Spinach kale biryani


IMG_1197Spinach kale biryani
(A healthy veggie biryani)
(Serves 4)

1. Two cups long grain basmati rice
2. 4 cups water
3. 16oz bag of pre-washed spinach and kale mix or any other power greens preferably organic
4. Handful of mint leaves washed and chopped
5. One bay leaf
6. 1 inch cinnamon stick
7. 10-12 peppercorns
8. 7-8 cloves
9. 4-5 choti elaichi (small, green cardamoms)
10. 2 badi elaichi (big cardamoms)
11. One tsp ghee (clarified butter)
12. One medium onion sliced or chopped
13. One or two medium tomatoes chopped
14. Biryani masala (any brand) to taste
15. Salt to taste

Blanch spinach and kale mix or any other power greens by boiling in water till tender. Purée and keep aside. In the meantime wash and soak rice in some water for about half an hour. Heat clarified butter (ghee) in a wok. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves and peppercorns. Add onions and fry till they caramelize. Add tomatoes, biryani masala and salt and cook for about two minutes. Add the puréed spinach and kale. Mix and check for salt and seasoning. If needed add more at this point. Cook for about 5 minutes and then go ahead and add the soaked rice. Make sure to discard the water in which rice was soaked. Use it only if you need more water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat till rice is done. Don’t cover the pan fully. Leave a little space open for air to escape. Once done turn off the heat and cover and keep the rice
for about 10 mins. After that open, add mint leaves and lightly fluff up. Serve hot with plain yogurt or any raita of your choice.

1. For an even healthier version brown rice can be used.
2. My personal favourite with any biryani is the minty cucumber raita. Check recipe here:- https://eatlightstaylightweb.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/minty-cucumber-raita/
3. Biryani masala can be bought at any Indian grocery store.

Dahi wali bhindi


Dahi wali bhindi
(Okra in yogurt gravy with spices)
(Serves 2)

1. Two cups okra washed, dried and chopped
2. One cup yogurt whisked
3. 1 tsp oil
4. 1/2 tsp asafoetida
5. 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
6. 1 tsp turmeric powder
7. 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
8. 4 tsp coriander powder
9. 1/2 tsp garlic chopped or garlic powder (optional)
10. One medium onion chopped (optional)
11. 1/2 cup water
12. Salt to taste
13. One spring cilantro chopped to garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a wok. Add asafoetida and fenugreek seeds. When the seeds splutter add onions and garlic/garlic powder. Fry till translucent. If you don’t like onion and garlic skip this step and add turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Now add okra, water and salt. If okra is bit hard try giving two whistles in a pressure cooker. Else cook covered till okra is tender. Now add the yogurt and bring to a boil. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Tip:- You can enjoy this with rotis, tortillas, rice, quinoa, couscous, farro or parathas.

Baked lauki ke kofte

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Baked lauki ke kofte (a healthier version of lauki koftas)
(Serves 3-4)

For the koftas:-
1. One bottle gourd peeled, washed and grated or pulsed
2. Salt to taste
3. Red chilli powder to taste
4. Two tsp garam masala
5. One cup or as needed gram flour (besan)

Squeeze out excess water from the grated/pulsed bottle gourd. The same water can be strained and used in the curry. Now to the bottle gourd add the rest of the ingredients and shape into round balls. Take a greased baking tray. Put all balls on it and lightly brush with oil. Bake at 200 degrees C till all balls turn golden brown. Keep them aside. These can also be frozen once they cool down to use at a later time.

For the curry:-
1. One tsp oil
2. One big onion pulsed
3. One big tomato pulsed
4. 1/2 inch ginger pulsed
5. 5-6 garlic cloves pulsed
6. 1/4 cup cashews pulsed (optional)
7. 1/4 cup dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) crushed (optional)
8. 7-8 springs of cilantro finely chopped (optional)
9. One tsp turmeric powder
10. One tsp cumin powder
11. Four tsp coriander powder
12. One tsp red chilli powder
13. Salt to taste
14. One to two cups water (the water taken out from bottle gourd after squeezing can also be used)
15. Two tsp garam masala powder

Heat oil in a wok. Add the pulsed onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and cashews. Fry till translucent. Now add spices and salt. Fry for two minutes more. Add water and bring to a boil. Once curry thickens a bit turn off the flame and add dried fenugreek leaves and chopped cilantro. Dip in the balls. Serve.

Jeera rice


Jeera rice
(Serves 3-4)

1. One and a half cup rice washed and soaked in water for half an hour
2. Three cups water
3. One tsp oil
4. Two tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
5. 1/4 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
6. Salt to taste

Heat oil and clarified butter together in a wok or deep pan. Add cumin seeds. When they have crackled add rice and salt. Mix well and toss for about 2-3 minutes. Add water and cook on medium heat till done. Cover the pan but leave a little space open for air to escape. Don’t stir till cooked. Once cooked, let it rest fully covered for around 5-10 minutes and then gently fluff up.

Tip:- Jeera rice is a staple with any North Indian curry. Enjoy it by itself or with any curry of your choice.

Quick apple and grape salad


Quick apple and grape salad
(Serves 2)

One medium apple cubed
1/2 cup red or black seedless grapes sliced
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup craisins
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups shredded cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts mix or any other salad mix
2 tbsp pecans
1 cup of flavored Greek yogurt. Choose whatever flavor you desire.

Mix everything in a big bowl. Serve chilled.

Sesame garlic noodles


Sesame garlic noodles

(Serves 2)

4 cups noodles cooked as per pack instructions and strained
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp garlic chopped
Salt as per taste

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add sesame seeds. When they crackle add garlic. When garlic turns translucent add noodles and salt. Mix and serve.

These go very well with sesame chicken or sesame vegetable stir fry. Find recipes for both on my blog.

Sesame vegetable stir fry


Sesame vegetable stir fry with sesame garlic noodles

Sesame vegetable stir fry
(Serves 2)

1 tsp+1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
5-6 whole red chillies
1 tbsp garlic chopped
One medium onion chopped
1 cup broccoli florets blanched
1/2 cup snow peas blanched
1/2 cup baby carrots blanched
1/4 cup bell peppers blanched
4 tbsp soya sauce
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Maggi vegetable seasoning to taste
1/2 tbsp cornflour
1/2+1/4 cup water

Heat 1 tsp sesame seed oil in a non-stick pan. Add sesame seeds to this. When they crackle add garlic and onions. When they turn translucent add the blanched veggies, water, salt, pepper and Maggi vegetable seasoning mix. Add soya sauce. Cook till water evaporates a bit. Dissolve cornflour in 1/4 cup water and add to thicken the gravy. Now in a separate pan heat 1 tsp sesame seed oil. Add whole red chillies and sesame seeds. After tossing for two minutes add to the gravy. Mix in lightly. Serve.

This goes well with rice or any kind of noodles.