Friday, December 24, 2010

Blueberry Smoothie

Holidays are in the air. Everyone is talking about cookies and cakes, pies and puddings, roasted turkey and roasted veggies!

Let me share with you my recent favorite dessert, which you might prefer this holiday, if you are on a weight loss spree like me.

Less ingredients, less calories,  and super easy to make. It takes less than 10 minutes. It's a great choice to include in your breakfast.

All you need is-:
  • Frozen whole blueberries - 1/2 cup
  • 1% milk/ soy milk - about 2 cups
  • Non-fat yogurt- 1/4 cup
  • honey - to taste
Mix all above in a grinder and beat to a smooth consistency. That's it. Pour in to the glasses and enjoy!!

oh.... and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scallion / Spring onions/ green onion pancakes with guacamole dip

I was being really lazy to post this one. This one was made sometime in September. 
Scallions/ green onions/spring onions are not a common item in my grocery shopping.  We went to the Pike Place Market, and found a big bunch of scallions just for a couple of bucks. Grabbed them immediately..:)

Scallion Pancakes

 I made some changes in the dough. First off, I used whole grain wheat flour instead of all purpose and I added some Indian spices in the dough to make it more tastier. 
Using the wheat, I think affects the elasticity, all purpose might have made them taste better and why not!!

So here is what I used to make these tempting pancakes-:
  • whole grain wheat flour
  • cumin powder
  • chili powder
  • turmeric powder
  • Ajwain seeds
  • salt
  • canola oil
  • warm water to kneed the dough
  • and lots of chopped scallions.
Just eyeballed the ingredients. 

Kneaded the dough with warm water and all the spices, with salt and some oil. Dividing them into small balls, rolled them, sprinkled the scallions and rolled them again to make nice round shapes. Shallow fried them over the stove top on a skillet. Served hot with homemade guacamole dip.

Here is the procedure with the step - by- step pictures. Hope it helps.

Guacamole dip

  • Avocados
  • Cumin Powder
  • Lemon
  • Salt 
  • Cilantro spring
Cut the avocados in to cubes, add salt, cumin powder, chopped cilantro, and then squeeze some lemon juice on top. Mash the avocados and mix everything together. 

I didn't add garlic and tomatoes, which traditional recipe usually asks for. I thought I will keep it simple. It still tasted great.
Make the wedges out of pancakes and use the guacamole as a dip or simply eat it like paratha with guacamole as a chutney. So try this great combination and leave a comment if you like it.

I am sending this entry to Only Greens Event hosted by Sara's Corner and Foodelicious. What a great event!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rice with soy chunks

One more healthy yet tasty post!!
No specifics, it's a very versatile rice preparation, which gives enormous opportunities to your creativity. I made just some additions to the the traditional jeera rice and came up with the name Rice with soy chunks.
Soy chunks being extremely nutritious and meaty in texture is a good substitute for someone who wants to shift to a vegetarian diet.

This is what you will need-:

Diced ginger

Diced green bell pepper
Soy Chunks
Oh... and Cumin seeds..and olive oil ...and rice....a picture of which is I think waste of space..:P

Heat some Olive oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. As they splutter, add ginger, saute for a minute and then add mushrooms. The washed rice goes next, saute for another couple minutes and add the water. The rice, water proportion is 1:2. Bring water to a boil and then lower down the heat to low, add the salt and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Keep checking in between. Time to add the cooked soy chunks (cook the soy chunks by adding some water and salt and boiling the soy chunks for about 10 minutes, squeeze the excess water and drain the chunks) and the scallions. No need to cook the scallions. Turn the heat off as soon as you mix everything together.

This is the end result-:

Give it a try and let me know...:)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kale and Chickpea (garbanzo beans) stew

My palate recently found that one of delicious tasting greens is Kale.  Kale has a tremendous nutritional value. I steam kale at least twice a week because it's a very easy preparation and it has great cholesterol lowering benefits. I am going to reserve steamed kale as one of my future posts. Let me move on with Kale and chickpea stew.

Stews are my all time favorite. This one in particular, has veggies, protein, fiber and carbs all in one pot. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, if you happened to have canned chickpeas on hand.

