Simplified Palak Paneer

I’ve been meaning to post this for atleast a month..while I was still fasting for Shravan.
Finally, I had the perfect opportunity to publish this post yesterday for all my fasting friends, until I realised that my images were “missing”.

This morning I found my fourth memory card in the depths of my boot…*ashamed*. I am SURE there are a few ungodly things hiding in the dark corners of my car…I am really hoping to resolve my car-storage issues this week!

I am totally bored with potatoes, moriyo (samo) and sabudana ( sago/tapioca). It reminds me of tasteless mush that I often ate on fasting days while growing up. It takes a skilled cook to actually make those dishes taste anything but bland! ( Yes, I know…fasting is not meant to be tasty!)

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I made this healthy, delicious Palak Paneer on Ekadashi some time ago.

Ingredients: Preparation Time: 10 minutes if you are really slow :p Otherwise 5. Cooking Time: 10 minutes

A big bag ( 250ish grams) of fresh baby spinach.. sorry, I don’t measure these kinds of things. I judge according to how many people I need to feed;)….just being honest!
1.5 cups cubed paneer.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp green chilli
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 tsp salt ( more, or less..to your taste!)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp khas khas ( white/opium poppy seeds)
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1.5 tsp dhana jeeru ( ground cumin + coriander)
1 tsp red chilli
1 tsp taj masala ( cassia/cinnamon powder)

2 tablespoons of reduced fat fresh cream

Method:
Wash and spin the spinach. Make sure there is MINIMAL water/moisture left on the leaves before you continue.
Blitz in a food processor until a fine consistency is achieved. I like to stop JUST before it turns into a puree. You can add a tablespoon or so of water to help the process.

In a deep frying pan or a wok, heat the olive oil. Add the cumin, khas khas ,chilli and ginger until you can hear that delicious sizzling sound. Add the cashew nuts and fry until golden. I love to add a little extra! Add the mint leaves and fry for about half a minute.

Stir in the spinach. Add the remaining spices, and simmer on medium-high heat for 7 minutes.
Add the paneer, then reduce the heat and add salt and fresh cream. Simmer for 3 minutes.

My sister made these VERY healthy , gluten free bhakhris (flat bread) made with Rajigra flour, to go with this delicious palak paneer. I promise to add her recipe soon.

I know sometimes ingredients are difficult to find. Use vegetable oil or butter if you’re out of olive oil.
Use ricotta cheese, or even haloumi cheese for a nice change, if you can’t get your hands on paneer.
It was such a refreshing change from the usual potato-heavy dishes eaten on Ekadashi.
Serve hot, with a squeeze of lemon!

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‘Shrooms on Toast

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I’ve been wanting to devour creamy mushrooms on toast for breakfast for some time now. The best breakfast, is always the breakfast after a day of fasting. My mother always makes us thepla and baked beans after ekadashi, or mugh, the traditional breakfast eaten after observing a waterless fast – nirjala…
Since she’s away, I thought I’d go ahead with my ‘shrooms on toast plan!

Please, feel free to use any mushrooms that you can get your hands on. I just like to mix two different types to add depth to the flavour.

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Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 punnet portobellini mushrooms
1 cup dehydrated porcini mushrooms
1 tsp crushed green chilli
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp reduced fat fresh cream ( or heavy cream if you insist!)
1 tbsp parmesan cheese*
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
fresh rocket or basil leaves
salt to taste

low GI bread
butter*

Method:

Soak the dehydrated mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes, while you prep the portobellini mushrooms, make a cup of tea, and set the table and do your hair:)
Slice the fresh mushrooms to a thickness of your preference. Sometimes I like to keep mine a bit chunky as they shrink when cooked.
Spread a bit of butter (if you’re feeling generous, a good teaspoon will do:) ) on each slice of toast and grill in the oven for about 10 minutes.
While the toast is under the grill, heat the olive oil in a shallow pan. Add the chilli , black pepper and nutmeg and fry until sizzling.
Drain the mushrooms, and cook for 10 minutes. Make sure that the mushrooms do not crowd each other, otherwise you will land up with a soggy mess for breakfast.
Gently stir in the cream and simmer for another 2 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

Pile up the delicious creamy mushrooms onto crispy grilled toast, and top with fresh rocket or basil leaves.
Be sure to add another sprinkle of parmesan!
Enjoy!

P.S: Feel free to use any variety of mushrooms, even simple button mushrooms found at regular grocery stores.
The parmesan cheese is also optional

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High Fibre Digestive Biscuits

I really love digestive biscuits. Did you know that Prince William’s wedding cake was a digestive biscuit cake… another reason I’ve always wanted to make these biscuits;) Image

I’m also delighted to have been advised by a dietician that they’re the kind of biscuits that you should not feel so “guilty about”..unless your hand reaches for the biscuit tin for the third or fourth time in one go!;)

I love having digestive biscuits for breakfast , with some fruit and yoghurt — I will be posting my new favourite weekday breakfast sometime soon. Watch this space! I’ve been dying to make some at home.
I’m not particularly good at baking biscuits but I find this recipe which I adapted from The Little Loaf to be FOOL PROOF!

Ingredients: ( makes 36 biscuits ) 100g oats
100 g plain flour
4 tbsp wheat germ
4 tbsp whole wheat bran
100g Muscavado sugar ( or any brown sugar will do )
200g cold butter (chopped into small cubes)
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
6 tbsp cold milk ( I used low-fat , but you can use whatever you prefer)
Method:
Pop the oats into the blender and blitz until you achieve a finer texture.
Mix the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
Rub the butter through until the mixture resembles a crumbly soil texture.
Add the milk and mix by hand to form a smooth dough. Store in an air-tight container or wrap in cling-film for 15 minutes in the fridge. After the dough has chilled, roll out to about 3-4mm.
I had to use a sprinkle of flour now and then to stop the dough from sticking to the surface and my rolling pin.
Cut into +- 5cm diameter circles and prick with a tooth pick, or any other decorative imprint if you wish.
Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
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Make sure you leave enough dough to make a special biscuit for your dog!
It wasn’t too difficult to wake Rojho up with the aroma of warm cookies. He devoured his digestive biscuit and wondered where he could find some more. Image
Enjoy!

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