January 19, 2016

Wholewheat Sugarfree Baked Karanji | Diabetic recipes | Healthy Snacks

Who said diabetics cant snack ? Thats a challenge my mom handled easily while she used to cook for dad who was an early diabetic. And seeing her cleverly substituting over the years, that healthy eating has kind of rubbed on me and sis too.. 

So today, after the Diabetic Mini Thali and Cucumber Sprouts Salad for the Blogging Marathon, we have a healthy and diabetic friendly Baked Gujiya / Karanji (aka Somas in Tamil or Hurigadubu in Kannada) which is not only sugarfree but also made with Wholewheat and is baked (not deep fried)...

Yes, the taste varies vastly from the fried version, but who cares as long as one can munch on these completely guilt free. I have used a stuffing of dates and roasted poppy seeds and NO added sugar. But one can use any stuffing of their choice. We surely liked this and are sure to make them even on festivals.

Wholewheat Sugar free Baked Karanji
Cuisine : Indian, course : Snacks / Naivedyam (offering to God)

Prep time : 25 mins, Bake time : 15-20 mins, Makes : 9 pieces (medium-large sized)


Outer covering / skin :
Wholewheat flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Melted ghee / clarified butter - 2 tsp
Warm water - 1/4 - 1/3 cup
Warm milk - 2 TBSP
Oil - 1 TBSP

Pitted dates (soft version) - 4 TBSP
Almond Meal - 2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Poppy seeds - 1 TBSP


For the outer cover / skin

  • In a bowl, sieve flour, salt and baking powder twice over. Add the melted ghee and rub into the flour to resemble bread crumbs. Now add warm milk and mix into a semi soft dough. Add warm water too a little a time if required. Cover and rest for 30 mins
For the filling : 

  • Finely chop the pitted dates , add the almond meal and rest aside. Dry roast poppy seeds for 30-45 seconds and once they start spluttering, remove to a plate. Once cool, add the cardamom powder, poppy seeds to the dates mixture. Mix well. It should get to a homogeneous slightly sticky filling. 
To make:

  1. Pinch out a small ball of the dough, roll into a thin round sheet, place this disc on to the karanji / gujiya mould and place a filling in one of the half moon shaped dimples.
  2. apply little water all around the disc and gently close the disc. 
  3. scrimp the edges with fork and gently make 1-2 holes for air to escape while baking 
  4. pre heat oven to 180 deg C.  Make all gujiyas thus. 
  5. Place in a lined baking sheet and lightly brush them with 1 TBSP of oil. 
  6. Bake at 165 C for 8-9 mins, flip them over and again bake them at 160 for 4-5 mins till they are golden brown, I grilled them for last 1 mins to get a golden finish.
  7. (Oven timings may vary, so keep a watch on them to avoid them getting burnt).

January 18, 2016

Mini Thali series 1 - Diabetic Mini Thali with Inji Pachadi | Easy Mini Meals | Diabetic Eating

There is a unwritten rule at home that we all love to follow: weekday meals are balanced with a mix of carb, protein, calcium and veggies ; Weekends are for occasional indulgences, and deep fry is restricted to once a month or less. 

Since the past 2 years, myself and mom have taken to eating Lapsi Rava (broken wheat) in place of rice for our weekday meals, so much so that we dont miss Rice at all.. It takes getting used to a bland dish like cooked lapsi, but for compulsive rice eaters in the south (where Rasam / Sambhar etc) make a mandatory appearance at every meal, its difficult to imagine dunking chapatis into Rasam :D

So, today's post is a Mini Thali, with varying veggies on rotation accompanying the Rasam and Lapsi. Rather than make erractic new year resolutions which fall apart in the first week itself, we are glad that these small, sustainable changes that we made in everyday meals has helped us :)

Over to the recipe : The items here are Bendekayi Palya (Okra stir Fry), Mysore Rasam, Inji Thayir Pachadi (Ginger in yoghurt gravy) and Cooked Broken Wheat (Lapsi).

While recipes for Rasam and Okra stir fry have been shared earlier, recipe for Inji Thayir Pachadi is as follows.

Ginger is extremely beneficial for a sluggish liver, aids in digestions, cuts down fatty acids and in general promotes a feeling of well being. We make this Inji Pachadi with other items too as a healthy side dish.

