Recently I had a craving for steamed mussels. The most popular recipes for mussels steam them in a delicately seasoned broth of white wine, tomato, garlic and parsley. I wanted something with a bit more spice and attitude.

When I was planning the recipe, I decided to prepare them in the cooking style of Kerala where my husband was born. Since Kerala is on the southwestern coast of India, the residents there eat a lot of fresh seafood, including mussels. The preparations usually involve a curry. After the mussels are steamed open, the meat is added to a well-spiced sauce filled with tomato, green chiles, ginger and garlic. The dish is usually served with rice or parotha.

Malabar Spiced Mussels

Malabar Steamed Mussels bring the flavor of Kerala to a traditional recipe. The rich tomato broth is flavored with saffron and spices for a delicious dish.

In my Malabar Steamed Mussels recipe, I start by browning onions and garlic in a large pot with some cumin. After a few minutes, I add tomato and two green chiles. After another minute, I add dry white wine to release the fond and deglaze the pot followed by fresh water. At this point I add a mix of turmeric, red chile powder (not too much) coriander, fennel seed and homemade garam masala. The secret ingredient to add richness to the broth is a generous helping of saffron threads. To give the broth the flavor of Kerala, I add a sprig of curry leaves.

When the broth is ready, I steam the mussels in it to allow them to absorb the flavor of Kerala. After they open, I serve the Malabar Steamed Mussels in individual bowls and top them with a bit of chopped cilantro. I serve the mussels with a hot fresh naan or layered parotha. Serving the steamed mussels in a large bowl over a mound of steamed basmati rice ensures that all the vegetables and rich broth are eaten and enjoyed.

This recipe can generously serve two as a main course or four as an appetizer.

Brown basmati rice has long been known as a healthy grain known for its fiber and mineral content. Add it to quinoa, a tiny seed that is packed not only with fiber and minerals but with protein, and you have the basis for a supercharged recipe.

Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa

Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa gets its flavor from a special blend of spices that are commonly used to season rice in India. This easy recipe is nutritious and flavorful.

My recipe for Masala Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa gets its flavor from a special blend of spices that are commonly used to season rice in India. Whole bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and black peppercorns are added to the water in which the brown basmati rice cooks to give it flavor before it is even combined with the quinoa.

Additional flavor comes from the thinly cut onion slices that are fried in a spice mix of mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, coriander, chile and turmeric until they caramelize, bringing out their mild, sweetness. Garlic, grated carrots and fresh spinach are cooked in this seasoned oil until tender.

When everything is ready, all the ingredients are combined in a large pot and cooked together until the grains absorb the flavors of the spices and vegetables.

Masala Brown Basmati Rice and Red Quinoa is a simple recipe that can be served as a side dish to accompany any meal. I like to serve it at lunch as a healthy vegetarian dish along with a cup of hot soup.

Now that the weather is getting cooler, soups are back on my menu. This week I am featuring my Cranberry Bean Soup. When I mentioned to my husband that I was making Cranberry Bean Soup, he was very confused. He thought I was using fresh cranberries and thought that would make a very odd soup. After I told him that cranberry beans are beans, not fruit, he was very happy to eat this soup for dinner.

Cranberry Bean Soup

Cranberry Bean Soup is an easy to make vegetarian recipe with light Indian spices for a healthy lunch or dinner on a cold day. Also called borlotti beans.

Cranberry beans are one of the most underutilized beans in the U. S. They are very popular in Italian cuisine for their mild, creamy and nutty flavor. There, they are called borlotti beans and are found in many soups, casseroles and salads.

Cranberry beans look like red kidney beans except they are white with dark red spots when dried and turn dark pink when boiled. Cranberry beans are highly nutritious, rich in fiber and packed with protein.

Cranberry beans should be soaked to reduce the cooking time. I simply put them in a bowl of water and let them soak overnight.

To make this vegetarian soup, the onions are cooked in oil that is seasoned with a bay leaf. Garlic, tomato, fresh green chile and dried spices are added next to build the flavor base. The beans and broth are added next and simmer until the beans are tender. This takes about an hour or more.

The next step is to purée the soup so it is creamy. The soup can be purée in a blender or using a handheld immersion blender. A traditional blender yields a creamier texture but the immersion blender is less work and requires less clean up.  Before blending the soup, I remove some of the beans to add back later for variety in texture. This is an optional step. Just before serving, I add some freshly chopped cilantro.

Cranberry Bean Soup makes a fantastic main dish for lunch or dinner on a cold day along with a few pappads or a hot, fresh paratha. It is also a great starter for any meal.

For another recipe that features cranberry beans, check out Cranberry Bean Masala.

When I was planning the recipe for Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce, I knew I wanted a simple sautéed chicken breast with a brown butter sauce. Brown butter sauce is one of the easiest to make. It is always successful without any problems. When I started to make the sauce for this recipe, I realized that I had a lovely selection of fresh mushrooms that I knew would add the substance the sauce needed to stand up to an Indian masala, or spice mix, that I had created for the chicken. I used two of my favorite mushrooms, cremini and shitakes, for their different textures and shapes. I sliced them and added them to the skillet with a bit of chopped shallots, garlic and butter. To this I added a dry white wine which I allowed toand intensify in flavor followed by more butter. Ahh, what a glorious combination. My brown butter sauce became a buttery mushroom sauce.

Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce is an delicious, easy to make sautéed chicken recipe served with a butter sauce flavored with wild mushrooms.

Since I seem to be discussing the sauce before the chicken, let me regress to the main ingredient in this recipe. Over the years, I have learned that it is easier to cook chicken if all the pieces are the same size and same thickness. To do this I use my meat mallet and pound them so they are a bit thinner and all the same thickness. This is good therapy after a stressful day and no one is harmed in the process. Take care not to get too aggressive with the pounding; getting too forceful can cause the chicken to tear and have unattractive holes in it. After the chicken is pounded I feel the pieces look larger so everyone will think they are getting more food. Only I know the truth!

To flavor the chicken, I make a masala with ground spices. Authentic Indian cooks would use whole spices, roast them over a fire or in a hot skillet, and then grind them to a powder for the richest flavor. I wanted to make this a quick and easy recipe so I opted for ground spices. I use so much spice in my house, I think they are fresh.

Once the masala is mixed, I sprinkle it generously on both sides of the chicken. The masala has enough character to stand up to the sauce so feel free to use it liberally. After a few minutes of allowing the chicken to rest with the spices, they are sautéed in a large skillet until golden brown.

When the chicken is done, I remove the pieces from the skillet so I start working on the last step of preparing the mushroom sauce.

This Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce recipe is easy to make for a perfect weeknight dinner. Add some vegetables and rice for a complete meal.

As I started to plan my Christmas dinner menu I wanted to incorporate cranberries in a different recipe than the one I usually use to make cranberry relish or cranberry chutney. I thought adding Cranberry Raita would provide color and contrast to the menu by including dairy on the menu.

Cranberry Raita

Cranberry Raita

Most cranberry raita recipes use chopped up dried cranberries which are sweetened and chewy. A few others use frozen berries. The recipe I created is a combination of my cranberry chutney recipe and a basic raita recipe.

Starting with fresh cranberries, I boil them with a bit of water until they pop and become thick like jam. After they cool, I mix them with fresh yogurt, add a small amount of spice and it is ready to serve.

As an alternative, the Cranberry Raita can be sweetened with an extra tablespoon of sugar. I like to eat is this way as a snack during the holiday season.

I hope this recipe is a tasty addition to one of your holiday menus!

Spiced Cauliflower Tadka Purée is a simple recipe that can be used as a complement to any entrée. My family gets tired of rice and potatoes because they tend to be heavy and starchy. Substituting Cauliflower Tadka Purée is a healthy replacement any night of the week.

Cauliflower Tadka Puree

Cauliflower Tadka Purée is a delicious vegetarian cauliflower recipe that is flavored with roasted Indian spices commonly used in a tadka preparation.

Cauliflower is a very popular vegetable in Indian cuisine. It can be the main ingredient or be added for its flavor and texture in a more complex recipe. It is also found in many rice dishes like Chicken Biryani and Uppuma.

This recipe incorporates familiar Indian spices and flavorful garlic and shallots with the purity of steamed cauliflower for a delicious side dish. It is puréed to make it a simple comfort food that highlights the entrée with which it is served.

Cauliflower Tadka Purée with Chicken

Cauliflower Tadka Purée with Spiced Chicken

 

This recipe can be served with Crab Cutlets, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Roast Spiced Chicken, Balti Chicken Curry, Roasted Stuffed Eggplant and many other recipes on KachisKitchen.com.

While I was planning my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe last week, I knew I needed to share my recipe for Mung Dal. This simple, vegetarian recipe is very easy to make. My husband calls it comfort food because dal was served every day while he was growing up in India.

Dal is a thick savory dish that is made from, you guessed it, dal which is any bean or lentil that has had its skin removed and is split in half. The word is attached to the specific name of the bean or lentil it describes. The advantage of dal recipes is that the cooking time is reduced. For example, whole mung beans boil in approximately 30 minutes while mung dal boils in about 20 minutes. Since the skins are removed the color of the resulting dish matches the color of the bean inside.

Mung Dal

Mung Dal

My Mung Dal recipe is very easy to make. After the dal is boiled, it is added to a masala paste that is made from cooked onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger and a special blend of spices. Once the tomatoes break down and lose their shape, the dal is added and flavors blend together. Mung dal does not lose its shape like other varieties of beans do. So, make this dish a bit creamier, I smash some of the dal with the side of a knife before mixing it into the masala paste.

Mung Dal can be served with plain rice and chapati in the true South Indian vegetarian tradition or it can be served as a side dish with other favorite recipes.

