Sunday, November 15, 2015

Broccoli, Green beans and Kale saute for Sunday lunch.[ Rice and Roti free lunch.]

Today's lunch was rice and roti free. I had left over king mackerel fish curry. I cooked simple saute with broccoli, green beans and Kale. Also made raita with Kumato Tomato. This is first time I tasted Kumato which I got last week from Aldi's store. King mackerel fish curry was made with onion+Tomatillo base, use of Tomatillo makes curry sour and brings nice thick and smooth gravy texture due to its pectin content. Lunch combination was very satisfying, I didn't miss rice or roti. I am briefly explaining saute and Raita recipes which are cooked in a very simple manner.

How to prepare Broccoli, Green beans and Kale Saute
Prepping the Veggies: Slice 10-12 green beans into 1-inch long diagonal shape, take  4-5 broccoli florets, slice each floret  lengthwise into 3  pieces, i have used broccoli florets with  almost 2 inch long stems. Put sliced broccoli florets and green beans in the microwave safe bowl filled with water, cook  for 4-5 minutes, drain the water and keep aside. Slice 3-4 garlic cloves lengthwise, finely chop one green chili. Separate Kale greens from stem, thinly slice stem and chop the leaf.
Cooking saute: Heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a small saute pan. Add  sliced garlic and green chili, saute for one minute. Add sliced kale stem, continue to saute for another one minute. Sprinkle a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and turmeric powder, stir for 25 seconds, Now add chopped kale leaf, saute for  about 3 minutes by adding 2 tbsp water, once water evaporates, add pre-boiled and drained broccoli and beans. Stir to mix all well, sprinkle one generous pinch of salt. Increase heat to medium high, saute for one minute then put off the gas. Drizzle half teaspoon extra virgin olive oil before serving. (serves one generous portion.)

Kumato Tomato raita in Yogurt.
Cut one  Kumato tomato into 4 pieces, remove seeds, cut into 1 cm  chunks. Whisk 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt, add one pinch of salt and 1 tbsp finely sliced mint leaves. Mix well, garnish with more mint leaves before serving.

Kumato tomato, Kale leaf, Broccoli, Green beans, green chili,garlic.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall foliage around home captured on 26th October with cell phone.

Here in Cary fall foliage is in its peak colorful phase. As predicted  in September  this years colors are extra bright and vibrant. Today morning I walked  around home, 50-60 ft  distance along side wooded area. I enjoyed several fall color shades, picked up few fall colored leaves, got them home, made collage. It was wonderful feeling.  All images are captured with cell phone, Enjoy.

Panicled Aster flower that blooms in fall.

Upside down fallen leaf, I turned it and took one more image.

Fall season beauty of Dogwood tree, deep maroon colored leaves.

Assorted fall colored leaves from 7-8 different trees.

Fall color shades of Sweet gum Tree leaves.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ten Fall colored assorted leaves picked from the front yard.(One unique Tri-Colored Red Maple Leaf)

On September 3rd, I  opened the front door to feel the fresh air, noticed few fall colored leaves were fallen over the lawn. I picked  few leaves, spent around 10 minutes in arranging them on the  side walk surface, took few images. One of the Carolina red maple leaf  was very unique with its tri-colored pattern. I also got one tiny red maple leaf, these two leaves made a beautiful pair. It was refreshing to spend just ten minutes outdoors observing fall colored leaves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chinese Yard long bean Salad with fresh coconut and Carrots.

Today morning first I thought to prepare long bean subzi to pack with rotis for lunch but later change of thought and ended up making  long bean (chawli chya shenga) salad with  lettuce, carrots and sliced fresh coconut with simple drizzle of ready made Greek Salad dressing. This is simple salad  enriched with vegetable and fresh coconut slices, a nice twist to every day subzi. All images in this salad post are taken with the cell phone.

Salad Ingredients :
(Makes one serving of Salad.)
  • Iceberg lettuce - Chopped - 2 cup lightly packed
  • 8-10 Yard long beans - cut into 1-inch long pieces.(1 Cup yield, Pre boil in microwave for 5-6 minutes.)
  • 1 Carrot - cut into small pieces. (match shape with cut beans.) Pre boil in microwave for 4 minutes.
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh coconut - thinly sliced pieces
  • 1 T.spoon - Diced bottled Jalapeno. (chopped green chillies can be used.)
  • 1/4 Cup - fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
  • 1 Tb.spoon - Greek dressing with Feta, black olives and Olive Oil ( I used Kens Steak House.) In absence of Greek dressing use 1 tsp Vinegar, 1.5 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese.
Lettuce, Carrots, Fresh sliced coconut, long beans.

