Red Bean Paneer Ginger Pomegranate Salad

Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

Sometime back, dishing up a salad was just tossing cucumbers and tomatoes generously sprinkled with lime and chaat masala. Not anymore. Not when I strive to eat huge big bowls of raw eats and wrack my brain to include assorted new vegetables and some form of protein. Most of the times I am successful and there have been times when I have been horribly let down. But lets not talk about the dampeners. I am here to give you a wonderful protein rich salad recipe that I concocted on a whim!

Protein rich!

Protein rich!

I used red kidney beans. Soaked them well for over 5/6 hours, and boiled in a pot full of salted water, they added body to the salad bowl. The nutty soft texture from the beans laced with crunchy raw veggies makes for a succulent combination.

Boiled and ready

Boiled and ready

A handful of these red pearly shiny fruit elevates the acidic salty salad to another level. Always add a citrus fruit. Some fruit, any fruit – orange segments, berries, kiwis, apples, cherries etc. The list is huge. But for now, pomegranates it is.

These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

Beans are slow to digest and if not boiled or chewed well, they can cause a lot of heartburn, acidity and stomach ache. So I added julienne ginger pickled in salt and lime juice as a bit of garnishing. Ginger aids in digestion and helps in absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients. Ginger is highly pungent so a little bit is enough for your salad bowl. Feel free to skip it if you can’t tolerate the sharpness.

pickled ginger

pickled ginger

Mint!! Who doesn’t love mint! Its refreshing. Its aromatic. Its healthy. So, I added loads 🙂

lots of it!!

lots of it!!

The Recipe: For two people –

Ingredients

1 cup boiled red kidney beans or rajma

1/2 cup diced cottage cheese or paneer

1 cucumber, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 tomato, diced

2 tsp ginger julienne – soaked in little lime and salt for 30 minutes.

1/2 cup pomegranate

3 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

For the vinaigrette – mix 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: 1 tsp more oil to sauté the cheese if you do not like it as is.

Method

Saute the paneer/cottage cheese if required. Mix all said ingredients except the vinaigrette. chill for 30 minutes. Pour the limey dressing over it. Toss. Chill for another 10 minutes.

Serve.

lemony dressing

lemony dressing

I like the paneer as it is, but I know many who don’t. A bit of sautĂ©ing or grilling does the trick to include it in your salads.

She takes a bite

She takes a bite

When I sit with my bowl of raw veggies, I fish for my favourites and relish the juices from the marinated fruits and vegetables. Flavors like these make me go back every single night to these huge enticing bowls. So yumm!

I am taking this to Angie Weekly Potluck party – Friday Fiesta #30!

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Spicy Sprouts Vegetarian Fajitas

He doesn’t get the difference between a burrito and a fajita.
‘Why have different names, when they have essentially the same stuff in it’….. I don’t have any witty piquant rhetoric for it. So I try to elucidate the serving styles which are remarkably different. Also the analogy that we have million names for chappathis which are made in slightly varied way doesn’t convince him either.

Spicy Mexican Fajitas - Vegetarian!

Spicy Mexican Fajitas – Vegetarian!

I go back to assembling my warm fajitas. I know before making them they would be appreciated because … I know the kind he likes 🙂

He absolutely loves Guacamole, then top with some sour cream and a bit of more lime and I know for sure, the lunch is good. But its the stuffing that I am weary about. To substitute the meat, I sautĂ© mixed sprouts with some julienne veggies. Ah.. this was going experimental. I add another succulent sweet sour salsa to top – the mango salsa. What am I doing??….I am combining disparate flavours and hoping for it to be devoured like never before. Sigh! Wishful thinking this.

Guacamole and Mango Salsa by the side

Guacamole and Mango Salsa by the side

SPICY SPROUTS VEGETABLE MIX

Ideally beans/rajma is used in the vegetarian version of Tex Mex cuisine. But I had a bowl of sprouts to finish before they went bad. Bored of its presence in salads and currys, the family ostracized these protein rich germinated grains. But when you throw them in a wok full of thinly sliced veggies, and season with herbs they are so delicious, you forget that you hated them a while back.

