Lite Bite http://litebite.in Light recipes for right health. Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:22:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Recipe | No-Bake Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese & Nutella – A quick & easy festive dessert http://litebite.in/recipe-no-bake-cheesecake-cottage-cheese-nutella-quick-easy-festive-dessert/ http://litebite.in/recipe-no-bake-cheesecake-cottage-cheese-nutella-quick-easy-festive-dessert/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:25:43 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11491 Desserts are made of sugar and love”  No wonder most of us like to round off their meals with something sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

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

Strain the cottage cheese using a muslin cloth.

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

For the crust;

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

For the filling;

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

healthy vegetarian recipes, egg less bakes

 

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

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

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

Recipes | No-Bake Cottage Cheese & Nutella Dessert

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

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

Refrigerate the bakng dish for an hour.

Take another bowl and add crumbled cottage cheese in it.

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

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

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

 

healthy dessert with cottage cheese and chocoate

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

Notes;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Pic credit;  Joel Fonseca

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

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

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

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

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

Rose and Fennel Festive Oat cookies

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

Ingredients;

(12-15 cookies)

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

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

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

healthy rose and fennel Oats cookies

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

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

Notes;

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

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

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

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

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

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healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Kachari and cluster beans

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

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

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

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

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

Spices;

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

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

Grate tomatoes and ginger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(about 5-6 Kulchas)

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

Filling;

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

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Method;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Five Vegetable Indian stir-fry aka Pachkuta 

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Ingredients;

(serve 4)

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

Spice;

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

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

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

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

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

Add asafoeitda powder and spice-mix yogurt in it.

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

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

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

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

4. Cornmeal Indian flatbread aka Makki ki Roti

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian flat bread and curries

Makki ki roti, Pachkuta and Gonde ka achaar

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

Ingredients;

(4-5 rotis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes;

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

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

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

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healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

me dressed in a traditional attire, 1971.

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

Steamed Savory Cornflour Buns aka Makki ke Dhokle

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

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

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

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

Millet Dhokli

Wholewheat Dhokli

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

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

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

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

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

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

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

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

healthy vegetarian recipes

Papad khar

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

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick lentil curry or Indian Daal

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

Ingredients;

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

Spices;

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

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

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

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

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

Pour the tempering over the lentil gravy.

healthy cornmeal dumplings in lentil gravy or makki ke dhokle

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

Notes;

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

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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.

The post Recipe | Easy Gulkand Mewa Burfi or Fig & Date Fudge with Rose preserve – And I am not complaining.. appeared first on Lite Bite.

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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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