Categories
Recipes

Turnips, Raisins, Seeds

Raw turnips have a great flavour that’s quite close to that of raw radish. When they’re cooked everything changes, but for this dish, we only need to be alright with raw turnips.

safal

This recipe was created for The Right Side of Life, a Safal community on Facebook. If you’re interested in eating healthier and involving food in different aspects of wellness, this is a group for you. We’re planning lots of activities and content for this group that I’m sure you’ll love!

Salads can serve different purposes, to my mind.

  • Entire meals, such as those that are large in quantity and contain a variety of flavours, textures and ingredients, in addition to different formats of ingredients – shreds, leaves, chunks, bits, seeds etc.
  • Accompaniments, such as a coleslaw, which is fairly uniform across recipes, and is great for accompanying fried and grilled foods, especially meats. Similarly, other salads or their dressings work with different types of main courses.
  • Nutrition Round offs, which help if we usually eat the same sort of foods all the time, and salads help in rounding off the nutritional properties of such meals.
  • Snack Replacements, to replace traditional carbohydrate/fat heavy snacks. These fulfil our need for chewing as well as supplement nutrition in a low calorie, nutrient dense package.
  • Meal Engagement, to add more interaction on a platter from the point of view of quantity (an additional item), looks (colours), additional chewing (for increased satisfaction) and eating method (fork, spoon).

This salad works with all of the above.

  • Can be an entire meal due to the diverse ingredients and nutrients within.
  • Can be a good accompaniment to perhaps a mushy food like a khichdi, for texture relief.
  • Can easily round off nutrition due to the nature of the ingredients
  • Can replace a snack due to its nutrient dense nature and engaging flavours and textures.
  • Good for adding to any platter as a filler and to increase overall interaction with the food.

Ingredients:

  • Turnips, 5 small, small dices
  • Dried figs, 4 pieces, tiny dices
  • Pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • Pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Watermelon seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Black raisins, 1 tbsp
  • Citrus fruit, any, a few chunks

Method:

  1. Mix it all.
  2. Serve.

Notes:

  • This salad doesn’t really need a dressing.
  • If you do want one, I suggest an orange vinaigrette.
  • It can be pre-dressed as there are no leafy ingredients that’ll wilt.

For some reason, this salad also seemed somewhat christmassy to me.

Categories
Recipes

Chaar Saag Vyanjan

Greens were never my favourite vegetable and while I never avoided them, they weren’t ever sought out in my kitchen. Today, greens have a special place at home. We eat quite a bit of greens of all sorts, and mix and match them into dishes like this delicious vegetable stew cooked in dahi/yogurt that used both radish greens and spinach.

safal

This recipe was created for The Right Side of Life, a Safal community on Facebook. If you’re interested in eating healthier and involving food in different aspects of wellness, this is a group for you. We’re planning lots of activities and content for this group that I’m sure you’ll love!

At this time, there are so many wonderfully radiant and fresh greens available in the market and we thought we’d have a sort of mega-greens evening, even if it did mean eating a fair bit more carbs and fried stuff than we usually do.

Naming this post was a problem, because this post isn’t about a single dish, it’s about three – rotis and saag, paanch saag paratha and paanch saag kachori, all based on one delicious blend of four different greens – bathua (lamb’s quarters), methi (fenugreek), sarson (mustard) and suva (shepuchi / dill greens).

Ingredients:

  • Chaar Saag
    • Bathua, 150 gm, washed and picked
    • Sarson ka Saag, 150 gm, washed and picked
    • Suva Saag, 100 gm, washed and picked
    • Methi leaves,150 gm, washed and picked
  • Sabat (whole) Masala
    • Saunf (aniseed), 2 tsp
    • Methi (fenugreek) seeds, 1 tsp
  • Powders
    • Heeng (asafoetida), 1/4 tsp
    • Red chilli powder, 1 tsp
    • Saunth (dried ginger) powder, 1 tsp
    • Aamchur (dried mango) powder, 1 tsp
  • Ginger-Garlic paste, 2 tbsp
  • Green chillies, 2 pieces, finely chopped
  • Mustard oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Grind all the sabat masalas and mix with all the powders, including the salt.
  2. Heat the mustard oil in a large pot till medium hot.
  3. Add the mixture from step 1, fry for a minute. Add the green chillies. Fry for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add all the leaves. Keep mixing and stirring till the water has all but dried out.
  5. The saag is now ready and can be eaten with rotis.

