Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to peel mosambi .....including the sweet lime into your fruit salads..

We all love citrus fruits and most of us prefer oranges as they are easy to eat , bright in color ( yes beauty matters everywhere ) , more flavorful and easy to peel and devour . There are more attractive citrus fruits too but we seem to prefer the ones which can be peeled easily . Sweet lime is the fruit which does not get the lime light ever , a pale green skin and the skin clinging a bit too tightly to the segments , looks like a fruit for the ill............ the juice is another story......

It is supposed to be a healthier option among other citrus fruits .......the reason it is a preferred juice along with pomegranate juice when we are ill ...... we all know the health benefits , check out here for more info....

Including the fruit in it's natural form is the best way to consume it , not juicing it . Juices should be reserved for 'on the go' type of people or for illness or when you are not at home . I always feel that the tetra pack juices are always meant for the outdoor consumption .... you know what i mean . When you are home enjoy the experience of making a delightful fresh fruit salad and then have it together as a family ........ it is good in many more ways than just for your tummy ..... choose an apple or a banana when you are 'on the go' , it's much more better than a tetra pack juice .......... in more ways than one....think of the non biodegradable waste it adds to your planet ..our planet.

The fruit ..... the sweet lime .......slice it when you just want this one fruit and the peeling will be just a bit more trickier than peeling a banana...

And if you want to add this to a simple light fruit salad , make cuts along the top encircling the poles like this...

 And then giving surface slits , vertically like this ....

Pull off the skins and they are like this.........

Separating the segments is still difficult , so cut like this into small slices chopped off from the upper and lower half of the fruit....

see how easy it is....

the pips will remain in the center and discard them...... i squeeze this part into the fruit salad after finishing ....not a drop of juice is wasted...

Chop other fruits and add salt and pepper as i do ......... other seasonings are always a good idea ... we all season to taste and to the prevailing mood ...isn't it ??

Chopping the sweet lime before the apples and pears is a good idea because it prevents the other fruits from getting brown if you keep cutting and tossing the fruits as you go....


This is a fruit salad i used to make during my research days in the lab and a friend of mine reminded me about this salad ....... i used to make a simple sandwich too which he says is still his most favorite sandwich .....i will post that sandwich sometime in future for sure.... simple nutritious yummy food made special by the special company you have ............ enjoy the process of creating it and the end product will be a thing to remember and be nostalgic about....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

recipe of sweet daliya and daliya upma | healthy breakfast cereal in sweet and savoury versions

Yes, sweet and savoury versions of daliya (broken wheat cereal) for the husband and wife, both cooked under 10 minutes. Because breakfast should be healthy, filling and delicious always but shouldn't eat up all your morning time. Chuck that packet of instant cereal and see how you can use broken wheat to make 2 versions of healthy cereal breakfast for the family.

You can actually make more versions by tweaking any of these 2 recipes of daliya if you have more family members who have different taste buds. Add yogurt or milk, top up with different fruits and nuts, make it savoury by adding a tadka to it or just some leftover chopped salad.

Cooked with milk and sugar to taste daliya was a daily bowl of breakfast when we were growing up. I remember my mom would place a large pot of boiling milk on gas stove and throw in some ghee roasted daliya in it. This would cook for about an hour and the result was a scrummy delicious kheer like daliya. I still make that sweet version of daliya but personally I like a savory breakfast, daliya cooked like the south Indian Upma is my favourite.

daliya upma for weight loss

But I do tweak the regular upma recipe to make it healthier and suited for my current weight loss regime.

Arvind has also grown up eating that sweet daliya and he still loves it over any savory version so I have devised a simpler way so that he can have his sweet daliya and I can have my savory daliya for the same breakfast.

Daliya takes time to cook as it is a completely raw wheat product which is just broken smaller particles. I usually roast the daliya with a tsp or two of ghee (for 500 gm daliya) and keep it in an airtight container for a month or so.

About 3 tbsp of daliya is enough to serve two, so I soak the said quantity in water overnight so I can cook it in just 4-5 minutes in the morning. Water should just cover the surface of daliya while soaking.

The soaked daliya is then microwaved for 2 minutes, covered, sometimes I steam it in the steamer pot. It gets cooked like couscous, may be a bit sticky but that can be taken care of while cooking further.

Now half of this cooked daliya is further cooked with milk and sugar in a larger bowl inside the microwave, or in a sauce pan whatever feels convenient. Then the cooked milky sweet daliya is topped with some fresh cream (malai), some nuts and chopped bananas etc. Sometimes flax meal or chia seeds are added to this sweet daliya.

This is a breakfast for the sweet tooth.

healthy daliya porridge

The other half is cooked in a kadai like upma.

