Banana and Nutella Quick Bread

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It’s time to reveal my secret (not so secret anymore) elixir for times when I am down and out – Banana and Nutella Quick Bread! I made this bread with ragi and oats flour and it all about comfort and yumness! Tried, tested and never failed with this recipe. And I hope you now understand why it’s my favorite – super easy, super quick and no scope of messing it up!
The freshly grounded cinnamon-y flavor to the nutty flavor from the flours, everyone’s favorite Nutella to the goodness from the banana in every bite, makes it a delicious dessert to dive in all through the day. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – you’ll fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch loaf)

  • 100 grams oats flour
  • 90 grams ragi flour
  • 3 ripe bananas, medium sized
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil + extra for brushing
  • 100 grams melted Nutella

METHOD

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Meanwhile spray or brush you baking mould with oil and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl sift your flours, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon powder and whisk it. Add chia seeds and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mash the banana using a fork into small chunks. Add oil, sugar and vanilla extract to it and mix it well using a wire whisk.
  • Add the wet and dry ingredients and fold it until just combined.
  • Transfer half of it to the baking mould. Put half the Nutella and using a skewer make a design. Repeat the process.
  • Allow it to bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done take it out of the oven. Allow it to cool. Then slice it up and serve!

Gharwali Khichdi

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Basic homestyle khichdi is my synonym for comfort food. There is nothing better that can remind you of clean and sumptuous home food than this Khichdi. A bowl of piping hot Mixed Dal Khichdi, a generous dollop of ghee and a fragrant tadka – a complete one pot meal and definitely your answer to a lazy day food.

 

Growing up in a Marwari family, khichdi was a pretty regular affair in the kitchen with so many different variations. Not only was it served with homemade ghee but also with kadhi, pickle, papad, fried munchies and curd. A simple dish was ornated and with that extra touch of love (read Ghee!) from grandmom made it even more delicious. Light on the tummy, nutritious and yummy, this lentil and rice concoction has been one of my all time favorite Indian meal. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils, soaked in water for 30 minutes (I took half moong dal and half Toor dal)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeds removed
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • hing, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnsihing
  • fried onion, for garnsihing

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Meanwhile wash the lentils under water a couple of times.
  • Once the saucepan is heated, put ghee. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, green chili, red chilli, grated ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pod and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the washed lentils and stir for 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Add some salt and turmeric powder and mix it well. Add 1 cup of water and mix it. Cover the saucepan and let the lentil for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once half done, add the washed rice into the saucepan and give it a good stir. Add more salt and around 2 1/2 cups of water and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the mix cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentil is perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, transfer it to a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and a generous dollop of ghee and dig in!

 

Sesame Crusted Baked Mushrooms and Paneer

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My favorite ingredients in an oven baked version – yum! The flavor blast in every bite of this dish makes it a complete winner. I love and kind of prefer baking and roasting veggies in my small little oven rather than boiling and (over) cooking them on stove. Couple of reasons – put everything in the oven and it does the rest. You get time to focus on other errands simultaneously. Secondly, its definitely healthier and tastes darn good.

Make a single batch of sesame roasted mushrooms and cottage cheese or a huge batch, this gets over in no time. Whether you want to upgrade your appetizer game in a part, top it up as an add-on to your lunch meal or eat this as is, you’ll definitely obsess over it again and again. Its simple, its quick and super delicious.

This recipe is adapted from Sarah Jampel’s recipe for Crispy Sesame Baked Tofu and Shiitake Mushrooms. The ease of her recipe and the use of pantry staples makes me fall in love with it.

Soft and tender from inside, crunchy from outside, the flavor combination is stunning. The umami from the mushrooms, nuttiness from the flecks of sesame seeds and the aromatic oils – all this comes together beautifully. Hearty and healthy – this dish is here to stay!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 -2 people)

  • 150 grams mixed mushrooms ( I used a mixed of button and shiitake mushrooms)
  • 200 grams cottage cheese cubes (you can use tofu also)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mixed sesame seeds + extra for garnish
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful of micro greens, for garnish

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 220C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Wash and clean the mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms into medium slices. Make sure not to cut it think since it will burn too easily in the oven.
  • Take half of the above mentioned quantities of – cornstarch, vegetable oil, sesame oil, mixed sesame seeds, chili flakes, soy sauce and salt – in a bowl. Put the mushrooms in it and toss it so that all the pieces are well coated.
  • In a another bowl, take the cubes of paneer/ cottage cheese. Add the remaining amount of cornstarch, vegetable oil, sesame oil, chili flakes, soy sauce and salt, sesame seeds and the entire Panko bread crumbs quantity.
  • Make sure to toss the cottage cheese gently in the mixture and ensure its generously coated.
  • Place the mushrooms and cottage cheese cubes on the parchment paper. Make sure that the pieces are places beside one and another and not stacked one top of the other.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the pieces are golden brown and crisp.
  • Take it out of the oven, mix it up, serve on a plate and garnish with micro greens.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

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!

 

Summer Pasta Salad

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Lets talk salad! A summer pasta salad is indeed a bowl of comforting stuff to beat the heat wave. The fresh and flavorful kick of the salad makes it a quintessential summer dream meal! Beautifully cooked pasta, some fresh summer veggies and a bold dressing and you are good to go!

As soon as I enter the grocery store next to my house, I am awe struck with the freshness of the produce and ideas keep striking at lightening speed. This summer salad is a celebration of the clean and simple ingredients. The cherry tomatoes provides burst of freshness to the salad, the roasted peppers adds the extra oomph to it. The creamy dressing is jam packed with flavor and brings together the entire dish.

