Sunday, December 13, 2009

Buckwheat - Two in One

Lately, I have been extending my pantry's whole foods repertoire to a greater extent. Last weekend, I spent nearly an hour in Wegmans just exploring the whole foods section. I brought home some whole grains and flours from Wegmans.

Buckwheat Groats or Kasha :






Buckwheat doesn't belong to the wheat family and it's a seed that belongs to rhubarb family. It's gluten free and ideal for people who are allergic to wheat because of glutens. It helps prevent arteriosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) because of its high rutin content. It is high in potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E and calcium. It's said to be good for diabetic people and for those who are having problems with digestion system. It has a nutty, earthy flavor.

Buckwheat husks or hulls are used as fillings for pillows.



I tried Adai with Buckwheat Groats. The taste was really good but I had hard time pouring as they didn't bind very well. Once I perfect the recipe, I will post it.

Buckwheat Flour:



Buckwheat is famous for its pancakes and Japanese Soba noodles.

I tried Buckwheat Pancakes and Buckwheat dosa. Both came out really good.





Ingredients

Pancake Mix - 1 Cup (or all purpose flour + 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and pinch of salt)
Buckwheat Flour - 1 Cup
Eggs - 2
Milk - 1 1/2 cup
Oil - 2 tbs

Method:

Combine both flours in a wide bowl. Whisk together eggs, milk and oil in a
separate bowl. Add the egg-milk mixture to the flour and stir gently to make a smooth batter. Heat a non-stick pan or a griddle over medium heat. Grease the pan with little oil. Ladle the batter onto the hot pan. Cook until the bottom side is golden and gently flip it to the other side and cook for another minute.
Serve immediately with maple syrup.





Multi Grain Dosa - Really a good thing!

Nowadays, I am trying to sneak in the whole grains (any form) in our regular diet so my kids doesn't feel much of a difference. When I grind batter for Idli , I make idli for the first day and make dosas the next day. If the batter stays for few more days it becomes uthapam or rava dosa with added ingredients. This time I added some whole grain flours to the sour batter to make multi grain dosa.





Buckwheat flour - 1/2 cup
Spelt flour - 1/2 cup
Dosa or Idli Batter - 3/4 cup
Salt

Method

Combine the flours, salt and mix with water to make a smooth batter. Mix it with the sour dosa or idli batter and make dosas.



Serve hot with Chutney.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Garlic Butter Asparagus




Ingredients

Asparagus - 1 bunch
Unsalter Butter- 1 tbs
Garlic cloves - 2 minced
Spice Powder - 1/4 tsp (Cumin, Black Pepper,Corriander seeds and chili flakes)
Salt

Method.

Wash and trim the asparagus. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and saute for a minute. Add asparagus spears and toss well to coat. Sprinkle spice powder and salt. Cook until the asparagus is tender.

Serve hot.

Sweet Potato Pancakes



Ingredients:

Sweet Potato - 1 (large)
Rice Flour - 1/2 a cup
Sugar - 2 tbs
Cardamom - 1/4 tsp
Heavy Cream
or Milk - 1/4 cup

Method

Microwave the sweet potatoes at Potato setting (8-32 oz) or microwave it for 4-5 minutes. Mash the potatoes with a fork. Add in the rice flour and cardamom powder. Combine the ingredients well. Dissolve sugar in heavy cream and slowly add to the rice-potato mixture. The consistency should be like cookie dough not like a pancake batter. Roll out the dough in rectangular shape. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters.




Heat a nonstick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Place the shaped pancakes on the pan. Pour clarified butter around the corner of each pancake as you do for dosa. Fry one side for a minute, turn it over and fry for another minute.


Serve it warm.




More than my kids, Mr.B enjoyed it so much. When I started making it, Mr.B told me not to compel him to eat as he is not a big fan of sweet potato. But he was the one who had it the most.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Handvo



I will post the recipe soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oondhiyu minus Muthia




I used valor(avaraikai)in this recipe. Authentic recipe calls for surti papdi, sweet potato and eggplant.

Ingredients

Valor(Avaraikai) - 2 cups
Eggplant - 6 (small- Purple ones)
Potato - 2 (cut in Chunks)
Onion - 1
Surti Papdi Beans - Handful (frozen)
Garlic-Ginger paste - 2 tbs
Green chilli - 4 (minced finely or paste)
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
Ajwain - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs
Jaggery - bit
lemon juice - 1/2 a lemon
Corriander Leaves - 2 tbs (chopped)
Salt to taste



Method

Wash and string the beans. Don't break the beans. Heat oil in a pan. Add Mustard seeds, Ajwain, Curry leaves and Hing. Once the Mustard seeds splutter add the onion and fry till soft. Add Garlic-Ginger Paste, minced green chili , chili powder, cumin-corriander powder. Add the vegetables and salt. Add grated coconut and jaggery . Cover and cook the vegetables in very low flame. Squeeze lemon juice at the end and garnish with chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot with Roti and Dal.

