Tag Archives: mushrooms

Healthy Udon Noodle with Crunchy Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce & Chinese Chilli Oil

2 Aug

EEEeeeeek! I’m sooo excited! This is my very first guest post and it’s by none other than Soapsuds and Doodles who happens to be my classmate at Warwick and also a recently converted health freak! Here she is sharing a recipe from her very own customised diet. It’s an absolutely delicious  and experimental (yet simple) dish and her descriptions+ photographs will want to make you eat the screen! A complete winner in my opinion 🙂 I hope you enjoy it just as much as I have! ♥

After devouring a giant bar of Toblerone for both breakfast and lunch a couple of weeks ago (you know – the kind that’s compulsory for everyone going through airport duty free), something told me it was time for a major diet revamp.  I love salads, fresh vegetables and low fat Japanese cuisine but by-and-large, I’m not a health food person so for me to switch to eating wholesome things permanently, they’d have to be pretty darn tasty.  Live to eat, am I right?

Shriya gave me a great idea when she mentioned that one of her kitchenmates constantly eats stark meals of noodles and boiled vegetables with a little seasoning for taste.  I figured that with the right sauces and herbs, such a dish could be a really quick, healthy lunch option and set out to recreate it my own way.

The secret ingredients in this are a fermented black bean sauce and a traditional Chinese chilli oil (make sure you buy a really tasty version because some brands they sell in the West can be quite bland – I recommend Lao Gan Ma.  You know you can’t go wrong when it has a man’s face on it).

The black bean sauce gives it a nutty, salty soy flavour and the chilli oil adds a garlicky kick.  And the thing I love about this meal idea is that you can do almost anything with it.  Jonesing for meat?  Throw in some shredded chicken breast.  Want it cold?  Boil up some soba and soak in dashi.  And I’m sure it’ll be just as amazing with dried chillis and fried onions on top for some added crunch.

My specific recipe uses mushrooms, pak choi, spinach, cucumber, fresh coriander and chilli for a zesty, fresh flavour.  I make it with chewy udon and the resulting dish is a bright, fragrant tangle of firm, earthy noodles and mushrooms, juicy pak choi stems and crunchy vegetables that won’t make you feel guilty about dessert – if you still have space for it!

What you need:

A deep pan or saucepan

A big noodle bowl (I love this pretty pyrex bowl that I found at Tesco for £3 because I can see the colourful veggies right the way down and it makes me feel extra healthy.  Whatever works, right?)

A colander (I made one batch without this and everything was swimming in icky oily water.)

Fresh udon (or noodle of choice.  I use a brand that comes with pre-packed portions.)

A quarter of a cucumber

One bunch of pak choi

A handful of mushrooms

A fresh red chilli

Handful of coriander

Handful of spinach

Half a teaspoon of chilli oil

Half a teaspoon of fermented black bean sauce (The amounts for the last two condiments are estimates – adjust them to regulate saltiness and spiciness.)

What to do:

1)  Cut the bottom off the pak choi.  Slice the cucumber, chilli, coriander and mushrooms.

2)  Put the raw cucumber, coriander and chilli in your bowl.

3)  Put in half a teaspoon of black bean sauce.  Drain the oil from half a teaspoon of the chilli oil mixture and put in the remaining chilli flakes and bits.  It’s important to drain the oil and just use the bits or it completely defeats the “healthy” intention.

4)  Heat water in your deep pan or saucepan.  Bring to the boil, put in the udon, mushrooms and pak choi and let boil for about three minutes.

5)  It’s ready when the pak choi turns a deeper green and the udon strands seperate when you stir them with a fork.  (About three minutes.)

6)  Throw in the spinach to wilt then immediately turn the heat off.

7)  Drain, toss in bowl with raw veggies and condiments.

8)  Eat like you’ve never eaten before.  At least, that’s what I do!  Enjoy!


Detox Vegetable Soup and Crunchy Mixed Salad

8 Apr

As I eat this very healthy detox soup and salad, I have a vision of myself sitting high up on a snow mountain in mediation. Haha. No, really, this is healthy food to the hilt, its what we in India call yogic,  “sattvic” food.

As the name suggests, this food is not meant to be ‘rajasic’ or stimulating to the taste bud. And believe me, I was really worried about who was going to eat all this soup and salad when it was made.

But happily, I was proved wrong. The soup was found to be “tasty” (my flatmates swore by it) and the salad was literally gone in minutes.

