Green Eggs & Slam

Palak Shakshouka

Palak Shakshouka

Hello from the land of misal pao & kadak Chai! So amazing to be back home this time of the year. But I guess everyone feels that way considering the maddening traffic outside! So far, the only thing off the bucket list is Chai, but I’m on it. As a favor to my waistline, I tried eating healthy before I left for my trip to Bombay, and here’s one of those #eatclean recipes if you’re on a binge mission like moi this December!

Shakshouka meets palak paneer, without the paneer because Paneer is my least favorite kind of cheese. (Is it cheese even ?) Never mind that, I’m focusing on the better things in life, like Eggs!! Eggs never let you down (unless you nuke them in the microwave in a hurry) I made my palak in the Instant Pot but you can definitely use your own family recipe. (Or take out, I never judge)

Ingredients (for healthier palak of the palak paneer fame)

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 pack frozen chopped spinach
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 tbsp chhole masala (trust me)
  • 1 cup skim milk

Preparation (for healthier palak of the palak paneer fame)

  1. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode .
  2. Add the oil, seeds, onions and Sauté until brown.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, spices and mix. Let it cook for a minute.
  4. Add the spinach and milk.
  5. Cover with the lid while sealing and turn to Manual. Adjust the time to 5 minutes.
  6. Quick release once the beeper goes off. Let it cool a little and grind to a coarse paste. (I used my Ninja Mixer)
  7. In a small iron skillet/non stick pan, pour about enough palak curry so its half full (or half empty if you’re one of those)
  8. Crack 2 or 3 eggs over it. Cover and cook till the eggs are cooked (about 10 minutes on medium to low heat)
  9. Serve with some whole grain bread !
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Soup Yourself!

Mulligatawny-ish soup with Bulgur

Mulligatawny-ish Lentils & Bulgur Soup

Its extreme soup weather and lucky for me I only have to deal with it for a week longer. Decembers in Bombay used to feel cold at one point but I’m hoping that these several New York winters have finally cured that problem of mine.

I have a long list of foods that I can’t wait to eat while there with “maa ke haath ka khana” (mom-made food), kathi roll at my sister’s & Joginder’s Chai fighting for the top spot!! Although I take pride in being a born & bred Bombaite (notice i didn’t say Mumbai?), lately I feel like a tourist with all these new cafes and restaurants popping up on every corner (or should I say in every mill?). Hoping to cure that problem too, so recommendations are very welcome!

Now back to this recipe which is a healthier spin on the classic mulligatawny soup made instantly in the Instant Pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup mixed frozen veggies (carrots, green beans, etc)
  • 1/2 cup Tur dal + 1/2 cup masoor dal + 1/2 cup red bulgur (washed and soaked for about 30 minutes)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 – 2 tsp cayenne powder (optional 🌶)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

PreparationTurn the Instant Pot on Sauté mode.

  • Add the oil, cumin seeds and curry leaves and let them crackle. Add the asafoetida, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, coconut and the veggies one after the other in this particular order and Sauté till golden brown.
  • Add the soaked dal & bulgur mixture.
  • Add 3 cups of water.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and close the lid.
  • Place on soup mode and adjust time to 15 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Once you open the lid, add 3 cups of hot water and mix. Adjust the consistency & seasoning and serve warm with a wedge of lime.

Pack that Paratha

Edamame Paratha with Wasabi Raita

Edamame Stuffed Paratha with Wasabi Raita

As much as I love the good old aloo (potatoes) paratha, it’s definitely time to give that aloo a break. Thanksgiving can be a pretty traumatic time for an aloo!! (What it does to your waistline is a whole different topic we’ll avoid at this moment)

So I decided to stuff my paratha with something more protein and less carbs. Replaced the refined flour with some whole wheat flour and of course, paired this Edamame goodness with some delicious non fat wasabi Raita (yogurt sauce) All that paratha fun with a nutritional twist.

Ingredients & Preparation

Whole wheat Dough

For dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water to make the dough
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, oil and salt.
  2. Gradually add water by the spoonfuls till the dough starts to come together.
  3. Knead until you get a soft, non-sticky & elastic dough for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and let it rest while you get the stuffing ready.

Defrosted edamame Mashed edamame Japanese chili powder Japanese chili powder

For stuffing

  • 1 pack frozen shelled edamame (defrosted in the microwave for 3 mins)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tsp paprika powder
  • 3-4 tsp Japanese chili powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Chaat masala
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Grind the defrosted edamame until you get a coarse mash.
  2. Add the rest of the seasoning & spices.
  3. Mix well & set aside.

