Gazpacho – the Spanish Soup (Cold & Refreshing)

gazpachoWhat can be better than this refreshing and cleansing cold summer soup to beat the heat? A few simple ingredients and no cooking required – can you ask for more? 😉 There are several gazpacho recipes available online, but here is my take on the Andalusian soup. If you want to experiment then you can add soaked bread to thicken the soup, generous amount of olive oil, some vinegar to increase the tang, and include raw onion to recreate the original recipe. Enjoy it any way you like, but definitely try it out. Bring on some tapas and you have a delicious meal ready in no time (quick, delicious, and, of course healthy). Tapas recipes coming soon- I promise!

Know your key nutrients: By now, I think you might have become familiar with the foods I usually work with and their nutrient profile. You might be able to fill out this section for me, right? 🙂 Can you describe this dish by its nutrient profile in the comments – say whether it is low, moderate or high in terms of its calorie, fiber, protein, fat, vitamin content ? Right answers will get a surprise!

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(A hint)

Per serving: 97 calories | 2 g protein | 5 g fat | 1.5 g fiber | Vit C & Pro-vitamin A

Total time: ~ 10 mins 

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 Persian cucumbers, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 red bell pepper (large), de-seeded and diced

1 large clove of garlic

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Chopped Cilantro or grated cheese for garnish

Procedure

  1. Wash the vegetables and then dice. De-seed only the bell pepper and retain the peel of cucumber. Best is to avoid washing vegetables after cutting. Washing after cutting the vegetable increases the exposed area and washes away the water soluble nutrients with it. More such tips on preserving nutrients are in the GOOD TO KNOW section. 
  2. Blenderize the vegetables along with garlic to make a fine puree. Add some water if necessary.
  3. Collect the puree in a large bowl while you pass it through a fine sieve. Mash the residue as much as possible to extract maximum juice and reduce the solid residue. If you wish to not strain the puree, you may do so. I tried it in order to save the fiber, but the consistency was not so appealing & taste was not as palatable. I found other ways to utilize the fiber rather than discarding it. Save it for your stocks, or spice it up with different spice mixes (red chili powder, cumin & corriander powder, with or without ginger-garlic) and bind with potato or bread crumbs to make patties (like my SCHEZWAN PATTIES recipe) or use it as a filling for your turnovers, parathas, or savory cakes (like my DOODHI DHOKLA recipe).
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and olive oil.
  5. Serve the soup immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for cooling. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or grated cheese. Salud ! 🙂

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Refreshing Mango salsa to Mango ensalada

Hola! 🙂 La ensalada es muy refrescante y deliciosa ….hehe. I made this mango salsa in a few minutes and thought why not add it over lettuce and try it as a salad as well? And, the outcome was very refreshing & delicious! The sweet pulpy mango, the crisp and juicy cucumber and red bell pepper make a great combination. Serve this salsa as a novel side at your 4th of July celebration party! Turn it into a salad or enjoy it plain and simple. This does not even need a dressing – salt and pepper seasoning is enough to justify the union of these lovely ingredients.

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If you are wondering what mango I used, then let me be honest. My love for Alphonso mango remains unchanged (you’ll probably say – ya, ya we know that). But the sight of sliced mangoes everywhere tempted me to just go and get a ripe mango! I was delightfully surprised this time (blush). It was a Manila mango- sweet, non-fibrous & pulpy! The last time I had tried a mango, it was a bit disappointing as it was very fibrous and not so flavorful. Unfortunately, I don’t recall what variety it was. Anyways, enjoy this salsa or salad and let me know what you think!

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Know your nutrients: One serving of this low calorie salad has fiber equivalent to 4 cups of lettuce. Red bell pepper and mango provide fiber, plenty of vitamin C and mango  with its bonus beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). One serving of this salad provides you more than your daily recommendation of vitamin C.

