Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad

persimmonFruit salads are my favorites more than vegetable salads – Not the ones with a dollop of ice cream but the kinds that have just real fruits with some lemon juice dressing. Eating fruits as-is is good enough but a pinch of black salt, a dash of lemon, and a few mint leaves lends them an exotic flavor. Chill them a little in the refrigerator and it turns delectable. Late October and November is the season for both persimmons and pomegranates. This is the best time to make this salad with these seasonal fruits. I first ate persimmon two years ago during a visit to Bhutan and had never seen them in India. Couple of days ago I was surprised to come across these in the local market. Glad to see that Persimmon is cultivated even in India. Even if you do not have persimmon, you may substitute it with the crunchy variety of pear to make this salad. But it is important that you use the crunchy variety of pear and apple to make this salad. A crunchy and sweet apple gives this salad the right texture. A sloppy squishy sour apple is a bad choice and can ruin the salad.

This is a perfect salad to be served BEFORE a meal. Most people in India serve fruit salad with custard or ice cream AFTER a meal. But this is a wrong combination as per Ayurveda and wrong timing that can cause acidity and indigestion. The digestion time for fruits and uncooked vegetables is lesser than that of cooked meals and hence they should be consumed first. Vice versa could result in bloating.

Persimmon – 1 (cubed 1/2 inch pieces)
Apple (preferably Fuji. I used green apple) – 1 (cubed 1/2 inch pieces)
Pomegranate seeds – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – 1/2 tbsp – 1 tbsp
Jaggery powder – 1/4 tsp (you may substitute this with honey)
Black salt – 1/4 tsp
Olive oil – 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves – 8-10

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: None
Serves: 3

Add salt and lemon juice to the cut fruits. This retards oxidization and arrests the loss of nutrients. Toss the rest of the ingredients together. Refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

Notes: You may replace Persimmon with a crunchy variety of pear.
You need to use only crunchy vegetables for this salad.

Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads, Vegan

Sprouted Moth Beans Salad

Sprouts for breakfast – one of the best ways to ensure great nutrition minus fat. Fitness experts recommend eating sprouts for breakfast for its good nutrition value and protein content. You can have this dish for breakfast, lunch, or snack. I would not advise having it for dinner as sprouts can be a little difficult for some people to digest at night. A simple but delicious dish that require very few ingredients. You can easily sprout beans at home.

The way you cook beans is very important to avoid any kind of uneasiness, gas, belching, or bloating that many people suffer after consumption of beans. Beans have been around for thousands of years and have been consumed all around the world. Traditionally beans were slow cooked which made them more digestible. Soaking / sprouting beans and then slow cooking them makes them easier on the belly and ensures proper absorption and digestion rather than cooking dry beans or cooking them on high flame.

Moth/matki bean sprouts – 1 cup
Onion (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp (optional)
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida/Hing powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chili (finely chopped) – 1
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Pomegranate seeds – 2 tbsp (Optional)
Lime juice – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 24-36 hours of soaking and sprouting, 40 mins of steaming time
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes 2 cups

For making sprouts:
Soak the moth beans in water for 6-8 hours.
After 8 hours, drain the water, wash and rinse the soaked seeds and keep them on the same vessel to rest for the next 24 hours or so. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice tiny sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate and humidity in your region. In warmer climatic regions, it is enough to keep the vessel for sprouting the beans in a dark corner of the kitchen.
It is better to consume the sprouts immediately. But they can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Before cooking the sprouts, ensure that you rinse them thoroughly and carefully without breaking the tender sprouts. Do not use the sprouts if they emit odor.

For making salad:
Pressure cook the sprouted moth beans. Slow cooking is ideal as this retains the nutrients and also helps easy digestion.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter, add hing powder, turmeric powder, and finely chopped green chilies. Saute the green chilies until they change color and the raw smell goes away.
Add cooked moth beans to this. Add coriander powder and sugar. Mix well and bring to boil. Retaining some amount of moisture/water is desirable as it would be easier to eat and swallow.
Turn off the heat and add finely chopped onions (optional), salt, and coriander leaves.
Add lime juice and pomegranate seeds if desired. Serve warm.

You can make the same with other kinds of beans such as mung bean or chickpeas.
You may add tomatoes and ginger to the salad.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads, Vegan

Sorghum and Zucchini Salad

During summers, your body does not demand rich, calorie-laden food. You feel like eating light and crave more for liquids. A wholesome salad along with juice sounds like a perfect meal option and significantly cuts down the time spent in the kitchen as well.

