Tuesday, December 30, 2008

zucchini stir fry

this recipe is the simplest thing one can make in a jiffy, n is so attractive to look at.........it gives a happy contented eating experience ..........it is so healthy n low cal that when you are on a diet and that sinful khana seems like a dream............i prefer making something like this recipe , which is a visual treat and gives a filling experience...........i made it for lunch today n had a big bowl full of the veggies with a tablespoonful of brown rice...........managed to click these pics too.

one medium sized zucchini
one medium sized onion
one small potato
one big ripe tomato
salt n pepper to taste
sunflower oil 1 tsp

cut all the vegetables in equal sized dices n keep separately, only the potato should be cut in thinner slices cuz it takes longer to cook.
now heat oil in a pan n put in the potato slices, add in salt, cover n cook on low flame.
when potato slices are almost done then add in the onion and zucchini n cook on medium flame now..............these are not to be overcooked ........should become translucent n just cooked....a little crunch should be there when cooked, otherwise zucchini looses it's flavor n turns soggy.
put in the tomatoes in the end n stir for a while ....the tomatoes should just be wilted n not be mashed.
add the pepper n it is ready to serve........some red chilly flakes n oregano can be added in the last and it can be stirred with boiled spaghetti.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

beet root stir fry with soy nuggets and spring onions

Last winter we had a glut of beetroots from our kitchen garden. I had to discover new ways of eating beets and I figured the sweetness of beets combined with this unique earthy flavour needs some umami to bring out the best from them. This beetroots and soy nuggets stir fried with a dash of soy sauce and loads of spring onions worked like a charm.

To be honest it was only eaten raw back home when we were growing up, just as a part of the sliced salads with cucumber, tomatoes and onion rings and we never actually liked it. It was eaten because the parents said it was good for us.

This beets and soy nuggets stir fry became such a success that I started making it about 3 times a week and sometimes would use grated beets and soy nugget mince to make it suitable as a stuffing in wraps, sandwiches and parathas. Any produce from the garden feels like God's gift and I can't imagine not using it to the hilt.

beet root stir fry with soy nuggets and spring onions

I even used the fresh leaves of beetroots as they have better nutritional value than the roots in many more ways, sometimes adding them to chhole or rajma and sometimes making a palak paneer type curry with beet leaves. Actually the leaves have so much minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and fibre and no carbs like the roots. The bottom line is, garden produce is not to be wasted at all.

ingredients for beetroot stir fry
beet roots chopped into thick juliens or cubes -1 cup
spring onions chopped in 1 inch pieces -1 cup
soy nuggets boiled in light salted water, drained and squeezed -1 cup (chop them if you wish)
garlic cloves minced-10 nos.
finely chopped green chillies to taste (keep it hot)
chopped ginger 1 tbsp (optional but recommended)
soy sauce -2 tbsp or more
sesame oil -1 tbsp
black pepper powder 1 tsp
salt is not required as we are using soy sauce but adjust seasoning before serving


Heat oil in the pan and tip in the garlic and green chilli mince, let it fry for a minute.

Add the beetroots and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Add ginger if using and the soy sauce. Toss to mix.

Now add the soya nuggets, pepper powder and sprinkle some water so the soy nuggets absorb all the flavours.

Cook covered for 4-5 minutes on medium heat, stirring or tossing once in between. Do not cook the beets too much and retain a bit of bite and crunch.

Add the chopped spring onions, toss and mix and let them wilt before taking the pan off the heat.

beet root stirfry with soy nuggets and spring onions

Serve hot like a meal or with roti, paratha or any other kind of bread. It can be a good side dish if you are cooking for an elaborate meal.

The same stir fry can be made without the soy nuggets too and I am sure you would like it this way too. Chopped into thick batons the beets make a good looking dish on a table. It can be served like a salad or subzi as per choice.

beetroot stir fry

It is worth telling you all that after the last year's beetroot crop and eating beetroot so much, Arvind made sure we sow some more beets this season.

Now we are expecting good yield this season too. It is such a blessing to get fresh food grown in one's own garden.

