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Eggplant Polpetta

Yesterday, I watched this ted talk by Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay sharing his insightful views about today's climate change as well as the transformation of his nation.  And this recipe I have here was inspired by him and his people for braving the climate change that’s actually caused by many of us.  

This polpetta recipe is nothing wow but the wow side is that you could use up all your leftover rice, beans, and veggies.  In case you can’t finish these veggie meatballs at one go, you could use the leftover polpetta to make a vegetarian meatball pasta dish.  

Honestly, homecooking is not hard.  The only tricky part is to know how to minimize waste.  And that is what I’ve always been trying to do.  As a part of today's humanity, I think the least that we could do is to live with a little empathy.  I hope some of you might agree with me and join me on this mindful practice.  

Eggplant Polpetta

Eggplant Polpetta

Eggplant Polpetta

Eggplant polpetta ingredients

On a baking tray, drizzle 2-3 tbsp of olive oil with eggplants and garlics.  Season.  

Roast for about 20-25 minutes.  

Blend the squeezed garlic pulps, eggplant, and 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a food processor until smooth.  

Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Mix brown rice, lentils, eggs, chickpea flour, spring onion, chopped ginger, soy sauce, and mixed spices powder.  Season a tiny bit if you like.  

Use your hands to make each small eggplant ball(polpetta) and sprinkle more breadcrumbs around each polpetta.  Transfer these little polpetta to a baking tray with a baking sheet.  Roast them for around 25-30 minutes.  

Roast them for around 25-30 minutes.  

Serve the eggplant polpetta with whatever sauce you like.  I served them with sriracha yogurt and mayo sauce.  Enjoy!  

Servings: 8 -  10 eggplant balls

Preparation Time: 10 - 15 minutes

Cooking Time: about 1 hour

Ingredients: 

1 medium size eggplant, cut into small dices

2 eggs

1/2 can lentils

1 bowl cooked brown rice

3-4 tbsp chickpea flour

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce

1-1.5 cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp mixed spices powder

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  On a baking tray, drizzle 2-3 tbsp of olive oil with eggplants and garlics.  Season.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  
  2. Blend the squeezed garlic pulps, eggplant, and 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a food processor until smooth.  
  3. Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Mix brown rice, lentils, eggs, chickpea flour, spring onion, chopped ginger, soy sauce, and mixed spices powder.  Season a tiny bit if you like.  
  4. Use your hands to make each small eggplant ball(polpetta) and sprinkle more breadcrumbs around each polpetta.  Transfer these little polpetta to a baking tray with a baking sheet.  Roast them for around 25-30 minutes.  
  5. Serve the eggplant polpetta with whatever sauce you like.  I served them with sriracha yogurt and mayo sauce.  Enjoy!  

eggplant polpetta

Eggplant Polpetta

eggplant polpetta

And here is the vegetarian meatball pasta :) No wastage at all.  

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

The holidays are coming.  I'm sure many of us have already started our holiday menu planning.  This dish is great as a starter.  It actually came to mind because I got some lettuce that I was desperate to get rid of.  Plus I didn't want to eat a salad that is made with lettuce for the next three days.  And I certainly don't want to put any of my food to waste.  

So I remember this delicious Thai dish that I used to love -- minced spicy pork with lettuce wrap.  I recall all those lettuce greens served on the side.  So this is a veggie version of that.  :) And this dish is another perfect leftovers recipe.  I think most meat eaters would love it too because the taste is just phenomenal plus it looks presentable. ;)  I highly recommend you to try making it.  

Happy Holidays! 

Love,

Cindy x

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

 

Servings: 2-4 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 capsicum, diced

1 bunch string beans, chopped into small bits

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

1 lime zest & 1/2 lime juice

1 tsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp thai basil pesto

1 bunch fresh lettuce leafs 

extra-virgin olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

2 tbsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lime juice 

1/2 chopped chilli

2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander 

Thai Basil Pesto Ingredients: 

1 bunch thai basil

1/2 green chilli and 1/2 red chilli 

1 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook eggplant for 3-5 minutes first.  Then add the chopped vegetables such as corn, beans, capsicums, and zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add a splash of fish sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.  

2) Add the chopped garlic, spring onion, ginger, and chilli.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add basil pesto and fresh lime juice and zest.  Season.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more to allow all the flavors to come out.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

3) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and garnish with some coriander if you like. I didn't have any so I skipped that. 

4) Serve this fragrant spicy veggies with some fresh lettuce leafs and the sweet and spicy dipping on the side.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

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! :)