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Tomato Pulav with Cucumber Raita



Tomato Bhath with Cucumber Raita and store bought chips


This is a very easy to make rice variety, and can be a lifesaver, when time is a constraint.

Jumping on to the recipe,

Ingredients:

Basmati rice- 2 cups
Tomatoes- 4 to 5 (roughly chopped)
Onions- 1 (finely chopped)
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Garam Masala- 1 tsp (optional)
Cilantro- a handful (for garnish)
Salt- to taste
Ghee/Oil- 2 tbsps.

Notes:

1. After rinsing the rice thoroughly, keep it soaked in water for 1- 2 hours prior to cooking. A longer soaking time facilitates quicker cooking.
2. You can use any oil of your choice. Ghee really brings out the delicate flavors in this rice.

Ingredients for the Masala Paste:

Cloves- 2 to 3
Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp
Ginger- a small knob
Garlic- 4 to 5 cloves
Cardamom- 2 to 3 pods
Green chillies- 2 (adapt it to your spice preference)
Pearl onions/Shallots- a  handful

Grind the above mentioned ingredients to a smooth paste, adding the needed water. Adding shallots really enhances the flavor in this pulav variety.

Spices for seasoning:

Cumin seeds- 2 tsps
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Bayleaf- 1 shredded

Preparation:

In a kadai, heat 3 tbsps of ghee. When hot, add in the bay leaf, cumin seeds and the fennel seeds. When they start to crackle, tip in the onions. Fry the onions until they appear translucent. Add the tomatoes now, and fry until the tomatoes turn slightly mushy. Add the ground masala paste, and fry over a low to medium flame, until the raw smell of the ground paste is minimized.

Add the salt, turmeric powder,and garam masala (if using). Stir well.

Drain the water from the basmati rice, and slowly add the rice, with the water needed for cooking.

Stir again, after adding the rice. Cook covered over a medium flame until the pulav is fully done.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Fluff the rice gently with a fork, once done.

Serve this aromatic, yummy pulav with a raita of your choice.

I served it with refreshing Cucumber raita and some store bought chips.
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Arugula greens poricha kootu:


Arugula Greens Poricha Kootu


Arugula is one of the leafy greens variety, that is a immune enhancer. It is a nutrient dense leafy green, that confers a whole lot of health benefits.

Its rich phytonutrient content makes it a potent anti inflammatory food. It is immensely beneficial for the eyes, due to its high carotenoid content. It also helps in promoting gut health.

It is particularly rich in Vitamin A, K and folate.

This Poricha kootu boasts of Arugula as the star ingredient. This medley of cooked arugula with steamed toor dal and moon dal is a treat for the taste buds.

Let's proceed to the ingredients

Ingredients:

Arugula Greens- 1 bunch (stalks removed, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped)
Toor dal- 1/4 cup
Moong dal- 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Asafoetida-a small pinch
Salt- to taste
Oil/Ghee- 2 tsps

Notes:

1. After rinsing the dals thoroughly, soak them in water for at least 4 - 5 hours prior to cooking. These dal varieties, in fact cook pretty quickly. Soaking lentils for a longer time, prior to cooking makes the nutrients more bio available. Folks who do not tolerate lentils very much, due to digestive distress, might try cooking well presoaked lentils, to see if it makes any difference.

Ingredients for the spice paste:

Grated coconut- 3 tbsps
Green chillies- 2 (adapt it to your spice preference)
Cumin seeds- 2 tsps

Grind the above mentioned ingredients to a smooth paste, adding needed water. This is the spice paste for this kootu.

Spices for seasoning:

Mustard seeds-1 tsp

Preparation:

Take the chopped greens,and soaked lentils, in a pressure cooker, and cook it for a tleast 3 whistles.

Once the pressure subsides, mash the cooked lentils and greens, with the back of the ladle.

In a kadai, heat 2 tsps of oil/ghee. When hot, add the mustard seeds and a pinch of asafoetida. Once, it is done spluttering, reduce the flame to medium, and slowly tip in the cooked lentils-greens mixture. Add the spice paste already prepared, and the needed salt.

Adjust the consistency of the kootu, and add water, if needed. Stir well to bring in all the flavors together. Cook covered for 5 minutes, over a medium flame.

Transfer the kootu to a serving bowl. This incredibly healthy kootu makes a great side for rotis. It can be had as an accompaniment for rice as well.

Notes:

1. A combination of leafy greens and dal varieties. can be used to make this kootu.
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 Gluten free,vegan Chickpea flour bread

Gluten free Chickpea flour bread




I am always on the lookout for  gluten free recipes for my son, and this recipe is definitely a keeper.

