Tag Archives: Recipes

Here are some recipes useful for the modern day lifestyle where we need to prepare tasty dishes which are nutritious, healthy and easy to prepare.

Christmas Rum Plum Cake

The specific demand for Christmas Rum Plum Cake caught in the heads of the Indian population possibly in the last two decades. During School days friends used to ask just for Christmas Cakes. And mothers used to painstakingly prepare a variety of rum-less cakes without using any electronic kitchen gadgets. The eggs were whipped manually. The eggs were whipped directly out of the refrigerator, because eggs froth better when cold. The batter was mixed with hand and the mixing went on for hours. Sometimes Dads offered a helping hand. The most common cakes were the plain cakes with vanilla flavour, and cardamom.  Then there were marble cakes with vanilla and chocolate flavoured layers. There were rainbow and tri-coloured cakes. In those days the importance was given for the softness of the cake. The mother who baked the softest cakes was the best cake baker in the town and she was approached for tips: Does she cook at midnight, or before dawn; How does she whip the eggs; What was the order of adding the ingredients; the egg white was added first, or the yolk;….

Now when cakes can be baked in less than an hours time, with whippers, ovens and YouTube videos, the importance has shifted to the unique taste and flavour of the cakes. No matter how many flavours or icings you do throughout the year, as Christmas approach friends specifically demand for Rum cake.

Due to popular demand I decided to bake Rum Cakes this year.  I soaked fruits and nuts in rum, a month before the Christmas baking began. Experts say that longer the nuts and fruits are soaked in rum, the tastier the cakes will be. Rums softens the fruits and nuts which makes the texture of the cake softer than plain cakes. I just added enough rum which could be absorbed by the fruits and nuts, so after a month the fruits and nuts look a little shinier, but the liquid just disappeared.  Some say that Christmas Rum Plum Cakes cannot be called Rum cakes, because, while baking the rum evaporates in the oven heat. Some experts rate rum cakes based on the measure of rum — little rum, enough rum and lots of rum cake. My cake was rated as ‘little rum cake’.

After experimenting with rum cake I understand that rum is just another ingredients in cakes. Normally, Rum is used very judiciously (1 tablespoon for baking 250 gram flour Cake). But as we Indian, always Indianize a foreign dish, some add too much rum that the fruits and nuts float in the liquid.  Last year I heard a youth telling his friend that he was disappointed after having rum cake at his friends home. He though that rum will drip with every bite. This is over expectation. Rum is just a marinating ingredient. As long as the rum is added judiciously there is no chance of felling intoxicated.

Christmas Rum Plum Cake

How to prepare a Christmas Rum Plum Cake

Ingredients

All purpose Flour: 250g

Sugar: 250g

Salted Butter: 250g

Egg: 5

Tutti Frutti

Raisin

Cashewnut

Dried Ginger

Vanilla essence

Sugar syrup: 2 tbsp

Garama Masala powder(a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, 1 nutmeg and clove)

Method

Sift the flour and baking powder. Whip the butter for sometime; add the finely powdered sugar. add the whipped egg. Then add the Garam Masala, vanilla and sugar syrup. Now add the maid and mix for some time. Finally add the fruits and nuts.

(Tip: Buy Cashew, Dates, Raisins, Dry Ginger(different for cakes), Tutti Frutti and any other nuts a month in advance of preparation of cake. Cut them into small pieces. Add some Rum and keep aside. The longer the fruits and nuts remain in rum the softer they become. Soak a large amount of fruits and nuts, so that the ingredients are easily available whenever you feel like baking a cake during the festival season. Also the cakes with rum have a longer shelf life of one month, six month and sometimes even one year.)

 

 

3 Recipe with Milk Powder – Nido

While rearranging old books, I discovered Mother’s recipe book in which she noted down recipes she prepared 30 years back. I remember mother trying out all the recipes and I had also helped in the experiments. Sometimes the recipes came out well in the first trial and sometimes we had to retry and tweak to get the recipe perfectly made.

Since it is Raksha Bandhan I thought why not try out few desserts in the book. I decided to try Gulab Jamun, Milk Chocolates and Rasagulla recipe with milk powder. There was also a Rasgulla recipe with milk, but to add a new twist to the old recipes I thought why not try to make Rasagulla recipe with milk powder instead. Mother used to prepare all the milk powder recipes with Nido, so I too used the same Milk Powder.

