Monday, September 14, 2009

gud wale cheeley / jaggery pancakes

 Jaggery is a store house of nutrients, for just 19 Cal/tbsp it has high concentration of minerals and some vitamins..see the link,  it purifies the blood, prevents rheumatic afflictions, corrects bile disorders and protects the lungs from particulate pollution ie, dust and smoke that is a part of daily commute in urban life.

I have been in coal mining areas and the tribals in those areas depend on jaggery to cleanse their respiratory tract. I remember when we had shifted there and Arvind suffered dry coughs for a long time which was not responding to any medication, we were clueless about what to do, and then some locals suggested use of jaggery. Especially after coming from outside (polluted with dust and particulate matter), if you take some jaggery with water it helps cleanse the upper respiratory tract from pollutants. I know it works. We have experienced it many times, having spent 6 years in a coal mining area.

Another thing I have noticed about jaggery is that if you use jaggery instead of refined sugar for making something, not only it provides superior nutritional benefits, it curbs your cravings too. As we all know sugar is like slow poison for us, especially weight watching people want to stay away from refined sugar as eating something sugary always induces craving for more sugary food. Many of my friends who are on weight loss diets and have a sweet tooth find it hard to resist sugar. I have been lucky as I do not like sweets much and never fell in this trap.

Although I like jaggery very much and it has never caused any cravings for me. The intense and rich sweetness satisfies the taste buds well. Interestingly, whenever I suggested my sweet toothed friends to have 1/4th of a kaaju katli or a small piece of chocolate whenever craving for sweet, they would say that it is not possible. As whenever they eat one mithai , they wouldn't stop, they would rather go on binging and eat several mithais before realizing what harm has been done. Noticing this behavior towards sugar addiction now I always suggest (and my friends have been immensely benefited by this)  to eat something with jaggery. Just like a small pancake or some yoghurt with jaggery, sesame chikki , peanut chikki or simply a piece of jaggery itself. The fact is that jaggery not only provides sweetness, it is so flavorful that the flavors remain in the taste buds lingering for long, it does not initiate binging toward sweet food. Saving the insulin response from going bonkers.

It may also be possible that the sugars from jaggery release slower than sugar in the blood and as refined sugar is considered a comfort food and craving inducing, because refined sugar releases glucose faster in the blood stream and gives a feeling of well being which becomes addictive in turn.
I have not seen any studies to prove this, but it just might be the case. I believe in it completely and have several examples to see and believe as I have suggested many people to eat jaggery to curb sweet cravings and it has worked. Always..

The good thing with us is that, we both like jaggery and this kind of a pancake is so healthy, I don't mind having it even though I am watching my weight religiously. A small treat like this is going to keep you satisfied for the whole day and curb your cravings for the whole day. Also if you pair this breakfast pancake with some fresh fruit, it becomes an ideal breakfast.

Whole wheat and oats and the fruit provide enough complex carbohydrates and fiber to keep your energy level up till long time......

The recipe is simple...........a cup of whole wheat flour mixed with 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 - 3/4 cup of crushed jaggery.......the jaggery should be crushed in a manner that small pieces of jaggery remain as the pieces make nice cavities in the pancake filled with syrupy liquid.........and that is the USP of this pancake...

So all these ingredients are mixed with 2 tsp of whole  fennel seeds , a pinch of soda bicarb and just enough water to make a batter which actually is in a consistency between a dough and a batter.......right, it should be a very thick batter.......while making the batter , heat a nonstick flat pan to shallow fry the pancakes so that you don't have to wait after making the batter don't want the jaggery pieces to dissolve in the batter while waiting for the pan to heat up..........

I used a tbsp of ghee on a dosa tawa (a very wide pan which can accommodate 7-8 small pancakes) and poured small ladlefuls of batter on it to make 7-8 pancakes at a don't need to spread the batter, it gets flattened by have to flip the pancakes just when you see small bubbles on top......1/2 tbsp of ghee to fry the other side of all the pancakes is you need just 1.5 tbsp of ghee to make 8 pancakes..not a bad deal as this quantity serves 2-3 .

Serve hot as you would see sticky syrupy molten jaggery coating the pancakes which is hard to resist........we have this breakfast many times during weekends ....sometimes with fruits n sometimes as it tastes good at room temperature too........

Healthy and yummy breakfast keeps you happy whole day.........enjoy....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

barley in pasta sauce and corn-mung cutlets

I have been trying to include coarse grains in my food due to their intense nutritional benefits. All these coarse grains (and millets) are complex carbs, alkalizing in nature, high fiber and wholesome foods.

Hulled barley or pearl barley is a great choice for everyday meals but many of us think that it doesn't cook quickly. The trick is to soak it overnight or pressure cook a large batch and keep refrigerated. Making meals under 30 minutes will not be difficult with coarse grains if you do a little planning.

I cook many recipes with whole barley (hulled) like soups, salads, khichri , poha etc. and many of the recipes are in my archives. I like whole barley in all these forms and was planning to make it with pasta sauce or tomato concasse that I keep keep in the fridge all the time, paired with fresh basil leaves from the garden it will taste heavenly I knew but my routine has been in such a mess these days that cooking a proper meal for the two of us seems like a big task.

barley in pasta sauce and corn-mung cutlets

All this while I have been thinking of how a three course meal is possible in a life that allows only one pot meals most of the times. If you have been watching my blog I did the post a balanced three course meal and was wondering how it can fit into a life like ours. Currently it is one pot meals mostly as I rarely get enough time to cook.

