Lite Bite http://litebite.in Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:05:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Recipe |Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri – And life goes on http://litebite.in/recipe-sorghum-pilaf-aka-jowar-ghoogri/ http://litebite.in/recipe-sorghum-pilaf-aka-jowar-ghoogri/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 11:33:06 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11781 "Secure your dreams for they are the wings of your soul" Bianca Bower.

What do you do when you are caught in the hectic happenings of the week?

The never-ending household grind, grocery shopping, dropping and picking children from school, driving daughter from one corner of the city to other for sports & music classes in evening, dropping son for his evening extra classes, organizing for shoots and then squeezing time in between to manage this blog.

Well, in reality there's not much I can do about it but to vent my feelings and anger in every other blogpost...or..errr...just hope for one another Sunday to put a break on my fast-paced lifestyle :)

But then, I am also enjoying the various phases and changes that life brings every single day as time marches on.

The post Recipe |Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri – And life goes on appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy sorghum recipes

Secure your dreams for they are the wings of your soul” Bianca Bower.

What do you do when you are caught in the hectic happenings of the week?

The never-ending household grind, grocery shopping, dropping and picking children from school, driving daughter from one corner of the city to other for sports & music classes in evening, dropping son for his evening extra classes, organizing for shoots and then squeezing time in between to manage this blog.

Well, in reality there’s not much I can do about it but to vent my feelings and anger in every other blogpost…or..errr…just hope for one another Sunday to put a break on my fast-paced lifestyle :)

But then, I am also enjoying the various phases and changes that life brings every single day as time marches on.

I keep reworking on strategies and prioritizing the schedules to make sure that my goals & dreams fit in between the daily grind and my family is very well taken care of.

Hmm….hectic happenings or not, life has to go on. I was delighted to find a new organic store opened close to my house loaded with many unusual food products I would love to cook with. I bought a few packets of red Sorghum and sweet smelling pure cane sugar or as they call it sucanat (sugar cane natural).

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

The red Sorghum has harder skin and more nutty taste than the white grain and takes a little longer to cook.

These nutty grains combine beautifully with both savory and sweet recipes. The cooked grain comes handy to make a quick and filling snack (Patties, Ghoogri, kathi rolls), dessert (Kheech or kheer) or a full meal (pilaf or risotto).

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

I remember mom adding this light brown coloured Burra sugar she would religiously stock in her pantry to our milk and many other desserts back then. Burra sugar is nothing but dehydrated sugarcane juice which  is made by heating the sugarcane juice till it transforms into granules.

The molasses in the Burra sugar gives a wonderful taste and aroma to any dishes it is added to. And after Googling about this sugar I found out that the same sugar is referred as Sucanat in modern world.

The thought of making Jowar Ghoogri and Jowar Kheech, two very popular dishes from my native place Udaipur in Rajasthan crossed my mind.

Ghoogri is a savory recipe prepared from overnight soaked and de-husked whole wheat kernel (gehun) or white Sorghum (jowar) while Keech is a slow-cooked dessert cooked in raw sugar.

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

I normally cook about half kilo of Sorghum or any other millet and refrigerate it in an air-tight container.

Soaked and cooked Sorghum stays good for 4-5 days when refrigerated. In-fact these cooked grains taste wonderful just as or when eaten with a dash of lemon juice and salt sprinkled on them.

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup whole Sorghum
  • 1 cup chopped coloured Capsicum
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 garlic pearls
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
  • Fresh coriander for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Seasoning;

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

Method; Wash and soak Sorghum in water overnight.

Use a pressure cooker to fasten the time of cooking, as these grains are very hard to cook and take longer time to soften.

Sorghum should be chewy but tender and retain its round shape for this recipe.

I add the Sorghum in a small vessel covered with a lid, place the vessel in a pressure cooker and cook it for about 7-8 whistles.

Cooked Sorghum can be easily stored in an air-tight container for upto 3-4 days.

Chop onion and all the coloured capsicum into small cubes. Chop green chillies and crush garlic pearls with a knife or stone.

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

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

Add cloves, bay leaf and crushed garlic in the oil and sauté for a second.

Add chopped onion, capsicum, turmeric powder and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes.

Reduce the flame and add cooked Sorghum, salt and sugar in the wok and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.

Sorghum Pilaf aka Jowar Ghoogri

Turn the flame off and add chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice and serve this Jowar Ghoogari hot with poppadum or plain curd.

Notes;

  1. Cooked Sorghum can be stored in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Pack cooked Sorghum in an sir-tight container or cover the vessel with cling foil and refrigerate.
  2. Use vegetables such as carrots, peas, fresh corn, cauliflower, french beans or spinach to make this Sorghum pilaf.

There are two more recipes of Sorghum to be continued in the next post here.
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Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech http://litebite.in/recipe-sorghum-patties-jowar-keech/ http://litebite.in/recipe-sorghum-patties-jowar-keech/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 11:28:58 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11784 I was delighted to find a new organic store opened close to my house loaded with many unusual food products I would love to cook with. I bought a few packets of red Sorghum (jowar) and sweet smelling pure cane sugar or as they call it sucanat (sugar cane natural).

The red Sorghum has harder skin and more nutty taste than the white grain and takes a little longer to cook.

The post Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy sorghum recipes

Continued from here.

I was delighted to find a new organic store opened close to my house loaded with many unusual food products I would love to cook with. I bought a few packets of red Sorghum (jowar) and sweet smelling pure cane sugar or as they call it sucanat (which stands for sugar cane natural).

The red Sorghum has harder skin and more nutty taste than the white grain and takes a little longer to cook.

These nutty grains combine beautifully with both savory and sweet recipes. The cooked Sorghum grain comes handy to make a quick and filling snack (PattiesGhoogri, kathi rolls), dessert (Kheech or kheer) or a full meal (pilaf or risotto).

I remember watching mom keep stock of this golden brown coloured Burra sugar and religiously adding it to our milk and many other desserts back then.

Burra sugar is nothing but dehydrated sugarcane juice which  is made by heating the sugarcane juice till it transforms into granules.

The molasses in the Burra sugar gives a wonderful taste and aroma to any dishes it is added to. And after Googling about this sugar I found out that the same sugar is referred as Sucanat in modern world.

The thought of making Jowar Ghoogri and Jowar Kheech, two very popular dishes from my native place Udaipur in Rajasthan crossed my mind.

1. Sorghum Patties or Jowar Tikia

Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech

(6-7 Patties)

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups cooked Sorghum
  • 1 boiled potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1/4 cup Coriander leaves
  • 10-12 Basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Method; Wash and soak about 3/4 th cup of Sorghum in two cups of water overnight.

Pressure cook the soaked Sorghum in 4-5 cups of water for 7-8 whistles.

Peel and chop the onion. Chop green chillies and fresh coriander leaves.

Drain excess water from cooked Sorghum, place it in a large bowl and slightly mash it with a ladle. At this stage you can even grind the Sorghum into coarse paste to make it easy to handle while shaping the patties.

Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech

Add chopped onion, chopped green chillis, coriander leaves, basil leaves, mashed potato (add fresh bread if you don’t have boiled potato), lemon juice, salt in the bowl and combine to form a dough.

Grease your hands with oil and make small patties. You don’t need to add water in the dough as the moisture present in the herbs and cooked Sorghum should be good enough to bind them into patties.

Heat a griddle and place 3-4 patties on it.

Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech

Drizzle a little oil around all the patties and let it cook on medium heat till they become golden brown in colour.

Repeat the same process and cook all the patties on each side.
Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech

Serve these healthy patties as snack or as a filling for burger and Kathi rolls.

2. Sorghum Pudding aka Jowar ki Keech

Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech

Use the same soaked and cooked Sorghum grains to make this delicacy called Keech. You could slightly grind the grain into coarse paste to give a creamy consistency to the dessert.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup cooked Sorghum
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • Chopped nuts

Method; Wash and soak Sorghum in water overnight.

Cop all the nuts. I have used almonds, cashew nuts and raisins in this recipe.

Use a pressure cooker to fasten the time of cooking, as these grains are very hard to cook and take longer time to soften.

I add the Sorghum in a small vessel covered with a lid, place the vessel in a pressure cooker and cook it for about 9-10 whistles.

Let the pressure cooker cool and take out the cooked Sorghum.

Use the back of a ladle to slightly mash the warm and cooked Sorghum to make it sticky and mushy.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom kadai, add chopped nuts in it and suate for a few seconds.

Add cooked mushy Sorghum grains and cane sugar in the kadai and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
Recipe | Sorghum Patties and Jowar ki Keech
Add cardamom powder and turn off the heat.

Add about a cup of coconut milk or plain milk and transform this Keech into a delicious Kheer as shown in the picture above.

Notes;

  1. Cooked Sorghum can be stored in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Pack cooked Sorghum in an sir-tight container or cover the vessel with cling foil and refrigerate.
  2. Use mint or coriander leaves to replace basil in the sorghum patty recipe.
  3. Substitute lemon juice with Chaat masala or dry pomegranate seeds to give an Indian touch to the Sorghum patty recipe.
  4. Replace boiled potato in Patties with 2 fresh breads. Sprinkle little water on bread slices and roughly tear into small bits before adding it to the Sorghum dough for patties.

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Recipe & Food Styling | Eggless Mango Semolina Squares http://litebite.in/recipe-food-styling-eggless-mango-semolina-squares-cake/ http://litebite.in/recipe-food-styling-eggless-mango-semolina-squares-cake/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 10:54:51 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11766 It has been 7 years already and the kind of euphoria that Lite Bite is creating, year after year is beyond words.

Lately I have been so wrapped up in constant outdoor photo-shoots and family commitments that this online baby is completely neglected.

But then, it never ceases to surprise me any less. Lite Bite is listed in the 'Indian Top Blog' List' of 2015  yet again....some good online karmas I suppose :)

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healthy mango semolina eggless cake

It has been 7 years already, the kind of euphoria that Lite Bite is creating, year after year is beyond words.

Lately I have been so wrapped up in constant outdoor photo-shoots and family commitments that this online baby is completely neglected.

But then, it never ceases to surprise me any less. Lite Bite is listed in the ‘Indian Top Blog’ List‘ of 2015  yet again….Lite Bite was already on the list of Top food bloggers on rediff and Awesomecuisine in 2013-14…some good online karmas I suppose :)

Hmm…on a happy note, here is a snippet of one another fun-filled and exciting photo-shoot I wish to share.

The shoot was for a popular fast food joint – Bombaysthan, formerly known as Haji Ali in Chennai. I was teamed with very supportive and dedicated photographer, Janeesh with whom I had already worked earlier and was quite comfortable from the word go.

I had visited Haji Ali in T.Nagar many times before I took this assignment and really enjoyed digging into their tall glass of creamy Falooda, fresh fruit creams and cheesy vegetable sandwiches.

The shoot was finalized after a couple of meets with the owner at his restaurant, where we decided the dishes to be shot and the props to be used for individual photographs.

healthy mango semolina eggless cake

The venue of the shoot was at their Besant Nagar branch and I got this (above) wonderful workstation with three large tables to set up my props and start  my day with.

healthy mango semolina eggless cake, food styling

Oh..yes, there were many testing and tasting of the dishes during the shoot….

healthy mango semolina eggless cake, food styling

The supportive staff pampered us with uninterrupted fresh fruit juices and delicious snacks to keep us going….

And here are a few of my favorite shots from our photo-shoot which Janeesh readily agreed to share with me;

healthy mango semolina eggless cake, food styling

Pic courtesy: Bombaysthan and Janeesh

Janeesh got a perfect spot to shoot this picture….

healthy mango semolina eggless cake, food styling

Pic courtesy: Bombaysthan and Janeesh

This shot took a longer time to assemble…we wanted the cream and the fruits to show in separate layers rather than getting lost into each other….and that is where some of my styling tricks came handy 😉

healthy mango semolina eggless cake, food styling

Pic courtesy: Bombaysthan and  Janeesh

Pizza was the last shot of the day as it needed to be properly garnished and perfectly baked before shooting…

I had a wonderful time shooting with Janeesh, thanks to the supportive staff who helped me out in cooking the dishes as I wanted it to be.

Mango Semolina Squares

When celebration is an act of expressing appreciation…

Here is a small treat I shared with my family few days back, to celebrate my son’s hard-work in his 10th board. He scored 98% and was extremely happy with his efforts. Not that marks or exams ever bothered me to judge my children, but if it makes them happy….what better than something sweet to  celebrate…and I baked these Mango semolina squares for him.

I had a good fortune of growing up in a city (Udaipur) which showcased some of the finest mangoes in India.

Dasheri, Badami, Kesar, Langra, Kalmi, Totapuri, gola, Neelam, Safeda, Sinduri, Alphonso….. Yes, living in Udaipur, we were spoiled for choice.

When everyday summer-time menu would boast of recipes such as Aam ras-puri , mango curriesAam panna (mango cooler), Aam papad (mango leather) or Phirni (dessert) to say the least.

Mango semolina square is one such recipe which mom used to make during summer season. She would even freeze mango puree and use it during off season.

She would add equal parts of semolina and wholewheat flour into fresh mango pulp, a little of cardamon and jaggery, chopped nuts, a pinch of baking powder and cook the batter on a tawa or pan. Her squares looked more like thick and fluffy mango parathas than spongy cakes.

I tried to convert those fluffy parathas into spongy baked goodies by adding honey, yogurt and amaranth in it. You can cook the same batter on griddle to make small pancakes or a large flat cake.

I have used a large fully ripe Alphonso mango to get a lovely colour and natural sweetness in the recipe.

healthy mango semolina eggless cake

Ingredients:

(12-15 small squares)

  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. Amaranth seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Handful of chopped Nuts

healthy mango semolina eggless cake

Method: Preheat the oven at 190°C and grease a shallow rectangular baking tray.

Coarsely chop the nuts. I used a mix of almonds and cashew nuts in the recipe.

Peel and scoop out the pulp from the mango and mash it using a fork or ladle.

Combine semolina (rawa or suji), honey, baking powder, cardamom powder (elaichi), chopped nuts in a large bowl.

Take another bowl and pour oil, yogurt and mango pulp in it and combine well.

Add semolina mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and keep folding the batter with a fork.

healthy mango semolina eggless cake

Pour the batter in the greased baking tray, sprinkle amaranth seeds (chawli) over the top and bake it for 20-25 minutes or till the top turns light brown in colour.

As the batter is spread thinly on the baking tray, time taken to bake the batter is slightly lesser than that of a cake.

healthy mango semolina eggless cake

Take out the tray from the oven and let it cool completely before slicing the Mango semolina squares.

