Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dhokla cake (for that Sweet tooth)

Dhokla is a very healthy recipe with Gram flour.  Gram flour is very good even for diabetic people.  You can google to know about it.  After I knew it,  I started packing dhokla even for lunch, it is pretty filling and easy to eat.  Dhokla is generally a spicy snack.  Yes, it is. Once when i was making, looking at that sponge, I was wondering why not make it as a sweet cake for a easy quick alternate to the regular fat filled cake.  It does not needs lot of sugar and oil/butter either. Ofcourse, it is not equivalent to the regular cake but a good alternate.  I liked it but not sure how others would!

What you need?

Gram flour - 1 cup
water - 1/2 cup
olive oil-2 Tbsp
Brown sugar - 3 to 4 Tbsp
elachi powder-1/8 tsp (optional)
baking soda-1 tsp
citric acid crystals -1 tsp

How to make?

1.Sieve Gram flour
2. Keep the pressure cooker and a round pan coated well with oil ready.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients except the baking soda
4. Beat sugar with oil and sugar
5. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients
6. Pour water in the pressure cooker and start the stove. Cover with the lid.
7. Fold in the baking soda and it will all foam up nicely.  Immediately pour it into the coated vessel and level them nicely.
8.  Do not cover the vessel.
9.  Close the pressue cooker with the lid and let it steam for about 15 mins.
10. Move the pressure cooker away from the hot stove top and slowly open the lid, take out the vessel.  Let it cool for few mins.
11.  gently use a butter knife and run it around the corners and also at the bottom.   Turn the vessel upside down in a plate.
12.  You can decorate the top as per your wish  and have it as such. 


You can easily get the citric acid crystals from any indian store.  I use eno salt for the spicy version and this one works very good for the spicy dhokla as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Methi Mutter Curry

This is my different version of Shahi methi soy without Onion and Garlic.  I am moving into making more Sattvic food which is without onion and garlic.  Usually, we think that chappathi  side dishes will not taste good without onion and garlic.  But that is not so true.  I have tried almost all the dishes without onion/garlic and they all taste good like chole, peanuts curry, mix veg curry. You need to slightly tweek the recipe if not using onion.

What you need?
3 cups methi (fenugreek) leaves - washed and chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp ginger-green chilli paste
10-12 Almonds
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
Tofu/Paneer cut into cubes - 10-12 (optional)
pepper powder-1 tsp
cumin powder-1/2 tsp
coriander powder-1 tsp
Garam masala-1 tsp
Hing-1/4 tsp.
jaggery or turbinado sugar-1 tsp
How to make?

Make a smooth paste of Almonds and keep aside. Soaking almonds in hot water for atleast 30 mins helps but it is ok to use as such in case you forgot.

pick the methi leaves in 3 discarding the thick stems.  Wash and clean the leaves and cut them fine.
Take a pan and boil the methi leaves with little salt and turmeric powder. Once done, allow this to cool.

Now take another pan, add oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Add the ginger- green chilli paste and mix well. Also add the tofu/paneer, turmeric powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and adjust salt to your taste.

Saute for another 1-2 mins. Now add the methi , frozen peas and jaggery.
Add in the almond paste and mix well. Keep stirring gently; be careful as the mixture can cause bubbles and splash. Now saute till fat is separated from the sides, the flavor of methi and almonds is well blended and a sweet aroma arises.

Finally,  squeeze the lemon juice and serve hot with Rotis.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Whole Spelt Grain Buns

Whole spelt grain is like wheat but more nutritious.   It tastes great.   They are very spongy and cant believe that it is made from whole grain.  This dough should not be kneaded for long.  I use bread machine to make the dough.

What you need?

whole grain spelt flour-3 cups - 3 Tbsp
warm water - 1/4 cup + 3/4 cup
vital wheat gluten - 3 Tbsp
salt - 1.5 tsp
yeast - 2.5 tsp
Sugar - 2 Tbsp
Oil-2 Tbsp

sesame seeds -2 Tbsp
or pumpkin seeds - 2 Tbsp

ajwain -2 tsp

How to do?
1. Activate yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.

2. Take vital wheate gluten in the cup and then spoon the spelt flour. slice the excess flour with knife.  It is very important to measure the flour properly.  It shuold not be packed. 

