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Showing posts from March, 2014

Quinoa Spelt Pancakes

If you like quinoa, and like to include it in a variety of ways in your meals, you can try this one. Here is a pancake recipe using cooked quinoa which is quick, easy, wholesome and flexible to be made sweet or savory. I have also included gluten-free and vegetarian substitutions which are tested successfully :).

Quinoa - 1/2 cup (Soaked overnight) Spelt flour - 1/2 cup *Organic free range eggs - 2 ** Homemade organic yogurt - 1/2 cup Baking soda - 1/2 tspSea salt - 1/2 tspDirections:
Drain and rinse quinoa well. Cook with 1/2 cup of water till almost done. Take care not to make it mushy. Let it cool a bit.Mix the flour with salt and baking soda. Beat eggs in a bowl, add yogurt and mix well. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix well. Finally add the cooked quinoa and mix well.Heat a griddle and make pancakes. This makes about 8 small-medium pancakes. To make this a flexible breakfast, I make this without adding any sweetness or spices. For sweet breakfast, I serve th…

Chettinad Style Salmon Curry

Though I grew up as a vegetarian in a pure vegetarian family, I married someone from the coastal part of Kerala. In some of the coastal homes in Kerala, fish is considered as 'vegetarian' and his home was no exception ;-). Though I was not keen initially, I started eating and took a liking to fish while I was pregnant. I started cooking fish after I moved to the US. So my recipes are either recipes that I developed from the taste I remember eating at my in-law's home or recipes passed over phone conversations from my mom-in-law, and the rest are from the internet :-). For somebody who has not grown up eating or cooking fish, I think I make pretty good fish curries, looking at how the two foodies at my home enjoy them. 
Here's a quick'n'easy fish curry which is originally made with any south Indian fish variety, but I generally make it with Salmon. I hear some of my friends say they cannot imagine Salmon with Indian spices, maybe that is because they have not t…

Asian Style Yam Noodle Soup w/ Homemade Sriracha Sauce

Our latest dine-out was at the Mecha Noodle Bar, voted connecticut's best Asian restaurant. It is also one of the better options for a relatively healthy restaurant. They are very considerate if you have a food allergy, or have a food preference. If you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. they find some way to satisfy you. The best part about them is that they are honest and they tell you where they get their produce, their fish and their meat from. They tell you what is organic and what is not. All meat is definitely organic, and they try to get a lot of vegetables from local farms. The menu is very simple, just 2 kinds of soups, either a Ramen or a Pho. Ramen is a japanese style wheat noodles soup, while Pho is a Vietnamese style rice noodle soup. We had a Vietnamese co-worker in the group and he was so excited to see the menu and the soups, and he certified that the stuff is authentic. Not a bad place to try out after all.  

After trying out their customized vegetarian pho…

Oats & Flax Crackers

Here is another quick'n'healthy homemade crackers recipe.  Made with simple and wholesome ingredients and no sugar or sweeteners added unlike store bought crackers. Serve it as a tea time snack or as soup cracker.

Rolled oats - 2/3rd cup Spelt flour - about 1/3rd cup Flax seeds - 2 TbsBlack pepper - 1 TbsOregano - 2 tspHomemade coconut milk- 1/4 cupEV Olive oil - 2 Tbs. Sea salt - 1/2 tspBaking soda -  1/2 tspDirections: Powder oats and black pepper using a dry blender or coffee grinder. It should be around 2/3rd cup of flour. Add spelt flour enough to make a total of 1 cup.  In a bowl, add the flours, oregano, baking soda, salt and flax seeds. Whisk them well. Make a well in the middle and add olive oil and coconut milk, mix well. No need to knead,  just try to form a stiff dough. Add a bit more coconut milk if needed.You can keep the dough refrigerated and make crackers later or you make crackers immediately as well.Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each into a t…

Black Rice Kanji w/ Roasted Chembu & Thenga Chammanthy

How about some warm and nourishing kanji for a cozy dinner? Kanji is a staple served for breakfast or for dinner in Kerala. It is also known by many other names (Ganji, Congee, Conjee) in many parts of the world, especially in South East Asian countries. It is a basic plain rice soup served with all sorts of condiments. 

