I'm alive! So, I promised a certain someone in Richmond, RVAFoodie, that I would come back, even if I couldn't do so as often as I would like; so I will keep my word. I've been incredibly busy with work and grad school, but I have, of course, been cooking my way through it all to keep my sanity. If I've been cooking all this time, then why not share, right? Well, long story short, I've been wanting to revamp my blog and blah blah blah, but let's face it, if you want great, tried and true recipes, the pretty page is only a plus, it's good food that you really want, so here it is.
I haven't really told you guys, but I am a bit of a hippie at heart. I have sprinkling of tree hugger at my core and I really do believe that sometimes the best things are those that you grow or make yourself. I'm also a firm believer that if you want something done right, you should just do it yourself. That being said, I've been learning how to do some wonderful things at home that I never thought I'd do on my own. I will get into that soon, but trust me, it's very exciting and, yes, it is fairly easy as well :).
So today I want to invite you into my kitchen for a taste of something a little different. I may not have said it, but anyone who knows me knows that I go through spells in my kitchen...the Jamaican spell, the Nicaraguan spell, the Dominican spell, the Korean spell, the Cambodian spell, and so on. Every few weeks, my culinary mood changes and all of my recipes change with it. Lucky for you, my dear hippie and vegetarian friends, I am currently in my.....::wait for it::: VEGETARIAN SPELL!!!
"Oh boy...." said the carnivore (yes, I heard you). Fear not! This dish will be loved by grass eaters and meat lovers alike, I promise! So what on earth is it, you ask? Indian style vegetarian garlic pepper balls. "Ewww, Indian food? I don't like Indian food :/," said that whining little punk we all have in our lives who says they don't like anything yet they've also never tried anything either. Well, I don't like Indian food at restaurants, but when you make it at home, it is wonderful and this is no exception! Garlicky, warm, flavorful, spicy and with a touch of brightness from the herbs. This is a sure crowd pleaser, whether as an appetizer at your next party or for dinner tomorrow night.
This recipe is my version of the one from Chef Thumma at vahrehvah.com. Please check him out on his website and as "vahchef" on YouTube. He is full of energy and has wonderful recipes.
Anywho, this recipe is spicy with a tinge of sourness and is incredibly flavorful! I thought I made flavorful vegetarian dishes all the time, but this one just brings flavorful to a totally different level! Please, don't be intimidated by all of the unfamiliar spices. They are all incredibly cheap (average $2.99)per 3.5 to 7 oz bag of spices and those are Miami prices) at your local Indian market and they are all versatile and great to play with in other cooking styles as well.
Here are the ingredients:
***squeeze excess liquid out of all veggies once grated***
2 green plantains (boiled inside the peel until cooked/tender), finely grated (no, silly, don't grate the peel ;))
1 zucchini, peeled and finely grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
1/4 cup buttercup squash, finely grated
1 tsp or so of salt
1TB olive oil
1-1/2 tsp kala jeera (black coriander seed)
3/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 heaping teaspoon of chili garlic paste (3 cloves of garlic and a 1" piece of ginger smashed in a mortar and pestle or in food processor to form smooth paste)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp chili powder (mine said "extra hot," so adjust accordingly if yours does not) (the kind from the Indian grocery store only*** Different chilies make different chili powder)
1-1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp amchur powder (green mango powder)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (be sure they are plain, unseasoned)
1/4 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2.5 inch piece of Indian green chili, sliced into thin rings
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp amchur
small palmful (6-10 peppercorns) of black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 green onion, chopped into thin rings
1-1/2 TB chopped cilantro
1 TB soy sauce (make sure that soy is in the ingredients list on the bottle...don't assume it is what it says...)
Squeeze all excess liquid out of the grated vegetables (not the plantain, silly), THEN season with 1 tsp of salt. Blend with your clean hands and set aside.
Add 1TB olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Once warm, add the kala jeera and stir. Add in the 3/4 of the chopped onion and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add in ginger garlic paste and cook for one minute, stirring. Add in turmeric and cook until the mixture gets a little golden brown-ish. Don't go crazy about the color, just move on once it's transparent.
Add in all of your veggies, including the plantains and blend. Cook, continuing to stir and add in chili powder, coriander, and amchur powder. Remove from heat once blended and add in breadcrumbs and 1 egg and blend with your hands into a uniform dough, if you will.
Oil a pan well and set your oven to 350. Roll each ball in the oil and cook until golden brown on the bottom. I guess this takes 10 minutes or so, but my oven is crazy, so that is just a guess based on the usual adjustments I make. Once brown on one side, flip the balls to brown on the other side.
Meanwhile, put 1TB of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the last 1/4 of onion, 3 garlic cloves, and the hot pepper, stirring while cooking. Add in the powdered seasoning at this point as well and continue stirring.
Once the garlic and onion have become transparent, add in green onion and cilantro. Continue stirring and add 1 TB soy sauce. Once incorporated, add in your balls and toss them in the sauce. Enjoy!!
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think ;).