Monday, November 30, 2009

three gobis wonder....a low fat curry made in one simple step


Somebody requested a recipe of knol khol ( ganth gobhi ) which is a very nutritive vegetable , full of antioxidants ...but it's smell and taste is not very good on it's own , you have to treat this veggie in a special way to make a great tasting curry , i use it mostly for my multigrain soups   but using this veggie for an everyday curry , when it is hidden behind some very obvious winter veggies ( for a suspicious husband ) is fun , especially if it is a one step curry ( crock pot style ) dunk everything in the pressure cooker n get a fresh looking and yummy subzi to eat with you roti or chawal...for me it's multigrain rotis most of the time....

This is a recipe using three types of gobi ...the cauliflower , cabbage and the ganth gobi as the knol khol is called in hindi ... i love adding green peas to this curry but this season the peas have become pricy and i am using them scarcely.....go ahead and add the peas or boiled kabuli chana or chick peas and you will be amazed to see this simple recipe being polished off silently........

ingredients...

the veggies...
knol khol 1 bulb with all it's leaves chopped up
cauliflower 10-12 florets
cabbage chopped roughly 1/4th of a whole cabbage
tomatoes chopped  2 large
green chillies chopped 1 tbsp
ginger chopped 1 tbsp
1 cubed potato and a handful of green coriander leaves which i decided to add in the last moment 

the marinade...
 fresh curds 1 cup
cumin  2 tsp
black peppercorns 2 tsp
cloves 3
black cardamom 1
cinnamon 1 inch piece
turmeric powder 1 tsp
ghee 2 tsp

pound all the spices in a mortar n pestle and keep aside...


procedure...

First of all smear ghee on the inside of cooker pan , now throw in all the chopped veggies inside the cooker pan , the curds, the pounded spice powder and turmeric powder ...give it a good mix add salt to taste and place the cooker on very low heat , cover it with the lid and cook till the first whistle blows...it will take longer time as you are cooking on very low flame.....


The subzi is ready by the first whistle  , take it off heat and let it cool n release pressure by itself.........open the cooker to get a fresh n nice aroma and be happy that you are going to have a healthy meal......



The curry is cooked with curds and the veggies release some juices too so you get a fair amount of gravy into it ...not seen in the picture because it is placed into a deep bowl , if you want a dryish curry you can cook it uncovered for a while till you get a desired consistency of gravy ...i did not do that and enjoyed the curry with multigrain chapatis..

Ooooh...can you see any ganth gobi in it ?? 

P.S.  As few of my friends could not recall this veggie , i am posting a picture of this veggie called Knol khol , Kohl rabi , Ganth gobi , Naval kol and Monj etc. eyc. in different languages.... i clicked this picture while buying the veggie as it was looking very fresh......it has to be used with all it's leaves and i did not peel the tuber ...just removed the lower part close to roots...


Saturday, November 28, 2009

fenugreek n dill curried rice with sweet corn / soya methi wali tahiri


Fresh green leafy greens are the best winter veggies for me and i use them to the fullest, fenugreek leaves are a favorite with both of us and we can have it in any combination .....

I tried this methi rice last year for the first time and it was an instant hit at my place , i made it with daliya too and it was yummy with all the fragrance of methi and freshly ground spices , now it is an oft repeated recipe and though i made it many times last year i did not post any apart from this one with daliya sans the picture ...i was a new blogger then n was unsure of posting the pictures as it was just a recipe resource blog for friends ( whom i had been mailing recipes endlessly...) .
 I made this tahiri or pulav ..whatever you like to call it....it is actually a curried rice , made the way curries are made ...it is a complete meal in itself and is full of fiber .

I make it with with peas , soya nuggets , cauliflowers n potatoes etc. etc. and this time i made it with sweet corn kernels.....any additive of your choice will be great and this recipe is good even without any additive.. you are using a lot of fenugreek and dill leaves for better.

ingredients...

rice 1 cup
chopped methi leaves 2 cup tightly packed ( made into a paste is even better)
dill leaves 1 cup coarsely pasted 
tomatoes 3 nos.( pureed)
sweet corn kernels 1 cup
grated ginger 1 tbsp
finely chopped green chillies 1 tbsp or to taste
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
water 2 cups
ghee 1 tbsp

spice mix for the tahiri

coriander seeds 2 tsp
cumin seeds 1.5 tsp
black pepper corns 1.5 tsp or more
cinnamon 1 stick
star anise 1 flower ( do not omit this as it makes the dish very flavorful)
shahi jeera 1/2 tsp
black cardamom 1 no.
grind everything together to make a coarse powder
procedure...


Heat ghee in a pan ( i end up using my wrought iron kadai even for this as it has very thick base)...and thorow in the ginger and green chillies , followed by chopped methi leaves and the powdered spice mix with turmeric powder n salt......keep stirring till methi leaves turn mushy and the spice mix gets aromatic .


Now pour in the tomato paste and the dill paste and stir for a while ...2-3 minutes to mix everything properly.


Add the sweet corns and washed rice , stir fry for 2 more minutes as the rice gets firm during dry cooking and remains fluffy after cooking....even when you cook it in less ghee.

add water and let it come to boil....