Preparation method for Chinese long bean Salad.
  1. Slice or tear 2 Iceberg lettuce leaves into small pieces, about  2 cup lightly packed quantity.
  2. Slightly snap off both end tips of  each long bean, then slice into 1 inch pieces. Place sliced beans into a microwave safe bowl filled with water, add 1/4 tsp salt, stir and  boil for 5-6 minutes. Drain out water, allow beans to cool.
  3. Cut carrot into similar shape and size like long beans, boil in microwave for 3-4 minutes without adding salt. Drain and allow to cool.
  4. Cut few pieces from fresh broken coconut, peel off brown skin with potato peeler, slice into thin one inch size pieces.
  5. In a medium size bowl  combine chopped lettuce leaves, boiled and cooled carrot and long bean pieces, coconut slices. Add 1 tsp diced bottled jalapeno, 1 tbsp ready made Greek dressing with feta, black olives, olive oil. (make sure you thoroughly shake salad dressing bottle before pouring out.) 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves. Toss to mix well, if needed you can add a tiny pinch of salt. For more coconut flavor sprinkle little fresh grated coconut. Enjoy this salad as a meal or side dish.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tofu, Scallion, Kale protein balls for Salad.

Today's lunch box salad was enriched with Tofu-Scallion-Kale protein balls.  I prepared these protein balls with turmeric-hing seasoning, for binding Besan and  organic buckwheat flour  is used. Salad base was iceberg lettuce, locally produced cucumber from Porter farms, and black olives. No salad dressing was used except little drizzle of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. After packing salad for lunch box I saved  few tofu balls to prepare one more serving for my lunch. Recipe for tofu protein balls has evolved from earlier made mix vegetable Tofu-Paneer koftas  which were  prepared for sattvik kofta curry. Later with some alterations and tweaks I  continued to create different tofu balls. Scroll down to see images of tofu koftas prepared earlier. These are Vegan and Gluten free tofu protein balls.

Tofu-Veggie ball salad I enjoyed for my lunch.

Salad packed in lunch box.

Ingredients for Salad with Vegetable Tofu balls :
Makes 12-15 Tofu balls / 2 Servings of salad.
Tofu Ball Ingredients
  • 1 block - Firm tofu (8 oz.) , I cut half from 16 oz. slab of tofu.
  • 1/3 Cup - Finely sliced scallion greens.
  • 1/3 Cup - Tightly packed very finely sliced kale leaves.
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon - Besan flour /gram flour ( roasted)
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon - Buckwheat flour ( roasted)
  • 1 Tb.spoon - fine rice flour to use while shaping tofu balls.
  • 1 green chili - finely sliced.
  • 1 pinch - Hing/Asafoetida
  • 1 pinch - Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 T.spoon - salt
  • 3 Cups - Chopped Iceberg lettuce leaves.
  • 1/2 Cucumber - sliced into thin half moon shape. (1.5 Cup yield)
  • Black olives - 12-15 thoroughly drained and rinsed.( I used canned whole pitted olives.)
  • 1 T.spoon - oil + 1/2 tsp more to roast flours.
Salad Ingredients
3.5 Cups - Chopped Iceberg lettuce leaves. ( about 100 gm)
1 Persian cucumber - 25-30  slices
1 green chili - finely sliced
1 Tb.spoon - Extra virgin olive oil
1.5 T.spoon - Vinegar
1/4 cup - Purslane leaves (optional)
1 tiny pinch - salt
1 pinch - sugar

 How to prepare Tofu protein balls for salad :
  1. Preparing Tofu :Cut half portion from 16 oz Tofu block. Rinse under water, press block few times between the palms of your hand, pat with thick two layers of paper towel, absorb as much as water,  then place it in the bowl, break slab by using fork. Take a clean cotton cloth, place in all scrambled tofu, twist and tie cloth tightly, squeeze few times to remove all water content from the tofu. Give 4-5 minutes for water extraction, at least two times open the twisted cloth, move center part of the tofu towards bottom, squeeze again. This will drain out maximum water, I got around 1/2 cup drained liquid. Place water drained tofu back into the dry bowl.
  2. In a small saute pan add  1.5  tbsp each of Besan and buckwheat flour, 1/2 tsp oil. Roast over medium heat, stirring constantly  until flour turns dry, slightly grainy and aromatic.This will take little over 3 minutes.
  3. In a drained tofu bowl add very finely sliced 1/3 cup scallion greens, 1 tbsp roasted  flour, 1 sliced green chili, one pinch of hing and one generous pinch of  turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Mix all well.
  4. Next add  finely sliced Kale leaves, mix well, sprinkle 1 more tbsp roasted  buckwheat and  besan flour. You can add kale leaves along with scallion greens, I added it later because initially I had thought about using only scallion. Mix and knead well, once smooth ball is formed, divide it into small size balls. I made assorted shaped balls but later I cut roasted bigger size protein balls into half.  It is better to make small bite sized balls because they will cook through quicker and more enjoyable in salads. While making balls first firmly press and create rough round ball, then hold it between the two palms and roll to achieve smooth rounds. If you feel stickiness, dust with rice flour, also oil greased palm will help.
  5. Heat  saute pan by drizzling few drops of oil, Place all the balls, cook over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes. Flip the balls very often to get roasted all around. Also 2-3 times increase heat to medium high, heat pan for a minute then  hold pan handle and swirl around for  20 seconds so that tofu balls are cooked through well and form even roast marks around ball.  Next time I will experiment  to bake, grill and steam these tofu protein balls. For better  flavor I added rinsed whole pitted black olives in the  pan along with tofu balls when tofu balls were roasted half way through, after 7 minutes. Remove roasted olives and tofu balls from the pan, allow to cool.
Salad assembly -- I prepared two portions of salad, one I packed for husbands lunch and remaining portion  I ate for my lunch. Chop 3-4 iceberg lettuce leaves to make 3.5  cups quantity. Slice  half persian cucumber into round shape and remaining into half moon shape. Chop one green chili very finely. Mix Chopped lettuce, sliced cucumbers, chopped green chili into one bowl. Add  1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 tsp vinegar, sprinkle one tiny pinch of salt and one pinch of sugar, Toss to mix all well. Serve or pack in lunch box topped with tofu protein balls and roasted olives.(Few larger tofu balls I cut into 2-3 pieces.) In lunch box I set lettuce, cucumber, tofu balls separately. In my salad I additionally added fresh plucked purslane leaves from the pot. If you prefer, season Tofu balls and olives with olive oil and vinegar before adding to salad.

