Monday, February 23, 2015

Orange Pancakes with Turmeric

As a parent I used to be very predictable. I went about the day; following the mundane chores which revolved around making sure he is well fed and taken care. The taken care of part was the text book example sorts; making sure he does not end up with broken bones/arms or hurt himself in any shape or form. 

One day I realized, I need to snap of out this. I have to enjoy my role as a parent and not just be his safety net (there is nothing wrong with it, but I wanted more for us). If I enjoy being a parent, he will enjoy growing up with me. 

I decided to let go of myself and enjoy the "being parent" part rather than stress about it. I had no qualms about acting silly, going down the slide, getting dirty, playing in mud, not getting upset when he spilled the milk, make a mess with him, tell him funny stores - all the while being a parent. 

Many years later, one day we got home from what was a rather long day for me and he pops the question " Mama do you think when I grow up I will be a good parent?" I had no strength left in me to respond to that or even contemplate on why he is asking that question. I snapped and told him" How about you focus on being a good kid for now?".

He continued -"Mama you still remember what it's like to be a child and that's what makes you a great parent. I want to be like you". I felt all warm and fuzzy. 

One of the crazy things we do together is to cook. Cook without inhibitions (sometimes we do end up with not so edible outcomes), but the point is to teach him to never be afraid of taking a risk - be it life or food. 

We were going through a cold spell that lasted many cough syrups and nasal sprays. I came up with the idea of incorporating cold remedies like - orange juice, honey and Turmeric in to his favorite pancakes. 

When I proposed the idea to him - He declared I have lost it all together, but will give it a try. 
That's all the motivation I needed. 

2 Tablespoons of melted butter 

1 Egg 

1 tsp turmeric 

1 tsp vanilla essence 

1/3 cup Orange juice 

2 Table spoons sugar 

2 Table spoons Honey 

1/2 cup of All-purpose flour 

In a bowl melt the butter and whisk the egg and the melted butter together. 

To this add the sugar and whisk them together.

Then, add the Orange juice, honey, Vanilla essence and the Turmeric

Whisk them for about a minute or so. 

Slowly add the 1/2 cup of flour and whisk the mixture, until it's smooth and has the consistency of a pancake batter. 

Heat a pan or a griddle and make the pancakes. 

This makes around 6 medium sized pancakes. 

Serve them with a drizzle of honey on top. 

 The orange juice adds the tangy flavor which is complemented by the sweetness of honey and sugar, just like being a parent and acting silly at the same time. The Turmeric in this dish does not add to the taste. It makes its presence felt by adding a more yellowish tinge. But the fact that it is in there sort of reassures crazy me. He enjoyed them and I felt happy that I am feeding him healthy pancakes and curing his cold. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse

The whole buzz around the V-day got me thinking. When does love really happen? It may happen at first sight, but the only love worth celebrating is the one which holds on to that first sight despite many sour sights. It happens when the "I" takes the place of "We", when my dream becomes our dream, when you think of making up in the middle of a nasty fight and when you eat chocolate. 

Regardless of the science behind pheromones and chocolates, they scream love to me. I have come across several recipes for a chocolate mousse with coconut milk. Thought the V-day was a perfect time to venture on this sweet culinary adventure. 

I had no coco powder in the pantry, so substituted with a caramel hot chocolate mix and it turned out finger licking awesome.

One  14 oz can of  frozen coconut milk. 
The key here is to use frozen coconut milk (not the lite one, go ahead indulge yourself, you won't regret it)

Freeze the can in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for about an hour. The cream will thicken on the top and that is all we need for the mousse. Store the water that settles in the bottom for some soup or sauce. 

One 1oz pack of hot chocolate mix - I used the caramel  flavor, any flavor would work I guess. If not, use coco powder about 1/4 cup. 

Transfer the frozen coconut cream on top, without any liquid in to a bowl. 

Using a hand blender, blend the cream for about a minute. 

Add the chocolate mix, fold it in to the cream and blend for another minute or two. 

Transfer the mousse to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour - The mousse tastes better after refrigeration. 

We ate our mousse with chopped walnuts and a drizzle of raw honey on top.

You can serve this with fresh or frozen berries.

The little guy once said, he loves me despite my flaws. I have to admit I do have quite a bit of them - the flaws. Never was and never will be perfect. 

This coconut milk chocolate mousse was a perfect way to celebrate the unconditional love in my life. Regardless of what you think of this red and pink holiday, always hug your loved ones and eat some chocolate. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Prunes, Oatmeal and Almond Butter

When I was young, New Years Eve was the time I got to stay up until midnight, and a day off from school. I could not perceive it as the beginning of something new, seldom made the so called new year resolutions and never had any profound thoughts about it. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I love to carry the baggage of past with me, albeit within limits. I don't believe in starting off on a clean slate in the new year. I look  at it as writing something new on the  old slate with the past hidden underneath it.

