Friday, January 31, 2014

Poddale bea sannapolo ( snake-gourd seed spicy dosa/pancake)


Poddale  bea sannapolo ( snake-gourd seed spicy dosa/pancake)


Every time my mother-in-law makes poddale upkari( snake-gourd stir fry), she saves the seeds from the snake-gourd and makes this dish. It's so easy to make, is spicy and delicious. It compliments the rather bland stir-fry that we make of the snake-gourd ( because of the kids).





Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Seeds from 2 medium sized poddale ( snake gourd) : approximately 1/2 cup
Rice flour: 1/2 cup
Chili powder ( cayenne pepper ): 1/4 tsp
Asofoetida: a pinch
Tamarind juice: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste ( roughly 1/4 tsp)
Oil: for greasing the skillet.

Method:


Take the  poddale ( snake-gourd) seeds in a mortar and pestle. Add the salt to it and gently pound it till seeds are lightly crushed. Now put the crushed seeds in a small bowl, add rice flour, chili powder( cayenne pepper ),hing and tamarind juice to it
and mix well. Add just enough rice flour so as to provide the required binding to the seeds. Do not add water. You will now have a thick batter. Heat the skillet, add 1 tsp oil to grease it. Reduce the flame to low and now add one ladleful of batter to the skillet and make a dosa(
pancake of medium thickness. Let it cook for 4-5mins. You can brush some oil around it to prevent it from burning. When done, flip it over and let it cook for another 4-5 mins on low flame.

Enjoy crispy poddale sannapolo ( snake-gourd seed spicy dosa/pancake) with rice and dal or kanji( rice porridge).



Tips for healthy living:


Diets do not work! Did I offend you? Think about it... You might temporarily lose weight but after a period of time you are back where you started if not worse.

Long-term weight lose/ weight maintenance can only be achieved by lifestyle changes. You can take one step at a time.Avoid processed foods. Eat only home-cooked meals. Reduce your portions.Avoid soda & other sugary drinks. Eat sweets/ desserts and fried items only on occasion. You will notice I have used the word 'avoid' and not 'give-up'. We all need our occasional indulgences. When you give- up something, chances are your mind will start craving it to the point that you can't think of anything else!

Food for thought:
Drops of water make a mighty ocean ( Ebenezar Brewer).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poddale ( snake gourd) upkari/ toran ( stir fry).


Poddale ( snake gourd) upkari/ toran ( stir fry).





My in-laws are simple, down-to-earth people. They are vegetarians. In India, being a vegetarian means they do eat vegetables and dairy. They do not eat anything that has eggs in it. Of course, vegetarians in India don't eat fish, chicken or any meat. Coming back to my in- laws,they have always inculcated a healthy lifestyle.One of the common vegetable that my mother-in-law makes is poddale ( snake gourd) upkari or stir- fry. She states that this is one of my father-in-laws favorite vegetables!


Poddale aka snake gourd has different names in different parts of India. It is known as paddavalakai in Kannada, padval in Marathi and so on. You can find more here http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichosanthes_cucumerina
This is one of the vegetables that is gentle on the digestive system and can be safely eaten when one is sick or is on any kind of elimination diet. It also is known to have several medicinal values.

The stir fry is easy and quick to make and requires very few ingredients. This is one of my favorites for weeknight dinners.



Servings: 4


Ingredients:

Poddale ( snake gourd) :2 medium sized.
Mustard: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds ( jeera): 1/4 tsp
Green chillies: 1-2 (as per your spice level) ( I use one when I am making it for my little ones).
Coconut oil: 1 tsp. ( you can use any cooking oil of your preference, I use coconut oil in mine).
Jaggery(molasses)/ sugar:1 tsp
Salt to taste.
Fresh grated coconut: 1 tbsp ( optional).

Method:


Cut the snake gourd (poddale)lengthwise twice. Remove the seeds inside and keep aside.Then slice thinly horizontally so that you have 2 cms long thin slices and keep aside. Slit the green chillies and keep aside.

Heat a sauté pan/ wok on medium heat,add 1 tsp coconut oil. Now add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the cumin seeds, then the slit green chillies. Now add the sliced poddale ( snake gourd)& sauté.Add a little bit of salt and 1tsp sugar. Reduce the flame to low, cover the pan and cook until the vegetable is soft enough to eat. Generally takes about 15 minutes.



Garnish with freshly grated coconut. Serve with rice & rasam or dal.

Cooking made easy :

Vegetables in the US tend to have higher water content and hence do not require additional water to be added while cooking. But if you find the pan getting too hot or you are in danger of burning the vegetable
then you can sprinkle some water and let it cook to your desired level of softness. It should not be mushy.

Tip for healthy living:

How does one determine how many calories a person needs? This energy requirement is dependent on one's height, weight, age and activity level. As part of the online nutrition and health course I am currently undertaking on Coursera, I came across this wonderful website  https://www.supertracker.usda.gov that helps you determine your calorie needs and help track your food and activity levels. It can also analyse your food and tell whether you meet your daily nutritional requirements.


Food for thought:

Treat others the way you would be like to be treated.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pineapple dosa( pineapple rice-lentil pancake)





When it comes to cooking, my mother is very innovative. She can cook with anything! One of her creative recipes is Pineapple dosa. Apparently, one day she had some leftover pineapple slices that were a little too ripe for her to eat. She decided to use it in her dosa. Here's the recipe for pineapple dosa!

Servings: 4


Ingredients:


Rice: 3 cups
Urad dal: 1/2 cup
Beaten rice( poha):1/2 cup
Methi( fenugreek seeds): 1 tbsp
Pineapple pieces : 1 cup
Salt to taste.
Oil for the tawa( skillet).

 Method:


Soak rice, urad dal & methi together at least 2-3 hours(or overnight). 

Now grind it to a fine batter in the blender. 

Add pineapple pieces to it once the rice is ground finely & blend.

Soak poha( beaten rice) for 10 mins ( just before you begin grinding the batter )and blend it with the rest of the batter in the blender. 

Allow it to ferment overnight ( at least 6-8 hours). The batter should be slightly thick as in fermentation it tends to get a little thin.

Add salt  to the batter when you are ready to make the dosa. 

Heat the skillet to medium hot, take a ladleful of batter and pour it on the skillet ( just like you would do while making pancake). Cover with a lid, reduce the flame until you here a sizzling sound. Open the lid and see if you see any wet patches. If not, the dosa is done!

You can eat these soft fluffy dosas with wet or dry chutney of your choice!

Cooking made easy:


  • Make sure that the flame is low or else the underside of the dosa will burn.
  • I soak the rice & dal in the morning  before I go to work and grind it in the evening when I come back.
  • The above quantity is enough for 2 breakfasts. I save the leftover batter in the fridge. It stays fresh for up to 1 week.
  • If you live in a cold country, you will have to ferment your batter longer. During winter, I grind my batter on Thursday night and leave it in the oven( with the oven switched off) to be used on Saturday morning for breakfast. You must check periodically to see if the batter has risen.If it has, then it means that it has fermented sufficiently.
  • If you don't have the time to let it ferment, you can add a pinch of baking soda to the batter 15 mins before making them.

Tip for Healthy Living:

Why does one put on weight? There is a simple equation to it. Weight gain is the direct result of the imbalance between calorie intake and calorie output.

Calorie Intake = Calorie output = No weight gain
Calorie Intake > Calorie output= Weight gain.

Food we eat constitutes calorie intake, while the physical activity constitutes calorie output.As long as one balances the food intake and the physical activity, one will not gain weight.

Food for Thought:


There is always something to learn from everyone we come across in our lives as long as we keep the windows of our mind open...