Tangy And Sweet Citrus Smoothies And A Ruby-Red Mocktail


I got some bright yellow Malta Fruits ( a variety of blood orange grown in Uttarakhand, India) and Limes a few days ago and apart from eating them as whole fruit, I made some awesome smoothies and detox water with them. You can substitute it with oranges, or any other variety of citrus fruit.

Use of organic fruits ensures that the zest and peel is safe to use. Loaded with vitamins especially Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, natural acids and enzymes, these refreshing immunity boasting smoothies are part of my daily diet these days. I eat citrus fruits with abundance. Their use in recipes not just enhances the flavors but also helps in absorption and use of other nutrients like iron from iron rich foods i.e spinach, beetroot etc.

Lemons, oranges, maltas, grapefruits, limes, all are rich source of phytochemicals and have  cancer fighting, disease fighting antioxidant properties.

Citrus fruits are low in fat & calories and have low sodium & low cholesterol. They are the best natural diuretics that help detox your body of harmful toxins. Make your own detox water with a variety of citrus fruits for best results. We will talk about it in another post.

Blend them whole with  berries, bananas, dates, kale, baby spinach, apples, pears, mango, papaya, carrots, pineapple, kiwi. They pair well with almost all fruits and many of the vegetables. Use mint, cilantro, ginger where ever you feel they go best. For the base, I use coconut milk, home-made yogurt, dairy milk, vanilla ice cream or vanilla milk, almond milk or just blend with frozen coconut water cubes.

You can add soaked beaten (flattened) rice, oats, puffed amaranth seeds etc as a bonus healthy ad-on. I have not yet used the citrus fruits with skin for smoothies but I keep the mesocarp, which is full of nutrients, intact in the smoothies or parfait.

1. Lime and Lemony Malta Smoothie With Ginger has a refreshing blend of citrus flavors. The fresh ginger juice adds a kick to the taste and enhances the flavors too. The lemon and lime add zing to the sweet malta. Ginger is good for sinuses and soothes a sensitive stomach. All the three citrus fruits give plenty of Vitamin C and refreshing taste to the smoothie.

Wash, peel and cut the 1 malta and 1/2 lime. Put them in the blender jar. Extract juice from 1/4 inch of fresh ginger root. Add to the fruits. Add juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of organic honey (optional). You do not need to add any liquid to make this smoothie but if you want to enhance the flavor you can add Greek yogurt or natural home-made yogurt, frozen tender coconut water cubes or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This one doesn’t have any add-on.

To extract the juice of fresh ginger root. Grate the ginger and gently squeeze all the juice from it. Add a teaspoon of water to the grated leftover and give a good squeeze again to extract whatever is left. Use it fresh.

Once all the ingredients have blended well, pour the sunshine smoothie in a glass and add 1-2 crushed fresh mint leaves before serving. Serve all smoothie absolutely chilled.

2. Power packed Five Fruits Smoothie 

This delicious smoothie has the goodness of dates, banana, apple, malta and lime. Full of nutrition this is not just filling but also has a delicate caramel flavor to top it all.

To make this power packed smoothie you need

1 Malta/orange

1/2 Lime

1 Apple

1 Banana

5 dates (pits removed)

Pure vanilla extract -1/2 teaspoon

Hershey’s caramel syrup (optional) to drizzle

Soak the dates the night before in a little hot milk or water. Once cool, keep it in the fridge. Cut the bananas and freeze them in a zip-lock bag. Cut the apple with the skin and place that too in a zip lock bag. put the bags in the freezer the night before.

When making the smoothie wash, peel and cut the malta and lime. Keep aside.

Add chopped banana, apple pieces, softened dates (with the liquid), malta and lime pieces and the vanilla extract in this order. Blend the fruits for 1 minute at high-speed or till all the fruits have blended smoothly. Freezing the fruits gives the smoothie a creamier texture. You can use them without freezing too. If you do not have a powerful blender then blend the dates to a smooth paste separately and then add to the smoothie.

Pour this part creamy part juicy smoothie in a glass and generously drizzle the caramel syrup on top.

This refreshing glass of goodness will keep you going nicely all through the day. You can add 2 teaspoons of soaked oats, soaked flattened rice flakes or popped amaranth seeds to make it even more healthy and filling.