Black Rice Kanji:

Black rice - 1/2 cup (Soaked for 24 hours)Sea salt  - as per taste
Cook drained rice with 3 cups of water till the rice is cooked. There will be plenty of water remaining and that is how we want kanji to be. ( I use pressure cooker and so after just one whistle, I switch it off) Add salt and that's it kanji is ready.
Rosted Chembu (Taro)  Taro - 2-3 (medium) Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspFreshly crushed black pepper - 1/2 tspSea salt - as per tasteVirgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs Peel taro and slice into thin slices.Heat coconut oil and add taro slices along with turmeric powder. Roast on medium heat till all slices are slightly browned and done well. You should …

Milk in Cookie Cups

Milk and cookie must be a western tradition as old as Christmas and Santa. Now how about eliminating the milk glass and directly pouring the milk into a cookie cup? The idea is nothing new. You all must have read or heard about Dominique Ansel and his newest invention the 'milk and cookie shots'. No, I am not going to try and recreate those cookie shot glasses, I am just inspired by the idea. What I made today fits the quick'n'healthy's dessert philosophy which is to make it small and simple. Make them simple with as much wholesome ingredients as possible, and as few ingredients in total. Enjoy this wonderful dessert that has an innovative twist on a traditional dessert :)

Organic spelt flour - 1/4 cupVirgin coconut oil - 2 TbsOrganic coconut palm sugar - 2 TbsOrganic raw cacao powder - 1 Tbs (optional) Pure vanilla essence - 1/4 tspSea salt - a small pinchOrganic milk - 1 Tbs
Mix everything well to form a stiff dough.Switch on your toaster oven at 350 degrees (you c…

Buckwheat Coconut Crepes w/ Avocado Dill Cream

People often mistake Buckwheat to be a grain like wheat because of its name, but it has nothing to do with wheat. In fact, it is not even a grain, but a fruit seed making it suitable for people with gluten intolerance and for people who are trying to avoid grains. Buckwheat is a good source of many minerals like magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and is very high in insoluble fiber. It helps control and blood sugar while also helping to maintain a lower risk of diabetes. Moreover, the protein in buckwheat is a high quality protein containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine. 

We try to include buckwheat in our menu, mainly in breakfast. It can be used for porridges, breakfast loaves, pancakes and crepes, and in the summer I also sprout and add them to our salads. Here is a quick'n'healthy crepe which is made from semi-fermented buckwheat batter made from hulled buckwheat and coconut. It is served with a fresh avocado-dill cream making it a wholesome hearty br…

Choco-Banana Rolls

I guess chocolate-banana is one of those classic combinations which cannot go wrong. How about if you bring in coconut to the mix.. and add a doze of raw hemp hearts, and a serving of coconut oil.. yummm...... and that is what I would call a quick'n'healthy treat. This can satisfy your chocolate cravings, it has a good doze of plant based fat and protein, and it is naturally sweet because of bananas and a teeny bit of raw honey. My son has already certified it as one of the best 'quick thingies' that I make :-) Serve it as a dessert, or as quick after school snack, so quick that you can do this in less than 5 minutes.


Dried shredded coconut - 4 Tbs.Raw cacao powder - 2 TbsVirgin coconut oil - 1 TbsRaw honey - 1 tspRipe banana - 1Raw hemp hearts - 1 Tbs

Directions: Grind the coconut using a coffee grinder. In a bowl mix ground coconut, cacao, coconut oil and honey into a thick paste.Apply evenly on banana. Sprinkle hemp evenly or just spread hemp in a plate and r…

Sachin Style Dinner Menu

I am not the right person to write about Sachin as I am not a big Cricket fan, but I can definitely write about food, even if it happens to be Sachin's favorite menu. I recently read an article on Chef Girish and his 'Sachin Style Menu', I could not just ignore it as I have two Sachin fans at home who also happen to be big foodies :-). I made the full menu for a recent get-together and here are the recipes with my tweaks. I have to say that if these are really Sachin's favorites, he is in fact a simple man on and off the field. He must be pretty healthy too, looking at these simple, no-nonsense dishes which are mostly vegetarian and are made with an array of vegetables. There are a couple of non-vegetarian dishes too. Please note that Quick'n'Healthy only recommends buying and consuming organic free range chicken, organic dairy products and sustainable seafood, all in moderation.

Btw, here is what the Sachin fans at home wrote as tribute to him on his retirement…

Peruvian Chocolate Cupcakes

Our sweet little bundle of joy is turning a 'teen' today. Yes, he is 13 today. It has been a rewarding 13 years filled with joy, sorrow, pride, smiles, tears and above all…lots of love !! We were sort of immature parents to begin with and we have been learning about parenting as he was growing up. That was a lot of fun even with all our impatient disciplining and reasonably high expectations (just like any other Asian immigrant parents). He has grown up to be a very mellow, patient and kind young man, and we are so proud of him.

