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Friday, November 29, 2013

Saru Patra Chutney ( Arbi Leaf Chutney )

'Arbi' or Colocassia is otherwise known as 'Saru' in Oriya. While almost everyone is familiar with this root ( it grows underground just like potatoes ), the usage or consumption of its leaves is rather restricted. However, these leaves are quite delicious when tender and are popularly made into chutneys or fritters (pakodas) in certain parts of Orissa. The young leaves which have just uncurled or are about to do so are the best pick. Today I will be sharing one such recipe ( courtesy my Mom ). Read on:
















Preparation Time : 15 mins

Ingredients: 7-8 nos Colocassia/Saru leaves, 1 medium sized onion, 1/2 tsp pancha phutana, 2 dry red chillis, 1 tsp tamarind paste, 2 tbs powdered jaggery, pinch of turmeric, salt to taste, 2 tsp oil.

Preparation: Roughly chop up the colocassia/saru leaves. Chop the onion into small pieces.
Dissolve the tamarind paste in 2 tbs of water.

Cooking: Boil 4-5 cups of water. Add the chopped leaves into it and boil for 5 minutes. Drain off all the water and keep aside.

















Heat the oil in a oil. Add broken red chilli and pancha phutana. When the spluttering almost stops, add onion. Fry till translucent.

Add the boiled leaves and sprinkle salt and turmeric over them. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes till they start to somewhat dissolve.

Add tamarind paste and powdered jaggery. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or till it turns into a paste.

Serve with rice/rotis.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pala Chattu Bara (Mushroom chop)

Mushrooms are a delight for vegetarians and people who want to lose weight. While being high in water content, they also happen to pack in a load of anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins (especially Vitamin D ). One of the best substitutes for red meat, they are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Little wonder that it finds its place of honor in Chinese medicine.

However a word of caution. Buy organic mushrooms or at least try to find where they are being sourced from as they happen to absorb heavy metals / toxins rather quickly.

'Pala Chattu' or mushrooms that grow naturally on rotting straws happen to be my favorite variety of mushrooms. As my visits to our villages have almost stopped, I do miss these mushrooms. But these days cultivated Pala Chattu is widely available in Orissa. These mushrooms have a distinct red color on the underneath.

While chattu is more commonly consumed as a curry (tarkari) in these parts of Orissa, 'Chattu Bara' or 'Chattu Chop' also happens to be a popular snack option. Read on for the recipe:

















Preparation Time - 30 minutes

Ingredients - 500 gm Pala Chattu, 1 large boiled potato, 1 large onion, 3-4 green chillis, 5-6 garlic flakes, 3 tbs chopped coriander leaves, 1 tbs roasted cumin-chilli powder (jeera-lanka gunda), 2 tsp turmeric powder, salt to taste, oil for frying.

Preparation - Take water in a large vessel. Dissolve 1 1/2 tsp turmeric in it. Add the mushrooms and allow to soak for 30 minutes.

Drain off the water and chop into small pieces. Do not throw away stem as it is also edible.

Chop the onion into small pieces. Crush/grate the garlic flakes.
















Cooking : Heat 2 tbs of oil in a wok/frying pan. Add the chopped mushroom along with remaining turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp salt, and stir fry on high flame till all the excess water evaporates. Remove and allow to cool down.


















Transfer the mushroom to a mixing bowl. Add the boiled potato, chopped onion, green chilli, cumin-chilli powder, coriander leaves, crushed garlic flakes and salt to taste. Mix well.

Pinch some part of the above mixture and shape into flat circles of about 1/2 inch thickness .






Heat a frying pan. Drizzle generously with oil. Place the baras over the pan and cook on both sides to a light brown/deep brown as per preference. Each side takes about 6-7 minutes on a low flame ( preferable ).

















Serve with a hot sauce as a starter or have it with white rice as a side dish.

















