Hi everybody! I know, it has been a very long time since my last post. And what is better to post than a recipe from my favorite form of cooking, baking!!! I have a greater affinity to baking and this must be the umpteenth time that I had mentioned here in my site. Baking generally involves sugar, that too lots of sugar. With that being said, wouldn’t it be awesome to bake something that is sweet but does not have processed sugar and healthy as well? I recently found one such recipe and that too of a cake! It is called the Chocolate Avocado Almond cake. I came across the Chocolate Avocado Almond cake one afternoon when me and my HB were craving for something sweet but that doesn’t make us feel guilty after eating it 🙂 (thats one tough cookie!). Voila, I found this savior and was thoroughly satisfied afterwards. Chocolate Avocado Almond cake, as the name suggests, is made of avocado, coconut oil, coconut cream, almond flour, honey, chocolate chips and cocoa powder. It is very easy to make and is not time consuming at all. Chocolate Avocado Almond cake is one of those rare, too good to be true, kind of recipe. It is healthy, has no added sugar (honey and chocolate chips take care of the sweetness) and is an excellent breakfast item. It can also be had as a snack (which we did when baked the first time :). For those of you wondering about the lengthy name, I came up with it, just put together the ingredients and here is your tasty, yummy Chocolate Avocado Almond cake. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Every country has its own snack food variety and the US is no exception. USA is an amalgamation of different cultures and each one has brought their version of snack food. One such is the Guacamole and Chips. Guacamole and Chips are the staple snacks/appetizers served in all Mexican restaurants here. The best part about this food is that it is healthy! And today, I have posted the recipe for Guacamole and homemade tortilla chips here.
Guacamole is similar to chutneys in Indian cuisine. It is made from Avocado, a super fruit, tomato, mint, cilantro, garlic, onion, lime juice and salt and is super easy to make. Avocado is also known as butter fruit or ice-cream fruit back home. It is a calorie rich fruit full of healthy fat. Guacamole is one dish that can be made from Avocado. You can also eat avocado as is or with salt and pepper sprinkled over and also can be used to make sandwiches. Here in the US, Guacamole and Chips is one of the game day foods, along with chicken wings. Game day foods are snacks that are usually had while watching a baseball game or football game with friends in a bar or at home.
As mentioned earlier, Guacamole is a healthy snack and hence kid friendly. Try this amazing snack in your home and have it with friends and family while watching a game or just as a snack 🙂
Finely chop onion, garlic, cilantro and tomato and keep it ready.
Halve the avocado (cut vertically in the middle and twist two halves), pit ( bang knife on the seed and pull it out as shown in the picture), cut to dices and scrape them using spoon (as shown in the picture).
Add the chopped avocado, lime juice and salt into a medium mixing bowl and mash them using spoon or fork or with the same knife.
Now mix in finely chopped onion, garlic and cilantro.
Finally add the finely chopped tomato, mix well and leave it for an hour or refrigerate the guacamole.
For the chips:
Pre heat the oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit. Cut tortilla like pizza and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Take out and flip them. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the tortilla turn brown and form as chips. Enjoy with yummy guacamole!
Today I am posting a recipe that is a different take on one of the dishes that I had already posted before. It is one of my most favorite dishes among non vegetarian items and the version I have posted is a healthier alternative to the popular version known to many. it is the baked fish fry. I basically don’t prefer fried foods. So when I came to know of fish fry that can be baked I was stumped. Also baked fish fry can both be had as a snack as well as in a main course.
I first had baked fish fry at my friend’s house when we went there for dinner a few months back. I was so hooked to the dish that when we went there again, I personally requested her to prepare the dish while I was there so that I could learn the recipe 🙂 A big shout out to my dear friend 🙂 I love fish and any dish that can be made from fish. And when I learnt of a healthier alternative to frying it was a double bonanza 🙂 Baked fish fry is very easy to make. As with many of the non vegetarian dishes, especially dry varieties, marination is the key here. Beware of the consistency of the marinade. It should not be too thick or too watery. And, as passed down to me from my friend, vinegar is the key to get that tanginess in the fry. Also, make sure to get the marinade infused in the fish as much as possible.
