Tandoori Spiced Cauliflower "Steaks" with Cashews & Creamy Makhani Sauce

I often make Makhani Paneer, a vegetarian version of the popular dish Butter Chicken which tends to be a 'treat' reserved for a special meal.

I realized the Creamy Makhani Sauce could be drizzled on any steamed or roasted vegetables for a decadently, delicious veggie main that's both filling and satisfying because of all the fibre content vegetables possess. 

For this recipe, I cut the cauliflower into "steaks" or thick slices and rubbed on Arvinda's Tandoori Masala with olive oil. It's optional, but you can add a squirt of lemon on the cauliflower before baking it. 

Add for the garnish, coarsely chopped cashews add a nice crunch and texture, elevating this main to a five star level!


TANDOORI SPICED CAULIFLOWER "STEAKS" with CASHEWS & CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE

Method of Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Mix olive oil with ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA. Brush onto cauliflower on both sides and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Flip over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven to slightly cool.

2) CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE: Heat oil on medium-high heat. Stir in crushed tomatoes and sift in chick pea flour. Whisk to create a smooth paste. Add ARVINDA'S BUTTER CHICKEN MASALA, sea salt and sugar. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.

3) Stir in cream and thin out with water to desired consistency (if required).

4) Arrange cauliflower on plate and drizzle on Creamy Makhani Sauce. Garnish with cilantro and cashews.

Ingredients:
1 cauliflower head, trimmed and cut into "steaks" (slices)
2 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
sea salt, to garnish
1 TBSP. cilantro, to garnish
2 TBSP. raw cashews, coarsely chopped

CREAMY MAKHANI SAUCE:
1 TBSP. oil
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes
2 TBSP. chick pea flour
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S BUTTER CHICKEN MASALA        
½ TSP. sea salt
1 TSP. sugar
¼ CUP half-and-half cream
½ CUP water (optional)

Kale Onion Pakoras (gluten-free & vegan)

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I'm not quite sure why one would buy frozen Pakoras when you can easily make them in less than 20 minutes! You heard me right. 20 minutes (or less!).

The ingredients are simple and you may already have them in your pantry. All that's required is a mixing bowl, then add the dry ingredients, kale and onion and a bit of water to create a thick batter, then shallow deep-fry...and voila, you have steamy hot Pakoras ready to be eaten, hot on the spot!

This is the only way to eat them in my opinion. Hot. Fresh. And right out of the fryer!

If you're looking for something to pair with your beer this St. Paddy's Day, this is your shortcut to something mouthwatering, homemade and loaded with flavour. And the bonus is that it's quite beautifully green too!


KALE ONION PAKORAS

Method of Preparation:

1) In a mixing bowl add chick pea flour, ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA, sea salt, fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT and baking soda. Whisk together to get rid of any lumps.

2) Add water to create a smooth batter. Mix in onion, kale and cilantro (optional). 

3) Line a plate with paper towel and set aside. Heat 1 cup of oil for frying in a small wok or deep frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry pakoras a few at a time for a few minutes, turning to cook evenly until golden brown in colour. Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

Yield = 12-14 medium sized pakoras.

Ingredients:
1 CUP chick pea flour, sifted
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA
½ TSP. sea salt
¼ TSP. fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S  ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT
¼ TSP. baking soda
¼ CUP water, add extra 1 TBSP. if necessary
1 CUP green kale, finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

 

 

 


These Kale Onion Pakoras also serve well with a cup of Masala Chai. Enjoy and wishing you much luck on this St. Patrick's Day! :)

Tandoori Spiced Taro Root "Fries"

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Recently, I've been hooked on taro root. Upon most of my visits to the Asian supermarket, the humble root always seems to make it into my shopping basket. Maybe that's because there's always such a large display in the produce section being a conspicuous root itself -- and large in size and hard to miss, it raises a certain level of curiosity. It's a 'curious' vegetable one could say!

