December 30, 2011

My First Event - "WWC" Broken Wheat for Dinner

I am very happy to announce the first event that I am doing as a guest host for Sanjeetha of litebite.  It is part of her Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking monthly event for which the chosen theme for Jan 2012 is Bulgur wheat or broken wheat for dinner.

Benefits of Cracked Wheat...

Cracked wheat is made by cutting or crushing whole raw wheat berries into small pieces.  Even though bulgur wheat is interchangeably used with cracked wheat, it is processed slightly different from cracked wheat.  Also a whole grain, it is partially cooked prior to crushing.  Both bulgur and cracked wheat are excellent sources of fiber, minerals and vitamins.  Cracked wheat has all the benefits of wheat flour and since it contains the outer bran and germ of the wheat, it is a good source of fiber.  It fits well into a low fat diet as a quarter cup contains just 1 percent of  daily value for total fat and has no trans fat or cholesterol.  It is also a good source of iron and protein.

About the event...

Participants should use the main ingredient for that month in the dish that is being prepared.

Post the recipe on your blog during the event dates.

Old entries are welcome but has to be reposted again during the event dates after linking to this page and Sanjeetha's event announcement page.

Only vegetarian recipes are allowed - eggs are okay.

No deep fried recipes.

You must provide a link to this announcement page and to Sanjeetha's event announcement at Lite Bite.

Use of the logo is appreciated, though not mandatory.

After posting, send an email to with the following information.
                             Name of the Recipe
                             Link to your Post
                             Picture of the Recipe

Non bloggers are also welcome to participate - just email the recipe with a picture.

December 14, 2011

Spinach Cheese Toast

A very simple and a healthy lunch box dish for the kids which can be prepared even in the busy morning rush....

4 slices of bread
2 ounces of frozen chopped spinach
2 ounces of grated cheese(used four cheese mexican)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 table spoon of chopped spring onions

Cook the spinach in the microwave and squeeze out the water.  Combine this, the cheese and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread this mixture between two slices of bread.  Apply butter on the outer side and toast on a medium hot tawa until golden brown on both sides.

Sending this to Breakfast Club event hosted at Krithi's Kitchen and to HLI - Spinach event of Kalyani running at Sin-a-Mon.

Tip:  Add a spoon of flax seeds to the filling mixture for added nutrition

December 12, 2011

Steamed Radish Muthias

A snack cannot get any better if it is just steam cooked with lot of vegetables and these Muthias are all about this.  Muthias is one of the most popular Gujarati recipes which is traditionally made with vegetables like lauki or methi leaves and gramflour. They are  just steam cooked with very little oil added for binding the dough.  Ever since I came upon this recipe on Manjula's Kitchen, I have been a fan of this simple and healthy delicacy.  Having tried these using cabbage and methi leaves, today I experimented with some radishes.  As always, the taste was just awesome!!!


5 oz red radish( I used 6 oz but felt could have used less - hence 5 oz)
1/2 cup besan
1 tblsp wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 green chili chopped
1 tbsp crushed kasoori methi
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard
1 tsp sesame seeds
chopped coriander leaves
1 long red chili

Process the radish.  Add the lemon juice to it and mix well.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and the oil.  Add the radish mixture to the flour mixture.  The final mixture should be a soft dough. 

Have your pressure pan or cooker ready with some water and let it come to a nice boil.  Grease your hands well with oil and also the steamer basket.  Take out about 2 tablespoons of the dough and place it on the steamer.  Arrange the rest of the dough making sure they are little away from each other.  Place the steamer basket inside the cooker and steam cook them for 15 to 20 minutes.  Check to see if they are done by inserting a knife or a toothpick which should come out clean.

Let it cool nicely before removing them from the steamer basket.  Slice them into small pieces.  

To season, heat up the oil on medium heat and splutter the mustard and then the sesame followed by the red chilies.  Stir fry for a few seconds.  Add the cut up muthias and stir fry them for 3 to 4 minutes until they are browned a bit.  

Serve it with some coriander chutney or enjoy them plain like I do!!!

Ragda Patties

Ragda Patties, a very popular Indian street food, is typically made with dried white peas.  But I have made these using some dried green peas.  This makes a wholesome and a healthy snack for the kids coming home hungry from school.  This dish goes to CWS - Peas event of Priya and HLI event hosted @ Veg Junction originally started by Kalyani.

For the ragda:
1 cup green peas
1 small tomato
1 small piece ginger
1 green chili
1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black salt(I did not have any)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/8 to 1/4 black pepper powder
few sprigs of coriander leaves chopped
finely chopped onions
green chutney and sweet chutney if preferred

For the patties:
2 medium to large size potatoes
4-5 green chilies grated
1 tsp grated ginger
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
some lemon  juice
salt to taste
Oil for frying

Preparation of the Ragda:

Soak the green peas overnight or for at least 6 hours.  Pressure cook the peas with a tea spoon of salt for ten minutes or up to two whistles.  It is time to turn off once you get the cooked smell of the peas.  Keep this aside.  Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the cooked peas.

