Rainbow Meal #2: Coconut Veggie Brown Rice, Indo Chinese Style

This second part of the Rainbow Meals series is one of the best recipes I have stumbled upon lately. A twist from the classic vegetable fried rice, packed with loads of vegetables that taste better with brown rice than white rice! How many times does that happen?

Usually when you go out to a restaurant, vegetable fried rice is practically all rice with few color pops of tiny cabbages and carrots. I feel its called vegetable fried rice just to differentiate it from the with-meat/with-egg fried rice on the menu! The flavors of soy sauce and chilli garlic sauces make-up for the taste, but definitely not the health.

Instead of replicating ‘restaurant style vegetable fried rice’, try this flavor rich, nutrition rich, 5 color eye pleasing recipe! Trust me you will fall in love and make it a weekly staple

Recipe: Coconut Veggie Brown Rice, Indo Chinese Style

Prep Time: 10min | Cooking time: 30min | Serves 2 BIG bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice (cooked)
  • 4 cups of chopped colorful vegetables (1 medium carrot, 5 florets of cauliflowers, 5 florets of broccoli, 5 cubes of pumpkin, 1 handful of green beans, 1/2 cup chopped cabbage)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Coriander (for garnish)

Instructions:

  • Start with cooking brown rice separately in a rice cooker (20-30 mins)
  • In a pan, add 1 Tbsp coconut oil, garlic and chillies. Saute for 1 min, till the garlic aroma starts fading and then add all the chopped veggies along with 1 Tbsp salt
  • Cover the pan and let the veggies cook for 15-20 mins on medium heat. Make sure the veggies don’t become mushy; they should be fully cooked, but retain a bit of crunchiness. Remove the veggies in a bowl and set them aside
  • Now in the same pan, heat the remaining 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil and add 1/2 cup of coconut flakes. Saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes, till the coconut flakes begin to change color; do not brown the flakes 😉
  • Add cooked rice to this pan. Continue to mix brown rice with the coconut flakes for 2 mins. Then, add the bowl of veggies, along with soy sauce. Mix well. Cover and cook for another 5min so that they absorb all the flavors
  • Garnish with coriander and serve!

Notes:

  1. Surprise folks with the 4:1 veggie rice combination in this dish!
  2. Coconut flakes and garlic lend an great unexpected flavor combination
  3. The nuttiness of brown rice goes well with all the veggies than white rice.
  4. Feel free to adjust salt, soy sauce, add chilli sauce in the end per your taste

Give this a try and let me know what you think!

Strawberry smoothie!

Cant avoid the breakfast dance with a strawberry smoothie!

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, but most importantly it’s a meal we have after 12hrs of not eating just before we head to work. You need it to be light, loaded with fruits, some protein, colorful and playful to get you in the right mood.

Here is an easy formula: Mix fruits, yogurt, and a gentle sweetener together. Top with nuts!

Recipe:

Prep time: 5min | Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

  • Blend together the strawberries, banana and yogurt
  • Serve with toppings of pumpkin seeds

Notes:

  • Banana is a great natural sweetner. You don’t need to mix additional vanilla essence / honey if you are adding a banana to your smoothies

Papaya bowls

This papaya breakfast bowl is a treat to the eyes, bursting with naturly fresh orange, red, green and nutty brown colors! 

You want to hold it in your hands and eat it. You would have never eaten so much papaya at one go!

