Sweet Potato & Spinach Curry with Millet & Arugula

DSC_0518

I love arugula. Call me weird, but the bitterness is appealing to me? It’s one of the only leaves I’ll have raw. Raw spinach? bleh. Lettuce? tasteless. collard? ew.

But I’m not exactly fond of salads. They’re not filling enough or they’re doused in way too sweet dressing or they’re bland. So instead I like my arugula on pizza or in dishes like this. This dish is absolutely complete. Soft, fluffy millet, warm spicy curry, mellow sweet potato, bright acidic cherry tomatoes and sharp arugula.

I recently discovered millet as a grain. Prior, I’d only had millet flour rotis which are very popular in India and ‘baajre ki khichdi’ which is a millet stew cooked traditionally in lots of indian ghee and milk or cream. I had never actually had millet by itself. But a few weeks ago my mom picked up a bag of organic mixed millet and I fell in love! Its softer and less chewy than grains like quinoa and brown rice. It also has milder, less nutty taste.

The next component of the dish is the curry! This is a spicy, improvised curry that I sort of made up as I went a long. It has garlic, onion, coconut milk and a generous dash of spices. The sweet potato really balances out the spiciness.

And last but not least, the cherry tomatoes. We don’t normally have cherry tomatoes at home because they’re not always available here. We have to go to speciality grocery stores and even then, they’re quite expensive. But boy are they worth it! They’re spunky and colorful and they just elevate the dish.

I really hope you try out this dish. Even if you don’t have all the components – improvise! No millet? Use rice or another similar grain. No arugula? Skip it, or another raw green. No cherry tomatoes? Use normal diced tomatoes! Don’t have all the spices? Use a store bought curry powder, garam masala or thai spice mix instead!Don’t like sweet potato or spinach? Use other veggies – normal potatoes would be fine and you can substitute in any other vegetable under the sun. Pumpkin or zucchini would be wonderful here!

Oh, and I forgot to mention – this is accidentally vegan 🙂

DSC_0527

Now on to the recipe!

Sweet Potato & Spinach curry

(makes 3 portions)

Ingredients:

  • olive/vegetable oil
  • 2/3 tablespoon diced garlic/garlic paste
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 small or two medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1.5 cup spinach (or just 2 handfuls) cleaned and chopped roughly
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/cumin powder, 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/2-1 tsp chili powder, dash of black pepper and salt to taste
  • 3-4 handfuls arugula, cleaned
  • cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 2 cups cooked millet or any other grain

Directions:

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and when it’s hot, add in the garlic, onion and ginger.
  2. Keep mixing and when the onion and garlic are lightly browned, add in the sweet potato, around 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
  3. Cover and let simmer on low heat for around 15 minutes.
  4. Add in the spices and 1/4 cup more of the coconut milk, stir well
  5. Cook for another 10 minutes until the sweet potato is tender, stirring well throughout
  6. Add in the spices and the rest of the coconut milk, stir until the curry is thickened and the spinach is cooked (about a minute)
  7. Remove from heat
  8. Remove the stems from the arugula (unless you can take the bitter taste of the stems then leave them on) and arrange a handful on the plate
  9. Divide the millet into three portions and place a portion onto the plate
  10. Top with cherry tomatoes and a generous helping of the curry
  11. Squeeze some lemon juice on top if you’d like.
  12. Enjoy! 🙂

DSC_0529

Advertisements

Chai Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

These. Were. Delicious.

DSC_0504DSC_0502

The cupcakes themselves were buttery and moist with a subtle and warming chai flavor. When topped with a rich and chocolatey frosting, they were elevated to the next level. Chai and chocolate are actually a wonderful combination. They complement each other beautifully.

I made them for a birthday and they were so rich, it was a perfect substitute for the traditional birthday cake. Cupcakes actually save a lot of trouble – no trying to get the cake out of the pan, no messy slices and frosting is much easier! And everything tastes better in mini form hehe!

The cupcakes are quite simple to make but the best part is the frosting. IT’S 2 INGREDIENTS. JUST TWO! And it’s so delicious, I bet once you make it once you’ll have to make it again!

DSC_0506

So I hope you make these cupcakes because they are absolutely fantastic.

If you don’t have chai powder, here’s an easy recipe to make your own at home.

Chai Cupcakes (makes 10)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1.5 cup plain/all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon chai spice mix (depending on the strength of your chai powder)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, chai powder and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy with a hand mixer or by hand. I suggest using a mixer for the entire recipe, it makes your life much easier.
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue mixing.
  5. Add in the flour and milk alternately in batches and continue beating as you do so.
  6. The batter should be a cream color and about the consistency of thick frosting.
  7. Fill cupcake liner 2/3 way and bake for around 25 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes are a light caramel color and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let cool before frosting.
  9. After frosting feel free to add sprinkles or chopped nuts.

Milk Chocolate frosting

  1. Melt 75g chopped milk chocolate in a microwave or on the stove.
  2. Cream together with 1/2 cup butter.
  3. Aaaaand you’re done! 🙂

 

Sesame & Peanut Crusted Tofu

DSC_0483

This is a great side dish to serve along with rice or vegetables or meat. It’s flavorful and hearty and really easy to make!

