Eggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

So here we are again with two major holidays on the same weekend.  And, they’re two holidays with entirely different food requirements!  One traditionally goes for brisket and matzo; the other gets lamb or ham. However, there are two common themes. The first one is eggs.  Lots and lots of eggs.  The second is everyone stuffs themselves silly at either one or two big dinners.  But, you still have to eat something in-between all of that. Eggs with spinach and chili peppers is just the thing. It’s quick, and easy to make. And, it’s not a big, heavy meal.  It’s essentially a sort of egg pancake or frittata, except with South Asian flavoring.

The other nice thing about this recipe, is it’s done in two stages, but you only need a single skillet to make it.  First you cook the veggies, garlic, and ginger, then add the eggs to the same pot.  Let those cook, and you’re done.  Add the yogurt (or not) to serve.  Depending on your affiliation, serve with toast, matzo, or just some fresh fruit. If your chili is super hot, the sweetness in the fruit will also help reduce the burn from the pepper.

Oh, and a third thing. It’s ready in about 15 minutes.  So, if you’re hungry, and it’s late (as it was the first time I made this), you don’t have to wait long for a hot meal.

I adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  In addition to reducing the amounts, I replaced the coriander with spinach. I don’t particularly like fresh coriander and I know lots of other people don’t care for it either.  And, since my jalapeño pepper turned out to be really, really super hot, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool it off, even though that wasn’t in the recipe.  I found I liked it better that way too.




 

 

Eggs with Spinach and Chili Pepper Substitutions and Variations

  •  use the coriander if you like it
  • add two or three sliced mushrooms to the vegetable mixture
  •  toss in 1/4 C diced canned tomatoes
  • if you’re not a spicy food fan, replace the chili with some bell pepper

 

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with Swiss cheese. Perfect for a light meal (especially around big holidays).

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Only four ingredients, ready in just a few minutes.  Just the thing when you want something fast.

 

fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Great for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  It’s flexible too: add mushrooms or bell peppers, change the cheese, top with chili garlic sauce, or leave it as is.  Delicious food without a lot of fuss.

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

A tortilla, a couple of eggs, some chilis, and cheese: poof, it’s a meal! And since eggs cook quickly, you don’t have to wait long to eat.

 

 




Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice

An online food group I belong to is celebrating “rice month.” The idea is to highlight a recipe featuring, well rice.  Someone suggested that nearly every culture uses rice so everyone ought to be able to find something to fit the theme.  Unfortunately, I come from a long line of noodle and dumpling people.  So, at first I was stumped.  What could I possibly make for this challenge?  Then I had an idea.  I could borrow a “sister” culture!  Eastern European Jewish people focus heavily on noodles, but the Sephardim (from Asia, India, the Middle East, etc.) have plenty of rice dishes.  So, I looked through my cookbooks and found garlic ginger turmeric rice.

It’s a Bene Israel recipe, meaning that it was created by the Jewish population in India.  You might almost call it a pulao. I’ve adapted this recipe from The Book of Jewish Food.  Her version served six.  Mine is about three servings (because extra rice is always good; more on that later).

This particular rice dish is packed with garlic, ginger, green cardamon pods, and a pinch of turmeric for that beautiful yellow color. It’s tasty (and it fights germs too, which made it even more appealing since I’m still fighting the creeping crud!).  Don’t be put off by all the garlic and the ginger, both start out spicy and sharp but mellow and become almost sweet as they cook.  The cardamom adds a complex taste; it’s a bit minty, with a hint of citrus and a spicy/warm flavor.  The original calls for basmati rice (which I didn’t have), but ordinary long grain white rice will do just as well. If you use the basmati rice, rinse it several times before starting to cook it.

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Turn Your Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice Side Dish into A Main Dish

As is, this is a side dish. But with a bit of extra effort, it can become a main dish too.  There are a couple of ways to do this. For example, you could make it more substantial by cooking up some chicken or adding leftover pre-cooked chicken to the rice. Or, cook up some spinach and fry and egg (in the same pan if you want), and add that to the top.  You can do the same thing with the leftovers a few days. later. Instant food!

The recipe says that for special occasions, this dish was often served topped with blanched almonds and raisins. While this wasn’t a fancy occasion, I decided to do it anyway. I didn’t have blanched almonds, so I just roughly chopped a few whole ones.  Soak the raisins in water a bit before you use them, in order to soften them.

