Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Falling in love has always been such an abstract concept to me. It seems more of an elusive thought/feeling that one can only relate to when they experience it. Growing up, the thought of being in love was fascinating to me. In my own  naive yet whimsical make believe world, I used to paint those elusive pictures of falling in love. Eventually I did fall in love and experienced all those elusive feelings and yet if I have to describe it, all I would say is its magical and one has to experience it rather than elaborate on it. 

Every now and then I also fall in love with the delectable delicacies of the culinary world. There are some love at first bites and there are some that I eventually learn to fall in love with. One such fruit is the Mango. I literally hated mangoes as a child. Everything about the fruit starting with its appearance, smell and the eagerness with which my family devoured it was throwing me off. Never once did I  taste it. I grew up with this sort of uncalled for  hatred towards the fruit, for I never even took a bite of it. 

Eventually after several years of hating, one day I took a bite of the  forbidden fruit with lot of trepidation (I did it just to prove to myself that I really do hate it). It was sweet, succulent and felt like falling in love. I kicked myself for not trying it out sooner and how I wasted all those years in hatred,while my family devoured all the mango love.

I was in one of those nostalgic mango moods, when the idea of a mango pudding popped into my thoughts. I made this Chia Seed Pudding before with chia seeds and Turmeric. The idea of a mango pudding with chia seeds was hard to resist. 

2 cups of frozen mango pieces (If you can get hold of fresh mangoes, its even better)

Although the frozen mangoes give a nice consistency to the pudding.

 2 cups of 2% milk

1/3 cup of chia seeds

2 Tablespoons of Honey.

Blend all the ingredients together.

Pour the pudding in to a bowl and refrigerate for about 10 - 20 minutes.

If the consistency is too thick, add little milk.

Top it off with fresh fruit, mangoes, strawberries, nuts - go crazy with it.

Drizzle some honey on top, if its not sweet enough.

The pudding reminds me of how one should never belittle things in life, for you never know where true love is lurking. Mine was marooned inside the mango, waiting to be embraced. This pudding is my way of honoring and saying "I love you" to the Mango.

Linked to Our Growing Edge at bunnyeatsdesign and searchingforspice

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kale Chocolate Chip Pancakes

We all take so much for granted in life. The life we live, the people in our lives, our little routines and so much more. Sometimes all it takes is  for one little thing to go off on a tangent and in some sort of a domino effect the things that we take for granted will crumble. Precisely that's when we realize how lucky we are and how grateful we should be for all our little blessings in disguise. 

It was one of those quiet mornings, where I got to enjoy my cup of coffee in solitude,pondering over these mundane thoughts. I looked at the little guy sleeping on top of Mr. Bear. He looked so peaceful and content. I sent a little prayer up there, for he should always be peaceful, content and happy in life and that is something he should be able to take for granted. I hope the sound of my prayer broke the serine morning silence and whoever is up there listened to it and granted that little blessing for my little one. 

On a lighter note, I wanted to make something fun for breakfast. Pancakes are always a top choice for the little guy. However, I wanted to add something totally crazy to the pancakes for we can't always take them for granted can we?

I settled on kale and chocolate chips. The little guy made a face when he heard of it. But the final outcome erased any doubts he had about my serendipitous culinary instincts. 

Makes 4-5 Small Pancakes 

1/3 cup of  Whole White Wheat flour 

1/4 cup of oats 

1 cup of finely chopped kale 

1/4 cup of chocolate chips 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 tsp Baking powder 

1/2 cup of  2% Milk 

Mix all the dry ingredients -white wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, oats, kale and chocolate chips in a bowl.

Add the milk slowly, while whisking the dry ingredients together.

Whisk the pancake batter thoroughly, so there are no lumps.

Make the pancakes. I used a griddle and about a tsp of olive oil. 

The oats and kale add an extra layer of flavor and nutrition. The chocolate chips make them appealing to the little guy. Throwing in a few surprise ingredients now and then is what makes cooking fun.

Linked to fussfreeflavours/utterlyscrummy/.elizabethskitchendiary atextra-veg

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Eggs with Mint and Spinach

He traveled halfway across the globe to visit his grandparents. He was inquisitive, ecstatic and confused all at the same time, yet never failed to charm the folks with his irresistible persona. He slipped effortlessly in to the new time zone, environment and the culture. His love for Indian cuisine and his willingness to try out new recipes impressed the grandparents immensely. 

