Monday, April 28, 2014

Mushroom Asparagus Egg Drop Soup | Low Calorie Soup Recipes

Want to eat healthy but don't have enough time? I have been there some days. Answer: a healthy but simple soup to the rescue. This soup is loaded with all the goodness of the veggies with the protein from the egg whites and protein and calcium from the tofu. What else does one need in a filling meal? Yes, this soup is a one pot meal and is very filling.

Serves - 2-3; Preparation time - 15 mins; Cooking time - 20 mins
Adapted from Cooking light - way to cook vegetarian cookbook
Vegetable Stock - 2 cups
Water - 1-1/2 cups
Ginger - 1 tsp minced
Garlic - 1 tsp minced
White Mushroom - sliced thin - 1 cup (about 5-6)
Asparagus - sliced on a bias - 1 cup (about 7-8)
Extra Firm Tofu - 4 oz ~ 100 g - cut into cubes
Rice wine vinegar - 2 tbsp
Soy sauce, low sodium - 1/2 tbsp
Black Pepper, freshly ground - 1/2 tsp
Corn Starch - 1 tbsp
Water - 2 tbsp
Egg whites, lightly beaten - from 2 eggs
Scallions/Spring onion greens, a handful - chopped
Cilantro - chopped - a handful
Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce and pepper in a small bowl. Mix 1 tbsp of corn starch with 2 tbsp of water in another small bowl. In a non-stick pan spray some oil and toss around the tofu until it crisps up ever so slightly. In a large pot mix the stock, water, ginger and garlic and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile saute the sliced mushrooms and asparagus one by one with very little oil, for about a minute each. When the soup boil, add the veggies and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar mixture and tofu. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour the corn starch mixture and mix well. Continue to simmer for another 3 minutes or until the soup thickens a little. Stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, pour the egg whites in a steady stream until tiny ribbons form. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro and scallions. Serve hot.
Notes: The soup does not need salt because of the salt in the soy sauce and stock. But you may add salt for your taste.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegetable Cutlets / Potato Spaghetti Squash Cutlets | Snacks Recipes

It was one fine weekday evening and I wanted to munch on something crispy. I was in the mood for the vegetable cutlets we get in the bakeries in India, to be exact. Unlike India, in US it is not easy to walk down the road and buy those cutlets in the corner bakery the moment you think if it. But luckily I had all the vegetables and set out to make the cutlets in the late afternoon by myself.
Psst! I sneaked in half of the spaghetti squash I baked the previous day to the potato mixture. I had made spaghetti squash (semiya) upma with the other half. 
Potato - 2
Spaghetti squash - 1/2 (see notes below)
Carrot - 1 
Coriander leaves / Cilantro - a handful
Dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - a big pinch
Salt - to taste
Maida/all purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Breadcrumbs (fine) - 1/2 cup
Oil - for deep frying

Boil the potatoes with skin on and allow it to cool. Peel and mash well. Chop the carrots finely and boil/microwave them. Scoop the flesh of roasted spaghetti squash. Mix the vegetables with the spice powders, coriander leaves and salt. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Heat oil for deep frying. Mix the flour with water to make a runny batter. In another plate set the breadcrumbs ready. Take lime sized potato mixture and press in your palm gently to make patties. When the oil is hot, dip the patty in the maida batter, shake the excess. And roll in the breadcrumbs mixture on all sides and drop in the oil for deep frying. Turn over once and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a paper towel lined plate. Serve hot with ketchup.
If not using spaghetti squash, substitute with another potato and a handful of peas. 
To prepare spaghetti squash, cut it lengthwise and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast in a 375F oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool and shred out the flesh with a fork. Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb substitute for pasta or vermicelli.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Asparagus Lentils Salad | Salad Recipes

This is a warm and comforting salad for a cozy meal. I just love my meals simple and nutritious. But with a picky eater (well I am not talking about my son) and a toddler it is almost difficult to make something which is one dish for all. But whenever I can (read as whenever I find some extra time in the kitchen) I sneak in these dishes as a part of my regular lunch menu. This is a perfect dish for side or if you are thinking of eating light, just top it with a little yogurt and you are all set for a yummy lunch.
Serves - 2
Asparagus - 1/2 a bundle - chopped
Dry Brown Lentils - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tsp
Curry powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - to taste
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - a handful

Pick over and soak the lentils in water for about 15 minutes. Take the lentils in a saucepan covered with water. Bring it to a boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked al-dente, about 10 minutes and drain. Heat a wide pan with oil and saute the asparagus for about 2-3 minutes. Add the curry powder and the cooked lentils. Mix well and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro. Serve as a side.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Avial / Vegetables in Coconut Stew | South Indian Curry Recipes

I am a little late, I know in wishing you a Happy Tamil New year. Iniya Thamizh Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal! I did not make any sweet today but I am sharing a delicious and authentic Avial recipe. "Avial", literally means boiling relating to the method in which the vegetables are cooked in this dish. Though I already have another Avial recipe here in this space, this is different because it is a vegan version. Yes, this does not have curd/yogurt in it but tastes perfect and will have people asking for a second helping.

