Friday 24 May 2024

Home-made Energy Bar

The latest dietary guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research recommends daily intake of 35 grams nuts and seeds for every adult. While other international guidelines recommend daily serving of 30 grams of nuts. How to include nuts and seeds in our daily diet? Here's an easy way of making a snack with nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

Ingredients: (Makes 24 bars)

Almonds - 80 grams

Seeds (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, flax seeds) - 80 grams

Roasted peanuts - 80 grams

Cashew nuts - 25 grams

White sesame seeds - 15 grams

Pistachio - 20 grams

Black raisins - 40 grams

Rolled oats - 300 grams* 

Dates - 15 no**

Honey - 2 tablespoons

Coconut oil or ghee - 1 tablespoon

Cinnamon powder - ½ teaspoon***

* I used Quaker oats. You can use any brand of your choice.

**I used Kimia dates. If you are using hard dates, soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes.

***Instead of cinnamon powder you may use vanilla extract if desired.


Method:

  • Roast almonds, cashew nuts and pistachio in a kadai on medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Keep aside to cool.
  • Roast rolled oats till the grain becomes crispy. Roast the seeds for 2 minutes. Roast black sesame seeds till the seeds start to sputter. Allow the ingredients to cool.
  • Chop the nuts coarsely using the pulse/whip function of mixer-grinder just once or twice.
  • Remove the seeds and grind the dates with 2 tablespoons of water into a smooth paste.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of ghee or coconut oil in the kadai. Add the dates paste and cook on low flame till it thickens and forms a mass. Add honey, cinnamon powder and black raisins. Blend together. 
  • Add the nuts and mix together. Now add all other ingredients and mix well. Switch off the stove.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to the tray and spread uniformly.
  • Apply the remaining ghee or coconut oil to the surface and press down using a spatula.
  • Place the tray in the storage compartment of the fridge and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Later cut the mixture into bars. Finally bake at 160℃ for 4 minutes using the microwave oven in convection mode or in an Oven-Toaster-Griller.
  • Allow the bars to cool to room temperature. Separate the bars and fold them individually in parchment paper as shown in the picture.
  • Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. Use as needed.

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Tuesday 14 May 2024

Mango Falooda

Summer brings mangoes to the market, though not in the usual abundance this year. Mango desserts and coolers provide great relief from the summer heat. Let us make mango falooda for a change!

Ingredients: 

Full cream milk - 250 ml, boiled, cooled
Vermicelli, thin variety or Falooda sev - 2 tablespoons, boiled, drained
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Sabja seeds - 2 teaspoons*
Almond, pistachio - 3 each, sliced
Ripe mango - 1 no, large, cut into cubes**
Custard powder - preferably mango flavor, 1 tablespoon*** 
Honey - 2 tablespoons

* Sabja seeds also known as sweet basil seeds, puff up and become translucent when soaked.  
** I have used Banganapally mango; however, you can use any variety.
*** Vanilla flavored custard powder may be used instead of mango flavored custard powder.



Method:
  • Take 2 teaspoons of sabja seeds in a tea strainer and wash in running water. Transfer to a bowl. Add 100 ml of lukewarm water and allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes. These seeds puff up to approximately three times the volume of dry seeds. Soaked sabja seeds have a translucent grey outer layer with a black center. Drain excess water before using the puffed up seeds.
  • Mix custard powder and 4 teaspoons of sugar in milk without forming lumps. Heat on low flame, stirring continuously till the mixture thickens. Remove from the fire and allow it to cool. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Keep half a cup of cut mango aside. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the remaining mango pieces and blend to form a smooth puree using hand blender or mixer-grinder. 
  • You need two tall glasses. In one of the glasses, first add ¼ of puffed up sabja seeds. Top it with half the quantity of boiled vermicelli/falooda sev and 1 tablespoon of honey. Now add ¼ of mango puree. Gently pour ¼ of chilled custard. Now add ¼ of puffed up sabja seeds, followed by ¼ of mango puree and finally, ¼ of chilled custard. Top it with half the quantity of cut mango pieces and garnish with sliced nuts. Repeat the process and fill the remaining glass. Serve chilled.

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Thursday 9 May 2024

Sweet Dahi Poha

During childhood, summer holidays were great fun, when we played games and ate various goodies. If no snack was available, we would eat soaked poha/rice flakes (அவல்) with sugar or jaggery. This summer special recipe is an evolution of the same. 

