Chilli Tofu Noodles

Making noodles in a roasting pan? Yes indeed! A fun and easy cook. This one pot dish contains all your favourite foods – tofu, spinach, baby sweetcorn, broccoli and peanuts. It’s super healthy too.

Tofu can be frozen to give it a completely different texture. It becomes spongy and has a meaty, chewy consistency. To freeze tofu, drain it and wrap it in foil or plastic and place it in the freezer, until it forms a solid block. You can let it thaw at room temperature, in the microwave or pour boiling water over it. Frozen tofu becomes spongy and adds more versatility to an already unique protein.

It’s better to marinate the tofu in the fridge overnight. This makes it much easier too – you just have to pop them in the oven with the veggies.

I used Chinese Gailon broccoli but you could use tender stem broccoli. I used rice noodles, but I guess you could try it with any type of noodles. The crunchiness of the peanuts with the lovely flavour of the vegetables and noodles is a delicious contrast. Definitely going to be a family favourite!

PREP:  20 minutes  COOK TIME:  25 minutes  SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

400 gms tofu, frozen and thawed

4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, crushed

11/2 tbsp vinegar

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

175 gms baby sweetcorn, halved

200 gms Chinese broccoli

2 tbsp olive oil

450 gms cooked rice noodles

75 gms baby spinach

Garnish

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped finely

3 spring onions, sliced finely

50 gms roasted salted peanuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Squeeze the tofu and cut into 11/2 inch by 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the sweet chilli sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl. Add the tofu and toss well, taking care to see that they are coated well. Marinate overnight in the fridge.

Mix the sweetcorn, broccoli and oil in a large roasting pan or ovenproof dish. Roast for 10 minutes.

Add the tofu mixture and level it. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Open the noodles out carefully and fold them into the pan. Roast in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and fold the baby spinach through the pan to wilt. Garnish with the chilli, spring onions and peanuts. Serve hot.

Hua Juan (flower Bun)

Have you heard about this sweet sesame filled steamed Chinese buns? These popular buns with sweet/savoury fillings are sold on every street corner in China and people rushing to work every morning find it convenient to grab a few on the way to work. Hua Juan literally means flower roll and these buns certainly look like flowers.

Some people use a sesame paste much like peanut butter for the filling but I powdered some toasted sesame seeds with sugar and used it. Of course, you can substitute peanut butter, Nutella, etc – let your imagination run riot! They are a perfect side for dinner. These nutty buns taste wonderful and they are a great comfort food.

These buns are shaped with the help of a chopstick, though there are different variations on shaping the buns. Pulling the ends together and then using the chopstick to twist the bun and pressing down on the chopstick creates the lovely flower shape.

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We use black sesame in Indian sweets and savouries and this filling reminded me so much of a simple South Indian sweet that is made with just toasted sesame and jaggery. It’s pounded together to release the oil in the sesame and then shaped into balls – one of my favourite sweets. Sesame seeds have a lovely nutty flavour and aroma.

These buns are really easy to make. Once the dough is made and rested enough, they are quite fluffy when steamed. The next time I make them, I am planning to use more filling. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did.

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PREP:  20 minutes  COOK TIME:  15 minutes  TOTAL TIME:  2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

250 gms flour

1 tsp baking powder

150 gms milk

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp instant yeast

For the filling

2 tbsp butter (room temperature)

21/2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet on low heat for a few minutes until they are nutty and slightly smoky. Transfer them immediately to a large open pan to cool to room temperature. Blend the sesame and sugar together in a blender to a fine powder.

Mix the flour and baking powder together with a spatula.

Heat the milk to lukewarm and add the sugar and yeast. When they are dissolved, add the yeast mixture to the flour and quickly stir with a spatula till the dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a marble surface and knead well until the it is elastic, about 10 minutes. You could also use a stand mixer. Shape the mixture into a ball and cover it with a lid. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and start rolling it out into a rectangle. Roll out the four corners using a little flour if the dough is sticky and the rectangle should be roughly 15 by 9 inches with the thickness being about a 1/4 inch. Make sure that the sides of the rectangle are straight. Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough using a pastry brush and sprinkle the sesame paste generously all over the buttered surface. Smooth it out with your hand and spread it out to the corners.

Divide the dough into three even parts lengthwise. Roll the first third of the dough until it reaches the place where the next folding should start. Press the fold down and pack in the filling. Roll again to complete the folding. Press down firmly and  divide this into two even parts breadth wise. Cut each part into 6 strips about an inch wide. Pile two strips on top of each other and press down the centre with a chopstick lengthwise. It will immediately start separating along the folded parts. Take the dough and pull gently forming it into a slightly elongated strip. Twist it slightly and tuck the two ends together underneath. Push a chopstick into the top part of the bun where it curves and twist the bottom portion while at the same time pressing down firmly on the chopstick. This should be done on a marble surface. Shape all the strips in this fashion.

Have ready a steamer with some warm water in it. Place a greased rack on it to prevent the buns sticking to it. Place the buns on the rack and leave some space between each, because the buns will expand. Prove the buns for 11/2 hours. Steam the buns for 15 minutes when the water starts boiling. Turn off the heat and let the buns sit in the steamer for 5 minutes before opening the lid. The buns will retain its shape even if you squeeze them slightly. Cool and enjoy. They store well in the fridge. When you want one, just microwave or steam gently for a few minutes. It makes a lovely breakfast too.