Tip – Add coconut cream for an awesome refreshing taste. Skip Caramel syrup if adding this. It tastes out of the world.

3. Mango, Carrot Smoothie With a Citrus Boost

I love mangoes and this vibrant glowing smoothie. I add a little ginger juice to spice it up. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with ginger in smoothies just like I love the garlic in pasta. That’s me 🙂

This energizing smoothie is my favorite. It provides100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C & A and a good dose of folate and B1 vitamin along with other nutrients.

To make this you will need:

1 ripe mango

1 carrot medium size

1 malta/orange or any other citrus fruit

1/2 a lime

2 tablespoon of soaked oats (optional)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger extract

a few leafs of mint

Instructions:

Wash, peel and cut the mango into cubes.

Wash, peel and grate the carrot. I used the English carrot in this one but I usually make it with the winter’s local red one. It has a sweeter taste.

Peal and cut the malta and lime into pieces. Make sure all the fruit pieces are of equal size for a smooth blend. Put all the fruits in the blender jar.

Now, I did an interesting thing with the ginger, lemon juice and mint.

Put fresh ginger,extract, lemon juice, three pinches of salt and crushed mint in a glass and add enough water to make 4-6 ice cubes. Mix it well. The mixture should taste like a gingery lemonade. Freeze this in an ice-cube tray an hour before you make the smoothie. It gives an exotic note to the drink.

Add a few of these frozen cubes to the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour it in a chilled glass over the remaining frozen cubes. Sprinkle some roasted oats and garnish this delicious smoothie with a lime wedge.

I don’t need to tell the health benefits you will reap from this one. It is a great post workout drink. Most of these smoothies have no added sweetener. The sweetness comes from the fruits so select your fruits carefully.

You can always make your own variations of these smoothies by adding or removing some ingredients but keep the base citrus.

After this wonderful citrus bonanza of healthy smoothies here is a bonus mocktail that is my personal favorite any time of the year.

The gorgeous ruby-red Pomegranate Lime Ginger Ale Mocktail

I love pomegranates and would rather eat them than blend into drinks but this particular one is irresistible. Whenever I have to use pomegranate juice in a recipe I prefer the home-made cold press juice. It is more flavorful and nutritious than the market one. This particular mocktail, or cocktail if you add alcohol to it, has to be made fresh. You can not make it beforehand. I also make pomegranate lemonade. You can add vodka to make a delicious cocktail. I am not a fan of white rum.

For this lovely mocktail I made some ice cubes by dropping 2-3 pomegranate pearls in water while setting the ice tray. They look beautiful in the drink.

It is super easy and is ready in less than five minutes.

Ingredients:

1 cup cold press juice of organic pomegranate

1 can of ginger ale ( I used Schweppes Original)

1/4 cup Thin Julienne of lime and ginger

Few fresh sprigs of mint

Salt – to salt rim the glass and a little to add to the drink (optional)

To make the cold press juice, take the juicy pearls of organic pomegranate. Place a muslin cloth in a sieve. Place this sieve on a measuring cup. Now put the pomegranate pearls in it. Rub, press and squeeze with your fingers till all the juice is released. You can use a juicer with cold-press too. (I don’t have it)

Two medium size pomegranates gave me 1 cup of fresh ruby-red super sweet juice.

In a pitcher add ginger and lime Julienne, a little salt and lemon juice. Add fresh mint leaves and with a wooden muddler just give a few gentle twists to bring out the minty aroma. Don’t over do it or crush the mint otherwise the drink will taste bitter. Add the chilled pomegranate juice, top it with ginger ale and ice cubes, Stir and pour it in cocktail glasses. Garnish with lemon wedges. You can salt rim the glasses before pouring the drink.

There is nothing more refreshingly fruity than this Mocktail.

If you add lemonade or sparkling water instead of ginger ale you will have a gorgeous pomegranate mojito. It is as good as this one but I love ginger ale and prefer it over mojito unless of course one is adding vodka to it. 🙂

Just look at this beauty. It will ceases all your troubles in just one sip.

Hope you enjoy making these healthy fruity drinks.

I will look forward to your variations of these.

Cheers to good health and happiness.

