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5 basic Ayurvedic spices that you must have in your pantry

September 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

Indian spices

When you want to know how to eat healthy and improve your lifestyle, then adding few Indian spices to your diet is a great option.  5 basic ayurvedic spices that you must have in your pantry are:

- Turmeric : Bright yellow in color, Turmeric not only gives curries a lovely color but is full of excellent properties like its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-fungal. My mother always had a box of turmeric in our pantry and its common to use turmeric in Indian cooking. A few years ago when I discovered that Turmeric is being sold in medicinal stores in North America as a capsule, I was surprised. Why not just add a dash of this spice in your cooking today.

- Cumin : Popularly known as Jeera in Indian subcontinent is perhaps one of my favourite spices. Have you ever tried Jeera Biscuits, oh how you’ll love them :) In Ayurveda this common spice is used to treat different health problems due to its antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-flatulent properties. It is used in the treatment of various health problems like indigestion, amnesia, diarrhea, morning sickness, nausea, acidity, flatulence, stomach pain, common cold, cough, and insomnia.

- Coriander :  Often called Dhaniya is used as leaves (cilantro leaves) for garnish and its seeds. It has small brown seeds which I personally find a little repulsive to bite into but love to roast and grind them and add it onto my vegetables. Next time you try an Indian vegetarian dish, flavour the oil with cumin and coriander powder and enjoy truly authentic curry. Coriander is used to treat health problems like arthritis, stomach gas, urinary tract infections, and nausea, mood swings associated with menstruation, menstrual cramping, bloating, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, diabetes, bladder infection, intense itching, conjunctivitis, and eczema.

- Ginger : I love ginger Tea when I have coughs or colds. It is also effective for fighting flu, arthritis, headaches, heart disease, and poor digestion. Ginger has been known to alleviate nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. Ginger also is a powerful anti-oxidant with cancer-fighting attributes that may even help prevent Alzheimer’s. So, a great reason to incorporate ginger in your cooking whether directly as a root or in its dried powdered form.

- Fennel : Fennel is a cooling spice and has small green seeds. Tastes a lot like Licorice but completely different. According to Ayurveda, fennel is extremely good for the digestion. Did you know that eating a few fennel seeds after a meal is a common practice in India. Fennel removes mucus and fat from the intestinal tract, and is a natural appetite suppressant. 
It is one of the best herbs for digestion, relieving gas and indigestion or digestive weakness in the elderly or children. It strengthens agni without aggravating pitta. Fennel is calming for the nerves and provides mental alertness.

So, head to your nearest grocery store and stock up your pantry with these healing spices.

Punjabi Style Eggplant Tomato Curry

September 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Punjabi Style eggplant Tomato curry

Growing up I remember eggplant was available in my home region only during certain seasons but now days all fruits and vegetables are available year round. My mom often use to make this simple Punjabi style eggplant tomato curry ( sometimes with peas, sometimes with potatoes) as a shortcut for Baingan bhartha. I liked it either way. Hope you will give this recipe a try and will share it with friends and family too.

Ingredients/Method

2 large Aubergines/ eggplants/ brinjal
4 tomatoes
1 tsp salt ( adjust per taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
2 -4 tbsp oil
1 large ( or 2 medium size onions)
1 tsp cumin seeds/ Jeera
1 tsp coriander seeds- crushed
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 small piece of ginger chopped
1 small green chilli chopped ( optional)
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/Kasoori methi
1 cup green peas

Method:
Prep the curry base ( cut onions, ginger, crush garlic, green chillies)
Peel and chop Eggplant into bite size pieces.
Heat oil and fry cumin and coriander seeds. After 30 secs, add onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Mix well and add salt and turmeric.
After 7-8 mins once masala is golden brown, add eggplant and 3-4 tbsp water. Cook for 15 or so mins. Once 70-80 % done, add tomatoes, green peas and curry powder and chilli flakes. Mix well and cook until done. Add garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with roti or parantha.

If you like Eggplant, you can also try our:

Eggplant Chutney, Stuffed Eggplant Curry or Achari Baingan

New Delhi Tofu Peas Curry Recipe – Indian Vegetarian Food

September 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tofu Peas Curry Recipe

 

Simple, Healthy and Flavourful, this Tofu Peas curry is easy to prepare and is gluten free. Enjoy it with Roti, Rice or naan. Tofu is a great substitute for Paneer and more nutritious. While Paneer is Dairy, Tofu is protein so another great reason to try this dish.

