Category Archives: Healthy Indian Recipes

Gujarati Handvo recipe( Mixed lentil savory cake with vegetables)

Handvo is a traditional Gujarati savory cake. It is made with a combinations of lentils, rice and buttermilk and vegetable. It can be steamed or baked. It’s makes a great snack or even breakfast option.

Ingredients for Handvo: Serves 6-8 

  • Raw Rice: 1 cup
  • Urad dal: 1/4 cup
  • Tur dal: 1/4 cup
  • Channa dal: 1/4 cup
  • Lauki/bottle gourd: 1 medium grated (or 3 zucchini) squeeze out excess water
  • Yogurt/curd: 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder: 3/4 tsp
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (grated)
  • Green chili: 1-2 (or as per heat tolerance)
  • Sugar/Stevia: 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a big pinch
  • Cilantro/corriander leaves: 1 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp
  • Eno (fruit salt): 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For tadka(seasoning):

  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: a few (tear it into smaller pieces)
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch
  • Oil: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and dals/lentils and soak in water for 4-6 hours.
  2. Drain the water and blend soaked rice, yogurt, lentil, ginger, green chili to a slightly coarse texture with as little water as possible.
  3. Add turmeric, salt, sugar and asafoetida, blend it again for 2-3 seconds.
  4. Transfer the blended mix into a bowl and let the mix ferment overnight.
  5. In the morning, add the bottle gourd/lauki or zucchini, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice to the fermented dal mixture and mix well.
  6. Add ENO to the mixture and mix again.
  7. Grease a baking pan and pour the handvo mix into the greased pan. Tap the pan to help spread the mix evenly.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  9. In the meanwhile prepare tadka (seasoning)-heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok or small pan, add the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start popping, tear the curry leaves and add to the sesoning along with the asafoetida/hing. Turn off the stove and put the wok on side and let the tadka cool a little. Then add the sesame seeds to it.
  10. Pour the seasoning/tadka over the handvo batter.
  11. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the pan on middle oven rack and bake at 350 F (or 180C) for 20mins.
  12. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes (top of the handvo should turn a light golden brown) and test with a knife inserted in center of the cake. If it comes out clean, your handvo is ready.
  13. Let the handvo cool down a bit. Cut into pieces, garnish with cilantro( and serve with chutney.

 


Khaman Dhokla (Steamed Chickpea flour snacks)

Another steamed dish that can be had for breakfast or as a snack-tastes great with some spicy chutney.

Ingredients for Khaman Dhokla:

  • Besan (Gramflour/chickpea flour): 2 cups
  • Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger+green chili paste: 1/2-1 tsp (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
  • Fruit salt(eno)/ Soda bicarbonate: 1tsp
  • Coriander leaves/cilantro: 2tbsp finely chopped
  • Grated coconut:  3tbsp fresh/frozen
  • Salt: to taste

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 1 tsp
  • Green chili- 1/2 finely chopped (optional)
  • Oil: 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Mix the besan well with the yogurt,salt and about a cup of water making sure that there are no lumps.
  2. Let it ferment for about 1-2 hours.
  3. Then add the ginger+chili paste, turmeric, lemon juice and mix well.
  4. Add water to the steamer and let it boil. When it is ready, add the fruit salt/soda bicarbonate to the batter and mix well.
  5. Grease a pan/thali (you could even put the batter into idli moulds) and pour the batter into it.
  6. Steam for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Once they are ready-pour  the tempering (heat the oil, add the mustard seeds, when it starts to pop, add the sesame seeds, green chili(optional) over the dhokla.
  8. Garnish the dhokla with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.
  9. Cut and serve with spicy mint and coriander chutney.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries/snack
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Crispy Kale Chips 
  5. Handvo
  6. Fish Cutlets/Patties

 


Baked Sweet Potato Snack

There are different varieties of sweet potatoes available: purple and orange coloured. The purple colour is due to a pigment called anthocyanins and the  orange-colored sweet potatoes owe their colour to beta-carotenes which gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. The best way to get the health benefits of these are by either steaming or baking them.

If you like fries and sweet potatoes-here’s a healthy snack that look like fries but are actually baked. Kids will love the sweet taste of the sweet potatoes while adults can sprinkle it with a little chili powder for that extra kick!

Ingredients for Baked Sweet Potato Snack:

Sweet Potatoes-2 big* (washed,scraped and cut into strips/wedges)

Salt: 1 tsp (or to taste)

Oil: 3tsp

Red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
  2. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss till the sweet potatoes are coated.
  3. Spread out onto a baking tray in a single layer.
  4. Bake till they turn golden (about 30-40 minutes).
  5. Serve as a snack or as a side with your meals.

