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Pad Thai with Tofu

2 Apr

Ahh, I have been neglecting by blog lately. Part of the reason is that I started to realize that baking and my waistline do not go well together, so I’ve cut down on it. But now it feels like something is missing from my life! I’m looking for healthier dessert recipes, if anyone has any suggestions 🙂

But anywho, today I’m sharing another standby recipe in my household– Pad Thai. We love pad thai so much that we have it at least once every other week.

It’s hard to believe that before I met my husband, I had never even tried pad thai before. I come from a very small town where the only ethnic food to be found is at a Chinese restaurant. When I met my husband, he introduced me to all the great ethnic foods I had been missing out on– especially Thai and Indian cuisine. It was great moving to Indianapolis and being able to visit amazing restaurants like Sawasdee Thai Cuisine on a regular basis.

Since then, we moved to a smaller city with some decent ethnic restaurants, but I haven’t found too many that I’m really excited about yet. But it’s OK, because we can always make our own exciting food 🙂

Pad Thai with Tofu (adapted from recipe by Vegan Planet Cookbook)


  • 12 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 8 oz extra firm tofu, trained and cut into cubes
  • 2 tbs tamari or other soy sauce
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium roma tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts (optional– I don’t like them!)


  • Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Toss the noodles with 1 tsp peanut oil and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of the tamari, stirring to coat. Transfer to a platter and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil in the same skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, broccoli, onions, and garlic and stir fry until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, brown sugar, vinegar, and remaining 1 tbsp tamari. Cook for about 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the reserved noodles and tofu and toss gently to combine and heat through, about 5 minutes.
  • Divide among 3-4 individual plates, squeeze with lime juice, sprinkle with peanuts, and top with bean sprouts (if desired).

Makes 3-4 servings.


Indian Food that Tastes Like Indian Food: Aloo Gobi w/ Naan

20 Mar

As I previously mentioned, I am on an Indian food kick lately. In fact, I think I’ve eaten Indian food three times this week, which is certainly a lot for me! I’m constantly discovering new recipes by Aarti Sequeria, and have yet to be disappointed. I just hope that she comes out with a recipe for Nav Rattan curry, my absolute favorite Indian dish. I pleaded her to do so on Twitter; I hope she responds 🙂

My latest discovery was Aloo Gobi, which simply means potato and cauliflower….two of my favorite foods! (Side note: I was going to say “two of my favorite vegetables” but I’m not sure if potatoes can be considered vegetables or starches. It seems like I should know this, but I don’t).

With colors like these, how could it NOT taste fresh and flavorful?

It was so simple to make. It’s just a one-pot meal because the cauliflower and potato cook in the sauce. I suppose the only challenging part was making the ginger-garlic paste because I don’t have a mini food-processor, and in using a regular sized food processor, I had to keep pushing the ginger and garlic back down near the blade. But now I’ve made enough of the paste to use for making this recipe again next week 🙂 Also, I think I just need to buy a mini food processor because making pesto is also annoying.

The dish was extremely flavorful. My husband actually said that it tasted as good as India Garden, our favorite Indian restaurant, located in Indianapolis. India Garden is divine, so this was a real compliment.

I also tried my hand again at naan. My last attempt was decent, but did not taste quite like the real thing. However, this time was far better! I used chapati flour (found at an Indian grocery store) and rolled out the dough very thin.  Both of these small changes made a world of difference! It did taste just like what you could get at an Indian restaurant!

Only one thing puzzles me: when I watch the  naan baking in the oven, these wonderful bubbles pop up, as would be expected of naan. However, when I take them out of the oven, the bubbles deflate, so the naan looks flatter than it should. It doesn’t impact the flavor of course, but I would still prefer for the bubbles to remain. Any suggestions?

Aloo Gobi (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)


  • 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached (note: remove seeds if desired; the more seeds you leave in, the spicier it will be)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (similar size to cauliflower)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves, to garnish


  • Mix the Ginger-Garlic Paste, coriander, turmeric, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. This is a simple wet masala (spice mix). Set aside.
  • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the serrano pepper, wait 30 seconds, and then add the cumin seeds and wait until they’re done spluttering.
  • Add the wet masala (careful, it will also splutter). Cook until the paste thickens, deepens in color slightly, and oil oozes out of the perimeter of the masala, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and potatoes, stirring to coat the vegetables with the masala. Season with salt and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir, and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Ginger-Garlic Paste (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)


  • 1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


  • Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.
  • Save what you don’t use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Naan (adapted from recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli)


  • 2 cups chapati or bread or whole-wheat or all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled, plus 3 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Canola oil, as needed


  • Put the chapati flour into a large bowl and add the salt and the yeast. Use your fingers to mix and blend the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the yogurt, and warm water. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment or, alternatively, with your hands, combine all of the ingredients. Knead the dough with the mixer on low speed until it becomes smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Again, alternatively, knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface.
  • Pour 2 teaspoons of melted butter into a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Coat the sides and bottom of the bowl with the butter and put the dough in the center. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  • Using a pastry brush, lightly grease 2 baking sheets with some canola oil. Slide the baking sheets into the center of the oven for a few minutes. (Chef’s Note: Be careful to not leave the baking sheets in the oven for too long, otherwise you’ll risk the oil getting too hot and smoky.)
  • Gently roll the dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface so it is about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the disk into quarters. Roll each quarter to 1/8-inch in thickness and still be able to fit 2 on a baking sheet.
  • When all the ovals are rolled, brush off any excess flour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and arrange the naan in a single layer, 2 pieces per pan. Bake until they are light brown and puffy, about 5 minutes. During the last minute of baking time, brush butter on the top of the naan (about 1 tsp), if desired.
  • Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the naan to a serving platter lined with kitchen towels to keep them warm.

Makes 4-8 servings.

Pommes Frites with Parsley Butter

28 Dec

I traveled back to Indiana after visiting my parents for the holidays, and of course I got stuck in the Philadelphia airport. I ended up having to spend the night there, huddled up on a bench. Now I’m exhausted, but I was so anxious to eat real food again after a day (or more) full of airport junk!

Tonight we kept it pretty simple with some [meatless] chix patties and some homemade french fries. I just recently braved trying the deep fryer that’s been sitting untouched in my kitchen cabinet since my wedding six months ago. After trying it out for the first time a few weeks ago, I’m hooked! Nothing to fear.

These fries, or “pommes frites,” remind me so much of those served at Taste in Indianapolis. In other words, they’re delectable! At Taste, they’re served with a delicious basil aioli, but actually, I think these fries don’t necessarily need any condiments because they’re so flavorful.

The following recipe is based on  “Pommes Frites with Parsley Butter” by Tyler Florence.


* Canola oil for deep fryer
* 3 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled
* Salt
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
* 2 cloves minced garlic


– Pour the oil into a deep fryer and heat to 325 degrees F. While the oil is heating, cut potatoes into uniform 1/4 inch sticks. Dry the potato sticks thoroughly to keep the hot oil from splattering.

– Fry the potatoes in batches so the fryer isn’t crowded and the oil temperature does not plummet. Cook the fries for 3 minutes, until soft but not browned. Remove the fries and drain on brown paper bags, or place them on a drying rack over paper towels.

– Increase the oil temperature to 375 degrees F. Return the par-fried potatoes to the oil and cook a second time for 4 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Drain on fresh brown paper bags then place in a serving bowl. Salt the fries while they’re still hot and pour the parsley butter on top; toss gently to combine.- To make the parsley butter: combine the butter, parsley, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan around until the butter is completely melted.

Makes 2-4 servings

Mmm, nice and crispy and buttery.