Wednesday, October 31

Sunday Meals #11 - Flavour of Tamilnadu

A month ago I purchased a cook book. Till today whatever I presented here are born out my imagination or the recipes that are passed on to me by my mother. Some of them are sure from search too. I completely forgot about the book, on sunday I took it out and made couple of recipes from that book. I must say they were pretty impressive. Oh btw, the book is Dakshin, Vegetarian cuisine from South India. Here are the items I made:

Snake Gourd (potlakai) Kootu (Pudalangai Milagu Kootal)
Stuffed Brinjal Curry (Ennai Kathirikkai)
Mor Khuzambu (Majjiga pulusu, this is my version, not from book)

All are served with some white rice.

Snake Gourd Kootu:

Recipe Source: Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan

1/2 cup Toor dal(kandi pappu)
1 medium sized snake gourd finely chopped
2 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric (pasupu)
salt as per taste

For Paste:
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp channa dal(senagapappu) (In the book it says urad dal)
3-4 red chillies(endu mirapakayalu)
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
3 tsp cumin seeds(jeelakarra)
1 tsp uncooked rice(biyyam)
a little water

For tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp urad dal(minappappu)
1 tsp mustard seeds(aavalu)
1 red chilli halved(endu mirapakaya)
a few curry leaves

1. In the book it asks you to cook the toor dal with 2 cups of water. You should cook for 11/2 hour, stirring occassionally in the last 30 minutes. I pressure cooked the dal with some water.

2. Cook Snake gourd with 2 cups water, turmeric powder and salt.

3. In the mean time, heat a tsp of oil and fry the channa dal ( I was supposed to use urad dal, but by mistake I thought it to be channa dal. Despite of the mistake it was good.) and red chillies. Take it into a blender and add coconut, cumin seeds and raw rice. Blend it into a fine paste by adding little water.

4. When the snake gourd is tender add the cooked toor dal and cook until they blend together. Add the paste and cook for few more minutes.

5. Heat tsp of oil and add the tadka ingredients. Once they turn golden brown add them to the kootu. Serve it with hot rice/phulkas. I liked its consistency and it goes well with phulkas too.

Ennai Kathirikkai:

Recipe Source: Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan
6 Japanese eggplants

For stuffing:
3/4 cup grated fresh coconut
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniyalu)
3/4 tbsp urad dal (minappappu)
3/4 tbsp channa dal (senagapappu)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
8 red chillies
salt as per taste
a lemon sized piece of tamarind pulp
a little water

For tempering:
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds(aavalu)
1 tsp cumin seeds(jeelakarra)
1 tsp urad dal(minappappu)
1 tsp channa dal(senagapappu)
1 red chilli halved(endu mirapakaya)
a few curry leaves

1. Place the grated coconut in a pan and fry until it turns golden brown colour. Take it into a blender.

2. Heat a tsp of oil in the same pan and add the ingredients for stuffing except tamarind pulp. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Take them also in to the blender and blend them along with tamarind pulp to form into a thick paste.

3. Make a cross mark on the eggplants from top. Slit them into fours keeping the bottom part intact. Stuff the stuffing into them.

4. Heat 3 tbsp oil and add the tadka ingredients. Once they turn golden brown, add the eggplants. Sprinkle the leftover stuffing, if any, over the eggplants in the pan. Cover and simmer over a low heat cook until the eggplants are tender.

5. Remove the lid and saute for a few more minutes, without stiriing too much. Take care not to break the eggplant. Serve hot with rice.

Mor Khuzambu/Majjiga pulusu:

1 1/2 cups Thick Butter milk(I used Fat free)
1/2 cup chopped Winter Melon/Ash gourd
1" piece ginger
2 to 3 green chillies
Salt as per taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
a few curry leaves
1 tbsp besan mixed in some water to form a watery consistency

For tempering:
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp channa dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp oil

1. Take the ginger and green chillies into a blender and make a paste of them. Add the buttermilk and run in the blender once.

2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan add tempering ingredients. Add winter melon, add some salt and turmeric powder. Cook until it is tender.

3. Add the buttermilk mixture add some salt, besan mixture and leave it on low heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and serve with hot rice.

You may add some fresh coconut also to the mor khuzambu. Since I used good amount of coconut to the above two items, I skipped using it in this khuzambu. I was pretty much pleased with the recipes but I am little hesitant at using so much of coconut in each recipe. Hope you too will make them and enjoy.