Grind the tomato to a puree along with the reserved peas, ginger and green chilies.  Heat up a table spoon of oil and add the puree to it.  After 2 minutes add all the powders up to paprika and fry for two more minutes.  Add the cooked peas along with the water and 2 more cups of water and bring it to a boil.  Add little salt, and rest of the powders and let it boil for five minutes.

Lower the heat and let this simmer for five minutes or until the gravy thickens.

You can use little coriander while grinding along with the tomatoes.

Preparation of Patties:

Boil the potatoes and when it cools down mash them to a slight coarse texture.  Add salt, grated chilies and ginger, coriander leaves and the lemon juice.  Combine this well and make it into medium lemon sized balls and flatten them down to 1/2 inch thickness.  Spray or smear some oil on all of these patties.  I got about 14 of them.  Notice that I have not added any binding substances like cornflour or bread crumbs as I like it this way.

Heat up the griddle pan or tawa and when it is hot enough, place 4 to 5 patties and cook adding little more oil for both sides until they are golden brown in color.

To Serve:

Place two patties in a plate and add a couple of ladle full of the gravy on top of it.  Sprinkle with some finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, a spoon of the store bought chutnies and little sev(store bought as well).

Enjoy these while they are hot!!!

We were all so hungry that I did not bother to add the coriander or the sev(I had some mot sev) and I did not have the chutnies anyway.   I do not keep the store bought ones as well as I very rarely make the chaat dishes at home.  Nevertheless, there was nothing missing in the taste:)-

December 11, 2011

Butternut Squash Payasam/Kheer

Many a times I have used the pumpkin that is available in the Indian grocery store to make soups, gravy dishes,  sambars and even in mixed vegetable curry .  But recently, I picked up this huge butternut squash from a local grocery to prepare soup for a potluck get together.  The appearance of the inside and the texture of the squash looked very similar to the pumpkin that is available in the Indian store.  To get things clarified, I went on the net to see if they both were the same but found out that they were obviously not the same but the names are frequently used interchangeably and they can be easily substituted in recipes.  

 Butternut Squash also known as butternut pumpkin in Australia is a type of winter squash and has a sweet nutty taste similar to that of pumpkin especially the sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin.  It is a good source of fibre and Vitamin C apart from being an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.  I made this payasam on the day of Karthigai Deepam as an offering to the God.....

8 ounces cubed butternut squash
4 whole cashews
1.5 cups of milk(low fat)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp powdered elaichi
few strands of saffron
1 table spoon broken cashews
little ghee

Cook the squash along with the cashews and some milk in the pressure cooker for up to one whistle or five minutes on low.  Make a smooth puree of this after it cools down adding little water to adjust the thickness.  
Bring this to stove top and let it come to a boil stirring all the time.  Let this boil for about a minute or two.  Add the sugar and let it combine well with the puree.  In the meanwhile, boil the milk nicely in the microwave.  Lower the heat on the stove and slowly add the boiled milk to the puree.  Mix well and let this cook after it comes to a boil for an additional minute on medium heat.  Take out a  ladle full of the milk in a cup, dissolve the saffron strands while it is hot and then add the elaichi powder. Take it back to the kheer.  Fry some broken cashews in ghee till golden brown and add it to the payasam.

For a more rich flavor use evaporated milk or even condensed milk. Serve it hot or cold!!!


December 8, 2011

Asparagus, Onion and Tomato Chutney

Asparagus is quite a commonly used vegetable in our household when in season.  My typical Indian preparations have been dry sauteed curry to go along with rice or rotis.  My mother, however, has tried making kootu or poricha kootu with it while she visited us many years back.  Today, I came up with this chutney recipe using the leftover asparagus sitting in my fridge.

Asparagus is low in calories, low in sodium apart from being a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.  I have always thought of it to have a nutty flavor similar to that of peanuts.  Even though the chutney had the distinct smell of the asparagus, to me it tasted like a coconut or peanut chutney.  To bring about more flavor I added some onions and used tomatoes to keep off the tamarind.

Chutney is one of the dishes where you can try to play with the ingredients according to your taste buds..... including what you add on with the main ingredient and the kind of spices or seasonings you decide to use.
The next time I will be trying with some peanuts or coconut or use some garlic with it.......

8-10 asparagus trimmed
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 small tomato
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal
2 tsp chana dal
1and a half red chilies long variety
salt to taste
tamarind if needed

Heat up two tea spoons of oil and start with the seasonings followed by the dal.  Once they turn golden brown, add the broken red chilies and then the onion.  Saute the onion for a minute and add the tomatoes cooking them for about 2 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt when the onion and tomatoes are cooking to help with their cooking.  Let it cool

Grind this to a paste.  I used a couple of table spoons of olive oil while grinding to preserve it for a longer time avoiding the water completely.  This gives a nice thicker consistency which can be used as a spread also.  If you are using water, add a very little quantity....a little thicker the chutney better the taste!!!