I got this recipe at https://www.rhiansrecipes.com/gluten-free-vegan-bread/

This bread comes with an added bonus, in that there is zero sugar, in any form, that is added. It is yeast free as well.

Once you have all the ingredients on hand, baking this bread is relatively easy. 

It tastes great topped with hummus. A slathering of organic grass fed butter, and jam would be yummy as well.

Let's take a look at the ingredients

Wet Ingredients:

Dairy free milk of your choice- 1 cup. I used full fat coconut milk
Water- 2 oz (60 mls)


Apple Cider Vinegar- 1 tbsp 

Dry Ingredients:

Chickpea flour- 1.5 cups
Rice flour- 1 cup
Tapioca flour- 2 tbsps
Baking powder- 4 tsps
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Sea salt- 1/4 tsp


Notes:

1. Chickpea flour has a tendency to absorb a lot of moisture. The batter will seem runny, while placing it in the oven. 

2. Tapioca flour is a pretty versatile gluten free flour. It is made from cassava. a plant native to South America. It is a starchy flour.

3. Make sure to add the requisite 4 tsps of baking powder in this recipe. Aluminium free baking powder is best, as aluminium is a neuro toxin

Sliced chickpea flour bread


Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the edges of the bread pan with a non stick cooking spray. Apply liberal amount of cooking spray to the bottom of the loaf pan, to prevent the bread from sticking.

2. In a large mixing bowl, gather all the dry ingredients. Mix gently with a spatula.

3. In another bowl, mix in the flours (chickpea, rice and tapioca), and mix uniformly. Add the baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

4. Now add the wet ingredients to this flour mix. Whisk everything well together, to make a smooth bread batter. This batter will seem a bit runnier.

5. Carefully pour the batter in the greased bread loaf pan.

6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes.

7.  The bread would have risen. Check to see if the bread is cooked evenly, by gently inserting a tooth pick in the center. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

8. Let the bread cool for atleast 2 hours prior to slicing.

Enjoy this healthy bread as is, or toasted, with a topping of your choice.




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Cilantro-Ginger chutney

Cilantro-Ginger chutney



This is a very healthy chutney variety with 2  amazingly powerful ingredients - Ginger and Cilantro, which confer a whole host of health benefits. They are anti inflammatory, and help in keeping inflammation at bay.

This is a very easy to prepare chutney, and makes for a great side with idli, dosa, upma and pongal. A slightly thicker version of this chutney, called thogayal, tastes fantastic with rice as well.

This is how I made this chutney

Ingredients  :

Cilantro- a medium sized bunch- stalks removed and thoroughly cleaned
Ginger- 1/4 cup (skin removed and chopped to small bits)
Channa dal- 1 tbsp
Urad dal- 2 tsps
Tamarind-a  small lime sized ball . Alternatively 2 tsps of the ready made tamarind paste can be used
Jaggery- 3 tsps (powdered)
Green chillies- 1 (adapt it to your spice preference)
Asafoetida-a  small pinch
Grated coconut- 1/4 cup
Salt- as needed
Oil- 3 tsps (preferably sesame oil)

Notes:

1. Addition of ginger makes this chutney pretty spicy. So, keep that in mind while adding green chillies/red chillies
2. Adding jaggery really helps in balancing the spiciness in this chutney. Also, it imparts a sweet-sour flavor, which brings out the delicate flavors in this chutney.
3. This can be made as a plain ginger chutney as well, without adding cilantro.

Preparation:

In a kadai, heat 1 tsps of oil. Add the channa dal, urad dal, asafoetida and grated coconut. Saute over a medium flame, until the dals appear slightly browned. Transfer the fried contents to a separate bowl.

To the kadai, add 2 tsps of oil. Add the chopped ginger pieces and the tamarind. Saute until the raw smell of the ginger is minimized.

Wait for all the fried ingredients to cool down. Once cooled, transfer all the fried ingredients (dals, grated coconut and ginger peices) to the mixer. Add the washed cilantro leaves, jaggery and salt directly to the mixer.

Grind everything to a smooth consistency, adding needed water.

Transfer contents to a serving bowl. Serve this healthy chutney as a side with a main dish of your choice.
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Cilantro Cauliflower subji

CILANTRO CAULIFLOWER SUBJI


This subji is a variation from the regular subji, in that it is cooked in a cilantro base. Cilantro or kothamalli as it is known in Tamil is a versatile culinary herb, with a lot of medicinal qualities as well.

This is a versatile gravy, which can be made with vegetables like potatoes, peas etc. It pairs very well with rotis, parathas and even some mild pulao.