Monday, December 22, 2008

aloo palak.............corn palak

this recipe is my husband's favorite and is a regular in my household..it is so yum.. that some times i like eating it as it is.........or may be a bowl full of this curry with a tablespoon full of rice or.....or....in many combinations in fact.........


palak leaves with stalk, blanched-2 cup
small potatoes, boiled-10 nos.
tomatoes red ripe n big ones -2 nos.
garlic cloves -12 or more
green chillies -5 or more
ginger-1 inch piece or more
turmeric, coriander, cumin and pepper powders 1 tsp each
soya bhaji -a small bunch
minimal amount of mustard oil....around 1 tbsp
hing[asafoetida] a pinch
cumin seeds -1tsp


i cook this recipe in an iron skillet....actually a cast iron one .......my friend swapna has gifted me 2 very nice cast iron skillets or kadais..............and i end up using these ones all the time when cooking palak recipes........these cast iron skillets are nonstick in nature and easy to clean...though a bit heavy,but it helps in good cooking............these are not available in the cities and she sources it from her native village...........a long story.

worth mentioning that i keep ready all the ingredients on the platform with a chopper handy.........i use the one which comes with morphy richards hand blender.............
this helps in saving time as stepwise when cooking is in progress i keep doing the chopping.....

first of all heat the oil and put in a pinch of hing n cumin seeds....when these splutter put in the halved potatoes........stir fry for 2-3 minutes on high heat
in the mean time finely chop the ginger,garlic n chillies in the chopper and put in the pan
keep stirring for 3-4 minutes and put in the powder masalas n mix properly on medium heat now
in the meantime chop the tomatoes too and put them in the pan too...with salt to taste
chop the blanched palak[can be pureed in a mixie too] and add in....keep stirring...
chop the soya bhaji n put it into the pan.................mix well and cook covered on slow heat for around 10 minutes...........usually no water is needed but if you need a thinner gravy add water accordingly.

cooking this recipe for long in the iron skillet allows the potatoes to turn green in color.........and intensifies the flavor.....we like it this way.........though it can be made in any pan.

instead of potatoes sweet corn or baby corn also tastes good in the recipe ..............only sweet corn should be added with the palak in the end and cooked further for just 6-7 minutes................i like soya nuggets too in this gravy........actually i sometimes make corn soya palak and sometimes only corn palak.........

tastes good with plain boiled rice or rotis.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

eating the greens all the time

my friends ask me how i manage to process all the greens i cook so frequently....i mean daily.......
it is a bit difficult but i have made it simpler as i do a few things worth sharing in my blog too..............

first of all buy them yourself.....the most fresh and clean lot
clean them immediately...buy them only when you have time....i do the cleaning after the dinner,a household help can do the same for you if you are lucky enough
i just nip off the roots and keep all the stalks as it is very good fibre....moreover it is easier to cut after washing the leaves
wash it in a deep bucket ...taking out the leaves each time to replace with fresh water../at least four times or untill the water comes out clean
drain for a while.............take it in a bunch...place on the chopping board and cut 2-3 inches long shreds......repeat cuttinn till all the leaves are copped............ then fill in poly bags which are pierced to make holes.............wrap and keep in the fridge...........it keeps fresh for a week.

when needed take out the required quantity and use accordingly...............if you need a puree,just blanch it and make puree...............and if fine chopping is required,just do it in the food processor.

a little effort goes a long way.

methi pulao .........i made it with daliya today

in one of my food communities i saw one sapna had mentioned about methi rice ,since she had mentioned it along with lemon rice and tamarind rice etc., it appeared like one of those south indian rice preparations[not to mention i like all things south indian].........but being the green maniac that i am, i just requested her to share the recipe and she obliged......though she had used kassori methi, the recipe looked interesting and as i like methi soooo very much, i had to try it...........i could not resist to make some changes though and it turned out to be a real awsome recipe with an almost intoxicating aroma.

i thanked sapna for her recipe and anybody trying my improved recipe will thank me too, i am sure.

