Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pathrade/ Patra ( Stuffed and layered Colocasia Leaves); 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!

Rakshabandhan is a Hindu festival celebrated in India, celebrating the love between siblings. Sisters tie a special thread ( wristband) to their brother's wrist and pray for the brother's health and happiness. The brothers in-turn give the sister a gift and also promise to always look-out for them. This festival is celebrated with much pomp back home. To celebrate this occasion, Team DFT has decided to share healthy recipes that is their sibling's favorite. My contribution is a traditional konkani dish, Pathrade which happens to be my brother's favorite! Team DFT is also celebrating Onam which is a harvest festival celebrated in the southern state of Kerala in India.

As a rule, my brother does not care for vegetables or vegetarian dishes. But, when it comes to Pathrade, he makes an exception. He enjoys it. These are made using Colocasia leaves. Colocasia leaves are also known as Taro leaves or Elephant ears. A spicy batter made with mung-beans, rice and coconut is smeared over the back of the leaf to cover it completely and then many such leaves are layered on top of each other which is then rolled and steamed. The steamed roll is then sliced drizzled lightly with coconut oil and served. This is a true traditional konkani ( Amchi) recipe that is delicious and healthy.It is a speciality of the konkani people living in the coastal areas of Karnataka.The people living in the rest of the konkan region of India make something similar called Aluwadi which is however fried.

Servings: 4-6 ( Serving size: 2 slices per person).


Colocasia leaves: 14-16 leaves
Mung beans : 1 cup
Raw rice: 1/2 cup
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Red chillies: 4-6
Tamarind: 1 marble sized piece
Asofoetida ( hing): a pinch
Salt : to taste
Water: 6 cups+ 1/2 cup+1/2 cup+ 4 cups

Pan frying the slices ( optional):
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig


Rinse the mung beans and rice thoroughly and soak them together in 6 cups water for 4-5 hours.

Grind together freshly grated coconut, red chillies, tamarind and hing with 1/2 cup water to a fine paste. Take it in a bowl and keep aside.

Grind the soaked mung beans and rice to a fine paste adding water as needed. Add this to the above bowl. Add salt and mix well. Now the batter for the Pathrade is ready.

Wash the Colocasia leaves thoroughly and wipe them dry with a rag or paper towels.

Note: these leaves in the picture are collard greens and not colocasia leaves.

Using a knife, gently but thoroughly remove the thick veins present at the back of the leaf.

This is important so that the leaves can be layered flat and so that they don't itch upon eating.

Do this to all the leaves.


Arrange one big leaf first bright side down( upside down) on a clean surface. Apply a layer of the batter on the back of the leaf.

Now arrange another big leaf or a few small leaves on top of this layer and repeat the process. Do this until you have 4-5 layers.

Fold the sides of the leaves inwards. Apply another layer of batter on the folded portion.

Now starting from the bottom of the leaf roll it tightly upwards to the top.

Keep aside.

In an idli steamer or pressure pan, boil water with the steamer tray.

Once the water begins to boil, place the rolled Pathrade seam side down on the steamer tray . Cover and cook on medium flame for 30 minutes or until tender.

Once cooked, take a roll out and slide it into 1.5-2 cms thick slices.

Serve hot with 1/4 tsp coconut oil on top.

Alternatively, the slices can be lightly pan fried and served.

Pan-frying the slices ( optional):

Heat 1 tsp coconut oil on a skillet/griddle.

Add 1 tsp mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add curry leaves.

Now place the Pathrade slices in a single layer and let it cook until it is slightly golden brown, around 4-5 minutes on low flame.

Flip them and cook them from the other side.

Serve hot.

Cooking made easy:

One of the perils of eating Colocasia leaves is that they might make the inside of the mouth itch. This can be successfully prevented by ensuring that the veins of the leaves are removed thoroughly, using adequate amount of tamarind while grinding and cooking the Pathrade thoroughly.

Outside of India, at times Colocasia leaves might be hard to find. Under these circumstances, these leaves can be substituted with collard leaves, Swiss chard or spinach.

collard greens

I have found that collards make the best substitute due to the similar texture of the leaves and the cooking time.

The bonus is that collard leaves do not itch!!!

Footnotes( tip for healthy living):

We are all aware of the benefits of eating greens regularly. The most important one being the soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that maintains the health of the gut by preventing constipation. It also adds bulk to the meal thereby making us feel full early and preventing over-eating. Dietary fiber also gives the food a lower GI index thereby preventing blood sugar spikes.  Greens are a great source of various essential vitamins like vitamin A & C , protein and minerals like calcium. They are rich in immunity supporting phytonutrients.

Disclaimer: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 Rakhi/Onam Special Dishes from Team DFT!

Sonal's Ragi Vermicilli

Shailja's Rajma kidney Beans Arancini

Prachi's Stir-fried vegetable Kadhi

Sarika's Dal Macaroni

Chahat's Green peas Ghugni

Apsara's Lime pickle

Swati's grilled paneer and mushroom

Vidhya's Jackfruit seed Toran

Paro's Pumpkin Erissery.

Food for thought:

Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over. F.Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tricolor Fruit Popsicles;Independence Day Special

Tomorrow India celebrates it's 69th Independence Day. After almost 300 years of foreign occupation, India finally got its independence on August 15, 1947. Since then, India has progressed in leaps and bounds in pretty much every area that one can imagine. It is one of the fastest growing developing nations.

To celebrate this occasion, I am bring to you, Tricolor fruit pops  that represent the colors of the Indian Flag: saffron, white and green.These popsicles are healthy, with no sugar added and are diabetes friendly, kid-friendly and well, grown-up friendly too ; something that is perfect for the sweltering heat that we have been experiencing here!  It is super-simple, super-easy and super-delicious ! I am bringing this to my lovely friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday! Iam sure they will enjoy it in this hot weather.

Servings: 6 ( serving size: one Popsicle per person)


Mango juice: 1 cup
Honeydew pieces: 1/2 cup
Baby spinach: 4-6 leaves
Kiwi: 1,Sliced into circular slices.
Water:1/4 cup
Almond milk: 1 cup ( may not need all).( Any milk/ condensed milk can be used).


Blend together honeydew pieces, kiwi and spinach with a little water.
In the Popsicle mold/mould, add mango juice until 1/3 full and keep in the freezer for at least 2-3  hours.

Take the mold/mould out and now pour in the almond milk until another 1/3 of the Popsicle mold/mould is full. Put the mold/mould back in the freezer for another 2-3 hours.

Take the molds out and now pour in the honeydew-kiwi-spinach juice until the mold/mould is full all the way. Put it back in the freezer for 3-4 hours.

To serve, place the Popsicle mold under running cold water for a few seconds. The Popsicle will then comes out easily and cleanly.


Cooking made easy:

You can try making these combination Popsicles with any fruit juices of your choice. I used the above mentioned juices because those where the fruits I had on hand and the fact that I wanted it to be the tricolor color matching the Indian Flag. Make sure that while making layers you don't freeze it all the way then the layers will not gel together.

Tip for healthy living:

Fruits are good for us and provide quite a few essential nutrients to the human body. It is recommended that we include a total of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. Fruits however are high in sugar. For diabetics, it is always better to eat cut fruits as opposed to fruit juices. If one consumes fruit juices it has to be 100% juice and should be no more than one serving per day with a serving size no more than 150 ml/day.Always look for deserts that are healthy and low in sugar. These Popsicles can be consumed but only one per day. These Popsicles contain the goodness of several fruits like various viatmins, minerals and some fiber.

Food for thought:

If we did all things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas A. Edison

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tricolor Quinoa Masala Dosa ( quinoa crepe with stuffing and chutney); Independence Day Special DFT.

Once an Indian, always an Indian. You can take away an Indian away from India, but you cannot take India away from him! No matter where you live on this earth, an Indian will always be an Indian at heart. So says "Me". There are always exceptions to every rule. I am just voicing my opinion.India has changed tremendously in the last decade or so, not everything for the better. I am however proud to be an Indian. I remember India the way it was when I was living there. My India.Every time I hear the Indian national anthem, I still get goosebumps! On 15th August, India is celebrating it's 69th Independence Day. India was ruled by the British for almost 200 years!! Before that there were other invaders who ruled over India. But since 1947, India has been free!!

The Indian flag is tricolor. It is made up of three horizontal bands of equal colors: saffron, white and green with a navy blue wheel with 24 spokes  in the center of the middle band.Saffron stands for valor,courage and sacrifice of the Indian people. White stands for truth, peace and purity. Green stands for prosperity, vibrance and life. The wheel which is based on the Ashoka Chakra represents righteousness, progress and perpetuity.It represents motion. The 24 spokes of the wheel represent the 24 hours of the day. To celebrate this occasion, team DFT has put together some very nice diabetes friendly recipes.

Let us celebrate the Independence of India, with some DFT recipes, cheering for the colors of the flag!

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!

I am bringing in the all time Indian favorite dosa: masala dosa, but with a healthy twist that makes the regular carbohydrate rich masala dosa healthier for diabetics. Masala dosa is nothing but a crispy thin crepe that is stuffed with spicy seasoned potatoes and chutney and therefore is heavy on carbohydrates.   You can find the recipe for the regular masala dosa here. I have altered the dosa batter by using a greater proportion of lentils in it and swapped 50% of the rice with quinoa, which is not only a great source of protein but is also a superfood! I have also used 4 different varieties of lentils which increases the nutritional value of the dosa. The usual filling ( masala) for this dosa is made with spicy sautéed potatoes. We all know that potatoes are very starchy. I have swapped the potatoes with sautéed carrots!  I have used cilantro chutney instead of the traditional coconut chutney with ginger. I have instead served the coconut chutneys on the side. This is a pretty easy to make, healthy and delicious dosa. Do give it a try. I am bringing this to Angie and all my friends at Fiesta Friday!

Servings: 6-8 ( serving size 1 masala dosa per person)


For the Dosa (Crepe):

Quinoa: 1/2 cup
Urad dal ( split matpe beans): 1/4 cup
Chana dal ( split chick peas): 1/4 cup
Moong dal ( split mung beans):1/4 cup
Massoor dal ( split orange lentil) : 1/4 cup
Rice: 1/2 cup
Methi ( fenugreek) seeds: 1 tsp
Water: 1 cup, to grind the batter.
Salt: to taste
Oil: 1/2 tsp per dosa for greasing the griddle.

For  the Carrot Bhaji ( stuffing):

Carrots: 2 medium sized, diced
Coconut oil: 1 tsp ( any cooking oil can be used)
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Onion: 1 small,  chopped fine
Green chilli: 1 medium sized, slit
Cilantro: 1 tsp, chopped for garnish
Salt : to taste

For the Cilantro Chutney: click here for the recipe.


The Dosa (Crepe):

Soak the lentils, rice, quinoa and methi seeds together in water for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Grind all the ingredients  that were soaked to a batter with fine consistency using minimal water .The batter should not be runny. Let it ferment for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Next morning just before making the dosa, add salt to taste. Mix well.

The stuffing ( bhaji):

Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. 

Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves, chopped onion and slit green chilli. Sauté until how onions turn transparent. 

Add the chopped carrots and salt. Cover and cook until the carrots are tender, stirring in between. 

Turn off the flame. Garnish with cilantro leaves and keep aside.

The Cilantro Coconut Chutney: recipe here.

Putting it all together:

Heat the griddle until hot on medium-high flame. 

Sprinkle a little water on the griddle. Add 1/2 cup dosa batter to the center of the griddle and spread it thin in concentric circles from inside to outside of the griddle.

Spread a little oil to the edges of the dosa to make it crisp. 

Cook the dosa until the underside begins to turn golden in color. 

Place a tablespoonful of carrot bhaji in the center 1/3 of the dosa.

Smear cilantro chutney to the outer 1/3 of the dosa.

Serve immediately with tricolor chutney comprising of garlic chutney, coconut-ginger chutney and cilantro-coconut chutney and sambhar if you wish!

A complete nutritious balanced meal is ready!


Cooking made easy:

Masala dosa is always cooked only from one side. It is essential that the flame is maintained high so that the dosa can be crisp.The stuffing can pretty much be of anything. Even though the traditional stuffing comprises of potatoes, you could make it with mushrooms, paneer or mixed vegetables!

Footnotes( tip for healthy living):

All the dals ( lentils) are a great source of proteins and essential amino acids in vegetarians. They are also low in calories. Here are some more specific benefits.Moong dal ( split mung beans) are a great source of potassium as iron. Masoor dal ( split orange lentil) is supposed to improve blood circulation. Urad dal ( split matpe bean) is one of the richest sources of proteins and vitamin B.

Quinoa is a superfood having several health benefits. Quinoa is one of the most-protein rich food that a vegetarian can eat. It has twice as much fiber as most other grains.Quinoa is rich in vitamin B12, manganese, magnesium and contains a large quantity of iron and lysine.

Disclaimer: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 Independence Day Dishes from Team DFT!

1.1.Sarik's Paneer Tikka

2.Swati's Tricolor Dhokla

3. Prachi's skinny Shahi Paneer

4. Vidhya's Tricolor Wheat Dosa

5. Apsara's Tricolor Paniyaram


6. Chahat 's Tricolor Pasta Salad

7. Paro's Spicy Cauliflower rice.

8.Sonal's Vegetable Cocktail Cutlet.

Food for thought:

Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. Napoleon Bonaparte

Friday, August 7, 2015

Watermelon Pops

With the soaring temperatures here in NYC,my kids have been finding ways to cool down. As any children, my kids clamor for ice cream , Popsicles and juice. I try to give them as much healthy treats as possible by making them at home.  I have been on a watermelon roll these days. I made the watermelon crush the other day and today I am bringing to you watermelon pops. Kids get bored if you give them the same thing all the time. They need variety and so do we. My watermelon pops remind me of the adage " old wine, new bottle".

Basically what I did was pour the leftover watermelon crush into Popsicle mould and freeze it overnight! The little pieces of watermelon give the popsicles a nice texture. Perfect treat for my kids when they come indoors from the sun all hot and thirsty!!  Happy kids, happy mommy!! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday! Wow, Friday comes by so quick!!

Servings: 6 Popsicles


Finely chopped Watermelon: 1/2 cup
Watermelon juice: 1 1/2 cups
Honey: 1 tsp
Cardamom powder: 1 pinch


Add  all the above ingredients to a jar and mix well.   You can mix by closing the jar and giving it a good shake.

If you don't have any liquid from the watermelon that the watermelon naturally gives, just blend one cup of watermelon in a blender for 10-15 seconds. Watermelon juice is ready!

Pour these into Popsicle moulds and freeze it for 5-6 hours or overnight.

To remove them out, place the mould under running water for a few seconds, the Popsicle will come out clean.


Cooking made easy:

You can try this with other fruit bits and juices too. I prefer watermelon as it naturally leaves out water when left sitting for sometime and I don't have to use any other juice for the liquid portion of the pop. My other healthy option would be tender coconut water.

Tip for healthy living:

It is always better to drink homemade fruit juices/drinks/ deserts instead of store-purchased ones as they contain high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives. However, even with home-made ones, make sure that you limit yourself as even fruit juices are concentrated sources of sugar.

Food for thought:

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash. George S. Patton