Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink)

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Scorching heat, the summer holidays, a chilled glass of a tangy and sweet Raw Mango drink that mum used to make before I headed out to play – all that and more is so synonymous with Indian summer season. This Raw Mango Cooler aka Aam Panna is a summer to-do in almost every Indian household. It reminds me of my childhood in every way. Being a mum of a 2.5 year old makes me relive my summer childhood days with my son with this cooler almost every day.

This thirst quencher is made with green raw mangoes along with spices and tastes absolutely delish. Make a huge batch and you won’t be surprised that it will get over so soon.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 6 – 8 people)

  • 3 medium sized Raw Mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp roasted cumin powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (you can adjust this depending on your preference)
  • 12 – 15 fresh mint leaves + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt (optional)
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes
  • chilled water (according to the consistency you desire)

METHOD:

  • Take the chopped and desseded raw mangoes along with some water and pressure cooker it for 3 – 4 whistles or until its tender and cooked.
  • Once done, let the steam escape and let the mixture cool down completely.
  • Take all the ingredients – cooked mangoes, cumin powder, sugar, rock salt, ice cubes and fresh mint leaves along with some water and blend it to make a puree. (You can store this puree for a couple of days).
  • Take the puree, add some water (depending on the consistency you like for your drink), mix it well and serve in glasses.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves, roasted cumin powder and ice cubes and serve.

 

 

Citrus Summer Salad

 

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Summer is the time when market is full of vibrant produce, great flavors and then the kitchen is brimming with freshness. Yes, its unbearably hot but these handful of things makes summers worthwhile. And when you can make a bright and cheerful salad in almost no time, you have got your cure to beat the heat! This Citrus Salad is soul soothing and bursting with flavors. This salad wins hands down in my list of summer recipes.

The salad has simple and bold flavors leaving you absolutely refreshed. The sweet -tangy oranges, the fresh and zingy grapefruit slices, the salty feta cubes, slightly roasted beets and olives makes this salad all peppy and full of goodness. The honey-lemon vinaigrette makes it all irresistible. Every bite has loads of punch and zing to it making you feel rejuvenated to face the heat again!

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RECIPE

METHOD: (For 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 1 medium sized grapefruit
  • I large orange
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1/4 cup green whole olives
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped into thin slivers lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp of feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly crushed black pepper, to taste

 

METHOD:

For the salad:

  • Put the orange and grapefruit in the fridge for about 15 – 20 minutes until they are firm. This helps to cut circular rings easily.
  • Once of the fridge, cut circular rings (as shown in the pricture), remove the seeds gently and trim the skin of the fruits without deforming the circular structure.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C for 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile, scrub the beets to remove any dirt and pat dry it.
  • Now generously coat the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover it tightly with a foil and put it in a baking tray into the oven for atleast 30 minutes. (If you want completely roasted beets, then roast for 45- 50 minutes or until tender)
  • Once roasted, cut into chunks and keep aside.
  • Now in a serving tray/platter first plate the citrus fruits, then the roasted beets and then randomly plate feta cheese, slivered basil leaves, olives and pomegranate seeds.

For the dressing:

  • Combine olive oil, honey and lemon juice in a bowl using wire whisk until just combined
  • Now add the remaining ingredients and whisk it until just combined. Store it in the fridge until just ready to use.

Drizzle the dressing onto the salad and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Pearl Barley Salad with Lemon- Honey Vinaigrette

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This oh-so-delicious salad is wholesome and packed with so much flavor. It’s become my absolute favorite since it requires nothing exotic. Its full of ingredients that is always available in our pantry.  The crunch from the veggies, the freshness from the fruits and the zing from the vinaigrette makes you want to go back for more.

Certain ingredients have such strong memories (not good ones!) attached to them that it becomes so difficult to get over it. One such ingredient is pearl barley. As a kid my mum used to give me barley water since it boosted your immunity and kept fever at bay. I hated the sight of it. And suddenly times have changed. Being a mum myself, I wanted to introduce barley to my son but definitely not the way I had it. I wanted it to be more interesting, colorful and appealing. I was contemplating between a barley soup versus barley salad. Seeing a whole array of fresh produce in my fridge I had to toss up a salad. My husband, my lil one and me – we all loved it. I keep making iterations to this recipe and its simply amazing. Its vibrant, its fresh and its delicious.

