Here is a cool way to give your body what it needs: Toss a few specific, nutrient-dense ingredients in a blender, press “high”, pour into a glass and drink up. Bona fide smoothies, that flower the early health food movement, are a far cry form today’s heavily sweetened concoctions that certain coffee shops have popularized. Resurrect the original smoothie concept and stay satisfied for hours -using rediscovered “superfoods” like anti-oxidant rich cocoa powder or protein-and omega laden chia or hemp seeds.
This every day protein smoothie is not-too-sweet yet satiating and rich in anti-oxidants. Use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond / cashew / coconut or soy milk. Blend it with a well ripe fresh banana and handful of berries. Add whey protein powder for extra punch and chia or hemp seeds for healthy fats.
Berrylicious Power Smoothie
Everyday breakfast smoothie!
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 fresh or frozen ripe banana
1/2 cup your favorite berries
1 serving of Whey protein powder
1 tbsp chia or hemp seeds or both
1 date soaked in water overnight (for more sweetness, optional) or 1 tbsp Honey
In a blender combine all ingredients and blend on high.
Enjoy your vegan power packed breakfast smoothie!
Tadka, Phodani, bhagar, vaghar, chaunk or tempering or seasoning, we may call it by different names but we all agree that it’s one of the greatest inventions of Indian Cooking! A method that’s widely used in Indian Cooking and the only ubiquitous ingredient in many of our traditional dishes from North to South and East to West.
A simple method in which whole or ground spices – such as mustard seeds, cumin and coriander with some hing and turmeric are added to hot oil or ghee. The heated oil or ghee has amazing qualities of extracting and retaining vital nutrients from the added ingredients, the same technique being used since ages for making Ayurvedic oils and medicated ghees.
The hot oil or ghee infused with the aromas of whole spices is so magical that it can elevate any basic ingredient, including as humble as a leftover roti or poli in Marathi. And what you get is a popular Maharashtrian dish; extremely tasty, super easy and a perfect healthy breakfast item that pairs nicely with a cup of chai or bowlful of fresh yogurt.
It tastes best with leftover rotis as they tend to absorb oil more easily due to their extra dryness. A simple tadka with standard ingredients and curry leaves with some characteristic Maharashtrian ingredients such as peanuts and dry coconut flakes and sesame seeds, the dish provides enough oil to digest the dry rotis with extra yum factor! The peanuts can be substituted by fresh green peas, they add a hint of sweetness and a beautiful green color. But I prefer the nuttiness of roasted peanuts.
A magical makeover for leftover rotis - takes no more than 15 minutes. Quick, tasty, easy and healthy - perfect for breakfast!
- Grind all rotis coarsely. It's best done with your hands.
- In a medium pan, prepare tadka by adding all ingredients listed under tadka in the given order.
- Add finely chopped onion and fry it until it becomes translucent.
- Add roasted peanuts or green peas and let them fry for a minute.
- Add red chili powder, cumin-corainder powder (optional) dry coconut flakes, and salt. Mix well.
- Now add roti flakes, mix everything together and let it steam for 2 minutes.
- Add sugar and lemon juice and again steam it for another 2 minutes.
- Serve hot! Garnish with fine shev or chopped coriander leaves.
Healthy yummy fasting snack, which is quite a rare combination!
Sweet Potatoes or रताळे (Ratale in Marathi) are in season and I absolutely adore this root vegetable. I am so glad that it’s allowed during fasting. Steamed sweet potato with a pinch of salt and sunth (dried ginger) was my favorite after school snack.
Unfortunately my husband is not a great fan of sweet potato so I don’t make it that often but this time I experimented with a basic muthiya recipe and turned it into muthiya that can work during fasting. I used sweet potato with chestnut flour (शिंगाडा पीठ) and rajgira flour, added fresh ginger, lime juice and some cumin powder. The result was yummy healthy snack which I am extremely proud of!
They taste sweetish, tangy, hot with lost of gingery flavor. Singoda and rajgira flavors are very subtle. The seasoning is a must, it takes the dish to a whole new level.
Sweet Potato Muthiya
Healthy yummy fasting snack, which is quite a rare combination 🙂
- Start by washing, peeling and grating sweet potatoes.
