Monday, April 28, 2014

Grab Them Before They go - Green Garlic

(In this series we feature a seasonal produce or fruit our family is enjoying thoroughly these days. Infact it's so good that we think it deserves you opening another tab of your browser right now and finding out your nearest farmer's market to visit! 

We at G&G believe in simple & quick recipes with local and seasonal produce and fruits; not only you will be enjoying fresh bounties of the nature without the preservatives and 100s of food miles, you will also be helping the local farmer's ecosystem and sustainable growing)

Have you ever cooked with green garlic before? It looks just like a slightly bigger scallion or green onion. Sniff at it and you will identify the distinct young garlic smell. It looks so much like a spring onion that unless youare looking for it, you may have seen it in your local farmer's market but walked right past it thinking it's a green onion (I know I have early on)!

I have rarely seen green garlic in supermarkets or grocery stores but they are in local farmer's markets in California (and likely elsewhere) around this time. Just like fresh snow peas, green garlic are young immature garlic picked right when they are young. You can eat the bulb and the leaves all.

Afterall spring is the season of new beginnings, a young start, life sprouting everywhere after months of cold harsh winter and that feeling is reverberated everywhere in the spring vegetables as well.

Green garlic will give a delicate slightly sweet garlicky flavor to your spring dishes. It gives a very unique and distinct flavor not replicated by adding garlic cloves - you really have to try it to believe!

Prepping green garlic is same as spring onions or green onions. You wash them, pat dry. Trim off the ends and slice the whites and greens very thin. Then you can add whites wherever you want slightly more garlicky woodish flavor and keep the greens for more vibrant garlicky fresh flavor.

Green garlic can be cooked so many ways; practically any recipe where you would use garlic clove, you can use green garlic - my rule of thumb is one green garlic for two cloves to impart similar garlicky flavor.

Some of my favorite ways to use green garlic are:

1) Green garlic daal - daal is a traditional Indian lentil preparation made at our home almost once every week. You can use any lentils in your pantry. My favorite way to prepare daal with lots of garlic and lots of tomatoes. 

In green garlic season, I like to make a green garlic moong daal. Saute 4-5 strands of green garlic (whites and greens) in few Tbsp hot oil tempered with mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Then add turmeric powder, moong daal, water and salt and cook covered until daal is cooked through - about 40mins or so. Add more or less water for desired consistency. I like this version on the dry side but you can make watery as well. To serve, garnish with splash of good quality olive oil and crushed chili flakes - eat with roti or a good bread.

2) Springtime pasta - green garlic goes great in pasta dishes. One of our favorite is pasta primvera. Saute green garlic and pinch of crushed red chili flakes in olive oil. Add spring vegetables such as asparagus, celery, snow peas, early tomatoes, early zucchini and saute. Add pasta of your choice and handful of parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper.

3) as a pizza topping - you may think unusual at first - but give it a go, some green garlic, asparagus, and figs so yummy!

4) Add to any soups. Add white part while cooking and sprinkle green part after cooking for some fresh garlic taste.

Next time you wander in local markets, keep an eye out for these delicious greens near the green onion piles. Add to pasta, soup, pizza or daal - wherever you use garlic cloves, try substituting with green garlic for a distinct mild garlicky taste which only a spring shoot can provide! They are available only for a few weeks in spring, so definitely grab them before they go!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grab Them Before They Go - Fresh Snow Peas

("Grab them before they go" - In this series we feature a seasonal produce or fruit our family is enjoying thoroughly these days. Infact it's so good that we think it deserves you opening another tab of your browser right now and finding out your nearest farmer's market to visit! 

We at G&G believe in simple & quick recipes with local and seasonal produce and fruits; not only you will be enjoying fresh bounties of the nature without the preservatives and 100s of food miles, you will also be helping the local farmer's ecosystem and sustainable growing)

Spring is in the air. And that means waking up to the hummingbirds dancing endlessly over early pomegranate bloom and the sweet smell of the backyard Jasmine flowers wafting through open windows and of-course new spring produce in the markets to devour!

Are you thinking of strawberries? Quite likely - as the Californian spring means a delight of rows and rows of large fat sweet juicy strawberries - but no, today we are not talking about strawberries but instead a lesser known spring produce which is available only for the few early spring weeks. It's called snow peas.

Snow pea is the young unripe version of more famous and commonly known green peas (or matar). What makes snow peas unique is that since they are picked when they are young and very tender so you can eat the peas and the pods all together.

The snow pea pods are tender and not fibry like the pods of the mature peas. They are sweet, lightly juicy and delicate making them perfect for so many quick dishes and of-course to munch raw..

Here is a good article on wikipedia about snow peas along-with a picture of the pods still on the plant.

Prepping snow peas is very easy. You wash them, pat dry and chop both the ends off. Then you can use them as whole or cut them in half lenghwise.

