Monday, 25 September 2017

704. Baklava Flavored Sandesh

FOODIEMONDAY/BLOGHOP & MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/DURGA PUJA

DAY:21


   This year Durga Pooja/Puja begins on 26th September and ends on 30th September. On these days the Goddess Durga is worshipped with much reverence. Durga Pooja is mainly celebrated in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur and Jharkhand. Months of preparation culminates into these days of Pooja. Pandals are built and idols are made. During this period people also prepare art and cultural programs. Lavish poojas, scrumptious bhog are very much a part of the celebrations.

   Ma Durga is a Goddess that was born from the divine powers of the 3 main Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv. She took birth mainly to defeat the evil half man half buffalo demon Mahishasura. Because of the boon granted to him by Brahma, no man or deity could kill him. He became evil and started killing men and waged a war against the Devas. Durga Ma appeared on Earth to defeat him. Ma Durga has 10 hands and each hand is a representation of her power. It is with these 10 powers or shakti that she killed Mahishasura.  Vijayadashami marks the victory of Ma Durga over Mahishasura. In other parts of India Vijayadashami is the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana. Basically, in both cases its the victory of Good or Evil.

   It is said that during these days of festivity, food stalls are set up near the pandals for people to enjoy festival food with family and friends. Chops, khichuri, biryani, chowmein, chapta chana, radhabhallavi, cholar dal, luchi, aloo dum are some of the most popular dishes served. However no Durga Pooja festival is complete with some delicious Bengali sweets. Jilipi, Sitabhog, roshogollas,mishti doi, sandesh rasmalai, just to name a few.

  I'd till now not tried making sandesh. Its not that I've not come across enough recipes of sandesh from fellow bloggers. So when Durga Puja was decided as the 111th theme for #FoodieMonday #Bloghop I wanted to make a paneer based sweet or mithai so that I could even include it the Protein Rich Dishes for the Mega Blogging Marathon. To make the sandesh a bit different I thought of pairing up the baklava flavor to make this flavorful sandesh. The main flavors of a baklava besides the crunchy phyllo pastry are walnuts, pisachios, almonds mixed with spices like cardamom, cinnamon and cloves with honey and orange blossom water. The end result was a baklava flavored sandesh without the crunch. Again I'm pairing up two events i.e. FoodieMonday and Mega Blogging Marathon.

For this recipe I must thank Sujata of Batter up with Sujata whose guidance was of utmost importance and to Srivalli of Spicing your Life with her endless pictures of how to knead the paneer or chenna to make it smooth and more smooth. By the way please visit Srivalli's blog where she has made 21 (and a few still coming up) Bengali sweets all using paneer for the Protein Rich Dishes theme.

Protein sources in this recipe are paneer(cottage cheese) and nuts


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






BAKLAVA FLAVORED SANDESH
Makes 20 pieces

Recipe source: Batter Up With Sujata

For the paneer:
1 litre full fat milk
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the sandesh:
1 cup tightly packed paneer
2 tbsp walnut, pistachio and almond powder (the nuts were mixed and ground into a coarse powder)
3-4 tbsp honey
½ tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
½ tsp orange blossom water

For the topping:

3 tbsp chopped nuts (mixture of almonds, pistachios and walnuts)
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp cardamom powder
a generous pinch cinnamon powder
a scant pinch of clove powder
¼ tsp orange blossom water

Preparation of the paneer:

  1. Take a colander and line it with a thin cotton or muslin cloth. Place the colander on a big bowl or saucepan.
  2. Heat 1 litre of milk till it becomes hot. 
  3. Add lemon juice and slowly stir the milk till it begins to curdle.
  4. Pour the curdled mixture into the colander.
  5. With the help of a spoon, gather up the paneer into the middle.
  6. Wash this under running water for a few seconds to remove the lemon.
  7. Gather up the edges of the cloth and squeeze out extra water. 
  8. I like to place a heavy stone on the cloth covered paneer to remove excess water. The paneer should be soft and not hard.
Preparation of the sandesh:
  1. Knead the paneer in a tray or a plate for 5-10 minutes till it is really smooth.
  2. Add honey and mix.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a wide non stick pan.
  4. Place the pan over low to medium heat and cook the paneer stirring it all the time.
  5. After 5-6 minutes, the water will evaporate and the mixture will leave the sides of the pan and form a dough.
  6. Remove the pan off the heat.
  7. Add the coarse nuts powder, cardamom, cinnamon, clove powders and the orange blossom water.Let the mixture cool down.
  8. Knead this mixture again till it becomes really smooth.
  9. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it between your palms into a ball. The mixture should not stick to your hands at all.
  10. Shape into a disc like shape and make a dent on top.
  11. Repeat steps 17-18 till all the mixture is over.
Preparation of the topping:
  1. Gently heat honey in a small pan over low heat.
  2. As soon as you see tiny bubbles appearing at the edges, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the chopped nuts, spices and orange blossom water. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Top each sandesh with the topping.
  2. Cool the sandesh in the fridge and offer to Ma Durga.
Tips:
  • The amount of paneer you get from 1 litre can vary on the milk. 
  • If you have a bit of leftover paneer, use it as a dip or as a sandwich spread.
My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu
Day 16 - Bean and Veggie Pot Pies