- Add salt, lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, cumin-coriander powder and a bit of jaggery or sugar to grated sweet potatoes and mix well. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Now start adding both the flours 1/3 cup at a time. Mix well to form a dough. You won't need any water as sweet potatoes will leave out all the moisture. Add flour as needed to make not-so-thick dough.
- Add green chilies and mix well. Taste it.
- Prepare a steamer pan.
- Make muthiya - by pressing the dough in your palms to give it a cylindrical shape. Place these in the steamer and let them steam for about 15 minutes. Check with a sharp knife.
- Let them cool down a bit, before you slice them.
- If you are using these for fast, prepare seasoning with ghee and cumin seeds, else you can add mustard seeds, curry leaves and sesame seeds. Add sliced muthiya and shallow fry them on both side.
- Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sauce.
A Diet Friendly Recipe
Moist and fluffy inside; golden crispy outside; the Muthiya make a perfect pairing with a cup of tea! ‘Muthi’ means fist in Gujarati and it’s called Muthiya because the dough is turned into cylindrical shape using fist.
Made with whole wheat flour and grated dudhi with very little oil, since the dough is steamed and then sauted in a typical Indian tempering, this dish is perfect for those who are on a “diet”.
I love Spinach and Cilantro in my Muthiya, it adds moisture and flavor and color. So I actually made Dudhi Palak (Spinach) Muthiya but Spinach is completely optional.
Dudhi Na Muthiya
A Diet Friendly Recipe
It might look like a big list of ingredients but almost everything is straight from your pantry so it does not much time to prepare it.
- Wash and peel bottle gourd and grate it. Squeeze out excess water in a separate bowl. We can use it if needed.
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together and knead to make soft dough by adding water if required. You can also use the juice we just squeezed from the grated dudhi. Also add 1 tsp of oil and knead again.
- Now divide it in 3-4 parts. Apply some oil to your palms and using your fists shape it in cylindrical rolls.
- Place these rolls in a steamer and let it steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once done, remove from the steamer, let it cool slightly. Then cut it into equal sized small pieces.
- If you want to make tempering, in a frying pan, heat some oil.
- Add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Add the pieces and saute on a medium flame for a few minutes.
- Serve hot!
There are times when we eat to find a feeling beyond fullness. We eat looking for a feeling of joy, a momentary salve for sore spirits, a feeling of goodness. At times like these, we usually turn to what we call “comfort food”. वरण भात (Varan Bhaat), rice and dal in its simplest cooked form rates high on my list of “comfort foods”. Then comes the khichadi and my all time favorite – थालीपीठ (Thalipeeth) with metkut and yogurt!
It’s a very common and very typical Maharashtrian recipe and it’s speciality is that it’s a perfect menu for morning, noon or night. It’s made with a flour mixture which is called भाजणी or Bhajani. It’s actually a grounded mixture of whole grains like whole wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, urad dal, chana dal and cumin and coriander seeds. “Bhajane” in Marathi translates to dry roast in English. The whole grains are first dry roasted in a pan and hence the name – “bhajani” and then are ground together to form fine flour which can be stored for months. You can think of it as an instant mix.
It takes less than 10 minutes to make actual thalipeeth if you have the mix ready.
Hearty pancakes, super quick and super healthy, loaded with healthy carbs and fibre!
If your bhajani mix contains salt and red chili powder, feel free to adjust the amounts accordingly. Ajwain seeds, fennel seeds and sesame seeds are totally optional but they do add more flavor to every bite. Cilantro and onion help make thalipeeth moist but they are optional too. And same is the case with ginger-galric-chili paste., it's for added flavor. If your bhajani doesn't contain cumin and coriander seeds, you can add 1 table spoon of cumin-coriander powder.
Now the more interesting part - It's just 4 step process - mix everything, put it on a pan, cook and eat with butter! I am getting too excited, I know!
- Finely chop your onion and cilantro.
- In a medium bowl, mix everything together except for oil and water.
- Mix in water gradually to form a firm dough. Taste it and adjust salt to your taste.
- Use a little bit oil to knead the dough and mix it together. No real kneading is needed.
- Heat a tawa / flat skillet on a medium heat.
- Take handful of dough and press it down with your fingers to to roll it out like a pancake, around 1/2 inch thick. Be careful with your hand if the skillet is hot.
