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Flaky Scallion Pancake Recipe

asulia blog flaky scallion pancake recipe 1
asulia blog flakey scallion pancake recipe 2
asulia blog flakey scallion pancake recipe 3
Scallion pancakes are delicious and simple to make at home. I tried a few different recipes online that called for oil to laminate the dough like sesame, but it didn’t result in the flaky layers I was hoping for. Most recipes also didn’t include salt in the dough or baking powder. Instead of using sugar for the sauce, I use balsamic vinegar, which is already sweet and has that tangy element.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly pour in the hot water until combined and kneed for about 5 minutes to form a ball. You can use a food processor, stand mixer with a dough hook, or a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon will do! Set aside for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 1/5 inch thick. Brush melted butter on the dough and roll into a sponge cake. Then twist the dough like a snail and set aside for 15 minutes.

While you’re letting the dough rest, wash and chop the scallions. I find that finely chopping the scallions, then pulsing them in a food processor is best. The dough is delicate so you want to make sure the pieces won’t ripe the dough.

Once your dough has rested, roll it out again and spread the scallions on top. With your rolling pin, roll over the dough with scallions. Cut into desired size. Oil a medium sized pan on moderate heat to cook your pancakes.

If you have leftover dough, cut and layer with wax paper to place in the freezer in a resealable bag. Scallion pancakes make great appetizers and also breading for sandwiches! If you’re vegan, you can use vegetable shortening or margarine instead of butter.

Yields 10 servings

4 cups flour
2 cups boiling hot water
2tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
3 cups scallions finely chopped
3Tsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup of soy sauce
2Tsp sesame oil
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
3Tsp of chopped scallions

Banana Coconut Bread

asulia blog banana coconut bread

We’ve been living the snow globe life in New England. The Boston blizzards of 2015 dumped snow everywhere! I’ve been coping by catching up on my baking and cooking. It keeps the house smelling homey and warm.

I love banana bread. The depth and intensity of banana and coconut flavor in this quick bread is always comforting and feels like home. I especially love a piece of banana bread lightly grilled on a skillet with a spat of butter. Yum!

The key is having super ripe bananas and not over mixing the batter. I leave bananas out to ripen in my kitchen until they turn black and then hoard them in freeze until there’s enough to work with. Weigh out key ingredients. Use the right sized pan. If you don’t, the baking time will change. This is especially important when baking breads with yeast, which impacts the rise. Even without yeast, you can see in the photo above the difference in texture in using the right pan versus using a slightly bigger pan. 

You can use an egg substitute and margarine if you’re trying to avoid eggs and dairy. If you like nuts, add in 1 cup of toasted walnuts, macadamia, or your favorite in with the dry ingredients.

Banana coconut bread
Yields two 8-inch loaves

4 ¼ cups, 22.5 oz all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar in the raw
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
6 large ripe bananas, mashed (3 cups)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut(toasted)
1/2 cup coconut milk with cream
4 large eggs at room temperature
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 sticks, 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Grease two 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pans with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, raw sugar, flaxseed, almond meal, shredded coconut, baking soda, and salt together. In another large bowl, whisk mashed bananas, zucchini, melted butter, eggs, coconut milk with cream, and vanilla together until well mixed. Carefully fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients in the first large bowl until just combined.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for about 55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs when inserted into the middle of each loaf. Cool before serving. Enjoy!

5 Ways to Use Turmeric for Better Health

Photo credit: Guilt free food guide

Photo credit: Guilt free food guide

What looks like ginger, has a slightly citrusy smell and earthy taste, and gives Indian curries and our favorite bottled mustards their vibrant gold coloring? If you guessed turmeric, you are correct!

