Tag Archives: entre

Farro with Fennel, Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

My friend recently emailed a picture of lunch she was having at a cafe in NY of farro with fennel, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, frisee, and potatoes. It looked delectable and my friend said it was delicious. I was intrigued by the ingredients. I have never used either fennel or frisee in my cooking. Since discovering farro a little while ago I have only cooked it once before (see Mediterranean Spinach Farro salad).


I forget to buy some frisee but instead I substituted with radicchio which is another vegetable I have never used directly in my cooking. I made this with strict portion control in mind and low caloric value, so feel free to adapt to personal preference. It turned out pretty good for a one pot meal.  Here’s how I made it:

1/2 cup farro
2-3 Brussels sprouts sliced thin
1/8 radicchio sliced thin
1/8 fennel sliced thin
1/8 butternut squash cut into cubes
1 garlic clove minced
1 shallot sliced
1 small potato cut into cubes
1 tsp butter
salt and fresh ground pepper


Bring 1 cup water to boil. Rinse and add the farro and cook on medium low until the farro is cooked and all the water evaporates. About 20 minutes.

In a separate pan heat the butter. Add the vegetables and light fry for a few minutes. Add salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the farro and some water and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the vegetables soften and the water evaporates. Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.


Chimichurri Brown Rice

I. Just. Absolutely. Love. Trader Joes Chimichurri Rice. I always have a bag of the frozen Chimichurri rice handy in my freezer  for days when I crave rice and don’t want to cook.

If you have never tried it. Stop now and rush to your nearest Trader Joes.

But wait maybe you want to try this recipe. I have made it many times in the past but this is the closest I have come to the taste of the Trader Joes one. This time rather than make the chimichurri sauce from scratch I used dry chimichurri mix I found in World Market.

1 cup brown basmati rice (or white)
1/2 cup peas
1 chopped carrot
1 small onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp cream (can use sour cream)
some chopped cilantro (optional)
Some chopped parsley (optional)
some red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tsp chimichurri mix
2 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Rinse and soak the rice for 30 minutes to an hour. Precook 1 cup of rice with 2 cups water. If using white rice you should be okay cooking it later with the vegetables. Brown rice is harder to cook and takes longer so I decided to pre-cook it.

Add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter  to a pan on medium low heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped carrots and peas and continue flying for 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and continue frying for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk 1-2 tsp of chimichurri mix with oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Add to the vegetables, salt to taste and some red pepper flakes and continue cooking. Add cream and chopped cilantro and parsley and continue cooking until most of the moisture evaporates. Add rice and mix well. Let simmer for a few more minutes on low heat so the flavors infuse well.

Garnish with a little chopped cilantro and parsley and serve hot.

Aloo (Potato) Stuffed Roti

Roti (Indian bread) is a staple food of North India. But it is eaten throughout other parts as well. There are many different types of roti from plain to stuffed to oven baked to deep fried. When making stuffed version there are different options for the stuffing. The most commonly used are: potato, cauliflower, fenugreek leaves, and paneer (home made cheese).

1 cups atta (flour)
1 medium potato
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
chopped cilantro
touch of cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Mix the flour with salt and approximately 1 cup water to make dough. Add 1-2 tsp oil and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

Cook the potatoes with the skin. Peel and mash the potatoes. Add amchur, cumin seeds, cumin powder, cayenne pepper, salt and chopped cilantro and mix well.

To make the roti, divide the dough into 4 parts. Using both hands smooth each part into a ball. Press the ball of dough into flour to prevent sticking and roll out into a circle using a rolling pin on a flat surface or rolling board. Place 1-2 tsp of stuffing. Fold over the rolled out roti to form a ball again. Press the ball with the joined side down into more flour. Roll it again into a circle with a rolling pin.

Meanwhile place a flat frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot enough, place the roti on the pan. Add 1-2 tsp oil and cook until lightly brown. Flip and cook other side adding oil as necessary.

Serve hot with a cup of fresh home made yogurt. I also like to add some lemon pickle. Delicious!

Mango Rice

This is one of my all time favorites! When raw green mangoes are in season this is a perfect item to add to your lunch menu or even breakfast. In fact this is so good that you can eat it any time of the day. There are two key ingredients: Rice and Mango. There are many different alternatives to how you can make this dish:

  • Rice can be substituted with vermicelli, poha, or ground rice
  • Mango can be substituted with lemon juice, tamarind juice, or grapefruit juice

But mango is ultimately the best choice!

