Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quick Masala Peanuts ( Spicy pan-roasted peanuts); Diabetes Friendly Thursday

Creating Recipes with a Cause!
I am a proud DFT blogger. 
To learn about DFT, read this link
To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

The greatest joy comes from the simple pleasures of life. For me, one of them is sitting in a relaxed chair in the balcony on cool spring evenings sipping a cup of tea with some light crunchy snacks and some nice soothing music playing in the background. Makes you wistful, doesn't it?  Well, you see we are so busy running around, trying to get things accomplished in the limited amount of time that we have that we forget this important aspect of life. We all need a vacation. But that takes a lot of planning. Drinking a relaxed cup of tea with some delicious healthy snacks  is an achievable goal. It re-energizes and revitalizes me. The healthy snack is achievable too. Today, I am going to share with you one such snack that is super-easy to make, super-delicious and super-healthy.This recipe was graciously shared by my dear sister-in-law, Geetha during my daughter's first birthday party.It was a super-hit! Since then, I have made it many a times and each time, everyone has liked it. My other team -mates from the DFT team have brought along a variety of  healthy snacks too. After all, snacks is the theme for this week's Diabetes Friendly Thursday.

So, what have I brought? Quick Masala Peanuts. It has to be quick, right? If it is not quick, it would never be made in my home! I love to eat but it has to be quick, tasty and nutritious. Peanuts as you are all aware is very healthy and delicious. Who doesn't like peanuts. In fact, in India, it is referred to as a poor  man's almonds. This is said not with the intention of belittling either the peanuts or poor people; rather it emphasizes the nutritional value of peanuts. It is as rich in proteins as almonds and affordable to all. One doesn't have to break the bank to eat peanuts.To learn more about peanuts, read the foot notes ( tip for healthy living).

The recipe I am sharing today adds a mouthful of flavors to the regular peanuts. It has a little tang, a little kick, lots of flavor .. Well, what more does one need?? Isn't it perfect to munch on while reading a book, watching t.v or a movie , studying or how about with a cup of tea or coffee? I have used plain unsalted roasted peanuts. You can use the unroasted ones too but it will take you a little bit longer to make it as you have to roast the peanuts first.

Servings: 3 cups ( Recommended daily serving per person: 1 ounce/ one handful per day).


Unsalted roasted peanuts: 3 cups
Olive oil: 1/2 tbsp ( any cooking oil can be used).
Onion: 1 very small onion, chopped very fine.
Garlic: 2 small cloves, minced
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves ( cilantro), chopped: 1 tbsp


Heat oil in a sauté pan/ frying pan. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic and sauté on low heat until it is golden brown. 

Add the chilli powder and sauté  for a few seconds. 

Add the peanuts and sauté for 2 mins. 

Add in the salt and amchur powders and mix well. 

Turn off the flame and mix in the chopped cilantro. You may reserve some for garnishing.

Serve immediately. If you are not intending to use immediately, do not add the cilantro leaves. Add the cilantro leaves just before serving.

Stays fresh in an airtight container for 1-2 days.


Cooking made  easy:

If you are using unroasted peanuts, dry roast them first separately in the pan for a few minutes until they are crunchy. Keep it aside on a plate while you are sauteing the onions etc.. Once you are done, add the peanuts back into the pan.

Foot Notes (Tip for healthy living):

Peanuts make for a great healthy snack for diabetics.Peanuts are both low glycemic index(13) and low glycemic load food. The presence of healthy oil, protien and fiber in peanuts helps control the blood sugar levels in both healthy individuals and those with Type 2 diabetes.It is however a energy rich snack with 567 calories per 100gms and contains healthy fats like MUFA, especially Oleic acid. Studies have shown that MUFAs may have a role in preventing coronary heart disease.Peanuts are one of the best sources of plant-based protiens .Peanuts are rich in anti-oxidants and the bio-availability of the antioxidants is increased by roasting or boiling peanuts.Peanuts are also rich in vitamin E and the B-complex group.It is also rich in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium,potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.Peanuts apparently also help reduce inflammation in the body.

I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

Other Entries from this week DFT featuring more Dry Snacks!

Prachi's ultimate multi-grain mathris.

Food for thought:

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Sylvia Plath

Monday, April 27, 2015

Quick Zucchini Pickle

Indian pickles are totally different from what the western world refers to as pickles! The only similarity is that both use brine to preserve some vegetable over a period of several months to several years. Most Indian pickles are red in color and are eaten as a condiment with a meal in minuscule quantity. One just cannot consume pickle in large quantities as they are really fiery hot! The red color of the pickle comes from the red chillies that is one of the primary ingredients in the pickle. Other ingredients include a variety of spices that are used like mustard powder, asofoetida, coriander powder etc. The pickles could be made using brine or oil as a preservative. There is no other preservative used in Indian pickles. They are usually preserved in huge earthen jars. Now-a-days, glass bottles are used. Needless to say, Indian meals are incomplete without a pickle.


