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What's for Low-Carb Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner? #1 (Through July 18, 2013)

I very successfully LC some weight loss last summer on the South Beach plan. I needed to lose just a little weight, about 6 lbs, and wound up overshooting my goal in ~ 3 weeks!

I did make a small lifestyle change after that, cutting down on white rice, bread, etc. and kept it mostly off through the entire festival season from October through December.

But after a summer trip with lots of overindulgence in sweets this year, I gained those 6 lbs again, so am back on SB for a while. This year I am not being so zealous following the rules, (e.g. went out with family for Father's Day brunch and had cheesecake dessert; enjoying all the lovely fruit coming in with the CSA box, etc.). So the weight loss is slower, but I am OK with that.

I am slowly losing weight on some of the usual vegetarian South Beach recipes: e.g. pesarattu (whole moong bean dosais, no need for fermenting the batter) for breakfast, filled with all kinds of things ranging from cheese to left over vegetables. Luckily dals etc are not discouraged in SB.
Lots of cauliflower and cabbage (two veggies we all love), etc.
Zucchini ribbons instead of pasta, etc. I depend more on cheese as I am not fond of eggs. I have eggs only about every 2-3 days for breakfast.

I liked the basis of this recipe by Mary McCartney (Paul McCartney's daughter) who has a new cookbook out, and this sample recipe is making the rounds:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

It's a baked eggplant wrap, filled with spinach, sundried tomatoes, and cheese. Written as is, the recipe sounds terminally bland. But I modified it by sauteeing the spinach and sundried tomatoes with Mexican spices, using pepper jack cheese, topping the folded eggplant with a good, kicky, homemade red chile enchilada sauce, and these wraps were very good. After the vegetables are prepped, and if you have enchilada sauce or similar to hand, it is very easy to make. You can customize the spices to your liking.

I am not motivated to try LC desserts yet, though I like sweets, and what you posted sounds delicious bionda. I am afraid that I won't be able to resist them.

Jun 23, 2013
Rasam in Special Diets

Pressure cooker recommendations?

"Some Indian recipes call for cooking the dish till most of the liquid evaporates and the oil separates, adding some more ingredients, and cooking it down again, etc. How do you adapt those to a pressure cooker? Can you get the same result, or just accept a difference?"

I can't speak for all dishes that use this technique, but in general it's easy: the first step you describe is typical for dishes that begin by bhuno-ing the ground onions+spices. So just cook the onion paste until the oil separates, add whatever needs to be added at this stage, brown as needed, then add the required water, cover, pressure cook, and done.
End results are usually indistinguishable from ordinary pot cooking.

Jun 23, 2013
Rasam in Cookware

Pressure cooker recommendations?

VQ: You are definitely preaching to the converted.

If they will only invent a solar pressure cooker ;) I too have been snobbed on by people who criticized pressure cooking as fast food! 8-O
I am glad the man you know ate his words :)

A big reason why pressure cookers are so popular in middle class India is that they save great amounts of fuel, which is so expensive.

I have found your writings on pressure cooking very informative, and with ePressureCooker I am glad to find more PC fans here. :)

Jun 21, 2013
Rasam in Cookware

Pressure cooker recommendations?

Good luck with your decision: being retired should entitle you to more toys, not fewer :) Especially if you watch and find a good sale, it's not such a huge purchase to justify, especially if you have a birthday or such coming up.

Re time for conventional cooking: it's an energy usage issue in today's environmentally devastated world. Indian cooking lends itself very well to an eco friendly method like a pressure cooker.

Jun 21, 2013
Rasam in Cookware

Favorite Okra recipes?

It's my habit to coarsely grind masala powders for most dry sabzis, likely developed from grinding podis for South Indian sabzis.
A coarsely ground masala powder has better texture and sticks to the veggies better. Also tastes better? Coarsely ground masalas also help thicken as needed (e..g coarsely ground coriander in rasedaar aloo matar, i.e. potatoes and peas in water+tomato based gravy).

I only use fine ground masalas when making garam masala, or many North Indian recipes like rajmah, channa, etc. Developed this habit without really thinking why.

Jun 21, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Pressure cooker recommendations?

Hi Pinetime:

Pressure cookers are a godsend for Indian cooks.

In addition to what others (esp Paulj and VeggieQueen) have helpfully said, I will add specifically for Indian food. I can't imagine making Indian food without a pressure cooker, though many writers talk nostalgically about pots simmering for hours over a wood/charcoal stove. Nice and romantic if you don't have to personally spend hours in a smoky atmosphere, or other hours gathering fuel. PC's exist for very good reasons.

1. Whistles are a very wasteful and unscientific way to use pressure cookers, I don't know why even present-day Indian cooks continue to write about that method. The point of a PC is to cook food under pressure, and each time the whistle goes, it releases steam, which lowers pressure and defeats the purpose, and adds cooking time and wastes fuel.
So, when your PC has come up to pressure, turn the heat low, keep it just enough to maintain pressure, and time the cooking after that - kitchen timer.

