Wednesday, January 25, 2012

steamed lentil dumplings with lots of greens, call them muthia or whatever you like...

I would like to call them 'Crackling balls'. Coated with lightly fried white sesame they make the perfect tea time snack and a meal when accompanied with a salad on the side. A healthy gluten free meal or snack is ready within couple of minutes when you have the steamed balls in your fridge.

Yes, the balls can be steamed and refrigerated for a week or can be frozen for about 6 months. They make a versatile ingredient once you have them ready in your fridge, a kofta curry made quickly just using these balls would make a dinner easy when you would like to have a warming curry but feeling exhausted. Having some frozen bhuna masala would make it a breeze, just pour some water , bhuna masala and a few of these balls and microwave or cook in a pan till the balls soak the juices. I like these balls in my lentil soups too.

This time I made these balls using an unusual green. Chane ka saag or chickpea greens .

These are the growing tips of chickpea plant , very tasty even when eaten raw. They make nice salads on thier own and have a zingy savory taste. The leaves are not very soft and do not get mushy when cooked, so they make a nice ingredient for steamed pakodas (fritters) or dumplings. These dumplings are not muthias technically, the muthia (of Gujrati cuisine) have some wheat flour and millet flours added to it.

This one is made just with lentil flours or soaked lentil paste, the origin of these dumplings is Eastern UP as much as I know. These are called Bhaap ki pakodi (steamed fritters) , and many versions are there .

These steamed dumplings are normally served after deep frying the steamed balls, I used the Gujrati method of tempering to make them healthier, more so because I like the crackling sesame seeds this way...

With tea, they make a great snack to much on... we had it in the evening one day and it made a meal for us.

The process is simpler than you would imagine, although it looks like a lot of work has gone into it. Cleaning and chopping of the greens can be done in advance to make the process a bit easier to execute.


1.5 cups of soaked split chickpeas (chane ki dal)
chipped ginger 1 tbsp or more
red chilly powder or green chillies chopped to taste
whole cumin seeds 2 tsp
whole pepper corns 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
chane ka saag (chick pea greens) finely chopped 4 cups tightly packed
chopped fenugreek leaves or a mix of coriander and dill leaves works really well too...


Blend the first 5 ingredients together in a mixie jar or food processor without adding any water to it.

In  a bowl add the chopped greens and the lentil paste , add the turmeric powder and salt to taste..

Now mix together everything, using your fingers, making it a loose dough. You can add a  little chick pea flour or any millet flours (like bajra or jowar or even corn meal)to make the dough to a workable consistency. I didn't need any.

Make small lemon sized balls with the mixture and keep them on a greased glass or ceramic plate.

Microwave these for 3-4 minutes in the microwave. Three minutes of covered and four if open. I do not have a large enough dome shaped cover for this plate so i cooked it for four minutes. But do cover it as soon as you take the plate out as microwave cooked things get dehydrated very fast when kept open....the rate of evaporation is really very high so covering helps in cooking the balls further too.

The cooked balls look like this, a bit darker in color. The condensed water can be seen in the plate.

These can be served hot with a green coriander chutney, or can be refrigerated for later use.

I like these balls with crackling fried sesame seeds so I temper them quickly with a spicy mix.

The tempering...
oil 1 tsp
asafoetida 1/8 tsp
whole red chilly broken in two parts
small variety mustard seeds (rai) 1 tsp
sesame seeds 2 tsp

Heat oil in a pan and add the remaining ingredients in the order of the list one by one. They crackle a lot so be careful for your soon as the sesame is fried as it is added last, add the dumplings and toss them with the tempering mix. Just for a minute.

Serve hot. The fried broken red chilly can be eaten too if you like it hot...I do it sometimes.

I served it with kahva to my parents when they visited a couple of day back. It was loved by them. These dumplings are my grandmother's recipe and I have adapted it for Microwave cooking. My addition of Gujrati tempering over it was well received by the parents too.

Though it can be steamed in conventional steamers or even in idli steamers, even shaped like idlis if you like.

