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Kothuparotta with tortilla

Weather in California is cold and windy for the last two days. There’s drizzles every now and then. It’s cold and my hands turn pale, dry and chilly within minutes. And the last thing I want to do is to shop at my grocery store. Thinking about what to fix with the things at home is sometime challenging but at the same time interesting and exciting for me.
I opened my fridge and scanned for the things that were there – two stale carrots that I picked a week ago, one shiny red bell pepper – last one left from Costco, a box of ripe cherry tomatoes that I bought to fix a salad, few sprigs of curled cilantro, half a lemon and few dried curry leaves. There in the corner I found a huge egg carton which had just two eggs left. I turned around to check for onions on my kitchen counter. Gladly I found five large onions. “Wow, that’s not bad, I can make couple of things with these veggies” I reassured myself. “May be vermicilli or semolina upma or egg curry with lots of sauce or simple dal with roti” My brain kept answering me as I ran around the kitchen like a mad lab rat. Before I went ahead to close the door, I found a packet of tortilla nestled in the lowest rack. “Oh ya, a vendor at the Fancy food show gave me a packet of his whole wheat tortillas” I recollected.
With all these ingredients, there is one super yummy food that could be fixed. Tamil Nadu style Kothu parotta it is. The thoughts about spicy kothukari made me crave for it even more. A food when tasted would take me to my cherished childhood days, the days where life was less complicated and worry-free and those were the days I would run back from school to watch my mom cook this. I would peep through the window to get the smell of what she is fixing. I know it would taste perfect without ever having to munch a piece of that sauce slathered parotta. The smell of its steam would tell me that its been perfectly spiced and salted.  Such is this food filled with lovely aroma and comforts of my mother’s kitchen.
The dish by itself in simple, traditional and has tons of intricate flavors in it. She would make it with rotis or chapatis or even with deep dried pooris. Her recipe will evolve with the ingredients she gets on her hand. Today I am going to make it with Maria and Ricardo’s whole wheat tortillas and each one has 45 calories. I am going to use three for one serving and tons of veggies and one egg. That makes it a wholesome meal and it would be less than 350 calories when made with half a tablespoon of olive oil in each serving.
I read it from Maria and Ricardo’s tortilla packet on how to calculate the net effective carbs in your food. To get the net carb amount, you must deduct the grams of dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate grams. In this case, there is 10g of total carbohydrate in 1 tortilla and 7g dietary fiber so the net carb : 10g-7g = 3g
When served with minty raita and steamy cardamon tea, there is heaven on earth and there is nothing more comforting than this for the cold weather. I chopped, stirred and cooked. The food was ready and the bowl was full with torn tortillas and tons of veggies. The aroma of curry-leaves-perfumed-oil lingered around my head. I smelled it once. Then again. And for the final time I breath in all the goodness before I took the first bite. Warm tortilla was layered with eggs and exotic spices. The small chunks were further kissed by the juicy sauce of sweet carrots, bellpeppers and tomatoes. I served it to S when he arrived from work. He loved and couldn’t even find the replacement of chapatis with tortillas in the dish.Maria and Ricardo’s tortilla were soft and fresh. We loved its addition to our traditional South Indian dish. Total yum!!! My husband and I we re-named this dish as “Kothu-tortillas
TAMIL NADU STYLE KOTHU PAROTTA WITH TORTILLAS
Serves 2
Source: My mother’s recipe (with my alterations)

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 medium size tomato – chopped
  • 1 bell pepper – chopped
  • 1 carrot – chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 tortillas (Maria and Ricardo’s fiber rich whole wheat tortillas) – cut into squares about 1 cm in size or something similar in size
  • 2 eggs
Cilantro and juice of 1 lemon for garnish
Directions
  1. Heat a large saucepan. Once the oil ripples, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Throw in the curry leaves and let it crisp, about 60 seconds. Cook at medium flame. Don’t burn the condiments.
  2. Then add the onions and let it brown, about 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder and saute for 2-3 minutes. If its too dry, add a tablespoon of water. This prevents the spices from burning. Add soy sauce and saute for 60 seconds.
  3. Now add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy, about 3-5 minutes. Finally add the carrots, peas and bell peppers and stir to combine. Add little more water and cook covered for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye and stir every 5 minutes. Check for doness by tasting one piece.
  4. Sprinkle garam masala and mix well to combine. The vegetable mix must not be too runny or watery. We want it to be dry with little sauce in it.
  5. Add the tortilla and cook for 2 minutes until they are coated well with spices and veggies. Then break the eggs and stir to scramble. Cook without turning the dish into a pulp or mushy. Carefully fold the tortilla over the eggs and let it cook.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and squeeze lemon juice on top.
MINT RAITA
Source: Self

Ingredients1 cup non-fat yogurt
1 serrano pepper (without seeds) – chopped
20 mint leaves – chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
1. Combine them all together and whisk to a smooth raita. Check for salt before serving.
Serve the kothu-tortilla with mint raita.
My tips:
1. Serve the dish right away. It doesn’t taste great after a while. When left for longer time, the tortillas might get soggy.
2. You could make the dish with roti, parathas, naans, pooris, chapati.
3. I tried doing it with toasted whole wheat bread (cubed). It tasted different but not bad. The bread chunks must be mixed with vegetable sauce right before serving. The bread tend to get soggy very easily. So my personal preference will not be bread in the future.
4. Kothu-tortilla is a healthier version of the traditional kothu-parotta dish. Hence my version is ideal for women with gestational diabetes or anyone with diabetes or cholestrol and for those in weight loss regimes. Also ideal for people in Phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet.

Round-Ups: Top 10 Healthy Recipes

 

 

 

My Top 10 Healthy Recipe Plus a Chance to Win $250 in Total

Happy New Year again! I know I have wished you all so many times in the last one week :-). Let this year be more healthy, active and energetic for all of us.

Spices and Aroma has evolved from just being a food blog with authentic Indian recipes to a blog that carries healthy Indian recipes that are gluten free and have low glycemic index. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2010 and that’s when my approach to food changed. Read my story here. I was running out of ideas to make Indian inspired meals that would fit the requirements of having low glycemix index. That’s when I started to document hearty, healthy recipes for anyone who is looking to lose weight or control diabetes or live healthy through an Indian diet. You can read about Indian inspired South Beach Phase 1 diet here.

I’m feel really honored to announce that Spices and Aroma was chosen as one of Yuri Elkaim’s All-Day Energy Award Winning blogs! Yuri is the New York Times Best Selling author of The All Day Energy Diet.