2. Many Indian cookbooks/recipes that use pressure cookers overestimate the time needed. Here is what I have found effective:

Dals - are usually supposed to be mushy and liquidy, so you can't really "overcook" in a pc. You are never seeking crunchy or al dente texture. I usually use a 4:1 ratio or liquid to dal, and cook.
Quicker cooking dals are moong and masoor - they become fully cooked in the time taken to come down from full pressure - I just turn the pc off after it gets its full head of steam, and it gets done.
Toor and chana dal take longer to cook, especially the former. About 10 to 15 minutes on low, after the pc reaches full pressure.
Pre-soaking these dals cuts down the cooking time and improves the texture of the finished product (typically completely pureed).

Whole beans - e.g. chana, rajma, kali dal, sabut moong/masoor, etc. take longer to cook than split beans.
I begin with presoaked dry beans, and after pressure comes up, I take about 15 to 30 minutes under low pressure and then the time taken for the pressure to come down, but it varies for each type of bean. Lobhia (black eyed peas) take much less time. Make the recipe a couple of times and find what works for you - start with less time and work your way up. You can always close the cooker again and cook some more if not done to your liking.

Vegetables: become mush in a flash. I rarely use the PC for vegetables, even though recipes call for this use. The usual wok/skillet gives better control and texture to the finished product. I only use it for things that will ultimately get pureed, like saag.

Rice - same thing - becomes mushy very soon. I only use the pc for rice if I am making something inherently mushy like khichdi/pongal or kheer.

Meat etc - you're on your own here, no idea, but the same basic principles apply.

I have a Fagor Duo and a Hawkins, and have been very happy with both. Go for stainless steel and avoid aluminium.

All best - once you get started you will become very comfortable with PCs.

Jun 21, 2013
Rasam in Cookware
1

Favorite Okra recipes?

My DH makes a great salad for his and my lunch every day. I MUST have 2 hot pickled okra in mine.

Jun 20, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking
1

Favorite Okra recipes?

A dry version of JM's okra would involve:

Sizzle mustard and cumin seeds in a little veg oil, add diced onion and brown briefly, add 1/4 inch sliced okra, keep sauteeing as the okra dries up, then midway, add salt, some freshly ground coriander - grind it fairly coarse - and red chilli powder. Saute on medium high heat till done. Optional: Sprinkle something sour: e.g. amchoor (mango powder) or anardana (pomegranate powder) when done and mix and serve (optional because the coriander adds that quasi lemony note).
Very quick and easy, and never any slime.

There are so many more South Asian okra delicious recipes, some dry and some liquidy, but this is probably the stereotype quick daily home cooking recipe.

My favorite recipe is a South Indian dish that involves large pieces of sauteed okra that end up in a spiced buttermilk broth (vendakaya morkozhambu). If you love South Indian home cooking you will love this.

Jun 20, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Looking for ideas using fresh peaches!

How about peach fool? The recipe usually has sugar but you could just omit that. Here are a couple of different recipes:

http://cookingfortwo.about.com/od/pud...

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

Jun 18, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

TONS of produce - what to do with cauliflower, radishes, mushrooms...

If you like Indian food, try this:
http://www.food.com/recipe/dum-ki-gob...

dum = steam cooked. Gobhi = cauliflower.

I have not tried the recipe, but the ingredients look correct.
Discard the whole spices after cooking (the cardamom etc.), they are usually not eaten.

I doubt if this will freeze.

If you like biryani, you can google for cauliflower biryani.

Jun 17, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

What is the worst wedding reception dinner you've ever had?

This is so similar to our recent experience. Son of a good friend of mine last fall had a large, elaborate wedding out of town, and then a reception local. We went to the reception.

Time frame on the invite: from 6 till 10. We went about 6:30 pm and thought that was fashionably late, but no, the hosts are just trickling in.

Mingling, chitchatting, finger foods (so we weren't really fainting from hunger), but this was getting pretty late, and it was a Tuesday evening for all of us working stiffs (the wedding party's parents were retirees, and clearly the wedding party wasn't going to work the next day).

10:30 still no food, as people are dancing and whatnot. The buffet tables just being set up, delicious aromas spreading, but no serving! They started calling tables one by one, and based on the order, we might have gotten something to eat at 11:30. Much too late for a weeknight.

We left, and barely hit a resto that was just shutting down, us all splendid in silk and bling, wolfing pizza with our hands.

Jun 17, 2013
Rasam in Not About Food

Trying to find a curry powder

Except that "Madras curry powder" does not fit the OP's search criteria:
a) recommended by an Indian (Madras curry whatever is unknown in India, even in the place formerly called Madras, now called Chennai). So no Indian acquaintance of the OP is likely to have recommended MCP.
b) tangy and salty
c) sprinkled as a finishing seasoning onto a variety of snacky foods.

