Category: Low Calorie

Sikil Pak or Pumpkin Seed Dip

Serve it with nachos or even  potato crisps! this recipe is a keeper for good
Serve it with nachos or even potato crisps! this recipe is a keeper for good

Social media is an amazing space. And Instagram has been one of my most favourite places to meet like-minded people. What I like most about it, is that the only connect that exists there is your likes, you care a damn about where the person hails from or what he or she does, if the people share your craziness you bond and hopefully are buddies for life.

One weekday morning last week I interacted with Jenny Montanez from San Francisco, California. She’s as much in love with food, if not more, as I am. A shot of a Mayan dish got us talking and she recommended I try the Pumpkin Seed dip, since it fit into my style of cooking. Called Sikil Pak, this dip is taking the food industry by storm and is being touted as the new guacamole! And why not, it’s easy to make and super nutritious, and more importantly the ingredients are not as difficult to find as a perfectly ripe avocado! And it takes 10 minutes to make, literally! It’s perfect dip for a last-minute addition to a party menu. Serve it with toast, flaky biscuits, crackers or even bacon strips! It’s yumm! As always I have added a few ingredients to cater to my party’s taste buds, keep the bacon out and you’re sticking with almost the original…:)

This orangy-version is a take on the recipe served at Bandalero in Washington, DC, owned by Top Chef finalist Mike Isabella.

 

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Aubergine Lasagna

The cottage cheese layer is a perfect topping for the health conscious...one can use cheese too...
The cottage cheese layer is a perfect topping for the health conscious…you could use mozzarella for that stringy top too!

This dish has been one of the hottest selling entrees in both my restaurants. The name has appeal, the simplistic recipe allows you to enjoy the vegetables, it’s healthy so works with the crazy gym-addicts, and me, and it’s a looker!

Aubergine or brinjal is technically a fruit…and you can’t keep me away from fruits for too long. Full of vital vitamins, minerals, fibre and with the ability to lower cholesterol and help manage weight, brinjals have always been a hot favourite in my kitchen. And what’s even more interesting is the ease with which it can be used in any cuisine. Like, tonight, I’m trying a Sweet-Sour-Spicy Aubergine with Sichuan chilli, if I get my hands on it, and am going to serve it with brown rice noodles and a quick 5 veggie stir fry. But coming back to the brinjal, you’ve got to cook it right to prevent it from becoming a soggy mess.

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Multi-Grain Seeded Crackers

Multigrain multi-seeded gluten-free crackers
Multi-grain multi-seeded gluten-free crackers

Crackers are fairly simple to make and it’s rather surprising that I don’t make them as often as I should. On our trips to Europe we often stock up on these knäckebröd and bring enough home to last a few months. It’s when they run out that the quest for ready-made Indian varieties start and sadly I haven’t come across a single good gluten-free sugar-free variant as yet.

The wonderful thing about these crackers is that you can flavour it as you choose. Even the basic recipe is delicious, but when your kitchen is a store house of flavours from across the world, why would you let your imagination dry up? What I also enjoy about making these crackers is that its relatively stress free. Most Indian women are used to kneading dough, you just do it instinctively, yes I had to remind myself to measure the quantity of water I used when I developed this recipe. And the crackers get done in a flat 45 minutes, you need no yeast, no waiting for the dough to rise, no getting the temperature right..nothing. It’s as simple as knead, roll, cut and bake. And the end product is only 20 minutes away.

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Apricot and Blueberry Greek Yoghurt Cake

You can use fruits of your choice...i've used apricot and blueberry
You can use fruits of your choice…I’ve used apricot and blueberry

I was completely out of ideas. I knew I wanted to bake a soft, springy, light cake, but had no idea what!…it was just one of those days when you have a party at home and want to bake to destress..I finally let my colleagues at work decide the dessert. Within no time they were all of Pinterest pulling out the most amazing cakes. This one by Julia won my heart…it had two of my favourite ingredients blueberry and peaches. Sadly I didn’t get any fresh peaches and had to use fresh apricots instead…

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Summer Special: Fruity Salad

A perfect combination of crunch from the nuts and greens makes this salad a hit with all age groups
A perfect combination of crunch from the nuts and greens makes this salad a hit with all age groups

I’ve often wondered what makes a salad special. Is it the mix of ingredients, textures, flavours or an amalgamation of all of these together? Or is it farm fresh ingredients and a sweet-salty-sour dressing? I’ve still not got my answer to that one, but this salad with grapefruit, pomegranate and a bit of roasted nuts, seems to be the perfect answer to a hot day!

