Lite Bite http://litebite.in Light recipes for right health. Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:23:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Recipe | Baby Potatoes in Spices & Yogurt aka Dum Aloo – Dreams don’t work unless you do http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-dum-aloo-curry/ http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-dum-aloo-curry/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:40:46 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11583 Dreams don’t work unless you do.”~ Maxwell

A crazy week of food photo-shoot at Isha yoga center, and I am back home...finally.

With no running around carrying heavy loads of props and no more shots to plan for the days, it feels good to relax & enjoy a bowl of home-cooked ‘Poha’ and ginger tea on my swing.

Hmm… it has been 4 years since I started my first food styling shoot for Brown Tree.

I now have successfully completed more than 15 projects for well know companies and brands of India.

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healthy indian curry recipe, dum aloo

Dreams don’t work unless you do.”~ Maxwell

A crazy week of food photo-shoot at Isha Life in Chennai, and I am back home…finally.

With no more running around carrying heavy loads of props and no shots to plan for the days, it feels good to relax & enjoy a bowl of home-cooked ‘Poha’ and ginger tea on my swing.

Hmm… it has been 4 years since I started my first food styling shoot for Brown Tree.

I now have successfully completed more than 15 projects for well know companies and brands of India.

I remember how anxious and skeptical I was when I said ‘yes’ to my first commercial assignment in 2011. But then, it was probably out of the fear of not being able to manage my home, growing children and work pressure at the same time.

I am overcoming that fear with every shoot and can see the significant changes around me at home. My children are more organized and independent now while hubby is taking his household responsibilities seriously.

My confidence level has increased manifolds after working with some of the best Indian photographers, advertising agencies and production houses.

And with every successful project I learn to take bigger and better risks.

Yes, I am having so much fun experimenting and learning new ways to compose shots, style and plate the dishes.

The only concern I have is that I am slightly disconnected with world of food blogging and missing friendly chats with food bloggers…sigh..

I recently had an opportunity to work for the food product division of Isha foundation  with Disha communications in Chennai.

The center is beautifully decorated with antiques and intrinsically crafted artifacts in metal and stoneware by the volunteers at the center.

food styling and food photography

I could not resist myself clicking a few pictures of the distressed wooden tables lying all over Isha life center with my phone camera.

food styling and food photography

The wooden table looked out of the world…my phone camera did no justice to this beauty.

food styling and food photography

During a pre-production meet with the client and advertising agency, we segregated the products based on the ingredients and category. Day one was kept for rice based dishes, pickles and ready-made powders.

Cookies and health drinks were shot on the other two days.

food styling and food photography

First day of photo-shoot….

food styling and food photography

Oh..yes, I did enjoy the food served at their restaurant. It was light, rustic and perfect to keep the energy going.

I opted for their wheat and grain based ‘Thali‘ and  loved the Ragi and rice Akki rotis with a traditional curry (forgot the name)..multigrain savory porridge, fruit and vegetable salad, greens, wild rice payasam (dessert) and other dishes.

food styling and food photography

The room where the camera and lighting were set up. This was my second shoot with the very talented photographer, Manikanten Np with whom I had already worked for ‘Panasonic’ brand sometime back.

Always ready to share and suggest styling ideas for every shot that we plan, Mani and his team is a pleasure to work with.

food styling and food photography

This was one of the last shots that I worked on for their health drink. We wanted to shoot all the 12 ingredients (grains, pulses and nuts).

food styling and food photography

This shot took the maximum time to plan and style and it did come out beautiful.

The shoot was ended with a splash shot for their health drink and I reached home around 10.3o pm.

Baby potatoes in spices and yogurt aka Dum Aloo

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Back home, I had already planned and stocked ready-to-eat rotis (Indian flat-breads) and ‘Dum Aloo‘  for dinner.

I have come across many variations of this spicy, flavorful and rustic Indian potato curry. There is authentic Kashmiri dum aloo, Punjabi, Banarasi, Bengali Aloor dum, Amritsari, Lakhnawi and Muglai Dum Aloo. If Bengali version has ‘Panch phoren‘ in it, Kashmiri version has dried spices and Punjabi version has tomato and onion in it.

But this is my take on Dum aloo which is quite easy to prepare, provided you have stock of all the dry spice-mix used in the recipe.

I ground the dried spices and refrigerate it in small zip-lock bags with the marking ‘Dum Aloo spice-mix’. There is always a stock of boiled baby potatoes and many other root vegetables in my refrigerator.

During some of the busy days, all I need to do is to add ground spice-mix to yogurt and cook it with boiled and shallow fried potatoes.

Ingredients;

(serve 3-4)

  • 12-15 baby potatoes
  • 1 ½ cup Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • A pinch of Asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 4 Kashmiri red chilly
  • 1/2’ Dry Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. peppercorn
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Black cardamoms

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Method; Wash all the baby potatoes and parboil or partially cook them in a large pan of water.

Place all the parboiled potatoes in a other vessel filled with cold water and let them cool.

Peel all the potatoes and prick each potatoes lightly with a fork.

Heat a pan and dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black cardamom, peppercorn, fennel seeds and dry red chilies on high heat for about a minute.

Grind all the roasted ingredients with cloves, cardamom and dry ginger.

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Pour about 2 tbsp. of oil in a flat pan and shallow fry the potatoes till they turn golden brown in colour.

Take out the potatoes and place them on tissue paper.

Heat oil in a pan and add asafoeitda powder in it.

Pour a tablespoon of water in ground spices, pour this into the pan and cook it for 2 minutes.

Whisk the yogurt well with a fork and add it in the pan.

Add sugar (optimal) and shallow fried baby potatoes in the pan, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.

Cook till the gravy thicken and oil starts floating over the pan. At this stage you can give ‘Dum‘ to the curry by placing it over a hot griddle.

Cover the pan with a lid and place it on a hot griddle and let it cook on slow heat for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve the Dum Aloo curry with plain rice or India flat breads.

Check Glossary for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe.

Notes;

  1. Mustard oil or groundnut oil gives the best result.
  2. You can prick the baby potatoes and deep fry them for better crust.
  3. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under spices list for a quick ‘Dum aloo’ treat any time.
  4. Use ‘Kashmiri‘ red chilies for bright colour but mild curry.

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Recipes | Mixed vegetable curry in freshly ground spices aka ‘Gobbi Kootu’ with coconut rice – Tradition is to feed the fire http://litebite.in/recipes-mixed-vegetable-kootu-sambhar-coconut-rice/ http://litebite.in/recipes-mixed-vegetable-kootu-sambhar-coconut-rice/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:37:46 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11565 Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ~ G. Mahler

Not so long ago, Sankranti to me was all about flying kites and gorging on some delectable winter specialties.

Yes, I could not think beyond my crunchy revadis, gajak, til ladoos, Gajar halwa and sinful Panjiri when the festival of Lohri or Makar sankranti approached in mid January.

It was only after my marriage and settling down in South India I came to know that Sankranti is more than our kite flying frenzy and throwing puffed rice in bonfire.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, lemon rice

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ~ G. Mahler

Not so long ago, Sankranti to me was all about flying kites and gorging on some delectable winter specialties.

Yes, I could not think beyond my crunchy revadis, gajak, til ladoos, Gajar halwa and sinful Panjiri when the festival of Lohri or Makar sankranti approached in mid January.