Cover and cook till done on very low heat.....you can keep a hot tawa under the pan if your pan is not a thick base one...you have to ensure slow cooking at this stage to develop the flavors well.


This is the most fragrant vegetarian rice preparations i make and is very very healthy and even fit for a weight loss diet , if you notice the recipe uses 2 cups tightly packed of methi , a cup of dill leaves and about 1.5 cup of tomatoes for a cup of rice....so you can imagine the fiber content of the final dish , the sweet corn make it even better in this regard......this quantity serves 3-4 when served with a cucumber raita or any side dish made with curds ..........eating your rice intelligently when you are on diet is not that difficult.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

can pakode be substituted with something on a rainy day? have a shallow fried pakoda I say



It rained in Delhi a few days back and the winter season got a good boost, otherwise it was looking like we will not be able to see any real winter this year .......

All our memories of a happy rainy days are soaked with pakode and chai and if it's a winter rain you can't stop yourself from indulging. The masala chai needs an appropriate companion but what to do when you are bent over avoiding fried stuff.

Not to worry. Think smart. You'll get the dose of great veggies with some protein and very little fat. Good fat if you are using mustard oil. (unfortunately this indigenous oil is ignored for it's omega 3s content and the olive oil has become fashionable).

Believe me if I say you will eat the pakode in 1 tbsp of oil (serving 2 for tea) ....

I am tempted to tell about a friend of Arvind who used to frequent our place with his wife in the evenings. Knowing that this guy loves pakode I tried making different kind of pakode for him every time.....mostly this kind of low oil ones.........he used to say that he loved the pakode or samose which were filled with oil (the ones where the oil gets soaked inside accidentally) and used to look for them in the plate. He never found one on my plate of pakode as I would feel a sadistic pleasure looking at him sometimes. Sometimes I used to deep fry spinach pakodas for him too being a good host.

 And his wife used to tell me ...apke pakode kha ke bilkul heavy nahi lagta....waise to hame flatulence hota hai pakode kha ke..... I never told them it was the oil..

Now when both of us got transferred to different places he remembers my pakode every time he talks to Arvind over phone. Pakode make good food memories. They make great snacks too but we need to be careful with the oil it soaks up. Try shallow fried pakode and you would never deep fry them.

ingredients...

vegetables of your choice cut into small pieces (i used a cup of cauliflower florets and 3/4 cup of green parts of spring onions ... only half of the batter got used for making the pakode seen in picture, other half of the batter was used the next day)

ajwain (omum ) seeds 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
green chillies 3, ginger 1/2 inch and 3 cloves of garlic made into a paste
salt to taste
besan or chickpea flour 2 heaped tbs or a bit more, just enough to coat the veggies
mustard oil 1 tbsp for one batch (this quantity makes two batches)

procedure...

mix all the ingredients, except the oil to make a thick batter.

now heat a thick base kadai (i used my cast iron one which behaves like nonstick) or a nonstick one..and pour 3/4 tbsp of oil and coat the kadai ....

spread half of the mixture in the kadai and let it cook on low heat till you make your tea....i made masala chai with it.........

 

drop 1/4 tbsp of the oil on top of this and flip over the mix....when you see it has browned on the cooked side......



it breaks into pieces when you flip this ....let it be like this...and if it does not break it means you added extra besan .....which makes the pakode less crisp .....let it break happily and cook till your masala chai is ready and it gets browned on the other side too....repeat with the next batch if you need...or use the mixture next day.......

Serve immediately with tea and see how yummy it is.......the cauliflowers will be nice and crunchy and the spring onions will be wilted and yet very fresh n flavorful.........use veggies taking care their texture .......spinach with all it's stalks or roughly chopped cabbage comes out really well too...



sometimes I make this pakode with soaked and ground paste of chana daal and that is very tasty too.......

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

low fat gobhi methi malai (?) curry | a cauliflowers and potato curry with cashew nut paste...



Whenever I make a gravy curry of gobhi aaloo it's always with boiled potatoes , somehow i do not like the raw potatoes cooked with cauliflowers in a gravy dish or tari as it is called in Hindi ....and the tari or gravy should just be coating the veggie pieces and not be very thin . But this kind of gravy becomes a bit fatty as a thick creamy and saucy gravy needs fatty ingredients and the subzi becomes heavy.

 Needless to say this is another recipe of a light subzi which may be  for a party purpose (though the photos do not look party worthy but be assured it will be vanished in no time no matter how much you cook ) or whenever you want a creamy kind of curry...

Before proceeding for the recipe I have something to say, of course you can ignore this and go straight to the recipe as this is for a few people who have been asking me for low fat recipes for day to day cooking. Most of these friends are young professionals who want simple and quick recipes low on fat as they do not have much time to toil in the kitchen and yet they want tasty home cooked food. I actually appreciate all such busy professionals (who are great foodies for sure but beginners as far as cooking is concerned) who prefer home cooked food over takeaways and home deliveries. I also find myself in that category of busy people, in a way that I am a full time nursemaid and homemaker, though I have the luxury of flexi-hours. My recipes are always simple and quick and as I am myself on a weight management diet, they are all low fat and n high fiber at this point, thoough I insist that fats of the good types are essential for the body.