I am planning to post the recipes for fish biriyani and chill fish in the near future and the baked fish fry is the main component in those dishes. Don’t forget to follow my blog for those amazing recipes. In case, you don’t have a conventional oven, you can also shallow fry the fillets instead of baking. BTW, Happy National Chocolate Cake Day. Have you all tried my chocolate cake recipe (which is by far the best dish I had baked in the last year, at least as attested by my friends :)) ?
Grind cinnamon and clove separately and make powders of them if you don’t have store bought at home. Make a paste of ginger and garlic and keep it ready.
Mix all the above given ingredients under marinade together to a thick paste and check the seasoning. Add extra salt and spice if needed at this stage. Drizzle water at last to get the right consistency – do not add too much water otherwise the marinade won’t stick to the fish while baking.
Add the fish fillets to the marinade and give a good massage for at least 20 minutes. Leave it to rest overnight or for at least half an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Spray or brush enough olive oil on the aluminum sheet.
Place the marinated fish fillets on top of the sheet and spray olive oil on them as well. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.
Flip the fish fillets and spray the other side of the fillets with olive oil and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
Set the oven in broiler and bake for couple of minutes more to get the crispiness.
Remove from the oven and enjoy with lemon wedges on the side. You could also season curry leaves and toss them on top of the fish to add extra flavor to the dish.
Enjoy them as is as a snack or have them along with white rice and fish gravy ! 🙂
Quinoa (pronounced as Kin-wa) is a product of South America and is a relative of spinach and beets. It looks like a variety of grain but actually is grown as plants. The part we eat is the seed which is gluten-free. You can even eat the leaves of a quinoa plant!
While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom. That’s because quinoa is what’s called a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food.
There are different varieties of quinoa but red, white and black quinoas are the most widely available. Among these white quinoa is the most popular variety. Red quinoa is more often used in salads. Black quinoa has sweeter taste. I have had only white quinoa so far. I find its taste closely resembling to rice but much healthier as mentioned above. I have given a detailed description of what quinoa is because I was not sure about the prevalence of this super food among people and wanted to create awareness as well.
Quinoa is very easy to cook and there are no special instruction as far as cooking is concerned. Just follow the same steps that you normally do for cooking rice. Below I have given the recipe for lemon quinoa which is very similar to lemon rice except that we substitute quinoa for rice. You can also alter this recipe to make tamarind quinoa just like tamarind rice. My dear friends have been requesting for a while to post quinoa recipes and I can’t wait to share the interesting recipes that I have in store. 🙂
Wash the quinoa thoroughly in water, add 1 ½ or 2 cups of water and enough salt and pressure cook for three whistles.
Squeeze the juice of lemon and keep it ready. Heat a tempering ladle with oil and temper with mustard and urad dal. When they start to sizzle, add split red chillies and curry leaves. Add turmeric powder and hing. Switch off the flame and add lemon juice.
Add the tempering to the cooked quinoa. Mix well and serve it hot with potato fry or chips on the side. Enjoy!
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is not often found in South Indian palate (especially Tamilnadu). It is a low fat, low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber vegetable. Cauliflower fry is one of the many varieties prepared using this vegetable. I came across this recipe when searching for a supplement to our diet (and yes we start a diet system many times a year, but sticking to one is a different story 🙂 )
The main specialty about this Cauliflower fry is the way it is cooked. Though it is called a fry, I actually use a conventional oven to cook. It is a very tasty dish, trust me. When you are uncertain about what side dish to prepare for Chappati or Naan etc remember this wonderful Cauliflower fry.
