Divine Foods Living

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Archive for the category “Side Dish”

Fresh Lemon Vegetable Quiche (Eggless Quiche) Vegan Quiche

eggless quicheWelcome 2013!!! I remember how I was getting excited for 2012 as it would be the growing year for my son. These are the happenings that every parent dreams their baby sitting up, walking, their 1st words… A lot had happened this year, I feel blessed to have new wonderful additions in the family, the new entrants are Neel and Neh and Vid’s little cousin. I’m just as excited for 2013 as I was for this past year. I really am looking forward to a new year, new milestones, and new beginnings 🙂

Quiche (pronounced as keesh) is a classic French dish, has a savory crust and filling made from vegetables and cheese. I learnt the method of making Quiche from a friend Cheryl, our next-door neighbor friend, when we were in Singapore. She was a consultant in a local yoga retreat center. I still remember the time and good talks we had together. In her words, “Practice of feeding other is like practicing yoga outside ourselves. When we serve, we share a generous spirit and a sense of well being as a nourishment, which elevates the mind and feed the body and spirit.”

She used to tell me a lot about French cultures and cuisines. Being a vegetarian, I thought of a creative idea to recreate the Quiche with eggless version while still maintaining the great flavors. With variations on stuffing, I included healthy fats, vegetables, herbs and lemon. At first it looks complicated to make but with a little bit of preparation and planning, its quite convenient to make and pretty adaptable too.

eggless quiche

With all the good fats like olive oil, cottage cheese and cashew cream, which is known for its heart-healthy fats, rich in protein, iron, magnesium; whole grain flour and healthy vegetables and herbs make it a wholesome brunch or a great meal suitable for kids as well. Vitamin C from lemon enhance the absorption of minerals.

The citrus scented filling and crust makes the dish sing with flavor. The mellow flavor of cashews and the sauteed vegs. in the filling imparts its own characters. Feel free to add your favorite veggies or herbs to this recipe.

The crust comes together in mins. and maintains its crispiness even if the filling is on the wet side and I am sure this would work for savory or sweet crusts for tarts and pies as well with no herbs and replacing salt with 2 tbsp sugar and probably olive oil with butter.

eggless quiche

Recipe :- For one 8in. or 9in. tart/pie pan or three 6in. individual tart/pie pans. For Vegan version, substitute cottage cheese with Tofu or just skip cottage cheese and double the quantity of cashew, it tastes equally good.
Ingredients:-

For Crust :-
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups, 250 gm
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Olive oil – 1/4 cup, 60ml
Water, cold – 1/2 cup, 120ml
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Dried Herbs (I used Oregano)  – 1 tsp

For Stuffing :-
Vegetables of your choice like cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, peas, spinach, potatoes, capsicum, etc., chopped(I used mix of carrots, kohlrabi, peas and capsicum) – 1.5 cups, 250gm
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Tomatoes, chopped – 1 med.
Garlic, chopped – 5-6 cloves
Green chilli, chopped – 1 no. (optional)
Red chilli flakes – 1 tsp
Dried herbs (I used basil) – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder, freshly crushed – To taste
Salt – To taste

For Topping :-
Cashew – 1/2 cup, 100gm, soak for 4 hrs. and drain water
Cottage cheese(paneer) – 100gm, yield from 1/2 ltr. milk*
Corn flour – 2 tsp
Lime zest – 1 tsp
Orange zest – 1.5 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp

Method:-

Making Crust :-

1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, oregano, lemon juice and oil together till the mixture is crumbly. You can use food processor to make dough, it works wonderfully. Now add cold water little at a time till the mixture just comes together and forms a ball. (In place of cold water I used nutritious cold whey which I collected after curdling 1/2 ltr. milk to make cottage cheese* see notes how to make fresh cottage cheese from milk).

2. Next, measure the base and up the sides of your quiche pan. If your pan is 7″ across the bottom and 1 ½” up each side, that’s a total of 10? This means you should roll your crust to about 11″ or 12″ size, which gives you enough extra for crimping the edges. Line the Quiche pan with the rolled disc, remove the excess dough using a rolling pin easily, crimp the edges if you like and refrigerate for 1/2 hr. or till you prepare the stuffing.