Ingredients: 

Poha/rice flakes (அவல்) - ½ teacup or 100 ml measure

Jaggery powder - 6 tablespoons

Cardamom - 1 no, seeds powdered

Pistachio - 6 no, sliced 

Curds -  6 tablespoons


Method: 

  • Rinse rice flakes in water a couple of times and drain excess water. Let it stand for 20 minutes. Add in cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Take two glasses and transfer half the quantity of poha to each glass. Layer poha with 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder.
  • Add in 3 tablespoon of curds on top of the poha. Garnish with sliced pistachio. 
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes. The water content in the curds will infuse the jaggery powder into the poha and it will taste great! 
Your simple dessert is ready! Serve chilled.

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Friday 26 April 2024

Honey Banana Cake (Eggless)

A cake is one of the great accompaniments for tea,especially when one is tired of having biscuits and rusk with tea😞. Today let us try this simple cake recipe.

Ingredients:

Banana - medium sized, 3 no

Brown sugar - 80 ml measure

Curds - 80 ml measure

Coconut oil - 30 ml 

All purpose flour or maida - 120 gms

Baking powder - 1 teaspoon

Baking soda - ½ teaspoon

Cinnamon powder - ½ teaspoon

Honey - 2 tablespoons

Almonds - 12 no, sliced


Method:
  • Blend banana and brown sugar into a puree using a hand blender or mixer-grinder. Transfer to a bowl. Add in curds, coconut oil, cinnamon powder and honey. Blend together to form a smooth mixture. Keep aside.
  • Sieve all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder together.
  • Add the flour mixture to banana paste little by little, while mixing continuously to avoid forming lumps. 
  • Line a cake mould with parchment paper. Pour the cake dough into the mould. Gently shake the mould so that the dough settles down. Sprinkle almond slices on top.
  • Bake in a preheated microwave oven in convection mode or a baking oven at 180℃ for 30-35 minutes or till the surface turns golden brown. Check in between with a toothpick. The dough does not stick to the toothpick if the cake is fully baked.
  • Once ready, remove the cake from the cake mould and leave it on a wire mesh to cool. Slice and serve with tea! 

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Saturday 20 April 2024

Onion Cheese Roll

Today, I wish to share an interesting snack recipe with you. Let us see how to bake this yummy snack!

Ingredients:

For the covering:

All purpose flour or maida - 120 gms 

Dry yeast - ½ tablespoon

Honey - 1 tablespoon

Salt - ½ teaspoon

Vegetable oil - 1 tablespoon

Milk - for brushing 

Black sesame seeds - ½ teaspoon

White sesame seeds - ½ teaspoon

For the filling:

Onion - 1 no, large, sliced

Kalonji or Nigella seeds - 1 teaspoon

Oil - 1 teaspoon

Mozzarella cheese - grated, 2 tablespoons

Salt - to taste

Oregano - ¼ teaspoon (optional)


Method: 

How to prepare the covering:
  • Dissolve honey in 30 ml of warm water in a bowl. Add in dry yeast, mix and cover with a lid. Set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes to activate the yeast. When the yeast is activated, the surface froths and rises.
  • Mix all-purpose flour and salt in a large bowl. Add in the activated yeast mixture. Blend together. Add around 60 ml of warm water and knead well for about 6 minutes to form a pliable dough.
  • Add vegetable oil and mix well. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a moist cloth and set aside for 1 hour or till the dough rises to double the size.  
How to get the filling ready:
  • Heat oil in a kadai, add kalonji and sauté for a minute. Add in sliced onion and fry till the pieces turn transparent. Add salt and oregano. Mix well. Finally add in the grated cheese and mix well. Switch off the stove. Divide the filling into 4 equal parts.
How to make the rolls:
  • Once the dough reaches double the size, press down the dough to remove the excess air. 
  • Place the dough on baking paper or parchment paper and knead well. Dust with flour as needed while handling the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and shape them into balls.
  • Roll out one ball into a oval shape. Make vertical slits in the lower third to make 4-5 strips.
  • Place one part of the filling in the upper end and roll it around. Pinch the tip of the strips with the dough and place it in a greased tin or tray.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls and arrange the rolls in the tray. Cover with the damp cloth and set aside for 45 minutes.
  • Later, brush the rolls with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • Bake in a pre-heated microwave oven in convection mode at 180℃ for 15 minutes or till the surface turns golden brown in color.
  • Allow it to cool. Gently separate the edges from the tin and invert it over a plate. Separate the rolls and place them on a wire mesh to cool fully. Serve with tomato ketch up.
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