Last weekend , I made oondhiyu again. This time I made with valor, plantain, sweet potato, papdi beans and no eggplant. I didn't add coconut and jaggery. It came out good too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jasmine , Cindrella and a Thank You Note

Good friend of us sent these lovely fragrant flowers, when Mr.B visited
Dallas. They are such a lovely couple. We felt so rejuvanated whever we visited them . I wish they live here in NJ so we can visit them often.






Traditional Silk Skirt weaved with fairy tale story Cindrella.






Thank you my friend for the lovely flowers and other goodies. My daughter really enjoyed wearing the flowers in her hair , clad in pattu pavadai(long silk skirt).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sprouted Black Channa Chundal



Ingredients

Black Channa - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Red chilies - 1
Curry Leaves - few
Grated coconut - 2 tbs (optional)
Hing - pinch
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp (optional)
salt to taste

Method

Soak the dry black channa overnight in enough water. Next day, drain the water and keep the channa in a sprout maker or in a colander for a day or two. Sprinkle water now and then to keep the channa wet while sprouting.





Pressure cook the channa with water and little salt . Just keep for one whistle. Once the pressure is released , drain the water. Keep oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds , add red chillies, curry leaves and hing. Add cooked channa to the pan. Add freshly grated coconut and mix it well with the seasonings.

Enjoy it as a morning or an evening snack.




Monday, September 28, 2009

Churma Ladoo ( Wheat Ladoo)




We tasted this irresistable ladoos for the the first time in Swami Narayan temple in London. Since then, I and Mr.B are big fans of it. I didn't know what it is made of until my Gujarati friend brought this sweet.

Ingredients

Wheat Flour - 5 Cups
Sooji - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 2 cups
Coconut - 1 cup (grated)
Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup
Ghee - 1 cup
Cardomom - 1 tbs (powdered)


Mix wheat flour and sooji together. Add water and knead to make a stiff dough (as you would make for poori).



Roll the dough into small balls and make it little flat (Just press the ball in the middle with the thumb) .



Deep fry the mini rounds in oil.






Once it cools down a bit, powder them coarsley in the food processor or blender. Slightly roast the coconut and sesame seeds in a tablespoon of ghee. Add it to the ground mixture.





Mix the powdered jaggery with ghee and heat the mixture on low to medium heat. Add the melted mixture to the ground wheat and mix it together with the spatula as the added liquid is too hot.

Make small ladoos while it's hot(bearable hot).



Enjoy!!!!



Lesson learnt: Never try a new recipe for pooja as you can't taste. As my friend couldn't give the measurements, I got to make it twice to perfect it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bitter Gourd Curry



This method of Bitter Gourd preparation doesn't need much oil compared to the Bitter Gourd chips recipe that I had posted earlier. Mr.B prefers this over the fry as it has less oil and it retains the bitterness till the end. Pairing Bitter Gourd with onions and tomatoes gives a sweet note to it.

Ingredients

Bitter Gourd - 5
Onions - 2 Big
Tomatoes - 1 Big
Chopped
Corriander Leaves- 3 tbs
Chili Powder
or Sambar Powder - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt
Oil

Coconut Paste (optional)

Grind together 2 tbs of freshly grated coconut with a tsp of cumin seeds to a fine paste

Method :

Cut the Bitter Gourd , Onions and Tomatoes into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan.
Tamper the mustard seeds. Add curry leaves then add Onions and Bitter Gourd pieces . Fry till it gets half cooked. Add tomatoes, chilli powder and salt and close the pan with the lid. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the ground coconut paste to the pan. Keep cooking for some more time. Toss some finely chopped Corriander leaves and give a nice stir and switch off the flame. Serve it with Rice.

Note.

This is my maiden online recipe that I sent to Bawarchi more than a decade back. It's still out there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Home Made Pizza



Ingredients

All Purpose Flour - 3 cups
Active dry yeast - 1 packet
Warm water - 1 cup (microwave for 30 secs)
Olive oil - 2 tbs
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp

Topping

Thinly sliced Bell Peppers,Onions and Jalepenos
Pizza Sauce


Method

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Wait for about 5 minutes until you see some bubbles. Combine the flour with the salt on a working surface. I did mine on a wide bottomed nonstick pan. Pour oil and the yeast mixture slowly to the flour and mix it well to blend .

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (as you would do for chappati). Sprinkle little flour if the dough is very sticky. Make it as a smooth ball. Keep the dough in a bowl . Cover it with the cling wrap and set it in a warm place till the dough doubled in volume, about an hour. If it's a sunny day the dough rises very quickly.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Divide the dough into two equal balls to make 12" thin crust pies. I kept the dough to sit again for another 40 minutes which is optional. Take one ball, flattened it with the rolling pin or with your fingers (I used both) into a disk. Stretch it gently to make a nice round pie. Transfer in to a pizza pan. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the pie. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese or combination of cheeses on top. Spread the sliced vegetables on top.




Bake it for about 10 to 15 minutes or until is cheese is bubbly and the crust is crisp.

Slice the pie into 8 equal pieces using a pizza wheel and serve hot.

Enjoy with your loved ones.




Notes:
I find it very easy to stretch the home made dough than the store bought one. If your dough shrinks back while stretching, let it sit out for some time and then try stretching it out.

Pesky weed and Blood Pressure

A long pending post that I planned to publish in April is finally here.



"A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s so true. Don’t you agree?

Wondering what am I talking about? , It's about the most annoying weed that grows in lawn, the Dandelion. Though it is considered as a pesky weed, it has lot of culinary and medicinal uses in Ayurvedic as well as in herbal treatments.

The name Dandelion is derived from its French name "Dents-De-Lion" given for its serrated leaves that resemble "Lion's Tooth".

Why to talk about this weed now? There's a reason. Mr.B was diagnosed with above-normal blood pressure and his better half is on the quest to find food that lowers it and dandelion green is one among them. I had never eaten dandelion or thought it's edible until I did research on food that lowers blood pressure. It is one of the natural diuretics (the only potassium-sparing diuretic) that help to get rid of excess fluids in the body without potassium loss, thus helps in lowering high blood pressure. They are also rich in Vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium.

There are several mythologies/folklore about Dandelions. It’s called Sheppard’s Clock as its flowers open about 5 am and closes at 8 pm. I have vivid memories about dandelions as a kid in elementary school. One, who succeeds in blowing all the seeds in one shot, would get the highest marks in the class and so forth.

Dandelion greens can be steamed or sautéed and the tender greens can be eaten raw in salads. My favorite farmer's market carries fresh Dandelion greens. I tried different dishes with Dandelion greens as I would cook any other greens.
Dandelions are mildly astringent and has slightly bitter flavor (we love bitter vegetables and greens) like arugula.





Ingredients

Dandelion - 1 bunch (washed and cut)
Toor dal - 1 cup
Tomato - 1 (quartered)
Onion - 1 (cut into big pieces)
Green chilies - 3
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt
Water - 3 cups
Tamarind
Puree - gooseberry size

For Tadka:

Oil - 1 tbs
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa Dal - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chilies- 3(broken into pieces)
Curry Leaves

Method

Wash the dandelions and chop them into pieces. Add toor dal, tomato, onion, ginger,
garlic and green chilies to the greens and pressure cook it for about 15 minutes. I usually keep one whistle that takes about 7 minutes and keep it in simmer for about 5minutes. Once the pressure is released, mash the dal with a wooden masher or hand blender. Add salt and tamarind puree and cook for few more minutes. Heat oil (add 1 tsp of ghee for flavor) in a pan, add mustard seeds and the rest of tadka ingredients. Add the hot seasoning to the dal.

Serve hot with Rice/ Roti.


Another Version:

Heat oil in the pan. Sauté the onions and dandelion. Add the cooked dal, chili powder and salt. Add little tamarind puree and water. Let it cook for some time. Do the tadka along with broken chilies and add the hot seasoning to the dal. I prefer this when I have already cooked dal in my fridge.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Garden - 2009

Here is a glimpse of our garden this year. We have two garden beds, one for herbs and another for vegetables.

Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Spring Onions, Spearmint, Peppermint , Arugula, Chinese Chives(taste garlicky) come back every year without planting them again. Arugula came back from dispersed seeds of last year. My new additions to my herb bed are Pineapple Sage, Pineaple Mint, Basil(Annual), African Blue Basil, Tarragon, Lavender and Mesclun lettuce( Wild or Baby Lettuce) .

Mesclun Lettuce




Healing Sage



Lushy Oregano



Encroacher
(Peppermint)



How can I reach you?


Spring Onion Flower Buds


Am I beautiful now?


Spring Onion Flower

We didn't have much yield of vegetables last year. It could have been due to lack of soil richness or rotation of the crops. This year Mr.B helped me in making raised bed (sort of) for the vegetables and made a decent fence with landscaping stones. It seems to be an easy job, but it took quiet a bit of our back and time. First he took out all the weeds from the bed. We dumped around 20 bags of top soil (Miracle grow) and few bags of potting mix before we planted the vegetables. Mr.B even tried spreading out the sheet (weed preventer) but we found it so difficult to plant the vegetables one by one digging the hole through the sheet. Got frustrated and took it off and planted directly . We sprinkled Preen (Organic weed preventer for vegetables) after we were done with the planting. Inspite of all these preventive measures, weeds are still coming up!.

I planted Bush Beans, Snap Peas, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Chilies, Beets & Collard greens
on the vegetable bed.

Bed dumped with Top soil and some Potting soil



After Planting




Please visit my blog for more garden updates.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring Onion - Aloo Paratha

Bounty from my garden



Aloo - Spring Onion Stuffing



Parathas



Spring Onion Paratha-Mirch ka salaan- Cucumber-Onion Raitha