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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Healthy Snacks – Pan Roasted Spiced Fox Nuts


Fox nuts are highly nutritious and make a wonderful low calorie snack. They are also known as Lotus seeds and Phool Makhana and come from an aquatic plant called Euryale Fox which grows in stagnant waters or ponds in Eastern Asia. In India, makhana is used in many religeous rituals including fasting meals. A variety of dishes are prepared with this versatile puffed seed.

Roasted makhana makes a healthy snack because it’s high in magnesium, iron, zinc and low in sodium content. It has a low glycimic index and is protein rich, high in carbohydrates, gluten free and naturally vegan.

Makhana kheer, gur makhana, masala makhana or spiced makhana are some of my favorite dishes made with fox Nuts. It is also used in curries, soups, raitas and vegetables. You can add them to homemade Granola and nuts & seeds trail mixes.

This pan roasted spiced makhana recipe is easy and doesn’t take much time. You’ll love it’s crunchy texture. The puffed seed has a neutral taste so it takes on the flavors of any combinations of spices.

You can roast a large batch of makhanas and add your favorite spices to a portion whenever you feel like munching on a light snack. You can also add it to your dahi poha like I do. They pair very well in breakfast cereals. So caramelize them and toss a few in your oats, parfaits etc.

Ingredients –

Phool Makhana or puffed Fox Nuts – 100 gm

Red Chilli Powder – to taste

Black pepper powder – to taste

Pink Salt / sendha namak – to taste

Chaat masala – to taste (optional)

Turmeric- if desired a pinch

Ghee – 1 tsp

Dried mint – to taste (optional)

I have mentioned all the spice powders to taste because it all depends on your spice threshold. I prefer them mildly salted and spiced.

Steps – 

Heat a thick bottom pan on medium heat and  add makhanas and roast them on low heat so that they brown evenly and not burn. Be patient with this.

Keep stirring constantly till they become crisp. To test, take one fox nut and press between your fingers, it should crumble.

Now take them out in a plate.

In a bowl mix all the spices.

Heat ghee in the same pan and add the spices and curry leaves if using.  Stir well  and add the roasted fox nuts. Mix well so that all the fox nuts get coated properly. Roast for another minute or two and then take them out in a bowl.

You can serve them warm or let them cool before serving.

Store them in an airtight container for later use.

I used some of it in my breakfast bowl of savory Dahi Chiwada or Dahi Poha ( Beaten rice flakes in home cultured curd)

You can add, remove the spices and make your own variations. Smbhar masala, curry powder, roasted cumin powder,  peri peri powder, dried herbs, Italian seasoning all go well with it.

I used curry leaves and turmeric in one mix and black pepper, rack salt in another.  Different spices give nice aromas and flavors to the fox nuts.

Fox nuts have a good shelf life so they can be stored in air tight containers for future use. I plain roast them and keep it ready to use as desired for both sweet and savory dishes.

You can make puffed rice snack in the same way and add coconut slivers, peanuts, roasted chiwda, cashews, roasted chana, roasted chana daal etc to make an even more healthier snack. Those wanting to lose weight must include makhana in their diet.

 

 

Hope you enjoy munching on these delicious spiced Fox Nuts. I will post the jaggery coated ones in a few days along with the parfait I make.

You can perhaps roast them in air fryer too or in the oven.

Till then eat smart and stay healthy.

3 Bell Peppers & Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer) Stir Fry


Some days ago I had a discussion on a food group on FB about the excess of Paneer dishes in the menus of Indian restaurants and wondered if more seasonal veggies can be incorporated for the vegetarian clientele. There was a heated protest in favor of Paneer. Now, I love paneer but don’t really like the rich gravies or masalas in which it is prepared and served in the restaurants. A personal choice.

