The Sensitive Kitchen

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Signature Pumpkin Pie

Sweet and spicy is my signature flavor combination, and pie is no exception. Fresh ginger root and ancho chile powder pump up the flavor without adding much heat; half-and-half and a little extra sugar mellow the punch. The flavor develops in the fridge, so make these pies the day before you plan to eat them. Serve with big dollops of freshly whipped cream.

Pastry for a double-crust pie
2 (14-oz) cans organic pumpkin puree
6 eggs
2 c Sucanat or other dark brown sugar
2 1/2 c half-and-half (or 2 cans well-shaken evaporated skim milk)
2 Tbsp ancho chile powder
4 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Prepare pastry according to recipe directions. Divide pastry between two 9" pie pans; flute high edges. Freeze unbaked crusts until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in stand mixer. Place frozen crusts directly on oven rack. Pour pie filling into crusts, dividing filling evenly between crusts. Close oven; reduce heat to 350, then set timer for 45 minutes. Bake pies until just set in middle (pies will be slightly jiggly), rotating as needed to ensure even browning of crust. Cool completely on racks. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spicy Kabuli Chana Sundal

My older daughter loves the spicy kick of milagai podi, which our family fondly calls "gunpowder." This dish marries the idea of that dry seasoning powder with traditional sundal.


1 c kabuli chana (black chickpeas)
2 tsp coconut oil or ghee (divided)
1 or 2 red chiles
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander seed
1 Tbsp urid dal
1 tsp black mustard seeds1 tsp urid dal
6-8 curry leaves
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (to taste)

Soak chickpeas overnight in 3 times their volume of water. Drain, rinse and drain. Cover with fresh water. Pressure cook 20 minutes or until firm but tender. Drain; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil. Add chile(s) and peppercorns. When fragrant, add coriander seed and urid dal. When dal is light golden brown, remove spices. Grind to a fine powder; set aside.

While chickpeas are still warm, heat remaining oil over high heat in same skillet. When it shimmers, add mustard seeds and quickly cover. When they pop, add urid dal and curry leaves. When dal is light golden brown, add cooked chickpeas. Toss to coat with oil and drive off some moisture. Reduce heat to medium. Add spice powder and salt. Toss until fragrant. Remove from heat. Serves 4 as a snack or prasad.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Traditional Sundal (Basic Dry-Fried Chickpeas with Coconut)

Today is the first of the 9 days of Navratri, a Hindu festival celebrating the divine feminine. People throw parties in their homes, dance, and of course eat! One of the many variations of sundal, a very simple dish of spiced cooked beans, is usually enjoyed every night. This is the most traditional kind.


3/4 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp coconut oil
1-2 dry red chiles
3/4 tsp black mustard seeds
3/4 tsp urid dal
1 pinch asafetida
10 curry leaves
2-3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight in triple their volume of water, or quick-soak them by bringing them to a boil in triple their volume of water, then letting them stand for 1 hour. Drain; cook or pressure-cook in water to cover until soft but not mushy. It's traditional when making sundal to cook the chickpeas "al dente" (with a bit of bite). Drain chickpeas, reserving cooking liquid for another use (soup stock, chapati dough, etc.).

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add chiles. Toss to coat with oil, then add mustard seeds and urid dal. Cover immediately. When popping subsides and dal is golden brown, add asafetida and curry leaves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant (this will take only a few seconds). Add drained chickpeas and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until well coated. Add coconut; remove from heat and stir well. Serves 4 as a snack or prasad.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Salmon with a Sweet and Smoky Spice Rub

This is my go-to salmon recipe and one my family greatly enjoys.
4 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cumin
 1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano, crushed between fingers
 1/2 tsp cayenne 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all spice ingredients together in a small glass jar with lid. This mixture will coat 4-6 sides of salmon. Use the rub in equal parts with Sucanat or dark brown sugar. Use 2 Tbsp of rub and 2 Tbsp of sugar for a 1-lb filet. Spread mix over filet. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until salmon just flakes with a fork.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Energy Laddoos

My 8-year-old has been coming home from school "hangry." She insists that she is NOT hungry, in the grumpiest manner possible. It would be cute if it weren't so annoying. I decided to give her something with dessert appeal so she'd eat despite "not being hungry," but nourishing enough to not cause a blood sugar crash later. She loves these. I'm working on a more Indian version so it will be worthy of the name "laddoo"; perhaps cashew and coconut with some cardamom.

1/2 c unsweetened peanut butter
1/3 c honey
3/4 c rolled oats
1/2 c unsweetened dessicated coconut, toasted until golden brown
1/2 c wheat germ
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Mix ingredients together in order listed. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1" balls, buttering hands if necessary. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Balls will firm up and become easier to handle in fridge. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

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