Saturday, June 27, 2015

Healthy Mexican Lettuce Wraps

My family loves Mexican food, but sometimes it becomes too heavy. We decided to use lettuce as an alternative to taco shells. It is a full of protein and very little carbs. I know wrapping beans and veggies in lettuce probably doesn't sound like the most exciting way to serve it, but believe me you'll agree that tacos are all about fillings and toppings. Take away the taco shell, and you still got amazing flavors. When I made this dish my family just loved it, I hope my followers will like it too!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serving: 4


For Black Beans:
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime/lemon juice 
  • Salt to taste
For Salad:
  • 8 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup red onions diced
  • 1 cup plum tomato diced
  • 1 cup avocado diced
  • 1/2 cup green capsicum
  • 1/2 cup red capsicum
  • 4 jalapeno sliced
  • 1/2 cup spring onion
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 4 teaspoon lime juice to sprinkle
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese (optional)
Directions :
  1. To make beans place a skillet or pot over medium high, add oil, add diced onion, cook while stirring until soft
  2. Add minced garlic, jalapeno, salt and black pepper, saute for 1 minute
  3. Add black beans and cumin powder, stir for few minutes (3 to 4 minutes)
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice on the top, stir and beans are ready to serve
  5. Mix all the veggies in a bowl, add black pepper, salt and coriander leaves except lettuce
  6. Place lettuce on a plate, in a center pile the beans mixture, lay on beans all the veggies. sprinkle the lemon juice and add fresh salsa on the top
  7. Lettuce wrap is ready to serve
You can also add fresh guacamole, sour cream and tofu.
For salsa check the out this Homemade fresh salsa. For Jain minus the onion and garlic, and still the taste will be yummy.

Easy Guacamole

Simple homemade guacamole, easy and full of flavor. Haas avocados make the perfect guacamole, because they are extra rich and creamy. All you need for guacamole is ripe avocados, salt, a little lime juice, chopped green coriander leaves, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, capsicum and some seasoning.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 4 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red capsicum, diced
  • 1/4 cup green capsicum, diced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin/jeera powder
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh green coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt to taste (sea salt / kosher salt )

  1. In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, mix to coat
  2. With fork mash the avocados, add salt, black pepper and cumin powder
  3. Add diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, red and green capsicum, garlic and coriander leaves and mix lightly
  4. Guacamole is ready to serve with chips or with any Mexican dish

If you have a Mortar and Pestle, you can make and serve the guacamole in the mortar. For Jains, omit onion and garlic.

Fresh Homemade Tomato Salsa

This homemade salsa is very easy to make and it is very tasty. It goes great with your favorite chips and it gets better as the flavors blend. It's another family favorite! This salsa is amazing with summer freshness.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 4 plum tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 medium red onion (peeled)
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 clove garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin/jeera powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chillie powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh green coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar to balance it out acidity 
  • salt to taste
  1. Add all ingredients in a food processor
  2. Pulse until desired consistency 
  3. Serve in a bowl with chips or as a topping to your favorite Mexican dishes

You can make it chunky or as smooth as you want. You can also adjust the heat by adding more or less jalapeño. For Jains, blend everything in the food processor minus onion and garlic. Add cooked corn and diced pineapple instead. Taste will be very good.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Whole Wheat Jain Pizza

This is a special Jain recipe as there is no yeast, no rennet, or any cultures. I made this pizza completely from scratch --- pizza base to the sauce to the cheese.

I learned the cheese recipe from a Jain fast food recipe. I suggest making the cheese one day in advance. I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour and there is no yeast in the pizza dough. The tomato sauce is also homemade. Enjoy the homemade pizza!

Prep Time: 20 minutes (Cheese: 20 minutes; 1 day in advance)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serving: 4