You can use this saag as a filling for parathas and kachoris too. See notes for more information.

Notes:

  • You can chop the leaves if you want. We didn’t.
  • Don’t heat the oil too much before putting in the mixture from step one, or the whole lot will immediately burn.
  • The sabat masalas can be ground as coarsely or finely as you want. I did it midway.
  • If you’re planning to eat with rotis, you can retain some more moisture within.
  • If you’re planning to use as a stuffing, dry it out quite a bit more. Remember to cool it before using as a stuffing.
  • For the dough for kachoris and parathas, we used the same as in Sweet potato and carrot halwa. The dough turned out quite nice for really crisp and flaky parathas.
  • The saag goes really, really well with dahi/yogurt.
  • Did I mention it goes great with dahi?
Categories
Recipes

No-Ghee Sweet Potato & Carrot Halwa

I’ve been trying to use sweet potatoes in ways other than my usual and this dish came together quite well. Not only was it quite nice as a regular halwa, but it also worked wonderfully as a stuffing for gujiyas and kachoris. We tried a few at home and they turned out quite well. In fact, we even did one in a mooncake mould and that turned out nice too.

This recipe was created for The Right Side of Life, a Safal community on Facebook. If you’re interested in eating healthier and involving food in different aspects of wellness, this is a group for you. We’re planning lots of activities and content for this group that I’m sure you’ll love!

This halwa works great as a stuffing too, if deep fried carbs are your thing.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes, 2 medium, sliced in half length-ways, steamed
  • Carrots, 3 medium, peeled and grated
  • Sugar per your preferences
  • Cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Elaichi / Cardamom, 2 whole, peeled and powdered

Method:

  1. Mash the sweet potatoes. Incorporate the shredded carrots and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Using a non-stick pan pour the mixture, including any shed water, cook the mixture on low heat, until the carrots lose their raw taste – about 15 minutes. Add more water if you think it’s needed, but make sure the mixture is quite dry by the time you’re done.
  3. Adjust sweetness with powdered sugar or honey, as granulated sugar will not blend in easily at this stage.

The halwa is done at this point and can be served. If you find it a little dreary, a little ghee will go a long way in making it more appetising for some of us.

If you want to put it into kachoris or gujiyas, the dough we used was all purpose flour, 25% ghee (25gm in 100gm of flour), a large pinch of powdered sugar and just enough water to make it into a tight dough that was rested in the fridge for about 20 minutes prior to use.

Notes:

  • Some sweet potatoes turn out quite fibrous. If so, blend the steamed sweet potato before mixing with the carrots.
  • We steam the sweet potatoes so it takes less time to dry out later. If you want you can boil them instead.
  • The halwa can be easily used to stuff parathas that’ll hold quite well.
  • When in the pan, you’ll find a silicone spatula quite useful instead of a wooden implement.
Categories
Featured

Microgreens at Home

Ever since we first tasted mustard micro-greens, all three of us have been hooked on to their sharp flavour and crisp texture. Unfortunately, their commercial availability in most areas is limited and they’re expensive too – about 200 rupees for 50 gm from what I just saw on the net.

We’ve recently started growing them at home, and all we need are some seeds (I mostly use black mustard seeds), any containers you have lying about, kitchen towels and water.

