Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip- How to grow/make sprouts at home?

Here I am back with another Tuesday’s tip. This tip is the answer of the request emails that I received asking to share how to grow/make sprouts at home? You can sprout seeds, beans, legumes, lentils easily at home. If you are living in a city that has hot temperature and moisture/humidity then you are lucky as the sprouts will grow really fast and properly. People who reside in colder areas (like London) then it needs bit of preparation but is really simple.

Here in London you can buy a bowl sprouts for 2-3 pound, which is very expensive as you get 250 grams of seeds for just 1 pound. Now, if you sprout these 250 grams you will have 500-650 grams of sprouts for just 1 pound. Decide which one is economical yourself? Moreover sprouting at home is hygienic and clean.

Sprouting seeds, beans and grains is one of the quickest, easiest ways to pack a group of nutrients into your body in just one handful. When you sprout them, the nutritional profile multiplies and you get real health boost in your body. That’s why sprouts are very vital for daily health. Thankfully you can sprout grains and seeds easily now. So what you need to do?

Step 1
Wash seeds, grains, legumes well.

Step 2
Soak them overnight in sufficient water.

Step 3
Next day drain the water and wash well.

Step 4
Put seeds in a colander/ sieve/ channi and drain the excess water. (For 1/2 hour)

Step 5
Take a  bowl and place colander/sieve on it. It is important (very important) that the bottom of the colander/sieve doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. There should be sufficient space in between them.

Step 6
Take a kitchen towel/napkin/muslin cloth/men’s handkerchief and wet it with water. Squeeze out all the excess water and cover the seeds with the cloth.

Step 7
Keep in a dark place. Before going to bed wet the cloth again, squeeze the water and cover the seeds.

Step 8
Next morning, the seeds will begin to grow/germinate. If you are in warmer region they would have grown too much by now and in colder region it takes 3-4 days to grow. So keep repeating step 8 till you get properly grown seeds.

Step 9
Wash and use the way you want.

Personally I love sprouts in any form, be it a quick raw salad with veggies. I have also made sprouts dosa before and it was loved by south-Indian bloggers. You can also prepare crunchy parathas with sprouts or even a spicy mixed ussal pav.

Hope you like this tip. Any questions, doubts just shoot me an email. Do share pictures of the sprouted seeds.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kachumber, Basic Indian Salad

Some people/places/things are so famous that they need no introduction. If I mention Sachin Tendulkar, I am sure you will know who he is. Or if I say Taj Mahal, you know where it is. Or I if I speak of Brad Pitt, you again recognize who he is. Similarly some dishes like aloo parathas, massala chaas, poha, pav bhaji are so popular that even a little mention of it explains the rest.

Kachumber [kuh-choom-burr] is one that thing - so common and basic, one that you and your parents and their parents have eaten, one that is still enjoyed in many homes, one that is healthy summer relish, one that is the FIRST salad Indians ever knew. In Hindi, Kacha means 'Raw or uncooked' and Kachumbar is literally small tiny pieces of raw vegetables. No fuss salad, no fancy dressing, no exotic ingredients- just pinch of love (salt), drops of smile (lemon juice), dash of kindness (chilli powder). Period!!

Growing up this was my most beloved salad. I loved rolling the word of my tongue and enjoyed eating it. This quick simple salad is prepared daily in my kitchen and I was shocked when I realized that my favourite salad is not in my blog. I was like- whaaaattt, how is that even possible?? So I herby rest my case and present before you kachumber- my way. I say my way because there can be hundreds if not thousand recipes of it.  No specific method or ingredients. Just add in or remove what you like or don’t like. My secret elements are homemade chaat massala and roasted cumin powder- both of it infuses perfect balance of flavour and taste.

Cucumber -This wonderful, low calorie vegetable indeed has more nutrients to offer than just water, it provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is a very good source of potassium, which is a heart friendly electrolyte helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.

Onions-This pink looking bulb is also very low in calories and fat. It is a very good source of dietary fibre and also good in antioxidants, vitamin-C and mineral manganese. I know this vegetable makes you cry but if eaten raw has many benefits like – it normal blood pressure levels, less stress, fewer colds and flues, lower cholesterol levels, healthier urinary tract and less blood clotting.

Tomatoes-The juicy vegetables as we all known is major source of vitamin C. Tomatoes also reduces the chance of heart attacks and stroke- they contain lycopene which is a serious inhibitor of heart disease (lycopene prevents skin damage from ultra-violet (UV) rays and offers protection from skin cancer). Because of their all-round qualities it is recommended that everyone must eat tomatoes.

Carrots-Are very low in calories and contains zero cholesterol. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants. The orange one are also rich source of B-complex vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Beet is also said to increase the blood flow in the body and improves the hemoglobin count.

Lemon- They not only add tang and zing to the salad but also has antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances--notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C-that promote immunity, weight loss and fight infection.

