March 22, 2015

Lemony Yam Coconut Bread

Today's recipe is a bread made without any flour or grains, and made with yam and coconut.  It is not your regular loaf of bread, but more of a contemporary bread which you cut instead of slice :-). No refined sugar, refined oil or other processed ingredients are used. It is grain-free, gluten-free, vegan and paleo friendly. The bread has a nice flavor to it and you can use it in a variety of ways.

This recipe was first introduced in the quicknhealthy kitchen to satisfy the sandwich craving of our son when we were on a kind of a detox after a vacation. I made a sandwich with this bread, using an avocado spread along with sautéed onions and baby greens, but the bread can be enjoyed warm just as is or with your favorite spread or in another kind of warm or cold sandwich too.



Ingredients: 

  • Yam - 2 (medium) (garnet yam, sweet potato)  
  • Dried shredded coconut - 1 1/2 cup
  • Flax meal (flax seeds powdered) - 4 Tbs 
  • Arrowroot powder - 4 Tbs
  • EV Olive oil -2 Tbs
  • Himalayan salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice - from one medium lemon
  • Dried oregano - 1 Tbs
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp


Directions:

  • Peel and cut yams into small cubes. Add to a food processor and process till finely chopped (almost like a coarse powder).
  • Add coconut, flax meal and arrowroot powder and continue processing till everything starts to combine and form like a dough.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Keep the dough aside for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon sheet.
  • Spread the dough into an 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
  • Keep aside to cool and cut into 8 squares about the size of a bread slice. 
  • Serve with your favorite spread or use to make sandwiches.
  • Enjoy!! 


March 6, 2015

Carrot Banana Kheer

Holi Ayee Re.. (meaning holi is here). Holi is the festival of colors, just like how we have a festival of lights. In South India, we do not celebrate Holi, but that does not really matter in the Quick'n'Healthy kitchen. We take it as one more opportunity to cook something special. As it is a busy weekday we decided to go with a quicknhealthy treat - Carrot Banana kheer. 


In Indian cuisine, a kheer or payasam is a broad term that is used to represent a wide range of sweet dishes. There are 2 basic versions of payasam or kheer, one made with cow's milk and the other made with coconut milk. There are different subsets within these two, depending on the ingredients, consistency and occasion. Today's recipe is made with carrots, banana, coconut milk, cashews and is only sweetened with a little bit of raw honey and the natural sweetness from the banana. 

Ingredients:
  • Carrot - 2 
  • Banana - 1
  • Homemade thick coconut milk - 1 1/2 cups (see notes) 
  • Cashew nuts - a big handful (soaked for a few hours)
  • Raw honey - 4 Tbs (or more as per your sweetness level)
  • Cardamom - 6 pods (skin removed and powdered)
  • Saffron - a pinch
For garnish:

  • Few cashew nuts
  • Few raisins 
  • Ghee or coconut oil - 1 Tbs

Directions:
  • Grate the carrots, you need about a cup of packed grated carrots.
  • Soak saffron in a tablespoon of warm coconut milk.
  • Start cooking carrots in a pan stirring frequently. In about 10-15 minutes, it will nice and soft. 
  • Meanwhile, grind the cashew along with coconut milk into a thick cream consistency. 
  • Add cashew coconut cream to the softened carrots. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add cardamom powder, soaked saffron and honey. Switch off, add thinly sliced bananas and mix well. 
For garnish: 

  • Heat ghee (or coconut oil) on medium heat and saute raisins and cashews till slightly golden. Garnish over the kheer.
  • As always enjoy desserts in small servings :)


Notes:

  •  To make thick coconut milk, make coconut milk (recipe here) and keep it refrigerated for a few hours. Remove the thick coconut milk that will separate on top.
  •  I made about 4 cups of coconut milk to get the 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk that I needed for this recipe. Remaining light coconut milk can be refrigerated and used in other recipes. 
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March 1, 2015

Veggielicious Pav Bhaji

Pav bhaji is an Indian street food which has origins in Maharashtra, the coastal state of India. Bhaji just means a vegetable side dish, while Pav interestingly has a Portuguese connection. Pav means bread in Portuguese and this connection dates back to the time they were present in Maharashtra during the colonial time before the British. Pav bhaji itself is recorded to be originated as a quick lunch for mill workers in Bombay (present day Mumbai), where they did not have long lunch breaks for a full course meal. Nowadays this is so popular that anywhere in the world where you have a reasonable Indian population, you might find a food cart or small food joint which sells Pav Bhaji. If you go to an Indian get-together you are more likely to find it as part of the spread. 