Before sharing the recipes I would like to apologise that I am not a cooking expert. I try out new recipes so as to give a creative twist to the daily routine diet, hence there will be a lack of perfection and professionalism in the presentation of the desserts. However, believe me, they are tasty, healthy and nutritious.

Do try out these recipes and post pictures of the desserts in the comment section of this post. I am sure, your preparations will be much presentable than the pictures used in this post. Also, tell us what changes you made to the ingredients, and methods, mentioned in this recipe. The best recipes will receive attractive Gifts.

 Rasgulla

Just discovered mother's book of recipe with milk powder like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Milk Powder      10 tbsp

Water                        1litre

Essence                    1tsp

Vinegar                 1/4Cup

For Syrup

Sugar                  11/2Cup

Water                 3 Cup

Preparation

Boil the water, add the milk powder and stir well. When the milk boils, lower the flame and pour the vinegar. When the milk curdles strain into a cloth. Tie the cloth and hold under a running tap for two minutes. Hang the cloth for three hours. After three hours, squeeze the cloth well to remove any excess water. Transfer the coagulated milk or Chenna from the cloth to a plate. Knead the Chenna well with the palm of your hands till they are soft and make small balls.

Mix the sugar and water in a big vessel. After the sugar boils and becomes a bit sticky, add the chenna balls. Cover and cook on medium heat, turning the vessel around slowly after every 10 minutes. Remove from stove after 35 minutes and add rose essence.

Milk Chocolates

Just discovered mother's book of recipe with milk powder like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Icing Sugar or Sugar       200g

Milk Powder                          50g

Cocoa Powder                      50g

Vanaspati Ghee                 175g

Preparation

Mix the powders and sift three times. Double boil* the mixture in a steel bowl. Add the ghee and stir in one direction until the mixture becomes soft and smooth. Pour the mix into a chocolate mould and refrigerate for an hour. To make chocolate cookies, dip the cookies in the chocolate mix and refrigerate.

Gulab Jamun

Just discovered mother's book of recipe with milk powder like Rasgulla, gulab jamun and milk chocolate. Mother used Nido in those day, so did I.

Ingredients

Milk Powder                             18tbsp (tablespoon)

Maida (All purpose Flour)    4tbsp

Oil                                                      3tbsp

Milk Cream                                200ml

Baking Powder                            1tsp

For Syrup

Sugar                                        3 Cups

Water                                   6-7Cups

Preparation

Mix all the ingredients with milk cream and make a soft dough. Make small balls and deep fry them on a low heat. While frying, let the dough balls remain in oil for a while before turning them slightly.

Mix the water and sugar and boil till the syrup become a bit sticky. Remove from the stove and add the fried balls. Close with a lid and let the jamun’s soak in the syrup for an hour.

*Double Boil: Boil some water in a vessel, and when the water boils remove from the stove. Now place the chocolate mix, in a smaller vessel, in the boiled water and stir.

3 Kerala Style Apple recipes: When apples are cheaper than onion and vegetables

In a Butter Chicken recipe video, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor says that the style of cooking changes with time. Butter Chicken cooking method he demonstrates in the video is different from traditional methods. What he says in the video is right not only about the method of cooking but also about the basic ingredients used for cooking traditional dishes.

In Kerala during my childhood my mother used to cook those items that were abundantly available in that season. During mango season there were mango thoran*, mango coconut curry, mango chutney, mango pickle and so on. During the season of Jackfruit we had Jackfruit thoran, Jackfruit seed fry,  Jackfruit halwa, and so on. When my mother comes to North India she will make thoran, theeyal* and fry of all the locally available vegetables.

This week when I went to the local market, where we can bargain and get fresh vegetables at lower rates  as compared to regular shops, I got onion at Rs 80/Kg and Apple at 40/Kg. I bought 2 1/2 Kg of apples. It is in human nature that when you see an item is surplus, even if it is your favourite thing, you lose interest in having it. The basket of red apples simply lying around reminded me of basket full of mangoes in my mother’s home during summer season. A friend Sudhir suggested adding apple pieces in Sambar, where from I got the sudden Idea of trying out Kerala recipes with apples, as shallots (not onion) are required for the dishes.  And Kerala recipes are a perfect combination with rotis.