Wasabi paste

For Raita

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt + 1/2 cup water ( or use 1+1/2 cups regular yogurt instead)
  • 1/2- 1 tsp wasabi paste (depending on its potency & your tolerance)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Whisk all the Raita ingredients & refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dough ballStuffing the dough Wrapping the the dough around the stuffing Stuffed dough Rolling the Paratha Cooking the Paratha Cooked Paratha

Preparation for the Paratha

  1. Now, if you’re a first timer, I highly recommend a stuffed Paratha YouTube video before you begin making these.
  2. Divide the dough into small balls of approximately 1+1/2″ diameter.
  3. Dust one of them with some flour and roll it out in a circle of approx 6″ diameter
  4. Take about 2-3 tbsp of stuffing and shape it into a flat disc and place it in the middle of your dough circle.
  5. Twist the edges of the dough together in a package and flatten lightly.
  6. Dust the stuffed dough ball with flour once again and roll it out in a circle very gently so that you don’t rip the surface.
  7. Cook the Paratha on a griddle on both the sides on a medium flame, adding a few tsps of oil while turning.
  8. Follow the pattern with the rest of the parathas.
  9. Serve hot with wasabi Raita & picked ginger.

Thankful for Spices

Masala Cornbread

Masala Cornbread

I’m a Gujarati but even the Gujju dal that my mom made while growing up could burn a hole through your shirt! Sweet food wasn’t ever an option. Diabetes was the response when anybody ever spoke of desserts. We never went to restaurants that served bland food. I didn’t know it existed till I hit puberty!

My point, thanksgiving food kind of goes against every fiber of my being. That being said, I do appreciate the history and the culture but if I’m going to eat it, I’m going to spice things up.

Presenting my under 45 minutes masala cornbread made in the Instant Pot. (For which I’m oh so thankful) Wish you and yours a very happy thanksgiving 🍁

Dry ingredients Wet ingredients Ready batter Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/3 cups cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp), melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp ginger & garlic paste
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1 chopped jalapeño (optional)

Preparation

  • Grease and prepare a 7″ round cake tin.
  • Mix the top 7 dry ingredients very well in a large bowl.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk them together.
  • Stir in the wet ingredients to the dry ones, whisking very gently.
  • Pour this batter in the prepared tin.
  • Pour 1 + 1/2 cups of water in the Instant Pot and place a trivet.
  • Place the tin on it. Cover the lid and seal.
  • Turn it on Manual mode and adjust to 22 mins.
  • Let the pressure release naturally once the timer is off.
  • Slice & serve warm

Baking in the Oven : to bake it in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes till the toothpick comes out clean.

Keep on rollin!

Quinoa & Green Lentils Dosa with Cranberry, Tomato & Smoked Paprika Chutney

Quinoa & Green Lentils Dosa with Cranberry, Tomato & Smoked Paprika Chutney

After a caketastrophic weekend (baked 2 but trying to block out the amount I ate) I’ve decided to go clean at least for a week. Clean should never be boring though.

With all of the thanksgiving fever in the air I wanted to add a festive element to this recipe and I got highly inspired by a cranberry pickle that my bff Anjali’s mom once made for me! And of course, every delicious chutney deserves a remarkable main course. This super healthy and hearty Dosa is all that and more because it’s made with lentils & quinoa and requires very little prep.

Soaked green lentils and quinoa Batter with seasonings Making dosa

Ingredients

(For Dosa)

  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used tricolor)
  • 2 cups hot boiling water
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter/ghee to spread

Cooking the cranberry chutney

(For cranberry, tomato & smoked paprika chutney)

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt to taste (I added a bit extra to balance out the tartness from the cranberry & tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, to make it spicy)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 6-8 curry leaves

Preparation

(For Dosa)

  1. Wash the quinoa and lentils and soak it in the boiling water for about 2 hours.
  2. Grind it to a fine paste without draining, while using minimal liquid required. The batter needs to be as thick as your average pancake batter.
  3. Add the salt, cumin and ginger-garlic paste to the batter and mix. (Doesn’t need any fermentation)
  4. Heat a dosa/crepe pan and spread out a ladle full of batter in a thin circle and cook it on medium.
  5. Spread some butter/ghee using a spatula once semi set and let it brown.
  6. At it begins to loosen around the edges, roll and serve hot with the chutney.
  7. Follow a YouTube video if you’re a first timer.

(For Chutney)

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the cranberry mixture and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. I added a couple of ice cubes at this point to hurry up the cooling process and water it down to ketchup consistency (I have no patience)
  4. Grind to a fine paste and serve with the dosa.