Inji Thayir Pachadi – Ginger in yoghurt gravy..
Side dish as part of a South Indian Mini Meal / or with breakfast items like Upma , Veg Rava Kichadi, Pongal, Semiya Upma

Prep time : 10 mins, cook time : 5 mins, Serves : 4
Yoghurt – 1 cup (slightly beaten)
Salt – to taste
Tempering : Oil 2 tsp (split use), mustard seeds, asafoetida (hing)., curry leaves (few)
To grind:
Urad dal /split black gram – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 2 nos
Inji / Ginger – 2 inch long piece
Jeera / cumin – ¼ tsp
Fresh/ frozen grated coconut – ¼ cup

In a pan, slightly sauté the jeera, urad dal, ginger and red chillies till dal turns golden. Cool and grind with coconut and little water to a smooth paste.
Prepare the tempering with the tempering ingredients

In a bowl, whisk the yoghurt well, add the ground paste, mix well. Pour the prepared tempering into the curd.
Just before serving, add salt.

Sending this to Day 2 of Diabetic / Healthy Food for Blogging Marathon # 60

Chill for ½ hour if desired or serve immediately.

January 17, 2016

Cucumber Sprouts Salad | Easy Diabetic recipes | Salads

This week at Blogging Marathon we are headed for some diabetic friendly / healthy eats. First of this is a salad. Basically a no-brainer recipe, this can be made ahead and served as part of a potluck or even had thrice / four times a week. We have it at least twice every week. 

One neednt be a diabetic to indulge in healthy food, right ? :)

Basically for diabetics, the diet needs to be rich in  soluble fibre and fats - sugar - carb combo to a minimum. Proteins can be indulged in twice a week. Millets are most welcome to be included in place of rice or wheat. Some other diabetic recipes include....

and many more.... 

So lets check out the recipe...

Prep time : 10 mins, zero cook , Serves : 2

  • Cucumber - 1 medium (I used English cucumbers)
  • Green Moong sprouts - 1/2 cup (you can use any sprouts)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Coconut grated - 1/2 TBSP (optional)
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp 
  • Tempering (Optional) : Oil 1/2 tsp, green chillies 2, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, Coriander leaves

How to make:
  1. Wash, peel and Chop cuucmber into fine bits. Mix in raw sprouts (you can blanch them for 2 mins also and add them in). 
  2. Just before serving, add the salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well
  3. If tempering, splutter mustard seeds, green chillies and coriander leaves. Add to the salad
  4. Finish with grated coconut and serve immediately.

January 12, 2016

Sankranti Ellu Bella, and so many memories....| ಸಂಕ್ರಾಂತಿ ಎಳ್ಳು ಬೆಲ್ಲ | Heirloom Recipes |

So many memories.......

This post is long overdue. Its been 5 years since I began blogging, yet simple but nostalgic recipes like this were always eluding me.

I felt I HAD to preserve this recipe (which is actually not a recipe, but so many memories) before it vanished away from the dimming contours of my brain :D .. Without mom around this year, I wasnt even sure I would make it, but when I spoke to her, she explained the nuances and tips/ tricks to make them perfect. It looks great now, am sure it would taste good when we partake it after the Sankranti Pooja. 

beware :: long post alert !!

Hailing from Bangalore, I was wondering why I didnt take the effort all these years after the marriage, when Pongal festivals / Sankranti only meant making different varieties of Pongal and this was pushed to the backburner !! 

Am glad however I could make it this year....

Uttarayan (aka Tula Sankramanam or Sankranti or Pongal festival) marks the beginning of the harvest season.  Sun God is worshipped, and Til (sesame) is one of the prominent offerings to the God. Be it in the form of Gajak, Till Ladoo ( Ellu Urundai) or today’s post – Sankranti Ellu Bella – is offered to visitors and also friends / relatives.

Til is considered to be sacred in Hinduism and naturally, each region has its own concoction of using this oil seed in its offerings.

Coming back to the recipe - which is almost like a trail mix of various nuts and sesame and jaggery. When I think about this, I see two women slaving over the kersosene stove late into the night (cooking gas was expensive then) and labour intensive stuff like these had to be made on kerosene stoves.

Mom and Pati (my maternal grandmom) finish their daily cooking, and in the dim light of the red oxide floored kitchen, make this trail mix not by grams or pounds – but by the bucketful (literally!!) .. Preps began atleast a week before Sankranti, and the best of the ingredients were sourced, cleaned – all by hand, and untouched by the rest of the family till it was offered to God.

