Achari Paneer and Vegetable Tikkas

Achari Paneer and Vegetable Tikkas

A great dish for any Barbecue Party for vegetarians.  This mouth watering dish features fresh paneer and vegetables marinated in a traditional spicy pickle mix and grilled.

Ingredients for Achari Paneer and Vegetable Tikkas (Serves 8-10)

  • Paneer: 500g (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Mixed veg(bell peppers, mushroom,onions, cauliflower, zucchini,etc): 500g (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • Pickle gravy: 2 tbsps (add more if you like it spicy)
  • Hung curd/yogurt: 1/2 cup
  • Onion seeds: 2 tsp
  • Ginger+ garlic Paste: 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala : 1 tsp
  • Grass fed Butter/Ghee: 3 tbsp
  • Satay sticks: 10-12 (let it soak in a bowl of water if grilling)
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. In a bowl mix the hung curd along with the pickle gravy, onion seeds, ginger+garlic paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, 2 tbsp ghee/butter and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the paneer cubes and chopped mixed vegetables and mix well to coat them with the marinade.
  3. Let it marinade for at least 30 mins. String the paneer and vegetables on the sticks(you can alternate the paneer and vegetables)
  4. Heat oil in pan and place the paneer sticks. Keep rotating the sticks so that the paneer and vegetables get cooked evenly on all sides.
  5. Serve with mint and yogurt dip.

For Chicken Achaari Kebab recipe, click here: Chicken Achaari Kebab


Pickled Carrots (Western Style)

Pickles in the West are totally different from the kind we find in India. It is usually made with a salt and vinegar brine(sometimes with spices).  The brine is popularly known as ‘pickle juice’.

If you are in the habit of finishing just the pickle and throwing away the ‘pickle juice’-then STOP!! Read why you should never throw the pickle juice: Pickle Juice: 5 Health Benefits of drinking Pickle Juice 

If you are tired of the cucumber pickles that are hugely popular and want to try your hand at pickling try out this quick and easy Carrot Pickle.

Here’s what I used-
Ingredients:

  • Organic Carrots: 250 g(approx),slit lengthwise
  • Vinegar: 1 cup (distilled white vinegar)
  • Peppercorns:4-5
  • Garlic: 2 peeled and sliced
  • Himalayan salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Pickling spices: 2 teaspoon
  • Water: 1 cup

Method:

  1. Heat some water in a saucepan and once it boils drop the cut carrots into them and blanch on high for 3 mins.
  2. Strain out the carrots (you can use the water for soups or for regular cooking) and put them in cold water to stop the cooking. Strain and place in a sterilized glass jar along with the spices, garlic, peppercorn.
  3. Combine the vinegar,water and salt in a pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the vinegar-water solution(brine) into the jar leaving about 1/2 inch space on top. Close the lids.
  5. Allow it to cool completely. Let it marinate for at least a day or two in the fridge for the flavours to develop.


Pickle Juice: 5 Health Benefits of drinking the juice

The pickle in the Western world is completely different to that what we have in India. It is basically small cucumbers or gerkins (or other vegetables like small onions) that are put in vinegar with some salt (and sometimes spices) and left to ferment for sometime. It is common to use these in sandwiches and burgers.

If you are among those who throws away the juice that remains after the pickle is over-then you need to STOP!! Pickle juice also has amazing health benefits.

Here are 5 Health benefits of drinking pickle juice:

  1. Avoiding cramps during/after workouts or intense training: Since pickle juice contains sodium it is considered to be better than plain water to relieve/prevent cramps during prolonged sporting activities or workouts.
  2. Simple cure for hangovers: Next time you have a bad hangover after a night out drinking, try drinking some pickle juice in the morning. It might not be what you’d like to drink the first thing in the morning-but trust me, it will cure your hangover and you can then drink that cup of tea!
  3. Cure for menstrual cramps, stomach pains and indigestion: Try taking a swig of pickle juice when you have any stomach related problems(menstrual pain or otherwise). Many people swear by it’s effectiveness.
  4. Headaches:  Whether it is a regular headache or migraine pain, try drinking some cold pickle juice.
  5. Slows the absorption of carbohydrates : Since pickle juice contains vinegar and vinegar has been known to slow down the absorption of the carbs from the meal, it may help both diabetics and those who are insulin resistant.

