Snacking is one of the best way to stay fit and sharing with you this super easy recipe. This recipe is especially good for women as it contains essential nutrients like Iron from dates, Vitamins from sunflower seeds , Protein from i2cook peanut butter, Essential fatty acids from cacao nibs and Calcium & Fiber from chia seeds. The good news is that these energy boosters can be customized to your liking. You can add chocolate chips, walnuts or any kind of ingredient that you like.
200 gms dates, pitted
2tbs i2cook peanut butter
1tbs cacao nibs
1tbs roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 tbs chia seeds or flax seed powder
- Pulse the dates in a blender into fine pieces so that it has enough stickiness to roll into a ball
- In a bowl mix all the ingredients along with dates
- Roll into a ball of desired size
- This can be stored in an air tight container for a week or refrigerated for a month. Yields about 15 medium sized pieces.
If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you would have noticed that I don’t use any refined flours or any other ingredients in my baking. I have been using different kind of flours consciously or sometimes to make use of the left over flours lying in my pantry. Sharing with you a list of unrefined flours which can be used to create tasty and healthy bakes. Whole wheat flour/Atta/Chakki atta – I use whole wheat flour in almost everything I bake from cakes, breads,cupcakes to muffins. It is my best substitute to refined maida or white flour. This flour is a safe bet and if you are slowly switching over from white to whole flour, I suggest that you start with wheat flour. Your cakes or breads may turn out dense initially but you will soon learn to mix flours to give your bakes some nice body and lightness. Recipe for Apple Cake using whole wheat flour.
Ragi or finger millet – gluten-free and can give a little sandy taste at times. I personally, like to mix ragi with either one or more flours and some almond meal to combine a nutty taste. Recipe for gluten-free banana bread or egg-less chocolate cupcake.
Amaranth flour – this gluten-free and high on protein flour can be used in combination with various flour mixes. Amaranth flour tends to impart a strong flavor which may not be appealing to some. However, if the proportion of this flour in the baked item is less, you can add only the amaranth flour, like the gluten-free brownies or chocolate cake. Trying using amaranth & chocolate together, they are a match made in heaven! Recipe for Amaranth Brownies.
Brown rice flour – It is best to use in very small proportions. Brown rice flour is high on fiber as compared to the white flour. This flour can be used to make banana bread or cookies.
Buckwheat or Kuttu – this rarely found nutty flour can be a baker’s delight. Buckwheat like amaranth goes extremely well with chocolate and can be used in a lot of your baked dishes. Recipe for Chocolate Cake.
Corn flour or makki ka atta – This is another flour which should be used in small proportions, mixed with other flours. It is high on fiber. Do not confuse this flour to the refined corn flour which is used in Chinese dishes.
Cornmeal – Corn meal is also famously known as polenta. It is called polenta because the consumers don’t confuse it to be made of any other dish and also to indicate that it is ideal for making polenta. I had made this delicious cake with this ingredient once. This ingredient is coarse in nature unlike other flours. The other types of gluten-free flours are bajra (pearl millet) or jowar (sorghum) which I’m assuming will work well when mixed with other flours.
These flours work great in combination, rather than using just one flour due to its non-glutenous nature. Whole wheat works great for baking breads but you could also use finger millet or amaranth for that extra nutrition. You can also find mixed millet flours available in most of the organic shops which I’m yet to try. Different recipes call for different flours and I’ve been trying to include as many flours I can in my baking. The choice of using flours is up to you but the proportions is what you should be looking at closely. For eg: If you are using whole wheat and finger millet in a recipe, you could use 2:1 or can be even reduced to half the quantity in some recipes. The reason being that finger millet and most other flours come with a strong flavor and sometimes may over power your baked dish in taste and colour. Here is a quick recipe for you to start getting acquainted with unrefined ingredients.
Ingredients for Cranberry Coffee Cake
200 gms whole wheat flour
50 gms corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 gms butter (salted)
2 free range eggs
250 gms coconut sugar
200 gms frozen or dried cranberries/blueberries
1 vanilla bean split powder
100 ml milk
25 gms chopped almonds
Recipe for Cranberry Coffee Cake
- Pre-heat oven at 180 degree centigrade
- Sieve, weigh and measure all the dry ingredients, flours and baking powder
- If using frozen cranberries, coarse grind them with vanilla and not into a fine paste
- Measure butter and coconut sugar and beat until well combined
- Add egg one by one and beat until it is well in combined with the butter and sugar mixture
- Combine both the dry and wet ingredients. Add cranberries and mix well
- Add milk and mix well until well combined
- Add this cake mixture into a greased pan, garnished with chopped almonds
- Bake for 40 minutes. Once done, allow it to sit for 10 minutes in the pan, before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.
