October 15, 2015

Kids Delight - Cooking with Wholegrains., and a giveaway !

hi friends !

Happy to announce I would be hosting my blogger friend Valli's event : Kids Delight from 15th Oct - 14th Nov 2015. The theme would be cooking with wholegrains . 

I had hosted this Kids Delight with Iron Rich Recipes, Finger Foods for Kids Party in the previous years' editions of this very popular event 

This event is also accompanied by a giveaway that is self-sponsored. Do read on for more details...  

Its one of the themes very close to my heart and we have consciously chosen to bake / cook with whole grains at home .

Whole grains contain the entire grain – the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples include whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, corn, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and sorghum.

Eating whole grains provides important health benefits:

  • Many whole grains are good or excellent sources of dietary fiber. Most refined grains contain little fiber.
  • Dietary fiber from whole grains, as part of an overall healthy diet, may help improve blood cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Dietary fiber can make you feel full, so you may eat fewer calories. Including whole grains in your diet plan may help you reach or manage a healthy weight.

Grains are also important sources of many nutrients:

  • B vitamins (thiamin (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B3) and folate (Vitamin B9) are important in a variety of biological functions.
  • Folate (folic acid), one of the B vitamins, helps the body form new cells and can prevent certain birth defects.
  • Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood.
  • Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in more than 300 processes in the body./li>
  • Selenium is important for a healthy immune system and regulating thyroid hormone action.
It’s important to include a variety of grains in your eating plan because grains differ in their nutrient content. Whole grains can be a good source of fiber, but refined grains usually are not.

So, don on your cooking caps, and send me any dish which features whole grains. If you still need some ideas here are list of wholegrains (as defined by Wiki)

Common whole grains include:
Common wholegrain products include:

Some guidelines for you to follow:

1) It can be baked or non-baked dish , but has to be vegetarian / Vegan / Eggless
2) Alcohol / pork / beef are also not allowed
3) Entries need to be posted between 15th Oct and 14th Nov 2015.
4) Kindly link up this event announcement and Valli's Kid's delight announcement to qualify as an entry.
5) One qualifying entry shall be randomly chosen as a winner. Winner shall be announced by end of Nov. 
6) Kindly use the below mentioned Linky tool to link up your entries. In case you are a non-blogger or unable to link your entries, mail me the same on momchef77(at)gmail(dot)com | momchef77@gmail.com

Thank you and look forward to your healthy entries...

October 13, 2015

Browned Butter Semolina Pumpkin Bread | Quick Breads recipe | Fall recipes

It had been a while since I baked a sweet bread for the girls, and right there in my inbox were flooding “recipes for Fall”. 

Now where I live, its possibly the hottest month of the year (with Oct temp reaching as high as 42-44 deg C).

But the bread was beckoning, and I had to make this yummy bread with brown butter and butternut squash (I divided the batter so we had two small cute loaves (which are actually easier to store) )

Be it as it may, just when I had decided to make these, I had run out of flour !! What was I thinking , you wonder :) Well I discovered a great substitute for both the butter (which was there, but in teeny weeny quantities) and the all purpose flour (which I personally prefer to substitute with wholewheat in most recipes).

Plus we had homemade pureed Pumpkin ,so that was a great replacement for the eggs as well.

So, there you are : Browned Butter Semolina Pumpkin Bread (or cake if you wish!)

Light. Airy, Filling. And relished by the girls and the husband. Fall or no Fall, this is one recipe I shall keep making :)

Sending this over to Bread Bakers Challenge -Oct hosted by Wendy.

Adapted slightly from Here

Prep time : 15 mins . Baking time : 25-27 mins (varies from oven to oven). 
Makes 1 large (about 350 gram loaf) or 2 mini loaves (around 150 / 175 gms each)

You would need:
  • Wholewheat flour – 1/2 cup
  • Semolina (fine) – ½ cup
  • Pureed Butternut squash / Pumpkin Puree – ½ cup
  • Butter – 3 TBSP
  • Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • All spice – ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
  • Baking powder – ½ tsp
  • Baking soda – ¼ tsp
  • Candied fruits – a handful (optional)
  • Yoghurt – ½ cup
  • Powdered brown sugar – ¼ cup