Preparing Stuffing:-

1. Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic, sauté for a few secs. Add green chillies, kohlrabi, carrots and peas, cook till just tender, 5-6 mins. Now, mix in capsicum, tomatoes, basil and black pepper powder, cook on low for 3-4 mins., mix salt and switch off the flame after 1 min.

2. Preheat oven to 200C/375F. Grind cashews in 3 tbsp of water(or whey) till smooth. Add cottage cheese, corn flour, lemon zest, orange zest, salt and grind again adding 4 tbsp of water(or whey) until completely smooth.

3. Next, take out the quiche crust and prick crust using fork to ensure crispiness of the crust. Blind bake the crust(baking crust with no prepared stuffing) at 200C/375F  for 10 mins. or until just firm and set.

4. Gently mix both the cheese and vegetable mixtures and fill the quiche pan 1/2 cm below the quiche rim. Garnish with capsicum and tomato slices and sprinkle some red chilli flakes on top for color.

5. Bake at 200C/375F for 35-45 mins., until the crust edge is brown and the filling is set. Let the quiche cool for 10 mins. before slicing.

Notes:-

1. Cashews are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalate which hinders the absorption of nutrients. Soaking for at least 4 hrs. reduces its oxalate content.

2. You can replace 1/2 cup of the whole wheat flour with oats(roasted and powdered) or barley flour or use combinations of multigrain flours. Temperature and time for bake vary accordingly.

3. *To make fresh cottage cheese (paneer) – Boil 1/2 ltr. milk in a pan, add either curd or vinegar or lime juice to curdle the milk. You may need 2 tsp or more to curdle depending on the quality of the milk.  Once the milk coagulates/curdles completely, turn off the heat, strain the milk using a muslin or a fine strainer and collect the fresh cheese. Don’t discard the left over water, it’s whey and is pure gold, use it in rice, veggies or soup or kneading Chapathi dough. Or like I used in making quiche crust and grinding cheese-cashew mixture.

Linking this to  Pallavi’s Blogoversary Event:
Hearth & Soul Hop 
‘Healthy Food’, ‘Healthy Vegan Fridays’
Breakfast Club

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Butter Spinach (Makhani Palak) Stir-fry Spinach

Stir Fry Spinach

Stir-fry is music to ears. Vegetables/greens cooked with flavorful ingredients and sautéed in butter with a zing of lemon adds dimension to the meal. They’re a healthy side dish which goes with almost anything.

Spinach are an absolute powerhouse of nutrients, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients become even more concentrated and better assimilated when spinach is cooked with butter/oil/ghee. It reminds me of the character Popeye, he eats his spinach fresh and raw straight from the bag, but this recipe sure would make him proud. The freshness of lemons add such a bright note and also reduce the spinach’s bitterness big time. A moderate amount of sugar elevates the taste and red chilli flakes adds little heat to the spinach.

The body absorbs more of the iron in the spinach if complimented with foods containing vitamin C such as lemon, fruits or tomatoes. Keeping this in mind, I thought of lemon as nice compliment to the spinach in this recipe. Spinach is high in oxalate so people with kidney or gallbladder problems may be wise to limit or avoid it. The healthiest way of cooking spinach is to boil them in water for 1 min. (blanching) and allow them to leach oxalic acids in the water. Oxalic acids interfere with the absorption of calcium and other nutrients in the body. This also brings out the sweeter taste of spinach.

Ingredients:-

Spinach, chopped – 1/2 kg
Butter/Ghee – 3 tbsp
Garlic, finely crushed – 6-8 cloves
Dried crushed chillies (chilli flakes) – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Lime juice – 1.5 tbsp (or as desired)
Salt – to taste

Method:-

1. Bring plenty of water to a rapid boil, add spinach and boil for 1 min. Drain and immediately pour cold water over the spinach to stop further cooking.
2. Add butter/ghee, garlic and chilli flakes in a large pan, swirling so that the butter comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Let them sizzle for sometime. Adding garlic and chillies when the butter is cold helps them to infuse better.
3. Mix in the spinach and sugar, sauté at high flame for a few mins. or until all the water from spinach dries up. Keep stirring the greens to prevent burning. Mine took about 6 mins. to do it.
4. Add salt, continue cooking at medium flame for 2-3 mins. Mix in lemon juice and serve hot.