Check out what other Mega Blogging Marathoners have made for Day 21:



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Saturday, 23 September 2017

703. Phyllo Cup Salad

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES
DAY:20

   Do you ever feel that you don't want to socialize at all? I don't mean the internet or media kind of socializing but actually going out there and meeting people? Do you feel going out when you know you're going to meet a certain group of people that you're comfortable with rather than one that you're not comfortable with? Confused??? Well, I know I should be putting on my saris and going out for garbas to my community hall but I just don't feel like going. My hubby thinks that I'm still missing my family and that's why I don't go. If its my Lions Club meeting I want to go. Does that make me a less responsible person towards my community? I don't have answers for all that. Its at times like these I miss my family so much. Hubby and I are the only ones here in Mombasa. Some family from both sides lives in Nairobi, the rest are spread over UK, US, Canada, India and Bali. Yes, Bali, my eldest son and daughter in law are planning to settle in Bali. So hubby is always joking that they are Bali sana... in Kiswahili bali means far and sana means a lot ...so basically they are too far!
Festivals without family are not as nice or appealing. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel different and go at least once for the garbas.

   Today's recipe is a salad. I initially wanted to make spring rolls with the rice paper... the see through kind. Don't they look so pretty with colorful veggies in them. I had the other ingredients ready at home but couldn't find the rice paper in the nearby supermarkets in Montreal. I was going to mix everything and prepare the salad without the rice paper :( Got home and remembered that the half used phyllo pastry was still in the fridge and would dry up if I didn't use it. If I waited to get the rice paper, the bean sprouts would turn brown. And there appeared an idea... phyllo cups for the salad. Baking Spanakopita can wait till the next trip. So do feel free to use the rice paper if you want. However, this phyllo cups with salad were so so yummy and refreshing. Great party recipe as you can bake the cups ahead.


Protein sources in this recipe are bean sprouts, mushrooms, peanut butter, soy sauce


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






PHYLLO CUP SALAD
Makes 12

½ box phyllo pastry or 5 sheets
some oil for greasing

For the salad:
1 cup bean sprouts (moong sprouts)
¼ cup chopped spring onion
handful of enoki mushrooms
1 medium carrot, shredded

Peanut Sauce Dressing:
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼tsp salt
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey

Baking the phyllo pastry:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a muffin tray lightly with some oil.
  3. Cut the phyllo pastry into squares (5 layers together) about 4"X4".
  4. Place each square into the muffin cups, and fold and adjust them so they fit well in each cup.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or till the cups begin to turn light brown.
  6. Take the phyllo cups out of the muffin tray gently and let them cool on a wire rack.
Preparation of the dressing:
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or jar. Adjust the taste according to your liking.
Preparation of the salad:
  1. Mix the bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, spring onion and shredded carrot in a bowl.
Final Preparation:
  1. Very gently fill the cups with the salad.
  2. Top it with the dressing and serve.
Tips:
  • I used ready made bean sprouts but you may use home sprouted beans. Steam them slightly or leave them raw.
  • Add vegetables of your choice to make the salad.
  • I leave the dressing a bit thick so that the cups don't become soggy.
  • Use ready made phyllo cups if you get them or alternately use rice paper. Don't bake the rice paper.
My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu
Day 16 - Bean and Veggie Pot Pies
Day 17 - Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup
Day 18 - Githeri
Day 19 - Peanut Butter and Jelly Pudding


Check out what other Mega Blogging Marathoners have made for Day 20:





Sending this recipe to the following event:



Friday, 22 September 2017

702. Peanut Butter and Jelly Pudding

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES

DAY:19




   When I was planning what protein rich dishes I was going to make, peanut butter was on top of the list. I was planning to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich, but then I came across this delicious pudding recipe. It was also full of chia seeds so one recipe took care of both the protein rich ingredients peanut butter and chia seeds. What I really like about this pudding is that one can even have on days that you are fasting. I know many people fast all 9 days of Navratri without consuming grains, pulses, salt and vegetables. So here's just the right kind of pudding to energize you and make you feel full too. Just replace the normal salt with rock salt or omit it.

