In my quest to find proteins rich diet for vegetarians with quick and easy recipes, I tried a few age old classic recipes. All these dishes take about 5-10 minutes of cooking time and 5-15 minutes of preparation, which is why these are my favorite dishes for the season!
Quinoa Lentils Porridge
I like Quinoa in all forms: salad, soup, rice, patties and now porridge. Though high in calories, it is also quite rich in proteins and easy to make. My mom adds lentils (moong daal chilka) to traditional porridge which enhances the chewiness and improves the protein percentage in the dish. I did the same, only replaced broken wheat (daliya) with quinoa.
Half a cup of raw quinoa and half a cup of raw daal is enough for two people’s breakfast. First I soak both separately for 20-30 minutes. Then I rinse them thoroughly. Simply put them together in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water add turmeric powder (haldi) and salt to taste. After one whistle can let it cook at slow flame for few more minutes. Like my mom, I garnish the dish with finely chopped green chillies and ginger which makes the porridge quite spicy.
Caprese salad with egg and spinach
The one thing I used to miss in Singapore is paneer (cottage cheese). In India, every week we used to make paneer and cream cheese from left over fresh milk. Here, we never boil milk and there is almost never a case of left over milk. In fact, when I tried making paneer from the bottled milk, it came out quite funny, with a sink full of utensils to wash afterwards!
Without paneer, a major source of protein for vegetarians is lost. That is when I discovered “cheese”. Mozzarella slices, string cheese, feta, ricotta, there are plenty of options.
My favourite is buffalo mozzarella and its combination with boiled egg whites and spinach. Just chop and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Actually so much can be done with this cheese, with so little effort that I do not miss paneer anymore! It makes a perfect snack for Sunday movie session!
Methi dana (Fenugreek seeds) masala
I had no idea how super nutritious methi dana is. If it is discovered by the developed nations, it would be termed as “super” food. In addition to controlling sugar levels, cholesterol and maintaining heart health, being rich in fibre, methi dana is also quite high in proteins (25%), iron. So it is kind of perfect food for women, especially those who want to lose weight!
Yet, methi dana is not widely eaten as a food in itself. It is mostly used as a spice in Indian recipes. The reason is that methi has a bitter taste. This recipe reduces the natural bitterness of methi dana and the outcome is a very delicious dish. It is my mother-in-law’s recipe.
Soak 2 tablespoon of methi dana overnight. Drink the water in morning. Replace with fresh water. I store this in fridge. Drink the water again next morning. Replace it and store again in fridge. This water is supposed to be super nutritious.
Boil the 2-days soaked methi dana for 10-15 minutes on medium flame. Strain the water and rub salt thoroughly on the boiled methi. Then wash off the salt in flowing water. Now methi is ready for tadka, which is simply a combination of cumin seeds and asafoetida in hot oil with Indian masala (turmeric, coriander and chilli). Add methi to this. Cook for a few minutes before adding 2 table spoons besan (gram powder). Cook for a few more minutes and add amchoor (dried mango powder). That’s it. Total time required for tadka is less than 10 minutes. The taste is super awesome! It can be eaten with chapattis or even stand alone.
A friend tried this recipe in Maharashtrian style, using kokum juice, shredded coconut and rice powder instead of gram powder, and it turned out even better!
That is what I love about cooking, every time you discover a new taste, a new flavor, a new texture by adding different and new ingredients! It is the most rewarding experiment which also fills your hunger, literally!
Hope you enjoy these recipes! Please share some of your own protein rich, delicious and easy to make recipes!