Recipe Thursdays: Thai Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing

With summer almost in full swing, mangoes are taking over the stands in fruit shops, grocery stores and supermarkets. Delicious when eaten just by itself, mangoes also make for a very versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of savoury dishes, from fish curry to salads. Salads are a great way to keep the body cool during the sweltering summer. Here’s a simple, mango salad in a delicious Thai peanut dressing that you can experiment with this mango season makes a great appetizer and even better main.

Thai Mango Salad

Ingredients For the Mango Salad:

1 small-sized head of lettuce. You can replace the lettuce with any leafy greens of your choice.

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into long strips.

3 ripe mangoes (you can use any kind), diced into small cubes

½ cup sliced onions

¼ cup cilantro

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Pickled jalapenos as per your spice tolerance

For the peanut dressing

¼ peanut butter, the creamy kind

¼ lime juice or juice from 2-3 medium-sized lemons

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 pinch of red chilly flakes (if you like your food spicy)

Peanut dressing

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients for the mango salad in a large salad bowl and mix thoroughly.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and whisk until its mixed thoroughly.

Drizzle a generous amount of the peanut dressing over the mixed the salad and toss it gently to mix. Voila, delicious Thai mango-peanut salad is ready for consumption!

You can add some grilled prawns or fish to give this salad your own twist. Happy cooking!

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream

There’s nothing like a scoop of delicious ice cream on a hot, summer day. Even better if it’s homemade. However, most of us don’t attempt making ice cream at home as the process requires an ice cream maker. But, what if you could make homemade ice cream this weekend without the use of an ice cream maker? Here’s a simple recipe to make smooth, creamy ice cream in just four steps.

Homemade ice cream

What you need:

Process of making homemade icecream2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons of melted butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

The process…
  • Whip heavy cream in a bowl until it starts forming stiff peaks.
  • Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, butter, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl until it’s mixed thoroughly
  • Fold the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream.
  • Transfer the ice cream mixture into an airtight container and freeze for 6 hours or until the mixture becomes firm.

Cinnamon ice cream

That’s it. Delicious, homemade cinnamon-vanilla ice cream is ready for consumption!

5 Delicious Watermelon Recipes to Try at Home

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of watermelon. Apart from being a delicious low-calorie diet, the fruit also packs antioxidants and electrolytes that play a vital role in keeping your body cool in this hot, humid weather.

Here are five ways you can use this water-rich fruit to the fullest this summer:

Frozen watermelon ice cubes

Watermelon

If you enjoy the fruit-infused water, then this one is a sure shot winner! Cut watermelon into small chunks and pop them in the freezer. You can use the frozen chunks in place of ice cubes to keep your drink cold and release that subtle, sweet delicious flavour we all love!

Dip it in dark chocolate and season with sea salt

Health Tips

Cut watermelons into big chunks and pat dry them well. Dip the dried watermelon chunks in dark chocolate and sprinkle sea salt on them before putting them in the fridge to set. This one is a definite must-try.

Drink it!

Watermelon Juice

A simple watermelon and mint agua fresca are just what you need to cool down this summer. Juice a mix of watermelon chunks, mint and maple syrup to enjoy the most easy-to-make, refreshing drink. You can also this mix to prepare cocktails on a Saturday night.

Make a salad

Salad

Very few things are as refreshing as a salad in this sweltering summer heat. Cut the watermelon into small cubes and toss it with some cucumber and feta cheese for the perfect balance of sweet and salty. You can experiment with other combinations of vegetables and fruits as well.

Cold soups

Cold soups

It can’t get much simpler than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and transferring into a bowl, ready for consumption. A watermelon gazpacho requires minimal prepping and makes a lip-smacking appetizer. You can find the recipe here.

