Dec 24, 2010

Quick chana kurma

An easy-to-cook, hearty dish just right for this season! It is also loaded with all nutrients you can wish for in a power-packed meal. Once you have read through the nutri notes, I’m quite certain that everyone will try this dish out. Do let me know how it worked for you.If you have sprouts ready at hand, this delicious kurma takes no time in travelling from the pot to the tummy!
You need green chana sprouts
  1. Green chana sprouted – 1 cup heaped
  2. Salt – 1 tsp heaped
  3. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Fresh coriander leaves – 1/4 cup chopped
  5. Jaggery –1 tbsp powdered (optional)
  6. Sambar powder – 1 tsp (optional)
For seasoning
  1. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Curry leaves – 10 leaves torn up ingredients
  4. Hing powder – 1/2 tsp (if you are not using onion or garlic)
For the gravy
  1. Ripe tomatoes – 4 medium, or 3 big
  2. Chutney dal – 2 tbsp levelled
  3. Fresh coconut – grated 1/4 cup
  4. Ginger – chopped fine 2 tbsp
  5. Green chillies – 2-3
  6. Garlic – 1-2 cloves (optional)
To assemblesteaming kurma
  1. Pressure cook chana sprouts until well cooked. Sprouting renders the legumes softer and you can cook it faster.
  2. Grind all ingredients mentioned under gravy  to a smooth paste.
  3. In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil, add ingredients for seasoning in order.
  4. Pour in the gravy paste, add 1 – 2 cups of water, add salt and turmeric powder, bring to a boil.
  5. Once the gravy starts boiling, reduce flame, stir well and simmer for 10 minutes, keep stirring in between to avoid burning.
  6. When gravy is ready, tip in the cooked sprouts, check for salt.
  7. Add jaggery and sambar powder, if using.
  8. Adjust salt and consistency if needed by adding water.
  9. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve hot with rotis, rava idli or steamed rice.
droooly kurma ready!
Nutri notes-
  • The key ingredients in this dish are sprouts and ginger. So, I shall confine the nutrition information to these two.
  • Sprouting or germinating whole pulses has been known to man for several thousands of years.
  • Sprouts have the starches pre-digested by the enzyme amylase activated during sprouting. This breaks down starches into simpler sugars, proteins into amino acids and complex fats into simpler fatty acids, by the action of enzyme lipase.
  • Sprouts of legumes therefore are easier to digest than the dry forms, their flatulence (gas) producing factors decrease and the protein in the legume is available to the body in a more absorbable form.
  • Sprouting decreases levels of trypsin (amino acid) inhibitors or protease (digestive enzyme) inhibitors (present in the legumes - these substances make the legume harder to digest)
  • Sprouting increases the availability of water soluble vitamins such as Vitamin B and C by 400% to 800%.Hence it is ideal for growing teens, pregnant and lactating women, and elderly people –all groups of people whose needs for vitamins are higher.
  • Sprouting increases presence of calcium and phosphorous making it important for women past age of 35 years too.Moreover sprouts contain plant oestrogens, very essential for women in peri-menopause or pre- menopause or menopause stages. In other words – from ages 35-60 and even beyond! These plant oestrogens help maintain bone density, hence help prevent osteoporosis.The hormone also helps to relieve symptoms of PMS, hot flushes during menopause.
  • Sprouting helps to increase presence of anti oxidants in foods – this prevents free radical formation.Result – skin ages slower, tissues remain stronger through age, hence better vision, hearing, better muscles and stronger bones too!
  • Sprouting increases iron and zinc content of legumes. Both minerals are vital during growth phase of children.
  • Sprouts being ‘live’ food are considered full of ‘prana’ or life-force.Hence, better immunity, anti ageing properties, detoxifying in nature, maintains acid – alkaline balance of the body.
  • Ayurveda recommends using of ginger and turmeric in dishes of legumes to maintain acid balance and improve digestability of the dish – this recipe thus has it all !

