Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red Cabbage and Curd/yogurt Salad

Cabbage is another one of cruciferous vegetables just like Brussels sprouts. While green cabbage is the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage, we highly recommend trying red cabbage because of it added nutritional benefits and its robust hearty flavor. We generally make cabbage either sauteed or in soup. We ate this salad at a Turkish restaurant and loved it. I think they add some cream to the salad but I decided to make it with curd and added freshly ground cumin for added flavor. I served this as a side dish and added left overs to our tofu sandwiches for another meal. Yum either way ..:)
Best part about this recipe is its very simple and takes almost no time to prepare and fun dish to surprize your guests.

Prep time: Under 15 minutes
Cook time: 1-4 minutes
Complexity: Very Simple
Serves:    6

Ingredients: 1.) 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 2.) 1/3 medium cabbage about 2 cups shredded  3.) 1-1.5 cup curd 4.) 1/2 teaspoon salt 5. 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Method: 1.) Chop cabbage in 1.5 inch long 1/4 inch thick shreds. You can use a shredder to save time. Don't grate or chop however.
2.) Steam the cabbage for 3-4 mins or to save time microwave covered for 1 minute. (Microwave cooking kills some of the important nutrients in 2 minutes what steaming will kill in 7 minutes.)
3.) Pour ice in a big bowl and place cooked cabbage bowl on top of the ice for quick cooling.
4.) If you don;t have curd (home made yogurt - very simple, ask us how) you can use yogurt. Beat about 1.5 cup yogurt in the serving bowl, add salt and pepper to it and mix well.
5.) Keep cooled down cabbage bowl in the deep freezer for 5 mins or so for further cooling.
6.) Roast cumin in a non stick pan until dark brown. Place the roasted cumin in between two paper towels and roll using a bread roller. Don't powder it just crush. Just like crushed pepper.
6.) Add cabbage to curd or yogurt mix. Mix well and enjoy the purple curd :)
7.) Sprinkle crushed cumin on top of the curd and cabbage mix. Ta da .. Salad is ready for you and your guests:) and perfect salad to be submitted to Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fantastic Fattoush (Improvised Version) - a winner and a complete meal

My family loves hearty salads so we make salads often and try to be creative each time. I made this salad for a potluck event at work and it was almost gone in 15 minutes. Of course it was a winner in the salad category. Yum, Protein rich, good carbs and nutritious, who would not want it?. I just love the name fattoush and fattoush salad so named it fattoush, Please excuse me for that. In reality its just my own cooked up version of salad :). We loved it so much that I made this salad again in the same week. I replaced chickpeas with edmmame and added Israeli couscous, oranges and result was amazing. (see picture version 2).
Prep Time  : 30 minutes
Complexity : Simple
Serves         :  8 (4 if eating only salad)
Ingredients: 16 oz cooked Chick peas or edmmame, 3 cups Greens (Lettuce and Spinach), 1/3 cup cherry Tomatoes, Orange & Yellow & Red Pepper 1/2 each, 1 large grated Carrot, 1/4 cup Blue Berries, 1/4 cup Feta, 1/4 cup steamed Craisins (Cranberries), 1/3 cup roasted Walnuts, 2 tbspoon Sunflower seeds, 1/4 Red Onions, 3 tbspoon Olive oil, 2 tbspoon ground flax, 2 tbspoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tbspoon lime, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/3 rd cup cooked Israeli couscous or 10-12 pita chips (optional), 1 orange (optional).
Fantastic Fattoush was almost gone in 15 mins:)
Method: 1. Cut Onion in thin rings and then half the rings. Add Onions to the salad bowl and add vinegar to it. Cover and let it sit while you cut rest of the vegetables. Vinegar will turn purple onions to bit pink and will reduce the sharpness.
2. Wash all vegetables and let them dry for few minutes. For greens either dry in paper towels or the salad water separator.
3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (I heated chickpeas in microwave and then cooled them down, just don't like to eat straight from the can) and grate the carrot and add to the salad bowl. Don't mix yet.
4. Cut all peppers in thin long slices as shown in the picture and add to the salad. Add Tomatoes, half of olive oil and mix well. Add some salt and pepper and mix well.
5. Steam cranberries for 3-4 minutes and place in the refrigerator to cool it down.
5. Cut lettuce and add to the salad and mix well.
6. Add spinach to the salad. Sprinkle rest of the ingredients on top of the salad one by one. Cover and Stick the salad in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Mix it 30 minutes before serving.

