Zucchini carrot coconut loaf/Zucchini sweet bread

Zucchini, carrots and coconut baked in a loaf pan…makes a hearty bread. Zucchini and carrots have a wonderful taste when combined. This bread is made with coconut oil and coconut milk to give it an extra flavor boost. It is delicious to the core! I bet this is the best way to eat your veggies!

Zucchini, carrot and coconut breadI have never tried zucchini bread before although it is quite popular. I bought some fresh zucchini from our framers market and wanted to use them before they lose their freshness. So this is my perfect chance to try it!

Of course, I had to visit many websites and learn about the process of making zucchini bread. I adapted those recipes by adding or reducing certain ingredients and came up with this recipe. It turned out to be a successful attempt!

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

Wet ingredients

  • 1/3 cup thick yogurt
  • 1/4 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed tightly
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini (completely squeeze out the water from it)
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Take a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger powder.
  4. Take another bowl, whisk yogurt, coconut milk, coconut oil, egg, brown sugar and vanilla essence until they combine.
  5. Add grated zucchini and carrot to it and mix well.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine.
  7. Transfer this batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes in the middle rack.
  9. Insert a tooth pick in the center to test if it comes out clean when done.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully holding the parchment paper take out the bread.
  11. After it cools a little, remove paper and cool completely before slicing.
  12. Slice and serve with cream cheese.

Zucchini breadOn baking, the batter rises and forms a golden crust. Cracks may appear on the top but that is okay! It is a sign of the batter expanding and excess moisture escaping.

I could see the shreds of zucchini and carrots in the baked loaf, making it veggielicious! To a certain extend, it is a guilt free bread because it is wholesome. This bread is quite sweet, on second thought, I would cut down the sugar in this recipe. You could reduce it to 3/4 cup brown sugar to get a better bread.

Zucchini carrot breadThis zucchini carrot loaf is basically a spice cake with a lot of moisture from the vegetables that provide it a tender texture. I like the fact that it is easy to make. There is no need for any gadgets except a whisk. No complex techniques or extensive time is involved in the preparation. It is just mixing the wet ingredients into dry and baking. That easy! I would like to make a savory version of this bread as I like this simple process.

After taking my first bite, I was more than impressed. It is perfect! It is handy as a snack at work, at school, while camping or anytime! Adding a piece of this bread to breakfast, brunch or dinner can make it exciting! It is delicious when warm and there is no harm in eating a cold slice too.

Slices of Zucchini bread with cream cheese Zucchini bread is good the next morning after slightly toasting it on a griddle. Spread a layer of cream cheese and enjoy!

Posted in Baked, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Coconut, comfort food, Dessert, International dishes, Pack-and-go snack, Snack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mulakushyam/Cabbage & lentil coconut curry

Mulakushyam is a simple curry made using lentil and different vegetables in a coconut gravy. I first tasted this curry when my mother-in-law made it. Being an expert with dishes from Palakkad, in Kerala where this curry originated, she used to make it frequently. I recreate it as my husband has special, fond memories linked to it. Pumpkin, ash gourd, squash, cabbage, raw plantain or yellow cucumber are different choices of vegetables to use in this curry. I have not made it with cabbage for a long time so here we go!

IMG_1774Cabbage is a vegetable we cannot avoid because it has a lot to offer in the nutrition department. It is easily available in most places and cheap too. It stores well for a long time. I always have a good supply of cabbage in my fridge. Most people consider it weird because of its smell. I was in that category but realized all good things do not taste like chocolate. Now, I eat it for its vitamins, anti-oxidants and cancer preventive properties, in addition to the roughage it provides.