Tips:-

1. After boiling spinach, discard the drained water or do not use it for soups or gravies.
2. Do not cover the pan while cooking as it helps to release more of the oxalic acids with the rising steam.
3. Using a pinch of baking soda with spinach while cooking retains the bright green color of spinach.
4. Large pan is great for stir-fries, because of the large surface area, they prevent vegetables to pile on top of each other and thus fry them evenly instead of steaming up.

Creamy Curd Rice (Dahi Chawal)

Curd Rice“I’m preparing lunch for us. I know you like carrots a lot. See how fresh and bright they are? I mash yours up. I’ll do that until you get some teeth to chew them up. When you eat carrots, you smile. That’s how I know you like them.”
“See, I came back, I needed that time to get a few things done, now I can be with you again.”
I love having such running conversations with Vid everyday in my home. This has just become our rhythm of talking. Once a relative of mine observed that I talk to Vid as I would like to a friend, rather than ‘baby-talks’. I talk, Vid babbles and I again respond.

When my baby was born, I instinctively knew that this bond is most sacred with unconditional love. As a parent the most important thing I and my husband K could do was to provide security, health, creating a safer and nurturing world for him to live in. I realize that most of the commitments were inspired by something that I myself had experienced or learned from family, memories, friends and from my own life. I trust this will help us grow and co-evolve together.

Vid has become more interactive, speak few simple words and soaking up the environment around him. I replayed the challenges I had in the first year – the sleepless and exhaustive nights, the struggles to adjust new ways, but yet fulfilling, I knew this was the most precious journey in my lifetime that I loved more than anything else, and I’ll cherish it at every turn.

Here I share a recipe for Curd Rice, popularly known as ‘Mosaranna’ in South and ‘Dahi-chawal’ in North. Made with the subtly spiced curd mixed with rice and well seasoned, it creates a rich and zesty combination. I had the good fortune of eating it as “prasada’ (blessed food) in Shiva Temple in Chennai. When I started giving Vid solids, I often fed him curd rice with simple preparations – adding curd to the boiled rice and seasoned with ghee and cumin seeds. Sometimes I would add mango or banana puree to make it sweet. Now I like to make it with more elaborated method. This is my husband K’s one of the favorite rice dishes that I often make in home.

Any rice can be used in making Curd-rice, I like to use half the quantity of brown rice and half the white rice. Brown rice loads up with the goodness of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and what not. Loaded with tangy flavors of curd, pomegranates and spices, the subtle flavor of asafoetida makes the entire dish awesome.

Ingredients:-

Rice, boiled – 3 cups
Curd – 2 cups (for vegan version, use any non-dairy curd)
Salt – To taste
Sugar – 1/2 tbsp(if desired)
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida(Hing) – 1/8 tsp
Split Black Gram Dal (Urad dal) – 2 tsp
Green chillies, chopped – 2 nos.
Ginger, grated – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Pomegranate seeds – 1/4 cup or as desired
Coriander leaves – For garnishing

Method:-

1. Mash the rice and add curd, salt and sugar (if using) and mix well. At this point, if the curd is too sour, add milk to adjust the sourness. Milk helps to reduce the tartness of the curd.
2. Soak split black gram dal in little water for 1 min and then drain.
3. Heat ghee in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, asafoetida and split black gram dal. Sauté till the dal turns light brown.
4. Now add green chilli and ginger, cook on low for a few seconds.
5. Place curry leaves on top of the rice-curd mix and pour the seasoning over it. Cover the bowl for the flavors to infuse.
6. Mix pomegranate seeds and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve at room temperature with simple chutney or pickle or any vegetable side dish as accompaniment.

Tips:-

1. For interesting variations, try different veggies with the rice each time like grated carrots, cucumbers, peas or fruits like grapes, pineapple, mangoes or raisins with cashews roasted in ghee. But just don’t go overboard with them. I like to make this either veggie-combo or fruit-combo.
2. If the curd is not sour as required, keep it out of the fridge for 1 hr.
3. The boiled rice should be cool before adding the curd.

Sending some over to ‘Healthy Vegan Fridays’.

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