Saturday, July 30, 2011


Chef Jose Andres says he married his wife Patricia because of this Gazpacho recipe. Since he is a great chef and just so lovely, and it's the summer, we've been having Gazpacho very often.

Another reason we love Gazpacho is because it makes a large batch and not much work.
The garnish below is recommended, but change it around to make it different each time.
If you are serving this at a party keep a large tray of the many garnish options– hard boiled eggs, jamon serrano, cucumber, shallots, cherry tomatoes, smoked cod / salmon, peppers etc and have your guests compile their soup bowls with their garnish combination. Pour cold Gazpacho over the garnish and drizzle some very good quality extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar.

The below recipe has been changed slightly from the original recipe– I added more garlic and added hard boiled egg to the garnish. 

Serves 4
For the Gazpacho
2 pounds ripe red tomatoes
8 ounces cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)
3 ounces green pepper (about 1/2 bell pepper)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
For the Garnish
1 tablespoon Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice rustic white bread
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 hard-boiled eggs, yolk discarded
2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Sea salt to taste
6 leaves of basil
  1. Cut out the top of the tomatoes, and chop the tomatoes roughly into quarters. Place in the blender.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut into chunks. Add to the tomatoes in the blender. Cut the pepper in half, and remove the core along with the seeds. Again, chop into large pieces and place in the blender.
  3. Add the garlic and sherry vinegar to the vegetables and blend until the mixture becomes a thick liquid. At this point the red tomatoes will turn a wonderful pink color. Taste for acidity. This will vary with the sweetness of the tomatoes. If it’s not balanced enough, add a little more vinegar. Add the olive oil and season with salt to taste. 
  4. Re-blend, then pour the gazpacho through a strainer into a pitcher. Place in the fridge to cool for at least half an hour.
  5. While the gazpacho is chilling, prepare the garnish. In a small pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame and fry the bread until golden, about 2 minutes. Break into small pieces to form croutons and set aside.
  6. To serve, place in each bowl 4 croutons, 4 cherry tomato halves, 3 cucumber cubes, and 3 onion segments. Add a few drops of olive oil to each onion segment and drizzle a little more oil around the bowl. Add a few drops of vinegar to each cucumber cube and drizzle a little more around the bowl. Sprinkle sea salt on the tomatoes, and sprinkle the chives across the bowl. Serve when the gazpacho is refreshingly chilled.
If you want to be original, buy yellow or even green tomatoes. You’ll surprise your guests. Also, if you want to save time, you can simplify the garnish immensely: just use a few cubes of cucumber, tomato, and green pepper.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Steamed Asian Hake (Merluza)

Quick. Easy. No Mess. One Dish. Makes a small / large quantity. Healthy.
Those are the factors that are required for a good weeknight dinner.

My husband made this for us last night, and it hit the spot.
We used frozen fish instead of fresh as the fish counters were shut by the time we got to the store, but it still worked well.

We also made it again this afternoon (read above: quick, easy, no mess, one dish, makes the quantity you need and healthy!) and made it with fresh salmon. It was just as good, if not better! 

Serves 2 
Step 1
Make the sauce:
In a mixing bowl, mix together 3 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced long, 1 long scallion and 5 small whole dried red chillies. 
Marinate 300 gms of Hake (Merluza) with the above sauce.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
In a lined baking tray place a large sheet of foil.
Place the fish with all the sauce along with 6–7 green beans and seal the foil shut loosely, creating space between the fish and the foil to allow it to steam.
Bake for 15 –20 minutes.

Serve over brown or white rice. Enjoy! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sesame Tuna Burgers with Zuccini Crisps and Cucumber Salad


After his first bite into the burger, my husband asked me to make this for him once a week. He also said that it was a great substitute for a meat burger! 
Hence, I figured this recipe was definitely worth the blog.

I read this recipe on Epicurious through the epi app on my iPhone and was curious to make it. And the tuna looked so fresh at the market that it was a must make.

The recipe has been tweaked to make it healthier, as we know, I am currently trying to shed all the pregnancy weight I put on and more, keeping in mind that I am still nursing my son, I need a balance of protein, vegetable and good carbohydrates. 

