Soya Nutri Veg Pulao

Soya vegetable Pilaf

Soya vegetable Pilaf

High protein soya chunks when combined with fresh vegetables in mint gravy rice, is heaven. Trust me on this. This guilt free indulgence is one power packed highly satisfying meal. Great for an ideal sunday lunch.

Great Aroma, Great colors and Great Flavour

Great Aroma, Great colors and Great Flavour

Along with a bowl of cool onion raita, some papad and spicy indian lime/mango pickle, this is a complete satisfying lunch.

Yummy Lunch.

Yummy Lunch.

Without further ado, lets get to work:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, cooked so that each grain is separate.
  • 1/2 cup soya mini chunks, boiled.
  • 1 cup assorted mixed vegetables, chopped and parboiled. I used carrot, beans, potato, cauliflower
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • whole spices – 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 star aniseed, 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil/ghee
  • Serving suggestions: Onion Raita

To be ground into a paste:

  • 1 onion,
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • a handful of coriander leaves n stalk
  • 2 cloves
  • a small piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 pods of garlic
  • 3-4 green chilies – optional, change according to your level of spice
  • a small piece of coconut
  • 2 tbsp curds

For the soya chunks: salt turmeric and red chili powder to marinate.

Method

Keep your rice and soya chunks boiled and ready. Prepare the ground paste with the mentioned ingredients. Earlier I used the soya nuggets just boiled, but recently I found this method, where you marinate your boiled soya with little salt, turmeric and red chili powder. keep aside for 15 minutes and then roast in pan with very minimal oil. The soya chunks brown to perfection and have this crunchy bite to them. Tastes better.

Now, in a deep heavy bottomed pan or a big kadai, heat oil/ghee. Once hot, throw in the whole spices, and a minute later, the onions. After they turn pinkish, pour the ground paste into the melange and saute real well. Now add the tomato along with turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Mix well. let is again simmer for 4-5 minutes or till the tomato gets mushy. Now add the vegetables. cover and cook for 5 minutes or so. Once done. Add the cooled rice and roasted soya nuggets. Mix well with gentle hands taking care not to break the rice. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chilled raita and some savoury like pappad, chips or chaklis.

Yea, I know, this looks tedious, but the end result is so worth it. If you wanna enjoy the rice without sweating it out, there is a one pot version of the same.

Cool Raita to go with aromatic soya pulao

Cool Raita to go with aromatic soya pulao

Note: I used kolam rice, but basmati rice can be used for more flavour and richer texture.

One Pot Version: In a deep pot, after sauteing the whole spices, onion and green ground paste, you can add raw chopped veggies, tomatoes, along with the said masalas, salt and raw rice. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook till the rice is done and vegetables tender. If need arises, add water appropriately. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with cold raita.

Nutrition and Taste

Nutrition and Taste

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Ragi Beetroot Dosa

Health Personified.

Health Personified.

Want to super kick start your mornings? Want your energy and body resources to last till you call it a day? Want to be healthy, energetic, smart and beautiful…. ok.. I am selling the ragi bit too much ..:).. No dear foodies, ragi/millet flour or beetroot doesn’t add to your face value, but it sure does wonders to thy holy body, nutrition wise.

This wonderful breakfast option is one of my favorite concoctions from the south of India. Milee’s favorite color is pink. She has dresses, shoes, skirts, barbie’s skirts, clips, earrings (.. the list goes on) all in her favorite dye.
We earthlings are very lucky that nature has endowed us with a super nutritious vegetable, Beetroot – in PINK! The addition of this root veggie camouflages the rest. It’s all pink now. Little girls will trip n skip! I being the ever discreet mother try to incorporate the color in her food, an effort to lure her into eating healthy. So a pink dosa was enough to get my 6 year old girl, who is currently tripping on barbies and princesses and fairyland and everything pink!

A ragi dosa is more or less in between a crepe and a pancake. Grated wonder pink root blended in calcium rich nutty grainy millet/ragi flour with the help of yummy fresh buttermilk! Can it get any healthier than this??