The pickle I made today is the simplest and easiest one. By now, I am sure that everyone who reads my blog knows that I don't make anything that is time-consuming ,tedious or complicated!  This pickle can be ready in 15 mins. Most of the time, great care is observed while making pickles to ensure that everything is dry: the hands, the pots and spoons used, the ingredients used etc. Any use of regular water can make the pickle go bad and reduce the shelf life of the pickle.Only brine is the liquid used. I didn't use brine, but I haven't used water either! I have ensured that everything was absolutely dry but I know that my pickle will not have a long shelf life since I didn't use brine. I have therefore made a very small quantity as I didn't intend to preserve it for long. I wanted something for immediate use and that's what I made. It should last me for a week in the fridge.

This recipe is from my aunt, whom I fondly call Pushpa Mahve, who is a very talented and innovative cook as well. Like me, she loves to experiment in the kitchen. This zucchini pickle recipe has been kindly shared by her. This is a basic Mangalorean konkani pickle recipe where the main spices used are mustard powder and hing. This recipe has been modified a little and is absolutely delicious!

Servings: makes one 10 oz bottle


Zucchini: 1 small
Kashmiri Red chilli powder : 1/4 cup
Hot red chilli powder: 2 tbsp 
Haldi ( turmeric powder): 1/2 tsp
Mustard powder: 1/4 cup
Hing: 2 tsp
Methi( fenugreek seeds) powder: 1/8 tsp
Salt: 1 tbsp( adjust as per taste)
Lemon juice: 1/4 cup



Chop the zucchini finely . 

Add this to a bowl with salt and lime juice.

In another bowl, mix together chilli powders, haldi, mustard powder,methi powder, hing and salt.

Now add this to the zucchini.

Mix well.

Store in a dry airtight glass jar. Lasts for upto one week in the refrigerator.

Can be consumed immediately, but tastes better the next day.


Cooking made easy:

To increase the shelf life of the pickle, one can use brine instead of plain salt.

Raw green mango can be used to make the same pickle. If that is used, skip the lemon juice as mango when raw is sour by nature.

Tip for healthy living:

Any kind of pickle is best stored in glass jars and not in any kind of plastic as the salt in it reacts with the material of the plastic. This could have deleterious effects on our health.

Food for thought:

Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant. Unknown

Friday, April 24, 2015

Seafood Noodle Soup & Seafood Noodles; Thai style.

When you have the sniffles, your throat is all scratchy, the head feels heavy, the body is achy, it is cold outside...well, you want something that is comforting, something that is soothing. You definitely don't feel like cooking anything elaborate! So what do you want?? I found myself in such a predicament one evening and wanted to have soup for dinner. Soup that was flavorful, with lots of texture, spicy so that my sinuses could open up and hot and piping so that my throat could be soothed. I was remembering my good friend Arvind mallya's Manchow soup. That's what I wanted.  I took a mental inventory of my fridge and pantry and the best thing I could think of was Seafood noodle soup. I had a few veggies in the fridge that I needed to finish. I had some shrimp in the fridge which I could use. I had chicken broth in the pantry. Perfect. I set out making the soup as per Arvind Mallya's recipe and then as usual ended up experimenting by adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that and the end result was a delicious Thai style shrimp noodle soup that I ate soup style that night and the next night added some more cooked noodles, crushed peanuts and had it as Thai seafood noodles. Two delicious dishes with just one time cooking! Awesome!

Servings: 4-6


Green beans:4-6, chopped fine
Carrot:1 medium sized, diced small
Cauliflower florets: 1 cup
Cabbage, chopped fine : 1 cup
Fresh baby corn: 1 cup
Onion: 1 small, chopped fine
Garlic: 2-3 small cloves, minced
Ginger: 1 inch, minced
Spring onions /scallions: 2-3, chopped fine.
Basil leaves, chopped: 2 tbsp
Cilantro leaves, chopped: 1 tbsp
Shrimp with head: 12-14, cleaned and marinated with salt, black pepper and turmeric powder.
Egg: 1, beaten in a bowl.
Chicken broth: 1 can ( you can also use vegetable broth).
Tom yum soup paste: 2 tbsp
Soy sauce: 3 tbsp
Oyster sauce: 1 tbsp
Hot sauce: 1 tbsp
Tomato ketchup: 1 tbsp
Sesame oil: 1 tbsp
Black pepper:1 tsp,freshly ground
Salt: as per taste.
Corn flour: 1 tsp, dissolved in 1/4cup water.

