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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

BROWN RICE KHICHDI

BROWN RICE KHICHDI
Khichdi is the soul food of the Indians!!! Khichdi is a rice lentil porridge that is usually eaten when you want something light yet nutritious.
Making the Khichdi with Brown Rice, packs the humble khichdi to a different level. Brown rice has high levels of fibre and a low glycemic index and carbohydrates.
Khichdi can be made using any variety of rice, but, brown rice retains its healthy bran and germ throughout processing, allowing it to maintain some of those powerful nutrients that the white rice has lost. This processing also allows brown rice to retain valuable minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.
Brown rice also has a delicious nutty flavor and a chewy texture due to the nutritious bran layer.
Brown rice has numerous potential health benefits, including high levels of fibre and the potential to lower blood pressure and can help the body to effectively use insulin, maintain a healthier weight, and increase potassium levels.
In India, khichdi is usually served to people recovering from illness, surgeries as it is light and easy to digest. It’s a one pot meal and can be packed with loads of vegetables as well.


Ingredients (Serves - 4)
Brown rice - 1 ½ cup
Yellow Moong dal – ½ cup
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - ½ inch
Onion - 1
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander Leaves finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida (Hing) – A pinch
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Peppercorns – 3-4
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt as per taste
Ghee /Oil - 2 tsp



Method
Wash the rice and Yellow moong dal. Soak it in hot water for about an hour.
Meanwhile, dry roast 1 tsp of the cumin seeds and peppercorns and pound them into a coarse powder.
Pound the Ginger and chillies into a coarse paste, you can alternatively also mince it small or run it in a blender.
Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the green chillies and ginger paste, sauté, after about a minute, add in the finally chopped onions, curry leaves, sauté until the onion is cooked. Add a dash of Asafoetida, Himalayan Pink Salt and sauté. Drain the lentils and rice and add to this mix. Mix well, Add the coarsely pounded cumin seeds and pepper powder and mix well.
Now add water, the water ratio is depending on the rice. So, If you are taking 1 cup of rice you need to add 2 cups of water.
But since, you have lentils cooking along as well, you will add 3 cups of water. In my recipe, I have 1.5 cup of rice and ½ cup moong dal, so I have taken 4-4.5 cups water. I pressure cook for up to 4-5 whistles. (If cooking in a pan, cook for about 20 minutes till the lentils are tender and the rice is cooked through). I prefer the pressure cooker as I’m always worried about brown rice not getting cooked well.
Once done, wait for the steam to work its magic on the khichdi.
Open after 15 minutes, mix well, garnish with coriander and serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, pickles and papad.
This is the basic recipe.

Tips
·       Adding a ¼ tsp of Pickle oil takes the paste to the next level. If do not have pickle oil, you can add ¼ tsp of pickle masala for an added flavour.
·       Use Ghee instead of Oil for the additional taste. If instead of ghee you use Oil, this dish can be categorized under Vegan recipes.
·       Vegetables of your choice can be added, usually, carrots(diced), green peas, spinach chopped fine etc. are added.
·       You can add 2 pods of garlic, if you like the taste, pound the garlic, along with the green chillies and ginger and follow the recipe above.
·       You can add a tsp of Garam Masala powder if you like some flavour.
·       You can add a tsp of Kasuri methi (dried methi leaves) while sautéing the onions.
·       You can add a tsp of Tomato Puree if you like.



Friday, April 24, 2020

MUMBAI BAKERY STYLE NAN KHATAI (BAKED BISCUITS EGGLESS)

MUMBAI BAKERY STYLE NAN KHATAI (BAKED BISCUITS EGGLESS)
If there is a biscuit that’s authentically and genuinely Indian then it’s the Nan Khatai.
Is it really of Indian origin?
Wikipedia says that, Nan khatai is believed to have originated in Surat(Gujarat) in the 16th century, the time when the Dutch and the Indians were the important spice traders. A Dutch couple set up a bakery in Surat to meet the needs of local Dutch residents. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to an Iranian.
Yet there is a version that says, that the word Nan Khatai is derived from the Persian word Naan, which is a type of flatbread and Khatai is an Afghan word and means biscuit. In fact, this biscuit is also famous in Iran and Afghanistan, that could be the reason that we see most Islamic bakeries make different assortments of these lovely baked biscuits. Now, yet another version doing the rounds is that the Parsi Bakers invented the Nan khatai.
It really doesn’t matter who invented these beautiful delicacies but I’m glad they did it.
In the yesteryears, Nan Khatai’s were baked in old style urn ovens using firewood.
Nan khatai is popular and available all over India and every region has its twist to it.
My daughter who loves baking says that Nan khatai cannot be classified as a cookie. It’s more like a biscuit. According to her cookies are much buttery and melt in the mouth and the texture of Nan khatai is like a biscuit.
The eggless version that we get in Singapore during Hari Raya known as Sugee Cookies, have a high content of vegetable shortening in it, which feels rich and soft but leaves a waxy coating on the roof of your mouth.  
The Nan khatai in India is not melt in the mouth (Although we can make it in that texture too) but my biscuits come with a crunch like the ones we get at The Mumbai Bakeries.
I personally love the home made ones as I know exactly the ingredients that go into the making and nothing tastes as good as homemade ones, so here’s a recipe if followed perfectly would result in awesome Nan khatai biscuits.


