Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quick Egg Masala



What can I make for dinner tonight??? This is a everyday question that I ask myself! I then mentally run through the produce I have in my refrigerator. I usually make two items, one of which is some kind of greens like swiss chard/ Amarnath stir fry or vegetable stir fry like ghosale or poddale upkari,which will provide me with the bulk of the meal. This dish will generally be on the blander side. My husband likes his food spicy and I make something that will be the major player on his plate like batate song, chatpate aloo or something along those lines. The Matta rice kanji ( rice with water) is a given. The other night I was wondering what to make that was quick but spicy and delicious! I felt like eating eggs! I had already boiled the eggs when I put the rice in the cooker but didn't know what I was going to make with the eggs!Then I remembered seeing this recipe for kabab egg masala roast,my friend Seema Shenoy had posted on Facebook. I decided to make that with modifications of my own! ;) Believe me when I say that we almost licked the pan clean!! You can find the original recipe here.
I am bringing this to my friends at Fiesta Friday! Prudy and Jess are here to help Angie this weekend.



Servings: 2


Ingredients:


Hard boiled eggs: 4 peeled
Oil : 1 tsp
Jeera ( Cumin): 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: 2, slit lengthwise ( optional if you don't want it too spicy)
Onion: 1 small, chopped fine.
Garlic: 2-3 small cloves, chopped fine.
Fish curry masala: 1 tbsp
Cilantro ( coriander leaves): 1 tbsp for marination.


For marination:
Greek yogurt ( hung curd) : 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Haldi ( turmeric) powder: 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder: 1/8 tsp
Salt: to taste

Method:


Make slits in the eggs on all sides. Marinate the eggs  for 15-20 minutes with all ingredients listed under " for marination".

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Add cumin seeds, garlic flakes, chopped onion and sauté until they turn transparent. Add the slit green chillies and fish masala powder, sauté for few seconds. Add the marinated eggs with the masala and cook until the eggs are nicely coated and the sauce leaves the pan.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with steamed rice/ chapati / bread.

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


For this above dish, I have used fish masala, while Seema has used kabab masala. Any leftover spice mix like chicken masala, bafat powder can be used for this dish. This is a great way to utilize the infrequently used spice mixes sitting in the pantry!

Tip for healthy living:


Whenever possible use brown eggs or organic eggs. These are supposedly much more healthier as they are from hens that have been fed organic feed and is for a major part free from pesticides and chemicals!

Food for thought:


The hardest years in life are those  between ten and seventy. Helen Hayes

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Talale Visonu:Mangalorean style King-Fish Fry



Visonu is the konkani word for kingfish/Seer fish. It is quite expensive and therefore is considered a luxury. There are hardly any fish-eaters who won't enjoy a slice of fried kingfish.This is how we Mangaloreans fry Visonu aka Kingfish/Seer fish. Traditionally they make a paste by grinding soaked chillies, toasted coriander seeds, turmeric piece, a little asofoetida and salt. This paste is then applied to the cleaned fish slices which are then deep fried!By now, I am sure all of you know that I am not the grinding types. I have a quicker, faster, healthier and yet tasty method of making this!  I use powders! Here is my version:



Servings : 2


Ingredients:


King fish/ Seer fish/ Visonu Steaks: 2
Oil: for frying
Onion rings: 6-8,for garnish
Lemon wedges: 2, for garnish

For marination:

Red chilli powder: 1 tbsp ( I use Kashmiri chilli powder as it is not too spicy and give a nice red color).
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder ( haldi): 1/4 tsp
Asofoetida ( hing)powder: a pinch
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Water: to make a paste

Method:


Clean the fish steaks and keep aside.

In a bowl mix together red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt, haldi, hing, lemon juice and water to make a nice thick paste.

Apply this liberally to the fish steaks and keep aside for atleast 20-30 minutes.


Heat enough oil in a frying pan so that the fish is atleast half-way immersed in oil.Gently place the fish steaks in the oil and let it cook on medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes on one side.Now flip it and cook for 5-6 more minutes on low heat.


Drain on paper layered plates.



Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


Fish can be fried several different ways based on individual preference. You can deep fry the fish using more oil or pan fry ( tawa fry) for a healthier option using just 1tsp oil per piece of fish!

Tip for healthy living:


Using minimal oil while cooking greatly reduces the total fat ingested by the body on a given day. Also using healthier oils that are meant to sustain high heats like coconut oil, mustard oil, sesame oil is healthier.
Some oils are not meant to be heated! They lose their nutritional value upon heating!

Food for thought:


They're only truly great who are truly good. George Chapman


Monday, November 24, 2014

Creamy spinach with mushrooms; Meatless Monday & Thanksgiving Special !



Week nights are hectic. I come home only around 7 p.m. I then cook dinner. Why cook that late? Because I like my family to eat fresh food whenever possible. That is why I like to make simple quick meals. This is another one of those dishes that is simple, quick and easy to make and absolutely delicious. Everyone at home loves it! You can eat it just like that with some bread/toast, eat it as a side with some rice or mix it in with any pasta/noodles of your choice.This would make for a great side for Thanksgiving. You will get some much needed vegetables( fiber too) amidst all the meat that is consumed!I am bringing this to Simple Supper Tuesdays.I am sure many people will be pondering about some easy quick last minute sides for their Thanksgiving meal!




The idea for this recipe is courtesy Ruchi Airen, a fellow food blogger, whose most recipes I like. She is a woman after my own heart! Her recipes are simple and easy to make. You can find the original recipe here. As usual, I have tweaked the recipe to my taste to make it creamier.

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients:


Spinach: one medium bunch.
Mushrooms: one 8 oz container ( you can choose Cremini or baby Bella; both taste good).
Onion: 1 small, chopped fine
Garlic: 2-3 cloves, minced
Butter: 1 tsp
Olive/ coconut oil: 1 tsp
Fresh parsley: 1 tbsp, chopped( optional)
Oregano: 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Salt: to taste
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp ( adjust as per individual spice level)
Milk: 1/2 cup
Corn flour: 1 tsp


Method:


Wash the spinach, steam it for 5-8 mins ; drain and keep aside.

Wash the mushrooms ,slice them into big slices, keep aside.

Dissolve the corn flour into the milk and keep aside.

Heat butter & oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic, sauté for few seconds.

Add the chopped onions and sauté until it turns transparent.

Now add the sliced mushrooms; sauté for 3-4 mins.(Don't overcook the mushrooms as when cooked too much they tend to become very small and also leave a lot of water).

Add in the steamed spinach. Mix well.Add the salt, black pepper.

Add the milk-corn flour mixture to the pan. Simmer and let it cook until the sauce thickens. 

Add in the herbs, mix well.







Serve hot with rice/ bread/ pasta.

Here, in this picture I have tossed the creamy mushroom spinach with angel hair pasta and topped it chooped avocado, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.



Cooking made easy:


You can use any fresh/ dried herbs into the above dish. While I like fresh herbs and prefer to use them, I also keep a mix of dried herbs like parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano which I use to season my fish, in pastas and dishes such as above. These are herbs that I don't use that often and therefore would go bad if I bought them fresh.

Tip for healthy living:


Mushrooms are good for us as they are a great source of Selenium which has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and liver-detoxifying properties.Mushrooms are the only vegan source of vitamin D.It is also rich in vitamin B complex and minerals like phosphorus, iron, potassium and copper.It is also a great source of dietary fiber. it is rich in beta-glycans which have a role in anti-inflammation, reducing insulin resistance and reducing blood cholesterol levels.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/types-of-mushrooms


Food for thought:


Life in abundance comes only through great love. Elbert Hubbard


Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Special: Easy Creamy Fruit Dessert



When one is invited to somebody's home, one must not go empty-handed. That's what my mother taught me.The other day, I was invited for a get-to-gether and I didn't have anything to take. As a rule, I don't like to take ready-made stuff. I like to put in a little effort and take something special. I was running around all-day and knew that I didn't have the time to make anything elaborate. Also, it had to be vegetarian and a dessert that could be easily transported. I didn't  know how many guests where going to be there or their tastes! I wanted to make something that would appeal to a majority of people.What could I possibly rustle  that would fit all the criteria? A fruit salad? Too boring. Custard with fruits?? Noo, it has eggs in it. I then remembered a dessert that my neighbor made for me once that everyone had liked. I quickly called her and double checked the recipe. I had most of the stuff on hand. I decided to give it a try. I used a combination of canned and fresh fruits. I made it, left it in the back of the fridge to set,before I left home to take my daughter to Ballet class. When I came home and was ready to go to the gathering, it had nicely set. The cold weather helped! It was a super-hit and the bowl was empty within 15-30 minutes of being placed on the table!!