IMG_1790Cabbage mulakushyam is a perfect combo of lentil, tomato and vegetable in a fragrant coconut base. Cabbage is first braised in oil adding tomato and then simmered with split yellow lentils(thur dhal). This curry has no strong spices but a coconut spiked, pleasant flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked thur dhal
  • 1 cups water + more for grinding
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt as needed

To grind

  • 1/2 cup coconut grated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 red chillies

Tempering

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 red chillies
  • few curry leaves
  1. Pressure cook Thur dhal until soft and mash it with a spoon.
  2. Grind coconut, red chillies and cumin with a little water to a fine paste.
  3. Take a heavy bottom pan and add 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  4. Saute chopped cabbage until it develops a nice smell and add chopped tomato.
  5. Stir well adding turmeric powder.
  6. Add mashed thur dhal, water to the pan and boil well.
  7. Add coconut paste and salt and let cabbage cook and curry is well blend.
  8. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil, splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves and red chillies to temper.
  9. Pour the tempering on the curry and mix well.
  10. Turn off heat and serve it hot with rice.

mologuIndian cooking method of frying aromatic spices in hot oil and adding to a dish is called Tempering. It is done as a last step or the first step in cooking, depending on the kind of dish. Popular as tadka, tempering transforms any dish into its delicious best! When added to hot oil, spices release their oils and a stronger aroma completely changes the profile of a dish! Ghee/clarified butter in the place of oil is used in some dishes. There are particular spices and oils for each curry and adding them in the right order is the key. Most Indian dishes are not complete without tempering.

IMG_1762 After cooking dhal, this curry is done very fast. I freeze cooked dhal and that makes work easier. When coconut paste is made, it takes 15 minutes to boil all the ingredients together and the tempering might take a few more minutes. Adjust the chillies according to taste. It can also be done without the tempering, instead, add a dash of coconut oil and curry leaves on the prepared curry.

IMG_1784This highly nutritious curry makes a great side dish with rice and some pappadams. It goes well with chapattis too. Enjoy this curry today!

Posted in Brunch, Coconut, Curry, Easy recipe, Gluten free, Indian curry, Kerala recipe, Side dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Barley mango pudding

Oh, I did not abandon everything and vanish! I took off on a short, road trip to Pittsburgh. The route was beautiful and the weather, extremely pleasant. It is nice to take a break from routine as monotony slows down the gusto. Relaxing in a hotel room and getting a little pampered is good for sanity too. Erasing cooking and cleaning out of my mind for a while did wonders to the spirit! I really enjoyed the restaurant food and all the idle chattering. Yes, I am back with renewed energy!

Barley mango puddingComing back, all the regular chores and the stifling weather made me turn to light food. But there is always a good excuse to include a dessert! This is a summer pudding with barley simmered in coconut milk and chilled to keep our cool!

The health benefits of barley are amazing. It is very high in fiber and can lower cholesterol. I have become a hard core fan of barley because of its versatility and nutty flavour. This is a simple pudding using coconut and mango flavors to go with robust barley.

There are two kinds of barley, pot and pearl barley. After removing the inedible hull the kernel is polished. Less polished barley is pot barley and on further polishing and removing the bran, it becomes pearl barley.

barley

Pot barley

Normally, pearl barley is used in desserts. As pot barley has more bran I decided to go with it.

Barley puddingI make rice pudding as a dessert with meals, quite frequently. So I adopted the same method to make this pudding. I wanted to add a delicious fruit to make it special. What tropical fruit is better than mangoes to reflect this weather?  Ripe mangoes were spreading its sweet smell in my kitchen and demanding immediate attention. So mango, here we go!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup barley
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup dark molasses or dark brown sugar + more to garnish
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 ripe mango

Extracting coconut milk

  1. Take 1/2 coconut and grate it.
  2. Pulse coconut in a blender adding 1/4 cup water until it is crushed.
  3. Place a sieve on a bowl and squeeze crushed coconut with your hand over the sieve.
  4. Strain and collect the thick milk. Set aside.
  5. Add 1 cup water and pulse the coconut again to make a paste.
  6. Pass this paste through the sieve and press to extract thin coconut milk.
  7. Discard the pulp.

Instead of this whole process, open a can of coconut milk to use the milk and cream that floats on top.

