londonfoodblogger

Broccoli & cauliflower puttu

I love my vegetables and what I love even more is coming up with new dishes where I can happily add two or more vegetables into one dish. And one of my recent experiments to make a dish quickly with broccoli and leftover cauliflower turned out to be a lovely combination indeed.

Broccoli cauliflower puttu

One medium sized broccoli-grated

Half cauliflower -grated

Onions-1 finely chopped

Garlic-3 pods roughly chopped

Turmeric powder

Daria dal/odacha kadalai-2 big tablespoons

Dry Red chilli-2 or more depending on spice level

Salt and oil to taste

Mustard seeds & jeera to season

Pinch of hing

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, jeera and hing. Add garlic and onions, sauté till translucent.

Then add grated broccoli and cauliflower.

Add turmeric powder and sprinkle little water and cover cook in medium flame for two mins.

Meanwhile dry grind the dal and red chilli with little salt.

Now back to the pan, check the grated veggies have cooked half way through, add the ground powder and more salt if required.

Cover and do not mix for till the dal powder cooks a little bit.

After five mins, lightly mix or toss everything.

Open and cook till it dries out well and gets a little roasted or serve as it is if you like your veggies on the softer side.

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Super delicious millet based recipes!

There are enough websites and enough people around to tell you about the health benefits of millets. Besides the fact that they are healthy, I like to use them in different recipes because I can get bored easily with the same kind and colour of food. So I try and kill two birds with one stone as using different grains/seeds every week helps keep me motivated to cook from scratch and also make a healthier meal simultaneously. So here are 3 simple recipes for the entire family to enjoy ūüôā

Recipe 1

Ragi idli

For the ragi idlis, here is what you will need

Ragi flour or whole finger millet seeds- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal- 1 cup

Wash and Soak the ragi seeds and rice for a minimum of 4 hours. If using flour, soak only rice.

Soak urad dal for less than an hour.

Grind to idli batter consistency with salt and allow to ferment. Do not grind batter to a super smooth consistency. Grind till you can feel a slightly gritty feeling between your fingers so you get a nicer texture.

If adding ragi flour, mix the flour towards the end with the ground rice and grind for few minutes till it all comes together.

Once fermented make idlis as normal and serve with chutney of choice. I would normally prefer a green chutney using coriander or mint for these idlis while for a ragi dosa with the same batter I would make a red chutney with onions, garlic and red chutney.

Recipe 2

Kambu/pearl millet set dosa

Pearl millet flour- 3 cups

Idly rice-1 cup

Urad dal- 3/4th cup

Fenugreek seeds/methi seeds-1 tablespoon or a little more if you love the flavour

Red rice flakes-1/4th cup

Soak idly rice and fenugreek seeds separately for a minimum of 4 hours.

Soak urad dal and rice flakes for atleast half an hour.

Grind altogether to a nice smooth batter. Allow to ferment and make small dosas without too much pressure while you swirl them for nice set dosas. If you like a crispier version simply make as normal.

Any chutney or sambar goes well with this dosai.

Recipe 3

Methi/fenugreek leaves millet dosa

Varagu/Kodo millet- 2.5 cups

Idly rice-1.5 cups

Urad dal -1 cup

Soak rice and millets for a minimum of 4 hours. Soak urad dal for a minimum of one hour. Grind all together to a nice smooth batter. Add salt and mix well.

Allow to ferment.

Once fermented, clean and wash fresh fenugreek leaves and grind to a smooth paste. Add to freshly fermented dosa batter. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric too.

Make dosas as normal.

If you want a variation, thinly slice shallot sor small onions, handful of peas and make a little thicker dosa than normal, add thinly sliced onions, peas and podi/powder on top and cook on a medium low flame until the onions have slightly browned. You could add ghee or sesame oil for the podi dosa.

Serve with chutney of choice. I would omit the podi for toddlers and only add onions and peas.

Smoothie series #4 Popeye smoothie

Quinoa, brown rice, wholegrain breads, millets, leafy salads, beets and fruits! Oh how I wish I only ate what I just said above. Someday I am hoping to eat these regularly. Until then, I will only keep liking pictures on Instagram and make some healthy smoothies occasionally. So here is the next one called the Popeye Smoothie! 

It has a good amount of spinach to keep you charged through the morning. I have been told most greens are best to have for breakfast but I hardly follow this rule because I am most of the time just plodding along to get the breakfast done rather than think about making it healthier. But I am getting there slowly and I will hopefully make many more super healthy breakfasts.

