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
Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
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.
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
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.
Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.
Bitter Gourd/Karela (hagalkai in Kannada, pavvakai in tamil) has long being used in India not just as a food but also to control blood sugar among diabetics. This is because bitter gourd contains a chemical that acts much like insulin to lower blood sugar. Though there are no significant studies to support this, Diabetics in India do try and include bittergourd regularly(either as a food or as a juice). In some countries, bitter melon is consumed as a treatment for malaria as the bitter flavor is due to the melon’s quinine content.
BITTERGOURD for LONG LIFE??Residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa have been known to have the longest life expediencies in the world. It is said that bitter gourd/karela is one of the secrets to Okinawa longevity because it contains high levels of health-promoting phyto-nutrients.
This is a baked version of the traditional recipe using onions as the stuffing. I find that baking the karela first reduces the cooking time on the pan.
Ingredients for Punjabi Style Stuffed Karela (with onions) : Serves
Bitter gourds (karela): 6 medium nos or 10-12 small
Onion :3 nos. finely chopped
Red chili powder: 1 tsp (or as per heat tolerance)
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Garam masala : 1/2 tsp
Amchur (dry mango)powder: 1 tsp
Fennel seeds(saunf): 1 tsp (crushed)
Oil: 2 tbsp
Salt: to taste
Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.
Prepare the karela by washing and drying them ( I don’t peel the skin,or apply salt to it, but you could if you feel it makes the dish too bitter).
Slice each karela in the centre (without going all the way through) and scrape out the inside including the seeds using a teaspoon .
Place the karela on a baking tray and bake for 30-45 mins (till it starts to shrink and brown a bit). If the karela is thick, it may require a bit longer, so keep checking.
In the meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and fry until golden brown.
Add the spice powders and salt ,mix well. Fry for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
Once cooled use a spoon or your hands and stuff the karela with equal amounts of the mixture. Smear any extra stuffing or oil on the karela.
You can bake the karela again for a further 10-15 mins or pan-fry the stuffed karela in a teaspoon of oil for 5-10 mins.
Serve with rice and dal or with roti’s and a sabzi.
Once cooked the karela will keep refrigerated for up to a week.
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
Wash the rice and dals/lentils and soak in water for 4-6 hours.
Drain the water and blend soaked rice, yogurt, lentil, ginger, green chili to a slightly coarse texture with as little water as possible.
Add turmeric, salt, sugar and asafoetida, blend it again for 2-3 seconds.
Transfer the blended mix into a bowl and let the mix ferment overnight.
In the morning, add the bottle gourd/lauki or zucchini, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice to the fermented dal mixture and mix well.
Add ENO to the mixture and mix again.
Grease a baking pan and pour the handvo mix into the greased pan. Tap the pan to help spread the mix evenly.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
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.
Pour the seasoning/tadka over the handvo batter.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the pan on middle oven rack and bake at 350 F (or 180C) for 20mins.
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.
Let the handvo cool down a bit. Cut into pieces, garnish with cilantro( and serve with chutney.
Bottle gourd is a vegetable high in water content and is a good source of vitamin C, K, fibre and calcium. This recipe is great for those who are in a hurry as it has both vegetable and a protein together in one dish.
Ingredients for Lauki Channa dal: Serve 4-6
Bottle gourd/Lauki: 1 medium (peeled and cut into cubes)
Tomato: 2 medium chopped (or 1 tsp Amchur)
Onion: 1 medium sliced
Split Bengal gram/channa dal: 1/2 cup
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Green chilies: 2-3nos. slit
Ginger: 1″ piece (grated)
Asafoetida/hing: a pinch
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 2 tsp
Salt: to taste
Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 2tbsp (chopped)
Water: 1 cup
Wash and soak channa dal for one hour or more.
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds. When seeds start to crack, add the asafoetida, turmeric and sliced onions. Stir till the onions become translucent.
Add ginger,green chilies and stir for a few seconds. Then add the chopped tomatoes , garam masala, red chili powder and cook till the oil leaves the pan.
Add the channa dal, bottle gourd, salt, and one cup of water .
Cook the channa dal for 3-4 whistles . Turn off the heat, let the pressure drop, then open and add the cilantro. Stir and cover the pan for a few minutes before serving.
Almost all Indians are familiar with the ‘Drumstick Tree’ (Moringa Tree) and it’s leaves and seed pods (called Drumsticks) are used from ancient times not just as food but as cure or prevention of many diseases in Ayurveda. The small rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, iron, calcium, vitamins, A,C , potassium, essential amino acids.