For me it was nostalgic on so many levels. Taking him to  places I treasured as a kid, sharing some of my most cherished memories with him and watch him enjoy it as much as I did was the best part of our trip. One of the few amazing places we visited were the seven hills. There is an amazing rock up on the hills called the Silathoranam which literally translates to Rock Garland- It is a naturally formed rock arch. Its millions of years old, has lot of mythological significance and  is a very pretty sight to look at. There is a similar arch in America referred to as the Rainbow Bridge

The trip is over and we are back to our nest. One of the downsides of traveling across the globe is the change in the time zones and the much dreaded jet lag. My circadian rhythm is all messed up and I am up even before the sun rises. I try to make the best out of this rather rude awakening by cooking a hearty breakfast. Despite my best efforts in emptying the pantry before our trip, there were bits and pieces of sorry looking ingredients in the refrigerator, desperately waiting to be devoured in some edible form. 

A quick survey of the forgotten nukes and corners of the refrigerator revealed some very sorry looking mint leaves and spinach leaves. They needed to be salvaged in a rather drastic manner. Sometimes  all it takes are a couple of simple ingredients like Mint/spinach leaves (albeit their sorry looks) and green curry paste to turn  something simple in to exotic and that's exactly what this Spinach Mint Omelette is all about. 

4 eggs 
1/3 cup of milk 
2 Tablespoons of chopped mint leaves 
1/2 cup of chopped spinach 
1 medium sized potato- Boiled and mashed in to small pieces 
1 tsp of grated ginger 
1 tsp of Green curry paste 
1-2 tsps of olive oil 

Add the spinach, mint, potato, and ginger in a bowl. 

Add the eggs, green curry paste, salt, milk and whisk them thoroughly with an immersion blender or  a whisk.

Heat a pan with olive oil and make the omelettes. 

Keep whisking the mixture in between, so that the spinach and mint won’t settle down. 

Sprinkle some chili flakes, black pepper, crushed parsley or anything you please on top of the omelettes. 

You can never go wrong with a hearty minty omelette.This is a great way to use up those left over mint and spinach leaves.

The omelette reminds me of all the flavors of life. The flavors of life come together in an amazing picturesque manner creating a masterpiece which seems simple to look at, yet has hidden layers of emotions, trials and tribulations. The omelette may be simple on the outside, but each bite takes you on an exotic roller coaster ride filled with amazing flavors.

Linked to
Black and White Wednesdays at thewellseasonedcook  and cindystarblog

maisoncupcake.and .feedingboys at speedy-suppers

No waste Food Challenge at  idmuchratherbakethan and .elizabethskitchendiary.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Healthy eating starts in the kitchen. The process of me trying to instill the benefits of healthy eating to the little guy starts in the kitchen and not at the dinner table. It is imperative for him to acknowledge how cooking healthy food is fun, easy and tasty. I try to involve him in the cooking process and within five minutes he turns the whole kitchen in to some sort of expedition and never sticks around to see the whole process. But still, it’s a start. He occasionally notices me frantically mixing up this and that and looks at me and says is that supposed to look like that? 

I was tickled pink when he picked up a Winnie the Pooh cookbook at the library and insisting on cooking something from the book. We poured through the pages and finalized on a shrimp and corn chowder. 

The original recipe calls for lots of butter and cream. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to teach him the idea of improvising and how substituting with healthier ingredients can still make the dish yummy. 

We made our improvised Grocery list- 

Olive oil instead of butter 

2% Milk instead of cream 

Chicken stock (low sodium) instead of clam juice 

I added few things of my own - ginger, garlic, turmeric and green onions. 

He was not convinced at first, but agreed to try my way, I guess with lot of trepidation on his part. 

The Improvised Ingredient list - 

1 cup of corn  

3 small potatoes - peeled and diced in to cubes

12 - Raw extra-large shrimp 

1 cup of chopped green onions 

1/2 cup of chopped coriander 

1 tsp Turmeric 

1 tsp cumin powder 

1 tsp Chili powder 

1 tsp Black pepper 

1 tsp grated ginger 

2 cloves of garlic 

1 cup of 2% Milk 

1 cup of chicken stock 


Heat a pan with 2 tsp of olive oil. 