Dec 4, 2010

Godhumai Pongal

You need
  1. Cracked wheat – 1 cup DSCF1050
  2. Mung dal – 1 cup
  3. Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
For seasoning
  1. Vegetable oil + ghee – 2 tbsp
  2. Whole black pepper- 2 tsp
  3. Jeera – 1 tsp heaped
  4. Cashewnuts – 2tbsp (optional)
  5. Ginger – juliennes – 2 tsp
  6. Greenchillies – 3 slit lenghtwise
  7. Curry leaves – 12-15
To assemble
  1. Wash cracked wheat (godhumai ravai) and mung dal together.cooked dalia and dal
  2. Pressure cook with three times the volume of water.
  3. Break cashews into halves if using
  4. Pound together pepper and jeera to a coarse powder
  5. Slit green chillies, chop ginger into juliennes,tear the curry leaves roughly.
  6. In a  small pan, Heat the oil + ghee, add the cashews first.
  7. When they brown up lightly, add other ingredients for seasoning  with pepper powder in the end.
  8. Switch off gas and add the seasoning to the cooked pongal, add salt and mix everything well.
  9. DSCF1081
    Godhumai Pongal
    Enjoy hot godhumai pongal with onion raita or sambar or chutney of your choice.
The nutri notes-
This is a typical south Indian version of the previous recipe - Dalia khichdi.This tasted very similar to usual pongal made with rice and mung dal.I hope this recipe helps people who enjoy south indian cuisine to include wheat easily in their diet.
  • The nutritional benefits of this recipe are the same as that of the previous recipe.This recipe is ideal for pregnant and lactating mothers, in case of gestational diabetes or anyone who has diabetes.
  • The recipe also benefits people who  need to increase intake of soluble fibre such as those with constipation or piles.
  • However, please refrain from using wheat based recipes if you have gluten allergy.

Dec 2, 2010

Dalia khichdi

We returned tired and hungry after an exciting round of Diwali shopping. With just more than half an hour at hand, I had to rustle up a reviving meal for my family. This is what I made. Quick and easy to put together, no exotic ingredients, and healthy comfort food at it's best! Do try it out and let me know how you liked it.

You need
  1. Cracked wheat-1 cup (200 gm)
  2. Mung dal-1 cup (200gm)
  3. Carrot-2 small, chopped-(1/2 cup)
  4. Capsicum-1 medium, chopped (1/4 cup)
  5. Potato-1 big, chopped (1/4 cup)
  6. Large violet brinjal- 1/2 chopped (1 cup)
  7. Tomatoes-3/4 kg
  8. Asafoetida powder-a pinch
  9. Turmeric powder-3/4 tsp
  10. Salt-2 tsp
  11. Coriander leaves-3 tbsp chopped
For seasoning
  1. Oil + ghee-2 tbsp
  2. Jeera-1 tsp
  3. Whole black pepper- 1tsp
  4. Cloves- 7-8
  5. Cinnamon-5-7 small sticks
  6. green cardamom-3-4
To assemble
  1. Choose ripe red tomatoes, wash well and puree in mixer.You could also blanch them, peel skin and then puree.Retaining the skin or peeling it off is personal choice, I have not seen flavour change with either.
  2. Wash all other vegetables, dice into even sized pieces.
  3. Wash dalia and mung dal together, add three times the volume of water (that makes it 6 cups of water for this recipe), and pressure cook for 4 whistles.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oil, ghee mixture in a broad kadai/ saucepan.
  5. Add in order given, all the ingredients for seasoning.
  6. When jeera crackles, and you get a pleasant aroma of spices, it ts time to add hing powder, turmeric powder.
  7. Add chopped vegetables toss well and fry for 3 minutes.
  8. Add tomato puree and salt.Allow to simmer for atleast 10 minutes until raw smell of tomatoes are gone.
  9. When the pressure has released, add the simmering vegetables to the cooked dalia,  mix thoroughly and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Finally add chopped coriander blend in and serve hot.
  11. Serve with any raita / salad and papad.
  • You can fry washed wheat + dal in a tsp of ghee for a nice aroma.
  • You can add more vegetables like knol khol, peas, sweet potato, onion.
  • You can omit tomatoes entirely if you do not prefer the tang, or mix in juice of 1 lemon at the end.
  • You can serve this hot topped with a tsp of ghee to kids and omit for those with calorie restrictions.
  • Microwaved masala papad is a good accompaniment too.
  • Can add more water after mixing the vegetables and cooked dalia.
Now for  the nutri notes
  • This is a great one pot meal - combining cereal, pulse, vegetables and dairy allowance if served with raita.
  • Eating a cereal and a pulse in the same meal ensures that the amino acids missing in one is complemented by those in the other. This is great for vegetarians since they derive maximum benefit from plant protein by eating in combination like in this recipe.
  • Tomatoes, rich in lycopene take pride of place in this dish. Apart from fibre, vitamin A and vitamin C, that you get in tomatoes, the lycopene in tomatoes also is an anti carcinogenic agent.
  • Using cracked wheat ensures that the benefits of bran and germ are derived fully. Hence, a high protein content (12gm/100gm), not to mention high fibre as well (1.2-1.4g/100gm).What would interest everyone is also the high niacin and folate levels in cracked wheat makes it an ideal grain for pregnant women, athletes, teenagers and elderly too.
  • Carrots used here add to the beta carotene, you get half your daily allowance of Vitamin A by adding 1/4 cup of chopped carrots per person.
Here are the visuals 

chopped vegetables

frying whole spices
simmering vegetables
Mix cooked dalia with vegetables

Serve with raita