Divine Spice Box https://divinespicebox.com Mix of Food, Art and Passion Mon, 15 Jan 2018 01:08:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://divinespicebox.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/dsb-logo-2017-146x150.jpg Divine Spice Box https://divinespicebox.com 32 32 121926208 Loma Linda Meal Solutions Review https://divinespicebox.com/2017/12/18/loma-linda-meal-solutions/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/12/18/loma-linda-meal-solutions/#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:25:13 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12707 Today, I am reviewing some exciting “Meal Solutions” by Loma Linda and sharing my first impression with you all. Not … Continue Reading

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Today, I am reviewing some exciting “Meal Solutions” by Loma Linda and sharing my first impression with you all. Not only that, I have also partnered with Loma Linda to give 2 of you a chance to win some of these delicious Meal solutions for yourself. Read on for more details.

December for me is always a busy month. Amidst meeting yearly deadlines, decking up the house for the holidays and having people over for dinners… the list just does not end! There are many days in between the craziness when I just want to have a comforting meal without really donning my apron and getting my hands messy. The first thing that pops in my head is to load up on frozen meals but I think you would agree when I say that freezers are not usually empty – especially during Holidays ! I have the habit of prepping my ingredients in advance and my freezer is usually chockfull – year around: P I would invariably buy things in bulk and store them in my freezer. With a rental apartment, the freezer isn’t exactly huge and that makes it tough to store those frozen meals. Please tell me I am not the only one here with this problem!

Loma Linda's Meal Solutions

Loma Linda’s Meal Solutions

I have always been looking for “Heat and Eat” meal which takes up minimum space in my fridge/freezer, have a variety to keep it interesting and are nutritious! Guess what, I found the solution in Loma Linda’s Meal Solutions!!  Check out the extensive range here

So, why I like these Meal Solutions:

  • Varieties – They offer an exciting range of 16 Meal Solutions covering cuisines from all around the world
  • Shelf Stable – they don’t even need refrigeration! Added bonus when you want to take meals for a trip.
  • Heat and Eat – Easy to grab and go, the meal solutions come in individual microwaveable pouches which can be prepared in 1 minute.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan – All the meal solutions are high protein, low fat, low cholesterol and low calories. Plus all of them are vegetarian and they also offer some vegan variants.
  • No Preservatives, No trans Fat or Cholesterol.
  • Uses Non – GMO  soy products in the Meal solutions

For the review, I decided to try out 4 of the varieties :

samples from Loma Linda

samples from Loma Linda

  • SPICY PAD THAI
  • TIKKA MASALA WITH RICE
  • MEDITERRANEAN ITALIAN TOMATO AND OLIVE WITH PASTA
  • CHIK’N AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO

I was super excited to try all of these Meal solutions. Being a foodie at heart, I love to try out different cuisines so I picked up distinct flavor profiles from the meal solutions to really put these to test. Here is what I think of them :

SPICY PAD THAI

Loma Linda's Spicy Pad Thai

Loma Linda’s Spicy Pad Thai

Just look at that bowl of deliciousness ! Who would believe it if I say this actually came out of a pouch!! All I did was take it out in a bowl, heat it up in the microwave for a minute and sprinkle some fresh garnish on top and voila! A hot bowl of spicy pad Thai is ready to be devoured. The flavors are easily identified as that of a traditional Pad Thai and I am really impressed with the texture of the noodles. The pack says it contains 2 servings but I would say it is more like a single serving if that is all that you are having for a meal. Even with that, the total comes out to be under 500 calories… which I think is pretty neat.

 

TIKKA MASALA WITH RICE

Loma Linda's Tikka Masala

Loma Linda’s Tikka Masala

I was seriously super excited about trying this one out ! Having made hundreds of batches of Tikka Masala in my life so far, I am kind of a snob when it comes to Indian flavors. To my surprise, this Tikka Masala tastes pretty good and the Indian spice combinations packs a punch of flavor in this dish. Usually Tikka Masala is eaten with Rotis/Naans but I found the combination of Tikka Masala and rice working here really well. With a dash of lemon and some freshly chopped coriander, this Tikka Masala is easy to elevate and serve in front of guests!

MEDITERRANEAN ITALIAN TOMATO AND OLIVE WITH PASTA

Loma Linda's Mediterranean Italian Tomato and Olive with Pasta

Loma Linda’s Mediterranean Italian Tomato and Olive with Pasta

With a very interesting blend of flavors, this Meal solution is delightfully flavored! It has a subtle touch of earthiness coming from the herbs which strikes the perfect harmony of flavors in this dish. I was frankly a bit confused as this dish contains Udon noodles which comes from the Japanese cuisine and then it is flavored with Olives and Tomatoes which brings an Italian flare to this dish. Finally, the spices in this dish is reminiscent of Mediterranean flavours making this meal solution a fusion in the true sense. I thought the Udon noodles were a bit softer than I would love but all in all, this dish works for my flavor palate. Add some vegan cheese on top with fresh chopped basil for serving!

CHIK’N AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO

Loma Linda's Chik'n and Mushroom Risotto

Loma Linda’s Chik’n and Mushroom Risotto

With just 262 calories and 14g proteins in the entire pouch, this is already winning my heart! Just like any good risotto, this dish is creamy, cheesy and has an umami flavor from the shiitake mushrooms and shallots. The ingredients are simple and clean which highlights the natural flavor of the black and brown rice and the earthiness of the mushrooms. For giving the finishing touches, I added some more roasted mushrooms on top and topped off with a generous amount of parmesan cheese. Perfectly balanced and delicious, I give a big thumbs up to this risotto.

I have really enjoyed tasting these Meal solutions and I think the offerings are delightful. With the 4 pouches I got to try, I can already vouch for these Meal Solutions and I am pretty sure all of their variations are delicious. Being a shelf stable product, It is usually assumed that it would contain a lot of preservatives but I was really impressed to see that these products contains none of the bad stuff.. just simple clean ingredients. I would highly recommend these if you are looking for a space saving, shelf stable meal pouches. Not only can you eat them right from the pouch, I bet some of these variants will also work great as stuffings or side dishes 🙂 Thank you Loma Linda for introducing me to these Meal solutions ! So, next time you go your grocery stores, look for these Meal solutions or simply order them online. Look for them at these retailers.

