April 24, 2014

Fig Coconut Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

My son's school has a visionary head of school who over the past few years has brought in revolutionary changes to their lunch menu. They buy only organic and local produce (as much as possible). The meat, poultry and diary they get is organic, humane and free range. They serve a nutritious and satisfying meal to kids with a variety of salads, soups, main courses, and desserts (mostly fruit based). They have a lot of options for vegans, vegetarians and flexible vegetarians (like my son). Something I really adore is their dessert serving size: as per my son they give a teeny tiny portion :-). That is quite in line with quick'n'healthy's dessert policy. The kids even get to eat pizza some days, but they stick to their ingredient standards.

Now, these are all positives that I like about the school. On a regular day, I don't have to worry about what my son will get to eat. Then there are socials, the Valentine's day party, Halloween party and more, where the school chefs are not making the food. I am all for kids socializing and having fun with their friends. My problem is with the food (that too junk food) in these parties. In all these parties, they serve loads of sugar in the form of cupcakes, doughnuts, marshmallows, Gatorade, you name it. I don't complain to the volunteer parents because I usually cannot volunteer for these events because of work schedules and my long commute to school. I think I should not complain about things where I cannot really contribute to any change. What I can do is to supplement my son with something that he can fall back on. I have educated him enough to make good choices wherever possible. I give him a wholesome and filling breakfast and he usually checks on the web on what is for lunch that day at school. So if there a 'party' in between in his class, he is generally not hungry (both literally and emotionally). The problem is when he has a social or party after school. On those occasions, I generally supplement him with something wholesome and filling that he can fall back on. Something like an energy bar, a box of cut fruits, or one banana.

Here is one such quick'n'healthy option that you can make ahead of time. It is made with oats, though I am pretty sure you can make this with buckwheat as well if you want a gluten-free version. Send them to school as a snack or take with you to work as breakfast or snack. It is power packed, so it is perfect for your hiking/biking trips, or other outdoor activities.



Ingredients: 
  • Fig - 1 cup (chopped into small pieces)
  • Steel cut oats - 1 cup + 1 cup
  • Dried shredded coconut - 1 cup
  • Chia seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Virgin coconut oil -1/2 cup
  • Flax seeds - 2 Tbs
  • Himalayan pink salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - 2 tsp
  • Dried ginger powder - 2 tsp
Directions:
  • Soak chopped fig in 1/2 cup of warm water for 30 minutes to soften. Blend them in a blender or food processor. Add coconut oil also and continue blending till mixed well.
  • Powder the flax seeds in your coffee grinder and mix with 1/2 cup of water and set aside for 5 minutes to gel.
  • Powder 1 cup of oats, mix with remaining dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix in the fig-coconut oil mixture and flax meal. Mix well to form a rough dough. 
  • Spread into a 8 X 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper and press evenly.
  • Bake at 350 deg toaster oven for 20-25 minutes. 
  • Let it cool and cut into 2 inch squares. 
  • This makes 16 squares. Enjoy it for breakfast, or as a power snack :-)

April 19, 2014

Soaked Grains/seeds Pancakes

Do you like freshly made fluffy & soft whole grain pancakes right off the pan? Would you also like to make it from scratch? No, not from any of those brand named pancake mixes that come in a box.... This one is made from whole grains/seeds like whole oats, brown rice, or buckwheat. You just need a little bit of planning, spend a few seconds the previous night to measure and soak the grains/seeds. Once you do that, then in the morning you can treat yourself and your family with these super soft and fluffy pancakes.

I do the grinding in my vitamix, but I would assume it should be easily done in a regular blender too since the grains are soaked. Total preparation time is around 30 minutes including the grinding and making the pancakes. I also managed to whip up the topping while I am waiting to flip each pancake. So even on a busy weekday morning you can enjoy these quick'n'healthy and satisfying breakfast :-). This is a neutral flavored basic pancake recipe. You can give it your own touches, make them sweet or savory or make them as is and serve with sweet or savory toppings.

If you would like to know quick'n'healthy's take on why soaking is important, read it here:


Ingredients:
  • Grains/seeds - 1 cup (You can use steel cut oats, buckwheat, brown rice etc.)
  • Homemade organic yogurt/butter milk - 1 cup
  • Sea salt - 3/4 tsp
  • Baking soda - 1 tsp
  • Organic free range eggs - 2 (see below for vegetarian substitution)
Directions:
  • Soak the grains/seeds in yogurt/buttermilk overnight.
  • Grind the them along with salt until fine using a blender.
  • Add eggs one by one and whisk slightly.
  • Mix baking soda and mix well.
  • Keep the batter aside for 30 minutes or so.
  • Make pancakes. Makes about 10 medium pancakes.
  • Serve them sweet with raw honey & fresh cut fruits, or serve them savory with a savory topping. See below for some ideas. 
  • Enjoy !!

