Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Coriander, Coconut Masala Quinoa - Oh No, Not Your Traditional Coconut Rice

Coriander, Coconut Masala Quinoa - Oh No, Not Your Traditional Coconut Rice

Food fads come and fads go, one day there is research showing the benefits and the very next day there is research showing just the opposite. Off late with so much information available online it gets even confusing and harder to make the right choice, point in case is today's ingredient. Once upon a time eating coconut was deems extremely dangerous, cholesterol causing, fattening etc etc.. today suddenly there are so many studies suggesting its benefits. Go to any organic/ Whole food you would find tons of offerings of Coconut products from oils to butters to soap to paste. Well what ever the benefits might be for South Indian belle like me its just a staple, something that has bee used on a daily basis for generations.
The uses of coconut in a typical south indian home are many, growing up my hair was drenched in coconut oil, babies were massaged with coconut oil, infact every part of the coconut tree was used up starting from the fruit to the bark. Today's recipe is a modern adaptation of traditional Coconut Rice recipe.

Ingredients
Fresh ingredients

1 fresh coconut grated
2 cups of coriander washed and chopped
1~2 green chilies
1/2 cup green bell pepper/capsicum dices finely
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup grated carrot optional
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

Dry ingredients

2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1~2 elachi
1 tbsp of garam masala
2 big tbsp of channa dal
1/4  cup cashew nuts/almond/walnuts (nut of your choice to your hearts content)
1/2 tbsp of oil
salt according to taste

Process

1. In a shallow pan add oil and when oil gets hot add all the dry ingredients and sauté for a minute or two till you get a strong aroma
2. Grind coriander, mint, green chiles in a food processor and keep a side
3. Add the grated coriander, bell pepper and carrot and sauté till coriander is well fried and the raw smell is gone takes about 3 minutes
4. Now add the freshly grated coconut and sauté for another couple of minutes
5. Add boiled Quinoa, salt and fresh pepper and sauté till all the ingredients are mixed well

Remove from heat and adjust for salt and serve piping hot or at room temperature with some fresh coriander as garnish.
Guilt free, delicious and protein filled cannot ask for a better alternative. Eat it for dinner or lunch.You can also squeeze some fresh lemon juice if you would prefer.

On a different note, we at home have been feeling the gardening itch and started seedling indoors and one experiment with Hydroponics. Looking forward to a steady temperature to transplant them into the ground. Nothing excites me like seeing a sapling breaking the seed and out of the ground. Hoping all these plants would survive for the next couple of weeks.





Have a beautiful rest of the week my dear readers, chow .....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Avocado Taco's

Avocado Taco's 

When I first moved to US almost couple of decades ago, it truly was a cultural shock. Unlike today where every component of living can be mapped with the help of technology and social media, it was learning and adjusting every day. 
For the first couple of months every day was a something first, my first ride in train, my first library card, my first attempt at driving test( no guesses for how many times I had to take a test to get my license). Thinking back and reminiscing  “Everything First” days makes me so nostalgic, those days were filled with either/or excitement, triumph’s, experiments and learning. Cannot imagine how we survived without Google, Cellphones or Facebook and those expensive calls to India which were always rationed. 
Come one more year I would have spent my life exactly half in India and half in US. Time did fly by very quick and I have enjoyed every step of the journey so far and can’t wait to see what is in store ahead. A part of becoming Americanized and adjusting was adapting to various cuisines.  California and Bay Area in specific is a melting pot, Californian’s enjoy high quality and fresh food. The abundance of fresh produce and the ease of access make us very pampered and not to mention the Sunshine. 

Today’s recipe was inspired by the fresh Haas Avocado’s at the local store. Creamy, delicious and oh so nutritious. Spread the creamy Avocado on a whole wheat toast and sprinkle with fresh pepper and salt, boy my kind of snack any time.