Often referred to as the “Golden Spice of Life” and “Poor Man’s Saffron”, turmeric is native to southeast India and has been used in the region for thousands of years for its culinary, medicinal, and coloring properties. The rhizomes (underground stems of a plant) of the turmeric plant look like the fresh knobs of ginger you’d find in the market. The ground turmeric we are used to finding in our spice racks is made by boiling, drying, then grinding the rhizomes into a powder, but turmeric is also available in its fresh root form and also as a whole dried root that you can grind yourself. Fresh turmeric has a more vibrant flavor than its dry counterpart, so it’s especially well-suited to sautés and smoothies, whereas dried turmeric is better for lending color and subtle flavor to roasted vegetables and dishes like rice pilaf.

If you only dig out your jar of turmeric for the occasional curry dish, you’re missing out. You have a jar of untapped potential languishing away among your cupboard’s odds-and-ends.

Alongside adding depth of flavor to your soups and braises, the spice has powerful medicinal qualities that have gained attention in recent years. Studies have shown that turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and its main active ingredient, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric can aid digestion, boost memory, help you sleep, and even help treat (and possibly prevent) arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

While research is still being done on its medical potential, turmeric also has a variety of tasty and unexpected uses beyond adding a touch of color:

  1. Try including turmeric powder into your beauty regimen. Its antiseptic properties can be used to treat burns. You can also mix it with besan (gram flour) and water to create an exfoliator.
  2. Blend it into a smoothie — its slight bitterness will be masked by the other ingredients.
  3. Brew it! Simmer turmeric with milk (or your dairy substitute of choice) and honey for a comforting beverage when you’re feeling under the weather. We love making this turmeric milk at night.
  4. Pickle it for a unique side dish–preserved with lemon and salt, it’s crunchy, tangy, and has a bit of a kick to it.
  5. If you want to focus on curcumin’s full effects, invest in a bottle of turmeric extract. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, but studies have shown that consuming it with black pepper enhances absorption.

The next time you restock your spice rack, consider giving that jar of turmeric an eye-level shelf upgrade. With its rich history in cooking and traditional medicine, it’s about time we put turmeric to good use.

Drink your way to healthy and lean

asulia blog drink your way to healthy and lean

A Simple Detox

You know that sluggish, gross feeling you get when you eat foods that you know are not good for you? I’ve been feeling it recently, even though I’m obsessed with vegetables and eating healthy. I’m constantly running around between events and sometimes find it  hard to eat well. I love all kinds of food and I work in the food world, so it’s hard for me to say no when I’m short on time and there’s food front and center. Especially if it’s free and already ready to eat!

When I feel like this, I know it’s time to clean it up. How am I doing that, you ask? Lemon and apple cider vinegar water. I start my morning with fresh juiced lemon water. I love switching between this and apple cider vinegar water. The taste took me some time to get used to, but now I miss it when I don’t  have it. After you consistently do this for 1-2 weeks, you’ll notice that you’ll feel better, your skin will glow and your appetite is suppressed. I love it so much, I try to drink lemon and apple cider vinegar water everyday now.

While both lemons and apple cider are acidic, they actually help to balance the PH levels in your body. The more alkaline your body is, the more readily it can absorb nutrients, process what we eat and flush out the not so good things. I also have acid reflux and ever since I started my lemon and apple cider vinegar regime, I haven’t any flare ups. This can also help you shed unwanted pounds along with other amazing benefits. I’ve been doing this for the last few weeks, and my fellow startup friends I see regularly at MassChallenge have noticed I look slimmer and my clothes are telling me the same!

I’m bootstrapping a startup. In addition to being simple, this is also economical and budget-friendly. Save money on fancy detox plans and prepackaged juice cleanses and get yourself some lemons and a bottle of  Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, which still has the mother in it. Make sure to gentle shake the bottle before you use it though!


  • Apple cider vinegar: Use cold or room temp water with 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Or take a swig straight up without diluting it with water. Just don’t use hot water. The heat will eliminate all the live natural properties of the apple cider vinegar.
  • Lemons: Use a regular lemon or Meyer lemon for a little natural sweetness. Use hot, cold or warm water. I use about ¼ to ½  a lemon for each drink.
  • Keep lemons and a bottle of Bragg’s apple cider at work with you for a quick refresher during the day.
  • Fill up bottles ahead of time and stash them in your fridge so you can grab and go in the morning.

