Coconut rice is a delicious vegan and gluten-free side, that compliments a wide range of entrees. I prepare it by cooking rice in coconut milk, and season it lightly with salt. Coconut milk adds a creamy and naturally sweet flavor to the rice, which elevates everyday rice into an elegant and flavorful side dish. In this simple recipe for Instant Pot Coconut Rice, all I do is add all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cook the rice for 6 minutes. Continue Reading…
Beet Coconut Stir Fry (Beetroot Thoran) is a quick and easy stir-fry of chopped beets with grated coconut. I lightly season it with salt, turmeric and coriander, and finish it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This light and refreshing dish does full justice in highlighting the sweet and earthy flavors of beets.
Beets, the Super Food
Beet, or beetroot, is a popular super food that is gaining visibility for a wide variety of health benefits. Based on my internet research, and to name a few, beets are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and help in reducing blood pressure. Beet greens are rich in Vitamins A, K and C. They taste somewhat similar to kale and swiss chard. In the past few years, I’ve seen beets feature in many restaurants, as appetizers, side dishes, and even as part of entrées . I’ve been experimenting with beets in my recipes, and am loving the results. Although, I must confess that I have yet to fall in love with beetroot ice-cream 🙂
This recipe for Beet Coconut Stir Fry (Beetroot Thoran) is on repeat menu in my home. It’s inspired by one of my favorite south-Indian side dishes, Thoran.
Kesar Badam halwa, or Saffron Almond Pudding, is the undisputed “king” of Indian desserts. Made using just six simple ingredients, it is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts. I make it using almond flour , milk, butter or ghee (clarified butter), sugar, cardamom and saffron.
Naturally sweet and nutty almond flour, or almond meal, forms the foundation of this rich dessert. I add milk for a creamy and silky smooth texture. Saffron provides a beautiful floral aroma and vibrant yellow color to this halwa. I add a pinch of freshly crushed cardamom since that enhances and compliments the flavors of saffron.
Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern vegetarian salad made of finely chopped parsley and mint, with Bulgar wheat, chopped tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and seasoned with a simple lemon vinaigrette. In this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, I have replaced Bulgar wheat with cooked quinoa, which makes the Tabbouleh gluten-free, hearty and protein-rich. This simple Mediterranean side takes very little time to make and compliments many grilled meats and vegetables.
Summertime!! Like many of you, summer is my family’s favorite season! It means more road-trips, hiking, picnics and a ton of fresh, delicious and colorful salads. My husband and I have a salad for lunch almost everyday. Since we both prefer chicken as our protein, we get creative with seasonings, mix-ins and salad dressings to avoid monotony. Cajun Chicken Salad is one of our most loved salad.
Cajun Chicken Salad:
I start with grilling Cajun spice rubbed chicken, to toast those earthy spices. I use a cabbage spring mix for this salad, which provides a nice cool contrast to the Cajun seasoning. But, you can use any lettuce mix you like. I add toasted almond chips, which provide a nice crunch, and strawberries, which compliment and balance this salad with their sweetness. The chicken is so moist and flavorful that I don’t even use a salad dressing most of the time. But when I do, I like to have an Apple Cider-Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with it. This salad is perfect for any weather really, and the best part is, it’s Low-carb.
Cajun Spice Blend:
Cajun Cuisine, which is best known for it’s spicy and earthy flavor tones, is a regional cuisine from the southern part of Louisiana. The first time I had Cajun chicken was in New Orleans, the real deal. I fell in love immediately. It was more than a decade ago, when my husband was attending a conference in New Orleans, and I tagged along. I visited the flea market at the famous French market, where I bought my first Cajun Spice blend. I was so eager to try it, that the first thing I did when we returned home was to grill some chicken and shrimp using this spice blend. It was UNBELIEVABLY good. Based on the ingredients on that spice pack, I started putting together my own blend.
The spice mix that I put together, tasted authentic and most of all, I was able to adjust the heat level in the mix. When I make a new batch, I store it in an air-tight container, and keep it in my spice drawer, away from heat and light.
When I make it from scratch, here’s what I use:
Tandoori Chicken recipe is probably one of the most flavorful and popular recipes from the Indian subcontinent. In this recipe, I marinate the chicken in yogurt, lemon juice, aromatics and bold Indian spices. Then, I grill it to a perfect crispy golden brown. The result is tender, juicy and a to-die-for flavor! If you’ve never tried it before, just trust me on this and go for it!
Tandoori Chicken Recipe:
Skinless chicken is the traditional choice in this recipe. Start by making a marinade including yogurt, fresh ground ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chili powder and fresh lemon juice. Marinate the chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Thread it on to skewers and grill it. Most restaurants grill it in a high-heat clay-oven called Tandoor (tun-dur). Tandoor is typically heated with charcoals. That is what gives the chicken a slightly smoky flavor. But, since most of us don’t have a clay oven in our backyards, an oven broiler, or an outdoor grill can achieve a similar flavor!
