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Showing posts with label regulating health and diabetes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label regulating health and diabetes. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vegan Wood Apple (Bael) Panna Cotta

Mangoes rules the roost when it comes to the plethora of fruits that hit the markets every summer. But when you are in Odisha, you await the arrival of the 'Bael' fruit with as much fervor as the rest of India prays for the king of fruits to put in an appearance. Also known as 'Kaitha' in Hindi, it is an amazing though unsung fruit. Though it lacks the visual appeal of the mangoes, it is loaded with multiple health benefits. It is highly recommended for patients suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol, apart from benefiting those suffering from ailments of the stomach. But another reason why the Bael is so popular in Odisha is the fact that it is such amazing cooling properties. So, while the Southern states of India swear by their buttermilk and the Northern states place their bet on Shikanji, the Odia folks cant do without their 'Bela Panna' aka 'Bael ka sherbat'.

Just like mangoes, the 'Bael' fruit comes in different varieties. There are the small ones which have a deep orange colored pulp that is ridden with fiber, small seeds and has a hint of astringency, medium sized ones which have a faint mango like flavour and also big ones with a pale yellow pulp that could rival the 'shrikhand' . Luckily, the 'Bael' tree growing in my childhood home belonged to the last group. So apart from relishing the sherbat, I used to break the 'Bael' , sprinkle a bit of sugar over the halves and dig into the pulp straight from the shell. It was a part of my daily routine during the summer vacations. The medicinal properties of the pulp also prevented the stomach cramps that came from biting into too many green mangoes slices loaded with salt and red chili powder.

Since one does not find 'Bael' in Bangalore, I have one of my relatives bring some for me every summer. And given that the pulp keeps really well in the fridge, I get to consume my favorite 'Bela Panna' atleast a dozen times. Even though it turns darker when stored in the fridge, the flavor remains intact for upto a month's duration. Luckily, I had quite a bit of it remaining when I decided to experiment with a vegan version of the 'Panna Cotta'.

I am still hung-ho about the vegan phenomena that has taken social media by storm. And I keep tying out various recipes to find substitutes for my favorites. My first attempts at a Vegan Panna Cotta were not quite upto the mark as I had just replaced milk and cream with almond milk which is somewhat thinner. That is when I got the idea of adding some of the 'Bael' pulp to thicken it and also to give it a nice flavor. The recipe was an instant hit and I could happily dig into some guilt free dessert even if it is for a month or two. So, that was one of my 'foodventures' with 'Uncommon foods'. Yep, they are the ingredients that have not captured mainstream imagination yet. No wonder it came up as this fortnight's theme for a culinary adventured hosted by the Masterchef Vikas Khanna and food cum travel writer Vir Sanghvi !

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins ( plus more for setting the panna cotta )

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup thick almond milk
  • 2/3 cup Bael pulp ( with seeds and fibers removed )
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar ( substitute with sugarfree powder if daibetic )
  • 2 pinch cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp rose essence

Preparation - Soak the agar agar in water water for 10-15 mins.

Cooking - Take the almond milk and the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to low boil on medium heat.

At the same time, boil the agar agar and water mixture. Keep whisking it till all the agar agar dissolves.

Switch off both the burners and add the agar agar solution into the almond milk. Whisk at a furious pace to bring everything together.

Wait for another 5-10 mins for the mix to cool down slightly before stirring in the 'Bael pulp'. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and rose essence. Whisk it again to mix everything uniformly.

Pour into the molds or bowls and close them. Let them stand till warm. then pop into the fridge for 5-6 hours to set the 'Panna Cotta'.

Once set, remove from the fridge and serve immediately.

Any guesses what the two maestros are cooking up ?

Wow. Vir's Sushi on Fire sounds almost orgasmic !!

And Vikas has picked up the unheard of 'Shankalu' for his dish !!

Check out these amazing videos and take some inspiration. The Masterchef says that 'the new world belongs to the explorers' ! Already cooked up a storm. Share it HERE.

Will be looking forward to your comments !!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Masoor Dal ka shorba (Red Lentil Soup)

Lentil soups are much more filling and nutritious (protein rich) as compared to the vegetable variants. Hence, they are indispensable when one is trying to lose weight or maintain proper blood sugar levels as in the case of diabetics. One can use the regular dals like moong dal, toor dal and masoor dal for preparing a wholesome and richly flavored soup.