If you are tired of the cucumber pickles that are hugely popular and want to try your hand at pickling try out this quick and easy Carrot Pickle here: Pickle Carrots (Western Style)

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Best Indian Dietitian

 


10 Ways to sneak in more vegetables in your diet

The benefits of eating a diet rich in vegetables are many-from lowering cholesterol, controlling sugar levels, aiding weight loss, fighting cancer to relieving constipation. However, most dietitians still feel that the common man is not eating enough vegetables to get the full benefits.
The question in most people’s mind: How much vegetable should one consume in day? 
The answer is around 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits/day. That would mean around 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables, which is a lot. Most of us tend to eat not more than 1-2 cups/day. So how does one achieve eating the recommended amounts?

I always advocate eating foods in a form that is as close to how it’s found in nature as this requires the body to break it down which takes time. The longer it takes for the body to digest food, the longer it stays in your stomach thus keeping you fuller for a longer period of time. So it’s best to eat your vegetables as salads or sabzi’s (don’t overcook them as that would kill all the nutrients). In addition to eating them as salads or sabzi’s,
Here are some tips to sneak in more vegetables into your diet:
1. Add vegetables to dishes which you would normally not do so -instead of plain upma, kichidi, poha, noodles, pasta, dal, add some mixed veggies into these dishes and you make them more nutritious and a filling dish.
2. Add grated veggies to any dish-you can add grated carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, etc to roti’s, chutney’s, chaats, dosa, idli and even salads. Try sprinkling some grated vegetables like carrots on top of dishes as a garnish-it makes the dish more colourful and inviting.
3. Add a salad with every meal-these need not be limited to just cucumber and tomatoes. A lot more vegetables like beetroot, radish, methi leaves, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, knol-khol/kohlrabi, turnips, and capsicum/bell pepper can be eaten raw. Pulses and legumes and even some grains can be sprouted and added to the salads (like wheat, methi seeds, moong/mung, channa,etc). To avoid boredom, try out 3 different salads every week. You could even mix fruits and vegetables together to make some exotic combinations.
4. Add vegetable purees-to soups, curries, chapathi dough, dosa batter.
5. Add chopped/sliced veggies to sandwiches, wraps, bhel puri, fruit chaats.
6. Make dips with vegetables/fruits-avocado, cucumber, mint, cilantro/coriander leaves, pumpkin, apple, strawberries, figs, etc can all be made into tasty dips. These can be also used as spreads on whole wheat breads and phulkas to make healthy snacks.
7. Eat raw vegetables for snacks– carrots, celery, parsnips can be paired with the fruit/vegetable dips to get double the vegetables!
8. Add veggies to meat/poultry/fish curries. Even scrambled eggs taste better when you add some sautéed veggies like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and capsicum/bell pepper!
9. Make chutney’s with vegetables/fruits-you don’t have to limit chutneys to just coriander/cilantro or mint. Try making chutneys from brinjal/eggplant, tomatoes, onions, apples, carrots, etc .Eat them with your meals or add them to your salads, breads, yogurts to create a unique dish!
10. Make your own veg+fruit smoothies– mix and match veggies with some sweet fruits to make your own smoothies/juices.  The pulp contains the fiber-so do not to strain it out.

Sweta Uchil

Indian Dietitian

 


Indian Spicy Broccoli Stir-Fry (Masaledar Broccoli Sabzi)

Broccoli belongs to the same cruciferous family like cabbage,kale, cauliflower,collards and Brussels sprouts. It is a low calorie vegetable and is loaded with fibre, vitamins A, C folic acid and is also known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It must be noted that eating raw broccoli has actually more benefits than eating these in the cooked form as some of the antioxidants and vitamin C are destroyed by heat.

Ingredients for Spicy Broccoli Stir-fry (Serves 4):

  • Broccoli: 2 medium heads (wash, cut into bite sized florets
  • Garlic: 5-6 cloved (minced)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (adjust according to heat tolerance)
  • Coriander powder: 2 tbsp
  • Jeera powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilies(optional): 1-2 slit
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil: 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Add a little salt  and steam the broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes (the broccoli should be crunchy and not soggy). Keep aside (alternatively, you could add the broccoli florets to boiling salt water and cover and keep for 4-5 minutes. Then drain and keep aside).
  2. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the minced garlic and green chilies(optional)fry for a minute.
  3. Reduce the flame to medium heat and add the spice powders (turneric, coriander, jeera, garam masala) and quickly mix in the oil (otherwise the spices will burn).
  4. Quickly add the steamed broccoli and mix well such that the spices coat the broccoli.
  5. Check for salt(add more if necessary). Stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Serve as a side with rice and dal.

Other broccoli recipes to try out: Broccoli Paratha (Broccoli Stuffed Indian flatbread)

 


Zoodles (Zucchini spirals) in creamy avocado sauce

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 (Zucchini noodles)

This is an easy no-cook recipe. Zoodles are now available in the salad section of the grocery store and you could pick up one if you are running late and don’t know what to cook for dinner. Avocados are great for making sauces because they are naturally thick and creamy. They are loaded with healthy fat (monounsaturated) and research has shown that people who eat avocados have higher levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol than those who do not. Other essential nutrients include fiber, vitamins, folic acid, vitamin E and potassium. Add some protein in the form of cheese (or paneer) and you have a wholesome and filling meal.

To learn more about avocados, read my article that was published in Complete Wellbeing: Why You Should Try Avocados (and how to buy them)

Ingredients for Zoodles in creamy avocado sauce:

  • Zucchinis (about 4 pounds): 6 large,  spiraled  into zoodles
  • Grape tomatoes: 8-10 nos. halfed ( or 1 medium tomato cubed)
  • Bocconcini: 6-8 nos (substitute: you can add grated cheese at the end )
  • For the sauce:
  •  Avocados :(about 3/4 pound total), peeled and pit removed
  • Fresh basil leaves (about 15 medium sized leaves): 1/4 cup packed
  • Ground black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 2 Tablespoons
  • Fresh lemon juice: 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. To make the sauce, place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Toss the zoodles, bocconcini, grape tomatoes in the sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.

You can also try adding some chili flakes if you want something spicier.


Apple Cinnamon Infused Water

There is nothing better than a glass of water to quench your thirst. It’s the perfect zero-calorie drink that not only hydrates but also helps in maintaining a balance in the body fluids. It is also needed to flush out toxins from the body and prevents constipation. For those trying to give up sodas, softdrinks, juices, drinking plain water can be a little boring. Infused water is the perfect solution to get a mildly flavoured drink without all the calories.

You can make different flavours by using different fruits. You can mix these with some spices or even cucumbers or mint. The combinations are endless, but try this simple Apple-Cinnamon infused water for starters 🙂

Ingredients for Apple-Cinnamon Infused water:

  • Organic Apple: 2 (thinly sliced)
  • Cinnamon sticks : 2
  • Water: 2 litres

Method:

  1. In a pitcher add all the ingredients and refrigerate for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
  2. Pour into a glass and drink whenever you want a tasty treat.

Note:

  1. You can keep refilling the pitcher till the flavours still infuse into the water.
  2. The longer you keep it, the stronger the flavour.
  3. Choose different varieties of apples (red or even green)

Read more about :

How to Detox after a Major Festival??

Beetroot Mocktail/ Juice (Liver cleansing juice)

 

 


Oats Dosa (Savoury Oats Crepes)

Oats are rich in fibre, protein vitamin B1 and minerals like manganese, phosphorous, copper, selenium and zinc. It is made up of three types of starch mainly rapidly digested, slowly digested and resistant starch of which the resistant starch is important as it does not get digested and is seen to be beneficial to gut health. Oats is shown to be helpful in reducing cholesterol, increasing satiety as well as reducing constipation.

If a bowl of oats porridge isn’t your cup of tea, then try out this Oats Chilla or dosa recipe and you can still get the health benefits of oats.

Ingredients for Oats Dosa/chilla :

  • Rolled oats: 1 cup (powder in a mixie/blender)
  • Urad dal: 1/4 cup
  • Tur Dal: 1/4 cup
  • Channa dal: 1/4 cup
  • Moong dal: 1/4 cup
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch grated
  • Red chili powder:  1/4 tsp (add more if you like it spicy)
  • Cumin/Jeera seeds: 2 tsp
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 4 tbsp (chopped)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Water: enough to make a smooth pourable batter
  • Oil/ghee: for making dosas (you can use a small onion cut into half breadth wise to dip and spread the oil on the tava)

