Crispy Baked Beetroot Chips

Cultivated first by the Romans, with distinct flavors and unending list of health benefits, is the one root produce that is so hard to beat. Beetroots belong to the same family as of the spinach and while its leaves taste bitter, its root is naturally sweet can be eaten raw, cooked or even pickled.

With high levels of antioxidants, liver detoxing properties and the antidote for overall good health, maintenance of the digestive tract and a natural controller for high blood pressure and its distinct rich crimson color makes it a such a steal-deal from mother nature.

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While I have tried this wonder root raw, boiled,  roasted in salads and seasoned for falafels, I couldn’t resist the idea of baking them into crispy chips for a healthy snack and I am so glad to have tried it. 😀

And the bonus here is that its so simple that you would regret not having tried it at least once. 🙂

For these healthy chips you would need:

  1. 2-3 beetroots
  2. 1 tbsp of olive oil
  3. sea salt and pepper to season
  4. 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
  5. 1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  6. 1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  7. and fresh or dried rosemary leaves for some aroma

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C
  2. Wash and peel the beetroots and using a mandoline or handheld slicer, slice the beets into dainty thin slices.
  3. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper and brush some oil on the surface.
  4. Place the beet slices, avoiding to overlap, on the parchment paper, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle over the seasoning with the rosemary leaves, keeping the salt seasoning for the last.
  5. Pop the tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Allow the chips to now completely cool off, sprinkle some sea salt sea salt and watch them being munched away in no time. ♥

 

Indian Peas and Tofu Curry~ Matar Tofu

As the name explains for itself, this Tofu recipe is a pure inspiration from the popular Indian Matar Paneer ( peas and Indian cottage cheese in a creamy tomato gravy). I have to admit that the more I explore with tofu now, the more I fall in love with the diverse ways it can be used.

I still remember the first time I had made Tofu and have no shame in admitting that it was so horrid that my taste buds literally went on strike. 😀 But now I feel so much more confident with a sense of knowing better how to play around with tofu. 🙂

This recipe is super easy with the least amount of ingredients and time, not to mention that it is pretty low on oil, has the richness of tomatoes and the double dose of protein coming from the peas and the tofu together. It goes great with Indian flat or stuffed breads as well as rice.

To make this is all that you will need :-

  • 1 packet tofu – well drained and dried
  • 3-4 chopped boiled potatoes (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of green peas
  • 1 1/2tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/4 tsp of corn starch
  • water for gravy
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil

Spices:

  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of asafeotida powder
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder
  • salt and sugar to taste
  1. Drain the tofu well in advance. I prefer to make it a little drier by leaving it in the refrigerator for 3 hours at least. This makes it more firm and prevents it from breaking.
  2. Cut the tofu lengthwise to make cylindrical pieces or as you desire. You can also lightly toss them in oil and keep them aside. I however like it as it is. 🙂
  3. In a blender, add chopped tomatoes, ginger and the green chilies and blend it into a puree. This is what will make the gravy.
  4. Heat some oil and add the tempering of the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, asafoetida and cumin seeds.
  5. Once it starts to so splutter, add the puree mixture to it. Mix well and cover for a minute or two.
  6. Now add the other remaining spices- turmeric, coriander & cumin powder, salt and sugar to taste. Mix well and let it cook covered on medium to low heat for 5-7 minutes to infuse the spices well into the puree.
  7. Add some water and continue to stir the gravy for another 3 minutes and then add in the chopped potatoes (optional) and the peas and cook covered for another 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture to the gravy to add thickness to the gravy and gently throw in the tofu pieces and mix well.
  9. Stir carefully not to break the tofu allowing to cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Finally add in the garam masala powder and chopped cilantro to complete this recipe 🙂
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All ready to be served 😀 

P.S: I hope you enjoy this traditional Indian curry with a twist and would love to have your views and feedback. Until then happy cooking and healthy living. 🙂

Pic Source : Directly from my kitchen♥

 

Moist Lemon Pound Cake

“When in doubt,  Bake a Cake!”

And this time it’s a Lemon Cake.♥

A slice of lemon cake is just so perfect to change your taste buds from the classic chocolate,  especially when we are transitioning from the cold winters to the welcoming spring.

This was my first skeptical attempt to bake a lemon cake in a vegan way and I will have to be liberal to give it another category, totally separate from comparing it with my all time favorite, chocolate flavor.

This lemon is as moist and spongy as I might have wanted it to be like but with a simple lemon glaze and not the whipped cream one, to fit in during my coffee and tea breaks. 🙂

You will need:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp of lemon juice
  • About 2 tbsp of lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup non dairy curd
  • 2 tbsp of flax egg ( 1 flax egg = 1 tbsp flax powder+ 3 tbsp of room temperature water)

To Prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a deep bowl and to that add the mixture of the wet ingredients . In the end mix and stir well the lemon zest to this batter.
  • Generously grease and dust a bundt pan and pour in the batter.
  • Tap the pan on your kitchen counter to get rid of air bubbles and set the batter to bake for 40-45 minutes, unless a skewer can come out clean.
  • Bring the freshly risen cake out of the oven and let it cool down for 15-20 minutes before we can add some lemony glaze. 🙂

For the Glaze:

  • Mix 3 tsp of sugar ( or desired sweetness) with the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Using your brush from the baking kit, coat the entire surface of the cake with this sweet and sour lime juice.

Allow the cake to cool off completely. I prefer to cool it over night in the refrigerator and you will not repent waiting that long when you slice a piece of it with your morning comfort coffee. Trust me. 🙂

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This looks like a big golden donut.  🙂

 

Pic Source : My Kitchen♥

If you like this recipe please share a word. 🙂 Until then happy baking!

Khaman Dhokla ~ A Savory Steamed Cake

What I love most about India is the diversity in culture, customs and food of course. One can never say admit having tried out every dish , from every corner of the country because delightfully each state, every small town and even a suburb has at least one modest street side chef with the innate quality of making their own signature style or modifying a dish in his/her own unique way.

It is those evening snack craving of an Indian (like me 🙂 )  that makes me nostalgic of my land and insists that I look up a cook book and whip up something different from time to time.

“Khaman Dhokla” is one such savory steamed cake made from gram-flour and is a popular snack that belongs to the western state of  Gujarat, in India. It is light, easy to prepare and like it looks,it is savory and a bit of a crowd pleaser too. 🙂

Ingredients needed to prepare:

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sifted gramflour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of semolina
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger and green chili paste
  • A pinch of turmeric to enhance the yellow color
  • 1  or  another  1/2 cup of luke warm water to make a smooth thick batter.
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of lime juice of apple cider vinegar

For the Tempering:

  • Oil
  • Curry leaves ( I did not have that stocked in my pantry, so opted it out) 🙂
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chilies split
  •  1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of water

For Garnish

  • Grated coconut & chopped cilantro

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the above batter ingredients except the baking soda and lime juice to be added later, and make a smooth mixture.
  • Cover and keep the batter aside.
  • In a deep vessel or a pressure cooker added 2 cups of water and set it on high heat.
  • Prepare a flat round tray by greasing it with some oil. I used an Idli tray as that is what I had handy. 🙂

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  • Once the water almost comes to boil, add the baking soda and lemon juice/apple cider vinegar to the batter and stir it, not over mixing it. You will find tiny bubbles that hit the surface and that is what we want.
  • Scoop a tbsp of the batter and pour it in the compartments or directly pour it in a round/square pan that fits in well in the water bath.
  • Place the batter tray in the water container to let it cook on steam and covering it with a lid. If you are using a pressure cooker, remember to take off the whistle and let it look for 15-17 mins.
  • Once the cooking time lapses, insert a tooth pick and check if it comes out clean and your savory cakes will be ready to be served. If prepared in a pan, flip it over and the cake shall slip out. You may then cut them into squares and serve.

For the tempering and the garnish:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, green chilies, mustard and sesame seeds.Cook for 5 seconds and then add the water, sugar and the lemon juice.
  • Allow it to cook for another 10-15 seconds and pour this over the dhoklas/steamed cakes so that the flavors seep into them.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves. It can be served hot or cold and can be stored for a day, in the refrigerator.

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Kale Cutlets ~the Queen of the Greens

When, “where do you get your nutrition from?” is the most popular questions for vegetarians and vegans alike these days, nature seems to have thrown the answer to us, just in time and that too in abundance ~ KALE.SONY DSCKale is topping the charts in terms of whole food nutrition and pretty much flooding the green grocery section as the show stopper. Well, if we were to discuss the benefits of this leafy produce that belongs to the cabbage family, to enlist that here, would be a mere dishonest job on my side.

5279419_origHowever , I just cannot emphasize less to modestly mention it’s power when it comes to it’s carotenoid nutrient, that supports eye health and even can improve glaucoma and promising doses of Vit K,calcium, magnesium, potassium, omega 3, folates, protein, iron, phosphorus, the B family of vitamins & fiber. Phew! I am sure , I still may have missed some here.

While Kale can be consumed in the form of a salad, even these steamed Kale cutlets here are not a bad variation at all for a change in taste, for treating guests with a healthy starter option, or just to prepare them in advance and store them in the freezer and toss out a patty once in while. Quite a few options here 🙂

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of kale
  • 2-3 boiled potatoes
  • 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • 6 Tbs of dry roasted chickpea flour/gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of carom/ajwain seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bread crumbs to coat and shallow fry.

To Prepare:

  • Blanch the kale leaves in hot salt water until soft and blend it in a blender.
  • In a hot pan with a tsp of oil, temper with carom seeds and ginger garlic paste and add the kale puree to it and mix well.Add the spices and stir until the excess water dries out and keep aside.
  • Dry roast 6 tbsp of gram-flour in a vessel and keep stirring gently to avoid it from burning or over roasting.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the seasoned kale, mashed boiled potatoes, the roasted gram flour and knead it in a consistency that helps you make small cakes out of it. The gramflour and the potatoes both help in keeping the kale together.
  • Cool this mixture completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Your mix is now ready to be used right away or for a cold ‘stored away’ to be served later. 🙂
  • Scoop a a large tbsp of the mixture and make small patties pressing against your palms. Roll them into the breadcrumbs and shallow fry them, flipping gently on both sides.

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Serve hot with a dip of your choice or simply with some classic ketchup.♥

Roasted Beetroot Salad

I haven’t had the inclination to explore much with this rich red colored vegetable apart from just having them party boiled or by making cutlets which of course is wonderfully flavored but most definitely not the most healthy thing to binge on a regular basis.

