Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Sweet 'n' Sour Sprouts Salad

More than a year ago, we ordered the “diet meal” in a famous restaurant, with little trepidation. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the tasty spread served, which included several salads. One of the salads I tasted that day formed the inspiration for this recipe. This is a healthy, tasty and exotic salad that has worked well for me for nearly a year. Why don’t you give it a try?

Ingredients:
Green gram sprouts ½ teacup or 100 ml measure
Raw mango grated 2 tablespoons
Cucumber cut into small cubes, ½ teacup or 100 ml measure
Dates 8 no, chopped
Salt – to taste
Pepper – freshly ground, a generous pinch
Honey 2 tablespoons

Method: In a bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve chilled.



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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Caramel Walnut Cookies

Baking without eggs is tricky. However, banana makes a good egg substitute, and makes the cookie softer. Here is the recipe of caramel walnut cookie baked with banana. If stored properly, this cookie stays good for a week.

Ingredients: (Makes 15 cookies)
All purpose flour or maida - 240 ml measure
Sugar - 60 ml measure
Vanilla essence - ½ teaspoon
Ripe banana - one, medium, peeled and fruit mashed well
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Baking soda - ¼ teaspoon
Baking powder -  teaspoon
Walnuts - broken, 3 tablespoons
Caramel bits - 3 tablespoons
Cold milk - 2 to 3 tablespoons, as required


Method: Preheat the oven at 180o C or 350o F. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl till it becomes a smooth and uniform mixture. Sieve all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Add the flour mixture little by little to the beaten butter and mix together. Add in mashed banana and blend well. Now add the cold milk as needed and mix well to form a soft dough. Finally add walnuts and caramel bits, and mix with the dough. Shape the dough into cookies and bake at 180o C or 350o F for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are using an air fryer, you may bake at 180C for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight container.

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Monday, 9 September 2019

Quinoa Hot Pot

Quinoa is an ancient grain crop, used as the "mother grain" by the Incas. Originated in South America, this grain is rich in vitamins B and E, proteins, dietary fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is considered to be one of the healthiest foods. Though now available in India, it is very expensive for using it as a staple diet. Hence, I mix it with rice to make the dish more nutritive. Here is an easy one dish meal that you can make with quinoa.

Ingredients:
White quinoa - 1½ cups or a mixture of quinoa and basmati rice*
Cut vegetables - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 pods, crushed
Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dried red chilies - 2 no, broken to pieces**
Water - 2½ cups
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - 2 tablespoons

* I have used a mixture of white quinoa and basmati rice in equal quantities.
** If available, you may use jalapeno peppers instead.


Method: Roast quinoa on medium flame till the aroma arises. Keep aside. Wash basmati rice 2-3 times in running water and drain well. Set "instant pot" (electric pressure cooker) to "saute"  mode.Once ready, heat olive oil and add cumin seeds and red chilies. When the seeds crackle, add onion pieces and saute till they become transparent. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Now add cut vegetables, roasted quinoa and rice. Saute for 3 minutes. Add water and salt; mix well.Change the setting to "rice" and cover the instant pot with the vent sealed. When the dish is ready allow it to cool normally. Once cooled, open the lid, add lemon juice and mix with a fork. Serve hot.

Note: I have indicated how to use instant pot or electric pressure cooker for this recipe as it is becoming popular now. However, you may use the stove top pressure cooker for preparing this dish. Cook directly in the pressure cooker and follow the same recipe. Once the pressure builds up, wait for 5 minutes or 5 whistles and switch off the stove. Allow the pressure to release normally before opening the cooker lid. Follow the subsequent steps mentioned above.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Sponge Cake (Egg less)

When I first started baking more than 25 years ago, I used to follow the traditional recipes. However, overtime I have been experimenting to bake healthier versions of cakes and cookies with less sugar and fat, and managed to get the right outcome. Today, let me share with you the basic egg less sponge cake recipe. In this recipe, I have used bananas as egg substitute. Here we go...

Ingredients:
All purpose flour or maida - 240 ml measure
Sugar (powdered) - 120 ml
Plain butter - 6 tablespoons or 90 grams
Banana - large, 1½ no
Cold milk - 120 ml
Vanilla essence - 1½ teaspoon
Baking soda - ½ teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon


Method: Sieve all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder together 2-3 times. Keep aside. Mash the bananas very well into a smooth paste. Leave the butter to soften at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Add vanilla essence and sugar to butter and mix together using a large spoon till the mixture becomes smooth and frothy. Now alternatively add small quantities of flour mixture, milk and mashed banana to the butter mixture, while beating continuously till the entire contents are added to the cake batter. At this stage, the batter will be smooth and creamy. Grease a cake mould of your choice and fill the mould with cake batter up to half. Preheat the oven at 400o C and bake the batter in hot oven for 20-25 minutes.

Note: You may check the cake using a stick and if the cake is baked fully, the batter will not stick to the stick.

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Friday, 19 July 2019

Cabbage Carrot Salad

Adding salads to your diet helps improve its nutritive value and fiber content. I have shared several salad recipes on this site. Please try this new salad made with ingredients commonly available at home!

Ingredients:
Cabbage - sliced finely, 2 teacups or 400 ml measure
Carrot - large, 1 no, grated
Honey - 1 tablespoon
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Rock salt - a generous pinch
Pepper - freshly ground, ¼ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Red chili flakes - ⅛ teaspoon
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Method: Mix together all the ingredients other than the vegetables in a bowl. Now add in the vegetables and mix well. Keep in the refrigerator for 20 minutes and serve chilled.

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