Friday, 16 September 2016

Pepper and Cumin - Remedy for relieving upset stomach


Today's post is about the simplest but very natural home remedy for those days when you feel heaviness in your stomach and want something soothing to help make you feel lighter. Cumin and Pepper have always been the stars of many medicinal preparations connected with stomach problems. This recipe is also from Amma's kitchen! Amma uses this combination of Pepper and Cumin in many dishes - Rasam, Thogayal (wet thick chutney) etc. This powder that uses Cumin and Pepper (Milagu Jeeragam) is usually mixed with rice which is called SAMBA RICE. Its very simple yet a comfort food that will surely make you feel much better especially if you have been experiencing heaviness in your tummy!


 











Ingredients:

Cooked Rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 teaspoon
Cashews - a few
Green chilli - 1
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - a pinch - optional

To dry roast and powder:

Pepper corns - 1 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds - 2 teaspoons
Salt - To taste

Method:

For the powder

  1. Heat a pan and dry roast pepper corns first, cumin seeds next and switch off the flame and dry roast salt for a few seconds.
  2. Powder these in a spice grinder or mixie coarsely. You can even use mortar and pistil. It is preferable to keep the powder on the coarser side.
For the rice
  1. Heat up the ghee
  2. Put the mustard seeds and when they stop spluttering, add the urad dal.
  3. Half way through urad dal turning golden brown, add the cashews
  4. If you are using green chilli add it at this point.
  5. Add the springs of curry leaves and Asafoetida.
  6. Add the cooked rice, the powder and mix well.
Enjoy! 


Monday, 5 September 2016

Back to blogging with Amma's special recipe! - Drumstick leaves chutney powder



Its been more than 4 years since I posted anything in this blog. I cant even start telling you about how many changes we have seen in these 4 years - all for good though!!!
 
Today I am sharing a new recipe that my mom (Amma) created a few days ago. I have grown up eating various types of chutney powders (Podi as we used to call in Tamil language) - Kariveppilai podi (chutney powder made with curry leaves), Thengai Podi (Chutney powder with coconut as the main ingredient), Kadugu Podi (made with mustard seeds), Paruppu Podi (made with lentils) etc.
 
These are best enjoyed mixed with hot rice, a dollop of ghee or a spoonful of aromatic Sesame oil. These are extremely adaptable in terms of their use, you can even use this as a chutney powder when you  have your idlis or dosas. (South Indian breakfast items).
 
So the other day she told me she had made Drumstick Leaves podi and I was curious! I thought this would be a brilliant opportunity to resume posting wonderful, wholesome and nutritious recipes in this blog starting with her new invention!
 
Drumstick leaves are very rich in Iron. Its botanical name is Moringa Oleifera. The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese, and protein, among other essential nutrients. When compared with common foods particularly high in certain nutrients per 100 g fresh weight, cooked moringa leaves are considerable sources of these same nutrients. Moringa leaves have been proposed as an iron-rich food source (31% Daily Value per 100 g consumed, table) to combat iron deficiency.

Okay! So we know it is good, right!!! now off to the recipe!

You need:

Drumstick leaves - about half a bunch - cleaned, dry and leaves removed from the stem - yielding roughly 2 cups packed
Salt - Preferably rock salt - to taste
Asafoetida - In the picture is Asafoetida in a solid form but you can also use powder
Dry red chillies - 2 - 3
Urad dal - 4 teaspoons
Channa dal - 4 teaspoons

Method:

Very simple!

  1. Heat a pan / kadai.
  2. Dry roast red chillies, urad dal and channa dal one by one and keep them in a separate plate.
  3. In the same pan heat up half a teaspoon oil and once it is hot fry the asafoetida (whether using solid form or powder form). Make sure it does not burn, keep the heat medium low.
  4. Switch off the flame / heat and put the leaves in the hot kadai. At this point we are only aiming at heating the leaves up not roasting. This actually helps in getting rid of some of the water content from the leaves to increase the shelf life of the powder and to avoid it being a wet chutney as opposed to dry!
  5. Once everything cools down a bit, transfer the roasted / fried contents to a mixer / blender, add the salt and grind to a powder.
  6. Store in an airtight container.
Mix a good 2 spoons of this powder on top of hot rice, add ghee or sesame oil, mix and enjoy!
 
