Mattar Pulao

Let’s play a game of spot the whole spices… I bet you can’t find the cardamom!
Comment if you can find it!

Mattar Pulao, or Peas Pulao is a rice based Indian recipe with peas as its star ingredient. As I always have rice and a bag of frozen peas, this is a great recipe for when you’re running low on fresh veggies or groceries in general. While it does incorporate spices, they can be easily purchased in small amounts at places like Sprouts or in bulk at Indian markets to save money.

Ingredients

  • oil or ghee*
  • 1/2 tsp jeera or cumin
  • 4 small or 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 elaichi or cardamom pod
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 1 heaping tsp pulao masala or garam masala
  • 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder*
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 c basmati or long grain rice
  • 2 c water or stock
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt*

Recipe

Begin by rinsing your rice and soaking it for 30 minutes. Chop your onions, gather your whole spices, and gather your powder spices. Heat a large/deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add your oil and ghee and allow to warm a little.

Add your whole spices to the hot oil and listen for them to make popping sounds and release they’re smells. Once the spices begin to turn golden, add your onions and ginger garlic paste, so the spices don’t burn. Cook the onions until golden or translucent.

As the onions brown, add the peas and powdered spices and mix well. Saute everything together for about 3 minutes. At this point incorporate your soaked and drained rice; mix it in well and allow to toast for 2 minutes. Now add the water and salt, and mix it all before covering with a lid.

  • Cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and allow to sit with lid on for 10 minutes.
See that brown? It’s crispy deliciousness; you’ll be wishing there was more!

By cooking your mattar pulao on these different heats, the underside of the pulao will be browned, crispy, and flavorful – not burnt! The rice will steam properly, be evenly cooked all the way through, and the peas won’t be too mushy. Make sure to take out your whole spices (if you can find them) before eating unless you want a cardamom bomb in your mouth! Enjoy…

*For the most part, everything in this recipe is necessary for the composition of mattar pulao; without those spices and ingredients, this would no longer be mattar pulao. But with that said, make this what you want. If you have another spice that you like better and are curious if it will work in here, give it a go! Cooking is trial and error and fun.

**As this recipe has little protein, my favorites to serve this with are: fried eggs, boiled eggs, hummus, chana/chickpea masala, tofu, etc.

Bean + Potato Tacos

I love tacos – especially since moving to Austin, TX, but since I’m a vegetarian, it’s not always an easy chore making them. This recipe is fairly easy, simple, and delicious, and will satisfy your cravings for delicious tacos!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste*
  • 1 16 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 tbsp chili powder*
  • 1 c water
  • 2 potatoes or rice*
  • 1 onion*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 zucchini*
  • cheese*
  • tortillas/rice/quinoa
  • 1 lime*
  • hot sauce

Recipe

Cut the potatoes into small cubes and soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 F, and once the potatoes are done soaking, place them on baking sheets will oil and seasonings to cook for around 45 minutes or until golden brown. Alternatively, you can cook some rice instead and use it as the filler in the tacos instead of potatoes! 🙂

After you place the potatoes in the oven, drain and rinse the beans. Add some oil to a pot on medium heat, throw in your ginger garlic paste, and shortly after throw in your beans. Now add your chili powder, water, and salt to taste. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid on and another 5-10 without the lid until most of the water evaporates. You will want to mash the beans a little into the pan, so they form a chunky paste instead of being whole beans.

While your beans are cooking, slice your vegetables, heat a pan on high heat, and add some oil. Begin by placing your onions in the pan and allowing to saute for around 5-10 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, and any other spices you may wish. Now, incorporate your zucchini and bell pepper, and saute for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat.

Once all the above are almost done cooking, heat your tortillas in the oven wrapped in foil. Now assemble everything, and sqeeze the lime over. Enjoy!!

*Absolutely put whatever you want into this recipe. If you like broccoli or artichokes or greens like spinach and kale, put that in! Or in my case, I used some of my leftover chorizo mixture; it makes the tacos even heartier. Eat this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and take it to work as this will definitely get you coworkers asking: “Can I have some?”This recipe can be made vegan, vegetarian, or neither. Have fun exploring!

Cheesy Chorizo Potatoes

Hey everyone! Cheesy chorizo potatoes is one of my semi-guilty pleasures. It’s filling, full of protein and spice which makes it a great drunk or hangover food for sure and a solid regular meal. This recipe is fairly easy to make in bulk as shown below, but it also makes an easy small meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 onion*
  • 1 jalepeno*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 zucchini*
  • 1 tube soy chorizo*
  • 4 eggs*
  • cheddar cheese*

Recipe

Wash and cut your potatoes into bite-size cubes (the smaller you make them the faster they’ll cook), and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This will allow them to soak up water which will make the insides soft and outside crispy when you bake them. Heat your oven to 400 F.

Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and throw your soaked taters on the sheets. Drizzle some oil over them along with some salt and pepper and whatever spices you desire, for instance: paprika, turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, ras al hanout, cumin, cinnamon, etc. Bake the potatoes for about 45 minutes or until they look browned.

While your potatoes are baking, wash and cut your vegetables. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat, and add your harder vegetables (onions) to saute until they start to turn brown. Now add your softer vegetables (bell pepper, jalepeno, zucchini) as they take less time to cook and saute for another 3-5 minutes.

Push your veggies to one side of your pan and add a little more oil to the empty side. Pour in your eggs, whole or whisked and allow to cook, stirring occasionally until they are firm.* Once your eggs are cooked and incorporated with your vegetables, empty the soy chorizo from its packaging into the pan; cook everything with the chorizo until your mixture is fairly dry being careful not to burn anything.

Once your potatoes are done, serve your potatoes and chorizo mixture in whatever ratio you desire, and grate cheese on top. You’re ready to eat!

*Use whatever vegetables, cheese, protein, or spice level you fancy! Alternatively, you could cook your eggs in a separate pan and add to the potatoes and chorizo later, which may be an easier option.

**These are my leftovers… enough for another 2 meals at least.

Creamy Miso Ramen

Ramen is delicious – especially miso ramen with some creaminess. That’s what I’m making on this stormy night, something warm and soupy. It has been my go-to ever since I became a vegetarian and chicken noodle soup went out the window, fast. At least to me, ramen is so much more complex and warming.

Ingredients

  • Leftover tofu from the Thai red curry (if you have any)*
  • 1-2 medium boiled eggs left over from the egg curry*
  • 2 tbsp red or dark miso
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste*
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes or sambal*
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy*
  • 1 1/2 c water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp vegetable bullion powder or paste
  • handful of fresh or packaged ramen noodles
  • evaporated milk or soy milk*

Recipe

Heat a small pot over medium heat and add the miso and ginger garlic paste to combine and cook for a minute. Next, add the chili flakes and soy sauce until it becomes a thick creamy consistency. Don’t add salt at any point until the end if it isn’t salty enough for you, as the miso is quite salty in and of itself.

Now add your broth or water mixed with bullion and bring to a boil. Preferably, cook your noodles in your broth as I think this adds more flavor to them. The fresh ramen noodles only need to cook for 2-3 minutes and will be done, so you can add your tofu and eggs at the same time as the noodles.

However, the packed noodles will take longer, and you may need to add more water to make up for the water the noodles soak up. Then, add your tofu and eggs once the noodles are ready about 5-7 minutes later.

At this point, you can be done, but I like to add just a little splash of soy milk to make it silky smooth and creamy. Yum!

I buy fresh noodles typically at an Asian market, and freeze whatever I have leftover in single portions which makes things a lot easier!

*All optional, but I highly recommend as the recipe won’t taste the same without them.

Please let me know what you think of the recipe, pics, everything in the comments, so I can work on making Panda Eats Food better! Thanks!

Egg Curry

Alright, Egg curry is South Indian comfort food, and is similar to the Thai red curry. But egg curry is a bit different and requires less thought and time for me. It is a melding of flavors in a simple yet strong way with some spice, of course. Egg curry is a staple in my home, as it requires few vegetables and ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, boiled/steamed and peeled or tofu
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 to 1 c water
  • 2-3 tbsp evaporated milk*

Recipe

Boil or steam your eggs until they boil, turn the heat off, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then remove, cool them, and try pealing them successfully unlike me.

While your eggs are cooking, slice your onions, and chop your tomatoes into small cubes.

Heat some oil or ghee in a pan, add the cumin seeds, and let them splatter/pop. Now add your onions before the cumin burns. Add some salt to taste, and it will help the onions cook faster. Cook onions for about 5 minutes.

Onions with ginger garlic paste

Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for around 2 minutes before throwing in the tomatoes. When cooking your tomatoes, you want them to become mushy and break down; you can help expedite this process by adding water while you cook them.

Onions, ginger garlic, tomatoes, and spices.

Now add your spices and combine. Cook for another 2 minutes or so; then add the water to make everything into a gravy of sorts.

With the water.