My meat substitute!

My meat substitute!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup julienne vegetables, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, corn etc
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 green chillies, minced – optional
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method

Heat oil in a wok, stir fry garlic, green chilies and onions till they turn translucent. Throw in the other veggies, along with salt and pepper. Cover and cook till almost done. At this stage, add the parboiled sprouts along with oregano and chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well. Keep aside.

SOUR CREAM

Another surprise that day was the sour cream. I made a faux one with yoghurt – its fat free and healthier! Tis so easy peasy, that I find myself making it every other day now.

Sour Cream substitute, made with yoghurt

Sour Cream substitute, made with yoghurt

In a cup of hung curd, add juice of half a lime, crushed garlic, bit of pepper powder and salt. Mix in a tbsp of cream. Churn or mix well for a creamy consistency – Thats it!!

ASSEMBLING THE FAJITA

To assemble 4 fajitas:

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas, I used whole wheat. You can use flour or corn, anything you like.
  • 8 tbsp sprout veggie mix
  • 4 tbsp guacamole
  • 4 tbsp mango-salsa
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • sprinkle of taco seasoning on each fajita
Assembling the Fajita

Assembling the Fajita

Method

Warm each tortilla, place 2 table spoons of the sprouts veggie mix, top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Sprinkle taco seasoning. Serve immediately.

Warm tortillas

Warm tortillas

Note: Go experimental by replacing mango salsa with tomato or peach salsa.

Note: Replace the sprouts with beans or cheese or meat

Sweet, spicy and the tartness intact - all at the same time

Sweet, spicy, sour, tart – all at the same time

Diwali Wishes: 3 Ingredient – No Bake Fridge Cake

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu “festival of lights”. I should have made this post earlier, but the festivities themselves kept me away from making one. Well, better late than never. 🙂

Let there be light.

Let there be light.

Diwali or Deepavali literally means Array of lamps. Diwali involves lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.

These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, rangoli(artwork with flowers or chalk) is usually made at the entrance of houses, all done in order to welcome Goddess Lakshmi(Goddess of wealth).

The prep for the D-day

Prep for the D-day

New clothes, fresh sweets, savoury snacks are prepared. Visiting relatives and friends, exchanging sweets and gifts is all a huge part of the festivities.
My little girl’s latest obsession is her freshly acquired paint box. She usually is on a verge to paint anything, including my wooden ladles. But we used a good amount of her skills in coloring these little diyas and lighting them up for diwali.

I have never made the traditional sweets and snacks like gunjiya, kachori, mathri, shakkarpara, kalakand, gulab jamun … though some day I would like to attempt but for now, the thought petrifies me. So I stuck to my usual. I played with CHOCOLATE!

Fridge Cake

Fridge Cake

A lot of chocolate was used 🙂 Brownies, candies and an accidental fridge cake was the outcome of my experiments in the kitchen.

Accidental I say. Yes. It was by pure by chance. I set to make a bark, but a phone call distracted me and my chocolate over cooked.. leaving one solid mass and a complete disillusioned me. Sigh!

Chocolate, Almonds and Biscuits... that's it

Chocolate, Almonds and Biscuits… that’s it

But really nothing ever goes waste. My stunned mind was enlivened by a packet of digestive biscuits. Crushed biscuits along with toasted almonds crumbled into chocolate made a very lively mess for my 6-year-old.

Dense, biscuity

Dense, biscuity

Ready to be wrapped

Ready to be wrapped

I refrained from adding any sugar or butter. So essentially the cake has sugar from the digestive biscuits and chocolate only. They turned out not too sweet, not too buttery like chocolates, carrying a taste of its own. We loved every bite, but had no clue what to call these little beauties. But then a teaser on FB, changed the whole scenario. A very sweet co blogger, Chintal of Chinskitchen pointed out that my inadvertent invention actually exists and is called a Fridge Cake. How interesting!

