Quick Recipes With Popped Amaranth Seeds


Amaranth, the royal grain, is known as Raamdana/ Ramdana, Rajgira in India. Actually it is not a grain but seeds of the Amaranth plant. These tiny seeds  pop up  when roasted to become light and fluffy and provide more protein content than the much touted quinoa. A whooping  9 gm of complete protein in one cup. Amaranth contains all the essential amino acids which makes it much better than any seed/grain.

This tiny yet power packed seed is a store house of many essential nutrients. It has a significant amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and Vitamin C. Another good thing is that it is gluten free so people who are celiac or gluten intolerant can easly incorporate it in their meals.

I have very fond memories of munching on raamdana ladoos as a child. Light and mildly sweetened with jaggery they are the best snacks to have at all ages as they are easy to digest too. We even used these popped seeds in porridge, both sweet and savory. Raamdana is very versatile and you just need to be innovative to include it daily in your diet one way or the other. You can use them in cutlets, frappes, ladoos, soups, muffins, breads, cakes, quiche, energy bars or use it as a breakfast cereal or baby food or sprinkle over salads etc. .

Here I made some quick sweets and a frappe using Organic popped amaranth seeds from I Say Organics. 

Dates, Mix Dry Fruit and Popped Amarath Ladoos 

This is a fantastic easy and quick recipes which can be made with or without cooking if you already have the amaranth seeds popped.

You can make bite size balls to eat as snacks. The size depends on your wish. I make them small so I can eat it often. There is no oil/ghee or added sugar so that makes these a wonderful snack.

To make these nutritious ladoos you will need :

Dates –  1 cup pitted (good quality)

Popped Amaranth / Rajgira Seeds – 1 Cup

Chopped or Powdered Mix dry fruits ( Almonds, raisins, cashews. walnuts etc. ) – 1/2 cup

Any seeds ( flax seeds sesame seeds) if you desire – 2 tablespoon

( If you have the  wet dates then no cooking is required but if the dates are dry then they need to be heated a bit. )

Method – 

Pit and chop the dates fine.

Dry roast the nuts and chop or powder them as per your taste. If using seeds then dry roast them too but take care not to over roast. Just light roasting is fine.

If  you are using dry dates then heat a non stick pan and add chopped dates to it.

Keep the flame low and stir till the dates soften.

Add the nut mixture,  seed mixture and popped ramdana, give it a nice sir and switch off the gas.

Remove the mixture in a plate and mix it thoroughly so that everything gets incorporated nicely.

Make small balls of the mixture and let them cool before putting them in an airtight container. Eat these  nutritious power packed ladoos any time of the day. I am sure kids wuld love them too. Do give it a try.

If yo uare using the soft, wet dates then just chop them and put the dates and powder/chopped dry fruit mixture in a blender and mix till a gooey mix is obtained. Take it out in a bowl and make small bite size balls from it.

Ramdana/ Popped Amaranth Brittle/ Chikki 

Our next recipe is for the brittle made of raamdana.  I have used Organic jaggery and popped amaranth seeds from I Say Organics in this recipe to get the maximum benefits from the ingredients.

Ingredients: 

Popped Amaranth Seeds / Rajgira / Ramdana – 1/2 Cup

Organic Jaggery – 1/2 Cup ( you can use Palm Jaggery too. Crumble it or cut into slivers with a sharp knife.)

Ghee/ coconut oil – 1 tbsp ( coconut oil for vegans)

Pinch of salt

Method – 

Grease a baking tray/ plate with oil and set it aside.

Put a heavy bottom pan on medium heat and add the oil or ghee to it.

Add the grated or crumbled Jaggery with a pinch of salt. I don’t use shakkar or granulated jaggery.

Stir it constantly till the jaggery melts and there are no lumps. Keep the heat low if required so the jaggery doesn’t burn. It will become more like a syrup.

Add ramdana / amaranth seeds and mix well.

Pour the mixture in the greased tin and

spread it evenly with a spatula.

Let it set for 20-30 min then remove it from the baking tray and either break into pieces or cut into squares.

Keep in an airtight container.

Note- Some people make a syrup or Paak of jaggery with water. I prefer it this way. To make it crisp you’ll need to melt the jaggery a little longer without burning. I just wait till it dissolves completely and add amaranth.  This chikki/brittle is a bit softer than the market version.

Popped Amaranth seeds Parfait with Mixed Fruit And Nuts 

I love yogurt Parfaits and this is one of my favorites. You can do so much with this basic recipe. Add any fruits, nuts, seeds to it with natural sweetness of fruits and perhaps some home made preserve or organic honey  or organic jaggery slivers/ granules if you like it sweeter. Dates/ Prunes make this frappe very delicious and naturally sweet too.

Ingredients –

Chopped Prunes or Dates

Popped Amaranth seeds

Chopped mix nuts (walnut, cashew, almonds etc and  mixed raisins ( black, gloden)

Hung yogurt

Homemade preserve/ honey/ maple or date syrup/ molasses or jaggery

Method 

Just layer these ingredients one by one to make the parfait presentable or if in a rush just toss everything together  and have it. Both ways you’re getting the goodness of this power packed recipe. Top the frappe with the Preserve or any of the other sweetening ingredient mentioned above. It is entirety up to you what to add/remove.

