Do you like to talk & know about Indian spices & its history?
Do you want to cook & entertain your loved ones?
|Photo courtesy: Midstate construction|
Location: Whole foods, Cupertino
Classes information: Updated every month at Whole foods store calender.
June 9th , 2012 between 4-6 PM at Whole foods market, Steven’s creek, CA.
Vegetarian Indian cooking with ayurvedic insights (promoting the belief food is medicine and medicine is food)
Menu: Cumin scented lentil stew, Mint-cilantro rice, Roasted cauliflower dusted with aromatic spice mix and cooling cucumber raita. Four easy menu and lot of information about most ancient dietary system called AYURVEDA for just $35.00
1. Steve, San Mateo
2. Hunter & Yeshe, San Francisco
Today is the last post for this year.
Woot! 2012 was such a beautiful year with loads of busy and exciting days. Where do I begin? The year started with me registering for some online courses on clinical operations followed by a job and a change to a new job, my son started his Montessori school, I received new opportunities through my blog, made new blogger and personal friends along the way, lost close to 30 pounds in the last 12 months, tried my hands with couponing (which I sucked big time and ended up shopping more than what was needed), traveled to new destinations in little breaks we got, tried my hands on Cajun cooking, tried to become a better baker AND importantly I moved to my own website. Overall, it was a fantastic 2012 with lots of learning, healthy eating and cooking.
I am wrapping the post with a list of recipes that my family, friend and I enjoyed eating. I will meet you all in January, 2013 with a dessert post and my plans for the new year. Happy New Year to all!
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
I lost close to 30 pounds by following South beach diet, Tony Horton P90 Workout, regular Spinning & Yoga at work. I have received a lot of kind response from readers that this post was useful as they were following South Beach Diet Indian Menu
I had cut down on desserts due to my weightlos journey. Sometime I do crave for something chocolat-y. This recipe is a keeper for those who love chocolate, for those who are vegetarians as there is no eggs in it and also for those who are on a weightloss regime as it uses all natural sugar and avocados.
I shared my story on gestational diabetes in this post and many to-be-moms who are suffering from gestational diabetes have found series of my menu list useful. I have tons of moms from my OB/GYN’s office contacting me with their sweet feedbacks.
Another killer recipe for the famous Indian dish – Butter Chicken. This version is made with silfen tofu and there is no butter or heavy cream in it. I make Indian Burritos with whole wheat tortilla, little basmati rice and this butter chicken topped with tons of cilantro and salsa.
No Indian festival is complete without eating mooti choor ladoo. This is considered to be the hardest recipe to crack. I couldn’t find a good recipe that would work. So I got the recipe from my wedding caterer and he shared with me some of the tricks to get it close to store bought ones.
The two famous dish at my work as I have been requested to make either one of them for every party that was organized. They are so quick to fix and involves mixing all the store bought ingredients and letting it set in the refrigerator overnight. A true blessing to prepare on a working day.
WE HAVE OBAMA FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. Yay!
I was part of election debate everywhere – work, home and facebook. I loved hearing everyone’s thought and it made me more knowledgeable about American election and its voting system. Even though this year’s election was so unpredictable, something told me that Obama would make it on a close margin. I am so glad that he is back. America cannot have a much better leader like Obama who is charismatic, authoritative and compassionate. Lets hope for a better economy in the days to come.
On busy nights like yesterday where we were all glued to CNN to watch election updates, I prefer quick fix dinners as I have to hear each and every word uttered by the CNN election panels. The moment I entered home, my husband was glued to television hearing the stats from Florida and Ohio. I sat there for couple of minutes and rushed to the kitchen to feed my little one’s hungry tummy with milk and cookies as I boiled masala chai (Indian tea) for us. I had no patience to stay in the kitchen and wanted some hearty salad for dinner. I pressure cooked a cup of quinoa and sat for the rest of the evening watching election updates. At 7.30 PM, I quickly fixed quinoa salad with cherry & grapevine tomatoes, finely chopped cucumber red onions and bell peppers. I used easy yogurt-mint dressing to moisten my salad and topped it with roasted sunflower seeds for added crunch. I made a dressing similar to my friend Kankana’s post but I added even more spice powders to it. We had a filling meal and to wash it down, I made cumin perfumed nimbu pani (Indian style lemonade with black salt). And my son ate little of this salad and his typical South Indian rasam rice with left over veggies from lunch.
Quinoa has become a staple ingredient in my pantry. I have started to use it in my cake, muffins, salads and Indian flat bread. Any dish that used rice is now made with quinoa. I have raved about my love for quinoa here. The recipe below gives an idea to prepare the salad. You can add more or less of the veggies, skip few vegetables or add anything new. It’s your salad and so make it with what you have in hand. You can also replace sunflower seeds with roasted almonds or pistachios. I have made this salad “n” number of times during my pregnancy. I love the addition of vegetables which helped to stabilize my blood sugar level during gestational diabetes. I still continue to eat this salad for my weightloss journey. I love the fact that they are so easy and quick to fix and really healthy and filling for the tummy.
