Friday, January 29, 2010

Indian flat bread Roti using Finger Millet(Ragi) flour

How I made these......I had some ragi(finger millet) flour in the pantry needed to be used so I was looking for some recipes other then dosa & idlis. While surfing the net last month I found the recipe for ragi bhakri here and very same day I made these flat breads/roti. You can call it roti, thepla, bhakri or prantha basic difference is how you roll it & cook. I must say these were really tasty, I was little doubtful that my daughter will like it or not, so I twisted the recipe little bit by adding some known flavors to it. Her first reaction was why you used brown flour again(she refer to Ragi flour as brown flour as sometime I use it in idlis or dosas)........I quickly answered her it's not brown flour it's made using your favourite brown dal(whole masoor).....immediate reaction Oh! can you do that....yes Honey! why not(situation under control.....sometime it's good not to tell all the truth to the kids). She took first bite & asked....... do you have more of these? Yes! Mission accomplished. She loves it for morning breakfast or as after school snack and it hardly took me 20-22 minutes in whole : which included kneading of the dough & 10 minute resting period of the dough also.

What U need :
  • 1 cup of finger millet (ragi) flour (available at Indian grocery stores)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour(atta)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour(besan)
  • salt as per taste
  • black pepper as per taste
  • 1 tsp. carom seeds(ajwain)
  • half onion finely chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies chopped(optional)
  • 1 Tblsp. of evoo
  • water to make the dough
What to do :
  1. Mix everything(except water) together using hands.
  2. Using just enough water knead it into soft dough. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into equal size balls(little bigger than ping pong balls).
  4. I have used whole wheat flour in this dough which makes it really easy to handle, so you can easily roll it using rolling pin like you would do making regular Indian roti or otherwise just pat the dough ball between your palms till you get around 5-6'' flat disc.
  5. Cook it on a hot iron griddle on medium heat. I takes around 1 minute on each side depending on the thickness and size of roti. Drizzle some oil on both sides, once cooked it'll be crispy and dark brown in color.
  6. If serving to kids top it with some ghee/butter as flours like corn, bajri, ragi make the bread/roti little dry kind, so it's always good to add some sort of fat like ghee/butter. I also served green chutney along with it.
This post was due from one month or so, the day Madhuram announced JFI-Ragi event, I wanted to post it but didn't had very good picture(my pic. is all glossy with the ghee as I specially made these for kids), now finally I'm posting it with the original pics only, didn't get the chance to click when I made these again. So here it goes to :
1)  JFI-Ragi event brainchild of Indira hosted by Madhuram of Eggless Cooking.
2) Sudeshna and RV's Food for 7 stages of life - Healthy Fast Food event
3) Srivalli's event Kid's Delight : Wholesome breakfast.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Golden Spice : Home remedy for cough

Those who grew up in India like me, for them turmeric(haldi) is one essential thing for cooking and base for many home remedies. For others also now a days turmeric is no more alien word. People are recognizing it's health benefits other then for getting golden yellow color in foods. Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful healer, mainly known for it's anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent. Studies and research has revealed that it's proving beneficial in the treatment of many health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease.

Disclaimer : I would like to tell my readers that this remedy is practiced by me & my family and we rely on this as it's been quite effective for us. If you or your child is not well, please seek the assistance of a competent health care provider. I or this blog is not responsible in any way.

Today's post is about Haldi-Shehed or in english we can call it Turmeric-Honey. Most of you must be familiar with milk with turmeric as a cough remedy but I personally really can't drink that, so arround 2 yrs. back when I came across this remedy it sounded much easier to take & beleive me it really is. I started using this remedy whenever any one in the family get those symptoms like itchy throat means onset of  cough and it really works. If you start taking it as soon the symptom starts, cough and itchy throat usually goes away in couple of days but we do continue to take it for 3-4 days. I have given it to my daughter also at the age of 6 yr. and she also takes it on regular basis during the cold weather as a precaution against cold & flu.

