Beetroot Leaves Dal

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

 


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.

 

 

 

 


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.

 


Fennel (Saunf) Bulb Salad (with mixed fruits and carrots)

The fennel bulb is actually the base of the fennel(saunf) plant. It’s a shame that it isn’t used in India as it is edible and has some of the benefits of saunf. The fennel bulb is low in calories and rich in fibre and contains vitamin C and potassium. Fennel (saunf) has been used for ages for aiding digestion after meals and also as a carminative (relieving flatulence/gas) and the same properties are present in the bulb too. It has a mild saunf flavor and a lovely crunchy texture and is perfect for salads.

ChatPata Fennel Bulb salad

Try out this easy salad with mixed fruits. I just use whatever fruits and salad vegetables there are at home, so feel free to try out your own combination:

Ingredients for Fennel Salad:

  • Fennel bulb: 1/2 (finely sliced)
  • Carrot: 1 medium (cut into thin sticks)
  • Apple: 2 (cut into sticks)
  • Blue Grapes: 15 ( quartered)
  • Navel Oranges: 2 (thinly sliced)
  • Lemon juice: from 1 lemon
  • Apple Cider vinegar: 2 tbsp
  • Honey/Sugar: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Chaat masala: 1 tsp (optional-I love the Indian flavour it adds to the salad)
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon juice, salt and chaat masala and toss.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least half and hour.
  4. Toss again before serving.

 

 


Bell Pepper Fried Rice (Vegan, Gluten free)

Capsicum Rice (Indian Style Bell Pepper Fried Rice)

Capsicum or bell peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, K, niacin and folate along with copper and magnesium. The red bell peppers have more vitamin A and  C when compared to the green peppers.

Ingredients for Capsicum Rice:

  • Cooked Basmati Rice: 2 Cups
  • Capsicums(bell peppers)-2 big cubed or 3 small (you can use coloured too)
  • Onions: 1 medium (finely sliced)
  • Cashew nuts (or peanuts): a few (optional)
  • Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Urad dal: 2 tsp
  • Channa dal: 2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies(adjust spice level according to heat tolerance): 3-4 piece
  • Fresh Curry Leaves: 10-12 number
  • Roasted Peanuts: 3 tbsp
  • Garam Masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (chopped) for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Dry roast (no oil) mustard seeds,cumin seeds,urad dal, channa dal, coriander seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies on medium heat till the rawness disappears and the flavors come out. Switch off and let it cool.
  2. Once cool, add the roasted peanuts and grind  to a make a fine powder.
  3. Heat oil in a vessel and add the sliced onions and saute till golden brown.
  4. Then add the sliced capsicums and cashew nuts(or peanuts) and fry them till the capsicum are still crunchy in texture. Add salt to taste and mix.
  5. Reduce heat and add the the ground masala powder, garam masala and mix well.
  6. Then add the cooked rice and combine.
  7. Garnish with the chopped coriander.
  8. Serve hot with raita.

Quinoa Pulav with mixed vegetables and green masala (How to make Quinoa Pilaf)

“Quinoa” (pronounced keen-wah) is a high protein ‘pseudo cereal’ (foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile). Quinoa is actually a seed and is rich in complete protein, fibre, the B vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats. It is believed that substituting quinoa for grains like polished rice and wheat could improve the blood glucose levels in diabetics and the cholesterol levels . Also, since it has a high fibre content it is a good choice for those looking to lose weight (portion sizes still matter).

This pulav has a nice flavour since I used green masala( paste of coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger and green chilies) and lots of vegetables.

Vegan Quinoa Pulav

Ingredients for Healthy Quinoa Pulav with green masala (Serves 4-5)

  • Quinoa: 1 1/2 cups *I use the cup that comes with the rice cooker (wash in several changes of water)
  • Mixed vegetables: 2 cups (green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach)
  • Onions: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 no. (finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Pepper corns: 4-5nos.
  • Cardamom: 2 nos.
  • Cummin/Jeera seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 1/2″ piece
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cloves: 2-3
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili: 1 slit
  • Water/ Chicken stock: 3 cups
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For Green Masala ( Grind together):

  • Coriander leaves: 1 small bunch
  • Mint leaves : 10-12
  • Green chilies: 2-4nos. (adjust according to your heat tolerance)
  • Ginger: 1/2
  • Water: a little to grind

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the whole spices (jeera, cardamom, peppercorns,bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon), then add the turmeric, sliced onions, green chili and saute till the onions start turning golden brown.
  2. Then add the mixed vegetables, ginger+garlic paste and saute till the vegetables are half cooked.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 2-3 tbsp of the green masala, salt and cook till the tomatoes are all mashed up.
  4. Add the washed and soaked quinoa and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add 3 cups of water (or chicken stock) , taste for salt and cover and cook till it boils.
  6. Then turn down the flame and let it simmer till the quinoa is cooked and fluffy (sprinkle some water on top if needed). Stir occasionally and switch off when the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Fluff before serving. Serve with raita or with some gravy dish(paneer,chicken)

 

 


Cauliflower Sabzi (Cauliflower and tomato sabzi-No Onion)

Cauliflowers are a good source of vitamins like vitamin C and K , thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, and beta-carotenes, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fibre. The sulphur content of cauliflower has been found to benefit heart health and fight cancers.

Ingredients for Cauliflower sabzi:

  • Cauliflower: 1 medium , cut into bite size florets
  • Tomatoes: 3-4 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic(optional): 1-2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Green chilies: 1-2
  • Red chili powder: 2-3tsp (as per heat tolerance)
  • Coriander: 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds/jeera: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander/Cilantro leaves: 2 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method: 

  1. Heat oil in a kadai, add the jeera and turmeric powder, then the tomatoes and salt and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets and mix well. Cover and cook on very low flame (you can also use a deep steel plate with sides as the lid and add some water on the top, the cauliflower will cook in it’s own water).
  3. Keep checking and mix well, sprinkle a little water if needed. Switch off till the cauliflower is cooked.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve as a side with rice and dal or with roti’s.

 

 


Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

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

Method:

  1. Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
  4. 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.
  5. Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.

 


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).

 

 

 

 


Spaghetti Squash (and a Low-carb dish)

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!!!

Spaghetti squash

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.

Spaghetti Squash

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?