Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad

_DSC0109

The season of festivity is over and its time to get back to the grind – eating clean, eating fresh and enjoying the best winter produce in your town. And thats why I say The New Year Salad Magic is here! I remember a few years back I always made resolutions of quitting sugar, eating healthy, eating more salads with the start of the new year. Obviously these resolutions worked for a few weeks and then I went back to the old way of living – cheating, cheating and more cheating! However having made no resolutions of quitting anything in the recent times, I feel I have started eating healthier and tastier food. This Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad is just a testimony to that.

Lush green and absolutely delicious, this salad makes you fall in love with it. The beautiful blend of flavors – earthy, fresh, nutty, zingy and sweet is what makes this salad complete. The lovely earthy essence of the baby spinach leaves, the tart granny smith apples, the spiced nuts and seeds, the sweet cranberries and the creamy goats cheese, all blend in wonderfully to boast of this cozy and comforting salad. Whisk together a basic homemade dressing and you are done.

So get back to the kitchen, toss up some deliciousness for your family because this salad definitely screams winter yumness to me!

_DSC0121

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 – 3 people)

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 12 – 15 walnuts, broken into 2 pieces each
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2  tbsp melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (you can use 1/2 tbsp lemon juice if you like less tangy)
  • 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried garlic powder (you can used 1 – 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

_DSC0093

METHOD:

  • In a bowl whisk 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and lemon until well incorporated. Add chopped basil leaves, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and whisk it and keep aside (preferably in the fridge until ready to use).
  • Put a saucepan on low – medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add paprika and saute for 5 – 6 seconds. Add walnuts and melon seeds and saute for 30 – 40 seconds until the nuts and seeds is coated with paprika.
  • Once done remove it from the heat and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix baby spinach, apple slices, onion slices, paprika coated nuts and seeds, dried cranberries and the salad dressing kept it in the fridge.
  • Toss it gently together using a salad spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and serve immediately!

Voila!

Baby Spinach and Burst Cherry Pasta

_DSC0593

Pasta – Weeknights – Are you serious!? Welcome to the weeknight meal extravaganza. After a hectic day at work, enjoying a rustic bowl of pasta is pure bliss. For me pasta is my comfort food at any hour of the day. I must confess that I am not an everday roti-sabzi kind of girl. Perhaps that my go – to food when I am ill or have been eating out a lot. I must also confess that I get bored very easily eating the same food. The whole experience of enjoying my meal fades away.

Weekdays being hectic, dinner is always a challenge. I often resort to cooking a quick simple pasta loaded with goodness of herbs and veggies. There is something about pastas that makes you fall in love with it every single time. Rustic or fancy – you just fall in love with it. Cooking it (and then eating it, of course) is therapeutic! This Burst Cherry Pasta has become my recent favourite. It is simple with no frills and fancies. It delivers on deliciousness, simplicity and a beautiful play of colors. Garlicky, subtly spiced and loaded with freshess – weeknight meals sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2  – 3 people)

  • 250 grams of uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 – 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 150 grams baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • salt, to taste

_DSC0596

METHOD:

  • Put a pot of water on high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, put the spaghetti in it with salt and let it cook on medium het until al dente.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 C. In a bowl take the cherry tomatoes, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Coat the cherry tomatoes generously and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  • Allow the cherry tomatoes to roast in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until it starts to burst open.
  • Meanwhile if the pasta is cooked, drain the water and run it under cold water and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put it on low heat. Take the remaining olive oil. Once its heated add the garlic and let it cook on low flame for a minute ot two. Now add the chilli flakes and saute for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Once the cherry tomatoes are out of the oven, transfer it to the saucepan and saute for 40 seconds to a minute.
  • Now add the baby spinach and let it cook for a minute or 2 until its soft on medium flame.
  • Add the chopped basil leaves and stir in the mixture. Add the boiled pasta and saucte it for minute or 2.
  • Now add the salt, cream cheese and give the pasta a quick mix.
  • Add in lemon zest, toss it , garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

Goodness Salad

_DSC0293

My simple salad is calling me yet again! This salad has everything I love – fresh produce, colorful ingredients and a sweet zippy dressing. I often end up making salads at home because I am cognizant of the ingredients that go into it, about its freshness and quality. Being allergic to a few cut vegetables, I refrain from ordering salads at restaurants, until I am extremely craving for one (and also ready to face the repercussions).

This quick salad makes you land in a win -win situation because is healthy and amazingly delicious.  Vibrantly flavoured, each element in this dish has immense character. The smokiness from the beets and corn, the creaminess from hung yogurt, the freshness from the microgrees (my new love) and those salted caramel walnuts – enough said! All of this with a honey mustard dressing, it can’t get any better.

Easy and yummy – welcome to my version of healthy eating!

_DSC0285

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 2 large beet
  • 20 pieces walnuts
  • 1 large corn cob
  • 3 cups microgreens, nicely cleaned
  • 1/3 cup hung curd
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced shallots
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to  taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C for atleast 10 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Take a beets and wash and scrub it with water to remove all the dirt. Pat dry it using a kitchen towel.
  • Place the beets in a foil, coat the beets generously with olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt. Cover it tightly with aluminium foil and put it in the oven to roast for 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Meanwhile char grill the corn on the flame. Take a sharp knife and remove the corn kernels from the cob and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put the sugar and let it melt. Once it starts to melt add the walnuts and 1/2 tsp salt and using a spatula start coating the walnuts and turn off the heat. Take the walnuts off the pan and keep aside.
  • Add the remaining salt to the hung curd and mix it and keep aside.

For the dressing:

  • Take honey, mustard, lemon juice and

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

empanad 6

Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

empanada 2

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

empanada 3

METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and enjoy!

My Family’s Favorite Egg Curry

egg curry 5

When I look back and retrospect my initial days cooking in the kitchen, a multitude of emotions run through my mind. There is definitely a sense of achievement to see how far I have come along in cooking, each day is better than yesterday. A lot of different techniques, different cuisines and different flavors seems unraveled in front of me, I definitely want to explore and understand the world of food better! This recipe is special to me since its humble and screams of the flavors that me and family enjoy. It was just a few years back when I was attempting to make egg curry and I failed miserably since my eggs weren’t boiled perfectly. And here I am confident about this lip smacking Egg Curry!

This dish falls in my comfort zone food category , quintessential to days when I want to have something delicious and have no time to make something elaborate. A sublime curry with perfectly boiled eggs snuggled in it with layers of Indian flavors – Oh so yum! It’s rustic and a simple dish for all those egg lovers. So just when you were thinking what to cook with parathas or rice, we answered your dilemma with this flavorful Egg Curry!

egg curry 6

RECIPE

METHOD: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced half
  • 4 big tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chillis, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 – 7 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (you can increase it slightly if you want more spice)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 – 3 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take tomato, onions, 1 green chili, ginger and garlic in a mixer grinder and grind it to form a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • Now take a kadhai/saucepan on medium heat and add oil. Once its hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick and the remaining chilli and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato – onion paste and saute it until it starts to thicken. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala and let the mixture cook until it starts to leave oil. Make sure you keep stirring it to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once paste starts to leave the oil, add water and allow the water to boil.
  • Add the boiled eggs and cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the curry to boil for another 2 minutes.
  • Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or parathas.

Enjoy!

 

 

Laksa – from the scratch!

Laksa 3

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!

Laksa 5

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

Patty 1

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!

patty4

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!