Vegetarian Thai Coconut Peanut Curry (my version)

Vegetarian Thai Coconut Peanut Curry is my twisted version of the authentic Thai coconut curry; with minimum ingredients that can be found in any kitchen. This curry can be made in minutes. This curry is packed with vegetables, tofu and homemade curry paste made with coconut milk, peanuts and red chillies and flavored with basil leaves gown in my very own garden and some sauces. The choice of vegetables depends on your preference and taste. I made this curry with left over veggies I had in my kitchen but you can try it out with veggies like bamboo shoots, mushrooms, snow peas and the list is endless. So, try out this amazing curry (my version) with no compromise on taste and happiness !!

Veggie Thai Coconut peanut Curry

Ingredients: Serves 2
Mixed veggies – 2 cup (broccoli, green bellpeppers, bok choy, carrots, french beans)
Silken extra firm Tofu – 10 to 12 pieces
Basil leaves – 4 to 5
Ginger julienne – 1 tablespoon (1 inch piece ginger)
Garlic chopped – 1 teaspoon
Unsweetened Coconut milk – ¼ cup
Red chillies – 5 to 6
Roasted peanuts – 3 tablespoon
Liquid Aminos / soy sauce – 1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice / Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) /Vinegar – 1 teaspoon
Salt and Pepper as per taste
Coconut Oil – 1 tablespoon
Water as needed

Method:

Veggie Thai peanut Curry Veggie Thai Peanut Curry

1. To make the Curry, first we have to make a paste of the coconut milk, red chillies and peanuts by grinding it in a blender.

Veggie Thai Peanut Curry

2. In a deep bottom pan, on high heat toast the tofu with some salt and pepper till lightly brown from outside but still soft from inside.
3. Now, in a deep bottom kadai / pan heat some coconut oil; add in the ginger julienne, chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute so that the flavors of ginger and garlic get infused into the oil.

Veggie Thai Coconut Peanut Curry

4. Add in the vegetables except the bok choy and basil leaves. Stir fry on high for 2 to 3 minutes, so that the veggies get cooked but still retain their crunchy texture.
5. Now, add in the prepared coconut paste, liquid aminos, Apple cider vinegar, salt and some water to adjust the consistency of the curry.

Veggie Thai Coconut Peanut Curry

6. When the curry comes to a boil, add in the tofu pieces, chopped bok choy along with the stems and basil leaves and switch off the heat and cover the pan with the lid.

Veggie Thai Coconut Peanut Curry

7. Just before serving garnish with some basil leaves, roasted peanuts and serve hot with brown rice or jasmine rice. I like it best with Quinoa. Enjoy !!

Note:
1. Any other variety of veggies / sprouts can also be added (except water content veggies)
2. I have prepared it completely in vegetarian style but you can add in some boiled chicken pieces too.
3. Liquid aminos is a great alternative to regular soy sauce. Since they are made with naturally occurring sodium from soybeans.

Plantain Stem Stir Fry (Vazhaithandu Poriyal)

This is my mom’s recipe. Its been 5 years since I have moved to the US. In these 5 years, I finally spotted this Plantain stem (Vazhaithandu) in an Indian Grocery store. I was so excited to see this amazing vegetable, which instantly made me nostalgic, as it reminded me of my mother making this amazing curry during my childhood, that I have missed for so long. I thought I should give this a shot. I immediately called her, noted the recipe and here it is, I share with you all, one of my mom’s best recipes in my own kitchen.
Here are a few benefits of Plantain stem for all those who may not be aware:
It helps to prevent constipation, heal stomach cramps and good for kidney stones. It reduces acidity and aids weight loss. It helps fight diabetes, Urinary tract infection (UTI) and stomach ulcers. It is rich in fiber, potassium and various other nutrients.

Try out this recipe and get benefited from this amazing gift of Mother nature.

Plantain Stem Stir Fry

Ingredients : Serves 2 to 3
Plantain stem – 1 medium length
Grated coconut – 2 tablespoon
Curd – 2 tablespoon
Yellow Moong dal – 2 tablespoon
Salt – As needed
Curry leaves – 5 to 6
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida / Hing – less than 1/8th teaspoon
Green Chilli – 2 to 3
Coconut oil / any oil – 2 tablespoon

Method:
1. To make the Plantain stem curry, in a big bowl add 2 cups of water, some salt and 2 tablespoon curd and keep aside.