Fast & the Fabulous 


Bulgur “Nasi Goreng”

So apparently my metabolism is slowing further down thanks to the chilly weather. Like being in your 30s can’t handle that job alone! Fortunately kick-starting that metabolism isn’t rocket science. Nor is eating healthy! When there’s a will (and an Instant Pot) there’s always a way! 

Recently, I picked up a bag of red bulgur from Whole Foods and immediately started to think about a bunch of white rice dishes I’ve been avoiding lately (mind works in mysterious ways) Nasi Goreng turned up at the top of that list. So here’s a very healthy & non-authentic-improvised-Manhattan-pantry version of Nasi-Goreng that can be ready in under 15 minutes and is definitely drool-worthy. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp oil (I love sesame oil for any Asian inspired recipe)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced + extra for garnish 
  • 2 cups mixed veggies (broccoli+cauliflower+carrots) 
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce + 1/8 cup brown sugar 
  • 3-4 tbsp sriracha (or sambal if you have some) 
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste 
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter powder (or peanut butter mixed in the soy sauce for easy mixing) 
  • 1 cup red bulgur, washed & drained (did not soak) 
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt to taste (don’t forget the soy you added) 
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 
  • 1 egg, sunny side up as accompaniment (avoid if you’re vegan) 

Preparation 

    1. Turn the Instant Pot on Sauté mode and heat the oil. Sauté the onions & vegetables for a couple minutes.
    2. Add the soy, sugar, sriracha, ginger-garlic and peanut butter and mix. 
    3. Add the bulgur and water. Adjust the salt. 
    4. Close the lid and turn it on Manual. Cook for 4 minutes while sealing and let the pressure release naturally.
    5. Fluff it up using a fork and mix in the cilantro.
    6. Serve with the half-fried egg on top. (I like mine over-easy) 

    Not too Farro Fetched


    Farro Masala Khichdi (Instant Pot)

    I totally dislike khichdi. (And snakes, but again, that’s not an appropriate food blog conversation) Thanks to me, my 6 year old thinks Khichdi is the most disturbing food ever invented. Or at least he used to, until I tricked him into trying this “Farro Lentil Soup”. (Yup, sneaky old manipulating me) He has since requested the “soup” in question at least 3 times, so I finally revealed it’s true identity to him and his response? “mom, khichdi isn’t as bad as you think, you should try it”! 

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup Tur dal + 1 cup Farro (soaked for at least 30 minutes and drained)
    • 1 tbsp ghee + 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp each of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, coriander & mustard seeds
    • 3-4 pepper corns
    • 3-4 cloves
    • 1″ stick cinnamon
    • 1 green cardamom
    • 1-2 bay leafs
    • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
    • 1/2 red onion, chopped
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
    • 1 cup Butternut squash, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped spinach, frozen/fresh
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tsp each of cumin & paprika powder
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
    • 1 tbsp curry powder
    • 3 cups water

    Preparation

    1. Heat the oil & ghee in the Instant Pot on sauté mode. Fry the seeds & the whole garam masala and then the asafoetida.
    2. Fry the onions, tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste.
    3. Add the spices, spinach, squash and the drained dal+Farro.
    4. Add the water and salt. (This is where you check the seasoning)
    5. Close the lid. Change the settings to Manual + 10 minutes while sealing. NPR

    Note:I like my khichdi fairly thick but my son likes it soupy.  You can adjust the consistency by cooking it for a little bit longer without the lid on Sauté mode. Farro can absorb tons of water so please expect it to thicken up considerably if not serving immediately. (You can always thin it down though

    Say Cheese! 


    Masala Omelette Grilled Cheese 

    About a month ago, I asked a bunch of my near an dear ones to help me list a few classic recipes that would be fun to makeover, the good karma way! I got a long list of challenges ahead of me, but one particular dish stood out for obvious reasons. A classic grilled cheese sandwich! Everyone loves it and everyone has their very own version of it. Unfortunately I never had one of my own, so seemed like an appropriate place to start. 

    I’m not much of a carboholic so first thing I did was upped the protein content. Then I added a lot of desi tadka because in case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s what I do. Hope you enjoy this healthy (er) version of the classic that you could probably enjoy for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack or dinner! 