1 cup of rice (sona masuri or basmati)
1 raw green mango

1/4 cup cashews and/ or peanuts
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chana dal (split yellow gram)
1 tsp urad dal (de-husked split black gram)
3-4 whole dry red chilli
1 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of asaforetida
salt to taste
1 jalapeno sliced (optional)
few curry leaves
1 tbsp oil

Cook the rice in two cups of water until cooked. The rice should be cooked but firm not sticky. Set aside.

Chop the mango into pieces. Process in a food processor into a puree.

Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add all the seasoning ingredients except the jalapeno and curry leaves and fry till lightly brown. Add the sliced jalapeno and curry leaves and continue frying for 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Add the mango puree and fried seasoning. Add salt and mix thoroughly.

Refreshing and so yummy you will want to try this immediately!

See Also:
Mango Vermicelli

Toasted Quinoa with Red Kidney Bean & Vegetables

1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red kidney beans (cooked or canned)
1/2 cup orange or grapefruit juice
1/2 zucchini quartered and sliced
1 scallion slices
1 tsp fresh thyme
t tsp minced ginger
1/2 cup sliced bell peppers
6-8 cherry tomatoes sliced
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
some grapefruit or orange wedges (optional)

Lightly toast the quinoa in a pan. Add 1 cup of water, orange or grapefruit juice, salt and cook the quinoa.

Meanwhile coat a large nonstick skillet with some cooking spray. Cook zucchini, scallions, ginger, tomatoes, thyme and  bell peppers. Stir in the quinoa and the cooked (or canned) red kidney beans. Stir in vinegar. Can season with some fresh ground black pepper. Top with orange or grapefruit wedges (optional)

Adapted from a recipe from Prevention Magazine. Replaced Shrimp with Red Kidney Beans.

Another skin you can use

Here’s another fun vegetable that you can make multiple things with. Growing up it was not a favorite with me. The vegetable I am talking about is Luffa or Chinese Okra. I never liked the spicy curry that my mother loved to cook. But totally loved what she did with the skin. While my whole family enjoyed the curry I relished the skin cooked with lentils. The skin can also be made into chutney (see Don’t throw that skin away).

But what to do with the vegetable itself?

One fine day I struck on this alternative and now enjoy both the vegetable and the skin. I peel the skin and cook with yellow gram (toor dal). I fry the vegetable in a little oil and make into a chutney similar to the way I make it with the skin.

skin of one large Chinese okra
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 garlic peeled and cloves sliced
1 tsp split chickpea or chana dal
1 tsp black gram or urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 jalapeno sliced
2-3 dry red chili
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste
some curry leaves
1/2 cup toor dal

Rinse and cook toor dal in 1 cup of water adding more if necessary or can cook in a pressure cooker. Set aside.

Use a food processor or chopper to grind the skin of the Chinese okra and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add turmeric, garlic, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chili and fry till lightly brown. Add curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for 1 minute. Add the processed chinese okra skin and continue frying for 5-10 minutes on medium low flame.

Add the cooked toor dal and mix well. Add salt to taste.

Serve hot with roti or warm rice.

Bird’s Nest

Autumn season always brings forth a slew of squashes and pumpkins on display in the grocery isles. Acorn, Autumn, Butternut, Gold nugget, Buttercup, Carnival, Kabocha, Spaghetti, Turban. So many varieties. Bright orange, yellow, green, amber, gold or white. Vibrant colors that beckon you to pick them up.

I discovered spaghetti squash a year or two ago and have enjoyed trying out new ways to cook with it. It’s been a while since I cooked it so I grabbed some this week at the grocery. My best experiment with it so far has been spicy spaghetti squash with black beans.

Seeing scooped out spaghetti squash always reminds me of a bird’s nest. So I decided to try this one. I made this up as I went and it turned out spicy and delicious. Adjust spices per personal preference. Here’s what I used.

1/2 zucchini chopped
1 cup tri-color bell peppers chopped
1 scallion or 1/2 red onion sliced
8-10 cherry tomatoes sliced
1 jalapeno chopped
2-3 garlic cloves chopped fine
1-2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
dash of lemon juice
crushed red pepper
1 small spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry till lightly brown. Add rest of vegetables, salt and peppers and continue frying until cooked. Add dash of lemon juice and capers and continue frying for another 5 minutes.

Using a fork scoop out the spaghetti squash and arrange on a plate like a birds nest with a hollow in the center. Add the sauteed vegetables and enjoy with a roll of bread. Makes 2 servings. Yummy!