Tendli Sabzi (Ivy Gourd Stir Fry)

Tendli, tindora, kovakai or ivy gourd is a vegetable which is prepared in almost all Indian households. There are many ways of preparing this nutritious vegetable. The most regular or popular way of using this vegetable is by making a stir fry. Tendli is also used to make chutneys which I still have to try and hoping to share that recipe as well sometime soon. 

Today I will be sharing an everyday side dish recipe that can be served with rotis or phulkas. This is  a no onion, no garlic and no tomato recipe which is very easy and quick to put together and can be prepared in a jiffy. Chop the tendli the night before and prepare the stir fry in the morning for your lunch box or for a quick lunch at home.  

Ingredients:
3 – 4 cups of tendli/tindora/ivy gourd washed and chopped lengthwise
2 tbsp of oil 
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1 green chili chopped 
4 – 5 curry leaves 
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
1/4th tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 -1 tsp of chili powder 
1/2 tsp of jeera powder 
1 – 2 tsp of coriander powder 
2 – 3 tsp of roasted peanut powder (optional)
1 – 2 tsp of fresh coconut (optional)
Coriander/cilantro leaves for garnishing

Method:

1) Wash the tendli thoroughly. Trim off the ends and chop the tendli length wise and keep this aside.

2) In a pan (preferable a wide fry pan), heat oil. Once hot add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and let it splutter as well follow this by adding the asafoetida. At this point reduce the gas flame to low. 

3) Now add all the spice powders followed by green chili and curry leaves. Saute this for few seconds. 
4) Increase the gas flame to medium and add the chopped tendli/tindora to the pan and mix everything nicely. Add salt to taste. 

5) Cover and cook for 10 – 15 mins on a low to medium flame. Cook until the tendli is nice and tender. For this recipe further cook the tendli for 5 more minutes until it is a little golden brown and a bit crispy. 
6) This step is optional. Add the roasted peanut powder, freshly grated coconut, chopped cilantro and mix everything. Keep the sabzi for an additional minute and then switch off the flame. If you do not prefer roasted peanut powder and coconut simply finish off with chopped coriander leaves/cilantro. 
Simple tendli sabji is ready. Serve hot with fulkas or rotis. 

Affogato

Hello everyone….we are back from Alaska trip and I am very much excited to share our experience and photos with all of you. So while I work on the Alaska post I thought about sharing a simple and super quick recipe for one my favorite Italian dessert /beverage. All you need is an expresso shot and really good vanilla ice cream/gelato. And I am quite sure that you will be having both of these ingredients  available in your kitchen right now. If you love coffee and ice cream then you will realize that this combination is a match made is heaven :P!!!
Affogato….. is a super simple, delicious and creamy coffee based Italian dessert. Absolutely perfect for this hot summer season. Affogato is derived from the Italian word “affogare” which means “drowned”, is known to be a typical Italian way of enjoying ice cream/gelato. A scoop or two of vanilla or chocolate ice cream/gelato is drowned in a shot or double shot of expresso. The hot expresso slowly melts the ice cream to form a creamy delicious concoction. Yes it is that simple!!! You may replace expresso with strong brewed coffee but using expresso is highly recommended. 
Traditionally affogato uses nothing but a shot of good intense expresso with a scoop of gelato but you can tweak it a bit by topping it off with whipped cream, chopped nuts, shaved bitter sweet chocolate or even a dash of alcohol. Nowadays you will find a variety of recipes online other than the traditional one that uses various other flavors of gelato and toppings. 

You will need:

2 small scoop of good quality vanilla gelato/ice cream
3 – 4 tbsp or 1 shot of hot expresso
Coffee cup or any serving cup of your choice

Method:

1) Chill the coffee cup in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This way once you pour the hot expresso over the ice cream it won’t melt all at once.

2) To the coffee cup/serving cup add two small scoops of  really cold gelato or ice cream.

3) Now pour a shot of hot expresso over the gelato. And your very own affogato is ready to be served.

Enjoy as is or top it off with whipped cream, shaved bitter sweet chocolate or your favorite choice of nuts.

Hara Bhara Kabab

Hello everyone….

