Showing posts with label HealtyEating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HealtyEating. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to grow perfect green gram/ moong beans sprouts

When I was a kid I was a very willful child. I am still one. But I was a total mess when it was about food. I would refuse to eat a lot of things and take hours to finish the food on my plate. Being the eldest grandchild I was pampered and spoilt. It was usually my maasi's duty to feed me.  It was routine torture for her. I hear tales of my greatness till date in family gatherings. And I shamelessly smile about my silliness. Eating healthy was a far off thing. I would stay miles and miles away from milk, green vegetables etc. Anything which fell in the bracket of "healthy eating" was a big NO. None in the family would have ever imagined that I would write a food blog and blog about eating healthy.

I am a total opposite of what I used to be, even few years ago. My pantry would be stocked with junk food ... chips, chocolates and ice-cream was a staple. Not sure how this transformation happened. But I am glad it did. I guess it was hibernating somewhere in the sub conscious mind. I come from a family where eating healthy is the norm. But we do indulge once in a while.

Last week before going for grocery, I was checking my pantry and making a mental list of things I had to buy. I forget half of the necessary things though. I will talk about that some other day. So there was little green gram sitting quietly. These days dinners are more about salads .... so I thought why not !

Today my post is about how to grow the perfect sprout, the base for a good sprout based salad/ dish.

Health Benefit of Green Gram Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts is very common and one of the easiest to do. It is low in calories, have fiber and B vitamins, and deliver a boost of vitamins C and K. (Source - Google) 

How to grow the perfect Green Gram/ Moong beans sprouts

What you need

Whole Moong Beans (Make sure they are not too old) - 1/2 cup
A close box to make the beans sprout. (I used a wide mouth stainless steel one)C
Clean cotton cloth.


Method of Preparation

Wash the green gram/ moong beans under running water.
Soak overnight in enough water . (Or for 6-8 hours)
Drain the water. Wash one more time under running water.
Take a clean cotton cloth and wet it. Wring to remove excess water
Tie the moong daal in the cloth and keep it covered in a food container / box for a day.
Next day, you can see tiny sprouts.
Again take them out, and wash under water. Drain the water and repeat process till the sprouts grow little longer.

You can store them in air tight container/ zip lock bag for 2-3 days in the fridge. Best consumed fresh.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Crispy Grilled Sardines ......Oil Free Cooking

The owner of this fish shop is a very cheerful young guy. Each time I visit his shop he helps me recognize the fishes in display. Mostly with local names in Kannada ...... I can barely recognize fishes, except Rohu, which is our staple. Well, now I am well versed with white and black Pompfrets, Shrimps and Mackerel to a certain extent. Also, he would oblige me with cleaning the fishes and cutting it per my instructions, no matter how crowded the shop is. Especially on weekends.I can however boast of selecting fresh ones .... I got my lessons pretty young when I went to the fish market with my dad. 

These days I have been doing a bit of research on fishes and their nutritional values. I love my fish hot, crispy and shallow fried in oil. But I understand that frying the fish in oil is not that healthy and I don't like raw curried fish.To satisfy my taste buds, the fish needs to be fried first and they curried. But that's not quite healthy. Although I love the taste. Of late myself and J are on a health diet. No we don't kill ourselves by starving. We are just trying to eat healthy.  And we both love fish. We can eat it on any given day. So I am trying to recreate traditional dishes with very little or no oil. 

Today when I visited the fish shop, they had some good fresh stock of Sardines. We are not much into eating Sardines because it's a sea fish. People in my part of the world prefer fresh water fishes. The reason why I got attracted to it is because of it's nutritional values. It is a very oily fish and is extremely rich in Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorous and Omega 3 fatty acids. It is known to promote heart and bone health as it is rich in Omega 3 and calcium. However, if you are having a medical condition, it is better to consult a doctor before including it in your diet. 

I prepared a crispy grilled sardine today. It requires less than a teaspoon of oil as the fish itself is very oily. And I really loved it as it can be prepared in a jiffy. It was crisp and equally yum as the pan fried ones. Marinate and toss it into the oven and forget it for next 20 minutes. I can say that I recreated the taste of pan seared sardines minus the oil. So it was guilt free indulgence.

