Dates & Oats Energy Bites

No Bake Date and Oats Energy Bites

Energy Bites

My best friend sent me a picture of my co-workers getting into a habit of eating healthy breakfast at work a few days back. The picture had them bringing breakfast jars to work.

It all started with me sharing my overnight oats jar, with a dear colleague one morning. It got us talking about how easy it is to put together this breakfast option. Like I say healthy need not be boring!

Overnight Oats2

Overnight Oats 

This is for you Sho and MJ, thanks for waking me up from my blog-slumber and reminding me why I love sharing recipes in the first place. Also Palla, without your persistent nudge I would have not written a word this weekend.

So no promises of being regular out here posting recipes. However I would do my best juggling a hectic full time job and a new gym subscription.

Well, the past few months have been quite exciting. I have tried making many lifestyle changes, few have take shape and few are work in progress. More on that soon!

I have not bought white sugar in the last 4 months, given up white rice, tried some exotic ingredients (mac powder, cacao nibs, chia seeds, wheat germ, matcha powder and so on)

Along with thus I have hopped on the bandwagon and made these date-oat energy bites, best decision ever!

It’s got simple ingredients which come together quickly to get this moorish bite. I made mine with Medjool dates, oats, dried coconut flakes and walnuts, great source of dietary fibre and protein.

I chose Medjool dates on purpose, they are a good source of fibre and essential minerals. I also like their caramel like taste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Little water to help blend everything together

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor for 3-4 minutes. You should have a fine paste.

Remove the mixture in a plate. Grease your palms lightly with any neutral oil or simply dip them in cold water. This would prevent the mixture from not sticking to your hands.

Now take a tablespoon of the date mixture and roll it.

Once you shape it like a small ball, roll only the one side in unsweetened coconut flakes.

Energy Bites

Voila! You got yourself some pretty looking pre or post workout snack to munch on. This recipe should make about 12 bite sized portions.

Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Pack these in your lunch box, here’s the His&Her edition of lunch boxes in our household. Sahil was very happy to carry these to work!

Lunch Box

What are you usual pre or post workout snacks ? Do let me know!

Paneer Tikka / Shashlik

My first post for 2016 had to be a special one. New Year’s eve for me and Sahil is mostly at home. We either host a family dinner or a house party with close friends. Once it’s closer to 11pm, we step out and drive around to catch a glimpse of the breath taking fireworks which has tourists from world over flock to Dubai.

This year however we were in mood for something outdoorsy. Josh, my colleague suggested we join him and my other work mates for a camping trip. On a side note, Josh is also a founding member and lead vocalist / guitarist for the popular Dubai band Candy Flippers. Go follow them because they are aaaahhhmaazingggg!

We settled for a BBQ themed camping trip in Ras Al Khaimah desert. The build up to the new year’s eve was amazing as well. After endless banter on a common Whatsapp group and 4 trips to the hypermarket we were well stocked.

Desert

It was fun going to the mall looking for camping supplies since this was my first camping experience in the desert. It was magical to say the least!

I was in-charge of catering to the vegetarians in the group. I decided to go for Paneer Shashlik, Veggie burgers with caramelised onions, roast potato pouches and grilled assorted vegetables.

Here I am sharing the recipe for Paneer Shashlik or Paneer Tikka.

Ingredients
2 1/2 tsp tikka masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp dried mint
1/4 cup fresh mint / kasuri methi
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Pinch of turmeric
750 grams paneer / cottage cheese cut in cubes
2 red peppers cut in squares
2 yellow peppers cut in squares
2 capsicum cut in squares
2 medium red onions cut in squares
400 grams greek yoghurt
3 tsp ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
50 ml canola oil
1 tsp kasundi paste
1 tsp carrom seeds
2 tsp chickpea flour / besan
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk greek yoghurt and add tikka masala, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric, chaat masala and dried mint and mix well.

Heat oil in a pan and add carrom seeds. Once they splutter, add kasundi paste and red chilly powder. Let it cook for a few seconds and add chickpea flour.

Keep stirring continuously on low heat until the mixture gets some color. Take it off the heat and pour over the yogurt mix.

Blend the mixture lightly and add the paneer, onions and peppers and coat it evenly with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once you are ready to cook, you can start assembling the paneer tikka on a skewer.

If you are using the bamboo ones, make sure you soak them in cold water beforehand so that they do not burn when placed on the hot BBQ.