Happy detoxing friends! Stay tuned for more healthy living posts to come.


Quick Breakfast Smoothies

Asulia blog quick breakfast smoothies

Photo Sarah Britton

Chances are your mornings are rushed like mine. Whether it’s not remembering if I’ve already shampooed my hair, stuffing last night’s leftovers into a mason jar, or frantically making coffee, there never seems to be enough time in the morning!

If you didn’t start your overnight steel-cut oatmeal  last night (I know I didn’t), you could try something that’s faster to prepare: a breakfast smoothie! Super nutritious, ridiculously easy, surprisingly filling, and requires only two things: a blender and a container you love – I like a glass mason jar.

All smoothies more or less follow the same basic formula (adapted).  You need liquid (i.e. water, juice, almond milk), a textured ‘base’ (i.e. banana, avocado, peanut butter), fruits and/or veggies (fresh or frozen), and extras (spices, oils, grains, sweetener).

Here are some smoothies we love!

Banana Avocado Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

If you don’t have time to use a blender, mash the avocado and banana in a mason jar. You can also add in flaxseed, nuts or differnt seed butters, chia seeds or other.

Banana Bread Super Foods Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa or buckwheat
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnuts or hemp seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cold-pressed flax oil
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • flesh from 1 vanilla bean or ½ teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • extra walnuts and ground cinnamon for topping

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking. Pour into a mason jar and top with additional walnuts and ground cinnamon.

Mojito Smoothie

  • 1 ½ cups nut milk or coconut water
  • 3 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
  • ½-1 tsp. spirulina (whatever you can handle)
  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • handful fresh mint leaves (20-25 leaves)

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

Avocado Kale Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup blueberry soy yogurt
  • 1 cup kale (or spinach) leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

Sue’s Kale-full Smoothie

  • 1 cup packed, chopped kale
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 wedge of lemon
  • 1/2  an apple
  • 1 scoop of original vega or pea protein
  • 1/4 cup mango juice or berries
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed

Jack of all fruit

What’s the largest tree fruit in the world, grows on branches and trucks, and can weigh up to 100 pounds? Jackfruit! Falling coconut danger seems to be of little hazard compared to these giant fruits that could drop. I better wear a helmet if I ever visit this fruit tree in person. Then again I might be safer learning about the fruit from the international jackfruit symposium, which really it does exist!

Jackfruits are healthy and nutrient-dense. It’s high in protein, potassium and vitamin B. At about 95 calories for a half cup, it’s a great alternative for anyone looking to eat less meat or eliminate it from their meals. People in India have been eating jackfruit for many years as a meat replacement. I’m always looking for new vegan sources of protein.

asulia blog jack of all fruit 2

When ripe, the fruit by itself tastes like a combination of juicy pineapple, mango, and banana flavors. After jackfruit is cooked, the texture is slightly chewy and reminiscent of mushrooms depending on how long you cook it.

asulia blog jack of all fruit 1

Smoky BBQ Pulled Jack Recipe
Makes 5-6 servings

  • 4 cups jackfruit, 0.79 lbs
  • 3 ½ cups water or no salt added vegetable stock
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp dried garlic powder
  • 1 small julienned sweet onion
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • 1 dry chipotle chilli pepper
  • 1 dry ancho chilli pepper
  • 1 dry puya chili pepper

Now, before we start talking about how to cook it, shut the doors to the other rooms in your house! It’s gonna smell amazing, but unless you want your casa to smell like a pepper processing plant, remember to contain the aromas.

