Friday, 27 July 2018

Beetroot Halwa

Beetroot is a nutritious root vegetable which is fat free and is low in calories. The natural color makes the dishes made out of it very attractive too. Though the GI (Glycaemic index) of beetroot is average and glucose is released slowly, there is a lot of confusion and many nutritionists advise to avoid this veggie in case of diabetics. I feel that, it is always better to consume all the vegetables moderately and need not avoid any unless the condition is very critical.
The hard texture of beetroot makes it perfect for desserts such as halwa & kheer. Here is a recipe of beetroot halwa, which I have made using khova which is an optional ingredient. Except the effort of grating beetroot, it is easy to make.


Preparation & cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients:
Grated beetroot – 2 cups, 2 – 3 fresh medium beetroots
Sugar - ¾ -1 cup, adjust to taste
Unsweetened Khoya/ Khova/ fresh milk cream – 2-3 tbsp (optional)
Milk (Full fat) - ¼ - ½ cup
Chopped dry fruits/ nuts – 2-3 tsp
Ghee – 2-3 tsp

Method:
  • Wash, peel beetroot and grate it. Keep the gratings aside.
  • Take a thick bottomed pan/ wok. Add 1 tsp ghee and grated beetroot. Fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add milk. Cook in medium flame until milk is absorbed completely.  
  • Add sugar and stir & mix frequently adding remaining ghee as required.
  • Press the khova (optional) with fingers to crumble it. Add to halwa and mix well
  • Switch off the stove when the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan. It will take 5-10 minutes (max) after adding sugar. Addition of khova is optional.
  • Transfer to the serving bowl. Garnish with chopped roasted nuts and serve hot halwa.

Notes:
  • You can avoid the use of milk and only khova/ fresh milk cream (malai) can also be used. In that case, fry beetroot for 4-5 minutes with a tsp of ghee by sprinkling little water if required. Add sugar and crumbled khova. Halwa will taste good this way too.
  • Reduce the quantity of sugar if not using khova. Adjust as required.
  • This halwa tastes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Lemon Rasam/ Nimbe hannu Saaru

Are you tired of cooking? Or wanting to have food that is very light & soothing? Yes, it happens sometimes! Cooking becomes boredom or not having interest to dine out or feeling too heavy after festive food. Then there is a quick fix for this problem if you are a rice eaters.
Probably you might have guessed it right already. Obviously it should consist of a simple sour food which should call for very less time. It is possible with either lemon which is in the top list as easily available. Tomato or raw mangos (seasonal) are other options.
Here is one such recipe which goes great with or without rice like soup. One will feel comfortable after having it. It is very good aid to improve digestion as well. If you want to make it wholesome or filling, then cooked dal can be added. I love it clear that is without dal, that takes very less time to prepare as well.
Look for the Lemon Coriander Clear soup recipe here.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Lemon juice – 2-3 tsp or of 1 large lemon
Water – 2 glasses
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 1 or 2 (to taste) or ½ tsp chilli powder
Salt – to taste
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Oil – 1 tsp (coconut oil preferred)
Curry leaves or coriander leaves – for garnishing
Dry red chilli – 1 (optional)
Cooked tur dal – ¼ cup (optional), I usually avoid adding it.

Method:
  • Boil water, cooked tur dal (optional) salt, jaggery and chilli powder/ slit green chillis in a vessel. It will take just 4-5 minutes if not using dal (cooking time for dal is seperate).
  • Switch off the stove. Cut the lemon, remove seeds and squeeze to extract the juice. Add this juice to the boiled rasam.
  • Prepare a seasoning with oil, mustard, minced dry red chilli and curry leaves. Add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot rasam with rice or have as soup.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Sweet potato Moong dal Kheer/ Sihi genasu Hesarubele Payasa

In South India, payasa or kheer is an integral part of any special meal or festival meal. Payasam can be prepared with many cereals or some of the dals blending with milk/ coconut milk & sweetener like jaggery or sugar. There are ready kheer mixes available in market to make it easy. There are few delicious combinations such as tapioca & gram dal which goes great in this dessert. In the Malnad & coastal area, we prepare kheer with few chosen vegetables & fruits as well.
My today’s post focuses on one such combination Sweet potato & moong dal which is a traditional recipe.
Coming to nutritional facts, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. It is loaded with vitamin A which is much more than daily requirement. They are rich sources of potassium, carbohydrates and fibre. Compared to potatoes, it is said that sweet potato is healthier option for diabetics. Check here for the recipe of 'Sweet potato moringa paratha'.