The recipe called for the zucchini to be grated and then deep-fried to create zucchini fries. To save on the deep-frying I opted to baking it, however, that didn't turn out too well. The next time around I would thinly slice the zucchini and pan fry it with salt and pepper to give it a semi-crisp texture and it would be easier too! 

Tuna Burger
1 lb or .5 kilo sushi-grade tuna steaks, cut into 3/4-inch pieces)
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil 
2 fresh green chilies, finely minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

4 Hamburger breads

2 tsp Mustard
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
Fresh cilantro, to garnish

Zucchini Crisps
4 zucchinis, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste

1. Toast sesame seeds
Toast sesame seeds in the middle rack of a preheated oven at 350F for 12–15 minutes.
Stirring frequently.
Let it cool completely and transfer to a shallow plate. 
Mix in breadcrumbs.

2. Marinate tuna
In a large mixing bowl, mix together tuna pieces, soya sauce, oil, chili, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Let it sit for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare burgers
Divide the tuna mixture into four equal portions.
Invert onto seeds in the shallow plate.
Gently press to form a patty 3 1/2--inches in diameter, then coat completely with seeds and transfer to wax-paper lined plate.
Form, coat and transfer 3 more burgers in the same manner. 
Chill, cover with plastic wrap, until ready to cool. 
Discard any sesame seeds remaining in shallow bowl.

4. Zucchini
Thinly slice the zucchini and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat the oils in a large non stick skillet, fry zucchini on both sides in the hot oil. 
Drain on paper towels to soak the extra oil.

5. Cook burgers and assemble dish
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a 12-inch heayy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking.
Cook burgers, turning over once, about 2 minutes total for medium-rare tuna.
Heat the burger buns on the same skillet and smear with mustard and Sriracha sauce
Top with burger and zucchini crisps, garnish with cilantro.

This was also served with a cooling cucumber salad that we had after the burger.

Cucumber Salad
1 large cucumber
6 cherry tomatoes
6–8 large sprigs of cilantro

1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or any Asian chili sauce)
Salt, to taste

1 tsp black sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts

Wash and dry a whole cucumber.
Using a potato peeler, peel the cucumber lengthwise, leaving the core of the cucumber out which has the seeds.
Slice cherry tomatoes lengthwise.
Mix all the ingredients of the dressing together and toss with the cucumber, cilantro leaves and cherry tomatoes.
Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.


The health benefits of sesame seeds are abundant! 
High in copper, which renders a reduction in swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, it also supports blood vessels and bone health.
It is also high in madnesium which reduces migraines and lowers blood pressure.
Calcium is one of its main benefits, which is why I am trying to incorporate it into my diet more now, given that while feeding my baby, more calcium is required. 
They are also high in fiber and phytosterols which can lower blood cholestrol and can improve heart health.

Please note that the above benefits are found online and what I have heard from elders and friends. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

I'll admit, this isn't the ideal weight-loss food, but two stuffed mushrooms as your side isn't that bad either. I made these and served them to my husband and father-in-law. Came back a few minutes later for my share and they were looking at me hoping I'd say I didn't want any and they could finish it instead! 

This recipe is something I threw together based on other stuffed mushroom recipes I've read below and what I had in the kitchen. It is also done similarly in Spain with larger mushrooms. 

Stuffed Mushrooms
  1. In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tbsp unsalted butter.
  2. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks and 1 large garlic clove, sliced.
  3. Just as it begins to brown add 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs.
  4. Once toasted, remove from fire and put it into a bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese and 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley.
  5. Remove the stems from 6 large white mushrooms, wipe dry with a damp kitchen towel and stuff each mushroom with the breadcrumb mixture. 
  6. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the same nonstick skillet and add the stuffed mushrooms. Pan fry on high for 5 minutes and then turn the gas to low and cover for 5 minutes.
  7. The mushrooms should be well browned now. Turn over and press down to render color to the cheese-breadcrumb stuffing and turn over immediately. 