Ingredients:

350 gms Firm Tofu
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions(small) or 1 large
1 tsp coriander seeds ( we crush and use them in our recipe to get maximun flavour)
2 tbsp julienned ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced
1 tsp fennel seeds ( i cursh it with coriander seeds and add it in the wok)
3-4 medium size chopped tomatoes
1 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup peas
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 cup peas
1-2 cups water
2-3 tbsp oil for cooking and some for sauteeing Tofu
4-5 stalks of cilantro leaves( coriander chopped) for garnish

Method:

1. Cut Tofu into bite size pieces and saute in some oil until golden brown. Set aside.
2. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a wok. Fry cumin, fennel and coriander for 30 secs and add onions, ginger and garlic. Mix well and add salt, turmeric and red chilli flakes.
3. Cook until onions are golden brown. Once masala looks ready, add tomatoes and peas. Cook until tomatoes are tender.( would be another 4-5 mins)
4. Add water and bring it to boil. Add tofu pieces and let them simmer in the curry for 3-4 mins. Add Garam masala and top off with Cilantro leaves.

Serve with Roti, Paratha, Naan or Rice.

 

Cold Tofu Noodle Salad Recipe ( Potluck Recipe ideas)

September 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

Cold Tofu Noddle Salad

I Love summer. Picnics and pot luck get togethers with friends, Long drives with family and splash parks with kids, so much fun. Here I am sharing an exciting healthy and easy summer salad recipe with you: Cold Tofu Noodle Salad, hope you like it.

Ingredients/Method

1 Pack of Somen Noodles (Thin Wheat noodles, you can use any kind of noodles you like)
350 gms of Firm Tofu
(Cut Tofu into cubes and Marinade it with 1 tbsp Soy Sauce and 1 tbsp Lemon Juice)

Veggies of your choice but here’s what works well:
1/2 cup matchstix carrots (Or thinly sliced )
Small thinly sliced piece of Red Pepper (about 1/2 to 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup Green Onion

For dressing
1/2 tsp Red Chilli flakes
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 tbsp Vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Few drops of Fish sauce

(If you require, you can add salt and pepper, although I find that salt content in Soy sauce is good enough for me)

Garnish with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Peanuts (optional- some raisins)

- Cook Noddles per package instructions. Run them in cold water and then put them in a large bowl.
- Add in marinated tofu. I like to marinade tofu atleast overnight for best taste/flavour but if you are short of time, half an hr is good too)
- Add in all the veggies and dressing. ( For dressing, mix grated ginger, red chilli flakes, vinegar, soy sauce and few drops of fish sauce)
- Mix well and garnish with peanuts. Let it chill and then serve.

 

How to prepare Punjabi Tadka for any Dal?

September 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Learn how to transform plain lentils into flavourful dish by tempering them with Punjabi style Tadka, perfect for any sort of Lentils. Basically we boil the lentils ( in water on Pot or pressure cooker) and then season it with various spices/masala called Tadka. Also known as Chaunk or Tempering.

Main Component of Punajbi Tadka usually consists of Frying cumin, crushed coriander, ginger-garlic, onions and tomatoes in oil and then adding them onto boiled lentils. Ratios can vary depending on quantity of Dal/lentils that need to be seasoned/garnished.

 

Tasty Spaghetti Squash Recipe

September 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

 

Don’t like Squash-Well, thats because you haven’t tried Spaghetti Squash. Don’t like Spaghetti Squash- Well, that’s because you haven’t tried this flavourful Masala Spaghetti Squash dish. It’s simple to prepare, really tasty, healthy and a complete meal in itself. 

Ingredients/ Method:

-2-3 cups cooked Spaghetti Squash (Watch my video on how to prepare Spaghetti Squash)
-Salt ( as per taste)
-1 cup chopped onions- green onions
-3-4 tomatoes
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-1 tsp red chilli flakes
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1 cup kale-swiss chard
-2 tbsp oil

Method:
- Heat Oil and then fry onions along with spices.
- Add tomatoes and then greens. 
- Saute for few mins and then mix in squash.
- Serve warm.

Indian Side Dish – Zucchini Potato Masala Recipe

September 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

Potato Zucchini Recipe

Yet another easy, delicious, healthy vegan side dish or enjoy it as a main with Roti, Parantha or your favourite bread. Combining two common vegetables Zucchini and Potatoes to create this flavourful Indian dish. 

Ingredients:

2 farm fresh zucchini’s
2 tbsp vegetable oil of your choice
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chilli
1 small or 1/2 med onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 large potatoes
2 small tomatoes ( or 1 large)
1/2 tsp garam masala
Cilantro leaves to garnish

1. Begin by peeling the skin of the zucchini’s ( unless you like it on, keep it on by all means) and chop it in small pieces. Do the other prep work like chop the onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
2. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter for a min and crushed red chilli. Mix well. Add onions and garlic. 
3. Add salt and Turmeric and fry for 3-4 mins.
4. Add potatoes. Cover and cook for 3-4 mins. 
5. Add tomatoes and let them become tender. Cover and Give it about 2-3 mins.
6. Add zucchini. No need to add water. If you must, add 2 tbsp. Keep stirring to ensure even cooking and to not let anything stick to the bottom of the pan. 
7. Once potatoes and zucchini are cooked ( soft), finish off by adding garam masala and cilantro leaves.
Serve with Roti, Parantha or your favourite bread.