It was only after my marriage and settling down in South India I came to know that Sankranti is more than our kite flying frenzy and throwing puffed rice in bonfire.

Though this festival of harvest called Makar Sankranti or Lohri or Pongal is celebrated in different ways all across India, the spirit remains the same.  It is a way to thank our mother nature and celebrate its bounty.

Pongal is a four days festival in South India. It is celebrated as Bhogi pongal, Thai pongal, Mattu pongal and Kaanum pongal in Tamil Nadu.

The festival is celebrated with much funfair and religious fervor in villages than in the cities. Cows & bulls are decorated and worshiped. People light wood fire and cook Sakkarai Pongal (a sweet dish) in earthen pots outside their houses and share it with friends and family.

In cities the best that we could do is to clean our homes, make colourful patterns or Rangoli at doorsteps and cook Pongal on our gas stoves.

Every Pongal my Mil  (mother-in-law) takes out her special heavy brass pots (passed on to her by her MIL) and cleans it using thick tamarind paste. She smears the pots with sandalwood paste and ties the fresh turmeric plant around it.

The embellished pot is used to cook a delicious sweet using new rice and lentil with jaggery which is offered to God.

She also prepares a special Sambhar or ‘Gobbi Kootu’ as she calls it on Pongal day. She uses an interesting combination of certain winter root vegetables but she has no idea what does the name ‘Gobbi‘ refers to.

Anyways…whats there in a name when the recipe is so very finger-licking good… :)

1. ‘Gobbi Kootu’ or Mixed vegetable curry in freshly ground spices 

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

This recipe of  ‘Gobbi Kootu‘ is almost similar to Kadamba Sambhar  or Arachivita kootu in which a freshly ground spice paste with coconut is added to mixed vegetables and boiled to make curry.

Gobbi kootu is often paired with tangy lemon rice, coconut rice and lots of deep fried homemade poppadoms (papad).

This recipe is handed over to my MIL by her paternal grandmother from Tanjavur region of Tamil Nadu.

My sisters, cousins, mother and grandmother would eagerly wait for Pongal and would enthusiastically take part in the festive preparation at my ancestral home. We would pluck flowers and make garlands, paint and decorate our cows and spend hours giggling & making large patterns of ‘Rangoli’ with natural colours outside our house.” 

“We used to prep about 10 Kg. of vegetables during festive days to make this Gobbi Kootu which was then served to all the workers at our farm with lemon rice, coconut rice and Sakkarai pongal” recalls my mother-in-law fondly.

I remember the saying “When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day.

She still follows the tradition of cooking this delectable Gobbi Kootu recipe on festive days. Normally cooked lentil is also added to the kootu recipe but she avoids it in her recipe. “The ground lentil powder added in paste replaces the cooked lentil” says she. I like her recipe as it is much lighter on stomach.

Traditionally any local grown vegetables are preferred for this recipe but I love my vibrant carrots.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Ingredients

(serve 4)

  • 3 cups chopped Vegetables*
  • 2 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

To roast and grind;

  • 3 tbsp. grated coconut
  • 3 tsp Bengal gram
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp black gram
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

Tempering;

  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Curry leaves

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Method; Wash and dice the vegetables for the recipe. Any of the following vegetables can be used for this recipe;

  • Beans
  • Drumstick
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnip (salgam)
  • Brinjal
  • Yam (suran)
  • Raw banana
  • Sweet potato (ratalu)
  • Ash gourd (white pumpkin)
  • Chayote (chow-chow)
  • Colocasia (arbi)

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Dry roast Bengal gram and black gram in a wok or kadai till it  turns golden brown in colour. Take the gram out in a plate and add coriander seeds, cumin and peppercorn in the same wok and roast for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Add grated coconut, red chilies, and fenugreek seeds in the wok and keep roasting for 2 more minutes.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Grind all the dry roasted ingredients into fine powder.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Add a little water to make a fine paste.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Steaming or pressure cooking makes the cooking easy and quick. Root vegetables will take more time to cook. Do not pressure cook drumsticks as they will split open and become mushy.

Alternatively boil the chopped vegetables in a large pan filled with 4-5 cups of water. Add tamarind paste, turmeric powder, salt in the pan and keep boiling till the vegetables become soft to touch.

Add the ground paste in the pan and let the Kootu simmer for 2-3 minutes on low heat.

Heat oil in the wok and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add curry leaves, asafoetida powder and pour this tempering over the  Gobbi Kootu.

Take the pan off the heat and serve the hot vegetable Gobbi Kootu with plain rice, lemon rice or coconut rice.

2. Coconut rice

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Tempering;

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. black gram
  • 1 tsp Bengal gram
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Few cashewnuts
  • Curry leaves

Method; Spread cooked rice in a large plate and let it cool. Add salt and sugar in rice and combine well.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and crackle mustard seeds in it.

Add Bengal gram (channa dal), black gram (urad dal), broken red chilies, grated coconut, cashew nuts and fry till they turn golden brown in colour.

Add asafoeitda powder, curry leaves and pour this tempering over the cooked rice and combine well.

Serve this scrumptious coconut rice with Gobbi Kootu.

Check the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in this recipe in the glossary, here.

Notes; 

  1. Normally onion and garlic are avoided in festive cooking.
  2. I avoid adding cooked lentil or Daal to the recipe as the addition of extra lentil makes it too heavy on stomach.
  3. Use more vegetables if you wish to savor the recipe as an accompaniment.
  4. Add fewer vegetables and increase the liquid quantity to serve it as a gravy dish similar to lentil curry or Sambhar.
  5. Grind extra paste (spices and coconut) for Gobbi kootu and refrigerate, it stays good for a week or more. You can sue the same to make Sambhar or any Indian curry with vegetables of your choice.

Grinding the spices takes a little extra time but then festivals are the times to show your love towards your near and dear ones. And what best way than to cook a scrumptious feast for them :)

Festive greetings to all!

 

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Recipes | Three Indian rustic recipes with Panchkuta – Simple flavors can work wonders http://litebite.in/recipes-ker-sangri-panchkuta-subji/ http://litebite.in/recipes-ker-sangri-panchkuta-subji/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 05:55:13 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11547 What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents” ~ M Chiarello.

I had a chance to check into my favorite shop during my recent visit to udaipur. The shop holds a good collection of some exclusive and rare rustic foods from Rajasthan. I got surprised when the amount I had to pay for a handful of dried wild berries and beans came upto 4-digits.

Madam, gone are the days when Ker-Sangri was poor man’s food. These are in vogue now and are much sought-after ingredients by many hi-end restaurants across the world. And we are the largest exporter for the same” He replied matter-of- factly while swiping my credit card.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents” ~ M Chiarello.

I had a chance to check into my favorite shop during my recent visit to udaipur. The shop holds a good collection of some exclusive and rare rustic foods from Rajasthan. I got surprised when the amount I had to pay for a handful of dried wild berries and beans came upto 4-digits.

Madam, gone are the days when Ker-Sangri was poor man’s food. These are in vogue now and are much sought-after ingredients by many hi-end restaurants across the world. And we are the largest exporter for the same” He replied matter-of- factly while swiping my credit card.

Hmm…..in vogue or not…but one thing is sure that these humble ingredients of the quintessential Marwari (in Rajasthan) dish called  Panchkuta  has come a long way.” I murmured to myself, paid the bill and hurried back to home.

Back then, I had a kind of love and hate relationship with these rustic and local recipes which I grew up eating.