Pudding

  1. Cook barley in 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt or pressure cook it until 4 whistles.
  2. Take a heavy bottom pan and heat barley with thin coconut milk.
  3. When it boils lower the heat and allow it to thicken.
  4. Add dark molasses or make a syrup with brown sugar and mix with barley.
  5. Boil and reduce it to a creamy consistency.
  6. Crush cardamom pods and take out the black seeds and powder it in a mortar.
  7. Add cardamom powder to barley.
  8. Mix well and add thick coconut milk.
  9. Take it off the heat immediately.
  10. Cool this to room temperature.
  11. Wash and remove skin of mango and cut flesh off the pit.
  12. Take half of the mango and chop into large chunks.
  13. Puree it in a blender into a smooth paste.
  14. Cut the remaining into smaller pieces.
  15. Assemble pudding in a bowl by adding a ladle of mango puree and then the barley pudding.
  16. Garnish with molasses and mango pieces.

Add garnish according to taste. I used very sweet mangoes and it was delicious.

mango puddingThis dessert is rich with the taste of coconut milk, the nutty barley and the sweetness of  molasses. Mango is not a good fruit to cook as heat will change its flavor and taste, so I left it uncooked in this pudding. Mango and cardamom merges well to create a divine taste.

Barley mango dessert Barley adds a chewy texture to this creamy pudding. If you double this recipe and save some in the fridge it will make a wonderful chilled dessert the next day. Add fresh mango puree and mango pieces to it. On a hot day, when served cold, this pudding is the best!

Posted in Breakfast, Celebration, comfort food, Dessert, Fruit recipe, Not just for kids, Pudding, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sunday Funday # 10

Herb butter!

Plain butter is amazing. When you add other flavours, it becomes divine!

Here is my herbed butter. It is a good way to extend the life of fresh herbs. This compound butter is delicious on grilled bread, pasta or burgers. Use a little on baked potatoes, meat, vegetables or on anything where regular butter would taste good.

Herb butterI have added parsley, oregano and dill. Dill is a very strong herb but it mellows when it hits warm toast.

This is a very flexible recipe. Take the desired quantity of herbs and butter. If there are more herbs the butter might turn green. Use salted butter, crushed peppers and garlic paste.  Add a dash of lime zest and few drops of lime juice to flavour. Combine everything with room temperature butter in the bowl and mix with a silicone spatula to blend. IMG_1144 MixingTry other herb combinations too!

Roll it!Shape it into a cylindrical piece and wrap it in plastic wrap or parchment paper and store. It stays good in the fridge for a few days and for a longer time in the freezer.

ReadyHerbs in butterButter on toast breadI am going to keep some in my my freezer all the time. I added some on this toasted bread to go with my tomato soup. Very desirable!

Posted in Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, comfort food, Easy recipe, Not just for kids, Raw food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Original neiappam/ Rice fritters

On Wednesday, there was this strong urge to post something. I had soaked rice to make Neiappam, the previous night because there was a special request to make it. It is a sweet celebration snack that evokes lovely memories. But Wednesday progressed as a day in a school essay topic, ‘The day when everything went wrong’!

In the morning, I got the batter ready, ground rice and cane sugar and blended all other ingredients well. I left it to hang out to ferment for a while and went shopping. There was a particular summery dress I liked at one of the shops but when I tried, it was the right size but body hugging. It had a long zipper and was quite tight and fitted like a glove without a little room. The next size was not available. The lady at the counter said that I could fit in that dress perfectly if I walked half hour, 3 times a week and cut down my sugar intake by half. Great advise! I was very disappointed and came home, had lunch and prepared dinner. Then I started making these rice fritters.

