Friday, May 19, 2017

Tomato Pickle



We Indians love our pickles!!! It is an ubiquitous part of all our meals!! Served and eaten in minuscule quantities, this condiment adds flavor to our meal like none other!!






Our pickles are nothing like the western pickles! Our pickles are fiery and usually bright red in color due to the presence of red chillies in them. Even our green colored pickles or pickles of any other color are still spicy. There are very few that are on the sweeter side and they too have chilli powder in them. While most of our pickles has vegetables that have been soaked in brine, it is not a requirement. We can make pickles without brine. Of course, the shelf life of pickles made without brine is much lower than those made with brine.





It is pickle season now in India. We pickle all kinds of vegetables, some fruits like mango and even fish!! It is truly delicious!!







Those who follow me know that I don't make anything that is tedious or time consuming!! Simply because I don't have that kind of time! Check my quick zucchini pickle!
My husband loves pickles and goes through a whole bottle in 3-4 days!! The reason being that I don't cook with too much spice any more and he finds the food too bland for his palate. He compensates by using pickles!





Today I am bringing you a very easy pickle that requires very few ingredients, is easy to make and does not require too much attention while making it. It has a wonderful shelf life! The recipe courtesy goes to an individual whom I look up to: Radha Natarajan. She blogs at Your Everyday Cook.  Her blog is full of simple recipes that bachelors and students living in hostel can make!!




I have made a few modifications, but mostly followed her recipe! Being that tomatoes are in season and are bountiful, I decided to bring this today to you.

Servings: makes one 8oz bottle.



Prep time: 10 minsCook time: 30-60  minsTotal time: 40-70 mins



Ingredients:


Sesame oil: 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Roasted fenugreek powder: 1 tbsp
Tomatoes: 6 medium sized, chopped
Kashmiri red chili powder: 3-4 tbsp
Asofoetida powder ( Hing): 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Tamarind pulp: 1/2 tsp
Jaggery or brown sugar: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp ( adjust as needed)

Method:


Heat sesame oil on medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or wok. 


Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the chopped tomatoes. 

Add the turmeric powder, Asofoetida powder, red chilli powder, fenugreek powder, salt and jaggery. 

Reduce the flame. 

Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring intermittently  or until they are almost homogenous and starts leaving oil at the top.

DO NOT ADD WATER. The tomatoes give out a lot of water and will start boiling vigorously. Just continue boiling under low flame until all the water content has evaporated and it stops boiling.

Turn off the flame.

Once the pickle has slightly cooled, transfer it to dry glass jar that is completely dry.


It stays fresh at room temperature for upto 7 days and fresh in the refrigerator for upto 30 days.

Enjoy!

I am so excited today to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday#172 with my dear friend and a very talented blogger  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook!  Angie is just amazing and a great hostess!! If you have never been to the Fiesta, you definitely should! It is so much fun! You can check the guidelines here. I know I don't visit you guys often, even though I want to.. There is only so much time in one day and only so much energy in one person. Work is very busy.. You see.. I am moving up people you see..I guess that is all good. So, I will party with you guys when I can. I am definitely here for this Fiesta! Do stop by to say hello. It will be nice to catch up.


Cooking made easy:


Using a thick bottomed dish is good because it keeps the pickle from burning. Same is true for cooking on low flame. So, for these kind of recipes, you need patience. I usually do it when I am cooking my regular food and I am present in the kitchen so that I can periodically stir it. Another way to do it is to use a timer and stir every 5 mins until it is done.



Tip for healthy living:


There is nothing like home-made pickle as you can control the amount of salt that goes into it. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure.




Food for thought:


The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross





Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!





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Monday, May 15, 2017

Sago/ Sabudana Idlis ( steamed dumplings made from Tapioca pearls)



Sago/sabudana or tapioca is very commonly used during fasting in India. There is Sabudana khichidi, Sabudana vadas, Sabudana thalipeeth. Sago pudding or kheer is a popular dessert made for special days. I am very fond of Sabudana on a regular basis, be it religious days or not. I could eat these items anytime.





