Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Almond Pumpkin and Shallots Soup (Vegan recipe)

A tentative foot inches out from beneath the blanket. The cold is intimidating. Almost on reflex, it is withdrawn immediately into the warm confines of the quilt. And just as the brain begins to lull itself to slip back into a dreamy state, the shrill alarm goes off. Yet again. Only to be put on a snooze.

This childish little game of peek-a-boo continues for half an hour ever morning before another alarm goes off. This time in another room. The kitchen to be precise. Letting out a sigh I throw off the quilt and swing my legs off the bed. My eyes are barely open as I stumble and fumble to reach and turn off the irritating device. Even before I switch off the alarm, I switch on the electric kettle placed right next to it. Throughout the year, I like to kick start my day with a glass of warm water. But with the cold weather playing havoc with my immune system, I need a glass of warm water even for splashing on to my face. Open pores be damned.

No wonder warm fluids are the mainstay of my life during the winter months. And after endless glasses of warm water and half a dozen cups of tea, piping hot soups are very much a part of my everyday routine. Especially on days like today when I have a bad throat and everything tastes like sawdust. As usual ended up skipping lunch in favour of a big bowl of Pumpkin and Shallots soup. Roasted the stuff in an oven for added flavor though it can also be prepared in a pressure cooker.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 40 mins ( takes just 20 mins if pressure cooked )

Ingredients -

  • 1 cups pumpkin slices (about 4 mm thickness)
  • 10-12 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 almonds
  • a dash of paprika
  • a pinch of powdered cloves
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock

Preparation - Soak the almonds overnight . Wash and peel them.

Place the pumpkin slices , 4-5 shallots and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a dash of salt.

Place it in a pre-heated oven and bake for 30 mins at 200 C. Remove .

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender jar along with the almonds and 1/2 cup of hot vegetable stock. Blend for 2 mins .

Pour the liquid into a saucepan and place it on a low flame. Add the sugar and paprika. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more vegetable stock. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, peel and chop the remaining shallots into tiny rings. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan and add the shallots. Fry on low flame till they are caramelized. Remove and keep aside.

Pour the soup into the serving bowls. Garnish with the caramelized shallots.

Serve hot.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Vegan Red Lentils Soup

Clear like the skies. Or a riot of happy colors like a garden at the peak of it's springtime glory. Or just another muddled up canvas. I like it when my food looks like a reflection of my thoughts rather than a figment of someone's imagination. Though it might sound somewhat like a narcissist, I like to relate to every meal that I am having. And for that one reason, I love cooking solely for myself. To please and pamper my senses. So, whether it is the play of colors or the assault of the aromas or even the final amalgamation of flavors, I can have it customized to the very last detail. But thankfully, those occasions (moods to be more precise) are rare and hence my family ends up enjoying all their favorite dishes on a regular basis.

Today happened to be one such day. With happy and cheerful thoughts playing on my mind, I wanted more colors on my plate. But at the same time, I needed to make up for the weekend indulgence. After a bowl of fruits for breakfast, lunch had to be something more substantial and yet low in calories. That is when I decided to go for this wholesome lentil soup with a smattering of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and spinach. Bursting with flavors and packing in a whole day's worth of fiber, this is one must-try recipe for everyone and anyone who is trying to lose some weight without starving themselves.

Read on - 


















Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients - 
  • 1 cup red lentils ( i used the one with the skin ) (masoor dal)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves 
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • lime juice as per taste

Preparation - Wash the soaked the lentils overnight. [ Skip this step if using the skinless variety ]

Peel and chop the garlic into tiny pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil  in a pressure cooker. 

Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Then add chopped onions, garlic and carrots. Fry till onion turns translucent,

Add the tomatoes and cook to a mushy state.

Finally add the washed lentils along with 2 cups of water. Add the salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.

Take half of the contents of the pressure cooker and blend into a puree. Add it back to the pressure cooker. 

Place the pressure cooker on the flame and add hot water to adjust the consistency of the soup. Throw in the finely chopped spinach and let it boil for 5-6 mins.

Serve hot with a dash of lime juice.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Buckwheat and Sesame Halwa ( Makar Sankranti Collab )

Sugarcane. Freshly harvested rice. Sesame seeds. Jaggery. A whole lot of ingredients that remind one of Makar Sankranti (also known as Gudi Padwa or Lohri in different parts of the country). Curiously enough, unlike other Hindu festivals, this is one festival that falls on 14th of January every month. Apart from being a harvest festival, it also marks the beginning of six months of 'Uttaarayan', an auspicious period for the Hindus. Hence most parts of the country celebrate this festival by distributing sweets among friends and relatives as a gesture of goodwill.