You can cook snow peas many ways. Some of my favorites are:

1) A quick spring pasta - saute minced garlic in olive oil along-with a pinch of crushed red peppers and handful of snow peas for a few minutes until the peas have a slightly charred color, add a couple of chopped early spring tomatoes and cook on medium heat until tomatoes break down. Add your favorite cooked pasta (I used Trader Joe's lemom pepper pepperdale pasta). Salt & pepper to taste; some chopped basil leaves on top and dinner served!

2) Snow peas are so yummy when browned in a little vegetable oil with salt, pepper and pinch of crushed chili flakes. Heat oil in a skillet on high. When hot, add snow peas and let roast until they start to char. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper and crushed chili flakes - enjoy warm! Perfect snack or side to a dinner.

3) They are great in stir-frys.

4) Add to salad and stews. Snow peas are perfectly tasty eaten raw or blanched. Chop them and add to salads or to stews towards the end of the cooking. Perfect.

If you are new to snow peas, try them this season. There are so many ways to enjoy them! But be sure to grab them before they run out of season :) 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Daal Methi (Lentil Stew with Fenugreek Leaves)

This year we have been blessed with week after weeks of fresh methi showing up local farmer's markets. One of the advantages of living in highly Asian populated south bay neighborhoods of California is you find these Asian stalls at farmer's markets tailoring to the unique south asian produce like methi!

We are buying and enjoying fresh methi every weekend for the last two months. I have three favorite methi recipes - methi thepla (so good with yogurt or pickles!), aalo methi sabzi and this daal methi. There are many daal methi recipes out there; what makes this version unique is that I am not at-all squeamish about how much methi I put in there. Methi and daal is almost 1:1, just how I like it - a bursting flavor of methi in each and every spoonful :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Goan Fish Curry

Does it seem like I am posting too many fish curry recipes recently? Well, it's true. We have been eating a different type of fish curry pretty much every Sunday for past few months. So it was only natural that the fish curry fever would seep into my blog too :)

Today's recipe is a traditional Goan fish curry recipe. 

Goa is the smallest state in India situated very close to Maharashtra (my home state). It's an ocean-facing state so the local food is ocean sourced - seafood and coconut are very commonly found in many of the regional recipes. But what I find most unique about Goan food is it's Portugese influence coupled with Indian heritage. 

Goa was ruled by Portugese for 400 some years starting late 1500s and like everywhere else in the world, a ruling of that length leaves significant traces behind in local people, food and culture. For example, use of vinegar in curry is something you will find very unique to Goa - a state where the "vindaloo" dish originated which makes quite the head-line at most Indian restaurants in US. This blend of cultures creeping into food is what interests me so much about this cuisine!

I love love love this goan fish curry recipe. Coconut and tamarind though may seem unlikely ingredients to be paired with fish, they do make a harmonious marriage. I have made this curry with pomfrey, tilapia and most recently with rainbow trout and all three fish types paired very well with this curry. If you can get your hands on fresh coconut, so much the better!! but in it's absence frozen coconut works fairly well.
Serves 2-3
2 large tilapia or rainbow trout fillet
quarter of a large onion - finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - minced
half an inch piece of ginger - grated
1 tomato - chopped
1 lime
1Tbsp tamarind paste
1/4C fresh or frozen grated coconut
5 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1tsp cumin powder
1 dried red chili (if using) 
1tsp red wine vinegar
1/2tsp turmeric powder
3Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1/2tsp mustard seeds
salt & pepper

Add juice of half a lime, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and salt & pepper to fish fillet and rub well. Set aside for upto half an hour to marinate.

Prep all the veggies. 

Roast the whole spices - peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin powder with red chili on low medium heat stirring constantly taking care the spices don't burn.

Blend ginger and garlic together with 1tsp water to create a fine paste. Add onions to the ginger and garlic paste and blend together to create onion-ginger-garlic paste; set aside.

Grind together coconut with roasted spices and 1tsp vinegar; set aside.

Blend the chopped tomatoes to make tomato paste.

In a large pan, heat oil. When hot add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add onion-ginger-garlic paste. Cook until all the raw aroma disappears (about 4-5mins).

Then add coconut and spice paste and continue cooking on low-medium heat for another few minutes.

Then add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Add tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring until oil start to separate like so:

Then add water slowly to create desired curry consistency. If in doubt, add little water initially and add more later as needed later.

Transfer fish fillet to the cooking pot. Add salt & pepper to taste and continue cooking uncovered for 10-15mins until the fish is fully cooked. 

Remove from heat. Add tamarind paste and mix well. Serve with fresh rice and lime wedges.

Copyright and Disclaimer

This page and all of its contents is copyright of Prajakta Gudadhe. All rights reserved.

This is a web catalog of the recipes that I have tried and tasted in my kitchen. While these recipes and instructions have worked well for me, please use all the information and the recipes from Ginger and Garlic at your own risk.