Friday, March 20, 2015

Two Recipes with Dal! Dhokla and Mulligatawny Soup!



Did you guys know that World Water Day is around the corner? I, for one, have been in the water-wasters club for many years, with brushing my teeth leaving the tap on. While this is one of the major habits one needs to change in order to conserve water, there are many more (especially in the kitchen) which won't take much getting used to and will in turn impact our water conservation practices in a hugely positive manner. Here are a few:

1. You do not need to use a lot of water while boiling vegetables. The idea is for the water to just cover the vegetables in it. Instead of pouring out the water, you can use that flavourful Vegetable Stock in place of water while cooking your next meal!

2. Don't use water to defrost food. You can just leave the frozen food in the fridge overnight instead!

The good folks over at Tata I-Shakti have taken a great initiative during this #WorldWaterDay to make everybody aware of these little things, while also talking about their wholesome unpolished Dals. I have made the switch recently, and I could not be happier. Not only does 1 cup yield more Dal as compared to polished Dal, these Dals only require 2 cycles of rinsing as opposed to 4 times with the regular polished variety. Not to forget that the Polished Dals also are stripped off of their nutritional content.



On this blog post I will be sharing 2 recipes from my kitchen, that waste minimal amount of water. First one is a healthy take on the globally favourite Dhokla, which I have been making with Moong Dal off late. Not only is this healthier, I have used the soaking water to blend the soaked Dal, instead of pouring it down the drain and replacing with fresh water.



The second recipe has a story of its own. It is the world famous Mulligatawny soup. Mulligatawny soup comes from Mooluga Thanni, which literally translates to Pepper Water. It was served to the soldiers during the British Raj in India, just because they demanded there be a Soup course. Well, the British left, they took the recipe with them, and heavily anglicized it to suit their palate. They added meat to the soup, thickened it with Coconut Milk, but I am not complaining, for I am a huge fan of this dish! It may be a bit lengthy but it is really easy, and the final product will blow your socks off. I guarantee it.

So, without further ado, I present these two recipes to you, one by one!



Recipe: Moong Dal Dhokla
Serves 6
Takes 20 minutes plus 4 hours soaking time.


Ingredients:

1 cup Tata I-Shakti Moong dal.
2 cups Water
An inch of ginger
2 Green Chilies
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
A pinch of Asafoetida (heeng)
1 tsp Oil plus some more for greasing
1 tsp Eno Fruit Salt or Baking Soda

For the Tempering:

1.5 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp White Sesame Seeds
2 Green Chilies, Chopped
6 Curry Leaves
A pinch of Asafoetida
3/4 Cup Water
1 tbsp Sugar (optional)

For Garnishing:

A handful of Coriander leaves, chopped.
A handful of Grated Fresh Coconut, scraped.

Method:

Soak the Moong Dal in 2 cups of water for 4 hours. Drain it but reserve the water.

Grind it in a blender with the Chili and Ginger. Use the reserved water (add more if desired) to get the pouring consistency like that of a Dosa.

Set up your steamer on the stove. Grease the steaming plate with Oil. I used 2 flat plates.

In the mean while, mix in the Turmeric, Red Chili, Asafoetida, Salt and Oil and give it a good stir. Just before adding into the steamer, add in the fruit salt and mix well with a steel spoon such that the batter is fluffy. Pour it into the two plates and set them in the steamer.

Steam for 12 to 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it stay for another 2 minutes. In the mean while, make the tempering.

Heat up a small pan with the Oil. Add in the mustard seeds, when they pop add the Asafoetida and the chopped chilies, followed by sesame seeds and then curry leaves. Let them splatter. Top this up with water and Sugar if desired, and let the mixture come to a boil. Turn the stove off and keep this aside. You can choose to skip the water soaking step, but I like my Dhoklas moist.

Remove the Dhokla from the steamer and cut them into desired shapes. Soak them with the water from the tempering, and add the tempered goodness all over them. Garnish with Coriander leaves and grated coconut. Serve with chutney!


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Recipe: MulliGatawany Soup
Serves 4 to 5
Takes 1 hour
Ingredients:

An inch of ginger
6 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Apple, peeled and diced.
½ Jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp flour
½ tbsp. Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
1 tsp. Cumin Powder (Jeera Powder)
 ¾ tsp. Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (You can use 4 cups of normal water, and add a stock cube to the masala while cooking, or you can also use plain water)
¾ cup Tata I-Shakti Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
A handful of Coriander leaves, chopped.
½ cup Coconut Milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 tbsp Oil
A cup of cooked Basmati Rice (You can substitute with Brown Rice for a healthier alternative)
A dollop of Yogurt, to garnish.