Makes 4 servings (and by 4, I mean really big servings.)

You are going to need :

  • 3/4 bunch of kale 
  • 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (soaked overnight, pressure cooked to 3 whistles next morning or a canned variety would work just fine)
  • EVOO- about 1 tbsp
  • Vegetables- 
Add any veggies you want and in whatever quantities you like. I always make stews when I want to empty my refrigerator. I almost put everything in there. Saturdays are usually planned for stews, because it's a farmers market day. I clean my refrigerator in order to have room for some fresh produce. 

So coming back to the stew. 
Here is a sample of veggies that I added for this stew. 

          Green Bell peppers
          Spring Onions
          garlic-4 to 5 cloves
          Ginger - few chopped pieces
  • Seasoning
         Freshly ground black pepper, 
         Italian seasoning, 
         cumin powder, 
         coriander powder, 
         crushed red chilli flakes 
         Salt to taste.
  • Juice of half of lemon and a lemon wedge for garnishing.
Add EVOO to a big pot, and stir in garlic and onions. Add mushroom and tomatoes and sauté them for a couple of minutes. After this point, add all the veggies one by one. The vegetable that takes longer time  to cook will go in first, of course. Add dash of water in between, if you think the veggies are becoming too dry. Cook them for about 5 minutes and then add the chickpeas and then the chopped kale. Add seasonings as per your taste. At this point add black pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin powder, coriander powder, crushed red chilli flakes and last but not the least add some chopped ginger to the pot for some heat. Add salt to taste. 

Add water to the desired consistency. Bring everything to a nice boil and let it simmer for 15- 20 minutes. The longer it sits the better it tastes. Add some lemon juice at the last minute to enhance the flavor. Since I am trying to cut down on grains, this is a perfect stew for me, because it doesn't really need any bread on side. The heartiness from the chickpeas makes the trick..:)

Serve it with a lemon wedge.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baked Mung (mugachi / Yellow Split lentil dumplings) Bhaji

In Seattle, it rains half of  the time of the year, and the remaining half is covered with clouds. Although I don't have any complaints, as I am the one who don't like the Calif weather at all.. Too much sunshine for me..:) I am better off with less sunlight and so this is perfect for me, except I definitely crave for a cup of hot tea and some bhajis to enjoy this kind of weather to the fullest.

It's been more than a couple of years that I gave up on the traditional Indian black tea for hot Green tea, simply for it's enormous benefits. I don't crave for black tea anymore. Speaking about bhajjis, as much as I want to have deep fried bhajis that tastes delicious, I feel guilty about eating them for next few days. In order to avoid this guilt forever, I came up with baked bhajis.

Traditionally, a hot black tea goes well with onion bhajis. I tried making Moong bhanjis, just because I was cravings for them. Mung daal  in itself has so many wonderful benefits. Why not include mung daal in to your diet on a regular basis?

All you need is:-

Soaked Mung daal- 1 cup
Ginger- 1/2 inch
Garlic- 2 to 3 cloves
Green chillies- 1to 2 depending on how hot they are.
Cumin seeds- A pinch,  just for flavor
Cilantro- chopped.
Salt to taste

Soak the mung daal in water for about 4 hours. Drain all the water and grind the daal. Do not make it too smooth, leave it a little bite coarser. Make a past out of ginger, garlic, green chillies and cumin seeds in to a mortar and pestle( khalbatta in marathi). Mix the paste in to the mung daal batter. Add the chopped cilantro. Mix well. Grease a baking sheet with EVOO and spoon the batter on to the sheet. Toss some EVOO on top.

Bake the oven to 375F and bake these little buddies for about 20 minutes. Less or more time might be required as per your oven. Turn them once and bake  for 5-10 minutes. They should be golden brown in color.

Just like these-:

Enjoy them with your favorite dipping sauce or just with a cup of  tea (Green Tea??)

Oh... and I am sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair 27, hosted by The Well Seasoned Cook. I love MLLA event and as always it is so much fun to enter in to.Thanks Susan for hosting.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back with Sesame Tofu!!

A big hello to everyone! Posting after almost 6 months. My apologies!!!