  1. Sieve the flour, semolina, baking soda, cinnamon powder, all spice, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, melt the butter and slightly burn it. When its almost burnt, turn off the stove, add in the pumpkin puree and sauté it well . Keep Closed for 5-6 mins till the burnt butter is infused in the pumpkin puree..
  3. Now mix in oil, yoghurt, powdered sugar, floured nuts into the pumpkin puree. Mix well and now slowly fold in the sieved flour- semolina mixture.
  4. Mix slightly (due to semolina you would have a rather thickish mixture) and pour into prepared bake tins / loaf pans.
  5. Bake in a pre heated oven at 175 C for 25-30 mins (tent them towards the end of bake time to prevent burning)
  6. Cool, demould, Cut and serve :) ...
PS : yes, the girls and me couldn't wait enough for it cool down to slice through so ended up with slices with slightly ragged edges :)

  • I substituted the APF completely with wholewheat flour and semolina . But you may use APF all through
  • Candied fruits are optional although it gave a mild sweet touch

Let's take a look at the other Fall Flavors being shared today
BreadBakers #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

October 11, 2015

Ratatouille |

After the Curried Cauliflower Soup, I was looking at Food52.com for healthy yet filling ideas and knew I HAD to make this Ratatouille with a Tuscan twist. We had this during our visit to France and was looking forward to making this at home

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Though referred to commonly as ratatouille niçoise, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. It is typically prepared as a stew with each vegetable being sautéed to enhance their flavors before being layered into a baking dish and baked for several minutes to complete the cooking process. Greek cuisine knows it as tourlou or tourlou tourlou, or by its Turkish name, briam.The word ratatouille comes from Occitan ratatolha and the recipe comes from Occitan cuisine. Ratatouille originated in the area around present day Provence and Nice - Source : Wiki

Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but may also be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread). Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garliconions,zucchinieggplantbell peppersmarjoramfennel and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence

Ratatouille can be eaten for dinner, but is also used in breakfast and lunch settings. There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille. 

Today we kept it simple - a medley of vegetables grilled with some cheese. It was delicious on its own. You could also pair it with some red wine and grilled bread to make it a complete meal. This dish could also be made on the stove top or baked - I chose the latter.

Prep time : 20 mins, Baking + standing time : 15 mins.

Served : Warm or at room temperature 

Course : Main Course / Sides , Cuisine : French. Can be veganised (just skip the cheese)

You would need , serves : 3

  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Bell peppers - any colour ( I used all 3) - 1/2 each
  • Large tomato - 1 
  • Zucchini - 1 medium
  • Eggplant - 1 medium
  • Broccoli - about 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper to taste - 1/2 tsp each
  • Olive oil - 2 TBSP (divided use)
  • Crushed garlic, chilli flakes & dried herbs - to taste
  • Grated cheese - 1 TBSP (optional).


  1. Blanch the tomato, skin it, dessed and chop fine. Mix a tsp of olive oil, pinch of salt and keep aside.
  2. Slice all veggies except broccoli into roundels of equal thickness -not too thin or thick.
  3. In a skillet, add 1/2 tsp of oil. arrange these veggies gently, sprinkle little salt and without disturbing them, let them cook for 2-3 mins. switch off the flame.
  4. Meanwhile heat oven to 160 Deg c.
  5. Grease the baking dish with the rest of the oil, spread the diced tomatoes, add the crushed garlic, and arrange the slightly warmed veggies one by one in a nice layered kind of dish. Top with broccoli , salt and bake at 160 for 25-30 mins (tent this towards the end if required). 
  6. For the last 3-4 mins, add grated cheese, mixed herbs and grill till done
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sending this to this week's Blogging Marathon #57 

October 10, 2015

Curried Cauliflower - Lentil Soup | Easy Soups

I suddenly found myself with lots and lots of cauliflower with both me and the husband both lugging back this versatile vegetable. When we had exhausted parathas, curry etc, I was looking at few offbeat ideas and this curried cauliflower soup from Food 52 (the theme this week for Blogging Marathon) appealed to me a lot. 

I made my little variation of adding pureed lentil broth and that gave it a buttery smooth yet light finish. Serve it with chunks of curried Cauliflower (which I totally forgot) and some toasted breads and you have a healthy dinner option ! 

Lets head to the recipe while this makes it way to Blogging Marathon 57 this week. We had a deadly BM56 with mega events through the month. Here's the recap.