fresh methi leaves chopped very fine in a food processor-2 cups tightly filled
fresh green peas 2cup
tomatoes chopped as above 1 cup
onions chopped as above1 cup
garlic-12-15 cloves[less if don't like the strong flavor]
ginger-2 inch piece
green chillies 4-5 or more
all these have to be chopped really fine or made into a paste
green and black cardamom-one each
jeera-2 tsp
star anise-2
siyah jeera 1tsp
dalchini 1 inch piece
laung cloves 5-6
black peppercorns 10
garam masala powder 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
rice half a cup and water around 1.25 cup to cook the rice

oil refined 2-3 tbsp[less or more as per choice]

it serves 2-3 people and in my recipe the amount of methi is about 3-4 times more than that of rice............yummm..


a nonstick deep pan with tight lid is what i used but any deep pan with tight lid appropriate to make biryani is well suited...or may be a pressure cooker..

heat oil and put in all the whole masalas...let them crackle a bit....then add the chopped onions and ginger-garlic-green chillies and stir fry till it all turns pink...on high heat ....put in the powder masalas,salt and after a while, the tomatoes ..keep stirring for 5 minutes then add the methi and peas and cook covered for 5 minutes...stirring in between twice on medium heat....

meanwhile start heating a tawa on the other burner

pour in the water and wait till it comes to boil....now add the rice...mix well , let it boil again ...lower the heat and cook covered till almost done[water absorbed but the rice a bit "al dante"].........now place the pot on the hot tawa for about 10 minutes.

by this time the aroma is irresistible and every body will be hungry.
serve with plain curd and papad.

i replaced roasted daliya with the rice today and the result was equally yummy............i am feeling hungry again..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

hariyali kabab with tomato chutny

again it's my madness about green.....it's my favorite vegetarian kabab which is non fussy to make as a snack....i usually serve it with a quick tomato and coriander chutny, as spinach should always be eaten with tomato,lime or curd so that it's iron is absorbed by our body

i use sattu or roasted gram flour as a binder in this recipe but the problem is , it is not available all the time, so i have devised a new binder for kababs..........soak chana dal for 2 hrs, then microwave it and when cool grind in the mixie, that's all.

palak with all the stalks finely choppedand blanched-1.5 cup
green peas boiled and mashed-1cup [optional]
potatoes small, boiled and mashed-3-4 nos[if not using peas]
green chillies 4-5 finely chopped
ginger finely chopped 2 inch pc
black pepper powder 1 tsp
amchoor powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
roasted gram flour or the above binder 2 tbsp or as required

mix all the ingredients ot make a pliable dough.....i use the microwave to blanch the palak and to boil the potatoes, so they are not too watery and less amount of binder is used......tastes better.
make small patties from the mixture and shallow fry in little oil on slow heat untill crisp . serve with tomato chutny.

tomato chutny ingredients
2 large ripe tomatoes chopped
3-4 green chillies
4-5 garlic cloves
1/2 inch pc ginger
1 cup green coriander chopped salt to taste

put all these into a grinder and whirl it to make fine paste , serve as required.

green peas ghugni

this recipe is completely oil free and yummy
it can be enjoyed as a breakfast dish or with puris or toasted brown bread as a brunch option

fresh or frozen green peas-2 cup
coriander leaves finely chopped 1 cup
potatoes cubed to the size of peas-1/2 cup
ginger garlic paste 2tsp
green chilly paste1tsp
turmeric powder 1tsp
black pepper powder 1tsp
salt to taste

put all the ingredients together in pressure cooker with 1/4 cup of water and cook for 5 minuts after the first whistle.............its ready to eat...so quick.

zero oil daal palak

this is my favorite through the winters and i can have it alone as a meal.

