February 8, 2014

Quick and Easy, Colorful Bell Pepper Mix !!!

Diets are really hard. First it restricts so many ingredients and then you come to know that there are very little food dishes that you can really eat if you want to follow this diet. :). And I really wanted to follow this diet I did last year. I guess this was my first diet program ever and I was really excited.




I was on a non-grain diet and non-grain means you cannot have rotis. So apart from salads, I usually had moong daal cheelas as a replacement to rotis. But moong daal cheela did not taste good with various sabjis and hence I used to prepare and mix, quick and dry vegetable saute, make my cheelas and then have meal. This sabji of different capsicums tasted really well with cheelas and it made my meals more satiating during that diet.

Ingredients:


Serves 2

Bell Pepper - I used 4 colored bell peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange, Green), diced, 1 and 1\2 cup
Onion - diced, 2 tbsp
Tomatoes - chopped, 2 tbsp
Potatoes - 1 medium sized, cooked in microwave for 2-3 minutes, peeled and diced
Chopped fresh Coriander\Cilantro - 1 tbsp.
Cumin and Mustard  - Each 1 tsp seeds for tempering
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp or as per taste
Sugar - Pinch to taste (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tsp



Method:


1. Mix and microwave chopped capsicum for 3-5 minutes, to semi-cook it.. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, When they splutter add cumin seeds. Now add chopped onions. Saute for a minute or two.

2. Now add the capsicum, potato, tomato and mix. Add salt, garam masala, red chili powder, sugar and mix again.Cook untill capsicums are soft but not soggy.

3. Adjust masalas and top with chopped coriander. Serve hot with plain Roti or plain Paratha.


Tips:


  • Make this sabji right before you are going to have your meal. 
  • It will only taste better when you have at least 3 different kinds of bell peppers. The colors also add to its nutrition and presentation.

January 5, 2014

Veg Kathi \ Kati Roll \ Veg Frankie and an inspirational INKtalk by an young entrepreneur


In our recent trip to Vancouver, CA, we discovered a new Chat place in Surrey; Apna Chaat. For all Indian food lovers, this place is a must visit. How did I miss it in these many years :(... I just felt like I am sitting at some chaat place in India, which had an amazing mouth watering menu and an ambiance that would take you to that chaat wala in your gali back in India which always was busy. What we decided to order was Kati roll and Samosa chaat

Kati roll is a popular street food in India. Especially, they are tangy, healthy and make a good meal. Before writing down this recipe I did not know that they originated from Kolkata, a renowned city in West India. In some parts this is often called as "Frankie". Kati rolls are roti (Indian flat bread) wraps. After making them, I feel they are perfect for to goes, lunch boxes or one day trips.

I saw a variety of versions of kati rolls, You can find variations in the way people make rotis and the way fillings are made. Especially you can be so creative when you prepare fillings. You can make it protein rich by using ingredients like scrambled paneer\tofu\cheese. You can make Chinese version by using noddles and vegetables saute as a filling. Or you can sure stick to the vegetarian classic version, which I am going to write about.

Ingredients:

For Rotis:

Maida\All purpose flour - 3\4 th cup
Wheat flour - 1\4th cup
Water to knead the dough
Salt as per taste
Maida for dusting

For Filling:

Potatoes - 2 medium sized, boiled and mashed
Green bell pepper - julienned, 1\2 cup
Carrot - julienned, 1\2 cup
Onion - julienned, 1\2 cup  
Ginger - grated, 2 tsp
Tomatoes - chopped, 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - finely chopped, 2 tsp
Cumin-Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Dry Mango powder - 2 tsp
Chopped fresh Coriander\Cilantro - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tsp, to saute the veggies

Green Chutney: This is a standard cilantro green chutney. Refer this recipe if you have never made it at home. You will require green chutney to spread it on the roti.

Tamarind\ Imli chutney - this is optional. I had it ready at home and so I used it. Recipe.


Method:

For Roti:

1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients for roti except water. Add water gradually as you knead the dough. This dough is little firm than the pizza dough or its same as the regular wheat "chapati" or "roti" dough. Once dough is done, cover it and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

2. Now, once the dough is resting enough, you will see it has become soft and smooth. Knead the dough again. Now divide the dough into the small balls , usually this much dough can make 6 balls. 

3. Now start heating a griddle on medium heat. Take each ball, cover it with the dry all purpose flour on both sides and using a roller pin, roll it into a roti of about 6-8" diameter. Use the dry flour as required to while rolling. 