One of the most popular Makar Sankranti recipes is the 'til-gud' or 'til ki barfi'. Both the primary ingredients used in this recipe are believed to keep the body warm and their consumption is considered to be beneficial during the cold months. But since sesame and sugar are high in calories, I put my own twist by substituting a portion of the sesame with buckwheat flour.

And if you happen to be thinking on the lines of why buckwheat, here are 5 reasons why you absolutely need to make this gluten-free and allergy-free grain a part of your everyday diet -

  1. Helps prevent diabetes
  2. Lowers Cholesterol and blood pressure
  3. High fiber content
  4. High quality protein
  5. Rich in Antioxidants

As part of my resolution (mentioned in the earlier posts), I will be including more of the indigenous superfoods in my everyday diet this year. So, read on for this 'gluten-free' and ' dairy-free' recipe -

[ Do not forget to check out more Makar Sankranti recipes shared by my blogger friends Parinaaz and Saswati ]


















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp jaggery
  • 1/4 cup date syrup
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • extra sesame seeds for garnishing


Preparation - Toast the sesame seeds on a skillet. Remove from flame and allow to cool down. Grind into a fine powder.

Heat 1 tsp ghee in a wok. Add the buckwheat flour and roast on a low flame till the flour takes on a pink color. Remove and keep aside.

Add the powdered jaggery and date syrup along with 1 cup of water to a wok. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 3-4 mins before adding the roasted buckwheat flour and powdered sesame seeds. Cook for another 2-3 mins before removing from the flame.

Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on a greased plate. Spread the halwa over the seeds and let it cool down before cutting into desired shapes.


















Store in a airtight container in the fridge. Consume within the week.















That's not all !!! More yumm-e-ness to be discovered when you scroll down -

























Parinaaz's  Til and Nuts Chikki (Sesame seeds and mixed nuts brittle bars)




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Baba Ganoush ( Culinary cousins and random ruminations )

Baigana Poda or roasted aubergine is one of my favorites winter recipes. This typical Odia recipe is characterized by the frugal use of seasoning. Just some green chillis, chopped onions, garlic, salt and a dash of mustard oil to compliment the smokey sweetness of the tender flesh. Nothing that would reminds one of the more flamboyant 'baingan ka bharta' .

But in the food-scape of this vast universe, culinary cousins keep popping up here and there. Sometimes at the most unexpected of places. Whoever would have thought that another frugal 'roasted aubergine' recipe would find so make takers in a land that is better known for it's baklava and Shawarma. The 'Baba Ganoush' is nothing but a mellower cousin of the fiery 'baigana poda'. The ingredients, olive oil, tahani (sesame paste ), garlic, lemon juice and cumin, are almost banal for the residents of Lebanon. Just as mustard oil, onion and garlic are for most odia folks.

Mellow, smokey and infused with just the right amount of pungency, the Baba Ganoush is the perfect definition of comfort food when served with some pita bread. Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 big aubergine (around 300-350 gms)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • a pinch of roasted cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • parsley for garnishing


Ingredients - Wash the aubergine and pat it dry with a paper towel. Rub a few drops of olive oil all over it and place it on the burner . Grill on medium flame till the skin starts to peel off.

Wrap it up in aluminium foil and place it in a pre-heated oven. Roast at 200 C for 20 mins.

Remove and take off the foil. Keep it aside on a plate for 10 mins to let the liquid ooze out of the aubergine. Discard this amber colored liquid along with the blackened skin.

Place the tender flesh in a bowl and mash it up with a heavy fork.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin powder and finely crushed garlic to the mashed aubergine. Season with salt and mix it up with the fork.

Finally drizzle the olive oil on top and garnish with parsley.

Serve immediately with the Pita bread or even some chips.



















[ Cover with a layer of olive oil and store it in the fridge up to 5 days. Bring to the room temperature before serving. ]

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Black Rice On a Platter(share) !!

Image source : Plattershare.com
















It's the latest superfood on the block. Nutty tasting, low in GI and loaded with anti-oxidants. black rice has been around for ages. But the world is just waking up to it's goodness.

