Sunday, 22 May 2011

Orange Sandesh

Orange Sandesh

Sometime back I had seen a sandesh recipe on a book by Tarla Dalal but at that time thought it was not my kind of sweet. Yesterday though I had one 4 pint bottle of milk just on the verge of spoiling. I had to do something better than just throwing it away and that’s when I thought I might as well try a sandesh recipe. I also had the skimmed milk powder on the verge on passing its best before date. Although usually I just use common sense when it comes to best before dates, I become a bit more fussy if my wee one would consume what I make. Anyway, I decided to make the low fat khoya with the milk powder and paneer using about 1 litre of the milk. Best part of this recipe is as suggested by Tarla Dalal and I must say that I liked it and so did my wee one. You could use skimmed milk instead of whole milk. I used a teaspoon of yogurt to make the paneer as it is said that the paneer comes softer with yogurt than lime juice. It is a quick recipe that can be made at a short notice. I think it could be made by adding milk powder instead of khoya, if you are short of time.

1 orange, segmented
1 teaspoon sugar
Chopped nuts for garnish

For sandesh
¾ cup crumbled paneer
3 tablespoon low fat khoya
2 tablespoon sugar

Heat a teaspoon sugar in a kadai and once it melts sauté the orange segments in it for a couple of minutes ensuring the segments do not break

To prepare the sandesh, mix all ingredients mentioned and knead to make a dough like mix

Take a lemon size of this dough and flatten it between your palm and place an orange segment and cover with the dough. I tried couple of shapes like making it round, covering the orange and another where it was oval and orange visible. Repeat until all dough is used

Refrigerate covered for about an hour

Garnish with nuts and serve!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Corn Channa Vada

Corn Channa Vada

Vada is an integral part of a Brahmin diet and my husband particularly likes masala vada. While I love them as well, the deep frying puts me off. Right from the time things started working out in the ‘kuzhipaniyara koodu’, I decided to try different varieties of low fat vada. While there is nothing inherently unhealthy about the ingredients of vada as the channa dal is a good source of low fat protein, combining vegetables in it will never hurt, will it? This time it was the turn of the innocent sweet corn sitting in my fridge. The combination worked out well and it came out very well. You can reduce the chillies and make this a great finger food for your wee ones. Here is how I made it...

1 cup corn
1 cup channa dal
2 green chillies
Handful of coriander leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (optional)
A small piece of ginger
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Soak the channa dal for about an hour and boil the corn for about five minutes

Grind the dal, corn, green chillies, coriander and ginger to a thick coarse paste without adding much water and also mix salt. If using onions, add it after grinding the batter

Heat the kuzhipaniyara koodu and add some oil, once heated, add spoonful of batter and cook until bottom side becomes golden brown. Flip and cook all sides

Serve with chutney or just by itself!

Oats Burfi

Oats Burfi

Many times I feel sorry for diabetics or anyone who craves sweets for that matter. It is a shame how they would love to have sweet dishes but do not cope well with the effect it has on their health. For that reason I try to keep making dishes lesser in sugar and fat than regular sweet dishes. This oats burfi was created with the same intent. Oats is great as it is a wholegrain, high in fibre and has a low glycemic index (I am not referring to quick cook oats but traditional rolled oats). I have tried to reduce the amount of refined sugar and tried to capitalise on the sweetness from dry fruits. Refined sugar is called ‘free sugar’ as it is nothing but calories and no nutritive value. If you have a sweet tooth, add a touch more sugar or pureed fruits. Do bear in mind that people say it takes about 3 weeks for our taste buds to adapt and whether it is amount of sugar or salt you are trying to reduce, you may not like it immediately but eventually your body will learn. Remember, the mind controls the body and not the reverse. If you are not a oats person, don’t worry, you will not know this dish has oats unless I tell you. It literally takes a minute to put this dish together so you do not have to spend ages stirring.