Here is a millet and vegetable salad made with grains of sorghum / jowar as the base along with Zucchini, red bell pepper, and boiled peanuts. Jowar is gluten-free and is rich in antioxidants. Jowar grains retain the hull that contains the majority of the nutrients, fibre, iron, and a fairly high protein level as well making it an ideal staple starch.

Jowar grains – 1/4 cup
Zucchini – 1 small
Red bell pepper – 1/2
Raw peanuts – A fistful

For Dressing:
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Crushed black peppercorns / pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Extra Virgin Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Black salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves 1

Method: Rinse the sorghum grains and soak overnight in water. You could skip the soaking step but you would need to pressure cook it for a longer time.
Cook sorghum and raw peanuts (in separate containers) in a pressure cooker for about 3 whistles. For sorghum, add water in a 1:3 ratio. Wait for the pressure to release naturally before opening the pressure cooker lid.
Scrape the skin off the zucchini and chop into small pieces. Chop bell pepper into small pieces. Keep aside.
To prepare the dressing, mix olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper powder.
Once the cooked sorghum grains and peanuts have cooled off, transfer them to a bowl. Add the chopped zucchini and bell pepper pieces. Add black salt and mix well. Add the dressing and mix well. The salad is ready to be served. You may add parsley leaves.
Refrigerate for about half an hour if desired.
I paired this with pineapple juice with a dash of rock salt. Makes a complete and satisfying meal.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Simple Spinach Salad (Korean Style)

I had the pleasure of befriending a Korean couple who were visiting a friend. In return to the Indian lunch that we prepared for them, they cooked a Korean style lunch for us. Rice and sweet potato cooked together, mushroom cooked with bell peppers, spinach salad, and shallow-fried potatoes. Out of all, I liked the spinach salad the best. Sigeumchi-Namul is the Korean name for this salad. A simple and easy to make salad, nutritious, and deliciously flavorful. Delicate flavors are the best to relish and perhaps more nutritious too.

Spinach – 1 bunch
Water – approximately 4 cups
Garlic – 3-4 cloves (adjust as per individual taste)
Sesame oil – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1-1/2 tsp
Lime juice – 2 tsps
Black salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes 3 servings

Clean the spinach really well. If the spinach is organically grown, one thorough wash would be enough. Otherwise, wash really well at least three times and soak in salted water for at least 10 minutes.
Bring a pot of water (approximately 4 cups) to boil.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water for less than 1 minute.
Drain the water out and collect the blanched spinach on a strainer.
Rinse the spinach in cold water. Squeeze out excess water.
Using your hands, untangle the spinach into a mixing bowl.
If the spinach is too long, use your hands to shred them into smaller size. Add crushed garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds and toss well to mix and coat the spinach with these ingredients. Crushing (not chopping) the garlic works best and brings out the flavor very well.
The original recipe calls for soya bean sauce. But I replaced this with lime juice.
Sprinkle some black salt.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like.
Korean style spinach salad is ready to be served.

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Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Salads, Vegan

Fruits and Beet Salad

Fruit and beet saladDays are getting warmer. Summer is here and so are the summer fruits. Oranges, watermelon, and pineapples have already flooded the market. Just think about the caring ways of Mother Nature. During the sunny months, she provides us with juicy and watery fruits that can nourish us with the right things and during cold winter months, She gives us abundant root vegetables that can keep our body warm. When I think about this marvel, I cannot help but be thankful to Her and to the farmers and all others who have toiled to bring us this bounty. I think of them and Mother Nature with warmth and gratitude as I savor every bite of food.

During warm summer days, all I feel like eating is a salad. I find so much comfort in fresh raw and crunchy natural food. I have been trying out new salads and here is one more that you will love. This recipe is adapted from Tarla Dalal’s version.

Just dont bother about proportions here. Just throw in all fruits you have at home and it would taste just fine. Try not to use fruits that do not retain their firmness for long or tend to get mushy. 🙂

Fruits and beetIngredients:
Pineapple (peeled and sliced) – 1 cup
Apple – 1
Orange – 1
Beetroot – 1
Watermelon (peeled and sliced) – 1 cup
Pomegranate kernels – 1 cup

For salad dressing:
Orange juice of 1 medium sized orange
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Rock salt a generous pinch
Pepper powder a pinch
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (optional)

For garnish:
Mint leaves – few
Crushed roasted peanuts – a fistful

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 30 mins
Serves 4

Salad dressingMethod:
Boil the beetroot, peel the skin, and chop into cubes. Dice the watermelon, pineapple, and apple. Remove the orange peel of one of the oranges and separate the segments. Add this along with the diced fruits and beetroot. Add pomegranate kernels also into this.

