Juice House In Rishikesh 

April 10, 2016 § Leave a comment


One of my favorite juice places in all of India has to be the popular Juice House in Ram Jhula, Rishikesh. The city is situated on the foothills of the Himalayas and along the Ganges river. It is a place of pilgrimage and a very holy and peaceful place.

The juice stall is a popular travellers’ hangout and is always full. Usually you need to squeeze into a shared booth and it can take 20 minutes to get served but it’s worth the wait. The mango lassi as featured above is full of mangos and has fresh pomegranates on top with shredded coconut $2. They have many fresh fruit and veggie juice combos along with smoothies including some which have avocado.

Their other popular menu item is their fruit salad and the one shown above is a replica that I made at home. I usually get the vegan version which comes with muesli, bananas, watermelon, papaya, mangos, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate, soy milk, date syrup and mint $2.80.

The date syrup was difficult to find so I decided to make my own. I soaked a cup of dates in warm water for a couple hours. Then I puréed the dates and water in a Vitamix blender. Squeezed out the date pulp and put the liquid into a saucepan and brought to a boil. I cooked the liquid until it thickened, allowed it to cool and poured it over the fruit. It was so heavenly that I ate it everyday for over a week.

 Sunset in Rishikesh

Thai Tom Kha Soup

January 20, 2016 § 2 Comments

  
This soup had to be my all time favourite for warming my bones on a cold winter day. The coconut milk makes it very creamy and the sweet and sour flavour is perfectly balanced on the palate. I like to serve it with cooked quinoa or vermicelli rice noodles to make it into a meal. 

The lemongrass and lime leaves are critical to the flavour, so it’s best to buy them fresh. You can buy them in produce or Asian stores but I go to Granville Island Public Market as the quality is best there. This soup does take some time to make but trust me it’s worth it.

Cooking Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 Tblsp (15 ml) olive oil x 2
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 small onion diced
3 cups (750 ml) boiling water
2 stalks lemon grass cut into big pieces
8 lime leaves
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Bragg or soy sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 lime juiced
1 tsp (5 ml) Siracha
1 tsp (5 ml) agave or sweetner
1 400 ml can coconut milk
2 cups (500 ml) chopped kale
1 cup (250 ml) crimini mushrooms
chopped thai basil and cilantro(optional)

Directions:
1. Heat 1 Tblsp of oil in a medium stock pot. Sautee the garlic and onions. Add water, lime leaves,lemongrass and simmer for 25 minutes or until fragrant.
2. Add the Bragg, salt, lime juice, siracha, agave and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
3. Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass. Puree the liquid and set aside.
4. Heat 1 Tblsp oil in the stock pot and the kale. Sautee until wilted. Add the mushrooms and sautee for a minute and add the liquid. Bring to a boil and serve. Garnish with thai basil and cilantro.

  

Yakisoba

October 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yakisoba

One of my kids favourite Japanese dishes is yakisoba and when they found out that I had learned how to make it they were ecstatic. When I came back from  Japan, it was the first dish that I made. It is so easy and basically just requires the right sauce. My friends helped me pick the healthier organic one that I brought home in my suitcase. It is something that you can easily find in a Japanese grocery store. The only trick is to figure out the right proportions of the yakisoba sauce and soy. The noodles were very delicious though because I did not make it on a skillet, it did not have a smokey flavour or crispy bits. If you have a skillet you can use it instead of a saucepan. I used the veggies that were in my fridge but you can add anything that you like.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 package soba noodles cooked to directions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot thinly sliced
1 handful broccoli cut into small pieces
1 handful thinly cut baby carrots
2 tbsp Bulldog yakisoba sauce
2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos or natural soy saucue

Directions:
1. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and add the oil. When warm add the shallots. Cook until soft and then add the veggies. Cook until soft about 5 mins or so.
2. Add the sauces and mix together and cook another couple minutes. Toss in the noodle, cook another 1-2 minutes stir and serve.

Yaki Onigiri – Baked Rice Ball

September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

yaki onigiri

This is one way that the Japanese serve rice. This morning it was beautifully presented to me with miso soup. The rice is mixed with soy sauce and cheese and baked or lightly pan fried. It is crunchy on the outside and holds together pretty well. The miso complements it nicely. At home I can see myself eating this as delicious midday pick me up snack.

