Lite Bite http://litebite.in Light recipes for right health. Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:04:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Food Styling |Kadai Paneer or Quick Indian Cottage Cheese recipe – When hard work becomes a labour of love http://litebite.in/food-styling-kadai-paneer-recipe/ http://litebite.in/food-styling-kadai-paneer-recipe/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 04:37:25 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11394 "It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome." ~William James.

There is nothing worse than having to wake up every morning and getting ready to go to work you don’t like.

I joined my first corporate job after finishing my second masters’ degree, back in 1990.

But soon found myself jumping from one job to another, before settling for the one I liked. May be, I was not ready to adapt myself to my new routine and  probably was intimidated by those high-pressured corporate jobs, during the initial phase of my work life.

Hmm...I should have learned to love what I did and continued...too late.

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healthy kadai paneer recipes

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” ~William James.

There is nothing worse than having to wake up every morning and getting ready to go to work you don’t like.

I joined my first corporate job after finishing my second masters’ degree, back in 1990.

But soon found myself jumping from one job to another, before settling for the one I liked. May be, I was not ready to adapt myself to my new routine and  probably was intimidated by those high-pressured corporate jobs, during the initial phase of my work life.

Hmm…I should have learned to love what I did and continued…too late.

Then came the time when I had to decide between leaving my corporate job and settling for a stay-at-home mom who will cook multiple meals a day, clean the house, do laundry, grocery shopping and repeat. The thought of sitting at home 24×7 and doing things which I never did and disliked doing at mom’s home, scared me. The result was that I could never accept the household chores whole-heartedly during my early marriage days.

But over a period of time, as I matured, I understood that there are some things in life which we cannot procrastinate. Working for a living and managing a home are two such mundane things which we may not find fun to do.

But the faster we find some meaning in doing such mundane things the better we are. :)

Probably, it took a dozen of food styling shoots for me to realize the fact that we should not only do just ‘what we love‘ but should  also learn to love ‘what we do‘.

There are moments during some of the photo-shoots when I feel completely drained and dull which demanded almost 15 man-hours a day.

But then, putting in the extra hours never hurt me. And the reason is pretty simple, I am passionate about what I am doing and try to look past all the difficulties and pain I incur during the same.

Initially, the thought of starting for a shoot as early as 6 am in the morning used to give me panic attacks. How will children manage their meals, who will drop them to school, my pending household works…were some of the questions which gave me sleepless nights.

But now, I am much organized and children have become more responsible and independent.

I had a 3-days shoot recently and nothing stopped at home in my absence.

I stored some ready-to-eat food for children and refrigerated some home-made chutneys, half-cooked Rotis and batter for pancakes and crepes.

I had time in hand for the first day of shoot and prepared Kadai Paneer and stored in refrigerator.

Three days of Food Styling Shoot

healthy kadai paneer recipes and food styling project

I was approached by the photographer Karthik again to do this restaurant shoot. I had already done a food styling shoot some time back and was very comfortable working with him.

But the shoot got postponed for many months due to unavailability of dates from both our sides. Finally it came to existence and we met the owner to decide upon the schedule and other detials of the shoot.

The shoot was divided into three days during which about 30 plus recipes were to be shot. Day one was kept for Grilled dishes, day two was for main course dishes and desserts and mocktails were shot on the last day.

healthy vegetarian recipes, food styling

Picture credits; Karthik and Grill Box

The styling part, lighting and the fun element added by the staff to each shot make a complete story. And every time that I see these images I recall the same and smile.

Some of the grilled dishes took hours to get that perfect grilled marks before the camera clicked.

healthy kadai paneer recipes and food styling project

Picture credits; Karthik and Grill Box

This is the same wooden tray gifted to me by friend Lata sometime back.

healthy vegetarian recipes.

Oh yes, there were many tricky shots during the shoot and writing about each will make this post way too long.

One such was to hold these prawn upright. Being a vegetarian I was slightly uncomfortable dealing with these delicate prawns. It took almost an hour of work to make these stubborn babies stand upright and get the shot approved.

healthy kadai paneer recipes and food styling project

Picture credits; Karthik and Grill Box

Well, coming to this brownie image…..I had already informed the staff a day before the shoot that they should not slice the brownie before we shoot it. But when they brought the Brownie to our make-shift studio it was all sliced into pieces.

I always pre-plan and draw my shots in a note book and had to instantly think a different theme for it.  That was when the idea of pouring shot came across and I was able to hide the roughly cut edges and pieces of Brownie to some extent.

It was a wonderful 3-days photo-shoot and we were completely pampered with some of the best food from the restaurant every now and then.

healthy vegetarian recipes

The very satisfied restaurant owner ‘M’, who was there with us on all the 3 days showered us with  compliments after the shoot was over.

He thanked me for the work and handed over the cheque, but was puzzled to see the childlike smile on my face after I got this rustic board from him after the shoot was over.

Am sure you know which one of the two would have brought a bigger smile on my face, the cheque or the rustic board… :)

Quick Indian Cottage Cheese Curry or Kadai Paneer

healthy kadai paneer recipes and food styling project

Kadai paneer is yet another popular Indian cottage cheese recipe. The tern Kadai refers to ‘wok’. The recipe is cooked in a Kadai or wok, hence the name Kadai paneer. 

The crunch and the freshness of the vegetables perfectly contrast the softness of cottage cheese in Kadai paneer recipe. While the dried Kashmiri chilies and red tomatoes give the lovely deep red colour to it, addition os dried coriander seeds and fenugreek leaves lends the wonderful aroma to the recipe.

The gravy is thick and can be used to make many other Indian curries such as vegetable Jalfrezi or Navaratan korma. This recipe has very little amount of oil in it unlike the restaurant style Kadai paneer where oil floats over the dish and makes it look rich and tempting.

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 200 gms fresh Cottage cheese
  • 4-5 large tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 capsicums
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste

Spices;

  • 2 dry kashmiri red chilies
  • 2 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder

cottage cheese or paneer, kadai paneer recipe

Method; Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chilies in a pan and pound them ina mortar and pestle or grind them into a coarse powder.

Peel and chop onions. Dice tomatoes and slice the capsicum into thin stripes.

Heat oil in a Kadai, add chopped onion and sauté till translucent.

Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Let the onion-tomato mixture cool and then blend it into fine paste.

Pour this paste in the same kadai again and keep the flame to medium.

Add capsicum stripes, coarse powder-mix, salt, cottage cheese cubes in the kadai and gently stir to coat the spices on all the ingredients.

Cover the kadai and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add garam masala, Kasuri methi and take the kadai off flame.

Serve the spicy Cottage cheese or Kdai Paneer with Indian flat breads, Naan, roti or Kulchas.

cottage cheese or paneer, kadai paneer recipe

Check this Kadai vegetables with Tofu recipe.

