Meethe Makhane | Jaggery Coated Fox Nuts & A Parfait


Phool makhana are one of my favorites. They are also known as lotus seeds or fox nuts. A versatile  sweet treat that is gluten free, low calorie, vegan and full of healthy nutrients. I have the savory version HERE  and a Kheer HERE.  These are very addictive but you can eat them free from all guilt. Add to vegetable curries, make desserts or munch on the savory snacks and if you have a sweet tooth like I do then make these gur ke makhane or jaggery coated makhana. These popped seeds are good to eat in fasting days too and provide instant energy. You can even give it to toddlers.

Popped Makhana is chewy but once nicely roasted it becomes crisp and nice.

 

One of the quickest snacks you can assemble. I won’t go into details of the benefits the two ingredients provide. Do Google it.

Here is how even a kid can make it in a jiffy.

Ingredients :

Fox Nuts | Makhana – 1 Cup

Organic or Chemical free Jaggery powder or grated Jaggery  – 1/4 Cup

Pure Ghee – 1 tbsp

Water – 1 tbsp

Cardamom | Til | Desiccated coconut – As per your choice ( I have not added anything here)

Steps – 

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add the popped Fox Nuts seeds. Roast them on low flame till they become crisp. Make sure to keep the flame low and do a finger test by breaking the makhana between two fingers. If done it will crumble nicely. If it doesn’t then roast a little more. Once roasted, take them out in a plate.

Toast the Til or desiccated coconut in the same pan if using and remove in a plate.

Add the jaggery powder with a tablespoon of water to the same pan and let it melt on low flame. Once the jaggery fully melts turn off the flame and add the roasted makhanas and the other ingredients if using. Stir to mix everything and let it cool in a large plate. Once the coated makhanas are cool enough to touch ( 5 minutes) separate them gently.

Store them in an airtight glass container and munch on these power snacks anytime.

You can caramelize the fox nuts with brown sugar or white sugar too but I prefer jaggery. Here I have used Organic jaggery from Monsoon Harvest Farms that was bought from Farmer Uncle . I mostly buy all my fruits and many of the other staples from them. Do take a look at their website.

The Parfait Story 

Now, I had never used caramelized makhana in a parfait.  Usually I just munch on them but this idea of substituting roasted beaten rice or Poha with fox nuts is by Sangeeta Khanna. I treasure her recipes and often look up for interesting combinations or tricks to make things better.

I make parfaits of all sorts with chilled home cultured curd. Adding, fruits, nuts, ramdana or popped amaranth seeds, roasted Poha or beaten rice flakes but this is by far the most delicious thing. The makhanas are a chewy swollen dumplings inside the smooth chilled home cultured curd. You can check the other Parfaits from the search bar but here is One of the recipes.

This is the first mango of the season. A little sour so it has given a unique flavor  the whole composition. The sweeter the fruit is the better. Eliminates the use of white sugar or any other sweetener. Just perfect for a quick breakfast.

Here’s how I made the Caramelized Fox Nuts and Mango Parfait.

Cube the best ripe mangoes (1-2) and chill. Whip and chill a cup full of homemade curd with a little honey or mango puree. I sometimes use hung curd too.

If you have the caramelized makhanas then you are ready to assemble but if you don’t then quickly caramelize them fist.

Now, take a glass and layer the curd, mango cubes and makhana till you reach the top.

Serve immediately.

I can’t tell you how delightful this tastes. Do try and let us know how it worked for you. You can caramelize a few makhanas in five minutes for this parfait so go for it.

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Dahi Poha ( Curd And Flattened Rice Porridge Bowl ) – Nutritious Gluten Free Breakfast


I had no idea about Poha being probitotic till I read Sangeeta Khanna’s post on it. I knew of it’s other nutritive qualities as it has been a part of our daily meals since I was a baby.We make Poha in various ways.  Here is a link to one of the previous posts that will tell you more about the benefits of eating this gluten free, probiotic option as your meal. Raw Mango Poha  

Do look up the other sweet and savory recipes with poha on my blog where I have used both white and brown flattened rice.

I have used home cultured yogurt in this recipe. Both yogurt and flattened rice are light on our digestive system and thus good for the gut flora. This is a great replacement to the packed cereals, oats etc. You must have eaten overnight oats with nuts, seeds, dry fruits and fresh fruits, just replace the oats with soaked poha/chiwda and you’ll have a nutritious instant cold porridge.

Ingredients : 

Soaked flattened rice flakes / Poha / Chiwda

Chilled Home Cultured Curd (Preferred)

Mixed seeds/almonds

Dates/dried fig

Honey (Optional)

Pinch of salt

Steps : 

Rinse the poha in a colander under filtered water and leave for sometime so that all the water gets drained out.