December 7, 2011

Peas and Paneer Parathas

Peas and paneer combination in these parathas make it really enjoyable than the plain peas parathas.  I usually add potatoes but today used these low fat paneer for a change.

1.5 cups wheat flour

1.5 cup green peas thawed
4 oz paneer
few coriander leaves
1-2 green chilies
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ajwain
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
small handful of spring onion leaves(great flavor because of these)

Process the peas along with spring onions and all the spices and salt.  Saute this in little oil for a
few minutes.  Add the finely crumbled paneer to this mixture. Let it cool.
Divide the filling into equal sized balls and make the same number with the dough as well.

Roll out the dough into a small circle, place the filling, cover and roll out into a bigger circle making sure not to tear.  Cook the paratha on a hot tawa both sides and then with some oil again till brown spots appear.

Served this parathas with some Mooli Muthia Kadhi for a fulfilling meal,the recipe for which will be posted soon.

Peas being the main ingredient this goes to the CWS - Peas event of  Priya.

Also sending this to HLI event hosted @ Veg Junction originally started by Kalyani.

Eggles Dates and Walnut cookies

I came upon this simple recipe on the net, while I was just looking for some recipes with dates.  They turned out to be really wonderful and I could never tell that there were dates in them.  It is one good way to get the kids to eat dates which are known for its essential nutrient, mineral and vitamin contents.  I just felt I should have gone with my intuition of toasting the chopped walnuts before adding them.  That would have really brought out the nutty flavor in the cookies.

1.5 cups flour(combined all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour equally)
100 gms softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg(substituted with a tbsp of milk and 3 tbsp oil combined)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder(i used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup tightly packed chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips(optional)
pinch of salt

Cream the butter and the sugar in a bowl.  Add the egg to it and beat it further.  In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and the pinch of salt.   Add the dry to the wet ingredients.  Stir in the chopped dates and walnuts.  To me the mixture was kind of dry so I ended up adding little more milk(may be 1/4 cup) to bring it to a dough like consistency.  Add the chocolate chips in the end.  Scoop out the dough using a ice cream scoop and place them little apart on a greased cooking tray.

Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Let them cool on the tray for five minutes in the tray and then on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.

This recipe is off to  Serve It - Baked Sweet event at Krithi's Kitchen and Denny's.

December 4, 2011

Cabbage, Potato and Capsicum curry

This is one of my favorite ways to eat cabbages with rotis.  The addition of bell peppers give a nice flavor to it, the green one being the best.

12 oz cabbage chopped
2 medium size potatoes chopped
1 orange capsicum chopped
1 small onion chopped(optional)
2 garlic cloves
ginger piece
1-2 green chili
1/2 tsp each of cumin and dhaniya powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala

Take a table spoon of oil and splutter 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds.  Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes and add the ginger, green chili and garlic all finely chopped.  Saute further for a minute and add the potatoes.  Saute these for about 2-3 minutes before adding the cabbage and the orange peppers.  Add salt, dhaniya jeera powders and the chili powder and stir together well.  Lower the heat and cook the vegetables covered until soft.  Add the garam masala in the end and stir everything well.

Enjoy these with some nice hot chapathis!!!


December 2, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Subzi or Kurma.....

This is a very easy preparation which I usually come up with whenever I have some squash at home like the chayote or lauki or yellow crooked neck.  I prepare this in combination with potatoes or sometimes with more vegetables like carrots, peas and beans.  I usually add some milk in the end but instead used some leftover cream which I had in the fridge.
This cannot typically come under the category of kurma as I am not grinding any coconuts or cashews.  However, since I am using some cream to enrich this dish I would like to think of this as a kurma.

1 chayote squash
1 potato
1 carrot
small handful of frozen peas
2 tbsp cream
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 onion chopped
2 tomatoes blanched and pureed
few sprigs of coriander leaves
2 green chili( instead used some chopped green bell peppers about 2 tblsp)
small piece ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2-3 pinches of kasoori methi

Peel and cube the first three vegetables and steam cook it along with peas adding some salt and turmeric.  Take a table spoon of oil, splutter the cumin seeds and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes.  Make a puree of the tomatoes with coriander leaves, ginger, garlic and green chilies and add it to the onions.  Now add all the powders at once and cook the tomato paste until it begins to leave out oil on the sides.  Add the steamed vegetables to it and more salt and chili powder if needed and bring it to a boil.  Add the cream and cook further for five minutes on medium heat stirring in between.

Add the kasoori methi in the end and turn off the heat!!

On the other hand, this can be done directly in the pressure cooker.  Follow all the steps from the seasoning to the point where the tomatoes are sauteed.  Add the cut vegetables with just enough water and pressure cook for one whistle taking care not to overcook the vegetables.  Release the lid and add cream or  milk in the end and bring it to a boil again.

You can use any vegetable of your choice for this dish like baby corns, cauliflower etc.,.