Tag Archives: healthy food

Deviled Potatoes

I love having people over, and I love hosting parties. I love everything to do with the hosting – planning, sending out invites, the prepping, and I don’t even mind the clearing up after everyone’s left too. There’s one thing I just hate doing though - preparing starters that entail deep-frying. Much as they are the easiest to dish up, I just abhor the thought of standing in front of the frying pan. Not my cup of tea. Uggghh! So when Nags suggested we all come up with ideas for savoury appetizers that would be easy to make in bulk (for about 50 people or more), it had me all excited. It was like she had leafed through my mind and decided to give me a chance to fix for my problem.

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Sweet-potato Chat

The benefits of sweet potatoes need no introduction. I’d put my hands up for them any day! They’re a sweet source of good, anti-inflammatory nutrition, rich in anti-oxidants, excellent source of Vitamins A and C, have unique proteins, and the list goes on… Surprisingly, even though they are sweet, they are very good for diabetics too. So that gives everyone a reason to try this out. I made this healthy snack for us yesterday evening, to ward off the looming Monday-blues settling over us like a dark, gloom-laden cloud. I was starting to feel miserable that Sunday was getting over too soon, and what best to cheer me up than some healthy, sweet taters!

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes – 4-5 nos (pressure cooked/steamed, de-skinned, and diced into small 1/2 inch cubes)
  • Onions – 2 nos (large-sized; finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes – 2 nos (large-sized; finely chopped)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Lime juice – from 1 whole lime
  • White Pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Chat powder – 1 tsp
  • Kala Namak/Black salt – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Muffin-cup shaped chat katoris (optional) – as many as you would require (I used up about 20 of them for the 2 of us)
  • Sev (optional) – 1 cup (I din’t use any)

Procedure:

  • Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well to incorporate.
  • Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin-cup shaped chat katoris (if using), garnish with sev and serve immediately to prevent the chat katoris from getting soggy. For a healthier version, just garnish  with sev (if using) and serve in a plate/deep bowl.

This one is off to Divya’s ‘Sunday snacks – Healthy snacks‘ at Dil-se, and also, Srivalli’s ‘Kid’s delight: Wholesome Snacks

Southekayi Avalakki (Cucumber Poha)

Ever heard of Cucumber Poha? Neither had I, before my dear friend Gowri told me about it a few months back. We were chatting one day and when I asked her what she had dished up for breakfast that day, pat came her reply – “Southekayi Avalakki”. Well, if you are a regular in the kitchen, when you hear of a new dish, most times you can do some guesswork on how it will be made and most of those times, you will have gotten your guesswork right! But when I heard of this, I was pretty clueless because I had never before heard of either the combo, or the dish. My curiosity stirred, I was instantly asking her for the recipe. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and set out to make it the very next day for breakfast. Now, it has become a regular breakfast in my household. I made this for breakfast today and wanted to share this yummy, quick-fix breakfast with you all. Thanks so much for sharing it with me Gowri!

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber – 2 nos
  • Poha (medium thickness) – 4 cups
  • Onion (optional) – 2 nos (small sized, finely chopped)
  • Green Chillies – 2 nos (finely chopped/slit)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tbsp

Procedure:

  • Clean, peel and grate the cucumber. Add the sugar and salt. Mix well.
  • Soak the poha (dry, without washing) in the grated cucumber. This is what lends the dish its flavour. Mix the dry poha and grated cucumber well, so that all the poha is coated with/soaked in the grated cucumber (as in the image above).
  • Set aside the poha-grated cucumber mixture for about 15 minutes, to allow the poha to soften.
  • Once the poha is soaked, heat oil in a wok, add the asafoetida and pop the mustard seeds.
  • And the jeera and fry for a minute.
  • Add the green chillies and fry for another minute.
  • If using onions (which Gowri does not recommend, since the cucumber flavour gets diluted), sauté them with a little salt till they are cooked well and tender.
  • Now, add the soaked poha and stir well. Fry for 3-4 minutes till the raw fragrance of cucumber is gone.
  • Remove from flame, garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro and serve hot!

Now thats what I call a quick-fix breakfast! Do try it out and let me know if you liked it.

