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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Healthy Egg-less Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy Egg-less Oatmeal Cookies

Recently I have been trying my hands on baking. I kept myself away from much baking as always had somewhere in my mind that baking requires special skills and is not my cup of tea ! But frankly speaking what I came to know with my own experience is that baking is addictive and once you start baking and one or two recipes work well, you will love experimenting. I started with some crackers and matris to begin with and now was tempted to try out some cookies.

Was searching for some good Cookie recipe and was lucky to find this recipe of Oatmeal cookies . I made slight changes in the original recipe by replacing whole wheat flour instead of multipurpose refined flour and made it without eggs.



The cookies turned out as sweet crunchy treats and were loved in my family. This crisp cookie is loaded with wholesome goodness of Oatmeal ,chopped nuts and whole wheat flour. You can top these cookies with chopped dates, raisins or Choco chips . An amazingly simple Egg-less recipe to enjoy the cookies guilt free.



The recipe makes 10-12 (depending on how big you want your cookies) . You can always double the ingredients if making in large quantities. Enjoy the healthy cookies with tea,warm milk or just as it is.

Ingredients:
  • Butter- 60 gm
  • Castor sugar- 50 gm
  • Whole wheat flour -100 gm
  • Oatmeal - 50 gm 
  • Chopped Nuts- 1/4 cup ( I have used Almonds and Walnuts )
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of baking powder

    Method:
  1. In a mixing bowl add butter and powdered sugar and cream this. 

    2.  Reserve some oats to coat the cookie top and soak the remaining oatmeal with few drops of water and set aside. Do not make it soggy.


    3.  Mix pinch of baking powder with whole wheat flour. Add Vanilla extract and  whole wheat flour to the creamed mixture. Add flour little at a time , mix and blend slowly.


   4.   To the above mixture add the soaked Oatmeal and nuts and mix. Try to gather the Cookie dough using both hands and do not knead much. 



   5.  Roll out this Cookie dough between parchment sheets to approx 1/2 inch thickness. Now sprinkle the reserved oats on it and press a little, so that the oats stick to the dough  now cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter . Place the cookies spaced apart on the Oven tray lined with parchment sheet .




    6.  Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius. Keep an eye on the cookies while they are getting baked.  I have baked them using a Microwave with convection mode and flipped the cookies midway as I wanted to slightly brown the upper side of the Cookie .



   7.  Let the cookies cool down and then store them in an airtight container. 


   
Notes:
  • If using raisins in the cookies soak them in water before adding in the cookie dough.. this avoids the raisins from getting burnt in oven during baking.
  • You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate it  covered in a plastic sheet and bake the cookies fresh as per requirement.



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Glossary of Indian Spices in English, Hindi, Marathi and Tamil

Indian Spices

A Spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark or vegetable substance primarily used for flavouring, colouring or preserving food. Spices are used in different forms - whole, chopped, ground, roasted, sauteed, fried and as topping. They blend food to extract the nutrients and bind them in a palatable form. Spices are also used for health benefits and medicinal purposes to prevent diseases as many of them have antimicrobial properties. Indian food is known for extensive use of herbs and spices.

Here is a glossary of some of the commonly used Indian spices in English , Hindi , Marathi and Tamil.

