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!!
We are familiar with Indo-Chinese dishes (Chinese dishes made with Indian flavours), well this is my attempt at making an Indo-Korean dish 🙂
If you’re a regular follower of this website-you would also by now know that I try to add my own healthy twist to dishes, so that my family and clients can get the best of both worlds!
So here is the favourite Korean dish called Kimchi pancake with an Indian and healthy twist. The original recipe calls for ‘all purpose flour/maida’, kimchi, onions, salt and sugar. To make it healthier-I substituted the maida with rava(semolina/farina) , rice flour(to make it crisp) and a little besan(to bind it). For those who are not familiar with Korean cuisine, kimchi is a staple and a must have accompaniment of meals. It’s basically a fermented dish with different vegetables and spices. The most popular is the made with napa cabbage. Buying kimchi would probably be frowned upon in Korean families. They make their own kimchi and each family is supposed to have their own recipe handed down from generation to generation. Some families have an entire fridge stocked with just different varieties of kimchi and nothing else-that should give you some inkling as to the importance of kimchi in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is not just eaten as a side with meals, but there are various dishes made with it like Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi stew, Kimchi dumplings, Kimchi wraps and so on.
Kimchi being a fermented food has loads of health benefits. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods
Coming back to the recipe, since I have not been handed down the kimchi recipe, I did the next best thing- I bought it in bulk at Costco! If you have a Korean neighbour or friend do try and get a foolproof recipe (also try and get an invite to watch them make it). Or else try out your favourite Korean restaurant and see if you can buy their in-house kimchi. Here’s my Indo-Korean Kimchi Pancake recipe:
Ingredients for Kimchi Uttapam:
Rava/semolina/Farina: 1 cup
Rice flour: 1/2 cup
Besan/chickpea flour: 2 tbsp
Kimchi: 1- 1.5 cups (chopped fine)
Kimchi juice(water from the kimchi): 3 tbsp
Onion: 1/2 medium(finely diced)
Oil/ghee: to cook
Coriander(optional): 3 tbsp (chopped)
Carrot (optional): 1 small (grated)
Red chili flakes(optional): 2-3 tsp
Curd/yogurt(optional): 2 tbsp
Mix all the ingredients together (the optional items are not added in traditional kimchi pancakes, so it’s upto you) with some water to get a thick consistency batter. It shouldn’t be a flowing consistency. Check for salt.
Heat an cast iron tava/dosa tava on medium high heat. Add some oil and spread it with a cut onion( a trick my grandmom used to do to make the tava non-stick).
When it is hot(sprinkle some water on the pan, and it should sizzle), take a ladleful of of the batter and spread evenly onto the tava.
Cover and cook for a few minutes, add some oil to around the edges.
When you see the edges browning, flip over and let it cook on the other side on medium heat for another minute. Flip over once more and let it cook for another 30 seconds.
Serve hot as is. You don’t need any chutney with this as the uttapam itself is very flavourful-tangy(from the kimchi) and spicy.
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.
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
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
Wash the idly rice, raw rice, fenugreek seeds and whole urad dal then soak for 6-8 hours.
Grind the soaked mixture with enough water to get a smooth batter.
Transfer the ground batter to a clean vessel and cover it and let it ferment in a warm place overnight.
Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, onions green chili(optional) .
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
Add this mixture when cool to the batter and mix well.
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.
The appe should be crispy and golden on both sides.
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.
Kale is packed with vitamins A, C , E,K, calcium , fibre and protein. The protein in kale contains all the 9 essential amino acids and hence is comparable to the protein found in meat or poultry.
Other than making sabzi’s, smoothies and salads with kale, here is a quick and simple snack recipe with kale. Crispy and Spicy Kale chips can be eaten as a snack or in lieu of papad/pickle with your meals.
Ingredients for Crispy and Spicy Kale Chips:
Kale: 1 big bunch (wash and dry)
Salt: to taste
Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp (add more if you like it spicier or omit entirely if you want just salted)
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp
Preheat oven to 275F (135C).
Dry the kale leaves thoroughly. You can use a salad spinner for this
Remove any large stems from the kale, and tear the leaves up into bite-sized pieces.
Put the kale in a salad bowl and add the olive oil, red chili powder, cumin powder, salt and toss well until the leaves are evenly coated.
