Everyone around me seems to be fighting allergies these days. The culprit? Climate Change! Warmer, drier air is prompting trees to release their offending pollen prematurely. Stay sniffle free with this nutrition packed treat – zucchini bread with cranberries and walnuts!
This was a complete surprise. I was under the impression that zucchini bread was a mere attempt to hide veggies inside a sweet treat without adding anything to the flavor. But that’s not really true. After first bite, I was sold; partly because I had pretty low expectations and also because it does taste yum!Addition of cranberries and walnuts contributed a whole new dimension to otherwise chewy one-tone bread. So I totally recommend adding nuts and dried fruits of your choice.
Vitamin C, anti-oxidants and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids from the 3 key ingredients will definitely help you build your defenses against the seasonal allergies. That’s how I convinced my husband to try this bread and he loved it, as always!
Zucchini Bread with Cranberries and Walnuts
A nice treat to have after a long day!
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.
3 Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.
4 Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.
I will recommend cranberries as they add a slight tangy note to this sweet bread. Feel free to try raisins or chopped apricots or dried figs.
Walnuts can be substituted by any other nuts of your choice such as pecans or almonds or pistachios.
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.
I love surprises! And a surprise where I discover that I don’t have to cook after coming home from work sounds delicious to me. I do get such lucky moments occasionally when Swapnil decides to cook and I play his sous chef role. He is a great cook. He rarely follows recipes but he literally plays with his favorites vegetables and especially spices. He is very intuitive when it comes to food combinations. This spinach mushroom was a result of his experirments and it was yooummmy!!
Spinach Mushroom with Green Garlic Sauce
One word, Yummy!
- Wash and chop mushrooms in big pieces. Wash spinach and keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a wide pan. Add chopped garlic.
- Add chopped onion and sauté it well until it turns translucent.
- Add chopped mushrooms and don't stir them a lot. Else they will start releasing water. Let them become softer.
- Add spinach, greens of green garlic and also sesame seed. Mix well.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and some salt.
- Add hot and sweet ketchup as per your taste and mix it well.
- Let it steam for a minute and then serve it hot!
This recipe is inspired from Sweet Potato and Beetroot balls from Archana’s Kitchen. A quick, healthy, nutritious snack that looks beautiful and taste wonderful. I just described a kids-friendly recipe, didn’t I? I will be making these for halloween party coming up soon.
It tastes great with tangy tamarind chutney or hot-n-sour sauce or you can also try with salad with lots of greens!
Sweet Potato & Beetroot Kebabs
A delicious healthy kids-friendly snack 🙂
- In a small pan, heat some oil and add chopped onions. Fry them until translucent.
- Add garlic paste, green chilies and let them fry for a minute.
- Add grated beetroot and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Add cumin-coriander powder, turmeric powder, chaat masala and some salt. Mix well.
- Add mashed sweet potatoes and mix well.
- Heat Paniyaram Pan and add a few drops of oil in each pocket.
- Make small balls and cook them from both sides in the pan. It takes about 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with chutney.
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.
Gujaratis are well known for their snacks and they have all kinds – deep fried, steamed, baked, fermented, roasted. It’s pretty amazing that one single region of India has encompassed so many diverse techniques as part of their daily cooking.
Theplas are Indian flatbreads made with whole grain flour mixed with seasonal vegetables and some commonly used spices such as green chilies, cumin-coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste. All combined into a dough using yogurt. Since there is hardly any water used in making the dough, these theplas last for couple of days, making them a perfect healthy snack for picnics or long journeys. The dough also contains some jaggery or sugar, which is signature of any Gujarati dish, trust me it actually makes it yummy! Serve it hot with pickle or chundo and yogurt.
Bajra flour has a very earthy flavor and it combines well with the mild flavor of dudhi. There is a good balance of different tastes of whole wheat, bajra, dudhi and ginger-garlic and jaggery.
Dudhi Bajra Na Thepla
Healthy breakfast with not so used Bottle Gourd
- Wash, peel and grate dudhi using wider slots on grater.
- Squeeze out all the water from grated dudhi, and I really mean all of it. Dudhi contains lot of moisture and it leaves out more after we add salt to the dough, so it's time to use some muscle power.
- Add all ingredients together one by one, except for oil. Initially add 1 spoon of yogurt at a time and add more as needed. But make sure you try to bring the dough together before you add more yogurt.
- Lastly add oil and knead everything nicely. Oil adds more moisture so do keep it in mind.
- Make smaller balls, and roll them flat using a rolling pin.
- Cook them on a flat tawa just like a paratha, using oil on both sides.
5 different tastes in one bite! It's a culinary master piece!
I have always told people who asked me about my favorite vegetables that I love Karlyachi Bhaji and especially the way my mom makes it. The surprise on their face made me feel proud for earning brownie points for being a good kid who eats all vegetables, including bitter gourd.
