Monday, May 30, 2016

Sri Lankan Mallung/Mallum recipe (Greens stir-fry)

Sri Lankan Mallung/mallum

I love trying out different cuisines and have been lucky to have wonderful neighbours from whom I have learnt different cooking styles. My love for Sri Lankan cuisine started back in the US when we lived in Minnesota for a brief period. There was one Sri Lankan restaurant in the neighbourhood and we loved the fiery food there. Though it is similar to South Indian cuisine(especially Kerala cuisine), they are heavy on the spices and it's definitely not for those who have a weak stomach.
When we moved to Sydney, I was lucky to have a Sri Lankan neighbour who (once she got to know my love for Sri Lankan food) is always sending over food. This 'mallung' or mallum recipe I learnt from her. It's a quick and easy stir-fry recipe for greens, where you have to finely chop the greens. Since green leafy vegetables tend to reduce in quantity when cooked-don't be disappointed if you end up with very little mallung.
I try to experiment with different greens and try to buy radish/turnips/beetroot with the leaves. And yes-please don't throw the leaves of these vegetables as they are edible. Add them to your dals or make this Sri Lankan 'mallung' recipe :)
Ingredients for Sri Lankan Mallung: Serves 4
  • Green leafy veg: 1 big bunch (kale, turnip greens, moringa leaves, amaranth, lal saag)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or green chili paste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard leaves: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 nos.
  • Grated coconut: 1-2 tbsp (fresh or desiccated)
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
Method:
  1. Wash the greens and chiffonade (roll the leaves and cut them finely) them.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the red chili flakes (or green chili paste)
  4. Then add the greens, and stir-fry for 5-6 mins on medium flame,
  5. Add the salt and the grated coconut and mix well.
  6. Serve with rice and dal/sambar.
Note:
  1. Experiment with different greens. Cooking times will differ for different greens: like moringa(drumstick) leaves need more time to cook (and you may have to cover and cook for sometime).
  2. The red chili flakes add a unique taste to the dish, you can chop the dry red chilies and use that or use green chili paste.
Sri Lankan Mallung/ Mallum

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hariyali Chicken Tangdi/ Kebab

Hariyali Chicken 
If you love chicken kebabs, then this is one finger-licking recipe! I love the taste of coriander leaves with ginger+garlic and green chilies and combined with chicken it just tastes yummy.
As a dietitian I love this as this makes a healthy recipe considering:
  1. there is very little oil
  2. the addition of greens (coriander and mint) increases the iron, fibre and antioxidant content of the dish.
  3. it’s a protein dish (and hence tends to keep you full for a longer period) and makes for a great appetizer.
Ingredients for Hariyali Chicken Tangdi: Serves 4
  • Chicken drumsticks: 8 nos.
  • Coriander leaves (cilantro):1 big bunch
  • Mint leaves (optional): 6-8nos.
  • Garlic: 8-10 cloves
  • Green chilies: 2-3 nos. (add more if you like it hot)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Curd/yogurt: 3-4tbsp
  • Ginger+garlic paste: 2tsp
  • Red chili powder: 2tsp (add more if you like it hot)
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp
  • Garam masala: 1tsp
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Lemon juice: 3tsp
Method:
  1. Remove the skin from the drumsticks, make horizontal slits with a sharp knife.
  2. Make a first marinade with ginger+garlic paste, salt, lemon juice, and the spice powders(red chili, cumin, coriander, garam masala). Taste for salt.
  3. Work the marinade well into the drumsticks and leave aside while you make the second marinade ready.
  4. Put the yogurt, salt,coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic and green chilies and grind to a fine paste (do not add any water if possible). Check for salt.
  5. Add the second marinade and the oil to the drumsticks. Rub it well into the slits.
  6. Let it marinade in the fridge preferably overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  8. Place the drumsticks on a baking tray and bake for 30-35 mins turning once halfway through.
  9. Remove from the oven. You can sprinkle a little chaat masala (optional)
  10. Serve with mint chutney (or mint-yogurt dip), raw onions and lemon slices.
Note:
  • You can make kebabs with breast pieces if you wish. Vegetarians can use paneer instead of chicken.
  • If you like it mild-you can reduce the green chilis.
  • If you want a darker green colour-then you can add some palak(spinach leaves) along with the coriander and mint leaves (when making the second marinade).