Monday, October 29

What's Your Favorite - Diet Food? Round up

The contributors for this event are very few. I was wondering what could be the reason. I think the reason may be there too many events going on or the topics are pretty boring. Please leave your valuable comments here to make it more interesting and if you all think its become hectic with so many events around then I can keep it on hold no problem, but the bottom point is that I would love to see more contributions from lovely food bloggers out there.

Enough of Diet Food? Ok!! I agree too. Diwali is around the corner, followed by Thanks giving, Christmas, New Year. Festival season is still on. How about I ask you all What is your favorite Dessert/Sweet? It can be Sweet, cake or ice cream anything that is sweet like you all ;-). Please send in your entries to Send your name, blog name, entry name and link to your entry. That should be enough. I can collect the pictures from your blogs. The last date for your entries is Novemeber 25th. Please feel free to use the Logo given below.

Images Courtesy: Google Search

I would like to thank one and all who participated in this event for this month. The theme for this month was Diet Food or rather healthy food. It is very important to know more about healthy diet and there is no end to it. You never know, every time you may get to learn some new things about various healthy foods out there. Every person who contributed to this theme shared a lot of valuable information about the dish that they submitted. Some of them gave the nutritional values too. I appreciate for their interest in researching and chalking them down for us. I would want you all also to appreciate them. It motivates any person to share their knowledge in future too. I know this is festival season and we drool and make a lot of dishes for the festivals and go overboard in finishing them up. So, why not diet a bit and have those wonderful dishes, so that may be we will remain at the same weight or gain just couple of pounds ;-)?? Anyways... here I present the wonderful and lovely dishes that I received for Diet Food.

Neelam of Recipe Factory has presented her favorite healthy snack, Corn Salad. It not only tastes great but can be made quickly too. She also gave the nutritonal values for the salad.

Asha of Aroma has made a Lentil Salad which goes well with Jalapeno and Cheddar Tortillas. She has also given the nutritional values for both Salad and Toritillas.

Dhivya Karthik of Culinary Bazaar has shared her favorite Healthy Tomato Soup and also lot of tips to stay fit and healthy.

Siri of Siri's Corner has showed ua a protein packed healthy Mediterranean Chick Pea Salad with Lemon dressing. You can find the nutritional values of this healthy snack in their post.

Kalva of Curry In Kadai shares her favorite Guilt Free Boiled Aloo Fry. She says it requires less oil to fry the potato and a healthy substitution for deep fried potatoes.

Richa of As Dear As Salt has sent her favorite Pili Moong Dal aur Matar Ka Puda. You can have it as a healthy snack or breakfast.

Mansi Desai of Fun and Food sent her favorite Low Fat Blue Berry Muffins. For all those who do not use eggs, you have a eggless version also given in the post.

Don't you love to eat sprouts? Do not worry here is a tasty version of Healthy Sprouts sent to us by Rajitha of Hungar Pangs. I am sure many of us will start having them often now.

Are you crazy of Potato Chips and worry it is high in calories? Dhana of Fresh Kitchen has given us a way to get over our cravings for chips with Non Fat Kale Chips. What a healthy substitution!!

Keerthi of Esculent Cuisine has showed a wonderful way of having cooked veggies. Cooked veggies in Yogurt is a solution if you have too many cooked veggies left in the fridge.

Remya of Spices and Flavours has shared a healthy breakfast with us called Bread Upma. This is a good idea for non bread eaters like me.

Having hard time eating oatmeal like me? Try Pistachio Oatmeal sent to us by Vijaya of Daily Meals, you will never again say you don't like oatmeal.

Do you have to throw a party for diabetics or heart patients? Here is a Salad Dinner which gives you lot of ideas and recipes to follow. Simple to make and guests pleasing gauranteed. This wonderful entry is from Sona of The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.

Want to have a delicious sweet and worried about calories. Here is a low calorie healthy Wheat Rava Kesari sent to us by Easy Indian Food of 100% Microwave Cooking.

Amna of DastarKhaan shows us a healthy burger version called Soya - Veg Burger. What a lovely Burger?

Craving for a healthy snack in the evenings, then do try Zlamushka's (of Spicy Kitchen) Puffed Rice Salad.

