Friday, April 30, 2010


Well, I hate to say this, but it is a case of plagiarism and it was a chance discovery...

Arn't we all foodies smitten with food pictures? Anywhere a picture of food or a drink and our eyes ignore the headlines and pop towards the foodie picture...

This is how I spotted this in The Times Of India yesterday in Delhi Times edition. I thought I have a glass like this n a jug like this and ohh... Ihave this magazine holder too in the background.

Hmm...actually the picture is mine........the Aam panna picture from my blog is lifted without any acknowledgment  and published to remind the Delhiites to re hydrate themselves in this scorching heat. A small acknowledgment could have been better !!!

This is the scan of the  newspaper clip and though the picture is not very clear here you can click here to see my post on summer coolers last year.......

This is the link to the picture published in TOI...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

red cabbage salad in a mustard dressing

Here i am with another quick salad recipe made with cabbage is my garden fresh red cabbage this time ..... full of antioxidants, rich in vitamins A , C and K , rich in minerals like calcium , potassium , iron and manganese............not to forget it is one of the best cancer fighting foods.

It confirms to my philosophy of a large bowl full of a fiber rich raw salad per day in a yummy healthy way...........and it is easy to make ......though chopping the cabbage is a bit time consuming if you are doing it takes me about 3-4 minutes to chop a whole red cabbage in fine shreds by hands......

Making the oil free dressing takes another couple of minutes.......
a tbsp of English mustard ( or 1 tsp of yellow mustard powder)
a tsp or more of finely chopped green chillies
a tsp of vinegar 
and salt to taste ...

Mix with a folk and the dressing is ready .......enough for a medium sized red cabbage ( green cabbage can be used too ) .

Mix the chopped cabbage with the dressing and keep in the fridge till the time of serving..

Tastes good after an hour of mixing and it can be kept in the fridge for two days , though the fresh color of the salad gets a bit dull the next day but the taste enhances , the cabbage becomes soggy and better for filling in a sandwich , a pita pocket or a burger topping .......

I like this salad hot and add more green chillies , the heat of English mustard is quite low but it blends with the green chilly n vinegar to make it hot and tangy ....enhancing the fresh taste of the cabbage.

This salad goes to Yasmeen's Health Nut Challenge Crucial Cruciferous   this is my third entry for the event.

cabbage stir fry in sesame curry paste

I make a sesame powder mix which comes handy when quick stir fried veggies have to be made and it has been very very good with all the vegetables which tend to soften and get mushy after cooking ....the sesame paste makes a rich saucy coating to the stir fries and the flavor of the toasted sesame lends an incredible flavor to the dish......

This sesame powder is a simple blend of dry coconut, dry red chillies and toasted sesame seeds, the making of the powder is so quick that you don't even need to make it in bulk and keep in a jar, though you can always do that for your convenience. I prefer making it instantly as it just requires toasting the sesame seeds in the microwave for a minute and then other ingredients are also toasted for a few seconds, all powdered together in a mixie and ready to go. A few variations with this powder makes it a very intelligent ready to use ingredient........

This stir fry i made a few days ago when some unexpected guests arrived on a short notice, i made this as a side dish and though it was a big kadhai full of this I did not click a single picture because it was not on my mind.

I realized when i was asked for the recipe and whether it is already on the blog, so when i was keeping the leftovers in the fridge i thought of taking a picture and the leftover bowl of the yummy cabbage stir fry comes to you...............sorry !!!

The beauty of this stir fry is not just the sesame powder, but the fact that the cabbage which can give you shudders while chopping chopped very roughly , in large chunks and then it is separated into leafy layers during the cooking process........
The ingredients picture i clicked just now and uploaded on the computer quickly......


for the powder 

2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
1 tbsp dry coconut flakes
  or 5-6 small slices as shown in the picture
3-4 dry red chillies or to taste

for the stirfry...

one large head of fresh cabbage
4 large ripe tomatoes
mustard or any oil 1 tsp
salt to taste
cumin seeds 1 tsp
curry patta 2-3 springs


Microwave the sesame seeds for a minute, add the coconut slices and microwave for another 30 sec, add the red chillies and microwave for just 5 seconds (otherwise you will end up sneezing uncontrollably)..

