Thursday, April 21, 2011

we love our daal roti ......



The phrase 'daal roti' in the north of India is used as 'bread and butter' is used in English ...like 'earning your daal roti' , so daal roti is what a common man lives for as is said sometimes . Now you decide what is your daal roti , my daal roti sometimes comes in the form of paper , packaged boringly but the soul gets contented .

I am reminded of another phrase used very frequently in the book called 'The Case Of Exploding Mangoes' ....a Pakistani Army General (Gen. Kayani) refers to Indians as 'daal eating buggers' as daal is the staple food in India while they eat the meat ... I love my daal in any form and color and i saw myself smiling every time the Army General uses this phrase to refer to Indians ... this daal is my soul food...

You will find my daal roti at Corinne's blog today as i am writing a series of posts for her wonderful blog , which is otherwise the destination if you need some serious food for your soul...

Read the recipe of this yummy sabut masoor ki daal at Everyday Gyan, here and let me know how did you like it...This sabut masoor ki daal is cooked in a very low fat version , using very little ghee . Whole wheat chapatis and a nice and light low fat okra stir fry makes the meal wholesome ....and healthy..


The staple daal roti is not boring ....make it a happening meal ...

Monday, April 18, 2011

oats and seeds going for a cookie....chewy oats cookies II


The chewy cookies are back . When i posted the oats and nuts i promised an oats and seeds chewy cookies too . I used the same process in these cookies but added a few other ingredients for a different taste and seeds with better nutrient value. The taste was more like the thekua made in bihari families , due to the dry coconut and dates in the cookies . But the similarity ends here , you get a nice crunch from the sesame seeds and the coarsely ground flax seeds too . The textural quality of this cookie is very different from the oats and cashew or oats and almonds cookies...read on...


ingredients...
dry dates deseeded and chopped..1 cup
raisins chopped 1/3 cup
dry coconut coarsely powdered 1 cup
sesame seeds 1/2 cup
flax seeds coarsely powdered 1/2 cup
melon seeds ( magaz) coarsely powdered 1/2 cup
quick cooking oats 3 cups plus some more if the dough gets tacky
wheat bran 1 cup
ripe bananas medium sized 2 nos.


procedure...

Going almost like the oats and nuts cookies , mash the bananas and mix the ingredients in it to make a soft dough . the dough is a bit sticky but cookies can be shaped easily .


Irregular shaped cookies are no harm , just try and make similar sizes and not very thick as the cookies have no butter and the cooking can be uneven. The coconut and seeds provide enough fats for the cookies to be crunchy enough , but don't blame me when you compare them with butter cookies. These are chewy cookies and taste very good believe me...


Arrange on greased baking tray and bake on 180 degree C for 20 minutes . The cookies are well browned but soft when cooked , cool them on wire rack . They get slightly crunchy when cold and if they remain soggy , bake them again for another 5-10 minutes on lower temperature...

The cookies may remain soggy after the said baking time if they are thicker or bigger than these . No problems with twice baking as such , the crunch and the bite may differ each time you experiment with different sizes or thickness , but the taste remains the same .... With this batch of cookies i was partial , and added some sugar ( 2 tbsp) to it , the nuts and oats cookies were completely sugar free and these are great without sugar too . I added sugar because a few people who tasted them , felt a need for some more sugar ... but i didn't like the added sugar in these .... dates and raisins make them enough sweet for my taste ..no sugar next time.


We love these cookies with our tea or as a quick snack and you will be pleased to realize that butter less and sugarless cookies can be fun . No measurements in grams , no worrying about the exact baking time and no other hassles whatsoever . Easy peasy baking even for a novice...

If you are one of those people who like those attractively packed oats or ragi cookies or go for the granola bar , read the labels first . You will find good amounts of sugar and fats in those cookies and bars and they are not free from trans fats either . Also , if you notice , you will find the hyped grain ( ragi or oats ) in less percentage than white flour .... just too much for you comfort .

Bake these cookies .

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a simple healthy lunch menu .... and some everyday gyan ...


Every day food needs to be as easy going as everyday gyan . You would know what i mean if you have seen this wonderful blog of Corinne . 

My food has always been something i can rustle up within an hour starting from scratch , even if i have to chop a lot of vegetables . Talking about a lot of vegetables , i was telling a friend today that i like buying my own veggies and washing them nicely and even chopping them with ease . Handling all the colorful vegetables feels nice and refreshing . She told me it is just because i am a big foodie . Tell me do you like doing all this ?

