We all love hummus at home. Hummus - the creamy protein-packed paste that is made primarily from mashed chickpeas which can be used as a dip or a spread.
History of the Humble Hummus
According to ancient scriptures, it was first consumed in Egypt around the 13th century but it was very different from what we having today. Early Egyptians omitted tahini and garlic and used pickled lemons, herbs, spices and other nuts instead. It was only during the 16th century that the Mediterraneans started consuming the way we do today. It is so popular all over the world and its not surprising that restaurants have sprung up recently dedicating their menu to this humble but highly nutritious dip/spread - namely Hummus Grill in Philadelphia, Hummus Cafe in Seattle and many more.
Hummus Health Benefits
Hummus, with its protein rich chickpeas, highly wholesome EVOO, raw garlic and calcium rich sesame seeds in its tahini, is packed with many health benefits. It
Basic hummus consists of chickpeas, tahini (which is essentially ground roasrted sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. I wanted to make a version with cilantro (coriander) to see how it would turn out. I used only 1/2 cup which gave a faint green shade to the hummus and a hint of cilantro flavor. I believe it will be even more delicious with a full cup.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1 can of garbanzo beans (15 oz)
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup EVOO
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
Salt per preference
3-4 tbsps water
Extra EVOO, cilantro leaves and a dash cayenne pepper for prettying it up
1) Put everything into a food processor and blend. Please don't make the mistake of putting the ingredients into a blender, like I did. It took a long time to blend it to a smooth paste. Only use a food processor.
2) Remove from food processor, pour it into a shallow serving bowl with a coloured interior for that extra impact. Swirl EVOO, add a dash of cayenne and place the coriander leave in the center.
Serve with your fav dip chips or on your wrap as a spread. It's really delicious. You won't regret trying out this super easy recipe.
Spanish Omelette is the English name for a traditional Spanish dish called Tortilla Espanola or Tortilla de Patatas. It is basically an omelette using eggs, potatoes, onions/chives and garlic.
According to legend, Spanish Omelette was created when during the siege of Bilbao in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, General Tomas de Zumalacarregui was in the field and happened to come across a farmhouse and demanded a meal from the farmwife. All she had were a few eggs, potatoes and onions, so she combined all three, making an omelette (necessity is the basis for most inventions/creations, isn't it?). Surprisingly, General Zumalacarregui was pleased and took the recipe idea with him.
Omelettes are one of the most easiest quickest meals to prepare. You can throw in any ingredients you like with basic seasonings and pour in your beaten eggs, and you have a nutritious protein-rich meal. In this post, I made an omelette using only egg-whites as I am very put off by the strong egg smell and taste of the eggs in Singapore.
I didn't have whole egg objections while living in America, but I do in Singapore. My husband Anand says it is because of the chicken feed. I thought I was the odd one feeling this way but apparently a friend and fellow Book Club member Anu feels the same way about Singapore eggs too. She said she could eat eggs in India but she can't here because of its egginess. I believe vegetarians build up a strong sense of smell over time so that they can tell the difference between non-veg and veg.
I have used potatoes with skin for fibre and for still keeping the nutrition under its skin and since I only had basil leaves, instead of chives, I had to make do with them.
Ingredients (for a 9 inch omelette)
5 tbsps olive oil
6 eggs, egg yolks discarded
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 medium potatoes, sliced thinly with or without skin
6-8 big Basil Leaves (or 12 small) and extra for garnish
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes and extra for garnish
Salt & Pepper
1) Heat the EVOO and fry the sliced yellow onion for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
2) Add the sliced potatoes, basil leaves, sliced red capsicum, salt and pepper.
3) Let the vegetables cook for 15 mins on medium heat, stirring often so that the potatoes don't stick.
4) Season the egg whites with salt and pepper and beat very well till fluffy. Then, pour in the egg whites into the pan. Add in the halved cherry tomatoes, cut side up, and submerge them in the egg whites so they don't fall out when you flip the cooked omelette later.
5) Cover and cook on low heat for 5-10 mins.
6) When the sides are crisp and omelette moves on the pan when you tilt it, the bottom is cooked.
7) Flip over using a wide spatula and cook for another 3-5 mins.
8) Garnish with chilli flakes and more basil leaves. Cut into 4 big quarters or 8 medium wedges.
9) Enjoy your Spanish Egg-White Omelette on its own or with your favourite breakfast accompaniments.