The thought has really been with me all this while that eating nutritious food throughout the day is not that difficult if you know what you eat and make the right choices. But serving a single meal with all the food groups together may not be a good idea always. Like if you eat fresh fruits with the carb-protein meal, it may lead to putrefaction of the food before it's digestion and cause flatulence and other digestive problems.

Also, according to Ayurveda, too many food groups should not be grouped together for a single meal. Like milk should not be paired with spicy savory and tart foods and with non vegetarian foods. It is called vipareet aahar and those food groups should be avoided together.

At the same time some fruits are considered okay with meals, like mangoes, but that too is not good if taken with a heavy meal.

Cooked fruits are okay with meals but they loose some of their goodness while being cooked. A small serving of cooked fruits as a dessert can be a wise choice though.

Even raw salads using cucumbers and other veggies are not a good idea with meals. Raw salads can make a meal by themselves or may be a between the meals snack.

All said and done, we choose according to what suits our individual taste and constitution. Eating local and seasonal food gives great opportunities to follow beneficial combinations of food groups.

Now to the recipe of barley in pasta sauce and corn mung cutlets, and a wee dessert that rounds up a meal. A meal in 30 minutes or less.

barley in pasta sauce was easy...

The hulled barley is soaked for 4-5 hours and boiled till done. This can be used to make many meals if saved in refigerator.

I usually stir fry some mushrooms and spring onions for a minute and then add some of this cooked barley which is simmered with lots of fresh basil leaves and tomato concasse. Served hot with a garnish of sliced boiled egg it was a good combination and very filling too..

barley in pasta sauce

corn mung cutlets

These were not as quick as the barley but a close second.

Sweet corn kernels, soaked mung beans with skin, ginger, green chillies, salt n pepper were pulsed together in mixie to make a coarse paste. It takes just 2 minutes. Mung sprouts can also be used whenever you have them ready.

corn-mung cutlets

My favourite grilled Insalata Caprese was also done in the same pan. Cut a large tomato, hollow the pulp, sprinkle salt and mixed herbs and fill it with a little Mozzarella cheese, place it in the pan in which the cutlets are cooking so both of these cook together. You can cook them in separate pans if cooking for a crowd.

barley in pasta sauce and corn-mung cutlets

The dessert is an apricot compote

Chopped fresh apricots with skin are simmered in orange juice and reduced to make a nice thick syrupy compote. It is a traditional dessert in apricot growing regions of Leh-Ladakh. No additional sugar is needed if orange juice from carton is used. If using fresh orange juice you might want to add little sugar.

I keep this in the fridge and its good with ice cream or with a dollop of whipped cream on top. We enjoyed it as it is for the dinner.

Nicely served meals are good and this was a healthy one too.

I am sending this to Yasmeen's three course meal event even though the pictures look horrible. But I can't manage better with the kind of workload I have to deal with. Sharing my food on this blog feels great no matter how strapped for time I am.

Do try these recipes and let me know whether you like them. I love hearing back from you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

minty salad

i love anything made with mint but the leaves of mint get very small during rains.....or so happens in my garden and i have to rely on the dried mint powder i make when it is in abundance........i did the same with this recipe...

but wait ...i have to tell you about this fruit first....i saw this in old Delhi and bough it was a small musk melon like fruit which i knew was the phut as it is called in UP......i had tasted it once and was seeing this after , say, 20 years, it is actually a rural fruit n you do not expect it in cities.....someone was confused about what it is and did an extensive research and later came up with an exotic looking recipe...

in the western countries it is called lemon cucumber and probably you'd get it in the farmers market around your town....this is a ripened fruit though..

i made a simple salad which will be very good i knew as it is tried n tested with soft flesh fruits...see the mango salad ...

just peel and deseed the phut and make into small cubes..

in a separate bowl mix a few leaves of mint, a tsp of sugar ( or more if you like it sweeter) , and 1/4 tsp of kala namak.......crush everything together so that the mint leaves get macerated..
i did not get many mint leaves in the garden , so i used the powder too.......

throw in the phut melon pieces into the bowl with dressing , toss and wait for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to soak in........

enjoy as a snack or with your can even be a dessert for me n i had it like this.

i have two more phut left n will come up with two more recipes i hope...:)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

minty pumpkin

i found a huge pumpkin in the market the other day...the flesh was deep yellow and the skin very fresh green.......bought a slice immediately and roasted this way to get the perfect flavor of healthy pumpkin...

it was simple as i roasted it in a flat bottomed frying pan as tossing the long fingers of pumpkin was easy this way.....a tsp of extra virgin olive oil , 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder , 1/2 tsp of dried mint powder , salt to taste and a tsp of amchoor powder is needed to roast about 200 gm of pumpkin fingers...........

first i tossed everything except amchoor powder, together and let it rest for about 15 minuts....

heat another tsp of olive oil in the pan and throw in the marinated pumpkin fingers......on medium heat let it brown on all sides ......toss to turn or use a fork to turn them .......

add amchoor when cooked n browned but not mashed.......toss and serve immediately as a side...

oven roasted version would be better's a matter of convenience though....

see another healthy recipe of pumpkin and it's benefits regarding wt. loss here........