The ADED is similar to the Paleo diet and promotes:
◾Gluten-Free
◾No Sugar
◾No Dairy
◾No Processed Foods
◾80% Raw

Please click on the link here to check out the other incredible healthy blog winners PLUS download a FREE All-Day Energy Diet Blueprint & hunt for today’s $100 Golden Apple prize by clicking here. Hop over to each blog and find a “Golden Apple” in each post and tell Yuri the name of blog post that had the golden apple in it. Isn’t that simple? Once you have commented, you will automatically enter a chance to win a grant total of $250 Golden Apple Prize!

GIVEAWAY PRIZE = $100 + $150 Essential Living Foods Superfood Swag Bag

Gift Card

 

#1. Cold Quinoa Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinegar Dressing (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

Cold Quinoa_Salad_4

#2. Healthy Crunchy Moong Dahl Snack  (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

Haldiram_Moondhal_Snack_1

#3. Seared Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms

Salmon_Mushroom_Spinach_2

#4. Ruby Pink Smoothie

Ruby Pink Green Smoothie_2

#5. Lemon Thyme-Oregano Chicken with Brown Rice and Grilled Vegetables

Thyme_Lemon Chicken_2

#6. Cauliflower Soy Subzi

Cauliflower_Subzi_1

#7. Plums Rasam Shots 

Plums Rasam_2

#8. Instant Flattened Rice-Nuts Snacks

Poha_Nuts_Snacks

ADEDGOLDEN

#9. South Indian Idli

Brownrie_Idly_1

#10. South Indian Okra Curry

Okra_Curry_5

This post is part of the All-Day Energy Awards. Discover all the winners, get a free diet plan download, and hunt for today’s $100 cash prize by clicking here.

Kadai vegetables curry with purple potatoes – Restaurant style recipe

How many of you will stop, stand and stare at the vegetables with their not so usual colors?
ME! ME! ME!
That’s what I do when I see purple potatoes, orange cauliflower and white or pink carrots. Yes every time I walk past the stalls of my farmer’s market, I will pick a bunch or two for dinner that night. These days, I am even more excited to bring different colors of fruits and vegetables home as my son is learning colors. But he gets confused with onions being in white and red, carrots in purple or orange and potatoes with red, brown and purple skin. That’s a different story. Ya, I cann’t teach him apple is red, as there is green apple lying next to it. I can’t blame a 16 month old for getting confused. But he is learning the names of fruits and vegetables and now he can say apple, orange and banana these days.
One such vegetable cooked often at my home is purple potatoes. As the name suggest they have purple color on their skin and flesh. They are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanin. The same chemicals present in blueberry, any berries and pomegranates. They are refereed to as flavonoids. The presence of polyphenol antioxidants helps to protect the body from free radical damage. This in turn can help to lower blood pressure. The phytochemicals in purple potatoes can also help to prevent cancer and boast the immune system. Purple potatoes comes from Andes region of South America. Yes, the same region where quinoa is grown and cultivated. They are native to Lake Titicaca region of Peru and Bolivia.Currently they are being grown all over US, South America and Europe. They are a great replacement for white potatoes. If you avoid deep frying them, purple potatoes eaten on regular basis can be good for your heart. Did you hear that? A variety of potato good for us. Isn’t that great? I have made purple potato mash, oven baked chips, potato curry over the few months.
If somebody mentioned white potatoes to me, I would think of it having high carbs, starch and empty calories. Though I love its taste, I stopped eating them once I started with South beach diet and even on other days I avoid eating potatoes. But my body craves for its taste. And when I came across purple potatoes and created dishes without butter or ghee or sour cream or mayonnaise, one small potato will have close to 100 calories and lots of phytochemicals and vitamins. That’s exciting for me.
Anyways, last weekend I hunted for purple potatoes in my farmer’s market but couldn’t find one. Luckily I found a bag of mixed potatoes in Costco and I made this curry with just the purple potatoes and reserved the red and white ones for some other day. This kadai vegetables is made with lots of vegetables like carrots, french beans, bell peppers, potatoes and peas. You can also add seared panner towards the end. I learned this recipe from R akka when I was doing my final year project in Hyderabad. The recipe for kadai paneer is here.That’s when I learned to use the most magical herb, kasuri meethi. A handful of that can go on a long way in a dish. This dish is quick and easy to prepare and make.

KADAI VEGETABLES WITH PURPLE POTATOES

Source: Rani akka
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 small onion – quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ginger – minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic – minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 2 large carrots – cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper – quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper – quartered
  • 10 French beans – cut into 1 inch size
  • 4 small purple potatoes (with the skin on) – quartered
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas – thawed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup kasuri meethi / dried fenugreen leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
Note: Make sure all the vegetable are cut in same size.
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large kadai (cooking pan). Once they are hot, throw in the fennel seeds, tear the chili into half and add to the tempered oil. Saute for 10 seconds.
  2. Then add the onions and little salt , about a 1/2 teaspoon and cook covered for 8 minutes on medium low flame. Saute to avoid sticking to the base. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 60 seconds.
  3. Mix in the tomato paste, turmeric, chili and coriander powder and mix well to combine. The mixture will look dry, add a tablespoon or so water to avoid burning.
  4. Add the bell peppers, beans, carrots, potatoes (with the skin on) and mix well.
  5. Pour the water and cook covered for 20 minutes until the vegetables turn tender. Switch off the flame and sprinkle the thawed peas. Cover and let the steam cook them for 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle garam masala, salt and kasuri meethi. Mix and serve hot with roti/pulao/pilaf.

 

Additional notes
1. Since it has medium starch, they can be slowly introduced in phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet.
2. Can also be eaten by women with gestational diabetes when they have craving for a potato based dish like urulai kizhangu varuval (potato curry) or masala dosa (brown rice batter) with potato stuffing.
3. Can also be eaten on rare occasion by people with type 2 diabetes and those who are on a weightloss journey.

Sweet Potato Boli with Coconut Palm Sugar

Will coconut palm sugar be a healthy sugar substitute? – 

My answers below with sweet potato boli recipe

When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, my dietician recommended the usage of artificial sweeteners like Splenda in place of regular sugar. During diabetes, the patient is denied from foods that can spike up their blood sugar level to extreme highs. The foods are given the GI value based on the amount of blood sugar level, low numbers for lower values and vice versa. Since I was very particular about not taking in any chemicals inside my body I stopped with taking anything sweet and drank just plan milk without sugar. I totally stopped taking anything sweet, except for the small slice of chocolate cake for my baby shower 🙂 (wink). And then post pregnancy I started with healthy eating habits and avoided sugar all together with a hope to get rid of the flab around my waistline. I took a break from regular sugar consumption. Recently I discovered agave nectar and I loved its taste and I had been using that for the past 6+ months. More so recently I heard about the goodness of coconut palm sugar and decided to explore it more. 


