June 26, 2015

Zero Cook Dates Energy bars

For the last in the series both for this month as well as this week's theme of cooking from my paired blogger - Sandhya - I chanced upon these Energy bars which she had made recently. A great snack to have between meals or for the kids when they come back from school or any outdoor activity.

I had made something else for today from my blog, but I had to make it for the kids. We all liked it for 4 major reasons : it was sugarfree, zero cook, nutty and healthy. 

If you still need a reason to make this, scroll down to the recipe below.  Sending this to BM # 53 under bookmarked recipes.

Prep time : 15 mins | Zero cook Setting time : 24 hours | Makes : about 18 bars (Medium sized)
Keeps : up to a week under refrigeration

  • Almonds  - 2/3 cups
  • Dates - about 10-15
  • Figs / Anjeer - about 3-4 nos
  • Pistachios - 2 TBSP (optional)
  • Raisins - two handfuls
  • Walnuts - 2 handfuls
  • Candied amla (gooseberry) - 2 tsp (totally optional)
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • (Yup ! no sugar at all :-))

Stage 1: 
  1. Roast the almonds, walnuts separately (microwave for 30-45 seconds) & cool. This step is optional but recommended. Lightly pulse them separately in dashes for 3-4 seconds till they are coarsely powdered but still have a bite. 
  2. Deseed the dates and pulse the amla (if using) lightly for 5 -6 seconds. chop the anjeer / figs into small bits.
  3. Now without adding any water puree the dates and amla into a coarse paste (if you have a food processor, you can process all ingredients at one go, but as I was using my mixer grinder, I had to add the wet / sticky ingredients & dry separately. Whichever appliance you are using, be sure to scrape down after every pulse - dont grind). 
  4. Now add the powdered almonds and walnuts and pulse once more to mix more (you dont want the almond to become butter so do it in spurts). Using a plastic spatula, mix the dry and mix several times. 

Stage 1 pics 

Stage 2 pics
Stage 2: 
  1. Now add the raisins, figs and give it a vigorous blitz. mix well til the oil from all the dry fruits mix and give you a good mass to work with. 
  2. Transfer the semi wet mass onto a lightly greased parchment and roll with a rolling pin as shown in the pics. Make a thickish square, seal the parchment well and place in a refrigerator for a day or two (I placed it for 18-20 hours). Cut into squares and serve. 
  3. It keeps well for over a week under refrigeration. 

June 25, 2015

Paraangikai Poriyal | Kaddu ki Sabji | Vegan Butternut squash stir fry

Parangikai Poriyal or South Indian style Kaddu ki sabji is a popular accompaniment with rice  and Rasam / Sambhar at home. Thankfully where I live, this veggie is available through the year, and it forms part of my meal rotation plan too. If I need to serve it with Phulkas, I dont add the coconut (and instead sub it with 1/2 tsp ginger). 

Rich in anti-oxidants and other nutritients including being an Immunity Booster, this veggie is  one of our favourite sabjis to go with a roti and some salad / dal for our weekday dinner. Thankfully both the girls like it too. If you grow squash in your backyard or have access to it all the year through , do give this recipe a shot. 

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 4

  • Red Pumpkin / Butternut Squash / Kaddu/ Parangikai - 2 cups (cubed): you may leave  the skin on or peel it. I lightly peel leaving a slight crust on the top.  
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Turmeric - a pinch
  • Tempering : Mustard, curry leaves, red chillies, fenugreek seeds (a pinch), asafoetida
  • Salt - to taste
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garnish : coriander leaves 
  • Grated coconut - 2 tsp
Note : we love this sabji to have a bite and retain the form so I steam it for 8-9 mins. But if you want to cook through till fork tender, please do so.

Check out the Youtube Video for the detailed method.

June 24, 2015

Palak Raitha | Spinach in a curd sauce

As part of the Blogging Marathon, we occasionally get paired with a co-blogger where we need to pick and cook dishes from their blog. Paired with Sandhya of My Cooking Journey this time, it was a gastronomical delight - her bakes to South Indian Cooking to Salads - most dishes caught my attention. It was interesting to see so many many breads on her blog, and I wish I could bake all of them.. someday soon .. Till then, 3 dishes for this week chosen and recreated from her blog. 

First of them is a simple and yummy Raita (or Pachadi) with Palak (Spinach). We include Raithas almost thrice a week with any ingredient like Mint / Bell Pepper/ Eggplant / PineappleSnakegourd (Podalangai)/ Radish (Mooli) / Potato and the kids like them a lot.

Apart from providing calcium through yoghurt, palak in this dish adds a dimension of folic acid and was very yummy. For spinach lovers, this is a treat, thank you Sandhya, we tried this out and liked it a lot and am sure it would appear regularly on our menu. 