Laavanya of Cookery Corner has sent her favorite Minestrone Soup, which is a one pot meal with starch, protein and vegetables.

Bhawana of From my palate sent her favorite No oil, No butter Sandwich. How cool is that!

Thirsty and want an energy boost?? Then check these out:

Rina of Rina's Recipes has sent a Peach Mango Kesar Milk Shake.

Dhivya Karthik of Culinary Bazaar has sent a Health P. A. C. Drink. What is P.A.C ? Go check her blog for details. Do check her blog as you can find many more healthy recipes.

And now its time to show my contributions to my event.

A complete meal with Cheese pizza, Vegetable Salad and Mixed Fruit Salad in custard sauce.

Another meal with Kidney Bean Burger, Pinto Bean salad and Honey Dew Melon juice.

two ways - A Low Calorie sweet Rasmalai and A spicy Paneer Chettinaad served with whole wheat tortillas/phulkas.

Couple of more tips that I may want to pass on which I learned from my experience.

1. Minimize the use of fruits in cans as it tends to have more sugars compared to fresh fruits. Similarly beans or vegetables in cans tend to have more sodium so try to use fresh beans or vegetables.

2. Try to cook food with non-stick spray and consume fats uncooked. For ex. consume a tsp of oil added to your salad. Nuts fall into the category of fats so you can add them to your salad too. A limited quantity though about 15 nuts should be fine. Do no avoid fat completely from your diet. Keep this in mind.

Be happy and be healthy. Spread the word around and teach people around you how to stay fit and healthy. See you all with my Sunday Meals tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27

Gongura Pappu (Sorrel Leaves Dal)

Last week I went to visit my brother who lives in Dallas. I go crazy for Indian Restaurants and Grocery stores, when I go to Dallas. We do not get lots of varieties of vegetables that are available in Dallas. So, I make sure I visit my favorite store called "Subzimandi". My husband is fond of Chaats and pani puri which he makes sure he visits that place. And there are so many varieties of restaurants that offer different varieties of Indian food like South Indian, North Indian, Indo-Chinese etc.,

As usual I went to my favorite store and found so many different vegetables. I would like to share our normal curries, dals and chutneys that we make with these vegetables. Some are very simple to make and some need little work. Most of them are simple recipes that are passed from my grand mother to my mom and from her to me. Thankfully my husband also enjoys them as I do. There are few differences the way a curry is made in my home to that of his home. You will see some Telugu brahmin recipes in my blog starting today.

I started my first post with Gongura which is also called Andhra sakhamu. Andhra is famous for its Gongura pachadi, which I will post next.

Gongura Pappu:

3/4 cup Toor dal (Kandi pappu)
1 cup chopped Gongura leaves
1 small Onion (Ullipayi)
1 Clove Garlic minced (Vellullipayi)
Salt as per taste (Uppu)
1 tsp Red chilli powder (Karam)
a pinch Turmeric powder (Pasupu)

For Popu/tempering/tadka:
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Urad dal (Minappappu)
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds (Aavalu)
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeelakarra)
1 Red chilli chopped (Endumirapakaya)
a dash of Hing (Inguva)

1. Wash and pressure cook dal with gongura leaves until 4 to 5 whistles. It takes more time for dal to cook with gongura leaves as they are sour.

2. Let the cooker cool and now remove the whistle. In a seperate pan heat a tsp of oil add the tadka ingredients along with minced garlic. Let them splutter and when they turn golden brown in colour add chopped onion.

3. Saute onion until it turns transluscent. Now add the cooked dal, salt, turmeric and red chillie powder and cook for 5 minutes.

Serve with hot rice or phulkas, it tastes great with either of them.

Friday, October 26

Kai Murukku and Somasi for RCI - Tamil Festival Food

Approximately 10 years back I made Somasi/Kajjikayalu for my brother's birthday. I made them once again today for two persons, one my husband and another Viji of VCuisine for the event RCI - Tamil Festivals which she is hosting for this month.

I had a tamilian friend whose mother use to make these Kai Murukku and Somasi for Diwali. She use to make a bunch of sweets and hots of which I remember Coconut Burfi, Kai Murukku and Somasi. As my husband also was behind me for some snacks so I made these. My husband loves our traditional snacks like murukku, undrallu, kajjikayalu, chegodilu etc., The list is too long to mention here. I am trying my hands in making them for him. The amount of oil, butter/ghee, sugar/jaggery that goes into these items do not make me happy after eating. Please note after eating, I forget everything while eating. After that when I get on to the scale then I feel bad and swear not to touch them in life. Do you think that will happen? I am sure there are many like me out there ... just can't help it.

