Sunday, October 22, 2017

Anjeer Burfi - No Sugar Dessert

It felt as if the year started only yesterday and here we are end of October, celebrating the Festival of Lights. After navrathri, Diwali is the second festival close to my heart.  It brings loads of nostalgic memories, to an extent that I sometimes feel terribly Chennai-sick 😞
Keeping aside the discussion whether you need crackers now or not for celebrations, but growing up Diwali = bursting crackers! Appa was in railways and he had this cracker fund, we get loads of crackers,  stainless steel utensils and some sweets too. Prepping the crackers for Diwali itself was a fun activity for us. Appa will divide the crackers amongst 3 of us, where my brother gets the lion share of atoms and hydrogen bombs.
My otherwise lazy brother, would get up at 3 am in the morning, take a head bath and run outside hurriedly,  to burst the first cracker of the day! Life was fun! I don’t remember much of the pollution talk, people were responsible, we clean up the area after we burst crackers, the street association helpers(exnora)  come and clear out the garbage to keep it ready for next day! 
But now,  all I do is clean the house, deck it fine with Diyas ! It sure looks serene, but I still miss that sensible fun we had. Anyways, no point in lamenting about what we don’t have, let us enjoy what we have in hand.

Though I took up week 3 theme as Diwali for our regular BM, I couldn’t post it on time because of the medications I m taking for ear infection, it is making me so drowsy, forcing me to shut my eyes and sleep all the time!  Hopefully I will feel better from this week as the course ends in another 2 days.
Coming to the recipe, I wanted to make sugarless or No sugar  sweets for the festival. So started with  Anjeer burfi, my favorite  from puranmal. I love the taste and crunch of the Anjeer seeds along with roasted nuts , it is one power packed dessert to enjoy anytime. Also It is quite to easy to make, takes less than 20 minutes. A great treat for festivities and also a healthy snack anytime.
12-14 no’s dried figs/Anjeer
12-14 now dates, seeds removed
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup pistachios
4 no’s caradamom 
3 Tbsp ghee
  • Soak figs in water for 15-20 minutes, drain and grind it to a paste along with  dates and cardamom.
  • Keep a plate greased with ghee or laid with parchement ready by your side.
  • Remove the ground paste to a clean plate. Chop all the nuts into big pieces.
  • In a deep pan, add 1 tbsp ofnghee and toast all the nuts until they turn crunchy. Remove the nuts to another clean plate .

  • In the same pan, add the remaining ghee, and add the figs andndates paste and sauté until it turns into a Mushy dough.
  • Now add th roasted nuts to this and mix well. Let this be on the stove for another w2 minutes, keep stirring while it is on the stove as it might get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Now remove the figs and nuts paste to the parchment laid plate and using flatten it neatly. Do not make it too thin or too thick. It should be an inch thick.
  • While it is still warm, make marks for slicing into squares and let  it cool completely and rest well to get perfect squares. Remove and store it in an air tight container and enjoy it guilt free.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Caribbean coconut quick bread

Land of the Caribbean is also famous for the coconuts, so after a flavorsome coconut milk soup yesterday, I wanted to bake something for us to enjoy during the weekend. While looking for some quick breads, this recipe with fresh coconut and coconut milk got my attention
There were other versions of coconut bread, made with pineapple juice too. Since I had coconut milk ready at hand, i  made the loaf with it. The flavor, while the loaf was baking in the oven, was totally awesome. The bread is a bit dense, but has got a great taste and flavor. It will be a great bread along with your tea or as a snack inbetween your meals. 
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup freshly grated coconut 
1 cup coconut milk
5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp egg replacer powder mixed with 2 tbsp water (I used bob’s red mill egg replacer )

  • Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a loaf tin and lay its bottom with parchment  paper.
  • In a wide bowl take flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder together. Whisk well to combine. Add sugar and grated coconut to this and mix.
  • Make a well in the center add coconut milk, coconut oil and egg replacer. Using a electric beater combine to form a thick batter.
  • Pour the prepared batter into greased baking tin. Bake in the preheated oven for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Take the tin out of the oven, let it sit for 5 minutes then remove it on to a wire rack, let it cool completely.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet potato and okra soup