To conclude, if you had a busy day at office or you are lazy to cook something fancy or you need to have healthy diet- then this salad is the savior. It is said-‘let you food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’ and this recipe justifies this saying. One of the vital rule to follow while following healthy lifestyle is to eat more and more raw vegetables- so why not have Kachumber? Apply on toasted bread or cracker; or as a side with tava pulav or parathas; or just the way it is. Below is the recipe.

1 medium sized onion/pyaz
2 medium sized tomatoes/tamatar

1 small carrot/gajar
2-3 small sized cucumber/kheera/kakdi
¼ cup coriander leaves/dhaniya chopped finely
1 teaspoon lemon juice/nimbu ka ras
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder/bhuna jeer
Salt to taste

Chop onion, carrot, tomatoes, cucumber into very small cubes. 
Next mix in all the spices just before serving.
Kachumber is ready.

You can also add chopped beetroot, green chilli or mint leaves also. If using green chilli, skin red chilli powder.
Add spices just before serving else it will water down.
Some also grate carrots and cucumber instead of chopping. Choice is yours.

Sending this for Independence Day Event at Cooking With SJ for Hudson giveway

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aloo Channa/ Aloo Chola, Potatoes Chickpeas Curry

How was the Easter break? What did you? Went for a Holiday? Painted Easter eggs? Eggs hunt with kids? Or had an elaborate dinner? Most of our friends in the UK went to beachside to soak the sunshine and relax. I hope they had fun as the weather was fluctuating from sunny to rainy to windy. Well that’s the English climate-so unpredictable!

We decided to stay at home and complete several pending work. So we went to buy Indian grocery, ate some good Indian food, met one friend (which was long overdue), renewed the books from library and spared some time to see movies. We saw The Amazing Spiderman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Spiderman- yes, I wanted to see as I enjoyed the trailer and 3d effects were exciting. The Grand Budapest Hotel-no I dint like it; but Mr. Husband loved the movie as it had subtle humour. (Don’t know what that even means? *grin*). So yes, that was all what we did on Easter break.

Cooking?? I dint try anything new. I stuck up to basic old meals. Quick carrot nutty salad, lehsuni daal tadka, methi mutter pulav and Punjabi aloo parathas were on the menu. Sunday it was sunny and bright and I wanted to click pictures but was still wanted to make something basic. So it was aloo channa subji (potatoes and chickpeas side dish). Remember I shared a tip on how tofreeze legumes for future use? Well I used the same frozen chickpeas/chola with boiled potatoes to compose the quick lunch. Nice isn't it?

In the UK it is one of the most popular vegetarian side dish. I have seen here people ordering aloo channa in Indian restaurants –may be they find it exotic or fancy; but; for Indian homes, this is no fuss, easy subji that is prepared on daily basis. There are many variations of making aloo channa recipe from dry to semi gravy to a curry version. I like semi gravy where chopped tomatoes are swathed in massala finally infusing the flavour to chickpeas and potatoes. Ideally this side dish is served with puri (fried Indian bread) in Punjab, but you wouldn’t mind pairing it with parathas as well. Just chop some red onions, squeeze out fresh lemon juice, have massala chaas and enjoy scoops of the subji with parathas. Perfect Indian lunch.

1 cup Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana
3 medium boiled potatoes/aloo
1 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
2 tablespoons channa/chola massala powder
1 onion/pyaz
2 medium tomatoes/Tamatar
2 green chillies/hari mirchi
2 tablespoon grated ginger
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon carom seeds/ajwain
1 black cardamom/badi ilyachi
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves.

Soak chickpeas overnight. Next day drain the water, wash and pressure cook for 8 whistles with 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli with 5 tablespoons of water.
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Add black cardamom.
Add grinded mixture and stir well. Cover and cook till raw smell fades away.
Next add in finely chopped tomatoes. Mix.
Add all the remaining spices with 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook till tomatoes are mushy.
Add boiled chickpeas and chopped boiled potatoes. Mix well. Let it cook covered for 12 minutes. Then cook uncovered for 2 minutes or till you have semi-dry gravy.
Sprinkle lemon juice and add chopped coriander leaves.

Add more water if you need liquid gravy.
You can grind tomatoes with spices if you are in hurry.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marwadi Bharwa Bhindi /Stuffed Okra

India- a country that has assortment of religions, languages, culture and food. Example south Indians add mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut in their meals where as north Indians add ghee, cumin seeds and lots of garlic. Westerners like Guajaratis prefer sweet meals while Rajasthanis who are also from western India like their food to be very spicy. That’s why same white peas curry is Ghugni Chaat in West Bengal, Ragda Patties in Gujarat and Matra  in Bihar. Same aloo ki subji is served with kachori in Uttar Pradesh whereas with puri in Madhya Pradesh. You now get the picture??