Notes;

  1. Use normal white sugar or palm sugar if you don’t have honey.
  2. Amaranth seeds are optional in this recipe, it gives a wonderful crunch to the semolina cake recipe.
  3. Roast the semolina slightly before adding to the batter for better results.

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Recipes | Two Indian Curries with Mango – Colours of my childhood http://litebite.in/recipes-mango-curries-indian/ http://litebite.in/recipes-mango-curries-indian/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 12:12:22 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11751 I did my first few years of primary schooling in a small town called Zawar Mines, in Rajasthan.

Dad was a doctor, we lived in an independent spacious bungalow surrounded by huge garden on all the three sides of our house.

Mom converted the front portion into a cozy sit out. Small cement benches placed in the centre of soft and neatly manicured lawn decked with some rare and exotic varieties of flowering plants she collected from our LTC trips every year.

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healthy indian curries

I did my first few years of primary schooling in a small town called Zawar Mines, in Rajasthan.

Dad was a doctor, we lived in an independent spacious bungalow surrounded by huge garden on all the three sides of our house.

Mom converted the front portion into a cozy sit out. Small cement benches placed in the centre of soft and neatly manicured lawn decked with some rare and exotic varieties of flowering plants she collected from our LTC trips every year.

Rest of the garden was completely dedicated to vegetables and fruits. We had two live-in house helps who helped mom in managing the garden. Okra (ladies-finger), brinjal, Ivy gourd (tindori), Bottle gourd (lauki), Ridge gourd (taroi), corn, tomatoes, herbs and what not.. I don’t remember mom going to market to get vegetables for her kitchen, except onion and potatoes.

We didn’t have television and so the pace of life was very different then. Most of  our time in a day was spent playing outdoor games, catching butterflies or plucking wild berries from neighbors garden.

Even though summers were very hot, we never stayed indoors. If mornings and afternoons were spent playing cards and hop-scotch in our verandahs then evenings were reserved for hide & seek and satoliya  (seven stones) games in the common ground outside our houses.

healthy indian curries

Come summer and mangoes would be everywhere. The mango tree which grew inside our courtyard holds a special place. It was our savior during peek summer afternoons when mom would lock the doors to keep us indoors. The tree had lots of branches and we would easily climb it to reach to the terrace our friends house.

The tree bore sweet-sour juicy country mangoes which were small in size and very fibrous dominating everyday summer-time meal at home.

Mango milk shakes in morning followed by a mango Daal or kadhi or just plain Aam ras with duppad (variety of Indian flat bread) and a mango kulfi as dessert in night.

1. Mango Lentil curry aka Aam Daal

healthy indian curries

Mom would add whole mangoes to make Daal (lentil) and Kadhi (yogurt curry). These are the most easiest and popular summer-time recipes using country mangoes which are sweet and sour in taste. My granny used to make these recipes quite often, she avoided adding onion or garlic in it. The simple addition of mangoes in the lentil and yogurt based curries take it to another level.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup pigeon peas
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped ginger
  • Salt as required
  • Water

Spices:

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 9-10 fenugreek seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

healthy indian curries

Method: Wash and soak split pigeon peas or Toor daal for 15 minutes.

Add soaked daal with turmeric and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker and cook for two whistles.

Cool the pressure cooker, take out the cooked daal and mash it slightly with the back of a ladle. You can cook the daal in an open vessel also for 25-30 minutes.

Peel the mango and squeeze the pulp from it and pour it in a small vessel along with the seed.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and splutter cumin seeds in it. Add fenugreek seeds, broken dried red chillies, asafoetida powder, chopped ginger, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and sauté for a few seconds.

Pour cooked and mashed daal, mango pulp with seeds and a cup of water in the wok and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and cover the wok with a tight lid.

The recipe is without onion and garlic, but you can serve the lentil curry with sliced onion and a dash of lemon juice for better taste.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with plain rice or Indian flat breads.

2. Mango yogurt curry aka Aam Kadhi 

healthy indian curries

I normally use half-ripened mangoes to make this Kadhi. The addition of mango in this Kadhi gives a rich fruity aroma unlike the normal yogurt curries or Kadhi.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1 large Mango
  • 1 cup sour yogurt/curd
  • 1 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • A few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices:

  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

Method: Wash and peel the mango, squeeze to take out the pulp and reserve the seed.

Pour the yogurt in a large vessel, add turmeric, salt, chickpea flour into it and whisk it well with a spoon or whisker.

Add about 2 cups of water and mango pulp with the seed in the yogurt mixture and combine well.

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

Add broken dried red chilies, cloves, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida powder, grated ginger, curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

Pour yogurt mixture into the wok and let it simmer at medium heat for 6-7 minutes.

Serve the Mango Kadhi with rice or any Indian flat bread.

Notes:

  1. The colour and flavors of the mango Kadhi and mango Daal depends on the quality of mangoes used in the recipe.
  2. Use semi-sweet mangoes or mangoes which are not too sweet to make these recipes.
  3. Strain the mango pulp before adding to the Kadhi, if it contains too many fibers.
  4. Wash and soak the pigeon peas for 20-25 minutes to reduce the cooking time.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipes here in Glossary.
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Recipes | Cooking with Thuthuvalai – A tiny herb and a few healthy recipes http://litebite.in/recipes-thuthuvalai-kulambu-rasam-dosa-chutney-recipes/ http://litebite.in/recipes-thuthuvalai-kulambu-rasam-dosa-chutney-recipes/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 09:34:31 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11735 'All good food comes with a story, and the stories need sharing as much as the food'.

Wait, don’t keep that box for washing…taste the dish in it and tell me how is it?” asked hubby, who saw me holding and sniffing that small blue box. The tiny box and the food inside looked unfamiliar to me.

Hmm..it does taste good, but what is it and how did it come in your lunch-bag?” staring at him, I asked.

My colleague KC brought this Kulambu (curry) for lunch today. I found the recipe quite interesting and asked him to pack a little for me so that you can taste and try it at home.” Hubby smiled and answered, clearing the doubt in my mind.

The post Recipes | Cooking with Thuthuvalai – A tiny herb and a few healthy recipes appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

‘All good food comes with a story, and the stories need sharing as much as the food‘.

Wait, don’t keep that box for washing…taste the dish in it and tell me how is it?” asked hubby, who saw me holding and sniffing that small blue box. The tiny box and the food inside looked unfamiliar to me.

Hmm..it does taste good, but what is it and how did it come in your lunch-bag?” I asked, staring at him.

My colleague KC brought this Kulambu (curry) for lunch today. I found the recipe quite interesting and asked him to pack a little for me so that you can taste and try it at home.” Hubby smiled and answered, clearing the doubt in my mind.

Oh, that’s really good, do ask him to share the recipe of the same if he can.” I told hubby and continued rearranging my kitchen.

Sanjeeta kk of Lite Bite is ‘your’ wife?” my hubby’s colleague rushed to his cabin the next day morning and asked him in amazement.

Wondering as to how his colleague get to know about his wife, my hubby relied, “Yes, she is. Why?”

My wife works as assistant professor in a college and looks like most of the staff working over there is fan of Lite Bite. They regularly discuss the recipes and blog updates in their staff room.”  his colleague informed, barely hiding his disbelief.