NeiappamBefore I finished 2 batches my husband came home. We had tickets for a movie so I had to turn off the stove and rush to the cinema. It was a bit early when we reached, just an hour or so, because my husband is an annoying early bird. There was no one except us and I relaxed sinking into the seat. The movie started with the pre-show stuff and then the main movie as more people walked in. I have never experienced a power failure for a long, long time now. But it happened then and we waited 10 minutes until they announced that they would give us a complimentary ticket to watch the movie later. Tired and crushed we came home, had our dinner with a few dissatisfied grumbles as sides. I didn’t even have a peaceful sleep that night. Is this what they call, Man proposes, god disposes’!

On a happy ending note, the next day everything was set right. Determined to workout, I went to the shop and bought that dress! Yay! Completed making the fritters and took pictures. Then in the evening we watched that movie too. So what started badly on Wednesday ended well on Thursday.  The sweetness of those appams are there to enjoy for a few more days to come.

Neiappam is a finger food, a lot oily and very sweet usually made during special celebrations. Nei is clarified butter, also called ghee and appam is the rice fritters fried in it. This is a favorite and frequent snack at home as my husband loves them. I have posted another appam recipe adding lentils here: rice-and-lentil-fritters.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup jaggery/brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • coconut cut into small pieces
  • Ghee for frying
  • rice flour if needed
  • water as needed
  1. Soak rice overnight.
  2. Take jaggery in a pan and add 1 cup water and melt it on medium heat to get a thick syrup.
  3. After it cools, strain it and collect the syrup without any impurities.
  4. Grind rice to a fine paste adding jaggery syrup.
  5. Add chopped bananas and grind everything to a thick paste.
  6. Add water if thick or rice flour to thicken it if watery.
  7. Collect the batter in a bowl and add cardamom powder and chopped coconut pieces.
  8. Set the batter aside to ferment for 2-3 hours.
  9. Heat an appam pan, pour ghee/oil into each hole of the pan and heat.
  10. Pour the batter in each hole to reach the top.
  11. When it starts browning and the sides start releasing, carefully flip to the other side.
  12. Fry till they are dark brown on both sides.

Appam batterThis batter plays a major role in making soft appams. The batter should be of pouring consistency like pancake batter. If it is thicker the result will be harder appams. Fermenting the batter also makes it softer.

Appam Cooking appamsFry these using ghee or oil or a mix of both. After one side is cooked, the center will still look watery. So flip carefully using a spoon and a fork. Caramelized sugar makes appam turn brown and sticky. When cooked it is crusty on the outside and soft inside with the bite of the coconut pieces. I made a total of 40 appams.

If you do not have this special pan called appakara, the appam mold, deep fry the batter. Pour a spoonful into hot oil in a pan and prepare these as flattened fritters.

Sweet rice fritters   Rice frittersDo you like the appearance of my appam? They are crispy outside but spongy delicious inside. The preparation is a long one, but these neiappams are a reward in itself!

These are super tasty! I had many of them as they are irresistible! Now, let me start my fitness sessions.

I was quite busy this week and a bit lazy too…but Fiesta Friday prompted me to post this. Thank you FF for the motivation!

I am bringing this to party with all of you at Fiesta Friday #76.

Posted in Appetizer, Celebration, Coconut, comfort food, Dessert, Finger food, Fried, Indian recipe, Kerala recipe, Not just for kids, Pack-and-go snack, Rice, Snack, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sunday Funday # 9

Heat and spices go hand in hand. My tongue was tuned to spices from a very early time. As a new-born there are many traditional practices followed in many Indian homes. In our family, parents smear Vayambu, a spicy root made into a paste with honey, on the infants tongue. It is done as a special ceremony. The dried root of vayambu has therapeutic qualities. Nutmeg and other medicinal spices are also given in traces to infants to ward off ailments.

I cannot imagine a life without spices! Every Indian home smells of different blend of spices in each dish. All mouths are addicted to its strong flavours and distinct taste.

These are clicks of a few spices that I use frequently.

Dried red chilly is an essential ingredient in almost all spice mixes. Heat is imparted by the amount of the chemical capsaicin in different chillies. Chilly is always the center of most curries to provide the required amount of heat.