More Rice Recipes

easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Super easy to make, and has a surprise ingredient you probably don’t expect.  Maybe not pretty, but healthy and tasty! And uses pantry ingredients too.

 

black beans and rice recipe one personBlack Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A complete meal (and complete protein too). I’ve adapted this from a Cuban-Colombian friend’s recipe.  It can also be adjusted to make soup!

 

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Bring some heat with spicy lamb sausage from Morocco. Don’t worry, the carrots, eggplant, and sweet spices tone it down.

 




Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

We tend to think of “fusion” foods as a new idea: Asian/Cuban, Mexican/Jewish and so on and so on.  The truth is people have been mixing and matching cuisines ever since we started exploring (or on a less positive note, colonizing).  The bright side is that exposure to new spices, flavorings, and cooking techniques can be a springboard for creative new dishes.  Mulligatawny soup (which means pepper-water) is one such “fusion” food.  It’s a mixture of Indian Tamil and British cooking. The Tamil cuisine brings the spiciness and the British added the meat.

This particular version of the recipe is adapted from Foodaholic.  Her recipe uses red lentils (which I didn’t have). However I asked her and she said lots of recipes use rice instead. I had that, so rice it is!

I don’t have garlic paste, so I took a garlic clove and smashed it to smithereens. Just chop it up finely and then swipe the flat of a wide knife over it.  Or, if you don’t mind a bit of extra cleanup, put it in a mini-chopper or a garlic press.

Finally, I used a chicken thigh, rather than chicken breast (which she uses because of picky kids). I think the chicken thigh has a better, richer flavor and I don’t have to worry about pleasing fussy eaters.

I did follow her lead in only using one pot. I can’t stand extra cleanup!

If you want the soup creamier and more elegant, remove part of it from the pan and puree the rest with a stick blender. If not, just cook it another 10 minutes for a more rustic texture.

This will make about three servings of soup. Eat one right away and save the rest in separate containers for another day.




Mulligatawny Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • If you like spicier food, add some chopped fresh green chilis
  • Top the soup with yogurt or try some coconut milk to counter the heat
  • Add some curry powder
  • Put in some chopped apple for sweetness

More Indian Chicken Recipes

royal chicken in yogurtIndian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

A name fit for royalty, but anyone can eat (and prepare this dish easily). Nothing to chop, just mix up some spices, add yogurt, and simmer.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

I bet you weren’t expecting the words “Jewish” and “Curry” to go together. But they do. Not spicy, but rather warm, comforting, and aromatic.

 

curried chicken soupCurried Chicken Soup

Delicious soup with very little effort. It only takes an hour to make and uses frozen or long-lasting veggies.  No chopping either (other than a carrot). I did say low-effort. 🙂

 

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

A few basic ingredients get together and bring you dinner in minutes.  Only one pot too!

 

 




Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

The beauty of this Indian royal chicken cooked in yogurt recipe is that it’s delicious and can be made fairly quickly.  You can just serve it with naan or make some rice to help soak up the sauce.  I have adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, which is a great guide for making Indian meals that don’t require a lot of fuss. Plus, she wisely sticks to ingredients that are fairly easy to find outside of India. Her recipe is for four people, my version is dinner for one person.

I made a few other minor changes as well.  The original recipe calls for both dried and fresh coriander.  I don’t generally have fresh coriander (and if I did, it would spoil), so I used a bit more dried instead. 

Make sure to remove all of the whole spices before serving. You don’t want to crunch down on a clove or a cardamom pod!

She calls for slivered almonds, but all I had was ground almonds, so I used that.  I am a big believer in using what you have and not buying special ingredients for a single purpose.  You can substitute slivered, or blanched if that’s easier.  You might even use whole ones, or throw them in the mini-chopper to chop them up.

There’s also a fun bit of chemistry here.  When you add the raisins to the hot pan, they plump up and temporarily revert back to grapes!




Substitutions and Variations for Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

  • try it with ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil, sliced onions, and ginger paste (full recipe here)
  • add potatoes, curry leaves, tamarind paste, and coconut milk (recipe here)
  • make it Hyderabadi style with tomatoes, cashews, red chilis, saffron and turmeric

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

A super easy recipe largely with pantry staples. It’s got a rich, creamy sauce spiked with cumin, garam masala, and jalapeño peppers. Ready in about 15 minutes.

 

chili garlic chicken thighChili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Buffalo chicken with a lot less mess.  The garlic adds zest and the chili brings the heat. Cheaper than wings too!