1 cup oats, roasted and ground fine
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons pureed dried fruits (I soaked apricot, prunes and dates and ground)
2 teaspoons ghee
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon of coarsely crushed nuts like pista, almond and cashew

Heat a non-stick kadai and add the sugar and just enough water for it to dissolve. Heat the sugar solution until it forms a string when touched between thumb and index finger

Add the ground oats, dates puree, ghee and milk. Keep stirring and keep the flame low. It will come together in no time and once it leaves the sides of the kadai and comes together, it is done

Transfer this to a lightly greased plate and pat it flat and garnish with crushed nuts and cut into desired sized pieces

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Peanut Biscuit

Peanut Biscuit

Peanuts are an excellent source of protein but like everything else, they have to be eaten in moderation. The reason one needs to be cautious of how much of peanuts one eats is the fat in it, remember it is high enough to be pressed and made into bottles of oil! Anyway, this peanut biscuit recipe is different from the peanut butter cookies recipe I had posted earlier. I really urge you to try this because they are so so good and just melt in your mouth. I got the basic recipe from a book I have and modified it to make a bit more healthy (or lets say less unhealthy). You could use just butter instead of oil and butter combination which I have suggested here as it helps get the good texture from butter and the oil helps reduce the saturated fat. I have also used whole wheat and refined flour combo and tried to mix refined and unrefined sugar. You could use just refined flour and refined sugar if you like. The fact that there is no raising agent in this helps the body absorb the nutrients from the ingredients. Do give this a try if you or a biscuit person or like baking…

120g maida (1/2c)
80g wheat flour (1/3c)
50g rice flour
50g castor sugar
25g brown sugar
75g butter
Less than 1/3c oil
1/4tsp vanilla essence
50g peanut powder

Mix all ingredients except sugar and vanilla essence

Mix sugar and essence and make a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

Roll into a disc 1/4th inch thick, cut to desired shape and bake at 180deg C for 12 minutes (remember to preheat the oven)


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Egg Masala

Egg Masala

It has been a good few dal recipes over the last few days so let me now post a recipe that may not appeal to all if you do not eat eggs. I am sure some will get into the debate of whether or not egg is vegetarian or not. I saw an interesting statement by a fellow blogger where she says as it is unfertilised it is vegetarian. Even if it is considered non-vegetarian, that is my limit, I cannot go anything beyond an egg. I did post an egg curry recipe sometime back. Although it was great, it was a bit elaborate. Some days I just want to have egg with a gravy so it is not dry. For those days that I crave but have little energy, I prefer to make this version. This version comes handy especially on days when I make masala dosas as the gravy itself serves like a chutney so that is one less dish to bother about. My love for this dish started only after purchasing ‘Double Horse’ brand egg roast masala. It has an ingredient, fennel, that I normally avoid in my masalas but I believe that is what is giving this spice mix its unique and appealing flavour. I believe that the fennel gives a fresh and slightly sweet flavour to the masala. If you do not have this spice mix, I will urge you to use garam masala and add about quarter teaspoon of fennel seed powder. If not you can just stick to good old garam masala. Here is the easy peasy recipe…

3-4 eggs, boiled, shelled and halved
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (optional)
2-3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilly powder
1 teaspoon egg roast masala powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add the onions, ginger garlic paste and asafoetida

Once the onions soften, add the tomatoes, turmeric powder and little salt and cook until tomatoes turn mushy

Add the chilly powder and masala powder and cook until raw smell goes. Add required salt, simmer briefly and take off the flame.

Place the eggs in the onion-tomato mixture and serve!

Tastes great with dosas, rotis and rice. For a change, I tried adding scrambled eggs instead of boiled eggs and it tasted great. I wouldn't scramble the egg in the onion tomato mixture as it becomes dry and loses the gravy consistency.

