February 3, 20141 comment
January 15, 2014No comments
Its been quite long since I came here. I should rather not discuss those absolutely silly excuses of not coming here and writing about the one aspect in my life that I truly love :(!
I have been wanting to share this, tip or recipe or whatever we may call, with my friends who have small kids and wonder how to inculcate healthy eating habits in them. Roasted Fox nut (Makhana) is one such amazing alternative that takes hardly two minutes to prepare and kids just love it. The wonder food that I feel would work for some of the kids like mine is steamed french beans. Especially with toddlers like mine who feel eating is a waste of time and they should rather utilize that time in playing. I just keep a bowl full of whole steamed french beans in front of her and she just keeps picking and munching them every now and then without any disturbance in her play time. Added benefit is that at lunch time I am not stressed out if she is not eating much of vegetable with chapatti.
I don’t have a steamer but I use a sieve and a container to steam french beans. I started this without knowing much about the nutritional benefits of this wonder vegetable but when got into the details of it, I was so happy with myself :)!
Now, not even Sarah but even we adults at home have started having it as a snack.
As in traditional North Indian method of cooking, I have been used to having french beans as a side dish with chapatti or in tit bits with poha or upma or Pulao. Mostly in all these versions the vegetable is over cooked and looses most of its valuable nutrients.
Here are some extracts on the best possible ways of cooking french beans from Whfoods.com
“Green beans require minimal cooking
Don’t let the strong outside shell of a green bean fool you. Very little cooking is required to make a green bean completely tender and ready for eating. When placed in a steamer basket and steamed, no more than 3-7 minutes are usually required to obtain the perfect result!(with me, it takes 10 minutes as Sarah likes them soft)
Short term cooking can best retain green beans’ nutrients — focus on vitamin C and vitamin B6
When green beans are cooked for significantly longer periods of time, the loss of nutrients is dramatic. Even one extra minute’s worth of steaming can leech additional vitamins from the green beans! Up to one half of the vitamin C and 40% of the vitamin B6 can be lost when green beans are overcooked.
Effect of cooking on fiber
Much of the stringiness evident in the texture of green beans comes from their high fiber content, notably from their cellulose and hemicellulose content. Luckily, although this fiber content decreases slightly with any amount of steaming, the decrease is not significant. Therefore, by steaming your green beans for a few minutes you can still enjoy the benefit of this important nutrient.
Cover the pot to maximize nutrients
Since some of the nutrients found in green beans are particularly sensitive to light, covering the pot when you are steaming them is another way to reduce nutrient losses while cooking. One of these nutrients is riboflavin (vitamin B2) and studies have shown that prolonged exposure to light is a critical factor in the loss of riboflavin during cooking.
Cooking and color change
As with most vegetables, color changes that occur in green beans during cooking provide clues about nutrient loss. After 3-4 minutes of steaming, the green beans should start to take on a more vibrant green hue. After 9-10 minutes, you’ll start to notice a drop in the intensity of color. After 15 minutes, you should arrive at a more gray-green shade that is the green bean’s way of confirming major nutrient loss. Our advice: stop when the beans take on their most vibrant shade of green, provided they are still tender enough to enjoy.
To maximize the content of the nutrients of which green beans are concentrated, quickly steam them until they have reached their most vibrant shade of green (3-7 minutes will usually do the trick). Cover the pot or pan whenever possible. Cooking them this way will help you to enjoy green beans that are not only exquisite in color, taste and texture but ones that have also retained much of their nutrient content.”
I simply add some lemon juice, rock salt and black pepper before serving it. However, for adults who are more spice savvy, another alteration to this snack is spicy steamed vegetable snack that I shared some time back.Tweet
December 15, 2012Comments: 6
Oh finally I could break this silence and come back in this space that is so close to my heart! Its been two long months and trust me, every day I have been grouching myself for not writing anything here. Sometimes it happens, we are not so busy but still are not able to find enough time. It is more of a mental block than anything else and I was so badly stuck because of this. Tried some garlic rolls and brownies but they did not come out so great that they would bring me out of this quite mode.
Finally yesterday I tried these muffins and they are the best from my oven till date! Whole wheat, orange juice, flax seeds, walnuts, raisins, olive oil and milk are some of the healthy ingredients I used for this and I was so happy to see the result that I could not wait to share it with all of you.
