Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beetroot Halwa

A delicious Indian dessert with a pleasing color, Beetroot Halwa is a wonderful and tasty treat, be it for a party or for a simple Sunday meal.

Beetroot is one of the veggies I hate to eat but still try to include in the meals only because of it's innumerable health benefits. To be honest, I also hate the way it ruins the nice creamy color of my cutting board while cutting/grating and the way it sprays it's color on the pure white coating of my kitchen stove top. My mum makes an aromatic and very tasty sambar with beets but it never tasted the same even when I follow her recipe. So I had to make this Halwa to consume Beets once a while since it contains a lot of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fibre.

When you are on a weight management diet, you tend to concentrate on the "Low calorie" foods but unintentionally you start to swing towards Low-fat and Low-sugar foods. It is good for your health if you manage to get all the nutrients with Low fat and low sugar diet by including different kinds of veggies and fruits. If not, it may work for a short time diet plan, but for a long time plan, your body will be deprived of so many nutrients. You will definitely lose a lot of weight, but not in a healthy way. For that moment, you may feel light, lean and weight-less but that will affect your health in the long run. So, you need to be very careful about what you choose to eat or cook. It will take a lot of effort and a lot more time to lose weight.

Beets are one of those veggies which can provide your body with a lot of nutrients you need everyday and Halwa is the recipe I chose to include it in my diet. As usual, I have not loaded the halwa with sugar or Ghee but a little amount once a week would not hurt your diet. If you are not on a weight loss regime, feel free to increase the quantity of sugar and ghee as you please.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  180 Calories
Fat 5 %
Carbohydrates 4 %
Dietary Fiber 11 %
Sodium 3.5 %
Vitamin A 2 %
Vitamin C 4 %
Calcium  16 %
Iron  2 %
Protein 4 Grams
Sugar 13 Grams

Beetroots 2 large
Milk 2 cups
Sugar 2 tablespoons
Ghee 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon
Cardamom powder 1/2 teaspoon
Nuts of your choice and raisins a handful

  • Grate Beetroot. Heat a pan, add grated Beet and milk. Cook under simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add sugar and give it a mix. Cook under medium flame till most of the milk is evaporated.
  • Also add Ghee and Cardamom powder and mix well. Cook for 5 more minutes till the aroma starts to fill up.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and add nuts and raisins. Fry till the cashew nuts turn slightly brown.
  • Add them to the halwa and give a stir. Serve hot or chilled or with some vanilla Ice cream.
  • There are many variations to this recipe and one of them being adding Khova. You can also add more nuts.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, you can cook the beets in water.
  • You can also add slightly roasted Poppy seeds if you dont like the soft halwa.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Neer Dosa

Thin, light, soft and extremely tasty, Neer Dosa is one of the popular Dosa varieties of Karnataka. The texture of Neer Dosa is delicate and is simply delightful to have as a Breakfast or at any time of the day.

It has been almost 7 months since we moved to Norway. From past 2 months, I have been missing my mum and her food very badly. My granny is from Mangalore and my mum learnt many Mangalorean dishes from her. One of them being Neer Dosa and my mum makes the best Neer Dosa I've ever tasted. :D I have tasted Neer Dosa from quite a lot of Restaurants and Hotels and also at my work place, but none of them was better than my Mum's dosa. =P~ Anyway, I had this craving for my mum's Neer Dosa and there was no other way to eat it other than making it myself.

Neer Dosa is pretty simple to make. Though the recipe does not call for fermentation overnight, it is a fail-safe way to make sure the batter is perfect. If the rice is not soaked well, the dosa cracks and does not cook well. If the batter is too runny, then Dosa sticks to the pan. If the batter is too thick, then it gives you thick Dosas and not the thin, soft ones. I love Neer dosa soft but naveen likes it a little crunchy. So I cook them in simmer till they turn slightly brown and crispy. Neer Dosa is usually served with a non-veg curry in Non-vegetarian homes. We, vegetarians serve Neer Dosa with Melted jaggery or Thick coconut chutney and sometimes with banana or Mango rasayana.