No wastage in apple recipes

Apples are fleshier and hardly very little is lost while cleaning the fruit. However if we clean Okra, french beans or yard-long beans there will be lot of wastage while trimming the stem end.  Besides apples need not be skinned like beetroot or papaya.

Why apple is a perfect substitute for Kerala vegetable curries

Thoran, fry, theeyal, pachadi* and pickle is made literally out of every fruit and vegetable available in Kerala – Pineapple, mango, yam, avacado, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, etc. The tinge of sourness and the texture, makes apple a perfect substitute for chambakka (Rose water apples) and mango  recipes of Kerala.

Apple-Coconut Chutney

apple chutney - apple recipes

Ingredients

Coconut –  1 cup (grated)

Dry Chilli – 2 No.s

Apple – Quarter piece of a small apple

Salt – as required

Curry leaf – 3 Nos.

Method

Put all the ingredients in a mixer-grinder and coarsely grind. Add very little water and maker sure the coconut is not ground to a smooth paste.

Apple Thoran

Apple Thoran - apple recipes

Ingredients

Apple: 2 No.s (Medium Size)

Coconut – 1 Cup (Grated )

Green Chilli – 3 Nos

Shallots – 2 No.s

Garlic – 1/2 tsp

Ginger – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seed – 1/2 tsp

Oil -1 tbsp

Salt – as required

Cumin Seed powder – a pinch

Method

Cut the apple 1 inch long and 1/2 inch broad slender pieces and keep aside.  Coarsely grind all the ingredients, except salt and apple, for 3 seconds. Add the grounded mixture to the apple and gently mix with a spoon. Heat a wok and pour the oil, when the oil heats, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seed crackle add the apple mix and blend with a spoon. Lower the flame and close the wok with a lid. After  5 minute remove the lid, you can see gentle smoke/vapour which means the dish is nearly cooked. Stir and cook with open lid for a few minute and remove from fire.

Apple Theeyal

Apple Theeyal - apple recipes

Ingredients

Apple – 1/2 of a small apple

Coconut – 1 cup (grated)

Shallots – 7 No.s

Garlic –  3 pod

Ginger –  1 inch piece cut is juveniles

Red Chilli – 3 Nos

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Fenugreek powder – 1/2 tsp

Cummin seed Powder 1/2 tsp

Tamarind – Size of half a lemon

Curry leaf – 4 to 5

Salt to taste

Method

Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for 1/2 an hour. Boil the apple (cut is 1 inch long and 1/2 inch broad sizes) and 3 shallots in tamarind water with salt and turmeric. Cook until the apple and shallot are tender. In a dry wok heat the coconut, when it turns brown add the rest of the shallots, ginger and garlic (all sliced). Stir for a while and add dry chilly, coriander, fenugreek and cumin seed. When the coconut becomes dark brown, remove from fire. let is cool. Grind the coconut mixture to a smooth paste in a mixer-grinder without adding water. Blend the mixture with the cooked apple. Now heat the mix for a while after adding a little water, do not let it boil. Remove from flame when you see the smoke.

Tip

Apply a little salt on the apple pieces so that they do not change colour.

Malayalam words used

Thoran*:  A dish made of finely chopped vegetables and grated coconut.

Theeyal*: A curry made with roasted and finely ground coconut paste.

Pachadi*: A simple side dish prepared in coconut and yogurt.

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Also read the following post: Seven Onion Substitute For Everyday Cooking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maggi took a break: Now Let us have some ghar ka khana (home made food)

In the hectic lifestyle of the cities, we Aam Admi’s follow a balanced diet – consuming almost equal amount of nutritious food as well as junk food everyday. Everyone knows that junk food and fast food are injurious to health, but due to time constrains we decide that having something – junk or unhealthy – is better than having nothing. At home preparing healthy food, or ghar ka khana, regularly can be stressful so if woman are given a helping hand they can prepare healthy food. It is said that Joseph Maggi invented maggi so that working women can prepare healthy healthy food easily for their kids.

In their busy schedule parent usually prepare lunch box consisting of bread and jam or cooked instant noodles. The lunch box recipes makes no one happy. Neither the children are happy with the  cold snack, nor the parents are happy with the nutritious value of the food packed in the lunch box. If the children are inculcated with the habit of eating home-made food, they never give up that habit. With some quick trick, and 20 minutes to spare, parents can prepare healthy and homely lunch box recipe for kids. Here are a few lunch box recipes, that will bring smile on the face of parent and children.

