Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spicy Flat buns

Spicy flat buns taste best with a bowl of hot stew or soup on a cold rainy day. It was raining and quite cold yesterday. Naveen was working from home and he loves a meal with bread and stew. So, I made these spicy flat buns which are crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. I also made creamy carrot soup to go with it and it was amazing. Since the dough is seasoned well, you will not need any dip to go with these buns. You can eat it hot without any dip or soup and it will still taste wonderful.

These spicy flat buns are made from wheat flour/Atta and not Maida/plain flour so low in calories and healthy too. I have sprinkled some dried basil and oregano on top. You can skip that if you want. Also, I have added almost 6 green chillies to make it quite spicy but you can decrease the chilli quantity.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  114 Calories
Fat 3 %
Carbohydrates 7 %
Dietary Fiber 13 %
Sodium 6 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium  5 %
Iron  6 %
Protein 4 Grams
Sugar 3.6 Grams

[makes 2 braided and 2 round buns]
Water 2 & 1/2 cups
Active dry yeast 1 teaspoon
Wheat flour 4 cups
Salt (divided) 2 teaspoons
Onion chopped finely 1 small
Coriander leaves chopped finely 1/2 cup
Green chillies chopped finely 6
Mint leaves chopped finely 1/4 cup
Dried oregano and basil (optional) 2 teaspoons

* Warm 1/2 cup of water and dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar/honey and then add yeast. Keep it in a warm place for 10 minutes.
* In a mixing bowl, mix wheat flour and salt. Add the active yeast mixture to the wheat flour mixture and mix well. Add water to the wheat flour mixture and knead it to a dough. Let the dough be the consistency of a roti dough. Knead the dough for 5-6 more minutes, cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm place for 2 hours.

* After 2 hours, the dough will be doubled to it's size. Knead the dough again for 3-4 minutes and add chopped onion, green chillies, coriander leaves, a bit more salt and chopped mint leaves.
* Mix and knead the dough again til the dough is mixed well.

* Line a baking plate with a baking sheet or aluminium foil and coat it with some oil. Apply some oil to your hands and shape the dough to the shape of your choice. You can either roll it to a round ball or braid it. I made 2 braided and 2 ball shapes.
* Place the shaped dough on baking plate and place the plate in a warm place for another hour. The dough shapes will almost double in size and flatten.

* Preheat the oven to 350°F. Apply oil on the buns and sprinkle dried Oregano and basil. Bake the buns at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
* Serve hot with or without a bowl of hot soup/stew.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eggplant Spirals

Eggplant Spirals are stuffed eggplant slices and baked for a minute or two. I got this idea from Goat cheese stuffed eggplant rolls shown in a Norwegian cooking show.

I hated the look and taste of Eggplants from my childhood. Few years ago, my mum prepared Eggplant curry and that is when my liking for eggplant started. A slightly fried/roasted Eggplant is my personal favorite and I can gobble it even without any seasoning. The health benefits of this humble vegetable are innumerable and I would like to list a few of them.
  • Eggplants are low in calories and high in water content hence, Eggplant dishes can be eaten for bigger meals of the day without compromising on the nutrients. A 100 grams of eggplant contains only 25 calories with 6% potassium and 12% Dietary fiber making it the best food for weight-loss and people who are following Low Carb diet.
  • The high fiber content in Eggplants helps keep the digestive tract healthy. It also prevents consti pation and helps keep away the colon cancer.
  • Eggplants contain fair amount of vitamin-c making it an effective anti-bacterial and anti-viral. 
  • Eggplants are known to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
  • Eggplants also contain phytonutrients that help to preserve memory function. 
  • Regular consumption of Eggplants keep the blood sugar levels at bay inturn helping to reduce the risks of heart attack and other heart diseases.
That is a lot of health benefits from one vegetable isn't it? I have stuffed the Eggplant slices with a simple and tasty stuffing of onion and bell pepper chops with some little bits of grated Mozzarella. You can also make a nice stuffing of mixed veggies with some goat cheese.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  35 Calories
Fat 2 %
Carbohydrates 0.6 %
Dietary Fiber 12 %
Sodium 0.03 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 3 %
Calcium  1 %
Iron  1 %
Protein 1.6 Grams
Sugar 3.5 Grams

[makes 6 spirals]
Egg plant 1 large
Oil 4 teaspoons
Garlic cloves chopped 2
Salt to taste
Mozzarella cheese 3 tablespoons

Ingredients for stuffing
Onion chopped 1
Bell pepper chopped 1
Onion chopped 1 small
Green chillies chopped finely 2
Salt to taste

* Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion, green chillies and bell peppers. Fry till onion looks transparent.
Add salt, fry for another minute and transfer it to a bowl.
* Cut the eggplant into thin vertical slices. In a frying pan, heat oil and add chopped garlic. Fry garlic for a minute and take the garlic out of frying pan.
* Lower the flame and fry the Eggplant slices in that garlic oil to get the aroma of garlic on eggplant slices.

