Friday, 29 November 2019

Cinnamon flavored finger millet cookies/ Ragi cinnamon cookies

Hey, we are on last day of November! Looking for some healthy Christmas indulgence? Here is a recipe to make healthy chemical free flavorful cookies! It has many nos, no refined flour, no refined sugar, no eggs, no baking powder and definitely no guilt in eating and feeding your family!
I have tried some of the cookies so far, few came out nice, few were not up to the mark. I am very happy with the result of this one and hence sharing the recipe. This is my first cookie recipe on blog too!  

Ragi cinnamon cookies

I always wanted to make cookies at home after learning from a genuine source that many of the store bought biscuits/ cookies are completely made with artificial ingredients (there is no milk, no butter)! Kids crave for them all the time makes us more guilt. So I am happy this time as my two kids liked these cookies! I will be making them regularly.

Healthy Ragi cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 18 minutes
Serves: 18-20 cookies
Ingredients:
Finger millet flour/ Ragi hasi hittu – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour – ½ cup
Jaggery powder – ¾ cup
Salt – ¼ tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp or little less
Cinnamon fine powder – ¼ tsp
Unsalted butter/ Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tbsp
Fresh curds – 2 tbsp
Milk – 2 tbsp
Vanilla powder – ¼ tsp (optional)

Method:

  • Initially take all the dry ingredients in a wide mixing bowl starting from millet (Ragi) flour. Add wheat flour mix once. Add salt, baking soda and cinnamon powder.
  • Add jaggery powder too. Combine everything well. Add ghee/ butter. Mix well with fingers until you get crumbles.
  • Now slowly add fresh curds and mix. Add milk little by little and knead really well. The dough should be softer than chapathi dough and bit stickier dough is fine.
  • Apply little ghee or oil or dust with the flour to the palms while kneading if it becomes very sticky. If dough looks very dry, then sprinkle little more milk. Or if it is too wet and sticky so that you are finding it difficult to knead then add little flour.
  • It will need good amount of liquid than regular maida as ragi absorbs more fluid.
  • When dough is ready, keep aside covered for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grease the baking tray with little ghee. Preheat the oven for 180 degrees.
  • Make small balls of the dough and make the discs of desired shape. Do not make too thin in order to retain the shape after baking.
  • Place the cookies on greased tray, leaving small gap in between each cookie. Bake in batches if you cannot finish off all the dough once (As I use convection microwave, I can make only 10 cookies at a time). Bake for 16-18 minutes. It took 17 minutes to me.
  • Check after 15 minutes to avoid burning. It is done when color turns brown and outer layer of cookie becomes brittle. It will be bit softer inside when hot. On cooling cookies turn crisp.
  • Allow cooling completely and serve with tea or milk. Store them in airtight container.
Refined sugar free ragi cookies

Note:
  • You can optionally add chopped nuts or choco chips in the dough.
  • If you are baking the cookies in 2 batches, then keep remaining dough for the 2nd batch covered or refrigerated till first set of baking is done.
  • Addition of coconut flour makes nice coconut cookies.
  • Adjust the sweetness by increasing/ decreasing jaggery measurement.
  • Baking time may vary depending on the oven.
  • Adjust the quantity of liquid and flour a bit if it becomes too sticky or too dry. Addition of milk to the dough should be made with care. 
  • Note that, I have made all the mixing and kneading process with my fingers and not any mixer!
Cinnamon flavored finger millet cookies

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Onions, moringa leaves pakoda/ Onions & drumstick leaves fritters/ bajji/ pakora

Who doesn’t like Pakoras, a crispy deep fried snacks made of chopped onions!? Now let us make it little healthy by adding today’s super food Moringa/drumstick leaves. How do you feel reading this? Have you ever tried in your kitchen? Believe me it is very tasty with crunchiness intact but added greens. I initially tried it with the Moringa chutney powder that I make at home. Added about 4 tbsp of spicy chutney powder (for some reason, that chutney powder turned very spicy hence I had to finish it off this way) and did not use any other spice except salt & asafoetida. That was a super hit and for the second and subsequent trials I used fresh leaves chopped along with onions. It makes a perfect combination to the evening tea especially the current winter evenings!

