Category Archives: Lunch Box Recipes Healthy Indian

Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

This is a gravy style bhindi masala with peanuts. The peanuts add a lovely flavour to the gravy.

Ingredients for Bhindi in Peanut Masala: Serves 4-6

  • Bhindi/ Okra: 250gms (wash well and dry completely)
  • Roasted peanuts (skinned): a big handful
  • Tomatoes: 2 diced
  • Green chilies: 1-2 nos. (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves
  • Ginger: 1/2 ” piece
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (use more if you like it hot)
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cumin seeds/ jeera: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 4 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
  2. Heat about 3 tsp oil in a kadai and add the bhindi pieces. Stir fry till the bhindi turns a little brown. remove from flame and keep aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same kadai, add the jeera , turmeric and the bay leaf then add the paste, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and coriander powder and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  5. Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.

 


Chicken and Vegtable Biryani ( a one pot meal)

In my quest to cook ‘healthy food’ comes this version of Chicken biryani which is also loaded with vegetables! Biryani is something every Indian is familiar with and is usually something made on festivals,special occasions or when you have guests/friends over. Whether it’s a ‘Vegetable Biryani’,Chicken Biryani or Mutton Biryani, most families have their own secret recipes.
Usually, a chicken/mutton biryani is made without vegetables, but here is my attempt at combining the vegetable biryani with the chicken biryani to ensure my family gets it’s daily dose of vegetables even on special occasions !
Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • Basmati rice: 1 1/2 cups (rinse and soak in water for at least half an hour)
  • Chicken: 250gms (use chicken with the bones)
  • Onions: 2-3 big red onions/5 medium onions (sliced fine)
  • Tomatoes: 2 big (chopped)
  • Ginger paste: 2 tsp
  • Garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Mixed Vegetables: 1 cup (peas, carrots, beans, capsicum/bell pepper and such)
  • Yogurt/curd: 1 cup
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 5 tbsp(finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves: 3 tbsp(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies: 5-6 slit(use less/more according to your taste)
  • Red chilli powder: 3-4 tsp(add less/more according to your taste)
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Cumin/Jeera powder: 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 3-4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
  • Oil: 2 tbsp

Whole Spices:

  •  Bay leaves: 1-2nos.
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Cloves: 3-4 nos.
  • Cardamom/Elaichi: 2-3nos.
  • Peppercorns: 4-5nos.
  • Cinnamon stick: 1″
  • Star anise: 1-2

Method:

  1. Marinate the chicken in a paste made with 1/2 cup yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, half of the ginger+garlic paste, half of the chopped cilantro and mint leaves and set aside for at least an hour in the fridge.
  2. Heat the oil in a kadai or thick bottomed pan, add the whole spices and let it fry for a minute.
  3. Add the sliced onions and fry till it turns golden brown (add a little salt to let the onions cook in it’s own water)
  4. Add the remaining ginger+garlic paste, the slit green chillies and the chopped cilantro and mint leaves and fry for another minute.
  5. Drain out the water from the basmati rice and add it along with the mixed vegetables and stir for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes,salt and the remaining yogurt and stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  7. Add the marinated chicken and stir for a 5 minutes.
  8. Then add about 4 cups of water, cover and cook (with occasional stirring) till the rice is cooked.
  9. Serve hot with a mixed vegetable raita.

Healthy tip:

  • Since I use less oil while cooking(which also drastically reduces the calories in the cooked recipe), I add salt while frying the onions to let it sweat and prevent it from burning.

Idli Upma with vegetables (Leftover Idli Recipes)

Left -over idlis?  Tired of eating idlis the next day? Try out something different-Idli Upma and make it healthier by adding some mixed veggies.