Bruschettas are wonderful delicious appetizers and the fact that they just need a few minutes to prepare and assemble makes them even more delicious, don't they?? Usually, I chop the tomatoes and mix them with olive oil and basil leaves, season them with salt and pepper and serve them on toasted baguettes.
I thought I'll do it a little differently today. I marinated the tomato slices in a mix of balsamic vinegar, oilive oil and some bruschetta seasoning I came up on my own. Then I topped it off with basil leaves and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard dry cheese made from skimmed or partly skimmed cow's milk. It has a hard pale-golden rind and a straw-coloured interior but with a rich sharp flavor. They are aged at least for 2 years which results in their complex intense flavor. I found out that Parmigiano Reggiano is the original Parmesan Cheese. The Parmesan cheese we consume everyday is just an imitation of the original Parmigiano Reggiano and are only aged for 10 months. I realised after tasting some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano that nothing compares to its granular texture that melts in the mouth and I could taste the distinct aging in its flavor. This was not obvious in our regular Parmesan Cheese.
And did you know that there is something called Bruschetta Seasoning in the market? Having never come across such a seasoning before, my next best alternative will be to come up with my own, using what I had in my kitchen today and what is usually required for bruschettas. I used chilli flakes for a bit of spice, garlic granules and an Oregano, Basil and Tomato spice blend which I had bought long ago thinking I would definitely have a need for it someday. That day is today!!
You can come up with your own Bruschetta Seasoning too - just ensure these essential ingredients :
Dehydrated tomato pieces,
Dried Basil and
Ingredients (For 4 Bruschetta Slices)
4 slices of Ciabatta/Multi grain loaf
1 and 1/2 red ripe tomatoes, sliced very thinly into 8 round pieces
2 tsp Oregano, Basil and Tomato (OBT) Spice Blend
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp Garlic Granules
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp EVOO plus extra for drizzling at the end and for drizzling on toasts before assembling
6-8 Basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt & Pepper
1) Mix the seasonings together - OBT Spice Blend, Chilli Flakes, Garlic Granules, Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO.
2) Then, soak the sliced tomato pieces in them and let them marinate for 10 minutes.
3) In the meantime, toast the ciabatta/multigrain loaf slices and drizzle EVOO over them. After 10 minutes, start assembling the marinated tomato slices over the toasts.
4) This will be followed by the chopped basil leaves, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of EVOO. Finish it up with a dash of pepper and salt. Serve as a quick appetizer or even with a warming soup of your choice. Best served warm. Enjoy!!
Quiches are savory pies made with a short crust pastry. It can be rather time consuming making the pastry, blind baking them and then adding in the filling and then baking them again. A crustless version is easier and even though we may miss the yummy buttery crust, having no crust helps us to dig into the filling direct. Agree? :)
I have used the most basic of vegetarian filling - spinach and mushrooms, with skim milk and Parmesan and Mozarella cheese. It is so easy that the prepartion takes barely 30mins and another hour for cooking and baking. Spinach and Mushroom Pie will make a great party dish and will be an awesome breakfast surprise for your weekend family time too!
Ingredients (for 6 slices)
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
200gm button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
125 gm fresh baby spinach, washed
4 large eggs (reduce to 3 if you are watching your cholesterol)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup grated Mozarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 180 deg C or 350 deg F. Coat a 9-inch pie dish with olive oil spray and leave it aside.
2) Gather all the ingrdients. TOP Picture - Sliced mushrooms, washed baby spinach, canola oil and minced garlic. BOTTOM Picture - salt, pepper, skim milk, Parmesan Cheese, Mozarella cheese and eggs.
3) Heat the canola oil in a pan and fry the minced garlic for 2 mins. Then add in the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper.
4) Once the mushrooms have cooked , add in the spinach and let it wilt.
5) After 3-5 mins, it will look like this. There will be a lot of water from the mushroom and spinach. If you cant wait for all this moisture to evaporate, just pour away the water like I did. Keep aside.
6) Get a mixing bowl and whisk the eggs, skim milk and Parmesan cheese together. Season with salt and pepper.
7) Pour the sauted spinach and mushroom into the oiled pie dish and spread it out evenly.
8) Pour the egg mixture into the pie pan.
9) Spread the mozarella cheese all over.
10) Bake in the preheated oven for 40 45 mins or till the crust is golden brown.