Per serving : 60 cals |  2 g fiber | 2 g protein | 0 g total fat | Vit C & Provitamin A

Total time: 5 mins

Ingredients (2 servings)

1/2 cup peeled & diced ripe mango

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper ( 1/2 medium red bell pepper)

1 cup diced cucumber (2 Persian cucumbers)

2 cups of lettuce

salt and ground black pepper to taste

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Procedure:

  1. Dice and transfer all the vegetable (except lettuce) in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and black pepper and serve it as a mango salsa.
  2. Make a layer of lettuce on a salad plate and delicately transfer the mango salsa to the lettuce. The ingredients are so fresh and flavorful together that you really need no dressing. Just salt and black pepper would suffice! Enjoy~

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mango salsa

Schezwan Veggie Patties

If you liked the Schezwan sauce recipe from last week and have tried it out, you will enjoy this recipe all the more. Even if you haven’t, you might be tempted to try. Pan-fried patties are a good way to get yourself to eat all those veggies, without having to complain about the taste (in case you are not so fond of them), or if you need a break from making salads and/or subzis. So, go and camouflage all the veggies that your spouse or your kids don’t like and turn them into a patty (but don’t deep fry them). Pan-frying in the right amount of oil yields an equally appetizing taste while retaining the “healthy food” status. Feel free to incorporate broccoli, cabbage or any vegetable you want to experiment with. Send me a note on how they turn out.

Watch your family’s reaction as they take the first bite. If they have merrily devoured the patties, you may let them in on your secret. 😉

 

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Know your nutrients: This is a low calorie appetizer with some fiber, the amount of which can vary depending on the vegetables used. Use potato only as a binding agent and more of colorful veggies. If you use whole wheat bread (at least 3 g fiber per slice), it will add more fiber to the dish, but then the dish will not be gluten-free. You can serve it as a light meal with a soup preferably containing beans or chicken to add protein to the meal. 

Per serving (2 patties) : 110 cals | 2 g protein | 6.5 g total fat | 2 g fiber

Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients (10 patties, 5 servings)

1 cup green beans, halved

1/2 carrot, cut into 10-12 slices

1/2 cup green peas

1 medium cooked potato (US) or 2 medium potatoes (India), peeled & mashed or 1-2 slice of whole wheat bread

4 tsp oil (used in two parts: 2 tsp + 2 tsp)

2 tbsp Schezwan Sauce

Salt to taste

Procedure

  1. Boil a potato, peel & mash it. If you have already pressure cooked potatoes along with your rice &/ dal/beans the previous day, it can save you time. Alternatively, grind whole wheat bread in a grinder to make fine powder. Use this as a binding agent instead of potato. Moisten the bread if needed.
  2. Pass the veggies (carrot, green beans, peas) through a grinder to make a coarse mixture. Be careful not to make a fine or smooth paste, otherwise the texture is lost and the taste will not be the same.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and add the ground veggies. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add the Schezwan sauce, and salt to taste and mix well. Continue to saute for 2-3 mins and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, add the mashed potato. Adjust salt and make 10 patties. Delicately roll the mixture to a ball and lightly flatten them.
  6. Heat 2 tsp oil in the same pan & pan-fry the patties on both sides.
  7. Serve with ketchup as a snack/appetizer or a light meal with a soup preferably containing beans or chicken to add protein to the meal.

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Schezwan veggie patties

Quick & Easy Schezwan Sauce/ Sichuan Sauce

Its hard to not laugh while reading the Indian-Chinese section of the menu in Indian restaurants (if they offer this specialty). Only a few dishes served under this heading, may have authentic resemblance to the food prepared in China. Our friend, who is from the Sichaun, was very intrigued by this concept and the variety of innovative fusion dishes. The names are especially interesting –  Chicken 65 (with or without the dragon prefix!!), Vegetable Manchurian, and so on…. 😀

Schezwan sauce, a variant of the original Sichuan sauce from the Sichuan province of China, is quite popular in India, and in Indian restaurants here in the US. It is either mixed in while preparing the dish or served on the side as a dipping sauce. Either way, it tastes delicious!!

