- Very healthy recipes from the kitchen to the table in minutes

Chole is a popular side dish in Indian cuisine. It is usually served with roti, naan, rice or on fast food like samosa or bread.  A very...

Croutons Chole Chaat

Chole is a popular side dish in Indian cuisine. It is usually served with roti, naan, rice or on fast food like samosa or bread.  A very popular way of having the chole in our household is on croutons. Serving the hot chole on crunchy croutons, topped with sweet and spicy chutney. potatoes and onions takes it to another level all together. What I like about this recipe is, people with allergies can also have this chaat using rice croutons( which tastes a whole lot better than regular croutons). It could be made in a jiffy with the store bought croutons. On the other hand  it could be prepared by toasting regular bread at home. In the home made crouton version, it gives you versatility to add herbs and spices to the bread as per ones tastes. So, the next time you have some left over chole convert it into a whole new chaat for a snack.


Gadgets:
Bowl
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Cutting Board
Knife
Wok or Toaster oven or microwave


Ingredients:
Croutons ( plain, garlic, cilantro or mint croutons) - 1 cup
Chole - as per your recipe or here - 1 cup
Potatoes - 2 boiled and pealed ( optional)
Sweet Chutney - 1 tsp
Green Chutney - 1 tsp
Onions - Finely diced - 1 tbsp
Cilantro - Finely chopped - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 1/2 sliced



Preparation:

1. Warm the croutons in the microwave, toaster oven or wok and place it in a bowl.

2. Pour hot chole on top of the croutons and top it with the chutney's and onions. Garnish with cilantro and green chillies and serve it hot.


12 Comments:

With Halloween season in full swing one tends to find a lot of pumpkins and butternut squashes everywhere.It was a couple of weeks ago whe...

Butternut Squash Paratha

With Halloween season in full swing one tends to find a lot of pumpkins and butternut squashes everywhere.It was a couple of weeks ago when I was out shopping with my daughter. Butternut Squash is not the kind of vegetable that I usually add to my cart when I shop at Trader Joe's. It was on her suggestion that I must try  cooking with it that we did buy it. It has been sitting on my counter for over 3 weeks now. I must confess that I have not cooked with butternut squash until now. I have seen soups, chutney, pasta etc made with them.  I was very nervous about cooking with it. It was not about the taste that I was worried about, but rather the texture. I wanted to create something mushy less.This evening I made butternut squash stuffed paratha, butternut squash halwa and coconut raita. I really enjoyed the combination because, though butternut squash is kind of sweet, the paratha was spicy, the halwa was sweet and the raita balanced the two dominant tastes. It will not be a one time paratha, but will be prepared often in my kitchen.


Gadgets:
Bowls
Food Processor / Grater
Spatula
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Griddle/ tava
Board and Rolling Pin
Wok/ heavy bottom pan

Ingredients:
For Butternut Squash Filling:
Grated Butter Nut Squash - 4 cups
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a few shakes
Kasturi Methi - 2 tbsps
Cumin Powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp ( mine was very spicy)
Ginger - 1/2 tsp grated
Salt
Oil - 1 tbsp plus extra for spreading on the paratha
For Roti:
Whole Wheat Flour - 3 cups plus extra for dabbing
Salt
Oil - 1 tbsp
Water



Preparation:

1. Grate the butternut squash in a food processor (or grater) after removing the outer skin.

2. Heat the Wok and add the oil. Once that heats up add asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds starts to pop. Then add kasturi methi, turmeric and chili powder and give it a quick mix.

3. Add the grated butternut squash , salt and mix well. Allow it to cook for 5 minutes or until the butternut squash is cooked well. Remove from heat.

4. Meanwhile, mix the whole wheat flour salt and oil well before adding enough water to make a soft dough. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before making parata's.

5. Take a lemon size ball of dough and roll out a small circle. Spread a tbsp of the filling on one half of the circle and cover the filling with the other half to form a semi circle. Fold again to form a triangle.

6. Roll out the triangle evenly making sure to dab some whole wheat flour on and off to avoid sticking. Once the parata has been rolled into a triangle cook it on the iron griddle on medium heat on both sides until they are cooked well . Apply some oil on both sides. Serve them hot with coconut raita and butternut squash halwa.

23 Comments:

Everyone has their own recipe for making noodles. I am sure all our versions are delicious. But sometimes I do like to deviate from the usua...