11) Enjoy your crustless Spinach and Mushroom Pie !
We all enjoy sweet potatoes. But did you know that the leaves of these sweet tubers are power packed with important vitamins and minerals?
Sweet Potato leaves are an excellent source of potent antioxidants called polyphenols and they are one of the most alkalizing vegetables out there. It makes me wonder if Sweet Potato leaves are the next Superfood?
I was introduced to all these nutrient info by a Cooking Frenz member -Ms Shirley Lee. She gave me valuable tips on how to prepare these leaves. I came up with some additional ingredients to power up the dish even more. It is especially good for all the men in our household. It didn't take long for my husband Anand to gobble this up when I told him how good these sweet potato leaves are for his prostrate!
Ingredients (Serves 3 as a side dish)
500 gm of sweet potato leaves
1/2 a block of firm tofu
3 garlic cloves, sliced long
1 bird's eye chilli, sliced
Light soy sauce - 1 to 2 tbsp
1) Prepare the tofu, garlic and chilli.
2) Wash and cut the stems of the leaves into 1 inch pieces.
3) Discard any old leaves and rinse well. Drain.
4) Get a big wok and pour 1 tbsp of canola oil. Fry the garlic and bird's eye chilli slices.
5) Add the light soy sauce and tofu and let them brown a little on medium heat.
6) Add the stems and cook for 5 mins covered till tender.
7) Then add in the leaves and again cook covered for a further 5 mins.
8) It will look like this after 5 mins. Serve piping hot with any other Chinese themed dishes. Enjoy!
Cabbage Stir Fry with Lentils and Grated coconut or Cabbage Poriyal is a basic South Indian vegetable side dish very commonly made in many Indian households. The lentils add protein while the coconut is more for an added flavor. Cabbage can be substituted with many other vegetables like French or Long Beans, Carrots, Snake Gourds etc. Cabbage shreds are steam cooked which gives it a nice natural flavor.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp Moong Dhal
1 tbsp canola oil (or any other veg oil)
1/4 tsp mustad seeds
1/4 tsp urad dhal
1 dried chilli, cut into 4
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 cup peas
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt per preference
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp grated coconut
1) Soak the moong dhal in water for 15 mins. Drain and keep aside.
2) Heat a pot and add 1 tbsp canola oil
3) Add the dry spices - mustard seeds, urad dhal and dried chilli.
4) Add the onion and curry leaves and fry further till onions turn translucent.
5) Add in the cabbage, green peas, moong dhal, turmeric powder and salt. Give it a stir. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and steam cook for 5-10 mins till vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally to ensure vegetables don't stick to the pot and burn.
6) Lastly, add grated coconut, stir again and switch off your fire.
7) Enjoy with many of your curries as a side dish. Goes particularly well with Sambar (a South Indian Lentil Curry) or Rasam (a South Indian Tamarind Soup).
A simple dish of roasted potatoes and portobello mushrooms. Potatoes when roasted in oven has a delicious burnt taste and married with pan roasted portobellos, you get a little taste of heaven! Using only 6 ingredients, this recipe could come in handy for your next weekday dinner.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Thai cuisine, the exotic cuisine of South East Asis, is one of my favourite cuisines. Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with a strong aromatic spicy edge. Four or five fundamental tastes are usually in complex interplay in every dish - sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Being born an Indian and having grown up mostly on South Indian food, I love Indian Food too but sometimes the spices and the curries gets a whole lot overwhelming. Occasionally, I just need a light meal with equally light seasonings. Being a vegetarian, I opt for simple vegetarian Thai dishes or Chinese Vegetarian ones.
The discovery of Lemongrass Thai Restaurants in the East side of Singapore during my late 20s was a godsend. I was swooning over their Tom Yum Soup, Olive Fried Rice, Green Mango Salad and Spicy Basil Tofu with Cashewnuts. Lemongrass was also my go to place during my first pregnancy when I had cravings for sour spicy food! On certain occasions, I'll be there just for their Tom Yum Soup ( I am literally salivating!).
Anywho, I decided to post about Thai Green Mango Salad as it is filled with a burst of tropical flavors. Spicy, sweet, sour and salty. This recipe showcases a fuss free no cook vegetarian version without the fish sauce and shrimps.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 Thai Green Mangoes, julienned
2-3 small red chillies or chilli padis, sliced (adjust according to your preference )
2 shallots, sliced thinly (optional)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
3 tbsps. peanuts, crushed
4 lettuce leaves for serving
2 tsps light brown sugar/honey
1/2 cup green lime juice
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
Salt to taste if you need
Mix all the dressing ingredients and adjust according to your taste preference.
