Monday, January 30, 2012

Roasted Pears with Strawberries

I know everybody loves to consume fruits raw or as such. But I love to try them differently as well. I know that we can use them in crumbles,crisps etc  but I prefer something quickie and different. So easiest way is roasting and baking. And roasting is preferred first as it takes few minutes only. This time also with pears I tried roasting and was happy with the result. I tried the recipe from USA Pears

Pears: atleast 1 halved lengthwise and cored
Melted Butter: 1-2 tbsp

Strawberry: few handfuls
Sugar: as per taste


Strawberries: Slice the strawberries and toss them with sugar -granulated or powdered and sit for atleast 5 minutes.

Halve the pear lengthwise and core each half to make a sizeable hole within which we can fill the strawberries.
You can optionally peel the pears. Brush melted butter on each side of the halves and place them cut side up on a greased baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in a oven preheated at the maximum temperature.

Roast the pears till they start to brown. Roughly 4 minutes after which turn them over and continue roasting for another 2-3 minutes. 

Take out, cool for sometime and fill with the strawberries and serve.You can drizzle the top with  the  syrup/liquid along with the strawberries as well.

You can actually serve the pears with cream cheese or jam etc as a dessert or cut them up and serve within salads or whatever way you like. 

The texture of the pear after roasting slightly changes though it was still crunchy as  the raw fruit. There was a slight smoky taste about the roasted pear which made it all the more exotic, I feel. The combo of the pears and berries was much better than expected as they balanced each other very well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sri Lankan Green Beans &Potato Curry - Bonchi Curry

This is again a delicious Sri Lankan stew or curry that I had adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. The dish makes use of a Sri Lankan raw curry powder which is again a fragrant mix of spices that I have made use of in my Lankan Dal

The curry is supposedly to be used as a side with rice and pickles. I found that the taste is similar to the stew that is made in Kerala to be served with appams. I loved it with rice and rotis. So suit yourself when to serve this.:)

Potatoes: almost 1 cup peeled and cubed
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 + 1/4 tsp

Vegetable Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Fresh CurryLeaves: few or atleast 8-10

Red Onion: 1 big chopped finely
Garlic: 2-3 peeled and minced
Ginger: 1/2 tsp peeled and minced/ground
Green Chillies: 1-2 depending on heat and taste : chopped into rings (I used slit)

Green Beans: 1 cup chopped
Raw Curry Powder: 3 tsp +/- (recipe given below)

Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup +/- depending on thickness
Cinnamon: 2-3 inch stick
Salt: as per taste
Fresh Lime Juice: 2 tbsp +/- (I did not use this)

Raw Curry Powder:

Coriander Seeds: 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds: 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds: 1.5 tbsp
FenuGreek Seeds : 1 tbsp
Fresh CurryLeaves: 3 whoe sprigs or about 60 in no: OR a handful of dried ones
Dessicated Coconut: 1 tbsp (I used Fresh)
Raw Rice: 1.5 tsp
Brown/Black Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp


Preheat the oven to 65C/ 150 F. Spread the ingredients onto a baking sheet and bake for an hour. Cool and grind to a fine powder as possible.

My OTG does not have 65C. So I just lightly warmed the ingredients  in a pan. I put the pan on lowest heat and then added the ingredients. As it started warming up and the raw smell was just about to leave, I removed the pan from heat and then cooled and ground to a fine powder.Store in a n airtight container if remaining for a future use.

Put the potato cubes in a pan with enough water and 1/4 tsp turmeric and cook till almost or 3/4 done.

Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add curry leaves and let them flavour the oil. 

Then after few seconds, add in the finely chopped onions,ginger-garlic minced, and chopped/slit chillies. Saute for a few minutes till the onions turn transparent or the raw smell goes. 

Add in the green beans and saute for a minute.Add the curry powder and stir once. Now add water,coconut milk,remaining turmeric, salt,cinnamon stick and potatoes. Stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce and let it cook in simmer,till done covered with a lid almost 15-20 minutes.

Add the lime juice and adjust the salt and seasonings. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving. 

I did not add the lime juice as I had liked the taste of the dish without it. As also I was not sure how hot coconut milk will react with lime juice. 

Do as per your intuition in such cases. The curry/stew was very comforting and I would definitely be making it again.

On googling I found that 'Bonchi' is the Chinese name for Green Beans. How is is associated with Lanka, I am clueless.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthy Pear Smoothie

This is the easiest and the first dish I made with my bag of pears. The recipe is adapted from USA Pears and is perfectly vegan. We can also play with this and add our choice of spices and fruits. Perfectly simple and filling.

Pear: 1 peeled and cubed
Banana: 1 medium size
Orange: 1/2 of an orange or 1 small

Soy milk: 1 cup
Sugar/ Honey/Your choice of sweetner: 2 tbsp +as per taste

Orange Zest : for garnish (optional)


Blend together all the ingredients except the zest and serve in tall glasses optionally garnished with zest.

