Category Archives: Lunch Box Recipes Healthy Indian

Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

 The Microwave version of the Gobi/Cauliflower sabzi was inspired by my mother-in-law who uses the microwave daily for her cooking (and not just for reheating stuff). I’ve tried making it with absolutely no oil, but you could add a teaspoon if you want. The resulting “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” is not only easy to make but also turned out pretty good. You could even try the same recipe with broccoli(or any other vegetable) in lieu of the cauliflower.
Ingredients for Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi:
  • Cauliflower: 1 (washed and cut into tiny florets)
  • Red chilli powder: 1-2tsp (or according to your spice tolerance)
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 3tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Lime juice: 1 tsp 

Cauliflower Sabzi Microwave

Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

Method:
  1. Put the cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5 mins.
  2. Then sprinkle some salt on it and mix-well.
  3. Microwave again for 2-3 mins. Mix well. Repeat this procedure every 2-3 mins, till the cauliflower is almost cooked.Test for salt(add more if needed).
  4. Sprinkle the red chilly powder, turmeric and the cumin powder and mix well. Microwave again (mixing every 2-3 minutes) till the cauliflower gets cooked.
  5. Add the lime juice and mix well.
  6. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.
  7. Serve the “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” with phulkas or as a side with rice and dal.

Baingan Bharta/ Brinjal Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

For the Baingan bharta, the brinjal is usually first roasted whole over a fire (since we have an electric cooktop here, I had to bake it) . Once roasted,the brinjal pulp is then cooked with chopped onions,tomatoes and garnished with chopped cilantro. The Brinjal bharta goes well with ‘phulkas/roti’ or with steamed rice and dal.Here are the ingredients for Brinjal Bharta:

Baingan Bharta Recipe
Ingredients for Baingan Bharta:

  • Eggplant/brinjal: 1 big
  • Onion: 2 medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes: 2 small ,diced
  • Green chillies: 1-2,slit lengthwise
  • Ginger: 1 tsp, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 4-5, finely chopped
  • Garam masala: 1tsp
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 5 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tsp

Method:

  1. Spread a little oil over the skin of the eggplant/brinjal and roast over an open flame till it gets cooked(or you could bake it in the oven for 20-30mins).
  2. After it cools a bit, remove the skin (the oil applied on the skin makes it easy) and coarsely chop the eggplant pulp. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan,then add the chopped ginger and garlic. Let it fry for about a minute,then add the chopped onions and salt.
  4. Saute till the onions become translucent, then add the slit green chillies, diced tomatoes and garam masala powder. Stir for about 5-6 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked.
  5. Add the pulp of the brinjal and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish the brinjal bharta with chopped cilantro and serve hot with phulkas.

Turnip leaves Mallung/Mallum (Sri Lankan simple stir-fry with greens)

I love trying out different cuisines and have been lucky to have wonderful neighbours from whom I have learnt different cooking styles. My love for Sri Lankan cuisine started back in the US when we lived in Minnesota for a brief period. There was one Sri Lankan restaurant in the neighbourhood and we loved the fiery food there. Though it is similar to South Indian cuisine(especially Kerala cuisine), they are heavy on the spices and it’s definitely not for those who have a weak stomach.

When we moved to Sydney, I was lucky to have a Sri Lankan neighbour who (once she got to know my love for Sri Lankan food) is always sending over food. This ‘mallung’ or mallum recipe I learnt from her. It’s a quick and easy stir-fry recipe for greens, where you have to finely chop/shred the greens. Since green leafy vegetables tend to reduce in quantity when cooked-don’t be disappointed if you end up with very little mallung.

I try to experiment with different greens and try to buy radish/turnips/beetroot with the leaves. And yes-please don’t throw the leaves of these vegetables as they are edible. Add them to your dals or make this Sri Lankan ‘mallung’ recipe 🙂

Turnip Leaves are a rich source of Vitamins K, A folate and minerals like calcium, copper and also fibre. So STOP throwing away the leaves and use them in your cooking.

Ingredients for Sri Lankan Mallung: Serves 4

  • Green leafy veg: 1 big bunch (kale, turnip greens, moringa leaves, amaranth, lal saag)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or green chili paste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard leaves: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 nos.
  • Grated coconut: 1-2 tbsp (fresh or desiccated)
  • Lemon juice: 2tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the greens and chiffonade (roll the leaves and cut them finely) them.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the red chili flakes (or green chili paste)
  4. Then add the greens and stir-fry for 5-6 mins.
  5. Add the salt and the grated coconut and mix well.
  6. Swith off and squeeze a dash of lime/lemon juice.
  7. Serve with rice and dal/sambar.

Note:

  1. Experiment with different greens. Cooking times will differ for different greens: like moringa(drumstick) leaves need more time to cook (and you may have to cover and cook for sometime).
  2. The red chili flakes add a unique taste to the dish, you can chop the dry red chilies and use that or use green chili paste.
  3. Always remember to squeeze some lemon/lime juice before you serve greens as the vitamin C will help in the absorption of the iron found in green leafy vegetables.

