Okra Fried Rice (Ladiesfinger/bhindi Fried Rice )

Okra Fried Rice (Ladiesfinger/bhindi Fried Rice )

Want to try a different kind of fried rice?? Try out Okra Fried Rice!!

Okra Fried Rice

  • We first had Okra Fried Rice at a Caribbean inspired party and it was just awesome!Never knew that okra /bhindi could blend so well with rice. The whole dish has a subtle okra flavor and goes well with the jerk chicken (jerk potatoes for the vegetarians) and goat curry.
    I didn’t get the actual recipe, but tried it anyway and the result was almost similar to the original. So go ahead and try out this awesome Caribbean style Okra Fried Rice.

    Ingredients for Okra Fried Rice:

  • Fresh Okra/Ladiesfinger: 250g(finely sliced into thin rings)
  • Onions: 1 small (finely minced)
  • Garlic: 5 cloves(finely chopped)
  • Bell Pepper(optional): 1/2( finely chopped into cubes)
  • Cooked rice: 3 cups(cooled brown or basmati)
  • Bay leaves: 1-2
  • Cloves: 2
  • Cinnamon: 1/2 “
  • Allspice: 1tsp
  • Oil: 1tbsp
  • Soy sauce: 1-2 tsp
  • Pepper: to taste
  • Salt: to taste

    Method:
    1)Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon. Then add the chopped onions and garlic and saute till translucent.
    2)Add the bell pepper and saute for 5 mins(optional) and then add the okra rings and fry till it loses the stickiness.
    3)Add the soy sauce,allspice,pepper and salt and saute for a couple of minutes.
    4)Add the cooked rice(you can add some chicken soup base while cooking the rice for added flavor) and mix well.
    5)Serve the Okra Fried Rice with ‘jerk chicken’ or ‘jerk potatoes’, Chicken curry, or any spicy curry.


Mushroom Masala

Most Indians who eat mushrooms are only familiar with the button mushroom, but there are lots of different edible mushrooms. Button mushroom is an excellent low-calorie food, especially for those looking to lose weight and also diabetics. It is rich in protein, enzymes, B vitamins (especially niacin), and vitamin D2.

For more information on mushrooms, read my article which was published in the Complete Wellbeing magazine: Go Mushy over Mushrooms!

Ingredients for Mushroom Masala: Serves 4-6

  • Button Mushrooms: 250gms  chopped (rinse in water, remove dirt gently)
  • Onion: 1 medium (finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes: 2 small or 1 big (diced)
  • Garlic: 3-4 cloves (grated)
  • Ginger: 1/2″ grated
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (or as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera/cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves- 2tbsp (chopped) for garnish
  • Oil: 2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the cumin seeds, turmeric and the onions.
  2. Stir fry the onions till they become translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes, ginger-garlic, salt and the spice powders (red chili, coriander, cumin and garam masala) and saute till the oil leaves the the sides and you get a a nice fried aroma.
  4. Add the chopped mushroom and mix well. Cook till the mushroom leaves water and is soft (you can add some water if you want more gravy). Switch off.
  5. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve with rice & dal or phulkas.

 

 


Sattu ka Parantha

Sattu is a popular food in UP and Bihar and is made from roasted chickpeas which is ground to a flour. But there are many versions- some also have millets like jowar or barley(jau) and peanuts all ground together. The sattu I bought from the Indian store has chickpeas and barley. Sattu is traditionally had as a porridge for breakfast, as parathas or Sattu ka sharbat (both sweet and salty varieties) is taken as a cooling drink during hot summers.

Ingredients for stuffing:

  • Sattu : 1 Cup
  • Onion: 1 small, finely chopped
  • Green chili:  1 no.  finely chopped (optional) or red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Ginger: 1 tsp grated
  • Ajwain seeds: 1/4 tsp
  • Pickle masala (any pickle oil and masala): 1 tsp
  • Amchur powder: 1-2 tsp or Lemon juice: 2 tsp
  • Jaggery: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Water: a little to bind the stuffing
  • Coriander leaves: 2 tsp finely chopped
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3 tsp

Ingredients for Paratha:

  • Wheat Flour: 2 Cups
  • Water: 1 cup (or as required for kneading the dough)
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the stuffing. Mix well and add a little water to bind the stuffing into a ball (it shouldn’t be too dry or too watery). Divide the stuffing into lemon sized balls.
  2. For parathas, take wheat flour, add oil and salt. Adding a little water at a time knead to firm consistency. Let it rest for at least 30 mins.
  3. Knead the dough again, then divide the dough into small lemon sized balls.
  4. Roll out one a little, place a the sattu stuffing in the center of the rolled out dough.
  5. Bring the edges together to form a smooth round ball (like a money bag). You can remove any extra dough at the top)
  6. Dust with dry flour and roll it out .
  7. Heat a tava, place the paratha on it. Let it cook then flip and cook the other side. Add some oil on the cooked sides. Let it cook evenly on both sides .
  8. Serve hot with just yogurt/curd, pickle or baingan ka bharta.