This is my variation of Kadai paneer though unlike the restaurant style recipe this doesn’t have a semi dry gravy and green capsicum. I love sweet bell peppers but I dislike the green capsicum.  I use a lot of sweet peppers in various dishes, add them to sauces, salads, stir fry and this version of kadai paneer or paneer stir fry is not only delicious but healthy too. Different colored bell peppers taste different and have dofferent nutritional values so using them all makes the dish more healthy. Red bell peppers have the highest amount of Vitamin C and many phytochemicals and twice the amount of beta carotene than the green capsicum. The yellow one is slightly sweet, orange one a bit more and the red one is the sweetest.  I roast, char, grill, saute the bell peppers as per the requirement of the dish or just use them raw. Bell peppers taste wonderful when slightly roasted or warmed. It really brings out their smoky flavor. Look up my recipe of a Warm Salad with Peppers and  roasted potatoes.

I seldom buy Paneer from the market and prefer to make it at home. The whey is used to kneed wheat flour or cook daals etc. Sometimes I just add a little lemon or sugar and drink a cup full. It tastes good and is full of healthy nutrients too.

Fresh paneer is creamy and light and can be incorporated in many dishes even salads.

Here’s how I make the cottage cheese or paneer at home.

Ingredients :

Full fat milk – 1 liter

Juice of a lemon –  2-3 tbsp

This is made from 1/2 L of full fat milk. 1 L will give approximately 200 gm of good quality paneer.

Method :

Heat the whole full fat milk in a pot and just as the top layer begins to wrinkle and the boiling stage starts turn the flame low and slowly add lemon juice little by little. Keep stirring constantly as you add lemon juice till you see the milk curdle and the greenish whey will separate from the cheese curd. If the liquid is still white you need to add a little more lemon juice till all the cheese curd separates from the whey and the whey is clear. Turn off the flame. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Keep a strainer covered with cheese cloth ready on a pot and transfer the contents slowly so that the whey gets drained and you are left will sticky soft cheese curd or chena. Give it a rinse under filtered tap water to get the lemony taste out.

Press it a little with the back of a ladle to remove excess liquid and then transfer it to a cheese cloth.  Squeeze a little and give it a shape with a flat spatula and then press it with a heavy object. Remove the excess water and once done keep it in the fridge to set for an hour or two. Take it out and remove on a plate from the cheesecloth. Cut into cubes to add to any vegetable, salad or curry.

You can use the crumbled cheese or chena if making a filling or scrambled paneer burji.

You can refrigerate the paneer block in an airtight container or in a bowl of cold water for 2-3 days.

Always use full fat milk for best results. You can use white vinegar or curd as a souring agent. Each agent will constitute its own taste. Rinsing always gets that out of the paneer and it can be used to make even the sweets like sondesh, rasgulla etc. I have the nolen gurer sondesh recipe for you.

Once the paneer is ready use it for this recipe of Kadhai paneer or cottage cheese stir fry.

Ingredients : 

Red, Orange and Yellow Bell Peppers – 1 each (Medium size)

Homemade cottage cheese / paneer –  200 gm (approx)

Red Onion – 2 medium size

Plum tomato – 2 ( I deseed it)

Salt – as required

Ginger julienne – from 1/2 inch fresh ginger

Coriander seeds  – 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds  – 1 tbsp

Whole red chilies – 1-2 broken pieces

Asafoetida powder – a pinch

Kasuri Methi – 1/2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Freshly crushed black pepper powder – 2-3 pinches (Optional)

Fresh coriander leaves ( chopped fine with tender stems) 1 tbsp

Olive Oil – 2 tbsp or Ghee -2 tbsp ( I love its flavor more)

Method – 

Wash, deseed and dice the bell peppers into cubes. (Cutting them in strips makes them cook faster. If you cut them in strips make sure to do that with all the other veggies and paneer too)

Dice the tomatoes into same size cubes.

Cut the medium size onions into four cubes and gentle peal the layers.

Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and broken whole red chilies till they begin to give out a nice mild aroma. Coarsely grind them with mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

Heat a little Olive oil / Ghee in a thick bottom kadhai or wok and add asafoetida and slit green chili along with the onions. Stir fry the onions on high flame till lightly browned and translucent but crisp then add the bell peppers and give them a nice stir so that they are lightly roasted and warmed but not soft. Add the tomatoes and stir. Don’t over cook them. Add the dry ground masala, turmeric powder, kasuri methi, salt, crushed peppercorns and ginger julienne. Stir properly. We need to keep the crunch in the veggies so do not overcook. Add freshly chopped coriander leaves and stir.

