Asian Style Turkey Stir Fry

There isn’t much to say about this recipe other than it is quick, easy, low fat and great if you want to throw something together after the gym or after work. To make it low carb leave out the rice but I am a huge rice fan so….

I am a big believer that if you don’t have every ingredient in a recipe just improvise with what is in the cupboard or fridge. So if you don’t have all the ingredients don’t worry – go with what you have!

Serves 2/3

Ingredients

  • 1/3 Cup of Basmati Rice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2/3 Cup Cold Water
  • 250g Lean Turkey Mince
  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 small shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cabbage
  • 1/3 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/2 Inch Piece of Ginger, grated
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Handful of fresh coriander and mint
  • 1 teaspoon of lemongrass paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 2/3 Tablespoons Tamarind Sauce or Soy Sauce

Method

Combine the rice, cumin seeds and water in a pan and bring to the boil

Then turn the heat on low, put the lid on and cook until all the liquid has absorbed and the rice is cooked

Heat the coconut oil and add the onions and sauté until soft

Add the turkey mince, breaking it up as you go until it is browned

Add all the other ingredients except the sesame oil and soy sauce and turn the heat down to medium and keep stirring until the cabbage has cooked

Add in the soy sauce and sesame oil and give everything a good stir – taste for seasoning and add salt if needed although the soy sauce should add enough salt

And thats it! Serve with the rice and enjoy…

Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs

This recipe is so versatile, healthy and satisfying it often forms my go to either as a cocktail party canape or using the leftovers to make a quick supper.  You can also add any vegetables you want as long as they are finely grated into the mix and you can substitute the meat for tofu or paneer (an Indian cheese used in vegetarian dishes).  If you do use tofu or paneer you won’t need the egg.  I use brown rice breadcrumbs to keep it gluten free as well.  They store really well for a few days or are equally good to freeze once cooked.

If you want to use the leftovers as a mid-week dinner, I make a simple tomato sauce in the traditional Italian way and once the sauce is cooked, add in the meatballs until they are warmed through.  It goes really well with mash potatoes, rice or a pasta of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 500g Turkey mince (you can also use Chicken)
  • ¾ Cup Quinoa cooked (according to packet instructions)
  • ¼ Cup brown rice breadcrumbs
  • 1 Carrot, grated (optional)
  • 2 Cloves, Garlic crushed
  • ½ Red Onion, diced
  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil/Olive Oil 
  • 1 Teaspoon, Cumin powder
  • 50g Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 Egg

Method

  1. Heat the oil and sauté the onions until softened and slightly brown, leave aside to cool
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  3. Once cooled, add all the other ingredients together and mix well with your hands
  4. Shape into golf ball size pieces – for canapes you can do them slightly smaller, so they are bitesize
  5. Place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes
  6. Turn over and cook for a further 10 mins – be careful not to overcook otherwise they may become dry
  7. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice – my raita is a great option!

Deconstructed Kebab Rolls

I love kebabs.  The quintessentially Indian food that we grew up eating and served in naan bread or roti as street food in India.  But they always sit uncomfortably in my stomach given the combination of ingredients most commonly used, so I tend to avoid them.  Wheat and red meat do not combine well in the gut and can cause bloating, digestive distress and that heavy, sleepy feeling you get from a big meal.  When I started cooking and trying to find delicious alternatives for my favourite dishes (as my digestion could no longer tolerate a lot of them!), kebabs were the first place I wanted to start.  As I started my cooking class this dish became a consistent favourite but I also wanted to add some freshness to the dish to cut through the red meat and give you a lovely summer bbq dish that is simple and easy to make.

You can serve this with naan bread or rotis on the side for those who are looking for a more traditional version and you can cook the kebabs in the oven or on the barbecue.  I prefer lamb but the recipe works equally well with beef too. I use rice flour which is fantastic to keep it gluten free – I hope you love these as much as I do!

