Healthy Recipes · Savoury

Easy Veggie Stir Fry

I have a full time passion for food together with a full time job. As a result of this my brain is constantly engaged in a whirlwind of thoughts about all the things that I have to get done in a day.

Not only am I a big foodie I love to cook and bake for people who are close to my heart. I am a Bengali and love the local cuisine. Bengali veggie dishes are ridiculously easy and simple to make but fabulously tasty. This is because minimal amount of spices are used in order to let the intrinsic flavour of the fresh vegetables shine through. Another very important part of our cuisine is all the different vegetable dishes have an exclusive spice combination of its own. You just cannot throw in “Curry Powder” (Urggh! I do not even know what that exactly is) in a Bengali vegetable dish.

Our daily meal staple usually comprises of rice/roti(whole-wheat flatbreads), dal(lentil soup), fish/chicken in a gravy of choice and a seasonal vegetable dish. There are a thousand and one ways in which our veggies are prepared at home.

I love potatoes even though they are often demonised by weight watchers. But my relationship with them is still going strong. I remember when I was young I used to make a ruckus at meal time if the side dish of veggies did not have potatoes! How I sympathise with my sweet mother now when I think back to those days. That soft corner for potatoes is still there though.

This recipe is super duper easy and requires only a handful of ingredients. Potatoes are easily available and pointed gourds are the loveliest veggies if they are tender. I just hate the big and crunchy ones. So try to use small and tender pointed gourds in this recipe. The star ingredient of this is the poppy seed.

For the full recipe please follow the link

https://thefoodlives.com/2019/03/09/easy-veggie-stir-fry/

Savoury

15-minute Healthy Veggie Soup


Now who does not love those recipes that can be thrown together in under 15 minutes flat? This soup is one such recipe and is ideal for cold winter evenings when cooking a 6 course dinner is the last thing you want to do after slogging in office for the whole day.

It is actually a very good appetizer and can keep the flu, cough and cold at bay. It also works wonders for the days when you have already caught a cold, have a runny nose and want something warm and comforting to fill your tummy.

The fresh and crunchy winter veggies make the soup taste divine yet is super healthy so you can enjoy it without any guilt whatsoever. It is practically fat free except for one teaspoon of olive oil.


I have used very few spices in this recipe so that the intrinsic flavour of the raw ingredients is retained and the spices not only enhance the taste but are super healthy by themselves as well.


Bay leaf is used in many Indian recipes and I just love its mild flavour. Our weekend special Masala Chai at home is made extra special with the awesome flavour of Bay leaf. It also somehow makes the viscosity of the milk based tea just right and we just swoon over our delicious cup of masala chai. https://www.healthline.com/health/5-possible-uses-for-bay-leaf


Black Pepper is a super-spice and hundreds of years ago, traders considered black pepper the king of spices calling it “black gold,” It is a powerhouse of health benefits and helps to add a distinct earthy and balanced hotness to any dish.
https://www.healthline.com/health/black-pepper-king-of-spices


Chopping up the vegetables is the only time taking part of this recipe. That will take around 5 to 6 minutes and the cooking time is around 10 minutes. So overall this is a super quick recipe resulting in an extremely healthy and tasty soup!

Preparation time: 6minutes.
Cooking Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1. 1 Orange carrot
2. 8 to 10 French Beans
3. 1 Red Onion
4. 4 to 5 Garlic cloves
5. 7 to 8 Green Onion leaf
6. 2 Green Chilli
7. 1 sprig of Fresh Coriander Leaves.
8. 1 Bay Leaf
9. 5 to 6 Walnuts
10. Freshly Crushed Black Pepper (To taste)
11. Salt (To taste)
12. ½ tsp dry mango powder
13. 1 tsp Olive oil
14. 5 to 6cups water
15. 1 cup chicken Stock(Optional)

Method:
• Start by dicing the carrots and chopping all the vegetables mentioned in the ingredients except the garlic.


• Heat up the water and keep it ready to use.
• In a sauce pan put in the olive oil and add the bay leaf.
• Add the garlic cloves and fry till light golden.


• Next add the sliced onions and fry till translucent.
• Add the carrots and the beans and stir.
• Sautee the vegetables for a minute or so and then add the hot water or the stock.
• Add coarsely chopped walnuts, dry mango powder ,salt and freshly crushed black pepper according to your taste.
• Bring the soup to a boil for 3 to 4 minutes and then add the chopped green onion leaves as if they are added near the end they will maintain their crunch.
• Check the salt and add some more black pepper if necessary.
• Garnish with slit green chillis and fresh coriander leaves.
• Serve hot with bread sticks or croutons or just as it is.

P.S
1.This quantity will make around two standard soup bowls full of soup.
2.You can add any vegetables of your choice as this is a very customisable recipe.
3. If you want an added protein kick throw in some shredded boiled chicken and you will have a wonderful chicken soup.
4. The walnuts give a great texture to this soup and I just loved their taste together with the vegetables.

