Roobois Chai Tea

I do like to start my weekend morning with a cup of Chai. I find it hearty and nourishing, and at the same time very relaxing to sip on my cup of tea.

I have been experimenting with different variations of spices and like this version the best. I use Roobois tea and almond milk, but this can be substituted with black tea and regular milk. I grind up a batch using my mortar and pestle and then steep up my tea when I am ready for a cup.

Chai mix

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp cloves

1 tbsp cardamom pods

1 tsp all spice

Method:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind all the spices.
  2. Store in a container. This should make about 3- 4 cups of chai

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Chai tea

1 tbsp chai mix

1 tbsp roobois tea

Method:

  1. Add 1 cup of milk to a pot. Simmer on medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp of chai mix and 1 tbsp of roboois tea. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Use a tea strainer, to strain the milk into a cup.

I usually add another cup of milk to the roboois chai mix. I find the second cup to be as delicious as the first. Play around with the amount of chai mix. If you like it less strong, then add less chai mix to the milk.

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Quick and Healthy Asian Noodle soup

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My mom makes her soup from scratch using chicken bones or ox bones, but I really do not have the time to do this. I was quite pleased with my quick soup that I made the other day in less than 20 minutes. I used chicken broth as the base and kaffir lime leaves. Kaffir leaves (available in most Asian grocery stores), provides big impact with hardly any effort. I used tofu noodles to keep the soup carb free. You can pretty much throw in any vegetables that you have available. The tofu noodles are great in the soup, as they absorb the flavour and do not get mushy when cooked.

Ing:

3 soft boiled eggs

500 ml Chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, sliced

5 kaffir lime leaves

2 tbsp sambal olek

3 carrots, sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

12 baby bok choy, trimmed

tofu noodles

radishes , cherry tomatoes (optional)

pepper to taste

cilantro for garnish

Method:

1. Boil the eggs.

2. In a separate pot, add stock, lime leaves and garlic.

3. Start cutting all the vegetables and adding them in as they are cut (Carrots, celery, bok choy).

4.Toss in radishes and noodles.

5. When the soup comes to a light boil, add in tomatoes and turn off the heat. I did not want the tomatoes to be overcooked, just slightly tender.

6. Remove shells from eggs, quarter it and add to the soup when eating.

7. Garnish with cilantro.

Easy chicken parathal

I really enjoyed eating this chicken that I made it back to back twice. I used a heavy pot with a lid to cook the chicken. By having the lid on when cooking the chicken, no additional water was needed. The steam in the pot cooked the chicken very quickly. The ingredient list does look long, but it might be a good idea to add these items to your pantry as they can be used for various other Indian recipes. Serve with some basmati rice and enjoy.

Ing:
2 chicken breasts, sliced
½ cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic, sliced
½ inch ginger, sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tbsp coriander seeds, crushed with your palms
1 handful curry leaves
1 tbsp desiccated coconut, not sweetened
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp garam masala
½ tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black sesame seeds
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ cup cilantro leaves

Method:
1. Mix the tamarind paste and tomato sauce with the chicken. Set aside.
2. Add oil to a heated pot. Then stir fry the onions until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry until golden brown.
3. Add mustard seeds, and crushed coriander seeds. Let them heat up for about a minute.
4. Add coconut and curry leaves. Pan fry for about a minute.
5. Add chicken, fenugreek seeds, chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, sesame seeds. Stir fry until the chicken is well mixed with all the other ingredients. Cover the pot with the lid and allow the chicken to cook.
6. Once the chicken is cooked, add the yogurt. Mix well.
7. Garnish with cilantro leaves

Baked Spinach Pakoras

These spinach pakoras do not taste like your average fried pakoras with lots of batter. Here the spinach is the star of the dish. It is really easy to make and freezes well. I used a food processor to grind and mix all the ingredients together. I found though that I had to add each ingredient one at a time, because the spinach would tangle the blades if I put all the ingredients in the bowl straight away. These pakoras are great as a side dish or as an appetizer.