But Masoor dal ka shorba happens to be the current favorite. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 4 tbsp Masoor dal (red lentil)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7-8 black pepper
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of turmeric

Preparation - Wash and soak the dal for 2-3 hours.

Chop the onion and tomato into medium sized pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Throw in the broken chilis and spices. Fry till fragrant.

Add the onions and tomatoes. Stir fry for 3-4 mins.

Add the dal along with 3 cups water and turmeric . Close lid and cook for 4-5 whistles.

Keep aside till steam escapes. Open the lid and use a hand blender to churn up the contents of the pressure cooker. (Be careful as the hot liquid might spill and burn one's hands)

Strain into a saucepan. Adjust the consistency and add salt. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 2-3 mins.

Pour into soup bowls and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The 15 Minute Meal Series - Post 3

Continuing the 15 Minute Meal series that enables you to enjoy fresh home cooked food, I have put together another really easy to prepare meal consisting of flavoured rice (using brown rice), soya and kala channa subzi, karela ka bharta and a papad chura/salad .

How to do this in 15 mins -

1. Overnight preparation -  Soak the kala channa for 8 hours minimum. Wash and cook with salt, turmeric and just enough water for 3-4 whistles.

Open the cooker once steam escapes. Transfer into a food grade plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Take one bitter gourd and 2 medium sized potatoes. Wash and cook together in a pressure cooker with just enough water for 3 whistles.

Open the cooker once steam escapes. Transfer into a food grade plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Additionally, one can also peel the garlic and chop the onions, cilantro and green chilis.

Soak the brown rice overnight.

2. Making the kala channa and soya subzi - Put the soya chunks into boiling water for 5 mins.

Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a wok. Add jeera and green chili tempering. Add chopped onions followed by GG paste. Fry for 2 mins.

Drain the soya chunks and wash 2-3 times with fresh water. Squeeze out water before adding to the wok. Fry for 2 mins

Add chopped tomato, red chili powder, garam masala and cook for another 2-3 mins. Add the boiled channa along with the boiled potato (peeled and cubed). Cook for 2 mins.

Transfer to a pressure cooker along with 1 1/2 cups hot water. Adjust salt. Close lid and cook for 2 whistles on high.

3. Cooking rice - Heat a oil in a cooker. Add 1-2 green chilis, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and 2 garlic cloves. After 30 secs, add about 2-3 tbsp chopped coriander stems and saute for a min or two. Add the washed brown rice and water. Sprinkle some grated mango ginger on top. Close lid and cook for 2 whistles.

4. Kareley ka Bharta - Take the bitter gourd, remove the seeds and mash it. Add the boiled potato to it, add chopped green chili, salt, a bit of mustard oil and cilantro. Mash together.

Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a tadka pan. Add some pancha phutana (panch phoran) and 1 broken red chili. Once it gets spluttering, add some chopped onion and crushed garlic. Fry for 1 minute before pouring it over the mashed bittergourd and potato. Mix together.

5. Papad ka chura - Roast a papad on flame. Crumble and add some amchur, red chili powder, chopped onion and cilantro. Toss together. If you like, add some thinly sliced cucumber and tomato to it.

Chef's Tip - Start with the rice and the kala channa and soya subzi. Once the rice cooking is underway and the tomatoes are still being cooked, utilize this time to prepare the bharta. By the time the subzi goes into the cooker, the rice will be done and you can prepare the tempering for the bharta. Roast the papad just before serving the meal.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dal and Palak Soup

Heart warming and healthy, soups are the way to go whether you are following a weight loss regimen or suffering from any malady. Sometimes, it can be just the balmy weather conditions that attract one to a glorious bowlful. And this is one of the easiest soups that I have ever come across.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • a fistful of yellow lentils / toor dal
  • 1/2 cup shredded baby spinach
  • 2-3 tsp carrot juliennes (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger juliennes
  • a dash of pepper
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Wash the baby spinach, drain and keep aside.

Cooking - Wash the lentil and transfer to a pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.

Slightly mash the lentils. Transfer the contents into a saucepan. Add some more warm water to bring it to the desired consistency. Bring to a boil and adjust the salt.

