chickpea

Malaysian Curry Vegetables and Homemade Scallion Naan

I recently came across an interesting article about empathy shared by Dr. LaBier on Huffington Post dated a few years ago.  The article was well written about the lack of empathy in today's America.  Dr.  LaBier clearly defined the difference between empathy and sympathy.  He also provided some useful guidance of how we can develop an empathetic practice.  

I personally feel that EDD (Empathy Deficit Disorder, a made up disorder by Dr. LaBier) sadly is apparent everywhere.  Many of us can't relate because we simply failed to recognize that at the end of the day, we are in fact interconnected and bound together.  It took me awhile to understand how important it is to know how to empathize.   I am thankful for all those sleepless nights when I had the voracious appetite for readings.  

This traditional Malaysian curry dish and naan bread is my tribute to Dr. LaBier's insightful article on empathy.  I've never been to India nor Malaysia and I would love to visit one day.  I used Malaysian curry because that's what I found in my mom's fridge.  As for the naan, I got this recipe from a blog called Half Baked Harvest, created by a beautiful young blogger called Tieghan.  The only difference is that I added some chopped scallions to my bread.  

I think last night's cooking experience was very inspiring.  I realized why curries and naans represent today's Indian cuisine.  This realization also strengthened my passion for cooking.  Cooking different cuisines enables me to feel more connected to the people in this world.  I hope my recipes can inspire some of you out there.  

Happy cooking, everyone!

With love, 

Cindy x

This curry vegetables dish is made with a traditional Malaysian curry paste.  This wonderful curry flavor gets even better overnight.  

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes 

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, diced

1 large potato, diced

1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 cup rice wine/white wine

1/2 vegetable stock cube

2-3 tbsp curry paste

2 cups water

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a saucepan with olive oil on medium heat, cook onion and eggplant for 3-5 minutes.  Stir frequently to avoid burning your vegetables.  Add carrot, garlic, fresh ginger, and potato.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  

2) Add cumin, paprika powder, and chickpeas.  Season.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  

3) Add rice wine and let the alcohol evaporates.  Keep stirring.

4) Add water, vegetable stock, and curry paste.  Bring the saucepan to boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 10-15 minutes. 

Recipe for Naan --

Servings: 8 naan

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes for each naan

Ingredients: 

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt 

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 tsp dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

1 cup greek yogurt

3-4 tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup chopped spring onion

Instructions: 

1) Dissolve water, sugar, and dry yeast in a small bowl.  Let it sit for 10 minutes and allow the yeast to foam up.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Then add the yeast mixture along with greek yogurt and milk to the mixing bowl.  You may use a wooden spoon or spatula for mixing and start kneading with your hands after.  When the wet and sticky dough forms, cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.  

3) Divide the dough in 8 small balls equally.  Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface.  

4) Brush melted butter and sprinkle scallions on each side of the flattened dough.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt if you desire.  

5) Preheat a skiller or frying pan on medium low heat, cook each side of the naan for 1-2 minutes with a lid on.  

Eating with hands......  Mary is my hand model nowadays.  Lol

Every scoop of the curry with naan is sensational.  Enjoy! :) 

veggie whole wheat pita sandwich and hummus

As you can see, I've been obsessed in dough making these days.  My reasons are simple.  1) I have control with my ingredients and 2) I like to eat bread when it is fresh out of the oven.  The only problem is that it takes a bit of time to make bread.  So it's not so easy for many of us during the week.  

So far, I think pita bread is probably one of the easiest to make.  It still requires a good couple of hours. I like pita because it is light and it goes with a lot of vegetables.  I found this recipe on Pinterest as usual.  The blog is called Yummy Healthy Easy.  Just like the blog's name, this whole wheat pita bread recipe is yummy, healthy and easy.  

I wish you a good week ahead.  

Cindy x

This veggie pita sandwich is tasty and light. 

Servings: 6 pita 

Preparation Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients: 

2 cups warm water

1 tsp sugar

4 tsp dry yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp salt

Instructions: 

1) In a mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast.  Let it sit for 3-5 minutes for the mixture to foam up. 

2) Stir in salt and flour.  Knead with your hands for a couple minutes.  Let rise for 30 minutes cover with a damp towel.

3) Preheat oven at 240ºC.  Divide dough into 6 balls evenly.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough into an 8" circle with a rolling pin.  

4) Place the doughs on a lightly greased baking sheet on the baking tray, bake for 8-10 minutes.  Beware not to over bake.  

5) Divide the bread in half and add fillings to each pocket as you desire.  

