Thursday, May 13, 2010

Indian Spiced Veggies over Brown Rice

I spent most of the day on the e-Cornell lectures after I finished exercising. The gray weather did not make me feel like a ball of fire. I had a difficult time getting started this morning which I am going to blame on the weather. My focus today was not great so I will definitely be listening to the lectures a second time. I don’t know how much I actually absorbed today, LOL. Does the weather impact your mood? Days like today are great for naps, and I probably should have had one but that seems so unproductive I don’t often give in and take one.

When I wasn’t listening to lectures I was doing things that have been on my to do list for a long time, like organizing our tea stash. As you all know by now we drink an almost ridiculous amount of tea. I really love the flavor of tea with green being my favorite. But we also like Earl Grey, Lady Grey, English Breakfast, White Tea, and Herbal Tea. Here is a picture of the drawer that holds our most commonly used beverages, 95% of it is tea.

For dinner tonight I decided I wanted something simple but was craving Indian flavors. This is traditional Indian recipe that I have made healthier. The original was called Same Ka Bhaji and used fried beans. You all know me well enough to realize that frying was out of the question. Additionally I decided to add eggplant and collards to shake it up even more. Here is my version of the recipe for Spicy Fried Veggies:

Spicy “Unfried Veggies” over Brown Rice
Serves 4

Rice Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups water – less two tablespoons
2 tablespoon vinegar (I used date vinegar but sherry or white wine would be fine)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large pinch saffron (approximately 1/8 teaspoon)
Salt, if you think it necessary (I did not add any)

Veggie Topping Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
4 tablespoons water to sauté the onion, garlic and ginger
2 cups green beans
2 cups eggplant, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cups collards, julienned
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup tomatoes, diced (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 lemon zested and juiced (add the juice to your tastes you may not want an entire lemon)
Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup of sliced or slivered almonds, for garnish (cashews would also be a good choice)


Combine the rice ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and cook until tender. The exact time will depend on the type of pan you use. When I cook in enameled cast iron the rice is finished in 35 minutes compared to the standard 45 that is usually recommended.

Water sauté the onions, garlic ginger until translucent and slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon zest and juice, almonds and tomatoes and cook until the veggies are as texture as you like. You may need to add a little more water to keep them from sticking. Add the remaining ingredients just before serving. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste.

Top the rice with the cooked veggie mixture.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 380.09
Calories From Fat (16%) - 59.78

Total Fat - 7.16g
Saturated Fat - 0.87g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 26.5mg
Potassium - 704.44mg
Total Carbohydrates - 71.82g
Fiber - 9.57g
Sugar - 5.89g
Protein - 10.82g


This dish has a lot more flavor than you would expect from a simple vegetable and rice dish. I didn’t miss the fried aspect at all. Clearly this is a sign that my tastes have really changed. In the past I know I would have missed the oil. I find it fascinating how quickly you learn to enjoy food that isn’t fatty. I used the entire lemon in the dish but you may want less. I happen to adore lemon, but not everyone does.

The rice flavorings are mine, not the slightest bit Indian. Also the addition of nuts to the dish is mine. Of course I tweaked the seasonings too. I am just incapable of leaving things alone.

This is another one of those quick and easy meals when you need something without much fuss. If you keep cooked rice in the refrigerator or freezer this would be ready in well under 15 minutes. This one came together from items in my pantry and freezer. In a pinch you could use canned tomatoes, but I like the pop you get from the fresh ones. Also you can use any veggies you like in this. The important thing is 8 cups of raw veggies, plus tomatoes at the end. It is just as good made with 8 cups of green beans. I have also used broccoli (not traditional at all), cauliflower, carrot, and mushrooms. It seems to work with any veggies.

Food Today:

Since many of you seemed to like the food journal I am going to try to do that as often as I can. Please don’t expect it every day as I don’t know that I can squeeze that in. As I mentioned yesterday I eat what my body tells me it wants, within reason. I do try to stay away from high sugar fruit, dried fruit, excess amounts of nuts and seeds, flour products, oil and sugar as much as possible. That is easier to do at home but not as simple when we are out. Eating out has become much less pleasant over the last 6 months. It is difficult to get a meal that doesn’t use too much oil or have added sugar in the sauce (Asian food). Here is what I had today:

8:10 am – breakfast

½ cup oats
1 cup water
½ cup frozen wild blueberries, no sugar added
½ cup frozen mixed berries, no sugar added
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

10:30 am – snack

Double green tea (2 bags) with ascorbate C

1:00 pm – lunch

1 cup sprouted short grain brown rice
2 cups broccoli, very lightly cooked
2 tablespoons sesame seed sauce (recipe from yesterday)
Sprinkle green onions and black sesame seeds

4:30pm – snack

1 collard leaf (for making a wrap)
½ cup super flavorful fat free hummus
1 carrot, grated
½ red bell pepper
Double green tea (2 bags) with ascorbate C

5:30pm – snack

1 Medjool date – I was craving something sweet and sometimes I give in, like today

7:30pm – snack

Double green tea (2 bags) with ascorbate C
1 tablespoon dry roasted edamame

9:00pm – dinner

Spicy Unfried Veggies over Brown Rice (as above)


Today Dan worked late again since they are still swamped at his office. When I know this is going to happen I start the most time consuming portion of the dish earlier that I think I will need it so dinner can be ready quickly. You can always make the grain in the morning or a day or two early and then reheat it before dinner. That makes eating long cooking whole grains much less of a hassle. Do any of you make large batches of grains to reheat later? Which grains seem to work well for you?

For now I am going to spend some time cleaning up the kitchen and watching my husband watch Fringe. He gets the silliest looks on this face watching the show. I find it quite entertaining. He loves sci fi, which still mystifies me all these years later.

