Tag Archives: Side Dish

Upma

A yummy grain alternative.

In a large saucepan heat 3 TBL oil. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and cook until the seeds pop, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped shallots, 3 hot green chilies (stemmed, seeded and chopped), 3 tsp minced fresh ginger, and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds, 12 fresh curry leaves, 1 tsp salt and 21/2 cups water. Bring water to boil, and in a gentle stream while stirring constantly add 1 cup of cream of wheat. Add 10-12 fresh curry leaves. Cover and cook on low heat until it is fully cooked.

Remove from heat and let rest, covered. Fluff with fork, sprinkle with lemon juice  and serve.

Multi-Grain Stuffing

My mother would often make this, not fully cooking the grain, and use it to stuff the Thanksgiving turkey. The excess would sit around the turkey in the roasting pan. At other times, she’d cook it as I do, in a skillet cooking to completion, and serve it as a side dish.

The day before you plan to make the stuffing, pick over

  • 1/2 cup barley

and soak it overnight in water.

Start heating some 2 quarts of water, almost to a boil. You will use this to cook the grain. Meanwhile, finely mince

  • 1 very large onion or 3 of the medium-sized onions often sold in bulk
Also finely mince, keeping separate from the onion
  • 1/2 pound peeled carrots
  • 3 ribs of celery

In an electric frying pan or large skillet, heat

  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add the onions and cook until soft. After 5 minutes add the carrots and celery.

Meanwhile, in a smaller skillet over medium heat, add

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup uncooked orzo

Stir from time to time and continue to cook until most of the orzo have reached the color of chestnuts, a very dark brown. Don’t worry, it won’t taste burnt, and don’t wimp out and just have them lightly browned.

This batch has a way to go… it needs to be much darker.

When the vegetables have softened, add the drained barley, the cooked orzo and

  • 2 cups of mixed grains (See the note at the end of the recipe.)

Use caution with the next step as ATTN the water will splatter as you begin to add it to the pan. Add:

  • 1 TBL mushroom soup base or some dried bouillon
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 6+ cups of hot water.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Every 5-10 minutes check on the water level and the consistency of the grains. If it’s dry and the grains aren’t fully cooked, add water. When it’s done and the grains are easily chewed check the seasoning. Serve right away or let cool and reheat later. This makes about 10-12 cups depending on the grains you use. For a very large crowd at Thanksgiving I generally double this recipe.

NOTE: Typically I’ve used 2/3 brown rice, 1/3 cup bulgur wheat, 1/3 cup whole buckwheat (kasha), 1/3 cup millet and 1/3 quinoa. You should feel free to experiment with the grains. What I’ve learned is that white rice cooks a little more quickly than some of the others, so I prefer brown rice. Kasha has a strong flavor some people don’t like, although I prefer to toast the kasha in a skillet briefly after I finish frying the orzo; this enhances the flavor. I believe that using bulgur wheat causes the dish to be a little softer. I’m still playing around with this to refine the grain mixture.

Potato Kugel for a Crowd

Peel 8 pounds of russet potatoes and keep under water until you are ready to use them. You can peel them the night before with no ill effect.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and quarter 4 large onions. Place onions, 2 at a time in of the food processor or leave running until it’s a fine puree. Repeat with other onions. Using fine shredding disc (I did mine with the KitchenAid mixer attachment), process all the potatoes into a strainer sitting in a large mixing bowl. Press the potatoes with your hands to release any extra water; dump the potato water into a small bowl and reserve.

Beat 10 eggs in the same large mixing bowl. Add in potatoes, pureed onions, 2 TBL vegetable oil, 2 TBL kosher or sea salt, freshly ground black pepper (1+ TBL) and about a cup of matzo meal. Carefully pour off the water from the small bowl and recover the potato starch from the bottom: add that to the mixture as well. Mix thoroughly.

Place in large oiled baking dish (low, flat: I have a large oval dish that’s a bit bigger than 13×9 inches) and bake until golden on top. It will cook 60 minutes.

Kasha Fusillichkas

Okay, it’s supposed to be made with bow-tie pasta (and then it’s called Kasha Varnichkas), but I’m not so traditional. This makes a lot, so you might want to cut it in half. Just use the white of the egg if you do.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Mix together 1 beaten egg and a cup of medium granulation kasha. Saute in oil or butter in a hot skillet — be sure you have a lid for it. Cook to dry out egg, breaking up kasha so it’s in separate granules. Sprinkle with salt. Pour in 2 cups of hot water or stock; it will spatter. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook fusilli (1 pound). Drain pasta when done and mix with cooked kasha and gravy from Gedempte Chicken, or something else that’s tasty. Serve hot.

Creamy Polenta

Mix 1/2 cup corn meal, 2 cups cold water and 1/2 tsp salt in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over a high heat. Cover pan when it begins to boil  and reduce heat to lowest possible temperature. It will need to cook for 5-8 minutes more. Stir in 1-2 TBL butter.

NOTES

  • If you mix the corn meal with cold water it won’t develop any lumps… especially if you stir constantly until it boils. I’m not sure why the cold water trick isn’t widely published.
  • I prefer the consistency from Quaker Corn Meal, but you should find a granulation you like.