Mix honey in curd and blend with spoon till smooth.

Add soaked poha to it and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and all the chopped nuts, fruits, seeds you desire.

I have used banana, dates, soaked and skinned almonds, soaked raisins in this version.

The cold porridge is ready to eat.

Here’s another version with Organic apples, almonds, soaked dried figs, soaked and roasted walnuts and soaked pumpkin seeds. I used the soaking water of the figs to sweeten the curd. No added sugar.

Try different toppings to break the monotony. You can turn it into a parfait or a smoothie too. Another wonderful option is to make it savory and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Recipe in the first link. 

 

 

Cinnamon French Toast With Citrus Mango Compote


I am a huge fan of french toasts of all kinds but fruit filled ones top my list. I also love to indulge in  toppings made from fresh fruits for french toasts, pancakes and crepes. These french toasts are not for dieters.  Hot from the skillet with a soft thick center and crispy edges these french toasts make a good breakfast or brunch dish. I also feed the four PM hunger pangs with these.

The compote is quick to make and the divine taste of Indian ripe mangoes is decadent.  Put generous amount over the cinnamon flavored french toasts or fill the  toasts with the compote and drizzle some of the liquid from the compote over the stuffed french toasts for a more sinful dish. 

The fresh Malta fruit ( kind of blood orange from the hills of Uttrakhand in India) adds a refreshing tang to the compote along with a little lime and ginger juice. The zest of the fruits goes in the egg bath or the custard. Ginger juice, cayenne pepper enhance the flavors just right.

Overall it is a fabulous combination of flavors and textures.

Use a stale, sturdy, dense bread ( a day or two old) for making these french toast. A french loaf, challah or baguette would be perfect. Cut them into thick slices so the bread soaks good amount of egg mixture without being soggy. The bread needs some heft to hold the milk and egg mix. One inch thick is fine. Two inch for stuffed ones. If the bread is fresh the m dry it out for sometime in oven before dipping them.

These loafs are also good for the stuffed french toast as one can make a nice pocket to fill each toast.  Never settle for soggy and squishy french toasts.

But, if you don’t have any of them and want to use the white bread then toast it up before dunking in the egg bath. You will need to layer the filling between two slices before dunking.

Here are two versions of french toasts with citrus mango compote.

I have used a usual white bread here. The recipe is for 2 people.

Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast 

Mango Compote  – For filling and Topping

Bread – 4 slices (I have used a two day old white bread here)

Cinnamon –  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Eggs – 2

Condensed Milk + Normal full cream milk  – 1/3 cup

( usually I take four tablespoons of condensed milk (milkmaid) and two tablespoons of creamy full fat milk)

Malta fruit Zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt- 1/4 teaspoon ( if not using salted butter)

Butter and oil  for frying

I don’t add vanilla to retain the flavor of fruits but if you like it add 1/2 a teaspoon

Steps- 

In a shallow bowl make the custard or egg bath for the french toast. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon and zest of Malta fruit . You don’t need to froth the eggs. Just blend well so everything is incorporated well.

Keep your mango compote ready for filling. You can make it fresh or use a previously made too.

Take four thick slices of bread.  Toast and lightly butter them on both sides. I don’t trim the edges. You can use cream cheese too.

Heat a skillet properly on medium heat. Keep it ready for use. You can use electric griddle or oven too.

For normal white bread – On one side spread a few spoonful of mango compote filling and press the other slice on top of it. Prepare two such sandwiches. (Make the other one once the first is cooked and ready). I used white bread so those who don’t get the other loafs don’t feel left out. 🙂

For the french loaf etc –  Cut a 2 inch thick slice and make a 3-4 inch incision halfway into the slice so a pocket is formed. Fill the compote into it. One end should be sealed.

Now the steps are quick or the bread will start falling apart.

Place the sandwich in a shallow plate and spoon the egg custard mix over it till it is properly soaked. Dunking is difficult with the filled one.

Add some butter and oil mix on to hot skillet and place the soaked sandwich in it. Oil prevents butter from burning.

Keep the heat medium low so we get nicely crisp and cooked french toast. No one likes burnt ones.

Cook on one side till it is nicely browned and crisp then flip gently to cook the other side. (2-3 minutes)

Press the sandwich lightly with slotted spatula to make it cook well.

Add more butter+oil mix if the skillet is drying up. Don’t hesitate to be generous. We aren’t dieting here.

Keep a serving plate ready. Place the Lovely citrus mango compote filled french toast in the plate and dust with icing sugar or top with compote sauce and some more pieces of fruit.

Dig in when it is still hot and crisp. Repeat steps for the next one.

You can keep one french toast warm in oven at 200 degrees F while you make the other.

