Since becoming gluten free a year back, it has been an amazing journey. Firstly I got to learn and taste so many different grains but most importantly make recipes that taste so good and more nourishing than wheat!
My family doesn’t really crave pancakes. They smash an egg into the pan instead of a blender with milk and flour. But I think since becoming gluten free I had stopped making them at all and I think that’s when everyone starts craving for it.
This is an amazing recipe because it is vegetarian and buckwheat is a very nourishing grain. Also called kuttu in India, it has been used in traditional societies for a very long time. Buckwheat is available as a flour, as groats or as kernels. Groats are the hulled kernels. And this recipe uses groats rather than flour. The reason I am fermenting it is because it makes the buckwheat digestible and gives you probitotics too! No egg, no gluten and yummy! Your kids won’t even know it’s this healthy!
2 cups buckwheat groats
1.5 cup thin yogurt ( yogurt diluted with water)
1 cup yogurt
a pinch of baking powder
biuckwheatgroats soaking in buttermilk/yogurt
Soak the buckwheats in the thinned yogurt for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Drain them and then add the fresh yogurt and blend them in a blender. Add salt or water according to the consisitency you need. Your pancake batter is ready. You can use this over 2-3 days if you store it in the refrigerator.
In a heated pan pour a little quantity. Let cook and flip.
Serve with fruits,honey or maple syrup!
I first tried Labneh in the desert town of Deir-e-zor in Syria some 18 years back. At that time I was used to just Mozarella and Cheddar and the Indian cottage cheese called Paneer. So, this was a whole new experience for me. The sour tangy taste coupled with spices intrigued me. Basically it had the consistency of cream cheese with the sourness of yogurt. It was served with their Mezze, or with their chargrilled meats. In some restaurants it had coarse salt and garlic pounded into it giving it a very unusual kick. Raw garlic in cheese? It was a flavour I would never forget!
Having only seen it commercially (then available at every grocery store) I never really bothered to find out how it was made even though I did have some Syrian friends. It was only when I left the Middle East after a whole decade that I started missing it. Since then I have made it at home numerous times and have improvised it with Indian spices like chilli powder and cumin and the Australian Dukkah! I have also made them into balls to resemble the bocconcini and marinated them in olive oil.
They are very versatile. Use them as a dip, spread on your sandwiches, eat them on their own and serve with any main course. My recipe is a bit involving as I make my own yogurt and I would recommend you do so to get the most probiotics. It tastes better too than any store bought yogurt.
Home made yogurt ( if you can’t then use Greek yogurt) 1kg
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt (probably 1 tsp)
Dukkah 5 tbsp
Chilli powder + Cumin powder + black salt ( 1tbsp each mixed )
Add salt to the yogurt and stir well. Pour into a cheese cloth with a bowl to drip into. Hang in the fridge especially in the summer for upto 24 hrs.
Throw the whey. The yogurt will now look like cheese. With oiled hands make small round balls. Put on plate and refrigerate them for an hour.
Now they are aready to be spiced up. Roll a few in dukkah and the others in the chilli powder mixture. Put them separately in each jar and top with olive oil. Refrigerte. Use within a week. Makes 15-18 Labneh Cheese Balls that will delight your family and friends!
This is one of my favourite chutneys. Fiery red and tangy. It goes with any savoury snack and of course best with Indian fermented savoury pancakes called Dosa. I think I have been eating this for as long as I can remember. It used to be too tangy for me but as years rolled by I started loving it more and more! The chillies can be increased or decreased as per your tolerance levels! I have made many variations since then but the simple plain old way of making it the way my mum used to make is still the best!
So here goes!
1 red onion chopped
2 whole tomatoes chopped
2 red dry chillies
a tsp of mustard
few sprigs of curry leaves
salt to taste
2 tbs coconut oil + 1 tsp for tempering
a teaspoon of tamarind paste
a clove of garlic
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute until pink. Add garlic and tomatoes and the red chillies. Turn off heat. Add few leaves of the curry leaf. Leave a few for tempering. Once mixture is cooled, grind with salt and tamarind paste. It should be a fine paste.
Temper it now. Heat a tsp of oil or use the oil left after sauteeing. Add mustard until it splutters and the curry leaves. Add to Tomato Chutney. Stores in fridge for a week. Serves as many or as little as you want!
Sometimes we just do the same things the way we have been doing it for years! It is hard to change habits, learn new ways and to discover and find efficient ways to do things. But when we do, it is like an “aha” moment and we wonder why we didn’t think of it before! It is the same with chutneys!
We just make them the same way we are used to and with the same ingredients too! I grow a lot of greens in my garden and just did some mix and match to come up with this chutney that is so delicious and full of vitamins. It is a superfood storehouse! I know you won’t probably find these greens at your grocery shop but don’t be disheartened. This is an inspiration that a small pot of these herbs and weeds are more nutritious than the expensive few day old greens you bring from your supermarket. So give it a try and plant them. You will wonder why you never did it sooner!
a handful of nasturtium leaves (i never planted it, so it just grows every winter on its own!)
a handful of arugula (rocket)
few sprigs of brahmi ( this is a bitter herb and great for memory) so use sparingly
a small bunch of mint
any other edible weed like sorrell or chickweed ( I used chickweed)
an inch of ginger
salt to taste
juice of 1-2 lemons
few green chillies (as much as you can handle)
Blitz all in a blender. Your chutney is ready. Goes well with most appetizers. Eat in on sandwiches with cucumber and tomatoes. As a side dish to any savoury item. Make raita with it, just add few tsp of chutney to yogurt and mix. Endless ways to use! Store in fridge in a glass jar for upto a week.
