Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dry Fruits-Nuts Cake (Diwali special)

Wanted to share this recipe around Diwali. There is no ghee or oil in this recipe. This is age old recipe slightly modified with nutritious ingredients.

What you need?

(You can change the ingredients based on the region where you live and what you get?)

Dried figs - 10 cut into small pieces
Dried cranberries-1 cup

Almonds-2 cups
Pecans-1 cup
Flax seeds-1/3 cup

Dried ginger powder-1/2 tsp
salt-1/2 tsp
Jaggery-1 cup
elachi powder-1 tsp(optional)

How to make?

1. Heat the kadai and dry fry almonds for 2 mins, touch with hand,if it is warm remove to dry plate.

2. Dry fry pecans for 3 mins, transfer to the same plate as almonds.

3. Switch off the stove, add flax seeds and cover it with lid. It might pop. It is ok.

4. Now, we need to prepare jaggery. Boil jaggery in a sauce pan till it dissolves and filter it to remove dirt. Boil it again.

5. Till jaggery is getting prepared, you can prepare the nuts. Make sure it is cooled enough. The nuts only has to be put in a food processor to crack them into halves. Be slow, we dont want to make it powder. It should be cracked pieces.

6. Add dry ginger powder, salt and elachi powder to the jaggery. Boil the jaggery till it is very thick, if you drop the jaggery in water in a cup, it should roll if you roll it. If it becomes too thick, add water and heat for a while, it will come to the right consistency.

7. Prepare a cookie sheet (or a tray) by spreading little ghee all over.

8. Add all the fruits and nuts to the jaggery mixture while it is hot. Stir all together till it is mixed properly.

9. Pour it in the tray and use a flat dosai laddle to pat them flat. spread some ghee on that laddle so that the nuts does not stick to it. Once you spread it to desired consistency, you can cut them Or you can just shape them with hand like how we did. If you use more jaggery, you can cut them since it is sticky. We used reduced jaggery so we just rolled it with hand and flatten it. It is not that hot to do it by hand. It is quite easy.


1. Amount of jaggery might vary depending upon the kind you use. You might use little more or less depending on that.

2. You can use raisins, walnuts or sesame seeds in this recipe.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sprouts Salad

Main Ingredients

Mixed sprouts - 1 cup
Green capsicum-1/2
Red capsicum-1/2
Lemon Juice-1 Tbsp
pepper-1 tsp
chat masala-1/2 tsp (optional)
Olive oil-2 tsp (optional)
fresh coriander leaves-2 tbsp
Green chillies-2(optional)
cucumber or even zucchini-1 cut into cubes

Optional Ingredients

Roasted flax seeds - 1 tsp
Roasted fennel seeds-1/2 tsp
avocados-1/2 (cut into cubes)
Tofu-10-12 pieces
roased peanuts-40
pineapple or apple pieces

How to make?

Grate carrot, cut tomatoes, capsicums, zuchinni/cucumber into small pieces.

Just mix all the main ingredients and shake well.

You can add one or more optional ingredients as per your taste.

I keep changing the taste by adding some interesting things in this. So we love this. If we eat everything raw, then it might be little too much to chew and eat as a whole lunch. In that case, just mix everything and cook for 10-12 mins on medium high flame. It becomes easy to eat. This can just be a starter or even a whole lunch like how we eat.


please refer sprouted bean Sambar Notes on how to make sprouts.

Sprouted beans Sambar

Making sambar everyone knows. Using beans daily has become one of my cooking practice. And recently I added sprouts to sambar and it tasted very good.

I make different bean sprouts almost once in every 2 weeks. It is best in the first week and good on the second week. We usually make sprouts salad once in a week. I will post the recipe very soon for that.

What you need?

Tamarind - 1 small ball size
sambar powder - 1 tsp
Sambar masala - 3 tsp (optional)
Asofoedita - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric-1/2 tsp
Masoor dal - 3/4 cup
sprouted beans-1 cup
Pumpkin/chayote/sugar beet-10 pieces
cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp

How to make?