Paneer Butter Masala (Low-fat version)

Paneer Butter Masala (Low-fat version)
Love the taste of Butter masala, but dread the loads of butter that goes into it? Fikar not-here is a low-butter version which will cuts down the calories of this dish drastically without altering the taste too much (yes-it doesn’t taste like the restaurant version, simply because it’s not dripping with butter).
The trick here is to make the dish with less oil (two teaspoon) and then add the butter (a teaspoon) just before serving. What that does is to not just make this a 3 teaspoon of fat dish, but also gives the buttery taste to the dish!

Ingredients for Paneer Butter Masala (low-fat): Serves 6
  • Paneer: 500gms (cut into cubes),
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (cubed)
  • Onion: 1 big (cubed)
  • Ginger: 1″
  • Garlic: 2-3 (chopped)
  • Green chili-1 no. (or as per taste)
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (add more if you want it spicier)
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp,
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Milk: 1/2 cup
  • Wheat flour: 1tbsp
  • Coriander leaves: 2tbsp (chopped)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Butter: 1tsp
  • Salt: to taste
Method:
  1. Heat one teaspoon oil in a kadai, add the cubed onions, slit green chili and stir-fry till the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the grated ginger and the chopped garlic and stir fry for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook stirring occasionally till the tomatoes are cooked.
  3. Switch off and let it cool. Once cooled, put the contents into a blender and blend till you get a fine puree.
  4. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the kadai, once hot add the cumin seeds (jeera), bay leaf and turmeric powder.
  5. Add the puree, and spice powders (red chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and cook on medium flame stirring constantly till the oil leaves the sides.
  6. At this stage, mix the milk with the wheat flour well.
  7. Lower the flame and pour this to the cooked tomato+onion puree stirring constantly till it starts to boil.
  8. Add the salt and the paneer pieces and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. While serving, mix the butter and then top with chopped coriander leaves.
  10. Serve hot with roti or rice.
Paneer Butter Masala (Low-fat version)

Chicken Saagwala /Palak (Spinach) Chicken

Chicken saagwala/Palak Chicken
Palak chicken or Chicken saagwala is a not just a great tasting dish but the addition of greens(spinach) increases the nutrient content of the dish. Palak is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and is also:
  • low in calories
  • good source of iron, but to be absorbed by the body you need to team it with a source of vitamin C (like squeezing a dash of lime over the dish, or having a citrus fruit after your meal).
Ingredients for Chicken Saagwala: Serves 4
  • Chicken: 800 gms (with bones or boneless)
  • Palak (spinach): 1 big bunch ( washed, blanched and pureed)
  • Onion: 1 big (cubed)
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (cubed)
  • Ginger: 1″ (grated)
  • Garlic: 3-4nos.(chopped)
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. (use more if you want it spicier)
  • Red chili powder: 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Pepper corns: 3-4nos.
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Salt: to taste
Method:
  1. Heat one teaspoon oil in a kadai ,add the onions and green chillies and stir fry till translucent.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes and stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  3. Switch off and cool. Once cooled, puree in a blender.
  4. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the kadai, add the cumin seeds, bay leaf and pepper corns.
  5. Add the tomato+onion puree, the spice powders(red chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and fry till the raw smell disappears and the oil leaves the sides.
  6. Add salt and the chicken pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the palak puree, mix well and cover and cook on low flame till the chicken is cooked.
  8. Serve hot garnished with rice and dal or roti.
Note: If you want it a little creamier, then mix a tablespoon of whole wheat flour(atta) in 1/2 cup milk and add this mixture after you add the palak puree (step 7), mix well and then cover and cook.
Chicken Saagwala/ Palak Chicken

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Methi Pulao/ Methi Rice (How to make Fenugreek leaves pilaf)