So when busy people want good food , they need not go out, and when they want to pack nutrition and taste both at the same time in a low fat dish which doesn't give them guilt pangs , they should try and be innovative, just keep in mind the food flavors you enjoy most , it is the spices and condiments, not the layer of fats in a curry you crave for. So go with the spices and drop the fats used for frying.

You would love it for the happiness it gives you to be able to feed your family a guilt free and yummy meal.

This aloo gobi is one such guilt free creamy subzi where no cream is used and still it looks and tastes creamy.....
ingredients...

cauliflower cut into florets 2 cups (400 gm)
boiled , peeled and cubed potatoes 2 medium sized
(if you are making a large quantity cut the pieces in big chunks)
coriander powder 2 tsp, cumin and black pepper powders 1 tsp each (I use my everyday curry masala)
strong garam masala powder 1 tsp (I use my special garam masala )
turmeric powder 1 tsp
ginger 1 inch piece, garlic 5 cloves and green chilies 5-6, made into a paste
dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi 1 heaped tbsp (I used home dried leaves)
fresh curds 2 tbsp
cashews 12-15 nos. (I used tukda kaju 2 tbsp)
salt to taste
ghee 2 tsp
whole cumin seeds 1 tsp
bay leaf 1 (I did not use this as my everyday curry masala powder has it)

procedure...

Heat ghee in a thick base kadai and throw in the cumin seeds and wait till they splutter.

Add the ginger garlic green chilly paste and bay leaf ( if using )and stir for 30 seconds....add the veggies and on low heat keep them stirring and frying till they become pinkish brown...adding salt will quicken the process..

Add all the powder masalas and keep stirring on low heat. I prefer to add some extra black pepper powder as I like it a bit hot.....your choice...

Meanwhile powder the cashew in small jar of mixie and then add curds to it and whiz one more time to make a paste of curds and cashews..

When the masalas get aromatic and kind of stick to the base of kadai, add the crushed methi leaves and stir for a minute to get them aromatic..

A little dash of water may be needed in between stir frying the veggies as less ghee is being used , covering intermittently will help..

When the methi gets aromatic , add the cashew curds paste and a little water to make a curry of coating consistency...stir quickly to mix for a minute , cover and put off heat.

Let it rest for 2-3 minutes before serving as the flavors blend well during this time...this curry keeps well in the fridge (in freezer if made without potatoes) and the flavor improves ...


Enjoy with rotis or naan or parathas.....you will not have any leftovers I am sure. I never have and this time actually it vanished in no time and the poor guys could not get a third helping.....:)

 I chose to polish off the serving bowl with a piece of roti...can't afford to waste any tasty bit of this...:)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

mushrooms with spring onions ....a flavorful stir fry..



The most favorite dry fry of mushrooms is a butter fried mushrooms with salt n lots of pepper......fried in lots of butter not to mention...:)

But that is thing of past for me because i have found healthier ways of cooking my veggies.....we eat mushrooms very frequently and have taken pictures of many of the recipes but mushrooms cooked in a pasta sauce and a mushroom soup are the only recipes of mushrooms i have posted here...lazy me.....will surely post more mushroom recipes as i have promised a couple of foodies to post more light subzi recipes.....and mushrooms themselves are so light as a veggie........

This recipe is a dry fry made in mustard oil following a bengali style of cooking i saw here and got drooling......i tweaked a bit as green is the essential color my food should have and it was a super yummy combo.............it uses a much ignored spice in my kitchen and that is onion seeds.....which is not actually onion seeds and is called nigella ....... i'll have to stock up on this nigella seeds in my kitchen now as this recipe was liked by Arvind too even after being so hot.....

Also i always believe that the most tasteful recipes are the ones which use minimal seasonings and spices and are simple to cook....this dish confirms my belief further....it uses only nigella , green chillies and turmeric powder for seasoning........

ingredients

mushrooms 150 gm chopped in quarters
spring onions ( green part only) 1cup tightly packed
nigella seeds 3/4 tsp
green chillies finely chopped 4-5 nos. ( according to tolerance level )
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to tatse
mustard oil 1 tsp ( should not be replaced as any other oil will give a different taste )

procedure

heat oil in a kadai and pop in the nigella seeds and wait till they get aromatic , now throw in the chopped green chillies and let them get whitish.......add the turmeric powder and immediately dunk in the chopped mushrooms and salt to taste .......stir fry on medium high heat ( if using more oil you can stir fry at high heat too) till mushrooms reduce in size and get some pinkish patches .

throw in the chopped spring onions and keep stirring till they become soft and cling to the mushrooms and the flavors get soaked in....remove from heat and serve immediately...it takes less than 5 minutes to cook for this quantity...

The aroma of turmeric and nigella combines unbelievably and the green chillies make it hot......it was very hot with 4 hot green chillies but with whole wheat rotis it was a delight to have........young paratha eating people can enjoy it with parathas too.....