Vegetable Noodles With Black Pepper & Sweet Chili Sauce

Everyone has their own recipe for making noodles. I am sure all our versions are delicious. But sometimes I do like to deviate from the usual way with the addition of peanut butter or any such ingredient. Some months ago I found the black pepper and sweet chili sauce on the shelves of Trader Joe's. The black pepper sauce taste was closest to the chettinadu karuvapillai garlic pepper kozhambu. When mixed with rice it becomes a perfect Indian rice variety. While the sweet chilli sauce had the sweet and  spice effect which my daughter loves. It acts as a perfect dipping sauce and can be a great ketchup substitute. The sauces are great additions to pasta, but I liked it best on noodles. It added a lot more flavor to the regular veggie noodles. An entry to MFF event: Oct 2010.



Gadgets:

Wok
Spatula
Cutting Board
Knife
Heavy Bottom Pan
Colander
Measuring Cups and Spoons

Ingredients:

Noodles - 1 packet

Water - Enough to cook the noodles in
Salt
Onion - 1 medium size
Garlic - 3 cloves
Garlic - 1 inch
Carrots - 1/2 cup julienned
Bell Pepper - 1/4 cup julienned
Black Pepper Sauce - 1 tbsp ( or according to the spice levels you can handle)
Sweet Chili Sauce - 1 tbsp
Peanut Butter - 2 tsp heaped
Oil - 3 tbsp
Soy sauce  - 3 tbsp
Green Onions - 1 bunch


Preparation:


1. Boil the water with some salt and add the noodles when the water comes to a boil. Cook as per the instructions mentioned in the noodles packet.

2. Heat the wok on high heat. Add oil allow it to heat up. Add onions, ginger, garlic and saute it. Add onions and bell pepper once the onions are half cooked.

4. Remove from heat. Mix the sauces and peanut butter to a smooth mix in a bowl and add to the veggies. Check to see if you would like more salt or spice.

5. Add the cooked noodles and toss with the veggies. Add green onions and serve it hot.

10 Comments:

For many years I have been experimenting on making marinara sauce for pizza. I used to struggle with the consistency because the pizza wou...

Home Made Organic Marinara Sauce For Pizza

For many years I have been experimenting on making marinara sauce for pizza. I used to struggle with the consistency because the pizza would always get soggy. Though making a thicker chutney type of a sauce helps, I had to make many mistakes before I was able to get it right. This organic sauce stores well. It was very simple to prepare and most of the ingredients used were from the shelves of Trader Joe's.I used the marinara sauce to bake different shapes pizza for 24x24  event.



Gadgets:

Can opener
Cutting Board
Knife
Measuring spoons
Heavy bottom pan
Spatula
Hand blender

Ingredients:

Organic Onions - 1  big (diced)
Diced Organic  Tomato - 1 28 oz can
Organic Garlic - 2 cloves
Organic Basil Leaves - 10
Salt
Pepper
Pasta Seasoning  - 1/2 tsp (spicy version)
Organic Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Organic Sugar - 1/2 - 1 tsp ( depends on how tart you like your sauce)


Preparation:

1. Heat the heavy bottom pan and add olive oil.

2. Saute onions and garlic along with some salt until they are well cooked.

3. Add the the can of tomatoes and allow it to cook on  5 minutes medium high heat. Add all the seasonings and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Using a hand held blender roughly blend the mixture. Add basil and sugar, store in a bottle and use when needed.


21 Comments:

To get the slimy thing out of the equation I always broil the okra. It can be roasted to become so crunchy and can easily pass off as garn...

Low Fat Crunchy Okra In Yogurt (Raita) / Vendakka Thair Pachidi

To get the slimy thing out of the equation I always broil the okra. It can be roasted to become so crunchy and can easily pass off as garnish or in raita. On the other hand it can be toasted enough to be used in preparation of bindi masala. This raita is very common to south Indian cuisine. Original recipe uses the stove top to roast the okra which requires a lot of oil. I thought it would be great to post this recipe because of the broiled low fat crunchy texture and taste of okra. It is super simple to make and makes life easy. Apart from all that, I thought the pictures were very interesting and unique. They were clicked by my husband with the help of the in house food stylists my daughter and niece. 


Gadgets:

Cutting Board
Knife
Baking Tray
Measuring cups and spoons
Bowls
Whisk
Wok
Spatula

Ingredients:

Okra - 1 cups sliced into less than 1 cm disks
Salt
Oil - 1 tbsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp 
Yogurt - 1 cups
Asafoetida - a few shakes 
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - a few
Dry chilli - 1



Preparation:

1.Turn the oven to broil . Coat the baking tray and okra with 2 tsp of oil, salt, chilli powder and broil for  20- 25 minutes making sure to turn the okra every now and then.