Notes;

  1. Do not overcook the vegetables to retain the crunch and bite in capsicum.
  2. The recipe has very little oil and looks dry, you can increase the quantity of oil to make it more rich and exotic.
  3. Add a few pieces of diced tomatoes (seeds removed) and some ginger juliennes to the recipe before serving.
  4. The recipe is a dry dish, add little water if you want gravy in your recipe.
  5.  Use Kashmiri dried red chilies if you can to give that perfect red hue to the recipe.
  6. Replace cottage cheese with Tofu for yet another delicious and healthy version of the recipe.
  7. Shallow fry the cottage cheese cubes for a few seconds for better taste.

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Recipes | Orange-almond rice pudding and Lapsi, Two Festive Indian Desserts – Life is about people not things http://litebite.in/recipes-lapsi-and-kheer-indian-festive-desserts/ http://litebite.in/recipes-lapsi-and-kheer-indian-festive-desserts/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 12:23:07 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11375 We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” ~ Douglas Adams

Even though I am not a big fan of “Kitchen Gadgets’ per se, I have bought quite a few over the years. Some of which are an absolute essential in my daily cooking while some others live permanently on the shelf, unused and much neglected.

If only my ice-cream maker, juicer, coffee maker, electric kettle can talk…they would probably shout their heart out and tell you the misery of sitting idle for years in dark, lonely and claustrophobic loft of my kitchen ;-)

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healthy indian festive desserts, firni and lapsi

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” ~ Douglas Adams

Even though I am not a big fan of “Kitchen Gadgets’ per se, I have bought quite a few over the years. Some of which are an absolute essential in my daily cooking while some others live permanently on the shelf, unused and much neglected.

If only my ice-cream maker, juicer, coffee maker, electric kettle can talk…they would probably shout their heart out and tell you the misery of sitting idle for years in dark, lonely and claustrophobic loft of my kitchen ;-)

Well, I like simple ways of living and do believe in the saying “The more things we accumulate, the more cluttered our lives become, and the more stressed we feel as we are compelled to think about them. Life is about people not about things.
But then, I also like my ‘kitchen gadgets’ and there are a few technological marvels in my kitchen to make my life easier and better. My blender, wet grinder, whisker, microwave have streamlined ways of doing much of my routine work in kitchen.

I can’t imagine myself grinding chutney or masalas on a stone grinder like my mom does for that authentic taste in her cooking. My mixie/blender does a pretty decent job for me.

And I don’t need to light charcoal or wood fire to cook a Tandoori Naan either, my electric Tandoor churns out lovely Naan in the comfort of my home.

I had a rice cooker when I was working and staying away from home in early nineties. All that I used to do in it was to throw in some vegetables and rice, a few whole spices, pour water in it before getting ready early in the morning. And the quick vegetables rice for my lunch box would be ready before I step out of the house for my office. I gave it off to my landlady before shifting my house and never thought of buying another again.

I received a beautifully wrapped parcel few days back from Maharaja Whiteline appliances the other day, it had an elegant white coloured multi-cooker in it.

I wanted to try out a few traditional dessert recipes in it which normally take lot of time and require constant attention while cooking. That is when Indian festive delicacies Lapsi and rice kheer came to my mind.

1. Orange-almond rice pudding aka Kheer

healthy indian dessert recipes, firni and lapsi

Indian Rice pudding or Kheer is a comforting dessert enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. The basic ingredients such as rice, milk, and sweetener remain same in the recipe, but the method of cooking changes depending upon the consistency one look for.

You can bake, steam or cook it in open pot for hours to get rich and creamy pudding. The freshness of citrus and the heady aromas cinnamon in this creamy rice-almond pudding makes this a deliciously rich dessert.

Here again, the multi-cooker helped cook the recipe just right. The non-stick bowl inside the multi-cooker avoided the pudding getting stuck to the base.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Thicker and more creamy version of Kheer.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup organic jaggery
  • 1/4 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 oranges
  • 12-15 Almonds
  • 5-6 Apricots
  • 1 tsp/ orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Method; Wash and soak Basmati rice with Almonds in a cup of water.

Grate the orange peel and collect the zest.

Grind soaked almonds with 1 tbsp. of Basmati rice into coarse paste.

Remove pith and fiber from one orange and take out the segments.

Squeeze another orange and take out the juice in a cup.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Pour milk in the vessel and add soaked rice in it. Cover the lid, plug in the Multi-cooker and switch it on.

Let the milk and rice cook for about 10 minutes or till the rice is done.

Switch off the multi-cooker and add rice-almond paste in it.

Mix it well with the plastic spoon, close the lid and let it sit for about 3-4 minutes.

Rice and almond paste will start getting cooked in the heat and the mixture will thicken.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Add jaggery, chopped Apricots, orange juice, orange zest and combine well and switch on the multi-cooker.

Let the Pudding cook for 5 more minutes and switch off the cooker.

Open the lid, add orange segments in it and cover it again.

Rice pudding will thicken as it cools.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Adjust the consistency according to your taste. The pudding can be served as thick porridge topped with nuts and fruits. Add a little warm milk and serve it as creamy Indian Kheer in bowls or glasses.

The Orange-almond rice pudding can be savored both as hot or cold dessert.

2. Healthy Wholewheat Indian Dessert aka Fada Lapsi

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

The recipe is so simple but requires a lot of attention while cooking, and the multi-cooker did the job very well. But let me tell you that my granny would have never approved of this recipe. A Lapsi to her is not done until a thick layer of Ghee (clarified butter) floats over it.

The coarse wheat grits give a chewy bite to this dessert. ‘Lapsi‘ is often eaten with a spicy black-eyed curry in Rajasthan, but believe me, it does taste good.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Lapsi is a festive dish of Gujrat and Rajasthan. Traditional recipe involve very coarse wheat or ‘fada’ (means broken in Hindi) grain to make Lapsi which is hard and takes lot of time to cook.

I added the above image to show the difference between normal broken wheat and fada wheat grits which are quite large.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1/2 cup broken wheat grits
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 10-12 Almonds
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Method; Heat ghee (clarified butter) in a pan and fry broken wheat in it till it turns goelden in colour. Add chopped almonds in the same pan and fry for another few seconds.

Plug in the multi-cooker, pour water in the vessel, cover the lid and switch it on and let the water come to boil.

Add fried broken wheat and almonds in water, cover the lid and let it cook for ten minutes or till all the water is absorbed.

firni and lapsi, healthy indian dessert recipes.

Switch off the cooker and add palm sugar (replace it with white sugar or jaggery if you wish) and crushed fennel seeds in the vessel and combine well with a plastic spoon.

On the multi-cooker again and let the Lapsi cook for about 2 more minutes.

Off the multi-cooker and let the Lapsi sit in it for 8-10 minutes in it.

Take the Lapsi out in another bowl and serve it hot or cold.

healthy indian dessert recipes, firni and lapsi

Weekend dinner at home…creamy hot Orange-almond rice pudding with quick Pasta.

Check the recipe for Quick Pasta in rice cooker here.

pasta recipe

Life is about people not things‘…but it makes sense to adopt technology if it makes life much easier, at times.

