Amaranth is a grain I suggest quite frequently in the meal plans for my CW90 wellness program. More frequent is inclusion of spinach and then there’s paneer every once in a while. Here’s a quick recipe for upma, that uses all three – amaranth grain, spinach and paneer.
Amaranth grain, 250 gm, soaked 15 minutes, boiled until tender
Spinach, 250gm, washed, blanched and chopped
Paneer, 200 gm diced
Onions, 3 medium, chopped
Ginger, 1 inch, finely chopped or grated
Green and red chili, 1, finely chopped (or more)
Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
Arhar dal, 2 tbsp
Kadi patta, a whole sprig
Hing powder, 1/2 tsp
Oil/ghee, 3 tbsp
Coriander leaves, handful, chopped
Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, saute dal till light brown, add ginger, onions, chilies and hing. Saute some more until the onions are transparent/pinkish.
Add paneer. Saute a little more.
Add boiled amaranth grain. Mix well.
Add spinach. Mix well.
Season and serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.
A tsp of ghee tastes good.
This amount is good for a snack for three. For breakfast or a meal, double the quantities.
Good substitute for wheat semolina / suji based upma.
This is a tasty and fun platter that all of us enjoyed at dinner. When you’re eating it, remember to try different combinations of individual elements on the platter and I’m sure you’ll have a great time too.
Carrot, 3 medium, sliced
Any chili powder/paste of your choice. I used a Tibetan version.
We visited Cherie’s school to pick up books for her 12th standard and found ourselves at the end of a very long line. I did what any caring parent would have done – asked her to stand in line and headed to the snacks counter while she probably glared ineffectually.
This school likely has the unhealthiest food I’ve ever seen in any place that serves food, and prepares it with the full knowledge that students don’t have any other place to buy from. This translates into shoddily prepared and stored food. Thankfully, I can count on my fingers the number of times she’s gone without a packed lunch and has been handed lunch money instead.
On the other hand, since we’re so careful at home, I do enjoy a few bites of this sort of food every now and then. It also helps somewhat in drowning out the trauma of PTMs. On this day, I bought a potato burger, the buns deep fried and literally (I mean, literally) saturated with oil. Each bite caused little spurts of oil to flood my palate and the deep fried potato patty in the centre was an oasis of health and wellness in comparison.
Afterwards, we headed home and I thought of making it up to her with a nice meal. On the way home, we stopped and picked up a lauki (bottle gourd), a bundle of pudina (mint), a few tomatoes and some spring onions.
When home, Cherie washed some rice and lobia (black eyed beans), and put it into a pressure cooker on the gas. I chopped the lauki and put it to boil in a pan with some water, prepared the dressing and sliced some tomatoes. When the rice was done, we fried a couple of eggs, grilled a few chunks of paneer (cottage cheese), plated the lot and it all came together beautifully.
The dressing of course was key, but so were the different textures from the ingredients. Admittedly the non-dressing ingredients don’t have a lot of flavour, but the dressing more than makes up for it.
Serves 2 – 3
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Half a medium lauki, sliced thick (2 slices per portion)
1 Tomato, sliced thick (2 slices per portion)
1 cup Rice, washed
1/2 cup Lobia, washed
2 Eggs, fried sunny side up (3 if you want to make a third portion)
2/3 of a 200 gm packet of Paneer, grilled
Fresh ground peppercorns, for the egg
3 Spring onions, chopped
10 Mint leaves, chopped
3 tbsp Soy sauce (light)
1 tsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 Lemon, juice
1/2 tsp Sesame oil
2 tsp Sesame seeds
1/2 tsp Sugar
Cook the rice and lobia together.
Boil the lauki.
Grill the paneer
Fry the eggs
Assemble all the ingredients for the dressing
Buy some good soy sauce – it makes all the difference.
Light soy sauce for flavour, dark soy sauce for colour
I didn’t add salt to anything. There’s enough in the dressing.
The eggs were ‘fried’ with a brushing of oil in a non-stick kadhai, covered.
For round fried eggs, consider frying them in a kadhai.
I don’t like lobia much and find it boring, except in such applications.
Experiment with the proportions in the dressing.
Fish sauce has a strong flavour that is an acquired taste.