Sri Lankan mallung

Sri Lankan Greens Mallung/Mallum Recipe


Chicken Saagwala /Palak (Spinach) Chicken

Palak chicken or Chicken saagwala is a not just a great tasting dish but the addition of greens(spinach) increases the nutrient content of the dish. Palak is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and is also:

  • low in calories
  • good source of iron, but to be absorbed by the body you need to team it with a source of vitamin C (like squeezing a dash of lime over the dish, or having a citrus fruit after your meal).

Ingredients for Chicken Saagwala: Serves 4

  • Chicken: 800 gms (with bones or boneless)
  • Palak (spinach): 1 big bunch ( washed, blanched and pureed)
  • Onion: 1 big (cubed)
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (cubed)
  • Ginger: 1″ (grated)
  • Garlic: 3-4nos.(chopped)
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. (use more if you want it spicier)
  • Red chili powder: 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Pepper corns: 3-4nos.
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat one teaspoon oil in a kadai ,add the onions and green chillies and stir fry till translucent.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes and stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  3. Switch off and cool. Once cooled, puree in a blender.
  4. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the kadai, add the cumin seeds, bay leaf and pepper corns.
  5. Add the tomato+onion puree, the spice powders(red chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and fry till the raw smell disappears and the oil leaves the sides.
  6. Add salt and the chicken pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the palak puree, mix well and cover and cook on low flame till the chicken is cooked.
  8. Serve hot garnished with rice and dal or roti.

Note: If you want it a little creamier, then mix a tablespoon of whole wheat flour(atta) in 1/2 cup milk and add this mixture after you add the palak puree (step 7), mix well and then cover and cook.

Palak Chicken

Chicken Saagwala /Palak Chicken 

 

 


Banana Dosa (Sweet Banana Dosa)

This is a favorite breakfast/snack item at home. I first made sweet banana dosa/crepes when I had a few over ripe bananas and wanted to try something other than the banana raita. This is similar to the popular Mangalorean recipe of “Southekai dosa” or ‘Sweet Cucumber dosa’. Years ago I had experimented replacing the cucumber with mango puree and the resulting ‘Sweet Mango Dosa‘ too had turned out really well.
Here are the ingredients for the Sweet Banana crepes:
Ingredients for Sweet Banana Dosa:(Serves 4)

  • Dosa Rice: 1 cup
  • Ripe Bananas: 2 nos.
  • Beaten rice/poha/ avalakki: 1 cup
  • Grated coconut: 3-4 tbsp
  • Jaggery: 3/4th cup
  • Low-fat Yogurt/curd: 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom powder: a pinch
  • Salt: 1/4tsp

Method:

  1. Soak the rice and methi seeds for at least 3-4 hours.
  2. Just before grinding the batter, wash the poha and leave aside for 10-15 mins.
  3. Grind all the ingredients (except the cardamom) together with enough water to make a fine batter (test the batter for sweetness).
  4. Leave aside for 1/2-1 hour.
  5. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan and pour a ladle full of the batter onto it. Spread it out in a circular motion to make a dosa/ crepe.
  7. Let it cook for a couple of minutes, then add a little oil to the edges.
  8. Flip the dosa over and let it cook till done.
  9. Serve the sweet banana dosa/ crepes hot off the pan and watch them vanish.

The sweet  banana dosa can be eaten as such without any side or dipping sauce.

Note: Store any left over batter in the refrigerator.

 

Indian Dietitian Online


Mixed dal dosa/ Adai (Mixed lentils and rice crêpe)

Mixed dal Dosa/ Adai

Protein is in vogue-and why not. It high protein foods keep you feeling full for a longer period of time and also don’t raise your blood sugars like carbohydrates do. I believe in moderation and thus try to include more protein in my diet and reduce the amount of carbs without totally giving it up.
I was craving for some crispy dosas as I hadn’t made them in a long time. But,with the weather no longer conducive for fermenting the batter, I had to think of something which didn’t need fermenting. That’s when my mom suggested the mixed dal dosa-or “Adai” as it’s called in Tamil Nadu. Mom suggested soaking equal quantities of all the dals/split lentils that I had at home along with equal amounts of rice.
What I love about this dosa is because there is more dal (protein) when compared to the rice(carbs), this dosa is more filling and you end up eating less dosas than the regular dosa.
There are so many different recipes for this mixed dal dosa/ Adai,but here’s how I made it(with whatever ingredients were available at home last night):

Mixed dals

Ingredients for Mixed Dal Dosa/Adai: (Serves 4)

  • Raw rice: 1/2 cup
  • Channa dal: 1/2 cup
  • Urad dal(split black matpe beans): 1/2 cup
  • Mung dal: 1/2 cup
  • Masoor dal(pink lentil): 1/2 cup
  • Tur dal
  • Cooked rice OR beaten rice(poha): 1/2 cup
  • Methi seeds: 2tsp
  • Ginger: 1″ piece (optional)
  • Dry red chillies: 4-5 (or to taste)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Water: 1 cup

Method:

  1. Soak all the dals and the raw rice for at least 4-6 hours.
  2. Grind all the ingredients together with a cup of water till you get a fine paste ( pancake batter consistency). If using beaten rice/poha-soak it for 15 minutes before grinding.
  3. Pour a ladle of the batter on a hot ‘tawa’ or non-stick pan,and spread into a thin dosa.
  4. Cover for a minute,then carefully flip it over to cook the other side.
  5. Serve the mixed dal dosa/ Adai piping hot with chutney and/or sambar.

