Tag Archives: light

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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Tomato and Roast Pepper Ekadashi Soup

It’s Ekadashi yet again and I have decided to religiously publish some exciting food that we can enjoy on our fasting days:)

Hopefully this will give people incentive to feast oops I meant  fast more often;)

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since Thursday – I think it must be the sudden drop in temperature in Joburg! Yes, summer is officially over! I thought I’d warm myself up with this absolutely delicious roast pepper and tomato soup. It is so good, I would even make this on a non-fast day, and enjoy it with some croutons or warm buttered bread:D I think I will repeat this some time next week!

My FAVOURITE long Pimento peppers are something that I can’t do without anymore. The flavour they lend to any dish is so sweet, deep and also a bit fiery. Don’t worry too much if you can’t get your hands on these – you can use yellow or red peppers, or anything similar:) The trick is to roast them – it’s what releases the deep flavours within.

I really enjoyed flavouring this soup with the basil and chilli from my garden. It is SUCH a pleasure to be able to snip ingredients from my mother’s little herb and vegetable garden. I really wish to cultivate the skill of gardening soon!

 

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I couldn’t resist photographing my quirky little  scissors that I use for snipping herbs in the garden. I got them from Melissas in Cape Town for a mere R10.00 !

 

Preperation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients: 

2 Pimento peppers ( or any other red, or yellow peppers that you can get your hands on)

8-12 ripe tomatoes

2-4 fresh chillis

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp black cumin ( shahi jeera )

a handful of basil leaves

1 tsp black pepper

salt to taste

*A dollop of creme fraiche

 

Method:

Chop the peppers into large chunks. Halve the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees. Make sure that the edgers of the peppers are slightly charred, and that the tomatoes are oozing and their skins slightly dehydrated. I have to admit that I popped mine into my Philips Air Fryer for about 15 minutes at the same temperature) – probably one of the BEST gadgets I have ever purchased. It saves me so much time, and not to mention – oil! If you are using a normal oven, try switching to “Grill” mode for the last 5-7 minutes of roasting, to help with the charring.

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Chuck into a blender and aim to achieve a smooth puree.  Heat the olive oil and add the cumin. Follow with basil once the cumin is sizzling in the oil. Now it’s time to add the puree…maybe even come some aside, and  use the thick, rich puree as a dip, pasta sauce or sandwich spread!

Add salt, pepper and a knob of butter if you wish! Add two cups of warm water and stir continously until the soup comes to the boil.

Check your seasoning and adjust if required.

Serve HOT with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and garnish with a sprig of basil. Enjoy!

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Warm Couscous Salad

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So, I’m trying very hard these days to make healthy salads. I’m also trying very hard to avoid a dirty little carb habit that I never thought I had until I started keeping a food diary! Eeek!

Yes I do know that couscous = carbs . But the transition has to be slow and steady!

For the salad: (for 4 people)

1 1/2 cups of cous cous

1 1/2 cups of water

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp salt

4 mixed paprika peppers (or any peppers will do!)

4 small zucchinis

1/3 cup of olive halves

1/2 cup feta

1/2 cup toasted almond flakes*

salt

pepper

olive oil

chilli*

mixed lettuce*

*optional

Dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp crushed green chilli

salt

pepper

Easy:

Thinly slice the zucchinis, and cut the paprika’s into slightly chunkier strips ( this is up to you, I do it like this because I get more of the flavour this way! ).

Throw the veggies into a grilling pan, drizzle generously with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper . You can add a bit of green chilli if you like things a bit hot! Place in the oven on 180 for 5 minutes, and then on GRILL for another 7 minutes ( until you notice that they’re charred to your preference).

While the veggies are grilling away, bring the water + salt to the boil.

Once boiling, stir in the couscous and olive oil with a fork. After 5 minutes of resting, gently loosen the couscous with a fork to get it all fluffy and light!

Mix the dressing ingredients together and keep aside.

Once the vegetables are ready, toss them through the couscous. Add the remaining salad ingredients and mix.

Don’t be shy with the dressing! Pour generously and serve the couscous  on a bed of greens.

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