Coffee Marinated Tofu with Caramelized Onions and Hummus

Coffee as a spice rub has been around for some time now and I wanted to try it out.

I used it on tofu with amazing results. I baked it after leaving on the marinade overnight and it tasted so good. The coffee flavour was subtle and smoky and it paired beautifully with the hummus and caramelized onions.

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I also grilled the tofu for about ten minutes after it was baked. You can use garlic powder but I prefer to use fresh garlic. I used the remaining marinade to deglaze the pan while caramelizing the onions and they smelt and tasted of coffee and spices.

This recipe is vegan and gluten free. The perfect plant based protein dish to serve with a dip. And really delicious.

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PREP: 10 minutes (not including marinating time)

COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 400 gms tofu, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp coffee granules
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar/jaggery
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • Salt to taste

For the hummus

  • 1 cup chickpeas, boiled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Black olives
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

For the caramelized onions

  • 3 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

For the marinade, mash the garlic by putting it through a garlic press. Crush the coffee granules in a pestle and mortar. Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Arrange the tofu on a tray and pour the marinade over it, turning the tofu slices several times. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Arrange the tofu slices on a baking tray and drizzle a little oil over them, turning the slices to make sure that the oil is distributed evenly. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Grill for another 10 minutes on each side so that the colour darkens.

Mix all the ingredients for the hummus except the olives and fresh coriander in a blender and blitz with a little water until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Spoon the hummus into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top. Arrange the olives at the side and sprinkle the fresh coriander on top.

To make the caramelized onions, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Saute the onions, stirring every few minutes, until they change colour and become golden in colour. Deglaze the pan with the rest of the marinade and when the onions are sticky, remove from heat.

Arrange the tofu slices, top with caramelized onions and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top. Serve with the hummus.

 

 

 

Fudgy Coconut Balls

Fudgy is normally a word I would use with Chocolate, but the texture of these delightful morsels are quite dense and fudgy.

Coconut is one of my favourite ingredients and the combination of coconut and jaggery is a great one. This recipe is very simple and it can be stored for up to ten days in a cool place. I added cardamom powder but vanilla essence also works very well.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups jaggery/brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 large coconut, grated
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts, chopped finely

Instructions

Bring the jaggery or brown sugar with the water to a boil in a large pan. Continue boiling until the temperature reaches the thread stage (110-112 C). Add the coconut and mix well. Continue cooking until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel and comes together in the pan. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder. Cool and form balls of the mixture using a small scoop if necessary. Roll them in the cashew nuts. Enjoy.

Rice Cakes with Chutney and Sambar

Rice cakes known as idli are the most popular Indian breakfast. Though idli is traditionally a South Indian dish, it’s the most popular breakfast eaten by millions of Indians everyday. The combination of rice with dehusked black gram dal (urad dal) makes it a complete protein.

The ground rice and dal is fermented overnight which breaks down the starch and is easily metabolized by the body. There’s no oil and they are steamed, which makes it easily digestible. Each idli contains 39 calories only. It contains no fat, no saturated fat and no cholesterol. Each idli contains 1 milligram of iron and trace amounts of calcium, folate, potassium and vitamin A besides the protein content.

It’s usually served with a variety of chutneys and Sambar, which is spiced cooked split pigeon peas and vegetables. Sambar is high on proteins, rich in antioxidants and contains fibre. It’s an ideal combination for weight loss. Tamarind is usually used in sambar but I usually prepare it without tamarind for idlis. You can use any vegetable in the sambar. Traditionally, drumstick is used in South India. 

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Every home would have it’s own way of preparing idlis and sambar. The rice used for idlis are par-boiled. Special rice known as idli rice is available. It’s small and round. Ready to use idli batter is also available. However, I prefer to make my own batter. There are special moulds available for steaming idlis on Amazon.

The same batter is used to make crisp pancakes called dosas. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Soft, fluffy, spongy idlis dunked in sambar and chutney – what could be a better breakfast?

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes (not including time required to soak the dal and prepare the idli batter)

Ingredients

For the idlis

3 cups par-boiled rice

1 cup dehusked black gram dal (urad dal)

2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)

11/2 tbsp salt

Instructions

Soak the rice and dal separately in plenty of water for 3-4 hours. Add the methi seeds to the dal while soaking. Drain the water and set it aside to use while grinding the batter. Grind the rice with a little of the reserved water until it is the consistency of semolina. Transfer the batter to a large bowl. Grind the urad dal with a little water until it becomes soft and fluffy. Add this to the rice batter and add the salt. Mix well. The batter should be thick but should be of pouring consistency. If it’s too thick, the idlis will be hard and if there’s too much water the idlis will be flat. Cover the bowl and leave to ferment overnight.

The following day, mix the batter well. Use a little oil to grease the idli moulds and spoon the batter into it. Steam the idlis for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes before removing from the moulds.