- If it feels sticky, use some water.
- Make three to four holes in it and add few drops of oil in each hole. Also add a few drop surrounding the thalipeeth.
- Cover it with a lid and let it cook for 5-6 minutes until you hear crackling sound.
- Turn it over and let it cook again for 3-4 minutes.
- Wipe the skillet with a wet towel before making the next one.
Serve it hot with yogurt and pickle or chutney. By the way, homemade butter is a must!
I like it with metkut mixed with yogurt and topped with talnachi mirchi! Yum!
This is my entry to Jagruti’s Pancake Day celebration.
तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला!
Makar Sankranti, marks the transition (Sankraman) of the Sun into Capricorn (Makar) rashi on its celestial path. Traditionally this has been one of many harvest seasons in India and being agriculture based community, harvest season and festivals always go hand in hand. Known by different names, it’s celebrated all over India.
In Maharashtra, we celebrate it by exchanging til-gul laddoo and halwa as token of goodwill and we fondly say “तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला” which means “Savor this sweet Til-Gul and may the sweetness fill your thoughts and speech”. The Til-Gul literally translates to Sesame Seeds and Jaggery. The laddoos or wadis made with jaggery, sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut not only taste good but also provide the essential oils needed in cold, dry winter days.
Even though I have made tilgul at home, Makar Sankranti doesn’t seem the same anymore. It’s just not in the air. In my school, everyone would get tilgul and halwa from home and there would be so much variety with these simple ingredients – different shapes, sizes, softness. But I always thought my mom makes the best tilgul; soft, easy to bite which melts in your mouth.
The other best part of Sankranti was Puranpoli and that makes me really nostalgic. For now here is the recipe for TilGul
Til Gul / Tilachya Wadya
Sesame Seeds, peanuts, coconut and jaggery. You can't go wrong with these.
- Roast all sesame seeds in a deep bottom skillet or kadhai, till they start changing their color. Do not get them too brown.
- Similarly, roast the peanuts. And grind them, but not into a fine powder. Crunchy pieces always taste better.
- Also roast the shredded dry coconut slightly. It takes almost no time if the skillet it already hot.
- When sesame seeds are cool enough to handle, grind them.
- In a saucepan or kadhai, take 1-2 table spoons of Ghee and add jaggery. Let it melt completely. Reduce the heat.
- Now add ground sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut and mix well until everything comes together.
- Grease a big plat with some Ghee and spread the mixture onto the plate evenly.
- While it's still hot, mark the lines with a sharp knife and let it cool down.
- Separate the wadis when completely cooled down.
- If you want to make hard wadis like Chikki, use the special Chikki Jaggery. Also when it melts, put a drop of melted jaggery in a cup of cold water, if it forms a firm ball the jaggery syrup is done. This will make hard candies.
- You can also substitute jaggery with sugar but it does not taste the same.
Wish you all a wonderful Makar Sankranti and may it bring warmth and lots of happiness in your life!
[Update] A healthy snack that can be packed and stored for a while, sending it to Kid’s Delight – Back to Hostel special event started by Srivalli
Tofu and I share a strange relation. Whenever I see it in a store I feel inspired to use it in some recipe interesting recipe and a thought of having protein rich food encourage me to buy a packet but then it sits in my refrigerator until I start reminding myself to use in a recipe and finally it ends up in some Thai Curry with other vegetables.
When my friends came over for coffee (without any prior notice) I had noting to offer except for coffee. It was pouring outside and I was thinking of batata wada but deep frying and again cleaning that mess was too much of work … When I saw tofu in the fridge it reminded me of this super simple recipe I had seen on my favorite show. This was enough reason to try it out.
The original recipe makes dry stir fry with just some seasoning and no vegetables,I changed it to add some basil leaves and more sauce.
Super quick recipe to enjoy the amazing benefits of Soy!
- Drain liquid from Tofu package, cut it into larger pieces and press out excess liquid.
- Cut it into bite sized pieces.
- In a non-stick skillet, heat some oil.
- Add finely chopped garlic and green chilis. (Is you are using Chili sauce skip green chilis). Also add onions.
- Add a pinch of salt and stir fry it for 15-20 seconds on medium heat. Make sure that garlic doesn't burn.
- Add cut tofu and stir fry again for a minute or so.