Let's proceed to the recipe.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower- 1 medium sized head- florets removed and thoroughly cleaned*
Tomato- 1 (blanched)**
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Ghee- 4 tsps

Spices for seasoning:

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp

Ingredients for the ground paste:

Onions- 1/2 cup roughly chopped
Cilantro- 1 small bunch-stalks removed and cleaned
Garlic- 4 flakes
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp

Preparation of the paste:

In a kadai, heat 2 tsps of ghee. Add the chopped onions, garlic flakes and fry for a couple of minutes, until the raw smell is minimised. Let it cool. Once it has cooled down, transfer the contents to a mixer. Add the cilantro and the turmeric powder to the fried contents, and grind to a slightly coarse paste, adding little water. This is the masala paste for this subji.

Notes

1. Wash the florets under running water twice. Put some water to boil in a large vessel, to which a tsp of turmeric powder, has been added. Turmeric is a potent antibiotic, and helps in disinfecting the florets. Keep the florets immersed in the turmeric powder infused hot water for 5 minutes. Drain the water, and keep the florets ready.*
2.Blanching is a process, where tomato puree is extracted , after removing the outer skin. This is done by placing the tomato in boiling water for a  couple of minutes. This will loosen the skin. Discard the water. Remove the outer skin. Once it has cooled down, place the tomato in a moxer, and make the puree**

Preparation:

Heat 2 tsps of ghee in a kadai. When hot, add the cumin and fennel seeds. Once it crackles, add the prepared spice paste and salt. Saute over a medium flame for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato puree, chilli powder and garam masala. Stir well to bring the flavors together.

Now, tip in the cauliflower florets, and cook covered over a medium flame, until the florets are cooked tender.

Once done, transfer to a serving bowl, and enjoy this yummy subji with rotis, parathas or pulav.
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Karuveppilai chutney

KARUVEPPILAI CHUTNEY


Karuveppilai, or curry leaves, as it is called in English is one of the staples in Indian cooking.

Widely used as a seasoning in dishes, this humble karuveppilai, comes loaded with a whole variety of nutrients, which confer a host of health benefits.

It is a potent digestion enhancer, and is supposed to help with hair growth, as well as improving general dental health.

I made a simple chutney using karuveppilai, and paired it along with ven pongal.

Here is the recipe

Ingredients:

Karuveppilai (curry leaves)- 1 cup (stalks removed and thoroughly washed)
Channa dal- 2 tsps
Urad dal- 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies- 2  (adapt it to your spice preference)
Tamarind- a very small lump. Alternatively, you can use 1 tsp of the ready made Tamarind paste
Asafoetida- a small pinch
Grated coconut- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Oil- 2 tsps

Preparation:

Heat a tsp of oil in a kadai. When hot, add the asafoetida, red chillies, channa dal and urad dal. Saute over a medium flame until the dals appear to brown. Remove from kadai, and transfer to a container.

Add 1 tsp of oil to the kadai, and tip in the curry leaves. Add the grated coconut, tamarind, and the needed salt. Fry for a couple of minutes, over a medium flame, until the leaves slightly shrink in volume. This step is crucial to minimising the raw flavor of the leaves. Turn off the flame.

Once all the fried ingredients have considerably cooled down, transfer all the contents to a mixer, and grind to a smooth paste, adding the needed water.

If you intend making a thogayal, the same procedur can be followed. However, reduce the amount of water added during grinding, as thogayals tend to be of a thicker consistency.

Enjoy this healthy curry leaves chutney/thogayal with rice, idli, dosa, ven pongal or upma.
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Gluten free and Vegan Avocado-Banana Bread




GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN AVOCADO BANANA BREAD

This is one amazing gluten free bread variety. The banana flavor is dominant in this bread. It comes loaded with the nutritional benefits of bananas, and the healthy monounsaturated fats from avocados.

Avocados give this bread a really smooth texture. You could throw in a couple of pecans or walnuts for a nutty texture.

This healthy bread tastes just yummy with grass fed butter or any nut butter/jam of your choice.