This recipe has no name, so I came up with my own. If anyone knows the name for this or has suggestions, please feel free to let me know. :)

Angie, I am bringing this to your party! It's Fiesta Friday! I am sure the lovely BFF Stephanie @The Cozy Cook  and Tracy @Scratch It will also enjoy this lovely dessert.

Servings:12-15 people


Ingredients:


Condensed milk: One 14 oz can
Low fat Sour Cream: One 16 oz container ( use Greek yogurt/ hung curd for an even healthier option)
Mixed fruits: 1 can( the one that is reserved in it's own juice with no added sugar).
Oranges: 2
Kiwi: 2, peeled and cut into semicircular pieces.
Red Grapes: 1 cup, halved
Green grapes: 1 cup, halved
Strawberries: 8-10, halved
Blueberries: 20
Blackberries: 10

Method:


Peel the orange, the individual sections and cut the individual orange sections into bite size pieces. Keep aside.

Drain the can of fruits completely and keep aside.Make sure there is no fluid in it.

In a large bowl, using a whisk, mix together the condensed milk and sour cream.

Reserve a little fruits like orange and berries for garnishing. Add the  remaining fruits into the bowl. Mix gently.

Decorate the top of the bowl with reserved fruits.

Place the bowl in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set. It firms up like custard.

Serve cold.



Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


I used the canned fruit because I was desperate! I neither had the variety of fruits I needed, nor the time to chop all of them. Had I had the fresh fruits on hand,and the time, I would have opted for the fresh ones.I try and avoid canned food as much as possible!

Any combination of fruits can be used.  The best to use are fruits like orange, pineapple, grapes, preaches and berries which do not discolor after some time. Be careful with the berries. If they are over-ripe, they tend to bleed color!

Tip for healthy living:


Try to include 3-4 servings a day of fruit in your diet. This ensures that you get an adequate supply of your daily dietary requirement of vitamins! The best and easiest way to do this is to snack on fruits and to eat fruits as desserts.

Food for thought:

The soul's joy lies in doing. Percy Bysshe Shelley


Kale Chips



How many of you are familiar with Kale chips?? Well, this is the new fad of the foodie world! Kale, as you know is a superfood. Kale chips is the new "in" thing. They are all over in the gourmet food stores like Trader Joe's, Whole foods. I have even seen them in some T.J Max and Marshall's by the registers wherein they keep all the novelty foods that are overpriced! Well, I was curious as to how Kale chips taste?? I make kale all the time. I just saute them with onions, garlic, tomatoes and green chilli.I have to post a recipe of it sometime soon!I don't know why I haven't considering the frequency with which I make it! I like the sautéed kale. I decided that since I have kale sitting around most of the time, I should definitely give it a shot! Then the impetus was when one time
I had 2 bunches of kale in my refrigerator and I had to use them for fear of them going bad! I decided to make the chips with one bunch. I don't know how the store ones are made, but I was definitely not going to fry them! My culinary experience told me that it could definitely be baked! I looked up online for recipes and found several of them! I came across one wherein she listed all the things that could go wrong and one should not do! I definitely liked that one! After all I was setting myself up for success, not failure! As usual, I modified the recipe a little to keep it simple and basic. I must say the outcome was rather nice! The only downside was that I wished that they looked greener!:(They are best eaten immediately as they tend to soften the next day! You can find the original recipe here.



I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday, hosted by the marvellous Angie from the Novice Gardner and co-hosted by the  two BFF  Tracy @Scratch It  and Stephanie @The Cozy Cook.

