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Monday, 29 May 2017

Muskmelon Salsa

Next to mangoes, melons are among my favourite summer fruits. Melons have high percentage of water making them cooling and hydrating. Apart from water melons local markets are flooded with ripe sweet smelling muskmelons these days. Muskmelons also known as Cantaloupe (kharbuja in Hindi) not only have amazing taste and delicious aroma but they are loaded with many nutrients making them powerhouse of health.

 Muskmelon is high in dietary fiber and helps people who suffer from constipation. It is concentrated with excellent levels of Vitamin C and A , folic acid, potassium and beta-carotene. The high water content and fiber in muskmelons helps fill you up making it ideal for weight watchers and dieters. 

While the fruit tastes great as it is , there are many ways of enjoying this summer delight. My way to enjoy muskmelon is in the form of salsa which is a quick and delicious salad . Chopped muskmelon , red onion, tomato and green chilies are tossed with cilantro, lime juice and rock salt dressing to give a cool and refreshing snack . Have it as a healthy breakfast or mid time snacks with tacos or simply pair it with your grilled chicken or fish , this colorful muskmelon salsa is sure to delight your senses.

Preparation Time: 5-7 minutes
Cooking Time : 0 minutes
Servings : 2

  • 1 muskmelon / cantaloupe
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander 
  • Salt to taste
  1. Peel , de-seed and chop the muskmelon into pieces. Transfer them to a bowl.

  2. Add finely chopped red onion, tomato and green chilly to the bowl of muskmelon .

  3. Mix well . Add finely chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice and salt and toss .

  4. Chill for few minutes or serve the refreshing muskmelon salsa immediately and delight your senses !

  • Chopped Cucumber or red bell peppers may also be used in the salsa as a variation.
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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Naralachi Chutney / Fresh Coconut Chutney

 Chutney is a condiment which is served as a side dish or an accompaniment with snacks. Chutney made with fresh coconut is popular in South India and is usually served with breakfast delights like Idli , Dosa and Medu Vada. To make this tangy spicy and flavorful chutney fresh coconut is blended with ginger , green chilies , fresh coriander leaves , peanuts and curd and is finally tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds. Fresh Coconut lends a creamy and smooth texture to this chutney. Roasted peanuts give it a nutty flavor. Fresh Coriander leaves impart the lush green colour and chilies give the needed spicy kick to it. Curd gives a mild tangy taste . An onion garlic free chutney ,this is my Mom's recipe and i can have it any time and with almost any thing from chapati , paratha to dal rice , with idlis to Fritters , with Upma to Uttapam, but my favourite combo is with Paniyaram and Mix Veg Cutlets.

  Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  Cooking time: 2 minutes
  Serves : 4

  • 1/2 fresh whole Coconut , drained and chopped or grated
  • 1/2 cup home made curd
  • 2-3 tablespoon roasted peanuts
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • A bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoon oil for tempering 

  1. Place the chopped coconut , coriander leaves, green chilies , ginger , cumin seeds , roasted peanuts, salt and sugar to a grinder jar. Pulse it several times to obtain a coarse mixture. Add 1-2 tablespoon water and grind again.

2. Add curd to the coriander coconut paste. Grind again to get a creamy smooth chutney. Remove the chutney in a bowl .

 3. Heat 1-2 teaspoon oil in a small wok. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Now add the curry leaves, let them sizzle and put off the flame. Pour this tempering over the chutney.

  4. Serve immediately and enjoy the flavorful creamy coconut chutney with your favourite snacks.

  • Roasted chana dal can also be added to the chutney for variation. 
  • Curd lends a tangy taste to the chutney, if you do not want to add curd, you may add lemon juice or soak small tamarind piece in little warm water and grind it along with the coconut.
You may serve this fresh coconut chutney as accompaniment with 
For more chutney and podi recipes, do check my posts on

Monday, 22 May 2017

Bael Ka Sharbet / Wood Apple Drink Recipe

Bael ka sharbet is a refreshing and delicious Indian summer cooling drink made with the bael ( wood apple) fruit. A juice is made by extracting the pulp of semi-ripe to ripe wood apple fruit. Jaggery acts as a sweetener while lemon juice and mint leaves flavor the drink and make it refreshing. A dash of freshly ground black pepper and black salt do rest of the job and you are ready with a perfect thirst quencher loaded with nutrition. Try out this no-cook cooling drink and keep the heat at bay this Summer.

With the ongoing sizzling temperatures, to keep oneself hydrated and cool is not at all an easy task. While most people feel sipping soft drinks and soda keep them hydrated, little do they know that consuming aerated drinks and soda yields many disadvantages, including dehydration, high- sugar intake, weight gain, and calcium depletion. 

Fortunately, when it comes to traditional Indian Summer drinks, there is a long list of delicious refreshing coolants which can actually keep us hydrated and has a cooling effect on our body without adding in loads of calories. Nimbu pani (lemonade) , Mattha(spiced buttermilk) and Kairi Panha ( raw mango drink), Lassi(sweetened yogurt drink) , Sol Kadhi / Kokkum Curry ,  ThandaiJal Jeera , Chabeel, Rose Sharbet, Sattu Ka Ghol are among popular summer coolants. Today i am sharing yet another summer drink - Bael ka sharbet which is not very popular but has many health benefits. 

