Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Pan leaves rasam/ Betel leaves stew

Betel leaf or pan leaf vine belongs to the family Piperaceae. These leaves have amazing health benefits of which people are unaware of generally! Other than having it in ‘paan’ after heavy lunch or offering to god during prayers or festivals, it has no major use in cooking. According to Ayurveda, pan leaves improve digestion and they are good remedies for respiratory issues too. Chewing wilted pan leaves with added honey or consuming the juice extracted after wilting these leaves with honey helps in curing cough or cold. They are rich in vitamins, iron, calcium and fibre. Hence good for constipation too!
Have you ever tried pan leaves in cooking? If so what is your favourite dish? They go well in desserts like kulfi/ ice cream or in rasam. I am sharing the recipe of rasam in this post which I suggest eating fresh after preparation. As time passes, it releases tartness/ bitter taste and it turns too strong to eat.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3

Tender betel leaves – 3-4 or if using matured leaves then use 1-2
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 6-8 seeds
Dry red chilli – 2
Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Asafotida – 1 pinch
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Tamarind extract – 1 tsp
Jaggery – 2 tsp grated
Salt – to taste
Tomatoes – 2 (optional)
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

  • Wash & clean betel leaves. Remove stalk & chop roughly..
  • Wash tomatoes, chop roughly if using. Take chopped tomatoes in a vessel; add water to cook the tomato. On boiling add salt, tamarind water, jaggery and turmeric powder. If not using tomatoes, then boil other ingredients together in water.
  • Meanwhile heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add coriander, cumin, fenugreek, dry red chilli and asafoetida. Fry for couple of minutes until they turn brown. Add chopped betel leaves fry until they are wilted properly.
  • Add grated fresh coconut to the above, sauté once and switch off the stove.
  • On cooling a bit, grind these fried ingredients using a mixer. Smooth or coarse paste is fine.
  • Add this paste to the vessel with boiling tomato. Adjust the consistency adding water as required. Boil the rasam for 4-5 minutes.
  • Prepare a seasoning of mustard, curry leaves in oil. Add it to the rasam.
  • Serve hot rasam as side dish to rice with some vegetables stir fries and ghee.
  • This rasam tastes good soon after preparing. Keeping long time is not suggested.
  • You can avoid betel leaves and replace it with 1 sprig of curry leaves to make regular saaru (also called as huridu haakida saaru or kattu saaru in Dakshina Kannada). Tomato is optional here too.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Cream of mushroom soup with coconut milk/ Vegan creamy mushroom soup

Ever since I tried my first soup made with coconut milk, I stopped using cow’s milk or cream in soups. The flavor of coconut milk blends so well in soup and it turns out to be super delicious. I made & posted vegan sweet corn soup & bamboo shoot soup earlier and now it is mushroom soup. It is very simple except only process of extracting coconut milk if you are a person of doing it from scratch like I do!
It is thick, creamy, rich & at the same time, flavorful. There are not too many ingredients used.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3
Button mushrooms – 100 grams
Thick Coconut milk – 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder- ¼ tsp, adjust to taste
Finely minced garlic – 1 tsp, or 4-5 cloves of garlic
Sugar/ jaggery – 1 tsp
Corn flour – 1 tsp
Cooking oil/ butter/ ghee – 2 tsp. Use oil if you need a vegan option

  • Wash mushrooms well in clean water. Discard thinly sliced portion of stalk base (normally that looks black).  Slice whole mushroom with a sharp knife or cut as desired. I normally peel outer skin of mushroom before cutting.
  • Peel off garlics and finely chop them & keep aside.
  • Extract coconut milk and keep that ready too.
  • Now heat oil/ butter in a thick bottomed vessel or pan. Add finely minced garlic. Fry until they turn brown.
  • Add chopped / sliced mushrooms and continue sautéing. Mushroom releases water. Continue to fry them until they turn tender, all water evaporates and mushrooms turn slightly brown.
  • Add salt and pepper powder.
  • When mushroom is properly cooked, add coconut milk. 1 tsp sugar/ jaggery.
  • Add 1 tsp corn flour dissolved in ½ cup water.
  • Bring this soup to boil.
  • Switch off and serve hot creamy soup.

  • You can make variations adding chopped onions along with garlic.
  • You can also add choice of herbs to this soup.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Dates Sesame Juice/ Ellu Kharjura milkshake

Why sesame in sankranti? 
Sesame/ til/ ellu, these tiny seeds are very rich in various nutrients including some of the rarely found micro nutrients. The benefits of which are often overlooked. Being rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre (important) and couple of essential fat, til is good for digestion, beneficial in maintenance of cholesterol level, colon health, heart and skin health too.. The rich iron content is good in treating anaemia.. It keeps us warm...Applying sesame oil on skin helps in reducing dryness in winter. 
As sankranti or pongal is the time of transition, and still falls in winter, the food habits to be followed is pro winter food.. As our digestive system is highly active during winter, it is suggested to consume food which is heavy, oil rich, carbohydrates & protein  rich too.. Recommended are protein rich lentils (dals), seeds rich in oil (peanuts, til, ..), nuts, dry fruits, rice, root vegetables like potato, yam, sweet potato which are rich in carbs.. 

So other than ellu- bella (mix of sesame, jaggery, peanuts, fried grams, dry coconut.. ) how can we consume this seed? We can make gravy or curry with sesame, top it on bread , add fried til in kheer or juice! Yes, you read it right. One can make very healthy juice which is perfect summer coolant. I was not knowing about it until my sister (Ayurvedic practitioner) introduced it to me last summer. Let us see the process of making this. I used here dates as sweetener.. It can be replaced by jaggery completely, original recipe has only jaggery.. 

Wish you all happy sankranti/ harvest festival.. 

white Sesame

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2
Sesame/ til/ ellu (white) – 2-3 tsp
Chilled milk – 1 glass
Cold Water – 1 glass
Dates – 6
Jaggery powder – 2 tsp (optional), add only if you need sweet milk
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch (optional)

  • Remove seeds of dates, wash and soak in little water or milk.
  • Wash sesame seeds using a tea sieve.
  • Now take the sesame seeds in a wet mixer jar and grind nicely adding little water as required. Strain using the sieve to extract its juice completely. Discard the residue. While doing this, add little water at a time.
  • Now take collected sesame juice in a mixer jar (juice making). Add dates and chilled milk, jaggery (if using) and cardamom powder. Blend well to make the milkshake.
  • Transfer to serving glass and serve chilled with added ice cubes. 
Dates Sesame Juice

  • I have used dates as sweetener and 1 tsp jaggery too as dates gives mild sweetness.
  • You can use dates syrup instead of soaked dates to make it simple.
  • Dates are not being used in traditional ellu juice. To make it, follow the same procedure except dates. Grind ellu & jaggery with water, filter. Mix milk and cardamom powder, serve.
Ellu juice

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Guava leaf green tea/ Seebe kudi kashaya

Digestive system disorders like stomach discomfort, indigestion, diarrhoea, acidity … are too common problems that everyone faces in life. It may be a post effect of over eating or eating outside frequently or in some cases microbial or even side effect of medication.
About 10 months back, my little daughter fell sick with vomiting and diarrhoea.  Without pre knowledge I just tried making simple tambuli of guava leaves and made her to eat it with little rice. It improved her condition in just one serving. Similarly it helped my mom to recover from similar issue too! Later from a cousin, I have learnt that tender guava leaves are greatest remedy for acidity/ gastritis related problems. Making tea is easier too.

Guava leaf green tea

Now, let us see how to make this tea!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1 cup

Tender guava leave – 4-5 tips
Water – 1 cup
  • Wash leaves cleans.
  • Keep one cup of water to boil.
  • Tear the cleaned leaves with fingers and add to the boiling water.
  • Boil for about 1 minute.
  • Strain and drink this tea as it is or with added sugar/ jaggery. I prefer without sweetener.
Guava leaf

  • Before trying any home remedy, please monitor the condition properly.
  • If the issue seems to be critical or existing for long time, then consult a physician.
  • When giving the tea for small kids/ toddlers, make with less than ¼ cup of water so that it is easy to make them drink.
  • Important note, do not add honey to any hot tea. Ayurveda suggests not to add honey to anything with temperature above room temperature!
Seebe kudi kashaya

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Mixed vegetable pepper korma/ Easy to make, no spicy vegetable gravy

Are you looking for a simple, less complicated side dish for chapathi or poori? Do you want to try a healthy side dish with no masala or spices & no onion – no garlic dish? Here is an answer. This is too comfort dish for your tummy as there is not any strong spice or flavour except very mild pepper flavour! Your child will also enjoy this dish with rich creamy coconut gravy combined boiled vegetables. This can be made quickly as no complicated procedure too. You call it sagu/ korma or kootu, but it is a delicious combination to chapathi/ poori. Now, let us see the recipe!

Mixed vegetable pepper korma

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3
Chopped mixed vegetables of choice – 1 cup, I used carrot, beans, knol khol, tomato
Fresh peas/ togari/ avarekalu – ¼ cup, you can use soaked dry peas as well
Fresh grated coconut – ½ cup
Pepper corns – 10 , adjust according to required spice level
Salt - 1 tsp, to taste
Oil – 1 tsp (I used coconut oil)
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dry red chilli - 1

Wash and chop vegetables into small pieces.
Wash peas/ hyacinth beans and boil with chopped vegetables with water and salt. Cook until soft. You can use pressure cooker to cook these vegetables.
Meanwhile, grate coconut. Grind with pepper corns to make smooth paste.
Add this coconut paste to the cooked vegetables. Boil well.
Prepare a seasoning of oil, mustard, cut dry red chilli and curry leaves. On sputtering, add to the curry.
Serve with chapathi or poori.

Easy to make, no spicy vegetable gravy

You can use your choice of vegetables.
If you like mildly spiced gravy, then you can add small piece of cinnamon & 3 cloves while grinding coconut.

Vegetable gravy