Adai (Dal dosa)

Mixed Dal Dosa (Adai)

Indian Dietitian Online


Methi Pulao (Methi Rice) Fenugreek leaves pilaf

Methi Rice/ Methi Pulao

Both methi seeds(fenugreek seeds) and methi leaves(fenugreek leaves) have been long used in Indian families as not just a culinary  ingredient, but also for it’s medicinal properties. The seeds are great for :

  1. diabetics as it can control the blood sugar levels (soak a tablespoon of methi seeds overnight and have it along with the soaked water the next day).
  2. relieves constipation,
  3. a boon to new mothers as it is a known galactogogue (increases breast milk),
  4. It is also believed to relieve menstrual cramps when taken along with yogurt/ buttermilk. (Soak a tablespoon of methi seeds/powder in yogurt/buttermilk for a couple of hours or overnight and eat it when you have menstrual cramps).
  5. lowering cholesterol

Methi leaves taste great in just about any dish. You can use the fresh leaves to make parathas, theplas, sabzi, add it into your dal or make methi pulao with it. Here’s a quick and simple methi pulao that can be served with a raitha.

Ingredients for Methi Rice/Methi Pulao:

  • Basmathi Rice: 2 cups (wash and soak in water for 20-30mins)
  • Methi: 3-4 small bunches (or 1 big) washed and finely chopped
  • Onion: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 small (finely diced)
  • Peas: a handful (optional)
  • Ginger+garlic paste: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds(jeera): 1tsp
  • Cloves: 1-2nos.
  • Peppercorns: 5 nos.
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Cinnamon: 1″ stick
  • Whole cardamom: 2nos.
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (or as per spice tolerance)
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the whole spices (peppercorn, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamom and bay leaf).
  2. Then add the turmeric, sliced onions and fry till the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger+garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Then add the chopped methi leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes on low flame.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the spice powders (chili, cumin, coriander,garam masala) and some salt and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  6. Add the soaked and drained basmathi rice, peas(optional) and mix well for 2 mins.
  7. Add the water, taste for salt and cover the pressure cooker and let it cook till one whistle.
  8. Switch off, let the pressure drop. Open and gently fork the rice to separate the grains.
  9. Serve hot with raitha of your choice.

Note: you can add 2 tablespoon of crushed peanuts as a garnish before serving. Enjoy.

Methi Rice

Methi Pulao (How to make methi pulao)

Indian Dietitian Online


Besan Dosa/ Besan Chila (How to make chickpea flour crepes/pancakes)

Besan Dosa/ Besan Chila (Chickpea Flour Crepes)

Besan or chickpea flour or gram flour is a great source of fiber, is GLUTEN FREE and can be helpful in lowering cholesterol and blood sugars.

When I was growing up in Bombay,Besan dosa was a very popular dish in most Udupi restaurants and was even sometimes called “Vegetarian Omelet”. Besan dosa was also sold as a filling inside sandwiches which were named “Veggie omelet sandwich”! Funnily enough,I hated them at that time and preferred my regular ‘egg omelet’ to the veggie omelet. Finally,one day I tried it out and to my amazement, loved it(thankfully it was appreciated by hubby and little brat) and so now it’s a regular feature at home. Make sure you use a good non-stick pan when you make this-that way,you won’t need to use a lot of oil.

Besan or Chickpea flour is a high fibre, high protein, gluten free flour which is made from garbanzo/chickpeas. Being high in fibre, it can be helpful for lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

Here is a quick and easy recipe that can be had for breakfast or even lunch/dinner:

Ingredients for Besan Dosa/Chila (Chickpea flour crepes):Serves 4

  • Besan/Gramflour/Chickpea flour: 2 cups
  • Rice flour: 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Onion:1/2 small(finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes:1 small(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies:1-2(finely chopped)
  • Corriander leaves/Cilantro: 2 tablespoon,finely chopped
  • Grated zucchini/ bottlegourd: 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th teaspoon
  • Jeera/Cummin seeds:1/2 tsp
  • Baking soda: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt:to taste
  • Oil/Butter/Ghee: to grease the pan

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Add enough water to make a batter of dosa/pancake consistency. If adding zucchini/bottlegourd, you may need less water as the bottlegourd/zucchini will leave some of its moisture.
  3. Spread the oil on a non-stick pan on medium flame.
  4. Pour a ladle of the batter and spread like a dosa. Cover for a 3-4 minutes.
  5. Then,flip the dosa over to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.Make sure not to burn them.
  6. Serve the besan dosa hot with mint,ketchup or a spicy chutney.

Indian Dietitian Online