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Poha with Veggies and Eggs

February 22, 2017
Poha with Veggies and Eggs Recipe | Fake Food Free

Am I the only person who didn’t know about poha? How did I miss this?

I feel like I have a basic knowledge of most cuisines, but as much as I enjoy Indian cuisine, poha completely slipped passed my radar. I first discovered it a little while back through Liana Krissoff’s Vegetarian for a New Generation. Her book contains a poha recipe and I was hooked immediately. 

Poha is a flattened white rice and when combined with spices, veggies, and eggs it’s like an Indian-inspired fried rice! There is something about it that I enjoy so much more than regular rice. Internet rumor has it that it’s easier to digest as well. But don’t take my word for that. I’ve just seen it around the web. 

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Simple Slow Cooker Mung Bean Soup

November 11, 2015

Simple Slow Cooker Mung Bean Soup Recipe | Fake Food Free | An easy, comforting meal for the busy holiday season.  
Soon, we’ll be frantically running out to the supermarket to get overlooked ingredients. Soon, we’ll forget what it’s like to shop during the holidays and find ourselves elbowing our way to a check-out line. Soon, we’ll be waiting in line at the post office (something we swore we’d never do again) to get gifts mailed before the last possible hour. 

Soon, no matter how hard we try to stay in control, things are going to get crazy. 

I love the holiday season, crazy or not. So I say bring it on! As long as I have some lights sparkling in the living room and cookies in the oven at some point throughout the season, I’ll take it. 

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Simple Yellow Split Pea Dal with Garam Masala

April 9, 2015

This easy yellow split pea dal is loaded with the delicious flavors of coconut milk and garam masala. It cooks quickly in a Crock-Pot-style slow cooker for a super simple side dish. 
Simple Yellow Split Pea Dal with Garam Masala | Fake Food Free | A simple slow cooker side dish that is flavored with coconut milk and garam masala.

I know what you are thinking. Really, Lori? Another recipe topped with an egg? Wait. I can explain.

You see, a few weeks ago I stocked up on lentils, dal and split peas of all varieties. Since then, I’ve thrown together some great Indian-inspired dishes. A few spices here and there, some stock, maybe some tomatoes and we’re good to go on the bean and legume group.

The problem? They are ugly. I mean, U-G-L-Y.

At the same time, though, they are super simple, and tasty with a capital T.

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Cookbooks for Christmas: Tandoori Chicken from How to Cook Indian

November 25, 2011

This is the third in my series of Cookbooks for Christmas with the purpose of sharing a few gift ideas for the foodie in your life. Be sure to check out the review and recipe from my other posts The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking and The Vegetarian Option.


After a week of eating traditional US favorites at every meal, it doesn’t take long for me to start craving something a little more culturally diverse in flavor. With this in mind last year, I set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2011 to cook more ethnic foods, specifically Thai and Indian. I’m sad to say I’ve failed miserably. 
I’ve done some recreation and my own versions of Asian and Indian-inspired foods, but my real goal was to cook authentically. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, but with only a few weeks left in the year, I’m not ready to give up just yet. 
So with a craving to put something different on my plate, I turned to my new cookbook – How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor. This monster of a cooking resource has been my reading material of choice for the past few weeks. Like a mystery novel I can’t seem to stop turning the page to see what happens next – to the curry, the coconut milk, the ground lamb and the chicken. 
I find this cookbook ideal for anyone ready to add a little diversity to their kitchen whether beginner or advanced. There are over 500 recipes. Yes, 500. Everything from what I consider standard Indian foods (which simply means they can be found on the buffet at my favorite Indian place here in town) to things I have never heard of before. It’s been an adventure in culinary discovery for me. 
No food photography in this one, but those spaces are filled with even more recipes and instructions that are straight forward and easy to understand. The book begins with base spice mix recipes for things such as Chai Masala and moves on to everything from vegetarian dishes, to lamb, to chicken, to fish. 
For each recipe name the original is given followed by a description for those of us not well versed in cuisines or languages of India. There is Pyaaz Ki Tarkari (Onions with tamarind), Kolhapuri Sukka Lamb (Spicy coconut lamb) and Maa Chole Di Dal (North Indian Lentils) to name just a few. 
This weekend my husband brought home some fresh chickens so we decided to go with what I consider rather classic – Tandoori Chicken. I say we because while he doesn’t make an appearance on the food blog often, he helped with this dish as much as I did. 
This was my first time making Tandoori Chicken at home and I have to admit, it was pretty darn easy. As long as you take into consideration marinating times with your preparation I have a feeling you will think so too. This recipe calls for either Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder which is what gives the chicken that identifiable red color. Mine didn’t turn out as red as varieties I’ve had before, but I think that is because I did use paprika instead of the chili powder.
The flavor of the chicken is outstanding. With all the spices and marinating flavor is fully infused into the meat. Delicious. And with 499+ recipes to go, there is a lot more where that came from!
Tandoori Chicken
Chicken marinated in spicy yogurt and baked
 Reprinted with permission from Abrams Books
This darling of the Indian palate, traditionally cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor, is one of my per­sonal favorites. Leaving the bone in ensures that the final dish will be succulent and juicy.
Serves 4.
1 (1¾-pound/800-gram) whole bone-in chicken
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chile powder or paprika powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon table salt
For the marinade:
1 cup (250 grams) plain yogurt, drained until thick
2 tablespoons fresh ginger paste
2 tablespoons fresh garlic paste
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or paprika powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons filtered mustard oil
To cook and serve:
2 medium red onions
Melted butter
½ teaspoon chaat masala
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces: 2 leg quarters and 2 breast halves. Make incisions in the flesh with a sharp knife. Put the chicken in a deep bowl. 
2. In a small bowl, stir together the chile powder, lemon juice, and salt, and rub it onto the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate. 
3. Make the marinade: Put the yogurt in a bowl, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, chile powder, salt, lemon juice, garam masala, and mustard oil, and stir. 
4. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and toss so that all the pieces are well covered with it. Cover the bowl again and put it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to marinate. 
5. Cut the onions into round slices and then separate the rings. Put in a bowl of iced water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside in the refrigerator until needed. This will keep the onions crisp. 
6. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Put the chicken pieces onto metal or presoaked wooden skewers, arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until almost cooked through. Baste with butter and cook for 8 minutes more. 
7. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with the onion rings and lemon wedges. 
Disclosure: A review copy of this cookbook was sent to me free of charge. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. 

