Category Archives: food

Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

Its an amazing dish. Super easy to make and healthy too. Its almost no oil except for the small amount used for the ‘tadka’, which you can omit if you wish. But the tadka is like the feather in the cap so I would go for it, using very small quantity of vegetable oil or substitute it with a good quality olive pomace oil. Khandavi is an Indian Gujarati dish made with besan (chick pea flour) and curd. Both of these are very healthy ingredients. The best thing I like about it is that it can be made ahead for any small get together with a couple of friends and is best enjoyed at room temperature (Store in fridge if you intend to use it next day). Further it can serve as an anytime snack or food. Hey , it should be an ideal snack for the festival of ‘Holi’! O.K. so enough of talking for now. I’m sure you’re getting a wee bit impatient. Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients for Khandavi:
1 cup besan
1 cup curd
2 cups water
1 level tsp salt
1/4 level tsp turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida (hing) which is optional
Paste of 1/2 inch piece ginger and one large green chilli

Ingredients for tempering (tadka) and garnish:
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
10- 12 curry leaves
chopped coriander leaves
1 to 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut or paneer (optional)

Method:
Mix together all the ingredients for the khandvi into a smooth paste. There should be no lumps. Pour this mixture into a heavy bottom sauce pan or wok and cook stirring continuously on low to medium heat till the mixture thickens but is still spreadable. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste a little to check that the rawness of the besan is not there. Take about 2 ladle fulls of the batter and spread evenly into a thin layer (approximately 4 mm thick) onto the back of a large steel tray, or baking tray or even kitchen counter. You may need several plates depending on their size. Let cool for 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile prepare tempering by spluttering the mustard seeds in the hot oil. Add the roughly chopped curry leaves and switch off the gas. Now using knife cut the khandavi layer into equal sized strips (about 1and 1/2 inch width) and loosen the edge with knife. Roll starting from one end and arrange into serving dish. Garnish with the tadka and grated coconut or paneer (cottage cheese). I like to add a dash of red chilly powder too. Enjoy the healthy almost no oil and gluten free Khandvi.

Note: 1. In first attempt, usually the layers turn out a bit thick.
2. If curd is not sour,add 1 tbsp lemon juice, for better flavour.

Source: Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

Easy Recipe For Churros with Hot Chocolate Sauce for Cool Days!

My son had first tasted Churros at a Christmas market in Paris last year . When he was back from his trip, he just couldn’t stop going gaga over the doughy and chewy, yet succulent taste of the churros with hot chocolate sauce and insisted that we attempt to try making them at home. I looked up a few recipes from the internet and some from the cook books I had, and finally came up with my own version of an easy recipe for homemade churros with hot dipping chocolate sauce which is just perfect for the changing weather. My son gave a helping hand. My family and my son’s friends loved the churros! His friends said that our homemade churros were way better than those available in one of the best local bakeries here in Chandigarh. No not boasting , that’s exactly what they said. Now, as it has again started to become a bit cool, one yearns for a hot snack accompanied by a glass of hot wine which incidentally I also first heard about from my son. So here we go, lets get ready to make some piping hot churros!

Ingredients:

For the churros

  • 1and ½ cup flour
  • 1 and ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 and ½ tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
  • ½ litre to 1 litre oil for frying

For the sauce

  • ½ cup chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chopped well)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp Nutella (optional)

Method:

      Add the 1 and 1/2 tbsp of sugar to the water and boil. In another bowl place the flour, salt and baking powder, making a well inside. Pour the 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil into this well along with the boiling water. Mix using a wooden spatula till well combined and there are no lumps. The mixture will look like a sticky gooey mass. Fill the dough into a cloth or plastic icing bag. Attach a star nozzle to the piping bag, in order to get the distinctive lined texture on the churros. The hole in the icing bag should be of at least 1 inch diameter. Let the dough rest in the piping bag for a few minutes. Heat the oil for frying in a wok. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, but do not boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let rest for half a minute. Add the Nutella and whisk till the chocolate melts and all ingredients are well combined and the sauce looks smooth and glossy.