Ingredients
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 cup + Standby (2 tablespoons)
Semolina (Rava/Suji) - 2 tablespoons
Caster Sugar - ½ cup
Unsalted Butter (or ghee) - ½  cup at room temperature
Baking Soda - ¼  teaspoon
A pinch of Salt
Cardamom Powder - ¼  teaspoon
Crushed Nuts - 1 tablespoons (Preferably Almond and Pistachio finely chopped)

Method
In a big bowl, Sieve the All purpose flour, semolina, baking soda and a pinch of salt.
In another Bowl take the melted butter, to it add the caster sugar, Using a whisk or hand mixer blend until smooth and frothy. Add in the cardamom powder and give it a good stir.
Add this mix to the Dry ingredients and mix well and knead into a dough.
In case the dough looks very greasy, add in the 2 tablespoons of flour that we kept as standby.
Knead well,
After this, divide dough into about 20 equal portions and make round shaped balls from it, press these between the palms and place it over baking tray. Line your baking trays with a baking sheet/parchment paper/aluminium foil and place the dough balls on it, allow sufficient space between the biscuits, usually 1.5 to 2 inches as the biscuits tend to expand in size during the baking. Top each one with a little bit of finely chopped nuts and press gently with your finger.
The next step…….Baking, if this goes wrong everything is wasted, so here I’m sharing some tips of how to bake the Nan khatai
Baking
·       For even baking, position the rack at the centre of the oven and bake one tray of the biscuits at a time. If you want to bake two trays, space the racks, and switch the racks from top to bottom halfway through the baking.
·       Always Preheat the oven 10 to 15 minutes before baking the first batch.
·       Check the oven temperature with an oven thermometer (if you have it or else you can go by Visual judgement).
·       Once pre-heated, bake your cookies for about 15-20 minutes @180 degrees centigrade (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
·       Visual judgement is the best when it comes to baking your biscuits, follow the abovementioned time and check for the colour (light beige golden)
·       Using a timer would be good. Most Ovens come with a recipe book or instruction printed on it, which includes a range in baking time; check what’s the range for your oven. If not follow the minimum time stated in the recipe. Example, my recipe says, minimum time is 15 minutes.
·       Every oven has different settings and it may take a little longer or shorter time based on the oven you use.
Once Baked…..♨
Remove the baking tray from the oven and transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack (or wire rack). The biscuits can’t be eaten yet. Internally the heat is still cooking it. After about half an hour you can indulge in these beautiful Nan khatai Biscuits. Store them in an airtight container.
Enjoy these beauties with your tea/ coffee☕. I love dunking them into my tea☕. Sweet and Sinful Indulgence.

Tips
·       Just follow the Recipe As-is
·       Ensure that the butter in the recipe is soft but not completely melted
·       If Caster sugar is not available, you can powder the coarse sugar in the dry blender
·       If you are using ghee instead of butter, it should have semi solid consistency. It should not be completely melted or look like oil.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

VEGETARIAN / VEGAN ARROZ CALDO (FILIPINO RICE PORRIDGE)

VEGETARIAN / VEGAN ARROZ CALDO (FILIPINO RICE PORRIDGE)
Arroz Caldo is a simple Filipino rice porridge, “Arroz” means Rice and “Caldo” means soup.
The Filipinos are meat lovers and almost every dish would have meat in some form or the other.
This dish also has meat in it but since I'm a vegetarian, I'm sharing a vegetarian recipe with a slight Indian twist😉 (Turmeric and coriander).
It's usually made of shredded chicken, garlic, ginger, and chicken broth.
My Filipino helper introduced me to this simple yet healthy dish.
She first made it and it tasted exactly like our Khichdi minus the lentils.👍
My helper says that they used to get this for breakfast at the Government school they studied in back in Ilo Ilo, Philippines.
She says due to poverty, many kids going to the Government schools are malnourished.
The Government or people who are well to do donate Rice to the school and when they are blessed with these Rice donations, they make a simple Arroz Caldo and serve it to all the kids.
The kids themselves volunteer to cook it under the supervision of the teachers.👍
It's nutritious and filling and helps to satiate the pangs of hunger of these kids from the lower economic backgrounds who don't have enough to eat at home.👍

Arroz Caldo is a dish that I would recommend highly👍 as it is very light on the stomach and easy to digest.👍
A piping hot bowl♨ of Arroz Caldo will be perfect when you have a cold or not feeling well or when you are tired and lazy and want to rustle up something quickly.
Next time you are lazy make Arroz Caldo instead of a packet of Instant Noodles.
Although she says, sometimes they add a packet of instant noodles to the Arroz Caldo, but I won't recommend it.


Ingredients
Brown Rice /White rice - 1 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic - 3-4 pods
Red chilly flakes - 1/2 tsp
Coarse Black Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste
Coriander leaves - 1tbsp finely chopped (Optional)
Spring onion leaves - 1 tbsp finely chopped (Optional)
Drumstick leaves - 2 tbsps (Optional)



Method
Wash the rice nicely and Cook in a pressure cooker up to 3 whistles. My helper says they used to cook it in an open pot only.
Peel and chop the garlic and ginger finely.
In a wok, take 1 tbsp oil, once the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or 2.
When it's brown in colour, then add the turmeric and the cooked rice and mix well.
Add salt to taste.
Give it a good stir.
Add 2 cups of water and cook until all the spices are blended into the rice.
Serve it piping hot with a dash of the chilly flakes and pepper powder.
You can garnish it with finely chopped spring onion leaves or coriander leaves or drumstick leaves. 
Dunk into the hot Arroz Caldo and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Navarathri Festival then & now...changing times and patterns

Navarathri in the 70's- 2000 & Now....