Add the paneer cubes and gently toss so that the paneer retains its shape. Once the paneer is coated with the masala properly, garnish with more freshly chopped coriander leaves.  Turn off the heat and keep it covered so it absorbs the flavors from the peppers and other veggies.

Serve hot with chapatis, lachcha paratha, naan or use it as a topping on toast. I use this as a filling for a roll too.

You will love the delicate sweetness of the bell peppers and the spicy flavors from the fresh masalas. The paneer gives the soft creamy flavor to the dish which is absolutely divine.  I can bet that this will taste much better than the usual kadhai paneer we make. Do try this recipe and let me know how did it come out for you.

 

 

Power Packed Dry Fruit And Sattu (Roasted Chickpea Flour) Ladoo (No Cooking)


Easy, nutritious bite size gluten free ladoos that can be made in less than 15 minutes. There is no added sweetener and you can omit the ghee in case you want to make it totally guilt free. Though I must tell you that ghee or clarified butter is good for health if used in moderation.

I already have one more sattu laddoo recipe on my blog. Those are the plain ones. You can check them by clicking on the link. Chana Sattu Laddoo  This post also has the recipe to make sattu at home.

Sattu  is the cheapest source of protein you can get. You can make it from bhuna chana or roasted chickpeas that are easily available in the market. Once you grind them and make it into flour it doesn’t need any roasting or cooking for using in any of the dishes. It has low Glycemic Index and high fiber content and is one of the highest sources of vegetarian proteins that is easily digestible and also of calcium and magnesium. It provides iron too.

I have some recipes with sattu in my blog which you can explore later.  Read all about it in the post link posted above.

I have used popped amaranth in these laddoos. You can see another recipe here –

Popped amaranth dry fruit Laddoo  

Popped amaranth contains a whooping  9 gm of complete protein in one cup. Much more than the much touted quinoa.

Enjoy this as a post or pre-workout snack. Pack it in tiffin box for kids or eat whenever small hunger strikes.

Actually I wanted to make the dry fruit laddu minus these two ingredients and then I got greedy and added them too to make this a combo power ball of nutrition.

There are no strict measurements but still I will give you an approximate idea.

Ingredients :

Fresh homemade Chana Sattu – 100 gm

Pitted dates – 10

Dried figs – 6-8

Mixed nuts ( soaked, roasted and chopped fine) – 1/2 cup

Mixed seeds  ( soaked & roasted) – 4 tablespoon

Raisins – 10-15

Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp

Ghee (warmed) – 1 tbsp ( optional)

Steps :

Gather all the ingredients in one place.

For just the dry fruit laddoo,  blend dates and figs coarsely in a mixer then remove it in a plate. Pulse the chopped dry fruits, raisins, seeds coarsely. ( if you chop very fine then omit this step)

In a large bowl mix the date and fig mixture with the chopped nuts and seeds mixture. Rub in with your fingers so that both the mixtures get properly incorporated. Now make small bite size balls and store in an airtight container. If you heat the dates/figs then the shelf life is more.

To make the ladoo / laddu with sattu :

Coarsely pulse the chopped dates and figs in a blender.

In a large bowl take sattu, add the dates/figs mixture and the finely chopped or coarsely ground nuts/seeds mixture, popped amaranth and warm ghee ( if using).

Now rub in with your fingers so that the the entire mixture resembles a crumble. Keep mixing with fingers  till it starts looking like a dough.

Now, make bite size balls or ladoos with it.

Store in an airtight container.

Note –  It is totally up to you to soak the seeds or nuts. I soaked them for 6 hours and then let them dry overnight. Roasted them very lightly before mixing for ladoo. I didn’t soak the dates and figs.

Moisture will reduce the shelf life so you take a call on this. If the dates / figs are very dry you can microwave them in a safe dish for a minute or two.