I adapted the original recipe from "livinghealthywithchocolate.com" and tweaked it a bit to suit our dietary preferences. The original recipe calls for an egg and 2 tbsps of honey to be added. I made this vegan by substituting "Flax egg" in place of egg and using maple syrup in place of honey

These are the ingredients we would need for this bread

Wet ingredients:

Ripe bananas- 3/4 cup (mashed)
Avocados-3/4 cup (mashed)
Melted coconut oil-3 tbsps
Vanilla Extract-1 tsp
Maple syrup-1 tbsp
Flax Egg -1* (notes below on how to make flax egg)

Dry ingredients:

Blanched Almond flour-1.5 cups
Baking soda- 1.5 tsps
Salt- half a tsp

Notes:

1.Preparing flax egg*- This is the egg substitute. To 3 tbsps of lukewarm water, add 1 tbsp of finely ground flax seed. Mix well, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes, prior to use. The resting period will turn the mixture slightly gelatinous. Add this to the recipe.


Preparation :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the edges of a loaf pan with non stick cooking spray. I used a 8 inch glass bread loaf pan.

2. Add in all the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mash the bananas well, making sure no big lumps remain. Scoop out the insides of the avocado, and mash well. After adding the coconut oil, vanilla extract, maple syrup and flax egg, mix gently so as to make a smooth batter.

3.In  another mixing bowl, gather all the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Now add the wet batter to these dry ingredients. Give a gentle, yet thorough stir, to bring everything together. The final bread batter must be mixed evenly, with a smooth texture.

4. Pour the batter in the greased loaf pan. Even out the top of the batter.

5. Place the loaf pan in the oven , and bake for 40-50 minutes.

A way to ensure even baking,is by inserting a tooth pick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Let the bread cool down for at least 2 hours, prior to slicing. This way, it will not fall apart, while slicing.

Enjoy this healthy gluten free bread with a yummy topping of your choice

SLICED LOAF OF GLUTEN FREE,VEGAN AVOCADO BANANA BREAD

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Channa dal-Urad dal dosa

CHANNA DAL-URAD DAL DOSA WITH TOMATO-ONION CHUTNEY


This is a dosa variety made more healthful and protein rich by the addition of Channa dal, in addition to the Urad dal and Idli rice. Channa dal is a good  source of zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.

Addition of Channa dal gives these dosas a golden hue, and also takes a partial credit for its crispy texture.

The batter does not really require fermentation, and can be used straight away to make crispy dosas

These dosas go well with any chutney/sambar of your choice. They make for a delicious meal with simple mulagaipodi as well.

I made Tomato-Onion chutney to go along with these dosas.

Proceeding to the recipe,

Ingredients:

Idli rice- 1 cup
Urad dal- 1 cup
Channa dal- 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil- as needed(preferably sesame oil for drizzling)

Preparation of the batter:

Rinse the dals and the rice thoroughly, for a couple of times, under running water. Soak them together for a period of 6-7 hours, or overnight.

Add the contents to a mixer/grinder, and grind to a smooth batter of free flowing consistency, adding the needed water. Take care not to make the batter too watery.

Transfer the ground batter to a large container. Add salt, and stir well. The batter can be used straight away for making dosas, or stored in the refrigerator, for later use.

Preparation of the dosas:

Heat a dosa tava. When sufficiently hot, pour a ladle full of batter in the center of the tava, and spread it outwards gently, forming a circle. Drizzle a few drops of oil around the edge of the dosa, to facilitate cooking. Once the edges appear to slightly lift up, flip over the dosa to cook the other side.

Once done , transfer to a plate, and enjoy these healthy dosas with a side of your choice.
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Vegetable Rava Upma and Red bell pepper chutney
VEGETABLE RAVA UPMA WITH RED BELL PEPPER CHUTNEY





What I am blogging about right now is probably one of the most easiest tiffin items. The humble Rava Upma is a dish that even a beginner cook can make with ease. It makes for a popular breakfast item. It scores hands down in terms of taste, and is really a life safer in those busy morning times, when something has to be whipped up in a jiffy.

It is a very versatile dish in the sense that, it can be combined with veggies of your choice, and also does well with any chutney/sambar. Even a dollop of your favourite pickle will do the trick.

Let's proceed to the recipe

Ingredients:

Roasted Rava (Sooji)- 1 cup
Onions- 1/2 cup (roughly chopped)
Tomatoes- 1 roughly chopped
Green chillies- 1 to 2 (adapt it to your spice preference)
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil- 2 tsps

Spices for seasoning:

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Notes:

1. Roasted rava makes for a more aromatic and delicious upma.  Pre- roasted rava is readily  available in stores. Alternatively, roast the rava in 1 tsp of ghee over a medium flame till it takes on a slightly golden hue. Make sure not to burn the rava.

Preparation:

Heat 2 tsps of oil in a kadai. When hot, throw in the mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add the chopped onions and green chillies. Adding salt at this stage will help the onions cook faster. Once the onions turn slightly pink, add the chopped tomatoes and the turmeric powder.

