I love baby eggplants but in India we always removed the skin and cooked it to a point where it gets mushy and it would drive me
nuts when my mom would insist that i eat this mushy eggplant curry with my rotis/bread. I wanted to come up with an eggplant dish that I would rather enjoy to eat than be forced to eat:(
So here goes people!
This is by far my best take on the Mighty Eggplant! and takes you less than 15 minutes to prepare this. Its an awesome dish to consider if you have guests coming over.
4-8 baby eggplants
Goat cheese crumbs
5-6 Basil leaves
Salt to taste
Lemon pepper powder 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon
Finely chopped onions- 1/4 cup
Habanero Mango Salsa( I sometimes make this at home using habanero peppers and finely diced mango cubes with onions and tomatoes but you can always find and buy a bottle of any salsa at the supermarket if you do not want to deal with the heat of habanero peppers)
Note: You can substitute any salsa depending on your or the guest’s tolerance to spice levels. BUT I strongly recommend this combination:) Trust me its delish!!!if you can tolerate spice or heat!
Cut the baby eggplants in half and place them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper(for easy clean up). Then sprinkle salt, black pepper, lemon pepper and garlic powder on top of each half to make sure that they are well seasoned. Then drizzle some olive oil on top of each half and top it with some chopped onions, 1/4 teaspoon of the habanero mango salsa and garnish with some crumbs of goat cheese and chiffonades of basil.
Stick this into the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes. Voila! I insist on a particular combination of salsa and cheese for this particular recipe since the habanero (heat) and the mango (sweet) in the salsa cuts the tanginess of the goat cheese and the flavors become so well balanced.
Last weekend, I was at this brunch place in Montclair, New Jersey- Absolutely fabulous and I was thrilled to see their Vegan and Vegetarian selections on the menu.
After pondering over an extensive menu:) and the indecisive person that I am esp when it comes to food- I decided to try their Vegetarian Chickpea burger with baked Sweet Potato Fries. I must tell you this that during my stay at Double Tree in L A prior to filming Master Chef, I happened to order their Vegetarian burger made of chickpeas and it was falling apart/ crumbling to say the least and dry!!!!
This one that I tried at Montclair was phenomenal!!!! Moist, crisp, dense and came with onion, tomato, sprouts:) and pickle!
OK now, I was also thinking of coming up with a bunch of dishes with Tempeh and have been experimenting in my kitchen. Suddenly, after we finish brunch, I run across the street to WHOLE FOODS and my husband thinks I have lost it as always 🙂 I grab an organic slab of 5 GRAIN TEMPEH. Now many of you may wonder what TEMPEH is?
TEMPEH is made of natural culturing process with organic grains like soybeans, brown rice, millet, barley, rye, apple cider vinegar and tempeh culture (typically Rhisopus oligosporus)LOL (thats my inner Microbiologist speaking out). It is low in calories and a great substitute to meat due to its HIGH PROTEIN content. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and has a distinctive nutty taste and nougat-like textured.
The thing about TEMPEH I have learnt over the past few months is that it easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes. I tried substituting TEMPEH with the Indian Cottage Cheese that I use in my traditional Curry and it turned out delicious!!!
According to my research- the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol.
I can go on and on about health benefits and effect of TEMPEH on cholesterol ………After 3 days of trips to the park with kids, I decided to take a break today and cook up something with the Tempeh that I had picked at Whole Foods. I decide to make an awesome burger with TEMPEH. I love beets and so decided to use a beet sauce and bake some squash chips to go with my burger. The key is to season my tempeh with a bunch of my toasted spices and to use a binding agent !! The binding agent that I used in this case was CHICK PEAS and it turned out beautiful. I could use potatoes but chose to give Chick peas a shot! I use olive oil and use fresh GRAY SQUASH from my Farmers Market to bake some chips to go with my TEMPEH burger:)
All of us crave Potatoes fries at some point in our lives lol! I simply crave them the whole time so it was important that I come up with a guilt free recipe that would let me enjoy my craving every single time!
This is such a simple, quick dish and can even be served fancy if you have guests over:) I used Yukon Gold potatoes but you can use any kind- Russet maybe!
I simply peel the skin and chop them into these thin finger lengths and place in a bowl filled with cold water. Wipe them clean with a paper towel whenever ready and arrange them in a baking pan. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon pepper, curry powder(of course!!!!) and drizzle some olive oil and mix them evenly.