Dish that I chose to upload on my blog is another example that showcases the changes that happens with it when it travels to different parts of India. It is Bharwa Bhindi/ Stuffed Okra. In north it gets the royal treatment-stuffed with panner and is made with lots of ghee. In eastern parts it is rather simple with mustard oil and yogurt. When in south it is loaded with curry leaves, coconut and mustard seeds. I made it marwadi way- the rajasthani style.

After I posted the marwadi aloo pyaz ki subji I have been getting request emails to add more marwadi cuisine in my blog. Well why not, after all I am a marwadi who is born and bought up in Rajasthan. So here is the western/rajasthani/marwadi form of making Bharwa Bhindi. First, even a drop of water on Bhindi can make it all gooey and slimy which is a strict no no. Gram flour and homemade chaat massala does the magic that conveys that Marwadi touch. No coconut, paneer just simple Indian spices and some patience is all you need to make this side dish.

2 cups okra/bhindi
3 teaspoon gram flour/besan
1 teaspoon Red chilli powder/lal mirch
1 teaspoon Cumin powder/jeera
1 teaspoon Coriander powder/Dhania
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder/haldi
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds crushed/Saunf
1/2 teaspoon Dry mango powder/Amchur
1/2 teaspoon homemade chaat masala
2 Green chilies
Pinch asafoetida/hing
4 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds/jeera
1/4 tsp Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon coriander leaves

  1. Wash okras well and drain on kitchen towel till there is not even a drop of water.
  2. Mix gram flour, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder, crushed fennel seeds, dry mango powder, chaat massala and salt in a bowl.
  3. Slit okras and stuff 1/4 teaspoon of above mixture in each of them.
  4. Heat oil and add cumin seeds, green chillies and asafoetida.
  5. Add stuffed okras in the pan and mix well. Add in all the remaining spice mixture. Cover and cook. Mix after every one minute. When soft, sprinkle garam massala on it. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Sending this to YBR hosted at Spice Foodie

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Indian Masala Chaas / Spiced Buttermilk

After a very long time I am posting a recipe in my blog. I was busy holidaying in Paris and then Scotland and Amsterdam. Most of you have already seen Paris through my lens and thanks a lot for your comments.
Now back in London, back to routine. Back is the sun, the green trees, the chirping birds, the sprung flowers. Long days filled with sunshine is such a pure bliss after depressing and dark winters- this winters there was no trace of snow as well :-(. Anyways now I won’t bore you talking about the gloomy weather. It’s the summer time. Happy Summers everyone :-)

2 days back I was on phone with my friend in India (Mumbai) and she was mourning over heat and summers. She said ‘uff, I hate summers, I hate going out, it is so hot outside, I can’t even do makeup, it is sweat everywhere-etc etc’ Well it is not new for anyone who has experienced Indian summers- correct? Summers in India are not the sunny, warm and bright like London. Summers in India mean scorching heat, sand storms and sweaty days.

London is never that hot but even with a little sunshine I crave for something cold and yet healthy. Vodka Mojito, Mint Cucumber Cooler, Bloody Mary are okay once a while. But at times drinks without sugar is what I wish for. A huge thanks to that unknown someone who invented  Masala Chaas or Spiced Buttermilk which is healthy and is the perfect thirst quencher.

It is the blend of spices with thick yogurt and thus the health benefits are immense. Made with water and curd, this drink is perfect to soothe the stomach. As you drink it the cool butter milk tends to wash down the spices and calms an irritated stomach lining. Packed with electrolytes and lots of water, chaas is the best thing you can give your body to fight dehydration. This summer invest in glass of Masala Chaas and relieve yourself from sun.

1 cup yogurt/dahi
4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon ginger juice/adrak
1 green chilli deseeded
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder/bhuna jeera
Black salt to taste
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves/sukha pudhina

Mix everything together with 4 cups of cold water. Mix well till it is frothy.

If you don’t have dried mint leaves, use fresh. Just used 4-5 crushed mint leaves.
Green chilli is optional but it brings great taste.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Paris, Through My Lens

Ahhh! Paris. A city where you can walk hand in hand with your partner and gaze forever at the twinkling Eiffel Tower; or watch the Seine River going by while quietly sitting on a bench; or revolve your souls pure in Notre Dame Cathedral; or read and sip coffee in French cafe; or relax and enjoy the wine. A city that is gorgeous in night, a city to rewind the romance, a city to fall in love all over again. Ahhh! Paris.

No more words, let pictures do the talking:-)

The Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral

Walls speak? Inside Notre-Dame

Rows of prayers

Stunning mosaic mirror work

Bridge on Seine River

The bonds of love -Love Lock Bridge

Love the French Balconies

Tall and handsome

Show me the way!

Lovere Museum- here you will find the original Mona Lisa painting

Do i say something? The Eiffel Tower

Beauty in night
Sacre Coeur
Balancing Stunt
Read at Cafe
Husband holding the French Crape- Chocolate and Coconut

Creme Brulee- the french delicacy
Coffee and cookie- the french way!

Finally Me! pouring some wine:)