I made Kai Murukku following the recipe here. I just replaced cumin seeds with ajwain seeds. Rest of the ingredients and recipe is the same. I tried my level best to make the twists with hand. I was pretty glad with my first attempt, may be practice will make me perfect.


For dough:
11/2 cups All purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghee (melted)
1/4 tsp Salt

For Stuffing:
1/2 cup dalia (putnalu/veyinchina senagapappu/the dal that we use to make chutney)
1/3 cup dry coconut powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1. Mix the all purpose flour, salt and ghee. Add water little by little to make a soft pliable dough, similar to puri dough. Cover with damp cloth and set aside.

2. Grind dalia with cardamom powder and take into a clean bowl. Add dry coconut powder, sugars to that and mix them all together.

3. Make small balls of the dough and cover with the same damp cloth.

4. Now take one ball, roll it into a thin puri. Place about 2 tbsp stuffing in the middle of the puri. Wet with water on the ends and fold the puri into a semi circle. Seal the ends. You may use fork to make a nice design. I filded the ends with my fingers to make a nice design.

5. Repeat the same with other balls. Heat enough oil for deep frying. Deep fry one by one in hot oil. I baked couple of them in 350 degree F for 10 to 15 min. I must say they were no close to the ones that are fried.

The sugar gets melted while frying and you will see that the stuffing will get to one side within the shell making it a bit hollow. So do not worry that is normal and the taste will be perfect. Enjoy.

This my entry for RCI-Tamil Festivals - Diwali hosted by Viji of VCuisine. I am a day late, I hope Viji would accept my humble contribution.

Thursday, October 25

Paneer with Saffron - Two Ways - Low Calorie

Rasmalai and Paneer chettinad served with Chapathis

This is my 50th food related post and I wanted to celebrate with a sweet treat. I am not a great fan of sweet dishes, but there are few exceptional sweets that I do love to have on special occassions. I love any juicy sweets like gulab jamuns, jilebi, jaangri or rasmalai. Oh wait! did I say rasmalai and that has saffron in it. Sunita asked me to think spice and that is saffron for this month, how din't I think about it. How good will that be if I can make it low fat and low calorie treat. It will meet my event rules too. So here I present to you all my Low Calorie Rasmalai.

Low fat food need not necessarily be, low calorie food, why, because of the amount of starch or sugar that goes into the recipe. If there is any low fat desserts you need to watch out for the amount of sugar that goes into it. Interested in knowing more about it? Click here.

So I tried my recipe of Rasmalai with sugar free and guess what it turned out great. I could not make out difference at all. And I used fat free chenna (paneer) and fat free milk instead of malai (Heavy cream/ Half and half). Trust me, any diabetics out there you can happily have this on your special occassions. This sweet is a combination of Diary and protein (paneer). Here is the recipe:

For Chenna:
6 cups Fat free milk
2 tbsp Vinegar

For Sugar Syrup:
2 cups Water
2 cups Sugar Free

For Malai/Sauce:
3 cups Fat Free Milk
1/4 cup Sugar Free
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder(Elaichi)
1/4 tsp Saffron

1. Heat 6 cups of milk in a heavy bottomed pan and when it comes to a boil, switch off the stove and add the vinegar. Keep stirring gently until the milk curdles. Drain the water and run the chenna (The curdled thing is called chenna) under running water until the vinegar smell is gone.

2. Make a smooth dough of the chenna, you may use some all purpose flour to enable you to make into small balls.

3. In the mean time heat make sugar syrup with water and sugar free. Let it boil for a while and then drop the chenna balls in to the syrup. Let them cook in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. You will see the balls double in size.

4. When you start making sugar syrup at the same time, in a seperate pan heat the milk and let it boil until it becomes half its quantity. Add crushed saffron and cardamom powder and let it boil for further few more minutes.

5. Now add sugar to the milk, stir, and drop the cooked chenna balls into the milk sauce. Switch off the stove and let the pan still be on the stove. Once it cools a bit, switch them in to a serving bowl and keep them inside the regrigerator to further cool them. Serve them chill. Garnish with some sliced almonds or pistachios. Enjoy.