After reading the review, I am sure you are also excited to try out these Meal solutions and choose from your favorites yourself. Well, Loma Linda has graciously offered to giveaway 2 lucky winners some meal pouches. For entering, hop on to my Instagram feed and check out the giveaway details.

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Veestro Plant Based Meals Review + Giveaway https://divinespicebox.com/2017/11/06/veestro-review-giveaway/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/11/06/veestro-review-giveaway/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 19:46:37 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12679 Let’s celebrate this Meatless Monday with plants based meals! In this post, I am reviewing a whole lot of goodies … Continue Reading

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Let’s celebrate this Meatless Monday with plants based meals! In this post, I am reviewing a whole lot of goodies from the house of VEESTRO, picking my favorites and will be talking about plant based lifestyle! That’s not all …. I am also offering you a chance to win a Veestro $50 gift card!! Read on for my review and giveaway details below!

WHY PLANT BASED MEALS?

A plant-based way of eating focuses on consuming plant-derived whole foods that are unrefined and minimally processed. This means pure, unadulterated ingredients that are in their original form. Here are some benefits of going plant based –

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Better Blood Sugar Control
  • Lower Rates of Cardiovascular diseases and Cancer
  • Weight Loss
  • Saves Money
  • Helps the environment

This list is just scratching the surface of the benefits of going plant based and it sure looks like the way to go but it can be a hard transition for some. The good news is that one can start by following a more flexitarian approach and just focus on including more organic fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

I am sure many of you will agree with me when I say cooking on weekdays can get really hectic. Though I try to plan and cook ahead, sometimes take out or frozen food is my best friend!  Usually I just end up at the frozen section of grocery stores in search of some vegetarian/ plant based meals. With most of the frozen aisle filled with non-vegetarian meal options, it can often get frustrating to find a vegetarian entrée, let alone a plant based one. At such times, I just wish I get some delicious variety of food delivered right to my door step. I recently started looking for delivery options for vegetarian/plant based meals to sort out my daily food struggles and came across Veestro.

Veestro is a plant based meal delivery system which works on a simple principle – pick your favorite meals from a variety of meal options they offer and get it delivered to your door step! This instantly caught my attention and when Meatless Monday offered few of its bloggers to try out Veestro meals, I grabbed the opportunity!

For my review, I got the a la carte meals and the package came with the following –

  • Soba noodles with Peanut sauce
  • Enchilada casserole with Red sauce
  • Red curry
  • Moroccan Melange
  • Hand grenade juice

The experience started with the meals being delivered in a neat box, temperature controlled and the meal boxes come with clear instructions for heating the contents. The package also contained a leaflet with the nutritional information about all the meals offered by Veestro which in my opinion is awesome! Not only can I see the nutrition of the meals I got delivered but can also plan ahead for the next order.

Veestro meals in temperature controlled packaging box

I was really pleased to see that all the meals I tried were wholesome, flavorful and pretty decent on the calorie count. Another brownie point goes to the fact that all of Veestro meals contain organic, simple (and relatable aka heard of) ingredients and no nasty preservatives which we see in most of the frozen meals.

Meals are packed in 100% compostable carton trays or pouches.

I followed the recommended heating instructions for the meals and tried them all! I was pretty happy to see how the dishes turned at the dinner table. Usually I get fooled into buying frozen meals by the cover pic of the package and often they turn out to be nothing like the pictures. Veestro meals delivered a 100% on that point! Have a look yourself!

Hand Grenade Juice + Enchilada Casserole + Red Curry with Tofu and Rice

Soba Noodles + Moroccan Melange

Picking my favorites

 

Red Curry with Tofu and Rice 

I love Thai food and red curry is always one of the dishes I order. Having said that, it also makes me a snob and I am not easily impressed. When I make mine, I make the red curry paste from scratch and it takes me a long time to cook the dish. I was very eager to try the red curry by Veestro and it didn’t disappoint me one bit. The dish tasted very close to my preparation and my family agreed too.  I would have loved if the meal came with a bit more curry but overall it was a satisfying meal.

Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Simple ingredients and easy to re-heat, this dish came with delicate flavour profile and I assume would make for a perfect light summer lunch. I really liked how the noodles held its shape and did not get overcooked while reheating… but my most favorite part of this dish was the accompanied peanut sauce which was rich and felt like it was made fresh.

Overall, I would give full marks to Veestro and would love to sample more of its meals. The meals are satisfying and makes life so much simpler. With the vast variety they offer, you have no dearth of choices and can be sure that the food you are eating is fresh and free from preservatives!

Liked my review? Would you like to try out Veestro yourself? Use code “DIVINE15” for 15% off a la carte purchases. It expires 12/9/17. So hurry and grab your kit today!

Well.. this is not over yet! As promised, here is an opportunity to win Veestro gift card worth $50 for yourself! Try your luck 🙂

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer – This post was done in parternship with Meatless Monday and Veestro. The samples have been provided by Veestro. This post is not compensated and the review contains personal opinions of the author.

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Green Peas Paratha https://divinespicebox.com/2017/09/20/green-peas-paratha/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/09/20/green-peas-paratha/#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:26:25 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12635 Curries might be the first thing that comes to mind for any one in mood for an Indian meal but … Continue Reading

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Curries might be the first thing that comes to mind for any one in mood for an Indian meal but we often forget to praise what makes a curry shine.. the accompanied breads!! Today, I am placing one such flatbread on the center stage and basking in its glory – Parathas. Let us learn how to make peas stuffed parathas.

Summers are in full swing here in California and I am struggling with keeping myself motivated to dish out 3 meals a day from my seemingly boiling kitchen. The usual meals these days comprise of assorted salads, lots of yogurt and fruits. When I feel like cooking something Indian, I resort to very simple curries and stuffed flatbreads. Today, I prepared some pea stuffed parathas which were loved by everyone at home and I thought I should share the recipe with you all 🙂

For those of you who are hearing the word “paratha” for the first time, paratha is a glorious version of the roti/chapati- an unleavened flatbread which is roasted using grease on a griddle. The grease was Ghee (clarified butter) traditionally and some still use ghee but many have switched to its lighter cousin, Oils. Parathas are so versatile that they can easily be defined as a cuisine in itself 😛 Parathas are usually cooked with plain or flavored dough and they are prepared both, with and without stuffing. Parathas are known for their crunchy, crust on top and soft, pillowy texture inside. They belong to the north Indian cuisine platter.

