On the Pulse: Channa Dal with Zucchini

Channa Dal with Zucchini  using  Arvinda’s Curry Masala . If you can find  Lauki,  Indian bottle gourd you can use this instead of zucchini as it’s a very typical pairing.

Channa Dal with Zucchini using Arvinda’s Curry Masala. If you can find Lauki, Indian bottle gourd you can use this instead of zucchini as it’s a very typical pairing.

I can’t believe it’s 2019. Happy New Year to you all and hope you’ve eased into January and found a new rhythm to life as we inch ahead another year on our biological clocks! My mantra for 2019 is to be in the moment. It’s all we’ve got and we need to be reminded that our health is our wealth! That’s my favourite cliché because it’s so true.

Like them or not, our January resolutions always start with good intentions in the hopes that every year we become healthier, happier and better people with time. Every day is a fresh start and so is a new year, so why not take the opportunity to set some new targets?

For me, I like to ‘ease’ into January which means no resolutions on the calendar flip to January 1st. It’s actually taken me a couple of weeks to collect my thoughts, reflect on the last year and decide on my changes and goals for this year. Here’s a shortlist:

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1) Have more turmeric: My morning routine consists of detoxifying with a turmeric, ginger, chai-chili elixir that I mix with hot water and drink as a warm (not hot) tea to wake up the digestive system. I pre-make this concentrate and simply store it in the fridge and every morning mix 1/2 cup with 1/2 cup of boiling water. So far so good and fingers crossed, the winter sniffles should keep at bay!

2) Meditate more: I realize how important a meditation practice is and in 2019 I feel it is needed more than ever. This year adding more minutes of meditation to my regimen is a priority to reduce stress, increase awareness and bring forth more calm and happiness. So far these extra few minutes in the morning and night have worked wonders in an amazingly short time. Amazing and powerful!

3) Try more foods and recipes: In 2018 I pushed my culinary boundaries by trying new foods, cuisines and recipes from all over the world. We often get stuck making the same dishes over again, especially if these are the foods ourselves and our loved ones enjoy and it’s so easy to fall back on the tested, tried and true! But change is amazing and invigorating! By tasting new spice combinations and trying new recipes, I came to realize how many great flavours I was missing out on. So this year, I take that a step further and continue enjoying new foods and flavours—and not to forget sitting at the table to savour every new creation made by scratch!

That is the shortlist and there’s more to come!

There’s definitely something to be said about goal setting. When we set our sights onto something, it becomes our path and a ‘way’ to follow that takes us closer to what we feel will bring us happiness. One of the most famous pieces of research on goal setting is the Harvard MBA study from 1979 that found the 3% of graduates who wrote down their goals achieved them versus the 97% who did not! Exciting!

This year more than ever, we’re thinking about and concerned by the environment, excess waste, global climatic change and our ecological footprint. This is a great time to experiment with different plant-based proteins like pulses and beans. With Canada being the world’s largest producers of lentils, this is also an excellent local choice as well that supports our local farmers.

Low in fat, low on the glycemic index, low in sugar, high in protein, iron, fibre and vital minerals it’s a win all across the board. Not to mention, when paired with delicious and healthy Indian spices like turmeric, then this starts ticking off many New Year’s resolutions on the list!

One of our favourite dal recipes is Channa Dal with Zucchini and many people who have attended Arvinda’s cooking classes over the years will know this one very well! So we started the new year off right by having this dish…ticking off the many goals on our list! :) Enjoy!


CHANNA DAL with ZUCCHINI

Method of Preparation:

1) Wash soaked channa dal in 4-5 changes of lukewarm water or until water runs clear. In a medium pot, simmer channa dal and zucchini in water with salt on medium-high heat. Add enough water to cover dal and zucchini. Partially cover and cook until dal is thoroughly cooked, approximately 10-15 minutes.

2) In a separate pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and fry until they pop. Take care spices do not burn. Add tomato and mix in ARVINDA’S CURRY MASALA. Stir in sugar and fry for 2-3 minutes to make a masala paste.

3) Add cooked channa dal and zucchini including liquid to masala paste. Mix and simmer for a few minutes until dal has thickened. Add salt to taste, if necessary and thin out with extra water if required.

4) Garnish with cilantro and a sprinkle of ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA. Serves well with rice and Indian chapatis.