I decided to go for the stainless steel BBQ skewers given they seemed sturdy and could make more servings of the paneer tikka in one go. Also they last you many BBQ trips, I got mine for AED 8 for a pair of 4 from Carrerfour.

Now let’s get on to the assembly part, you begin by oiling the skewer well. Add one cube of red pepper followed by one cube of yellow pepper, then one cube of capsicum and lastly one cube of onion and one cube of paneer. Follow this for step for the rest of the mixture on hand.

Place it on the hot BBQ, it takes usually 15 minutes for the skewers to get cooked. Keep turning the paneer skewers after every few minutes so that all sides get some color evenly. Once it is evenly browned, remove the paneer and veggies from the skewers and serve with spicy coriander mint chutney.

Paneer TikkaUnfortunately I do not have good pictures for the dish however this did taste good and the recipe will be a bookmark for any other BBQ parties I host.

I had used the same recipe before, here is a better picture I have from that BBQ party.

Paneer Tikka 1

However I did make some changes to the recipe and this post includes my revised version.

Do try it sometime and let me know if you like it!

Somewhere in the middle of a desert, cooking on the BBQ, under the stars, next to the bonfire and tents set up, listening to some guitar and have an ensemble croon to melodies. Too much was happening around however I felt a sense of calm and happiness. This is how we welcomed 2016 and hope this be the best year yet for us.

Wishing everyone here as well a great 2016!

Oats Vegetable Tikki

Oats Tikki

Oats Vegetable Tikki 

I am a huge appetizer fan and usually love to serve a variety whenever I have dinner parties or friends over for chai.

On one such occasion, I served this crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside tikki. Patties, cutlets or tikkis are a staple snack in Northen parts of India. Aloo Tikki is mostly featured in the appetiser section in most Indian eateries and serves as a base for many chaat items.

Move up towards western India and Mumbai has aloo tikki’s popular cousin Ragda Pattice. The spicy chutneys the tikkis are usually served with make it a medley of flavours. Sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy what more would you need!

These are fairly quick to assemble and make and perfect way to use up leftover boiled potatoes. Since I wanted to feel less guilty, I added some oats and vegetables to them. Adding oats also helped up the crunch factor in the tikkis.

Cooking Time : 10 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats + 1/4 cup ground oats
2 potatoes boiled and mashed
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp dried mango/ amchur powder
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp minced ginger
2 green chilled finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
2 carrots grated
1 tsp wheat bran
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Canola Oil for shallow frying

Grind the oats. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them well.

Now with greased hands, make 12 equal portions and roll out in flat tikki (cutlet) shape.

Dust them in a plate with equal portions of ground oats and breadcrumbs.

Shallow fry on each side until they acquire a even brown color. Serve immediately with coriander mint chutney.

Let me know if you liked this recipe and any variations I can try the next time.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Mumbai Diaries – Dhokla

I came back to Dubai earlier this week after a 20 day long vacation in Mumbai. It was good fun meeting family and enjoying delicious meals from my mum’s kitchen. How I miss it!

I will start chronicling now on my travel diaries in the blog as well and this is the first of the many to come, let me know your thoughts on the same. The series will have my experiences while travelling to a destination and not necessarily a recipe to go with it. Again I am no expert at writing about travel but being a professional travel writer’s wife, I have come to love travelling even more over the years now.

Going back to my trip to Mumbai, it was such a fulfilling experience when I cooked for my family one evening. I made some pasta, oats spinach tikkis and dhokla.

Dhokla is popular Gujrati snack and quite nutritious at it too. Weight watchers can rejoice since this recipe goes easy on the calories too.

The dhokla turned out much better than usual, must have been my grandma watching over me and giving her expert tips when she saw me mixing the batter or tempering the dhoklas later.

I could see a glint of pride and her smiling ear to ear when I made the tempering and not get deterred by the crackling and popping of mustard seeds. This stuff used to always scare me and I had burnt my wrists a few times panicking over the popping mustard seeds in hot oil.

How things change! We just looked at each other and that moment melted my heart, it was simply beautiful.

Dhokla

Ingredients
Dhokla batter

2 cups gram flour
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 sachet eno (fruit salt)
3/4 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cup water
Handful of freshly chopped coriander powder
Pinch of red chilly powder (optional)
Freshly grated coconut (optional)

Tempering
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves (optional)

In a mixing bowl, sieve the gramflour and add salt, eno, chilli, ginger paste and mix well.

Add water, little at a time and blend all the ingredients together. The consistency of the batter needs to slightly thick and hence add water as per requirement. Do not pour all of the water instantly.