After all, I can’t depend on a pigeon to deliver my message when a cell phone can do it efficiently for me ;-)

Notes;

  1. Add cinnamon powder or any other dried fruits in rice-almond pudding recipe.
  2. The process of grinding a little rice along with almonds make the rice pudding creamy and rice without the addition of cream or condensed milk in the recipe.
  3. Almond paste gives a wonderful creamy texture and nutty bite to the rice pudding.
  4. Use smaller variety of wheat grits to make Lapsi if you want to make it taste like a creamy pudding.
  5. Replace palm sugar with normal jaggery or sugar if you can’t get the same.

....
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Recipes | Baked savory flatbread Crackers aka Indian Namkeenpare – Reflecting and celebrating festive season http://litebite.in/recipes-baked-savory-snacks/ http://litebite.in/recipes-baked-savory-snacks/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 09:08:46 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11359 Last few days went prepping and celebrating one of our biggest festivals, Diwali. I had a wonderful time with family and friends, whipping desserts, cooking grand feast and chatting all day long.

Diwali preparations started a week before at my home, shopping for new clothes, buying crackers, cleaning the house and finally sitting down to making sweets and savories.

When I think of Diwali, my mind wanders back to happy festive days spent at my granny’s home. Her house would start getting filled with the heady aromas of ghee fried besan and ajwain namkeenpare, well in advance before actual Diwali day.

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baked healthy savory snacks

‘Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness’. ~Richard Bach

To be surrounded by friends who can send positive vibes and make you feel wanted and much loved from wherever they are is a great blessing.

Recipes | Baked savory snacks

Thanks Lata, Sra and ‘A’ for the lovely festive gifts!

Last few days went prepping and celebrating one of our biggest festivals, Diwali. I had a wonderful time with family and friends, whipping desserts, cooking grand feast and chatting all day long.

Diwali preparations started a week before at my home, shopping for new clothes, buying crackers, cleaning the house and finally sitting down to making sweets and savories.

When I think of Diwali, my mind wanders back to happy festive days spent at my granny’s home. Her house would start getting filled with the heady aromas of ghee fried besan and ajwain namkeenpare, well in advance before actual Diwali day. She would prepare the sweets and savories days ahead and store in large brass and aluminum Dabbas (boxes). No, we were not allowed to savor any of those goodies until it was offered to Goddess Lakshmi on Lakshmi puja day before Diwali starts.

Being the only granddaughter of the house for many years, my uncle and aunt would pamper me with dresses and chocolates.

But the most cherished and awaited gift to me was the silky satin ‘Gagara-choli’ (traditional attire) my granny would stitch for me – the one embellished with colourful beads and sitaras for every Diwali.

Coming back to celebrations at my home, I prepared a few traditional Rajathani sweets and savories this year, Mohan Thaal and Namakeenpare to name a few.

And what a timely and thoughtful Diwali gift I got this year, a set of trendy looking boxes from Tupperware.

I have been using many of their products over the last 10 years, water bottles, lunch-boxes, and small container to name a few and love the quality and standards maintained by the company.

These are non-toxic products and make a wonderful microwave cookware for me. I often bake cakes (in MW), steam vegetables and even cook rice in these boxes.

And yes, these boxes come very handy to store my wet Dosa (crepes) batter and dough in fridge and also helps keep vegetables and dry food products fresh for days.

Baked Spicy Flat-bread Crackers or Namkeenpare

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Coming back to the recipe, Namkeenpare or Nimkis or close cousins of Ribbon pakoda from South India is a popular savory Indian Tea-time snack. The basic ingredients used to make this savory are chickpea flour, rice flour and all purpose flour at different proportions.

I remember my granny’s Namkeenpare had just besan (chickpea flour), carom seed (ajwain) and salt as the main ingredients, and the chickpea flour was generously kneaded with desi ghee (pure ghee)  to get the most crispiest of Namkeenpare.

But over the years, this traditional Indian snack recipe has been transformed into various forms at my home. Crackers, thins, Kahsta biscuits, bars, Nankattai, Graham crackers and the likes.

This recipe is also a take on traditional deep fried Namkeenpare. The addition of millet and certain aromatic spices and herbs such as Kasuri methi and Nigella seeds (kalonji dana) make it more flavorful and delicious.

I made two batches of this snack, one was deep fired and the other baked in an oven which to me is the better and healthier version of it.
Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Ingredients;

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina
  • 3 tbsp curd
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Kasuri methi
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder

Method;  Pre heat oven to 180°C for 10 minutes.

Add chickpea flour, rice flour and semolina (rawa/suji) in a large bowl and combine well with a spoon or fork.

Add red chilly powder, turmeric powder, asafetida powder (hing), Nigella seeds (kalonji dana), salt and crushed Kasuri methi leaves (dried fenugreek) in the bowl.

Now add oil and rub all the ingredients together with fingers.

Pour a little curd at a time and knead into semi-hard dough.

Recipes | Baked savory snacks

Dust a little dry flour on a board and pinch a large ball of dough.

Arrange these stripes onto a greased baking tray and bake for 180°C for 15 minutes.

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Do keep checking the crackers in between so that they don’t get over browned or burn.

Flip each of the crackers to other side and bake again for about 5-6 minutes.

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Let the crackers cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Pack the savories in an sir tight container to keep them fresh for days.

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

My verdict; Baked Namkeenpare wins hands down over deep fried ones.

Garlicky Pearl Millet Crackers

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Ingredients;

(makes 20-25)

  • 1 cup Pearl millet flour (Bajra)
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 garlic pearls
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chilly flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder

Method;  Pre heat oven to 180°C for 10 minutes and grease a large baking tray.

Peel and crush 2-3 garlic pearls using a knife or stone.

Combine all the ingredients except water in a large bowl and rub with your fingers till the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour water little at a time and knead it into semi hard dough.

Pinch a large ball of dough and roll it out into thin sheet on a board dusted with dry flour. Poke the rolled out dough with a fork so that it does not puff up while baking.

Use a sharp knife to cut it into diamond shapes or any other shape you desire.

Place all the diamonds on the greased baking tray and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes.

Recipes | Healthy Baked savory snacks

Flip each diamond to other side and bake again for 6-7 minutes or till they turn olden brown in colour.

Recipes | Baked savory snacks

All done and packed for the festivity to start…

Let the crackers cool completely and store them in an air tight container. I store my sweets and savories in large Tupperware containers and they stay fresh and retain their crispiness for 20-25 days.

Notes;

  1. The thinner you roll the dough for chickpea crackers, crispier the crackers will come out.
  2. Do not knead the dough for long time this will reduce the crispiness of the crackers.
  3. Avoid too much water to knead the dough and keep it slightly hard. This will make sure that the crackers come out crisp.
  4. You can deep fry the crackers to get one another indulging version of the same recipe.
  5. You can brush each cracker with little oil before baking to bake them more crispier.
  6. Baking time certainly depends upon the thickness of your crackers. It they are thick you need to bake them for loner time and if they are thin they will get baked quickly.

....
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Recipe | Healthy Agathi leaves with Lentil – The city I proudly call home http://litebite.in/recipe-agathi-leaves-lentil-curry/ http://litebite.in/recipe-agathi-leaves-lentil-curry/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 04:13:33 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11348 Adapting to new situations is absolutely essential to any kind of success or happiness in life. I was not born and raised in Chennai but have been living here for close to eighteen years.

