Delicious Japanese Dashi Ramen

Ramen

Delicious Japanese Dashi Ramen

I have spent a lot of time in Japan over the years for work and for pleasure and I marvel at the way Japanese chefs elevate simple pure ingredients. Whether it is Sashimi, Tofu or Dashi, there is always a simple elegance in preparation and presentation, making sure the ingredient is the star of the plate!

Dashi is a baseline broth; the equivalent of chicken stock in Japanese cooking. It is used in its simplest form as a cleansing broth but it is also added to multiple dishes as a base umami flavour

I love it in it’s purest form and love to have it on its own or use it as a base for ramen, adding some combination of noodles and vegetables. This dish takes less than 10 minutes, so after a long day at work, it is a great way to warm up and get some dinner at the same time

Ingredients

  • 5g Kombu
  • ½ cup bonito flakes
  • 2 cups water
  • One head purple broccoli
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut aminos*
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 handful buckwheat soba noodles

*Coconut aminos comes from the sap of the coconut tree, it has very low glycemic levels, 17 amino acids and in plentiful in minerals and vitamins. Use it as a substitute to soya sauce/tamari

Method

  • Bring the cold water to the boil with the kombu, once you have reached a gentle boil, remove from heat and remove the kombu
  • Sprinkle bonito flakes in and let stand for 3 minutes, sieve and place back on the heat
  • Add the coconut aminos and sesame oil
  • Add the soba noodles and simmer for 3 minutes
  • In the mean time, lightly steam the broccoli, chop and add to the soup
  • Serve steaming hot, for a ramen facial

Here is a picture of Me and Mr B in Kyoto, Japan, as it would be amiss to leave him out of the post and he is not a fan of Ramen!

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Carrot Halwa (GF, DF, Vegan Dessert)

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Carrot Halwa (GF, DF, Vegan Dessert)

This dessert is usually made with lots of cream and sugar but this is a more natural version using almond milk, walnuts and dates. It is a northern Indian dish normally made with red carrots over a couple of days, during the colder months

Due to the lack of fat in this dish, it is a lot less sweet and indulgent than a normal dessert (just the way I personally like it), so for those with a sweet tooth add more sugar or pour over some simple syrup (just the way Mr B likes it)

I served this with almond milk Indian Chai, my guests loved it, but since I am still perfecting the recipe, I’ll post the recipe for this at a later date

I only recently realized that one of the common flavors in Indian desserts is cardamom. Most of the recipes I have seen, call for the addition of cardamom powder or seeds, which I like as it reminds me of tastes from my childhood, but isn’t everyones cup of chai. I can only describe it as a herbal spice. If you find you don’t like this, add a little cinnamon and nutmeg as a substitute

Happy New Year to you all from Tasha. Kitchen! May this year bring you love, beauty and balance

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. crushed cashews
  • 2 tbsp. cut up dates
  • 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts/pecans
  • 5 cups grated carrots
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp. raw sugar (optional to taste)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. crushed cardamom and/or saffron strands

Simple Syrup ingredients

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. crushed seeds from a cardamom pod or cardamom powder
  • ¼ tsp. saffron

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the cashews, cooking until golden, c. 2minutes
  • Add the dates and walnuts/pecans, c.2 minutes
  • Add the grated carrots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add the almond meal, almond milk, mix and cook until the milk has been absorbed, c. 15-20 minutes
  • Add the sugar (if using), salt, cardamom and saffron
  • Continue to cook until fully combines, c.8-10 minutes
  • Serve warm or chilled
  • For the simple syrup add all the ingredients into a saucepan, heat over a medium heat until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to become a little thicker
  • Pour over hot, or let cool a little if you’d prefer a cold dessert

Gluten Free Chia Flatbreads

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Gluten Free Chia Flatbreads

There isn’t a lot of gluten in Indian cuisine apart from breads and since everything can be served with rice, you can just choose to avoid it. I personally like being able to scoop up the sauce with a nice piece of roti or naan and so went on a hunt for healthy, gluten free version. Well my treasure hunt turned up something great, so much so that I thought it deserved its own blog

This recipe is packed with ancient superfoods, some of which you may not have come across, so allow me to explain

Chia seeds – Chia is nutrient dense and energy boosting, the Aztec’s said one spoonful could sustain them for 24 hours. The seeds are rich in fiber, omega 3-fats, protein, vitamins and minerals

Psyllium Husk – Psyllium is derived from a herb mainly grown in India. It is a great source of fiber, helping to regulate high cholesterol and blood sugar levels

Amaranth – This is an ultimate ancient grain, it is full of whole grain nutrition but naturally gluten free. It contains all nine essential amino acids and lysine, a protein missing in most grains. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium and phosphorus

These ingredients come together to give you a nice springy mixture, which roles out well and can be cooked in a dry pan, similar to roti. Feel free to slather the roti with vegan butter or ghee if vegetarian, to keep them moist and add a little richness

Mr. B likes these with Indian food or on their own as a portable breakfast

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 5 tbsp. psyllium husk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup amaranth or sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch or corn starch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • ½ cup amaranth or rice flour for dusting

Method

  • Blend or grind the chia and psyllium husk into a coarse meal. Combine them with the water in a large bowl and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will firm to a gel
  • In another bowl mix the dry ingredients; flour, starch, salt, baking powder and garam masala
  • Add the dry mixture to the gel mixture, add the oil and knead to combine
  • Once combined, let sit for 5 minutes under a towel
  • Grease your hands and divide the mixture into c. 10-12 parts. Roll into balls, flour a surface and rolling pin and roll out
  • Heat a frying pan, when hot, place the flatbread in the pan, cook until a few bubbled appear and then flip. Repeat until cooked through with a few dark brown spots on each side
  • Place on a towel when ready and cover till ready to eat

Chana Dal

Channa Dal

Chana Dal

This is a lentil dish for beginners with little process and just a few of your everyday spices.

These lentils are sweet and nutty and come from black chickpeas that are split and the outer cover is removed. There are different ways to make this dish, with this one being northern Indian inspired.

My grandma made this without the tinned tomatoes so hers would have been more traditionally yellow in colour. I like the addition here of the tomatoes as it combines my Italian and Indian family roots and makes the dish a little more tart, to be served with rice or pasta

This dish is natural and healthy, gluten, dairy free and full of herbs and spices that have multitudes of health benefits. It is also high in protein and low calorie

Mr B and I took great pleasure eating this on a snowy day, sitting in our home near the window and pretending we were in our own snow globe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander/cilantro to serve

Method

  • Pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water
  • Soak the dal in water for an hour
  • Drain the lentils, add to the pot with the water and turmeric and bring to the boil
  • Boil until the lentils are soft, skimming any white foam off the top as you go
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil
  • Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds
  • Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds
  • Add the onions and fry for another 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chilli
  • Stir and add all the dry spices, stir
  • Once thoroughly combined, add to the lentils
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve with coriander

Garlic Chive Pancakes (GF,DF,Vegan)

Garlic Chive Pancakes

Garlic Chive Pancakes

Garlic Chives grow wild in the English countryside, they are lovely and tasty and you rub the leaf and it smells of garlic, which is how you know the difference between a garlic chive a weed! Unfortunately I am no longer in the English countryside and thus I bought these from a farmers market in NYC.

I used them to make Mr. B a garlic chive version of the infamous American Asian snack, the scallion pancake. It is quick and easy and I used rice flour to make it gluten free

The dipping sauce is a wonderfully umami with a little mix of tamari and honey

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped garlic chives
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. honey

Method

  • Add all the pancakes together apart from the coconut oil
  • Heat the oil in the pan and ladle to mixture in, creating a thin layer covering the bottom of the pan
  • When you start to see bubbles appear in the middle of the pancake, flip to brown the other side
  • Once cooked through, place on a chopping board and cut into four quadrants once cooled
  • Repeat
  • For the dipping sauce, mix the ingredients
  • Serve with the dipping sauce

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

Rice Porridge

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

I lived with my maternal grandmother (Bigmama) for the larger part of my childhood and she influenced so many parts of my personality in those former years, including my love of food. For my grandma food was a tool. A means to show love, a way of bringing her family together, a way of connecting to the community and a way of retaining the parts of her heritage she had left so far behind.

One of the first memories I can recall from living with Bigmama was the incense she used to use with prayers at 4am in the morning. Scents of earthy sandalwood would enter my dreams, taking me to enchanted places as the sun started to rear its head over the horizon.

At 6am, the smell of poppy seeds being tempered in ghee (clarified butter) would start making it’s way up the stairs and into my coax me awake, signalling the start of a new day. By the time I got down the stairs the table would be set with chutneys, all different type, spicy carrot, sweet mango and sour tamarind, as well as different types of poppadum’s, fried, baked, flat, round, all giving a different texture when mixed in with the kitcheree. As we sat and mixed up our porridge my grandma would talk about her life before coming to the UK, bringing up her children and the shop she had run, where she would import food from all over the world, creating a liturgy of foodie children.

This is an ode to that wonderful warming porridge, with a modern twist using mushrooms, since I haven’t quite developed my chutney or poppadum recipes. I’ll never replace the conversations, but Mr. B tries pretty hard and I love him for that.

Ingredients

Porridge

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup split green moong dal
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
  • 2 tsps. Mustard seeds

Oyster Mushrooms

  • ½ pound oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  • Soak the rice and dal together for an hour
  • Bring to the boil with 4 cups of water, skim the white foam off the top
  • Add salt and leave to simmer, c. 30 minutes
  • Cook till you get a soft texture and taste to add more salt if needed
  • Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon
  • Heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add them to the cooked porridge
  • Mix it and serve hot
  • For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil with the garlic to infuse the flavour into the oil
  • Place the oyster mushrooms in the pan. Keep in one place in the pan for 3-5 minutes until to braise and add colour, flip once near the end of cooking to cook the other side
  • Serve with the porridge, providing a different texture and flavour profile

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

This chocolate treat has three main ingredients and takes not time at all in a blender. It is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, refined sugar free and high in protein. It has a deep, decadent texture and ‘you won’t believe it’s made of tofu’, which is a wonderful ancient healthy ingredient that takes on the taste of whatever you are making. Here it is really used for the silky texture and in blind tastings no one would ever guess it is the main ingredient.

I like to serve it with lots of berries to cut through the richness of the mousse, it also adds a little color to the plate. I have also added a little gold fairy dust here, for a magical finish.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 300g soft silken tofu
  • 80g vegan chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Melt the vegan chocolate using a heat proof bowl over a pot of hot water, don’t let the bowl touch the water
  • Stir the chocolate until it melts completely and then take it off the heat to cool for a few minutes
  • In the mean time, prepare the tofu by taking it out of the packaging, squeeze a little to get rid of some of the water, then blend till smooth
  • Add the chocolate and rest of the ingredients
  • Transfer into glasses or ramekins, serve with berries to cut through the richness