What are your favourite ways to consume watermelons this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

 

6 Body Cooling Foods to Beat the Heat This Summer

Summer can leave us dehydrated and feel deprived of energy. With the mercury levels soaring higher each day, it is important that we find ways to overcome the impact summer has on our bodies. Keeping your body heat in check can help prevent ailments such as stomach ulcers, rashes and boils on the skin, heat cramps, acidity and heartburn and excessive perspiration, among others. Incorporating body cooling foods in daily meal plans will not only balance our diets but also helps keep the body cool. Listed below are some cooling foods that can be included in our diet to fight the effects the sweltering weather has on our bodies:

Watermelon

Body cooling foods

Watermelon, a seasonal summer fruit, is 91.5% water. It’s a great way of fulfilling your body’s water requirement. The fruit also packs plenty of anti-oxidants. Make some freshly squeezed juice, fruit salads and chaats or just enjoy it by itself to keep your body well hydrated.

Coconut water

Coconut water

There is no better summer drink than coconut water. Available in abundance, this not-so-expensive drink is loaded with electrolytes, essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. Drinking coconut water regularly helps fight the hot weather and its negative impacts our bodies. Recent studies have also established that coconut water has cancer-fighting properties. Even more reasons to drink coconut water this summer!

Cucumber

cucumber

Rich in fibre, eating cucumber during the summer can work wonders in keeping any constipation troubles at bay. Use this water-rich vegetable in your salads or just eat them as a snack to stay as cool as a cucumber.

Curd/Yoghurt

Curd

Apart from being delicious, curd/yoghurt is a great coolant and has probiotic properties. It is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen that can be used to prepare an array of dishes, both sweet and savoury. You can use curd to make spiced buttermilk, raita or sweet lassi. You can also add seasonal fruits to it and make a lip-smacking smoothie.

Mint

Mint

Mint is a cheap, easily available herb that you can find in most vegetable stores and markets. Adding mint in water, chai or curd is great for overall health. You can also use this herb to prepare mint chutneys and dips which make a great accompaniment to snacks. Including mint in your diet is a great way to stay cool and refreshed.

Onions

Onions

Who would have thought onions have cooling properties, right? Red onions especially are loaded with quercertin, a natural anti-allergen. Ranging from mild to pungent, the taste of raw onions may not appeal to everyone. You can chop them up and mix it with other vegetables to make salads. Yet another way to eat onions is to add it to your curries and raita. Adding onions to your food also helps protect you from sun strokes.

Apart from what’s mentioned above, you can also include loads of fruits and vegetables, especially the green leafy kind, in your diet to stay cool and healthy. What are your favourite foods to eat during summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Get to Know the Women Who Drive Masala Box

The growth of Masala Box over the past few years is attributable to its primary driving force, our amazingly talented home chefs! They have consistently assisted us in our efforts to make delicious, homemade food available at your doorstep by sharing their knowledge, skill and time and whipping up delectable dishes. On the occasion of Women’s Day, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate all the strong women who strive hard in their home kitchens and help us fulfil our goal of delivering homemade meals to hungry customers spread across two cities.

We caught up some of our home chefs and chatted about cooking, food, and of course, what Masala Box is to them.
Usha Moorthy, specializes in South Indian dishes, Bangalore

“After moving back to Bangalore for my son’s education, I wanted to spend more time with my family and decided not to continue with a full-time job. I was looking for a work-from-home job with flexible hours when I came across Masala Box on Facebook. Partnering with Masala Box has been like a dream come true for me, especially because I have always enjoyed cooking for other people. Through this partnership, I’m able to do just that and also learn how to cook new dishes in the process. It is a great feeling when people get to know me through the food I cook. Working with Masala Box is more than just an income source, it makes me feel independent and helps me overcome boredom and loneliness.”

 

Nisha Kattikaran, our Malayali cuisine expert, Kochi

“For me, Masala Box has been the perfect platform to exhibit my skills, talents and interests in cooking. My partnership with Masala Box has been comfortable, convenient and long mainly because of their efficient, organised working system. The highlight is the compatibility, I have the freedom to work based on my convenience and also choose dishes that I specialize in. Over the years, Masala Box has served as a platform for me to do a business of my own and make an earning. I’m not only happy but also proud to be associated with Masala Box as a chef.”

