Easy Zucchini Fritters w/ Indian Spices and Dairy Free Raita (gf )

Guys, I love Indian spices. They will seriously always have my heart. I fell in love with them early on, and I have never looked back. Going to India a few years back was an eye opening culinary experience for me. The Indian food I was eating back home did not compare to the Indian food you get in India. Not even close. In India, it doesn't matter if you buy the food at a hole in the wall shack, on the street from a vendor or in a nice restaurant. The food is always excellent and so, so flavorful. I have tried to recreate many of the favorite dishes I had there, but I have found it nearly impossible, even with the help of one of my favorite cookbooks, "Everyday Indian" by Bal Arneson

So I have decided that although I will never make traditional Indian food, my light riffs on it will do just fine. These fritters taste exactly like pakoras, but they are much lighter, as they aren't deep fried. You could try baking them, but there is something about the crispiness of pakoras that have been fried that make them so much nicer, so I recommend lightly frying these in just a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. I served them with a few slices of lemon, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and with a peach chutney that I canned this past summer. I don't have a recipe for that, but I imagine these fritters would be lovely with any chutney you use.

Next post is going to be majorly chocolate based, and I will be writing a bit about using stevia to sweeten desserts.



Easy Zucchini Fritters w/ Dairy Free Raita

Note: this makes about 8-10 fritters, depending on the size you make your patties.

4 cups of grated zucchini

1 small onion, peeled, diced and sauteed lightly in olive oil.

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of garam masala

1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

pinch of black pepper

a few pinches of salt

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour

2 large eggs (you could try flax seed eggs, but I haven't tried this yet), lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes

Dairy free Raita:

Note: Use regular yogurt if you are not intolerant to dairy.

1 cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt

2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and/or fresh mint

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

1 clove of garlic, grated

juice of half a lemon

pinch of paprika

pinch of sea salt

pinch of black pepper

To Make:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Keep chilled until you are going to serve the fritters. The longer the raita sits, the longer the flavor has to develop (I like to leave it to sit for a couple of hours, but it is fine served 15 minutes after it was made too).

To Make:

Place a strainer or some heavy paper towel over a medium sized bowl. Place zucchini on top and sprinkle some salt on it. Let it sit for about ten minutes or so, until a lot of the water has drained out. Squeeze handfuls of the zucchini and place it in another bowl. Once you have squeezed most of the moisture out and have added all the zucchini to a bowl, add all of the other ingredients, minus the eggs.

Add the eggs to the bowl and mix well so that all of the ingredients are incorporated. Let sit for ten minutes.

While the zucchini mixture is settling, place two tablespoons of a neutral oil in a frying pan (I used a stainless steel pan, but non-stick would work). Start heat on medium and then crank it up a notch when you are ready to put the fritters in.

Make a patty the size of a golf ball (or slightly larger) with your hand (it might be a bit sticky, but it should hold together) and place in the hot oil. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side. You should have a golden, crispy edge on each side. I usually cook two at a time.

Place on a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. Try not to eat them right away (harder than it sounds), although, they are better when they are still fairly warm.

Place two fritters per plate and place a dollop of the dairy free raita on them. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with some chutney and a couple of slices of lemon (I love a squeeze of lemon on them). Enjoy!

Roasted Carrot Salad w/ Ras El Hanout, Green Olives, Goat Feta & Red Wine Vinegar

I'm back! I struggled with the idea of shutting the blog down, as I have started up my studies again, and I just haven't had time to focus on anything else. Even meals while I am in school are not really blog worthy. Mostly vegetables and lentils roasted and tossed with greens (kind of like the meal in this post, actually). Simple and reliable. Then I came to the conclusion that blogging is a passion of my mine, and I put too much pressure on myself to produce posts quicker, which kind of turns blogging into work. As I don't blog for a living, I don't want it to feel like work. So, I am going to keep blogging, but with some changes (while I am in school). First, I will not have as much time to comment on others blogs. I wish I did, as I enjoy reading so many, and want to support fellow bloggers, but I just don't have the time that I used to for this. I will continue to support fellow bloggers by liking their social media posts, making their recipes, and spreading the word about how much I liked it, and their blog in general. Also, I won't be able to take as many photos, so the shots of the dish in the various stages of progress will not be as prevalent, at least for the next few months. And lastly, I will not be writing as much (and unfortunately, not editing as much), so posts will be short and sweet. But I promise to still put my heart into everything I do here at Birch & Wild. I love blogging, and I love being a part of the whole foods movement.

