Korean Cinnamon Ginger Tea (for Blood Sugar control)

Korean Cinnamon Ginger Tea (for Blood Sugar control)

Cinnamon tea is a popular drink in Korea and is called ‘SuJeongGwa’. It is usually served on festivals or special occasions. I first tried it years ago at a Korean restaurant and it was served as a cold dessert drink after the meal. It was delicious and we were told it is normally served chilled but can be had hot. It is actually served with sugar, but I have omitted that and used stevia as a sugar substitute.

What makes this drink (without added sugar) a great drink for diabetics and pre-diabetics as well as those looking to lose weight is the cinnamon. Several studies have shown that cinnamon is effective in reducing blood sugar levels as well as the HbA1C levels. Some researchers also found that it could lower the total cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon Ginger tea

Ingredients: (makes approx 5 litres)

  • Cinnamon Sticks (Ceylon cinnamon): 70g
  • Fresh ginger: 100gms , skinned and thinly sliced.
  • Water: 22 cups (1 cup=250ml)
  • Stevia(a natural sugar substitute)

Garnish:

  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan put in 11 cups of water and the ginger, cover and boil it on medium heat for 40 mins.
  2. At the same time, put the cinnamon sticks into a separate large saucepan. Add 11 cups of water cover and let it boil on medium heat for 40 mins.
  3. After 40 mins, strain the ginger water and the cinnamon water into one large pot.
  4. For those who like it hot- pour a cup of the hot tea, add some stevia (you can garnish it with mint or lemon juice if you want).
  5. Otherwise, chill the batch of Sujeonggwa and serve cold after a meal with some stevia and garnish(optional).

It can be stored in airtight glass containers for about a week.

Note:

  1. Use Ceylon Cinnamon (found in Indian Stores) and not the Cassia Cinnamon found in regular grocery stores (in the US)
  2. Have it after your meals to aid in controlling sugar levels after meals (post-prandial).
  3. It is not a substitute for medications/insulin prescribed for diabetes.
  4. It is not a miracle drink to reduce your sugar levels after feasting and eating sugary snacks.
  5. You will see better results if you are on a prescribed diet for your condition and take these after sticking to the diet.

For getting a personalized Online Diet Consultation: Click on -> ONLINE DIET CONSULTATION PACKAGES


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.

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.

 

 

 

 


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.