Ing:

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

2 cup cilantro leaves

1 cup plain yogurt

1 onion, sliced

½ cup chickpea flour

1 tsp fenugreek leaves

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

 

Method:

  1. Add the onion to the food processor, then the cilantro, followed by bits of the spinach.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Form into 1 inch round balls and place on an oiled tray.
  4. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 400 F. ¾ way through, flip the spinach pakoras, so that each side browns a little.

 

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Easy cauliflower rice

This vegetable dish could be an entrée or a side dish. I love the flexibility of it.  I had it as an entrée for my lunch and just added a boiled egg, to make it a more balanced meal. You will need a food processor though, to grind up the cauliflower. I also added in some left over vegetables that I had on hand as well.

Ing:

1 cauliflower head

2 shallots, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1 tbsp sambal olek

1 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

½ red pepper, sliced thinly

Method:

  1. Cut up cauliflower to small pieces. Using a food processor, grind to small pieces resembling grains of rice.
  2. Heat pan. Add Olive oil. Add in shallots and cook until almost golden brown.
  3. Add in garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes until golden brown.
  4. Mix in cauliflower and red pepper.
  5. Add in sambal olek and mustard and mix with cauliflower until well combined.
  6. Dish is ready when the cauliflower is a little tender.

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Another variation

I found this lovely yellow cauliflower and sprouted beans the other day and decided to make cauliflower rice again. This time, I pan fried some mustard seeds with onions.  When the onions were nice and golden brown, added in about 6 curry leaves, the cauliflower and about a cup of sprouted beans and tossed in some kale. A lovely lunch indeed!

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Chickpea and Vegetable stew

I am trying to eat more vegetables this week and decide to make a chickpea based dish. You could easily make this into a soup by adding more liquid, or if you wanted it to be more of a dip, just use less liquid. As I wanted to have a little texture, I did not puree the mixture to finely. I used with dried chickpeas, but you could easily use canned chickpeas. I think that any vegetables would go well in this dish. Feel free to substitute.

Ing:

1150 ml chicken broth, reduced sodium

3 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

½ inch ginger, sliced

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

5 carrots

1 cup chopped mushrooms

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp tumeric powder

Cilantro for garnish

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Rinse chickpeas. In a pot, add soaked chickpeas, ginger and chicken broth. Boil until the chickpeas are soft. This might take close to an hour.
  2. Add grapeseed oil to a hot pan. Add cumin seeds and toast for a minute.
  3. Add onions, carrots and sauté until the onions are golden brown.
  4. Add garlic, pepper, mushrooms to the pan.  Add chilli powder, tumeric powder and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until nicely roasted.
  5. When the chickpeas are soft, add the vegetables to the pot. Simmer for a few minutes.
  6. When slightly cooled, puree using an immersion blender or food processor.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy all the goodness of the dish.

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Stuffed Dates with granola

This sweet treat was inspired by a recipe I saw which stuffed marzipan into dates. In effort to make this healthier, I put homemade granola into the dates. I also stuffed a couple with ground walnuts. If you are looking for a sweet treat, this certainly hits the spot. The best thing is that dates are fat free.

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Ingredients:

Dates

Granola

Method:

  1. Make a slit lengthwise on the top of the date.
  2. Remove the seed.
  3. Fill with granola of your choice.

Healthy sauteed mushrooms

I felt like eating some sauteed mushrooms without all the butter and fat that I might normally include in my mushroom dish and found this version to be very satisfying indeed. I used Dijon mustard to add a nice flavour to the mushrooms. I also used this mushroom mixture in my quesadilla with chicken and other vegetables.