   One should be a bit careful about the quality of peanut butter we buy. Many of them have transfat added to them to make the whole process of processing the nuts faster, also adds to the weight and of course its cheaper. Most low quality peanut butters become rock solid when stored in the fridge. I had bought a jar of peanut butter from the organic section at a supermarket in Montreal and though I left the jar in the fridge, it was still spoonable, soft and not rock hard.
Making peanut butter at home is not difficult at all. All you need is a strong food processor. Add the roasted and shelled peanuts into the processor. Add a bit of salt and if you like a tbsp or so of oil. Process till you get a coarse mixture. At this point your can remove some if you like it crunchy. Process the remaining peanuts till it becomes smooth. Mix in the coarse paste you had removed, mix and your peanut butter is ready. Peanut butter is a healthy and nutritious alternate for dairy butter for both kids and adults. Rich in protein and healthy fats, its good for the heart, regulates Type 2 Diabetes, good for digestion as is high in fiber, prevents gallstones, a small amount of peanut butter makes you feel full. Its an energy booster, good for the brains ( rich in antioxidants).  However too much of it will add more calories, so like everything else eat it in moderation.

   The other wonder food in this pudding is chia seeds. Chia means life. These little white and black seeds are full of fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, calcium and antioxidants.Chia seeds can be added to your smoothies, desserts, bakes, oats, cereals, energy bars, yogurt, sauces etc. Chia seeds also makes one feel full.

   Ever since hubby and I've come back from Montreal, our meal times especially at night has changed completely. By 5 in the evening we feel hungry so we snack on something with tea. Then we're not hungry at dinner time. However later at night we tend to feel a bit peckish. So nowadays I try and make a healthy snack and for the peckish times, eat some fruit. After this pudding was set, I just couldn't resist and wanted to try it. I had it at around 6 in the evening and just didn't feel hungry or peckish after that. I wouldn't mind having this for breakfast too. 

Protein sources in this recipe are chia seeds, milk, peanut butter


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 







PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY PUDDING
Serves 2

Recipe source: Minimalistic Baker

For the jelly:
1 cup seedless grapes
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp orange zest

For the pudding:
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
¼ cup chia seeds
a pinch of salt

For topping:
2 tsp roasted peanuts roughly chopped

Preparation of the jelly:
  1. Cut the grapes into halves.
  2. Add grapes, juice and maple syrup or honey or sugar to a pan.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat.
  4. When the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer till the grapes are cooked and soft. Mash it lightly.
  5. Take the pan off the heat. Add chia seeds and orange zest and mix well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into 2 serving bowls or glasses.
  7. Put it the fridge to chill.
Preparation of the pudding:
  1. Take a tall container and add milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract,salt, maple syrup or which ever sweetener you're using.
  2. Whisk the mixture to blend the milk and peanut butter.
  3. Add chia seeds and mix well.
  4. The mixture will become a little thick.
  5. Slowly pour the mixture on top of the jelly layer.
  6. Cover the glasses with cling film.
  7. Put the glasses in the fridge for the pudding to set. This will take about 2-3 hours but its best to leave it overnight as it sets well.
  8. Just before serving top it up with chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
Tips:
  • If you prefer you may make a layer with commercial jelly(jello).
  • Use any other fresh fruit of your choice to make the jelly.
  • To make it more appealing for kids add cocoa powder to the peanut butter milk mixture.
  • Adjust the amount sweetener according to your taste. I used maple syrup and it was not too sweet.
  • A great dessert to have during fasting days. Just replace the salt with rock salt.
  • For vegan option use any nut milk. 


Check out what other Mega Blogging Marathoners have made for Day 19:


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Thursday, 21 September 2017

701. Githeri

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/LENTILS

DAY:18

   When one mentions Kenya, marathon runners, safari and wildlife comes to ones mind. Kenya is no doubt a beautiful country. From Mountains to beaches. Mount Kenya, the 2nd tallest mountain in Africa, is a mountain climbers dream with jagged peaks. Grasslands or Savannah, pristine beaches, The Rift Valley, every part of the country there is something to see. Kenya is well known for its wildlife like lions, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, gazelles, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, rhinos and so much more. Shrubs to baobab trees, filled with all sorts of flora and fauna. The famous song in Lion King, Hakuna Matata means no problem. Simba means lion in Kiswahili and Rafiki means friend. You'll always be greeted with a friendly Jambo.

   Why am I talking about Kenya? Well, rafikis today I'm going to introduce you to a very famous wholesome,one pot meal called Githeri. My protein rich dish blogging marathon would be incomplete without a dish from Kenya. Githeri is a Kikuyu dish consisting of beans and maize. Traditionally, both were boiled in water till they were well done and the water had evaporated. Before serving salt was added and if available then some oil or fat was added to it. Both the beans and maize used can be fresh or dry. Here my reference to the maize is the white variety and not sweet corn. Other names for Githeri are muthere or muthiri. Sometimes meat and vegetables like potatoes, greens were added. Over time this dish has become famous amongst other tribes too and is one of the staple foods in Kenya. With influence from other cultures, Githeri takes on new forms but the basic equal combination of beans and maize are the core ingredients. Nowadays a variety of vegetables, meats and spices are added to make it a nutritious, healthy, wholesome meal rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber, besides vitamins and minerals.