Co-incidentally, Gowri too had made this for breakfast today and she shared a picture of her poha for you all to see. Here it is -

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to everyone! Ho! Ho! Ho! (Psst, don’t forget to hang up your stockings tonight. I’ve already put mine up ;))

Creamy Corn-Onion-Barley Soup

The minute I saw the post for the Monthly Mingle for Soups on Meeta’s lovely site, I knew I was gonna be a part of it. Added to it, we had gorged on some really rich food over the weekend and me and hubby were on a guilt trip since this morning…we wanted to bring down the guilt and what best to do it with than some healthy soup?!! Two birds in one stone I say! ;)

I learnt this recipe from my Husband’s Aunt sometime back. Thank you Bhama Aunty! The original recipe did not have barley in it. However, I added it since Im an ardent lover of Barley, simply because of its health benefits. Feel free to try this out either with or without the barley.

Ingredients:

  • American sweet corn kernels (off the cob) – 1 cup (cooked with salt, till soft and cooled)
  • Onions – 2 nos (medium sized, julienned)
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods (vary to suit your taste)
  • Barley – 3 tbsps (coarsely powdered)
  • Milk (optional) – 1/2 cup (need not use if making a vegan version)
  • Fresh Cream (optional) – 2 tsps (need not use if making a vegan version)
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Pepper powder – to taste
  • Salt – to taste

Procedure:

  • Sauté the onions and garlic with oil on a low flame, till the onions are cooked well and tender. Allow to cool.
  • In the meanwhile, boil the coarsely powdered barley with 2 cups of water on a low flame. Since barley has a starchy composition, the result is a thick and starchy, milky liquid. (It should not have lumps).
  • Now, blend together the cooked corn kernels, sautéed onions and garlic in a mixer, to form a smooth paste.
  • Once the barley has cooked, add the corn-onion-garlic mixture to the barley. Stir well.
  • Add the milk and fresh cream. If you are making a vegan version, you could skip this step.
  • Allow the soup to boil on a low flame for 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cream, and serve hot with bread/soup sticks! I served mine with Methi (fenugreek) flavoured bread sticks and it was simply yummy! :D

This soup finds its way to Monthly Mingle – Soups, conceptualized by Meeta and hosted this month by Harini of Tongue Ticklers.

Thank you Meeta and Harini for giving us all an opportunity to mingle! :)

Avarekalu Saaru & Raagi Mudde

Yesterday had me making Avarekalu once again, my favourite bean at this time of the year ;). This time, I decided it was going to be Avarekalu Saaru. Saaru is Rasam in Kannada, however, this saaru is more gravy-ish like any other sambar. Only difference is, there is no toor daal used in the preparation. I decided to make ragi mudde (ragi balls) to go with the saaru. I don’t think Raagi and its benefits need any introduction!

This Saaru-Mudde combo is a staple diet with the original localites of Karnataka. The Saaru has a perfect blend of spices and I’m postitive you will all absolutely love it!

Avarekaalu Saaru

Ingredients for Avarekalu Saaru:

  • Avarekalu Beans – 4 cups, in all (shelled and pressure cooked with salt)
  • Tamarind puree – 3-4 tbsps
  • Rasam Powder – 2 tsps
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Water – 2-3 cups
  • Salt – to taste

For the Masala:

  • Channa Dal – 3 tsps
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Dhaniya (Coriander) seeds – 1 tsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Black Pepper corns – 1/2 tsp (adjust to suit your taste since red chillies are being added too)
  • Selam Chillies (hot variety) – 2 nos
  • Byadgi Chillies – 2 nos (these add more colour than spicyness to your dish)
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Cooking Oil – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger – 1/2″ piece
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Grated Coconut – 4 tbsps
  • Avarekalu Beans – 1/2 cup (shelled and pressure cooked with salt)

For the Tempering:

  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee – 1/2 tsp

Procedure for Avarekalu Saaru:

  • In a wok, boil the tamarind puree, rasam powder, salt and water together for 2 minutes.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups of the cooked avarekalu beans and coriander. Allow to boil on a low flame.
  • In the meanwhile, fry together all the masala ingredients in a wok except the last 4 ingredients (ginger, garlic, grated coconut and 1/2 cup cooked avarekalu beans), on a low flame till the daals turn golden brown.
  • Allow to cool. Grind together all the fried masala ingredients with ginger, garlic, grated coconut and 1/2 cup avarekalu beans, with as less water as possible. Keep aside.
  • Once you see a froth collecting on the surface of the saaru in the wok, add the ground masala paste. Stir well so that no lumps are formed.
  • Continue to boil on a low flame for about 10-15 minutes or till the saaru turns into a bubbly liquid.
  • Prepare a tempering with the mustard seeds, asafoetida and ghee. Pour over the saaru and stir well.
  • Serve hot with raagi mudde!