Cherry Coconut Cake

This cake is one that I love – the classic English Cherry cake but with a little twist. I used freshly grated coconut and it was delicious.

It’s so easy to make that you can make this into a little afternoon/Sunday project with the kids. It’s made using a saucepan – no messy bowls to wash up! The cake is moist and the cherries are juicy and succulent. Now that’s what I call a really good reason to try out this cake.

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It’s best to use a medium-sized saucepan and a wooden spoon for mixing. When adding ingredients to a hot mixture, it’s important to stir quickly. I used a dark chocolate icing for the cake and garnished it with coconut shavings. You could use dessicated coconut if you prefer it.

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Perfect with a cup of tea!

PREP: 25 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

150 gms butter

11/2 cups coconut, grated

11/2 cups self raising flour

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 cup red glace cherries, halved

Chocolate Buttercream

125 gms dark chocolate

125 gms butter

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grease an 8 inch round cake pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour or when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl over hot water. Cool to room temperature. beat with a wooden spoon until thick and spreadable.

Top the cooled cake with the chocolate butter cream and decorate with flaked coconut and maraschino cherries, if desired.

Olive, Lemon and Coconut Pots

I have been intrigued by savoury desserts for some time. The concept is not new, but many chefs have taken this to a whole new level. I had earlier made a Tomato Soup Cake which fits the bill for savoury desserts. However, I wanted to try something different.

Olives and lemon are a great combination and I thought of including coconut with these flavours. I used Greek yoghurt instead of cream and the dessert was light and creamy.

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For those of you that love savoury foods, this recipe will be ideal. If you’re also looking to cut down on your sugar cravings, this dessert is perfect.

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Anyway, the result was surprising, but in a nice way. I loved the taste – the olives were more prominent and I could taste the other ingredients, though it was more subtle. It’s quite filling and you can snack on these without feeling too guilty!

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 40-50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

400 gms Greek yoghurt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cornflour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

!/8 tsp salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/8 tsp coconut extract, optional

1/3 cup black olives, pitted

2 tbsp lemon juice

Olive and lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Grease four ramekin dishes with a little butter.

Place the olives in a blender and process until smooth.

Place the Greek yoghurt in a mixing bowl and beat well until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, cornflour, vanilla extract and salt and beat well.

Add the beaten egg slowly and mix well. Add the coconut milk, olive paste, lemon juice and coconut extract and beat until combined. Spoon the mixture into the ramekin dishes. Place them in a roasting pan half-filled with hot water and bake 40-50 minutes until it is set. Remove the roasting tin carefully from the oven and remove the ramekins. Cool.

Cover with clingfilm and place in the refrigerator. It will store for up to a week. Garnish with the olive and lemon slices before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tofu Kartoffelkuchen with Mango-Coriander Dip

Hello everyone. I was on a short holiday. I really missed posting on my blog. It was a nice change and I hope that you will like the recipes that I have tried recently.

The versatile and delicious potato is featured in this recipe along with Tofu. I loved the combination and the Kartoffelkuchen turned out to be a winner. Everybody loved it.

Continuing my experiments with mangoes, I decided to make a mango flavoured dip. I added pureed mango with other condiments to vegan mayo that I make on a regular basis. The result was heavenly. It was just perfect with the Kartafelkuchen.

The recipe for the vegan mayonnaise is from here https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-mayo/ . However, I just use sunflower oil instead of the avocado oil. It’s rich, thick and creamy. I usually make this and store it in the fridge. It takes just a few minutes to make this and it’s much better than the store-bought mayo.

This is an excellent breakfast dish. This recipe makes about 10 4” cakes.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

8 medium potatoes, grated

400 gms tofu

1 large onion, grated

1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped fine

6 tbsp flour

2 green chillies, chopped fine

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil

Mango-Coriander Dip

1 large mango, pureed

1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped

2 green chillies

1 recipe vegan mayo (Please refer the website mentioned above)

Instructions

Blend the tofu in a food processor or blender. Mix all the ingredients together.

Heat a frying pan or skillet, brush with oil and spoon about 3/4 cup of the potato mixture on to the pan and flatten to about 1/2 inch thickness. Fry on each side until it is golden brown. Serve hot with the mango-coriander dip.

For the mango dip, place the coriander and the chillies in a blender and using a little water, make it into a fine paste. Add the mango and blend again until it is well combined. Add this to the vegan mayo and mix well.

Egg Masala

This flavourful egg curry is a well loved dish in our family. It is a dish typical of Kerala, a state in Southern India. This recipe is from Malabar, which is situated in the Northern part of Kerala. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast with pancakes. It is particularly good with steamed rice and all Indian flat breads.

It’s a very quick recipe to put together, especially if you have guests unexpectedly. The chilli powder may seem excessive to some people not used to heat. You can reduce the amount of chilli powder to your taste. The curry is quite thick and it’s meant to be that way.

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Eggs are the cheapest source of protein and one egg has 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

This recipe is from Malabar Cookery by Ummi Abdulla.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in two

1 large onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp aniseed

6 tbsp oil

½ cup water

Salt to taste

Instructions

Grind the aniseed and garlic with the chilli powder and turmeric powder.

Heat the oil in a wok and sautè the onions until they are lightly browned. Add the ground paste and sautè for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt and water. Cook till the gravy is thick. Add the egg and cook until the oil oozes out. Serve immediately.