Gado Gado with i2cook’s spicy peanut butter

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Gado gado is a wholesome and delicious Indonesian salad. This salad is filled with all the essential nutrients and what makes it so delicious is the peanut sauce, which is truly a winning combination. Gado gado is a combination of slightly boiled or steamed vegetables,  raw vegetables and hard boiled egg. Nearly any combination of raw and cooked vegetables, along with rice or thin noodles, if you like, can be used. Gado gado, is true to its name which means “potpourri”. Do not confuse the peanut sauce with satay sauce. This salad can be made vegan by negating the eggs.

For the peanut sauce, we are using i2cook’s spicy peanut butter which is a versatile product and goes extremely well with south-east Asian or South Indian dishes.

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Ingredients:

Inspired by Jamie Oliver

2 medium sliced boiled potatoes

10-12 beans boiled and cut into halves

2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into slices

carrot, raddish & cucumber sliced as per preference

8-10 tofu slices

fresh coriander leaves or micro-greens for garnish

Ingredients for the peanut sauce:

100gms i2cook spicy peanut butter

25gms i2cook coconut sugar or palm sugar

1 garlic clove

1/2 juice of lemon juice

1 tbs soy sauce

1/2 tbs tamarind paste

Note: spicy peanut butter will not require any addition of extra spice.

(all the ingredients used in this salad are all organic except the eggs which are free-range)

Procedure:

Start with prepping up with all the ingredients. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes in salt water. Hard-boil eggs, cut the tofu into slices (with some salt) and pan fry them in a little peanut oil until golden brown. Boil the beans in salt water for about 5 minutes and immediately transfer into ice water to retain that gorgeous green colour. Use strips of carrot and slice some cucumber and radish for that extra crunch.

Put all the ingredients for peanut sauce in a blender with 1 tbs of water and blend it until smooth. Check for seasoning.

Layer the vegetables starting first with potato and other ingredients on a serving plate or bowl and drizzle with the most amazing peanut sauce.

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Kothambir vadi with pink mustard

DSC_0882   Kothambir vadi (coriander fritters) is my favorite snack from Maharastra  which is made from fresh coriander leaves and chickpea flour. This is further steamed and pan-fried or deep fried. I prefer the pan-fried as it uses less oil and  tastes great too! I’ve given the traditional kothambir vadi an i2cook twist by adding some of our pink mustard. Pink mustard is a versatile product which is made from organic ingredients like yellow, balk mustard, turmeric powder and cold pressed soy oil. Pink mustard is a deli style mustard which contains no sugar. Kothambir vadi with pink mustard can be served as an appetizer or a tea-time treat with chai.

Ingredients:

3 cups chickpea flour (besan)

2 cups cleaned, chopped coriander leaves

4-5 green chillies (add more if you like yours more pungent)

2-3 garlic cloves 1 tbs pink mustard

1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

rock salt to taste

1 tsp ground oil and some extra for pan frying

(All ingredients used to make this dish are organic)

Procedure:

  1. Pound the green chillies and garlic into a paste in a mortar pestle.
  2. Mix corriander leaves, besan, garlic & chilly paste, mustard, sesame seeds, oil, salt, cumin powder and water in a bowl until it forms a hard dough. Shape into a log or any desired shape.
  3. Steam the log for about 20-25 minutes and check for doneness by inserting a skewer and coming out clean.
  4. Allow it to cool. Cut the cooled log into 1 cm slices. Heat about 1 tbs of oil in a pan and pan-fry the vadis in batches on both sides until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot with some i2cook’s pink mustard.

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Introducing i2cook’s Spicy Peanut Butter

Spicy peanut butter

 

Spicy peanut butter is the new addition to i2cook family of organic products. After all the hoopla over the peanut butter, at i2cook we introduced something more suitable for the Indian palate. The idea of creating a spicy version of peanut butter was to make it more versatile as a condiment which can be used in both Indian and Western cooking. The best part about this product is that it is made with no added oil.  The combination of peanuts and spice is something we Indians have brought up with and you can’t go wrong with the combination right!

