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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Palak Kofta (Spinach Patty)

       
            
          Loaded with vitamins, fibre, iron and calcium, these healthy and delicious Palak (Spinach) koftas are simply irresistible. A lovely snack item to be enjoyed with any chutney of your choice or ketchup. They can be served as patties in burgers too, which are perfect for a lunch box meal.





  • 1 bunch spinach, blanched and pureed
  • 2 med. potatoes, boiled
  • 2 raw bananas, boiled
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1" ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp. besan (gram flour)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves), crushed
  • oil to shallow fry





          Take a non-stick pan and saute the pureed spinach till all the moisture is dried up. Cool and combine with all the other ingredients except, oil to make it into a dough. 

          Divide the dough into equal portions and form into round koftas. Be sure to wet your hands for easy handling.

          Heat 1 tsp. oil on a tawa (griddle) and shallow fry 2-3 at a time on both sides on low flame till golden brown in colour. 

          Continue with the rest of the koftas in a similar manner. Serve hot with any chutney or sauce.




















Moong Dal Fry (Green Gram Lentil Curry)

                  
       
          Just a simple moong dal fry with hot steamed rice will lift up your spirits. There is nothing like having with some pickles or papad as accompaniment. It definitely is a humble and an earthy meal, complete with all the nutritional benefits as lentils contain fibre and proteins. 

          This dal can be cooked in many ways. You can enjoy it as a dry preparation with Indian bread, in a gravy like consistency with rice or it can be made into a simple soup. Choice is yours. It is a very common dal made in every household in the Northern parts of Punjab.





  • 1 cup moong dal
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger-garlic, grated
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 whole red chilli
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. coriander & mint leaves, chopped





          Pressure cook the dal in 2 cups water for 3-4 whistles. When cool, blend well. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds, whole red chili and asafoetida.

          After it stops spluttering, add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté till light brown. Add the boiled dal, green chilies, salt and turmeric powder. 

          Simmer on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Serve, garnished with lime juice, coriander and mint leaves.




















Rosemary Flavoured Onion Soup

          
          
          Onions contain vitamin C and chromium that helps in regulating blood sugar and improves immunity. They also reduces inflammation, heals infection and maintains healthy skin. So it is beneficial to our body and needs to be taken in any form possible - whether cooked or raw. 

          So here is a hearty and a healthy clear soup made of onions and flavoured with some rosemary. It can be made wholesome by adding some oats to it. The rosemary in it gives a nice lingering aroma. For more variations, add potatoes and garnish it with cream or butter.






  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 twig rosemary
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper powder 
  • 3-4 cups chicken / vegetable stock
  • fried onion, croutons or cheese to garnish





          Heat oil and temper with the bay leaves. Add the garlic and fry till it changes colour. Then add the onion and fry till translucent.

          Pressure cook along with rosemary, salt and pepper and the stock for 2 whistles. When cool, discard the bay leaves and blend into a puree. 

          Heat through and serve, garnished with fried onion, croutons or cheese.




















Green Papaya Curry - Andhra Style

       
          There are many uses of geeen papaya. It can be used to make a curry, (both dry and with gravy), made into a salad or simply have it boiled in a Bengali style with rice, mustard oil, salt, green chilies and coriander leaves. Here I prepared it in an Andhra style which can be either had with chapattis or as a side dish with curd-rice. I took the liberty of adding some peanut powder for some nutty flavour.
          




  • 1 small green papaya, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 whole dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. sambar powder
  • 2 tbsp. peanut powder, 
  • coriander leaves to garnish





          Boil the papaya till soft but not mushy. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and temper with red chilies and mustard seeds. 

          After it stops spluttering, add the urad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida. Saute till the dal changes colour.

          Then add the boiled papaya, salt, turmeric powder, sambar powder and peanut powder. Saute for 1-2 minutes till well combined. 

          Serve, garnished with coriander leaves as a side dish with chapattis.



















Arbi & Peas Curry (Colocasia)

          
           This lesser known root vegetable is not too common in many household. However, if prepared the right way, it tastes yummy. Potatoes can be easily replaced with arbi. It contains a good amount of fibre, protein and calcium and is more nutritious than potatoes with low cholesterol. It is generally prepared dry to be enjoyed with flat bread. 