 
Coconut palm sugar
It is the latest product of coconut that has gained so much attention and the consumer demand for them is growing rapidly. Coconut palm sugar is proclaimed to be a healthy sugar that has low glycemic index, packed with vitamin, minerals and amino acids. Pure form is made from the nectar of the coconut palm sugar. The nectar is extracted from the flowers of the coconut tree and air dried to become brown crystals and it is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. And added advantage is that they taste just like sugar and can be used just like sugar in baking, for instance 1 cup of white sugar can be replaced by 1 cup of coconut palm sugar. As simple as that!! 
 

Where to find one?
After much research I found brand name Sweet Tree that sells organic coconut palm sugar in the US. I bought a 16oz packet from whole foods and since we loved its texture and taste, I ordered it in bulk from Amazon.

Comparison between agave nectar and coconut palm sugar
Agave nectar has high fructose corn syrup. The fructose which is the carbohydrate found in fruits does not impact your blood sugar level as they get transported directly to liver and will be converted to fat. While coconut palm sugar has very low fructose and its main sugar component is sucrose. Sucrose (GI is 35) is nothing but table sugar (GI of 64).
To get clearer answers, I took a look at the packaging for calorie information. The number of calories in coconut palm sugar was almost close to the number of calories in agave nectar and regular table. Since we need more case studies and literature to support that coconut palm sugar might be a health food. Until then lets enjoy it for the amazing taste and for the fact that it is less processed than white sugar. 
The theme of the event is to create a dish with sweet potatoes. I decided to cook South Indian dessert/snack called Boli with sweet potatoes.  Poli or Boli is a traditional flat bread from Karnataka region of South India. It is generally made with all purpose flour base just like a pizza base and stuffed with a sweet filling made with jaggery, lentils or coconut. Today I wanted to recreate the same dish with ingredients that can be little bit healthier and ideal for diabetic people. So I used sweet potatoes as the main ingredient and replaced jaggery with coconut palm sugar for the filling.  This dish is also called as ubattu in certain parts of Andhra Pradesh. Sweet potato and coconut palm sugar has much lower glycemic index and this dish is a little better alternative to the original version. I wouldn’t call it a healthy snack as it has all purpose flour in it. I tried to make another version with whole wheat flour dough but the boli was bit dry and less crispier. So I stuck with all purpose flour for the final recipe.
My son is enjoying his sweet potato boli
Hot-hot boli topped with dollop of ghee is a sure treat for both kids and adults. The crispy outer layer complements so beautifully with the aromatic filling that has been nurtured with the flavors of coconut and cardamon. I bet you definitely wonn’t stop with just one and will come back for more. Your family will love it for sure.

SWEET POTATO BOLI
Makes 15 small disks
Source: Self

Ingredients
For the dough
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
!/4 cup warm water + more to knead
2 tablespoon olive oil
For the filling
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 cardamon pods
4 tablespoon unsweetened dessicated coconut
4 tablespoon all purpose flour
3 large sweet potatoes – boiled and mashed, about 1/2 lb
1 cup ghee (clarified butter) or melted butter
Directions
For the dough 
1. Sift the flour with salt once, pour in the oil and add little by little water and knead to a soft dough. Cover and let it rest for 2-3 hours at room temperature.

For the filling
1. Heat the coconut palm sugar with water and cardamon in a non-stick cooking pan. Cook at simmer. After about 5-6 minutes, there will be bubbles around the edges. At this stage add the dessicated coconut and sweet potatoes and stir well to combine. Increase the heat to high and let it thicken, about 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye to prevent burning. Add four tablespoon all purpose flour and mix well. Let it cool. 
2. Scoop them into tiny balls and place it over a baking tray covered with a parchment paper. Let it chill for minimum 30 minutes. 
Step by step tutorial on how to make a boli

For the assembly
1. Roll the dough to15 small balls of equal size. Grease the working section of the granite counter with oil. Take one ball and roll out to form a circle, about 2-3 inches in diameter using a rolling pin. 
2. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, place a ball of the filling in the center of the rolled out circle and fold it from all sides, proceed to seal at the top. 
3. Dust the working surface with flour and roll out the stuffed dought to form a circle. Carefully transfer the “boli” to a medium sized saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes on each side, until done. Cook on medium low flame. When you flip over to the other side, with a pastry brush apply ghee or melted butter around the edges. This will help to crisp up the boli well. Serve hot with tea of your choice.

Steamed quinoa cakes for Superbowl

I know I am really late to write a post about a snack for Superbowl tomorrow. It had been a busy week for me as we had S’s cousin from Boston. We strolled through the street of SFO, Monterrey and Livermore and ate from every food joints and restaurant in town. More pictures in later posts. We had a lovely time and it was a fantastic week with tons and tons of laughter and jokes. Glad that you made it J. We love you!
For the superbowl party tomorrow, S is spending the evening with his cricket friends and its a potluck party. S wanted me to fix something greasy and oily. That’s superbowl all about right? Great food to enjoy, barrels of beer to drink and hilarious commercials to watch.  For a change I came up with a healthy snack made from quinoa. It may not be as addictive as a deep fried chicken wing but will definitely be a hit among health freaks as my snack has whole grains, lentils, almost zero oil, above all its steamed.I am planning to serve it with a spicy yogurt gravy tempered with basic South Indian spices. Well you could deep fry this too. The batter has the same consistency as vadai ones.
Its 11.52pm now, I am sticking with the plan to send steamed quinoa cakes for his all men party. But if my husband insists, I will deep fry like vadais or shallow fry them like patties I did a test run for this recipe last week and my mom, J (S’s cousin), S and my son were tasters and they liked it. When I made it for the first time last Monday, they wanted it to be more spicy. After couple of trials, I came up with this recipe which satisfied the taste buds of my  three adult tasters. And with my son, he liked the cakes being chewy and well seasoned. Yes he likes his food with salt, pepper and other spices. I soaked the cakes in my homemade yogurt dip and mashed them with hand and fed him. He loved it and I loved the fact that he ate the most nutritious snack ever. Also using yogurt serves the purpose of getting healthy bacteria to your system and when you make it with non fat yogurt,  you get the same benefits without the paying the price for full fat.
Did you know?
1. Yogurt contains lactobaccilus , an intestine friendly bacteria that maintains a healthy colon. This bacteria promotes the growth of healthy ones in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids.
2. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, protien, riboflavin and vitamin B12. In my family, I stick to basics. Like my childhood meals, our lunch and dinner ends with a scoop of yogurt. In South India, every meal is filled with  sambhar (lentil stew), poriyals (vegetable stir fry), peppery rasam (soup – to enhance digestion) and final serving would be yogurt rice. This has been in practice for generations together. Yes, I think most Indians would have regular bowl movement. Don’t feel embarassed, its key to be regular and for that please increase the fiber (like fruits and vegetables, greens) in your diet.
3. Yogurt helps to improve your immunity and the good bacteria helps to digest food, helps the good bacteria to multiply in the gut. Also yogurt reliefs vaginal infection. When I was 22 weeks pregnant, I had mild brown discharge. I panicked and ran to my OB/GYN, she ran a quick physical check and asked whether my intake of yogurt had gone down. My answer was yes. She pointed out that during pregnancy the body needs more good bacteria of the yogurt to maintain the pH of the cervix. If they go up or down, there will be minor discharge like this and then for the next few days I ate bowls of yogurt in every meal. And TADA, they just vanished in a week. Such is a magic of yogurt and I would recommend pregnant women to have it how much ever they want. But remember to stick with plain yogurt as I would not want the flavoured ones with artificial sugars in it.
Note: Please visit your doctor before you attempt any kitchen remedy for any illness. Always listen to your doctor and then make a decision.
STEAMED QUINOA CAKES with yogurt dip
Yields 20 small cakes
Source: Self

