Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Snacks, Tiffin, Vegan

Boiled Peanut Chaat

Peeled peanutsIt is groundnut season again. Bangalore has a unique festival dedicated to celebrating this nutritious nut. Many years back, Basavanagudi, a place in Bangalore, was surrounded by villages where groundnut was cultivated. On full moon nights, a bull used to charge and destroy the crops and the farmers were really upset and prayed to Basava aka Nandi (bull) Shiva’s vehicle) that they would offer their first crop to Nandi if their crops are preserved. Soon after this, a Nandi’s idol was found at Basavanagudi, and the farmers started worshipping Him. The idol started growing in size tremendously and to arrest the growth, the farmers put an iron rod on the idol’s head. You can see this nail in the form of a Trishul when you visit the Bull Temple at Basavanagudi. The tradition of offering the first crop of groundnuts continues till date. The annual Kadalekai Parishe (Groundnut Festival) is on right now.

Eating seasonal and local produce is the best for health as well as sustainability. Buying local produce means that the goods reach you sooner thus ensuring minimal loss of nutrients. By doing this you also support local farmers. Earth knows what is best for us in which climate. All seasonal crops are best suited for the climate of the season in which they get ripe. To give some examples, cucumber and watermelon available in plenty during summer acts as tummy coolants. Peanuts, Chinese potato, and other yam varieties found only in winter gives heat to the body. The recipe here is very simple, easy to make, nutritious, and chatpata. Involve children and all family members while peeling the groundnuts. With all the chitchat and banter, you will not realize how fast the work gets done.

Ingredients:
Raw groundnuts – 1 cup
Raw mango (medium size) – quarter portion
Coconut – 2 thin ring slices from a broken coconut
Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Green chilies – 2
Lime juice – 1/2 lime
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Rock salt as needed

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Servings: 3 small cups

Method:
Peel the groundnuts. Boil them in minimal water along with some rock salt. (I pressure cooked them to one whistle). Remove the water if there is excess left after boiling. Chop mango piece and coconut slices into small thin pieces. Slit green chilies. Remove the seeds. Chop into thin pieces. Chop coriander finely. Add all the chopped ingredients to the boiled peanuts. Add lime juice. Adjust salt if required. Pour oil. Mix well and serve.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, Snacks, Vegan

Chickpea Salad

Chaat or salad? You decide. A recipe that you can put together easily and pass on as a snack or as a salad before a full-course meal.

Ingredients:
Chickpeas – 2 cups
Onion – 1
Lemon – 1
Green chillies – 1
Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Salt as needed

Method:
Soak the chickpeas for about 8 hours. Sprouting the chickpeas is even better. Pressure cook the chickpeas with salt in adequate water until soft.

Chop onion finely. Split the green chilly, remove the seeds, and chop finely. You could add crushed peppercorns instead of green chilly. Chop coriander leaves.

Crush the cumin seeds. Extract lime juice. Add lime juice and crushed cumin seeds to olive oil to make a salad dressing.

Add the finely chopped onion, green chillies, and coriander leaves to the boiled chickpeas. Add the salad dressing to this and toss to mix. Adjust salt if needed.

You could add tomato and cheese to this salad.

Recipe source: {++}

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads

Spinach Salad

Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables and ranked number one in nutrient richness. It is full of minerals and vitamins and provides anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. Spinach helps keep bones healthy. A lot of nutrients and vitamins are lost during cooking. Raw consumption provides you with all the benefits that this miracle leaf can offer you. I could go on endlessly about the benefits of spinach consumption, but before you frown, let me give you the recipe to this simple salad. It is as easy as tossing some lemon juice, olive oil, nuts, and some cheese into your cleaned spinach leaves – an amazing way of satisfying the body’s need for green leafy vegetables.

Ingredients:
Spinach – a bunch
Walnuts – 10-12
Cashewnuts – 10-12
Cheese – 1 Amul cheese cube (optional)
Lemon – 1
Olive oil – 2 tbsp

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Serves: 2

Method:

It is very important to wash the spinach thoroughly before consumption. Soak the leaves in clean water for at least 15 minutes and rinse. Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly, drain, and dry. Use your hands to tear the spinach leaves into smaller pieces as desired (I did not use a knife because chopping into smaller pieces would mean loss of nutrients).

Add walnuts, cashewnuts, lemon juice, and olive oil. I added pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds also.

Add grated cheese.