Very easy to prepare and makes for an healthy snack or an appetizer. Recipe was inspired by here 

Ingredients Makes for about 10 mini sized Taco's
Whole wheat Tortilla's  or I used whole wheat Lavash bread
1 large ripe Haas Avocado
cup of Humus, I used spinach & feta humus ( you can substitute your favorite flavor) 
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
sriracha sauce
flavored oil such as garlic oil
sea salt 
fresh pepper
cilantro for garnish
 
Process
1. Warm Tortilla/ Flat bread slightly over the  pan on both sides
2. Cut Tortilla/ Flat into disks using a cookie cutter/pizza cutter
3. Slather Humus and lay a slice of Avocado on the top
4. Drizzle with garlic oil, generous Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper
5. Garnish with shredded cheese

7. Fold the disk to make a taco,sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
8. Fresh made Salsa makes for a perfect accompaniment
9. Perfect bite size makes it easy to eat and serve. Can't stop at one guaranteed 

This can make a perfect make your own Taco appetizer for your next party, serve multiple flavors of Humus, breads and various toppings, sauces and fresh slices of Avocado's for your guest to make their own creations.

So much healthier and better than your fried and run-of-the-mill appetizers.

Try it my dear readers and let me know what you think....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls 

We like many other families in the valley are always on the go. There is always a deadline looming, always some  project due, some exam to prepare and always, always a never ending task list. If you have lived in the bay area and are raising kids I see you nodding in harmony. As crazy and quick the weekdays passes by our family over the years have developed a Sunday morning ritual.
Usually or most Sunday mornings, all four of us head to our local bakery for breakfast. Its the usual for me and my husband, coffee and bagel and kids change it up every time. Over the last few visits both my boys started loving the huge cinnamon rolls slathered with frosting, gooey and delicious.
And when I saw a recipe for Quick & Dirty Cinnamon roles at Joy the baker, I knew I had to give it a try.

This is my adaptation of the original recipe. You can find step by step instructions of the original recipe here 
Ingredients

For Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk

For Filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup store brought cinnamon sugar )if you would like to make it home mix 1/2 cup sugar with 3/4 tbsp ground cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For Glaze
1/2 cup of condensed milk thinned with a 1 tbsp of sugar ( As I said its the easy version)

Process
1.In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted completely. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool from hot to just warm.
2.Place sweet milk and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the liquid. Stir to incorporate. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes to allow to yeast to activate, foam, and froth.




3. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and the egg yolk to the milk and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon or hand beaters with the dough hook attachment and stir or beat until incorporated. Add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough feels to wet. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few turns with your hands.


4.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
7.Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a roughly 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
Spread with about 4 tablespoons of butter.
8.In a small bowl stir together cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
9.Generously sprinkle over the melted butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.Slice into 6 pieces.
10.Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan. Place rolls in the pan leaving about 1/2 inch of room between them. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.


11.While the rolls rise, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and bubbling
12. Remove from oven and douse with condensed milk mixture and melted butter.
Serve them hot or at room temperature
Cinnamon rolls come out flaky, buttery and delicious. Serve with warm milk or hot coffee.

Pamper your loved ones with breakfast in the bed this Valentines Day with these rolls some hot coffee and lots of LOVE !!

Happy Valentines Day !!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Oats & Lentils Crepe - Protein Rich & Guilt Free

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Protein Rich & Guilt Free

Happy New Year dear readers, I know I am tad late but its the thought that counts, right !!.  Had a blessed vacation end of last year and I am all geared up for the year this is going to be. Last year was a year of change on multiple levels, loved every bit of it the challenges and the rewards. Like every year my resolutions stay the same, eat healthy, exercise often, stay positive and let go of negative energy and people that come with it and yes loose those last ten pounds haha. But on a serious note this year unlike others I want to be more disconnected from devices, practice mindful meditation and read more. This year will be a special milestone year and I can sense it.

Today's recipe comes from co-sister(it helps having a co-sister who is a good cook and who lives stone throw away). Dosa's are an Indian favorite  especially South Indian, Go to any south Indian  home the chances are you would find dosa batter and in only about few minutes its whipped into a delicious savory crape with variety of fillings and served with delicious condiments and chutneys.

Adai is a variation of Dosa made usually with rice and variety of lentils, rich in protein and extremely filling. Today's recipe calls for Oats instead of rice to make a healthier version and practically/almost carb free ( Oats & Lentils do have carbs). Easy to prepare and no fermenting time makes it good choice for either  breakfast or dinner.