The drumsticks of the Moringa oleifera tree are used in cooking and contain vitamins, fibre and minerals. Here is a simple recipe with lentils that is commonly made in most South Indian homes: Drumstick Sambar.
Ingredients for Drumstick Sambar: Serves 4-6
Drumstick -3-4 (Cut drumstick into 2 or 3 inch pieces, remove the hard green outer skin)
Tur dal -1/3 cup
Onion: 1 medium (thinly sliced)
Tomato: 1 no.
Tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp (or small gooseberry sized ball)
Curry leaves – 10-12nos. ( I love using lots of curry leaves 🙂
Pressure cook dal (use 1 1/2 cup water) along with the turmeric powder, and the whole tomato for 3 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, remove the whole tomato and keep aside. Mash the dal well (you can use an egg beater) and keep it aside.
If using tamarind ball, soak it in 1 cup of hot water, extract the juice and discard the pulp.
Heat oil, add the sliced onions and saute till they become slightly translucent.Then add drumstick pieces and saute for 2 seconds.
Add sambar powder, salt needed, turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 seconds. Add water (around 3/4 cup) and cook the drumstick.
Once the drumsticks are half cooked,add cooked and mashed dal, 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 5-6 minutes(add more water if the sambar is too thick).Switch off.
Heat a little oil in a small tadka pan, add the mustard seeds, when mustard splutters, add fenugreek seeds, hing and curry leaves. Add the tempering to the cooked sambar, mix and cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup. The authentic soup is more like a broth(clear) made with a meat/ poultry as it’s base (with bones), spices and with herb and vegetable garnishes. Here is a LOW-CARB version!! In this recipe, we have replaced the NOODLES with ZOODLES 🙂
Wondering what ‘ZOODLES’ are?? Zoodles= Zucchini noodles, or in other words noodles made by spiralizing zucchini (using a vegetable spiralizer). The resulting zoodles is a great low-carb substitute for any recipe that calls for noodles, pasta/spaghetti (or even rice)! You can even make zucchini sheets and use them instead of lasagna sheets. If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer then use your vegetable peeler to make sheets, then cut the sheets into strips.
Zoodles are a low-carb substitute for noodles/pasta if you are on a low-carb diet, low-calorie diet or just want to increase your vegetable intake. Zucchini is a member of the gourd family and is low in calorie, high in fibre, also rich in flavonoid antioxidants (mostly found in the skin), B-complex vitamins, folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, as well as minerals like potassium, zinc and magnesium.
This is great dish when you are feeling a little under the weather or need something warm or on a cold winter’s day or when you are feeling lazy to make an elaborate meal. It’s a one pot dish which will keep you full for a long time.
Ingredients for Quick Chicken Pho with Zoodles: (Serves 4)
Chicken: 500 gms cut into small pieces (with bone makes it tastier, but you can use boneless too)
Zucchinis: 3 large (spiralized )
Chicken stock/broth: 8 cups
Onion: 1 large (sliced)
Ginger: 3″ julienned
Star anise: 1no.
Pepper corns: 4nos
Fish sauce: 2 tbsp
Pepper powder: 1tsp
Green chillies/jalapeño (optional): 1-2nos (thinly sliced)
Bok choy: 2 heads
Bean/Moong sprouts- 1 cup
Cilantro/coriander leaves: 1 small bunch (chopped)
Basil: 1 sprig
Lime: 1 no. cut into wedges
Spring onions/ Scallions: 2 (sliced)
Sriracha/hot sauce(optional): to taste
Salt: to taste
Heat 1-2 teaspoon of oil in a large pot, add the star anise, peppercorns, cloves and ginger strips. After a minute, add the sliced onions and saute till they are translucent. (this is an optional step as I find sauteing the onions and ginger adds a better flavour to the pho rather than boiling it all in the stock).
Add the stock, the chicken, fish sauce, salt, black pepper and to the stock and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for 20-25 mins.(if you don’t want to saute the onions and ginger, then you need to add it directly to the stock along with the whole spices).
Add the bok choy and cook till it wilts. (If you have used chicken with bones, you can take them out, remove the bones and put the chicken pieces back)
Divide the zucchini noodles into 4 bowls.
Ladle the piping hot soup into bowls and top with spring onion, bean/moong sprouts, basil, cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over, and hot sauce, extra fish sauce and sliced chilli to add to taste.