QUICK AND HEALTHY QUINOA SALAD WITH YOGURT-MINT DRESSING
Source: Kankana’s post + my tweaks
- 1 cup raw quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup red bell peppers – finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cucumber – finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion – finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grapevine tomatoes – halved
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1/4 cup low fat or full fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup mint leaves – finely chopped or crushed in a mortar & pestle
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon + more if you want
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves – finely chopped
1. Pressure cook for quinoa with 2 cups water for 3-4 whistles or you could cook it in a cooking pan as per manufacturer’s instruction.
2. Remove and let it cool down. Store it in refrigerator. I like to eat it cold. You can leave it at room temperature too.
3.Mix the ingredients under the dressing section and store it in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
4. Just before you serve dinner, add the chopped vegetables, quinoa and dressing. Mix well to combine.
5. Serve in a clean bowl and sprinkle sunflower seeds and mint leaves.
1. You can replace quinoa with couscous.
2. It can be eaten during gestational diabetes
3. An ideal lunch/dinner salad for those who are diabetic/ pre-diabetic and for anyone who are on a weightloss journey.
4. This salad is allowed in phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet.
ERAL AVARAKKAI MASALA
In the farmer’s market, while scanning the stalls for a fresh bunch of spinach, I was asked by a lady clad in brown jacket about cooking with spinach. I smiled back and wondered what made her ask me. May be she has seen me around this place often or may be she has seen me pick bunches of spinach every week.
“Would you mind sharing any easy Indian recipe with spinach?” She asked me.
“Yes, of course” was my reply.
She would have been in her mid 30s and sounded like she had never attempted to cook anything Indian. I started with my tutorial in one corner of the tent with chopping the onions, ginger and garlic. I asked her whether she would love meat in her food. She nodded a yes. I suggested to try with boneless chicken and Indian seasoning. I quickly explained to her about the different spices and how they will look and taste. I recommended her to buy them from ethnic Indian stores. She interrupted me with tons of questions like what is garam masala? Can cilantro be replaced with parsley or basil? What can I serve this curry with?
The creamy chicken will taste tender and juicy by cooking it in low heat and promised to taste great when it thickens. We exchanged our email Ids. She was so excited to try this dish and as we parted we hoped to bump into each other some time in the future. After chatting with the farmer friends who were wrapping their sale for the day, I meandered my way through the crowd. Finally sitting back in the car,I felt proud about sharing my family recipe with a non-Indian home cook. Back in my cosy kitchen, I wanted to create the same dish – Spinach chicken. A delicious gravy cooked with spinach and chicken and simmered with aromatic spices. This is a healthy dish packed with protein and iron.
For those in South beach diet phase 1, serve the spinach chicken with grilled eggplants,peppers and onions with balsamic vinaigrette. For phase 2, serve them with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2 whole wheat rotis/chapattis. This curry is also ideal for women with gestational diabetes. Stick with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2-3 chappatti’s based on your sugar level ( 1 hours after meal). For women with gestational diabetes, always consult with your dietitian before starting any meal plan. I used to walk for 20 minutes after every meal and when the blood test was done after 1hour, my values were below 140 mg/dl.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion – diced
4 garlic – minced
1” ginger – minced
2 pounds – boneless, skinless chicken
1 pound – baby spinach
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
1. Clean and wash the chicken. Chop them to about 1- 1.5 cm cubes. Set aside.
2. Wash and clean the spinach. Drain excess water with paper towel and puree them without water.
3. Heat oil in a cooking pan on medium flame. Add the onions to the hot oil with little salt. Let the onions sweat. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for further 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the chicken, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Cook for 10 minutes. Don’t add any water, as the chicken would sweat out water in the pan.
5. Pour the spinach puree on top, stir and cook covered for further 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
6. Serve hot with rice or rotis/naan/ chapati.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small cauliflower head – cut into florets
- 1 small broccoli head – cut into florets
- 2-3 large garlic cloves – minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon juice (optional)
- 1/4 cup dry quinoa
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 dry red chillies or 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds or 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamons
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Ragi / Finger Millet are one of the oldest known foods to mankind. Have anyone of you seen a millet plant? (I can hear you say I can google it). For others who want to visualize, here I go. They look like small mushy grass with a sponge like green seeds towards the end. They are kind of rigid and hard.The maids who worked at my grandparent’s place have extremely thick lustrous locks of hair. I would sit and awe at the look of their hair – shiny, pitch black and healthy. Watching my expressionless face, my mom would announce her discovery that it’s because they eat organic grains straight from the field. I don’t whether that was the reason but I have seen those girls bring home stalks of millet, roast it in direct heat, once cooled they will pull out the grains just like snapping the curry leaves off their stem and eat it just like that. Even I try to eat that way whenever we visit the fields.They are highly nutritious, gluten free and so easy to digest.