The recipe is easy to make and as I have mentioned do play around with it to make it more healthy and tasty.You can use regular dairy milk to make this as well or even a combo of milk and yogurt. You can even refer the original recipe if needed.

My assumption is that the drink is called smoothie as it is not dairy based. If using dairy milk then call it a shake. Shake or smoothie, this is perfect for anytime especially breakfast.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Money Salad

It is said that black eyed peas is lucky for you if taken at the start of the year and brings you wealth,luck and overall prosperity. I had tried my luck first time at the end of last year with  my Hoppin John and to accelerate the Good Luck I decided to try my bookmarked salad from Food Network. This is Sunny Andersons Money Salad and I remember watching the episode which was a part of Christmas Celebrations in 2008. It was the first time I had seen black eyed peas in a salad and also heard it being "Lucky". The salad is so named as it is believed to bring in more money! :D Well, lets see what happens (psst.. keeping fingers crossed ).

Black Eyed Peas: 1 cup

Red Onion: finely chopped about 2-4 tbsp
Celery : 1  stalk  chopped roughly 1/4 cup 
Roasted Red pepper: 1 small chopped up
Cilantro: 2 -3 tbsp

Cumin Powder: 1/4 tsp
Hot Sauce: 1-2 tsp or as per taste
Fresh Grated Ginger: 1/2 -1 tsp 
Salt and Pepper: as per taste

Presoak and cook black eyed peas. You can even use canned ones. Drain the water away from the cooked peas and toss with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the salt and seasoning and serve in salad bowls in lettuce cups or within wraps. 

A simple and easy salad. It taste better as it sits. I tasted it just after tossing everything together and then I felt that ginger was not that effective in it. After it sat for an hour or so when I tasted it again, voila, the effect or zing of ginger was there and all the ingredients were in perfect harmony.

A filling and tasty salad and it goes straight to NCR: Black Eyed Peas at Lisa's. Hope you enjoy it too and yes make loads of .... health and wealth!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

'Pear' -adise @ Tasty Tangles

Know your Pear -

Pears are available year round and in different varieties. You definitely must have tasted several as well. But how well you know the fruit? They are actually related to apple family and like the latter have few seeds in the core. :)

Did You know that Pear was described as a gift of Gods ? Greek Poet Homer in his Odyssey described it thus. At that time it was considered as a luxury though nowadays several varieties are available even local ones. The world's largest suppliers are USA, China and Italy.

The sweetest of all known sugars -Levulose is said to be found in pears. Also the peel/skin of the fruit gives you the necessary fiber.The fibre in pears is said to reduce or lower the cholestrol levels in the body.

The fruit is rich in vitamin C and copper which are anti oxidants and strengthen the immunity of the body.They themselves have no cholestrol or sodium and are free from saturated fat.

Pears are hypoallergenic fruits. Doctors recommend pears as it is less likely to produce  adverse reactions as compared to other fruits.

Pears are rich in potassium and reduce the cancer risk.

Pears in Cooking..
Now that you have read this and had the fruit, have you ever thought of including it in the routine cooking and I do not mean adding pears to your porridge or breakfast cereal or making fruit raithas!. How about turning them into stirfries or springroll filling?

Confused? Read On.......

Few days back, I have been invited to a cooking demo by Chef  Vicky Ratnani as a part of the USA Pears promotional campaign at the Tasty Tangles, UB City Mall, Bangalore. This was the my third demo- or rather encounter- with the superchef and I knew he would not disappoint me.

He had laid out a wonderful spread of Pear Spring rolls with pear wasabi dip and a sweet chili sauce

Stirfried Pears with bokchoy and water chestnuts

Last but never the least delightful Pear Payasam.

I known you are going through the pictures, but I sincerely wish you all were there to taste it.

As I had mentioned above, USA is one of the largest supplier of pears. The are atleast 8 varieties of pears, which are marketed under the brand USAPears and are available year round.They are perfect for snacking anytime as well. 

Take a break with USA pears this New Year and move towards a healthy life style.. As for my recipes with pears wait and watch this space..

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Britannia NutriChoice Multigrain Thins -a Snexy Review

A few days back a group of us friends met for the usual chitchat and gossip session and I tagged along with me the healthy Britannia Multigrain Thins - the classic Indian spice one or the Masala Thins  and the Herbed tomato thins.I was supposed to review the them and what more better than to get opinion from foodie friends while enjoying a hot cuppa.

Most of us are fans of fried snacks. We love our puris,vadas and jalebis for breakfast, pakoda kadhi and fried starters for lunch and pakoras/bhajias/fritters with tea are a must especially in winter or rainy seasons. If we face health problems then we blame it on oil and these fried items, but still continue munching on them. But recently there has been and awareness among the public regarding this and slowly we are saying adieu to fried snacks and giving health main priority and changing our lifestyle.

It is here that Brand Britannia NutriChoice -pioneers in biscuits- introduces us to healthy baked snacks - Multigrain Thins and Multigrain Roasty Mixture.