Serves - 2
Preparation Time - 10 minutes
Cooking Time - 20 minutes


Sardines - 6-7 (medium size) cleaned
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Laal Mirch - 1/2 tsp (or more if you like it more spicy)
Ginger Paste -  1 tsp (fresh is better)
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Tandoori Masala - 1/2 tsp (use any store bought ones)
Curry Leaves - A handful
Mustard oil -  1 tsp
Salt per taste

Method of Preparation

Clean the sardines and pat them dry. Or leave them in a colander so that all the water is drained out. 
Prepare a tray by lining it with aluminum foil (reduces your work of scrubbing and cleaning it later). Preheat oven in grill mode at 250 degrees centigrade for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl mix all the ingredients to make an even paste. Add curry leaves to the masala. It enhances the taste of the fish. 
Make deep gashes on both sides of the fish.
Take the marinate masala  and rub on both sides of the fish. Now layer the fish on the prepared tray. Now reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees centigrade. Place the try on middle rack and grill for almost twenty minutes or till done.
Serve with rice.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Whole Wheat Spiced Banana Bread

It was long weekend here on May 1st and we went on a long road trip from Bangalore to Rameswaram. The trip was beautiful .... I will blog about that separately. But when I was back after four days of fun and frolic I saw a bunch of banana staring back at me. They were over ripened  and on the verge of getting spoilt. The first thing that came to my mind was Banana bread. But with a husband who is sweating it out to loose few pounds, it had to be healthy. So I experimented with baking with whole wheat flour (atta) and the result  didn't disappoint me at all. Infact it was better. And I am never going back to baking with all purpose refined flour/ maida again. 
This banana bread if guilt free indulgence with the goodness of wheat flour, brown sugar and olive oil and cinnamon. 

Health Benefits of Banana 
Banana is called the fruit of the wise, the reason being quite obvious ..... it has great nutritional values, tastes good and is easy on your wallet.
Brain Power Banana is a rich source of Potassium which is known to increase the alertness of the brain. 
Anti Depressant Have a ripened banana whenever you feel low or depressed.This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Heartburn Bananas have a natural antacid effect on the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Nerves Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Smoking & Tobacco Use Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Antacid Since they have a naturally occurring antacid effect in the body, bananas help get rid of heart burn after eating your favorite (but miserable) foods, which have loads of spices in them.


Ripened Bananans - 3 medium size 
Whole wheat flour/ atta - 2 cups
Olive oil - 2/3 cup (You can also use canola/ sunflower oil)
Brown sugar - 1 cup
Eggs -  2 large
Curd - 2/3 cup
Milk- 1/2 cup
Cinnamon Powder - 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1. 5 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Chopped Walnuts - a handful (optional)
Chocolate chips - a handful (optional)
You can substitute cashew nuts, chopped dates, sultanas etc in place of walnuts and chocolate chips.

Method of Preparation

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon or hand whisk to incorporate well. (Whole wheat flour + Cinnamon Powder + Cardamom Powder + Salt + Baking Powder).Sieve 2- 3 times and keep aside.

First peel and mash the bananas roughly using a fork.  Now add the brown sugar to it. Using an electric hand blender mix the sugar with the bananas completely. Next add eggs one by one and mix well. Add oil beat. Next add curd and mix to blend in completely. Also add vanilla essence. 

Now add the dry ingredient slowly little by little and fold into that mixture gently. Don't mix vigorously as you can break the air pockets and the bread won't get soft. Also add a little milk while folding the dry ingredients.
Finally add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips and fold.

Prepare a cake tin/ loaf tin by greasing it with some oil properly. Preheat oven at 185 degrees centigrade. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 35 -40 minutes or till you insert a skewer and it comes out clean. 

Cool and de mould from cake tin. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Aam Panna - Raw Mango Cooler

Summer time is not just the season ..... its about a lot of interwoven memories. Memories that are deep rooted and are close to the heart. Its about the time spent with grandparents and a bunch of cousins. It's about whispers and laughter's. About afternoon siestas and about sneaking out and playing in the hot sun under the mango n guava trees. The sweet smell of neem and jasmine flowers that intoxicate the cool evening breeze. And the smell of earth after a rain shower and a gang of kids walking in the rain under one umbrella to floating paper boats. I wish I could freeze that time forever. 

Summer is also about mangoes, especially if one is in India. One can find the markets flooded with varieties. And I can never ever get tired of eating one. Although I prefer ripe to raw ones but I have been hooked to this summer cooler ever since I tasted it. More because it has no sugar in it and is a guilt free drink.
There is no thumb rule of preparing this drink. Every household has its own way of preparing it. The ancient Indian science of Ayurveda and age old wisdom of grandmothers insist on drinking Aam Panna during summers because of its medicinal values. It keeps our body cool and prevents heat strokes. 