4. Once done, put the roti on the griddle, allow it to cook a little from one side and turn it when you see 1-2 red spots. Let it cook nicely from other side. Now remove the griddle and turn the roti and place it over flame so that the first side is down. Let the roti rise and then remove it form the stove. If you do not have a stove, you can turn the roti back on the griddle itself and with the help of a cloth, press it all over.
Make remaining rotis and store them.




For Filling:

1. Put oil in a pan and heat it on a medium heat. Once oil is heated add cumin seeds, chopped green chilies, ginger; saute and then add onion, bell pepper, carrots. 

2, Saute for a minute. You do not want to loose vegetable crunch so make sure you do not overcook them in the process.

3. Add, masala powders, salt sugar, lemon juice and mix well. Now add potatoes and tomatoes. Mix again and make sure potato and veggies are evenly distributed in the filling. Cover for a minute, taste and adjust masalas. Add chopped coriander and turn off the stove.

Making kathi rolls:

1.Take one roti and spread green chutney on it, leaving some place on one side. Put 1 tbsp filling length wise, perpendicular to the space left without chutney. Do not put filling as well on this place. Put some tamarind chutney on top of the mixture.

2. Now, first fold the side that was left, The fold in one side parallel to the length wise mixture and then fold in the other side. 

3. Spread butter on the roll form all sides and make it crispy brown before serving. 

Tips:

  • Rotis can be made ahead of the time. Keep them partial cooked and cook them again before actually using them.
  • We already discussed the variations we can have for the filling.
  • Next, I am going to try the ready-made tortillas, instead of making rotis..


Inspirational INKtalk

And here is a must watch for all who Think a lot before doing anything. This video tell you what happens when you think a lot at situations where its not required. Let me know your views.

January 1, 2014

Running out of options for breakfast - try this, "Sevai Upma" (Vermicelli Mix)

Sevai is a tricky item to work with. I had about 4-5 failed attempts of Sevai upma before I could make it right. This is usually a rare dish people make, at least I have not seen people make Sevai upma as frequently they do Poha or regular Upma for breakfast. This, therefore makes, a good dish for guests too. The only tricky part is how much water you put when you cook Sevai upma and the lesson I learnt is to start with small amounts or try the microwave version of cooking it.

Ingredients:

Thin Vermicelli \ Sevai - 2 cups
Chopped Onion - 1\2 cup
Frozen Peas - 1\2 cup
Green chillies - either slit or in a paste form, as per taste
Roasted Peanuts - whole or crushed
Salt per taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 3\4
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Chopped Coriander

Method:

1. Put vermicelli in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 tsp oil to it and mix it so that all sevai is greased. Microwave this for 1-2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds. Stop when you see the sevai getting red. Add 1\2 cup water to this bowl and then continue cooking. You will require 2-3 minutes for the vermicelli to be cooked. Add water if necessary. Eat a little sevai to check if its cooked.

2. Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds. When they splutter add cumin seeds and curry leaved. Add chopped onion and saute till onion turns translucent. Add turmeric powder, green chilly paste\slit, peanuts (whole\crushed), salt, sugar and mix well.



3. Now add cooked vermicelli and mix again delicately, making sure everything mixes well. Adjust salt, sugar to taste. Cover for 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Tips:

You can also add roasted split chana daal when sauteing onion, for that extra and different flavor.
Additional veggies of your choice will add colors and nutrition.

September 8, 2013

Home made Burrito Bowl \ Burrito

I love Chipotle Burrito bowls and I bet everyone does. I think I should thank Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle for coming up with such a simple and nutrition packed recipes that taste good too.
I typically do not like Mexican food, reason being most of the restaurants make dishes with lots of cheese, making them soggy and hard to eat. ( Or may be I have visited wrong restaurants ;)). Burritos are exception to it. They are quick, easy and clean and that's why I prefer making them at home as well.
 
Below recipe is the outcome of my visits to Chipotle and there informative website.

Ingredients:

Salsa - I prepared Tomato based salsa at home. Generally you get lot many varieties in the market. You can prefer whatever you like, the spice levels of these are different and hence having a different variety each time you prepare burritos add a new flavor. Here is the recipe of the salsa I made:

Heat some oil in a skillet, when warm, add chopped onions and sauté. Add chopped tomatoes (more in quantity than onion) to it. Then add chopped red\green bell peppers. Add red chili powder, salt, little cumin -coriander powder, lemon juice, chopped cilantro and cook for 2 minutes.
You can adjust the spice level as per your desired taste. Other optional ingredients are chopped jalapenos, corn etc.




Lemon + Coriander Rice - No special type of rice. I used basmati, as that's the one which is always available in my kitchen. You have 2 options either cook rice in rice cooker, or in a microwave or any other method that you prefer. The rice should not be sticky, the more the grains are separate it better. Once done, add chopped cilantro and lime juice to the rice.

