Tuesday 17 May 2016

Achari Khichdi (Spicy Rice porridge with Lentils)

Khichdi is an Indian dish that is made from Short grain rice and lentils. Its like a savoury rice and lentil porridge, and is very popular in all Indian regions although the preparation methods vary from region to region. This one pot meal is traditionally served as a comfort food, it is considered a light and nutritious dish, and is especially popular amongst those who follow an ayurvedic diet. It is also one of the first meals that is given to a baby.
Khichdi can be prepared in many ways. In Gujarat it is cooked from a mixture of short grain rice (the glutinous variety) with Moong dhal with husk cooked with salt and turmeric. It is usually served with a dollop of ghee(clarified butter). Sometimes it is served mixed with kadhi a thin sauce made from yoghurt, gram flour, curry leaves, cumin, and mustard seeds and eaten as an evening meal.
Alternatively to serve Khichdi as a more flavoursome one pot meal, I cook it with some seasonal vegetables and spice it up with Achar masala (pickle spice.) All it then needs to complete the meal is to serve it with a glass of  fresh salted jeera lassi known as Chaas and a bowl of cooling natural yoghurt. This is my most favorite comfort food.

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Achari Khichdi
A delicious rice and lentil spicy hotpot with seasonal vegetables.

  • 1 cup Short Grain Rice (I use patna make)
  • 1/2 cup Moong Dhal with Husk
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 small Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 small Carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup Dutch Aubergine, diced
  • 1 Medium Potato, diced
  • 1 Small Courgette, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Achar Masala (Pickle spice)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Red dried chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 4 cups Water
1. Mix together the rice and lentils and wash them in cold water to remove dust and starch. Once washed soak the rice and lentils in more clean water for 1 hour.2. In a large deep saucepan, add the oil and when it is hot add the red dried chilli and the mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle.3. Add the onions and saute them until translucent and softened.4. Add the aubergine, carrots, courgettes and potatoes and mix with the rice. Add the salt, turmeric, achar masala and mix gently into the rice and vegetables.4. Add 4 cups water and bring the mixture to boil, once mixture has reached boiling stage, reduce heat and cook the khichdi on a low simmer for about 35-40 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the mixture is  mushy. It needs to be well cooked.6. Once the khichdi is cooked remove from heat and give it a final stir. 7. Spoon the Khichdi in to serving bowls and serve with cold salted jeera lassi and a bowl of cooling natural yoghurt.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4

NB-The Khichdi works best with short grain rice as it is more glutinous, I used Patna brand that I buy from my local Asian supermarket. Khichdi is not like a normal rice dish its more like a rice porridge therefore it should be fairly sloppy in texture.With regards to the pickle spice you can either make it from my Achar masala recipe here or use shop bought . It is available in most Asian supermarkets or online from Amazon

Monday 16 May 2016

Green Lentil Salad ~National Vegetarian Week 2016

This week is the start of National Vegetarian week which runs from 16-22 May. Its the perfect time to discover some delicious vegetarian dishes and make the change by going meat free for one week . Being vegetarian is not boring in fact there are so many different recipes in a variety of cuisines, made from amazing ingredients that you could actually prepare and enjoy a new vegetarian recipe everyday of the week for a year without having to eat the same dish twice.

If you are up for the challenge, on this blog you will find lots of my favorite recipes in a variety of cuisines. Do check out the recipe index for recipe ideas.To kick start vegetarian week I made this simple Green Lentil salad for my lunch. It's protein packed and really delicious.

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Green Lentil Salad
A lovely protein packed salad that is colourful and refreshing.
  • 120 g Precooked Green Lentils
  • 1 Small Carrot peeled and julienned
  • 1/4 of each colour Red, Green, Yellow pepper finely diced
  • 4 basil leaves torn
  • 4 Spring onions finely chopped white and green parts
  • 4 of each colour Red, Yellow and Orange baby tomatoes quartered
  • 6 leaves Baby Gem lettuce washed and dried.
  • 1 Red chilli finely sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Honey
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1. Put the lentils, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions, basil leaves, peppers and red chilli in a bowl and toss together.2. In a jar with a lid add the lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Put the lid on the jar and shake the jar to mix all the dressing ingredients.3. Add the dressing to the ingredients in the bowl and toss together.4.On a plate arrange the gem lettuce leaves around it. Spoon the lentil salad on top.
Prep time: Cook time: None Total time: Yield: Serves 2

Thursday 5 May 2016

Blueberry, Peach and Apple Smoothie Bowl

We all know that smoothies are the latest craze at the moment. There are hundreds of combinations of ingredients that you can get in a smoothie.There are smoothie bars popping up in malls, shopping centres, railway stations all encouraging people to drink them. Now the smoothie craze has taken another turn as smoothies are served as smoothie bowls.This is the latest trend and it even made headlines in the Telegraph last year as an upcoming food trend.