Spinach Dhal

January 26, 2011

One of my new year’s resolutions was to cook more ethnic foods. Well, not only to cook them, but to learn more about them and the authentic ways to prepare Indian and Thai ingredients.

Let’s just say I’ve gotten off to a very slow start.

I’m still motivated to reach my goal though and last week I finally broke into a bag of moong dhal I’ve had in the pantry for a long while now. Moong dhal is a variety of mung bean, kind of like a yellow split pea.

I was flipping through the ThinkFood Cookbook I talked about last year and felt inspired when I found the Spinach Dhal recipe from Tastes Like Home.

After being soaked overnight moong dhal cooks up to be thick with a porridge-like consistency. This particular recipe has a spicy kick that is full of flavor with the whole spices that are added. I ate it with rice, but it could have easily been thinned slightly to create a delicious soup.

My husband was the real test though. He has a major aversion to peas. He dislikes them so much that it seems he can’t even be at the same dinner table with them. I’ll never forget the time we ordered a sandwich in Brazil and we bit into it to find it was filled with peas! Needless to say he went home that night and looked up the word for peas right away.

It’s ervilha in case you are wondering. This word guided our menu selection when dining out for the next 2.5 years.

So with the dhal’s similarity to split peas (more so than lentils, in my opinion) I thought he’d avoid it like the plague. Turns out he enjoyed it as much as I did.

This is the type of simple foods I want to focus on throughout our new year. They are so simple, yet the spices make them so complex in flavor.

This recipe will be emailed soon as part of the ThinkFood Cookbook listserv. If you are signed up, you will receive a recipe a week via email from the book. The ThinkFood Cookbook is also available for purchase.

Overlooking the fact that a Fake Food Free recipe is in the book, I have to say that it is a fabulous cookbook with all kinds of delicious recipes. I have made two recipes thus far and they have received rave reviews!

Potato, Chickpea and Lentil Curry

October 1, 2010

When I set out to cook Indian cuisine, sighs can often be heard throughout the kitchen. While I don’t consider most dishes difficult, I can never get them turn out like the foods I have in Indian restaurants (we haven’t been to India ourselves yet.)

Since I can’t seem to make the perfect authentic dish, I typically end up making something that incorporates a handful of different recipes. Our dinner on Tuesday night was a good example of this.

I intended to make aloo cholay which is one of my favorites. I ended up with different spices which likely created a different dish all together, but this time I have to say it wasn’t too bad at all. In fact, it has made quite a nice lunch the past couple days, perfect for the fall-like weather that has finally arrived!

On the side this time, I tried out some Cinque e’ Cinque, also called Farinata. Lucini Italia contacted me several weeks ago with an offer to give this gluten-free, vegan product a try. I almost composed a short response and deleted the email immediately because I was asked if I want to try their new mix. Knowing how I feel about mixes, I figured it would not be for me.

I decided to check out their site though and learned that the mix was actually just flour from chickpeas, custom proprietary milled flour. Some of the varieties also had added spices. As the mixer, I had to add water, olive oil and sea salt.

So I said send it on, and along came a generous box consisting of hand-picked, estate grown Italian olive oil, basil infused olive oil, pasta sauces in three flavors with minimal natural ingredients in BPA-free pouches, no sugar added pizza sauce, 10 year aged balsamic vinegar and bread dipping sauce.

So far everything has been outstanding. I was incredibly impressed by their use of quality ingredients and lack of fillers.

Yes, I realize that the Cinque e’ Cinque is Italian, but with it being chickpea flour I thought it would go wonderfully with an Indian dish. I was right. I received 3 flavors – traditional, rosemary and chili. I chose traditional and it was the perfect replacement for the usual couscous or rice. It has a look similar to baked polenta, but much smoother without all the graininess. With the simple olive oil and sea salt the flavor is delicious.

So, as you can see, not only do I seem to mix dishes of the same cuisine, but now I’ve taken it so far as to mix two cultures as well. Fortunately the Indian and Italian influences complemented each other nicely.

Potato Chickpea and Lentil Curry

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup lentils
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sea salt
Plain yogurt (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

Place the potatoes and lentils in a soup pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered with a lid, for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and cook 5 more minutes. Stir in the garam masala, turmeric and about 1 cup of additional water. Cook about 10 to 12 minutes more until the tomatoes have cooked down and disappeared, and the lentils and potatoes are tender.

Stir in the salt and top each serving with plain yogurt and chopped cilantro. Makes 4 to 6 servings.