This can be enjoyed as a grilled sandwich filling or a standalone salad if the heat is kept low with just one green chilly.....will be great for a light lunch ........

Friday, November 20, 2009

gobi alu made healthy ..... and the idea of comfort food...bachpan ka khana

I remember the subzi we used to eat when we were children...all food we ate in those times becomes comfort food when we grow up......we crave for those things later, and want to recreate those things again....what do you do when you have grown up eating aaloo parathas daily for breakfast with a dollop of butter melting over it , or the subzis made with liberal quantities of oil eaten with parathas or puris ......the thought of the subzis of my childhood is definitely mouthwatering , but at the same time i remember that it left a pool of oil in the plate after finishing the meal........many people of my generation would remember ads of a dish wash powder where the guest touches the clean plate to feel any oily stains...........that's how it is , if your plates are oily after finishing the meal , you must think about it.

Don't you think we should be very careful while eating with growing up children , as when we serve those shahi , makhni and butter gravies feeling very happy about it , butter paneer masala , shahi paneer , butter chicken et. al. is considered special while daal palak is so ordinary and not worthy to be happy about......... gobi manchurian is special while a plain aaloo gobi is mundane n boring.........

Can you imagine a day when your child chooses daal palak over shahi paneer or a beans stirfry over butter paneer masala........do you think that you are responsible for the choices your child makes regarding food........when you make the shahi-makhni- butter paneer you announce happily to your child...aaj mamma ne shahi paneer banaya hai n when you make a daal palak or beans stirfry you serve the food with a sorry look............isn't it a negative conditioning we do to the child regarding food choices.

I am not against eating those rich n shahi gravies...i enjoy eating them once in while but it is not my comfort food......and i had to think about it with a conscious mind that i have better choices regarding nutrition and taste .........my childhood cravings were different n it took a lot of precious time to relearn and unlearn so
many things along the way...............

Serving a healthy colorful salad as a special dish ( with the same excitement ) or making the daal palak more flavorful n enjoying it happily as a family is such a good idea, don't you think your child will be a lot more sure about the healthy choices in life when you condition him/her accordingly........

Aaloo gobi is a regular on an Indian plate during winters and there is nothing special about it.....just pick up a piece of gobi n you notice oil steeped into the florets and some left on the plate too.......it has to be fried till brown ( perfectly) in oil and then the masala added....it was made this way in my house n i remember my mom saying ...it still has the gobi smell if the gobi was not bhunoed (fried) properly....even i liked it that way then , but when we make healthy changes we know that there are better ways to make it tastier , and that the gobi smell is the pleasant flavor of the gobi which you want to preserve , not to be overpowered by masala or killed by frying.

If i talk about making a low fat stirfry, it is easier and healthier as i have said earlier too.....just take care to cook the veggies in it's own juices on low heat...the fresh flavor of the veggies should be preserved to get the maximum taste...

Do me a favor and think about the gobi manchurian...........the taste is awesome and you crave for it sometimes...now think about all the varieties of manchurian...mushrooms, potatoes or the veggie balls.........do they taste different?...............to me taste of all these is the same ( we are talking about the flavor) and the only contribution of gobi to a manchurian is it's texture and the crevices of it's florets where all the sauce n it's flavor gets lodged to please your palate..........where is the taste of gobi......the gobi has reduced to being the carrier of a great innovative sauce here.......

What i want to convey here is that if you like gobi nourishing your body and pleasing your palate , both at the same time , you have to think of a better way to cook it.....cook it till just al dante' , spice it up with whatever you like and see how you like it.........

Now see my way of doing it...........


ingredients... cauliflower chopped into florets 2 cups , potatoes diced 3/4 cup
ginger , garlic and green chillies chopped finely ..a tbsp each
turmeric powder 1 tsp
cumin , coriander and black pepper powders  2 tsp each
whole cumin seeds 1 tsp
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
green coriander leaves chopped to garnish

procedure...
chop the florets of gobi and a few potatoes if you really like the combo...
heat a tbsp of mustard oil in a thick base kadai and drop in a tsp of cumin seeds , after a few seconds throw in a tbsp each of ginger , garlic n green chillies finely chopped , stir and quickly add the chopped potatoes and salt to taste ...cook covered for a couple of minutes.
uncover and add the turmeric powder, cumin, black pepper and coriander powder ( i use my everyday curry powder) and mix well.
now throw in the chopped gobi florets , mix to coat with the masala powders , cover again for a couple of minutes....till the gobi is cooked but still al dante'...or cook till completely done but not mushy.....sprinkle chopped green coriander and serve hot with chapattis.

the soft yet crunchy gobi with lightly mushed potatoes in this stirfry makes it yummy with this hot masala sprinkling ...and the fresh green coriander flavor enhances the freshness of gobi......the taste of this simple stirfry differs when you add the ingredients in a different succession.....so be careful to keep the freshness intact........