I had the privilege of living & being brought up in Mumbai. A place where people from all over the country live. Where each festival is celebrated with gaeity. A place where there's a frenzy to catch a train/bus/rickshaw/taxi. Where a day passes only to go to work & be back. Where even 24 hours in a day is less.

The power it takes to board the train, squeezing through the robust melee of people in a mad frenzy to catch the train & the same frenzy to get off the train, literally jumping onto the platform, squeezing back through the crowd and daring all odds to reach home and yet come back with energy for the family & household chores waiting for them.

Yet, when festivals come, the ladies undauntingly celebrate it with ardour & warmth.

Our Tambrahm community has always known to be a practical & intelligent lot. Our pragmatic approach to changing times has helped retain our age-old traditions & rich culture & heritage.


Then.....

Working ladies would invite over the weekends & housewives over the week. Inspite of living in a fast paced city with such a flinty pace. People still managed to make the time to celebrate festivals with zest.

Back then, I used to enjoy dressing up in my pattu pavadais(silk petticoats), adorning jasmines in my hair and wearing Amma's gold necklace and jhimki(long gold earring with precious stones). I used to feel so dolled up as I used to accompany my Amma(mother) for vettala paaku.

The girl kids were an integral part of the celebrations and were "invited". I used to feel so privileged to be "invited"😀

Nowadays the kids do not want to accompany nor do they like to dress up in our beautiful traditional gear.

In our community, being born as a girl itself was a celebration.

My brother wasn't officially "invited"😜 for the vettala paaku.

Once we reached in our silks & fineries, mind you it's the onset of winters and just comfortable to be attired in our ensemble.

When we visited the people, we used to admire the golus(arrangement of dolls), ask questions about the theme of arrangement, new Additions (It's a tradition to have a new addition of a doll every year). We used to chant shlokas, sing bhajans, appreciate any new things in the hostess's house.

We usually used to be offered sundal & some sweet and beverages(coffee, tea, juice)

Sometimes we used to visit a few houses in a row, so the sundals & sweets used to be packed in little small packets of banana leaves covered with a newspaper made into little take away packs. These packets were made & readily kept if we refused to have anything offered at the hostess's home.

But now....

Calling for Vettala paaku has become an elaborate affair.

Every person is competing with another. The humble sundal & sweet are replaced with a huge array of food items. It's like a buffet arrangement with a varieties of snacks & sweets. People are slogging in the kitchen to outdo each other in the quest of making an impression on the invitees. Some even ordering food from restaurants. Eventually a lot of ladies who cannot manage all this will jump off this bandwagon and succumb to the temptation of "not" celebrating this beautiful festival.

There's also competition in dressing up, presenting the house,

Offering expensive gifts and comparing who's gift is better than the other.

There's pressure in dressing up in certain colors.

There are yet, a group of people who pack the thamboolam in gift pouches and send it over to their friends through their maids😂.Totally hassle-free but completely kills the idea of offering thamboolam.

The manjal(Haldi) kumkumam (Kumkum)which was offered from little brass/silver boxes have transformed into plastic pouches or boxes holding colored powders.

The paaku(betel nuts) is packed in plastic pouches.

We are using so many non biodegradable things now in the name of convenience which is harming the environment.

I'm glad I kept re-inventing myself over the period of years. This year I purchased cloth bags to give my vettala paaku, i do not give blouse pieces which are going to be further passed on😜.

I love the idea of gifts, Gifts are an integral part of the thamboolam, so i take a lot of efforts, go to many shops, buy gifts which can be used in the pooja room or house. Keep the cost economical as I give a lot of people (80-100 ladies). The idea is not the cost but the thought behind it.

Haldi-kumkum packets i still give....maybe eventually it should (will)change. Betel nut packets too....but my friends love them.

No bangles, combs, pottu packets, mirrors😂🤣....they definitely get recycled.

Gifts are an integral part of the Haldi kumkum,

My mom used to say, "The more ladies you give, the more punyam you get".


We must adapt to the changing times and not rigidly keep doing rituals in the name of tradition. We must take into account the present day situation and act accordingly.


"Happy Navarathri to All"




© Sukanya's Musings

Monday, May 16, 2016

PARUPPU PODI (SPICED LENTILS POWDER)

PARUPPU PODI (SPICED LENTILS POWDER)
Paruppu Podi with steaming hot rice is food for the soul. It is a saving grace when we are not feeling well or tired and lazy to cook an elaborate meal. Whenever we go to the restaurants and order an Andhra meal, my hubby Yo completely relishes Paruppu podi mixed with steaming hot rice and a dollop of ghee.
Nowadays, we can buy Paruppu podi from the shops and they come in various permutations and combinations and do taste good. But nothing can beat the aroma, the flavour and the taste of the freshly roasted and ground podi at home.
Mix hot steaming rice with some Paruppu podi and ghee or Gingelly oil and it’s a one pot meal. Some fried and roasted papadam will do well with it.
There are many variations to this recipe. Below is an absolutely divine recipe. This is my grandmother’s recipe and I got this from my cousin sister. I made it for my trip overseas and it was definitely a hit. Do try it and enjoy.


Ingredients
Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) – 1 Cup
Chana Dal – 2 tbsps (Split Bengal gram dal)
Red Chilly – 3 Nos.
Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Salt as per Taste

Method

Dry roast the ingredients till the dals turns into a golden brown color. Add in the salt and asafoetida.