The containers I’m using right now, are:

  • Teacups that don’t have saucers
  • Assorted lids
  • Assorted containers like cookie tins
  • Earthen containers (these dry out fast and need watering more frequently)
  • Others

The basic steps are:

  1. If using earthen containers, pre-soak them to prevent quick drying out initially. They’ll need watering more frequently.
  2. Use folded paper towels to line the bottom of your containers. The thinner the layer, the more frequently they’ll need water. I aim for a thickness of about 1 cm, and need to water every 2 – 3 hours. This isn’t necessary. They’ll grow just as well without the towels.
  3. Wet the towels and drain off excess water.
  4. Sprinkle a seeds all across the surface of the towels. Close together is fine; don’t overdo it.
  5. Spray the seeds with a mist of water, or press them down a bit to moisten them.
  6. Leave them alone and water every couple of hours. I add a generous bit of water, swirl it around, then pour the excess into the next container and so on. During the first couple of days, you might want to take care not to pour out seeds with the water.
  7. The first 2 days might see a white, cottony fungus like growth. I ignore this for two reasons. One, it goes away in a day or two. Two, if it does stay, the greens are in any case snipped leaving behind a couple of centimetres of stalk, so it’ll be left behind.
  8. When your greens are a 2 – 4 inches tall, snip them and use in salads, garnishes etc. This may take between 5 to 10 days depending on the temperature, consistency of available moisture, etc.
  9. Replant the container immediately, so you’ll always have a ready supply of greens. I’ve purchased a 500gm pack of mustard seeds to ensure there’s always some to plant.
  10. The black seed husks are sometimes attached to the plant and do not wash away easily. These are okay to eat.

You can experiment with different seeds, keeping in mind they’re likely to behave differently. I’m currently working with mustard, millets and fenugreek (methi). My favourite is mustard, due to it’s flavour and quick growth. Do share your experiences.

Categories
Recipes

Millets, Curd, Vegetables

I ordered a bunch of different types of whole grains a few days ago, including a number of millet varieties from Amazon. The problem with trying to cook healthier, is that so much more time needs to be spent on prepping and purchases, whilst normal cooking is just so very simple. What do you think?

For today’s dinner, I asked Indu to pick up whatever she fancied from the vegetable shop downstairs, and I’d do something or the other with it. So she picked up some fresh coriander, tinda, beans, spinach, carrots, broccoli and aubergines. She also picked up a pack of dahi / yogurt.

We ended up with another take on curd rice, which is one of our favourite dishes, but without the rice.

Ingredients:

  • Millets, 150gm, boiled per your preferences, drained.
  • Yogurt, 200ml or as much as you want
  • Coriander, fresh; chopped
  • Set 1
    • Tinda, 4 pieces; peeled and finely sliced, blanched
    • Broccoli, one small, stalk peeled and sliced, florets very finely chopped
  • Set 2
    • Spinach, half a bunch; blanched and drained
  • Set 3
    • Aubergine 3 pieces; sliced in half lengthwise, salted, drained and rinsed
  • Set 4
    • Carrots, 2 pieces, finely sliced, blanched
    • Beans, handful, finely sliced, blanched
  • Spice mixture for curd + millet mixture
    • Mustard seeds, 2 tsp
    • Ginger, fresh, 1 inch; shredded
    • Kadi patta / curry leaves, 1 stalk
  • Mixture for Tinda + Broccoli
    • Green chillies, fresh; finely chopped
    • Ground into a coarse mixture
      • Aniseed, 1 tsp
      • Methi / fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp
      • Green cardamom, 1 piece, seeds
  • Chili garlic chutney smeared on aubergine before grilling
  • Oil and salt as needed

Method:

  1. In a little oil, splutter mustard seeds, fry kadi patta and ginger. Mix this with the boiled millet and curd.
  2. Grill the chilli chutney smeared aubergine.
  3. In a little oil fry the chillies, spice mixture for tinda and broccoli. Add the blanched tinda and broccoli. Stir fry for a few minutes. Set aside.
  4. Salt the spinach.
  5. Serve.

Notes for organising the cooking.