Dried red chillyBay leaf is dried and used as a flavouring spice. It is most fragrant when dry unlike all other herbs. These bay leaves here, were hand-picked from a hedges of evergreen bay laurel that grows in Italy. A friend brought it as a gift for me and I treasure it. I had to dry it and store it. It has a very strong flavour and I thank them every time we make soups.

Bay leavesI come from the pepper growing region, and my mother has pepper climbers all over her yard. So this is the most common spice for me. I did not realize its important in the economy of the state until I grew up.

PepperGreen cardamom has a wonderful aroma and a warm, spicy-sweet flavour. The enticing aroma of this spice enriches dishes like puddings,drinks and garam masala.

CardamomThere is a hint of clove in many spice mixtures. Clove is a medicinal spice I tasted when I had my very first tooth ache. A drop of clove oil is very strong and numbs the pain. When using this spice, the mantra is ‘less is more’.

Cloves

Posted in Baked | 6 Comments

Crepes

Crepes are the delicate cousins of pancake. My son likes pancakes and waffles over dosa, which is a traditional rice and lentil crepe. After we discovered how to make these crepes, he has announced that it is his favorite. Overladen with cream and syrup, this sweet breakfast is his weekend treat. He has to pacify his sweet tooth right from breakfast, I guess!

Crepes with delicious fillingI switched to an electrical skillet to make dosa some time back. I had one earlier, that was used extensively and lost its Teflon (non-stick) coating. Hunting for a new one to replace it was not an easy task. I tried many skillets without the exact result I fancied. The problem was, they did not heat up the surface uniformly. The center was not browning as the heating element was placed on the periphery in those skillets. Finally, I found this futuristic looking French skillet that is a crepe maker and it dispersed heat evenly.

crepe makerWe had numerous dosa sessions with it and I vouch for this crepe machine. It is excellent!

Obviously, I did not use it for its intended purpose. I thought making crepes was some rocket science and never attempted it. A recipe book that accompanied my crepe maker had a variety of preparations from around the world. When I was flipping through it, I realized it was time to try crepes. This maker comes with a wooden spreader and we decided to put that to use as well.

You don’t have to use a special maker to make these crepes, well, I am being a bit showy. Pardon me! A non-stick pan or skillet will do the job.

Crepe batter is made in minutes with basic ingredients available in any kitchen. After consulting many recipes and adjusting a little, I shaped this recipe and got perfect crepes.

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  1. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, add milk and melted butter.
  2. Take flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and add the liquid ingredients to it.
  3. Whisk well until combined and without any lumps.
  4. Heat a griddle or flat pan and lightly oil it.
  5. Pour a scoop of batter onto the skillet. Using the spreader or a flat bottom spoon spread batter evenly on the surface.
  6. Cook on medium heat until bottom turns golden brown.
  7. Release it with a spatula and turn to the other side and cook.
  8. Fold them in three and collect on a plate.
  9. After it cools, unfold and spread whipped cream, sliced cherry and sprinkle with brown sugar syrup.
  10. Fold or roll it and serve.

You can also add 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup water. The batter should be of a pouring consistency and very smooth.

If using a non-stick pan, spread quickly by tilting the pan to distribute the batter thinly. I used the special spreader with a handle in the center to spread the batter evenly on the skillet. Cook for 3o-40 seconds until that side turns brown.

When the edge raises and peels off easily, it’s time to flip the crepe. Continue to cook the other side for about 30 seconds and then remove from skillet. I got 8 crepes from this batter. Cook crepes on medium to low heat. Wipe the surface of the skillet with a clean cloth having a trace of butter after making each crepe.

