I posted last month about my first Daring Bakers challenge; this weekend I completed my first challenge for the Daring Cooks. This months Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen. Debyi challenged us to make a vegan meal using recipes for dosas, curried garbanzo filling, and coconut sauce adapted from the cookbook: reFresh: Contemporary Vegan Recipes From the Award Winning Fresh Restaurants.

dosas1

Cooking vegan isn’t really a challenge for me. Though I am an omnivore, I make many vegan/vegetarian recipes. What I appreciated about the challenge, though, is that it pushed me to make a dish I’d never made before, and which I absolutely loved!

I also ended up making an additional recipe that was not part of the challenge. It’s a simple mint chutney featuring fresh mint from my garden and you’ll find the recipe at the end of this post. This too is definitely something I’ll make again.

This meal consists of 3 parts: the dosas, the filling and the sauce. I made the dosa pancakes recipe exactly as given by Debyi, only I substituted coconut milk for the rice/soy milk and used a little coconut oil in the pan. The recipe is supposed to make 8 pancakes and serves at least 4 people; I made my pancakes pretty small, though, so I got more than 8 out of the recipe.

Spelt is a good substitute for wheat flour in recipes, but if you need or want to avoid gluten, you can try these with buckwheat flour, chickpea flour or rice flour instead.

Indian Dosa Pancakes

Dosa Pancakes Ingredients
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)- I used coconut milk
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed- I used a little coconut oil instead

Dosa Pancakes Directions
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.

Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake.

When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds.

Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter.

dosapancakes

Curried Chickpea Filling
I halved this recipe, but otherwise followed it pretty exactly (though I didn’t have tomato paste and instead added in some tomato chutney I recently made). If you do the whole recipe, you will end up with a lot of filling, but the curried chickpeas are really tasty as leftovers over rice or quinoa.

Filling Ingredients
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 Tb. (16gm) cumin, ground
1 Tb. (8gm) oregano
1 Tb. (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 Tb. (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

Filling Directions:
Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.

Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

curriedchickpeas

Coconut Curry Sauce
I made a few changes here. I used 1 tomato, 1 lemon cucumber, and 1 purple pepper instead of the three tomatoes. I also decreased the broth and the coconut milk by 1/2 because I wanted a really thick sauce with just subtle coconut flavor. I cut my veggies, including the onions, into fairly large chunks; you might want to cut yours smaller. This is a yummy sauce and I think leftovers would be great over noodles, grains, or even steamed veggies.

Coconut Curry Sauce Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 Tb. (30gm) curry powder
3 Tb. (30gm) spelt flour (omit if sensitive to gluten)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

Coconut Curry Sauce Directions:
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.

Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally. Let it simmer for half an hour.

coconutchutney

The mint chutney was not part of the challenge but I have a ton of mint in my garden, so I went for it.
Here is the recipe I used:

Fresh Mint Chutney
adapted from Joy of Cooking

Mint Chutney Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh mint
1/4 cup water
1 shallot, peeled
juice from 1 lime
1 Tb. agave syrup or organic sugar
1 pinch sea salt

Mint Chutney Directions:
Blend all ingredients until you have a course puree. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

mintchutney

Debyi suggested serving the dosas topped with grated coconut and chopped cucumber. Since I made mini taco-like dosas, I topped mine with a bit of the chutney and used the coconut and cucumber as a garnish on the side.

Overall this was a fantastic Indian meal that I’ll definitely be making again- thanks to Debyi for a great challenge!

dosas2

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you know that I am fascinated with and love to make lacto-fermented/cultured foods. Lacto-fermenting is a great natural preservation technique that also happens to confer numerous health benefits.

One of my favorite cultured foods to make is Kimchi (aka Kim chi and kimchee): Korean spicy pickled cabbage.

Homemade Kimchi | Healthy Green Kitchen

Kimchi is high in natural probiotics that aid digestion. It also contains lots of vitamin C as well as compounds that may protect you from cancer.

I have made Kimchi many times before, but when I saw this tutorial on how to make Kim chi from Dr. Ben Kim, I knew I had to try it.

The Homemade Kimchi recipe calls for fine Korean red chili flakes, but I didn’t have these. I used regular crushed red pepper flakes instead, and I decreased the amount to 2 Tb. The Kimchi came out incredibly spicy- I love it, but you may want to tone it down a bit and use just 1 Tb. if you are using the standard red pepper flakes.

Another option when making Kimchi is to use a seeded minced jalapeno or Serrano chili pepper or two instead of making the chili paste, or you could try a tablespoon or two of a prepared spicy Asian chili paste.

Feel free to add in some extra vegetables if you like- some of my favorite additions to Kimchi include sliced leeks, daikon radish, and carrots.

