Vibrant Tofu Coconut Curry

A little change of pace here on Sand Kitchen — decided to create a recipe that was specifically geared toward tofu. I know I often suggest using it as a substitute for meat to make something veggie/vegan, but as with all things, starting with it naturally means I can work with the flavour profiles better.

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Let’s start with the tofu, which we’re going to marinate while we do the rest of our chopping and cooking.

You will need:

  • 300g firm tofu (in fact, extra firm would be better)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil

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Ideally, you will have drained your tofu an hour or two in advance and placed it on some kitchen roll or a hand towel to drain off the excess. This will just make it crisp up a bit more. If you haven’t, no big deal, I didn’t have time and so just placed something heavy on top of it to try and get as much of the water out as possible. Then just chop up your tofu into squares.

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Scatter your herbs and spices mix on top of the tofu with a little drizzle of olive oil and leave it to marinate.

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For the rest of the curry, you will need:

  • One onion, in chunks
  • Two bell peppers; I used one yellow, one green
  • 500-700g mushrooms; I used a mix of shiitake and button
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk powder*
  • 1 inch diced ginger
  • 3 diced garlic cloves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves**

* – you can substitute this with just coconut milk, I find powder easier sometimes because it keeps longer in the cupboard, and I can use less of it to decrease the fats in the meal
** – 
substitute with bay leaves if you can’t get ahold of kaffir

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First, fry off your tofu. This should take about 5-10 minutes, until they pick up some colour. When they do, take them out.

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In the same pan, add your mushrooms. Don’t add oil here, the mushrooms will naturally sweat out the water and shrink in size.

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Once the mushrooms begin to shrink, add your ginger and garlic to flavour the mix.

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In a pot, put your onion chunks, peppers, and mushrooms together and give them a toss.

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Then add in your tofu and your coconut milk powder.

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Add enough water to cover it, about 1 litre, plus your kaffir lime leaves, and leave it to simmer for about half an hour.

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And voila — all done! I actually completely forgot to take pictures of this served — apologies! I made it as a meal prep, and that’s why. For me, it made enough for three portions and I served it up with a side of brown rice.

Let me know how you get on with this. Any other recipes with dietary restrictions you’d like to see?

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Ramadan in Bahrain | Breaking My Fast & Gorgeous Brunches

Final Ramadan vlog — next one will be Eid! I kept this one short and sweet.

I thought about not sharing the fact that I was breaking my fast as it’s seen as somewhat disrespectful to talk about periods in public, especially in Ramadan, but I honestly don’t believe that to be the case. Besides, I’m a woman, I have a menstrual cycle so at some point I would have to break my fast!

Dairy-Free Muhalabiya | Bahraini Rice Pudding

For someone who is known for her desserts, I post surprisingly few dessert recipes here on Sand Kitchen. I think it’s mostly because I love making them, but don’t have an enormous sweet tooth myself.

This muhalabiya (Arabic: مهلبيه) was my grandfather’s favourite. It’s a dish we had over and over again growing up, and my mum’s was my favourite. Even after I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant at 13, I’d still eat muhalabiya. How could I not?

I decided to make a dairy-free version for all my fellow intolerants (and vegans) out there.

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You will need:
(Serves 6, GF, vegan)

  • 1 can coconut milk (approx 2 cups)*
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp rice flour**
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • A few strands of saffron

* – if you are not dairy-free, use 4 cups of regular milk and skip the water
** – you can substitute rice flour for cornstarch, which we occasionally do, but it’s not as authentic

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First thing you do is soak your saffron in a tablespoon or two of boiling water. Set that aside so that it picks up colour and flavour. The earlier you do this, the better, and we sometimes do this hours beforehand. All you really need, though, is about 15-20 minutes that the pudding will take to make.

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Mix your rice flour with some water to create a slurry.

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In a pot, add your coconut milk, water, rose water, and cracked cardamom pods and wait until it begins to boil.

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Once you start to see bubbles form, add your rice flour slurry and your sugar. Keep it on a low-medium heat and let it simmer until it begins to bubble again.

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When you’re satisfied that the flavours are incorporated and it has begun to bubble again, fish the cardamom pods out and pour them into little bowls or ramekins.

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Take your saffron water mixture and pour a little bit on top of each one. Alternatively, you could have poured into your milk mix before portioning it out, if you want the saffron flavour and colour throughout.

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Put your muhalabiyas in the fridge to set, a minimum of ~2 hours, up to 4 hours.

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Then take them out, and enjoy! They obviously will have the edge of coconut to them, but they’re just as creamy as those made with regular milk and I love the fact that I’m able to have my favourite dessert again.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Food Intolerance + Sensitivity | My Experience

Here, I finally sit down and speak about my food intolerances, and what has changed over the last few months. Please, please always see a doctor and nutritionist if you’re worried about food intolerances or sensitivities. A truly well-qualified nutritionist is probably best, as some GPs don’t have a great understanding of nutrition.

Please also be aware that if you’ve had eating/body disorders in the past, a test like this can be triggering (speaking from experience). Also bear in mind that the igE test is one that many nutritionists dislike, and some say results can be random. I am not a qualified medical professional so I don’t know, but I feel like that could be true — hence saying “take it with a pinch of salt”.

I’ll try and do an update to this video once I’ve been doing this for a couple of months to give you guys a more nuanced understanding.

Any questions, pop them below or in the video!

What I Eat After Fasting | Artistic Video

A little bit of a different video today — no chatting, all visual, and I hope somewhat soothing! This is my second Ramadan What I Eat, and I worked all day (9am to 6pm) so I was pretty exhausted come sunset. Hope you like it!

For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar year where Muslims fast from just before sunrise to sunset every day for a month. People fast from food and drink, as well as sex, during daylight hours.

Healthy & Delicious Beetroot Quinoa Salad

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I’m a huge fan of salad. I’ve said this before — honestly, I find them so, so satisfying. However, everyone who knows me knows I like them full of greens and then topped with delicious and filling toppings.

For other salad inspirations, try my Kale, Butternut & Chicken Salad | Rice & Mushroom Salad | Vibrant Chicken Salad

For this, you will need:
(GF)

  • One grilled chicken breast*
  • Half a grated carrot
  • Half a roasted beetroot
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

* – if you’re veggie/vegan, swap this out for quorn, tofu, tempeh or beans

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I roasted more beets than I needed because I like to have roasted veg on hand. This was inspired by my lovely friend Zoë, as I usually boil, not roast, beetroot.

Peel and cut your beets, and add them to an oven-proof dish lined with aluminium. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and a little bit of olive oil.

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Cover the beets up so they form a parcel, which will half-steam, half-roast them. I did half an hour at 220C. 

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Et viola! I didn’t show how to cook the chicken because I’ve covered that before (check out this post).

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Layer up your salad like a normal human, in a bowl, or if you’re taking an Instagram, pop it in a mason jar. Yes, thank you, I’m aware I’m not funny. Honestly I find mason jars useful to take it into work, but I plonk it into a bowl when I get there. For dressing, I just used a tiny bit of olive oil and half lemon’s juice.

Let me know what recipes you guys would like to see more of!

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Ramadan in Bahrain | Curries, Training, and 1am Coffees

I hope you guys enjoy my first Ramadan vlog! For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar year where Muslims fast from just before sunrise to sunset every day for a month. People fast from food and drink, as well as sex, during daylight hours.

If you want to have a look at what my Ramadan days of food are like, give this video a watch. Family iftars, gym sessions, late night coffees — standard!