Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homemade Hummus (It's healthy but I tried to make it healthier) ♥




I love that I have started eating healthy and the fact that I have to update the blog and also that I can get bored of eating the same stuff daily, makes me want to try out healthy alternatives to the foods I love to eat. Hummus is one of my favorite things, mainly coz it is rich in Manganese and is very very healthy, not to forget extremely tasty. I saw a recipe online the other day and I knew I had to try it. So here it goes :)

Homemade Hummus - The Healthier Version. Recipe from here, and the Tahini recipe is from here if you want to try it out. But I just combined the two. You can also just use store bought Tahini instead. But I'd suggest you try the fresh version. You can also substitute Tahini with 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter. Makes a huge jar full of Hummus.

Ingredients:

4 cups canned Chickpeas, But I suggest using fresh so 1 cup of raw uncooked Chickpeas.
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Olive Oil (combined for Tahini + Hummus)
2 large cloves of Garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds (I used my Roasted Cumin Powder)
Salt, Sugar to taste
Parsley
A sprinkle of Paprika or Cayenne Pepper Powder.


Method:

Soak the Chickpeas in water overnight with 1/2 tablespoon Baking Soda. In the morning, change the water and let them soak for 5 more hours. Changing the water frequently actually makes you less gassy as per the recipe. Then cook them for 90 minutes on medium low with the rest of the Baking Powder and water, till they become soft enough that they mash up when you press them between your fingers. If you're using canned Chickpeas, you just need to get to the boiling part directly. I actually pressure cooked my Chickpeas for 10 minutes on high and they were pretty much done.
By this time, the skins of the Chickpeas were floating on top of the water and some of them were resting above the Chickpeas in the water. You need to remove them, if you can. No pressure here. But do make sure that you thoroughly wash them, even if they are mushy, coz you do not want to feel gassy later. Before you wash them, save 1 cup of the boiling water for back up. You need to get rid of all the froth and scum from the Chickpeas.

While my Chickpeas were in the pressure cooker, I just quickly dry roasted the Sesame seeds. Now you need to miss this paragraph if you already have Tahini at home, or are using Peanut Butter instead. But Tahini is basically just dry roasted Sesame Seeds blended with Olive Oil till they become a soft pourable paste. So I let the dry roasted Sesame Seeds cool a bit.
Next, in a blender I blended together the Sesame seeds (not to be used if you are using Tahini/Peanut Butter, in which case you just add the 2 tablespoons of Tahini/Peanut Butter instead of the Sesame Seeds), Garlic, Cumin, Lemon, Salt, Sugar (Optional) and threw in some Chickpeas too, and added some oil. Blended them really fine into a paste, and repeated it for all the Chickpeas and consumed the whole 1/2 cup of Olive Oil stage by stage. If you have a big enough blender though, just throw everything together and blitz. You need to have a consistency little bit thinner than what you desire, and if it gets too thick, feel free to add the cooking water from Chickpeas at this stage. Voila! You're done. This Hummus is amazingly light and delicious, decorate it with a good drizzle of Olive Oil and sprinkle Cayenne Pepper on top. Sprinkle chopped Parsley too, but I did not have it at the moment so I just decorated it with a tiny sprig of Cilantro/Coriander.
It stores quite well! Use it as a dip with your Pita Bread, or in a Chicken Salad, or as a dip with vegetables which is my favorite way to consume them these days. Dipped in Hummus! I really recommend this recipe!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate - The Low Fat Version



Valentine's Day cannot be complete for me without something either Chocolate or Red. But I have been trying to eat healthy and I know that I am so addicted to this baby that I would be making it more than once - So Thank God for the low fat version!! Well nothing beats the normal version which is an epitome of decadence but honestly I'd rather compromise on that rather than go on the guilt trip every other day. So here it goes:


Red Velvet Hot Chocolate - The Low Fat Version
recipe from here. Very loosely adapted!
Makes 2 medium sized servings or 1 extra large serving.

Ingredients:

1 cup Whole Milk
2 tbsp Water
2 tbsp Sugar (or as per your preference)
2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips (you can use normal chocolate too)
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
2 drops Vanilla Essence/1 drop Vanilla Extract
A drop of Red Food Coloring.


Toppings:

I went sans toppings, but I'd suggest Marshmallows for the Low Fat Version. The original recipe has a mouth watering recipe for Cream Cheese Whipped Cream which you should totally check out if you're not counting calories!
Update : In the pic above, I did add Whipped Cream on top! - 8 January 2012.


Method:

Heat everything except the Red color in a pan. Stir constantly and ensure that the chocolate is melted. What I did half way through the heating was actually blended the mixture for a few seconds and it really made up for the Velvet texture part of it. Pour it back into the pan and continue heating, add the Red Color and stir well. Top it with your favorite toppings and serve hot! Wasn't that super easy?! You don't even have to worry about the extra calories. Rich in anti-oxidants due to the Dark Chocolate and the Cocoa, if this does not taste like Red Velvet Valentine spirit, I don't know what will! Serve Hot. Or room temperature. Or cold. It tastes great all the way! Belated Happy Valentine's Day to everyone :)



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Green Peas and Cilantro Soup with Roasted Cumin Powder




It's been quite long since I posted something here. I have been trying to be eating healthier, while not starving myself in the name of "diet". I made myself this soup today. Healthy, hearty, and so full of flavor, if you ever experienced a feeling of lightness and at the same time experienced a sense of fulfillment, that's the feeling you get when you have a spoon, or a bowlful of this. And then you might consider getting some extras too.


Creamy Green Peas and Cilantro Soup with Roasted Cumin Powder
Source: Self Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 1/2 cup Green Peas
A handful of Cilantro/Coriander (Stem and all)
1/2 cup Milk (I used low fat milk, you can use cream too)
1 medium sized Onion, roughly cut into 4
4 big cloves of Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Pepper to taste

Method

In a dry pan, roast the Cumin seeds till they change color to a dark brown and give out it's aroma. Let them cool for few minutes, then grind them into a powder. I actually made it in bulk and stored it in an air tight bottle for further use. This powder is seriously good, and can save many-a-meals go downhill.

In a pan, heat the oil, and while it's still heating toss in the Garlic and Onions, and sauté them for a minute. Toss in the Green Peas, Cilantro, and give it a stir and add the Water. At this point I lightly salted my broth, and made adjustments later. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Blend the boiled broth along with the milk, until it forms a smooth, silky mixture. Then pour it back to the pan and re-heat it, adjusting for Salt and Pepper. Garnish with the Roasted Cumin Powder. It makes all the difference!


I thought I'd need a salad to go along with this, but it satisfied me enough to have considered it a complete meal in itself. Enjoy :)

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