Any preparation of bitter gourd will have a pronounced bitter taste and it should, it’s not easy to mask bitter taste but it plays well with well chosen ingredients. This particular preparation which uses tangy tamarind, nutty peanuts, creamy coconut, sweet jaggery and spicy Goda Masala is a classical example of Marathi cuisine from Konkan region.
I was very happy with my attempt to mimic mom’s magical taste. The best reward was that my husband really enjoyed it, which was quite a shock for me!
5 tastes in one byte! It's a culinary master piece!
- If you are using ready made tamarind paste, skip this step. Else, in a small bowl add 1 spoonful of tamarind and some water, microwave it for 10 seconds and let it sit aside.
- Wash bitter melons and cut them length wise, if you see any bigger seeds remove them with a spoon or inner side of a peeler. Now chop them into smaller equal sized pieces.
- Add these chopped pieces to a bowl with some water and add 1 tbsp of salt, mix it well. The salt makes the bitter gourd release some juice and it takes away some bitterness. This step is optional but highly recommended.
- Now in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil. I use peanut oil and it works really well for this dish.
- Prepare phodani or tadka, by adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
- Now add bitter melon pieces by removing all the water. If you like squeeze out the water as much as you can.
- Stir fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add ground peanuts, grated coconut, tamarind paste and mix it well.
- Add red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, Goda masala and finally some salt. Mix everything together and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add jaggery, cook it further for 2 minutes.
- Adjust the amount of jaggery / salt as per your taste.
Enjoy it hot with poli or fulka! Bon apetite!
Chettinad is a region in south Tamilnadu and is well know for its unique cuisine which emphasize the use of various whole spices and fresh coconut. This month’s SNC challenge was a savory curry made in chettinad style. This was my first time preparing Chettinad cuisine and since I have not tasted this particular curry, I was not entirely sure about what to expect or how it should really taste. But take my word for it. it was absolutely delicious. The addition of coconut, cashews and roasted chana dal adds a whole new dimension to our regular onion-tomato gravy and also alters its texture in a soothing way. Curry leaves and the roasted chana dal reinforce the south indian flavors while chana dal pakoda with crushed fennel seeds offer a new surprise at every bite. All in all, it’s a wonderful dish, you can serve it with rice or idli or dosa.
Thanks to Priya from Priya’s Versatile Recipes for sharing this Chettinad speciality with us.
Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu
Chana dal pakodas dipped in South Indian gravy makes a perfect pairing with rice.
For preparing Pakoda -
- Soak chana dal for at least two hours.
- Grind chana dal with some fennel seeds and dry red chilis to a coarse paste. Add water only if needed.
- Heat enough oil in a pan so that you can deep fry multiple pakodas at a time. Make pakodas with your fingers and drop them in hot oil on low-medium heat. Fry them until golden brown. Keep them aside.
For preparing gravy -
- Grind all ingredients listed under "To Grind" above to a fine paste with some water.
- In a heavy bottom pan / kadhai, heat some oil and all whole Garam masala listed under "For Seasoning" and fry for a minute or so or until you can smell it.
- Add chopped onions and garlic and fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomato and let them cook for sometime.
- Now add the coconut paste and also add 4 cups of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and give it a stir. Let it cook for 5 minutes with lid on.
- Add pakodas and let it simmer further for 2 minutes. Add more water if needed. Pakodas will absorb the water so make sure you add enough.
Serve it hot with rice / idli or dosa.
Gujaratis are known for their variety of farsan – snacks – dhokla, khaman, shev-khamni, khandvi, gote, lochyo, kachori, mathiya, muthiya …. it’s a long list. I have previously posted two recipes for muthiya – dudhi na muthiya and palak-methi na muthiya. Handvo or Handawa is yet another healthy Gujarati snack which is not deep fried. It’s actually baked!
Traditionally this savory lentil cake is baked in an aluminium pot filled with sand in the bottom, which when heated, provides dry heat just like our modern ovens. I found it quite interesting. It’s prepared with a mixture of different dal flours such as chana dal, toor dal and urad dal and rice flour. The veggies such as dudhi (lauki), lilwa tuwer – which is a speciality of Gujarat and mutter maintain the moisture and yogurt helps it ferment before you bake it. It cannot be classified as a Gujarati dish until it’s seasoned with oil tadaka! You might be tempted to try it without the oil but please don’t unless you want to miss the real charm. The oil seasoning with mustard seeds and sesame seeds makes it very special and very Indian.
I used handwa flour I bought at an Indian grocery store. If you want to make it at home, please scroll down I have mentioned the proportions of the dals and rice. Don’t use the instant handvo mixtures, they contain lot of citric acid and the taste is nowhere close to an authentic dish.
Handavo / Handwa / Savory Lenti Cake
Savory non deep fried lentil cake!
- Prepare batter using handvo flour, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, ajwain seeds, turmeric powder, chopped green chilis, salt and a pinch of sugar.
- Let it sit for 6-7 hours or overnight.
- Then add grated doodhi and other vegetables.