  • 500 gms Arbi, boiled aldente
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. kalonji (nigella seeds)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Heat oil in a pan and temper with kalonji. Add the boiled arbi and saute till light brown. Add the peas and fry for a minute.

          Add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder, red chili powder, salt and garam masala powder mixed with little water.

          Saute till well combined for a couple of minutes. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves as a side dish with chapattis.






















Healthy Oats Idli (Steamed Oats Cake)

         
           Bored with the same urad dal - rice idli? Then try this healthy version of oats idli. Laden with fibre, these instant yummy breakfast menu is not only nutritious, it is also a treat to the eyes and also your tummy. 

          You can be more creative and use grated carrot, beetroot or any other veggies to enhance the flavour. Enjoy this wholesome delicacy with sambar and coconut chutney or any other chutney of your choice. So check out the step by step pictorial recipe to prepare it. 






  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup sooji (semolina)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. eno fruit salt
  • buttermilk as required
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped






          Dry roast the oats  for a few seconds. When cool, grind into a fine powder and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies.

          After it stops spluttering, add the sooji and fry till light brown. Add the powdered oats, salt, coriander leaves and enough buttermilk to make into a batter like consistency.

         Just before steaming, add the eno salt and a little water over it and mix well. Grease the idli mould and ladle the batter into it and steam for 12-15 minutes. 

         When cool enough to handle, demould and serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar.






                                Dry roast oats to light brown.




                                 When cool, grind into a fine powder.



                                Temper the oil with mustard seeds.



                               Add curry leaves, green chilies, asafoetida & urad dal.



                               Add sooji (semolina) & saute till light brown in colour.



                Mix roasted oats powder. salt, coriander leaves to the semolina mix & make
                a batter with required quantity of buttermilk. Keep aside for 20 minutes.



                    Just before steaming, add eno fruit salt & mix well. Ladle into greased 
                    idli moulds & steam for 12-15 minutes.




                               Enjoy with coconut chutney and sambar.






















Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rajma & Chana Salad with Avocado (Kidney Beans & Chick Peas)

          
          Rajma or Kidney Beans has a lot of healthy benefits as it contains dietary fibre, reduces cholesterol and is good for diabetics. It is also a powerhouse of proteins, boosts energy and prevents hypertension. Chickpeas, too lowers cholesterol, prevents diabetes, aids in weight loss and is a good source of iron. Lastly, Avocado helps in digestion, protects against cancer and is rich in nutrients. 

           So the combination of these superfoods into a salad form is good for our health. This wonderful salad is a quick fix for a lazy and late dinner. Loaded with proteins, iron and fibre, it is a healthy substitute to any fried snacks. It can pep up your life and give you a feeling of lightness, thus satiating your appetite. Have a bowl of this yummy salad with the dressing which will add a punch to your dish.        





  • 1/2 cup rajma (red kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup black chana (chickpeas), soaked overnight
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. mustard sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper powder



          Pressure cook the rajma with enough water for 10-12  minutes on low flame after the first whistle.

          Drain and keep aside. Similarly, pressure cook the chana too in enough water for 6 whistles. Drain and keep aside.

          For the dressing, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard paste, salt and pepper powder.

          To serve, combine together the boiled rajma, chana, avocado, cucumber and coriander leaves. Pour the dressing over it and toss well. Serve as it is or with some garlic bread / soup.

 


     











Mulligatawny Soup (Anglo-Indian Style)

       
           It is a well known fact that this soup has its origin from the British Raj. It is also called as  an Anglo Indian Soup. The name derives from the Tamil word 'Milagu' & 'Thanni', meaning 'Pepper Water'. Whatever the reason, this soup tastes simply superb and very filling too. It is a curried soup with the flavours of lentil, rice, apple and all other spices. 

            It is finished off with coconut milk and lime juice to get a tangy taste. So if you are looking for a light meal then go for this amazing curried soup. For this you need to check out the step by step pictorial recipe to prepare it.

         






  • 1/2 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentil), soaked for an hour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice, soaked for an hour
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 4-5 cups water / vegetable stock 
  • 1 tsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fried onions





          Heat oil and sauté the onion till light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste, and all the dry spice powders mixed with a little water. Sauté till oil separates from the sides of the pan.

