Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reheating Greens- A word of caution!

We are unable to keep many things in our mind due to the fast paced mechanical life.  There are many unfinished things at the end of the day!  It carries fwd for ever!  I made mustard greens yesterday and I knew it is good for you but out of curiousity went googling about its health and nutrition.  It is indeed a very good greens for people who do not have thyroid or stone related problems.  But while scrolling down, I read that we should not reheat any greens and not eat it after leaving overnight. 

Greens when cooked has nitrates in them, when you reheat, it becomes nitrites which is very poisonous. 

if you want to read more about it, here you go!

Disclaimer:  I found this info online and please verify it with your own resources.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Choco chip Tofu Cookie

Cookie is pretty handy snack for kids after they come back from school.  My little one asked me to make choco chip cookie.  I could not find many healthier choices.   I tried one other cookie couple of weeks ago with Tofu and it become quite flat and looked like mini crepes (dosai), so we called it dosai cookie.   My kids liked it.   I wanted to add something to make it more like cookie so I got the idea of adding almond meal/powder.   I could make this with just 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and 1 Tbsp of sugar and dark cocoa choco chips which i shredded from the pound bar.   You could vary the sugar content according to your requirement.  Here is one other healthy choice for anyone! 

What you need?

Tofu half block mashed
almond powder - 1/2 cup
baking soda-1/2 tsp
salt a pinch
Turbinado sugar- 1 Tbsp
coconut oil - 1 Tbsp
cardamom powder-1/8 tsp (optional)
Choco chips-1/4 cup
Raisin - 1/4 cup (cut fine)

How to make?

1. Mash Tofu with fork
2. Mix all the ingredients together
3.  Preheat oven to 350F  and line parchment paper in a cookie tray and spray oil.
4.  Make small balls and flatten them in cookie shape
5. Bake for 20 mins and rotate the tray half way thru for even baking.  Chk if the bottom has browned slightly.

You could also add some oat flakes but I did not do any.    This is a protein rich low fat and low sugar  cookie which could be indulged without any guilt.


This is a soft chewy cookie.  It is not a crispy one!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Broccoli with Yam/Sugar beet Fry

Broccoli is healthy and I have shared one other recipe earlier which is evergreen in my kitchen.  This one is pretty simple since no grinding is involved.

What you need?

Broccoli - 1 to 2 bunchecs
Yam/Sugar beet - 1 big or 2 small
salt - 1 tsp (approx.)  depends on the actual qty of broccoli and yam.

Oil-1.5 Tbsp
mustard-1 tsp
asofoedita-1/4 tsp
cumin seeds-1/2 tsp


1. Remove stalk, wash and cut broccoli into small florets.
2. Cut yam/sugar beet into dices

How to make?

1.  Heat oil in kadai, add mustard seeds (let it splutter), add cumin seeds and asofoedita and Yam/sugarbeet.

2.  Add 1/2 cup of water, add salt and turmeric. Once the water boils, Add broccoli.  Broccoli would absorb all the water and keep it med high heat for 5 mins.  Fry till all the water is absorbed.  The veggies would still look green.

This goes well with any dish.  Have fun!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Semolina short noodles and Oats Pulao

Some people are reluctant to go with completely healthy diets like oats dish.   I mix in the healthy ingredients and no one would have even noticed it including my husband!  Ofcourse, he is never reluctant to eat my healthy dishes.    He would know it only when i tell him and kids also eat it.    We add lots of veggies in anything we make and my hubby is the one who usually helps me in the cutting.  He cuts them very nicely.  Thatz a great help for my morning cooking.    I wake up early and I start my cooking only after taking bath and it includes my simple morning pooja routine.   Without help, I cannot make it happen.. 