So finally as the guilt cord struck me, I thought of making a large salad bowl with the Beets as the protagonist and the rest of the veggies that my fridge has in stock for me most of the time and thus arrived the Roasted Beetroot Salad 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 Beetroots
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1-2 Tomatoes
  • Nuts of your choice. I had cashews and walnuts in stock. 🙂
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Chopped Kale
  •  Lightly Steamed Broccoli Florets
  • Dried Cranberries
  • grated vegan cheese (optional)
  • and some croutons  🙂

Home Made Salad Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider
  • 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

And a drizzle of Vegan Mayo which is completely optional

To Prepare:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F.
  • Cut the beetroots into big pieces along with its skin on. Sprinkle some salt and warp them in foil paper. Once they are roasted and cooled, the skin will peel off easily.
  • In another piece of foil paper, wrap a couple of cloves of garlic drizzled with some olive oil.

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  • Place the foil wrapped beet and garlic in the oven and bake them for at least 20-25 mins.

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  • Meanwhile you can have the rest of the salad ingredients chopped, the cheese grated & the dressing prepared and kept aside.
  • Once the tray is out of the oven, allow it to cool down, unwrap the foils. The beet are now tender and can be peeled off so easily.
  • Crush the roasted garlic and mix in with the rest of the lettuce, kale, tomatoes and other ingredients.
  • chop the beets as per your desired size and mix it along with the rest.
  • Finally, its time for seasoning and the salad dressing to go in and a colorful salad is just so easily ready.

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Enjoy♥

Stuffed Spinach & Corn Mushrooms

I have an extreme fondness for mushrooms especially the brown Baby Bella mushrooms. Not that I am particularly choosy, I also do love the white button mushrooms as well. 🙂 While, I seldom feel that mushrooms have been taken over casually just to be considered as an optional or customary pizza topping, Mushrooms can in general may be more than just what meets the eye.

Apart from the chunky texture and its own natural, partially neutral flavors, these cute smurfs also contains dietary mineral phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and the B vitamins along with traces of Vit D.

Not only as an added ingredients, Mushrooms stuffed with Spinach or any stuffing of your choice can make them a showstopper by themselves. These mushrooms are an ‘easy to make’ appetizers or snacks with a healthy touch. I personally like the traditional spinach stuffing and thus tried this one out. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 1 packet of mushrooms
  • 3-4 minced garlic
  • grated vegan Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese of your choice
  • some spinach leaves washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sweet corn
  • salt, pepper & some mixed herb seasoning to taste.
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs

To Make:

  • Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop them into small pieces & keep aside.
  • Scoop a part of the mushrooms out so as to make room for the filling.img_5173
  • Mince the garlic cloves.
  • In a pan,heat some oil and throw in the minces garlic and the mushroom stems.
  • Add salt, pepper and seasoning and cook until the stems become soft.
  • Now add the chopped spinach leaves & the corn kernels to it and cook on low flame, till all comes together as a nice moist but not a juicy filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F.
  • Now, line a baking tray with a foil paper and sprinkle it with some cooking oil or spray.
  • Place the mushrooms upside down on the tray and fill them with a portion of the filling.

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  • Top the bottom filled side with cheese of your choice and sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top.
  • Put the tray into the oven and allow it to bake for 15-20 mins and your done. 😀

Allow it to cool for 2-3 minute and they are just ready to be served and eaten away at once.♥

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Carrot Pudding ~ Gajar ka Halwa

“Gajar ka Halwal” or the carrot pudding is the one of those most popular Indian dessert infused with clarified butter, pistachios, cashews, raisins and cardamom soaked and cooked in milk that hardly any Indian I know of, would choose to deny a second helping.

Prepared mostly during the winter months, when the long & slender carrots flood the vegetable markets in India, almost every second household has this dessert on their ‘to-prepare’ menu. Not only is it a great way to make use of the abundance produce of the long carrots this season, but the clarified butter and the rich nuts would also help keep the body warm.

I have so many fond memories of nibbling on this dessert that my school time best friend’s mother used to prepare and never forget to pack and send me an extra box of this finger licking dessert. I don’t remember one single winter holiday that spent without having it or fighting with my elder brother as to who gets to have more.

Well, years have flown but my fondness for this dessert hasn’t and now that I am so far away from India, I pledged to prepare it for myself. Undoubtedly this is in no comparison to the rich taste my friend’s mom easily churned the carrots into, but it is a worthy attempt with a vegan twist, not making me craving anymore till the time I reach home by the winters next year. Yay! 🙂

Ingredients for 2 of us:

  • 3-4 long slender carrots grated.
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 1 cup soy or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2cup of Silk non dairy creamer (instead of condensed milk)
  • 5-6 tbsp of sugar & as per taste
  • some chopped cashews, pistachios & raisins
  • 1/2 tsp of green cardamom powder

To prepare:

  • Heat a deep vessel & add the butter.
  • Once it melts, to it add the grated carrots and mix them well and cover the lid and keep it on medium to low flame. This will help moisten the carrots and release its juices.
  • Now gradually keep adding the milk and the creamer and stir well. Cover for 5 mins and keep stirring intermittently for another 15-20 minutes till the carrots are properly cooked.
  • Add sugar and the cardamom powder and mix well. This pudding needs to be very soft and well cooked in the milk. The process of covering and stirring in between will help you ensure that neither is it overcooked or under-cooked.
  • This will take at least a total time of 35-40 minutes when on low to medium heat.
  • Check the sweetness, and add the chopped nuts and raisins. Mix well and allow to cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Turn the flame off and let it stay covered for a while till its piping hot.

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And the dessert is ready to be served warm or cold however you like it. 🙂

Hot, Creamy & Healthy Tomato Soup ~ my mom’s way

The cold strong breeze has struck and the chill has set in. Admist all of this, what strikes me most is wanting to spend fewer hours in the kitchen and prepare a meal that is warm, delicious and of course a healthy one.

This creamy homemade tomato soup is my Mother’s recipe. I fondly remember her making this during the winter holidays along with some croutons that I used to call as bread crumbs and a spoonful of butter floating valiantly in the off-white ceramic soup bowls. We all were such a huge fan of her winter break tomato soup that no other could satisfy us more.

With some warm nostalgia and for the love of her recipe here is the ingredient list:

  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small cinnamon stick broken down into pieces.
  • 2 tsp of cornstarch
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • some water
  • oil
  • 1 tbsp full of coconut cream(optional)
  • some croutons and vegan butter/ grated cheese for garnish

To Prepare:

  • Poke the tomatoes with a fork and put them to boil with some salt for 20-25 mins on medium heat.
  • Once soft and mushy, drain the excess water and allow them to cool. Carefully remove the peel and mash them roughly with a fork and keep aside.
  • In a vessel, heat some oil and add the cinnamon stick pieces and the garlic cloves and fry them not turning the garlic brown.
  • To this add the freshly prepared tomato puree, some salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper and cover the lid. Let the aroma of the garlic and the cinnamon infuse with the tomato puree.
  • Keep stirring the mixture intermittently until all the pieces of the tomatoes have blended well.
  • Now add the cornstarch and water mixture and some more water and mix well. Boil until the soup has reached its desired consistency.
  • Check the seasoning and add some sugar to beat the sourness. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper.
  • Add a tbsp of coconut cream to enrich the taste.
  • Your soup is now ready to serve topped with some croutons and vegan butter/ grated vegan cheese.

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A warm dinner for two served with some vegan sausage (coming up soon) and sesame butter toasted bread and a glass of wine. 🙂

I hope you enjoy my all time favorite mother’s recipe too. 🙂 ♥

 

Hot & Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies~ Delightfully Vegan

When I sit with a warm cup of my favorite black coffee, defrosting my hands and relieving my stress I cannot stop thinking what a great addition some freshly great brownies would make. And what follows next is the motivation to bake them right away. ♥

Ingredients that need from your pantry:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vegan butter/ peanut butter/coconut butter
  • 1/2 pc of avocado (optional). This adds a smooth and rich texture to the brownies.
  • 1/4 cup of flavorless oil
  • 1/2 cup of water or any non dairy milk
  • dark chocolate pieces or chocolate chips

To Prepare and set it to Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F or 180 C.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift and mix all the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, sugar & cocoa powder.
  • To the dry ingredients add the remaining ingredients mixed in a separate bowl, combining the oil, vanilla extract, vegan or peanut butter and the mashed avocado and mix well.
  • slowly keep adding water and stir to make a smooth thick batter without any lumps.
  • Add in the chocolate chips or pieces.
  • Grease a baking pan and pour the mixture into it spreading it across the surface evenly.
  • Be generous and add some more chocolate pieces  on top. 🙂
  • Pop your tray in the over for 30 mins till a toothpick comes out clean and allow it sit and set for another 20 min or so. You see patience is the key. 🙂

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Serve Hot and Enjoy!♥

 

Poppy seed Fritters ~ with onions and grated coconut

“Poppy Seeds” or popularly known in Bengali Cuisine culture as” Posto”, is a very fascinating ingredient  rather spice, that makes itself as a ‘must-be’ in most of the special Bengali culinary events.

Well of course here, they are not used as sedative purpose but its mild flavors and nutty texture is what almost most of the people melt for. In spite of Poppy seeds being dense in calcium,magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and other essential minerals, I am pretty certain, that when added to enrich any cuisine, they are devoured without even giving a second thought to it’s hidden qualities. 🙂

These poppy seed fritters are an excellent and quick item to be served as a starter or even as an accompaniment. The crisp crunch on the outside and the moist onions inside gives your palate an exciting experience of a whole new taste and trust me, you won’t stop munching them. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 tbsp of poppy seeds – available at any Indian store. I use a measurement of 1 tbsp/2 people. Soak them just about enough for 10-15 mins prior to grinding them into a coarse paste.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut, whichever is more handy to you.
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of gram-flour (for binding purpose)
  • oil to shallow fry

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the coarsely grind poppy seeds, the chopped onions and green chilies and the gram flour to make smooth & thick consistency.
  • Add salt for seasoning and as per your taste.
  • Heat enough oil in a non stick pan for shallow frying.
  • Once hot, take a portion as much as a tablespoon can hold and gently shaping it, release it into the heated oil. Ensure to fry these fritter on low to medium flame so that they cook through.
  • Flip sides when golden brown and they are ready to be drained of any excess oil and good to be served hot. ♥

These fritters can be a good change for a starter menu or just enjoyed over some hot chai. and lots of chit-chat. 🙂

 

 

Savoury & Crunchy Peanut Sago ~ Quick Breakfast Fix

Sago or the Sabudana is a very popular food ingredient in India and there are so many interesting ways of preparing them, that I still have a long way to go as I have just begun exploring it.