As you take the bites you can feel how the food cools down the body and nourishes you. A great first thing to start your day

Recipe:

Prep time: 5min | Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 papaya
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 4-5 Strawberries
  • Handful of Almonds / walnuts
  • 1Tbsp Chia seeds

Instructions

  • Cut the papaya into two halves, lengthwise. Deseed to create a roughly even bowl
  • Sweeten the yogurt with honey
  • Fill the deseeded papaya with sweetened honey, and top it with colorful fruits, chia seeds and nuts to your liking

Notes:

  • To eat, take a spoon and scoop out from where the yogurt meets the papaya and move outwards towards the edge of the papaya skin
  • Make sure the papays isn’t too ripe that its skin doesn’t hold strong

Chia Seed Pudding

Is it a breakfast or is it a dessert? You would still be debating as you scrape that last tiny chia seed from the bottom of your cup! Its the best dessert for breakfast! Its Chia seed pudding

Chia seeds are a staple of South America. It is said that the tribe of Tarahumara Indians, famously known for running hundreds of miles in Mexico’s deep deadly copper canyons, would have chia seeds soaked in lime juice as their energy drink! (Do read more about them and the Race of a lifetime in the book “Born to Run”)

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, omega 3, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorous – loading you with energy, good cholesterol and nutrients that are not found in everyday vegetarian diet. 

So, add chia seeds into your weekly routine with this extremely simple make ahead eye pleasing breakfast (or even dessert) recipe!

Recipe

Prep Time: 5min | Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unflavored yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, cherries) – roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup colorful fruits – Banana, Spiced apple, Strawberries
  • 4-5 Mint leaves

Instructions

  • In one big cup, pour in unflavored yogurt. Add honey and chia seeds. Mix well so that the chia seeds are broadly distributed and not forming lumps. Its not a problem if they do, just that eating soaked isolated chia seeds are better than lumps!
  • Cover and let this sit overnight
  • In the morning, start your layering craft.
  • My Option 1: Start with a row of walnuts and cherries, then sliced bananas, then sliced strawberries then mint on top
  • My Option 2: Start with a row of toasted almonds, then add Spiced Apples!

Notes

  • This is an absolute free style recipe. Choose your own mix of fruits and nuts, play around with layering, mix as many colors you like!
  • Use transparent cup / glass / masor jar so that you can see the action!

Detox Fiber Overload Salad

For days when you need a fix for “I-ate-something-I-now-regret”.

You are feeling bloated and want to cleanse before you have your next meal.

To your rescue #1: A quick fix fiber overload salad.

Recipe

Prep time: 5min | Makes 2 big bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 White radish, grated
  • 1 Cucumber, grated
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 5 mint leaves, chopped
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1tsp salt

Recipe

  • Mix grated radish, grated cucumber and diced tomatoes together in a bowl
  • Add lemon juice, cumin powder and salt
  • Mix it all together and cool for 5min in the refrigerator
  • Garnish with mint and it is ready to eat!

This salad is packed with fibers. Cucumber is soothing for the stomach. Mint is refreshing. Lemon is acidic but has a positive alkaline effect in the guts. All in all, have a big bowl of this salad and you will be detoxed from whatever you had in the previous meal.

Proof: I had “Maggie” noodles for breakfast today…just because it felt like a rebellious Saturday morning thing to do! But then right after, I started feeling bloated and the feeling didn’t stop till about 4hrs later. I needed a fix before I could have lunch. And this fiber Detox salad came to the rescue. I had a big bowl of it, and soon after I finished I could feel the distinct gut refresh! Try it!

 

 

The most refreshing Watermelon Juice

I got up today morning to a temperature of “36 degrees outside, feels like 47 degrees” due to the intense humidity and air quality. It was so hot that I couldn’t think of cooking anything for breakfast and I wanted something cool to kick start the day. Some fiddling around the kitchen led me to….Fruits, juices! I laced up my shoes and ran to the fruit shop. 20min later I was  gulping down 3 cups of the most refreshing juice I have ever had!