Slice the other orange horizontally and extract the juice using a plain juicer. To this orange juice, add olive oil, salt, and pepper powder. Mix well. Pour into the bowl of cut fruits and beetroot. Toss around so that the flavors blend in. Add some lemon juice if you prefer more tart. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Before serving, garnish with fresh mint leaves and crushed roasted peanuts if desired.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, South Indian, Vegan

Sweet Corn and Pomegranate Kosambari

Bhat CaterersThe other day, at a friend’s function, I had the most delicious Udupi feast ever. Simple everyday home style food but sumptuous and appetizing in every way. The caterers were Bhats from Udupi and served Satvik food that was moderate in spices. Out of the huge spread and varieties, what interested me the most was the salad and the green leaf subzi. These are a rarity (read non-existent) in a Kerala feast.

Sweet corn kosambariSweet corn is a special maize variety that is harvested when the corn-ear just reaches the milk stage. Fresh sweet corn is alkaline in nature and has much less calories than that in the field corn and other cereals like wheat, and rice. It is a gluten-free cereal. It is one of the finest source of dietary fibers and contains healthy amounts of some important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. Sweet corn is also a good source of fiber, which is essential for bowel health. However, corn, just like rice and potato, is one of the high glycemic index food items, and hence need to be used carefully by diabetic patients.

When picking up sweet corn from the market, avoid corn with dry, pale husks and silks that are desiccated. Choose corn that has green husks and kernels that squirt whitish juice when pricked. From the time they are plucked, corn tends to convert from sugar to starch as opposed to fruits that convert from starch to sugar. So, use the freshest to get the maximum benefit.

There is really no recipe needed to make this salad. Use all ingredients as per your taste and discretion. In the version that I had at the feast, they did not add mung dal and green chilies. You may also avoid these as per your taste.

Sweet corn kernels – 1 cup
Pomegrate/Anar – 3/4 cup
Yellow mung dal/sprouted green mung – 2 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Green chilies – 1
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1-1/2 tsp
Black salt as needed

Preparation time: 10 mins (Mung dal soaking time 2 hrs)
Cooking time: 3 mins
Serves: 2

Raw sweet corn kosambariMethod:
Soak the mung dal in water for about 2-3 hours. If you missed soaking the dal, you may add boiling water to the dal and keep it closed for 5 mins. Drain the water and it is ready to be used. Take a bowl and add sweet corn kernels, pomegranate, soaked mung dal (remember to drain the soaked water), grated coconut, and salt. Mix well. Add lemon juice. Heat a pan, pour half a teaspoon oil, and add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add chopped green chilies, saute for half a minute, turn off the fire, add curry leaves, and add this to the salad mixture. Mix well and serve. Kids are going to love the crunchy and mild natural sugars of raw sweet corn.

Tip: If you love to have more vegetables, you can add chopped cucumber and carrots as well to this kosambari.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Salads, Snacks, South Indian, Vegan

Kosambari – Mung Beans, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

I am happy to skip my afternoon rice lunch or evening dosa and just have a bowl full of this salad. It is so easy to prepare, very delicious, nutritious and filling too. It is a very popular and traditional Karnataka salad. This is also made during Ram Navami celebrations.

Yellow mung beans/Sprouted whole green mung – 1/4 cup
Carrot – 1 medium
Cucumber – 1 medium
Pomegranate kernels – 1/2 cup (optional)
Coconut grated – 2-3 tbsp
Coriander leaves (chopped) – 2 tbsp
Green Chilies – 2
Curry leaves – 3-4
Lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste

For seasoning:
Vegetable oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida/hing a pinch

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Soaking time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 5 minutes

You can choose to sprout whole green mung or use soaked yellow mung beans.
If you choose to sprout, soak whole green mung in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water completely and keep the vessel closed. Depending on the climate in your region, within the next 24 hours, you will notice tiny sprouts.
If you are using yellow mung beans, soak the beans in water for 2 hours, drain and use. If it is a last minute plan and you forget to soak the beans, you can add boiling water to the beans and let it rest for 10 minutes and then make the salad that can be served after half an hour.
Grate the carrot. Chop the cucumber to small cubes and add to grated carrot and soaked beans. Add pomegranate kernels. You can either grate the green chilies or chop it finely.
Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, and let it splutter. Add hing to the oil, add curry leaves, and add it to the beans and vegetable mixture. Add grated coconut and finely chopped coriander.
Add salt and lemon juice just before serving and mix well.