As Scrofula (what's the story behind your errr ... clinical .... screen name?) said, googling curry powder won't help you identify a specific spice mix.
There are more than two common spice mixes in Indian cuisine.

Jun 17, 2013
Rasam in General Topics
1

Newly Celiac Sister coming to visit... what to cook? Where to buy?

The commonly eaten GF staple grains are:
Rice, millet, quinoa

Your sister is coming for just a few days. You should be able to get enough rotation out of those three to cover those days.

None of them require baking at all. All are available at Whole Foods, and rice you can get just anywhere.

What does she like to eat, and what are you planning to make?

Jun 17, 2013
Rasam in Special Diets

YAY! A vegan resto in Irmo, SC

Why do you think vegan menus have no protein?

Jun 16, 2013
Rasam in Southeast

Least favorite cheeses?

I was going to say gjetost, but you beat me to it. I have only tried it once but am scarred by the memory.

Jun 15, 2013
Rasam in Cheese

Trying to find a curry powder

Sounds like chaat masala.

Jun 15, 2013
Rasam in General Topics
2

Uses for Kimchi

Here are six vegetarian suggestions, ranging from fried rice (you can ignore, or do cauliflower based faux fried rice) to dumplings to quesadillas.

http://www.thekitchn.com/trader-joes-...

Jun 15, 2013
Rasam in Vegetarian & Vegan

Pickling stuff! What else to pickle?

Hard, sour, green mangoes (periodically available in Indian stores). You will need to wash, and dice or grate. There should be little to no seed inside.
There are myriad mango pickle recipes, all with some variation on the theme of red chilli powder, salt, other spices, vegetable oil.

Green chillies sliced + ginger shreds is a good combination, especially with mustard seeds.

Lemon/lime pickle (is Meyer lemon the same as Mexican lime or kagzi nimbu?, can someone confirm?) - perennial favorite pickle, so many recipes with oil or without oil versions spicing on the more sour/hot or more sweet/sour side, and when you are feeling a little under the weather, this will cure whatever ails you.

Jun 15, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

"You're reading conclusions or headlines, not data, methodology or subject selection, which often do not support studie's authors' conclusions."

This is disingenuous. I do read many of the details and the type of disconnect (amounting to misleading the reader) you suggest is not there.

"Not so, starchy vegetarian diets, which I had terrible health consequences from, as do many others."

Some people eat poorly as vegetarians, and end up blaming the diet. This may or may not describe what you did, but it does hold true for many others.
Basically, any poorly planned diet will damage your health. You *can* eat a vegetarian diet that is not highly starchy/simple carbs-y/sugary; that is nutritionally complete and healthy.

"Even eating disorders happen in disproportionately high numbers in vegetarians."
The association goes the other way. Vegetarian diets do not cause eating disorders. People who are prone to disordered eating disproportionately select into restricted diets, and misapply notions of "healthy eating" and take it to an extreme. The flaw is not in the diet.

The point here is, again staying to the topic of this thread, is that vegetarian food is inexpensive, tasty, healthy.
Not saying that is unilaterally better than a non-veg diet for all individuals. But it is certainly *not* a worse diet, for most people, and it meets budget and nutrition goals.
And the notion that a diet should be balanced and not laced with nutritionally empty elements holds true for all types of diets.

Jun 10, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking
1

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

So have I (read Pubmed), and diets that rely heavily on animal proteins, and lack fiber, and other elements are associated with a variety of health problems.
This is a one-off, but look what happened with Paula Deen, who didn't stint fat or animal protein. She grew very overweight and developed type-2 diabetes.

I can agree that over reliance on simple starchy foods is bad for health. But that type of eating is not the same as a vegetarian diet.
And the association between diabetes and heart disease makes heavy relying on animal proteins to prevent or reverse diabetes not so straightforward.

Again, in the spirit of this thread which focuses on frugal, tasty, and healthy, vegetarian food fits the bill.

Jun 08, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

True true. Nothing happy about a happy meal :)

Jun 08, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

Very true DuffyH: we are capable of digesting all types of foods, and can get all the nutrients we need from a variety of food, including all-vegetarian diets.

And since this thread is about tasty and frugal (and healthy), vegetarian foods 100% fit the bill, lighter on the pocket and the planet, no deprivation but a world of tasty.

McF: As Pubmed archive searches suggest, people who eat vegetarian (presumably not poor folks who cannot get enough food of any kind) tend to have as healthy or healthier outcomes, depending on which article you read.
(Articles supporting vegetarian diets, and high-protein Mediterranean diets, both exist.)

Of course, averages conceal individual variations, YMMV either due to personal idiosyncratic reactions, or to inadequate nutrition.

