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Kimchi Uttapam (Indo-Korean Fusion dish-Kimchi Pancakes with a twist)

We are familiar with Indo-Chinese dishes (Chinese dishes made with Indian flavours), well this is my attempt at making an Indo-Korean dish ūüôā

If you’re a regular follower of this website-you would also by now know that I try to add my own healthy twist to dishes, so that my family and clients can get the best of both worlds!

So here is the favourite Korean dish called Kimchi pancake with an Indian and healthy twist. The original recipe calls for ‘all purpose flour/maida’, kimchi, onions, salt and sugar. To make it healthier-I substituted the maida with rava(semolina/farina) , rice flour(to make it crisp) and a little besan(to bind it). For those who are not familiar with Korean cuisine, kimchi is a staple and a must have accompaniment of meals. It’s basically a fermented dish with different vegetables and spices. The most popular is the made with napa cabbage. Buying kimchi would probably be frowned upon in Korean families. They make their own kimchi and each family is supposed to have their own recipe handed down from generation to generation. Some families have an entire fridge stocked with just different varieties of kimchi and nothing else-that should give you some inkling as to the importance of kimchi in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is not just eaten as a side with meals, but there are various dishes made with it like Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi stew, Kimchi dumplings, Kimchi wraps and so on.

Kimchi being a fermented food has loads of health benefits. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

Coming back to the recipe, since I have not been handed down the kimchi recipe, I did the next best thing- I bought it in bulk at Costco! If you have a Korean neighbour or friend do try and get a foolproof recipe (also try and get an invite to watch them make it). Or else try out your favourite Korean restaurant and see if you can buy their in-house kimchi. Here’s my Indo-Korean Kimchi Pancake recipe:

Indo-Korean fusion Kimchi Uttapam

Ingredients for Kimchi Uttapam:

  • Rava/semolina/Farina: 1 cup
  • Rice flour: 1/2 cup
  • Besan/chickpea flour: 2 tbsp
  • Kimchi: 1- 1.5 cups (chopped fine)
  • Kimchi juice(water from the kimchi): 3 tbsp
  • Onion: 1/2 medium(finely diced)
  • Salt:to taste
  • Oil/ghee: to cook
  • Coriander(optional): 3 tbsp (chopped)
  • Carrot (optional): 1 small (grated)
  • Red chili flakes(optional): 2-3 tsp
  • Curd/yogurt(optional): 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (the optional items are not added in traditional kimchi pancakes, so it’s upto you) with some water to get a thick consistency batter. It shouldn’t be a flowing consistency. Check for salt.
  2. Heat an cast iron tava/dosa tava on medium high heat. Add some oil and spread it with a cut onion( a trick my grandmom used to do to make the tava non-stick).
  3. When it is hot(sprinkle some water on the pan, and it should sizzle), take a ladleful of of the batter and spread evenly onto the tava.
  4. Cover and cook for a few minutes, add some oil to around the edges.
  5. When you see the edges browning, flip over and let it cook on the other side on medium heat for another minute. Flip over once more and let it cook for another 30 seconds.
  6. Serve hot as is. You don’t need any chutney with this as the uttapam itself is very flavourful-tangy(from the kimchi) and spicy.
  7. You can end the meal with some yummy Korean Cinnamon Tea.

Next experiment will be:

  • to make it gluten free (no rava/semolina)
  • to increase the fermented benefits by using fermented dosa batter.
  • to try out a low-carb version

So stay tuned for these recipes. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

Do try: Korean Cinnamon Tea

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Indian Dietitian Online

 

 


TYPE 2 DIABETES??? Add this common Indian vegetable to lower your sugars

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot maintain healthy levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it well. This type of Diabetes can be easily managed with a healthy diet and physical activity and medication.

Recent studies have shown that a low-carb diet can be extremely beneficial for Type 2 Diabetics in controlling the sugar levels and in some cases even reversing the disease. A low- carb diet is a diet which has absolutely no refined carbohydrates, like added sugar, cakes, soft drinks, maida, biscuits and sugary drinks etc and very little grains(depending on individual blood tolerance). A good dietitian can plan a low-carb diet based on your eating patterns. If you are looking for a Desi/Indian Diet plan for Diabetes leave a note on our CONTACT US PAGE: Click HERE

There are a lot of foods that can help in lowering the sugar levels. That being said it should be mentioned here that these are not ‘Miracle Foods’ that can reduce your sugar levels after you have eaten sugary foods! One such vegetable is the humble Bhindi(ladiesfinger/Okra).