If you do not happen to be lazy like me, you can make/cut it into interesting shapes and roll it in bread crumbs before deep frying them. Makes for a better appearance and crisper baras.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maccha Besara Jholo (Its' Chadaa Khai Today)

Well......while the Panchuka period officially got over by Sunday (Kartika Purnima), the succeeding days of Monday and Tuesday had many people putting their 'Chadaa Khai' plans on hold. Hence the majority of us who had forsaken non-vegetarian items for the Kartika month (or atleast the Panchuka period ) will be eating out to our heart's content today.

Here is the 'Maccha Besara' that my mom made for Chadaa Khai. However if you are not particularly budget conscious ( and i really mean it as the prices of Non-veg goes through the roof during Chadaa Khai in Orissa ), I would recommend the  mouth-watering Kancha Illisi Tarkari, or the very delicious Mansa Kasa (though you can also opt for Mutton Rogan Josh if you like light gravies). For the Chicken lovers, there is the Classic chicken curry or the Chicken Kasa waiting to be sampled.


















It's my special dish for today. Needless to say Mom's cooking is always special (more so if you are staying away from her). Get the recipe below:

Preparation Time : 20 mins

Ingredients :

  • 4-5 pieces Rohu fish 
  • 1 large potato 
  • 2 medium sized tomato 
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 green chillis
  • 4-5 tsp mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small piece of dry mango (ambula)


For the mustard paste :

  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 garlic flakes
  • 1 dry red chilli


Preparation: Add salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric to the fish pieces. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

Dry grind mustard, cumin and red chilli. Add the garlic flakes and a little water. Grind into a smooth paste.

Chop tomato and onion into small pieces and keep aside. Peel and cut the potato into chunks.

Cooking: Heat a non-stick tawa or skillet. Drizzle with 3 tsp oil. Add the marinated fish pieces and cook on both sides till light brown. Remove from tawa and keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add the potatoes. Fry till light brown, then remove and keep aside.

Add the chopped onion and green chilli . Saute till the onions turn translucent.

Add chopped tomatoes and sprinkle a little salt on them. Keep covered for 1-2 minutes till they turn a little soft.

Dissolve the mustard paste in 1/2 cup water. Drain into the wok slowly while taking care to leave any solid residue in the cup. Add another 1 1/2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil. Add the fried potato and fish pieces. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and add more salt if needed. Cook covered till the potatoes are done. Add the dry mango and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Mash 2-3 pieces of potatoes into the gravy if you need a thicker version.

Drizzle a little mustard oil (about  1/2 tsp) over the gravy if you like the raw smell of mustard oil. Switch off the flame.

Serve hot with white rice.

















Monday, November 18, 2013

Attakali ( Gaintha pitha )

Gaintha pitha or Attakali is a special pitha that is usually prepared during the oriya month of 'Margasira'. The thursdays that fall in this month are celebrated as 'Manabasa Gurubar', the worship of a vessel filled with rice grains that symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. The married women keep a fast, eat only arwa or raw rice, prepare a variety of pithas from rice/rice flour and read a text called the 'Manabasa' Bahi. In some parts of Orissa the 'Lakshmi Hathi', brass figurines that symbolize Goddess Lakshmi are also worshiped on this day. These figurines are usually a family heirloom and are passed down by the lady of the house to her daughter in law. Check the snaps below:


































In the left hand side corner of the above picture one can see the 'Dhana Benti', long stands of harvested paddy which also form an important part of this Puja. This year the first Gurubar of Margasira Masa falls on 21st November. But since Prathamasthami falls after this date (26th November), it will be celebrated in some parts of Odisha on 28th November.















The Kalasa ( on the left corner ) and the Manaa ( on the right corner behind the Deepam ) being worshipped in the above picture. The manaa is filled with paddy/rice and covered with a new cloth.

















The special stone vessels known as 'Pathuri', used to offer the prasadam to Goddess Lakshmi.

