Edamame and Shitake Mushroom salad with Sumac and jalepeno peppers

As a family we love pan asian cuisine, it seems so much healthier and includes many different kinds of my favourite leafy greens. One of our favourite appetizers is salted Edamame. It is healthy, quick and delicious.

I had been thinking of making edamame salad but could not come up with the right combination of ingredients and herbs and suddenly yesterday it struck me why not combine it with shitake’ mushrooms and basil and because all three have sweetish after taste  why not add some jalepeno pepper to balance that and yes some sour sumac to give it some middle eastern touch. Voilla that did it !!!! The melange’ of flavours is unique with ingredients from different regions but somehow works. The key is to let the flavours seep in. The salad tasted great the next day or atleast after sitting for 8 – 10 hours.

Ingredient

2 -3 cups Edamame pods blanched

4-5 shitake mushrooms washed and sliced

1 roma tomato finely chopped

2 tbsp. of finely chopped basil

Salad Dressing

1tsp. powdered sumac

juice of half a lime

1 tsp. walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. crushed black pepper

1/2 jalepeno finely chopped

salt to taste

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Method

1.Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and put aside.

2.. Blanch the edamame pods for 10 minutes in boiling water so they are tender crisp.

3. Once cool take out the seeds and put in a bowl.

4. Heat 1/2 tsp. of oil or ghee and saute’ the mushrooms so they are fragrant and  golden brown.

5.Mix the dressing with the edamame, tomato and grilled mushrooms and basil.

6. Toss well and let sit for 6-8 hours and enjoy a protein rich colourful salad.

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Is there any difference between white and brown sugar?

great myth busting information!!! Enjoy

romanmyko

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  Hey everyone,

    Today I would like to talk a bit about two most often talked kinds of sugar namely white and brown sugar. It is often believed that brown sugar is very healthy whereas white sugar is not a good choice for those that want to stay healthy and fit. In fact, the main difference is molasses. White sugar is simply bleached from brownish molasses.  The opposite situation happens with brown sugar. It is produced by adding molasses back to the white sugar and therefore there is a difference in terms of yellow/white color of one kind and brownish of another. In fact, molasses gives a specific flavor which makes brown sugar more sweet, rich in taste, moist and  more of clumpy texture.

   It also should be noted that the perception towards the usage of both kinds differ. White sugar is often perceived as an…

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Curried Chick peas with watercress

I bring to you today a very popular traditional curried chick pea dish made very Un- traditionally with peppery nutritious green herb watercress. This is my husband’s favourite delicious protein packed, high fiber dish made healthier with addition of beautiful greens. Hope you will love it as much as we do.Topped with marinated onions it is a finger licking gooood!!!!  colourful dish. 

An aquatic plant found near springs and slow-moving streams, watercress is an often-overlooked, leafy green food source that is a close cousin to mustard greenscabbage, and arugula. An attractive, succulent plant, watercress bears small, round, slightly scalloped leaves, which, in summer, produce tiny white flowers that become small pods with two rows of edible seeds. Watercress has been cultivated in Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas for millennia for use as both food and a medicine.

One of the best culinary aspects of watercress is its versatility. It can be used as a salad green (a very nutritious one!) with Romaine lettuce or fresh spinach, steamed and eaten as a vegetable, and in soups for a subtle, peppery flavor. It’s also a standard ingredient for sandwiches in Britain for both common and high tea.

Because watercress grows in water, it should be washed thoroughly, then soaked for half an hour or so in cool water with hydrogen peroxide added (around one tablespoon per quart) to remove any pollutants, parasites etc.

Vitamins A, C, and K, and phytonutrients like isothiocyanates and gluconasturtiin in watercress strengthen bones, limit neuronal damage, fight infection, help maintain healthy connective tissue, and prevent iron deficiency. Studies have found the compound PEITC in watercress may suppress breast cancer cell development and prevent DNA damage in cells.

You can find this oft-overlooked leafy green in most supermarkets, so give it a try when you make your next trip to the grocery stores.