Baked Goodies · Savoury

Stuffed Chicken Roast


As far back as I can remember in my cooking and baking days I was always fascinated with the idea of cooking a whole chicken! In my teenage years, it was during the Durga Puja Festivals one year when I had planned on making the famous Mughlai dish the “Murgh Mussallam” which literally means “whole chicken”. As everyone will remember in those days’ information was not as easily available as now. So it took a lot of effort in my part to search for a do-able recipe but due to some unfortunate turn of events, I never got around to making it.

Fast forward 10 years and it was my first job posting in Jaipur, Rajasthan where a sweet neighbor of mine had gone to a great deal of trouble to prepare Murgh Mussallam for a New Year house party and I observed her labouring over the whole chicken for quite some time! And how we ate at that New Year’s party is a different gastronomical story altogether! Now I’m back to my hometown Kolkata and it was the festive month of December when my past urge to cook a whole chicken returned with a gusto. This time I was very determined to not only bake the whole chicken but stuff it too! So my search for the perfect recipe began.

 I found that the internet is flooded with lots of information and recipes of stuffed roast chicken but I could not find the one which suited me perfectly. I took a different approach and began to make my own recipe. In this journey, I have been inspired by several recipes on different websites including ChristinasCucina(https://www.christinascucina.com/rosemary-citrus-roast-chicken-overnight/) and Allrecipes(https://www.allrecipes.com/). This recipe can be divided into three main parts the marinade, the stuffing and the main process of baking/roasting the chicken. This is a fairly simple and easy recipe but it requires some pre-planning and lots of patience!

I made this much awaited stuffed chicken roast as a pre-Christmas treat on the weekend before Christmas. Now it might seem to be a fairly intimidating dish to pull off. But believe me when I say this you will simply blow people away with the awesomeness of this golden and crispy skinned chicken with soft juicy meat and stuffing which is great to eat even by itself! The most important thing that is required on this recipe is Courage. If you have that you will just sail through this recipe and your family will be kissing your hands and licking their fingers!

Preparation time: 30 minutes (excluding overnight marination time)

Baking/Roasting Time: 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min.

Ingredients:

For the Marinade you will need:

  1. Juice of 1 orange,
  2. Juice and zest of 1 Gondhoraj* Lebu/Lime,
  3. Juice of 1 lemon,
  4. Slices of Gondhoraj Lebu/Lime,
  5.  8 to 10 cloves of peeled garlic,
  6. Salt (To taste)
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper (To taste)
  8. Dried rosemary (1 tbsp)
  9. 1 whole Chicken (1 kg) with the skin and its innards cleaned.

For the stuffing you will need:

  1. Butter=75gm
  2. Bread Cubes=4 cups.
  3. 1 medium-sized red onion chopped.
  4. 2 sticks of leek /spring onions 5 to 6 chopped.
  5. Fresh Button Mushroom’s 8 to 10 diced.
  6. 6 to 7 Walnut’s chopped
  7. Dried Cranberries
  8. Chopped celery and coriander leaves = 1 sprig of each
  9. 1 egg
  10. ½ cup milk
  11. 1 Dried Bay Leaf/ Tez patta
  12. ½ tbsp Brown sugar
  13. Salt (To taste)
  14. Freshly crushed Black Pepper (To taste)

Other Ingredients

  1. Butter Cubes 1 cup(100gm)
  2. Melted Butter or olive oil 1/ 4 cup for basting
  3. Honey 2 tbsp
  4. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, roasting tin/tray
  5. 1 piece of thick bread end.

Method:

  • Start by first washing and cleaning the chicken thoroughly. Be careful that you wash the inner parts and the skin very well.
  • Then pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  • Take a large bowl (glass/ plastic) and mix all the ingredients of the marinade i.e the orange juice, gondhoraj lebu/lime juice and zest, lemon juice, crushed garlic pods, salt, pepper and rosemary.
  • Coat the chicken with the marinade. Pull the skin slightly and push in few pods of crushed garlic below the skin randomly. In the inner cavity of the chicken put the lime/ gandhoraj lebu wedges and crushed garlic pods and make sure the marinade is well coated in the inside as well.
  • Seal the bowl with cling film and put into the refrigerator at least overnight. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours. Do not forget to turn the chicken over at least once during the marination period.
  • When you are ready to roast the chicken remove it from the refrigerator at least 2 hrs prior to cooking it. Remove lemon/ lime wedges from the inner cavity.
  • Rub butter cubes on the entire outer surface of and push in few of the cubes underneath the skin.
  • For the stuffing, melt butter in a pan and add the bay leaf. Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent. Then add the mushrooms, leek, celery and cook at high flame until soft. Mix in the bread cubes and fry. Beat the egg and add it into the mixture at a low flame and mix well. Add the milk and increase the flame and keep stirring. When the mixture is dry add the chopped walnuts, cranberries, salt, pepper, and chopped coriander and remove from heat.
  • It is important to remember that you should not cool the stuffing and spoon it directly into the cavity of the prepared chicken.
  • You can sew the cavity of the chicken shut with twine or a thick thread. But I used an easier hack. Just wedge the end tough piece of bread at the opening of the chicken cavity pushing in the stuffing. Don’t worry if it is a bit loose.
  • Sprinkle some salt and freshly crushed black pepper on the chicken.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F or 230°C.
  • Place the chicken on a low rack over a roasting tray and bake at 230°C for 15 minutes.
  • Then reduce the temperature to 375°F or 180°C and bake for 1 hour.
  • It is important to remember that in every 15 minutes have to baste the chicken i.e brush the entire surface with the remnant marinade and melted butter. This will help to keep the chicken soft and moist.
  • At the 45 minute mark turn the chicken around to get even browning of all the surfaces