New language, hot climate, different food habits and strict rituals at in-laws’ home in Chennai intimidated this simple girl from Rajasthan at first. Change is always unpleasant to some degree.

But over a period of time this city has grown on me.

I fell in love with my new city as I learned to speak the local language and started to follow the rituals at home.

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healthy Agathi leaves curry

Adapting to new situations is absolutely essential to any kind of success or happiness in life. I was not born and raised in Chennai but have been living here for close to eighteen years.

New language, hot climate, different food habits and strict rituals at in-laws’ home in Chennai intimidated this simple girl from Rajasthan at first. Change is always unpleasant to some degree, I guess.

But over a period of time this city has grown on me.

I fell in love with my new city as I learned to speak the local language and started to follow the rituals at home.

And now, Chennai is the place I proudly call home!

I no longer stare at those turmeric-smeared faces of women on road, neither do I get amused by the local men lifting and folding their ‘Veshtis’ (traditional men’s garment) right in the middle of road.

I can now skillfully slurp runny rasam-rice from a banana leaf, wear a large kumkumam dot (bindi), adorn my tresses with long ‘Malli poo’ (jasmine flowers) and tie a ‘madisar’ (traditional saree) with aplomb :)

Well, as they said, “Adapting to new situation in life is essential and is the most valuable traits one can have in life. And if you have this trait, you can do anything.

I received a message from a South African travel and food writer, Ishay Goverder. She writes at Food and Fabulous and wanted to meet me to know more about food and people of Chennai.

I have never done a food walk before. All that I do is to go out with my family for a quick bite on weekends.

That is when I discussed with a few of my online friends and planned to take her for a food walk around some of the popular places in the city.

It was an impromptu trip to city to get a glimpse of food and culture of Chennai followed it with an unforgettable meal at hotel Savera.

We hit the road early in the morning to experience the true taste of local culture and food through the by lanes of Mylapore in Chennai.

Away from the exotic restaurants, we first ventured into local eateries around the famous Mylapore temple suggested by a friend Karthik Ganapathi and sampled a few authentic dishes.

Though the dishes looked delicious and authentic, we avoided certain dishes due for hygiene purpose.

healthy Agathi leaves curry

We drove from the hustle and bustle of Mylapore to a quiet and beautiful restaurant ‘Savera’ in R.K. Salai. We were given a warm welcome by the Chef and his team.
We were all ears to Chefs’ explanation about some of the finer pointers of South Indian cuisine.

healthy Agathi leaves curry

The time spent at ‘Malgudi‘ restaurant in Savera savoring some of the best delicacies from Southern India was the most cherished moments of our trip.

We got a chance to meet the most generous and resourceful chefs Krishna Mohan and tasted some of the best authentic cuisines of South India. And when I asked them to make a bill the chef barged in and told that ‘”It’s on me, ladies“. I was completely floored by their hospitality and thanked chef for the time he spent with us.

healthy Agathi leaves curry

We then drove to Pondy Bazar to try a popular sweet shop called ‘Sri Krishna Sweets’. The joint serves savory and sweet creations that are highly sought-after by locals. Ishay was busy writing the names of the local delicacies and clicking pictures.

Sweet Appam, savory appam, paniyarams, mor kali, ammini kozhukattai, onion pakodas, lentil vade, medu vade, idiyyapam, modak…the snacks here will never disappoint you with its exceptional taste.

healthy Agathi leaves curry

Nothing better than exploring your city with a friend sharing the same interest in food and tasting and trying out some new and some forgotten dishes.

I had a wonderful time with lovely Ishay, chatting, eating and sharing a few snippets from our lives together. We parted ways from there hoping to meet again soon.

Agathy Leaves with Lentil or Agathy Keerai kootu

healthy Agathi leaves curry

Adapting to the food habits at my hubby’s home was slightly difficult at first. Switching to eating rice for lunch and chappatis for dinner took a long time. I am yet to tune my taste buds for certain local foods such as Mavadu and Narthangai loved by my hubby.

Manatakkali (sunberry), Sundaikkai (turkey berry), Arai keerai (amaranth greens), Neem flower rasam, banana stem curry, chow-chow kootu, Pavakkai pitlai (bitter gourd) and the likes were never heard, seen or cooked at my native, Udaipur. These are some of the new foods and recipes which were introduced to me at my In-laws place for the first time and I love to cook the same.

Agathy Keerai (greens) is one another popular green cooked in many South Indian homes. My MIL taught me this recipe, but I have made a few changes to retain the nutrition and enhance the taste of the curry.

As she cooks these greens during auspicious days, onion and garlic is avoided in the recipe. But I add lots of onion to my recipe and avoid direct boiling as MIL does. She chops the greens and boil it in a large container filled with water which is drained to cook in a dry curry.  To me this process seems to drain the vital nutrients from the greens. I like to steam the greens with a tablespoon of water and then temper it with spices.

Agathi/agasthi or sesbania grandiflora is a tropical tree valued for its leaves and flowers. The leaves and flowers are extensively used in Indian cuisine. These leaves could be easily dehydrated and stored for later use when the greens are not in season. Mix the dried leaf powder in wheat flour to make Indian flat breads or chapattis or just add a spoonful of it to any curry or gravy to increase the nutrition of the recipes.

Agathi leaves which are a great source of calcium and iron taste bitter and are slightly tart in nature. Adding a little jaggery or sugar enhances the flavor of Agathy curry and reduces the bitterness.

healthy Agathi leaves curry

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 2 cups packed Agathy leaves
  • 3 tbsp. de-skinned green gram
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp jaggery/sugar
  • 1 tsp. Black gram
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste healthy Agathi leaves curry

 

Method; Pluck Agathy leaves from the stalk and wash in plain water.

Peel and slice the onion.

Cook the Agathy leaves with de-husked grenn gram (dhuli moong dal) in a pressure cooker with 3 tbsp of water for two whistles. Let the cooker cool and take out the cooked greens and chop them roughly.

Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add black gram, broken red chillies, asafoetida powder, grated coconut, jaggery/sugar, salt and sauté for a few seconds.

Add chopped onion, turmeric powder and cook for 2 minutes.

Add cooked Agathy leaves with lentil in the pan and combine all the ingredients well. Remove the pan from flame and serve the hot Agathy greens with plain rice or Indian flat breads.

Notes;

  1. Agathy leaves have a slight bitter taste to it which can be reduced by adding a little jaggery and coconut to the recipe.
  2. Dry the Agathy leaves and use them in curries, crepes (dosas) or flat bread to enhance the nutrition of the recipe. Dried leaves can be stored for many days in an air-tight container.

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Recipe | Easy Gulkand Mewa Burfi or Fig & Date Fudge with Rose preserve – And I am not complaining.. http://litebite.in/recipe-gulkand-nuts-burfi-fudge/ http://litebite.in/recipe-gulkand-nuts-burfi-fudge/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:24:38 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11336 There are many things in life that I wish I could keep with me forever. The memories and days spent at my hometown in Udiapur tops that list.