 

A handful of spinach – I used organic baby spinach 

One banana 

Milk 

Pistachios or any nuts of your choice 

Simply blend it all together and sprinkle any seeds of your choice or you may just drink it as such. This time I added a scoop of pistachio protein powder because the husband requested for it. And it was delicious anyhow! So feel free to mix and match. But spinach seems to go very well with bananas for some reason. 

Smoothie Trails #1 Banana Flaxseeds and Vanilla

I am kickstarting a new series called the “Smoothie Trails” on the blog. This series will feature some( I am aiming for 5-10 atleast) easy and healthy smoothie recipes to start your day on the right note. This is my attempt in spreading the word on eating well. All of these recipe ideas will use simple ingredients but most importantly fresh ones. You can also easily tweak any ingredients to make it just the way you would like it. Let’s get started with the first recipe that uses everyone’s favourite Bananas.

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To make this smoothie : 

Banana- 1 medium sized ripe

Any Milk of your choice or Greek Yoghurt

Vanilla pods or extract

Flaxseed powder – A spoon

Granola bites or Oatmeal to give you more fiber.

Blend all ingredients except the flaxseed powder to a thick puree. And sprinkle some flaxseed powder on top and there you have it.

 

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My inability to deal with helplessness and a quiche recipe

If you have been reading my blog, then you may have read a couple of posts on how much I miss my homeland.It looks like I am never going to get over this feeling. Well, there is so much to love about the place where you grew up and where you have such wonderful memories. So, when you have been taken away from where your heart belongs, how do you cope up with home-sickness? I make endless calls back home, I make food that smells so much like my home and I sometimes simply sit down and sob like a loopy little girl.

And when I do hear that any of the family member has been poorly, I find it so hard to be away. It may have only been a¬†fever or some sort of a regular ache/ infection which has been checked with doctors and given assurance that he/she will be fine in a couple of days,but being thousands of miles away, I never know to stay calm. I may not shout out loud or panic but it would show all over my face.This feeling of being away and not being there to check on your lovely people often makes me want to hate my life at times. I want to admit that I still haven’t found a good way to deal with helplessness other than annoy my husband and make a few dozen calls to disturb¬†everyone back home in such situations.

Sorry to have taken you down the gloomy train, I am leaving you with a very colourful recipe to cheer you up and I am sure you will forgive me for everything else.

quiche 2

This is one of the most easiest quiche/savoury pie you will ever make. If you call yourself a vegetarian but don’t mind eggs, then you may love this recipe a tad more because it is loaded with vegetables. You may want to add/omit any veggies of your choice.

Here is what you need :

If you don’t feel like making the base by yourself, then skip this bit and buy a ready-made tart case or savoury base.

For the pastry base

1.5 cups of plain flour

Half cup of cold butter

a pinch of salt

Ice cold water enough to make a firm dough

Dry beans for baking pastry initially

For the filling :

2 eggs

One cup of milk

Vegetables of your choice- finely chopped

I have used Sweet potato and mixed peppers for this recipe.

Butter to season the veggies with any herbs of your choice

Pastry Base :

Add salt to flour. Mix flour and butter till crumbly. Then gradually add cold water until you gather all the flour mixture to form a dough. Now, fold the dough and wrap in a foil or cling film and chill it in the fridge until you make your vegetable filling.Give it about 20 minutes atleast to chill.

It may now be a good idea to turn the oven on for pre-heating at 180 degree.

If using microwave, then follow instructions on the manual on how to turn the convection mode on your microwave and you can make delicious varieties of quiches.

Filling :

Heat a pan with some butter. Once melted, add the herbs. I used Italian seasoning dried herbs. Now add the vegetables and cook till soft. Add enough salt and pepper for the veggies. Switch off flame.

Take the eggs and beat well. Add it to the milk. Once the veggies have slightly cooled, pour the egg+milk into the veggies and give a good mix.

You can also add grated cheese at this point this to make it very rich and also use double cream instead of milk. 