Now hold the piping bag vertically above the hot oil and squeeze till the dough comes out like a thick rope. Cut with scissors to 4 inch pieces and deep fry to light golden brown. Drain and place the churros on a kitchen paper. Next drench them with the icing sugar (to which some powdered cinnamon has been mixed in).Serve the piping hot churros with hot chocolate dipping sauce!

 

Comforting Fig and Corn Salad with Basil

What could be a better start to the evening than a comforting and wholesome fig and corn salad garnished with fresh basil leaves. My sister has a farm close to chandigarh and I had to visit her today for some work. She insisted that I pick some figs to take back home. I really must thank her, because the figs were beautifully ripe, succulent and juicy, and immensely inviting in their deep purple colour. Along with these I also plucked some fresh basil leaves and the idea to make a tasty salad had already popped in my head. The result was just as I expected- worthy of sharing the recipe! God bless my sister.

The dictionary defines a salad as something that is served cold. But over a period of time the concept of a salad seems to have evolved and we can have salads that can be devoured warm as well as cold. This particular salad tastes great when it is warm! Besides being tasty and super quick to make its very healthy and packed with nutrition. Its a delicious salad to perk up your summer evening. So, here goes the recipe!

Warm Fig and Corn Salad with Basil  (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion chopped into small pieces
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  •  4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of juicy corn kernels
  • 1 large carrot peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 5 figs, halved or quartered ( or more if you like)
  • About ten to fifteen basil leaves
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a pan, but don’t let it overheat. add the garlic

Comforting fig and corn salad with basil
Comforting fig and corn salad with basil

and saute for half a minute. Now add the chopped onion and continue to stir fry till they become translucent and just begin to caramelize. Add carrots and corn kernels (The corn kernels can be pre- cooked in a microwave with 2 tsp water on high for about 1 minute). Stir fry  for about 1 minute more. Transfer the veggies  to the serving plate. Now place the halved figs flat side down in the same pan. Add a few more drops of olive oil. cook for 1 minute and turn the sides and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer to serving plate. Drizzle some honey over the figs. Garnish with fresh basil and balsamic  vinegar. Enjoy!

Should You be Washing Eggs before Consuming?

Should eggs be washed?
Should eggs be washed?

My husband laughed when he saw me washing the store bought eggs. I washed and lay them down on a newspaper and then wiped them clean before refrigerating. True, I did break a couple in the process. He laughed at my foolishness and insisted that there was no need to do all this. I secretly thought that he perhaps did not like that I broke some of the eggs every time I washed them, thereby creating a mess!  But I was convinced that I was doing the right thing; after all some eggs were covered with the hens’ poop and some with feathers and one with blood stains.What if some of the egg shell fell into the pan while cooking, clumsy as I am with cracking the eggs. To top it all there had been the recent scare of the bird flu in the region.So I have to be a stickler for hygiene. Happy and satisfied that I had done a rather good job, I planned to write a blog post with a fancy title ‘ 5 reasons you must wash your eggs!’

Just before i started typing away on my computer, I decided to do a little research on Google (The genie who knows all the answers). I was in for a shock! My husband was right all the time ( just this one time , mind you)! The general recommendation is that eggs should not be washed before stacking them in the fridge. The reason for this is that when a hen lays an egg it is coated with a thin natural coating made of certain proteins, called bloom. The bloom forms a protective layer and rather protects the bacteria from entering inside the egg shells as it covers the pores. If the eggs are washed it strips off the bloom and causes the bacteria to penetrate through the shell. So what must one do? Let the bird poop stare at you everytime you open the refrigerator door or break those eggs deliberately? Nothing of the sort. Just wipe off the offending pieces with a moist cloth and leave alone the rest of them. Though, it does make sense to wash an egg just before you cook it.