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients:


Fresh Kale: 1 bunch
Salt: to taste
Black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp, freshly ground.
Olive oil: 1 tbsp

Method:


Separate just the leaves from the bunch. You can use a knife and separate the leaves from You do not want the woody fibrous part. Save it to make vegetable stock.Roughly tear the leaves using your hands.

Rinse the leaves thoroughly and then dry them either using a salad spinner or using paper towels. Since I don't have a salad spinner, I had to do the latter and manually dab each leaf with the paper towel. If the leaves are wet, the chips will turn soggy!

Preheat the oven to 300 deg F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep ready.

Mix in the olive oil with the kale in a bowl. Using your hands, massage the oil into the leaves. Mix in the salt and pepper.

Arrange the kale on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. 

Bake it in the oven for 12 minutes at 300 deg F. Now turn the tray around and bake for another 10-12 minutes depending on your oven.


Don't let them get burnt. Mine were nice and crispy at total 24 minutes of baking! The only down side is the color!!! I wish it looked more green!

When done, let it cool down for 3-5 minutes. This firms them up a little.


Enjoy immediately! ! Best when eaten the same day!

Cooking made easy:


Cleaning greens is a nightmare to most people! It need not be! Just soak the greens in cold water mixed with a few drops of vinegar. The sand ( if any) settles at the bottom.Rinse thoroughly in running cold water;chop and use.

Tip for healthy living:


Kale has several health benefits. It is very aptly described as a superfood. Not only is it rich in dietary fiber, it is extremely rich in iron, Vit A & K, has lot of anti-oxidants and is an anti-inflammatory , heart-healthy food.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/kale-nutrition-and-cooking
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270435.php
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38


Food for thought:


Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves. Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Phova Chutney/Phova Upkari ( Beaten Rice mixed with coriander-cumin flavored freshly grated coconut).






This is a very traditional Mangalorean GSB breakfast dish that is usually accompanied by Chana upkari ( Chick pea stir-fry) or Chano ani kanang upkari( Chick pea with sweet potato stir-fry). It could also be served with any kind of bean/ sprouted bean stir-fry.


It is filling, nutritious and yummy. It is a perfect combination of carbohydrates and proteins. This dish is sometimes served with a banana. A smaller serving  can also be served as a snack with the evening tea. It is again one of my favorites. I have a lot of childhood memories associated with it. It is quick, simple and easy to make.







Servings: 4


Ingredients:


Beaten rice: 4 cups
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Green chillies: 2
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tbsp
Salt : to taste
Sugar: 1 tbsp

For tempering:
Coconut oil : 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Method:


Coarsely grind together coriander seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies, salt and sugar.


Take this mixture in a bowl with the freshly grated coconut. 


 Mix it well.


Now mix in the beaten rice with the ground mixture.


Mix well massaging it with your hand until the beaten rice is soft and well-mixed.




Tempering:

In a small frying pan, heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves. Turn of the flame. Add this to the above bowl.




Serve with Chana upkari / muga ussli or a ripe banana.


Cooking made easy:


People often complain that their Phova chutney is hard. One of the tricks for soft Phova chutney is to make sure you use adequate amount of freshly grated coconut. The other trick ( especially if you don't have enough coconut) is to grind a little bit of coconut with a little water added to it.This extra water content helps soften the beaten rice and make it soft to eat.

Tip for healthy living:


You can clean your dish-washing scrub by soaking it in a solution of vinegar and water overnight and rinsing it off the next day.


Food for thought:


Temptation is a woman's weapon and man's excuse. H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chano Ani kanang ghalnu upkari ( Chick-pea and sweet potato stir-fry)




This is one of my favorite dishes for breakfast. It is nutritious and filling. Not to mention, easy to make! I usually pair it with another traditional favorite combination Phova chutney or the non-traditional combination: a nice slice of buttered toast. The latter is my husband's preferred combination. This Chana upkari is traditionally made with black Chana or black chick-peas, you could also make it with white chick peas. I like both of them. So how do we make it?? Here we go:



Servings: 4


Ingredients:


Chick peas( Chana): 2 cups black or white cooked. ( If using canned, 1 10 oz can)
Sweet potato: 1 medium sized, washed and chopped to medium cubes.
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: 2-3 slit lengthwise.( can be adjusted based on your spice level).
Hing( asofoetida): a pinch if using powder, 1 tsp if using solution.
Salt: to taste
Jaggery/ brown sugar: 1 tsp
Freshly grated coconut: 1 tbsp

Method:


Heat a sauté pan/ kadai with oil. Add mustard seeds. 

