Monday, March 13, 2017

Black Pepper and Mushroom Pilaf

Black Pepper is among my most favorite Indian spices. It can jazz up any dish in a way no other spice can. No wonder it is ever so loyal on the Western table, next to salt. Pass the Salt and Pepper, please!

Here I have a mushroom and black pepper pilaf, made in the easiest manner. Fried cehrry pepper and mushrooms, along with black pepper , tossed with cooked basmati rice. Nothing much to it, but is delightfully tasty

Piperul Negru- cel care a pus pe harta India ca Partria Condimentelor.
Foarte scump pe timpuri, folosit ca moneta, acum este accesibil in fiecare casa. Descoperit in Sudul Indiei, chiar de unde imi e sotul, si cu etimologie chiar de origine Tamila, limba materna a sotului, pe care si eu o vorbesc putin. Pippali- piper lung in Tamila. Formele lui verde, rosie, alba, si neagra sunt aspecte diverse ale aceluiasi bob- necopt, copt, decojit... In vara anului 2015 am cutreierat prin jungla Keralei si Tamil Nadu- am avut ocazia sa mergem si la plantatii de piper, si sa-l tin verde in mina. Cred ca si acum e pe undeva la fundul valizelor.
Eu recomand ca piperul sa fie risnit proaspat din boabe in risnita sau mojar. Nu se merita sa fie cumparat risnit gata- aroma lui se pierde foarte repede.
Exista mai multe soiuri, dar cel mai renumit si rafinat e Tellicherry. Se merita de platit un pic mai mult pentru aroma lui.
In fine.
Am aici o reteta ce foloseste doar sare si piper negru ca condiment- rezultatul e simplu, dar savuros.
Milagu Kalana Sadam (Orez cu Piper Negru si Ciuperci)
1. Orez cu bob lung, fiert cu sare si racorit- 2 cani (capacitatea canii= 230 ml)
2. Ulei vegetal (eu prefer cel de cocos sau avocado la prajit)- 1 lingura
3. Piper negru, proaspat zdrobit, nu chiar fin- ½ lingurita
4. 1 cana de ciuperci albe, taiate felii
5. Optional: 2-3 ardei cherry pepper- taiati. Ei nu sunt prea picanti.
• Se incinge uleiul, se presara piperul negru si se prajeste putin (vre-o 10 secunde) la foc mic. Optional se prajeste si ardeiul proaspat.
• Se adaoga ciupercile si se prajesc pina se inmoaie putin
• Se adaoga orezul fiert, totul se amesteca, si se mai prajeste putin .
Se pune capacul si se lasa pentru 15 minute pina se incorporeaza aroma.
• Se serveste cu alte bucate, sau chiar singur- un fel de gustarica.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fennel and Dill Fragrant Rice

Fennel and Dill Rice- a fragrant mix of flavors and textures. Indian pulao of Persian inspiration, possibly.
The fennel seeds are dry toasted, along with black pepper. Tossed with cooked long grain rice, and slightly fried in little oil, with a tad of turmeric. Garnished with freshly cut dill, served as a side dish, or a warm salad.


Feniculul- o samanta des intilnita in componenta amestecurilor de mirodenii indiene (masala, sau curry). Este o samanta aromata, putin dulcie, cu un gust foarte placut.
SeminĊ£ele de fenicul au efect antiseptic, laxativ, diuretic galactogen (stimuleaza secretia lactata la mamele care alapteaza ), tonic, vermifug, antiparazitar, sedativ nervos, avand efect calmant.
In India la sfirsitul mesei se obisnuieste sa se manince putin fenicul. De fapt, daca mergeti la restaurante indiene, ei deseori au o vaza cu un amestec din fenicul cu zahar sau djajeuri din fenicul pentru oaspeti sa serveasca la sfirsitul mesei. El improspateaza gura dupa o mincare picanta, dar ajuta si digestiei dupa o masa copioasa. In poza 3 am fenicul cu cristale de zahar, drajeuri de fenicul si frunze uscate de trandafir.
Feniculul se obisnuieste sa fie prajit putin pe tava fara ulei- aroma lui se intensifica.
Aici va prezint o reteta a orezului cu marar si fenicul, popular in unele regiuni ale Indiei. Este un orez aromat si nutritiv, poate fi servit fierbinte, ca atare, sau racorit, ca salata.
Orez Indian cu Marar si Fenicul
1- 1½ lingurita de seminte de fenicul
½ lingurita piper negru maginat nu prea fin
1 lingura ulei vegetal
¼ lingurita de turmeric
600 gr orez fiert cu sare, preferat e cel cu bob lung
O mina de marar proaspat, maruntit
Se infierbinta tigaia si se prajeste usor fenicul si piperul negru pe uscat
Se adaoga uleiul, turmericul si orezul fiert.
La foc mic se prajeste putin orezul, se adaoga mararul maruntit si se amesteca bine.
Se acopera pentru 5-10 minute, sa se incorporeze aroma. Se serveste cald, sau racorit, ca salata.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Three Sisters