3. Make the dough in your bread machine in dough cycle (i take it off in 15 mins).  It should not be kneaded for long.

4 Let it rise for about an hour.

5. Make a log and then cut them into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece and fold them underneath so that the ball does not open  on the top. 

6.  Grease the 9'11'' pan with oil and flour it.   Keep the 3 * 4 rolls and let it rise again for 45 mins to an hr.

7.Preheat oven to 350 F and bake the rolls for 24-26 mins.  chk before 2 mins since it would depend on your oven.

8. Bottom should be browned.

9. Brush the bungs with oil spray or butter while they are still warm.  cool in a wire rack.

10.  It stays pretty well in refrigerator for more than a week. 

Chappathi Dough Enhancers

I make multi grain chappathis mostly.  Refer to my multi grain chappathi flour post if you are interested.

1. Tofu:

 I consulted a nutritionist couple of years ago and she suggested mixing chappthi flour with Tofu or cottage cheese to increase the protein in vegeterian diet.  I used to mix in pureed cottage cheese before but we had to stop it since we find them with Vit D3.  Now, I get firm tofus which are non-gmo from Costco and use in many dishes.   Puree the tofus and use about 3/4 cup of the puree for 3 cups of flour.  You have to reduce the water accordingly.

2. Steamed Yam/Sweet potato:

Sweet potatoes are very good but they are quite sweet.  I make paratas but kids dont like the sweetness in there.  Stir fry is ok but does not go very well.   I steam cook them  and just mash them with spoon and use it in chappathi flour and also in baked rolls/bread recipes.  The end product turns out to be very soft.

3. Pumpkin Puree:

When it is pumpkin season, i just pressure cook them, blend and pack in ziploc covers and freeze it.  Just pick one pack either for chappathi dough mixing or in bread.

Please share if you have any other ideas.

Swiss chard Stir Fry with Whole Masoor

Yes, I am posting few greens recipes today.  Pictures might follow later.  We cook in the morning, pack lunch and off to work!  Evening chores, kids classes, homework and it is dinner time!  When to picture but I agree that pictures talk for themselves.  I would do it gradually. 

Swiss chard is also a wonderful veggie.  We get all these greens in the close-by farmers market and they come in different colors like red, whihte and yellow, so we buy them in different colors every time. 

I recently found a very good combination to them, whole masoor dal.  I bought it since their protein content is very good but always went wrong in using them.  I used to soak and pressure cook it, it would turn to mushy and brown color.  It was not appealing.  Recently, i thought of cooking them on boiled water and it was unbelievable, it got cooked in 10 mins.  

So, here we go to the recipe!

Soak 1/4 cup of whole masoor for about 6-8 hrs.

What you need?

Swiss chard(any color)-1 bunch
Red chillies-2
asofoedita-1/4 tsp
soaked whole masoor-1/2 cup
salt to taste
Oil- 2 Tbsp
shredded coconut - 3 Tbsp (optional)
Jaggery - 2 tsp

How to make?

1. Cut swiss chard fine including the stalks.

2. In a kadai, boil 2 cups of water, drain the masoor dal and let it cook, add a pinch of turmeric. Let it cook, chk if it is soft.  Drain and let it cool

3. In the kadai, heat oil, add mustard seeds, add red chillies and asofoedita

3. Add swiss chard, salt, fry it for a while, add jaggery.

4. Once the swiss chard is cooked, add cooked masoor and dress with coconut if using.

Try and let me know.

Kale Parata

Kale is a very high fiber greens.  We buy it from local farmers market.  I have tried making baked chips, stir fry, curry but they were ok but did not find entry into regular menu until a friend told me this idea about making parata. It is definetely worth a try. Kale has got a very unique strong taste and hence little hard to use.  Kids also eat this parata without any compliant which is a compliement, I would say.

What you need?

Kale-1 bunch
Oil-1 Tbsp
Hing-1/4 tsp
Gr chillies-as per taste - 1 for our family!
ginger-1/2 inch
cumin powder-1/4 tsp
jaggery-1 tsp

How to make?

1.  Wash and remove stalks from Kale.  I used blender since i was in a hurry in the morning to cut them fine.   I added green chillies and ginger to it.