Add 2 cups of water. The proportion for rava upma would generally be (1:2) ie 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rava. The rava packet will generally contain the information on the quantum of water that would be required. Adjust the quantum of water, if adding a lot of vegetables.

Cook partially covered over a medium flame. After a while, once you see the water boiling, the time is right to add the roasted rava. On a low to medium flame, slowly tip in the rava, stirring at the same time. This is crucial to avoid lumps in the upma. This will also help the upma cook evenly.

Cook covered until all the water is absorbed,and the vegetable rava upma is thoroughly cooked.

I paired this with red bell pepper chutney. Enjoy this upma with any side of your choice.


Red Bell pepper chutney:

This chutney comes brimming with the immune boosting powers of red bell pepper, thanks to its high Vitamin C content. Intake of red bell pepper boosts eye health, as the red peppers have almost 11 times the beta carotene content of the regular green varieties.

Ingredients:

Red bell pepper- 2 medium sized peppers (deseeded and roughly chopped)
Garlic- 2 pods minced (optional)
Ginger-a small knob (finely grated)
Channa dal- 1 tbsp
Urad dal- 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies- 2
Asafoetida- a small pinch
Salt- to taste
Oil- 3 tsps

Preparation:

Heat 2 tsps of oil in a kadai. Add the channa dal, urad dal, dried red chillies and asafoetida. Roast the dals over a medium flame, until slightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

In the kadai, heat a tsp of oil. Tip in the chopped red peppers, grated ginger and garlic(if using). Add salt and half a cup of water. Cook covered, until the peppers become slightly tender, and the raw smell of the garlic fades.

Switch off the stove. Once cooled considerably, transfer the fried dal-red chillies to the mixer, and pulse once. Add in the fried peppers and ginger-garlic medley and grind to a smooth texture, adding water as needed.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!!!
  
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Coriander leaves/Kothamalli/Cilantro Kuzhambu

KOTHAMALLI/CILANTRO KUZHAMBU


Cilantro or kothamalli, as it is called in Tamil, is a very versatile herb, with a host of health benefits. Apart from adding an incredible flavor to food, it also helps the body in the detoxification process. It is a very powerful antioxidant due to the high content of the flavonoid-quercetin. This high antioxidant status of cilantro, makes it a very powerful tool in fighting diseases brought on by excessive inflammation in the body. Very powerful reasons to include cilantro in our daily diet.

This kuzhambu is a medley of ground cilantro and spices simmered in a tamarind gravy. Adding a pinch of jaggery really helps in balancing out the flavors.

Ingredients:

Cilantro leaves- 1 small bunch (stalks removed, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped)
Tamarind-a small lime sized ball (Alternatively, 2 tsps of the readymade tamarind paste can be used)
Tomatoes- 1 (roughly chopped)
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Jaggery- a small lump (optional, but imparts a sweet- sour flavor in the kuzhambu)
Oil- 4 tsps ( Sesame oil is recommended for bringing out the best flavors in this kuzhambu)
Salt- to taste

Ingredients for the spice paste:

Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
Channa dal- 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies- 2 to 3 (adapt it to your spice preference)
Tomatoes- 1 (roughly chopped)
Cilantro/Kothamalli

Preparation of the spice paste:

In a kadai, heat 2 tsps of oil. Add all the ingredients mentioned for the spice paste. Saute on a medium flame, until the ingredients appear to lightly brown. Set this aside. To the same kadai, add the roughly chopped tomatoes and the cilantro. Let them cook for a couple of minutes in the heat of the pan.  Once it cools down a bit, grind all the fried ingredients, adding little water, to make a smooth paste.  Now, the spice paste is ready.

Spices for seasoning:

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Asafoetida-a  generous pinch

Preparation of the kuzhambu:

In a kadai, heat 2 tsps of sesame oil. When hot, add in the mustard seeds and the asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add in the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt. Allow it to boil over a medium flame until the raw smell of the tamarind is minimized. Add jaggery now, if using.

Dilute the already prepared spice paste with the needed water, if the paste appears too thick. Add this to the boiling tamarind gravy. Cook the kuzhambu slightly covered, over a medium flame, until fully done.

Transfer to a serving bowl.

This  healthy kuzhambu pairs well with rice and some stir fry, and also fills in very well as a side for idli, dosa etc.

Notes:

1. If using tamarind ball, soak the tamarind in warm water prior to the actual cooking. This will soften it up a bit, and make the extraction easier. If  using readily available tamarind paste, dilute 2 tsps of this paste in water.

2. The spiciness in this kuzhambu is really balanced out, by adding jaggery.
I
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