The dish you tasted yesterday is a Kulambu (curry) made with a common herb Thuthuvalai greens which is a regular at my home.  Here are the three recipes my wife wanted to share with your wife. Hope she likes it” He continued handing over a few hand-written papers from a notebook to my hubby.

Thuthuvalai as is called in Tamil is a medicinal plant with loads of health benefits. Solanum trilobatum or purple fruited pea egg plant or climbing brinjal is a medicinal plant which is extensively used in regional cooking in Tamil Nadu. The plant which is a climbing shrub has tiny thorns on leaves and stems and is supposed to cure sore throat, cold, cough and flatulence.

The most common way to cook these thorny plants is in the form of chutney, soup or rasam, Khulambu or in crepes or Dosa.

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

Thuthuvalai plant in my garden…

Here are a few of the recipes Mrs. Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran, wife of my hubby’s colleague shared along with a few recipes of mine with the healthy Thuthuvalai plant.

Every Indian develops the taste of their regional cuisine quite early in life. The characteristic flavors, indigenous herbs and spices used in cooking varies according to the availability of these ingredients and climatic conditions.

It was difficult for me to develop the taste for certain ingredients which were introduced quite late in my life. Thuthuvalai, turkey berriessun berries, narthangai (citron) pachdai, mavadu (baby mangoes), Neem flower rasam, agathi greens are a few local ingredients which took me years to get used to.

I love to cook and grow local herbs and vegetables at home and have this small thorny plant of Thuthuvalai quietly growing in my backyard.

I often use the leaves to make crepes or Dosa or add them directly to my soups or Rasam whenever anyone catches cold at my home. And that is all I know to sue these greens in my kitchen.

1. Instant purple fruited pea egg plant semolina crepe aka Thuthuvalai rava Dosa

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvali greens

Thuthuvalai-semolina batter in top right and the crepes with tomato chutney…

Dosa or crepe is the most common way I use Thuthuvalai in my cooking, and this is how I make Thuthuvalai crepes.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1/2 cup packed Thuthuvali leaves
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 2 tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. wholewheat flour
  • 2 tbsp sour yogurt
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Method: Wash Thuthuvali leaves and grind it into coarse paste with peppercorn (black pepper or kali mirch) and cumin seeds (jeera).

Take a large bowl and add semolina (rava), rice flour, wholewheat flour, salt (about ¼ tsp.) and combine well with a ladle.

Pour yogurt (curd or dahi), ground Thuthuvalai leaves paste and about 3 cups of plain water into the bowl.

Combine all the ingredients to make a runny batter. Add more water if the consistency is not as required.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladle full of batter on it. Drizzle a little oil if required (I use non-stick pan which do not require any oil) and flip the crepe to the other side.

Cook both the sided till it turns golden brown in colour.

Serve these healthy crepes with any chutney or sauce of your choice.

2. Purple fruited pea egg plant curry aka Tangy Thuthuvala Kulambu

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvalai greens
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 5-6 garlic pearls
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

Method; Wash the Thuthuvala greens and grind into fine paste.

Make tamarind paste using a small lemon sized ball of fresh tamarind. I use homemade tamarind paste which I prepare and refrigerate.

Take about 2 cups of water in a vessel and add tamarind paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder (dhania), asafoetida powder (hing) and salt in it.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and garlic pearls (lasun)in the oil and sauté for a minute.

Pour spiced tamarind water in the wok and bring it to a boil.

Add ground Thuthuvala greens in the wok and let it simmer till the gravy or Kulumbu (gravy) becomes semi solid in consistency.

3. Purple fruited pea egg plant and tomato curry aka Thuthuvali-tomato Kuzhambu

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

This is how I make Kulambu or curry with lots of tomato and shredded Thuthuvalai leaves. Deep red country tomatoes and a good Sambhar powder gives this Kulambu a bright red hue.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 10-12 Thuthuvalai leaves
  •  4 large tomatoes
  • 8-10 shallots
  • 2 tsp Sambhar powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. Bengal gram
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoeitda powder
  • Salt to taste

Method: Wash Thuthuvali leaves and roughly chop it with kitchen scissors.

Wash and finely chop the tomatoes.

Peel and slice the shallots (small onion or chinna vengayam).

Heat a oil in a wok or kadai and splutter mustard seeds (rai dana) and Bengal gram (channa daal) in it.

Add sliced onion and saute for 2 minutes.

Add asafoetida powder and chopped tomatoes in it and cook for 6-7 minutes on medium heat.

Add Sambhar powder and chopped Thuthuvalai leaves in the wok and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Put off the flame and serve the healthy curry with Idly, Dosa or plain rice.

4. Purple fruited pea egg plant spread aka Thuthuvala Thuvayal

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvala greens
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Garlic pearls
  • 1 tsp. de-skinned black gram
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

Method: Pluck and wash Thuthuvala greens.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and lightly brown the de-skinned black gram (urad daal). Take the roasted gram out and add greens in the same oil and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Grind sautéed greens with grated coconut, garlic pearls, red chillies, tamarind paste and salt into fine paste. I like chunky bits of leaves and spices in my chutney and use mortar and pestle to grind.

Add the roasted gram in the Thuvayal and serve with plain rice, Dosa or Idly.

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

Thuthavalai plant in my garden…

5. Purple fruited pea egg plant soup aka Thuthuvala Rasam

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvala leaves
  • 4-5 garlic pearls
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp. peppercorn
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafetida powder                    `
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Method: Pluck and wash the leaves of Thuthuvala.

Grind the leaves with peppercorn, cumin seeds and garlic pearls into fine paste.

Take 2 cups of water in a vessel and add tamarind paste and salt in it and boil it for about 7-8 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind disappear.

Add ground Thuthuvala and spice paste in the boiling tamarind water.

Take the vessel off the flame as soon as the Rasam starts to boil and cover the vessel with a lid.

Heat oil a small pan and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add asafoetida powder and broken red chillies in hot oil and pout this tempering over the cooked Rasam

6. Purple fruited pea egg and tomato soup aka Thuthuvali-tomato Rasam

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

The Rasam I cook using Thuthuvalai leaves and tomato pulp has orangish hue to it and I do miss the flavors of the herbs in my recipe. As I don’t grind the leaves and just shred the leaves to use as garnish. This recipe is more like a soup which is good to have to get relief from common cold and cough.

Grinding the leaves along with spices (in her recipe above) to make Rasam gives strong flavor and much better taste.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 10-12 Thuthuvalai leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 garlic pearls
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • A pinch of asafoetia powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Method: Wash and squeeze the tomatoes in a large vessel filled with 2 cups of water.

Bring tomato with water to a boil.

Wash the Thuthuvalai leaves and remove the hard thorns and finely chop the leaves with a kitchen scissors.

Grind peppercorn, cumin seeds and garlic cloves into coarse paste, I use my pestle and mortar to do this.

Add ground peppercorn and garlic paste to the boiling tomato water and let it simmer for 6-7 minutes on medium heat.

Heat oil in a small kadai or wok and splutter mustard seeds in it. Add chopped Thuthuvali leaves, stir and put off the flame.

Pour this tempering over the tomato water and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Take the vessel off the flame and serve this healthy soup or Rasam with plain rice or with garlic bread.

