Quinoa chocolate halwa
We have tried different things with the nutrition-rich quinoa, but I wanted to figure out how well it lends itself to a sweet dish. Quite surprisingly, its nutty flavor passed the test with flying colors! I should confess that I needed a good amount of vanilla extract to mask its smell which put me off a bit, but the added flavor did the trick and it tasted great!


Ingredients (serves 4):

quinoa - 1 cup
milk - 4 cups
sugar - 1 cup
cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
ghee (clarified butter) - 4 tbsp
sliced almonds - 3 tbsp
vanilla extract - a few drops

Method:

Cook quinoa in 2 cups of milk. Cool and pulse in a food processor with 2 cups of milk, to form a smooth paste - well, as smooth as possible (it is difficult to grind whole quinoa to a completely smooth paste). Heat sugar with 1/4 cup water. Once it dissolves, add quinoa paste. Dissolve cocoa powder in a little milk and add to the quinoa-sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract and cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Mix in the ghee and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds. Stir until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Decorate with the remaining sliced almonds and serve warm.
Chayote Squash Stew

Chayote squash is probably not a major favorite in any household. It is one of those less-talked-about vegetables that seems to vanish into the background of the veggie world. This simple, tasty, fiber-rich stew is the only recipe I make with chayote squash, which is one of the few vegetables my husband eats without complaining.


Ingredients:

chayote squash - 2 (Peeled and chopped fine)
mung beans - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 2 (adjust according to taste)
sambar powder - 1 tsp
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or ginger - 1 inch piece - peeled, chopped fine)
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
oil - 2 tsp
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Heat a teaspoon of oil and add cumin seeds, asafoetida and green chillies. Then add washed mung beans and fry for a minute. Add chayote squash, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Pressure cook with about 3 cups of water until the beans are done. Mix in the lemon juice. Heat the remaining oil with mustard seeds and black gram. When the gram turns golden, pour over the stew and cover immediately. Leave covered for a minute and serve hot with rice or breads.
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