Tip: To make the cooking easier and happier, both the parents should lend each other a helping hand in preparing the lunchbox. Here are a few recipes to be make the lunchbox of kids tastier, healthier and happier. To know more about lunchbox home delivery system read this post.
  1. Potato tricks: A lunch box recipe that every child will like to pack to school. Boil potato overnight; and in the morning add some spices to make it tastier. Use the potato base as stuffing for roti and sandwich. Add some tomato sauce, kids will love the combination.
  2. Cottage cheese magic: A lunch box recipe with lot of calcium. Crumble the cottage cheese and add spices as per choice. You can also add chopped tomatoes, onion and capsicum. Use the base as stuffing for sandwich and paneer parantha. Or else, cut the paneer into 1”inch cubes; cook the paneer using paneer butter masala. Instant butter panner mix requires less cooking time.
  3. Egg unlimited: Kids love eggs; and its easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious egg snacks. Sandwich or roti rolls can be made by stuffing boiled and crumbled egg; scrambled egg or omelet. Whip an egg and pour it over the roti in the pan, flip the roti over two or three times, until the egg is cooked well – Egg Parantha is ready!
  4. Minced Chicken: Any dish with a hint of chicken in it, is inviting. Minced chicken can be converted into limitless number of dishes. On a busy morning you can go for a minced chicken stuffed sandwich or roti. Or, if time permits, refrigerate, boiled and drained, noodles overnight; in the morning mix it with shallow fried minced chicken and other ingredient to make chicken chow mein.
  5. Vegetables Cutlets: A play-way method lunch box recipe that will inculcate the habit of eating vegetables. At leisure prepare and refrigerate ready-to-fry vegetable cutlets. In the morning fry the cutlets and place it between bread slice along with cucumber and tomato slices. The vegetables can be sliced  and kept beforeitself.

The entire cooking process will take only 15 to 20 minutes. The cooking process is made simple if the dough for roti is prepared and stored overnight.To cook faster utilize all kinds of kitchen gadgets.
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Ancy Abraham

5 summer drink recipes to beat the heat

On scorching summer afternoons, you see parents giving chilled juice bottles to kids as soon as they alight from the School bus. Only few kids are lucky enough to get such minute parental attention as in most homes both parents are working. After School kids come home and serve the food themselves with the result most kids do not eat and drink on time. Drinking a lot of water in very important in the summer season, but due to tiredness and laziness kids will avoid drinking water.

Many kids suffer from stomachaches and they sometimes faint in the classrooms in summer. There is a general feeling of lethargy and sickness which may be the sign of not taking a lot of water to stay hydrated. A medical professional once told me to take a lot of seasonal fruits during the summer like watermelon, pomegranate and strawberry. Kids do not eat fruits unless given forcefully and parents do not have the time to persuade them. The healthiest and the easiest way to make the kids intake the fruits is to prepare juice and refrigerate them.  When the kids return from school the first thing they will do is to open the refrigerator and have some cool homemade, refreshing summer drinks.

It is not true that kids do not like homemade food.  Parents who cook regularly at home say their kids like homemade food. (Tip: understand your kids taste bud and cook accordingly.) The 5 summer drinks mentioned here are not as sweet and yummy as the packaged drinks, and you won’t find them on menu cards, but once the kids develop a taste for these drinks they will drink it without any compulsion.

The summer drinks mentioned here are for people of all age groups and you can easily prepare them using ingredients that are regularly used at homes. Unlike the aerated, sugary, soda drinks, that just quenches the thirst these healthy summer drinks option also provide necessary vitamins to resist heat and diseases.

Healthy summer drink recipes, easy to prepare and refrigerate. Kids rehydrating drink after school - Juices of Aam Panna, Bael phal , Nellikai arishtam...
Aam Panna – Raw mango juice, a refreshing summer drink

Raw Mango Juice (Aam Panna)

As a child, the only time I loved having aam panna was while travelling by train during summer vacations. My Mother carries the aam panna pulp in a small container and sugar in another. We, siblings, make friend with other kids while travelling together for two days. Mother prepares the juice and serves to all the kids. Aam panna in those moments were rejuvenating, soothing and enjoyable like never before.

