Mushroom, capsicum and green beans in a cashew nut gravy

On Real Health this week, I made a delectable vegan curry. It’s a North Indian treat, and it’s unbelievably creamy with the cashew gravy. It takes about 15 minutes to prep the ingredients, and another half hour to make the curry.

Here’s a link to the youtube video

I use two mixed masala’s: Garam masala and a mixed masala. South african’s usually call masala ‘curry powder’, but there is a lot more to it than that 🙂

Garam masala is an aromatic blend of spices used extensively in Indian cuisine. This all-purpose seasoning adds warmth and slight peppery heat to a curry. it usually contains coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and crushed bay leaf.

Mixed masala really differs family to family.  My fabulous mum makes the most amazing masala. I swear I can’t eat a curry without it. It’s a blend of 13 spices.. of which are a secret. You can also buy many varieties in spice shops, or bump some off your nearest indian friend!

Cooking utensils required: 

  • Frying pan
  • Medium sized pot
  • Liquidiser

Let’s start with the gravy preparation. It can be prepared before hand and left aside until you fry the veggies later.

Ingredients for the gravy:

  • 12 ml grape seed oil (maintains stability in high heat)
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seed20160526_122806.jpg
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion (I just threw this in a liquidiser)
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed cumin and coriander seeds20160526_122820
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
  • 125g of raw unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 cup of warm water

 

Method:

  • Heat the oil in the frying pan on medium heat, add the mustard seed. When they start popping, add the curry leaf and the chopped onion.
  • Let the onion fry until a light caramel brown.
  • Add the balance of the spices: 1 green cardamom pod (bruise the pod and leave it slightly open, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tablespoon crushed cumin and coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon of mixed masala, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric powder, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Stir for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cashew nut, let this cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and cardamom pod and place aside. We will add it in the curry later.
  • Let the ingredients cool down. Transfer the rest of the ingredients into your liquidiser, add the warm water, and whiz it up until it’s as smooth as you can get it. You can add more water for thining it out.
  • Place aside for use later. Let’s make the veggies.

Ingredients for vegetable mix:

  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil20160526_122903
  • 1- 2 slivered fresh chilli (red or green)
  • 250g mushrooms (I used a mix of exotic mushrooms- Shimeiji, oyster and enoki- and normal white button mushrooms)
  • 1 cup of cubed red capsicum
  • 1 cup of chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup liquidised tomato
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Fresh Coriander for garnish

Method:

  • Add oil to the medium sized pot on a medium heat.
  • Add the chilli, fry for 2 minutes, and add the mushroom, capsicum and green beans. Let the mushrooms fry down, and the capsicum and green beans cook until20160526_14562620160614_104809-1 there’s a slight crisp.
  • Add the tomato, and salt and cook for a further 5-10 minutes
  • Add the cashew nut paste and water and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Now its ready to eat!
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • I served it with earthy brown and wild rice. You can serve it with rye roti, or brown basmati rice.

 

A rainbow immune fighting Smoothie

This morning’s smoothie experiment was successful! I used apple, pineapple, spinach, beetroot, ginger and coconut milk.

The humble apple is high in fibre and vitamin C. Pineapple is loaded with Vitamin C and has a very cool enzyme- Bromelain- which acts as an anti- mucolytic. Spinach is rich in micronutrients such as folate and zinc. Beetroot has powerful anti inflammatory properties and that beautiful red pigment provides tons of anti- oxidant phytonutrients. Ginger is anti inflammatory and warming for winter, and coconut milk is rich in good fat, dairy free  and adds some silky creaminess to this mix.

It turned out to be a very delicious mix, and my body was like-‘ Yessss! Thank you!’. The Nutribullet has been my knight in shining armour, especially in the time and texture category.

The recipe is below:


Smoothie_1[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of red apple
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • 2 spinach leaves
  • 1 raw small beetroot
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk
  • 2 cm stick of fresh ginger
  • water for consistency

Method:

  • Throw everything into the double cup attachment, with water.
  • Blitz.
  • Serve and enjoy! It should make about 600ml of deliciousness.