Cooking time 20 minutes

Ingredients
Yaki Onigiri
cooked Japanese rice
soy sauce
cheese

Miso Soup
water
miso
wakame seaweed
green onions sliced

Directions:
1. combine the ingredients for the yaki onigiri and either bake in the oven or lightly pan fry.
2. combine the ingredients for the miso into a bowl. Serve together and enjoy.

Saya’s Harusame Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

noodles

Harusame is a transparent noodle made from either potato or mung bean starch. It has texture and requires a good chew. This salad is very light and refreshing and easy to pack for lunch.

Ingredients:
harusame noodles
sliced zucchini
sliced yellow pepper
sesame oil
mirin
soya sauce
white rice vinegar
slices of dried chill
sesame seeds

Place the ingredients in a bowl and toss.

Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Snow peas and green beans

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Spaghetti

This is the other pasta dish that I made for my Japanese friends. I made one cold dish and one hot one. I decided to make spaghetti using my favourite cooking method. Basically I sauté fresh veggies that are in season and melt in fresh parmesan. In this dish I added a dried hot chili and you can also drizzle a chili oil when you serve the dish. I have to say, I will miss using chopsticks for every meal. I am actually getting quite good at using them. I even eat like the Japanese now, hunched over bowls slurping noodles.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 package organic whole wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 dried hot red chilli
1 handful green beans cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1 handful snow peas
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1/2 tsp (2ml) basil powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) parsley powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated pepper
1 large jar of organic tomato sauce
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 package fresh basil thinly chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh parmesan shavings (optional)

Directions:
1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the oil, garlic and chili and saute until golden.
3. Add the green beans and cook until outside gets slightly soft about 2 mins and then add the snow peas.
4. Add the salt and spices, stir, cook for a minute and then the tomato sauce.
5. Cook for 5 minutes or so and add the tomatoes. When the sauce is ready, add the cooked pasta, mix and then add the parmesan. Serve and garnish with fresh basil.

In the kitchen in Tokyp

Fusilli Pasta Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tokyo, Japan

One my last night in Tokyo, my friend Saya and I cooked a delicious feast while her husband Sunny played bartender. He requested that I make a cold pasta dish, so I made a pasta salad.

I had fun being in the kitchen as I knew it was my last night to enjoy being in Japan with my good friends. It was a fun challenge to create recipes that I am used to using different ingredients and adding a Japanese flare on it.

I used fusilli pasta with fresh vegetables that were available at the market with parmesan in a sweet balsamic dressing. I used the beautiful purple cabbage sprouts as a garnish. Sunny was very happy and thought the dish was beautiful as well as having harmony in the flavours.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 package cooked fusilli pasta
1 handful snow peas
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
corn niblets
shavings of parmesan (optional)
1/2 handful green olives
handful of baby greens
finely sliced green onions
chopped fresh basil
purple cabbage sprouts.

Dressing:
olive oil
balsamic vingegar
raw sugar
sliced dried hot pepper
fresh ground pepper

Directions;
1. Place the veggies in a bowl and marinate with the dressing for 1/2 hour.
2. Toss with the pasta, parmesan and 2/3 of fresh basil. Garnish with fresh basil and purple cabbage sprouts.

cold pasta salad

Vegetables with Saya’s miso yogurt dip

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

yogurt miso dip

Saya has impressed me once again. Her miso yogurt dip was absolutely divine. It only has three ingredients, yogurt, miso and sesame oil. The thing that I love about her food is that it is simple, delicious and extremely healthy. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve with veggies.

Yakatabune – Japanese House Boat Party & Dinner Cruise

September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

yakatabone

My friends took me to one of their colleagues birthday party on a Japanese house boat or yakatabune. There was about 50 people there who had to remove their shoes and sit in groups of fours on the floor at grill top tables. The party started within 10 minutes of arriving and set sail in Tokyo’s harbour. Spring rolls and dumplings were the first thing to arrive at the table and of course Japanese beer. The Japanese love their beer and even have created a zero calorie one!

monjayaki

Next a bowl was placed at the table with cabbage, sprouts, cheese and eel in it. The man beside me Haru started to cook. He poured oil on the grill and placed the cheese down first. On my first night in Tokyo I ate monjayaki and was attentively watching the waiter cook the dish. Instinctively, I took the utensils from Haru and took over. I added the cabbage and cooked the eel separate. Yes, I cooked meat!

okonomiyaki

Once the veggies are semi cooked, you make a well and add a broth to the centre which makes the pancake gooey. You eat it bite by bite from the grill and add sauce to it as you like.

monjayaki

The next dish that I made was okonomiyaki which is chewier and drier than the monjayaki. The technique is the same. Add oil to the grill and saute veggies using metal utensils in both hands. I really got into it and everyone was surprised that I knew what I was doing. Once again I made the well and added the broth. I let that cook and took a short beer break.