I love them made in the mini idli steamer too....Made it once at my mother's place and fried those mini idlis for every one...such small tidbit eats are most welcome with evening tea.

One more idea that I follow when I make this dumpling with spinach. I make it like a cake, in a large block, and then cut it in cubes to refrigerate them. The cubes can be deep fried in oil or tempered like this one for a healthy snack or meal.

Steaming is your call, either use a conventional steamer or microwave. The dumplings will be as tasty every time. The greens or other vegetables like grated carrots, cabbage and spring onion make a great combination for such dumplings.

Call it Muthia or Bhaap ke pakode , these crackling balls would be a favorite I bet.

What shape would you like it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baked oatmeal with pumpkin, the breakfast going quick and fruity ...

baked oatmeal with pumpkin

Baked oatmeal is a great way to make the oatmeal breakfast tastier and easier to assemble. Even if you bake it fresh. Yes, this recipe takes 25 minutes to bake and if you mix everything in the night you can plonk the pan into the hot oven in the morning first thing in the morning while you fix your morning cuppa.

Many fruits can be used for this baked oatmeal like grated apples or applesauce, bananas make great baking accompaniments anyways for such dry bakes and oranges which have been my favorite flavors whenever some aromatherapy is required. I use carrots and sweet potatoes a lot for such healthy bakes. With pumpkin I mostly work with fresh grated pumpkin but his time I wanted to see if pureed baked pumpkin gives an improved taste. It was definitely better than grated pumpkin when used in the same recipe, improving the texture of the finished bake as well. Baking the pumpkin slices may be an extra work, a potential deterrent  for many, so using grated pumpkin makes sense in case of time crunch.

Carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin suit such baked oatmeal best as one can have it with milk.

baked oatmeal with pumpkin

I always like to add some dried fruits to such bakes as it enriches the final product taste wise and texture wise too. This time I added some chopped dried apples I had bought from an organic foods store Leh.

Such flavorful snack they make on their own too. I love chewing a few pieces whenever I need something just to chew on...

dehydrated apples

The dried apples taste was quite good in this oatmeal bake too...a little chewy and full of apple flavor.

I had baked and pureed about a kilo of pumpkin one day and kept it ready for some pumpkin soup and a quick cake if I plan something on the last moment.

Some 1.5 inch thick wedges of a rich yellow orange pumpkin with ripe brownish skin was brushed lightly with oil and baked for about 50 minutes or till the flesh becomes soft.

baked pumpkin slices

Scoop out the flesh and puree to store in refrigerator or to use immediately if required.

ingredients for the oatmeal pumpkin bake...

oatmeal 1 cup/100gm
pumpkin puree 1/2 cup/120 gm
chopped dry apples 1/2 cup/100 gm
fresh cream 1/2 cup (I used fresh malai)
whole milk 2 tbsp or more to adjust consistency
brown sugar lightly packed 1/2 cup (I used a natural unrefined sugar called shakkar or boora in this part of the world)
chopped golden raisins 3 tbsp
one large egg
a generous pinch of soda bi carb
a pinch of salt

About half a cup of chopped nuts can be added for convenience and to make them protein dense, but we like our nuts sprinkled over the oatmeal along with fruits, so I skipped adding nuts this time.


Mix everything together in a mixing bowl, it makes a loose consistency mixture somewhere between a dough and a batter.

baked oatmeal with pumpkin recipe

The mixture can be kept in the fridge overnight and can be baked in the morning, even in individual serving bowls if using ceramic bowls.

baked oatmeal with pumpkin recipe

Pre heat the oven, pour the mixture into a conveniently sized baking pan or a casserole dish, keeping the thickness of the batter about 1 inch. If the batter is spread thicker than this, it would take longer time to bake.