Monday, 9 May 2011



My husband loves dal with his chapattis. I think it is because they are rather less spicy than many other gravies and quite comforting. However, to me the downside of making dal was that I will have to make another sabji or side dish to get the quota of vegetables. After a long day of work, it could be quite difficult to make such varieties and it is even harder when I try to spend some time with my wee one as that is top priority as well. Compromising on quality of food is usually not an option I take and it is only when I am very unwell or have been out and it is already meal time or sometime just feel terribly low that I opt for less healthy options. Coming back to dal, I have often read about dhansak and even bought a pack of dhansak masala. You may have noticed that I had used this spice mix in a few dal recipes I posted recently. I also recently learned that ‘knol-khol’ that we used to get back home is turnip here and saw one lying in the reduced to clear section and picked it up. Although visually it does not resemble knoll-khol aka kohlrabi (I think), I believe it tastes like it. Anyway, to make a nutritious and wholesome dal dish, I made a vegetarian dhansak. Dhansak is a Parsi dish usually made with lentils, vegetables, spice mixes and mutton. The process of grinding the masala paste is not typical dhansak recipe I think but we liked it that way. At first my husband thought it looks sambar like so he may dislike it with chapatti but once he tasted it, he really liked it. Here is how I did it…
1 turnip, cubed and boiled/steamed
1 handful of sugarsnap boiled/steamed
1 carrot, sliced boiled/steamed
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes finely chopped
½ cup of mixed dal, pressure cooked (I used channa dal, toor dal and mung dal)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilly powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dhansak masala
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil
For masala paste:
Handful of coriander leaves
1 inch piece ginger
3 green chillies
1 tomato

Heat some oil and add onions and cook until it softens

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until it turns mushy

Grind all items listed for masala paste and add it to the onion tomato mixture. Cook until the raw smell goes and it all becomes thick

Add the cooked vegetables, dal and generous amount of water and mix

Add all spice powders and required salt, simmer for 15 minutes or so and keep adding water if needed

Serve hot with rotis/rice or any Indian bread

Low Fat Oats Chewy Bar

Low Fat Oats Chewy Bar

Young children need to be refuelled often than be stuffed with a big meal. This is infact true for adults as well. The days that we are ta home, I try to plan ahead for some snacks, so that is like a reassurance for me so I don’t have to think lunch is my last meal ever. As a mother I feel it is very much my responsibility to build good eating habbits in my wee one and for that reason deep fried snacks are a very rare event. I did notice that snacks in this part of the world is usually sweet whereas back home it is usually savoury. Downside of the sweets, is quite obvious, the calories and fat. For this reason I wanted to try my hands on baking a low fat oats chewy bar. I have used very little sugar and most of the sweetness is from natural ingredients like dates, apple, raisins etc. I just pulsed the oats in the food processor as I thought the porridge oats in own form would be just a touch big. You could use it directly if you prefer.

1 cup porridge oats
2 tbsp dates syrup
1-2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 pinch of salt
1 handful of raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons black currant
3 tablespoons apple butter

Mix all ingredients

Spread on dish lined with baking paper and bake at 180degC for 15 minutes

Cut into pieces and cool


Friday, 6 May 2011

Baingan Bhaji

Baingan Bhaji

I cannot write enough of my love for eggplants and neither can I get enough of them. Lately, I have been trying to make dishes that are not really a gravy but not too dry either. The advantage is that they can be wrapped in rotis and taken for packed lunch. This is one such dish where if you prefer, you can increase the quantity of tomato and make it a gravy or keep it semi dry. I made this using a Spanish eggplant but you could use any variety you manage to lay your hands on. I decided to give the dish some freshness and for this reason I roasted some coriander seeds and to give it some texture, I coarsely crushed it in the mortar and pestle. If you are using the Spanish eggplant you may be tempted to add a lot of oil but just hold back as adding salt soon after you add the eggplant can do the trick of releasing the juices from it an dletting it cook without burning. Although the list of ingredients seems long the process itself is short and quick. Here is my recipe...

1 eggplant thinly sliced into long pieces
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp jeera, turmeric
1 teaspoon kasoori methi
Ginger and about 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
½ tsp tamarind paste
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
4 dry red chillies
2green chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Coriander leaves, finely chopped to garnish
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Roast coriander seeds and dry red chillies and powder coarsely

Heat some oil in a skillet and add cumin seeds, once it browns add onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, little salt and cook until onion softens

Add eggplants and tomatoes, tamarind paste and required salt and turmeric powder add little water and let it cook. Cooking covered speeds up the process and also seems to enhance the consistency.

Add kasoori methi and ground coriander-chilly powder and cook for 3-5 minutes

Add coriander leaves, serve

If you want a gravy consistency, increase tomato quantity and also more water after adding kasoori methi and coriander-chilly powder