Hariyali Tofu Salad – Marinated Tofu in green Chutney with Salad

Someone told me the other day that, we should always remain positive and look at the bright side of things. So when I made terrible Rava Idlis on the weekend, the bright side became the delicious coriander chutney that I made with it, which thankfully was not that terrible.

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Not the one to give up, I wanted to put the chutney to good use. Luckily I had some Tofu in the fridge, and that meant I could combine them both and come up with some really tasty and healthy as well. As a rule, the Punjabi in me hates anything that pretends to be Paneer (Cottage Cheese) and Tofu in my books is an impostor trying hard to look like my favorite Paneer. But having said that it is a healthy option and one that is easily available in the markets of Sydney.

 

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Also lately I have been very inspired by BeerBiceps and his take on health and fitness. I love his straightforward and scientific approach to fitness and Indian food and find the information he shares easy to incorporate into my daily life (who thought I would be inspired by a health food blogger right). Hence this Hariyali Tofu salad came about. It was super easy to make and gave me the satisfaction of putting something good in my tummy. You can substitute the Tofu with Paneer or Chicken breast, and it is a great addition to be used in wraps, sandwiches, salads, Kababs and even to eat on its own.

 

Recipe: Cooking time 10 minutes

 

For the chutney

2 cups of Coriander leaves, washed and clean

1 tbsp desiccated Coconut

1 tbsp Curd (You can skip this for a dairy free version)

1 tbsp of peanuts (without skin) – You can skip Peanuts for a nut-free version

Salt to taste

4 – 5 Green chilies

Juice of a Lemon

Add all the ingredients in a grinder and blitz to a smooth paste. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

 

For the Salad:

250 Gms Tofu  (You can substitute Tofu with Paneer/Chicken breasts. The cooking time for the Chicken will be longer)

Salad leaves

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp Olive oil

1 diced Tomato or Beetroot

Marinate the Tofu in the chutney for atleast 30 minutes or preferably overnight

Heat 1 tsp Olive oil in a pan and grill the Tofu on all sides till golden, drain on an absorbent kitchen towel

Mix the Olive Oil & Lemon juice together and drizzle on the Salad leaves with the Tomato or Beetroot

Add the Tofu

Serve it any way you like and enjoy, I served it with some Moong dal with a small teaspoon of Ghee and brown rice. It made for a very balanced lunch.

Refreshing Soba noodles with Eggplants & Mango for the days you are too busy to eat

There is a sentence in my vocabulary that I never use, in fact, consider it as a crime against everything that I stand for  is “I am too busy to eat”.  Till this week I never thought anyone could be so busy that they can forget to eat, that you don’t have to time to grab something quickly to satisfy your hunger, and I have been proven wrong, and now I know such things can happen.

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 The past two months have been busy in several ways. I was traveling and then got busy at work and in the week leading up to the Christmas holidays I have been so madly busy that I have forgotten to eat lunch. Earlier my tummy was in tune with the lunch timings and would grumble loudly in the middle of a meeting reminding me to have my lunch. But now due to my erratic schedule, my poor tummy seems to have given up. I get no groans or grumbles from it as I have completely forgotten to eat.

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 Now that is also a good thing as I seem to fit into my clothes well nowadays thank you, but I don’t think this is the best way to lose weight. And in the midst of all this craziness I have completely neglected my blog. My posts are far and few and when there are there is not much I do. Not that I am not inspired, but I just don’t have the energy to work on the inspiration.

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 As a food blogger, it is also very depressing as that means I don’t cook much either, and my blog suffers. So last night to shake myself out of the drudgery and to feel good I decided to make a beautiful looking dish for a gorgeous cookbook I brought. The book is called “Plenty” by “Yotam Ottolenghi” and is full of delicious and only cooked vegetarian recipes. As I flicked through its pages, I just knew I wanted to try each and every recipe.

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And the dish that stuck me the most was the Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango. I had all the ingredients in my fridge, and the only real work that I needed to do was to fry the Eggplants and boil the noodles.

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It was one of the nicest and freshest tasting noodle dish that I ever ate primarily the Mango doing the tango in my mouth and the crunchy Eggplants offering a bit of saltiness to the dish. I usually don’t enjoy eating Cold food, but this was totally worth it. My evening got much after eating this very unusual preparation, and I made a mental promise to myself to eat my lunches and never say that I was too busy to eat.

Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 6)

For the dressing

1/2 cup Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp Sugar (the original recipe asks for 3)

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 fresh Red chilli, finely chopped (I used Red chilli flakes as I did not have fresh chilli)

One tsp toasted Sesame Oil

2 Garlic cloves finely chopped (DO NOT use store bought Garlic paste)

Grated zest of 1 Lemon and juice

For the noodles

8 to 9 oz Soba noodles

1 cup Sunflower oil

One big Eggplant cut into smallish chunks (the original recipe asks for 2)

One large ripe Mango cut into 3/4 inch dice or 1/4 inch thick strips

1/2 Red Onion finely chopped

1 1/2 cup Basil Leaves, washed and chopped

1 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro leaves, washed and chopped (the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups)

Method

1) In a small saucepan add the Rice Vinegar, Sugar and Salt and warm gently. Let the Sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat. Add the Garlic, Chili and Sesame Oil. Once completely cool add the Lemon zest and Juice, mix well and leave aside.

2) Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow fry the Eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden Brown remove and place on a kitchen towel to drain off the excess Oil. Sprinkle with Salt and leave till you get everything ready.

3) In a large saucepan heat, some water for the noodles once boiling cook the noodles as per the instructions on the pack. Usually, they take 5 – 6 minutes to cook if the water is boiling. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Shake off as much as the water as you can and let it sit in the Colander for all the water to drain.

4) In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the Mango, Eggplant and half of the herbs and the onion. Sprinkle the dressing on top and mix gently not to break the noodles or Eggplant. You can now leave this for 1 to 2 hours and when ready to serve to add the rest of the herbs mixing everything well.

Recipe Courtesy: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

A vegetable cooked only for comfort – Baingan masala (Eggplant cooked in tangy spices with Tomatoes)

This girl from Mumbai loves her vegetables. Despite being meat lovers we have more vegetables in our meals then meat and this is something I make a point of following religiously, especially because we don’t get all the vegetables we have grown up eating back home here in Perth.

And one of my favorite Vegetables is “Eggplant” which is also commonly called as Aubergine or Brinjal. It is a very popular and versatile vegetable used in almost every cuisine. It has a delicious glossy texture and soft meaty flesh and is distinctively related to both the Tomato family. It was domesticated in India many moons ago and we there are thousands of recipes which give the “Eggplant” a center stage.

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Eggplant is low in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also contains relatively low amounts of most important vitamins and minerals. However it has been known to cause allergic reactions sometimes. Thankfully no one in my house is allergic to it or else I would be devastated. I cannot imagine a life without my beloved Eggplant.

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The recipe I am sharing today is very close to my heart and very comforting to me. Eggplant loves Tomatoes and Garlic, it is a match made in foodie heaven and I put generous amount of both in the dish to make it more delicious. It is a great lunch option and tastes heavenly with some hot rotis and raita.

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Another reason why I like this dish is because of its earthiness.

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Here is the recipe (cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4)

2 medium sized Eggplants (I have used big Eggplants used to make Baingan Bharta)

2 large Tomatoes roughly chopped (I like to add big chunks of Tomatoes in this dish)

4 – 5 cloves of Garlic finely chopped

3 – 4 medium Potatoes cut into small chunks

1/2 tsp Asafoetida

1 tbsp Mustard Oil or Vegetable Oil

1 ½ tsp Red chilli powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Salt to taste

Freshly chopped Coriander to garnish

1)    Add the chopped Potatoes in a bowl of Cold water and boil till the potatoes are half cooked. Drain the water and keep aside.

2)    Chop the Eggplant into chunks slightly bigger than the Potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold salted water as the Eggplants turn brown immediately after being cut.

3)    Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin seeds and Asafoetida. Once the seeds start to crackle add the Garlic and sauté for a few seconds.

4)    Add the Potatoes and fry them on a medium flame for 4 – 5 minutes. Now add the chopped Eggplants (drain the water before you do that) and mix well. Cover and cook for around 10 minutes on a medium flame, mixing them in between.

5)    When the Eggplants are almost half cooked add the Tomatoes, Salt, Turmeric, Red Chilli and Coriander powder.

6)    Cover and cook for another 7 – 10 minutes. You have to be gentle when handling the Eggplant as they can break easily when cooked.

7)    Turn off the heat and garnish with the Coriander and serve hot.