Bael fruit is considered sacred by Hindus and is known for its therapeutic value since ages. We have 3 large bael trees in our society. Bael leaves are offered to Lord Shiva, especially during the holy Hindu month of Shravan. The ripe fruit is fragrant, astringent, coolant and laxative. The unripe or even half-ripe fruit is digestive and enhances the urge for food. The health benefits of Bael fruit include relief from constipation, indigestion, peptic ulcer, piles, respiratory problems, diarrhea, and dysentery. It also boosts the immune system, fights off bacterial and viral infections, reduces inflammation, increases milk production for nursing mothers, cures diabetes, increases ocular health and helps prevent various sexual dysfunctions. Source. My papa is diabetic, recently he has started taking the juice of bael leaves, the first thing in the morning and his sugar levels have come down considerably.  

 Preparation Time:  40 minutes
 Cooking Time: 0 Minutes
 Serves: 4

  • 1 Wood Apple approx 750 grams
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup Jaggery powder( adjust as per the sweetness of the fruit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder 
  • Few fresh mint leaves 
  • Black salt to taste
  1. Select unblemished fruit which is light green to yellow in color with an intact shell. The shell of the fruit is very hard and requires to be cracked using a hammer. Cut open the cracked fruit.

  2. Scoop out the pulp and the seeds into a bowl using a large spoon.

  3. Add 3 cups cold water so that the pulp is completely immersed under the water. Cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate for at least 20-30 minutes.

  4. Mash the softened pulp using hands and then strain it through a wire mesh. Use the back of the spatula to press the pulp through the strainer.

 5. Discard the threads and seeds of the fruit. Add remaining 1 cup water to the strained juice.

 6. Add jaggery powder and stir well until it dissolves completely. 

  7. Add black salt to taste and freshly crushed black pepper. Give a quick stir.

  8. Lastly, squeeze out the juice of 2 lemons into the wood apple drink. Pour the wood apple summer cooler drink into individual glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.

  • Sugar can be added instead of jaggery powder as a sweetener. Amount of sweetener depends on the sweetness of the fruit, so adjust accordingly.
  • Roasted cumin powder or crushed green cardamom can be added to the juice as a variation.
I am sharing this post with a Facebook group, Foodies_RedoingOldPost which i have recently joined. This group is an initiative my friend and fellow blogger Renu who blogs at Cookwithrenu. In this group, bloggers update their old posts with new pics or contents every 2 weeks. I loved this concept, as bloggers we grow each day, our photography gets better and when we revisit our old post, we feel the photography could be better. Also many a time we make changes in our recipe which needs to be updated. I have many such posts which need to be updated and hope this group gives me the needed motivation for it. This is my second entry in this event (28th June 2019). 

If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mint Pulao / One-Pot Meal

When it comes to herbs , mint and summers go hand in hand for me. Whether it is an iced tea or a refreshing cooler drink , smoothie , dip or salad , mint surely adds in to the flavor and aroma. The sweet and refreshing aftertaste mint imparts to its dishes makes it all the more desirable during summers. Mint rice or mint pulao is one such aromatic and delicious rice dish in which fresh mint leaves are used to flavor the rice. 

Mint pulao is a convenient one-pot meal which can make up for a no-fuss lunch or dinner option during summers or when you are super hungry but lazy to cook an elaborate meal. This pulao also serves as a quick and easy lunch box menu for bachelors and busy working folks. Add veggies in the pulao to make it filling and nutritious , team it with some cool yogurt or home made raita and you are done ! I have served it with Pomegranate Raita and roasted papadam. 

 Fresh mint leaves are crushed with ginger and green chilies to make a flavorful paste. Use of whole spices in this pulao makes it mildly spicy and flavorful. A flavorful and aromatic rice dish ready under 30 minutes. I have cooked this pulao using a pressure cooker. You may cook it in a pot as well , only you have to increase the amount of water to cook rice. 

 Apart from imparting an aromatic and flavorful taste to its dishes , mint has many health benefits which include proper digestion and weight loss, relief from nausea , depression , fatigue and headache , treatment of asthma, memory loss and skin care problems. Source: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice or any long grain rice
  • 1 bunch of fresh Mint or 1//2 cup tightly packed mint leaves
  • 1 carrot diced or sliced
  • 1 large onion finely sliced
  • 1 potato cubed 
  • 1/4 cup green peas fresh or frozen
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 clove
  • 2 black pepper corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse one cup rice in water thoroughly . Soak it in 2 cup water for 10-15 minutes . 

  2. Mean while chop the veggies  and keep ready. Also make a paste of mint leaves with green chilies and ginger. 

  3. Drain the rice after soaking time and keep aside.

  4. Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the seeds crackle , add the cinnamon stick , pepper corn and clove. 

  5. Stir fry the whole spices for few seconds. Now add the sliced onions and saute well. Add carrot and potatoes and stir fry for about a minute followed by the addition of green peas.

 6. Now add the mint chilly paste to the veggies and stir fry very well on low flame. Add turmeric powder. 

  7. Add soaked and drained rice to the veggies and stir fry for about a minute.

  8. Add 2 1/2 cups of hot water to the rice . Add salt and give a quick stir.

  9. Cook the rice for 1 whistle and then simmer for 5 minutes.Put off the flame. Open the cooker once all the pressure has been released. Fluff the rice with a fork.

  10. Serve the delicious mint pulao with raita and salad and enjoy !

  • If cooking the rice in a pot instead of pressure cooker , increase the amount of water used to cook the rice by 1/2 -1 cup . Keep stirring the rice in between.
  • While making the mint paste , you may add fresh coconut chunks and coriander leaves too.
  • You can make this pulao using left over rice, by simply stir frying the rice in the veggies sauteed in mint paste.
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