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the dals for 4-5 hours. Then grind it together till you get a fine paste.
  2. In a big bowl whisk it with all the ingredients, add water and whisk again to make a smooth batter(add more water if the batter is too thick). Keep aside for at least 30 mins.
  3. Heat a tava, dip a cut onion in the oil and spread over the tava. Check if the tava is hot by sprinkling some water on top of it-if it sizzles, then the tava is ready.
  4. Take a ladleful of the batter into the centre of the tava and spread using the back of the ladle in circular movements, spreading the batter thinly over tha tava.
  5. Cover and cook for a few minutes over medium flame.
  6. Then remove the cover, add some oil to the sides of the dosa and cook till you see the dosa leaving the sides.
  7. Flip the dosa,add some oil and cook the dosa on the other sides for a few minutes.
  8. Flip back to the first side and let it cook again for a minute.
  9. Remove and serve hot with a spicy chutney.

 

 

 

 


Green Apple Panna (An Indian style Summer Drink)

Beat the heat with this variation of the popular ‘Aam Panna’- The Apple Panna!!

Traditionally in North India, ‘Panna’ is made from green mangoes (unripe) and had as a drink during the sweltering summers. The unripe mangoes are tart which adds a different flavour to this drink. Added to that the different spices makes it an unusual, yet tasty drink. The Black salt /kala namak used in this drink is a type of salt found in India which due to the sulfur content, gives a distinct aroma and taste.
Since fall is also the season for apples and everyone seems to be making desserts with them, I thought a ‘Green Apple Panna’ will be a welcome change!
This recipe was tested out and also photographed by Taranjeet Kaur-Kothari. Thanks a ton TJ- the photos are superb ( do we see a budding photographer and blogger in the making???).

Green Apple Panna-An Indian Style summer cooler

Ingredients for the Green Apple Panna:
  • Green apples(Granny Smith) – 4nos.
  • Roasted cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Sugar: 4-5 tsp (or according to taste)
  • Black salt- 1 tsp
  • Lemon-1no.
  • Mint leaves- a few
  • Green apple chunks – 20-25g (optional)

Method:

  1. Coat the skin of the apples with a little oil and bake( or roast over a flame) till soft.
  2. Scoop out the pulp and mash in the mixie with lemon juice with water, sugar, mint leaves,black salt and roasted cumin.
  3. Whisk thoroughly.
  4.  Let the panna cool down and then add lots of crushed ice to the panna.
  5. Add green apple chunks(optional)
  6. Garnish the Green Apple Panna with some mint leaves and serve chilled.

Note: Black salt/Kala namak can be found in all Indian grocery stores.


Zucchini Majjige huli/ Moru curry/ Morkulambu/Majjige Pulusu (Buttermilk/Yogurt Curry)

Zucchini is a member of the gourd family and is a low calorie, high fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Majjige huli is a popular curry in Karnataka. It’s called “Morkulambu” in Tamil Nadu, “Majjiga Pulusu” in Andra Pradesh and “Moru Curry” in Kerala-just goes to show the similarities in cooking styles in South Indian cuisine.

‘Majjige’ is ‘buttermilk’ ,while ‘huli’ is ‘sour’ in Kannada. Usually majjige huli is made with one vegetable (like cucumber, eggplant, ashgourd, spinach,etc). I had a couple of Zucchinis in the fridge and decided to use it as the vegetable in the majjige huli.

Ingredients for the majjige huli:

  • Zucchini: 2 small cut into cubes (or any one of the vegetables listed above)
  • Coconut: 1 cup grated(fresh/frozen)
  • Channa dal/split chickpeas: 1tbsp soaked in water for 1/2hour (optional)
  • Green chillies: 2-3
  • Cumin seeds/zeera: 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Yogurt/ curd: 1 cup (should be slightly sour)
  • Water: 2-3 cups
  • Salt: to taste

For the tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds/zeera: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1tsp
  • Curry leaves:3-4 nos.
  • Oil: 1tsp

Method:

  1. Boil the zucchini in just enough water till half done.
  2. In the meanwhile grind the coconut,green chillies, the soaked channa dal(optional), mustard and cumin seeds till you get a fine paste (add a little water when grinding).
  3. When the zucchini is half cooked add the ground masala and a cup of water and let it boil.
  4. Add salt, yogurt and another cup of water and cook for a minute or two.
  5. In a separate pan, heat the oil and add the mustard,cumin and the urad dal. Wait till the mustard starts to pop, add the curry leaves , then pour the tempering over the majjige huli and mix.
  6. Serve the majjige huli hot with rice.

Q: What is your favorite side dish to go with rice?