Cinnamon French Toast with Just the topping 

Alternately, you can skip the filling and dunk each bread in the gg bath till it is fully coated then shallow fry in the hot skillet. Keep the french toast warm in 200 degree F oven and once all are made, cut them in triangles or keep them whole when you plate them. Top the crisp french toasts with lavish amount of compote and dig in when hot. you can serve it with a dollop of creme fraiche too.

I just can’t have enough of these lovely french toasts bursting with summer flavors.

The trick is to keep it simple. Too many flavors spoil the taste. On the other hand dash of Spiced rum, Bourbon and Grand Mariner add perfect taste to the french toasts.

I use less  or no sugar as the mangoes are super sweet and condense milk is sweet too. No maple syrup or honey drizzle is needed.

Enjoy ! 

 

 

 

 

 

Delhi Street Style Egg Paratha


 

Egg parathas or Anda Parathas bring back a lot of memories from college days and later when mid night hunger pangs took us to moolchand parathewala and various other roadside paratha joints which catered to the night owls like us. It was the preferred choice of meal along with other stuffed parathas.  There can be no other soul satisfying meal than this when the city sleeps and the streets are almost empty except for  people like us and the dogs. The coveted time between 11 PM to 4 AM was the playground for these parathewalas and hungry night owls. You will always find people to tell you interesting stories related to their night- outs and paratha eating adventures.

Street food is an art. It is an experience to watch these street vendors conjure up delicious dishes right in front of you.  I have watched the art of making anda paratha but what we make at home doesn’t come closer to what the street side vendors sell. Still, for the love of it I started making a few variations of this famous paratha at home. My boys were sucker for this treat and it would be a choice of single egg or double egg, sometimes even a stuffing of anda bhurji or scrambled egg, keema would go in and the paratha would instantly become a  complete meal.

Crisp , flaky, packed with the goodness of eggs and spices egg paratha is a great thing to satiate your hunger. The stalls make this no frill delight and diligently serve you with pickle and onion rings. Sometimes even a dollop of butter.

Unlike usual stuffed paratha the street style egg paratha is slightly tricky to make. The beaten egg is gently folded into the layers of the crisp paratha and then it cooks inside them. Usually, in a good paratha you won’t be able to see a trace of egg outside and only when you tear it to take a bite the deliciousness of the cooked egg will come to light.

Some street parathas are made differently where the egg is broken on top of a large roti made with maida and cooked on hot tawa then folded with some keema or egg stuffing like a mughlai paratha but that is a different story.

The Delhi style egg paratha is different and unique in taste. Here are the two ways you can try to replicate the awesome street food at home.

Ingredients : (Serves 4)

Whole wheat Flour – 2 cups

Eggs – 4

Coriander greens –  4 tablespoons

Green chili – finely chopped 1 tablespoon

Salt and black pepper – to taste

Red chili powder – to taste.

Onion –  1/2 cup chopped fine

Water – to kneed the dough

Oil / Ghee – for cooking paratha

Steps : – 

The paratha for this recipe needs to be flaky so that when it puffs up the layers separate and you can slide the egg mixture inside by lifting the top layer. Regular paratha makers will not find this difficult and the new enthusiasts can learn from trial and error , it is all worth the effort. Trust me. 😀

In a bowl take wheat flour, add salt and a little oil and kneed it into a nice dough using water as required. Keep aside for 15 minutes and then kneed again with your fist to make a nice soft dough. Softer dough will yield great parathas. Keep it under a moist muslin cloth till ready to use.

In another bowl break one egg and add the coriander leaves, green chili, chopped onion and other spices.

Whisk it well and keep aside.

Divide the dough in four equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.

Dust the ball in dry flour and roll it into a circle with a rolling pin. Now apply some oil/ ghee and fold it in half circle , then fold again to make a triangle. brush oil/ ghee between each layer and sprinkle the dry wheat flour slightly. This will keep the layers separate.

Heat a frying pan or tawa, flat griddle on medium heat and cook the paratha till one side gets brown spots, flip and cook the other side similarly. Apply a little oil/ ghee on the sides.

When you see the edges becoming crisp and the paratha splits into layers  gently lift the top layer or make a incision with a sharp knife to pour the egg mixture between the two layers. Tilt the paratha a little so the mixture is evenly distributed.

Cover it again with the layer of paratha and let the egg cook inside.

Gently press it with the spatula to ensure the egg cooks well inside. Do it on both sides. You can keep the flame low and cook covered for a minute too.

Once done remove it in a serving plate and serve with pickle or chutney and a nice cutting chai. Yes, you need to have kadak chai with it. Coffee won’t do.

Sprinkle some chaat masala for that street style taste.

Repeat the procedure with other egg parathas.

They need to be eaten fresh but wrap them in paper towel or butter paper if you want to take them in your lunch box or pack them for your kiddo.

