Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pearl Barley with Stir-fried Vegetables

I started cooking with pearl barley in early spring this year ever since I first heard about this from a fellow blogger. I'm always looking for ways and means to replace carbohydrates with low GI, unrefined grains that has higher percentage of protein. Barley is a good alternative to brown rice/rice.

Barley has low GI and helps to control blood sugar, reduces blood pressure, reduces the cholesterol levels and helps to control weight. Barley being high in fiber digests slowly which in turn helps to control hunger.


I first tried it with spring vegetables like asparagus and green peas. (Link to my first experiment) However eventually moved onto adding this wonder ingredient into salads, soups and also made fried rice (replacing barley).

Out of all my trials this turned out to be the best, as nutty taste of barley goes well stir fried vegetables and adding peanuts gives a crunch this recipe. You can be creative and add vegetables of your choice such as mushrooms, sweet corn to this recipe.
Print recipe here
Ingredients
Serves 2

100g Pearl Barley
1 vegetable Soup cube
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 green chilies (optional), diced
1 Red & Yellow pepper, deseeded & diced
1 Fennel, diced
1 carrot, diced
handful of sun dried tomatoes, diced
1 stalk spring onion,diced
50g Peanuts, roasted

Method
Cook pearl barley according to packet instructions. Add 2 times water into a saucepan along with vegetable soup cube, cook till water is absorbed and barley is soft.

Separately in a large pan, heat oil add garlic and green chili, stir till its fragrant. Add diced vegetables except spring onion, mix well for 2-3 minutes till vegetables are partly cooked, however retains its crunchiness.

Separately roast peanuts in oven. I roasted at 200c 5-10 minutes.


Add cooked barley, mix well with vegetables. Sprinkle diced spring onion and peanuts and serve.

Hiking is one of the popular summer time sports in Switzerland. Coming from Kandy, the hill country in Sri Lanka surrounded by hills, valleys and rivers; I've always enjoyed being out in nature. However hiking is relatively new and I started it since I moved here. If you're a nature lover hiking is the best way to see Switzerland. Switzerland facilitates this activity very well with well marked hiking trails (close to 65,000km) and excellent public transportation. (You can get to even a remote location in approximately 3hrs) I invite you a take a virtual tour around spectacular landscapes of Switzerland clicked during my summer hikes. Visit my facebook page to see more.
Matterhorn (Toblerone) Mountain by Stellisee

Hiking along the foot of Matterhorn (Toblerone) Mountain


Friday, July 5, 2013

Red Lentils Soup


Red lentils curry is a staple side dish in Sri Lanka. Most of the Sri Lankans will have it for all three meals; with bread for breakfast, with rice for lunch and with string hoppers (steamed noodles with rice flour) or pittu (steamed couscous with rice flour) for dinner. Dhal curry is a versatile dish that can be served with many different main meals.

Sri Lankans call all our side dishes as curries. It could be a stir fry vegetable with grated coconut or yellow curry with coconut milk and turmeric or even a curry with a curry sauce. However here in Western cultures, curry is a term used only for meat or vegetable served in a spicy gravy. However in Sri Lanka any side dish that is served with rice or any main meal is called a curry.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Banana Peppers & Potatoes in Coconut Curry Sauce


Have you ever got excited over a vegetable or an ingredient. I have, specially over banana peppers, because it reminds me of delicious curries made with them back home. My mom used to make different kind of dishes with them. Apart from this curry, she makes a stir-fry with banana peppers and potatoes and made a filling for toasts, then the other type is a starter i.e. deep fried stuffed banana peppers.

Banana peppers has a strong peppery flavor hence it's also good for quick Chinese stir fries. You can stir fry them with tofu or use it with other vegetables when making noodles. Added benefit is banana peppers are rich in Vitamin C.
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spicy Noodles with Multi Colored Vegetables & Tofu in Spiced Corn Flour Sauce


Noodles has always been on our weekly dinner menu. But method of making noodles is evolving. My mum made it very simple, she served noodles tossed with stir fried leeks and carrot to add some color. I tasted different varieties of noodles when I lived in Southeast Asia. Some of these mouth watering varieties are mee goreng, hokkien mee, chow mein, lo mein, pad thai etc., Each of these varieties has its own unique ingredients and sauces.
The Beauty of Broccoli

Friday, February 22, 2013

Coconut Sambol (Grated Coconut Salad with Chili)


This is a staple dish in Sri Lanka. This salad is served with most of the main meals. Sri Lankans eat lot of rice and food made with rice flour. Typical Sri Lankan main meals are rice, bread, pol roti (flat bread made with wheat flour and grated coconut), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles), pittu (steamed rice couscous with grated coconut) and hoppers (half moon shaped pancakes made with fermented rice flour)


Although coconut is not as big as Ceylon Tea plantations it is also one of the main agricultural crop in Sri Lanka. Hence coconut is used liberally in Sri Lankan cuisine along with locally available spices. All our curries are made with coconut cream and we add grated coconut to our vegetable stir fries and raw vegetable salads to add sweetness and texture.



Sambol is made with freshly grated coconut and is blended along with onion, curry leaves and chili powder. Traditionally it is blended using a mortar and pestle. It is believed that using a stone pestle to blend them gives a special taste.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pumpkin Risotto

 

Best Wishes for the New Year everyone. (I know it's late, but better late than never) I've gone missing for sometime, But I'm back invigorated from my holidays back home in Sri Lanka. It's always great to be back with your loved ones, someone to pamper with all good food cooked with love and mere company of my parents. It's never enough and always feels very difficult to get back to routine in this foreign land.