   Here are some vegetables that you can add to Githeri to make it into a stew:
Carbohydrates : potatoes, sweet potato, plantain. cassava
Greens: spinach, collard, amaranth leaves, green beans, peas, carrot, fresh pigeon peas
Beans: Kidney beans, Cowpeas, Pinto beans, dried pigeon peas, dried peas

   I chose to take the easy way out to prepare this dish. I bought a tinned githeri mixture. If you want to make this dish then you need equal portions of beans and white maize, either fresh or dried. Its best to soak the dried ones overnight. When tinned githeri is not available I used fresh kidney beans and maize.

Protein sources in this recipe are beans, maize, pigeon pea, spinach.


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 



Sunset at English Point Mombasa


Bamburi Beach Mombasa



GITHERI
Serves 2

1 cup mixture of boiled beans and white maize kernels
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 cup peeled and diced cassava (use a starchy veg of your choice)
1 cup finely chopped spinach
½ cup fresh pigeon pea (tuvar)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
2 cups water
  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and stir fry till it becomes soft.
  3. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt and the spices.
  5. Mix well. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook over low heat till they become soft.
  6. Mash the tomatoes up a bit with the spoon.
  7. Add the beans, maize, cassava and pigeon peas.
  8. Add water and mix well.
  9. Cover the pan and let the mixture cook till all the vegetables are cooked. If required add more water.
  10. Cook till most of the water is evaporated.
  11. Add chopped spinach and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot githeri. Its usually eaten on its own.
Tips:
  • To reduce the cooking time, boil the beans and maize beforehand.
  • As mentioned above you can add your choice of vegetables.
  • Can add meat or fish.
  • Most people use the ready made curry powder that is available in the market. However, I didn't have any so added the spices that usually go into making the curry powder.
  • I've not added any chillis in the dish. However, if you prefer you can add either fresh green chillis or red chilli powder.
  • Githeri should not be mushy.


Check out what other Mega Blogging Marathoners have made for Day 18:



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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

700. Cauliflower and Chickpea soup

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/LENTILS

DAY:17

    If you browse through the internet, you will be inundated with recipes with cauliflower as the main ingredient especially if one is trying to follow a vegan or paleo diet. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower tortillas etc etc etc. Besides cauliflower rice, I've yet to try my hands on the other recipes.
As a kid I didn't like cauliflower too much. I think I hated it as the overcooked version smelt awful. I don't like to overcook it for sabjis, curries or for any dish where I'm using cauliflower. Even when I prepare soup,I just cook it enough so it remains a bit crunchy. 

   Did you know that cauliflower besides being rich in protein, is rich in Vitamins C, K and beta carotene. It belongs to the cancer fighting cruciferous family. Sulforaphane which is present in cauliflower, helps to regulate blood pressure and improves kidney function.
Cauliflower boosts brain development, is rich in fiber therefore helps the digestive system to function well.And its low in calories.


   Hubby and I often enjoy a bowl of hot soup with some home baked bread as a light meal option. To add a bit more nutrients and oomph to the soups, I like adding toppings like croutons, roasted veggies, salsa etc. For this soup I added some curried chickpeas which made it even more delectable.  Easy to make and healthy, why would you want to buy ready made soups that have preservatives, high content of salt and coloring when one can make a healthy soup in minutes at home.

Protein sources in this recipe are cauliflower, chickpea, potato, milk.


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA SOUP
Serves 4

2 cups (approx.250g) cauliflower florets
2 medium potatoes , peeled and diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup milk or cream
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiled chickpeas
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp zaatar or dried herb of your choice
½ tsp coarse pepper powder

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add cauliflower, potatoes and salt.
  4. Mix well. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the vegetables cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add water or vegetable broth and mix.
  6. Cover the saucepan again and let the vegetables cook till done.
  7. Cool the mixture a bit.
  8. Put the mixture in a blender and process it to a smooth consistency.
  9. Strain the soup through a sieve and put it back into the saucepan.
  10. Add milk or cream and heat the soup over medium heat. 
  11. In another small saucepan, heat 1 tsp olive oil
  12. Add chili powder and the chickpeas. Sprinkle salt over it if its not cooked in salted water.
  13. Mix it well.
  14. Spoon the soup into serving bowls.
  15. Top it with the curried chickpeas, dividing it equally.
  16. Sprinkle coarse pepper powder and zaatar or a herb of your choice.
  17. Serve with our favorite bread.
Tips:
  1. I used milk but if you like a creamier soup then use cream.
  2. If you don't like thick soup, add more water to bring it to a consistency you like.
  3. Add cheese if you want to.

