Tea is not only a refreshing, delicious beverage; it can also work as a wonderful ingredient for cooking food. It makes a unique marinade, a tenderizer, a condiment and, certainly, an exclusive bon mot for your dinner guests to savour, while they wonder why the rice tastes so special or the chicken so tender.
Here are two recipes to get you experimenting with tea.
1/3 cup jasmine rice 100g brown sugar 25g (1/4 cup) green tea leaves
1. Combine ginger, garlic, coriander and 1 tbsp of oil in a small bowl. Gently push your fingers between skin and meat of chicken over the breasts and spread ginger mixture over breast meat. Brush chicken with 1 tbsp of soy sauce. 2. Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a wok with a lid over high heat. Place a small wire rack or steaming basket that sits about 5cm above the level of water, in the wok. 3. Place chicken on a rack or in the basket. Cover tightly and reduce heat to medium. Steam chicken for 30 minutes (if the lid isn't a tight fit, cover the wok with a piece of foil, then the lid, scrunching the foil around the lid to seal). 4. Remove the rack or the basket from the wok. Carefully pour water out and line the base of wok with three layers of foil. To make smoking mixture, combine rice, sugar and tea leaves. Place over the foil in wok. 5. Heat the wok over high heat until tea mixture just begins to smoke. Return the rack or the basket to the wok and brush the chicken with remaining oil and soy sauce. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to medium-low (if lid isn't a tight fit, seal edges with foil). Smoke the chicken for 30 minutes or until juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into thickest parts of chicken. 6. Remove the chicken from the heat and allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Green Beans with Garlic and Tea
200gms fresh green beans, trimmed 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 tbs Keemun (black) tea leaves, brewed in two cups of spring water
Method 1. Steam green beans in water. While beans are steaming, sautι minced garlic in one tsp of canola oil until opaque. 2. Add brewed tea and simmer with garlic for a few minutes. 3. Remove beans from steamer and put in a large bowl. Pour tea marinade over the drained beans. Garnish with toasted almond slices, as desired. Serve immediately.
INDULGE IN LIQUID GOLD
by Aanchal P Achipalya
Whether it comes in a bear shaped squirt bottle or a fresh dripping comb, honey simply sweetens everything. Besides being sweet, it has intriguing flavour and health boosting anti-oxidants to boot. We get you some addictive honey recipes.
Honey Whole Wheat Mini Loaves
The flavor of honey comes in these little loaves.
Ingredients 1cup whole wheat flour 1 cup all purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp salt 2 eggs Ό cup brown sugar 1 cup honey 1 tsp instant espresso or coffee granules stirred into 2/3 c hot water. ½ cup vegetable oil 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Method 1. Put an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350c. Lightly oil and flour 4 mini loaf pans. 2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. 3. Put egg and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat with electric beater at high speed for a minute. Add honey, coffee, oil and vanilla extract and beat at low speed for a minute. Stir in flour mixture and walnuts. 4. Pour the batter into loaf pans and set on baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate pans. Continue baking until wooden pick inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool on the racks for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges and remove loaves. Cool completely.
Honey Granola with Fruits, Seeds and Nuts
Ingredients 1 cup honey 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/8 tsp salt 4 cups rolled oats 1 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds ½ cup almonds 2 tsp sesame seeds 1 cup dried apricots, chopped 1 cup raisins
Method 1. Put an oven rack in the middle position and another just below. Heat oven to 150 degree Celsius. Lightly oil 2 rimmed baking sheets. 2. Combine honey, oil and salt in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir for about 2 minutes until hot and well blended. 3. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stir honey mixture again. Drizzle over oat mixture while stirring. Continue stirring until oats are thickly coated. 4. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir it well. Rotate pans top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking stirring every 5 minutes, until golden brown. Watch closely to avoid browning. 5. Cool and stir in dried apricots and raisins. Transfer to airtight containers.
Remember: The darker the honey, the stronger the taste and the higher the anti-oxidant content.
GO MINTY WITH MOCKTAILS!
by Aanchal P Achipalya
Swap those fizzies for something that will really freshen you up. A chilled, nutritious mocktail is the perfect way to recharge your batteries and when you add mint, it almost can blast you with energy. Whats more, mint when used in mocktails is an excellent appetizer and improves digestion. Here are some vitamin rich mint mocktail recipes to get you started.
6 fresh strawberries 3 wedges lime 2 mint sprigs 1 splash soda water
1. Muddle strawberries, mint, and lime in a shaker. 2. Give it a good shake. 3. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. 4. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint.
200ml soda water/mineral water 100ml pineapple juice 1 banana 9 mint leaves 12 ice cubes Pinch of nutmeg
Method 1. Blend banana, 5 mint leaves, pineapple juice and nutmeg and combine with soda or mineral water. 2. Add ice cubes, garnish each glass with mint leaf, stir and serve immediately.
Wheat Grass Cocktail
Ingredients 100mL orange juice 100mL pineapple juice 75 ml wheat grass booster 2tsp mint leaves 5-6 ice cubes
Method 1. Blend together orange, pineapple and wheat grass juice along with mint leaves and ice cubes. 2. Serve in a tall glass and sip on for health and energy.
Ingredients 75ml apple juice 75ml sparkling soda 1 sprig fresh mint leaves ½tsp sugar 2tbsp celery juice
Method 1. Add the quartered lime, sugar and mint sprigs to a highball glass and muddle with a muddler. 2. Add ice cubes and pour in the apple juice and celery. Top with soda (adjust to taste), and stir. Garnish with an apple slice and a lime wedge, and serve
A lassi is a lassi -- until you add coconut and mint to it. Then, you have a Coconut-Mint Lassi. In the Punjab, a lassi is an all-day drink relished in tall tumblers throughout the day.
Ingredients 2tbsp fresh coconut milk 1tbsp chopped mint 200 ml low fat yoghurt A pinch of black salt, to taste
Method 1. Blend the yoghurt with the black salt. 2. Add coconut milk (or the powder after mixing it in a little water). 3. Mix in chopped mint and serve chilled.
The best part about mint is that it adds to any flavour. So, even if you are not making a mint based drink, dont forget to drop in a few sprigs of mint for that added flavour and health benefits.
DIWALI SWEETS WITH A HEALTHY TWIST
by Aanchal P Achipalya
Diwali will never be the same without those sumptuous homemade sweets. But they also help all of us pile up on those extra kilos. We show you how to make small changes in your recipes to give oodles of calories a miss, while still enjoying the same old taste.
Chocolate and Nut Karanji
Ingredients 1 ½ cup refined flour (Maida) 3 tbsp ghee
Method 1. Take refined flour in a bowl. Add ghee and sufficient chilled water or chilled milk and knead into soft dough. Divide into small balls.
2. For stuffing, mix walnuts, almonds and cocoa powder and poppy seeds in a bowl. Chill it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
3. Roll out the dough balls into small round puris.
4. Place a puri on the worktop, dampen its edges. Place some stuffing in the centre and fold one side over the other. Press the edges to seal and further twist them with your finger tips in a decorative manner or cut with a serrated edge. Refrigerate these karanjis for 15 mins. (You can make karanjis using a mould also).
5. Preheat the oven to 180c.Place the karanjis on the greased tray and brush them with little olive oil instead of ghee and bake them for 25 mins.
6. Serve hot or store in an airtight container.
Health meter: Omitting cream and khoya, limiting the use of ghee and making healthier switches such as using water, milk and olive oil makes the recipe healthier without sacrificing much on the taste front. Microwaving and not frying the Karanjis makes it rate even higher on the health meter.
Boondi and Rabdi Pancakes
Ingredients 1 ½ cups refined flour 1tsp baking powder 1 tsp soda bicarbonate Ύ cup buttermilk 2 tbsp powdered sugar Oil to shallow fry 5 medium size boondi laddoos 10 pcs of almonds, chopped and other 10 pcs blanched and peeled 1 tbsp raisins 3-4 tbsp rabdi 8-10pcs cashew nuts, chopped
Method 1. Preheat oven to 180c.Sift refined flour, baking powder and soda bicarbonate into a bowl. 2. Add buttermilk and whisk to make a smooth batter. Add powdered sugar and mix. 3. Heat oil in a pan. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it around. Cook till the underside is lightly browned. Flip and cook till the other side is cooked similarly. Cook other pancakes similarly. 4. Take boondi laddoos in a bowl, add chopped cashew nuts, almonds, raisins and mix breaking the laddoos. Add rabdi and mix further. 5. Take a cake tin. Trim the pancakes to fit into the tin. Spread some of the boondi stuffing over it. Cover with another pancake and spread some of the stuffing. Keep another pancake and spread some more of the stuffing. 6. Place the tin in a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. 7. Remove from the oven and unmould. Decorate with peeled almonds and serve.
Health meter: This is a unique recipe with a moderate caloric count of 175K cal.
by Aanchal P Achipalya
Raita is essentially yogurt mixed with vegetables such as cucumber, potatoes, eggplant or spinach, along with herbs (coriander, dill and mint), and spices like cumin seed, mustard seed and pepper. Fruits can also make interesting raitas; some raita recipes call for bananas, mangoes, pineapple or tomatoes. Whatever the combo, raitas usually always serve as a cool counterpoint to spicy dishes like curries and biryanis. Here are some innovative raita recipes for you to try your hand at
Ingredients 500 gm spinach 1 tablespoon ghee 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1 pinch of chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup yoghurt [can opt for probiotic low fat]
Preparation: 1. Wash spinach well and remove any tough stems. Pull the leaves into pieces and put into a saucepan with the moisture on the leaves or add ½ cup water. Cover and steam over low heat until spinach is tender. Drain and chop finely.
2. Heat ghee in a small saucepan and fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop. Add cumin seeds, ground cumin and fenugreek seeds and continue to fry, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the fenugreek seeds are golden brown, but do not allow to burn.
3. Remove from heat, stir in chilli powder and salt and allow cooling. Mix in the yoghurt, then stir this mixture into the spinach. Serve cold as an accompaniment to a meal.
Ingredients 2 Ripe mangoes, peeled 3 Ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 1 tsp Finely chopped jalapeno 2 cups non-fat plain yogurt 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves Salt to taste
Preparation: 1. Cut mango flesh into 1/4-inch dice and place in a bowl with the onion, tomatoes and jalapeno; and mix.
2. In a different bowl, mix the garam masala and yogurt. Spoon the yogurt into the fruit, sprinkle with the salt, and fold in the mint leaves.
3. Cover and refrigerate at least for one hour. Stir well before you serve.
Ingredients: 250 gms eggplant 1 large tomato, finely chopped Ό cup finely chopped onions 250 ml plain yogurt Salt to taste 2 tsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp grated ginger ½ tsp cayenne pepper 2 tbsp cup finely chopped fresh coriander ½ tsp roasted cumin seeds, crushed Paprika for garnish
Preparation: 1. Roast eggplant on open flame, on a gas burner, grill, until thoroughly charred, turning as needed.
2. Remove and cool, then peel and chop pulp coarsely. Pat the pulp dry with a paper towel and place in a bowl.
3. Add tomatoes and onions, and toss to mix.
4. Blend yogurt and salt.
5. Heat oil in a large pan until hot. Add ginger and cayenne pepper and let sizzle for 10 seconds. Add eggplant mixture. Sautι until lightly browned and drier.
6. Turn off the heat. Stir in coriander and the cumin seeds.
7. Now let it cool. Add to yogurt. Mix well. Serve sprinkled with some more cumin and paprika.
Apart from being simple to make and delicious to eat, raitas are nutritionally good too, as yoghurt provides plenty of protein, calcium and other vitamins. So, go on, make these yummy delicacies for your family and attract good health.