Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roasted Garlic and Red Bellpepper Sandwich Spread

I was originally going to do Muhammara, syrian red bell pepper and walnut dip. I had all the ingredients, except pomegranate molasses, didnt want to make it without the molasses, that too when i get it here in every grocery, so shelved the muhammara for some other day and made this simple spread with roasted pepper,garlic and nuts. 
The spread tasted delicious the nuts gave a nice taste to the spread. We enjoyed the spread in a sandwich and also in my dosa today. 

Ingredients
2 medium red bellpeppers
1 large onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 green chilies
3 nos walnuts
3 nos cashewnuts/almonds
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
  • Wash and cut the peppers into chunks. Chop the onion into chunks. Take chopped veggies in a baking sheet, add garlic,green chilies and olive oil. Mix well to coat the oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes
  • Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until the veggies look wilted and little charred on top. Take it off the oven, let it cool for 15 minutes.
  • Take the contents into a blender jar, add salt and blend until smooth. Remove it onto a serving bowl and serve along with roti/bread or even idly/dosa. I smeared it on my dosa today morning and enjoyed chutney masala dosa.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ridgegourd peel & Mint leaves Sandwich Spread/Chutney

For the second day, i came up with a savory spread with minimal ingredients i found in my refrigerator. Seriously, i didn't go for grocery shopping this week. i m yet to get fresh vegetables, all i had was 2 ridgegourds,  i was thinking on making ridgegourd chutney or ridgegourd kootu. Then it struck i can make some savory spread for tomorrow's breakfast with the peels, so went ahead and make kootu/dal with the ridgegourd, and reserved the peels for this yumm spread. 
None will believe it is made of peel, just add the right ingredeints together and you have yet another spread for your roti/bread. 
Do not reduce the green chilies here, the spread will turn out bland. If you want a astringent taste to the spread, then add juice of half lemon after blending. I liked it as such and it tasted yumm with the toast along with Garlic mint butter and i also had it with roti's for my breakfast, loved it totally!!

Ingredients
peels from 2 ridgegourds, approximtely 3/4 cup, tightly packed
1/2 cup mint leaves
3 green chilies
3 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp freshly grated coconut 
salt to taste

Method
  • Wash the peel well in running water. Heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil. When it is hot, add garlic andgreen chilies to it, saute for 2-3 seconds.Next add the washed peels and saute until they wilt a bit. Take abotu 8-10 minutes in simmer flame.
  • Take it off the stove, add mint leaves and coconut to this hot pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • Take all the sauteed ingredients in a mixer jar, add salt and blend well. Add 2 tbsp of water and blend. Do not add too much water. The mixer might get stuck because of the peels. Be patient, open the mixer, use a spoon and mix it well, and blend again. 
  • Transfer the spread to a serving bowl. Serve along with toasted bread or make a Cutney cheese sandwich.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Garlic Mint Butter

The Last week of Cooking Carnival 2016, i chose the theme : Spreads.  According to Wiki, a spread is a food that is literally spread, generally with a knife, onto food products such as bread and crackers. Spreads are added to food in order to enhance the flavor or texture of the food, which may be considered bland without it.
When thinking about spreads, the first thing struck me was butter. I lovee butter on my toasts and on parathas's, who doesn't right? So, the first recipe i made was this Garlic butter, it is way easy to make than i imagined. Just blitz and freeze, you have finger-licking butter for your next day breakfast.

Ingredients
1 stick butter, softened
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
5-6 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp pepper powder
1/4 tsp salt
Method
  • Take butter, garlic cloves, mint leaves, pepper and salt in a food processor bowl. Blend to combine.Remove the butter on to a cling wrap or parchement paper. Roll and refrigerate until set.Use as required as a spread on toast, parathas, soups.
  • I served them on toast along with Mango, Pomo & Orange smoothie, Another yumm ridgegourd peel and mint leaves chutney and red bell pepper dip.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mango Pomo and Orange Mocktail - Vegan Smoothie

No, i have not changed into a Vegan. But, i m loving this experiment with vegan smoothies. All these days, i have used either yogurt or milk to make smoothies. Then came the gyan of tender coconut water, i so love that refreshing taste. Now next, water along with fruits, make it so rich and yummy, you never miss milk in that.
Today's smoothie is an inspiration from another recipe, which i came across recently. I don't remember the source, but i vaguely remembered the ingredients. 
While making this mocktail, I first added just 1/4 cup of orange juice, couldn't taste any traces of orange, then i emptied the whole cup. Let the drink rest for 5-10 minutes for the flavors to mingle before serving. It is thick delicious, keeps you filling, goodness of  fruits, zero sugar, everything healthy served in a glass. 

