Sukha Bhel (Gluten-free vegan snack)

Sukha Bhel (Gluten-free vegan snack)

Healthy (and Tasty) Snack-Sukha Bhel

It’s 5pm and i feel like having something ‘chatpata’. Hmmm,so what is quick,tasty and chatpata-Sukha bhel!!
If you are wondering why I’ve added “and tasty” in the title,it’s because my husband strongly feels that if I just put it as ‘Healthy Snack’ nobody will want to try it as everyone assumes that anything healthy is not tasty. Not true. You don’t have to pour oodles of ghee/oil/butter to make something tasty. Try out this simple and easy snack,and you’ll know!!
Sukha Bhel-Tossed puffed rice salad (Serves 2)
Ingredients:

  • Puffed rice-2 cups
  • Tomato-1 chopped
  • Onion-1 small (finely chopped)
  • Carrot-1/2 (Grated)
  • Cucumber-1/2(finely chopped)
  • Coriander(cilantro) leaves-a handful,finely chopped
  • Green Chilly-1 finely chopped or 1tsp red chilly powder
  • Chaat masala-1/2 teaspoon
  • Raw mango(optional)-1/2(finely chopped)
  • Salt-to taste

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a big bowl.
  2. Toss well and serve immediately.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Korean Style Fried Rice)

Kimchi also called the ‘Korean Superfood’ and is a must have side dish for all Koreans. It is made from fermented vegetables (most often cabbage) and has a unique salty and spicy flavour. It is rich in probiotic strains (including Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis) and hence scientists give it equal status to yogurt when it comes to probiotic foods. It is also packed with antioxidants and contains vitamins A, B, C and K. It is also loaded with vital minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Kimchi being a fermented food has loads of health benefits. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods and for a list of Indian Fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

My Indian Dietitian

Kimchi

I bought Kimchi in bulk from Costco, and since I have a lot-have been experimenting with some Korean dishes that incorporate kimchi. Try out this Indo-Korean style ‘Kimchi Uttapam‘ which is my twist on the traditional Korean Kimchi Pancakes.

Kimchi Fried rice is a quick and easy dish made mostle with leftover rice. You could add any meat/chicken/seafood/ mushroom to it if you wish.

Ingredients for Quick and easy Kimchi Fried Rice: Serves 4

  • Kimchi: 1 cup (finely diced)
  • Kimchi juice/liquid: 1/4 cup
  • Leftover rice –3 cups (if it is freshly cooked, spread it in a tray to cool or put it in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour)
  • Eggs: 4 , (cooked sunny side up for garnish)
  • Garlic: 1/2 tsp minced
  • Sesame Oil: 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Oil: 1/2 tbsp
  • Spring onion: 1-2 finely chopped(optional for garnish)

Method:

  1. On medium high heat preheat a pan/wok and once heated and add the garlic, stir it fast for about 10 seconds. (if you want to add any meat/chicken/seafood-add it now and stir-fry till it is cooked).
  2. Add the Kimchi and stir-fry till almost cooked.
  3. Add the rice and the kimchi juice. Mix together till all the rice gets coated with the kimchi juice.Add the sesame oil and mix them well. Remove from the heat.
  4. Serve hot garnished with the egg and spring onions.

Also try:

Kimchi Uttapam (an Indo-Korean fusion dish)

Bon Appetite or as they say in Korean Mashike Mogo 🙂

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Online Indian Dietitian


Malabar Spinach Tambuli (Basale Soppu Tambli)

Tambli/tambuli is a curd based dish typically made in Udupi/ Mangalore kitchens. It can be made with different green leafy vegetables (palak, curry leaves, etc) or even garlic. Since rice is the predominant grain in the traditional south Indian homes, this is served as a side to rice along with vegetables.

This recipe is with malabar spinach which is commonly grown in most Mangalorean houses.

Basale Soppu/ Poi

Malabar spinach is rich in soluble fibre, Vitamins A & C,  iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.This tambli made with Basale soppu/Malabar spinach is also believed to cure mouth ulcers.

Ingredients:

  • Malabar spinach or basale soppu: A big handful (washed and coarsely chopped)
  • Yogurt/curd: 1 cup fresh (not too sour)
  • Grated coconut: 1/2 cup (fresh/frozen)
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. (optional)
  • Cumin seeds/Jeera: 1/2 tsp

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili: 1/2
  • Curry leaves: a few
  • Oil/ghee: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds and green chili. When the cumin starts sizzling add the Malabar spinach leaves and saute till they are wilted. Keep aside to cool.
  2. Once cool, grind to a paste along with the coconut and  just enough water to make a paste in a blender/mixie.
  3. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the yogurt and mix well. The consistency of the tambli should be thinner than chutney. So add enough water if it is too thick.
  4. Heat a little oil in a tadka pan, add the mustard seeds , urad dal and when it starts to pop add the dry red chili and curry leaves.
  5. Add this to the tambli and serve along with hot rice and vegetables.

