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Tag Archives: salsa

February Favourites

A short and sweet month, that’s what I always feel about February.

The month always goes by fast and for us, it’s always a month of planning as Adi’s birthday falls in March; mine too. We are planning something really exciting on his birthday, so stay tuned for that info….

Coming back to Feb, it was a month of getting back into routine with schools reopened. After the holidays, it was such a welcome change to get back to our everyday lives and for me, especially to get back into the kitchen after a month long break.

One of my main goals this year and hopefully, future ones too is to send more packed work lunches as it is much more healthy (approaching 40s always makes you mindful) and also great for the wallet. And that means cooking food that’s simple, can be reheated and consumed easily yet tastes delicious.

And one such dish that I have been cooking a lot is Tomato Rice.

Tomato Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

It is such a versatile and easy to make rice dish that is delicious just with a raita as accompaniment or with any sort of veggies or grilled fish or meat. I had shared the recipe for this traditional South Indian preparation on my Facebook page and Instastories so if you missed it, make sure to check it out.

I have also started consciously putting an effort into our after school snacks. Adi is growing up and that reflects in his dietary needs too. He is ravenous when he comes back from school and needs something more substantial. Since he has his dinner much later, the snack has to be filling and healthy but light on the tummy so that he can enjoy his dinner too.

So I have been trying out so many different snacking options and one of our favourites is salsa, in all forms. We have been enjoying this mango salsa a lot but also this corn and sprouts salsa, which doubles up as a salad. Really healthy and delicious….

Sprouted beans and corn salsa - thespiceadventuress.com

Guess I have blabbered enough, now onto all my other favourites from around the Internet world….

This pineapple ginger tonic has so many medicinal benefits.

This salad is always on rotation in my home.

Guacamole on a Pizza! Bring it on…

Love the combination of Avocado, Mango and Yellow Lentils

Aloo Kachori – it was my staple breakfast while pursuing Master’s.

Who can say no to Falafel burgers?

A large batch of this makhni sauce in your freezer; a lifesaver for busy weekdays.

Gummy hearts and sparkling rose, it’s like a dream!

Totally making this for the next kids’ party!

Feels like this article was written for me….

Raising Sweet Boys and not Angry Men

 

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Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa

Looking at the title, are you wondering where the hell did I find ripe mangoes?

This recipe was developed for a client a while ago when mangoes were in season but I somehow never got around to sharing it with you guys. And since we are moving homes this week, I thought of making these tacos again since I had some leftover prawns in the freezer. That’s when it struck me that I haven’t shared these awesome tacos with you, so here we go – Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

The star of these tacos is ofcourse the prawns that has been cooked in a rich Mexican style tomato sauce with oodles of flavour. All the ingredients are pantry and refrigerator staples, nothing fancy at all. Just get your hands on fresh local prawns and the job is done. Any type of salsa may be used; the mango salsa was a delicious addition because of the sweetness which balanced out the spice kick from the paprika in the prawns.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Not going to keep you longer with small talk today…I am plainly tired from all the packing, cleaning and scrubbing going on so I promise we will talk more when I have finished with all the moving stuff.

And if you love tacos, then you need to check out this one too.

Ingredients:

For the prawns:

  1. 300 gms large prawns; deshelled and deveined
  2. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 small red onion; finely chopped

For full recipe, click here.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Yumi’s Anytime Range – a Product Review

Let’s face it; all of us are constantly looking for convenience foods that make our lives just that bit easier.

As a food blogger, I cook at least 6-7 meals from scratch every week, some of them totally new ones. But there are also days when I just don’t want to enter the kitchen. Though I very rarely do product reviews, sometimes I get mails from really good brands with products that I really want to give a go. Such was the case with Yumi’s Quality Foods.

Yumi’s has recently launched its new ‘Anytime range – a series of classic dips and spreads in squeezable pouches. Though I am a person who generally prepares all kinds of dips from scratch, I wanted to try out Yumi’s especially during this season when most of us get super busy from parties, backyard barbecues and holidays.

There are two factors that immediately attracted me to try out Yumi’s. The first being that it is an Australian company with all their products manufactured locally. Secondly, the range is preservative free which speaks volumes to me. The Anytime range is also gluten free thereby making it more enjoyable for a larger section of society. The packaging also makes it easy to store in the refrigerator or take along on short holidays.

There are six classic products in the Anytime range. Here is a pictorial guide to each of these, how I put it to the test and my feedback on each.