I had a chance to visit Udaipur last week, which incidentally was my shortest ever trip to my hometown. I started at the wee hours of morning, left my children behind for a week, changed two fights, killed never-ending transit time at airport, and then traveled by road again to finally reach Udaipur late in night.

Yes, I did it all in one day. But I am not complaining.

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healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

There are many things in life that I wish I could keep with me forever. The memories and days spent at my hometown in Udiapur tops that list.

I had a chance to visit Udaipur last week, which incidentally was my shortest ever trip to my hometown. I started at the wee hours of morning, left my children behind for a week, changed two fights, killed never-ending transit time at airport, and then traveled by road again to finally reach Udaipur late in night.

Yes, I did it all in one day. But I am not complaining.

I never believed in the saying that one travels more useful when they travel alone till I did it this time. Infact I don’t recall taking time to get away from daily responsibilities and having that solitude after my marriage in 1996.

I had lots of time to reflect on the past years and the years to come during my travel. The wonderful memories and days spent with family & friends, how I have changed and grown over past few years, the opportunities lying ahead and what I want from my life.

It was a wonderful experience to escape from the fast and complex modern world and live a quieter life for a few days.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

I wanted to make full use of my short stay in Udiapur this time and planned for a walk down memory lane.

I got up at 5.30 am and went for a walk to a popular lake Fateh Sagar near my house with mom and my camera.

Ah..the joy of breathing, walking and smelling the fresh air…one of the beautiful experiences I miss a lot living in a metro city.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

I walked down the old city of Udaipur…reliving the childhood moments spent in the narrow streets and temples around the area.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Nothing much has changed except that a mall has appeared where my granny once lived.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

I saw many shops cropping up in the neighborhood selling antiques, now that Udaipur is one of the popular tourist destinations of India.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Mom roasted a few local varieties of corn or Bhutta on a Sigdi (indigenous Indian stove).

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Me and mom had a wonderful time sitting in her verandah discussing food, garden, children and  life in general.

She loves gardening and I spotted these round beautiful chillies there.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

How can my Udaipur trip be complete without the popular ‘Matka Kulfi’…mom holding the Kulfi for a click.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

I asked her to prepare some of my favorite dishes…Makki ki roti, Tinda subji and Gunda Achaar on my plate…happiness is home!

Some more pictures of Udaipur trip here.

Rose preserve or Gulkand

I did not inform any of my relatives about this trip as I had very little time in hand. But the neighbors got to know that I was there and I was pampered with delicious Rajasthani delicacies every day. One of them brought these Gulkand mewa burfi and also presented a bottle of Gulkand (rose preserve) to me.

The base ingredient for this Burfi is Mewa, which is nothing but an assortment of dried fruits and nuts. Rose preserve adds a wonderful flavor to the fudge.

Back at home I made my own Gulkand and recreated the same Burfi for Diwali. I prefer these delicacies over the milk based sweets which are way to sweet for me.

Normally desi variety of pink roses or Damascus roses is used to make the Gulkand recipe. These roses give lovely flavor and perfect wetness to the preserve. The Gulkand can be used to flavor ice-creams, Firni, milkshakes, smoothies, Indian desserts or even in baked goodies.

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup packed rose petals
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10-12 cardamom pods

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Method; Remove petals from the flower and rinse in plain water.

Spread the petals on a towel and let it dry.

Remove seeds from cardamom and crush it coarsely.

Take a clean sterilized glass bottle and add handful of petals in the bottle, sprinkle a little cardamom powder and layer it with little sugar.

Repeat the same process till the bottle is full.

Cover the bottle with a clean muslin cloth and place the bottle in sunlight.

The Gulkand will be ready in 3-4 weeks time. The Gulkand stays good for many months.

Fig & Date Fudge with Rose preserve aka Gulkand Mewa Burfi

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits
Ingredients;

(make 20 small pieces)

  • 1 cup chopped Dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried Figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tbsp. Ghee
  • 1 tbsp. Gulkand or rose preserve
  • Silver foil (optional)

healthy festive sweet with nuts and fruits

Method; Soak chopped Figs and Dates in 2 cups of warm water for 3 hours. Drain the water and grind both the dried fruits in a blender. Add a little water if you find it difficult to grind. You don’t need to soak the dried fruits if you get the juicy variety of the same.

Coarsely crush all the nuts with a rolling pin. I used Pistachios, almonds and a few cashew nuts in this recipe.

Heat ghee in a non-stick pan, add all the crushed nuts in it and sauté for a few seconds.

Add ground figs and Dates puree in it and cook it on medium heat till the mixture becomes dry and starts leaving the sides of the pan, about 10-12 minutes.

Add rose preserve, combine well and take the pan off flame.

Grease a flat tray with oil and spread the cooked mixture over it. Press it with the back of a ladle to make it even.

Decorate it with a silver foil, if using. Refrigerate the tray for 2-3 hours before slicing the Gulkand Mewa Burfi or Fig and Date fudge.

Notes;

  1. Use dried edible rose petals if you can’t find rose preserve.
  2. Add 2-3 tbsp. Mawa or thickened milk while cooking the dry fruit puree to get a richer version for the recipe.
  3. Mawa could be substituted with milk powder mixed with cream.
  4. Add extra sugar if you find the recipe less sweet, the sweetness from Dates and figs make it mildly sweet and relatively healthy recipe.
  5. Gulkand has loads of sugar, use it sparingly in your dishes.
  6. Increase the amount of ghee or clarified butter to get a sheen on the Burfi.
  7. Try this fudge recipe for another healthy sweet.

Happy Diwali to all of you!

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Recipe | Indian style open-faced Sandwiches – A walk down the memory lane http://litebite.in/healthy-breakfast-sandwich-recipe/ http://litebite.in/healthy-breakfast-sandwich-recipe/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:16:49 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11314 "We do not know the value of our moments until they have become a memory.”  ~Sam H. The saying reflects my school days, perfectly. I didn’t give much thought back then, but school days and school friends were the best.

Days pass and memories fade. We just didn’t realize how soon time flew past. Distance, family commitments and work pressure is keeping many of us away from each other. But our bond of friendship is still strong and the good memories are with us forever.

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healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

“We do not know the value of our moments until they have become a memory.”  ~Sam H. The saying reflects my school days, perfectly. I didn’t give much thought back then, but school days and school friends were the best.

Days pass and memories fade. We just didn’t realize how soon time flew past. Distance, family commitments and work pressure is keeping many of us away from each other. But our bond of friendship is still strong and the good memories are with us forever.

I recently got a chance to attend an alumni meet of my old school in Udaipur.  I grabbed the golden opportunity and booked my tickets to meet some of the old teachers, catch up with old friends and to walk down the memory lane once again.

The meet was the outcome of hard work put in by some of our super seniors who managed to rope in many of our old teachers and KV students from as old as 1965 batches.

I reached the school premises well ahead of time to capture some of my favorite spots, classrooms and to relive the moments in silence.  Well, it’s hard to let go of the past when it’s holding some of the best memories.