My son helped me to shape these crepes into big circles with great dexterity. Yeah, he had to work for his breakfast but he was quite amused using the spreader. So I have an official crepe spreader now.

crepesWhen the crepes are made, decorate them with different fillings and syrups to garnish. I filled some crepes with whipped cream, cherry and a drizzle of dark molasses.

crepe with whipped cherry and molassesMy son rolled one with whipped cream inside. These crepes are spongy soft and very flexible.  Currants, raisins or small berries can be included here.crI have some more suggestions for filling crepes in addition to whipped cream:

  • apple slices, nutmeg and cinnamon sugar
  • blueberry, lemon and light molasses
  • banana, honey, cashew nuts and chocolate syrup
  • pineapple, coconut sugar and coconut cream
  • orange segments, chocolate chips and caramel sauce

Do share with me the other fillings you use.

This is another variation with whipped cream, strawberry and maple syrup.

crepe with strawberry fillingLooks like fun…isn’t it? Invite some friends over and try making some with different fillings.

Happy Fiesta Friday # 75! See you there!

 

Posted in Baked, Breakfast, Brunch, comfort food, Easy recipe, International dishes, Not just for kids | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Asian glazed basa with rice and vegetables

Lunch is a lighter meal but it still has to include a balance of nutrients and a mix of flavours to be enjoyable. Basa fillets, rice and vegetables is a three piece lunch put together to make it a satisfying meal.

IMG_0585Fish with its omega 3 and minerals is a desirable white meat. Basa is a Vietnamese catfish that is also popular in Thailand. It is available in the frozen food section of our supermarket. They are packed as large, white fillets with no bones. This fish is moist with a light, firm texture and a mild fish flavour. Researches show that they are low in calories, as a 100-gram fillet contains 90 calories…so it is good for dieters. It is inexpensive because it grows fast and is easily harvested. Rich in nutrients, basa fillets are good for adding fish to your diet.

Instead of basa, you can also make this dish with different fish fillet, such as snapper or sole.

I have incorporated some Asian ingredients to glaze basa in this dish. It makes a healthy main course with a side of coconut rice and some sauteed vegetables.

IMG_0584Ingredients for fish glaze

  • 1 tbsp ginger, garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Crush ginger and garlic with brown sugar in a mortar.
  2. In a bowl, mix all other ingredients with it to make the glaze.

Ingredients for frying Basa

  • 2 fillet of basa
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 3/4 cup glaze
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  1. Cut fish into large pieces.
  2. Take corn flour in a bowl and add 1/4 cup glaze and mix well.
  3. Coat fish pieces with corn flower mixture and marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan, shallow fry the fish using a little sesame oil.
  5. Cook it on both sides until browned, remove fish and keep aside.
  6. Now, pour the remaining glaze in the same pan and cook it down to reduce.
  7. When the glaze looks syrupy and shiny add the fish and coat it in the syrup
  8. Heat through and turn off the stove.
  9. Serve it hot.

Ingredients for vegetable side

  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice
  1. In a cast iron pan, heat sesame oil.
  2. Saute zucchini and peppers in oil until soft but still crunchy.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Ingredients for coconut rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • vegetables – peas & carrot
  • 1 green chilli
  • salt and pepper
  • few cilantro leaves for garnish
  1. Wash and soak rice for ten minutes.
  2. Cook long grain rice in 2 cups of liquid (coconut milk and water).
  3. In a large pan stir fry vegetables and slit green chilli in coconut oil.
  4. Add to cooked rice and stir adding salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish with cilantro.

Bell peppers and chillies add flavor and a small kick to coconut rice. This is a very simple but tasty rice recipe that goes well with other meat dishes as well. 

IMG_0568IMG_0595Fillets of Basa, shallow fried and glazed with Asian sauces becomes light and delicious. It is not always, we associate fried food with a light meal, but this fried fish is an exception.

IMG_0596This meal is very filling and flavorful! It has a nice blend of flavours when all the three dishes come together. Make this delightful simple meal and enjoy!

Posted in Brunch, comfort food, Easy recipe, Fried, International dishes, Main dish, Rice, Side dish, Stir fry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sunday Funday #8

Insects are special with their segmented body and detailed life cycle. It is an intricate world with fancy wings, crazy colours and stingy bites.