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Yumi’s Anytime Tuna Mousse – I used it to make these cute sandwich bites decorated with a green olive on top. It was delicious; the mousse had a really good texture and the flavour of the salty tuna through it was just perfect. Great for your children’s lunch boxes or party platters.

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Yumi’s Classic Hommus – Another favourite of mine from the collection. Delicious…which is why my son has been demanding it every day with cucumber sticks for his lunch box.

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Yumi’s Anytime Curried Egg – Packing lunch boxes can be a stressful time on some days. With nothing much in the refrigerator, the curried egg came to the rescue to create a light summery sandwich with salad leaves, cucumber and tomatoes. I liked the flavour but it was more like a curried mayo than a curried egg; but still happy. Used it as a salad dressing too and it was delicious.

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Yumi’s Roasted Garlic Aioli and Spicy Tomato Salsa – Used it in combination for a quick working day lunch. A bacon and egg wrap with iceberg lettuce, vegetable salad and a generous squeeze of aioli and salsa. The aioli was really good; the flavour from the roasted garlic really came through. But not a big fan of the salsa; it lacked the punchy freshness of a good salsa.

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Yumi’s Seeded Mustard and Honey Aioli – We had it with our after-school chicken nuggets. It was creamy and delicious but I found it slightly salty. Now this was only my opinion because my son and husband loved it. But I did squeeze some of it over a hot dog and it was really yumm. So guess it’s all to do with what you pair the aioli with.

Overall, a really good product that I will buy again, especially the tuna mousse and hommus which are my absolute two favourites.

 

 

Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine.

Grilled Steak (with curry flavoured smoked sea salt) with Chimichurri Salsa and Fennel Salad (dressed with strawberry port wine vinaigrette)

Quite a mouthful title, isn’t it?

It had to be because today’s post is my dedication to the farmers and food and wine producers of the panoramic Yarra Valley.

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Travel, for me, is not about just visiting a destination. It is about the whole experience of discovering what that place has to be offer, albeit at a small level. It is about bringing back not just memories but also intimate knowledge about the culture, food and life of that region. So when I got this amazing opportunity to visit Yarra Valley as part of the regional food group tour, I bought back some incredible food products and wine using which I created today’s recipe.

From the Gateway Estate, I bought home this bottle of strawberry port wine which I used to make the salad dressing. I really wanted to bring back some dry aged steak but unfortunately travelling by public transport didn’t allow me that luxury.

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While walking around the regional farmer’s market at Yering Station, I came across the Smoke and Roast stall. Getting to hear about my fascination with spices and the like, the owner offered me a sample of their signature curry flavoured smoked sea salt which I have used in today’s recipe as the spice rub for my steak. I also bought a pack of their original smoked sea salt and this gorgeous looking salt container.

While I have used plenty of smoked sea salts before, I have never come across a curry flavoured one. Bang on flavour; totally recommend this one for your spice pantry.

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I also picked up a bottle of Yering Station ‘Old Beenak Road’ Shiraz 2013. A single vineyard wine, I could not have asked for a better pairing to my steak. It was rich yet velvety and smooth with the hint of ripe blackberry fruit and peppercorn spices. The wine tasting session did improve my knowledge and helped me pick a really good bottle.

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Our final stop in the journey was at the Locavore Studio from where I didn’t bring back a product but rather recipes and cooking skills. I learnt to cook the perfect steak and also picked up a great chimichurri salsa recipe, both of which are put to use today.

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Usually I photograph the food for the blog beforehand for optimal light conditions. But today, I am inviting you to our dinner table – no unwanted props or stylized food; this is how we eat whenever I make something special at home.

So come along on this delicious journey……

Ingredients:

For the fennel salad:

1. 2 cups mixed salad leaves
2. 1 fennel (white bulb); sliced lengthwise finely
3. 1 small red bell pepper; sliced lengthwise finely
4. 1 small red onion; sliced lengthwise finely
5. Fennel fronds; for garnish
6. For the vinaigrette:
• 4 tbsp strawberry port wine
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, to season
• Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Note – If you do not have strawberry port wine, use vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic or any other port wine. Orange juice is also a great one to experiment with.

For the chimichurri salsa:

1. 1 cup fresh continental parsley leaves; finely chopped
2. 1 cup fresh coriander; finely chopped
3. 3-4 fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
4. 1 garlic clove; crushed and finely chopped
5. 2 tbsp strawberry port wine (red wine vinegar can also be used)
6. ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
7. Salt, to season
8. Dried chilli flakes; a pinch (or more to suit your preferences)

For the steak:

1. 3 Scotch fillet steaks (the best quality you can buy)
2. Smoked curry flavoured sea salt rub
3. Olive oil
4. Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Note – If you cannot get the smoked sea salt rub, use any spice rub of your choice or just salt and pepper.