Ingredients - Makes for about 2 pints of Adai batter (serves 15 ~20 Dosa's)

1 Cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup Channa dal, Urad dal, Moong dal, Red Masoor dal(optional) , Toor dal each
3~4 stems of fresh curry leaves
4~5 red chillies (adjust according to your taste)
ginger about a size of a quarter
2 tbsp of Jeera/Cumin seeds
Salt according to taste
pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
1 cup fresh coriander leaves (optional)

For garnish
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2~3 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
2~3 tbsp finely chopped ginger

Process
1. Soak oats, dals,curry leaves, ginger and red chilies in a bowl for a minimum of 4 hours
2. Grind into a fine paste, add  fresh coriander, salt ,hing and water as needed
3. Batter should be of consistency where it spreads well on the tava and not runny.

4. Heat tava/griddle and pour a ladle of batter and spread into a circle using the ladle.
5. Add little bit of oil to the edges to make it crispy



6. Add chopped onion, green chilies and ginger. Optionally you can grated carrot, coriander and nuts like cashew.
7. Let is roast for a minute or two and the turn over for a quick 30 secs and roll into a perfect crispy Dosa.

8. Kids version can me made by adding some grated cheese and variety of nuts like almonds, cashew and even Walnuts.

Relish with your choice of chutney such a Peanut Chutney and/or Sambar. Batter stays fresh for about 3~4 days when refrigerated. Hope you would love this version, please do leave feedback should it try it.

Here is wishing everyone an healthy and a happy new year once again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easiest pickled Radishes ever, makes for delicious and tangy side


It is Thanksgiving already, truly grateful for my family and friends, and many countless blessings showered.
 Radishes are in season during the cold weather. Growing up my grandmom would make pickled Radishes all through the winter season. It was relished along with hot rice or soft roties. She made them everyday when in season. Making them brought back so many memories of her and my childhood, the power of food.
Today's version of mine is slightly enhanced from what I was used to growing up.

Ingredients
2~3 cups of cubed Radish
2~3 Thai chilies sliced thinly
1 tsp grated ginger (optionally)
2 tbsp of fresh mint chopped finely
2 tbsp of corriander chopped finely
2 tspn of lemon jest
2 tbsp of freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
salt according to taste

Process

1. Mix lemon juice and all the ingredients except for radish and mix well.
2. Add cubed radishes and toss well.
3. Store in a air tight container, works best when marinated for atleast 2 days 
4. With weather being so cold, I left radishes to be marinated at room temperature.
5. If you live in warm weather marinate in an air tight container in a refrigerator
6. You might have to adjust for salt once radishes are marinated

Serve as side with Roti's or hot rice with ghee. Spicy, tangy, flavorful and of course delicious.


Happy Thanksgiving All !!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice - Loaded With Vegetables

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice -  Loaded With Vegetables
Eating healthy is life style and a choice. In fact eating healthy is hard and take quite an effort. From shopping for fresh vegetables to cooking fresh food is work. As tedious as it seems once you are committed to eating healthy there is no going back. It's worth the effort as they say..

Last few weeks have been crazy and the next few weeks will not differ much. Tried this recipe few weeks and everyone at home loved it and this has become quite a staple at home. This recipe can customized to your taste, add as many vegetables you like to your hearts content. Recently started cooking brown rice at home more frequently and brown rice is perfect for it makes for excellent texture and taste.

Ingredients



1 carrot sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper
2-3 Picante peppers
1 Onion sliced thin
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 cup of green onion chopped
1/2 cup of cooked beans ( I used pinto beans from the can)
1/2 cup walnuts (optional, substitute with nuts of your choice almonds, peanuts pecans) finely chopped
tbsp of Olive oil
1 cup brown rice
salt according to taste
pepper according to taste
2 tbsp Mexican seasoning (I use Taco seasoning McCormick, recipe for the same can be found here)
Process
1. Cut all vegetables same size into thin strips

3. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil and bring to heat, add crushed garlic and toss till garlic is cooked. Now add rice and mix well. Add water according to instructions and allow to cook.


3. Stir fry all the vegetables and keep aside



4. Head a pan, add all the stir fried vegetables and saute for a min


5. Add cooked rice, green onions, taco seasoning, nuts and cilantro. Toss till rice and vegetables are well coated, check and adjust for salt.

Remove from heat and serve hot, you can add as many vegetables such a Broccoli, Spinach, sprouts and nuts like almonds, walnuts and pinenuts to your heart content. You can also substitute rice with oaks soaked in water for about half hour.

Makes for healthy, guilt free, delicous  and a complete meal.

 
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