August 30, 2013

Zucchini Buckwheat Savory Pancakes

This summer I have been buying a lot of organic zucchini from our farmer's market. Why organic? Now I know that a major percentage of conventional zucchini available is GMO. Why local? Unfortunately most of the organic zucchini available in grocery stores is so old and far from being fresh, the only way to get fresh zucchini is to buy local when it is in season. 

In the past, I have tried everything possible with zucchini: grilling, stir fries, raw noodles, and sometimes even substituting for some Indian vegetables, but ultimately zucchini is well, zucchini. To me, zucchini does not have a flavor of its own, but can give good volume and texture to your recipes so that you can reduce the grains/carbs significantly. Of course it adds to your daily nutritional intake as well being a good source of minerals (especially potassium) and vitamins. In the recent past, I have been making these pancakes with zucchini and it is a regular in our summer breakfast menu. This is not a sweet pancake, but is savory and can easily be made spicy for our Indian taste buds with the addition of chopped green chilly and/or grated ginger. This is egg-free and dairy-free and also naturally gluten free because of buckwheat. 


  • Zucchini ~ 1 cup grated (1 medium Zucchini) 
  • Buckwheat -1 cup 
  • Coconut - 1/2 cup (fresh grated or dried) 
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Coconut oil - 1 T (melted to room temp)
  • Chia seeds - 2 T
  • Lime juice - from a lime (divided)
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt as per taste

  • Soak buckwheat in water and half the lime juice for an hour. (If you can plan ahead, I would recommend soaking overnight)
  • Grind the buckwheat with the soaking liquid and coconut to a fine batter. (it will be a thick batter) 
  • Add grated zucchini, melted coconut oil and chia seeds to the batter and mix well. 
  • Just before you are ready to make the pancakes, mix remaining half of the lime juice, sea salt and baking soda and add to the batter. 
  • Heat the griddle and make pancakes. This makes about 8 medium pancakes. 





August 26, 2013

Gongura Pesto

If you are an Indian and live in the USA, you might have at least one Telugu friend, and there is a high likelihood of you having tasted gongura in some form (e.g. gongura dal, gongura pachady, gongura pickle, gongura chicken, you name it). Gongura is a sour variety of greens (close relative of Hibiscus) recorded to be rich in iron, fiber, folic acid and antioxidants.  

I have a few friends from this part of the US who try and grow gongura leaves in the vegetable patch with a lot of patience. I mean, you need to be really patient to start something from the seed, and take good care only to get returns during the 2 months of summer here. Couple of my friends have been really generous to share their crops with me and I really appreciate this fresh'n' homemade produce :)

Now for today's recipe,  I just threw the idea of gongura pesto at my husband and son. Both being big gongura fans, they gave immediate approval and here it is :) 


  • Gongura leaves - 1 packed cup
  • Pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup
  • Garlic - 2-4 cloves
  • Sea salt - s per taste
  • Red chilly - 1-2
  • EV olive oil -1 T

  • Heat a shallow pan on medium heat add a drizzle of EV olive oil and roast the garlic and red chilly.
  • Add the gongura leaves and remove the pan from flame. Keep it covered for a few minutes till the leaves are just wilted.
  • Transfer to a blender or food processor along with pumpkin seeds, olive oil and salt.
  • Blend till you get a coarse and chunky pesto.  You might want to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
  • I served it with steamed yam noodles (yam julienne'd in spirals and steamed) but you could serve it with any pasta, as a sandwich spread or as a dip.

August 2, 2013

Raw Jicama 'Rice' Sushi Rolls


This is the latest item that I am adding to my Raw EntrĂ©e menu. This time it is Sushi Rolls, a favorite in the household. I have made sushi rolls in the past with different kinds of rice, like red rice, sushi rice, brown rice, a combination of rice & lentils, combination of rice & sweet potato, etc. Here is one made with yet another kind of 'rice'. It is special because, you don't need to cook this 'rice' as it is raw!! As some of you might have guessed, this is not a rice, but any suitable vegetables chopped fine to resemble the look and texture (to some degree) of rice. There are a lot of videos and blog posts out there which describes what vegetables to use and how one can make raw 'rice'.

Jicama is a new addition to my grocery shopping list. It has a texture and flavor somewhere between a pear and a potato. It is a root vegetable like potato or yam, and is very juicy like pear and mildly sweet as well. The best part is that unlike some root vegetables, Jicama is low in calories and has a very high fiber content. It is also very rich in Vitamin C and Potassium.

You could also be creative and try other vegetables for making your 'rice'. I have tried zucchini, though I would any day make this again with Jicama because the crunchy and sweet 'rice' is really irresistible.

What you need:

Jicama  - 1 (medium-large)
Nori sheets - 2-3 (I buy Emerald Cove Organic Pacific Sushi Nori) 
Fillings - Avocado, cucumber, carrots, spinach


To prepare the 'rice'


  • Peel the skin and dice the jicama into small cubes.
  • Add the cubes into a food processor or blender.
  • Process till you get the jicama finely chopped resembling rice.
  • I use Vitamix to do this. I run at speed 4 and keep adding the jicama cubes few at a time till all the cubes are chopped fine.
  • Squeeze out excess water from the chopped jicama using a clean kitchen cloth.
  • The Jicama 'rice' is now ready to be used for your sushi rolls.
  • (I got about a cup of jicama juice, which is really good to drink just like that. But I used it as a base for my sesame-ginger-lime sauce to dip my sushi rolls.)

Fillings:


  • I used spinach, carrots julienned, cucumber julienned and avocado slices, but possibilities  are endless.

To make Sushi Rolls: 

  • Keep the Nori sheet rough side up on the bamboo sushi mat or a clean foldable kitchen mat.
  • Spread about 1/2 cup of 'rice' on the nori leaving 1 inch on the side facing you. If you have space left on the opposite side, that is fine.
  • Lay your fillings as you wish leaving about an inch from the side facing you. 
  • Start rolling using the mat as a guide firmly pressing as you go.
  • The moisture from the jicama 'rice' will automatically seal the roll else you might have to give it a touch of water to seal.
  • Cut into an inch slices. Enjoy!! 
  • I served them with homemade soy sauce substitute and Sesame Ginger Lime Sauce. (see below)


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Sesame-Ginger-Lime Sauce:
  • Raw white sesame seeds - 4 Tbs.
  • Fresh ginger - 1 Tbs chopped
  • Lime juice - from half a lime
  • Red chilly - 1
  • Sea salt - per taste
  • Juice squeezed from jicama - 1/2 cup or more for a thinner sauce.

  • Blend everything in a blender to get a creamy sauce.