There was also a time when Ker sangari, methi dana, papad ki subji, daal-Dhokli were considered ‘unfashionable’. Well, I am talking about my childhood days when all those children who brought such foods to school were referred to as ‘Ghatti’ or villagers in local lingo.

Ker sangari, Makki ki roti, methidana subji and Daal dhokli were some of the frequently cooked foods at my home. But I could never muster the courage to pack these dishes in my lunch-box or to talk about the same with my friends lest I will be out-caste from the more stylish and modern paneer and kulcha eating gang :)

But over a period of time I started to like these recipes, these are the foods that keep us connected to our childhood and roots.

There are certain rustic recipes which are local to a region and community, recipes which are not common in other parts of country.

Panchkuta or a quick Indian stir-fry of dried beans and wild berries is one such recipe which completely validates the cooking mantra of ‘Simple flavors can work wonders’!

These wild berries, beans and fruits used to make Pachkuta are exclusive to desert regions of Rajasthan in India.

The arid & hot climatic regions of Rajasthan, scarcity of water and lack of fresh vegetables made Panchkuta as one of the most popular dishes in many parts of Rajasthan. Hmm…probably more out of necessity than choice, I suppose.

My frequent trips to Udaipur replenish my yearly supply of Panchkuta ingredients, but I believe these products are now readily available on many online stores.

Believing the saying that “a person’s tastes come from the food they were fed growing up” I hardly thrust any new food which my family is not comfortable with. But it feels good to see my hubby and son relish these local delicacies.

Panchkuta has a very peculiar earthy taste to it which makes you connect with the desert soil with every bite.

The dried berries and beans swell upto three times when soaked in water. I normally make the recipe in large batches and refrigerate. Cooking Panchkuta recipe is a breeze, the only laborious and time consuming work is prepping (cleaning) the ingredients.

And yes, Panchkuta is an acquired taste. If you like rustic Indian food, you sure are going to fall in love with these wild berries and beans.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Panchkuta which literally means five ingredients, is made with Ker, sangari, kumat, gunda and mathania mirch, These ingredients are largely found in the Thar desert of Rajasthan and the recipe made has a very long shelf life.

The dried red Mathania chilly which grows only in Jodhpur region of Rajasthan gives a lovely colour and pungent taste to the recipe. Fresh red chillies are soaked in mustard oil to make a delicious pickle.

I could not get these chilies and added the normal red chilly to my recipe.

Read more about these berries and dried beans at this beautiful blog – The Earth of India.

You can try out these Indian sites for online purchase of these berries and beans;

India Mart

Marwari Foods

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The wild berries or Ker (Capparis deciduas) which are the most expensive of all gives a wonderful flavor and tanginess to the recipe. To me these wild berries resemble ‘capers’. These tart berries are generally soaked in salt water and dried in shade to preserve.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Sangari (Prosopis cineraria) is a kind of bean of Khejari tree, these are plucked and boiled before drying and preserving.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Kumat (acacia Senegal) are seeds from the pods of acacia fruits.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Gunda or gum-berries (chorda myxa) are sticky fruits which are generally used to make pickle in Rajasthan.

1. Dried wild berries and bean stir-fry or Panchkuta ki subji

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Ingredients;

(serve 5-6)

  • 1 cup Sangri (dried beans)
  • 1/4 cup Ker (dried berries)
  • 1/4 cup Kumat (dried seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried Gunda or  gum berry
  • 2-3 small dried mango pieces
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices;

  • 3-4 dried red chilly
  • 2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafetida powder

Method; Soak Ker, Sangari, Kumat, Gunda in plain water for an hour.

Rub all the ingredients soaked in water gently using your fingers and drain the water. Repeat this action for atleast 6-7 times to remove the dirt.

Soaking and cleaning makes it easy to clean the berries and beans. Soaking lets the dried fold in the beans open and makes it easy to clean.

Let the ingredients soak overnight.

Wash it again and boil the first five ingredients with 1 cup of water and a little turmeric for 10 minutes or pressure cook it for 2 whistles.

Finely chop the mango pieces and dried red chilly.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and crackle cumin and fennel seeds in it.

Reduce the heat and add finely chopped dried red chilly, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and asafetida powder in it.

Add boiled ingredients, salt and 2-3 teaspoons of wtare in the wok and cook for a few minutes till water dries.

Serve it hot with millet flat bread or any Indian flat bread.

2. Ker-Sangri in yogurt

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Ingredients;

(serve 5-6)

  • 1 cup Sangri (dried beans)
  • 1/4 cup Ker (dried berries)
  • 1/4 cup Kumat (dried seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried Gunda or gum berry
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 3-4 dried red chilly
  • 2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. dried mango powder
  • 1 tsp. Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafetida powder

Method; Soak Ker, Sangari, Kumat, Gunda in plain water for an hour.

Rub all the ingredients soaked in water gently using your fingers and drain the water. Repeat this action for atleast 6-7 times to remove the dirt.

Soaking and cleaning makes it easy to clean the berries and beans. Soaking lets the dried fold in the beans open and makes it easy to clean.

Let the ingredients soak overnight.

Wash it again and boil the first five ingredients with 1 cup of water and a little turmeric for 10 minutes or pressure cook it for 2 whistles.

Finely chop the mango pieces and dried red chilly.

Add coriander, turmeric, red chilly powder and salt in the yogurt and whisk well.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and crackle cumin and fennel seeds in it.

Reduce the heat and add finely chopped dried red chilly, asafetida powder and the yogurt-spice mix in it.

Add boiled ingredients, salt and 2-3 teaspoons of wtare in the wok and cook for a few minutes till the moisture dries.

Serve it hot with millet flat bread or any Indian flat-bread.

3. Rustic Indian flat-breads or Panchkuta Rotis

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The concept of adding Panchkuta to make rotis  clicked during a food blogger meet IFBM in Bangalore when a chef demonstrated the same in an event.

Ingredients;

(makes 8-10 small rotis)

  • 1 cups cooked panchkuta
  • 1 cup millet or wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp yogurt or curd
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Water as required

Method; Coarsely grind cooked Pachkuta. I did not do this as I like the texture of seeds, beans and berries in the rotis.

Take a large bowl,  add flour, coarsely ground Pachkuta and yogurt in it.

Knead all the ingreidnts to make a soft dough. Use water if needed.

Pinch a small ball of dough, dust it with dry flour and roll into round circle.

Heat a griddle and place the Pachkuta roti on it, drizzle a little oil around it and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.

Flip to other side and repeat the process. You can also roast the rotis without oil.

Prepare all the Pachkuta rotis and serve with raita, plain yogurt or chutney.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The rotis tasted good but I would prefer my Panchkuta subji over rotis anytime.
These recipes are mainly prepared by the Jain community in Rajasthan who are vegetarian and avoid adding onion, garlic and garam masala to their recipes. You can add a pinch of garam masala and ginger-garlic paste to give that extra zing to your Panchkuta.

Check glossary to search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in cooking.

Notes;

  1. Replace dried mango pieces with dried mango powder (amchoor).
  2. Use slightly sour yogurt to make the second recipe.
  3. Add a pinch of sugar to all the recipe to balance the tartness in it.
  4. Traditionally this recipe is cooked in Mustard oil which gives a wonderful aroma to the recipe.
  5. The Panchkuta stir-fry recipe has a long shelf life if cooked in pickle form. It stays good for several months.