 

Nasrath, a Kochi-based home chef, is one of the stars behind our tasty Malabari delicacies

“I have always been passionate about cooking, it gives me a certain joy when I’m cooking for people. I enjoy the process of trying out new recipes and coming up with some of my own, it is my approach to staying stress-free. Joining Masala Box as a chef gave me the opportunity to prepare a variety of dishes in my very own kitchen and share it with people who love homemade food as much as me! I have become more confident through my partnership with Masala Box as the process involves planning, purchases and cooking at a fast pace. The Masala Box team are a bunch of sincere and dedicated people, occasionally convincing me to make more quantity to meet the high demand. Over the short time that I have been a Masala Box chef partner, they have become an extension of my kitchen, constantly communicating  with me and giving feedback.”

 

A Masala Box chef since 2014, Kinnari cooks up delicious North Indian food. Her signature cooking style is Gujarati cuisine

“I first heard of Masala Box through a newspaper ad –  a platform that provided opportunities to housewives like me to bring out their creative and entrepreneurial skills. Formerly, cooking was a passion that only my friends and family knew about. Ever since I joined Masala Box, I have been able to extend my passion into an exciting and fulfilling line of work. I have even learnt a thing or two about cooking over the course of these years.”

 

Gurpreet Kaur, specialises in Punjabi cuisine, Bangalore

“I came across Masala Box when I was searching for employment opportunities as a home chef on the Internet. Being a homemaker, you cook on an everyday basis. By partnering with Masala Box, we are able to turn an everyday routine into a means of income. We also get to learn some entrepreneurship from a food operations perspective. This partnership with Masala Box has been great, I feel proud of how I am able to serve home-cooked food to customers who are far from their family. It’s a wonderful experience.”

 

Gitima, Specialises in Assamese Food, Bangalore

 “I used to work as an HR for eight and a half years before I got married and moved to Bangalore in 2016. Since then, I haven’t been working full-time as there were family emergencies which were stalling my search for a job. Living in a city like Bangalore as a single income family can get difficult. I was dependant on my husband for almost everything. I was researching on how I could make cooking – my passion, a source of income when I came across Masala Box. After partnering with Masala Box, I have been able to earn my own income which makes me feel independent and self-sustained. The flexibility of the job gives me plenty of time to finish all my household tasks, spend with my family, and most importantly, tend to my health when I’m sick.”

 

Kalpana, Rajasthani cuisine expert, Bangalore

“I found out about Masala Box on Facebook. It’s been three months since I started my partnership with them and it’s been a great experience so far. I like how cooperative and helpful the team are, I’m able to choose my own working days and cook based on my convenience. Since I began my partnership, I also have had a steady source of income. It makes me feel great to be earning by cooking for people who live away from their families and crave homemade food.”

In our quest to feed fresh, home-cooked food to hungry customers, we’ve been trying to do our part in empowering the most underutilized asset of our nation – homemakers. We hope to inspire more of you to pursue your dreams and achieve the impossible.

Happy Women’s Day!

 

Simplify Cooking with These Easy Kitchen Hacks

Simple kitchen hacks can a long way. When used effectively, they help simplify quite a few otherwise tedious tasks. Listed below are some tips and tricks that can turn you into a kitchen expert from an experimenting maverick!

Kitchen Hacks

  1.    Add a slice of bread while cooking cabbage to get rid of the smell.
  2.    Microwave lemons for a minute or place them in hot water for 20 minutes to extract maximum juice from them.
  3.    Place boiled potatoes in cold water to make the skin removal process easier.
  4.    Wash salad greens (leafy vegetables) in cold water to make them retain their crunchiness.
  5.    Add a pinch of sugar when you sauté spices for curries. This will make the vegetables look richer.
  6.    Shake eggs vigorously before boiling to make them look more yellow from the outside.
  7.    Placing a long spoon on top of the vessel while boiling milk or water will prevent the content from spilling over.
  8.    Slice both ends of cucumber, apply a pinch of salt on either side and rub with the chopped head till the ends get slightly frothy. This is supposed to do away with the bitterness of the vegetable.
  9.    Adding semolina or rice flakes to pakoras make them crunchier.
  10.  Rub your hands against a stainless steel vessel or against a steel sink to remove the smell of onions and garlic.
  11.   You can check the freshness of eggs by placing them in a bowl of water. The good ones sink and the bad ones float.
  12.  Stick a slice of bread to cut area of a cake (you can use toothpicks) to prevent it from getting stale.