The little guy and I were making a puzzle with 300 pieces. All those 300 pieces by themselves made no sense at all. At one point it was almost impossible to understand the big picture. But for the big picture to happen, we can't erase any of the pieces.

Good or bad, we don't have to shy away from it. Its all in the perspective, the perspective changes depending on what you choose to focus on. Instead of focusing on forgetting the past, planning the future, I try to focus on life - the big picture. All those past years are part of my life and if I had to go back in time, I wouldn't wipe off anything off the slate. 

That's my two cents worth of New Year wisdom.

There are some ingredients which by themselves are rather sorry looking and lend very little to the taste buds. However, just like the 300 puzzle pieces these ingredients when combined in the right way will come together creating a rather sweet, delectable picture. 

Prunes and oatmeal. The little one runs away from the mere mention of those ingredients. In an attempt to create something hassle free, I combined Almond butter, honey, prunes and oatmeal in to tiny balls.

They may not be visually appealing, but taste great and make really fun easy breakfast bites. They can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

1 cup of lightly toasted oat meal - I used the steel cut oatmeal

1 cup of finely chopped dried prunes 

1/2 cup of Almond butter 

1 Tablespoon honey - I used the raw honey

Add the Almond butter and honey in a bowl and whisk them together.

Lightly toast the oatmeal on low heat.

Chop the prunes in to tiny pieces.

Add the prunes and the warm oat meal to almond butter/honey.

Make tiny balls with your hands. 

Refrigerate them. 

The prunes, oatmeal and the almond butter are like the  little pieces coming together to make a big picture, while  the little imperfections are beautifully hidden by the sweetness of honey.

Three cheers to  new perspectives, new year and new tastes!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cauliflower, Asparagus, Radish and Mushrooms

Nature in a subtle yet firm manner reminds us of change through the splendid fall colors. The fall colors paint a  resplendent picture which is a reminder of how we ought to embrace the change in seasons. It's funny how I embrace this change in nature effortless, sometimes even looking forward to the changing colors of the leaves, taking pictures and admiring the beauty of it all. Yet, when change peeks its way in to my life, I find it rather intimidating to accept it. 

There are different shades of color in change. Bright and cheerful with shades of gray and gloom, but they are all colors of life - A life I believe I am lucky enough to have.

All these fall colors  inspired me to combine the colorful  winter produce in one dish. A dish  filled with colors of nature and seasoned with the warmth of spices. 

The spices 

1 tsp of cumin seeds 

1 tsp of red pepper flakes 

1 tsp of grated ginger 

4 cloves of garlic - Minced 

1 tsp of black pepper powder 

1 tsp of coriander powder 

1 tsp of  dried mint leaves or fresh mint leaves

I used about 2 cups of





1 medium onion - Finely chopped

Wash and cut the vegetables into bite size pieces

Add about 2 tsp of olive oil to a hot pan.

Add the cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic.

Let them roast for a few seconds, make sure the garlic and ginger are not burnt, but lightly toasted.

Add the onions , black pepper/coriander powder.

Let them cook for about a minute.

Add the cauliflower and asparagus - let them cook for a minute.

Then, add the radish and mushroom.

The mushroom will release some moisture,  add the salt cover the pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes.

Garnish with the dried mint leaves and its done.

A hearty dish filled with different flavors, all coming together to remind me one more time, how wonderful things happen when we embrace  change.

Linked to allotment2kitchen at eat-your-greens challenge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Almond Meal Pudding with Saffron

It was one of those late nights, when everyone and everything around the house was quiet. There is something magical about experiencing  silence in a full house. Lots of love and hope were floating around in the silence. Love for each other and hope to make  great strides in what ever it is that each one of us secretly desired in the serine silence of the night. 

That night I was secretly hoping to create some magic with almond meal. I had bought a bag of almond meal in hopes of baking with it. While I did bake some cookies and cakes with it, almond meal cannot sustain on its own. It needs lot of help from other ingredients and ends up being a part of the dish rather than the main ingredient. I was hopeful to change all of that with this almond meal pudding. 

1/2 cup of Almond meal

1 cup of 2% Milk

1 tsp of cardamom powder

1/4 tsp of saffron

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 tsp chia seeds

Heat a pan and dry roast the almond meal for about a minute or so. Keep an eye on this and do not walk away from the pan. With in a matter of seconds the almond meal will turn from being slightly roasted to completely burnt. So stand by  the pan, keep stirring and when the almond meal is slightly brown and toasty turn off the heat.

In a sauce pan add the milk, sugar, saffron and cardamom powder. Whisk it together and bring it to a boil.

Keep whisking in between and let it  boil for about 5- 8 minutes.

Once it comes to a boil, add the roasted almond meal. Whisk it thoroughly to prevent lumps.

Let it cook for about a minute and turn off the heat.