Ingredients
1/2 cup organic quinoa
1/4 cup yellow split peas (toor dhal)
1/4 cup Bengal gram dhal (channa dhal)
5 dry red chillies (more if you want)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 cup cilantro -chopped
1 cup onions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt to taste – about 1 or 2 teaspoon
5 cups water – to soak the grains and lentils
1 teaspoon oil to grease
Idly plates
Directions
1. Soak quinoa, lentils, garlic and dry red chilly in a bowl with water covering them all. Let it soak for 3-4 hours.
2. Drain water and grind them to a coarse paste in a food processor. Don’t add any excess water. May be add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water if needed.
3. Add asafoetida, onions, cilantro, garam masala and salt. Mix with hand.
4. Grease the idly plates with little oil (less than 1 teaspoon for the entire plate). I used mini idly plates  and steamed them in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.
5. For those of you who don’t have a idly maker,I would suggest greasing a ramekin with oil and steaming them in a large cooking pot with water. Key is to have a bowl (preferably inverted) so you can place your ramekin on top. You don’t want the water to touch your cake mixture. The inverted bowl would serve as a platform and you could cover the vessel and steam cook them for 15 minutes.
6. Turn off the flame and let it settle down before you remove.

YOGURT DIP
Source: Myself
Ingredients
4 cups non fat yogurt
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon asafeotida
2 dry red chillies
10 curry leaves
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup onions – finely chopped
1 teaspoon dessicated coconut
Salt to taste

Directions
1. Whisk the yogurt in  a serving bowl with salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil. Once they ripple, add mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add cumin seeds, asafoetida. dry red chilly (broken) and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds. Then add turmeric powder and onions and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Switch off the flame and add the coconut and stir to combine. Pour this over the yogurt mixture and serve this as a dip for the steamed quinoa cakes.
Tips:
1. Ideal for those looking to lose weight. 1/4 cup quinoa has 160 calories which according to numbers is similar to the amount of calorie in rice but in case of quinoa, it doesn’t spike up your blood sugar like other non-complex carbs. Research suggests that adding whole grains to our deit can help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

2. Perfect snack for those in South beach diet (phase 2 and 3) and also for women with gestational diabetes.

3. You can replace the usual lentil balls (ofcourse they are super healthy too) with my quinoa cakes for Urundai Kozhambu (South Indian gravy) or for paruppu usili too.

 

Adzuki / Azuki beans masala

Adzuki beans (pronounced as azuki beans) are pretty looking tiny grains with a beautiful burgundy color. They have been grown for many centuries in countries like Japan, China and India. They are not just rich in proteins and carbohydrates but are so easy to digest in comparison to other beans. Adzuki beans are pumped with folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, proteins and fiber. It is also becoming a favourite among health freaks as 1 cup of adzuki beans has more soluble fiber than pinto or black beans. The soluble fiber in adzuki beans can help to lower cardiovascular problems in your body.   When homocysteine (an amino acid) level goes up, there is an increased chance of blockage in your blood vessels and arteries. The folate present in these beans help to reduce homocysteine level in the blood. Also the magnesium and potassium present in any food will help to lower the blood pressure and help in muscle relaxation and improved blood flow.If you are watching what you eat or on a weight loss journey or watching your cholesterol, then this bean is a keeper in your pantry. Since they are low glycemic food, it keeps you full for longer and helps to balance your blood sugar well. A can of organic adzuki beans from whole foods costs you close to $2-3 and when made with tons of onions and tomatoes, the curry will come for two dinners. That’s a pocket friendly deal right?
They have a nutty taste and has mild sweetness in it. I have been using the organic can version but dry ones work great too. All you have to do it clean, rinse and soak it overnight. Discard the soaking liquid and pressure cook it with water enough to soak them for 1 whistle ( or cook in boiling water for 45-60 minutes). My curry can be saved in airtight container for a week and refrigerate itto keep it fresh for long.

They are called as chavali / chawli in Marathi, chori in Hindi and chowra in Gujarati. Thanks to my friend Manisha Pandit for this information. Check her blog and I am sure you will learn a lot about Indian ingredients and their usage. She is also a contributing write for Whole foods market cooking in Boulder.

ADZUKI BEANS MASALA
Source: Self
Serves: 4

Ingredients
1 can (15oz) adzuki beans (Eden Organic brand) or raw ones (soaked and pressure cooked)
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 curry leaves

1 large onion – chopped

1 tablespoon ginger – minced
1 tablespoon garlic – minced
1teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1tablespoon tomato paste
1 or 2 cups water
1/3 cup thick coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup cilantro – chopped
Directions
1. Heat oil until they smoke a bit. Throw in the curry leaves and saute for 30 seconds, let it crisp up. Then add onions and little salt and let it brown, approximately 10 minutes on a medium flame.
2. Add the minced ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle turmeric, chili and coriander powder  and cook till the raw smell disappears. Mix in the tomato paste and pour 2 cups of water and cook  approximately for 20 minutes covered. Finally add the cooked adzuki beans, coconut milk and stir to mix well. Cook covered for 5 minutes on medium-low flame to let the spices simmer with the beans.
3. Pour the lemon juice over and garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Stir to combine and serve hot with rice/ roti.
Additional notes
1. An ideal side dish for South beach diet phase 1, 2 and 3
2. Since it has low glycemic index, my adzuki beans curry can be eaten during gestational diabetes and by those who have type 2 diabetes.
3. Also perfect dish to eat with chapati or tortilla for those who are on a weightloss journey.