Ingredients

Raw Mango – 1 Medium Size

Sugar/jaggery- As required

Cumin Seed – 1/4 tsp

Water – 2 cup

Method of preparation

Steam the mango in a pressure cooker/ steamer. Remove the peel on cooling and extract the pulp. Add the cumin seeds, sugar and two cups of water. Stir well. Pass the concoction through a strainer to remove the pulp. You will get a translucent juice.

Health Benefits

Resists heat; provides Vitamin C and anti-oxidants; prevents Dehydration, diarrhoea, Indigestion and Constipation; an effective solution for Diabetes; checks Anemia and Improves digestion.

Healthy summer drink recipes, easy to prepare and refrigerate. Kids rehydrating drink after school - Juices of Aam Panna, Bael phal , Nellikai arishtam...
Gooseberry extract (Nellikai Arishtam) – a summer drink to resist heat stroke

Gooseberry Extract (Nellikai Aristam)

Gooseberry has many medicinal properties hence the extract is known as aristam (medicinal wine). Gooseberry is prepared with jaggery so as to keep the percentage of alcohol low. Mother used to prepare Gooseberry liquor at home which is similar to the process of wine making except that yeast and sugar is not used. Gooseberry extract is the best resistance against heat and resists many diseases. In Ayurveda gooseberry is an essential ingredient for hair products due to its cooling effect.

Ingredients

Gooseberry – 1 Kg
Jaggery – 1 Kg
Cloves and Cardamom – Powdered

Method of preparation

Select fresh gooseberries, wash and dry them. Make small holes on the gooseberries with a fork. In a porcelain jar, place one layer of gooseberries followed by a layer of powdered jaggery. Finally, add the cinnamon and clove on top. Close the lid tightly, cover the lid with a cloth and keep it undisturbed for 2 months.  By now the Juice is extracted. Squeeze and strain the juice and store it for more than a year in a cool, dry place. For kids, a spoon full of gooseberry extract diluted with water is highly refreshing for the whole body.

Health benefits

Gooseberry extract is rejuvenating and it is used as a remedy for jaundice, dyspepsia and cough.

Healthy summer drink recipes, easy to prepare and refrigerate. Kids rehydrating drink after school - Juices of Aam Panna, Bael phal , Nellikai arishtam...
Bael (Stonne Apple) Juice – A traditional Indian summer drink to beat the heat

 

Stone apple (Bael) Juice

There was a bael tree in front of the temple near my home. In those days Bael was common, large fruits hang on the tree like Christmas hangings. When the fruit falls, the hard shell breaks and the yellow pulpy fruit inside is visible. Some passerby will take the fruit and have it. I did not know the value of the fruit until coming to Delhi, where you have to buy the fruit and juice. In the villages in North India Bael (Stone apple) is a holy fruit and the fruit juice is considered as an excellent heat resistor.

Ingredients
Bael / Wood Apple – 2 medium size
Jaggery – 2 tbsp
Salt –  A pinch
Cumin Seed – 1 tsp
Water – 2 glasses

Method of preparation

Split the fruit using a pestle, and scoop the pulp. In a bowl, mash the pulp so as to soften the pulp and separate the seeds. Now add a glass of water and pass the juice through a strainer. If required add more water and press the pulp so that the juice is separated and only the fibre remains in the strainer. Add the rest of the ingredients – jaggery, salt and cumin seed to the juice. Blend it in a mixer and serve it.

 Health benefits

The ripe fruit keeps the body and mind cool, cures acidity also. It helps to improve the digestive system and controls diabetes.

Healthy summer drink recipes, easy to prepare and refrigerate. Kids rehydrating drink after school - Juices of Aam Panna, Bael phal , Nellikai arishtam...
Watermelon Crush – A summer drink which requires no water to be added

Watermelon Crush

Watermelon is sweet and watery so there is no need to add water. We can add some flavours to make the juice tastier and healthier.

Ingredients

Watermelon – 1 medium size

Sugar – 2 tbsp.

Mint leaf – 3 to 4 Nos.

Lemon juice – 2 tbsp.

Method of Preparation

Peel the watermelon and remove the seeds. Blend the chunks in a blender for a minute. Now add the sugar, mint leaf and lemon juice. Blend it again. Pour it directly into a serving glass and cover with a plastic sheet before refrigerating.

