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? ūüėČ 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? ūüôā 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 ! ūüôā

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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

 

veggie patties schezwan 6

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.

veggie patties schezwan4

 

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Schezwan veggie patties

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 ūüėÄ

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!!

Chana dal chutney 3

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.

RECIPE CARD – PIN IT, SAVE IT, SHARE IT! ūüôā

roasted chana dal chutney

Mango Lassi/ Mango Smoothie (mmm mangolicious~)

This 2 ingredient beverage will keep you going for hours, unless you are crazy about mango, like me! Lassi, if made the right way, can be a good way to keep¬†your hunger at bay, especially when you are fasting (Hindu Fasts). Enjoy it solo¬†or with a snack but not with lunch or dinner,¬†as it will really fill you up and you will probably doze off! Even half a glass (1 full small glass) will suffice! When you drink a lot of it, that’s when you need to start keeping track of your calories from this nourishing, summer drink, or just go outside &¬†get those calories burning! ūüėÄ

mango lassi

Know your nutrients: Mango lassi in restaurants can be super rich (high calorie beverage that comes in generous serving size), but if you make it at home, you get the benefits without the disadvantage! ūüėČ It has the goodness that comes with low fat, plain, unsweetened, yogurt- good quality protein, calcium, vit A and the bacteria (probiotics) ! Mango…besides the deliciousness, is rich in beta carotene (which converts to vit A in our body), which you might¬†already know.

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I love Alphonso mango (the King of Mangoes), and haven’t quite learned to appreciate the¬†taste of other mangoes. I am sometimes okay with Kesar variety, but would rather reserve my loyalty for the Alphonso. Since, fresh Alphonso is not easily available here at affordable rates, I am happy to use the canned pulp (94% pulp). However, you can try this recipe with any variety. Instead of pulp, just chop up the flesh of the mango variety you like.

Here’s how to enjoy a guilt-free mango lassi, with the real taste of Alphonso.

Per serving: 107 cals | 2 g fiber | 4 g protein | 1 g total fat | Calcium & vitamin A

Nutrient-dense, lower calorie beverage 

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 cup Alphonso mango pulp, fresh pulp from ripe mango or canned (94% pulp) or chopped pieces of ripe mango of your choice

1 cup low fat, plain, unsweetened yogurt

Water for your desired consistency

Procedure:

  1. Blenderize pulp/ chopped mango and yogurt together till smooth.
  2. Then add water to get your desired consistency. Run the blender once more or just stir well.
  3. Serve chilled &/or with topping of ice cubes or a pinch of nutmeg in small glasses.
  4. Say yumm and lick your lips!

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Mango lassi

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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