Tag Archives: Indian

Rhubarb: not just for dessert anymore!

A quick note about rhubarb. This week, our CSA fruit share included about 3 pounds of rhubarb from Briermere Farms, and I’ve been contemplating what to do with it. I’ll most likely make a few pints of this delicious Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam from Food 52 that I made last year, but I’m also thinking about savory uses for rhubarb. Rhubarb, in and of itself, isn’t sweet, but it’s most often paired with strawberries in jams, compotes and pies. I found this savory, Indian-inspired recipe for a Rhubarb Lentil Stew last year, and I thought it was brilliant. Usually, I’ll add lemon juice to lentil-based soups and stews to add that bright burst of tartness that balances out the earthy flavor of the legumes. In Mark Bittman’s recipe, the rhubarb provides not only the necessary acidity, but also complex flavor and texture to an already flavorful dish. As with so many of Mark Bittman’s recipes, this one is minimal effort for maximum pleasure. Enjoy!

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices by Mark Bittman

Ingredients
  • 3 or 4 stalks rhubarb, strings removed, chopped
  • 1 cup orange lentils, well washed
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 dried ancho or other mild chili, optional
  • Salt
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Method
  • Combine all ingredients except salt and cilantro in a saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook at a steady simmer until lentils and rhubarb are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove cloves and, if you like, cardamom pods. Add salt, then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Ghee-licious

One of my favorite cooking fats is ghee, which is a kind of clarified butter. It’s commonly used in Indian cooking, and it has a “golden” flavor (as described by a West Indian friend of mine). Since the water and milk solids get cooked out, it withstands higher temperatures than butter, has a long shelf life, and is easier to digest for people with dairy sensitivities. It’s really easy to make at home.

Ghee

from Myra Kornfeld’s The Healthy Hedonist: More Than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts

1 pound butter, preferably organic

Warm butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it has melted completely, about 5 minutes. The butter will start to gurgle as the water evaporates, and the top will be covered with foam. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the milk solids start to brown on the bottom of the pot, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes and then frequently after that, by pushing aside the foam and tilting the pan to see if the solids have browned.) As soon as the solids turn brown, remove the pan from the heat and let the residue settle to the bottom. Then carefully pour the clear liquid through a strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container. Discard the solids.

Ghee will stay fresh on the kitchen counter 4 to 6 weeks; in the refrigerator for 4 months; and indefinitely in the freezer.