Add the ginger, garlic and let them get cozy for a few seconds. 

Add the green onions and the potatoes. Let them fry for about 3 minutes. 

Add the corn and the all the spices - cumin, turmeric, chili powder and black pepper. 

Mix the ingredients together and let them fry for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the chicken stock, cover the pan and let it cook for 4 minutes. 

Finally add the milk and when it comes to a boil, add the shrimp and salt. 

Reduce the heat, cover the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes. 

The shrimp will curl up when they are done. 

Turn off the heat, add the coriander.

Let it sit for 10 minutes and it’s done. 

The spices add the much needed flavor to the dish and compensate effortlessly for the lack of butter and cream. The little guy slurped the whole thing and asked for seconds! He said Mama you sure know your way around the ingredients. Mission Accomplished I would say. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Finger Millet Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

As good as the phrase “Never Give Up" sounds, there were times when I left like I wanted to give up. Life has a funny way of teaching you to believe in yourself. It throws endless obstacles and disappointments, which make you question over and over if it’s worth taking all the trouble and wouldn't it be just easier to give up. I feel it’s OK to harbor this feeling but don't ever give in to it. Yes, I felt like giving up would be a much easier option than putting myself through endless misery with the so called light at the end of the tunnel nowhere in sight. Sometimes all it takes is one more chance, one more try, one stroke of good luck and you will get there. The hardest part is to keep going and not dwell in the misery of failures. 

I was determined to make a chocolate chip cookie that was healthy. A cookie loaded with chocolate and yet high on the list of nutritious wholesome food and here is the catch it has to be loved and devoured by the little guy. I tried and tired and every time the little guy rejected them. At some point he even said - Mama you should stick with your experiments in the lab, please make normal chocolate chip cookies. There I was all ready to give up, maybe I can’t get this to work and I did give up for a while, until I had a little epiphany from my childhood. Finger millet flour or as it is called Ragi was usually used to make pancakes, but once I remember my mom making some sort of cookies with them. I decided to try my luck one last time chocolate, finger millet flour and Almond meal. 

1 1/4 cup of Finger Millet flour 

1/2 cup of Almond Meal 

2 tsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tsp of water for 5 - 10 minutes - used as a egg substitute 

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips melted in the microwave with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 tsp cardamom 

1 tsp vanilla 

1 tsp baking powder 

1 cup of coconut oil 

1/4 cup of sugar 

Preheat the oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit 

Mix the finger millet flour, almond meal, baking powder, cardamom and sugar together in a bowl. 

Add the chia seeds and melted chocolate chips and mix them together with a whisk. 

Add in the cup of coconut oil, vanilla and the whole thing will together like chocolate dough. 

Line a baking sheet with foil paper and drop the cookies on to the baking sheet and slightly press them with a fork, so they flatten a bit. 

Bake them for 12 - 15 minutes. 

The cookies will still be a bit soft when we take them out of the oven. 

Let them cool completely and they will harden. 

Don't bake for more than 15 minutes; they tend to become too hard once they cool down. 

After several rejections, I finally heard the words that were music to my years - “Mama I do like them". Proved yet again never give up - Ever. 

Linked to Kid friendly dishes at  cooksjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Almond Meal French Toast

We spend a lot of time, effort and energy trying to please the folks around us. It could be family, friends or the society in general. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all if you have the ability to bring a smile on someone’s face, why not go the extra mile and do whatever it takes. Over the years as a mother I realized that I only focus on giving and making the little one happy. One day I realized, what if I end up giving so much that I have nothing more left in me to give. All mothers are after all human, a basic fact which motherhood tries to overshadow. We may have carried a life inside of us once, but at the end of the day we are human. Is it OK if I hold on to bits and pieces of myself and not share them with anyone. 

The whole process of pleasing extends to the kitchen. I seldom cook a dish that I am the only one in the family who enjoys it. It seems like a bother to cook just for myself. 

