Saturday, May 21, 2016

purslane or kulfa ka saag | greens of the season | 6 purslane recipes for eating healthy everyday

purslane (Kulfa)

Purslane is one of those summer leafy green vegetable that is highly undervalued. Let me tell you why Purslane is such a good vegetable to include in your everyday diet. Buy a big bunch of Purslane and use it 3-4 times a week to get its benefits once you know how it works wonderfully for everyday cooking and basic nourishment of the body.
  • Purslane is a succulent plant so it doesn't spoil in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if kept well. 
  • Purslane doesn't need much cleaning as the whole plant is edible so you don't have to pluck the tender parts to use. Just rinse well, let the greens drain and gather to chop on the chopping board. Saves a lot of time. That is one concern that prevents a lot of us from cooking seasonal greens.
  • Once chopped and kept in a cloth bag, perforated ziplock or even in a basket and refrigerated, purslane lasts a week easily. More reason to prepare it once a week and keep adding a handful to your meals everyday.
  • Think about the nourishment it brings. It is anti-inflammatory and is rich is omg3s, alpha-Tocopherol, Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene and Glutathione. Much much healthier than the moree common leafy green spinach. (read more)
  • Since Purslane is a little tart and smooth once cooked, it makes a great substitute of tomatoes. So go ahead and make a pasta sauce with Purslane or use it over a pizza. Or just cook it in a potato curry like you make alu tamatar or alu baingan.

6 recipes of purslane greens

All through the summers I keep harvesting wild Purslane from my front garden too but that is not enough for me and I buy a big bunch frequently too.

Once back from my weekly shopping it is cleaned, chopped and refrigerated like this in a perforated basket or colander.

chopped purslane

So much easier this way to keep eating something you have planned to.

1. Lentil cheela with purslane 

The easiest will be this lentil cheela that I make with soaked and blended mix of lentils. Some lentils, like a mix of mung and masoor is soaked overnight, made into a coarse paste quickly along with some cumin seeds, garlic and ginger, turmeric and salt. No water is added while making paste and then chopped purslane is added as much as the lentil paste can accommodate.

Patted onto a hot greased cast iron griddle and cooked both sides till crisp and golden, this cheela is delicious as it is. Or serve it with a raw mango slaw or any slaw, chutney or salad you wish.

kulfa wala cheela

2. Pumpkin purslane subzi (Kaddu kulfa ki subzi) 

I must tell you that this is one of the most natural combination of vegetables. Deep yellow or orange flesh pumpkin and purslane make a nice earthy subzi with mild sweet and sour notes.

Temper a little mustard oil with few fenugreek seeds and asafoetida, add minced ginger, garlic and chillies and then add cubed pumpkin. Toss and add salt and turmeric powder, followed by loads of purslane, mix and cover to cook till done. No water is required but you can add if you want a little watery subzi.

kulfa kaddu ki subzi

This kaddu kulfa ki subzi is great with millet rotis, plain paratha or even pooris.

3. Baby potatoes, eggplants and purslane into a curry (Alu baingan kulfa ki subzi)

This subzi of alu baingan and kulfa saag is made with halved baby potatoes and egg plants. Loads of chopped purslane and some water or thin buttermilk make this subzi light and flavourful.

I usually cook this one in a pressure cooker.

Heat very little mustard oil, add few grains of fenugreek and chopped ginger garlic and red chillies and let them all crackle a bit. Then dump some halves babay potatoes (preferably with skin), quartered baby eggplants and loads of chopped purslane (all three vegetables equal by weight). Add salt to taste and turmeric powdr, some thinned buttermilk and cover the lid of the pressure cooker.

Cook till the whistle blows. Open the cooker when the pressure subsides. Mash the subzi a bit and serve hot with some dal and roti.

kulfa alu baingan

This kind of mushy subzi is a specialty of Banaras kachori walas. You can actually serve it with some kachori or poori as the subzi is almost without oil.

4. Purslane kadhi (Kulfa wali kadhi) 

This kadhi recipe was suggested my my house help few years ago and I found it a very useful recipe. I make this kadhi whenever I want a soupy dinner and have it with one very thin roti or just 2 tbsp of rice. It makes a very comforting yet light meal.

kulfa wali kadhi

To make the kulfa wali kadhi you just follow the regular UP style kadhi recipe and add the chopped kulfa greens instead of the fried pakodis (dumplings). You can add the kulfa greens along with the pakodis too.