- Add fruit salt and whisk it in one direction until the batter becomes light.
- Pour this batter in loaf pan or muffin pan and bake it at 350 F for 30-35 minutes for a loaf pan and 20-25 minutes for muffin pan.
- In a small skillet, prepare tadka with oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Add this on top and serve it warm.
You can more veggies like fresh methi leaves, spinach leaves or zucchini.
For Homemade Handavo Flour soak all these ingredients for 3-4 hours and grind toa fine paste.
- 1 cup rice
- 1/4 cup tour dal
- 1/4 cup chana dal
- 1/4 cup urad dal
Sending this to Dish it Out event.
I am so happy to let you know that I am hosting Vardhini’s Bake Fest event for June 2013. Teh event is open from June 1st till June 30th. Here are some rules –
- Send in any recipe which has been baked / broiled.
- Only vegetarian or vegan recipes please.But Eggs are okay for baked dishes.
- Usage of the logo is mandatory as it helps spread the word.
- Linking to original Bake Fest page and this announcement is mandatory.
- Leave a comment below.
- You can link your old entries if they are reposted with the below links and the logo.
- You can send in any number of new entries and a maximum of 2 old entries.
Looking forward to your innovative creations. Happy baking!
मुळा / Muli or White Radish and शेपू / Savaa or Dill, the two vegetables I hated from my core white I was little. I gave my mom hard time since she either had to convince me for eating it or make something else . Convincing me was a harder task than preparing something else. She tried many ways to hide these vegetables in other dishes. the characteristic smell the two vegetables have turned out to be my biggest advantage.
It was quite rare to have my mom open the door for me as I return from school since her office timings never coincided with my school hours. It was one of those lucky days during Ganapati Festival. The rains were unstoppable and my mom decided to come home early. When I saw her at the door, I could not stop smiling. She then served me a ‘garama-garam’ (hot from the pan) paratha with mango pickle which is her ultimate speciality I have yet to conquer and some yogurt. It was so yummy and so satisfying. You can imagine, the slight coldness in the air with continuous pouring rains, the background Ganapati music which does not stop until power is completely disrupted (including generators) and these soft, hot yummy parathas. I gave my mom a tight hug and said thank you for such delicious “aloo parathas”. Her smile only became bigger at that point. She replied, “Sure only if aloo was a new name for muli in my dictionary” Duh! Well since then muli paratha has been a permanent entry in our house menu and my favorite dishes.
Healthy and hearty Indian flat bread with white radish stuffing!
- Prepare chapati dough by adding chapato flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric, oil and warm water.
- Add a tsp of hot oil and knead well.
- To prepare stuffing, in a medium bowl add grated white radish and boiled and smashed potatoes.
- Now add other spices and finely chopped coriander and mix well.
- The actual paratha is similar to any other parathas. For detailed instructions follow this procedure.
- Serve it hot with pickle and raita.
White Radish sometimes has very strong smell. You can squeeze out the water from grated radish by adding some salt to it. By adding fennel seeds and ajwain seeds help to reduce the strong smell. Be careful with the salt if you add it to the grated radish, the stuffing and the dough.
And now the Event Announcement! Last year I came across this wonderful event called WTML – Walking Through Memory Lane”. The event is a brainchild of Gayathri, a lovely lady and super innovative cook who writes about her culinary creations at Gayathri’s Cook Spot. As the name suggests, the event is all about recreating your childhood favorite dishes prepared by your mom, gradma, aunt or anyone special in your life. This is our chance to pay a small tribute to their cooking. I was instantly drawn to this idea and I submitted my “Rava Cake” recipe to her event and luckily I was the winner for that month’s giveaway. I received the wonderful book – Chocolate Cookbook by Tarla Dalal from Gayathri.
Long story short, Thanks to Gayathri, I am hosting this month’s WTML event at MyHomeMantra. Here are some simple rules.
- Make your favorite dish which makes you cherish your childhood moments and also tell us a small story about the dish. Not just the recipe!
- No restrictions on the number of story telling entries.
- Only vegetarians dishes please.
- You can link your old entries if they are reposted with the below links and the logo.
- Link your post to my announcement page and Gayathri’s WTML event page. That’s mandatory.
- Add this logo to your posts, it helps spread the word.
- Non bloggers can send me your recipes at myhomemantra [at] gmail [dot] com
- The event is open from April 1 to April 30th
And the Big Giveaway – Gayathri will select an entry through random selection and give away the book for the selected entry.
Note that the books Gayathri gives are not sponsored and it is her own contribution to the event. You get a whole year’s subscription of Tarla Dalal’s Cooking and More as the giveaway. I am not eligible for the give away.
On the first of May, Gayathri will select a lucky winner and send a mail. After receiving her mail,you can give an address to which she has to ship the book. She will ship the book within India so if you reside abroad, please give an address in India for her to ship.
Let’s cherish our childhood memories with this wonderful event!