Studies have shown that Ladiesfinger/Okra may benefit diabetics by reducing the rate of glucose being absorbed by the intestine. This may be primarily due to the slimy mucilage that is in the vegetable. It is also high in fiber which is an important component for controlling diabetes symptoms by keeping you full for a longer period thereby reducing hunger cravings. It also contains other nutrients like antioxidants, folate, potassium, calcium and vitamin K. Many people soak a cut ladiesfinger in water overnight and drink the water in the morning along slimy content.

Bhindi is a commonly used vegetable in every Indian household and each family probably has it own favourite bhindi recipes. Here are a few recipes that you can include:

  1. Bhindi in Peanut Masala
  2. Dry Bhindi Sabzi
  3. Palakkad style Bhindi Sambar
  4. Bhindi Fried Rice

Other foods that have been known to lower blood sugars are:

  • Karela(bittergourd),
  • Jamun fruit(Java fruit)
  • Bhindi (ladiesfinger/Okra)
  • Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds)
  • Cinnamon (Ceylon)

If you are looking for a Desi/Indian Diet plan for Diabetes leave a note on our CONTACT US PAGE: Click HERE

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Dietitian

 


Korean Cinnamon Ginger Tea (for Blood Sugar control)

Cinnamon tea is a popular drink in Korea and is called ‘SuJeongGwa’. It is usually served on festivals or special occasions. I first tried it years ago at a Korean restaurant and it was served as a cold dessert drink after the meal. It was delicious and we were told it is normally served chilled but can be had hot. It is actually served with sugar, but I have omitted that and used stevia as a sugar substitute.

What makes this drink (without added sugar) a great drink for diabetics and pre-diabetics as well as those looking to lose weight is the cinnamon. Several studies have shown that cinnamon is effective in reducing blood sugar levels as well as the HbA1C levels. Some researchers also found that it could lower the total cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon Ginger tea

Ingredients: (makes approx 5 litres)

  • Cinnamon Sticks (Ceylon cinnamon): 70g
  • Fresh ginger: 100gms , skinned and thinly sliced.
  • Water: 22 cups (1 cup=250ml)
  • Stevia(a natural sugar substitute)

Garnish:

  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan put in 11 cups of water and the ginger, cover and boil it on medium heat for 40 mins.
  2. At the same time, put the cinnamon sticks into a separate large saucepan. Add 11 cups of water cover and let it boil on medium heat for 40 mins.
  3. After 40 mins, strain the ginger water and the cinnamon water into one large pot.
  4. For those who like it hot- pour a cup of the hot tea, add some stevia (you can garnish it with mint or lemon juice if you want).
  5. Otherwise, chill the batch of Sujeonggwa and serve cold after a meal with some stevia and garnish(optional).

It can be stored in airtight glass containers for about a week.

Note:

  1. Use Ceylon Cinnamon (found in Indian Stores) and not the Cassia Cinnamon found in regular grocery stores (in the US)
  2. Have it after your meals to aid in controlling sugar levels after meals (post-prandial).
  3. It is not a substitute for medications/insulin prescribed for diabetes.
  4. It is not a miracle drink to reduce your sugar levels after feasting and eating sugary snacks.
  5. Both Cinnamon and ginger are warming spices according to Ayurveda and this drink can also be used when you have a cold. Those prone to mouth ulcers should avoid taking it too often.
  6. You will see better results if you are on a prescribed diet for your condition and take these after sticking to the diet.

For getting a personalized Online Diet Consultation: Click on -> ONLINE DIET CONSULTATION PACKAGES

Also Check out our Indo-Korean recipe: Kimchi Uttapam


The BRAT Diet for kids(for Diarrhea and various Stomach issues)

The BRAT Diet is basically a short term diet which is bland and easy to digest food used for those who have nausea, vomiting, loose stools (diarrhea) or gastrointestinal infection/stomach upsets.  The BRAT is an acronym which stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

The BRAT diet is recommended especially for children when they are recovering from a bout of illness and ready to start on solid foods. Once they tolerate these foods you can slowly introduce regular food as and when tolerated.  The BRAT diet is not something that is recommended to be eaten for a long time as it is nutritionally not balanced.

A few more foods that can be added to the BRAT diet (which makes it BRATTY)

  • light¬†Tea is also known to help and
  • natural¬†Yogurt, to heal the gut bacteria

Note: This diet is to be introduced after the patient is tolerating liquids well and is ready to start eating and should not be used for more than a day .

 


Thai Basil Chicken (with vegetables)

Thai basil is different from the regular basil seen both look wise and flavour-wise. Thai basil has a sharp taste compared to the basil used in Italian cooking.

This is a quick and simple Thai recipe. Those who are regular visitors to this website will know that I try to make every recipe more nutritious especially when I don’t have time to make a separate vegetable dish. So here’s how you can make your favorite Thai Basil Chicken more nutritious- by adding seasonal vegetables and sesame seeds. You can add different vegetables like cabbage, green beans, carrots, broccoli, etc. Or if you have the time, you could make it the authentic way with just the basil leaves and serve stir-fry veggies on the side.