Pressure cook masoor dal with 2 cups of water and sprouted beans in seperate container without any water for 3 whistles

Take tamarind pulp and add salt, turmeric powder, asofoedita, sambar powder, sambar masala powder and let it boil for 20 mins

Add vegetables and let it boil for 20 mins

Add cooked dal and sprouts. Let it boil for 5 mins and switch off the gas

Take 1 tbsp of oil, once it is hot, add mustard, red chillies and curry leaves. You can also add coriander leaves if you like the taste.


1. How to sprout?

I sprout moong, brown bean(moth), red bean (moth), black urad, little fenugreek by soaking them for 8 hrs. Filter water and keep them in breathable vessels, covered for 2 nights. I usually use stainless steel siever and steamer covered with lid.

2. How to make Sambar masala powder?

I usually make it in bulk and add it to sambar and some types of kutu.

Chana dal - 1 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 cup
Red chilli - few (as per taste)

Dry roast chana dal, coriander seeds and red chilli seperately. Let it cool completely and powder coarsely (not very fine or very coarse).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Almond Payasam (Sweet porridge)

We make moong dal payasam for all the occasions. I usually think why not do some modification and the taste gets so used! Just made little addition to the traditional item that makes it different and also more healthier.

What you need?

1. Moong dal - 2 Tbsp
2. Chana dal - 1 tsp
3. Jaggery - 4 Tbsp
4. Elachi - 1/2 tsp
5. Ghee - 1 tsp
6. Almonds-10 powdered
7. Almonds diced-5
8. Milk-1 cup

How to make?

1. Dry fry Moong dal and chana dal slightly
2. Pressure cook in a seperate vessel for 3 whistles
3. Boil jaggery in 1/4 cup water and once all jaggery dissolves, filter it to remove dirt.
4. Mash pressure cooked dal and add it to jaggery. Add milk, let it all boil together for few mins in medium low.
5. Add powdered jaggery and adjust consistency. Keep in low.
6. Add elachi and ghee. Add diced almonds at the end and it is ready.

This is also the most deserved prasadam for any puja. It is low fat dessert.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Power Berry Smoothie

If you had read the other post about fat reducing foods, then you know why is this post!

What you need?

Any berry - 2 cups (I use combo of strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and some mixed berries, all frozen since we cannot get fresh all the time)
Ripe Bananas-2
Dates - 10-12
Fig - 6
cinnamon-1/2 tsp
flax meal-3 tbsp
salt-1/8 tsp (pinch)
Almonds (soaked)-10 or even almond powder.
quick rolled oats - 1 cup

Now, How to make?

I take out required quantity of berries from freezer and put it in the fridge the before night.

Soak dates and Fig in hot water. Soak Walnuts or almonds and oats in hot water. Let them soak for atleast 30 mins. Check for date pits before blending. Blender blade will break if blended with pits.

Add all the ingredients together and blend it with blender. Add water to adjust consistency. You can blend it as soft as you want. It is ready! Can there be any simple recipe than this? We love this and I usually make it on the weekends and we have it with home made bread as weekend breakfast.

It makes that special really healthy dessert as well! You can make a dark chocolate topping to make it as a memorable dessert too!

Sweet Potato/Yam Parata

It is a big challenge to pack something healthy for kids! This is one such recipe that goes into lunch box.

There are different kinds of sweet potato and yam we get here. There is difference between these two. I am still trying to figure out. I have tried all different varieties and concluded to use purple ones and light brown ones. The dark brown skinned sweet potato is indeed very sweet and I cannot take that much of sweet.

What you need?

Any kind of sweet potato - 3
cumin/ajwain-1/4 tsp
salt-1/2 tsp
turmeric - 1/4 tsp (optional)

How to make?

1. Wash sweet potatoes very well. Cut into two and pressure cook in a covered vessel without any water in it. You should have water at the bottom. If we put it in water like potatoes, it becomes very mushy. Keep for 3 whistles

2. Let it cool. Peel it and mash it with spices

3. Make paratas like you do generally. I top them with Ghee for kids.

Foods that help fight Fat

1. Almonds - Helps to accelerate your metabolism of Fats. Limit to 12 per servings

2. Berries - Any berry that you get locally can supercharge your workout by helping you burn 30% more fat. Good reason to eat some smart smoothie before going to workout. I am adding my signature smoothie recipe very soon.

3. Cinnamon - Adding 1/4 tsp can prevent insulin spike. Sprinkle it in coffee/tea, cereal or idli/dosa batter

4. Mustard - might be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric and mustard go together, remember pickle, go with less salt and oil.