Black Beans - Get any canned black beans. Vegetarian folks should make sure you read ingredients.

Vegetables- Fresh, sliced green bell peppers and red onion sautéed in a touch of oil with oregano. Sauté only until bright and slightly crisp.

Cheese - I am not expert in cheese and hence I just preferred a readymade shredded Mexican cheese blend that is usually available in stores like Fred Meyer or Target. If not, you can very well use shredded Jack and Cheddar cheese.
 
Sour Cream - Buy this from any food store.

Guacamole - only if you like :)

Lettuce - Fresh and chopped Romaine Lettuce, adds crunchiness and freshness to Burrito.



Method:

Basically everyone who has visited Mexican restaurants like Chipotle knows how to make a burrito bowl. But I would still have a one liner here :)

In a bowl, take rice, spread beans on top of it, add vegetables, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, cheese. Mix well before you eat. 

Tips:

  • Health Tip: Use brown rice instead of white. Brown rice contains more fiber than white.
  • Health Tip: Go for a reduced fat or non-fat version of sour cream if you are weight conscious.
  • Make Burrito, by wrapping this all in a corn tortilla.
 

February 4, 2013

All I wanted to know about Antioxidants!

I been upto a lot of things lately and definitely this is not the post I want to resume my writing with.
I was reading about Green Teas (as I have started drinking it instead of regular tea) and that directed me to read about antioxidants. This topic, like many others, had always been dwelling in my mind but its just today that it surfaced and I thought this is good to write about.

I want to write down about it in the language that I can clearly remember and explain others.

What is oxidation:

What I knew - Rusting of iron or a peeled apple turning red is related to oxidation. So definitely oxidation is a chemical reaction, that is related to oxygen (as the name suggests) and could be slower or a faster process. Definitely it is not good as nobody likes a rusted iron or a peeled apple that had turned red. :)

What I learnt - Oxidation never occurs on a painted iron object or not on the Apple that has skin, which means, it occurs when some kind of cells\molecules come in contact with oxygen. As we know any burning process requires Oxygen and so does the food (glucose) in our body requires oxygen to ignite itself and generate energy that body requires for functioning. We also burn the energy resulting into heat that can damage cells. This process is nothing but oxidation.
The damaging of the cells actually occurs because of the electrons that are generated during these reactions of molecules and oxygen. These free electrons are also called as free radicals.

Prolonged damaging of cells can cause serious injuries.
 
Effects of Oxidation:

What I knew - Nothing

What surprised me - As the oxidation\burning can occur anywhere in the body, the effects could also been at any place or of any kind. Here is the list which is literally shocking and if we correctly know how tackle the oxidation we can at least eliminate a good chance of these disease ever happening and lead a healthy life. (source- http://www3.amherst.edu/~dmirwin/Reports/BetterHealth.htm)
  • Deterioration of the eyes, which contributes to blindness.
  • Inflammation of the joints (rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Damage to nerve cells in the brain.                   
  • Acceleration of the ageing process.
  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease, since free radicals encourage low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to adhere to artery walls.
  • Certain cancers, triggered by damaged cell DNA.

What are antioxidants ("free radical scavengers"):

What I knew - I should eat antioxidants like berries to have healthy life.
 
What I learnt - These are the chemicals that are responsible for removing the free radicals that cause disease. Many vitamins act as antioxidants. Antioxidant supplements do not work as well as the natural sources of them found in vegetables, fruits, etc.
Antioxidants block the process of oxidation by neutralizing free radicals and themselves become oxidized. That is why there is a constant need to replenish our antioxidant resources.
 
Sources of antioxidants:
 
Type
Source
Allium sulphur compounds
Leeks, onions and garlic.
Anthocyanin
Eggplant, grapes and berries.
Catechins
Red wine and Tea.
Cryptoxanthins
Red capsicum, pumpkin and mangoes.
Flavonoids
Tea, green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples.
Indoles
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Isoflavonoids
Soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas and milk.
Lignans
Sesame seeds, bran, whole grains and vegetables.
Lutein
Leafy greens like spinach, and corn.
Lycopene
Tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.
Polyphenols
Thyme and oregano. Grapes, all berries
Beta carotene
Pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley.
Vitamin C
Oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum and strawberries.
Vitamin E
Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ oil), avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Copper *
Seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
Selenium *
Seafood, offal, lean meat and whole grains.
Manganese *
Seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
Zinc *
Seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.

* Need only in small amounts.
 
  • Know it right and do it right !