Yes, the salad is yummy and you can get on your own adventure ride by tossing in different veggies because its all abut what delights you!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 – 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 160 grams boiled pasta ( I used Farfelle)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 12 pieces cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise ( I used store bought mayonnaise)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white vingear
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the salad:

  • Brush the yellow pepper with vegetable oil generously. Place it on a gas stove on medium flame.
  • Keep rotating the sides every 30 – 40 seconds so that it chars evenly.
  • Once charred, place the pepper in cold water, remove the skin, de-seed it and cut it lengthwise into strips.
  • Meanwhile place the broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water with salt for 2 minutes.
  • Once done run it under ice cold water and keep aside.

For the dressing:

  • Take mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey and vinegar in a bowl and combine it using a wire whisk.
  • Transfer it into an air tight container. Add extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in the container. Close the lid and shake it hard until all the ingredients are well combined.

To assemble:

  • Take all the veggies and herbs in a bowl. Drizzle it with the salad dressing.
  • Toss the entire salad using the salad spoon so that each pasta is well coated.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Enjoy!

Crunchy Berry Breakfast Granola

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Say hello to my new breakfast friend – Crunch Berry Granola. Being incredibly summer here, I like my post-workout morning breakfast to be a bowl of chilled yogurt topped with a generous amount of homemade granola. The big beautiful flavors from the granola is a perfect example of yummy and healthy food.

An easy recipe which you can mess around and cook with your lil one. While making the granola, my entire house was filled with a heavenly aroma. The concoction of crunchy toasted granola and the nutty almonds is studded with dried berries and chia seeds and spice mix. The mild sweetness from the agave nectar (Yes, you can use honey!) was deeply satisfying. The textural pop from this homemade granola makes you crave for it during breakfast and even mid day snacking each day!

Seeing my lil one enjoy this granola completely swooned me. Its simple, its comforting and yummier than store bought granola. So just when you thought of going healthy and bringing some variety to your breakfast table, this recipe is at your call and will become your absolute favorite in the kitchen.

Feel free to play with different flavors you love!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 3 cups)

  • 1.5 cups of oats (I used Quaker oats)
  • 35 grams slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup of dried berries (I used dried cranberries and blueberries)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 20 grams unsalted butter, melted and brought to room temperature
  • 45 ml agave nectar (you can use honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  •  pinch of salt (eliminate this if you are using salted butter)

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METHOD:

  • Line a baking tray with parchment/ baking paper and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 150C for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix oats, slivered almonds, dried berries and chia seeds in a bowl and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter,  vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon powder, salt and agave nectar and whisk it well to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and with the spoon mix it so that no clumps are formed. I like using my hands and making sure all the elements are well coated and no lumps are formed.
  • Now transfer the mixture on to the baking tray and spread out evenly. Put it in the oven and bake at 150C for 18 -20 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes take the baking tray out and using a spoon stir the entire mixture so that nothing is over done or burnt. Put it back in the oven.
  • Once done take out the baking sheet from the oven. The mixture won’t be crunchy now. Allow it to cool.
  • As the mixture cools, it becomes crunchy. Transfer it to an airtight container and you can store it upto 2 weeks in the fridge.

Happy eating!

 

Mango Black Rice Salad with Lemon – Ginger Vinaigrette

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Summer + funky salad + mangoes = PERFECT MEAL!

This power salad is a best way to eat healthy and enjoy the gorgeousness of the fruit of the season – Mango. Packed with black rice, fresh fruits, vibrant vegetables, herbs and nuts, this is pure happiness in a bowl. While I enjoy eating healthy food, flavor fatigue strikes in soon. It is important to keep experimenting with flavors, different ingredients and to appreciate the produce of that season. Black rice salad have now become a regular weeknight dinner for me where I can throw in different veggies and fruits in a bowl, drizzle a different dressing and your meal is sorted almost instantaneously. Among the different salads that I have been eating lately, this is my favourite.

Bursting with different flavors and textures, the plethora of color is this dish makes you want to dive into it right there. The earthy rice combined with the lush green broccoli, the sweet mangoes and mild flavor of the shallots compliments each other beautifully well. All this when combined with a ginger scented vinaigrette makes you fall head over heal in love with this dish. Easy to make, easy to assemble and a complete meal to beat this heat!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1- 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 120 grams uncooked rice, soaked in water for atleast 8 hours
  • 1 cup diced mangoes (I used alphanso mangoes)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched in salt water until slightly soft
  • 1/4 cup shallots, julienne
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 2 tbsp almond slivers, lightly toasted

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tbsp agave nectar (you can use honey)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan with water and bring it to boil. Now add the soaked black rice with a bit of salt and let the rice cook on medium flame until all the water has bbeen absorbed.
  • Meanwhile using a wire whisk combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and agave nectar until well incorporated.
  • Add the freshly grated ginger, dried mint, garlic, salt and pepper and stir it. Transfer this dressing to a jar and put it in the fridge until you serve the salad.
  • Once the rice has been cooked, take a salad bowl and toss in the cooked rice, diced mangoes, blacked broccoli, shallots, torn basil leaves and half of the slivered toasted almonds.
  • Drizzle with a generous amount of the salad dressing (right before serving). Combine well and serve the salad topped with the remaining toasted almonds.

Enjoy and stay healthy!