Thai Rainbow Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing

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I have started to believe that I have a thing towards fresh produce and making everything from scratch whether its salad dressings, breads, ghee and possibly everything within my scope. There is still a long way to go, lot of skills to learn however I am loving this. Using local and fresh ingredients rather than frozen ones adds such a depth of flavor and a feel good factor in everything you make. The effort that goes in making everything perfect for your family and friends, making everything pure and good is a true epitome of love and affection.

This salad is all about freshness – delicious and crunchy ingredients, a flavorful dressing, beautifully tossed together and yay! its ready. A perfect way to welcome the summer and enjoy every bit of homemade thai flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 – 5 people)

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup red carrots, julineed
  • 1/3 cup mixed bell peppers, julineed
  • 180 – 200 grams rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 red chilli, for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp honey (optional)

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METHOD:

For the dressing:

  • Whisk everything together until incorporated and keep aside until ready to use.

For the salad:

  • Take a bowl filled with boiling hot water and place the rice vermicelli noodles in it. Let it soak for 2 – 3 minutes or until the noodles is cooked.
  • Once done drain it and wash it with tap water. Allow the water to completely drain off.
  • In a large bowl mix together red cabbage, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, coriander leaves, black sesame seeds and noodles and toss it so that everything is almost evenly distributed.
  • Add the dressing and toss it.
  • Garnish with red chilli, peanuts and coriander leaves and serve!

 

 

Quick Masala Paniyarams

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I love my mornings. Peaceful, clear thoughts to start the day, renewed vigour and enthusiasm and most importantly a delicious breakfast that helps me power through the day. With the weather being so cozy that you feel being nestled between the layers of blankets, making a lavish breakfast becomes a far fetched reality for most of the days. However breakfast being one of the most important meals of the day, I often resort to quick fix and healthy breakfast. When you start your day with a healthy and delicious note, you know that your day is bound to be awesome!

To break the monotony from the usual North Indian style breakfast dishes or the healthy granolas and parfaits, I tried making a Quick Masala Paniyaram a few days back. They were absolutely delicious. These little ball of wonders are fluffy, soft and packed with flavour. Crisp on the outside, soft inside – you can’t help but fall in love with it. These are so versatile that you can load it with different ingredients each day and make something phenomenal to adorn your breakfast table. Pair it with coconut chutney, green chutney and sambhar and your breakfast woes is sorted.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 20 pieces)

  • 2 cups ready-made idli batter (I used iD idli batter)
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped
  • 12 -15 curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Heat a frying pan and once heated add oil. Now add mustard seeds. Once it starts to crackle add curry leaves and green chilis and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it on medium heat until it turns light golden brown. Add salt and saute for 10 – 15 seconds and remove from heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile put the paniyaram pan on medium heat. Allow the pan to get heated. Once it is heated grease it using oil.
  • While the pan is getting heated, add the cooled onions, grated carrot, chopped coriander leaves and little salt to the left over idli batter and mix it well and keep aside.
  • Using a spoon put the mixture into each cavity of the pan until it is just full. Cover the pan with the lid and allow he paniyarams to cook on one side for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Using a skewer, turn the paniyarams to the other side and allow it to cook on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Once done transfer it to a plate and serve along with coconut chutney, coriander chutney and sambhar.

Voila!

 

Laksa – from the scratch!

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Monsoons for me means sitting by the window and enjoying the crisp cool air, the fragrance of “gilli mitti”, reading a book and relishing a bowl of piping hot and comfort food! I am already hoping that it rains again today and I can relive these moments again. And when you get a bowl full of goodness – piping hot curry noodle soup, your day can’t get any better! Laksa is a Malaysian curry noodle soup which is hearty and perfect for monsoon lunches and dinner.

This recipe here might not be the most authentic Laksa recipe, but it’s modified to what my family enjoys and the flavors we can relate too. Spicy, sweet, zing and lots of goodness. I must admit that cooking Asian food is not my forte, but I wanted to try my hands on this dish particularly. I tried, retried and re-retried and almost perfected myself in making Laksa. While the coconut milk lends the creaminess and sweetness to the dish, the “made from scratch” Laksa paste adds the much needed fieriness to the whole dish. The colorful medley of veggies provide the necessary nutrients. All this with a dash of lemon is sublime!