Spicy peanut butter can be used to make Thai dishes like Thai peanut dip, pad Thai or chicken satay. It is also great with khakara (Indian crackers) or you could also make peanut chutney by grinding it with some coconut. Since, it is in the wet form, you don’t have to add extra ghee or oil to moisten. You could eat it directly with your dosa, idli or chapathi. It is also great as a spread to make rolls of your desired filling. Needless to say that our spicy peanut butter is also great as a spread for sandwiches.

 

Spicy peanut butter

A note on peanuts: The peanuts are sourced from an organization which believes in  organic farming and practises multi-cropping and crop rotation to preserve soil fertility. Since there is absolute no use of pesticides, the farmers use neem and cow urine to keep the pests at bay. 

 

Our spicy peanut butter is available on our online store i2cook.com and in other stores too.

 

Spring roll

Recipe for Thai peanut dip

10ogms of spicy peanut butter

1tbs of soy sauce

1tsp of coconut or palm sugar

 

Mix all the ingredients together and add some water for a thinner consistency. Serve at room temperature with spring rolls. You could also use this as a dip to serve with some sliced cucumbers and carrots.

 


Asian style lettuce wraps with peanut butter & ginger sauce

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Peanut butter is versatile. My last recipe, grilled chicken with warm peanut butter sauce was a killer with my friends and family. Peanut butter can so easily make any Asian dish taste good. I can think of so many good uses of using peanut butter in Asian cooking like satay sauce, pad thai or a salad recipe that I’m going to share in my post today.

If you’re not a peanut butter fan like me, spiking your peanut butter with some palm sugar or coconut sugar and bird’s eye chilli can do wonders! If your basic sauce is ready, you can add pretty much anything that you like to this sauce.

These little lettuce wraps are just right for a healthy light meal or serve them up as a snack or starter.  It is a vegan recipe and you could also make it raw by negating the tofu. This salad is a  colourful and fun way of enjoying your veggies!

lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

6-8 Lettuce leaves, cleaned, dried and of desired size

1 big carrot, julienned

50 gms tofu, shredded (optional)

50 gms sprouts

1tbs peanut butter (I used i2cook’s peanut butter)

1 bird’s eye chilli, chopped finely

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp grated ginger

2 tsp palm or coconut sugar (I used i2cook’s coconut sugar)

juice of half a lime

salt to taste (if required)

basil & roasted peanuts for garnish

Procedure:

  1. Combine the carrot, tofu, chilli and sprouts in a bowl.
  2. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and lime juice. Add a teaspoon of water and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Place this mixture on each lettuce piece and garnish with basil, peanuts. Serve immediately.
  4. Alternatively lay out the ingredients and allow everyone to assemble their own. Serves 2-4.

More recipes on peanut butter

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Exploring Pondicherry Cuisine

I was recently invited to Dakshin, ITC Maratha and without a second thought, I grabbed the opportunity to go and explore one of my favourite cuisine.  Franco-Pondicherry  or Pondicherry cuisine, has been union territory’s best-kept secret. The flavors are mild and the fusion between the French and Podicherry is what makes this cuisine unique and different from rest of India. Meat or fish is sauteed with dry spices and ghee is often used in the cooking. Tomatoes are sparingly used and coconut milk is the base for most dishes. Though seafood is found in abundance, the locals prefer to cook with beef or mutton during festive seasons. Eggplant, drumsticks and mangoes (when in season) are used for vegetarian dishes or mixed with meat and cooked together. Markandam Dalcha (lamb blanquette dalcha) is one such example, recipe from the book “The Pondicherry Kitchen” by Lourdes Tirouvanziam-Louis. Creamy dalcha is a combination of lamb, dal & mango.

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The Pondicherry Kitchen is a cookbook which showcases the true authencity of Pondicherry cuisine. I’ve tried 4 different recipes for one of our monthly dinners at Coral from appetizer to dessert. The author’s few notes before the recipe displays some of the best kept secrets of Pondicherry cooking. Each recipe is unique and more profound than the other.

