June 30, 2011

Healthy Brocolli Soup


 Broccoli is one super healthy veggie, but unfortunately relegated to the "hate-me" list by most kids.. It was due to this reason that I launched my ongoing event - Healthy Lunchbox Ideas and had Brocolli theme this month, being hosted by Vardhini. Sending this yummy and quick Broccoli soup that you can put together in under 15 minutes as a quick healthy alternative too ! This soup tastes yum with tossed mushroom and slightly burnt garlic as toppings, but I skipped them this time !! In case any of you have wonderful, healthy broccoli dishes (archived and linked to the above event), do rush them to Vardhini by 30th June end of day !


Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves : 2

Ingredients:
  • Broccoli - about 100 gms (cut into bit sized florets)
  • Onion - 1 large
  • Garlic - 1 pod (peeled)
  • Potato - 1 medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Olive oil - 1 tsp
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable stock - 2 cups (opt)
  • Fresh cream - 1 TBSP (Opt)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
Method:

1) In a large soup pot / pressure cooker, heat 1 tsp of olive oil.
2) Saute Onions and garlic. When onions turn translucent, add the brocolli and potatoes.
3) Stir well
4) Add 3 cups of water and 1/2 cup of milk. Add half the salt
5) Pressure cook for 2 -3 whistles.
6) Once cooked, reserve half the brocolli aside and mash up the remaining ingredients,
7) Adjust salt and pepper and add the vegetable stock. Else, use plain water to get the required consistency.
8) Let simmer for 3 -4 mins. Add the remaining brocolli, top it with fresh cream and serve hot with garlic bread or just plain toasted bread !

Tips:
1)      You may also top it with grilled mushrooms and pan seared garlic if serving to adults.

 


Check out other soups here: Healthy Tomato Soup  and Squash-Dal Shorba

June 29, 2011

Baby Corn Pulav


Soups, Pakoras, stir fry, pizzas – you name it, baby corn features as a top favourite. Today, I made a flavourful Baby Corn Pulav – a perfect One Pot Meal. Got this recipe from a friend and sending this to my own event (One Pot meals) as well as Blogging Marathon’s Day 5 (group 2) – under “7 ways to use an ingredient” and also to Priya’s Tuesday’s bookmarked event.
This dish can be eaten as it is or with curd or mixed veg raita and is a wonderful option for lunchboxes too J
Preparation time  : 10 mins. Cooking time : 20 mins. Serves: 3
Ingredients:
·         Long Grained rice – 1 cup
·         Baby corn – 1 cup (cut into 2 inch long pieces)
·         Salt – to taste
·         Onions – sliced lengthwise – 1 large or 2 small.
·         Tomatoes – 1 no
·         Garam Masala – 1 tsp (opt. – you may also use Biryani Masala powder if you have it)
·         Oil – 1  TBSP
·         Tempering : Bay leaf , Cardamom (each 1 no.),  Black pepper (1/2 tsp), Jeera / Cumin (1 tsp)
·         Green coriander – 1/8 cup (chopped)
·         For the ground masala / wet spice mixture.
o   Diced Onions – ½ cup
o   Garlic – 1 or 2 pods
o   Ginger – ½ inch stick
o   Cinnamon – ¼ inch
o   Cloves – 2
o   Green chillies – 1 or 2 (suit your taste)
o   Cashews – 1 or 2 (opt)
o   Grated coconut – 1 TBSP

Method:
1)      Wash and soak the rice for half an hour. Drain.
2)     Grind all the masala ingredients to a smooth paste using very little water.
3)     In a cooker / pan, heat oil. Add the tempering ingredients and fry lightly. Add the onions and fry again till translucent. Now add the ground masala paste and fry on a low flame till raw smell disappears –this might take 5 -6 mins.
4)     Now add garam masala powder, tomatoes and stir well.
5)     Add baby corn, rice and fry again till the masala mixture is well coated.
6)     Add 1.5 to 2 cups of water (depending on the rice quality) and cook for 2 whistles (in a pressure cooker) or till done (in an electric rice cooker / open pan). Fluff the rice a bit to separate the grains ensuring not to break the grains. Garnish with green coriander
7)     Drizzle 1 tsp of ghee (if desired) and serve hot with Raita and papad
Tips:
1) You may add green peas / carrots / capsicum to the above dish too to make it more healthy and flavourful. Also, a few strands of pudina / mint leaves may be added to the masala for a different flavour. Feel free to try out these options.
2) If cooking with pressure cooker, add hot water (1:1.5 proportion) to get a dry pulav / fried rice consistency