Once it’s cool, grind it into a fine powder.

Enjoy yummy paruppu podi with hot rice and a dollop of ghee or gingelly oil.
Store the remaining in an air tight jar for enjoying later.

Tips
·         You can add 1 tbsp of Urad Dal (Split Black Gram/ White lentil). Just roast along with the above ingredients and grind.
·         You can add curry leaves, Wash, dry and roast along with the above ingredients and grind. Gives a good aroma and is good for health too.
·         You can add Garlic. Just peel and roast 4-5 cloves of Garlic along with the above ingredients and grind.
·         You can add 1 tbsp of Desiccated coconut powder (dry). This can be dry roasted and added. (If you add coconut it won’t have a longer shelf life).



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

COARSE BESAN LADDOO (COARSE GRAM FLOUR BALLS WITH A CRUNCH)

COARSE BESAN LADDOO (COARSE GRAM FLOUR BALLS WITH A CRUNCH)

One of my neighbors sells homemade Diwali sweets and savories. I always buy something to support her effort. This time when I went to buy I saw her making huge batches of Besan Laddoo. Immediately I was tempted to try them at home. She was making the Fine Besan laddoos and I wanted to try the coarse variety.  
So I bought the Coarse Besan from Mustafa. We are fortunate to get the Coarse Laddoo Besan under the Pattu Brand. 

My Maharashtrian neighbor in India used to make the best besan laddoos that we used to savor. She always used to sort and then grind the Chana dal in a flour mill near our house. This would ensure no compromise on the taste. The quality of the besan flour is very important as it is the main ingredient in the laddoos.  The Coarse besan laddoos taste like panjiri laddoos and also absorb less ghee which is good.


Ingredients
Coarse Besan – 3 cups
Powdered Sugar – 1 ½ cup
Ghee – 1 cup melted
Cardamom - 4 to 5
Cashews  -  ½ cup
Raisins – ½ cup


Method
In a wok (pan), add 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast the Gram flour (besan) evenly by continuously stirring it with a spatula over a medium flame until a nice toasted aroma comes out of it.

Be careful not to burn the besan while roasting it as it will completely ruin the taste of the laddoo.
Roasting the flour properly is one of the biggest challenges in this recipe. If the flour is not roasted properly there will be a raw smell to the ladoos, It’s also not good for health. 
So roast until you begin to get the lovely aroma, the color would be a yellowish golden (See the picture below).


Let the roasted besan cool down. Keep it aside.
Powder the sugar along with the cardamom and keep aside.
Take the cooled down roasted besan and mix with the sugar.
Transfer this mix to a big plate. I usually take a big plate so it’s easy for me to mix. (See the picture above)

In a saucepan, add in the ¼ cup ghee and to it add the Cashew nuts and Raisins and fry until the raisins become plump and the cashew nuts get slightly toasted. Remove the fried cashew nuts and raisins and keep them aside in a plate. Keep the melted ghee.

Now add the melted ghee.  
Do not pour too much ghee while making the balls, it’s better to pour little by little....Like how we pour water for making sand play. If all the ghee is poured at one time, the mixture may become very greasy and the flour may not bind well to shape the laddoo. The laddoos will be soft and collapse as well. Take some Besan add the ghee and make balls. 


This recipe is easy for beginners to follow. You can’t go wrong with the measurements of ghee thanks to the coarse besan. Add enough ghee to help enable to make balls. Once, you have added the ghee, make small tight balls out of the mixture immediately. If your flour looks dry, add the ghee as needed little by little. And if your flour looks greasy, do not add more ghee.
While making the balls, take one piece of cashew and 1 piece of raisin and make a ball. This will ensure that every laddoo gives u a piece of the cashew nut and the raisin.


Coarse Besan Laddoo is ready for you’ll to enjoy!!!



Tips
• To make the fine besan laddoo - Take the cooled down roasted besan and mix with the sugar and run in the blender till it becomes one uniform mixture and follow as above.  The finer the blend the more melt-in-the mouth the laddoo’s will be.


• Sugar can be added according to taste. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

DIET POHA CHIVDA / LOW CAL CHIVDA (THIN BEATEN RICE FLAKES MIXTURE - A LOW CAL SAVOURY)

DIET POHA CHIVDA / LOW CAL CHIVDA (THIN BEATEN RICE FLAKES MIXTURE - A LOW CAL SAVOURY)

First of all “HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL”. MAY THIS DIWALI BRING HEALTH, WEALTH & PROSPERITY TO ALL.

Diwali is a time for making and sharing goodies. The markets are filled with colourful mithais and namkeens that look so tantalizing,  that We usually overindulge in the goodies and either put on loads of weight or become sick. This year I thought why not make something which is guiltless. Who doesn’t enjoy guiltless snacking?

Earlier I had shared a recipe of the Patal Pohe Chivda in my blog, (Click on the link below)



Traditionally in this recipe you have to deep fry all the ingredients including the poha...then it’s very tasty.
But in my recipe, I had roasted the poha until crisp by adding a little oil...rest of the ingredients I deep fried.

The problem with Indian snacks is, it’s difficult to make them totally guiltless.
These days in Singapore we easily get many ingredients which were not easily available when I landed here 15 years ago. I’m glad that an influx of Indian migrants in Singapore  have brought in a demand for things which is a bonus for food bloggers and people who love cooking.  I always go to Mustafa (a huge shopping centre in Singapore) a week before Diwali to check out their stuff and this year while browsing through I saw packets of Diet Poha and I thought Hey!!! This is exactly what I wanted as I’m trying to watch my weight.  