Protein Packed Egg Curry With Soya Granules (Soya Keema)


I love eggs in all form. Apart from the nutritional benefits they are the most versatile food I know of. You can use them in variety of recipes and in hundreds of ways. Hard boiled eggs simmered in rich, savory, spicy tomato gravy is a dish I can eat any time of the day. Spiced up eggs are pure bliss. I love them and so do my boys.

A satisfying meal that you can make without much difficulty. Soya granules are the added bonus in this recipe. Apart from adding more protein and taste to the dish, they also help the aromatic gravy to thicken. They are the vegetarian version of our good old mutton or chicken keema. If cooked well, they even taste like their non vegetarian cousins. 😀

I used Nutrela soya granules here with fresh green sweet peas. The blend of spices and herbs, coriander in this case makes this dish outstanding in texture and flavor.

Soya chunks or granules are best source of vegetarian protein. If you omit eggs and add baby potatoes, this can be a great dish for the vegetarians too.

To make this Eggilicious dish you will need :

hard boiled eggs – 6

soya granules – 1/4 cup

fresh green peas – 1/2 cup

3 large tomatoes

One large red onion

Garlic cloves – 3

Ginger  – 1/2 inch

Coriander greens – 3 sprigs

green chili -2 small

Crushed black pepper corns – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon

turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

coriander powder – 2 tablespoon

bay leaf -1

cumin seeds -1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 2 tablespoon (olive or any other oil you use)

salt – to taste

3-4 cups of water

Direction –

Boil the eggs with a teaspoon of salt in the water. Once done, cool and peel the shells. Cut the eggs into halves (optional)

While the eggs are boiling,

boil some water with a little salt and add the soya granules to it. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. The water should be double the amount of granules as they will fluff up while soaking. Keep for 15 – 20 minutes and then pour the granules in a sieve and squeeze to remove all excess water. Cover and keep aside.

Chop the onion finely. slit the green chili vertically. Grate the tomatoes. Grate ginger and garlic.  Chop the coriander greens fine.

In a pan heat some oil, add bay leaf and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter add the chopped onions. Saute on low-medium heat till translucent. Let it cook slowly so that the onions release their sweetness.

Stir in freshly grated ginger and garlic.  You can add paste too but the flavor would differ.

Add salt and fry the ingredients till they are crispy, golden brown. Add red chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir.

Adding chili at this stage gives the gravy a nice color. Salt helps the onions to cook and brown nicely.

Add the powdered spices and freshly crushed peppercorns at this point. Keep the heat at medium or low so the masala doesn’t get burnt.

Mix the spices and the onions nicely. fry for a few minutes and add 1/4 cup water. Let it simmer for five minutes.

Add pureed tomatoes and slit green chili.

Stir well so that all the spices are nicely absorbed by the mixture.

Let it slowly cook till the oil floats to the top and masala begins to leave the sides of the pan. By now the masala will be nicely browned. Remember to keep stirring it. It will take anywhere between 10-15 minutes.

Add previously soaked and drained soya granules. Mix well. Keep it covered for a few minutes and then add the peas. Stir the mixture properly, add a little water and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Once the peas are slightly soft add two cups of water to make the curry. Let it boil on high flame for two minutes and then simmer for another 10 minutes.

Slide in the eggs at this point of time. I have used whole eggs but you can cut them in two halves. While using whole eggs, make some gentle cuts on the egg while for the masala to seep in.

Add the chopped coriander greens. (I chop the tender stems along with the leaves. It gives a unique flavor.)

Let the egg curry simmer till the desired consistency is reached.

Remember that the soya granules will soak up the curry so keep the consistency accordingly.

Spoon it in a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve this finger licking hot egg curry on a bed of steamed rice, or with parathas or multi-grain roti.

if you wish you can reduce the gravy and let the rich masala soya granules and green peas wrap themselves around the eggs for a lovely egg masala dish.

Almost anyone can make this sumptuous egg curry. Do let me know if you try it. Those who make the vegetarian version of this curry, please let me know how it tasted.

Those who do not have access to Indian spices can use the ready made curry powder. Each preparation will taste different. There are many versions of this awesome dish.

Tell me how you make egg curry at your home.