Method 2 

It is simpler and though parathas for me are always triangular and not circular but you can make it this way too.

The ingredients are the same So is the cooking method. What changes is the shape of the paratha.

Don’t worry if the egg comes out. Perfection is not always essential. The parathas taste just as awesome even with a little spillage from side.

Be careful while filling as the steam from the paratha can give you burn.

It takes a little practice to make these but once you learn it you will want them every day. We will make the famous Kolkata Mughlai paratha or the Baida roti soon

Usually the street stalls use refined flour or maida to make the paratha but this healthier version with whole wheat flour is better.

 

Important Tip – It is good to learn from people sharing their food adventures and recipes perfected over time. It is better to make your own stuff and share than copy paste someone else’s. Not everyone is a professional or seasoned food photographer so it is cool to take pix as it is in your kitchen than to steal from other blogs etc.

Don’t be scared to share the way food looks in your kitchen or plate. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Mixed Vegetable Red Poha (Flattened Red Rice) Recipe


 

I am a big fan of flattened rice or poha. Not just because it is a nutritious, complete meal but also because it is quick to make. You can make a variety of poha dishes with both red and white rice flakes. The red rice flakes are considered more nutritious than the white ones as they are a concentrated source of folic acid, vitamin B6, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. Adding veggies, soya nuggets or granules, nuts , sprouts or  multi-grains makes it even more rich in nutrition.It is a good source of carbs too and is easy to digest. You can read more about it and try some other recipes here.

Parboiled, dried and flatted these rice flakes provide a healthy, quick cooking breakfast option. So, now that we all know how harmful the commercial white bread is why not shift to the indigenous options available to us? It is rich in fiber, low in gluten and diabetic friendly among other things. It helps to lower cholesterol too.  So, doesn’t it make beaten rice flakes the healthiest food ever?

The russet colored red poha has a lovely nutty flavor. Apart from making regular poha from these beaten rice flakes you can also add them to smoothies, make vadai, cutlets, rolls, upma, laddoos, patties, idlis,  kheer etc.

One can make dadpa poha, kanda poha, batata poha but here we have made simple mixed vegetable poha as part of the healthy breakfast series.

To make this you will need :

(For two large servings)

Dry Red Rice Poha – 1 Cup

Finely chopped French beans – 1/4 cup

Finely Chopped carrots – 1/4 cup

Fresh Green peas – 1/4 Cup

Finely chopped French Beans – 1/4 Cup

Small cubes of boiled potatos – 1/2 cup

Chopped Green chilies – 1 tablepoon

Chopped curry leaves – 1 tablespoon

Minced ginger -1 tablespoon

Chopped Red Onion – 1 cup

(You can add bell peppers and any other veggie you like)

Oil – 2 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafetida – a pinch or two

Lemon – 1

Coriander Greens – finely chopped 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh coconut – for garnishing

Roasted Peanuts – to toss  (A handful)

Salt to taste

Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1 tablespoon ( optional)

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Method : 

I used Pro Nature Organic Red Poha for this recipe.

First take the dry poha in a colander and rinse it under filtered water. Keep aside it a sieve to puff up and soften. ( the time depends on the quality of the rice flakes. If they are thick ones, they may take long )

Now, Heat the oil in a wide pan and tip in mustard seeds and Hing (Asafetida). When the seeds start to crackle ass green chilies, curry leaves, red onion. Stir and let the onion soften a bit and become translucent. Keep the flame low.

Add the chopped veggies except boiled potatoes and cook them covered for a few minutes till they soften a little. ( You can add slightly steamed veggies too.)

Now add the boiled potato cubes, stir well and let everything cook for a while. Add a little salt to it to help in cooking.

Meanwhile, fluff up the poha with fingers and sprinkle turmeric powder, salt and red chili powder. Remember you have added some salt to the veggies too. We don’t want excess salt in it, do we?

Check the veggies for softness and if done , add this poha to them and lightly toss the mixture well till everything is mixed properly.

Add coriander leaves,  minced ginger, sugar and keep it covered on low flame for a few minutes.

Taste for the spice levels and add anything required.

Switch off the flame and let the poha sit for some more time.

Now take it out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coconut / coriander leaves / peanuts and serve hot. Squeeze some lemon juice t oget the most of the mutrients or have it with fresh home cultured curds.

I feel the nutty flavor of red poha gives this dish a unique taste over regular white poha.

Do give it a try and let me know if you liked it. Tell me how you use red rice poha.

Eat Healthy and Fresh. . This is Fig and Banana Smoothie that I had with Poha in my breakfast. Recipe coming soon.

 Note – This version doesn’t have many veggies but the method is the same. 🙂 I was in a rush and forgot to click pix for the blog. Will update when I cook this again.

Don’t add Hing or asafetida for a gluten free version