Toss the rest of the ingredients (excl crushed peanuts, cilantro and lettuce leaves) in a salad bowl. Serve green mango salad on the lettuce leaves and pour over the dressing just before serving. Garnish with crushed peanuts and cilantro/mint leaves.
Julienne the mangoes just before serving so as to ensure they are fresh and crunchy. Otherwise, soak the prepared mangoes in ice cold water and then drain and pat dry before adding in to the salad.
You can substitute green mango with green papaya to make Thai Green Papaya Salad.
Thai Green mango works best because other varieties tend to be tongue biting or sometimes not sour at all. In Singapore, you can get Thai Green mangoes at Sheng Shiong Supermarket.
What follows is a twist to my earlier recipe on 27th Jan 2015 Grilled Feta Cheese and Potato Cutlets ...I have simply added cauliflower florets instead of just having plain potato cutlets. The cauliflower blended well and we could hardly make out that it was hidden in the cutlets. Another great way to integrate vegetables in kid loving great snacks. These delicious cutlets always add a wonderful addition to our meals. You won't comprehend what I mean until you taste it for yourself :)
(Makes 18-20 cutlets)
2 medium potatoes
200 gm cauliflower
1/3 cup of chopped scallions
1 cup of feta cheese crumbles
2cups of bread crumbs - 1 for mixing with the cutlets and another cup for dredging
1 cup of skim milk
Oil for grilling
Steam the potatoes and the cauliflower seperately till soft and then mash well.
Mix the mashed potato and cauliflower with scallions, feta cheese, 1 cup of bread crumbs and salt. Watch out for the salt as Feta cheese comes with its own salt load.
Shape into 2 inch patties and then dredge in the skim milk and then breadcrumbs after.
Grill on a low pan with minimal oil on medium to high heat till golden brown on both sides. Again, because of its rather delicate nature, handle the flipping very carefully.
Enjoy with, well....with anything !!
A widely reported Harvard study has pointed out that a diet rich in red meat shortens lives. Should'nt we all gravitate towards wholesome clean plant based sources of protein - namely nuts, legumes, soy products?
We all know the benefits of taking soy products namely :
Reduces hot flushes
Reduces the risk of developing certain cancers
Reduces the risk of developing Cardiovascular Diseases
Prevents artheriosclerosis (fatty deposits in arteries)
Prevents premature ageing
Helps to decresae bone loss in perimenopausal and menopausal women
Tofu is a widely enjoyed food made from soybeans and it is a wonderful example of how a simple food like soybeans can be woven into a natural noursishing inexpensive substitute for meat. A great source of calcium and and Vit E , tofu is often called the 'poor man's protein'. But is tofu nutritious enough to replace meat or even eggs?
To make tofu as nutritious as meat, you have to ensure you eat more tofu to meet the recommended dietary protein levels. To get the same protein benefit of 150gm of lean meat, you should consume 290gm of tofu. Regularly eating that amount of tofu provides an equal amount of energy, protein, total fat, carbs and fibre. But the most benefits will be evident in lower total cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and low density lipo protein (bad cholesterol) if you eat tofu instead of meat.
Firm tofu is also a great subtitute for eggs. For 1 egg, just mash 1/4 cup firm tofu. Tofu doesn't fluff up like eggs but it does have a perfect texture for eggy dishes. I came up with this Easy Tofu Scramble as a substitute to Egg Scramble. It looked just like the real thing! If you are allergic to eggs, this would make a great breakfast option.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 and 1/2 blocks of firm tofu, crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped finely,
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Bird's eye chilli, sliced (optional)
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 medium zucchini, diced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
chopped scallions and extra bird's eye chillies, sliced for garnish
Baked almonds optional
Fry the onions in oil and then add the minced garlic and sliced bird's eye chilli.
After a few minutes, add all the vegetables and light soysauce and allow them to cook and absorb the soy sauce.
After the vegs are cooked around 3-5 mins, add in the tofu and baked almonds (if using)and give it another 3 mins of cooking.
Garnish with scallions and more sliced bird's eye chilli before serving.
Hi guys! I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.