In goes these puppies for about 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven. Leave it in for 10-15 minutes and then make sure to take them out and flip the finger potatoes and place them back in the oven so that both sides get cooked and crisp up(yum!)
Now time for my SECRET!!! Take 4-5 cloves of garlic with skin on it. Throw in some love with salt and pepper on the garlic pods and generous amount of EVOO. Wrap ’em in foil and place this in the oven for 20 min’s. You can do this the same time you place the potatoes in that way you save some time and both will be ready around the same time you take ’em out!
After you take out the potato fingers out of the oven, you will see them a little crisp, a little brown and little golden!!!!! I love all these three shades in my potatoes:)
Now take out your pocket of love- the garlic!!!!! Be careful while opening the pouch- You will know immediately with the burst of flavors once you start unraveling the foil:) The skin easily sticks out or can be removed. Now crush this garlic that’s smothered with oil infused with salt and pepper! and mix it with your baked finger potatoes.
Nutrition facts: The potato contains vitamins and minerals, as well as an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and natural phenols. Although they are known for their carbohydrate content, they are rich in fiber, they are very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol . It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.
Potatoes are good for you as long as you prepare them in a healthy manner. Boiled and baked potatoes are good for you, French fries and potato chips are not.
My kids absolutely love them! Serve it fancy or simple- totally up to you! Enjoy!!!!!
With much love, small cravings………..
Mango Coconut Soup, yes you heard it right. I loveeeeeeee mangoes and my husband just got me a bagful the other day. Perfect excuse to tell him that the mangoes are going to go bad and have to be used in a “wise” manner so that they don’t get rotten over time 🙂
I learnt to make this recipe from my mom and for some reason she said the perfect combination of a vegetable is spicy eggplant! I have added my twist to the recipe. I also love bulgur wheat because it’s so much better and healthier than rice. To be completely honest, I developed or acquired the taste for bulgur wheat but once you eat it a couple times, it gives you the same satisfaction as rice! I think you must definitely consider substituting bulgur wheat for rice and you will thank me one day:)
Ok I hope I am doing a good job writing this because at the moment my second daughter is playing drums on my head and my older one s sleeping on me. I am stuck either ways so decided to share this recipe with you !
1/4 cup Grated coconut(fresh/ frozen)
2 Ripe mangoes or 1/4 cup Mango puree’
1tbsp cumin seeds
1/4tsp fenugreek seeds(if you have it, this gives such flavor! else u can skip this)
1 Red Chilli 🙂 as per individual spice level(you can take off the seeds if you like less spice)
Nandini’s tip: 1 tbsp Sour cream (my twist to make it creamy and a tablespoon doesn’t hurt-Moderation people:) that’s the key)
1/4 cup low fat or fat free yogurt (you can use greek yogurt for richness/ creamy consistency)
Salt to taste
Take a pan, add 3 teaspoon of canola oil and to it add cumin seeds, red chilli, salt, fenugreek seeds and grated coconut(fresh or frozen). Saute till coconut starts turning brown. You will definitely know since the flavors will fill up your kitchen:) I promise!
Blend this coconut cumin fenugreek mixture in a blender to a smooth consistency.
Cut your mangoes and take the pulp and puree it. You can also use the store bought mango puree’.
Now transfer the mango puree’ onto a crock pot and start cooking on a low flame till it starts simmering, stirring intermittently.
Whisk up some yoghurt and sour cream in a bowl or put it in a blender and blend it!
Now transfer the blended mixture of coconut paste and the yogurt-sour cream mixture onto the simmering mango pulp.
Check if you have added enough salt at this point. Add more if required and wait till it starts boiling. Your Mango Coconut Soup is almost ready…..
Most importantly, cook this on a low flame so the yogurt sour cream mixture does not curdle so be very patient !
Take a small pan add some oil and add mustard seeds till it sputters. Use this to garnish the final Mango Coconut Soup.
Tranfer to a bowl and enjoy my currylicious Mango Coconut Soup.
Now if you cannot get hold of grated coconut, just use coconut milk instead and works perfect!
For the spicy baked Egg plant:
1/4 Large Eggplant
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp lemon pepper powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
Chop the eggplant into approximately equal cubes so they cook evenly.
Transfer the eggplant cubes to a baking pan with some oil in it. Add all the spices/ powders on top of the eggplant and mix well so they are evenly coated. Place in an oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
Spicy Baked Eggplant dish is ready!
TRUST ME PEOPLE, ITS A HEAVENLY COMBINATION.