 

 


Benefits of Fermented foods (Fluffy Idli Recipe)

Naturally fermented foods may help strengthen your gut microbiome which are basically the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. Gut microbes are now believed to be key to many aspects of human health including obesity, immune, metabolic and neuro-behavioural traits. Reseraches believe that fermented and probiotic foods are seen to improve immunity, aid in better digestion, prevention of allergies and also treating diarrhea.

One such naturally fermented food that is commonly made in most South Indian homes regularly are idlis and dosas. Who knew eating the humble idli (in moderation) could actually benefit your health?

Besides idli/dosa batter here are some of the other Indian foods that are fermented:

  • Curds/dahi/yogurt– a part of of a traditional meal in most Indian families, this contains live cultures.
  • Pickles
  • Gajar/Beetroot Kanji (North India): a drink made with fermented carrots/beetroot
  • Traditional Dhoklas (Gujrat) that are fermented and not instant
  • Traditional Handvo (Gujrat)-where the batter is let to ferment overnight
  • Fermented rice– called panta or poita bath(Assam, West Bengal,Tripura),  pazhaiya choru(Kerala), pazhaya saadam (Tamil Nadu) is basically the extra cooked rice soaked in water overnight during which it ferments, and is eaten in the morning with buttermilk and garnish of onions, green chilies etc.
  • Gundruk (Himalyan areas, Darjeeling, Sikkim): Fermented greens
  • Sinki (Himalyan areas, Uttarkhand, Sikkim): Fermented radish
  • Iromba( Manipur):  A dish made with fermented fish

Besides these there are many drinks/dishes that incorporate curds/buttermilk like kadhi, Rajasthani rabdi, Ragi ambli (Karnataka) and yeast fermented products like traditional naan and parottas.

Coming back to the humble idli,  what exactly happens when you ferment the idli batter?How does it become more nutritious?

During the fermentation process the carbohydrates get converted into simpler sugars that are easier to digest. This is one of main reasons that it is given to babies and those who are sick. It also increases the bioavailablity of many vitamins and minerals  such as iron, potassium and calcium and also increases the vitamin B content. It was seen that after 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg .

Unlike other fermented foods which still have the live cultures, the steaming process will kill the live cultures but it still makes the idli more nutritious than plain rice and dal.

Try making your own batter instead of buying store made ones. It’s easy, just follow this recipe:

Ingredients for Idli:

  • Idli (Par boiled) rice: 2 cups
  • Urad dal (skinless) : 1/2 cup 
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp 
  • Beaten rice (poha) – 1/3 cup
  • Salt : to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and soak  the urad dal (without skin), idli rice and fenugreek seeds in water for 6-7 hours. Soak poha for 1/2 hour before grinding.
  2. Grind the urad dal with enough cold water to make a smooth, fluffy paste. Keep aside.
  3. Grind the idli rice along with the poha with enough water till you get a smooth paste.
  4. Now mix the rice batter with the urad dal batter. Add salt (if the weather is cold, avoid adding salt if the weather is hot) and mix it well to aerate the batter with enough air to aid in fermentation.
  5. Let it ferment overnight (if it’s cold, you can keep it inside the oven with the light of the oven switched on).
  6. In the morning, mix the fermented batter well and grease the idli moulds.
  7. Boil water in a steamer, once water starts boiling,  pour the batter into the greased moulds.
  8. Steam for 10-12 minutes or until it is cooked.
  9. Serve with sambar and chutney.

Crispy Chicken Cutlets-Indian Style (Low Carb, High Protein Recipe, Gluten free)

Here’s a High Protein, Low-carb recipe of Chicken cutlets with no potatoes. To make it crispy and still keep it low-carb, I have used Psyllium husk to coat the cutlets before frying.

Now psyllium husk is a commonly known as Isabgol in India. It has been used for ages to treat constipation. It is now becoming popular as a low carb addition to foods.

Ingredients for Crispy Chicken Cutlets:

  • Chicken mince: 400gms
  • Onions: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Green chilies: 2 (finely chopped)
  • Coriander leaves: 5 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves: 8-10(finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic Paste: 1.5 tsp
  • Mashed cauliflower: 1/2 cup
  • Roasted gram flour(Besan): 2-3  tbsp
  • Melted butter/ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Psyllium husk(Isabgol): 1/2-1  cup for coating
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: for pan frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together well and keep it in the fridge for 1/2-1hr.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan, make a ball of the mixture, then flatten it into a patti shape.
  3. Roll it in the psyllium husk and place in the pan one by one.
  4. Turn them over and let them cook till the outside becomes golden brown in colour.
  5. Take them out and serve hot with coriander chutney.