Raagi Mudde

Ingredients for Raagi Mudde (serves one):

  • Raagi flour – 1 measure (I used a 1/2 paav glass)
  • Water – 1 1/2 measures
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp

You would need to use a short wooden stick (or ladle with a thin, stick-like end in upside down position – the side you would normally hold, would go into the pan/wok) while making the mudde. Don’t ask me why, but they have always used a wooden stick/ladle to make these muddes! I used my wooden churner in upside down position. You could do the same if you don’t have a wooden stick handy.

Also, preferably use a non-stick pan or wok to prepare the mudde. It avoids any wastage and plus, the mudde turns out really well without sticking to the sides of the pan.

Procedure for Raagi Mudde:

  • In a non-stick wok, heat the water. Allow to boil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the oil and salt. Stir well with the wooden ladle (held upside down).
  • Now, add one pinch of the raagi flour to the water and stir well (Pssst…this is a trade secret ;) – it prevents formation of lumps when you add the rest of the flour).
  • Allow to boil another 1/2 minute.
  • Now, ensuring the wooden ladle is sitting in the pan (in the upside down position), add the remaining flour and immediately cover with a lid for 1 minute. Do NOT stir during this time.
  • After a minute, take off the lid and start stirring vigourously till the mixture thickens to form a lump/ball around the wooden ladle. Remove from flame.
  • Slightly wet your hand and give the mudde a smooth, round form.
  • Enjoy it hot with the yummilicious avarekalu saaru!

Some trivia: You know, there is a way to eat these raagi muddes. From the main mudde (ball), break off small portions and dip them in the saaru/gravy and pop each portion in your mouth and just swallow. No chewing…it will only result in the mudde getting stuck all over the insides of your mouth and that’s something you wouldn’t really like! So, make sure you break off small portions that you’re comfortable swallowing in one go. And trust me, these muddes are very very wholesome and filling. You’ll be full in no time! Bon appetit! :D

The Ragi Mudde goes to the JFI – Ragi/Finger Millet event being hosted by Madhuram of Eggless Cooking this month. The event is a brainchild of Indira of Mahanadi. Thanks Madhuram, and thanks Indira for the round-up! Can’t wait to see the database of recipes calling for Ragi, once its all been collated.

Corn Bhel

If you have sweet corn kernels handy at home, you can fix this no-fuss, refreshing snack in a jiffy! I usually eye-ball the quantities of the ingredients, but I managed to quantify it for you all ;)

Ingredients:

  • American Sweet corn (shelled) – 4 cups (cooked with salt till soft – I did mine in the microwave)
  • Onions – 2 to 3 nos (medium sized, finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes – 3 nos (medium sized, finely chopped)
  • Potatoes (optional) – 2 nos (medium sized, cubed to small pieces and cooked with salt till soft)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera powder – 1 tsp
  • Amchur powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Kala Namak – 2 tsps
  • Chat powder – 2 tsps
  • Sugar (optional) – 1 tsp (preferably powdered)
  • Lime juice – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

For Garnishing:

  • Bhujia Sev – 1 cup (for garnishing)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a small sprig, finely chopped

Procedure:

  • Mix together all the main ingredients.
  • Keep in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with sev and finely chopped coriander.
  • Serve chilled. Dig in for a lip-smacking, healthy snack!

Carrot Salad | Carrot Kosambari

‘Kosambari’ as they called it in Karnataka, is a definite fare in South Indian Weddings (where the food is served on plantain leaves). There are different varieties of Kosambari. I have always enjoyed all varieties of kosambari right from the time I was little and it was a known fact in the family. Everybody doesn’t miss a chance to pull my leg about this even today. Amma always says that when I was little, if I was given some kosambari in a bowl, I would be the happiest soul and wouldn’t ask for anything else! How easy it was to keep me happy…hahaha :D!