Masala Chai and It’s Spice Blend Recipe

This is the scene on every Sunday afternoon at my residence in India.

Scene 1:

Eschew the bright rays from entering the room, two huge curtains were  hung along the large windows of my living room. That made the room bathe in a buttery glow. My dad would be lying in the deewan with a CA journal in hand. His eyes will keep checking the clock every 10minutes and his brain will simultaneously plan on when to start nagging his wife and daughter for a cup of tea. My mom will finally be enjoying her afternoon nap and rest. I will be totally tugged inside the couch with legs stretched over the coffee table and busy browsing the TV and complaining that nothing entertaining exists despite having more than 100 channels.

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Scene 2:

At sharp 3.00PM, my dad will start asking us to prepare tea. My mom half in sleep and half annoyed will spare a “can-you-prepare-it-look” on me. I give an expression as if I don’t belong to this house and stare at my dad for asking tea this early.  Chennai is hot round the year and afternoons are the peak period for maximum heat to drain through the ceiling and that’s when the AC would have reached a pleasant  temperature and no one wants to go near the stove to cook anything. So even without uttering a single word, the “NO” is conveyed through our expressive eyes.

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Scene 3:

One more reminder from my dad at 3.30PM.  Still the denial continues from both of us. My mom having lost her complete sleep will instruct me to leave the rectangular Tupperware snack box next to him so that he will munch for sometime and will stop bothering her.

Masala Chai_2

 Scene 4:

Having felt sad for my dad, my mom would finally wake up and head to the kitchen grabbing a packet of milk from the fridge.  I will race behind her, definitely not to help but to watch her prepare the tea. She will first boil little water in a stainless-steel kettle. Periodically, throw in the crushed ginger,  cardamon and cloves into the bubbling water. She will then add the tea powder, sugar into the brew and finally pour the milk. With her hands around the hip, she waits for the milk to boil and watches the vessel with furious concentration as they growl and sizzle into the gas stove. The hot tea is poured into a strainer where they drip into a fresh mug. Hot and ready to be served for my dad. His face glows with happiness, my mom spares a flat smile for that and I am back to the TV browsing.

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And today, having lost in those memories, I let the tea seethe over the stove. As I grabbed the pan away from the heat, I laughed to myself as how nagging my dad was and those thoughts reminded me of the Sunday moments with my parents. I hugged the mug and closed my eyes to inhale a lungful of its aroma – it smelled of homemade bliss. At the thought of my home, I grew quiet and continued to glance at the empty sky from my kitchen window.

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MASALA CHAI SPICE BLEND RECIPE

Source : My mother

 Makes close to 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup green cardamom
  • 1/2 cup cloves
  • 1/8 cup carom seeds (Ajwain)
  • 1/8 cup fennel seeds (Sounf)
  • 2 tablespoon black pepper corns
  • 3- 1inch cinnamon sticks

Directions

Grind them all together to a coarse powder. Store in an air tight container for a month or freeze for long term use.

MASALA CHAI RECIPE

Source : My mother

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large cube jaggery (I use this) or sugar or Agave nectar or Artificial sweetenersto taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon masala chai spice blend
  • 1-2 tablespoon tea powder ( I use Broke Bond Red Label Tea powder)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup milk (Fat free or 1% – for SBD/GD women), even 2% or full fat milk is fine too

Directions

  1. Add water, masala chai spice blend, tea powder, jaggery and ginger to a stainless steel pan. Bring it to a rolling boil. Takes about 5-8 minutes on high heat.
  2. Now add the milk and bring it to a rolling boil, about 5-8 minutes. Simmer the flame and let the tea mixture turn brown (as per your liking), about 5-8 minutes on low heat (simmer). Switch off the flame. Filter the tea using a strainer. Serve hot.

  Masala Chai_1

Note:

For those in South beach diet phase 1, 2 or 3 and for women with   gestational diabetes : You could use splenda or equal (2 teaspoon maximum  per serving) or even agave nectar. Since I prefer natural sweeteners, I would recommend agave nectar but if you are trying anything new for the first time, please consult your OB/GYN or dietician for expert advice. 1 tablespoon of agave nectar has 60 calories and I use 1 tablespoon for two of us. That’s a decent amount of calorie for a sweetener and importantly they have low-glycemic index which makes it break down slowly into sugar.

Where could you go wrong in taste?

1. Using more of ginger or spices (ofcourse you could add more if you like the taste)

2. For great tasting Indian chai, I recommend using Broke bond red label tea powder. Don’t add too much water. Indians love to drink their tea with more milk and less water.

3. Once the milk boils over, simmer the flame and let it get a beautiful brown color by simmering for 2-4 minutes. If you keep it for longer time, the tea powder might get over cooked and can make the tea taste bitter.

MASALA CHAI VERSION 2 – DUM TEA FROM OPOS COOKBOOK

This is another effective way to make chai if you are comfortable handling a pressure cooker. United by Food is a secret group created by Rama Krishnan, founder/developer of a cooking technique called One Pot One Shot (OPOS) cooking. If you are a member of that group, you can find the recipe here. True to its name dum tea is packed with flavors. It is strong, aromatic and perfect. It will remind you of the tea that are served in the tea estates inOoty.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon my masala chai spice blend ( recipe above)

Cooking Direction

  1. Dump all the ingredients except water into a 2L pressure cooker.
  2. Pressure cook for 1 whistle.
  3. Once the pressure settles down, remove and add your sweetner and water if needed. I like to dilute it.

Omelet kozhambhu – A flavorful curry with eggs

We all know how good a egg is for our body. When I am on South beach diet, I eat eggs (almost 2) every day. They are rich in proteins and that makes it an ideal candidate for phase 1 of SBD. I make scrambles with salmon, egg curry , plain omelet with broccoli and cheese or bell peppers or the typical South beach diet breakfast – quiche with mushrooms or my famous disguised egg curry. Eggs have been proving again and again to be so versatile and nutritious.

As I browsed through the pages of my blog, I realized that I have missed writing about omelet curry. This is my grandmother’s curry and I cooked them last weekend thinking about her.She would make it taste so delicious and after its done she will transfer the curry to a fresh bowl and to the kadai, she would add little cooked rice and mix them well to coat each morsel with the left out drops of the precious curry. The last few drops sticking along the edges tastes the best as they are full with flavors and spices.