I even avoided adding Copra(Dried coconut flakes) which is there in my previous recipe.
Here is my recipe, this can also be made on a regular basis for a tea-time snack.


Ingredients
Diet Poha - 1 Kg.
Peanuts - 1 cup
Daliya (Roasted Gram Dal/ Chutney Chana dal) - 1 cup
Cashewnuts- 20-25 pieces
Golden Raisins - 20 -25 pieces
Chopped Green chilies - 12-15
Curry leaves -  5 sprigs (25-30 leaves)
Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
Sesame seeds - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 3 teaspoon
Asafetida - 1 teaspoon
Salt as per taste.
Powder sugar - 2 teaspoon
Oil - 1/2 cup


Method
Diet Poha is very thin and fragile so it gets crumbled very quickly. Take the poha and sieve it for any fine powder to be filtered leaving only the flakes. Keep aside.
Diet Poha has very thin flakes so it gets cooked very fast. I decided not to fry it and dry roast it instead. You can also put it in the microwave. If in case you are cooking in the microwave, put the diet poha in a shallow microwave safe dish and microwave it on high for 30 seconds only.
For those who don't have a microwave you can dry roast it in a wok (Kadhai)on a very low flame till it becomes crispy.  This needs attention else it can burn very easily. Keep this Poha aside.
If you have roasted the poha in the microwave, then Add 2 tablespoons oil in a big wok, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds and when they start spluttering, add in the green chillies and curry leaves, fry them well. Then add in the diet poha, turmeric, salt and sugar and saute for about 3 minutes. Keep aside.
Now in another wok fry all the ingredients one by one on a low flame ensuring that you don't burn them. Fry the peanuts until golden and split, then the daliya until golden, then the cashews until golden, Raisins until plump. Preferably use a net to fry all this as it can catch all the ingredients from the oil. Ensure that none of the ingredients become black. If they become black throw them, don't use them in the chivda as the taste of the chivda can spoil with it. Drain the oil well and mix all the ingredients that you fried in a vessel with the diet poha.
Toss everything well with a light hand ensuring that you don't break the thin poha flakes. Roast for another 2 minutes on a low flame while mixing. Put off the flame and spread this on a newspaper or a big plate. Let this get cool for some time then store it in an air - tight dabba(box).  Your  Diet Poha Chivda/ Low cal Chivda is ready for some Guiltless indulgence.


Tips

  • If you do not have the confidence of adding the chilly and curry leaves to the tadka afraid of burning the tadka then you can fry them separately...after you fry all the nuts, you can fry these too also using a net in the oil and then mix with the mixture.
  • You can add poppy seeds to the tadka while adding mustard and sesame but Poppy seeds are banned in Singapore so I didn’t add them
  • You can add Puffed rice (kurmura) with Poha.
  • You can add red chilly powder instead of green chilies.
  • You can add citric acid or amchur powder for some sourness. I didn't do it in my recipe.
  • You can add deep fried garlic in the Chivda
  • You can deep fried onion to the chivda.
  • I have seen a recipe wherein fresh coriander seeds are roasted, pounded into a powder and added to the chivda for extra flavor.
  • My Mother-in-law adds Roasted and pounded fennel seeds into the chivda.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ROASTED PHOOL MAKHANA /PUFFED LOTUS SEEDS / FOXNUT

ROASTED PHOOL MAKHANA /PUFFED LOTUS SEEDS / FOXNUT
Phool Makhana is Puffed dried lotus seeds, also known as Foxnuts. Phool Makhana is very famous in North India during Vrat Season for making kheer, sabji or just roasting it for snacking.It is considered to be very healthy as its low in saturated fats and cholestrol content, Isn’t that nice to hear you don't need to feel guilty while you munch on these super healthy crunchy roasted phool makhana, it tastes a bit like popcorn but I tell you this is more tasty and healthier...and you can prepare it in a jiffy.
I had seen Phool makhana used to thicken gravies in North Indian curries.  But that’s all I knew about it. But when I came to live with the North Indians in Singapore, I saw that they used it extensively during the fasting season. They made a kheer(Milk dessert) out of it or used it in a vegetable or simply ate roasted Phool Makhana like popcorn. Now, this variety impressed me the most as I love popcorns.

Then again, when I googled on Phool Makhana...

I learnt that.......
1. Lotus seeds benefit the spleen, kidney, and heart.
2. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.
3. It is also rich in calcium. It can be easily digested by all the age groups.
4. It is a highly regarded herb for restoring sexual vigour and youthful energy in older men.
5. It regulates blood pressure, relieves numbness and aching near waist and knees.
6. It is Suitable for arthritis, helps fighting impotency and premature aging.
7. Makhana is very useful for women during and post pregnancy period.
8. It is also helps your respiratory system, veins and digestion.
9. Popped makhana contains almost 12% of protein! (excellent especially for vegetarians!)

Anti – aging :- Fox nuts are rich in antioxidants which works as age lock system and makes us younger for much longer. Fox nuts are effective for individuals with high risk of premature ageing, premature grey hair,wrinkles  and other signs of aging. It reverses the aging process over a period of time......This definitely has caught my Attention

Diabetes :- Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which is accompanied by high blood glucose levels. It is a result of improper functioning of the pancreas, which secretes the insulin hormone. Fox nut is a sweet and sour seed These seeds contain starch and protein which is excellent for diabetes .