Read on for the recipe for Gaintha pitha:






Preparation Time - 30-40 minutes

Ingredients - 2/3 cup arwa rice ( Sita bhog, Gobindo Bhog or even Sona masuri raw rice will do ), 1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper, 2-3 green cardamon, 2-3 tsp ghee, (1/2 cup + 2-3 tsp) sugar, 3 cups milk, 1/5 tsp salt.

Preparation - wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hours. Drain all water and spread on a plate to dry (preferably in the balcony or under a fan) for 1-2 hours.

Take the rice in a grinder jar and grind into a smooth powder.

Cooking - Heat 2 cups of water in a wide base non-stick vessel. Add salt, pepper powder and 1-2 crushed cardamon to the boiling water. Add 2-3 tsp sugar.

Use a sieve to gently sift the rice flour into the boiling water. Keep stirring all the time to prevent formation of lumps.

Cook the rice flour till it turns into a stiff dough and leaves the sides of the vessel.

Allow to cool down for 10-15 minutes till it is bearable to touch.

















Add the ghee to the dough and knead for 3-4 minutes to smooth/even it out. Take small lumps out of the dough and roll into small balls (smaller than a lemon).
















Bring the milk to boil in a deep vessel. Add the sugar and remaining cardamon. (One can also add a little condensed milk at this stage).

Add the balls. Initially the balls will sink to the bottom. Boil for 5-7 minutes or till the ball begin to rise to the surface. This is now done. (Do not boil any longer or the balls will melt/break)


















This recipe can also be prepared with suji (semolina).

Note - I recently came to know that they make a very similar recipe down south called Pala Undrallu.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy Kartika Purnima (And Happy Boita Bandana to my Oriya Friends)

Kartika Purnima is touted as the Holiest day in the Hindu calendar. As per folklore, people who die on this day go directly to Heaven. This day is observed with much religious activity in most parts of India. 'Deepam Daan' or 'Dipa Daana' as we call it in Oriya is a must on this day. Bali Jatra on the banks of river Mahanadi also kicks off on this day.
















Boita Baandana is also celebrated on this day. While it started in very ancient times in reverence of Orissa's (then 'Kalinga') rich maritime heritage, it has turned out to be one of the most popular festivals. Most people get up at the crack of dawn, take a bath in the river and set afloat a small boat 'Boita' which has an earthen lamp, flowers and incense sticks in it. Traditionally this boat is made from the large red/maroon petals of the banana flower or the white banana stem ( you can see those in the below picture ).




Thermocool boats cut out in fancy shapes and decorated with colors and bunting are also popular these days. In case you find it difficult to find a water body nearby, do feel free to sail your boat in a large water tub or pool. Go grab your boat now !!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

15 minute Choco Muffins (Children's Day Special)

Children are a nation's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future. These sentiments of  former US President J.F. Kennedy found an echo in our very own Chacha, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.  He understood the importance of children in building the country's future and proposed free primary education for all children. He was also the first proponent of the 'midday meal' scheme as we call it today. As a tribute, we celebrate his birthday (14th November) as Children's Day.

In case you have not planned anything special for your little one, this recipe comes just in the nick of time. These muffins are also a life saver when you have unexpected visitors. Since they need very little time and effort, one can easily prepare a batch while doing other household chores. Very useful when the kids suddenly ask for something sweet.

With a little chocolate frosting and decor sprinkled on top, these are good enough to serve as party snacks.

[As these disappeared as soon as they got out of the muffin tray, will upload a photo when i make the next batch]

Preparation Time - 15 mins (Makes 6 nos)

Ingredients - 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup Fortune refined rice bran oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp ENO, 2 1/2 tsp cocoa powder.

Preparation - Take the sugar in the dry grinding jar of a mixer-grinder. Grind for 1 minute.

Transfer to the whipping jar. Add the oil, egg and milk. Buzz for 3 minutes.

Take the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and ENO in a sieve. Sift gently into the whipping jar. Buzz for 30 seconds to 1 minute till the batter just comes together.