My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu

Check out what other Mega Blogging Marathoners have made for Day 17:


Sending this recipe to the following event:

Monday, 25 September 2017

704. Baklava Flavored Sandesh

FOODIEMONDAY/BLOGHOP & MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/DURGA PUJA

DAY:21


   This year Durga Pooja/Puja begins on 26th September and ends on 30th September. On these days the Goddess Durga is worshipped with much reverence. Durga Pooja is mainly celebrated in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur and Jharkhand. Months of preparation culminates into these days of Pooja. Pandals are built and idols are made. During this period people also prepare art and cultural programs. Lavish poojas, scrumptious bhog are very much a part of the celebrations.

   Ma Durga is a Goddess that was born from the divine powers of the 3 main Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv. She took birth mainly to defeat the evil half man half buffalo demon Mahishasura. Because of the boon granted to him by Brahma, no man or deity could kill him. He became evil and started killing men and waged a war against the Devas. Durga Ma appeared on Earth to defeat him. Ma Durga has 10 hands and each hand is a representation of her power. It is with these 10 powers or shakti that she killed Mahishasura.  Vijayadashami marks the victory of Ma Durga over Mahishasura. In other parts of India Vijayadashami is the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana. Basically, in both cases its the victory of Good or Evil.

   It is said that during these days of festivity, food stalls are set up near the pandals for people to enjoy festival food with family and friends. Chops, khichuri, biryani, chowmein, chapta chana, radhabhallavi, cholar dal, luchi, aloo dum are some of the most popular dishes served. However no Durga Pooja festival is complete with some delicious Bengali sweets. Jilipi, Sitabhog, roshogollas,mishti doi, sandesh rasmalai, just to name a few.

  I'd till now not tried making sandesh. Its not that I've not come across enough recipes of sandesh from fellow bloggers. So when Durga Puja was decided as the 111th theme for #FoodieMonday #Bloghop I wanted to make a paneer based sweet or mithai so that I could even include it the Protein Rich Dishes for the Mega Blogging Marathon. To make the sandesh a bit different I thought of pairing up the baklava flavor to make this flavorful sandesh. The main flavors of a baklava besides the crunchy phyllo pastry are walnuts, pisachios, almonds mixed with spices like cardamom, cinnamon and cloves with honey and orange blossom water. The end result was a baklava flavored sandesh without the crunch. Again I'm pairing up two events i.e. FoodieMonday and Mega Blogging Marathon.

For this recipe I must thank Sujata of Batter up with Sujata whose guidance was of utmost importance and to Srivalli of Spicing your Life with her endless pictures of how to knead the paneer or chenna to make it smooth and more smooth. By the way please visit Srivalli's blog where she has made 21 (and a few still coming up) Bengali sweets all using paneer for the Protein Rich Dishes theme.

Protein sources in this recipe are paneer(cottage cheese) and nuts


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






BAKLAVA FLAVORED SANDESH
Makes 20 pieces

Recipe source: Batter Up With Sujata

For the paneer:
1 litre full fat milk
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the sandesh:
1 cup tightly packed paneer
2 tbsp walnut, pistachio and almond powder (the nuts were mixed and ground into a coarse powder)
3-4 tbsp honey
½ tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
a generous pinch of clove powder
½ tsp orange blossom water

For the topping:

3 tbsp chopped nuts (mixture of almonds, pistachios and walnuts)
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp cardamom powder
a generous pinch cinnamon powder
a scant pinch of clove powder
¼ tsp orange blossom water

Preparation of the paneer:

  1. Take a colander and line it with a thin cotton or muslin cloth. Place the colander on a big bowl or saucepan.
  2. Heat 1 litre of milk till it becomes hot. 
  3. Add lemon juice and slowly stir the milk till it begins to curdle.
  4. Pour the curdled mixture into the colander.
  5. With the help of a spoon, gather up the paneer into the middle.
  6. Wash this under running water for a few seconds to remove the lemon.
  7. Gather up the edges of the cloth and squeeze out extra water. 
  8. I like to place a heavy stone on the cloth covered paneer to remove excess water. The paneer should be soft and not hard.
Preparation of the sandesh:
  1. Knead the paneer in a tray or a plate for 5-10 minutes till it is really smooth.
  2. Add honey and mix.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a wide non stick pan.
  4. Place the pan over low to medium heat and cook the paneer stirring it all the time.
  5. After 5-6 minutes, the water will evaporate and the mixture will leave the sides of the pan and form a dough.
  6. Remove the pan off the heat.
  7. Add the coarse nuts powder, cardamom, cinnamon, clove powders and the orange blossom water.Let the mixture cool down.
  8. Knead this mixture again till it becomes really smooth.
  9. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it between your palms into a ball. The mixture should not stick to your hands at all.
  10. Shape into a disc like shape and make a dent on top.
  11. Repeat steps 17-18 till all the mixture is over.
Preparation of the topping:
  1. Gently heat honey in a small pan over low heat.
  2. As soon as you see tiny bubbles appearing at the edges, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the chopped nuts, spices and orange blossom water. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Top each sandesh with the topping.
  2. Cool the sandesh in the fridge and offer to Ma Durga.
Tips:
  • The amount of paneer you get from 1 litre can vary on the milk. 
  • If you have a bit of leftover paneer, use it as a dip or as a sandwich spread.
My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu
Day 16 - Bean and Veggie Pot Pies