A smoothie bowl is basically a thicker version of a smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings on them such as fruits, granola, seeds etc. They are often thickened with protein powders, nuts, seeds, frozen fruit and vegetables. Unlike the classic smoothie that is generally served  in a bottle or glass, the smoothie bowl is a work of art. It is served in a bowl and is dressed very artfully with various toppings and eaten like soup with a spoon. Those of you that are instagram fans will be mesmerised at the beautiful art work of these smoothie bowls.

Although my smoothie bowl is not an art masterpiece, it certainly is delicious and healthy and I am really liking this idea and hope to get my creative juices in action for my next attempt.

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Blueberry, Peach and Apple Smoothie Bowl
Delicious combination of fruit smoothie garnished with granola, chia seeds and fresh blueberries.
  • 1/2 cup Blue berries
  • 1 Apple cored and diced
  • 1 Peach stoned and diced
  • 1 tablespoon (or to taste) Honey
  • 1 cup Ice cubes

    For Garnishing:
  • 12 Blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons Mixed fruit Granola(or anyof choice)
  • 1 teaspoon Chia seeds
1. Add the blueberries, peaches and apple to the Optimum 9400 blender and blend for 30 seconds.2. Add the ice cubes and honey and blend again until the mixture is totally smooth, since this is a smoothie bowl I kept the mixture quite thick, however you could add coconut water or plain water to get the consistency you like.3. Spoon the mixture into two bowls and garnish with blueberries, granola and chia seeds.
Prep time: Cook time:None Total time: Yield: 2 servings

NB You can use any blender that is capable of crushing ice, however I used my Optimum 9400 which is a powerful blender that grinds, pulses, chops, grates, cooks and makes icecreams at a flick of a switch. You can read a review about my Froothie Optimum 9400 here.
At the moment  the Optimum 9400 is available at a special offer introductory price of £339 which includes a 30 day trial so that you can return it back postage free if you are not totally satisfied with it. I love options like this because I feel that if I do invest in a gadget I want peace of mind that I can be100 percent happy with it.Also being a brand ambassador for Froothie any one purchasing through this post can you can get  Extra 2 years warranty to get this use the code "Special Ambassador Offer" on purchase

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Tidbits in my Pantry ~Breakfast

I love receiving parcels of new products that drop through my post from time to time. It gives me a chance to discover  and sample new upcoming products on the market.

This month I was fortunate to try two great new breakfast products. The first was a range of granola by Cereal Lovers  have created a range of simply fruit granolas in 4 amazing flavours; apple, banana & chocolate, blackcurrant & apple and orange. Our favorite one is the apple and blackcurrant one.

The granolas are high in fibre, antioxidant, low in saturated fats, very low in gluten and are perfect for diabetics and are totally suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

We also tried the Great little grains Sown and Grown Granola. This range is cereals made from British Grain only. In the range there are three flavours apple and blackcurrant, nut and seed and three grain granola.

The three muesli flavours mixed berry and nut, apple and raspberry and four grain muesli. All six cereals are suitable for vegetarians and high in fibre too.

We only tried the  Apple and blackcurrant flavour  which was very nice.

Breakfast is an important meal of the day and with these delicious and healthy granolas it will be easy to enjoy breakfast.

Monday 2 May 2016

Kheer~Indian Rice pudding with Strawberry Sauce.

Kheer is a very traditional Indian rice pudding that is very popular in the Gujarati community of India. This dessert is rich and creamy and traditionally  flavoured with cardamom, nutmeg , saffron and garnished with almonds. I have given this tradition Indian dessert a little western touch by serving it with a topping of homemade strawberry sauce.The Indian spices with the sweetness from the strawberry sauce makes this dessert simply delectable.

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Kheer ~Indian rice pudding with Strawberry Sauce
Traditional Indian rice pudding served with a delicious strawberry sauce.
  • 2 cups Full cream Milk
  • 1/2 cup Pudding rice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
  • 1 tablespoon Finely sliced almonds
  • For garnishing few mint leaves and fresh strawberries 
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry sauce
1. In a heavy bottomed pan add the milk and bring it to boil, reduce heat and simmer the milk for 15 minutes until it's reduced and thickened , Keep stirring the milk to stop it catching at the bottom.
2. Wash the rice and soak for 15 minutes, after soaking cook the rice in 2 cups water, this should take approx 15 minutes , the ratio of water  to rice is more as the idea is to overcook the rice so it goes a little mushy.Once the rice is cooked it should have absorbed most of the water, just break the grains down during the back of the spoon.
3.Add the cooked rice to the milk, together with the sugar. Simmer the kheer on a low temperature for another 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Keep stirring the mixture constantly.
4. Add the cardamom and nutmeg powder and the almonds and stir it in.
5. Remove the kheer from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. The kheer will thicken as it cools.
6. Spoon the kheer into tall serving glasses filling them 3/4 full
7.Spoon strawberry sauce on top of the kheer and garnish with mint leaves and fresh strawberries.
8. Chill before serving.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 mini servings

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