Health Benefits
Raw Mango is a rich source of Vitamin C, Zinc and Sodium Chloride.  It helps in replenishing these essential nutrients that we loose in the process of sweating during summer.
Also, I have substituted jaggery to sugar for making it more healthier. Jaggery/Gur is rich in iron and helps purifies the blood. 

Raw Mangoes - 4 (small size) or 3 medium size
Jaggery -3/4 cup

Roasted cumin powder - 1 tsp
Black Salt - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp

Mint leaves for garnishing
Water - 4 cups + 2 cups 
Note : You can add more jaggery if you like it sweeter.

Method of Preparation 

Wash the mangoes properly under running water. In a pressure cooker add about four cups of water. On medium heat pressure cook it for about ten minutes or till the mangoes are cooked and tender.
Let the pressure cooker cool. Remove the skin of the mangoes. (Once the mangoes are cooked the skin comes off easily). Mash the mangoes in the water using your hand to remove pulp from the seed. 

Next take a stainer and stain the juice with the pulp to remove any skin. Add another 2 cups of water to it to dilute it further. Now add the jaggery/ gur to the juice and stir well using a spoon so that it gets completely dissolved in it. 
Next add black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder and black salt. Mix well so that all the ingredients get incorporated in the mango juice.
Chill in fridge for about an hour before serving.

Serving Suggestion
Garnish with mint leaves and serve chilled.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Methi Daal - Lentil Soup flavored with fenugreek leaves.

Nothing beats a home cooked meal .... but having the same staple food everyday can get a bit boring. And with the temperature soaring high I just wish I had a magic wand. That I could just wish and food would be served. The other option left is eating out or ordering food. That can surely solve the problem to an extent but that ain't  a permanent solution, especially for a person like me who is paranoid of calculating calories and is very picky about what oil the restaurant uses for cooking, blah blah ..... 
So, these days I am trying to tweak n twist some of my everyday recipes to make it little more interesting. And the best part is without much effort.
Lentils are an integral part of Indian cooking. There are a plethora of lentil or daal recipes in Indian cooking. Every Indian home has their own way of cooking it. In my place we normally have toor daal/ pigeon pea as a staple. The daal is pressure cooked adding salt and turmeric powder and in the end seasoned with tadka of spices. 

So today while cooking, I added a twist by adding some dry fenugreek leaves .... It was not much an effort but it took the otherwise everyday boring daal/ lentil soup to another level. 

Food Facts
  • Toor Daal/ Pigeon Peas is a rich source of protein for vegetarians.
  • It also has a good amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins.
  • It is high in dietary fibre.
  • Toor dal contains folic acid, an important vitamin for all women especially those planning to become pregnant.
  • Studies have shown that the fibers in fenugreek help prevent certain cancers.
  • Fenugreek contains saponins that help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol from fatty foods. Some studies also indicate saponins to have a role to play in reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, especially the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

(Makes -3) 

Split Toor/ Tuvar/ Arhar Daal / Pigeon peas - 1/2 cup
Garlic Pods - 4 (large ones)
Dry Red Chilies - 1
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Dry Fenugreek leaves (Kasturi Methi - Available is Indian Grocery stores) - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1.5 cups
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

Take good quality lentils. This is the first step towards making a great dish. Wash and soak the daal for about 30 minutes. This will save the cooking time. Peel the garlic pods and crush them using a small mortal and pestle. Alternately, you can finely chop it. Using a kitchen scissor, cut the red chili into small pieces removing the seeds.

Now take the daal/ lentil in a pressure cooker. Add water to it. Add salt and turmeric powder to it and cook for about 2 whistles on medium flame. You can also cook it in any other vessel with a lid till its soft and cooked. 

After the lentils are cooked. Take oil (You can also use Ghee) in a small wok/ tadka pan and bring it to a smoking point. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Then add garlic, red chilies and asafoetida. In the end add the dry fenugreek leaves (Adding it in the beginning can burn it and it will loose it's delicate flavor) . Remove from heat and add the mixture to the daal. Stir and close the lid of the cooker.  

Serve warm with rice or roti.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ghee/ Clarified Butter ....... Home made from scratch

Certain things clearly intimidate me ..... one such thing was making ghee/ clarified butter from scratch. But finally I overcame my fear by facing it.I grew up in a kitchen where everything was made from scratch. I fondly remember my grandmother making ghee in an era when there was no hand blender or mixer-grinder. Those days she used a wooden hand blender called "Gholona" in odiya. Making ghee from milk cream was more of a ritual those days. There was a special vessel which was strictly used to making ghee, an old discolored aluminum pan. The aroma of freshly made ghee would fill the entire house and sometimes the neighbor's too. I remember scrapping the light brownish color milk solids from the bottom of the pan. Aai (Grandma) and myself loved this residue called "korua". We would take a generous helping of the korua and mix it with a bowl of puffed rice with some sugar. It tasted delicious to say the least. I have not had this for a very long time. 
Ghee is widely used in Indian cooking.The use of ghee in Indian cooking has been well documented in Ayurveda. 