I did not add salt to this salad because I loved the as-is taste. Mix the ingredients to coat evenly. The cheese, nuts, and the lemon give this salad a tangy and nutty flavor. You could even try orange juice instead of lemon.

Eating your greens raw is an acquired taste. I developed the taste for this salad with time. Including this salad in your diet couple of times a week is immensely beneficial. If you are unable to eat your spinach raw, you could lightly cook the leaf and add it to your pasta or add the spinach puree to your chapathi dough.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads

Fruit Salad with a Twist

Crunchy fruits, chewy paneer, sweet, citrus, and peppery. A very enjoyable mix of tastes and textures, this salad can be served before or after food.

Summer is when fruits are available in plenty. Including a salad in your menu cuts down time spent near the stove and is a welcome refreshment and hydration for your body.

A fruit salad sounds as easy as tossing pieces of fruits together in a bowl and serving it. But the amount of care and thought that you put into your fruit salad shows in its taste. Texture-wise, your fruit salad will taste better if the fruits you choose are soft and ripe with a slight crunch to each bite. Your individual fruits pieces should take on the flavor of the other pieces yet without seeping into the other pieces. Over-ripe fruits can break quickly into a mess and coat into the other fruit pieces. By mixing together ripe but not mushy fruits, your fruit salad looks fresh and vibrant for a long time.

Ingredients:
Apple – 1
Pear – 1
Orange – 1
Paneer – 100 gm
Cashew nuts – 6-8
Raisins – 6-8
Honey – 1 tsp
Mint leaves – 6-8
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash all the fruits. Wipe clean and cut the fruits into cubes and mix in a bowl. Pour salt and lemon juice over the cut fruits to retard oxidizing (browning of exposed portions). If you plan to serve the salad chill, at this stage, you could refrigerate. This will allow the flavors to mingle. But do not refrigerate for more than four hours. Cut paneer in cubes. Add the paneer to the cut fruits along with cashew nuts and raisins. Add honey, olive oil, pepper, and mint leaves. Serve immediately or serve after chilling for a short while.

This salad is inspired by a recipe I saw here.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Snacks, Tiffin

Sesame Cheese Toast

Sesame bread toastA wedding that I attended recently had a good spread of starters and cocktails. Among the more predictable paneer tikka fare, there was an interesting crispy fried bread geneously sprinkled with sesame seeds. Though I like to pretend that I am only into health food and never indulge in greasy snacks, I let my guard down and relished a couple of these crunchy delights.

Here I present my own less sinful version of what I tasted at the wedding. A quick fix breakfast or snack, an easy dish to make.

Ingredients:
Bread (Multigrain/White) – 2 pieces
Butter/Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Dry herbs (Basil/pasta herb mix) – ½ tsp
Cheese (slices or spreadable) – 2 slices/1 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp

Method:
sprinkle sesame seeds and herbs

If you are using square shaped bread slices, cut it into smaller rectangular or triangular pieces. This is optional and just for ease of eating. Spread/place the cheese spread/slice on bread (I used Amul’s Garlic Cheese Spread). On this sprinkle sesame seeds, and mixed herbs (I used pasta herb mix. Basil is also a good choice). I did not use any salt as I used garlic cheese spread which had little bit of salt. You could choose to sprinkle salt as per your taste. Brush olive oil on the free side (the side without toppings).

Since I do not have an oven, I toasted this in a pan on low heat. Toast only the free side to make it brown. Serve as snack by itself or with vegetables. You wont realize how many of them you will gobble along with hot tea or coffee.

Instead of cheese, you can spread mashed potatoes. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium. Multigrain bread and olive oil up the health quotient.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Soups

Potato Spring Onion Soup

A delicious creamy soup. Excellent way to start the dinner on a cold winter/rainy evening.

Ingredients:

Spring onions(cleaned well and sliced) – 3

Potatoes (peeled and diced) – 2

Garlic (finely chopped)- 3 medium sized pods

Water – 3 cups

Freshly ground pepper – 1 tsp

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Rock salt – to taste

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Preparation Time: 5 min.

Cooking Time: 20 min.

Method:

In a wok, saute the garlic, spring onions, and potatoes in olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add water and bring to boil. Turn off and let it cool. Use a mixer to blend this well until pureed. Transfer the blended contents into the wok and bring to boil. Add pepper, salt, and water if needed. Bring to boil. Add cream if prefered. Enjoy creamy spring onion and potato soup.

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Skill Level:

Low

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