Mixed Veggie Korma

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We just came back from a week of pure gluttony.  OMG.  We went to Guerneville (aka, Wine Country) last week for a little R&R.  It was the perfect vacation which involved lots of wine wine tasting, kayaking, shopping, and eating.  We really outdid ourselves on this vacation with the amounts of food that we consumed.  We ate like we were eating for eight people.  It was ridiculous… ridiculously good!  Our diets just went straight out the window as we drove to our destination.  In fact, it was as if our diet never existed.

When we settled back into reality, we decided to weigh ourselves to see the damage that was done.  It wasn’t pretty.  We were mortified by the numbers.  We were hoping it was just water weight, but to our dismay, we really did put on the lbs.  Eek!  So our goal for the next two weeks is to detox and lose the weight to get back on track with our weight loss plan with vegan/vegetarian foods.

So to kick off our goal, I decided to make a healthy, low-fat Indian fare.

Mixed Veggie Korma

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide florets
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, cut in halves
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
2 small roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons plain soy yogurt
1 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup golden raisins

Heat water in a large stockpot over high heat. Once water starts to boil, place carrots, sugar snap peas, and cauliflower into the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Mash the ginger, garlic, and 3 tablespoons water with a mortar and pestle until it is relatively smooth and incorporated.

Heat vegetable oil in a wide saute pan over high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, saute the raisins and cashews for one minute, then add the onion and cumin seeds. Saute the onions and cumin seeds for about 3 minutes or until the onion starts to brown.  Pour in the garlic/ginger paste, garam masala, tumeric, ground coriander, and ground cumin, and saute for another minute. Put in the chopped tomatoes plus tomato sauce and cook for about two minutes.

Add the cayenne, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and cook until the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the vegetables and soy yogurt, and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened.

Serve with basmati rice and naan.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Do Chua (Pickled Carrots and Daikon)

I love all things pickled, especially Korean pickled ban chan.  Well, maybe not all pickled stuff, but most things.  You get the point.  I grew up watching my Mom pickling vegetables… from kim chee to pickled garlic.  But never learned or had the interest until recently.  When I wanted to make banh mis for dinner one night, I was a little worried about finding pickled carrots and daikon only because I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to find it pre-canned.  So I perused through many recipes and finally decided on one.  I don’t know why I chose the one I did, but I’m sure glad I did because the daikon to carrot ratio is 2:1.

Why do I care about the daikon to carrot ratio?  Well, if you haven’t read it already in my banh mi post, I grew up NOT liking carrots.  In fact, I detested carrots while growing up.  I would gag if there was a piece of carrot touching the rest of my food.  If there was shredded carrots mixed in with something else, I simply just wouldn’t eat it.  However, I am slowly coming around.  I’ll eat stewed carrots and pickled carrots.  But if you tried to give me raw carrots, well, we can just forget about being friends.  Drama queen.  I know.  But that’s how much I hate raw carrots in its natural form.  Anyhow, to make the long story short, the desire of wanting to pickle carrots was a whole new world to me.

I knew I had to marinate the carrots and daikon in the pickling solution for at least an hour, so I made my way to Whole Foods hours before dinner.  I got home and started cutting my carrots and daikon into “thick matchsticks.”  This part of the process was exhausting as I hovered over the chopping board cutting, while trying not to slice my hand.  At one point, my right hand (the chopping hand) started to tingle with some numbness, almost like carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I mustered through it and had a full bowl of matchstick-sized daikon and carrots ready for pickling!

Do Chua (adapted from Viet World Kitchen)

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup warm water

In a bowl, combine the half cup of sugar, vinegar, and water and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Place the carrot and daikons in a colander and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar.  Mix the sugar and salt mixture into the vegetables, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften.  Use your hands to knead the vegetables.  Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break.  The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of its water volume.  Rinse under cold running water, and then gently squeeze to expel extra water.

Place carrots and daikon in a bowl and pour the pickling solution over the vegetables. The solution should cover the vegetables.  Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating.  They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.  Beyond that point, they get tired.