Fermented dairy in many forms have been used into making savory soups, sauces, dips, salads. No boundaries here.
Here I have a Moldovan Beet Buttermilk Soup, Ukrainian Okroshka, and the Indian Boondi Raita.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First Prize Pongal: Money Bag Baked Samosas with Savory Pongal Filling, and 1st Prize from Manjula's Kitchen Contest

For this month’s contest, I had to think hard in terms of creativity, and practicality. Pongal, the Tamil Harvest festival falls on the 14th of January, and so does the Eastern Orthodox New Year (I am originally from Moldova). They are fixed dates, since the calendar follows the solar calendar. Usually I make separate dishes to celebrate these two holidays in one day, but this year I combined the two traditions into one. Or maybe I combined three traditions into one: North Indian, South Indian and Moldovan! The result is a corn flour based pastry for samosa, filled with the savory South Indian ven pongal. (Corn is a grain that symbolizes prosperity in Moldova and it is thrown around the house as a blessing on New Year’s Day).
Rice filled pastries are popular throughout the world, but the pongal samosa is a true hit! And, to celebrate festivity and good luck, I shaped these samosas into “money bag” shapes! They are crisp, beautiful, and most importantly very tasty. And healthier too- they are baked.
Making the Samosa Pastry
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • water to knead
  1. Mix the flour, corn flour, oil and salt together.
  2. Add water gradually and knead everything into a pliable, but firm dough.
  3. Keep aside, covered with a damp towel, for 30 minutes to rest.
Making the Samosa Filling
  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup yellow split moong bean (dal)
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
Seasoning Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 16 cashew nuts
  • Curry leaves- a few
  1. Wash the rice and the split mung dal and pressure cook along with salt for 10 minutes
  2. Lightly mash cooked rice and dal with a fork.
  3. Heat ghee, add the black pepper, cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the ginger paste, cashews and the curry leaves, and fry, stirring, till cashews turn golden brown.
  4. Add the seasoning to the cooked rice and dal and mix well. Let cool.
Assembling the Samosas:
  1. Divide the pastry dough into roughly 14-16 balls and roll each portion into round disks about 7 inches diameter
  2. Place a small amount of rice filling into the center. Bring the sides of the circle to the center and pleat to form a purse, or bag. Pinch the dough together. Optionally, have a few strands of cooked rice noodles and wrap around the bag to form a tie.
  3. Place on a greased cookie sheet .
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Bake the money bag samosas till crisp and golden in color (about 30 minutes)
  6. Serve with tamarind chutney or your favorite sauce.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Pongal and St. Vasile! Happy New Year!

Some "money bag" golden mamaliga, and a full blown (ah well) South Indian repertoire for Pongal.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Very White, Yet Colourful Christmas

 This has been the first White Christmas (Eastern Orthodox as well) since 2002. Of course we would drive to NM or some other places to see snow, but it's not the same. Home for Christmas is the best of celebrations! 

To celebrate color, since we moved to Colorful Colorado last year, I chose to play with one of the most favourite winter salads that feature on the Christmas/ New Year table in Moldova and other Eastern European countries: The Vinegret. Diced carrots, potatoes, pickled cucumbers, beets and peas (or/and beans), tossed with a tad of black pepper, vinegar and oil make a wonderful, heart warming winter salad.

Since the  occasion is so special, I got my salad dressed up in a very festive Rubik's cube attire: the dressing is made of green peas and the above mentioned condiments.

Three Cheers for the Vinegret!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ending the Year on a Sweet Note, Starting it with Same

Mango Kulfi Cheesecake- the flavours of cardamom, saffron, mixed with mango and pistachios, and the luscious cream cheese, topped with white chocolate, made the year end a treat!-and so was the start.
Besides, hubby said this was the best cake I ever made. Which made me think....

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