Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Truffle Dates - Instant Energy Booster

Its a nutrient packed mini balls of dates and assorted nuts which you can't get bored eating everyday. I made this truffle dates experimenting with different types of nuts and dried fruits and the good thing is that its 'sugarless', can be prepared in jiffy and this recipe never let me down but always lighten up my day in a sweet way. When I was a kid my mother would force me to have two pieces of dates stuffed with almonds as it is rich in iron and fiber. All those years of eating raw dates had firmly developed an unpleasant memories related to dates. Now, after tasting the new found love 'Truffle Dates', I can eat dates without abhorring them.

Truffle Dates

Ingredients : 

Pitted Medjol dates: 9
Prunes : 6
Good quality unsweetened cocoa powder : 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence : 1/4 tsp 
Salt : a pinch
Roasted peanuts without skin : 1/2 cup
Roasted sunflower seeds : 1/2 cup
Roasted almonds : 1/4 cup (optional)
Dessicated coconut for rolling


Method :

1. First, In food processor, I have added finely chopped dates, prunes, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla essence. All of them were ground smoothly.

2. Next, 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup of peanuts were ground along with the previous ingredients with small nibs of nuts here and there.

3. Lastly, grind 1/4 cup of peanuts and 1/4 cup of almonds slightly coarsely with bigger chunks of nuts. You may reduce the quantity of nuts by 1/ 4 cup, if you aren't preferring them.

4. Apply oil to your palm and start rolling  small balls and submerging it in small bowl of dessicated coconut.

5.Serve in a cookie paper cups and store in an airtight jar. Keep it refrigerated. The flavor will fully develop the next day.


Indian Style Beetroot Soup

One of my favourite soup recipe. I love the deep red color of the beetroot as well as its earthy sweet flavor which works so well with all the Indian spices used in this recipe. Having a bowl of beet soup with toasted French baguette infused in garlic butter is a divine eating experience. At home, my mother used to prepare this soup quite frequently and best eaten with piping hot rice and spicy fried fish.

Beetroot Soup


Small red onions : 7
Large ripe tomatoes : 3
Grated beetroot : 1/2 cup
Small green chillies : 1 or 2
Crushed garlic cloves : 3
Cooked yellow moong dal : 1/4 cup
Curry leaves : a sprig
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Water : 3 1/2 cups or more
Oil : 1 tbsp
Salt : as needed 

To Temper :

Cinnamon stick : 1 (3 inches long)
Cloves : 6
Star anise : 1
Fennel seeds : 1 tsp
Whole black peppercorns : 1/2 tsp

Method :

1. I pressure cooked the yellow moong lentils with 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and 3 cloves of crushed  garlic with enough water for 3 whistles. After that, I mashed the dal along with well cooked garlic. Excess water and mashed dal left in the pressure used in this recipe.

2. In a pan, add a tbsp of oil. After the oil is slightly hot, temper all the ingredients under "To Temper" section. The color of fennel seeds should change to light brown.

3. Then, fry sliced onions till translucent and immediately continue the frying process with slitted green chillies, grated beetroot and finely chopped tomatoes and salt.

4. After the tomatoes turn mushy and well cooked, now mix cooked yellow moong lentils which has been mashed well and 3 1//2 cups of water or more.

5. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Switch off the flame and garnish with finely chopped curry leaves.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Simple Stir Fried Pasta with leftover 'Tom Yum' Paste

Everyone knows how to make stir fried pasta but why am I taking so much of the time to post this simple stir fried pasta recipe on my blog. Guess what, the taste was amazing and unlike other pasta or fried rice recipes I have got in my blog, this particular dish doesn't require lots of vegetables as they will ruin the flavor of 'Tom Yum' paste. So, I kept the recipe simple by only incorporating small sized cabbage not the big one. If you use the big cabbage, it will have the tendency to ooze lots of liquid and turn the dish rather soggy. You could also use finely shredded Brussels sprout and that would be perfect for this dish. I had also reduce the amount of pasta but increased the quantity of the bean sprouts twice to cut down the intake of carbohydrate and alleviate fiber intake. The bean sprouts were grown naturally at home as sometimes I'm worried of buying those from the grocery store for some hygienic reason. Don't skip any of the ingredients used and please never try to use capsicum as it dissipates the smell of lemongrass used in the Tom Yum paste. Small dried salted anchovies would be available in Chinese grocery store and it had elevated the pasta's flavor immensely or you could also substitute it with fresh seafood such as prawn or squid. Try this recipe at home and impress your loved ones with your cooking skill.