Imagine my delight when the organizers asked me to share my experience on stage for two minutes. It was a privilege indeed!

healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Two minutes may not be sufficient to sum up the experiences of ten years of my school life. Those beautiful memories and golden moments are beyond words. But I take the opportunity to thank our teachers who prepared us to face the bigger challenges of life and have made us the person we are today”.  this is how I summed up my ten years of KV school life in two minute impromptu speech.

Recipe | Healthy open-faced Indian style Sandwiches
Back to school after almost 30 years.

We were the naughtiest batch in our school. We would sneak around the corridor, jump and dance on the benches, polish off lunch boxes before the bell rings, shout, scream, tease…yes, we did it all :)

Not to mention, there are many achievers from our batch and many others have reached unprecedented heights with their careers.

healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Walking down the memory lane….school corridor…those were the days…

healthy vegetarian sandwich recipe

 

Reliving the nostalgia…with some of the old classmates…nothing much has changed since 1986.

Healthy open-faced Indian style Sandwiches

Recipe | Healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Leaving children behind for almost a week was the toughest decision for me. But on the other hand it makes me happier that by doing so their confidence level has increased manifold.

And this time around to my surprise they asked me not to spoon feed them with pre cooked food. “Mom, daddy’s Daal (lentil), Upma and Poha scores better than yours” was my son’s remark after I returned back from Udaipur.

Hmm….good for me.

One of the breakfast dishes they cooked when I was away for a week was this savory vegetables open faced sandwiches, which is a Sunday favorite at my home.

The sandwich daddy made was slightly gooey from inside but I liked it” my daughter told and smiled, making sure not to upset their daddy.

Recipe | Healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 3 slices of brown bread
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup green gram sprouts
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 capsicum
  • Coriander and mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chilly flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch of asafetida powder
  • Water as required
  • Oil to shallow fry

Recipe | Healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Method; Finely chop onion, green chilies, tomato, coriander leaves, mint leaves and capsicum.

Take a large bowl and add chickpea flour, sprouts, salt, chilly flakes, asafoetida powder, turmeric powder and stir with a fork to combine all the ingredients.

Recipe | Healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Pour sufficient water in the bowl to make a batter of pouring consistency.

Heat a griddle or set a sandwich toaster ready.

Slice the breads and dip each slice in the batter.

Place each slice on hot griddle, scoop out some chopped vegetables from the batter with a spoon and add it on the bread slices.

Recipe | Healthy breakfast sandwich recipe

Drizzle a few drops of oil around it and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on both the sides. Serve the savory open-face sandwiches with tomato sauce or any chutney of your choice.

Notes;

  1. Use the same chickpea flour batter to make crepes or Indian Cheela.
  2. Add grated vegetables of your choice to make this breakfast recipe more healthier.
  3. I have used my sandwich maker to cook these slices, you could use a griddle or tawa to make the same.
  4. Coarsely grind all the vegetables and sprouts for a different texture and easy to handle bread slices.

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Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds – It’s all Greek to me.. http://litebite.in/recipe-quick-fried-rice-with-capsicum/ http://litebite.in/recipe-quick-fried-rice-with-capsicum/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 03:33:57 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11296 Any recognition feels good, as it is a reward and an affirmation of what one does...Hmm..agreed. But what one does when one is featured in two different magazines and is still trying to decipher what is written in there.

Google translation of both the articles makes it a comic read. Well, sometimes, somethings are best if left unsaid. Hoping good is written about me :)  here is how it all started...

The other day I received this mail from the editor of a popular Italian magazine;

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healthy, quick and easy fried rice with capsicum and almonds

Any recognition feels good, as it is a reward and an affirmation of what one does…Hmm..agreed. But what one does when one is featured in two different magazines and is still trying to decipher what is written in there.

Google translation of both the articles makes it a comic read. Well, sometimes, somethings are best if left unsaid. Hoping good is written about me :)  here is how it all started…

The other day I received this mail from the editor of a popular Italian magazine;

Dear Sanjeeta, I’m writing you from the Cucchiaio d’Argento office in Italy. We liked your blog and we’re wondering if you would like to be part of an extraordinary project with us. I am the ‘food’ media partner for The Hundred-Foot Journey” movie, which will be coming to the Italian cinemas at the very beginning of October.”

“So as you noticed the story brings together Indian cuisine, inspiration and love, which your blog is full of. We would be grateful if you represent India with some of the rustic foods from your country.” she continued and waited for my reply.

healthy vegetarian recipes

And then our humble ‘Raab‘ becomes Budino di farina di mais con latticello and Mooli Thepla travels to Italy as Thepla di ravanelli through a page called Amore, cucina e curry e le ricette di Sanjeeta or Love, food & curry recipe and Sanjeeta.

Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds
Oh…there is one more…a feature article about my work in a popular regional magazine of South India called ‘Aval Vikatan‘ this month.

Quick Brown rice with Capsicum and Almonds

Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds

This is one rice recipe which is an absolute favorite of my son. Good for me as apart from being a quick meal to cook, there is also a lot of goodness of brown rice, nuts and vegetables in it.

The brown rice I use is quick to cook unlike the normal brown rice which takes ages to cook even after soaking it for hours.

Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 2 cups chopped Bell peppers
  • 1 cup Brown Basmati rice
  • 1 large onion
  • 8-10 Almonds
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp Peanut oil or sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped spring onions
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Spices

  • 5-6 Black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • A small cinnamon stick (1 inch)
  • 1 star anise

Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds

Method; Wash and soak brown Basmati rice for an hour.

Cook brown Basmati rice in a steamer or pressure cooker (one whistle) with one and a half cup of water.

Chop coloured Bell peppers (shimla mirch) into small cubes. Finely slice onion and grate a small piece of ginger. Roughly crush almonds into small pieces.

Heat oil in a wok or Kadai and add cloves (laung), peppercorn (kali irch), cardamom pods (elaichi), star anise and crushed almonds in it and sauté for a second.

Add sliced onion, grated ginger and chopped capsicum in the wok and sauté on high heat fro 3 minutes.

Take the wok off the flame and add lemon juice and chopped spring onions in it.

Add this Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds in the wok and stir slowly to combine all the ingredients.

Serve with yogurt Raita.

Recipe | Quick Fried Rice with Capsicum and Almonds

Notes;

  1. You can cook the rice along with the vegetables, but this will make the veggies become soggy and loose the crunch in it.
  2. Use any other oil, but Peanut oil gives a better flavor to this recipe.
  3. Substitute brown rice with normal white or Basmati rice in the recipe if you wish.
  4. Do not overcook capsicum, keep the crunch in the vegetables for better taste.
  5. Walnuts, groundnuts or any other nuts would work as good as almonds in this recipe.
  6. Try replacing lemon juice with one tsp. of soya sauce for a different flavor to the recipe.

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Recipes | Three Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis http://litebite.in/recipes-indian-curries/ http://litebite.in/recipes-indian-curries/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:30:17 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=10847 A Subzi or vegetable stir-fry is an integral part of an Indian Thali (platter). If Subzi is one of the important components alongside a flat bread in a North Indian thali then it takes the form of an accompaniment to rice dishes in South India.