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Recipe | Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge – Some memorable moments of 2014 http://litebite.in/recipe-thulli-wholegrain-porridge/ http://litebite.in/recipe-thulli-wholegrain-porridge/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 09:15:56 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11532 The year 2014 has been a whirlwind. It has gifted me with more than my fair share of perfect moments with family, friends and work life.

The year started with a hectic 2-days photo shoot for Savorit brand to doing television commercials and many Ad shoots round the year.

I met many amazing food bloggers during an exciting IFBM meet at Bangalore to doing product ideation event for Kelloggs brand in Mumbai.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, wholegrain porridge

The year 2014 has been a whirlwind. It has gifted me with more than my fair share of perfect moments with family, friends and work life.

The year started with a hectic 2-days photo shoot for Savorit brand to doing television commercials and many Ad shoots round the year.

I met many amazing food bloggers during an exciting IFBM meet at Bangalore to doing product ideation event for Kelloggs brand in Mumbai.

There was so much of learning and sharing beautiful moments with family and friends across the world. My heart is full of love and my gratitude is boundless.

Here’s to the year that was online – from food blogging to food styling, attending meets, family functions to making new friends for life.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

The year ended on a happy note with an adventurous vacation with family to a hill station.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Hmm…never thought I could do it….successfully trekked a distance of 3000 meters to visit an old temple uphill.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

We organized a grand holy thread ceremony for my son.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Here are some of the photo-shoots I could not manage to write a blogpost.

The one above is for Panasonic India with Manikandan.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Food styling shoot for a Coimbatore based confectionery with Janeesh.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Photo-shoot for a to-be-launched products of Hatsun company with Prateek Singhi.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

The year ended with yet another fun-filled pot-luck party on 31st night with some of the best friends, a ritual we are following for many years.  Here is a post about one such celebration at Charayas‘ house.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

I cooked a simple and quick lunch on 31st afternoon to save time to cook my share of dishes for the evening.

Thulli is a comforting winter meal from Rajasthan. Cooked with loads of fresh vegetables and served with a dollop of homemade ghee, a hearty bowl of warm Thulli is the best choice for winter season.

Thulli is a close cousin of khichdi , Bisi-bhele-bhat or wholegrain porridge and is traditionally cooked with wheat or millet grits.

Traditionally Thulli is slow-cooked for hours in an earthen pot on wood fire. The consistency of Thulli is almost like a soupy porridge, unlike Khichidi which is semi-solid.

healthy vegetarian recipes

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 1 cup millet or wheat grits
  • 2 cups vegetables *
  • 2 tbsp green gram
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1” ginger piece
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green chilly
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 3-4 cloves
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/ 4 tsp. red chilly powder

Method; Wash and soak green gram (moong daal), millet grits or wheat grits till you assemble and prep all the ingredients for the recipe.

Use dry roasted wheat grits or millet grits for best results.

Peel and finely chop onion, tomatoes and ginger. Peel and crush the piece of ginger with a pestle.

Use vegetables of your choice. I used an assortment of the following vegetables;

  • Fresh peas
  • Fresh chickpeas (Lilva)
  • Carrots
  • French beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Potato

Heat ghee in a pressure pan and add cumin seeds, cloves (laung) and peppercorns (kali mirch) in it.

Add chopped onion, crushed ginger, sliced green chilly and sauté for 2 minutes on low heat.

Add roasted grits, finely chopped vegetables, tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Pour 5 cups of warm water in the pressure cooker, close the lid and let i cook for about 5-6 whistles.

Let the cooker cool before opening it.

Add more warm water if you like runny texture, give a vigorous stir to the Thulli after opening the lid to give a homogenous and creamy texture to the Thulli.

Serve the hot wholegrain and vegetable Thulli with a dollop of fresh ghee, poppadom, pickle or raita.

Notes;

  1. Use grits of any grain you wish for the recipe. Millet, barley, rice or wheat grits (coarsely ground) makes a delicious and healthy Thulli.
  2. Add water in the ratio of one part of grits to 4 (or more) parts of water for a creamy and soupy Thulli.
  3. You can omit gram (moong daal) in the recipe and make the recipe with just wholegrain grits.

A very happy and prosperous 2015 to you all !

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Recipe | Two Easy Eggless Plum Cakes – Power of food to evoke the past http://litebite.in/eggless-healthy-plum-cake-recipes/ http://litebite.in/eggless-healthy-plum-cake-recipes/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 10:59:24 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11488 She was a brilliant baker and we used to eagerly wait for Christmas so we could savour her rich fruity cakes. I can never forget that transparent box of neatly arranged dark, dense and moist fruity slices of Plum cake that she would lovingly share with us every year.

An Anglo-Indian by birth and a spinster, she was our English teacher who stayed very close to our colony in Udaipur. She was short and frail, she kept her long shiny white hair plaited down her neck and her hands would always smell like vanilla pods.

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healthy eggless cakes recipes

She was a brilliant baker and we used to eagerly wait for Christmas so we could savour her rich fruity cakes. I can never forget that transparent box of neatly arranged dark, dense and moist fruity slices of Plum cake that she would lovingly share with us every year.

An Anglo-Indian by birth and a spinster, she was our English teacher who stayed very close to our colony in Udaipur. She was short and frail, she kept her long shiny white hair plaited down her neck and her hands would always smell like vanilla pods.

A dedicated teacher, Ms. Maria was also an amazing baker. Her caramel cakes, rum infused balls, home-made toffees, chocolate biscuits, swiss rolls were to die for.

Many of us did not celebrate Christmas  at our homes and we would flock Ms. Maria’s house during the entire week of festival. She would recite stories to us, sing carols and dance with us on Christmas Eve.

Yes, Christmas filled her with joy unbound and brought her deserted & quiet house to life. The celebrations in turn gave us some unforgettable moments, etched in our hearts forever.

Food has an incredible power to evoke the past and to remind us of great celebratory occasions. Every time that I bake a plum cake it reminds me of her and brings a large smile on my face.

I like the fanfare attached with Christmas. The aromas of warm spices, Santa Claus, the socks filled with gifts, singing & dancing and sharing goodies with friends.

Christmas is round the corner again and it’s just not right without a little bit of baking. I have been baking non-stop for the last few days and loving every moment of packing and sending these goodies to friends.

Well, I know that nothing can beat the rich spiced Christmas cakes loaded with caramel, brandy, vine fruits and nuts. But with exams for children and work at hand, time is a big constraint. And this is when I look forward to my short-cut recipes.

Here are a few shortcut Christmas cakes that I bake and share with my friends. These goodies take almost no time to bake and are a best alternative to the rich Christmas cakes if you are short on time. I really enjoy these simple and fuss free and stress-free festive recipes.

1. Whole-wheat plum cake

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups assorted dried fruits
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Method;

Soak all the dried fruits in orange jucie overnight. I have used an assortment of; raisins, sultanas, figs, dates, dried strawberries, candied fruits, dried blueberries and mango pieces in the recipe.

Pre heat oven to 180°C and grease a round baking tin.

Sift flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Filter the soaked fruits in a small bowl and add all the fruits in the flour mix and combine well to coat all the fruits with dry flour.

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Add brown sugar, filtered orange juice, oil and vanilla essence in the bowl of flour and combine all ingredients.

You can also use caramelized sugar or palm sugar for a lovely colour and taste.