He has been so patient with all our changing food habits - from our 'american influenced convenience based ignorant diet' to our ‘whole foods clean eating’. He would stand by me with any of my successful and failed kitchen health experiments, and gobble up most of the times without much complaint. He also brings in his interest in geography and travelling into our kitchen. He inspires me to cook different dishes from all over the wo…

Quinoa Idli w/ Horse Gram Sambar

This is my latest version of Quinoa idli. This is made very similar to the instant quinoa idli, the difference is that instead of using half portion of cracked wheat, here I am using quinoa alone, thus making it completely gluten-free. Another difference is the soaking time, this is soaked in yogurt base for a longer period. Many friends and readers ask me why do I specify soaking in most of my recipes. I wrote about this in another recipe recently. Read that here.

In today's recipe, soaking in yogurt overnight provides me with a slightly fermented batter, which makes fluffy and soft idlis, very different from the instant version. You can add some chopped veggies or other optional seasonings too. I do not add anything since I want to retain the soft and fluffy texture, and also since I serve this with a veggie rich horse gram sambar.

Quinoa - 1 cup (I mix half and half of red and white quinoa)Homemade organic yogurt - 1/2 cupSea salt - as per tasteBaking soda - 1/4 tspD…

Crispy Masala Chickpeas

This is a quick'n'healthy snack to munch on while you watch a favorite TV show or a movie, and is a good ToGo snack as well. This is a gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and is a 100% plant based snack. Make this in big batches and store in air tight containers for a healthy after school snack for your kids or for you to take to work. 

Ingredients: Chickpeas - 1 cup (soaked for 24 hours)Coconut oil - 1 Tbs Sea salt - 1 tspMasala powder - 1 batch (recipe below)
Directions: Drain the soaked chickpeas and spread them in a clean kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes to dry them.Switch on the toaster oven at 350 degrees.Spread the chickpeas on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.Take out add coconut oil, stir to coat well.Put back in the oven and continue baking for 30 minutes.Take out again and mix in the masala powder and salt and continue baking for 5-10 minutes more. Take out and transfer to a platter and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.This can be stored in air tight cont…

Mini Cucumber Bowls w/ Almond Pâté

Here's a quick'n'healthy raw appetizer for the Oscar night. Almond pâté is made with almonds and sunflower seeds. It contains only plant based protein and fat, unlike in a regular french pâté which has meat. An awesome way to get your veggies, protein and fat and still sit back and enjoy your favorite stars :)

English cucumber - 2Almonds - 1/2 cupSunflower seeds - 1/2 cup Celery - 1 stalkRed bell pepper - 1/2Red chilly - 1Basil leaves - a small bunch Sea salt - 1/2 tsp
Grind everything to a fine paste in a food processor or blender.Cut the cucumber into 1/2 inch slices. Scoop out the middle using a small scooper.Put the pâté in a ziplock bag and cut the corner. Squeeze out about a tablespoon each of the pâté into each cucumber bowl.Enjoy in good company and root for your favorite stars :)

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Pineapple Pulissery - Pineapple In Yogurt Coconut Gravy

If you ask me why I cannot become a complete vegan, one key reason would be that I cannot live without pulissery ;). When we feel like we are missing Kerala, we end up making Pulissery, it is so much a Kerala specialty  and one that can make every Malayali nostalgic. Pulissery is the most favorite side dish at my home and all of us love it so much that we end up fighting as to who should clean-up the vessel. It is made with juicy vegetables (like cucumbers, white pumpkin, etc) and simmering them in a yogurt-coconut gravy. Just like Malayalis, and their traditions and their attire, this dish is also synonymous with simplicity :). When we want to make it a little fancy for a special occasion, we make it with pineapple, mango or ripe plantains :).

Ingredients: Pineapple - 1/2Water - 2 cupsTurmeric powder - 1/2 tspSea Salt -as per tasteShredded coconut - 1/2 cup Organic homemade yogurt - 2 cupsGreen chilly - 2-3Cumin seeds -1 tspFor optional tempering:Virgin coconut oil - 1 tspBlack mustard…

Wholewheat-Spelt Soup Crackers

Here is a recipe for a basic soup cracker that I have adapted from a wholefoods market recipe. Crackers are probably the easiest thing to make at home with few basic ingredients. Once you start making them at home, you would never want to buy them from store with those endless list of ingredients. This is a basic recipe, you will be able to add other spices/flavors to it. You can also replace the whole wheat flour with more spelt flour, or rye flour. I have successfully tried both. 

Organic wholewheat flour - 1/2 cupOrganic sprouted spelt flour - 1/2 cupHomemade coconut milk - 1/4 cupEV Olive oil - 2 Tbs.Dried herbs - 1 tsp  (parsley, rosemary, oregano) Freshly ground pepper - 1/2 tsp (optional) Sea salt - 1/2 tspBaking soda -  1/2 tspDirections:
Mix all the ingredients together just till combined to form a dough. Do NOT knead like bread dough. Roll out the dough into a large sheet of about 1/8' thickness. Cut into 1 1/2' squares and transfer to baking sheet lined w…