Bake for 25 minutes at 180 C. Do the skewer test before taking the pan out. it makes a rich brown bake and can be cut into pieces while still warm.

baked oatmeal with pumpkin recipe

It tastes the best when it is warm. Although you can always keep the leftovers in the fridge or bake a larger amount for a week, It would be great to reheat in microwave before serving. The cake like pieces make a nice evening snack when you come home feeling ravenous.

If you make it for dry snacking, keep in mind to add the suggested amount of nuts too.

We love it warm in a hot cup of milk. With any fruit, we usually include bananas for breakfast so it's mostly these for us. With a generous sprinkling of almonds.

With just a bit of sweetening using the brown sugar, this baked oatmeal is a nice flavorful breakfast. I just love the way these ingredients lend a natural sweetness.

I sometimes bake it without any sugar, with some more raisins or some chopped sticky dates added to it. If we enjoy the natural sweetness of the food, there will be no need to add any more sugar to it. Fortunately we both like everything just lightly sweetened and add more sugar only when some guests are visiting.

baked oatmeal with pumpkin

Apart from bananas, I would like mangoes in this bowl of baked oatmeal with milk.

I would like to remind you all that even pumpkin is like any other fruit when the nutrition value is compared, minus the fructose which can be a concern for many. Many of my friends are pumpkin haters and I would like them to include this fruity vegetable as it packed with nutrients (quite a good amount of Vitamin A and zinc and many more, zinc is more in seeds though), is low on calories and high on soluble fibers.

What fruit you would like in this bowl?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One carrot, one bowl and just three minutes or so, for the 'gajar ka halwa' you love so much...and another sugar free recipe too...

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Gajar ka halwa takes a lot of time when made traditionally, slow cooked on gas stove, reducing milk while stirring the halwa all the time. Some 2 hours to be precise for about 10-12 servings. I have exercised  my biceps a lot many times in the long past years, grating the carrots first with a manual graters, the husband used to help me in this exercise for the love of gajar ka halwa , and then it used to be my turn to cook with with lots of whole milk for hours together. I tried making in Microwave too but the time consumed and the number of pots and bowls used to be a hassle every time. Not to mention planning for days to peel and clean so many carrots and then sitting on the carpet while watching TV to grate those mounds of thin slivers of carrots. All that is ancient history now.

I have been making gajar ka halwa more frequently now since I tried this one carrot halwa in a jiffy to surprise my husband one day, some 5 years ago. I have told this recipe to many of my real life friends and this has become their quick fix gajar ka halwa recipe too, more so because no one can find out it has not been cooked on slow flame for hours.

It takes just some 5 minutes if you include the time to peel and clean the single large carrot you are handling and grating it on the microplane...

lets' start, I placed the bowl on my weighing scale so the quantities would be well documented.

135 gm of grated carrot ( I used one large 'red Asian carrot') and 60 gm of powder milk.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Adding the milk powder....

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

And then mixing it....No water to be added. One of the friends added water and it took a long time to reduce the water. I guess I do not tell the recipes more convincingly over the phone, or you don't listen carefully dear friend ;-)

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Zap inside the microwave and cook for 2 minutes, it bubbles a bit and the moisture from the carrots helps the milk powder to get moist first and then cooked with the juices of carrot , as I like it. It looks like this when you take the bowl out.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Give it a quick mix. It already looks ready , isn't it? But it needs to dehydrate a bit more.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Taste a tiny amount so you would know how much sugar you need, depends on how sweet the carrot is , the milk powder has some lactose to sweeten it naturally already.
I thought of adding just a tsp of sugar, heaped :-)
And a few chopped almonds.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Again the bowl was zapped into the microwave for another minute, and this is how it looked.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa


It smells like a true blue gajar ka halwa just the aroma of ghee is missing. Go ahead and add 2 tsp of ghee along with sugar and almonds if you wish. It would smell like heavenly winters in a 'halwai' shop then :-)

I made this halwa today as IHM was remembering this and wanted to surprise her mother with a quick gajar ka halwa.

Another version of gajar ka halwa was waiting to see the lights of a 'blog's day', got a chance to glory today... This one is a naturally sweetened halwa which uses a few sticky dates for sweetening.