Have I not convinced you to buy a packet of finger millet flour yet?
If not then take a look at a dish I made with finger millet flour (ragi maavu) – Ragi idiyappam served with thengai paal (creamy coconut milk sweetened with coconut palm sugar and flavorful crushed cardamon. Wondering what’s this coconut palm sugar all about? Then you must read my post on coconut palm sugar here? Also try my savory version (ragi sevai).
- 4 cups finger millet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 cups hot water + more if needed
- Pressure cooked without whistle
- Idly plates
- 1-2 teaspoon coconut oil to grease the idly plates and idiyappam press
Thengai paal / Coconut nut milk
I used the coconut milk from the Thailand coconut milk 15oz can as I can read the calories. You can make fresh ones from scratch too. Make it ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Source: My mother (with my variation)
1 cup coconut milk (I used Thailand coconut milk, 15oz can) or
Make fresh ones with the coconut shreddings
3 cups water
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
3 cardamon pods – crushed
1. Mix them all together and let the sugar dissolve. Check for sweetness. Add more if needed. Just make it as per your requirement.
1. Ragi flour can be included in phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet. Since we have used coconut palm sugar this dish is perfect for any weightloss program. Always remember eating in moderation never hurts.
2. My ragi idiyappam with thengai paal can be eaten during gestational diabetes. You can also try my savory version (ragi sevai here).
3. Ideal breakfast/dinner food for those who are diabetic / pre diabetic.
4. You can chill it and serve it in small portions as dessert too. They are creamy, gritty and sweet.
August unfolded into September. Winter clothing, kitchenware in mini sizes, mom’s spice powders, traveler’s check, books, boots were scattered all over my room. House swarmed with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends to bid farewell to me. Wishes, advises, tips, warnings were echoing from my walls even after they left. I packed my suitcases and was getting ready to conquer the Queen’s land. It was the day before I was leaving to England.
There it is, Starbucks – baking lovely goodies. My toes raced to the shop assistant who was packing chocolate croissants but ended up ordering a garden salad from the shop next to it. As I chewed and chewed my cold salad with utmost disinterest, I craved for a huge bowl of hot soup.
From the movies I had seen, from the books I had read, I had painted my own picture of England – cold weather, rains, short days and long nights. I liked it first but later found it so depressing. Everytime I stepped out, the sky was gray and the air was cold. The crisp, freezing air would forcibly kiss my face and leave its dryness all over. Giant jackets, huge gloves and thick boots became my soul mates. I could never let go of them. We were like marriage between two different person, like it or not, we had to stick together. After a whirl wind week of orientation, lab tours and classes, I was craving for some home food. A food that will take me home without a flight, a food that will bring the smell of my home and a food that is affordable.Spinach soup was the first thing I made as a student. It’s simple, quick and cheap. A perfect dish to fill the stomach, to heal our homesick hearts, to nourish my nutrients-deprived student body, to comfort us inside out and make us feel alive again. This buttery, peppery,garlicky, spinachy soup fills the kitchen with its lovely aroma and reminds me of home.
For those in South beach diet phase 1 (use 1/4 cup light coconut milk), serve the spinach soup with grilled eggplants,peppers and onions with balsamic vinaigrette or any salad. For phase 2, serve them with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2 whole wheat rotis/chapattis. This soup is also ideal for women with gestational diabetes. Stick with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2-3 chappatti’s based on your sugar level (1 hour after meal). For women with gestational diabetes, always consult with your dietitian before starting any meal plan.
In my case, I used to walk for 20 minutes after every meal and when the blood test was done after 1hour, my values were below 140 mg/dl. Your blood work will tell how to play around with carbohydrates. When hungry between the meals, snack with nuts like almonds (15) , pistachios (30), soy nuts (1/4cup), walnuts (15), pecans (15), roasted peanuts (20) or drink 1% milk (8oz).
1 cup spinach – chopped
3-4 garlic pods – minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup onions – finely chopped
1/4 cup tomatoes – finely chopped
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cups water
1cup coconut milk (optional)
1 tbs lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter in the cooking pan. Once heated, add the cumin seeds and garlic and cook for a minute. Now add the onions, tomato and spinach. Cook for further 2-3 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Mix in the water and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and cook for 6-8 whistles. Pour the coconut milk and stir. Drizzle the lemon juice and check salt for taste before serving.
Top them with garlicky croutons or pepper pappads and serve hot.
1 cup red or white quinoa ( I used the Inca organic red quinoa)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup semolina
1 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp cilantro – chopped
1 tsp baking soda
Salt to tasteMethod
Serve warm with sambar and chutney.