Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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!

 

 

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!

 

Palak Paneer Filo Tartlets with Curd and Mint Dip

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It’s that time of the year when there is joy and mirth all around, last minute shopping sprees to make your home look beautiful and then not to forget a huge list of grocery shopping because friends come over home for cards night and families come over to meet and amidst all this the common link is FOOD. Diwali is indeed a grand affair and what makes it even more splendid is the wide array of mouth watering savory and sweet dishes one eats. It’s time for some drool worthy Food , Food and more Food!

To make this Diwali special, here is a fusion Indian recipe – Palak Paneer Filo Tartlets with Curd and Mint dip. It’s a perfect appetizer where the Indian spices from the Palak Paneer lingers on your palate as well as the filo tartlets adds the crunch texture to the entire dish.

While I was in Kolkata, a few weeks before Diwali, my mum used to try out different recipes in the kitchen each day so that she could get out the best food for friends and family for Diwali. It was a mammoth task and I guess only she could have done that. I do take inspiration from her and try out new recipes with Indian flavors but I make sure the dishes are such that I can prep up atleast a day in advance.

Filo is difficult to handle and will tear. Be delicate and the results will be wonderful. While the crispy, delicious tarts forms the base of this dish, the earthiness from spinach compliments it well and the curd dip ties it all together. Keep the spice profile slightly higher for the palak paneer, you will really enjoy it!

So why wait, try it and have a wonderful Diwali with friends and family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 6 tartlets)

  • 3 Filo Sheets (I used store bought frozen Filo Sheets)
  • 3 cups of roughly chopped spinach
  • 150 grams cottage cheese/paneer, cut into cubes
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp of melted butter
  • 5 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 4 tbsp full fat yoghurt
  • 10 – 12 fresh mint leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of sugar

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METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 8 -10 minutes. Take a couple of filo sheets one on top of the other and cut it into 3 equal halves. Take one part which has 2 layers and keep the rest aside.

Mix the melted butter with dried mint and keep aside. Take a silicon brush, dip it in the melted butter and brush gently on each of the sheets, stacking on each other.

Take cupcake trays and line these filo sheets into the moulds in the form of tartlets with rough edges.

Repeat the same process with the remaining filo halves and bake it in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until its golden brown and crisp.

Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves with a pinch of sugar. Once the leaves are blanched, drain the excess water and run the spinach leaves under cold water.

Take a blender, put the blanched spinach leaves with a chili in it and make a smooth puree.

In a saucepan, take ghee. Once heated, add the pure spinach and stir it for a couple of minutes.

Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and sauté the mixture for 2 minutes.

Add in the paneer cubes and and let the curry cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Lastly add milk and cook the curry for 3 – 4 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool a little.

In a bowl take in yoghurt and whisk it until its smooth. Add roughly chopped fresh mint leaves and salt, mix it well and keep in the fridge.

Once the filo tartlets are ready, de-mould it, fill it generously with palak paneer and put it in the oven on a baking tray for 2 minutes.

Serve these delicious tartlets with a fresh curd-mint dip.

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Enjoy and have a great Diwali!

Deconstructed Palak Paneer

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As a child my mum always tried new recipes, made new dishes so that family meals weren’t mundane. These new dishes often enticed us because of its beautiful aroma and vibrant colors. Being a fussy eater, she then mixed some veggies which I loathed among the ones I loved. I guess a lot of people can relate to this at some point in their life. In due course of time, I started loving those leafy vegetables to the bitter ones and I can’t that my mom enough for opening my taste buds to such a wide array of produce that is available in the market.

Among the dishes that mum cooked, she often made variations of spinach and cottage cheese (paneer) and this deconstructed palak paneer is my favorite. The subtle flavors of the spices, the earthy flavors from the spinach and the softness from the paneer all combines to create a great lingering effect on your palate. Though Indian curries requires a lot of patience to achieve the correct balance, this recipe is an exceptional. When I have guests coming in no time or too tired after day’s work, I often resort to this recipe since its nutritious, quick and super easy.

So even if you have a long day at work or home, do remember that you can still have a sumptuous meal with your family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 250 grams spinach
  • 200 grams paneer/cottage cheese, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cardamom pod, broken open
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of sugar

METHOD:

  • Roughly chop the spinach and blanch it on medium heat with a pinch of sugar to retain the green color.
  • Once blanched, drain the water and run it under cold water.
  • In a saucepan take ghee. Once hot add bay leaf, mace, cardamom pod and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Then add garlic and sauté until its light golden brown.
  • Next add the blanched spinach leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt let the mixture cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • When the paneer cubes and spinach is well cooked with the spices add whole milk and let it simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Once the gravy comes to a boil, add the tomato ketchup and mix it.
  • Let the curry cook for a minute and then serve it hot with freshly made parathas or rotis.

Enjoy!

Paneer Spinach Roulade with Makhni Gravy

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A flavor packed and fancy way to serve a paneer dish to friends and family never fails to impress people. Paneer roulade with makhni gravy is easy to cook and healthy. Its colorful and bursts with aroma of spices and Indian flavors.

This recipe sprang in my mind when I was bored of eating the usual veggies. Dinners were becoming monotonous. I wanted to try making something innovative using the basic ingredients available in the kitchen. It was then this version of paneer makhni struck me. I was scared whether my roulade pieces would stay intact or not and whether the flavors would blend well or not. But when I served it to my family, they simply enjoyed it. So why wait and go the boring way. It’s time to experiment and try this beautiful recipe.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 5 – 6 people)

For the roulade:

  • 200 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • 2 medium onions, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels, boiled
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tsp basil
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 2 piece brown bread, sides cut
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste
  • flour, for dusting

For the gravy:

  • 4 large tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 whole cardamom
  • 8 – 9 cashew nuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • Take the bread slices, soak it in water and squeeze hard.
  • In a bowl combine paneer, salt, black pepper powder, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 2 tsp dried mint and the squeezed bread slices and mix to form a smooth mixture.
  • Meanwhile, sauté spinach in another bowl, drain the water and squeeze out excess water.
  • Take 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Once its medium hot add garlic and sauté. Add 2 tbsp chili flakes and sauté for 10 – 15 seconds. Then add onions and sauté until its translucent.
  • Now add the sautéed spinach and boiled corn into the saucepan and sauté. Add tomato ketchup, salt, 2 tsp oregano and 2 tsp basil and mix well.
  • Take a cling film and dust it with flour. Now spread the paneer mixture in the form of a rectangle such that its 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Now spread the spinach mixture avoiding the ends.
  • With the support cling film, roll the entire thing as firmly as you can. Refrigerate for an hour and then freeze for an hour before cutting.
  • Now for the gravy, take oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, cardamom and ginger and sauté.
  • Add the halved tomatoes along with the cashew nuts and sauté. Add 1/2 cup water and let the mixture boil.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked, strain the mixture. Keep the strained mixture aside.
  • Take the remaining mixture and blend it in a blender with a bit of water. Strain it again.
  • Combine both the strained mixture and heat it. Add red chili powder, salt, oregano, dried mint and tomato ketchup and mix well. Keep boiling the mixture until it thickens a bit.
  • Remove from heat and place in in a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Take the roulade and cut in into circles as shown in the picture. Heat a pan with some oil. Put the roulade pieces and cook until its brown.
  • Now place the roulade pieces in a plate and serve with the makhni gravy garnished with coriander leaves.