Plantain stem

2. Soak the yellow moong dal in 1 cup water and keep aside.

Plantain Stem Plantain stem plantain stem Plantain stem

3. Now, remove the outer ring of the stem as shown in the picture; so that there are no more rings left to be removed.

Plantain stem

4. Then slice thinly into discs. Remove the fiber from the sliced disc by rotating your finger over the slice in a circular motion. Do same for all the remaining slices. At first it is little difficult to remove the fiber, but trust me in a matter of minutes the job is done. Usually, the tender stems do not have much fiber.

Plantain stem

5. Cut the slices into small pieces and immediately put them in the curd water mixture. The reason for doing this is to avoid the plantain stems to discolor. Soak for 10 minutes.
6. Drain the water completely from the plantain stem and moong dal. Do not throw the plantain stem water.

Plantain stem

7. In a kadai / deep bottom pan add coconut oil and when the oil is hot add the mustard seeds, urad dal and asafoetida /hing. When the mustard seeds crackle, add the curry leaves and green chillies.

Plantain stem DSC08149

8. Now, add the moong dal and chopped plantain stem to the kadai. Add little salt (remember we had soaked the plantain stem in curd and salt water) You can sprinkle the reserved water for cooking the stem if needed. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

plantain stem

9. You will notice that it has become transparent after it gets cooked and can be smashed easily.

Plantain stem

10. Lastly add the grated coconut. Mix well and put off the flame.

Plantain Stem Stir Fry

11. Serve hot as a side dish to rice, more kuzhambu (buttermilk kadi), rasam or just by itself. Enjoy!!!!

Note:
How to select the right plantain stem: Ensure that the plantain stem is firm and fresh. It usually is pinkish whitish to off white color. The thicker the outer stem, the tender it will be inside.

Source: http://www.boldsky.com/health/wellness/2015/health-benefits-of-plantain-stem-juice-068049.html

Savory Protein Pancakes (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

My husband loves warm and sweet homemade brunches like muffins or pancakes during the weekend. Last Sunday, for a change, I decided to make a savory protein vegan pancake. Yes, pancake and vegan, it can be done!! By the way, we are not vegans; it was just that I was out of eggs and dairy that day and we wanted to have savory pancakes, without having to go out to buy ingredients; so I came up with this recipe. These pancakes are super quick and easy to put together. They can make delicious and nourishing breakfast, brunch or even dinner. All you have to do is pour the pancake batter on the pan and top it up with some veggies and cook till done on both sides. Serve them hot with your favorite condiment/ chutney. And, guess what, they are super healthy too!!!

Savory Protein Pancakes

Ingredients: Makes 6 (medium size)
Finger Millet / Ragi Flour (gluten-free): 1 cup
Chickpea Flour  (gluten-free) – ¼ cup
1 scoop of NUTRILITE All-Plant protein powder (flavorless) – optional
Chopped vegetable (spinach, onion,tomatoes,  red bellpeppers) – 1 cup
Flax Seeds – 2 teaspoon (eggs substitute)
Salt to taste
Green chilles chopped – 2 small
Tumeric Powder – ¼ teaspoon
Garam Masala or Curry Powder – ½ teaspoon
Soy Milk to make the batter.
Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Method:
1. Soak the flaxseeds in 2 tablespoon hot water for 15 minutes.
2. After 15 minutes the flaxseeds will be like egg white / gooey consistency.

Flaxseeds Flaxseeds

3. Spray a nonstick fry pan with the Non- Stick cooking spray.
4. In a bowl mix the Finger Millet flour, Chickpea flour, Nutrilite All Plant protein powder, soaked flaxseeds along with the water, garam masala powder, turmeric, green chillies, salt along with soy milk to make a pancake consistency batter. Do a salt and spice taste test.

Savory Protein Pancakes Savory Protein Pancakes

Savory Protein Pancakes

5. Pour the batter on a nonstick fry pan,top it up with some  vegetables and cook till done on both sides.
6. Sprinkle some Nutritional Yeast if needed. Serve with your favorite condiment/ chutney.