So today I will be sharing with you all almost every Indian’s favorite and my favorite vegetarian appetizer, the Hara Bhara Kabab. In hindi “Hara” means “green” and “Bhara means filled, so the name literally translates to a kabab filled filled with green goodness. 
It is the most popular vegetarian appetizer on the menu of most of the Indian restaurants. But you know what, you don’t have to go to a restaurant always to eat these delicious kababs. It can be easily made at home. What I like most about this recipe is its simplicity. This dish uses very few spices yet it tastes absolutely delish. Although it is named as kabab, this one is made differently. Without dwelling into too much details about how the actual meat kababs are made, all I would say is that this one does not need too many ingredients or charcoal for grilling and is very easy to prepare. 
I have made hara bhara kababs before as well but this time I also added fenugreek/methi leaves and green bell pepper since I had them handy. And believe me the addition of both fenugreek/methi leaves and the green bell pepper lifts up the flavor of this dish. But if you hate methi leaves then its totally optional. 
And the kababs are shallow fried so that makes it comparatively healthier than the deep fried version. Make it a size smaller and this will be a very yummy finger food for kids who generally run away from all the green veggies. 
Give this recipe a try and I promise you it will not disappoint you. 

This recipe will yield 10 – 12 medium sized kababs

Ingredients:

1 cup of blanched spinach leaves (chopped and squeezed to remove excess water). If using fresh you will need approximately a bunch.
1 cup of fresh/frozen green peas (if using frozen refresh it)
1/3 cup of blanched fenugreek leaves/methi leaves (chopped and squeezed to remove excess water)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of roughly chopped green bell pepper/capsicum
8 – 10 mint leaves
2 – 3 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves
1 medium to large size potato (boiled, skin removed and grated)
3 tbsp of roasted gram flour/chickpea flour
1 tbsp of finely chopped ginger
1 – 2 green chilies chopped
1/4 tsp of turmeric pwd
1- 2 tsp of chaat masala
1/2 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 – 3 tsp of oil for sautéing the veggies
Salt to taste
Oil for pan frying/shallow frying

Fenugreek/methi leaves are optional but I love how it amplifies the flavor of the kababs. You can also add cornflour and/or breadcrumbs in place of gram flour/chickpea flour. 
You can increase or decrease the spices used in this recipe as per your liking. You can also add amchur powder/dry mango powder instead of chaat masala or you can combine both as well. 

Method:

1) Boil or steam the potato until it is completely cooked. Once cooled peel the skin and grate the potato using a grater. I like using less potato for this recipe. Because I personally think the potatoes takes away from the taste of the dish if you use more of it. 
2) Roast the gram flour/chickpea flour in a pan until it gives out a nice aroma. Set this aside. 
2) In a large wok or saute pan heat 2 – 3 tsp of oil. Once hot add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now add the ginger and chilli, saute until raw smell of ginger goes away. 
3) Now add the green bell pepper first and cook for a 1- 2 mins. This will help remove excess moisture. Then add the rest of the ingredients that is the green peas, spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Add the salt and turmeric powder and cook for few mins until all there is no more moisture left in the mixture and it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan thats when you know its done. This will take about 8 – 10mins. Keep this aside and let the mixture cool for few mins. 

4) Once the mixture is cooled, transfer the mixture into a blender or mixer bowl. Give the mixture a few pulse until it is nicely combined. I like it a little chunky.

5) In a bowl, add the veggie mixture, grated potatoes, chaat masala, garam masala, roasted gram flour/chickpea flour and salt if needed. Mix everything together until nicely combined. Check for seasoning by tasting the mixture. The mixture will be a little gooey but don’t worry.

6) Grease your hands with some oil and make round patties. Press half of a cashew nut in the middle. Make similar patties with rest of the batter and make sure to grease your hand before making each one.

7) Finally pan fry or shallow fry the kababs on a medium flame for few minutes on both sides until nice and golden brown. This will take anywhere between 6 – 8 mins.

8) Remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Serve this delicious, wholesome and healthy green kababs hot with your favorite ketchup or chutney. I served it with my my favorite sweet, sour and garlicky coriander and mint chutney. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this post, so until next time….Happy cooking 😀

Baked Sorghum Flour Crackers/Jowar Methi Mathri (Gluten Free recipe)

In some of my previous post I have mentioned how I have embarked on a journey to stay fit and healthy and wrote a really long post on my struggles to maintain a healthy weight. Its a very touchy topic for me or for any woman for that matter. Hence sometimes I get carried away and I write whatever comes to my mind at that very moment because of which I end up with a lonngg post. Ok I should stop now…hehehe. 