 

 

 

 


Punjabi Stuffed Karela recipe (Baked stuffed Bitter Gourd recipe)

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

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.
  2. 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).
  3. Slice each karela in the centre (without going all the way through) and scrape out the inside including the seeds using a teaspoon .
  4. 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.
  5. In the meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and fry until golden brown.
  6. Add the spice powders and salt ,mix well.  Fry for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9.  Serve with rice and dal or with roti’s and a sabzi.
  10. Once cooked the karela will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Gujarati Handvo recipe( Mixed lentil savory cake with vegetables)

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
  • Yogurt/curd: 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder: 3/4 tsp
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (grated)
  • Green chili: 1-2 (or as per heat tolerance)
  • Sugar/Stevia: 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a big pinch
  • Cilantro/corriander leaves: 1 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp
  • Eno (fruit salt): 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For tadka(seasoning):

  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: a few (tear it into smaller pieces)
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch
  • Oil: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and dals/lentils and soak in water for 4-6 hours.
  2. Drain the water and blend soaked rice, yogurt, lentil, ginger, green chili to a slightly coarse texture with as little water as possible.
  3. Add turmeric, salt, sugar and asafoetida, blend it again for 2-3 seconds.
  4. Transfer the blended mix into a bowl and let the mix ferment overnight.
  5. In the morning, add the bottle gourd/lauki or zucchini, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice to the fermented dal mixture and mix well.
  6. Add ENO to the mixture and mix again.
  7. Grease a baking pan and pour the handvo mix into the greased pan. Tap the pan to help spread the mix evenly.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  9. 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.
  10. Pour the seasoning/tadka over the handvo batter.
  11. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the pan on middle oven rack and bake at 350 F (or 180C) for 20mins.
  12. 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.
  13. Let the handvo cool down a bit. Cut into pieces, garnish with cilantro( and serve with chutney.

 


Ghiya (Lauki) Channa Dal recipe (Bottle Gourd/Doodhi and split Bengal Gram sabzi)

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.

Bottle Gourd/Lauki/Doodhi/Ghiya

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

Method:

  1. Wash and soak channa dal for one hour or more.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the channa dal, bottle gourd, salt, and one cup of water .
  5. 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.
  6. Serve with hot phukas/roti or rice and a curry.

Drumstick Sambar (Moringa Seed pods in spicy lentil curry)

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)
  • Sambar Powder: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For the seasoning :

  • Oil -2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds -1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10-12nos. ( I love using lots of curry leaves 🙂

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. If using tamarind ball, soak it in 1 cup of hot water, extract the juice and discard the pulp.
  3. Heat oil, add the sliced onions and saute till they become slightly translucent.Then add drumstick pieces and saute for 2 seconds.
  4. Add sambar powder, salt needed, turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 seconds. Add water (around 3/4 cup) and cook the drumstick.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

 


Zoodles in a Quick Chicken Pho (Zucchini noodles in a Vietnamese soup)

Have you tried PHO (prounched as “FUH”)??
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.

Zucchini sheets for lasagna/salads or cutting into noodles

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.
  • Cloves: 4
  • 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

Method:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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)
  4. Divide the zucchini noodles into 4 bowls.
  5. 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.

 

 


Appam ( Fermented Rice Pancakes)

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Ingredients for Appam (without yeast):

  • Raw Rice : 2 cups
  • Coconut: 1 cup grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp(traditionally made using toddy or yeast)
  • Water as needed for grinding
  • Oil for greasing pan

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours (you can soak it in the morning, then grind it in the evening).
  2. Grind it in a mixie along with the coconut and water till you get a smooth paste.
  3. Let it ferment overnight. In the morning add some salt, baking soda and some water and make it into a smooth batter.
  4. 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)
  5. Cover and cook for about a minute.
  6. Uncover, add a little oil along the sides of the chatti/wok.
  7. 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 Milk (Turmeric Latte/How to make Golden Milk)

 

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

Method:

  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the turmeric powder and stir till it is completely dissolved in the milk (you could add the other spices if you like)
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a cup/mug.
  4. 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 for Ginger Chai Latte/Adrak Chai