Fattoush salad version 2



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tofu Cream Veggie Toasts - Quick and yummy and good for your tummy

My daughter loves Tofu, raw or cooked. I try to make it at least once a week. The fact that she loves it motivates me to think of new ways to make Tofu dishes. So last week I had some left over bread, tofu and my wandering brain :).  I have made Rasgullas an Indian sweet from paneer. The recipe involves blending the paneer, paneer turns into a solid cream and one can make balls out of it. I thought tofu with the similar texture should turn the same way. Surely it did, but it lacks the fat so I will not be able to make Rasgullas from it. But a bit of disappointment does not stop me to try other new things:). This dish is very easy to make and if you like tofu you will enjoy these bites. Even the milk cream lovers will be surprised how tasty tofu cream can be. These bites along with salad was our dinner. Quick and Yummy and good to your tummy!

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Oven Temp: Preheat 350 degrees F and Broil for 5 minutes
Complexity :  Easy

Ingredients: 1. 8 oz Tofu 2. 1/3 cup fine chopped scallions 3. 1/3 cup fine chopped tomatoes 4. 1 teaspoon minced garlic  5. 1/2 teaspoon oregano and basil each 6. salt, pepper, chili powder 7. 1/2 tbspoon olive oil 8. Any Bread of choice (I used sour dough)



Method: 1. Preheat oven on 350 degree f. Blend Tofu in a chopper or blender for 2-3 minutes until it turns into a creamy mix.
2. Add tofu cream, chopped scallions, minced garlic, chopped tomatoes in a bowl and mix well.
3. Add spices, olive oil and mix well.
4. Spread the mix on each piece lavishly and  arrange on a oil sprayed baking tray. I sprinkled some red chili powder on top using a spice shaker.
5. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes keep on broil for 5 minutes to cook tofu a bit more.
6. Enjoy with salad or soup of choice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Diwali special - Baked whole grain savory snacks and Protein rich sweets

Festival of lights Diwali/ Dipawali is keeping lot of Indians busy :) . Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival and is celebrated similar to Christmas. Lighted & decorated houses and streets, New clothes, Exchange of treats and gifts with friends and family. Other attractions of Diwali are Rangoli, Fireworks and Puja (worship). People go in to cleaning spree weeks before Diwali and few days before Diwali make sweets and snacks at home. Growing up it was an annual deal at my parents and grand parent's home. I enjoyed helping my mom and grandma and indulging with flavourful and colourful treats. I never realized I will become a health freak (just like my dad) one day and will have to get creative to carry this tradition. At least for the sake of my American daughter I have to do this to make her aware of Indian heritage and culture. So yesterday after a lot of research on Internet, I selected 2 snacks and 4 desserts which I thought could be easily converted into healthier versions or were already healthier. Now healthy to me means whole grains, naturally sweetened as much possible, not deep fried and balanced means combination of nutrition with good carbs and protein. Trust me it seems very difficult initially because most popular sweets are deep fried and white carbs and full of sugar. Let me tell you one more thing, many people unless they are cook themselves can't even tell you the ingredients of the sweets and snacks they have been eating for long time. Ghee and sugar in sweets and oil, salt and chili powder in snacks overpowers taste of everything else. It takes a long time to develop taste for real and natural food but once you do you will not turn back. You must be thinking by now will I ever talk about the actual treats:)

Here you go.. Platter contains baked brown rice Thattai (papdi, matthi, crispy and spicy chips), baked whole wheat lentil stuffed khasta kachori (lentil stuffed dumplings), Moong dhal payasam (kheer, flavoured lentil milk), Indian Fudge Mysore pak (mostly olive oil) made with besan (black graham flour) and brown sugar (used half the quantity than whats traditionally used), Dates and raisins and flax and nuts Ladoos (dates and nuts protein balls), baked  and glazed walnuts flax whole wheat badusha (balushai, donuts).