If you have time to marinade the tofu in the sauce, that would be highly recommended but if you’re pressed for time you can skip the marinading step and just dip the tofu in.

Serving size: 1-2 (easily double or triple the recipe for more servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package tofu
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk (optional, can replace with 1 tsp water and )
  • 1.5 tsp ginger paste/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp honey/agave (I used honey, if vegan you can use agave)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • pinch of chill powder/paprika
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoon shelled and toasted peanuts
  • sesame/canola/olive oil (sesame is best)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • handful fresh coriander (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tofu into square slices
  2. In a wide bowl, mix the soy sauce, coconut milk, honey, ginger and peanut butter well.
  3. Add the tofu pieces to the sauce and if you can, leave for 2-3 hours. Otherwise just move on to the next step.
  4. In an other bowl, crush the peanuts and sesame seeds.
  5. Heat a flat frypan, heat around 1-2 tsp oil and spread evenly
  6. Wait until the oil is hot
  7. Dip the tofu slices, one by one, in the crushed peanut-sesame mixture and then place on the pan. You can do 5-6 slices at a time.
  8. Pour some of the leftover sauce on top of the tofu slices and flip after around 30 seconds
  9. Cook until browned on both sides and then remove from pan.
  10. Top with fresh coriander, squeezed lemon juice and any leftover sauce or nuts
  11. Enjoy!

DSC_0480

Homemade Granola

DSC_0474

A wonderful crispy granola, perfect in the morning with some cold milk and some dried fruit added on top. Or however you like granola, but thats my preference 🙂

I find making my own granola much better than buying store bought because I can alter the flavors to my liking and mix and match it instead of having the same flavor everyday. Also, I know exactly what’s going into it – no chemicals or sneaky corn syrup hiding in here! Not to mention, it’s super easy. All you need is oats, toppings, an oven and less than half an hour of your time. And 20 minutes of that is just waiting for it in the oven.

This is a simple granola because I like making this and then adding whatever toppings I feel like on that day, but feel free to add in more flavors or dried fruits or anything into the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (rolled oats are best, but any oats would work!)
  • chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive/coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey/agave
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • More add ins: dried fruit, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coffee powder, cinnamon, maple extract, cocoa nibs)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and take out a baking tray
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and add in the honey and vanilla extract. Stir on low heat for about a minute until well integrated.
  3. Spread the oats, nuts and whatever other toppings on the baking tray.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on top and mix well.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, shaking the tray ever 5 minutes to make sure the granola doesn’t stick and gets evenly baked.
  6. Done! Serve with yogurt, milk or fresh fruit!

Note: If you use dried fruit, add in only in the last 3 minutes.

Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

DSC_0445

A wonderful palette of flavors and textures in this dish. Who knew something so healthy and nutritious could taste so good?

Feel free to mix up the veggies in this, but I love the combination of these because there is such a variety in size and crunch. The wild black rice is crunchy while the brown rice is hearty and nutty, the mushrooms and peas are soft and sweet while the carrot and cabbage blend in perfectly with the chewy (in a good way!) rice.

This dish is extremely high in protein, fibre, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C and iron all the while being comforting and delicious!

Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dry wild rice
  • 1/2 packet button mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup finely diced cabbage
  • handful peas
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • chili powder, according to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Cook the rice according to instructions or just boil for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the vegetables.

Heat a wok or a large pan and spread the olive oil

When the oil is hot add the garlic and onion and sauté until browned. Add the peas and cabbage and cook for a minute and then add in the mushrooms and carrot. Add the soy sauce, honey and chili powder and cook for a few minutes, mixing well.

Add the rice, mix everything again and then cover the pan to let everything cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot.

DSC_0442

Kitchen Tip

If you have a jar of peanut butter or nutella or any nut butter that’s almost over, instead of scraping the sides and trying to get every little bit out: eat oatmeal in it!

Either make overnight oats in the jar or just make oatmeal normally and then serve it in the jar. You don’t waste any, it’s absolutely delicious and it means less dishes to wash!

win, win, win.

Vegetable Hash and Fried Eggs

DSC_8735

I just realised that most of the recipes I post on this blog are breakfast recipes. So to solve that, y’all are going to have to make this for dinner. I don’t think that will be a problem – it’s delicious and it’s extremely healthy as it’s full of vegetables and protein.

This vegetable hash, although not very traditional, is bursting with flavor and more importantly, is super easy to whip up! You can double, triple or even quadriple the servings to suit yourself.

Use whatever vegetables you wish but I would avoid anything too soft like squash or greens.

Vegetable Hash

(2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • pinch of garlic salt, black pepper, oregano and chilli flakes
  • 1.5 cup mixed vegetables (I suggest corn, baby corn, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – whatever’s in season)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Dice the onion, garlic and vegetables. Set aside.
  2. Heat around 2 tsp olive oil in a small pan and when it’s hot, add the garlic and onion.
  3. Saute until lightly browned and then add in the vegetables
  4. Add the hot sauce and spices
  5. Lower the heat and cover the vegetables
  6. Meanwhile lightly coat a flat pan with olive oil
  7. When it’s hot, crack in two eggs
  8. Sprinkle the top with black pepper
  9. Your vegetables should be done by now, serve them on a plate and place the fried eggs on top.