They serve as an excellent source of food nutrition for kids, aged people or those who are on fast because they are so easy to digest and yet filling. Being extracted from the cassava root, these are shaped in lump forms, roasted and dried and are easily available in all Indian stores across everywhere. Sago

These need to be soaked for atleast 6-8 hours/ can be soaked overnight for ease of access during the morning rush hours and you are so good to go for a tummy filling, lip smacking breakfast experience.

To Make:

For a breakfast of two:-

  • 1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, crushed in a blender. You may crush the peanuts with their skin as this adds a very nice brown color to the sago.
  • 2 -3 small potatoes diced into small pieces
  • you may choose to add more veggies of your choice. 🙂
  • 2 green chilies chopped or as per your desired taste
  • 1 cup of sago/sabudana washed and soaked overnight ( remember they double in quantity when soaked. 🙂 )
  • 1/4 tsp of red chili powder to add some color not heat. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • around 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of coriander powder
  • some lemon juice &
  • freshly chopped cilantro for refreshing garnish.
  • oil to cook (of course 😉 )

To Prepare:

  • Drain the soaked sago well and add the crushed peanuts to it, sprinkle some salt and red chili powder and mix well so that these spices coat the sago well.
  • In a non stick pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil.
  • To that add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and roast for a second or two.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes and the green chilies and fry them well.
  • Add some salt, some coriander powder, remaining of the red chili powder and the sugar and cover it and cook on medium flame allowing the potatoes to cook.
  • Once they are almost done, add the marinated sago and mix well along with the other ingredients and cover it for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  • You will now notice , the sago turning soft and translucent in color and that is when you are sure your dish is almost ready to be served. YAY! 🙂
  • Squeeze some lemon juice and add the chopped cilantro.

Next ⇒ SERVE & ENJOY ♥

This quick simple sago recipe is such a must try if you want to cook up something hot and savoury for the chilly winter mornings as a breakfast or as an evening snack and get tempted to try it more often. 🙂

Simple Tofu Tikka Masala

This vegan side is an inspiration from the typical and popular Indian Paneer Tikka Masala recipe.  Paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese is such a popular vegetarian ingredient that it’s probably the first protein providing item that strikes every possible mind when it comes to vegetarian eating. I am so glad that additional to plant based milks, Tofu has too gained a substantial ground in vegetarian/vegan eating, not to mention how much a healthier version it is by itself.

The ‘Tikka Masala’ concept as I understand, involves an aromatic marination of the key ingredients, tossing or shallow frying them and using them in a thick and lip-smacking gravy and it also means that I could not have waited any longer. 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of extra firm tofu – pressed, drained and cut into medium/large sized cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper- diced
  • 2 medium onion- 1 diced and the other chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes – pureed
  • 2-3 green chilies split (optional)
  • 1 cup soy curd
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder ( for color)
  • 1 tsp garam masal powder
  • 1/4 cup of cashew paste- (soak cashews in water for 30-45 mins and grind them in a blender to form a rich white paste)
  • water 2 cups
  • salt as per taste
  • cooking oil
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

To Make:

  • In a deep mixing bowl, add the curd, the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1 tsp of the turmeric powder, ginger -garlic paste and mix well to prepare a batter.
  • To this batter add the the diced capsicum, the onions and the tofu cubes and coat them well leaving it for at least 30 min to marinate.
  • In a shallow pan, add some oil and place the bell peppers, onions and the tofu cubes, frying them on both sides and then keep them aside.
  • In a frying wok, add a tbsp of oil. To that add the chopped onions, some salt and saute until soft.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes & the split green chilies to the saute onions and mix well.
  • Add the cashew paste, remaining red chili powder,turmeric powder, garam masala powder and 1/2 -1 cup of water. Mix all well and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • After this add the kept aside fried tofu, bell pepper and onion cubes and the remaining batter if left to this gravy, some water and allow it to boil till the gravy begins to thicken. Check the seasoning to suit your taste of salt and you are done. 🙂

tofu-tikka

Adding freshly chopped cilantro enhances the taste of this simple yet rich Indian- Vegan version of the Tikka Masala recipe and it goes extremely well with white rice, pulao, Indian flat breads and so much more. 🙂

Enjoy ♥

Yellow Peas Curry ~ light, healthy & vegan

In my homely food lingo, I call the yellow peas as the younger sibling of the marginally larger sized chickpeas. 🙂 These yellow peas are quite popular in Indian households and in many parts of India, one can find a very simple yet spicy preparation of it being sold as an on-the-go street food.

Like the chickpeas, these yellow peas (available easily at any Indian store) is an equal opportunity to give you the nutrition of dietary fiber, proteins and a moderate level of carbohydrate which of course is healthy. In addition to this, they also have a good dose of vitamin C, calcium and iron making it so great to be a part of your food regime and a break from the chickpeas as well. 🙂

This curry recipe is simple, light, easy to make and is great when taken with rice, plain flat or stuffed breads (parathas) or just grab a few servings of it whenever you have a hunger pang. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of the yellow peas, washed and soaked overnight or for 8-10 hours and then boiled ideally in a pressure cooker ( to save time) until they are soft but not mushy.
  • 2-3 medium potatoes diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 3-4 green chilies depending on your taste. 🙂
  • some freshly chopped cilantro for garnish.

From the Spice Rack:

  • 1/2 of a Cinnamon stick broken into bits
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala
  • and 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • water

To make:

  • Heat oil in a deep cooking vessel and as the oil is hot enough, add the broken down bits of cinnamon.
  • Add the onions and some salt and saute until the onions are soft.
  • To this add the garlic and the ginger paste and mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and cover the lid for 2-3 mins allowing them to cook.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and the above listed spices, leaving the garam masala for the last, one by one and a tsp of sugar.
  • mix all of them well and close the lid for 5 more mins to let the spices release their flavors.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes, mix well to coat them with the onion and tomato mixture and add some water to aid  the potatoes to cook and the curry from getting burnt. 🙂
  • Once the potatoes are almost boiled, add the boiled peas that had been kept aside. I do retain a good part of that boiled peas water as I feel it adds well to the taste.
  • Mix well and cook for another 10 minutes, stir in the garam masala powder, mix in some chopped cilantro, check the seasoning and your done.
  • Sprinkle over the some fresh chopped cilantro just before serving and you are good to go. 🙂

 

Hope you enjoy this Indian, light & healthy preparation of yellow peas. Enjoy! 🙂 ♥

Zesty Nachos ~ Delightfully Vegan

It had been quite some time away from my food blog so I thought I could try and make yet another spicy and lip smacking treat that can also be such a good match, now that the weather has started setting into the winter mode. 🙂

Zesty Nachos is not something I will claim as my own though the modifications to the vegan version can be called my brain child.:D I had seen this on the menu of an American Diner and I couldn’t resist trying it back home. And once I did try it out, I am so tempted to make it like a quick easy ritual as a starter for guests coming over or just as a comfort cheat snack while getting prepared to watch a movie. 🙂

So here it is. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of Nachos Chips. ( the ones I used here are organic from the brand 365)
  • Veganaise from Follow your Heart. I love this brand and this vegan mayo is so worth a try.

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  • Vegan Cheddar and Provolone style Cheese from  Follow your Heart. ( I generally keep these in stock .:) )
  • 1 small Bell pepper or capsicum copped
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 1-2 green chilies chopped
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • Pepper and Chunky Chaat Masala (available at any Indian store) to be sprinkled over. If you wish you may omit the chaat masala. I added it to give the taste a twist. 🙂

 ♥That’s it. Simple isn’t it.♥

To Make:

  • Spread out the nacho chips randomly on your dish that fits into your microwave.
  • Now add all the chopped veggies on top of the Nachos.
  • Cover this with the grated vegan cheeses.
  • Set the plate into the microwave to heat for a 1 min – 1 min 30 secs and you will see this cheese melt too.
  • You may also set your plate in your oven for 3-5 mins at 350F/180C if you have a larger crowd to please. 🙂
  • Top it with a spoon of Veganaise and dig into this vegan cheat snack. You will love it. :img_5057

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I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. 🙂

 Happy Vegan Cooking

Vegan Malai Tofu Kofta Curry

‘Malai Kofta Curry’ is a very popular Indian vegetarian dish and also one of the most popular items to be ordered while in any Indian restaurant. Cutlets or Koftas made with seasoned & mashed cottage cheese/paneer and soaked in a rich creamy gravy of tomatoes, onions blended in aromatic spices, enhanced with rich cashew paste and adorned with milk cream is what in short, the paneer malai kofta is best described. Its a delicious accompaniment with rice and flat breads both.

With the temperatures cooling down, I have been craving for this the way my Mom used to make it and serve it hot chapatis or flat breads as said. But since cottage cheese is out of the question now, I am so glad that Tofu has replaced it many ways and besides that, nothing else has actually altered much, for this lip smacking side dish.

Ingredients To Make:

makes for 4-6 members

  • 1 Packet of organic firm tofu
  • 3-4 medium sized boiled potatoes
  • 2 large onions chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2-3 large tomatoes chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2 inch grated ginger or 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 3-4 green chilies or as per taste

From the Spice Rack

  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 /2 tsp red chili or paprika powder
  • 1/4 and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of gram flour or chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup cashews soaked in water and churned into a paste in a blender.
  • some crushed cashews and raisins for the cutlets (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Salt or per taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or per taste

To Make the Tofu Cutlets

  • drain the tofu well and get rid of all excess water and crumble all of it with your hand.
  • mash in the boiled potatoes into the crumbled Tofu.
  • add the 1/2 tsp of all the above mentioned spices- cumin, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt, garam masala and the gram flour into the mixture.
  • You may also add some chopped cashews and raisins for a richer flavor but it is purely optional if you are not much of a sweet tooth fan for savory dishes.
  • Knead a rough dough by mashing and mixing all the ingredients well. The gram-flour here helps to bind the mixture so that the cutlets do not break off while frying.
  • Once done, make small round cutlets, flattening the top of it and shallow fry them in a non stick skillet unless both sides turn golden brown.
  • gently remove them from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.