Serves - 2-3
Pumpkin - chopped into cubes - 1 cup
Carrot - 2 - cut to thick slices
Brinjal - 2 - cut lengthwise
Drumstick - 1 - cut into 2" pieces
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilli - 1 (optional)
Curry leaves - a few
Make a paste:
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Dry red chilli - 1
Pearl onions - 5

Make a smooth paste with the coconut and other ingredients in the group. Boil the carrots, brinjal, drumstick with salt, turmeric powder and 1-2 cups of water in a covered saucepan. When the vegetables are half-done, throw in the pumpkin pieces and continue cooking covered. When all the vegetables are almost cooked add the ground paste and water if needed (about a cup). Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes. In a small kadai heat the coconut oil and splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour over the avial and serve hot.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mango Frozen Yogurt | Desserts Recipes

Hailing from a tropical country, Summer means Mango to me. I remember the days when we ate basketful of mangoes on a single day, and I am not kidding. No peeling or chopping, just eating it by the fruit. We even had a couple of mango trees in our backyard which yielded a bountiful every year. Mangoes were also a part of many dishes like Mango Rice and Mango Pachadi. After coming to the US, I was introduced to using Mangoes in Lassi and muffins. Mango flavored anything, I love 'em all. To me it reminds me the carefree childhood days of summer, visiting grandparents, meeting cousins and having loads of fun.
Serves - 2
Ripe Mango - 1 (about 1 cup chopped)
Greek Yogurt, preferable whole milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2-3 tbsp
Select a ripe mango, which is not too soft. A mango with a very sweet smell is ripe and perfect for this recipe. Peel the mango and chop into pieces, and remove the seed. Puree in a blender until smooth. Add the yogurt and the sugar. Blend again. Transfer to a glass container with lid. Place a parchment paper touching the top layer and cover with lid. Freeze for a couple of hours. Remove and blend again. Repeat the freeze (with parchment paper on) and blend process again. Freeze until ready to serve. When serving transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a sprig of mint.. yumm..
Alternatively, if you have an ice-cream maker, transfer the blended ingredients after the yogurt and sugar addition to the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lasooni Dhal Fry / Dhal with Roasted Garlic | Indian Curry Recipes

A hearty dinner means Chapathi with dhal for me. Moong dhal with chapathi was a favorite combo for us growing up. As a South Indian our typical dinner will be dosa, idli or upma most days. But when we run out of dosa batter, which we do occasionally, chapathi to the rescue. I made this simple and earthy dhal the other day for dinner. Paired with chapathi and pickle, a perfect satisfying dinner!
Serves - 3
Moong dhal - 3/4 cup (in a 160 ml cup)
Onion - 1 cup - chopped finely
Tomato - 1
Garlic - 5 cloves
Green chilli - 1 or 2
Garam masala - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

Dry roast the moong dhal until a nice aroma comes from the dhal. Add 3-1/2 cups of water and turmeric powder and pressure cook for 3 whistles. When done, drain and reserve the water. Mash the dhal slightly. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds. Add the slit green chilli, chopped onions and fry until it turns golden brown. Throw in the tomato with a pinch of salt and cook until it turns mushy. Add the garam masala and the mashed dhal with the reserved water. Add more water to thin the dhal and salt to taste. Allow it to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Heat the remaining oil and fry the garlic, cut into slivers until golden. Pour over the dhal and mix well. Serve with roti or rice.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chia Pudding | Desserts Recipes

My missing in action from this space for the past two weeks was not intentional. I was a bit preoccupied with some things at home. Though I had been cooking and clicking regularly, I wasn't able to sit down and pen words. May be that is what is called the blogger's block. 
Anyway I am back now and hope to as often as I could. This is a simple pudding made with chia seeds, chocolate and peanut butter. It is a yummy and healthy dessert recipe. How can desserts be healthy, you may ask. It can, because I made this pudding with chia seeds. Chia seeds absorb ten times its weight with water and keeps the body hydrated. 

Serves - 2; Cooking time - 10 mins; Standing time - 2 hrs
Chia seeds - 2 tbsp
Semi sweet chocolate chips - 1/4 cup (you can use dark chocolate chips)
Peanut Butter - 1 tbsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Agave syrup - 2 tsp (or any sweetener of your choice)

Place the peanut butter, chocolate chips and about 2 tbsp of milk in a microwave proof bowl and microwave for about 20-25 secs. Whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and heat for another 10 secs. Add the chia seeds and mix. Set aside for 10 minutes and mix again. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled topped with fruits of your choice, or just as is.