Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sabudana Kichadi | Fast Recipe | Tips On How To Make Non Sticky Kichadi | Is Sabudana/Sago/Tapioca Good For Health?

Sabudana Kichadi is my go-to meal whenever I am fasting. Yes, in India when we fast for navratri, shivratri or janamasthmi we have to eat falhar food and not eat any anaaj or ann, I honestly don't know how to describe that in English because only an Indian will understand what I mean. Many times I have to explain my non Indian friends here in the UK that when I say I am fasting I am allowed to eat certain foods like sabudana, kuttu, muriya (sama rice), rajgira, fruits, yogurt and some vegetables like aloo, tomatoes and green chillies too. They mostly compare my fasting with roza (Muslims' fast during Ramadan where they can't even drink water before the sunsets), Hindus way of fasting is different and easy I will say. There are tons of options you can eat while you fast.

So I started making Sabudana Kichadi every Friday because that's when I fast. If you ask me What is Sabudana made of? Well I have been told that Sabudana is the starch (gluten free) that is extracted from tapioca roots, which is later on processed to form pearls that may vary in size. The pearls are produced by passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure and then dried to give us Sabudana grain.

There is always a question asked -if this helps you lose weight or gain weight?, well it helps you in weight gain - If you are underweight, eating sabudana will help you gain the right amount of kilograms. Since it is very starchy it is very high in carbohydrates and calories. So does that mean that  Sabudana is good for health? Well, Sabudana is loaded with good amount of potassium that helps to keep your BP in check. It gives  healthy blood flow and lowers the strain on your heart. It is also low in cholesterol and hence can be eaten guilt-free. Sabudana is a great source of protein, which is required for the growth of muscles. But since it is high in carbohydrates and calories, I will say eat it in moderation- like once a week or once a while.

Making sabudana is very easy but you need to master the art of soaking it well otherwise it will become mushy, sticky and chewy. How to make perfect non-sticky Sabudana Khichdi / tapioca pearls? and How long should Sabudana be soaked? So below are my instructions that will help you make good kichadi with every grain separate.

  • You need to soak sabudana overnight for best results, however if you are short on time you would still need 4-5 hours of soaking. Please don't use hot water to fast the process, it won't work and your Kichadi will come out really sticky.
  • Take a sieve/colander/channi and wash the sabudana with running water.
  • In big bowl soak sabudana by adding just enough water to cover them. The water level can be 1 to 1.5 inches above the sabudana.  Cover and let it soak for at least 4-5 hours or preferably overnight.
  • Sabudana grains will fluff up and when you press a grain it should mash up easily.
  • Just in case if the water is extra, keep the sabudana in the sieve/strainer and drain off all the excess water. Make sure there is no extra water. (this step is important).
  • Use enough oil, do not use too much oil because when you cook sago on heat it release water which when mixed with oil can spoil the taste giving it a sticky oily feeling. So add just enough oil-not too much and not to less.
  • When you add sabudana in the pan for cooking, do not overcook it-cook only it grain becomes translucent and grains are not sticking to each other.

Even when you are not fasting (vrat) you can make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is wholesome meal idea and you can add in lots of veggies to make it even healthier like carrots, capsicum, spinach and peas. (remember if you are fasting you will have to check what vegetables you can eat when you fast). Sabudana Kichadi is a great alternative to poha. There is a gujratai way of making it which sweeter and then there is Maharashtrian way of making it which is tad bit spicy and has peanuts too. The best part of this is that you alter and modify the recipe as per your choice-add whatever vegetables you want-with potatoes or without-with peanuts or without-with curry leaves or without; so I am sure you know what I mean now.

What to add in Sabudana Kichadi?
I add carrots, potatoes and green chillies.
I like to add in cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and rock salt (sendha namak) for colour.
Finally I add a good squeeze of lime juice.
You can add curry leaves, peanuts, tomatoes too.

1 cup saubana/sago
1 1/4 cup water for soaking
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
1 small carrot/gajar chopped
1 meduim sized potato/aloo chopped
1 green chilli/hari mirchi chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
rock salt/ sendha namak for taste (you can use regular salt if you are not fasting)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coriander leaves/dhaniya chopped

Wash sabudana in the runny water and then soak it in the water overnight. Strain all the water the next day before cooking (see the tips for help above in the article)
Heat oil in kadai/wok . When oil gets hot add in cumin seeds and let it crackle.
Add in chopped potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook it till potatoes and carrots become soft and are cooked.
Add in sabudana, green chilli, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, sugar and salt. Mix well till the grain becomes translucent.
Mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves and that is it. Serve hot.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Basic Homestyle Aloo Paratha: Ghar Wale Maa ke Haath Jaise Aloo Paratha

To be honest I was surprised not to see Aloo Paratha recipe on my blog, but then it is such a staple meal in almost every Indian household that putting up a recipe of it on a blog would be useless-isn't it? But then with years of experience and trying so many variations from blogging world and various family members' advice I think I should now make a post on alu paratha too.