Pink power

Pink Power

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ragi/millet flour
  • 2 small beets, grated
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced — optional
  • 2-3 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tall glass of buttermilk or 1/2 a bowl of curds
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp gram flour/besan
  • 2 tbsp rice flour, for crispness
  • oil/ghee to make the crepes
  • To serve: chutneys/malgapodi or with cheese spread.. like how my kid eats.

Method

In a big mixing bowl, add millet flor, with gram flour and rice flour. Pour the buttermilk or curds to make a smooth knot free batter. Now to this add, the grated minced veggies(beet, onion, green chili and coriander) and salt. Mix well. Check consistency. Should be pourable and spreadable. Don’t be shocked by the pinkness of the batter 🙂

Now, on a hot flat griddle or dosa tawa, pour a ladle full of batter, spread evenly. The thickness will be more than a thin crepe but lesser than a pancake. Because of the veggies the batter refuses to thin out. Now, drizzle some oil/ghee on the dosa. Cover with a lid and roast on low flame. After 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook without the lid.

The result is a deep maroonish spread instead of the bright pink one you promised your little princess. Heat transforms the pink into a deep maroon, slight brown shade. My tact comes into play when I lie that the color would change again under the juices of her digestive tract. Hey! All is fair in food, kids and health. So kindly, non mothers don’t judge.

Serve hot with Chutney/cheese spread.

A Satvic Diet

A Satvic Diet

Note: You could substitute beetroot with grated carrot, bottle gourd or pumpkin or any healthy yucky vegetable your kid refuses to eat. Hide it in his food and he will not know. I know your superman cannot be fooled easily, but you are the superman’s mother/father… so come on, you can come up with some twisted idea to steal the goodness into his diet.


For those, who don’t know what a Dosa is:

Dosas are Indian savoury fermented crepes. Traditionally made from rice batter and black lentils. It is indigenous to and is a staple dish in the southern Indian states of Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh and Kerala — according to Wikipedia.
But according to me, dosas are versatile, varied types made from varied grains with varied effects on your taste buds 🙂 Have’nt met anyone who dislikes these yummy crepes.

Benefits of Ragi/Millet Flour:
Nutritionally, when ragi is used as a whole grain, it is higher in protein and minerals in comparison to rice. It is also rich in fibre and therefore suitable for people trying to lose weight. Ragi, unlike wheat does not contain gluten (a protein found in wheat), and can be easily consumed by people with wheat intolerance. Ragi is a wonder cereal grain as it has numerous health benefits:

  • A great source of calcium
  • Energy for weight watchers
  • Beats high sugar and cholestrol

Mixed Vegetable Vermicelli

In a mood for a healthy snack or when you have time to sit down for breakfast, this is the recipe for you. Light, nutritious and tasty, vermicelli is really no big deal to make. I have made it with vegetables(yeah, I know, all my recipes, have a lot of veggies… but what do I do, I love vegetables. Anyone who knows me, will swear by that).

Well, You can twist and tweak all my methods to suit your palette. Do not want the vegetables? No problem, Skip them, make it only with onions and the seasonings. Tastes as good.

Veggie Vermicelli

Veggie Vermicelli

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted vermicelli, I used MTR roasted
  • 3/4th cup mixed chopped vegetables, carrot, beans, peas, potato, cauliflower
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 small capsicum, chopped
  • 1-2 green chili, minced
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp channa dal
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ a lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • to garnish: chopped coriander leaves and a little bit scraped coconut

Method

Heat oil in a kadai. When hot, add channa dal  and urad dal. Saute till brown.Throw in the mustard seeds, asafetida, onions and green chilies. Fry till the onions turn pink.
Now add the capsicum, sauté for a couple of minutes.

Then add the cup of chopped vegetables. Along with them, add turmeric, salt and red chili powder.
Mix well, cover with a lid, cook till the vegetables are almost done.

Now to this add 3-4 cups of boiling hot water. Wait for a minute till all the vegetables and water comes together.
Then add the roasted vermicelli. Keep stirring.

Cook till the water has evaporated, and everything comes into harmonious mix. Switch the flame off.
Add lime juice, chopped coriander and grated coconut. Mix well. Serve hot with pickle and curds.

thin noodles to entice the kids

thin noodles to entice the kids

Vegetables add taste.

Vegetables add taste.

Lemon Rice

I had some leftover rice from lunch today, and while racking my brains for dinner, I decided to use the rice for something lime n lemony!
Lemon Rice is a very karnataka dish. I have vivid memories of my mother and my friend’s mothers preparing it in a jiffy. Mildly seasoned with curry leaves, little lentils and of course lime, it’s a simple dish. If u already have cooked rice, doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to make this. Full of zest and flavors, the smell enticing, the recipe a keeper.

Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice

I have used onions and garlic, but if you like, you can skip the onion-garlic, and continue the recipe as it is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked rice, each grain separate
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a tiny piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 green chili, slit lengthwise
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp channa dal
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • to garnish: chopped coriander leaves, a little bit scraped coconut and roasted peanuts

Method

Heat oil in a kadai. When hot, add channa dal and urad dal. Saute till brown.
Throw in the mustard seeds, dry red chilies, asafoetida, onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves and green chilies. Fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the cooked rice, turmeric and salt. Mix well.

Switch the flame off. Add lime juice, chopped coriander and grated coconut. Mix well. I didn’t have any peanuts with me, so I had to skip that part. But peanuts is like the cherry on your cake. So throw in some.
Serve hot with pickle and curds.

Lime n Lemony.

Lime n Lemony.

Note: Lime juice tends to turn bitter if it’s over heated. So always add lime juice to your food, after switching the flame off.
Note: The level of spice and salt is to be altered according to your taste.

Earthy n Simple.

Earthy n Simple.

Pongal

The husband gave up food 3 days back. Unusual weight gain was the culprit. As luck would have it, I’ve landed myself with a case of excessive extremism. My objection was deemed, un supportive, so I shut my case. I let nature take it’s course.
But 3 days without food was enough to put the hungry back into track. He asked for something to “eat”. I silently heaved a sigh of relief, careful not to belittle his accomplishment, I suggested various healthy alternatives to break the fast.
After careful deliberation, he whispered, “pongal”.

An ideal breakfast

An ideal breakfast

Pongal is a south indian rice and lentil porridge or khichdi. It is minimally spiced smeared with the goodness of ghee. Being light on the digestive tract, it’s usually fed to all age groups, be it a 6 month old baby or an ailing 80 year old. Hing or asafoetida imparts a wonderful flavour to this soft slightly mashed, highly nutritious tamilian breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw rice, washed, and soaked
  • 1/2 cup split yellow mung dal
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp of ghee
  • 10 to 15 of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • Hing – 1 pinch
  • Cashew nuts – 10 to 15 broken
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoons finely minced
  • Curry leaves – 5-7 leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • Salt
  • 1 medium sized piece of coconut, grated
  • Garnish: Chopped coriander

Method

Firstly, wipe the mung dal with a cloth. In a pan, heat ghee. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds, red chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida, whole peppercorns and the dry wiped mung dal. Saute till the dal turns into a slightly darker shade of yellow. Now add the grated coconut, rice, water and salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Else, cook in a pan, till it is of mashable consistency. Once done, remove in a bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and top it again with ghee.

Roast the cashew nuts in slight ghee or just toast them. Use it as a garnish or throw in the pongal and mix well.

To serve: you could serve it with coconut chutney or with cucumber raitha or simply with a bowl of curds.

Healthy, Light and Yummy. Ideal for breakfasts. It’s filling and gives you enough energy to last a good couple of hours.

It gives me inexplicable satisfaction to see my family well fed and well taken care of. When wholesome food like a simple humble pongal makes way into the systems of my loved ones, I relax and repose. At least for some time. Let my worries, worry me later.

A South Indian Delicacy

A South Indian Delicacy

Red amaranth leaves with channa dal

December to march is the best time to feast on the freshest produce available. Tis my favorite time of the year.
The fruits and vegetables have a different color and flavour in them!