Since we are on the topic of Parathas, I feel it is my obligation to mention the ever so famous ” parathe wali gali (Paratha selling street corridor)”. A trip to Delhi is incomplete without a visit to this gali !! What makes this gali special is that the parathas are cooked using pure ghee and they offer a wide variety of stuffings – sweet and savory. All the items served here are strictly vegetarian but even the meat eaters go crazy with the flavors here! I have had the pleasure of enjoying a couple of parathas here and it is an enriching experience to say the least 🙂

The pea stuffed paratha that I am serving up in my kitchen today is nothing grand but it reminds me of home and is enough to make me all nostalgic. My mom makes the most delicious stuffed parathas and this is one of the “bucket list” food items on my mind whenever I visit home. There is a saying in our house ” parathe ke teen yaar – dahi – makhan – achaar” which means : Paratha’s best accompanied friends are dahi (curd/yogurt), Makhan (butter) and Achaar (pickle). I am feeling really hungry now… so, lets get cooking!

Pea Stuffed Parathas

Peas stuffed parathas

  • Servings: 4-5 parathas
  • Print

Ingredients

 Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Water for kneading

Oil for roasting the parathas (you can also use ghee/clarified butter)

Pea stuffing

  • 1 cup frozen peas (can also use fresh peas)
  • 1 tablespoon chickpea flour / besan
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder/amchur
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Method

  1. Let us begin with preparing the stuffing : Heat a pan and add oil to it. Once hot, add in the onions and ginger & saute till the onions turn light brown.
  2. Next, add in the frozen peas, salt, green chili and saute for a couple of minutes (till the peas are soft and mushy)
  3. Finally, add in the chickpea flour/besan, dry mango powder and garam masala. Mix well and cook on medium flame for a couple more minutes till the besan is thoroughly cooked and the raw taste goes away. Remove in a mixing bowl. Mash the stuffing well and combine. Let the filling cool down.
  4. To make the parathas, divide the dough into 4-5 dough balls. Take one dough ball and using your fingers, flatten it into a bowl shape. Apply a little oil inside the dough ball and add a scoop of stuffing inside.
  5. Pinch the sides of the dough bowl to seal the stuffing inside the dough and using some flour and a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circular disc (paratha). Repeat with all the dough balls.
  6. To roast the parathas, heat a skillet and put of the rolled out parathas on it. Using some oil, roast the parathas on both sides till crispy and well cooked (approximately 2-3 minutes ). Remove from the skillet and serve immediately with condiments of your choice

I ended up making 6 parathas between me and hubby and we gobbled them all in 2 sessions 😛 They were delicious and so hearty .. it was the best brunch meal we could have asked for on a Saturday morning 🙂 So, don’t wait too long and make these right away !

If you like some curries to go with these, I recommend the following

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Chickpea vegetable pilaf + Ahara Rasa Ghee review https://divinespicebox.com/2017/06/26/chickpea-vegetable-pilaf-ahara-rasa-ghee-review/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/06/26/chickpea-vegetable-pilaf-ahara-rasa-ghee-review/#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:07:56 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12590 Today we would be talking about a quintessential ingredient to the Indian cooking. Frankly speaking, I would not shy away … Continue Reading

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Today we would be talking about a quintessential ingredient to the Indian cooking. Frankly speaking, I would not shy away from saying that it is the essence, the soul of Indian cuisine. Any guesses? Yes, I am talking about the golden liquid – GHEE. In this review post, we are taking our tasting spoons to try Ahara Rasa Ghee and making a delicious pot of vegetarian pilaf with Indian spices.

So, what is ghee? Ghee or Indian clarified butter is basically butter minus milk solids and water…so, all you have is pure goodness which is good for our mind, body and soul! It is widely used for various purposes (cooking, medicine and religious practices) throughout the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally prepared from cow’s milk, ghee is given the holy status in the Hindu culture and is thus considered auspicious for ceremonies such as marriages, funerals, worship etc.

Close up of Ghee - Notice the texture

Close up of Ghee – Notice the texture

Being an Indian myself, ghee has always been a part of my life. To me, it is as important as salt and sugar in my kitchen. Been on a constant lookout for a genuine, authentic brand of ghee in USA, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Ahara Rasa Ghee (ARG). I got in touch with them and got me some samples to try out in my little kitchen and share my review with you all.

Ahara Rasa Ghee is founded by Andrea Shuman, a practitioner of Alternative medicine for more than 18 years who believes in the healing powers of ghee. “Ahara Rasa” stands for “essence of food” in Sanskrit which connotes the goodness and wholesome energy derived from food. ARG not only makes the original ghee but also has some very interesting flavors, both sweet and savory which gives hints of various spices, herbs and aromatics. Check out their entire range here .

I got my hands on the original ghee and 2 flavor ghees – Nitter Kibbeh and Hot Date. Much like a happy kid, I pop opened the bottles of ghee and gave it a whiff. OMG!! That promising smell of ghee…I am in heaven 🙂

"<yoastmark

The Nitter Kibbeh is traditional Ethiopian style ghee with hints of garlic, onion, ginger and koseret leaves and spices. Think dips, stews, omelets, stir fries… yum! The Hot Date on the other hand has dates soaked in ghee along with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom making it excellent to pair with just about anything. I am thinking warm bananas and date ghee waffles!

In this review though, I would be talking about their Original ghee and using it to prepare something truly Indian and delicious for you – Pilaf!

Culinary benefits of ghee

Have you used Ghee before? Ghee is widely used throughout India and it has been making Indian food shine in the culinary sphere for thousands of years. Here are some culinary benefits:

  • It has a high smoking point, making it perfect for sautéing, frying, baking etc.
  • It has a natural nutty flavor which makes it a delicious addition over stews, curries and even popcorn! I love to add some on my flatbreads, temper my lentil curries and make laddoos with it. Almost all Indian desserts requiring an addition of fat, uses ghee!
  • Ghee never really goes bad! Since it is almost pure fat, it becomes shelf stable.Tip to make it last long – Keep away from direct heat and any form of moisture. My mother still has a 16oz bottle from when she was a kid. Read more here

Looking for ways to use ghee in your kitchen? Read this article stating 100 uses for ghee !!

