Bombay Aloo

bombay aloo.JPG

“What is that?”,were my thoughts when I saw it on the menu in the UK. In 21 years that I spent growing up in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), I never came across a dish named so. But when I ate it, I knew instantly what it was!

Bombay Aloo will mean different things to different people and just like any curry, every family will have their own version.

Here is my dad’s version. Bombay Aloo served in England tastes closest to what my dad used to make.

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients:

5 diced potatoes

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

2 1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp oil

Salt and Sugar to taste

Coriander to garnish

Method:

Boil the potatoes. I used the pressure cooker. Two whistles and then I let it rest.

In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the drained potatoes. Add all the spices and gently fry until everything is mixed. Don’t mix too much, you risk mushing up the potatoes. Cook until potatoes turn slightly golden and spices loose its raw smell. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot!

How To Replace Dairy?

Oatly

As a breastfeeding mother, this topic of eliminating dairy from our diet resonates at a very personal level.

Ever since I started nursing my baby, I developed an aversion to dairy. I could not for the life of me express my milk without feeling extreme discomfort and unease. The idea made me squirm. So to think of a cow with her udders attached to a machine sucking milk out of her which is originally meant for her calves became simply unacceptable for me.

Cow’s milk is for calves, just like my milk is for my baby. My milk is not for my dogs or cats. Humans are the only species in this entire world that consumes milk from another species long after their body has no need for any dairy consumption whatsoever.

A well balanced wholefood or plant based diet will make sure that you get your daily calcium intake without having to consume any form of milk at all. And the long-standing belief that milk is a vital source of much-needed calcium has also been widely debunked. (For a wide ranging review of some of the debate around this, see this piece in the Guardian).

Indeed, worse, Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, claims that: “cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed”.

My daughter suffered from very bad eczema and stomach upset. Ever since I took dairy out of her diet, her eczema and tummy have resolved themselves and never come back.

Why? I suspect lactose intolerance, which numerous studies have found to be incredibly widespread. Lactose is the sugar in milk, and it needs to be broken down by the enzyme lactase that lives in our intestines and bowels. “If the lactose we absorb is greater than our lactase capacity, undigested lactose travels to the large intestine, where it ferments, producing gas, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The result? Bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and farts.”

Did you know that a stunning 75% of Indians are lactose intolerant?! Uncle keeps farting? Get him on hemp milk instead!

Anyhow, so how to transition into a non-dairy lifestyle. It is easy!

There are so many plant based milk available

Soy Milk

Almond Milk

Oat Milk

Hemp Milk

Coconut Milk

Hazelnut Milk

……and many more

Nutritional Info Comparison

Soy Milk (per serving of 250 ml)                         Cow’s milk (per serving of 250 ml)

Calcium          : 300 mg                                               Calcium          : 300 mg

Protein            : 8.5 g                                                    Protein           : 8 g

Fat                    : 4.8 g                                                    Fat                   : 9 g

Saturated Fat : 0.8 g                                                    Saturated Fat :  5.7 g

Total Carbs     : 0.8 g                                                    Total Carbs     : 11.7 g

Sugars             : 0.3 g                                                    Sugars              : 11.7 g

Vitamin B12   : 1.0 ug                                                 Vitamin B12    : 1.0 ug

How can I get enough Calcium?

As you can see in the nutritional facts above that plant-based milk and cow’s milk have the same amounts of calcium in it. (If you are on a vegan diet you’ll need less calcium per day)

I do understand that plant-based milk can either be difficult to get hold of in some places or a bit expensive. Worry not, because there are so many food items that can provide you with sufficient amount of calcium in a day.

Brown or White Bread (Calcium is added to bread by law in the UK)

Chia Seeds

Kale

Spinach

Broccoli

White Beans

Black Eyed Peas

Almonds

Dried Figs

Seaweed

Sesame Seed (Tahini)

Tofu

Oranges

Tip: I drink two big glasses of green smoothie a day on top of a balanced diet. That ensures I get my daily dose of iron, calcium and other nutrients that I may have missed out.

But I Can’t Live Without Cheese? 

Sure. You won’t live long with cheese either. Cheese is full of saturated fat and salt. So if you are health conscious, cheese shouldn’t be your favourite.

Anyhow, there are a lot of plant-based cheeses available in the market now. There are also a lot of Youtube videos on how to make your own cheese. Cashew being the main ingredient but I make my cheeses with almonds too (watch this space for some tasty recipes!)

Supplementing

I don’t supplement but I have nothing against supplementing either. If in doubt, always supplement yourself with an over the counter stuff. Just make sure you don’t overdose on calcium. It can have bad effects on your kidneys.

