Image

Salad with Avocado-Wasabi Dressing

Salad with Avocado-Wasabi Dressing

This Japanese-inspired salad is easy to make. Its ingredients are simple and accessible, at least here in the Philippines. Its being healthy does not compromise its taste.

The creaminess of the dressing is akin to mayonnaise with wasabi while the sweetness of the mango introduces sudden bursts of sweetness and softness. The toasted sesame seeds, which are loaded with calcium, adds a bit of crunch.

DRESSING
1 medium-sized avocado, pitted
½ freshly squeezed lime
1 Tbsp grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tsp wasabi taste
A pinch of sea salt
Water as needed

SALAD
7 leaves of lettuce, sliced
½ medium-sized carrot, peeled and grated
½ medium-sized cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 medium-sized mango, sliced into cubes
1 sheet of nori, shredded
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

PROCEDURE
1. Blend the ingredients for the dressing then set aside. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate while preparing the vegetables and other ingredients.
2. Toss the rest of the ingredients into a big bowl along with the dressing. Mix gently.

SERVING SIZE
3 to 4 persons.

NOTES
1. Feel free to adjust the dressing according to your taste. Personally, I’d like to add more wasabi but my Mom doesn’t like it too spicy.
2. Add water sparingly on the dressing. Use only enough for the ingredients to combine smoothly.
3. This recipe is both vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.

Advertisements
Image

Hummus Made Easy

Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas. It is one of our favorite dips that goes well with steamed vegetables such as asparagus and okra, and fish dishes.

I’ve searched the web for recipes. After countless trials, I can confidently say that this version is simple and YUMMY!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzos)
1/8 cup water
1 clove garlic peeled
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder (optional)
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO, optional)

PROCEDURE

1. Prepare the chickpeas.

Canned chickpeas may be used. I, however, prefer the dried ones—despite more taxing preparations—as I try to minimize our consumption of heavily processed and preserved foods.

Soak the dried chickpeas overnight then pressure cook them in water (three times the amount of chickpeas) for about 15-20 minutes. If the chickpeas will instead be boiled, it’ll take about 2 hours according to other blogs I came across.

After pressure-cooking, drain the chickpeas and set aside the used water for blending.

Beans often double or triple in size after soaking and cooking. The above 1/2 cup increases to a little over a cup.

2. Toss all the ingredients into the blender except the EVOO. Blend until smooth. For a smoother consistency, add water.

3. Drizzle EVOO upon serving, which I often forget as the dip is already good as is. I don’t readily add EVOO because we store the hummus in the fridge for at most 4 days; this is to avoid the EVOO from solidifying and to make the stored hummus appear more fresh with the newly drizzled EVOO.

My Mom says EVOO aids in digestion but I read mixed opinions; others recommend without oil. Perhaps, it depends on the quality of the oil. On the other hand, I love adding cumin powder but Mom doesn’t. She associates cumin to a smelly armpit. 🙂

I used to purchase our dried chickpeas from Healthy Options. Recently, I’ve found more affordable ones at Fisher Mall Supermarket along Quezon Avenue and Assad Mini-Mart along Jupiter Street.

Fisher Mall Supermarket
Quezon Avenue corner Roosevelt Street
Quezon City

Assad Mini-Mart
Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building
126 Jupiter Street
(near corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry)
Bel-Air Village, Makati City

Image

N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

Coconut is one of the wonderful produces we have in the Philippines. Only recently have I consciously appreciated it as I learned that it’s not readily available in other countries.

Coconut can be consumed in many ways and is an essential ingredient in making dishes more delish, especially Bicol dishes, which are my recent fascination. I particularly love drinking its juice first thing in the morning and munching its meat. Well, one munches if the meat is relatively hard. But if it’s on the soft side, it slides in effortlessly. I rather prefer the former for its nutty feel.

If you have leftovers or you simply wish to add a bit of twist, here’s another fantastic way—the Not -Your-Typical Coconut (NYT Coco) Smoothie—to enjoy the coconut juice and meat. I don’t usually measure the ingredients when I make smoothies, but to serve as a guide, I have here rough estimates. Please feel free to change them according to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup coconut juice, frozen
1 cup coconut meat, frozen
1/3 cup almonds, soaked for 30 minutes (may include the water used for soaking; note, the more liquid, the thinner is the consistency)
8 dates, pitted
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tbsp ground green cardamon (or cardamom)

PROCEDURE

Toss all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.