Ingredients
1 sindri Mango, cut into chunks (Fresh mango, cut into chunks and frozen)
1 pomegranate  arils/pearls
1 cup fresh orange juice
Method
  • Take pomegranate pearls/arils in a blender jar, add 1/4 cup of water and blitz. Do not grind/blend continuously. Blitz it 4 or 5 times. Strain the juice and discard the seeds. 
  • Take mango chunks in the same blender jar, add 1/4 cup of water and blend smooth. To this add fresh pomegranate juice and orange juice and blend again,
  • Pour in glasses and serve. This smoothie can be refrigerated and served even after 4 or 5 hours. It stays amazingly fresh and delicious.
  • Frozen mango helps it getting the smooth rich and creamy. If having fresh mango, try to freeze the pulp for at-least 3-4 hours and then blend. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Plum & banana coconut water smoothie

I m starting to love coconut water smoothies. The taste of Green grapes and chia with Coconut water was so refreshing, i wanted to try another combination with it. Today's recipe with plums and banana is yet another delectable one. 
The natural sweetness of plums and coconut water, take this smoothie to another level. Try using sweetest plums, banana helps in increasing the volume of the smoothie, gives it a thick-shake like texture.  If you are adventurous, you can skip the banana and using just plums and coconut water and add chia for some visual treat. I m going to experiment more with coconut water more, will keep you  all posted here. 
Ingredients
3 now red plums, well ripened
1 no banana
1 cup chilled coconut water
Method

  • Wash the plum, remove the stone, chop them into cubes.
  • Peel and chop the banana into chunks. Take them into a blender jar, add  coconut water and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pear Banana and Dates Smoothie

The title rings with PB&J, really i wanted to make a smoothie that rhymes with that. but what to use for J, i don't want use jelly? Ok, coming to today's smoothie, it was something i made throwing in all the last minute to live fruits. Yes, there was a pear with a waning call of attention and banana hidden among-st my son's test papers. If i threw them in the dust bin, there will be this gruesome guilt feeling of food wastage. 
So i turned them into my breakfast today. The dates in the smoothie gives a nice earthy sweet taste, that is not too overpowering like that of sugar. The taste of pear is totally masked by banana and dates. The pistachio garnish, makes it look like kheer and my kiddo happily finished it after his breakfast. Total paisa vasool smoothie!!!
Ingredients
1 small pear
1 small banana
5 nos dates, pitted
1 & 1/4 cup of milk
few pistachios for garnish
Method

  • Wash pear, core and chop it into chunks. Peel and chop the banana into chunks. Take both pear and banana along with dates in a blender jar.
  • Add a cup of milk and blend until smooth. Add the remaining milk and blend again. Pour it in glasses, top with pistachios and serve immediately.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vegan Green Grapes and chia seeds smoothie

Tender Coconut water, is the second best thing offered by nature, next to water. Back in India, every bus stop,train station will have a cart-vendor selling them any time of the year. I remember having them for Rs.10 and now they sell for Rs.40,sometimes even Rs.50. 
We had 4 coconut trees in our old house, back in Wallajah, a place near vellore. Appa built us a washing stone, next to it, as me and sister wanted one to sit and brush our teeth, every morning, enjoying the nature. It was heaven on earth, my brother used to have fresh coconut water, everyday straight from the tree. But later, due to some reasons, we had to sell that house and move to Chennai, life at the fast phase, we buy tender-coconut from street vendors.
Ok, coming to today's recipe, a refreshing drink with tender coconut and fresh grapes.  I have added lemon juice and ginger for that extra zing, it is purely optional, but i highly recommend them both. I would definitely make this as a welcome drink for my dinner/lunch parties. Serve it chill, and enjoy the freshness. 

Ingredients
1.5 cups green grapes, seedless
1&1/2 cup tender coconut water
1tspnchia seeds
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp grated ginger
Method
  • Transfer the tender coconut water to a serving glass and refrigerate for 20 minutes.This helps the smoothie to be chill.
  • Take 1/4 cup of tender coconut water in a small cup and soak the chia seeds for 10 minutes.
  • In a blender take green grapes and remaining tender coconut water and blend until smooth. Strain the smoothie using a strainer to remove the grape skin.
  • To this add chia seeds soaked water, ginger and lemon juice. Give a good stir. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Banana & Fig Smoothie.

Banana is a life saver, i know every house-hold must have at least 1 or 2 on their fruit bowl. I usually have a banana, whenever i feel low on energy or moody. Do you know it has a component called serotonin? that enhances your mood. Next time, if you feel low, try a banana, might bring a smile on your face. Apart from that, they add good volume to your smoothies and also acts as a natural sweetener. Today i bring you a healthy and refreshing smoothie with banana and figs.
Writing about figs, My sister, has a huge fig tree in their apartment compound and all the families there, enjoy fresh figs, whenever they want. I feel so jealous, when i think about it, nothing like plucking a fruit straight from the tree and munching it. The freshness and so organic, no pesticide, no sprays, wow, i feel so J!!! 