For the Creamy Gravy:

  • In a non stick vessel heat some oil.
  • Add the cumin seeds and as they start to splutter add the 1/2 tsp turmeric and red chili powder and the remaining 1 tsps of cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar.
  • Mix well and then its time to add the chopped green chilies and the onions, garlic and ginger paste and saute until soft and almost cooked.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well on medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
  • Add some water and keep mixing for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and the tomatoes are properly combined and soft.
  • this almost smooth gravy now needs to be transferred into a blender and churned to make a rich paste.
  • Add the blended gravy back to the pan, add some water and cover it with a lid to simmer.
  • Meanwhile blend the soaked cashews and as it now transforms into a delicious milky paste 🙂 add this to the gravy cooking in the pan and stir it in to combine well.
  • Check the salt and sugar seasoning –  the taste of it is pretty balanced with no individual flavor overpowering the other.
  • You may now add the garam masala powder and add some vegan butter instead of the ghee.
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  • Traditionally, milk cream is used to garnish the dish with tempting white strokes but the easier alternative here is coconut cream that does equally well. I din’t have one handy so I chose my garden green chilies for the garnish. 😉
  • Tip: Avoid soaking the cutlets in the gravy while it is still piping hot or else they tend to break. Transfer the gravy in your serving bowl and add the cutlets once the gravy is comparatively cooler or while you heat it up before serving it to family and friends.

malai-kofta

 

Tadaa…The outcome is definitely a more healthier, “veganised” version of the traditional paneer malai kofta and a show stopper for those who are yet to believe in the power of tofu. 😀

Served best as an accompaniment with hot rice or chapati/flat breads.

Pic Source : From my Kitchen with Love♥

 

Black Forest Cake

I am so thrilled to share this blog since  the Black Forest Cake is sincerely one of my old and evergreen favorites and to be able to make a vegan one is so very rewarding.

I will be honest that I did look up a lot of videos, read through the web and also took inspiration from my blogger friend Priya, who runs an amazing vegan blog that I closely follow before I attempted with my hands on trial and the outcome was so worthy. 🙂

The Black Forest Cake is a trademark dessert that originated and has been crafted ever since, in Germany. It is no secret, that this tempting king of cakes is a chocolate layered cake that is sandwiched and decorated on the top, with whipped cream and bright contrasting bright red cherries. Traditionally, Germany uses a special liquor that is extracted from tart cherries, to soak the sponge chocolate cake, which gives it it’s distinctive flavor. Although, many recipes today, do not mind adding some rum to the cake as a new flavorful twist.

For this “my” Vegan Black Forest Cake, here is the recipe:

  1. For the Chocolate Cake

The dry stuffs-

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of rich cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

And the wet ingredients

  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup non diary milk/soy milk/water
  • 1/2 cup flavorless vegetable oil.

To make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 c or 350F.
  2. Mix well all the dry ingredients separately and then one by one add the liquid ingredients into the dry batter.
  3. Mix well manually or with a hand mixer to make a smooth batter and pour it into a greased & flour dusted round cake pan.
  4. Tap the cake pan on the kitchen slab 2-3 times to get rid of air bubbles and set the pan in the oven to bake for 30-35 mins. Check with a skewer to ensure it comes out clean.
  5. Once out of the oven, allow the cake to cool completely and after removing from the can pan, carefully slice the cake in two equal halves.

2. For the Cherry & Vanilla Whipped Frosting

  • 1 can of full fat coconut cream.
  • 1/2 cup of vegan butter or 4-6 tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • 2 tbsp of powdered sugar or sweetener of your choice.
  • 2 tsp of vanilla essence.
  • 1 can of canned cherries

To make:

  • Soften the butter at room temperature and with an electric beater, whip on high speed. During this time, keep adding the sugar gradually into the butter.
  • Now add the cream of the coconut milk, the vanilla essence and whip on high speed to form the whipped cream frosting.
  • Divide this frosting into 2 parts and put them back into the fridge before it starts to melt down.
  •  One half of this whipped cream will be used to be mixed with the cherries and cherry syrup and the other half for the topping.

For the Cherry Syrup, I used the canned red cherries easily available at the grocery stores. 2-3 tbsp of this cheery and the cherry syrup needs to be mixed with the first half of the whipped cream that had been kept aside.

3. For the Dark Chocolate Ganache

The layer of the dark chocolate ganache adds richness to the cake and I couldn’t resist not using it. 🙂

  • 1/2 slab vegan of dark chocolate. (the baking dark chocolates are mostly vegan for most that I have checked in their ingredient list.)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk/non diary milk
  • 1 tbsp of oil to add glaze.

To make:

  • Keep the chocolate slab at room temperature and break them into roughly odd pieces.
  • Put these chocolate pieces in a bowl and melt it on a double boiler or in a microwave, adding some milk.
  • Beat the melted chocolate & milk, adding the oil to prepare the chocolate ganache and allow it to cool.

4. Layering of the Cake:

  • Spread generously, the mixture of the whipped cream and the cherries on top of the first half of the chocolate cake and then gently sandwich it, by placing on top the other half of the cake.
  • Dust off the cake to get rid of the crumbs and now coat the whole cake with the dark chocolate ganache and keep it in the refrigerator for at least  30 mins, to allow both the vanilla whipped cream and the chocolate ganache to cool and set.
  • It’s now time to use the remaining part of the vanilla whipped cream. 🙂
  • Give a generous coating of this whipped cream on the sides of the cake and with the remaining of it, filled in a piping bag, decorate the top surface of the cake along the border and the center, leaving room for the shower of chocolate shavings. 🙂

5. Chocolate Shavings

  • ensure your chocolate bar is cold and solid enough. 🙂 And now that all you need to do  is grate it with a grater, getting an abundance of fine chocolate shavings. :).
  • Set this back in the fridge to cool to prevent it from melting or becoming mushy.

6. Final Topping  ~ 😀

  • With a handful of the chocolate shavings, coat the sides of the cake. The chocolate and the whipped cream spread helps the chocolate shavings hang on, just perfectly.
  • The rest of the chocolate shavings are to generously spread on the top of the cake.
  • Adorn the borders and the center of the cake, with some more cherries from your can and you can do so much more as your heart desires. ♥

And this Delight of ‘careless beauty’ is ready to be Served. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Suffering from a sweet tooth craving? If you have some avocados stocked up, half the marathon is won. :)There are absolutely some enjoyable discoveries to make and devour when you are a happy foodie.

It’s needless to say how much I love desserts and yes I also do love avocados too. But what I did not know until now, was to enjoy them together. 😀 That is some healthy sweet twist. Isn’t it?

I tried this recipe yesterday owing to my craving attack and the motivational drive here, was that it just took me 15 minutes to prepare this.

All you need:

  • 1 large avocado or 2 small ones (soft and ripe)
  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
  • 1/4 cup of soy milk or coconut cream milk

And now :

  1. Peel the avocados and remove the seed. Scoop the pulp and put in in a blender.
  2. To that add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. And turn on the blender until all ingredients are smooth and combined. You will have to open the jar and scoop the sides once or twice and your done.
  4. Sprinkle with some chopped walnuts or dressing of your desire.
  5. Allow the mousse to settle and cool in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and you are all set to dig your spoon in. 😀

How easier could this get? Really!

Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets (Falafels)

Falafels or popularly known as cutlets or chops in India, is a very popular dish, as a snack or a even as starters.

I have always seen my Mom, making these with almost any leftover veggies or specially brought veggie to please guests coming over, in the chilling winter months, a rainy day or to be simply put – her foodie family . 🙂 Among the many, Falafels or chops made from boiled beetroots, carrots and potatoes with some hidden crunchy peanuts have always been her show stopper.

Also known as Beetroot Cutlets, this is also a favored Indian street snack in the eastern belt of the country and my Husband’s all time favorite.:)

These cutlets are such an interesting twist to the neutral flavor of beetroots and carrots pepped up with some Indian spices and I simply love the natural color of the rich veggies and the surprise crunch of the peanuts. It’s simple, appetizing and definitely lip smacking. 🙂

Here is all that you need:

The veggie list:

  • 2-3 medium sized beetroots
  • a cup of baby carrots or 3-4 regular sized carrots
  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1  cup + 3 tbsp of gramflour
  • bread crumbs to coat
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • some chopped green chilies (optional).

From your spice rack:

  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (as per taste)
  • 2 tsp of sugar (yes you will love the mild sweetness here)
  • a pinch of rock salt (optional)
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • oil for frying

To Prepare:

  1. Boil the chopped up beetroots, carrots and potatoes in a pressure cooker until soft and mushy.
  2. Once the beet, carrots and potatoes are boiled soft, allow them to cool and mash them with a potato masher or by hand as convenient to you.
  3. In a non stick skillet, dry roast 3 tbsp of gramflour on low heat and keep it aside
  4. In the same skillet, heat some oil and shallow fry the peanuts and keep them aside as well.
  5. To some more oil, add the asafoetida, cumin & coriander powder and the chopped green chilies.
  6. Saute for a few seconds and add the mashed boiled vegetables in the spices and mix well.
  7. Add the previously roasted gramflour to this. This will help in soaking up the excess moisture and act as a binder while preparing the cutlets.
  8. Add salt and sugar adjusting the taste as per your needs, tossing in the peanuts and mix well so that the spices are well infused and filling begins to dry.
  9. Sprinkle some garam masala powder and rock salt for the final mix and turn off the heat.
  10. Spread this mixture over a plate and allow it to cool. When I run short of time, I either make this ahead of time or put it in the fridge to aid the cooling. 😀

Falafel Time 😀

  1. Once cooled completely,its time to make the cutlets. In a bowl, take the remaining gramflour and add some water to make a thick smooth paste and in another plate spread out the bread crumbs.
  2. Bind & shape the cutlets as per your desired size in your palms, carefully dip them in the gramflour batter and roll in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. For a harder and crispier crust, repeat this step again and keep aside.
  3. TIP : To prevent your cutlets or falafel from breaking while frying, cool the ‘ready to fry’ cutlets in the fridge for atleast 10-15 minutes prior to frying.