The sweetness of the ladoos will depend on the amount and quality of dates/figs you have used. Once the mixture is ready and you find it less sweet for your taste then add a little honey. I prefer to keep it low in sweetness.

I used almonds, pistachio, cashew, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, organic popped amaranth seeds for this recipe.  You can use whatever combination you desire.

Slightly roasted grated dry coconut can also be added.

You can change the proportions according to the number of ladoos you wish to make.

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 into a 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.

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Preserve In Honey


I wrote some days back about the goodness of Amla or Indian Gooseberry. The fruit is in abundance these days and I am making full use of it. I love it in pickles, juices, chutneys, jams, and add it to rice, daals, salads etc. The amla tambli, amla supari and amla candy are delicious. I will try to post the recipes as I make them.

In this post we will make a simple preserve with honey. Honey has medicinal properties and this preserve is very good for immune system among other things.

The fruits cut in small wedges absorb the goodness of organic or wild honey and taste delicious. A tonic for those suffering from anaemia. I benefited from it immensely.

Some people use sugar for the preservation but I prefer honey for obvious reasons.

To make this preserve all you need is good quality honey and Amlas.

Make sure the containers are clean and dry.

Method :

Take fresh amlas and wash them with drinking water. Pat dry and keep aside. ( you can alternately cut raw ones into wedges and dry them in the sun to get rid of the water in the fruit before using).

In a clean, dry glass jar add whole amlas or wedges. If using them whole, do remember to prick them with a fork so the honey gets absorbed.

Pour honey over Amla wedges till they are totally immersed in it. Close the top with a muslin cloth or lid and keep the jar in the sunlight for 5-7 days.

The fruit will leach water so don’t worry. Just let it bleed all the water. Amla wedges will settle at the base full of honeyed goodness.

Once that’s done, take another dry and clean bottle. Transfer the fruit minus the liquid in the new bottle and add fresh honey.

The preserve is ready to eat.

Exposure to sun ensures the longevity of the preserve.

Use the leftover thinned down honey for second batch. I just keep it in the fridge till the next use or sometimes mix it in juices smoothies etc.

If using fresh sun-dried amla, just wait till all the water dries up and then you can put it straight in the honey. No need to change twice.

Both methods work fine. Be sure to keep the preserve in hot sunlight for a few days. Keep making a new lot when the first is about to finish.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy preserve daily to reap its full goodness.

Sprout Salads With Raw Mango – Two Recipes


I love sprouts and make salads, chaats, usal, sprouts kadhi, I also toss them in soups, fill them in sandwiches, stir fry them, add to pulao, omelette, scrambled eggs or just grab a handful of raw sprouts to munch along with the breakfast.

I have the methi( fenugreek sprout) vegetable recipe on my blog  which you can try. I usually sprout, moong (green gram), kala chana (bengal gram), lobia ( black-eyed beans), Moth/matki ( turkish beans), masoor(whole red lentil) and methi (fenugreek).  One of my favorite street food used to be the mong bean chaat or the bengal gram chaat sold by the khomechewalas. Spicy mix of sprouts, chaat masala, salt topped generously with lemon juice was something I enjoyed eating.

Who wouldn’t be tempted by this sight 🙂 ?

Sprouts are considered super-foods and are concentrated source of protein, minerals(iron, potassium), enzymes and vitamin C. As we usually eat them fresh we can be sure of getting optimum nutrition. The ‘living enzymes’ make them easy to digest. They also contain antioxidants and fiber among other things.

Here we will make the two salads or chaats whatever you prefer to call them. You can use the same method for other sprouted lentils, beans like moth, masoor too. I have used raw mango/ kairi. ambi in these salads. This raw mango had ripened slightly so had a sour-sweet taste that went very well with the other ingredients.

I used to eat the sprouts raw but these days due to weak digestion I steam them a bit just to take away the rawness.

To make the sprouts:

Wash the beans/lentils properly under running water.

In a clean utensil soak them with enough water covering them. Keep them overnight or till they split. Keep them covered with a lid.

