Refreshing Mango salsa to Mango ensalada

Hola! ūüôā 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

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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. ūüėČ

 

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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…. ūüėÄ

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! ūüôā

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Schezuan sauce

 

 

 

 

 

Palak with Panfried Tofu Pakora (Panfried Tofu fritters in Spinach Curry)

To all the palak paneer lovers, this dish might be a pleasant surprise! I love paneer and a lip smacking¬†palak paneer for sure. Every bite of this home-made dish sort of has a calming effect on you!! This palak curry is inspired by mom’s palak paneer, which I attempted several times with disappointment. One time there was too much onion, another time too much tomato and other times God knows what. Seriously, for a while, I did not even bother to make it. Yesterday, for some reason, I just got the courage to try it one more time. I went by my instincts to get the proportions in order and followed her steps without slacking. And yes!! I was super happy with the outcome, which is good- it means I will be happier taking photos even in low light with whatever gear I have. I wanted to try it¬†with¬†tofu. But tofu by itself is quite bland and so I thought of turning it into a pakora, the¬†Indian fritter.¬†Sometimes, I feel pakora might be an easy solution to making anything you don’t like into something you will enjoy~ :))¬†Of course, you guessed it – I wasn’t going to deep fry – use of too much oil and smoke in the house….and then you are left with oil that you shouldn’t really use again…. na-a. So yeah, pan-frying it is! The pakoras turned out quite good and I ended up eating quite a bit while photographing. And it wasn’t even lunch time…:O

Now,¬†a few seconds¬†for learning…

Know your nutrients:¬†Tofu not only¬†adds variety to the usual palak paneer dish, but it also incorporates some more Iron. Spinach is rich in iron¬†and the tomatoes in the dish provide some vitamin C that can promote its absorption. Ideally, serve this dish with a fresh tomato side salad as well or serve a citrus fruit for¬†dessert. These tips are especially useful for vegetarians, who may have difficulty consuming sufficient amounts of iron. Paneer is quite rich in Calcium and may inhibit the absorption of iron in the spinach, which also contains some calcium, folate and beta carotene. So, try alternating between your favorite palak paneer and palak with tofu pakoras ūüôā to get your calcium as well as iron.

Per serving

Palak curry: 68 cals | 3 g protein | 2 g fiber | 5 g total fat | Good source of Iron, Vitamin A, C, Folate

Tofu Pakoras: 95 cals | 6 g protein | 1 g fiber | 6 g total fat | Good source of Iron

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Flavorful Coleslaw (Cabbage & yellow pepper salad) – Boost your vit C

Flavorful coleslaw

This is a very interesting and unique recipe that I’ve developed using ingredients, all of which (except for salt & pepper) contain vitamin C, an important and volatile antioxidant. Here’s how you can make this simple & refreshing salad that you can add as a side to your meal, or as a filling in your burritos, or wraps or sandwiches.

Know your nutrients:¬†Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues;¬†facilitates healing of¬†cuts and wounds, and keeps¬†teeth and gums healthy. As an anti-oxidant it is all the more important¬†for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes etc. who have greater physiological oxidative stress. It can help you relieve your acidity problem by reducing the production of excessive gastric acid.¬†Include it¬†with iron rich foods¬†in your meal and you can boost your iron absorption¬†significantly and thereby increase your Hemoglobin levels. So much for the educational info on vitamin C. Enjoy this salad and leave a comment on the recipe or for the educational info. Thank you! ūüôā

Per serving: 24 cals | 1 g protein | 2 g fiber | 0 g total fat | 78 mg vitamin C

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