2. Add 1 tsp of oil to the wok. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and dry chilli and once the mustard seed pops remove from flame and add to yogurt. 

3. Add the crunchy okra to the yogurt and serve.

16 Comments:

This recipe has been in my recipe collection book for years. It was a recipe that my sister's mother-in-law Mrs. Rukmini Krishnan ( af...

Okra in Tamarind Sauce/ Vendakka Puli Pachidi in 15 Minutes

This recipe has been in my recipe collection book for years. It was a recipe that my sister's mother-in-law Mrs. Rukmini Krishnan ( affectionately known as Appama) shared with me 6 years ago. Every time I added okra to my shopping cart I would think I would give this recipe a try, but I always ended up making something else. Not today, I had a bag of okra purchased just to try out vendakka puli pachidi. It is a very simple and common side dish from Palghat cuisine usually served with molgootal.  This side dish is so perfect because it has the best balance of sour, sweet, salt and spice that makes the meal extra special. I don't know if the okra was used to create the Umami or Thurvpu effect but all I know is that it is TASTY. Takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and believe me this one will always be a very popular one in your house hold and would be on high demand list. So please give it a try.




Gadgets:

Cutting Board
Knife
Heavy Bottom Vessel
Spatula
Measuring cups and Spoons

Ingredients:

Okra - 6
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a few shakes
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt 
Green Chili - 1 ( add more if you like the spice)
Coconut - 2 Tbsps
Jaggery - 2 tsp
Tamarind - 1 gooseberry size ball
Hot Water - 1 1/4 cup
Curry Leaves - a few (optional)


Preparation:

1. Wash and dry the Okra well before cutting them into less than 1 cm discs. Make think slices with green chilies.

2. Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract 1 1/4 cup of tamarind water from it.

3. Heat the vessel with some oil. When that heats up add asafoetida, mustard seeds, allow it to pop before adding fenugreek seeds. 

4. Add the okra and green chilies before the fenugreek gets over roasted. Cook the veggies until they are slightly roasted. Add tamarind water , turmeric powder and salt and allow it to boil for 5 minutes.

5. Add coconut, jaggery and curry leaves allow it to cook for a few minutes.Serve it hot as a side dish.

13 Comments:

Sago/Javrasai payasam is very easy to make. But if you do not know the differences in sago variates you might run into trouble. There h...

15 minutes Sago/Sabudana Kheer/ Javvarisi Payasum/ Tapioca Pudding


Sago/Javrasai payasam is very easy to make. But if you do not know the differences in sago variates you might run into trouble. There have been cases where I had the sago dissolve into the milk and give a porridge/kanji taste, while sometimes it might take forever to cook it. Maybe it was because I did not know a few things about Sago/ Tapioca before.

Over the years I have been tying to make javasi payasam and would always wonder why something that easy a recipe did not work for me. It was not until Mr. Sundram Iyer the head cook at our family wedding explained about the types of sago out there for the home cook to use.

When you shop at any Indian store in the U.S, they usually sell only one kind of Sago. I tried using it and it back fired big time. So one weekend

I found some common points in most recipes and classified them based on the following:

1.  Appliances used: pressure cooker, stove top, microwave and crock pots
2. Type of Sago:  Nylon Sago or boiled sago, Common Sago or roasted sago
3. Time involved in prepping the sago for preparation: Instant or Soaked
 4. Actual time taken for the whole process.

Most recipes call for using the stove top. The pressure cooker is used only to cook the sago while the crock pot method is used mainly for pudding types.In the south of India, the Nylon Sago is very popular while in the north Common Sago is more popular. Nylon Sago comes in very small and medium sizes and appears to be pale and transparent while Common Sago is white and comes in medium sizes.

Prepping methods involved soaking the sago in water or partially soaking, draining then allowing to puff up, or just washing, draining and allowing to puff up. The time for prepping ranged anywhere between 10 minutes to 12 hours. The time taken to prepare therefore depended on which recipe one wants to follow. Two cups of payasam can take 15 minutes by directly roasting and cooking without prep work.