Anyhow, since the past few months I have been making a conscious effort to stay away from refined sugar, anything that has all purpose flour and deep fried foods as much as I can. Its not like I don’t indulge in them once in a while but its a complete no for me on a daily basis. Somehow it can be a tad bit difficult to say no to some of my favorite fried Indian snacks like chakali, chips, bhajjis,  vadas etc…you get the idea right? :P. Also if anything that has a methi (fenugreek) in it then I can gorge on it endlessly :P. One such Indian snack is Methi Mathri which I love munching with a hot cup of ginger infused chai. Originally mathris are made with all purpose flour or combination of whole wheat flour and APF. These are also deep fried….Sighhhh. But if you are currently in a situation like me 😛 and are searching for a yummy baked version, then fret not. I have come up with the perfect recipe for thin, crispy gluten free and healthy baked version of these goodies. It is quite easy and fuss free recipe. Give this a try and I am sure you will love it. 

This recipe will yield around 30-40 mathris/crackers

Ingredients:

2 cups of sorghum flour/jowar flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Salt to taste (i used around 1/2 tsp of salt)
Warm water for making the dough
2 tsp of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of carom seeds
1 tsp of crushed black pepper
4 tbsp of oil

You can skip the kasuri methi and instead use other herbs like thyme, rosemary etc.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan. In a bowl add the sorghum flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Now add the hot oil. Mix in and rub the oil onto the flour with your hands. At this stage the flour should resemble the texture of bread crumbs. 
2) Now add rest of the ingredients that is kasuri methi, sesame seeds, carom seeds and crushed black pepper. Mix everything well.
3) Start adding warm water little a time till all the mixture comes together and forms a dough. I used approximately 3/4 cup of warm water. Gently knead it and cover it with a plastic wrap/clingwrap and let it rest for 10-12 mins. This dough does not much of kneading so do not knead it too much. 
4) While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and place the oven rack one level below the top rack. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep this ready.
5) Time to make some crackers. Divide the dough into two or three portions. Take a piece of cling wrap or plastic wrap and place it on your counter top or rolling board. Place a portion of the dough on top of it. Now place another piece of cling wrap on top of the dough and start to roll it with the help of a rolling pin. 
6) There is no need to roll it very thin else the dough will form cracks and it will be difficult to lift the crackers. Roll it nice and even as much as possible. Now remove the cling wrap from the top and using a cookie cutter or pizza cutter cut the crackers in any shape of your liking. I used a pizza cutter and cut it into small squares. Brush the crackers with a little oil on top. You may poke holes on the crackers with the help of a fork but you can skip this step. 
7) Gently lift the crackers with a help of a spatula (I used a frosting spatula) and place it on the lined baking sheet. 
8) Bake at 350F(180C) on a preheated oven for 25- 30 mins. Turn the crackers midway after 10 -15mins for even baking on both sides. I baked them for around 30 mins to get a nice color all over them. But 20 -25 mins of baking should be fine. However keep checking on them in between as different ovens can vary with respect to temperature. 
9) After baking transfer the crackers/mathris onto a plate and let them cool completely. They will be more crispy after cooling. 
Enjoy these baked goodies with a hot cup a chai or coffee. 

How to make popped/puffed quinoa?

Puffed or popped quinoa is a fun way to enjoy this super healthy grain. Top it over your morning cereal bowl, smoothie bowl, salad, add them in your homemade energy bars, homemade granola or simply snack on them. The options are endless. 
Homemade popped quinoa tastes very much like popcorn but is very crispy but unlike popcorn it will not be fluffy after popping. It is very easy to make your very own puffed quinoa at home. Let see how. 

Method:
1) Take quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and wash it under cold running tap water thoroughly. This procedure is required to wash off the saponin that coats the quinoa which gives off a very bitter taste. Hence rinse the quinoa nice and good before proceeding with rest of the steps. 
2) Spread the washed quinoa with the help of a spoon or spatula onto an ungreased baking sheet. 
3) Dry the quinoa in the oven set at the lowest temperature (mine is 170F) with the oven door open.
4) Stir the quinoa frequently to ensure all the grains dries evenly and thoroughly for around 30mins. 
5) Take a regular sauce pan or a heavy bottomed pan and heat it on a medium flame. Add around a teaspoon of any oil like coconut, vegetable or peanut oil in the pan. I used a non stick saucepan, added no oil and it worked perfectly fine. 
6) Add 3 – 4 tsp of quinoa at a time so that there is an even layer of quinoa in the pan. You can add more if you are using a large pan. Cover with lid or hold the lid in your direction as the quinoa starts popping. Shake the saucepan in between when the quinoa starts popping. Trust me you will need a lid for this because they will start jumping and flying out of the pan.
7) You will know its done when the popping sounds reduces/stops. Immediately transfer the quinoa into a bowl or a dish and repeat the same procedure with rest of the quinoa. As seen in the picture the quinoa will be brown in color post popping/puffing. 
Enjoy 🙂