Add oil and mix well, this helps give the batter a good sheen. Do not let the batter sit on the side for long after it has been made.

In a steamer, boil water and add the batter to greased plates in the dhokla stands. Fill the plates with the batter only to half the capacity since once steamed, the batter will rise.

Steam for almost 10-15 minutes with the lid on. Always set the steamer on medium heat, high flame will dry out the dhoklas and the end result won’t be soft and spongy.

Just like we check cakes, use a toothpick to check if the dhoklas have been cooked throughout after 10-12 minutes. If the toothpick comes out dry, remove the dhoklas off the heat.

Let it cool for a while and then un-mould them from the plates and cut them in diamond / square shape.

To make the tempering, heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, remove from the heat and with a spoon spread it over the dhokla pieces. I wish I had curry leaves that day so I could have added them to the tempering but we were too lazy to venture out and get some. Aren’t holidays all about lazing around and not stressing over the little things ?

Garnish the dhoklas with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander leaves, a pinch of red chilly powder and serve with green chutney and tomato ketchup.

I also like garnishing with freshly grated coconut but again it was not available and we gave it a pass.

This is one special post, for me this is not much about the recipe here but about my experience that one rainy evening in Mumbai spending some quality time with my loved ones.

Here’s to my family who taught me cook with love! Happy cooking! 😀

Onion Fritters – Kanda Bhajji

Well here I was trying to continue the Middle Eastern spread on the blog featuring recipes on Tahini and Hummus and then my TL got swamped with tweets and updates on how it’s raining cats and dogs in Mumbai! And I missed the rains terribly!

I completed 3 years being in an expat in Dubai on 28th July! 3 years since I started on this eventful journey to Dubai, living in desert land has being difficult.

Missing the simple pleasures of being in your own country amongst your close circle of family and friends.

Missing important celebrations, where you are a part now only by way of a Skype call, time out with friends, Mumbai monsoons, Frappe at CCD, the lush green gardens in Delhi, the local grocer, chaat and some desi shopping.

But with every such missed opportunity, Dubai has been super kind to me! The city is very welcoming. I find the pace of this city very much like Mumbai. It’s now that I feel like home in Dubai.

Life has been challenging living far away from the comfort of family but here is where me and Sahil set up our home and I’m glad we did. This was one journey which brought us closer than ever!

The thing which I miss the most after my family is Mumbai monsoons! A stroll on beach side, enjoying a cup of masala chai, hearing the pitter patter of the raindrops on the window. When the mist collects on the window panes, writing the special someone’s name with your fingertips on the misty window, listening to cheesy love songs on repeat mode, reading a book and so on!

With these memories came in the thought that if I were in Mumbai, I would have opted to work from home and would have enjoyed hot snacks and endless rounds of chai while lazing away with family!

So being dreamy eyed I thought about my absolutely loved monsoon favorite – Kanda Bhajjis like they say in Mumbai or Onion Bhajiya (fritters). Here’s how I make them at home:

Comes Together in 15 minutes
Ingredients
1 3/4 up besan / gram flour
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp carrom seeds
3/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 green chillies finely chopped
1/4 tsp red chilly powder (add more if you can handle it)
2 tsp hot oil
1/2 tsp chaat masala
Water as required
Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Canola Oil to deep fry

In a mixing bowl, sift the besan and add spices, salt and mix it well with a fork.

Now add little water as per the consistency you like. I thin the batter until the back of the spoon is coated well. The batter should not be too thick else the bhajiyas will be too dough like.

Add the green chillies, coriander leaves and onions well with your finger tips and try to get incorporate some air while mixing them all together, this will help making the bhajiyas light and fluffy.

Add 2 tsp of hot oil from the kadai which will be used for deep frying. These are tips from my grandmother and they really make a difference!

Deep fry spoonfuls of batter in the hot oil and let them cook well on low to medium heat. Don’t be tempted to keep turning the bhajiyas often. Flip them over once they have beautiful golden brown color on each side.

Onion Bhajji

Serve with green chutney, tomato thokku or just with ketchup. Enjoy these!

Until next time happy cooking!

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji

Mumbai monsoons have arrived, said my dad with a chuckle and that we had a long chat reminiscing about how I used to love jumping in puddles of water as a kid when it used to rain! Given the opportunity, I still do 😛

We discussed how the average Mumbaikar’s idea of a good monsoon outing is visiting Juhu beach, eating gola, also known as chuski or shaved ice on a stick submerged in flavored food colored water and downing plates of bhel puri, dahi batata puri and of course the iconic Juhu beach Pav Bhaji.