 

Easy Tofu Mushroom Fry- Indian Recipe

September 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tofu Mushroom fry

Combine Pan- Fried Tofu with Masala Mushrooms cooked with Indian spices, onions and tomatoes and you get this delicious and easy side dish which can be enjoyed with Roti, Paratha, rice or with your favourite kind of bread. Try it on its own for a tasty, light snack. Throw it over noodles and take it for lunch. 

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Ingredients/ Method
200 gms Tofu
7-8 mushrooms
1 thinly sliced onion
2 large tomatoes
2-3 inch piece of ginger julienned
4 tbsp oil ( 2 for pan-frying tofu, 2 for mushrooms)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp soy sauce
Salt ( per taste), we recommend 1/2 to 1 tsp
1 tsp curry powder
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes and 1/2 tsp Turmeric

- Begin by pan-frying tofu until its golden brown.
-Once they are golden, set them aside
- In another pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and once hot, add mustard seeds.
- Add onions, ginger, soy sauce, salt, turmeric and red chilli flakes.
- Once onions are brown, add mushrooms. mix well and fry for 3-4 mins. 
- Add tomatoes and let them become tender. Add Tofu. Stir with other components. Give it 2-3 mins. 
- Add curry powder and garnish with cilantro leaves. 
Serve with rice, roti or noodles.

Chana Dal with Ghiya Recipe ( Indian Lentils Curry Recipe)

September 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Chana Dal with Ghiya Recipe

Here is one of my favourite Dal ( Lentil) recipes which is not only delicious but so healthy and easy to prepare. Enjoy this tasty curry with Roti or Rice. If you are vegetarian, this recipe is powerhouse of nutrients so give it a go and enjoy :)

 

 

Ingredients/Method

1.5 cup Chana Dal ( Split chickpeas lentil, yellow dal)
1 Large Squash
1/4 tsp asafoetida (Hing)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp oil

Usually rule of thumb to cook lentils is 1 cup lentils- 4 cups water. For this recipe instead of using 6 cups of water ( for 1.5 cup lentils), we use 5 cups since squash/ghiya has good amount of water content. Also, this dal has a tendency to thicken up upon standing. 

For Tadka/ Tempering
1 large ( or 2 medium size onions)
2-4 tbsp oil
2 fresh tomatoes ( or can be substituted with tomato paste)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/ Jeera
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 small piece of ginger chopped
1 small green chilli
1 tsp salt ( adjust per taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
bunch of spinach leaves
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

Method:
I didn’t presoak the lentils but soaking them before cooking helps to cook them faster. Also, we used pressure cooker for this recipe which makes Dal faster then a pot or slowcooker. In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add asafoetida. Add cleaned and washed lentils. Add water, salt , turmeric and curry powder. add chopped squash and let cook for four whistles. Once cooker has cool down, open it. Upon standing the dal thickens up. 
Prepare tadka in a pan by frying cumin and mustard seeds in hot oil. Add spices along with onions, ginger, garlic and green chili. Once onions start changing color, add tomatoes and spinach and cook further for 3-4 mins. Add garam masala and curry powder. Mix in the cooked dal and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with your favourite bread.

 

Easy Instant snack Recipe- Mushroom Upma

July 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Easy Indian Snacks

Here is an easy recipe for Mushroom Upma which is a popular South Indian breakfast dish. Upma is traditionally made out of Semolina (sooji) and here I have used Cream of Wheat (breakfast cereal) for this dish. It’s quick and tasty. Give it a try if you are craving something savory in the morning or looking for healthy snack ideas. 

Ingredients/ Method
2 tbsp cream of wheat ( finer version of sooji/semolina)
1-2 tbsp oil ( or clarified butter)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 cashews
1 tbsp chana dal (split yellow lentil)
2 tbsp chopped onions
4-5 chopped mushrooms
3-4 dried crushed curry leaves ( fresh work wonderful but dried ones are a good substitute)
1/2 tsp salt ( or as per taste)
1 cup of water

Method: 
Begin by dry roasting sooji/cream of wheat. Once it starts turning brown, take it off the heat. 
In the same pan, add 1-2 tbsp oil and fry mustard and cumin seeds. Remember oil needs to be hot. Give seeds 30 secs and then add cashews and chana dal, followed by onions and mushrooms. Give them 2-3 misn and then add salt and 1 cup of water. Add cream of wheat and cook until water dries up or semolina puffs up and is tender enough to eat. Serve warm with a cup of chai tea.

If you like Indian Snacks, here are few other ideas for you to try .  Enjoy :)

Indian Snack Ideas