Okay, so I won't say that these are the most authentic way of making alu paratha (because, hey who knows where's the authentic ones are from). Neither will I say that these are the best Punjabi style aloo paratha (because I haven't eaten the one from Punjab so I dont know what it tastes like). All I can claim is that these are Simple Basic Homestyle Aloo Paratha.

Yes the ones that your mother would pack in your tiffin lunch boxes for schools hours. Or the ones that she would give for train journeys or hostel days.

If you google, on how to make the best aloo paratha you will get hundreds of recipes and they have their own style and method and ingredients, but here I am talking to you about very primary, ghar wale or maa ke haath vale Aloo Paratha.

Tricks to make a good Aloo Paratha?
The dough should be soft and must have rested for at least 15 minutes.
Potatoes should be mashed when it's cold. Not grated (I repeat), but mashed. The lumps of potatoes filling found in between is sooooo good.
Add the spices (massale) only when potatoes when become cold. Do not add in extra massalas like pav bhaji massala, garam massla-keep it simple.
Use ghee, please use ghee-can’t explain this point enough. Ghee is your best friend for good aloo paratha. If you are vegan, please use any oil instead.
Do not be afraid to add in extra filling, hey who doesn't like oozing out alu stuffing? Its okay if its not perfectly round.

Can you freeze Aloo Paratha?
Yes you can. Initially I used to buy Haldiram's, Ashoka's and Shana's stuffed paratha a lot but now I don't. I just freeze my own homemade ones. Fill the parathas and roll it out as you would normally do. When you cook it on the tava/pan donot cook it completely. Half cook it or under-cook it-which means when you see some brown bubbles on the paratha then take it off the tava and let it cool it completely. Put in clingfilm, parchment paper (baking paper), aluminium foil in between each paratha. Put the parathas in a container and freeze. They will be okay for a 2 months.
Whenever you want to eat them, just heat a tava and put the frozen paratha on it. Pour in some ghee and cook it completely. *Remember we left the parathas under-cooked before freezing because now is the time you cook it completely.

For Stuffing
2 medium sized boiled potatoes (aloo)
1 green chilli (hari mirch)
1/4 teaspoon paratha cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (lal mrichi) or adjust as per your tatse
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder (dhainya)
salt to taste
A pinch of turmeric (haldi)
1/4 teaspoon chaat massala (recipe here)
4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya)
Ghee as needed.

For Dough:
1 and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (aatta)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
1 teaspoon oil
water as needed

For Dough
Start by mixing salt, flour, ajwain and oil.
Mix in water slowly little by little and start forming a smooth soft dough.
Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 equal parts.

For Stuffing:
Mash the boiled potatoes with your hands.
Add in all the ingredients (expect ghee) and mix well.
Divide the mixture in 5 equal portions and give it a shape of a ball.

For Paratha:
Heat the pan on medium flame/heat.
Take one dough ball and with the rolling pin, roll into a medium sized circle.
Place the potatoes stuffing ball in the center. Bring all the extra edges and pinch in the center like you sealing the edges.
Flatten it a bit by using your palm. Now using your rolling pin, roll out the paratha.
Place the paratha on the pan. Cook one side till you see some bubbles. Flip the paratha and apply ghee on it. Flip again and apply around 1/4 teaspoon ghee on the other side as well.
Press with the spatula till both the sides are cooked and have golden crisp spots on them.
Repeat the same with the remaining dough.

Serving ideas:
Serve with chutney or ketchup.
You can also pair it up with pickle or just simple yogurt.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Zucchini Muthiya: Gujarati Indian Steamed Snack

Raise your hand if like me you cant eat roti subji every day! With less visits to supermarkets and due to lock down I am constantly thinking about variations and ideas that I can imply and make new dishes at home without using too many ingredients. So with the same prospective in mind Zucchini Muthiya happened one Friday.

To think about it, Muthiya uses same ingredients that you would do in any normal indian meal-aata, massale and subji. Okay, so those of you dont know, Muthia is a Gujarati snack or farsaan (as we say in Gujarati) and is steamed dumpling that is made with whole wheat flour, a bit of besan (chickpeas flour), vegetables and basic masale (spices).