What you need?
(approx for 2 adults and 2 kids)

Roasted Semolina noodles - 3/4 cup (Semiya in Tamil)
Old flash Oats - 3/4 cup
Veggies of your choice carrots, beans, peas - 2 cups
Tomato/Red capsium - 2 (Optional)
Ginger gr chilli paste-1 tsp
spice powder - 1/2 tsp
asofoedita - 1/8 tsp
coriander leaves-few

Water- 2.5 cups


Oil-2 Tbsp
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp, cumin seeds-1/8 tsp

How to make?

Do tadka, add spice powder,ginger gr chillies, asofoedita, add tomato paste if using, fry for 3 mins.

Add veggies, salt and water and let it boil

Add roasted semolina, mix well and cover for 10-15 mins on medium.  Time would depend on your stove.  Watch out. 

Just when you see the all the water is absorbed, add oat flakes, give a mix and turn off the stove, close the lid and let it all mix together for 10 mins.

All done.    You can skip the tomato/capsicum gridning if you dont need it.   It is flexible recipe.

Purple Potato Parata!

Natural colors in food is very appealing and also very good for our body.  Especially purple colored vegetables are very food to reduce fat from body.  I was amazed when I read about the nutrition of purple potatoes.   They are completely healthy when compared to other potato varieties.  I see it occassionally in one of the stalls in the farmers market and do not miss to grab a few of them.  We have used it in upmas and also made paratas.   I sent it in lunch box one day and my older one told me that her friend asked for the recipe!  This post is mostly to share the idea since many of us are experts in making aloo parata!   I am sure purple potatoes must be available in other stores as well.

What you need?

Purple potatoes - 3
ajwain-1/8 tsp (optional)
salt-1/2 tsp
cumin powder-1/8 tsp

How to make?

I steam cook these potatoes and not boil them since I dont want to loose the purple color in the water. 

Once done, mash them, you could use the skin as well since lot of veggies are havign the nutrients on the skin.  I happened to buy them organic so used the skin also.

Add salt, ajwain and cumin powder and make small balls.

Make chappathi dough, slightly tight and make a small circle, keep one ball inside, cover it and roll

Heat griddle and roast them on both sides.  I use ghee/clarified butter for kids. 

Pack them with Tomato thokku(dip) and yogurt!  Simple lunch done.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Awareness on few Ingredients for Vegeterians

It is indeed quite hard to figure out what is plant and animal derived ingredients in all the many processed foods that we get and encounter in our day to day life.  I am creating a list here for all those who care for vegeterianism.  The same post will be updated periodically as I encounter any new ones

1. Mono-Glycerides: These are derived from animals unless it is clearly stated as vegetable derived mono-glycerides.

2. Rennet

3. Gelatin

4. Enzymes are usually based on animals if  not clearly mentioned that as plant based enzymes

5. Many cheese have animal enzymes used in their processing.  I will add the link to find the vegeterian ones.

6. Some Artificial colors are based on bugs though this information could not be verified.

7. Vit D3 ( I have dedicated a post for  it)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mutter Tofu Masala in red capsicum Gravy

I come up with different gravy ideas whenever i make chappathis.  In the beginnng of the week, I made mustard greens curry for lunch to go with avocado chappathis.  I had made enough dough for dinner also.   I had to make some quick curry for dinner and came up with this idea.   It resembled pretty much like the shahi paneer gravy which the restaurants make with heavy cream and tastes awesome.  Tofu in this dish tasted just like paneer since I cooked them in simmer for a while so they absorbed the flavour very well.

I could'nt take a detailed picture but here is what I got.

What you need?

red capsicum - 1 large
tomato-1 large
green chillies-2 or more
ginger-1 inch.

Tofu cut into cubes-20
frozen peas/mutter- 1 cup
salt to taste
spice powder-1 tsp (clove,cinnamon, cardamom,fennel) or garam masala
cumin coriander powder-1 tsp
asofoedita-1/8 tsp
Oil-2 Tbsp

Prep work

    Grind first 5 ingredients.

How to make?