June 28, 2011

Mushroom Capsicum Treat

As party appetizers go, most of them are finger food and mostly deep fried. But at home, we prefer quick to make and also healthy appetizers, especially on lazy weekends,  when Salads, appetizers and soup make the most of the evening’s dinner.
Last evening, when S arrived almost 2 hours early from office and asked for something quick before dinner, I quickly scrambled this spicy and tasty appetizer – Mushroom Capsicum Treat- and it was finger licking good ! Goes well as an accompaniment to Hot Rotis and Naans (Indian breads) too J  Sending this to Blogging Marathon Day 4 under Mini bites.
Preparation time  : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves: 2
Ingredients:
·         Mushrooms – 8 – 9 (medium sized)
·         Onions – 1 large (sliced lengthwise)
·         Capsicum – ½
·         Minced garlic and ginger – ½ tsp each
·         Green chilly – 1  (opt)
·         Olive Oil – 1 TBSP
·         Soya Sauce – 1 tsp
·         Vinegar  - ½ tsp
·         Salt – to taste
·         Sugar – ½ tsp
·         White pepper powder – 1 tsp
·         Spring Onion leaves chopped-  2 TBSP.
Method:
1)      Wash and clean Mushrooms thoroughly.  Slice them thin.
2)     In a wok, heat olive oil. Fry garlic, ginger and green chilly.
3)     Add onions and capsicum and fry further till onions turn slightly brown.
4)     Now add mushrooms, soya sauce, salt, vinegar and toss well.
5)     Toss till the mushrooms are done. Check for salt and add sugar.
6)     Add spring onion leaves (I didn’t have any, so didn’t add) and serve hot !

Eggless Carrot and Oats-n-Raisin Muffin and my 100th Post !!


Well, my first milestone is here - my 100th post :-) Thanks to all my friends and co-bloggers who have encouraged me ..Your support is invaluable and do continue to drop in at this space often ! I heartily appreciate your comments/suggestions and participation. 

Many thanks to Valli and the Blogging Marathon for I am sure this success is partly due to me posting regularly on account of the event and in the process, made wonderful friends too :-)

.. Am celebrating this event with a Carrot and Oats-n-Raisin Muffin (eggless) ! I seem to have a weakness for muffins - My very first post on this space was an Eggless Banana-Oats Muffin made of wholewheat and this one is another veggie based muffin. To my palate, I prefer muffins - something which doesn't need any frosting - and at the same time satisfy a sweet tooth too !!

Mom and kiddo happily lapped this up last evening and S was just blown away with the subtle sweetness of carrots and the crunchy Oats peeping through with the raisins :-) I made only 6 muffins and with the remaining batter, baked a flat cake with added choco chips - both tasted delicious.

Sending this to Day 3 of the Blogging Marathon  under Mini Bites Category and the Kids Delight - Mini Bites hosted by Champa and also to Priya's bookmarked recipes along with Radhika's Let's cook series of Break time Snacks.

Preparation time : 15 minutes. Baking time : 15 mins. Makes : 6 muffins + 100 gm cake (or 12 muffins)
                               
Ingredients (all Standard baking measurements):

  • APF / Maida - 3/4 cup
  • Oats - 3/4 cup ( I used Quaker quick rolled)
  • Raisins - a handful
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Carrots grated - 3/4 cup
  • Milk - 3/4 cup
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
  • Butter - 1/4 cup
  • Oil - 1/4 cup
  • Soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cornflour - 1/2 tsp
Method:

1) Powder sugar and cinammon in a blender.
2) Mix together melted butter, oil and sugar powder (step 1) till creamy. Set aside
3) Preheat oven to 185 deg C
4) In a large bowl, sift APF, salt, soda, cornflour twice over.
5) Powder Oats and add into the above flour mixture (Step 4). Mix well.
6) Puree grated carrots without any water till it reduces to less than 1/2 cup.
7) Add milk to the creamed sugar (step 2) and mix well.
8) Make a well in the Oats - flour mixture (Step 5) and pour the wet ingredients (sugar -milk-butter mixture) into it and mix with a spatula in one direction.
9) Now, add carrots and raisins and mix again. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 or 2 tbsp of milk. If its too runny, add a handful of powdered Oats. mix well but do not beat.
10) Grease the muffin moulds and line with muffin paper. Spoon in 1 - 2 table spoon of the above batter till the mould is half full.
11) Bake at 185 Deg C for 12 minutes and 155 deg C for last 3 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes, cool and serve !
                                   