Methi Rice/ Methi Pulao
Both methi seeds(fenugreek seeds) and methi leaves(fenugreek leaves) have been long used in Indian families as not just a culinary  ingredient, but also for it's medicinal properties. The seeds are great for :
  1. diabetics as it can control the blood sugar levels (soak a tablespoon of methi seeds overnight and have it along with the soaked water the next day). 
  2. relieves constipation,
  3. a boon to new mothers as it is a known galactogogue (increases breast milk),
  4. It is also believed to relieve menstrual cramps when taken along with yogurt/ buttermilk. (Soak a tablespoon of methi seeds/powder in yogurt/buttermilk for a couple of hours or overnight and eat it when you have menstrual cramps).
  5. lowering cholesterol
Methi leaves taste great in just about any dish. You can use the fresh leaves to make parathas, theplas, sabzi, add it into your dal or make methi pulao with it. Here's a quick and simple methi pulao that can be served with a raitha.
Ingredients for Methi Rice/Methi Pulao:
  • Basmathi Rice: 2 cups (wash and soak in water for 20-30mins)
  • Methi: 3-4 small bunches (or 1 big) washed and finely chopped
  • Onion: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 small (finely diced)
  • Peas: a handful (optional)
  • Ginger+garlic paste: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds(jeera): 1tsp
  • Cloves: 1-2nos.
  • Peppercorns: 5 nos.
  • Bay leaf: 1 
  • Cinnamon: 1" stick
  • Whole cardamom: 2nos.
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (or as per spice tolerance)
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste
Method:
  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the whole spices (peppercorn, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamom and bay leaf).
  2. Then add the turmeric, sliced onions and fry till the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger+garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Then add the chopped methi leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes on low flame.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the spice powders (chili, cumin, coriander,garam masala) and some salt and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  6. Add the soaked and drained basmathi rice, peas(optional) and mix well for 2 mins.
  7. Add the water, taste for salt and cover the pressure cooker and let it cook till one whistle.
  8. Switch off, let the pressure drop. Open and gently fork the rice to separate the grains.
  9. Serve hot with raitha of your choice.
Note: you can add 2 tablespoon of crushed peanuts as a garnish before serving. Enjoy.
How to make Methi Rice/ Methi Pulao

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cabbage and Soya Chunks sabzi (How to make cabbage and soya nuggets sabzi)

 Cabbage and Soya Nuggets Sabzi

Ingredients for Cabbage and Soya chunks sabzi:
  • Cabbage: 250gms (finely chopped)
  • Soya nuggets/chunks- 100gms
  • Onion- 1 medium (finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes- 2 medium (finely chopped)
  • Garlic-2-3 nos (finely chopped)
  • Garlic-1/2 inch (grated)
  • Red chili powder- 1tsp (or as per your spice tolerance)
  • Coriander powder- 2tsp
  • Cumin powder-1tsp
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1tsp
  • Hing(asafoetida) -a pinch (optional)
  • Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves-3-4 (Optional)
  • Coriander leaves-4 tbsp (chopped)
  • Salt-to taste
  • Oil-2tsp
Method:
  1. Boil water in a saucepan, add some salt to it. Switch off the heat-add the soya chunks into the boiling water, mix well, cover and let it stand for 10mins. Strain out the soya chunks and squeeze out the water and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, hing, turmeric powder and then the chopped onions.
  4. When the onions starts turning translucent, add the garlic and ginger. Fry till the onions brown a bit.
  5. Add the tomatoes, the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and salt and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  6. Add the soya chunks and mix, then add the chopped cabbage,mix well so that the masala coats the cabbage.
  7. Reduce flame to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally till the cabbage is cooked.
  8. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Serve with roti or as a side with dal and chawal.
Note:
You can substitute soya chunks with any pulse (kabuli channa, kala channa, rajma, cannelloni beans, etc) to increase the protein content of the dish.
Cabbage and Soya chunks sabzi

Friday, May 13, 2016

Savoury French Toast Indian Style (Spicy Masala Egg Toast)

Nothing like a spicy and savoury French Toast-Indian Style! You can eat them for breakfast or even a snack.

Savory French Toast (Indian Style Masala Egg Toast)

Savoury French Toast (Indian Style Masala Egg Toast):
Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • Whole Wheat Bread-8 nos.
  • Egg-4 nos
  • Onion- 1 medium (finely chopped)
  • Tomato(optional)- 1 small (finely chopped)
  • Cilantro- 3tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Red chili powder- 1/2- 1 tsp (or as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder-1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric-1/2 tsp
  • Milk-3 tbsp (or water)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3 tsp
Method:
  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the spice powders, salt and milk (or water) and mix well.
  2. Pour a little onto a flat saucer.
  3. Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick sauce pan.
  4. Dip the bread into the egg mixture on both sides, then place into the pan one by one.
  5. Sprinkle with the onion,tomato and cilantro on the top and flip carefully and cook till done on both sides.
  6. Repeat for the rest.
  7. Serve the savoury French Toast hot with ketchup or chutney(optional).