Recently, my mom introduced me to Sabudana idlis. I have made many kinds of idlis: regular idli, varai idli, mallige idli, sannas, kulith idli, cucumber idli, cornmeal idlis, quinoa idlis. But Sabudana idlis , I have not made. I decided to try mom's recipe as she was raving about these idlis. She also told me to make sure that I serve them with saagu, kurma, matar paneer  or any such curry or not the regular sambar. You know what they say!! Mom is always correct!!! Well it was definitely correct in this case! The idlis were soft, fluffy and delicious! I served it with saagu and it made for a truly delicious breakfast!





It is a great solution for next day breakfast if you have forgotten to make an idli or dosa batter. It is very simple and easy to make recipe with no grinding involved! You just mix the ingredients, make the batter the previous night and keep ready. In the morning just steam it and you have hot idli ready!!





Servings: 4-6



Prep time: 10 minutes + fermentation time ( 3-4hours)

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 20 mins + fermentation time.



Ingredients :


Sabudana/sago/tapioca pearls: 1 cup
Rice rawa/ Cream of rice: 1 cup
Yogurt/Curd: 2 cups
Water: 1 cup ( may not need all)
Salt: 1/2 tsp ( adjust according to taste)
Baking soda: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Water: for steaming the idlis , as per individual steamer requirement.



Method:


Take Sabudana and washed rice rava in a bowl.

 Add 2 cups of yogurt and  mix . 
Add water little bit at a time to get a batter consistency that is not too thick or too runny.
Cover and keep aside for atleast 3-4 hours for fermentation. I leave mine overnight.
When ready to steam, add salt, sugar and baking soda to the batter. Mix well.





When you are ready to cook the idlis, grease the idli mold with ghee/ butter fill it with batter until 2/3 full. 

Boil water in the steamer. 
Once the water is boiling place the idli stand in the steamer. 
Steam in the idli steamer / pressure cooker ( without using the weight) for 10 minutes on medium- high flame.
Turn off the heat and let it cool down in the steamer for another 10 minutes before taking them out of the mold.





Serve hot with chutney/ curry/ sambar of your choice!

Enjoy!!





Cooking made easy: 

Idlis can be steamed in the traditional steamer, or in a regular pressure cooker ( without putting the whistle on). You can also steam it in an electric steamer or even in a rice cooker! 
If you do not have the idli stand, use small ramekins or metal bowls to steam the idlis.



Tip for healthy living: 


Urad dal or matpe bean dal can create considerable amount of gas and bloating in people with issues digesting beans. For such people, it is best to avoid gassy foods like beans and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, onion etc. 


Food for thought:

We aim above the mark to hit the mark. Ralph Waldo Emerson




Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!




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Friday, May 12, 2017

Pancakes with varied toppings



Mother's Day is this weekend!!





You don't have to make anything complicated or expensive for your mom on Mother's Day! You could make her a simple but delicious breakfast! Something as simple as pancakes!




The good thing about pancakes is their versatility! You could make them with fruits like berries or bananas, nuts like walnuts or pecans, flavors like vanilla or cinnamon or chocolate chips! 




If you don't like any of that in your pancake, you can top the pancake with a variety of toppings: sliced bananas, strawberries, berries, chocolate chip,chocolate syrup, maple syrup, honey.. Pretty much anything one wants. I would however stick to the healthier options.




Here is a simple recipe that you can use to make the pancakes.





Servings: makes 8-10 medium sized pancakes



Prep time: 10 minsCook time: 15 minsTotal time: 25 mins



Ingredients:


Milk: 1/2 cup
Egg: 1
Melted Butter/ oil: 2 tbsp
Flour: 1 cup
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Butter/oil: for greasing the griddle.

Method:


Whisk the egg and the milk.
Add the melted butter/ oil and mix well.
Now add the sugar, salt and stir.
Mix the baking powder with the flour.
Add this flour mix to the egg and milk mixture.
Stir the mixture so that there are no lumps. Do not over mix. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.
Keep it aside for 10-15 mins. The batter will thicken.