Note: 

These can also be frozen after frying and can be used later as such or as a filling inside wraps/ sandwiches/burgers.

 

 

 

 

 


Appe with Mixed vegetables(Paddu/ Guliyappa/ Paniyaram/Gundponglu)

Appe is a common breakfast dish in Mangalore. It’s also popular in the other Southern states and is called Paadu/Guliyappa in Karnataka, Paniyaram in Tamil Nadu, Gundponglu in AP and Telengana. And called ‘dosa in a ball’ by my daughter!

It’s made with the dosa batter in a special ‘appe pan’ which has 5-7 or more round holes. The batter is poured into these holes and the resulting appe is almost round like a ball.

Appe, Paddu, Paniyaram pan

Here’s a healthier version of the recipe in which I have added sauteed mixed veggies into the batter to make it more nutritious and can be packed and taken for lunch :

Ingredients for the Batter:
  • Idly Rice: 3/4 cup
  •  Raw Rice: 1/4 cup
  • Urad Dal: 1/2 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp

Other Ingredients: 

  • Carrots: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Green Beans: 1/2 cup
  • Peas: 1/2 cup
  • Green Chilli: 1 finely chopped (optional)
  • Curry leaves: 10-15 nos., finely chopped
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
  •  Salt: to taste
  • Coriander leaves: 3 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Oil/ghee/butter
Method:
  1. Wash the idly rice, raw rice, fenugreek seeds and whole urad dal then soak for 6-8 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked mixture with enough water to get a smooth batter.
  3. Transfer the ground batter to a clean vessel and cover it and let it ferment in a warm place overnight.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, onions green chili(optional) .
  5. Saute till the onions are soft. Add the chopped veggies and the coriander leaves and sautee till the veggies are cooked. Add the salt. Remove from heat and set aside to cool
  6. Add this mixture when cool to the batter and mix well.
  7. Heat the appe pan till its really hot(test by sprinkling water-it should sizzle). Add a little oil/ butter/ ghee into each mold. Drop the batter to fill the mold. Cover and cook for a minute. Then turn and cook on the other side till its golden in colour.
  8. The appe should be crispy and golden on both sides.
  9. Serve hot with chutney.

 

 

 

 


Beetroot Leaves Dal

Do you throw out the Beetroot leaves? STOP!!! 

Don’t just cut off the green leafy tops and toss them away! The leaves and the stems are edible, and make a great substitute for any green such as palak, swiss chard, collard greens, bok choy. They  can be added to dals/sambars, soups or added to sabzis.

Beetroot leaves 

The best part of buying beetroot with the leaves-you can make two dishes for the price of one!! Other leaves that are edible and should not be thrown out:

  1. Radish leaves: Click here for Radish sabzi with leaves
  2. Turnip Leaves: Click here for Turnip leaves sabzi(Sri Lankan style)

Here is a simple dal with the beetroot leaves. (Note:The stems (like the beetroot) have a natural pink dye that can turn the dal slightly pink).

Ingredients for Beetroot leaves dal: Serves 4-5
  • 1 cup toor dal/arhar dal
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons oil/ ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 green chili, slit
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 -1 tsp red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice

Method:

  1. To a pressure cooker add the washed toor dal, add 2.5 cups water,  and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder. Cook at high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure of the cooker come off on it’s own. Then mash well.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Wait till cumin seeds crackle and mustard seeds start popping out.
  3. Once the seeds start popping, add chopped garlic and green chili. Saute for a minute or till garlic just starts turning golden brown in color.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped beetroot leaves and mix. Cook for 2-3 minutes or till the leaves are wilted.
  6. Add the mashed dal to the pan, a cup of water , the red chili powder and coriander powder (both optional, but I like to have the extra spice)and let it all come to a boil. Lower the heat, add more water if needed and let the dal simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Check the salt and adjust to taste. Sprinkle garam on top and remove pan from heat.
  8. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and serve beetroot leaves dal with any hot rotis or steamed rice.

Other Beetroot recipes:

  1. Beetroot Mocktail/ Juice: Click for recipe here
  2. Beetroot Upkari(a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry): Click for recipe here
  3. Beetroot and Carrot Salad: Click here for recipe

 


Beetroot Upkari (a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry)

Though beetroot is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium and potassium, it isn’t a popular vegetable and somehow doesn’t get onto the diet more often. The nutrients they contain fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and could also fight cancers.