If you want this mundane looking stirfry a face lift ( i would like to call it a tatse lift ) , you can add a cup of chopped cabbage instead of green coriander leaves , or along with them...give it a stir in the last minute of cooking and see hoe the stirfry changes it's aroma , it's appearance and  taste.....

 the crunch provided by cabbage adds to the freshness and you get more fiber, more nutrients in the same dish , using the same amount of oil.....tastes great with chapatis and as a stuffing for grilled sandwiches ....or even parathas.......

And if you want to make the same stirfry infused in a lovely aromatic herb......use a lot of dill greens in a final finishing step..........you'd love it ......we just had this for dinner tonight......mad extra hot with green chillies...the dill leaves make a pleasant surprise on the table with it's refreshing aroma when the lid is opened..........take a deep breadth and inhale dill..........then enjoy it with hot n soft chapatis........

use the dill leaves along with it's stems as you can see here.......it becomes soft and gives more flavor...and texture to the finished dish.....i love to sponge off the last bits of these greens sticking in the bowl...

more recipes of healthy  subziyan will be seen here in the coming posts....all the local and seasonal vegetables.......cooked just right for a person who wants to stay fit , and for all those kids who need to learn healthy eating habits...................... stay tuned ....

What do you feel about the bachpan ka khana....the fond memories.....the food which we grow up eating.......??

Sunday, November 15, 2009

plaintain and beans...making healthier subzis

I have been getting a lot of queries about light subzis, both curries and stir fries,     and I realised that though I make such subzis every single day, I haven't posted many of them. I keep taking pictures of them and listing the ingredients in the drafts but somehow while posting I get impulsive to post something else......mostly something which we liked as a weekend lunch ...he he...

Blogging about the day to day food here has given me immense satisfaction, many strangers have become friends and chat with me and mail me regularly, it was not in my wildest imagination when I started with these blogs........it feels good that somebody is trying your recipes and wants more ideas about healthy cooking every day.....many restaurant like curries with fancy ingredients are abound on the net but what is cooked in an average middle class household in India is very different from that, especially when we want to eat healthy yet tasty food day after day, using seasonal and cheap ingredients. Incidentally, the first criteria of a middle class homemaker going to cook a daily meal for her family is seasonal food.

Having said that, I must admit that cooking healthy subzis (especially low on cooking fat) is a big challenge for a traditional Indian homemaker (anybody who cooks on a daily basis for that matter)...our curries are made with deep fried vegetables cooked in a masala paste which is again cooked in a fatty medium, resulting into a bowl of curry which comes to your table with a thick layer of oil or ghee floating on top. Most of us want healthier options, many of us cook healthier versions too. A light subzi for me is something like a warm salad or a light stir fry which is meant to be eaten like a main course with minimal grain consumption (grain is roti or rice for us).....you get more vegetable and less grain in each meal this way........

My way of cooking a low fat subzi is based on cooking on low flame, with lid to shorten cooking time, avoiding gravies which essentially requires fat to be made, using spices and herbs liberally to enhance flavors and cooking the subzi just at the time of serving to get the most flavorful experience. Some of these subzis keep well in the fridge as well....

Apart from making the subzi low fat I try and include more fiber into them and try new combinations regularly, using fresh seasonal veggies is the key to get it right ALWAYS. Ibsometimes replace potatoes with plantains for example, making the subzi healthier .....read on..


Plantains are a tasty substitute of potatoes for me sometimes, I cook them with skin on which is a surprise for many, but the taste and the texture of the finished recipe is good, we like the plantain bhujia very much ...though I have never tried fried plantain chips with skin on but whatever stir fry preparations I make with it , the skin tastes yumm.

And while making the kele ka kofta , I just peel a thin layer with a potato peeler, boil it and mash to proceed, the fiber in the skin makes the kofte more spongy to absorb more flavor from the gravy (not the kind of low fat subzi we are talking about right now).....

I thought of substituting potatoes with plantains mainly because Arvind likes potatoes so much that it should be regularly on his plate. After realizing that he eats plantains with equal interest I started thinking of using it more often, as we make a lot of subzis using potatoes in combination like aaloo matar, aaloo baingan and aaloo sem etc. , I started using plantain here....so plantain and peas (kela matar) and plantain and flat beans (kaccha kela sem). The combo is so yummy and healthy, full of fiber and goodness of plantains (potatoes are good too but there should be a change )...

Plantains are rich in low GI carbohydrate (good for diabetics), dietary fiber, Vitamins (A, B6 and C) and minerals (Potassium)...........it is so rich in potassium that it is prescribed for those having low levels of potassium in their blood, Potassium in plantain is good for heart and helps prevent from hypertension and heart attack. It is also rich in Magnesium and phosphate. The Vitamins (A, B6 and C) help maintain vision, good skin and immunity.

On the other hand the sem or Indian broad beans are rich in Vit A, B6 and C along with some micro nutrients too, has very low GI and loads of dietary fiber....it's much like the french beans...low cal health food...

I make a very basic n simple stir fry with these two veggies, just split into two and then slice the plantain, with skin of course....I used 3 medium sized Indian plantains...


chop the sem too into small bits....I used a cup of them.....