For Pizza Dough: (it will make two 10" pizzas)
  • 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water approximately 
For Tomato Sauce: (it will make 1 1/2 cup sauce)
  • 6 plum tomatoes boiled, peeled and crushed (boiled for two minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 3 to 4 fresh basil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
For Cheese: (it will make 12oz. cheese)
  • 1 1/4 cup paneer
  • 1 1/3 teaspoon white flour
  • salt to taste
  • Pinch haldi/turmeric powder
  • Six teaspoon ghee (purified butter)
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
For Toppings:
  • 1/2 cup sliced green capsicum (long strips)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red capsicum (long strips)
  • 2 sliced jalapenos
  1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add crushed tomatoes and add all other ingredients.
  2. Stir well and bring to a simmer on a low flame. Stirring often for at least 15 minutes and cool down
  3. To make the cheese, you first need to make paneer. First, boil milk (whole milk 1/2 gallon).
  4. When the milk comes to rise, add two tablespoon lemon juice
  5. Turn off the stove, the milk should begin to curdle, immediately in a muslin or cheesecloth drain the curdled milk. Squeeze all the liquid out, and let it cool
  6. In a mixer add the paneer, white flour, salt, turmeric powder, and ghee, mix it well
  7. Form the cheese into a square shape and put in a refrigerator for five to six hours to set until the cheese is ready
  8. To make pizza dough - mix all of the dry ingredients, add water and oil
  9. Mix until it forms a ball, the dough should be soft, but not sticky
  10. Knead on a flour surface for 2 to 3 minutes, divide in two balls, spray pizza pan with oil and spread the dough in to a 10" diameter
  11. To make the pizza, preheat oven to 400 degrees, bake the crust in the oven for five to six minutes
  12. Take out the crust from the oven, spread tomato sauce on the crust, top with homemade cheese and vegetables (you can add any veg of your choice) bake it for at least 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown
  13. Pizza is ready to serve



Friday, June 12, 2015

Spinach/Palak Pakora Chaat

Spinach pakora chaat is a mouthwatering appetizer. It is perfect for tea time and an easy evening snack. Spinach pakora can be served many different ways. My husband really likes this recipe and enjoys snacking on this at dinner time. A must try.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 30 spinach leaves (washed and cleaned)
  • 1 cup gram flour (besan)
  • 3 Green chilli chopped
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder (1+1 for sprinkle on pakoras)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 tablespoon oil + oil to fry
  • 1 cup sweet dates and tamarind chutney (check my recipe for sweet chutney)
  • 1/2 cup green chutney (check my recipe for green chutney)
  • 3 cups beaten yogurt/dahi
  • 1 cup gram flour thin sev
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped green coriander leaves

  1. Add gram flour to a bowl along with 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon oil, ajwain and salt
  2. Mix and add water to make a thin batter, heat oil in a kadai/pan on  medium high heat
  3. Dip each spinach leaf in the batter and deep fry until crispy and golden
  4. Drain and keep on absorbent paper
  5. Keep pakoras on serving plates
  6. Pour beaten yogurt on pakoras
  7. Drizzle with sweet chutney and green chutney
  8. Sprinkle the chaat masala, red chili powder, roasted cumin powder and a little salt
  9. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds
  10. Garnish with chopped green chilli, sev and coriander leaves
  11. Serve immediately

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fada ni Khichdi/Broken Wheat and Yellow Split Moon Dal ni Khichdi

This dish is a one pot meal with nutritious broken wheat, yellow split moong dal and your choice of vegetables. It is very satisfying and filling meal that provides healthy properties needed to stay fit.

Soaking time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 1 cup broken wheat/ gau na fada
  • 3/4 cup yellow split moong dal
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 3/4 cup green peas
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 4 green chillies (slit)
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 to 4 red dried chillies (boria)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida/hing
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon shredded carrots for garnishing 
  • 3 tablespoon ghee or oil (I prefer ghee)
  • 4 cups of water
  • salt to taste

  1. Wash and soak the broken wheat and yellow moong dal in water for at least 30 minutes. Drain and keep it aside
  2. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker on a medium flame. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and hing
  3. When the cumin crackles, add all the ingredients including the dal and broken wheat
  4. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes
  5. Add 4 cups of hot water, mix well and cook on medium heat up to 4 whistles
  6. Allow the steam to escape before the opening the lid
  7. Toss and fluff the khichdi 
  8. Garnish with green coriander leaves and shredded carrots
  9. Serve hot with Yogurt/dahi, pickle and papad

- You can make this dish in rice cooker.
- You can use any vegetable of your choice.
- I like this khichdi little bit like a thick stew. You can make this khichdi according to your liking - thick or little runny. 
- For Jains use green peas, corn, cabbage, long beans and tuver dana/ lilva na dana.