  1. Chop everything that needs chopping.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Add washed millet. Keep this going till the end. It’ll probably take that long to cook.
  3. Boil another pot of water. Use this to blanch the carrot and beans mixture, the tinda and the spinach. Set aside.
  4. Follow steps 2, 3, 4 from Method above.
  5. Drain and rinse millet.
  6. Follow steps 1, 5 from Method above.

Categories
Recipes

Salmon, Corn, Veggies

Cherie expressed a desire to eat salmon a few days ago. The challenge is usually using up all the ingredients that I’m experimenting with, leftover vegetables and putting all of them together into a single platter.

There were a couple of sad carrots in the fridge accompanied by an equally glum green bell pepper. I had made soaked and boiled a batch of chickpeas a couple of days ago and that needed to be used. There was a batch of toor dal that I had soaked for a few days to see when they would be tender enough to quickly cook in an open pan with a little water. Indu had picked up some corn on the cob, a pomegranate and some spinach a few minutes ago. Here’s what happened.

Ingredients:

  • Salmon, steaks; salted, drained and rinsed
  • Corn on the cob, boiled with a pinch of sugar
  • Carrots, sliced fine.
  • Green bell peppers, sliced fine
  • Chickpeas, boiled and drained
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste in oil)
  • Garlic, raw, a few pods; sliced
  • Toor dal; boiled and drained
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Honey
  • Eggs, boiled
  • Spinach; blanched, drained and squeezed
  • Black peppercorns; freshly cracked
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil

Method:

  • Blend boiled chickpeas with a couple of pods of garlic, some tahini and some salt. That’s your hummus. Start with two pods of garlic and a tablespoon of tahini for about 150 gm of boiled chickpeas and adjust per your taste. Blend finely or coarsely; your call. Set aside.
  • Mix the boiled toor dal with pomegranate seeds, salt and a little olive oil. Set aside.
  • Toss the carrots and bell peppers in a hot pan with a little oil, and then add a bit of honey, some salt and take off the flame. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Mix the blanched spinach with sliced fresh garlic, salt and sesame oil. Set aside.
  • Slice the boiled eggs.
  • Sprinkle salmon with a little salt, fry on that side in a little oil for about 2 minutes on a medium flame. Sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper on the side facing you and then flip it over and fry for another couple of minutes or so, depending on the thickness of your steaks.
  • Plate it all. Serve.

Notes:

  • When the layers of salmon are perfectly visible and separable, it’s well cooked. When they’re fused together, it’s overcooked.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil if possible.
  • Free range eggs are good. Don’t over boil the eggs as I’ve done. Yolks ought to be a bit moist.
  • Feel free to change the dal used. Don’t nuke it though, while cooking. We don’t have to pressure cook everything to death.
  • I used wild honey.
  • If you’ve prepped beforehand, don’t pre-mix the dal and spinach mixtures. Rinse the dal, spinach and corn in in hot water to reheat them. Re-toss the carrots and pepper if you wish at the last moment. Don’t fry the salmon prior.
Categories
Recipes

Vegetable and Dahi Stew

As a family, we like our food and we both love and hate our carbs. So we cooperate with any attempt to reduce their presence in our lives. Elimination, in case you’re wondering, is both impractical and not really healthy unless you know what you’re doing.

This stew is a mixture of a number of vegetables and one grain – bajra. I soaked the stuff for 3 whole days, trying to see if it would grow in size and when it would soft enough to eat by itself. The water was changed every 12 hours or so and it lay on the kitchen platform, it being cool enough these days to do so. It never grew in size, though it did get soft enough to eat by itself, though with a slight bite.