- Now add soy sauce and tomato chili sauce, sugar and black pepper. Toss it for a minute and allow it to thicken and coat tofu pieces.
- Add basil leaves and if seasoning is fine, take it out.
- Serve it hot.
- Strain out the liquid completely.
- If you have time, pound garlic, green chilis and spring onions together with a pinch of salt and use it as a sauce.
- Deep frying tofu will add extra depth.
When I saw a small red pumpkin in farmer’s market, it reminded me of my childhood. My gradma (aajji) used to make gharage (घारगे) and dhapate (धपाटे). I used to love eating gharage after coming home from school. ‘Gharga’ is a sweet pumpkin puri and of couse a deep fried puri. Dhapata on the other hand, is a savory version and it’s not deep fried, so it’s more like a paratha or thepla.
It must be healthy as there is nothing unhealthy – either ingredients or the process. Give it a shot.
Red Pumpkin Paratha / Thepla
Easy to make, no special ingredients and no much preparation.
- Cut pumpin into big pieces, wash it nicely and also remove the center part that might contain seeds,
- Steam these big pieces for 5-8 minutes, until the pumpkin becomes tender.
- Meanwhile, cut green chilis and garlic into fine pieces. Grate some ginger.
- Once steamed, let it cool. Rinse it with cold water to quicken the process.
- Smash it with hands and make sure there are no lumps.
- Add finely chopped chilis, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar, turmeric and all the seeds.
- You can also cilantro but it's optional.
- Add whole wheat flour and besan gradually and prepare dough. Pumpkin should have enough water so add water only if needed.
- If the dough feels very sticky, add more wheat flour but also adjust the amount of salt.
- Use some oil, to knead the dough.
- Now make small balls and roll it into small parathas, use wheat flour for dusting.
- Roast them lightly on a tawa using ghee.
- Ready to serve!
Holidays are here and so is the season of sweets and extra-calories. When my friends came over last night, I wanted to serve them a quick healthy dessert. I understand Healthy & Desserts can not fit into one sentence but this was an exception.
First of all it was a petite dessert made with ‘camouflaged’ greek yogurt mixed with homemade Blueberry compote and apple chunks. When it comes to dessert presentation is what matters the most, rightt?
So, here is how I did it.
There can be a healthy dessert!
- Whisk the Greek yogurt with Blueberry compote, add honey as per your taste.
- Add apple chunks ad mix well.
- Serve into small dessert glasses. Add a small dollop of cream at the bottom if you like.
- Garnish with your favorite berries.
We all know we should eat green leafy vegetables. And I am sure you have come across Kale Chips too. Are they easy to make? Yes and No. They are easy to make for the most part, but can easily be messed up.
When I first made Kale chips, I had no idea how Kale tastes. Its slight bitter taste does call for Indian touch like chaat masala or your favorite seasoning. If “green” and “leafy” do not strike a bell in your mind, here is why Kale is a clear winner when in comes to nutrition.
|Type of Green
Here is the 9 step recipe. Do read my tips for making crunchy chips.
Crunchy Kale Chips
Healthy and crunchy chips packed with vitamins!
- Separate the leaves, and wash them under running water.
- Dry the leaves throughly.
- Make sure the leaves are completely dry and have no moisture, especially the inner parts. Else go to step 2.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180C).
- Break the leaves in 3-4 inch pieces, discard the middle tough stem.
- In a small bowl, mix the seasoning, salt and Olive oil.
- Pour the mixture on top of the leaves and massage gently so that all leaves are coated with oil.
- Spread them over a baking sheet. You might have to do these in two batches.
- Bake them for 10-12 minutes, until they turn light brown.
- It goes without saying, use fresh Kale leaves.
- Dry Dry and Dry – After I wash the leaves, I spread them on paper towels and leave them near a window for couple of hours so that the moisture evaporates. Then I dab them with a kitchen towel. You can also use salad spinner if you have one. The moisture makes it hard for the oil to stick on the leaves and they don’t come out crunchy as you would like.
- Don’t use a lot of oil – it does not make the chips crunchier.
- Use the salt and seasoning sparingly – as you bake they reduce in volume so don’t overkill them with seasoning. You can always season them afterwards.
- Drizzle a few drops of lemon juice once the chips are cooled completely.