What U need : 
  • half a tsp. of turmeric powder/haldi (for kids 1/4 tsp. is o.k)
  • pinch of cinnamon powder(optional, it also have some healing properties plus makes the taste little better)
  • around 1 spoon of honey(or more as per taste)
What to do :
  • mix everything together and take it empty stomach first thing in the morning.
I'm sending this post as well as my earlier post on home remedies "Nuskhe Dadi Ma Ke" which is mainly for babies & kids all tried and tested in my family, to A to Z Vegetarian Cuisine for their first event : Home Remedies - Series 1

Just a News to share 
Turmeric beats gold, posts 300% returns in India
They have the same colour--yellow. And they have been the hottest commodities in India in 2009. Turmeric, the yellow spice extensively used in foods and medicines and gold, the yellow metal, that is the toast of investing public, have emerged as the hottest, competing commodities in India in 2009.

Is the low-profile agricultural commodity, turmeric, a competition to the globally most sought-after investment asset gold? Yes, in India, the simple, spicy, yellowish turmeric has beaten gold, the yellow metal, in investment returns.

While gold prices gained by nearly 35% in India, turmeric prices have risen by a whopping 300% in India in 2009.  Source:
Now I understand, why last week my Mom was saying that turmeric is getting costlier day by day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet Saffron Rice and Awards

Sometime for no special reasons & without knowing we forget our traditions. Similar is the story with this dish, till this date I never made Sweet Saffron Rice, not that they are complicated or anything but somehow I never made it. Last week while talking to my Mom she told me that's it's Basant Panchami make sweet yellow rice, that's how we refer it in our family. Basant Panchami is a festival to celebrate the first day of spring(basant) and also celebrates the birthday of  Saraswati : Goddess of knowledge and arts. Yellow color of the energy giving Sun has a lot of importance in regard to this festival, the coming of Spring after a long and arduous winter, the mustard fields in bloom are a bright yellow, exuding the warmth of an imminent season of Basant or Spring. In north India people celebrate this special day with religious activities and also by wearing kesari(yellow/saffron color) clothes and making yellow color foods.

So, here you go Mom I did made sweet yellow rice on the basant panchami for the first time. And the sweet aroma of desi ghee, cardamons and saffron is really incomparable. My mom usually put thin slices of dry coconut(available at Indian grocery stores) for garnish, but I didn't used as I didn't had any.

What U need :
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice soaked for around 20-25 minutes.
  • 4 Tblsp. of sugar(add more if you like it really sweet).
  • 2 green cardamons(elaichi), seeds taken out & crushed.
  • 2 pinch of saffron(kesar) soaked in 2 Tblsp. of warm milk.
  • handful of raisins(i used dry cranberries).
  • handful of slivered almonds, toasted.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tblsp. of clarified butter(desi ghee)
What to do :
  1. Drain rice.
  2. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan, add cardamons and rice. Stir so that rice get coating of ghee.
  3. Add raisins, sugar, saffron along with the milk and water.
  4. Cover & cook the rice on medium, till all the water evaporates.
  5. Garnish with toasted almonds & coconut(if using).
Note : If you don't have saffron, 2-3 drops of yellow food color can be used. Also once the rice are cooked, taste them for the sweetness, if needed add more sugar while they are still warm.

Time for Awards: My first regular visitor on this blog was SE of Denufood, she was the one who passed me my very first award and here are couple of more awards from her, Thanks dear for sharing them and being so nice and regularly not only visiting but taking time out to write few lines on each single post.

Rules for accepting the Kreative Blogger award :

1) Thank the person giving the award
2) Copy the award to your blog
3) Place a link to their blog
4) Name 7 things people don't know about you
5) Nominate 7 bloggers
6) Place a link to those bloggers
7) Leave a comment letting those bloggers know about the award

I would like to share these awards with :
1) Sidhhi of Cooked Dil Se....
2) Sowmya of Creative Saga
4) Supriya of Redchillies
5) Sage of  SageCuisine
6) AshKuku  of Asra....Ashaon Ka.....
7) Gulmohar of Collaborative Curry
I just noticed my most of the blogger friends have name starting with "S" and now the list of 7 things people don't know about me :
1) Would love to have my own kitchen garden one day, till then I'm planting my herbs and veggies in the pots.
2) Can't watch T.V without reading some magazine or doing some crochet along with it.
3) Love fried foods, thanks to not properly ventilated kitchens here I don't fry often.
4) Love to start my day by taking all the veggies for the whole day, out of the fridge. Looking at the basket full of fresh veggies(though sometime they r in the fridge for almost a week) makes me happy.
5) Love to end my day doing some crochet/knitting even if it is for 10 minutes.
6) Not a health freak but believe everything in moderation is good.
7) I'm not an environmentalist but do my share in reducing, reusing and recycling. I try to use my own grocery bags but still end up with lot of produce bags as we mainly use fresh produce only. Below is the picture of plastic bag dispenser I made using used produce bags.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spicy Multi-Legume Cakes...... A Healthy Snack