Here’s the recipe for Thai Basil Chicken (with vegetables):

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (thigh fillet): 250gms (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Scallion/shallot stem:¬†1¬†( cut into 2″)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 cup cut (like cabbage, broccoli, carrots, green beans, bell pepper)
  • Garlic: 5-6¬†large cloves (finely chopped)
  • Thai chili: 1-2nos. (slit lenthwise)
  • Oyster sauce: 1 tbsp
  • Light soy sauce: 2 tsp
  • Dark soy sauce : 2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt: to taste (optional)
  • Oil :2 tbsp
  • Thai basil leaves: 1 cup loosely packed¬†

Method:


Malabar Spinach Tambuli (Basale Soppu Tambli)

Tambli/tambuli is a curd based dish typically made in Udupi/ Mangalore kitchens. It can be made with different green leafy vegetables (palak, curry leaves, etc) or even garlic. Since rice is the predominant grain in the traditional south Indian homes, this is served as a side to rice along with vegetables.

This recipe is with malabar spinach which is commonly grown in most Mangalorean houses.

Basale Soppu/ Poi

Malabar spinach is rich in soluble fibre, Vitamins A & C,  iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.This tambli made with Basale soppu/Malabar spinach is also believed to cure mouth ulcers.

Ingredients:

  • Malabar spinach or basale soppu: A big handful (washed and coarsely chopped)
  • Yogurt/curd: 1 cup fresh (not too sour)
  • Grated coconut:¬†1/2 cup (fresh/frozen)
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. (optional)
  • Cumin seeds/Jeera: 1/2 tsp

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds:¬†1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili: 1/2
  • Curry leaves: a few
  • Oil/ghee: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds and green chili. When the cumin starts sizzling add the Malabar spinach leaves and saute till they are wilted. Keep aside to cool.
  2. Once cool, grind to a paste along with the coconut and  just enough water to make a paste in a blender/mixie.
  3. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the yogurt and mix well. The consistency of the tambli should be thinner than chutney. So add enough water if it is too thick.
  4. Heat a little oil in a tadka pan, add the mustard seeds , urad dal and when it starts to pop add the dry red chili and curry leaves.
  5. Add this to the tambli and serve along with hot rice and vegetables.

 

 


Benefits of Fermented foods (Fluffy Idli Recipe)

Naturally fermented foods may help strengthen your gut microbiome which are basically the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. Gut microbes are now believed to be key to many aspects of human health including obesity, immune, metabolic and neuro-behavioural traits. Reseraches believe that fermented and probiotic foods are seen to improve immunity, aid in better digestion, prevention of allergies and also treating diarrhea.

One such naturally fermented food that is commonly made in most South Indian homes regularly are idlis and dosas. Who knew eating the humble idli (in moderation) could actually benefit your health?

Besides idli/dosa batter here are some of the other Indian foods that are fermented:

  • Curds/dahi/yogurt– a part of of a traditional meal in most Indian families, this contains live cultures.
  • Pickles
  • Gajar/Beetroot Kanji (North India): a drink made with fermented carrots/beetroot
  • Traditional Dhoklas (Gujrat) that are fermented and not instant
  • Traditional Handvo (Gujrat)-where the batter is let to ferment overnight
  • Fermented rice– called¬†panta or poita bath(Assam, West Bengal,Tripura),¬†¬†pazhaiya choru(Kerala),¬†pazhaya saadam¬†(Tamil Nadu) is basically the extra cooked rice soaked in water overnight during which it ferments, and is eaten in the morning with buttermilk and garnish of onions, green chilies etc.
  • Gundruk (Himalyan areas, Darjeeling, Sikkim): Fermented greens
  • Sinki (Himalyan areas, Uttarkhand, Sikkim): Fermented radish
  • Iromba( Manipur):¬† A dish made with fermented fish

Besides these there are many drinks/dishes that incorporate curds/buttermilk like kadhi, Rajasthani rabdi, Ragi ambli (Karnataka) and yeast fermented products like traditional naan and parottas.

Coming back to the humble idli,  what exactly happens when you ferment the idli batter?How does it become more nutritious?

During the fermentation process the carbohydrates get converted into simpler sugars that are easier to digest. This is one of main reasons that it is given to babies and those who are sick. It also increases the bioavailablity of many vitamins and minerals  such as iron, potassium and calcium and also increases the vitamin B content. It was seen that after 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg .

Unlike other fermented foods which still have the live cultures, the steaming process will kill the live cultures but it still makes the idli more nutritious than plain rice and dal.