Pour the batter into the greased baking tin and bake it for about 30-35 minutes till the top turns golden brown in colour.

Let the plum cake cool completely before slicing and serving.

2. Eggless Candied fruit cake

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup Wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup candied fruits or Tutti frutty
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Method; Pre heat oven at 180°and grease a baking tin.

Sift both the flour and baking power in a large bowl.

Add candied fruits or Tutti fruity in the flour and combine t coat all the fruits with flour.

Whisk oil and sugar in another bowl till sugar is dissolved.

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Pour oil-sugar mixture, vanilla essence, apple cider vinegar and milk in the bowl of flour and fold to combine all the ingredients.

Pour the batter in the greased baking tin and bake at 180° for about 25-30 minutes r till the cake is done.

You can brush the cake with a little milk after taking it out of the oven and bake it again for 5 minutes to get a glaze on top.

healthy eless cake recipes

Let the Candied fruit cake cool completely before slicing and serving.

Check a few more eggless cakes I have been baking for friends on my other blog here.

Notes;

  1. Replace Apple cider vinegar with lemon juice if you don’t have it.
  2. Use a combination of any dried fruits and nuts of your choice in the recipe.
  3. Cake baked with only wholewheat comes out slightly denser than the cake baked with all purpose flour.
  4. I also added a tablespoon of brandy in a few of my cakes, it gives a lovely aroma. Avoid it if the cake is baked for children.
  5. Replace brown sugar with honey for another healthier and flavorful version of Plum cakes.
  6. You can also use Palm sugar for rich and dark coloured plum cake.

Festive greetings from Lite Bite!

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Recipes | Two Easy Eggless Orange Cakes with Oats and whole-wheat http://litebite.in/orange-cakes-recipes-with-oats-and-whole-wheat/ http://litebite.in/orange-cakes-recipes-with-oats-and-whole-wheat/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 10:52:44 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11507 Christmas is round the corner and it’s just not right without a little bit of baking. I have been baking non-stop for the last few days and loving every moment of packing and sending these goodies to friends.

Nothing can beat the rich spiced Christmas cake loaded with caramel, brandy, vine fruits and nuts. But when short on time, I look forward to my short-cut recipes.

The post Recipes | Two Easy Eggless Orange Cakes with Oats and whole-wheat appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy eggless cakes recipes

Christmas is round the corner and it’s just not right without a little bit of baking. I have been baking non-stop for the last few days and loving every moment of packing and sending these goodies to friends.

Nothing can beat the rich spiced Christmas cake loaded with caramel, brandy, vine fruits and nuts. But when short on time, I look forward to my short-cut recipes.

Here are a few shortcut Christmas cakes that I bake and share with my friends. These goodies take almost no time to bake and are a best alternative to the rich Christmas cakes if you are short on time. I really enjoy these simple and fuss free and stress-free festive recipes.

The Oats orange cake is a delicious textured

1. Oats orange raisin cake

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 cup Orange juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup Palm sugar or white sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • A pinch of salt

Method; Bring orange juice to a boil in a pan and add palm sugar or white sugar in it and take the pan off the flame.

Add raisins, cinnamon powder and oil in the same pan and leave it for 10 minutes.

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Preheat oven to 170° and grease a baking pan.

Add oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in the pan and fold the ingredients to combine.

Pour the  batter in the greased baking pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes or till done.

2. Eggless Whole-wheat Orange cake

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar or grated jaggery
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Method; Pre heat oven to 180°C and grease a rectangular baking tin.

Bring orange juice to boil in a pan and add sugar or grated jaggery into it. Take the pan off flame.

Sift wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder in a large bowl.

In another bowl combine yogurt, oil, orange zest and the orange mixture.

Pour the yogurt mix in the bowl of flour and fold in with a fork to combine all the ingredients.

healthy eggless cakes recipes

Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes or till done.

Let the whole-wheat Orange cake cool completely before slicing an serving.

Notes;

  1. Powder the oats (I used quick cooking oats) before adding it to the batter for smooth texture.
  2. Use palm sugar for more healthier and flavorful cakes.

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Recipe | No-Bake Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese & Nutella – A quick & easy festive dessert http://litebite.in/recipe-no-bake-cheesecake-cottage-cheese-nutella-quick-easy-festive-dessert/ http://litebite.in/recipe-no-bake-cheesecake-cottage-cheese-nutella-quick-easy-festive-dessert/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:25:43 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11491 Desserts are made of sugar and love”  No wonder most of us like to round off their meals with something sweet.

A delicious meal is great, but a dessert is even better. A handful of fresh fruits, few biscuits, a little yogurt or cottage cheese and you are in for a refreshing and healthy treat everyday. Dessert recipes that are easy on the stomach are preferred anytime in my home to heavy & creamy ones.

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Recipes | No-Bake Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese & Nutella – A quick & easy festive dessert

Desserts are made of sugar and love”  No wonder most of us like to round off their meals with something sweet.

A delicious meal is great, but a dessert is even better. A handful of fresh fruits, few biscuits, a little yogurt or cottage cheese and you are in for a refreshing and healthy treat everyday. Dessert recipes that are easy on the stomach are preferred anytime in my home to heavy & creamy ones. Nothing is more  rewarding than to see my children appreciating & preferring these home made healthy desserts over store bought ice creams.

A good amount of heavy cream and cream cheese is generally used to make a cheese cake, but I like the lightness of home-made Cottage-cheese (paneer) in my recipes, it gives that feathery touch and extra freshness to the recipe.

This easy and quick No-bake cheesecake with cottage cheese (paneer) and Nutella is my to-go dessert when I don’t have much time to prepare an elaborate dessert. The Cheesecake could also be set in small individual bowls or ramekins and served.

Oh yes…I remember, this Cheesecake was one of the desserts when I had called a good friend Charan Sarvana for dinner at home last year. Tofu Malai Kofta and stuffed Okra were on the menu that day.

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

Make fresh cottage cheese using one liter of milk. Here is a detailed post about how to make cottage cheese.

Strain the cottage cheese using a muslin cloth.

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

For the crust;

  • 24 Digestive biscuits
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee or butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg powder

For the filling;

  • 1 cup Cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 2 tbsp sugar powder
  • 2 tbsp grated chocolate
  • 2 large Fresh Plums

healthy vegetarian recipes, egg less bakes

Method; Grease a round 8-9 inch pie dish.

Powder the digestive biscuits (I used Oats biscuits) in a blender.

Take the powdered biscuits in a large bowl and add cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and ghee (clarified butter) in it.

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

Combine all the ingredients well and pour onto the greased baking dish.

Press the biscuits lightly using the back of a ladle to make a firm base for the cheese cake.

Refrigerate the baking dish for an hour.

Take another bowl and add crumbled cottage cheese in it. You can blend the cottage cheese before using it in the recipe if you don’t like the granules in your cheesecake.

Add Nutella and sugar powder in the bowl and combine well.

Take out the baking dish from refrigerated and pour cottage cheese and Nutella mix over it and spread it evenly.

Thinly slice the Plums and grate a small chocolate bar (I used Nestle chocolate bar).

healthy dessert with cottage cheese and chocoate

Place the slices over the cottage cheesecake and spread the grated chocolate over it. Refrigerate the Cheesecake for 4-5 hours before slicing and serving the Cheesecake.