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Saturday, 23 September 2017

703. Phyllo Cup Salad

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES
DAY:20

   Do you ever feel that you don't want to socialize at all? I don't mean the internet or media kind of socializing but actually going out there and meeting people? Do you feel going out when you know you're going to meet a certain group of people that you're comfortable with rather than one that you're not comfortable with? Confused??? Well, I know I should be putting on my saris and going out for garbas to my community hall but I just don't feel like going. My hubby thinks that I'm still missing my family and that's why I don't go. If its my Lions Club meeting I want to go. Does that make me a less responsible person towards my community? I don't have answers for all that. Its at times like these I miss my family so much. Hubby and I are the only ones here in Mombasa. Some family from both sides lives in Nairobi, the rest are spread over UK, US, Canada, India and Bali. Yes, Bali, my eldest son and daughter in law are planning to settle in Bali. So hubby is always joking that they are Bali sana... in Kiswahili bali means far and sana means a lot ...so basically they are too far!
Festivals without family are not as nice or appealing. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel different and go at least once for the garbas.

   Today's recipe is a salad. I initially wanted to make spring rolls with the rice paper... the see through kind. Don't they look so pretty with colorful veggies in them. I had the other ingredients ready at home but couldn't find the rice paper in the nearby supermarkets in Montreal. I was going to mix everything and prepare the salad without the rice paper :( Got home and remembered that the half used phyllo pastry was still in the fridge and would dry up if I didn't use it. If I waited to get the rice paper, the bean sprouts would turn brown. And there appeared an idea... phyllo cups for the salad. Baking Spanakopita can wait till the next trip. So do feel free to use the rice paper if you want. However, this phyllo cups with salad were so so yummy and refreshing. Great party recipe as you can bake the cups ahead.


Protein sources in this recipe are bean sprouts, mushrooms, peanut butter, soy sauce


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






PHYLLO CUP SALAD
Makes 12

½ box phyllo pastry or 5 sheets
some oil for greasing

For the salad:
1 cup bean sprouts (moong sprouts)
¼ cup chopped spring onion
handful of enoki mushrooms
1 medium carrot, shredded

Peanut Sauce Dressing:
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼tsp salt
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey

Baking the phyllo pastry:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a muffin tray lightly with some oil.
  3. Cut the phyllo pastry into squares (5 layers together) about 4"X4".
  4. Place each square into the muffin cups, and fold and adjust them so they fit well in each cup.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or till the cups begin to turn light brown.
  6. Take the phyllo cups out of the muffin tray gently and let them cool on a wire rack.
Preparation of the dressing:
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or jar. Adjust the taste according to your liking.
Preparation of the salad:
  1. Mix the bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, spring onion and shredded carrot in a bowl.
Final Preparation:
  1. Very gently fill the cups with the salad.
  2. Top it with the dressing and serve.
Tips:
  • I used ready made bean sprouts but you may use home sprouted beans. Steam them slightly or leave them raw.
  • Add vegetables of your choice to make the salad.
  • I leave the dressing a bit thick so that the cups don't become soggy.
  • Use ready made phyllo cups if you get them or alternately use rice paper. Don't bake the rice paper.
My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu
Day 16 - Bean and Veggie Pot Pies
Day 17 - Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup
Day 18 - Githeri
Day 19 - Peanut Butter and Jelly Pudding


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Friday, 22 September 2017

702. Peanut Butter and Jelly Pudding

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES

DAY:19




   When I was planning what protein rich dishes I was going to make, peanut butter was on top of the list. I was planning to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich, but then I came across this delicious pudding recipe. It was also full of chia seeds so one recipe took care of both the protein rich ingredients peanut butter and chia seeds. What I really like about this pudding is that one can even have on days that you are fasting. I know many people fast all 9 days of Navratri without consuming grains, pulses, salt and vegetables. So here's just the right kind of pudding to energize you and make you feel full too. Just replace the normal salt with rock salt or omit it.