As I was rummaging through the taro root pile in the Asian store last week, a curious woman asked me why I was buying it (meaning, what was I planning on doing with it!). She didn't know what it was or how to cook with it, so I explained I was making taro 'fries", cooking it just like a potato.

I actually didn't realize taro root is native to India (and parts of Southeast Asia), but recall seeing it in the markets in South India, as pictured below. Taro has a beautiful nutty flavour, a soft, creamy texture and takes in flavour quite nicely. I selected Arvinda's Tandoori Masala to add a bite of heat and fantastic spice flavour.

I discovered the taro root is high in fiber, lowers blood sugar levels and is high in vitamin C. Prepare the taro root by peeling it, chopping it and boiling it - just like a potato! Easy.

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TANDOORI SPICED TARO ROOT "FRIES"

Ingredients:
1 LB. taro root, cooked and julienned
1-2 TBSP. oil
1 TSBP. ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish
sea salt, to garnish

 

Method of Preparation:

1) Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add ARVINDA'S TANDOORI MASALA and blend well.

2) Add cooked taro "fries", coat well and cook for a few minutes until crispy.

3) Garnish with cilantro and sea salt.

Curried Coconut Cashew Popcorn

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I was flipping through the channels earlier this week and caught a segment of MasterChef Canada winner Chef Mary Berg cooking up some DIY Oscar party popcorn recipes and stopped in my tracks when I heard the word curry

The recipe that caught my attention was a Curried Cashew Popcorn which is a clever tropical-ish sweet and salty popcorn recipe that had me saying, 'I HAVE to make this!' And so I did.

This recipe is a little different than our Indian Spiced Popcorn recipe which has a bit more heat and no sweetness.

So easy to make, this is a popcorn flavour for the one who likes a depth of flavour, nuttiness and texture from the cashews and the salty-sweet combo. Best of all, there's a load of health beneficial spices especially from the turmeric found in the curry powder! Isn't that a bonus?!

I slightly changed the recipe as I added some of Arvinda's Garam Masala for some extra aromatic spices, so if that's available in your pantry you can add that in. I also added more Arvinda's Curry Powder to amp up the flavour. And lastly, I added a bit of coconut for some extra texture and flavour and used coconut oil as my choice of fat.

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CURRIED COCONUT CASHEW POPCORN

Recipe adapted from (Marilyn Dennis Show): Chef Mary Berg

Method of Preparation:

1) In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil on medium-low heat. Stir in honey until smooth.

2) Place popcorn in a large bowl. Pour over coconut oil and honey mixture. Toss well.

3) Sprinkle in ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER, sea salt, ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA and cashews. Toss well and garnish with coconut. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/3 CUP popcorn kernals, popped
2 TBSP. coconut oil
1 TBSP. honey
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER
1/2 TSP. sea salt
1/4 TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA (optional)
1/2 CUP cashew halves, gently toasted
1/8 CUP unsweetened shredded coconut, to garnish

Enjoy the 2018 Oscars. My money's on Dunkirk! ;)

Cauliflower & Mixed Vegetable Biryani ~ Layered Basmati Rice with Saffron

There are many ways to make a Biryani, a layered basmati rice dish scented with whole spices like cardamom, cloves and bay leaves, laced with saffron, sprinkled with nuts, cilantro and a generous amount of garam masala.

This week one of our customers, Jay was looking for a recipe to prepare Biryani, the vegetarian way which actually reminded me I haven't made Biryani in a very long time. I always prepare my Biryanis vegetarian, and this was a great chance for me to make it and post the recipe -- especially since my mouth was kinda watering while reading the request!

This recipe makes a modest sized portion, serving 4-6 people (opposed to 8-10 people like the other Biryani recipes I have on file). It's a nice recipe to make on the weekend and can be enjoyed for a couple of extra meals during the week. Any curry will go nicely with it and serve it with plain yogurt on the side.

