Snack Recipes

View All | View Summaries
Dragon Fruit Salad Recipe

Dragon Fruit Salad

04.27.10 by Jackie

Dragon fruit (trái thanh long in Vietnamese) is an exotic fruit that has a very unusual appearance. The outer skin has a fuchsia color with green leaves and the flesh is white with seeds that are reminiscent of kiwi. The texture of dragon fruit is creamy and it has a subtle aroma of banana and ripe, soft pear. When fully ripened, the skin peels off as it would from an avocado.

I made a very simple fruit salad, using the Vietnamese Jaina dragon fruit variety, spearmint from our garden and agave nectar. The agave enhances the sweetness, and the mint lends a nice contrast of color and flavor. I served the fruit salad during a dinner party. Everyone was intrigued by the fruit, so it did double duty as a conversation starter.

If you ever travel to an Asian country, don't forget to ask for dragon fruit or pitaya. The last time I had dragon fruit was on my trip to Vietnam. I had no idea that this particular tropical fruit was cultivated in America. A couple of weeks ago I found it in an Asian market in San Jose. The salesperson told me dragon fruits are now grown in Florida, due to its humid and warm weather, which is similar to Vietnam. Quite honestly, the ones grown in the US are good but the ones in Vietnam are just exquisite and so much more flavorful. No sweetener necessary!

Dragon Fruit Picture


Full Recipe...
Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe Recipe

A strawberry banana smoothie is perfect when you need breakfast on the go. I whip up the drink with frozen strawberries and a banana whenever Lulu is running late. Strawberries aren't quite in season yet, so frozen is your best bet. When you can get them fresh, this drink is even more delicious.

Besides being a vegetarian, Lulu is also lactose-intolerant, so it's a challenge to make him calcium-rich food. I used almond milk and yogurt to deliver calcium without adding too much lactose. I also added a scoop of whey protein to fortify the drink with a little protein. I placed the smoothie in a cup that I sealed with a lid and added a straw.

Lulu left for work with a strawberry banana smoothie in his hand and a kiss on his cheek. I think that's a pretty good way to start the day!


Full Recipe...
Masala Vada Recipe (Indian Urad Dal Fritters) Recipe

Nobody can say no to fried food. These vada (Indian-style fritters) are no exception. The dish is fairly easy to make; all you need to do is soak the lentils long enough before blending them into a mixture slightly thicker than pancake batter. The batter is made of urad dal and mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), deep-fried, then served with a cilantro chutney. 

We often make large batches of vada on the weekend. The girls and I take turns manning the fry station and preparing more chutney. Frying can be a little scary for kids learning to cook, and I've found that this recipe is a good way of easing them into it. I wouldn't recommend it for small children of course, but my 13 and 14 year old sisters-in-law have really taken to it. Once you try the combination of vada and cilantro chutney for the first time, you'll know why!


Full Recipe...
California Sushi Rolls Recipe

California Sushi Rolls

02.24.10 by Jackie

Making sushi is a lot easier that it seems. The real key to well-presented sushi is having good utensils, such as a sushi mat and a sharp knife. Each ingredient can be prepped in advance and assembled when you're ready to serve, and when you make it at home, it's a fraction of the cost!

Though there are many wonderful forms of traditional makizushi, or rolled sushi, feel free to experiment with the ingredients you have on hand. I got my inspiration for the sushi pictured above from ingredients native to California; I used Hass avocados, goat cheese and baby Persian cucumbers. I wrapped these ingredients in the traditional combination of nori sheets and Japanese rice.

In standard California roll fashion, the rice is on the outside of the nori. If you've ever wondered why this is the case, the story goes that Japanese immigrants who came to the US turned the sushi inside out to hide the nori from culinarily unadventurous Americans. I don't know if that's true, but it's the story a sushi chef told me once. It certainly is a great tale!

I served the sushi rolls with wasabi paste, homemade pickled ginger and soy sauce. It may seem daunting, but a sushi dinner is really as easy as 1-2-3.


Full Recipe...
Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


Full Recipe...