Savory Buckwheat pancake(kuttu cheela)

Buckwheat or kuttu is a gluten free grain which is full of blockbuster nutrients like protein, iron and zinc. In India, it is often served during days of fasting as it is not made from wheat but is more like a millet. Buckwheat pancake is a quick and easy recipe. Here I have added grated bottle gourd to the buckwheat flour to make it a more nutritious and filling meal.

What you need:

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup grated bottle gourd (lauki)

1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1-2 green chillies finely chopped (optional)

1 lemon juiced

Salt as per taste

How to make:

  1. Take buckwheat flour in a bowl. Now add all the other ingredients to the flour.

2. Add water to make a batter of pouring consistency. It should not be very thick. Mix well.

3. Heat a nonstick pan or tawa and pour the batter in circular motion on it. Gently spread it like a pancake.

4. Drizzle oil or ghee over the edges and also a few drops over the cheela. Cook on low to medium flame till the edges start turning brown. Then flip the cheela to cook on the other side for about a minute.

5. Serve warm with raita or chutney.

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Hummus

I love this super creamy, healthy, vegan appetizer! Only a handful of fresh ingredients are needed to churn out this delicious chickpea recipe. Hummus can be used not only as a dip but also as a spread for sandwiches and wraps.

What you need:

1 can (7 oz) chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) or you can use fresh soaked chickpeas which are then boiled in a pressure cooker (which is what I did)

1/4 cup chickpea liquid (use more if needed)

2-3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup tahini

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 lemon juiced

Salt to taste

Garnish:

Pinch of paprika

few parsley leaves

1 tsp olive oil

How to make:

  1. Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend till the mixture turns creamy. Add more liquid for a softer consistency.

2. Remove from blender onto a serving dish and garnish with olive oil, parsley and paprika.

Notes:

1. You can either use store bought Tahini or make it fresh at home.

2. Tahini is an easy 2 ingredient recipe made from sesame seeds and olive oil. Using hulled sesame seeds, gently toast them on the ook top till they turn a slight golden color. Blend in a blender with olive oil to get delicious and creamy tahini (2 tbsp olive oil for 1 cup sesame seeds).

Healthy chicken fajitas

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This fajita recipe filled with grilled chicken and peppers and onions always gets rave reviews from everyone.  My daughter, Ria,  first introduced me to this easy and delicious recipe for chicken fajitas.  Not only is it nutritious but it is very filling as well.  You can buy the fajita seasoning from the store or you can just rustle up these ingredients from your kitchen to make your own.  Instead of using store bought fajitas, I ended up making roti (Indian bread from wheat flour) and used it to make a even healthier fajita.  

What you need:

2 small onions sliced

3 bell peppers, any color

1 lb boneless chicken 

2 tbsp oil

1 lemon

1/4 cup cilantro

1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

1/2 cup guacamole (optional)

6-8 tortillas

For seasoning:

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

How to make:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade .  Mix all the spices for the fajita seasoning in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the onion and bell pepper into 1/4 inch wide strips.  Slice the chicken breast into thin strips as well.img_7268
  3. Add the vegetables and chicken to a casserole dish and drizzle the vegetable oil over them.  Throw in the fajita seasoning and toss well so that everything is well coated in oil and seasoning.

img_72734.  Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once half way through.  Squeeze the juice from the lemon on the top of the chicken and vegetables after they come out of the oven.

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5.  Get the tortillas ready by toasting each tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat until light brown on each side (I made the Indian roti from wheat flour).

6.  Now scoop  a small amount of chicken and vegetables into the center of each tortilla.  Top it with guacamole and/or sour cream.  Enjoy!

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Chia Fruit Parfait

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Chia fruit parfait is a great way to start your morning,  as it is filled with the goodness of fruits, yogurt, honey and walnuts!   Chia seeds are a superfood  containing omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.  This  delicious and simple to make fruit parfait can also be a sweet way to end your meal if you need a dessert!

What you need:

4 tbsp yogurt

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp chia seeds

1/4 cup walnuts chopped

1/4 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped fruits of your choice

How to make:

  1.  In a bowl mix the yogurt, honey and the chia seeds well.
  2. Take fruits of your choice and chop them into small pieces.  I used kiwi, apple, banana and pomegranate.