Britannia NutriChoice Multigrain Thins are low fat,low cholestrol baked  crackers or 'namkeen' as we can also say,which are perfect with tea or anytime snacking.Rather than having a pakoda with tea or even fat laden biscuits you can enjoy a packet of thins guilt free. At present it comes in 3 flavours - Classic Indian Spiced, Mediterranean Herb and Tomato and Lime n' Mint. I have tried the first two and can guarantee than you will enjoy them. These are available at a low and affordable price of Rs.10/- per bag or Rs. 30/- per carton.

Multigrain refers to the presence of oats,corn,ragi, wheat and rice. We should be happy that the snack is free of the fat laden refined flour and is crisply baked and flavoured. There is also a misconception that baked can also mean lots of butter/margarine. But Britannia assures us that the snack is low in calories and fat especially compared to fried snacks.

Multigrain Roasty is a  mixture of roasted grains and pulses. We have always loved our chaats, now its time to bring a healthy change there as well. A slight change that goes a long way.

As for out ladies' High Tea :D, of the two flavours majority preferred the Classic Spiced one for Tea while the tomato herb one was thought of as the kiddie favourite. Well, I am big tomato fan and also love the spices so my vote went for both.

Coming from Britannia NutriChoice, the snacks are very snexy and we can be relieved that we have found a snack that loves us back.So lets toast to Britannia Multigrain Thins and have a healthy beginning this new year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creamy Celery Soup

The winter is slowly receding what with the days getting hotters and the nights warm. But still there is a nip in the air and the cold winds that sometime take your breath away. Ofcourse you still need sweaters or jackets sometimes and those times you come home and stuff yourself warm soups that are filling and also make a quick yet perfect supper. 

This is a simple yet healthy celery soup that I have tried from Vidya's blog as a part of the Blog Hop Wednesdays new edition. This was the first time I was trying celery as a main hero(ine ) rather than an aromatic and greeny side kick. I was sceptical, but the soup was perfect -creamy and comforting and very aromatic.

Butter: 1-2 tbsp

Celery : chopped about 1.5 -2 cups (leaves and stem)
Onion: 1 medium size chopped
Garlic : 1-2 small cloves minced

Potato: 1 medium size chopped finely 

Milk: 1/2 cup +/-
Vegetable Stock: 1/2 cup + as needed
Water: as needed

Salt, Fresh Black Pepper and White Pepper: as per taste

Melt butter in a deep pan and add in the chopped onion,garlic and celery. Saute for a few minutes till it emanates nice aroma and the onions are transparent. Then add chopped potatoes, milk and stock and/or water along with little salt and both the peppers. I used a mix of stock and water and just enough milk and then brought it to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook covered till the potatoes are done or fork tender. This may take about 20-25 minutes or so and once done allow it to cool a bit.

Puree the soup in batches if needed and put back into the bowl and heat through. Add more stock/water or milk if needed to adjust the thickness and also check for salt and seasoning.

Serve by ladling into bowl along with grilled breadsticks or your choice of accompaniments.

Simple delicious and filling soup with all the comfort needed in winter.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza

As the first post of 2012, I decided I wanted something healthy as well as interesting. I finally decided to settle for my favourite baking item cookies and that too with a little twist. Rather than going through the pain of spooning it and baking ,here we sort of spread the entire dough /batter in the form of a pizza and then slice it into wedges. Its a bit like old wine in a new bottle but made more healthy with the addition of oats. I have adapted the recipe from an old edition of a magazine and it turned out excellent.

All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Unsalted Butter: 6 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 1/3 cup packed
White Sugar: 1/3 cup

Eggs: 2 or Egg Replacer Egg :2 (additional 3-4 tbsp water is required in case of replacer)
Vanilla : 1 tsp

Oats: 1 cup
Chocolate Chips: 3/4 cup ( I used a mix of white & milk chocochips and also butterscotch morsels as well)
Nuts: 1/2 cup chopped (I used cashew nuts for a contrast in colors)

Sift together flour,soda and salt.

Melt butter on how heat and cool a bit. Whisk in the sugars till well blended.

Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

On a low speed (or using a wooden spoon), whisk in the flour mix until combined.

Fold in the oats,choco chips and nuts into this gently. Spoon the batter onto a lined and greased cookie sheet. Spread with a spatula to get a medium thick round disc.

I actually folded half of the chocochips and nuts into the batter. Rest of them I pessed on top of the batter after shaping and just before baking.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/ 180C for about 18 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and cool  in the baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.

I pulled out the baking sheet as the edges started browning. But the centre was still soft and so I switched off the oven and put it back into the hot oven for another 2-3 minutes. This sort of crisped them though cutting into wedges became a bit difficult. Superb wedges which I will repeat again and again as they are easy to make and tasty as well.

You can serve them with your favourite fruit or even as such or whatever way you like. Healthy can definitely be tasty.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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