(for one serving, using 1 heaped tbsp broken wheat)

1 tbsp daliya (soaked overnight, it becomes 2 tbsp roughly, use the steamed daliya as stated above)
a medium chopped onion
a medium sized chopped tomatoes
one chopped green chili
12 springs of chopped curry patta (full of antioxidants and good fiber to start the day with)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ghee
pinch of asafoetida and pinch of mustard seeds
2-3 tbsp sprouted mung 
some roasted peanuts to top 


Heat 1 tsp of ghee and throw in everything except daliya, sprinkle salt over it and stir fry till everything is mushed up a bit, add the cooked daliya and mix well till it looks like upma. Finish with pepper powder and it's ready within minutes.

Add sprouted mung and roasted peanuts, mix and serve immediately.

Alternatively, all of the ingredients can be mixed together and microwaved for another couple of minutes and the result is almost the same, except the aroma of roasted onions and tomatoes.

This kind of daliya upma or another daliya tahiri can be served with amla and curry leaves spiced buttermilk. Sometimes we like having these savoury daliya one pot meals for dinner, may be with some raita or plain dahi.

Other savory daliya recipes on this blog...

daliya uttapam

dalya and lentils handvo

baby corn with daliya

daliya/couscous with brussels sprouts

mixed vegetable daliya tahiri for weight loss

daliya methi pulao

pan fried snack balls with daliya and lentils

Hope you start including daliya in your meals with a smile on your face .... i know many of us have daliya like a medicine and i want to make it a happier meal for all .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

unusual greens : sweet potato greens stirfried

Yes sweet potato leaves are edible.

I found a few sweet potatoes in the bottom of a basket a couple of months ago and found them sprouting, just like the potatoes are sprouting these days. What fascinated me was the unusual color of the young shoots. It was a pretty purple and I just could not throw them away. Went out in the garden and planted them in a bare patch.

They started having a few purple green leaves and I was thrilled to see the beautiful shape of the leaves. The mali warned me that they will hijack the whole garden and will have to be thrown away eventually. I wanted to see how the sweet potatoes set underground and the leaves looked so beautiful too so I let them grow at their own pace. See how they are flourishing, the young leaves still have a purple hue but the mature leaves are green...

sweet potato leaves
sweet potato leaves
I started using the shoots for floral arrangements and even for a standalone green arrangement too, sitting on my windowsill. When I was talking to my mom about these one day she told me these are edible and her grandmother used to make a steamed patoda with it. That was enough to make me curious and I searched the internet. I found it is cooked in many countries and was impressed by the indo - chinese style stir fries. Found lots of info here and felt really happy to have found a daily supply of my greens.

I have already started stir frying the leaves as any other firm leaves Indian saag is made, especially the karam saag, and it is so yummy that I make it as a side everyday with my daal chawal. See the stir fried leaves I placed at the windowsill.

A large bunch of leaves is chopped roughly, 2 tsp of mustard oil heated in a iron kadhai, a pinch of cumin a few cloves of chopped garlic and a few broken dry red chillies, wait till they crackle and dunk the leaves in, add salt and cover to cook. Stir a couple of times and it's ready....

Loved it with chapati and chawal daal both. The leaves are not mushy after cooking like spinach leaves, but are firm like karam saag (a kashmiri leafy green which grows in water bodies) so I made it like my mom used to make karam saag back home.

Next I will try the indo- chinese style stir fry and I am sure that will be great too. I am also thinking about some gravy like preparations with it ...

Aren't you surprised to see this, more fascinating for me is it's use a decorative plant. What about a hanging basket with it ? The shoots on my windowsill are just immersed in water, supported by a few large and a few small pebbles and it is surviving and sprouting more leaves for a month now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

unusual greens : drumstick leaves in egg scramble..

We keep cribbing about the pesticides used in agricultural practices and organic food is fast catching up. Something I see as a positive change towards our food habits of course. Natural methods of agriculture are the best and need to be revived, there have been great examples of it being sustainable in every respect.

At the same time we should be aware that there are many food ingredients available naturally in organic form all around us. If you have a neem tree or a drumstick tree in your neighborhood you know that nobody uses chemicals for them and they are naturally organic. Similarly most of the coconut growing along the coastline of India is naturally organic for obvious reasons.

Being aware of this and planting more useful trees in the neighborhood is what we should be doing, and of course protecting the trees which are already growing. Nature is generous and ready to give unsparingly, we just need to nurture it a bit.....just a bit.

drumstick leaves and flowers

The drumstick tree in my garden provides an inexhaustible supply of nutritious greens and nutrition. I mean calcium, iron, phosphorous, Vitamins C and A. All good things at no cost. It's great for gout and rheumatism and is a tonic food. I use the leaves to make parathas just like methi parathas with just a handful of dry kasuri methi and nobody has been able to tell that it is drumstick leaves.