   One should be a bit careful about the quality of peanut butter we buy. Many of them have transfat added to them to make the whole process of processing the nuts faster, also adds to the weight and of course its cheaper. Most low quality peanut butters become rock solid when stored in the fridge. I had bought a jar of peanut butter from the organic section at a supermarket in Montreal and though I left the jar in the fridge, it was still spoonable, soft and not rock hard.
Making peanut butter at home is not difficult at all. All you need is a strong food processor. Add the roasted and shelled peanuts into the processor. Add a bit of salt and if you like a tbsp or so of oil. Process till you get a coarse mixture. At this point your can remove some if you like it crunchy. Process the remaining peanuts till it becomes smooth. Mix in the coarse paste you had removed, mix and your peanut butter is ready. Peanut butter is a healthy and nutritious alternate for dairy butter for both kids and adults. Rich in protein and healthy fats, its good for the heart, regulates Type 2 Diabetes, good for digestion as is high in fiber, prevents gallstones, a small amount of peanut butter makes you feel full. Its an energy booster, good for the brains ( rich in antioxidants).  However too much of it will add more calories, so like everything else eat it in moderation.

   The other wonder food in this pudding is chia seeds. Chia means life. These little white and black seeds are full of fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, calcium and antioxidants.Chia seeds can be added to your smoothies, desserts, bakes, oats, cereals, energy bars, yogurt, sauces etc. Chia seeds also makes one feel full.

   Ever since hubby and I've come back from Montreal, our meal times especially at night has changed completely. By 5 in the evening we feel hungry so we snack on something with tea. Then we're not hungry at dinner time. However later at night we tend to feel a bit peckish. So nowadays I try and make a healthy snack and for the peckish times, eat some fruit. After this pudding was set, I just couldn't resist and wanted to try it. I had it at around 6 in the evening and just didn't feel hungry or peckish after that. I wouldn't mind having this for breakfast too. 

Protein sources in this recipe are chia seeds, milk, peanut butter


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 







PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY PUDDING
Serves 2

Recipe source: Minimalistic Baker

For the jelly:
1 cup seedless grapes
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp orange zest

For the pudding:
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
¼ cup chia seeds
a pinch of salt

For topping:
2 tsp roasted peanuts roughly chopped

Preparation of the jelly:
  1. Cut the grapes into halves.
  2. Add grapes, juice and maple syrup or honey or sugar to a pan.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat.
  4. When the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer till the grapes are cooked and soft. Mash it lightly.
  5. Take the pan off the heat. Add chia seeds and orange zest and mix well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into 2 serving bowls or glasses.
  7. Put it the fridge to chill.
Preparation of the pudding:
  1. Take a tall container and add milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract,salt, maple syrup or which ever sweetener you're using.
  2. Whisk the mixture to blend the milk and peanut butter.
  3. Add chia seeds and mix well.
  4. The mixture will become a little thick.
  5. Slowly pour the mixture on top of the jelly layer.
  6. Cover the glasses with cling film.
  7. Put the glasses in the fridge for the pudding to set. This will take about 2-3 hours but its best to leave it overnight as it sets well.
  8. Just before serving top it up with chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
Tips:
  • If you prefer you may make a layer with commercial jelly(jello).
  • Use any other fresh fruit of your choice to make the jelly.
  • To make it more appealing for kids add cocoa powder to the peanut butter milk mixture.
  • Adjust the amount sweetener according to your taste. I used maple syrup and it was not too sweet.
  • A great dessert to have during fasting days. Just replace the salt with rock salt.
  • For vegan option use any nut milk. 


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Thursday, 21 September 2017

701. Githeri

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/LENTILS

DAY:18

   When one mentions Kenya, marathon runners, safari and wildlife comes to ones mind. Kenya is no doubt a beautiful country. From Mountains to beaches. Mount Kenya, the 2nd tallest mountain in Africa, is a mountain climbers dream with jagged peaks. Grasslands or Savannah, pristine beaches, The Rift Valley, every part of the country there is something to see. Kenya is well known for its wildlife like lions, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, gazelles, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, rhinos and so much more. Shrubs to baobab trees, filled with all sorts of flora and fauna. The famous song in Lion King, Hakuna Matata means no problem. Simba means lion in Kiswahili and Rafiki means friend. You'll always be greeted with a friendly Jambo.

   Why am I talking about Kenya? Well, rafikis today I'm going to introduce you to a very famous wholesome,one pot meal called Githeri. My protein rich dish blogging marathon would be incomplete without a dish from Kenya. Githeri is a Kikuyu dish consisting of beans and maize. Traditionally, both were boiled in water till they were well done and the water had evaporated. Before serving salt was added and if available then some oil or fat was added to it. Both the beans and maize used can be fresh or dry. Here my reference to the maize is the white variety and not sweet corn. Other names for Githeri are muthere or muthiri. Sometimes meat and vegetables like potatoes, greens were added. Over time this dish has become famous amongst other tribes too and is one of the staple foods in Kenya. With influence from other cultures, Githeri takes on new forms but the basic equal combination of beans and maize are the core ingredients. Nowadays a variety of vegetables, meats and spices are added to make it a nutritious, healthy, wholesome meal rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber, besides vitamins and minerals.