This soup reminded me of my mum’s tomato soup which she would load with noodles and veggies to make our meals more exciting. So just when you were pondering about what to cook next, my version of Laksa is here to spark up your weeknight dinners and a comfort laden weekend meal!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For Laksa Paste:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 dried red chili, soaked in hot water for atleast 30 minutes (you can add more if you like the paste to be spicier)
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped (you can use ground turmeric instead)
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly diced
  • thumb of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

For Soup:

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 150 – 200 ml water
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, par boiled
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julinned
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into circles and par boiled
  • 6 – 7 pak choy leaves, cut into threads.
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 200 grams tofu, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams button mushroom, cut into thick slices
  • 1.5 cup cooked rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup french beans, cut into long pieces and slightly boiled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thai basil leaves (optional)

METHOD:

  • In a mixer grinder take all the ingredients for the Laksa paste along with 2 tbsp of water and make a smooth puree out of it. Do not use the water in which the dried red chilis were soaked.
  • Once the paste is made, keep it aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put 1 tbsp of oil in it and put it on medium heat. Add the entire Laksa paste and let the paste cook completely. You will know the paste is properly cooked once it starts to leave slight oil. This would take 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take another pan on medium heat. Put the remaining oil. Add chili flakes and the white part of green onion and saute for a few seconds. Now add broccoli, carrots, french beans, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until it starts to get slightly charred. Add salt and give it a good stir. Once cooked keep aside.
  • Once the Laksa paste is cooked, add coconut milk and water and let the gravy simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tofu so that it soaks up some flavor of the curry. Let the curry simmer for atleast 5 minutes.
  • To serve, first take a bowl and add some cooked rice vermicelli. Add some veggies and then pour the tofu and the coconut curry. Add some more veggies on the top.
  • Garnish with lemon wedge, roasted peanuts, coriander leaves, spring onions and thai basil.

Enjoy!

Quick Powerhouse Patty with Yogurt Dip

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It’s #foodcoma time! These powerhouse patties are an explosion bomb, packed with fresh flavor and great nutrients. I always loved patties since childhood. My mum used to revamp it every single time with different veggies and different herbs to make our meals more exciting! Yes, I get these genes from her. A lot has changed  in my life since I have attained motherhood. When it comes to food, I try to eat healthier stuff, more superfood and introduce the same to my child by alternating the favors. To my surprise my 2 year old mini bomb loves it too!

These patty is quite literally everything. The delicious concoction of nutritious veggies, the lushness from the fresh herbs and the abundance of super-food all comes together to create a firework of amazing flavors. All this complemented with a zippy yogurt sauce, it is phenomenal.

So just when you were pondering what to eat with your cup of tea during monsoons, we’ve got a quick and easy solution for you!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (makes 8 – 10 pieces)

For the patty:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, for cooking the patty
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly crushed black pepper, to taste

For the dip:

  • 120 grams plain Greek Yoghurt (I used Epigamia Yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

For the patty:

  • Cook the quinoa as instructed in the package. Once cooked, fluff it with a fork and keep it aside.
  • Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves and once blanched, run it under cold water. Roughly chop it and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl, mix chopped onion, grated carrot, chopped spinach leaves, chopped basil leaves, parsley, chili flakes, garlic and lemon zest and mix it with a spoon.
  • Add cooked quinoa, lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper and mix the mixture using your hand.
  • Lastly add the Panko bread crumbs and completely mix the patty mixture. Keep it in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Take out the patty mixture from the fridge and using an ice-cream scoop, take a scoop of the mixture, roll it and slightly flatten it.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining mixture.  Keep the balls in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take a flat pan and put it on medium heat. Spray 1/2 tbsp of oil.
  • Now put the patty on the pan, drizzle some oil on the patty and allow it to cook until its crisp and golden brown on each side.
  • Repeat the process for all the patty and keep it aside.