During the party we played rock paper scissors or as they call it jan ken pon . We played for partying gifts and one of the winners received a lingerie set and the happy Japanese man put it on over his jeans and dress shirt and pranced around for a bit.

okonomiyaki

I got back to my okonomiyaki and to my surprise it tasted like a pros. Everyone was so impressed that they had me make the last dish, yakisoba. It is actually really simple to make and basically requires the yakisoba and soy sauce for flavouring. All you do is saute the veggies first, add the noodles and add the sauce. It was delicious. My kids love it and I can now make it at home.

no.1 vip

The game of jan ken pon continued and more and more party gifts were being handed out. By now I was a bit tipsy from all the beer that I drank, trying to keep up with everyone else. The Japanese drink fast. Near the end of the night, the box of party gifts was being handed out and I got a ribbon that said in Japanese No.1 VIP!

Japanese beer gifts

Everyone had a big laugh. People gave me their items as souvenirs of Japan. I got a watch, a beer mug with Japanese writing that says beer party.  You put the mug in the freezer and outside layer turns to ice. I also got a beer pump that pumps beer out of beer cans and the weirdest items that I received were key chains with Japanese vegetables and panty hose.

me

I have to say the Japanese seem quite quiet and reserved but when they party, boy do they let loose. It was a super fun experience and one of the highlights of my trip.

Indian Coconut Curry with Japanese Vegetables

September 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

coconut curry

When I decided to cook dinner for my hosts one night,  I chose one of my favourite dishes, vegetarian coconut curry. I make this dish all the time, especially when I’m craving fat in my diet. This coconut curry is not overly spiced and has a warming effect on the body and soul. Better yet, it matures overnight and continues to dazzle the next day. All you need is a little water to heat it up.

I headed to the grocery store and when I arrived, I realized that I would need to substitute my veggies for Japanese ones. Their produce comes in small plastic packages with plastic wrap on it. The portion are about the size of a large handful because the Japanese value fresh ingredients and shop for groceries almost daily. I bought a whole bunch of different ones to create variety in the dish. I was also fortunate to find the right spices and was surprised that the quality was better than in Canada.

When I got back, I got organized in the kitchen. It was my first time cooking in Japan and also the first time that I felt a little Japanese.  I love  Japanese kitchen stuff as everything is good quality and made ergonomically. Saya is always laughing at me because I have a long list of kitchen items that I want to take home and that list gets longer everyday.

When we sat down for dinner, Saya decided to play music and put on a youtube video with Shahrukh Khan, the famous Bollywood actor. She told me that all the Japanese women love him which made me laugh. The meal was delicious and the Japanese veggies created a nice contrast in texture and taste. I will definitely make the curry using these veggies at home.

Serves 4
Cooking time 45 minutes

Ingredients:
one Japanese yam boiled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces and then quartered
one lotus root cut into thin slices
one handful broccoli florets
one handful green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces
one handful okra cut into 1/2 inch pieces
one handful snow peas
two bunches bok choy cut into 1/3 inch pieces
one red pepper sliced into 1/4 inch pieces lengthwise
one handful mushrooms sliced into 1/3 inch pieces
1 package soft tofu diced

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 small onion diced
2 -3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
1 tsp coriander seeds or powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 small can plum organic tomatoes
1 large can coconut milk
chopped fresh cilantro

cooked rice
Japanese pickles

Directions:
1. Steam the veggies
2. In a large sauce pan on medium heat add the olive oil.
3. When hot, add the garlic saute until golden and add the onions. Cook until transparent and brown.
4. Add the spices, ginger and salt. Stir. Add the tomatoes.
5. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and puree.
6. Add the steam veggies to the pot and when the flavours are incorporated, turn off heat. Serve with rice and Japanese pickles.

Coconut curry with Japanese veggies

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