Alternatively dry roast everything in pan while tossing constantly till aromatic and the sesame seeds start popping.

Cool the mixture and grind together to make a powder, i call it a paste because the oi content of sesame n coconut make it a pasty powder........keep aside.

Chop the cabbage in large chunks, chop the tomatoes in large chunks too.

Heat oil in  a wide pan and throw in the cumin seeds and wait till they splutter, throw in the curry patta and fry them for a couple of seconds.

Add the tomatoes and the salt add keep covered till the tomatoes are soft, open the lid and thrash the tomatoes to make them slushy.

Add the cabbage and mix well, stir and cook for a while till the cabbage gets softer and reduces in volume.

add the sesame powder and keep stirring to mix and to separate the leaves of the cabbage .......the stir fry looks beautiful with curled up cabbage chunks coated with a red saucy masala need to add water as the cabbage releases enough water to make the powder saucy and gets coated.

Serve hot as a side dish or just with chapatis as we had the leftovers ...a good filling for a sandwich too.

It has a nice roasted flavor of sesame seeds and the coconut lends a very nice texture and body to the thick coating sauce ....the tomatoes and curry patta combined with red chillies make a bursting hot n sour flavor to enhance a simple stir fry into a special dish...........second and third helpings should be expected with this...

tomato salsa salad with arugula

This is a salad i made in the winter months when the red radishes and this lovely arugula was growing abundantly in my garden........the salad is north Indian style tomato mash or kachumbar salad where just the tomatoes are cooked and the rest of the ingredients are raw , tomatoes can be chopped raw too but the cooked slush becomes a good medium for a salad dressing .........

The salad is simple as it looks and it was a successful attempt to make the husband eat some arugula which was so abundant in the garden ......full of fiber and the vitamin - mineral category of nutrients , a very very satisfying way to include more vegetables in our meals.


2 fully ripe tomatoes
one red onion
2 small round red radishes
a big bunch of arugula with tender stems
2 green chillies ...more or less to taste
a few springs of green corinder
1 tsp of mustard or olive oil ( i use any one of them n both taste great )
salt to taste


Roast the tomatoes or microwave till soft , peel off the skin , chop roughly and mash with a fork to make a slush.

Chop the radishes in thin quartered slices , chop the onions roughly but thinly and chop the green chillies and green coriander very finely ...keep aside.

Chop the arugula stems finely ans tear the leaves , i have kept the leaves intact as i like more crunch ..

Pour oil in a mixing bowl , throw in the salt , green chillies , green coriander and the arugula stems chopped and the tomato slush ...mix well with a fork .

Add the chopped onions and radishes into the dressing and mix well.

Add the arugula leaves in the last to preserve their crunch , it is advisable to do this last step of mixing the arugula at the time of serving.

Serve with sandwiches or with a regular daal roti ......the salad gives a face lift to any sloppy meal ....... flavorful it is and a big bowlful of this kind of a salad will ensure your raw food / fiber intake for the day...

This salad goes to Yasmeen's Crucial Cruciferous ....i am trying to post a few more recipes to make it for the event.....i love her health nut challenges ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

pasta with barley and assorted vegetables.........

Pasta is one of those favourite meals that we end up eating pasta quite frequently. Pasta keeps making an appearance on our dining table between all those millet breads and multigrain meals that we normally have. I try and make pasta dishes healthy too as a flavorful bowl of pasta is such a comfort food for me that no other foreign origin food could be like this. Not even 2 minute noodles.

I always add loads of vegetables in the pasta I cook. All possible colours of the season and some more grains in the form of pearl barley or Barnyard millet sometimes.

This kind of food is something my husband loves eating. Any thing other that the usual daal chawal roti subzi routine is welcomed warmly. It does not mean by any chance that I cook only for his choices, the choices are all mine when it comes to food. I am the one who cooks by the way. It's just that I love to see him drool over the food and pick up all those things which he earlier used to pick and chuck into the sink. Yes I have survived that :-)

Isn't that a great excuse to cook for someone. On a serious note, eating healthy and cooking healthy for the daily meals is all the more important for us. Healthy eating is a conscious choice as there are so many other things in life which we cannot choose. Healthy pleasurable eating we can......always...even in a frugal kitchen like mine....