Ing:

½ tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot, sliced finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup chicken broth

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

 Method:

  1. Heat pan, then add olive oil
  2. Stir fry shallots and garlic until well cooked
  3. Add mushrooms and stir fry to mix in shallots and garlic
  4. Add chicken broth, yeast and mustard and mix well.
  5. Cook until mushrooms are soft and there is not too much liquid.

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Slow cooker chicken satay

I love eating satay, but it is so much work to make from scratch. I have tried using different paste, but with so many preservatives included, I try not to use it too much. I was really pleased with my slow cooker version of Satay last night. There are quite a few ingredients that I put it, but because I was using the slow cooker, I could actually just take stuff out of my freezer * and toss them into the cooker without actually slicing or dicing. However, this just makes it a little easier. I served my satay with coconut rice.

For the coconut rice, I just substituted ½ cup of light coconut milk for ½ cup of water that would be used to cook the rice. You can also add 2 pandan /screwpine leaves into your rice cooker/pot, for added fragrance.

*I keep my galangal, turmeric, lemon grass in the freezer

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Ing:
1.4 kg chicken breast (diced) I used partially frozen chicken.
3 cloves garlic
2 inches of galangal (can use ginger)
1 inch turmeric (can use 1 tbsp turmeric powder)
½ red onion, sliced
1 lemon grass (use 4 inches of the bottom part of the lemon grass)
3 tbsp olive oil

1/2cup soy sauce
1 ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
½ cup light coconut milk
½ cup peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sambal olek (more if you like it spicier)
1 tbsp cornstarch (mixed with 2 tbsp cold water) (If you do not have cornstarch, use flour)
¼ cup unsalted peanuts
Cilantro for garnishing

Method:
1. Into the slow cooker, toss in all the ingredients except peanuts and cilantro. Mix the ingredients together to coat the chicken.
2. Follow the settings in your slow cooker to cook the chicken. I cooked mine on high for 4 hours, just because, I wanted it done before I went to sleep.
3. When the chicken is cooked, move all the chicken into a container, but not the broth.
4. Pour the broth into a pan (use a medium heat setting).
5. Add the cornstarch and cold water mixture into the broth and mix well to incorporate.
6. Add peanuts and keep mixing until the broth becomes thicker.
7. Pour over the chicken mixture. Garnish with cilantro.

When heating up my chicken, instead of using the microwave, I placed the portion we were going to eat, in a cast iron pan and put it in the oven under broil. This just gave the chicken a slightly charred taste to resemble grilled satay a little more.

Pretzel buns

I was in the mall the other day and the smell of pretzels was just wonderful, so I thought I would try and make a healthier version with my kids. We used whole wheat flour and added some nutritional yeast to the dough. Instead of making them bite size or rolling it up in the form of a pretzel we just shaped them into little buns. The results were delicious little buns. It is best to be eaten hot, though they freeze really well too.

 

Ing:

1 cup warm water

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp nutritonal yeast

1 tbsp black sesame seeds

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup hot water

2 tsp baking soda

Extra sesame seeds for the tops of the pretzel buns

Extra nutritional yeast for the tops of the pretzel buns

Parmesan cheese for the tops of the pretzel buns

 

Method:

1. Mix warm water, honey and yeast together. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes.

2. In another bowl, mix flour and salt.

3. Using an electric mixer, mix the flour mixture with the honey yeast mixture. Mix until dough is well combined and forms a bowl.

4. Rub the oil all around the dough. The dough can be left in the mixing bowl to rise. Cover  the bowl with saran wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise for about 2 hours in a warm place.

5. Divide dough into four. Roll each section into a long roll and cut into equal pieces, and then form into little buns.

6. Cover and let it rest for another 30 minutes in a warm area.

5. Mix the baking soda with the hot water in a bowl. Dunk each pretzel piece in the baking soda water, and then place it on a baking sheet. If the dough loses it shape, just shape it back into a bun. Sprinkle with desired topping- sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and/ or parmesan cheese.

6. Bake at 400 F for about 8-10  minutes or until it is baked through.

 

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