Ingredients:

1 CUP channa dal, soaked for 2-3 hours
1 small zucchini, cubed
6 CUPS water (add more if necessary)
1 TSP. salt
2 TSP. oil
¼ TSP. mustard seeds from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES
2 TBSP. canned tomatoes, crushed OR 1 fresh ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 TBSP. ARVINDA’S CURRY MASALA
1 TSP. salt (or to taste)
1 TSP. raw sugar
½ TSP. ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA
1 TBSP. cilanto, finely chopped, to garnish

Wishing you a wonderful 2019 and hope everyone receives many good things all year long!

Potato & Peas Samosa Filling with Arvinda's Curry Masala

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One of the most coveted Indian foods is the Samosa, triangle shaped deep-fried pastries with a spiced potato filling. Generally speaking, people all over the world love hand-held foods that are savoury, satiating, tasty and easy-to-eat. At times, these little pastries can function as a mini-meal if paired with a side salad. In the case of the Samosa, since it’s a deep-fried indulgence we see it mostly served as an appetizer or snack, popular during the festive times of year, like Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights.

Every autumn, we celebrate the festival Diwali, India’s jubilant Festival of Lights practiced by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. As part of the tradition, people illuminate their homes with clay lamps called diyas to bring light into everyone’s lives during these darker days. Metaphorically speaking, this light symbolizes the victory of good over evil. As we celebrate Diwali today, a very auspicious day, this is the time of year our family makes and serves Samosas at home.

Several weeks back our customers Kate, from the East Coast requested a Samosa recipe using Arvinda’s Curry Masala, and others have also requested it for awhile now too. For those who have joined Arvinda’s Indian cooking classes over the years, you’ll recognize this recipe as we’ve shared this one many times over. Everyone (including the kids) have made this easy recipe with fantastic results over and over again.

There are many ways to make the pastry as there are different styles of Samosas (depending of the region of India), however you can choose to make this filling and pair it with any pastry of your choice really (using a pre-made pastry from the frozen section of the grocery store, or a homemade one of your choice).

Posting this has got me thinking we must offer our Samosa making workshop once again soon. Should anyone be interested in learning to make traditional Samosas from different regions of India, please do send us a message!

In the meantime, here’s Arvinda’s Basic Potato & Peas Samosa Filling.


ARVINDA’S BASIC POTATO & PEAS SAMOSA FILLING

Method of Preparation:

1) In a medium pot, heat oil on medium high heat and add whole cumin seeds. Fry until slightly browned. Add peas, ARVINDA’S CURRY MASALA (OR BOMBAY SHAKE GARLIC) and salt to taste. Stir for a minute or two.

2) Fold in cubed potatoes, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cooked.

3) Garnish with ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA and mix. Set aside to cool then fill into pastry of your choice!




Ingredients:
1 TBSP.
oil
½ TSP. cumin seeds (from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL SPICE KIT)
1 CUP peas
2 TBSP. ARVINDA’S CURRY MASALA OR
BOMBAY SHAKE GARLIC
1 ½ TSP. salt or salt to taste
4-5 large potatoes, peeled and finely cubed
½ TSP. ARVINDA’S GARAM MASALA

Wishing you lights and love on this Diwali Day!

Pumpkin Chai Spiced Mug Cake

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When in a pinch for a delicious, moist and quick dessert try a mug cake! It only takes a few of ingredients and can be ‘baked’ in literally one minute!

For a Thanksgiving themed mug cake, I used Arvinda’s Chai Masala and pureed pumpkin. The touch of turmeric in the batter lends a nice pumpkin-like hue to the cake.

To add a level of indulgence, consider adding a dollop of whip cream as a garnish! Happy Thanksgiving!


PUMPKIN CHAI SPICED MUG CAKE ~ vegan

Method of Preparation:

1) Place ingredients in a heat proof mug. Mix well.

2) Microwave on high heat for 1 minute or longer until cooked. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

Ingredients:

1/4 CUP unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 CUP pureed pumpkin

3 TBSP. almond milk (OR milk of choice)

2 TBSP. avocado oil (OR oil of choice)

2 TBSP. raw cane sugar OR coconut sugar

2 TBSP. raisins

3/4 TSP. ARVINDA’S CHAI MASALA

1/4 TSP. baking powder

1/4 TSP. pure vanilla extract

1/8 TSP. turmeric powder

pinch sea salt

Curried Grilled Peaches on Spinach Cabbage Salad with Herby Goat Cheese

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I love the heat and was lucky to be able to bask and indulge in the sultry days and nights from the hot summer that just left us. However on some of the most humid days, I would noticed myself asking for September. Now that it's here and the sweaters and jackets have already come out, I long for those hottest days once again!! :)

To bring back summer as we transition into fall, I'm making one of my favourite summer salads (just for a little longer!). We had a great crop of juicy Ontario peaches this year and with them I marinated them in Arvinda's Curry Masala, grilled them and put them on a salad. The juicy sweetness paired with the curry flavours is just perfect.

No salad dressing is required! There's enough flavour from the curried peaches that I don't bother tossing the spinach and cabbage in an oil and vinegar dressing but you certainly could.


CURRIED GRILLED PEACHES on SPINACH CABBAGE SALAD with HERBY GOAT CHEESE

Method of Preparation:

1) In a small bowl mix oil with ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA. With a pastry brush, coat peaches with mixture. Grill until caramelized.

2) Mix spinach and cabbage together and place on a platter. Garnish with grilled curried peaches, herby goat cheese and sunflower seeds.

Ingredients:

4 peaches, cut into quarters
1 TBSP. oil
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA
2 CUPS baby spinach
1/2 CUP red cabbage, shredded
2 TBSP. herby goat cheese
2 TBSP. sunflower seeds

Indian Style Kebabs (with vegan option!)

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To make Indian style kebabs, you will only need a couple of ingredients: ground meat (or veggie 'ground round'), onions, cilantro, sea salt to taste and spices. In this case we use Arvinda's Kebab Masala, an aromatic blend of spices including turmeric with some of chilies for heat. 

I followed the recipe below and made it with the veggie 'ground round' for the first time. I never tried that 'ground round' product before and was pleasantly surprised! It formed nicely into kebabs and took up the flavour of the spices so nicely. I didn't find it difficult to form into the kebabs on the skewers, so will definitely be making these again for vegan option.

Vegan Indian Style Kebabs made with veggie 'ground round' and spiced with Arvinda's Kebab Masala. Delicious!

Vegan Indian Style Kebabs made with veggie 'ground round' and spiced with Arvinda's Kebab Masala. Delicious!

Feel free to shape this mixture into burgers for a deliciously spiced Indian style Bombay Burger.


INDIAN STYLE KEBABS with VEGAN OPTION

Method of Preparation:

1) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to marinate.

2) Soak bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.

3) Thread mixture onto skewers and lay kebabs on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes or until cooked. Serve on bed of basmati rice drizzled with cucumber raita.

Option: Grill on barbeque.

Ingredients:

1 LB. ground meat OR veggie ground round
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1½ TBSP. ARVINDA’S KEBAB MASALA (use 2 TBSP. for hotter)
1¼ TSP. salt (or to taste)
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish
2 TBSP. oil, for basting
10-12 bamboo skewers

Tandoori Lime Olive Oil Fish

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During the summer months, Arvinda's Tandoori Masala always seems to be our favourite masala. I tend to add it to everything (pototoes, tofu, grilling veggies like sweet peppers, zucchini, portobellos and more!) for easy, light and delicious lunches and dinners on the days you want something quick to enjoy on the patio--and something to use for a BBQ.

Not too long ago I was in Olivo Fresco, a neighbourhood gourmet food shop that sells flavoured olive oils and balsamic vinegars in addition to other pantry staples (including a couple of Arvinda's masala varieties too). I was speaking to owner, Georgette at the store who was telling me about a recipe she made with salmon, marinated with Arvinda's Tandoori Masala and seared in Olivo Fresco's Persian Lime olive oil. It sounded like a 5-star meal and thought I should try it and share with others.


TANDOORI LIME OLIVE OIL FISH

Method of Preparation:

1) Marinate fish in olive oil (with lime) and ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA for 10-15 minutes.

2) Place fish in a skillet, add sea salt as needed and cook on medium-high heat until cooked and golden brown in colour, approximately 4-5 minutes.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

4 fish filets (any white fish)
3 TBSP. Olivo Fresco Persian Lime OR olive oil with 2 tsp. lime juice
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
sea salt, to taste
 

Surely this could taste equally great on a plant-based protein like tempeh or tofu, which I will try for sure! :)

Galette-Saucisse with a curry twist + Tandoori Spiced Seeds

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Game day foods! In the spirit of today's 2018 FIFA World Cup final I thought it would be fitting to prepare snacks that are culturally appropriate to the two remaining teams, of course with a sprinkle of some Indian spices for good measure (and for good flavour!). And around here, we're all about flavour.

I don't know too much about football, but what I do know is I'm very much into food! And on days like these, the most fun for me is to pick a favourite team, 'become a fan' and to jump-on-the-bandwagon if you will...albeit on the last day! A part of getting into the spirit is definitely the food. And everything always seems to come back to the food! :)

I was looking to see what foods are enjoyed at soccer games in different countries and came across this list of "What do Europe's football fans eat?" and discovered Galette-Saucisse for the first time. Galette-Saucisse is a common street food eaten in France, consisting of a pork sausage wrapped in a Breton galette, a warm or cold buckwheat crepe. There is cheese inside and it's served with mustard. It's a perfect hand-held food for a game.

I made my version with a vegan sausage and added Arvinda's Curry Powder to both my crepe batter and mixed it into the mustard, taking a subtle hint from the German tradition of currywurst. I added optional fillings for more flavour including red onion, green chili and cilantro. For a traditionalist, this may be a bit overboard but I tend to always opt for more flavour. Tasting this for the first time, I was impressed how delicious it was considering its simplicity.

I have to support the Croatian team too! :) I made a really quick snack of Tandoori Spiced Sunflower Seeds with Lime. Incredibly addictive and offering some good sustenance for a 90-minute game, I can see why this is a popular snack to eat at a soccer match in Croatia, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

These seeds are an amazing topper on any salad or delicious sprinkled on top of warm steamed vegetables, so keep that in mind too and consider making a double batch!

Now that the food is sorted out, cheers to both teams - and may the best one win!


GALETTE-SAUCISSE with a CURRY TWIST

Method of Preparation:

1) In a medium bowl whisk crepe ingredients together. Refrigerate for one hour.

2) Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high. Add butter (or oil) and 1/2 cup of batter. Swirl batter around skillet to create a round crepe with even thickness. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Continue with remaining batter.

3) Mix ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER into mustard.

4) To assemble, place sausage in crepe, top with cheese, red onion, green chili and cilantro, and drizzle with curried mustard. Roll and enjoy!

Yield = 12-14 crepes

Ingredients:

1 CUP buckwheat or soft whole wheat flour
1/4 CUP rice flour
2 CUP whole milk
2 eggs
1 TSP. salt
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER

6-8 (vegan) sausages, cooked
1 CUP grated cheese (of your choice)
1 small red onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 small green chili, finely chopped (optional)
1 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 CUP mustard
3/4 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER
 


TANDOORI SPICED SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Method of Preparation:

1) In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Blend in ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA.

2) Add sunflower seeds and gently fold in with spices. Garnish with a squeeze of lime.

Ingredients:

4 CUP sunflower seeds, slightly roasted
1 TBSP. oil
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
1 lime wedge

 

Bombay Shake Black Pepper Potato Chaat with Cucumber Lavender Raita

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This coming weekend, Arvinda's will be at the NEOB Lavender Festival, July 7 & 8 in beautiful Niagara-On-The-Lake which we're always excited about! So picturesque and beautiful, I find it surreal to be situated right on the lavender fields, surrounded by enchanted rows of lavender bushes with their sweet and calming aromas. I should also mention, the scenery makes for a endearing photo op too! :)

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Every year for the last few years, I've been invited to do an Indian cooking demonstration at the festival tent, cooking with Arvinda's masalas. In traditional Indian cooking, the art of creating a curry from scratch all lies in the use of the spices--when to add them in, how much quantity to use and knowing how all the flavours balance together. Similarly when cooking and baking with lavender, it's important not to overflavour the dish but rather offer a subtle hint of the taste to balance out with all the other ingredients. I certainly learnt this the hard way!