Ok, now place all the ingredients in a rice cooker and set it to cook. If you have an old fashioned model like I do, set your timer for 45 minutes. Depending on your rice cooker, you’re looking for the liquid to reduce down to a sauce like consistency. You can also place the ingredients in a large pan, bring to a boil then simmer for about 45-55 minutes. Once it’s done, make sure to take the stems of the peppers out before serving. You can make sandwiches, wraps, tacos, or top it on rice or quinoa. So many options!

asulia blog jack of all fruit 3

I always love trying new and interesting fruits and veggies. The next fruit I’d like to work with is breadfruit. Yes, fruit that tastes like bread! What a dream come true huh?

Quick Cooking with Your Rice Cooker

As much as I love cooking, it takes time to prep and cook. Sometimes, I just need a meal that doesn’t require much work. One of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen is my rice cooker!  I just turn it on and go back to doing other things. It’s also versatile – I use it to cook more things than just rice, like oatmeal rice! Often overlooked, the rice cooker needs more love.

This recipe takes some time to cook, but prep work is super fast and easy. Just throw all the ingredients into your rice cooker, push the button and walk away! The result is a high protein vegan dish that’s creamy and reminiscent of a risotto in some ways.

Getting enough protein in with a plant-based, a.k.a. vegan lifestyle, can be a concern if you’re going veggie. Chia, flax seed, spinach, mushroom, and beans are some of the top whole foods that contain high levels of protein. One of the great things about plants is that they are more easily digested compared to meat, and this allows your body to absorb nutrients more readily. Getting your protein in when you’re eating a plant-based diet isn’t hard if you plan it out just a little bit with dishes like this one.

Creamy Oatmeal Kale Rice

  • 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 5 ½ cups water
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 15 oz can of low-fat refried beans or crushed black beans
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup of frozen kale

Place all the ingredients in a rice cook and press the start button. If you have a one button push rice cooker like I do, you’ll need to let it run twice. After the first round, let the cooker cool down and then push the on button again. If you have a rice cooker with a timer, about an hour and 15 minutes should do the trick.

Makes approximately 4-5 servings. You can use fresh kale if you’d like, but use 2 cups instead since fresh isn’t as compact as the frozen kind.

We know it’s best to soak your own beans, but don’t feel guilty about using canned black beans, I do that all the time. They’re a real time saver. Regardless, be sure to mash the beans a bit before you add them. It’s what helps to give this dish a nice creamy texture.

Turmeric and Sleep

Turmeric almond milk

Turmeric almond milk

If you have trouble sleeping like I do, consider incorporating turmeric in your life. I work long hours and also have inflammation, which has lead me to find alternative ways to naturally take care of myself. I’ve known about this bright yellow root for some time now, but have just recently been eating this root on a consistent basis. Turmeric contains curcumin, which aids in inflammation, controls diabetes, improves digestion, detoxifies your liver, boosts your immune system and much more.

Despite long days, I find myself staying up late doing non-work related reading even though I know the best thing to do is just go to sleep. This cycle continues until I crash inevitability one evening from exhaustion. I’m also an early riser. My version of sleeping in is 8am if I’m lucky. Studies show that not getting enough sleep is detrimental to our health. It can alter our mood, immune system, increase our risk of diabetes and obesity just to name a few side effects.

I use turmeric at least once a day, sometimes twice. I definitely notice that I sleep better when I’m using it regularly. In the morning, I drink a hot meyer lemon and turmeric tea.

Meyer Lemon and Turmeric Tea
1/2 inch slice of meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups of hot water

Once in a while, I’ll also add in 1 tablespoon of fresh crushed ginger too. I use a wide blade knife to flatten the ginger. You can add a sweetener if you’d like (turmeric is a little bitter), but I drink it as is.

In the evening, a warm cup of golden yellow turmeric milk is soothing and helps me sleep soundly through the night.

Turmeric Milk
2 cups almond milk
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp raw honey or sweetener of your choice

In a small pot, bring almond milk to a boil, turn off the heat and whisk in turmeric, cardamom and raw honey. Sometimes I like adding 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla. You can substitute the milk of your choice and adjust the amount and type of sweetener used such as agave, stevia, raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple etc.

It’s both calming and anti-inflammatory. I’d love to hear what you think about turmeric.