* Flip the slice and fry the eggplant till it is evenly cooked. Do the same for all the eggplant slices and let them cool.
* When the Eggplant slices are cool enough to touch, smear salt  lightly on one side of the slices. Place the stuffing on the bigger part of the eggplant slice and top the stuffing with Mozzarella cheese.

* Roll the Eggplant slice into a spiral tightly so that the slice can hold the stuffing. Secure with tooth pick if required.
* Once done stuffing all the eggplant slices, place the spirals in a microwave container/baking dish. If using a microwave oven, microwave the spirals for only 3 minutes when the cheese starts to melt. If using a convection oven, bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.
* Serve hot as a starter for lunch or dinner.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kidney beans Paratha with Green grapes Raitha/Dip

With the last portion of Kidney beans I saved, I made this Paratha. I still have not managed to find Red Kidney beans/Rajma here yet. But the Light speckled kidney beans taste so good, I mean almost as same as Rajma that I wanted to make a stuffing out of it.

I made a stuffing for paratha and also made Green grapes Raitha/dip to go with it. It was "Lip smacking", I know this because Naveen did smack his lips after tasting Kidney beans Paratha dipped in tangy Green grapes Raitha haha :D

You can make the dip of your choice. Also, if you are making Green grapes dip, you may want to decrease the quantity of green chillies I have added if you prefer a less spicy dip.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  154 Calories
Fat 5 %
Carbohydrates 11 %
Dietary Fiber 15 %
Sodium 9 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium  0 %
Iron  2 %
Protein 6 Grams
Sugar 4.3 Grams

Ingredients : For Parathas
[Makes 6 medium Parathas]
Wheat flour 3 cups
Salt 1 teaspoon
Water 1&1/2 to 2 cups
Oil 1 Tablespoon
Oil/Ghee for frying

Ingredients : For stuffing
[stuffing for 6 rotis]
Kidney beans(washed and soaked in water for atleast 6 hours) 1 cup
Coriander leaves 1/4 cup
Green chillies 2 to 3
Onion chopped 01-Feb
Garlic 2 cloves

Ingredients : For Grapes dip
[Makes 3 Servings]
Green grapes 1 cup
coriander leaves 1/2 cup
cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Green chillies 2 or 3
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

* Mix wheat flour and salt. Add warm water and mix it into a dough. Also add some oil and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. Cover and keep it aside.
* Drain and pressure cook the kidney beans with fresh water just enough to cover most of the beans,for 3 whistles. Once cooked, drain and let it cool. You can save the Bean water/broth to prepare a soup or rasam.

* Grind the kidney beans coarsely and transfer it to a mixing bowl. In the same mixer, add onion, garlic, coriander leaves and green chillies. Grind it coarsely and transfer it to the same mixing bowl and add salt.

* Mix the kidney beans mixture well.
* Take a portion of the dough, roll it half way. Place a portion of the kidney beans mixture on the rolled dough.

* Pull the sides of the dough to cover the stuffing. Pinch the sides to cover the stuffing. Roll it into a ball, dust it and roll again with the stuffing. Do not try to roll it too thinly else it will get sticky and will break.

* Heat a frying pan and put the rolled paratha on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle some oil/ghee and flip the paratha. fry again for 2-3 minutes until the paratha is cooked evenly. Serve hot with a yoghurt dip.

* I made a yoghurt dip using some green grapes and it was perfect for these parathas. Here is the recipe:

* Wash and chop the grapes and remove any seeds. In a Mix, grind grapes with coriander leaves, green chillies and cumin seeds to a smooth paste.
* Transfer it a bowl, add yogurt and salt and mix well.
* Serve this yogurt dip with rotis, paratha, fritters or hot bajjis.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Broccoli Dosa

Dosa is the last thing that I can prepare at home. None of us like to eat Dosa at any time of the day unless Dosa looks different or somewhat special.

This week, the left out Vegetable in our fridge was Broccoli. I had prepared Broccoli rice bath, Broccoli Masala, Broccoli Paratha and Broccoli Palya/Poriyal. So, this time it had to be Broccoli Dosa. Needless to say, broccoli is one of the world's healthiest foods. It controls diabetes and reduces the risk of cancer. It protects our skin from Sun's UV rays and keep skin healthy. Broccoli also detoxifies our body keeping it healthy.