These days I have been trying to eat more healthy, nutritious food for the only reason to be more fit and healthy. My blog as a result, needs some changes in order to be in sync with my eating habits. Cravings is all about what I experiment with food. I have decided to make Cravings a health food blog. I strongly believe that healthy and nutritious food doesn't have to be boring.  You can make it interesting by using your endless creative ideas.

I am going to start off with some sesame tofu which was Friday night's dinner.

It was a stir fry with vegetables and I served it over brown rice. So forget about the Chinese takeout/delivery which probably has more oil in it. Instead cook yourself a great sesame tofu. This way you can control the ingredients going in. Way more healthy and thoughtful than just ordering it over the phone.Gives you a great feeling of doing something good for you.

Ingredients I used-:

Firm tofu 8 oz- drained and pressed to remove excess water.
Low sodium Soy Sauce- 1tbsp
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger- about 1/2 inch
Vegetables - whatever veggies you have on hand, which suits stir fry.
Sesame seeds- about 1/2 tbsp

For the marinade-
Low sodium Soy sauce
Teriyaki sauce- just a dash
Black Pepper
Red pepper flakes

Tofu is really like a sponge, you can be absolutely creative when it comes to marination. It will be delicious. I marinated it with some soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, black pepper, and some salt for about half an hour. The longer it sits the better it is absorbed.

I pan fried tofu with some olive oil in a non- stick pan. You can use wok if you happened to have one.
It took about 15 minutes on a medium flame to cook tofu completely and had that brown chewy texture outside and softer inside. Then I added chopped garlic in to the same pan. After a minute, I added the Soy sauce and the vegetables. Saute everything for 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook the veggies. It should have it's crunch. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Turn off the heat and serve it as a side dish with Brown rice or whole wheat pasta. You can also serve it with couscous or the great Quinoa.

It is delicious and healthy with the protein packed tofu and the goodness of all the vegetables in it. Soy sauce and teriyaki marinade gives the dish great taste, and the sesame seeds add a nutty taste. All in all, a good weeknight dinner in very less time....:)


Brown Rice- WHFoods
                      Nutrition Facts

Tofu-   Nutrion facts

Friday, February 19, 2010

Four entries to Pasta Party event

Jo from Panch pakwan is hosting a Pasta Party. Few recipes I posted in the past are ready to dive in to the event. Re-posting the links here. Thanks Jo for hosting such a wonderful event with a wonderful logo!

Pasta with roasted vegetables

Asparagus Pesto pasta

Sun dried tomato pasta

Simple yet tasty pasta

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Steamed Spinach Diamonds

A quick healthy snack, a healthy version of traditional dhokla. Mixture of  soaked rice, soaked urad dal, cooked rice and fenugreek seeds steamed to perfection. Add the spinach before steaming. Enjoy with tomato ketchup or mint chutney/ tamarind chutney.

1 cup of rice
4tbsp urad dal
1/4th cup cooked rice
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

Soak the rice and the urad dal for about 6-7 hours. Mix the fenugreek seeds in to the dal before soaking. After 7 hours, grind the mixture and let it ferment for about15-16 hours. Less or more time is required  as per the weather. After the mixture gets fermented well, add the shredded spinach , salt to taste and pour the mixture in to the container and steam for about 15-20 minutes. You can also add jeera (cumin seeds) or ajwain before steaming the diamonds. Cut them in to diamond shapes and serve hot with any kind of chutney you like.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls

Now a days, I want everything baked. I love spring rolls, can't eat them often as they are always fried when you order them in any restaurant. I decided to try the baked version instead and loved it. It isn't as crisp as a fried version, still it satisfies my Craving for it.

Shreded cabbage, carrots, green beans, spring onions, and rice noodles. Saute everything in a sauce pan with corn flour mixed in a water and a dab of  soy sauce. Season it with a pinch of salt. Wrap the mixture in a egg roll, and roll to make spring rolls.