For the dip:

  • Take Greek yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it slightly using a wire whisk.
  • Add lemon and salt and mix it with a spoon.
  • Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Now place the patty in a platter along with the dip and serve immediately!

 

Thai Glass Noodle Salad

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I am feeling so pumped up while writing this blog post, probably because it’s been a tad bit long that I wrote something all you food enthusiasts. I hope this recipe is worth the wait. After a month of festivities, eating sweets (read as putting on those extra kilos and fat everywhere) and enjoying time with family, its time to eat healthy and ofcourse yummilicious food to be able to gear up again for Christmas and New Year.

Thai Glass noodle salad is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. While the vibrant colors are so appealing to your eyes, the textures are manifold, making you go for another bite. It’s kind of unfair to have Thai food without fish sauce, but who cares! Being a vegetarian you can definitely savor such bold flavors with tweaks here and there. This salad is about the array of fresh produce and the bold dressing that lingers on your taste buds.

The dish is brimming with a bouquet of flavors – sweet, sour, spicy, earthy! While the fresh veggies add crispiness to the dish, the aromatic herbs add in the earthiness. The peanuts add the crunch to the dish, it is the dressing that ties together the whole dish. It adds the punch factor to the entire salad.

So just when you are hungry, chop the veggies up, whisk a sweet-tangy dressing and in no time your Thai Glass Noodle salad will be ready. Bon Appétit!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4 people)

For the salad:

  •  1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 medium onion, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 100 grams glass noodle
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • 1 red chili, for garnishing
  • 8 mint leaves, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp jaggery powder (you can use sugar)
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped (you can use 1 tbsp red chili flakes instead)
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Boil a larger pot of water. Once its boiled, take it off the heat and add the glass noodle in it.
  • Make sure its submerged completely. Stir it once or twice so that everything strand is well submerged.
  • Cover the pot for 5 minutes and let the noodles cook in residual heat or until tender. Please follow the package instructions for any  different cooking instruction.
  • Drain the cooked noodles and run it under cold water and set aside.
  • Meanwhile for the dressing, combine lemon juice, sesame oil and jaggery powder and whisk well.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing and give the dressing a good whisk and set aside.
  • In a salad bowl mix the noodles, all the veggies, all the herbs and half of the roasted peanuts and mix well.
  • Drizzle the salad dressing and mix well.
  • Garnish with the remaining roasted peanuts, mint leaves and red chili and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

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Thinking of eating something healthy and super delicious – these Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps is the way to go. Its such a fun way to eat your salad – deconstructed and then you reconstruct the way you want it. You end up being content in every bite you take.

While I was in the US, I often craved for Indo – Chinese food that I have grown up eating back in Kolkata. There were a couple of restaurants that transported you back to India and could genuinely satiate your cravings. Weekends came and these places were buzzing with Indians and I often used to be one in the crowd. However, when I went to the much loved P.F.Chang’s, it introduced me to a whole new spectacle of Chinese food (though still not authentic, but definitely delicious). I tried the lettuce wraps and completely enamored by it.

Recently, I bought some fresh water chestnuts from the grocery store ad I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate it by making lettuce wraps. Its healthy and yummy food – al rolled into one bite. It boasts of bold flavors and hence addictive. The flavorful filling compliments the freshness of the lettuce and the crunchiness from the roasted peanuts.