I guess that's the perfect English name for dal(lentils/legumes) dhokla, a very popular gujrati snack, usually made using besan(chickpea flour). They are quite healthy full of protein, first of all the credit goes to the ingredients and secondly the method of cooking is steaming and most important of all they are tasty. All of you who make dhoklas must be thinking what's with the name "Multi-legume"......yes, in my house the dhoklas made with 4 lentils are very hit. In fact I never make the ones with besan(chickpea flour), but these ones at least once a week that too double batch, my daughter never gets bored eating this anytime of the day with the side of cilantro chutney.

I'm writing the exact amount of dals(lentil) I use, but the idea is to get one cup of lentils + rice together. The ratio is 1 portion each dal and 1and1/2 portion rice. Even if you use little bit extra of one lentil  and little less of other, really doesn't matter but try to use approximately same size portions, as they give right texture & softness. I use the containers which come with  5 litre Indian pressure cooker to steam dhoklas and these measurements make the perfect portion batter for 2 of those containers which I can steam together in one time.

What u need :
  • 3 Tblsp. each dal : chana dal, yellow moong , urad dal, masoor dhuli *(check note for english names)
  • around 5 Tblsp. brown rice (or sona masoori can be used)
  • around 3-4 Tblsp. yogurt/buttermilk/home made dahi
  • ginger 1 Tblsp. roughly chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 tsp.salt
  • pinch of turmeric(haldi)
  • baking soda 3/4 of tsp.
  • handful of fresh cilantro chopped up for garnish
For tadka you need :
  • little cooking oil
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • few curry leaves (curry patta)
  • 5-6 green chillies cut length wise
  • little salt around 1/2 tsp. (dhoklas already have some salt)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. coriander(dhania) powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric(haldi)
  • 1 tsp. cumin(jeera) powder
What to do :
  1. Soak the lentils and rice together overnight or at least 6 hrs. or so.
  2. Drain the water and grind soaked lentils+rice, salt, turmeric, ginger, green chillies, yogurt/dahi.
  3. Add little water at a time no more than 4-5 tablespoons.
  4. Once it's grind pour it into a bowl.
  5. Put the pressure cooker onto the gas add around 2 cups of water in it.
  6. Grease two containers(for steaming).
  7. Add baking soda to the batter and mix it. Pour half of the batter into each container.
  8. Once the water in the pressure cooker is boiling, place the containers into the cooker. Close the lid, DO NOT PUT THE WHISTLE.
  9. On high gas setting it takes around 11-12 minutes.
  10. Once done, take it out let it cool a bit for 5 minutes or so. Just run a knife around the edges to make it little loose and invert it onto the cutting board(just like you would do with the cake).
  11. Cut it into small squares.
For Tadka :

  1. Heat oil in a BIG non-stick pan (I like to use iron karahi/wok). Alternatively do this part in two batches and divide all the spices into half for each batch.
  2. Add green chillies cook them for 30-40 seconds, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.When mustard seeds start to splutter add all the rest of the ingredients from tadka list and saute them for few seconds.
  3. Add dhokla pieces. Gently mix them so that each piece get coating of spices.  Turn off the gas. If you are using iron karahi it will make little crust kind on the sides of dhokla pieces which is really very tasty.
  4. Garnish it with some chopped cilantro and serve it with chutney/sauce of  your choice.
*Note : English names of the lentils used in this recipe are as follows :
  1. Chana dal       : Bengal gram
  2. Yellow mung  : Green mung
  3. Urad dal        : Black gram (skinned)
  4. Masoor dhuli : Red lentils
If  time and weather permits batter can be fermented overnight  and in that case no need to use baking soda.
    You can also make these lentil cakes in advance and season them(tadka) when you are ready to eat or keep them ready in the fridge just warm them up whenever you get the craving for it. It's also a healthy option for morning breakfast on the weekdays or after school snack. This healthy protein pack vegan dhoklas are off to :
    1)  EC for MLLA - 19th event started by Susan of the well seasoned cook.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Tujhe dekha to yeh jana sanam.....