Notes;

  1. Add a teaspoon of Agar powder dissolved in 2-3 tsps. of warm water to the Cheesecake filling to make it more firm. This cheesecake will not have a very firm texture.
  2. Refrigerate it overnight for better results.
  3. Blend the cottage cheese to a smooth paste if you don’t like granules in your cheesecake.
  4. Substitute crumbled Tofu with cottage cheese to make more healthier filling in the recipe.
  5. Try this healthy Carrot Cheesecake recipe or this orange and cardamom flavored cheesecake.
  6. Replace Nutella with chunky Peanut butter to get another delicious version of cheesecake recipe.

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Recipe & food styling | Rose and Fennel Oat Cookies – You can’t go wrong where there is love & inspiration http://litebite.in/recipe-rose-fennel-oat-cookies-food-styling/ http://litebite.in/recipe-rose-fennel-oat-cookies-food-styling/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 09:08:27 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11466 “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ~ Vonnegut

It has been over 5 years already and I still remember that moment when I decided to start a blog. My hands were unsteady, my heart pounding hard & loud....and I clicked that 'enter' button to begin my online journey through Lite Bite.

I had absolutely no idea or expectation as to where this journey will take me to. But what an amazing journey it has been!

Over the years, I am able to carve a beautiful path to reach to my dreams through Food blogging with the support of my loving family & friends.  Hmm...well, as they say “You can’t go wrong where there is love and inspiration”.

The post Recipe & food styling | Rose and Fennel Oat Cookies – You can’t go wrong where there is love & inspiration appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ~ Vonnegut

It has been over 5 years already and I still remember that moment when I decided to start a blog. My hands were unsteady, my heart pounding hard & loud….and I clicked that ‘enter’ button to begin my online journey through Lite Bite.

I had absolutely no idea or expectation as to where this journey will take me to. But what an amazing journey it has been!

Over the years, I am able to carve a beautiful path to reach to my dreams through Food blogging with the support of my loving family & friends.  Hmm…well, as they say “You can’t go wrong where there is love and inspiration”.

What started off as a personal diary of sharing recipes and food stories at Lite Bite, has now matured into writing articles for magazines and taking up commercial food styling assignments for companies and various brands.

Yes, I am so much in love with what I am doing.

The best part of my work is meeting and making friends with interesting and talented people from the industry.

The other day, I received a call from a popular production house -Happy Unicorn and was offered the assignment to work as food stylist for a television commercial.

I met the very energetic & enthusiastic director & producer duo Avinash and Arabbhi at their office and got the details about the project, few days prior to the shoot.

It was flattering to hear that they Google searched me and had almost researched my entire blog to check my work and credentials. Arabhi could happily recall many of my recipes and was discussing my Semolina cake posted way back in 2011 and the Ragi Idlies during our meet :)

The job was to work as food stylist for a television commercial for a famous brand in Chennai – Lion Dates.

The other surprises in store were the opportunity to work with very talented & supportive Goldwin Fonseca (product and TV commercial specialist) from Mumbai and to shoot at majestic AVM studios. I would have crossed this studio a million times over the last 15 years in Chennai, but never though that I would be shooting here one day.

Shooting for television commercial is entirely different from packaging and still Ad shoots.

Still Ad shoots are done in a compact and cozy studio with the help of a food stylist, photographer, a person from the agency and the client office to guide and approve the shots.

A television commercial requires a large studio and sufficient space to support the enormous camera, lighting gadgets and comfortable movement of hundreds of people to assist the entire production team.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

We assembled quite early in the morning, I arranged my props, ingredients and the products from Lion Dates on a few make-shift tables.

It all started with a small round-table discussion with the director, producer, photographer, product specialist and stylist to plan and work out the shots for the day.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

It was wonderful to see Goldwin working with his instruments and setting tricky shots for capturing actions in camera.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

Though the enormity of shooting for a television commercial might intimidate a new comer, there are production houses who leave no stone unearth to give personal attention to every person involved in the shoot.

There were uninterrupted supply of hot and cold drinks and quick bites during the entire shoot apart from a homely breakfast and lunch buffet at the studio.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

Whoever said that working for a television commercial is a glamorous job….

Hmm…that stubborn dollop of jam refused to fall in the center of Puri …the hand model kept faltering in spreading the jam on the rotis….I would have rolled and cooked closed to hundred perfectly puffed up Puris, roits  and spongy Dosas for those action shots…that messy bucket filled with jam and gooey halwa….and have lost count of Date jam and Halwa boxes we would have discarded before we got that perfect scooping action captured in the camera.

Television shoot is a strenuous job and does require a lot of patience, high levels of energy and constant self motivation to keep going.

But on the whole, it was a wonderful experience…the shoot was packed off late in the evening and we all said goodbye….till we meet next.

Back home, I took complete rest for two days and baked some warm and quick cookies.

Rose and Fennel Festive Oat cookies

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

There is nothing more festive and comfortable than the aroma of warm spices and some sweet baked goodies.

Meetha paratha (sweet flat bread) is one such recipe which reminds me of winter nights at home. Our home would get filled with comforting scent of baked sweetness, every time that mom made these flatbreads.

Loaded with crushed nuts, dried rose petals, flavorful spices and fried in fresh ghee, these sweet flat breads or Meetha paratha was the perfect way to end a cozy dinner at home in cold winter nights. The combination of dried rose petals and fennel seeds is typical to many sweets made in Rajasthan during festivals and wedding seasons.

These flatbreads take almost no time to make and cook and often get converted into biscuits or crackers in mom’s kitchen in her make-shift oven – a kadai filled with sand.

She would use the same ingredients as used in making sweet parathas  but reduce water and increase the fat content in the recipe to make a hard dough for baking crisp cookies. These biscuits  (well, cookie was not a common term those days) not only tasted good but looked delicious.

I use almost the same ingredients but change the flour ration at times and include Oats or other grains to make these more healthy and  wholesome. These cookies are not too sweet and make a perfect tea-time snack.

Honey gives a deep, rich flavor and helps the cookies remain moist and fresh for longer time. Honey also makes these Rose and Fennel Festive Oat cookies slightly soft and lends a chewy texture to it.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pluck and wash the rose petals and pat dry the petals using a kitchen towel.

Spread the rose petals on a cloth of paper and let it dry for 2-3 days under shade. Sun drying the leaves will make them turn black loose the aroma.

Store the dried rose petals in an sir-tight jar.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Ingredients;

(12-15 cookies)

  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1/2 cup Whole-wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp dried Rose petals
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • A pinch of salt

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Method; Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a baking tray.

Sift wheat flour, crushed dried rose petals, salt into a bowl.

Grind Oats (I used quick cooking Oats), fennel seeds (saunf) and sugar in powder and add this to the bowl of wheat flour and combine well with a fork.

Add honey and oil in the bowl of dry ingredients and combine to make a hard dough. You can add a teaspoon of milk or water if the3 ingredients are not coming together.

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Shape small portions of dough into balls, flatten slightly and arrange the cookies on greased baking tray.

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. These Rose and fennel Oat cookies remain soft and chewy in texture.

Notes;

  1. Replace Oats and use wholewheat flour to amke these cookies.
  2. A teaspoon of rose preserve or Gulkand give a wonderful flavor to these cookies.
  3. You can avoid honey and use sugar i the recipe. Make sure to add enough moisture to make the dough.