Take the pastry out and roll it thinly and slightly bigger than the size of your pan on a floured surface. Now slowly tip the rolled out pastry onto the pan you are baking with. Trim the excess and do any sort of pattern with fork around the edges or simply press it down with your hand. Now bake this pastry with some beans for ten minutes in the preheated oven. After ten minutes, remove the beans and pour the vegetable+milk/egg  filling you prepared and spread evenly and gently. Put it back in the oven and bake till you see a beautiful brown crust around the edges of the pastry and a well set egg vegetable mix. It took me about 20 minutes in my age old oven.

quiche 3

Serve it warm with salad or just on its own for a nice sunny day lunch.

 

A few ways I embarrass my better-half and a tikka recipe.

I do feel that the husband-wife relationship is probably the most funniest of all relationships. At least, in my case it is. Well, purely because, I never fail to amuse him and so does he. Oh but I am the agreed winner when it comes to being an total embarrassment. I hope at least by writing it all down, I will learn to grow up and act rather lady-like.

  1. Love for noisy eating- I cannot help but be plainly honest on this one. I eat a lot and making all kinds of noise like aaahh, mmmm( sometimes you may even hear me chewing) gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. But my ever so polite husband is hugely embarrassed while dining out with me. Even while we go to an okayish place, I am still making noise out of disappointment because my food wasn’t to my expectations.
  2. Many good things come in small packages – My love for little things – I am a sucker for small things. Sometimes, I don’t mind paying more than its worth¬†as long it is small and pretty. For e.g, on our way back home from our holiday recently, I had bought¬†a lovely pot of yoghurt (made of plain glass-nothing too fancy) but looked very good to me for the price. This pot kept me dreaming of what I would use for¬†after I have finished the yoghurt. And reality hit me when the airpot security told me off as I couldn’t carry that size in my hand baggage. They were kind enough to let me finish the yoghurt and take the bottle empty if I wanted. And like a silly young woman, I ate all of it in front of them in two minutes and was then allowed to carry it. So, while all this happened, my husband still kept his cool. But I knew, he was wondering how on earth could¬†I come up with such new ways of embarrassing him. But all that mattered to me was bringing that darn pot home and I did.
  3. Talking loud – Well, coming from a place like India, how many of us talk slow and low toned? I don’t always talk loud but sometimes it just happens when I really have to convey my point. I know being loud makes no guarantee that I will win any argument but at least I have got him listening. But, honestly, I am way better now than I used to be. Thanks to my new role as a mother that has helped me tone down drastically.
  4. My OCD rules- Ever so embarrassing. I would ask him to check the refrigerator door a hundred times before we hit the bed. I would ask him about thrice if the doors were locked. I would ask him to check on the lights a few times. I would ask him to make sure his wardrobe door wasn’t kept open while we are off to bed. He really is one cool-headed man for he deals with these awkward things every single day.
  5. My rather amazing sense of spacial awareness- While we go out together, It feels as if I don’t have to worry about being dangerously close to someone or something. Somehow, I take it for granted that I won’t be hurt. But fate has it that I always end up hurting myself more in some small way when I go with my husband than when I am alone. These kind of things happen at supermarkets mostly. Incase, you didn’t know, a majority of them are huge and have dodgy trolleys here. While we are there shopping, ¬†I am half the time dreaming of what new vegetable to buy or what new ingredient I could add to my existing recipes. So, I am kind of not really paying attention to who is around. For the record, I have got my feet badly stamped by a rather giant footed man who obviously saw me standing and doing the packing at the till. ¬†And now my ever so practically-thinking husband points to me by saying I should have worn proper shoes and also looked around before I started packing. Well, little did I know or expect that I would get hurt if I walked into a store with a flip-flop. Well, many people do don’t they? But why is it that I am the one who gets caught up? ¬†The reason is simple, my sense of spacial awareness is very poor and had I been mindful enough to see that giant man earlier than that, I would’ve been more careful and stood an inch away. But I didn’t and I went ahead blocking the way and ended up getting hurt.

These are just a few things I am a regular at. Besides these, I have had my fair share of moments where I have dropped things off the floor and looked very clumsy too. If truth be told, I am only getting better by the minute. I am also looking forward to hearing what my son thinks of all this in a few years. I am only hoping to not embarrass him as much although I do have a few ideas already ūüėČ

In order to save myself from all the embarrassment, I do make things that make my boys go oooooo and aaaahhhh. For e.g, I make a decent variety of food to begin with. So today, being Easter sunday, I cooked Salmon tikka and a vegetarian version with paneer, some potato wedges and simple cumin spiced rice. And a very easy vanilla yoghurt with berries to finish it all on a sweet note. My husband gave me a big thumbs up for the salmon. I want to admit it that this probably was my best attempt in making a good tikka. It was delicious and full of flavour.