Cooking - Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Grease the muffin tray with butter/oil. Sprinkle a little flour.

Pour the batter into the cups till 2/3rd full.

Insert the tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Prick the center of the muffins with a tooth-pick to check if done. If not, bake for another 2 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Enjoy.


Boondi Raita

If I were asked to name a Raita that goes best with rotis (or any indian bread for that matter ), this one would win hands down. It was my dish of choice for breakfast/dinner along with rotis/parathas. While i was quite fussy when it came to vegetables in those days, nowadays I have it along with a simple roti-dry subzi.

Very easy to make if you have a packet of salted boondi (say Haldiram's ) lying at home. In fact this one is so simple that i felt silly posting the recipe. But i persisted thinking that if nobody else it might help some of my bachelor/single friends who find it quite a task to even whip up an omelette ( and its not always a case of lacking culinary skills but also the hectic schedule that we follow ).

Read on:
















Preparation time : 30 mins ( 25 mins is the standby time when the boondi itself does all the work...yeah it has to soak up all that water)

Ingredients - 1 cup salted boondi, 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup water, 1-2 dry red chillis, 1 sprig of curry leaves, 1/4 tsp pancha phutana or only mustard/cumin seeds (as you wish), 1 pinch roasted cumin powder,  1 pinch powdered asafoetida,1/2 tsp oil, salt to taste.

Preparation -  Whisk the yogurt lightly to get a smooth texture. Take the boondi, beaten yogurt and water in a bowl. Allow to soak for 25-30 mins. (this may vary as some boondis become soft very soon)

Cooking - Heat oil in a tadka (tempering) pan. Add broken chilli and pancha-phutana/mustard/cumin. Once spluttering almost stops, add the curry leaves along with asafoetida.

Pour the mixture over the soaked boondis. Sprinkle salt and roasted cumin powder.

Mix well and serve (no need to chill).



Monday, November 11, 2013

Random snaps from my parents' Garden
















Lemons waiting to be harvested. I rediscovered the heavenly taste of lime juice made from ripe lemons plucked right off the tree.
















                                                                                                         
                                                               

The 'Annapurna' or Kewda/Kewra leaves. These very fragrant leaves were used to flavor Kheer or Chawal in earlier times. With a plethora of exotic spices being available these days, they are becoming something of a rarity. Pure nostalgia. They are also known as Pandan leaves.




















Turmeric leaves waiting to be harvested for Prathamasthami. These form the outer warp of the 'Enduri pitha', a must have on the day. The fragrance of these leaves is very enticing.
















Kalama sagaa vine bearing beautiful white flowers. The leaves and flowers if this plant are edible and quite a delicacy.




















Betel nut (Paan) vine stealthily climbing the outer walls of the house. While a paan is usually offered to the guests by the host at the end of a typical Indian meal, the leaves have much religious importance too.






'Arbi' or Colocassia plant growing in the shade of a mango tree. While it is still time for the leaves to wither off and the 'arbi' lying under the soil to mature,  there is no stopping me from sampling a yummy chutney made from these tender leaves.

Easy Chicken Vindaloo

Sunday was the last day of feasting on Non-veg items before Panchuka commences (11th Nov 2013). Panchuka is the period starting from Aamla Nabami to Kartika Purnima. Most people in Odisha religiously give up non-veg during this period. Even the crane ( a long legged bird whose primary diet comprises of fish ) is rumored to give up fish during this period. Kartika Purnima also marks the beginning of the Balijatra, a huge fair on the banks of river Mahanadi. This fair lasts for seven days and one can find a plethora of food stalls, furniture shops, handicrafts and other stalls here. More on the topic later.

Today i will be sharing the recipe for an easy Chicken Vindaloo. It has been sometime since i cooked something new with chicken. But since I am with my Mom, she is in charge of the kitchen and i am happy to play second fiddle. This is one of her recipes.