Recipe for Kimchi

Adapted from Dr. Ben Kim's recipe
Makes 1-2 quarts

Ingredients:

*1 head of Napa cabbage (about one pound)- outer leaves removes, and then chopped into bite sized pieces
*1/4 cup Himalayan or sea salt mixed in a small bowl of warm water
*1/4 cup Korean fine red chili flakes, also known as ko choo kah rhoo, and available at Korean markets- if you don't have access to the Korean chili flakes, you can substitute 1-2 Tb. crushed red pepper flakes as I did
*1 tablespoon minced garlic
*1 tablespoon minced ginger
*3-4 green onions, sliced
*2 Tb. Thai fish sauce--optional; leave it out if you want a vegan/vegetarian version and substitute 2 *Tb. salt instead
*1/2 yellow onion
*1 apple (Dr. Kim's recipe calls for 1/2 an apple and 1/2 a pear)
*very clean Mason jar(s)- I got 1 quart plus 1 pint out of this recipe

Directions:

1. Place chopped cabbage leaves in a large bowl and pour the salt water over the cabbage leaves.
Mix well and allow salted cabbage to sit for at least four hours, until the cabbage is quite wilted down.

2. Place wilted cabbage in a colander and rinse very well to remove excess salt; transfer cabbage back to large bowl.

3. Combine the fine red chili flakes with a little warm water, and stir gently with a spoon to create a red chili paste. If you don't have the red chili flakes, you can use crushed red chili flakes instead. Use 1-2 tablespoons, depending on whether you want it very spicy, or insanely spicy. Mix whichever chili paste you have with your cabbage. If you are mixing with your hands, be sure to use rubber gloves.

4. Add minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, and fish sauce, and mix well again.

5. Place yellow onion and apple in a blender with one cup of water. Blend well, and then add this natural sweetener to the cabbage.

6. Pour over the cabbage, and mix well so that all the ingredients are distributed evenly.

7. Spoon the cabbage into glass jar(s). Push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.

8. Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well - this liquid will become kimchi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.

9. Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid (if you don't leave enough room, you may end up with some liquid seeping out of your jars as it ferments). Allow your kim chi to sit at room temperature for 24 hours before transferring to the refrigerator for storage.

Kimchi will keep about 1 month in the refrigerator, and it will continue to ferment a bit during that time. It will get more sour as it ages, and if you don’t like this, Dr. Kim recommends eating it up with in the first week.

Kimchi is a delicious and healthy side dish that goes with most Asian-inspired meals. I also like it over scrambled eggs, and mixed into chicken soup. Adding a little coconut milk to the soup tempers the spiciness and meshes very well with kim chi’s flavors!

This post is linked to Sustainable Eats’ Lacto-fermentation Blog Carnival

WHB3-1It is also my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, an event managed by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything. This week’s host is Haalo!

A little sickness has been making its way through my family. Nothing major- a few days of a low grade fever and body aches kind of deal. I think we caught it from my nephew when we were out in Colorado; I had it on our return last week, then my daughter over the weekend, and now my son.

Though I am bummed my son had to miss 2 days of school the first week back, I was secretly happy for the excuse to make my favorite chicken soup.

favoritechickensoup

My father Barry Wine (chef/owner of the now closed Quilted Giraffe restaurant in NYC) showed me how to make this great homemade chicken soup about 10 years ago. It’s become one of my all time favorite meals, so thanks dad!

Though you don’t at all have to be sick to enjoy this soup, I do recommend it if you are, especially if you add some immune-boosting garlic and ginger to the recipe. Sprinkling your serving with a bit of cayenne powder will also help your immune system.

To vary the taste and for additional health benefits, you can mix some miso (instead of salt) or coconut milk into a serving of soup. Raw cream or crème fraiche can also be added before serving.

Chicken Soup Recipe
(use local and organic ingredients whenever possible)

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, approx. 3-4 pounds, preferably free-range
1 Tb. butter
1 Tb. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
2-3 parsnips, cleaned well and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
1/4-1/2 daikon radish, chopped
Course sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot. Place chicken in the pot and allow to sear for a minute or so on each side. Add a little water if necessary to prevent the chicken from burning. Add chopped onion and cook for several minutes, moving the chicken around, again adding a little water to prevent burning.

Add the rest of the vegetables, and then add enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups). Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 50 minutes-1 hour.

Turn off heat. Carefully remove the chicken and allow to cool in a separate bowl.

If you are going to be serving all of the soup right away, you’ll want to remove the meat from the chicken bones and add it back into the soup (make sure you don’t burn yourself). Sprinkle with course sea salt and freshly ground pepper before serving; you might also want to add some finely chopped greens such as kale (the heat will wilt them down) and/or green onions.

If you are eating just some of the soup right away, I suggest taking the meat off the chicken and then storing it in the refrigerator to add back into individual servings of soup. You can also reserve some of the chicken for another use, like sesame chicken salad.

Do not discard your picked over chicken bones; keep them in the freezer so that you can make chicken stock.

One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that if you are not eating it right away, you can vary it each time you do. Have some with leftover cooked rice or potatoes one day, with coconut milk and some Thai chili sauce added another day, etc.

Today I had some with miso, buckwheat soba noodles, and a pinch of red pepper flakes- it was absolutely delicious!

chickensoup2

Do you have a favorite way to make chicken soup or something special you like to add? I’d love to know about it, so please share in the comments section below!

More healthy soup recipes from Healthy Green Lifestyle
More healthy chicken and meat recipes from Healthy Green Lifestyle