Signs of good quality ghee

Ghee has a very characteristic appearance and texture which makes it unique and easily distinguishable from butter. When hot, ghee has a golden color to it and it appears almost transparent (unlike butter which upon melting looks milky and watery). As it cools down and solidifies, it starts to resemble coconut oil in texture. At room temperature though, ghee is usually semi liquid and has a grainy texture (which is the ideal texture). Warm it and make a tempering to add on top of lentils, stews, curries or eat it like butter on toast…you can never go wrong with ghee!

"Eat

Ahara Rasa Ghee’s “Original Ghee” has a toasty- nutty flavour to it which is reminiscent of a homemade ghee cooked over open flame. ARG prepares its ghee the traditional way which begins from churning cream into butter and then cooking that butter in small batches over open flame, low heat to achieve that authentic color, texture aroma and flavor! All their ghee has a beautiful grainy texture to it which reminds me of my mother’s home made ghee 🙂

I cannot wait now to share with you the pilaf/ Pulao I prepared using the Original ghee. I am using chickpeas, vegetables and dry fruits cooked along with rice in a tempering of ghee and whole spices… it’s addictive!

CHICKPEA VEGETABLE PULAO (Gluten free, Vegetarian)

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

 

Close up - Chickpea Vegetable Pilaf

Close up – Chickpea Vegetable Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked Basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons Ahara Rasa Ghee’s Original Ghee
  • Whole spices (Star anise, Bay leaves, Cardamom, Cinnamon sticks)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Carrots – 1/2 cup , cut into cubes
  • Potatoes- 1/2 cup , cut into cubes
  • Peas, 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala

Garnishes

  • Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
  • 6-7 Almonds
  • Handful of dried cranberries / raisins
  • Ghee, melted

Method

  1. In a non stick pan, heat the ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add in the Almonds and roast till golden brown. Strain out the almonds and keep aside for garnish.
  2. Now, add in cumin seeds along with the whole spices and let it roast on medium low till the spices release the aroma.
  3. Next, add in the chopped onions and saute till golden brown.
  4. Add in the vegetables along with boiled chickpeas, salt and chili powder and mix together. Cook on medium flame with a lid on the pan till the vegetables are al-dente.
  5. Add in the cooked basmati rice and gently mix with the vegetables and chickpeas. Place the lid on the pan again and further cook on a simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Lastly, sprinkle the garam masala and the garnishes on top and serve hot. Pour more ghee on top and enjoy with a side of Raita/ yogurt or Dal.

Isn’t that simply gorgeous! When in doubt, make pilafs/pulao 🙂 Did you notice that I kept the spices very minimalist in this recipe but this pilaf is delicious. What makes this pilao shine is the ghee which brings a nutty richness to this dish. I bet once you make this rice dish, you would make it many more times! Make it right away or bookmark it to make it soon 🙂

Before I finish this review, I would like to thank Ahara Rasa Ghee for their product samples. I have always been looking for Authentic Indian ingredients and I am glad to have found ARG. I look forward to creating more of such fun Indian recipes and sharing with you all! Folks, if you are looking for a “good ghee”, hop on to their website and check out their instagram and twitter handles!

Love Ghee ?? Try more recipes with ghee – Check out my board with ghee recipes here

Paneer do pyaza

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Sweet chili garlic noodles- 10 min recipe https://divinespicebox.com/2017/06/05/sweet-chili-garlic-noodles-10-min-recipe/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/06/05/sweet-chili-garlic-noodles-10-min-recipe/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 15:50:33 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12574 Do you also look for recipes for rice and noodles to compliment your Oriental stir fry dishes? Bored with the … Continue Reading

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Do you also look for recipes for rice and noodles to compliment your Oriental stir fry dishes? Bored with the same old simple side of plain rice? Me too! Well, today I am bring to you a Noodle dish which is sweet, spicy and so addictive! These Asian inspired sweet chili garlic noodles has bold flavors which not only make them excellent sides for your Asian entrees but is a complete dish on its own. Whats best – All you need is some basic pantry staples and just 10 minutes. Lets learn how to make these.

I have been MIA from the blogosphere for quite sometime now. I am not even sure what I was busy doing…I guess I was in dire need of a break. Between some design work and food recipes/review projects, I just couldn’t organize my thoughts to pen down the recipes. In my defense, I have been cooking loads 😛 To keep up with the busy schedule, I have been doing loads of fuss free- simple recipes lately and thought of sharing one such versatile recipe with you all here today.

My family is crazy for Noodles. Seriously!! We can have noodles for all 3 meals 🙂 I usually just make a big batch and tweak around a few recipes I have under my belt to concoct variations in Noodle dishes. My latest spin which I am calling “Sweet Chili Garlic noodles” are inspired by the flavors of a traditional Schezwan sauce. You can call it a “deconstructed Schezwan Noodles” if you wish 🙂 It comes together in 10 mins flat and you can pair this dish with just about any Oriental stir fry. Happy tummy guaranteed 😛

Sweet chili garlic Noodles

Love the vibrant color of this Sweet Chili Garlic Noodles with mixed veggies

I have to confess something here – I hate to serve plain rice with my Oriental dishes. I know that restaurants do that because they like the flavors of the stir fry to be the hero of the meal … but personally, I find that really un-inspiring! The stir fry entrees are often not as spicy as I would love and then the plain rice further kills the heat and flavors for me. I often end up drowning my rice with loads of chili paste and sodium laden soy sauce 😛 Now that is the story of when we dine out but when I cook oriental at home, I always stir fry the noodle/rice as well. The dish I have for you today is bit on the spicier side, but if you prefer something a little more kid-friendly, try my  my 10 min sesame garlic noodles.

I paired these sweet chili garlic noodles with my all time favorite Kung Pao Tofu and some quick braised Brussels sprouts and  it was a fabulous combination to say the least. I am these delicious pictures are making you as hungry as I am right now, so why waste any more time … let’s get cookin!