    Ingredients 

    • 2 Large eggs
    • 2 tbsp chopped onions 
    • 2 tbsp chopped tomatoes 
    • 1 tsp grated ginger 
    • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro 
    • Chopped green chili according to taste 
    • 1 tsp each of paprika & cumin powder 
    • Sat & pepper to taste 
    • 2 slices whole wheat/ multigrain bread
    • Butter to spread + butter to pan fry
    • Green coriander chutney (optional) 
    • Oil to pan fry
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Cheese of ur choice ( I used an Italian blend by Kraft) 


    Preparation

    1. Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the onions, tomatoes, ginger, cilantro, chilies, spices & seasoning.
    2. Cut off the crusts from the bread slices. Spread some butter and chutney. Add the cheese on top of a slice and sandwich it with the other slice and set aside. 
    3. Heat some oil and butter in a frying pan. 
    4. Add the eggs and spread it out to form a large, thin omelette.
    5. While it’s still mostly liquid, place the sandwich down in the middle.
    6. Once the edges of the omelette start to come lose, start wrapping them around the sandwich to make a nice package. (Don’t stress if it’s not a perfect fit, no one cares.) 
    7. Flip it over and let it brown on the other side. 
    8. Slice and serve hot with ketchup & chutney! 

    The Mighty Twist 


    Quinoa Upma (Instant Pot)

    This one so far is my favorite transformation. I’m not an Upma kind of person. The mushiness of Upma (or sheera for that matter) never quite worked for me but the flavors are undeniably delicious. I like textures in my food, louder the better. (yes, I’m a cruncher) Swapping the semolina with the graininess of quinoa, best decision ever. The healthy part is an add-on and totally unintentional (ok, maybe not entirely). Thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s pretty quick and it would be quite a shame not to try it. For those of you who don’t possess this magical equipment, holidays are coming right up (Hint)! You could always cook this the old fashioned way on the stove. Of course it’ll take a few minutes longer, but it’s well worth the effort. 


    Ingredients 

    • 1 tbsp ghee
    • 1 tsp each of cumin, mustard & fenugreek seeds
    • 1 tbsp each of Urad & Chana dal 
    • 1 pinch asafoetida 
    • 7-8 curry leaves 
    • 1/2 red onion (or 1 small red onion), chopped 
    • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated 
    • 1 cup Quinoa (I used tricolor)
    • 2 cups water 
    • Salt to taste 
    • 1 tbsp paprika powder 
    • 1 tsp cumin powder 
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp oil for tempering
    • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (optional)
    •  5-6 cashews, halved (optional)
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 

    Preparation 

      1. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Heat the ghee and fry the seeds & dals. 
      2. Add the asafoetida & curry leaves.
      3. Add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the ginger and stir for half a minute.
      4. Add the quinoa and lightly roast it for 3-4 minutes. (Don’t skip)
      5. Add the water. Add the salt, spices & sugar. This is your chance to do a taste test. Adding more salt once this is cooked is not really logical if you ask me (You sort of are!) 
      6. Cover the lid, seal. Set the Instant Pot on rice mode. 
      7. As soon as the timer goes off, quick release and fluff with a fork. 
      8. Heat the oil for tempering, and fry the cashews and chilies. 
      9. Once it starts to turn brown, scoop out the cashews and chilies using a slotted spoon and garnish the quinoa with them leaving the oil behind. (I just don’t think any more fat is required.) 
      10. Add cilantro & serve warm! 

      Go Fish!


      Steamed Thai Glazed Instant (Pot) Salmon 
      Two of my absolute favorite things coming together. Fish & the Instant Pot! Steamed fish is my go to dinner when I’m trying to drop those couple lbs in a hurry. It’s also my 6 year old’s favorite so it’s quickly becoming a once-a-week thing. (Which is rare in my house since I hate food on repeat-mode) But when you consider how quick this dinner recipe is, it’s a no brainer. But here’s my quick fix for that no-repeat-mode thing, I keep changing the marinade. I also tend to change the side dishes a lot, so it’s basically a whole new meal each time. 


      Ingredients 

      • 1 medium to large filet of fresh Salmon 
      • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
      • 2 tbsp sesame oil 
      • 2 tbsp lime/ lemon juice 
      • 2 tbsp peanut butter powder ( or peanut butter)
      • 1 tbsp honey 
      • Cilantro (for garnish)
      • Sriracha spice (optional but highly recommended)

      Preparation 

        1. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and wax/parchment paper approx 2 feet long each. 
        2. Place the parchment on top of the aluminum foil. 
        3. Place the filet of salmon in the center.
        4. Top it with the soy, sesame oil, lime, peanut butter powder & honey and give it a good rub.
        5. Fold the parchment in a package tightly wrapped around the salmon. Wrap that inside the foil. 
        6. You could let this sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or just go ahead and steam it right away depending on the tick-tock!! 
        7. Place the trivet inside the Instant Pot. Add about a cup of water.
        8. Place the fish package on top of the trivet.
        9. Close the lid and seal. 
        10. Cook for 10-11 minutes (I did 11)  on steam mode. 
        11. Quick release and serve with your choice of   Side dish. Farro was an absolute hit btw! 
        12. I added loads of sriracha spice to mine though my 6 year old gave it a pass.