          Add the chopped apple, soaked tuvar dal, soaked rice and the stock. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.

          When cool, blend to a puree. Adjust the consistency as desired. Simmer on medium flame till it comes to a boil. 

          Switch off the flame and add the coconut milk and lemon juice. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves and fried onions for an exciting light meal.






Note-

1. Carrots and potatoes are also used in this soup, but I had to skip the former as it was not readily available at that moment. And I substituted rice for potatoes.
2. For a non-veg. version you can add chicken stock / mutton yakhni.



  
                                 Soak dal & rice in sufficient water for an hour.



                                 Heat oil & sauté onion till light brown. 



                        Add ginger-garlic paste & all dry spice powders mixed with a little 
                        water. Sauté till oil separates from sides of the pan.



                                  Add chopped apple, soaked tuvar dal, soaked rice ....



                                 ...... and stock. 



                                  Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.



                When cool, blend to a puree. Simmer on medium flame till it comes to a boil. 
                Switch off the flame & add coconut milk & lemon juice. 



                                Serve, garnished with coriander leaves & fried onions.















Curd Rice (South Indian Breakfast)

       
          This happens to be my comfort food. There is nothing like having a bowl of this humble curd rice for a simple lunch when time is a constraint. It is not only filling and soothing to your tummy, but it also tastes delicious with any pickle of your choice and papad. A little bit of curry leaves podi or any gun powder sprinkled over it does wonders to this wholesome dish.

          






  • 1/2 cup rice, cooked till soft and mushy
  • 1 cup yoghurt, whisked
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 whole dry red chilies, broken
  • 2 tbsp. roasted peanuts
  • few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp. gun powder (idli podi)





          Mix the rice with the yoghurt and salt and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and temper with whole dry red chillies, mustard seeds and urad dal.

          After it stops spluttering, add the curry leaves and peanuts and mix well. Take it out from the flame and pour over the rice-yoghurt mix. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves and a sprinkle of gunpowder.























Laal Maans (Mutton Curry - Rajasthani Style)

       
          This is a very popular and a traditional Rajasthani non-veg cuisine. It is mutton cooked in a fiery and spicy gravy because of the use of red chilies. But to minimize it, you can go ahead with kashmiri chilies. This is definitely not for the faint hearted. This dish is one of the speciality of Rajasthan and is considered as a royal delicacy. It can be had both with rice or any Indian bread. For a more tangy taste, add a dash of lime.

          




  • 500 gms mutton on bones, cubed
  • 3-4 med. onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsp. kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, whisked
  • 3-4 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. rose water






          Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry the chopped garlic till it changes colour. Keep aside. Heat remaining oil and temper with cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. 

           Then add the onions and saute till lightly brown. Add the mutton cubes and continue to fry till well browned. 

           Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute followed by the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and salt mixed with a little water.

          Stir fry till oil separates from the sides of the pan. Next add the yoghurt, 1 1/2 cups water and pressure cook for 20-25 minutes on low flame after the first whistle. 

          When it cools down, remove the lid and further simmer on high heat till the gravy turns slightly thick.

          Serve, garnished with fried garlic, coriander leaves and rose water. Best had with tandoori roti, naan or plain chapati.























Curry Leaves Podi (Gun Powder)

          
       
          Curry leaves podi varies from one Indian region to the other. This aromatic gun powder can be easily made at home and is taken along with dosa, idli, upma and also with rice. However, do not forget to add some ghee to it. For a more healthier version, olive oil can be added. 

          It can also be prepared and stored away for later use. To make your meals more interesting, use it as a spread on bread or chapati along with some ghee or butter a la Indian style. It can also be spread on pizza's, hot dogs or burgers.





  • 2 cups curry leaves, sun dried or pan roasted
  • 3 tbsp.  chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 3 tbsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 8 whole red chillies or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. amchur
  • 1 garlic clove (opt)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp.  asafoetida (hing)





          Dry roast the urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, garlic, methi and red chilies. When cool, grind along with curry leaves.  Then mix with amchur, salt and hing.

          Your curry leaves podi is ready. Store in an airtight container and serve along with some ghee or oil with dosa or idli.






