So when you face time crunch and yet want to eat something interesting, this is the recipe to fall upon. Be healthy, be happy – keep enjoying this salad!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 raw mango, diced into small cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberry, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 3 orange segments for garnishing (optional)

For the dressing:

  • juice of 1 1/2 medium sized lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a glass jar/bottle combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, dried mint, lemon zest, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Put the lid and give it a good shake until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place it in the fridge for atleast 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, take a cooking brush and brush olive oil on the red bell pepper. Put it to roast on the gas flame.
  • Make sure all the sides are well charred. Once that is done, remove it from the flame and put it in a bowl filled with ice water.
  • Deseed it, remove the skin partially and chop it into small cubes, similar to how the other ingredients have been chopped.
  • In a bowl combine diced raw mango, red bell pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves, cranberry and 1/2 toasted pine nuts and keep aside.
  • Take the serving plate, put a generous amount of pearl barley in the center. Place the vegetable and fruit mixture on top. Garnish it with toasted pine nuts.
  • Just before serving, take out the dressing from the fridge, give it a good shake and drizzle it over the salad and dig in!

Enjoy!

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!

 

Coconut Curry

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I am writing this post with a happy belly since I made this delicious coconut curry twice within a span of 3 days. This curry is a true epitome of what comfort home-cooked is. The bright hues of the different vegetables with a beautifully flavored gravy is a complete winner. Its pleasing to the eyes and definitely pleasing to your palate.

I’ve had some of the best coconut curries in restaurants and wasn’t confident about how to make it at home. After a couple of hit and trails I came up with this recipe which is a flavorful concoction of the coconut milk, local vegetables and aromatic and bold spices. The lusciousness from the coconut milk complimented with the crunch from the veggies blends nicely with the Indian spices used in this recipe.

As the weekend is over and your fridge is back to being well stocked for the week ahead, this colorful curry bowl is a must try recipe. Its healthy, its satisfying and its something that you will want to cook and eat again and again. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3-4 people)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced into 1/2 inch squares
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or thinly sliced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, cut 1/8th – 1/4th inch diagonally
  • 2 medium sized red tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup baby corn, cut diagonally (you can use 1/3rd cup sweetcorn instead)
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tbsp  curry powder
  • 2 dried red chili, cut diagonally
  • 1 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish
  • min leaves, to garnish
  • black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, heat the oil. Once its heated add the dried red chili and sauté for 30 – 40 seconds. Now add the garlic and ginger and sauté until garlic is golden brown.
  • Now add onion and allow it to cook until its translucent.
  • Next you need to add the carrots, baby corn and cauliflower florets and cook until its slightly tender.
  • Add in salt along with snow peas. Now add the curry powder and let the veggies sauté in the curry powder.
  • Add in the coconut milk and stir it for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and let it come to a simmer and then reduce the heat to allow it to cook for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and black pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Take it off the heat, add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves, chili flakes and mint leaves.
  • Serve warm with jasmine rice or coconut rice.

Shortbread Cookies With A Zing

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Thinking of calling your friends over for tea, lemon shortbread cookies are perfect complements for a late afternoon tea, cookies and chat with friends. Whipping up a batch of shortbread cookies often transports me to a little local Scottish cafe where I am dunking these yummy cookies into a piping hot cup of tea – surreal!

I was not a person who loved lemon in my desserts until I happen to eat amazing lemon cookies in a cafe in SF and after which there is no looking back. Shortbread cookies are quite addictive and now one of my favorite forms of cookies. Its rich, flaky and delicate. The subtle zing of the lemon is captured in one buttery beautiful piece.I often love munching these while writing my blog or while reading my kindle. I know I can complete a whole batch of freshly baked lemon shortbread, but I try to control myself not to indulge so much into such luxurious treats.

Its such an easy recipe without having to follow any difficult baking techniques. You can end up baking these petite wonders in just no time. So wear those baking aprons, get your hands dirty and bake these lemon shortbread cookies today.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: ( Makes 12 – 14 cookies)

  • 180 gms all purpose flour
  • 55 gms powdered sugar
  • 115 gms unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • In a bowl combine pre sifted all purpose flour and salt and set aside.
  • Using an electric beater combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Now mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated well.
  • Flatten the dough into a disc shape, wrap in a plastic wrap and chill the dough for atleast 1 hour or until firm.
  • Now preheat the oven at 180 C for atleast 10 -15 minutes. In the meanwhile line the baking sheet with parchment paper
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch thickness. Then cut into circles, squares or any other shape using a floured cookie cutter.
  • Transfer the cookies into a baking sheet. Put the baking tray in the freezer for another 5 – 10 minutes so that the cookies firm up a bit.
  •  Now bake it for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly brown.
  • Once bakes cool on the wire rack.
  • You can sprinkle some caster sugar if you like or glaze it with lemon glaze.

Enjoy!