Category: Low Calorie

Chicken Roulade with Pomegranate and Wine Jus

Chicken roulade stuffed with pepperoni, cheese, smoked dried tomatoes and spinach...bliss
Chicken roulade stuffed with pepperoni, cheese, smoked dried tomatoes and spinach…bliss

This is a completely inspired dish and all credit goes to MasterChef shows on TV. It’s taken a couple of times to perfect, but even when the roulade wasn’t perfectly rolled, it tasted excellent. The play of colours and textures and the excitement of beating chicken into a thin even perfect layer far exceeds the trauma of cracking the flesh whilst you’re rolling it. I’d say forget the inhibitions and just go for it!

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Banana Mashed Up! The Jain Mash

Amazingly smooth and flavoursome: Banana Mash
Amazingly smooth and flavoursome: Banana Mash

Last week was a test of my culinary skills. I had two friends over for dinner–one a carnivore and the other a pure Jain (read no roots, no mushrooms, of course no onion, garlic and meat) and to add to my trauma, they wanted similar looking plates! Bring it on, girls….

A quick check of what can and cannot be eaten by Jains thanks to Tarla Dalal, may her soul rest in peace, proved i could use raw plantain to create a mash! One element done the rest was easy to fill in, created a beautiful plate using mango salsa and paneer steaks grilled with a freshly made sweet-chillie sauce.

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Golabki: Polish stuffed cabbage rolls

Succulent cabbage rolls stuffed with mince served with a 3 pepper and corn salad
Succulent cabbage rolls stuffed with mince served with a 3 pepper and corn salad

“I’m making Golabki for dinner tonight.”

“Wow, that sounds cool. What’s that, something exotic you learnt from one of the chefs you follow.”

“Umm…not really, but if you promise to eat it, I’ll tell you what goes into it.”

“Put that way…I think skip the introductions. But don’t cook too much, I may not take a second helping. Also I have a late evening meeting, so I might just eat something there, make a real small portion of that Gol-whetver you’re making.”

And so ended the conversation between my husband and me on that eventful Monday evening. I say eventful because not just did we enjoy the delicious bake, but a couple of friends dropped by too and went home with a stomach full and a recipe! To add to that we had a 30 minute conversation on additions, substructions, permutations and combinations that cam be used to enhance the flavours. No meal at home is uneventful.:)

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Arugula, Fig, Almond, Feta Salad

A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!
A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!

For the last one month we’re thriving on a low-carb diet. It’s quite a task to think of innovative tasty dishes that can be mopped up without a bread or rice, but 20 days into the diet I’ve managed to add a delicious salad to every meal. :)  This is a super easy salad that can be tossed together in less than five minutes.

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Mango Salsa

I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs...made for a splendid combination
I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs…made for a splendid combination

I am not a mango fan, at all. I don’t like mango milkshake, or mango and ice cream, or even a mango cheese cake. The only way I eat this divine fruit is in a salsa! Yeah not quite the best ode to this king of fruits. Sorry. And it’s not that I am worried about the calories, given that one ripe mango has only 110 calories.

Anyway to cut a long story short, try this mango salsa with a protein of your choice and you will enjoy the sweetness of the fruit with the punch of chillies, onion, tomato and a lot more. The fact that the flavour of the fruit stands out despite the combination, makes me respect it a lot more!

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Almond Macaroons

Almond macroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside
Almond macaroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside

This is one cookie that’s always made of special request. As a 7-year-old, I remember my mom chomping on these and making all those orgasmic sounds that a child had never heard before. Each time we went to this particular store in the suburbs of Bombay (now Mumbai), she would stop and buy a few packets of those gorgeous Almond Macaroons. But over a few years, the quality dropped and our visits ended in the cookies being given away.

Last week was her 75th birthday and apart from cooking her favourites, I knew i just had to make these macaroons.

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Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds

Yummilicious salad: a perfect accompaniment to any protein
Yummilicious salad: a perfect accompaniment to any protein

When I first read about this combination, I wrote it off as “eeks–cant be”. Then when I bought The Flavour Thesaurus and stumbled on various combinations that were supposed to be meant for each other, my thoughts were drawn to this recipe I had read a long time ago. I mean who in their right state of mind would combine spinach with strawberries and onion! But boy does it work…the textures, flavours literally play bursting bubbles with the taste buds.
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Paneer Jalfrazi

Not the traditional recipe, but one that is almost oil free and high on flavours
Not the traditional recipe, but one that is almost oil free and high on flavours

A quick fix hearty meal, is what this is. Jalfrezi is a type of Indian dish in which pieces of vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. Since there is no gravvy involved, it can be stirred up in a matter of a few minutes. Jalfrezi can be made as spicy as you wish and in that lies its success to cater to different tastes. The other main ingredients include capsicums, onion and tomato. History dates the Jalfrezi back to the British Raj and  according to a new poll, the Jalfrezi is the most popular choice in Britain’s 10,000 Indian restaurants. This is not the traditional way of cooking this dish, but this quick fix recipe has all the flavours intact without being doused with oil.

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Dal Dhokli

Traditional Gujarati Dal Dhokli
Traditional Gujarati Dal Dhokli

This is as traditional as it gets! A Sunday afternoon lazy lunch with piping hot dal-dhokli. Its a perfect combination of proteins and carbs or rather dal and roti, but all mixed into one dish…the Indian pasta as my cousins often call it! Just like pasta, this dish needs to be made on the spot and served hot to really relish it. What’s more it can be enjoyed as a one-pot dish or you can enjoy it with some steamed basmati rice too. Either way, this is one dish that grows on you and can be made as festive as you wish–with simple easy additions of broken cashew nuts, raisins and dried dates (kharek).

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Baingan ka Bharta

Brinjal BhartaThis popular Indian dish is served in various ways. People from Gujarat blast the brinjals, skin and pulp them and serve it with chopped green onion, white onion, green garlic and raw powdered masalas with loads of oil. This is usually eaten on a cold day with bajra ka rotla and jaggery. Those in the north however cook the brinjal pulp yet again with onion and tomato and masalas. Some even add yoghurt. I prefer the double cooked version without the yoghurt.

What’s however interesting is that the roasted and pulped brinjal is also used for a lot of Mediterranean dishes, the closest rival is the classic Baba Ganoush or the egg plant dip!

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