Like all other dishes which get a face-lift in the Quick'n'Healthy kitchen, this has also gone thru some healthy customization. Though I don't really dislike potato, I consider it more as a carb than a vegetable. Hence I make the bhaji with winter squash or yams. I also alter the cooking process a little  bit so that all vegetables are cooked just enough and not over processed. The key to the bhaji is not the vegetables that go into it, but it is fresh pav bhaji masala. I use homemade pav bhaji masala and it does the trick. With the fresh masala, it tastes so much better than the store brought masala which is more often stale and does not have the fresh smell. Now you have the bhaji with freshly baked whole wheat pav buns to make it completely your own :-). Top it with home made ghee or butter, and enjoy Pav Bhaji to your heart's content.

Whole wheat pav- Ingredients:
  • Whole wheat pastry flour - 1 1/2 cups
  • Warm water - 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs
  • Coconut palm sugar - 1 Tbs
  • Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Sea salt - 3/4 tsp
Directions:
  • Mix yeast and sugar in warm water and set aside for 5 minutes till it is frothy.
  • Add this along with melted coconut oil, salt to the flour. Mix everything well to form a dough.
  • Knead well for about 10 minutes. Apply a little melted coconut oil on top and cover with a plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about an hour till the dough is doubled in volume.
  • Punch the dough, divide into 6 equal parts. Make balls out of each part and arrange in a baking tray keeping about an inch distance between each. Keep in a warm place for about an hour so that the balls double in size once again. 
  • Preheat oven at 400 deg F and place the baking tray in the middle rack and bake for 12-15 minutes. 
  • Brush each hot pav (bun) with a pat of ghee or coconut oil.
  • Serve warm with freshly made warm bhaji.

Bhaji: 
  • Butternut squash - 2 cups (chopped) 
  • Green beans - 1 cup  (chopped)
  • Carrot - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Onion - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Tomato - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Homemade pav bhaji masala - 2-3 Tbs 
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Chilly powder - if you need extra hot
Directions:
  • Start cooking butternut squash with 1 cup of water. Cook covered for about 10 minutes or till cooked half way thru.
  • Add carrot and beans and continue cooking till beans and carrots are cooked half way thru.
  • Add onions and tomatoes and cook till they soft. 
  • Add the spices and continue cooking stirring frequently taking care not to burn the mix.
  • Continue cooking till everything cooked well and slightly mashed. 
  • Adjust seasoning and remove from flame. 
  • Serve with optional garnish of ghee, chopped cilantro and freshly squeezed lemon juice. 
  • Enjoy with freshly baked pav buns!!



Notes: 
  • Instead of butternut squash you can use, sweet potato, garnet/purple yams or plantains. 
  • Carrots and beans can also be substituted with other choice of vegetables.

Homemade pav bhaji masala: 
  • Black cardamom - 4
  • Coriander seeds - 4 Tbs
  • Cumin seeds - 2 Tbs
  • Black pepper - 2 Tbs
  • Fennel seeds - 1 1/2 Tbs
  • Whole red chilly - 5-6 (I used south Indian variety) 
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 of a stick (about 10 small pieces) 
  • Dry mango powder (amchur) - 2 Tbs
Directions:
  • Dry roast everything except amchur on medium heat till a nice aroma comes out of the spices. 
  • Switch off, add amchur and mix well. Let it cool.
  • Powder using a coffee/spice grinder. 
  • Store in an air tight container. 
  • Add to pav bhaji or any other dishes that you would want to spice up a little bit. :)





Recipe source for the masala powder: