Easy Home Made Granola

It's so easy.

Its so easy.

Walking down the aisle, I battled with all the choices given to me. We are being spoilt and confused was my constant refrain. The shelves looked so perfectly tabulated and full with these gorgeous boxes of cereal.
Sigh! ‘They do it purposely’, was my grumble while I placed the box back precariously. Well, the shopping was taking more time than necessary, and I was in no mood to loiter. So off I went, billed my stuff and got back home in good time to do what I do when in distress.

That you will make little gifts out of them

That you will make little gifts out of them

I was going to make granola at home – decided. Now all I needed was a nice clean recipe. 🙂
The web caters thousand different varied recipes. (Was running away from all the choices I had to make in the superfood aisle, and here I was, pounded by more!!) Well, did manage to get a gist of what I need to do and the rest was up to me. Yay!! I could throw in what ever I like, how much ever I like and skip what I don’t. Hmm.. pretty neat huh.

Goodness Jar

Goodness Jar

Getting all the stuff together is a pretty straight forward job, all I found difficult to procure was a pack of old-fashioned rolled oats. The most common variety is the quick cooking oats which cannot be used here. Well, after a bit of nosing around, I did find and I bought a big box immediately.

Thats pretty much what all you need

Thats pretty much what all you need

The best part about making this at home is you can play with the ingredients as you like. Some more of this, less of that, it’s all upto you.

I was so pleased with the results, that I packed small jars for family and friends to enjoy. The little jars make such cute gift article that its impossible not to like the look as well as whats in it!

Mix. Mix n Mix

Mix. Mix n Mix

Well, children (or rather my child) do not eat it so readily. I coaxed and cajoled, and she did give in to take a tiny bite. But that was it, she didn’t want to do anything more with it.

Try some

Try some

A small bowl of this very healthy nutritious granola goes a long way. Make it your breakfast with some fresh fruits and a tall glass of milk or some yoghurt. Try topping on your milkshakes. A handful of this on your ice cream adds crunch and a bit of health into it 😉

Pack some

Pack some

The Recipe: To make about 1 kg granola.

Ingredients

  • 500gms old fashioned rolled oats
  • 250gms mixed chopped nuts, I used almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans
  • 100 gms mixed currants and raisins, I used dried blueberries, raisins and black currants
  • 50 gms mixed seeds – I used melon, pumpkin, sunflower and flax
  • 100 ml coconut oil or olive oil or any healthy cooking oil
  • maple syprup or honey as per taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • a pinch of sea salt

Method

Keep the currants and raisins separately. In a saucepan, heat oil, maple syrup or honey, vanilla and salt. Simmer for a minute or two until all ingredients are well combined.

In a huge bowl, take oats, nuts and seeds. Do not add raisins and currants. Pour the honey-oil mix and combine it well. On a lined baking sheet, spread this mix out evenly and bake at 175 C for about 10-12 minutes or till they start to evenly brown. The ideal colour is golden and please take care not to over bake else they turn bitter.

Once the oats and nuts are cooked. Remove, Cool. Add raisins an currants. Give it a final toss. Store in airtight containers. Use as required.

Spill some

Spill some

Best Served with – yoghurt and fresh fruits!

I usually take mine with fresh fruits and chocolate protein shake. Its one full breakfast!

Daily Sustenance

Daily Sustenance

To health and nutrition

To health and nutrition

Oats Pongal

My first post of this year and hopefully I will blog more, photograph more and eat less. Wishful thinking or new year resolve? 😉

Oats Pongal

Oats Pongal

Now Oats Pongal seems like an apt recipe to start your year with. While embarking on something new or long, usually the zeal is fresh, spirits high and your resolutions loud and clear. It’s the time of the year when you will exercise, because you just resolved to, you will watch what you eat because you just drew up that cheeky crazy diet plan to be diligently followed from January 2nd. It’s the time of the year when you do things that you want to do the entire year but really don’t do it 🙂

So while you’re still on that rickety I-will-follow-all-my-resolutions ride, try this wonderful totally healthier version of the humble rice pongal made with oats and moong dal. Oooh so warm and comforting to hold a bowl full of this on a nice cold winter morning.

Skip the rice and use your oats

Skip the rice and use your oats

I am not fond of oatmeal. We Indians, usually like to kick start our day with something savoury… give us idlis, dosas, poha, upma, sandwich and we lick our plates clean and head out smiley and strong! Try putting sweet porridge in front of us and we crinkle our noses and take an hour to finish that bowl. But Oats has to be adopted. Its good, Its heart healthy, It watches your weight…ring in my ear persistently, and I find ways to make this grain savoury 🙂

Pongal is a warm mushy South Indian rice dish, seasoned with black peppercorns, cumin and a bit of asafoetida. This version, skips the rice and substitutes it with oats. So those who have given the rice a miss, this meal is tasty, filling and totally guilt free!

A big bowl fills up all

A big bowl fills up all

The Recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup yellow split moong dal
3/4 cup quick cooking oats (I used Quakers)
salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
water – 5/6 cups

Tempering:

1 tsp ghee or butter
5/6 chopped cashewnuts
3 curry leaves
1 green chili, slit – optional
6-7 whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida

Garnish – 1/2 tsp each of coriander leaves and grated coconut

Method

Wash and soak moong dal for an hour or so. If you don’t have time to soak, use as it is.

In a wide pan, dry roast the oats for 4 minutes. Once done, remove and keep aside. Remove all the water from the dal, in the same pan, roast the soaked moong dal for a couple of minutes.

Now, in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, boil the dal with 3 cups of water, season with turmeric and salt. Cook till mushy. At this stage add oats along with 1 cup water. Cook till the oats and moong dal mix and come together. Add more water as per your desired consistency. Give it a boil or two and switch of the flame and keep the pan covered.

For the tempering, heat ghee, roast cashews till they turn golden. Keep aside. Then crackle cumin, add asafoetida, add curry leaves, green chilies, pepper corns. Saute for a minute. Pour this tempering on the pongal. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.

Serve with curd or green chutney or raita.

Break your fast with a big bowl

Break your fast with a big bowl

Note: Oats absorb a lot of water and tend to thicken quickly. For soft mushy pongal, add water in intervals and check for consistency.

Note: Feel free to add chopped vegetables like spinach, peas, carrot. You can add the vegetables after cooking the moong dal and before throwing in the oats.

Healthy eating

Healthy eating

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Hope you get all that you wish for 🙂

Bajra Blitz / Traditional delicacies with Pearl Millet

Remember the grimaces and frowns over health food that mother served us when we were small.. silently resolving all the time, that we will never make dull rustic food like this ever in our lives, and the irony of it is, we do!

We make it. Coz we are older, umm… wiser and usually because our ‘been there done that’ taste buds have come back home 🙂 We somehow find warmth, joy and taste in that bowl of porridge. I never thought I would. But now I eat my own words, savor the austere roti and lick that delicious hot bowl of goodness too.

Pearl Millet - broken

Pearl Millet – broken

Bajra or pearl millet is one of the oldest and most popular kind of millet. It is a gluten free grain with phenomenal nutritional benefits. Eating bajra provides us with disease fighting phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, antioxidants, plenty of fibre, folate, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamins-E and B-complex, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It is particularly noted for its high iron content.
Being rich in fiber, it maintains your glucose levels hence excellent for diabetics.

The clincher for me
This whole grain supports weight loss as the high fiber content leads to a feeling of fullness for a prolonged period of time. 😉

I have two very traditional North Indian delicacies made from pearl millet. A humble bowl of porridge ideal for breakfast or brunches and the very bucolic slightly thick nutty rotis made with its flour.

Khichri / Kheech / Thuli / Dalia

Khichri / Kheech / Thuli / Dalia

Bajra Roti / Flatbread

Bajra Roti / Flatbread

I have used the broken version of pearl millet, easily available in Indian stores. Bajra is typical winter food, generally/mostly extensively consumed when the weather is cold. According to Ayurveda, bajra when eaten with jaggery and ghee becomes more enriched with calcium and iron. Wow, isn’t it.

A closer view

A closer view

PEARL MILLET KHICHRI/DALIA/PORRIDGE

Ghaat, khichri, thuli, dalia, kheech are the various names for porridge in India. Multiple communities, multiple names! 🙂 But the aroma, one. The taste, one. Method? a tad different here and there… but the soul, the essence is the same.

Bajre ka dalia

Bajre ka dalia

To make 4 bowls of porridge –

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of broken pearl millet
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cup of split green mung dal, with skin Chilke wali mung dal
  • salt to taste
  • 5-6 cups of water

Method

Wash and soak the split green mung dal for at least 30 minutes.

chilke wali mung dal or green split mung dal with skin

chilke wali mung dal or green split mung dal with skin

In a deep heavy pot or pressure cooker, heat the ghee, dry roast broken pearl millet for 3-4 minutes. Then throw in the dal without the water. Roast the dal and bajra for another 2 minutes. To this, add 5-6 cups of boiling water. Season with salt. Keep mixing, else you will find knots and lumps in the final product. Keep stirring till you get a homogenous mix. Now at this stage pressure cook the contents for 7-8 whistles. Once done, cool. Remove. Give a good final stir.

Enjoy the porridge with ghee or curds or milk or kadhi.

Best with pure desi ghee

Best with pure desi ghee

My fav combination - with milk!

My fav combination – with milk!

BAJRE KI ROTI

To make this wonderful rustic flatbread you need pearl millet flour. Although absolutely simple to make, these rotis are delicious! I love to eat them with fresh white butter and jaggery!

Gud and makkhan take this humble roti to another level!

Gud and makkhan take this humble roti to another level!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl millet flour
  • hot water to make the dough
  • salt, optional

Method

Using hot water, bind the dough to a soft texture. Knead well for 2-3 minutes. As is the case with all millet rotis, you need not wait to make the flatbread. The dough should be used immediately to make the rotis. Grabbing a handful of the dough, roll out into a thin roti. Generously dust the rotis with dry bajra flour or wheat flour to make the rolling easier. Cook the rotis on a hot tava (griddle) till both sides are light brown in colour.
Brush one side of the roti with melted ghee and serve hot.

These delicious rotis can be served with any curry, some onions and green chilies. A simple wholesome meal for thousands of people in India.

Simple, tasty and highly nutritious meal

Simple, tasty and highly nutritious meal

I find my 6-year-old cringing or making faces when porridge is served and I do not fret. Having been in her shoes, lived the part of a fussy persnickety child… I simply cajole her, sometimes bribe, sometimes bargain and just sometimes let it go. As I know she will come back.  In Sometime.

Bangalore Special – Set Dosa with Vegetable Sagu and Tomato Onion Chutney

Set Dosa with vegetable sagu and tomato onion chutney

Set Dosa with vegetable sagu and tomato onion chutney

Growin up in the cool laid back placid(not any more, though) city of Bangalore has its own share of perks. People usually dine out for lunch or dinners. Most Bangaloreans also do breakfast outside 😉

You can wake up, get fresh and walk into any of the innumerable number of darshinis and small restaurants for a heart healthy breakfast. The countless udupi tiffin rooms(small eateries) offer delicious vegetarian food. The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi.
I never realized how my taste buds were being pampered until I moved from Bangalore. Work, marriage, then again work has taken us to numerous countries and cities. But each and every place had one common grouse – no good appropriate place to break our fast.

After an arduous morning run and a quick fresh cool shower all that he and me ever crave for is someone to serve us those delicious doses or rave idly along with the signature strong South Indian kaapi.

Set Dosas are soft, spongy fluffy dosas made with parboiled rice and beaten rice. They are usually served in sets of 3-4, along with a vegetable curry and some chutney. The batter though fermented is not allowed to turn sour, in fact a generous pinch of sugar is added to cut the sourness if present.

SET DOSA

Small light fluffy dosas - usually served in sets of 3-4

Small light fluffy dosas – usually served in sets of 3-4

Ingredients

  • Idli rice/Parboiled rice – 1.5 cups
  • Normal rice – 2.5 cups
  • Urad dal – 1 cup
  • Beaten Rice/Poha – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – a generous pinch
  • Yogurt/Curd – 1/4th cup
  • salt according to taste
  • Oil or ghee to grease each dosa

Method

Wash the rice urad dal several times in water. Soak the rice dal together for 5-6 hours. Wash the beaten rice thoroughly soak it in yogurt for 5-6 hours. Blend the rice, dal beaten rice together to form a smooth batter. Cover and keep the batter aside to ferment. Should take approximately 7-8 hours.
Add salt, sugar to the batter, mix well.
Heat a flat griddle, pour a ladle full of batter on to the hot griddle & spread very little of the batter gently. Do not spread the batter more as the dosa needs to be thick and should look like a pancake. If the batter is well fermented you will have many pores on the dosa. Pour ghee or oil around the pancake. Using a big lid cover the dosa and let it cook for about 30-40 seconds. Remove the lid, flip the dosa and cook on the other side uncovered.

Ideally a set dosa is cooked only on one side, but just to ensure it is cooked well, we can also roast it from the other side.

Prepare a couple of more dosas like this, serve with chutney and sagu.

Dosas - karnataka special

Dosas – karnataka special

TOMATO ONION CHUTNEY

Tangy spicy tomato onion chutney

Tangy spicy tomato onion chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • a small piece of ginger
  • 3 red ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 whole red chilies
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt accordingly
  • For garnish: 1/2 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and 2-3 curry leaves

Method

In a wok, heat oil. Saute red chilies garlic, onions till translucent. Then add tomatoes along wit salt. Cook till the tomatoes are slushy and oil leaves the sides. Cool the mixture. Along with the coconut, blend the entire onion tomato mix into a smooth paste. I like mine little bit chunky so I grind it to a coarse paste. For the seasoning: heat oil, splutter mustard seeds and add curry leaves. Pour this tempering over the chutney.
Serve!

Tangy spicy yummy dip

Tangy spicy yummy dip

VEGETABLE SAGU/CURRY

This creamy coconut based melange of vegetables has one special ingredient which makes the curry typical and delicious. Knol Khol/Kohlrabi/Nookal/Alkul/Gedde Kosu or simply gaanth Gobhi, a cross between a turnip and cabbage is preferably used to make this curry. It is mildly sweet and succulent, abundantly rich in vitamins and dietary fibre. It is low in calories(yay!) and has a good number of minerals in it.

Knol Khol/Gaanth Gobhi

Knol Khol/Gaanth Gobhi

Ideally this curry is pale cream colored, but coriander leaves and green chilies can be added to turn the color green.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of assorted diced vegetables, like potatoes, peas, carrots, beans, cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of diced kohlrabi
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped capsicum
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • To be dry roasted: 2 tsp of coriander seeds, 2 tsp of poppy seeds, 2 each cinnamom and cloves, 2-3 red chillies.
  • 2 tbsp roasted channa dal/dalia
  • 2 tbsp coconut pieces
  • Optional: green chilies, ginger and coriander leaves, if you want your curry to be green in color.

Method

PaBoil all the veggies in little water seasoned with little bit of salt. Keep aside.
Make a paste of the dry roasted masalas along with dalia and coconut. Keep aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat ghee or oil. Saute onions and garlic till they turn pinkish. Then add capsicum. Saute for a couple of minutes. Throw in the ground paste and cook well till oil leaves the sides. Add tomatoes and the par boiled vegetables and simmer for 6-8 minutes until all the veggies and gravy comes into a homogenous mix.
Serve hot with dosas or pooris.

Veggie Sagu

Veggie Sagu

We have stopped hunting for breakfast options here in Mumbai. Have resigned to making south indian delicacies at home but just sometimes we miss being in Bangalore so much… for its myriad breakfast options and the lip smacking super strong filter coffee 🙂

Light, filling and delicious

Light, filling and delicious