Ingredients

2 cups of boiled chickpeas ( or canned )

1 bunch watercress leaves picked, washed and finely chopped ( I do use the tender stems )

1 medium sized red onion peeled

1 inch piece of ginger peeled

2 cloves of garlic peeled

1 green chilli

1 large hot house tomato chopped in in a chopper

3 – 4 tbsp. strained tomato puree

1 tbsp. kabuli chana masala  ( subsitute with 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder and 2 tsp. garam masala )

1 tbsp. ghee or oil

a pinch asafoetida

1 red onion finely chopped and marinated with lemon juice for garnish.

salt to taste

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Method

1. In  a food chopper chop onion, garlic and ginger just enough to see the pieces and not a puree !!!

2. Thoroughly wash the watercress, mabe even soak it in hot water or hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes as it may harbour parasites or any other pathogens because watercress grows close to slow moving water sources.

3.Chop the watercress leaves fine.

4. Heat the ghee in a heavy pot and fry the chopped onion and garlic mixture on medium heat till the mixture is translucent or 6 – 8 minutes.

5. Add asafoetida and watercress and saute’ for a few minutes, the leaves are tender so it does not take too long. Add also the chana masala, turmeric powder and saute’ for a few minutes.

6. Move the onion mixture to the side gradually and add the chopped tomato lining the bottom of the pan.

7. Let the tomatoes cook for few minutes and then add the tomato puree and chick peas and cook on slow heat for 10 – 15 minutes so that curry comes to a boil and the delicious flavours soak in to the chick peas. Add salt.

8. At this time  you will smell the spicy, delicious aroma of the curry. Garnish with marinated onions. You can serve it with rice or bread or Naan bread. It is a great meal eaten with good bread.

9. Enjoy!!!!

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Fermented Lentil Crepes Easy Breezy Gluten free Probiotic rich

This is how Wikipedia describes fermented foods
Fermented foods are foods produced or preserved by the action of microorganisms. In this context, fermentation typically refers to the fermentation of sugar to alcohol using yeast, but other fermentation processes involve the use of bacteria such as lactobacillus, including the making of foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. The science of fermentation is known as zymology.

There are many different kinds of fermented foods, there is sourdough bread popular in many cultures ( the sourdough culture is passed on from one generation to the other !!!). There is naturally fermented pickles popular ones like saurkraut and Khimchi, then there are a variety of fermented dumplings and crepes from southern and coastal part of India. All the foods are sour but they are made so  naturally and not because of added vinegar or yeast.

And off course not to forget our everyday natural, plain yoghurt. All these foods have a strong taste and smell so it is an acquired taste but the health benefits far outweigh everything else. I must say though I love them all be it my homemade yoghurt, saurkraut, khimchi  or the Indian crepes called Dosas.

The crepe or the dosa that I have made today is made of lentils but tradionally not fermented. I improvised it by  fermenting the traditional “Chilla batter” made by grinding yellow mung bean lentils to make it healthier and a great alternative for people wanting to avoid grains or eat high protein foods. Fermenting the batter makes it probiotic rich and also the taste has more depth and character to it. 

In the above mentioned foods which have been fermented naturally, the natural bact- eria feed on the sugar and starch creating lactic acid and also in the process creating B- vitamins, beneficial enzymes and different strains of beneficial bacteria.

This process also makes food more digestible and preserves nutrient.                      Studies have also shown not just better digestibility of fermented foods but also immune boosting properties of these foods. 

Modern convenience driven culture has driven people away from the traditional healthier preparation of foods. A  concious effort needs to be made to change this and revive these time honoured methods before we lose them completely to sugar and salt laden foods made in the “Plants”.

in short fermented foods improve digestion, increase the nutrients, boost the immune system and to top it all up increase the shelf life.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 cup yellow lentils ( mung bean split lentils)

1 hot green chill

1” piece of ginger

salt to taste

Method

1. Thoroughly rinse the lentils few times till the water loses its milkiness.

2. Soak the lentils in water ( the quantity of water should be little more than the lentils so that lentils have enough water to soak in) for 6 – 8 hours.

3. Now grind the lentils with chill and ginger.

4. You should now have a thick, smooth and velvety textured batter.

5. Pour this batter in a big glass container or a mixing bowl and keep in a pre warmed ( not heated !!! ) oven overnight for 10 – 12 hours.

