Oct 26, 2010

Vegetable sandwiches

This was the lazy weekend,and I was too engrossed in aromatic elaichi tea with the morning newspaper,to think of any gourmet breakfast.It was then that I remembered the pudina chutney I  had made the previous day.I lost no time in chopping up the veggies at hand,and went on to make this A GRADE (the young ones gave me this grade!) scrumptious breakfast for my kids.So quick and tasty,especially if you have the spread made ahead,my heart filled with happiness at having been able to whip up a hearty wholesome breakfast for my family.
You need 
  1. Sandwich bread / whole wheat bread-1 loaf
  2. Pudina chutney-1 recipe (from previous post)
  3. Tomatoes-3-4 medium, thinly sliced
  4. Capsicum-2 medium, thinly sliced
  5. Zuchini, yellow-1 long, thinly sliced
  6. Onion-2 medium, cut into thin rounds (optional)
  7. Butter-2 tbsp, melted
To assemble
  1. Clean all vegetables that you wish to use, peel and slice into thin rounds.
  2. Brush 1 side of each bread slice very lightly with melted butter.
  3. Heat a sandwich toaster, place a buttered slice down on the toaster.
  4. Use a spoon or spatula to spread some pudina chutney onto the slice.
  5. Place 2-3 tomato slices on the bread slice, then place some zuchini slices over it, followed by a slice each of onion and capsicum.
  6. Top the sandwich with a buttered bread slice faced up.
  7. Close the sandwich toaster, step back and wait for the heavenly aroma of toasted bread.
  8. Depending on model of toaster, your sandwich should be ready in 60-80 seconds.
  9. Take care not to burn the underside of the sandwich, switch off and remove carefully with a spatula.
  10. Repeat making sandwiches using up your bread and veggies and the yummy chutney spread.
  11. Cut the sandwiches into triangles with a sharp knife, sit back and       ATTACK!!!!
  1. You could use any vegetable combination- sliced carrot, blanched beetroot, raw cucumber, tender radish- all work well inside sandwiches.
  • A sandwich filled with vegetables like this is a super healthy, filling, no mess, school lunch.
  • You could add half a slice of cheese to each sandwich to increase satiety for a school lunch box.
  • I used a Philips electric sandwich toaster to make these sandwiches.
Now for the nutri notes
  • Using whole wheat bread increases fibre content of the meal, especially useful for diabetics, since it is a low glycemic index food.
  • Health benefits of pudina has already been mentioned in previous post.
  • Making a vegetable sandwich like this, at home,  lets you use several types of vegetables in the same sandwich (you are not victim of limited veggie fillings commonly doled out at several restaurants).
  • Using raw vegetables like capsicum, tomato provides for the daily average requirement of Vitamin C (Please note that cooking time of 60 -80 seconds inside the toaster is quite minimal and ensures easy digestion, while retaining the vitamin content of the vegetable to almost 80%)
  • Onion is a sulphur containing vegetable, while tomatoes have lycopene, a  plant pigment. Such vegetables have anti carcinogenic property, that is, they help prevent cancer in the body!
  • The homemade sandwich spread eliminates the need of  using store bought ketchups and spreads (which may contain several food additives and preservatives).
Here are the visuals

sliced vegetables
bread slice topped and ready to toast!
yummy sandwiches

Oct 12, 2010

Pudina chutney

I was looking for a zesty pick me up to brighten up a usual rice-dal routine.As I rummaged though the fridge,this bright dark green bunch of pudina invited me with it's lovely aroma-this was exactly what could fit my need!I could not wait to convert it into this chutney below; once you have separated leaves from stalks, go ahead and make this quick, delicious pick me up!