I made this version after a few trials for a diabetic friendly gajar ka halwa. After all we all crave such pleasures we grew up eating and enjoying. It might look quirky but damn tasty it is.

instant 3 minute gajar ka halwa

Yes it does look different as I used some sweet potatoes too along with carrots. The bright orange colored sweet potatoes of the western world would make a stunning brightly colored gajar ka halwa with this recipe.

The addition of sweet potatoes adds a lot of creaminess to the gajar ka halwa , so much so that it tastes like rabdi . Rabdi is made after reducing the whole milk for hours and has a slightly grainy texture when cooked slowly. Sweet potatoes provide this version of gajar ka halwa with the same rabdiness...

Although the Indian sweet potatoes make the color dull and insipid, the taste of the halwa, as I said is very very rich. You can always add a tsp of sugar for two servings , believe me that is quite enough. Especially with sweet potatoes in it.

I found it good enough even without the one tsp of sugar or without the added dates. Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness, as do the carrots.

One large carrot, one medium sized sweet potato (both equal in weight) and the same amount of milk powder as used for the above recipe. In this case it was 100 gm as the weight of both carrots and sweet potatoes was 250 gm combined. The amount of milk powder and even the sweetening agent can be adjusted to taste for obvious reasons.

I added two tablespoon of finely chopped sticky dates to this carrots and sweet potatoes halwa and it was a really great halwa to enjoy. The husband gave it a ranking of  8/10 while for me it was 9/10...

The one carrot, one bowl halwa gets 10/10 doubtlessly , especially if you add the ghee. Ghee provides a nice glaze and a nutty taste to the carrot slivers. This is our winter mush :-)

The ingredients list...For 2 servings....
Double the recipe or multiply any number of times, remember to use a bigger bowl if you multiply the recipe.

135 gm grated carrots ( or an equal mix of carrots and sweet potatoes, some beets also taste great)
60 gm milk powder
1 tsp sugar ( or up to 1 tbsp of finely chopped sticky dates)
slivered almonds as much as you want
ghee is optional and as much as you like 

Preparation of the sweet potato and carrots halwa...

Grate the carrots and sweet potatoes first. 

Place them together with milk powder in a suitably sized bowl and microwave for 2 minutes if using about 200 gm mixture of powdered milk and grated roots. Keep a one inch margin above the level of this mixture. If making this halwa with larger quantity, just watch the mixture bubble a bit and then wilt and get compact in the middle. It might take 4-6 minutes or even more if you are cooking a bigger quantity.

Stir to see how much moisture is there. Taste the mixture if you need it sweeter. Add sugar or chopped dates to suit your taste, and cook in the microwave for some more time , usually half the time it took the first time. The sweet potato version may take lesser time as the sweet potatoes absorb a lot of moisture.

Take the bowl out, mix and stir and add nuts if you haven't added them already. The halwa dries up some more when cooled as water keeps on evaporating after microwave cooking.

* Sometimes you get a little dehydrated sweet potatoes in Indian markets, as they have longer shelf life. In that case you should boil the whole sweet potato first as it may take longer than carrots to cook if used raw and might need some more moisture than the carrots have.

Which one are you making first ?

[ Edited to add the recipe of sweet potato version in detail as some questions made me realise that this recipe was not very clear in the post. Thank you. ]

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A salad for lunch, garden fresh baby spinach,sweet lime,tofu and pistachios in a tangy sweet medley ...

No one eats cold salads for lunch in winters. But if you pluck perfect soft baby spinach from your garden in a winter noon, you would like to eat them then and there. I took some time to chop some sweet lime, cube some tofu and even fry them for a better textural experience. The foodie I am, the salad should be perfectly matching to my mood.