  • For the last basting of the chicken, you can mix some honey with the melted butter and brush the chicken with the mixture. This will give the loveliest caramelized golden brown roast chicken ever.
  • After 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes the chicken will be cooked thoroughly.
  • Carve the chicken with a sharp knife and serve with toast(optional) and roast potatoes
  • At the end, my roasted chicken had caramelized golden brown crispy skin with very juicy, tender flesh and yummy scrumptious stuffing inside.
Baked Goodies · Savoury

Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

I have a full time 9 to 5 job and I reserve minimum effort for breakfast as I am a zombie in the morning.

Yes…as all my friends and family know I am anything but a morning person. Whenever there has been any such situation in which I am required to get up very early mysteriously I have been spared. I guess there is a lot of power in prayers!
           Now, this healthy, savory, veggie-filled whole-wheat muffin can be made at any time of the day but somehow in my head, I was hell-bent on making it for breakfast! I pinned an egg-white and veggie healthy muffin on my recipe board for the past one year but never got around to making it.

So in my December baking spree, I decided I have to make something savory and remembered the egg white muffin recipe. To make the muffins more filling I have recreated the recipe in my way. It is a very easy recipe and other than the chopping part it takes only 10 minutes to put together. Yes! You heard me right I did say 10 minutes!
As luck would have it, my helper, Pinky was late that day and we got up late. I was running around like a headless chicken but the night before I had washed the vegetables and kept them ready to be chopped in the morning which helped a lot.

So after having our daily dose of seasonal fruits, I got together all the ingredients and my hubby was sweet enough to chop the veggies into perfectly immaculate little pieces!

To be honest I have made very few savory baked items and I was very nervous about the outcome.
So after putting the muffins into the oven for the baking fairies to perform their magic, I rushed to take my bath and get ready for office. After 25 minutes when I came into the kitchen, I found these golden muffins dotted with a rainbow of colored veggies waiting patiently in the oven to be gobbled up.

Frankly, these muffins are superbly filling, yummy, tasty, healthy and as a bonus look absolutely perfect. I am already thinking of ways in which I can change the ingredients and make a wide variety of savory breakfast muffins. They taste good by themselves or you can try some ketchup on the side as well.

Preparation time: 15 minutes**
Baking Time: 25 minutes**

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup Whole-wheat Flour (100gm)
  2. ¼ cup flax seed powder (25 gm)
  3. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
  4. ½ tsp Baking soda
  5. 2 Egg white + 1 whole Egg
  6. Melted Butter 100 gm (equivalent to a ¾ cup of butter cubes)
  7. Skimmed Milk 1/4 cup
  8. Spinach (8 to 9 leaves), Red Bell Pepper (1/4), Yellow Bell Pepper (1/4), Green Onion, Onion (1), Coriander Leaves (to taste).
  9. Salt and Pepper to taste
  10. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
  11. Muffin mould and paper muffin cups.
  12. Oil/melted butter for greasing the muffin cups.

Method:
• I started by washing the veggies the night before and keeping them ready to be chopped in the morning.
• Then keep all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
• Chop all the veggies i.e spinach, bell peppers, onion, green onion and coriander leaves into small pieces.
• Line the muffin mould with paper liners and grease them.
• Mix the whole-wheat flour with the flaxseed powder, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda.
• Melt the butter.
• Beat the egg whites and egg with a handheld mixer till light and frothy.
• Add in the skimmed milk, butter and keep on mixing.
• Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
• Then when the egg mixture is frothy add in the flour mix and fold in with a spatula.
• Mix in the chopped vegetables.
• The mixture will not be pourable.
• With the help of a spoon put the batter into the muffin moulds
• Put the muffins into the preheated oven to bake for 25 minutes.
• After 25 minutes check the center of one of the muffins with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean then the muffins are done.
• Your yummy, healthy, veggie muffins are ready to be gorged as a special treat for breakfast!

P.S

  1. **All ovens are unique the timing might vary accordingly. In this recipe, the vegetables tend to impart some moisture to the batter while the baking is going on. So feel free to adjust the timing according to your ovens nature.
  2. If you want you can add in some grated cheese to the batter but even without cheese, these muffins turn out pretty scrumptious.
  3. The quantities that I have mentioned will make around 6 muffins.
  4. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this recipe in the comments section.