Kerala Fish Curry Recipe

I have been wanting to post this recipe of my favorite fish curry for a really long time. I generally prepare this curry during weekends and for us weekends are mostly lazed out and hence until now couldn’t find time to click pics. Anyhow, today was the day when I finally found time to click some pics especially of the cooking procedure. Hubby had an off today and it was because of his help that I could capture some pics of the cooking procedure as well.   
My mom prepares two types of fish curry at home, one with coconut and another without coconut. We always have this curry with steaming hot rice, tempered boiled tapioca and a side veggie. This Kerala fish curry with malabar tamarind or kudampuli as we call it in Malayalam gives it a very unique tangy flavor and the coconut gives it a rich super creamy texture. I once served this curry to a guest and he thought I had used yogurt in the curry because of its creamy texture. This is my hubs favorite and he always asks me to make this whenever we buy fish. 
Now if you love coconut like I do I am sure you will love this recipe. I obviously learned this recipe from my mother. Although I never cooked it back home in India :P, it has now become a favorite must have weekend fish recipe for us here in US. So lets take a look at how this delicious dish is made :).

Ingredients:

Serves: 2- 3 or maybe 2 if you love eating more than 1 piece of fish at a time…hehehe

For the Fish:
Fish of your choice have the scales removed, cleaned, washed and cut into pieces. I used 1 large golden pomfret for this recipe and cut it vertically. Made slits on the sides of the fish pieces so that the all the flavors of the spices can blend in with the fish.
I used 4 pieces for the curry and the rest I fried…yummmmm!!!

For the curry:
1/2  to 3/4 cup of freshly grated coconut
1 – 2 whole dry red chili (I used 1 whole dry kashmiri red chili for color and 1 regular dry red chili for spiciness)
1 tsp of kashmiri chili powder (if not using whole dry red kashmiri chili)
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
1 – 2 pearl onions
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 – 2 kudampuli/malabar tamarind/garcinia cambogia
1/4 tsp powder of roasted fenugreek seeds
Water as needed
Salt to taste

For tempering:
1- 2 tsp of coconut oil
1 green chili (optional; add only if you want the curry to be more spicy)
4 – 5 curry leaves
1 inch of ginger julienned or finely chopped

Method:

1) Add all of the mentioned ingredients for the curry except the malabar tamarind and fenugreek seeds powder in a blender/mixer grinder bowl. Add enough water and grind to make a smooth paste. Keep this aside.

2) Wash the malabar tamarind/kudampuli and soak it in warm water. Keep this aside.

3) Heat a cooking vessel/kadai or if you have a cooking claypot then even more better (it enhances the taste of this dish). Once hot add the coconut oil.

4) To the hot coconut oil add the ginger and curry leaves, if using green chili add it at this time. Saute on a medium flame until the raw smell of ginger goes away.

5) Now add the prepared coconut paste, salt and add water as needed. I prefer my curry to be little on the thicker side so I added accordingly. Here add water as per your liking.

6) Cook the curry on a medium flame and once it starts boiling add the soaked tamarind. Boil the curry for 5 – 10 mins on a medium flame. After few mins you will notice the curry will be more deeper in color because of the tamarind. Check and adjust seasoning.

7) Now add the fish pieces into the curry. Stir and let it cook on a medium for another 10-12mins or until the fish is completely cooked. Finally add the roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds and stir. Let it cook for a min or two and switch of the flame.