Note : Any variety  of greens can be added along with additional seasoning of cumin powder, hint of garam masala, ginger, garlic, onion, herbs. More tweaking can be done with the use of seeds and nuts. Create variety of tofu protein balls/Koftas by mix and match of ingredients.

finely sliced kale leaves

Roasting whole pitted black olives along with tofu balls.


Images of variety of Tofu balls made in the past.

mix vegetable Paneer+Tofu  koftas for sattvic kofta curry.

Fish+Tofu Koftas for Tava Pulao.

Non-Deep Fried version of Mix veg Paneer and Tofu Kofta.

Square shaped koftas done by using two piece rice cube.(These are pan roasted.)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Capsicum stir fry with pan roasted Pumpkin cubes, garnished with Tuxedo Sesame seeds.[Lunch box sabzi.]

Today morning I took out one Capsicum and a small piece of pumpkin from the fridge to prepare sabzi for lunch box. Just a little change of separately roasting pumpkin cubes in the pan and adding Tuxedo sesame seeds (mix of black and white sesame.) made this routinely cooked vegetable stir fry more interesting. This is single serving stir fry cooked to pack in lunch box. Scroll down to see what I did with the pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients :
(Makes Single stir-fry serving.)
  • 1 large Capsicum - sliced into small chunks (1.5 cup yield)
  • Pumpkin piece - around 200 gm cut into small cubes. (1 heaped cup yield.)
  • 1 medium size onion - chopped into small pieces (1 heaped cup yield.)
  • 1 T.spoon - Tuxedo sesame seeds (Mix of black and white sesame.) white sesame seeds can be used.
  • 1 green chili - finely chopped.
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 1 generous pinch - Hing (asafoetida)
StirFry Cooking Method :
  1. Heat a medium size skillet/griddle, drizzle few drops of oil, wipe with paper towel to evenly grease the pan surface. Spread cubed pumpkin pieces in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 generous pinch of salt, roast for 12-15 minutes by flipping pieces few times until they are slightly charred and turn golden brown over minimum  2-3 sides. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp black and white sesame seed blend. Mix well with wooden spoon or toss the skillet holding handle few times to coat roasted pumpkin pieces with sesame seed blend. Shut off the heat, leave the skillet over burner.
  2. While pumpkin cubes  are being roasted, heat medium size saute pan with 1 tsp oil, add chopped onions,sliced green chilies, 5-6 curry leaves. For first two three minutes saute over medium high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium, continue to saute for another 6-7 minutes until onions turn soft and start to get brown over the edges.
  3. Now add  chopped capsicum, continue to saute over medium heat for 6-7 minutes until capsicum pieces are softened. Add a generous pinch of hing, 1/2 tsp tuxedo sesame blend, salt. Mix well, saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Lastly add  pan roasted pumpkin cubes, gently mix, taste and adjust salt level. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium low heat. Garnish with cilantro, you may add some fresh grated coconut, serve with roti.
Cooking step - 4, Before mixing roasted pumpkin cubes with sauteed capsicum.