Heat mustard oil 1 tbsp in a kadai (I used a cast iron kadai so the subzi turned out dark in color (I love it this way) and throw in a tsp of cumin seeds and let it splutter, throw in the chopped veggies into the kadai and stir to coat with oil......add salt to taste and keep stirring to cook evenly...


After about 3-4 minutes add 2 tbsp of ginger - garlic and green chilly paste  a pinch of turmeric powder and a tsp of cumin powder...mix well and add a tbsp or two of water so that the subzi doesn't get burnt (if using oil liberally it will not be needed )..

Cover the kadai for 2-3 minutes to cook properly, open the lid and mix .....mashing the plantains a bit if you wish. Fry(bhuno) some more till it is a dry stir fry subzi and serve hot with roti n daal or chawal n daal ...you may like to add a bit of amchoor powder in the last...or lemon juice....I use it occasionally with this....

and finally the ingredient list  
plantains 2-3 (250 gm)
sem or broad beans 1 cup ( 200 gm)
ginger-garlic and green chilly paste made with equal quantity of all three 2 tbsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
cumin powder 1 tsp
amchoor powder 1 tsp (optional)
mustard oil 1 tbsp
whole cumin 1 tsp
salt to taste


.................a healthy subzi which is light and can be made as hot as you wish , simple but flavorful......

.......................more low fat and light subzis are coming soon.....stay tuned............

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

tofu n veggies in a hot peanut sauce



I had seen an interesting recipe at SJ's blog which she had warned that it's high calorie but looked so yummy that i got curious.... she had followed a recipe from Nag's blog , and i followed the link to find the recipe there.....i knew that i'd love the dish n i did ...... and i realized that both of them have taken awesome pictures and mine are so pathetic .....sobs!!

I tried the recipe soon after seeing and that was about 3 months back .....  but why i am so late in posting??

One reason is .....just please go n see those pics SJ and Nags have posted........okay...and the second reason is my insomniac mind who works with his own whims n fancies ( yes my brain is male n that's why doesn't cooperate with me sometimes).............

And hey there is a peanut butter story here too...it's me here....i do not like any of the peanut butter available here.........so once i had tried a homemade PB recipe using roasted peanuts n olive oil with a pinch of salt n sugar n it was yummy..........but here i did grind the PB with all the other ingredients n it was an awesome sauce ...believe me.....and my tofu is homemade too.....so i can say that the recipe is completely made from scratch...( i made the soy milk , then the tofu , the PB sauce.........imagine guys how industrious i am ) ..... and after doing all this effort i did not post the recipe........shame on me...!!

 The recipe is a bit high calorie but as the peanuts are a low GI food it's good for you and when combined with high fiber veggies it become all the more healthy.....fills you up for long.......and when you make it hot , tell me how much you can eat??

ingredients...

for the sauce..

roasted peanuts without skin 1/2 cup
dry whole red chillies 5 nos.
garlic cloves 3 nos.
ginger 1 inch piece chopped
juice of one lemon
extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
soy sauce 1 tbsp
tomato ketchup 1 tbsp
jaggery 2 tsp
salt is not needed as the soy sauce has enough salt but you can adjust after making the sauce


for the veggies..
tofu cubed 1/2 cup
green beans chopped 1/2 cup
carrots julienne 1/2 cup
lotus stem chopped in slices 1/2 cup
spring onions 1/2 cup
EVVO 1 tsp

procedure...

Grind all the ingredients for the sauce together till creamy , you may need to add just a bit of water ( 2 tbsp)..


Now saute all the veggies in oil till cooked but do not let them soggy.......first throw in the lotus stem slices as they take longer to cook ...after 5 minutes add all the other veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes more on medium flame  ...

Mix  the veggies with the sauce and enjoy this super hot dish with boiled brown rice or with noodles or just anything.......i enjoyed it with whole wheat spiral pasta .......yummy....



If it is too hot for you , as it was for poor Arvind ( not much of a chilly person...not like me at least ) who loved the taste n wanted to have more but his nose n ear red....:) ...he added some more tomato ketchup n had another helping ........you do the same , or simply use less chillies..

The lotus stems tasted so yummy in this dish that  the other veggies seemed to be non existent.....though the recipe can be made with just the tofu or with chicken ...but after trying lotus stem ...i think this wonder recipe is going to work with just anything......i have to make it again....very soon n hopefully i'll post a nice picture this time.......
enjoy!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

corn grits with veggies


Corn daliya or corn grits is not easily available now a days. I took the advantage of a neighboring floor mill and asked the owner to make this daliya for me, I remember my grandmother would arrange for this daliya from her village sources and she would get two versions of corn daliya. One version was a roasted corn daliya which was ready to eat, just soak in hot milk for a while and eat like a breakfast cereal, it used to be fun to see that as it would soak all the milk in the bowl and get dry so we would add more milk to eat that. It was fun to see the milk disappear when we were kids. The other version was unroasted corn daliya which is like corn grits in western countries. This one used to be fried into ghee first and boiled with milk to make a kheer like porridge. The corn daliya was yummy both ways. Daadi (my grandmother) used to call it makai ka darra.