Kachori crust and inside
Recipe and Ingredients: It will take me sometime to post all these here. If you need a particular recipe before Diwali, Please contact me at admin@vatsalas.com or just like my page on fb and leave a comment for recipe or follow me using google connect and leave a comment here. I will get back to you quickly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healthy Halloween Trick or Treat Ideas

Health talk is in the air, believe it or not! Everyone is talking about it, whether they are implementing or not is another story. I am not going to lie by saying we are always eating healthy. However we do put a concerted effort into it and also try not to serve the greasy and sugary food we avoid to our guests. So, This Halloween we have decided to make two baskets for our little trick-or-treaters. One basket will have all the healthy choices and other basket will have candies (of course less sugary ones). I did some online search and found the following safe alternatives:


1.  Popcorn packets
2.  Packs of raisins
3.  Cheeses
4.  Sidewalk chalk, Crayons, Clay, Pencil
5.  Stickers
6.  Silly bands
7.  Trail mixes
8.  Some salty whole grain snack packs
9.  Glow in the dark bracelets

How's your Halloween treat basket looking like? Our daughter who is turning 5 soon is going to be a sleeping beauty (her pick). what costumes have you picked out? We wish you and your family a fun filled Halloween!  ...Pumpkin carving, costume party, trick-or-treat, do it all :)

Safety Tip: Its always a good thing to go over safety tips: http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/ before you take your little one's out on trick-o-treat.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brussels Sprouts dry - a scrumptious side

"Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables which provide some cholesterol lowering benefits. Their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli." - Whole foods.
Of course the best way to cook any cruciferous vegetable is to steam to gain fantastic health benefits. I normally steam or microwave and make a sour salad or a savoury dish. For change I make dry either by steaming first and then adding spices or cooking directly in the pan. This particular  recipe is inspired from south Indian cooking.

Tip: No overcooking these baby cabbages (Nick name given by me out of love for them:)) please :)

Prep Time      : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 10-15 minutes
Stove Heat     :  between Low and Medium
Complexity     :  Very Simple

Ingredients:  1.) 1 Package Brussels Sprouts 2.) 2-3 whole dry ref chillies 3.) 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 4.) 3/4 teaspoon salt 4.) 1 tbspoon olive oil 5.) 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 6.) 1/2 teaspoon dry coriander ground
7.) 1 teaspoon lime juice (optional, I don't add it always for change)

Method: 1.) Wash Brussels nicely in cold water. Peel off the top layer if spoiled and cut 1/4 inch from the head to remove the tough root.
2.) Cut each brussel evenly in 4 or 6 bite sizes. I cut the bigger ones in 6 and smaller one in 4. Cutting evenly is imporant to avoid un even cooking.
3. Heat oil in a sautee pan on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add mustard seeds and let it splutter for a minutes. Add dry red chillis and cook for 1 minutes.
4. Add cut brussels and mix. Spread salt, turmeric and coriander over brussels like you will do from a shaker. Mix well, turn the heat down to low-medium. Cook on covered for 10 minutes.
5. Check after 10 minutes, stir nicely, cover and turn off the heat. Brussels will be done nicely when you will check after 5 minutes from the steam. Please remove after 5 minutes from stove top.
6. Serve with your choice of Stew. We ate these with Sambhar (South Indian lentil vegetable stew). How do you like your Brussels?