Once the lentils/beans have swollen, drain the water and gently put the lentils/beans in a sieve and wash them under clean running water. I use the filtered water.

Place the sieve on a small container and cover with cheese cloth or muslin cloth for the sprouts to appear. You need to keep the lentils/beans in a dark, warm place.  Once you get the desired length of the sprouts wash them again and drain properly.

Keep them in the fridge. The sprouts will continue to grow but very slowly. I prefer to make them in lesser quality and use them fresh.

For the Bengal Gram Sprout chaat/Salad and the Moong Bean Sprout Salad/Chaat you will need :

Bengal Gram  sprouts – 1 cup

Raw mango diced – 1/4 cup

Red Onion – 1 medium roughly chopped

Tomato – 1 Large  chopped

cucumber – 1/4 cup diced small

Green Chillies – 2 small finely chopped

Fresh coriander leaves –  For garnish

Fresh mint leaves – 1 teaspoon finely chopped

Black pepper Powder – 2 pinches

Salt – to taste

Chaat masala – optional

Lemon – 2

You can add finely diced red, yellow bell pepper, boiled potatoes to too but I prefer it this way.

To make the chaat / salad 

I steam the sprouted lentil/beans but you can use them raw. If you are steaming, make sure they retain their crispness and don’t become mushy.

In a bowl toss the bengal gram sprouts, diced tomatoes, chopped onion, diced cucumber, chopped green chillies, finely chopped mint (if available), finely chopped fresh coriander, diced raw mango (this one is a bit sweet sour but you can use the totally raw kairi too). Add a few peanuts if desired. mix well and add salt, pepper powder and salt. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice and toss the chaat/salad.  I use very little table salt as the chaat masala too has salt in it. You can toss in pomegranate seeds too. They taste awesome in this salad. Once everything is mixed well your sprout salad much bowl is ready. I often eat it as an evening snack. To make it look like authentic street side chaat serve it in a pattal or paper plate like the one in the pic below.

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For the Moong Bean Chaat/Salad 

Just replace the bengal gram sprouts with the moong bean sprouts. You can make any sprouted chaat like this. You can combine some sprouts to make it even more healthy.

Colourful, tangy, nutritious these chaats/salads can be had any time of the day.

TIPS –

Mix all the ingredients at the time of serving or the chaat/salad will turn watery and smell. 

 I sometime add saunth to it just to make it lip smacking good. You can read the Recipe here. Add a little warm water to 2 tablespoon of this thick saunth and mix well to make it thin. (optional) 

An interesting variation is to fill the golpappas/panipuri with the sprout mixture, top it with beaten curd and saunth and enjoy it as an evening snack.  I will post a photograph the day I make it… 😀 which will be very soon. 

Recipe – Sprouted Fenugreek and Potato Vegetable


Sangeeta khanna is one of the best Food Bloggers in Delhi and a friend. Over a phone conversation I asked her about healthy vegetarian food that could help me get over my Iron deficiency among other things.  I make all sorts of sprouts at home and use them in various ways like in salads, pulao, vegetable combinations and as stuffing for sandwiches etc.

I knew about roasted fenugreek being used for making ladoos mixed with whole wheat flour but had never used them as sprouts.

Usually I use it as seasoning in veggies, dal etc. Fenugreek is very nutritious herb both as a leafy vegetable and as seeds. It contains protein, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and diosgenin (which is a compound that has properties similar to estrogen) among other active ingredients.

The herb which is a rich source of anti oxidant, minerals and photo nutrients  is a store house of nutrients is highly beneficial to cure many ailments like high cholesterol, Diabetes (do not eat without consulting the physician), appetite loss, heart burn, constipation, inflammation, muscle and joint pain, erectile dysfunction , baldness etc. It helps in production of milk in lactating mothers. Pregnant women should not use Fenugreek  as it  increase uterine contractions.

Sprouting fenugreek seeds crates enzymatic reaction which produces easily digested proteins.

To make Fenugreek sprouts and other sprouts with no contamination read this  Making sprouts at home by Sangeeta Khanna.

I used her recipe to make this vegetable and did some changes to it according to my taste.

