Tag Archives: cilantro

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

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Nectarine and Roasted Corn Salsa

This salsa is so perfect! I had a farm basket delivered a few weeks ago with random produce and decided to pair corn with nectarines. I love both of these things! Nectarines are so sweet and delicious, and corn has a lovely sweetness too. This salsa tastes amazing plain, with chips, or on tacos, salads or anything really! If you are entertaining, this dish is sure to amaze.

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DSC_0728You will Need

  •  1 ear of roasted corn
  • 2 nectarines
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime

Step 1: Roast the Corn

  1. Preheat the oven  to 425°
  2. Remove corn from husks and lay on a baking sheet
  3. Spray evenly with cooking spray, butter or whatever oil you prefer
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once half-way
  5. End result is this beautifully sweet, roasted corn.

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DSC_0711Step 2: Prepare the salsa

  1. Remove corn from cob by holding upright on a cutting board, and cutting downward.
  2. Remove pits from 2 nectarines and chop into fine pieces
  3. Chop half a red onion
  4. Finely chop half a jalapeño, seeded if you prefer less heat
  5. Finely chop cilantro
  6. Chop 2 small tomatoes, or 1 large tomato
  7. Combine all the ingredients
  8. Toss with the juice of 1 lime and salt.
  9. Serve!

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Southern Style Green Tomato Dal

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I’ve had Green tomatoes before in the form of “fried green tomatoes” southern style. But I wanted to see if there was another way I could use them, since I’m not so big into southern cooking. When I think of comfort food, I think of a different kind of southern cooking–dal and rice! There’s a dish my mom makes all the time, Nimbu Rassam, which is basically a dal (yellow moong), but with South Indian spices and lemon juice.  Green tomatoes hold their shape much better than regular tomatoes, which go to mush when cooked. This dish uses tomato to give the dal the sour flavor instead of lemon, and it’s nice because you have small chunks of tomato to chew on here and there 🙂 I enjoyed it with a vegetable curry and rice!

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Beat the Heat with Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Cucumber and Scallions

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This is one of my favorite dishes. It is really easy to make and it is great to entertain with too. In many restaurants they serve it cold as an appetizer. For this recipe I used soba noodles, which is made with buckwheat flour.  The dish is easy to make, using a sauce peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar and cayenne pepper.  You mix it all together with some cold cucumbers, scallions and fresh cilantro and you a refreshing meal!

Health Stuff

Buckwheat is an extremely healthy food and if you are not using it in your diet you should be! It is gluten-free and packed with essential nutrients like manganese, magnesium and copper. The nutrients in buckwheat help with blood sugar control and studies have found that people who consume soba noodles have a lowered risk of developing cholesterol problems.  The noodles also cook quicker than egg noodles or pasta.

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You will need:

  • Soba noodles (you can find these in the asian section of any grocery store. The brand I used is called Wel Pac)
  • Crunchy unsalted peanut butter. (Try to use good peanut butter, not Jif)
  • Rice Vinegar (If you don’t have this, try lemon juice)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Half an English cucumber, seeded, peeled and sliced into small pieces
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Scallions, chopped

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To Prepare:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of  peanut butter, with 2-3 even tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Tamari, or soy sauce.

2. Whisk this sauce until  it is smooth and creamy. Add some warm water to loosen up the peanut butter. Taste the sauce! Add more of each ingredient to your taste. Tis is very important because each person has different tastes, some like it more salty, so add more soy sauce, some like it more tangy, so add more vinegar. But the important thing is to make sure the sauce is smooth enough to coat the noodles. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper at the end.

3. Make sure the veg are prepped. Chop a bunch of scallions, cut up some cilantro (I don’t like to finely chop this for this recipe, let the leaves show nicely throughout), and peel, seed and slice an english cucumber.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in the soba noodles. The packet comes with 3 bunches of soba noodles. I used one for 2 servings. Cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer the noodles to the mixing bowl to mix together with the sauce.

5. When the noodles have cooled enough, add in the cold ingredients and mix well.

6. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator and serve!

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Servings: This recipe makes enough for 2 as I made this for me and my roommate. Increase the quantities for larger groups.

Lentil and Mushroom “Taco” Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Avocado Lime Sauce

I can’t get enough of these lettuce wraps! The recipe I made was supposed to feed four, but the two of us finished it off at once! I’ve been  low-carbing it lately–don’t ask why. For the recipe I used Boston Bib Lettuce, because they are so pretty, but you can use regular taco shells, tortillas, or iceburg lettuce. The “tacos” in this recipe are made out of lentils and cremini mushrooms, with red pepper and onion. It has a nice hearty feel to it without using the meatless crumbles which are mainly gluten and not very nutrient-rich. I used my own taco seasoning for this recipe!