U know you have succeeded in making perfect Neer dosa when your Neer Dosa has tiny holes all over and soft yet well cooked. When you stack Neer Dosa, make sure you don't put one on top of the other since they stick to each other and it is impossible to separate them. They taste best when they are hot and fresh but they even make good lunch box dish since they taste almost as good as the ones that were hot.
*Please don't mind the quality of the pics. Morning's are usually rush since Naveen leaves very early and I had to take the pics of making the batter in a hurry.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  78 Calories
Fat 2 %
Carbohydrates 7 %
Dietary Fiber 1 %
Sodium 1 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium  1 %
Iron  6 %
Protein 1.8 Grams
Sugar 0 Grams

Raw Rice (preferably Sona Masuri) 1 & 1/2 cups
Grated Coconut 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water as required
Oil to grease the pan

  • Wash and soak overnight or at least 6 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind the rice along with grated coconut to a fine paste. Add water as required while grinding. To check if the paste is smooth, you can rub the batter between fingers. If the paste is course, then grind till it's smooth.
  • Add water to make the batter to buttermilk consistency. The consistency of the batter is perfect if it does not stick to the back of the ladle. Then add salt and mix well.
  • Heat a Dosa pan/Tava, grease it with oil or ghee. Pour a ladleful of batter on the pan. There is no need to spread the batter with the back of the ladle. Cook in medium flame. Once the sides start to leave the pan, fold in half and serve hot.

  • If you make a large batch of batter, do not add salt to the batter which you are going to refrigerate. That will keep the batter unspoiled for almost a week. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gobi Manchurian

Gobi Manchurian is an Indo Chinese appetizer which is most popular in India. Slightly crunchy cauliflower with lip-smacking, sticky, tangy and spicy sauce, Gobi Manchurian gives you a punch of mouthful of flavors and also the experience of the fusion of Indian and Chinese flavors.

I had to take a short break from blogging for personal reasons but not a day passed by without me missing writing posts. Needless to say, I took a long time to write this post and decided to post this recipe because it is healthier version of the regular Gobi Manchurian. Many foodies and bloggers hate people like us who modify the original recipes trying to make them healthier and guilt-free. They think we change the taste of authentic dishes and make them less desirable. If you are both health freak and a foodie like me, you will definitely understand the reason why the world started the word "Guilt-free". :D Nevertheless, I have other reasons for modifying the authentic dishes one of them being; creating a guilt free version of an authentic recipe without changing the taste, the level of satisfaction it gives and making it healthier, is a tough challenge. Who does not love challenges? ;)

The chef who inspired me most recently is Teresa Cutter from The Healthy Chef series. Also, one of the greatest chef's of all time Roger VergĂ© says "A recipe is not meant to be followed exactly — it is a canvas on which you can embroider". Anyone can follow the measurements of Ingredients and steps of a dish and prepare it. I believe that as long as the dish you have modified is as good as the original (or better!!), you can play around with ingredients. Who knows, you may even create dishes of your own and name it yourself! /:) Anyway, this recipe is not modified too much except that the battered Gobis are baked to crisp instead of deep frying and I have garnished with coriander leaves instead of Spring onions only because I could not find them in the market. :) The recipe is very simple and tastes just like the one you enjoy it as an evening snack on the streets of Bangalore and as a starter at pricey restaurants anywhere in India.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  145 Calories
Fat 7 %
Carbohydrates 20 %
Dietary Fiber 4.3 %
Sodium 230 mg
Vitamin A 11.2 %
Vitamin C 11.3 %
Calcium  21.9 %
Iron  8.1 %
Protein 3.9 Grams
Sugar 6.6 Grams

Cauliflower  1 medium
Corn flour(for batter) 1/4 cup
Wheat flour or All purpose flour 3/4 cup
Baking powder  1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Garam masala (optional) 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste 1 teaspoon
Water as required
Soy sauce 2 tablespoons
Tomato sauce 2 tablespoons
Chilli sauce 1 tablespoon
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Corn flour (for sauce) 1 & 1/2 teaspoons
Oil 2 teaspoons
Onion chopped 1 small
Cilantro or Spring onion to garnish

  • Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Blanch them in salt water for 5-6 minutes.
  • Mix Corn flour, wheat flour, Baking powder, salt, Garam masala, chilli powder, half of ginger garlic paste and water to make a thick batter.
  • Coat all the florets in the batter and transfer it to a baking plate lined with baking sheet.
  • Bake the florets in a Preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or till the florets get evenly browned. (Make sure to flip them halfway through baking). 
  • Meanwhile, mix together soy sauce, tomato sauce, chilli sauce, sugar, and salt.
  • Toss the florets to the middle of the oven for few minutes to make them crispier.
  • To thicken sauce, mix corn flour with 1/4 cup of water and make sure no lumps are formed.
  • In a pan, heat oil and add chopped onion. Once the onion looks translucent, add the remaining ginger garlic paste.
  • Add the sauce mixture and corn flour mixture and mix well. Check for salt more and add if needed.
  • Bring the mixture to boil under low flame. Cook till the sauce is thick and remove from heat.
  • Add the baked florets to the sauce, toss them well. Garnish with chopped spring onion or cilantro and serve hot.