Image taken with cell phone -Samsung SGH-1337

While prepping pumpkin piece, I removed some seeds, instead of throwing them away I sow them in a empty tofu container. I was surprised to see the result after 10 days, pumpkin seedlings looked so pretty.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sattvik Quinoa Khichadi with vegetables for Makar Sankranti. [First recipe post for year 2015]

This was supposed to be my  first recipe post for year 2015, I am publishing it quite late but happy that I got back to blogging. On Makar Sankranti day I started my morning preparing Quinoa dish to pack in lunch box, since it was an auspicious day of Sankranti I cooked Quinoa in a sattvik manner, enriching it with peanuts and sesame seeds. I  made Quinoa khichdi  with vegetables, it turned out to be a  good festive savory treat. I   packed  khichadi in husband's lunch box and also savored it for my breakfast.
Post published on 30th Dec-2015.

(2 servings)
  • 3/4 Cup - Quinoa (rinsed well in water.)
  • 3 Tb.spoon - split Chana Dal (rinsed and drained.)
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Mustard seeds
  • 2 whole dry red chillies - I used Arbol chilies.
  • 2 sprigs - Curry leaves
  • 1/4 T.spoon - whole methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • 1/4 T.spoon - Turmeric powder (heaping 1/4  tsp)
  • 1 pinch - Hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 Tb.spoon - oil + 1 T.spoon extra to saute veggies.
  • 1 Tb.spoon - melted ghee or extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over Khichadi
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts - ground to coarse powder + 2 Tb.spoon roughly chopped.
  • 1 Tb.spoon - Sesame seeds - ground to coarse powder + 1 T.spoon - whole sesame seeds.
  • 1 Small size - Red Capsicum, cut into half inch pieces. ( yield - 1 heaping cup)
  • 10-12 - Green beans sliced into diagonal shape.
  • 7-8 inch long 1 Celery stalk - sliced into 1/2 cm thick in half moon shape.
Procedure to cook Sattvik Quinoa Khichadi with vegetables.
  1. Rinse Quinoa in water thoroughly, rub grain in water using fingers or use spoon and  whisk in speed for one minute. Quinoa is very delicate to handle so I use tea strainer to drain water. Keep drained Quinoa aside.
  2. Prepping the veggies - Cut red capsicum into half an inch chunks, any color pepper can be used. Cut celery stalk into half moon shape with 1/2 cm thickness. Slice green beans  diagonally  into one inch long pieces.
  3. In a pressure cooker heat 1 tbsp oil, drop 3-4 mustard seeds, if they sizzle, quickly add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, increase heat to medium high, cover with lid, wait for 15-20 seconds until most of the mustard seeds crack in hot oil. Reduce heat to medium. Next add 2 dry red chilies, stir with spoon to sizzle until chilies turn slight darker in shade and smokey. Next add methi seeds along with one sprigs of curry leaves and 1 tsp whole sesame seeds, stir-saute for 15 seconds.
  4.  Now add  3 tbsp rinsed split chana dal with 1 tbsp water, 1 pinch of hing, 1/4 heaping tsp turmeric powder, saute over medium  heat for one and half minute, stirring continuously. Now add rinsed 3/4 cup quinoa, little less than half tsp salt, mix and stir over high heat for one minute. Add two cups water, continue to cook until it starts to boil. Cover the pressure cooker lid, cook until it blows two whistles. This small 2 liter pressure cooker releases multiple short whistles at the interval of 10-15 seconds lasting for 5 seconds. After 7-8 whistles  I reduced the heat to low and cooked further for 7-8 minutes. Do the same with other types of pressure cooker, after two whistles,  allow to rest for few minutes over low heat setting. Shut off the heat and wait until steam pressure subsides.
  5. Once quinoa  is set to cook in pressure cooker you can start preparing khichadi veggies. In a medium size skillet heat 1 tsp oil, add sliced  half moon shaped celery, saute over medium high heat for two minutes, stirring often. Next add sliced green beans and red capsicum along with remaining curry leaves, sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until veggies are cooked. Add 2-3 tbsp water to speed up cooking or slow roast veggies over low heat giving more time, while slow roasting keep pan moist by spraying some water. Once veggies are tender sprinkle ground sesame and peanut powder, mix well,  let all veggies get dusted with sesame and peanut powder. Check salt level, add some more salt if needed, cook over medium high heat for one minute, stirring. Put off the heat.
  6. Open the cooled pressure cooker lid, throw in 2 tbsp roughly chopped peanuts, sauteed vegetables, mix all well, garnish with cilantro. Serve by drizzling melted ghee or extra virgin olive oil. If you need little more loose consistency,  add 1/4 cup water and cook few more minutes or add 1/4 cup very hot water, mix and let it set for few minutes before serving.
Note :- If you don't prefer whole sesame seed crunch in soft textured khichari, skip adding 1 tsp sesame seeds in cooking step.No -3. Instead of Chana dal you can use split skinless masoor or moong dal or buck wheat goats.

Image for - cooking step-6

Makar Sankranti special - Quinoa Khichdi.

Veggie packed Quinoa Khichdi