If you don't like handling the vegetables , get help ...or get a machine . But don't stop eating these beauties as they will make you feel a lot better...they are endowed with all the goodness.

About this lunch platter , my North Indian friends will be so familiar with this kind of food ...may be some of you will find it a bit more colorful than your own everyday food . If so , this is to inspire you to eat more colors .

The recipes are simple and workable for an average cook , if you plan in advance the assembling becomes easier and quicker and that stands true for any meal you plan for the day...we enjoyed this lunch for this mixed beans in a spicy spinach gravy . We all love our rajma chawal and chhole chawal and this mixed beans and spinach dish makes the beans and rice platter more promising . The red cabbage stir fry and a zucchini and onion raita make me happy with the crunch and color they provide to the meal.... Click and go to Corinne's blog to see the recipe . I am sharing my lunch with the readers of Everyday Gyan this time . I will be pleased to get a few comments there as well....

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

chewy oats cookies ...


What about some fiber loaded cookies without sugar and butter ?
No eggs either...and gluten free too...

And if you are one of those people who get scared of baking cookies because you just can't stand weighing the ingredients to the decimal digits :)  I am one of those people and try only those recipes which set me free of the weighing scale ... here you don't even need the measuring cups...just eyeballs :)

Sounds like a nutty idea , but the nuts make this cooky so much more special too ...
The fat content of the cookies comes from nuts and sweetness comes from the raisins and banana pulp used . Of course they are mildly sweet but we loved them for the slightly chewy texture and just the right kind of nuttiness. The flavors of the nuts and raisins are accentuated by the absence of a overwhelming sweetness .

let's see the recipe and then decide how it tastes . I made this batch last year and never came to post them . Shared the recipe with many friends , one of them tried it and wrote about it too ...see how it turned out to a favorite with her family too...


Chop a generous handful of raisins , i like them chopped as they get evenly distributed into the cookie dough and come in the mouth in small bits....when not using sugar the raisins need to be evenly distributed into the cookie dough...



I used cashew for this particular batch of cookies , the first reason is the Arvind loves cashews and i wanted to make him love these cookies.... so went ahead with a generous amount of cashew . I used broken cashew pieces for this as they had to be coarsely powdered anyway . Broken cashew is cheaper and sensible when being used in powdered form...Any other nuts will be great as i have got great results with slivered almonds and a mix of almonds and walnuts...
This particular combinations is called kaaju kishmish in hindi and is a favorite winter snack ... using this combination of nuts will be great if you are making these cookies for the first time...and if the family members are mad about kaaju kishmish ...


So the next step is to mash 2 bananas , better if they are overripe , then add as much oats as can be folded into it...making a loose sticky paste....okay dough ....or between the two :)




Now add the coarse powder of the cashew and the chopped raisins , the amount of the nuts should be around 1/3rd of the banana oats dough .





 Mix it well and you will see that the nuts make the dough a bit loose and crumbly , but it still binds and sticks together ...






Now take out spoonfuls of this mix and shape loosely packed cookies or bars if you like and place them on a greased baking tray... Bake them for about half an hour at 180 degree C . The baking time may defer according to the thickness of cookies you shape and the cookies will still be soft when warm . Take them out once they are nicely browned and cooked , spread on a wire rack and let them cool .

They will become firm and crunchy after cooling as the nuts do when you roast them...The cookies get their crunch from the nuts and a slight chewy thing as they are devoid of any shortening . But that is the reason they can be enjoyed even without the sugar , the chewing time in your mouth allows the saliva to work on the cookies to get them naturally sweet by enzyme action....

I have no more pictures of the baked cookies as i lost all the pictures when my OS crashed last year . The detailed pictures of the process make the recipe easily understandable i guess....This draft was revived when a friend made these by telephonic instructions and i was instructed to post it ASAP .....so here comes the chewy oats cookie .

I made another variation of the cookies using seeds instead of nuts , that version is coming very soon...stay tuned.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

unusual greens .... purslane greens, made into a pizza sauce...


