Chilli

The photo above is one of my favorite pictures. This was taken in Kerala, India in the backyard of my grandmother’s garden. The chilli in the photo is locally called Khandari Molagu.  It’s the tiny cousin of the commercially available chilli, and is three times more spicy. The ripe red chillies are pecked on and often consumed by birds. Sometimes, the word ‘Khandari’ is also used as a nickname on a smart mouthed and mischievous person. While growing up, my firecracker of a best friend was called that.

I’ve never leaned much onto the spicy side, since i have such a huge sugar tooth to tend to. More recently my trainer told me to cut down on salt and add pepper or any kind of spice to my food. After some serious research online, i discovered that spice is a metabolism booster. And, if you are aiming to lose weight, the best thing to do is slowly include spice in your food.

I bought a packet of the dried red chilli, at an Asian store close by. It is similar to the ‘Khandari’ variety. Now a days, I throw in a few chillies in salads, soups, mains and pretty much everything.

So, have you got your chilli yet?

2012

So the Mayan calendar says otherwise, but hope each of you have a wonderful 2012. Here’s to luck,love, happiness and some good times!!

The older i become, the more heavy the  resolution list gets. And one of them this year is to get  healthy.

So here’s a photo of how I’ll be sprucing up the food from now on – with a bit of colour!

Pumpkin Soup

Another year ends and there are books still unread, places you didn’t travel to and that muffin top, that you didn’t get rid of. But we have another 365 days added to our cart, to make another resolution list. And shamelessly one resloution of mine has been to get fit, for a few many years now.

My better half and myself enrolled in a gym a month ago, the interiors of which we saw just for a day. But we have slowly changed the eating habits – cut down on buying junk – chips, chocolates and forzen desserts. I’ve also resolved to give up sugar, which means no jam and quark for breakfast and no sugar in that morning coffee. So being the eternal foodie that i am, I’m hope to cook healthy and eat healthy in 2012.

Soup has always been great for weight loss. It’s healthy, light on the stomach and tastes great.

Ingredients

A few medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1kg peeled, deseeded pumpkin
1 large (about 160g) onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock*
Cream, for serving
Ground nutmeg, for serving

Meathod

Add chicken stock in pan, along with pumpkin pieces, onion and garlic. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook till the pumpkin is soft and mashable.

Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

After cooling, add to blender and puree till smooth. Transfer the contents to the pan and cook still the soup is reduced.

Serve with a swirl of cream and garnish with parsley.

Hummus

Zaks, a tiny hole in the wall restaurant in Frazer Town, Bangalore is probably the reason why i fell in love with Hummus. I often went there starving with close friend and fellow foodie Sahar in tow. We would gormandize plates of hummus and pita bread and leave the place very happy and not too broke.

Hummus is served as a dip/spread usually with pita bread, you can also have them with crackers. For the calorie conscious, a tablespoon of Hummus is about 27 calories and a cup about 415. It’s healthy and very easy to make.

Ingredients

400gms Chickpeas

2 tablespoons Tahini Paste

3 cloves garlic

Juice of 2 lemons

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cumin

Salt

Salt to taste

Water

Meathod

Soak chickpeas in water overnight and cook them in water till they are soft.

In a blender, add the boiled and cooled Chickpeas, tahini paste, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin. Blend well to reach a preferred consistency.

Add in a bowl and garnish with a finely chopped coriander, crushed pepper and a swig of Olive oil.

NOTE: Tahini Paste is commercially available. If you prefer making your own paste, you can store it for a maximum of three months. For Tahini paste, roast sesame seeds lightly. Ensure you don’t brown them while roasting. Cool the seeds and blend with some extra virgin olive oil till it is a smooth consistency.

Chemorula Morrocan Fish Bake

Since the holiday eating will add to your calorie counter and waistline, this Fish Bake comes to the rescue of your tastebuds. It’s light, healthy and full of flavour.  You can have it with Morrocan Bread or as a main dish.

Auntentically, this recepie uses a tagine and is slow cooked so the juices of the fish and vegetables seep into the fish, making it tender and flavourful. Since i didn’t have a tagine, i opted to bake using a silver foil to lock in the juices.

Ingredients

1 kg Fish

Chemorula marinade

1 bunch coriander finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic

2 tsp Paprika powder

1tsp Cumin powder

1 tsb salt

a few strands of saffron

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tbsp

Juice of one lemon

Mix the ingrediants for the Chemorula and marinate the fish for a minimun of two hours. Ideally,i would recommend you leave the marinate over night for the flavours to really seep in.   Add a extra more olive oil and lemon juice to thin the consistency of the marinade.  Extra chemorula marinate can be left aside to while layering the fish.

For layering the marinated fish 

2 carrots

2 potatoes

2-3 tomatoes

2  Peppers (Green/Yellow/Red)

1-2 Chillies

1 -2 lemons

ginger

olive oil

salt

pepper

a  few olives

Grease a baking tray and pre-heat an oven 425° F (220° C)

Line the carrots in the botton of the tray and arrange the sliced potatoes in a thin bed. Ensure you cut the vegetables in fine thin slices. Add ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper

Add the fish and cover with sliced tomatoes, peppers, olive and lemons.

Thin the remaining chemorula marinate and por over the dish.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the fish and vegetables are tender.