Smoothie_2[1]                                  Smoothie_3[1]

 


 

 

I love my Nutribullet!

Last week Sunday I had the most serendipitous encounter with a fabulous Nutribullet. I have ALWAYS wanted one, so I feel very blessed to have won it! I attended a seminar, and won this beautiful machine as well as two delicious medical food shakes!

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I made my first simple and easy smoothie this morning. I could not believe how fast this little thing goes. In 30 seconds, I had a delicious smooth drink, ready for the road. I love having smoothies for breakfast. They’re quick, easy and convenient for a busy morning breakfast.

I wanted to share a quick and easy smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:20160531_090845

  • 1/2 green apple
  • 1/2 golden pear
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 2 medium sized spinach leaves
  • 1 scoop of Metagenics/ Amipro Ultrameal Original
  • Water for consistency

Method:

  • Place everything in the Nutribullet double cup 20160531_092226
  • Blitz for 30 seconds
  • Pour into a cup and drink! That’s how easy it is.

If you have the opportunity of owning one of these- please do!

Invest in your health and your body will thank you.

xx

Spicy & delicious Rassam/ King Soup

On Real Health this week, I mentioned a traditional South Indian soup that has been my go-to for winter sniffles. In Tamil, Rassam means “juice”. It can refer to any juice, but rassam is commonly referred to as a soup prepared with tamarind with spices and garnish. It has a savoury and spicy taste, which is pungent and flavourful. It is my all time favourite when I feel a sore throat coming on, or if I’m already sick with a cold or cough. All the tangy spices clear up the sinuses super quick, and allow for some inner warming when ill

Ingredients:

20160511_100012

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium size dried red chilli
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1/2 thinly sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper corn
  • 2 teaspoons of toasted mustard seed
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (I used the Tamicon brand)
  • 3 cups of boiled water
  • 6 sprigs of fresh coriander

 

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pot (heat number 4 on the stove), and add the sliced onion. You’ll want to fry this until they are golden- dark brown.20160511_101047
  • In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, cumin, black pepper and mustard seed and crush to a medium texture.

20160511_10094220160511_101200

 

  • Once the onions have browned, add the spice mix, curry leaves, and break up the red chilli into 1cm pieces and let it all fry for about 2-3 minutes.

R1

  • In a bowl, add the two tablespoons of tamarind paste, and to that, add two cups of boiled hot water. Stir the paste until it dissolves fully.

R2R3

  • Now, slowly add this tamarind water to the pot of spices and reduce the heat to 3 on your stove. Add the salt and another cup of boiling water to the pot, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • R4R5
  • Garnish with chopped coriander. It does taste better after a few hours. Best served plain- pour a quarter cup into a mug and sip slowly. Make sure to eat all the spices! That is the medicinal part. Another traditional variation is and serve hot over steamed rice and pan fried crispy potato. Perfect for winter!

A quick and easy green based smoothie

This morning I had a delicious smoothie, that I thought I have to share.

I know many people cringe at the thought of putting veggies into a smoothie… It is the only way to reap the full benefit of a raw meal! Veggies (as well as fibre) stabilise the blood sugar levels, as opposed to just a fruit based smoothie. This recipe makes one litre. I usually have 500ml for breakfast and reserve the other half for the next day or an after gym meal.

Ingredients:

Serving size: 1 litre ( or 2x 500ml cups)

  • 1 stick of celery (insoluble green fibre )
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (anti-inflammatory)
  • 1/4 cucumber (fibre and potassium)
  • 1/2 cup grapes (anti- oxidant and adds natural sweetness)
  • 1 golden delicious apple (fibre and adds natural sweetness)
  • 3 tablespoons of plain full cream organic yoghurt (good fat and protein, probiotic boost and also adds creamy texture)
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranite seeds (high in vitamin B & C, fibre and sweetness)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (high vitamin A and lots of green insoluble fibre)
  • Water for consistency

20160414_091605

 

Method:

  • Rinse and roughly chop up the fruit and vegetables
  • De-seed the apple and grapes
  • Chuck everything into a liquidiser/ smoothie maker and switch on

20160414_091929

  • Add water gradually for desired consistency. I prefer a liquid like consistency that I can drink easily
  • Make sure that the ingredients are well blended. Nobody likes chunky bits at the end!
  • Pour into a glass and drink up!

 

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Spicy Kale Chips

I love salty snacks. Especially the healthy ones. Kale is a much healthier version of the average potato chip. It is a low carb, high nutrition snack. Kale is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Its also very simple and will be ready in no time. Now there’s no excuse for eating you greens!

I used to buy Kale chips at my local health shop, until one day, I did a bit of research and decided to make my own.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of fresh kale, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoon of ground garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

Baking time: 5-7 minutes

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C
  • Wash and dry the kale leaves thoroughly. I put the leaves between two clean dish towels. You can also put it in a salad spinner. If there is still water on the leaves when baking, it may not become crispy, so dry dry dry!
20160221_201152
Rinse and dry the kale leaves

 

  • Place dried leaves on a chopping board and cut away the central vein. This may be too tough to chew on.

 

20160221_201203
Cut the thick central vein out

 

  • Now you can cut the leaves into bite size portions. Try not to make them too small as they do shrink in the oven.
    20160221_201249
    Cut into yummy bite size portions

     

  • Once you have cut all the kale up, place in a large dish and add the oil and spices. Feel free to add whatever spices or flavours you want to. Other ideas: Black pepper and lemon juice, cumin and salt, sun-dried tomato and salt etc.
  • Stir until all the leaves are covered with the condiments

    20160221_204921
    Generously cover the leaves

 

  • Lightly oil a baking tray and place the drenched yummy kale leaves onto the tray.
  • Only do one layer at a time, as you want it to bake quick and evenly.

 

20160221_210806
Almost time to eat!
  • Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake on 200°C for 5-7 minutes. I have a fan oven, so it was done in 6 minutes.
  • You can open the oven to check on them, so when you move them around, you can test for ‘crispiness’
20160221_210455
Ready!
  • Let the leaves  cool naturally, and when cold, place in a stainless steel tin to retain the crisp factor.
  • Good luck with NOT eating them all at one go!

My favourite- Brilliant Vegetarian Breakfasts!

I am a HUGE breakfast fan. Especially because it sets the tone for your eating habits for the rest of the day. Being vegetarian has posed some challenges with eating a healthy breakfast but one can be innovative! I  am not a fan of popular breakfast cereals- i.e shredded wheat, popped rice, corn flakes, bran flakes, milled maize/ soya porridges etc. These tend to be overly refined, as well as contain too many preservatives, additives and sugar/ sugar substitutes. Processing a whole grain (eg. rice, wheat, maize or soya) removes most of the natural nutrients, hence little to no nutritional value. My opinion- it’s better to get nutrients from whole foods!

I have compiled a list of breakfast basics that are wholesome and nutritious for breakfast. Try these:

Traditional Rolled oats:

Yes- the old fashioned ones. They are large, round and un-cut. Just from looking at different oat brands on the market, you can see rolled oats are a bit different. Rolled oats are pressed flat or rolled with heavy equipment to shorten their total cooking time. Steel cut oats appear rougher. They haven’t been rolled, but they have been chopped with steel blades. Instant oats are more refined (hence the loss of protein  and fibre, and the addition of flavourants, sweeteners etc.). In South Africa, you can find rolled oats only at a health shop as local retail stock steel cut or instant oats.

They contain soluble and insoluble fibre which keeps you fuller for longer. I cook on the stove top, with water and a tad bit of organic milk (almond or coconut milk), stir in some MCT oil, sometimes raw cacao powder, teaspoon of cinnamon, some raw nuts and about half a cup of diced fruit. This is also a great opportunity to stir in some 100% whey protein powder or hemp seed powder to keep you fuller for longer.

Not all are created equal- Eggs:

As long as they are free range or organic, they will be amazing! An organic egg get’s the label if the chicken was only fed heart eggorganic food (animal or grain), which means it was not fed grains (mostly Genetically Modified corn) laced with pesticides. The 90’s idea that eggs are unhealthy and promote heart disease is a outdated myth. Fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, but it is not completely harmful.

They are an excellent source of healthy fat and protein, and contain some essential amino acids (tryptophan and tyrosine) that are greatly beneficial to the body. The best way to eat them is either poached, sunny side up or soft-boiled. Scrambling your eggs oxidises the cholesterol in the egg yolk, which may in fact harm your health. Try support local and organic egg farmers, but if you absolutely must purchase your eggs from a commercial grocery store,go for the free-range organic.

Pair your eggies with a complex carbohydrate, such as rye toast with butter, or rye crispbread. Veggies are always another great substitute for rye bread. I would recommend two eggs per serving.

Slurping goodness- Smoothies:

My favourite for an on-the-go/ lazy-easy breakfast! There are some who would say this is unhealthy, due to all the sugar from fruit. This I agree with. That’s why, it is so important to understand and follow the simple rules for smoothie slurping:smoothie

1) Always combine one veggie, two fruit, fresh ginger root and a green (such as a spinach leaves, kale leaves, broccoli, cucumber, celery etc.).

2) Always add a scoop of healthy protein powder (Organic whey/ hemp protein/ yellow or green pea powder, Chia seeds)

3) To get the real health benefit, don’t add sugar, sorbet, ice- cream or honey. It’s not dessert, okay!

An example of a healthy smoothie: 1 medium sized beetroot, 1 small green apple, 3 tblsp frozen or fresh blueberries, 2cm peeled ginger root, 1 cup baby spinach leaves. It’s also nice to add 4 tblsp of full cream, organic plain yoghurt, or 100 ml Coconut milk/ almond milk or rice milk for a creamy texture. Use water to change consistency.

Healthy Fats to add to your breakfast:

Fats are an essential part of our diet. We have recently discovered the differences between a healthy and an unhealthy fat. Healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, keep you satiated, and most importantly- helps you stay on top of your mental game early in the morning. Fats keep you fuller for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels better than carbohydrates.

Here is a brief list of healthy fats to add to your breakfast:

– Half a medium sized avocado,

– Three tablespoons of full cream cottage cheese (Unflavoured),

– Half a cup of full cream natural yoghurt,

– A handful of raw (unroasted, unsalted) almonds/ macadamia/ cashews/ sunflower seeds/ pumpkin seeds/ sesame seeds/ linseeds,

– A tablespoon of butter or ghee (clarified butter) on your toast or to fry your egg in,

– A tablespoon of nut butter. I like eating this plain or you could have it on a slice of toast.

Idea’s for a healthy, nourishing vegetarian breakfast:

1) Half a cup of natural, greek yoghurt with two tablespoons of vegan cacao protein powder, a handful of mixed raw nuts, kiwi fruit

2) Two soft boiled eggs, one slice of rye toast with fresh tomato and a twist of black pepper.

3) Half a cup of rolled oats, made with water, full cream milk and three tablespoons of vegan cacau protein powder, three tablespoons of desiccated coconut.

4) Two slices of rye toast with cottage cheese, black pepper and chives, and a small fruit (peach, plum, apple etc).

5) Green smoothie (spinach leaves, green apple, ginger root, half a cup of natural greek yoghurt, pinch of cinnamon, water).

6) Half a cup of rolled oats, made with water, full cream milk, sliced banana, and stir in two tablespoons of almond nut butter.

Happy Breakfast to you!