Guacamole Recipe With A Twist


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Today is Guacamole Day and what better way to celebrate it than make a delicious Guacamole dip with a twist of taste. The dip tastes awesome with tortilla chips but you can use it as extra topping for tacos, fajitas, burritos, pita pockets, quesadillas, burgers. It makes a good spread for a wholesome sandwiches too. It pairs well with steak and bacon too. The dish is rich in both soluble and non soluble fibers, potassium, folate, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, vitamin E, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.Avocados are super food and are very good for skin and hair.

Make sure to keep the dip in a tightly closed container in the fridge otherwise it will turn brown and not taste nice. There are many ways in which you can make this classic dip. This one here has an Indian twist of taste to it.

To make this spicy, tangy dip with the buttery, nutty taste of ripe avocado you will need :

2 large ripe avocados

1 medium red onion

1/4 English carrot

1/2 plum tomato

2 green chili

2 big clove of garlic

1/4 teaspoon brown mustard (freshly pounded)

Red chili powder (to taste)

A dash of home-made chaat masala

Juice from half a lemon

Juice from half a lime

Sea salt ( to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Freshly ground white pepper (to taste)

coriander greens ( three springs, finely chopped)

Method:

Take ripe avocados and cut them in half. ( To check the ripeness, gently press the fruit, if it feels soft it is good to use. Too hard or too soft won’t make a good guacamole.)

Remove the stone and scoop out the flesh in a bowl.

Immediately add fresh lemon juice to avoid oxidation and browning of pulp.

Gently mix the juice so that all the pulp gets coated with it. Mash it with a fork into a smooth paste or keep it a little chunky. Whatever floats your boat.

Finely chop the onion, green chilies, carrot, tomato, coriander greens and add to the avocado pulp.

Roast and mash the garlic. Add to the mix.

Now add salt, red chili powder, chaat masala, freshly ground black pepper and coarsely pounded brown mustard seeds to the mixture and stir everything into a nice smooth dip. You can adjust the spices according to your taste.

Add the lime juice and mix till all the ingredients nicely. Adding the juice from an orange also tastes great. I sometimes add a dollop of sour cream instead of lime juice. Tastes creamier and tastier.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with your favorite dish.

Sambar – A Mélange of Textures And Flavours In A Pot


I was talking to someone about Indian cuisine and the ‘authentic’ recipes for various dishes was the main point of discussion. I think the cuisine has evolved so much over the ages that it is difficult to call anything authentic. Each household has their particular way of preparing a dish which can’t be replicated. Even within a state, the taste and method of a preparing a particular dish changes almost every twenty kilometers or so.

Take the utterly delicious sambar, a dish that spans more than one state. The recipe for this humble yet very popular dish varies even in the state of Tamilnadu where it originate from. There are some basic things that go into it but ultimately each sambar is unique in its taste and texture and an assortment of seasonal vegetables goes into it depending on personal taste, availability and season.

I love sambar and eat it with plain rice, idli, vada, dosa or sometime l just indulge in a hot bowl of sambar with no accompaniments. It is filling and nutritious. A one pot meal. Soaked poha stirred in sambar is an interesting combination I discovered. Well, I don’t know if you would like to experiment but I enjoyed the taste.

I make my version of this South Indian delicacy. In cooking this way, the veggies get infused with the spices and taste incredible. I use both the wet sambar masala and the dry one. Both add a distinct taste to the dish. This recipe uses the dry sambar masala and fresh brown tamarind we find in the northern states. (not the paste)

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To make this sambar You will need :

Toovar / Arhar / Pigeon pea lentil – 3/4 cup

Assortment of vegetables –

8-10 shallots

drumstick – 2 cut into  inch long pieces

diced red pumpkin – 1/4 cup

diced bottle gourd – 1/4 cup

diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup (small) 1/4 cup ( bit size pieces)

diced french beans – 1/4 cup

diced red onion – 1/4 cup

diced carrot – 1/4 cup

Fresh ginger and garlic – 1 1/2 tablespoon grated fine

tamarind  extract –  1/2 cup

Powder Ingredients :

red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Sambar Powder – 2 table-spoon ( to taste)

turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon

asafoetida powder – 2 pinch

For tempering/ seasoning:

curry leaves – 2 springs (6-10 leaves)

Whole red chilies – 1-2

mustard seed – 1/2 teaspoon

fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

asafoetida / hing – generous amount ( about 3 pinches of powder)

The preparation and collecting ingredients for sambar is the daunting task but after that it’s easy to assemble.