Notes:

  1. Make sure to remove thorns which are hard and large at the back of the leaves before using it in cooking.
  2. Add handful of mint or coriander leaves in all the recipes for a better taste.
  3. The colour of Rasam cooked using tamarind will be muddy green while the rasam with tomato as base will be bright red.
  4. Use country tomatoes in the recipe which are sour and tangy in taste for better results.
  5. I often add a pinch of sugar in all the recipes made with Thuthuvalai as the greens are slightly bitter in taste.
  6. Thuthuvalai leave is said to generate heat in body and should be consumed occasionally.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe in Glossary.
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Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao – Passion creates positive energy http://litebite.in/recipe-food-styling-orange-scented-dry-fruits-shahi-pulao/ http://litebite.in/recipe-food-styling-orange-scented-dry-fruits-shahi-pulao/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:23:34 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11720 Passion creates positive energy and we feed on that energy to stay motivated. ~ #onlineread

I am blessed by a number of things I love to do. Painting, travelling, cooking, reading, sketching, gardening, photography and many such activities. I do not find my diverse interest as a dilemma and love to engage myself in some of these activities whenever time permits.

But - well, there exists another life. A real world, where there is a laundry to be cleared, grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, a hungry family to feed, activity classes for children and the never ending list of mundane daily chores.

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Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Passion creates positive energy and we feed on that energy to stay motivated. ~ #onlineread

I am blessed by a number of things I love to do. Painting, travelling, cooking, reading, sketching, gardening, photography and many such activities. I do not find my diverse interest as a dilemma and love to engage myself in some of these activities whenever time permits.

But – well, there exists another life. A real world, where there is a laundry to be cleared, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, a hungry family to feed, activity classes for children and the never ending list of mundane daily chores.

No, I won’t name all my pending tasks at hand, as summer vacations for children have started and I am living on hopes :)

Hmm…if only wishes were horses….a mail and two phone calls and my list of pending chores is already threatening to escalate out of control.

I have been a strict follower of task-reward theory from my childhood days, which is nothing but a way to trick yourself in doing tasks which are relatively boring to do.

Trying to alternate a mundane job (household work) with an interesting task (styling assignments) always brings joy and act as a reward or motivation.

Food blogging and styling assignment is one such activity which recharges my body and brain, an activity where I can easily get lost in time and space and forget to even eat, drink or sleep.

And so, keeping my long list of to-do-works aside, I accepted and started working on yet another interesting food styling assignment last week.

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Rice cooked, labeled and packed individually in separate containers….I had never seen or cooked so many varieties of Basmati rice before…white Sella, Sella golden, traditional, classic,  steamed Basmati and so on.

I had an assignment to cook and style 8 different varieties of branded Indian Basmati rice last week. The shoot was Prateek Singhi.

My day started quite early cooking breakfast and lunch for children and hubby and then cooking the rice according to the instructions given by the client.

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

I had to take care that the cooked rice should look camera friendly with long grains, perfect texture, good colour and which could sustain the long hours of shooting and heat.

I cooked, packed and labeled individual variety of rice in different boxes.

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Making every grain of rice count… the power to present food in the most artistic way is truly rewarding.
Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

A quick click from my phone from the work area…

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Decking up the dish for the next shot…I was literally segregating each perfect looking rice grain and placing it one by one using a fork.

The client had informed me to avoid onion, garlic, spices and root vegetables and wanted me to emphasize more on the texture and colour of long grains. I had to avoid excess garnish yet make the recipe look mouth-watering at the same time.

And after a marathon of cooking various rice recipes for the photo-shoot children demanded something exotic with the leftover export quality rice at home.

I waited for the weekend and cooked this delicious Orange scented Indian pulao with loads of dried and fresh fruits. I was planning to make the Jaipuri Mewa pulao which is a dessert recipe served during special occasions in Rajasthan. But changed the idea and made a savory version instead as my family is not conformable with sweet recipe with rice.

Packed with nuts, fresh fruits and infused with saffron and various Indian spices, this rice dish is perfect for party menu or for a holiday treat.

So with handful of assorted nuts, fresh fruits and a fragrant Basmati rice, a quick Shahi Pulao was on the menu.

Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao
Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup assorted nuts and fruits:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 garlic pearls
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 tbsp. warm milk
  • 4-5 Saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • Few mint leaves
  • Salt to taste

Spices:

  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small bay leaf

Recipe & Food Styling | Orange scented Dry fruits Shahi Pulao

Method: Wash the Basmati rice and soak it in clean water for 20 minutes or more.

Soak saffron strands in warm milk for 10 minutes.

I added an assortment of the following nuts and fruits in the recipe.

  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • Pineapple pieces

Finely slice the onion and grate ginger. Slit the green chilies into two.

Grate the peel of orange and squeeze to take out the juice in a cup.

Heat ghee or Olive oil in a large wok or kadai and quickly fry cashew nuts and almonds for a minute and take them out in a small bowl.

Add cloves, cardamom pods, star anise and bay leaf in the same oil and sauté for a few seconds.

Add sliced ginger, chopped garlic, slit green chilies and sauté for another minute.

Drain the water from the rice, add the rice, raisins, sugar and salt in the wok and combine lightly to coat each grain with ghee or oil.

Pour warm water and orange juice in the wok, cover the wok with a lid and let it cook on medium heat 7-8 minutes.

Add roasted cashew nuts, almonds and soaked saffron strands with milk in the wok, stir lightly and cover again.

Cook for another 2-3 minutes or till the rice is cooked and water is absorbed completely.

Garnish with chopped mint leaves, pineapple pieces and grated orange zest.

Serve this flavorful pulao with yogurt raita or any Indian curry.

Notes:

  1. Replace orange juice with plain water if you wish.
  2. Add seedless grapes, small chunks of apples and pomegranate seeds to enhance the colour and taste of the recipe.
  3. Try substituting the orange juice with pineapple for yet another wonderful flavor in the recipe.
  4. Use good quality saffron for better aroma and colour. If you don’t have saffron in hand, use food grade orange colour or turmeric to get the same visual appeal to your rice.
  5. I added a few fresh peas and capsicum in the recipe.
  6. Use the best quality long grain Basmati rice for the recipe.
  7. Let the Pulao rest for 3-4 hours for the flavors of saffron to infuse in the recipe completely.
  8. Do not over stir the rice after adding saffron milk in it to get the beautiful mix of white and saffron rice.

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Recipe and Food Styling | Easy dessert with Rice dumplings in coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai – Follow your efforts http://litebite.in/recipe-paal-kozhukattai-dessert-food-styling/ http://litebite.in/recipe-paal-kozhukattai-dessert-food-styling/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 09:09:50 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11698 "With extreme joy, we thank Sanjeeta KK of Lite Bites for photographing the recipes in Indu Bokaria's "Recipes from a Diary". Her warmth and friendliness coupled with dedication and passion makes her a pleasure to work with. We look forward to seeing our 76-page, all-colour cookbook in the hands of our readers. If you think the pages look delectable, then you know where the credit lies! Thank you Sanjeeta." Indu Bokaria, cookbook author.

These beautiful words of appreciation are written by the author of a cook book on her Facebook page for whom I did a photo-shoot last year.

The post Recipe and Food Styling | Easy dessert with Rice dumplings in coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai – Follow your efforts appeared first on Lite Bite.

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paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

With extreme joy, we thank Sanjeeta KK of Lite Bites for photographing the recipes in Indu Bokaria’s “Recipes from a Diary”. Her warmth and friendliness coupled with dedication and passion makes her a pleasure to work with. We look forward to seeing our 76-page, all-colour cookbook in the hands of our readers. If you think the pages look delectable, then you know where the credit lies! Thank you Sanjeeta.” Indu Bokaria, cookbook author.