Note:
1. Any other plant protein powder (flavorless) of your choice can be added too.
2. Low fat milk can be substituted in place of soy milk if not vegan.
3. Nutritional yeast is a substitute for the regular cheese.
4. One 12.5 g serving of NUTRILITE All-Plant Protein Powder provides 10 grams of heart healthy protein. It’s 100% vegetarian, dairy free and thus is vegan friendly. It has low fat ( The highlight of this product is its’ flavorless and can be a healthy addition to any type of sweet or savory culinary preparation: omelets, crèches, home baked bagels, corn breads, muffins, stews, soup, healthy juices, shakes and smoothies. If you would like to give this amazing product a try click on the photo below.
Nutrilite Protein Powder2

Source: http://www.nutrilite.com

Black Bean Millet Brownies (Gluten-Free)

Black beans are my favorite (say hello to protein and fiber). They are not only delicious but also are quick and easy to cook. I use them in every type of food preparation like rice, soups Black Bean Corn Soup, snacks and salads. The other day, my husband and I were talking about healthy food recipes and habits over dinner. Suddenly, out of the blue, my husband asked me whether desserts can be made of black beans. Then, an idea struck me, that I could make good old fashioned brownies with black beans!! Yes, you heard it right. Doesn’t this sound crazy, out of whack and bizarre?? I too felt the same and about to call off the idea, but my husband encouraged me to think out of box and give it a try. This idea really piqued my interest, I decided to give it a shot to make the brownies completely from scratch, using healthy ingredients wherever possible. This recipe uses black beans, millet flour, eggs and other liquids, which are blended to form a thick batter that is in turn oven-baked. These turned out to be the healthiest, guilt free, gluten-free brownies, I have ever tasted. Hope you will try out this recipe and give your valuable feedback in the comments section. Enjoy and Happy Healthy Cooking!!

Black Bean Millet Brownies

Ingredients: Makes approx. 12 pieces
Black Bean Precooked – 1.5 cups (approx) / 15 oz can
Finger Millet Flour / Ragi Flour (gluten free) – ½ cup
Unsweetened Coconut powder – ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon
1 scoop Nutrilite All-Plant Protein Powder (flavorless) – optional
Eggs – 2
Unsweetened Cacao / Cocoa powder – 4 tablespoon
Pitted Dates – 25 pieces
Vanilla extract – ½ teaspoon
Instant Coffee powder – ½ teaspoon (optional)
Pinch of salt
Almond milk – 1 cup + 2 tablespoon
Chopped Walnuts – 1 cup
Sunflower Seeds (unsalted) – for the top layer

Method:
1. To make these delicious guilt free brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit (180 degree Celsius).
2.  Coat a 8 X 8 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Keep aside.

Black Bean Brownie1 Black Bean Brownie2

Pitted Dates

3. Pulse all the ingredients along with the almond milk and Nutrilite All-Plant Protein Powder (except walnuts, sunflower seeds & 1 tablespoon of coconut powder) in a blender / mixer  until completely smooth.

Black Bean Brownie3 Black Bean Brownie

4. Now, mix in the chopped walnuts into the batter and pour into the baking dish.
5. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top and press the seeds with the back of the spoon so that they settle inside the batter.

Black Bean Brownie Black Bean Brownie

6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top and sides of the brownies are set. The inside will still be a bit soft. Insert a tooth pick or knife in the center of the brownie and if it comes clear then the brownie is done.
7. Let the brownie cool down completely then slice into 12 big pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Black Bean Millet Brownie

8. Just before serving sprinkle some dry unsweetened coconut powder (1 tablespoon) and enjoy warm or cold. Consume within 3 days.

Note:
1.Finger Millet / Ragi flour is considered to be gluten free. Millet has the highest level of potassium, calcium and iron.
2. Black beans have good amount of protein and fiber content.
3. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate, which means it is raw and much less processed than the regular cocoa powder. Cacao contains highest source of antioxidants and magnesium. (source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org)
4. Low fat milk can be used instead of almond milk.
5. Sugar can be used instead of Dates or a combination of both will also work well with this recipe.
6. One 12.5 g serving of NUTRILITE All-Plant Protein Powder provides 10 grams of heart healthy protein. It’s 100% vegetarian, dairy free and thus is vegan friendly. It has low fat ( The highlight of this product is its’ flavorless and can be a healthy addition to any type of sweet or savory culinary preparation: omelets, crèches, home baked bagels, corn breads, muffins, stews, soup, healthy juices, shakes and smoothies. If you would like to give this amazing product a try click on the photo below.