  • You can deep fry the florets instead of baking them.
  • I have garnished with cilantro since Spring onions are not available here. Do garnish with spring onions if you can get your hands on them.
  • Be careful while adding Soy sauce and add little quantity since they change the color of the dish.
  • Skip either chilli sauce in sauce or chilli powder in batter if you desire less spicy dish.
  • Make sure the cauliflower florets are blanched well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rajma Masala ~~Punjabi recipes

A popular North Indian vegetarian curry, a nutritious and filling dish made from the humble basic ingredients. Rajma masala served with a pot of steamed rice is a super-comforting food and a hearty vegetarian meal.

Red Kidney beans also called as Rajma is one of the world's healthiest foods and is filled with amazing health benefits. These red kidney beans are extremely tasty and because they absorb the flavors of seasonings and spices, they make a great main ingredient in simmered/slow cooked dishes. When you see the list of benefits waiting for you from this simple beans, you will make sure to include in your regular diet. To list a few health benefits:

  • Packed with fiber: A 100 grams of kidney beans contains 45.3% of fiber making it a fiber star. Hence it improves the metabolism, prevent digestive problems and helps detoxify the body.
  • Lowers the risk of heart attack: Kidney beans are rich in folic acid and also low in fat. Folic acid or Folate helps reduce cholesterol levels and protects your heart.
  • Prevents Cancer: Kidney beans are loaded with anti-oxidants. This helps to reduce free radicals in the body. Kidney beans also contain Vitamin K which is known to reduce the risks of cancer.
  • Brain function: Vitamin K in kidney beans is beneficial in improving the brain function. Kidney beans also contain Thiamine which aids in healthy nervous functioning.
  • Reduces Blood-sugar level: Kidney beans have soluble fiber that can prevent blood sugar levels from going high after heavy meals. It is also a good source of protein which helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
  • Increases Bone strength: The high content of manganese and calcium in Kidney beans aids in developing stronger bones. 
  • Healthy skin: Kidney beans contain considerable amount of flavanoids which act as an anti-wrinkle. The antioxidants present in kidney beans have anti-aging properties and keeps the skin healthy and young.
  • Weight loss benefits: Red kidney beans is rich in Fiber, Protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. This promotes the low storage of fat and decrease insulin levels helpsing to maintain a healthy weight. 
Phew!! #:-S that was a huge list!! I did not even include so many other benefits of kidney beans on your hair, nails. Well, these are good enough number of reasons to start off with adding kidney beans in your everyday food. After searching for more than a month, I found these precious Red beans in an Arabic shop and I cannot describe how happy I was! I had found the light specked kidney beans here before but they are not as good as Rajma for me. I had missed these beauties for sometime and now I have it on my diet at least thrice a week. I make stew, curry, parathas, Biriyani, Dips, chutney, raita and what not. Of all these, the curry which is Rajma masala is favorite for both my husband and I. 

I have tried my best to replicate the Rajma masalas that I have tried in some restaurants in Bangalore. You can make any modification to the recipe as you wish. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  120 Calories
Fat 5 %
Carbohydrates 6 %
Dietary Fiber 3 %
Sodium 25 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 30 %
Calcium  6 %
Iron  10 %
Protein 5 Grams
Sugar 0 Grams

Red kidney beans 3/4 cup
Oil 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon 
Cloves 2
Cinnamon a small stick
Cardamom 1
Onion chopped 1
Green chillies slit 2
Ginger garlic paste 1 teaspoon
Tomato chopped 1
Bay leaf 1
Salt to taste
Coriander powder 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder(optional) 1/2 teaspoon

  • Soak the kidney beans in water for at least 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook them with 3 cups of water till soft.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Fry for a minute.
  • Add chopped onion and green chillies. Once the onion looks translucent, add ginger garlic paste and fry.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes are soft.
  • Let the mixture cool for a while. Grind the mixture to a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in the same pan and add the bay leaf. 
  • Also add the ground paste and fry till the oil leaves the masala.
  • Add salt, coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder and bring the mixture to boil.
  • Add the rajma along with cooked water and mix well.
  • Simmer the heat and cook for about 10 minutes and serve hot with steamed rice.

You might also like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...