    If I ask you what is common between American Punjabi's & Italians ? You can never think that my answer is going to be a green leafy vegetable, but yes that's what it is. Brocalli Rabe, Italians like theirs sauteed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic & red chilli flakes, well Punjabi's like theirs steamed, tempered with onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chillies & some dry spices and o'course cooked in desi ghee. Italians eat it with pasta, punjabis eat it with makki di roti, but no matter how they prepare it or what they eat it with, the common & most important part is they both love it.( Today's post is little longer so please feel free to scroll down to the recipe if you want body is watching you).

    I know what most of you must be thinking, what I'm's saag or as most of you know it by the name "Sarson Ka Saag". After coming to America it took me almost 1&1/2 year to figure out that the mustard greens I always cook thinking as saag is not the one but the greens sold by the name brocalli rabe is the actual saag, and I always thought that saag is not flavorful here. How & why ? for that you have to trust your nose & not any biological name given to the vegetables. I figured it out accidentally while shopping in Korean store that why these leaves looks like Saag, so I gave the job to my nose & to confirm it, his nose too & finally when I brought it home, the moment I chopped it & steamed it, the aroma told me Saron da Saag means Brocalli rabe in this country......when bhindi can be Okra & not lady finger, baingan can be Eggplant & not brinjal than this is also possible. In the later years when I moved to different place where I had a big Indian grocery store stocked up with all fresh Indian veggies I never had to go & search for saag anymore.....not that I'm against mustard greens, I cook those also at least once a week but when I want Saron(Sarso) da Saag means I want it to taste like that too. If you like Bollywood movies then I don't have to explain what's the importance of Sarson da Saag.......just the name of it & Shahrukh Khan running after Kajol(bollywood movie : DDLJ) comes to mind.

    Whenever the name of Punjab(also known as India's bread basket, because it is the largest provider of wheat to India) comes to discussion, it's kind of impossible not to mention Makki di roti te Saro da Saag(Dish made with brocalli rabe & spinach eaten with corn tortilla kind of indianbread)......This post was due actually from many days but because I didn't had good pics, so I was kind of delaying it but now as lohri is here I can't delay it any more. It's the best time to post this recipe as Lohri : the liveliest bonfire festival, is very important festival of punjab and is celebrated every year on 13th of January and next day which is makar sankrant is celebrated in other parts of India by different names. Lohri(lori) is a festival connected with the solar year, it marks the beginning of the end of winter, confusing.....let me simplify, lohri is beleived to be the longest night of the year, so from next day the day light start to increase(so end of winters begin). For more info on Lori click here & here or for more interesting option rent bollywood hit movie "Veer Zaara" (again shahrukh khan but don't worry this time he's with sadi apni kudi preety jinta). I would like to wish all my fellow bloggers a very Happy Lohri/ Makar sankrant/ Pongal. For some reasons I always loved this festival may be because through out India each state celebrates it but with different name & different rituals.

    Now, coming to today's recipe, when you ask any Punjabi or for that matter any north Indian about saag its usually assumed to be sarson(mustard greens) ka ssag. In case of any other leafy greens are used for saag then it's kind of specific like bathua ka saag, chaulli ka saag etc. As I mentioned above if you want the original taste the brocalli rabe is the right choice but if you don't get it go ahead and use mustard greens by all means. Before starting the recipe another thing I like to say that there are hundreds of recipes for this same dish out there, everyone claiming to be authentic, but what my experience is basics are same but each & every household adjust it as per their taste so its kind of authentic to their household. Claiming one particular recipe to be authentic is too much of a statement, to me if it's sarson da saag & it not only looks but taste & smells like one it's authentic enough. On the part of looks, those who have eaten saag in any part of northern India will agree with me it's not pureed & it's not bright green instead coarse texture with dark green color.

    Indian sarson is sometime bit hardy, in that case chop around a inch or two from the bottom & chop the rest of the stem & leaves very fine. These greens have some sort of bitterness to it & if you don't like that in that case you can always add a turnip or two. Saag is a winter vegetable, so with the onset of winters street hawker with fresh saag straight from the farms will come to the residential areas even in the cities like Delhi, early in the morning, calling in loud voices "Sarson Ka Saag lelo...." and my Mom cooks excellent saag, I don't remember even a single day when she refused to the hawker that she doesn't need it, because if you like it you really can't say no to this stuff. In my house the day it's bought, it's cooked same day but final preparation(tadka) is usually done next day. Because it always taste better after a day or two(try it & u'll know it). Over here, though brocalli rabe & mustard greens are available thru out the year but for some reasons I don't feel like cooking them till the cold weather starts. I believe when you eat seasonal food it tastes better. And as the post is already longer, so for health benefits only one statement everyone out there is right "Dark Green Leafy Veggies are good for you", so just believe them & don't get into technicalities of nutrients & vitamins in it. Finally the recipe......