Friday, 29 August 2014

Couscous & CapsicumSalad

       
         
           It is quite an easy and a quick salad that can be made into a jiffy. Very filling and nutritious, it can be relished by all. You can stuff into parathas or roll up for a quick lunch. As it is made of wheat, it is very healthy and can be substituted for white rice. Other ingredients like boiled and shredded chicken, cucumber, corn, grated carrots, etc. can also be added.





  • 1/4 cup couscous
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fried chana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. yoghurt
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil   
  • 1 tsp. lime juice 





          Soak the couscous, covered in 1/4 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Fluff it up with a fork. Keep aside. Mix the yoghurt with olive oil, salt, lime juice and pepper powder. Keep aside.

          Mix the couscous with capsicum, fried chana dal, mint leaves, coriander leaves and green chilies. 

           Just before serving, pour the dressing over it and toss well. Serve along with some soup for a light dinner.






















Thursday, 28 August 2014

Thai Tom Yum Soup with Prawns & Mushrooms

       
          This is a traditional Thai clear soup which has all the flavours - hot, sweet and tangy. It is simply delicious, spicy and mouth watering. The prawns and mushrooms brings out the true flavour. Prawns can also be substituted with boiled and shredded chicken. For a more filling version, try with noodles. It is a complete meal in itself and a bowl of this appetizing soup gives complete satisfaction. 

           This is a Thai street food which is found all over the country. It has become very popular here now and can be found in many restaurants and eating joints. But a homemade Tom Yum soup is simply just out of this world. 






  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 7-8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2" galangal (Thai ginger), sliced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, each sliced into four 
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • salt to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • coriander leaves to garnish







          Bring the stock to a boil.  Add the kaffir lime leaves, sliced galangal and lemongrass and simmer on low flame for 8 minutes.

          Add the mushroom, prawns, salt, red chili powder, green chillies, tomato paste and tomato sauce and simmer further for 3-5 minutes.

          Add lemon juice and simmer for a minute. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.






     














Poha and Chana Dal Salad (Beaten Rice & Bengal Gram Lentil Salad)


          Poha is generally not used in the making of a salad. But I decided to try out and it turned out simply delicious. Brown poha is a healthy substitute, so I went for it. You can go ahead and include boiled green peas, corn, grated carrots, boiled potatoes / sweet potatoes and even boiled rajma (kidney beans) to make it more colourful and nutritious. Have it along with some clear soup for a healthy and light meal.
          




  • 1/2 cup brown poha (beaten flat rice), washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chana dal (Bengal gram), soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup capsicum (any colour), sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 green chilli, thinly sliced (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped






          Boil the chana dal for 1 whistle. Drain and mix along with all the other ingredients and serve, garnished with coriander leaves.




















Celery Soup

       
           Celery has a lot of health benefits. It provides dietary fibre, boosts in weight loss and digestion. It is a very good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It also helps in lowering high cholesterol, inflammation and high blood pressure. So how about having it in a soup form? It simply tastes yummy. 

          I have used oats to thicken the consistency, but you can substitute with potatoes or whole wheat flour. It can also be prepared with milk. In that case, reduce the quantity of stock to 3:2 and enjoy this amazing winter soup for a light meal accompanied with bread croutons. So check out the step by step pictorial recipe to prepare it. 











  • 3-4 stalks of celery along with the leaves, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock / water
  • 1 tbsp. oats
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter 
  • celery leaves to garnish








          Heat oil and butter in a pan and temper with cinnamon. Then add the garlic cloves and saute till it changes colour. Now add the onion and fry till translucent. 

          Add the celery stem and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the celery leaves, oats, stock cube, salt and pepper.  

          Mix everything well and add 3-4 cups water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. When cool, discard the cinnamon and blend in the mixie.

          Add  more water accordingly, if you desire a thin consistency. Heat through and serve, garnished with a sprinkle of pepper powder.




                      Heat oil & butter & temper with cinnamon. Add garlic cloves & saute 
                      till it changes colour. 



                       Add onion & fry till translucent. 



                       Add celery stem & saute for 2 minutes. 



                       Add celery leaves, oats, stock cube, salt & pepper.  




                      Mix well & add 3-4 cups water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. When cool, 
                      discard the cinnamon & blend in the mixie.

     




                     Add  more water if you desire a thin consistency. Heat through & serve,
                     garnished with a sprinkle of pepper powder.


 

    














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