Many people boil the leaves first and discard the water to make it more palatable (as many people do with bitter guards too), I feel that is unnecessary and wrong as the leaves can actually be tasty if cooked sensibly. The flowers are also used almost the same way. You can make curries or egg scramble with the flowers too.

Apart from the usual daals and bhurjis and parathas I make from these nutritious greens, I came across a very interesting use of drumstick leaves. Found a recipe of egg bhurji here where he has used these leaves. Tried it the same day and it was just fantastic. Arvind loved it too and even said that this is one of the best way we can have it.

drumstick leaves egg scramble

 See how it's made in a jiffy...

(serves two)
drumstick leaves or flowers 1 cup tightly packed (stalks removed)
finely chopped onions 1 cup
chopped tomatoes 1/4 cup
finely chopped green chilies 1 tbsp
grated ginger 1 tbsp
eggs 4 nos.
salt n pepper to taste
ghee 1 tbsp


Heat ghee in a pan and throw in the green chilies and onions and fry till onions are translucent.

Add the drumstick greens, ginger and tomatoes along with salt n pepper to taste. Stir aand cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Beat the eggs lightly and pour into the pan, keep the flame low and keep stirring the mix every 30 seconds or so. You can just cover it after one mix and let it set into a thick omelet too.

For fluffier creamier scramble you may add a little milk too, about 2 tbsp. Remover from stove as soon as the egg scramble sets to your desired consistency.

drumstick leaves egg scramble

While Arvind couldn't tell it was drumstick leaves I could taste them for obvious reasons and it tasted delicious. Just keep the salt a little less than you normally use as drumstick leaves tend to be a bit salty (or alkaline in taste). It was amazing to see them blend so well with the eggs and onions. I see this bhurji repeating in my kitchen very frequently..what do you say...

Embrace the drumstick greens and enjoy.....

Coming up with another unusual greens, stay tuned.....

Friday, September 3, 2010

semolina and soy yogurt vada .... a fried yet healthy snack .............

A soy yogurt recipe after the soy milk extraction was all i wanted here . As i said in the earlier post that the soy milk can be fermented into yogurt using the diary yogurt culture . The process of setting the yogurt is same as dairy yogurt but the taste and texture is quite different . This is obviously not the kind of yogurt we Indians would love to have for dessert with some sugar or honey but it surely can be used wherever yogurt needs to be cooked or tempered. See this dahi aalu recipe which will tempt you to make soy yogurt at home . The most popular soy yogurt recipe in my household is this soy yogurt and semolina vadas ....... I have received great complements for this and a few friends have started extracting soy milk just to make this vada .

This is a great 'soy products induction' recipe for Indian families ....those who have hated tofu or any soy product in the first encounter , this one would be irresistible and would prepare the palate for more soy adventures...........

A very simple recipe and the ingredients are all such that a quick rainy day chai snack is very conveniet to rustle up.........

you need..
a cup of soy yogurt diluted with 1/2 or 3/4 cup of water
a cup of semolina ( or some more if the resultant mixture is too watery to hold together )
1/2 cup of roughly chopped onions
a few chopped green chillies
1/2 cup of chopped curry leaves
salt and pepper to taste
a couple of tbsp oil to shallow fry

to proceed ...

Soak the semolina in diluted soy yogurt and chop the onions and curry leaves in the meantime.

Mix everything together to make a binding dough but not very hard...

Make lemon sized balls and flatten to make a patty , shallow fry all the patties both sides till golden brown and cooked through.
Do not wait too much after mixing the onions and salt into the mixture as it starts getting soggy once the salt is added . So it is advisable to start heating the oil while you are chopping n mixing OR make the mixture without salt and mix salt separately for every batch being fried ( when you are making large quantity of these vadas )..... drain on tissue and serve hot with any chutny of your choice.

The onions remain crunchy if you make flat vadas which cook in a flash keeping the onions on the inside still a bit raw ..... the onions on the surface become fried and caramelized , curry patta crisp and the semolina textured interiors of the vada is soft ... creating a very interesting mosaic of textures and colors too......

Keeping the vada mixture doughy and not runny is the key to make them low oil as it does not absorb much oil ....so much so that the shell of the vada is crisp but insides are a bit like rava upma........i love it this way.

Nobody has been able to tell this is not made of dairy yogurt even if i tell this is made of non dairy yogurt , but if you have had soy yogurt before , the taste is pretty detectable . This has been a very convenient and largely appreciated snack recipe..... hope you all find it useful in your kitchen too...

Rava idlies can be made using soy yogurt too and that is something the weight watching people would appreciate more....