** To make vegetarian version: 
  • Flax seeds - 2 Tbs (or chia seeds) 
  • Filtered water - 1/2 cup

  • Powder flax seeds using a coffee grinder.
  • Mix with water and set aside for 5 minutes to gel up.
  • This will replace 2 eggs. 

Sweet topping options: 

Savory topping ideas:

 Sharing this on:

April 17, 2014

Jackfruit Mango Smoothie

This week we celebrated Vishu, our new year. Vishu is also our spring celebration in a way, with Konnapoo (yellow flowers - cassia fistula) blooming just for this season. It is also a celebration of tropical fruits like jackfruit and mango. Every Vishu we really miss jackfruit since we hardly find it here. This time we were lucky to find some in our Indian grocery store and we got home a big handsome jackfruit :-). After the hectic work of cutting it open, peeling the jackfruit arils off, and separating the seeds, we enjoyed about half of it just like that. With the remaining fruit, we are exploring other different ways to enjoy them. And why not, as jackfruit is very high in Vitamin C, rich in dietary fiber and a good source of potassium, magnesium and iron. In addition, Jack fruit is excellent for your gut and has very good gut cleansing properties. This is a smoothie with jackfruit and mango which are both in season now. So here is something refreshing and healthy for a reinvented 'Vishu-kalam' (Vishu season), enjoy !!

Ingredients: 
  • Jackfruit arils - seeds removed and trimmed - 1 cup
  • Mango - peeled and diced - 1 cup
  • Banana - 1
  • Coconut milk - 1 cup *
Directions: 
  • Blend everything together until creamy and smooth.
  • This makes 2 large breakfast smoothies. 
  • Enjoy!!

* I had a tender coconut with me, so I just pureed half of the tender coconut meat and whole of the coconut water to get my coconut milk. You can use regular homemade coconut milk as well.



Sharing this on:
Raw Food Thursdays @GlutenFreeCat
Plant based pot-luck party @UrbanNaturale

April 14, 2014

Vishu Specials - Vishu Katta & Vishu Kanji

Happy Vishu to all Malayali friends and readers. I am sharing some Vishu specials today. These are not vishu dishes that I grew up eating, but have read about and heard about, and got to know more about them from fellow Malayali bloggers. The internet is so cool that way - you get to know about and adapt traditions that you never knew existed :-). We love almost everything that is made with coconut and here I am introducing two simple Vishu dishes, the Vishu Kanji and Vishu Katta. We love these simple dishes that are served as Vishu breakfast in some parts of Kerala and now it is part of our tradition as well.

Vishu Katta:



This is a simple dish made by cooking rice in coconut milk. Originally made with onakkalari, (raw unpolished rice) which is used for special preparations like this and also as an offering in temples. It is supposed to be served with jaggery syrup, but as my readers know, Quick'n'healthy does not promote sugar unless it is really required. This one tastes very simple and awesome without the addition of sweetness, so my recommendation is to keep it just as it is :)

Ingredients:
  • Red rice - 1/2 cup (I used organic Madagascar pink rice)
  • White rice - 1/2 cup (I used organic jasmine rice)
  • Thick homemade coconut cream * - 1/2 cup
  • Homemade coconut milk* - 1 cup
  • Homemade light coconut milk*  - 2 cups 
  • Cumin seeds - 1 Tbs
  • Fresh ginger root - 2 Tbs - chopped
  • Himalayan pink salt - as per taste
  • Virgin Coconut oil - 1 Tbs

Directions:
  • Wash and soak both rice for 8-12 hours. 
  • Start by boiling the light coconut milk and add drained rice and cook on medium heat. Cook covered paying attention not to burn the rice.
  • Meanwhile toast the cumin seeds on medium heat till you they start popping.
  • Chop ginger fine, heat coconut oil and lightly roast the chopped ginger. 
  • Once the rice is 3/4th done, remove the cover, add toasted cumin, roasted ginger, and 1 cup coconut milk and salt. You can do a salt check by tasting the liquid at this point. Cook on low medium heat stirring frequently.
  • In about 20-30 minutes most of coconut milk should be absorbed. Switch of, add the coconut cream and keep stirring for 5-10 more minutes. 
  • Grease a shallow tray or baking dish with coconut oil. You can also line with banana leaf. Spread the cooked rice evenly into the dish. Leave it aside for 30 minutes to an hour to set.
  • Loosen carefully from the sides and cut it into slices. 
  • Serve it just like that or serve it with a pickle or chutney. Enjoy! 