3.  In a serving glass or a bowl start layering the fruits first.  Next put a layer of the yogurt mixture.  Now add a layer of fruits again followed by a layer of the yogurt mixture.  Finally top the yogurt layer with chopped dates and walnuts.

4.  Serve chilled!

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Oats vegetable raita

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Oats vegetable raita is a healthy, flavorful stand alone dish which is wholesome and nutritious.  Oats not only aid weight loss but are also beneficial in heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol. And yogurt is loaded with vitamins and proteins.  Oats vegetable raita is a great way to incorporate this wonderful ingredient with the goodness of yogurt to make a super food!  

What you need:

For 1 serving

1 cup yogurt

1 medium carrot grated

1 medium cucumber grated(squeeze the water out)

2 tablespoons oats

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

3-4 curry leaves

1 dry red chilli

1/4 tsp  black pepper

Salt to taste

How to make:

  1.  Beat the yogurt until smooth in a bowl.

image2.  In a pan, dry roast the oats till they turn slightly brown.  Grind them to a powder in the blender..

image3.  Add the powdered oats to the yogurt and mix well.  Stir in the grated carrots and cucumber, pepper and salt to the yogurt.

4.  Cut the red chilies into smaller pieces and dry roast in a small pan along with mustard seeds and curry patta.

image5.  Temper the raita with this and enjoy!

 

 

Sprouts and Veggie Soup

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Sprouts are a super super food which I would love to include more in my diet.  They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants.  My usual way to eat them is to add them to salads. So when I came across this awesome soup recipe using sprouts and a whole lot of healthy vegetables, I couldn’t wait to try it.  This powerhouse soup was delicious and nourishing.  I realized sprouts are extremely versatile and can be added to stir fry veggies, in soups, in salads, in sandwiches and even as pizza topping!

What you need:

1 cup sprouts (I used both moong and chana sprouts)

1/2 cup cabbage, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped beans

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup grated carrot

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic pod, crushed

1 green chilli finely chopped (optional)

1 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbspn chopped paneer for garnishing

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp oil

1 ½ tsp cornflour

2 tbsp chilli sauce

Salt to taste

Water as required

How to make:

1.  Wash the sprouts and boil them in 4 cups of water.  Drain and keep aside. Do not throw the water.

2.  Mix the cornflour with 1/4 cup water and keep aside.

3.  Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan.  Add garlic and then the onion and stir for a minute.

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4.  Add the sprouts, cabbage, carrot, capsicum and beans and mix well for 3-4 minutes.  Add the green chilli and chopped coriander and mix well.
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5.  Add the stock (the water in which the sprouts were boiled).  Let it come to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
6.  Add the salt, chilli sauce, sugar and cornflour paste.  Mix well and let it boil for another 3-4 minutes.
7.  Garnish with some paneer pieces and serve hot with bread sticks.
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Vanilla Almond Milk

 

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One of the things I really missed on coming back to India was Almond Milk. I loved drinking it in the form of smoothies, in coffee or on its own. I scoured the markets here but could not find it. Finally, I decided not to give in to my laziness and make this super healthy and organic alternative to dairy. Not only is Almond Milk yummy it is also very nutritious. It is low in sodium with no cholesterol or saturated fats. It contains vitamin E, Vitamin B, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

I sweetened it a bit with dates and added a touch of vanilla for delicious home made almond milk!

What you need:

*1 1/2 cup raw almonds
*1/2 cup pitted dates, about 10
*4 cups water, for blending
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1/4 tsp cinnamon
*Pinch of sea salt

How to make:
1. Soak the almonds and dates separately overnight in a glass/steel bowl.
2. Strain and rinse the almonds and dates.
3. Blend the almonds, dates, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon together with 4 cups of water.

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4. Blend on high for about 2-3 minutes. Mixture should be creamy and foamy but fluid.

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5. Place a cheese cloth over a wide mouth jug or pitcher and slowly pour the almond milk to strain out the almond meal.
6. Gather the cloth in your hand to squeeze out any remaining milk. Keep aside the almond meal if you want to use it (See Note).
7. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

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Note:
1. Be patient during the straining process as it does take a little time.
2. You can add the almond meal to cereal or a smoothie to boost healthy protein and fiber content.