Heat oil, add spice powder, asofoedita, add ground paste, add salt, cumin coriander powder.

Add Tofu and peas to this boiling mixture, reduce heat and let it simmer for 15-20 mins.

I have made them withotu onion/garlic.  You could add it if required.  But the taste was nonetheless without them.  It was a Go!

Amaranth Kulcha

Here is another recipe on Amaranth.  We even grew this plan at home, we sprinkled the seeds last spring and they grew as beautiful greens.  The leaves were moer like spinach and can be cooked like that.   We live in apartment so no big backyard but still we managed to grow them and make few harvests for our small family.

You could use boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes for this recipe.  I usually use sweet potatoes since it is very good source of fiber and it has low glycemic index.

What you need?

Amaranth flour-2 cups
Sweet potato-2 medium or 1 large
other spices(chilli/coriander/cumin powder)-1/2 tsp (optional)

How to make?

steam the sweet potatoes.  I use rice cooker. I dont put them into water rather than i steam cook so that they dont get too mushy.  Let it cool.

Mash the cooked sweet potatoes and mix with the amaraanth flour, add salt and spices.  Add water if required to make the soft dough like how we make for chappathi, consistency of the flour will be slightly coarse. 

This kulcha cannot be made as thin as phulkas since they dont have any gluten, you could still use roti rolling pin and make it as small circles. 

Heat tava, cook on both sides,  apply oil if you would like to.

Serve with any side dish.    One impt note is that this keeps you pretty full, so you can reduce the number of rotis than what you would usually eat. 

Amaranth quick Mix(Rajgiro)

Rajgiro is the hindi name for Amaranth.   I first saw this seed in whole foods.  Without any further thought, I got it first.  I searched online and found mostly sweet recipes like rajgiro laddoo.   I stay away from sweets preferably but we do make all kinds of sweets for different occassions and celebrations!  I found my own way of using this wonder seed.  Amaranth is highly nutritional, it has complete protein and most importantly it keeps you full for loonger with less quantity of food.  Most of us just want that right, we dont want to be hungry and eat more!  I make chappathis, mixed rice dish and few other things which I will share one by one.   Another things about this grain is that it cannot be eaten like quinoa or rice since it is gluten free and it is pretty gooey.  It can be used in sweet dishes though. 

I have also read that this seeds are pretty good for diabetic people also. 

What you need?

Amaranth seeds - 3 Tbsp
Red chillies-3 and more
asofoedita-1/8 tsp
urad dal-3 Tbsp
salt as required.

How to make?

Dry roast all the ingredients.  Heat Tava, add red chillies, urad dal, once it is slight roasted, add amaranth seeds, keep a lid ready since they pop well just like sesame seeds.

Once cool,  just blend them to a coarse powder with asofoedita and salt. 

How to use?

You could make rice/quinoa or cracked wheat preferably fluffy (you should be able to seperate the grains)

Add required quantity of the amaranth mix that we made, add 1-2 Tbsp of oil, adjust salt, mix well and server with Raita or any side dish.

Vit D supplement

This post is for vegeterian people who is living in US and are deficient in Vit D.

I fell deficient in Vit D last year.  My doctor suggested me to take the Vit D supplement.  I never knew the difference between D2 and D3 till then.   I was particular not to take the Vit D3 since it is sourced from animals.  I could not find Vit D2 in near by major stores so I ordered it from Amazon. 

Deva Vegan Vitamins Vegan Vitamin D 2400 IU, 90-Count by  Deva Vegan Vitamins

I took this regularly once every day and my Vit D increased pretty well.   One important thing is to take this with some fat since Vit A,D,K and E are fat soluble.   That is the main reason why Dr. usually prefers to take Vit D3 since it also has animal fat for the body to absorb that vitamin.  You could take the Vit D whenever you are eating any fat rich foods like nuts or peanuts butter.    I usually take it with flax milk since flax is good fat. 