With all this information, my kitchen became a test kitchen. I tried a pressure cooker recipe, crock pot recipe, stove top roasted recipe, soaked from 15 - 24 hrs recipe with both nylon and common sago. All this was to find out for myself how my mama's wife Bharathi Manni prepared javarusi payasam. I remember the perfect transparent pearls in payasam as a child and how everyone enjoyed it when she made it for us. So before I made the call to get the recipe from her I did my own recipe testing.

Here are my finding:

1. Nylon Sago is best for payasam in a short time because it cooks fast. Common Sago is best when soaked for a long time.

2. The pressure cooker method without soaking creates a lot of kangi or starchy liquid and so it needs to be washed before sugar is added to it else the starchy flavor is trapped in the payasam. In this method Common Sago came out with the centers uncooked.

3. Stove top no soak roasted method with Nylon Sago produced the best result. It cooked fast, was tasty and is my favorite method to prepare the payasam because it took me 15 minutes to make it. For all those who like a quick version, this is the one for you. Please note that if you used the Common Sago in this method it takes longer to cook but does not taste the same as Nylon variety.

4. Microwave method works well when you soak for a long time or when it is roasted and then microwaved  with some water.

5. Crock Pot Method where I did not soak anything but just added all the ingredients minus the sugar took 3 hours but it became very thick and I had to add more water in between and keep mixing to get it to the paysam consistency. This resulted in more paysam than I had expected to make. It was very delicious and maybe more economical. This is a great method if you are making a larger quantity with little supervision. If you are trying to make Tapioca pudding this would work well.

Here is my Aunt's quick version to making the javarsi payasam which I prepared for prasadham.


The Roasted Stove Top Method:15 Minute Method

Ingredients:

Nylon Sago - 1/2 cup
Milk - 2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Condensed Milk - 1/4th cup
Cashew Nuts - 8 broken into smaller pieces
Cardamon - 1 pod powdered




reparation:

1. In a milk cooker or heavy bottom pan heat the milk and condensed milk. When the milk heats up remove and set aside.

2. Place a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Add 1/8th tsp of ghee and add the sago. Roast the sago until it pops and turns white.

3. Add 1/2 cup of water mix well, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until all the sago turns transparent and the water gets absorbed.

4. Add sugar and mix well until the sago absorbs some of the sugar. Add the milk and mix well. Let it cook for a few minutes.

5. Heat some ghee in a seasoning ladle and toast the cashew. Add to the payasam along with the cardamon powder. Simmer for a few minutes. It can be served hot or cold.


23 Comments:

Quinoa is a grain that is commonly used in my household. It sometimes replaces rice and I have developed the taste for it. In August I hap...

Quinoa Flakes Porridge With Dry Fruit & Nuts

Quinoa is a grain that is commonly used in my household. It sometimes replaces rice and I have developed the taste for it. In August I happened to visit People's Organic Co-op located in Ocean beach, San Diego and I was so impressed with the store. It carries a lot of organic produce and regular grocery. This place has organic beans, lentils, grains etc and at reasonable prices. I bought some quinoa flakes and made porridge with it and I loved it. I really started to miss it when I was all done with the flakes. Yesterday, I got some from the store and I made porridge with it. It is so filling but light and is a perfect breakfast food. If you happen to find quinoa flakes in your local grocery store you can give this porridge a try.



Gadgets:

Bowl
Measuring cups and spoon
Microwave
Kettle

Ingredients:

Quinoa flakes - 1/3 cup ( it expands to 1 cup)
Water - 1 cup
Milk - 1/3 cup
Jumbo Raisins - 2 tbsps
Toasted Almonds - 1 tbsp


Preparation:

1. Add 1/3 cup quinoa flakes to a bowl and hot add water( from kettle).

2. If  you can use the microwave put it in the microwave for a minute. Otherwise cover and allow it to cook for 10 minutes then add milk.

3. Top with raisins and nuts and enjoy warm porridge.






23 Comments:

Every month Foodbuzz has a very fun 24x24 event which focus on a particular theme. 24 blogs are chosen based on the submitted proposals...

Foodbuzz 24x24: Girls & Dolls

Every month Foodbuzz has a very fun 24x24 event which focus on a particular theme. 24 blogs are chosen based on the submitted proposals and  these 24 blogs post on their recipes. This month sponsors,Frigidaire  and Food buzz are partnering for a cause to support Save the Children's effort in making available healthy and nutritious food for children in need year round in the United States, especially during the holiday season. To recognize the charitable partnership of Frigidaire with Save the Children the 24x24 event this month focuses on"set a place for: kids meals and parties". I am so delighted to join 23 other bloggers in participating in this Food buzz event. 