I was on phone, talking to a friend , and made this salad while talking, took pictures and even finished eating while still talking to her. She knows how tasty this salad is :-)

ingredients for one lunch serving ...
baby spinach 200 gm
tofu cut in cubes 50 gm
chopped pistachios 2 tbsp
peeled and chopped wedges of one sweet lime
one fat clove of garlic
6-7 sweet basil leaves
juice of half a lime (nimbu)
salt n pepper to taste
a generous slug of EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)
some more oil for shallow frying the tofu cubes (I used peanut oil)


Shallow fry the tofu cubes till they turn crisp, drain on tissue towels.

Now smash the garlic and basil leaves together in a mortar n pestle, empty into a mixing bowl and then add the juice of lime, EVOO, and salt and pepper. More pepper the better as the sweet lime and the sour lime as well, kill some of it's heat.

Add the fried tofu to this dressing and proceed to wash the spinach and cut the sweet lime.

Add the rest of the ingredients and toss them together. All the tidbits will settle down into the deep bowl but not to worry, they are soaking the juices of the dressing . Flavorful is the word.

Empty the ingredients into a plate or eat right out of the bowl , no one is watching :-)

Since I had to show you the pictures it was emptied into a plate and then a few clicks later I realised I should have chosen a white plate for this. The colors look so dull in this dark colored plate, but then the salad was wilting fast and I could not resist eating it.

The salad is wonderfully flavored as the sharpness of garlic is complemented hugely by the sweet lime. The textures you can see , the crisp turned spongy tofu and nutty crisp pistachios with those juicy bits of sweet lime . You would want to fork everything together for a mouthful of goodness.

Some basil could be used whole too I guess and may be some other greens in this salad. This would be a favorite for both of us till the spinach lasts in my garden. I don't make raw salads with the store bought spinach fearing contamination. But I think I would get rid of this fear too very soon.Especially if I get some organic spinach.

What greens would you like for this salad?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thinner Dinner : a book review

I am a big eater and a foodie soul. My food philosophy revolves around macrobiotic principles. Macrobiotic because I need a lot to eat , I am the most happy when my tummy is gratified. It's a fact of life for me. For many others too I know.

My cooking is more based on Ayurvedic principles, combining ingredients mostly according to the food groups which make healthier combinations of nutrients and help in absorption of the nutrients by the body. The process of cooking is an important way to enhance taste as well as nutrient value in whatever we eat. The food for me, is a nourishing-healing factor in our life. Not just the body and physiology, the mood and the psychological well being too. This philosophy, for me, is to attain optimum health goals. Be it weight loss goals or stabilising blood sugar or managing blood cholesterol, choosing ingredients wisely and working on them in a way they provide desired benefits for the mind, body and soul. That is my way to my food.

A foodie who loves her ingredients and wants to know more about them, always curious about everything food. This was the reason I got curious when  I saw this book called Thinner Dinner by Shubhra Krishan, put up for review under Blogadda's book review program, and wanted to see what this book is all about.

The introduction says, Shubhra Krishan is not a nutritionist. She is just ravenous. Now this ringed a bell as I am the same...not a nutritionist but keep working on nutrients ...and ravenous when it comes to good food. The introduction of the book says that she serves dinner everyday in a way that it doesn't get to your waist... I wanted to know if the food is actually real food.

Yes the food is real. Real whole food which I believe is the only way to get healthy. The book talks about how home cooked simple meals can be satisfying and healthy and can be tweaked to stay slim and fit and even loose weight while eating normal food. Normal food , by the way, has gone into the category of exotic food because for many of us, food comes out of packets and tetra packs. This book talks about the good old simple home cooked food.

And I loved the book for this reason....for propagating the philosophy of real whole old fashioned food to be healthy and worthy. She talks about food with such romanticism in her tone it feels like reading a memoir. Full of nostalgia about a meal shared with a farmer family near Pataudi, the home of former cricketer Nawab Pataudi and Sharmila tagore, and another meal she had in a fancy restaurant in New York and many more such meals. Her cooking incorporates what she likes eating outside too. That is what many of do, we all want to tweak the recipes to a healthier version without compromising on the taste. I just wish she had substantiated this idea of healthy eating in a better way. The approach is week.