My grandmother would spice up the eggs with chili, coriander powder and garam masala. But for an extra sweetness and zing, I added La Vieja Fabrica homemade preserves which I received for a product review. I met two lovely ladies at the SFO Fancy food show who shared valuable insights on their production process and I taste tested two of thier varieties and was in love with tomato jam right away. The jams are produced in Seville using high quality fruits. The tomate preserve tasted fresh and sweet with a mild spicy kick from the chilies.The bright colour and its texture suggests that they are made with pure fruits. I would highly recommend trying them and spicing up your dish with a dash of their delicious preserves/jams.

When made in an non-stick pan, the eggs can be cooked in almost zero oil and simmering it in a flavorful onion-tomato mixture for few minutes makes the sauce penetrate through the omelet and make it taste absolutely delicious. It has close to 400 calories when served with whole wheat rotis or quinoa or barley.

Muttai kozhambhu (Omelet curry)

Serves: 4

Source: My grandmother


Ingredients

For the omelet

  • 6 eggs – beaten
  • 1 large onions – chopped
  • 2 green chillies – chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 10-12 curry leaves – chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato jam – La Vieja Fabrica (my variation – optional)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the base sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger – minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic –  minced
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1-2 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon

Directions

For the omelet

  1. Whisk all the ingredients under “for the omelet section” . Stir well to combine. Heat a non-stick saucepan with 1 teaspoon oil and once they are hot, add the mixture and make omelets out of it. Cook them in batches. Remove, tear them into tiny bits and set aside.

For the sauce

  1. Heat oil in a large cooking vessel. Once they oil gets hot, add onions and little salt (about a teaspoon) and let it brown a bit, about 8-10 minutes on low flame.
  2. Mix in the  ginger and garlic. Saute for 60 seconds.
  3. Sprinkle turmeric, chili and coriander powder. Mix well to combine with the onions. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato puree and cook covered for 20 minutes until the oil separates out of the sauce.
  5. Start by adding 1 cup water and add more if needed.
  6. Add the omelet pieces and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice and stir well. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot over rice, quinoa, barley or whole wheat chapatis.

Tips

  1. Ideal curry dish for South beach diet. Can be included in the phase 1 meals too.
  2. Even enjoyable by women with gestational diabetes.
  3. Please omit the tomato preserve when you are on diets as the additional sugar from them can hamper your weightloss journey.

 

Plantain stir fry from the pongal party

Plantains are the raw version of bananas (ripe and yellow ones). They are greener, much firmer and low in sugar. Plantains need to be cooked before eating and they are hard to peel. You can steam, deep dry, saute, bake them. 1 cup of raw plantain has 181 calories and rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and C. Plantain has good amount of carbohydrates and low fat content in it but the carb content is much lower than in potato, yam, rice and wheat. Plantain are quite famous in tropical countries like India, Thailand, Sri Lanka. Almost every single family homes will have a banana tree. My grandparents backyard has three banana trees and my granddad would water and nurture them everyday. When there is a huge gathering or party, he would venture to his tiny garden with a knife to bring fresh banana leaves before the meal. He will patiently wash them clean with running water, swing it to-n-fro to get rid of the dripping water and stack them neatly in one corner of the kitchen counter. When its time to serve the food, he would order the maid to place them on the floor for the diner to use them as a plate. Yes, they are use and throw. The biodegradable disposable plates of South India 🙂 Once the tree bores the fruit (plantain), he would remove them and let it ripe by placing them in dark. The wonderful smell of ripen bananas would linger in the storeroom shelves.
How to peel a plantain?
1. Wash the plantains in running water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
2. Slice off the ends (about 0.5 cm)
3. Use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the skin. You may not get rid of the skin in the first attempt as the skin is fibrous and thick.
4. Once done, slice into roundels or cubes or any shape of your choice and place them in salted water to prevent discoloration.
How I chose a good one for my home?
1. Plantains can be found in every grocery store in the US. I look for firm, green ones and avoid yellowish, squishy ones. There is no use when you bring a moldy fruit, so avoid that too.
2. Look for smooth ones without any insect holes.
I tasted this plantain stir fry at my in-law’s place and I loved the simplicity in its cooking process and authenticity in its taste. Just with the addition of onions and ginger, the plantain got a new dimension. Just like potatoes, plantains are neutral in taste and they complement and blend well with the seasonings. For the pongal party, I decided to include plantain curry as one of the sides and served them along rice, sambhar and rasam. I called up my mother-in law for a recipe recap and quick tips to survive any disaster. Luckily the dish turned out pretty delicious in the first attempt itself.
Plantain stir fry is hearty, crispy and delicious. The sweetness from onions and goodness from ginger and mild heat from green chillies makes the dish taste extremely delicious. This foolproof recipe will make it easy for everyone to try and win the heart of many at home.
PLANTAIN STIR FRY – Vazhakai varuval
Source: Mother-in law
Serves: 10
Ingredients
3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dhal/ black gram
20-25 curry leaves
2 large red onions –
2 inch ginger – minced
5 Thai green chillies
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon red chili powder
2 tablespoon coriander powder
8 long raw plantains
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste, about 2-3 teaspoon
Directions
1. Remove the skin of the plantains, wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut them into roundels about 1cm or little less in thickness. Place in a bowl of water to avoid oxidation. If left in the open, the atmospheric air will turn them black. Set aside.
2. Make a paste with onions, green chillies and ginger. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in  a large pan. Once they ripple, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal and let it brown a bit, about 30 -60 seconds. Add the curry leaves and let it crisp up, about a minute.
4. Add the onion-ginger paste and saute till the raw smell disppaears, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle turmeric, chili and coriander powder and let it saute till the raw smell disappears, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the plantains and pour water. Stir to combine and cook covered on low flame for 30 minutes. Once the plantains have cooked through, rise the heat to medium high and let them crisp up. Keep an eye while cooking or else they might get burnt.
Click to read  more about my pongal party
Tips:
1. The addition of onion paste will make the dish taste bitter during the cooking process. If you end up tasting the dish every 10 minutes during the cooking, it will taste bitter and will scare you. Leave it untouched for 30 minutes and when they are completely done,  do a taste check.
2. Not included in the menu list for those in South beach phase 1 meals.
3. Since plantains have just little less carbs than potatoes, I don’t think they are allowed for women with gestational diabetes. If you still crave for plantain dish during pregnancy, restrict yourself to a cup (cooked) and do mild walking after the meal to break down the sugar.

