coconut

Chickpea coconut curry with seasonal greens

This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my  Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It's also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I've recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I'm eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it's so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you're curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.

Anyhow moving on to the recipe!

The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I've found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don't have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn't burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!

The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.

(Serves 6) *Use organic ingredients where possible

Curry

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
  • 4 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
  • 4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 6 spinach leaves, chopped

Coconut Rice & Tahdig

  • 4 cups brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
  • 8 cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)

Coriander vegan "yoghurt"

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 2 handfuls cashew nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt & black pepper 1/2 cup water

Method

1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.

*If you don't have a rice cooker please read the notes above.

2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts. Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.

4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.

5. In the meantime place all the "yoghurt" ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth. 6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.

7. Serve up the dish and enjoy! **This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.

Summertime Homemade Popsicles

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I know I haven't had the chance to post a recipe up on the blog for a while... We went away on a family holiday to Jordan & Dubai and as soon as I got back I went straight into weekly special orders, my first ever group cooking class, followed by lots of catering orders and few new exciting developments which I'll hopefully be able to write about soon :)

I've been practising yoga on the balcony recently as the weather is absolutely beautiful over here at the moment, and this recipe idea came to me on one hot morning! It was a lot hotter than usual and after I finished I was drenched in sweat, all I could think of was having a nice fruity popsicle. I rummaged around the cupboards and found my old popsicle moulds, reached for the few ingredients we had in the fridge and decided to make some mango, coconut milk, lime, and ginger popsicles.

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Mangos are very alkaline, which help balance the acidity in your body, they are also high in antioxidants which help protect the body against certain types of cancers.

Coconut milk has a multitude of benefits so here are a few, it's anti-bacterial, high in good fats, and iron, which is especially good for women.

Limes are an amazing source of vitamin C, they also help keep the body's blood sugar levels balanced, which is a good combination with mango as they are high in natural sugars.

Finally, I love ginger, not only does it add a nice depth of flavour but it's so good for you too! It helps reduce inflammation, aids in digestion & nausea and has also been linked to studies which have shown that it kills cancer cells.

So not only will this popsicle cool you down in the summer heat, but it will also be doing a lot of good to your body, in contrast to the sugar and chemical filled popsicles you can by at the shops! Again, if you don't have all the ingredients, try experimenting with what you have at home.

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Ingredients (makes 6)

1 medium ripe mango

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup coconut milk/cream

Juice of 1 lime

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled

Method

Scoop the flesh out of the mango, place in a blender along with all the other ingredients and pulse until you have a nice smooth consistency.

Fill the moulds with the thick mixture, tap the moulds on the counter to make sure the mixture has been evenly dispersed, then place in the freezer for 4 hours, or over night.

Enjoy!

Pistachio & Rose Amazeballs

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I started doing weekly specials about a month ago, selling the food products I make for catering jobs, or at home. I never imagined I would be selling my amazeballs, cashew milk, banana bread etc, but my friends and clients kept asking so I thought I'd give it a go! And I couldn't be happier, not only do I get to share my food with more people, which is what I love doing, but I've also met such wonderful new people! It has made me realise just how much people in Doha do want good, organic, whole, plant based food.

One thing I've sold almost every week and have been playing around with is what I call 'amazeballs'! They are the perfect little treat to have around as they all filled with pure goodness, no added sugars, fillers, words you can't read, let alone say, and my husband loves them, which is a good excuse to make them all the time. The different variations I've sold so far have been chocolate orange with maca, goji berry with flaxseed , and pistachio & rose with spirulina, which is this weeks' special inspired by my Iranian background and a little bit, but not really, valentines day.

Once you have the consistency of the base down, which is basically raw nuts, dates, and a superfood (this is optional, but so much better added in) then it's easy to experiment with flavour combinations etc. If you don't have all the ingredients, it's ok, you can sub it for something similar, or leave it out all together. Goji berries can be substituted for cranberries, medjool dates can be substituted for any other soft dates, raw honey can be substituted for date syrup or maple syrup etc, and you don't have to roll them in anything, they're also great just on their own.

P.S. I'm not really one for celebrating valentines day, I think that if you love someone, be it your family, friends or your other half, you should shower them with love (and amazeballs) every single day!

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Ingredients (makes approx. 20 pieces)

  • 80 grams raw, unsalted pistachios (peeled)
  • 50 grams goji berries (see notes above for substitutions)
  • 50 grams dried figs
  • 100 grams medjool dates
  • 60 grams unsweetened desiccated coconut (organic, preservative free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rose water

Toppings (optional) 1/2 cup dehydrated rose petals, or dried rose buds 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

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Amazeballs mudra!

Method

Place pistachios in the food processor and pulse until they are crumbly.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor, except for the toppings, and blitz on a medium speed for about 20 seconds then go to high speed for about a minute, until you have an even consistency (this will vary depending on how powerful your food processor is).

Scoop out approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, squeeze in your hand, and roll into a ball gently with the palms of your hands.

Prepare the toppings (optional) by using a spice mill, or pestle and mortar, to grate down the rose petals to a similar consistency as the desiccated coconut.

Mix the 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut and the rose in a small bowl, and roll the amazeballs in the mixture. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes (if you can resist) or eat as is! They should keep in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks, but they'll probably be eaten up way before then!

Enjoy and share with all the people you love in your life!

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If you are based in Doha and are interested in knowing more about my weekly specials, head over to my instagram or facebook page for more info!