Amma's tip: While preparing any dry chutney powder, if you add the salt to the warm kadai and give a stir (like when we put the leaves) it gets rid of all the moisture from the powder itself and thus prolonging its shelf life and it tastes fresh!


 See you guys soon again with a new recipe (and hopefully better photos)!!! Thanks for reading! Thanks to Amma for the recipe!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Low Fat Gajar Halwa - Carrot Pudding with Milk



Life has been really hectic since New Year! My little one's birthday celebration, job searches, work pressures etc etc... I know I say this at the beginning of my posts more frequently but believe me.. it's been a crazy few weeks... In preparation for a brief getaway to Barcelona I decided to quickly clean up my fridge to make sure I am not returning to see things have gone out of date. I had about a kilo of carrots, some low fat creme fraiche and about a couple pints of skimmed milk... What else could be a better fit than Gajar Halwa to use all those above ingredients???


This recipe comes directly from my mother-in-law's kitchen. I know it is a very common dessert in India but whenever she makes this she manages to turn out better tasting halwa each and every time. I love to sit with her in her kitchen stirring the malai (homemade cream) and chatting away and would never even realise how long have we been in the kitchen... Love and cherish those moments.


 It is so satisfying and relieving to realise that you can make a comfort dessert and eat it knowing that it is good for you! This is one of those recipes and I am so glad I made this. I did not have as much dry fruits variety as the original recipe had - I had just almonds and raisins, but that did not matter at all in this dish. The carrots were perfectly cooked and the milk and cream just gave it a nice shiny finish. Every spoonful was just so comforting!

Here is the recipe:

PS - Depending on how much carrots you decide to use, the cooking time may vary from anywhere between 1 to 2 hours. But the good news is that you dont have to stand besides the hob stirring this constantly! Phew!

Ingredients:

  • Carrots - 1 kg
  • Sugar - 100 gms - Increase or decrease to suit the taste - you can even make it low calorie by using low calorie sweeteners
  • Low fat Creme Fraiche - about 3 tablespoons - You can omit this if you want - this is only optional.
  • Semi skimmed milk - half a litre
  • Almonds - a handful - slivered 
  • Raisins - a handful
This is a very forgiving recipe and so feel free to play around with the ingredients - I am planning to try it next time with some beetroot added to carrots or even pumpkin. 

Method:
  • Wash, peel and grate the carrots using the medium side of the grater. I would not suggest using the fine one as you would end up having a consistency closer to baby food - unless you are making this exclusively for babies :)
  • Place a large, wide pan (like a saute pan or frying pan) on heat and add all the grated carrots to it.
  • Keep the heat on medium, slowly you will start to hear sizzling sound when the juices from the carrots start oozing out.
  • Stir occassionally making sure it is not catching at the bottom. The correct stage we want to achieve is that when you press a spoonful of carrots against the side of the pan the mixture needs to be dry and no juices should come out.
  • At this stage add the milk. As I said if you feel that the milk is too less for the carrots then add more. 
  • Increase the heat a bit to medium-high to let the milk and carrot mixture come to a boil. Once it reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat, remove the spoon and leave the mixture undisturbed for about 15 - 20 minutes.The milk needs to boil and form the cream on the top - that is the secret of the recipe here!
  • Stir occasionally and let all the milk get absorbed and the carrots cooked perfectly. 
  • Once the mixture turns back to dry, add the creme fraiche and stir well.
  • Give it another 10 minutes and then add all the sugar. Once you add the sugar the mixture will go back to a semi solid consistency but dont panic, this is perfectly normal.
  • Let it cook for another 15 minutes till all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the dry fruits and stir well to combine.

What I love about this dish is that it is so simple with a few ingredients but still so elegant as a dessert for any occasion AND it is healthy. Isn't it great to know that you can eat a pudding and still be assured that is good for you??

Enjoy every spoonful.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Feta Cheese and Herb Muffins


I love farmers' markets! Fresh fruits and veg, flowers... there is always something interesting! The one near my home is every Friday and has such a variety! Last time when we visited there was this Italian lady selling cheeses and olives! We had to stop and taste them... The item of my interest was this low fat feta cheese that she gave us for tasting! I thought it was rare to see low fat items in farmers' market!!! To my surprise there was almost no difference in the taste at all to the full fat version.
We bought olives, some low fat feta cheese and pickled red peppers that were filled with spices! We came home to realise that we had bought way too much cheese. I used it in pasta for a few dinners, as a snack for a couple of times but there was still left over! I didnt want it to sit in the fridge for even a day more! So I decided to make some savoury muffins with these!