These beautiful words of appreciation are written by the author of a cook book on her Facebook page for whom I did a photo-shoot last year.

The said project was initiated sometime back in July last year, when a good friend ‘Pratibha‘ sent me the proposal. I had a couple of other assignments in hand and was skeptical of accepting and completing the challenging project in time.

Moreover, the task of acting both, a photographer & a food stylist to shoot 60 recipes in a couple of day’s time was too daunting a project.

But then, I did accept the project and given the circumstances (to shoot with a basic camera lens and overcast sky) tried my best to click all the recipes in the stipulated time.

The project has certainly made me happy and confident about my work!

Well, it does feel good when your work is appreciated. But no appreciation or reward can replace the sense of satisfaction at having completed a difficult challenge you set out to do.

And yes, appreciation from friends and well wishers is an added bonus to my hard work :)

At times, I feel that its good if you just follow your efforts and forget the rewards, cause’ when you start loving what you are doing you can conquer almost any difficult task in hand.

healthy vegetarian recipes

Pic courtesy: Indu Bokaria’s cookbook

These are a few pictures I styled and photographed for the cooked food sent to me by Mrs. Indu Bokaria for her cook book.

I could not taste most of the food I shot, as it was styled to make it camera friendly. But whatever I could taste, blew my mind away.

It was undoubtedly some of the most delicious vegetarian food I tasted in recent times. I am eagerly waiting to hold the book in my hand and try out some of her recipes.

Rice dumpling in coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai 

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

Paal Kozhukattai or tiny rice dumplings dipped in coconut milk is an authentic dessert from Tamil Nadu. The dessert is prepared during festivals using some of the very basic ingredients in the kitchen, rice and jaggery.

Traditionally Paal Kozhukattai is prepared by soaking and stone grinding the rice flour with little water. The ground paste is then cooked with warm water till it becomes thicker and pliable dough.

Store bought rice works just good for me fro this delicacy from Karaikudi region of Tamil Nadu.

Cooked and served on a banana leaf, this delicious sweet also makes a popular snack in many parts of South India.

I prepared Paal Kozhukattai for a friend from North India who wanted a different menu for our dinner at my home sometime back.

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

For rice dumplings:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • Almonds and Saffron strands for garnish
  • Water to boil the dumplings

For sweet sauce:

  • 2 cups thin coconut milk
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar or grated jaggery
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp ghee

Method: Add salt and oil in water and bring it to a boil.

Take a large bowl and add rice flour in it.

Pour warm water little at a time and keep mixing with a spoon.

Use hands to bring all the ingredients together and form a soft dough.

Pinch small pea-sized dough and roll into balls.

Bring about 7-8 cups of water in a large vessel and add all the tiny balls into it.

The rice dumplings will start floating over the water once cooked.

Scoop out all the steamed dumplings and place them in a plate.

Thick coconut milk: Add 1 cup of warm water to one cup grated coconut. Squeeze the coconut lightly in warm water and use a filter or muslin cloth to strain the thick coconut milk.

Thin coconut milk: Add 1 more cups of warm water in the squeezed out coconut chaff and mash it lightly with hand. Strain the remaining coconut milk using muslin cloth.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed wok or kadai and fry the almonds in to it.

Pour the thin coconut milk into the wok and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.

Add steamed rice balls into the wok and continue to simmer for another five minutes.

Add thick coconut milk, cardamom powder, grated jaggery or sugar and switch off the flame.

Garnish the dessert with almond slivers and saffron strands.

The dessert can be served cold or warm topped with saffron strands and more nuts as garnish.

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

Check Glossary for names in Hindi and English for various foods and ingredients used in this recipe.

Notes:

  1. The dumplings get hardened after refrigerated for long.
  2. Do not cook thick coconut milk as it may curdle.
  3. Use ready-made coconut milk powder for a quick and fuss-free coconut sauce in this recipe.
  4. Make sure that the dough made with rice flour is not too sticky or the balls will disintegrate in the sauce.
  5. I have used Palm sugar to sweeten the sauce but you can use sugar or grated jaggery also.
  6. The sauce will start thickening after it cools down. Add more liquid (plain milk, coconut milk or even water) to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
  7. Use condensed milk to replace the coconut milk for a different version of sauce for the recipe.
  8. Keep the size of rice balls really small for even cooking.

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Recipe and Food Styling | Vegetable Biryani – Life does exist. It’s the purpose that counts http://litebite.in/recipe-vegetable-biryani/ http://litebite.in/recipe-vegetable-biryani/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:12:57 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11688 Life does exist. It's the purpose that counts.” ~Toba Beta

"Is your life passion-driven or purpose-driven” the lady sitting next to me in the lunch room asked.

I looked at her and smiled. I couldn't comprehend her question and was at a loss of words for a minute.

It was during a photo-shoot last week where I met this beautiful lady who works as an art director. She was assisting a jewellery shoot adjacent to my room. We were having lunch together when she checked my blog on her mobile and asked me about my work.

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healthy vegetarian biryani reciepe

Life does exist. It’s the purpose that counts.” ~Toba Beta

Is your life passion-driven or purpose-driven?” the lady sitting next to me in the lunch room asked.

I looked at her and smiled. I couldn’t comprehend her question and was at a loss of words for a minute.

It was during a photo-shoot last week where I met this beautiful lady who works as an art director. She was assisting a jewellery shoot adjacent to my room. We were having lunch together when she checked my blog on her mobile and asked me about my work.

Hmm…well, the blog was started to fill the empty space in my life and to keep me engaged & entertained.” I took another bite of the Missi roti (spicy Indian flat-bread) from the neatly packed lunch-box and replied.

“But yes, there were two primary reasons for me which prompted me to take up work again.” I leaned back on my chair and continued. She was all ears to me.

The first one was the constant urge to make my life meaningful and the second was to set examples before my children so they learn watching as they grow.” I continued.

With rate of affordability going up, today’s children get most things very easily. And I want them to realize the importance of hard-work in life, become self-dependent and start trusting their feelings so that they won’t be afraid of decision making when they grow.” I answered trying to maintain a tone of confidence.

Great, and what about these food styling projects?” she asked curiously.

Oh…I was accidentally pulled into the world of commercial food styling through a series of events. Lets’ keep this topic for our next meet” I looked into her eyes and smiled.

Nice talking to you Sanjeeta , do keep in touch” she said and gave her business card to me.

We waved good bye and moved on to our respected rooms to resume work.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

I did one another photo-shoot with Prateek yesterday, with whom I had already worked for Hatsun brand.

The branded product was an export quality long grain Basmati rice selling by name ‘Signature’. I had also worked for the same brand last year with Kunal Daswani and did a photo-shoot for their breakfast cereals.

The client had listed out a few requirements and specifications for this shoot. Avoid using onion, garlic, cottage cheese or garam masala (spices) in the finale dish, was their main concern. Give more emphasis to the long grains of Basmati rice.

Peas pulao, Kashmiri pulav and vegetable Biryani were a few dishes we shot keeping in mind the restrictions given by the client.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

I did most of the prepping at home and was quite comfortable at the shoot. Fried nuts, coloured long grain rice, tempering, half cooked rice, par boiled vegetables done a day before the shoot helped me ease out the pressure on the final day.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

When the day started with Basmati rice how can a vegetable biryani be far. I had already cooked extra rice for the day before leaving for the shoot.