I cannot have a sweet by itself I need something hot aside. So, I made Paneer Chettinad that goes well with Whole wheat Chapathis. I got the recipe for this dish from my brother's colleague. I followed the same recipe, the only addition I made was adding saffron. Here is the recipe:

1 Big Onion
1 Big Tomato
3 Small green chillies (You may reduce adjust it as per your spice level)
4 to 5 curry leaves chopped
3 tbsp Cashew nuts
1 tbsp Poppy seeds (ghasaghasalu)
1" piece Cinnamon (dalchini)
4 Cloves (lavangalu)
3 Cardamom(elaichi)
1/2 tsp dry Coconut powder
1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
2 long dry Red chillies
a pinch of Saffron
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 tbsp chopped Cilantro(coriander leaves)
1/3 cup cubed Fat free Paneer
Salt as per taste

I made paneer couple of days ago with fat free milk and I have them in my refrigerator in the freezer section.

1. Soak cashews and poppy seeds in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, corander, cumin, coconut powder and red chillies. Add the saffron to the roasted ingredients.

2. Spray some cooking oil (nonstick cooking spray) in the same pan and fry paneer until it turns golden brown. Drop them into some hot water, this allows the paneer to be soft. This idea was given to me by my brother which works.

3. In the same pan, spray some more oil and add the chopped onion, green chillies, curry leaves, sprinkle a little salt, mix well, cover and cook until onion becomes transluscent. In the mean time, grind the roasted ingredients, add ginger garlic paste and grind further more. Add the soaked Cashews and poppy seeds and grind them into a smooth paste.

4. Add the paste to the onions, add some water and cook until the oil leaves the gravy. Well, there is not much of oil I added to this dish, but still you will see the little oil that I added on top. And also cashews has some amount of fat in it.

5. Add the chopped tomato, salt, cover and cook until the tomato is cooked. Now add the paneer, coriander leaves and cook for 5 more minutes.

Squeeze a lime and serve with chapathis with some slices of onion. I did not have much patience to decorate it so I had as it is. It tasted excellent. Thanks Devi for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

Since they are low in fat and calorie they go to my own event WYF - Diet Food. This is also my contribution to Sunita of Sunita's World for her event Think Spice -Think Saffron.

PS: Today is the last day to send in your entries for my event WYF - Diet Food. I will be posting my round up on Monday. So if anyone missed to post for the event, may send in their entries by Sunday. Love to see some more delicious entries. Keep them coming.

Tuesday, October 16

FAHC - Donate Smiles

While I was in India, I use to save coins of rupee, two rupee and five rupee and when I travel in the train I make sure I have that collection with me. I think you all guys must have understood what for. I can't stop myself feeling for those children who sweep the floor of the train with their shirt and ask for a rupee coin. I make sure to donate a rupee to that child. I know a rupee will not change his life but atleast I will feel happy that I am not shrugging off my shoulders from my responsibility as a human. Looking at me those people who are unwilling to lend also pull out coins and donate the money. Believe me or not by mistake I came to US with the collection of coins in my bag :-) While coming through the checking the guy made me to open the bag and I noticed there was a hole in the bag and all the collection of coins went below and I did not notice that. Well, jokes apart, I may not alone make a difference to the lives of those children whom I want to give my helping hand but if I can join a group and donate that little money then sure as a group we can make a markable difference in their lives. Vijay K Narayanan of My Dhaba has took the intiative and let us all food and non-food bloggers join our hands and donate some amount as much as we can for the noble cause. is a not-for-profit charitable organization formed in a collaborative effort of the like-minded people from all around the world. It aims to replace the empty plates of the underprivileged children and replace them with ones of food. While FAHC addresses the holistic needs of each children it supports, it believes illiteracy, malnutrition, and other concerns can only be addressed when hunger is appeased.

Read more about FAHC here and join the club by donating and you know what, you can win some fabulous prizes for amounts equal to or more than $25. For further more details click here.

You can donate by clicking Chip In in the FAHC site on the left side. You can pay securely with credit card/bank account or with paypal account. Make your mark guys go ahead.