It isn’t everyday that one gets to drink a banana stem juice! But if you grow a banana tree you would make the best use of it. Every part of the banana tree, from its stem to its flower and leaves are used. Ofcourse you eat the bananas as well! Nothing goes waste. Also, you might be interested to know that a banana trees life span is over once it fruits, so it has to be hacked down to pave way for new shoots.
So, all it means is that you don’t have to keep planting banana saplings ever again. They just automatically grown when the “mother” plant is taken down after giving birth to bananas. So what do you do with the long banana stem! Please don’t throw it away! The banana stem holds a tasty core which is medicinal too. It is great in salads and best made into a juice and drunk raw. It has been touted to melt kidney stones too.
So here is the procedure! First you have to peel the outer layers of the banana stem. Once you reach the core it will look like a white cylinder. That is the part you want. The banana stem behaves a bit like a avocado. It turns black when exposed to air. So it needs to be preserved in an acidic environment, preferably diluted lemon juice or sour butter milk. Chop it into 2 inch segments and store in fridge in either of the above liquid.
When you want to use the banana stem you need to slice it thin. As you are slicing, thin thread like filaments appear which have to be snapped out. So as you keep slicing, keep removing the fibrous material. Use the chopped banana stem in salads. For juice I prefer it in butter milk.
Chopped banana stem ( foot ruler size)
1 cup butter milk
1 cup water
salt and pepper
sprinkle of cumin powder preferably roasted
Blend all the ingredients. Strain. Drink immediately. Best on an empty stomach. Serves 2
It isn’t common to make chutney out of tender coconut flesh. But the creamy taste and texture of this Coconut chutney is simply divine. I always find it difficult to save some for chutney whenever I buy these tender green coconuts. There is a mad scramble to drink the water then scoop the flesh out to eat. Most often I have to hide a bit to use next morning in chutney! It is a really melt in the mouth experience. Aside from their wonderful taste and thirst quencher, coconut water and flesh is very nutritious with various minerals and vitamins.
This chutney is made the usual way like other coconut chutneys. Just replace it with tender coconut flesh. Depending on how much quanity of green tender coconuts flesh, you are able to scoop, you might need 1 or 2 coconuts
1 or 2 tender coconut’s flesh
2 green chillies
1 tbsp oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1tsp tamarind pulp
3 tbsp roasted chana dal (available in indian shops) optional
Grind all together except the mustard seeds, curry leaves and oil. Add water as you go. For tempering, heat oil , then add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add to chutney. Serve with any snack.
Polenta was something I had never bought or used. I would see it on the shelves and always wondered if I should get some and try. It always looked lovely, yellow and bright like sunshine. Once cooked it turns even more yellow, really like a beautiful day! Other flours would be white, brown or grey. It was only when I became gluten intolerant that I ventured to adapt gluten free flours.
Polenta, if you don’t know is cornmeal. You can substitute it in most recipes which ask for semolina and whenever you want to make gluten free dishes. Polenta bites are so easy to make. They have a melt in the mouth taste. Creamy and yummy! This is my favourite recipe from Dr.Sue Shepherd’s book Low Fodmap recipes. Your party will be a hit! Besides they go well in lunch boxes or as a snack!
1 cup polenta
3 cups stock or water
1/3 cup olives chopped
30 gm butter
Few sprigs parsley chopped
½ cup parmesan
sprinkle of black pepper
Boil stock/water, add polenta, stir until thick. Add olives, butter and parsley and half the parmesan. Sprinkle the black pepper. Pour into a greased dish and let it set in fridge for an hour. Preheat oven to 180 C. Cut polenta into finger sized bites, sprinkle rest of parmesan and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.
Why does this recipe have the word winter in it? In traditional societies, seeds like sesame were eaten in winter because they created warmth. Eating them in summer generates heat in the body so it is not advisable. Sesame seeds have iron and calcium and it is the black ones that have the highest nutrients. It is also advisable to soak the seeds for a few minutes to rid them of the oxalic acid surrounding them. These truffles are rich, so eat them sparingly. This is a raw desert and great for snack or early morning breakfast when you have to rush. So, here goes the recipe for these warming sesame truffles!
1 cup black or white sesame seeds soaked for 5 minutes
A handful of almonds soaked for 20 minutes
5-6 medjool dates soaked for 10 minutes
1 tsp vanilla extract poweder or liquid
1 tsp maca/ mesquite powder (optional)
1tbsp sesame oil or coconut oil
¼ cup dessicated coconut, leave a tbsp for garnishing
5 tbsp carob powder or 4 tbsp cacao powder. Leave a tbsp for garnishing
few goji berries for garnishing
In a food processor add the nuts and seeds first, Then add the powders, dates, oil. Process until fine. It will be slightly grainy. With wet hands roll them into small 1-2 inch rounds. Then roll them either in carob powder for chocolate truffles or coconut for white truffles. Decorate with a goji berry each. Stores in fridge for more than a week. Makes 10-15 truffles.