May 3, 2016

Coffee Bites

For the coffee lover traveler looking for a good bite, here is something just for you. When I am on travel or just on a long drive I like to carry a bunch of homemade goodies with me that I can reach out when I need a quick bite. Usually I make small bite sized bars or balls which give you some quick energy. Here is a recent addition that was added to that collection. This one is for the coffee lovers who like good coffee flavor and are looking for a quick coffee feel without the diary and sugar that goes with a cup of coffee. Made with organic German instant coffee powder and pure raw cacao powder, and sweetened with only dates. Clean, gluten-free, diary free, no-sugar-added snack coffee bites for your long afternoons at work, for long drives, pre-workout or any time you need a quick bite, a coffee bite. 



Ingredients:
  • Almonds - 1 cup
  • Dates - 1 cup packed
  • Organic instant coffee powder - 1 Tbs
  • Cacao powder - 2 Tbs
  • Himalayan pink salt - a pinch
Directions:
  • Pulse almonds in a food processor or blender to almond meal consistency.
  • Add dates and process till dates and mashed and binds everything together.
  • Add remaining ingredients and continue till everything together forms sort if a dough. 
  • Make small walnut sized balls and roll them using your palms. 
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • Makes about 24 balls. Enjoy!! 

March 25, 2016

QuickNHealthy Avalose Podi

Avalose podi is a snack which is made with coconut and roasted rice flour, and a hint of ginger and cumin. It is served as-is with a sprinkle of sugar, or with mashed bananas and warm milk, or as a combination of all of these.  It is a staple snack from Kerala, which many of us malayalees might remember fondly as an after-school snack.



Like many other regional delicacies, I have never tried making the original version :), I have only tasted versions made by different people I know.  This one here is a quicknhealthy version, and that is not surprising right:-). In this version, I am using flattened rice (aka poha) instead of rice, and I am using dates instead of sugar. As always I try to use as much of organic ingredients as possible. Here is a vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free snack.

Ingredients: 

Directions:
  • Powder flattened rice using a dry blender.
  • Dry roast in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or till slightly turning brown and nice aroma starts coming. 
  • Dry roast the coconut till golden brown. 
  • If using fresh ginger, dry roast till excess moisture is absorbed.
  • Let everything cool and powder in batches to get a coarse powder. 
  • Store in airtight container. 
Serving Suggestions:
  • Just like that, enjoy spoonfuls :-)
  • Serve with sliced banana and/or warm milk as a filling snack or as a breakfast. 



March 5, 2016

Plantain Bread

For the Plantain fans, here are two more recipes that can be made from this incredible fruit. For folks new to Plantain, try it and u will be a convert in no time. My son loves to have bread sometimes, but wheat/gluten does not suit us well. We are not gluten free, but try to reduce it. Having bread in the morning is very useful as there is not much prep required when everyone is looking for a quick bite and leave for work/school. This is not your regular bread, but is a contemporary bread, something that you can cut into whatever shape and size that you prefer. It has no flour in it as made with just ripe plantains and coconut. It is Vegan, Paleo and Gluten-free. There is another savory version with the unripe plantain which gives a different flavor,  texture and color. The best part of this plantain bread is that it tastes awesome, and is really quick'n'healthy :-)


Ripe Plantain Bread

  • Well ripened plantain - 4
  • Dried shredded coconut - 2 cups
  • Flax meal - 2 tsp
  • Himalayan pink salt - 1/2 tsp

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Remove skin and cut plantain into small pieces. Add to food processor and start processing. 
  • Once plantain is completely mashed add remaining ingredients and continue tull you a get a thick 'batter'.
  • Line a baking sheet with silicon sheet or parchment paper. Spread the batter into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. (Imagine 8 slices of bread kept side by side)
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Take out and carefully cut into 8 pieces (remember bread slices..)
  • Flip the pieces and return the pan to oven and continue baking for another 20 or so monutes. 
  • Serve warm. Or, keep refrigerated and toast before serving.
  • Makes 8 slices of bread. Enjoy!!



Green Plantain Bread

  • Green plantain - 4
  • Dried shredded coconut - 1 cup
  • Flax meal - 2 tsp
  • Himalayan pink salt - 2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 2 tsp (ground)
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp (ground)
Directions:
  • Follow the same procedure as above.
  • Makes 8 slices of savory bread. Enjoy!!

February 20, 2016

Ripe Plantain Cookies


Being from Kerala, we love plantains and can eat it in all ways it can come, raw/ripe, fried/steamed/raw/cooked/baked/mashed and in all shapes :-). It is by far the most versatile of all foods.  Plantain is a wholesome food by itself and we try to include it in many recipes. I was looking for a good wholesome no-flour cookie and so figured I should try it with plantain. This is not your regular cookie which is aerated with the addition of leavening agents. This is more of a dense energy-bar-style cookie. It has a character and chewiness, kids (including the big ones at home ;-)) love it and when you add the fact that it does not have any flour, is gluten free and no added sugar it makes it even better. Feel no guilt on eating more of this. Yes, it is a whole meal by itself, imagine having a meal just with cookies :-). Serve this as a to-go breakfast or as an after-school snack. 



Ingredients:
  • Well ripe plantain - 1
  • Well ripe banana - 1 
  • Almonds - 1 cup (recommended soaking for 8 hours)
  • Raisins - 1 cup (I used Hunza golden raisins) 
  • Cardamom - 3-4 (skinned)
Directions:
  • If using soaked almonds, drain them well from soaking liquid.
  • Slice plantain and banana into about 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Heat your oven to the lowest temperature (mine is at 170 deg F)
  • Arrange the plantain/banana slices and almonds on a baking sheet lined with silicon or parchment paper. 
  • Let them bake (dehydrate) for about 3 hours flipping the slices half way thru. Keep an eye on them after 2 hours.
  • You are looking at dehydrating them to almost dry but still slightly soft, and not completely dry and crispy. 
  • If you are not soaking almonds, just place them along with the dehydrating banana/plantain slices during the last 30 minutes. Let everything cool down.
  • Add almonds and cardamom to a food processor and process till you get a coarse powder. Add raisins, dehydrated plantain/banana slices and continue till everything is processed well and form a 'dough'.
  • It might be a little sticky, so you might want to grease your hands with a pat of coconut oil to work with it.
  • Make about 15 small balls out of the dough. Press each one between your palms to form a cookie shape.
  • Arrange them on the same cookie sheet and bake at a low temperature (200 deg F) for about an 1 hour. The cookies will be dry but still soft. If you want drier crispier cookies, you might want to bake them for some more time.
  • Cool down completely and store in an air tight container.
  • Enjoy!!


PS: Don't get discouraged by the total time it takes to make these. I just use my oven cook-time setting for each of the baking sessions. So you don't really have to hang around in the kitchen for the whole time.