This recipe was suggested by my college friend, the ever gorgeous Vidya Suresh. Thank you Vidya!! Love you for all the encouragement-that’s what friends are for. Love you 🙂

Ingredients for Idli Upma (Serves 4):

  • Idlis: 10-12 (crumbled)
  • Onions: 2 small (chopped fine)
  • Tomatoes: 2-3 medium (chopped)
  • Green Chilies: 1-2 slit (or as per heat tolerance)
  • Ginger: 1″ piece (grated)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 cup (green peas, green beans, carrot,etc)
  • Coriander leaves/cilantro: 2tbsp (chopped) for garnish
  • Oil: 3 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Peanuts/ cashew nut: a few (optional)
  • Curry leaves: 8-10
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the mustard seeds and urad dal, when the mustard starts to pop, add the turmeric leaves, curry leaves, peanutsslit green chilies, ginger and onions and stir till the onions become translucent.
  2. Add the salt, mixed vegetables and stir fry for 5-10 mins.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir fry till they are cooked (add a little water if necessary)
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked add the crumbled idli and mix well.
  5. Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro and a dash of lime (optional). This can be served as such or with some chutney or sprinkle it with some peanut chutney powder .

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

 


Egg and Vegetable Muffins/ Frittatas

A protein-packed breakfast (can also be packed for lunch or eaten as a snack) with egg and mixed vegetable. You can make a big batch and freeze them. In the morning just defrost them in the microwave and eat.

I added some spices like cumin powder, turmeric and a pinch of red chili powder. You can play around with different vegetables/spices that you (or your family) like. You can even add some cheese if you like.

Ingredients for Egg and Vegetable muffins: (Makes approx. 12 muffins)

  • Eggs: 6 (beaten)
  • Spinach: 1/2 cup fresh(chopped fine) or frozen
  • Carrots: 1 medium (diced)
  • Mushrooms: 1/2 cup (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 1 small (diced)
  • Onion: 1 small (finely chopped)
  • Turmeric: 1/2tsp
  • Garlic powder: 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Cumin powder: a pinch (optional)
  • Red chili powder: 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tsp
  • Butter: 1tsp

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, fry the onions, then add the diced carrots (or whatever vegetable you choose), then the spinach, tomatoes and finally the mushrooms.
  2. Add the spices-turmeric, cumin, red chili powder and garlic powder along with the salt and mix well. Saute till the water from the mushrooms evaporate.
  3. Switch off and let it cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
  5. Once it’s cooled-add the beaten eggs and mix well.
  6. Grease a muffin tray with the butter and pour the mixture evenly into them.
  7. Bake for 15-20 mins.

You can add some cheese if you like.

Let them cool and then freeze them in ziplock bags. My kids love to take these for lunch.

Calories/muffin: 32kcal

Protein/muffin: 7gms

 


Sweet and Spicy Chilli Paneer

This is an ‘quickie’ dish.Takes just about 10-15 minutes.
Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Chilli Paneer:

  • Paneer/ Tofu-200gms (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Garlic- 6-7 flakes (chopped fine)
  • Green chilies-2 nos.(chopped fine)
  • Tomato sauce- 3 tbsp
  • Chilly sauce-1-2 tsp
  • Soy sauce- 2 tsp
  • Coriander/Cilantro -2 tbsp(chopped fine)
  • Oil-1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Pepper: 1/4th tsp
  • Sugar:1/4th tsp

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan.Add the chopped garlic and chilies.
  2. Fry for a minute or two(take care not to burn it),reduce heat and add the salt,pepper and sugar.
  3. Add the tomato sauce,soy sauce and the chilly sauce,mix well.Add about 2tbsp water.
  4. Add the Paneer/ tofu cubes and the chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.
  5. Cook for another 3-4 minutes on reduced heat.
  6. Serve hot.

Stuffed Green Bell Pepper/ Capsicum with Chilli Paneer/ tofu (Microwave recipe)

I had first seen the recipe of Stuffed Green Bell Pepper (or “Capsicum” and “Shimla Mirchi”as it is popularly known as in India) when I was a kid and was skimming through one of my mother’s magazines (I think it was either “Femina” or “Savvy”) and came across this awesome looking photo of a stuffed capsicum(I wasn’t into cooking then,so I can hardly remember what it was stuffed with, but I’m guessing it had potatoes).

Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe
I was so enamored with that photo that I bugged and begged my mom to make it and she finally relented and agreed to make it.So,the next day, off we went,my mom and little me in tow to the bazaar/market and bought a couple of the freshest,greenest and biggest looking capsicums for the recipe(the rest of the stuff which we bought has been deleted from my memory-I happen to have a limited memory space and I tend to save only the most important stuff). Anyway,we got home and my mom got busy in the kitchen with me doing the most important part-opening the magazine to the page where the recipe was and keeping it where my mother could refer to it.That done,I left my mom to do the cooking(she was the expert after all)and I guess I must have whiled away the time till dinner.
When it was ready,we were called to the dinner table and I ran excitedly(again please note that I was never a good eater as a child and nothing other than chocolates got me excited) to take my place at the dinner table. That was when I saw what my mom had made and I burst into tears,and no-it was not tears of joy,but that of bitter disappointment!

Stuffed Capsicum Indian Recipe
It didn’t resemble the dish in the book at all,in fact it didn’t even look like she had made the same dish.I ran into the kitchen and got the book and pointed it out to her(just in case she had made another recipe by mistake)-the photo was of a nice green bell pepper,with a perfectly green skin,no blemishes,filled with the yummiest looking stuff with a little firm cap on it.What actually sat on the table was a soggy, greenish brown mass barely able to hold the stuffing!! My mother and the rest of the family tried to explain that in the photo the bell pepper was not subjected to any cooking and was just to get(what I now understand is called) an “awesome shot”.
The recipe called for the pepper to be fried,which made it change in colour and texture and hence the soggy mass sitting on our dining table. Whatever she made must have probably tasted great because she did make it a couple of times after that and even experimented with different stuffing’s,but I really couldn’t care. It was NOT what was in the book!!!

I’ve always loved the stuffed capsicum served at restaurants, but have found it way too oily to make on a regular basis. Looking for a healthier version I got the idea of “Microwave Stuffed Capsicum”.  I had some tofu that I had bought to make “Chilly Tofu”(the recipe for which I have posted earlier). Since it was for a stuffing, the only change I made was to crumble the tofu instead of cutting them into cubes,and yes,I took a snap of the dish before and after cooking the bell pepper!!
Check out the recipe and ingredients for the “Quick Chilli Paneer”

Ingredients for Stuffed Capsicum with Chilli Paneer/tofu:

  • 4 bell peppers (you can choose whatever colour you fancy).
  • Stuffing-Chilli paneer or Tofu bhurji or egg bhurji or paneer bhurji or mushroom masala

Method:

  1. Cut the bell peppers carefully at the top,and remove the seeds.
  2. Apply a little oil to the outer side of the capsicum and microwave on high for 3-8 minutes (depending on the microwave)
  3. Once they are ready,stuff it carefully with the ‘Sweet and Spicy Chili Paneer‘  and serve.
  4. You can even stuff it with paneer/ tofu burji/ egg burji (scrambled eggs).

P.S:

  • Since I’ve microwaved the peppers, it doesn’t look anything like the fried version that is imprinted in my memory.
  • You could even bake the capsicum instead of microwaving them.

Online Dietitian India

Sweta Uchil-Purohit


Quinoa Upma with vegetables (Spicy Quinoa with vegetables-Indian Style)

I had heard so much about “Quinoa” (pronounced keen-wah) a high protein ‘pseudo cereal’ (foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile). Quinoa is actually a seed and is rich in complete protein, fibre, the B vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats. It is believed that substituting quinoa for grains like polished rice and wheat could improve the blood glucose levels in diabetics and the cholesterol levels . Also, since it has a high fibre content it is a good choice for those looking to lose weight.
After researching a bit with the different recipes ,I realized that I could try it out in my regular ‘mixed veg upma’ recipe. Here’s how to make quinoa upma:

Quinoa Upma (Indian Style)

Ingredients for Quinoa Upma:

  • Quinoa: 1 cup
  • Mixed vegetables: 2 cups(green beans, peas, carrots)
  • Onion-1/2 medium(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies-1 or 2(finely chopped)
  • Ginger: 1/2″ thinly sliced
  • Tomatoes: 1(chopped fine)
  • Mustard seeds-1/2 teaspoon
  • Urad dal(black matpe bean dehusked and split)-1 teaspoon
  • Sambar powder-1 teaspoon(optional)
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon

Method:

  1. Wash the quinoa 2-3 times,drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan,add the mustard seeds and the urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to sputter,add the sliced onions, ginger, salt and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add the mixed vegetables,green chillies and stir for 5-6 minutes. Then,add the tomatoes and sambar powder(optional) and stir till the tomatoes are completely cooked.
  4. Add the quinoa and mix well.Stir for about a minute or two,then add two cups of water,cover and cook on medium heat for about 15-20 mins.
  5. Serve hot as such or with some chutney or even a raita.

Drumstick Leaves Upkari (Moringa leaves stir-fry Mangalorean Style)

Did you know that the leaves of the drumstick tree are edible and are loaded with nutrients? Drumstick leaves are a common green leafy vegetable in most Indian homes especially down South.  It is known as Murungai in Tamil, Nuggekai soppu in Kannada, Muringa in Malayalam. Long known for it’s medicinal and nutritional properties in Ayurveda, it has of late been in the news in the West and is heralded as a miracle tree. Researches believe that the leaves can help in lowering blood sugars among diabetics, reducing cholesterol and also help in reducing inflammations, joint pain, constipation and cancers among others. Drumstick leaves are rich in calcium, potassium, Vitamin A &C and fiber. Drumstick leaves are sold in health stores in the form of powders and capsules.

I however love it as a stir-fry and make it whenever I find the leaves in the Indian store.

Here is a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry (upkari)made with drumstick leaves:

Ingredients for Drumstick leaves upkari:

  • Drumstick leaves: 1 big bunch (wash and separate the tiny leaves from the stalks)
  • Onion: 1 medium
  • Green chilies: 1-2 (as per your tolerance)
  • Coconut gratings: 2tbsp (fresh/frozen/dessicated)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Oil: 3 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the washed leaves as fine as possible.
  2. Finely chop the onions and slit the green chilies.
  3. Heat a kadai, add the oil, then the mustard, cumin seeds and urad dal.
  4. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the slit green chilies, turmeric powder (optional)then the chopped onions.
  5. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Then add the drumstick leaves and stir for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add some salt and mix well. Then add some water and let the leaves cook, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the leaves are cooked, add the grated coconut, mix well and switch off.
  8. Since it’s a dry sabzi, it goes better with rice and a curry.

 

 

 


Mangalorean Egg Curry (Eggs in spicy Coconut gravy)

The Mangalorean Egg Curry is one of the dishes that usually features on my menu whenever I invite eggetarians (ovo-vegetarians) for dinner! It’s quick, simple (since I use coconut milk from a can) and a ‘sure to be a hit’ dish !! I always poach the eggs in the gravy-since I feel that it adds to the taste. But if you don’t like the look-you could boil the egg and then put them into the gravy!
Ingredients for Mangalore Egg Curry (serves 4-6):
  • Eggs: 6 nos.
  • Potato: 1 medium boiled and diced
  • Onion: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 medium (diced)
  • Coconut milk: 1 can (I use the thick one not the ‘lite’)
  • Red chilli powder: 4-6 tsp (depending on our spice tolerance)
  • Coriander powder: 4 tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tsp

Tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds/ jeera: 1/2 tsp

Method: 

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the turmeric and sliced onions.
  2. Add the salt and fry the onions till they are translucent, then add the diced tomatoes and let it cook.
  3. Add the red chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder, potatoes and mix well.
  4. Add the coconut milk and about a cup of water and simmer. Taste the gravy and then reduce the flame.
  5. Carefully break the eggs and drop the contents into the gravy one by one (leaving a little space between each). Cover and cook on a low flame for 6-8 minutes (DO NOT STIR).
  6. Once the eggs are cooked switch off.
  7. Serve the mutta curry (Mangalore Egg Curry) with rice and a side dish.

Note:

For those in a hurry and who don’t have time to make a separate vegetable side dish, you can add different mixed vegetables (add it after frying the onions) like french beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, etc to this dish itself.

The mutta curry also goes well with phulkas/chapathies.