*Note: 

  • You don’t have to scrape the sweet potatoes if you scrub them well with a brush.
  • Sweet Potatoes can be substituted with other root vegetables like beetroot, carrots, parsnip or turnips.
  • You can experiment with spices & herbs like garlic powder, cumin powder,rosemary, Italian seasoning, etc.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Crispy Kale Chips
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Khaman Dhokla
  5. Handvo
  6. Fish Cutlets/Patties

 

 


Dry Bhindi Sabzi (Spiced Okra recipe-Indian Style)

Do your kids turn their nose up at the mention of ladiesfinger/Okra/bhindi? Try out this tasty and easy recipe of dry bhindi sabji (Dry okra recipe) and watch them gobble it all up. This recipe is something I learnt from my friend Rohini’s mom, Meghana Ghatpande. Meghana aunty-thanks a ton for making this one of the kids favorite recipes 🙂
Okra is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers which may help in lowering cholesterol, aid in digestion and also have folate and vitamin K along with Vitamin A, B&C.
Ladiesfinger Sabzi
Ladiesfinger Sabzi with Phulkas
Ingredients for the dry bhindi sabzi:
  • Okra/ladies finger/bhindi: 250gms
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp
  • Chilly powder: 1/4th tsp (optional)
  • Lemon: a dash
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 1-2tbsp chopped(for garnish)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tbsp

Method:

  1. Wash, pat dry and cut the okra.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the okra slices.
  3. Stir occasionally till the okra is almost done (the slimy part goes away) .
  4. Add the cumin powder , salt and/or red chilly powder and mix well.
  5. Stir fry till done.
  6. Switch off. Squeeze a dash of lime and garnish with cilantro.
  7. Serve the dry bhindi sabzi as a side with rice and dal or with phulkas.

Dal Makhani (low-cal version)

Nothing beats eating dal makhani (with the oodles of butter and cream) with hot rice or chapathis or even naan. We always ate it in restaurants as I had no clue how to make it.I had to try out an alternative way which didn’t have so much butter or cream so that we could enjoy it regularly instead of eating it once in a way. The “better-half” warned that if it doesn’t taste like the restaurant stuff,he wasn’t going to touch it(so much for a supportive husband!).Anyway,I substituted the cream and butter with low-fat milk . I must warn you here-it takes me a good 2 hours to make this dish,but it’s worth the effort every time.Suffice to say that it was eaten by the fussy hubby and it’s been added to his list of dishes that turns out well even without the extra fat!

Some call it Dal Makhani, some say this is Maa ki dal. Well, what’s in a name-it still tastes great 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients for Dal Makhani (low-calorie version):

  • Whole urad (black matpe beans): 1 cup(soaked overnight)
  • Split bengal gram dal: 1 tablespoon OR 1/2 cup red beans(soaked overnight)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.(pureed)
  • Onion: 1/2 medium (preferably red onions),finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 flakes (finely chopped)
  • Green chilies or 2 nos(slit lengthwise)
  • Low fat milk: 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Red chilly powder: 1 or 2 teaspoon(according to taste)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves-2 tablespoon
  • Curd: 1 tablespoon (whipped)
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Discard the water used for soaking the beans/dal overnight.
  2. Put 6 cups of water into a pressure cooker and add Urad,split gram(or red beans),chopped onion,garlic.Cook till one whistle then let it cook on a low flame for about half an hour.( If you don’t have a pressure cooker,cook in a closed saucepan for at least 40-45 minutes).
  3. After half an hour,switch off and let the pressure drop.Then,open and add the tomato puree and the slit green chilies.Cook, stirring occasionally for 20 mins on reduced flame.
  4. Add the milk and cook for 8-10 mins.
  5. Add the red chilly powder,sugar(optional) and salt. Let it cook on low flame for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and whipped curd.

Question:Which is your favourite high-cal dish that you would love to have in a low-cal version?


Ragi Manni/ pudding (Nachni/finger millet porridge) Mangalorean Style

Ragi (English-Finger millet,Chinese-䅟子,Arabic- Tailabon, German-Fingerhirse, French-coracan) is a popular millet in Southern India and is made into different dishes like porridges, puddings, pancakes,cookies, etc. Nutritionally,it is rich in the amino acid methionine and is among the few grains which contains a considerable amount of calcium.
Ragi is also given to babies as one of first cereals after rice.My grandmother used to make ragi manni during summer, as it is believed in Ayurveda to cool the body.Traditionally it is made by soaking the ragi millet overnight in water,then grinding it to a fine paste and straining it in a cheesecloth.This is then cooked with jaggery and coconut milk,till it reaches a thick pasty consistency.It is then poured into huge plates and set aside to cool. The end product used to be simply amazing-a dark chocolate brown pudding(my gran used to tell me that it was Indian chocolate pudding,so that she could get me to eat it)that simply melted in the mouth.
Sadly,I could not find ragi millet here(not that I would have gone through the whole cumbersome process even if I had),but managed to get the ragi flour at the Indian store to make this instant version. I substituted milk for the coconut milk and the final product still was very tasty though it didn’t have the same rich dark brown colour.Also,since it’s not strained you can see brown specks of the ragi coat. The ragi manni/pudding can be eaten hot or cold(I love it cold)and had as a porridge for breakfast or served as a dessert or a healthy snack(if you can mange to control the portion size) for kids.
Ingredients for Ragi Manni :Serves 2

