Tag Archives: cucumber

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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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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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.

Mango Tandoori Tofu Pizza and Cucumber Mint Salad with Citrus-Sesame Dressing

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This  recipe is slightly indulgent and simply divine. The semi-homemade portion of the recipe is the garlic naan, which I purchased from Trader Joe’s, but you are welcome to make your own if you can.  It is topped with lightly fried tofu cubes in a makhani, or butter masala gravy (inspired from vahrehvah.com), chunks of tangy mango fruit, and sliced pepper and red onion, a mild cheese and cilantro.  The salad complements the spice of the pizza with cool cucumber, mint and corn with a citrus-sesame vinaigrette. There are several steps, but it is relatively simple to replicate, and if you are entertaining, it will be both a visual and sensory delight!

Health Stuff:

Stufft is about eating clean and veg, but ‘clean’ is not devoid of indulgence once in a while. There are a few substitutions in this recipe that make it healthier options. For example, I used tofu instead of paneer, and low fat milk instead of heavy cream. I also paired it with a fresh salad and topped the pizza with tons of veggies.

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Part 1: The Tofu Masala

You will need:

  • Extra firm tofu, DSC_7862cubed, dried
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Ketchup
  • 1 large tomato
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Red chili powder
  • Garam masala powder
  • Kasoori Methi
, or dried fenugreek leaves
  • Low-fat milk
  • Salt to taste

To Prepare:

1. (optional) Lightly fry the cubed tofu until golden-brown

2. In a saucepan, sauté a small yellow onion, chopped or half a medium onion.

3. Add ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, and 1/2 tsp red chili powder. (adjust spices to taste)

4. Add around 2 tbsp tomato paste, and 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (trust me, it tastes good!).  Add water, salt and a pinch of kasoori methi.

5. Bring the gravy to a boil, add tofu pieces and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from flame and add milk, stirring constantly. It will taste exactly like a makhani gravy!

6. Set aside.

Part 2: The Pizza

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Toppings:

  • Tofu butter masala
  • Red, Yellow, Orange peppers sliced into rings
  • Red onion, sliced into rings
  • Frozen mango chunks, cut into smaller pieces
  • Mild cheese (like mozzarella)
  • Cilantro

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Toast the garlic naan for 1-2 minutes
  3. Layer the tofu masala (warmed) on the garlic naan
  4. Scatter a few pieces of frozen mango, unthawed
  5. Top with a layer of peppers and onions, and finish with cheese
  6. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese melts
  7. Finally, turn on the broil setting for the final 1-2 minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro or red chili powder

Part 3: The Salad

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  1. Dressing: combine ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp sesame oil (a little goes a long way), salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Salad: peel and cut 1 cucumber finely, add sweet corn and chopped mint into a mixed green salad.

Enjoy!

This recipe makes around 4 pizzas

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