Heat the griddle.
Add 1/2 tsp of butter/oil to the pan.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Using a ladle, gently spread it in circular motions. Don't spread it too thin.
Let it cook on low flame for 2 mins. You will see bubbling on top. Try to release the edges of the pancake from the pan. If it releases easily, flip the pancake.
Cook from the other side for 1 more minute.

Remove from the griddle and place it on a serving plate.
Top it with bananas,  berries, chocolate chip or nuts. Pour maple syrup/honey or regular syrup on top.




Serve hot.

Enjoy! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday#171.

Cooking made easy:


If you wish you can mix chopped nuts of your choice in the batter.
You can add banana slices on top of the pancake, once you have poured the batter on the pan and it starts bubbling!

Tip for healthy living:


It is much healthier to use butter as opposed to butter substitutes or hydrogenated oils.

Food for thought:


I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. Ernest Hemingway.





Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!





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Friday, May 5, 2017

Quick Fish Tacos; semi-homemade



It is Cinco de Mayo today!!! Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over the French forces at the Battle of  Puebla.  It is celebrated with great pomp in this part of the world. This was just a reason for me to make Tacos. Everyone in my home loves tacos; any kind! We love vegetarian tacos, bean tacos, fish tacos, chicken tacos.. You name it, we like it; except the ones with meat in it. You see we don't eat meat.





Tacos are nothing but some kind of vegetarian or meat filling in the middle of a small tortilla ( roti) that is usually topped with lettuce/shredded cabbage, onion, sour cream, taco sauce and shredded cheese. When I make tacos at home, I make it healthy by switching the sour cream with Greek yogurt and using low fat shredded cheese. I sometimes skip the cheese in mine altogether. I also substitute lettuce with shredded cabbage. I also sometimes top it with baked butternut squash. You can make a vegetarian version using just butternut squash and the shredded lettuce and sauces.





Tacos are perfect for weeknight dinners when you don't have much time or patience and want to rustle something quick and easy. You can serve it with guacamole , any kind of salsa,  pico de gallo or salsa verde if you wish.




I often keep some organic, least processed breaded fish fillets in my freezer for quick use. I also almost always have some organic corn tortilla in my refrigerator handy.
Today, I am sharing with you one of my easy, quick to rustle taco recipes. 





I am bringing this to all my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday!!   Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sue @ Birgerbird are the co-hosts this weekend!

Servings: 2 ( 2 per person)



Prep time: 5-10 minsCook time: 15-20 minsTotal time: 20-30 mins



Ingredients:


Corn tortillas: 4 (in number )
Breaded fish stick or fish fillets: 4 in number
Greek yogurt: 1/2 cup ( may not need all)
Chopped onion: 1/4 cup
Shredded cabbage: 1/2 cup
Taco sauce: 1/4 cup ( may not need all)
Shredded low fat Mexican blend cheese: 1/2 cup ( may not need all)
Roasted butternut squash cubes: 1 cup ( may not need all), ( optional)

Method:


Cook the breaded fish sticks in the oven or the microwave as per the instructions on the package and keep ready.




If you wish to add roasted  butternut squash(optional), roast it in the oven in a single layer at 350 degrees for 30mins. Keep ready.



When the fish is cooking, finely shred /chop the cabbage/lettuce and keep ready.

Assembling the tacos:


Warm up the corn tortilla on a griddle or for 10 seconds in the microwave.  



Place the tortilla on the serving plate.


Apply a layer of Greek yogurt. 




Now, place one piece of cooked breaded fish. 



Top it with 1/2 tsp chopped onion, 1 tbsp shredded cabbage and 1 tbsp shredded cheese.





If using roasted butternut squash, add it to the taco before the cheese.


Drizzle taco sauce on top.





Do the same with all 4 tacos.

Serve
 it with guacamole , any kind of salsa,  pico de gallo or salsa verde if you wish. Eat immediately.

Cooking made easy:

Tacos are usually assembled by the individual who is eating it. Tacos made ahead of time becomes soggy.