AYURVEDA AND UNANI (BRANCHES OF MEDICINE) texts have accepted its aphrodisiac and spermatogenic properties.
Herbs of phool makhana are considered worth in vajikarnana therapy.
Makhana helps in Cardiac Protection and builds the action in dysentery and frequent urination.
Phool makhana has astringent property, hence it gives relief from diarrhoea and helps to improve the appetite.
It helps in increasing the quality and quantity of semen, also prevents the premature ejaculation, increases the libido and also helps in female infertility.
Phool makhana is sweet to neutral in nature. Therefore, helps to detoxify the spleen, reinforce the kidneys and nourish the blood.

TCM
According to principles of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), fox nut is used to strengthen spleen and kidneys.  Makhana helps in conditions like arthritis, erectile dysfunction and premature aging. These seeds have antioxidant properties and help in digestion, rejuvenates respiratory system and prevents frequent urination.
“25 to 30 grams” phool makhana is considered as a healthy food/diet for the whole family.
Wow!!!!.......So many benefits...then why not add it into our daily lives....and I decided to make the healthy popcorn (Roasted Phool Makhana).
My kids loved it and kept munching. I tried adding some flavours too like chat masala, red chilly powder, pepper powder etc. They liked the original lightly salted the best though.


Ingredients
Makhana - 2 cups
Oil/Ghee – 2 tsps
Salt as per taste
In case you want to add color / flavors
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp (Yellow color)
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (Red Chilly flavour)
Paprika powder – ½ tsp (Paprika flavour)
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (Pepper flavour)
Chat Masala powder - 1 tsp (Masala Flavour)
Tomato powder – 1 tsp (Tomato Flavour)
Cheese powder – 2 tsp (Cheese Flavour)
Or any flavour you please. You can make a combo of flavours too....

Method
In a wok, add ghee and once the ghee is hot, add the phool makhanas and roast them. Don’t leave them unattended on the fire as they are very delicate and tend to burn fast. Keep roasting till it’s light golden in color.  Check if it’s done by sampling one...If it’s crunchy then it’s done. Put off the gas.
Add salt and toss. Fill a nice bowl with the crunchy phool makhanas and enjoy this healthy snack 
In case you want to add flavours then,
After sampling add in the spice powders of your choice and toss.  Serve and Enjoy.
If you’ve made a big batch then let the Phool Makhana cool down completely then store them in an airtight container. Phool Makhana has a very good shelf life, you can store them in air tight container for many months. Keep them away from the moisture and direct sun light.

Tips
·         The plain salted tastes better when roasted in Ghee

·         After you add the spice powders don’t toss with the gas burner on as the spice powders will catch       the bottom and burn spoiling your batch of makhanas.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

random work in progress


STOMACH PAIN (COLIC)
Colic is one of the most common reasons a baby cries. The reason could be untimely feeds and wrong kind of gassy foods consumed by the breast feeding mother.
If a baby (less than nine months of age) has a pain in the stomach, the recommended remedy is to crush 10 to 15 grains of dill seed (known as “Suva” in India) in a teaspoonful of water. This extract should be mixed with a few drops of mother's milk and administered to the baby.
H Here’s a picture of the dill seed for identification.

CONSTIPATION
Another common stomach ailment is constipation. Everyone is aware how uncomfortable it is to be constipated. One loses one's appetite, feels that one's stomach is distended and dreads the next trip to the bathroom. If adults find constipation so discomfiting, one can only imagine what a baby must feel. Tradition has a cure for this too. Administer a few drops of castor oil mixed with a teaspoonful of mother's milk or lukewarm water. The dose of castor oil should be adjusted according to the age of the baby and the severity of the constipation. This once-a-day dose should be terminated once normal bowel movement has been restored.
CHEBULIC MYROBALAN : Botanical Name: Terminalia chebula - also known as harda or pilehar in Hindi, kadukka in Malayalam, Kadukkai in Tamil, kadukar or karakaya in Telugu, harithaki, pathya, sudha or poothana in Sanskrit. (Refer to the picture on your left)
It is very effective in treating constipation. Just rub the seed of the harda on a stone with a little bit of water and give the paste to the baby every morning after bath and the baby will be relieved of constipation.
1. A natural and simple diet is a significant factor in preventing constipation. Eat plenty of green vegetables, whole grains, cereals, bran, fresh and dry fruits, milk and milk products etc. One should carefully avoid faulty diets, intake of refined and rich foods lacking minerals and vitamins, overeating, extravagant consumption of meat, regular use of purgatives and excess of strong tea or coffee. If you are prone to habitual constipation, taking warm water frequently during the day-time will be of good help to you. Food should be properly chewed and should be taken as per schedule, avoiding odd meal timings.
2. Mix the three myrobalans (Indian gooseberry, Chebulic myrobalan and Beleric myrobalan) in equal ratio and grind them in a mixer and sieve it. Consuming this powder with a glass of warm water twice or thrice a day helps relieving constipation.
3. In a glass of cold water mix a teaspoonful of Ispagula husk. Now you get this commonly as Isabgol. Take this solution followed by another glass of water. This remedy is highly useful for constipation.
4. Keep drinking water in a copper vessel and leave it overnight. Drinking this water in the morning helps regulating the bowel movement.
5. Mix one part of Indian Senna, 2 parts of Chebulic myrobalan, and one part of Indian gooseberry. Grind the mixture into a fine powder. Taking a teaspoonful of this powder is effective in chronic constipation.
6. Apply Castor oil/ Coconut oil to the Anus region of the Baby, so that it doesn't pain for the baby while passing motion and the hard motion easily slips out. Use a cotton bud to apply and don't use your finger else you may hurt the baby with your nail.