Giving and sharing this eLLu Bella was considered to be partaking of others’ happiness and “eLLu Beerodhu” (that is sharing these packets from house to house) accompanied with the piece of cut sugarcane, Sakkare Achchu (Sugar candy dolls), a piece of betel leaf and a few coins. These offerings (or Tamboolam)  covered with a handmade round crochet made by mom taken from house to house, where it was exchanged for a similar set of tamboolam from the neighbour.

We used to put this away and rush back to the next neighbor till we covered the entire stretch of road. And then the real happiness of munching on these…J

As kids, me and my sister looked forward to munching on these once they were distributed : so much so that once we went back to school the next day, classmates also exchanged their homemade versions of these..

And lunch breaks (we didn’t have any snack break back then) were devoted to chomping on these once the lunch dabbas were done with, and the hard jaggery, the slightly bittersweet bits of coconut, the nuttiness from the roasted sesame and peanut transported us to a heavenly experience….

Who heard of vegan, gluten free, nut allergies back then ??

Perhaps the guiltfree snacking and healthy eating led us to appreciate simple pleasures of making , distributing and snacking on this trail mix..

I wish my kids my girls would appreciate these simple pleasures of life, and fervently hope that they take it forward.

It’s a labour of love. Period.

Prep time : 1 hour + 2 days of sun drying | Cook time : 15-20 mins |
Makes : approx. 250 gms of trail mix

White Til (sesame) – dehusked – ½ cup
Peanuts – ½ cup
Copra (dry Coconut) – 100 gms (or 2 small halves)
Fried Gram / Hurigadale / Pottu Kadalai – ½ cup
Jaggery – 150 gms

Day 1 :  lightly scrape the outer covering of copra, with a heavy sharp knife, make longish strips and then stack the strips together and cut into small bits. Sun dry this on a metal plate for 1-2 hours (take care to sun dry them in a dust free place)

Day 2 : Chop jaggery with the sharp knife into slightly bigger pieces and similarly sun dry them for 1-2 hours

Day 3 :

1) In a dry skillet, roast the peanuts on a very low flame till the skin starts to come off and they brown a bit. Transfer to a plate. Cool. Rub these peanuts In a burlap sheet / coarse clean towel and rub together till the skin peels off and all peanuts are broken into half. (You can completely skip this roasting and peeling if using good quality readymade unsalted roasted and shelled peanuts).

2) In the same pan, on low heat, pop the sesame seeds (as they are dehusked they wont splutter), but just warm them for 20-30 secs without burning them. Cool into a plate

3) similarly dry roast coconut slivers till just warm. Transfer to plate. Dry roast fried gram for 10-15 seconds till just warm, transfer.

4) In the end,switch off the stove and dry roast the jaggery for 10-15 seconds (this is optional, but recommended to remove any residual moisture)

Cool all 5 ingredients. In a large clean bowl, mix all of them.
Store them in airtight containers. They keep upto a week on the countertop.

  • If you have any elders / kids who are unable to consume these as such, powder a handful and shape into ladoos with a tsp of ghee. But then the shelf life is only for 1-2 days for the ladoos.
  • Use best quality ingredients to get great results
  • Use dry jaggery (or achchu vellam / Achchu Bella) for jaggery component. Paagu Vellam (or the softer variety) will melt even as you are chopping them.
  • Scraping copra makes the cutting process very simple. Else its really hard to chop the same into bits. If you have an adike kathri (betelnut cutter), make sure you use them to chop the jaggery and copra finely.

Hope you enjoyed the festival series this week at Blogging Marathon with Anjaneyar Milagu Vadai & Kalkandu Pongal 

January 11, 2016

Kalkandu Pongal | கல்கண்டு பொங்கல் | Pongal Recipes | Rock Candy Milk & Rice Pudding

Kalkandu Pongal is one of the varieties of Pongal offered as Naivedyam for Pongal festival and other major festivals at home. In addition to this we offer Chakkarai Pongal (ver 1 and ver2), Ven Pongal, Thirukannamudhu, Akkaravadisal and Ezhu Kari kootu during the 5 days of pongal. 

Today’s version is with Kalkandu (or candy sugar aka Mishri or KhaDi Shakkar in Hindi / Marathi) and we prefer a mild sweetness and therefore used it sparingly. You can increase the sugar proportion accordingly. 

Sending this to Festival Recipes after yesterday’s Milagu Vadai (Anjaneyar Kovil Vadai) as part of BM 60.