So here is a recipe that is simple, but elegant and delicious. You could serve this at a dinner party, or eat it as a main, alongside some poached eggs. It would also be nice tossed with some chickpeas for a protein boost. It is not really a typical salad, but it is a nice winter salad, when our bodies are having a harder time digesting raw vegetables. Ras el hanout is my new favorite spice blend. It is lovely and warming on cold winter days. I bought my blend at an awesome local shop called culinary conspiracy. They carry an amazing array of exotic spices/spice blends, and they are all excellent. In a larger city I think you could find ras el hanout at a grocery store that stocks middle eastern foods. I also found many recipes for it, like this and I might make my own in the future.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. And I wish all birch & wild readers a happy new year. All the best in 2016!



Roasted Carrot Salad w/ Ras El Hanout, Green Olives, Goat Feta & Red Wine Vinegar

Serves 4

*I don't usually toss my roasted vegetable salads with dressing, as I find too much dressing takes away from the wonderful taste of the vegetables (the carrots in this recipe are local, and so sweet). Instead, I sprinkle really good olive oil, fresh lemon juice, herbs, toasted nuts and vinegar of some sort (red wine vinegar in this recipe), and then finish with fine fine sea salt and fresh black pepper. This is a really fresh way to serve cooked vegetables that never disappoints.

2lbs organic carrots (local, if you can get them)

1 tablespoon of Ras el hanout

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of fresh black pepper

To Dress:

1/4 cup of toasted, chopped hazelnuts

squeeze half a lemon

1/4 cup crumbled goat or sheep's milk feta

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1/2 cup sliced green olives (I like Lindsay olives. Probably because they taste like butter)

3 tablespoons of Italian Parsley, finely chopped

3 drizzles of red wine vinegar and olive oil each

Plenty of Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

To Make:

Preheat oven to 350f.

Julienne the carrots and toss with the olive oil, sea salt, honey, ras el hanout and tahini. Place on a parchment or tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake until cooked, but not mushy. The salad is much nicer if the carrots have a bit of texture but no crunch. I think I baked for 20 minutes, stirring once. Once the carrots have cooled, toss them with the green olives, Italian parsley and hazelnuts in a bowl. Place this all on a serving dish with a wide brim, or in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled feta all over, and some more chopped parsley. Drizzle with the red wine vinegar (about three tablespoons, if you want to get technical), and the olive oil. season with salt and pepper to taste, and place the sliced red onion on top. Serve warm or cold. It is delicious either way. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Porridge w/ Pumpkin Butter, Toasted Hazelnuts & Orange Zest

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog lately, due to being crazy busy this summer. But I am settling into fall now. I have pulled out all of my cozy sweaters, and I am starting to put some of my garden to bed for the winter. I am actually looking forward to fall this year (still not looking froward to winter though). I love the coziness of fall. The beautiful touches of gold in the forest, the crispness in the air, the desire to turn my stove on again after a ridiculously hot summer. I also love all of the warm and comforting fall foods, like soups, and roasted vegetables, warming spices, curries and porridge. It's what I am craving now, as my body settles into the colder temperatures and prepares for the real cold. I am looking forward to knitting, and wearing big sweaters and reading when I can find the time

This porridge is dead simple to make and can be adapted to your tastes. I used brown rice because it was the cooked grain I had on hand, but millet, quinoa or buckwheat would be lovely here. The porridge comes together in no time at all, and is really lovely. In fact, I hadn't even planned to photograph it, but it was just so darn nice I had to. Plus, I wanted to show off the sunflowers and amaranth I grew from seed!

Brown Rice Porridge w/ Pumpkin Butter, Toasted Hazelnuts & Coconut Milk

Serves 2-3

1 cup of cooked brown rice (I like to sprout mine first)

1 1/2 cups of coconut milk (or more, if you like a runny porridge)

3 medjool dates, chopped fine (this is generally how I sweeten porridge)

Zest of 1 orange (make sure it is organic, or you will be adding the zest of chemicals into your food)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup of pumpkin butter (I may post a recipe for this later. If you don't have pumpkin butter on hand, add 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree + 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg+1/4 teaspoon of all spice+2tablespoon of pure maple syrup).

10-15 whole, toasted hazelnuts (to toast, place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 350f oven. Toast for about ten minutes, being careful not to let them burn. They should be fragrant, but not black when you take them out of the oven).

1 banana sliced lengthwise

To make:

add the 1 cup of cooked brown rice to a medium sized stock pot. Toast for a moment or two by stirring the brown rice in the pot vigorously on a fairly high heat (being careful not to let it burn). Add the coconut milk, cinnamon, orange zest and chopped dates to the pot. Cook on a low heat until the milk warms. Add the pumpkin butter, stir it in, and cook for another two minutes on a low heat. Remove from heat and add equally to 2 or 3 bowls. Place the toasted hazelnuts on top, add a few banana slices and sprinkle some more cinnamon on top. Adjust sweetener to your taste (I use solely dates, plus the bit of sweetener that is in the pumpkin butter, but you can add whatever you like). Enjoy!