NAUSEA
1. Cut a lemon into two halves. Sprinkle a very small pinch of black salt over the cut surface, and lick it. The strong aroma of lemon coupled with the salty taste will make you feel better.
2. Cut a slice of ginger. Chew it for some time. You can use black salt to impart a salty taste to the ginger.
3. Make a sherbet out of ginger and lime, Add some black salt and sugar to taste. You will feel much relieved.



LOSS OF APPETITE
Loss of appetite and indigestion are closely linked entities of digestive disturbances in Ayurveda. Agnimandhya is the term used to denote the loss of appetite while Ajeerna denotes indigestion. A harmonious balance of Vata and Pitta hold the essence of a normal appetite. A vitiation in their mutual balance could lead to a loss of appetite. Irregular dietary habits bring about a vitiation in Pitta while psychic problems like anxiety, fear or physical causes like suppression of impeding urges lead to an imbalance in Vata. Both these sequences lead to disturbances in normal levels of appetite.
1. Extract about a cup of pomegranate seed juice. Add a pinch of rock salt and a spoonful of honey. Taking this solution slowly removes the bad taste from the mouth and increases your appetite!
2. Take equal parts of mustard seeds, asafetida, ginger, cumin seeds and black salt and grind the mixture to a fine powder. Add this mixture to a glass of buttermilk and drink it an hour before meals to enhance the appetite.
3. Mix well a spoonful of each - Indian gooseberry powder, clarified butter and honey. Take this paste prior to meals to improve the appetite.
4. Ingredients : one part each of cloves, nutmeg and long pepper, 3 parts of Indian gooseberry and 8 parts of ginger. Grind the mixture to obtain a fine powder. Add sufficient sugar to make the taste acceptable. Consuming a spoonful of this mixture twice or thrice a day helps in regaining the lost appetite.
5. Mix in equal parts, cinnamon bark, small cardamom, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Soak the mixture in cold water overnight. Strain this blend with a tea strainer. Drinking this cold infusion early in the morning helps in building an appetite.
6. Soak about 10 grams of tamarind in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Squeeze the mass to obtain tamarind juice. Add a pinch of table salt to suit your taste. Add about 2 grams of powdered ajowan seeds. Taken before meals, this juice improves appetite. Alternatively, you can dilute 1/2 a teaspoonful of tamarind pulp in one cup of water for this purpose.
7. Basil tea is an efficacious drink to enhance appetite. Take about 20 gms of Basil leaves and boil the same in 250 ml of water till the quantity is reduced to half of the original volume. Strain the liquid and mix an equal amount of milk, a pinch of cardamom powder and sufficient sugar to suit your taste. Consuming this tea twice a day helps to increase your appetite.


FLATULENCE
Flatulence is known as Anaha in Ayurveda. The causative dosha is Vata and is characterized by stiffness in the lower abdomen, scanty defecation, and occasional breathing problems.
1. Take a pinch of asafetida and dissolve it in a cup of hot water. Drink this water when it is adequately cool.
2. Light roast a tablespoonful of fennel seeds. Once they cool down to a bearable temperature, chew them thoroughly in divided doses. After the first two doses, you will experience a great deal of relief.

INDIGESTION
This is known as Ajeerna in Ayurveda. It is result of fasting or consumption of food before digestion of the earlier intake of food. Untimely food habits, heavy or dry food, psychological causes like fear, anger, jealousy etc., suppression of natural urges and excessive intake of water cause indigestion! A reduction in Pitta activity with an excessive Kapha characterize the doshic profile of indigestion.
1. Mix a teaspoon of ajwain seeds with 1/2 spoon of rock salt. Consume the mixture with a glass of water. This will instantly get rid of flatulence and stomach disorder.
2. Mix 5 gms of asafetida with a glass of hot water. Add a teaspoonful of sugar to better the taste. Though it smells bad while swallowing, it rapidly relieves your system of flatulence and helps in relieving indigestion.
3. Add 2 drops of mint oil in a cup of warm water and drink immediately. It provides instant relief from gripping and flatulence.
4. Wash about 20-25 fresh curry leaves with cold water. Extract the juice from these leaves. In a cup of plain water, add about 1 teaspoonful of lemon juice and the juice obtained from the curry leaves. Add 1 teaspoonful of honey to this blend and always drink this when its fresh. It relieves nausea, vomiting and flatulence induced by indigestion.