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Recipes | Easy and healthy Indian curries and flatbreads – My warming winter comfort foods http://litebite.in/recipes-pachkuta-curry-makki-roti-kulcha/ http://litebite.in/recipes-pachkuta-curry-makki-roti-kulcha/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:43:37 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11447 Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ~ Edith Sitwell.

Winter season is a celebration of food. Lower temperature and abundance of fresh produce make winter the most favored season for food lovers.

Hmm....well, the temperature in the city where I currently reside, hardly dips below 20° c.  Do you think this could be a reason for me not to indulge in some of my favorite winter comfort foods? Not in the least.

Come winter season and I start craving for certain recipes which are cooked with love and passed from generation to generation. Yes, there is something special about winters that make you long for home cooked food.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ~ Edith Sitwell.

Winter season is a celebration of food. Lower temperature and abundance of fresh produce make winter the most favored season for food lovers.

Hmm….well, the temperature in the city where I currently reside, hardly dips below 20° c.  Do you think this could be a reason for me not to indulge in some of my favorite winter comfort foods? Not in the least.

Come winter season and I start craving for certain recipes which are cooked with love and passed from generation to generation. Yes, there is something special about winters that make you long for home cooked food.

Raab, Bajre ka khichda, makki ki roti, Bathua ka saag, Daal Baati, churma ladoos, Gajar ka halwa, gajak, gond ke ladoo,…some of the most treasured recipes that taste like home, no matter where I cook or eat any of these. These comfort foods bring pleasure and never fail to recreate the nostalgia every time that I cook these recipes at home.

Large boxes of rich carrot halwa, loaded with dry fruits and gond-mewa Panjiri always secured a special place in mom’s refrigerator during winter days. It was a ritual for us to fill our uniform pockets with a handful of Chilgoje (pine nuts) and to eat one spoon of Panjiri before going to school.

Winter is the time when our metabolic rate slows down, the energy levels are low and high caloric foods are welcomed.

Makki ki roti (cornmeal flat-breads) paired with fresh Pachkuta and aloo gobi matter ki subji (potato-cauliflower-peas curry) is a favorite winter comfort food combo at mom’s home. Not a winter goes by without her making this combo atleast a few times every week.

Pachkuta which means five vegetables in Hindi is a popular stir-fried dry curry in many parts of Rajasthan in India. This fresh vegetable Pachkuta recipe is different from another popular version of Panchkuta in Rajasthan, which uses a mix of five dried herbs such as Kair, sangari and kumat.

This recipes is prepared with an assortment of five or more fresh vegetables of winter season cooked with a very few spices and served hot with millet flat-breads. A few local winter produce such as Kachri, tinda and gawar fali are used in the recipe.

The first thing that hits you when you take a bite of this Pachkuta or Indian stir-fry is the heady flavors of asafetida (hing) powder. Mom uses natural form of this resins which is sold as large lumps. A pinch of this asafetida goes a long way to flavor any Indian dish, but too much of the same can make the recipe taste bitter and unpalatable.

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Kachari and cluster beans

Kachri is a wild melon which is widely used in fresh or raw form in Rajasthani cuisine. These native melons are grind into a tangy chutney, curries and is also dried and preserved.

Tinda or Indian round gourd is yet another popular seasonal produce used to make curries, stir-fried and many other recipes.

1. Quick Indian curry aka pani wale aloo-gobi-mattar ki subji

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 2 large boiled potatoes
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shelled green peas
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1”ginger piece
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Spices;

  • 1/2 tsp. carom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • One bay leaf
  • Red chilly powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder

Method; Wash and cut cauliflower into very small florets and slightly mash the boiled potatoes into big chunks.

Grate tomatoes and ginger.

Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder ad salt in yogurt and whisk it with a fork or spoon.

Heat oil in a pressure pan and add carom seeds and cumin seeds in it.

Add asafetida powder, bay leaf and grated tomato and ginger in the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

Pour yogurt mixed with spices in the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add roughly mashed potato cubes, cauliflower florets and peas in the pressure pan and close the lid and cook for 2 whistles.

Let the pressure pan cool. Open the lid, garnish the curry with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Indian flat breads.

2. Sorghum-wheat flatbreads aka Jowar-gehun ka kulcha

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(about 5-6 Kulchas)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 3 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Filling;

  • 6-7 garlic pearls
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp carom seeds

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Method;

Combine whole wheat flour, Sorghum flour, baking powder (if using) and salt in a large bowl.

Add yogurt, warm milk and knead the dough. Add a little water if needed, to make a soft dough.

Crush the garlic cloves with a pestle or grate the cloves and add red chilly powder, cumin powder, and carom seeds to it.

Cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel and let ir rest in a warm place for an hour.

Pinch a ball of dough and roll into a small circle by patting it between your palm.

Spread 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic and spice-mix on the flattened dough, gather all the edges together and make a ball again.

Dust the stuffed ball of dough with dry flour and roll it into a small circle with a rolling pin.

Place the rolled out Kulcha on a hot griddle and roast it on each side with a little oil or ghee till brown spots appear.

Use fresh garlic leaves or chives as filling for yet another flavorsome Kulcha recipe.

3. Five Vegetable Indian stir-fry aka Pachkuta 

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(serve 4)

  • 1/2 cup chopped String beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped Cluster beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped Bottle gourd
  • 4-5 Wild melons or Kachri
  • 4-5 Indian round gourd or Tinday
  • 2 tbsp yogurt/curd
  • 2 tbsp. oil

Spice;

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste
healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

An assortment of 5 vegetables, kachri, tinda, cluster beans, gourd, string beans.

Method; Wash and chop all the vegetables into small pieces.

Take a small bowl and add yogurt, coriander, chilly and turmeric powder in it and whisk with a spoon.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and crackle cumin seeds in it.

Add asafoeitda powder and spice-mix yogurt in it.

Keep the flame at medium and continue to cook yogurt for 2-3 minutes.

Add all the chopped vegetables and increase the flame to high.

Cook and keep stirring the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

Take the wok off the flame and serve immediately with hot Indian flat breads.

4. Cornmeal Indian flatbread aka Makki ki Roti

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Makki ki roti, Pachkuta and Gonde ka achaar

A perfect plate of winter comfort foods; Makki ki roti (cornmeal flat-bread), Pachkuta, and Gonde Ka achaar (gum-berry pickle).

Ingredients;

(4-5 rotis)

  • 2 cups corn flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water

Method; I have used flour of white corn kernel in this recipe. Use coarse cornfloru for better texture.

Take cornflour or Makki ka atta in a large bowl and mix salt in it.

Add war water little at a time to bring all the flour together.

The dough made with cornflour will not be flexible as it lacks gluten in it and rotis rolled out of this dough becomes slightly tough.

Use a plastic sheet or parchment paper to roll the rotis.

Dry roast the rotis on a hot griddle and smear it with ghee before serving.

Check Glossary page to search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipes here.

Notes;

  1. Pachkuta is served and eaten hot, straight from the kadai or wok. It should not be overcooked and kept for long to avoid the vegetables becomes soggy and loose the crunchy texture.
  2. Traditionally the above mentioned 5 veggies are used in the Pachkuta recipe. You can replace the vegetables in Pachkuta with any other vegetables of your choice if you can’t find the same in your city.
  3. Replace sorghum flour (jowar) with whole wheat flour to make the Kulchas if you don’t get the same.

