Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Soups, Vegan

Carrot Almond Soup

A hot soup is just right for the season. Slight sweet taste of the carrot and onions counterbalanced by the zing of pepper. This version does not use a broth/stock, so has less cooking time but is creamy and tasty.

IngredientsIngredients:
Carrots – 2 medium-sized carrots
Onion – 1
Almonds – 15-20
Garlic cloves – 2-3
Cinnamon – 1 ”
Cloves – 2-3
Cooking oil – 1 tsp
Water – 3 cups
Dill/basil leaves – 1-2 for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2 people

Method:
Soak the almonds overnight. An alternate and quick way is to add boiling water to the almonds, keep them closed for 30 mins. Peel them by gently holding the soaked almond in between your thumb and other fingers and nudging the peel gently. Keep aside.

Carrot almond soupWash, clean, and scrub the carrots lightly. Do not peel. Carrot peel is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Heat oil in a vessel. Add chopped garlic and saute. When they turn pale, add chopped onion, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. When the onion turns pink, add chopped carrot. Saute for 2 mins. Add water. Close the vessel with a lid and let it cook for 10-15 mins. Discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let it cool. Strain the vegetables and retain the water in the vessel. Puree the carrot-onion mixture along with 15 pieces of almonds. Reserve 5 for dressing.

Pour the pureed carrot-onion mixture back into the vessel containing cooked water. Let it simmer on medium heat for 5-6 mins. Add salt, crushed peppercorns, and mix well. Garnish with basil leaves and almond pieces. Serve with bread/croutons.

Drinks, Everyday Simple Recipes, Vegan

Almond Milk Mango Smoothie

Before the mango season is over, here is a vegan protein-rich mango smoothie.

Almond milk

Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk and a healthy component for a smoothie. I am not sure if almond milk is available in the Indian markets. I followed instructions in this web site to make almond milk.

Ingredients:
Ripe mango – 2
Almond milk – 1 glass
Sugar – 2-4 tbsp. (per preference and as per sweetness of the mango)
Vanilla essence (optional) – 2 drops
Cinnamon powder – a pinch

Method:
Peel and slice the mango into cubes and put in a blender. Add sugar and blend till smooth. You could use honey to make a non-vegan version. Add almond milk, vanilla essence, and blend again. Pour into a vessel and refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle cinnamon powder on the surface. Serve chilled.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads

Carrot Salad

rasam and carrot saladStuffed after a big meal? Swearing that you will never hog that much ever again? Most of us do that post indulging! Just yesterday after the grand Vishu feast, I told myself, tomorrow I am gonna eat light. So today was a soup and salad lunch for me. Spicy rasam for soup and crunchy carrot salad. My colleague at work shared this quick fix, yummy carrot salad recipe. Great tasting and easy to make. Hence had to share it with all of you.

Ingredients:
Carrot – 1 medium sized
Lime juice – 1/4-1/2 of a small lime
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Jeera – 1/4 tsp
Honey/Jaggery/Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Almonds/rasins/peanuts – as required
Curry leaves – Leaves from a twig
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp
Salt – As needed

carrot saladMethod:
Wash, peel, and grate the carrot. Pour honey (If you are using sugar/jaggery, mix those with the grated carrot) and add lime juice. Add salt and mix well. In a small pan, heat the oil and put mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start crackling, add jeera. Add curry leaves to the oil. Add this seasoning to the salad and mix well. You could add almonds, peanuts, cashews, rasins, any of these as per your taste. Personally I prefer adding almonds that are soaked in water, peeled, and cut. Set aside for 5-10 mins to let the flavors blend. Crunchy munchy carrot salad is ready.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Indian, Sweets

Carrot Halwa – a seasonal delight

carrots stacked in the marketIndian cooking highly emphasizes eating right for the season and using seasonal produces. We have festivals based on change of season and harvests; and dishes based on the ingredients available in a season. Winter is the season for undhiyu, thiruvathira puzhukku (similar to undhiyu), gond (gum resin) laddu, carrot halwa, and the likes. It’s the season for red carrots (usually only orange carrots are available during other seasons). The red carrots stacked in the subzi mandi (vegetable market) invariably tempt me to make carrot halwa.

carrot halwa

Ingredients:
Carrots – 250 gms
Milk – 1 cup
Sugar – 100 gms
Ghee – 100 gms
Almonds/raisins/cashewnuts – 8-10 pieces
Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:
Soak the almonds in water for half an hour and peel and cut to small pieces. Cut the cashewnuts into smaller pieces. Wash, peel, and grate the carrots. Place a thick wok on fire and pour a teaspoon of ghee. Roast the almonds, cashews and raisins in this ghee. When the nuts and raisins turn golden brown, remove from fire and keep aside.

Pour milk into the thick wok. Empty the grated carrot into milk and cook in medium fire. Stir occasionally. You can use water instead of milk or use a mix of milk and water. The advantage of using milk is that you can cut down on the usage of ghee.

When the milk is fully absorbed and the grated carrot is tender and cooked, lower the flame and add sugar. At this stage, the mixture becomes a little loose. Stir occasionally and cook until all the water is fully absorbed. You can modify the quantity of sugar depending on your taste.
Add ghee in small quantities, mix, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add elaichi powder and the roasted nuts and raisins. Mix well. Remove from fire. You can serve carrot halwa hot or cold. Try it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads

Cucumber & Beetroot Salad

An easy and tasty salad. Great way to start a meal.

Ingredients:
Cucumber – 1
Beetroot – 1
Peanuts (preferably flavored) or almonds – a handful
Green chilies – 1
Coriander leaves – 6-7 stalks
Lime – one-half
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 5 mins.
Cooking Time: 5 mins.

Method:

Peel the cucumber and beetroot and grate them. Crush the (flavored/plain) peanuts and add to the grated veggies. Cut the green chilies, remove the seeds, and chop them finely. Chop the coriander leaves finely and add them and green chilies to the grated veggies. Squeeze the lime juice into the veggies. Add salt and mix well. Healthy and tasty salad is ready to serve.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
Cucumber is low in calories and cools the tummy. Beetroot improves the quality of blood. It cleanses and kidneys and gall bladder. Peanuts are a great source of protein and contain significant amounts of iron, zinc, and magnesium. Overall this salad is a healthy way to begin a meal.

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