Just before serving, shallow fry these wonderful cutlets and serve them hot to surprise family & friends with a beetroot treat. 😛

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Pic Source: From my Kitchen  🙂

 

You can also prepare these and store them in a air tight container for a couple of days in your refrigerator. I doubt they will last that long though. 🙂                                                     These can be served as is with some ketchup, dips or your choice or chutney, as a slider in a vegan veggie loaded burger, in pita pocket breads or along with taco breads – really, the options are delightfully endless. 🙂

Do try these out and share your experience. ♥

 

Mandarin Crispy Veggie Chick’n

I love Gardein Products. I have to admit that I have loved each one of those that i have tried so far and literally can’t wait for the others. I have been an occasional chicken  consumer in the past but these products are a such a good alternative in terms of health, taste and food investment. They are also an extremely  good idea to introduce to friends and family who are tough people to convince that Vegan food as more variety give a chance. 🙂

To cut matters short 😉 I occasionally have a packet or two of this handy with me in case I run out of time or am let down by laziness. 😛

This packet comes with its own packet of sauce that can add to the gravy but I always like innovating with the flavors and be happily surprised. 😀

What you’ll need:

  • 1 packet of Veggie Chick’n.
  • 1 cup frozen veggies
  • green and other colored bell peppers (if you’d like)
  • some broccoli florets
  • finely minced garlic cloves
  • diced onions
  • some thickly diced mushrooms
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  •  1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp chili sauce
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

To make:

  • In a vessel, heat some oil. shallow fry the nuggets as per instructions on the back cover and keep aside.
  • In the remaining oil, add the chopped onions and the garlic and saute for some time.
  • Add salt, vinegar, soy sauce, tomato ketchup and chili sauce.
  • Mix well and add the remaining veggies and cook on high heat.
  • Gently add the veggie chick’n nuggets that had been put aside and empty the sauce from the packet as provided.
  • gently fold this and cover all the ingredients and let it cook under cover on low heat, for 5 more minutes and you are done. 😀

Serve with hot plain or fried rice and enjoy this delicious meal right out of your kitchen, yet another time. YAY!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I love Pancakes. They make weekend breakfasts exciting and when it’s some of those evenings, when I do not wish to put much labor for snack cravings, I choose to whip up some quick easy fluffy pancakes. Out of the few things I had tried earlier, I realized I hadn’t tried one with some chocolate chips and I was not wrong about these pancakes turning out to be even more tempting. ♥

All you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup of buttermilk ( soy yogurt from Silk is excellent) and if you do not have soy yogurt no worries,  use water to make a smooth batter and it works just fine.
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

To make:

  1. Heat a non stick pan with some oil on low to medium heat.
  2. Mix all the above ingredients with the chocolate chip going in at the end making a smooth batter.
  3. Use a measurement spoon like an ice cream scoop or a medium sized ladle for the right proportion to get the perfect size each time.
  4. Take a scoop of this and pour it on to the hot pan. In a few seconds you will see bubbles in the pancake and notice it rise. 🙂
  5. Carefully flip the side when the bottom turns golden brown and cook for a few more minutes. Repeat the same for the rest of the batter.
  6. Stack your moist easy-peasy chocolate chip pancakes and drizzle it with some Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup instead of the routine maple syrup.You may also add some whipped vegan butter if you want to. 😀

Serve hot with a freshly cup of brewed coffee and win hearts over this simple easy dish.

I love anything and everything about chocolates. How about you ? 🙂

Golden Peach Upside Down Cake

When the weekend hits so does the dessert craving and am so helplessly happy. 😀

That made me look into my refrigerator and what I found is some lovely peaches and am almost ready to bake my next cake. I admit that I googled some recipes as I wasn’t very sure to carry out this well and neither had a tasted one before. But what came out of the oven was sheer delight.

Ingredients you’ll need:

For the Fruit Layer

  1. 2 medium sized peaches
  2. 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter.( I use the one from Earth Balance Vegan Butter  and I must say they are amazing and come in a lot of flavors and it has been so easy to switch from the regular butter. You can check out more of their amazing stuffs here. 🙂 )

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3. 4 tbsp of sugar for preparing the caramel sauce and this makes it look golden.

For the cake

  1. 2 cups of plain all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 tsp of baking powder
  4. 1 tsp of baking soda
  5. 1 cup of soy milk or plain water
  6. 1/4 cup of non flavored vegetable oil
  7. 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  8. 2 tsp of vanilla essence

To Make:

The Fruity Bottom 🙂

  • Cut the peaches into thin slices and soak them in ice cold water with some lemon juice. This helps them to stay crunchy and retain their color.
  • Heat a non stick pan on low – medium heat and add the butter. As it melts, gradually add the sugar and constantly stir till it begins to turn golden.At this point you might see the mixture separate from the butter a bit but no worries unless you are caramelizing your sugar well.
  • Pour the caramel and the remaining butter onto a lightly greased baking pan.
  • Gently place the Peach slices in a circular flower like pattern or as per the tin you are using. (the ultimate thing will anyways look good. 😛 )

For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 360 F or 180 C.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a deep bowl and the wet ones separately in another.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix well either manually or with a hand mixer, keeping in mind not to over beat it.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin prepared above with the caramel Peaches and tap the tin on the kitchen slab gently to get rid of air bubbles.
  • Set the tin in your preheated oven to bake for 35-40 min unless your skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool well for 15 mins on  the counter. I know this is a patience test. 😀
  • Loosen the sides with a sharp knife and flip the cake over on a serving plate tapping the bottom of the cake pan and it gently pops out..Butterrr magic!

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Cut a slice of this warm moist fruity Peach Upside Down Vanilla Cake and enjoy during high tea or high coffee hours. (just made that one up 😉 ) or just whenever your heart craves. Let’s keep it simple! 🙂

 

Stir Fry Veggie Hot Dogs

Trying to innovate with vegan food is a bliss with these no meat alternatives thankfully available in the stores these days. It just makes me feel happier with a thought that may be- the world is changing for good. Also, with members and friends who have always led a diet that includes non-vegetarian food, this is great way to break the ice. 🙂

And oh yes! it is simple to make, otherwise it would not be on my blog.;)

The Quick Ingredient List:

  • A packet of veggie hot dogs ( available at wall mart, wholefoods )
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • 1 onion diced/cubed
  • 4-5 mushrooms sliced thick
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • some baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies ( or any veggies that your heart desires)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper, garlic powder to season
  1. Heat oil in a wok.
  2. Add the diced onions and the garlic and saute for a while
  3. Now add the vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce and tomato ketchup and mix well.
  4. Add the remaining veggies one by one and stir on high heat.
  5. Add the seasonings, and serve them on a plate.
  6. For the hot dogs: microwave / defrost them as instructed on the packet.
  7. Slit the hot dogs in two halves and toss them in the hot wok with some oil and garlic powder.
  8. Place these tossed halves over the veggies as in the pic or as you may wish. 😀

You will love this easy and lip-smacking side. Who said vegan can’t taste well. 😉

Re- think, wont you? ♥

Pic Source: Straight from my Kitchen

Double Chocolate & Vanilla-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love to have these little snack packs whenever we are set for a road trip and there are more than one reason that I can think of to love these little bites. Not only are they easy to make and a time savior but also a rescue when you are in the middle of a road trip and would want to avoid the confusion of choosing to eat between the variety of junk snacks out there. 🙂

Also they are a great to carry over to a friend’s place, a potluck item, making everyone happy and surprised (in case you have non believers in vegan desserts) 🙂

Though there isn’t much difference in their recipes, I somehow was excited to try out this combination and contrasting look of vanilla and chocolate and I am sure you would agree that, it looks great besides the variety available to eat at one go.  😀 ♥

The individual recipes:-

I divided one batter into 2 halves and added cocoa to one of them for the chocolate muffins.

  1. Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup non diary milk/ room temperature water.

2.Vanilla Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup non diary milk/ room temperature water.
  • Hershey’s chocolate syrup for that look. 😀

To make them:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C.
  • Mix well all the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Dig a well in your dry batter bowl and pour the wet ingredients into it.
  • Make a smooth batter either manually or by a hand mixer. (saves your hand from all the stress. :))
  • Once done, add the chocolate chips in the end and give a final one or two stirs in the batter. Be careful not to over beat it.
  • Grease your muffin pan or place your muffin cups in the tray and they are good to go.
  • Fill 1/3 of the cups with a measured spoon and tap the tray on the kitchen base a couple of times to get rid of excess air bubbles if any and pop them in the oven for a time total of  15-20 mins.
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And they Rise & Shine. 🙂
  • Allow these little bites to cool down well and pop them out.
  • The Hershey’s syrup can do a great artistic work on the vanilla muffins and trust me they taste extremely gooood. 🙂

This is great snack to pack while on the road and a cup of hot coffee does great. Certainly this is one of my own excitement quotient. 😛

P.S: Would love to hear back from you. What is your favorite road trip easy snack pack like?

 

Sweet & Sour Tofu with Vegetables

Going back to my love for Chinese meal preparations, especially with an Indian touch, I remember loving the flavor of the the sweet and sour vegetables and so it is while remembering this flavor, is what inspired me to cook this lip-smacking side dish. And so glad I nailed it. 😀

This preparation is simple, hassle free, quick and ‘finger-licking’ good. Do you need anything else ? 😛

Not only does this need less time, it can be cooked up with an assortment of some vegetables staring you back in your refrigerator and yes of course some well drained and dried Tofu. 🙂

What all you would need ( for a preparation of 2-3) : –

  • 1 green bell pepper (capsicum) diced
  • 2 big onion cut length wise and chunky
  • Some mushrooms
  • 1-2 Jalapenos
  • 6-8 baby carrots cut lengthwise ( that is what I had in stock- the baby carrots 🙂 )
  • 1 big tomato diced
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • Some slit green chilies
  • P.S: you can also use your frozen veggies if you wish too. 🙂

From your spice rack :-

  • 2 Tbsp of vegetable/ olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • I like adding some sugar for the sweetness. 🙂
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of Tomato ketchup

To Prepare:

  • Cut the drained tofu length wise and shallow fry them to get rid of excess water. ( I generally place my tofu in between two saucer plates and put a heavy container on top and leave it for 10 minutes for the water to drain out )
  • For the gravy, heat the oil. Once it starts smoking, add the chopped onions and saute for a minute.
  • Add the minced garlic while the onion is still partially raw and saute. This blend gives a wonderful aroma. Add the salt.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and some sugar to beat the sourness.
  • Now add the vinegar and soy sauce.
  • Its time to add the chopped veggies one by one & stir it on high heat.
  • Add the fired tofu in the end to avoid  breaking the pieces.
  • Add the ketchup and sprinkle pepper and cover the lid, on medium heat, for 5 minutes.
  • Check seasoning as per your taste and your quick side is ready. 🙂
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Pic Source: From my kitchen. 🙂 

Taste perfectly well with some veg fried rice, hakka noodles. We enjoyed it with plain rice as well. 🙂 This can be a quick fix for guests coming over too. 🙂

Thank you for reading my blogs. (I mean it with so much love. ♥ ) Hope you enjoy reading and trying this one too.