Some more interesting facts I learnt:

  • Store eggs in the fridge with broader side up. This helps to keep the yolk nicely centred.
  • A fresh egg sinks in water and a stale one floats
  • To differentiate between a raw egg and boiled egg, spin both with same torque. Boiled eggs spins fast and steadily. The raw egg wobbles.This is because the centre of gravity of the raw egg which is essentially liquid keeps changing as it rotates. when you touch to stop the spinning eggs, the boiled egg quickly comes to rest but the raw egg keeps spinning for a while. (Newton’s law of inertia- in case you’re curious)
  • Eggs are a storehouse of proteins and vitamin D. They are damn good for you! But you knew that didn’t you?
  • ‘Sunday ho ya Monday roz khao ande’ ( Hindi for ‘eat eggs everyday’)

Here is an interesting eternally posed question that I share from the site http://didyouknow.org/eggs/

‘What was first, the chicken or the egg?
Short answer: the chicken is the egg’s way of creating another egg.

According to the bible, the chicken came first. Genesis 1:20-22: So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”

Moist Carrot Cake

It is winter time in the northern hemisphere,the time when one often craves for comfort food.With an abundance of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables available at this time of the year, why not cook up something that is tasty, flavorful as well as healthy? A carrot cake? A carrot cake with a twist– rich moist and upside down!

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 eggs

1 cup sugar ( take about 2 tbsp lesser)

1/4 cup sugar for topping

2 tbsp butter for topping

3 or 4 carrots

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 cup refined oil or butter

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

A handful of mixed dry fruits like almonds, walnuts and raisins

Method:

Peel 2 of the carrots and cut into medium thickness round slices. In a saucepan heat the 1/4 cup sugar along with 2 tbsp butter and 1 tsp water till it melts and is bubbling. Do not stir. Pour into baking pan and arrange the carrot pieces so as to cover the whole base of the pan.Grease and flour the sides of the pan and keep aside.Sieve together all the dry ingredients except the dry fruits. Peel and grate the other two carrots. Meanwhile beat the sugar and the butter/refined oil till fluffy. Add the eggs one by one as you continue beating. Now add the flour mixture in small batches and continue to beat. You can add some milk between each addition of flour if the mixture becomes too thick. Finally fold in the grated carrots and dry fruits. Beat a little bit more till combined.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake immediately in preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or till done. Let the cake cool in the pan for a while, but not too cool. When still slightly warm, run a knife along the edges of the pan and carefully invert onto a plate. Fingers crossed – your beautiful ,succulent , colourful carrot cake is ready to serve! It makes an excellent tea time accompaniment and can also be used as a dessert along with some ice-cream

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Use of whole wheat flour along with some all purpose flour makes the cake healthier. To enhance the health quotient , the white sugar can be replaced with brown sugar.

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Irresistible Sweet Temptations!

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Sinful, gooey, soft:

Melting in the mouth sweet indulgence!

Laden with calories,hmm… bad for my waistline.

I know, I know, but don’t make make me guilt-ridden,

Cakes and puddings are in general forbidden !

Yet they pull me, like a strong magnetic field,

Forgive me, if to the sweet temptations I yield,

Coz no matter what,

I’m actually grateful for the that joyful surge I feel !

I seriously love baking as well as devouring heavenly cakes and puddings. The above poem is is in honour of these tasty treats and in response to today’s daily prompt Grateful and Guilty.

Vibrant ,Colourful Crafts of India

Glimpses of the ongoing craft festival at Kalagram (6th National Crafts Mela ), Chandigarh, which is a visual treat. There is something for all- from beautiful Tanjore paintings (which are made from real gold foil and gemstones), ceramic and clay pots and flower vases, hand made shoes, handloom fabrics,fashion jewellery, to sumptuous food from different states,you can find it all here.Lets complete the story with the pictures!

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Tanjore painting depicting Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
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colourful clay figures

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college girls ready for the cultural dance 
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Pretty girls strike a pose
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dance frenzy
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Tasty Spicy Rajasthani food

Easy, Healthy and Yum- Tomato Soup!

Come November and winter is just round the corner.

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, the winter is not so harsh in the Indian subcontinent,but yes, it has started to become slightly cold in the northern parts of India.and we are rather enjoying this weather. With the slight chill comes the desire for warm and comforting food as evening descends. What could be better than a simmering bowl of tomato soup?