Make it as healthy and innovative as you desire.

Hope you liked these recipes. Do try and let me know in the comment section about your experience.

Chilling With Mangoes – A wholesome Parfait & Smoothie


I love fruit desserts especially those made with yogurt. These days mangoes are in season and the intense heat has added more sweetness to them. I bought a dozen of Kesar variety a few days ago and they were insanely sweet. Here are two healthy recipes to beat the sticky summer heat. The ingredients are the same but the tastes are different. Also, sometimes one wants to drink something refreshing yet nutritious rather than eat. So, we have two healthy choices here -A parfait and A Smoothie.

So, what’s different in this Mango Yogurt Parfait?

We are all familiar with overnight Oats and fruit Parfaits but here is a desi and healthy twist to that recipe with the lusciousness of mangoes and flattened/Beaten Rice or poha soaked in home cultured yogurt and lightly flavored. Enjoy this highly nutritious parfait as a dessert or a main breakfast dish to kick start your day.This recipe is inspired by blogger Sangeeta Khanna’s mango poha.

Flattened rice or poha is prebiotic and probiotic apart from being a rich source of many nutrients. It is easy to digest too.  I have more poha recipes on blog which you can explore and enjoy. Write ‘poha’ in the search tab and you will have them all.

 Mango Yogurt Parfait with Beaten Rice Flakes or Poha 

I can bet that once you have this refreshing Parfait you are surely gonna make it again. Choose ripe, juicy, fragrant mangoes and home cultured yogurt to reap the maximum nutritional benefits.

Ingredients :

  1. Chill the glasses in the fridge before assembling this versatile Parfait.
  2. Whip the yogurt with honey and chill it. That will make it an instant eat.
  3. Dry poha needs to be rinsed under filtered water in sieve and kept for sometime to
  4. Mix the soaked poha or flattened rice flakes in it. Mash and mix properly. Keep it in the fridge to puff up more and chill.
  5. In the mango puree add ginger juice and cardamom powder. Mix well. Chill.
  6. Now, take the serving glass or goblet and carefully put two spoons of mango puree in it then add a layer of yogurt poha mix. Alternate layers Till you reach 3/4 of the glass. You can layer them as per your choice.
  7. Keep the top layer of dahi poha and Top it with generous amount of cubed and chilled mango pieces.
  8. Refrigerate your Parfait a little more to set properly.
  9. Sprinkle granola, muesli or popped amaranth seeds (ramdana) or chopped nuts of your choice just before serving.
  10. Enjoy this wholesome utterly delicious healthy parfait any time of the day.

There are times when you are in rush and do not have time to relax and enjoy this Parfait but still want something healthy and filling. Don’t worry, just turn this int oa delightful chilled smoothie and drink it up.
Mango , Banana, Yogurt Smoothie 
 Freeze the fresh mango pulp and chopped bananas or even cubes of mangoes. Soak the poha in yogurt overnight in the fridge ( 2 tablespoons in 1/2 cup yogurt + 1 teaspoon of honey if required). Next morning Put everything in a blender and blend into a thick delicious smoothie. You can add or omit poha and banana. The smoothie is so versatile. Add popped ramdana (1 tablespoon if not using poha) or cooked oats .You can add explore the possibilities of tongue ticking taste by adding any other fruit with mango or nuts/ dry fruits etc.
But, I love it just like this. Too many flavors mar the delightful taste of mangoes which we don’t want. 🙂
My Tip: Brown or red poha gives it a nutty flavor and is more nutritious than the off white one. Do not go for white bleached poha. Try and used organic products. Prefer popped ramdana as topping but here I used muesli as garnish. Use organic as far as possible.
I do not use blender to puree the mango. I do it the traditional aamras way, rolling and pressing the mango between palms and, making a slit at one end to squeeze out all the pulp then mashing it nicely with hand till no lumps are left. This way the pulp has a nice texture and it gives the Parfait a unique taste too. Yes, there is distinct difference in blended pulp and hand squeezed pulp which you will notice when you have the smoothie. 🙂
Hope you will make these and let me know your feedback. So, go grab some mangoes till they last and indulge.

Dried Figs, Banana And Yogurt Smoothie


 

After mangoes figs are one of my favorite fruits but we don’t get fresh figs here in Delhi unless one pays an exorbitant price for them in some posh store or food hall in a mall.  Throughout the year I use dried figs which we get at almost all good grocery stores. The locally fried one come beaded in a rope and are deliciously sweet. I never use the packaged one sold by multinationals with added preservatives etc.

Sometimes I use fresh figs for smoothies and they pair brilliantly with apples and bananas. If you love the natural sublime flavor of figs just use them with ripe fresh frozen bananas and voila you have a fantastic breakfast or post workout drink in a jiffy.