Stir Fried Pasta with Tom Yum paste


Organic spiral pasta : 3/4 cup
Shredded cabbage : 1 handful
Fresh bean sprouts:  3 handfuls
Small dried salted anchovies : 2 tbsp
Medium sized ripe tomato : 1
Chilli powder : 1 tsp (adjust to your spice level)
Tom Yum paste : 1 1/2 tbsp
Olive oil : 1 tbsp 
Small shallots : 6
Garlic : 4 cloves
Salt : as needed

You could always double the quantity of ingredients and the blended paste keep well in the freezer for few weeks.

Method :

1. Finely shred the cabbage and soak in salted hot water for 5 min and discard the water. Rinse off the bean sprouts and soak the tiny anchovies in hot water for 10 minutes and rinse them under cold water twice. Keep everything aside separately.

2. In a deep bottom pan, enough water is added along with salt and 1 tsp of oil. Bring the water to boil and start adding the dry spiral pasta. Cook for 3 minutes or till it is al dente or cooked to be firm to the bite. Drain off the excess water using a colander and rinse the pasta with running cold water. 

3. In a pan, pour a tbsp of olive oil and when it's hot, start frying the anchovies till crispy. After that, add finely sliced shallots and garlic. Fry them till translucent and caramelized. Now time to add diced tomato and Tom Yum paste. Fry till raw smell of chilli disappears and diced tomato turns mushy.

4. Next, add shredded cabbage, chilli powder, salt and cook till cabbage ooze out water slightly but without softening the cabbage much. Lastly, chuck in 3 big handful of bean sprouts and pasta. Give a quick toss for 5 minutes because the longer you cook a lot of liquid will ooze out of the sprouts and lose the crunchiness. The pasta shouldn't be soggy so cook till liquid is absorbed into the pasta.

5. Serve hot. 


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Millet in Yoghurt Magic

Another very quick and easy preparation of millet is by adding thick Greek yoghurt with some Indian spices that turns the dish healthy for the consumption of all. We enjoy eating this millet submerged in the luscious thick creamy yoghurt with a kick of spiciness from the finely chopped small onions and green chillies. Enough talking about the goodness of millet as I have already mentioned about its beneficial in Millet in Tom Yum Soup . Lets check on the recipe and its cooking method. 

"Linking this to Dish it out event hosted by Hasna of Kachuss Delights ; originally hosted by Vardhini of Cooks Joy"

Ingredients :  : 

Yellow Pearl Millet : 1/4 cup
Plain Greek Yoghurt without flavor : 1/2 to 1 cup ( adjust according to your liking)
Small onions : 4
Japanese cucumber : 1/4 cup
Water : 2 1/2 cups
Cooking oil : 1 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1/4 tsp
Asofetida : 1/8 tsp
Small green chillies : 2
Salt : as needed

Method :

1. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of millet and let it boil on medium low flame till the millet is cooked thoroughly. Run the cooked millet under cold water and drain the excess water. 

2. In a pan, when oil is slightly hot, sputter mustard seeds. Switch off the flame. After that, with the heat left in the pan fry finely sliced onions and green chillies. Add enough salt and asofetida.

3. Pour the fried mixture to the cooked millet.

4. Next add yoghurt and grated cucumber. Mix well and serve.


Millet in Tom Yum Soup

For the 'Dish it Out' monthly event, I planned to come up with a healthy nutritious soup using yellow pearl millet which has been one of my favourite staple food at home when we got so bored of eating rice and pasta. When the millet is cooked with little water it becomes congee and when lots of water diluted, it's a soup, so you can cook this recipe in two ways. In Northern part of China millet is consumed highly as it is rich in vitamin B1 and B2 which are necessary to prevent indigestion and sore in the corner of the mouth. Millet is also an alkaline grain that carries abundant nutrition especially amino acid which is good for people with ache all over, disorder of gastric acid, bad breath, indigestion, vomiting, for pregnant women in regulating body condition. I have prepared the soup sometimes using prawns and sometimes substituting them with silken tofu for protein. Its a Thai inspired soup which has all the strong lemony fragrant of lemongrass. The 'Tom Yum' paste made at home has given a nice punch of spiciness and well balanced by the sourness contributed by the ripe tomatoes and lime juice. Millet in general is slightly bland in flavor so adding aromatic herbs really had elevated the soup. Whenever I cook the soup using fresh prawns with all the colorful crunchy vegetables, it has been a great hit in the dining. Nevertheless, the vegetarian version is equally tasty and hardly created heavy feeling of eating grains such as rice, whole wheat or semolina or even barley. 