    Ingredients :
    • 2 bunch brocalli rabe, washed, rinsed & chopped
    • 1 small bunch spinach, washed, rinsed & chopped
    • 1 medium size turnip(optional) chopped
    • 6-7 green chillies(adjust as per your taste)
    • ginger around 2 Tblsp. chopped
    • salt
    • 6-7 cloves of garlic
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 cup chopped tomato
    • 1 Tblsp. tomato paste(optional)
    • desi ghee(calrified butter) or any cooking oil for vegan version
    • 1 tsp. cumin seeds(jeera)
    • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp. turmeric
    • 3 Tblsp. corn meal(makki ka atta)(alternatively use whole wheat flour)

    Method :

    1. Pressure cook for one whistle, all the greens along with green chillies, ginger, salt & turnips(if using) with very little water. I would probably use 1/2 a cup if greens were allowed to drain well after wash. Some of you must be thinking who pressure cook greens, well for this recipe I do, alternatively u can steam it in microwave.
    2. Let it cool a bit, now using hand blender mash it coarsely. DO NOT PUREE IT, IF USING REGULAR BLENDER, DO IT IN SMALL PORTIONS, USE ONLY PULSE BUTTON, saag has some texture if you puree it you lost it. Traditionally a ghotna is used to mash the saag, it's kind of a pestle, a wooden one about a feet long with rounded(kinda half baseball) wooden piece on one end, which is used to mash the cooked greens. Ghotna in hindi literally means crushing something. At my mom's house this is my dad's duty as you need some muscles for this job, but it's worth it.
    3. While blending it add 3 tablespoon of corn meal & mix it. Put the cooker back on to the slow gas with no lid & let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes or so. We need to cook the flour so there is no raw flour smell, this process will bring creaminess to the saag. Keep stirring & be careful as at this stage it will start to splutter.
    4. Now after this stage for best results let it cool down keep it in the fridge for a day or if you are like me make a double batch & freeze half, refrigerate half.
    5. To get it ready for the meal, final step is prepare tadka, a very basic recipe which is used for most of the dals also. Heat some ghee in a kadai or a big pan, add cumin seeds to it, let them splutter add garlic, once it start giving u the aroma add onions. Saute them for a bit, once translucent add dry spices.
    6. After few seconds add tomato paste & tomatoes, let everything cook together. Once the tadka starts to leave ghee on the sides of the pan add saag mixture mix everything nicely & let it simmer for 10 minutes or so. Turn off the gas cover & let it sit for some time.

    Serving suggestions : The best way to serve it is with makki di roti, which I'm not posting today, because I don't have access to good makki da atta here, so I have to manage with regular corn meal now-a-days. But it also tastes good with plain prantha or naan. As for me I eat bowl full of saag with a dallop of fresh white butter. Traditionally home-made butter(makhhan) is used but since I'm in U.S.A, I manage with Land-0-Lakes All Natural unsalted whipped butter, quite close to home made one. Another things to serve with this dish, simple onion salad with some lime juice, green chillies & last but not the least Gur(jaggery).

    Many places you'll read traditionally lassi(punjabi yogurt drink) is served along with it but if it is day time meal then only. If it's a dinner affair with the cold weathers of north india no body can even think of lassi with this meal as yogurt comes under the category of cool foods.

    Note : I think of a ghee as healthy fat only, though I don't use it in my regular cooking but there are certain dishes I can't cook without it, so those of you who really freak out on the name of ghee go ahead & use your fav. cooking fat and also if u substitute ghee with some oil it'll become a Vegan dish.

    Now for the title, I couldn't think of any thing better than this. Here's my authentic Saron de Saag de recipe....go ahead make it at least once before this winter weather flies away, play Veer-Zarra movie and enjoy it with your family.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Wheat Pulav - Vegetable Dalia

    Dalia-cracked whole wheat, many of you must have eaten it in the form of porridge, roasted then boiled with milk or water sprinkled with some sugar or honey. It's a very common breakfast in Northern India. It's one of that thing you like it or don't.

