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/

Baked Goodies · Desserts · Healthy Recipes

Healthy whole-wheat Dark Chocolate Cookies

Healthy whole-wheat dark chocolate cookies

Homemade cookies are the best. Everybody will agree.Ever since I have started baking cookies at home I just cannot seem to make myself eat any store bought biscuits or cookies. There is an absolute block in my head regarding this. My entire tin of biscuits filled with the good old Marie biscuit and cream crackers are just sitting and getting stale.

 Nobody even gives them a cursory glance these days during tea time.   Also, there is a lot of pressure on me (most of it self-inflicted) to focus on healthy baking and curtail the use of refined flour and sugars. Keeping this in mind and my sporadic chocolate cravings I came up with the recipe for this chocolaty and scrumptious and healthy cookie made totally from scratch.

It is super easy to make too and requires only 4 to 5 ingredients. These cookies are the result of a crazy midnight baking session which I go through once in a while. They are a bit on the less sweet side because everyone at home like their baked goodies to be lightly sweetened. You can easily alter the amount of sweetness to your liking.  

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Chilling Time: 30 minutes

Baking Time: 16 to 18 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 8 heaped tbsp Whole-wheat Flour (60 gm approx.)
  2. 5 heaped tbsp Dark Cocoa powder (40 gm approx.)
  3. Softened Salted Butter 75 gm
  4. Date Palm Jaggery(patali Gur) 4 tbsp
  5. Milk (optional)
  6. Butter Paper
  7. Baking Tray

*White Chocolate Button/ Chocolate Chips (absolutely optional)

Only 4 basic ingredients

Method:

  • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, and baking tray ready.
  • Cream the softened butter with a handheld mixer or a whisk until it is fluffy and the colour of the butter changes. It will take you around 7 to 8 minutes at low to medium speed and longer if using a whisk.
Creamed and whipped butter
  • Mix in the jaggery with the creamed butter and keep mixing at low speed.
whipped butter and jaggery
  • In a separate bowl sieve together the whole-wheat flour and the dark cocoa powder
  • Now mix the flour-cocoa mix into the creamed butter jaggery mixture until combined and forms a dough. You may add some milk if required.
flour-cocoa mix and butter…the dough forming process
  • Eventually, use your clean hands to bring it all together and form the chocolate cookie dough
  • Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film or aluminum foil and put it into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
cookie dough
  • After 30 minutes take out the cookie dough and form smaller balls from it. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hands and form small disks of about ½ cm thickness.
  • Make designs on the cookies with the help of a fork according to your liking. I was helped by my hubby in the cookie designing bit and they did turn out to be very very pretty. You can use white chocolate chips also if you desire.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180O C. Arrange the cookies on a paper lined baking tray with at least ½ a cm gap between them as the butter in them tends to make them spread while cooking. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes’ till baked through. The cookies might seem to be a bit soft when you take them out from the oven but they get crispier as they cool down
  • Your easy, yummy, chocolaty, buttery and healthy whole-wheat cookies are ready to be enjoyed with a delicious cup of coffee or with tea or just like that when you are feeling a bit moreish.

P.S

1. Patali Gur or Date Palm jaggery holds a very special place in my heart and it is one of the winter delicacies that I absolutely adore. It has a wonderfully rich and smoky flavour which can easily be used as a sugar substitute. I love to use it in my desserts but if you find it difficult to get your hands on you can easily use raw unfiltered honey or any other sweetener of your choice.

2. Creaming the butter until soft and buttery is an extremely important step as that gives these cookies the perfect texture.

3. If you do not have a cookie tray/ baking tray please do not worry. Neither do I! The hack that I use is I just cut my butter/baking paper into a round shape and place it directly on the microwave ovens turntable. Voila! Your baking tray is ready to be used.

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

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.