So first things first, the Crunchy Mixed Salad.

I got this recipe from my friend and ex-school mate Krittika. I made a few minor changes in the recipe, like adding seasonal four-leafs to it, but it is more or less the same as described in her version:

What you need:

A handful of cherry tomatoes
A handful of sprouts
One Red Bell Pepper
One Yellow Bell Pepper
Black Olives
Lime Juice
Feta Cheese (Optional)

What to do:

Wash the cherry tomatoes and sprouts and put them into a bowl.
Cut the red and yellow bell peppers into two equal halves and remove the seeds.
Take one half of the red and yellow bell peppers and slice them into thin slivers and add them to the bowl. Take the two remaining halves of the bell peppers and roast them on the gas until they are lightly charred.
Once they are cool, wipe the charred area with some soft tissue and cut into slivers. Add into the bowl.
Add olives, salt and pepper to your liking. Add lime juice and sprinkle feta cheese into the bowl- gently mix the salad with your hands and serve immediately.
Sounds yummy right? Looks absolutely dashing too. I’m sure it does great for when you have guests to impress 🙂

And now, the Detox Soup.

Another friend of mine and coincidentally, an ex-school mate from the same school, Meghna, suggested I try the Itsu 7 Vegetable Detox soup. But because I don’t live close by, I couldn’t get my hands on it. Instead, I googled it, got an idea of what the basic ingredients were and then I simply improvised!

So the 7 vegetables you need are: Beans, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, mushrooms and coconut (though this isn’t technically a vegetable, it is used such in the recipe. I used it in coconut milk form)

You will also need:
Lime juice
Ginger juice (or you can use ground powder if its more convenient)
Salt to taste
Water, ofcourse
Glass noodles (I didn’t include these in my recipe

What to do:

Chop vegetables and keep aside.
In a large pot, boil 1 part coconut milk and 2 parts water. Add lime and ginger juice to it.
Now put in all the cut vegetables and boil till they are cooked. Add salt. Done!

Simple and fast. The best thing I like about it is that I dont have to use any oil or butter for it!

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Cheddar

24 Mar

For the second installment in the ‘meal for friends’ series, I give you….Stuffed Mushrooms with Cheddar cheese!

Benefits: You can kill someone with this dish.

It’s seriously rich. But seriously easy, and is made from Mushrooms! You know how much I love those!

What’s more, its a great  for parties and gathering when you have loads of people coming and you don’t want to spend too much. So here goes.

What you need:

15 large open mushrooms

Garlic Mayonnaise, 200 gm

5 medium sized Chicken salami cuts, cut into tiny bits

5 medium sized Pork salami, cut into tiny bits

Dill, finely chopped

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Grated cheddar cheese (as much as you like!)

What to do:

Preheat the oven for 10 minutes.

Combine the dill, pepper, salt, the chicken and pork salami and keep aside. This is your stuffing.

Remove the stems of the mushrooms, and place them cap side down in a baking dish, and spoon the stuffing into them.

before topping it with cheddar cheese

Top them with cheddar cheese, and put the dish in the oven for 10 minutes on 250 degrees (or more if you like the burnt cheese taste)

After topping it with cheese

And you’re done! Keep the defibrillator ready!





A Dose of Oestrogen

26 Feb

All of us women need that extra bit of oestrogen once in a while. Here’s an account of my most excellent pajama party with friends Anjuli and Shuli. Comfort food had to feature, of course!

1 – Dressed up (for ourselves) in our best outfits, we headed for a scrumptious meal of Honey BBQ chicken, Spicy Arabiata and a juicy Burger. Then off to the Pub for a drink. By this time I was so full, I was bursting through my clinched vintage dress. Huff. Puff.

chit chat

2 – There I discovered  Double Archers and Coke  with a wedge of lime-  its my new favourite drink. Yum!


3 – A bit buzzed and very happy, we left the Pub and bought ourselves some fatty, junkie grub for the sleep over. Which reminds me, do try the Doritos Lime Flavour. Its quite awesome. You don’t even need the salsa dip.


sungar-fat-salt yum

4 – After we’d changed into our comfi pajamas that Anjuli surprised us with a box of cookies she bought us in Copenhagen. There was oatmeal and raisin, Chocolate chip, Butter, Sugared Vanilla and Plain. Bloody brilliant.