Notes for coconut milk: 

  • I make my coconut milk with organic dried shredded coconut.
  • Get coconut milk recipe here.
  • For this recipe I make coconut milk in 2 batches, one batch I use as is.  
  • Second batch is made earlier and kept refrigerated so that thick coconut cream is separated on top.
  • You can remove the cream from top using a spoon and remaining will be your light coconut milk.

Vishu Kanji:




Another simple dish is Vishu Kanji. This is made with rice and puliyamara. I tried figuring out what this puliyamara actually is and I am still trying..:) I just know that it is some kind of flat bean. I just use any kind of flat variety of beans that are available here, like cannellini beans, or mochakotta (val) beans. I think puliyamara might even be mochakotta itself. Anyway, the beans are dry roasted, coarsely ground and cooked with rice to make the kanji (rice soup/congee). It is then seasoned with coconut and cumin seeds. I don't think that it can get any simpler than this. It can be served as is with a drizzle of ghee. You can also serve it with chakka erissery (raw jackfruit cooked with coconut and spiced with pepper), jackfruit being in season during vishu time.


Ingredients:
  • Parboiled broken rice  - 3/4 cup 
  • Mochokotta (Val) beans - 1/4 cup 
  • Fresh shredded coconut - 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1 Tbs 
  • Sea salt as per taste

  • Dry roast the beans till nice roasted aroma comes and you will start hearing some popping sound of the beans. Let it cool and crush coarsely using coffee grinder of a dry blender. Some big chunks are okay. 
  • Cook the rice and crushed beans with around 6 cups of water. (I use pressure cooker for this) 
  • Once rice is cooked add toasted cumin seeds, shredded coconut and salt. 
  • Serve it warm. Enjoy !!


April 11, 2014

Quick'n'healthy Green Rolls

Looking for a cool, spicy way to eat collard greens? Here is a great idea... roll'em up with some cooked yam and dip them in a spicy chutney. It is flexible to be eaten as rolls or cut them up and eat them like sushi rolls. You can serve them as appetizer or snack or as a quick lunch like we do at quick'n'healthy kitchen :-) You can very well pack them in your lunch box. It is just like a salad, no warming up required, just grab them whenever you are hungry. So go ahead and try this plant-based, grain-free green rolls which do not require any refined flour/sugar/oil.




Ingredients: 
  • Collard leaves - 5-6
  • Yam/Taro or a combination - 2 medium or 3 small
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Ginger - 2 Tbs (chopped)
  • Shredded coconut -1/4 cup
  • Himalayan pink salt - as per taste
  • Virgin coconut oil - 2 Tbs
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Directions:
  • Grate the yam/taro, chop green chilly and ginger.
  • Heat coconut oil in and saute green chilly and ginger for a few seconds. Add grated yam and cook covered on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or till just cooked enough. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Cut the thick stems off the collard leaves and give them a quick steam. (Or just use them raw, they will be more crunchy and of course more nutritious). Cut each leaf thru the middle stem.
  • Take a little bit of the yam mixture and put it on the leaf and roll. Repeat for the rest of the mixture and leaves.
  • Serve with a spicy dipping sauce or chutney. Enjoy!!


Green Mango Chutney:


  • Green mango - 1/2 a mango - peeled and cubed
  • Coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger - 2-3 Tbs
  • Green chilly - 3-4
  • Coriander leaves - a small bunch
  • Sea salt - as per taste

  • Blend everything to a chutney consistency.
  • Serve with your green rolls. Enjoy!!

April 10, 2014

Vishu Sadya

India welcomes the Spring season with great fervor which manifests itself as colorful festivals in the various parts of the country. In the south, the Malayalee New Year starts on the first day of the Malayalam month Medam, which is the astronomical New Year Day when the sun crosses the equator. This day is celebrated as Vishu by Malayalees. In the English calender, this usually falls on the 14th or 15th of April. The traditional rituals followed during the festival is believed to usher in another year of prosperity for all Malayalees.