You will need:-

  • Thinly sliced cabbage
  • Thinly sliced  carrots
  • Thinly sliced  green beans
  • Thinly sliced green bell pepper (capsicum)
  • Spring onions- cut in pieces
  • Ginger thinly sliced
  • rice noodle- soaked in water, ready to go in.
  • Soy Sauce- 2-3 tbsp
  • Corn Flour mixed in water
  • Egg roll wraps ( you can also use spring roll wrappers)
  • Some olive oil
  • Canola oil 
For dipping sauce-
  • Say sauce 
  • tomato chilli sauce
  • vinegar

  • In a pan, heat some olive oil and add the ginger. Add thinly sliced veggies except spring onions to it and over the low to medium heat saute everything for a minute. 
NOTE-The key here is not to cook the veggies completely it should have a nice crunch to it. Also keep in mind that, these rolls are going to cook in the oven even further. So keep them on the stove top for not more than 4-5 minutes.

  • Add the soy sauce and the cornflour mixed in  water to the veggies. mix everything well. Season it with some salt and black pepper. Keep in mind that the soy sauce also contains salt. 
  • Add the spring onions that we kept aside.
  • Take the mixture off the heat.
Putting everything together-:
  • Before we start putting everything together, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Place one of the egg roll wrapper on a plate. 
  • Take a spoonful of stuffing and place it in the middle of the wrapper.

  • Fold the lower corner, as shown in the picture.

  • Fold the wrapper from both the sides, refer to the picture.

  • Apply a dab of water on both the sides so that the edges will stick nicely preventing the stuffing from coming out. 
  • Roll the spring roll from bottom to top. Put required pressure to seal the deal....:)
  • Brush both the sides of the spring rolls with some canola oil. Prepare the rest of the spring rolls the same way.
  • Spray the baking sheet with non-stick cooking  spray and place all the spring rolls on it. 

  • Bake them for about 15 minutes and then turn them once. Bake for another 10 and they should be done.

  •  They will be golden brown on outside due to the canola oil and the vegetables should have nice crunch inside.

For the dipping sauce-: I love mint chutney as dipping, but you can also mix some soy sauce tomato chilli sauce and very little vinegar as a dipping sauce. Just eyeball everything as per your taste.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Semolina(Rava) coconut ladoo/laddu

Ladoo is an Indian sweet. Ladoos are usually made up of gram flour or semolina (rava), wheat flakes or many different flours. It's usually made for the weddings or special occasions. Also made for Diwali, an special Indian festival.
I am not a big fan of sweets. Although I love ladoos made up of combination of semolina and fresh shredded coconut. As my mom is here, I was able to take some really good clicks while she was preparing the ladoos.

According to me ladoo preparation is an art. You can master the skill over the period of time. BTW That's my next 5 years goal....:)

Let me just roadmap the recipe. Roast the rava(semolina) and add shredded coconut to it. Prepare the sugar syrup and add the roasted mixture of coconut and semolina to the sugar syrup. Let it rest for a while, and then shape them round.

Here is what this ladoo needs-:

  • Semolina- 4 cups
  • Grated fresh/frozen coconut- 1 cup
  • Ghee/clarified butter- 4-5 tbsp
  • Cardamom powder- a pinch
  • Saffron- few strands
  • Raisins- one for each ladoo
  • Almonds-Cut in to small pieces.

For sugar syrup-:
  • Water- 1 and half cups
  • Sugar- 3 cups
This is how you prepare the tasty ladoos-:

  • In a sauce pan, heat the ghee on a low to medium heat. Roast the semolina  for about 15 minutes. Add the grated fresh/ frozen coconut. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes.

The prepared mixture of roasted semolina and coconut, topped with raisins and almonds.
  • In a separate pan, mix the water and the sugar and prepare the simple sugar syrup. When the water bubbles, keep the heat on for about 5-7 minutes. In marathi, we call it an Ektari paak. Add cardamom powder and the saffron strands to the sugar syrup.
  • Add the mixture to the prepared sugar syrup.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes. Mix it well.
  • Make sure not to keep until the mixture gets too dry. The right consistency is, it should not be too dry not too liquid like.
A Special Touch Tip:
If you feel the mixture gets dry, add 2 tbsp of milk to the mixture and mix again.
  • Take some mixture in to your hands.

  • With your hands, roll the mixture and make round shapes. Keep rolling and pressing with your hands as the pictures below.

  • Make them to the size you wish. I like to make medium sized ladoos. Use a raisin and some almond pieces per ladoo.