For the chutney

1/2 cup roasted channa dal

1 cup fresh coconut, grated

½ tsp tamarind paste

3-4 dry red chillis

!/2 tsp asafoetida powder

A few curry leaves

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil

To temper

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp split black gram dal

A few curry leaves

Instructions

Heat about 3-4 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a small pan. Add the red chillis and the channa dal. Saute until the dal changes to a golden brown colour. Add the tamarind paste, asafoetida, curry leaves and salt. Add the coconut and mix well. Remove from heat. Grind the ingredients with a little water into a paste.

To temper the chutney, heat a teaspoon of oil and add the mustard seeds. When they stop popping, add the dal. When the dal becomes golden brown, add the curry leaves and transfer the contents to the chutney. Mix well and serve with the idlis.

For the sambar

½ cup split pigeon peas (tuvar dal)

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ghee

½ tsp asafoetida powder

1 cup potatoes, cubed

2 carrots, sliced thinly

½ cup shallots, sliced (sambar onions)

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 green chillies, slit lengthwise

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil

To temper

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp split black gram dal

A few curry leaves

Soak the dal in plenty of water for about 30 minutes or up to an hour. Soaking it longer will ensure that it cooks faster. Transfer it to a large pan and add the turmeric powder, ghee and asafoetida powder. Bring it to a boil and cook until the dal softens and is completely cooked. Remove from heat and mash well. Set aside.

Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Add the onions and saute until they are cooked. Add the green chillis and tomatoes. Saute until the tomatoes are cooked. Add the vegetables and enough salt. Mix well and add about a cup of water. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the mashed dal and mix well. Add more water if necessary and adjust the salt accordingly. Simmer gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat and temper the sambar in the same manner as the chutney. Serve hot.Rice Cakes with 

Krem

A classic, this Swedish dessert is so simple to make. The flavour of the grapes is so subtle and the combination of grapes and cinnamon is just perfect. The flavours complement each other so beautifully.

Grape juice and cornflour cooked together – just these ingredients produce this melt in the mouth dessert. It was an instant hit with my family and they all just disappeared. A lovely ending to an impromptu get together or after a heavy meal.

A really creamy and delicious dessert minus the dairy – a vegan treat. It could also be made with other fruit juices as well.

This recipe made 5 servings of the dessert.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups grape juice

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

Cinnamon

Instructions

Combine the sugar and cornflour with about three tablespoons of water, blending well. Bring the grape juice to a boil over gentle heat and add the cornflour mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until thickened. Spoon the mixture into individual dessert dishes and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Refrigerate until it’s ready to serve.

Ambrosia

This medley of fruits in a sugar syrup with dry fruits, honey and nuts is a dish that our family makes every year for a festival called Dussehra. It’s a celebration that lasts for about nine days and is celebrated by Hindus all over India.

I love the richness of this dish which is so satisfying and yet so light and refreshing. The aroma of the ghee and cardamom is delicious. It’s also vegan and could be served as dessert with a dollop of coconut cream.

It’s very simple to make. Once the sugar syrup is done you just have to add all the fruits and nuts, honey, ghee and cardamom. For those of you who want to cut down on sugar, you could add less of it.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes SERVES: 6

Ingredients

½ cup jaggery

½ cup water

1 apple

2 bananas

2 oranges, segmented

2 guavas, cut into cubes

1 cup grapes, cut into two

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp ghee

1 tsp cardamom powder

½ cup dates, chopped roughly

½ cup cashewnuts

½ cup raisins

Instructions

Combine the jaggery and water and cook over a moderate heat until the jaggery melts. Strain into another pan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Add all the ingredients except the apple and bananas. Core and cut the apple into small cubes. Add to the sugar syrup immediately. Slice the bananas into the sugar syrup and mix well. Refrigerate and serve with a dollop of coconut cream.

Sago Fritters

These sago fritters disappear fast. Crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, they are great as appetizers or a tea time snack.

These fritters are called vadas in India and they are made for special occasions and during festival times. It is made as an offering to the deity along with other sweets and fruits. There are many types of vadas and India being such a diverse culture, each region boasts of their own type of vadas. And there is no one recipe for each type of vada. The same thing may be made differently in each home.

It’s better to use the whole lentil for this vada but the split lentils can also be used.

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The most important thing is to grind the dal with only a few tablespoons of water. The mixture has to be thick. It’s also very important to make the fritters immediately after grinding the dal. It can be eaten plain or served with coconut chutney.

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This recipe makes around 40 fritters approximately.

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PREP: 2 hours COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups whole black gram lentils (urad dal)
  • ½ cup sago
  • 2-3 green chillies, minced
  • ¼ cup curry leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander. Chopped finely
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Wash and soak the lentils for two hours. Wash and soak the sago for one hour.

Drain the lentils and grind with only about 2 tablespoons of water into a thick paste. Add salt and set aside.

Drain the sago and set aside.

Add the chopped green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and coriander to the ground mixture and mix gently. Add the sago and mix well.

Heat the vegetable oil until it is very hot. Drop a little of the mixture into the oil to check if it starts to cook and change colour. Make small balls of the dough with wet hands and drop them gently into the oil a few at a time. When they turn golden brown, flip them over and cook on the other side as well. Drain on absorbent paper and repeat until all the mixture has been used up. Serve hot.