Kansha, which I received as an early birthday present from my student and her family a few days ago. The book is filled with recipes that call for cabbage, chards, kale, and Brussels sprouts, simply spiced with a touch of ginger and a sprinkling of pepper. I also had an eggplant that I wanted to use up, and I was craving some homemade tortilla chips, in lieu of naan. A lot of the recipes in Kansha called for rice or soybeans, of which I had neither. I used mung beans instead.
Beautiful, soft, simply flavored mung beans. They practically melted in our mouths. Before I made anything else, I began my cooking process by pouring 2 cups of dried mung beans in 5 cups of salted water in a large saucepan. They cooked up to the texture that I wanted in about 45 minutes. I added in a touch of ginger and a good heaping tablespoon of ghee, and set them aside in a glass bowl while I preheated the oven in preparation for the next two parts of the meal.
and Madhur Jaffrey's Baba Ghanouj -- a creamed eggplant side dish. I figured that tortilla chips would be quicker to make than gluten free naan, and they added a nice crunch to the meal. To make tortilla chips, cut up soft corn tortillas into quarters, drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and any other seasoning you would like, and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees, until crunchy, about 12 minutes.
My idea for the Baba Ghanouj was to use it as a condiment -- a sauce of sorts to top off the meal. The eggplant is the perfect cross over vegetable between the Indian and Japanese inspirations, as it has a strong place in both of these cuisines.
Madhur Jaffery's Baba Ganouj, adapted from World Vegetarian
- 1 large eggplant (about 1.5 pounds), roasted for 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees, dried, peeled, and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a pinch of ginger
Japanese Stir-fry, inspired by various recipes in Kansha
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 medium-sized yellow summer squash, sliced into quarters and then chopped into small pieces
- 1 medium head of napa cabbage, chopped into small thin strips
- 2 large leaves of kale of your choice, cut into small thin strips
- the stems from 5 leaves of rainbow chard, cut into small slices
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a pinch of freshly cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
I suggested that we assemble the mung beans as a bed to the vegetables, topped with the baba ganouj and accented with the tortilla chips. The meal was satisfying -- our cats visited everyone during the meal, we talked about what's happening in our lives. It was such a nice night -- thanks Robbie and Jasmin for being a part of it!