"Linking this to Dish it out event hosted by Hasna of Kachuss Delights ; originally hosted by Vardhini of Cooks Joy"


Millet in Tom Yum Soup

Ingredients :  : 

Large ripe tomatoes : 2
Yellow Pearl Millet : 1/4 cup
Tom Yum Paste : 1 1/2 tbsp to 2 tbsp (adjust according to your spice level)
Mixed Vegetables : 2 cups
(I have used cauliflower, carrot, sweet potato, baby corn, french beans) 
Silken tofu : 1/2 cup (non-vegetarian, may replace with prawns)
Water : 6 cups
Olive oil : 2 tbsp
Small onions : 4 
Crushed lemongrass : 1 stalk
Freshly ground black pepper : 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt : as needed

Tom Yum paste:

Dry red chillies :3
Garlic :7 cloves
Ginger : 1 inch
Lemongrass : 2 stalks (use only the bottom pink part)

Method :

2. Blanch mixed vegetables of your choice salted hot water for 10 min. Then, discard the water and strain it well.

3. In a pan, when the olive oil is slightly hot, fry finely sliced onions and later add 2 tbsp of Tom Yum paste. Fry till the raw smell dissipates.

4. Now, add diced tomatoes and salt, fry them till the tomato is mashed well.

5. Next add 6 cups of water and 1/4 cup of millet and let it boil on medium low flame till the millet is cooked thoroughly. Lastly chuck in blanched veggies and cook for 5 minutes. I have also added some black pepper powder. Silken tofu is crumbled lightly into the soup and cooked only for 3 minutes before the switching off the flame. 

6. Serve hot with freshly squeezed lime if required.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Steamed Mini Moist Chocolate Cake (Healthy)

I was extremely overwhelmed when my experiment with steamed version of cake became a success. As you know, I have always avoided baking for the amount of baking powder or soda used in all the bakery items. Furthermore, all purpose flour or cake flour is a must in getting the moist cake consistency. Few days ago, I was in dilemma and made an attempt to google for a solution. Luckily, I stumbled across some interesting blogs about Traditional Chinese Steamed Cake in which egg plays pivotal role in creating rising effect and at the same time moisten the cake by substituting the work of soda. Still I was unhappy with the amount of sugar recommended and hesitated using all purpose flour which is not healthy for our body. I wanted something natural and moderate so I decided to make a cake based on my intuition as women are naturally blessed with that ability. I substituted the plain flour with homemade whole wheat or atta flour and reduced the sugar more than half as the ingredients used in the cooking chocolate had some sugar content. Here I didn't use butter or oil as the cooking chocolate has cocoa butter which I thought might add some moisture to the cake. Since I'm sending the cake to Ahlan Ramadan- The Healthy Way, I ensured it is healthy and safe for everyone to consume. 

               “Sending this entry to Ahlan Ramadan –The Healthy Way” 

Ingredients :

Cake flour (Using whole wheat or atta flour and corn flour) : 1/4 cup
Small sized eggs (Grade C) : 2
Brown sugar :1 tbsp
Vanilla essence : 1/4 tsp 
Melted cooking chocolate : 3 tbsp to 4tbsp
Salt : a pinch

Method :

1. First, break the two eggs into a wide bowl along with a tbsp of brown sugar. Beat them using hand mixer on high speed for 5 minutes and then switch to medium speed. Continue the whisking till the mixture change into pale cream color. Try to lift the mixture up to check whether it has reached the ribbon consistency and the peak form should take at least 10 seconds to fall back into the bowl. Stop at that stage. We want to incorporate more air into the cake as no baking powder or soda is used. 

2. Cooking chocolate is melted using double boiler method and cool it aside.

3. I made my own cake flour at home without double action agents by measuring 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour and removing out 1/2 tbsp of whole wheat flour which has been taken previously and then adding back 1/2 tbsp of corn flour. Sift the flour for 3 times.

4. Add the melted chocolate of 3 tbsp, flour, 1/4 tsp vanilla essence and a pinch of salt into the mixture. Mix it well till everything is fully incorporated but remember not to over mix it. 

5. Get the steamer ready and I poured the chocolate cake batter into six mini stainless steel ramekins which were steamed for 15 minutes. 

6. Since this cake doesn't have leavening agent, you can't expect to keep the cake for more than 1 day. Re-steam for second serving to moisten the cake. It was moist and tasty the moment it came out of the steamer.