Moong dal is great source of protein and vitamins. It is suggested as healthy food for infants & toddlers. So what if we combine these two rich ingredients with coconut milk & jaggery to get a tasty dessert. 

sweet potato kheer

Here is the recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
Finely chopped sweet potato - 1 cup
Moong dal – ½ cup
Jaggery – 1 large piece or ¾ cup powdered,  adjust according to taste.
Coconut milk – 1 cup thick & 1 cup thin (of 1 coconut approx.)
Cashews – few (optional)
Salt – a pinch (optional)

Method:
  • Take moong dal in a thick bottomed pan. Fry on medium flame until they turn golden brown. Keep sautéing so that it won’t get charred. Set aside to cool down.
  • Clean sweet potato and chop finely. Keep aside.
  • When the fried dal comes to room temperature, wash it with water. Pressure cook with chopped sweet potato and required water. Switch off after 3 whistles. Keep aside until pressure is released.
  • In a separate vessel add jaggery and 1 glass of water and bring to boil. Switch off when jaggery dissolved completely. Filter with a strainer to remove impurities.
  • Extract coconut milk following the method of ‘Coconutmilk extraction’. Keep thick coconut milk separate from 2nd and 3rd extraction.
  • Now, mix pressure cooked ingredients, jaggery syrup and thinner coconut milk in a vessel and boil well. Add pinch of salt.
  • At the end, add thick coconut milk and switch off when it starts boiling with bubbles. Do not boil longer after adding this coconut milk.
  • Garnish with roasted cashew pieces and serve hot.
Genasu payasa


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Rose apple/ bell fruit Juice

This fruit is called by many names such as rose apple, Java apple, wax apple, water apple, wax jambu, Bell fruit. There are multiple varieties found in this as well. Ranging from sweet juicy white/ green fruits to tart and juicy pink varieties! All are commonly referred as either nakshathra (star) Nerale or Jambu nerale in Kannada.
Until recent times I was not aware of its uses other than eating them fresh with or without salt. Most of the home gardens in our place (Dakshina Kannada & Northern Kerala) contain these shrubs/ trees (few varieties show very fast growth into trees). The matured plant bears lot of fruits out of which most will be wasted falling off.

nakshatra nerale/ java apple


This time, we harvested good number of rose apple in our 2+ year old plant and tried making juice of which. This happened after I came across a picture of this pink juice from a relative which was very tempting! She did it with sugar syrup like fruit squash and I made fresh juice. Thanks Veena Chikkamma for the idea! My first trial was juice of bell fruit with raw mango which was after referring a blogger & friend Shrikripa’s recipe! It makes a refreshing fresh thirst quenching drink.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 glasses

Ingredients:
Rose apple/ Java apple/ Bell fruit – 12-15
Sugar – 4 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Water – 2 glasses
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (optional)

Method:
  • Clean the fruits carefully as these fruits usually a good habitat of bugs, remove seeds and wash.
  • Take the fruit pieces, sugar, salt, lemon juice & water in a juice making mixer jar and blend well.
  • Strain the juice with a juice strainer and serve chilled with added ice cubes.