Cookies from Copenhagen!


As you can see, it came in a very pretty pastel blue box that reminded me instantly of this scene in Marie Antoinette:


5- We watched Disney Movies and sang along till the wee hours of the night (morning). And the next day, it only got better.

We made a trip down to the swimming pool where I learnt to dive and do somersaults in the water! We ended the morning with a large lazy breakfast of mushroom and cheese buns, almond croissants, coffee,  juice and fresh gossip. Crunchy 🙂

cheese and mushroom breakfast bun at Costa

I had such an awesome time, I can’t wait to get my next dose of oestrogen! Read more about it on Shuli’s blog http://thingsididmyself.blogspot.com/2011/02/pyjama-party-outfit-9-and-barely-10.html


Mushrooms: Spreading the joy

14 Jan

[This post is dedicated to my good friend Nattu, who sent me a really pretty card (she herself made) all the way from India. See that  lovely Radha-Krishna stamp?

Despite my sickness and state-of-mind, it instantly cheered me up 🙂 Nothing quite compares to physical letters and cards, wouldn’t you say?]

Easy Mushroom Paste and why it spreads so much joy

The reason it spreads joy is because,

  1. Its very easy to prepare
  2. Its versatile (I’ll explain how later)
  3. Its cheap and does very well for a student budget
  4. It lasts really long, so it works well for student schedules too

What you need:

(Nb: the following ingredients are in proportion to 250gms of Button mushrooms. Double it if you want to use 500 gm mushrooms)

250 gm Button Mushrooms

2tbsp slightly salted butter

1 tbsp ground black pepper

salt to taste

What to do:

Wash and chop mushrooms into squarish pieces as finely as possible. The finer you chop, the smoother your paste.

In a medium sized pot, put the mushrooms and the butter and heat on medium flame. The mushrooms will start releasing water.

So you’ll probably start with something like this…


Then go on to something like this…


And then this.

The whole process will take a good 20 minutes or so, so have patience. The trick is to let all the water evaporate so in the end you have this luscious thing that’s swimming in butter (i never said it would be healthy!)

Once all the water has evaporated, turn off the gas and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add salt and pepper.

Its done.

Now comes the fun part. Remembering I was telling you how this paste is really versatile? The thing is, it can be used in as many ways as you want.

You can have it by itself; or toss it in your salad;or mix it with rice to make pilaf; or eat it with nan bread; or add it to boiled pasta.

I have myself tried it as a filling for roles, croissants and also for samosas, and they’ve turned out to be big hits with all my friends and guests.

Just to give you an example, I’ve mixed it here with Garlic and Herb La Roule’ cheese, to make it a breakfast spread for toast.

The best part is that you can store it in a container in your freezer for at least a week and keep using it as and when. That’ll save you both time and effort, especially if you’re running around attending classes and doing your assignments!


Thank you God, for this Breakfast

7 Dec

Its weird how even after so many years of being told that breakfast is the most important meal, a lot of us just skip it in the name of being busy.

A few years ago, I would gulp down some tea and polish it off with a few biscuits and that would be my breakfast. But that was before I discovered the true happiness of having a wholesome and healthy breakfast. It made me realise that it wasn’t just a meal. It was a lifestyle choice. (I also discovered my stomach was an endless pit in the mornings. I’m serious. I can eat any amount. Any amount.)

Eating a heavy breakfast, simply makes your day better. It helps improve your focus, attention, gives you stamina and most importantly, it arms you with the stomach to stomach the day ahead.

Also, a good breakfast never lets you down, ever.

Here at Warwick, I have two types of Breakfast – my own; and the University House breakfast. Mine consists on a cup of tea/coffee, cereal and some bread with either jam or Nutella. Quite so-so, right?

The Uni House breakfast however, simply blows my pants off. So here’s what the Uni breakfast consists of:
Button Mushrooms, lightly tossed in oil
Scrambled egg
Hash browns (my favourite)
Beans or Tomatoes

And to wash this down, I usually choose a Hazelnut Latte.(Just this morning, I was discussing with a friend how important it is to have a regular intake of milk. If you aren’t too fond of plain milk, why not go for a latte or hot chocolate or something?)

It pumps me with fiber, proteins, vitamins, calcium, folic acid and other cool sounding nutrients, and it totally makes my day.

So I just want to say Thank You to God for this Breakfast.

My favourite breakfast, here without tomatoes/beans