What I also noticed at Franco-Pondicherry fest at Dakshin was that the gravies were treated more like sauces and were much thicker than other Indian gravies. My personal favourite was chicken curry with coriander and mint (kothamalli puthina kozhi kari). In traditional Tamil cooking, tamarind is used as a souring agent but in Pondicherry cusine you will see a distinct taste of vinegar used in their gravies too. Raw mangoes are used in gravies and chutneys for sourness. Desserts served were semolina cake with rose petal basundi and baguette with basundi.  Basundi is traditionally made with thick milk but, this particular one was made with coconut milk –  mild, light and delicious.

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I would like to share a recipe of one of my favourite appertizer from the cookbook – Erral Masala Vadai (prawn & channa  dal fritter). It is an ideal snack for the monsoons and very easy to make.

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Ingredients for prawn & channa dal fritters:

1/4kg channa dal

2 big onions

3-4 finely chopped green chillies

1″ ginger, finely sliced

5-6 garlic cloves, crushed

8-10 curry leaves, crushed

2tbs finely chopped coriander leaves

200gms small prawns/shrimps

salt to taste

oil for frying

Procedure:

  • Soak channa dal in water for 2 hours. Drain and coarsely grind.
  • Mix the channa dal with all of the above ingredients, except for oil.
  • Heat oil in a wok.  Shape the ingredients into a ball, flatten a bit. Deep fry until golden brown on medium flame.
  • Serve hot with some chutney or sauce.

i2cook’s pink mustard

pink mustard sandwich

What is pink mustard? No. Really?

I’ve been asked this question often by friends and consumers. A lot of them  wonder why its not pink in colour…

I’m happy that pink mustard has fared well in terms of its branding & taste. Its been over a year and I’m glad that it received  accolade from press, especially from Bangalore.

Customers and friends have been using  pink mustard in their own way – on crackers, marinades for fish or meat, in brinjal fry or in mayo. But there is one  recipe that  kept me amazed is the cucumber raita  made with vegan yogurt  by Tongue Ticklers.

I recently had some friends coming over for drinks and wanted to make some easy and stress free nibble. I had some sausages lying in the fridge and  used them up by mixing  it with some pink mustard (doesn’t require any extra oil and you could add some crushed pepper), grill in the oven at 180 centigrade for about 10-15 minutes or until browned and  ready to eat!

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If you’ve been using pink mustard in your cooking… Do share your handy tips 🙂

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The above picture is clicked by the talented photographer, Joy Manavath. To view more of his beautiful creations for i2cook, hop on to  i2cook product  page.


Roasted Bell Pepper Dip

roasted bell pepper

This recipe is sure a keeper! It is  easy to make for any occasion or for snacking.  This dip can be had with pastas, crackers or can smeared on your sandwiches.

Ingredients

1 large red bell pepper

1tbs green olives, chopped

1tbs capers

5-6 basil leaves, chopped roughly

2tbs olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

  • Roast  bell pepper on the stove top or oven. Discard the skin and the seeds. Chop roughly.
  • Blend in all the ingredients into a course paste or use a mortar pestle.
  • Spoon the prepared paste into the serving bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top.
  • This dip can be refrigerated for about a week. Serves 2.

You might also like Fig Olive Tapenade,  Mexican Seven Layered Dip

Whole Wheat Seed Cracker


Oatmeal & flax seed cracker

I love crackers! Best way to snack healthy. They go well with almost anything or are great just plain. However, I find the store bought crackers either very expensive or not preservative free. I prefer crackers to biscuits for my evening snacking. They also make a good entry into your fancy cheese boards. Oatmeal gives a different taste and wheat flour is used more as a binder. I tried searching some recipes on the internet for oatmeal crackers but found very few that I liked and was left to experiment on my own.

I wanted to increase the shelf life of my cracker so I decided to negate the fresh herbs and use a different kind of flavor instead. I tend to use a lot of cinnamon in my cooking and decided that this time I will try something “different”.

**Star anise not only gives a sweet flavor but really makes your cracker taste different and at the same time, the taste is not overpowering. I’ve also used some nutritional yeast to give it a bit of a cheesy taste. You can increase the quantity of the yeast more and it will only result in more yumminess. All ingredients used are organic and  vegan.