Broccoli Dosa is exceptionally easy and came out to be very tasty. I made cucumber Saagu to go with it and it was perfect for dinner. All the dishes I make are quite spicy and I tend to use Green chillies a lot. You can exclude it or decrease the quantity as per your taste.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  140 Calories
Fat 4 %
Carbohydrates 10 %
Dietary Fiber 8 %
Sodium 12 %
Vitamin A 16 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium  0 %
Iron  4 %
Protein 4 Grams
Sugar 0 Grams

[Makes 8-10 dosas]
Broccoli florets 2 cups
Ginger chopped 3 to 4 pieces
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Green chillies 2 or 3
Wheat flour 2 cups
Semolina/Rava 1/2 cup
Salt 1 teaspoon
Water 2 to 3 cups

Wash Broccoli florets. In a mixer, grind Broccoli florets, ginger, Cumin seeds and Green chillies into a coarse paste.

In a bowl, Mix wheat flour, salt and semolina. Add the ground paste to the dry ingredients. Add water and mix it to make a Dosa batter.

Heat a frying pan and sprinkle few drops of oil. Pour a ladle full of batter on pan and spread it using the bottom of the ladle and give it a round shape. Keep it a little thick since it tastes better that way. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip it. Cook for another minute and remove it from the pan.

Serve hot with chutney.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Orange Sorbet

Sorbet is a healthy low calorie, non fat replacement for Ice cream. Sorbet is usually made of fruit juices or water with fruit pulp making it healthy and colorful.

Summer is almost over. But the first rains usually calls for frozen desserts and Ice cream is the first thing that is usually chosen. Because of it's high fat, high sugar and high calorie content, Ice cream is not a good choice to serve as a dessert frequently. Store bought Ice creams are a "no no" if you are trying to keep the extra weight off. They add artificial flavors, sweeteners and thickening agents to make ice creams look creamy.

Home made ice creams are way better choices but good only when eaten once in a while. A good home made ice cream contains 11% of cholesterol, 35% fat and 25% sugar. Distressing isn't it? You can always look for good alternatives like homemade skim milk ice creams or sorbets.

You can make Sorbets with honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Some fruit juices can be used without any sweeteners like Apples, oranges and melons.

I had a bottle of Fresh Orange juice (no added sugar) that I bought last weekend at a Farmers' market. I used that to make this Orange Sorbet and it came out as a refreshing dessert and just melted in our mouths. You can use any fruit juices of your choice.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  45 Calories
Fat 0 %
Carbohydrates 3 %
Dietary Fiber 0 %
Sodium 0 %
Vitamin A 4 %
Vitamin C 83 %
Calcium  1 %
Iron  1 %
Protein 1 Grams
Sugar 8 Grams

Orange Juice 2 cups

In a plastic bowl, pour the Orange juice. Cover the bowl with the airtight lid or wrap it with a plastic cover and place it in the freezer. Take it out of the freezer after 40-45 minutes.

Blend it in a mixer for a minute and then pour the mixture back into the bowl. Place the bowl in freezer and freeze it for another 40-45 minutes.

Repeat the process 4 times and when the blended juice looks creamy and thick.

Transfer back the creamy sorbet into the bowl, cover it and place in the freezer till you are ready to serve.
Take out the bowl and let it rest for 2 minutes before you scoop out the sorbet to serve.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Green Soda

It's Friday already! The week is finally over after 5 days of hard work and Friday evening calls for some crisps, a drink and a movie. I was a little bored of the same Ginger Beer almost every Friday. I rummaged my fridge and found a box with the left out mint leaves. I knew just the thing to do with those Mint leaves.

I should also mention some of the health benefits of Mint and here it is. Mint helps in digestion, depression and fatigue. Grab a glass of Mint juice to get relieved from headache and nausea. There are a lot more benefits with which I can fill this whole page, but I will stop it at this.

Green Soda is a low calorie drink with health benefits and a very good replacement for Carbonated chemical drinks. Mint flavor with lemon and a hint of ginger is strong & fresh and a perfect flavored drink for a quiet evening. You will never feel like putting down the glass of this Green soda until you have finished it. Happy Friday :)

Nutritional Information  (Approx)(per serving)

Energy 60Calories
Dietary Fiber2%
Vitamin A1%
Vitamin C5%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%

[Makes 4 servings]
Mint leaves 1/2 cup
Ginger sliced 4 to 5 small pieces
Brown sugar/Sugar 2 Teaspoons
Salt a pinch
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Club soda/plain soda/Carbonated water 3 cups

Wash Mint leaves. In a mix, grind Mint leaves, ginger, brown sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a smooth paste.

Strain the ground paste and this thick concentrate is used as the base for this drink. Refrigerate it till it is time to serve.
In a serving glass, pour the concentrate and then add club soda and enjoy it with crisps.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cucumber salad with Green mango dressing

It is a very hot summer this time in Norway and it almost reach 35 degrees some days. Since it is sunny here even at night, we usually like to have a cold salad before dinner.

Cucumber is a summer vegetable with a lot of health benefits. It keeps the body hydrated, controls blood pressure and reduces cholesterol. It is low in calories and cools the body and quenches summer thirst.

Cucumber salad with Green mango dressing is a perfect salad for a hot day/night. I usually do not discard the juice of cucumber since it is healthy and makes salad juicy.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  60 Calories
Fat 0 %
Carbohydrates 6 %
Dietary Fiber 9 %
Sodium 1 %
Vitamin A 17 %
Vitamin C 50 %
Calcium  2 %
Iron  2 %
Protein 1.6 Grams
Sugar 2 Grams

Cucumber  1
Green Mango 1 small
Salt to taste
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Olive oil 2 tsps

Slice the cucumbers

Peel the skin and chop a green mango

In a mix, add chopped green mango, salt, pepper powder and olive oil.

Grind it to a smooth paste with very little water. Chill the dressing and sliced cucumber at least for 20 minutes before serving.

Pour the dressing to cucumber slices mix gently and serve.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peas Soup

Peas are low in fat content but very high in all the other nutrients. It has as less as 80 calories per 100 grams is packed with Dietary fiber and Vitamin C.

It has a lot of health benefits including blood sugar regulation and weight management. It is also beneficial in anti-aging, increasing immunity and providing energy.

Here I have used yellow peas that I got in a store. You can use the normal green peas because there is no difference in taste whatsoever.

Peas soup is a very easy and simple dish and you do not need a lot of time to prepare it. It is filling and tasty.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  61 Calories
Fat 1 %
Carbohydrates 3 %
Dietary Fiber 7 %
Sodium 14 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 1 %
Calcium  1 %
Iron  3 %
Protein 3.2 Grams
Sugar 3.2 Grams

Peas 1 cup
Onion chopped  1
Green chillies (optional) 2 or 3
Garlic cloves 3
Water 2 cups
Salt to taste

*If using fresh peas, you can skip this step.

If using dried peas, Soak peas in hot water for at least 2 hours.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil and add onion, green chillies and garlic.

Also add peas.

Add water and give it a mix.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles and let it cool.

Once the mixture is cool, blend/grind it smoothly. Transfer it to a pot and bring it to boil.

Simmer the flame and add salt.
Boil in simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is a easy but great healthy refreshment. The alcoholic ginger beer requires yeast and at least 6-8 hours to brew it. But non-alcoholic ginger beer can be prepared in minutes and can be served as a replacement for chemical filled store-bought carbonated drinks.

Naveen and I have a tradition of spending time together watching movies every Friday evenings until late night. The movies are usually accompanied with some healthy crisps and chilled fruit drinks. After few weeks, we got bored of same fruit juices and that is when I thought I can try Ginger beer. Ginger beer gives a good detox to our body and it contains a high amount of fiber.

Naveen loves it and so do I. Except for people who do not like gingery flavor, Ginger Beer is loved by all age groups.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
1 Serving = 1 Glass of ginger Beer
Energy  23 Calories
Fat 0 %
Carbohydrates 0 %
Dietary Fiber 0 %
Sodium 2 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 5 %
Calcium  0.3 %
Iron  0.2 %
Protein 0 Grams
Sugar 11 Grams

Ginger peeled and chopped 1/4 cup
Brown sugar 2 tbsps
Lemon juice 2 tbsps
Salt  a pinch
Water 1/2 cup
Mint leaves for garnish 1 or 2
Club soda/Plain soda/ Carbonated water

Peel ginger skin, chop the ginger and put it in a mixer. Also add some brown sugar, a pinch of salt and Lemon juice.

Grind it to a smooth paste.

Transfer it to a bowl and add water. Check and adjust the sweetness.

Filter the above mixture in to a fresh bowl. This is used as a concentrate for the drink.

In serving glass, first pour some concentrate.

Pour chilled Club soda/Plain soda/ Carbonated water on top of concentrate. Garnish with a mint leave and serve.

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