6. The bowl should be large enough so that there is rooom for the batter to rise which it will in warm tempererature ( with all the bacteria multiplying multiple times!!!)

7. Heat the oven at  375 degrees F for 3- 4 minutes and turn it off. Keep the batter in the heated oven and also turn on the pilot light at this time.

8. After keeping it overnight for 8- 10 hours you will see the batter would have risen to at least double  its volume and be very airy and bubbly.

9. Heat a cast iron skillet or a non stick griddle. Meanwhile stir the batter well . It should be velvety smooth. You may have to add water if it is too thick but make sure it is not runny.

10. And put  a spoon full of batter onto the heated griddle and spread the batter in  a smooth and a swift manner in a circle as you would a pancake. Put a little ghee or a oil around the crepe.The heat should still be medium or medium low and not too hot.

11. At this point with a spatula lift one side of crepe to see if it has turned golden brown, if it has you can flip up it to cook it on the other side for another 30 seconds. ( you may cook it longer if you want it more crispy)

!2. The crepe is now ready. You can serve it with a green coriander chutney  or a coconut chutney and a salad.

13. Enjoy!!! can be enjoyed for breakfast , lunch or dinner. This batter can be stored for 5-  6 days in the fridge.

 

Slow cooked Lentils in Clay Pot – Healthy and Delicious

We are in the month of march, the days are longer, cold still a little unbearable but spring is just around the corner and that is reason enough to be happier. The blog is over an year old and to celebrate and commemorate that I have decided to bring some different cooking methods to the blog. The methods are not new, they are tried and tested traditional methods which need reintroduction into people’s fast paced, no time to cook from scratch lives.These are lifestyles totally crippled by absence of a microwave (almost a vital part of their busy lives).

The three methods are –  Fermentation, Sprouting and Slow cooking. All these are methods which take longer period of time but are so much tastier and healthier and so worth the extra time spent on them.

Today I am going to talk about slow cooking method which may seem self defeating in our pressed for time lives but the merit is in its taste. This kind of cooking method  and the taste and to some degree even nutritive value is even influenced by the kind of pots you cook in, it could be a slow cooker ceramic pot, heavy copper bottom pot, enamelled cast iron cookware or even a  glazed clay pot. Slow cooker method is off course regainining popularity and is lot less demanding than slow cooking on stove or in the oven.

My mother always praised and encouraged the slow cooking different methods. She often talked about ‘ Dumm’ cooking which literally meant slow cooking the food in steam created on very low heat for extended period of time. She insisted this brought out totally different flavours, texture and taste in the food.You either have to be passionate about cooking or start to love cooking after being exposed to the varied culinary nuances of slow cooking.

This recipe is a simple everyday staple Daal in a beautiful glazed clay pot that my inspiration my mother made.The clay pot is new but the recipe and the method are much loved. It is simple rustic fare with many nuances to be appreciated in its simplicity. Hope you will love it as much as we all do .

It would be great served as a dip. 

Ingredients

1 cup yellow or red lentils rinsed thorougly

1 green chilli slit lengthwise

1” piece of ginger grated

1 clove of garlic grated

1/4 tsp. red chilli powder

1/4 tsp. of turmeric

1/4 tsp. dry mango powder

2 tbsp. finelyb chopped cilantro

2 -3 tbsp. marinated finely chopped red onion

1 tsp. ghee or butter or extra virgin olive oil ( optional )

salt to taste

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Method

1. On the lowest possible heat slowly cook the lentils in 1 cook of water. Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, salt and green chilli.

2. As the lentils cook and soak up the water in 45 – 50 minutes, you will see each lentil expanding and becoming velvety.

3. You can slowly add another half cup of water slowly till the water is completely soaked up and the lentils are softened and blended. this may take another 45 minutes ( please judge the cooking time depending on the intensity of heat and the type of cookware used )

4. Now you should have creamy, smooth beautiful golden Daal.

5. Sprinkle the chiili powder and the mango powder and garnish with marinated onions and cilantro. You may add ghee now.

6. Serve in th same  beautiful pot that it was cooked in with Naan, chapati, over brown rice or even as a delicious dip with chips or crackers.

7. Enjoy !!! a simple, rustic, delicious daal.