Add the shredded spinach and carrot. Boil for 2-3 mins.

Sprinkle ground pepper and ginger juliennes just before turning off the flame.

Serve hot.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The 15 Minute Meal Series - Post 2

Continuing the 15 Minute Meal series that enables you to enjoy fresh home cooked food, I have put together another simple meal consisting of rice, toor dal, aloo palak, bitter gourd - raw banana tikkis and peanut vada . While the peanut vada was made as I was feeling indulgent, I would ideally substitute it with a kachumbar or a tomato-cucumber salad.

Read on how this can be done in 15 mins -

1. Overnight preparation -  Take one bitter gourd, a raw banana and 2 medium sized potatoes. Wash and cook together in a pressure cooker with just enough water for 3 whistles.

Open the cooker once steam escapes. Transfer into a food grade plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Wash the palak/spinach and chop it into medium sized pieces. Saute with a little oil, some chopped onion, 2-3 garlic flakes and 1-2 green chilis for 3-4 mins. Grind into a smooth paste once it cools down. Store overnight (can stay fresh upto 4-5 days).

Wash and soak the peanuts overnight.

Additionally, one can also peel the garlic and chop the onions, cilantro and green chilis.

2. Cooking rice and dal - One can cook the rice and dal together in the same pressure using a separator to save time or use two separate cookers. Additionally add some chopped onion, crushed garlic, a small piece of ginger, green chili, finely chopped tomato, 1-2 cloves, salt and turmeric to the dal while cooking.

Take the bitter gourd, remove the seeds and mash it. Add one of the boiled potatoes (peeled ofcourse) to it, add chopped green chili, onion, salt, a bit of mustard oil and cilantro. Mash together and shape into tikkis (flat discs) .

Strain the peanuts and transfer to a mixer jar. Add some chopped onion, 2-3 garlic flakes, coriander stems, green chili and salt. Buzz till you get a mixture that is coarse but can be molded.  Shape into flat discs.

3. Take a large skillet. Drizzle with oil. Place the bitter gourd-raw banana tikkis on one side and the peanut vadas on the other side. Cook for 2-3 mins till small brown spots appear. Flip over and cook the other side as well. Cooking everything together saves time.

At the same time, heat another wok. Add some oil followed by broken red chili, cumin and mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering add some of the peeled and diced potato. Sprinkle salt and red chili powder. Saute for 1-2 mins. Throw in some onion which has been cut into big chunks. Saute till translucent. Add the spinach paste along with 3-4 tbsp water, a pinch of garam masala and just a little bit of butter. Cook for 2-3 mins more.

Your delicious and healthy meal is ready !!

If you looking for any specific recipe, please leave a comment on my blog or FB page and I will be happy to respond :) !

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Khatta Meetha Karela ( Sweet and Sour Bitter gourd crispies )

Karela or bitter gourd is touted as one of the healthiest vegetables for diabetics. Whether taken in the raw form (juice) or eaten boiled and mashed, it is an integral part of their menu. But consuming it in the same avatar day in and day out tends to get tedious after a while. Hence, this simple and easy to do bitter gourd recipe that requires very less oil.

It is a variation of the crispy karela recipes that one can find in the Northern states of India.
Read on for recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup thinly sliced bitter gourd
  • 1 big onion ( thinly sliced )
  • a pinch of amchur
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp grated mango ginger
  • 1 tsp powdered jaggery
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp oil

Cooking - Heat the oil in a large thick bottomed skillet. Add the bitter gourd slices along with salt and turmeric. Stir fry on low heattill the bitter gourd loses most of its water content and starts getting crisp.

Add the onion slices along with a pinch of salt. Stir fry on low flame till onion turns brown.

Add amchur, chili powder, mango ginger and jaggery. Fry for 2 mins or till the spices coat the bittergourd and the onions.

Remove from flame.

Serve as it is or as a side along with white rice, dal and a curry.

Note - One can also add some grated coconut when adding the mango ginger.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oats and Sweet Potato Cutlets

I do not believe in waiting for the New Year to implement any resolutions. So, after returning back from my Odisha trip I have been monitoring my diet quite strictly. This year it is not just about losing a few extra pounds but also getting back to a leaner and fitter self. And that requires a lot of mental discipline as well.