I am not a huge supporter of taking pills. I try to consume a well-balanced diet so if possible, do you research and try and eat healthy. Do not concentrate too much on one nutrient. If you eat a wholesome diet, you are bound to get a whole range of nutrients than one.

Confessions 

You must have a heard a lot of vegans promote the idea that non-dairy products are as good as the dairy products. Some even claim that one can’t tell the difference.

Even though that might be true in some cases, in my experience, it isn’t true in most cases.

Non-dairy products do not taste like dairy. Plant based dairy can replicate the texture, the look and the nutrition but not necessarily the taste.

Non -dairy does not taste bad, it tastes different and a slow transition would be best. I started off with sweetened milk to develop a taste for soy milk. Once I got used to the texture and all, I switched on to the unsweetened milk. Trial and error baby, trial and error!

It takes time to get used to non-dairy products. But the way I think about it is that my taste is not bigger than my desire to be compassionate and healthy. Infact, after almost a year of not consuming dairy, I could not tolerate a kiss from my husband who was in the middle of eating dairy ice-cream! It’s all a matter of habit. Your tastebuds will evolve.

Non-dairy options are healthier than dairy in most cases because of it’s added vitamins and minerals. Infact most fortified dairy products have added vitamin D, which is important for effective calcium absorption, especially if you come from a cold country like me.

Don’t have to be a vegan to try non-dairy! Start incorporating non-dairy slowly into your diet rather than taking it out completely if you are not into absolutism.

Let me know your experience with non-dairy? 

 

Vegan Korean Udon Noodles

My husband’s friends are visiting us from American soon. His friend’s wife is Korean, who apparently cooks really well. Not only that, she apparently is really good at presenting her food, which is NOT my strongest points. Koreans are really big on meat and I want to introduce them to my vegan diet with something they are familiar with. So I came up with this recipe as an experiment and it turned out to be pretty scrumptious.

Before I begin, let me introduce you to Gochujang. It is THE ingredient to have if you want to cook delicious korean meals. Gochujang is a korean chilli paste which is very hot, with a fair amount of saltiness.

picture from google images

I hope you like the recipe:

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry mix (vegetables)

1 Pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

10 to 12 cloves of garlic, minced

200-300grams of mushrooms (I used a variety of exotic kinds sold in tesco)

a handful of spring onions chopped into couple of inches long strips

750 gms of Udon Noodles (I used the already cooked kind)

1 1/5 tbsp of Gochujang

2 tbsp of Tamari (or soy sauce)

3 tsp of sesame oil

400 gms of firm tofu

half a cup of water

1 tsp coconut sugar/maple syrup (or regular)

1 tbsp of rapeseed oil

Method: 

First things first, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix gochujang, sesame oil, tamari, water and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Next, prep the tofu. I simply press the tofu in between two chopping board with couple of heavy books on top of the chopping board to drain out excess water. Then cut them into bite sized pieces and simply fry them in very hot oil. The trick is to have the oil very hot, shallow fry it and don’t rush to turn them over. If you are hasty, you will find your tofu stick to the pan. Fry them and set them aside.

Now in a wok, heat some oil. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the stir fry mix. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the noodles along with the sauce. Let the noodles cook and soak up some of the sauce. After about 5 minutes, add the tofu pieces, peppers and the spring onions. Cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the juices are absorbed. Don’t overcook the noodles, even if there’s plenty of sauce. A bit of extra sauce is better than soggy veggies and noodles.

Serve hot and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.

Tips: Sprinkle some crushed seaweed, it will add an earthy flavour and more crunch.

 

Vegan Gnocchi With Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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This recipe is a complete experiment and it turned out delicious. This is my healthy version of Mac n Cheese or Alfredo sauce.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 chopped carrots

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried sage (or fresh)

3 tbp of nutritional yeast

1/2 cup of grated vegan pizza cheese

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Salt to taste

500 gms gnocchi

Method:

Cook the carrots and cauliflower and then blend it with the soy milk to get a creamy thick mixture. Set aside!

In a hot pan, add the oil and fry the onions. Add the garlic granules and mustard. Stir well and add just a little dash of water to stop it from sticking. Now add the cauliflower mixture, cheese, sage and nutritional yeast.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes and set it aside.

In a separate saucepan, cook the gnocchi as per instructions.

Once cooked, drain and stir it in the cauliflower sauce.

Serve hot!

Tip: Sprinkle some chilli flakes or throw in some butternut squash. Instead of gnocchi add macaroni or any other pasta of your choice.

If you thin out the sauce with some plant based milk, you could have it like soup.

Beetroot & Chickpeas Burgers

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This recipe is so easy and can be made in less than 2 hours. A good way to get those veggies into your kids. The beetroot adds a nice raw pink colour to it which we loved. We were surprised by the combination of beetroot with chickpeas. Flavours were subtle but very satisfying.

Servings: 8 to 10 patties

Ingredients:

3 cans of chickpeas

2 big beetroots, cooked & grated (I used precooked from the shop, a pack of 6 to 7 tiny beetroots)

1 finely chopped red onion

3 – 4 cloves of garlic

Handful of chopped coriander

4 – 5 tbsp quick oats

1 tbsp cornflour

1/2 tbsp of grammar flour

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tsp of chia seeds (optional)

100 grams of walnuts, coarsely ground

1 tbsp of cumin powder

1 tbsp of smoked paprika

Salt to taste

3 tbsp oil to cook

Method:

Take a can of chickpeas and blend it with its water. It will be nearly as smooth as hummus, pour it in a mixing bowl. Drain other two cans and put it in with the ground chickpeas. Now mush up the chickpeas with a potato masher.

Add all the other ingredients and mix well. I would get in with your hands. If it is too wet, add more oats or a sprinkle of cornflour should do the trick.

Once the mixture is ready, form your patties and set them aside in the fridge to set.

In the meantime, chop up all the other fillings you would like to put in your burger: tomatoes, red onions, gherkins, cheese etc.

After about 30 minutes of chilling. I shallow fried the patties until golden brown on both sides and then put them in a preheated oven on gas mark 5 for 20 mins or so.

Check after 15 minutes and cook accordingly. Voila!

Serve with some homemade chips and cold glass of lager! Perfect way to welcome spring.

 

 

 

 

Zoe Bee Beauty Cream – Review

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

I am a big fan of natural products that are easy on the skin. When I was growing up there was a distinct difference between grown up creams and child friendly creams because grown up products often had harsh chemicals that were unsuitable for baby skin. But now as a grown up, I have come to realise that our skin is no less important than any baby skin, given it is one of the largest organ in our body. So if a cream claims to be healthy for our skin but not for children, then it is best to kept away from.

Now since, this pregnancy, I have been after products that are not only good for me but also for the baby when it arrives. A friend of mine suggested someone she knew who makes amazing natural creams from her home. And that is how I got in touch with Zoe. She was very kind to make a blend for me and my baby.

The blend she made for us is rich with raw shea butter and raw cocoa butter, unrefined coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin e oil and aloe vera. Now, don’t you like the fact that you can name and understand each and every ingredient that went into this little jar of magic? There are different scents to pick from but the one she sent me was lavender and pachouli , although you can choose to have no scent at all. But I find no scent a bit meh.

The cream is so rich that it almost feels like wax in your hand. You need to rub a pea sized portion in between your palms until you see nothing but scrumptious oils before you rub it all over your skin. I have to be honest that it took a fair bit of getting used to personally. But I think I struggled with the scent more than the actual cream itself. The time when I received it was when I was suffering from acute hypermesis and any enhanced scent would put me off. And it is only now that I have realised that strangely, during this pregnancy, I cannot stand my favourite smell of lavender anymore. So I won’t blame the cream or it’s scent but my pregnancy.

One thing to note is that it is so rich that it is not friendly for all weather. During winter though, it is a delight. It is absorbed by the skin very well leaving it slightly greasy but not off putting(ly) so. I reckon in summer, it might be a different story. Perhaps, use it over night or change the blend for spring/summer. The best thing about it is that Zoe is so accomodating that she will make a blend to your own requirement.

Although not meant for eczema, it worked a charm on my children’s eczema prone skin. They totally love the smell and it makes them feel that much more special to be using ‘mummy’s cream’ which is a rare delight.

This blend has surely made me curious to try out some of her other products, definitely!

Zoe Bee’s shop can be found on Etsy or here.

 

P.S: This post was sponsored by Zoe Bee Beauty

 

Vegan Fennel Salad

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Like celery, fennel is one of those vegetables that can be a bit of a struggle for some people like me. I struggle with celery, whereas my husband struggles with fennel. We have learnt to juice them in order to get the nutritions out of them but I have to say this fennel salad recipe got everyone raving.

Ingredients:

A small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced

1 pear, thinly sliced

Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

Half of cucumber, thinly sliced

2 satsumas roughly chopped

Handful of chopped parsley

For the dressing:

Salt

Sugar/runny honey

Lemon juice

Method:

Combine all the ingredients together and set aside. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a little bowl (I use jam jars, makes it fun for the kids to shake it) and pour it all over the salad. Now get in there with your hands and give those ingredients a good rub.

I would taste the dressing as you go along, I don’t use fixed measurements because it totally depends on your palette. I like mine sweeter, some others might like it tangier. So help yourself!

I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you like the recipe.