Monday, October 15

Sunday Meals #10 - Healthy Meal #2

When ever I talk about health, diet etc., I must talk about one person who inspired me. He is my grand father(Mom's dad). He lived 90 years and no complaint of Diabetes, Heart problems, Blood pressure nothing. I believe all because of his eating habbits. He was so sure and particular about his portion sizes, 2 phulkas and little curd rice. To go along with them any dal or curries made with little of oil. His snack time food was couple of Marie biscuits (We get them in India) or sprouted Moong dal. Breakfast as usual south indian items like Idli, Dosa etc., just 2 of them. He only had special items like vada, bajjis (deep fried items) on festivals that too 2 or 3 not more than that. I wonder how could he resist those cravings towards items like Mirchi Bajji, Samosa, Aloo bonda, Mysore Bajji, Puri etc.,? I go weak in the knees when I see these items. Kya kare control hi nai hotha.

What I wanted to say is eating healthy yields healthy results. I any how got spoiled with all that deep fried stuff, I may want to be careful and pass on healthy eating habbits to my daughter. Hopefully!!!

Here is our sunday meal and guess what my husband liked the food. Trust me! it means a lot.

A plate with salad, burger and juice

Pinto bean salad with vegetables
Kidney bean burger
Honey dew melon juice

Pinto bean salad with vegetables:

1 can Pinto beans drained well
1/2 of a long cucumber chopped finely
1/2 of a small onion chopped finely
1 medium tomato chopped finely
1/2 of lemon
1 tbsp cilantro chopped finely
1 tsp chaat masala
a pinch of salt

Mix beans, vegetables, chaat masala together and squeeze the lemon juice on top of it. Spray some non-stick cooking spray for half a second or 1 tsp oil. I had soy bean oil spray so I sprayed that else you may add 1 tsp olive oil. Mix everything together and serve.

Kidney bean burger:

1 can kidney beans drained very well with no water
1 tsp coriander cumin powder
1/4 red chilli powder
a pinch of salt (do not put more as the canned beans already has it)
a pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 very finely chopped onion
1 tsp very finely chopped jalapeno pepper

For Serving:
2 Light Bread slices (I used Natures own Wheat 40 Calorie bread)
2 tsp Tomato ketchup
Cucumber slices
Tomato slices
Red onion slices
Lettuce leaves

1. Mix all the ingredients with beans and make sure that you don't mash up all the beans. Mash just little enough.

2. Make four equal portions and make each portion into a 1/4" think pattie.

3. Heat a non-stick pan and spray some oil with non stick spray. Place the pattie in that pan.

4. After couple of minutes very gently turn it onto other side and cook for couple more minutes and take out onto a plate. While turning be very careful as the pattie may break, as we did not mash the beans completely.

5. I toasted the bread slightly in a toaster and applied a tsp of ketch up on each slice on one side.

6. Place the vegetables on the slices with the ketchup one inside. Place the buger pattie in between and serve. It is quite filling and healthy.

Honey Dew Melon Juice:

1/2 cup Honey Dew Melon cubes
1/2 cup water (approximately)
2 tsp sugar free
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lemon (juice)
Some Ice cubes

Blend them all together in a blender and pour into a glass. Serve it immediately.

Hope you guys enjoyed the items as much as I enjoyed the meal having it. This is my contribution to my own event What's Your Favorite - Diet Food.

Friday, October 12

Baking Bread...

Last month when Coffee asked to bake some bread for the MBP event, I collected some good bread recipes, but somehow missed the event. Now when I saw Zorra of Kochtopf called for baking bread then I immediately digged into my bookmarks. And here I present two bread recipes that I made looking into my fellow bloggers recipes.

Bread Sticks:

Recipe Source: Just For Fun

I slightly altered this recipe, here are the ingredients that I used:

1 cup Unbleached White Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
A pinch of Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Skim Milk
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast

For Seasoning:

Salt (I did not have Garlic Salt)
Italian Seasoning

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside for 10 min.

2. Take the rest of the dry ingredients into another bowl, add milk, oil and the yeast mixture. Keep adding some warm water to the mixture and knead it into a soft pliable dough. Coat with very little oil, cover and set aside until the dough doubles in size (about an hour).

3. Heat the oven at 450 degrees F.

4. Punch down the dough and roll into in a big rectangle about 1/2" thick.

5. Cut it into long strips, set them on the baking sheet cover and let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes until it doubles.