Now, I enjoy it more as a healthy snack rather than a side-dish. After 2-3 days of sunshine, the weather is back to being gloomy and grey today. And nothing more to cheer me up than some piping hot rasam rice and my favourite carrot kosambari for lunch!! Aah, for the simple pleasures of life ;)

Carrot Kosambari

Ingredients:

  • Carrots – 5 nos (medium sized; cleaned and grated)
  • Green Chillies – 1 no (finely chopped; quantity can be altered to suit your taste)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a fistful (finely chopped)
  • Lime juice – 1 tbsp
  • Grated Coconut (optional) – 3 tbsps (I din’t add any, to reduce my cholesterol intake!)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida (optional) – a pinch
  • Cooking Oil (optional) – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Prepare the tempering (if using) with oil, asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds have popped, add to the grated carrot.
  • Mix in the remaining ingredients and keep in the refrigerator for half hour.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve chilled. Makes for a very refreshing salad!

This kosambari (sans the tempering) is going to Padmajha’s ‘No-cook event‘.

Spinach-Corn-Barley Soup with Garlic Bread

The weather has been so chill right from the time I woke up this morning. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed with a nice book and some popcorn! I decided to make something hot and yummy for dinner. And so, after the rich moong daal halwa yesterday, I thought it was time for something healthy. Hubby and I decided to skip dinner and just have some barley soup. I dug into my refrigerator and found some spinach and corn and decided to use these with the barley.

For those who dont know about barley, it is a type of whole grain. The benefits of barley are many! It contains high levels of dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and selenium (a type of antioxidant). It also helps lower blood LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Barley also helps stabilize blood glucose levels, which may benefit people with Diabetes.

IMG_1122-1

Ingredients for Soup:

  • Barley seeds – 4 tbsps (coarsely powdered)
  • Spinach – 1 bunch (washed, dried and finely chopped)
  • Baby Corn – 1 cup (chopped into thin rings) (I normally use shelled american sweet corn kernels, but today, since I dint have any, Im using baby corn)
  • Garlic – 2-3 pods (or to taste)
  • Water – 2 to 3 cups
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste

Serves: 4 persons

Method:

I recommend using a flat, non-stick pan (slightly deep) to prepare this soup because the barley can get very messy otherwise.

  • Boil the coarse powdered barley with 2-3 cups of water on a low flame. Since barley has a starchy composition, the result is a thick and starchy, milky liquid.
  • In the meanwhile, cook the baby corn (or american sweet corn) with salt, drain water and keep aside.
  • To the barley-water mixture, add the finely chopped spinach and salt. Continue to cook on a low flame till the spinach is cooked.
  • Add the cooked baby corn and pepper powder. Allow to boil on a low flame for about 10-15 minutes. You may want to add some warm water to adjust the consistency of the soup.
  • Remove from flame and serve hot with choice of sauces and/or accompaniments like garlic bread. I made some garlic bread to go with the soup…perfect for a winter night :-D

You could try this barley soup with other veggies too!

Ingredients for the Garlic Bread:

  • French bread loaf – 1 long loaf or 2-3 small ones (like the ones they use for hotdogs)
  • Butter – 50 gms (softened, to make spreading on the bread easy)
  • Garlic pods – 5-6 (pounded or crushed to a paste)
  • Oregano herbs – 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro/Coriander (optional) – a small fistful (finely chopped)
  • Grated Mozzarella Cheese (if you’re in an indulgent mood :)) – 3 to 4 tbsps

I dint add any cheese to my garlic bread since it would make my dinner too rich.

Method:

  • Slit the french bread horizontally and keep aside.
  • Now, mix together the rest of the ingredients except the cheese (if you are using some) to get your spread ready.
  • Apply the spread on each cut slice of the bread.
  • If you are using cheese, sprinkle some on the bread once you have applied the spread on the bread.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C (390 deg F) for about 6-8 minutes or until each slice is toasted to a light and crisp golden yellow. The time needed for the garlic bread to get done varies in each microwave oven since each has a different power. Adjust the time according to your oven.
  • Allow to stand for a minute before you take them out of the oven and enjoy the hot and crisp garlic bread.