Method:
Soup: Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a deep pan over medium high heat. Sauté the Ginger, Garlic, Onion and Jalapeño until the Onions are translucent. Add in the Apples and give them a minute, then add Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and Turmeric Powder and stir till the masala blooms. At this point, also add in the Stock Cube if you're planning to use one. Top up with Water/Stock and pour in the Red Lentils. Let this come to a boil.

Turn the heat to medium low, cover the pan and let this go for 30-45 minutes, until the Dal gets cooked. Throw in the chopped Coriander leaves. Purée 75% of the ingredients to a smooth velvety goodness, while letting the remaining 25% be chunky, for a superb textural contrast. You'll thank me later!

Return the soup to the pan on a low heat, and add in the Coconut Milk. Give it 3-4 minutes, then season with Salt and a generous cracking of Pepper.

To Serve: Place a small handful of boiled/cooked Rice in each bowl, and top it up with Soup. Garnish with a dollop of Plain Yogurt. You can also add a squeeze of Lemon Juice. People also serve this 'best-soup-they've-ever-had' with pan fried/roasted Cashews or Almond slivers. I'm salivating already.

Note: You can make this recipe with Chicken as well (traditionally it is made with Chicken), in which case you will need 200 gm of Chicken sliced into cubes. Pan fry them before you start the Soup process, for 90 seconds on each side, and remove them. Continue with the Soup recipe as above. Throw the Chicken pieces in along with the Coconut Milk at a later stage and cook for 6 minutes instead of 3! I made mine with Chicken :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recipe: Sprouted Moong (Green Gram) Falafels!



Wow, at the beginning of this journey with Tata Salt Lite I did not know if I would be able to stick to the schedule and be regular with my blogging. This is my last post for #slite and I'm going to miss this so much, that I have decided to stick to Tata Salt Lite from now on. Thank you so much for letting me invent and play around in my kitchen, and discover so much more about myself while doing so! Thank you for also giving me a medium to convey to the world the importance of no sodium salt!

I took few days to think about the perfect last recipe, or a grand finale, if you will. I thought of a Brown Rice Phirni, a Cauliflower soup, an epic stir fry and so many more items. But then I realised I didn't do anything with Sprouts and considering they are such an important part of my daily life, it is unfair to them. So I was brainstorming with my bestie all the way in Singapore, when she mentioned I could make Sprout Falafels. What a brilliant idea! Not to mention how utterly genius this is, it is also insanely healthy, and a good high protein alternative for people like me who get tired of eating Sprouts just as is. It all seemed like it would work out on paper, but nothing is ever sure till you actually execute it so I did a test run. I am so happy with how these turned out! You can either bake them or pan fry them in very little oil, like I did, have it with Hummus, or stuff it in your pita, roti, have it with bread, or just as is!






Sprouted Moong Falafels
Serves 2
Takes 15 minutes


Ingredients:

1 cup sprouted Moong/Green Gram. (You can use any kind of sprouts)
5 cloves of Garlic
1/2 an Onion, finely chopped.
A handful of mixed herbs, finely chopped. (I used coriander, mint, parsley)
1 tsp Roasted Cumin powder
Tata Salt Lite, to taste
1/2 tsp All spice powder (can be substituted with brown Garam Masala powder)
juice of half a lemon.
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Olive Oil.

Method:

You can either use lightly steamed Moong or raw Moong for this recipe as you desire. If you want to use steamed Moong, place them in the microwave, sprinkled with some water and microwave on high for a minute. You'll need to let them cool down before proceeding. I used raw sprouts.

Pulse the sprouts in the blender, in short 2 second bursts, till it resembles a coarse powder. We do not want a paste. Remove them in a mixing bowl. Add in the garlic and pulse that as well, add to the sprout mix.

Now throw in the Onion, herbs, and the powders. Add salt and mix everything together.

In a spoon, take the lemon juice and add the baking soda to it. Pour the froth into the mixture and combine everything again. Gently make bite sized rounds of falafel, and place them on a plate. I made 8. Put them in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Heat up a non stick pan on medium high with the Olive oil. Put in the falafel rounds and slightly flatten them. Let them be undisturbed for a minute. Flip them over, lower the flame to medium and finish cooking on the other side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve hot!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Recipe: Instant Oats Lite Dosa



The parents have been out of town for a week now. As much as I'm loving the silence, I am missing them more. Every morning I wake up early only to find that Dad has already woken up and is practising Yoga before he starts getting ready to go to work. When I'm back from the gym, while Dad has already left for work, Mom is warming breakfast up in the kitchen with the TV blasting in full volume in the hall, just so she can hear the dialogues. If it's a Sunday I'd wake up at the same time (I go to the gym on Sunday's, it's empty and you can really get a good workout done) but everyone's asleep. When I return, TV is blaring full volume and Mom is in the kitchen, fixing breakfast. Sunday breakfasts are staple - either it's Idli or Dosa. Followed by Chicken or Mutton curry for lunch, where I'd make more Dosas and eat with the curry. And then it's siesta time, it's only fitting after all the yum overload we go through every Sunday.

I'm not getting my Dosa fix since they're out of town, so I thought of improvising. I love how versatile Oats are, and if you can make Pancakes with them, you certainly can make a good Dosa as well. It's a #slite change that makes your life so much easier, not to forget healthier too! I make 3 different kinds of Oats Dosas, but the recent one I tried is the closest to a real Dosa. I used low sodium Tata salt lite to make it just that touch of extra healthy. You're gonna forget you're eating healthy, it's so good!



Instant Oats Dosa
Serves 2 (makes 6 medium sized Dosas)
Takes 20 minutes


Ingredients:

1 cup Instant Oats
1/2 cup Yogurt
2 green chilies
A handful of coriander, chopped
2 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tbsp Rice Flour (optional)
2 tbsp Semolina flour
Water, to adjust the consistency
Tata salt lite, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Ghee/oil to grease the pan.

Method:

Blend together all the ingredients except Oil, with some water (about half cup).
Let this batter sit for 15 minutes in a bowl. It will get thicker due to the Semolina and Oats. Adjust to a thick, dosa-like pouring consistency with water, add little at one time.

Heat up a pan on medium, preferably non stick. Add a drop of ghee or oil, and wipe the pan surface with a paper napkin so it is spread evenly. Add 3/4 ladle of batter and spread evenly. Add few more drops of Oil down the sides of the pan if desired. I also added some podi to the dosa at this point. You could also add chopped onions and tomatoes if you want this to be an uttappam. Cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.

Be careful while flipping her over, she's a delicate dosa darling! Cook for 30 seconds more and serve hot with chutney, podi, ketchup, or just have as is with a hot cup of Chai!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Recipe: Guilt Free Sugarless 70% Dark Chocolate and Baileys Ice Cream.



I am the Ross Geller of the ice cream world. I am not an ice cream lover because I think it is too cold. Soft serves and froyo on the other hand, I love. Back when we were kids, me and the little brother used to re-enact the sequence from the Jurassic Park movie, where the kids are eating ice cream and a Dinosaur creeps up in their house (we've all been there). We'd mix instant coffee powder in a Vanilla ice cream cup and stir it vigorously till it was of soft serve consistency and then race to who finishes last. Nostalgic. Sigh... How time passes by!

As much as I really-really-really don't like ice cream, I crave for it often when it's that time of the month. Same goes for chocolate- not a huge fan, but I want nothing but chocolate when I'm craving for it. Since I decided to make a sLITE change in my life, I thought why not come up with a guilt free ice cream recipe which would satiate my cravings and not make me get out of the house just to buy myself a cup? David Lebovitz had this recipe up on his site, and I tailor made it to fit into the sLITE lifestyle. I  also added a sprinkle of Tata salt lite to the recipe, to bring out the bittersweet taste. It literally takes 5 minutes to make the faux custard, and no churning at all! This may not be your friendly neighbourhood overtly sweet ice cream but it was still so good, I just had to share it with you guys!






A huge shoutout to the amazing folks over at Tata Salt Lite who are taking a great initiative with promoting the #slite lifestyle. You can look their pages up on Twitter and Facebook, or dial their toll free number to know more.

On to the nomness!

Guilt Free Sugarless 70% Dark Chocolate and Baileys Ice Cream.
Serves 2
Takes 5 minutes (+4 hours of freezing)
Adapted from David Lebovitz's blog.


Ingredients:

100 gm 70% Dark Chocolate (You can use any that you like)
1 cup milk (you can also use non fat or skimmed milk)
1 medium sized over-ripe frozen Banana
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
90 ml Baileys (optional)
A dash of Vodka/Rum
A pinch of Tata Salt Lite

Method:

Melt the Chocolate and Cocoa into warm milk till uniform. You can do this over a pan on low heat, or in the microwave at 30 second bursts.
Blend together with all other ingredients till smooth.
Transfer to an air tight container and freeze for 4 hours or until set.
Scoop it out and sprinkle with Tata Salt Lite before serving.
Enjoy!

Note: we need to add alcohol to the recipe so that there is no crystallisation. You can omit the alcohol altogether, but know that the ice cream will be slightly hard in texture (like a Kulfi).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy Women's Day: 10 Ways to Soothe your mind and body.

This one's for the ladies, but only huge amount of respect for any and every man who reads through and applies any of this to their life as well. 

When I was growing up, I was a complete tomboy (At least 60% of you identify with being a tomboy as a kiddo, I know). I used to play Cricket, hang around with my brother and his friends, and hate all things pink. Now that I think of it, I had no girl friends around when I was growing up. As I sailed through teenage and adolescence I developed the thinking that I was better off socializing with the boys because girls are too complicated. Then I went abroad to become a Commercial Pilot, where again I was the only girl with 21 boys.

Years passed by, things happened, lessons were learned and conclusions were driven. I used to be a girl-hater before, but I now have more girl friends in my life than boys. I don't know why and how I missed out on all the awesomeness. I swear by my gal pals and love them to bits. *sends kisses to all* (they know who they are).

Image Credits: Google Images


One thing I have noticed is that every one in my gang of girls leads such a busy life that it is impossible to get time out for ourselves. Even when we are at the salon, or out drinking with each other, we are constantly in touch with our schedules and keeping up with the impossible list of errands and to-do lists. I do tend to get a little lost under all the multitasking stress, but then I look at my Mom, who is a 54 year old Flight Attendant, maintains her beautiful looks as well as manages our whole family. Of course, my Dad is her rock, her pillar of strength, but she is an inspiration in herself. Even on her days off from work, she runs around the kitchen, to the market, to the tailor, the list goes on. Every single one of us know at least one woman like that who needs a break. On these lines, here are a few things that I think we all must do, time and again, just to soothe our mind, body and soul.

Image Credits: Google Images

1. Get Your Beauty Sleep: I am busy myself on most days, still I manage to clock in 6 to 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Not only will it soothe your body, but also calm your senses, and gear you up for the next day. Oh, and don't forget about the amazing things it would do to your skin!

Image Credits: Google Images


2. Drink Plenty of Water: I'm a fitness maniac, so I drink 5 to 6 litres of fluids every day. That includes water from 1 Tender Coconut (sometimes even 2). You could start with at least 2 litres. Seriously, the road to a calm and composed mind also leads through the stomach and most things related to the stomach (acidity, digestive problems) are dealt with on a regular water intake. Keep that bottle of water handy, ladies!

Image Credits: Google Images


3. Get a Relaxing Massage: I have had my set of issues with random people touching me, but all that dissipated in thin air when I got my first deep tissue massage. I have noticed that I am less cranky, I make better decisions, I feel energetic for the next few days and the body can really use all that stretching!


Image Credits: Google Images

4. "YOU" time: It is very important to set aside some time for yourself. I go to the gym at 6 45 AM in the morning, but I try and wake up at 5 30 AM. Just because I need some time with myself, where I sit down, enjoy the silence. no honking on the road, no people, no TV volume. I just let myself be.


Image Credits: Google Images

5. "YOU" day: Other than spending few moments by yourself every day, it is also important to set a day aside every month where you just do whatever you want to, and that does not include work or chores or errands. You could do nothing all day, or watch movies back to back, laze around with a good book and your cup of soothing tea, cook, lay around in bed or sit in the bathtub for hours. It's like hitting the reset button.

A good way of doing this is deciding with your significant other on a date where one of you would take a YOU day. On that day you can let each other handle your responsibilities. It is workable, right?

Image Credits: Google Images


6. Girl Time: Just like the boys need a game night or a boys night out, we do too! I need to see my girls every few days, and I have made a promise to myself that I WILL see them once every two weeks ('coz lets face it, talking to the men in our lives is great, but nothing beats girl talk!) and spend quality time eating, drinking, shopping, watching a movie, or if I am really busy, maybe a con-call!


Image Credits: Google Images

7. Look Good: You have to look good to feel good. We're all beautiful, and let us not let anyone else tell us otherwise. I know so many friends of mine who think wearing Red Lipstick is not for them, I say why not? Go ahead, doll up, look pretty, accessorize! Oftentimes we ignore ourselves just because we would rather splurge on the people we love. But you owe this to yourself. Go to the Salon, paint your nails, wear a full smile for every picture and just see how pretty you look when you feel good.


Image Credits: Google Images

8. Exercise/workout: I have tried very hard to pull this one down to number 8, but there is no running away from this one. You feel so great after an intense workout with all the endorphins your body releases. You feel fresh and happy, and what better way than unloading all the frustration from a stressful day during workout! I am known for punching the bag a little too hard at kickboxing class (I just imagine my hater's face on the bag) :P


Image Credits: Google Images

9. Meditate: I don't want to get all preachy here, but seriously, as little as 5 minutes of meditation helps the mind maintain focus. I am trying to get into the habit myself, and so far it has been great!


Image Credits: Google Images

10. Smile: Now this one works in 2 ways. One, when you smile and/or laugh, you feel pretty amazing inside. Two, there is someone in your lives whose day is made with that one beautiful smile of yours. Don't let anyone ever rob you off your smile.

It feels great to be a woman. Cheers to you, Cheers to us!

Happy Women's Day!

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