6. Now coat each strip with just enough oil, sprinkle some salt and italian seasoning on top and bake in the hot oven for about 7 to 10 min. or until the top turns golden brown.

They were so soft and tasty I am glad I tried them. I had a bowl of salad and these bread sticks for my lunch today.

French Bread:

Recipe Source: Jaden's Steamy Kitchen

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Unbleached White Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Active Dry yeast
a pinch of sugar free
3/4 cup warm water

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar free in the warm water and set aside for about 10 min.

2. Take the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the yeast mixture and knead for 6 min. If it is too dry add a tbsp of water at a time. I had to add atleast 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp water.

3. Let it rest for 7 min. and then again knead for 7 minutes. Coat with very little oil, cover and let it rest for 1 1/2 hours until the dough doubles in size. After an hour of the resting stage heat the oven at 450 degrees F.

4. Roll the dough into a long strip and fold, length wise from both sides into the middle. (You may look into the original recipe for the exact picture). Give some karate shots so that the dough sticks together and then pull the two ends from length wise and fold them together. Close from all the ends, put the folded end bottom side and let it rest for about 30 min.

5. With a sharp knife make a diagonal slashes on the top of the loaf. This allows the steam in the bread to escape so that it expands evenly.

6. Shift it onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 min. In my case the top of the bread turned brown in colour by 13 min., so I had to remove it. The bread was fine but it was a bit dense inside. Otherwise it was good attempt. I coated the loaf with some oil, may be that was a wrong step. Next time when I try this, I will make sure I will not coat with oil and may be bake at 500 degrees F. I read somewhere that yeast breads should be baked at higher temperature for them to be more fluffy.

What did I do with this french bread loaf, I could have made garlic bread but then I settled with making a sandwich (6" Sub roll one for my husband and one for me).

Best part is my daughter is also enjoying the bread, I make them into small pieces and pour in her high chair plate. She picks up one by one and puts into her mouth. So cute. I love it, I think its time for me to explore into new recipes to cook for her ;-)

So both these breads go to Zorro of Kochtopf for her event "World Day of Bread 2007".

PS: I thank both the ladies for sharing such a wonderful recipes with us.

Wednesday, October 10

Sunday Meals #9 - WYF -DF- #1

Cheese Pizza, Salad and Mixed fruits in Custard.
Looking at the picture above you must be thinking that I have gone crazy, saying Diet Food I am eating pizza, fruit salad with custard, and ofcourse salad bowl with some dressing. Do not worry, I am eating as per my diet plan. Who says you cannot eat pizza while you are dieting? If a doctor says, then I better not argue, but let me put ahead my ideas here. (Btw, Missing slice is in my stomach, could not wait till the photo is clicked).

I think with some healthy substitutes and within right proportions you can have anything. I learned this while I was dieting to cut down my weight and more importantly while I was hit with Gestational diabetes during my pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes? What is that? Well, I am sure most of them who live in US might have an idea what it is. First time when I said about this at my home and at in-laws they were least interested to know what it is and gave loads of suggestions and said me to continue eating rice. Though, I refused to follow that and shifted to eating phulkas, but finally when my in-laws dropped to US, need not say, the tests once again turned positive and I ended up visiting diabetic specialist and there by with C-Section. During my visits to the Specialist is when, I learned about the balanced diet that has to be followed. Interested in knowing more about Gestational Diabetes please read here.

In India, specifically among my mother aged people, they have a notion that if they avoid eating sugar their glucose levels(Diabetes) will be under control. My mother and my mother-in-law both are diabetic and they never listen to what I say with the little knowledge that I gained. My mother-in-law hates to eat chapathis/phulkas, she dips them with oil and has them with dry curries. I tried to explain it is of no use, avoid oil on chapathis and try to eat with gravies that will help you in eating them. Well, I failed, I forced my mom to go get a diet plan from a doctor that will help you, she too ignored. So, I am not sure how many of you visiting this blog will gain but my sincere efforts will go on.