 

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

“Fried” chicken without the splatter.  It’s got three kinds of lemon and a touch of brown sugar. Good hot or cold.

 

chicken mango stir fryQuick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

A bright and colorful tangle of veggies and chicken. If you don’t have fresh vegetables, a frozen stir fry mix will work just fine. Just cook them a bit less.

 




Curried Chicken Soup

Fight the cold weather (and winter germs) with some curried chicken soup.  If you’re sick, the hot soup and the spiciness of the curry will help cut through the congestion and make you feel better!  If you’re healthy, you can enjoy the full flavor!

This soup is pretty low maintenance, there’s not a lot of active work involved. Just chop the veggies, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and let it simmer. And, for soup, it’s ready fairly quickly. It only takes a little over an hour to cook.  I’ve been fighting a lingering cough, so I needed soup. Specifically soup with curry or something spicy to cut through the congestion and fight those germs! So I turned to the Silver Palate Cookbook and made curried chicken soup.  I think it’s working.

The original recipe says to use peas and defrost them first. I didn’t have any peas handy, so I used broccoli instead.  Also, in this case, I don’t think that defrosting first is really necessary. Frozen veggies cook fairly quickly, unless they’re all stuck together in the box.




Making this soup is much easier (and less messy) if you have a stick blender. Just put the blender in the soup, press the button, and puree it. Otherwise, you’ll need to strain it, put the solids in a standing blender or food processor and then add some cooking liquid. Full instructions are in the recipe.

If you have the hand blender, this soup requires very little effort.  Cut up the vegetables, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and just let it cook.

I’ve cut the original recipe in half, so it makes 2-3 servings instead of 4-6.  Eat one right away and freeze (or save) the rest for another day.

More Curry and Curried Soup Recipes

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

All you need for a great dinner is a few basic ingredients, a single pan, and fifteen minutes.

 

easy canned tuna curryEasy Canned Tuna Curry

A simple can of tuna, transformed into a meal.  Only takes a few minutes too. Dump, heat, and eat.

 

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Perfect for fall, with apples, sweet West Indian curry, and butternut squash.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

You probably didn’t expect Jewish and curry together, but there it is.  Ginger, onions, and cardamom make this dish aromatic, warm,  flavorful, not spicy.

 




Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

This week’s recipe was going to be something else, but then I realized I hadn’t defrosted it.  Oops. No matter, this  Indian fish fillet in yogurt sauce recipe will do quite nicely instead.  You’ll just have to wait for the other recipe!

This is adapted from The Wednesday Chef , who in turn adapted it from Madhur Joffrey.  Since the amounts are smaller, you don’t have to heat up the oven. You can make this in the toaster oven instead. It heats up more quickly and it’s easier to clean too!

All you have to do is lightly fry some onions, pour them onto a tray, season and mix the yogurt, and then pour all of that over the fish.

It’s maybe ten minutes of prep, and 20 minutes of baking.  While it bakes, pour yourself a glass of wine or a beer or make some rice to go with it. Or both.

You end up with a rich, creamy sauce that tastes indulgent (but isn’t, since it’s yogurt, not cream).   So no need to feel guilty.

The garam masala, ginger, and cumin add a bit of bite, but not too much (unless you want it spicier, of course). It’s pretty easy and approachable for Indian food.




Substitutions and Variations for Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

  • Add some curry to the sauce for more kick
  • Try pan frying the fish (about three-five minutes per side); add the yogurt sauce at the end, off the heat so it doesn’t curdle
  • Add half a hot chile pepper

More Fish Recipes

easy canned tuna curryEasy Canned Tuna Curry

Turn a can of tuna into a full meal. Just add some pantry staples, heat it all up and you’re ready to eat in just a few minutes.

 

greek fish with lemon and tomatoesGreek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to your dinner plate with this quick, single pan fish recipe. Make a simple marinade, let it sit, and then pan fry.

 

pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

A splash of citrus, a bit of mustard for bite, and a sprinkle of rosemary add a lot of flavor without much effort.

 

easy mediterranean fish stewEasy Mediterranean Fish Stew

Bring the warmth and sunshine of the Mediterranean to your dinner table, even on a cloudy spring day. This dish is full of flavor from fish, tomatoes, garlic, and citrus.

 

 




Easy Canned Tuna Curry

There are some nights when you want dinner and you want it quick. This easy canned tuna curry can be made in just a few minutes. There’s very little prep work.  The toughest bit is opening a can. Just cut up a bit of onion, chop some garlic, grate some ginger, and open a can of tuna. Yes, canned tuna.