The global rise of obesity and Type 2 diabetes are complicated, and are paralleled by the rise of so many different food trends: sugar, HFCS, fast/processed food, decline of traditional foods, rise of meat consumption, high-stress lifestyles, lack of physical activity, etc etc that is difficult to point to specific causes.

Jun 07, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

Sorry, I am not diabetic, and I have been vegetarian and very healthy for most of my life as have many of my counterparts, so whatever protein is bioavailable has nourished us just fine, even now when we are no longer young.

I did vegetarian South Beach (I Freudianly typed South Bean just now) last year successfully to lose a few extra lbs from holiday binging, and will do that again this year. The lbs all packed on from sugary treats, not from my daily daal-roti.
I omitted the rice, chapatis, potatoes, sugar, etc. I added some cheese, but rarely ate eggs as I don't really like them.

In my experience there is no problem at all with using beans for primary protein sources. Of course, people not immersed in a vegetarian tradition have a hard time with this.

Jun 07, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

Is it possible to cut the onions into slices / wedges or puree them, and then freeze?
They won't have any crunch when thawed, but will they work for sauteeing etc?
If yes, then it might be cost effective to buy the bagged onions.

Jun 07, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

Totally yes :)

Should go without saying but bears repeating :)

Jun 06, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

Ultimate potato has some great ideas, especially for making your own luxury: it's a great way to combat impulse purchases and remind yourself that you deserve the best, but the best does not have to be expensive and store-bought.

Just one point: beans, lentils, dals, chickpeas, soybeans, etc. are protein sources in their own right, and are not just a base for animal proteins.
While the amount of protein in each of those varies, these are absolutely adequate protein sources in a vegetarian diet, and come with added benefits of fiber, complex carbs, vitamins and minerals, no cholesterol, etc.
And these cannot be beat for inexpensive. :)

Jun 06, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking
3

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

I typically use them in raw salads (e.g. sprouts + finely diced cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, some pomegranate arils, whatever is around), seasoned with black salt, cumin, pepper, lime juice, cilantro.

Another option is "usal" a Maharashtrian recipe (google) where the sprouts are lightly cooked and then seasoned with typical spices.

Sundal is also great, lightly sauteed sprouts, seasoned with a South Indian tempering: veg oil, hing, black mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies (optional are green chillies and grated ginger), add finely diced or grated sour mango and grated coconut, salt, and lemon or lime juice + cilantro to garnish.

There are some mixed sprout sabzi recipes on the net, but they call for pressure cooking the delicate sprouts for 4-5 whistles! I am aghast as I think that will turn them to total mush. I adapt the recipe, using the spices but lightly steam the sprouts instead.

I usually use moong sprouts, moth bean sprouts, add some fenugreek sprouts but you can use just about any sprouts. I don't know about alfalfa though.

Jun 06, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

Frugal, Tasty Recipes for Families on Public Assistance

I have been reading this thread with interest, and had to chime in here.
I sprout a lot at home, things like moong beans, fenugreek seeds, all kinds of things.

You don't need to buy a seed sprouter kit. What I do:
Soak the seeds in water for 2-3 hours, even overnight if I forget.
Then, wrap the seeds loosely in a damp kitchen towel or even a thick paper towel and put them in a glass bowl.
Put the bowl in a dark place (I just put them in the oven) and leave them. Mine usually sprout just the rootlet in ~ 2 days.
I take out the bowl after about 2 days and look. I shake the bowl gently just so that things don't get clumpy.
If needed I leave them in for another half day. If the towel has become dry I dampen slightly again.

I am only interested in the seed+rootlet I don't wait until the shoot with 2 little leaves forms. That should take another day or two.

Remove the towel gently (sometimes the sprout goes into the fibres). Rinse the sprouts and use.

Jun 06, 2013
Rasam in Home Cooking

New to eating veggie - need hearty dinner ideas

If you like spicy street-style food, JanetofReno had a great chat going on pao-bhaji (Mumbai style street food, a mixed vegetable slurry served on soft bread similar to hamburger buns, topped with spicy notes of green chilli, grated ginger, fine diced onion, lime wedges, etc.).
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892184

Google for recipes. It's very easy to make when you get the customized spice mix from any Indian store.

Jun 05, 2013
Rasam in Vegetarian & Vegan

Vegan Comfort Foods

Pav Bhaji is a great favorite.

Also a must is wedges of lime (or lemon) for squeezing on top, and maybe some finely diced raw onion to sprinkle on top along with the green chilli and grated ginger.

Street food at its best.

Soft and squishy small size hamburger buns are more the traditional pao shape than hot dog buns.

Have masala chai, or masala nimbupani (spiced fresh lime soda), to drink.

Jun 05, 2013
Rasam in Vegetarian & Vegan