- Eat warm with your favorite choice of toppings.
Today, on this world health day, I would like to talk about the super food “quinoa”. Diabetics being the prime most concern; over 30 million Indians have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is time for us to wake up and spend some time thinking about what we consume. That eat as you wish attitude is costing us our health and financially, hospital bills too.
This locally grown ingredient (Yes, locally grown, no more importing) is a super seed which can be consumed as a grain. The first project of growing quinoa was started by a farmer in India with the aid of our Government as a testing ground to see if this seed can be grown in a similar way as millets are commonly grown. The success of one farmer encouraged forty others to grow quinoa in the same region. This is a big change and this new revolution will not only help to provide farming with less water belts or drought laden area with a new crop, but will also encourage consumers to include it in their diet. This is a great news for Indian market, however the high price is still catering to the urban market. It is believed that as the demand rises and more and more farmers believe in the product there will be a huge change in the diet of several health affected Indians. Lets keep our fingers crossed.
Quinoa is a seed, the size of a millet. On cooking, it becomes translucent and the germ of the seed uncoils to form a little tail. Its leaves are not only fit for human consumption like any other green leafy vegetable but the excess of it can also be used as a fodder for cattle.
i2cook Quinoa is close to amaranth (millet) in terms of nutritional value. Here is the comparison between i2cook quinoa and amaranth seeds. However, it is difficult to use amaranth seeds in salads or pulav due to its sticky or non fluffy nature. i2cook Quinoa works great in salads and in pulav!
i2cook Quinoa can be cooked in a similar way as rice 1:2 ration, 1 cup of quinoa : 2 cups of water with a dash of rock salt in a pressure cooker (cook until one whistle) or in a pot, cook for 13 minutes. Quinoa from i2cook can also be sprouted to enjoy maximum anti oxidants.
i2cook Quinoa can be used as a substitute to your rice dishes or salads or in pretty much everything. I enjoy one bowl meal during summer and like to use quinoa as a base accompanied by lots and lots of vegetables. We recently made a burrito bowl for lunch and it made a nice wholesome and a lite meal. We served only 2 tbs of quinoa per person which was enough to take care of our daily nutrient in take.
i2cook Quinoa is grown without pesticide, non GMO and the main advantage of our quinoa is that you don’t have to rinse it many times as it does not contain any saponin which imparts a bitter taste if not rinsed several times.
My all time favorite snack is banana bread. It is not only easy to make but it is so tasty and healthy! The best part about banana bread is that you can always play with different ingredients. I usually make banana bread with whole wheat flour. This time, I wanted to try the gluten-free version by using millet flours that were lying in my pantry for sometime. I’ve made this bread couple of times as this particular recipe has become one of my new favorite. I’ve used two types of millets – pearl and amaranth. The addition of almond meal gives this banana bread a nice texture and a nutty taste. Coconut oil is something that I love using in my banana bread as it imparts a pleasant aroma and is also an healthy option when compared to butter. More about coconut oil here and coconut sugar here.
75 gms finger millet flour or ragi
75 gms amaranth flour
50 gms almond meal
1 medium sized or two small over ripe banana, mashed
80 gms coconut oil (some extra to grease the pan)
80 gms coconut sugar
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
few pieces choco chips or cocao nibs (optional)
- Preheat the oven at 160 degree centigrade and grease a 8 by 4 inch loaf pan or equivalent.
- Sieve the flours along with baking soda and salt.
- Add coconut oil, coconut sugar and beat until mixed well. Add egg and lightly beat.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients (with mashed banana) and mix some choco chips gently with the help of a spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until its done based on your oven settings.
- Allow it to cool on a wire rack for about one hour before slicing.
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.
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
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)
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.
I’ve been addictive to these blondies and everyone at home just love it! These are made with real nuts and addition of choco chips makes these an heavenly treat.
Baking with nut butters negates the use of butter since nut butters contain their own fat/oil. You can use any nut butter as the main ingredient and these can be made vegan or gluten free or flour-less. Blondies are like brownies but contain less of cocoa or chocolate. As the name suggests, they are brown in colour. They are great as a snack or you could have them as dessert with some ice-cream.
