Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We are trying something new! Meatless Wednesdays.

A few weeks ago I told T that many of my chef friends were adopting "Meatless Mondays".  The verdict was we would give it a try as long as it wasn't Tofu or Mondays.  Mondays are tough to get through as it is.

Today was week two of meatless Wednesdays.  Last week's meal was OK, but it still felt too heavy for vegetarian.  Since today was my day off, I started my morning laying in bed and reading cookbooks.  Yes!  I read cookbooks the way most people devour's a sickness really.  I flipped through my cookbook, Around the  World in 450 Recipes, and the Coconut Chapatis intrigued me.  This is an East African bread that is served as a snack or an accompaniment to a meal.    The best part, the ingredients are simple and I had all of them on hand.   Next, was trying to find an entree to go along with the Chapatis.  A few sections away was a recipe for Madras Sambal.  There are many variations of this popular dish but it is regularly cooked in one form or another in almost every south-Indian home.  The great news is, you can use any combination of vegetables that are in season.  I had potatoes in my pantry, and Mr. Wyndham just gave me a bag full of green beans and peppers.  So tonight's dinner will have an international theme and I don't have to leave the house to make it.

First, I started with the Chapatis since they had several steps.  Admittedly I don't like to bake, or prepare dough from scratch unless its a special occasion.  This recipe seemed simple enough for me, but I will say this is not a quick weeknight recipe.  So you may want to substitute store bought Naan or Chapatis.

Coconut Chapatis
Makes 10 pieces


4 Cups Flour (I used half wheat half white)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
vegetable oil, for shallow frying


1.  Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and gradually stir in the coconut milk to make a soft dough.  Bring together with your hands. 

2. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and knead with your hands to form a firm but pliable dough, adding more flour if the dough is on the sticky side.
4 Brush the rounds with oil, and twist into a ring, tucking the ends into the  middle.  Place on a floured board and set aside for 15 minutes. 

5. Roll out each of the dough rings to 8 inch rounds.  Brush a heavy non stick frying pan with oil and cook the chapatis for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.  

The bread was a hit with T.  I think he ate two before dinner was even ready. 

*** COOKING TIP: Before starting the bread, I cooked the lentil.  Then I proceeded to the dough.  While the dough was resting; I peeled and quartered the potatoes and par boiled for 10 minutes. 

Madras Sambal
Serves 4
1 cup red lentils (toovar dhal)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 large potatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 Curry Leaves
1 onion chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Indian Chili Powder (or more if you want Heat)
1 Tbsp. lime juice
unsweetened coconut, toasted

1. Wash the lentils in several changes of water.  Place in a heavy-based saucepan with the water and the turmerice.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
2. Par-boil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  **See cooking tip.
3.  Heat the oil in large frying pan and fry the mustard and fenugreek seeds and curry leaves for 2-3 minutes or until the seeds begin to splutter.  Add the sliced onion and the green beans and stir fry for 7-8 minutes.  Then add the par-boiled potatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4.  Stir in the Lentils with the salt, chili powder and lime juice and simmer for 2 more minutes.  Garnish with coconut and serve with freshly made chapatis or Basmati Rice.

If you need some assistance finding the spices above, please visit our store below.         

1 comment:

  1. I think what's important is making sure you have at least a day in a week to eat more greens.I love Indian recipes too.I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I like what you have here.if you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget at the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!