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As for the veggies, I used a combination of carrots, mushrooms, green beans and yes, cauliflower all chopped up quite finely and nicely. I love how the cauliflower soaks in the flavours of the Biryani Masala lending the vegetable mixture a bit of density.

I must say a good rule of thumb for any Biryani preparation is to select and choose a top quality basmati rice, which will take the dish 'over-the-top'!


CAULIFLOWER & MIXED VEGETABLE BIRYANI

Method of Preparation:

1) VEGETABLES: In a skillet, fry onions in 2 tsp. of ghee on medium heat until slightly brown. Mix in crushed tomatoes and ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA and salt. Add mixed vegetables, nuts and 1/4 tsp. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes. Set aside. 

2) In a small bowl add 2 tbsp. of water with saffron. Set aside to soak.

3) RICE: Wash and rinse rice in a couple of changes of water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain. 

4) In a large pot, add soaked rice, ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES, salt and cover with plenty of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil until rice is nearly cooked (al dente). Strain rice.

5) In a skillet, fry sliced onion in 1 tsp. of ghee until slightly cooked. Set aside.

6) ASSEMBLY: Grease a medium sized casserole dish with ghee or oil. Spread half the rice evenly on bottom of dish. Sprinkle in half of soaked saffron (with water). Sprinkle with half the amount of cilantro. Add all cooked vegetable mixture and spread out. Add remaining cooked rice, sprinkle with remaining saffron (in water). Top with sliced onions.

7) Cover with foil and bake in a 350F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro and sprinkle of ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA.

Ingredients:
1 CUP mixed vegetables, finely chopped (cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes, canned
1 TBSP. ghee
1½ TSP. ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA
2 TBSP. cashews or pistachio nuts, halved
¼ TSP. salt
½ TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA
¼ TSP. saffron, soaked in water
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced, to garnish

Rice:
1 CUP premium basmati rice
2 EACH cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise & peppercorns from ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES
½ TSP. salt or salt to taste
1 TSP. ghee
¼ CUP cilantro, chopped to garnish
 

Garlicky! Curried Carrot & Garlic Soup

Once I made this Curried Carrot & Garlic Soup three times in one week. I must have been addicted to it at the time. Although these days I'm not making it that often, I still make it at least once per month (it's that good!).

The key to getting the flavour right for this soup, is to use a locally grown garlic that is fresh and full of flavour. I use fresh Ontario garlic bulbs, "Music" variety in particular which is mild and sweet.

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CURRIED CARROT & GARLIC SOUP

Method of Preparation:

1) Boil carrots with water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook until carrots are tender. Using a hand blender, purée until smooth.

2) In a pot, gently heat olive oil and fry chopped garlic until it is fragrant. Add turmeric or ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER. Stir for a minute on medium heat. Mix in pureed carrots. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Mix in parsley. Serve in soup bowls.

Ingredients:
4-5 large carrots, peeled, washed and cut into small pieces
4 CUPS water
1/2 TSP. salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 TBSP. olive oil
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY POWDER
1 TSP. parsley, chopped or parsley flakes
salt to taste

10-Minute Curry (from your pantry!)

I make this 10-minute Channa Masala when I need dinner on the table in a hurry. Believe me, this is the EASIEST CURRY you can make! All ingredients are basic and should be in your pantry.

I hope this recipe can find its way into your repertoire of healthy and quick dinners!


10-MINUTE CHANNA MASALA

I don't typically use beans from a can, so if you prefer using dried beans my suggestion is to boil a huge batch and freeze some for future use. I find the texture is a bit different, but it saves time when you’re in a pinch. Try using the leftovers stuffed into a pita pocket for a quick lunch.

Method of Preparation:

1) Rinse chickpeas and drain. Set aside. In a medium-sized pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES. Fry for one minute taking care not to burn.