Why wait – toss up the filling in a lip smacking sauce and enjoy these easy to make wraps with your friends and family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For  4- 6 people)

  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 250 gms extra firm tofu
  • 2 cups fresh water chest nuts, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp red chili sauce
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 10 – 12 romaine lettuce leaves/ iceberg lettuce leaves
  • grated carrots, for garnishing
  • roasted peanuts, for garnishing
  • Salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red chili sauce,  vinegar and sesame oil and set aside.
  • Take the tofu slab and squeeze out excess water using a kitchen towel. Once the excess water has been squeezed out, finely chop the tofu.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Once heated add the red chili flakes and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped tofu and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Keep breaking the tofu pieces randomly as it is cooking.
  • Next add in both the mushrooms and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Make sure that the water has evaporated completely.
  • Add ginger and garlic and let the mixture cook for a minute. At this point add the chopped water chestnuts and green onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • The tofu should be golden brown on its edges. Once this happens add the sauce mixture set aside.
  • Add salt (make sure to add less salt, since the sauce mixture is quite salty) and let the whole mixture cook until you hear bubbling sounds from the sauce.
  • Once the mixture is cooked , take it off the flame and keep it aside to be served in a bowl.
  • While the mixture is cooking, take the lettuce leaves and put it in a covered bowl with ice cubes for atleast 15 minutes so that the leaves are crunchy.
  • Take the lettuce leaves, pat dry it, fill the filling and serve as shown in the pic.

Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

Vegetarian Momos

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Summer vacations meant family trips to the hill stations, strolling at Mall Road and eating momos and maggi. Eating momos at different local vendors was quintessential to any trip to the the hills, until recently when momos are becoming a rage in different parts of India. It is becoming everyones favorite especially with the crazy concoctions available now. Its wonderful to gorge on these during the rains.

With the arrival of monsoon in Bangalore and a nip in the air, I decided to make momos at home. I was intimated by the meticulous task that would lie ahead of me but somewhat knew that once the rhythm was set, these mini wonders would be ready in no time. They are so simple yet so satisfying. It hits every note – fresh veggies and overwhelming flavors is comforting.

I love the basic vegetarian flavor. The shreds of cabbage, the sweetness from onion, the crunch from the carrots and the freshness from the ginger, all combine well to create something yummy. The whole process of making the stuffing, filling and folding is therapeutic. You can take inspiration  from different places, cuisines, then play with your imagination and create flavors which your family enjoys. Don’t forget to make a tangy, spicy dipping sauce that makes the momos all the more addictive that you can’t stop with just one.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (makes 16-18 pieces)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

For the wrappers:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 6 tbsp water, for kneading

For the dipping sauce:

  • 5 dried red chilis
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

For filling:

  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil and once it is hot add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until its translucent and soft. Add in the grated ginger and sauté too.
  • Next we need to add the finely chopped carrots and cabbage and sauté on high heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Add salt, soya sauce, red chili sauce and freshly grounded black pepper and mix it well. Cook the mixture on low heat for a minute.
  • Take it off the heat and allow it to cool at room temperature.

For the wrappers:

  • Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the wrapper in a bowl and knead it well until the dough is soft and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Take a small portion of the dough and roll it to form thin circles, about 2 – 3 inch in diameter, on a lightly flour dusted board.
  • The edges should be thin and the center should be relatively thick. Make the wrappers and keep aside.
  • Take small portions of the filling and place it at the center of the wrapper.
  • Lift one side and start pleating it slowly. Once pleated, take the top of the pleats and slightly twist it and join it in the center.
  • Keep making the momos. Cover the pleated momos using a damp clothe to avoid the momos from becoming dry.
  • Fill the steamer with water, place the momos on the steamer tray (the momos shouldn’t touch each other on the tray.
  • Cover the lid and allow it to cook using steam for 7 – 8 minutes. The momos should now be transparent and not sticky. This means its done.

For the dipping sauce:

  • Take water in a saucepan and bring it rolling boil. Take it off from the heat and add the dried red chilis into it.
  • Let it soak for 20 minutes.
  • In a blender add garlic cloves, soaked red chilis, a tbsp of the soaking liquid, vinegar, salt and sugar and blend it until its completely blended.
  • Take a saucepan and heat the oil. Once heated add the blended chili mixture and allow the flavor to be infused properly. This will take around 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Mix cornflour and water in a bowl. Make sure there is no lumps.
  • Add this cornflour to the above heating mixture and keep stirring it for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Take it off the heat, transfer the dipping sauce into a serving bowl to be served with steamed momos.

Enjoy..Monsoon is on its way!