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Showing posts from December, 2014

Christmas Holiday Fruit Cake

Here is my last post for the year. Christmas and the holiday season brings a lot of memories for Malayalees.  One such memory would definitely be a piece of dark flavorful fruit cake. It is probably a representative flavor of the season and will be something that every Malayalee would have had over the years during this season. Initially when we moved to the US, we were not able to find Kerala style fruit cake here and I started to attempt to bake my versions of it. This is one cake I have been making for the past 14 years, though I have been refining the recipe every year based on our increased awareness about food and the cooking ingredients used. Nowadays, even though we can buy the Kerala fruit cake from any Malayali bakery, we still stick with our homemade version. This is the latest version of my christmas holiday fruit cake. It is made with all organic and pure ingredients, yet not compromising much on the flavor. Though, this recipe has egg, I have made eggless versions of th…

Tropical Chickpea Stew

During our recent trip to a middle eastern restaurant, we were having a conversation about chickpeas. During the discussion we found that it is one ingredient that is used in so many cultures, and each one used in a different way, that you cannot make out that they are all from the same ingredient as all of them taste so different. It is probably one of the most common ingredient every ethnic group finds some use in their kitchen. We use chick peas in many ways in India itself, starting with the varieties of channa masala and besan (chickpea flour) used for many snacks. Then we have the hummus from the middle east, the different chickpea stews from the African continent, all the different types of chickpea salads from the Americas and Europe, chickpea soups from Europe and Asia... the list goes on and on. Also chickpeas fits well into many diet regimes, if you are into any.. vegan, gluten-free, paleo, low carb. you name it. Moreover, chickpeas come loaded with nutrients, are high fibe…

Eggless 'eggnog'

Wishing all my friends and readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays !!!
Since we are vegetarians for a month, we are having a simple and quicknhealthy Christmas breakfast. Moroccan anise bread served with African style almond mango stew along with a slice of our homemade eggless christmas fruit cake and 'eggless' eggnog. If you are a vegetarian, or vegan,  or just cannot stand raw egg (like me) and you just like a simple taste, then this recipe is for you.

Homemade coconut milk- 3 cupsCashew nuts - 6Dates - 8-10Cardamom - 5-6 (skin removed)Fresh grated nutmeg - for garnish
Blend all ingredients to a smooth consistency. Optionally you can warm it on stove top for a warm eggnog. Pour into 3 serving glasses and grate nutmeg on each.Serve immediately.Enjoy!!

Patra w/ Collard Leaves

Patra is a Gujarati dish which is made with steamed colocasia leaves and coated with a batter made with besan (chickpea flour) or rice flour. My version here is made with collard leaves and the batter is made with soaked channa dal. This can be served as a healthy snack, appetizer or as a side dish which is gluten-free, vegan and quicknhealthy :).

Ingredients: Collard greens - 1 bunch ( about 12 leaves)Channa dal - 1 cup soaked for 6-8 hoursGreen chilly - 1-2Lemon juice - from a lemonAsafoetida - a pinchAjwain/Omam - 1/2 tsp (crushed)Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspnSea salt - as per taste
Directions: Drain and grind the channa dal with salt, lemon juice and green chilly adding very extra little water (just enough for the blender to run).Add the spices and mix well.Wash the collard greens and wipe them with a kitchen towel. Cut them thru the center and remove the stem. Lay one collard leaf half with ribbed face up. Take about 2 tablespoons of the batter and spread evenly on the leaf. Lay one mor…

Apricot Energy Bars

How often do you get goodie-bags filled with junk? Yes I know, it is an over debated topic as to whether distributing goodie-bags is a good idea or not. My son does not get much of them nowadays because he is older, but have got a fair share of it in the past, though I have to admit that many parents have been conscious to give my son books rather than candies and other junk.

A few weeks back we were pleasantly surprised to get a goodie-bag at a birthday party hosted by a close friend which was not filled with junk, instead it was filled with real 'goodies'. It had an assortment of healthy organic snacks. My son was pleasantly surprised and loved it, and so did we. This post is inspired from one of those goodies, an Apricot-nut energy bar. I made it right in time when my husband was getting ready for his next travel and  was looking for good snacks for the long haul flight (as we have stopped eating food from flights).

My usual energy bars are nutty and my son always wanted me…

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.

Quinoa - 1 cup (soaked overnight or up to 24 hours)Green Mango - 1 largeGarlic - 4-5 clovesGreen chilly - 2-3Chopped cilantro - 1/2 cupEV olive oil - 1 TbsSea salt - as per tasteChopped 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 l…

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…