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4 generously
Course : Appetiser / Entree, can be veganised :)

You would need:

  • Cauliflower - large head (about 450 gms)
  • Moong lentils (split green gram) - 1/4 cup
  • Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Onions - 1 large
  • turmeric - a dash
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika - 1/2 tsp (I used red chilli powder)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Vegetable stock - 2 cups
  • Milk - 1 cup (you can use almond milk for a vegan version)


  1. In a pan, heat half the oil. Saute the cauliflower, add salt and crushed coriander seeds, cumin powder, paprika and saute well. Sprinkle water and let it cook al dente. (in the original recipe, the florets were tossed with salt,oil and pepper and baked for 25 - 30 mins at 220 C/ 450 F till crispy).
  2. Meanhwile, pressure cook soaked lentils for 2 whistles (or till tender but not mushy). Retain the lentils with the cooked water. Puree the cauliflower with half of the vegetable stock leaving a few crisp florets for garnish.
  3. In a pan, add rest of the oil. Saute onions, add cauliflower puree, spices (if needed), rest of the vegetable stock, cooked lentils and simmer well for 10-12 mins. 
  4. Finish with milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Let it stand for 5 mins before serving. Top with croutons or curried cauliflower. 

Linking this to Archana’s Soups and Salads Kids Delight event , created by Srivalli.

October 6, 2015

How to make fresh Pumpkin Puree at home | Cooking 101 | Basics of Cooking

Pumpkin Puree is invariably the first of the solid foods introduced to an infant. Easy to digest and easy to make, I have been using this as a great egg replacer and we loved our Pumpkin - Chocochip bread 

I also use this puree to make Low fat Pav Bhaji (a popular Indian snack, but toned down in Calories), Shorba (light soup like broth) etc. Although we love making a simple vegan stir fry with the Squash, I guess it was time to post how we make this at home.I generally make fresh puree every time, so don't store them at all

I make it in two ways depending on how much time I have, and the quality of the veggie. Longer time window means I bake the chunks for about 30-40 mins, cool them and puree it. Today's method is stove top when I have both lesser quantity and less time on hand.  

The pictures are self explanatory, and there are no measurements, so am just noting down the process, briefly.

  • Wash, peel and chop the pumpkin into largish chunks (about 1 1/2 cups of veggies)
  • Simmer 2 cups of water and boil these chunks with a pinch of salt
  • Let them boil / simmer till fork tender.
  • Drain the water (you can use it to make chapati atta)
  • Puree the rest once cooled. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week 

October 1, 2015

Shahi Paneer Masala & Eastern Spices Product review !

The opportunity to review Eastern Masala Products came to me via Facebook as early as June. Due to personal constraints, and losing all the pictures due to a data crash, I had to start all over again. Aveta from Eastern products was very patient with me

The first thing that was striking about the hamper was I got not one, not two but several masala packs to review-  Chaat masala, Brahmin Sambhar powder, Shahi Paneer Masala and the like – all neatly wrapped in a jute bag and the packs themselves were very attractive to look at.

Thank you Eastern, and Aveta. Although long overdue, here’s the first of the reviews. The others shall follow shortly. , And here we are reviewing the first product that came in my hamper – Shahi Paneer Masala.

Paneer is an anytime favourite at home – Palak Paneer / Parathas / FrankieGulab Jamun / Kebabs / Paneer Pulao– pretty much everything with Paneer is quickly lapped up at home. 

Highlights of #TheEasternExperience :

·      Unlike other ready to use Masala packs, this had a smoothy consistency,
·      Easy to understand instructions (literally step 1, 2 and 3 and you are done) !
·      Also, the salt and other condiments used was not overpowering.
·      The gravy didn’t leave any oil residue and was silky smooth

Lets get to make this now
Prep time : 10 mins, cook time : 15 mins, Serves : 4

To make this, you would need:

  • Eastern Shahi Paneer Masala – 1 pack
  • Paneer cubes – about 200 gms
  • Tomatoes – 2 nos (medium)
  • Oil – 1 TBSP
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • To finish : Cream – 1 TBSP

  1. Cut a pack of Everest Shahi Paneer Masala into a bowl. Whisk well with 1 cup of milk into a lumpfree mix.
  2. In a pan heat oil and sauté cubed tomatoes. Let them soften a bit. Take it out and sauté paneer cubes in the same oil for just 1-2 mins.
  3. Reserve the paneer cubes in warm water.
  4. Now add the shahi paneer masala mixture . Mix and let it cook on simmer for 6-8 mins.
  5. Add the drained paneer cubes , let it simmer for 3- 4 mins more and finish with cream and a sprig of coriander leaf
  6. Enjoy it with hot rotis or even veg pulao.

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