Food Facts

Ayurveda recommends one teaspoon or less ghee per meal.Ghee can actually help to increase HDL, the good cholesterol.  Some additional reasons to use ghee when preparing your food are:
• Digestion (helps absorb and assimilate nutrients)
• Improves memory
• Helps increase flexibility by lubricating the connective tissues
• Carries the medicinal properties of herbs into tissues (yogavāhi)
• Stimulates the liver to produce fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

Milk cream - 2 cups
Curd - 7-8 tsp
Making Ghee from Scratch
Making ghee from scratch, begins with the collection of milk cream. When milk is boiled and cooled down, a layer of milk solid called cream/ malai is formed. You need to collect this for about a month and keep it refrigerated till you collect a decent amount (about 2 cups).
Day -1
When cream is collected, remove the cream from the refridgerator a night before and keep it in room temperature. Mix about 7-8 teaspoons of curd to the cream and blend well till curd and cream is incorporated evenly. Let it sit in room temperature for a day. The curd will help ferment the milk solids. 
Day -2
Now take about 2 cups of water (not very cold but room temperature) in a tall mixie jar. Add about 4-5 teaspoons of the cream n curd mixture and pulse it for few seconds. You will notice the butter floating on the water. Extract this butter and keep in a heavy bottom Kadhai/Wok. Repeat process till you extract all the butter. 
Now switch on the flame and keep the wok on medium flame. The butter will start melting and forming a foam. After about 20- 25 minutes you will see golden color ghee separated from the solids. Switch off flame and let it cool down completely. 
Strain the ghee to separate the milk solids. Store in a clean n dry bottle/ can at room temperature.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Curried Chickpeas aka Chole/ Choley

Yah I am back blogging after an era literally. Hopefully this time for good ..... If you have been a regular on my blog you should be familiar with my style. There is a little story/ narration and a recipe. Since I am back after a very long time, I decided to twist my style and make it more versatile depending on the mood.
Because it is summer time and we all are in the mood to flaunt our beach bodies ...... or you might be in the other category as me, struggling to loose some weight, particularly those love handles:)

While I can vouch that there is no magic that helps shed those extra kilos, healthy eating habits and a little bit of working out won't hurt. Intact if one is consistent, you can see the results in a few months. Yah you heard it right, "months". The goals need to be realistic.
So this series is all about healthy eating ...... You don't have to starve to loose those extra kilos.

Choley or curried chickpeas is a very versatile dish and can be done in several ways. The style of preparation also varies from region to region.
This recipe is a milimalistic one with very little oil and spices and can be prepared under 30 minutes.

Food Fact 

Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, and they have a low glycemic index. This powerful combination can help control your weight and lower the bad cholesterol levels. They are also rich in protein and packed with vitamins that are easily absorbed by our body

Chickpeas/ Kabuli chana/ Choley - 1.5 cups 

Boiled Potato - 1 small

Garlic pods - 12 (medium size ones)
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Tomato - 1
Green chili  - 1 (You can use more if you like spicy)
Choley Masala - 2 tsp (You can use any store bought one but I used MDH as I like it better)
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation
1. You can soak the chickpeas for 8-9 hours (overnight). Then pressure cook it adding salt, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and the garlic pods. The chickpeas should be soft when cooked. You can add a small potato to the chickpeas and boil if along with it to save time.
2. Finely chop onion, garlic, tomatoes and green chili and keep aside. Mash the boiled potato. 
3. Now put a kadhai/ wok on the stove and switch on the flame. Add 2 tsp of vegetable/ olive oil. When the oil is hot, add green chilies and ginger first. Sauté for a minute and then add the finely chopped onions to it. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes and cook till the masala has no raw smell and starts leaving oil from the sides. 
4. Now add 2 tsp of MDH Chola Masala (or any other masala brand you like) and immediately add the boiled chickpeas/ choley to it. Add mashed potatoes and stir the mixture lightly to blend in. Simmer on low flame for 10 - 15 minutes. You can taste the salt and add more  to the gravy if needed.(Mashed potato helps make the gravy thicker)
5. Switch of the flame and add chopped fresh coriander leaves to it.

Serving Suggestion

Goes well with any flat bread (poori, paratha, phulka / roti etc)