Once the mustard seeds splutter add the slit green chillies, sauté for few seconds. 

Now, add the diced sweet potato, hing, salt, jaggery and 2 cups water.

Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are 3/4 done. 

Now, add in the cooked chick peas and mix well. Cover and cook on medium until the sweet potato is cooked well. 

You could now open and dry the excess water if you wish. You don't have to. In fact if it is being made to be eaten with Phova chutney ( beaten rice) then the excess water ( sauce)is left so that it is more delicious to eat!



Serve hot with Phova chutney/ flat bread/ toast or as a side dish with rice!

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


If using dried chick peas, soak it overnight with a pinch of baking soda. This significantly reduces the cooking time and makes the chick peas nice and tender. The chick peas needs to be cooked in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes after the first whistle. Turn the stove off an do not open the cooker until the pressure inside has completely subsided.

If using canned chickpeas, ensure that you thoroughly rinse  in water and drain the chick peas before use.


Tip for healthy living:


Avoid canned food as much as possible. Apart from the fact that they are not as nutritious as fresh produce, canned goods contain a very high level of sodium. Salt is often used as a preservative.They also may have BPA from the inner plastic liner and aluminum from the can leach in it.
References:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/bpa-food-cans_b_3493469.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/24/why-canned-soups-can-be-dangerous-to-your-health.aspx
http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2013/07/bpa_in_canned_food.html

Food for thought:


Self-love is the source of all other loves. Pierre Corneille


Monday, November 10, 2014

Cabbage-Carrot Kosumbari ( salad); Meatless Monday



Vegetables form the biggest portion of my plate for every single meal! You could say that I fill myself with veggies!Almost all of my meals have a salad included. Our traditional Indian salads are known as kosumbaris and are not only tasty but extremely healthy with minimal amount of fat in it. One of the regular kosumbaris that Amma ( mother) used to make was the carrot or cabbage Kosumbari. My mother cooks the healthiest meals!! She always drummed into us the importance of vegetables! Of course, she is a vegetarian! She would urge me to eat carrots because it is good for the eyes! I would protest/ resist, do everything I could so as to not eat it! But like they say: Mother knows best! Now I religiously make them an integral part of my meals in a quest to better my health!



Servings: 2


Ingredients:


Grated carrots: 1 cup ( about 2 medium sized carrots)
Shredded cabbage: 1 cup ( small piece of cabbage, chopped /shredded )
Green chilli: 1 small, finely chopped
Lemon juice: 1-2 tbsp ( 1/2 medium lemon)
Freshly grated coconut: 1 tbsp ( optional)
Salt to taste
Cilantro ( coriander leaves) : 1 tsp for garnishing.

For tempering :


Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Hing ( asofoetida)powder: a pinch

Method:


In a bowl, mix together shredded cabbage, grated carrots, freshly grated coconut, chopped green chilli,lemon juice & salt.

Tempering:

Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add curry leaves and hing. Turn off the flame immediately. Add it to the above bowl and mix well.



Garnish with cilantro( coriander leaves).

Serve as an accompaniment to any meal or enjoy it just like that!

Enjoy!


Cooking made easy:


This salad can be made with just shredded cabbage or grated carrots too. If using both, then the proportion of each one can be varied based on individual taste and preference. I have used equal amounts of cabbage and carrot.

Tip for healthy living:


My mother was right! Carrots are a great source of beta carotene! Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the liver which in turn is transformed into rhodopsin in the retina. Rhodopsin is essential for night vision! Hence, yes, carrots help improve vision! Beta carotene has  also proved important for preventing macular degeneration and senile cataracts.

Carrots are also purported to have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Vitamin A is also important for healthy, glowing skin.

References:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/28/carrot-health-benefits.aspx
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html


Food for thought:


Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship-never. Charles Caleb Colton