I hope you all had a good day. Friday is almost here, yay!


  1. That is some tea stash! The veggies and rice look and sound really yummy.

  2. Rose,

    I am ashamed to admit there is more tea than that. This drawer holds our "everyday" tea. I told you we are tea obsessed.

    Dinner turned out really well. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. The collards added a nice textural dimension that I particularly enjoyed.

    talk to you later,

  3. I love your tea stash!!!
    I cook excess rice ahead to use for the week quite often, althouh not like I use to. I think it is excellent to have it on hand in case of food
    Do you sprout your own brown rice??? I need to learn to sprout...
    Did I tell you I have no idea what yerba mate was, but I bought it after I saw you had it? What is it for? lol
    I liked the post and thought it was fun!!! Shall I do my tea stash too???

  4. Brandi,

    You should absolutely write a post about your tea. I would enjoy it. I know you saw the labels on the jarred tea. I thought of you when I was taking that pic. Yerba Mate gives a good energy boost without caffeine. It is reported to be high in antioxidants but I have not confirmed that. I have it on days when I need the energy. It would have been perfect today. LOL

    I cook brown rice, quinoa and wheat berries ahead of time.

    I don't sprout my own brown rice. Our Asian market sells organic sprouted brown rice for a very reasonable price. But it can't be too hard to do. I will see if I have instructions in one of my books. The only question is how long to soak it.


  5. *shudders* sci-fy...does he like star trek and star wars also?walter likes all that stuff. what nerds we married:)

    i really liked the tea drawer, its hardto believe that you have more than that...:) ill do the same thing, but you already knew that,lol. but what i really liked was the labeled shakers. i did that with my maca to make it more accessible, and then i forgot about it, this reminded me. what is the nettle like? and the vit c? can you taste them?

  6. Hope the weather turns around. I hate gloomy days - totally gets me down too. Jason will make super large batches of brown rice b/c he'll eat it with anything on it for lunch. I typically don't make extra grains. I have started making extra barley at least - when I have something planned later in the week. Just depends on the planning LOL

  7. Michelle,

    If it is sci fi my hubby loves it. He used to love Star Trek and Star Wars, don't ask. LOL. Sorry you have that at your house too.

    Glad you liked the tea drawer. The little glass jars are empty vitamin C bottles. I like that that are dark so they protect the bulk tea leaves. I love my label maker, I am such a geek. The vitamin C is tasteless. I add it to keep the EGCG available longer so that more of it can be absorbed. The nettle tea has a grassy taste like most herbal tea but it isn't too strong, IMO. It is reported to reduce inflammation and blood sugar, but I haven't researched that completely yet.

    talk to you later,

  8. Good Morning Heather,

    It is still gray and gloomy and looks like it will rain any time now. Yuck.

    Making barley ahead of time is a great idea. Thanks for sharing that. I should have known Jason would make large batches of brown rice since he seems to like it so much.

    Happy Friday,

  9. I am with you on the tea...I have a whole cupboard full of tea that I should follow your example and organize. It is out of control, lol! I am drinking a cup as I read your blog, actually :-)

    It really is amazing how your taste buds adapt, isn't it? When I eat dishes with oil added, it tastes SO oily to me, even if there is just a little bit, and I actually don't enjoy it or like it at all. I much prefer things sauteed in water/broth/etc. over oil, and have for years now.

    You eat dinner so late! I don't think your medjool is "giving in" at all...that is a healthy and wonderful snack--and much needed with your late dinner!


  10. Hi Courtney,

    I am with you on the tea. I love the stuff.

    I keep dates around because sometimes I just want a little jolt of sugar and they do the trick, with vitamins.

    It is so crazy to me how I react to food out now. You are right the tiniest bit of oil makes things greasy and not very pleasant for us. We never expected to dislike food made with a little oil.

    We eat that late because I wait for Dan to get home from work. He is swamped at work and I like to have dinner with him. I do agree that it is healthier to eat earlier though. Maybe things will slow down at work soon so that we can eat earlier.

    have a good weekend,

  11. I too love your tea stash and can relate, like most of your commenters here. Maybe we should form a support group. "My name is Laloofah and I'm a tea hoarder." LOL

    Does Dan read as well as watch Sci Fi? I've never been much of a Sci Fi person, but "K-Pax" is one of my favorite movies, and I do enjoy reading Ray Bradbury!

    Yummy looking meal, as always! I still haven't found fresh collards in this pitiful burg. >:-(

  12. Lalo,

    I think we should start a tea hoarding support group. Clearly you and I would have lots of company in that group. LOL, at least it is a healthy addiction.

    Dan loves all sci fi, including K-Pax and Bradbury. I just double checked. He doesn't have much time to read for pleasure any more, too busy. But he wanted me to ask if you also like Isaac Asimov.

    talk to you later,

  13. My turn to hang my head in shame... I don't think I've ever read Isaac Asimov, though I've been told many times that I must. I guess Dan's voice is about to join that chorus? Guess I should start heeding that advice! Tell Dan "Alien" (the first one, not the increasingly lame sequels) and "Blade Runner" are also favorite movies of mine, maybe that will redeem me. :-) Did he enjoy Avatar, btw?

    I have the funniest story I read once about Asimov, but I don't remember the details well enough to tell it without finding it first. I will see if I can, and when/if I do I'll share it with you. I think Dan would find it very amusing! :-)

  14. La,

    You really need to read Asimov. Even I liked it and sci fi isn't my thing. Dan also liked Alien and Blade Runner. He really enjoyed Avatar. I think he saw it the day it opened. As you can tell he loves his sci fi. It is one of the few things we don't share. ;-)

    I am curious about the Asimov story. Here is hoping you find it.



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