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp(traditionally made using toddy or yeast)
Water as needed for grinding
Oil for greasing pan
Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours (you can soak it in the morning, then grind it in the evening).
Grind it in a mixie along with the coconut and water till you get a smooth paste.
Let it ferment overnight. In the morning add some salt, baking soda and some water and make it into a smooth batter.
Heat a non stick appam chatti ( or a mini wok) on medium heat. Pour a ladle of batter in the center, then swirl the pan to spread the batter on the sides of the pan (the centre should be a little thicker than the sides)
Cover and cook for about a minute.
Uncover, add a little oil along the sides of the chatti/wok.
Remove the appam (if you want it crisper, cook a little longer till the edges start browning) and serve along with stew (veg/chicken) or chutney or curry (chicken/ goat/ egg).
Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. In India, turmeric is used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies. In Ayurveda and the Unani systems, turmeric has a long history of medicinal use for purifying the blood , as an antioxidant which is beneficial nasal and throat congestion and has been traditionally used for its anti-microbial and anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ingredients for Turmeric Milk/ Golden Milk:
Milk: 1 cup (Organic grass fed cow’s milk if possible)
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp- 1/2 tsp
Honey (optional): to taste
Pepper/cinnamon/saffron (optional): a pinch
Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the turmeric powder and stir till it is completely dissolved in the milk (you could add the other spices if you like)
Remove from heat and pour into a cup/mug.
Add the honey (optional) and drink when it’s still warm.
The best time to drink it is before bedtime as it can help you sleep better (though you can drink it anytime). It helps build immunity to coughs and colds and makes a great drink in the fall/winter.
Another great way to keep coughs & colds at bay during winter is Adrak Chai or Ginger Chai Latte. Here’s the recipe forGinger Chai Latte/Adrak Chai
Ginger has many medicinal properties and has long been used in Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal systems for improving digestion, reducing intestinal gas and alleviate nausea and vomiting (including morning sickness) and reducing the pain during menstrual cramps. Ginger is also used in Ayurveda to reduce phlegm and coughs, colds and breathing difficulties. Research has also shown it has anti-inflammatory properties also reduces inflammation and makes it a great pain reliever for athletes and arthritis.
In our house, we switch to ginger tea (adrak chai) the moment it starts to get cold (which is usually in autumn) and switch to cardamom tea in summers.
Ingredients For Adrak Chai or Ginger Tea Latte: Serves 4
Milk: 2 cups
Water: 2 cups
Tea leaves: 4 teaspoons ( we use orange pekoe)
Ginger: 1 ” piece
Sugar/Stevia: to taste
In a saucepan, heat the milk and water and add the tea leaves.
Grate the ginger (you could also crush them and add) and add it to the saucepan.
Let the tea boil for 8-10 mins on low heat.
Switch off, strain the brewed tea and add sugar/stevia.
Note: We like our tea with a lot of milk, but you can reduce it or even just have black tea with ginger. You could also add cardamom or other spices like pepper,cinnamon. We prefer our tea with just one spice at a time 🙂
Fresh ginger contains greater levels of gingerol and other anti-inflammatory compounds.
Storing Tip: You can store fresh ginger in the freezer and grate it while frozen directly into your saucepan.
So what’s so great about me putting up a photo of a plate of spaghetti??
Look more closely-that’s not your regular spaghetti-it’s a SQUASH!!!!! A couple of weeks back when I was chatting with my brother, he had mentioned that he had recently tried spaghetti squash and that got me intrigued and I quickly put it on my shopping list. I found it quite easily,but I wasn’t too sure if it was the right one as it looked no different from the rest of the squash where it was kept( I guess I was expecting something which at least vaguely resembled spaghetti),but the label on it very clearly said “Spaghetti Squash” and also had cooking instructions (thank you very much).
The instructions said that I could either bake it or microwave it-I microwaved it on high for about 7-8 minutes(after piercing the rind) and let it cool for sometime before cutting it open-and voila, there was the spaghetti just staring at me-beautiful!!!
I hadn’t even thought of what to do with it. I could make spaghetti(after all it was named after it) or I could use it as noodles. Since this was the first time,I settled with a simple spaghetti dish with sauteed vegetables along with grated Parmesan cheese (you could try adding chicken, meatballs). The result was a nice crunchy dish( and it was all vegetables!!) which was very filling.
Next time I’m going to be a little more adventurous and try out something new-maybe a salad, or maybe a stir-fry dish,or use it as noodles. Any suggestions??
Question: How would you like to try out Spaghetti squash?