   Here are some vegetables that you can add to Githeri to make it into a stew:
Carbohydrates : potatoes, sweet potato, plantain. cassava
Greens: spinach, collard, amaranth leaves, green beans, peas, carrot, fresh pigeon peas
Beans: Kidney beans, Cowpeas, Pinto beans, dried pigeon peas, dried peas

   I chose to take the easy way out to prepare this dish. I bought a tinned githeri mixture. If you want to make this dish then you need equal portions of beans and white maize, either fresh or dried. Its best to soak the dried ones overnight. When tinned githeri is not available I used fresh kidney beans and maize.

Protein sources in this recipe are beans, maize, pigeon pea, spinach.


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 



Sunset at English Point Mombasa


Bamburi Beach Mombasa



GITHERI
Serves 2

1 cup mixture of boiled beans and white maize kernels
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 cup peeled and diced cassava (use a starchy veg of your choice)
1 cup finely chopped spinach
½ cup fresh pigeon pea (tuvar)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
2 cups water
  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and stir fry till it becomes soft.
  3. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt and the spices.
  5. Mix well. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook over low heat till they become soft.
  6. Mash the tomatoes up a bit with the spoon.
  7. Add the beans, maize, cassava and pigeon peas.
  8. Add water and mix well.
  9. Cover the pan and let the mixture cook till all the vegetables are cooked. If required add more water.
  10. Cook till most of the water is evaporated.
  11. Add chopped spinach and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot githeri. Its usually eaten on its own.
Tips:
  • To reduce the cooking time, boil the beans and maize beforehand.
  • As mentioned above you can add your choice of vegetables.
  • Can add meat or fish.
  • Most people use the ready made curry powder that is available in the market. However, I didn't have any so added the spices that usually go into making the curry powder.
  • I've not added any chillis in the dish. However, if you prefer you can add either fresh green chillis or red chilli powder.
  • Githeri should not be mushy.


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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

700. Cauliflower and Chickpea soup

MEGA BLOGGING MARATHON -SEPT 2017

#80TH BLOGGING MARATHON

THEME: PROTEIN RICH DISHES/LENTILS

DAY:17

    If you browse through the internet, you will be inundated with recipes with cauliflower as the main ingredient especially if one is trying to follow a vegan or paleo diet. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower tortillas etc etc etc. Besides cauliflower rice, I've yet to try my hands on the other recipes.
As a kid I didn't like cauliflower too much. I think I hated it as the overcooked version smelt awful. I don't like to overcook it for sabjis, curries or for any dish where I'm using cauliflower. Even when I prepare soup,I just cook it enough so it remains a bit crunchy. 

   Did you know that cauliflower besides being rich in protein, is rich in Vitamins C, K and beta carotene. It belongs to the cancer fighting cruciferous family. Sulforaphane which is present in cauliflower, helps to regulate blood pressure and improves kidney function.
Cauliflower boosts brain development, is rich in fiber therefore helps the digestive system to function well.And its low in calories.


   Hubby and I often enjoy a bowl of hot soup with some home baked bread as a light meal option. To add a bit more nutrients and oomph to the soups, I like adding toppings like croutons, roasted veggies, salsa etc. For this soup I added some curried chickpeas which made it even more delectable.  Easy to make and healthy, why would you want to buy ready made soups that have preservatives, high content of salt and coloring when one can make a healthy soup in minutes at home.

Protein sources in this recipe are cauliflower, chickpea, potato, milk.


By no means am I claiming or supporting any sort of fad diet that are the latest craze in the fitness world. I'm just trying to include non meat non fish dishes from which you can get your protein source. 






CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA SOUP
Serves 4

2 cups (approx.250g) cauliflower florets
2 medium potatoes , peeled and diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup milk or cream
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiled chickpeas
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp zaatar or dried herb of your choice
½ tsp coarse pepper powder

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add cauliflower, potatoes and salt.
  4. Mix well. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the vegetables cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add water or vegetable broth and mix.
  6. Cover the saucepan again and let the vegetables cook till done.
  7. Cool the mixture a bit.
  8. Put the mixture in a blender and process it to a smooth consistency.
  9. Strain the soup through a sieve and put it back into the saucepan.
  10. Add milk or cream and heat the soup over medium heat. 
  11. In another small saucepan, heat 1 tsp olive oil
  12. Add chili powder and the chickpeas. Sprinkle salt over it if its not cooked in salted water.
  13. Mix it well.
  14. Spoon the soup into serving bowls.
  15. Top it with the curried chickpeas, dividing it equally.
  16. Sprinkle coarse pepper powder and zaatar or a herb of your choice.
  17. Serve with our favorite bread.
Tips:
  1. I used milk but if you like a creamier soup then use cream.
  2. If you don't like thick soup, add more water to bring it to a consistency you like.
  3. Add cheese if you want to.

My Protein Rich Dishes so far:

Day 1 - Mixed Dal Paddu

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