Green kale smoothie

December 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

As promised here is a heart-healthy recipe for a green kale smoothie!

Ingredients

  • 2 Kiwi
  • Banana
  • 10 ml milk
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed oil
  • 1 large branch kale

Directions

  1. Roughly cut up kale and place in blending container with milk.
  2. Blend kale and milk about 1 minute, until desired consistency
  3. Add other ingredients
  4. Blend until smooth

 

Channa

November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

One of my favorite snacks is channa.

While channa is simply the Indian word for chickpea, in Trinidad it also means a roasted chickpea snack.

I loved the excitement of someone coming back from Trinidad, because it would always mean that they were bringing back snacks. Tamarind balls were great, coconut cake was ok, and toolum was fairly gross, but I could eat the whole bottle of channa all by myself.  They came in what looked like old rum bottles that had the labels cut off and had channa poured in to the very top. While that is a lot for a little girl to eat, at least I was getting protein and not sugar.

I actually made channa the first time when I was in Japan, and it is fairly easy to make, quick, and delicious. Plus, channa is healthy for you!

Soaking the Chickpeas

I  recommend purchasing dried chickpeas, since I am always wary of the chemicals that can leak from can linings.

There are two ways to soak chickpeas (and all beans) a quick way, and overnight. I am lazy, so I did it the quick way.

  • Soaking Overnight: Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • Quick soak
  1. Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water
  2. Allow water to boil for 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour
  4. Drain and rinse

Roasting the Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Shadow beni (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, and shadow beni
  3. Coat chickpeans in mixture
  4. Line baking tray with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup
  5. Roast until crunchy and brown, about 50 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let cool
  7. Store in an airtight container to preserve freshness

Tahini-Free Hummus with Roasted Garlic

November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Probably everyone has their own recipe for hummus, or at least they should. Hummus is so easy to make and so much more delicious fresh that there really is no reason to buy it at the store.

So probably unlike most people in America, I mostly associated chickpeas with channa, roti, doubles, and other Trini and Indian foods for most of my life. I think I had never had hummus until I went to college and it was lined up in the campus center cafeteria along with the customized salads and sushi. Before then, pitas were just a fast food thing that I ate at Miami Subs . I had no idea what “Mediterranean food” was.

Honestly, I’m such a country bumpkin!

While hummus isn’t my favourite food I wanted to do more with the chickpeas I had than just make channa, and the roasted garlic adds a nice kick to it.

Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup soaked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except for water and garlic into a large container or blender
  2. Add 3 cloves of garlic and 1/8 cup of water to container
  3. Begin to blend the ingredients
  4. Taste hummus as it is blending, add garlic and water to desired taste and consistency (I used the whole bulb but I love garlic!)
Yes I realize there is no tahini in my hummus! But I never just have tahini laying around and it tastes great without it!

Wagashi and Tea Ceremony

November 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I love wagashi.

It was kind of a problem in Japan, because wagashi and matcha (powdered green tea) are so expensive that I could only have it on special occasions.

I love everything about them. Their seasonal shapes. The overwhelming sweetness. The combination of that sweetness with the bitter green taste of the matcha. The solemnity of the tea ceremony.

So what is wagashi anyway?

Wagashi means literally Japanese candy. While the term can refer to a range of candies, they are all generally made out of an bean paste and are often served at tea ceremonies. The sweetness of an is nothing like the sweetness of sugar, it is deeper and doesn’t give me the sugar jitters.  Since wagashi are most often made of plants, they have little to no fat. Also adzuki beans, especially when processed into an paste, have high concentrations  of catechins, anthocyanidin and polyphenols. So, if you want to have candy, you might as well eat some that might fight cancer and heart disease!

These little candies come in all shapes and sizes, but they are above all other things seasonal candies. The image above is of a wagashi that I bought in spring, it is appropriately a flower blossom. There are wagashi for  winter,summer, fall, and even moon and rabbit shaped wagashi for the moon viewing holiday.

If you ever go to Japan, it is likely you will encounter these at a tea ceremony, so here is a basic run down of how to comport yourself:

Tea Ceremony for the Common Person

This is what you do when you are given your chawan (tea cup)

  1. Bow
  2. Take chawan with right hand, place it in palm of left hand
  3. Rotate chawan 3 times clockwise with the right hand (this should make a 180 degree turn)
  4. Look at the cup and admire it (the “front” of the cup is facing you now)
  5. Try to drink the tea in 3 sips
  6. After drinking, wipe the rim of the chawan where it touched your lips with a napkin
  7. Rotate the chawan as in step three, but counterclockwise
  8. Return the chawan to your host
  9. Bow

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