Abundantly available at this time of the year is Red amaranth leaves. Amaranth leaves are similar in taste to spinach but with a stronger flavor and cook very easily. In terms of nutrition, amaranth has a higher concentrations of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins.

One of my neighbor friend, who is a Tamilian Brahmin, made this wonderful leaf with channa dal(split bengal gram lentil). I just loved it. After a couple of tries, I finally got this dried curry, right. With a blend of grated coconut and a hint of garlic, it’s a recipe to be shared and tried.

The red color camouflage the rest.

The red color camouflages the rest.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch amaranth leaves, washed, chopped.
  • 1 small cup split bengal gram, soaked for at least 2-3 hours
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 1 big piece of fresh coconut, grated
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder(haldi)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil

Method

In a pan, heat oil. When its hot enough, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Now throw in the garlic, onions, green chilis and red chilis. Saute till pinkish. Then add the soaked channa dal, along with salt and turmeric powder. Fry till the lentils are 1/2 cooked. Now add the chopped amaranth leaves. Mix well. Cover and cook. Keep checking on it as you have not added any water, and you would not want to burn it down.
Keep stirring till all the water released from the leaves has dried. When it’s almost done, you throw in the grated coconut. Give it a good mix. Stir till all the water has evaporated. The result should be a dry, not too mashed vegetable.
Remove into a bowl, and serve hot with rice and ghee or with chappathis/rotis.

The day I made this, did not feel like eating rotis or rice. So I made plain cracked wheat porridge/dalia. A combination of porridge, yoghurt and this super healthy curry. Wow. I felt like a harbinger of good health;)

Souled out

Souled out

Quick Tomato Rasam

On cold, chilly evenings, when you crave for something spicy, light and filling – this tomato rasam is your knight in shining armour. Its ready in a jiffy, and you really dont need many ingredients to make this. The lesser you throw in, the better the result. Plain white soft rice, a pappad, pickle and your family is all that you need as an accompaniment to this tangy soup.

Tomatoes, Tangy and Tasty.

Tomatoes, Tangy and Tasty.

Ingredients –

  • 4-5 ripe red round tomatoes, chopped finely.
  • 3-4 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 tiny onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste, 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp of lime juice
  • To Garnish: chopped coriander.

Method –

In a kadai, heat oil. Add the onions, fry them till they turn pinkish.Throw in the red chilies. Now add the chopped tomatoes.
A little word on the kind of tomatoes to be used: I took the fat round juicy ones, called the “desi” tomatoes. They are more tangy, flavourful and they cook faster as they are super fleshy on the insides. You can use the plum tomato variety, if these are not available.

So, back to the method, along with the tomatoes, add salt and red chili powder. Mix well, cover and cook for almost 15 minutes, till the tomato has reduced to a pulpy state. I mean, you need to saute it real well. It should be like a chutney. Now to this add (150-200) ml of water. Give it a boil. Add grated garlic from top. Mix once. Turn off the flame, add lime juice and coriander. Serve it as a soup or with rice, papad, pickle and potato fries.

Super easy, isnt it? No dal, no grinding, no heavy masalas. Simple flavourful and yummy.

Ideal for chilly evenings.

Ideal for chilly evenings.

The day I made this rasam, I even prepared the potato fries. The complete ensemble is for you to drool over:

Complete south indian meal.

Complete south indian meal.

Potato Fry

Crispy fried, slightly spiced.

Crispy fried, slightly spiced.

All kids love potatoes(Alu in hindi), and my Milee is no exception. She trips on french fries, alu parathas, alu puri and various other creations.
Here, in potato fry, you don’t need copious amount of oil to make your tuber tasty.
This recipe is simple, mildly spiced and sauteed in minimum oil.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, and diced into small cubes.
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder and salt to taste
  • Optional: juice of 1/2 a lime

Method

In a broad pan, heat the oil. Add the chopped potato cubes. Fry on sim flame till the potato is roasted well from all sides.
Key is to slow saute the potatoes for a slightly long time.
Remove in a bowl, sprinkle red chili powder, salt and lime juice. Toss well. Serve with rice or rotis or just plain as a snack.

Disappears in no time.

Disappears in no time.