For those who don’t have an oven, you can cook this dish using a stove as well. Try this simple, delicious and healthy dish in your kitchen and tell me your experience. 🙂
Tomato paste or puree, thick – 4 tbsp (I used hunt’s)
Garlic cloves, minced – 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
For the seasoning:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Green chilli, slits – 4 nos
Ginger, julienned – 1 tbsp
Onion, big, slits – 1 no
Kashmiri red chilli powder – ½ tbsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (optional)
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Dry fenugreek leaves or kasthoori methi, crushed – 1 tbsp
Spring onions or scallions – 1 to 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and mix all the above ingredients in a large aluminium pan given under 'To bake'. Place it inside the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until the cauliflowers are crunchy (stirring in between). For those who do not have conventional oven, just fry it in a pan on the stove until they are nicely done.
Meanwhile heat oil in a flat pan and season with mustard, urad dal, curry leaves and green chillies. When they start to splutter add onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
Add julienned ginger.
Add all the powders (coriander, chilli, salt, turmeric) and kasthoori methi. Add oven baked or stove cooked cauliflower. Sauté well and cook for 10 minutes.
Garnish with scallions and cilantro.
!To make tomato puree at home: Roughly chop the tomatoes and sauté with little onion until they leave oil. Blend them to make a thick paste.
Keerai (also called as spinach, greens etc) is one of the most healthy foods around. It is a very good source of iron and Vitamin A. Keerai (spinach) is a very popular ingredient and is found in almost all cuisines around the world. Keerai kootu (spinach side dish) is one such item that is popular in south Indian (Tamilian in particular) cuisine. It is a simple and tasty dish that can be eaten as is with rice, or as a side dish to another gravy like sambar etc.
When ever I think of Keerai, my childhood comes to my mind. I was not a big fan of spinach (as do most other kids I would say) and would always make my mom to cook another side dish whenever Keerai kootu is made. My hate relationship with spinach continued during my college days as well and there my friends made sure that I had some just because it is healthy (thank you dears!).
In general, when you cook spinach, make sure not to cover the pot since they lose color and I believe loses some of its nutrients as well. As I had said earlier, Keerai kootu is very easy to make that it literally takes 15 minutes to prepare. Try this wonderful, healthy, simple, tasty (I am running out of adjectives here!) dish in your home and let me know your comments.
Kollu Kuzhambu is a traditional gravy from my home state in India, Tamilnadu. Kollu or horse gram (in english) is a bean variety and is widely used in the cuisine of south Indian states. In Tamilnadu, kollu is widely used in a variety of chutneys, poriyals, rasam etc. In Siddha medicine, kollu is considered to be a bean with medicinal qualities.
I came across this kollu kuzhambu recipe online and as soon as I saw it, I decided to give it a try. I have never had kollu (in any form) in my life and was curious the moment I saw it. And it was worth the try because kollu kuzhambu is the best gravy variety that I have ever had in my life, hands down! The recipe that I have given here requires some ground work. You need to grow sprouts out of kollu before you use it in your recipe. Back to the medicinal properties of kollu, I recently learnt that kollu has anti-glycemic properties and prevents insulin resistence, hence an apt food for diabetic patients. I also learnt from my MIL that it increases your body heat and hence having it in moderation is advisable – as with any other food items.
Without any further delay, below is the recipe to my most favorite gravy of all time, the one and only Kollu Kuzhambu. Try it in your kitchen and let me know if it had become your favorite dish as well 😉
Soak the bean with enough water and leave it overnight or atleast 8 hours.
Transfer the sprouts to a muslin or cheese cloth, drain the water completely, and tie the cloth with a knot holding the beans inside.
Let it hang overnight leaving the excess water to drain.
The next day you will notice tiny sprouts grown out of the beans.
Let the sprouts grow more for another day which adds taste to the food.
To make gravy:
Half boil the sprouted horsegram along with little salt (for 1 whistle). Keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add shallots. Sauté well. Add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Give a quick stir. Add grated coconut. Sauté well and add all the above given powders and switch off the flame. Allow them to cool and blend to a fine paste.
Heat oil in a pan and add shallots. Sauté well and add tomato. When they turn mushy, add half cooked sprouted horsegram and give it a stir. When the horsegram is half done, add the ground paste and enough water. Add enough salt. Bring the gravy to boil for 15 minutes. Cook until all the raw smell disappears. Garnish with cilantro.