I use home cultured yogurt for my smoothies but you can use Greek yogurt, low fat yogurt, almond milk, coconut milk and normal dairy milk too. Riper the fig greater the sweetness of the smoothie. Figs are rich in Iron and are the highest plant source of calcium. They are loaded with antioxidants and soluble fiber plus they are low on calories too. They are rich in zinc, magnesium and other essential minerals. Ayurveda tells us that figs are cooling and sweet in nature. Most of all they taste so good. 🙂

I am anemic most of the time and eating two sun dried figs, that are soaked in a little water, first thing in the morning helped me regain my hemoglobin and iron levels to some extent. I drink the water in which the figs are soaked. In some ways figs are even better than dates nutritionally.

As I have given up on bread I usually make one fruit smoothie to go with my breakfast. Fig banana smoothie is naturally sweet so I do not add sugar or honey to it. If you find it less sweet for your taste add a little honey and not sugar. Apart from being health honey gives  the smoothie a nice texture. Honestly, you must bank on the natural sweetness from fruits like I do.

If you are using dried figs for this smoothie soak them overnight or for 30 minutes to an hour in some water till they plump up nicely. Add the fig flavored sweet soaking water in the smoothie.It is rich in antioxidants.

Ingredients 

(One large glass)

3 Sun dried figs or fresh figs

1/2 Cup chilled yogurt ( home cultured is best)

2 Fresh ripe bananas

Method :

Use the ripe or a little over ripe fruits to get the maximum sweetness.

Peel and chop the banana , put it in a zip lock bag and freeze while you do other stuff.

Frozen fruit makes best smoothies but you can use it without freezing too.

In a blender put soaked dried figs or fresh figs, chopped banana and chilled yogurt. Add a few ice cubes ( I sometimes freeze coconut water to make ice cubes for such smoothies)

Blend everything till thick and smooth. There should be no solid pieces of fruit.

I love the smoothie with no added sweetener or essence etc. but some people use vanilla , rose water, cinnamon, even chocolate. I feel they mask  the flavor of the fruits.

Pour the rich thick delicious smoothie in a mason jar or glass and serve chilled.

 

Note

Always use unblemished, fully ripe plump figs if using fresh ones. Look for Figs with stems in place. Figs are highly perishable so buy in small quantity and use them quickly. Ripe figs are delicate and yield slightly when gently pressed. Check for mold too. Figs have a tendency to develop white mold. Discard if you see any.

If using the dried ones, look for the sun dried figs or the organic ones with no preservatives. Dried figs have a robust and more sugary taste than the fresh ones. Look for the ones that are dusty, dirty or hard. The fruit should bend easily.

The smoothie may turn slightly brown if kept for sometime due to the antioxidants in figs just like the apple. So, don’t worry about it. 🙂

 

PS – The painting you see is made by yours truly. It is acrylic on canvas. I do paint sometimes. 🙂

 

Tip : Just a little fresh ginger juice sometimes gives a distinct kick to the smoothie. Try it. ( 1/4 teaspoon)

 

Tangy And Sweet Citrus Smoothies And A Ruby-Red Mocktail


I got some bright yellow Malta Fruits ( a variety of blood orange grown in Uttarakhand, India) and Limes a few days ago and apart from eating them as whole fruit, I made some awesome smoothies and detox water with them. You can substitute it with oranges, or any other variety of citrus fruit.

Use of organic fruits ensures that the zest and peel is safe to use. Loaded with vitamins especially Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, natural acids and enzymes, these refreshing immunity boasting smoothies are part of my daily diet these days. I eat citrus fruits with abundance. Their use in recipes not just enhances the flavors but also helps in absorption and use of other nutrients like iron from iron rich foods i.e spinach, beetroot etc.

Lemons, oranges, maltas, grapefruits, limes, all are rich source of phytochemicals and have  cancer fighting, disease fighting antioxidant properties.

Citrus fruits are low in fat & calories and have low sodium & low cholesterol. They are the best natural diuretics that help detox your body of harmful toxins. Make your own detox water with a variety of citrus fruits for best results. We will talk about it in another post.

Blend them whole with  berries, bananas, dates, kale, baby spinach, apples, pears, mango, papaya, carrots, pineapple, kiwi. They pair well with almost all fruits and many of the vegetables. Use mint, cilantro, ginger where ever you feel they go best. For the base, I use coconut milk, home-made yogurt, dairy milk, vanilla ice cream or vanilla milk, almond milk or just blend with frozen coconut water cubes.

You can add soaked beaten (flattened) rice, oats, puffed amaranth seeds etc as a bonus healthy ad-on. I have not yet used the citrus fruits with skin for smoothies but I keep the mesocarp, which is full of nutrients, intact in the smoothies or parfait.

1. Lime and Lemony Malta Smoothie With Ginger has a refreshing blend of citrus flavors. The fresh ginger juice adds a kick to the taste and enhances the flavors too. The lemon and lime add zing to the sweet malta. Ginger is good for sinuses and soothes a sensitive stomach. All the three citrus fruits give plenty of Vitamin C and refreshing taste to the smoothie.