I just assembled every element and cooked this quick Biryani after reaching home. And yes, My Biryani had fried onions and garam masala in it… :)

Vegetable Biryani 

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

1st Step – Cooking the Rice 

  • 1 cup long grain Basmati rice
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 6-7 strands Saffron
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup Mint leaves
  • 8-10 Cashew nuts
  • Salt as required
  • Water as required

2nd Step – Cooking the Vegetables

  • 2 cups chopped vegetables
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 garlic pearls
  • 1 small ginger piece
  • 1 tp. Garam masala
  • Salt as required

3rd Step – Tempering and layering Biryani

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 3-4 Coves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 small Bay leaf
  • 1 star Anise

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

1st Step – Cooking Rice 

Wash and soak Basmati rice for at least an hour before cooking.

Add 4 cups of water in a large vessel and bring it to a boil.

Add soaked rice in it and cook it on high for about 6-7 minutes.

Put off the flame and drain the rice using a large colander.

Spread the half cooked rice evenly on the colander and let it cool.

Soak saffron stands in warm milk for about 10 minutes.

Peel and thinly slice the onion.

Heat oil in a pan and fry (about 7-8 minutes) the sliced onion till they turn bark brown in colour.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

2nd Step – Cooking Vegetables

I have used an assortment of carrots, fresh peas and French beans in the recipe.

Prep the vegetables according to your choice.

Grind ginger, garlic and green chilies into fine paste.

Add garam masala in the yogurt and whisk it lightly.

Heat oil in the same pan used to fry te onion.

Add bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and star anise in oil and saute for a few seconds.

Add ginger-garlic-green chilly paste into it and sauté for a minute.

Add all the vegetables, salt, cover the lid and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Pour the yogurt in the pan and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Turn the gas off and set it aside.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

3rd Step – Tempering and layering Biryani

Take a large earthen pot to layer the Biryani.

Layer  about 3-4 ladleful of cooked Basmati rice at the bottom of the pot.

Sprinkle a few mint leaves and fried Onion or Brista over the rice.

Make a layer of  2-3 ladles of cooked vegetables with the gravy over the rice.

Repeat the same till the rice and vegetables are finished.

Make the last layer with rice.

Sprinkle fried onion, cashew nuts and soaked saffron with milk over the rice.

Cover the pot with a lid and secure it with dough (wheat flour mixed with water).

Place the pot over a Tawa or griddle and let ot cook on slow heat for 20 minutes.

Serve the Biryani with yogurt raita.

Check this traditional vegetable Biryani recipe here.

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

Notes;

  1. Use clarified butter or ghee for wonderful aromatic Biryani.
  2. Garnish the Biryani with fresh pomegranate seeds and lightly fried raisins, almonds and cashew nuts.
  3. Use cottage cheese, cauliflower or Mushrooms to make this Birynai.
  4. Cook Basmati rice in coconut milk for a different flavor and taste.
  5. Add  a few teaspoons of butter or ghee at the last layer before keeping the Biryani for Dum (slow cooking).

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Recipe | Desi Health Bites – Tofu Pasanda aka Tofu in White Gravy http://litebite.in/recipe-tofu-pasanda-tofu-in-white-gravy/ http://litebite.in/recipe-tofu-pasanda-tofu-in-white-gravy/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 05:19:01 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11624 Creamy, mildly spicy and an exotic recipe, Paneer Pasanda is a very elaborate Indian dish served in many hi end restaurants in India. Cottage cheese are sliced into thin triangles which are stuffed with a paste of nuts, coated with chickpea flour marinate, deep fried and then dunked into rich creamy gravy to make a delicious Paneer Pasanda.

The preferred gravy for Paneer Pasanda is deep red in colour, which comes from ground tomatoes, deep fried onions and turmeric powder.

The post Recipe | Desi Health Bites – Tofu Pasanda aka Tofu in White Gravy appeared first on Lite Bite.

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healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Creamy, mildly spicy and an exotic recipe, Paneer Pasanda (cottage cheese curry) is a very elaborate Indian dish served in many hi-end restaurants in India. Cottage cheese are sliced into thin triangles which are stuffed with a paste of nuts, coated with chickpea flour marinate, deep fried and then dunked into rich creamy gravy to make a delicious Paneer Pasanda.

The preferred gravy for Paneer Pasanda is deep red in colour, which comes from ground tomatoes, deep fried onions and turmeric powder.

Such recipes make a rare appearance during celebrations or to entertain special guests at my home.

I keep trying to mix and match various Indian dishes to make it more convenient both in terms of time and health quotient. And this Tofu Pasanda (no, there is no deep fired stuffed Tofu sandwiches involved here) is one such recipes.

I have combined the Safeda curry (white gravies) from the royal cuisine of Rajasthan with Tofu to make this Pasanda dish.

White gravy dishes cooked with melon seeds and nuts are a hallmark of Rajput cuisine in Rajasthan, India. The Rajputs use this rich and delicate white sauce to cook the meat in it which is also referred as Safed Maas’ or white meat.

The secret of this creamy white gravy lies in the perfect blend of some aromatic spices, ginger, garlic and nutty paste. Tofu which normally has a bland taste to it, tasted good when cooked with this aromatic white gravy.

To make Tofu sandwiches follow this recipe link: Paneer Pasanda

healthy rice bran oil

Fortune rice bran oil: I started using this oil in my cooking sometime back and I am pretty pleased with the results. The fact that it’s high smoking point does not make the food sticky and help absorb less oil makes it a good deep- frying oil.

The presence of Oryzanol in it gives this oil slightly dark hue, but that does not alter the flavor or taste of the recipe.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of rice bran oil lately. I found out that rice bran oil has good stability and is suitable for deep frying and many other cooking techniques and the oil absorption is also low.

Presence of a unique component in rice bran oil called Oryzanol makes it a special oil with many benefits.

Rice bran oil has the most balanced SMP ratio, which is, saturated fats: monounsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats when compared to any other edible oil available in the Indian market (as read here).

You can read more informative articles about various kinds of Oils here:

Rediff

Huffington post

Tofu Pasanda aka Tofu curry in white gravy

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup Tofu cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Fortune Oil
  • 1 tsp. Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp. Cornflour
  • Salt to taste

Spices and herbs;

  • 2 onion
  • 10 Cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp. Melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 green chilies
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Method; Wash and dice Tofu into cubes or triangles.

Dissolve corn flour in 2 tbsp. of milk and soak cashew nuts and melon seeds in the remaining milk for 15 minutes.

Grind chopped onion and green chilly into fine paste by adding a little water in it.

Grind soaked chestnuts and melon seeds along-with the milk into fine paste. Try adding a few ground nuts for a different taste.

Take out the cashew paste in a bowl, pour yogurt into it and combine well with a whisk.

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and add cloves and cardamom in it.

You can also lightly saute the Tofu cubes in oil before adding to the gravy for better taste.

Add ginger-garlic paste, onion and green chilly paste in the wok and sauté for 2-3 minutes

Pour cashew-nut-yogurt and cornflour-milk mixture into the wok and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

Add Tofu cubes, garam masala, crushed Kasuri Methi and salt into the curry and take it off the flame.

Garnish with coriander leaves and fresh cream if you wish.

Let the curry sit for a few hours before serving. This will help Tofu absorb all the flavors and sauce of the gravy. Serve this Tofu Pasanda or Tofu in white gravy with Indian flat breads.