12 Practical Breakfast Ideas for Kids

What will you find in this post?

    1. 12 practical and easy breakfast ideas for (working) moms – Link to download breakfast ideas chart (pdf copy)
    2. Brief discussion about Genetically Modified Crops (GMO)
    3. 5 Finger Rule & Tips to Indian meal planning
    4. Recipe for energy ladoo

Nut Energy Ladoo

 

Today’s post can be called as continuation to my previous post on “50 plus after school snack ideas for moms”. I am so glad to know that the post was beneficial for everyone. Actually even dads found it useful as I got few emails from them as well. Thank you for the encouraging emails and messages. I will respond to all as and when I find time.

Greengram_Dosa_1

I am going to split the post as STARSituation Task Action Result

SITUATION

One item that I find in every home is a box of cereal. It is the most common breakfast served in almost every household that I know. I did it too. Yes! But not any more. I hate to see it in my pantry but as a working mom it is one of the easiest food to serve in the morning. I started with sugar laden cereals in 2009 and now we eat Cherrios (non-sugary one).

As a kid, I remember eating Kelloggs corn cereal. It is mildly sweet but my mom would add milk, sugar and banana to it. She served it in a huge bowl. Yes, literally the size of American football and we ate it thinking that it is more healthy thing ever. Now understand why I was super excited at school. It was all because of the sugar. Gladly it worked the right way for me. Fast forward to 2015, I am better informed.

12 Breakfast Ideas Multigrain Dosa_2

Multigrain Dosa with Shredded Cabbage- Malangai Leaves and Lentil Powder

There are a group of crops that are genetically modified. They are called Genetically Modified Crops (GMO). The scientist changed their genetic makeup to increase food production and make them more nutritious. However the science world is now concerned about the safety of genetically modified crops. Since new genes are introduced into the crops, they may contain allergenic substances and they have used antibiotic resistant genes which could lead to production of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains that are resistant to available antibiotics. This could lead to serious health problems in the society. Imagine the antibiotic which you take for your cold doesn’t really work because it has become resistant to that particular antibiotic. The problems are umimaginable. There is also evidence that GMO crops might contain toxic chemicals in it.  More information can be obtained from this article .

Oats_1

For the record none of the cereals brand claim to be genetically modified GMO-free or made with organic ingredients. Breakfast cereals made with the GM corn may turn out to be a threat to human health but that needs further research to confirm. When they say natural in the box, it is not organic or GMO-free. Please remember that. These genetically modified crops might cause a ripple effect from one generation to another. Let’s not get to much into that.

Many inflammatory diseases have unknown causes but many feel better after eating real foods avoiding GMO, dairy and gluten. Did you notice that life is better if we go back to basics? No more food from factory. Eat real food from the farmer’s market, make our bread from flour that are non-GMO.

Now that we discussed the situation about why the current store bought food is not a great option.

Next is the task. The task now is share my meal planning ideas with you.

Energry Nut Dry Fruits Ladoo Balls_2

TASK:

My take home point is trust locally grown organic produce and follow my 5 FINGER RULE – THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR OUR MEALS:

  1. Use less sugar (even if it is natural sweeteners (honey, palm sugar and jaggery))
  2. Whole Grains
  3. Proteins
  4. Fiber
  5. Portion controlled meals.

Take a look at our typical Indian breakfast dish like idli, dokla, dosa,upma,paratha. It will perfectly fit 5 Finger Rule.

As a working mom, the easiest option is to make oats, mini idli, dosa, poha upma, multigrain porridge and toast. My kid’s bowel movement is better on days they are on rice based diet. They are not allergic to gluten but they do better. So I sprinkle bread with whole wheat here and there during the week. My son gets to eat mildly sweetened cereal like Nature’s Path (non-GMO project verified) with fruits and nuts.

12 Breakfast Ideas Multigrain Dosa_1

ACTION:

I compiled a list of common breakfast I serve for my family. We are set with a routine. I leave home around 7:30 am and rest of them leave around 08:30 am. My kids wake up around 07.00 AM. I give them their milk between 07:14-07:30 am. They spend the next 30-45 minutes to finish breakfast. My poor husband and all he says in that 45 minutes is “Baby, swallow”. Kids are sleepy and they don’t feel like eating anything in the morning. My kids are no different. Oats is the most easily finished breakfast followed by pongal, dalia and lastly dosa, paratha and toast. My pediatrician recommends whole milk for both my kids so they drink about 6-8oz whole milk morning and evening. Some parents will like to serve fresh fruit juice like watermelon, orange and pineapple. I don’t do that as it is packed with sugar. Even though it is real sugar, it is a lot at one go. Instead I encourage to the whole fruit and if you notice, we will not even finish more than ½ cup. Do note that eating entire fruit will add more fiber to your diet.

12 Practical Breakfast Ideas Chart Aug2015

Click on the image to download 12 Practical Breakfast List

This list complied after 2 years of testing and re-testing with my family. We grew from 3 member family to four member family in the last 2 years J I make the basic dishes for breakfast during the week and ofcourse during the weekend, I make appam, idhiyappam, paniyaram, poori and other Indian delicacies. All the dishes take about 20 minutes to make. I wake up 1 hour before the kids. That gives me the time to get ready, pack lunch and keep things under control. I also have my cook aunty come one day a  week for 2 hours. She makes paratha, roti and few subzi and also helps with laundry and dishes. That is how I am managing everything.