2.  Heat oil, add hing and finely chopped kale with ginger and green chillies.

3. Add turmeric, salt, cumin powder and jaggery.

4. Fry till the raw smell is gone. 

5.  Spread in a plate for it to cool if you are in hurry!  I was since I had to pack boxes.

In the mean time, make your dough ready.  I use multigrain chappathi flour and make the dough with blended Tofu or Yams!  I will write a post on that. 

Make balls and stuff about 1-1.5Tbsp of kale mixture into it.  Make parata as you would.

Let me know if you need more details.

Spinach Dip or Chutney

I had posted a spinach recipe in the past  but wanted to share another version since we are getting away from onion and garlic.  Onion and garlic are non-satvic foods and I wanted to reduce their usage.   These changes can be successfully made only when all the family members agree.  Some believe some do not.  I believe.  So, I have been making modifications to my recipes without onion in them  and they turn out to be equally good.  Another note is that iron rich food should not be combined with calcium rich foods like milk/yogurt.  Calcium hinders the absorption of iron.

What you need:

Spinach - 4 cups
Green chillies - 2 (more is good if you can tolerate)
Oil-1 Tbsp
Hing (asofoedita)-1/4 tsp
peanuts-1/2 cup
salt as per taste
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
jaggery or turbinado sugar - 2 tsp

How to do?

1. Heat 1tsp oil in kadai, add hing and G. chillies. Wait till they become slightly white.
2. Add washed spinach. In few mins, all spinach will go down. Add salt and turmeric powder.
3. Cook till water reduces. Allow to cool. Transfer to a dish.
5. Cool them and blend with jaggery,peanutsin a  hand blender or mixy.

Do tadka with Mustard and Jeera. All done! This is such a healthy and simple recipe.
It goes well with Idli, dosa, adai and upma's as well.

Give a try and let me know. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reflection of Ayurveda!

The topic may sound very hard but it is actually not.  I wanted to share few of my learnings with my own experiments here.   I had been making some unconscious cooking mistakes in the past without realizing them by following the recipes from other blogs.  However healthy i was eating, my body was not absorbing the nutrients, then I learnt about the principles behind the food absorption.  It is indeed true.  As we learn the rules of roads before we start driving on the roads and call it is a 'Conscious Driving', it is so true, it is so important to be conscious about what we are putting into our body.

Few tips:

1. Milk, taken alone is good for you, not with fruits/nuts/spinach or anything that has iron in it. 

How did this make a difference for us?

We used to make wonderful cereal with all fruits like apple, strawberries, nuts and milk.. It was soo wrong.  Milk hinders the absorption of the nutrients from the fruits and nuts.

Mango lassi, banana milk shake or any fruit with milk is not a healthy drink.

Changes that i made now is

Just make cereal with fruits and nuts, without any milk and add either fruit juice or eat it as such.  All fruits are so juicy.

2.  Milk and salt should never be combined.

I used to make palak paneer with added milk and it used to make it creamy and yummy.  Now, either i grind few almodns into it or just skip it.

3. Milk and yeast should not be combined. 

4. Do not eat anythign in between your meals.  If you are snacking, give atleast 3-4 hrs after the big meals.

5. Fruits should not be eaten with your main food.  Fruits are best absorbed when you dont have anything else to churn in your stomach. So, fruit dessert is a bad idea.   

6. Honey should never be cooked.  I baked with Honey a few times without realizing this fact.  It is actually very toxic when honey is cooked.  It should not be mixed with HOT beverages.. You can add it with warm milk though.

7.  Raw white sugar is not good for you.  It is so refined, look for alternates like whole cane sugar, jaggery or natural sweeteners (do not go by the label in the cover), molasses.  This was pretty hard one and expensive too. 

8. Eat your food on time. Eating early dinner helps in digestion and also make you fit.  (6.30 to 7pm)

9.  Calcium hinders the absorption of Iron from Spinach or any iron rich food.  So, we do not take yogurt with iron rich food.  We either take yogurt as snack or drink milk before bed time.

I am so thrilled in learning about Ayurveda.  I need to dive deeper into it to learn more facts.  Let me know if anything was useful to you.