Ingredients

For the spinach paste

For the Kebabs

  • 500g Lean Mince (lamb or beef whatever you prefer)
  • 1 Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • Green Chillies to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp. Coriander/Cumin powder
  • 1 Inch piece of ginger (skin on), grated
  • 1 cup of Fresh Coriander
  • 1-2 tbsp. Rice Flour
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. For the spinach paste put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you have a paste – it won’t be completely smooth but it shouldn’t be too chunky either. Keep some spinach leaves aside for garnishing
  2. For the kebabs – gently fry the onion in the ghee until they are softened but not browned.  Set aside to cool
  3. Put the mince, egg, spices, coriander and grated ginger in a bowl and give it a good mix with your hands
  4. Once the onions have cooled, add them in and mix well again
  5. Add the rice flour a little at a time until the mixture binds together well and the mix holds its shape in your hands
  6. Chill for at least 30 mins, the longer you can leave it the better
  7. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
  8. Once chilled, shape the kebabs into sausage shapes.  Wet your hands before you start so the meat doesn’t stick to them
  9. Place them on a foiled backing tray and cook for about 15 mins
  10. Turn them over and put the grill on for another 10 mins of cooking to give them a lovely brown colour (alternatively you can cook them entirely on the barbecue)
  11. Spread the spinach paste on the bottom of the serving dish, lay across sliced tomatoes and add the kebabs on top.  Place a spinach leaf on top of each kebab and a dollop of raita.
  12. To create a more traditional roll spread the spinach inside a naan or roti, insert the kebab and top with my tomato relish and traditional raita.

Khichdi – The Magical Food

As kids whenever we felt sick or got a cold we were given Khichdi.  It was like this magical elixir that just made everything better.  A humble dish made from rice and lentils cooked together, it has been slowly creeping into the mainstream as a superfood as it has the perfect balance of elements to calm the body and improve energy, immunity and digestion.  In India they do Khichdi cleanses – eating nothing but Khichdi for 2 to 3 days – as it acts like a sweeper in the gut, clearing out blockages whilst promoting the growth of good bacteria.  Moong beans are also a great source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium and contain all 10 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.  For vegetarians (and vegans) like my Mother it is an essential part of her diet.  I use split moong dal so that it cooks quickly.  If you don’t find split dal you can use whole moong beans but be sure to cook it first otherwise it won’t cook properly in this recipe.  The quantities below would feed about 4 people – or in my case I can eat the entire lot in one sitting!

For me I love the comfort factor of this dish, especially when it is cold outside.  Its like a warm comfort blanket making me feel great inside and out.  Try it and let me know what you think! I add vegetables like spinach towards the end of cooking for some extra nutritional benefits but that is totally optional.

This recipe is also vegan friendly (just omit the ghee or butter), vegetarian and gluten free.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6)

1 Cup Split Green Moong Daal

0.75 Cup Uncooked Basmati Rice 

5 Cups Water

1 tsp Turmeric

2inch stick of cinnamon 

Butter or Ghee to taste

Salt to taste

  1. Wash the lentils and rice thoroughly – until the water runs clear preferably
  2. Add everything except the ghee to the pan and season with a good pinch of salt
  3. Bring to the pan to a rolling boil on a medium/high heat
  4. Remove any foam that forms on the top, cover and reduce the heat to low
  5. Depending on what consistency you like keep adding boiling water as it dries out – 5 cups as stated above will make it wet but not runny, if you want it more runny then add a bit more water
  6. Overall it should take 20 to 30 minutes to be cooked through – check the seasoning as you go along and add salt as desired
  7. If using, add baby spinach leaves in the last few minutes of cooking and let them wilt into the Khichdi
  8. Once cooked, remove from the heat and stir through a little ghee (you can also use butter which I prefer from a taste perspective)

 

Khichdi freezes really well so I tend to make a big batch and then freeze – when you are ready to eat just let it defrost a little, add some boiling water and heat gently in a pan until warmed through.  Delicious!