Health benefits

Watermelon consist of 90% water, hence the juice helps to stay hydrated and prevents heat stroke. The fibre in the fruit helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract. According to some studies, a glass of watermelon juice before an intense workout helps to reduce muscle soreness.

Healthy summer drink recipes, easy to prepare and refrigerate. Kids rehydrating drink after school - Juices of Aam Panna, Bael phal , Nellikai arishtam...
Lemon Juice – Easiest and most common healthy summer drink

Lemon Juice

When you want to have some chilled summer drink, the first option that comes to mind is the soda lemon juice. Many small juice sellers become famous due to the twist they provide in the lemon drink. In my hometown, a juice seller got customer queuing up because of his famous lemon juice with ginger extract. Multifarious tweaks can be added to the lemon juice, here is the simple recipe that I prepare almost every day:

Ingredients

Lemon: 1/4 Cup

Sugar: 1/2 Cup

Water: 1 Cup

Salt: 1/4 tsp

Method of preparation

Mix the Lemon juice with sugar, salt and water and keep it in the refrigerator. Lemon juice will remain fresh for two to three days.

Health Benefits

Lemon juice helps you to stay calm and cool. It helps to improve the immune system, cleans the stomach and purifies the blood. Lemon is also useful in treating arthritis, rheumatism, obesity, constipation and dental problems.

Honey Oat Bread

honey oat bread

“Miriam reminds Paul that he is supposed to be watching the bread. He has burned one of the loaves, ……. he walks her home. When he returns, his mother and sister are waiting for him and they have found the burnt loaf of bread.” Read about 7 substitutes that can be used instead of onion in recipes.

In India, where cakes and bread is viewed as  a western delicacy that can be accomplished perfectly only by professionals or Christians, the above line from the famous English Novel ‘Sons and Lovers’ enlightened me that breads can be baked even by a young boy when mother goes out for shopping.

However, I never thought that one day I will break a bread at home in India. I have a fully equipped kitchen with all kinds of gadgets and ingredients for Kerala, Tamilian, Punjabi and Chinese Dishes. And of course I got a small old-fashioned electric oven which is used once in a year to bake Christmas Cakes.

Since I do not trust any processed or packed meals,  I do all the cooking at home from the Scratch.  ‘Ancy’s kitchen’ is always active dishing out breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Bread was strictly prohibited in the house as it is made of refined flour. Of late, due to time constrain,  I included brown bread for breakfasts and snacks and began researching for substituting bread with a homemade dish. After doing some google search I found recipe for a simple bread, using which I baked a bread without sweating or spending much time, and the kids also approved with the new dish.

Being encouraged by the positive outcome of the first experiment, I decided to try out a healthier version using some other cereals and that is when I chanced upon Maria’s eggless honey oat bread. Believe me the recipe has come out really beautiful, it was tasty, soft, nutritious, and presentable.  I verbatim followed Marias instruction which is as follows:

honey oat bread

Recipe by: Maria Jose Martin
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • All-purpose flour (maida) – 3 cups (381 grams)
  • Oats – ¾ cups (I have used instant and old fashioned, both work great)
  • Instant yeast – 2¼ tspn
  • Salt – 1½ tspn
  • Milk – 1 cup (250 ml) (almond or soy milk for vegan/dairy free)
  • Lukewarm water – ¼ cup (62 ml)
  • Unsalted butter or margarine – 2 tablespoons (28 grams)
  • Honey (agave for vegan) – ¼ cup
  • Honey (or agave), warmed – 1½ to 2 tbspn
  • Oats – 1½ to 2 tbspn
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, or two cup (450 ml) measuring cup, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the water and honey.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook until it just comes together to form a dough. Knead in the mixer, with the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic (if you’re making this recipe by hand, the dough will be very sticky at first; flour your hands and work surface generously and be patient). If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) at a time, to soften it up.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
  5. Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface before continuing. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf. Place the shaped dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with a clean dry towel, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Place an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  7. When the loaf is doubled again, brush the top with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.
  8. Place the bread in the oven and pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees.
  9. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving. 

Note:

  • I used lesser quantity of water and milk. Expert chefs say that the usage of liquid for the knead varies form place to place depending on the climatic condition .
  • Knead the dough thoroughly until it is really soft.
  • Give enough time for the dough to rise and also for the dough to bake till golden brown.