I have decided to share my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe to continue my series on cholesterol lowering recipes. Mung beans are excellent choice for creating nutritionally healthy dishes as they are:

  • high in fiber, protein and vitamins
  • low in fat and calories
  • quick to cook
  • taste delicious
  • very inexpensive

I could provide more details on these tasty gems but I will direct you to another page for more information on this superfood to save time.

Mung beans bring a mild flavor to any recipe; they taste a bit like potatoes. Unlike some lentils, they retain their shape with a delicate bite when cooked and do not turn mushy. Mushy lentils are fine in dal recipes but when they are used in a recipe where they need to retain their shape, mung beans are a great pick. In addition, mung beans do not need to be soaked overnight or cooked for an extensive amount of time. After they begin to boil, a mere half hour is all that is required to bring them to tasty tenderness.

These beans compliment other ingredients in recipes. They can be added to potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, etc. and produce a beautiful colorful dish. They can be used in hot dishes as well as cold ones.

Mung beans can be used in several different ways. They can be used whole as I have done in my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe. They can also have their skins removed and the inner bean split. This is called mung dal. I will share this delicious recipe next week. The third use is sprouting them. Check out this tasty Spicy Sprout Salad recipe.

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes

In my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe, I start by boiling the beans and red potatoes. Next I create the masala that brings the dish together. Like many Indian recipes, I fry the onions, garlic and ginger in a tasty spice blend. As the onions become tender, they absorb the flavors of the spices so they can envelop the cooked beans and potatoes. With three simple steps, the dish is ready to serve. One thing you will like about this recipe is that it only requires one pan. No need to use several pans and wash extra pots when this is finished!

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes can be served as a main dish in a vegetarian meal along with other vegetables, rice and chapatis. It can be a side dish for lunch or dinner. My husband likes to roll a generous scoop of Mung Beans and Red Potatoes and roll it in a chapati to take to work for lunch. This can be served hot or cold.

Since receiving the results of my latest annual checkup, I have decided to adopt a healthier diet by incorporating more lentils into my cooking. Nothing is wrong, just a slightly elevated cholesterol level that can be treated by modifying my diet. Before the holidays start I will publish more recipes with lentils and dark green leafy vegetables that can help lower cholesterol and offset any holiday indulging.

To start my healthy Indian fusion series, I am sharing a very simple but flavorful green lentil recipe that I make from time to time. It can be made in just one pan using only a few spices. Without a complicated masala to mix and with minimal chopping, it can be prepared in a very short period of time.

Green or brown lentils are very tasty. They have a mild, meaty flavor and a delicate texture. They also retain their shape when cooked so they look good attractive in any dish. Even though they are high in carbohydrates, they are high in fiber, protein and many other nutrients.

simple green lentils recipe

Simple Green Lentils, a one pot recipe, is easy to make and delicious with gentle Indian spices.

This Simple Green Lentils recipe is so easy to prepare. First the green lentils and carrots are boiled. Next the onion, garlic and spices are fried in a small amount of olive oil. In the last step, the lentils and carrots are folded into the spiced onions and everything is cooked together to allow the flavors to blend. The dish can be garnished with a bit of freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. Everything is cooked in the same pot so there is less dishwashing and cleanup afterward. Easy!

This recipe can be served hot or cold, as a side dish or as an entrée. I like to have left overs so I can send them with my husband to work the next day.

I just returned from a wonderful week in and around London where my husband and I attended the Whisky Show. The show was as amazing and educational as ever with new exhibitors and offerings to sample. The weather was perfect (except for a few rainy hours) so we spent as much time outdoors as possible.

After a few days of walking over 10 miles each, I started thinking about all of the savory pies that are served in the pubs. From steak pies to fish pies, they all sounded hearty and satisfying after a long day. Yum.

Now that I’m back home, I’m still thinking about these pies. Since I wanted to make a vegetarian pie, I decided to create a potato tart that incorporates the spices and flavors of the Malabar Coast. By making it a tart, I only had to put a crust on the bottom which makes it less heavy and intense.

Malabar Potato Tart

Malabar Potato Tarts incorporate the spices of Western India into a simple but elegant, savory potato tart with a lightly seasoned crust.

When I made my first pie crust many years ago, I had to mix the flour and butter by hand. I remember the agony of cutting them together. Now, with a food processor, the entire process took just one minute! I was stunned at how easy it was. Instead of dreading the process of making my own pie crusts, I find it to be a piece of cake!

Once the crust has chilled and has been placed in the tart pan, I am ready to make the Malabar Potato Tart. I blanch the potatoes to shorten the cooking time and fry the onions with Indian spices until they are golden brown. I make alternating layers of potato and onion, and top the tart with egg wash so it browns nicely.

After baking the tart, I let it rest before removing it from the pan. When I serve each slice, I top it with a generous dollop of thick Greek yogurt.

Malabar Potato Tart Slice

This flavor of this slice of Malabar Potato Tart is truly delicious with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

The Malabar Potato Tart can be served as a main entrée or as a side dish. It can be served warm or cold. Be sure to save a piece for yourself because everyone will ask for seconds!