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Recipe | Steamed Savory Cornflour Buns or Makki ke Dhokle – Picking a few beads of memories from childhood days.. http://litebite.in/recipe-steamed-cornflour-buns-makki-dhokla/ http://litebite.in/recipe-steamed-cornflour-buns-makki-dhokla/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:43:49 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11425 Life is a rough biography. Memories smooth out the edges.’ Dante G.

Time can forget some memories, but there are some memories which can make us forget time and those memories make life sweeter.
Growing up in 1960s and 1970s meant that we remained uninfluenced by technology and many other complex electronic gadgets. In simple words, our life was practically devoid of many material things such as Barbie dolls, Lego sets, Television, computers and cell phones. Which indirectly helped us enjoy nature and human relationships to its fullest form.

The post Recipe | Steamed Savory Cornflour Buns or Makki ke Dhokle – Picking a few beads of memories from childhood days.. appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Life is a rough biography. Memories smooth out the edges.’ ~Dante G.

Time can forget some memories, but there are some memories which can make us forget time and those memories make life sweeter.

I was tagged in a thread by Susan to share some of my childhood memories in a group on FB.

Growing up in 1960s and 1970s meant that we remained uninfluenced by technology and many other complex electronic gadgets. In simple words, our life was practically devoid of many material things such as Barbie dolls, Lego sets, Television, computers and cell phones. Which indirectly helped us enjoy nature and human relationships to its fullest form.

Most of my younger days were spent playing games in open, going for frequent summer vacations at grandparents home and enjoying the food and fun revolving around numerous Indian festivals that we celebrated.

Oh…these colourful beads of my sweet memories, all jumbled loose in a box….how I love to pick one at a time….

I almost started reliving the entire childhood days which I once had lived while thinking and writing about my childhood memories for this post. These memories make me feel pleasant every time that it crosses my mind.

Playing outdoor games after school hours till mom screams her heart out for nth time to call us back home. Listening to stories from granny, tune in for Binaca Geet mala (musical programme on Radio) and doing paper crafts making various shapes with grandparents.

I feel sad that some of the indigenous games we used to play such as Sitolia (played with seven stones a ball), Goli (marbles), Kanche (with stones and Tamarind seeds), Lattu (spinning tops) are almost becoming non-existent.

Looks like all these beautiful activities and hobbies are now locked in a box and the key to open it is lost. Thanks to television, computers and cell phones, the children of this generation least play outdoors.

Some days back I mentioned about happy festive days spent at my granny’s home in a post here . A a good friend Sra commented and wanted to see a picture of that Ghaghra Choli my granny used to stitch for me for every festival and functions at home.

I found this old photograph from mom’s house, this was the very first Ghaghra-choli  my granny stitched for me in 1971. I think this one is a pretty peach coloured satin Ghaghra-choli studded with golden and silver stars on it.

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

me dressed in a traditional attire, 1971.

Well, how can I miss out on food I relished during my childhood days. One of the most remembered recipes mom used to cook often during winters is this mini Dhoklas or cornmeal buns dunked in lentil gravy.

Steamed Savory Cornflour Buns aka Makki ke Dhokle

Makki ke Dhokle or steamed cornmeal bun is one another variation of whole meal dumplings cooked and savored in the mewar region of Rajasthan.

The dish is a staple among villagers and many Jain households who use hand-pound fresh whole-wheat, millet or cornmeal to make these steamed buns.

Dhokla Vs Dhokli;  Dhokli is the flattened disc made with wholemeal which is boiled to cook along with the lentil gravy or Daal. While Dhokla is the much fatter cousin of Dhokli and is often steamed and eaten with or without lentil curry or daal. This is the rough explanation mom used to give me whenever I asked her what is the difference between the two.

Here are two Dhokli recipes on the blog you can try;

Millet Dhokli

Wholewheat Dhokli

Mom uses homemade coarse cornflour or Makki ka atta (coarse cornflour) to make these Dhoklas during winter season.
She would add fenugreek and coriander leaves or fresh peas and Lilva (tender chickpeas) to flavors these buns.
Served with hand pressed sesame oil these Dhokla is a delightful winter delicacy of Rajasthan. Aniseed, crushed coriander and cumin seeds along with ginger and garlic added to these steamed buns make it a wonderful treat.

She would often make large batches of big Dhoklas, steam and refrigerate overnight. The Dhoklas would then be sliced and shallow fried in little oil for a lovely breakfast the next day.
Traditionally these Makki ke Dhokle are served hot with nothing else than a generous drizzle of sesame oil. But my children and hubby are not used to eating cornflour based dishes and I changed my mom’s recipe to suit their palate. I make mini Dhoklas (steamed buns), steam them and dunk the dumplings into daal or lentil curry.

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 2 cups coarse corn flour
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Papad khar or ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • Herbs and spices
  • 1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. dry coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. aniseed
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Warm water
  • Salt to taste

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Method; Peel and finely chop the onion. Chop geen chillies and grate a small pice of ginger. Roughly crush the garlic cloves and dry coriander seeds.

If you are using Papad khar, soak it in a little warm water. If you don’t get Papad khar use ½ tsp of baking powder in the recipe. Papad khar is ‘Samudri zhaag’ or froth collected from seashore, this is what mom told me about it when I asked her about the same.

As most of the poppadoms made in North and west India has papad khar in it, you can even use even 2-3 small crushed papad or poppadoms in the recipe.

healthy vegetarian recipes

Papad khar

I got a box of Papad khar from mom’s home in my recent visit to Udaipur. Here is how it looks. She says that it helps in making soft papad.

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

In a large bowl add coarse corn flour, finely chopped onion and green chillies, turmeric powder, dried fenugreek leaves, aniseeds, cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds, salt and mix well.

Pour Papad khar in the bowl, oil and little warm water and combine all ingredients to make it into a soft dough.

Take marble size dough, roll it into a circle, flatten it and pierce the centre of the disc to make a large hole in it.

Heat two cups of water in a pressure cooker and place an inverted strainer in it.

Arrange all the mini Dhoklas over the strainer, make sure the Dhoklas do not touch water underneath.

Remove the vent from the cooker and let it cook for 10 minutes on high heat, reduce the heat and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. You could use any steamer or can even microwave the Dhoklas for 5-6 minutes.

Let the pressure cooker cool a little and then take out all the Dhoklas from it.

Serve these steamed savory cornflour buns or Makki ke Dhokle hot with a generous drizzle of sesame oil or lentil curry.

Quick lentil curry or Indian Daal

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Ingredients;

  • 1/4 cup split back gram
  • 1/4 gram Bengal gram
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. grated Ginger
  • 2 Green chilies
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Coriander leaves

Spices;

  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • A pinch of Asafetida powder

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Method; Boil both the split black gram (urad daal) and bengal gram (channa daal) together with turmeric powder, grated ginger, slit green chillies and about 3 cups of water till completely cooked. Cook it for 4-5 whistles if using a pressure cooker.

Mash the lentils to make it look like a creamy gravy.

Heat oil in a small pan and crackle cumin seeds in it. Take the pan off the flame and add red chilly powder and asafoeitda powder (hing) in it.

Pour the tempering over the lentil gravy.

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Check Glossary for to search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in cooking,

Notes;

  1. Replace a little of corn flour with wheat flour if you are using cornflour for the first time to make these Dhokla. As cornflour has no gluten and you might feel hard to knead it and roll into perfect ball.
  2. Use normal corn flour to make this recipe if you don’t get coarse corn flour.

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