So the chakki wala ( loor mill owner) obliged after several requests and I got the grits freshly milled. Wanted to make a savory version apart from those old favorites so I combined it with colorful veggies and made it into an upma like dish, and I loved the outcome. I have been making such recipes with wheat daliya forever, but with corn daliya the dish was so very colorful. The pictures are pathetic as sometimes I click as I am moving  in a hurry, cell phpne pictures at that....too bad...but it's so yummy and healthy that pictures are not needed to justify the goodness.....:)   Right!!

This recipe is good for weight loss as it is packed with fiber and nutrients and very low calorie, keeps you full and satiated for hours and I have seen it's effectiveness along with my multigrain soup for slow and steady weight loss....if only one could stick to such healthy breakfast for longer periods of time.....but I know I am doing the best possible in my situation ...:)

ingredients....

corn grits 1/3 cup soaked in 1 cup of thin buttermilk overnight and kept in the fridge
assorted veggies chopped finely 2 cups ( i used red cabbage and green beans)
garlic, ginger and green chillies finely chopped 1 tbsp each
salt to taste
black pepper powder 1 tsp or more.
lemon juice 1 tsp ( if the buttermilk is not enough for you)
chopped coriander leaves 1 tbsp
extra virgin olive oil or ghee 1 tsp

procedure...

Take EVOO or ghee in a pan and throw in the chopped garlic first  without heating the oil, fry the garlic on medium heat and throw in the green chilly and ginger too...after a few seconds add all the chopped veggies and salt and pepper and keep stirring till the veggies are semi cooked ....there should be crunch in the veggies n they should not get soggy.......

Now throw in the soaked corn grits too, mix properly, cover and let it cook for minute.......sprinkle lemon juice and coriander leaves and it's ready to be enjoyed.......

I like fresh curds with it, or a tall glass of buttermilk.......and I can have it for any meal of the day.....

I have seen that either this kind of corn or wheat daliya with veggies or the multigrain soup , if taken at least once in a day while avoiding deep fried stuff (eating the usual daal chawal and stuffed parathas made in minimum oil or ghee is okay) and doing mild exercise ....helps in a steady weight loss....which does not come back on you......try this as many of my real life friends have benefited.......

other versions of such fiber rich recipes made with wheat daliya ...

baby corn with dalya
  
brussels sprouts with couscous

daliya tahiri

methi pulav with daliya

dates laddoo with flaxseeds and sesame


Dates are considered energy giving and healing food , it heals the disturbances of intestines and is a mild but effective laxative .They are also considered a tonic food especially for heart weakness and as a convalescence food , boiling the dates with milk or even water makes it a easily digestible tonic food.

Dates have 32 mg of Calcium, 35 mg of Magnesium, 40 mg Phosphorus and 652 mg potassium per 100 gm weight ...rich in Vit A , Bcomplex and folic acid.....and 20 different types of amino acids and selenium to keep the immune system healthy....truly qualified to be called a super food.

They are good for weight loss diets also as they satisfy your sweet tooth by their intense flavor and do not cause craving for more sweet food like other refined sugar products . A single date has 23 kcal energy and it becomes a good substitute for sweets and when combined with omega 3 rich flax seeds and sesame the dates become super nutritious and healthy food...

Fresh dates are sticky in texture and i sometimes use it as a natural sweetener and a binder for a sweetmeat preparation.......this laddoo is simple to make but it's yummy if you like dates......... flax seeds and sesame have a nice nutty flavor and add to the taste of dates in this preparation toasted almonda can be powdered coarsely and added to this mixture if you do not like flax seeds and sesame .......

To prepare the laddoos you just need a few minutes to chop the deseeded dates...


 roast 3 tbsp each of flax seeds and sesame in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, cool and grind to make a coarse powder in mixie....


now add a cup of chopped dates in the jar and run the mixie for a few more seconds to combine the dates and the seeds together.........


and now take out , and make small balls and roll to make laddoos.......it keeps well on room temperature , but consume it within a few days as the oils in the flax seeds and sesame may become rancid after exposure to air...make fresh again whenever needed ...it's just so quick n easy...

enjoy......

Monday, November 2, 2009

healthy pao bhaji made from scratch | a pumpkin based bhaji and home baked pav, home made pav bhaji masala


This pav bhaji is special because the pav is homemade, the bhaji masala is homemade and the bhaji is made with pumpkin. So it's pumpkin bhaji with a homemade pav, as it is made from scratch, the description is a bit long so jump to the recipe if you find the rumblings too much....:):)

Pav bhaji is something which comes in the category of comfort food for many of us, and like most of the popular foods which have survived the test of time and have been popular as fulfilling street food, aka, pizza, burgers, vada pav and litti chokha, this was also a poor man's food when it was not marketed in the way it is done now. You find pav bhaji masala mix so easily and the pav is always on the shelves of local bakeries. Not to forget every street eatery serving this as a filling meal which most people find suitable for 'anytime meal'.

There is only one problem with this yummy delight when you are enjoying it in the original form, it is soaked and drowned in butter. The pav is literally fried in butter and the bhaji has a generous topping of butter over it, so much so that when the plate arrives in front of you, it has a pool of butter over the bhaji which overflows and drenches the already drunk pav.