I know the assorted vegetables I have used for this pasta is not considered frugal by any means in our country. Zucchini and mushrooms are two such veggies which can be very very costly here. Using these vegetables in peak season makes sense as they come a bit cheaper and are fresh and packed with nourishment as well. And I grow my own oregano. Still a frugal kitchen mine is.

I love lots of garlic into my pasta. Italians may smirk at this kind of garlic going into pasta, they usually season the oil with garlic and remove before proceeding to add other ingredients as they do not like biting into the garlic pieces. But not me. I love all those garlic bits coming in, fried lightly either in butter or olive oil.....look at the picture how much garlic I use for this....


any tubular pasta 1 cup uncooked
pearl barley boiled and drained 1 cup
zucchini chopped 2 cups
mushrooms chopped 2 cups
whole spinach leaves a dozen or more
tomatoes seeds removed n chopped 2 cups
sun dried tomatoes chopped 2 heaped tbsp
garlic chopped finely 1 heaped tbsp
butter 1 tsp
red chilly flakes 1 tbsp
EVOO 2 tbsp


Boil the pasta as per instructions....keep aside.

Heat butter in a pan and dunk in the garlic and sun dried tomatoes at once, even before the butter melts....let it become frothy and the tomatoes release some color.........add the olive oil and dunk in the chopped zucchini and stir fry till a bit soft.........

Add all the veggies and salt and oregano (not tomatoes yet) ...stir fry till the vegetables are cooked but not squishy.....add boiled barley and pasta in the last with tomatoes so that the tomatoes remain firm ....cook for another couple of minutes till the pasta is warmed and tomato pieces are a bit soft yet firm.........

Serve hot and enjoy the juicy veggies with this tangy hot pasta ...the barley tastes like pasta too I must tell you ......and you will never realize that a healthy whole grain has been consumed with such pleasure......

Herbs can be used as per choice. I use oregano and basil mostly (both together or either one of them at a time), just because I grow them in my garden and they are available fresh.

If you don't have access to fresh herbs I would say use the local herbs rather that the dried ones...we don't get good quality dried herbs  here......coriander greens, dill greens and mint is great for this too....

Such meals are happy meals for both of us as I don't have to toil much in the kitchen and we get a colorful, flavorful and healthy meal ........

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

buckwheat : our indiginous desi healthfood and a videshi soup with it | buckwheat tomato bell peppers soup...

Buckwheat soup with tomatoes and bell peppers.

Healthy and superbly tasty. Talking about all the health food has become such a fad that we all have a fairly good knowledge of most of the healthy food around, the only problem is that we do not include those health food in our regular diet.

As if just knowing is enough. Well, most of us think like this. Right ??

buckwheat soup with bell peppers and tomatoes

It is a common thinking that all the healthy ingredients are expensive and that most of them are imported. The reality is quite heartwarming.

So many of the indigenous grains, vegetables, fruits and herbs are there to devour and to be proud of. Only if we stop fancying the avocados and quinoa and the artichokes and the ever so fashionable olive oil. All these imports are wonderful but if we can find locally grown less processed health produce in our own country there is no need to be in awe of these beautifully packaged and efficiently marketed imported health food produce.

We grow so many healthy grains and vegetables which are still consumed in our rural areas, those healthy products are not distributed and marketed well in our country. So much so that when I was talking to a senior cardiologist some time back, he was unaware that flax seed is grown in plenty in our own country (he thought it is an imported product and that is why the flax seed oil and supplements are so costly) he was astonished to know that alsi ka laddo (a sweet meat made with flaxseeds and jaggery) is a traditional recipe. Though I was happy to know that he too thinks that mustard and sesame oils are as healthy as the olive oil.

