Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ganesha Sweets

Ganesha Sweets

Wholewheat Modak

Outer Cover (dough)
Wholewheat flour – 1 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp
Warm water - 1 cup
Pinch of Salt
Grated Coconut (fresh) - 1 cup
Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
Cardamom (elaichi powder) – 1 tsp
Mix grated coconut and jiggery
Cook it on a low-medium flame till the jaggery melts and coats the coconut to form a dry and sticky mixture
Takes about 10-12 minutes
Keep stirring it occasionally
Add cardamom powder to it and mix well and let the mixture cool completely
Add salt and oil to the flour
Add warm water little by little to form a stiff dough
Cover and keep aside for 15 mins
Grease your hands and divide the dough into small balls
Roll out each into poories
Place a portion of the filling in each
Shape into modaks and steam for about 15 mins
Test with a knife
Cool slightly and serve

Wholewheat Puran Poli

Wholewheat flour – 1 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Warm water - 1 cup
Pinch of Salt
Chana Dal – 1 cup
Jaggery – 1½ cups
Water – 2 cups
Cardamom (elaichi powder) – 1 tsp
Pinch of Salt
Add salt and oil to the flour
Add warm water little by little to form a soft dough
Cover and keep aside for 15 mins
Wash and soak the dal for 30 to 45 mins
Pressure cook for 3 whistles using the same water
Let it cool completely
Mix it with salt, jaggery and cardamom powder and cook it on a medium flame till it becomes completely dry  
Puran Poli
Divide the dough into lemon sized balls
Make small cups and place a portion of the filling in each
Roll out into thick rotis
Roast on a greased pan using little ghee
Serve hot

Chana Dal Kheer

Chana Dal – 1 cup
Jaggery – 1½ cups
Coconut milk (thick) – 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom (elaichi powder) – 1 tsp
Brown rice powder (coarse) – 2 tbsp
Pinch of Salt
Wash and soak the dal for 30 mins
Pressure cook for 3 whistles using the same water
Let it cool completely
Mix it with salt, coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom powder and cook it on a medium
About 15 to 20 mins
Mix the rice powder in water and add to it
Cook till it thickens slightly
Roast the raisins and cashew nuts in ghee
Add to the kheer
Serve hot or chilled

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hazelnut Chocolate Sandwich

Hazelnut Chocolate Sandwich

Sponge Cake
Wholewheat flour - 1 cup
Cocoa - 1/4 cup
Jaggery powder - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Cold milk - 1/4 cup (to adjust consistency of batter)

Hazelnut chocolate spread
Fresh cream - 1 tsp

Beat the eggs well adding vinegar and salt till fluffy
Sieve the dry ingredients and add little at a time to the beaten egg
Add essence to the mix
Pour the batter into a brownie tin to form a thin layer
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C for 6 to 8 mins
Cut into desired shapes

Beat the spread with the cream

Spread the filling in between two slices of the cake

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Breakfast In A Leaf

Breakfast In  A Leaf
It's a tradition in Mangalore to eat rice, coconut and jaggery cakes wrapped in various leaves and steamed. Somewhere while growing up we seemed to have forgotten this age-old tradition. The leaves add a different aroma and flavour to the cakes. More important, the leaves have a lot of medicinal value which it imparts to the food. I requested a cousin to courier the teak leaves from Mangalore. It's not so easily available here.

Health Benefits of Teak Leaves
Healthy hair
Healthy skin
Reduces cholesterol
Helps to overcome anemia
Reduces blood pressure
Prevents hypertension
Improves blood circulation
Prevents absorption of fat 
Natural slimming aid

Health Benefits of Jackfruit Leaves

Prevents diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels
Detoxification - can remove toxic substances from your body
Contains phytonutrients which can prevent various diseases
Enhances immunity
Improves breast milk production
Stalls the aging process

Weight loss aid

Health Benefits of Turmeric Leaves
Helps boost digestion and reduce problems of gas and bloating
Strong anti-inflammatory properties - boon for those suffering osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Antiseptic properties

 Jackfruit Cake in Teak Leaf

Rice – 1 cup (I took half cup each of brown and white rice)
Udad dal powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Coconut – ½ or ¾ cup
Jaggery – ¾ cup (adjust according to taste)
Curd – 1 or 2 tbsp
Greeen cardamom – 2
Cloves - 2
Peppercorns (coarsely ground) – 2 or 3
Jackfruit (finely cut)  – 1 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Teak leaves – 6 (more or less depending on the size)

Note: If you don’t find these leaves, you can use banana or turmeric leaves

Soak the rice for 3 to 4 hours (Brown rice needs 5 hours)  
Grind it with all the ingredients except peppercorns, half cup of jackfruit and ghee
Mix the rest of the ingredients
The batter should be thick
Take spoonfuls into each leaf and fold the leaves
Steam for about 30 to 25 mins
Serve warm

Cucumber Cake in Jackfruit Leaves

Rice powder – 1 cup (I took half cup each of brown and white rice powder)
Cucumber (grated) – 1 cup
Salt – ½ tsp
Coconut – ½ or ¾ cup
Jaggery – ¾ cup (adjust according to taste)
Curd – ¼ or ½ cup
Greeen cardamom (powdered)  – 2
Cloves  (powdered)  – 2
Peppercorns (coarsely ground) – 2 or 3
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Jackfruit leaves – 6 (more or less depending on the size)

Mix all the ingredients except curds
Adjust consistency using curds
The batter should be thick
Arrange the leaves in an an oiled aluminium mould so as to cover it completely
Pour the batter into the mould
Steam for about 30 to 25 mins
Serve warm

Note: You can replace the cucumber with white gourd. I tried it but baked it in Teak leaves.  The two cakes above.  

Wholewheat Cake in Turmeric Leaf

Turmeric leaves – 8 (depending on their size)
Outer covering
Wholewheat flour (coarsely ground) - 1cup
Salt - to taste
Coconut (grated) - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3/4 cup (more according to taste)
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp

Make a thick paste with rice flour using little water
Spread evenly over the leaves
Spread the filling over it
Fold the leaf
Steam for 15 mins
Serve warm
Note: I've tried replacing the wholewheat with equal quantities of brown rice and jowar flour. It's good

Sunday, August 26, 2018

War On Carbs

Mutton Gravy
It's my  treat every year courtesy a kind Muslim friend who gifts me some fresh goat meat. Although I refrain from eating red meat very often, I love this particular indulgence, guilt free. Now let's get on with the preparation. I'm dying to eat it.

Mutton - 1/2 kg
Onion (medium) - 6
Potatoes (medium) - 2
Tomatoes (medium) - 2
Garam Masala (whole) - 2-3 pieces of each
Peppercorns - 10
Red chilies - 2
Green chilies (slit) - 4
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Ginger - 2"
Garlic Cloves - 12 to 14
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Curry Masala (I used Malvani masala) - 2 tbsp (adjust according to spice level)  
Salt - to taste
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp

Wash the mutton, add salt and turmeric powder 
Cut the ginger into long slits
Heat the oil and ghee together
Add the garam masala, ginger and the chilies
Add onion and garlic
Stir and let it cook for about 5 mins
Add tomato pieces and let it cook for another 5 mins
Add the masala powder 
Add the mutton and mix well
Cover and let it cook in its own juice on slow flame for 30 mins
If still not done add potatoes, coriander leaves and pressure cook upto 2 whistles
Let the cooker cool on its own

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Beetroot Cake

Beetroot Cake
This year the orange season just doesn't seem to be getting over. Malta oranges are still available in many places. After the carrot cake  which used not just orange juice but also the zest, I replaced the carrots with another superfood - Beetroot
If you've seen my previous posts you will realize that I like to use almost the entire fruit or vegetable to obtain maximum nutritional benefits. The skin and the layer just below the skin, the pith and seeds are loaded with nutrients and is usually the most nutritious bit. 
And of course, I don't have to keep reminding you that I replace refined flour and sugar with wholewheat flour or any healthy flour and powdered jaggery. Coconut sugar is another option although a slightly expensive one. All the ingredients used in my dishes are healthy and wholesome. One can be assured that they are eating healthy. That's the biggest advantage of cooking at home. So let's get on with the preparation of the cake

Wholewheat flour – 1 cup
Custard powder (vanilla) – 2 tbsp
Egg – 2
Jaggery powder – 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Orange zest – 2 tbsp
Beetroot (grated) – ¾ cup
Orange juice – 2 tbsp
Coconut oil – ¼ cup
Salt – ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
Milk – ¼ cup (add accordingly to adjust consistency of batter)
Apple Cider Vinegar - 1/2 tsp

Sieve the flour 
Mix dry ingredients well
Sieve again
Beat the eggs
Mix orange juice and beat again
Add oil and blend well
Add the dry mix to it gradually using cut and fold method
Add grated beet and orange zest and mix
Add milk with 1/2 tsp vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Bake for about about 25 minutes
Enjoy this as a healthy snack with your cup of tea or coffee or just any time with the goodness of beetroot, orange and jaggery.

Note: Refrigerate leftovers especially in this heat. It tends to go bad after a day.

Orange Zest
Orange zest is the brightly coloured outer part of the peel. It contains the essential oils responsible for the orange fragrance and flavor. Orange peel also includes the zest, so it can provide the same orange flavor that you get from the zest; however, it also includes the white pith. The pith can be bitter. Orange zest provides the flavor without any risk of bitterness from the pith

Health Benefits Of Orange Zest
Lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol
Has anti-cancer effects
Contains considerable amounts of calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, folate and other B vitamins
Contains dietary fiber

Health Benefits of Beetroot

Has rich source of folate, manganese, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium
Has high fiber content, beetroot helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract
Has alpha-lipoic acid, which may help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity
Has choline which helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory
Enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise
Maintains healthy metabolism, encourages healthy skin and hair, and protects the mouth from soreness and ulceration

Health Benefits of Jaggery
Excellent source of iron
Cleanses the liver
Prevents premenstrual syndrome
Has antioxidants - zinc and selenium which boost immunity

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Oats n Raisin Muffins

Oats n Raisin Muffins
I put together these muffins from a bit of leftovers. I had some fresh cream, an overripe banana, an apple and some walnuts that were getting a little soggy. I dumped some rolled oats into the cream. I added some fresh coconut for flavour and kept it in the freezer overnight. At this stage, I had planned to make coconut cake. 
I mashed the banana, cut the apples into small pieces, added the other ingredients and got the mix ready. By now, I was still deciding between cake and cookies. 
Finally, it was the time factor that decided it for me. I realized the quickest would be muffins. So out came my muffin tray and the rest is there in front of you. The result was a tasty, nutritious snack. It could even be your breakfast cereal when you are in a rush. You have to try out this. Have fun!

Rolled Oats - 1 cup
Wholewheat flour - 1/4 cup
Fresh cream - 1/2 cup
Fresh Coconut (grated) - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Egg - 1
Jaggery (powder) - 1/2 cup (increase or decrease according to taste)
Cinnamon powder - pinch
Banana (overripe) - 1
Walnut (pieces) - 1/4 cup
Apple (small pieces) - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup 
Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup

Mix oats, coconut and fresh cream
Keep in the frig overnight
Add baking powder and soda and mix well
Mash the banana
Add an egg and beat them well together
Add it to the oats mixture
Add wholewheat flour, jaggery, cinnamon powder and oil
Mix well
Add raisins, chocolate chips, apple and walnut pieces and mix well
Scoop into a muffin tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 12 to 15 mins
Check with a knife pierced into the centre

Health Benefits of Oats
Good source of carbs and fiber, especially beta-glucan which lowers LDL cholesterol and helps in weight loss
Loaded with vitamins B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B3 (niacin) and folate
Rich in minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc
Also has small amounts of calcium, potassium
Antioxidant rich especially a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides
Avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory properties and also lower BP
Another antioxidant Ferulic acid is also found in large amounts in oats
Rich in resistant starch

Health Benefits of Coconut
Contains the saturated fatty acid - lauric acid – which increases HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood
Excellent source of minerals like copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc
Very good source of B-complex vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine
Contains good amount of potassium

Resistant Starch

This type of starch is called Resistant Starch. It works like soluble, fermentable fiber. When the bacteria in our digestive system digest resistant starches, they form several compounds, including gases and short-chain fatty acids, especially a beneficial fatty acid called Butyrate. Resistant Starch appears to increase butyrate production more when compared with other soluble fibers.
Butyrate is the preferred energy source of the cells lining the colon. Butyrate has beneficial effects on the colon and overall health. It maintains the colon lining and is believed to prevent colon cancer. It also helps to increase metabolism, decrease inflammation and improve stress resistance.

Potential benefits of Resistant Starch

Improved blood fats
May help to lower blood cholesterol and fats while also decreasing the production of new fat cells
Can increase the amount of fat we utilize for energy.

Better Satiety
Can help us feel full by triggering the release of hormones that reduce the drive to eat. After someone starts eating more RS, it may take up to one year for gut hormones to adapt.
Slows down the amount of nutrients released into the bloodstream, which stabilizes appetite

Better Insulin Sensitivity
It doesn’t digest into blood sugar, so less insulin release
Lowered blood sugar levels
Might improve insulin sensitivity

Improved Digestion
May help alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, constipation and ulcerative colitis
Can add bulk and water to stool, helping in regular bowel movements
Can prevent development of abnormal bacterial cells in the colon and enhance mineral absorption (especially calcium).

Better Body Composition
Since Resistant Starch has less energy (calories) per gram than other starches, it can help us eat less.
Improved immunity
Can influence the production of immune cells

Health Benefits of Jaggery
Excellent source of iron
Cleanses the liver
Prevents premenstrual syndrome
Has antioxidants - zinc and selenium which boost immunity

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Almond Flour Cake

Almond Flour Cake
Almond Flour – 1 cup
Jaggery (powdered) – ¾ cup (can add more or less if desired)
Eggs – 2
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Baking soda – ¼ tsp
Coffee powder – 1 tsp
Cocoa powder – ¼ cup (you can add more or add pieces of cooking chocolate into the batter if you like it more chocolatey)
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – pinch
Apple cider vinegar – 1 tsp
Vanilla essence – ¼ tsp

To make almond flour
Almonds – 1 cup
Soak in water overnight
Peel in the morning and dry them well
Powder in a mixie
Add salt, soda, baking powder, coffee powder and jiggery to the almond flour
Mix well
Beat the eggs with the oil and vinegar
Add to the dry mixture
Mix well
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C for about 15 mins
Let it cool
Cut into slices and enjoy this gluten-free, lactose friendly cake

Health Benefits of Almonds
Rich in antioxidant - vitamin E. Reduces risk of cholesterol
Helps to keep blood sugar under control
Weight control.  High in protein and fiber, helps feel full for longer

Reduces risk of cancer