Tag Archives: fitness

A beautiful, spicy salad with COUSCOUS Pearls

It started with the spotting of whole wheat pearl couscous in the aisles of Wegmans, the familiar packaging of Bob’s Red Mill grains beckoning me. I have never cooked with pearl couscous before, but the idea of turning these beautiful grains into a healthy lunch sounded good. I looked up a few recipes that used regular couscous and decided to throw together things in my fridge and pantry to create this wonderful, deeply satisfying salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 8-10 nuts of your choice (I used leftover macademia nuts)
  • 2 tbps raisins or craisins (I used craisins)
  • 2 tsps ras el hanout (a north African spice mix available on Amazon)
  • 2 green chilis finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

How to:

  1. Roast the couscous in a pan for 10 minutes till light brown and set aside.

  2. Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add the roasted couscous and salt and cook over a low flame till the couscous is cooked and the water has evaporated. This took me about 12 minutes.

  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.

  4. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in the pan that you used to cook the couscous, add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions turn brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, nuts, raisins and ras el hanout and toss till the tomatoes are coated with the spice.

  5. Turn off the heat and toss the onion mix into the cooked couscous.

  6. Now add the chilies, cilantro, parsley and lemon juice. Give the contents another toss and serve warm or at room temperature.


    Note: If your tolerance for spices is low, cut back the ras el hanout to one tsp and use one chili instead.

SPicy Dal with Coconut milk

I can eat dal anytime, anywhere. As a soup by itself, with rice or quinoa, or with rotis. My non-Indian friends are always surprised with the number and variety of dals that we make. In fact, about a week ago, I was orienting a friend through the aisles of a newly opened Indian super market and she was shocked at the colors and shapes of the lentils (dals) that flooded the aisles. This particular dal is one I make regularly in the Instant Pot. The melding of the dal with the spiciness of the chillies and ginger, the sweetness/tartness of the tomatoes, and the creaminess of the coconut milk, just create a dish that is packed with flavors. While the list of ingredients appears to be long, you will still come out with a pretty good dal even if some of the spices are missing.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tur dal, washed a few times and set aside
  • 2 tsps cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 2 tsps mustard seeds
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 7 green chilies, four finely chopped, three slit lengthwise
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups water

How to:

1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to Sauté function

2. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Sauté for a minute, till the mustard seeds stop crackling.

3. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, brown sugar, and salt and sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook Mode, add the tur dal, the coconut milk, and 1.5 cups water to the tomato mixture and cook at full pressure for 15 minutes. After that, let the pressure release naturally for ten minutes.

5. Move the pressure valve to the release position and let any remaining pressure release. Once all the pressure has been released, open the lid. You can now either smash the dal with a spatula against the wall of the cooker or run a hand blender once or twice.

6. Serve with rice or quinoa or rotis.

Enjoy!

Cheers to a sweet indulgence that breaks no “keto” rules

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I were at Saravana Bhavan for lunch.  Me hankering for my favorite combination platter, him scanning for his keto friendly options.  And when my plate came with sheera (a cream of wheat dessert), he was not a happy camper.  It was like a three-year-old who wanted to have the same dessert, but his disciplined nature would not allow him to!

Back home, I kept hearing the little groans of wanting a similar dessert.  So, with the ingredients in our pantry and fridge, I whipped up these almond dessert cups.  He loved them and of course, I was happy that they were ready in about 20 minutes (minus the refrigeration time, if you prefer it cold).

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups milk (I used 2% since that’s what I had at home)
  • .5 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup allulose (you could use erythritol)
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tsp sliced almonds (plus a few more for decorating)
  • 4 tsp ghee

How To:

1. Pour the milk and heavy cream into a heavy bottom pan and warm the mixture ever so slightly over a low flame.

2. Turn off the stove, sprinkle the almond flour, allulose, and cardamom powder into the milk/cream mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula.

3. Turn the stove back on, add the ghee and keep stirring the mixture at medium heat till it thickens and is the consistency of thick glue (about 15 minutes).

4. Turn off the stove and portion the dessert into six little cups and top with the remaining almonds.

Enjoy!

PS.  You can have it warm or serve it cold after sticking it in the fridge for an hour.