2) Add ground tomatoes and cook for one minute. Stir in ARVINDA'S MADRAS MASALA to make a paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in cooked chickpeas and add water to make a thick sauce. Add sugar and salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

3) Serve in a serving dish and garnish with ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice or flatbread and salad to make a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Ingredients:
2 CUPS chick peas, canned
1 TBSP. oil
2 EACH whole spices from ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES 
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes, canned (unsalted)
1 ½ TBSP. ARVINDA'S MADRAS MASALA
1 CUP water
1 TSP. sugar
½ TSP. salt, or to taste
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish
½ TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA, to garnish

Routine change: Chai Spiced Breakfast Quinoa

It's too often we easily slip into routines. Eat the same thing everyday without thinking, or do the same thing day-in-day-out just like being on a treadmill.

Mine is oatmeal for breakfast everyday. For many years Monday through Sunday I have the same morning oatmeal ritual, more or less, give or take.

Earlier this week I ran out of my usual stock of organic oats and my morning was just not the same. Opening the cupboard to find quinoa I followed my same recipe and made a breakfast quinoa.

How refreshing it was to have a change! Realizing I can add about 6g of protein to breakfast for 1/4 cup of quinoa (almost equivalent to that of an egg), that's something I’m going to do more often!

Here’s the recipe…

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CHAI SPICED BREAKFAST QUINOA

Method of Preparation:

1) Rinse quinoa and soak in a bowl for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse again until water runs clear.

2) In a pot, add water and soaked quinoa and gently boil on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients (except Arvinda’s Chai Masala).

3) Put lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA, fluff with a fork and enjoy. Serves 1.

Ingredients:
1/4 CUP quinoa
1 1/2 CUP water
2 TBSP. raisins or cranberries
1 TBSP. sesame seeds or sunflower seeds
1 TBSP. flax seeds, ground)
2 pieces crystallized ginger, chopped
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
pinch turmeric powder

Turmeric Kale Protein Smoothie (CHAI FLAVOURED!)

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The benefits of turmeric are endless–anti-inflammatory, reduces swelling, aids in digestion, purifies the blood, relieves a cough…I could keep going! But sometimes I have to remember there is more to life than just turmeric! Eating a rainbow of foods and flavours is a good approach to get a range of vitamins, minerals and health benefits from the foods we eat.

So with this recipe, Turmeric Kale Protein Smoothie it has it all! A rainbow of colours and flavours, everything from bananas to chai spices, cocoa nibs to coconut...and of course, turmeric! :) A whole meal-in-one, it's perfect for a post-workout recovery.

Here’s what the TURMERIC KALE PROTEIN SMOOTHIE contains:

  • avocado – a superfood and healthy fat, avocados contain antioxidants that protect against eye disease, lowers cholesterol and makes you feel satiated. (1/2 ripe avocado)
  • banana – high in potassium, bananas strengthen bones and reduce muscle cramping. (1/2 banana; use whole banana for added sweetness)
  • berries – a superantioxidant that helps reduce belly fat. (1/2 cup)
  • raw cocoa nibs  – contains flavonoids lowers blood pressure levels, reduces cholesterol and improves blood circulation. (2 tsp.)
  • coconut oil – a healthy saturated fat, it helps regulate blood sugar levels. (1 tbsp.)
  • flax seeds, ground – fibre rich, flax is a vegetarian source of Omega-3s and boosts immunity. (2 tsp.)
  • kale – high in Vitamins A and C, fibre rich, antioxidant and anti- inflammatory. (1 cup)
  • protein powder (vegan) – gives you 20g of protein per serving…wow! (2 tbsp. or 30g)
  • turmeric – superspice, need I say more! (1/2 tsp.)
  • Arvinda’s Chai Masala – this is my signature addition to the smoothie! Contains healing spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper. I add a lot, about 1 tsp. to make this smoothie taste good. (1 tsp.)
  • water– for hydration. (add enough to get the desired consistency)

Cheers to good health!