Wash, peel and cut the 1 malta and 1/2 lime. Put them in the blender jar. Extract juice from 1/4 inch of fresh ginger root. Add to the fruits. Add juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of organic honey (optional). You do not need to add any liquid to make this smoothie but if you want to enhance the flavor you can add Greek yogurt or natural home-made yogurt, frozen tender coconut water cubes or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This one doesn’t have any add-on.

To extract the juice of fresh ginger root. Grate the ginger and gently squeeze all the juice from it. Add a teaspoon of water to the grated leftover and give a good squeeze again to extract whatever is left. Use it fresh.

Once all the ingredients have blended well, pour the sunshine smoothie in a glass and add 1-2 crushed fresh mint leaves before serving. Serve all smoothie absolutely chilled.

2. Power packed Five Fruits Smoothie 

This delicious smoothie has the goodness of dates, banana, apple, malta and lime. Full of nutrition this is not just filling but also has a delicate caramel flavor to top it all.

To make this power packed smoothie you need

1 Malta/orange

1/2 Lime

1 Apple

1 Banana

5 dates (pits removed)

Pure vanilla extract -1/2 teaspoon

Hershey’s caramel syrup (optional) to drizzle

Soak the dates the night before in a little hot milk or water. Once cool, keep it in the fridge. Cut the bananas and freeze them in a zip-lock bag. Cut the apple with the skin and place that too in a zip lock bag. put the bags in the freezer the night before.

When making the smoothie wash, peel and cut the malta and lime. Keep aside.

Add chopped banana, apple pieces, softened dates (with the liquid), malta and lime pieces and the vanilla extract in this order. Blend the fruits for 1 minute at high-speed or till all the fruits have blended smoothly. Freezing the fruits gives the smoothie a creamier texture. You can use them without freezing too. If you do not have a powerful blender then blend the dates to a smooth paste separately and then add to the smoothie.

Pour this part creamy part juicy smoothie in a glass and generously drizzle the caramel syrup on top.

This refreshing glass of goodness will keep you going nicely all through the day. You can add 2 teaspoons of soaked oats, soaked flattened rice flakes or popped amaranth seeds to make it even more healthy and filling.

Tip – Add coconut cream for an awesome refreshing taste. Skip Caramel syrup if adding this. It tastes out of the world.

3. Mango, Carrot Smoothie With a Citrus Boost

I love mangoes and this vibrant glowing smoothie. I add a little ginger juice to spice it up. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with ginger in smoothies just like I love the garlic in pasta. That’s me 🙂

This energizing smoothie is my favorite. It provides100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C & A and a good dose of folate and B1 vitamin along with other nutrients.

To make this you will need:

1 ripe mango

1 carrot medium size

1 malta/orange or any other citrus fruit

1/2 a lime

2 tablespoon of soaked oats (optional)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger extract

a few leafs of mint

Instructions:

Wash, peel and cut the mango into cubes.

Wash, peel and grate the carrot. I used the English carrot in this one but I usually make it with the winter’s local red one. It has a sweeter taste.

Peal and cut the malta and lime into pieces. Make sure all the fruit pieces are of equal size for a smooth blend. Put all the fruits in the blender jar.

Now, I did an interesting thing with the ginger, lemon juice and mint.

Put fresh ginger,extract, lemon juice, three pinches of salt and crushed mint in a glass and add enough water to make 4-6 ice cubes. Mix it well. The mixture should taste like a gingery lemonade. Freeze this in an ice-cube tray an hour before you make the smoothie. It gives an exotic note to the drink.

Add a few of these frozen cubes to the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour it in a chilled glass over the remaining frozen cubes. Sprinkle some roasted oats and garnish this delicious smoothie with a lime wedge.

I don’t need to tell the health benefits you will reap from this one. It is a great post workout drink. Most of these smoothies have no added sweetener. The sweetness comes from the fruits so select your fruits carefully.

You can always make your own variations of these smoothies by adding or removing some ingredients but keep the base citrus.

After this wonderful citrus bonanza of healthy smoothies here is a bonus mocktail that is my personal favorite any time of the year.

The gorgeous ruby-red Pomegranate Lime Ginger Ale Mocktail

I love pomegranates and would rather eat them than blend into drinks but this particular one is irresistible. Whenever I have to use pomegranate juice in a recipe I prefer the home-made cold press juice. It is more flavorful and nutritious than the market one. This particular mocktail, or cocktail if you add alcohol to it, has to be made fresh. You can not make it beforehand. I also make pomegranate lemonade. You can add vodka to make a delicious cocktail. I am not a fan of white rum.

For this lovely mocktail I made some ice cubes by dropping 2-3 pomegranate pearls in water while setting the ice tray. They look beautiful in the drink.

It is super easy and is ready in less than five minutes.

Ingredients:

1 cup cold press juice of organic pomegranate

1 can of ginger ale ( I used Schweppes Original)

1/4 cup Thin Julienne of lime and ginger

Few fresh sprigs of mint

Salt – to salt rim the glass and a little to add to the drink (optional)

To make the cold press juice, take the juicy pearls of organic pomegranate. Place a muslin cloth in a sieve. Place this sieve on a measuring cup. Now put the pomegranate pearls in it. Rub, press and squeeze with your fingers till all the juice is released. You can use a juicer with cold-press too. (I don’t have it)

Two medium size pomegranates gave me 1 cup of fresh ruby-red super sweet juice.