We got nostalgic about our picnics there when I was a kid, the scary fall I had when horse riding or making sand castles. They were good fun times!

If you visit Mumbai, it is an important to-do in travel iternarary. Over the years the place has been very crowded and now it’s been many years I have not visited Juhu beach. I prefer Worli Seaface instead for the quiet there and listening to the waves!

Below is my take on the Pav Bhaji!

Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
6 medium potatoes boiled and mashed
1/2 cup green peas
1 1/2 cup caulifower florets
2 green chillies finely chopped (optional)
5 tsp canola oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic finely grated
6 tomatoes finely chopped
50 ml tomato paste
1 large capsicum finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
5-6 tsp butter
Coriander leaves for garnish
A few wedges of lemon

In a pressure cooker, boil the potatoes in salted water. Once cooled, mash them with a potato masher or with a fork. Set it aside.

Cauliflower - Peas Mash

In a pot, blanch caulifower florets and peas and give them a cold bath once out.

Cauliflower - Peas Mash 1

In a food processor, just blend them together to bread crumb consistency. Do not add any water to the blender. Set it aside.

Pav Bhaji - Prep

The key to making great pay bhaji is being sorted with the prep beforehand. The dish comes together quickly this way.

Let get started!

Traditionally, bhaji is cooked on a flat disc shaped iron tawa (griddle) but I had to do with a humble kadhai in my rental kitchen.

Pav Bhaji2

In a kadhai, heat some oil and add green chillies. Once it sizzles, add the ginger and garlic followed by the onions and cook them until they are translucent.

Pav Bhaji 3

Please note traditionally not many people use green chillies in the pav bhaji and use red chill paste instead. I did not have red chillies on hand and hence went for green chillies.

Pav Bhaji5

To the onions, add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Once mushy, add tomato paste, it lends a good consistency to the mix and also gives a deep red color. Cook them well.

Pav Bhaji6

Add chopped capsicum, sautee for a while and add the cauliflower and peas to the mixture.

Add pav bhaji masala, coriander powder, red chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Blend the ingredients well with some water.

Add mashed potato to the mixture and mix well. Keep adding water to the mixture as required.

Add dollops of butter and season well with salt, let it simmer for a while. Usually I use Lurpark or Ellie & Vier butter but for pav bhaji I bring out Amul butter.

Amul butter is just synonymous with Juhu beach style pav bhaji and is like a staple ingredient in every kitchen when making pav bhaji or maybe just me!

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and some more butter.

Prepare this dish when you feel like indulging and need not worry about the pav maska maar ke! (Indian bread with extra butter)

To have the pav with the bhaji, on a tawa just add butter and roast the pav in the buttery goodness for a few minutes until they have evenly browned.

Pav

You can buy good pav at the bakery section of Lulu or even try the portuguese rolls available at Waitrose.

Serve with dollops of butter on the side, lemon wedges and finely chopped onion.

Pav Bhaji1

I hope you relish this as much as I did. Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Vegetable Daliya / Bulgur Porridge

Breakfast 1

I am always on the look out for healthy recipes which are quick to make and are comforting as well. Past few weeks have not been great health wise and thus comes the focus on nutritious food packed with goodness of essential nutrients.

I love having couscous in my salads but this time around I was running out of it hence decided to go for a porridge like dish made of bulgur or broken wheat. I was bored with oats so did not opt for it.

It is a diabetic friendly dish which is high on fibre and protein. Easy to make and something which you can lay on the table in 20 minutes.

Daliya 1

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup daliya / broken wheat / bulgur
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped capsicum
1/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
1/4 cup peas
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp carrom seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups water
Salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add cumin seeds followed by carom seeds.

Once they sizzle, add some green chillies followed by onions.

Cook them until translucent, add tomatoes and cook them for a minute.

Add capsicum, peas and sautee them well. You could also add broccoli, sweet corn to the mixture.

Add all the dry spices and mix well and season it with salt as required.

Vegetables

Add bulgur to this mixture and roast it well until the spices are coated well with it.

Daliya

Add 3 cup warm water to the mixture, mix well and close the lid of the pressure cooker.

Pressure cook until 3 whistles and turn off the heat.

Breakfast

I served this with mango milkshake on a weekend taking in the views from my balcony. Until next time happy cooking!