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. 🙂 ♥

 

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!

 

 

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 !

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 🙂

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’.