12 Practical Breakfast Ideas for (Working) Moms

Oats as Lion King

Oats as Lion King

  1. Cooked old fashioned oats: I buy old fashioned oats is 100% whole grain and all varities of oats is made of uknown grain. They are called oat groat. There are steel cut, rolled, old fashioned, quick cooking and instant oats. Oat groats are roasted like how rice is done to make flattened (aval) or puffed (pori). The heat inactivates the enzymes that cause oats to go rancid. The removal of moisture from the grain increases it shelf life. I serve it three ways for my kids – Lion, Car and Spider (click on each word to see the way I plated them). I cook oats in bulk for the week. All I do it reheat it in microwave and grind them to a smooth puree so my kids can eat it easily. My husband and I eat it with fruits and nuts all mixed together with milk. We try to avoid sweet so add salt per taste along with milk (soy milk, almond milk or cow’s milk). You can also any natural sweetener. It takes 15 minutes to put them together.
  2.  Idli: I am true blue Madrasi (yeah lol!) and my week is incomplete without a tub of idli/dosa batter(recipe here). It is a fermented food. Yogurt is another example of fermented and it is known to fuill our intestine with good bacteria. Every food expert in this whole sweet world is talking about fermented food when we Indian made it centuries ago. The gut is the largest part of our immune system and fermented food heals the damage caused in the gut by processed food. Like Idli/Dosa to Indians, there is Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) to Germans, Kombucha (fermented black/green teas) to Chinese , Miso and Tempeh to Japanese (fermented soy beans) and Kimchi to Koreans, Kefir to Bulgarians. I serve idlies with chutney or idli podi or sambhar. My kids eat it with yogurt and left over beans/carrot or any vegetable poriyal along with idli podi. Left over can also be served as snack in the evening. The same applies to Dhokla. It takes 15 minutes to make idli and the breakfast is set within 20 minutes as I have left over sambhar or idli podi in hand. You can also make quick chutney in the mean time as the idli is steaming. I will also pack this as lunch on some days.
  3. Multi grain porridge (sathumaavu kanji): Mix 3 tablespoon flour with 1 cup water to form a paste without any lumps. Cook in medium heat until it bubbles and raw smell disappears. Add milk (soy milk, almond milk or cow’s milk) and salt/sweetener. You can add finely chopped nuts. I serve one cup of the kanji with 1 boiled or scrambled egg. It takes less than 15 minutes to make this breakfast.
  4. Multigrain (Egg) Dosa: Make mini dosas with batter by mixing multigrain flours, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and salt. It will be like pancakes. My son eats 2 dosas, about 3.5 cm radius (size of your palm). Serve 2 mini egg dosa with idli podi. It takes 20 minutes for me to make 6 dosas for all of us.  Pick a small container of dosa batter from Indian grocery store and mix 1/4 cup dosa batter with little bit soy flour + sathumaavu health mix ( mannah brand) + 2 tablespoon urad dahl powder or eggs to bind them together + any whole grain flour or nut flour of your choice. You can make  multigrain dosa but each time change the toppings – murungai keerai (malangai leaves)-cabbage; beets-zucchini orcarrots and cauliflower. Serve it with a drizzle of sesame oil and paruppu podi or cilantro thokku.
  5. Energy Ladoo (recipe below) + 1 Small Egg Dosa + Grated Vegetable: I make a energy ladoo with all possible nuts, seeds and dry fruits. As a family we eat 1or 2 a day. It is filled with tons of nutrition and is rich in fibre. My son things that his bowl movement is regular because of this and that is also true. So he reminds me to give it him and also asks us to eat it. I serve 1 ladoo with 1 dosa, about 3.5 cm radius (size of your palm). It takes about 20 minutes to make 6 dosas.
  6.  Egg Toast: Beat 3 eggs with milk, grated ginger, honey, salt & pepper. Dip bread into it and cook it over a saucepan with ghee or butter. Serve it with a 10 grapes or 5 strawberry or half banana or any small fruit. It takes 20 minutes to make 6 toasts.
  7. Vegetable-Cheese Paratha: Vegetable-Cheese (cauliflower, potato, carrot, beets, daikon) paratha served with honey and yogurt. I make it paneer. You can make it with mozzarella too. I make fresh paneer at home. Please find the recipe here. I don’t make them fresh in the morning. I have a hired help who makes fresh Indian breads (roti/paratha) for us. Recipe for beets paratha is here.
  8. Pongal: It is a one pot wonder. It has lentils and grains together in a consistency that kids can just swallow. Typically it is made yellow mung dahl (pasi pauppu) and rice. I have made it with quinoa and brown rice too. I serve it with mint chutney. Everytime we have a talk about mint chutney at home, my father in law mentions that it is so important as it is a diuretic. Diuretic helps to excrete waste from the body and detoxifies the body. In India, banana stem (vazha thandu) is included in the diet for this reason. Since I don’t find them in the US, he insists that mint chutney should be included in our weekly diet. My son eats little than 1 cup with mint chutney and any fruit. Recipe here. I make it in the pressure cooker and takes 20 minutes from start to finish.
  9. Dalia Kichdi: It is a one pot wonder. It has lentils and grains together in a consistency that kids can just swallow. I add finely chopped vegetable. You can find the recipe here. I pack it for lunch as well. I make it in the pressure cooker and takes 20 minutes from start to finish. Recipe here.
  10. Poha Upma or Cereal: There are two ideas here: 1. Make typical Mahatrastian poha 2. Use poha as cereal and build your breakfast. I add warm milk, brown sugar or honey or jaggery, crumbled energy ladoo and fruits. It’s a meal by itself. My daughter likes it more than my son. It takes 15 minutes to make it if you have roasted peanuts in hand.
  11. Dhokla: Another steamed food (close sister ofidli). Left over batter can also be served as snack in the evening. My son likes it with mint-cilantro chutney. It takes 20 minutes to put them together and serve. Recipe here.
  12. Pesarattu: This is an easy peesy dosa made with mung bean and rice. It is super easy because it needs no fermentation. When I was pregnant, I made it often as I find it highly nutritious and easy to make. I add steamed broccoli, celery, fresh spinach, arugula, kale and/or every green vegetable in it. Try to add 2 or 3 vegetable only. I serve it with tomato chutney which my kids love. Recipe here. My It takes 20 minutes to make 6 dosas. Recipe here.

RESULT:

I am alive and kicking with a full time job, 2 young kids and my food blog and my pop-up restuarant. It’s all about getting our act together and staying organized. If I can manage work-family, then anyone can. Good luck and do share your story with me.

Energry Nut Dry Fruits Ladoo Balls_1

ENERGY LADOO (All Natural Nuts-Dry Fruits Balls) RECIPE

Ingredients & Directions:

  1. Mix 1 cup of each powdered and dry roasted raw almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, pistachios and flax seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  2. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Grind ½ cup raisins and 10-12 dates to a smooth paste (no water at all).
  4. Add them to the nuts/seeds and drizzle 2 tablespoon melted ghee/butter/ coconut oil (optional as nuts leave a lot of oil to bring them together).
  5. Massage and roll it into a dough.
  6. Pinch a little and roll between the palm to form small balls.
  7. Store in an airtight container and keep it in fridge.
  8. We finish ours in a week as we eat almost 1-2 each everyday. You can find more recipe ideas for energy ladoos/balls in Pinterest.

Energy Ladoo 2

I started making this during pregnancy in 2010  as my dietician wanted me to do sugar free (due to gestational diabetes) and she suggested that I add all possible nuts, raisins, dates and eat them like truffles or balls.

Energy Ladoo
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Nut Energy Ladoo 1