Tips:
As I mentioned, I made only 6 muffins and made a small cake with the rest of the batter. You may bake the entire batter in a cake tin too !

June 27, 2011

Lapsi Veg Upma ~ Broken Wheat and Vegetable Upma - A One Pot Meal


When Valli announced the pictures-only posts (no recipes) theme for Blogging Marathon, I found myself wondering if I would be able to do this for I generally click the picture of the end product only.

With my 6 year old curiously looking at me clicking away, I found myself posting this super healthy One Pot Meal - Lapsi Veg Upma.  This dish filled with veggies is a great breakfast / lunchbox option , although we have it for dinner though very frequently. Having made of Lapsi (broken wheat), its a healthy alternative for diabetics too..

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so hoping that these pictures would reveal the story. The cloudy weather outside though ensured I had to re-click some of my pics due to bad light ;)

Preparation time : 10 mins

Cooking time : 10 mins

Serves : 4

Sending this to Day 2 of Blogging Marathon and to my own event - One Pot Meals










Bittergourd - Sesame stir fry ~ Pakarakkai curry


After years of trying, I have finally come around liking Karela (Bitter Gourd). Hubby and mom love this vegetable and the former can have it almost twice or thrice a week. I tasted this recipe at a friend’s place, and quite liked it. For all the Bitter gourd lovers out there, this is sure to tickle your palates as well great for  your waistline for I have used just 1 tbsp of oil (yes, you read it right). Calcium rich sesame seeds combined with the goodness of bittergourd is great on the health meter too ! This stir fry goes well with rice / curd rice / or even hot rotis and dal and is not at all bitter – a boon esp for first time fans of bitter gourd J
Sending this to Blogging Marathon’s Day 1 (group 2) – under Regional Specials category. As I was away from all the action the past 4 days, shall begin my group 2 Blogging today – with one theme each day..
Preparation time  : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves: 3
Ingredients:
·         Karela (Bitter Gourd) – 3 large.
·         Oil – 1 tbsp
·         Turmeric powder – ½ TBSP
·         Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
·         Jaggery – 1 TBSP grated
·         Amchur (dry mango powder) – 1 tsp
·         Salt – to taste
·         Sesame Seeds – 1 TBSP
·         Tempering : Mustard, Urad Dal (1 tsp) Curry leaves and Coriander.
·         Grated coconut – 1 tsp (opt)
Method:
1)      Wash and slit bitter gourd lengthwise and deseed it completely.
2)     Dice into 1 inch pieces. Add ½ tsp each of salt, turmeric and pressure cook in a colander (no additional water) for 2 whistles. Drain the water completely. Add the
3)     In a pan, dry roast sesame seeds till they crackle . Cool and set aside.
4)     Heat the same pan. Add ½ TBSP oil, spurt mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal till the dal slightly browns.
5)     Now add the steamed karela, salt, jaggery, red chilli powder, amchur and toss well. Now add the grated coconut and coriander leaves and mix well.
6)     Just before serving , add the dry roasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with rice  / rotis.

Check out other Blogging Marathoners here

June 22, 2011

Hingwali Mili Jhuli Dal (Mixed lentils Dal tempered with asafoetida)


For Day 7 of BM # 6, I have adapted Priya's Mili Jhuli Dalwala Khichdi and just made plain Hingwali Mili Jhuli Dal . We prefer a no-onion no-garlic dal for dinner mostly, and the highlight was I gave it a complete Jain type (satvik) Tadka (tempering) with hing and red chilli powder - just as I had seen at one of my friend's house in Jaipur. It tasted heavenly, and the use of masoor and moong dal along with the ghee tempering was just right for a light evening. This went very well with papad, Karela Sabji and curd :)

Preparation : 20 mins (Soaking time). Cooking time : 15 mins. Serves : 3

Ingredients:
  • Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
  • Masoor Dal - 1/8 cup
  • Tur Dal - a handful
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala - a pinch (opt)
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilli - 1 no
  • Coriander and curry leaves
  • Jeera  / Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Method:

1) Wash and soak the dals separately for 20 mins in tepid water. Drain.
2) In a small pressure cooker, heat ghee, add the dals and fry.
3) Add 3 cups of water & Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
4) Whisk the dals once done and boil for 2 -3 mins on simmer. Add salt.
5) Prepare tempering with ghee, cumin seeds, asafoetida, garam masala, coriander and curry leaves.
6) Pour this tempering on the dal.
7) Stir in the lemon juice and serve hot with rice / roti.