    This is not only healthy but truly one-pot dish gets ready in 15-20 minutes. It's kind of regular in my house, I usually serve it with home made dahi(plain yogurt). I always loved dalia(cracked wheat), the sweet version with milk but no one other than me likes it over here. Few years back when I ate this savory version of dalia for the first time, at my MIL's friends house I didn't liked it much( I was so use to of eating sweet version) but I liked the idea. After coming back to my house I decided to try it for my DH, he instantly liked it. Since then it's regular in my house, many a times when nothing else to cook or don't want to spend time in kitchen this is one dish which comes to my mind. And now I enjoy it more than the sweet version. Here's how it goes :

    Ingredients :

    • 1 cup cracked wheat(dalia) available at Indian grocers
    • 1 & 1/2 cup of chopped mixed veggies (like carrots, beans, peas etc.)
    • 2 & 1/5 cup of water
    • salt ar per taste (I used 1 & 1/2tsp.)
    • 1 Tblsp. freshly chopped ginger
    • 2-4 green chillies
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper(kali mirch)
    • 1/2 tsp. turmeric(haldi)
    • 1 tsp. garam masala
    • 2-3 cloves(laung)
    • pinch of asafoetida (hing)
    • handful of chopped cilantro
    • lime or lemon juice
    • plain yogurt(dahi) to serve with
    • 1 Tblsp. of clarified butter( desi ghee) or evoo for vegan version

    Method :

    1. Heat ghee/evoo in the pressure cooker add hing to it and after few seconds add cloves. Now add ginger & then add dalia to it & roast it for few minutes(may be for 5-6 minutes), you'll know it with the aroma, that it's roasted. OR instead you can also dry roast dalia in a big pan in advance & keep it in a air tight container for later use so you can avoid roasting it at this stage.
    2. Once it's roasted add chopped veggies & all the dry spices along with the chillies & water. Close the lid of the pressure cooker.
    3. After one whistle turn the gas to slow for another 3-4 minutes and then turn it off.
    4. When all the steam escaped open the lid add lime juice & fluff up the dalia using a fork & garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

    It's very healthy dish, and very full filling also. You can change the flavours by using spices of your taste, but for me & my family this works really well. It's very healthy for little ones also, my little one started to enjoy this at the age of 10 months or so.

    Note : 1) Cracked wheat is usually available in two types one is very finely cracked which is good if making sweet version or using it for babies. Other type is of little coarse consistency which looks very similar to cous-cous pasta, and that is the one I prefer for this savory version.

    2) Proportion of water can some time vary according to the quality of dalia, if it comes out too wet , next time reduce the quantity of water by little bit.

    Easy Veggie Asparagus Stir Fry - Indian Style

    It's been only 3 years or so, since I fell in love with this vegetable and then onwards it's regular in our meals whenever nice & tender ones are available, mainly in the spring & summer. First of all I love how they look..... just like some flower bud,well they belong to lily family. Second, they are so easy to cook. Last but the most important they are packed with nutrients like Folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, thiamine and rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary walls. Asparagus has no fat, does not contain cholesterol and is low in Sodium.

    Some of it's health benefits are :
    • prevent constipation due to its high fiber content.
    • its an alkaline food thus helps in reducing the acidity of the blood.
    • has an abundance of an amino acid called asparagine that helps to cleanse the body of waste material.
    • has anti-inflammatory properties that helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism symptoms.
    • prime source of anti-oxidant and glutathione that can help prevent the dreaded cancer.
    • can help regulate blood sugar.
    • contain magnesium which can help relieve irritability, fatigue and depression.
    • contain a good amount of folic acid and calcium that can reduce birth defects, so very good for the women who are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant (folate deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world).
    Ingredients :
    • 1 bunch asparagus
    • salt as per taste
    • 1 tsp. ajwain(carom seeds)
    • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
    • 1/2 tsp. haldi(turmeric)
    • little evoo
    Method :
    1. Wash asparagus & cut the coarse woody ends of the asparagus stalk. Technique here is, hold the bottom end of the stalk with one hand & with the other hand hold the centre part of it & now try to break it, where it breaks taking that as guideline cut the bottom from all the stalk usually around 2 inches from the bottom.
    2. Don't discard the bottoms you can either use them for making vegetable stock with other veggies or peel them & chop them, keep them separate. Below is the picture of peeled woodsy part of asparagus before chopping.
    3. Chop the stalk into bite size pieces.
    4. Heat oil in pan, add carom seeds once they start to splutter add chopped woodsy ends of asparagus(if using). Let them cook for 3-4 minutes & then add rest of the asparagus, stir everything add dry spices & salt & mix.
    5. Cover & cook for another 7-8 minutes or so. Keep an eye as sometime if they are very tender they will cook very quickly whereas if little woodsy might take extra minute or two.
    6. Serve warm as a side dish with roti or rice or just eat it like that as warm bowl of salad, any time of the day.
    Sending this easy recipe to Easy Veggie.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Home Made Rice Crispy Treats