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Seven Onion Substitute For Everyday Cooking

onion substitute

When onions are too costly or unavailable, life comes to a standstill. Onion is the basic ingredient for most of the Indian dishes. An Indian women staying in Africa, who cooks delicious Indian recipes, said that half of the ingredients will not be  locally available so she uses substitutes. Her recipes are as good as the original. If half of the ingredients does not reduce the taste of a recipe, can’t onion substitute be used.

Onion is used mainly for gravy or sliced raw and used in salad. For the latter case, during the costly season, one must refrain from having onion. In Delhi restaurants onion slices are served along with every Indian Dish. As the price goes high the number of onion slices goes down; when too pricey, radish slices is used as onion substitute. (During the last price rise, onions and apples were Rs 80 and Rs 40 respectively). Saturated fat is good for health says a new study, read this post to find more.

Onion is required in large quantity to get a thick gravy, so judicious housewives develop unadulterated techniques to thicken the gravy. For instance saute the onion slices till golden brown, add some tomatoes to it, cook for some time and then grind the mix to a paste. This tomato-onion paste makes a thicker and tastier gravy than plain sauteed onions.

onion substitute

What if there is no onion in the house! Some budget conscious husbands say “no more onions, till the prices get normal, cook without onion”. The wife has to cook tasty food with some kind of onion substitute. Here are a few onion substitute that can thicken the gravy and provide richer taste to the commonly cooked dishes like mixed vegetable curry, aloo-gobi, channa masala, butter paneer and so on.

  • Coconut: Grate the coconut, grind to a paste and add to the sauteed ingredients for the alloo-mutter curry. The vegetables should be boiled separately. After adding the coconut paste the dish should be cooked only on low flame as the gravy should not boil.
  • Coconut milk: Grind the coconut without water, use a strainer to squeeze the first milk; keep the milk aside. Again grind the coconut with some water, squeeze the second milk and keep it aside. Again add some water, grind and squeeze the third milk. After all the masala is sauted and vegetables are added, cook the vegetable in third milk. When the vegetable is cooked add the second milk, cook on low flame for few minutes. Add the first milk and remove from stove as soon as the milk is warm. (Coconut milk powder is also available in the market).
  • Poppy Seed:  Khus-khus is costly, only a spoonful is required for regular cooking. Grate khus kush to a paste with ginger, garlic and chilly. Saute the paste with other ingredients like chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Add the vegetables with water and cook for some time. (N.b. Poppy seed is banned in countries like UAE and some Arab countries.)
  • Milk cream: During the days of crisis make the cream at home, why buy the costly creams. When the milk comes to boil, reduce the flame and stir for a while. Remove from stove and refrigerate for a while. You get a thick upper layer of cream. Remove and use in curries. (Milk separators are also available in the market)
  • Corn flour: After cooking the vegetable with the masalas, add a spoonful of corn flour mixed with water. You get a thick gravy.
  • Cashew nuts:  Some shops sell minutely broken cashew nuts at rock bottom prices. Grind the cashews with other ingredients and saute for a while; mix with the vegetables and masalas and cook.
  • Coriander powder: The more coriander powder you add, the thicker the gravy. Coriander has antioxidants and dietary fibres, so they are beneficial for health. If fennel or cumin seed is added while grinding the coriander powder, the dishes will get better flavour.

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Five green leafy recipes for winter

 green leafy recipes

‘Sarso ka saag’, ‘methi parantha’, ‘palak paneer’, all green leafy recipes, make a Delhiites mouth water.The fondness of Delhiite for green leafy recipes, puzzles non vegetarians living in other parts of the world. Delhiites talk a lot about food; and mostly they talk about vegetarian food. Read about vegetable recipes for kids in this post.