Nutrilite Protein Powder2

(source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org, http://www.nutrilite.com)

Black Bean Corn Soup (A One-Pot Meal)

Soups and winter go hand in hand right? I don’t think so. Its almost summer here and I am hungry and making a trip to the store is just out of question. So I made a quick trip to my Kitchen instead and guess what I found, a bowl of soaked black beans which I had kept to use the next day for some other recipe. All I could imagine for dinner was a bowl of wholesome one pot Hot soup. I opened up the refrigerator and got all the veggies I could find and within thirty minutes, we had a big pot of Black Bean Corn soup ready to please our tummies. There were few leftovers that my husband packed up in individual serving containers for his lunch the next day. This soup is packed with lot of veggies and all the healthy goodness. Enjoy!!

Black Bean Corn Soup

Ingredient: Serves 3 to 4
Black Beans – 1 cup
Frozen/ Fresh Corn Kernel – ½ cup
Onion finely chopped – ½ cup
Tomatoes finely chopped – ½ cup
Green Bell pepper / capsicum finely chopped – ¼ cup
Red Bell pepper / capsicum finely chopped – ¼  cup
Celery finely chopped – ¼ cup
Broccoli finely chopped – ½ cup
Juice from ½ lemon
Garlic cloves grated – 2 to 3
Ginger julienne – 1 teaspoon
Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
Vegetable stock / Water – 3 cups

Method:
1. Pre-soak the black beans in hot water for 2 hours.

Black beans

2. To make the black bean corn soup, take a pressure cooker add in the oil. When the oil is hot add in the grated garlic, ginger julienne and saute/stir for 1 minute till all the flavors from the ginger and garlic get infused in the oil.

Mixed Veggies Mixed Veggies 2

3. Now, add in the onion, tomatoes, green & red bell peppers, celery, broccoli, crushed coriander seeds, salt and pepper and saute/ stir in for 2 to 3 minutes.

Black bean Corn

4. Add in the black beans and corn and stir for 1 minute.

Black Bean Corn Soup

5. Now, add 3 cups of vegetable stock / water and let the whole mixture come to a boil. Do a salt and pepper taste check and add more if needed.

Black Bean Corn

6. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 3 to 4 whistles. When the pressure is completely gone, open the cooker lid and add the lemon juice and mix well. Check the consistency of the soup.

Black Bean Corn

7. If the soup is thick you can add some more vegetable stock / water to adjust the consistency of the soup.

Black Bean Corn Soup

8. Serve hot with some pita chips / garlic bread sticks. This is one meal which can be had for brunch, lunch or even dinner. Enjoy the wholesome goodness.

Note:

1. Chicken stock can be used in place of vegetable stock.
2. Canned ready to use black beans can also be used in this recipe.
3. This recipe can also be made in slow cooker. Just set the timer as per the instructions given in the slow cooker manual booklet.
4. If trying to make the soup on stove top in a large skillet then it is best to use pre-cooked black beans which will help in reducing the cooking time.
5. Different vegetables of your choice can be added to this recipe.
6. Soup can be made 3 days ahead and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Before serving thin the soup with water and reheat and enjoy.

Crunchy Granola

Crunchy Granola made with nutritious oats, nuts, seeds and natural sweetener honey is a crunchy, quick and a healthier snack to eat. Oats are known to lower the cholesterol levels and help to control blood pressure. Nuts and seeds provide the essential good fats, Omega 3s and 6s . These are flavored with cinnamon which helps in lowering blood sugar levels and has anti-inflammatory properties. Granola can be added to milk or yogurt and topping it up with some fruits makes an easy and quick guilt free breakfast or a healthy snack. These homemade baked granolas are a great swap to the store brought packets. Healthy Snacking !!