Healthy Indian Cooking Classes with AirBnb experiences

2018 has started out as a exciting year of cooking, healthy food, getting into shape for the summer and I kicked off by launching my Healthy Indian Cooking Classes with AirBnb experiences.  I have had some fantastic people come and learn with me at my home in Notting Hill and it was been wonderful meeting people from all over the world including Japan, Russia, USA and Malta.

I am a passionate home cook and foodie who loves to cook using recipes handed down through my family but with a healthy twist.  I have been on my own journey to sort out my digestive health and I believe in connecting the gut and mind through cooking delicious and flavourful food, ensuring healthy food doesn’t have to be bland or boring.

In the heart of Notting Hill I teach how to cook authentic Indian food, look at how to build flavour using herbs and spices.  I ensure every ingredient I use has a benefit to the body from spices such as turmeric and cumin to other elements to create balance in the body.

If you want to sign up please check it out on Airbnb Experiences and have a look on the calendar for available dates.  If you don’t see a date you can do please get in touch and I will try to accommodate you. Lets get cooking!

 

 

Traditional Chicken Curry

This is amazing if you want a quick and easy chicken curry that will satisfy your family and friends.  It is one of my most requested dishes on my Healthy Indian Cooking Classes with AirBnb experiences.  I try to use organic chicken where possible not just for the fact that it won’t have any hormones or nasties in it but also when it cooks it doesn’t give out water which will make your sauce too runny.  We want a nice thick, tomato sauce and I find organic chicken gives the best result.  Good quality free range should also be fine if you want a cheaper alternative.

For the cooking oil I like to use grass fed ghee.  You can find this in most supermarkets now but you can also use coconut oil.  I personally don’t want any coconut flavour in my chicken curry (I prefer to use it in my South Indian Fish Curry recipe also on the blog) but it really is a personal choice.  It won’t make a difference to how you make the curry.  Ghee also has so many benefits compared to other cooking oils.  It strengthens your bones, promotes healthy weight loss, has a high smoke point and it is loaded with fat soluble vitamins.  if you want more information on all the health benefits check out Dr Axe’s post on Ghee vs. Butter

I also learnt a great tip from my Mother when cooking with meat.  In any sauce based meat curry dish, always add the spices onto the raw meat/chicken and let the meat/chicken seal with the spices.  This will ensure the meat/chicken retains the flavours of the spices which will add more depth to the overall dish.

If you want an additional hit of veggies I like to add spinach in as well.  You don’t really notice it to be honest and it just boosts the nutritional value of the dish.  I add this at the very end so as not to overcook it but you can also add kale or any other green leafy vegetable.  If you are using kale, add it about 5 mins before the end of the cooking time to give it time to soften but not overcook.  And my last tip is to add the lime juice once you have turned off the heat.  That way you preserve all the alkaline properties of the lime juice.  Cooking the lime juice alters its composition so you will notice in all my recipes I add it in once I have turned off the heat for maximum nutrition!

I like to serve this with rice (white or brown whatever you prefer), Cucumber Raita and my very traditional Tomato and Onion Salad.

This recipe is dairy and gluten free.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tbsp. Grass Fed Ghee (or Coconut Oil)

4 Chicken breasts, diced

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 Red Onion chopped finely

1 to 2 Green Chillies (depending on taste), finely chopped

1 tbsp. Turmeric powder

3 tbsp. Cumin/Coriander powder

1 tsp Garam Masala

300 ml Passata

100ml Chicken Stock

1 tbsp. Tomato Puree

Handful fresh coriander

Juice of half a lime

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds to the cold oil
  2. Once the seeds start to change colour and sizzle, add the onion and chilli and fry until the onion is soft
  3. Add the chicken and stir
  4. Add the spices – Turmeric, 2 tbsp of Cumin/Coriander powder, Garam Masala
  5. Cook the spices through for a few minutes and until the chicken is sealed on the outside
  6. Add the Passata, Chicken stock and tomato puree
  7. Stir well and bring to a simmer
  8. At this point add the 1 remaining tablespoon of Cumin/Coriander powder
  9. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 20 minutes
  10. Once the sauce is has thickened turn off the heat and add the lime juice and fresh coriander

Serve with plain rice or for different options take a look at my post The Mystery of Rice.

