Category: Indian

The Modern Gujiya: Dry Fruits and Khoya Pastry

The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it's an explosion of textures and flavours! : The modern gujiya
The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it’s an explosion of textures and flavours!: The modern gujiya

Holi does call for delicacies and desserts! Given my penchant for no-sugar added cooking and doing something out of the box, I gave the traditional gujiya a twist! Gujiyas are nothing but sweet dumplings made of maida and filled with a delightful khoya and dry fruits mixture that are popularly made in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh during the festive season. Sadly, they are deep-fried in ghee and dipped in a sugary syrup! Not something I would cook in my kitchen and yet one has to keep up with tradition! I trapped my dry fruits mix in phyllo pastry and baked it! The sweetness came from the dry fruits and the crispy crackle of the pastry, just added to the delight!

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Steamed Lentil and Sprouts Cake

The sprouts bump up the protein content of this dish, making it perfect for dinner too!
The sprouts bump up the protein content of this dish, making it perfect for dinner too!

I’ve decided to add a travel section to my blog! I’ve realised If I didn’t need to worry about paying bills, I would be the hippie I was born to be :) A healthy hippie, that serves healthy low cal food in a bed and breakfast that’s tucked somewhere deep in the forests where the aromas of pine sap run through the air! You get the picture, right ;)?

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Sweet and Spicy Onion Pickle

Perfect with parathas or even rice and dal fry!
Sweet and spicy madras onion pickle: perfect with paranthas or even rice and dal fry!

I’ve always wanted to have a kitchen shelf lined with homemade pickles…but somehow that vision has never found the right bottles or shelves. Mango pickles are made in plenty–some spicy, some sour, some plain marinated, some made Goan style with vinegar, green chillies and carrot but this time it was these gorgeous madras onions that got me thinking about a good pickle recipe. I mean just plain onion pickled in vinegar was boring and was done to death. When dad handed these gorgeous onion pearls over to me, he had that “put some magic into these” look in his eyes…so that’s what I did! (more…)

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Alfa Alfa Sprouts Tikki with Ragda and Wasabi Peas

Ive sprinkled my chaat with pomegranate seeds, some home made salsa, fresh cottage cheese, 7 bean mix and tamarind chutney
I’ve sprinkled my chaat with pomegranate seeds, some home-made salsa, fresh cottage cheese, wasabi peas and tamarind chutney

And you might think I’ve gotten completely carried away with my need to eat and produce healthy food! How can that weird combination even work! But it does. And what I haven’t added in that mighty long title, is that the ragda was made with sprouted white peas. don’t look at me in disdain! try it and decide for yourself. It’s chaat with the same flavours we all love just super healthy and protein heavy!

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Brown Rice Chicken Dum Biryani

Easily the healthiest biryani to eat: Brown Rice Chicken Dum Biryani
Easily the healthiest biryani to eat: Brown Rice Chicken Dum Biryani

Who doesn’t like a good biryani? No don’t answer that, my sister for one, doesn’t like rice and meat together, though as a kid that’s all she ate. Blame it on the size 4 factor! I love food, isn’t that obvious :) and a good biryani always sets off the drool factor. My favourite biryani is the dry sofiana kinds, not too much masala sticking to the rice, but the aromas…they can set the dullest and laziest heart in action.

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Oil Free Instant Oats and Green Peas Healthy Dhokla

The fluffy and delicious instant oats, semolina and green peas dhokla
The fluffy and delicious instant oats, semolina and green peas dhokla

It’s not often that i read a veggie recipe and get inspired to try it out immediately. But last evening a friend posted a recipe of oats and semolina dhokla–(steamed cake), and that kind of tickled my senses. Plus I have been accused of step-motherly treatment towards Indian food by a very dear doctor friend! I love to cook healthy and i find it really tough to make oil free Indian food, but yes I will try get back into R&D and split the oil away from the masalas and work on it Ash.

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Chicken with Lentils served with Organic Brown Rice

Chicken cooked with lentils served with organic brown rice, spicy crispy potatoes and kachumber
Chicken cooked with lentils served with organic brown rice, spicy crispy potatoes and kachumber

The idea for this recipe was inspired from Masterchef Australia. They often cook their meats (or proteins as they are called) with whole masoor (lentils) and I’ve wondered what kind of a combination that was. My mom does use a mix of three dals, which include masoor dal, when she’s cooking mutton on the bones, but just masoor? Umm, it needed to be tried out.

Since I wasn’t too sure of the marriage of flavours, I went back to my bible, the Food Thesaurus. The combination didn’t exist. Should I or shouldn’t it. I have never been one to shy away from experimentations. So out came the dal and the chicken. What followed thereafter were pure instincts. And am I glad I did try this one out.

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Steamed Bottle Gourd Dumplings

Serve it with fresh chopped coriander and grated coconut
Serve it with fresh chopped coriander and grated coconut

This is a breakfast dish you will find in every Gujarati home. It’s simple, easy to make, can be churned out in 30 minutes and what’s more can be created out of as many different kinds of veggies as you wish. What’s more since it is traditionally steamed before it is sautéed, it can be made in advance and sautéed just before you are ready to serve it with a dollop of green chutney.

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Pearl Barley Snack

Nutritious, light on the stomach and filling: the barley upma
Nutritious, light on the stomach and filling: the barley mid day snack. In India it would be called Barley Upma

It’s been a crazy two weeks. I’ve been attempting to pack all my belongings into cartons to move home. Though I’ve moved less than a kilometer away from where I stayed earlier on, the process has been cumbersome, fatiguing and has washed me out of every ounce of energy. So when we did move and I started cooking in the new kitchen, instead of the traditional sweetmeat that is supposed to be cooked, I made this super healthy Barley Upma! It brought back some spring to my steps.

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Kerala Black Pepper Chicken

Kerala Black Pepper Chicken
Kerala Black Pepper Chicken

This is one of those evergreen recipes that are passed on from mother to daughter or son and from there on to the next generation. I however happened to get it some 20 years from a chef, whose name I sadly can’t recollect anymore, but he worked at the Taj property in Periyar, Kerala. Of course he used the freshest produce possible (plucked off the tree and dried in his own backyard) whereas I had to go to the closest mall!

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