Sweet Chili Garlic Noodles

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

Sweet chili garlic NoodlesIngredients

  • 1 pound cooked Noodles
  • 1 medium Red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cup of vegetables of your choice (bell peppers, Carrots, French Beans etc)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Scallions (green part), chopped for garnish (optional)
  • Sprinkle of black/ white sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

Sweet Chili sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (i prefer low sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek/ Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon white vingear
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

  1. Heat a wok and add the oil along with garlic and saute till he garlic is lightly golden in color.
  2. Next, add in the chopped onions and vegetables and saute on high flame till the vegetables are slightly cooked (about 2-3 minutes)
  3. Mix all the ingredients for the Sweet chili sauce and add on top of the cooked vegetables
  4. Quickly add in the cooked noodles and toss to mix everything well.
  5. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Sprinkle the garnishing on top and serve right away!

Love Oriental food?  Check out my collection of EAST ASIAN RECIPES

Dishes to pair with these Sweet Chili Garlic Noodles

Kung pao Tofugeneral tso's cauliflower

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Aubergine rice pilaf with Indian spices (Vaangi Bhaat) https://divinespicebox.com/2017/05/22/aubergine-rice-pilaf-with-indian-spices-vaangi-bhaat/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/05/22/aubergine-rice-pilaf-with-indian-spices-vaangi-bhaat/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 19:20:15 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12558 Here is another dish which shouts out my love for aubergines loud and clear ! Aubergines are the perfect replacement … Continue Reading

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Here is another dish which shouts out my love for aubergines loud and clear ! Aubergines are the perfect replacement to meat to create meatless master pieces and they never fail to impress me. Today, I am bringing a dish which has become a recent favorite with my family and we make it pretty often! So, let us migrate to the south of  India today and prepare some delicious Vaangi Bhaat.

Vaangi Bhaat or Spiced Aubergine rice is a quintessential Karnataka rice preparation which is prepared using aubergines and a very special masala. People make this dish with different variations and while many people omit the onion and garlic in the preparation (specially around festivities), I love to add to onions in mine.

Vaangi Bhaat

Deliciousness in each bite – Vaangi Bhaat /Aubergine rice pilaf

I have been doing many aubergine recipes lately and it was about time that I combined rice with aubergines. I invariably eat stuffed aubergines with a side of lentils and rice and to me, that is the perfect sunday lunch. When I prepared stuffed aubergines last time, I ended up using the leftovers to prepare a quick stir fried rice pilaf and it was such a delightful combination! A little research on the internet and I got to know about Vaangi bhaat which instantly caught my attention and I decided to give it a go!

Vaangi Bhaat / Aubergine Rice pilaf with Indian spicesI have to admit – this dish is not only irresistible, it is simply addictive! The first time I prepared it, I did not have all the spices for the special pilaf masala, so, I just went ahead with whatever I had and it was still so darn good !! I ended up getting all the ingredients for the spice mix the very next day and made a big batch of the special masala. Now I can whip up this amazing pilaf at a moment’s notice 🙂

So, I am sure all this talk is making you as hungry as I am… so, lets get cracking on the recipe .

Aubergine Rice Pilaf with Indian Spices

Aubergine rice pilaf with Indian spices (Vaangi Bhaat)

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Print

Vaangi Bhaat/ Aubergine rice pilaf with Indian spicesIngredients

  • 2 medium sized Eggplants (about 3 cups of eggplant cubes)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon peanuts
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coconut, grated (can use frozen)

Vaangi Bhaat Masala

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2-3 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon Urad Dal
  • 1 tablespoon Chana Dal
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh coconut, grated
  • 2 tablespoons raw peanuts

Method

Preparing the Vaangi Bhaat Masala

  1. Take a skillet and heat it up. Add 1 tsp oil and roast the urad dal and chana dal till lightly golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
  2. Add the rest of the oil and roast sesame seeds, dried red chilies, coriander seeds and raw peanuts till slightly golden brown. Mix with the roasted dals. Add the rest of the ingredients and grind to a coarse masala. The Vaangi Bhaat masala is ready.

For the Vaangi Bhaat pilaf,

  1. In a non stick pan, heat the oil an roast the raw peanuts to golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, add in the mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, onions and saute on medium high till golden brown.
  3. Next, add in the chopped eggplant and add in salt. Mix and cook on medium high till the eggplants are soft and cooked.
  4. Now, add in 1 tablespoon of the Vaangi bhaat masala, tamarind paste and mix well. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes (to make sure the masala is cooked)
  5. Finally, add in the cooked rice, fresh coconut and fresh cilantro. Gently combine and serve hot.

Like eggplants as much as I do ?? Try these recipes :

Eggplant tikka masalaeggplant with spicy coconut peanut stuffing

cheesy tomato eggplant lentil pasta AUBERGINE MASALA

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Chocolate Dipped Spiced Chai Churros + Bhakti chai Giveaway https://divinespicebox.com/2017/05/01/chocolate-dipped-spiced-chai-churros/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/05/01/chocolate-dipped-spiced-chai-churros/#comments Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:39 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12466 This post is going to be all about the Indian chai and the rituals we have associated with it. In … Continue Reading

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This post is going to be all about the Indian chai and the rituals we have associated with it. In India, it is often a practice to invite new acquaintances over for tea to initiate friendship and Indians take their chai pretty seriously. Today, we are using chai by brand Bhakti to make some India-inspired snacks which you can enjoy and there is an exciting GIVEAWAY which you don’t want to miss!

Chai is quintessential to the Indian household morning routine. Each household has its own concoction (usually a heirloom recipe) and the method to make tea also varies across different parts of India 🙂 Well, when we talk of evening teas (or chai time- as locals like to call it), you should also assume that it is not going to be just about tea. Indians love snacking along with their teas and we have thousands of variations for snacks- sweet and savory, baked and fried. One thing that remains constant though, is the humble tea!