Growing up French toast was my absolute favorite breakfast. It was not something I had every day. My mom used to make them occasionally and I used to look forward to those occasional morning indulgences. My little guy could care less for a French toast and I never make it. I had bought two loaves of bread because they were on sale and after a ton of peanut butter jelly sandwiches ran out of ideas. With all the new found knowledge of giving some time to me, I decided to make a French toast just for myself. Why not indulge in something  I enjoy. 

I had some almond meal and decided to coat my French toast with this extra layer of crunch. The Almond meal adds a subtle nutty flavor to the French toast which I absolutely love. 

Almond meal French toast - 1 serving 

1 egg 
1 Tablespoon Almond meal 
1 Tablespoon Milk 
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence 
1 tsp sugar 
1 tsp honey 
1 tsp cardamom powder
 2 slices of whole wheat bread

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Heat a pan with  a tsp of olive oil. 

Dip the bread slices on both sides in the egg/almond meal mixture and fry them until they are golden brown on each side. 

Don't soak the bread in the mixture, that will make them soggy and they tend to fall apart when you fry them. 

The French toast takes me back in time, back when I was a kid devouring the toast while reading my favorite comic book. Fast forward to now, I devoured my French toast watching the little guy reading his favorite comic book and eating his favorite breakfast of what else the pancakes. 

I realized that, taking a bit of time to do something I enjoy is not a luxury, its a necessity. Its necessary so I never stop bringing joy to the loved ones in my life.

Linked to utterlyscrummy. and elizabethskitchendiary. at the No waste Food Challenge

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quinoa with Lentils

I walked in to the kitchen and surveyed the mess piling up on the counter. I felt I waited long enough for the clutter to disappear on its own and it’s time for me to start acting like an adult and cleanup. I am a stickler for clean counters, however there are days when I feel unmotivated, reluctant and just walk away from the whole mess. Days like this I do wish I was a witch, with some control over the things in my life. May be I can twitch my nose or blink my eyes and things will fall in place. Oh well, it never hurts to have little fun with your imagination. 

I decided to get my act together and started putting things away one at a time and within minutes the clutter was all gone except for the last few morsels of some red Quinoa. It was about half a cup and I was confident that if I put it back, I will completely forget about it and may be in a couple of months it will turn in to something weird that I won’t be able to recognize and eventually see the light of the day in the trash can. 

I was planning on cooking lentils for dinner and without a second thought dumped the quinoa with the lentils. As soon as I did that, I realized I never cooked them together and had no clue how it would taste. Lentils are the quintessential ingredients of Indian cuisine. There are umpteen different kinds of lentils, in different colors and with different names. The one I was tinkering with Quinoa is called the Toor dal. The quickest way to cook them is to pressure cook the lentils with water. They can also be cooked on a stove top, by soaking the lentils in warm water for about an hour and boiling them with water. Add about 2 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils. 

1 cup of Toor dal 

1/2 cup of Quinoa 

Pressure cook them with about 2 cups of water. 
If using a stove top to cook the lentils, I would suggest to boil the lentils and Quinoa separately and mix them together. The Quinoa will cook faster than the lentils. 

1 tsp of red curry paste

1 tsp of cumin powder 

1 tsp of red chili powder 

1 tsp of black pepper 

1 tsp of dried Fenugreek leaves 

1 medium onion chopped 

2 cloves of garlic 

1 tsp of chopped or grated ginger

1/2 cup of water


Heat a pan with a tsp of olive oil. 

To the hot oil add the onion, garlic, ginger  and red curry paste.

Fry them for about a minute and add all the spices - cumin, chili powder and black pepper. 

Let them cook for a minute and add the cooked lentil and Quinoa mixture. 

Add the half cup of water, salt and cover the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes. 

Turn off the heat and add the Fenugreek leaves. Serve it with rice, bread or just on its own like a soup. 

The dish was serendipitous, it stopped the Quinoa from future misery and I made peace with the fact that a little clutter now and then is good thing. The Toor dal has a a very subtle creamy texture when its cooked and the Quinoa with its nutty flavor mingled effortlessly in to the dish. The spices added the final magical touch. I may not clean the clutter with my magical powers, but I sure can create some serendipitous magic with my ingredients.