Githeri – Kenyan Bean and Maize dish

BM# 96: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Southern Hemisphere

Like I mentioned yesterday, I landed up in the Kenyan Masala tea recipe when I was checking out a recipe for Githeri. Githeri is a Kenyan dish with maize (white corn) and beans and a bunch of vegetables. The vegetables and even the kind of beans can be customized to your preference.

I read about the recipe first at Mireille’s blog and then visited Mayuri’s blog where Mireille had originally chosen the recipe from. This recipe uses white corn and not yellow corn. Mireille has suggested canned white hominy or Choclo Corn (South American white corn) for this. I used the canned white hominy for this.

I used black beans (that’s what I had today), but you can use black eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans or a mix of whatever kind you have in your pantry. The choice of vegetables are left to you. Mayuri mentions that for Starchy vegetables, potatoes, plantains, sweet potatoes, yuca are commonly used. The consistency can also be adjusted to your preference. Some of the recipes I looked at mentioned adding coconut milk or cream, but I didn’t add any today.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves : 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight and cooked separately
  • 1 cup white corn
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1″ piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (or puréed)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • About 15 beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 cup of spinach, roughly chopped
  • Salt and water as needed

Method:

  1. Soak the beans overnight and cook it separately. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped ginger, garlic and onions. Sauté until the onions turn slightly brown. Add the tomatoes, salt and the spices. Mix well and cover and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and mushy.
  3. Add the beans, maize, diced potatoes, carrots and beans. Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are done.
  4. If needed, add 1 (or even more) cup of water if it is too thick. Add the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste test for salt and adjust if needed. Serve hot!

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Acini Di Pepe Spinach soup

While rearranging my pantry I came across a pack of acini di pepe pasta. It’s a tiny pasta that works well in soups and salads. The name apparently means “seeds of pepper”. This tiny pasta is also used for a cold salad called frog eye salad. I had initially bought it to make the salad but never ended up making it.

I used the recipe in the box itself for our lunch today. It’s been extremely windy and cold here for the past couple of days. A hot bowl of soup is perfect for this weather.

The recipe is very simple and the soup was ready in a matter of minutes. While searching the internet, I learned that this soup is called Italian wedding soup if you add meatballs to it. The name implies a marriage of flavors rather than being served at an actual wedding. But of course I didn’t tell my husband that part ;-) He had his lunch thinking he was having a part from a wedding meal!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Recipe source: Ronzoni

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of broth/water
  • 1/2 cup acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 10 oz pack of frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté onion and garlic until it turns light pink.
  2. Add water or broth and bring it to a boil. Add pasta, nutmeg , salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring in between. Pasta should be cooked by now. Take off the heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if preferred.

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Cauliflower soup

BM# 95: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Winter warmers

Wish you all a very happy and healthy 2019!

2018 ended on a high note for our family. The entire summer was action packed with me becoming the stereotypical soccer mom. In our case it was cricket mom since most of our summer was dedicated to our son’s cricket class and matches. He is no Javagal Srinath yet, but he is away from electronics, spending time with other kids and is physically active. So Its a complete win as far as I am concerned. The game took over our complete summer, but it really was worth it.

We moved to a new neighborhood in November and are still settling in. My son is in middle school now (boy!! They grow up so fast!!) and his work load is a lot more than the previous years. So all in all the days are over way too quickly and before I realized it, 2018 has already waved me goodbye.

The new year began on a great note too as my brother and his family was visiting us over the holidays. They left last weekend and now the house feels lonely and cold. The cold part is a little too literal. It’s winter here and it’s no fun. The cold can be tolerated if you are dressed in layers, but if it’s a windy day like today, it’s very difficult. So it’s apt that I have chosen a piping hot cauliflower soup to serve you all here today. Check out the link for the original recipe from The Pioneer woman.

Read on for the recipe and you can see from the above picture that my son is having a good time too :-)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Butter, divided
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Carrot, diced
  • 1 whole cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh or dry parsley
  • 8 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoons  all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a thick pan. Once it’s melted and hot, add the onions to it. Sauté until it turns to light pink.
  2. Add the chopped carrots and cauliflower. Saute for a couple of minutes and then cover and cook until the vegetables are softer, about 5 minutes. You can add some broth or water if the veggies starts to burn or start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now add 8 cups of broth or water, parsley, salt as needed and let it come to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are done.
  3. In a separate pan, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. In a bowl, whisk the milk and flour together until you don’t see any dry lumps of flour. Add the milk mixture slowly to the butter whisking continuously. Cook till then mixture thickens. Take off heat.
  4. Carefully add the white sauce to the soup, mixing with a spatula. Let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust the salt if needed and add pepper. Serve hot!

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16 Bean Soup

16_bean_soup

I am in love with my Instant Pot and its a love that keeps growing. Indians use pressure cooker a lot in their daily cooking, so imagine a cooker where your work is done the minute the lid is closed. No waiting for the whistle or counting it. You can just walk away the minute you close the lid. I don’t find that Instant Pot saves a lot of cooking time than the Indian cookers, but the luxury of not babysitting is amazing.

One of the major attractions for me is the yogurt feature. I have never had consistent success in making yogurt at home once I came to US. With Instant Pot, that’s one thing I make regularly (though I haven’t started a batch yet after coming from India).

Cooking beans is another feature that I love. I can prepare a beans based curry even if I forget to soak the beans ahead. When I have unexpected guests and no veggies in the fridge, I cook some or the other kind of beans for 30 minutes and that’s all it takes! I do prefer to soak beans if I know in advance that I will be cooking it. So for this post, its soaked beans that I have used. I have used 16 bean soup packet here, so its not just one variety. I tried adding whatever vegetables I had at that time to make it a wholesome meal. I always serve bean soups with a fried egg on top and bread on the side.

Read on  for the recipe.

16_bean_soup3

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a 12oz 16 bean soup packet
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 can (14oz) chopped tomatoes (or 5-6 tomatoes pureed)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 10-12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder/paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and soak half the contents of a 12 oz beans soup packet overnight. Full contents would be too much for my family, so that’s why half the packet.
  2. In Instant pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in Saute mode. Add the crushed garlic and once its brown, add one big chopped onion. Saute till its cooked.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and sliced carrots. Sprinkle chili powder, oregano and salt and pepper. Add one can chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Drain the beans and add it to the vegetable mix. Add enough water so that the beans is immersed completely and there is an inch of water above it, about 5-6 cups.
  5. Change the Instant pot from Saute mode to Bean/Chilli. Cover and make sure the whistle is in Sealed position. Cook for 15 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Once the pressure is released, bring it to a boil in Saute mode. Mash the soup a little if preferred to get the consistency you want. Taste test and adjust the seasonings, add lemon juice if preferred. Turn off the heat and serve with toasted bread.

16_bean_soup4

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