall we put this, like a guilt-free indulgence. Oh, don’t forget to lick the batter off the spoon, it’s safe.

The black bean brownie recipe takes 5 minutes to put together, if you have all the ingredients. If not, I suggest you buy the ingredients because they are multipurpose and great for health too. And you will make the batter in a food processor or a blender. My other brownie recipe is pretty awesome too. If you want something traditional and non-vegan, that’s the one you want make.

read more …

Leeks and chickpeas soup

September 3, 2013

leeks and chickpeas soup
Today was a soup day in Vancouver.  The sky was cloudy and rainy but it wasn’t dull or gray. It was quite pleasant and welcoming to hear the rain pattering against the glass window by the kitchen. All that was missing was a bowl of heartwarming soup.

This leeks and chickpeas soup that fills your heart with wonder because it’s so flavourful. It’s chock full of goodness filled with aromatic vegetables, chickpeas and some potatoes and a bundle of herbs – that’s it! It is a perfect bowl of soup if I should say so for a day like this or for when you need a little dose love, give or take.

I would recommend that you use dried chickpeas that you would have to pre-soak first but tinned chickpeas will do too. Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans. And they are delicious to eat. I am sure you’ve had in them in their various incarnations, i.e. hummus, falafel, or chana masala?

For this recipe, you will need two pots; one big soup pot and a smaller pot. If you are using tinned chickpeas, you can make this soup in one pot but if you’re using pre-soaked chickpeas, you’ll need two. You’ll see why in a minute. read more …

Ridiculously good onion bhaji recipe

March 18, 2013

onion-bhajia-main

I’m a big fan of South Asian cuisine. There was a momentous time when I was growing up in Malaysia where I ate proper Indian food for the very first time. I was captivated by the plate-less experience as a large and green banana leaf takes the place of a plate. All of a sudden, five different vegetable side dishes were generously spooned around the leaf by an Indian guy carrying a large metal container with 5 compartments. Did I tell you that these vegetables were refillable, free of charge too? Another Indian man then swoops in to deliver scoops of steamy hot rice until you say ‘when’ and then with a large ladle delivers your choice of curried gravy: fish, chicken, dhal/sambhar and then he tops it all off with some papadum. Still in awe, a small unpretentious plastic plate arrives and on it, nuggets of crispy, caramelized onion fritters. It was a side of onion bhaji and it came with a sweet and spicy tamarind dipping sauce. It wasn’t an essential component to banana leaf rice, it sure was a decadent addition. I took a bite and it was crispy, sweet and spicy on top of a strong caramelized onion flavour. It was delicious!

I don’t get to eat banana leaf rice in North America. The closest I’ve gotten was a thali meal  served on a metal plate, sometimes with a small square of banana leaf, and you don’t get to refill your vegetable side dishes. But I have eaten my fair share of onion bhajis around town in Montreal. And I have to say, I wasn’t very impressed with them. Most of them were just okay, all of them were over-floured. And so were my quests to make them at home. Then I found an onion bhaji recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation. The episode explored Gujerati cuisine in the UK. The method the Gujeratis use to make their onion bhaji floored me, it was simple and it made sense. The result was a crispy, delicious onion bhaji from my childhood and I have an alternative flour you can use if you cannot find chickpea flour.

This recipe makes approximately 30 ping-pong ball sized onion bhaji. read more …

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