Ingredients:

100gms rolled oats

200gms wheat flour and some extra for dusting

20gms flax seed

1 tsp star anise powder

1tsp baking powder

50gms vegetable or olive oil

**50gms nutritional yeast (optional) see note above

1 cup water at room temperature

1tbs raw sugar

salt to taste

Blend rolled oats and flax seed in a blender into a coarsely ground powder.

Add wheat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, nutritional yeast into the ground mixture and mix well.

Add oil and water slowly into the mixture and roll into a dough.

Flatten the dough with the help of a rolling pin into a thin layer. Cut the crackers into desired shapes and sizes.

Place the crackers on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully towards the end of the cooking time; they should be just beginning to turn brown at the edges.Once done, allow it to cool on a wire rack. Store them in an air tight container for up to two weeks. I got 20 big sized crackers and you may get 30-40 small ones.

My cat loved these cracker and I’m super trilled. No, no its not cat food. Let me introduce to you “Bhunkas” (means vagabond), who sometimes behaves more like a human and less of a cat 🙂

 


My cooking class

I used to be  fascinated by chefs or cooks showcasing their culinary skills on television, as a kid. I would sometimes play alone narrating what I had seen. I would talk to myself and recall the ingredients used!

I grew up and things changed. Buried under college assignments and work, I slowly forgot how much I love cooking. Things eventually changed for good and I’m so glad that it directed me back to my passion – cooking!

My first cooking class was an experience to cook together. I’ve always enjoyed cooking alone and even remember asking my mom to leave the kitchen while I cook in her kitchen. She would wait patiently for me to churn out something yummy. Habitually, she leaves me alone to cook all by myself till date, waiting anxiously with a glass of her favourite port wine.

Cooking together is a fun activity and I believe that we all learn something at the end – whether from an instructor or from the guests. Conversations become the key ingredient to any class. We end up talking about food and food only. How I love it! Talking about simple ingredient like rock salt and iodized salt can make the conversations informative and also gives a sense of discovery.

i2cook cooking class aims to bring people and conversations together while inspiring you to cook. It aims at making enhancers or condiments and enjoy the true flavours of ingredients. The first  i2cook class took place in July, we made three dips to showcase that dips can be made attractive to kick-start your party. I’m sharing all the recipes of the class for those who have missed and for those who would like to make.

Mexican Seven Layered Dip

Mexican Seven Layered Dip

(Serves 2, the measurements are approx. You can add more of anything if you like to indulge in  guilt-free happiness)

100gms red beans/rajma, boiled & mashed

1tbs chopped canned jalapenos

1/2tsp cumin powder

2-4tbs grated sharp cheddar cheese

100-150gms sour cream (homemade or store bought)

100-150gms guacamole

2-4tbs grated Monterrey Jack cheese

1/2tbs black olives, pitted

60 – 75gms Pico De Gallo

Recipe for Pico De Gallo – ½ red onion finely diced, ½ red tomato finely diced, 1tbs chopped cilantro, 1tsp fresh lime juice, 1/2tbs chopped canned or fresh jalapenos, salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients and it is ready to serve.

Recipe for Guacamole – half ripe avocado, ½ red onion finely diced, ½ red tomato finely diced, 1tbs chopped cilantro, 1tsp fresh lime juice, 1/2tbs chopped canned or fresh jalapenos, salt and pepper to taste.

Mash the avocado coarsely. Mix all the ingredients and it is ready to serve.

Recipe for Sour cream – 100gms cream, 25gms buttermilk or sour cream.

Mix all the ingredients in a jar. Allow it to stand at room temperature for 24 hours, covered. Refrigerate for further thickening. Sour cream can be refrigerated upto a week.

Homemade Sour Cream

Layering

  1. Mix the beans, cumin powder, jalapenos and salt in a bowl. Lay it at the bottom of the serving dish.
  2. Sprinkle cheddar cheese.
  3. Spread sour cream evenly in a single layer and take care not to disturb the cheese underneath.
  4. Spread the layer of guacamole over the sour cream.
  5. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese.
  6. Place a layer of pico de gallo.
  7. Lastly, sprinkle some black olives and jalapenos.