Notes:
  • This juice can be prepared with any juicy variety bell fruits.
  • If you are using bell fruits without sourness, then add lemon juice.
  • Fruits like pomegranate can be added while making this juice for enhanced taste.
bell fruit Juice

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Jackfruit seed Halwa/ Halasina beejada halwa

Jackfruit is one such fruit which can be used in many ways. Recently state government of Kerala has recognized it as state fruit of Kerala. It is highly used in the Malnad & Coastal area of Karnataka. We start using them from the initial tender stage till the ripe fruit. It goes well in curries, desserts, main breakfast dishes like dosa (both raw and ripe), kadubu and more.
Jackfruit seeds are not any less in nutrients and uses. They are great sources of protein and other nutrients. The seeds go well in both sweet and spicy dishes. Our ancestors used to preserve the jack seeds by covering them with mud and store them dried for 8-10 months or until next season in place.
Recently a relative shared the recipe of jack seed burfi to me and since then I wanted to give a try.  After few days I got fresh seeds and did not want to wait more. The result was this amazing tasty chocolate flavored halwa or you can name it burfi as well. It makes you ask for a second serving for sure when served hot. This version was with chocolate flavor because I had bourn vita powder in my pantry which I wanted to finish off and added that while making the sweet. The taste resembles that of Moong dal halwa.

Jackseed Halwa


Preparation & cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 300 grams halwa
Ingredients:
Jackfruit Seeds – 2 cups
Sugar – 1 cup or little more, adjust according to taste
Water – ½ cup
Ghee – 8 tsp
Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Bourn vita powder – ¼ cup (optional), you can leave this or add 2 tsp cocoa powder
Salt – ¼ tsp
Method:
  • Wash the jackfruit seeds, pressure cook with water and salt. You may require 4 cups of water and 4-5 whistles.
  • Once pressure released, peel the seeds and dry grind in a mixer. Coarse powder is fine as it is already cooked.
  • Take about 4 tsp of ghee in a thick bottomed wok/ pan, heat. Add ground jackfruit seed powder. Stir in order to mix with ghee.
  • Now dissolve bourn vita powder in ½ cup of hot water and add to the jack seed mix. If using cocoa powder, then dissolve it in normal water.
  • Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes and add 1 cup sugar and mix well.
  • Add more sugar if you feel it needs more.
  • Add remaining ghee, cardamom powder and sauté well until the mixture forms single mass leaving the sides of the wok.
  • Transfer to a greased tray and pat on the top with a flat spoon to spread evenly.
  • When it cools a lit you can cut to the desired shape.
  • Serve this sweet warm.

Notes:
  • Cocoa/ bourn vita powder is just an optional ingredient.
  • You can add grated coconut as well.
Halasina Beeja Halwa

Friday, 13 July 2018

Bread Dosa/ Majjige Dosa/ Buttermilk sweet Dosa

Though it is not related to bread in any sense, the name says bread dosa just because of the taste. This is one such spongy dosa resembles bread in texture and taste with sweet and sourness. This is one of my favourites and I love them with red chutney that too when my mother prepares it. As a kid, I liked to carry them to lunch box too unlike other dosas!

bread dosa

Preparation Time: 10 hours (soaking & fermentation)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 15-18 dosas
Ingredients:
Dosa rice: 3 cups
Buttermilk/ Curds – 1.5 cups
Flattened rice/ beaten rice/ Avalakki – ¼ cup
Jaggery – 1 big chunk/ ¼ cup powder
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt – to taste
Ghee/ butter – for applying on dosa while cooking

Method
  • Wash and soak dosa rice and fenugreek seeds in water for 4-5 hours.
  • Once done, drain water and grind with other ingredients fine (except ghee or butter). Make very smooth batter adding required amount of water while grinding. Adjust the consistency which should be thicker than regular dosa batter.
  • Transfer the batter to a large vessel and keep it covered for 6-8 hours or over-night to ferment. Keep enough space for the batter to rise.
  • In the morning, mix the batter well by stirring with a ladle and make it ready to prepare dosa. 
  • Heat an iron griddle or tava on medium flame.
  • Apply little oil on it and pour 1.5 ladle of batter (should not spread like other dosas, just a touch with the ladle is enough).
  • Cover the lid and cook for almost 1.5 minutes or until the side (of dosa) facing the griddle becomes golden brown. Top side will not be cooked by now. 
  • Sprinkle melted ghee on top of dosa. Flip it off carefully to cook the other side.
  • Remove from the gridle, serve with chutney. Soft, sweet dosa ready to relish!

Note: 

  • This Dosa can be done without adding jaggery as well. I suggest with jaggery as it tastes better.
  • This dosa batter should be little thicker than regular plain dosa batter.
  • The dosa should be prepared thick, only then you will have the spongy texture & taste.



Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Sandalwood leaves Chutney/ Gandhadele Chutney

Sandalwood tree is an evergreen tropical tree known for its fragrant wood. The oil/ extract of sandalwood have many health benefits, which is also a great beauty ingredient. The tree is attractive with its green leaves which can be used in cooking. I always prefer to use the greens available around us as they are organic & pesticide free. It is always suggested over store bought green leaves if you are a regular consumer. There are many such options like sandalwood leaves (easy to find out if living in Bangalore/ Mysore), Vitamin leaves/ Elevarige, Nelabasale, Brahmi/ centella which are easy to grow. Look for the recipe of sandalwood leaves tambuli which I have posted earlier. Also click 'Sandalwood for infant colic and cold' to know about using sandalwood extract as remedy for colic & cold.


Now let us come back to see how to do chutney!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients:
Sandalwood leaves – ½ cup, tender the better
Grated fresh coconut – ¼ cup
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Red chillis – 2, adjust as per taste
Tamarind – a small piece/ ½ tsp extract
Salt – to taste
Coconut/ cooking oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 5-6 leaves (optional)

Method:

  • Wash sandalwood leaves clean.
  • In a heated pan, add urad dal, red chillis and few drops of oil. Fry them until dal turns to golden brown and you get nice aroma. Add cleaned leaves to the same pan and fry sautéing until wilted.
  • Now take grated coconut, fried ingredients, tamarind & salt in a mixer jar and grind to smooth paste.
  • Prepare a seasoning of mustard seeds & curry leaves in oil and add to the chutney.
  • Healthy green chutney is ready to serve with dosa or cooked rice with a spoon of ghee.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Baked Fruit & Nuts energy Squares

This is a simple recipe yet powerful in terms of taste & nutrients. These squares have all the goodness of nuts, dry fruits, coconut, jaggery & jowar, ragi, &wheat.
A piece of it satisfies your sweet craving and supplies energy very quick.  Yes it works well! You can add the fruits & nuts of your choice.
I had some dry dates & apricots staying in my freezer for quite some time! No one at home was interested in it and I wanted to use them. The idea came of baking with them, but felt they will not go good in any cake/ cookies. Then came the thought of the squares or bars just to attract the choosy kids around. Its taste resembled that of Karadantu (sweet of Gokak). 

energybars

Here we go with the recipe.
Preparation & baking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 250 gms
Ingredients:
Dry fruits (dates, apricots, raisins) – ¼ - ½ cup, you can use the fruits of your choice
Nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts) – ½ cup all together
White sesame – 2 tbsp
Roasted channa dal/ Putani – ¼ cup
Jaggery powder – ¼ - ½ cup, adjust according to taste
Dry coconut/ Ona kobbari – ½ cup (powder)
Ghee – 1-2 tbsp
Finger millet flour/ Ragi hittu, Jowar flour, Wheat flour – 1 tbsp each (or you can use only wheat & ragi flour)
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Salt – a pinch
Method:
  • Wash dry fruits and soak them for half an hour. Do not soak raisins, but wash and keep aside.
  • Slice the dry coconut into thin pieces and powder it fine in a dry mixer jar. Transfer to a wide mixing bowl.
  • Dry roast peanuts separately and remove skin as much as possible. It is fine even if skin is added.
  • Add all nuts & roasted peanuts in the dry mixer jar and powder them coarsely by pulsing couple of times. Add this powder to the bowl with coconut powder.
  • Now in the same jar, take the soaked dry fruits and grind into coarse powder.
  • Mix the shredded dry fruits, raisins, sesame with the powdered nuts.
  • Add jaggery powder, salt, flours one by one and mix well into sticky dough. Add ghee while doing so.
  • You can add 1-2 tbsp milk if it looks very dry.
  • Once the mix is ready, spread it on a greased baking tray. Press with fingers to get smooth surface.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  • When done, allow to cool and cut into desired shape. Store in a air tight container and refrigerate if storing for more than 2 days.
Notes:
  • You can add (or remove) dry fruits or nuts of your choice like pistachios, fig, walnuts…
  • Remaining ellu bella mix (sesame-jaggery) after Sankranti festival can be used. I added that too.
  • This squares are not very crunchy instead becomes bit chewy.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Coriander Lemon clear soup

This healthy & nutritious hot soup is perfect for the sudden craving of soup. It makes a best remedy for the sore throat & runny nose with richness of coriander & lemons containing high vitamin C level. Coriander leaves are also great source of iron & fibre.
I am happy that I used fresh coriander leaves from garden and it smells great!


Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 bowls
Ingredients:
Fresh Coriander leaves (with stem) – ½ cup
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder – ¼ tsp (as per taste)
Potato – 1 boiled & pureed with water or you can use either of vegetable stock/ Rice starch
Onion – 1 (medium), finely chopped

Method:
  • Clean & wash coriander leaves. Chop fine with stem.
  • Squeeze & collect 2 tsp lemon juice from a medium lemon.
  • Cook chopped potato with water and puree it well. You can use the starch collected from boiled rice/ barley or other cereal (ganji) instead of potato. Or you can go for vegetable stock.
  • Keep 1 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves for garnishing. Take remaining leaves in the mixer jar and grind coarsely to get the paste (not very smooth) adding little liquid from the above step.
  • Now take chopped onions in a vessel,add coriander paste, potato puree/ starch and required amount of water (about 2 glasses). Boil until onions are cooked & soft.
  • Add salt & pepper powder.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves retained for garnishing.
  • Switch off the heat. At last, add in the lemon juice.
  • Serve the steaming hot soup and feel refreshed.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Fresh homemade rose water

Rose water at home, sounds interesting? That too, if it is with the fresh petals about to fall off. Yeah, it is easy to make & with very satisfying result. You can get it in an hour. It is fragrant, fresh & with attractive colour.
Now, your question may be on the uses and benefits of rose water. Right, it has numerous benefits nutritionally as well as therapeutically! Worldwide, Rose petals are being used since ancient times for its healing properties. It is very rich in vitamin C & antioxidants. It is believed that, the rose aroma relieves stress & anxiety. It is used in the treatment of mouth ulcers, constipation because of the cooling property. It is a secret ingredient of the beauty industry. It improves the health of hair and skin, works as skin cleanser.  It is suggested to consume orally in the form of tea or gulkand (rose petal jam) as well as use externally to wash the face &skin.
So, it is the time to use the rose petals in your garden, which is pesticide free! Good if you have the fragrant variety.  


I used 2-3 varieties of roses in my garden, result is great. I am very happy to receive positive feedback from my friend & neighbor to whom I shared this rose water!
Rose petals/ extract can be used in many desserts such as ice cream, milkshake, flavored yogurt, baking, and tea or in the form of rose water.  Look here for the recipe of Fresh rose petal milkshake.


Here is the method to prepare fresh rose water. 
Preparation Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Yield: 100ml/ 1 cup rose water
Ingredients:
Fresh rose petals – 1 cup, preferred fragrant variety
Water – 1 cup
Sieve/ Strainer

Method:
  • Collect the rose petals which are pesticide free. Clean and discard the stem part. Check if any bug/ insects found, discard the petals having bugs. Wash under running water.
  • Now pour the filtered water in a vessel, bring to a boil.
  • Add the cleaned rose petals to boiling water. Switch off the stove & cover the vessel with a lid.
  • Set this aside for 1 hour.
  • Strain the rose water to collect only the water and discard the petals.
  • Store fresh rose water in a glass jar. It can be stored in refrigerator.
Notes:
  • This water can be used to mix your regular face pack.
  • It can be used to wash face or feet for softer skin. Or even it can be added in the bathing water too!
  • Add this rose water with 2 mugs of warm water in a tub, dip your feet for 5-10 minutes and dry. This will give you better result in repairing cracked heels.
  • If you are using it in food, then choose the rose variety which is not bitter.
  • Most important: People with allergic & sensitive skin type should use this with caution as few individuals show allergic reaction to rose. In that case one can get skin rashes.