To make tamarind extract :

Take about two tablespoon of tightly packed tamarind and soak it in 1/2 cup boiling water, cover and keep for 10 minutes. Gently massage the soaked tamarind and squeeze out the pulp till all the pulp gets released into the water. Run it through the sieve to remove any particles. You will have a nice extract to add to the dish. You can use the ready-made paste too but the taste will differ than this one. (I use the waste to clean brass artifacts and utensils.)

Instructions :

Wash and soak toor daal ( I use the I-Shakti unpolished daal) fo 10-20 minutes. You can mix yellow moong daal or the pink lentil with toor to get another variation in taste)

Drain the water and rinse it again.

In a pressure cooker add daal, 3 cups of water, 2 pinches of hing, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles ( depends on the quality of daal and the cooker) It must become soft when done.

Stir it into a smooth paste with a ladle or the sambar won’t taste nice.

While the daal is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Wash and dice all the vegetables you want to use. As I do not pressure cook them, I steam the drumsticks separately if using. I don’t add it to daal while pressure cooking as sometimes drumsticks are bitter in taste.

Put a deep pan on medium heat and add some oil ( 1 tablespoon). Once it heats up, add a little mustard seeds, half of the curry leaves and 1 whole red chili. When the seeds begin to splutter add the chopped red onion, shallots and stir.

When the onions become translucent, add ginger and garlic ( you can add it to the daal while pressure cooking it too).

Add all the vegetables and give it a good mix. (don’t add the bigger tomato pieces yet)

Add all the powdered spices, a bit of salt and stir. This ensures that the veggies absorb all the flavors of the spices. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook till vegetables become soft but not squishy. Add the tomatoes at this point. Stir it properly and let it simmer for a few minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables.

Now, add the daal and the tamarind extract to this mélange  of vegetables. Give it a good stir and add water as required to make a nice, thick flowing sambar. You can adjust the quantity of water as per your liking. I prefer my sambar slightly thick. ( remember the sambar masala and the veggies will soak up the liquid, so adjust accordingly.

Let the sambar come to boil and then simmer it for some more time.

Meanwhile place a tempering pan on medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil. Add a hing, mustard and fenugreek seeds, whole red chili, remaining curry leaves and then pour this tempering over the cooked sambar. I divide the tempering in two parts, first while cooking the veggies, then at the end to make it more flavorful. You can choose your own way. Adding tempering at the end ensures a great everlasting aroma and flavor.

Garnish the delicious, aromatic sambar with fresh coriander greens and serve hot with steamed rice, idli, vada or dosa.

Always add the tamarind extract after the vegetables have cooked. I use half of it first and add more if needed.  You can adjust the spices and sourness of sambar according to your taste. Dice all the vegetables the same size to ensure uiniform cooking.

Sambar stays good for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.  I usually make a little extra and keep it in the fridge to use it the next day with some other accompaniment.

Sambar Masala (podi) – Those who use the readymade variety I recommend Catch and MTR. I grind my masala for aamti as well as sambar. Will share the recipe in some other post. I had this yummy sambar with MTR rava idli and dry chutney. Didn’t have time to make the idli batter at home this time. We can later have an idli, vada recipe post too. Not to forget the lip smacking chutnies. 😀

Do let me know if you make this.

Now all this writing has made me very hungry so I am sneaking away to dunk some fresh idlies in the delicious sambar and enjoy my lunch.

Catch you later. 🙂

More September Highlights – An Omnibus And A Review


William Burkholder is a poet-editor, artist and an activist. We have been Facebook friends since 2009. He is also one who published my poems in Troubadour 21 when I was at the initial stage of learning. He is also co-founder of SCCA (The S.O.U.L Collective Of Collaborative Arts ). a non-profit corporation.

product_thumbnail.php(Pic sourced from lulu.com with William’s permission)

Sometime back he compiled an International ‘Collaborative’s Omnibus‘ which is the fourth collection of creative works published by the Source of Universal Love and has work of many good writers from across the globe.  I am honored to be part of this collection. The Omnibus includes 10 poems and 4 short stories written by me. It feels good that people across the globe are reading my words and buying this book to aid a charity.