Adjust the spices and chili etc according to your taste and season and have this delicious meal with your omg3 supplement of the day.

5. Dry green peas with purslane (kulfa wali matarien) 

Dry yellow peas or dry green peas are not too common in my home but I do cook dry peas once in a while. It is good for a change and the fact that I can add some flavourful green to them makes it a lucrative dinner choice with a kadak paratha (crisp cooked paratha). 

I usually soak the dried green or yellow peas  overnight and pressure cook them with just water, salt and turmeric the next morning. The plain boiled dried peas make a wonderful breakfast topped with fresh lime juice, chopped tomatoes and some onions green chillies etc. Good for the chaat loving Indian soul.

purslane and dry green peas curry

Half of the batch is always reserved for making some curry later. To make it a curry to be eaten with rice or roti I usually add some greens or mince meat or both and serve it with plain boiled rice.

Here I heated mustard oil, added some hing and cumin seeds, loads of chopped garlic, some whole dry chillies, everyday curry powder and then loads of chopped kulfa greens. Some salt, some quick stir frying and then added boiled peas and simmer for sometime till you get a curry like this. Kulfa imparts a tangy yet earthy taste to dried peas curry. Adding some keema (minced meat) to this curry makes it even better.

You can make chana dal with kulfa the same way, just pressure cook the chana dal and then proceed the same way as the above recipe. 

I do make a keema curry with purslane (kulfa) too. Here is another version with some goat liver that we usually eat at least once a week.

6. Goat liver curry with purslane (kulfa wali keema kaleji) 

We eat goat liver regularly whenever possible. We don't eat meats much but Goat liver is eaten as a supplement of Vit B12 mostly. Unfortunately goat liver is one of the very rare food ingredients that I am not too fond of. So I try and make it tastier by adding something or the other. Try these recipes of goat liver and see how I experiment with this organ meat.

goat liver with purslane greens

Since goat liver cooks fast, this recipe is relatively quick and takes about 20-25 minutes to get cooked.

Heat a tbsp of mustard oil and add 2 tsp of chopped garlic and some everyday curry powder, some chilli and turmeric powders followed by 100 gm mutton mince. Fry them all together while crumbling the minced meat. Add 200 gm chopped kulfa greens and stir fry till the greens become soft and mushy. Then add 200 gm goat liver, salt and mix well.

Cook covered for 10-15 minutes or till the liver gets cooked but doesn't get chewy. You can add some water to make it a bit gravy like.

goat liver with purslane greens

Serve it hot with wheat chapati or multigrain rotis. W call it kulfa keema kaleji.

This makes a delicious meal without slogging in the kitchen for too long.

We usually prefer one pot meals or just one main dish at home for almost all our meals. I believe the food should be delicious and nourishing, the dining table can do without much variation in the same meal. Although when you have many family members it makes sense to cook a variety of dishes so everyone can have something of their choice.

I am also a firm believer of cooking together as a family so one person is not burdened by the chore. Cook food at home every day, contribute into the process of cooking and eat together as a family so the food nourishes the mind, body and soul as well as the family bonding.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

how to eat sauerkraut everyday | some recipes and ideas for everyday probiotic meals with sauerkraut


Making sauerkraut is easy although it is a bit time consuming process considering it involves a bit of work sterilizing the jar, chopping boards and the knife. But once you have made a large batch of sauerkraut you can keep it in the fridge for a month. In fact sauerkraut keeps well for 6 months if refrigerated and one can keep adding a handful to salads and wraps or just about anything that needs a hint of tartness.

In fact in the last 3 weeks when my house help has been on leave and I am managing work and house chores alone, the jar of sauerkraut in the fridge has been a savior. Not that I am not cooking more vegetables but it saves me from elaborate cooking when I need a quick fix for my meals.

recipe ideas using sauerkraut

Now a days I cook ragi rotis and stuff them with chopped boiled eggs, some chopped sauerkraut, onion slices and chopped green chillies like this.

eggs and sauerkraut millet wrap

Sometimes I go out in the garden and pluck any greens growing, rucola is doing fine in this summer heat so that becomes a frequent topping too.