Enjoy!

Greens, Greens, Greens

We all know that greens are an essential part of our diet. I know – yawn! Anyone wanting to get healthier needs to factor them in.  But oh dear, they are so boring. I never used to eat greens but when I started having digestive issues I realised I needed to eat more to keep my gut healthy and get the nutrients I need. But I had to find a way to make greens more palatable and interesting, otherwise I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep them as a regular feature in my diet! It goes with my entire aim of making healthy food tasty and delicious and hopefully after you try my recipes you will agree with me too!

My parents are Indian but born in East Africa. So whilst Indian food tends to have a lot of sauces, curries and dahls, the East African twist of my Mother’s cooking tends to mean vegetable dishes are more dry and don’t have much sauce. I personally love this because it means the dishes can accompany almost anything. I tend not to overpower the vegetables with too strong flavours from the spices, so you can serve this with other types of food not just Indian!

This dish is really quick and easy and you can substitute the green beans for any sturdy vegetable – broccoli, peas, asparagus, kale, cabbage –  it really is whatever you fancy!

A tip on tomato puree. It is always better to add this at the start of the cooking process to allow the tomato puree to cook properly. This removes any bitterness and will bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes in the paste.

Again this is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian. Keeping those allergens in check 😉

Ingredients 

1.5 tsp Coconut Oil

200g Green beans, finely chopped

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

Fresh Green Chilies, finely chopped, to taste (I use 1 or 2 normally)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. Tomato Puree

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp. Cumin powder

1 tsp. Coriander Powder

Splash of water

Juice of half a lime or lemon

Handful of fresh coriander

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in the pan over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds
  2. Once they start to pop add in the chopped chillies and onions
  3. Once the onions are soft, add the green beans
  4. Stir fry for a minute and add the tomato paste and spices
  5. Cook for a few more minutes with the lid off, stirring frequently and then add a splash of water
  6. Cover the pan and let the steam fro the water cook the beans through, on a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes
  7. Once the green beans are cooked (I like to keep them slightly al dente), turn off the heat, add the lime juice and fresh coriander

You can serve this as a main dish with some steamed rice (variations on steamed rice can also be found in my post The Mystery of Rice) or as a side dish with chicken or fish.  Delicious!

The Mystery of Rice

It’s probably one of the things I hear the most – how do you make rice?  Well I have a foolproof way to make sure you get it right every time.  And also a few variations to keep things interesting.  This is the link to my recipe for Vegetable Pilaf Rice. 

First things first, I always use Basmati rice.  My method works every time with Basmati rice but other types of rice – risotto, long grain etc – will have different cooking methods.  I love the texture and consistency with the brand Amira Basmati Rice but any brand of Basmati rice should have the same result.

So the basic rule of thumb is one part rice to two parts liquid. Wash the rice thoroughly to remove some of the excess starch. Put the rice and water over a high heat, bring to the boil and then turn the heat on low, put the lid on and cook until the water is all absorbed.  That’s it! I promise you will get fluffy, perfectly cooked rice every time.

For any variations, as long as you keep the proportion of liquid to rice the same (ie 2:1) the result will be great.  In my Vegetable Pilaf Rice recipe, I only use 1.5 cups of water because the blended tomato mixture makes up the other 0.5 cups for 1 cup of rice.  So again, in total we are keeping the ratio the same.

Here are some other ideas to give keep things interesting, the method of cooking is the always the same.  As a general rule of thumb one cup of rice is enough for 3/4 people.

  1. Coconut rice:  1 cup of rice, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of water
  2. Cumin rice:  1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water – add 1 tsp of cumin seeds along with the water
  3. Jasmine Rice:  1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water.  Before you start cooking take one cup of boiling water and add 2 Jasmin teabags to it and let brew for 5 mins.  Remove the teabags and add this tea as well as 1 plain cup of water to the rice and cook as normal.
  4. Tomato rice (great for kids):  1 Cup of rice, 1.5 cups of water, 0.5 cup of blended fresh tomatoes
  5. Green rice:  For a great vegetable hit blend together spinach and water to give you 2 cups worth of liquid and use that to cook 1 cup of rice.