Rice noodles, cooked: 2 cups
Crushed roasted peanuts: 1/4 cup ( for garnishing).


Heat sesame oil in a wok upon high heat. Sauté ginger, garlic, chopped onions, white part of spring onions for a minute.

Now add the chopped green beans, baby corn, carrots, cauliflower and cabbage one after the other for a couple of minutes until slightly tender.

Add the chicken broth, Tom yum soup base, all the sauces, ketchup, salt, pepper, basil leaves and cilantro leaves. ( Reserve a little basil and cilantro leaves for garnish). Bring this to a nice boil. Taste the salt and adjust accordingly. Remember the sauces are all salty, so err on the side of caution.
Add in the shrimp and continue boiling until the shrimp turn pink ( around 3-5 mins). You don't want to overcook the shrimp. 

Add the cornflour-water mixture. Stir well.

Add the beaten egg in such a manner that it makes a stringy formation. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Turn off the flame.

Add cooked rice noodles to the serving bowl and ladle the hot soup on top of it. 

Garnish with spring onions, cilantro and basil leaves.


To make the Thai Seafood noodles, add enough quantity of cooked rice noodles to the soup such that very little fluid is left. Mix well.

Just before serving, add crushed peanuts, chopped spring onions and cilantro.

Serve hot.

Enjoy! I am bringing these two amazing dishes to my friends at Fiesta Friday # 65.Effie @ Food Day dreaming and the ever bubbly and fun Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook are co-hosting.

Cooking made easy:

Asian cuisine is made more flavorful by the use of sesame oil. This is also true when you are stir frying vegetables on high heat. The use of iron wok and pans also makes the cuisine full of flavor.

Tip for healthy living:

Try to incorporate at least 3-4 colors into each of your meals. Each color indicates the nutrient that the specific food group is rich in and incorporating several colors ensures that you get the required daily amount of all nutrients through your diet.

Food for thought:

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. Mother Teresa.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup;Diabetes Friendly Thursday.

Creating Recipes with a Cause!I am a proud DFT blogger. To learn about DFT, read this link. To view more DFT recipes, Click here!
Sonal and a group of other dedicated bloggers have started this wonderful initiative called Diabetis Friendly Thursday, where in on Thursdays they post recipes that are appropriate for people with diabetes. I am proud to be a part of this group. I believe that this is a very noble cause as Diabetes is one of the leading health conditions that mankind suffers from and one that causes several morbidities. Diabetes is not only prevalent here in the United States but is showing a steep rise in developing countries like India. The primary cause for this may be the changing lifestyle with less exercise and altered food habits. Let me stop here for now and get back to the recipe at hand, as I tend to get carried away..

This group of dedicated bloggers try to have a theme for each week and this week's theme is Soup. Soup is something that is relatively easy to make, easy to consume for even the elderly, the sick and the debilitated. Soup is comfort food that not only soothes the body but nourishes it. Click here on Sonal's blog Simplyvegetarian777 for the list of all the appetizing soups this week.

I am bringing butternut squash soup. My little girl loved to eat butternut squash as a child. She still does. Butternut squash is abundant during fall and bring them home regularly when in season. Fortunately, these squashes have a long life even when store outside the refrigerator. Recently, when I was going through my pantry, I came across one that my husband had bought towards the end of last year. Well, since it was still very good, I decided to make a basic soup, but with an Indian twist. I spices it a little by adding ginger and instead of adding only black pepper, added green chilli. I didn't have any fresh herbs except cilantro, so went ahead and used cilantro. The end result was a hearty, delicious soup that left me licking the spoon !! I served it with some brown rice, quinoa, Amarnath,flax seed crackers that I had on hand. People who are not calorie-conscious can add a little heavy cream or sour cream to the soup just before serving.

Servings: 2-3 medium bowls


Butternut squash: 3 cups, peeled and diced
Carrots: 2 small, peeled and diced
Onion: 1 small, diced
Spring onion: 1, diced
Cilantro( coriander leaves), chopped: 2-3 tbsp.
Green chilli: one, chopped
Ginger: 1 inch, minced.
Black pepper: freshly ground, pinch
Salt: as per taste
Vegetable broth: 3 cups
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp ( any cooking oil can be used)


Heat oil on medium flame in a large pot. Add onions, spring onions, carrots and let them sweat a little until the onions are transparent.

Now add the diced butternut squash, green chilli, ginger, cilantro and sauté for 5 mins.

Now add the vegetable broth , bring it to a book and cover and cook until the butternut squash is tender ( around 20 mins).

Turn off the flame and let it cool down. 

Once cooled down, immerse a hand blender and blend it to the consistency of the soup.You can also blend it in a regular blender.

Heat it before serving and serve it hot with toast, crackers or just plain.It is extremely filling and won't leave you feeling hungry.


Cooking made easy:

Cutting squashes and gourds is a daunting task to most people. The best thing to do is to peel it using a regular peeler. Once peeled, cutting the soft meat is a breeze!

Tip for healthy living:

Butternut squash is a very nutrition-dense food that is also rich in dietary fiber. It would therefore be perfect for diabetics as it is not only low calorie, fat-free, it is filling and provides a plethora of vitamins and minerals.
Click here for nutrition facts about butternut squash.

Food for thought:

The best things in life are unexpected -because there were no expectations. Eli Khamarov

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jowar & bajra roti /thalipeeth/ bhakri ( Sorghum & pearl millet flatbread); GF, vegan; Earth day special.

Today is Earth day. Our ancestors were healthy and fit and didn't suffer from any of the maladies today's generation does ! I believe that the primary reason for this is because they lived close to nature and eat what is closer to the ground. By that what I mean is that they ate food that is found in its natural state and not the plethora of processed foods off the store shelves like we do today. On this earth day, let us remember Mother Nature and be good to our earth by trying not to eat processed foods as much as possible. One simple rule to follow is to NOT eat anything that you have not cooked. It will not eliminate all processed foods but at least quite a few!  Therefore, today I am going to share with you a recipe that has ingredients that are whole grain, are not genetically modified , good for the body, easy to make and can be easily eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I don't know what to call it as it is a product of another of my unintentional kitchen experiments. I set out to make bajra rotla but felt like adding jowar flour to it, then wanted to add some veggies to it to make it more wholesome and balanced... So added onions,spring onions and grated carrots. The end result was a delicious roti but I didn't know whether to call it roti/ thalipeeth or Bhakri. What I do know is that it tastes delicious ! Do try it and let me know your thoughts.

Servings: makes around five 4-6 inch rotis


Bajra flour: 1/4 cup
Jowar flour: 1/4 cup
Onion: 1/2 of one small onion, chopped fine
Spring onion: 2, white part only, chopped fine.
Carrot: 1 small, peeled and grated.
Coriander powder: 1/4 tsp
Green chilli: 1, chopped fine, optional
Salt: to taste
Hot water: 1 cup ( may not need all)
Oil : for greasing the skillet


Take the bajra and jowar flours in a bowl. Using a spoon to stir add hot water and stir to make it into a lose dough. Add salt, coriander powder, chopped onion, spring onion, grated carrot and mix well.

Once it is slightly cool, using your hands knead the dough nicely.  Make a ball, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside.

Heat the griddle/skillet on medium flame.

Pinch big lemon-sized dough, make a ball. Place it on a on a greased plastic sheet. 

Using wet hand, with your fingers shape the ball into a flat circle ( roti). It is ok if it is not a perfect circle or if it has uneven edges. Don't roll it out too thin. You can also do this by placing another greased plastic sheet on top and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.

Some people are able to do this directly on the griddle/skillet!Either ways, once the roti has been rolled out, gently and carefully lift it off the plastic sheet and transfer it to the skillet. 

Cook on low flame for 3-4 mins, flip and cook the other side for 3-4 mins until cooked through and thoroughly.

The outside will be a little crispier and the inside soft. Apply butter or oil on top of the roti and keep it in a tortilla saver or airtight container until ready to serve.

Serve hot with chutney of your choice or a side dish of your choice.


Cooking made easy:

Whenever you make roti out of bajra or jowar, if you don't intend to roll out the dough immediately, cover it with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel to prevent the dough from drying out.  Even when you pinching and rolling out one roti, keep the rest of the dough covered to prevent it from drying out and hardening.

Tip for healthy living:

Bajra and jowar are one of the oldest grains cultivated by mankind. It is known as poor man's food and is a power house of energy.  Both bajra and jowar are gluten free grains that are nutritious and therefore good for the human body. They are great for diabetics as they have low glycemic index and are rich in fiber. This helps diabetics control their blood sugar levels steady and prevent them from spiking. Being that both  these grains are rich in dietary fiber they help achieve fullness and prevent over-eating. The fiber also helps maintain good bowel habits and regularity.

Food for thought:

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. William Morris.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cilantro-Coconut Chutney/Dip; Meatless Monday

For time immemorial, Cilantro is the most commonly  used herb in India. It is used in chutneys, dips, sauces, and for garnishing. It gives the dish a nice flavor.I often make cilantro-coconut chutney to go with my dosas and idlis. It is healthy, delicious and super-easy to make. You can also make cilantro chutney without using coconut.

The recipe for that is slightly different as it is usually made by grinding cilantro using lemon juice so as to increase it's shelf life. With coconut, the chutney has a very short shelf life as the coconut goes rancid pretty easily. Unless it is for chaat, I like the coconut-cilantro chutney more as it has a very hearty deliciousness. Here is the recipe for the cilantro-coconut chutney made in my home.

Servings: Makes around 2 cups


Cilantro: 1 bunch, leaves separated from the stems; stems discarded.
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Green chillies: 2 small
Fresh ginger: 1 inch, peeled.
Garlic: 2 small cloves
Tamarind: if dry marble sized. If using the pulp, 1/4 tsp.
Salt: as per taste
Water: 1/2 cup

Tempering: ( optional)
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig


In a blender, add all the above ingredients except cilantro and grind them.When coconut is almost ground to a fine paste, add the cilantro and blend it to a fine paste. You could add a little more water while grinding as needed as per your desired consistency of the chutney.

Tempering ( optional):
Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and turn off the flame.
Add this tempering to the chutney.

This chutney could be served with samosas,rotis, fritters, rotisserie chicken, kebabs etc. It could also be used in sandwiches.


Cooking made easy:

For chutneys, it is best to pluck the cilantro leaves from the stem and use it. The use of the stem part in the chutney can make the chutney taste bitter.  Reserve the stems and use it in dishes like tomato saaru, dal and sambar. When added in this manner, the stems add flavor and aroma to the dish.

Tip for healthy living:

Making chutneys and dip using different vegetables and herbs is a great way to include soluble and insoluble fiber in our daily diet. Fiber helps prevent bowel irregularities and is essential for good gastrointestinal health and function. Dietary fiber also may help with feeling full and satiated and therefore eating smaller meals which in turn helps with weight control.

Food for thought:

The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one's self to others. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mushroom Masala ( mushrooms cooked in spicy tangy onion-tomato sauce).

Mushrooms are an all-time favorite in my home. We love mushrooms cooked in all possible ways: mushroom chilli, mushroom fried rice, mushrooms sautéed and served in stuffed omelette.. You name it, we like it!  Sometimes you crave for something spicy and tangy.  That made me nostalgic for batate song ( potato song). Unfortunately, I rarely eat potatoes any more. I decided to swap it with mushrooms instead and made mushroom song. For this I have used my mother's short-cut method of making potato song where she makes it with onion, chilli powder, coriander powder and  tomatoes.It came out super-delicious and now I often make it. This is such a simple and versatile dish that you could use other vegetables like green peas, dried beans, cauliflower, etc. For example: navy beans and cauliflower song tastes absolutely delicious!

Servings: 4


Mushrooms : 8 oz pack, washed and sliced into medium slices.
Onions: 2 medium, diced small
Tomato: 1 medium, diced small
Cooking Oil: 1 tbsp( I use coconut oil) 
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Curry leaves: 1 sprig ( optional).
Kashmiri chilli  powder: 1 tsp( can adjust based on desired spice level)
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Haldi ( turmeric powder): pinch
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves( cilantro): 4-5 sprigs for garnishing.


Heat oil in a frying pan/ wok on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves  and then the chopped onions, sauté until they turn almost golden brown. 

Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes start leaving oil. 

Now add turmeric powder, coriander powder and sauté for 30 seconds. 

Then add chilli powder and sauté for another minute. 

Now add the sliced mushrooms, cover and  cook until the mushroom has reached the desired level of tenderness( around 5-7 minutes). Mushrooms don't take long to cook.Mushrooms also tend to give out water, hence there is no need to add additional water.

Add salt only after the mushrooms are cooked. Mix well. Turn off the flame.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve hot with rice/ roti/ bread.

Beet stirfry, mushroom masala, white rice and dal

Enjoy! I am taking this to Fiesta Friday # 64 at my dear friend Angie's! The wonderful duo of Loretta@ Safari of the mind and Ginger@Ginger and Bread are the co-hosts this week.

Cooking made easy:

In the above recipe,  you can switch the tomatoes with tamarind solution. This is true for most recipes that call for tomatoes. So, if you run out of tomatoes, no worries.. and vice versa.

Tip for healthy living:

The common home remedy for most bug bites is to apply a solution of asofoetida mixed with water. It usually reduces the itching and swelling.

Food for thought:

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.Saint Augustine.