Tag Archives: Carrots

Carrot Pakora

I was asked to join with some other bloggers in a new place called Taste and Create.   Basically, you are paired with another blogger and make a recipe from their blog, take pictures, and blog about it.   Much like another group I’m a member of.  And since I really don’t go out into the blogosphere and look for more food blogs, I’m more a stumble upon and gee where did I see that recipe at person, being assigned a blog is great.   And I got assigned a doozy of one, and I’m so excited to explore it in more detail.

I love Indian food, the hotter the curry, the better, but I really only know a few dishes to make,  and this blog makes a lot of Tamil dishes, so I get to learn  about Tamil cooking as well.  And I’m also trying to eat more meat free dishes as well, so being assigned this blog Veg Nation was serendipitous.  I love that word, anyway.

And gee, guess what, we’re having Tapas this week so I get to try a recipe out on a bunch of people.    My only problem, there are too many good ones on her blog I want to try.    I want to try some of these, Corn Cheese Balls, and then there was this one, Carrot Pakora.  ,And as soon as I can locate finish making some Gram Flour, I’m making these for Tapas Night.

Roasted some canned chickpeas til they dried out.

I then put them in my spice grinder to make the meal.

Also had to make some rice flour.

Which was interesting, and even though I didn’t get it as fine as maybe it should be, I tried.

Finally I was ready to make the Carrot Pakora’s.
Grated up the carrots, and chopped the onion.

Added them to the rice and gram flour.   Mixed it together with the spices, tasted it, and added more chili powder and some cumin.  Just felt it needed it.   However, I did need to add a fair amount of water.   I didn’t measure it, but the whole mixture was so dry, that when I tried to make it into balls and fry it, they just fell apart in the oil.   And I really think I should have added even more water, cause I lost a lot of the carrot in the oil.
Since we were entertaining last night, I wanted to make these as part of our Tapas Night.
So I made the balls, and set them aside.

And fried them up a little later on, and they were very tasty, different, but tasty.   I am going to try and buy some real rice flour and real gram flour and make these again.    I liked them a lot.

These were served with a mango chutney, which I happened to buy a while ago and had no idea what I was going to use it for.  Just wanted it, in the pantry, just in case.

Here’s Veena’s recipe

2 grated Carrots
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup gram flour
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp Asafoetida  (I didn’t have any of this)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp. cut coriander

Wash and peel the carrots. Grate them and transfer it to a bowl, add the onion and coriander and then add in the flours and the spices.   (Veena says that the moisture in the carrot is enough to mix the flours but I had to add more water).
Heat the oil in a pan or in my case, I used my Fry Daddy, ( I don’t use it often, but boy am I glad I have it.)
Make small balls of the dough and drop them in the hot oil, let them fry for about 3 minutes or until they brown up, remove from the oil and drain on some paper.

Serve warm with chutney, I used some mango chutney I had in the cupboard.

There you have it, my first recipe for Taste and Create.    And I’m so glad I was asked to join.   I got to try to make something I’d never heard of before and it was good.

Sushi, California Rolls

I was asked for this recipe the other day.   Apparently some people really liked it when I made it and served it at a couple of different parties.     Oh, I’m talking about Sushi.   At least the kind of Sushi that’s for the not so adventuresome among us.   Which would be me.   I’m leery of raw fish, unless I’m the one who’s working with it.  Which is why California Rolls are perfect for me.

It also doesn’t hurt that I like Avocado, Crab and Rice either.   Or that I like trying to make new recipes all the time, and Sushi or rather California Rolls are one of my favorites.

The Cast of Characters:

Most of the characters, at least the basic cast, without the extras.

A couple of tricks first.   Rinse the rice before cooking it, it seems to help it develop the sticky factor you need.   And do not stir the rice after adding the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.   Cut and fold it as if you were adding flour to egg whites, you don’t want to mash the rice, just make sure the rice vinegar is incorporated into the rice.   Use the bamboo paddle and make sure that the shallow bowl you put the cooked rice in is big enough that you can do the cut and fold without doing a ‘rice mash’.  It’s best to do this while the rice is still warm as it absorbs the vinegar best this way.

Toast the sesame seeds while waiting for the rice to cool enough to work with.  Set them aside.
Grate some carrots, and make some pickled carrots to serve with the sushi or put some into the sushi.
I did a fine grate and added some rice vinegar and a little freshly grated ginger.    Not very much, just enough to taste.    Set those aside.    Open a can of crab or get your fresh crab out and rinse and make sure there aren’t any nasty pieces of shells in there.   You don’t want to cut the avocado until you are ready to start rolling.   They tend to turn a nasty shade of brown.

First off, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo rolling mat.   You’re going to sprinkle some sesame seeds down first and they tend to fall through the mat otherwise, and the rice grains get stuck there as well, and that makes the mat hard to clean.  Trust me on this, they are not easy to get out.   Really.

Then put a thin layer of rice on top.   Pat it down with your wet hand.