Green leafy recipes are nutritious and affordable. These leaves have anti ageing properties; lots of vitamins and minerals; and they are also known a ‘hot food’ best for winter climate. Largely people refrain from preparing  green leafy recipes as children do not like the bland or bitter taste.
Over the ages the Delhites have developed different green leafy recipes where the leaves are camouflaged (mixed with other ingredients) so as to make them more palatable. Dishes of five green leaves are popularly prepared at home and restaurants.
Bathua/Pigweed: The pigweed used to grow very liberally in the past, now you can find them in parks. Poor labours pick the leaves in the parks, and others buy it from the vegetable vendors. Bathua is palatable when sauteed in oil with some spices – You can blanch Bathua and ad to curd to make a salad for dinner – Mix the chopped bathua with soaked and ground split chickpea. Add spices as required, make them into small ball, flatten it and deep fry. Have it with sauce.
Palak/Spinach: A leaf with anti aging properties and iron content, spinach is a staple dish of Delhi. Blanch the spinach and make it to a paste, saute in oil with spices and cottage cheese (paneer) cubes – Palak paste can also be mixed with idli batter to make ‘green idlis’.
Sarso ka Saag/Mustard Greens: Mustard greens make tasty dishes because of the pungent taste. Experts say that Mustard green are good for those with choleric temperament.  Chop the leaves and at the same time boil and cube potatoes. Saute the leaves and potatoes with spices.
Methi ka Saag/Fenugreek Leaves: Plucking the tiny leaves of Methi requires lot of patience, most of the housewives and grandmas pluck the leaves while basking the sun. Women sit on foldable cots outside the ir houses with a bundle of fenugreek in front of them. When the tedious process of plucking the leaves is done, there will be just a bowl full of methi leaves and a huge cluster of empty branchlets. Wash the methi leaves thoroughly as long as you are satisfied that the leaves are clean. Chop the leaves and mix it with wheat flour, turmeric powder and salt. Nice parthas can be made, top it with butter – Saute the leaves with boiled potatoes, skinned and chopped tomatoes and spices. Saute for a long time to get the best result.
Amaranth/Chaulai Saag: Amaranth leaves is sparingly used in Delhi, they are a good substitute for spinach.
A mixed treat: Clean and chop all the five leaves, and pressure cook with lentils and tomatoes. Temper the cooked mix with mustard seeds, spices and dried red chillies. Children will love to have them with Parantha/Rice.

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5 Quick lunch box recipe for kid’s

 lunch box recipe
Preparing the lunchbox for children is a challenge for parents. The lunch box recipe usually is bread and jam or cooked instant noodles. The lunch box recipe makes no one happy. Neither the children are happy with the  cold snack, nor the parents are happy with the nutritious value of the food packed in the lunch box. If the children are inculcated with the habit of eating home-made food, they never give up that habit. With some quick trick, and 20 minutes to spare, parents can prepare healthy and homely lunch box recipe for kids. Here are a few lunch box recipes, that will bring smile on the face of parent and children. To know more about lunchbox home delivery system read this post.
  1. Potato tricks: A lunch box recipe that every child will to pack to school. Boil potato overnight; and in the morning add some spices to make it tastier. Use the potato base as stuffing for roti and sandwich. Add some tomato sauce, kids will love the combination.
  2. Cottage cheese magic: A lunch box recipe with lot of calcium. Crumble the cottage cheese and add spices as per choice. You can also add chopped tomatoes, onion and capsicum. Use the base as stuffing for sandwich and paneer parantha. Or else, cut the paneer into 1”inch cubes; cook the paneer using paneer butter masala. Instant butter panner mix requires less cooking time.
  3. Egg unlimited: Kids love eggs; and its easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious egg snacks. Sandwich or roti rolls can be made by stuffing boiled and crumbled egg; scrambled egg or omelet. Whip an egg and pour it over the roti in the pan, flip the roti over two or three times, until the egg is cooked well – Egg Parantha is ready!
  4. Minced Chicken: Any dish with a hint of chicken in it, is inviting. Minced chicken can be converted into limitless number of dishes. On a busy morning you can go for a minced chicken stuffed sandwich or roti. Or, if time permits, refrigerate, boiled and drained, noodles overnight; in the morning mix it with shallow fried minced chicken and other ingredient to make chicken chow mein.
  5. Vegetables Cutlets: A play-way method lunch box recipe that will inculcate the habit of eating vegetables. At leisure prepare and refrigerate ready-to-fry vegetable cutlets. In the morning fry the cutlets and place it between bread slice along with cucumber and tomato slices. The vegetables can be sliced  and kept before itself.
The entire cooking process will take only 15 to 20 minutes. The cooking process is made simple if the dough for roti is prepared and stored overnight.To cook faster utilize all kinds of kitchen gadgets.
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