Prep time : 10 mins, cook time : 5-7 mins, serves : 4

You would need:
  • Palak leaves / Spinach - cleaned, sorted and washed - 1/2 cup (packed)
  • Curd / yoghurt - 1 cups (preferably sweet or very slightly sour)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, Jeera (Cumin), Asafoetida, Green Chillies, red chillies.
  • Oil - 1 TBSP

1) Chop the cleaned and drained spinach into fine shreds. In a pan, heat oil. Splutter the tempering ingredients, once the mustard settles down and the jeera turns slightly brown, add the shredded spinach and lightly saute.
2) Add a pinch of salt and sprinkle very little water and close immeidately. Let it cook in the steam for 5-7 minutes. Let all the water evaporate from the shriveled Spinach.  Cool thoroughly.
3) Now whisk the yoghurt with requisite salt (you can add salt later if you are not serving this immediately). Add the sauteed spinach and mix well. Serve immediately.

June 19, 2015

Badam Sevai Payasam | Almond and vermicelli Kheer or Pudding

Nuts and dry fruits are an integral part of our snack and both kids like it. Sometimes the husband (as all husbands, I think, who love to shop) goes a little overboard with buying these. So, I am literally left with a lot of nuts, and that’s not a nutty feeling J I do end up making pesto sometimes or the microwaved spiced nuts or add them to Ladoos. The elder one celebrated her birthday recently, and keeping in with a subdued celebration (according to her, a bigger party was in order) a Kheer was made for the morning before we went to the temple.  

So made this for a quick sweet treat to end the meal on her birthday. As promised in this week’s theme on BM : just 3 ingredients (excluding salt, sugar, oil) and you have a wonderful treat. Hope you enjoyed the series with Amrud ka Panha, Morkali and today’s Badam Sevai Kheer.

Prep time : 10 min, cook time : 15 mins, Serves : 4
Course : Dessert, Indian Sweets
Shelf life: Can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days : Micro the required quantity only for 15-20 seconds before use if consuming on the subsequent days.

To make:
  • Roasted Semia/ Sevai /Vermicelli – ½ cup
  • Ghee – ½ tsp
  • Condensed Milk – ¼ cup (Adjust to taste)
  • Almond Meal – ¼ cup (roasted almond slightly powdered with a dash of cardamom and saffron)

How to :
  1. In a pan, add the ghee and the roasted vermicelli. Sauté for 1 min, add ½ cup of water and close and cook for 8-10 mins till fully done.
  2. Now Add the condensed milk, almond meal and mix well.
  3. Keep stirring till you get the required consistency.
  4. Serve warm or cold or at room temperature.

June 18, 2015

Morkali , and a nostalgic post......

Morkali takes me back to grandmom when she used to dish this out for an evening snack n it really didn't need any accompaniment . But I must admit it's an art of making the right consistency of morkali. Mor in Tamil means buttermilk and Kali means a gooey porridge kind of semi solid food.

 It was, and remains, my sister's most hated dish. I really didn't know what the fuss was then , for she could eat pretty much everything including my dreaded bitter gourd . To each his own I guess .. Anyway, this dish got revived at my house once mom moved in with us sometime ago n the husband also seemed to like it. 

So like the theme goes for BM this week, just 3 ingredients excluding the salt, sugar and oil. Once you get the proportion right, you are pretty much on track (See Tips below to get the perfect Morkali). I use non stick pan to use very less oil but some people use a deep bottomed iron pan and once the morkali is done,they love to eat the slightly crispy but lil burnt portions of the morkali too :) Like I said, to each his own :D

Made in so many different ways, this is how mom makes it and I love it too :)

Prep time : 5 mins, cook time : 15 to 20 mins,
Spice level : medium, served with Mor Milagai (sun dried chillies, fried in oil)
To make
  • Rice flour - 1 cup
  • Sour buttermilk - 1.25 cups (depends on the quality of the rice flour)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Methi seeds + mustard - 1/3 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch

How to make
  1. Sieve flour. In a large bowl, add flour and slowly add sour buttermilk and make a pouring consistency. Rest for 3-4 mins ...Add salt to taste.
  2. In a non stick pan, splutter mustard-methi seeds, add asafoetida and this batter & slowly keep whisking it till it comes together. Sprinkle a lil water and cook covered for 8-10 mins on a low flame.
  3. To check if it's cooked , wet your palms and touch the surface of the dish - if it sticks to your hand it needs to cook more. If not, stir it a bit and cook for 1 min more. Make equal portions and serve hot with mor milagai as an accompaniment .
Tips :
  • Dont play with the proportion of flour : buttermilk. More watery buttermilk will need more oil and cooking time will increase.
  • Buttermilk should be neither too watery or thick. Should be like a pouring consistency.
  • Slightly sour buttermilk works best to get a tangy taste. If you are using sweet curds to make buttermilk for this dish, squeeze in half a lime juice or a dash of tamarind extract to make it tangy.
  • Make sure you use fresh rice flour for best results. Sieving is important to get some air into the flour.

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