Since it is naturally sweet, it can be used as a salad by those who don’t like sweet vegetable sabzi.

Here is a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry which tastes great with chapathis and even with rice and dal. My kids love eating it with curd rice as they love to see the colour of the curd rice change from white to pink when they mix the beetroot with it. Do note that beetroot has a naturally occurring dye that can colour your hands/cutting boards while cutting. It will also cause you to have pink stools and urine after consuming it, so don’t be alarmed.

Beetroot Upkari: Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • Beetroot: 3 big
  • Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilli- 2-3
  • Curry leaves- Few
  • Urad dal/ Split Black gram- 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil- 1 tsp
  • Salt- To taste
  • Sambar powder(optional): 1-2 tsp
  • Grated Coconut: 2-3 tbsp for garnish

Method:

  1. Wash and peel the beetroot. Then chop it into small cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. Once it starts popping, green chilli, curry leaves and urad dal. Fry for a minute.
  3. Add in the chopped beetroot and mix well. Add the salt and water, sambhar powder(for a variation, though not added to regular upkari), close and cook for 15-20 minutes on a medium flame.
  4.  Once cooked, add grated coconut as garnish and serve with rice+dal or curd rice or even chapathis.

Other Beetroot Recipes:

  1. Beetroot Juice: Click here for recipe

Beetroot Juice is a great drink for athletes ,sports persons and for those who exercise regularly as beetroot is loaded with nitrates . Nitrates when consumed are converted to nitric oxide which helps in opening the blood vessels and allows more blood and thereby oxygen to be delivered to the muscles.

 

 

 

 


Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice is a quick and easy rice dish which is best made with leftover cold rice.  It is a basic yet simple dish for those who want to try their hand at Chinese cooking. You can add some diced vegetables like carrots, peas and bell peppers if you want.

Ingredients for Egg Fried Rice:

  • Eggs (preferably Free-range): 4
  • Cooked rice : 4 (cups cooled)
  • Carrots, peas: 1/2 cup diced (optional)
  • Red onion: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Ginger: 1 tsp diced
  • Garlic: 1 tsp diced
  • Coriander (stem): 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Light Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Spring onions: ⅔ cup (finely sliced)
  • Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp for garnish
  • Salt: to taste
  • Sesame oil: ¼ tsp
  • Oil: 4 tbsp

Method:

1. Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Heat half the oil in a kadai/wok . Pour the beaten eggs into the kadai and leave to cook for 10 seconds before lightly scrambling until almost cooked through. Keep aside.

2. Heat remaining oil in the same kadai and stir fry onion, ginger, garlic, and coriander  stems along with the diced  vegetables(optional) for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked.

3. Add rice to the kadai with spring onions, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil and the cooked egg and stir fry for 3 minutes or until well combined and rice is heated through. Break up the egg  into smaller pieces if needed while cooking. Transfer rice to a bowl and serve garnished with coriander.

If you like it spicy, then you can serve it with a side of red chili in soy sauce ( finely slice fresh/dried red chilies with three tablespoons light soy).


Mixed Vegetable Pulav/Pilaf (Gluten free, Vegan)

This is an easy recipe and can be made for the lunch box or even for a party.

Recipe for Mixed Vegetable Pulav:

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)

  • Brown Rice/ Basmati: 2 cups (soak in water for 30 mins)
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (finely chopped)
  • Onions: 1 1/2 big or 2 medium sized (finely sliced)
  • Garlic: 3-4 (finely chopped)
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (grated)
  • Green chilies: 1-4 (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 1/2 cups cut into bite sized pieces(carrot,cauliflower, peas, green beans)
  • Cinnamon: 2″ stick
  • Cloves: 4-5nos.
  • Peppercorns: 5-6 nos.
  • Bay leaf: 2nos.
  • Cardamoms: 4 nos.
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 1/2 tsp (heaped)
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil/ Butter/ Ghee: 3 tbsp
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro leaves: 2 tbsp (chopped) for garnishing
  • Mint leaves: a few (for garnish)

Method: 

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices (cumin, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, peppercorn).
  2. When the jeera seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped garlic and saute on a low flame till it starts to brown.
  3. Add turmeric and the onions, salt and saute till the onions start turning pinkish brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are completely mashed and oil starts to leave the sides.
  5. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and mix well.
  6. Then add the mixed vegetables and mix till the masala coats the vegetables.
  7. Strain the rice and add it and mix for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the water, mix and taste the water for salt and flavours.
  9. close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles. Switch off
  10. Once the pressure drops open the cooker and garnish with coriander leaves(cilantro) and mint leaves. Slowly fluff the pulav a little.
  11. Serve the mixed vegetable pulav with raita.