You need
  1. Pudina leaves-1 1/2 cups packed
  2. Green chillies-3-4 big
  3. Root ginger-2 tsp chopped
  4. Garlic-7-8 cloves,peeled
  5. Fresh coconut-grated-1/4cup or chopped-1/2 cup
  6. Juice of 1 lemon (can add more if you feel the need for a super tangy taste)
  7. Salt-1/4 tsp
  8. Vegetable oil-1/4 tsp
To assemble
  1. Remove stalks,clean and wash pudina leaves under several changes of water,drain and keep aside.
  2. Take a flat bottomed pan,heat oil in it.
  3. Add chopped green chillies, ginger, garlic to the pan, swirl the pan and let sizzle.
  4. After a minute you can add the washed pudina leaves, toss in the oil for a quick coating.Do not fry for more than a minute-you will lose the flavor and colour if you do.
  5. Take a fresh coconut halved, and grate or chop out the white flesh (use quantity, as given in ingredient list)
  6. After the fried ingredients have cooled, place these and the coconut in a mixer grinder, add the salt and grind to a smooth paste.Use the lemon juice instead of water,midway through the grinding.You can add another tsp or two of water after adding the juice,(if required).
  7. Your tangy bursting-with -good-health-pudina- chutney is ready!
  • This chutney can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days,and upto 10 days in a freezer box in the freezer;thaw only as much as you would use up each time.
  • The chutney works great to perk up a meal,as a sandwich spread,or a tangy spread for rotis-fill up with salad veggies,roll and eat!
  • You can use fresh raw mango in season instead of lemon juice-it adds body to the chutney too.
  • Can avoid ginger and garlic and use only green chillies for a slight change in flavour.
  • Can make the same chutney using fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves too,use 1 1/2 cup of chopped leaves to substitute for every cup of pudina leaves.
  • Take care-Do not  fry the leaves for more than a minute.
Now for the nutri notes
  • Ginger, garlic and pudina are known to be excellent digestive aids, they relieve gas, distension, and improve digestion.
  • At a good 15mg of iron per100g of pudina leaves, mint packs in good punch!
  • Combining lemon juice or raw mango in the chutney makes Vitamin C readily available.Vitamin C improves iron absorption in the body.
  • Pudina also adds to the fibre content of the meal.
  • With virtually no sodium, it is a good choice for both hypertensive (blood pressure) and some renal patients, who need to control sodium intake.Of course, adding salt to the dish increases the sodium content.You can use low sodium salt insted of regular table salt in case of sodium restriction.
Here follows the visuals

    frying ingredients
    toss pudina leaves in oil

     fresh coconut
    pudina chutney 

    Oct 11, 2010

    Palak dal

    What could be healthy, filling, have a protein and veggies combined in a single dish and get cooked in less than half an hour? Well, this greens dal fits the bill just right! Of course, pressure cooking the rice along with the dal saved me cooking time and I had this soul food ready in under 40 minutes-quite a treat for hungry kids when served with homemade ghee! 

    You need
    1. Tur dal (red gram dal) -150ml
    2. Paruppu keerai (called kari cheera,pappu koora) /palak - chopped, 3 cups
    3. Onions-2 medium, finely chopped
    4. Tomatoes-2 medium, diced
    5. Green chillies-3 big, finely chopped
    6. Fresh root ginger-1 tsp chopped
    7. Curry leaves-1 tbsp, finely chopped
    8. Turmeric powder-3/4 tsp
    9. Salt-1 tsp (adjust to taste)
    For seasoning
    1. Vegetable oil-2 tsp
    2. Mustard seeds-1 tsp
    3. Jeera (cumin seeds)-1 tsp
    4. Saunf (aniseed)-1 tsp(optional)
    To assemble
    1. Wash the dal well.
    2. Add double the volume of water and pressure cook to a soft consistency.
    3. Wash the greens you are using well under several changes of water.
    4. Chop up medium fine.
    5. Place the chopped greens in a microwavable bowl, add some water and cook on high for 4-5 minutes.
    6. Heat oil in a deep pan.
    7. Add ingredients for seasonings in order.
    8. When they splutter, add green chillies, ginger ,curry leaves.
    9. Next to go in is the onions, followed by diced tomatoes.
    10. Toss in the turmeric and salt.
    11. Mix it well and let the veggies mush up a bit.
    12. Add the cooked greens, give a good mix, add about 100 ml of water, simmer for 2 minutes.
    13. Now is time to add cooked dal, mash with the back of ladle, simmer for 3-4 minutes, add more water if needed to avoid burning.
    14. Your lovely nutrient-packed greens dal is now ready!
    15. Serve with steamed rice, pudina chutney and carrot sticks.
    Here follows the nutri notes-
    • Combining a cereal and a pulse in a meal is the best way to get all amino acids.
    • The greens dal combines in itself the protein and vegetables needed in a meal.
    • The mint chutney packs-
    More of green leafy vegetable allowance.
    Adds zing,spice and hence improves satiety of a meal.
    Adding lime juice to the chutney provides vitamin C needed for better iron absorption(from the greens and pudina) in the body.
    • Serving with carrot sticks adds to the beta carotene in the meal(greens have them too).
    • Carrots also amp up the fibre quotient.
    • Preportioning the meal (as in the pic) allows you to eat sufficiently.
    • This helps weight watchers to prevent from reaching out mindlessly for extra servings.

    Here are the visuals-
    diced tomatoes

    chopped ingredients

    chopped greens
    cooked dal

    microwaved greens

    bubbling greens dal