Kalkandu Pongal – Offering to God for Pongal Festivals
(Candy Sugar – Rice Pudding cooked in milk and topped with Ghee)

Prep time : 15 mins . cook time : 15 mins. Serves : 2

You would need:
  • Raw rice – ¼ cup (I used Pongal rice)
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Kalkandu (Candy Sugar) – 1/4 cup
  • Ghee – 4 tsp
  • Raisins and cashewnuts – 4-6 each
  • Saffron – a pinch
  • Pachaikarpooram (edible camphor) – a teeny weeny pinch – optional, but recommended 

  1. Wash and soak rice for 10 mins, pressure cook with the milk for 4-5 whistles.
  2. Once the pressure releases, mash the rice while still hot.
  3. Fry the cashews and raisins in 1 tsp ghee till plump and golden brown, reserve.
  4. Soak the saffron in 1 TBSP hot milk for 10 mins.
  5. In a non stick pan, add the mashed rice and kalkandu (the sugar will dissolve due to the heat, and don’t worry if it leaves some water in the vessel – the dish with thicken upon cooling), add half of the ghee , saffron and mix well.
  6. Add the pachai karpooram and turn off the heat.
  7. Now add the remaining ghee if any and the fried raisins and cashews
  8. Offer to God as Naivedyam and serve warm

January 10, 2016

Milagu Vadai | Anjaneyar Kovil Vadai | Festival recipes

Last week we saw some kids Party Ideas / Finger foods. This week is Festival specials for Blogging Marathon. When I last checked, my blog lacks heavily in that department, and although we celebrate all festivals, clicking dishes / eats made for that festival becomes difficult as we have pooja (worship) too on the festival days. 

On Pongal for instance, we have Oats Chakkarai Pongal, or for Navratri, we have Sundal (steamed legume salads). 

Intending to remedy this, I chose Festival specials theme and the first of this is Milagu Vadai. Very coincidentally, yesterday was Hanuman Jayanthi (or the birthday celebrations of Lord Hanuman, who has been venerated throughout the latter part of the Ramayan – an Indian epic as a super powerful Monkey God). 

The Hindu Panethon has many such Gods in their repertoire, and this Milagu Vadai (deep fried fritter made with lots of black pepper and split black gram) is a special offering to Lord Hanuman. We all loved it, and thanks to this recipe, we now can enjoy making it at home too !

Its really too addictive, and after the Naivedyam (offering) to the Lord, it was us humans who munched upon these. Occassional deep frying in the name of God does seem ok, doesn’t it ? J

Recipe source : Here
Prep time : 1 hour, Frying time : 15 mins ; Makes : 15
Type  : Naivedyam / Prasadam (offering to God)

Milagu Vadai / Anjaneyar Kovil Vadai
(South Indian deep fried fritter with black split gram and black pepper)

·       Black Urad dal (split black gram – I used it without the husk) – ½ cup
·       Rice flour – 1 TBSP
·       Moong Dal (split yellow gram) – ½ tsp (optional)
·       Salt – to taste (about ¾ tsp)
·       Milagu / Black pepper corns – 1 TBSP
·       Jeera / Cumin – ½ tsp
·       Oil – to deep fry – 2/3 cup

How to make:
  1. Soak Urad dal in warm water for 30-40 mins.
  2. Soak the Moong dal separately in another small bowl for 15/20 mins . Drain.
  3. Grind the drained Urad to a slightly coarse consistency (unlike you would grind smooth for Idli batter). Add the soaked and drained Moong dal and mix well.
  4. Powder the pepper and cumin coarsely.
  5. Add this to the ground Urad dal. Add in the rice flour and salt. Now add a TBSP of hot oil and mix well. The batter should be fairly thick and not loose.
  6. Meanwhile heat the oil on medium in a deep kadai / frying pan.
  7. Pinch out a portion and with the help of a greased hands,flatten out to a thin vada on a thin plastic sheet.
  8. Make a hole in the centre for even frying.
  9. Once the oil is hot, fry a batch of these vadais without over crowding the pan on medium heat.
  10. Flip them gently once one side is done. When the hissing sound of the oil stops and the vadais turn golden brown, gently take them out and drain on paper towels.
  11. Finish the rest of the batter.
  12. Offer to God as Naivedyam / Prasad and store in an airtight container.
  13. Stores well for 1 day on countertop.
  14. If there are any leftovers, goes amazingly well with rice and rasam / sambhar the next day J

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