Serve cold or at room temperature with nachos.

Sour Cream Dip

Corn & Bacon Dip or Corn & Sour Cream Dip

(Serves 2, the measurements are approx. You can add more of anything if you like to indulge in  guilt-free happiness)

100gms sour cream

1-2tbs grated sharp cheddar cheese

1-2tbs grated Monterey Jack cheese

1tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish cooked sweet corn kernels, chopped green chillies and/or crispy bacon bits

Mix all the ingredients apart from garnish and keep it refrigerated for an hour. Fill the tarts with dip and garnish.

You could also serve with crackers or veggies.

Date & Tamarind Chutney

Date & Tamarind Chutney (Indian dip

(Serves 2, You will get approx.300gms of finished chutney)

100gms dates, seedless and washed

1/2tsp ginger powder

50gms jaggery

60gms tamarind paste

1/2tsp chilli powder

1/2tsp cumin powder

250ml water

  1. Puree the dates in a grinder. Do not fine grind it. It is nice to taste bits of dates in your chutney.
  2. Mix date puree, tamarind, jaggery, water and chilli powder in a pan and cook on medium heat.
  3. Allow it to cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add cumin powder and turn off the stove.
  5. Allow the chutney to cool. Keep refrigerated for a month or two.

Serve hot, cold or at room temperature with samosas, chats and many more Indian delicacies.

The event was carried out with the help of Groovy Two Shoes and we enjoyed ourselves pulling it off. The hard work did pay off.  Have a look at the Groovy two shoes’s FB page and the blog.

The classes will be  held regularly in Bandra, Mumbai. Follow i2cook’s FB page for latest updates.

All set before the class

Cooking together!

Choose what you like….

Networking after the class over chai

Giveaway!

A true foodie…


Arusuvai Chain Season 2: Sauteed Mushroom

Arusuvai is a beautiful friendship chain  to bring together blogger and non blogger. A secret ingredient is mailed and all you have to do is create a dish from it. This was originally started by Bharathy of Spicy Chilly, Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons and Lathamma of The Yum Blog. Now the second season is organised by Sayantani of A Homemaker’s Diary.

I received my first secret ingredient from Divya Kudua of Easy Cooking. Along with the ingredient; I also received a hand-written letter and a book – Dessert Puddings by Nita Mehta.Frankly, I’ve never used this ingredient nor did I know the name of it.I had a hunch that it was used in preparation of rice items like biryani or pilaf but I wasn’t sure. I googled first for garam massala and tried to match the image with the ingredient  and finally I found that it’s called ‘Star Anise’.

Star anise is the almost ripe, dried, star-shaped multiple fruit of the star anise tree (Illicium verum), which is a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The small, red-brown, star-shaped fruits contain 6 – 8 unevenly sized, boat-shaped individual fruits 12 – 17 mm in length, each containing a glossy brown, egg-shaped seed. It has a more powerful, pungent and strong flavour when compared to other spices.Whole stars can be used as such or they can be grounded as well. A note to keep in mind, because of its powerful flavour, only small amounts are used.This spice is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and to a lesser degree in South Asia and Indonesia.
This is my first experience with the spice and I wanted to use it in a completely different manner. Star anise is commonly used in Indian rice or curry and it can also be used in baking or in flavouring fruit salads.

250gms of button mushroom, cleaned and cut into cubes
2 nos star anise
2tsp olive oil
2tsp minced garlic
1stp ground pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
salt to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan and add star anise. Allow it to change it’s colour to blackish brown and add garlic. Let the garlic turn a little brownish and crisp, I like garlic nice and crispy; if you don’t like yours brown or crispy then let it cook only for 30seconds. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Cook on medium flame until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are cooked.Switch off the stove and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot as a side with anything you like! Serves 2.

My tastebuds: I found the flavouring too strong and different from the usual.

The chain of friendship continues and I will be sending secret ingredients to Veena of Kitchen Celebrations and Vidya of The Black Ladle.