Happy eating | Happy Blogging my friends.

Scrambled Tofu & Veggies

Running short on time or have you had a busy day or is it one of those when you really do not want to spend much time thinking about cooking or in fact- cook.

I am in this position a couple of times in a week and I worship my mother thinking as to how she would be whipping up a meal day in and day out with a persistent smile, for a big family and two naughty kids (my brother and I). It is then, when I had the enlightening bulb glow inside my tired head. Scrambles 🙂

I remember her doing that. Egg scrambles and Paneer scrambles and we used to lick it up all decent and clean. So since eggs and paneer are out the question and my refrigerator, in comes the TOFU. 🙂

I quickly drain the tofu (pressing in between two saucer plates) and with hopes and anticipation, the pan was now on fire.

Your easy ingredients:

I bring out all veggies I have in the refrigerator. 😛

  • chopped mushrooms- I love mushrooms
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 1//2 chopped bell peppers ( I had the green ones and so used them)
  • 1-2 chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 small bowl of chopped frozen vegetables (easiest)
  • and of course the packet of Tofu.

For seasoning:

  • Salt to taste
  • Ground Pepper 1/4 tsp
  • Vinegar- 1 tsp
  • Soy Sayce – 1 tsp
  • a pinch of turmeric powder

To make:

  • while the pan is on fire. 😉 add a tablespoon of oil
  • add the onions and the garlic and saute with some salt until soft.
  • add the tomatoes and the veggies one by one with mushrooms to go in last if you do not like them too soft.
  • add some pepper, turmeric, a tsp of soy sauce and vinegar.
  • in the next 5-7 minutes , add the mushrooms and crumble the Tofu and add it to the veggies and mix well until it’s water dries out.

10-15 minutes and there you go, a bowl of steaming Tofu and Veggie Scramble is ready to be served with breads, rotis or even rice.

This has been one of my latest quick recreating food try’s that worked out really well for me. Please do let me know about your savior meals. I would really love to know more. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed !

Walnut & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

There are those many days in my life when I have a ‘cake calling’. But you know how hard it is to resist the temptation when the craving of sweet tooth attacks. 🙂

I honestly, resist eating too much cake. In fact, my sister and my sister-in-law both have taken up this job of repeatedly reminding me  by saying “no cakes”. But what when the cake/cupcake is vegan, sort of comparatively very healthy, delicious, easy to make and has lots of chocolate? For the sake of my heart, I can’t deny it any further. 

So looking up into my pantry, I decided to whip up a little something that would make my heart smile and fill my house with some much need aroma of a cake baking in the oven.

This is not my inventive recipe, but it’s the first time I tried this vegan one after resisting my urge over the thousands of non-vegan ones piled at the bakery section of the store.

To make these little cups of happiness you would be needing:

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cups of baking cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, ( I used the brown sugar here)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of soy milk (in case you have run out of stock, use room temperature water. It works equally well.)
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts for the cupcake and some to sprinkle on top.

To prepare:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C or 350 F
  • Sift all the dry ingredients together and mix the wet ingredients separately in a bowl.
  • Keep the chocolate chips and the chopped walnuts aside for the time being.
  • Now mix well together the dry and the wet ingredients of the cake to form a smooth consistency.
  • Add the chocolate chips and part of the walnuts and give it a nice final mix. Remember not to over beat the batter.
  • Grease your cupcake tin and dust them with flour. Sorry I dint have my paper liners however, I baked them right away. 🙂
  • Now pour the batter into the tray filling 1/3 of each cup. They will rise to fill the remaining space. 🙂
  • Once done..shower some chopped walnut bits on top and set the trays to bake for 15-20 mins, unless your toothpick /knife comes out neat and clean.
  • Enjoy the aroma escaping out of your oven and see them rise. This is the best part prior to the tasting bit, for me. 🙂
  • Patiently allow the cupcakes to cool for atleast 15 mins and you may loosen its sides with the help of a knife and quickly pop them out.

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Moist and Delicious. 😀

YAY! we are done. What about a cup of hot coffee and some nice chocolate chip walnut cupcakes to uplift the mood? ♥

 

 

Hope you enjoyed reading this one as much as the others so far. Would love to know how you found these walnut chocolate chip cupcakes. Happy Baking until then. 🙂

Creamy Spinach & Tofu Curry

One of the most popular vegetarian dishes that have ruled the Indian Cuisine across time unrecorded is the Spinach and the Cottage Cheese Curry, popularly known as Palak Paneer.

With its origin in Punjab,the northern state of the Indian subcontinent, this dish has had a history of a long list of fan followers. I have to admit that this dish is one true example of taste and flavors of the Indian spices, so well combined that it magically brings out the best of the two individually bland tasting prime ingredients – Spinach (Palak ) and Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer).

Yes, I remember this is my devoted happy vegan blog and I have been bragging about diary cheese here. Sorry, it isn’t my fault. This gravy recipe is a show stopper of its own kind. And so, now to the facts- I will be honest to accept that I had been craving for this curry for quite sometime and how silly of me for not even thinking of the Spinach and Tofu curry or rather the Palak Tofu Curry. 🙂

It has taken me quite a few attempts to understand how to use the Tofu, while the world was making miracles this ingredient. 🙂 And I should be humble to share the open secret of always draining the tofu well before they can be cut into cubes for any of the recipes they are meant to be used and if they can be tossed, you are surely a better step ahead. 🙂

Coming to the point, here is this quick recipe that makes each spice so worth of using it.

What would you need? (makes for 4-6 people)

  • 2 bunches of spinach leaves
  • a packet of Tofu (firm or extra firm)
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 tbsp of the ginger & garlic paste
  • 2-3 Green chilies- chopped and slit, (depending on how hot your chili is or as per your taste)
  • 1 red dried chili
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of garam masala powder
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt and more as per taste. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar ( you can omit adding sugar, but I prefer balancing the taste with salt and sugar combined. 🙂 )

To Simply Prepare :

  1. Thoroughly wash and drain the spinach leaves.

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2. Chop the onions and the green chilies.  🙂

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3. Once the Tofu has been well drained squeezed of the excess water, cut them into small cubes and and mildly toss them in oil and then keep aside.

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4. Now to prepare the gravy, heat oil in a vessel and once ready, add the red chili, the cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida and wait a second or two till it splutters. Now add the chopped onions and the chili and keep cooking on medium heat.

5. Add the ginger garlic paste and the first batch of salt to soften the onions quickly.

6. Once the chopped onions are almost translucent, add the spinach leaves into it along with the turmeric. Reason for adding the turmeric at this point is because of it’s natural antibiotic properties, we want it to cook along with the spinach leaves.

7. In say 5 minutes, you would see the spinach softened and reduced to half in comparison to what it was initially looking like. 🙂

8. Now in a regular or a hand blender, blend this partially cooked mixture of spinach and onions and churn to see to see the creamy gravy. Yay! 🙂

9. Add 2 tsp of oil in the pan and now add the rest of the spices – cumin, coriander and garam masala powder and then add this creamy, highly rich and green gravy into the spices and stir in well. You would want to check the seasoning here once and accordingly add salt and sugar to taste.

10. Add the tossed tofu pieces into the gravy and cover it, allowing it to cook under cover 😉 for low heat for 7-10 minutes allowing the flavors to seep in the tofu, adding 1/2 cup of water.

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11. Traditionally, Ghee or clarified butter or butter is added to garnish this dish, which we can conveniently replace with a spoon of vegan butter. 😀

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12. And finally you are done. ♥

IMG_4583  Serve it hot with white rice or with any Indian flat breads of your choice and cherish the taste and health of spinach and tofu.  Enjoy!

 

Hope you relish this simple twist to this traditional rich Indian cuisine as much as I and my family did. 🙂

The Sunshine Blogger Award

A ‘Wow’ and  a ‘Yay’ 🙂 and this is a wonderful feeling.

A big ‘Thank you’ to Priya, the creative and compassionate cook & author of Masala Vegan, for nominating me for my first ever blogger award. It is so delightful and exciting to know that I have been appreciated for my passion to cook and to blog and this being my first token, will always be so dear to me. 🙂

In this world of blogging, we unknowingly commit to inspire others around us by sharing our stories, recipes and experiences and in the process, make ourselves part of a special family of bloggers with members from all around the world making it so wonderful.

While accepting this gift of appreciation, let me also share the rules to accept The Sunshine Blogger Award, as:

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the eleven questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate eleven blogs to receive the award and write them eleven new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

And so to start,  here is my attempt to answer my 11 questions. 🙂

  1. Favourite colour ? The color of the sky 😉

  2. Favourite fruit? Has to be Mango

  3. Favourite cuisine? Devoted to my roots and that is Indian 🙂

  4. Favourite flower (edible or not)? Hard to choose, I love all the flowers (edible or not) They are so pretty, colorful and unique.

  5. Favourite cooking implement? The Oven

  6. Best habit? My strength to keep myself motivated and get going.

  7. Raw or cooked? Depends.. Since I have become vegan quite sometime now, raw isn’t a problem and neither is cooked. 🙂 I love good healthy food. I am a foodie. 🙂

  8. Steamed or fried? Depends on the food. Like, I love the steamed momo over the fried ones but I also do crave for some Indian fried snacks from time to time. 🙂

  9. Describe yourself in one word? Straightforward

  10. Biggest influence in your life? What life keeps teaching me everyday.

  11. Night owl or morning bird? Night Owl. I have hardly seen a sunrise without the need to board a train or a flight. 😛

As per the norm, I would now like to extend my appreciation by nominating eleven inspiring creative bloggers who always brighten up the readers page. 🙂

  1. Cooking Without Limits

  2. Cooking with a Wallflower

  3. Cook The Beans

  4. Moms Recipes

  5. My Lighthearted Kitchen

  6. Vinny Pens

  7. Sourdough movement

  8. Emily Cooks Vegan

  9. Asian Vegan Mom

  10. Jay Colby

  11. Long player Kitchen

And now it is my turn for the questions. 😀

  1. How do you generally relax or unwind?
  2. Your take on self motivation?
  3. Bake or Cook?
  4. In food, what best describes your weakness?
  5. Favorite author ?
  6. What in a daily routine bores you 😛 ?
  7. What is the one thing you would want to do to make the world a better place?
  8. Do you have a sweet tooth?
  9. How important is your tea and coffee time to you?
  10. On a rainy day, what would you ideally do?
  11. Best Vacation so far?
  12. What is the one thing you would want to change in you?