And thats it….delicious Kerala Fish curry is ready to be served with hot steaming rice. 🙂

Chicken and Roasted Veggies Lettuce Wraps

So today was one of those days when I wanted to eat something that was healthy, light (yet filling) on my tummy and something that wouldn’t require too much of time in the kitchen. So after a lot of pondering I remembered I had a bunch of lettuce in the refrigerator. So what better than a good lettuce wrap. Grabbed all the veggies I could find in the refrigerator and some chicken breast. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips added some salt, pepper, lemon juice, red chili powder, minced ginger and cilantro paste. Roasted the veggies with some salt, pepper, olive oil and minced garlic and pan fried the chicken. Tossed and mixed everything and served warm over some lettuce leaves. Finally garnished with my favorite cubed avocados and drizzled with a bit of lemon juice. And my lunch was served. Yummm!!!
This is a super easy recipe that uses very less and basic ingredients yet tastes really good. Do give this recipe a try on days when you what something simple to eat or when you are not in a mood to cook anything elaborate. 🙂

Ingredients:

Serves  1 to 2

For roasted vegetables:
You can use any veggies of your choice and chop or cut into cubes however you like it. They is no hard and fast rule as to how much or what should be the quantity of the veggies. This is what I did.

1/2 cup of zucchini chopped
4 – 5 portobello mushrooms chopped
5 – 6 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup of cubed green/yellow or red bell pepper
1/3 cup of cubed onions
1/2 an avocado for garnishing (optional)
Washed and cleaned lettuce leaves for serving
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 clove of garlic minced
1 – 2 tsp of olive oil

For the Chicken:

Around 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chicken breast sliced into strips
1 tbsp of cilantro paste
1 tsp of minced ginger
Salt, pepper and chili powder for seasoning.
1 tsp of lemon juice
Oil for roasting
Here you can also use any of your favorite chicken seasoning

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 450F.

2) In a bowl add the cilantro paste, ginger, salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and mix well. To this add the chicken and mix thoroughly. Keep this aside and let the chicken sit in the marinade for 15- 20mins.

3) In an another bowl add olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic and mix it thoroughly. To this add the washed, cleaned and chopped veggies. Toss it nicely to coat the veggies with the seasoning.

4) Spread the veggies onto a baking sheet and bake the veggies at 450F for 15 to 20mins. Keep stirring the veggies in between for even cooking.

5) While the veggies are roasting in the oven, heat a pan with 1 – 2 tsp of oil. To the hot pan add the chicken and cook for 10- 12 mins or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

6) Mix the roasted veggies and chicken together. Serve warm on the lettuce leaves and garnish with a drizzle of lemon juice and chopped avocados.

And thatssss a wraaapppp 😛

Kerala Aviyal (Avial) Recipe (Mixed vegetable with coconut)

Aviyal is a very popular Kerala vegetable recipe served as a side dish along with hot rice. It is also served with an array of other veggie dishes during Onam and Vishu sadyas (Sadya : variety of pure vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf). Since its Vishu tomorrow I thought this would be an apt time to share this recipe with everyone. 

In Kerala, Vishu is the first day of the Zodiac New Year and is celebrated by Hindus with lots of fireworks, light and delicious food. Vishu festival of Kerala shares the same spirit as that of Baisakhi in Punjab, Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and in many other states of India with different names.  
The aviyal recipe that I am sharing today is a dry version but you can always make the curry version by adding more of water or yogurt. Aviyal is basically coconut based mixed vegetable recipe seasoned with chili, curry leaves and drizzled with aromatic coconut oil. It is a very easy, healthy and simple recipe.

Ingredients:

This recipe uses approximately 1/2 cup of all the below mentioned vegetables. You can use any vegetable of your choice, carrot can also be added in this recipe. However below mentioned veggies are commonly used for making aviyal. 
This recipe was passed on to me by my lovely mother. And this is how I like my aviyal since I was little. 
Ingredients:

The veggies:
All the vegetables mentioned below should be cleaned, washed and cut lengthwise for this recipe.

1/2 cup of baby eggplants 
2 drumsticks 
1/2 cup of snake gourd 
1/2 cup of cluster beans
1/2 cup of yellow cucumber 
1/2 cup raw plantain
1/2 cup of taro root 
1/2 cup of yam
1 green chili slit
4 – 5 curry leaves

The masala:

1/2 – 3/4 cup of freshly grated coconut
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds/jeera
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
2 green chilies

1/3 cup of tamarind water (soak tamarind in 1/3 cup of warm water and squeeze to remove pulp)
3/4 cup of water
Salt to taste 
1 tsp of coconut oil (or as per your liking)

You can also use yogurt in place of tamarind. It gives a nice texture and taste to the aviyal. 
Method:
1) Clean, wash and cut all of the above of the above mentioned vegetables lengthwise (as seen in the picture below).
2) In a mixer grinder bowl, add the freshly grated coconut, green chillies, turmeric powder and cumin seeds. Give it a few pulses until everything is nicely combined. Set this aside. 
3) Add all the veggies (except the drumsticks) along with curry leaves and green chili in a wide pan with approx 3/4 cup of water. Cook the veggies for around 10mins. 