Note:
You could replace the spices (red chili, cumin, coriander powder)with green chilies.

Savoury French Toast (Indian Style Spicy Masala Egg Toast)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Daily (Nutrition) Dozen

Ok-so no lectures on nutrition and the benefits of eating clean and getting plenty of physical activity and sleep in this article. We are going to cut to the chase and make a list of foods that you must INCLUDE in your day to day diet.

Make this your DAILY (NUTRITION) DOZEN check-list:
Nutrition Checklist

  1. Fruit- Aim at eating at least TWO different seasonal fruits everyday. It could be a mango and a guava or grapes and a banana-basically two fruits that are in season. Best way to add them to your diet is to eat them as a snack (say no to the chivdas/farsaans/chips).
  2. Green leafy vegetables-palak, methi, sabsige (dill-english; soa-hindi;shepu-marathi), lal saag(red amaranth), coriander (cilantro), etc. If making a sabzi is too tedious- just add it to your dal, roti (methi paratha/Palak paratha) or make a big batch of coriander chutney or palak chutney(How to make Palak Chutney) freeze it and use that in your meals or in your sandwiches. 
  3. Other vegetables- again go for seasonal vegetables and make sure your eating at least two per day. 
  4. Salads- you could include one fruit, one vegetable and one leafy vegetable and make a crunchy salad if that makes things easy for you. Example- a mango, cucumber , tomato,onion and coriander salad tastes yummy and combines one from the first three into number 4!
  5. Whole grains- Try to switch to whole grains completely wherever possible. Whole wheat flour instead of maida; dhalia, brown rice or barley instead of white rice.
  6. Whole Pulse- at least one whole pulse (not dal) in the form of rajma, kabuli channa, double beans, peas, akkha masoor, green moong, akha urad, etc. You can even sprout them and add them to your salads or boil them and add them to your vegetables like cabbage with kabuli channa.
  7. Curd/Yogurt- loaded with calcium and probiotics, include this with your meals or make a raitha or smoothie with it.
  8. Protein with every meal- Proteins keep you full for a longer period so add this to every meal. Even if you are a vegetarian-make sure you include dal/pulse or curd, paneer, tofu or milk with breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
  9. Nuts: are full of healthy fats, minerals, fibre and protein. You need to eat just 5-6 numbers of nuts like almonds, walnuts,chestnuts, pecans, brazilnuts, cashew nuts, etc to get the benefits. Just be careful not to go overboard with this as they can be very addicting!
  10. Water:no doubt the best and by far the original "zero-calorie" thirst quencher! Aim for 8-12 glasses (weather depending) everyday.
  11. Oils: Cold pressed oils, ghee, butter (yes-it's the switch to all things natural) can all be used but your total added fat/oil should not be more than 3 tsp per person per day!
  12. Exercise: of any physical activity for at least 1 hour per day is a must.It's not nutrition-but without it the rest of the list will go down the drain. Think of it as important as brushing your teeth!
Aim to get at least 10 out of this every day(exercise is not optional though) and you can be sure that you are doing the right thing for your body.

The Daily Nutrition Dozen



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Watermelon Salsa (Watermelon fruit chaat)



Summer time is watermelon time- a perfect fruit to include in your diet on a hot summers day. There are so many ways to eat it and one of my favorite is to make a quick and yummy salad-the watermelon salsa!

Fresh Watermelon Salsa: 
Fresh Watermelon and Mango Salsa
Ingredients: 
Watermelon:1/2 cubed 
Onion: 1 small (finely chopped) 
Tomato: 1 small (finely chopped) 
Coriander leaves: 3-4tbsp (finely chopped) 
Lime juice: 2 tsp 
Green chilies: 1 (finely chopped) 
Salt: to taste 

Method: 
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill before serving. 

You can add some chaat masala for an Indian twist.