5. Oranges - contains fat blasting compounds known as flavones, deserves to be your main squeeze. You can even make orange pulao. Dont forget to eat the pulp. It is best than the juice.

6. Soybeans - they are rich in choline, a compound that blocks the absorption of fats and breaks down fatty deposits. Checkout Shahi methi soy or even try soy chole. Add a fist to your regular dal or upma.

7. Sweet potatoes - lot of fiber in this will help you keep less fat packed on your hips. Try sweet potato parata, add it even with its skin in sambar, upma or even pav bhaji.

Spices - Add flavour to food and liveliness to your Life!


This is called as spice of life since ancient times. It helps to dissolve complex protein in the brain and helps to keep the brain sharp. You can be little more generous in using this wonder spice in your curry/pasta and upmas or even idlis.


This reduces blood sugar level and cholesterol. It is a good in burning body fat too. You can add it tea/coffee/any drink, Fruit smoothies, sambar (goes very well), upma, idli, chappathi/bread flour. Use 1/4 tsp per person on daily basis. Too much of this spice is also not good.


Pepper is another spice that help reduce cholesterol and control body weight. It helps to keep away from cold and cough. You can use this in tea masala, rasam, all curries, upma and while making idli/dosa/pesaret batter too.


Ginger is supposed to aid digestion and help reduce cholesterol. You can easily use this in tea, curries and upma.


Fenugreek (Methi seeds) helps to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. It reduces body heat and increases milk in lactating mothers. You can use this while doing tadka for sambar. Powder can be used in small quantities in curries especially palak paneer/tofu.

Ragi Idli

What you need?

Boiled rice-1.5 cups
Ragi-1.5 cups
Black urad - .5 cups


Soak rice, ragi and urad overnight or 8 hrs

1. Grind blck urad for 30 mins or till fluffy
2. Grind ragi nicely, add rice to it at the end. Stop grinding as soon as the rice is like rava. Otherwise, idli will not be granular.
3. Add salt and mix well with hand.
4. Let it ferment overnight (keep in warm place).

Make idlis on idli plates as you do generally. Steam it for 15-20 mins.

I dont find it guilty to eat rice in this form since it is boiled and ragi adds more nutrition to the traditional idli.

Tomato spread (Thokku)

A quick spread for anything and everything

What you need?

Tomatoes - 15
pepper - 1 tsp (more for spicy people)
Red chillies or red chilli powder-2 Tbsp (optional)
fenugreek(methi) seeds-1 tsp
Asofoedita-1/4 tsp
cinnamon-1 tsp (optional)
olive oil - 2 Tbsp
tamarind pulp-2 Tbsp or paste-1/2 tsp
jaggery - 2 tsp (optional)

How to make?

1. Heat kadai, Dry fry pepper, methi seeds
2. wash and cut tomatoes into small pieces
3. Grind the fried pepper, methi and tomatoes
4. Heat oil in kadai, add asofoedita and pour the mixture (be careful, it will splash). I keep the lid ready and quickly cover it before it splashes out). sometimes,I transfer the kadai to unheated cooking top and then add everything.
5. Now, add salt, cinnamon powder and jaggery if using and tamarind pulp or paste. Add red chilli powder as well now if using.
6. cover and cook for about 20-30 mins on medium high
7. Check occasionaly and once the mixture is reduced to half, you can keep it open and the final consistency has to be just like any spread.
8. Transfer it to air tight jars once it is cool and refrigerate it.

This is like a life saver for me. My kids love it. It is used as a spread on breads, chappathis, dosa, idli or a simple side dish for yogurt rice. It helps me in making my kids lunch. My kids agree to eat anything with this side dish! Is that compliment not good enough for me to make it?

Preparation time is 20-30 mins and cooking time is about 45 mins with electric top stove, it must be faster with gas stoves for sure.

It stays well in fridge for 3-4 weeks.  You can even keep unused bottels in the freezer section.

I never feel lazy to make it once i see the last bottle finishing up due to popular demand.


1. Use tomato paste cans instead of tomatoes if you are busy.  In that case, mix 1 cup of water per can and mix well before using it in this recipe.  Add or reduce water depending upon the paste thickness.