Method:

To prepare the salad:

• Cut all the vegetables and place in a bowl. Refrigerate till serving time.
• To prepare the dressing, mix all the ingredients given under vinaigrette. Vigorously shake well to form an emulsion and keep aside.
• Dress the salad just before serving (remember to shake the vinaigrette again) and garnish with fennel fronds.

To prepare the chimichurri:

Combine the chopped leaves, garlic, port wine, olive oil, salt and chilli flakes. Taste and adjust balance if necessary. Refrigerate till serving time.

To prepare the steak:

• Heat the grill to smoking hot; most people make the mistake of not heating the grill enough so make sure its smoking hot.
• Crush the smoked sea salt lightly (the salt crystals were chunky).
• Rub olive oil onto both sides of the steak well and then rub the smoked sea salt all over the steak.
• Place the steak pieces on the grill lengthwise; after a minute turn the steak breadthwise on the same side to get the nice criss cross marks. Half a minute later, flip the steaks over and repeat the same (almost one minute each). This is an approximate time for a medium done steak.
• Remove and rest for 1-2 minutes before serving.

Note:
• If you prefer medium well, then place in the oven at 180°C for 2-3 minutes.
• Timings are always an approximate as the cooking times will vary according to the cut and quality of meat that you are using. So go by the feel of the meat and cook to your preferences.

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Chicken Tinga Tacos with Roasted Poblano Salsa

Any time is taco time!

Yes, I can eat tacos at any given time of the day, right from breakfast to dinner. I find these little parcels an explosion of flavour and texture. Keep it simple or get creative and gourmet, but tacos are delightfully delicious, full of oomph and a food that makes me smile from within.

Today, we have Chicken Tinga Tacos with a Roasted Poblano Salsa.

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Tinga comes from the Mexican state of Puebla and is a simple dish that is famous and common across the country. I have used chicken today but this works well with pork and beef. Tinga is generally prepared as a filling for tacos, empanadas, tlacoyos and also as a topping for tostadas.

The signature ingredient responsible for the flavour profile of the tinga is the chipotle peppers. I used chipotle in adobo sauce but you can use just the peppers too. Chipotle adds not just heat but a complex and rich smoky depth to this chicken tinga.

Extremely simple to make, the tinga is an extremely versatile dish that you could use in so many ways. I even made a lunch box subway with this topped with some pickled jalapenos and mayo…..deliciousness!

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And of course, no taco is complete without a salsa. Couldn’t go past the poblanos at the local market without grabbing a bunch, and these found a way into my salsa. Again, I wanted to add a hint of smokiness along with the heat so roasted the poblanos to complement the freshness of the other ingredients.

So there you have it – my Mexican fiesta with chicken tinga tacos topped with a roasted Poblano salsa, deliciously cocooned in mini corn tortillas.

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Ingredients:

For the chicken tinga:

1. 500 gms chicken; cooked and shredded
2. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
3. 1 medium onion, finely sliced
4. 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
5. 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
6. 3 large red tomato, finely chopped
7. 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (adjust to your heat preferences); chopped
8. Salt, to season
9. Black pepper, to season

Note – Leftover rotisserie chicken works well for a tinga.

For the salsa:

10. 2 poblano peppers
11. 1 large red onion, finely chopped
12. 2 ripe red tomatoes, finely chopped
13. 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
14. 1 lemon
15. Salt, to season

Others:

16. 1 packet of mini corn tortillas
17. Lemon wedges

Note – If you can’t find Poblano peppers, use any other type of peppers. Bell peppers/capsicum also work great though this wont’ give any heat.

Method:


For the tinga:

• Cook the chicken with a bit of salt, shred and keep aside.
• In a large pan, heat oil and add the sliced onions. Soften for about 2 minutes and then add the garlic.
• Cook for about 2 minutes or till fragrant and then add the tomatoes and parsley. Lower heat and cook till the tomatoes have begun to release their juices and turn slightly mushy.
• If the tomatoes you use do not release enough juice, add a few tbsps of water.
• Next add the chicken and chipotle peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes till the sauce has reduced and the mixture comes together.

For the salsa:

• Roast the Poblano peppers till the outside skin has charred well; I did this on a stovetop but you can use the oven too. Cool lightly and remove the skin, pith and seeds. Chop the flesh and add to a bowl.
• To the same bowl, add chopped onions, tomatoes and fresh coriander; mix well to combine.
• Squeeze lemon juice and season with salt.