Sr. NoEnglishHindiMarathiTamil
1Aniseeds, Fennel SeedsSaunfBadishopSombu
2AsafoetidaHingHingPerumkayam
3Basil SeedsSabjaSabjaTulaci Vitaikal
4Bay LeafTej pattaTamalpatraBrinji elai
5Big Mustard SeedsSarsonSarsavPeriya katuku
6Black CardamomBadi elaichiMasala VeldodaPeria elakkai
7Black Cumin SeedsJeeraJeeraKaru Seeragam
8Black Mustard SeedsRai RaiKadhugu
9Black PepperKali MirchKali MiriMilagu
10Black SaltKala namakKala MithKarupu Uppum
11Caraway SeedsShah JeeraShah JeeraPeru seeragam
12Carom seedsAjwainOwaOmam
13Red chili PowderLal Mirch powderLal tikhatMilagai tool
14CinnamonDalchiniDalchiniLavanga pattai
15CloveLaungLavangKrambu
16Coriander powderDhania powderDhane poodhDhaniya podi
17Coriander seedsSaboot DhaniyaDhaneKotumali
18Cumin seedsJeeraJeeraJeerakam
19Curry leavesKadi pattaKadipattaKaruveppilai
20Dry fenugreek leavesKasuri methikasturi methiVendhay elai
21Dry GingerSaunthSunthSukku
22Dry mango PowderAamchur Aambyacha churMangai podi
23Fenu greek seedsMethi danaMethya daneMenthiyam
24GarlicLasanLasunPoondu
25Fresh gingerAdarakAlaInji
26Green cardamomHari elaichiVeldodaElakkai
27Green chiliHari mirchHirvi mirchiPachai milagai
28KokumBhirindaAmsulMurgal
29MaceJavitri, jayitriJaipatriJaipatri
30MintPudinaPudinaPudina
31NutmegJaiphalJaiphalJhadikkai
32Onion seeds, NigellaKalonjiKandyacha bikalaunji
33Dry Pomogranate seedsAnardanaDalimbacha bi
34Poppy SeedsKhus KhusKhus KhusKhasa Khasa
35RaisinsKismishBedaneKaindha Dratchai
36Red Chili Lal Mirch Lal MirchiMilakai vatral
37Rock saltSendha NamakSendhe lonKal uppu
38Stone/Rock flowerPathar phoolDagad PhoolKal passi
39SaltNamakMeethUppu
40Sesame SeedsTilTilEllu
41SaffronKesar, ZafranKesharKumkumappu
42Sichuan PepperTirfal,tilfdaTrifallaCiccvan milaku
43Star AniseChakri phoolChakri phoolLavanga poo
44SultanaMunaccaManukka
45TamarindImliChinchaPuli
46TurmuricHaldiHaladManjal
47VetiverKewraKewdaVetiver
48Watermelon SeedsMagajMagaj

Note: If you happen to know a spice that is not mentioned in the list above, you can contribute it here in comment section. I will be happy to add your entry to the table.  


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Besan Wali Bhindi Recipe / Okra with Gram flour / chickpea flour recipe - Rajasthani Cuisine

Besan Wali Bhindi

Rajasthani cuisine offers an amazing variety of rich colourful spicy and mouthwatering dishes. Due to  the paucity of fresh vegetables in the dessert region , Gram flour or Besan is the major ingredient in making a couple of delicacies. Also curd or dry Amchur powder is used to add tangy flavours to the dishes instead of Tomatoes. Ghee is an integral part in preparation of Rajasthani food and hence the spice content is quiet high in comparison  to other Indian cuisine but the food is absolutely fabulous and lip smacking.
Source: http://anshu-rajasthanicuisine.blogspot.com/

Besan Wali Bhindi is a spicy and crispy Bhindi dish which is a tasty twist to the typical Bhindi fry. It is a dry and aromatic dish and the original recipe calls for stuffing whole Bhindi/Okra with spices and gram flour and then deep frying the Okra. To cut down the extra calories of frying and to save time of stuffing each Bhindi individually, I have slit the Okra into half length wise and stir fried with spices and gram flour.

The dish serves good option for lunch box and goes well with Phulka / Chapati or with Rice. A must  try for all the Okra/ Ladyfinger lovers !

Ingredients:
  • 250 gms Bhindi/ Lady fingers /Okra 
  • 1/4 cup gram flour/chickpea flour/ Besan
  • 2 medium size Onions chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds/ Jeera
  • 1/2 tsp garam Masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds / Saunf  powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry Mango . Amchur powder
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida / Hing
  • 3 tsp Ghee
  • 1-2 tsp water to sprinkle
  • Salt to taste

      Method:
  1. Clean the Okra with wet kitchen towel and let it dry. If the Bhindi remains wet the curry will become sticky. Now slit in half length wise. 

    2.  In a non stick pan add ghee and allow it to heat. Add cumin seeds and let it flutter. Now add hing and onions. Saute the onions and then add lady finger. Mix well and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.





    3.  Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix and cook Bhindi for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally till it gets a little crispier on medium flame. 


