Tomato Rice Croquettes

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Yesterday’s lunch, Today’s snack! That is the story of these tasty little bites. They are simply tomato rice formed into oblong croquettes, breaded and deep fried. They make excellent little party appetizers or a kid-friendly quick snack.

I made this simple but yummy tomato rice (and later, croquettes) for my little guy who is completely in his ‘ terrible twos’ phase. One day he likes to eat, the next day he doesn’t even want to look at his plate, which is of course, frustrating for me. He loves his fruits, but veggies…that’s another story. He is an expert at picking apart carrots, beans and broccoli from his food, which he then neatly shoves into a corner of his high chair tray. So now I have resorted to pureeing the veggies and adding that to his favorite foods like pasta, idly and pancakes, which seems to be working, at least for now. For example, I sauté and puree beetroot/ carrots and add it to my dosa and idly batter, and he loves eating the colorful dosas and idlys.

Although I prefer my rice on the fluffier side, since I was making it for my toddler, I made it slightly mushy by adding more water than required, which helped in forming the rice into croquettes easily.

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Tomato Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in water for 10 mins

2 large tomatoes, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced

1 chicken bullion cube

1 tbsp. tomato ketchup

1/4 cup green peas (optional)

21/2 cups water

Oil and salt as needed

Method:

Drain the rice and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté till it becomes soft. Add in the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the chicken cube and the tomatoes and mix well. Add the green peas, if using. Sauté till the tomato is well cooked and oil begins to separate. Add the ketchup. Check for salt – since the chicken cube has salt in it, be careful while adding more. Add the drained rice to the tomato mixture and mix well. Pour in the water, mix until combined and cook on medium-low heat until the rice is done. Serve hot.

Croquettes

Ingredients:

Tomato rice

1 egg, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

Oil, for frying

Method:

Slightly mash and form the tomato rice into oblong croquettes. Dip them in the beaten egg, and roll in the bread crumbs. Deep fry. Serve hot.

 

 

Moroccan Harira — Healthy and Satisfying

 

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Harira is a delicious, protein-packed Moroccan soup usually served during the month of Ramadan to  break the fast and also during other celebrations. It is an excellent appetizer for parties and can also be used as a healthy and filling meal.

The soup, chock-full of tomatoes, chicken, chickpeas and lentils is gently simmered for a good hour and a half in fragrant spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric. I also add a generous amount of chopped ginger and garlic. The original recipe calls for the addition of long grained rice, which I am yet to try and chicken thighs, instead of which I use chicken breasts.

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and the cooking time. It is very easy to make and totally worth it. You know it is good when your two year-old toddler licks his bowl clean…:)

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Moroccan Harira

Original recipe by Emeril Lagasse , slightly altered. Find his recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/harira-moroccan-chickpea-stew-with-chicken-and-lentils-recipe.html

Ingredients:

1/4 pound dried chickpeas

3 tbsp olive oil

11/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices

11/2 quarts rich chicken stock

1/4 pound dried green lentils

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water. Rinse well, drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches, and cook until well browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add the onions and celery and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic. Add the turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring well. Stir in the chicken stock, lentils and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Adjust the salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for an hour and a half.

Remove the lid, add the cilantro, parsley and lemon juice and cook, covered for 5 minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.