 

 

I prepared a large bowl of sprouted fenugreek and kept the unused part in an airtight container in the fridge.

To make the Potato fenugreek ( methi) vegetable you need ;

Ingredients :

2 large Potatoes

I cup Fenugreek Sprouts

I Medium Onion

2  Fresh Green Chilies

4 table-spoon chopped Fresh Coriander

1 table spoon mustard oil or any other oil to cook

A pinch of asafoetida

Pinch of cumin seeds

Salt to taste

Red chili powder

Dry mango powder – 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon lime juice

Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon (optional)

 

Method : 

Make the sprouts as given in the link above. (I don’t throw the water in which the seeds were soaked, I drink it usually. Also I do not wash them so often if hygienically prepared. )

Wash and boil potatoes ( I steam them in a steamer) and cut into small cubes.

Chop onion lengthwise or in rough pieces

Chop green chilies in small pieces

 

In a non stick pan add mustard oil and let it smoke. If you are using any other oil let it heat and turn the flame low.

Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add chopped onions , grated ginger, green chilies and sprinkle asafoetida powder over it. Putting it early will burn it.

Saute the onion till light golden and then add potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes and also 1/2 of the fresh coriander leaves.

Stir and add salt, turmeric powder, toss well till done . Add the sprouts after this step. Cooking sprouts too much destroys its goodness. Add dry mango powder.

Toss for a few minutes and take out in a bowl .

 

 

The other variation with kasoori methi is in the link I provided earlier in the post.

Add rest of the freshly chopped coriander and a green chili split into half . Add lime juice while serving  if you don’t use dry mango powder.

Eat hot with Rotis, Indian flat bread or any other bread. Use it as a stuffing for grilled or plain sandwich if you like)

So eat healthy and stay well.

Enjoy!

Recipe – Avial ( South Indian Vegetable Stew)


Avial is a specialty of Kerala, Tamil and Udipi cuisine. Rich with nutrients of fresh seasonal vegetables, this stew has added flavors of coconut, curry leaves and spices. The dish is usually eaten with steamed rice. One can make it either dry or with slight gravy.  Avial is made in a variety of ways with a range of ingredients  and is considered essential part of Onam Sadya.

I used local seasonal veggies available in North India. It turned out to be delicious.

Ingredients : 

Vegetables :

Ash Gourd – 100 gms
Pumpkin – 100 gms
French Beans – 10
plantain- 2
Snake Gourd – 1/2
Potato – 1, small
Brinjal – 1, small
Drumstick – 1
Yam – 1/2 cup

Don’t use veggies that contain excess water or get mushy when cooked.

For the paste :

Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup

cumin seeds –  1 teaspoon

Garlic clove- 4

Green chilies – 4

Onion- I small

Other ingredients :

Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon

Salt – according to taste

Sour Curd- 3-4 tablespoon

Fresh Curry leaves –  a few (1 spring)

Method :

Prepare the paste :

Add all the ingredients listed above for making the paste in a mixer and coarsely grind them to a thick paste. Add just a little water if you find it difficult to grind.  Keep aside.

Prepare the veggies :

In a heavy bottom pan put all the listed veggies which are peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch long pieces. Add green chilies slit in half. Also add enough water to cover the vegetables. Add salt and turmeric powder and simmer on slow heat till  half cooked. Make sure the vegetables do not get overcooked. I use a fork to check if they are done. The fork should easily go in but veggies should remain intact and crisp.

Make a well in the middle of vegetables and add the already prepared coconut paste.

Stir well and cook on low heat for another five minutes. Keep it covered.

Take a teaspoon of coconut oil or any other cooking oil. Heat it a little and add curry leaves to it till they crackle. Pour those curry leaves in the mixture and cover.

Take beaten curd and add this too to the vegetable stew and remove from heat.  Do not cook after adding curd as it may curdle and ruin the dish.

Watch the colorful carnival come alive with exotic aromas as an added bonus. I kept a little with gravy and rest without it so that it caters to everyone’s wants.

Serve hot with steamed rice.