She has shared some recipes too.

That is what exactly it is. Some recipes too. This is not a recipe book if you want to get recipes for healthy cooking for weight loss. Yes, there are recipes but not written in a way one can effectively follow them. While one reads the book with a smile and feels good that the journey from fat to fit can be enjoyed. The books is written in a very casual way like we share some experiences with friends, it is engaging too as it makes you believe it can be fun to loose weight. And that can be a good message for many out there.

But the book does not make you to learn cooking fat burning food. The recipes are written in a casual way too , ingredient list is mostly printed in a reference card style format and could have been very helpful but the names of the ingredients are in Hindi sometimes. Actually the whole book uses Hindi terms and phrases like haath ki roti or chulhe ka swad which I enjoyed as a Hindi speaking person myself, but could be difficult for many other people to understand. Moreover some ingredient lists and recipes are hastily written without proper instructions, a novice cook would find it difficult to follow.

Pictures are a big letdown too. The kind of pictures we used to see in the magazines of the 80s. It is disappointing to see such poor quality pictures on good quality glossy paper. With good paper and good printing you expect good pictures too , especially if it is about food.

So I feel it's not  a book which can motivate someone to cook and enjoy home cooked food. Moreover, some ingredients like maida (all purpose flour) and corn flour are used freely in many recipes that is another let down for me for sure.

But if the romanticism in the conversational tone of the book touches you, you would feel good about the long forgotten real old fashioned food on your tables. Having said that, I doubt the book has that appeal to motivate someone to cook healthy every day.

This review is a part of the book reviews program by Blogadda , participate now to get free books!

Monday, January 9, 2012

fruit yogurt with chikoo and dried prunes....

Fruit yogurt with chikoo (sapota) and prunes, without added sugar. I never liked the taste of store bought fruit yogurts and it makes me cringe whenever I check the labels. Have you seen how much added sugar it has or how much actual fruit pulp it has? Coloring agents and conditioners do not make a yogurt healthy either.

I find my own homemade fruit yogurt great for between the meals snacking or for a rich dessert too. I keep advising people to carry home made fruit yogurt to work in nice sealed glasses The flavor of some fruit combinations develops really good when kept for 2-4 hours or even overnight . This chikoo and dried prunes is one of those combinations. Chikoo is Sapota , an astringent fruit , with medium sweet and malty taste...

Just chop some prunes, sticky dates and chikoo, 3 prunes, 3 dates and 3 small chikoo for 2 servings ..

Mix with 200 gm of fresh yogurt and a handful of chopped almonds, or any other nuts of your choice.

No additional sweetening is required. 

The naturally sweetened fruit yogurt tastes quite rich with the flavors of fruit getting enhanced by natural sweetness of dates and prunes.

Eat fresh for a healthy dessert or pack for healthy snacking during the day. This way you are not too hungry at meal time and can eat sensibly. I use a jar of nutella for this sometimes, perfect for such packed snacks to carry. Very convenient to eat too...

The prunes and dates get soaked and become luscious after a couple of hours. This is how it looked the next day when I had it... This particular combination of fruit and dried fruits works well for the next day ...

Use any fruits , dried fruits and nuts of your own choice, it is so easy to whip up and so very tasty. You would never pick up that brightly colored pack of fruit yogurt again. Make your own and enjoy good taste and good health together.

Chopped strawberries, bananas and oranges work really well with yogurt and keep well too.

A bowl of mango yogurt is such a treat in summer days. Use Greek yogurt, quark cheese or home made hung yogurt to make this dessert more luscious but still healthy.

How many of you like fruit desserts which do not need cooking ?

What if it makes a perfectly balanced healthy snack?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

pearl barley and green peas soup in a coconut milk broth...

Sometimes I am in a fix when I want a warming bowl of soup for dinners and the husband wants something more filling. Almost all my dinner soups are quite filling but the husband is happy with a soup only when it is a tomato or sweet corn soup and is accompanied with a buttery garlic bread. I thought of cooking his favorite ingredients this time so he would like it as it is. Aloo and matar (potatoes and peas) are his all time favorite ingredients and I decided to bring them into a light soup. It was wonderful.