Red Garlic Chutney

I learned this recipe from my father. He used to tell me what to add in the chutney to make it tasty. It is a simple and easy to make chutney that is very popular in India and can be used in many different ways.  It can simply change the taste and flavor of snacks, bhel and chaats to make them tastier. You can also eat with your daily food like roti and  vegetables.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 1 whole pod of garlic
  • 2 medium green chillies
  • 5 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green coriander leaves
  • salt to taste

  1. Remove the skin of garlic cloves
  2. In a food processor first add garlic and green chillies and grind
  3. Add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and grind
  4. Add green coriander leaves and continue to grind
  5. Hot and spicy chutney is ready to eat
- For bhel and chaat add water in the chutney, mix it well and than use it.
- You can use a mortar and pestle instead of food processor. I actually find that using the mortar and pestle makes it taste so much better - it's definitely worth the effort! 
- Do not use mixer / blender as the chutney won't taste the same. Only use a food processor or mortar and pestle
It will stay fresh for one week in a refrigerator 

Red Pudina/Mint Chutney

Mint chutney is probably one of the most famous chutneys in north India. Pudina/Mint chutney is very
aromatic, refreshing, tangy and cooling. I also learned this recipe from my father. Usually people make green mint chutney, but personally I like this red chutney with my meal whether it is lunch or dinner.

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 2 cup pudina/mint leaves (wash and clean)
  • 1/2 cup green chopped coriander leaves (wash and clean)
  • 2 green medium chillies
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  1. In a food processor first add mint leaves, green chili and grind
  2. Add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and mix it
  3. Add lemon juice and chopped green coriander leaves
  4. Mix well in food processor
  5. Chutney is ready to eat

- Use food processor or mortar and pestle (Do not use a mixer/ blender for making a chutney as it won't taste same.
- It will stay fresh for one week in the refrigerator 

Date and tamarind Chutney/ Khujur imli Chutney

This chutney is sweet and tangy, made from dates, tamarind and jaggery. This chutney is a very essential ingredient in chaats like bhelpuri, panipuri, samosa, fritters and dahi vadas.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 11/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp (or you can use 1/2 cup of fresh dry tamarind)
  • 1/2 cup gor/gol/jaggery (cut)
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin powder (roasted and coarse)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon black salt powder (optional)
  • 4 cups of water
  • salt to taste

  1. Heat 4 cups of water in a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Add dates and cook in the water until soft and tender (if you are using fresh dry tamarind than also add with dates)
  3. Add gor/gol/jaggery, tamarind pulp, red chilli powder, cumin powder, black salt and regular salt
  4. Simmer for another 5 minutes
  5. Turn off the heat and cool the chutney mixture and puree into a fine paste with handblender or blender
  6. Strain the chutney mixture in fine sieve to remove any residue
  7. Chutney is ready to serve

For chutney consistency, extra water may be used. The chutney may be stored in a deep freezer long term.

Bombay Golden Bhel Chutney

This chutney is very easy to make and it is very hot and spicy. This is a recipe I learned watching our building's bhelwala, while he was making it in the morning. I modified the recipe a little bit and it came out nice and tasty. I lived at Sickanagar, in Bombay, eating golden bhel for so many years. The bhelwala is extremely popular for his golden bhel.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 cup bhavnagri gathia
  • 10 to 12 small hot chillies (if u want less spice, add less chillies)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves (washed and cleaned)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  1. In a food processor, add bhavnagri gathia, green chillies, lemon juice, turmeric powder
  2. Grind it, add salt and green coriander leaves
  3. Mix well in a food processor. It will form a ball
  4. Your chutney is ready to use

When you want to use the chutney for making bhel/sevpuri, add water to the desirable consistency you want (thick or thin) You may keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (dry; without adding water).

Coriander Green Chutney

Green chutney is great with so many dishes. It is the most favorite Indian accompaniment. Sandwiches, samosas, dhoklas, chaats etc, are all incomplete  without this chutney. This chutney can be stored and refrigerated for up to a week.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Making time: 5 minutes
Serving: 4

  • 2 cups chopped coriander leaves (cleaned and washed)
  • 6 small chillies (if you want it more spicy add more green chillies)
  • 6 cashews
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender
  2. Grind to a smooth paste in a blender with very little water (about 2 tablespoons water)
  3. If you have a Blendtec or Vitamix machine, you don't need to add water.
  4. The consistency of the chutney should be thick
  5. Refrigerate and use as required.