In a pitcher add ginger and lime Julienne, a little salt and lemon juice. Add fresh mint leaves and with a wooden muddler just give a few gentle twists to bring out the minty aroma. Don’t over do it or crush the mint otherwise the drink will taste bitter. Add the chilled pomegranate juice, top it with ginger ale and ice cubes, Stir and pour it in cocktail glasses. Garnish with lemon wedges. You can salt rim the glasses before pouring the drink.

There is nothing more refreshingly fruity than this Mocktail.

If you add lemonade or sparkling water instead of ginger ale you will have a gorgeous pomegranate mojito. It is as good as this one but I love ginger ale and prefer it over mojito unless of course one is adding vodka to it. 🙂

Just look at this beauty. It will ceases all your troubles in just one sip.

Hope you enjoy making these healthy fruity drinks.

I will look forward to your variations of these.

Cheers to good health and happiness.

A Delicious Dates Banana Surprise Smoothie


We are into second week of September and it is still incredibly hot. I can tell from the afternoon sun flooding my room that winter is standing at the threshold waiting to step in anytime. As a healthy diet change I am using fresh fruits and home-made yogurt / Almond milk / Soy Milk / etc to make delicious smoothies. A quick wholesome breakfast drink that sometimes has a surprise ingredient just to make the mornings interesting and creative. A good start, I say.

I went for my second sitting for molar root canal today and the dentist told me to eat something soft so instead of having this in the breakfast I had it as a late afternoon tummy filler.  :p

Using home-made cultured yogurt is the best thing you have for a healthy digestive system. We were brought up on home cultured yogurt. We would always keep a little culture to set the new batch of yogurt and if we forgot, mom would send us with a little katori (bowl) to get it from neighbors. We would knock on all doors till we found a home that has home-made dahi and ask for a jaman (culture). Frankly it was a tad bit embarrassing so the best way to avoid it was to remember to save some jaman without fail.

These days a range of packaged yogurt is available easily. I use the one from ‘Mother Dairy’ for convenience but now I want to get back to setting my yogurt at home.

Full of protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12 Yogurt is very good for intestinal flora. I have a weak digestion so love to include a lot of yogurt in my diet.

This smoothie is a perfect blend of bananas, dates, almonds and a surprise ingredient that you will soon discover. 😀

High in protein, rich in taste and texture, this is one of my favorite smoothies. You can opt for milk, soy milk or almond milk instead of yogurt. It is your personal choice.

To make this refreshing smoothie you will need :

1 ripe medium size banana

6 dates ( soaked if using dry ones)

6 Almonds – soaked and pealed

1/4 cup Yogurt

Pure Vanilla or / and cinnamon powder  – just a little (optional)

and my surprise ingredient

a handful of soaked poha (beaten or flattened rice)  (about 3 tablespoons 🙂

I use poha because it is probiotic, prebiotic, and gluten-free food. It is low calorie, nutritious and gut friendly too.

I also use popped amaranth/ramdana or rajgira grains sometimes which is our indigenous substitute for quinoa. It is much cheaper and is equally nutritious, if not more. We will discuss its goodness in another post.

So once you have all the ingredients ready, here is how you make this lip smacking smoothie,

1. Wash poha under running filtered water in a sieve to drain out the water. I soak it overnight or for at least an hour in the yogurt that is to be used for the smoothie. Just the way we make dahi poha ( yogurt poha).

2. Wash, cut and soak the dates (seeds removed) in a little warm water/milk to soften them.

3. Soak the almonds ( I use sweet California almonds) overnight in a bowl of water. Keep it covered. In the morning discard the water, wash the almonds and remove the skin.

4. Chop the banana and place it in a zip lock bag. Place this in the freezer.

5. In a blender add yogurt, soaked beaten rice, banana pieces, dates and crushed almonds.

5. Add a dash of Cinnamon or/and a few drops of pure vanilla. (optional)

Remember to add the ingredients in this order for a rich, thick ,smooth texture.

Now cover and blend for 10 seconds at high-speed or till everything blends smoothly.

Pour it in a glass for an early morning power packed goodness.

The natural sweetness of dates is enough but if you wish you can toss in a teaspoon of organic honey.

It is in a way a healthy start to the day and a complete breakfast as far as i know.

Delicious too. 🙂

Smoothie don’t always need a milk or yogurt base. Next time we will do something different. Watch this space.

*You can replace Poha with oatmeal too.

A Healthy Yogurt Smoothie With Organic Apples and Pomegranates


I discovered I Say Organic  from their FB page and ordered a few fruits which were in the season. Mangoes to begin with. It was a bitter-sweet experience at first but then their customer support is excellent and they worked on my issues immediately. I have ordered things from them since then. Last week I got a package of red delicious apples and pomegranate from them. Both the fruits were fresh, sweet and juicy. I prefer my smoothies to have natural sweetness so decided to use the last few in a delicious apple, pomegranate yogurt smoothie.