You may wonder if I had cooked all the recipes in this blog. Some of these recipes are my experiments, whereas most of the others are regular food I make and there are also some that I have made purely for blogging. Today's recipe is also one of them. I tasted this at a Swiss home and thought I have to share this with my readers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pan Fried Eggplant with Curry Powder

I'm sure all of you know by now that eggplant is my favorite vegetable. This is one of my favorite method of cooking eggplant. Its Jaffnese method i.e. northern Sri Lankan way of cooking eggplant. Typically I grew up eating this with Pittu for dinner. Pittu is made with red rice flour and steamed with grated coconut. It looks like couscous but in brown color. In North we also use Sri Lankan sesame oil to cook this dish. Sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor that gets infused to eggplants. Some may not like strong flavor of sesame oil in which case you can use canola or sunflower oil. I would say it is an acquired taste.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Butternut & Yellow Split Peas Soup



Its getting cooler by the day,  we had our first snow last weekend. This icy cold weather is making me crave for steaming hot soups or very spicy food. I have cooked pumpkin curry many times and its one of my favorite curry to have with rice. Making soups with pumpkin  is a relatively new experience. I have tried this soup few times and has been a hit in our small nest.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pomegranate and Walnuts Salad


Back then we would eagerly wait to go to our grandma's house, so that we could meet all our cousins and play endlessly. There was a big garden in front of the house with lots of flowers and fruit trees. I fondly remember eating these red pearls (pomegranate) with my cousins.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mushroom Biryani - Fragrant Basmati rice cooked with Indian Biryani spices & Button Mushrooms

 
When my friends visited here recently we had endless stories to share. Part of our conversation also involved about our new foodie experiments. We were together in Sri Lanka and eventually we all moved into different directions. One girl came from Australia and other from UK. Never in our dreams we thought we would have our re-union here, in the most beautifully landscaped but land locked country.
Ingredients for Mushroom Biryani

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seeni Sambol (Caramalised Onion with Ceylon Spices) & a Brief Note about Popular Sri Lankan food



 Seeni sambol, pol sambol, hoppers, string hoppers, kottu & chinese rolls are some of the popular Ceylon (Sri Lankan) food. Sri Lankan cuisine has many similarities with Kerala cuisine. We use lot of coconut milk, grated coconut and spices which are locally available ingredients. However even within Sri Lanka, there are minor differences among Jaffnese, Sinhalese, Muslims & hill country cuisine.

My origins are from Jaffna, we eat red parboiled rice and make string hoppers and pittu with red rice flour. Also we use tamarind and coconut milk to make tangy hot and sour curries. Sinhalese use lot of wheat flour to make their food and also white rice & red raw rice is popular. Hence you would find bread, different variety of  rotis (flat breads) and   ingredients like goraka (Gambooge), lemon grass being used to flavor curries. In Muslim cuisine you would find dates and influence of Malay cooking in their food. In hill country where tea plantations are, tea pluckers eat lot of rotis. Sri Lankan rotis are made with wheat flour and grated coconut.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bircher Muesli - Healthiest Breakfast Ever


Bread with butter, marmite and another slice with jam is what I used have for breakfast regularly. Its definitely not the most healthy way to start your day. When we moved here, we often came across this breakfast meal named Bircher Muesli. We were curious try it out, as it was a popular Swiss breakfast sold everywhere from cafes, bakeries, super markets to office canteens.

Bircher is the name of the Swiss physician who introduced this  in 1900s. It was introduced to his patients as a part of therapy which included diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. (Source Wikipedia) Its a mixture of uncooked rolled oats, fruits, nuts and yoghurt.

I tried it outside and felt it was a filling and delicious breakfast. Most importantly its the most healthiest way to start your day,  with nourishment's from rolled oats, yoghurt, fresh fruits and nuts. It has protein, essential vitamins, minerals and good fat from nuts. Yoghurt has more nutritional benefits compared to milk. At this point I can't think of a better breakfast than this in terms of its health benefits.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Roasted Vegetables Pasta


My relationship with baking is similar to meeting a good old friend after a long break. I have childhood memories of mom's baked goodies. She would bake buns, cookies and cakes. I still remember mom's lemon cake aroma gradually enveloping the whole house. We would just wait till the oven bell rings to grab and eat.

Few years later, I started baking and became an avid baker of eggless cakes. But when we started moving, we never wanted to incur additional expense to buy an oven. However here I got an inbuilt oven in the kitchen. Its only been 3 months since I started baking, but I already feel like I cannot cook without an oven.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Baingan Bharta (Roasted eggplant with Indian spices)


My love affair with this vegetable began more than two decades ago. It was introduced to me as "katharikai Poriyal" i.e. stir fried eggplant. Since then I'm in love with this vegetable and our affair continues with many new experimentations ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Markets around the World

As a foodie, I'm always excited to see markets in new countries. Be it a farmers market, a regular day market or even spice market. I'm intrigued by new vegetable or spices and I end up buying basket full of vegetables and fruits every time I visit these markets.
I recently got a chance to visit Mullhouse Market which is in eastern france and an hour away from Basel. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables from Alsace region there were also Moroccon and Chinese traders. I bought the best oranges, bundles of coriander and mint leaves from a Moroccon trader and some tapioca and papaya from a Chinese trader. I invite you to take a virtual tour of the Mullhouse market.

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