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Tacos are meant to be a communal meal. Individual plates have no place here; so bring out all the components of the meal to the table and get your family around. Let each one create their own tacos and enjoy amidst plenty of fun and laughter!

Ethiopian Tomato Salad

There’s a new salsa in town!

Yes, I am talking of this humble Ethiopian tomato salad which has become our homestead’s current salsa fixation.

Similar ingredients…yet not similar flavours, the signature flavour that marks this tomato salad different from a traditional salsa is ginger.

Vegetarian meals are quite common in Ethiopia; simple and humble meals yet packed with flavour making the best use of ingredients available locally. Some of the common dishes that make up a traditional Ethiopian vegetarian platter is the yemisir wot – an oily red lentil stew generously spiced, yekik alicha – a yellow split pea stew flavoured with turmeric, tikil gomen – carrots, potatoes and cabbage simmered in a turmeric sauce.

Simple salads are also an integral part of the platter, this Ethiopian tomato salad being an example. And of course, no meal is complete without the breaking of the injera.

Much like the Indian style of eating, Ethiopians believe in a communal meal – friends and family coming together around the food. And fancy cutlery has no place here, pieces of injera are broken and the fingers are deftly used to scoop up the lentils, stews and salads. Eating with your hands might seem like the most natural thing for those who are used to it but for our Western counterparts, this can often be the most challenging part of a meal.

I found some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the market and used these for this salad. I used both the green and red varieties but you could use just regular tomatoes. Also, I love chunky pieces of tomatoes in my salsa/salad instead of the saucy types so I went for a rough chop.

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Like I mentioned, the signature or defining flavour of this Ethiopian tomato salad comes from ginger. Grated ginger is added to olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make a flavourful dressing for the tomatoes. And for that touch of heat, chopped yellow onions and fresh jalapenos!

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This Ethiopian tomato salad recipe comes from here.


Ingredients:

1. 3 large heirloom tomatoes; roughly chopped
2. 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (use white or red if you cannot find yellow)
3. 2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped (deseed if you wish to)

For the dressing:

4. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5. 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6. 1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger
7. Salt, to season
8. Black pepper, to season

Method:

1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.
2. Mix the chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapenos in a large bowl.
3. Add the dressing and mix well just before serving.

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Enjoy it as a traditional salad or as a chunky salsa….I did both!

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Celebrating Summer with Mango Salsa

Recently, I came across this online article by Marissa Jayne and this got me thinking about the ways in which I can be a better woman and not just a better person. We often get to read about women being the weaker sex, being exploited etc… But very few talk about the other side of the coin – women who are their own enemies!

Marissa talks about nine different ways in which you can better yourself as a woman and I so totally agree with each one of these. But the most meaningful one for me, especially in today’s times, is the first point – ‘stop the shit talking!’

We are quick to judge, especially other women. All of us have done it at some point, including me. Every time we see another woman, we want to comment about her looks, her clothes, hair, the way she talks, the way she brings up her kids etc…., not once thinking that she too is just another woman like you with strengths, weaknesses, insecurities, likes, dislikes, trying so hard to be the best that she can in her own way. But by being aware of this tendency to judge and consciously refraining from it as much as possible has definitely helped me become a better woman. I believe it has helped me become a happier and more content woman, strengthened me and earned me immense respect from others of the tribe.

Marissa has not really written anything new; but she has definitely helped to remind us once again why and how we can be better women.

Coming to today’s recipe, it is an easy and very common one that you would have come across many times. I want to put it up on the blog because I simply love it and I am always making variations of this salsa with whichever fruit is in season. You should try it with peaches and pineapple too.

Mango Salsa - thespiceadventuress.com

I like to add a slight Indian-ness to my salsa with black salt and chaat masala. Both are easily available at all Indian grocers these days. It adds a slight tang to the whole salad lifting up the sweet and spicy tones to a whole new level. I know I have added chillies; yes, two whole ones but you can either skip it or add less.

And I love to serve this salsa with wheat wafers or roasted Indian pappads.

Ingredients:

1. Ripe mango – 1, finely diced
2. Red onion – 1 medium, finely diced
3. Ripe, red tomato – 1 medium, deseeded and finely diced
4. Lebanese cucumber – 1 medium, finely chopped
5. Green chilli (I like it hot!) – 2, finely chopped
6. Lemon juice – to taste
7. Coriander leaves – ½ cup, finely chopped
8. Black salt/kala namak – a pinch
9. Sea salt – to season
10. Chaat masala – ¼ tsp

Method:

This one should be the easiest salad to make.