I have switched to cooking with very little oil and have bought a non-stick appam pan in which i toast the dishes which traditionally require deep frying. Vadas, cutlets, koftas are some of the examples. I am yet to perfect the oil-free/ low-oil gravy for my dishes but I keep experimenting with that as well. Have been thinking of investing in an air-fryer. Please leave behind a comment/suggestion below the post if you have had a good experience with it.

This recipe combines the goodness of Shakarkandi/sweet potato with oats. While I usually boil/roast sweet potato and have it with black salt, pepper, chili powder and optionally a dash of lemon juice, this one can also be served as snacks. And all those health-conscious guests out there are going to fall head over heels in love with it. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins ( including 15 mins of standby time)

Ingredients -

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes 
  • 3-4 tbsp masala oats (I used Saffola oats in Curry & Pepper flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp pepper powder ( skip if using Pepper flavored oats )
  • 2 pinch black salt
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil

Preparation - Wash and cook the sweet potato in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles.

Keep aside till steam escapes. Drain excess water, remove and peel the sweet potato .Transfer it to a mixing bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients except for oil. Mash together. Divide into 10-12 equal portions and give desired shape (disc, oblong, heart or diamond). (Roll the cutlets over some oats spread out on a flat plate for a better presentation)

Cooking - Heat a non-stick frying pan. Grease with 1/2 tsp oil.

Place the cutlets and fry them on a low flame till small brown spots appear. Flip over and repet for the other side as well.

Remove from pan and serve hot with lemon wedges and sauce/chutney.

Note - Do remember to leave any suggestions regarding an air fryer if you have used one .

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Homemade Multigrain atta

While a whole lot of high-fibre products are flooding the markets, targeting those who want to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, natural or homemade still remains the best. I have chosen to write about the so called fortified flours that re being marketed aggressively as rotis are an integral part of the Indian diet. For those who have checked the labels on the packets of multigrain atta easily available these days, the proportion of other grains remain quite low as compared to wheat.

Hence I decided to make my own version (tailor-made for my needs) at home. Used high fibre stuff like soya and oats. Calcium rich ragi is also added to fortify it further while flax seeds add a good dose of Omega-3 and minerals to it. One can also add more soya flour to further lower the GI value of this flour.

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat atta
  • 1/4 cup ragi
  • 1/4 cup soya ( used 99 % fat free soya granules )
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

Preparation - Take the ragi, soya, oata and flax seeds in a grinder jar. Buzz for a few minutes to get an almost fine powder. (Or take it to the neighbouring chakki if you prefer a very fine powder)

Take all the flours in a decent sized container. Close and lid and give it a good shake so that they get mixed. Store and use as required.

One can use this flour for making rotis/parantha/puri/dosa and even halwa!!

A super healthy lunch made with my special multi-grain Atta

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oriya Thali For Diabetics/High B.P. (Detox Mondays)

Yes, Its Monday again. Time to makeup for the weekend sins/over-indulgences. But this time we will be sharing some real food instead of just a detox recipe. It is something that can be inculcated in our everyday diet for its long-term health benefits and not some one-off detox solution.

Oriya food is perhaps among the healthiest cuisines in the world. The emphasis on copious amounts of vegetables and the restrained use of spices and oil make it a delight for people suffering from various ailments. The only drawback seems to be too much of rice in our everyday diet. Though par-boiled rice which is consumed by most Odiya folks if better off than the polished raw rice consumed predominantly in Southern India, we need to include more whole grains in our diet. Making multi-grain rotis an integral part of our meal plans can easily address this problem.

Though almost all vegetables and pulses have their benefits, some are more beneficial for people suffering from diabetes and heart disorders (mainly high B.P. and cholesterol levels). For example, Chana dal is higher on fiber content and vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower are very low G.I.. Even the humble okra (bhindi) is known to reduce blood sugar levels. I have tried to include some of these in my thali (all of them are quite simple recipes that already exist on my blog but I have just put them together).

The items shown above are - Multi-grain rotis, Chana dal fry, Phula kobi kasa/santula (cauliflower curry), kalara bhaja (stir fried bitter gourd), bhendi bhaja (stir fried okra) and tomato-cucumber salad.

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