  • Ragi flour: 1 cup
  • Milk/Coconut milk: 2 cups
  • Jaggery: 1 cup (scraped): to taste
  • Cardamom powder: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt: a pinch

Method:

  1. Mix the ragi flour with the cold milk and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. Pour this into a saucepan and add the jaggery/sugar,salt and cardamom powder.
  3. Cook on medium heat stirring continuously(take care to see that it doesn’t form lumps).
  4. When the mixture starts to thicken, reduce the heat and keep stirring till you get a porridge like consistency.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve the ragi manni (finger millet pudding) warm or chilled.

Note:

  • You can substitute sugar for the jaggery, though it is more nutritious to use jaggery.
  • Adding a pinch of salt is supposed to make the dish sweeter (not sure if that’s really true).

Question: Do you feel that adding a pinch of salt to a sweet dish makes it sweeter or is it just an old wives tale?


Tandoori Fish

There are just a couple of seafood dishes that my husband is okay with,one of them being “Tandoori fish”. He’s a little particular that the dish doesn’t “smell fishy” (?) so I need to buy fish which aren’t too oily(that also unfortunately means less omega-3 in it) and also choose methods that doesn’t make the dish smell fishy (fish curry is a strict “no-no”). Here’s a list of fish that are HIGH in Omega-3’s:
Bass(striped); Herring; Mackerel, Oysters(Pacific); Sablefish(also called black cod);Salmon; Trout(freshwater);Tuna.
The tandoori masala and the marination seem to camouflage the smell and the result is very tasty too!!You can pick up tandoori masala at any Indian store and if you are a little wary of the ‘red color’ you could opt for the organic version(with no added colors) or make it from scratch with garam masala, ginger-garlic paste,paprika, pepper powder and salt ( I’m not familiar with the actual proportions for each,it’s usually trial and error when I make it). Tandoori Fish when baked or grilled is a healthy way of serving fish. Here are the ingredients for the ‘tandoori fish’:

Tandoori Fish
Ingredients for Tandoori Fish:

  • Fish steaks/fillets (halibut/tilapia/tuna/salmon): 4nos.
  • Tandoori masala: 1-2 tablespoon (use less for milder taste or more if you want it spicier)
  • Yogurt: 2 tablespoon
  • Vinegar: 1tsp
  • Lemon : 1/2
  • Onion : 1/2 medium (chopped into rings)

Method:

  1. Wash the fish well (traditionally fish in India is washed in water,then some tumeric and lemon juice is applied to the pieces and kept for 1/2 an hour,and then washed off again).
  2. Mix the tandoori masala, yogurt and vinegar and taste for salt. If required,add a little salt.
  3. Coat the fish with the tandoori masala and let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or you could also shallow fry it in a pan till done.
  5. Squeeze some lime juice over it just before serving.
  6. Serve the tandoori fish with some lemon wedges and some onion rings.

Mooli Ki Sabzi (Dry Radish curry with leaves)

The recipe and photographs for this simple yet tasty ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’ (Red Radish Curry) are again courtesy Taranjeet Kaur!! Thanks TJ-and thanks Prateek for tasting and giving a ‘thumbs-up’ for this recipe. Coming from a person who normally isn’t too fond of radish speaks volumes about this dish and Taranjeet’s culinary skills 🙂

MooliSabzi

Mooli ki sabzi (with leaves)/Radish sabzi with leaves

 

Taranjeet’s Recipe for ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’:

Ingredients for Mooli ki Sabzi:

  • 2-3 bunches of red radish with leaves
  • 1 green chili
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  •  1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Oil: 1tsp (enough to sauté the garlic)
  • Salt: to taste       

 Method:

  1. Wash and chop the radish and greens.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan ,add garlic,sauté for a minute and add turmeric powder.
  3. Add the chopped radish .Let it cook for a couple of minutes .
  4. Add the leaves and mix it well.
  5. Sprinkle salt as per taste. Cook covered for 5 mins.
  6. Serve the ‘mooli ki sabzi’  hot with roti. This also goes well with rice and moong dal.