I am deeply grateful to William for making me a part of this noble initiative. It feels good when your hard work is recognized and appreciated.

Your support matters too. Do buy your copy and check out the other books by the Source of Universal Love.

The another big news of this month is that my review of author Nabina Das’s short story collection “The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped” got published in the Singapore-based journal Kitaab. I absolutely love reading kitaab and it feels awesome to be a published there. The essay was read and appreciated by many good writers/editors and that itself is an encouragement. I am not a reviewer so when the author feels that my “words are gracious and constructive in their critique”, this means a lot. Maybe this is a sign that I should explore new possibilities.

Special thanks to Kitaab editor and writer Zafar Anjum  and review editor Monica Arora for accommodating my review. It is a milestone for me to be a part of such prestigious journal.It feels good to have a circle of supporters and mentors. Each one of you is special.

Here is an excerpt from the review,

  “Living in two or more places at the same time defines the coordinates of Das’ collection of stories. The nature-culture dualism in her stories, a rather likable binary, plays out effortlessly. The two female protagonists in “The House of Twining Roses” represent the two houses, two different ideologies, two life choices of women who grew together yet in different ways, like the two kinds of plant life around the house – the roses and the eucalyptus. The theme in each story too operates on two or more levels, I feel.”

I have known Nabina since almost seven years and I greatly admire her writing. The House of Twining Roses is a fantastic read. I recommend it totally. You can read the full review HERE.

September began with mixed feelings but I guess the universe has a way to close and heal open wounds. I am attending book readings, launches and other creative meets in my city and finally stepping out of my cocoon.

“Something’s lost but something’s gained in livin’ everyday.” says Joni Mitchell and I couldn’t have agreed more.

A Delicious Dates Banana Surprise Smoothie


We are into second week of September and it is still incredibly hot. I can tell from the afternoon sun flooding my room that winter is standing at the threshold waiting to step in anytime. As a healthy diet change I am using fresh fruits and home-made yogurt / Almond milk / Soy Milk / etc to make delicious smoothies. A quick wholesome breakfast drink that sometimes has a surprise ingredient just to make the mornings interesting and creative. A good start, I say.

I went for my second sitting for molar root canal today and the dentist told me to eat something soft so instead of having this in the breakfast I had it as a late afternoon tummy filler.  :p

Using home-made cultured yogurt is the best thing you have for a healthy digestive system. We were brought up on home cultured yogurt. We would always keep a little culture to set the new batch of yogurt and if we forgot, mom would send us with a little katori (bowl) to get it from neighbors. We would knock on all doors till we found a home that has home-made dahi and ask for a jaman (culture). Frankly it was a tad bit embarrassing so the best way to avoid it was to remember to save some jaman without fail.

These days a range of packaged yogurt is available easily. I use the one from ‘Mother Dairy’ for convenience but now I want to get back to setting my yogurt at home.

Full of protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12 Yogurt is very good for intestinal flora. I have a weak digestion so love to include a lot of yogurt in my diet.

This smoothie is a perfect blend of bananas, dates, almonds and a surprise ingredient that you will soon discover. 😀

High in protein, rich in taste and texture, this is one of my favorite smoothies. You can opt for milk, soy milk or almond milk instead of yogurt. It is your personal choice.

To make this refreshing smoothie you will need :

1 ripe medium size banana

6 dates ( soaked if using dry ones)

6 Almonds – soaked and pealed

1/4 cup Yogurt

Pure Vanilla or / and cinnamon powder  – just a little (optional)

and my surprise ingredient

a handful of soaked poha (beaten or flattened rice)  (about 3 tablespoons 🙂

I use poha because it is probiotic, prebiotic, and gluten-free food. It is low calorie, nutritious and gut friendly too.

I also use popped amaranth/ramdana or rajgira grains sometimes which is our indigenous substitute for quinoa. It is much cheaper and is equally nutritious, if not more. We will discuss its goodness in another post.

So once you have all the ingredients ready, here is how you make this lip smacking smoothie,

1. Wash poha under running filtered water in a sieve to drain out the water. I soak it overnight or for at least an hour in the yogurt that is to be used for the smoothie. Just the way we make dahi poha ( yogurt poha).