So you read how purslane is more nutritious than the spinach greens . Omega-3 fatty acids are no mean nutrients , we need loads of them . And see what yummy way to include some OMG-3s ... you don't need to go nuts ...or seeds for that matter :)

This variety of the purslane is a bit more sour in taste , did I mention that the wild one has a bit of tartness as well . This one ,being a thick stemmed herb , gets little slimy on cooking . Not the yucky slimy but just as much as tomatoes . So I though of making a mushy stir fry with tomatoes which turns up almost like a pasta sauce . To tell you a secret , I spread it over my pizza and it was great... isn't that a discovery ...nonia saag goes the pizza way...


Lets see the recipe now , easy recipe , almost cooked like a pasta or pizza sauce ... a bit hot , a bit tart and saucy ... at it's best...

ingredients...

purslane greens with all the pink soft stems 250 gm
tomatoes 150 gm
one onion medium sized
garlic cloves 4-5 nos.
whole dry red chillies ,broken 3-4 nos.
mustard oil (or any other as per choice) 1 tbsp

procedure...

Wash and drain the greens , chop in small bits by holding a bunch together over the chopping board . Chop the garlic , onions and tomatoes too ....any which way you like.

Heat mustard oil in a pan , add the garlic and let it get pinkish brown. Add the red chillies and the chopped onions .

Add the chopped purslane as soon as the onions get translucent and soft , add salt and keep cooking on low flame. It will release some water and get limp , add the tomatoes and keep cooking till everything is sauce like and homogenized..


The whole process takes about 10 minutes and the resulting mushy saucy stir fry is incredibly yummy...simple flavors blending very well with each other. Black pepper powder and dried oregano can be added to the stir fry , I added them when I topped this sauce on a pizza base......

Use this saucy thing over a no cheese pizza , a pizza with a high fiber base ..whole wheat and bran .... and that is something I am going to repeat often during this purslane season...

Enjoy ...

unusual greens...wild purslane ...


Wild purslane or summer purslane is a common weed seen in the kitchen gardens or even in potted plants. It has a slightly sour taste , thin pink colored stems and tiny fleshy leaves. Yellow miniature flowers and miniature capsules filled with very tiny black seeds....it spreads like wild fire in the garden but doesn't affect the growth of any other plant as the roots are distributed on the surface soil only....


It is called 'nonia saag' in bengali , 'noni ka saag' or 'lunia saag'  in hindi , 'paruppu keerai' in tamil, 'koluppa' in malayalam and 'dudagorai' in kannada ... Interestingly it a welcome weed in the gardens all over India due to it's nutritional properties...

High in omega-3-fatty acids ...yes , you read it right . A weed rich in the most wanted nutrient of India ( am i right?) . Purslane also has alpha-Tocopherol , Ascorbic acid , beta-carotene and Glutathione ...read it all here . Purslane is more nutritious than spinach , and you can get it free ... and organic , as it grows by itself.

See how you can make a nice snack with this weed growing fresh in your garden . Unfortunately i have never seen this variety of purslane in the markets . The variety available in the markets is the large leaf variety , equally nutritious , but a bit different flavor . Both the varieties can be used for making these chilla or even fritters with the same batter. A nice healthy soup can also be made with this green , but i have not liked it much the way i have tried till now . I am working on a soup recipe with purslane and may be you will find a nice purslane soup on these pages some day...


I never throw this weed away and always instruct the mali (gardener) not to touch it . I often harvest it myself and wash it properly as the roots are pulled off along with the plant and it has lots of dirt in it. Thoroughly washed purslane looks like the picture...the colours explain the high antioxidant content...

The most common thing i make with purslane would be this chilla or besan ka pooda . Some chick pea flour ( besan ) is added to the torn up leaves 
(otherwise it behaves like long noodles) , seasoned with ginger garlic and chilly , salt and turmeric , and a batter is made by adding little water.....


The batter is spread over a hot greased griddle and shallow fried till brownish both the sides.... well cooked and crisp on the edges....


The margins become nice , crisp and lacy in appearance ....


If you decide to make deep fried fritters with the batter , take care to make a dough like consistency . The fried fritters turn out to look like little bird nests as the strings of the purslane open up while frying making them really beautiful , but it soaks up a lot of oil and i prefer this shallow fried version of the pakode for us...

A green coriander chutney is all that is needed ....and some masala chai....

Produce fresh from garden makes me happy like anything...:)

This recipe is from the last summer and now is the season this unusual green will start springing up in my garden again . Till then another broad leaves variety is available in the markets right now , i made a nice dry stir fry with them and is coming on the next post...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

desi pancakes with molasses ... and some everyday gyan ...