(will make 12 muffins)
- 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour (APF)
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup ground Flax Seeds
- 1 1/2 tea spoon Lemon Zest (approx. use two lemons)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
- 3/4 cup regular Sugar (Use palm sugar as a healthier option)
- 1/2 tea spoon Salt
- 1 1/4 cup Milk (I used full cream milk)
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/2 tea spoon Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tea spoon Baking Soda
- 1 tea spoon Vanilla essence
- 3/4 tea spoon Cinnamon
- 8-10 pieces of Walnut (cut into small pieces)
- 20-25 pieces Raisins
- Mix together the oil, orange juice, sugar and milk in a bowl.
- Mix whole wheat and all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda and sieve.
- Add salt, cinnamon and lemon zest and ground flax seeds.
- Add the milk mixture to these dry ingredients slowly and keep mixing with a spatula to avoid lumps.
- One the entire milk mixture is added, mix the batter with a spatula for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the dry fruits and fold them in the batter. (You can keep some batter aside if for a couple of muffins without dry fruits if our kids don’t like them.)
- Keep the oven pre heated at 180 C.
- Grease the muffin tray and add the batter. Each cup should have batter till the top level
- Bake in oven at 180 C from 17 to 20 minutes. Insert a tooth pick to check if the muffins have baked. The tooth pick should come out clean.
- Once done, let the muffins cool down in tray for 5 minutes. Do not keep the tray under fan. It may make the muffins less spongy.
October 15, 20121 comment
One of the many benefits of inter cast marriage (wink) is very close connection with two different cuisines. As I shared earlier, my hubby is from Rajasthan and I am a Punjabi. After almost 6 years of our marriage, I can say that I have learnt cooking from my Mom-in-law as much as I have learnt from my Mom. So my cooking is a mix of the best practices of my Mom, Mom-in-law and of course I add my touch to it. In these years, I really have developed a taste for Rajasthani food. Rather I should say that Rajasthani cusine is so delicious that there was no need to develop a taste for it. Once served, one just can not resist it!There are quite many famous Rajasthani delicacies like Gatta and Dal Bati Churma. At the same time there are others that are less known but are really delicious and different from the usual curries or side dishes that I knew.
The one I am sharing today is an adaptation from my Mom-in-law’s “Methi ki Launji”. Fenugreek seeds are the primary ingredient of this recipe. In addition to the immense health benefits that this seed possess, I really like the spicy, sweet, tangy and slightly bitter taste of this pickle!
(will make 1 small bowl)
2 Table Spoon Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)
1 Table Spoon Rasins
1 Table spoon finely chopped Dry Coconut
2-3 Indian bay leaf (Tej patta)
1 tea spoon Cumin seeds
2 1/2 Table Spoon Jaggery Powder (normal sugar can also be used, just reduce it to 1 1/2 table spoon)
1/2 Table spoon Dry Mango Powder (aamchur)
3 Tea spoon Salt
2 1/2 Tea spoon Red chilli powder
1 Table spoon Coriander powder
a pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
1/2 tea spoon Turmeric powder
1 tea spoon Garam Masala
2-3 table spoon Water (for the required consistency)
1 table spoon Vegetable oil
Soak Fenugreek seeds overnight in water
Boil the seeds in water for 10 minutes and drain out the extra water
Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add Cumin seeds, Indian bay leaf, Asafoetida & Fenugreek seeds.
Add the remaining spices and stir well.
Add water and let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar and Garam Masala, Rasins and Coconut. Stir for another 1-2 minutes and take it off the stove.
To add nutrition and taste, use it as a pickle with any meal. It will taste even better with hot puris or parathas!
October 3, 2012Comments: 4
Before I share this recipe, I have a question for you: Do you love cakes? ah…I heard Yes and can you resist chocolate cakes? I am sure it is a No. Yet you don’t want to compromise with nutrition , is n”t it? This recipe is just for you if you are a cakoholic and at the same time are also conscious of limiting the unhealthy ingredients in it.
These days, I love to make hand baked cakes, cookies etc for my family members on their birthday. September is a month of birthday’s in my family. The month starts with my brother’s birthday, who was out of country this time, then comes my little one’s birthday for which we went out of station and finally my sister’s (sister-in-law’s) birthday and I knew the best gift I could give her this time was a hand made, home baked cake. Knowing her, I knew that she would love it even more if she gets to know that the ingredients used are healthier than usual. I baked this cake on her birthday but unfortunately electricity went off just 10 minutes after the baking started. Thanks to my mom-in-law’s idea that we finally cooked the cake on stove by giving very slow heat with the help of multiple sieves. Due to uneven heating, the cake got stuck at the bottom of baking tin and I could not take it out. Thankfully, even then the cake turned out scrumptious and was polished off within half an hour of my sister cutting it! My daughter and niece just hogged on it :). So much so that even the birthday girl could not have it enough to her satisfaction.