Ingredients for the veggie whole wheat pita sandwich: 

crispy tofu in squares (recipe is here)

greens

basil pesto

caramelized onion

roasted eggplant

greek yogurt

Hummus and pita -  the perfect combination :) 

Ingredients:

1 can chickpea, drained, rinsed, and skin removed 

1 garlic clove

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

2-3 tbsp creamy peanut butter

3-4 tbsp greek yogurt

3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lemon juice

Instructions: 

1) Put everything into a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Add more yogurt and oil if the texture is too thick.  Adjust to your taste preference.  

Vegetarian Meatballs Pasta with Spicy Marinara

Cooking is easy but creative cooking (not that I'm saying mines are creative; what I'm saying is to come up with new recipes everyday can be fairly challenging) often requires some sort of stimulants and this recipe was inspired by Woody Allen's movies.  My sinusitis hasn't been cured completely yet.  So I am still coughing quite a bit and my sleeping schedule has gone awry due to the medication.  I have a real hard time falling asleep before midnight.  While most people are sound sleep, I'm wide awake trying to make use of my insomnia.  I usually watch movies or some cook shows, continue reading my never ending list of articles and books, or gorging on Pinterest.  

Last night, I saw a couple of Woody Allen's latest films, To Rome with Love and Fading Gigolo.  I don't want to sound like a critic here and start judging or analyzing the film dialogue.  In my opinion, most of his movies' plots are quite similar -- melodramatic love stories and there's always some sort of infidelity engagements involved.  But I must say his films are always beautifully shot with a nice soundtrack selection and great casts plus they are always easy and relaxing to watch.  I especially love the song that was played at the end of To Rome with Love.   

After seeing those two lovely movies, my longing for New York and Italy obviously grew ever more intensely.  Actually, I've never been to Rome and the closest I've ever gotten to was San Benedetto del Tronto.  Yes, it was beautiful there and same for the people.  As for Rome, I would love to go there for just a few days.  I want to try the famous and classic Cacio e Pepe AND attend one of those grandiose music gigs at the Rome Olympic Stadium.  I also got a list of other places I really want to explore in Italy such as Sardinia, Sicily, Pompeii, and many more.  ;P

So this pasta dish I had today was kinnnnnnnnda inspired by these movies.  I didn't have much choice since I haven't gone grocery shopping this week and all I got in my fridge was some leftover vegetables, a few slices of old bread, and an eggplant.  I think a lot of us might have a misperception about the taste of food being judged by its exquisiteness.  I know for many Chinese back in the days, displaying the certain sorts of food on the dining table is a signature of one's wealth.  Truthfully, most of my favorite dishes were made out of the humblest ingredients.  I must admit that those meatballs I made today were delicious.  I don't want to brag about it so I would let you be the judge if you would try out this recipe one day.  AND the most wonderful thing about this recipe was that it's made out of mostly leftovers.  I mean of course you have the liberty to use all fresh ingredients.  That's entirely up to you but I don't think it is necessary at all.  

Enjoy your weekend! 

Cindy x

These little delicious "veggie balls" took a bit of time to make but they were indeed worthwhile.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients for the eggplant balls: 

1 medium eggplant

1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 

1/2 red capsicum & 1/2 green capsicum

2 garlic cloves

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh parley

1 tsp cumin powder

2 slices old bread (about 50-60g)

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for spicy marinara sauce: 

1/2 can tomato sauce

1-2 garlic cloves

1 bunch fresh basil

1/4 cup red wine

1 bay leaf

1/2 red chili, chopped

1 tsp sugar

Ingredients for pasta (optional): 

200g pasta (spaghetti, linguine, penne, fusilli, or orecchiette)

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan (optional, you may exclude it if you are a vegan)

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions for meatballs: 

1) Preheat oven at 180-200ºC.  Get a baking tray, add eggplant and onion with olive oil. Season.  Roast the vegetables for 20-25 minutes.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning the vegetables.

2) Blend the roasted vegetables with the rest of the greens and 2 slices of old bread in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add more old bread if the mixture is too wet.  

3) Use your hands to roll the mixture into 6-8 little meatball size.  Cover each meatball with panko breadcrumbs before transferring to a baking tray.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to the tray.    

4) Roast the meatballs for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs turned golden.  

Instructions for spicy marinara: 

1) Preheat the saucepan with oil, add garlic, chopped basil, chili, and bay leaf on medium heat.  Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.  

2) Add the tomato sauce and red wine, let the alcohol evaporates.  Reduce heat to medium-low after the sauce starts to boil.  Put a lid on and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  

3) Add 1 tsp sugar and season.  Heat off.  

4) Serve with cooked pasta or as an appetizer.  Garnish with some fresh chopped basil or parsley and grated cheese.  

A delicious vegan dish that's made with the simplest ingredients.