The most popular variety of Muthia is made from lauki or doodhi (bottle gourd) but people use leftover rice, carrots, cabbage, tinda, methi, palak or any juicy vegetable to make muthiya. But hey, don't you think zucchini is like bottle gourd (luaki) in taste and texture? I do, and that is why this version of Zucchini Muthiya happened. In Hindi zucchini is called as taroi, tori, turai or galka and if you are thinking about a modification on how to use those zucchini in the fridge, then this recipe is for you.

You can check my recipe for Spinach Muthia here, where in I have used makki ka atta (corn maize flour) and suji (semolina), yougurt (dahi) too in the recipe, however today’s recipe for Zucchini Muthiya is very simple using very basic ingredients that you should have in your kitchen even during this isolation time.

For Dough
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
1 medium sized zucchini
5 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
½ teaspoon lemon juice (nimbo ka ras)
½ teaspoon red chilli powder (lal mirchi)
½ teaspoon sugar (shakkar/chini)
4 tablespoons oil

For Tempering
2 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
½ teaspoon white sesame seeds (til)
10-12 curry leaves (kadi patta)
5-6 green chillies slitted (hari mirchi)
Handful of coriander leaves chopped (dhaniya patta)

Prepare the steamer. Add about 5 cups of water and bring to boil. Then apply some oil on steamer tray and grease it well.
Grate the zuchini and leave it aside for 2-3 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients in dough section (expect zucchini).
Squeeze out all the water from the zucchini really well and throw the zucchini in the dough. The dough should be medium hard. Use extra water only if needed.
Apply some oil on your palms and divide the dough in to four equal portions. Shape each portion in to cylindrical log. Arrange on grease tray and steam it for 25-30 minutes.
You can check if Muthia is cooked by inserting a toothpick or a knife in the centre of the log and it should come out clean.
Let it cool down for 5 minutes then cut into half inch slices.
Heat the oil in a pan for tempering.
Once hot add mustard seeds and sesame seeds, curry leaves, green chillies. Let them splutter. Then add sliced muthia.
Mix gently so muthia do not break and cook it till you get little brown and crispy muthia. Turn off the heat. Serve hot!

Any other grated vegetables like cabbage, bottle gourd/lauki, onions, methi leaves, spring onions, beetroot, carrots can also be added instead of spinach. Or you can make mixed vegetable muthiya.
If do not like tampering then even plain steamed muthiya tastes good.
This will be a sweet and sour snack (khata meetha) like most Gujarati snacks, so feel free to ditch sugar if you do not prefer sweet snacks.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Jowar (Sorghum) Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Eggfree| Maida Free| Gluten Free

Necessity is the mother of invention and this isolation time is proving this theory to be so right, well at least for me. So even though ingredients are available in the market, we obviously want to avoid unnecessary visit to the supermarkets. The other day, we both had an urge to eat something sweet and we did not wanted to use our atta (wheat flour that we survive on our daily roti needs) and that is when it strike me to use Jowar flour which otherwise was sitting abandoned in my kitchen pantry.

Jowar called as Sorghum is a gluten free versatile grain that has been used in India for centuries. Jowar is a powerhouse of essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Thus to be able to use this super grain flour in cookies was a great way to eliminate refined flour and be able to create something healthy. I also, wanted to use less sugar and that is when milk chocolate bar grabbed my attention, I chopped the milk chocolate bar into chunks which when melted slowly, gave that much needed sweet kick.

If you have jowar flour sitting in your kitchen and you don't know what to do with it then these cookies are something you must try. No atta, no maida, no eggs, no overpowering sugar-just simple cookies that are delicious, crunchy and yes of-course healthy.

Jowar Flour- 1 ¼ cup
Chocolate (chopped into chunk)- ¼ cup
Butter- ½ cup
Sugar- 5 tablespoons
Baking Powder- ¼ teaspoon
Baking Soda- A pinch
Milk as needed to make the dough
Almonds chopped into half for garnishing (optional)

Mix jowar flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar well.
Slowly add in butter and chocolate. It will start forming crumbs. Mix well.
Add in milk till it starts to form a hard dough.
Keep the cookie mix in the fridge for 1 hour.
Before you start baking, preheat the oven at 150C for 10 minutes.
After 1 hour, make small disc and garnish with almonds.
Bake on 150C for 25 minutes.
You know cookies are done when they become hard from edges but are still gooey in the middle.
Let it cool down before you eat.

The baking process and time might differ from oven to oven so keep an eye and check regularly.
These are not very sweet cookies, so please increase the amount of sugar as per your liking.