I baked the cake again last week and the pictures in this post are from that version of cake.
- 1/2 cup All purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup powdered Sugar (palm sugar as healthier option)
- 1/4 cup Drinking Chocolate powder
- 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
- 1 tea spoon instant Coffee powder
- 1 cup thick Curd
- 1 1/2 tea spoon Baking powder
- 3/4 tea spoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (I used vegetable oil first time and home made clarified butter the next time. The butter one was heavier but then it is really nutritious for kids)
- 1 tea spoon Vanilla essense
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
(Recipe adapted from Divya’s Easycooking.)
- Mix the flour, drinking chocolate powder, cocoa powder and coffee powder and sift 2-3 times.
- Mix sugar with curd and beat well. Add baking soda, powder and vanilla essence and beat well.
- Add oil , beat well and then add small quantity of sifted flour. Keep adding flour and beating till you get a smooth batter.
- Grease 6-8 inch baking tin and add the batter.
- Preheat oven at 200 C. Bake at 180 C for 10 minutes.
- Take out the tin add walnut pieces by pressing them slightly.(You can also try adding them before starting the baking. I wanted to get the top layer broken texture so added them after initial 10 minutes of baking.)
- Bake at 200 C for another 25-30 minutes.
- Insert a tooth pick, if the batter doesn’t stick to it then take out the baking tin.
- Let the cake cool in tin for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Take it out and let it cool completely on the wire rack.
We went for a two a two day trip to Bharatpur last weekend (more on it in my next post) and I carried 3/4th of this cake considering it will be more than good enough for the three of us for a 2 day trip. To my surprise, the cake was no where seen by the evening of the first day! I would just say that try it out for yourself to see the wonders of this recipe!Tweet
September 15, 2012Comments: 4
I can’t believe its been a month that I posted any recipe here! Somehow could not manage, some things went completely unplanned then a few days of mood swings, a few days of not so good health and then yes the last month was a very special one for me! It was my little one’s second birthday so was busy preparing for that too!
I wanted to bake a cake for her but then we celebrated her birthday out of station and it required me to bake the cake two days before the birthday which was not a great idea so dropped the plan :(.
Nevertheless, Sarah really enjoyed her birthday in a resort in Rajasthan where she could keep running in open space with her cousin Pari and be near her favourite Bua, Fufu, Dadi, Nanu, Nani and ofcourse Papa and Mumma all the time!
Finally I am back in mood to do some cooking! Its weird, when I am not in best of my moods, I feel I can’t cook something interesting but then when I cook, I realize that it automatically boosts my mood! So next time on wards, I will not wait for the right mood, I will just cook to get the right mood! This recipe is one of my favourites. A little sweet, a little tangy and of course spicy Pumpkin.
This one goes best with sinful deep fried Poori (fried indian bread).Here we go..
(will serve 3)
- 150 gm Pumpkin, 1 inch pieces with peel (pumpkin should be white, yellow will not give the required texture and taste)
- 1 1/2 table spoon Tamarind paste (modify, if you prefer more tangy)
- 2 tea spoon sugar (modify, if you prefer more sweet)
- 3-4 Dry whole Red Chilly
- 1/2 tea spoon Cumin Seeds(Jeera)
- 1/2 tea spoon Fennel seeds
- 1/4 tea spoon Fenugreek seed
- 1/4 tea spoon Black Cumin seeds
- a pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
- 2-3 Indian bay leaf (Tej patta)
- 2 tea spoon Salt (or as per taste)
- 1 1/2 tea spoon Red chilly powder
- 3 tea spoon Coriander powder
- 1/2 tea spoon turmeric powder
- 4-5 cloves grated or finely chopped Garlic
- 1/4 inch grated Ginger
- 2 table spoon Vegetable oil
- 1/2 tea spoon Garam masala
- Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, ginger garlic, whole red chilly, Indian bay leaf, asafoetida & fennel seeds.
- After adding fennel seeds, immediately add pumpkin and black cumin seeds.Keep stirring in between for 4-5 minutes.
- Once the pumpkin pieces look a little fried, add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well, cover with a lid for 4-5 minutes. Open the lid and give a stir after 2-3 minutes.
- Check with the spatula, if the pumpkin is cooked, remove the lid, add the remaining spices and mix well.
- Add tamarind paste and sugar. Mix well.
