Sunday, August 2, 2015

Avocado Cucumber Salad

Avocado Salad 

There's nothing healthier than avocados (full of good fats), egg whites (fantastic proteins) and cucumbers. 

This salad, thrown together by my five year old, since she just found these ingredients in the fridge, and didn't realize she was making something super healthy.

Chop up the avocados, egg whites and cucumbers (try to make them somewhat the same size). Add chopped spring onions and cilantro. Mix them all together. Add salt and pepper to taste and add some crushed red pepper for heat (if you want it). 

Dress the salad with a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt for a dressing. That's it. All done. 

Obviously this is an extremely flexible recipe. The cucumber gives some crunch but you can also add peanuts or other good nuts. Some mint might be nice too. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mustard Potatoes

Don't you love the taste of raw mustard? I do. I've used it a lot in my cooking. I simply love that pungency and a little bit of a hot, spicy taste. Its delicious.

Now, if you put that and potatoes together, there can be nothing wrong with it!

Here's a lovely Bengali dish with some raw mustard, mustard seeds, mustard oil and potatoes. It's really really good. It makes a great side with rice or rotis/ chapatis.

Bengali Mustard Potatoes

(the original recipe is from a paper I've torn out of a magazine ages ago and only recently found. I have no idea which magazine this is from, so can't credit the source)

4-5 tsp Mustard Seeds
8 Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into pieces
3 Tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp Mustard Oil
Kasundi (a special Bengali mustard paste. Its available at specialty stores) (optional), to taste.
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tsp Red Chilli Powder, or to taste
10-12 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 cups Water
Salt, to taste

Crush the mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or really with any heavy object.

In a deep pan, heat the mustard oil, add the garlic cloves and stir fry until the garlic is a golden brown. Add the crushed mustard and turn the heat to low. Allow to cook for a minute or two. Keep stirring and don't allow the mustard to burn. Add the potatoes wedges. Mix thoroughly to coat.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kasundi, salt and water. Cook covered on medium heat till potatoes are cooked and tender, about 25-30 minutes,

Serve warm with rice or rotis.

If you like this, you'll also like Mustard Curry and Mustard Chutney, on this blog.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Corn Soup

In continuation of the healthy soups, here's one that is a big hit with the kids, and adults and grandparents! And no one believes anything this delicious could be low fat and healthy. Go ahead and try this.


Corn Soup

2 corn on the cob, or about 1 1/2 cups of corn, cooked with a little salt.
1 cup Water
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tsp Butter. (yes, only one one tsp)

Cook the corn with a little bit of salt and remove the corn from the ears. Or, if using prepacked cooked corn, forget the above step. D-uh.

Put the corn in a blender with the water and blend well. Strain through a very fine strainer. Take the remaining bits of corn which haven't blended and return to the blender with a little water and blend again. Again pass through the strainer.

Add the strained corn to a saucepan on low-medium heat. Add a little salt, pepper and the butter. Heat through but do not allow to come to a boil.

Serve hot or warm.

Other soups on this blog: Carrot Soup, Mulligatawny Soup and Mushroom Soup.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monkey Bread

Another easy lovely recipe from Saveur magazine - this one is a lovely recipe for you to do with the kids. Not much can go wrong and the kids will have a lovely time. This is one of those recipes where you know if you put in all this delicious decadent stuff, nothing can go wrong, and if something does, it tastes great anyway!

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

(original recipe here)

3-3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Butter, softened plus more for greasing
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Salt

Heat 2 tbsp of butter with milk and 1/3 cup water on medium heat until warm. Transfer to a bowl of a stand mixer with a hook attachment. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and the yeast and stir to combine. Allow to activate the yeast and foam, about 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer onto a medium speed and add the flour and salt. Beat until all combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until double in size.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan.

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the remaining butter in a pan, add and combine the brown sugar and set aside.

Pinch small rounds from the risen dough (about the size of small cherry tomatoes). Toss the small balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture (the kids will enjoy this part!) and fit snugly into the prepared bundt pan. Pour the butter-brown sugar mixture slowly and evenly all over the dough, allowing it time to get into the nooks and crannies.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm. (with vanilla ice cream or a caramel ice cream). :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Milagai Inji Puli

Milagai Inji Puli or literally Tamarind-Chilli-Ginger, is a very famous south Indian side that tastes great with almost anything. Literally. Spread it on toast. Mix it in with rice. Add it to plain yogurt. So delicious. Here's a very simple recipe that's great to whip up and gets a lot of attention from guests.

Milagai Inji Puli
(Chilli Ginger Tamarind)

100 gms (about 1/4 cup) Ginger, cut into match sticks-sizes
5-6 Green Chillies, (use extra long ones. Snip off the top stem, slit halfway lengthwise,keep the chillies whole)
A lemon-sized ball of Tamarind, soaked in warm water and reserve the pulp
1 tbsp Sesame oil (I used Indian sesame oil - gingelly or til oil - but regular sesame oil is fine)
2-3 tsp Asafoetida (or according to taste)
A lemon sized ball of Jaggery
2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Turmeric Powder (optional)
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the asafoetida and the long green chillies. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the tamarind pulp and turmeric powder (if using). Let it come to a boil and then add the salt and jaggery. Continue to boil until the mixture thickens.

Now add the ginger and boil for a couple more minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool.

This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dipu's Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend gave me this recipe ages ago and I should have tried it sooner, because these are some of the best cookies I've ever made.


It was easy. My kids did most of the work! And they did most of the eating too!!


Dipu's Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen small cookies or 2 dozen regular cookies - mine here are the small version!)

1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 cup Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Hot Water
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 175 deg C.

Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Plant to Plate

Its been a long dream of mine to have a vegetable garden at home, an organic vegetable garden. In our family, we are famous for having killed a cactus! So I didn't hold out much hope.

A friend and some family started to have their own gardens and I decided I should try before I gave up. So I decided to start it in a very small way.

I got some boxes made out of old cargo boxes that were being thrown away. I lined them with plastic and made some holes in them. I filled them with soil and topped it with a layer of compost that I bought at a local nursery.

My kids and I then planted some seeds. We decided to go with super low maintenance vegetables that should grow quite easily in the bright hot sunny weather. We planted radish, ladies finger, eggplant, beans, tomatoes and green chillies, and a type of spinach.

That was about a month ago or maybe a month and a half. Here's the progress so far. The spinach grew so fast that we actually got to eat it!

From Plant to Plate.



Green Chillies

Ladies Finger

And finally, the spinach was made into a nice salad. 

Next, we are going to start our own compost pit at home!