If you make extra rice in advance (as I usually do), you just have to heat that up and you have dinner. It’s curry in a hurry.

I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. Her recipe made two or three servings, which I have reduced. She calls for fresh chopped cilantro (which I never have, so I used a bit of dried coriander, which is the same thing). If you do have the fresh version, use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

I have also simplified the preparation a bit.  Yes, it’s possible to want to speed up even a canned tuna curry recipe! I was in a rush! And I was hungry. Rather than slicing the onions into rounds, I chopped them.  I grated the ginger with my microplane zester, instead of slicing it into strips; I didn’t want to bite down on big hunks of ginger! Besides, this way is faster.

During the quarantine, if you don’t have fresh ginger, ground is fine.  No fresh jalapeño? Use canned chilis instead. Don’t have that either? Red pepper flakes work too.

 




More Quick Fish Recipes

 

pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

Just a few ingredients and you’ve got a fancy-looking dinner.  Tilapia is mild, so it’s a good “starter” fish.  It’s mostly pantry ingredients (you just need to buy fish; Trader Joe’s usually has it frozen).

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

A few minutes prep and twenty minutes of baking. The sauce tastes rich and creamy, but it’s made with yogurt so no guilt. There’s a bit of heat, but it’s subtle, not overpowering.

 

tuna cannellini bean saladTuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Got beans? Mix them with some tuna, serve with bread or fruit and you have a meal. You don’t even have to actually cook anything.  All pantry staples, other than the scallion. If you don’t have one, use onion.

 




Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

This easy chicken curry recipe is a quick and delicious way to get the taste of Indian food without a lot of work.  The original recipe came from The New York Times (I think), but I had to put my own spin on it. It only requires a few ingredients and a small skillet and you can put the whole thing together in fifteen minutes. Just perfect when you’re hungry and in a hurry!

If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can use sour cream instead. As a bonus, sour cream is more heat-resistant than yogurt so you can add it directly to the pan, rather than dirtying a separate bowl. I use the yogurt because I prefer the flavor. Also, it seems more authentic to use yogurt instead of sour cream.

Garam masala is a spice mixture (kind of like curry, every mixture and every manufacturer is a bit different).  It adds warmth and savor to the dish (not spiciness).




Chicken Curry Recipe Variations and Substitutions:

  • If you don’t have jalapeño pepper, add a pinch of red pepper flakes along with the curry
  • Add some ginger
  • If you don’t have boneless chicken, cut up a bone-in thigh, or just start the chicken first, cook it for ten minutes, then add the onions, and follow the rest of the recipe (with the bone-in thighs, the recipe will take about 25 minutes total).

Recommended Books and Ingredients

Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

I love Indian food, but I used to find it a bit intimidating, because it’s not as familiar to me as a home cook. However, this cookbook made that a lot easier (and I use it quite a bit).

My favorites are quick chicken korma, lamb with spinach, fish fillets in curry sauce, and curried tuna (the canned kind, not fresh). Most of the recipes take less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Indian Cooking Unfolded

Many Indian cookbooks use ingredients that can be hard to find if you don’t live in an area with a large Indian or Pakistani population. I have some excellent spice stores near me, but many don’t.

That’s one reason this cookbook caught my eye. He gives you the standard ingredients, and then tells you how to “cheat” if you don’t have them available. It makes the food much more accessible. The recipes are easy to follow and have 10 ingredients or less.

Rani Garam Masala

An essential mixture for Indian cooking. It’s a blend of 11 different spices, so it’s full of flavor.  Great for chicken (like this recipe), or use it on eggs, lentils, or veggies. It’s got cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg so the flavor is “warm” and aromatic, rather than spicy or hot.

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I just can’t stop eating this. Crispy chicken skin, juicy meat, and a lip-smackingly delicious sauce. Use it on the chicken, as a dip, or on fish.

 

chicken mango stir fryQuick Chicken Mango Stir Fry

Sweet mango and bell peppers, with a little kick from green or red chile. Don’t have fresh peppers? No problem. A frozen stir fry mix is fine. So is frozen mango. Ready in about 20 minutes.

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Crispy, sweet, spicy, and delicious. And all you need to make it is fresh chicken and pantry ingredients.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Not the Jewish food you were expecting! This is from India, so it’s fragrant with warm spices like ginger, onions, and cardamom.