Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mutually Exclusive - Kale Chips and Hummus

What do you do when you have hives all over and cooking in front of the stove becomes unbearable? You make Kale Chips, Hummus and bake a Chocolate Cake! No sane individual does that, but I suffer from Compulsive Cooking Disorder, according to my BFF.

The fact is all the three items are super easy, needs no stove-top vigil and were actually results of my "unable to bear any heat" condition. I had bought the fresh kale leaves to cook it with Moong Dal and had  soaked the Kabuli Chole the previous night, to make "Punjabi Chole" for Sam's lunch box. The Cake, however was pre-planned, since it was my good friends, Kate and Stan's Wedding Anniversary. But I even used shortcut for that.

Bunch of Fresh Kale Leaves
The Kale Chips recipe were borrowed from Mandira of Ahaar. There are many Kale chips recipes on the net and I had tried a few, but they did not come out as expected. On her FB page, I commented, that my kale chips are not crispy and crunchy and if I broil, they char! She replied: "the kale has to be cooked long on low temp to get all the water out and taste best as soon as you take it out :) Try this one." And I did! Benefiting from her trial and error, I set the oven on 260F, washed and spin dried the kale leave and soaked all the remaining moisture with a kitchen paper towel. Spread it on a cookie sheet and sprinkled sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and sprayed some PAM cooking spray on the leaves and it went into the oven for 20 minutes. Turn it and it goes back for another 10 minutes. What you get after that is a plateful of crispy, crunchy, salty, light and fragile dark green kale chips that can give any bag of potato chips a run for its money! And as Mandira had said in her blog, these chips are ADDICTIVE!  



Recipe Snapshot:
What I used:
Kale Leaves - 1 bunch, stemmed and torn into bite size pieces
Sea salt - 1/4 tsp
Freshly Cracked Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Oil spray

What I did:
1. Preheat the oven at 260F.
2. Wash and spin dry the kale leave and soak any remaining moisture with a kitchen paper towel.
3. Spread it on a cookie sheet and sprinkle sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and sprayed PAM or any other cooking spray and put it into the oven for 20 minutes.
4. Turn the chips and put it back for 10 more minutes.
5. Crispy, crunchy, salty and light chips are ready to be munched away!

Tip: Do not over crowd the cookie sheet. For 1 bunch of fresh kale, I make the chips in two batches.

Definition of Hummus from Wiki, "Hummus is a Middle Eastern food dip or spread made from cooked mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic." This is exactly how I make it too. I have had hummus in Mediterranean Restaurants and also the store bought variety. And without sounding too narcissist, I like the hummus that I make at home, the best! Usually, I do not add any Tahini (sesame seed paste), simply because I do not have that in hand. However, last time I went to the Halal Market, to get goat meat for our Poila Boisak (Bengali New Year) Lunch, I happened to pick a bottle of tahini. I have two rules for my type of Hummus: 
1. Do not use canned garbanzo (chickpea) beans. Why? Mental block. I find them too salty and too slimy. 
2. Do not use food processor/ blender to incorporated the ingredients. It kills the texture.

Here is what I do:

What I used:
Chickpea (dry)- 1/2 cup
Tahini - 2 tsp (optional)
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1 small clove finely minced
Lemon Juice - 2-3 tbsp
Paprika/ Cayenne/ Kashmiri Lal Mirch - 1/2 tsp (as per your heat tolerence)
Salt

What I did:
1. Soak the chickpea it in ample water overnight or at least 6 hours. Next morning, they are plumped up and nearly 1 cup. Drain and put them in a pressure cooker covering with water and cook for 3 whistle at 'MEDIUM' heat. Then lower the heat to 'LOW' or 'SIM' and cook for 3 more whistle.

2. The chick pea would have become very soft by now. Drain the cooking liquid, reserving 1/4 cup.

3. In a big bowl, add the chickpea and mash it with the back of a big serving spoon. When it is roughly mashed, give a quick mash with a potato masher. The texture should be grainy and not silky smooth.

4. Add the garlic, tahini, olive oil, kashmiri lal mirch, salt and 2 tbsp of lemon juice and mix well. if its too thick and lumpy, add a little cooking liquid, till it reaches the consistency of a dip. Note: The garlic is raw, so do not add too much, even if you love garlic. If using a fat clove, use only half. 

5. Do a taste-check and adjust the salt and lemon juice according to preference.

6. Garnish with a pinch of regular chili powder or the mild Kashmiri Lala Mirch powder.



Though the Kale Chips and Hummus are clicked together, they are two mutually exclusive recipes. The Kale Chips vanished with our evening elaichi chai (cardamom tea) and bowls of hummus ware scraped clean with soft home-made rotis during dinner. And did I forget the cake? Kate and Stan dropped by after dinner at our place to cut the cake and celebrate their third anniversary with us. I had initially planned a Red Velvet Cake from scratch, but settled for a box mix of Chocolate Cake and cream-cheese frosting. The only personal touch I gave to the cake was adding teaspoon of instant coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water, to the cake batter, to enhance the  chocolate flavor.



Diabetic Platter: The Kale Chips are absolutely guilt free chips and have a minuscule calorie when compared to potato chips. And you also get the goodness of Kale.

"Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids." Source Wiki.


Hummus again is very nutritious, specially when eaten with whole wheat rotis or breads. Lets see what Wiki has to say. "Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets; like other combinations of grains and pulses, it serves as a complete protein when eaten with bread."


So I can say we had a filling, wholesome, complete vegetarian dinner! 



3 comments:

  1. Will try out the Kale Chips and let you know! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi

    Finally checked out your blog today. Loved the recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks so much! I love your blog tooo! Nice, comforting and easy recipes.

    ReplyDelete

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