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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Simple Lunch Recipes

Hey, Im back with some more recipes to share with you! :-) Seriously, I meant to post this 2 months ago during the time I was in India, but that just didnt happen, so here it is.

March in India is the time of year where the weather begins to get hot, gradually building to the Summer heat which is intolerable to all except seasoned residents. Past midday you want to be indoors under the fan or in
the shade with a glass of cool refreshing lime water - I live on it these days. :-)

People here typically have a rest period -- something like siesta -- between noon and 4pm, because the heat just saps energy if you walk around during that time of day. If you go barefoot at this time the sandy ground -- and God forbid the tarmac road -- will burn your feet! Since I don't have much of an appetite in the heat I keep my personal cooking simple and light. So here are a few of my lunch recipes which can be mixed and matched. The portions below generally serve 2:

Lime Water

Juice from 1 medium lime
2 glasses chilled water

Mix and quench that thirst! :-) I like it straight as it is, but I you could also add some sweetner if you prefer.

Salty Lassi - Yoghurt drink

1 cup plain yoghurt
1 cup chilled water
pinch of black pepper
pinch of black salt
pinch of rock salt or real sea salt (not iodised)
pinch of dry roasted cumin powder(cumin seeds dry roasted and ground fine)

Blend everything together and pour into a glass to serve. It may seem counter intuitive to drink something salty, but this mildly salty drink actually does quench thirst and works to replenish trace minerals and salts which are lost from our bodies in hot weather.
*You can go ahead add some ice cubes if you fancy.

Cucumber Raita

2 small cucumbers washed, peeled and grated (Indian cucumbers are 1/4 the
size of western ones)
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 tsp rock salt - or to taste
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix everything evenly and its ready to serve.

Steamed Subji

2 Carrots - washed, peeled and sliced into short sticks
2 Potatos - washed, peeled and cubed
2 handfuls of fresh green french beans - washed, head 'n' tailed and cut in 1/2
1/2 handful green olives cut or broken into chunky pieces
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp rock salt
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp asafoetida
juice from 1/2 small lime
1-2 tbsp butter or olive oil
fresh cilantro leaves washed and chopped small(optional)

Steam all the vegetables til tender. Place in a mixing bowl. Add butter and let it melt or otherwise just add the Olive oil. Then add all seasonings. Pour on the lime juice and mix everything gently so its evenly coated.
Thank the Lord for what He has kindly provided and have a happy meal! :-D

Here is my 'lazy lady bread 'n' tomato' recipe which works with the above recipes, or as a lunch snack on its own! :-)

Zuchini Tomato Stir-fry on Toasted Bread

3-4 firm ripe tomatos cut into thick slices
I small zuchini washed, peeled and cut into medium slices
4 slices home made bread - cut into chunky slices
Butter as needed
1/2 tsp asafoetida
pinch of black pepper
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger root grated fine (optional)

Heat a pan and melt butter - enough to generously coat the pan - on low heat. Add the seasonings and brown for a few seconds. (If you use cumin add that first, then ginger and add the other seasonings a few seconds later). Add the zuchini and tomato slices, and stir fry - when a little softened and browned turn over. Cover with a lid for a few minutes to cook. (Add a tbsp of water if required to prevent burning). When the zuchini slices are tender and lightly browned remove from heat.

Heat another pan on med low heat, coat generously with butter and place the bread slices in.Turn when lightly browned. Add a dab of butter on top of each slice to soften. Remove from heat when ready.

Place the zuchini tomato stir-fry onto the bread slices and its ready to serve.

(The zuchini can also be omitted, it still tastes great just with tomatos, but adjust the seasoning - simply add a little less of everything if you choose this option. And if the tomatos are very acidic then add a pinch of sugar).   

Instead of the cucumber salad you may opt for a Red Beet salad which is also delicious, it simply takes a little more time if you opt for the cooked beet salad - about 1/2 hr - 40  mins. See below.

Red Beet Salad #1

2 big red beets, washed, root and top removed
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp rock salt
pinch of sugar
pinch black pepper(optional)
Some fresh cilanto, washed and chopped roughly

Cook the beets til they are tender. Strain from water and add into a bowl of cold water. When cool enough to handle remove the peel - it will come off easily in your hands if the beets are properly cooked. Grate the beets on the big grater holes. In a bowl mix beets with yoghurt and salt, pepper and cilatro. Serve room temperature.

Red Beet Salad #2

2 big red beets, washed, root and top removed
juice from 1 lime/ or from 1/2 a small lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Follow same proceedure for cooked beets as above. Instead of grating, slice into medium thin slices. In a bowl mix beet slices, lime juice and salt. Serve as is or chill in fridge before serving. This salad is so simple, refreshing and tasty!

(Lemon/lime juice acts as a preservative so you may keep it for 1-2 days in the

Red Beet Salad #3 (uncooked)

2 red beets, washed, peeled and grated fine
juice from 1-2 limes
1 tbsp extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of sugar

Mix all ingredients and its ready!
*You may also add a grated carrot to this recipe for variation.

Potato Salad # 1

4 potatos washed, peeled and cubed
2 cups fresh plain yoghurt
2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp powdered sugar
pinch of asafoetida

Steam Potatos til tender and set aside to cool.
Mix yoghurt with all seasoning and pour over the potatos, mixing evenly but gently to avoid breaking the potatos. Put in fridge a few hours. Serve chilled. Yummy yum!

Additional: You may add 1 cup grated fresh coconut for great flavor and nutrition (of course thats if you are in India).

Potato Salad #2

4 potatos washed, peeled and cubed
2 cups coconut cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
fresh mixed herbs e.g. basil, mint, nastursium - chopped coarsely
2 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
a few black olives sliced into rings
1/4 cup cranberries - soaked til soft and drained

Steam Potatos til tender and set aside to cool.
Blend together coconut cream with the remaining ingredients except the herbs and seeds.
Place potatos into a mixing bowl, pour over the coconut cream sauce and add the herbs, olives, cranberries and sunflower seeds. Mix gently to avoid breaking the potatos. Leave in fridge a few hours. Serve chilled. De-li-ci-ous!

Green Bean Salad

3 handfuls of fresh green french beans, washed, head 'n' tailed
and halved
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
Juice from one lime
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
pinch sugar
1/4 cup coarsely crushed walnuts (optional)

Steam beans til tender. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

Steamed Veggies

Fresh veggies - some of my favorites are: green peas, beans, carrots, brocoli, squash
Butter or olive oil
Black pepper
Juice from a fresh lime
Fresh cilantro washed and chopped

Wash and prep veggies. Steam til tender.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix gently til evenly coated in the seasonings. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Indian - Irish Mashed Potatos

4 potatos washed, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 small green chilli chopped fine
or otherwise 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp rock salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves washed and chopped
fresh lime/lemon juice to taste

Cook potato's til soft. Drain excess water and set aside. Heat coconut oil.
Add the cumin seeds and ginger and fry a few seconds. Then add asafoetida and fry about 3 seconds. Remove from heat. Mash potato's with a little of the cooking water.Add in the spice chaunce,salt, pepper, cilantro and mix well. sprinkle a little lime juice on the potato when you serve it. Serve hot with some steamed veggies and a salad.

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