Isn't it a great respite when we are still grappling with rising prices of essential staples and healthy ingredients seem to be far from the reach of the ''aam aadmi''. The great Indian middle class. It's high time we start hunting for the forgotten treasures. Yes the healthy indigenous grains are not available off the shelf and you will find expensive jars of imported oats, muesli, couscous and polenta jostling for space at your neighborhood store. The grains that I am talking about have to be sourced from wholesale markets and from village sources.

There are so many types of grains grown in our country like bajra, jowar, ragi, kulath, jau, jai, sama, kodo, tinni ka chawal, ramdana, kuttu or rajgira apart from the regular wheat, rice and corn we usually consume. Even the wheat and rice are consumed in their refined form. Right???

And tell me, do you know the names of these grains I just named? Or have seen any of them? You'll surely know them by their English names (or ask me for vernacular names) and all of these grains are available in health food stores all over the world. In our country you'll find them in some desi style grocery stores too, poor marketing to blame!!!

Kuttu is the grain behind soba noodles, the grain which is not a cereal but the fruit seed. Called as Buckwheat. Interestingly it has been used for fasting food (Hindu fasting food) especially during navratri  in our country for time immemorial. There are so many traditional recipes using the grain (pseudo grain) or it's flour and when I posted a savory pancake on my other blog, I received some queries regarding this grain and here I am.

I did not find this grain anywhere in Delhi, though the flour was available during the navratri. Fortunately I had to visit Kanpur for a day and found it there. I found both the groats (called kuttu ka daliya) as well as the whole grains with skin. Groats or the kuttu ka daliya can be used for cooking but the whole seeds are used to make the flour as I was told. But I think grinding the groats at home is the best way to make fresh flour as it is a soft grain and powders easily.

Here is the beautifully shaped groats or kuttu daliya ........

buckwheat groats

And the whole grains with the seed coat........

whole buckwheat

Buckwheat is called the king of healing grains because it is a great prebiotic food, a gluten free grain and is rich in manganese, tryptophan, magnesium and dietary fiber. It is rich in flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients which protect against diseases by extending the action of  Vit. C and acting as antioxidants.

Buckwheat is great for your cardiovascular system, for a better blood sugar control n a lowered risk of diabetes, helps prevent gallstones too, see this link to know more...

The nutrition facts of buckwheat are is not a low calorie grain as one serving of a cup (164 g) contains 567 Calories but when it cooked with vegetables each serving has about half this amount and it can be a great weight loss food.

The soup recipe which I am posting here contains just a tbsp of raw buckwheat per serving. It expands a lot after cooking. Also, it is a low GI food (Glycemic index is 54) and it is suitable for weight watchers for obvious reasons.

I made a simple soup with buckwheat groats after writing the above information for this post and it was such a yummy yet light dinner for the two of us, very very flavorful. Talking about a healthy ingredient always inspires me to cook healthy. Does it have the same effect on you ?


buckwheat groats (kuttu ka daliya) 2 tbsp expands a lot after cooking
fully ripe large tomatoes 2
2-3 fat cloves of garlic
red chili powder 1 tsp or as much you like
1 stick of cinnamon broken into small pieces 
salt to taste
sugar 1 tsp
butter 1 tsp

Any other vegetables of your choice can be added too....


Dry roast the buckwheat groats in a skillet (this is optional but I recommend as it improves the flavor).

Add 500 ml water and salt to taste and boil till cooked. It needs occasional stirring on low heat.

buckwheat soup with bell peppers and tomatoes

This is how it looks after cooking, the water is reduced a bit. I like the buckwheat remaining whole n completely softened after cooking as it gives a nice bite, you can cook more if you like it mushy and pulpy.

Meanwhile chop the garlic finely and make a raw puree of tomatoes in food processor.

Heat butter in another pan and throw in the cinnamon and garlic and fry till the garlic is pink.

Add red chili powder into the pan, stir and immediately pour the raw tomato puree and salt (cooked buckwheat has salt too so be careful) and sugar and cook till the tomato sauce thickens and becomes smooth .
buckwheat soup with bell peppers and tomatoes

You can use tomato concasse or marinara sauce to make this soup too.