Tip for healthy living:


Tacos can be made gluten free by using corn tortillas. You can totally skip the yogurt and shredded cheese and make it vegan by substituting it with a cabbage slaw.

Food for thought:



Nothing is possible until you do. Maya Angelo


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!




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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Vegetarian Bean Quesadilla


My daughter is that stage of growing where she wants to try different kinds of cuisine and food. She also tells me that she does not want to eat baby food anymore. She wants to eat "grown up" food. So for dinner the other day I decided to make some thing that she could eat. She prefers vegetarian fare. I know she likes rotis/ chapatis which are basically Indian flat bread that is like a whole wheat tortilla. She also likes cheese and sour cream. I decided to make a bean quesadilla using most of the ingredients that she likes or will eat. I swapped the sour cream with Greek yogurt. The beans stuffing was easy to make and she liked it.







I added some picked jalapeños to half it for my husband and I to spice it up a bit. I served it with fresh salsa with avocado and Greek yogurt. The end result was so good that my husband asked me where I had gotten the quesadilla from!! 




Do try it. It is great because you don't have to slave in front of the stove in this warm weather.The recipe is also in time for Cinco de mayo and Mother's Day which is around the corner! Serve the quesadilla with 
guacamole , any kind of salsa,  pico de gallo or salsa verde, or all of them if you wish!



Servings: 3-4



Prep time: 10 minsCook time: 15 minsTotal time: 25 mins



Ingredients:


Whole wheat tortillas/ roti/ Chapati: 2, large.
Mexican shredded cheese mix: 1 cup
Greek yogurt: 1/2 cup

For the bean stuffing:
Cooked & drained red kidney beans : 2 cups ( or 1 can (8oz).
Cooking oil: 1 tsp ( I used coconut oil)
Onion: 1 small, diced fine
Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
Bell pepper/ capsicum, diced fine: 1/4 cup
Black pepper, freshly ground: 1/2 tsp
Salt: to taste
Cilantro, chopped fine: 1 tbsp ( optional)
Pickled jalapeños, chopped: 1 tsp ( optional)

Method:


Heat the oil in a sauce pan or sauté pan on medium heat.


Add the dice onion. Sauté until the onion begins to sweat.


Add the diced bell peppers. Sauté for a minute.


Add the cumin powder. Sauté for 10-20 seconds.


Add the cooked and drained red kidney beans, salt, black pepper and mix well until it all comes together.


Using a potato masher, lightly mash this mixture.


Add finely chopped cilantro. Mix.




Turn off the flame and keep aside.




Heat a griddle/ tawa on medium flame. Place one roti/ chapati/tortilla on it. Reduce the flame to low.




Spread the bean mixture on top of the tortilla evenly.

Sprinkle the pickled jalapeño pieces if you want it spicy.


Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. 




Place the second roti/chapati/ tortilla on top. Let it cook for a minute or two.

If possible, flip the quesadilla and cook for a minute on the other side. If you cannot flip, it is ok. Just continue cooking for couple more minutes until the cheese melts.

Turn off the flame. Using a pizza cutter or serrated knife , cut it into six pieces/ wedges.




Top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt.




Serve it with 
guacamole , any kind of salsa,  pico de gallo or salsa verde if you wish.!

Enjoy!


I am bringing this to all my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations!!   Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sue @ Birgerbird are the co-hosts this weekend!

Cooking made easy:


If you are gluten free, you can use corn tortillas. If the tortilla is really small, just cut it into 2 or 4 pieces.

Alternatively, you can use just one tortilla, put the filling on one half of the tortilla, top it with cheese and fold the other half of the tortilla on top. You can then choose to cut it into 3 pieces/wedges or just 2 halves.

Tip for healthy living:


You can enjoy any of your regular food by switching high calorie, high fat ingredients with low calorie, low-fat, healthy ingredients. For eg, in the above recipe, I have switched the sour cream with healthier Greek yogurt.

Food for Thought:


The secret of our success is determined by our daily agenda. John Maxwell.





Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!






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