Namaste and a warm welcome to all.

As you can see my blog is about food and recipes. I love eating and trying out new recipes all the time.

Very often we mum's think of healthy and interesting food options that we can make for our kids especially when they are back from school knowing that their lunch boxes never come back home empty. Hence I always feel its important to give them a healthy and wholesome snack once they are home. When my kid comes home from school I always try and give him some source of carbohydrate combined with proteins along with this, a fruit and milk, or puddings made from milk. Kids normally can't eat too much at one time, so the portions can be small but giving them a little from each of these food group ensures a balanced meal.

I have some interesting ideas that I'd like to share with you all. You might find some of my recipes very basic but I am hoping that my blog is helpful not only for Indians but for people all around the world! Indian food is quite popular and enjoyed by most, so hopefully you can attempt recipes from here and make it yourself now, in your kitchen. Please do go through my recipes and give it a shot at trying them. Let me know how things turned out and if you enjoyed your experience of cooking.... Feel free to get in touch, share your experience, leave a comment or ask any questions you may have. Thank you for stopping by and taking a look! I do hope its helpful.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Chicken & Lauki Dal

Vegetarians can make this lentil as well. Just skip the chicken part and follow the rest of the recipe the way it is. This dal comes out delicious both with or without the chicken.

Moong dal & toor dal both are in equal amounts and rest of the lentils are half in quantity. You may increase or decrease the quantities of lentils as per your consumtion, however maintain the lentil ratio.
1/4 cup moong dal (split yellow gram).

1/4 cup toor dal (yellow pigeon peas).
1/8 cup masoor dal (red split lentils).
1/8 cup chana dal (Bengal gram lentil or just called gram dal/lentil).

1/8 cup split urda dal (Ivory White Lentil).

Mix all the lentils together. Wash them well and soak overnight or for 2-3 hours.

700-800 gm chicken (wash well).

1 cup or little more of lauki (bottle gourd). Peel off the skin and chop into squares.

1 big tomato (chopped finely)

1 big onion (finely chopped).

1 tsp of red chilly powder.
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder.
1 tbsp of coriander powder.
1 tsp of garam masala (available in all Indian stores).

Any one of the 3:
1 tsp of kitchen king masala (easily available in all Indian stores).
1 tsp of meat masala (available in all Indian stores).
1 tsp of Dhansak masala (available in all Indian stores).

Salt as per taste.
2-3 tbsp of oil.

For tempering/wagaar:
1 tsp of cumin (jeera)
1 cinnamon stick.

Things to keep ready before you start cooking:
A) 1 green chilly, 2 tsp of cumin (jeera), 2-3 cloves of big sized garlic and 1 big piece of ginger.

Make a smooth paste of all the ingredients mentioned in A) above. You may want to add very little water just to start the grinding process. You need to make a thick paste and not a runny or watery one. Hence water added should be minimum.

Add salt in the chicken and stir well and then marinate it with half of the paste A. The other half of paste A) KEEP ASIDE (do not forget to keep half the amount separately as we need to use it again later).

Now add garam masala, stir well and let the chicken marinate for half an hour.

B) Masala to be added in the end once the dal is all ready:
1-2 tsp jeera (cumin)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves/laung.
10-15 black peppercorns.
Dry grind all these together to make a fine powder and keep it aside.

Method: This lentil preparation consists of four parts:
STEP 1) Making the onion and tomato sauce.
STEP 2) Pressure cooking/boiling the chicken.
STEP 3) Pressure cooking/boiling the dal.
STEP 4) Mix 1), 2) and 3).

Lets start with STEP 1) Making the onion and tomato sauce.
Heat oil. Once the oil is hot add the tempering/wagaar ingredients (cumin and cinnamon stick).

Add onions and stir fry on a medium flame till it turns light brown to medium brown.

Now add the remaining half of paste A) and stir well.

Add lauki (bottle gourd), add salt and stir.

Cover and cook on a medium low flame for about 3-4 minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and stir well.

Add turmeric powder.

Coriander powder.

Red chilly powder.

And any one of the 3 spices mentioned above: Kitchen king, meat masala or Dhansak masala. I have used meat masala.

Stir well and allow to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, then switch off the gas, cover and keep aside.

Lets go to STEP 2) Pressure cooking or boiling the chicken.

Rinse the container used for marinating chicken with a little water (around 1 glass) and pour it into the chicken.