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

You can also try out these gravies and recipes with Tofu;

Green Gravy with Spinach

Charmagaz or melon seeds Garvy

Tofu Malai Koftas

Notes;

  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons of grated cottage cheese or Paneer to get richer gravy.
  2. You can shallow fry the Tofu cubes in a little oil before adding them to the gravy for better taste.
  3. For the Tofu to infuse the flavors of spices and sauce let the curry sit for 5-6 hours before serving. The best should be to prepare the Tofu recipe in morning and serve it for dinner.
  4. Dice the Tofu into small pieces so that they can absorb the sauces and spices well.
  5. At times I do poke the Tofu block with a fork before dicing it into cubes.
  6. You can add more water to the gravy to make the consistency thin and runny.
  7. Increase the green chilies in the recipe if you like spicy curry.

“This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook  and on Twitter @fortunefoods “.

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Recipe | Desi Health Bites – Soya Nugget Pops http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-soya-nugget-pops/ http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-soya-nugget-pops/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 04:37:39 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11621 Ehh..not this oil…wait a minutemom said and moved away hurriedly only to be back with another bottle of oil in her hand.

She lovingly tilted the bottle and poured a thin stream of that dark coloured oil on my steaming hot savory Baafla baatis (steamed savory buns).

Baafla Baatis must be eaten only with ‘Kachchi Ghani til ka Tel’ (cold pressed sesame oil)" she told as a matter-of-fact and sat down on the chair next to me.

Back then, I never questioned her food choices....not that I knew much about it either :)

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healthy soya nugget snacks

Ehh..not this oil…wait a minutemom said and moved away hurriedly only to be back with another bottle of oil in her hand.

She lovingly tilted the bottle and poured a thin stream of that dark coloured oil on my steaming hot savory Baafla baatis (steamed savory buns).

Baafla Baatis must be eaten only with ‘Kachchi Ghani til ka Tel’ (cold pressed sesame oil)” she told as a matter-of-fact and sat down on the chair next to me.

Back then, I never questioned her food choices….not that I knew much about it either :)

But some of her preferences started to bother me once I took independent charge of my kitchen after marriage in 1996.

Why does she prefer only ‘Kachchi Ghani’ mustard oil for all her pickles and Baingan Bharta (Brinjal mash) or uses nutty cold pressed sesame oil to savour Baatis and millet rotis.

I never understood mom’s logic of using a particular oil for her recipe until I started to blog, recreating some of her recipes at home.

The subtle differences between cold pressed or Kachchi ghani oil and high smoking oils started getting cleared by reading various online articles. And now I am able to appreciate the finer differences between various oils I use in my cooking. Here are a few pointers from some of the information I gathered over the years:

Cold pressed or virgin oil:

A cold press oil or Kachchi ghani oil is extracted mechanically by crushing the nuts or seeds and is bottled immediately for future use.

And yes, we were fortunate enough to have our own farm at my grandparents village. The farmers in the field would use the strongest bulls to rotate the Ghani (indigenous machine to take out oil manually) and take out fresh oil from mustard and sesame seeds.

I have watched the entire process with amusement many a times without even thinking what the end result was :)

Cold pressed oil retains most of the natural properties and flavors in it which gives wonderful results when added to salad as dressing.

Oil with high smoking point:

The natural oil goes thorough various processes such as bleaching to get refined oil with high smoking point which is neutral in flavor and has longer shelf-life.

Smoking point is the temperature at which oil starts breaking down releasing toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.

Hmm…in simple terms when you heat oil in a kadai and it starts releasing fumes and smoke, that’s when the oil breaks down and becomes unfit for use.

Refining is a technique to make the oil more stable at higher temperature so that it does not break down easily. The higher the smoking point for an oil, the more ways it can be used in your cooking such as sauteing, stir-frying and deep-frying.

healthy rice bran oil

Fortune rice bran oil: I started using this oil in my cooking sometime back and I am pretty pleased with the results. The fact that it’s high smoking point does not make the food sticky and help absorb less oil makes it a good deep- frying oil.

The presence of Oryzanol in it gives this oil slightly dark hue, but that does not alter the flavor or taste of the recipe.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of rice bran oil lately. I found out that rice bran oil has good stability and is suitable for deep frying and many other cooking techniques and the oil absorption is also low.

Presence of a unique component in rice bran oil called Oryzanol makes it a special oil with many benefits.

Rice bran oil has the most balanced SMP ratio, which is, saturated fats: monounsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats when compared to any other edible oil available in the Indian market (as read here).

You can read more informative articles about various kinds of Oils here:

Rediff

Huffington post

Healthy Soya Nugget Pops

healthy soya nugget snacks

Soya nugget or chunk is textured soya protein made with soy flour or concentrate. These high-protein and zero cholesterol nuggets have mild beany flavor and can be dehydrated before use.

These nuggets are bland in taste and easily absorb the flavors of the spices and marinate in it.

The shallow fried Soya nugget pops have a chewy bite inside and make a perfect guilt free snack recipe. I am slightly apprehensive when it comes to adding colour to the food, but you may add food grade red colour to give a more appetizing look to your Soya nuggets.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

Soya nugget Pops 

  • 2 cups soya nuggets
  • 3 tbsp. Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. cornflour/rice flour
  • 1 tbsp. semolina
  • 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Salt

healthy soya nugget snacks
Method; Soak soya nuggets in 4-5 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.

Squeeze remove excess water from the nuggets. Soaking softens the nuggets and helps in better absorption of marinate.

healthy soya nugget snacks

Combine yogurt, red chilly powder, garam masala, semolina, cornflour or rice flour and salt in a large bowl. Add a few teaspoons of water to make it a thick batter.

Add soya nuggets in marinate and coat each nugget with the batter. Cover the bowl and let the nuggets sit in the marinate for 15-20  minutes.

healthy soya nugget snacks

Baking: Pre-heat the oven at 190°C and grease a baking tray.

Place all the marinated Soya nuggets on the tray and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the nuggets in between baking for even cooking.

Griddle: You can also shallow fry the marinated soya nuggets in a large pan. Heat a large pan or griddle and place the nuggets on it, drizzle a little oil around all the nuggets and cook on medium heat. Turn the nuggets and repeat the same process to get crispy nuggets.

Sesame dipping sauce

healthy soya nugget snacks

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Soya sauce
  • 2 garlic pearls
  • 2 tbsp. chopped spring onion
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. pepper powder
  • 1 tsp. honey or sugar
  • Water as required

Method: Combine tomato sauce, soya sauce, cornflour and one cup of water in a vessel.

Add oil in pan and add finely chopped garlic. Pour the above prepared sauce in the pan and continue cooking at low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add pepper powder, vinegar, honey and simmer the sauce for another 2 minute and put off the flame.

Serve the healthy Soya nugget pops with the Sesame dipping sauce

healthy soya nugget snacks

These Soya nugget pops are slightly chewy in texture but makes a healthy snack and a party appetizer.

Notes;

  1. You can deep fry the marinated soya nuggets for more crispy bites.
  2. The batter coats well with the nuggets, but make sure it is not too runny or too thick to coat.
  3. Use the smaller variety of nuggets as the nuggets double in size after soaking. Large variety of nuggets will not soak batter properly and the center will remain unappetizing.

“This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook  and on Twitter @fortunefoods “.

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