The climate is changing, everybody is coughing, everywhere. I m having a very bad ear ache since morning, the pain is unbearable, as soon as i returned from my yoga class, i took 2 panadols and slept for an hour! Rain or shine, pain or gain i have mouths to feed so had to be on my foot, though i made a simple rasam and kootu for lunch today, with this pain, it was like cooking for an army! 
The second day of carribean cuisine, i made yet another soup, just to keep myself warm and feel cozy!
This potato soup, with okra, is cooked with coconut milk, which lends it a sweet taste and an amazing aroma!  I tempered it with coconut oil, which made the flavor more intense. The original recipe again had thyme, kale and used scotch bonnet peppers for the spice. Since i didn't find all these nearby, i went ahead and made the soup with the ingredients i had at hand.
Neverthless the soup tasted delicious, we at home love the flavor of coconut milk, so it was a treat for us.The taste of ginger and pepper which added at the end gives it a nice warm feel. So, if you are in no mood for a detailed meal, but want to eat something interesting,  this soup is definitely a great choice.
Inspired from here
1/2 a sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1/2 a carrot, peeled and chopped into cubes
a small potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 cup chopped okra
2-3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves 
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped (i forgot to add)
1/4 cup black eyed beans, cooked 
1&1/2  green chili , finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1.5 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 tsp freshly pounded pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt to taste
  • Wash and prep all the vegetables as said above. In wide pan, heat coconut oil, when it is hot, throw in the chopped onion, green chili and garlic. Saute until the onions turn translucent.
  • Next add chopped tomatoes and let it get mushy. Throw in the chopped veggies except okra,  let it sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add stock and black-eyed peas  to this and let it cook for 10-12 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  • Now add the okra and let this simmer for another 10 minutes. Finally add the coconut milk. Let it be on heat for 5 minutes, remove from stove, add chopped coriander leaves, pounded pepper and grated ginger. Mix well and serve warm. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Callaloo and beans soup/Amarnath leaves and beans soup

Callaloo doesn't name sounds interesting when you read it? When i found that it is nothing but our very own amarnath leaves, i decided i m trying a recipe with this callaloo! 
Since i m trying to avoid carbs and eat a little more protein, i was looking for a recipe that will fit in my meal plan without disturbing it. I loved this simple soup with greens and beans together that so complimented my meal and some warmth to my sore throat. 
This soup can be served as part of a meal or as a meal itself. I would defintely suggest a thin bread along with it to soak in the liquid. With winter months ahead, this soup is definitely going to be on my meal plan. I might blend it smooth if serving for children, with a dollop of cream, sort of a bribe, to make them eat something healthy! 
The original recipe, uses scotch bonnet peppers and lot of thyme and parsley. But i have used regular indian green chili and instead of thyme and parsley i settled for coriander leaves. I have used coconut oil for sauteing the veggies here, and strongly recommend using it, as it gives an amazing flavor to the soup. Do try and let me know how you enjoyed it!
Inspired from Carribean pot
1 cup chopped amarnath leaves/Callaloo leaves
2.5 cups of vegetable stock
1/3 cup of mixed beans, cooked (i have use chickpeas, black-eyed beans and white beans)
1/2 a sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 a carrot, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 no onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 and 1/2 green chili, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly pounded
salt to taste
  • Wash and prep all the vegetables as said above. In a large pan, heat coconut oil. When it is hot, add the chopped onions, garlic and green chilies to ti and saute until onions turn translucent.
  • Next add the chopped potato, sweet poato, celery and carrots into it and saute for 2 minutes. Next add chopped amarnath leaves and mixed beans to it and saute well.
  • To this now add vegetable broth, chopped coriander and salt. Cover and cook for about 12-15 minutes until the veggies are done. 
  • Check the consistency of the soup, i love mine to be little watery and chunks of veggies, if you prefer yours to be smooth, take a portion of the soup, blend it well with a stick blender and return it to the pot mix well.
  •  Add freshly pounded pepper, mix well, remove it from the stove and serve warm.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Roohafza Lemonade with basil seeds - Kids party drink

I was in a dilemma on to what to make for the final post of week 1: kids delight theme. There is a saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth “, likewise too many choices too spoil everything. I had around 4 dishes to select from with everything ready, but i settled for this simple yet colorful sherbet.
We tasted this in a friend’s birthday party and my lil one loved the striking red color of the drink. When I made this today, he was so thrilled and he remembered the party immediately.