    Happy New Year to all of you, may the year 2010 brings happiness everywhere.
    First week of the year 2010 is already over, kids are back to school in fact dear daughter is going to have her first snow day(no school) of the year 2010 & I'm still not back to my routine. Winter vacations from the school for kids means getting up late in the morning & sleeping late in the night, which means no time for blogging for mom. I remember as a kid when we use to be home during holidays, my Mom would say she can never keep up with her routine work the days we are home and now I realize what she always meant.

    Days when the DD is at home I hardly get to do anything on the Internet, in today's life that's what my daily routine is getting up in the morning......checking mail, reading some blogs, checking some news on the web, google some new recipe for the lunch, again google for help : for any queries which might come to mind.............check the with kids........oh, did I said check the mail, the postal mail, that only bring bills but the one which bring happiness : e-mail...........and one last thing before going to bed, yeah U got it by now, check the e-mail. And somewhere in between when ever U get some time cook breakfast, lunch, dinner & have some instant healthy options ready for snacks, play with kids, take care of baby, do the dishes, laundry, clean up, fool around.....blah.....blah.....I guess you got my point. Or in short I had relaxed time with no routines to follow & fun spending time with family.

    For the first post of 2010 I decide on a cake but then DD suggested to post these home made rice crispy treats, I liked her suggestion, it's sweet, healthy as it's not only home made but uses gur as sweetener & best of all reminds me of my childhood. Near my parents house, a weekly market takes place on every Thursday. As a kid we use to go there regularly to buy some knick knacks, mom would buy fresh veggies & then we get to eat some tasty street food......moth(sprouted lentils), choole bhature, kari chawal to name few. It was like a weekly outing for us, even now also when I'm there at my mom's place & it's thursday I like to go there, not for any kind of shopping but for the food.......Now coming to today's recipe : Rice crispy treats or as we call it Marundas in Delhi, we use to buy these treats from one of the reri-wala bhaiya there, it's very simple thing but we never made it at home but we use to always look for him so that we can buy some. I don't remember exactly but I guess it use to be available starting the Diwali season, kind of a winter treat.

    I don't have exact measurements for this recipe as it was more of eye-balling, and just in case if you don't get exact squares don't worry they will still taste yummy.

    Ingredients :
    • 1-2 tblsp. of water
    • around half a cup of chopped jaggery(gur)
    • around 4 cups of dry roasted puffed rice(Plain rice crisps/wheat puffs can be used)
    • butter or ghee for greasing

    Method :

    Heat water in a heavy bottom pan add jaggery to it & let it melt, stir it. Once it melts let it cook for few seconds it gonna bubble up a bit, add 3 & 1/2 cup of rice puff & mix everything together so that they get coated with jaggery. If you feel there is still some liquid add some more puffed rice or let it cook for few more seconds. Turn the gas off & spread the mixture onto the greased baking sheet. Once cooled it will be hard, cut it into squares or desired shape. Store it in air-tight container, I kept it for around 5 days & I also used some plain wheat puffs in it. I specially love these as they don't contain any processed sugar & DD loves it because they are simply rice crispy treats. I'm sure many of you must have eaten these may be with different name, so whenever you guys have 5 minutes to spare do try these, it's sweet & healthy, to check more benefits of gur(jaggery) click here.

    Last month or I should say last year Malar & Ashkuku passed me this wonderful award, thanks to both of you and at the same time I'm sorry I couldn't post it earlier but what could be better than starting the new year with an award. I would like to pass this award to all my blogger friends, please feel free to pick it up.

    Before I end this post here's what we did on snow day off.......we crochet the dress & head scarf for the little dolly. Design by DD, crochet by me :

    As I'm finishing this post, another snow day is already announced, so we might be adding few more accessories to miss dolly.