We start early in the day with the 'Vishu Kani' (auspicious sight) and the belief is that by seeing auspicious things at the beginning of the year will ensure the rest of the year to be happy and bountiful. Thus the 'Vishu Kani' has over the years become a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like 9 grains (nava-dhanyam), new clothes, gold, money, golden cucumber, mirror, the yellow 'konna' flowers (cassia fistula) and a holy text  (like Ramayana or Bhagavad Gita) in a bell metal vessel called 'uruli'. A lighted bell metal lamp called 'nilavilakku' is also placed alongside. Elders of the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. These tokens are called the 'vishu kaineetam' and are usually in the form of coins. People carry on this custom believing that in this way, their children will be blessed with prosperity in future. The families then celebrate the day with joyous abandon by bursting fire crackers after the vishu kani. While the men and the children engage in bursting crackers, the women start cooking a variety of delicacies for the day's lunch. The feast or the 'vishu sadya' is prepared by the women of the household and the whole family sits down to enjoy the vishu lunch together. The dishes are prepared from the vegetables and fruits that are abundant in the season like jackfruits, mangoes, pumpkins, a variety of gourds, and coconuts. 


Though we live outside of Kerala, we do celebrate all our festivals and Vishu is one we love to celebrate. We try to adhere to tradition as much as possible with the available local resources. Instead of 'Uruli' I keep my 'Vishu Kani' in a mahogany tray, and instead of the traditional yellow flowers or Konna, I use a local spring variety of flowers :-). I do the same with the 'vishu sadya' or the feast. I choose my vegetables and other ingredients based on local availability. Of course I stick to quick'n'healthy standards in picking the ingredients and the way I cook. The recipes shared here are not from a specific part of Kerala. My family is from the north of Kerala and my husband's family is from the south central Kerala. My recipes have influences from both, and have evolved a lot based on our taste and health preferences. The spread of dishes for the sadya is also a mix of both sides, so you get the best of both worlds :-). I love cooking them, and all three of us love eating them and finishing every morsel of the sadya :-). So go and try these out, they will make your day.

Parippu-Neyyu-Papadum: (Mung dal in coconut gravy w/ ghee & Papadum)




Ingredients: 
  • Split mung beans (Mung dal - Cheru parippu)  - 1/2 cup 
  • Shredded coconut  - 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp 
  • Green chilly - 2
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sea salt  - as per taste
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
Directions: 
  • Dry roast mung dal on a hot pan for a few minutes till nice aroma comes.
  • Cook the roasted beans with 2 cups of water. 
  • Grind coconut with cumin seeds into fine paste and add to the cooked dal. 
  • Add turmeric powder, salt and green chillies slit into halves. 
  • Simmer on low flame for 4-5 minutes, switch off flame, drizzle coconut oil and curry leaves (if available)
  • Serve with rice, ghee and papadum. 

Avial (Mixed vegetables cooked in a thick coconut gravy)



Ingredients:
  • Plantain or Indian yam or a combination - 1/2 cup 
  • Long beans or green beans - 1/2 cup
  • Snake gourd - 1 cup
  • Pumpkin or butternut squash or acorn squash  - 1/2 cup
  • Bottle gourd or ash gourd  or cucumber - 1 cup 
  • Carrot - 1/2 cup
  • Raw mango - 1/2 cup
  • Shredded coconut - 1 1/2 cups
  • Green chilly - 3-4
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs - to drizzle 

Directions:

  • Wash and peel all vegetables and cut them into 1 1/2 inch long sticks. 
  • Start cooking long beans and plantains in 1/2 cup of water and turmeric powder. Cook covered. 
  • Once they are cooked half way thru add raw mango and squash and continue cooking on medium heat. Stir and keep an eye to make sure the vegetables do no burn.
  • Meanwhile grind coconut, cumin and green chillies to a coarse mixture. 
  • Once all veggies are 3/4th done, add remaining vegetables and salt and continue cooking.
  • Once vegetables are almost done (there should not be a lot of water remaining at this point), add the ground coconut mixture and yogurt. Stir well to coat all vegetables with the coconut-yogurt mixture. Cook uncovered on low flame for a 4-5 minutes more. 
  • Drizzle coconut oil on top and switch off flame. 
  • Serve warm, enjoy!

Olan (Taro and ash gourd cooked in coconut milk) 



Ingredients:
  • Chembu (Taro) - 1 medium
  • Ash gourd (kumbalanga) * 1 cup (slices) 
  • Green chilly - 2-3 
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Thick homemade coconut milk** - 1/2 cup
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 tsp

Directions:
  • Wash and peel the taro and slice into small slices. Wash and peel ash gourd into small slices. Slit green chilly.
  • Start cooking taro with 1/2 cup of water and green chilly.
  • Once taro 3/4th cooked, add the ash gourd slices and cook till all vegetables are done well. It will take only 5-10 minutes for the whole process. Only very little water will remain at this point. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring once every minute of so. 
  • Once vegetables are cooked well, add the thick coconut milk and salt and simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Switch off flame and drizzle coconut oil.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!!