Subzi also refers to any vegetable in Hindi. I like these quick subzis made with fresh vegetables more than the slow-cooked curries wherein the vegetables are completely lost in the flavors of spices and gravies they are cooked in. Whether it is a rich Peas and paneer butter masala or a creamy malai kofta, to me they all taste same.

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Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

A Subzi or vegetable stir-fry is an integral part of an Indian Thali (platter). If Subzi is one of the important components alongside a flat bread in a North Indian thali then it takes the form of an accompaniment to rice dishes in South India.

Subzi also refers to any vegetable in Hindi. I like these quick subzis made with fresh vegetables more than the slow-cooked curries wherein the vegetables are completely lost in the flavors of spices and gravies they are cooked in. Whether it is a rich Peas and paneer butter masala or a creamy malai kofta, to me they all taste same.

I prefer the not-so-common indigenous or native vegetables some of which have a very peculiar taste for these stir-fry recipes.  Kantola or Kikoda, Parwal or pointed gourd, large chilies, bitter gourd, Karonda (a berry), Mogri fali (radish pods) make a wonderful stir-fry.

I don’t think one need to follow any particular recipe to get the best results when trying to cook a Subzi, they are so versatile. Just a few basic tricks, spices and fresh vegetables and you can make some of the most satisfying  meals ever.

I had some of the recipes for Indian Sabzis sitting in my draft for long and thought of making a combined post for the same.

1. Large Chilly-chickpea flour Sabzi

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 1 cup chopped large chilies
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Nigella seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. aniseeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powde
  • 1/4 tsp. red chilly powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Wash and make slits in each chilly and remove the seeds from the chilies.

Chop all the chilies into small pieces.

Dry roast chickpea flour in a pan for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

Heat oil in a nonstick pan and splutter aniseeds (saunf), fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and Nigella (kalonji) seeds in it.

Add chopped chilies, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt, asafetida powder (hing) and cook on high heat for 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat, add roasted chickpea flour and dry mango powder in it and combine all the ingredients well.

Put off the flame and serve the spicy chilly stir-fry with Indian flat breads or as an accompaniment for rice dishes.

2. Quick Green Eggplant Mash or Baingan  Bharta 

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 7-8 long green Brinjals
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
  • Chopped coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to taste

Spices;

  • 1 tsp. Dry fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Roast the green brinjals on direct flame till their skin turn charred or black in colour. This gives a wonderful smoky flavour to the curry. Avoid roasting if you don’t like the smoky flavour and cut roundels of green brinjals instead.

Remove the charred skin and take out the pulp of each brijal in a bowl.

Finely chop onion and tomato.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and splutter cumin seeds in it. Add chopped onion and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, cover the kadai and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the lid and slightly mash the tomato.

Add chopped brinjal or brinjal pulp, coriander powder, chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Put off the flame and add crushed Kasuri methi, garam masala powder, chopped coriander leaves and serve spicy Eggplant curry with flat breads or with plain rice.

3. Long Bean-Potato Stir-fry or Chawla Fali Sabzi

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 2 cups chopped Long beans
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp carom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Wash and remove strings (remove hard thread or fiber) from the Long beans or chawla phalli from both the sides. These beans are also called Long beans/Yardlong beans/snake beans in English.

Peel and dice potatoes in small cubes and finely chop the onion.

Recipes | Quick Indian Stir-fry recipes aka Subzis

Heat oil in a pan and crackle carom seeds or ajwain in it. Add red chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, asafetida powder, grated ginger and chopped onion in it and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add chopped beans and potatoes in the pan and cook for 10 minutes stirring in between, and put off the flame.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with Indian flat breads.

Notes;

  1. Do not over cook the vegetables, keep them slightly under-cooked to retain the crunch in them.
  2. These Sabzis taste delicious when they are served and eaten immediately after they are cooked.
  3. Keep the flame medium to high to while cooking these vegetables to seal the moisture of the veggies inside.
  4. I prefer adding salt at the last as vegetables tend to release moisture when salt is added to them while cooking.
  5. Use Capsicum instead of Bhavnagari mirch to make the spicy chilly stir-fry recipe.
  6. A little extra oil added to the chilly recipe would help make it stay for longer time.

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Recipes | Three easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis – Simple food big flavors http://litebite.in/recipes-indian-vegetarian-curries/ http://litebite.in/recipes-indian-vegetarian-curries/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:29:49 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=10850 I am jealous of your husband and kids, they get to eat five-star cooking every day” was one of the questions in an online interview on Ganga’s blog here. And she is the nth person to have said the same to me.

The fact remains that most of days what comes out of my kitchen is a simple one-skillet meal with whatever spices or vegetables I have on hand. Yes, my personal favorite is simple Indian food which is quick to cook and is very near to its natural state.

Well...competing for the title of Master Chef is never in my mind, every time that I take a ladle in my hand :)

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Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

I am jealous of your husband and kids, they get to eat five-star cooking every day” was one of the questions in an online interview on Ganga’s blog here. And she is the nth person to have said the same to me.

The fact remains that most of days what comes out of my kitchen is a simple one-skillet meal with whatever spices or vegetables I have on hand. Yes, my personal favorite is simple Indian food which is quick to cook and is very near to its natural state.

Well…competing for the title of Master Chef is never in my mind, every time that I take a ladle in my hand :)

Indian Subzi (Indian vegetable stir-fry) or fresh vegetables cooked in minimal spices is an absolute favorite of mine. No matter what the occasion is, I always have a subzi or two on my thali (platter) to go with phulkas (Indian flat breads) or rice.

I do like the Indian spicy Channa masala, creamy Rajma (kidney beans) and paneer butter masala on my platter at times. But nothing makes me hungry faster, than a generous bowl of freshly cooked vegetables placed next to a Phulkas (Indian flat bread) on my plate.

I prefer the not-so-common indigenous or native vegetables such as Kantola or Kikoda, Parwal or pointed gourd, large chilies, bitter gourd, Karonda (a berry), Mogri fali (radish pods), some of which have a very peculiar taste but make a wonderful stir-fry.

These Indian Subzis are so versatile yet so simple to prepare. I don’t think one need to follow any particular recipe to get the best results when trying to cook a Subzi, they are so versatile. One just need to master a few cooking tricks and get familiar with the aromatic Indian spices to dish out a mouth-watering Indian food in minutes.

Subzis are similar to Asian stir fry recipes where vegetable is the star ingredient.  While the texture of vegetable in most of the Indian curries is lost and is overpowered by the spices, thick sauces and rich gravies.

But these easy- to-prepare, delicious and nutrient dense recipes are a wonderful way to please your taste buds without adding a calorie bomb to your diet.

1. Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 large potato
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves)

Spices;

  • 2 tsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Cut small florets of cauliflower and wash thoroughly with water.

Peel and chop potato.

Grate ginger, onions, tomatoes and garlic. Crush coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Heat oil in a pan and crackle cumin seeds. Add grated onion, tomato, garlic and ginger into it and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add freshly ground coriander seeds, chilly, turmeric and asafetida powder in the pan and combine well.

Add chopped vegetables, fresh peas in the pan, cover and let it cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes.