DSC08046

Ingredients: Makes 7 cups
Old- fashioned Rolled Oats – 3 cups
Chia Seeds – 3 tablespoon
Hemp Seeds – 3 tablespoon
Flax Seeds – 3 tablespoon
Unsweetened organic coconut flakes – 3 tablespoon
Almonds coarsely chopped– ½ cup
Walnuts coarsely chopped – ½ cup
Raisins – ¼ cup
Goji Berries – 3 to 4 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Cinnamon Powder – 1 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
Organic Honey – 1/3 cup
Olive Oil – ¼ cup

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 170 degress Cel (approx.). Line a baking dish with silicone sheet or parchment paper and grease well with some oil.
  2. Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor or put it in a zip lock back and break it with a rolling pin.

DSC08014 DSC08015

3. Combine the oats, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds in a large bowl and mix well.

DSC08017

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, salt, cinnamon powder and vanilla extract until the whole mixture is combined well.

DSC08019 DSC08022 DSC08023

5. Pour the wet ingredients on the oats and nuts mixture and mix well.

DSC08025

6. Spread the granola mixture evenly onto the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. After every 10 minutes, take out the dish and give it a gentle mix and re-spread the mixture and bake until medium golden brown color. Watch carefully since mixture can burn towards the end of the baking time especially in the corners.

DSC08026

7. Transfer the granola to another heatproof dish to stop the cooking process. At first the granola will still be little soft in texture but when it cools down completely at room temperature it will become more crunchy. If the granola is stuck to each other break them up and mix the raisins and goji berries.

DSC08033 DSC08040

DSC08041

8. Store them in an airtight container and enjoy it with yogurt, milk or just as a healthy snack. Enjoy.

Notes:

  1. Do not use instant oats for this recipe.
  2. Different types of nuts like pecans, cashews can also be used.
  3. Dry cranberries, blueberries, figs can also be added.
  4. The recipe can be altered as per your preference and taste.

The Healthy Goodness Jar

Collage

Say hello to “PHYTONUTRIENTS”

Most of us are aware that fruits & veggies contain essential vitamins and minerals.But, it’s little known that they also contain powerful natural chemicals known as Phytonutrients. Also found in whole grains, nuts, beans and tea, they also help to prevent disease and the body to work properly. “Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. More than 25,000 phytonutrients are known to be found in plant foods. General Examples of Phytonutrients include: Anti-oxidants, which help to protect the body from free-oxygen radicals, known to cause cellular damage and increase risk of cancer; Phyto-sterols, which reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men; and Dietary Fibers, which help to prevent constipation, reduce LDL cholesterol levels and maintain colon health.

Color is the best way to categorize the nutritional benefits of the 6 most common and important phytonutrients:
1. Red/Pink (Lycopene and Ellagic Acid): Lower risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. Found in apples, tomatoes, grapefruit, pomegranate and watermelon.
2. Orange/Yellow (Carotenoids and Hesperitin): support vision and immune health, act as anti-inflammatory to help prevent chronic disease. Found in citrus fruits, pumpkin and carrots, banana
3. Green (EGCG, Lutein and Isoflavones): protect body from age-related eye disease and maintains lung, arterial and liver function. Found in Spinach, Collard Greens, Kale, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Green Tea.
4. Blue/Purple (Resveratrol): Help to slow cancer
growth rate and reduce risk of heart disease. An anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, blackberries and eggplant.
5. White (Allicin and Quercetin): Maintain healthy bones and minimize risk of heart disease. Found in flax-seeds, onions, garlic, cauliflower, and white kidney beans.
Health experts recommend the inclusion of the above 5 colors in the daily diet. Here’s a smoothie recipe I have created which is loaded with all the essential enzymes,aminos,phytonutrients,vitamins and minerals.
Remember, You are what You Absorb.

Sources: www.webmd.comwww.nutrition-and-you.com,www.nutrilite.com

The Healthy Goodness Jar

Ingredients : Serves 2
1 cup water
2 tablespoon
1 cucumber
3 stalks of celery
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup kale leaves
2 carrots
few chunks of pineapple
1/2 a banana
1/2 a red apple
1/2 cup berries

Blend Blend …Enjoy the Goodness