Every day quota of your sweetness in not all that tough to achieve . I discovered a blog by Corrine , Everyday Gyan recently and got hooked to it immediately . She talks about the everyday wisdom in such an easygoing way that it seems to be so achievable and workable ..

Dear Corrine got in touch with me and wanted some of the everyday healthy food for her  readers too . I am really delighted to share some of the recipes with all of you , it is so delightful to be able to connect with so many people around the world for the common interests we have...and some more.

I made a nice fluffy , soft and melt in your mouth pancakes sweetened with organic molasses for her blog . Check out the recipe there... and my blabber about my desi sweeteners is here too...


Molasses and jaggery are two of my favorite sweeteners . Honey comes next and maple syrup is out of question . We do not get any maple syrup here in India but we get all those palm sugars and molasses to our heart's content . Modern living and convenience factor of the processed food has made it a bit difficult for all these palm sugars and molasses to reach our table , these are marketed poorly in our country and you have to look out for them in health food stores or contact your village sources...it's time we start celebrating our own sugarcane and date palm  molasses and a terrific variety of palm sugars available in many parts of India...

I am celebrating my organic sugarcane molasses with a desi yeasted pancake ... very easy to pull of and completely vegan ... dripping with sweetness on the surface but very mildly sweet inside ...


Enjoy your Everyday gyan and the sweet n soft healthy pancakes ..

Thank you Dear Corrine to be able to interact with a wider audience through your blog as well.


Monday, April 4, 2011

spanish omelette ... including your veggies for the day...



Spanish omelette is also called Tortilla de patatas as the potato slices make a very nice and crisp base to the omelette . This omelette includes zucchini slices too but you can include any vegetables you like , bell peppers , mushrooms and onions are all i like ... spring onions could do well too...and if you want cheese in the omelette , that makes it even nicer...

I was talking about minimizing the use of potatoes in our daily fix of subzis and using raw plantains whenever potatoes are generally used . I will bring more potato substitutes in our day to day subzi but the 'minimizing the potatoes act' in a day to day meal has a motive , at least for me .... just so that i can use potatoes in other forms occasionally , like this Spanish omelette...

This healthy omelette makes a quick and convenient breakfast if you are quick with your slicing or are using a machine for it...

First of all you need to peel and slice the potatoes and parboil them with salt and water . I push a bowl of sliced potatoes in the microwave first thing on entering the kitchen when i make this omelette...off course after slicing them...and you can always parboil the potato slices on the stove top...potato slices should look translucent ...

Slice the zucchini and break the eggs while the potatoes are boiling . Whisk the eggs with salt n pepper and some red chilly powder if you need some heat . Herbs are great , especially green coriander or celery chopped finely ...both these are growing in my garden but i made this omelette in a real hurry . No time for extravagance.

Heat ghee or butter in a pan ... okay i use a kadai for most of my omelette and this one becomes easier in a thick base kadai like my cast iron one...

Drain the potato slices , they need to be used hot so time your actions accordingly... line the slices in the base of the kadai and let the slices fry and become as golden as you want . Sprinkle some salt and pepper over potatoe slices and then arrange some slices of zucchini over them.

Now pour beaten eggs over this arrangement and cover the lid of the kadai . Wait till the omelette sets , keep the flame medium or low depending on the base of the kadai or pan being used.

Once the eggs are set , flip the omelette to brown it on the other side. In the kadai this part is easier if using a large slotted spoon as a tool . If doing it in a frying pan , you need to flip the pan over a plate and then slide the omelette into the pan again to cook the other side....


The thickness of the omelette is a matter of practice ....you can see the layers of potatoes and zucchini in it... look at some more layers...I cut the omelette in wedges so that the husband can have his breakfast , wedge by wedge , as i click a few pictures.... things i do when a breakfast is made in a hurry and i have to click pictures too...


I like the potato slices at the base slightly golden , you can fry them more if you like them more crisp and dark brown....see how my omelette looks on the base side...


I used a medium sized potato and half a large zucchini and 3 eggs to make 2 large Spanish omelette . It makes a nice filling breakfast and healthy too . Potatoes are not a bad choice if used mindfully and if you do not go overboard with them...

Other ways to a nice omelette with vegetables can be seen here ... broccoli or zucchiniand no potatoes make a nice omelette too...

Enjoy...