Wednesday, September 21, 2016

High Protein Moong Idlis with Bell Pepper Chutney

I used to always be nervous about making Idlis. I never thought I could actually work with the proportions of the various grains to make Idlis a perfect dinner time delight. After a great tip from my MIL, I was able to get the ratios for the two dals and rice just perfect and now I make light, fluffy and protein rich Idlis for dinner often. Fermenting the batter is key and a combination of the oven with the light on (8 hours) and room temperature (daytime 4 hours) works really well! A good food processor is equally important to grind the soaked grains into a very fine batter. I use a Vitamix blender.

A nice red bell pepper chutney completes the meal. You can spice up the chutney with whole red chilies if you want or make it mild with the addition of ground black pepper. Serve with a nice salad on the side.

1/2 cup split urad dal (black gram), washed
1/2 cup split moong dal, washed
1/2 cup sona masoori rice, washed
1/4 tsp fenugreek powder
Salt to taste

Soak the pulses and rice in warm water for about 4 hours. The water should be just enough to cover the ingredients. A lot of the water will be absorbed in the soaking process, re-hydrate if necessary. Grind all the ingredients into a smooth batter post soaking and add fenugreek powder and salt to taste to the batter. Cover with a lid that has a hole to allow for air circulation in the pot and ferment over 10-12 hours, the batter should rise as seen in the pictures I show below. Mix well post fermentation and refrigerate until ready to use. The batter keeps well in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

For the chutney, you will need:

2 red bell peers, washed, chopped
 20 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Asafoetida
1 small onion, chopped
1/t tsp sambar masala (
2 tsp oil (peanut, rice bran, canola)
1 whole red chili, optional

Sputter the mustard seeds in the oil in a sauce pan. Add the onions and curry leaves with the Asafoetida. Saute and add the bell peers and sambar powder. Cook covered until the bell peppers are just cooked. Add salt to taste, cool, blend and serve with the warm Idlis! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Avocado and sprouted green mung bean salad

A high protein salad for weekend brunches. Serve with Pita bread and soup for a full meal!

You will need sprouted mung beans, lightly steamed: To sprout mung beans, soak a cupful overnight in water, and then place them is a strainer lined with a wet cheese cloth. Cover the mung beans with the cheese cloth and let them sprout over the next eight hours or so.

Date and Tamarind spread/chutney: Easily made at home. Soak pitted chopped dates and pitted tamarind in a ratio of 10 dates to a small piece of tamarind in a saucepan with water. Cook, on medium heat, and simmer until a thick slush of dates and tamarind is left behind in the saucepan. Add some jaggery or brown sugar to taste (you won't need much, since the dates are sweet), rock salt, cumin powder and chili powder to taste. Strain the slush and voila! The spread is ready. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Multi-grain crackers made with Pita bread
1 large avocado, chopped
Chopped, seeded tomatoes
1/8 cup chopped red onion (optional)
Mung beans, sprouted, steamed
Date and Tamarind spread

To prepare the salad, place the mung beans, avocado, tomatoes and onions in a bowl. Crush some chips or place them whole on the vegetables. Sprinkle salt to taste. Garnish with the spread and serve!

Mushroom Curry in Cashew Gravy

Mushrooms are a rich source of many nutrients and lend themselves to curries easily. Here is a recipe for a mushroom curry in a rich cashew gravy that works well when served with rice or breads like Naan, Pita, Lavash, and Roti! My cousin loves this curry and I hope you do too!

To serve a table set for two, you will need:

1 packet of mushrooms, washed, and diced lengthwise or in quarters.
2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste (fresh works best, made with a fine grater)
2 tsp of curry powder
1/4 cup ground cashews
1/4 cup yogurt, whisked
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, washed, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
Oil to saute
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 tomatoes, washed, seeded, diced
1/4 tsp of turmeric, 1/4 tsp of red chili powder (optional)
Salt to taste, 1/2 tsp sugar

Sputter cumin seeds in the heated oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onions, and let them turn a golden brown. Now add the curry powder, turmeric and ginger-garlic paste . Fry for about 30 seconds and add the diced tomatoes and mushrooms. Cover and cook until mushrooms are just cooked, do not add water, since mushrooms tend to sweat as they cook. Now add the ground cashews and about 1/8-1/4 cup water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Season with salt, sugar and red chili powder and turn the stove off. After the curry cools slightly, add the whisked yogurt, garnish with cilantro and serve!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hearty Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cabbage, aah, not much that you can do with this really healthy, good to eat vegetable right? There's curries, there's coleslaw, there's soup....ahem, did you say soup? Yes, I did!

Try this winning combination of cabbage and potato in a rustic soup. You won't be disappointed.

You will need:

2 carrots, washed and diced.
1/2 cup of cooked rice.
1/4 to 1/2 cup cabbage, washed, shredded.
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped.
1/2 onion, finely diced.
2 Yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced.
1 tsp of California style sweet paprika.
Black pepper and salt to taste.
Olive oil 1 tabsp and butter 1tbsp to saute the onion.
Crushed Thyme, 1 tsp to garnish.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and butter together. Saute the onions and garlic until a mild golden brown. Now, add the potatoes, carrots and cabbage and stir for a minute or so. Add paprika, black pepper and salt. Pour enough water to cook the vegetable, covered. I normally do about 2 cups of water. After a rolling boil, cook until potatoes are just about done. Now add the rice and bring to a rolling boil. Turn of the stove and let the flavors seep into the broth. Garnish with the crushed thyme and serve warm with rustic bread. Serves two. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Versatile Weekly Menus

Wondering what to cook everyday? You are not alone really, all of us, often wonder if we are balancing our meals well. So I decided to post a weekly menu that helps me immensely. Alter the protein and vegetables based on your preferences! Protein can be included in every meal in various forms, by including nuts, legumes, whole grains like amaranth and buckwheat, and of course dairy and eggs!

Here goes!