While I’ve been wondering whether a coconut is a fruit or a vegetable, others are considering a third category, a nut because of its name. Coconut is none of the above as it’s actually a seed. Botanically speaking, it’s a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which means a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed. Loosely, coconut can be a fruit, a nut, and a seed (The Library of Congress).

The coconut juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Although high in saturated fat, its meat is rich with enzymes that are essential for better health and is an excellent source of manganese (this particularly), copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins (Nutrition-and-You and Self Nutrition Data).

An ingredient that probably stands out for Filipinos like me is cardamon (also known as cardamom). It originates from Southern India and is at present also grown in Sri Lanka. It is aromatic with a lemony undertone. It is rather pricey but a small amount goes a long way, so use it sparingly. In India, it is considered as a “festive spice,” and is often added in sweets and drinks.

Back in the old times, Egyptians chew cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner while the Greeks and Romans use it as a perfume. Arabs, on the other hand, attach aphrodisiac qualities to it and features it regularly in Arabian nights. Ancient Indians use it as an antidote to obesity and to date has been regarded as a digestive (The Epicentre).

Cardamon is available at Assad Mini-Mart, which is located at Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City. Wondering where exactly along Jupiter, it is a few meters away from Jupiter St. corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry. Telephone number is 897-2543.

REFERENCES
(1) Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html
(2) Nutrition-and-You http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html and Self Nutrition Data http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2
(3) The Epicentre http://theepicentre.com/spice/cardamom/

The recipe draws inspiration from a drink mixture that was taught in Pio Baquiran’s Ayurvedic Cooking Class.

Image

Banana Blossom Salad

Banana Blossom Salad

As a child, a banana blossom (BB) dish that is usually cooked in vinegar and spices did not excite me nor does it as an adult. It’s a relief to learn that there is a delectable way to prepare BB.

BB Salad is among the many dishes I learned from a 3-hour workshop on Ayurvedic Cooking with Pio Baquiran. It’s a cold salad that boasts of creaminess from the coconut milk with a touch of tanginess from the lemon juice. Chili can also be added depending on preference.

I’ve been seeing two types of BB in the market, the red roundish which holds true to BB’s Tagalog name, “puso ng saging” (direct English translation is heart of a banana) and the long yellowish one. For this recipe, I use the latter.

It’s rather funny that while a banana is a blossom or flower, it’s a vegetable. And, when it matures, it becomes a fruit. BB is rich in Vitamins A and C, is a storehouse of antioxidants, and alleviates pain.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups boiled and sliced banana blossom
1/3 cup freshly squeezed coconut milk
2 Tbsp diced red bellpepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
Salt and powdered cayenne pepper to taste

PROCEDURE
1. Boil the banana blossom first to avoid discoloration. Then slice it into strips.
2. Mix the sliced banana blossoms with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Put the salad in a fridge for about 20 minutes.

SERVING SIZE
4 to 5 persons.

Image

Mangocado Salad

Mangocado Salad

A fusion of sweetness and creaminess with a hint of lime, salt, and basil. The recipe from which I draw inspiration describes it in one word, “sensuous.” This, on the other hand, breaks into that dreamy sensation as the crunchiness from the seeds brings in a wholesome feel. Quick and easy to prepare, it can serve as a light breakfast or an appetizer.

Gently mix the following in a bowl:

1 medium-sized mango, sliced into cubes
1/2 small-sized avocado, sliced into cubes
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves

Reference: http://www.welikeitraw.com/rawfood/2006/03/mango_avocado_s.html

Image

Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts

Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts

Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts (in Tagalog, Ginisang Pechay na may Walnuts) is a simple and common dish at home that I’ve veganized. I substitute small shrimps or pork cutlets with walnuts. The walnuts break the leafy-veggie taste and taste sweet against the sourish tomatoes. Instead of sauteing in oil, I cook everything in a small amount of water replenishing as needed to keep it from burning. Then oil is drizzled after removing it from fire.

INGREDIENTS
water as needed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium-sized garlic, chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
salt to taste
3 bundles of pechay, chopped; separate stems from leaves
a handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp of flax seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

PROCEDURE
1. Cook the garlic and onion in little water.
2. Add the tomatoes and salt.
3. Put in the pechay stems first then after a minute or so, add the pechay leaves.
4. When the pechay is almost cooked, add the walnuts.
5. Remove from the fire and drizzle the flax seed oil.