Now I add in my eggs that demonstrate my inability to peel. You can also fry the eggs in a skillet before you throw them in, and that makes them even tastier. But, that doesn’t work well with messed up eggs like how I did them this time.

And the eggs.

Ok, you can be done completely at this point or like me, if you added to much chili powder, you can add some milk/cream/tahini to make your curry creamier and less spicy!

Serve by itself, with rice, or like I did with some yummy parathas (kind of a croissant tortilla) that I’ve been meaning to eat. Enjoy!

*Milk is totally optional, and if you want to substitute some spice you can, but it will definitely change the flavor. As always though, use what you have!

Thai Red Curry

Thai red curry is one of those easy meals. Plus, you use whatever is in your fridge, so it’s a perfect end-of-the-week meal. Unfortunately, I haven’t made red curry paste myself yet, but a tub you by at an Asian market lasts me months, MONTHS. Not only will the tub last me months, but this curry will last you days possibly if you’re cooking for yourself, or maybe a couple nights for several people.

Ingredients for Tofu

  • 1 block tofu
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp sambal olek*
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp agave*
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Curry

  • 1 onion*
  • 1/2 16 oz carton of mushrooms*
  • 1 zucchini*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1/3 c red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk*
  • 1/4 c frozen corn*
  • 1/4 c frozen peas*
  • 1 c frozen broccoli*
  • 1/2 lime

Recipe for Tofu

Preheat oven to 400 F, and combine all of the ingredients (except tofu) on a lined baking pan. Mix all the sauces together. Cut tofu into chunks, throw in the pan, and coat in the sauce. Place in oven for duration of cooking time for curry (approximately 30 minutes or until brown and crispy).

Recipe for Curry

Oil a skillet or wok and heat on high. Slice the onions and mushrooms, and add them to the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes while chopping the rest of the fresh vegetables. Add the fresh vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.

Now add your red curry paste in the side of the pan and smash it into the side of the pan. Begin adding a little coconut milk at a time to the curry paste and mix the two until smooth. Incorporate the rest of the coconut milk if you haven’t already.

Cook for 3-5 minutes and chuck in the frozen veggies. If the curry appears too thick (mine did), add a little water until it reaches your desired consistency. Cook for around 3 minutes.

Retrieve your tofu from the oven, throw it in the curry, and squeeze the lime over everything. You’re done with a yummy and warm Thai red curry, so enjoy!

Red curry paste I found at a local Asian grocery store – ON SALE! Winning!

*Almost all the items here are optional. Substitute for vegetable or meat you find delicious!

**You can devour this curry as is, with rice, quinoa, or whatever you desire.

Shakshuka

It may not look delicious, but it definitely is!

Shakshuka is one of my loves in life; it can be anything and everything. Tomatoes are the base of shakshuka, but beyond that, the sky isn’t even the limit. A good shakshuka incorporates fresh herbs and tomatoes, but we don’t always have time or money for that. So below is one of my variations of classic shakshuka. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 16 oz cans of whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 serrano or jalepeno chili
  • 5 large mushrooms
  • 1 tsp pulao masala*
  • 1-2 tsp ras al hanout*
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste

Recipe

Heat a skillet on medium heat with some olive oil. Chop your onions and garlic however you like and add them to the hot pan. Chop your mushrooms and chili and let your onions and garlic brown with some salt (salt makes the process faster).

Next, add your mushrooms and serrano chili to the mix. Allow everything to cook together 5 minutes. Throw in your masala and ras al hanout, and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Now, add your tomatoes and cook until they’re soft. You want your shakshuka base to not be too thick at this point, so you may need to add 1/2-1 cup of water depending on how long you cook your tomatoes. Add your bell peppers as they don’t require much cooking time.

Once your base is somewhat liquidious but still thick, take your cooking utensil and make a little hole near the edge of your skillet and crack in an egg. Continue to do this until your eggs are all over the skillet but separated by the shakshuka base. Now, cover your skillet and cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes or until you see the egg white cooked. If you prefer the yokes to be cooked as well, continue cooking a bit longer. At this time, I like to grind pepper on top of the eggs, so I can see where they are later. But once your whites are nearly cooked, turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

You can eat this as is, with hummus (which I definitely recommend), toast, naan, pita, rice, tortillas, or parathas. Anything and everything is good, so long as you enjoy it.

Serves 1 for a couple days or 3-4 people. 😉

*If you don’t have the above spices, you can cook this with garam masala, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, methi, fresh parsley, fresh coriander/cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, etc. Add what you like!