December 15, 2014

Green Mango Quinoa

Raw mango could take on different meanings. We have always called the green sour mango as raw mango, while in these parts raw mango is the ripe mango fruit eaten raw. Anyway, what I mean by raw mango is the green and sour un-ripened mango. So the raw mango is very widely used ingredient in Indian cuisine and they are great addition to make any bland dish to a lip puckering one. One of our favorite dish with it is the raw mango rice, but what we have for today is a take on it using quinoa. Here is a great blend of Indian and South western tastes which can be put together in under 30 minutes. It is a perfect warm meal for a winter day.


Ingredients:
  • Quinoa - 1 cup (soaked overnight or up to 24 hours)
  • Green Mango - 1 large
  • Garlic - 4-5 cloves
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Chopped cilantro - 1/2 cup
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Chopped almonds - 2 Tbs 
Directions:
  • Drain and rinse quinoa well. Cook with 1 cup of water. Keep aside.
  • Remove skin from mango and chop very fine. I use my vitamix at a low speed to chop really fine.
  • Slice garlic, green chilly and chop cilantro
  • Heat olive oil on medium heat and add garlic and green chilly. Saute till garlic is roasted well.
  • Add chopped mango, cilantro, cooked quinoa and salt. Adjust seasoning and switch off. 
  • Garnish with chopped almonds and extra drizzle of EV olive oil. 
  • Serve warm as a light lunch or as a side dish. 
  • Enjoy!!


December 13, 2014

Cranberry Puliyogare

Cranberry is one of those seasonal things that we love. In fact, a lot of people do not really know that cranberry is a sour sweetless fruit as they always associate it with cranberry juice, syrup and crainsins, all loaded with additional sugar. I never liked that cranberry, but the real fresh cranberry is a whole different story, it is awesome and can be used in so many different ways. This recipe is a South Indian classic called Puliyogare.

Puliyogare is a traditional dish and can be eaten at any time of the day :-). As the name suggests, it has a sour/tangy taste. This rice dish gets the sour taste from tamarind (and from lime in some parts). It is also a staple at most temples as a prasadam. This is the case in tbe US as well where most temples serve this dish and we have always look forward to it as part of the temple visits :-). 

Many of our traditional dishes call for sour ingredients like raw mango, tamarind, lime, cocum, etc. and cranberry is a great substitute for each of them. Being seasonal and packed with nutrients is an obvious bonus, along with the color it can bring to all dishes.


For puliyogare powder:

Ingredients:

  • Horse gram - 3 Tbs
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly - 3-4 
  • Asaphoetida - a pinch
Directions:
  • Dry roast the ingredients one by one, cool down and grind them using a dry blender or coffee grinder.
For puliyogare:

Ingredients:
  • Raw rice - 1 cup (I used Jasmine rice, but Basmati or other varieties work fine too)
  • Fresh cranberries - 1 cup
  • Sesame oil - 2 Tbs
  • Urud dal - 1 Tbs
  • Peanuts - 2 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red chilly - 1-2
  • Sea salt - as per taste 
Directions:
  • Cook rice with 1 3/4 cups of water. Keep aside. 
  • Heat oil on medium heat and add mustard seeds, urud dal, peanuts and red chillies. 
  • Once the mustard seeds pop, and urud dal and peanuts golden, add curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add cranberries and saute till cranberries pop and become soft. Add the puliyogare powder and salt, mix and mash well. Adjust seasonings and switch off.
  • Add the cooked rice and mix well. 
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!!



November 27, 2014

Quick'n'Healthy Thanksgiving 2014

Herzliche Danksagung’, Feliz Día de Gracias, felice ringraziament, Joyeux Action de grace, 感謝幸せ, سعيد عيد الشكر, God Helgdag, Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Thanksgiving is one of my family's favorite annual festivals for many reasons, the primary being that it is to being thankful to family, friends and the higher element for what we have, such a honest and noble feeling. Another reason is it gives an opportunity to meet with close ones. And then being the foodies we are, it is an opportunity to try out new recipes that is in the true spirit of the season. This year we are going global with our menu by having one dish from every continent. Doing this to symbolize the need to live in harmony together with all people in the world, no matter what race, religion, culture, region, cast, gender and preferences they have. 