Start the gas and switch off after 1 whistle if pressure cooking or boil in an open container till the chicken has cooked.

After you switch off the flame do not open the pressure cooker immediately. Open after about 15-20 minutes.

Lets do the STEP 3): Pressure cooking the lentils.
Pressure cook the lentils or boil till they are soft. If you are pressure cooking the lentils then 4-5 whistles should be good to cook the dal.
I have used water from the chicken to boil the dal. Water added can be around 2 glasses (around 500-600 ml) depending on how much is your lentil quantity or else the lentil will become too dry or even burn if you do not add sufficient water.

I have added more water in addition to the one added from the chicken. So here use your judgement.

Pressure cook lentils on medium high (for 4-5 whistles), switch off the flame and open after 15-20 minutes. Never open the pressure cooker immediately.

Once you open the pressure cooker, blend the lentils to get a smooth and creamy texture.

Lets go to the last STEP 4): Mix 1), 2) and 3).
First add the chicken to the onion and tomato preparation and stir well.

Add the cooked lentils.

If the consistency is too thick you may want to add some water and bring the consistency to your liking.

Stir well and let it all boil together for 3-4 minutes. Now add the dry masala powder B) prepared earlier.

Stir, so all the flavors blend in well. Boil for a minute or so.
Chicken and lauki dal is ready.

You may want to add a dollop of Ghee (clarified butter) before you serve. It just tastes more richer and yummier.

Serve hot with roti/paratha or rice. Doesn't it look yummy? And it tastes even better....

Lentils not only help to lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat.
Since they are rich in dietary fiber they help to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation and also help in preventing digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, lentils can increase your energy by replenishing your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with lentils is a good idea--especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, lentils are not rich in fat and calories. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. And remember: If you're pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron.
Lentils' magnesium puts another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sabudana kichdi

Sabudana (sago) & Kichdi (the word "Kichdi" is derived from Sanskrit. It is a mix of daal (pulses) and rice, boiled together with spices and some more ingredients which may vary) is a popular Indian breakfast dish. It can also be served as an evening snack with tea or coffee. Although this dish is not a mix of pulses and rice it is still called a kichdi (probably because it is a mix of 2 different types of food items-potato and sago). It's one of my favorite dishes. The sago tends to get very lumpy and sticky when you cook it. If you add some coarsely ground peanut and then cook the sago, every grain comes out separate and will not be lumpy. What we need to achieve is the separated texture and not the sticky one. Follow the recipe and you will get the perfect sabudana kichdi. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

1 and 1/2 cup of sago (available in all Indian stores).

3-4 tbsp of coarsely ground peanuts.

1 big potato or 3/4th cup diced potatoes(diced into squares).

Fresh coriander for garnishing.

2-3 tsp of lemon juice (optional).
1-2 green chillies.
2 tsp of cumin (jeera).
6-8 curry leaves.
Salt as per taste.
1 tbsp of oil(for frying the potatoes).
2 tbsp of oil for cooking the sago.

Heat oil. Once the oil becomes hot, add diced potatoes.

Add salt, stir and cook on a medium flame.

Lower the flame and allow to cook. If you like you can cover with a lid and cook, however open and stir to check in between after every 2-4 minutes.

The potatoes have cooked now. Keep them aside.

Wash the sago well. Drain out all excess water and keep aside for 1 hour. This will allow the sago to soak up all the water that was retained.

After about an hour they will look bigger since the water would have been soaked up.

Run a knife through to break any lumps that may have formed.

If you feel it is very dry, you can also sprinkle some water on top using your hand.

Add salt and stir well.

Coarsely grind the peanuts and add into the sago.

Stir well.

Heat oil. Once the oil becomes hot, add cumin.

Add green chillies (do not cut them or else it will make you cough when added in hot oil, if you have to chop them then add them when you add the sago).

Add curry leaves. Let them all sizzle a bit and then add sago.

Stir well and cook on a medium to low flame.

The stirring is almost continuos. You can stop just in between for a few seconds to take a break from the continuos stirring. You might also want to adjust the flame from low to medium and then low again.

Add the cooked potatoes now and stir.

If the sago has cooked it should look transparent or translucent. When you taste, it should be soft in the center and not hard. If it is hard you need to cook more. Total cooking time may be around 8-10 minutes for the sago to be cooked from the inside.

You can squeeze some lemon juice although this is optional.

The sabudana kichdi is ready.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. —-Virginia Woolf