I know this is a food blog and insects are the wrong pictures here. Isn’t eating crickets the new fad? Hehe…I am trying to justify insects’ presence here. Watching them patiently and wondering at their brisk life is a nice summer fun!

Let us start with some beauties!

Dragon fly

butter fly

And from the scary side…grasshopper Moth Spiders are no doubt a bit creepy, lurking in the corners. I find some spinning their trap in my store room and clean off the cobweb constantly, but they are persistent. I, accidentally, met this guy in a corner of our garden. I was surprised to see this smart spider sitting on the other side of its web. When I looked at it, he quickly moved and hid under a branch. I had to come again for a shot and it was still feeling shy to face the camera! spider

Posted in Photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Summer watermelon starter

Okay, summer is pretty much here and throwing us its heat and cheer. What is summer without its own melon? I mean, the delicious watermelon! I used to have a book with beautiful pictures of watermelon and a little boy who eats it all through the story. I bought that book at a book exhibition in our city when I was about 10 years old. It was a book published in Russia and translated. It had the most beautiful watercolor illustrations that motivated me to start painting. I don’t remember the story or what happened to that book later but those pictures are still fresh in my mind. The little boy in that story munches a half-moon piece of water melon and to this day, I love to eat it like him.

Watermelon summer starter Our markets are flooded with watermelons. This week we had to deal with two watermelons. My husband cut them and cubed them precisely, to help me.  We finished the first one with great enthusiasm. But the second one was received with a meh! I had a big plastic container with chilled pink cubes almost forgotten in the fridge for a while and I force fed everyone. There was the remaining half of it covered with cling wrap and waiting. The only way to finish it is to make it exciting. I decided to give this melon another chance and take it on a ramp walk.

It is gone now, as I used it to make this easy starter and pushed it during every meal.  I was inspired by canapés… but they are normally, savory or spicy to be served with cocktails. I imagined a preparation based on it, using watermelon. These decorative small bites cannot be savoury because watermelon is sweet, so I added a hint of honey. I mixed lime and ginger flavours to enhance it. It turned out to be a fancy, finger food!

watermelon circles

Ingredients

  • half a watermelon
  • few slices of bread (multi-grain, whole wheat or rye bread)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 cubes crystallized/candied ginger
  • few mint leaves to garnish
  1. Take 6 bread slices and using a round cookie cutter cut circles out of bread. (I used brown, rye bread.)
  2. Cut watermelon into a thin triangles.
  3. Using the same cookie cutter cut out a disk from each piece.
  4. Take a smaller round cutter and cut a hole in the middle of each watermelon disk.
  5. Mix cream cheese, yogurt and salt to get a smooth mixture.
  6. Add honey and blend well.
  7. Sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger and lime zest and mix with it.
  8. Take bread circles and spread butter and then yogurt mix on it.
  9. Place a watermelon disk on it and spoon some yogurt mixture in the center.
  10. Stick mint leaves in the center to garnish.
  11. Serve it cold.

You can use cream cheese or Greek yogurt alone if you like it. Greek yogurt is thick yogurt without any whey water. Hung curd that is made thick, by using a cheese cloth to drain excess water, is an alternative.

It is better to use a delicate touch while cutting the circles to prevent squishing them.

Cutting melon into ringsThis is a good starter for any meal or a juicy snack in between meals. It is refreshing with a burst of flavors in your mouth. Keep it chilled until ready to serve.

summer watermelon

watermelon startersAssembling it is a good activity to do with kids. They get to nibble on the bits and pieces left behind as the cutting is in progress. I was amazed how fast our watermelon half disappeared!

watermelon canapes This starter got a standing ovation at home! So try it for some pure fun!

I am bringing this starter over for all our Fiesta Friday friends to enjoy!

Fiesta Friday#74

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Posted in Appetizer, Brunch, Cheese, comfort food, Easy recipe, Finger food, Fruit recipe, Not just for kids, Salad, Snack, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments