Sunday, September 15, 2019

Plum and Apple Cake

Plum and Apple Cake


My fascination for fresh fruit continues. With such an overload of apples around, I was all set to make a traditional apple and spice cake. It was the sighting of an end of the season plums that made up my mind to try out this combination cake. It feels good to bite into the tartness of the plums and the sweetness of the apples. Need I add that this is a super healthy cake made with whole wheat flour and oats. A little butter, sliced almonds and fresh coconut only adds to its rich taste and moistness. Go on and indulge in this healthy treat. And of course, like most of my recipes, it's a simple no-fuss cake.



Ingredients
Plums (medium sized) – 2
Apples (medium sized) – 1 ½
Whole wheat flour – ¾ cup
Oats – ¾ cup
Eggs – 2
Butter – ¼ cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp (heaped)
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Jaggery (powdered) – 1 ½ cups
Curds – ½ cup
Lemon – ½
Fresh coconut (grated) – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tbsp + ½ tsp





Method
Peel and core one apple
Slice it
Add lemon juice, cinnamon powder and ½ cup jaggery and mix well
Slice the plums and keep aside
Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder
Beat the eggs
Add the flour mix slowly little at a time
Add curds and mix
Add melted butter
Cut the other half apple into small pieces and add to the cake batter
Let the batter be a little thick as the fruits will release water
Spread the batter in a cake mould lined with parchment paper
Top the batter with alternately with apple and plum slices
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 30 to 35 mins till firm
Cool and slice
Enjoy warm with a cup of hot tea or coffee





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





Resistant Starch

A major portion of our diet is made up of starch. Starches are long chains of glucose found in grains, potatoes and various foods. But not all the starch we eat gets digested. Sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. It is resistant to digestion and goes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. Eventually it reaches the colon (large intestine) where it feeds the friendly bacteria. This has a positive effect on the bacteria as well as on their number. This also does wonders for your health.
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









Monday, September 2, 2019

With A Healthy Twist

Healthy Twist to the Festivities
It's very easy to get carried away in the festive season and eat those extra calories which does show up on the body. I have found a happy balance between spluring and being careful. And eventually, this becomes a habit and eating completely unhealthy becomes difficult. So here's an attempt to give a healthy twist wherever possible without compromising on the taste

Wholewheat Modak


Ingredients
Outer Covering
Wholewheat flour - 1 cup
Maida – 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Warm water - 1/4 cup (more if required)

Stuffing
Fresh coconut (grated) - 1 cup
Jaggery (grated or powder) - 3/4 cup
Elaichi powder - 1 tsp
Soya nuggets (optional) - 1/4 cup

Method
Outer Covering
Mix the flours
Add salt and mix
Add ghee
Mix well and add water to form dough
It should be slightly tighter than a chapati dough
Keep it covered for 30 mins


Stuffing
Mix coconut and jaggery in a non-stick pan
Heat with constant stirring till jaggery melts and blends well with the coconut
Add elaichi powder
Cool
If you want to dry the stuffing, add powdered soya nuggets and mix well

Modaks
Make small balls out of the dough
Roll out each ball to make thin puri
Stuff each puri with the filling
Shape into modaks
Steam for 25 to 30 mins on medium flame till the modaks look translucent



Wholewheat And Mawa Modak


Ingredients
Wholewheat flour - 1 cup
Mawa - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Almonds, Pista (small pieces) - 2 tbsp each
Ghee - 1/2 to 3/4 cup

Method
Mix salt and flour well
Add 1/2 cup ghee to a nonstick pan and heat
Roast the flour well
Add mawa and dry fruits and roast till done
Add little by little the remaining ghee if it feels dry
Cool it a bit
Add grated jaggery or powder according to taste
Cool
Shape it using modak moulds or with your fingers
Let it dry completely
Handle carefully


Chana Dal Kheer


Ingredients
Chana Dal (Bengal gram) - 1 cup
Rice powder (coarse) - 1 tbsp (heaped)
Milk - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Coconut milk (thick) - 2 cups
Jaggery - 100 to 150 gms
Cardamom (elaichi) - 5 to 6
Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp
Raisins - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp

Method
Roast the dal in ghee
Add milk and 1 cup coconut milk and pressure cook for 4 whistles till almost done
Cool
Add salt, cardamom, rice flour and the remaining coconut milk and cook on slow flame for about 15 mins
Stir in between
Add cashewnuts and raisins and mix well
Add jaggery and mix well
Adjust the sweetness according to taste
Switch off the flame
Cover the vessel with a banana leaf and let it cool
Enjoy it warm or chilled


Health benefits of fibre
Blood sugar control. Slows down absorption of sugar in the body
Treats and prevents constipation
Helps in the digestive process

Health benefits of coconut
Contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) which are used as quick source of energy, not stored as fat
Has an appetite reducing effect
Helps in weight loss
Kickstarts thyroid gland functioning

MCTs also have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders





Sunday, August 25, 2019

Apple Oatmeal Cake


Apple Oatmeal Cake
This is one of those no-stress easy peasy cakes. Plus it requires very few ingredients. And the biggest plus is it's as healthy as tasty will allow. The natural sweetness and flavour of apples add to its taste. Go ahead and bake this cake for your binge time. If you want to splurge a bit you could top it with some chocolate chips or broken bits of chocolate.


Ingredients
Apple – 6
Rolled Oats – 2 cups
Wholewheat flour – 1 cup
Butter (frozen) – 150 gms
Jaggery (powder) – 1 cup
Cinnamon powder – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 3 to 4 tbsp


Method
Peel, core and grate the apples
Add lemon juice to it and keep aside
Mix the dry ingredients
Grease or line a 7” springform pan with parchment paper
Grate half the butter to form a layer
Add one layer of the dry mixture
Top with the grated apple layer
Keep alternating
Top with remaining grated butter (you can mix a bit of the dry mixture with melted butter and use as topping to add moistness to the cake
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C for about 30 to 40 mins till golden brown on top
Let it cool

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

Resistant Starch

A major portion of our diet is made up of starch. Starches are long chains of glucose found in grains, potatoes and various foods. But not all the starch we eat gets digested. Sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. It is resistant to digestion and goes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. Eventually it reaches the colon (large intestine) where it feeds the friendly bacteria. This has a positive effect on the bacteria as well as on their number. This also does wonders for your health.
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 11, 2019

Ragi Biscuits...Arabic Coffee

Ragi Biscuits

I had always wanted to try making these biscuits; especially for the health benefits of the grain. I am not exactly a fan of the grain and consume it only when I have the traditional mangalorean pudding, a childhood favourite. I enjoyed the crunchiness of the biscuit. I have tried a sweet as well as a salted version. Both are yummy.
And what do I do with a stock of green coffee beans that have been gifted to me. One obvious option was to powder it and make green coffee similar to green tea. I have been using green coffee for about three years now. I wanted a more exciting option and stumbled upon the Arabic coffee. It's simple to make and goes down well like green tea. The cardamom and saffron add to its taste. But the best part for me; as always, is its health benefits. It's loaded with antioxidants and has a refreshing taste.       


Ingredients
1/2 cup Ragi Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Butter   (frozen)
1/2 cup jaggery powder (for salted version replace jaggery with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tablespoons Milk (to knead the dough)

Method
Firstly roast the ragi flour on medium low flame for few minutes
Cool
Add whole wheat flour to it
Also add baking powder and mix gently
Cut butter into cubes and add to the flour mix
Mix the flour with the butter with your fingertips till you get a coarse mixture
Add jaggery powder and mix
Add milk 1 tbsp at a time and bring the mixture together like dough
Cover it with a cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes
Roll out the dough; not very thin or thick
Cut it into desired shapes
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 10 to 12 minutes in the middle rack till it becomes slight brown n colour. The biscuits will be slightly soft initially
Let them cool in the oven till they become crisp 

 


Arabic Coffee..Qahwa


Ingredients
Green coffee beans – 1 tbsp (lightly roasted and coarsely ground)
Cardamom Seeds – 1 tsp ( crushed)
Water - 2.5 cups
Saffron strands - 3 strands



Method
Boil water in a saucepan
Add ground coffee
Brew for 10 minutes
Add cloves and crushed cardamom
Stir once and boil for another 4 to 5 minutes
Switch off the flame, cover and let coffee grounds settle at the bottom for a minute
Strain and pour the steaming coffee into a mug
Add saffron and rose water








Health Benefits 


Ragi
Gluten-free
Fights anaemia. Rich in iron which helps to produce haemoglobin in the body
Good for skin. Contains antioxidants which help to fight infections and add glow to the skin
Makes bones strong. Contains good amount of calcium
Helps weight loss. Contains fibre



Green Coffee
Rich in antioxidants
Contains Chlorogenic Acid that can increase the metabolic rate
Can control unnecessary food cravings and stop us from overeating
Lowers high sugar levels in blood and can result in controlling Type 2 Diabetes
Natural detox that cleanses the liver; making it free from toxins, bad cholesterols, unnecessary fats and so on
Maintains healthy skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles




Sunday, August 4, 2019

Chipotle Chicken Rolls...Miso Pumpkin Soup

Chipotle Chicken Rolls



Tortilla
Ingredients
Whole wheat flour – ¾ cup
Refined flour (maida) – 1 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Sugar – ½ tsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Milk powder – ½ tsp
Ghee – ½ tsp
Warm water – as required
Oil – ¼ tsp
Method
Mix all the ingredients except water
Now slowly add water and knead to form slightly stiff dough
Smear it with oil, cover with a cloth and keep in a warm place for 1 hour
Punch the dough and knead it a bit
Divide into two parts and roll out to form tortillas
Cook on a low flame in a non-stick pan till bubbles appear
Flip to the other side when done
It should be soft, don’t overcook it 



Chipotle Chicken stuffing
Ingredients
Chicken – 250 gms
Chipotle paste- 2 tbsp (adjust according to preference)
Garlic – 3 to 4 flakes
Capsicum (medium) – 1
Carrot (medium) – 1
Pepper powder – 2 tsp (adjust according to preference)
Salt – to taste] Oil – 1 tsp
Method
Marinate the chicken pieces in chipotle paste and keep aside
Microwave chicken for about 10 to 12 mins
Or cook in a pan with minimal water.
Cool
Shred the chicken pieces
Slit carrots and capsicum
Stir fry with garlic, salt and 1 tsp pepper
Add the chicken pieces to it
Add the thick gravy formed while cooking the chicken and stir fry
Cool



Chipotle Sauce
Ingredients
Chipotle paste – 2 tbsp
Mayonnaise – 2 tbsp
Salt and pepper powder t- to taste
Onion (finely cut) – ¼ cup
Garlic (crushed or finely chopped) – 3 or 4 flakes
Method
Roast the onions in ¼ tsp oil
Add garlic and fry again
Cool
Add chipotle paste and mayonnaise
Mix well
Add salt and pepper powder if required



Chipotle rolls
Spread chipotle sauce on each tortilla
Add the stuffing and roll
Secure with a tooth pick



Miso Pumpkin Soup


Ingredients

Pumpkin (orange variety) – 200 gms
Bottle Gourd -100 gms
Garlic flakes –  8 to 10
Black pepper – 3 or 4 (according to taste)
Ink salt – ½ tsp
Miso paste – 1 tsp
Water – 200 ml
Method
Add all the above ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook till the vegetables become pulpy (about 10 whistles)
Cool
Blend in a mixie
Warm it
Add miso paste and mix well


Health Benefits


Miso Paste
It’s a paste made from fermented soybeans. The soybeans are mixed with salt and koji, a mold that’s also used to make sake. The blend might also include barley, rice, rye or other grains. To get its unique flavor, the mixture ferments for anywhere from a couple months to years! The longer it ages, the miso paste gets darker and more complex in flavor.

Just a tablespoon of miso paste can add some serious flavor to your meal. Not only does miso add a savory element to your dish, it’s also good for you. 
Because it’s a fermented seasoning, miso paste contains probiotics, healthy bacteria which may boost your immunity, promote a healthier gut and help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Pumpkin
Potassium in pumpkins can have a positive effect on blood pressure
Antioxidants in pumpkin could help prevent degenerative damage to the eyes
Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin can be used as a replacement for butter or oil in baking recipes