Pour onto the cooked buckwheat and add some water (depending on how thick a soup you want) and give it a boil.
buckwheat soup with bell peppers and tomatoes

The soup is ready with all it's simplicity. Bursting with flavors of garlic and tomatoes. Just the way I like it. Basil is a great addition to this soup but I didn't add it this time as it has been a basil overdose in the past couple of days for me.

If you are adding other vegetables you can sautee' the veggies cut in strips with the garlic or even separately and top the soup with it. As I did it this time, I wanted some bell peppers in my soup and as my husband is intolerant to them I sauteed the strips of colored bell peppers in the same pan without any additional butter (the pan in which I made the tomato sauce) and topped my bowl of soup with it. This way we both had our own soups in our favorite smiley bowls.........

buckwheat soup with bell peppers and tomatoes

This soup has prominent flavors of garlic and tomatoes and I like it hot with red chilies, you can adjust the simple seasonings according to your taste and this soup accommodates any  kind of herbs very well. Try it with soba noodles if you don't find any buckwheat groats in your part of the world.

Also, if you avoid garlic and use Himalayan pink salt (sendha namak) instead of table salt in this recipe, it can be had during Navaratri fasting too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

fava beans or bakla : a bean rich in L-dopa | recipe of bakla ki subzi

Fava beans (Bakla)

This vegetable is called as Bakla in Hindi and Fava beans or broad beans in the western world.  Interestingly while trying to find out more about this bean I discovered that it's name is Bakalaink in Balochi language, Baghalee in Persian and  Baqueela in Ethiopia. So the name Bakla might be a descendant from these languages and it may be an import from these regions.

The Fava beans should be cooked properly and never be consumed raw as they can cause jaundice like symptoms. We like them boiled in salted water. Once boiled well, these beans can be consumed whole with some dip or you can suck the seeds out from the pods just like Edemame.

Fava beans (Bakla)

The fava beans are rich in L-dopa, a substance used medically in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. L-dopa is also a natriuretic agent (causing discharge of sodium through urine) which might help in controlling hypertension.

Bakla is not as tasty and smooth as french beans so most of the people avoid this vegetable, it has a fibrous texture as the skin of the legume is a bit leathery and the seed coat is thick, but the plus point is that the seeds have a buttery smoothness. So when you chew the beans it bursts into a buttery abundance as the seeds are quite plump.

You can choose to buy the tender bakla if you don't like a fibrous bean but the buttery texture of the seeds will be there in the mature beans only. So choose what you like. I like it any which way, just cook it differently and you can enjoy both tender and mature beans.

Fava beans (Bakla)

This recipe is for the mature beans when the skin of the legume is ready to split and slip away exposing the fat plump seeds, full of flavor. The beans can be cooked  in a skillet to avoid disintegrating the beans, but if you cook it in a pressure cooker and allow the beans to be pulpy the flavor of the seeds is enhanced, the seeds will be visible in that case as the skin disintegrates exposing the seeds.

Fava beans (Bakla) ki subzi


cubed potatoes 1 cup (retain the skin)
Bakla or Fava beans tipped and tailed 2 cups (I had some extra seeds from mature beans)
whole dry red chillis 2 broken
ginger garlic minced 1 tbsp each
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
mustard oil 2 tsp
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds


Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker pan and fry onions till translucent , add the ginger garlic, fry for a seconds and add th cubed potatoes.

Add the turmeric powder and salt, add the prepared Bakla and toss and cook for 2 minutes.

Add 3-4 tbsp water and pressure cook till the first whistle blows.

Cool the cooker, open the kid and press some of the potatoes to get mushy as it makes the subzi more mixed up and take flavours of each other.

This is a good way of cooking Bakla or Fava beans if you are cooking it for the first time. We cook it with garam masala and other spics too or just a bhujia with garlic and green chillies.

You can also just saute the beans with butter, salt and pepper if the beans are tender.

Now that you know Fava beans are so good for the nervous system and overall health, there is more reason to cook it while the season lasts.

Dry Bakla beans are milled to make dal too. The dal is also used in various ways.