Friday, June 20, 2014

Strawberry Fro-yo/Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Next week, this time i will be busy with last minute packing for our vacation, yes, it is Vacation time, at last!!! So, certainly for the past 2 weeks, i m busy using up things in my pantry and clearing my freezer. I normally freeze fruits when they are in abundance. I had a packet of strawberries and to top it over my SIL gave me another packet, as she left for vacation early this time. So two packets of plump strawberries in my freezer!!! hmmm, i wanted to try this Fro-yo for a long time and since the beginning of summer, My FB wall is flooded with lots of Fro-Yo pictures and me drooling over them. I didn't want to miss the chance to try it at home. Such a simple recipe, even your school-going kid can make it no time and surprise with a delicious and a healthy dessert.
There is no hard and fast rules to follow in this recipe. I didn't have enough yogurt so i added another half cup milk. This can be done with any fruit, run your imagination and create your own flavor of fro-yo!!!! 

Ingredients
2 Cup Fresh strawberries/frozen strawberries, washes and hulled
1 Cup Yogurt
1/ Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar (optional depends on the sweetness req)
juice of one lemon (Indian lemon)
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients together, pour it in a freezer safe box and freeze for 4-5 hours minimum. Optionally you can sieve the blended strawberry puree to remove the seeds before freezing, i skipped this step.
  • Remove the box from the freezer after an hour, blend it again (i used my hand blender)to break the ice crystals and get a smooth texture. Take it back to the freezer again.  Do this blending after every hour for 2-3 times. 

  • Freeze for another 3-4 hours. Scoop and Serve, Enjoy the weekend.
Topping suggestions
Chocolate Syrup, Nut brittle, Fresh strawberry preserve, options are endless!!!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Thinai Laddu/Foxtail Millet Laddu/தினை லட்டு, Sugar-free, Zero Fat, Healthy Ladoo

My Love for millets is growing manifold. I have totally forgot eating rice for lunch now, i cook myself little varagu arisi/kodo millet and have it with my regular sambhar or rasam. These Thinai Ladoos's/Thinai urundai is an inspiration from the Kerala Special Andi Unda/Cashew-nut balls which i made earlier for the Indian Food Odyssey. These ladoos, have no ghee/butter/any oil. The Fat content comes from almonds and coconut added to it.  I have mentioned in my earlier posts that my quest to know more about millets lead me to a journal by NABARD : let's welcome millets back in to our meals. I m giving few excerpts from the article about foxtail millet.
Foxtail millet/Navane/தினை is a gluten free grain is and the second most commonly grown species. It is one of the oldest cultivated millet. The grains are very similar to paddy rice in grain structure. They contain an outer husk, which needs to be removed in order to be used. There are lots of variety in foxtail millet Kari navane, Kuchu navane, Kempu navane, Jade navane, Hullu navane, Halu navane. 
Coming to the fats in the ladoos, almonds and coconut, almonds have loads of health benefits apart from being a tasty snack, They reduce heart attack risk, lower ‘bad’ cholesterol,  protects artery walls from damage. Almonds help build strong bones and teeth, they provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss. Source here.
Coconut on the other hand helps prevent Obesity by speeding up metabolism, providing an immediate source of energy with fewer calories than other fats.  The healthy fat in coconut slowsdown any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hypoglycemic cravings. Source here
This doesn't mean that you have to eat one coconut everyday, but try not to avoid it just for the reason that somewhere you read that is high in cholesterol! Check your sources and read good. I personally use one coconut/week. I keep the grated coconut in the freezer and use 1 or 2 tbsp everyday in curries/subzi's. 
Coming to today's recipe, this measurement makes around laddu's/ladoos. Makes a good evening snack for kids and great gift for festivals. Try it and you will definitely prefer it over your regular ghee-laden sweets.
Ingredients (Makes 15)
1/4 cup Foxtail Millet/தினை/Thinai
1/4 Cup Almonds/பாதாம் பருப்பு
1/4 Cup Powdered Jaggery/பொடித்த வெல்லம்
1/4 Cup dessicated coconut/dried coconut

