Summer Squash Curry

DSC_0006I know it’s not summer yet, but I got these beautiful zuchinnis and yellow squashes in my farm basket last week. Zuchinni is not something you typically find in India  and is uncommon in Indian cooking. But Indian cooking does feature dishes with water-based vegetables and I thought I’d try it out. I decided to make a squash curry. It turned out great! Curry, for non-indian readers, doesn’t always mean a gravy-based spicy dish. It includes stir fried dishes with spices as well.  Zuchinni is a low-calorie, water-dense vegetable that is high in Vitamin A and C, magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6.  More importantly, my dinner guests loved the combination of yellow and green. It was a feast for the eyes! This recipe was super simple, takes only 10-15 minutes from start to finish.

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Creamy Red Lentil Dal with Coconut Milk and Spinach (V +GF)

Those who know me know that dal is one of my favorite dishes. I can barely go a week without making it. It is filling, packed with protein and fiber, and quite honestly is any Indian’s comfort food. But sometimes it is nice to make a different take on the traditional dal. I  was inspired by some of the ingredients I had at home to make a nutritious one-pot version using a can of tomato sauce (tomato puree), coconut milk and a bunch of fresh spinach. This turned out so great! Warm, hearty, filling. The best part is that I froze half of the recipe and when I reheated it 2 weeks later it tasted just as good!I served it up with some brown rice and simple roasted cauliflower that I stuck in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes seasoned  with some salt, garlic powder and pepper. I hope you love it!

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Brunch! Mini Quiche Cups and Spicy Skillet Potatoes

I love brunch! It is always so filling and flavorful. I have always wanted to make these egg cups, and have tried a number of different recipes for it in the past. This time I adapted the recipe found on this blog, and it turned out great! The recipe called for heavy cream, but this can very easily be replaced with milk. I consider myself a dairy reducer and make as many vegan choices as I can, but once in a while I do enjoy a good traditional brunch. 🙂

The best thing about these muffin cups is that they stay for a few days in the refrigerator quite well. I packed the cups with a number of veggies: peppers, onion, broccoli and spinach and topped with just a little bit of sharp cheddar.  On the side was spicy and delicious breakfast potatoes! So easy to make and so delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Mini Quiche Cups

You Will Need:

  • 12 eggs
  • Veggies: 1 cup broccoli florets,   1/2 medium onion, a few handfuls of spinach,  1/2 large red pepper, diced finely (you can add any veggies you like)
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • Grated sharp cheddar (can easily be optional)

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To Prepare:

  1. In a pan, saute 1/2 medium red onion for a few minutes, add in red pepper, broccoli, saute for a few more minute, add salt  and chopped spinach at the very end and remove from flame. Allow this mixture to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 °
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk and eggs and whisk, add the cooled veggies. I used milk instead of heavy cream, but heavy cream will allow for a slightly fluffier consistency.
  4. Using a greased 12 cup muffin pan, ladle the mixture into the cups evenly.
  5. Top the cups with cheese.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I usually stick a fork into it to make sure the cups are firm, and then remove.
  7. Allow to cool and serve! Hint: Tastes awesome with salsa.

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Skillet Potatoes:

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You will need:

  •  4 red potatoes,  diced into cubes
  • 1 med onion, and 1 red pepper, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 serrano chilies (seeded if you like less heat)
  • Paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Pepper
  • Scallion for garnish

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dsc_0024To Prepare:

  1. Saute onion, chillies and pepper  in a skillet
  2. Grate in 2 cloves of garlic
  3. Add 1 tsp paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste
  4. Add potatoes, stir and reduce flame to medium.
  5. Cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is one of those dishes where it’s ok for the bottom to char a little bit, it adds flavor.
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked through, season with scallions and serve!

Makes 4-5 servings

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Buttered Radishes with Thyme

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s no longer Christmas here in India. But I’m not ready to lose the holiday spirit. Today’s recipe will be super quick and simple. Radishes and turnips, with the turnip greens in a light thyme butter sauce. Both turnips and radishes have lots of nutrients. I added turnips to mellow out the strong flavor of radish. I also added the turnip greens, which are slightly bitter. Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin Eand vitamin B6. They are a very good source of potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, iron and phosphorus.

All in all this recipe takes just 10 minutes to make. Makes an excellent healthy side dish or vegetarian holiday side.

DSC_0070.JPGYou will need:

  • 1 bunch turnips with greens
  • 1 bunch radish
  • 1 tbsp butter (or substitute such as olive oil)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper

To prepare:

  1. Slice the turnips and radishes in half, rinse well.
  2. Roughly chop the turnip greens.
  3. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of butter (you can add a bit of oil so it doesn’t brown too fast) .
  4. Once warm, add the turnips and radishes and about 3 sprigs of thyme.
  5. Toss well.
  6. Add a few tbsps of water and cover for about 1 minute.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

 

 

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Quinoa Pulao and Cilantro Mint Raita

My mom’s neighbor, Jaya aunty invited us over for dinner. I love when people from different parts and cooking styles invite us for dinner because there are new sources of inspiration. She made us a feast! Among the delicious south Indian fare was a quinoa pulao, made andhra style, almost like a biryani. The fact that it was made with quinoa made me feel so good about eating it! Quinoa is high in protein and is a healthy carb. It was sautéed with veggies, spices and had soya chunks in it to give additional texture  and protein. The dish was topped with fried onions and cashews.  A cool cucumber, tomato and onion raita on the side is a perfect complement for this warm, spicy pulao.  This recipe is not vegan, but the pulao can be made vegan. A vegan alternative to raita can be a cucumber salad, omitting the yogurt. A big thank you to Jaya aunty for sharing this delicious recipe!

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You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Nutrella (found in most indian stores)
  • 1/4 cup peas, a handfull of carrot sticks, any other veggies as desired (I added cauliflower)
  • 3-4 tsp of ghee (this adds a lot of flavor, but as a vegan option, canola oil is perfectly acceptable!
  • Spices: whole cinnamon stick, bay leaves, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder
  • Garnish: Fried onions, coriander, cashwews
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-11-29-27-amSoak Nutrela for 2-3 hours. Squeeze out water well. Cut in half if desired.
  2. Cook quinoa in rice cooker with 2 cups of water.
  3. Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a skillet, 1 tsp oil. Add a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf.
  4. Once the oil is hot add chopped onions, Saute for a few minutes and add the nutrela chunks.
  5. Add 2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp turmeric powder.
  6. Stir and add all the vegetables. Add 1-2 tsp salt and stir fry until cooked.
  7. Mix in the quinoa and a 2 tsp ghee or oil.
  8. Garnish with cilantro, fried onions and cashews. Yum!

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Cilantro- Mint Raita

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You will need:

  • Whole milk yogurt
  • 1 large vine ripened tomato or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and peeled
  • 1/2 red onion. (some people don’t like how strong the onion  is so use to taste)
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Cumin powder, red chilli powder, garam masala  if desired
  • Salt to taste

To Prepare

  1. Chop  veggies  finely
  2. Add 1 cup of yogurt to a bowl and add in some water
  3. Season the yogurt with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of cumin powder, and a pinch of red chilli powder. (You can sprinkle with garam masala if desired)
  4. Add in veggies and stir
  5. If it is too thick, add more  water, if too watery, add yogurt
  6. Garnish with chopped herbs, about a handful of cilantro and a few sprigs of mint
  7. Serve with the spicy quinoa pulao for a cooling effect

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Makes 4-5 servings

Spicy Apple Chutney (Thokku)

dsc_0046It’s thanksgiving week!  I went apple picking a few weeks ago and I felt this apple chutney dish would be a perfect vegetarian side dish for thanksgiving. Plus, it helped me use up the pounds and pounds of apples I picked! I bought both fuji and pink lady apples that were slightly tart. I made this chutney South Indian style, it’s actually called thokku in Tamil. It turned out great! I brought it to my office pot-luck and it was a success! Serve it with bread, on sandwiches or a relish to spice up any meal!

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Cold Asian Salads 2 Ways! Soba Noodles with Edamame and Ginger-Honey-Soy Dressing and Cucumber Sesame Salad.

That title was a mouthful! Summer was taking its time to leave us this year…not I’m complaining! I love the warm weather! So I treated myself to a refreshing lunch of cold soba noodles with edamame in a spicy honey-ginger-soy dressing with a side of cucumber sesame salad. The cucumber salad was so pretty! I used a peeler to make delicate little strips. It’s great to make ahead and stays well! The noodles were also super easy to make and would make an excellent side dish or light lunch when entertaining. Trust me, your guests will love it!

The kind of soba noodles I used was King Soba noodles with organic sweet potato and buckwheat. Soba noodles are japanese noodles made from buckwheat, which is a high-nutrient carb that scores low on the glycemic index.  I chose this particular buckwheat noodle mainly for the color, I felt it would contrast nicely with the edamame, cilantro and scallions, but any type of soba noodle will work.

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Honey-Ginger-Soy Soba Noodle Salad

You will need:

  • Soba noodles: They come tied up, you can use 2 bunches
  • Edamame
  • Carrot sticks (Or coarsely grated carrot)
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Dressing: Honey, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sriracha
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

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Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil
  2. Once it comes to a boil, dump the noodles in and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Check to see, to make sure it doesn’t get too starchy. It should not be al dente.
  4. Drain the noodles and submerge them in a bowl of cold water. With your hands, gently rub the noodles to remove the starch. This will help prevent it from clumping.
    • This is a really good blog post that shows how to prepare soba noodles step-by-step.
  5. In a blender, add about a 3/4 inch nub of ginger, skin removed, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, a squirt of sriracha . Blend until smooth.
  6. Taste, and add water depending on  how strong the flavor is. Add ginger for more spiciness, add honey for more sweetness.
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine soba noodles with 1/2 cup edamame, a handful of carrot sticks,  and the sauce. Mix well.
  8. Serve and garnish with  4 scallions, chopped, cilantro and sesame seeds.

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Cold Cucumber Salad

dsc_0005This recipe is super simple!

  1. Cut 1 English cucumber in half length-wise.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler peel the skin, and remove the seeds with a spoon.
  3. Continue peeling the cucumber so it falls in delicate, strips.
  4. Do the same with 1 carrot
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tbsp rice vinegar  and 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1-2 tsp sugar. Add a few chilli flakes for flavor and salt to taste. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Pour the mixture over the salad. This can be served immediately, or later. The flavor seeps in  more the longer you wait. It’s so delicious I can’t wait for you to try!

This recipe yields 2 servings. double for a larger quantity.

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