Tofu Bhurji (Scrambled tofu)

Soya or Soy is originally from East Asia, but has recently gained popularity all over the world ever since it’s health benefits were discovered. Recently though, it has been getting some negative reports,but I personally feel that soy in moderation is fine.
The protein in soy is complete(equal to meat) and hence is better than other beans and legumes. There are many products that are made from soy,like soy flour,roasted soy nuts,soy milk, tofu,soy nuggets,etc.
This recipe is from Ms.Meghana Ghatpande(my friend Rohini’s mom and Meghana aunty to the rest of us).
Tofu is just like paneer to see and taste, but more nutritious and healthier as it’s a plant product and made by coagulating soy milk. This makes a good side dish with phulkas and can also be used as a filling inside a sandwich/wrap. It’s basically a protein packed dish,and the mustard,cumin and coriander make this dish oh-so Indian!!

Tofu Bhurji(Scrambled Tofu): Serves 4
Ingredients for Tofu Bhurji:

  • Firm tofu*: 350 gms, cut into small squares or crumbled
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely sliced
  • Tomato: 2 big,finely chopped
  • Mustard seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Dhaniya/Coriander seeds powder: 1teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder:1/4 teaspoon
  • Green chilli: 1 no. (slit length wise)
  • Oil:1 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves/Cilantro:a handful(finely chopped for the garnish)
  • Salt:to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai/pan.
  2. Add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to crackle and pop,add the sliced onions,salt and saute till it becomes translucent.
  4. Add the turmeric, cumin powder,slit green chilli,tomato pieces and saute till it gets cooked.
  5. Add the tofu,stir for a couple of minutes.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with phulkas.

*While buying the tofu for this dish,pick up the firm tofu if possible(as the silken/soft tofu are more suited for making dips).


Pongal/Khichdi (Indian Lentil and Rice Risotto)

Pongal is both a festival as well as a dish. In Tamil Nadu (a state in South India)it is the “harvest festival” and the dish is made on this day(I suspect, that is why they both share the same name)! There are actually two versions to this dish-the sweet one(sakkarai pongal) and the spicy one(khara pongal).
As a kid I would insist that my mom made only the sweet pongal(blame my sweet tooth for it) and subsequently, I almost forgot what the spicy version tasted like.It was much later when I started my career as a Dietitian,that I was re-introduced to the khara pongal, as it was on the breakfast menu for the patients.Again, having rice for breakfast was new to me and I tried my best to avoid it for a while.Then my seniors decided that they had to make me try it, and one fine morning(I still remember that it was a cold, rainy, Friday morning) I was ordered to taste it.So,there was me,squirming in my seat when the cook brought me a tasting cup of steaming hot pongal and another cup of raitha. Duty called(it was a rule that the dietitians had to taste the food before it could be sent to the patients) and so I took the spoon and dipped it into the cup and took a little(I was after all JUST tasting) and tasted it-and my,my, it was the tastiest pongal I had eaten. I ended up finishing the whole cup(even though I had eaten a substantial breakfast at home) and have ever since become a pongal fan!! After that I would bug mom to make the khara pongal at regular intervals.
The recipe is quite easy and if you want to up the nutritional value,you could add your favourite veggies to this rice+lentil dish.The cook at the hospital even shared a secret(that even my mom didn’t know)-just before serving the dish,mix a cup of hot milk for a nice flavour(and for some added calcium indeed)!! Vegans can omit the milk.
Ingredients for Khara Pongal/Khichdi: (Serves 3)

  • Rice:1/2 cup
  • Split mung dal: 1/2 cup
  • Green chillies: 1 or two(slit lengthwise)
  • Ginger:1″ piece(chopped fine)
  • Turmeric:1/2 teaspoon
  • Milk:1 cup(optional)
  • Mustard seeds:1/2teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds:1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal(dehusked and split black matpe bean)-1/2 teaspoon
  • Chana dal/Bengal gram dal: 1 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns: 5-6
  • Curry leaves:3-4
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and mung dal separately and let it soak in water for 10-15 mins.
  2. In the meanwhile,heat the oil in a pressure cooker, then add the mustard,cumin seeds,urad dal, chana dal, and peppercorns.
  3. When the mustard starts to sputter,add the curry leaves, the chopped ginger and the turmeric.
  4. Stir the ginger till it turns slightly brown,then add the chopped onions and the green chillies. Fry till the onions are translucent.
  5. Drain the water from the mung and rice,add the mung dal and saute for 2-3 mins on medium heat. Then add the rice and again stir for a minute.
  6. Add a little more than 3 cups of water and salt, mix and close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 3 whistles. (If you have a rice cooker,then transfer the contents to a rice cooker and cook till the rice and dal are well cooked).
  7. Once it is done,mix well (the dal should be completely mashed).
  8. Just before serving mix the hot milk(optional, and check for salt) and serve piping hot with either raitha or chutney(we ate it with the tomatilla chutney ).