I think one of the reasons I love chai is the spices and aromatics that go in its making . The cardamom, ginger, cinnamon etc. steep in the water and infuse it with sweet-spicy notes. I like to add a little tea masala (made with powdered aromatics like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom etc.) to my cookies and cakes sometimes to infuse it with chai flavors and everyone loves the addition. Recently I made a breakfast chai spiced family style cinnamon roll which everyone loves to core. When I got my hands on Bhakti Chai, I knew without a doubt that I would be developing something fun with it. You can read all about Bhakti in my latest review 🙂

Bhakti Chai product review

As I sat in my patio, sipping on my pipping hot Bhakti chai the other day, the flavors took me back to good times in India and I started to think of my favorite tea snack – Jalebis . That really made me yearn for some hot jalebis (have not had one in many years now) and then another thought came to my mind – Why not re-create those memories with Bhakti?

Chocolate dipped spiced chai churros

Chai churros with white chocolate made using Bhakti chai

This recipe is my fusion take on the Indian Jalebis. Jalebis are traditionally fried fritters which are soaked in hot sugary and aromatic syrup. Today, I am making some churros which resembles Jalebis in looks but instead of soaking them, I am dipping them in white chocolate… because who can say no to chocolate, right? 😛

Chocolate dipped spiced Chai Churros

Chocolate dipped spiced chai churros

  • Servings: 6
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Chocolate dipped spiced chai churrosIngredients

  • 1 cup Bhakti chai concentrate (we used unsweetened but you can use any)
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar (adjust according to taste. If you are using a sweetened chai concentrate, you can skip sugar)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tablespoon Oil
  • pinch of cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • Oil for frying

For Garnishing

  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Method

  1. In a pan, heat the bhakti chai, sugar, salt, oil and bring to a boil.
  2. Next, add in the flour and whisk vigorously till it is combined well and no lumps are left. Let the mixture cool down.
  3. Using a pipping bag and star tip, pipe out the spirals onto a greased baking sheet and freeze it overnight.
  4. Once frozen, heat the oil and drop in the churro batter spirals. Fry till golden brown.
  5. Remove onto some paper towels and drain excess oil.
  6. Next, heat the white chocolate and coconut oil (using a double boiler method or in the microwave – If you are getting too impatient 😛 )
  7. Dip each churro half way and coat with white chocolate.
  8. Let the cool down in the refrigerator. Enjoy with Bhakti Chai!

Chocolate dipped spiced chai churros close up picture

These Churros are delicious to say the least! Not only does the Bhakti chai bring a unique aromatic and a slightly spicy kick to these, the chocolate dipping makes these churros irresistible. Try them out!! Me and my husband gobbled up some churros hot from the fryer but I made an extra batch (which I had to hide so that we don’t end up eating them all :P) to cool off so that I could refrigerate them after I dipped them in white chocolate. We enjoyed these the next day with some hot masala tea and it was just perfect. If you have not tried white chocolate with Indian chai masala, you are in for a big treat!

 

GIVEAWAY

 

I am sure you would love to make this recipe on your own and would love to try some Bhakti products as well. To get you addicted to some Bhakti, here is your chance to win some VIP Bhakti coupons. Enter below and try your luck. This giveaway runs between 1st May 2017 (12 am PST) to 5th May 2017 (12 am PST). Only open to US residents. Good Luck! Don’t forget to share this  giveaway with your friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How to cook with Tofu + Kung Pao Tofu recipe https://divinespicebox.com/2017/04/24/tofu-how-to-make-it-work-in-your-recipes/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/04/24/tofu-how-to-make-it-work-in-your-recipes/#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:55:15 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=11933 Tofu is one of the most loved “protein rich” ingredient for vegetarians/vegans all around. If there is one ingredient I … Continue Reading

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Tofu is one of the most loved “protein rich” ingredient for vegetarians/vegans all around. If there is one ingredient I always have in my refrigerator, its Tofu ! Why I love it? Well you can play with flavours all you want and Tofu just adapts to them. If you are one of those who find Tofu tasteless or boring, then you are either not using it to its potential or have had the company of some poor recipes. Well, today I am going to share some ways I make it work in my kitchen and give you some reasons to give it another go ! Also, there is a bonus recipe for Kung Pao Tofu which you are going to love !! Read on

Tofu, made from soybean curds, is naturally a gluten-free and low calorie ingredient which contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of proteins. It is believed that Tofu helps in reducing the risk of various lifetsyle related diseases.Not only that, this plant based product comes in various forms, making it a really versatile ingredient to work with. My personal fav is the firm tofu which I use in my soups, Indian curries, stir fries, noodles and what not.

kung pao tofu pic 1

So, let us get to the point now! I am sure there are many people out there who have been trying to get onto the tofu bandwagon for its benefits or to try and recreate their favorite vegan/vegetarian tofu take out dish at home but are not able to get it right! Though tofu handling may seem cumbersome to some, it is actually a rather simple ingredient which needs a little TLC before you can create magic with it in your kitchens. Here are my tips to make it work :

Press the Water out of Tofu before starting to cook with it . ALWAYS !!

Not pressing the tofu is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Not only does all the water need to get out of the tofu so flavor can get in, but pressing the tofu changes its texture dramatically. The tofu goes from soft and spongy to firm and dense. Once the tofu is pressed, it soaks up the marination/ spices/ flavours like a sponge and just blends in with anything it is cooked with. Pressing tofu can be a challenging task on its own but there are various products in the market now which can make your life really easy. Have you tried Tofuture?

This product is made using 3 containers. Just place the slab of tofu in the perforated box (middle layer) and press it down using the top box and the elastic band provided along to keep it in place and apply constant pressure! Just pop the box in your refrigerator and within a couple of hours, your tofu is ready to cook! I have been using this for a few weeks now and I am totally in love with how my Tofu turns out now 🙂 Give this a go!

MARINATE 

After the pressing comes the time to let your tofu sit in flavors and absorb the goodness. Make a mean- concentrated version of your favorite flavors and let time do its job on your slab of tofu. It is recommended to cut the tofu slab into desired pieces and then marinate to allow the marination to seep evenly throughout. Marination works great when you plan to use Tofu in stir fry dishes or on its own. If you are going to add it to curries, just make sure you make curry ahead of time so that the tofu gets to sit in the curry/gravy and soak up the flavors.

TOFU TREATMENT

If you like to use Tofu in place of Cottage cheese/ paneer in dishes, my suggestion is stir fry them on a good non stick skillet with some oil till it is crunchy on the sides. This makes for a crunchy exterior and a soft interior. Works great for Indian curry dishes or as a crouton over soups.

