Friday, April 30, 2010

plagiarism???



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 ....no !!!

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 ...........it 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 manually.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 i made 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 ....is 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......

ingredients...


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

procedure...

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 ....no 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...

This recipe goes to Yasmeen's Health nut Challenge - Crucial Cruciferous ...i am happy i could make it to the challenge as it is always a tough job for me to send an entry to an event.....

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.

ingredients....

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

 preparation.....

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 such an addictive food , it happens with me all the time that i make the pasta as a quick meal one day mostly due to time constraint and i see that within a couple of weeks it gets repeated several times as i make it again ...and again..... eating all the multi grain rotis and multigrain soups is forgotten for a while and pasta takes over.......needless to say that i 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 maggi which is such a rage with my generation and the younger generation as well...........


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 wash basin ( another bad habit i hated ).......isn't that a great excuse to cook for someone.........on a serious note, eating healthy and cooking healthy for the daily meals is so 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....
 Oh...but 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.....but it's me you know ... i get these things only when they are in my reach , zucchini was cheaper than bottle guard during the season n mushrooms cheaper than onions ( i made this pasta in December sometime and could not post...the pictures are taken from my cell phone camera which i was using then)...and i grow my own oregano......aren't these for a frugal kitchen then ????

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.........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....

ingredients...

any tubular pasta 1 cup unboiled
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
EVVO 2 tbsp




procedure...

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....in our country , 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 ??

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 hey, 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 buckwheat. Interestingly it has been used for fasting food (Hindu fasting food especially during navaratri  in our country for time immemorial. There are so many traditional recipes using the 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 navaratri. 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 ........


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



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.

It 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 buck wheat are here...it 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 ????

ingredients....

buckwheat groats ( kuttu ka daliya) 2 tbsp ...it expands a lot after cooking as o told
fully ripe large tomatoes 2 nos.
2-3 fat cloves of garlic
red chilly 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....

procedure..

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....


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 chilly 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 .

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


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 din'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 saute' 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 allergic 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.........


This soup has prominent flavors of garlic and tomatoes and I like it hot with red chillies, 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 rock salt 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 | bakla ki subzi


Bakla in hindi and fava beans or broad beans for 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 beans should be cooked properly and never be consumed raw as they can cause jaundice like symptoms.

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.

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. I have cooked the curry 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.........

ingredients..

boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes 1 cup
bakla or fava beans tipped n tailed 2 cups
chopped onions 1/2 cup
chopped tomatoes 1/2 cup
ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
coriander powder 2 tsp
cumin and black pepper powders 1 tsp each
      ( i use my everyday curry powder which is a mixture of coriander, cumin , black pepper and bay leaves in 2:1:1:1 ratio)
red chilly powder 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves 1/4 cup
mustard oil 2 tsp

procedure...

Steam the bakla to half cook or microwave.

Heat mustard oil in a skillet and fry onions till translucent , add the ginger garlic paste , fry for a while and thorow in all the powdered masala  ...stir and add a dash of water to avoid burning ....scrape and fry ( bhuno ) till the spice mixture become fragrant and shiny.

Add the boiled , cubed potatoes and tomatoes and mix well ...........cook till the tomatoes are mushy....

Add the steamed bakla , mix well adding salt and about half a cup of water and cook covered till done .If cooking in a pressure cooker all the steps will be the same and the cooker lid will be used at this step to cook the subzi under pressure for 5-7 minutes..

A tsp of  amchoor powder can be added if the tomatoes are not sour enough , a little sourness helps with this bean .

Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis .....my above description of the bean seems like a unpleasant vegetable but i love this bean and even if my husband is not very fond of this , he likes it this way ....a light , slightly tangy curry with some mushed up potatoes ..........

This is a good way of cooking bakla or fava beans if you are cooking it for the first time.