4) Add the drumsticks, salt and tamarind water when the veggies are half cooked. Cook further until all the vegetables and the drumstick is cooked. Do not overcook else the veggies will break and will not retain its shape.
5) Now add the prepared coconut mixture to the veggies and mix well. Simmer and cook for 2 -3 mins.

6) Now the highlight of the recipe, switch off the flame and drizzle 1 tsp of coconut oil on top of avial and stir. 

And that’s it. Delicious avial is ready to be served. Serve with piping hot rice or along with other veggies for sadya or even for a south indian thali. 🙂

Aloo Paratha (Potato stuffed Indian flat bread)

Today I will be sharing a very simple recipe of one of my favorite comfort foods, Aloo Paratha or Indian flat bread stuffed with spiced potatoes.

It is one of the most popular recipes of Punjab but is equally popular and enjoyed all over India from north to south. Aloo paratha is a type of Indian flatbread which is stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes, pan roasted with some clarified butter or butter and served hot with yogurt or pickles. Enjoyed as a breakfast dish in north India, I personally like to have aloo parathas for lunch or dinners.

Aloo parathas bring back fond memories of my school days. I always used to relate aloo parathas with picnic as it was the the most popular item on the picnic menu in our household. I still remember my mom packing hot parathas in aluminum foils along with some sandwiches for most of my school picnic outings. I still remember how me and all of my friends used to gather all excited and sit in circles for lunch with our packed homemade goodies. They were my favorite picnic meal then and it still is now especially when it comes to preparing something easy yet delicious.

Initially it took me quite a few trials to make good parathas. Most of the times the stuffing would come out of the dough while rolling it making the rolling pin and everything around completely messy. Other times I was just not satisfied with how the filling tasted, at times it tasted bland and there were times when the dough to the filling ratio was just not right. I started making aloo parathas quite frequently after my move to US. And so after a lot of trials, errors and practice, I can now make fairly good parathas without any blunders :D.

Some quick nutrition facts about potatoes:

Before you start judging the poor potato as being unhealthy think again. If you remove all the deep frying, sour cream, cheese and all of the unhealthy dressing from the potatoes it is actually a healthy food source.

  • Potatoes are very high in Vitamin B6
  • They are a good source of potassium, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid,  phosphorus, niacin and dietary fibre
  • All in all they are good for our bones, heart health, digestion, metabolism and skin.

So if you skip the french fries, chips and all the unhealthy dressing and include them in your diet in a healthy way and in moderation they can be quite good for you.

Hence you can enjoy parathas as well provided they are drizzled with very little oil or ghee/clarified butter.

The key to making good parathas is obviously the stuffing. The stuffing should be dry or else it will come out while rolling the dough. Here are some useful tips that I have learnt when it comes to cooking the potatoes correctly:

1) I prefer cooking the potatoes by boiling them. Rinse the potatoes under running water first. In a sauce pan add water, half a teaspoon of salt and mix. Always start with cold water for even cooking of the potatoes. The water should be just enough to submerge the potatoes. Cover and cook in gently boiling water till tender. It takes anywhere between 15 – 25 mins for medium sized potatoes. Check if they are cooked by inserting a small knife, skewer or fork. If the knife easily slides without any resistance to the centre then its done.
2) Try steaming them if possible. This ensures that the potatoes become tender but without all the excess moisture. This may take more time comparatively.
3) Avoid starchy potatoes like russet because they can absorb water while cooking. I usually use white, yellow or red potatoes.
4) Do not overcook the potatoes, this will result in a very gooey and mushy potatoes and they won’t work well for the stuffing. If you have a perfectly cooked mashed potatoes then the rest of the steps are very easy.
This recipe will yield anywhere between 6 – 8 medium sized parathas
Ingredients:
For the stuffing:
2 -3 peeled and boiled mashed potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic grated/paste
1 tsp ginger grated/paste
1 green chili chopped
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of kashmiri red chili powder (you can also use regular chili powder)
1/4 tsp of garam masala
1/4 tsp of chaat masala or amchoor powder or lemon juice
2 tbsp of chopped cilantro/coriander
2 tsp oil for tempering
Note: If you don’t like the flavor of ginger garlic and want to keep it simple, skip it completely or you can also use only ginger paste. You can also add onions if you like. Skip the green chilis and reduce the amount of chili powder if you want the stuffing less spicy. This recipe will yield mildly spicy stuffing. 
For the dough:
1 – 2 cups of whole wheat flour
Water as required
Salt to taste
1 tsp of oil
Dry flour for dusting
Method:
Preparing the dough:
1) In a large bowl add the whole wheat flour and salt. Mix well.
2) Now start adding water little at a time and start mixing with hand. Keep on adding little water at a time and knead till all the flour comes together and forms a dough.
3) Knead well to form a soft dough. Now sprinkle oil and knead again. Cover the bowl or cover the dough with cling wrap and keep it aside for 15 – 20 mins. Meanwhile you can start preparing the stuffing.
Preparing the stuffing:
1) Cook the potatoes by boiling them as mentioned above. Depending upon the size of the potatoes the cooking time can vary. Remove from hot water and let them cool for few mins. Peel them when its cool enough to handle. Mash the potatoes using a masher or a fork. Mash it real good till looks nice and even so that there are no lumps.
2) Heat oil in skillet or pan (I used very little oil for tempering you can use more if you wish). Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and let it splutter.
3) Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute for few secs on a low to medium flame till the raw smell goes away. Now add all the turmeric powder and chili powder saute for few seconds.
3) Add the mashed potatoes, salt to taste and mix thoroughly. After around 1 – 2 mins add the garam masala and amchoor/chaat masala powder/lemon juice. Mix thoroughly again. Finally add cilantro leaves and then check for seasoning. Remove the skillet from the gas stove and let the potato mixture cool for few mins.
Note: This is how I like my stuffing. You can skip the tempering and instead add all the masala directly to the mashed potatoes and use it for stuffing. 
For making the Paratha:
1) Heat a round griddle or tava on medium flame. While the skillet is getting warm start preparing the paratha.
2) Pinch out and make balls from the dough and the potato mixture. The size of the dough balls and potato mixture should be somewhat same.
2) Take one dough ball and start rolling the dough on a rolling board with the help of a rolling pin to a circle of approximately 5 inch in diameter. (Before rolling the dough you can coat the dough with some dry flour and then start rolling to avoid the dough sticking on the board. I usually avoid this step as I don’t like too much of dry flour on the paratha).
3) Place one ball of potato mixture in the centre of the rolled dough (as pictured). Now start lifting the dough from the sides and fold it to the centre (as pictured below). Make sure to seal it from above in the centre. Flatten it with hand and coat it with dry flour on both sides.
4) Start rolling the stuffed ball carefully like we do for roti/chapati. Keep rolling it till you get a round paratha of approximately 7 inch in diameter.
5) I usually keep the thickness of the paratha medium. If you wish you can make them a bit thick. However do not try to roll it very thin else the stuffing will start oozing out.
6) Grease the griddle/tava with some ghee or butter.( I used very little ghee that is less the 1/2 tsp on each side to keep it healthy.)
7) Place the paratha on the griddle and cook it on a medium flame till you can see bubbles forming on top. Add some ghee on the top as well and then flip it and cook the top side. Flip the paratha 2 to 3 times until its nice golden brown on both the sides. You can add more ghee during this stage as per your liking. I added it only once initially to keep it healthy and less greasy. And thats all, remove the paratha from the griddle/tava and similarly make rest of the parathas. Serve hot aloo parathas with pickles or yogurt. 🙂

Amaranth and Dates Energy Bars (No sugar and no bake energy bars)

Long post Alert!!!! 😀 😛

Since the past few months (from the month of September 2015 to be precise, you will know if you have read my previous post about hiking) I have been consciously trying to workout more, cutting down refined sugar, processed and all kinds of unhealthy food from my diet as much as possible. Although i won’t say that I have completely cut down chocolates, cakes, cookies, ice creams, pizzas etc entirely but yes I am trying to eat in moderation and incorporating all healthy organic food in my diet as much as I can.

Being a foodie it becomes a bit difficult or should I say challenging 😛 to control what you eat and you tend to go off track very easily. It becomes even more difficult especially when you live in a place like US where you get the opportunity to try cuisines from all over the world. Believe me it was not that easy initially. But I have done this before and I tried to look back to the “old me” who was very much thin.