I prefer organic fruits  because we can use the fruits like apple with their skin. Their website claims that the products are free of toxic chemicals and are organically grown. There is a vast taste difference between organic and conventionally grown apples. Eating apples with skin is a good high fiber, low sugar option. Apple skin has most of the nutrients like dietary fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants. We all know the health benefits and nutritional values of this fruit.

Similarly Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients and are considered as one of the healthiest food. The arils are rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals and bio-active plant compounds, beta carotene. You can find all you want to know about the health benefits of these fruits from mother Google :D.

I use naturally cultured yogurt which I make at home but today for the lack of it I used the one from Mother Dairy. It is as close as one can get to home made one.

For the smoothie I used :

1 medium size organic red delicious apple

1 medium size organic golden apple.

1 1/2 medium size pomegranate

1/4 cup natural Mother Dairy dahi ( yogurt)

I did not use any sweetener.

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Process :

Wash and pat dry apples. Dice them with the skin into small pieces.

Wash and cut the pomegranate in half. Take a bowl of cold water and break apart one half of the fruit inside the water. The membrane will release the pearls beautifully as you slowly rub it with the thumbs. The membrane sticking to the peals will float up and the peals will stay down. Drain the water and you will have ruby red, juicy gleaming pearls of sweetness. Google is the mother of all life hacks but I remember it being done at our home since I was a kid. So…  😀

Now that we have both the fruits ready, take the blender, add the yogurt first then add the fruits to it. If you know the fruits aren’t very sweet then add a spoonful of organic honey to it.

To make smoothies healthy do not use sweetened yogurt, refined sugar etc. Natural fruit sweetness is the best. Honey or date/maple syrup is the next best choice.

Keep things simple and natural.

Cover and blend the ingredients for 10 seconds or till everything is blended to a smooth texture.

I use the pearls of the pomegranate fruits. You can take out the juice and add that to avoid the seeds.  Use only fresh juice in smoothies. If you don’t have a juicer, simply place all the pearls in a plastic sieve over a container and rub/press/squeeze with your thumbs till all the juice is out. I used pearls of 1 pomegranate and the other 1/2 fruit I juiced like this. To quicken the process I used a wooden masher used for making pav bhaji. 😀 It worked beautifully and I got super sweet deep red juice in no time which I chilled in the freezer and added to the smoothie before having.

The result was out of the world.

I am very fond of pomegranate margaritas and I simply love the salt rimmed cocktail glasses in which its served so I salt rimmed my smoothie glass and it made the flavor more enticing. It also made me crave for the margaritas 😉

Tomorrow will be another special smoothie wit ha surprise element. Watch out for it.

Till then Enjoy!

Protein Packed Almond Milk Smoothie With Banana And Berries


I love when there is a explosion of color in my food. Yogurt and milk smoothies/ shakes are delicious but there are times when you can not digest dairy milk and need a substitute. Almond milk is healthy and a very good substitute for people who are lactose intolerant, diary intolerance, have some digestive issues or are vegan by choice. It has the same creamy texture and is well suited for many recipes including your regular tea and coffee. Home made almond milk is fresher, tastier, economical and nutritious. Almonds are good source of protein, omega – 3 and 6 fatty acids, fiber and minerals especially magnesium. You can keep fresh almond milk in the fridge for up to three days or freeze it too.

Recipe for Almond Milk :

Three step process to make almond milk:

Wash and soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight or for at least 5 hours at room temperature in filtered water. (I don’t use hot water) Soaking makes the nut soft and buttery.

Once the almonds have soaked well, discard the water and wash the almonds properly. Add them to the blender and blend at high-speed with three cups of cold water added slowly. This helps in getting a rich, smoother milk. You should remove the skin of the soaked almonds before blending but the sweeter variety can be used with skin. The skin will anyway get filtered. You can make it both ways and decide which taste and color suits you. The skin given the almond milk a bit muddy color.

Once the mixture has blended properly, strain it in a glass pitcher. You can use the leftover almond meal in any of your favorite recipes or use it for a face pack too. 😀  You can add vanilla or dates, while blending, for a flavorful almond milk. I keep it plain and unsweetened.

Today I made a healthy berries and banana smoothie today. This nutritious smoothie has an exquisite color, tastes delicious and the three fruits complement each other very well. Both, strawberries and blue berries are full of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. I added a teaspoon of organic honey to sweeten it. Usually I use dates/ dates syrup or maple syrup. No refined sugar. You can also let the natural sweetness of the fruits to do the trick.

To make the smoothie you will need:

1 cup homemade almond milk

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 medium size banana

1/4 cup fresh strawberries

Honey – to taste (optional)

Process :

I clean, cut and freeze all the fruits in individual zip lock bags for no fuss, quick healthy grab or sometimes just use them straight from the fridge. I think freezing the fruits gives a thick smooth texture to the smoothie and you don’t need to add ice that makes it watery.

