Couscous Salad

I have busy first looking for one and then moving houses for the last few weeks now. It is such a tiring process.

But I had a lot of fun looking for new furniture, Nonetheless we finally moved in our new house this weekend and I wanted to make up for all wall of silence on my blog. So here I am, back to the Middle Eastern spread on the blog, sharing an easy recipe for the couscous salad.

Couscous Salad

This is a new favorite and an easy lunch box recipe. It gets ready quickly on weekday mornings. You can chop up the veggies while the couscous is resting.

Couscous is a healthy protein rich option and also low on calories. Add any veggies you love to eat on a given day and you have colorful lunch box which you co-workers would like to dig in.

Comes Together in : 15 Minutes max
Ingredients

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 finely chopped cucumber
1 finely chopped red onion
2 finely chopped tomatoes
6 finely chopped baby radish
2 tsp olive oil
3 tsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon or more as needed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Handful of finely chopped dill leaves

In a wide bowl, pour boiling water over couscous and cover it with a lid for 10 minutes.

Let the couscous absorb all the water. After uncovering the lid, when all water is absorbed, use a fork to fluff the couscous and let it cool for a while.

Fluffy Couscous

You could also use vegetable stock to add flavors.

Couscous Tomato Paste

Add the tomato paste and with hands rub the paste in to the couscous.

Veggies

Add all veggies. Dress the salad with olive oil, salt, black pepper and dill leaves.

Couscous Salad1

Toss them well and let it refrigerate for a bit. Savour this on a hot summery afternoon!

Until next time happy cooking!

Hummus

Eid Mubarak everyone! I hope this festival brings in loads of joy and happiness to you and your family.

I’m sharing a recipe of hummus as I make at my place. Hummus is a popular Arabic dip perfect to be served with pita bread (khuboos) or just as a side for any appetizers.

Hummus2

Homemade hummus is much more healthier and cheaper than it’s canned counterparts. Easy to make and stores well for 3-4 days in an airtight container or a mason jar. Sometimes when I have the time and determination to indulge in batch cooking over weekends, instead of using canned chickpeas I go for the freshly cooked chickpeas.

It’s pretty simple! Soak chickpeas overnight and pressure cook them in salted water, drain the chickpeas and then make fresh hummus. Preserve the liquid in which the chickpeas are cooked and substitute the same with plain water as indicated in the recipe. It tastes fantastic and really makes a difference.

Hummus is my go to snack to carry for work. I eat this with baby carrots, cucumber sticks or just crackers. It is rich in protein, folic acid, Vitamin C and iron. Better than a pack of salty crisps any day!

I also substitute peanut butter with hummus for days when I feel too much PBJ sandwiches did no one any good!

Why add Tahini Paste to this ? Read here!

Comes Together In : 10 minutes
(Considering time taken to make Tahini Paste)

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini paste
5 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Olive oil and paprika to garnish

Puree the chickpeas with garlic, add little water to facilitate a smooth texture.

Chickpeas

Add tahini paste and the remaining ingredients. Keep adding water and olive oil a little at a time.

Once the texture is smooth and velvety, remove in a bowl or store well.

Hummus1

This versatile recipe can be altered to your own liking. Garnish with olive oil and add Za’atar powder, sumac powder, cumin powder or just paprika to spice up.

Until next time Happy Cooking! 🙂

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

I’m addicted to smoothies for breakfasts in summers and love to have an array of fruits ready at home which allows me try different flavour combinations!

I do not like bananas much! However this time around I had a change of heart and added a frozen banana. It lends a creamy texture and the strawberries masked the banana flavour for me.

I cannot stress enough how good strawberries are for us. It is loaded with essential nutrients and contain antioxidants which shields the immune system from many diseases. It also lowers the risk of diabetes, strokes and cancer. Is this the reason I eat them ? Not completely, I love them!

Fruit Bowl

The shiny and lovely red brightening many fruit bowls and just plain regular oatmeal. If I skip smoothies, I pack myself an box of fruits and granola bar. It make breakfast more exciting while at work!

Boxes of strawberries lined up neatly on supermarket shelves remind me of my summer trips to Mahabaleshwar. It is a small hill station some 300 odd kilometres away from Mumbai. A few kilometres away is Panchgani where Mapro is located.

They have berry farms and as I kid, I recollect going there and having the fresh strawberries and later having them served with vanilla icecream. They also had a strawberry cream which was a hit with my family!

Smoothie2

Serves : 2

The Magic happens in : 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 frozen banana diced
1 cup fresh strawberries diced
1 Zespri kiwi diced
1/2 tsp super seed powder
300 ml strawberry juice / mix fruit juice
Few fresh strawberries and blueberries to garnish

Blend all the ingredients together and serve them immediately!

Smoothie1

You could add honey or agave syrup if you want the smoothie to be on a sweeter side.

Until next time happy cooking! 🙂

Very Berry Smoothie

My husband does not believe that I used to give my mum a really hard time having fruits as a kid. I used to hate every fruit, with strawberries and mangoes being an exception.

As a teen, I took a liking to oranges, sweet limes and kiwis mainly because my friends at college were obsessed with orange juice with chilly cheese toast to be had on an almost daily basis post our tuitions. I gave in due to peer pressure and my mum could not thank my friends enough.

Fast forward to last 6-7 years and I love fruits. In fact I look forward to having smoothies, fruit juices with breakfast and fruit based sorbets and frozen fruit yoghurts as desserts. A transformation of sorts!

With Dubai summers having dawned on us, smoothies are a staple breakfast accompaniment these days. Last weekend I was quite nostalgic about my college days back in Mumbai and as an ode to the chilly cheese toast and juice days, I made the same for breakfast.

Breakfast

Sahil loved the smoothie. I used bottled Lacanor mixed fruit juice since I was not keen on yoghurt based smoothie that day. Below is the recipe for the smoothie loaded with the goodness of antioxidants and all essential vitamin C and E. This is low in fat and offer high fiber and mineral content.

Ingredients
2 Zespri Kiwis
1 cup chopped srawberries
1/2 cup blueberry
400 ml Lacanor mixed fruit juice
Juice and pulp of 2 fresh oranges
1tsp flax seed-super seed powder
1 tsp runny honey (optional)
A few ice cubes (optional)

In a blender, add all the fruits, juice and seed powder and mix well.

Fruits

At my place, I usually powder flax seeds and super seeds in a spice grinder and keep it in an airtight jar.

I use this mixture in smoothies, muesli, granola parfaits, cookie and cake mixtures. Flaxseeds and other super seeds are great source of getting iron, fiber, folic acid, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B. I do not support taking supplements, I much prefer getting these essential nutrients by natural sources.

I skipped the honey this time since the berries were sweet enough for our liking.

Berry Smoothie

I hope you enjoy this smoothie as much as I did. Until next time may the Sun God be kind to us in this part of the world! 🙂

Disclaimer : This is not a paid post. I have not collaborated with Zespri or Lacanor brands in specific. I prefer them over others and hence the mention.

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!

Spicy & Tangy Chickpeas

I discussed following a high protein diet for the last few weeks and in continuation to the same I decided to blog about this Spicy & Tangy Chickpeas recipe.

Chickpeas Masala1

Again this is a quick dish I make for office lunches with chapattis. It comes together quickly in 15 minutes and sees me out of the door with a brown bag in hand.

Living in Dubai, opting for take aways and ordering in food regularly at work is often the easy way out. But even if you spend a minimum of AED 20 on lunch everyday, the amount can dig up a hole in your pockets by month end. I rather treat myself to a new cookbook or a massage from the money saved by carrying lunch.

It’s a habit I try to keep at and constantly look of recipes which do not see me in kitchen for long on work day mornings.

In this recipe, I have substituted the chaat masala with sumac powder and I can say that I am not going back. This was a good call.

Sumac is a popular spice used in Middle Eastern cooking. A few spices which I discovered after coming to Dubai and which fascinated me were Zaatar, Sumac and Dried Loomi powder while strolling in the spice souks of Global Village and Union Co-op shelves.

Sumac is a good source of Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids and is an antioxidant. It has a very subtle lemony and tart flavour and I love sprinkling it to on my salads, hummus and chaats.

Serves : 4
Cooking Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1stick cinnamon
2 star anise
1 green chilly finely chopped (You can add 2 if you can handle the spice)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
3 tsp canola oil
1 1/4 tsp sumac powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves

In a wok, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they sizzle, add green chillies and ginger garlic paste.

Let it cook for a minute and add onions.

Add tomatoes once onions have browned. Cook tomatoes with the dry spices until they leave a ring of oil on the sides of the wok.

Add salt to taste and drained and rinsed chickpeas and sauté them with the mixture well.

Cook for a few minutes, take off heat and garnish some freshly chopped coriander leaves and slit green chillies.

Chickpeas Masala

Until next time let me know you quick fix recipes!

Paneer Bhurji

A wall of silence on the blog! While I may have not blogged for the last 2 weeks, a lot of cooking happened. Past few weeks have been all about cooking for family.

Late Holi wishes to everyone out here, this Holi we celebrated with our extended families, lots of food, laughter and a sense of belonging. Gujiyas relished from Old Delhi sweet shop. One of the best festive celebrations we have had since we embraced our expat lives in Dubai.

Gujiya

These days I’m trying to follow a high protein diet. Being a vegetarian, paneer or cottage cheese is the most common substitution for meat in Indian sub-continent. It is also an excellent source of calcium. 

If I’m busy, I just buy a block of cheese from Lulu’s or Bikanerwala or else make it at home. It is a staple in my pantry. While I love my Paneer with vegetables and in Makhni gravy, sometimes all you need is a no-fuss and easy to make dish.
On days like this, I have this recipe of Paneer Bhurji handy. A bhurji is simply means a scramble. On work day mornings, it gets ready in a jiffy including the prep and it means I can brown bag my lunch and not spend my molaah on take-aways.
Paneer Bhurji 1
Serves : 4
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 minutes
 
Ingredients 
200 grams cottage cheese / paneer
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
2 medium sized tomato finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
5 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
One bunch of Spring onions greens finely chopped
Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped for garnishing
In a wok heat some oil, add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle and add green chillies and ginger garlic paste.
Onions
Add onions after a minute and cook them until they are translucent.
Masala
Add tomatoes, tomato paste and the dry spices and cook them until the mixture leaves a ring of oil on the sides.You can also add green peas and capsicum to the mixture.
With your hand just crumble the paneer lightly or you could use a box grater.
Paneer
Blend the paneer well with the onion-tomato mixture and cook for a while until the mixture is not quite moist.
Spring Onions
Sprinkle with the greens of spring onions and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and take the Bhurji off heat. I did not have some on hand hence no garnish for me 😩
Paneer Bhurji
Serve with fluffy phulkas or toasted bread with butter.
Next post I will bring you stories from my meeting with the MasterChef himself, Sanjeev Kapoor and the euphoria that followed after the same. Also my experience of meeting the Curry Queen – Camellia Panjabi, such a lovely lady. Me and Sahil had a really candid and heart warming conversation about differences in coastal cuisines and misrepresentation of Indian cuisine internationally on many instances. How we asked her to please write a new cook book and much more!

 Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