Chief hustler and founder of the Le 15 patisserie empire, Pooja Dhingra shares five simple recipes from her best-selling cookbook The Wholesome Kitchen to get you started on that healthy journey.
MAKES 20 PIECES
Raveena Taurani runs a home catering service in Mumbai and her vegan and raw treats are great for those 4 pm cravings. I admire her commitment to making uncooked food as delicious as any conventional dish you can think of. Goji berries are available in India in. select food stores.
‘Goji berries are a complete protein source – they contain 19 different amino acids and 21 or more trace minerals including selenium, calcium, iron, etc. They also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, vitamin E and antioxidants that help protect the eyes from free radicals. They support the immune system and help fight neurological degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.’ – Raveena
200 g cashew nuts/almonds, raw
100 g goji berries
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp mixed spices/cinnamon
40 g seedless dates
50 g desiccated coconut
¼ cup desiccated coconut or sesame seeds for rolling (optional)
Method for Goji berry and date bliss balls recipe
If the nuts are raw, they must be rinsed thoroughly. If you are soaking them, the cashew nuts should be soaked for 2 hours and the almonds for 8–12 hours. Rinse thoroughly before you use them. Grind the nuts to a crunchy texture in a food processor.
Add the goji berries, vanilla essence and the mixed spices or cinnamon. Add the dates slowly and process till the mixture is combined. It is important to not add all the dates at once as the mixture will not combine evenly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the desiccated coconut. Roll the mixture into 20 balls. Spread the grated coconut or sesame seeds on a plate and roll the balls on the plate to coat them. Refrigerate one hour before serving. These can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and for a month in the freezer.
Apart from it many nutritional benefits, I love avocado for its buttery texture that lends itself just as well to sandwiches and salads as it does to desserts.
100 g ripe avocado, mashed
100 ml milk
35 g honey
A pinch of salt
Method for avocado pudding:
When was the last time you came across a recipe that’s both healthy and delicious?
MAKES 15 BITES
300 g apples
75 g seedless dates
85 g cashew nuts
55 g oats
½ tsp cinnamon powder
A pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 150 C.Peel, core and chop the apples finely into even-sized pieces. Place these on a baking tray and dehydrate in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes. Let the apples dry well; they should be reduced to 60 grams. Once dry, coarsely grind the apples with the dates in a blender. Add the cashew nuts and blend till well combined; make sure there are no lumps. Add the oats, cinnamon and salt. Blend to form a sticky dough. Check if the dough can be worked with; if not, refrigerate for around 15 minutes. To form the bites, use a tablespoon to measure out the dough and shape into balls. The apple cinnamon bites will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Simple and ridiculously easy, you can try this at home right now!
MAKES 12 COOKIES
65 g oats
5 g cocoa powder
5 g coffee powder
15 g honey
A pinch of salt
30 g protein powder
40 g almond butter
70 ml milk
Method for no bake coffee cookies recipe
Pulse the oats in a blender to make flour.Pour into a bowl.Add the cocoa powder, coffee powder, honey, salt and protein powder and mix.Add the almond butter and mix to form crumbs. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a thick dough.Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into small balls. Flatten each ball slightly and place on a plate/tray lined with butter paper. Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes before serving.
Mumbai’s best-known food writer Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi is also a dear friend. I love how she adds a delicious Indian twist to dips, which makes them both great to snack on in the middle of a busy workday, and to serve at parties.
250 g rajma
10 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
3 green chillies, chopped
2 heaped tbsp thick tahini
2 tbsp sesame oil (you can use toasted sesame oil)
2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
Zest of 2 small lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
A generous glug of strongly-scented extra virgin olive oil
Soak the rajma overnight. Drain and rinse well. Cook them with fresh water in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes after the cooker reaches full pressure (first whistle). When the beans can be easily crushed by pressing between two fingertips, they are done.Drain and reserve the cooking water.
Put the beans and all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a stand blender and blend, till creamy, adding the reserved cooking water if required. Scrape the hummus into a bowl, press a swirl on the top with the back of the spoon, and pour olive oil into the furrows. Serve it with anything crisp, such as pita, bread sticks, deep-fried triangles of leftover roti, khakhra, toast points, tortilla chips, or crudités of carrot, white and red radish, cucumber, etc. The hummus can also be used as a spread on a tartine. Or, use it as a base in a vegetable canapé and top with corn, kachumber or mince.
If you want a hummus that’s a little less of a vampire slayer and more sweet and sophisticated, skip the 10 fresh cloves of garlic. Instead, wrap a head of garlic drizzled with olive oil in aluminium foil. Roast in the oven at 200ºC for 40 minutes. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins and into the blender with the rest of the ingredients before blending. You can also skip the lemon juice and add extra zest for a hummus that’s less tart and more aromatic.• Add crushed red chillies and skip the green for a deeper, earthier heat. Add the kind of heat your endorphins need: Sichuan peppers, your favourite hot sauce or your favourite lime or chilli pickle.
Add more sesame oil and lemon juice and make it into a spread for a roll or sandwich. If you don’t add any water while blending it, you might even be able to make it into tikkis.
Excerpted with permission from Hachette’s The Wholesome Kitchen:Nourish, Energize, Indulge by Pooja Dhingra. Get it here.
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