Chicken in Thai Basil

This is my husbands forte. And to be honest, I didn't make this :) And nor is the photo from the one we made… as we were so hungry that day that we forget to take the photo.
But… he does make it fabulously, I have made the same and it does look quite similar. 

We have also made this with sea bass instead of chicken and it is just as great. 

We serve it with brown rice for a healthier meal and add red pepper and green beans for the veggie content of the meal. Quick, easy, and healthy. Works great for when you are trying to lose weight AND have a baby who takes up most of your time. 

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 “bird’s eye” chilies, minced with seeds (use more/less to taste) or any red and green chillies you have access to. 
  • 2 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced
  • 350 gms boneless skinless chicken (1 large breast), cut into cubes 
  • 1/2 large red pepper, julliened
  • 8–10 green beans, ends trimmed, cut into half
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar 
  • 1 big bunch Thai basil or regular basil leaves, stems removed
  • 2 dashes ground white pepper
Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over medium high heat until very hot. 
Add the oil, garlic and chilies and stir fry until until the garlic is very fragrant. 
Add the shallots (or onions) along with the peppers and continue stir frying until the onions have wilted. 
Add the chicken and fry until the fish is cooked.
Stir in the green beans with the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and white pepper. (Add the white pepper in gradually – it can easily overpower if you add too much!)  
If your pan was hot enough you should not have any liquid at the bottom of the pan, but if you do, continue cooking until the liquid is gone. 
Add the basil and toss a couple of time until the leaves are wilted and bright green.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sautéed Green Beans

YUM! That's what I have to say for this!
The burnt garlic and charred but yet crunchy green beans give it that extra edge. 
Works great as a side with any Asian chicken or tofu, or to accompany fried rice.

Sauteed Green Beans
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Fry 6–8 large smashed cloves of garlic.
  2. Add 20 green beans and sauté.
  3. Toss with Sriracha (to taste), a splash of soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce.
  4. Let the garlic burn slightly and then deglaze the pan with vinegar. Scrape the browned bits and toss well.

Mushroom and Broccoli Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are Japanese thin buckwheat noodles (thicker buckwheat noodles are referred to as Udon). They are served chilled or hot in a broth. I like to sauté them the way we would any other Asian noodle stir fry.

Unfortunately, there is no photograph for this dish, but it was good! 

  1. Mix sauce and keep aside– 3 tbsp mushroom sauce, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 3/4 tsp vegetable soup base (or mushroom stock cube), 1 cup water, 1 tbsp Sriracha and 1 tbsp vinegar. 
  2. Sauté 4 spring onions, sliced (white parts only) with 1 clove garlic, sliced and 1-inch ginger, sliced in 1 tbsp vegetable oil. 
  3. Add 1 tbsp black sesame seeds. 
  4. Add 2 cups of sliced dried mushrooms (soaked for 30 minutes in hot water). 
  5. Add 1 large bunch of broccoli and mix well with the sauce. Let it cook for 7 minutes. 
  6. Add 350 grams of soba (buckwheat) noodles. 
  7. Garnish with toasted black sesame seeds and the green part of the spring onions.

Baked Beans

My breakfast every morning is two egg whites with a whole wheat toast. My standard is to make an omelet, but then there is poached and hard-boiled, or fried too. For a break from eggs I also have baked beans.

It is quick and easy, and that is always a big plus with my little Ishaan demanding my attention.

  1. Heat one can of Heinz Baked Beans in a non-stick frying pan
  2. Add 1 fresh green chili, finely chopped with a tbsp of freshly chopped coriander leaves and a dash of vinegar.
  3. Remove from fire and put on top of two whole wheat toasts.
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander 

Chicken Masala & Sautéed Zucchini

This is a new series of recipes that belong to "How I Lost My Pregnancy Weight" 

The last trimester of my pregnancy was difficult– bed rest with premature contractions, gestational diabetes, which meant a very strict diet. I didn't put on any extra weight beyond the required baby weight.