DIARRHOEA (Loose Motions)
This condition is termed as Atisara in Ayurveda. Diarrhoea could be caused by any of the following :
Intake of foods of any particular quality in excess, foods incompatible with your prakriti or with seasonal variations, intake of foods that are not well cooked, contaminated water or other beverages etc.
Further, in Ayurveda, diarrhoea is also described to be induced by mental causes and by toxins.
Atisar is classified into 7 distinct types namely, Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Bhayaja (caused by fear), Tridoshaja, Shokaja (caused by grief) and Raktatisara (diarrhoea associated with bleeding).
During diarrhoea, ensure that you are on a suitable diet to overcome dehydration, as advised by your physician. Ensure that the body is replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
  1. Whey or buttermilk are considered effective remedies for diarrhoea. Whey is the liquid portion of curd while buttermilk is obtained by churning the curd after the fat has been removed. Take any one of them in small volumes at frequent intervals.
  2. Kanji made from cooked rice cooked in water, with a pinch of salt is also very good and soothing.
  3. A solution made with salt and sugar (Electral water/ ORS) is to be administered to the person suffering from time to time. This is to prevent dehydration.
  4. Raw banana is an effective astringent and is recommended widely as a diet for treating diarrhoea. Cut one raw banana into three pieces and soften them in a pressure cooker using an adequate volume of water. Drain out the excess water. Separate the peel and mash the softened pulp well. In a skillet, roast a small volume of poppy seeds till they brown. Grind them to obtain a fine powder. Add this powder to the banana mash together with a pinch of salt. This delicious and nutritious receipe checks diarrhoea owing to its astringent properties.
  5. The dried rind of a pomegranate is an invaluable remedy for diarrhoea. A fine powder of this rind, 1 gm twice a day taken with buttermilk helps to check the frequency of loose motions.

THE MOST EFFECTIVE HOME REMEDY FOR INFANTS/ TODDLERS/ YOUNG ONES & FOR ADULTS AS WELL IS NUTMEG - NUTMEG CAN WELL BE CALLED THE STAR IN TREATING LOOSE MOTIONS.

NUTMEG

Nutmeg is also known as Jaiphal in hindi, Jadhikkai in Tamil, Jajikaya in telegu.
(Refer to picture of Nutmeg on your left).
Nutmeg is very effective in loose motions. It helps arrest the motions and also gives a peaceful sleep to the baby.


    SORE THROAT
    1. Soak two teaspoonfuls of ajwain seeds(bishops weed) in cold water. Add a pinch of common salt. Using this infusion as a common gargle substantially eases the acute sore throat.
    2. Two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds should be added to a litre of cold water and simmered on a gentle flame. This should be allowed to cool to a temperature that could be tolerated by the buccal cavity. Strain this mixture and gargle with it several times a day. This cures a sore throat.
    3. Coarsely powder the cinnamon bark. Boil a teaspoonful of this powder in water. Strain the extract and add a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoonful of honey. Consuming this decoction every three hours in a day cures a sore throat.

    COLD AND COUGH
    Traditional home remedies for Cold
    Cold makes the baby extremely uneasy, the baby becomes cranky and sleepless. What can be done when the baby has a cold.
    Indian Home remedy :
    Here is a recipe for “Kashayam” or tonic which can be administered to the baby all through the day instead of using water. The only point to remember is that it has to be made fresh every morning and it should be warm while given to the baby, this can be had by adults too.
    Recipe for Kashayam for Cold
    Tulasi or Basil – 8-10 leaves (u can put along with the stem). (Refer to picture on your left)




    Leaves of the Bishop’s weed – (leaves of the ajwain plant, Karpooravalli) – 1-2 leaves. (Refer to picture on your left)



    Bishop’s weed - (Ajwain,Omam) – one teaspoon
    (Refer to picture on your left)




    Cumin seeds – (Jeera, Jeeragam) – one teaspoon(refer to picture on your right)


    Dill seeds – (Suva seeds) – one teaspoon (Refer to picture below)

    Fennel seeds - (Saunf, Sombu) – one teaspoon (this sweetens the tonic a little). (Refer to picture on your right)

    Pepper (Miri, Molaghu) – 3-4 peppercorns (refer to picture on your left)



    Method
    Take 4-5 glasses of water, put all the abovementioned ingredients and let it come to boiling point, once it reaches the boiling point wait for another 2-3 minutes so that all the essence of the spices and herbs enter the water and put off the gas.
    Wait till this concoction becomes warm and u can add a teaspoon of honey and give your baby. Honey is very soothing for the throat incase the baby is having a sore throat. Also if the baby is fussy and doesn’t like the taste of the tonic, adding honey may induce the baby to have the tonic because it adds some sweetness to the kashayam. This can be served several times during the day. It reduces the phlegm and very soothing for the cold and cough. Remember it has to always be served warm and made fresh everyday.

    FERMENTATION
    Having a cold can be quite a nuisance, but for a baby it is particularly uncomfortable. There is a traditional method to alleviate the baby's discomfort. If the baby is less than six months old, take 4-5 nagarvel paans (Paan means betel leaves) and place them on a sieve. Place the sieve on a cooking pan over a fire. 1 paan should be placed in the centre of the sieve to allow it to get moderately hot. These warm paans are then placed on the baby's chest one after another. However, make sure that the paans are not so hot that they burn the baby's skin. This procedure should be continued for about five minutes by re-heating the cooled paans.

    In the case of babies over six months of age, one can use balls of soft cotton cloth in place of the paans. The balls of cloth should be heated on an indirect fire (heat a tava (flat bottomed pan), place the cloth for a second or 2, feel it against your palm, if it is bearable or not). Then place it on the baby’s chest, on the ribs, the throat and the back. The moderately warm balls of cloth should then be pressed gently against the baby's chest and back. Here again, make sure that the balls of cloth are at a temperature that will not affect the baby's tender skin. If it is not possible to heat the balls of cloth on an indirect fire, one can heat a piece of soft cotton cloth using a hot iron and then roll it into a ball.



    DISCLAIMER : "HOME REMEDIES ARE JUST SUPPLEMENTARY APPROACHES. ALWAYS SEEK A QUALIFIED PHYSICIAN'S ADVICE FOR ANY ILLNESSES."

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