A simple but heavenly dish indeed:)




Check out my BM friends here.

June 21, 2011

Moong Dal Kheer ~ Paitham Paruppu Payasam


One of the distinguishing features of my grandmom’s cooking was her Kheers / Payasams, athough in chaste Iyengar Tamil, it is called Thirukkannamudu (Thiru = heavenly/ good. amudhu = nectar in Tamil) and then transformed over ages as Kanamindhu. Grandma could whip up devilishly delicious Payasams in a jiffy – be it for festivals or for guests or even religious ceremonies. But the best part was that she used jaggery for most of these dishes, along with a pinch (or teeny weeny ) pinch of salt ! yes, you read it right – salt in very very minute proportion in any sweet, esp jaggery based ones, increases the sweet manifold.

So, today in loving gratitude to Paati (or grandmom as we call her) , I prepared Paitham Paruppu Payasam (Moong Dal Kheer) with jaggery – just the way she taught my mom J Cheers, grandmom ! Sending this to BM – Day 6

Preparation time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 20 mins. Serves : 4
Ingredients:
·         Split Yellow Gram / Moong Dal – ¾ cup
·         Jaggery (grated) – ¾ cup
·         Milk – 3 cups
·         Elaichi / cardamom  - 2 pods
·         Saffron – few strands
·         Salt – 1/8 pinch
·         Ghee – 2 tbsp (split use)
·         Cashew, Raisins and Almonds – for garnish
Method:
1)      In a pan, heat 1 tbsp ghee and fry the yellow Moong Dal till a nice aroma wafts out. Take care not to burn the gram. Cool.
2)     In another heavy bottomed vessel, boil ¼ cup water and add the jaggery. Boil on simmer till you get 1 string consistency. Cool
3)     Pressure cook the fried gram with 3 cups of milk, a few strands of saffron for 4 whistles. Cool and whisk thoroughly with a spoon till the dal incorporates into the milk and you get a nice aroma.
4)     Deseed and powder the cardamom finely.
5)     In a pan, add ghee and fry the cashews, raisins and almonds, Add the cooker dal-milk mixture and let it come to a gentle boil on simmer. Cool and add the syrup and stir well. Add cardamom powder now and stir again
6)     Serve chilled or as it is. Slurp !

June 20, 2011

Pesarattu | Green Gram Savoury Pancakes - A photo tutorial


Necessity ,they say,is the mother of invention, ! It sure is so true for Blogging Marathon too ! There would be umpteen times I would have eaten Pesarattu (Green Gram Savoury Pancakes) at my friends' house, but never thought would make it at home.



Srivalli's Blogging Marathon brought on that challenge to make it at home and they all loved it with the spicy and flavourful Allam Chutney (Ginger Chutney / Inji Thogayal). Made this for Sunday breakfast and it was a sellout. Pesarattu is a classic dish from Andhra cuisine and is very similar to the Adai (mixed lentils dosa) that is from the Tamilnadu stable.

I used very little chillies as I was making the same batter for the kid, but both mom and S loved this less spicy version. Sending it to Day 5 of Blogging Marathon and also to Susan's MLLA # 36 hosted by Aqua  - served with love 

Preparation time : 8 hours (soaking time) + 15 mins grinding.
Cooking time : 2 mins per Dosa
Makes : 10 - 12

Ingredients:

  • Green Gram Whole (Moong Dal - with skin) - 2 cups
  • Red chillies - 2 nos
  • Green Chillies - 1 no
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tempering: Oil, Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds (1 tsp each)
  • Oil - to fry to dosas
Method:

1) Wash and soak the moong dal in adequate water for 10-12 hours (I did overnight)

                                           
2) Grind along with chillies, salt and asafoetida.

                                            
3) Prepare the tempering with oil, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Pour on the prepared batter. Mix well.
4) Heat the tava / griddle and sprinkle a little water to see if the water fizzes out.

                                            
5) Pour a ladleful (1/2 cup) of batter and spread thin like a normal dosa. You may add chopped green chillies and a spoonful of chopped onions too on the batter now, but I didnt.
6) Add a tea spoon of oil around the circumference. Let it cook on one side
                                             
7) Once done, flip to the other side and let it cook fully. Add another 1/2 tsp of oil around the dosa if required.
8) Serve hot with Ginger Chutney / Inji thogayal / Allam chutney as desired.




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