2. Wash, cut and soak the dates (seeds removed) in a little warm water/milk to soften them.

3. Soak the almonds ( I use sweet California almonds) overnight in a bowl of water. Keep it covered. In the morning discard the water, wash the almonds and remove the skin.

4. Chop the banana and place it in a zip lock bag. Place this in the freezer.

5. In a blender add yogurt, soaked beaten rice, banana pieces, dates and crushed almonds.

5. Add a dash of Cinnamon or/and a few drops of pure vanilla. (optional)

Remember to add the ingredients in this order for a rich, thick ,smooth texture.

Now cover and blend for 10 seconds at high-speed or till everything blends smoothly.

Pour it in a glass for an early morning power packed goodness.

The natural sweetness of dates is enough but if you wish you can toss in a teaspoon of organic honey.

It is in a way a healthy start to the day and a complete breakfast as far as i know.

Delicious too. 🙂

Smoothie don’t always need a milk or yogurt base. Next time we will do something different. Watch this space.

*You can replace Poha with oatmeal too.

A Healthy Yogurt Smoothie With Organic Apples and Pomegranates


I discovered I Say Organic  from their FB page and ordered a few fruits which were in the season. Mangoes to begin with. It was a bitter-sweet experience at first but then their customer support is excellent and they worked on my issues immediately. I have ordered things from them since then. Last week I got a package of red delicious apples and pomegranate from them. Both the fruits were fresh, sweet and juicy. I prefer my smoothies to have natural sweetness so decided to use the last few in a delicious apple, pomegranate yogurt smoothie.

I prefer organic fruits  because we can use the fruits like apple with their skin. Their website claims that the products are free of toxic chemicals and are organically grown. There is a vast taste difference between organic and conventionally grown apples. Eating apples with skin is a good high fiber, low sugar option. Apple skin has most of the nutrients like dietary fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants. We all know the health benefits and nutritional values of this fruit.

Similarly Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients and are considered as one of the healthiest food. The arils are rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals and bio-active plant compounds, beta carotene. You can find all you want to know about the health benefits of these fruits from mother Google :D.

I use naturally cultured yogurt which I make at home but today for the lack of it I used the one from Mother Dairy. It is as close as one can get to home made one.

For the smoothie I used :

1 medium size organic red delicious apple

1 medium size organic golden apple.

1 1/2 medium size pomegranate

1/4 cup natural Mother Dairy dahi ( yogurt)

I did not use any sweetener.

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Process :

Wash and pat dry apples. Dice them with the skin into small pieces.

Wash and cut the pomegranate in half. Take a bowl of cold water and break apart one half of the fruit inside the water. The membrane will release the pearls beautifully as you slowly rub it with the thumbs. The membrane sticking to the peals will float up and the peals will stay down. Drain the water and you will have ruby red, juicy gleaming pearls of sweetness. Google is the mother of all life hacks but I remember it being done at our home since I was a kid. So…  😀

Now that we have both the fruits ready, take the blender, add the yogurt first then add the fruits to it. If you know the fruits aren’t very sweet then add a spoonful of organic honey to it.

To make smoothies healthy do not use sweetened yogurt, refined sugar etc. Natural fruit sweetness is the best. Honey or date/maple syrup is the next best choice.

Keep things simple and natural.

Cover and blend the ingredients for 10 seconds or till everything is blended to a smooth texture.

I use the pearls of the pomegranate fruits. You can take out the juice and add that to avoid the seeds.  Use only fresh juice in smoothies. If you don’t have a juicer, simply place all the pearls in a plastic sieve over a container and rub/press/squeeze with your thumbs till all the juice is out. I used pearls of 1 pomegranate and the other 1/2 fruit I juiced like this. To quicken the process I used a wooden masher used for making pav bhaji. 😀 It worked beautifully and I got super sweet deep red juice in no time which I chilled in the freezer and added to the smoothie before having.

The result was out of the world.

I am very fond of pomegranate margaritas and I simply love the salt rimmed cocktail glasses in which its served so I salt rimmed my smoothie glass and it made the flavor more enticing. It also made me crave for the margaritas 😉

Tomorrow will be another special smoothie wit ha surprise element. Watch out for it.

Till then Enjoy!