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. ♥

 

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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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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 & 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. 🙂

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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 ♥