Vindaloo is a very famous non vegetarian preparation that was originally made from pork. It has Portugese-Goan origins and since then has morphed into many avatars. Restaurants usually serve it very spicy ( read HOT ) and add in some potato or 'aloo' (taking a cue from the Aloo in its name). But the original recipe does not call for potatoes and you can take wish to skip it if you want. Read on:
















Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - Chicken ( 300 gms ), 1 large onion (finely chopped), 4 tsp oil, 2 tbs chopped cilantro(coriander).

For the marinade - 2 tsp black mustard, 1 tsp cumin, 5-6 flakes garlic, 1/2 inch ginger, 2 green chillis, 4 tbs curd, 1 tsp vinegar, 3-4 cloves, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt to taste.

Preparation - Grind the mustard, cumin, cloves, green chilli, ginger and garlic into a smooth paste.

Wash the chicken. Add salt and 1/2 tsp vinegar. Rub and keep aside for 5 mins. Drain off the excess water.

Add the above paste along with salt, turmeric, curd and remaining vinegar. Allow to marinate for 2-3 hours.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the onion and fry till light brown.

Add marinated chicken along with the marinade.Mix in with onions and close the pressure cooker lid. Cook for 1-2 whistles.Remove from flame and allow steam to escape before opening lid.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice/rotis.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lau Raee

Today I am back with yet another Lauki recipe. No matter how much I experiment with it, I am not getting over this wonderful vegetable. Subtly flavored and with a high water content, it imbibes the added flavors rather easily. Read on for the recipe:
















Preparation Time-20-30 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups chopped lauki, 1 medium sized tomato chopped, 1 medium onion chopped, 1/2 tsp pancha-phutana or mustard seeds, 1 dry red chilli, 1/3 tsp turmeric, salt to taste, 2 tsp oil, 2/3 cup grated coconut.

For the mustard paste: 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 red chilli.

Preparation: Grind the mustard, cumin and red chilli into coarse powder in dry state .Then add a little water along with garlic flakes and grind again into a fine paste.

Chop the onion and tomato into small pieces.

Cooking: Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the broken red chilli and mustard seeds.

Add the chopped onion and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and cook till it softens.

Add the mustard paste along with 2 cups water. Add salt and turmeric, and bring to a boil.

Add the lauki/bottle gourd pieces and cover with  a lid. Cook till the lauki softens. (Do not throw away excess water as this curry tends to be watery.)

Garnish with grated coconut and serve with rice and dal.









Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dal Fry (Odisha Style)

Dal Fry is one of the most common dishes ordered at any Indian restaurant. While it tastes best with white rice, this rich aromatic lentil dish can go down well with any flavored rice or flat Indian bread. Usually it is prepared from toor (tuvar) dal but in Orissa channa dal is most commonly used in this recipe. I consider this as comfort food ( if m not making it for guests ) and i pair it with a simple white rice & fried papad. Blissfully easy and deliriously yummy.

Read on the recipe for my version:
















Preparation Time - 15-20 mins (10 mins of idle/standby time)

Ingredients -
To be pressure cooked - 3 cups channa dal, 2 green chillis, 1/2 inch long ginger, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp turmeric.
For tempering - 2 medium sized onions, 1 large tomato, 3 green chillis, 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/5 tsp garam masala, 3 tbs kasuri methi, 4 tsp oil, salt to taste.

Preparation - Chop the onion and tomato into small pieces. Make small slits in the green chillis.

Cooking - Wash and soak the channa dal for 2-3 hours.

Take the soaked channa dal in a pressure cooker. Add salt, turmeric, crushed ginger and green chilli. Add 4 cups of water and close the lid. Cook for 2-3 whistles.

Allow steam to release. Open the lid and slightly mash the dal with a heavy spoon.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add mustard and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds start spluttering add one chopped onions. Fry till they start turning translucent.

Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add chilli powder, asafoetida and a pinch of turmeric. Stir fry masalas for 30-40 seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle salt over it. Allow to cook till tomatoes soften and oil starts leaving the sides of the wok.

Add kasuri methi and garam masala at this stage. Cook for a minute.

Pour the contents of the pressure cooker into the wok. Mix well.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves (or grated coconut if you want that exclusive Odisha touch). Serve hot with rice/rotis.





Monday, November 4, 2013

Parenting Fundas: Traditional Knowledge Natural Growth

Child is the father of man. And this child will determine the direction that mankind takes in the years to come. Hence it is very important that children should be given the right kind of nourishment.

Ayurveda or the accumulated 'life-knowledge' has been doing it right since ages. Maybe even before Charaka set about to document it. Our grandparents have relied on it to bring up our parents and in turn most of them (hopefully) have done the same. But it was the invasion of the West (sometime in the late 70's) that weaned away people from this traditional source of knowledge. The warmth of a mother's breast got replaced by a cold bottle. The customary massage and haldi-ubtan routine that was administered to babies was deemed uncool. Sweet smelling baby oils & shampoos became the rage of the day. Pictures of plump babies smiling enticingly on the cartons/tins of baby food seduced the eager parents who would willing give a hand and a leg to ensure that the apple of their eye turns out the same way. Instead of turning to home remedies, parents started turning to medication whenever their little had cold/tummy ache/fever.

While an ill child is every parents' nightmare we need to exercise caution while giving medication to children. The Allopathy system of medicines that most of us rely on only ensures that our little one is back on his/her feet at the earliest but it does not do any good for his/her immune system. Ayurveda or Homeopathy ensures that the root cause of the illness is identified and treated. While it may take a longer time, this not only prevents recurrence of the illness but also builds up a child's natural immunity.

I remember my mom giving with a concoction of  basil juice and honey to soothe my sore throat and it worked like magic. Similarly she used to give me 'Trikatu' or 'Triphala' powders depending on the time of the year and my health in general. The insistence of Ayurveda to balance all the three 'dosas', namely, 'vata', 'pita' & 'kaptha' to gain sound health holds true even today.

Being a mother to a 20 month old son, I have always relied on the knowledge handed down by elders.Soon after my son was born( normal delivery without epidural...I think I can give myself a pat on the back ) I started with the traditional oil massage with Gingelly oil that was further fortified with herbs. Elders say that this massage release the tension in the limbs of the newborn who had been living in cramped quarters (i.e., Mother's womb ) for nine months. I immediately saw its benefits as it helped my baby to sleep better. In due course of time it also helps strengthen their tender bodies and build immunity.

As is the normal practice in Orissa, I switched over to mustard oil (boiled with garlic & nigella seeds) during the cold winter months. This ensured that my little one did not catch cold as frequently as some of my neighbor's kids. While I had opted for exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, I made sure that the first solid food that enters my little one's mouth had no preservatives or artificial agents in it. A home made mix of roasted and powdered channa dal, wheat, ragi and beaten rice became his staple. Mashed bananas or some light khichidi was next on the menu. Slowly, one at a time, I introduced boiled & mashed vegetables in his meals. This ensured that he got accustomed to variations in taste and started enjoying his meals. I am sure most babies would prefer this to the bland packaged baby foods.

As we already know packaged foods have their own pitfalls. The synthetic substances present in them lead to hormonal imbalance especially in kids. This results in disorders like onset of early puberty, attention deficiency, childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes to name a few. While the fast paced lifestyle leaves us with few choices, we must stick to wholesome and unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Most of our elders would frown at what we eat these days. They were used to eating fresh food with all its nutrition intact. No refrigerators or microwaves for them. Slow cooked food made on charcoal/wooden stoves that did not heat up to very high temperatures was not only appealing to eat but also high on nutrients.

But the tide is once again turning in favor of traditional knowledge. Most of us new-age mommies are armed with a load of information freely available thanks to internet. We are fully aware of the risks associated with this consumerist lifestyle and are gladly turning to more traditional ways of child rearing.