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Mango, Oats and Almond Smoothie

A simple and healthy way to start your day
A simple and healthy way to start your day

I’ve been going crazy at work! And at home! and with my new workout schedule–which is actually just trying to figure out how to lose weight? And lost in all that mental cobwebs is the blog, which hasn’t got updated in a while. However, now that I’m back lets start with something that spruces me up every morning. It’s a breakfast smoothie, which can can easily be converted into a dessert :) or into chilled oats in a jar! Read to the end to know how.

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Summer Special: Chia Seed Pudding

Make it, cool it and devour it...
Make it, cool it and devour it…

It’s been a while since my last post! Blame it on the summer…it’s so ridiculously hot that spending hours in the kitchen is something I really, really try and avoid! I’ve also been working on a new section ‘cooking for kids’ a fortnightly section in RobinAge,  a weekly children’s newspaper. The recipes are simple, easy to make and involve no flame, and yes it does involve a lot of fun! This recipe is a simple Chia Seed Pudding, a great dessert for someone on a paleo diet too!

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Malaysian Net Pancakes with Curry and Stir Fried Veggies

A complete meal: tickles the senses and a foodies delight
A complete meal: tickles the senses and a foodies delight

The first time I saw a roti jala (Malaysian Net Pancakes) was some 8 years ago at Malaka Spice, a really pretty restaurant in Koregaon Park in Pune. The eye-catching pancake soon turned into a Piece de resistance! Since then I have always hoped to make it at home but never got down to it. Last week whilst surfing for some recipes for work I came across this dish again and it was quickly noted down to be made the following weekend. I needed time to design the mould to drop these pancakes too!

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Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Alfa Alfa Sprouts Tikki with Ragda and Wasabi Peas

Ive sprinkled my chaat with pomegranate seeds, some home made salsa, fresh cottage cheese, 7 bean mix and tamarind chutney
I’ve sprinkled my chaat with pomegranate seeds, some home-made salsa, fresh cottage cheese, wasabi peas and tamarind chutney

And you might think I’ve gotten completely carried away with my need to eat and produce healthy food! How can that weird combination even work! But it does. And what I haven’t added in that mighty long title, is that the ragda was made with sprouted white peas. don’t look at me in disdain! try it and decide for yourself. It’s chaat with the same flavours we all love just super healthy and protein heavy!

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Baked Cheesy Tortilla

A slice of the baked tortilla, filled with veggies and warm grilled cottage cheese sizzling on top
A slice of the baked tortilla, filled with veggies and warm grilled cottage cheese sizzling on top

So yesterday I tried to bake a sugar-free oats and yoghurt cake with blueberries. I broke the first rule of baking, didn’t measure my baking powder and over beat the eggs. It ended up being hard and bread like, I don’t usually have such disasters in the kitchen and was super upset. I needed a pick me up. Nothing in my fridge seemed to be right for the moment and I had run out of chocolates :( That’s when I glanced upon 2 slices of a thin herbed wheat pizza base. My brain started ticking. Should I convert them into quesadillas? (pronounced: cay-suh-dee-yuh) Or may be just turn them into dinner…something that’s warm, simple, wholesome and smooth. The thought of a Baked Cheesy Tortilla brought back a smile. The dish requires very little attention whilst its cooking. It’s almost like a pizza but 100 times more nutritious and loaded with healthy vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, onions, tomatoes and the cheese in it comes from cottage cheese. It’s my go-to-dish, try it and you will know why :)

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