palak with all the stalk chopped fine in a processor-3 cup
tomatoes chopped as fine-1 cup
green chillies-3 to 4
garlic-10 to 12 cloves or more
ginger-2 inch pc
all these have to be chopped really fine as they need to be well blended with the dal
tuvar or arhar dal 1/4 cup
massor dal 1/8 cup salt and turmeric powder to taste

wash the dals together and put all the things together in pressure cooker with 2 cups water
cook for 5-6 minuts after first whistle.....dal should be well cooked and blended with the palak etc
the dal is ready to eat without any tempering or tadka
my husband likes this with a generous spoonful of ghee with it, but any which way it is a tasty and nutritious dish.
as i made a few healthy green recipes recently, i had to post them here as soon as possible.
green leafy vegetables are my favorites and i try to prepare them in just 1tsp of oil or preferably absolutely no oil. here i am sharing a few of the recipes and i have used a lot of garlic and ginger as these are good for this season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

zero carb mung and mushroom soup

some times when i want to eat a light dinner but don't want to compromise on taste i make a nutritious soup which gives absolute pleasure without being heavy on digestive system or even on my calorie count. i make several of such soups...the one i made yesterday for dinner is here .....no corn flour is used...

mung daal 2 tbsp
onions 2 small
button mushrooms 100gm
garlic 5pods or more
soy sauce 1tbsp
green chilly sauce 1tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
butter 1tsp

boil the mung daal with 1 cup water in pressure cooker until very soft.when cold, blend it well with a hand blender.....keep aside.
finely chop the onion garlic and mushrooms separately in a food processor or in a hand blender attachment.
now heat a pan with butter, put onion garlic together and saute' until they get translucent
add the chopped mushrooms and saute' on high heat until it leaves water
add salt n pepper to taste,chilly n soy sauce too, mix well and pour in the blended mung daal with 2cup more water...let it boil for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with garlic bread sticks

Saturday, December 6, 2008

green snack balls

Good home cooked food means toiling in the kitchen for hours ....i hate this ....so i decided to experiment with simple ,quick recipes which in my case becomes very very unconventional.

after years of cooking now,i learnt that for saving time in the kitchen you need to be intelligent while preparations and of course a well stocked fridge.....also a few handy gadgets save you a lot of time and energy.I'll keep on posting about all that in the future..

this recipe of green snack balls is very unconventional, easy, nutritious and tasty.most interestingly its preparations can be stored in the fridge for a week.......

chana dal soaked-1cup or besan3/4cup
daliya or broken wheat3/4cup
coriander leaves finely chopped 1.5cup
mint or dill leaves or both as per taste 1cup
green chillies and ginger finely chopped 2tbsp each
haldi powder 1tsp and salt n pepper to taste
veg refined oil 1tsp,hing a pinch,jeera 1 tsp

grind the chana dal to make a smooth paste or add 1cup water to besan to make a paste
add daliya in this and leave overnight in the fridge to make the daliya soft
when preparing...add the remaining ingredients to make a dough,add more water if needed
make small bite sized balls with the mixture and arrange on a greased microwave safe plate
a plate full of around 20 balls will take 5 minuts to cook on high if covered
heat a tsp of oil in a nonstick pan and temper with a pinch of hing and a tsp of jeera....shallow fry the green balls in it for a while and keep tossing for 3 to 4 minuts
serve hot with chutny or sauce of your choice

the balls can be steamed in a colander if not using microwave.

it can be stored in the fridge either as a dough mix or microwaved balls which can be shallow fried at the time of serving

it can be a great tea time snack or can be served with soup to make a complete meal.

Friday, December 5, 2008


i am a complete foodie and i like home cooked food only.My sedentary life style has forced me to think about health food and i keep experimenting with traditional as well as fusion recipes to create low fat,high fiber,wholesome food.

my preference always is simple food which is fresh, unprocessed and tasty.....i like spicy food, as spices don't add up calories,still the food is filling.

i prefer using natural ingredients....coarse cereals,for their fiber and complex carbohydrates.........fresh leafy vegetables and pulses with their skin on.

for deserts i depend on yogurt,fruits,jaggery,honey and dry fruits to create yummy recipes.

one more fundamental principle of my cooking is the use of colored ingredients.......more varied the colors,more nutritious the food.