Oriyarasoi and Plattershare.com bring you a collection of the most exotic black rice recipes. Click on to know everything that you would want to know about this amazing ingredient -


Black Rice - Is it still forbidden ? Enjoy 9 Healthy and Easy Black Rice Recipes 

Some of the recipes at a glimpse -















Thank you team Plattershare for the feature !!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Original Turmeric Latte (Haldi Wala Doodh)

"Turmeric Latte ?? Really ?" ROFL. Some more ROFL. "Do you mean that yucky yellow drink that Mom used to force down my gullet ?",says my friend as she lets out a mock shiver.

"Yeah. But a lot more yuckier than the stuff we used to have in our days ", I replied back. "Now they add coconut milk and even some virgin coconut oil to it ", I added. Now it was my turn to let out an involuntary shiver.

"And yet there are others who really go for it with all guns blazing. How else does one come up with gems like cayanne, chia seeds, hazelnut butter, vanilla extract or something equally exotic ?". My words added to her growing horror.

Thankfully I am able to check myself before the whole post turned into a continuous rant about how the Western world embraces these 'magic' potions with a zeal that could easily rival that of village bumpkins out to get the 'darshan' of a so-called holy man. And to think that they call us superstitious.

This post is dedicated to the original 'Haldi wala doodh' which more than deserves its '15 minutes of fame'. For one, I swear my it's effectiveness is soothing down my throat inflammation.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time -

Ingredients -


  • 1/2 inch fresh turmeric (else use 1/2 tsp powder)
  • 2/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/3 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a few drops of ghee
  • honey to taste (optional)


Preparation - Slice the knob of raw turmeric.

Coarsely pound all the spices in a mortar.

Cooking - Add the 1/2 cup of water along with the ground spices and the turmeric to a saucepan.
Simmer it on low flame for a few minutes .

Add the milk to the same vessel. Let it boil for 2-3 mins on a low flame.

Strain into a glass/cup and stir in the ghee and honey.

Drink it while it is still hot.



















Note - Unlike the Western diet which advocates going off all dairy products for a complete detox, the Ayurveda actually includes milk, turmeric and ghee as essentials for a detox ritual.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Black Rice Sushi ( Welcome 2017 )

A fresh new year. New hopes. And new beginnings. Without any doubt, it is that day of the year when we are at out optimistic best. The more superstitious among us would like to put the events unfolding on this very day as the harbinger for the rest of the year. But it is important to believe that while cosmic events do influence our life, we too are an integral part of the universe. And the vibes (both positive/negative) given out by us are ultimately adding to the energies that surround us.

Apart from the 'positive thinking', 'eating healthy' happens to be one of my top resolutions for 2017. While it is true that I did not actually wait for the year to commence to get on with my resolutions, I plan to stick to it with greater diligence this year. It includes cutting down on meat and fish to introducing more of superfoods like broccoli, black rice, quinoa, chia seeds in my everyday diet. Plus there will be greater focus on native superfoods like amaranth, spinach, gooseberry, turmeric, alsi (flaxseeds) and subza(basil) .

Starting the year on a healthy note, the first post of 2017 is a super healthy 'Black Rice Sushi' with a filling of tofu, avocado, carrot and cucumber. This is one recipe that can easily be made a part of one's lunchbox. I am skipping the Nori sheets as I want to keep it completely vegan. Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup sticky Black rice
  • 1 small carrot (cut into long pieces)
  • 1 small cucumber (cut into long pieces)
  • Tofu (cut into long pieces)
  • avocado (cut into long pieces)
For the Sushi rice vinegar or 'Tezu' -
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar ( use rice vinegar if you have it )
  • a drops of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt taste

Preparation  - Soak the black rice overnight.

Steam the carrot pieces till tender.

Mix the ingredients for the 'Tezu' in a cup.

Cook the black rice till it is slightly mushy. Add the tezu and mix it in. Allow to stand till it cools down and is just bearable to touch.

Take a aluminium foil and spread some of the black rice in a rectangle shape keeping about 1 1/2 - 2 inch space from the margins.

Place the tofu and the vegetable slices in the center of the rectangle. Lightly moisten the edges of the rice.

Gently grabbing the foil from the sides and using your fingers, roll it over keeping the vegetables in the center. Roll over a few times .

Remove the aluminium foil

Take a very sharp knife, moisten it and cut the sushi into 1 1/2 inch sized pieces.

[ Do check the video at the bottom of this post to learn the tricks of making a Sushi. ]

Serve it with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.






How to roll a sushi without using a Nori sheet -






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