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So, in case any of you are interested in the tikka recipe, here is what you will need ūüôā

Choose any vegetable or meat of your choice. ( Some suggestions for a vegetarian version include broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and cottage cheese too)

To make the basic tikka marinade: 

  1. Hung curd/yoghurt РThis is the result of hanging up some yoghurt in a muslin cloth for a couple of hours atleast to drain the water. The longer it is kept for draining, the thicker and creamier your yoghurt will be. I left mine for four hours. 
  2. Ginger garlic paste- 
  3. Green chilli paste – roughly pounded in a mortar and pestle or you can even grind it coarsely
  4. Cumin powder
  5. Garam masala
  6. Kashmiri chilli powder
  7. Turmeric
  8. A few saffron strands
  9. Kasuri Methi or dried fenugreek leaves
  10. Salt 

These are the ingredients for the marinade. Depending on the quantity of fish/vegetable, make a marinade by carefully mixing all the above. If you are making it with fish, then DO a salt check before you add to the raw fish. Then gently coat the fish and vegetables and leave it to marinate for atleast 30 minutes. And now bake/grill in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or till you see some dark roasting spots here and there. If you don’t have an oven or you are too lazy to use the one you have, then You can also pan fry these with some butter or oil on a medium flame till its all cooked through well.

Today, along with the salmon, I added cubes of red and green peppers/capsicum and onions. I marinated all of these together and it took me about 20 minutes in my oven to get that roasted look. Finally, squeeze very little lemon before serving.

This can be had with any flatbread for a hearty lunch or just had on its own for a light meal.

easy dessert

 

This was our dessert. Since, I did not have much time today, I just added some vanilla paste and few sprinkles of sugar to plain greek yoghurt and layered it with strawberries and blueberries. It was solely for the darling son who loves berries and yoghurt. However, It was rather scrumptious and we enjoyed it too. On that note, A very Happy Easter to you and yours!

Clay Pot Dal

While there are enough blogs to give you recipes and ideas, what am I doing here just chatting away about food( mostly) like this blog is a place for me to express all the self-indulgent stuff that we do? Well, the truth is I am only writing all this up for people who can relate to me because I know there are so many people who do not express but like to read things And feel some sort of connection with the world out there. It is always nice to know that there are people who like us and also do things similar to us no matter how ludicrous we are. And this blog is kind of helping me do that. (Not that I have found a million friends/readers already but whatever little there is makes me feel happy beyond words)

So, here is the new post on our Love for Dal.

Who doesn’t love a warming bowl of good ol’ dal? If you don’t, then I am going to assume that you belong to a different planet. Ever since I started to cook, dal is what I make often enough. One, because it is so easy to cook. Two, it is deeply satisfying. Not many foods work so well like this. It is either easy to make but not wholesome or takes a while to cook a rather delicious meal. But these little beauties blend beautifully with any meal.

Can I just take a moment to tell you a few Indian ways of consuming dal? First of all, dal is available in different forms. (Click here to read more)¬†But what appears predominantly in my kitchen is the¬†ever so adequate¬†paruppu sadam/Plain cooked Dal with rice, Or a Sambar or a kootu/curry with coconut all of these associated with south India. Next to that, is a simple North Indian style Tadka dal where we rip a large piece of roti/chapati to dunk into it. We don’t eat like birds as we are greedy ol’ pigs who try to tear and stuff. Besides these, we add dals¬†to vegetables to make stir fry curries or occasionally end up with deep frying goodies like a proper masala vadai or medhu vada on auspicious days.

Now, now I must get to the point! I was always fond of eating food made in¬†clay pots and I still do. My mother makes some scrumptious¬†lassi that¬†is stored for a while in a clay pot before drinking. If you are a beginner, try drinking water stored in clay pots¬†to start with or simply buy a¬†matka kulfi to understand better. So, Last year I decided to buy a good clay pot from India and start experimenting. The first thing I made was dal and much much goodness¬†it was. It takes longer than usual to cook in a claypot which is why I don’t use it often for now but it is certainly worth cooking if one has no attention-seeking toddlers at home. I am hoping to experiment with my claypot more next year but for now here is a picture of my first ever dal in a claypot or a Man Paanai as it is fondly called in Tamil.

Dal

So, have you ever eaten from a clay pot?