Add the chia seeds and whisk them in to the pudding mixture. The chia seeds soak up the moisture getting all gooey and help in getting the pudding like consistency.Close the sauce pan and let it sit for 10 -15 minutes.

By now it should all come together and if its too thick add more milk.

Add some crushed almonds or drizzle some honey if its not sweet enough.

The pudding has this dreamy yellowish tinge from the saffron. It was creamy yet with the right texture from the almond meal.

Hope is a beautiful thing. Whoever conjured it up had thought this through. We would have nothing to hold on to or fall back on if we lost hope. Just as we don't stop desiring, we should never stop hoping. Sometimes hope can end on a sweet note like this almond meal pudding.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Couscous with Chickpeas, Turmeric and Garlic

Searching for an Identity stems from the inherent desire to fit in.The desire to carve a niche of our own,the struggle to be embraced and not erased by the society never seizes. After all we are part of a society and cannot seclude ourselves away from it. 

Falling in love was reason enough to  move across the globe and bid adieu to the life and land I grew up on. When the plane touched down the soil of what would be my new home, I had this sinking feeling in my heart. I felt like I was the odd one out. In fact I was the odd one out and I chose to remain the odd one.Some times inadvertently we try to change ourselves in an attempt to be more acceptable to our so called peers. This may seem to work for a while, but eventually you are who you are. No one or nothing can take that away from you. 

Over the years, both myself and my new found land developed  a relationship filled with acceptance, love and mutual admiration.The desire to find pieces of myself in this foreign soil lead me on a fascinating journey filled with laughter, love and some tears. A huge part of this love saga belongs to the magic food weaves around cultures, bringing together the cinnamon, sugar and spice. 

All these thoughts flashed through my mind, while I was staring at a pack of Couscous at the grocery store. Couscous was something I have neither cooked nor tasted. I thought I should give it a try, for it could only strengthen the culinary ties that exist far and beyond the boundaries of land.

1 cup of couscous 

1 cup of chickpeas/Garbanzo beans -  I used the canned chickpeas

1 tsp of red chili flakes 

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp of soy sauce 

2 tsp of dried mint leaves 

3 cloves of garlic - minced 

Boil 1 and half cups of water. 

Once the water comes to a boil, add the cup of couscous, stir and turn off the heat. 

Let it sit for 5 minutes and mix the couscous with a fork to break up the lumps. 

Heat a pan with 2 tsp of olive oil. 

Once the oil is hot add the turmeric, garlic and red chili flakes. 

Let the chili flakes and garlic get toasty and add the soy sauce. 

Let it cook for about a minute and add the chick peas. 

Let them fry for a minute or two and add the cooked couscous, black pepper and salt. 

Stir them together and cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

Turn off the heat and add the dried mint leaves.

In an attempt to find bits and pieces of me in the couscous I added ingredients that were close to my heart - garlic, turmeric and chili flakes. Food  which is the very essence of our sustenance has the remarkable ability to break barriers and wrap us all together in the warmth of love.As they say nothing says welcome home like a good hearty meal. 

Linked to 

The monthly event Our Growing Edge hosted by jules from thekiwidiaries

My Legume love Affair hosted by theveggieindian and created by Susan of thewellseasonedcook.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oat meal with Chia seeds, Berries and Honey

I wonder how and when the concept of time evolved.We are entwined around the invisible boundaries dictated by time and let them influence our lives in ways we would never have imagined. The concept of time brings in to our lives the baggage of past, the anxiety of future and the restlessness of the present. We seem to be constantly racing it.

When I was young, I used to wake up to the cacophonous chirping of the birds and reflect on my bizarre dreams. Now-a-days, I wake up to the rather annoying tone of my alarm and stare at the clock. Five more minutes won't kill the day I would presume, only to realize the five minutes stretched on to ten and its all going down hill now. Thus, starts the race against time. Rushing through breakfast, school, traffic, work, driving back from work, making it on time to the umpteen after school activities, making dinner and finally dragging my sorry self to bed on time. 

This chaotic chase against time, made me wonder what would it be like to  cherish the time rather than chase it. There has to be a way for me to sit and cherish the morning silence.

The next day, I woke up and instead of staring at the clock, I peeked out side. I saw the most beautiful sunrise and wondered how insane I must be to neglect this. Instead of feeling the morning rush, I felt the morning sun. 

In an effort to alleviate the morning rush, I came up with this oat meal chia seed treat. The whole thing can be made the night before and the oats, chia seeds /fruit will soak in the silence of night and greet you with a chirpy, creamy delight in the morning.

The previous night :

Mix 1/3 cup of quick oats 

2 tsps of chia seeds 

1 cup of frozen berries 

1 cup of  2% Milk 

Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

The next morning add few tsps of milk and Microwave for 30 seconds  or so. 

Drizzle some raw honey on top and its ready. 

The promise of the morning sun brings in hope and happiness. Why not celebrate that promise with a hearty healthy breakfast.