Ingredients:

  • Lauki, 1 small-medium, diced
  • Radish, 2 medium, diced (root and leaves)
  • Carrots, 1 small, diced
  • Spinach, one bundle, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • Mushrooms, 1 packet, diced
  • Parval, 2 pieces, trimmed, cleaned and sliced (no seeds)
  • Bell peppers, 1, sliced
  • Bajra, 6 tbsp, pre-soaked
  • Dhaniya powder, 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala, 1.5 tbsp
  • Chilli Garlic chutney, 1 heaped tsp
  • Fresh ginger, 1 – 2 inches, finely diced
  • Dahi (yogurt), 250ml
  • Haldi powder, 1.5 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil

Method:

  1. Heat oil. Saute bajra for a few minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add all spices. It’s okay if there isn’t enough oil in there to drown them. Saute/stir for a minute on low heat.
  3. Add all vegetables, except spinach.
  4. Add chutney, ginger and dahi.
  5. Mix. Lower heat. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender or as you like them. Took me about 20 minutes.
  6. Add spinach, mix, wait for a minute for it to wilt.
  7. Serve.

Notes:

  1. Serve as is, or with rice, roti etc. We ate it in bowls as a chunky soup, without any accompaniments.
  2. Pre-cook the bajra in a pressure cooker if you don’t want to pre-soak for 3 days.
  3. A bit of ghee on top would taste quite nice.
  4. Keeping the bajra a little hard helps reduce post meal fridge visits because the mouth has yet chewed enough.
  5. Add any more or less vegetables you like.
Doesn’t look that great, but definitely tasted quite nice.
Categories
Recipes

Gooey Chicken Kathi Roll Filling

We wanted to eat a gooey, rich stuffed chicken roll for dinner, and this is the filling we used.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast, 2 pieces, diced
  • Mayonnaise, 3 tbsp
  • Garlic powder, 2 tsp
  • Onion powder, 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour, 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp [optional]
  • Chilli powder, 1/2 tsp [optional]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp [optional]
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the powders and salt.
  2. Moisten chicken and combine it with the powder mixture.
  3. Shake the pieces of chicken in a sieve to dust off excess powders
  4. Deep fry till golden brown
  5. Remove from oil, let cool and mix with mayonnaise
  6. Use as filling in rolls

Notes:

  • To make the rolls, I used a teaspoon of chilli garlic chutney, a tablespoon of stirred cream and this filling, all rolled into a large paratha.
  • I used homemade honey mustard mayonnaise. You can use whatever you’d like or is available.
Categories
Recipes

3 Minute Hunger Reducing Soup

This is a quick way to make a soup that’s healthier than the usual, and keeps away hunger plus is versatile enough to go with almost any vegetables available in the home . This is great for use when breaking an intermittent fast as well as a good snack idea when fasting.

While it literally takes 3 minutes to prepare, the time does depend on two ingredients that I try and keep in my fridge all the time – the chutney mentioned below and any kind of boiled lentils or legumes.

This soup is quickly made and the spice brings satisfaction as well as keeps off hunger.

Ingredients:

  • Chilli Garlic Chutney (Click for recipe)
  • Butter / Olive Oil / other fat
  • Tulsi (Holy Basil), Basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Chickpeas / safed chana, boiled with a little salt

Method:

  1. Heat a little fat in pan
  2. Add chutney as per taste
  3. Add a mug of water
  4. Add a mug of chickpeas
  5. Bring to boil
  6. Season
  7. Serve

Notes:

  • Add fat, butter or olive oil as per your taste. If you choose to add none, start with water in a pan and then continue to step 2, omitting step 3.
  • Add basil and/or tulsi leaves as per your taste or availability. You can also try hara dhania / coriander leaves if both aren’t available. The leaves need to have some flavour though in my opinion, so spinach, for example, may not work well on its own.
  • Add chilli chutney per your tolerance / taste. This chutney can get pretty hot. To keep away hunger, ensure you add a little more chilli heat than you’re comfortable with.
  • You can add any other vegetables you want, such as carrots or peas among others.
  • Add a boiled egg or a omelette to it for extra nutrients and protein.
  • You can also have it as a soup without adding any chickpeas or other ingredients.