Onions, moringa leaves pakoda

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
Onions – 3 (medium)
Moringa leaves (fresh) – 1- 1.5 cups
Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Gram flour – ¼ cup
Rice flour/ corn flour – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Salt – ¾ tsp or little less
Sambhar powder – ¼ tsp
Chat masala/ garam masala – 2 pinches (optional)
Carom seeds/ Om kalu – ¼ tsp (optional)
Oil – for deep frying

Method:
  • Clean the leaves removing very hard stems and leaves affected by pests. Wash thoroughly with the running water. Dry with a clean kitchen towel. Same way, clean curry leaves as well.
  • Chop these cleaned leaves fine.
  • Peel off onions, wash and chop as desired; that is chop fine or slice thin.
  • Now, mix chopped leaves and onions. Add all other ingredients except oil. Mix well with your fingers by pressing gently so that the required moisture is released from the greens & onions. It is fine if it crumbles or comes to dropping consistency. You can sprinkle few drops of water if required & looks very dry. It is good to go if the flours become wet and everything binds well.
  • Keep oil in a frying pan to heat. Keep the flame medium.
  • When oil is ready, shred/ drop the prepared pakora mix little at a time. Fry until hissing noise is stopped. You can also make small balls of it and drop into the oil (as you like).
  • Strain and remove the pakoras from oil and transfer to a plate with tissue spread on it.
  • Finish off the mix completely following above step.
  • Serve pakoras hot with tomato sauce and a cup of tea.
Onions & drumstick leaves fritters

Notes:
  • If you make the pakoras without moringa leaves it is onions pakora/ Neerulli bajji.
  • Optionally, you can add chopped green chillis with the chopped green leaves to make it spicier.
  • If you use moringa chutney powder instead fresh moringa leaves, you can leaves ingredients such as sambhar powder, chilli powder…
Onions, moringa leaves bajji/ pakora

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Vegan creamy bamboo shoot soup/ Kanile coconut milk soup

It is winter & weather is unpredictable each day! Craving for some piping hot thick creamy soup for winter evening! Today I am sharing a recipe of creamy soup with bamboo shoot or bamboo sprout. Bamboo shoot is being used highly in Chinese and Japanese cuisines whereas in India we use only during rainy season that too specific communities and specific location not all over the country as I understand. Though it has mild bitterness, it makes delicious dishes such as stirfry, curry, pickles & more..  We call it as Kanile in Kannada, which is known to be nutritionally rich and slightly heat to the body. So eating it in moderate level is good.
I made a creamy soup with it using milk about an year back or 2! Though it tasted good & liked by me & my husband, somehow combination of milk + salt and bamboo shoot did not sound good to me as I am a follower of Ayurvedic lifestyle to some extent! So preparing it with coconut milk & making it vegan was in my to-do for long time. Hurray, did it and it was a big hit at home!
You can make it with precooked bamboo shoot or fresh, I did with fresh one as I have a bamboo bush in my garden and it produces sprouts as & when needed.. Sounds funny!? Ha ha, that is when we water the plant! I have not tried with salted!
Refer Process of Cleaning & cooking freshbamboo shoot for getting precooked bamboo shoot! Find Extracting coconut milk post here!

Vegan creamy bamboo shoot soup

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3
Ingredients:
Bamboo shoot – 1 small/ 1 cup roughly chopped pieces
Fresh/ canned coconut milk – 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Pepper – ½ tsp, adjust to required spice level
Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
White rice – 2 tbsp
Sugar – 1-2 tsp
Corn flour – 1 tsp (optional)
Chilli flakes - for garnishing

Method:
  • Clean bamboo shoots by removing outer hairy skins (if using fresh) & remove and discard hard nodes.. Chop roughly or slice thinly & boil with water well for 2 times and discard boiled water (I follow this procedure which helps in reducing bitterness). Check my post Process of Cleaning& cooking fresh bamboo shoot for details.
  • Now take the above boiled bamboo shoot in a vessel with enough water to cover & cook. Add 2 tbsp washed rice to it. You can use a pressure cooker to cook as well. I cooked in a pressure cooker.
  • Cook for 3 whistles if using pressure cooker. It will take 20 minutes to cook if using a open vessel to cook till soft.
  • Allow cooling.
  • Meanwhile, extract coconut milk if making it from the scratch or keep it ready.
  • When bamboo shoot is cooled & ready, take out few slices (6-7) for garnishing and take remaining in a mixer jar. Add little water or coconut milk and blend to make smooth paste.
  • Take this ground kanile/ bamboo sprout paste in a thick bottomed vessel or pan. Add salt, ground pepper (powder), cumin powder, Sugar and bring to boil.
  • Add coconut milk Boil well. If soup looks very thin, then add a tsp corn flour in 2 tbsp water, dissolve and add to boiling soup.
  • Switch off on boiling.
  • Garnish with chilli flakes & reserved slices of bamboo shoots and serve hot soup.
bamboo shoot / Kanile

Notes:
  • You can add milk instead coconut milk, I prefer coconut milk.
  • You can add your choice of spices/ herbs such as Italian seasoning of mixed herbs.
  • Instead of rice, you can use rice flour dissolved in water while boiling soup. You can avoid corn flour in this case.
  • This soup has mild bitterness in taste, still it tastes great.. 
Kanile coconut milk soup

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Huliyallina kadubu/ Wheat flour dumplings in sambhar/ Huli Kadubu

Huliyallina kadubu// Huli kadubu is North Karnataka version of Gujarathi Dal Dokla! The recipe is similar to that of Menthe Kadubu, which needs a lengthy process, yet it is worth trying for the taste. Menthe kadubu is wheat flour dumpling in fenugreek leaves stirfry, & this one is in dal gravy (sambhar).
This was introduced to me by my friend who hails from Raichur. This dish is made as main course for dinner and usually a great makeover of leftover sambhar too!. With a soupy consistency it works best as filling evening snack! It is a protein rich food as main ingredient goes in this is Tur dal or split pigeon pea lentils.
This dish was in my to–do list for a long time and made this today and posting it!

Huliyallina kadubu

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Tur dal – ¾ cup
Wheat flour – ¼ cup
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Sambhar powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Tamarind extract – 1 tsp
Jaggery (grated) – 2 tsp, adjust to taste
Salt to taste
Cumin – ½ tsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Garlic – 4 cloves (optional)

Method:
  • Wash tur dal clean and cook by adding 2 glasses of water in a pressure cooker. It should be cooked very soft & 5-6 whistles are needed. Once done, switch off the stove and keep the cooker aside.
  • Meanwhile, make soft chapathi dough with the wheat flour, salt and water as required. You can add little chilli powder in this as well (optional).
  • Divide the dough into 2 balls, roll to make rotis thicker than regular chapathi. Cut into diamond shaped pieces using a sharp knife.
  • Peel off garlic and mince very fine, garlic is again an optional ingredient.
  • Open the cooker when pressure is released and mash the cooked dal very well. You can use a hand blender for this as well.
  • Now heat a pan or thick bottomed vessel with cooking oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin and minced garlic. On spluttering, add cleaned curry leaves and asafoetida/ hing.
  • Add mashed dal, salt, tamarind extract, jaggery, turmeric powder, chilli powder and Sambhar powder.  Add water to get the thinner consistency as it thickens as it boils.
  • When it starts boiling, add cut pieces of wheat flour dough little by little at a time. Stir once when you add the dumpling, this is just to avoid sticking one to another. Finish off all the dumplings this way.
  • Boil this in low flame for 10 minutes. Adjust the consistency to that of thick soup consistency by adding water. Switch off the stove when it is done, that is raw smell of the wheat flour dumpling is completely gone.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve this hot.
Wheat flour dumplings in sambhar
Notes:

  • Instead of diamond shaped dumplings, you can also make small balls of wheat dough and use in this.
  • Garlic is not generally used in the original recipe.
  • While dropping the wheat dumplings into the gravy, please don’t do all at once which will end up in a single mass.
  • This tastes good when hot/ warm.
  • As time passes, the Huli/ sambhar turns thicker and even it will turn into solid state.
  • You can add tomatoes in the dal as well.
Huli Kadubu

Friday, 1 November 2019

Blue Rice/ Blue butterfly pea flower Rice/ Lemon grass flavored Nasi Kerabu


Blue butterfly pea flower Rice

Blue pea, Butterfly pea, Asian pigeon wings are all the common names of this beautiful wild flower scientifically known as Clitoria ternatea (credit: Wikipedia). Shankapushpa as we call in Kannada, Aparajita (hindi), Karnika (Sanskrit) is an Ayurvedic herb grown majorly as garden show plant for its beautiful flowers in various colors (dark blue, which, sky blue, purple…) and variety such as multi petal & single petal. It is known as brain tonic as it has memory enhancing, antidepressant, and tranquilizing properties*.

butterfly pea flower

These flowers are offered to god in India. In many Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, this flower is being used highly in cooking as natural food coloring to get that blue/ purple color in rice and various drinks. In eastern Malaysia, this exotic blue rice called as Nasi Kerabu is prepared by adding few flowers of blue butterfly pea plant while cooking rice and served with side dishes (Chicken, fish & salads). As it does not have a specific taste except mild earthy scent, it can be paired with any side dish. Check here for Blue tea recipe which I have posted earlier. Now let us see how to make lemon grass flavored blue rice.

Lemon grass flavored Nasi Kerabu

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Rice – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups, as required to cook your regular rice
Fresh blue butterfly pea flowers – 10 – 12, I haven’t tried with dried ones
Lemon grass stem – 3 inches (optional)

Method:
  • Wash rice and drain water completely.  Take it in the pressure cooker.
  • Clean lemon grass stem that is the thick white part at the base removing leaves. Wash and cut into 1 inch long pieces. Add to the cooker having rice.
  • Wash blue shankapushpa flowers and add to the cooker.
  • Add water as required. Cook rice for 3 whistles.
  • When pressure is released your blue rice is ready to be served. You can keep the cooked flowers & lemon grass shoot pieces aside while eating!
Shankapushpa Blue rice


Note:
  • *Important: Please consult an Ayurvedic practitional before consuming this flower as medicine or giving regularly to small children!
  • Optionally, you can add salt to taste while making this rice.
  • Lemon grass is optional here, which is just for the flavour as butterfly pea flower has not any specific taste!


Blue Rice