Monday, May 07, 2007

Peanut Coconut Curry Sauce - So easy even the Geico Caveman can do it

I love PF Changs - the Chinese Bistro. But have you tried getting a table at the restaurant lately? Reservation or not - you need advance notice to plan for a fun evening at PF Changs - the place is notoriously full by 6:30 pm on most week nights! I haven't been there as many times as I would like because most of our plans tend to be spontaneous and regrettably last minute - so I am left salivating on thoughts of Tofu lettuce wraps, Coconut curry vegetables and some fresh brewed tea!

I came across a recipe for a Simple Coconut based peanut sauce (vegetarian-ized version of Sandra Lee's recipe) - once all the ingredients are at hand, it took less than 10 mins to put together. Reminded me of PF Chang's Coconut Curry sauce - one of my favorites. My kind of a meal - definitely one that would please many others. And I hereby confer on this recipe the Geico Caveman approval seal. Here is the recipe that will comfortably serve 2 as the main meal with rice

Vegetables in Peanut Coconut Curry Sauce
1/2 block of tofu cut into cubes (of desired size)
1 tbsp oil
a splash of soy sauce
Heat oil in a pan. When oil is HOT, add the cubes of tofu and pan fry till a nice brown crust is formed. Add a splash of soy sauce and allow the tofu to absorb the liquid.
2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice (green beans, peppers, broccoli, snap peas etc)
salt to taste
Add veggies and salt to the pan, cook till vegetables are tender crisp. Around 3-5 minutes
1 12 oz can light coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red chili paste
1 tsp tamarind extract (or a few bits of tamarind soaked in the stock)
Whisk together ingredients on the left into a smooth sauce. Add to the pan of simmering veggies. Taste for salt since the broth/peanut butter are seasoned. Simmer and let sauce thicken for about 6-8 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed brown or white rice

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Change is good And Healthful modifications

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine

I read that quote on an email signature and laughed out aloud. If the last time I had updated this blog some one had told me how much my life would change in just one year - I wouldn't have believed them. Life today has taken unbelievable twists leaving the future murky and uncertain. We don't know whats in store for us but at least we have the option of making it what we want it to be. Change is good. Change is good, indeed. Change is certainly difficult to get accustomed to. But here we are facing refreshingly new challenges, cleaning out the cobwebs in our heads - change is good indeed.

So, to take my mind off how different things are, I decided to come back here to my familiar spot in the blog world. Thanks to the people who have cared to ask how I am doing. The last year has been one enjoyable roller-coaster ride - failures and successes. Finally, both hubby and I are pursuing what we have wanted to. In the midst of all that action - this blog has suffered my lack of attention. But I am back at least for now.

The last I mentioned here was a wonderful book that I had come to own - a book on healthy eating. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I really wanted to get one recipe that I have made time and again out on this blog - Cracked Wheat Idli

If you like Rava idli (steamed dumplings made of semolina flour), you can make a simple modification of substituting some or all of the Rava with cracked wheat for an equally delicious, yet more nutritious idli.

Cracked Wheat Idli
1 cup cracked wheat (fine)Dry roast in a pan the raw flour smell is gone (just before it turns brown)
1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
water to dilute
To the roasted wheat add yogurt and salt. Mix to combine. Add water (tablespoons at a time) to make the dough into a pouring consistency of idli batter. Not more than 1/2 cup water. Allow this mixture to rest for at least 15 minutes
1/4 cup grated carrot
2 tbsp grated coconut
1 in piece of ginger grated
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Add grated carrots, ginger, coriander and coconut to the mixture. Pour ladle-fulls of the mixture into idli moulds and steam cook for 15 minutes. Serve with coconut chutney.

You can add any vegetable to this idli just be careful about the water content. For instance if you are going to add grated bottle gourd, cut down on the water in the recipe accordingly. Need to settle down into my blog yet again. So much has changed here as well. Need to find out whats new with the Google blogger. Until then, it feels GREAT to be back!