Few years back prior to my wedding I used to work a 9-5 job which also involved lot of traveling. I hardly bothered when it came to exercising and ate whatever I liked. The amount of sweets and sugary stuff that I ate during that period was extensive. Then came a day when I said to myself “that’s it”, I had to do something about all this weight. And that is when i decided to cut sugar, fried and processed food completely from my diet no sweets, no chocolates or ice creams. I started walking whenever I could and took stairs rather than the elevator to office. It took time but slowly and gradually after 6 – 7 months I has lost almost 10 – 12 pounds (5-6kgs). Only by cutting down on sugar and eating mindfully and in moderation, I had lost all the unwanted weight. I strongly disagree with any form of dieting. I continued eating our regular Indian food. But everything in moderation. My goal was not only on shedding all the excess weight but I wanted to be healthy at the same time. I reached my target weight and maintained it for a good 2 years.

Post marriage and after moving to US, after 3 years I yet again find myself struggling to stay fit and healthy. I have gained so much weight that this is the heaviest that I have been in years. And its definitely not a good feeling. No I am not interested in being a size zero (I love my curves) or shedding weight just because people started pointing out that I look fat. I want to look and feel healthy, I want to be fit physically and feel strong from within. All this weight gain has caused a number of changes in me like lethargy, lack of interest in doing anything, weakness, unhealthy looking skin, hair fall.. to name a few. Just imagine even after having all the time in the world (yea I am on H4 so currently not working hahaha) I did very little to stay healthy. The only time I lost some weight and stayed healthy was when we lived in Austin, Texas. It’s not like I didn’t want to, I think I was not motivated enough.

One fine day I read this quote on Instagram “Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live”, that is when something in me switched on and I decided enough is enough. This powerful quote coupled with a strong motivation from my husband has been the driving force on my road to leading a healthy life.

To stay healthy we have to eat healthy as much as possible. . Well there are cheat days involved but even on those days I make sure I never go overboard. Cook your own meal, eat at home, homemade is always good because you know what goes in your food and you have complete control on what you add. Choose healthy snacking to fight the hunger pangs during the day. That is the reason why I always have dates, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds etc handy in my pantry. Eat a handful in place of fried chips and other processed stuff to satiate your hunger pangs late in the afternoon.

Healthy lifestyle had led me to avoid all kinds of packaged stuff and that includes energy bars. I make mine at home. This way I always know that my energy bars are free of preservatives and all that sugar. Have you checked out my previous energy bar recipe? If not then click here.

My husband requested to make a completely sugar free energy bar. And this Amaranth and Dates bars are just that. Super easy, no bake and no sugar energy bars . They are perfect as a pre workout snack or you can even carry them in your purse when you are on the go for a quick energy refill.

 

This is a super easy recipe. All healthy ingredients minus sugar and homemade makes this energy bar a must try. If you don’t have amaranth at home skip it add more oats and nuts. Feel free to add your favorite nuts in this recipe and enjoy this healthy snack but try and limit yourself to one small bar at a time because this can be very addictive :P.

Ingredients:

1 cup of puffed/popped amaranth
1 cup of oats (traditional or quick cooking. I used quick cooking oats and toasted them on a skillet for few mins)
1 and 1/2 cup of crushed medjool dates
1/2 cup of unsalted peanut butter (at room temperature)
2 tbsp of goji berries
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of flax seeds

All of the above ingredients used were organic.

Method:

1) Throw the pitted medjool dates in a blender and give a few pulses until it is gooey in texture. If you are using dates that are a little hard, soak them in warm water for few minutes.

2) In a large bowl add the crushed/pureed dates and peanut butter. Mix thoroughly.

3) Now add all of the above mentioned dry ingredients and mix everything until nicely combined. The texture will be such that you should be able to make a ball of the mixture easily.

4) Transfer the ingredients into a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ inch baking pan or any pan in which you can spread the mixture easily to make bars. I lightly greased the pan with some coconut oil.

5) Press the mixture with the back of a spoon and pack tightly in the pan. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 -2 hrs. And thats it.

6) Cut the bars in any shape of your liking and enjoy this perfectly healthy no sugar energy bars 🙂

Need more information on Amaranth? Check out the below link and get to know everything about this nutritious grain.
We have only one life and one body to care for, and we better do it right – Novak Djokovic
 
So until next time, stay healthy, stay happy 😀