Try making your own batter instead of buying store made ones. It’s easy, just follow this recipe:

Ingredients for Idli:

  • Idli (Par boiled) rice: 2 cups
  • Urad dal (skinless) : 1/2 cup¬†
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp¬†
  • Beaten rice (poha) – 1/3 cup
  • Salt : to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and soak  the urad dal (without skin), idli rice and fenugreek seeds in water for 6-7 hours. Soak poha for 1/2 hour before grinding.
  2. Grind the urad dal with enough cold water to make a smooth, fluffy paste. Keep aside.
  3. Grind the idli rice along with the poha with enough water till you get a smooth paste.
  4. Now mix the rice batter with the urad dal batter. Add salt (if the weather is cold, avoid adding salt if the weather is hot) and mix it well to aerate the batter with enough air to aid in fermentation.
  5. Let it ferment overnight (if it’s cold, you can keep it inside the oven with the light of the oven switched on).
  6. In the morning, mix the fermented batter well and grease the idli moulds.
  7. Boil water in a steamer, once water starts boiling,  pour the batter into the greased moulds.
  8. Steam for 10-12 minutes or until it is cooked.
  9. Serve with sambar and chutney.

Healthy Oats Pulav/ Upma (with Mixed Vegetables)

Oats are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre and this makes it a great food for those trying to lower cholesterol. Besides fibre, oats is also loaded with magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine and zinc. So with such an impressive resume-why is it one of least popular grains especially among Indians?

Blame it on the mushy, gooey texture when cooked with liquids. Also, oats porridge by itself is so bland that you end up adding lots of sugar to make it palatable, thus making an otherwise healthy dish into a totally non-healthy dish. So, what is the solution? How can we use the oh-so-good oats and make a dish that is tasty, palatable and not mushy or gooey?

Here’s the answer: Oats upma Or Oats Pulav (the difference is in what you use for seasoning). For upma add a tadka of mustard seeds, jeera, channa dal, curry leaves while for the pulav add whole spices like cardamom, peppercorns, shahi jeera, cinnamon sticks and ginger+garlic paste.

Ingredients :

  • Rolled Oats – 1 cup
  • ¬†Onion – 1 medium
  • ¬†Green chilli – 1 slit lengthwise
  • ¬†Ginger- 1 inch piece finely chopped
  • Mixed vegetables – 1 cup (mix of carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower)
  • Water- 3/4 cup
  • Peanuts: a handful
  • Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped(for garnish)
  • Lime juice: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: to taste

For the Tempering:

  • ¬† ¬†Oil – 1 tbsp
  • ¬† ¬†Mustard seeds -1 tsp
  • ¬† ¬†Channa dal- 1/2 tsp
  • ¬† ¬†Red chilli -1 broken
  • ¬† ¬†Hing- a pinch
  • ¬† ¬†Curry leaves-few

Method:

  1. Dry roast oats for a few minutes, until it becomes slightly hot to touch.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add the rest of the ingredients for tempering and the turmeric.
  3. Then add finely chopped onions, peanuts, green chili, ginger and saute until onions turn translucent.
  4. Add all the vegetables,salt and saute for a few more minutes, then add 3/4 cup of water and salt required.
  5. When the  water starts boiling, lower the flame add the roasted oats, cover and cook till done.
  6. Switch off and garnish with coriander.
  7. Serve hot with a dash of lime. You can also serve chutney with it.

Here are some healthy chutney recipes:


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Crispy Chicken Cutlets-Indian Style (Low Carb, High Protein Recipe, Gluten free)

Here’s a High Protein, Low-carb recipe of Chicken cutlets with no potatoes. To make it crispy and still keep it low-carb, I have used Psyllium husk to coat the cutlets before frying.

Now psyllium husk is a commonly known as Isabgol in India. It has been used for ages to treat constipation. It is now becoming popular as a low carb addition to foods.

Ingredients for Crispy Chicken Cutlets:

  • Chicken mince: 400gms
  • Onions: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Green chilies: 2 (finely chopped)
  • Coriander leaves: 5 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves: 8-10(finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic Paste: 1.5 tsp
  • Mashed cauliflower: 1/2 cup
  • Roasted gram flour(Besan): 2-3¬† tbsp
  • Melted butter/ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Psyllium husk(Isabgol): 1/2-1¬† cup for coating
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: for pan frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together well and keep it in the fridge for 1/2-1hr.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan, make a ball of the mixture, then flatten it into a patti shape.
  3. Roll it in the psyllium husk and place in the pan one by one.
  4. Turn them over and let them cook till the outside becomes golden brown in colour.
  5. Take them out and serve hot with coriander chutney.

Note: 

These can also be frozen after frying and can be used later as such or as a filling inside wraps/ sandwiches/burgers.