500 gms nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter
2 eggs or 30 gms flax seed powder lightly beaten with 6 tbs of water for egg-less version
1 tsp baking soda
120 gms raw sugar
25 gms choco chips
20 gms nuts or cocao nibs
Note: I usually prefer to add some crunch to my blondies by adding cocao nibs or nuts
- Measure all the ingredients and keep aside.
- Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl.
- Mix the nut butter, raw sugar, soda , choco chips and nuts into the wet mixture very softly.
- Line 10×10 inch baking dish/pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly throughout.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for about 18-20 minutes.
- Once done, allow it to cool before cutting them into desired shapes. Serve warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes about 25 pieces.
Festivals are all about eating…Aren’t they?! 🙂 Today, is the last day of Ganapati visarjan and I thought why not share a simple recipe of one of my favourite and versatile ingredient “coconut sugar“. I’ve made cookies, caramel sauce, kheer and decided to make something new again. Coconut sugar has a very dominating flavor of coffee like caramel. I made use of the ingredients that I had at home and decided to make some coconut sugar ladoos for the festive season. I have used poha or beaten flat rice to make these gluten free ladoos. Just with four ingredients, these ladoos are not only easy to make but can be made in just 15 minutes flat!
2 cups beaten flat rice or brown poha
1/2 tsp cardamon powder
2 tbs of chopped cashew
1 tbs of raisins
1/2 cup ghee
1 cup coconut sugar or more according to your taste
- Lightly toast the flat rice until light brown.
- Allow it to cool and grind in the mixer until fine like powder
- Heat ghee and coconut sugar in the pan until the ingredients melt.
- Add this warm mixture to the flat rice powder with some cardamon powder.
- Mix well until combined.
- Take a tablespoon of mixture in your palm and round them into a ball.
- These balls tend to be soft in nature. Be careful to place them on a plate and allow it to sit for half an hour before transferring into a container. They become firm after a while. I made 20 ladoos. Store in an air tight container upto 15 days. I’ve noticed that they taste better after two days.
I hope I have convinced you enough about this versatile sweetener. You can buy coconut sugar here…
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!
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
- Combine the carrot, tofu, chilli and sprouts in a bowl.
- Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and lime juice. Add a teaspoon of water and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place this mixture on each lettuce piece and garnish with basil, peanuts. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively lay out the ingredients and allow everyone to assemble their own. Serves 2-4.
More recipes on peanut butter
Polenta is a new ingredient that I have been exploring in different ways, a cake is what I came up with; different isnt it? It is also a gluten free ingredient. Gluten is a protein found in many grains like wheat, bulgur (dalia), couscous, oats etc. A lot of people these days are either being diagnosed as gluten intolerant or choose to go on a gluten free diet for various reasons. What I realized was that polenta is a great ingredient to work with! From savory to sweet, it knows how exactly to blend in with its fellow ingredients. Polenta is also a great substitute for mashed potatoes or you could also serve them as a side in your steaks or bakes.
Polenta cake has a nice moist, grainy and crumbly texture. The minute I saw the finished cake, I knew it has to be good! This cake can be served with your tea/coffee or as a dessert. I recently had some guests at home and served it with some poached peaches, infused with vanilla. You could also use mixed poached fruits to give it a nice colorful and fruitful appeal. I also served mine with some cream cheese. However, my friends on the second serving suggested that ice-cream would be a really good option.
100 gms fine polenta
100 gms ground almond or almond meal
100 gms butter at room temperature
100 gms raw sugar
5 gms baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or pure vanilla powder
- Sieve polenta and baking powder in a bowl. Add almond meal and mix. Keep this dry mix aside.
- Mix the butter and sugar in a separate bowl. Add eggs and mix until creamy in texture.
- Add vanilla and dry mix to this wet mixture. Mix until combined. Do not mix vigorously.
- Put this mixture in a round cake pan and bake at 180 degree centigrade in a pre heated oven for about 25 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
- Test the cake by inserting a tooth pick and checking if the center is cooked. Cool on a wire rack for at two hours and serve warm or cold with ice-cream or some poached fruits.
I’ve noticed that the cake tastes much better the next day or on a third day. You can store this cake at room temperature for 3 days in cold weather condition.
Ingredients like polenta & raw sugar are available at i2cook.com.