Check the video on how to make Roohafza lemonade

We loved the drink as it was mild and the flavor of roohafza wasn’t too over powering. A best party drink especially with kids. Do try and let me know how you enjoyed it.
2 tbsp subza/basil seeds
3 tbsp roohafza syrup 
2.5 cups of water (chilled water)
3-4 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
Handful of mint leaves
Juice of lemon or two, depending on how tangy you would like your drink
Lemon wedges  and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • In a bowl take the subza seeds add 1/4 cup of water and let it sit for 10 minutes for it to bloom well.
  • In a pitcher, add roohafza syrup, chilled water, bloomed subza seeds, sugar and lemon juice. Mix well to combine.
  • The subza will be clumped together so this mixing will help it to separate and also for the sugar to dissolve.
  • Add mint leaves to the sherbet, serve immediately garnished with lemon wedges or refrigerate it until served.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Coconut Milk Pulao

Coconut milk pulao, a simple,yet flavorful rice recipe that i make often at home. I made this first time for my kiddo's birthday party. It was a small get together with our friends, so i made roti, subzi and this rice. I wasn't sure how it will turn out, but surprisingly, it was a great success, even kids loved it.
The rice is cooked with half coconut milk and half water. I even did the tempering with coconut oil, this imparts a great flavor to the rice. I normally use basmati rice while making pulao, but you can use sona masuri rice too. 
The ratio to rice and water is 1:2.5 cups, if using a different rice, please follow your ratio. This rice was made for lunch today, so i have made it less spicy for my kids, if making for adults, adjust the spice level to your taste. But i would suggest you pair it with a spicy side, instead of increasing the spice in the pulao. This is for Srivalli's Anniversary Celebrationwith Kids Party
1 cup Rice (Sona Masuri/Basmati)
1 cup coconut milk
1.5 cups of water
salt to taste
1.5 cups mixed vegetables ( i have used carrots, cauliflower, capsicum and cabbage)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
2 nos small green cardamom
a small bay leaf
1 no clove
a small javithri/mace

  • Wash and rinse rice with water until it runs clear. Soak the rice for 20 minutes. Prepare the veggies when the rice is soaking.
  • Heat a wide pan with coconut oil, when the oil is hot, throw the whole spices and chilies in, saute for a minute.
  • Now add the chopped veggies to it and saute for 2 minutes. Drain water from the rice and add it to the pot. Saute for a minute.
  • Now add coconut milk and water, mix well. Add salt, cover and cook in medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until done.
  • Once done, remove the cover, fluff it up with a fork, add fresh coriander to the rice and serve warm with chips or any spicy side. We love this rice as such without any side, though kids prefer it with chips.  
  • The same recipe can be made in rice cooker too. Do the tempering and saute the veggies on stove, then add it to the rice cooker along with rice, add water and cook until done. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Eggless Oats & Wholewheat apple Muffins

I m baking after almost 3 weeks and blogging after a month. I normally blog atleast once a week, if i m not doing BM. But this month, i didn't touch my camera and enjoyed things as such, was off the social media for sometime, felt like a welcome break. Now after navrathri, i m trying to pep myself up, trying to be active in instagram and FB, and signed up for 4 weeks of regular BM. 
The first week theme is kids delight, +srivalli jetti  is celebrating her blog anniversary this month, and she hosts october kids delight inline with that. 
Here is a simple muffin, which i made for the event. Post navrathri, there are so many apples and bananas lying on the table, i have 3 big ziploc full of frozen bananas and atleast 2 dozen apples in the fridge. So you will be seeing lots of apple/banana recipes coming up in my space all this month.
These muffins are very simple and easy to make, i have used my Eggless Whole Wheat vanilla cake recipe and improvised by adding oats to it.  The muffins came out moist and fluffy. They make a great after-school snack for kids and definitely a lovely treat for parties or even as a return gift. With festive season around, they will make a great edible gift to any health conscious person.
1 cup whole wheat flour ( i use aashirwad brand flour)
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 nos royal gala apples, grated
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk or water
1/3 cup of oil, any neutral oil, i used coconut oil
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with oil or prep them with paper liners. I lined them with muffin liners.
  • In a large bowl take flour and oats together. Add sugar, cinnamon powder, ginger to this and whisk well.
  • In a measuring jug/bowl, take curd, add baking soda and baking powder to it and whisk well to combine. Let this sit for 5 minutes, it will bubble up. Add oil and milk/water to this and mix gently.
  • Now to the flour mix, add shredded apples, chopped walnuts and mix. The mixture will be a little clumpy. 
  • Now slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour mix, using a spatuala slowly mix to form a homogeneous mixture.
  • Fill 2/3rd of each muffin hole with the batter and bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine got done in 25 minutes. 
  • I baked in the gas oven, baking time vary from oven to oven, so kindly follow your oven settings.
  • Once done, remove the muffins from the oven, let them cool on a wire rack and store covered on the kitchen counter. It should stay good for 2-3 days, if storing more, refrigerate or even freeze it.
  • If serving from the fridge, warm it in the microwave fro 10-20 seconds.
  • If serving from the freezer, wrap them in alufoil, bake at 150 for 10 minutes and serve warm.

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