We see so many wars and sufferings around the world just because some of us cannot accept the faith and practices of others. Would it not be so good if we can all accept that we are all different, but yet live together happily by looking at what we have in common. What better way to express this than having a menu mixed from all continents and showing that they do make up for a great meal. If only all of us live in the same way too. In a way, this is the spirit of Thanksgiving too. 

Another wonderful thing about food is that it can bring people of different backgrounds together. In fact one of the first thing that people embrace from a new land is the food. As I was researching for my global menu we realize that the world is truly a global village as food from one part of the world has influences from a completely different part of the world. I found that the Portuguese salad I choose from Europe is also very popular in some parts of South America. Likewise, the African stew has influences from India/Asia. This is true for every recipe and so it made my global menu truly global. Over the past few years we have been having a vegetarian menu on TG, with a lot of seasonal produce from our local farmer. It is also a time to thank the small farmers for the toil they do all year to give us honest produce. 

Here is our Thanksgiving menu:
I don't have any recipes written up for today, I promise that they will be coming soon :-)

Africa - African Peanut Pineapple Stew:

Ingredients:
  • Pineapple  - 1/2 medium 
  • Honey nut squash - 1 small (or any other squash)
  • Collard greens - 4-5 leaves 
  • Concentrated tomato  puree - 1 cup (see notes below) 
  • Organic peanuts - 1 cup (roasted)
  • Homemade coconut milk - 1 - 2 cups (depending on consistency desired) 
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Ginger - 2 Tbs (minced)
  • Garlic - 2 Tbs (minced)
  • Red onion - 1 (diced) 
  • Red chilly - 4-5 (as per spice level) 
  • Sea salt - as per taste 
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Chopped cilantro - 1/2 cup 

Directions:
  • Pineapple - remove skin and core and cut into small pieces
  • Squash - remove skin and seeds, cut into small pieces 
  • Collard greens - remove the stem and cut into 1 inch square pieces.
  • Roast the peanuts on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or till you hear the skin popping. Keep aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a soup pot or a heavy bottom pan. Add ginger, garlic, red chilly and onion. Saute till onion is slightly golden. 
  • Add tomato puree, sautéed ginger-garlic-onion-chilly, 3/4 cup of roasted peanuts along with coconut milk into a blender jar and puree well. 
  • In the same soup pot (or pan) add pineapple and squash and start cooking covered on medium heat. Let them cook on their juices. When almost done, in about 10 minutes, add collard greens and cook till just wilted. 
  • Add the pureed gravy, turmeric powder and salt and simmer on low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Adjust taste and remove from flame. 
  • Garnish with remaining roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro.
  • Serve over cooked rice, couscous or just like that as a soup.
  • Enjoy!

Concentrated tomato puree: Start cooking quartered tomatoes on medium heat. Cook for about 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally till most of the water is evaporated. Let it cool and puree to get a concentrated tomato puree. Can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for a few days. It is a big time savor for soups and stews.




Asia - Vietnamese Lemongrass Fried Rice:

Ingredients:
  • Organic Jasmine rice - 2 cups
  • Lemongrass - 4 stalks 
  • Scallion - 5-6  (sliced thin)
  • Red onion - 1 (chopped)
  • Garlic - 4-5 cloves (sliced thin)
  • Organic peanut oil - 3-4 Tbs
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Roasted peanuts - a handful for garnish 
Directions:
  • Cook Jasmine rice with 3 1/2 cups of water. Let it cool completely.
  • Take off very mature outer skin from lemon grass (you can reserve it to make lemongrass tea). Cut the remaining tender parts into small pieces. Add to a blender or food processor and mince well. Take care not to leave out any bing chunks. 
  • Heat peanut oil and add minced lemongrass and saute for 5-10 minutes on low medium heat till the lemongrass is infused into the oil well, and you get nice aroma. 
  • Add chopped garlic and red onion and saute till slightly brown.
  • Add green onion and cooked rice and salt. Mix well without any big lumps.
  • Switch off and garnish with roasted peanuts.
  • Enjoy!