* This can also be made with bottle gourd (churakka), Vellarikka (cuccumber) etc.
** Thick coconut milk is actually first milk that is obtained by squeezing freshly grated coconut. Since I don't have the luxury of getting good fresh coconuts where I live, I depend on organic dehydrated coconut. I make my coconut milk from that and keep it refrigerated for 30 minutes so that thick coconut milk separates on top. Get coconut milk recipe here. 



Kurukku Kalan (Plantain cooked in reduced coconut-yogurt gravy) 



Ingredients: 
  • Plantain * - 1
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Homemade organic yogurt - 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
For tempering:
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilly - 1 -2
Directions:
  • Wash and peel the plantain. Cut into cubes. 
  • Cook the plantain cubes with turmeric powder and salt and 1/2 cup of water. 
  • Meanwhile grind the coconut, cumin seeds and black pepper to a well (not coarse or not too fine).
  • Once the plantain is cooked well and water in evaporated completely, add the ground coconut and yogurt and simmer on low flame till gravy is thickened well. Keep stirring continuously to avoid burning. Kurukku kalan literally means 'reduced' kalan (Kalan is a thinner version of the yogurt based dish) 
  • For tempering - heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds, when they pop add fenugreek seeds and red chilly and saute till fenugreek is red. Garnish over the kurukku kalan and serve warm. 
* This can be made with plantains (raw or ripe), or Indian yam (elephant foot yam) or a combination of plantain and yam. 




Pachady/Perakku (Raw mango salad in coconut-yogurt dressing)




Ingredients:
  • Raw mango - 1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Green chilly - 1-2 
  • Homemade organic yogurt - 3/4 cup
For tempering:
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly 1-2
Directions:
  • Peel and chop mango into very fine. Add salt and keep aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • Grind shredded coconut, green chilly and mustard seeds to a not-so-fine paste. Add it to chopped mango along with yogurt and mix well. Pachady/perakku is ready, you can serve this as it is or optionally add a tempering. 
  • For tempering, heat coconut oil and mustard seeds and red chilly. When mustard seeds pop, switch off and garnish over the pachady/perakku. 



Upperi/Thoran (Long beans stir fried with coconut) 



Ingredients: 
  • Long beans - 2 cups (chopped fine) 
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp 
  • Urud dal - 1 tsp
  • Red chilly - 1 -2

Directions
  • Wash and trim the long beans. Chop very fine. Chop green chillies.
  • Heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds, and when they pop, add  urud dal and red chilly and saute till urud dal turns slightly red. 
  • Add green chopped green chillies and chopped long beans, stir well. Add 1/4 cup of water and turmeric powder and cook covered on medium flame.
  • Once beans are almost done, add salt and continue cooking uncovered stirring so that any remaining moisture is absorbed. 
  • Add shredded coconut and switch off. 
  • Serve warm, enjoy! 


Erissery (Pumpkin cooked with roasted coconut & spiced with black pepper)


Ingredients:
  • Butternut squash * - 1 1/2 cups (cubed)
  • Black pepper -1 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Shredded coconut - 3/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconur oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urud dal - 1 tsp
  • Red chilly - 1-2
Directions:
  • Peel and cube squash, start cooking squash with 1/4 cup of water, turmeric and freshly crushed black pepper.
  • Meanwhile grind 1/2 cup of coconut along with cumin seeds and set aside.
  • Run the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut in the blender to corasely grind to get sort of a coconut meal, set aside.
  • Once the squash is 3/4th done add ground coconut-cumin mixture and salt. Continue cooking on very low heat till squash is cooled well and water is almost completely absorbed. Switch off the flame.
  • Heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds, red chilly and urud dal. When mustard seeds pop, add coarse ground coconut and keep stirring on low-medium heat till coconut is slightly red. 
  • Garnish on the erissery. Serve warm, enjoy !!
* This can be made with pumpkin, Indian yams, raw jackfruit etc. I make it with different kinds of winter squashes.