DSC_0122The taco seasoning was made from:

  • 2 tbsp Paprika (smoked or sweet)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp  cumin powder

Use any combination of these ingredients and it tastes just like taco seasoning from a pouch, without all the preservatives and sodium.  I topped this with a creamy avocado lime sauce and a side of home-made pico de gallo. The pico was just onion, tomato, a little bit of jalapeño and cilantro, lime and salt.  Delicious! I’m definitely making more!

For the Tacos:

You Will Need

  • 1 cup cooked lentils. (soak cook the lentils beforehand in a little bit of vegetable broth, or  just water and salt)
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper , chopped
  • A handful of sweet corn (I used well-rinsed canned in this recipe)
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Optional: Half a jalapeno for spice

To Prepare

  1. In a saucepan,  heat up a few tbsps of olive oil and drop in 1-2 tsp of cumin seeds
  2. Allow them to sputter and add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the Bell pepper and  jalapeño and saute for a minute more.
  4. Add the spice mixture: 1 tbsp garlic powder,  2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp onion powder and salt as desired. Be careful not to let this burn. Stir quickly and add the next ingredients.
  5. Add the lentils and a half a cup of water and let it simmer.
  6. Add in a handful of sweet corn. Stir, adding water if needed.
  7. Let this simmer, adding water whenever necessary for about 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve! DSC_0135

For the Avocado Sauce:

You will need

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Lime
  • Cumin Powder
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt n’ peppa

To Prepare

  1. In a bowl, mash 2 extremely ripe small avocados with 3-4 tbsp greek yogurt, the juice of half a lime
  2. Mix well, add a tsp of cumin powder, salt and pepper
  3. Add water or lime juice until you reach your desired consistency–creamy and delicious!
  4. Mix in finely chopped cilantro

Serve with pico de gallo and tacos. This makes an excellent dip too to munch on with tortilla chips!

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Stufft Poblano Peppers with Goat Cheese and Crumbled Tofu

Over the break I wanted to treat my parents to a nice, healthy meal that was a treat for the eyes and the tummy. My cousin Vika had made this really yummy dish over Thanksgiving, that really was the highlight of the meal. His dish had charred poblanos and was stuffed with peppers, beans and goat cheese. I decided to make a variation of this and give it more substance using crumbled tofu! It passed the test. Even my little sister, who is a huge critic of health food loved it!

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Crumbled tofu has no flavor but has an interesting  texture. It’s basically just regular extra firm tofu that you crumble using a fork. Tofu has very little flavor so be sure to use plenty of salt when doing this and wring out excess water using a cheesecloth. Lay the tofu out to dry before using.

**TIP: This works great as a vegan/Indian vegetarian alternative to scrambled eggs. DSC_9408

 

 

I broiled the poblano peppers and stuffed them with a mixture of tofu, beans, veggies and goat cheese and served it in a tomatillo sauce. (Also super simple to make but will post a recipe in another post.

All in all, a protein-packed, healthy, spicy delight! Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • Extra firm tofu (1/4 of packet crumbled)
  • 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 orange pepper chopped
  • Canned sweet corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • About a 4 oz goat cheese packet
  • Assorted beans (I had some extra from other recipes but I just used a handful of garbanzo and a handful of black beans)
  • Cilantro

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Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 400-425
  2. On a baking sheet spray olive oil on peppers and
  3. Crumble the tofu and let it sit  on a towel to remove some of the liquid.
  4. Prepare any veggies you will be using

Directions

  1. Broil the peppers for about 15 minutes turning  the peppers about half way. When done, the peppers will have a nice char, but not too charred
  2. Once the peppers are cooled, gently slice the pepper on one side lengthwise so that it can be stuffed. Remove veins and seeds. Remove excessively charred skin gently.
  3. In a wok or saucepan  saute peppers. Add the tofu and let it brown slightly. Mix in beans, corn and goat cheese. Depending on the consistency you can add more goat cheese. Taste to make sure the mixture is seasoned with enough salt and pepper.
  4. Grab the pepper in one hand and spoon the mixture in with the other hand. It should be enough for 4 peppers.
  5. Garnish with salsa and serve with warm Tomatillo salsa.

Serves 4

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