Australia - Australian Lentil Shepherd's Pie:

Ingredients:
  • Purple Sweet Potato - 1 medium (or 2 small) 
  • Garnet yam - 2 medium (or 3 small) 
  • Lentils - 1 cup (I used soaked and sprouted mixed lentils) 
  • Cauliflower - 2 cups (broken into small florets) 
  • Concentrated tomato puree - 1/2 cup
  • Garlic - 3-4 cloves (minced)
  • Red onion - 1 (chopped)
  • Green chilly - 3-4 (minced)
  • EV olive oil - 2 Tbs
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Sharp cheddar cheese (vegetarian) - as needed to grate on top 

Directions:
  • Boil sweet potato and yam till they can be easily mashed. Keep aside.
  • Heat olive oil, add minced garlic, chopped onion and minced green chilly. Saute till onion is slightly golden.
  • Add tomato puree and lentil and cook covered for 15-20 minutes till lentils are almost done and liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Add cauliflower and salt and continue cooking till cauliflower and lentils are done just right, for about 5-10 more minutes.
  • Add mashed purple sweet potato and mix well. Remove from flame.
  • Grease a baking tray with a pat of olive oil. Spread the lentil veggie mixture evenly in a layer. Spread the mashed garnet yam on top. Grate cheddar cheese on top and bake for about 15 minutes or till top is slightly golden.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!



Europe - Chickpea Antipasto Salad w/ Basil Walnut Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • Chickpeas - 1 cup (soaked for several hours) 
  • Yellow/Orange bell pepper - 2
  • Garlic - 1 bulb
  • Pickled olives - 1/2 cup (assorted - rinsed and drained)
  • Basil leaves - 2 cups (loosely packed)
  • Garlic cloves - 2 
  • Green chilly - 1-2
  • Walnut - handful 
  • EV olive oil - 2-3 Tbs
  • Sea salt - as per taste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 400 degree F
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas and cook well. Let it cool.
  • Keep the bell peppers on a baking sheet and bake at 400 deg for about 15-20 minutes till roasted and skin is bubbled. Take out and let it cool. Once they are are cold enough to handle, remove the skin and dice into small chunks. 
  • Cover the garlic bulb with foil and bake at 400 deg as well for about 20 minutes till roasted but not mushy. Take out and let it cool. Once they are cold enough to handle, remove skin and separate the cloves.
  • Toss the chickpeas, bell pepper chunks, olives and roasted garlic together. 
  • Add basil, walnut, garlic and green chilly into a mortar and pestle and make a chunky pesto. Add salt and olive oil and whisk well.
  • Add the pesto to the salad and keep aside till ready to serve.
  • Serve at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!



North America - Apple Pie and Warm Apple Cider:

Ingredients:

Crust:  

  • Almonds (activated) - 1 1/2 cups
  • Sea salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Walnuts (activated) - 1 1/2 cups
  • Pitted dates - 1 1/2 cups 


Pie:


  • Apples - peeled and cored and chopped. (I used 3 different kinds Empire, Gala and Mutsu)
  • Sea salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Dates - 1/2 cup
  • Chia seeds, ground  - 2 Tbs (can substitute with flax seeds, but chia works best)


Directions:
Crust:

  • Place almonds in a blender or food processor and process until mixture resembles flour. Add salt to the almonds and process well. 
  • Add walnuts, and dates to the and process just until combined and forms a 'dough'
  • Preheat oven to the lowest temperature (mine is at 170 deg F) 
  • Press the nut mixture(dough) into a 9-inch glass pie pan. 
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep aside till you are ready with the filling. This can be made ahead of time.
Pie:
  • Place 1 apple (roughly chopped), sea salt, cinnamon and dates in a food processor or blender. Process the mixture until it is almost the consistency of 'applesauce'. 
  • Chop the remaining apples into fine pieces or thin slices. 
  • Add the chopped apples and 'applesauce' into a mixing bowl. Stir in ground chia seeds, mix well, and set aside for 15-30 minutes. The chia will soak up the juice from the apples. This can also be prepared ahead and refrigerated.
  • 30 minuted before serving the pie, preheat oven to the lowest temp (mine is at 170 deg F). Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake for about 30 minutes (not really baking, just to serve a 'warm' apple pie which is well suited for the cold weather). 
  • Slice and serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!!