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Place the banana pieces in the blender and then add the berries. Pour almond milk on top and add honey or whichever sweeter you plan to use.

Cover and blend at high-speed for 10 seconds or until smooth.

Pour it in an open mason jar or a glass and serve chilled.

You can use any combination of fruits to make the smoothies.

Enjoy your glass full of fruity goodness any time of the day.

Beat The Heat With Falsa (Phalsa) Sharbat


Summer is back with all its vengeance and again it is time to indulge in refreshing, cooling drinks made from seasonal fresh fruits. There is nothing like traditional indigenous coolants like Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink), Sharbats made from Phalsa, Neebu (Lemon), Bel (wood apple), khus, rose  sherbat, sattu drink, Thandai,  fruit punches / juices  and many others which are either yogurt based or milk based keep the body temperature down and provide the essential nutrients too.

Phalsa (Grewia asiatica) is one of the most popular summer fruits, at least it used to be when I was a girl). These days one doesn’t get it too easily as the berry is easily perishable. I remember the hot summer days when a vendor will pass through the lanes singing a song “kale kale phalse, taravat wale phasle” and we would rush to buy those tangy sweet berries sprinkled with pink salt. Either the berries would be given in conical-shaped leave held together by a toothpick or in a small paper bag. stained by the purple, mauve color of the phalsa.

Grewia asiatica or phalsa is a tropical berry native of  India and South Asia. Mainly grown for the fruit the other parts of the shrub like ,bark and leaves, roots too have  medicinal benefits. The fruit is full of iron, vitamin A, C, B1,2,3, calcium and dietary fiber.  The fruit has loads of health benefits and is as cooling properties that help keep body temperature down.  It helps prevent heat strokes. It offers radiation protection and the seeds contain palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids. Chewing the seed along with the flesh helps in air growth too.  The peel of the berry has antioxidant properties.

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After a week long search for good phalsa I finally managed to buy it at a local fruit cart. The berries were fresh and perfect for a summer salad. I used half of it for the salad and rest to make the gorgeous sharbat which has a tangy sweet flavor and my favorite.

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Ingredients:

Phalsa Berries (ripe) – 1/2 kg

Sugar – 150 gms (I use boora cheeni) (Quantity of Sugar depends on the sweetness of pulp exact)

Pink Salt (Kaala Namak) – to taste 

Water –

Method : 

Wash the ripe berries sprinkle a little table salt and leave them for half an hour,

Take just enough water to cover the berries and soak them overnight. (4-5 hours is also enough).  

(I keep it in the refrigerator)

Once soaked mash the berries with finger will the stones are separated.

Remove the stones and give it one stir in the mixer to make the pulp smooth. (The peel of Phalsa has antioxidant properties so I prefer to use it. )

In 3 Cups of water dissolve the sugar.

Add Pink salt to the pulp and mix

Add the pulp to the sugar solution and stir till it blends properly. 

( You can add beetroot slices or kokam syrup instead of sugar to make it sugar free yet sweet and tangy) 

Add crushed ice or ice cubes and a few tender leaves of mint and serve chilled. 

Let me know if you follow my recipe and prepare this healthy thirst quencher. 

Keep cool and stay healthy . 

Related post :

Traditional Indigenous Indian coolants 

Healthy Traditional Indigenous Indian Coolants


The  Indian Summer is at its peak with all the right ingredients including merciless sun, scorching winds which sap the energy out of  the body. Soaring temperatures diminish the want to eat and one longs for some chilled refreshing drink. In the days when  fizzy, carbonated drinks full of empty calories, artificial sweeteners, colours and synthetic flavors beckon you from every food mall, roadside shops and eateries our home is heaven for traditional nutritious summer coolers. Natural home-made drinks which not just keep the body cool but are also healthy.

Summer in our country is ferocious and most of the body fluid is lost in sweat. It is an age-old tradition to offer water with something sweet ( at our home peda or petha) to anyone who comes from outside. It helps to keep the person hydrated and the sugar gives instant energy.

All the summer coolants are region and season specific and can be divided into two categories – Dairy and fruit based. Some fruit based summer drinks are hibiscus and Rhododendron drinks. We have the most common Nimboo pani( shikanjee) , lassi( sweet and salted)( thick creamy whipped curd /, taken plain or with dash of sweet concentrate or blended with mango) , buttermilk, fruit smoothies, fruits crushes, kokam (fruit of a tropical evergreen tree (Garcinia indica) )  sherbet, thandai, sherbets made from local seasonal fruits like bael, phalsa, raw mango ( aam panna).  Tender coconut water and fresh fruit juices are also popular. Jal zeera is another summer favorite. All these drinks are rehydrant and prevent heat strokes and other summer maladies. Sattu drink ( sweet and salty) are again making a place for themselves.  Then there are very popular mixes of sugar and natural essences like rose, kevda, khas, and other sherbets made by infusing herbs and natural essences. These are a little high on sugar but still a popular choice.  Most of them have medicinal properties and good for summer.

