Thursday, August 23, 2018

Delicious & Decadent Brownies!

I was in the mood for making a treat. But of course I wanted it to be reasonably healthy and not overloaded with sugar.  I came across this blog https://goo.gl/kK9RtK and found this recipe for decadent and at the same time healthy brownies.  I thought of giving it a try and yes they turned out really good...But I didn't have a key ingredient (chocolate chips) required for the recipe. So I had to make a slight modification and it still turned out good.  I followed the recipe as shown on Katie's blog site. All I changed was the amount of cocoa powder. Instead of 10g of cocoa powder I added 85g.  For the sweetener I added 1/2 cup of maple syrup.



Here is the recipe which I followed:

In a food processor combine these ingredients:

Black beans cooked - 250g (you can use drained and rinsed 15oz canned beans)
Cocoa powder - 85g
Oats (you can use either steel cut oats or quick oats) - 1/2 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

Maple syrup - 1/2 cup
Coconut oil - 1/4 cup
vanilla extract - 2 tsp

Dark chocolate bar chopped into pieces or chocolate chips - 40g

Combine all of the ingredients mentioned above except the chocolate bar or chocolate chips in a food processor.  Grind to a smooth paste.  Now add the chocolate chips or chopped pieces of the dark chocolate bar.  Pour this into a greased corningware or baking dish that is around 6"X6".  Flatten gently with a spatula or apply some coconut oil on your hand and gently flatten the brownie batter.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes. Now cut into desired sizes and serve.



Sunday, August 5, 2018

Cauliflower Cumin Rice

I have been hearing about cauliflower rice for a while.  It really got my attention after watching a cooking segment on the TV by chef Shahir Massoud.  He showed how to make a salad with cauliflower couscous.  It seemed like an excellent recipe and so I tried it.

Cauliflower has a wonderful grainy texture after pulsing in a food processor for not more than a couple of times. It is a wonderful substitute for rice or couscous.  Of course it is great for diabetics trying to control blood sugar levels.  You can just serve it raw or seasoned.  Here is the recipe for jeera (cumin) rice using cauliflower.



Cauliflower - 1/2 a large size
Cumin seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf - 2
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Garam masala - 1 1/2 tsp

Chop 1/2 a large cauliflower into fairly large size pieces.  Put these pieces in a food processor and pulse no more than 2 times.

Heat a wok or any pot.  Add 3 tbsp of oil. Add bay leaf and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start popping add cauliflower. Mix well. After a couple of minutes turn off heat.  Add salt to taste and garam masala. Mix well and close the pot with a lid.  After 5 minutes or so the cauliflower rice is ready to serve. Serve this like you serve rice.   You can eat it as is or serve it with any of your favourite gravy dishes.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Creamy Salad Dressing

I usually make a lemon vinaigrette for my salad dressing.  In order to sustain my family's interest in eating salads I have been always looking for good salad dressing recipes.  I came across this delicious ranch style dressing on my twitter feed...Thanks to  this blogsite called Blissfulbasil for posting this recipe https://goo.gl/2fqDac 

Creamy Cashew Ranch Dressing:

Ingredients:

Cashews - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Apple cider vinegar - 2 tsp
1/2 tsp - garlic powder
1/2 tsp - onion powder
1/2 tsp - salt
Dried parsley - 1 tsp
Pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients above in a blender and blend until smooth.  


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cream Of Asparagus Soup

This is my most favourite way to make creamy asparagus soup with very few ingredients.

Ingredients

Asparagus - 1 pound
Water
Chick pea flour or gluten free flour - 2 tbsp
Butter - little over 2 tbsp (30g)
Coconut cream or milk - 400ml can
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Chop off the bottom woody portion of the asparagus. Take off about an inch at the bottom. Chop the remaining part into 2 inch segments.

2. Put chopped asparagus in a pot and add enough water to immerse the asparagus. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes

3. In a saucepan heat butter on medium low heat.  Add flour and mix well. Add salt and pepper.  Add coconut cream or milk and mix well with a whisk.  Once it starts bubbling turn off heat.

4. Check the asparagus to see if its done.  Drain the asparagus. Set aside the water.  Puree the asparagus in a blender until smooth.  If you like you may set aside some asparagus tips for garnish.

5.  Add pureed asparagus and the creamy sauce to the boiled asparagus water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and reheat. Once the soup is hot enough its  ready to serve.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cooking With Luffa a.k.a Chinese Okra

Many of you may have heard of Loofah sponge or Luffa. It is actually made out of a vegetable named luffa gourd. At grocery stores in North America it is labelled as chinese okra.  It is also known as Ridge Gourd.  This is a very popular vegetable in Asia.




There are many ways to cook with this vegetable.  Here is one of my favourites.  This can be cooked in a pressure cooker or in a regular pot.  If you are cooking this in a regular pot I'd recommend using red or orange lentils as they cook much faster. If you have a pressure cooker use pigeon peas or Toor (Tuvar) dal.

Ingredients:

Luffa Gourd or Chinese okra - 1
Pigeon peas or Orange lentils - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium chopped coarsely
Green chillies - 5 chopped
Tamarind paste - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 3 cloves crushed
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Method:

Peel the ridges off the Luffa and chop into bite sized pieces.  You just have to peel the ridges and not the entire vegetable.  Combine 1 cup of lentils, one medium sized chopped onion, 5 or 6 green chilles chopped, 3/4 teaspoon of tamarind paste, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder, a teaspoon of salt along with the peeled and chopped luffa in a pot or pressure cooker.  Pressure cook for 5 minutes. If you are cooking in a regular pot cook until the lentils turn soft.