 

I hope I could do a fairly good job here. Till then Happy Blogging! 🙂

Vegan Tiramisu Cake

Warning: this is a long read but you won’t regret it after all. 🙂

Tiramisu! the name by itself, always wanted me to want more of it.

A dessert of Italian origin since the 1970’s that won the world with its classical heavenly taste in less than a  decade, is what can even modestly describe a Tiramisu in my experience of cake discoveries.

This Tiramisu cake trial has certainly been listed as one of my very own favorite makes.

So what makes a Tiramisu a Tiramisu? For the starters it is one of those desserts that are proudly and traditionally served cold, though not chilled and so known as a semifreddo. It is as you might know, a layered cake soaked in coffee liquor , sandwiched with whipped creams, and dusted with cocoa powder on the top and is prepared a day in advance. Easy to identify !

Originally Tiramisu cakes have been invented and prepared with a constant ingredient called mascarpone cheese and raw eggs. But Hello!, this is time to veganize and enjoy desserts like never before and that is exactly what has been attempted here, experimenting with the best ever vegan substitutes and I wish I could have saved my guests reviews and expressions over this (my discovery).

So to begin with the concept, all we need is to thorough with the concept and if your a happy cook, innovation is not at a mammoth’s task.:)

  • for the base we need a cake that is cut into strips (fingers) and evenly spread in your dish.
  • 1/2 cup of coffee liquor to soak the cake strips.
  • spread a layer of the cream
  • top it with another layer of cake fingers
  • spread over another layer of cream and
  • finally dust it with some raw cocoa powder. Taadaaa!

Time For My version of the Tiramisu Cake:

For the cake, I wanted to make two layers- one is the basic vanilla cake and the other is a plain chocolate cake. Relax! there is no need to panic. There is no overdo of cooking time or efforts. All you need is to split your batter into two portions- one remains as is and the other with the addition of cocoa powder. That simple.:)

The ingredient list for the cake-s

  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of water (@ room temperature)

To prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 360  F
  2. Mix well all the dry ingredients apart from the cocoa powder, together in a bowl and divide this mix in two halves. You may either weigh the batter and divide or use your own eye judgement like what I dared to do.
  3. Incase you want just a single flavor, you can proceed as is, with 2 cups of flour and no cocoa powder at all and prepare a vanilla flavored sponge cake.
  4. Going back to pt.1, for the all the wet/liquid ingredients, follow the same theory and add half the quantity of it, individually each, to the two bowls of mixture. All you need to keep in mind is, it’s the same cake you make. Just that the batter has been split in two parts.
  5. Pour the batter in two different greased and flour dusted baking pans.
  6. Now put the pans in your oven and set the timer for 30 mins and at a go you have two separate cakes being baked for you, together and at once. 🙂
  7. Remove the pans from the oven once your toothpick come out clean and allow it cool before you begin to cut them into strips or cake fingers.

For the whipped Cream-s:

Similar to the choice of using two different classic flavors of cake, I also did choose to make two kinds of the classic creams that would sandwich this cake- vanilla and chocolate. 🙂

Vanilla Whipped Cream

  1. Traditionally for vegan whipped creams, we use the canned coconut cream and so has been done. Make sure you buy a can of the full fat coconut cream can, available at the Asian food section aisles.
  2. To replace and add the essence of the mascarpone cheese, I added some Tofu, say half of a 250 gram packet.
  3. 1 tsp of vanilla essence.
  4. 1 tbsp of Agave nectar or sugar as you may please.
  5. First add the drained tofu pieces in a blender and make a smooth paste.
  6. Whip gently the coconut cream that you just retrieved from your can with your whipper and then add the above blended tofu, vanilla essence and agave nectar/sugar into it and in no time you see your whipped cream being delightfully born.
  7. Put this  cream back to the refrigerator to cool down before the coconut starts to loose its water.

Chocolate Ganache/whipped Cream

  1. You would need half a brick of a vegan dark chocolate that has been melted in a microwave safe bowl or melted over a double water boiler. Whichever is easier for you.
  2. 1/4 cup soy milk and 1/2 tsp of oil mix in the melted chocolate to prepare the ganache.

For the chocolate whipped cream :

  1. 2 riped avocado. Yes, you heard that right. An avocado can make you the most creamy, delicious and tempting, chocolate whipped creams and chocolate mousse.
  2. 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  3. 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  4. 1/4 cup of agave nectar
  5. 1/4 cup soy milk

To make, mash the avocado until creamy, add the cocoa powder, the vanilla essence and sweetener along with soy or any other non diary milk and whip on high speed and your chocolate whipped cream is ready.This is how simple it is make!

Time to Set the Final Cake

  1. Cut the vanilla cake into strips/ fingers and set it at the base of the dish so as to fill the base completely.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of the coffee liquor (room temperature) over the cake fingers to soak them well.
  3. Now to alternate the taste, I spread a layer of the chocolate whipped cream over the soaked vanilla cake.
  4. The next layer would be that of the chocolate cake fingers, topped with the vanilla whipped cream.
  5. Post this I put my dish back in the fridge to cool a bit more so that I do not mess the creams.
  6. For me, the top has to be a layer of chocolate and so it was. The final top coat of this cake was the chocolate whipped cream along with the ganache from the melted chocolate brick. You could also choose for a full chocolate ganache coating. I admit this sounds like some effort but trust me, every bit of it, is worth it.
  7. Finally you reach the end, when you know its time to dust the top with some cocoa powder and your good.
  8. Set the dish for the cooling in the refrigerator. Ideally this cake needs to be prepared a day or night in advance.

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IMG_4563Dinner over? Time to serve some dessert? There you go ! cut the cake into small squares and serve it cold to your guest and enjoy the expression.

At the end of the day, this is your reward as a cook, as a baker, as a foodie and as a host. 🙂 Enjoy!

 

P.S: Phew! this was indeed a long blog and a long read, but its totally worth a try. Thanks a bunch for hanging till the end. Your views and comments would be equally worthy to me as it was for the cake. 🙂

 

Healthful Thai Curry

My husband and I are happy foodies and we keep making detailed plans where and which restaurants to hop and explore. Round the corner special occasions can just double our intentions or else we just make it special…simple.

So it was on our first wedding anniversary that we happened to visit a Thai restaurant and I have to admit that I was blown away with the mild yet overly perfect subtlety of all flavors immersed in the natural bliss of coconut milk. It has been since then that this has been my listed favorite veg/vegan gravy recipes of all time.

Not only is it healthy, delicious and an open scope to add all that your heart wants, it is time saving and a sure hit for parties (specially when you have friends coming over who do not consider vegetarian or vegan items as delicious and just consider them as difficult items to prepared. This is a totally ‘turn around of opinions’ dish.)

So coming down to the preparation story, I am a free bird when it comes to adding as many veggies as I have in my stock and evade limitations as much as possible. 🙂

For my version of this personalized and bountiful Thai Curry, here below is :

The veggie list:

  • a medium sized onion diced into chunky pieces
  • 8-10 baby carrots
  • chopped cabbage leaves (no cabbage at home, chop up some lettuce leaves. Afterall the best outcomes arise with innovations 😉 )
  • 6-7 chopped mushrooms
  • diced pieces of cucumber (say half of it)
  • some chopped pieces of pineapple
  • some broccoli florets
  • half of a capsicum, diced
  • a cup of frozen mixed veggies
  • 8-10 pieces of Tofu (drained, cut into small cubes and mildly pan fried)

For preparing the gravy:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp of the Red Thai paste ( you may choose the red or the green as per your preference. I love both of them)

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  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • and 1 cup of water

From the Spice Rack:

  • Salt 
  • and Sugar as per seasoning
  • pepper just to add some flavour
  • 1 tbsp of olive or regular cooking oil

To begin cooking:

  • Heat oil in your pan. Add the Thai curry paste to the hot oil and stir in.
  • Mildly fry the onions first in the paste and gradually start adding the vegetables one by one with the mushrooms being the last one to go in. This will prevent them from over cooking.
  • Now mix all the veggies well such that the curry paste coats them well enough to allow its flavors to get into them.
  • In a bowl pour the coconut milk and water and stir.
  • Add this mixture to the vegetables to make the gravy. If you want a thicker gravy, you can add a tsp of cornflour to 1/2 cup of water and add this mixture into the gravy. I generally prefer a  moderately thick curry.
  • Its now time to add the drained and pan fried tofu cubes in the gravy. Add your seasoning of salt, sugar and a pinch of pepper and cover the lid and allow to cook on low -medium heat for another 10-12 minutes and you will just know when you are done.
  • In the end, squeeze and add a tsp of lime juice and your ready to garnish and serve this superbly healthy, all veggie, customized Thai curry.

Serve it with hot plain, basmati or jasmine rice to woo over friends who believe that vegetarian or vegan friendly food is all boring. And for you, you needn’t hit the restaurant each time you run out of time or crave for a Thai curry dish.

This has been the third time in a row that the bowl has been almost swiped off clean by my guests and nothing could have made me happier. 🙂

 

 

P.S: I am an Indian and this may not be the perfectly authentic Thai curry, but surely food is tastier when you add your passion, love and instincts into it and you can take my word for that. 🙂

My ‘Ca’fertiti- a cake loaded with the richness of mixed berries and nuts

That is indeed an unusual name but this name is delightful to me, thanks to my husband. I guess him being lactose intolerant is not only a blessing to his own health and the cows who are exempted from his demand of ‘the milk’ , but so am I. I love and love it so much more to bake a vegan dessert that is non guilty, healthy, fair to calories and makes my family smile.

So, since today is Friday, my happy day owing to the weekend that follows, it is also my ‘bake day’ and that makes it doubly happy. Today is one day of the week that I feel to dedicate to the majesty of my oven and what more can I ask for, if Som (my blessed lactose intolerant husband 🙂 ) gives my cake the prestige of the beautiful Egyptian queen Nefertiti and so it gets modified and inspired to be the name of my rich mixed berry and walnut cake- ‘Ca’fertiti  😀

This cake is simple and perfect to have with coffee or I might gladly say anytime, whenever you crave for it.

For the recipe, I really do not enjoy scrolling down too much and waste time.