Optional (for decoration)
1 tsp melted ghee/Vegetable oil
2 tbsp chopped pistachios

Method
  • Dry roast each of these ingredients one by one separately. The Thinai/foxtail millet/தினை should be roasted well and it will flower up well.
  • Next dry roast Almonds. Switch off the flame and add the desscated coconut to the hot pan and roast it for a second and remove it from heat immediately. Take care not to burn the coconut. Let the ingredients cool well.
  • First grind the roasted thinai/தினை/foxtail millet to a fine powder. Transfer it to a flat plate. Next pulse the almonds in the mixer, take care not to grind it continuously or else you will end up with almond  butter, just pulse it 5-6 times.
  • Now take the powdered thinai/தினை/foxtail millet along with powdered almonds, add jaggery and dessicated coconut and mix well.
  • Now take this mixture in the mixer and pulse it 6-8 times. The mixture will start holding together in the jar itself.
  • Now transfer this to a flat plate and start making balls out of it by pressing a handful of mixture in between your palms. The balls will hold and come together easily. The fat in the almonds and coconut is helping to form the balls.
  • If you want to make it look rich, just dip the top end of the ball in melted ghee and roll it over chopped nuts. I have used chopped pistachios for the decoration.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Tomato Thokku/preserve/தக்காளி தொக்கு

Tomato Thokku/Preserve is my mom's trade-mark recipe. she makes it often at home and in particular when we get plump, fresh tomatoes in season. Even these days,  she makes it to pack for her Son-in-Law (read my hubby) when he travels back to dubai after vacation :) !!! 
This thokku is a must when we travel by train. Amma packs it with idly/chapathi, interleaved with thokku, oh such a bliss it is, to open a pack of idly that wafts with mild aroma of roasted fenugreek in the thokku. 
While making it last week, i felt as if i was in my mom's place, such was the aroma, nostalgic!!! The day i made, i called amma to check the amount of red chilies, when i told her the amount of tomatoes, she immediately replied use 25 chilies, it will be enough and it was enough, such precision, comes with age i believe!!!
Enough of my banter, let's go to the recipe!! :)

Ingredients (Makes 2 X 200gms bottle full)
2 kgs ripened tomatoes (about 20 medium sized tomatoes)

Salt to taste (approximately 1.5 tsp)

Tempering

1/2 cup gingely oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp hing/asafoetida

Roast n grind2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
25 nos red chillies (round variety)
a small goose-berry sized tamarind (option
al, i didn't add, but amma does)

Method

  • Wash the tomatoes well with water. In a big pot, bring 8 -10 cups of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes to the water and take it off the stove. Keep it covered for 30 minutes. I used my 8 litres cooker vessel for this.  The water level should be well above tbe tomatoes.
  •  After the given time, using a laddle, scoop the tomtoes out of the hot water. Be careful, since the water would be very hot. Let the tomatoes rest for while, then peel the skin of the tomatoes.  Take the peeled tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. I used my hand blender and blended it straight in the vessel itself.


  • In a small tadka pan, dry roast the ingredients given under "roast n grind" and keep aside to cool. When it is cool enough to grind, take it in the small jar of your mixie and grind it to powder. Keep aside until use.
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan, add oil given under "Tempering", splutter mustard seeds, add hing, turmeric powder. Now slowly add the pureed tomatoes to this tadka. Be careful, the liquid might splutter out. 


  • Mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook. When it comes to a boil, add the ground powder and salt. Mix well. Let this cook until the liquid is absorbed completely and oil separates on top. Takes about 40-50 minutes for the above quantity. 
  • Once done, the thokku/preserve will come away from the sides of the pan and move along with the laddle as you mix it. Take it off the stove and let it cool completely. store in an air-tight container. 
  • An apt combination for idly/dosa/chapathi, that too while travelling this preseve stays good for a day or two in room temperature. But remember to use a clean and dry spoon always. Stays well for weeks, while refrigerated. 
Sending this to WTML hosted by +Rafeeda AR , an event by +Gayathri Kumar
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