All posts filed under: Food

a Buddha Bowl of quinoa, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, with hummus on the side

What’s in your Buddha Bowl

There was a time when all food blogs were filled with pictures of Buddha Bowls of various kinds. They looked so lovely and fulfilling that I wanted to try something too. I don’t prefer the oatmeal or smoothie in a bowl kind, so I opted for something savoury. A Buddha Bowl is a dish that has five main ingredients:  Whole grains like rice or quinoa Protein like tofu or meat Vegetables Dressing Garnish such as nuts, seeds, or microgreens Here’s what went into my bowl: Quinoa cooked as per instructions Crispy chickpeas for protein Baked cauliflower Hummus Mixed seeds and mint leaves Instead of quinoa, any millet or grains like barley will do. Just rinse and cook in the pressure cooker. I also like to add a little salt and garlic for more flavour. You can make crispy chickpeas by seasoning boiled chickpeas and baking them in the oven or the air fryer. I also like some of the packaged ones available when I don’t want to put in a lot of effort. Baked cauliflower …

plate of 3 sesame and jaggery squares

Easy Healthy Recipes: Sesame and Jaggery Squares (Tilgud)

Sesame and jaggery squares, or Tilgud as it is better known across India, is usually made in January when the harvest season begins in the region. I always look forward to eating it during this time. I’m not sure why I don’t make it at any other time of the year, but I guess the rarity also makes it more special. Ingredients: Makes about 8-10 square bites 1 cup white sesame seeds 1 cup jaggery 1 tbsp ghee ¼ cup roasted peanuts (skin removed) Method: In a flat-bottomed pan on medium heat, roast the sesame seeds. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as it starts to brown a little, turn off the heat and let it cool. You could use black sesame seeds or a mix of both. Just be aware that they have a stronger flavour. Grind the roasted peanuts coarsely. I find it a big chore to roast and remove the peels from raw peanuts, so I buy roasted unsalted peanuts and keep in the freezer to …

Child with a curry leaves plant in home balcony

Getting Back to the Basics: How to grow your own food?

Have you ever thought about growing your own food? It doesn’t interest me, to be honest. It’s too much work. However, during the lockdown, I had some time on hand, and I wanted my son to experience the joy of growing something from seed then harvesting it to eat. We have a small balcony garden, so I wasn’t sure how to accommodate growing vegetables. We started small by growing some methi (fenugreek) from seeds from the spice cupboard. We just used a paper cup with holes poked at the bottom. They were quick to sprout, and the handful of micro-greens were enough to make one roti for my son. He was mighty pleased. Armed with some confidence, we turned an unused under-bed storage box into a flatbed by drilling holes at the bottom and filling it with soil. We planted some spinach and amaranth seeds.  Once they grew about 7 to 8 inches long, we harvested the leaves by cutting just the matured leaves and leaving the stem as is. This way, we got another …

Meal Ideas: Lasagne from Scratch

I love Garfield. Garfield loves lasagne. So it just proves that I love lasagne. I used to buy the packaged lasagne sheets till I realised how easy it was to make them at home. They’re easy to make, taste better, and you have full control over what goes in them. I don’t add eggs because I prefer to keep the ingredients to a minimum, but they taste great nevertheless.  These are best for parties. You can make all the items a day before and just assemble them before cooking and serving. That way you’re not stuck in the kitchen while everyone’s chatting away. Ingredients: Serving size: 1 9-inch tray (good for 2 adults) Lasagne sheets: 1 cup refined flour (maida or bread flour) ½ cup whole wheat flour (even ragi or millet flour would do) 1 cup warm water (adjust according to the dough) 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt Extra flour for dusting A large deep pan full of salted water  Method: Add both the flours to a large mixing bowl and mix in …

Bowl of hummus with olives and paprika

Super Easy Vegan Chickpea Hummus

My preference for recipes are ones that are fast and don’t require a lot of utensils. There are plenty of chickpea hummus recipes that call for making different aspects of it separately. I prefer to mix it all in one blender jar, and it’s done! I love how protein-packed this dish is. I don’t feel any guilt having this with a packet of nachos. Ingredients: Serving size: Makes a large bowl. Good enough to eat some and store or for a party 2 cups boiled chickpeas ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Juice of ½ lemon 2 tbsp sesame seeds (or 1 tbsp Tahini if you have that lying around) 5 cloves of garlic (medium-sized) ¼ cup cold water  Spices: ½ tbsp roasted cumin powder ½ tbsp paprika Salt to taste Deseeded olives on the side (optional) Method: Please don’t buy a can of chickpeas. Get dry chickpeas, soak them overnight, and boil them till soft. Wait for it to cool. Add all the ingredients except for the spices and the cold water in the …

Elevate your Meals with Pickled Veggies

Pickled in the Indian context is very different from the Western one. I have never tried making Indian pickles because they are so readily available that I don’t feel the need to make the effort. I’m going to just list things you can pickle with a sugar and vinegar brine to be used in salads and sandwiches. Fermented foods are also a great source of good bacteria that aids better digestion. Ingredients for the brine: 1 cup water 1 cup vinegar (white or half and half with apple cider vinegar) ½ cup sugar ¼ tsp salt Method: Boil all the ingredients together and let it cool. Things you can pickle: Onions (cut into thins strips) Radish Jalapeno peppers  Cabbage (or purple cabbage shredded) Carrots (grated or sliced) Ginger (thinly sliced) Anything else that won’t turn into mush Method: Put the slices/strips into a lidded container and pour the brine enough to cover all pieces. Store in the fridge. It will last a few weeks. These taste great in salads and sandwiches, but also on cheese …

Lunch Ideas: Vegan Cauliflower, Peas, and Saffron Risotto

You know how all recipes start with a story. I won’t do that here. Recipe first, stories later! Note that this is a vegan recipe. You can substitute for non-vegan options if you prefer. Options are given below. Ingredients: Serving size: Makes for 2 adults (or 2 adults and 1 child) White sauce: 10 medium sized florets of cauliflower  15 pieces of cashews Salt & Pepper to taste Risotto: 1 ½ cup Arborio Rice 2 cups vegetable stock (I use stock powder if I don’t have fresh stock handy) 1 large onion 2 Tbsp olive oil 5 cloves garlic ½ cup peas A few strands of Saffron Salt & Pepper to taste Toppings: Garlic Chips* Nutritional yeast Parsley (optional) Method: White Sauce: Boil the cauliflower, save half a cup of the water and drain the rest.  Once it cools, grind the cauliflower and the half cup water with the cashews. Season and keep aside. Risotto: Heat a large pan or skillet on medium heat. Add butter then chopped onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.  …

Baby, sitting on a high chair, eating eggs on his own and smiling

Parenting basics: What is Baby-led Weaning?

Teaching good eating habits is a skill that’s important to learn. If you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you’ll want to encourage your baby to try different foods as soon as possible. Not only will this build their appetite for mealtime, but it’ll help them identify new tastes and textures as young children. Wherever I’ve lived in India, I’ve always seen babies being chased by their caregivers with a piece of food to stuff down their mouths. Homes, playgrounds, and even in restaurants. Whether it’s the twentieth bite of rice and dal, or a cookie (which makes me think if you’re going to force-feeding your child why not just make it a healthier fare?), there’s a child running away from it.  I was sure I never wanted to do that. There had to be a better way. My research saved us all. What is baby-led weaning? Baby Led Weaning is a gentle but effective approach to teaching your baby to eat well. Baby led weaning basically means you follow your baby’s cues while introducing solids. …