Dienstag, 1. Juni 2010

more inspired: millet pulao, oriental aubergines and stuffed peppers

Towards the end of national vegetarian week and over this BH weekend, our cooking has been much more inspired. I've liked this millet pulao ever since I first made it, and dh did a great job at cooking it the other night. Do try it, it is as easy as it is tasty and goes well with a salad.

Millet pulao

300g millet
2 tbsp ghee
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut in pieces
3 potatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 walnut-sized piece ginger, minced
1 piece cinnamon stick or bark (5 cm)
salt and pepper
50g raisins
50g flaked almonds

Dry roast the millet in a large pan over moderate heat until fragrant and some grains start to jump. Transfer to another container (otherwise it may burn quickly!).
Heat the ghee and fry the onion in it. Add vegetables, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Roast for a bit. Add millet and 750ml of (boiling) water, salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to the boil and simmer covered until all the water is absorbed and the millet soft.
Mix in raisins and almonds before serving. It is also nice to dry roast the almonds before adding them.

The oriental aubergines here are adapted from Bettina Matthei's "Würzen". They are so lovely and succulent and rich that you really wouldn't miss meat. This time, I substituted some of the aubergines with mushrooms, with great success. I've also added paneer cubes (fried briefly before adding the aubergines) for extra protein, texture and taste balance. Otherwise, I'd recommend serving with Couscous, Bulghur, rice or wholegrain pasta and some greek yoghurt or creme fraiche.

500g aubergines (and/or mushrooms)
a large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp oil
4 tbsp water or stock
2 tbsp unsweetened pomegranate concentrate (or balsamic vinegar)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
a dash of chilli powder
50g raisins (optional)
50g roughly chopped pistachios (other nuts would also work, but do give pistachios a try!)

Heat the oil. Fry the onion till soft, add garlic, aubergines and ground spices. Fry, stirring well, until aubergines are nicely browned and quite soft. Add water/stock, pomegranate concentrate and brown sugar and chilli powder if using. Cover and simmer. Add salt to taste and stir in raisins and pistachios just before serving.

Last night, I made these stuffed peppers. They were nice and kept warm until all the children had decided to go off to sleep... I'd recommend serving with roasted tomatoes or a tomato sauce, and possibly a green salad.

4 peppers (colours to taste)
110g pudding rice (or other)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1 medium tomato, chopped
some mild to medium cheese, grated (a large handful)
a little bit of grated parmesan (optional)
4 tbsp ricotta (or soured cream/creme fraiche)
generous amounts of chopped basil and parsley or other herbs to taste

Halve the peppers lengthwise and put on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment - or in a large oven-proof dish so that you can arrange tomatoes around it to bake!
Preheat oven to 180° C.
Boil the rice in water for 12 min. Drain.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry till golden. Add the garlic and fry briefly.
Mix all the ingredients well, season with salt and generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper.
Stuff into the peppers and bake for about 30 mins until peppers are soft.

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