Spread the leaves out on a baking tray in a single layer (do not overcrowd, make a second batch if there is more) and bake for about 20-25 minutes (till they get crispy). Keep a watchful eye on your batch to prevent burning.
Cool and enjoy as a snack or as a crispy side with your meals.
Kids are picky eaters and not eating enough at meal times is a common complaint. That’s why snacks play an important role in providing the extra nutrition that they tend to miss out. Most parents tend to focus more on providing a nutritious meal and overlook the importance of giving healthy snacks. Chips, cookies, cheese puffs, cupcakes are convenient snacks but not the healthiest choices. Here are some healthy snack ideas for kids:
Sandwiches (with 100% whole wheat breads)-you can use cheese, tofu, nut/peanut butter, guacamole, paneer, egg, vegetables or even fruit and cream cheese as the filling.
Seasonal fresh fruits-cut them up in fun shapes/ sizes(use a melon scooper/cookie cutter), mix them in low-fat yogurt, make smoothies or plain fruit salads.Fruit and cheese kebabs are also a fancy way of serving fruits that kids will love.
Fresh vegetables: cut them into strips and serve with dips like guacamole, hummus, peanut/almond butter.
Boiled/Grilled corn: makes a tasty snack when served hot.
Smoothie popsicles: You can pour their favourite smoothie into popsicle moulds and give that as a treat on a hot day.
Baked fries: cut up some carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beetroot into sticks or wedges. Toss them in a little oil, salt and seasoning and bake them to make a tasty snack. Here’s the recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Steamed snacks: like idli’s/vegetable stuffed idlis, dhoklas, khandvi’s can be cut/decorated into fun shapes.
Mini- rolls/burritos: whole wheat chapathis/rotis can be used to make rolls with egg/paneer/tofu burji(scrambled), rajma/ channa, mung(pulses/lentils) curry/usal or cheese spread.
Tikkis/cutlets can be made with paneer/chicken/egg/lentils, mixed vegetables, and shallow fried or baked . These can also be served inside a pita bread or sandwich.
Mini/triangle/cone dosas/uttapams: these fun size/baby dosas can be more interesting for kids than the regular adult size ones. Serve them with chutney/ketchup/peanut butter (you can even draw a smiley face on the dosa with it)!
Nuts and dry-fruits: older children can be given a handful of mixed nuts and dry fruits.
These snacks can be served with either a glass of milk/almond milk or some lassi/buttermilk.
Make sure to serve these snacks at least two hours before meal times, otherwise they may not be hungry enough for it.
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)
Red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp (optional)
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss till the sweet potatoes are coated.
Spread out onto a baking tray in a single layer.
Bake till they turn golden (about 30-40 minutes).
Serve as a snack or as a side with your meals.
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’s one more reason to increase your “oily” fish intake-the omega-3-fatty acids found in fish have shown to halt and slow down the age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in lay-man’s terms: AMD basically is a medical condition which is mostly seen in older adults and results in the loss of vision in the center of the visual field.
The research and findings conducted by Dr Elaine Chong at the University of Melbourne,Australia, involved 90,000 participants and showed that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids could cut the risk of developing AMD by 38%.
Experts suggest eating oily fish like salmons,mackerel,tuna,shellfish and herring about twice a week to get the benefits of omega-3!
Now a simple and tasty way of including fish into your diet: fish cakes or “cutlets” as they are called in India. This is my mom’s method of making cutlets.
Mom would first steam mackerel,then take out the bones and mix it with mashed potatoes and coat them in rava/ semolina instead of using bread crumbs. Rava absorbs much less oil and tastes equally nice. I used canned tuna,but it tastes great with just about any fish you fancy. Ingredients for Fish Cutlets:
Tuna: 1 can (5 oz)
Potatoes: 1 medium size (boiled)
Onions: 1/2 (finely chopped)
Cilantro: 2-3 tablespoons (finely chopped)
Giner+garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Green chillies: 1-2 (finely chopped)
Rava/Semolina: to coat the cutlets
Salt: to taste
Oil: for shallow frying
In a bowl coarsely mash the potatoes.
Drain the water from the tuna and add the tuna,chopped onions,cilantro,chillies,ginger +garlic paste and salt to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
Shape into cutlets and shallow fry till the cutlets turn golden brown.