Whenever I use pearl barley for soup it is either boiled in a pressure cooker right before making the soup or use it ready from my fridge. There is some boiled pearl barley almost always in my fridge as I like it with my red lentil soups too. Luckily the husband likes the soft glutinous texture of boiled pearl barley. A blessing .

To boil pearl barley you just have to pick and wash them, then cook with double the volume of water and salt to taste. I do that in pressure cooker as said, but it can be cooked in an open pan too, the cooking time reduces if the pearl barley is soaked overnight. It will be useful to know that the soaked barley cooks really fast in microwave. Just 5 minutes for a cup of soaked pearl barley on high with just a tbsp of water. The texture of the barley cooked using these methods is different though, pressure cooker makes them burst and open up which I like in such a soup.

(for two large servings)
boiled pearl barley 1 cup
cubed potatoes 2 medium sized (100 gm)
fresh green peas 2 cups
2 bay leaves
salt to taste and lots of freshly milled pepper
you might like using white pepper powder
coconut milk 200 ml ( I used from a tetra)
chopped coriander leaves 1/2 cup


Place the cubes of potatoes and the peas in a pan with two cups of water, add salt to taste, the bay leaves and simmer covered till cooked. Add a little more water if you feel like. Add soaked pearl barley if using along with potatoes and peas so they cook simultaneously.

Add the pressure cooked pearl barley, pressure cooking can be done on the other stove when the potatoes and peas are boiling. and mixed when both get cooked.

Now add the coconut milk and freshly milled pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes till the flavors blend well.

Add chopped coriander to finish and serve hot. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

The soup comes out quite aromatic and is mildly spiced. The potatoes get mushy and absorb the flavors of coconut milk well. The fresh coriander leaves make it fresh and add another dimension of taste , being used in such good do not reduce the quantity of coriander greens here..

A very comforting tasty dinner it makes. I made this soup after we had a tiff regarding his dislike for soups and he said after the dinner that we can have this soup some 3-4 day a week this winter. Green peas are so fresh was his reason. I know his reason was an almost sweetish taste of this soup which comes from coconut milk and really fresh green peas. Undisturbed by any chilly that I use in most soups of mine and the pungency of garlic that is such a favorite of mine. The truth is, I liked the soup too. Very much.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chamomile tea get relief from migraines,anxiety, IBS and cramps...

Winters demand something warm to sip all day and some herb teas are the best. Chamomile is one of my favorites and i love the way it looks. Those beautiful flowers...

Just place a spoonful of these beautiful dried flowers in a pitcher, or a kettle....

And pour hot water over it....

And watch the flowers getting mildly aromatic , and the color being developed in the tea...

Wait for some 5-8 minutes and see how the color becomes a nice sunshine.....warmth and healing is on the way....pour yourself a mug and get set with a book.....or tap your finger where you are sitting right now...with a mug on the table next to you...

With all it's medicinal properties, Chamomile makes a nice soothing tea in winter days to keep sipping on. If you are not sipping the spice infused kahva for that matter. Chamomile is an antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, anti irritant and antispasmodic too. The active ingredient in Chamomile essential oil is Bisabolol  , the aroma of the tea is very mild and pleasant, not a heady thing like some of the orange flavored teas...The only way i do not like orange, is on my tea. I love all the spices and other herbs but never could develop a taste for anything orange in a cuppa...

This site provides detailed information about all the things Chamomile can relieve. It makes a soothing compress for some skin ailments, a cold compress for mild burns and scalds too.

Save some of the dried flowers to make a cold compress if you need it. Or sprinkle some of them in a flower bed ....and grow your own Chamomile....

What other herb teas you like apart from the Ooolong, Darjeeling and the Green tea you are so obsessed with? I personally do not consider our Chai as tea. Do you agree with me ?