Since coming to the NEOB Lavender Festival a few years ago, I started cooking with lavender and pairing it in my Indian dishes and realized one too many drops of culinary lavender can potentially ruin the whole dish! But when in balance, it's beautiful and with one bite you feel as though you're tasting Provence.

Now you may think lavender paired with Indian spices is a little bit off beat. Yes, definitely unusual. But it's quite surprisingly refreshing, unexpected and delicious. The flavour of lavender actually works incredibly well in certain Indian recipes, if subtle and used delicately.

This year, I'm repeating the same appetizer-snack I made last year (Bombay Shake Black Pepper Potato Chick Pea Chaat with Cucumber Lavender Raita), only because we received a ton of emails post show, requesting the recipe. My sincere apologies to all who asked for the recipe, so here it is and I'll be demonstrating it again for anyone who missed it last year.

Chaat is an Indian snack food or common appetizer eaten in all parts of India. The word chaat, literally means 'to lick' and this fresh snack food is delicious, spicy and fresh. Lick-worthy too, might I add! :)

There are many ways to make Chaat, but typically there is a base of boiled potatoes and chick peas. For my recipe, I like to spice up the potatoes with Bombay Shake Black Pepper for a lot of flavour. Then I mix in boiled chick peas and garnish with red onion, cilantro and Sev, crunchy deep-fried lentil noodles, an Indian snack food. You can buy Sev from any grocery store that sells Indian food products. It adds a wonderful crunch and texture for every bite and I would say it's worthwhile to seek it out.

Finally garnish with Cucumber Lavender Raita, a cooling yogurt condiment. Different and deliciously good, I hope you will come to the NEOB Lavender Festival this weekend and come by the demo too on either Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there! :)


BOMBAY SHAKE BLACK PEPPER POTATO CHAAT with CUCUMBER LAVENDER RAITA

Method of Preparation:

1) In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add BOMBAY SHAKE BLACK PEPPER and blend with oil. Add parboiled potatoes and gently fold to coat well. Pan-fry until potatoes are cooked and crispy. Fold in chick peas and add salt to taste. Set aside to cool.

2) In a medium bowl mix together all ingredients for raita.

3) To serve, add potato chick pea mixture to a small bowl or plate. Garnish with sev, red onion and cilantro. Drizzle on Cucumber Lavender Raita. Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

2-3 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and parboiled
2 TSP. oil
2 TSP. BOMBAY SHAKE BLACK PEPPER
1 CUP chick peas, cooked
sea salt, to taste
1/4 CUP Sev, to garnish
1/4 CUP red onion, finely chopped, to garnish
1/4 CUP cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish

CUCUMBER LAVENDER RAITA
1/2 CUP thick plain yogurt
1/2 CUP English cucumber, grated
1/2 TSP. ARVINDA'S MADRAS MASALA
1
drop NEOB culinary lavender
sea salt, to taste

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Tandoori Mapled Almonds

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Earlier this week as we "officially" transitioned into summer, I was thinking about satiating and healthy snacks to pack for long drives and day trips, something to stash in my purse for when I'm out and about or a nice bite to bring out for a gourmet picnic spread.

Always thinking about flavour, I selected Arvinda's Tandoori Masala because it pairs nicely with maple syrup. Whether on vegetables, tofu, paneer or salmon, Arvinda's Tandoori Masala makes a wonderful glazy marinade when mixed with maple syrup. And with Canada Day weekend upon us I'm definitely thinking 'everything maple'! 

You can also set these out in a small bowls when entertaining as a side nibbler alongside drinks on the patio. They go terribly well with a cold drink, maybe because they hit the notes of sweet, spicy and salty all in one bite. I suggest making one batch of cashews and one batch of almonds, just to mix up the textures.

I made a triple batch of these Tandoori Mapled Almonds. Store in an airtight container.  


TANDOORI MAPLED ALMONDS

Method of Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 250F.

2) In a heavy bottom skillet, heat almonds on medium heat for a few minutes until gently toasted. Remove and set aside.

2) In the same skillet add pure maple syrup and blend in ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA. Fold in almonds and sprinkle on tamari. Mix. 

3) Place coated almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and cool before serving.

Ingredients:

1 CUP raw almonds (or raw cashews)
2 TBSP. pure maple syrup
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
1/2 TSP.
tamari

Happy Canada Day!