It is a fruit from middle-east and all these days i didn't even know how to pick right figs, such a bummer na! Recently i learnt, how to buy fresh figs. Fresh figs are very delicate and they don't stay good for long, their life-time is only 2 or 3 days, so if buying fresh figs look for that deep color and tender skin. If buying unripened ones, let them stay on the counter till they ripe, then store in the fridge and consume it within 2 or 3 days. Dried figs are available all year around, and are very easy to store.
Figs are well known for their health benefits. They are good in dietary fibres, potassium and good gut bacteria.  The next simplest form they can be enjoyed is in smoothies, blend them with milk and serve immediately you have yumm smoothie, to rev you up for the day. I had it today after my yoga workout and felt so good. 

Ingredients
1 medium banana
1 ripened fig
1& 1/4 cup of fresh milk, chilled
1/2 tsp chia seeds
Method

  • Take chopped banana and fig in a blender jar. Add 1 cup of milk and blend until smooth. Add remaining milk and blend again.
  • Pour in glasses, sprinkle chia seeds on top. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Carrot & ginger Yogurt Smoothie/Carrot More/Carrot Lassi

Starting our week 4 of Cooking Carnival 2016, Week 1 & 2 i did sandwiches and Week 3 was a Salad week, and now week 4 is going to be a Smoothie Week. 
I always make myself a big glass of smoothie, post my workout session, so all this week, it is going to be simple, yet great filling smoothies that energizes you instantly. i never use sugar in my smoothies, so it is all going to be naturally sweetened with the goodness of fruits. 
Today i bring you a yogurt smoothie with cooked carrots, spiced up a bit with ginger. It a refreshing drink to serve on a sunny day. It cools down the body and the ginger gives you that peppy feel. 
I already have a Gooseberry Yogurt smoothie, a savory smoothie, like this carrot smoothie. 
Ingredients (serves 2) 
1 small carrot, cut into roundels
1 tsp grated ginger
half a green chili (optional)
2-3 curry leaves
3/4 cup yogurt/curd, chilled
1/2 cup watere
salt to taste

Method

  • Take the cut carrot roundels. in a microwave safe mug, add 1/2 cup water and microwave cook at high for 3 minutes. Let it sit the microwave for another 2 minutes. Take it out. Drain the carrots, reserve that water, add it soup or rasam or to cook dal. You can also chill that water in the refrigerator and use it in the smoothie.
  • Let the cooked carrots cool for 10 minutes. Then take them in a blender jar, add grated ginger, chili, curry leaves and yogurt. Blend until the carrots are smooth.
  • Add water and salt, blend again until frothy. Pour it in glasses and serve. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mixed herb Quinoa & Chickpeas salad with Feta

The last recipe in the series of Salads, for Cooking Carnival 2016 is yet another quinoa recipe. This salad is something i didn't plan at all. i was about to do Khamang Kakdi, another cucumber salad. I bought fresh cucumbers, peanuts and kept everything ready. But then changed the decision at the last minute. I needed something filling for our dinner, so i made this mixed herb and quinoa salad, tossed it along with chickpeas. The salad was so delicious and peppy, hubby has requested me to make it again when we guests for lunch or dinner.
Ingredients
1.5 cups cooked quinoa (i used tricolor quinoa)
1 cup cooked chickpeas, ( i used canned ones)
2 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large tomato, chopped fine
handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
handful of mitnt leaves, finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp freshly pounded pepper
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
salt to taste

Method
  • I used 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa, cooked it with 3/4 cup of water and i got 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. Drain the quinoa well. Take the drained quinoa in a large bowl.
  • I used canned chickpeas, drain the chickpeas well, rinse it with running water . Add the drained chickpeas to the quinoa bowl.
  • Add the rest of the veggies, chopped cucumber, onions, tomatoes, chopped mint and coriander leaves. Toss well to combine.
  • Squeeze juice out of 2 lemons, drizzle it over the tossed salad. Add pepper powder and salt. Toss to combine.
  • Let the salad sit for 20 minutes, for the flavors to combine. While serving, serve it garnished it with feta cheese. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mixed Beans and Rice Salad