 

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Know your nutrients: “Indianized” Chinese cuisine, although liked by most Indians, can be unhealthy. You probably already know that its quite greasy, contains high amounts of Sodium, and may contain MSG (ajinomoto) and/or artificial red color. Here’s how you can make your favorite Schezuan sauce in a few minutes, with more control over oil and sodium and no artificial colors. You can use this instead of Sriracha Sauce!

Stay tuned for recipes using this sauce to vet your appetite for Indo-Chinese, in a more mindful manner!

Per serving (1 tbsp): 69 cals |6 g total fat |3 g sugar

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Cooking Time: 10-15 mins

Ingredients (5 servings- 5 tbsp)

2 Kashmiri Red chili (soaked in hot water for 30 mins)- These are not spicy chilies; but are valued for the natural red color they impart.

3 large cloves of garlic

1.5″ ginger piece

1/4 yellow onion (US) or 1/2 red onion (India), diced

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 red chili powder / cayenne pepper (more if you like it HOT)

1/2 tsp sugar (optional, if your ketchup is tangy)

2 tbsp oil (3 tbsp if you want to preserve)

Salt to taste

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Procedure

  1. Grind the red chilies, onion, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste with 1/4 cup water.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and when its warm (not hot), add the smooth paste. Let it boil on medium heat, while stirring it constantly, for 2-3 mins.
  3. Then add ketchup, sugar, red chili powder and salt and mix well. Let it boil and thicken to desired consistency.
  4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl for serving or into a small jar for later use! Enjoy~

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Note:  This sauce can last for 1-2 week in the refrigerator. However, if you want to make a bigger batch and preserve it for a longer period, add additional oil (1 tbsp). I haven’t tried preserving it for a longer time, so I am not sure of its shelf-life beyond 2 weeks. If you try, please do let me know! Thanks! 🙂

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Schezuan sauce

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Chana Dal & Curry leaves Chutney (Indian Hummus ;)

Who does not love dosas or idlis (the South Indian crepes and soft steamed cakes) ??? They go so well with tomato chutney, coconut chutneys and sambar (South Indian Lentil Soup). But have you tried a chana dal chutney with it? If not, this is a must-try healthy chutney to compliment your favorite idlis and dosas!! I call it the Indian Hummus 😀

My mom makes this chutney every time she makes dosas (with or without sambar). I like how simple, yet flavorful this chutneys is, even without coconut!!

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Know your nutrients: This is a low calorie, protein dip. Chana dal like most pulses is a good source of proteins for vegetarians, and a complete protein when combined with cereals (rice, wheat etc). Roasted chana dal contains more Iron than regular chana dal because it is usually roasted in iron woks that introduces iron into the dal. Dals (& whole beans) are a good source of Magnesium and Potassium, valued for lowering blood pressure.

Per serving: 44 cals | 2 g protein | 2 g total fat 

Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients (6 servings)

1/2 cup roasted chana dal (split chickpeas) (~ 2oz, 56g)

1 large clove of garlic

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

1 green chili or 1/4 tsp red chili powder

6-8 curry leaves

salt to taste

For tempering

2 tsp oil

1/8 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch of asafetida

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Procedure:

  1. Blenderize roasted chana dal, garlic, chili/ red chili powder, curry leaves and cilantro leaves with 1/2 cup of water to make a smooth paste. Add additional water (~1/4 cup) & blenderize again, if you prefer less thick.
  2. Heat oil in a small steel pot. When it is hot enough, but not smoking, add mustard seeds and turn off the heat. After the seeds crackle add asafetida.
  3. Allow the oil to cool down & then pour the smooth chana dal paste over the oil and mix well. Serve with idlis or dosas, and enjoy!

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Variations:

  • You can reserve a few curry leaves and use them for tempering.
  • You can even add the red chili powder to the tempering for deeper flavor and color.
  • Adjust the spice level by adding less or more chili/ chili powder, per your preference.

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roasted chana dal chutney