Warm Apple Cider:


Ingredients:
  • Apples - 3 (I used 3 different kinds Empire, Gala and Mutsu) 
  • Raisins - a small handful 
  • Cinnamon stick - 1(crushed) 
  • Cloves - 4-5 
  • Ginger - 2 Tbs 
  • Filtered water - 3 cups
Directions:
  • Add cubed apples, along with the spices, raisins and water into a soup pot or pressure cooker.
  • Cook till apple is cooked just enough.
  • Once cooled down, run everything coarsely using a blender. 
  • Pass thru a nut milk bag or a cheese cloth and squeeze out the juice. 
  • Serve warm. This makes 4 to 5 servings. Enjoy !! 


South America - Quinoa and Feijao Verde com Coentro e Alho (Green Beans w/ Cilantro'n'Garlic):

Ingredients:
  • Quinoa - 1 cup (Soaked for 24 hours - change water every 8 hours if possible) 
  • Garlic - 4-5 cloves 
  • Green beans - 1 lb
  • Cilantro - 1 cup - chopped 
  • EV olive oil - 1/4 cup
  • Green chilly - 2-3 
  • Sea salt - as per taste
Directions:
  • Drain the quinoa and rinse well. Cook with 1 cup of water and set aside to cool. 
  • Cook the beans (saute, steam cook, boil, any preferred way)
  • Meanwhile, add the garlic, green chilly and cilantro to the mortar and pestle and crush roughly. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the hot cooked beans over the crushed garlic-cilantro mixture. Pour olive oil, salt and mix roughly and keep aside for 30 minutes to a few hours. 
  • Before serving, add cooked quinoa and adjust salt and add more olive oil if needed. 
  • Serve at room temperature. Enjoy! 


November 24, 2014

Homemade Yogurt-Coconut Granola

Do you still take store brought breakfast cereals? If yes, then is is time for a rethink. Now what if we can make our own healthy breakfast cereals ahead on weekends?, and that too if they are easy to do and tastes better than those store brought stuff that is highly processed, may contain GMOs and laden with sugar and what not. 

I have made different varieties of homemade granolas before, but since we have started learning about soaking and activating nuts and grains, I have been making less of them. Recently I have been experimenting a lot with soaking and dehydrating my nuts and grains. Maybe it is time for me to invest in a dehydrator. For now, I am using my oven at the lowest temperature setting as my makeshift defydrator. Idea is to keep as much of the nutrients and active enzymes from the ingredints intact by not heating at a higher temperature. In this granola for example, I use soaked oats, soaked nuts, honey and homemade yogurt, and all of them have active nutrients which are high heat sensitive. 




Ingredients:
  • Organic rolled oats - 4 cups
  • Filtered water - 1 cup
  • Homemade organic yogurt - cup
  • Homemade organic ghee - 2 Tbs (optional)
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1/4 cup
  • Raw unpasteurized honey - 1/4- 1/2 cup
  • Himalayan pink salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1 cup
  • Chopped nuts - 1 cup
Directions:
  • In a bowl, mix yogurt, water, ghee and melted coconut oil. Add oats and let it soak for 24 hours on your countertop.
  • Soak nuts in a seperate bowl in enough filtered water to cover completely.
  • The next day, start by preheating the oven to 175 deg F.
  • Drain the nuts, rinse well with cold water and spread on a clean kitchen towel.
  • Melt honey over warm water, mix cinnamon and salt. Add this along with coconut to the oats mixture.
  • Add drained nuts to the oats mixture too.  
  • Spread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or silicon liner. Bake at 170 deg F for about 7-8 hours or till completely dry and crispy. 
  • Let it cool completely before storing in air tight containers. 
  • Serve with milk or yogurt along with fresh fruits. Enjoy!!

Recipe source: