Guest Post: Asiya of Chocolate And Chillies

Hey hey hey! Look at who we have here today! It’s my homegirl Asiya who blogs over at my favorite (Asi, it’s favOrite, not favOUite 😉 ) space on the internet, Chocolate and Chillies!  Not only is she a co-host with me and Sarah for Eid Eats 2016, but she is one of my closest friends and confidantes.  She holds a special place in my heart, and I am so grateful and blessed for her friendship.

You know those cartoons where there’s an angel on our right shoulder and a devil on the left?  Well Asiya is the angel on my right shoulder, giving suggestions on where to cut fat in recipes, or where we can swap wheat flour in for all-purpose flour.  My foodie desires are like the devil on your left shoulder, whispering things like, “more butter baby!”

Well, since it’s Ramadan and the Shayateen are chained up, I’ll hand it over to our Angel Asiya, and she can share the healthy and delicious yummies that she’s been up to 😉

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Ramadan Mubarak!  I hope everyone’s fasts are going well and we are all making the most of this blessed month.  I’m very excited to be guest posting on Henna’s fabulous blog!  Henna and I have been good friends for a few years now. Over these years, Henna has become one my closest friends.  She is someone you can go to for advice or for just a “Hey Girlfriend!!!!”  It’s amazing how the internet connects people who otherwise would never have met.  Not only is Henna a wonderful friend…but she is also a great cook!  Her blog is full of delicious recipes.  Our family has lately been enjoying her Cajun Chicken Pasta.  It has been a big hit!  Her recipe for Chicken Keema has been a life saver on many occasions when I’ve needed something quick to whip up or if I have run out of adrak laysan (ginger garlic paste).  Bolani is one of my favourites and Henna’s recipe was delish!

Now for the recipe I am sharing with you today!  I find in Ramadan it can be hard to keep a balanced diet, especially with these long fasts.  Also, with our traditional South Asian diet, we tend to indulge in a lot of deep fried goodness.  So today I am sharing a recipe the helps to balance out all those unhealthy iftaris.  It’s a one pot meal and super quick to make which is a great help during Ramadan.  You can have it on its own or pair it with some grilled chicken or fish.  Leftovers also make a great suhoor!  For a change you can have leftovers wrapped in a tortilla topped with some sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Thank you Henna for sharing your space with me and for letting me guest post on your blog!

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa 

Adapted from Damn Delicious

1 tbsp canola oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 green chilli, minced

1 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 19 oz tin black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup frozen corn

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp minced cilantro

Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and green chilli.  Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.  Add quinoa, water, black beans, tomato, corn, chilli powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Cook until quinoa is cooked, about 15-20 minutes.  Mix in lemon juice and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Mango Chickpea Salad

Ramadan Kareem!

The holy month of Ramadan has graced us once again, and I pray that our fasts and prayers are accepted, and we leave the month renewed in faith and spirituality!

I had originally planned to post a recipe for every day of the month, but life got the best of me and I wasn’t able to prepare 30 days worth of recipes for the blog. I will however be posting family favorites regularly throughout the month, and I hope that you are able to take some inspiration from them 🙂

Recently I stopped by to pick up a few essential items from a local Indian grocer, and I stumbled upon freshly arrived mangoes! Now if you’re desi (person of South Asian descent), I’m sure you can imagine my excitement. If you’re not desi, let me explain: we live for mangoes. It’s in our DNA. The love for them courses through our blood.

We went through most of them as is, but I got creative with a few. Some were blitzed into milkshakes, and a few were chopped up and tossed into this delicious Mango Chickpea Salad (recipe from Green Evi). It’s amazing on its own, and would also pair well with a grilled protein as a main entrée.

 

MangoChickpeaSaladPic

 

Mango Chickpea Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (one 14-ounce can) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green chili, seeded and diced small
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Handful cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Focaccia

Yoo-hoo? Anyone out there?

Soooo… I totally disappeared. I’m sorry 😦

I don’t really have an explanation for what happened. I returned from California, have tried to get back into my old routine, and for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been feeling mentally and physically groggy.

Not to worry though 🙂 I’ve been feeling a bit better and I plan on getting back on track very soon.

 

Focaccia has been on my Baking Wishlist for quite some time now, and I’ve finally stumbled upon a recipe that is, in my opinion, perfect. You see, I have a history with Focaccia. When my husband and I were newly married, we used to frequent this restaurant in Detroit, and they would always serve a slice focaccia with a side of house-made marinara dipping sauce before the main course or appetizers.

I’ve used an Anne Burrell recipe and the only thing I’ve tweaked is that I’ve added minced garlic and rosemary inside and on top of the bread, you know, so it’s just like our favorite little restaurant 🙂 (oh, and I also like to serve it with my favorite marinara sauce!)

 

FocacciaPic

Focaccia

Yield: 8 – 10 Servings

Ingredients:

For Bread:

  • 1 ¾ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For Topping:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and set aside until frothy, about 15 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add all-purpose flour, oil, salt, rosemary, and minced garlic. Knead on low speed until the dough comes together, then increase speed to medium and knead until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. If dough seems sticky, add a sprinkling of flour.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Lightly oil the bowl used for kneading, and transfer the dough back to it. Turn the dough to coat with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough has doubled in volume, at least one hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the olive oil reserved for topping. Punch down the dough and transfer it to the prepared pan. Using fingers, stretch dough out to fit the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side. Top with remaining minced garlic and rosemary. Continue to stretch the dough out so that it fills the pan. Set pan aside and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bake the focaccia until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before slicing and serving.

Date and Cocoa Truffles

I recently mentioned that my family and I were visiting California.  While I was there, I noticed a container of Medjool dates in the refrigerator, and my mind instantly went to the recipe for Date and Cocoa Truffles that Asiya had shared earlier.  These are a great way to get your sweet fix without worrying about setting yourself back 🙂

 

DateAndCocoaTrufflesPic

 

Date and Cocoa Truffles

Yield:  16 – 20 Bites

Ingredients:

  • 14 – 16 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup almonds, finely ground
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely ground
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For topping:  shredded coconut, powdered sugar, ground nuts, or cocoa

Directions:

Rinse dates under cold water.  Add dates, ground almonds and walnuts, cocoa, vanilla, and salt to a food processor.  Process until the dates have been completely minced and a ball is formed.  Remove from the food processor and refrigerate for half an hour.

Divide the dough into 16 to 20 pieces and roll into balls.  Roll each ball in desired toppings.

Refrigerate and store in an airtight container.

Arabic Lentil Soup

I am a total novice when it comes to making soup.  My mom’s post-op recovery was the first time I dabbled in the business of making soup.  Unsurprisingly, my first few attempts were less than stellar…  much less. My mom was such a sweetheart though.  She would never complain about the lack of flavor, or the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  One day she suggested making a vegetarian soup, and I instantly remembered that Sawsan had recently posted a recipe for Arabic Lentil Soup on her blog.  Not only is her recipe simple (a plus for soup-novices like me), but the simple ingredients cook and simmer to form a light and delectable soup that anyone would be proud of. I’m home now, but I’ve made this soup a handful of times and every time I sip a spoonful I think of my parents and brother.  I miss them a little more with each spoonful of this soup 🙂

ArabicLentilSoupPic

Arabic Lentil Soup

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or wheat)
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed lemon or lime, for garnish

Directions: In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add sliced onion and sauté until soft. Add drained lentils and flour, and stir so that the flour does not retain any clumps.  Add water and stir so that the flour has dissolved.  Allow the water to come to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from heat. Puree the soup until smooth.  Top with remaining olive oil and salt to taste.  Serve with black pepper and lemon (or lime).