Once the lentils are cooked add the following seasoning:

Heat some oil in a pot.  You can add about 3 tablespoons of oil.  Once the oil is heated add one tablespoon of mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, one tablespoon of urad dal or black lentils, 2 to 3 cloves of crushed garlic and a sprig of curry leaves.  After the urad dal starts to brown and the mustard seeds pop add this seasoning to the cooked lentils and the luffa gourd.  Taste to see if you need more salt.  Add more salt if required.  Serve this with brown rice topped with a teaspoon or two of ghee (clarified butter).


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Uthappam

Any South Indian restaurant that serves varieties of dosas would rmost definitely have Uthappam on the menu.  If I have to describe uthappam it is actually similar in appearance to a pancake except that uthappam has a larger diameter.  Also Uthappam is served spicy with onions, chillies and coconut chutney  Yes it is too delicious!! I came up with a foolproof recipe to make Uthappam.  You can halve this recipe if you don't want to be left with too much batter.

Ingredients:

Boiled rice - 2 cups
Urad dal (vigna mungo) white lentil - 1 cup
Rice flakes or Poha - 1 cup soaked for 1 hour
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Rice flour - 5 1/2 cups (you may use white or brown rice flour)
Water - as needed
Salt to taste

Onions chopped finely - 1/2 a small onion for each uthappam
Chillies chopped into small pieces - about 1 small chillie per uthappam

Method:

The method is really simple.  Soak boiled rice in water along with fenugreek in a container. Also soak the urad dal in another container.  Soak them overnight. The next morning soak a cup of rice flakes or poha for 1 hour.   Blend the  rice, dal along with soaked poha in batches until a smooth paste is formed.  The consistency should be like pancake batter.  Pour the smooth batter into a large container. To this add 5 1/2 cups of rice flour along with water.  Add salt and mix it in with a whisk.  Ferment this batter and then the batter is ready to make the Uthappam.

The description of the method below is a detailed one:

Soak Boiled rice along with fenugreek seeds in water.  Just add enough water until the rice is submerged completely.  In a separate container soak Urad dal in enough water. Soak the rice and dal overnight.  The next morning soak the rice flakes or poha for 1 hour.  Blend the rice and fenugreek seeds along with poha until a smooth paste is formed.  Pour this into a large container.  You will need a really large container the size of a medium sized pressure cooker pot.  Blend the urad dal to a  smooth paste.  Add this to the rice batter.  Blend the rice and dal in batches without overloading your blender.

To the batter above add 5 1/2 cups of rice flour. Add the flour in 1/2 cup batches.  Each time after adding 1/2 cup of flour add little water along with it and using a whisk blend the flour into the batter.  The consistency of the batter should be like the ones you make for pancake.  Incorporate all of the rice flour in the same manner.  Add 4 to 6 tsp of salt depending on how much you like.  Using a whisk mix in the salt.

The next step is to ferment the batter.  If you live in a warm climate just leave it on a counter top.  In a few hours the batter should rise up.  I live in Canada which has a colder weather except in the summer of course.  So this is what I do.  I put the container with the batter in a oven.  Turn on the oven to 250 degrees F.  After 4 minutes turn off the oven.  Let it sit in the oven for 17 to 18 hours.  Do not open the oven in between.  After 17 to 18 hours the batter would have risen really well and looks very fluffy.  Now the batter is ready for making Uthappam.

Heat a tawa or a griddle that is well seasoned.  Apply a few drops of oil over it evenly with a paper towel.  Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter in the centre of the griddle. Spread this batter in the shape of a circle.  It should have the thickness of 2/16th or 3/16th of an inch.  As soon as you spread the batter.  Add chopped onions and green chillies on the batter.  Lightly press it with a spatula.  When the bottom turns slightly golden brown flip it and cook the onion side for another minute or 2 until the rawness of the batter is gone completely.  Serve this along with coconut chutney or sambar.  I have already posted the recipe for coconut chutney on this blog.  I will later post the sambar recipe.  If you want the sambar recipe immediately I will post it right away...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Favourite Oatmeal Recipe

This is my most favourite recipe for preparing oatmeal.  Although it takes a little longer than plain oatmeal it is spicy, aromatic, delicious and well worth the effort.  This takes about 45 minutes from start to finish.  Here is the recipe...

Ingredients:

Oats - 1 1/2 cups (you can dry roast the oats lightly for a minute on a hot skillet for a fluffier texture)
Carrots - 1 large or medium
Green beans - 9 or 10 chopped into small pieces
Green peas -  a handful
Onion - 1 finely sliced
Green chillies - 3
Ginger - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Cilantro (coriander leaves) - 1 1/2 tbsp

For the seasoning:

Mustard seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon stick - 1 1/2  inch
Cardamom - 2
Bayleaf - 2
Cashew nuts - 10 broken into halves or small pieces
Curryleaves - 2 sprigs chopped into small strips.




Method:

Heat oil in a wok or a pot. Add mustard seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, Cardamom, bayleaves, cashews and curryleaves.

After the cashews turn slightly brown, add veggies (carrots, onions, beans, green chillies, ginger and peas).  Stir-fry for a minute.  Add 3 1/2 cups of boiling water.  Once the veggies become a little soft add oats and salt.

Cover and cook on low medium heat until all the water has evaporated.  Turn off heat and add turmeric powder and cilantro leaves and mix well.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and then serve.