I remember the first time when I was introduced to Pizza in the year 1997. One of my friend was getting married so she threw a party for us in Burgerola at Secunderabad. That was my first time visit to a bakery place. So, I had no idea what to eat there. She asked if I would like to have pizza, my immediate question was is it vegetarian. She said yes, then I said fine. She ordered on veggie pizza and within few minutes it was at our table. Every body picked one by one slices and I tell you, it scared the hell out of me. Ask me why, the strings of cheese that was stetching reminded me of some nerves. I looked at her and said would you mind if I order something else. She said that is fine, I ordered my favorite pineapple pastry. Later after a year or so, some of my other friends assured me it is purely vegetarian, I had one bite and immediately fell in love with it. I cannot stop craving for it till today. With some healthy substitutions you may have it while you are dieting also. But as I said, be wise at your portion size. Pizza is a good combination of starch, protein and vegetables as per my dictionary.

Substituting simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates as much as you can is a good healthy way of eating your favorite foods. Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are usually packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals. Read more here and here. That is instead of white flour, substitute it with whole wheat flour, that will help. Use part skim or fat free cheese instead of regualr cheese and try not to use more than 2 to 3 oz.

So here is the recipe for my Cheese Pizza:

Pizza dough:

2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 Cup warm water
1 package Instant Dry yeast
1/4 tsp Honey
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp salt

For toppings:
2 oz Fat free mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp Marinara sauce ( I used store bought)
I topped with couple of sundried tomatoes but they burnt, I would not suggest you them. I think they were too dry.

1. In the warm water dissolve honey and yeast. Keep aside for 10 min. You should see foam being formed on top of the water.

2. In the mean time, pour dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix in the yeast mixture and oil into the dry ingredients. Knead the dough enough, cover and let it rest for 1 hour. I keep the bowl inside the microwave.

3. After one hour you should see it is double in size. Punch down and make it into 3 equal portions. Preheat oven at 500 degrees F.

4. Take one ball and roll it to 6" wide. Spread a table spoon of Marinara sauce on top of it and sprinkle 2 oz fat free mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 min. or until the crust turns golden brown and cheese melts.

Recipe for Mixed Fruits in Custard:

I used Sugar free instead of sugar while making the Custard. Read the benefits of Sugar Free(No Calorie Sweetner) here.

1 1/2 cups Skim Milk (Fat Free)
1/2 cup Sugar Free (Ex. Splenda, I used Altern)
1 tbsp Custard Powder (Vanilla flavor)
Mixed fruits (I used fresh fruits like Apple, Mango, Peach, Nectarine,Banana)

1. Take some milk aside and add the custard powder to that.

2. Boil the rest of the milk and add the sugar free. After 5 minutes add the custard powder mixture to the boiling milk and stir until it thickens a little bit. It need not be too thick as the goal is to just pour a little bit of this mixture on the mixed fruits. Chill custard in the refrigerator.

3. Chop the fruits in to small cubes. Pour little custard on the mixed fruits. Store the rest of it in the refrigerator. Since the fruits have natural sugars, if you want you may reduce the sugar free quantity also.

Having fruits in your meal plan is good for health. Why? Read here and here. I keep the mango and banana quantities a little low compared to other fruits. I think I read somewhere that these fruits have more sugars and calories compared to other fruits. Enlighten me if I am wrong, I am here to learn more and more. My basic idea is to be far off from both diabetes and Heart disease. My mom is Diabetic and my dad had heart surgery. So, I am little cautious and want to stay away from both of these diseases.

Oh! by the way, I did not have the whole bowl of custard that you see above, this is what I had.

The rest of it served to hubby. You can store the custard in the refrigerator and make this whenever you want.

My Salad bowl contains:

Iceberg Lettuce
Shredded carrots or carrot sticks
Red cabbage (I bought a packet of these mixed blend)
Slices of Red onion and tomato
Fat free Ranch Dressing (You may use Fat free Italian Dressing)

I do not break my head each time to make the fat free version of salad dressing. Basically I have no idea also and why to take pain when they are readily available in the market. A little of Semi-home made is allowed... don't you agree. I like Ranch Dressing so, I have fat free ranch dressing in my refrigerator. I had half of the bowl that you see up there.

So, please do not think you need to send me only soups or salads, you can be creative and send such entries too. If you look at the entire meal it is well portioned with starches, vegetables, fruits, diary and protein.

Note: Try to have the pizza or dessert once in a while not on a regular basis. These are to fulfill your cravings. Hope you guys enjoyed.

I would like to send my custard bowl with fruits as entry to AFAM - Peach/Nectarine being hosted by Manasi Desai of Fun and Food.

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