I also wanted a chance to use my brand new ceramic muffin tray! Although I didnt have muffin liners ready to use, I browsed the internet to learn how to make muffin liners with parchment paper! Little one woke up after a nap and was busy playing... I sneaked off to make these yummy bites!
The specialty of this muffin is that there is absolutely no butter at all and I added just a glug of olive oil. As usual I made this with wholewheat flour! The cheese being low fat this makes it an absolutely perfect healthy snack - or even as an accompaniment to any of your soups!!! We had this with the evening tea - who could resist such adorable muffins until dinner time!!!

I am very excited that I am sending this recipe as an entry in Nupur's event New Year - New Dish. Nupur has such a vibrant and wonderful blog and I am so happy to participate in her event!


 This is how I made them:

Ingredients (for 6 large muffins)
  • Low fat feta cheese - about 100 grams
  • Italian herb mix - 1 tsp (Use any fresh herbs as you prefer)
  • Egg - 1
  • Wholewheat flour - 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Olive oil - a good glug
  • Crushed Black pepper from the pepper mill
Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and prepare the muffin tray with the liners.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together the cheese, herbs, egg and the olive oil until smooth without much lumps.
  • Add crushed black pepper, flour and baking powder.
  • Give it a good mix and spoon the mix into the prepared muffin tray.
  • Bake it in the oven for about 25 - 30 minutes and until they pass the skewer test!!
  • Let them cool for a bit before taking out of the tray.
Dive in!!!!


Monday, 28 November 2011

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Palak Paneer

It feels good to be back after a long break! Things have been really tough in the past months... Health Problems, Work Pressure etc etc. But with the help of our loved ones we were able to get back on track and resume. But it is very amazing to realise how swiftly tides change!

Never mind! Life would be very bland without these I guess!


This dish was made with lots of love by R. My contribution in this was just clicking photos and gobbling it with rotis afterwards... But this was the tastiest palak paneer I HAVE EVER HAD!!!! I am not joking and I am not saying just because it was made by my darling husband! It was really really yummy!

There is something more to this dish. The spinach used in this was the Indian Spinach and not the baby spinach leaves that are meant for salad. I have made the same with the baby spinach leaves and they were not great tasting. Same goes with Paneer - I have seen that the paneer that we bought that were already cubed were not as soft as the ones in blocks. :) Dont know if this is true or if everyone else has also found this!


I know the photos are not very good... thats because we hardly had any patience particularly with the aroma that filled our home and could not resist to stop everything and start eating.. the best part of this was that my toddler son enjoyed 2 whole cubes of paneer with his roti! (that's a BIG achievement for me!!!)

Stories apart! this is how R made it!

Ingredients:

Palak (Spinach) - 2 big bunches, washed, and chopped finely
Onions - 1 big, chopped
Tomatoes - 2, chopped
Paneer - 200 grams
Green chillies - 4 (to taste)
Ginger, garlic - as usual
Panch Phoron - This is a spice mix with 5 different varieties of seeds but if you cant get it you can use the normal cumin seeds for seasoning.
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method:
  • Heat cooking oil in a deep vessel and once hot add panch phoron.
  • Add the chopped onions, chillies, ginger and garlic and cook until the onions are cooked through.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Make a loose paste by adding the turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala with water and add it to the pan.
  • When the tomatoes are cooked and mushy, add the spinach into the pan and let it wilt.
  • Once the spinach has wilted let it cook nicely as it gives out water.
  • the water from the spinach and from the tomatoes should be enough for the whole dish to get a good consistency.
  • When the spinach looks half done (after about 15 minutes of cooking) dice the paneer into cubes and add it straight into the spinach. (Some people have a different style in that they fry the paneer pieces before adding it - We prefer it just plain)
  • Reduce the heat and cook the whole thing for about 20 minutes more or so. Let the paneer absorb all the taste and the spices in the mix.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy with rotis or jeera rice. (or just like that - like I did)
 Hmmmmm!!!! HEAVEN!!!!!! The paneer was so soft and creamy and it literally melted in the mouth.