Nutritious food  is very important for children to blossom into healthy adults. As a famous Indian Tamil poet  Avvaiyar put it, "Poverty is (torture) hard. Poverty in childhood is harder ( more torture)." Lack of proper nutritional food  hinders their social, emotional and overall development. Childhood is such an amazing phase in a humans life. It marks a time filled with fun, innocence, laughter, giggles, friends, learning, growth, explorations, pretend playing and being worry free. Childhood experiences have a great impact on an individuals outlook in life. Hence providing a balanced meal is very important.

When it comes to food most kids are very picky. They do not want to eat healthy food. By involving them in cooking and making it fun for them, kids can learn about ingredients in food preparations and develop an interest for cooking. Store-bought food usually contain additives and preservatives that are not healthy. Home-cooked meals are healthier and tastier. Even the so called junk food can be made healthier at home.


With the start of every new school year, kids are faced with a lot of new challenges. Socially they have a lot to adjust to. It drains them emotionally when they find themselves in  a new classroom environment, teachers and friends. Not having their old friends with them when they move from grade to grade can be unsettling and it takes some kids a while to find a friend to connect with in their new class. A perfect way to help them get over this situation is to invite new friends over for a play date. 

My proposal for the event  was to have a play date for my daughter and engage the kids in making their own food..This weekend my daughter invited her friends over for a play date and suggested that they bring their favorite doll with them to pretend play. Hence we had a play date for the girls and dolls.


 Two of her friends came over to our house and they had such a fun time playing, helping me in the kitchen with food preparation and enjoying their creations. I know the play date was a big success because at the end of the day they wanted to come back again for another play date. It did not stop with that, they suggested that I make them mango slushy the next time. As for me I had such a relaxing fun day with the kids and did what I most enjoy, cook with them.





Here are the recipes for some of the items in the menu. 

1. Watermelon Slushy
2. Mini Cup Cakes





Pizza making is always fun. They loved using a flower, star and heart cookie cutter to create their own pizza. The home made pizza dough is a breeze to make with a food processor and is available here.  Topped with home made organic marinara sauce and cheese it was very exciting for them to see the shapes puff up in the oven. Once the pizza was out we could hear loud cheers for their own cookie cutter pizza. 





  

                                                             
Gadgets:
                                                           
 Food Processor
 Measuring Cups
 Spoons
 Mini Cupcake trays
 Mini Cupcake paper cups
 Gloves
 Bowls
 Electrical Blender 


Ingredients:
Yellow Cake Mix From Trader Joe's - 1 packet
Eggs - 2 whole and 2 whites
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Water - 1 cup
Melted Butter Plus Oil - 1/2 cup each
Organic Heavy Whipping Cream - 1 cup
Sugar - 3 tsp
Blue Berries - 1 bowl
Sweet Mangoes cubed - 1 cup

Preparation of Mini Cup Cakes:



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. In a food Processor add eggs, butter, oil,vanilla essence and water and give it a buzz for 30 seconds.
2. Add 1/3 of the cake mix  at a time and buzz until they are mixed slightly.
3. Once all the cake mix has been added. Run the food processor for a minute.
4. Place the paper cups in the mini cake baking tray and spoon to cover over 1/2 the mini cake paper cup.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until they are golden brown on the top.
6. Remove and allow it to cool before frosting.

Note: I made about 40 mini cupcakes and almost 1/2 loaf of cake with the remaining batter
.


Whipped Cream Frosting:
1. In a cold bowl add the whipping cream and whisk with an electrical hand blender until it starts to thicken. 
2. Add sugar and whisk to form stiff peaks. Serve it immediately with blueberry and mango toppings.



Having the mini cupcake on the menu was a big hit. The girls got so excited and were full of smiles and soon all the 40 cupcakes disappeared. They loved the idea of having a choice of choosing something healthy, colorful and tasty to top their cupcakes with. The whipped cream started to thaw a little but that was what got them so elated. They were like an artist with a brush (spoon) and a canvas( mini cupcakes and colorful toppings). This is the most I have seen of kids enjoy their food. They were strapped to their seats for almost an hour. 
           


It did not stop with the cupcakes.When all the mini cupcakes were consumed,the girls go so creative and came up with their own version of whipped cream and fresh fruit parfait. I must say it was simply delicious.


15 Comments: