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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Looking for a dessert that fits perfectly into your fall party menu? Look no further as these pumpkin apple muffins are soft, moist and loaded with the all the fall flavors. These aromatic sweet treats bursting with the warm flavors from the freshly ground cinnamon are not only utterly delicious but are healthy too. Made from whole wheat flour, these muffins are egg-less, butter-less and replace refined sugar with jaggery powder and do not have any artificial flavor or color. Studded with walnuts these spiced vegan pumpkin apple muffins are ready under 40 minutes from scratch and require just a blender jar to whip up the batter. Serve them as a mid-day snack or on-the-go breakfast, an after-dinner dessert or pack them in your kid's snack box or simply make them to satisfy those sweet cravings,  you are sure to win praises either way.

What is Fall? 

Well, Fall is an alternate name for the Autumn season. It is a season of the year between Summer and winter during which the temperature gradually decreases. It is often referred to as Fall in the United States because leaves fall from the trees at that time. In European languages, Autumn is the time of the year connected with the harvesting of crops. In many cultures, Autumn, like the other seasons, has been marked by rites and festivals revolving around the season's importance in food production. Animals gather food in autumn in preparation for the coming winter, and those with fur often grow thicker coats. Many birds migrate towards the equator to escape the falling temperatures.

Fall Produce

From September to November, the Autumn harvest brings a variety of healthful and delicious produce from squash and sweet potatoes to apples and pears. Fall fruits and vegetables are not delicious, they are also packed with nutrients your body needs to keep your immune system strong before temperatures turn chilly. Though most of the fruits and vegetables are available in supermarkets year-round, seasonal produce is often better for our health, environment, local economy and also easy on our pockets. Apart from squash, sweet potatoes, apples , pears and pumpkins, following are the healthy fall veggies and fruits to look for in this season: beetroot, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, cranberries, broccoli, cabbage, fennel, figs, leeks, okra, peppers, pomegranates, turnips, persimmons etc.

We are into mid-September and officially it is the Fall season. Here in Mohali, also we have started noticing a pleasant cool breeze in the morning and a dip in the night temperatures. So, why not celebrate Fall? With this thought in mind, I suggested a Fall theme for our gourmet group, Foodie Monday Blog Hop for its #213th week. All the blogger members of our group agreed upon this theme and we decided to cook dishes that usually are a part of the Fall meal. Since apples and pumpkins are the Hallmark of Fall /Autumn, I decided to bake these utterly delicious Pumpkin Apple Muffins. Do check out the other Fall recipes by my fellow bloggers.
About the ingredients:    
I have used Golden Apples from Himachal Pradesh in this recipe. These are juicy apples with a sweet and mildly tangy taste. I have added grated apples in the muffin batter. You may use any sweet variety of apples in this recipe. The next major ingredient in this muffins is the pumpkin. Use a ripe pumpkin for this. We need to add pumpkin puree in the recipe. For this, we can either roast or pressure cook or boil the peeled and diced pumpkin and then puree it in a blender. The muffins are flavored with Cinnamon. I would recommend the use of freshly ground cinnamon here. All my bakes are with whole wheat flour as i have stopped buying Maida/ APF. You may use refined flour and whole wheat flour in 1:1 ratio. Jaggery powder lends a lovely earthy flavor to the bakes and makes them guilt free. Butter is replaced with oil in this recipe and believe me the mufffins turned out really moist and soft. You may skip walnuts or top the muffins with any nuts or seeds of your choice.The measurement of ingredients used here yield 6 muffins you may easily double the ingredients. So let's get started.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6 muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (refer the recipe notes)
  • 1/2 cup jaggery powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oil ( use any neutral cooking oil)
  • 1 large or 2 small apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Line the muffin tray with individual muffin liners and keep ready. Sift the whole wheat flour, cinnamon powder, salt, and baking powder twice in a mixing bowl. Our dry ingredients are ready.

   2. In a blender jar take jaggery powder. Add pumpkin puree to it and pulse 2-3 times. next, add oil to it and pulse again.

  3. Now, gradually add the dry ingredients to the jar in small batches and pulse again. Scrape the sides with a spatula and blend everything well.

 4.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend the batter by pulsing again. Peel, core and grate the apple and add lemon juice to it. Lemon juice will prevent the grated apple from browning. Add this grated apple to the muffin batter and mix well with the spatula.

5.  Spoon out the batter into individual muffin liners up to 3/4th of its capacity. Tap the muffin tray 2-3 times to release the trapped air. Lastly, top the muffin batter with walnut chunks and transfer the tray to the preheated oven and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.

  6. Keep a watch after 20 minutes as temperature may vary from oven to oven. Insert a toothpick in the center of the baked muffin to check for its doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are baked well. If the toothpick is sticky, bake the muffins again for another 5 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool down a wire rack before transferring them to an airtight container.

  7. Enjoy the healthy and delicious pumpkin apple muffins with your loved ones!

Recipe Notes:
  • To make the pumpkin puree, boil the peeled, deseeded and diced ripe pumpkin pieces in enough water until they are cooked well. It will take around 6-8 minutes. You can check the doneness by inserting a knife or fork in the cooked pumpkin pieces. Next, drain the cooked pumpkin pieces and transfer them to a blender jar without adding any water and pulse to get a lump-free puree. 1 1/4 cup diced pumpkin pieces gave me 1/2 cup puree.
  • You may use refined flour and whole wheat flour in equal quantities 1:1 or make the muffins entirely using whole wheat flour the way I made them.
  • You may use any nuts or seeds of your choice to top the muffins.
  • Use good quality freshly ground cinnamon in the recipe for best results 
  • The above quantity of ingredients yields 6 muffins. You can easily double the recipe.
  • Use ripe pumpkin for making pumpkin puree.
  • You can use any neutral cooking oil in this recipe.
  • I have used golden apple from Himachal Pradesh. You may use any sweet and juicy variety of apples in this recipe.
  • The muffins remain good at room temperature for 1-2 days in an airtight container. You may refrigerate them to increase their shelf life by 1-2 days more.
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

For more fall recipes, check out the following from this blog

Friday, 13 September 2019

Spinach Oats Cutlet

Spinach Oats Cutlet is a healthy and delicious vegetarian snack. This gluten-free and vegan starter dish can be served at kids parties, get-together, in lunch boxes or as a mid-day snack with some salad and chutney, ketchup or dip of your choice. Made with healthy goodness of oats, sesame seeds and vegetables like spinach, potato and sweet corn, these cutlets are mildly spiced and are not deep fried but just roasted with few drops of oil on a skillet. These onion-garlic free spinach oats cutlets are a perfect snack for weight watchers, a great on-the-go breakfast and one of the best ways to feed your fussy kids with leafy veggies in an appealing way. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow. You can make the cutlets ahead of time and just shallow fry them before serving.

Kids often make faces when asked to eat leafy vegetables if served as dal or curry. At such times, mommies have to hide the veggies in food stuffs that is interesting to them and at the same time appealing and delicious too. Spinach oats cutlets is one such dish which is healthy , looks super cool and tastes yum. I have not used bread crumbs or cornflour in this recipe. Roasted oats flour is used for binding the cutlets. Little boiled potato is also used which adds to the taste and nutrition of the dish. Basic Indian spices are used to spice and flavor the cutlets.

The weather here is gloomy since last 1 week and with very little natural day light, i could not do justice with the photography of these cute looking Spinach Oats Cutlet. However, one thing that i can assure is the delectable taste of these cutlets. The cutlets are soft from within and crispy from outside. They make for a delicious tea-time snack. You can have them on their own or serve with some dipping sauce, ketchup or chutney. We love it with sweet and tangy Khajur Imli ki Chutney. My son loves these cutlets and merrily takes them to school in his snack box. So, when it was my turn to choose the #74th theme for our Gourmet group on Facebook,  Healthy Wellthy Cuisines , i knew it would be cooking with greens. By, now most of my readers must have noticed that we share recipes on this group fortnightly on pre-decided theme. We are celebrating #GreenMelaAtHW where the participating blogger members will share their food recipes using leafy greens.  Here are some of the creations with leafy greens from my fellow bloggers.

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. It contains high amounts of carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Consumption of spinach is believed to improve eye health, help in cancer prevention and aid regulate blood pressure levels. Source

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 10-12 cutlets

  • 2 cups finely chopped spinach leaves 
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger green chili paste ( grind 1/2 inch ginger and 2 green chilies)
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 2 large boiled potatoes
  • 1/4 cup  powdered oats
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 -3 tablespoon quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon dry mango powder/ amchur powder
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds to it. Next tip in the ginger green chili paste followed by the white sesame seeds. Stir fry for about 1 minute or so. Next, add turmeric powder followed by the finely chopped spinach leaves and little salt. 

2. Saute everything very well for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach looks cooked and the mixture becomes dry .

3. Allow the mixture to cool down. Then pulse it 2-3 times to get a fine paste.

4. In a large mixing bowl take grated boiled potatoes, powdered roasted oats, spinach paste and boiled sweet corn kernels. Add garam masala, amchur powder, cumin coriander powder and salt to taste. Mix all the ingredients and make a dough using your hands. Do not add any water while doing so. If your mix appears sticky add more oats powder. If it is dry you may sprinkle few drops of water to make it a soft dough consistency.

5. Now divide the dough into equal portions. Shape each dough portion into cutlets of desired shapes. I have used a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape my cutlets. You can make round or oblong shaped cutlets with your palms if you do not have a cookie cutter.

6. Take the oats in one plate and tap the cutlets over it and gently press so that oats stick to the cutlets. Grease a skillet with little oil and heat it over medium flame. Place the cutlets on to it and cook until they turn crisp and golden brown in color. Sprinkle few drops of oil around the cutlets. Flip and cook the other side too.

 7. Serve the healthy and delicious Spinach oats cutlets with Dates and Tamarind Chutney or any dip of your choice.

Recipe Notes:
  • You may skip addition of green chilies if making for small kids.
  • To make the oats powder, i have dry roasted the quick cooking oats and then powdered it on cooling.
  • You may boil the sweet corn kernels for 4-5 minutes either in an open vessel or in a microwave oven.
  • You may add veggies like green peas and boiled carrots or sweet potato as well in these cutlets.
  • If you do not have dry mango powder, you may add juice of 1 lemon to the cutlet dough.
  • The cutlets can be shaped and kept in a freezer in zip lock bags ahead of time and shallow fried just before serving.
If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us. Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. 
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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Tondalichi Bhaji / Ivy Gourd Stir Fry

Tondalichi bhaji is a simple stir fry of ivy gourd with basic Indian spices that can be served as a side dish with chapati or steamed rice. This Maharashtrian style dry vegetable dish is vegan and gluten free, easy to make and tastes great. Ivy gourd is called tondali in Marathi and bhaji means curry or stir fry, hence the name of this dish. Diced ivy gourd is sauteed with onions, tomatoes and spice powders and steamed cooked until tender to make this subji. Tondalichi bhaji is mildly spicy and serves as a flavorful lunch box option too with chapati.

Ivy gourd (Coccinia Grandis) also referred as scarlet gourd, tindora, tendli, kowai fruit, tondali, tonde kai etc. is a tropical vine that is used for food and medicinal purposes. Ivy gourd is rich in fibre, vitamin B, beta-carotene, iron and calcium and may help relieve occasional constipation and normalise blood sugar. In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. Lets have a look at some health benefits of eating ivy gourd. Source

Health Benefits of Ivy Gourd:
  • Helps to lower Blood Sugar Level: Since ancient times, ivy gourd has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes in India and Sri Lanka. Green fruits are either used as salad or in cooked form in curries and soups.
  • Protects Nervous System: Ivy gourd with its nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants helps in strengthening the Nervous System. 
  • Fibre keeps the Digestive tract healthy: Main benefits of fibre rich diet are improving the health of the digestive system. Dietary fibre plays an important role in increasing the weight and size of your stool and softens it.
  • Prevents Obesity: Research indicates that ivy gourd has anti-obesity properties.It increases the metabolic rate and prevents the pre-adipocytes from converting to fat cells.

Do yo know that tender green ivy gourd fruits are consumed raw as salad ? Raw fruits are also chewed as a remedy to tongue and mouth ulcers. Many people do not like this vegetable but if cooked well many delicious dishes can be made using this healthy vegetable. We Maharashtrians use tondali in an aromatic and flavorful rice dish, Masale Bhaat, in vegetable stir fries and as stuffed vegetable preparation. In South India, Ivy gourd is used in curries, sambar and pickles.

Every alternate month i post in a Gourmet group on Facebook, A to Z Recipe Challenge Group. The group is an initiative by my friends and fellow bloggers, Vidya Narayan and Jolly Makkar. Members of this group post different food recipes depending on a key ingredient with a particular Alphabet every alternate month. As per alphabetical order, for this month we had to cook any dish with star ingredient starting with letter I. With very few options with this letter, i chose to make this simple yet delectable ivy gourd stir fry which is a regular affair at my place. This post is my 8th contribution towards this group. The other recipes, i have shared here so far are,

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 250 grams Ivy gourd/ Tondali
  • 2 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon red chili powder 
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse the ivy gourd thoroughly under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Chop off both the tips of  the ivy gourd and then slice each piece into 4-6 pieces. 

2. Heat oil in a pan. add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter, add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle tip in the sliced onions and saute for 1-2 minutes.

3. Next, add the sliced ivy gourd and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Next add salt and turmeric powder, give a quick mix and cover cook on low to medium flame for 7-8 minutes or until the ivy gourd are 80 % cooked.  In between open the lid twice or thrice and stir the curry to make sure it does not catch the bottom. Also if you feel the stir fry is dry, sprinkle little water to ensure the curry is moist and does not burn. I added only about 1 tablespoon water. Do not add more water or the stir fry will become mushy.

4. At this stage add the tomatoes and stir fry for 1 minute or so. Next, add the spice powders, red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and stir well.

5. Cover cook for another 1-2 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves before turning off the flame. Serve the healthy and delicious tondalichi bhaji with chapati or rice .

Recipe Notes:
  • Addition of tomatoes is optional. You may add 1/2-1 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder) instead for the tartness or simply skip it altogether.
  • This stir fry can be made without onions too.
  • Adjust the amount of red chili powder as per your spice tolerance.
  • This is a dry vegetable stir fry, so do not add more water while cooking it.
  • This stir fry taste great when served hot with chapati or steamed rice.I hope some of you would definitely love to give this recipe a try. 
If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us. Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

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