Once wrappd, this becomes a filling delicious meal for ourselves.

eggs and sauerkraut millet wrap

You don't need any mayonnaise or mustard with these toppings but you can apply some butter if you want. I usually keep the eggs soft boiled so the filling stays moist and sticks together.

Sauerkraut makes such wraps so easy and simple as it fills in for the sauces or complex dressing you might need.

I mean even if you have all ingredients within reach you reduce one step of mixing them, hence reducing use of more utensils. I am taking about minimal cooking, minimal utensils used and mess free eating without any plates. Just pick up from the serving platter and eat.

eggs and sauerkraut millet wrap

To secure the wraps you can tie them using thread or garlic chives like I did.

And here is another wrap that is made with millet dosa. A mix of Amaranth flour, Barnyard millet and urad daal (black lentils) is made into a paste and is fermented overnight in Indian summer. In winters it may take 2 days to ferment.

dosa wrap with sauerkraut

The fermented batter is seasoned and made into thin crepes (dosa), using ghee on a cast iron skillet. I grilled halloumi slices that a friend has sent and spread in on the dosa along with sauerkraut. 

dosa wrap with sauerkraut

 You can drizzle some mustard or loads of pepper or may be some rocket but this was a quick hurried meal for us so I just chomped on this dosa wrap along with a cucumber sprout salad that was already fixed for the day.

Coming to the salads, I make this raw papaya salad with some sauerkraut thrown in and we love it. The recipe of raw papaya salad with sauerkraut is a keeper trust me.

raw papaya salad with sauerkraut

Another chopped salad that I add sauerkraut is this cucumber, carrots and sprouts salad with crushed peanuts and just pepper to season as sauerkraut has enough salt. Note that peanuts also have enough fats so an oil based dressing may be skipped. But add on the dressing if you like.

cucumber carrot chopped salad with sprouts and sauerkraut

Sometime it is just cucumbers, some sauerkraut some pepper and a drizzle of mustard oil. These salads have been a regular this season as we just don't feel like eating anything warm sometimes.

cucumber and sauerkraut choped salad

These salads are very hydrating for the season too.

I add the chopped sauerkraut to my egg fried rice too. In this recipe for a cup of cooked rice I used 4 eggs, 3/4 cup chopped onions and scrambled it all together with chopped green chillies, salt and pepper. Then sprinkled loads of chopped sauerkraut before serving.

egg fried rice with sauerkraut

A delicious meal for two gets ready easily this way. I have been cooking very quick meals since the last 3 weeks as my house help has been on leave. Eggs, sprouts, cucumbers, rice, paneer and dosa batter have been the essential staples I am depending on.

Here is another fried rice with loads of diced beets and paneer cubes.

Beets were cooked with ghee and cumin red chilly tempering till soft. Loads of garlic and pepper was also added for making it spicier. Just paneer cubes were added as the beets cooked, after mixing it thoroughly cooked rice was also mixed into the pan.

fried rice with sauerkraut

Loads of chopped sauerkraut again and it is ready to serve. The balanced one pot meal that you can enjoy warm, served in a bowl or a large mug as we did..

fried rice with sauerkraut

These are huge 700 ml capacity breakfast cups and we end up having our meals in it sometimes. 

As my current batch of sauerkraut is just about to finish I made another large batch and kept for fermentation.

jar of sauerkraut fermenting

A mix of red and green cabbage takes about a week to get nice and tart. I kept it in the sun to quicken the process but otherwise I keep it on my kitchen counter to ferment.

It will be bright purple when ready. I will update that picture here as soon as this huge batch is ready. The jar above is 5 L capacity and it makes a lot of sauerkraut to last me a couple of months.

When are you making your own batch of sauerkraut The recipe of making sauerkraut at home is not much complicated though it is a bit of work because you need to sterilize surfaces and chopping boards, knives etc. Keeping the surface of the fermenting sauerkraut wet is also important during the whole period of fermentation. See the recipe and procedure of making sauerkraut that I have posted long back and make some for yourself.