Take the pan off the flame and add garam masala and crushed Kasuri methi in the mixed vegetable curry. Serve with flat breads or plain rice.

2. Kantola Stir-fry or Quick Kikoda Subzi

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 9-10 Kantolas or Kikodas
  • 32 large onions
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Wash and thinly slice the Kikodas and onions. Break the red chillies into small pieces.

Heat oil in a kadai and splutter cumin seeds in it.

Add red chilly pieces, sliced onion, kikodas, salt and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

Do not overcook and let the vegetable become too soggy.

Serve this simple and delicious Kikoda curry with Indian flat breads.

3. Pointed Gourd Stir-fry or Parwal ki Sabzi

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 7-8 Pointed gourd or Parval
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Method; Wash Parwal & potatoes and chop into small pieces.

Roughly chop tomato and onion.

Grind chopped onion and tomato with yogurt into fine paste.

Add red chilly, turmeric and coriander powder into the above paste.

Heat oil in a wok/kadai and splutter cumin seeds in it.

Add yogurt and spice paste in it and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Add chopped Parwal and potato in the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes till the potatoes are done.

Recipes | Easy Indian Stir-Fry recipes aka Subzis

Most of these native vegetables have acquired taste which many may not like.

Check Glossary for English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used  in Indian cooking.

Notes;

  1. Do not over cook the vegetables, keep them slightly under-cooked to retain the crunch in them.
  2. These Sabzis taste delicious when they are served and eaten immediately after they are cooked.
  3. Keep the flame medium to high to while cooking these vegetables to seal the moisture of the veggies inside.
  4. I prefer adding salt at the last as vegetables tend to release moisture when salt is added to them while cooking.

Check Glossary for English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients.

 

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Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain and Lentil Crepes with quick Spreads – Memories which root us in a time and place http://litebite.in/recipes-healthy-wholegrain-crepes/ http://litebite.in/recipes-healthy-wholegrain-crepes/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:00:49 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=10832 Growing up, we used to visit our granny every holiday. Reaching late at her house and being treated with warm and comforting Bajra khichda (millet porridge) was the best part of our trip.

She would welcome us with a sweet smile and rush to her kitchen to cook a quick meal. The wooden hearth would be hurriedly filled with charcoal to light the fire. She would then open the large round aluminum box placed neatly on wooden shelf and take out handful of wholegrain and lentil grits from it.

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healthy wholegrain crepes, egg free and vegan

Growing up, we used to visit our granny every holiday. Reaching late at her house and being treated with warm and comforting Bajra khichda (millet porridge) was the best part of our trip.

She would welcome us with a sweet smile and rush to her kitchen to cook a quick meal. The wooden hearth would be hurriedly filled with charcoal to light the fire. She would then open the large round aluminum box placed neatly on wooden shelf and take out handful of wholegrain and lentil grits from it.

The spice-mixed grits were added to the earthen pot of boiling water on the hearth. In between her cooking, she would look at us admiringly from the side of her glasses and continue stirring the pot vigorously with a wooden ladle pouring ghee at regular intervals.

The food she cooked was plain and simple but it has created many enduring memories. These  memories are so special that they root us in a time & place making us happy every time that we cook the same food at home.

My mom follows the same and her kitchen shelves are always stacked with jars filled with various combinations of spices, lentils, millet and other cereal grits.

At home I do follow the same. These time-saving, versatile wholegrain & lentil mixes are really handy when you need a quick meal or are lazy to spend hours in your kitchen. There are many other ways these grits could be used to make a nourishing meal. I whip up a savory porridge, a healthy vegetable Khichdi, breakfast pancakes or Bisi-Bhele Bhat with these mixes.

Here is what I did with one of my red rice and lentil mix the other day, I made delicious crepes or Dosas or Chilla as called in India. Call it an Indian Pesarattu, Adai, Cheela or any other name, these crepes make a filling and healthy breakfast treat.

I have used a mix of brown rice and a popular Indian variety of Kerala rice called ‘Matta‘ rice in this recipe, you can use any other rice you wish.

1. Red rice lentil crepes

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Ingredients;

(makes 10-12 crepes)

  • 1 cup red rice
  • 1/4 cup split green gram
  • 1/4 cup pigeon pea
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • Coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Oil
  • Water

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Method;

Wash red rice, green gram (moong dal) and pigeon pea (toovar dal) with water and dry in sunlight for a day.

Coarsely grind red rice, both the lentils, with black peppercorns (kali mirch) and cumin seeds (jeera).

Store the above mix in an air-tight container. It stays good for many days.

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

For making the crepes, take one cup of above grain and lentil mix and soak in water for an hour.

Grind the soaked rice-lentil mix into fine paste using a cup of water.

Add salt, finely chopped onion and coriander leaves to the batter and keep it aside for an hour.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladleful of batter on it. Spread the batter with the back of ladle into a thin circle.

Drizzle a few drops of oil and cook it for a minute.

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Flip to other side and cook for another minute till the crepe becomes crisp.

Serve with green chutney or tomato sauce.

2. Foxtail Millet lentil crepes

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Ingredients;

(makes 10-12 crepes)

  • 1 cup Foxtail millet
  • 1/2 cup Bengal gram
  • 1/2 cup Black gram
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • Coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Oil
  • water

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Method; Wash and soak Foxtail millet, Bengal gram (chana dal), and black gram (urad dal) in water for an hour.

Grind the soaked millet and lentil with cumin seeds and red chilies using one cup of water into fine batter.

Recipes | Healthy Wholegrain Crepes

Finely chop onion, ginger and coriander leaves and add it to the batter. Add salt to the batter and let it rest for an hour.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladleful of batter on it. Spread the batter to make a pancake or crepe.  Drizzle a little oil and cook on both the sides till it s crisp. Serve with chutney or a dollop of fresh butter.

Read on wiki about Foxtail millet . Here are the recipes of the two quick spreads served with these crepes above;

1. Coriander yogurt chutney

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 onion
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Method; Grind coriander leaves and mint leaves with green chilies, garlic cloves and salt into fine paste.

Take it out in a bowl and add rest of the ingredients and store in refrigerator.

2. Peanut-tomato chutney

Ingredients;

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup roasted and shelled peanuts
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • A pinch of asafetida powder

Method;  Grind roasted and shelled peanuts into coarse powder.

Heat oil in a pan and add crackle mustard seeds in it. Add chopped tomatoes, , turmeric powder, red chilly powder, tamarind paste, salt and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Add coarsely ground peanut powder, asafetida powder and take it off from flame. Store the chutney in refrigerator. The chutney stays good for a week.

Notes;

  1. Use buttermilk to grind the batter for Foxtail millet crepes.
  2. Use the grits to make a quick healthy Khichdi‘ or porridge.
  3. You can even powder the grits and store for making instant crepes.
  4. Replace Foxtail millet with any other millet of your choice to make these crepes.
  5. Keep the batter slightly liquid or runny to get thin crepes. You may find it slightly difficult to spread the thin batter initially.
  6. These crepes does not require any fermentation.
  7. Prepare the batter a day before and refrigerate to make quick healthy breakfast crepes in morning.

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