Aam Panna made with tender boiled raw mango, water and sugar

The plan is to help the body stock up on essential vitamins and minerals.

raw mango pulp with spices, salt and sugar

raw mango pulp with spices, salt and sugar

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Let us take two more very healthy traditional summer refresher today.

You can roast the mango on direct flame of stove or preheated oven at 200 degree for 30 min depending on the size of the mango. Wrap it in aluminuim foil and place on the rack. to get gorgeous roasted mangoes. Add jaggery for a healthy drink. I use organic jagerry granules or shakkar

Sattu ka ghol ( Sattu drink) 

Sultry day demands something cooling to give a boost to your energy levels. Sattu ghol is our own indigenous substitute for whey protein shake. Made of roasted channa ( gram) flour, this composition is one of the highest sources of vegetarian protein and a quality that is most easily absorbed by the body. Sattu is a special unique drink with a good source of natural fiber and carbohydrates and is made with scientific formula. Originally sattu was made from roasted powered chick peas but with time it has evolved and we can get many variants and mixes of pulses,legumes and cereals like barley, maize, wheat, rice, horse gram, oat etc in form of sattu. Sattu was originally known as Sat-Anaaj(seven cereals, millet and pulses). All across the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarpradesh , and Orissa Sattu is eaten daily in various forms. Sattu drinks can be sweet or salty according to the taste. Jaggery is used instead of refined sugar to make it more healthy.

Black Gram and Barley Sattu

One can buy sattu from a good store ( I buy from Navdhanya) or make it at home too. It has innumerable health benefits and has digestible dietary constituents of vital importance. It has high protein value and beneficial for diabetic patients. 

Mix Barley and chana Sattu drink ( salty)

Rich in Iron, calcium and magnesium Sattu is good for digestion, weight management, low blood pressure etc.

Here is how we make Sattu drink (one glass)

Ingredients : 

Chana Sattu – 1 Tablespoon

Barley Sattu – 1 Tablespoon

Salt – as per taste

Roasted cumin seed powder – a pinch

Lemon Juice – To taste

One can add, grated raw mango, coriander , mint, etc. as per taste. One can also make with sweet with jaggery.

Method :  

In a glass add both sattus , salt, cumin powder and other ingredients. Add chilled water. Mix well.  Your healthy summer drink is ready to be savored.

 

You can also make it sweet by omitting onion, mint , lemon, salt  and adding shakkar (Fine jaggery powder and roasted cumin seed powder.

 

The other favorite of mine is Bel sherbat .

Bel or wood apple is also known as Elephant apple, stone fruit and Bengal Quince. It gets its name of wood apple due to the hard cover.  It is native to India and the tree is considered sacred for Hindus . Bael fruit is used in traditional medicine. It is also found in Srilanka and Thailand.

Bel fruit

Bael fruit is a storehouse of  good health and nutrition. Packed with protein, phosphorus, Vitamin C and B complex and tannin it strengthens the heart and mind, cures acidity, increases body resistance and improve the memory. It also cures ulcers and gastric disorders, treats acidity, burning sensation in the stomach and nausea, cleans the stomach of impurities and cures weak eyes. It is also a good cardiac tonic and energy booster. A good source of beta-carotene, Bael also cure liver problems. It also contain thiamine and riboflavin. Once a week intake of Bael fruit cures Amoebiasis .

To make a healthy Bael  ( Wood apple ) sherbet we need : 

Indredients :

Ripe Bael Fruit : 1

Water to soak the pulp

Sugar  – if required / according to taste.

Method : 

Break open a medium size wood apple .

Bel fruit

Scrape the pulp out and soak it in water overnight.

Next morning when the pup is soft , mash it gently with hands and strain through a strainer to obtain the clear liquid .

For a glassful of health , dilute the liquid according to taste. I like it a bit thick. Add ice cubes, garnish with fresh mint and enjoy .

So make your own revitalizing, nutritious and healthy summer thirst-quenchers from local herbs, fruits , essences, etc and stay refreshed and healthy this summer.  They are not just a great protection against heat but also guard against a host of summer-related ailments.

Related Post 

Phalsa Sharbat 

Coffee-Chocolate Delights


The other side of midnight

Ingredients:

A cup full of coffee

Whip cream

Cinnamon powder/ drinking chocolate

Chocolate sauce

How to make:

Put coffee and ice in blender

Add sugar to taste and blend

Pour it in a tall glass

Top it up with lots of whip cream

Add some chocolate sauce on top and

Sprinkle the cinnamon / drinking chocolate on it

Choco Bay


Ingredients:

60 ml vodka

60 ml thick chocolate sauce

60 ml dark rum

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

How to make:

Blend vodka and chocolate sauce together and pour it in a glass

Churn the vanilla n dark rum

Add it to the vodka

Put lots of ice cubes

Enjoy!!

Indies Coffee


Ingredients:

60 ml dark rum

A cup of hot coffee

Whip cream

How to make:

Mix the rum and coffee

Add sugar to taste

Pour it in an all purpose wine glass.

Top it up with whip cream.

Indulge and enjoy :)!!!!!!!!!!