Category Archives: Lunch Box Recipes Healthy Indian

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!

Mangalorean Egg Curry

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.


Kale Mallung / mallum with radish (Sri Lankan style stir fry)

Kale Mallung or mallum is actually made with just… kale 😉 I had one radish left-over after making the radish sambar and didn’t know what to do with it so I finely chopped it and added it to the mallung. It added a nice crunch to the mallung, but can be omitted as it’s not really a part of the original recipe.

Kale is a power house of nutrients and contains complex carbohydrates, high quality protein, Vitamins A,C,K and folate. Adding a dash of lime juice at the end helps the body to better absorb the iron from green leafy vegetables. This is a Sri Lankan easy stir-fry recipe and can be made with any green leafy vegetable(palak,radish leaves, amaranth, laal saag, mustard leaves) or even cabbage.

Ingredients for Kale Mallung with Radish:

  • Kale: big bunch (remove the stalks and chiffonade the leaves)
  • Radish: 1 small finely diced (optional)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or to taste) or 1-2 green chilies slit
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Coconut: 2-3tbsp freshly scraped/frozen/desiccated
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice: 1tsp
  • oil: 2tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a kadai, add the mustard and jeera. When the mustard starts to pop, add the slit green chilies or the red chili flakes and the turmeric.
  2. Then add the finely chopped kale and radish(optional) and stir-fry till the kale is cooked.
  3. Add the salt and coconut and cook for another minute.
  4. Switch off, then add the lime juice and mix well (this is to increase the absorption of iron from green leafy vegetables)
  5. Serve as side with rice and curry.

Here’s another mallung/mallum recipe with turnip leavesTurnip leaves Mallung/mallum

 


Mullangi Sambar (Radish and lentil curry)

A good way to increase your vegetable intake (or if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to dish out a vegetable sabzi along with the protein) is to be creative and :

  1. try and add it into dishes that you would normally make without vegetables-for example, instead of plain khichdi, upma, biryani,noodles, pasta-add different vegetables (always keep frozen veggies-saves a lot of time)
  2. if you have time-grate vegetables and add it to dosa/idli batter, chapathi/roti dough.
  3. add frozen palak (chopped), methi can also be added to dosa/idli batter, chapathi/roti dough,
  4. add different vegetables(or frozen mixed vegetables) to your gravies/dals/curries

Here’s a recipe for Radish sambar-remember don’t throw away the leaves of the radish. They are edible and can be used as any other greens or try out this ‘radish leaves sabzi‘.Radish Sambar

Mullangi Sambar/ Radish Sambar

Ingredients for Radish Sambar:

  • Tur dal: 1/2 cup
  • Tomatoes: 3 small
  • Radish: 2-3 medium chopped into circles or quartered(keep the leaves for another day or make this Sri Lankan Mallung recipe)
  • Onions: 1 medium (cubed)
  • Sambar powder: 2-3 tsp (or to taste)
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1 tsp

For tempering:

  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Cumin/jeera seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1 tsp
  • Chana dal: 1tsp
  • Hing: a pinch
  • Curry leaves: a few

Method:

  1. Take 1.5 cups of water and cook the dal, turmeric along with whole tomatoes(do not chop) in a pressure cooker(three whistles).
  2. In the meanwhile, add the oil into a cooking pot, add the onions and saute till translucent.
  3. Add the chopped radish and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once the pressure drops, open the pressure cooker and take out the whole tomatoes and add to the onions and radish. Mash well.
  5. Add the salt, sambar powder and mix well.
  6. Mash the dal well and then add it to the onion, radish and tomato. Add a cup or two of water (less if you like the sambar thick or more if you want it thin)
  7. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
  8. Switch off. Get the tempering ready (heat the oil, add mustard,jeera,urad+chana dal-when the mustard pops add the curry leaves and hing and switch off).
  9. Add the tempering immediately to the sambar and cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve with rice, idli,dosa or you can even have it as a spicy soup.

 


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

 

 


Pumpkin and bhindi/ladiesfinger sambar (Palakkad style)

We had this awesome sambar at a friends place during the Diwali weekend. It was made by my friend’s mother and she had used pumpkin and ladiesfinger/okra for the sambar. The family has it’s roots in Palakkad,a town on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Being Palakkad Iyers their cuisine is a unique blend of the cooking styles from both the states (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
I’ve always used the popular ready-made sambar powder to date and had never made the sambar from scratch(roasting and grinding the masalas). I had to get the recipe and it turned out so well that I’ve decided to make sambar the ‘hard-way’ instead of taking the ‘easy way’ out henceforth.
This sambar is typically made with any two of these seasonal vegetables: ladiesfinger/okra, arabi/taro root, pumpkin, capsicum and drumstick.
Here’s the recipe as given by Ms Sarda Ramakrishnan:

Pumpkin Sambar Palakkad
Ingredients for Palakkad Sambar: (Serves 8)

  • Coriander seeds: 2tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds:1 tbsp
  • Channa dal: 1 tbsp
  • Dry red chillies: 5
  • Tamarind pulp: walnut sized (soak in water and squeeze out the pulp),
  • Tur dal: 2 cups (finely mashed)
  • Fresh coconut: 1/2 cup grated
  • Pumpkin: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2″ pieces)
  • Ladiesfinger/Okra: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2″ pieces)
  • Hing/asafoetida: 1/2tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Curry leaves:5-6 nos.
  • Oil: 2tsp

Method:

  1. Roast the coriander seeds,fenugreek seeds,channa dal and the red chillies in a pan till the fenugreek and channa dal start turning red.
  2. Let it cool and then grind to a fine paste along with the grated coconut.
  3. Cook the pumkin and okra pieces in the tamarind pulp along with salt and enough water till the vegetables are half cooked.
  4. Add the cooked tur dal and the ground masala paste to the vegetables. Add enough water to bring it to a sambar consistency.
  5. Bring the sambar to a boil and add the hing powder.
  6. In a separate pan,heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When it starts to sputter,add the curry leaves.
  7. Pour this tempering over the sambar.
  8. Serve hot with rice.

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)

Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who don’t get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products. Pulses are a good source of iron.Pulses are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

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?


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).