1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl with a tight lid and season with black salt, sea salt and chat masala.
2. Close the lid and shake vigorously to combine.
3. Keep refrigerated till serving time.

Hope all of you have noticed my new blog name; more on it later as I am still working on the URL. But do let me know your frank opinions and comments.

Avocado Soup with Spicy Salsa

My love for soups is legendary, something which sometimes irks my hubby especially when we are dining out. I tend to spend more time choosing the soup rather than the other courses. I prefer hot soups over the cold ones and among the hot ones, I love the clear soups – and so, chicken clear soup with loads of black pepper remains my all time favourite.

Back in India, I hardly made any soups at home; the ‘Knorr’ ones were enough to keep me happy. But after coming to Australia, I started experimenting more with making soups as I wanted to cut down on packaged food as much as possible. And this led to following and researching recipes for wholesome soups, especially vegetable based ones.

And today it’s the turn of the mighty avocado!

Gwen Avocados - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I found this avocado soup with spicy salsa on a website while reading an article dedicated to Vikas Khanna who (in my opinion) has really upped the standards of Indian food abroad. Though largely North Indian, I really enjoy making his recipes and this one (this is more fusion, though) is just proof of that. You can also find this recipe in his new cookbook – a simple, wholesome avocado soup with a tinge of chilli for our Indian taste buds.

Avocado soup with Spicy Salsa - creamy, delicious and perfect for summer - thespiceadventuress.com

Avocado soup with Spicy Salsa - creamy, delicious and perfect for summer - thespiceadventuress.com

Adapted from Chef Vikas Khanna

Ingredients

  1. Red tomato – 1; finely chopped
  2. Spanish red onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  3. fresh cilantro/coriander leaves – 2 tbsp, coarsely chopped
  4. Serrano or jalapeno chili – 1, seeded and chopped
  5. Lemon – juice of 2
  6. Chaat masala – ½ tsp
  7. Himalayan black salt/kala namak – ¼ tsp
  8. Shallots/small onion – 4-5; finely chopped
  9. Gwen avocados – 3, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  10. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  11. garlic – 3 cloves, chopped
  12. vegetable stock – 1-quart; more, if required
  13. Salt – to season
  14. 1 jalapeno – to garnish; sliced

Note – Chaat masala is an Indian spice blend available at most Indian stores.

Method

  • In a non reactive bowl, add the tomatoes, chopped onions, cilantro, jalapenos and half the lime juice. Season with chaat masala, black salt and regular salt. Mix well to combine and refrigerate.
  • In a large non-reactive mixing bowl, toss the avocados with the remaining limejuice until evenly coated.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat and add the shallots, garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the avocados and stock; season with salt and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender, adding more stock if the mixture is too thick.
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled, topped with spicy salsa and sliced jalapenos.

 

Avocado soup with Spicy Salsa - creamy, delicious and perfect for summer - thespiceadventuress.com

Avocado soup with Spicy Salsa - creamy, delicious and perfect for summer - thespiceadventuress.com

Sprouted Beans and Corn Salsa…..served with roasted pappad

Sprouting increases the nutritive value of the seeds and hence sprouted lentils are one of the healthiest foods in the world. But just like all things nutritious, there are many who dislike the taste of sprouts. And in my family, it’s my better half. Getting him to eat lentils of any kind is a feat for me and hence I am always devising recipes where the lentils are mashed, pureed etc. so that it stays hidden and cannot be pushed to one side of the plate.

But this time, I wanted to use sprouted beans in a salad but had to make it interesting enough for my hubby to eat it. So came up with this salsa recipe which also includes corn, red onion and tomato – and to top it all, served it with roasted pappads and a dash of lime.

The result – a good looking starter which can make my hubby eat even sprouted lentils.

Sprouted beans and corn salsa - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

1. Red onion – 1 large, finely chopped
2. Sprouted beans mix – 2 cups
3. corn kernels – 1 cup, steamed
4. tomato – 2 large, finely chopped
5. jalapeno (optional) – 1, finely chopped
Note – For the spice quotient, you can also add regular green chillies
6. coriander leaves – a good handful, finely chopped
7. salt – to season
8. lemon – juice of one lemon
9. pepper – to season

Method:

• Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
• Serve cold.

Note- Serve it as a salad or with Indian pappad, wafers or crackers.

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