Reach out to me if you have any qs on this post.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Salt in Milk

Lot of my friends and even myself wanted to know why we should not mix salt and milk.  I have been searching for some information for a while.  I found it only now and wanted to share it.  It made sense to me.  We are young chefs and somehow I strongly believe that our ancestors had lot more knowledge on food and what happens when you put them inside your body.  Sometimes, I dont mind to follow certain rules even though I dont have any justficiation for that. But I keep my search engine On!

Here is the link and the details from that website is posted here for quick ref:

Kaviraj Partap Chauhan.
In Astang Sangrah (Sutra sthanam), chapter 9, deals with foods that are opposing to each other. The opposing foods are poisonous (harmful) and can cause either an immediate reaction in the body or will react in long time. The second type of reactions or disease (delayed reactions) caused by opposing foods are more common as we can not understand what's going on inside as a result of our improper eating. And then finally one day we have some serious disease, and we might be wondering from where it came Actually it may have come from the "milk and salty preparation" (or any other opposing combinations) which we had been enjoying for so many years.

According to Ayurvedic principle "Salt in milk" (Ksheeren lavanam) do not go toghether. But it is applicable to milk in salty preparations as well. As it has been mentioned in "Astanga Sangraha" that the reaction may not be immediate, so it will be wrong to say that such combination have been used by people without any ill effects. The ill effect or harmful effect is always there but it may not manifest into a disease immediately. It's like we see so many people drinking alcohol everyday but not all of them get diseases. This does not means that alcohol is harmless for the body. On the other hand we see many people who don't drink alcohol or don't smoke etc. but they get serious diseases. Maybe they take "milk with salt or milk in salty preparations" everyday or three times a day.

It's also explained in Ayurveda that by regular practice, even some wrong combinations become less harmful. This is because the body adapts to or gets used to that kind of food. Usually people with strong immunity, strong digestion and those who cleanse the system regularly are less effected. Please note the words "less harmful" and "less effected" I have used above. This means that there is definitely an harmful effect on the body when we take "milk and salt or salty preparations" together. The effect can vary in each individual depending on certain factors like immunity, age, state of ojas, strength of Jatharagni etc

Since Ayurveda only mentions milk and salt and not milk products such as curdled cheese, yoghurt, butter etc. and salt to be incompatible we have to analyze the difference between milk and e.g. yoghurt to find out the possible factors which make this substances compatible or incompatible.

The difference of yoghurt and milk in regards to metabolism is, that milk has to be curdled by the body and the milk fat which tends to coagulate has to become emulsified** by the bile*** liquid. Yoghurt is already curdled by the lactic acid produced by the yoghurt bacteria and the fat of yoghurt doesn't tend to coagulate because of the specific structure of processed milk products.

Milk contains a specific protein-calcium compound called calcium caseinat which is responsible for the curdling effect of milk as soon as the calcium bond is broken by the interaction of acids** **.
If salt which is a sodium salt is added to milk it could interfere with the calcium ions of the calcium-caseinat and thus impede with the curdling, emulsification and / or albumin metabolism of the milk.

If salt is added to any other milk product that would be no problem since the milk doesn't have to be curdled and is already pre emulsified.

Another possible reason is the sweet taste of milk. Generally sweet things are not mixed with salt, which again would not be a problem for yoghurt which does not possess the sweet characteristics of milk.

**That is also the reason why milk is recommended to be served hot. The colder the milk is, the more difficult it is for the bile liquid to emulsify the milk. Drinking cold milk is like trying to wash greasy hands with soap (bile) and cold water. Only with hot water will the fat emulsify and the hands become nicely clean.

***bile: A bitter, alkaline, brownish-yellow or greenish-yellow fluid that is secreted by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and discharged into the duodenum and aids in the emulsification, digestion, and absorption of fats. Also called gall.

** **That is why the milk curdles if you add lemon juice, citric acid oryoghurt to hot milk.