Not too sweet, not too chocolaty

Not too sweet, not too chocolaty

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chocolate compound, I used Morde’s.
  • 3/4 cup digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts, almonds, cashews whatever you want
  • 1-2 tbsp milk to bind – optional

Method

Chop the chocolate, melt in a double boiler or use a small wok over a pot of boiling water. Melt the chocolate. Once melted, take off flame. Mix in the biscuits and toasted nuts. If its too dry, add a tbsp of milk, combine to form a dough. Set-pat in a rectangular box. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. Remove, cut into desired shapes and serve. Stays good under refrigerated conditions for at least a week.

Simple. They made perfect squares to be wrapped and gifted.

Gifting ideas

Gifting ideas

Variations in the above recipe –

  • Use vanilla extract for that subtle flavor
  • Use dried cranberries or assorted nuts
  • For double chocolate magic, add dark and milk choco chips
  • Coffee Lovers can stir in a tsp of coffee powder(mixed in a little milk) into the melted chocolate
  • Try mixing peanut butter for golden blondies
  • Crushed granola or corn flakes makes for perfect chocolaty granola squares
  • Marshmallows, rice krispies – for a rocky road bar
  • To make it sweeter, add golden syrup or honey

Phew… the list is endless!

You try your favorite version and let me know the verdict.

Till then:

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali

High Fibre and Low Cal Garlic Coriander Stoup

I made croutons… so some soup had to follow. Funny right? It’s like buying a pair of shoes first, and then you go hunting to match a dress with it. Perpetually chided for doing things the other way round is nothing new for me. I’m like that.

Garlic Coriander Veg Stew/Soup

Garlic Coriander Veg Stew/Soup

Stew, a thicker fuller wholesome sister of a more lighter runny soup. I made one which was both. A STOUP. This had the semi thickness and body of a stew but the soul was more soupy. I tend to go mental with my words… forgive me. Well.. you need to try this aromatic flavorsome soup to coin whatever name you please.

High Fibre, Low Cal

High Fibre, Low Cal

The ironic moment: This stoup is filled with minced tiny crunchy veggies…. SO?
So, we didn’t need the extra bite from the bread croutons. 🙂 The stoup had enough! And yes, I am also perpetually reprimanded for things not turning out the way they should have.
But, I’ll tell you what?! It usually works for me. Infact better than planned. Again, emphasizing the fact, I am blessed.

Milky creamy Stew

Milky creamy Stew

Combining two awesome cooking essentials like garlic and coriander is like making magic. Abundant flavors hit your taste buds. We really did not need anything more with this soup, no croutons, no garlic bread, no crostinis. Perhaps a light healthy appetizer will seal the dinner menu. My bet is baked Paneer Chilly would taste awesome with this heavenly Stoup.

veggies in a milky broth

veggies in a milky broth

This fibre rich and calorie poor soup has been adapted from here.

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely minced vegetables, I used carrot, beans, broccoli, peas, mushroom and colored peppers
  • 2-3 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 cups low-fat milk (99.7% fat-free)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper powder to taste
  • 2 tbsp quick cooking rolled oats

Garnishing – 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and Scallions

Method

Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté till the onions are translucent.Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Add the milk, salt and pepper and mix well. Keep stirring I would say, as the milk tends to slightly curdle. Bring to boil and simmer till the vegetables are tender.
Add the oats, mix well and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with coriander and scallion leaves.

Relax, take a soup break

Relax, take a soup break

It’s raining so hard here in Mumbai, that its depressing. Some simple wholesome food will help cheering those dull dreary spirits.
Signing off on that note, Eat healthy, Be happy.

Namrata

For those rainy evenings...

For those rainy evenings…