If you notice there is a bowl of water to the right of the bamboo mat, this is very important, you need to keep your hand wet, otherwise the rice sticks to everything.
Next add a sheet of Nori,

Then add your fillings, some avocado and some crab:

Roll it up using your sheet of plastic wrap.
Shape it a little so it’s nice and round and place in the refrigerator.

Take out a little later and slice.
Continue using the rest of the rice and Nori.   I alternated by putting a sheet of Nori down first, placing a thin layer of rice on that with the fillings and then rolling those up.  (I did say I forgot to take pictures, I was on a roll, did you get it?, on a roll?, umm, never mind. )
Here’s a picture of the finished platter with the wasabi, carrots and sesame seeds to go with them.  You also need some soy sauce for dipping.

California Rolls

4 cups cooked sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sprinkle over the rice, folding it over itself, so you don’t mash it.  This should be mixed together while still warm.    Set aside to cool.
1 avocado cut in strips
1 can crab or sushimi or whatever you like
3 small carrots, shredded and dressed with rice vinegar and fresh ginger
2-4 spring onions
thin strips cucumber if you like, I didn’t but that’s because so many people I know can’t tolerate cukes.
toasted sesame seeds or
black sesame seeds

Layer the rice on the nori, place a couple of pieces of avocado and some crab on there, roll it up and place in the fridge in some plastic wrap.   Continue with a roll with some spring onions and carrots, or whatever you like inside.
Slice thinly, each roll will makes about 8 slices, and serve with some wasabi, soy sauce, sesame seeds and carrots.

Home Made Chicken Stock

I keep referring to my home-made Chicken Stock, and realized that not everyone makes their own, but I do, so I wanted to share my process.   For me it’s an easy to do thing, and I always try to have a couple of containers of stock in my freezer, they come in so handy.   And if the freezer is getting a little ‘small’ cause of all the stuff I’ve frozen, I just make the stock a little more concentrated.   Wait a minute, I should do that anyway, it makes more sense, less space, more stock, a win win situation.

The absolute best base for stock is an old laying hen or rooster, but these days, we just don’t have access to old chickens, so we have to buy chickens from the store.   I make chicken stock year round, in the summer it goes into the crock pot, and in the fall or during colder weather, I do it on my kitchen stove.

And I make chicken stock when I’ve got all the ingredients together.  I save the celery leaves from the celery I buy, they freeze well, so I don’t need to go out and buy celery.  I halve and stem the onions, just wash them really well, but don’t bother peeling the onion. You wouldn’t believe the nice golden color the peels impart to the soup.   And I always have carrots on hand.   You don’t need to peel them either, (but I do), just cut them in half and dump them in.


Last but not least, chicken bones.  You can save the carcass from a roast chicken, a rotisserie chicken, or the leftovers from the fried chicken you made the last week.  Any leftover bones are fair game in my house.  If you make Chicken Wings, save the tips, and use those.  A couple of weeks ago I made a chicken dish and since chicken breasts were on sale for .99/lb. I grabbed a large package.  It meant I had to bone them out for my dish, but that’s easy and just takes seconds to do.   And I ended up with the bones from several breasts.  So I threw them in the oven and baked them til they were a nice golden brown.  Because I didn’t have time to make chicken stock that day, I just bagged them and chucked them into the freezer.

Basic Ingredients for this batch of Stock
Chicken bones (I used the bones from three breasts, browned in the oven)
Celery Leaves ( the tops from two stalks)
Carrots (one large carrot)
Onions ( one onion, halved)
Bay Leaf (if you like)
Water  (8 cups)
Salt and Pepper to taste, at the end.

Now here’s where the fun begins.  You can add several layers of flavor to the stock with some of the following:    Saute the onions, celery and carrots in a little olive oil before adding them to the stock.  Or roast them in the oven and let them brown a little before adding to the chicken bones.   Brown the chicken bones and then add them to the veggies, doesn’t matter, it’s all good.   Most important, let it simmer for a long, long time.  I didn’t add salt or pepper until the end, I wanted   to taste the stock, and then I only add the least amount of salt and pepper.  And then I simmer it and simmer it and simmer it.   OK, so I just simmer it on the stove top for about 3 hours, with the lid on for the first 2 hours.   The last hour is the one I use to help concentrate all that chicken  goodness.  I take the lid off and watch it.  And I want to stress this again, don’t dump in all the salt and pepper in the beginning, if you reduce the broth, you won’t reduce the salt, you’ll just concentrate it.

This batch is lovely and browned from the chicken bones I browned first, and it’s simmered long enough that I’ve managed to reduce the 8 cups of water to two ice-cube trays full of stock.
I put it into ice-cube trays and will use it to flavour gravies, just plop a nice concentrated cube into the gravy and VOILA!, instant flavour.

So now you know how I spent part of my day.    I can now go to the freezer (as soon as these freeze), take out a cube or two and throw it into some gravy, or some soup to oomph it up a little.  Whenever I like and it will be all good.