To tell you the truth, I am grown up loving that version of pav bhaji, but now as a sedentary lifestyle and an ageing body, I can't handle that much heaviness in my pav bhaji.


When I started making my low fat version, read butter less version of pav bhaji, I realised the buttery version is so overpowering with all things butter that the real taste of the bhaji and natural softness of bun is overlooked, at least in the north India eateries where I have had pav bhaji till date.

I know you wouldn't believe me, but once you eat this version, you'll stick to this whenever you make at home (will tell you more reasons to do so), and many people even don't realize it has no butter, until I tell them. The flavors are so rich that butter is so easily forgotten here.

Before proceeding further, I must say I love this with my whole wheat buns with flax seeds and sesame 
and though I have been making many breads with all the healthy flours, I had never made a white bread, thinking it is so easily available in the market.

Actually I had started making all those healthy breads because they are not so easily available here and if so, are way too costly and always have some APF in it. This time I decided to bake a white bun for pav bhaji and was delighted to see that it was way better than the market ones and I decided never to buy even these white pav again.......


These were so beautiful with soft and airy interiors.............


I made them using fresh yeast and a little bit of fresh home made malai for leavening (instead of butter) and the result was so encouraging that I did not even toast them to serve with the bhaji......it was yummy as it is...


Procedure and ingredient for pav........

To make the buns I used a rectangular pyrex bowl and placed the dough rounds 2 inch apart and greased the sides of the rounds, after the doubling up they got closer and the edges touched each other to make perfect square buns........

Dough was made using all purpose flour (300 gm) with 1/2 tbsp of fresh yeast foamed or proofed in 50 ml of warm water and sugar solution.

1.5 tbsp of fresh homemade malai or cream and just enough warm milk to knead a soft and silky dough.

Rest the dough till it  doubles, punch and knead again to make it more soft and silky and let it rise again once.

When doubled, divide into 6 portions, make smooth balls and keep in the greased rectangular bowl as stated above, wait till balls double and bake in preheated oven till cooked.

I microwaved them for 4 minutes and then grilled them for 8 minutes. Yes you can bake breads in microwave ovens :-)

Now comes the special bhaji........
The bhaji is even more special. I make it with many combinations of veggies but this pumpkin bhaji is my favorite, as it is loaded with fiber and all the antioxidants, AND it is so yummy.

And I cook it in a different manner too. Instead of cooking the veggies together and mashing them later, I fine chop them in my chopper (processor) one by one and keep on adding to the kadai, the chopping and cooking goes on side by side........

ingredients for bhaji....
pumpkin ripe and yellow in color with skin, cubed 500 gm
fully ripe tomatoes 500 gm
boiled potatoes 100 gm
green coriander leaves with stems and chopped finely keeping the stems and leaves separate..100 gm
ginger 2 inch piece
garlic 6 small cloves
onion 1 no or one cup chopped

Ingredients for the masala..

whole dried red chillies 50 gm
whole coriander seeds 50 gm
cumin seeds 25 gm
black peppercorns 25 gm
cinnamon ( Indian) 10 sticks
cloves 25 gm
black cardamoms 6-7 nos.
fennel seeds 25 gm
bay leaves dried chopped with a scissor 10 nos.

dry roast all these or  microwave on medium power for 2 minutes ....cool and grind in in dry grinding jar of your mixie....this is to be kept in an airtight container and this quantity can be used 3-4 times depending on the quantity you are making..........


Amchoor can be added in the bhaji if you feel that the tomatoes are not sour enough......
 ghee 1 tbsp

Procedure for making the bhaji...

Process the ginger garlic and onion together in your chopper or processor OR make a coarse paste in mixie..

Heat ghee in a wide kadai (I used the kadai in which I had made ghee so this much ghee was already coating the kadai), throw in the ginger garlic and onion mix and fry till translucent....

Throw in 3 tbsp of the prepared pav bhaji masala into it and roast till fragrant on low heat......


At this point you may add some additional red chilly powder as I did to get more heat into the bhaji ....or skip if you don't like it hot....it will be very fragrant till now......

Meanwhile process the cubed pumpkin pieces into a chopper and throw into the kadai when the masala gets fragrant.....add salt to taste, mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes or so..


Meanwhile process the tomatoes too into the chopper and just when the pumpkin looks translucent, pour in the tomatoes and chopped coriander stems at this point...the coriander stems added at this point make the bhaji more flavorful........


Mix well and cook covered foe another 5 minutes or so and then add the mashed boiled potatoes and keep stirring and cooking the mixture for a while. You will need to add some water to it as it gets drier after adding mashed potatoes. I added 400 ml of water.....


When it is cooked after about 5-6 minutes of cooking put off the flame and add chopped coriander leaves on top, mix lightly, cover and allow to sit for a while before serving........


Chopped onion tastes good with  pav bhaji ....


You are free to add butter but try it once without butter and I am sure you will dissociate butter with pav bhaji for ever :-)

Enjoy health with good food......healthy food.... :-)