IF NOT SURE, FRY IT !

I usually buy the 1 pound packs of Tofu and if I am not using the whole quantity in one go, I just fry the left over batch. After you have pressed the tofu and cut into desired size, dip it in a flour+water mix or just coat with dried corn starch and fry them till crispy golden. Add in your pilafs or make a quick Chinese stir fry.

FREEZE FOR CHEWY TEXTURE

I am not a fan of chewy Tofu but if you prefer it over the softer texture, by all means, cut the pressed tofu and freeze by lining the tofu on a pre-grease baking sheet and keeping in the freezer till all the pieces are frozen. Then, simply, remove the frozen tofu pieces from the baking tray and putting them into a airtight bag (ziplock works great) and storing them in the freezer. Don’t forget to write the date on the bag to remember when you froze it. Keeps good for a few weeks to even a couple of months.

I really hope these tips help you love Tofu just as I do. I love to eat stir fry tofu and end up marinating mine almost always. There are really many ways to go when it comes to marination. You can choose the tamari/soy sauce route or go a salad dressing route (if you want to eat it raw or slightly toasted). Either way, it is amazing !

Now that your Tofu is prepped up and ready to be packed with flavors, how about making some KUNG PAO TOFU !! The original Kung Pao chicken recipe calls for lots of whole dried red chilies and peanuts but in this recipe, I have used peanut butter and sambal oelek to make sure Tofu soaks up all those flavors and keep the look of the dish clean and simple! Make ahead of time or whip up at a moment’s notice, this recipe never fails to impress all!!

Kung Pao Tofu with roasted garlic and scallions

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Print

Kung pao TofuIngredients

  • 1 pound of Firm Tofu, pressed and cut into desired length
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4th cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2-3 scallions, roughly chopped

For Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon light tamari
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For Sauce

  • 2 teaspoon light tamari
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar / lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1tsp corn starch

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and add the pressed tofu pieces to it. Mix gently to make sure tofu is well coated and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. For best results, let it soak for an 1 hour or overnight
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and keep it aside.
  3. Heat up the wok and add in 1 tablespoon oil. Now add the marinated pieces of Tofu and roast till golden brown on both sides. Once done, remove and keep aside.
  4. In the same wok, add in rest of the oil and heat up. Next, add in the roasted peanuts, ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute for a couple of seconds or till the garlic is light golden brown. Next, add in the sauce and mix well. Cook on medium high for a couple of seconds. The sauce will begin to thicken due to the cornstarch
  5. Finally, add in the roasted Tofu pieces along with the leftover marinade (taste the sauce before adding the marinade to make sure there is not excess salt in the dish). Mix everything together. As per need, you may add some water. Adjust spices.
  6. Serve warm over a bed of rice.

Need more ideas for Tofu? I have loads !! Check out some ideas below

10 must try TOFU recipes

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Vegan peanut sauce “Pad Thai” with spiralized carrots https://divinespicebox.com/2017/04/03/vegan-peanut-sauce-pad-thai-with-spiralized-carrots/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/04/03/vegan-peanut-sauce-pad-thai-with-spiralized-carrots/#comments Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:59:28 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12481 I have made Pad Thai umpteen times till now and every now and then, I like to do minor tweaks … Continue Reading

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I have made Pad Thai umpteen times till now and every now and then, I like to do minor tweaks to the original recipe. Today’s recipe has a sweet, spicy and tangy peanut sauce which amps up the flavor of the traditional Pad Thai and makes this the perfect meal to kick start the week. This is a vegan, homemade version of Pad Thai with Onions, Beans and Spiralized Carrots made with sweet- spicy peanut sauce. Most delicious Pad Thai ever! So, let us get cooking 🙂

I have been hoarding on Oriental sauces for as long as I have been cooking. Whenever I visit an Oriental grocery store, I head straight to the “sauces” aisle and end up picking up all sorts of vegetarian/ vegan sauces I can get my hands on. Would you believe that I have about 6 types of chili sauces and that I buy my Soy sauce by the liter? It is no surprise that many of my dishes feature Soy sauces and chili sauces. I think both of these sauces along with some sweetness (coming from Honey or Sugar) really works in harmony and I simply can’t get enough of it! I use that base sauce in my stir fries, Noodle dishes, Tofu dishes and what not.

Recently, I was gifted a Spiralizer and I am absolutely fascinated with my new machine! It turns vegetables into noodles and all of a sudden you have transformed your veggies into something awesome! I have tried zucchini noodles in recipes before and it turns out great 🙂 This time I thought of  making carrot noodles (or caroodles :P) and adding into my Pad Thai to sneak in a lot more vegetables in my noodles and it has worked really well in this recipe! Have a look for yourself … such vibrant food!

Peanut Sauce Pad Thai with Spiralized Carrots

Peanut Sauce Pad Thai with Spiralized Carrots

That is not all !! I am also making a fun sauce to add to this Pad Thai using my favorite ingredients – Peanut Butter and Tamarind. I have used peanut butter with tamarind many times before for stir fry and Thai curries and I am amazed by how well the two work together. I remember using Tamarind sauce instead of Lemon juice in Thai curry once  (I ran out of Lemons :P) and have never gone back. You have to try the pairing. The peanut-tamarind sauce I am using in this recipe is delicious on its own and you can totally use it as a dipping sauce for dumplings, noodles, spring rolls etc. Give it a go and you can thank me later lol.

Now, I am getting really hungry and I think before my tummy rumbles, let us dive into the recipe right away!!

Vegan Peanut Sauce Pad Thai with Spiralized Carrots

Vegan peanut sauce Pad Thai with spiralized carrots

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 100 gms Instant Dried Noodles
  • 1 cup French Beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small Red Onion, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, cut into jullienes
  • 2 cups Spiralized Carrot Noodles
  • 1 cup Shittake Mushrooms, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (black/white)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tablespoon brown cane sugar
  • Pinch of salt (adjust as per taste)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the Peanut sauce and keep aside.
  2. Cook the noodles to Al-dente using the instructions on back of the pack. Keep aside.
  3. Take a wok and add the oil and heat. Once hot, add in the ginger an garlic and saute for a couple of seconds to release the flavors in oil. Add in all the vegetables (except spiralized carrots) and saute for 3-4 minutes on high flame.
  4. When the vegetables are soft and cooked, add in the spiralized carrots and saute for another 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the peanut sauce and saute for a couple of seconds.
  6. Add in the cooked noodles and toss around to mix everything.
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds and roasted peanuts on top and serve immediately.