Naranga Curry (Lemon Pickle)



Ingredients:
For pickle:
  • Lemon - 2
  • Fresh ginger root - about an inch
  • Green chilly - 2
  • Sea salt - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds -1 tsp
  • Asaphoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly - 7-8 (powdered in coffee grinder or just directly use red chilly powder)
To make tamarind juice :
  • Tamarind - 1 tsp (skin, seeds removed)
  • Filtered water -  1/2 cup
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Coconut palm sugar - 1/4 tsp
For tempering:
  • Cold pressed sesame oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilly - 1-2 (broken into small pieces)
Directions:
For Pickle:
  • Wash and pat dry the lemons, chop into small pieces. Add finely chopped ginger and chopped green chillies. Add sea salt and mix well. Keep aside on your counter top for 24 hours.
  • Dry roast fenugreek seeds till they turn red and powder them using a coffee grinder.
  • After sitting for 24 hours, the lemon should be soft enough to make the pickle. Add fenugreek powder, asaphoetida, red chilly powder and mix well.
For Tamarind juice:
  • Soak the tamarind in water for 10 minutes. Mash with a spoon or with your hands to take out the tamarind extract. Pass it thru a sieve or just pass it thru your finger.
  • Boil the tamarind extract with salt and coconut palm sugar. Reduce and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until it is reduced to half. Let it cool.
  • Add the cold tamarind juice to the pickle and mix well.
For Tempering:
  • Heat sesame oil and add mustard seeds, when the pop, add fenugreek seeds and red chillies. When fenugreek seeds turn red, garnish over the pickle.
  • Transfer to an air tight glass jar and store. Can be stored on the counter top for a couple of days or keep refrigerated for a week or so. Enjoy!!



April 5, 2014

Spinach-Berry-Kumato Smoothie

Sometimes you feel like you don't want to eat a bowl of salad, but there is an easier way to get those salad greens in ;-). Just blend them up in a smoothie. Here is one for those days. It has loads of spinach, good fat from almonds and protein from hemp hearts. It is sweetened just a little bit with the berries and the dates. 

For smoothie:
  • Organic spinach - 1/2 pound 
  • Mixed frozen berries - 2 big handfuls
  • Kumato - 2 
  • Raw almonds (soaked overnight) - 1/2 cup
  • Dates (soaked overnight) - 6
  • Lemon juice (freshly squeezed) - 2-3 Tbs

Toppings:
  • Raw hemp hearts - 3 Tbs 
  • Shredded coconut - 3-4 Tbs (optional)
Directions:
  • Add all smoothie ingredients along with 1 cup of filtered water and purée till nice and creamy. 
  • Add the toppings and serve. 
  • Servings: 3 medium or 2 large smoothies.


April 3, 2014

Tri-Color Raw Noodle Salad w/ Creamy Hot'n'Sweet Dressing

Looks like Spring is finally here. I love spring because everything about spring is positive, and it gives a spring to your legs with the warming weather and the nice fragrance of flowers blooming. You have bright mornings with birds chirping to wake you up, you can start walking or running outside, get some fresh air and sunlight, and of course you can increase your raw food intake :-). This is my first raw entrée of the season. A simple raw noodle salad with a hot'n'sweet dressing. Raw noodles here are spirooli sliced vegetables. The hot'n'sweet dressing is made with cashews, hemp and apple...., yes....apple is the secret ingredient. Apple balances the heat from green chilly and the pungent taste from onion/garlic. I am sure this dressing will go well with a coleslaw and also as a dipping sauce with fresh veggies or wraps.



Tri-Color Raw Noodle Salad:

  • Carrot - 2 large - sliced using spirooli slicer
  • English cucumber - 1 - sliced using spirooli slicer
  • Baby spinach - 1 cup 
  • Apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbs (Optional*)
  • EV Olive oil - 1 Tbs (Optional*)

  • Toss everything together and set aside, while you make the dressing. 

* You don't need to add apple cider vinegar and olive oil if you are going to eat the salad right away. I add them since I slice and mix everything in the morning, and eat it for lunch. 


Creamy Hot'n'Sweet Dressing:

  • Raw cashew nuts - a big handful (soaked for 4 hours or overnight) 
  • Raw hemp hearts - 3 Tbs
  • Apple - 1 (cored and sliced) 
  • Red onion - 2 Tbs (chopped)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves (chopped)
  • Raw apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbs
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs
  • Fresh lemon juice - 2 Tbs
  • Green chilly - 2-3 
  • Himalayan pink salt - as per taste 

  • Mix olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and soak onion and garlic for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Drain the cashews (discard soaking liquid) and add along with everything else into a high speed blender and purée till nice and creamy.