Ingredients:

1 kg ripe tomatoes roughly chopped

3 medium size onions sliced

4 to 5 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

2 pieces of cloves (optional)

1 tbs butter (optional)

1 tbs cornflour

Salt to taste

Method:

Boil all the ingredients in 5 cups water (pressure cook if possible for up to 4 whistles), till the tomatoes are soft and the skins begin to peel off.Decant the liquid in another container with the help of a large sieve with medium sized perforations.Mash the tomatoes now trapped within the sieve so that the pulp and juice passes into the rest of the liquid, leaving the seeds and skins behind. Discard them. Put the soup back on the flame to cook for a few more minutes.To thicken the soup, 1 tbs of cornflour dissolved in a little water can be added. Alternatively,a trick is to add 2 tbs of thick Knorr or Maggi tomato soup powder .It adds to the flavour and makes it more delicious! Lastly add a knob of butter and voila, soup is ready to serve! Garnish with fresh celery or coriander.Cottage cheese pieces added to the soup taste great too!  Serve with bread sticks.

Pancakes with Honey Cinnamon Sauce

Delicious, soft ,fluffy pancakes always make my mouth water. In the recipe that i share below i have replaced all purpose flour with wheat flour as it is comparatively a healthier option. Adding a spoonful of oats could further enhance the nutritive value.The recipe inspiration is from BBC food which always has foolproof recipes, but I have tweaked it to my suitability and added the honey cinnamon sauce.The dish is wholesome and healthy. Ideally a breakfast food, but honestly I don’t mind eating pancakes as dessert too!

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour —- 1/2 cup
  • Milk                       —- 1/2 cup
  • Egg                       —- 1 large
  • Castor sugar         —- 2 tbs
  • Salt                        —- 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder       —- 1 tsp
  • Melted butter          —- 2 tbs

Method: 

Sift all the dry ingredients together and keep aside. Whisk together the milk ,egg and gradually add the melted butter.Finally mix the dry and the wet ingredients while beating lightly with a fork. Leave the mixture to rest for 2 minutes. Now heat a nonstick pan and smear a knob of  butter over it. Pour a ladle full of the mixture on the pan and let cook. Holes will appear on its surface. Flip the side and cook till lightly brown.Make a stack of the pancakes.

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Honey Cinnamon Syrup:

Ingredients-

  • Honey —-3/4 cup
  • butter —- 1/2 cup
  • Ground cinnamon —- 1/2  tsp

Heat all the above ingredients over a low flame till warm and the butter gets melted.Don’t overheat but keep it warm.

Serve the pancakes with the dripping honey cinnamon syrup and slices of caramelized apples or fresh cut strawberries.

There are so many variations that can be made to the basic recipe. As an Indian twist try addind some aniseed (saunf) to the pancake batter.It has an amazing flavour and the pancakes taste almost like ‘Meetha Pura’- a local Indian dish. Meetha means sweet and pura is anything of batter consistency that is pan fried. Follow my blog for more — if you like this post. See you 🙂

5 Anytime and All time Foods !

We have all experienced hunger pangs at some point of the day, some day, in our busy lives.A growling tummy does interfere with the proper thinking process,makes one grumpy and is surely bad for general overall health and wellbeing ! Here is my list of 5 anytime and all time favourite foods that help to keep those hunger pangs at bay and at the same time can be quite nourishing too.So here goes–

  1. Sandwich : One of my favourite foods, it has many variants and can be prepared in a jiffy. Just slash a couple of slices of brown/ white / multigrain bread with butter and some tomatoes and cucumber slices and viola, you’re done ! Don’t like butter – use cheese or peanut butter or nutella instead.
  2. Fruits : Packed with nutrients and the best part is they need no cookingPick one on the go and say cheers to your health.
  3. Nuts : Another superfood that keeps one satiated and happy. Regular intake of nuts, preferably unsalted,are excellent for your skin hair and bones.
  4. Roti : Eat it anyway you like- the traditional way with a gravy vegetable or rolled up with a delicious filling of chicken, cottage cheese or just some pickles !
  5. Eggs : They come to your rescue when there is nothing else in your fridge! Eat them boiled,scrambled, poached or fried. Eat them with plain toast ,roti or just mix with salad.

Eat well – Stay happy!