This one goes to Magic Mingle#9Tweet
August 15, 2012Comments: 10
Wish you all a very Happy Independence Day! On this day, I hope we all understand the meaning of independence and respect the freedom we have been bestowed with. Other than the freedom of speech and expression, I strongly believe in freedom from orthodox thinking. Creativity has no boundaries, so let us give ourselves the freedom to think out of the box, to think creatively and do wonders in whatever we want to excel in!
One such event that helps me think creatively is Magic Mingle hosted by Kalyani of SizzlingTastebuds. The idea here is to to give wings to our culinary creativity and prepare dishes using two specific ingredients chosen for the month. Now, isn’t that so mind stimulating! The ingredients for this month are Jaggery and Sesame seeds. Looking at the ingredients, the first two things that came to my mind were nutri bars and Till ke laddoo (sesame jaggery balls) but then I wanted to try something different that I have never tried before. I decided to go for the Banana Roti I have had a couple of times at my sister-in-law’s place, but with a slight modification to the traditional recipe! The ingredients that go into the making of this delicacy are so nutritious that it is a must try!
(will make 6-7 Rotis (flat breads))
- 2 Bananas
- 100 gm Jaggery
- 1 Table spoon Sesame Seeds
- 1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 1/2 Tea Spoon Fennel Seeds
- 1/4 Tea spoon Salt
- 1 Table Spoon Cream
- Add jaggery to a pan and let it melt.
- Add mashed banana and keep mixing.
- Add salt, cream, fennel seeds and 1/4 cup wheat flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes and remove the pan from flame.
- Let the jaggery, banana mix cool down.
- Add rest of the flour and knead the dough.
- The dough should be softer than the one that we knead for plain whole wheat flat bread (roti). Add milk to get the required softness.
- Make six, seven balls from the dough and roll them into small chapattis and cook them the Indian way.
- Apply some clarified butter (ghee) to add more flavor!
Have them warm with dip (chutney) of your choice. We prefer this with coconut chutney. Makes a perfect meal for breakfast, lunch or Dinner. Have it when you like it!
This recipe goes to Magic Mingle#8.
August 14, 20121 comment
Kajli Teej is one of the most awaited festivals of Rajasthan. This festival is celebrated primarily by married women by fasting for long and healthy life of their husbands.
I am a Punjabi and my husband belongs to Rajasthan. I don’t fast but we do believe in celebrating the spirit of this festival. This time Badi Teej was on 5th of August. (I know, I am quite late in posting this one :()
“maaruji abaki teeja ne donu pindo paasyaji mehara raaj”
This line is from a song that is sung during the prayer (pooja) performed on this festival. Translation: Wife sings this song to her husband, “my dear, this time on Teej, we both will have the Pinda together“.
Sattu ka pinda is something that my mom-in-law has been preparing every year for all of us. I have learnt it from her and this time I prepared it on my own with a little guidance from her! (a pat on my back for this one (wink)!)
Sattu is irresistibly delicious! So much so that I can’t stop myself from having it every now and then once it’s prepared!
Traditionally, after fasting for an entire day, in evening, all women dress up in their best attire and jewelry with heena (mehndi) pecked hands and feet. As the sun sets, all women of the family and neighboring houses gather and perform prayer and hear Badi Teej katha, followed by worshiping the moon and having sattu. Sattu Paasana, as it is called in Marwari, means the following - the husband sits next to his wife, takes out the sattu seven times using the silver coin and offers it to his wife.
In my family, we celebrate the festival by wearing festive clothes, spending time together and at night offering sattu to each other and praying for a happy and healthy family!
- 500 gms Gram Flour (Mota Besan)
- 300 gms Clarified Butter (Ghee)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Almonds
- A pinch of Saffron (Kesar)
- 3-4 pieces of Cardomom (choti Elaichi)
- Heat Butter in a big pan and once the butter melts, add gram flour to it. Keep stirring.This part is a bit time consuming. It takes around half an hour for the flour to get roasted and leave butter.
- Remove the pan from stove, once the flour gets roasted, starts leaving butter(after almost half an hour) and starts giving fragrance(it will be easily noticable).
- Let the flour cool down. Powder the sugar and mix it properly with roasted flour.
- Add powdered cardamom seeds, Saffron and chopped almond. (For this festival we make a peenda by pressing and keeping it in a bowl however it can also be converted to laddoos!)
- Garnish with Saffron and Almonds!