   4. Once the oil separates, add Besan, Cumin Coriander powder, Fennel powder, Red Chili powder and dry Mango powder. Mix every thing well.



   5.  Now cover the pan with a lid and let the okra cook for 3-4 minutes on low flame. Open the lid after 3-4 minutes , sprinkle some water, so that it doesn't stick to the pan. Now mix again and turn off the gas after 1 minute. The Besan Wali Bhindi is ready to serve. Serve it with Chapati / Phulka or Rice.



    Notes: 
  • I have used Onions in this recipe. You can avoid adding onion and the same recipe will become a Onion Garlic free dish.
  • Can add lemon juice for tangy flavour if Amchur powder not available.
  • This dish is a modification to the  original Rajasthani Besan Wali Bhindi recipe which calls for stuffing spices and gram flour into the Bhindi and then deep frying it. 




Friday, 15 May 2015

Pineapple Preserve / Jam Recipe / Kids Recipes

Pineapple Preserve / Jam

Home made preserves on a warm loaf of bread or toast can freshen up our mood on any drowsy day ! The preserves are not only healthy as they have fresh whole fruits in them but also are more satisfying .

Generally all kids love jams and jellies  and these preserves can be easily made in our home with some fresh seasonal fruits. Today I am going to share one of my favourite fruit jam recipe , very much appealing and apt for the Summer season - Pineapple Jam.

This pineapple preserve can be made either on stove top or using a Microwave. I have used stove top. Very easy and quick recipe , it hardly took half hour to make this and my house is full with the heavenly smell of Jam.

Spiny on the outside and sweet inside, Pineapple is a  fantastic tropical  fruit. Coming to the health benefits, Pineapples contain high amount of vitamin C and Manganese. These tropical treats are also a good way to get important dietary fibre and Bromelain (an enzyme). For all its sweetness, one cup of Pineapple chunks contain only 82 calories. Pineapples are also fat-free, Cholesterol-free and low in Sodium. Not surprising, they do contain sugar with 16 grams per cup.
Source: http://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html
If you are looking for more recipes with Pineapple, check out for Pineapple fried rice , Pineapple Jam tarts.

Ingredients:
  • Fresh medium size Pineapple -1 ( yields 2 cups of Pineapple chunks)
  • Sugar - 1 cups
  • Pineapple Essence - 1 tsp 
  • Cinnamon stick- 2 inch
  • Star anise - 1
Method: 
  1. Peel the Pineapple , core and shred into small chunks. 





        2.  Put the chunks in a blender to get coarse puree of the Pineapple.  To enjoy the fresh tangy taste and heavenly mouth -feel just crush the Pineapple chunks coarsely rather than making a smooth paste. 


     3.  In a sauce pan add the Pineapple puree, cinnamon stick , sugar and star anise. 


      4. Mix well and bring to boil and then simmer , stirring frequently . The sugar will melt and gradually the mixture will turn thicker. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the mixture attains a jam like consistency. 


      5 . You can check the setting time of jam to know when to put off the flame. For this put 1 tsp of preserve on a plate and if it doesn't roll off the plate too fast , that is it tends to set, it means the jam has attained a setting point.


      6.  Put off the flame and add 1 tsp of Pineapple essence, mix well and let it cool down completely. Now store the jam in a clean and dry glass jar. Refrigerate it and use as required.  Enjoy it with buttered toast or sandwich or in chapati roll. You can also use this jam to make Pineapple Jam Tarts.



     Notes:
  • The jam thickens further on cooling , adjust the time to put off the flame accordingly or else the sugar may crystallise. To avoid this use the setting point test explained in point 5.
  • Can add lime and ginger juice for variation. Do not cook the lemon juice . Add it to the jam after the jam is off the flame and has cooled down .
  • Have not added any artificial colour to the jam.. you may wish to add 2-3 drops of yellow food colour.
  • You can use the same method to make this preserve in Microwave instead of gas top.
You can check out my Raw Mango Preserve recipe also if you like Jams and Preserves.







Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sweet corn Salad



Sweet corn Salad

   Salads can serve as a  quick and healthy snack or as a starter to any meal , as accompaniment to main dish or a satisfying meal on their own. For many of us, Summer treats are incomplete without crunchy and fresh Sweet corn. Here is a simple yet flavorful salad recipe for all corn lovers.