However, once I gave birth to my darling son Ishaan, I went wild. No diabetes. No doctor weighing me every two weeks. And since I was nursing Ishaan I was very hungry. My grandmothers, mother and mother-in-law said that I needed extra calories– cracked wheat porridge in clarified butter (ghee) was my breakfast every morning for three months and a whole lot of chocolate. 

I was beginning to hate how much weight I had put on, but my family doctor said that I shouldn't try to diet as my milk flow would be compromised. And exercise was tough given that I barely got much sleep at night! 

When I got to India for vacation, I took Ishaan to my pediatrician, Dr Shashi Merchant. She looked at me and told me to get cracking and lose the weight. Extra calories is a myth. 3 liters of water a day is what is required to maintain a proper milk flow. 

I met with Suman Agarwal of Selfcare later that week, and she gave me a lactation weight loss diet. With her diet I have been able to lose weight and am half way through my target mark.

Posting this on the blog will hopefully keep me motivated to surpass my target weight! 

Chicken masala
  1. Marinate 1/2 kilo chicken in 1 cup yogurt (I used one small box of Danone plain light yogurt) with salt, pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, pinch of turmeric and red chili (to taste)
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and fry 1/2 onion sliced. (If the oil is very hot, then the onions fry faster and render a better color with less oil). Add 4–5 minced garlic cloves once the onions are well browned.
  3. Add 1 cup tomato puree (or grated tomato) and add  salt, pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, pinch of turmeric and red chili (to taste). Let it cook on low for 7 minutes.
  4. Once the tomato mixture has been cooked well and the spices infused, add the marinated chicken into the pot, mix well and turn the gas to low. Let it cook for 5–7 minutes. Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add a large handful of cilantro leaves to the simmered chicken, mix well and serve.
  6. Tasted better several hours later…
Sauteed zucchini
  1. Fry 1 tsp cumin seeds in 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. Add 8 cloves of sliced garlic
  3. Toss in cubes of zucchini (2 zucchinis) and season with salt and pepper
  4. Deglaze the pan with 1 tbsp vinegar and let it cook until the zucchini is cooked and well browned.
  5. Garnish with parsley

Hot&Sweet Halibut

I am not entirely sure what to call this dish, so Hot & Sweet it is. My husband and I had precisely 15 minutes to cook and eat before our little son woke up again. With 2 fillets of halibut and some brown rice in the fridge we mixed together this sauce in minutes. 
These measurements are approximate (given the time constraints I obviously didn’t get to measure!), so please taste it before cooking ;-)
Serves 2
  1. 1.Wash and pat dry 2 5oz fillets of Halibut (I presume Salmon would work well with this too). Brush both sides with sesame or peanut oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a non-stick skillet.
  2. 2.In a small bowl mix together 2 tbsp Maggi Hot & Sweet sauce, 2 tbsp Thai Sriracha Pacha sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Add 4 spring onions, finely sliced and 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced. 
  3. 3.Pour the sauce over the fish in the pan and fry for 3 minutes on the first side and then 4–5 minutes on the other.

Red Bean Brownies

I know… I know… you’re going ‘huh?, Red beans and brownies… I don’t think so!’ But, they tasted just like brownies and accounted for less butter / oil. I happened to come across this recipe by Melissa d’Arabian on her show Ten Dollar Dinners on theFood Network around the same time my mother-in-law was boiling some red beans in our kitchen. The recipe called for black beans, but since red were being boiled, I decided to give it a shot.
Yields 12 brownies
Cook time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
  1. 1.Butter, for greasing pan
  2. 2.3/4 cooked black or red beans
  3. 3.1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
  4. 4.2 eggs (or use egg replacer)
  5. 5.1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 6.2/3 cup sugar
  7. 7.1 tsp instead coffee
  8. 8.1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 9.1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  10. 10.1/3 cup flour
  11. 11.1/2 tsp baking powder
  12. 12.1/2 tsp salt 

  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease a 9 by 9-inch baking pan.
  2. 2.In a blender, puree the beans with the oil.
  3. 3.Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee and vanilla. 
  4. 4.Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high or until smooth.
  5. 5.In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. 
  6. 6.Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
  7. 7.Pour in prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes.
  8. 8.Invert on a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.