Relish This Dessert That Is Not Only Delicious But So Healthy!Tweet
August 8, 2012Comments: 7
Sometimes it gets so tough to think of new recipes so that the food we eat and cook doesn’t get boring! Infact, I would say that vegetable shopping is the activity from where the conceptualization of meals for next few day’s begins. I will take an example, the other day I went to get some veggies from a nearby store where the variety of vegetables is very limited. When I entered the place, I just saw some capsicum, carrot, beans and very small size apple gourd (Indian round gourd/ Tinda). Initially I thought of skipping apple gourd because the size was not good enough for the usual apple gourd side dish that I prepare but then immediately my creative bell rang and I could visualize those small balls stuffed with tempting spices! This is the reason I said that vegetable shopping is the first and most crutial part of how the dish would be.
- The person who goes to buy should be able to select fresh and good quality vegetables. This would automatically enhance the taste of the dish that will be prepared using those fresh veggies!
- Also, from the selected options, one should be able to think of the different dishes that are possible and then take a call on what to buy.
Bharwan Tinda as we call this dish in India can be prepared with many variations. The one I prepared this time is quite dry by choice as I wanted to try this as a starter also! If you have a taste for it, you can relish this as a starter or snack. I first fried and then steamed this one in a pan. I would definitely try baking and grilling to see the results!
- 10-12 very small size round gourd(Tinda)
- 2 table spoon Mustard oil for frying
- 2 1/2 tea spoon Salt
- 5 tea spoon Coriander powder
- 2 tea Spoon Dry Mango Powder
- 1/2 tea Spoon Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tea spoon Black cumin seeds
- 1 Tea Spoon Mustard Oil
- 1 Tea Spoon water
- a pinch of Asafoetida
- Peel round gourd and divide each piece into four parts without cutting the base.
- Mix the stuffing ingredients and fill them uniformly in all the balls.
- Take mustard oil in a pan and heat it. Slowly and gently place all the balls in the pan. Let the round gourds fry for a couple of minutes.
- Gently turn the balls upside down and fry again for a couple of minutes.
- Take 3 table spoon water and add it to the pan. Cover the lid and let the gourds cook for 10 minutes. (after 4-5 mins check if some more water is required, the cooking time may very depending on the quality and size of balls)
- Once done, try turning the sides and frying the balls for a couple of minutes from all the sides so that the balls get as crispy as possible.
- Serve these hot either as a starter or along with chapati!
Don’t forget to tell me how you liked it (smiles)!Tweet
July 31, 2012Comments: 5
Paneer – if you live in Delhi – you just can’t stay away from! In fact, you will also find paneer pieces in maggi and chow mein here (wink)! So how can I stay away from it?! In fact, knowing about its health benefits, I would rather want to include it in my day to day meals. The recipe I am sharing here today is an adapted version from my Mom’s kitchen, not to mention how amazing a cook she is!
You would have come across various versions of Shahi paneer. I tried to make it less heavy on the tummy, so we can have this calcium and protein rich curry more often, rather than it becoming a delicacy that is prepared once in a few months or when there’s a guest visiting.
I used Poppy Seeds (Khus khus) and Cashew nuts to give it the richness it should have. So here we go!
- 1 Table Spoon Poppy Seeds
- 5-6 Cashew Nuts
- 2 Medium size Tomatoes
- 3 Onion
- 100 gm Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cut into 1 inch by 1/4 inch pieces
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 inch Ginger piece
- 1 1/2 Capsicum ( cut into 12 inch pieces)
- 1 Table Spoon Sweet Corn(Optional)
- 1 1/2 Tea Spoon Garam Masala
- 3 Tea Spoon Salt (OR as per taste)
- 1 Tea Spoon Red Chilly Powder
- 1/2 tea Spoon Turmeric Powder
- 4 tea spoon Coriander powder
- 2 Green Chilly
- 1 1/2 Vegetable Oil
- Soak poppy seeds and cashew nuts in water for 2-3 hours.
- Grind them together to make a thick paste. Use the water in which poppy seeds and cashew nuts were soaked.
- Grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chilly in a grinder.
- Puree tomatoes separately.
- Take oil in a pan, heat it well. Fry capsicum in the oil and take them off.
- Add onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli paste in oil and fry till the paste becomes light brown.
- Add tomato puree, again, let the puree dry and the onion, tomato paste starts leaving oil.
- Add poppy seeds and cashew nuts paste, stir for 3-4 minutes.
- Add spices and stir continuously.
- Add sweet corn (optional) and fried capsicum.
- Add water and let the gravy boil for 3-4 minutes.
- Add paneer pieces, stir for 2 minutes and take off from stove.
If you like the taste of corn, it is an interesting combination to try in this dish. My mom-in-law liked it and hubby did not (smiles).
You must be having your own recipe of Shahi Paneer. I would really love to know the variations you try!