I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to jazz up rice and means you will get perfect rice every time…Let me know how you get long!

 

Vegetarian Delights: Cauliflower and Peas Keema

Lamb Keema is probably my favourite dish of all time. Whenever I have been away from home and I go to see my Mother it is always the dish I request to come home to.  It’s the ultimate comfort food for me.  However I wanted to come up with a vegetarian version that would give that same comfort food feel but suitable for vegetarians.  This is another hit with my vegetarian and non-vegetarian students on my Healthy Indian Cooking Classes with AirBnb experiences.

As we normally serve Lamb Keema with rice I started with the idea of cauliflower rice which, has been become so popular in recent years and then added some fresh tomatoes, spices, ginger and garlic to enrich it, along with peas.  You can also add other vegetables if you want some variety – carrots, sweetcorn, green beans, broccoli – pretty much any sturdy vegetable will work.  Leafy greens don’t work so well as they make the dish a little soggy and watery.  With regards to the tomatoes, spices, ginger, garlic etc you don’t need to worry about chopping these finely or perfectly as once they are cooked we are going to blend them into a smooth paste.

In order to get the feel of Lamb Keema in this version I like to chop the vegetables really finely.  The easiest way to do this with cauliflower is in an electric blender but you can also grate it as well (although this a little more labour intensive).  If you decide to use any other vegetables try to chop them as finely as you can and all the same size so you get a lovely consistency and texture in the final dish.  Be careful not to overcook the veggies, you want them to keep their shape and not be too soft and soggy.

This is a great vegan dish, diary and gluten free too.

Ingredients

1 Cauliflower head, finely chopped

1 cup peas (you can use frozen)

2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 Medium onions, roughly chopped 

1 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp Ghee or Coconut Oil

1 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tbsp water

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Coriander to garnish

Lime Juice (from half a lime)

 

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds
  2. Once the cumin seeds change colour, add the onion and fry until soft
  3. Add the spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and fry until the tomatoes soften
  4. Let the mixture cool slightly and then place into a blender and blend until smooth
  5. Heat the other tsp. of oil and fry the cauliflower for a few minutes until tender, but don’t overcook.  If you are using other harder vegetables such as carrots add them in as well.
  6. Adds the peas and tomato mixture and cook until the oil separates
  7. Season, turn off the heat and squeeze a little lime juice over the top and stir through
  8. Garnish with coriander and serve

 

My Grandfather’s favourite: Tomato and Onion Relish

This is an incredibly traditional salad but so so simple.  My Mother used to say that  my Grandfather would not sit at the table to eat unless this simple salad was served with the food. This goes fantastically with my Traditional Chicken Curry but will also work with any curry based dish. You might also think “how can anyone eat raw onions” but I promise you once you have let it marinade in the lime juice you won’t feel like you are eating raw onions. It is also best with red onions or shallots as they have a sweeter flavour to being with. I usually make it before I start cooking so it has the maximum amount of time to marinade but don’t make it too far in advance as the tomatoes can get soggy.

This has been the surprise hit with my students who come along for the my Healthy Indian Cooking Classes with AirBnb experiences and I am sure you will love it too.  Go easy on the chilli powder but, of course, you can adjust it to your taste!

I have a note on nightshades in another blog post so you should avoid this dish if you are trying to cut down on nightshades because of the raw tomatoes.

This recipe is raw vegan, gluten free and dairy free!

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 large ripe tomatoes (I like to use large tomatoes on the vine)

1 Shallot or red onion

Juice of 2 limes

1 to 2 tsp of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

1 to 2 tsp of Chilli Powder

Method

  1. Very finely chop the tomatoes and onion
  2. Add the lime juice, salt and chilli and let marinade for at least 30 mins.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and let please let me know what you think! 🙂