We had a long weekend this week, and after 2 days of office, again weekend is here. Kids are at home for the whole week. Though i like them at home, i hate when my whole routine gets thrown out of the window. I cannot go for my workout, no sudden grocery runs, my schedule gets totally tattered. 
My Lil one, usually gets up early, that too on a holiday, he wakes up on the dot. As soon as he wakes up, he wants his breakfast. My elder one has a totally different time. So, i will be doing breakfast 3 times, including myself. I wish they don't give long holidays like this and turn mom's like me to mean creatures!
Many a times, i pity the teacher, who has to handle a bunch misfits from morning till noon and again go back and handle her own pack at home, ehhh!!! Been there, so i know how tough is a teacher's job!!
So, on days like this, after a whirlwind of cooking, i just feel like having a filling salad for my lunch, just me and my bowl. This bean and rice salad is one such recipe, that fills you up as a meal and also gives the satiation of eating healthy. You can use brown rice, wild rice or even go for barley, if you don't want to eat rice. I had some leftover rice from yesterday's lunch, i just used it up in this salad. 

Ingredients
1.5 cups mixed beans (a mix of garbanzo, kidney beans, mung beans, moth beans, whole masoor, white beans, black-eyed beans)
1 cup cooked rice/white rice/brown rice (i used leftover white rice)
handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
handful of mint leaves chopped fine
2 green chilies, chopped fine
juice of a lemon
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
  • Soak the mixed beans overnight or at least 6 hours. Drain the soaked beans, add fresh water to immerse the beans completely. Add 1/2 tsp salt to it.  Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release on its own. Drain the water completely. Take the drained beans in a large bowl.
  • If using leftover rice, microwave it for 30 seconds, and make it little warm. Add warm rice to the beans bowl. Toss well to combine. 
  • To this bowl , now add chopped coriander, mint leaves, green chili, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Give it a good toss to combine well. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Serve it immediately or refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve chilled.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fruit Salad with Poha and almonds/ Fruit salad with Rice flakes and almonds

Today salad is inspired from poha amma used to have during her fasting days. A simple mix of poha, coconut and sugar tossed together. I thought of doing a spicy fruit salad for today, then suddenly the idea of adding poha to it clicked. 
I wouldn't say it was out of the world, but it was a filling salad. May be adding some tropical fruits like pineapple, mango would have imparted a great flavor. 
I m sure going to try it again with mango again sometime later.  Loved the taste of chili and honey together in the salad, gave a burst of flavors here and there. 
Ingredients
1 cup poha/rice flakes, i used thick variety
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 an apple
1/2 a pear
1/2 an orange
1/2 a red plum
handful of green grapes, seedless
handful of almonds, toasted and chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
2 tbsp of honey
salt to taste
Method
  • Wash poha under running water for a minute, drain well. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Take the poha in a large bowl, add grated coconut,and sugar and mix well.
  • Wash all the fruits and chop them into thin slices. Keep the apple and pear slices soaked in lemon juice infused water. I added juice of half a lemon to a bowl and added a cup of water and used that to keep my apples soaked.
  • The grapes were seedless, so i added them whole. You can also chop them into two halves and add to the salad. Remove the skin, white pith and seeds of oranges and add the inner part alone.
  • Drain the apple and pear from the lemon water, drain well. Add them into poha bowl, add rest of the fruits too. Give it a good toss. 
  • To this add chopped green chili, honey and salt. Toss well to coat well. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to mingle. You can serve it immediately or refrigerate and serve chill. 
  • Just before serving, add in the chopped almonds . I reserved a 1/4 cup of poha, while serving, added the poha first, then spooned the salad from the bowl, topped with chopped almonds. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kachumbar Salad/Cucumber Salad

One of the simplest salad, that can be made in minutes. The previous Quinoa Kosambari, atleast had some soaking and cooking required, this has totally no cooking. You just have to chop, toss and serve. 
Serve them as part of meal or as an appetizer along with some roasted papad or pita bread. The spicy green chili and fresh mint are sure to tangle your digestive juices and keep your tummy ready for the next big meal.
If planning to make this as a meal, then i would recommend adding some legumes, like boiled chickpeas or black-eyed peas, or you can toss in some cooked grains like barley, brown rice or couscous. Keep the dressing simple and enjoy your salad.
Ingredients
1 lebanese cucumber
1 medium sized onion
1 medium sized tomatoes
1 green chili
1 tsp lemon juice (i didn't have lemon, so used lime juice)
2-3 mint leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly roasted and pounded cumin powder
few coriander leaves for garnish (i forgot to add)
salt to taste

Method
  • Wash, peel and chop cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Chop onion and tomatoes to the same size. Remember to remove the seeds and pulpy part of tomatoes, they will make the salad quite soggy.
  • Take the chopped veggies together in a large bowl, add salt and chopped green chilies and mint leaves, toss to combine.
  • To this add salt, lemon juice and cumin powder, toss again. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes, for the flavors to mingle. Serve garnished with a slice of lemon and fresh coriander leaves. 

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