Hence the importance of Ayurveda with its holistic view/treatment of the human body. It not only helps us in developing a better understanding of the human body but also makes us refrain from the abuse that we are putting ourselves through.

This post is written for Dabur Lal Tail. Contest open on Indiblogger till 10th November.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Methi Poori

This is a delicious flavoured poori I prepared last Monday. I have paired it with a yellow peas curry (ghuguni) that i made without onion & garlic. An ideal dinner option for Kartika masa somabar. Read on for the recipe:

















Preparation time - 20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup maida, 1 cup atta, 3 tsp oil, fistful of kasuri methi leaves, 1/4 tsp salt, water to make into a stiff dough.

Preparation - Take the maida & atta in a plate with vessel. Rub in the salt and oil in to the flour. Sprinkle kasuri methi.

Add water little by little and knead into a smooth yet stiff dough.

Keep it covered for 1-2 hours.

Divide into small lemon sized balls. Take a little atta and roll out into medium thickness rounds (not to thin thin nor thick).

Cooking - Heat oil in a deep wok.

Take a pinch of the dough and add it to the hot oil. If it sizzles and rises to top, oil is hot enough.

Slide the puris into the oil one at a time. Pour little oil with the help of the ladle over each one and allow to them puff up. Flip over and allow to cook on the other side as well.

Remove and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Repeat with the remaining rounds.

Serve hot with Ghuguni.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mahalabia

Happy Diwali to All.

The blogosphere has been bombarded with traditional Diwali recipes. While I do not hold anything against following our customs, I simply did not want to ruin my vacation slaving over those laddoos/kalakand or even kheer. That is when I zeroed in on Mahalabia. Also known as Muhellabia, this is one light milk and easy pudding recipe from the Middle East . The first time I read about it in a travel magazine, I was bowled over by the ease and simplicity of this dish. While it does remind me of another Indian dessert (Phirni), this one makes use of cornflour rather than rice flour. It has a light custard or thick yogurt like texture.

Read on for the recipe:
















Preparation Time - 15-10 mins

Ingredients - 2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup milk powder, 3 tbs corn flour, 1/2 cup sugar ( or less as per preference ), 3 tbs rose water, 2 whole cardamoms, nuts for garnishing.

Cooking - Bring the milk & milk powder to a boil. Allow to boil for 7-8 minutes. Dissolve in the sugar.

Dissolve the corn flour in a little milk. Add slowly to the boiling milk and stir continuously till it thickens to a custard consistency. Add the rose water and cardamon at this point and mix in.

Pour in glasses & put into the refrigerator.

Garnish with chopped pistachios & almonds. Serve chilled.


Friday, November 1, 2013

How to make Ragi flour from germinated grains ?

Ragi or Finger millet is a very nutritious whole grain. However if it is germinated before consumption, the nutrition contents increases manifold. Soaking the grains overnight and then allowing it to stand in a warm place with sufficient ventilation is no big task and even a novice can manage it.

I have detailed out the process for germinating Ragi grains at home and turning it into a vitamin and enzyme rich flour. Read on to get the steps right:

1. Wash and soak the Ragi grains overnight.

















2. Drain all the water and spread the Ragi on a thin cloth put over a colander or any other vessel which allows excess water to escape.

















3. Keep it in a warn place for 10-15 hours. Sprouts will show up.

















4. Spread the germinated grains on a plate and allow to dry in the shade or diffused sunlight.

5. Once all the moisture evaporates, transfer the grains to a food processor. Grind it for a few seconds at a time while allowing sufficient standby time. The processor ( and the flour in turn) should not heat up as it destroys the vitamins and enzymes in the Ragi flour. ( If you have access to a flour mill, get it done there.)


















6. Store the flour in a airtight container and use within 1 week. Refrigerate and use within 1 month.

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