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
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Butternut Squash Carpaccio

Squash Carpaccio

Butternut Squash Carpaccio

I found this recipe in a raw vegetable book, in which everything looks more like art than food. This dish is no exception, with it variety of vegetal colours including the deep orange from the butternut squash, the garden fresh green from the arugula and the beautiful vibrant pink from the pomegranates that look like jewels on the plate

This is a light starter and super healthy, it will impress your guests but hardly has any process or time involved. Mr. B as always is my primary taster and I wasn’t sure he would like my raw art adventure, however to my surprise he gave quiet a few nods, noting it as ‘a light and refreshing dish with a nice variety of textures and tastes’

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic glaze
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 butternut squash, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Method

  • Peel the butternut squash
  • Use a mandolin to slice the butternut squash
  • Place the slices in the olive with salt and pepper and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to a few hours depending on when you are to serve
  • Once the slices have softened place them on a plate
  • Mix the arugula with the balsamic glaze and place on top of the Carpaccio
  • Sprinkle the pomegranates over the top and serve

 

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

Beetroot, Potato, Peanut Butter Tikki

Aloo Peanut Butter Tikkis

Beetroot, Potato, Peanut Butter Tikki

This recipe is a modern interpretation of the classic Aloo Tikki, also known as the potato tikki. The recipe is adapted from Chef Manish Mehrotra’s Indian Accent cookbook. His restaurant in New Delhi was recently named India’s best restaurant and his New York version is fast gaining in reputation.

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it seemed a little odd, but it really works. The tikki’s work with a full range of textures and tastes, from the sweetness of the beetroot to the creaminess of the potatoes, the saltiness and crunchy texture of the peanuts, heat and spice from the aromatics and garam masala and the subtle sweetness from the peanut butter.

My grandma used to make Aloo Tikki’s and we would love dipping them into her beautiful vibrant coriander (cilantro) and mint chutney (see older recipe), licking our fingers and the plate when we were done.

This one is for my Bigmama, my kitchen companion and inspiration.

Ingredients

  • 2 beetroots
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tsp. ghee/clarified butter
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. minced green chillies
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. crushed peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f, wash the beetroot, wrap in foil and roast for c.30 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cooled, peel and grate
  • Boil the potatoes and when cooled, grate
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle, sauté the ginger, garlic and green chilli
  • Add the grated beetroot, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the water evaporates
  • Add grated potato, garam masala and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add salt to taste
  • Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and mix in crushed peanuts
  • Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. Place the ball one at a time into the palm of your hand and make a small indentation. Fill with peanut butter and shape into a patty. Repeat with the balance of the patties
  • Put in the fridge, while clearing up, to firm
  • When ready to eat, grease a baking tray with coconut oil and bake or pan fry

 

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

Chickpea cookies

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

This is a super easy recipe for one of those days when you just need a cookie straight out of the oven

The wonderful thing about this cookie is that it tastes and smells like a normal chocolate chip cookie but has no flour or sugar. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?! I didn’t think this one would make it through my sweet tooth tasters, but they loved it!

This takes 5 minutes prep time and c. 15 minutes in the oven, making it quicker than ordering insomnia cookies on seamless (a Mr. B move when I am away…)!

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ½ cup natural almond/peanut butter
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ dairy free milk
  • 1 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • A pinch sea salt
  • 50g vegan chocolate chips (cacao nibs if you want no sugar and/or a textural contrast)

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350c
  • Blend all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips
  • Fold in the chocolate chips
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment
  • Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, one heaped tablespoon per cookie and squish it down
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown
  • Serve warm or cool

 

Gorgeous Gooey Black Bean Brownies

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Gorgeous Gooey Black Bean Brownies

Why would I want to eat a healthy brownie, when I could eat a rich, deep, gooey chocolaty brownie instead?

What if this was one and the same thing?!

Introducing the gluten free, flour free, dairy free, nut free brownie. It is super easy and takes around 20 minutes, using my trusted blender.

The secret ingredient here is undetectable, as per my trusted tasters and with black beans as the main ingredient, you can be rest assured that you have had at least one of your five a day!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. raw cacao
  • ½ cup oats
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350c
  • Combine all the ingredients, except the chips, into the blender
  • Stir in the chips and pour into a cake pan, sprinkle some extra chips over the top
  • Place in the oven for 15 mins and let cool for at least 10 mins before serving
  • If a little soft when you take it out of the oven, place in the fridge and the brownies will firm up

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Black Beans (above)