Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fieldtrip: Indian Grocery Store and Absolutely Scrumptious Aloo Baingan Recipe

Thank you to everyone who has already entered my Plant-strong pride blogger giveaway! If you haven't had the chance to do that yet, don't miss out!
Have you ever heard of asafetida, a.k.a. hing?

I hadn't until about a year ago, and I didn't have it in my kitchen until a few weeks ago when my friends and I made a field trip to one of our local Indian grocery stores. I say "one of" because it is important to point out that we had our choice of three to go to, even in our little backwoods of Ohio. Okay, well, the eastern suburbs of Cleveland aren't exactly backwoods, but they aren't exactly metropolitan either! So I was stoked to find out that we had our pick of Indian groceries.

Why? Well, because I wanted that darned asafetida! That and just about every ingredient you could find that you need at an Indian grocery is far, far cheaper than, lets say, your local high end specialty health food chain (I won't mention any names here because you know how much I love me some Whole Foods . . . oops!).

Here's some of the goodies that I picked up:
Roasted chick peas. Imagine that! Gotta get us some more because they were devoured in a few days, and I didn't even get a chance to try them on my salads before they were all gone. They came salted and unsalted and my daughter requested that the next time I get them, she wants the unsalted ones!
Pretty much the same calorie stats as any chip, cracker or snacky food (if you check a lot of labels, you will find that so many snack foods come in at about 110 calories per ounce) but with far, far better nutrition.

I haven't gotten around to using this dried mango powder yet, but give me time Aloo Gobi! Give me time!
The spices are unbelievably cheap. Yes, cheap. Is that a bad word? I don't mean it like that. I just mean that the spices at an Indian grocery store are practically free compared to anywhere else. That's why you'll see me back at the Indian grocery next week!
And the dried beans too! In every variety . . . 2 pounds for $2.49. Wow! You know where I'll be getting ALL of my dried beans from now on.

Needless to say, I've got Indian food on the brain!

Kale Mallung, a Sri Lankan recipe, from Fat Free Vegan. How did Susan ever know that I had a box of washed and cut kale that I wanted to use up? The coconut and lime make this no-oil sauteed greens dish incredibly unique and incredibly tasty!

Manjula's Kitchen

My business partner was doing a google search the other day for vegan Indian recipes and she came upon a website/blog that neither of us had ever seen before. It's called Manjula's Kitchen and I have no idea how this incredible source came into being because from the looks of Manjula, there is no way that she is the blogger behind this wonder (no offense Manjula, but you look a lot like my mother's age and she doesn't even use a computer, let alone create videos and blog about her cooking).

Anyway, I digress. If you love Indian food like I love Indian food, then let me tell you, we have found the mother load. Unfortunately, since I did not grow up with an Indian mother and not even an Indian aunt, I have to teach myself how to make authentic tasting Indian food.

But without using any oil.

How's that for a challenge?

Good news my friends, I think I have finally mastered at least some of it. Barely-any-oil authentic tasting Indian dishes. I'm going to be eating this one until my stomach explodes!

HGK's Aloo Baingan (Potato and Eggplant)
inspired by a recipe from Manjula's Kitchen
serves 3-4

1 medium purple eggplant, un-peeled, cut into 1/2? cubes
5 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2? cubes
1 medium tomato cut into 1/2? cubes
1 1/2 cups fat free tomato sauce (I have been really into the Muir Glen brand lately-check the labels for the varieties with no fat)
cooking spray
Pinch of asafetida (hing) (don't stress out if you don't have this ingredient, just leave it out)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 small chopped green chili (jalepeno-deseeded) adjust to taste!
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
2 tablespoons or more chopped cilantro

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Spray foil lightly with cooking spray and lay out chopped eggplant pieces on one sheet and chopped potato pieces on the other. Roast eggplant for approximately 15 minutes, until it is starting to soften, but not turn into a mush. Roast potato for approximately 25 minutes until edges of potato pieces are starting to brown and potato is just cooked.

While eggplant and potato are roasting, in a small bowl, mix the grated ginger, jalapeno pepper, coriander powder, paprika, turmeric, and 2 tablespoons of water to make a paste.

Spray the base of a pot with cooking spray and heat the pot over medium heat. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the pot; if seed cracks right away pot is heated to the right temperature.

Add cumin seeds and asafetida after seeds crack.  Add the spice mixture and stir-fry for 20 seconds, stirring continuously.

Add chopped tomato and stir-fry for a minute. Add tomato sauce.

Add roasted potatoes and eggplant. Mix it gently, let it simmer for three to four minute on medium low heat. Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro mix it well.

Do you shop any International grocery stores? Tell us about it!

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