Basic Ingredients:

  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of water

Signature Ingredients 😉

  • mixed dried berries ( easily available, you might want to think of the mixed berries that you throw in your cereal each morning)
  • chopped walnuts – my favorite
  • 1 Flax egg to add health and softness to this cake ( 1 tbsp of ground/powdered flax seed with 3 tbsp of water)
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Ready & Steady to Bake

To Produce this Cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degree C or 360 degree F.
  • In a bowl, sift and mix all the dry ingredients and in another one all the wet ones.
  • You would need to add them together and mix with all your passion and energy to make the right consistency of the cake batter.
  • When you are almost done, add the mixed berries and the chopped walnuts to the batter. Remember not to mix them right at the start or else the berries shall start to loose their colour.
  • Pour the batter in a greased and floured tin, I used my loaf pan here and place it in the oven for the next 30 minutes.
  • You will know when your cake is ready as the aroma seeps out and the inserted tooth pick comes out neat and clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool and patiently wait till your time comes to flip it over. Slice this loaf gently and do not wait to take the bite and SMILE. 🙂
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Right out of the Oven 🙂

 

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I hope you enjoyed this post,as much as I enjoyed making it. If yes, please like, comment and share. 🙂 Cheers to the cake lovers!

The Rich & Famous Broccoli Soup

I am a fan of soups and there are more than one reason. Not only are soups enriching and nutritious, they are easy and quick to make , retain most of the vitamins and minerals since there is hardly any concept of frying involved, its filling yet light and a very good idea for maintaining the equator that runs on our body. (I hope you got that 😉 )

Broccoli wasn’t really my favorite 2 years ago and I am sure that is my fault because I really did not know much how to use this wonderful green produce that is so rich in fiber,  protein, is a natural detox, helps in lowering cholesterol, cures deficiencies like vitamin A,K &D along with anti-inflammatory benefits and so much more than just what appears.

I personally, like adding other veggies like a couple of spinach leaves, some baby carrots along with the broccoli of course to make my soup more wholesome. And as a tip, next time you have broccoli at home, you may want to think again about throwing off the stems. Yeah, right. They also belong to the plant and have enough nutrition and capacity to add to your soup.

So making the ‘almost long’ story short, here is what you need to do to make this quick fix easy, creamy, rich, green soup.

From your Refrigerator:

  • Broccoli
  • 5-7 baby carrots
  • 4-5 baby spinach leaves

And from your Pantry:

  • Salt&
  • Pepper to season
  • A tsp of olive oil
  • Some coconut cream
  • Any vegan butter (if you would like to). I’d prefer to use the Earth Balance classic flavor.

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And now to Prepare:

  • Place some water to boil.
  • Chop your broccoli into florets and along with the stems in small pieces.
  • Chop up some carrots
  • Add some spinach leaves
  • Now add all these veggies into the boiling water sprinkled with some salt and cover with a lid for 5-8 minutes or until the carrots and the broccoli and its stems turn soft.
  • Now drain the veggies in a strainer but do retain the stock. You will need this stock to make your soup. Trust me. 🙂
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The ‘ready to be blend’ stage. 🙂

  • Now in a blender add all the veggies, while hot and some part of this stock, with a seasoning of pepper, olive oil and some salt as per your taste and blend for a minute and in no time you should be seeing a lovely green color smooth preparation and that is exactly what you were looking for.
  • Add some more of that stock depending on the desired consistency of the soup and you are almost done.
  • And finally to garnish you may add some vegan butter and a dollop of coconut cream and that adds to the texture and taste of your soup.
  • There is absolutely no need to wait for this soup to cool down now. Grab your spoon and enjoy this healthy soup with a couple of slices of toasted garlic bread, a vegan ceaser salad or all that your creative tummy may be asking for. 🙂
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Rich, Creamy and Fulfilling Delicious Soup.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy making this easy-peasy rich and famous broccoli soup and if yes, please share a word. Thanks a ton! 🙂

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

For food lovers like me, the sweet tooth craving is an undeniable feature. I am not like an ant in the candy jar, but I enjoy my sweet tooth calls in moderation and for that time of emergency it is desirable that I have stuffs in stock.

I have been trying pretty long to nail cookie making and finally, finally the nailing was good. As good as never before. And somewhere creating and recreating vegan deserts and savories have never been so exciting before as it is now. I don’t at all need to mention the adulation that follows. All I can say is, its worth the try and yes, even the taste. 🙂

Here is the simple ingredient list:

  • 1 cup of all purpose plain flour and 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour ( I mixed both but you could just use 1 & 2/3 cups of plain white flour)
  • I cup of sugar ( I used the regular white sugar but you could well use the brown one, it will add color to the cookies)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp of flax seed powder (my favourite)
  • 1/4 cup and 3 Tbsp of Soy Milk
  • 4-5 tbsp of smooth or semi smooth peanut butter ( Allergic to peanuts? Replace with a plain vegan butter)
  • 1/4 cup and 1 Tbsp of chocolate chip or chopped chocolate.

To Make:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C or 360 F
  • Sift and mix in all the dry ingredients well.
  • Make sure you use granulates sugar, since it mixes well and reacts perfectly with the baking soda.
  • Fold in the dry mixture well,not over mixing them as that would lead gluten to form and produce not so crunchy cookies. 🙂
  • Make a smooth paste of the butter using a spatula and pour it in the dry mixture, adding the milk and gently fold the batter, making the final cookie dough mixture.
  • In the end, add the chopped chocolate  or the chocolate chip and fold it in for the last time.
  • Now scoop the mixture onto a non-stick baking tray, using a teaspoon to ensure same sized cookies while leaving plenty of space between them to give them enough space, as the cookies will spread and rise during the baking process.
  • Place the tray in the oven and let it bake for 12-15 mins, depending on the desired crunchiness.
  • If you wish to have flat cookies instead of the rounded ones, gently press them on the top with the bottom of a small bowl or jar and allow it to cool.
  • Once the waiting time is over and you are tempting to get your chance with the first bite, you will surely enjoy some melting chocolate generously oozing out.
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Perfect! Happy Owls and Happy Chocolaty Cookies 🙂

I hope you enjoy trying these crunchy vegan cookies too. Not only are they blissfully vegan but such a pleasure to munch with a cup of black coffee.

Please do leave you comments, feedback and support. It really helps for a beginner vegan cook like me. 😀

Cya.

The Elementary Salad

Okay, to let you know, please don’t judge this salad by its name. This one was so quick and easy and basic that I had to name it as my  ‘Elementary Salad’ , after all its the taste that matters in the end right? 🙂

There was a time when salad to me meant a plate that was adorned with circular disc like cucumbers, onions and tomatoes garnished with lemon juice, a bit of the most basic seasoning  and arrive at the table as mandate part of our meals.

But as the evolution has taken its course, so has the salad. Honestly the grocery aisles confuse me like I could never explain. There is ton of salad dressing varieties, such attractive packaging, that time slips like faster than sand and if your vegan or say newly vegan.;) you know how it takes time to identify the ‘our’ things.

Anyways, coming back to the salad, it is indeed a refreshing bowl to me and to everyone. We may not have all the fancy items stocked up all the time but who cares when you are good at making fixes. 🙂 Me in particular, is a person who seldom likes to put hours in the kitchen, so the faster the better for me.

I really do not have a very fancy list of the stuffs that I have put into this bowl, so please pardon me on that but being a vegan fanatic, I would love to share my modesty. 🙂

The Things in The Bowl 

  1. Lots of chopped lettuce
  2. Baby carrots
  3. Cucumbers Diced
  4. Tomatoes Chopped
  5. Steamed Brocolli Florets
  6. Some lime juice
  7. and the highlight of the day- Veggie Hot Dogs ( Microwaved for 30 sec, chopped and tossed in a skillet. They are really good. Please take my word for this one.
  8. I used a Thai mayo here, with peanut and soy base. You can pick what ever you like though.
  9. And for the final touch garnish it with some Sprouts. Tadaaa!salad2

 

salad1So nutrition quotient? I guess we have matched it up all right from the iron to the calcium and the minerals and not to forget the colorful bowl of greens is certainly tempting. 🙂

I have been literally obsessed looking up for, drooling and saving all those amazing vegan recipes that are flooded over the internet. Kudos to all the wonderful people making them and posting them for similar friends like me and helping us look ahead to peaceful, healthier and colorful ‘tomorrow’.

Chickpea Omelette

I have always enjoyed the idea of a breakfast that is relished with an omelette. Yes, the omelette that was made with eggs!

Well now that I have looked at the brighter side and so much appreciate the thought of being vegan, healthy and ethical to my plate and myself, I constantly keep thinking of wonderful ideas to make a healthy and colorful meal and what better opportunity can it be to experiment with all the goodies in your pantry and the refrigerator over the weekend.

So with all the concept and logic that your breakfast should be the healthiest one, I decided to make a vegan omelette. 🙂

This omelette has no eggs, no egg replaces or substitutes but is certainly packed with all the delight of your excited and new vegan palate. Thanks to my Indian origin that is crazy about food. The level of permutation and combination that can happen in an Indian kitchen is a dose of pleasure to any food addict and I will be honest that the root idea of this savory pancake does arise from the Indian Kitchen and my soul is saved to crave no longer for the poultry omelette any more.  So with no more further explanations, I am pretty excited to put down all the ingredients down here and you will know how amazingly simple and time saving this vegan chickpea omelette this one can be.

What you need is:

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  • A cup of chickpea flour ( that makes 2 of them)
  • Chopped veggies of your choice- I used the easiest all time available vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and mushrooms being my all time favorite and some chopped lettuce. ( I really love the crunch)
  • Salt, Pepper and some Italian Mixed Herb Seasoning.
  • Plain water just enough to make a smooth mixture of all the above depending on how thick you would like it to be.

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And what you would be doing:

  • Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick pan.
  • Once the oil is hot and steamy, add a portion of this mixture into the pan and spread it just like you would desire your omelette.
  • Once the face down of it is cooked, carefully flip the other side and in the next 3-5 mins your vegan omelette is just ready  to be enjoyed.
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A complete power packed breakfast on the go and what more do I need if I have my cup of steaming coffee ( that is a vegan one too). I pretty much like my omelette with ketchup unlike my husband. 🙂  Oh and by the way I love my new coasters too. Aren’t they really nice? Its amazing to have an artist friend who comes up with such creative art. 🙂

 

So the next time I am poked for loving a vegan diet or the famous nutrition deficiency questionnaire, I am pretty sure I will have a lot more to answer and even more to offer. 🙂

 

I have completely enjoyed devouring my version of  the vegan chickpea nutritious omelette. Please do let me know how you found my remodeled idea of this vegan chickpea omelette and please do share your inputs and ideas for a more fulfilling meal. 🙂