Category Archives: Indian Cooking

Healthy Breakfast!

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Every morning we wake up worrying – Now what to cook for breakfast? There’s undoubtedly a whole variety that we can try every day, but the question is – are they packed with wholesome nutrients required to kick-start your day? Breakfast is the most important meal, so it should be a balance of all the essential nutrients wrapped with absolute goodness of health.  An ideal platter should have a mix of carbohydrate, proteins, essential oils, necessary vitamins and fibre.  Some healthy breakfast options could be;

  • Cornflakes added with milk, seasonal fresh fruits , almonds, raisins, walnuts and a dash of honey
  • Poha (beaten rice) with lots of vegetables and groundnuts
  • Upma, with veggies like cauliflower, French beans, green peas, capsicum
  • Toasted multi-grain bread with boiled eggs and some low fat cheese
  • Toasted brown bread sandwich with eggs / fresh cottage cheese, peanut butter spread, lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomatoes
  • Stuffed paranthas made of wheat flour , served with curd (Leftover daal can be used to knead the dough to make it more nutritious).
  • Grilled veggies and fresh fruit salad with low-fat yoghurt

You can round off your breakfast with Green tea / Fresh vegetable juice/ fruit juice and plenty of water, preferably after a gap of half an hour.

Happy breaking your fast!

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Meal Menu

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Alu posto is a hot favorite at home. It simply works for a simple veg affair. Though, making the paste is slightly messy but cooking is ultra easy. So, this sunday I decided to make it with a slight difference, made Deem-Alu Posto i.e. Potatoes and eggs in a gravy made of Khus-Khus /Poppy seeds. There was a beetroot lying somewhere in the corner of my fridge, waiting to be cooked, so used that as a side dish with some chopped carrots, a simple stir fry. Here is a quick recipe;

Deem-Alu Postu

Things you shall need;

  • Hard boiled eggs – 2, (remove the shells and marinate it with a hint of turmeric and salt)
  • Medium sized potaotes – 2, peeled and cubed
  • Medium sized onion – 1 (finely chopped)
  • A paste of poppy seeds, green chillies and a little salt – 2-3 tablespoons
  • Nigella seeds – very little just for tempering
  • Green chillies – slit into two halves (to be added, towards the end)
  • Mustard oil
(I soak the poppy seeds in water for nearly 3-4 hours, it becomes very easy to grind it in a mixie that way and do not make a fine paste, but leave it slightly coarse)
Process
  • Heat the mustard oil to a smoking point in the wok.
  • Now add the boiled eggs and fry them till they are nice and golden.
  • Remove the eggs once fried and keep it separately.
  • In the same oil, add the nigella seeds. Then add the chopped onions and a pinch of sugar to get a beautiful color. Once the onions turn slightly pinkish add the potatoes and fry them for sometime.
  • Add half cup of water to the potatoes and cover and cook until the potatoes are tender
  • At the final stage, add the paste made of poppy seeds and mix it well. Once it comes to a boil, add those boiled and fried eggs to them and season it with salt. Remember not to add too much of salt, since the paste already has some.
  • Add the chillies, simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
Beetroot stir fry
Things you shall need;
  • 1 Beetroot
  • 1 Carrot
  • Green chillies
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Salt
  • Nigella Seeds
Process – In a wok, heat some oil and add the nigella seeds and chopped green chillies. Now add the chopped beetrot and carrot, mix it well. Add some turmeric, salt and cover and cook until done. You may also add some boiled and fried soya nuggets.
Serve the two with steamed rice, papad and some plain daal!!

Cumin

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Cumin (play /ˈkjuːmɨn/ or UK /ˈkʌmɨn/, US /ˈkmɨn/; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. Its seeds, in ground form, are used in the cuisines of many different cultures.

(Description From Wiki)

Cumin is one of the most essential ingredients used in Indian cooking. It has strong digestive properties and thus makes even the most richly flavored food light on stomach. It is also a very good source of iron and magnesium and helps in detoxification of human body. It is also known to aid in cancer cure. Lactating mothers are often asked to add more cumin seeds to their diet. And pregnant women are advised to take water boiled with cumin seeds in case of any gastric problem or pain.

As a spice, cumin is mildly hot with a distinct strong and flavored aroma. You can either roast them and then use in the dish or crackle them in hot oil, thus treating them as the base for curries. In many parts of India, the roasted to black and then powdered cumin seeds are used as salad and ‘raita’ seasoning. The pungent and slightly bitter and burnt flavor gives an entirely new texture to the dish.

One can also use cumin powder instead of cumin seeds but the later are preferred for their more powerful aromatic properties since the powder loses most of its flavor and smell when stored for a long time. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to use cumin powder in uniform and dense curries / sauces where the requirement is to have its flavor merge with the rest instead of acting as a base, and sometimes even the prominent feature of a dish.

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* Pictures from Google

Soft and fluffy pancakes

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This is such an easy-weasy breakfast that is sure to fill your tummy and help you kick start your day packed with nutrition and energy. The mildly powdered cinnamon fills your senses while pancakes are cooked in the pan and you would want to have more and more… munching every bite with sheer delight.

Ingredients for the flour mix

  • Refined Flour – 1 Cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 tspn and a little more
  • Soda bi-carb – 1/2 tspn
  • A pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Powdered cinnamon – A pinch

Sieve all the above ingredients together and keep aside.

For the batter

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter

Take the flour mix and add the egg, milk and the melted butter and keep it inside the fridge for half ‘n hour. Now take a non-stick pan and heat it properly. Pour the batter into the pan with the help of a ladle. When you see bubbles appearing on the pancakes, flip them until nice and golden brown.

Serving Tip – You can easily get maple syrup in the super markets. You may either serve them plain or pour the syrup onto the pancakes and serve with chopped fresh fruits(Banana, apples, blueberry, strawberries etc), and a dollop of cream. Nice, fragrant fruity syrups can be made at home too. Shall share the recipe soon.

Enjoy….!

Spice…spice…baby!!

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(Pic courtesy – Google)

Indian cooking can never be complete without the variety of spices it offers. The amalgamation of all the spices in the preparation is something really fascinating… it always blends to perfection. The aroma, consistency, appearance, depends a lot on the composition of right kind & quantity of spices. Do check for good quality and brand of spices as the shop may be trading adulterated stuff that may be injurious to health. These are the must-have spices for my kitchen and rather any basic preparation. Of course, there are plenty worldwide.

Powdered spices

  •  Turmeric powder
  • Red chilly powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Pepper powder
  • Garam masala powder(The combination of spices used in garam masala may vary region wise)

Curry paste

  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic paste

Note – I store it in different containers and do not mix it together because, the recipe requirement may differ.

Whole Spices

  • Nigella seeds or onion seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Carom seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Asafoetida
  • Mustard
  • Green cardamom
  • Black cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Dry red chilly
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper corn
  • Nutmeg and mace
  • Star anise
  • Panch Phoron ( A must have for most of the bengali recipes that includes equal mix of Fenugreek, cumin, nigella, mustard, carom seeds / celery seeds)

Note – Buy nice glass jars to store them for longevity and odor-free. Your kitchen cabinets look neat too.

Herbs

  • Curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves
  • Basil leaves

Refer this Spice Catalogue for more info on spices. It offers translation in different languages too. Hope you find this useful.

Happy Cooking!