In this simple salad recipe the boiled Sweet corn kernels are mixed with fresh tomatoes and cucumber and tossed with lime juice , salt and pepper powder. This colourful salad not only is a visual delight and tastes great  but also is very healthy as it has no oil used for salad dressing . And best part is that this salad can be made up to 8 hours ahead. My son happily takes this salad to school in his snack box. 

Coming to the health benefits of Sweet corn, Sweet corn is known as a starch vegetable and has high amounts of carbohydrates and fiber and hence beneficial to athletes and general population. The sweet juicy kernels are rich in numerous vitamins minerals and anti oxidants. Placing it alongside some particular foods , one can boost the nutrient content of the meal even more.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup frozen Sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 1/2 cup cheery tomatoes halved
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Steam the Sweet corn for 3-4 minutes in a pot or microwave with some water. Drain and keep aside to cool down. 

      2.  Combine Cucumber, Onions, Coriander, Tomatoes Sweet corn and lime juice in a large bowl. Season it with Salt and Pepper. Add this dressing little at a time, then toss, taste and add more as needed. Serve chilled.  





Notes:
  • To add incomparable flavor to the salad , final garnish can be done with fresh herbs like Basil, Parsley or Chives.
  • Can add chat masala and Chili powder and enjoy it like spicy tangy chaat !
  • This is oil free recipe.. you can add Olive oil for dressing the salad if you wish. 
  • Do not over cook the corns .
  • You may add Bell peppers or any other salad of your choice. 
  • Can use chopped Plum tomatoes, if Cherry tomatoes not available.
  • I have used frozen Sweet corn , but fresh corn tastes even better.
  • This Salad serves as a good option during Summer picnics.


Monday, 11 May 2015

Karela / Bitter Melon Stir Fry

Karela / Bitter Melon Stir Fry

Being a foodie I love to taste and cook variety of dishes, but at the end of the day I always crave for simple home made Sabji roti. Even as  I recollect my childhood memories, among my siblings, I was the one who was not at all a picky eater and ate whatever was served on the plate .  One such vegetable recipe is Karela or Bitter Melon stir fry and I love the way my Mum cooks it.

This is a Onion Garlic free recipe . It is basically a spicy dish , which gets slightly tangy taste due to Aamchur / Mango powder and addition of Jaggery makes it little sweet. So overall a flavorful dish.

Coming to health benefits , Bitter Gourds / melons are very low in calories but dense with precious nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, Magnesium, fol ate , Zinc, Phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fibre. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta - carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.
Source: http://juicing-for-health.com/basic-nutrition/healing-vegetables/health-benefits-of-bitter-gourd.html


Ingredients :
  • Bitter gourd / melons - 4 medium size( thinly sliced into circles)
  • Red chili powder- 1tsp
  • Turmeric- 1/4 tsp    
  • Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander and Cumin powder-2 tsp
  • Garam Masala-1 tsp
  • Aamchur powder-1/4 tsp
  • Fennel seed powder/ Saunf powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 
  • Grated Jaggery -3 tsp
  • Grated Ginger- 1/2 inch
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
Method:
  1. Wash the Bitter melons , thinly slice into circles. and remove hard seeds . Degorge the Bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes This helps to remove the bitterness. wash the bitter gourd slices .


        2.  Heat a wok or non stick pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoon oil . Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle , add asafoetida , turmeric and grated ginger. saute for few seconds. .


        3.  Add the marinated Bitter gourd rings and salt and briefly stur fry. Add chili powder, cumin coriander powder, garam masala, Fennel seed powder and aamchur /Mango powder , mix well and Stir fry for another 2 - 3 minutes.




       4.  Now cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5-6 minutes or until the Bitter melon is cooked and tender.


      5. Add grated jaggery , mix well and cook for another 1 minute. Put off the flame , garnish the Karela stir fry with finely chopped fresh Coriander leaves and serve with Chapati or Rice.



     Notes:
  • The amount of Red chili powder and garam masala depends on how spicy you want the stir fry to be.
  • Addition of Jaggery is optional, also can replace it with sugar.
  • Marinating the Bitter gourd slices in salt helps to remove bitterness .









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