Tandoori Chicken in Instant Pot (pressure cooker):
This creamy cauliflower potato garlic sauce is simply magical. It’s like mashed potatoes met cheese fondue! I steam the potatoes, cauliflower and garlic together, and add heated heavy cream, or half-and-half, with butter, tangy goat cheese, salt and pepper, and whisk it till I get a silky smooth sauce! The addition of goat cheese adds a tanginess which cuts through the richness, and balances this sauce perfectly. Parmesan cheese compliments the goat cheese and makes this sauce absolutely delicious.
Finally nailed it!
Years ago, at a middle eastern restaurant, I had a garlic sauce that was served with grilled chicken and lamb kebab. It was hands down, one of THE most delicious sauces I have ever had! Since then, I’ve been trying to imagine a mash-up between that garlic sauce and creamy garlic mashed potatoes. I also wanted to make this sauce lighter and healthier, so that I wouldn’t have to feel too guilty about loading up on carbs. So, I decided to do a half and half of potatoes and cauliflower. After a few ‘almost there’ attempts, I finally nailed it. Continue Reading…
Thai food is always on repeat menu in my home, especially on weeknights. It is quick and super easy to make, delicious and very easily customizable to our palette. Thai Massaman Curry, or, Thai Masaman Curry, is one of the milder curries in Thai cuisine, which is perfect when you’re making this for kids. I love the flavor combination in this curry. It’s a nice blend of sweet and spicy and the coconut milk adds a touch of creaminess to the curry. I finish this dish with a light squeeze of lime and it ties all the flavors together really well.
Easy and Perfect for Weeknights:
Thai Massaman Curry, or any other Thai curry, is one of the easy dinners that I make during weeknights. Like most of you, during weeknights, I don’t have enough time to make this curry paste from scratch, so I combine store-bought curry paste with coconut milk, add protein and a ton of veggies, cook it on the stove-top for 10-12 minutes, or a quick 5 minutes in my Instant Pot , and it’s done! I like using Maesri brand for curry pastes. I find the taste of this brand to be the most authentic. My local favorite Thai restaurant also uses Maesri pre-made curry pastes to make their curries:-)
I buy the curry paste from Amazon, or my local asian supermarket. My pantry is always stocked with one of these curry pastes, coconut milk and a can of baby corn. It makes life much easier for times when you don’t feel like doing take-out, but still want to eat something delicious. I combine the curry paste with coconut milk, add the baby corn, plus about a cup of any frozen veggies I have on hand, and dinner comes together with minimum effort! Continue Reading…
Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner. Incase you’re wondering what it is, Cinco de Mayo means ‘5th of May’ in Spanish, and it is pronounced as Seenkoh-de-Maayo. It is the annual celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. Like with any celebration, it is an opportunity to get together with family and friends, and enjoy some amazing Mexican food and delicious margaritas! So, if you’re hosting a party, or going to attend one, I have put together a list of some quick and easy Cinco De Mayo recipes that will add tons of flavor to your party! They’re super easy to make, can be made ahead, and are great for potlucks and get togethers.
A lot of these recipes are made in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot DUO, but I plan to add some stove-top, oven-cooked, and, even some ‘no-cook’ recipes to this list, so be sure to bookmark it! Continue Reading…
Hearty, healthy, rich and creamy, Thai Red Curry Soup is perhaps one of my favorites meals to make when I’m in the mood for something sweet and spicy. This delicious and nutritious soup is filled with protein, has tons of veggies and the creamy yum coconut milk gives it a smooth and velvety texture . A squeeze of lime towards the end, cuts through that richness and balances this soup really well. I make quite a few variations of this soup. I switch the proteins and make it with chicken or shrimp, and a vegetarian version with Extra Firm Tofu.
Thai Red Curry Soup is quick and easy to make, and it’s just perfect for weeknights:
Thai recipes come together in a flash, especially when I use a store-bought curry paste. I’m all about making things from scratch, but when I found out that my local favorite Thai restaurant uses these pre-made curry pastes, I just had to try them. There are many brands for Thai curry paste in the stores, and I’ve tried a fair share of them. I found Maesri brand to be the most authentic in terms of flavors and consistency. I always keep these curry pastes and a can of coconut milk in my pantry. That makes weeknight dinners a breeze. I put together some fresh or frozen chicken, fresh peppers and broccoli, mix the curry paste with coconut milk, add it all to the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), pressure cook it for 5 minutes, and dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes!
Make it vegetarian and customize it:
To make this soup vegetarian, simply add firm tofu or Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), instead of chicken! Since tofu/paneer is already cooked, add it after pressure cooking the soup, along with the assorted veggies. This way it doesn’t get overcooked and still absorbs the wonderful flavors of the soup.
I love the crunch and flavor of assorted vegetables in Thai Red Curry Soup. I like to add sliced bell-peppers, onions, baby corn and zucchini, but you can add pretty much any kind of vegetables you like. In this recipe, I add the veggies after the pressure cooking process so they retain a nice crunch and stay fresh. Even frozen vegetables work great in this soup. Simply add them after the pressure cooking process and cook for a few minutes on sauté till they thaw and absorb the soup flavors. You can garnish it with cilantro, Thai basil or even mint. I like to have this soup as-is, but if you love to pair Thai recipes with rice, you can serve this with some white or Brown jasmine rice.