Recipe

Prep time: 5min | Cook time: 2min | Makes 4 glasses

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 watermelon, roughly cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp black rock salt / Himalayan rock salt
  • 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Recipe:

  • Put the watermelon pieces into the juicer or blend it (Watermelon has 92% water content, so even if you juice it, you waste very little fibre but end up avoiding the hassle of taking out the seeds. If you decide to blend, do remove the seeds upfront)
  • Add mint leaves
  • Add 1/2 tsp of black rock salt to every glass of juice
  • Add ice cubes / cool the juice in the refrigerator for 20min before drinking

(Himalayan Rock salt has been much praised in Ayurveda because of its high sulphur content. Compared to the readily available, processed and bleached “white” salt version, Himalayan salt is still widely available in its unprocessed state, grind into granules, maintaining its pink/black color.

While you can use the Himalayan rock salt to season absolutely anything, its match with watermelon is one made in heaven. Add a couple of mint leaves and you are sure to say this is THE MOST REFRESHING drink you have ever had and wont be able to stop at one!)

 

An unexpected match: Cabbage & Quinoa

As I was walking home from office today, I started thinking about what should I cook for dinner tonight.

My thought process: So, I have one whole cabbage in my fridge. I don’t think there is any other vegetable left. I am leaving for Switzerland tomorrow, which means I have to pack tonight and have no spare time to go buy vegetables and the last thing I want to do is waste any vegetable. That means – lets get creative in the kitchen!

After a couple of web searches, I stumbled upon this recipe of cabbage and quinoa, modified it a bit and just slowly went through the cooking process to get to this surprisingly delicious meal! It is going to be my go-to under 15min Wholesome dinner recipe!

Recipe:

Prep Time: 5min, Cooking time: 10min | Makes 4 bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 whole cabbage, finely cut length wise
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 10-20 almonds, halved
  • 1 can / 1 cup of boiled chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more as needed)

Process

  • Prep Quinoa: In a deep pan, add 1 tbsp oil, garlic and tomato paste. Stir it for a minute and add water. Once the water gets to a gentle boil, add quinoa and cover pan with the lid on medium flame. Let it cook for 10-15min till all the water has evaporated. Turn off the flame and leave the pan covered for another 5min. Quinoa should be nice and fluffy now!
  • Prep the mix: In the second pan, add 1 tbsp oil and the chillis. Add almonds and stir till they are golden. Add turmeric and cabbage with some salt. Cook cabbage till it is mildly wilted.  Add chickpeas and mix it all together for another 2min and turn off the heat
  • Mix it all up: add quinoa to the cabbage, mix it up, add lemon juice and mix it up again, before taking a huge first bite into your mouth 🙂

 

Cheers to Unexpected discoveries!

Mushroom on Avocado toast!

Sunday morning breakfasts are meant for hearty, filling and colorful meals, the ones whose mere thought can make you roll out of the bed and head to the kitchen. Better still if it can fulfill my three cooking filters – readily available ingredients, under 30min prep time and colorfully healthy.

One of my favorite go to is Mushroom on Avocado Toast. Its the perfect example of “sum of parts can be bigger than the whole”.

Mushroom on Avocado Toast Recipe

Makes: 4 toasts | Prep Time:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Avocados
  • ~30 button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, per taste
  • 1tbsp chopper Cilantro
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1tbsp half lemon

Recipe:

  • Avocado Guacamole: Split avocados into half along the longer side and remove the big seed. Make a couple of slits and scoop avocado chunks into a bowl. Add in lemon juice, salt and red pepper flake and mix it all together. Taste and adjust spices as needed
  • Saute Mushroom: Clean mushrooms with a clean cloth and trim the end stems as needed. Cut each of them into 4-5 lengthwise pieces. In the meantime heat oil in the pan and add the mushrooms into it. Cook uncovered on medium heat as the mushroom loose water. Let it cook till most of the water evaporates. Add in salt, pepper, cheese and cilantro. Saute for 1-2 minutes and bring it off the heat.
  • Putting it all together: On lightly toasted bread, put first a layer of avocado guacamole and top it with mushrooms. Make a fold and take a BIG bite. voila!
  • Accompaniments: Have a juice / smoothie to complete the meal

Cheers to bright Sunday breakfasts!