Vegan peanut sauce pad thai with spiralized carrots

Such a vibrant plate of Vegan Pad Thai

Now that is totally delicious! The tamarind peanut sauce brings the “umami” factor in this dish and makes “Pad Thai” extra special for me. I loved the addition of spiralized carrots in this dish and made it extra healthy! I ended up using only half the quantity of noodles I had initially planned and my family ended up enjoying more servings of vegetables with this dish. Total win win for all 🙂 Try it with your favorite vegetables and I am sure you would make it again and again 🙂

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Bhakti Chai – taste test and product review https://divinespicebox.com/2017/03/27/bhakti-chai-product-review/ https://divinespicebox.com/2017/03/27/bhakti-chai-product-review/#respond Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:15:42 +0000 https://divinespicebox.com/?p=12448 What is your go to morning beverage? The drink that awakens your senses and charges you to take on the … Continue Reading

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What is your go to morning beverage? The drink that awakens your senses and charges you to take on the day ? Mine has to be a big cup of  masala chai ! It is always a pleasure to be in the company of a spicy and aromatic chai. We all have seen the hot chai but have you tried iced chai before? We are discussing this and much more in this post. Today in our kitchen, we are reviewing a very interesting range of Chai by Bhakti and picking our favorites ! Sounds exciting right? So, let us get brewing !!

Born in an Indian family, I have grown up enjoying Masala chai and untill now, I am pretty sure I have had thousands of cups. I love to start my morning with it and it is now a part of my daily routine. Believe it or not, I have a whole pantry shelf dedicated to teas & have a personal collection of various teas- ranging from oolong, black to Herbal blends and Matcha tea! Each one of them unique, each delicious!

I recently got to know about this brand by the name Bhakti and the name itself got me nostalgic ! I moved out of India 4 years back and naturally anything remotely Indian makes me reminisce all the things I love back home. In Hindi (the official language of India), Bhakti means “Devotion” and it has a very strong significance in the Indian culture. To understand the reason behind this name for the brand, I went and checked out their website where I got to know about the founder’s inspiration behind the product line. In India, it is considered a welcoming gesture to offer Chai and snacks to your guests. It is interesting to see how the founder of the Bhakti brand, Brook Eddy, fell in love with the ritual of offering tea to guests and what started it all, the Indian tea!

Bhakti has a wide range of products under its belt. Not just Chai concentrates, they also have a very interesting range of sparkling teas and iced Chai including a cold brew coffee blend iced chai ! These are some of the products I grabbed for a taste test :

Bhakti Chai product range

Bhakti Chai’s wide range of products

One of the very first reaction was – wow ! What a range !! I got my hands on some of their sparkling teas, three of their iced chai variations and some concentrates. To start, I found the packaging design simple and elegant. The colors, the chakra logo and the mandala patterns – all adds up to make it look like an Indian inspired product. I Love it !!

Chai Concentrates

Bhakti chai concentrates

Bhakti Chai Concentrates

I was very eager to try out the products and check for authenticity. So, I quickly whipped up a batch of chai using their Original Chai concentrate and tried it out. Have to admit.. I loved it!! This concentrate has strong flavors of cardamom and freshly pressed ginger in it along with the black tea. Not only that, It is really as simple as adding the milk of your choice and boiling it! These concentrates comes in various flavors and some of them have the sugar added in which is perfect! All you need is some milk of your choice.

Verdict – The chai concentrates make some excellent chai and the taste is pretty much authentic. What I really like about this concentrate is that it has the rich extracts of ginger and cardamom which is a very “Indian way” of making tea and makes this product line stand out from the other chai beverages I have tasted . Personally I am not a big fan of cardamom, so it was a little too strong for me but my husband loved it!

Iced Chai

Bhakti Iced Chai

Bhakti Chai’s range of Iced Chai – Do not miss out on trying their Cold Brew Coffee Blend Iced Chai

Okay! Lets talk about the Iced Chai. Have you ever had any ? Well this was my first and I have to admit, it was something very new for me. I mean we all have had iced teas but Bhakti chai goes the extra mile with theirs. These vegan chais comes in many regular flavors but they also have a few interesting flavors like Toasted Coconut Almond chai and Cold Brew Coffee blend. I was able to find the coffee blend (which I was really excited about btw) and found the flavors really unique. I could have never imagined mixing the 2 flavors but to my surprise, they work well ! These bottles are great to “grab and go” and enjoy with lunch. Other flavors include – Original, Semi Sweet, Almond Milk and Decaf.

So, before we wrap up this review, let us talk about some Sparkling Teas

Sparkling Teas

Bhakti Sparkling Teas

Bhakti Chai Sparkling Tea range

Imagine a pop/ soda which is tea flavored(and much less sugar!) but also has more complex notes of citrus an fruits (sometimes berries)… thats how I would define these sparkling teas. When I tried them, I was sort of apprehensive, mostly because the names of these teas sent my brain mixed signals of what to expect inside. For instance, the “Mango Lime Matcha” (which is my favorite) made me remember the Indian drink Aam Panna (drink made with green mangoes, limes and sugar) which is usually served in summers to rehydrate the body . These flavors with a matcha tea infusion was a pleasant surprise and it instantly got my approval. Try this or one of their other flavors – Lemon Ginger black, Tart Cheery Rooibos and Mint Mate. If you get a chance, you must try these sparkling teas … they are a real delight!

Overall I love the products by Bhakti and I am really glad to see a product which has done justice to Indian Chai flavors in the true sense ! Thank u Bhakti Chai for these wonderful samples 🙂 I can’t wait to use some of them for a fun recipe… look out for that post!! It is going to be amazing 🙂  Check out their entire line of products here.

Peeps, I am sure all this chai talk is making you itch to try some on your own. So, why don’t you hop on to their website and have a look yourself? You can also check out their twitter and instagram page for some recipe ideas!

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