Tag Archives: cucumbers

Garden Veggie Indian Dish: A FarmerChef Takes On New Flavors

24 Aug
by Deanne

After a busy week of cooking the final meals for customers at our restaurant, we closed down restaurant operations on Sunday.  When the clock struck 9pm, we were tired but uplifted because of the overwhelming support from the community during the past week.

The following day Steve and I celebrated our freedom in the most American of ways – we took a road trip!  We headed south to Des Moines, Iowa to visit Steve’s sister and her family. After a pleasant afternoon visit with family, we ate at an Indian Restaurant we scoped out earlier that day via online reviews.  We have had very little experience eating Indian cuisine in the past, but we’ve been intrigued by the cuisine due to it’s reliance on vegetables and plant-based proteins, perfect for the budding FarmerChef! Needless to say, our dining experience sparked an even greater flurry of interest towards Indian flavors.

In our research after the fact, we found a website about herbs and a terrific explanation of  the confusion I have personally experienced over the term“curry.”  For example the term actually comes from a southern Indian word, kari, which means sauce. When our world traveler daughter, Francine, returned from a trip to India last year, she tried to explain that curry is a word used to describe a sauce rather than a distinct herb.  

A few days later Steve, expressing his passion for combining flavors and ingredients, came up with this surprisingly simple and tasty dish.  It’s loaded with veggies from our garden and carries an enormous amount of flavor too! It also has protein from three difference sources – chickpeas, peas, and tofu. For those of you who are concerned about the spice, don’t worry, this is a mild curry (sauce).

Garden Veggie Indian Dish

makes 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 carrots, coined
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 can chick peas (15.5 ounce)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 package firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 5 scallions

Dice the carrots, onion, green pepper, garlic, ginger, cucumber, and tomatoes and keep in separate piles before starting to cook.

Heat skillet or pan over medium heat, add canola oil and carrots.  Saute until they start to soften.

Add onions and green pepper and sweat until softened.

Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to break down.

Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. (Add water or soy milk to thin if needed.)

Return mixture to pan and add drained chick peas, peas and curry powder.  Stir to heat.  Adjust for salt depending on your tastes.  (1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp)

Add cucumber and tofu at the last minute and serve the dish over rice of your choice and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

The dish is easy to make and this time of year it is a novel way to use tomatoes and cucumbers which are abundant.   I didn’t even know there were tomatoes in the dish till Steve wrote up the recipe!

What is your experience with Indian cuisine and curries?

Have you ever chosen not to eat a dish because of popular culture?


Chinese Cucumber Salad

12 Jul
by Francine

It is finally cucumber time!  We’ve been waiting to share this great tasting salad that Luke and I figured out how to make when he visited me in China last summer.

This is a common cold salad that’s available at many restaurants; although each restaurant prepares it a little bit differently…some add roasted peanuts and others sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds.  I really loved having this salad during the hot summer months (which are now a forgotten memory since I had to wear a jacket and scarf whilst picking strawberries. In June.)A photo of a little dinner guest

I love that they recently served this salad as a FarmerChef special.  While reading over this recipe, I felt like I was sitting at a plastic table, enjoying some barbecued meat on a lazy summer evening! 

And it reminded me of this photo.  That little girl kept toddling over to me to give me boiled peanuts as her mother called me aunty. :) (A shout out to Jo…take-er of the photo.)

Chinese Cucumber Salad

makes 4 servings
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (a good brand is Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1 tbsp canola or another vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 dried bird chili, de-seededphoto of Chinese Cucumber Salad

First wash the cucumbers and cut off the ends. Halve the cucumbers cross-wise. Then cut into half lengthwise and then cut into quarters. Cut the seeds out and slice each quarter into 1 inch pieces.  Place the cucumber pieces in a large bowl. Generously salt and toss them, then refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the soy sauce, canola oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and chili powder in a separate bowl. Mince the garlic and cut the green onions into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the garlic and green onions to the dressing.

Cut the dried red chili into ¼ inch pieces and remove all the seeds. Add to de-seeded chili pieces to the sauce.

Remove cucumbers from the refrigerator and drain off the excess water. Pour the sauce over the cucumbers and stir to coat each cucumber evenly.

One note about the presentation—the oils quickly set so stir the salad once more before serving or throughout the meal.

Another thing you can do is reserve any leftover sauce (once the cucumbers have disappeared) as a marinade for a great stir fry!

Have you ever had cucumbers in a Chinese dish?  In Chinese the word for cucumber is huang gua (黄瓜) which translated literally, means yellow melon….it seems odd at first because cucumbers are green not yellow. But the yellow refers to the yellow flower of the cucumber.  Isn’t that fun!?