Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weekly Menu

Breakfast: Whole wheat blueberry muffins and Chai
Lunch: Sorakka Kootu, Roti
Dinner: Sorakka Kootu, Chole, Roti

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Turnip kootu, Chole, Roti
Dinner: Roti, Aloo Bhindi Masala, leftover chole and turkey balls from sunday

Breakfast: Egg burji(diced boiled eggs with sauted onions, tomatoes & chilies) with Raisin bread toast and Chai
Lunch: Idli, Avarakka&Kathirikai sambhar, Beans carrot poriyal
Dinner: Idli, Avarakka&Kathirikai sambhar, Beans carrot poriyal, Black beans chole

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Palak Dal, Black beans chole, Roti
Dinner: Idli, Palak Dal, Gobi Aloo.

Breakfast: Egg burji(diced boiled eggs with sauted onions, tomatoes & chilies) with Raisin bread toast and Chai
Lunch: Roti, Gobi aloo, Palak Dal
Dinner: Whole Wheat pasta with peppers, paneer, onions, garlic, broccoli sauce.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

I just started baking lately and so far my experiments turned out nicely although my first try with banana nut bread was a bit on the dry side and the flavor wasn't right. So, I tried it again with my own measurements and it was a famiyl hit! Before I forget, I wanted to write it down. So here it goes:

1. Whole wheat flour -2 c
2. Bananas -3 medium, mashed well
3. Walnuts - 1/3 c
4. Flax seeds - 2tbsp
5. Salt - 1/2 tsp
6. Baking powder - 2 tsps
7. Eggs - 2
8. 2% Milk - 1 c
9. 1/3 c oil
10. Brown sugar - 1/3 c packed.
11 Vanilla extract - 1tsp

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Bring Eggs to room temperature and beat it well with a whisk.
3. Whisk in oil, Milk, Brown sugar and mashed bananas. I ran out of brown sugar so I opted for 2tbsp of regular sugar and rest honey to make up 1/3c.
4. Grind Walnuts and roasted flax seeds in a food processer until it becomes a coarse meal. Instead you can also opt for ground flax seeds and chopped walnuts. The reason I do this is because my kid doesn't like nuts in her food. So, I try to grind it to a meal so she doesn't even know its in there.
5. Add this meal to egg mixture and whisk well.
6. Sift flour, baking powder, salt together.
7. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold it well.
8. Oil spray the muffin tray. Spoon in the batter and bake for about 18-19 min or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy it as a wholsome breakfast with a cup of Chai or a mid-afternoon snack!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baingan Ka Bhartha

I used to live with a couple from bombay. The Girl was quite organized and it always amazed me how well she maintains a clean home between a full time job, a CPA degree( which she says is pretty demanding) and Socializing(which she never misses...).
Her fridge was never cluttered. She mangages to pack healthy homemade lunches almost everyday. I've learnt a thing or two from her during my stay. She always makes couple of extra subzis and Dal during the weekend and freezes a portion of it for a lazy-night. And during the week she makes simple side dishes like Baingan ka bhartha, Aloo bhindi and cabbage aloo.
This recipe is a slight variation from hers and a quick 'n easy one done under 40 min.

1. Eggplant - 1 medium.
2. Onion - 1 medium, diced
3. Tomato - 1 medium diced
4. Ginger - 1" inch, minced
5. Garlic - 3-4 pods, minced
6. Cardomon - 1
7. Cloves - 4-5
8. Cinnamon - 1/2" piece
9. Bay leaf - 2 ( if big, 1 is sufficient )
10. fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
11. cumin powder - 1/2-1 tsp
12. Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
13. Coriander powder - 3 tsp
14. Green chilies - 2, rough chop ( optional)
15. Coriander leaves for garnish
16. 5tbsp oil

1. Poke holes in the eggplant, rub it with oil and microwave it for about 15 min. Turn it every 5 min. Once done let it stand in the microwave for about 10 min.
2. While eggplant is cooking, heat 3tbsp oil is a heavy bottomed pan and add whole garam masala ( cloves+cardomom+cinnamon+bay leaf+fennel). Let it fry for less than a min.
3. Add ginger and garlic and saute for about a min. It gives out nice aroma.
4. Now add diced onion and add 1/2 tsp salt. (Salt helps onion sweat sooner). Let it cook for about 4 min on a med flame or until it turns a translucent. Add chilies. Skip the chilies for kids.
5. Now add chili and coriander powder and give it a good stir.
6. Throw in diced tomatoes, add salt and cover to cook for about 10 min. Give it a good stir. cook uncovered for another 5 min.
7. Eggplant will be ready by this time. Remove the thin dark skin. Mash the pulp roughly. Add it to the pan and stir well.
8. Adjust salt. Add 2 tbsp oil ( as a healthy variation: add 1/2 c water) and let it cook for 5 more min and garnish with coriander leaves when hot.

Serve it with buttered rotis.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Aloo Gobi

1. Cauliflower florets - 2 cups, soak it in salted warm water for about 10 min and drain well.
2. Onion - 1 small, diced
3. Potatoes - 4 small, peeled and med diced.
4. Tomatoes - 2 small, diced
5. Garlic - 4-5 pods, minced
6. Ginger - 1" inch, minced
7. Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
8. Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
9. Coriander powder - 1 tsp
10. Garam masala - 1 tsp.
11. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp.
12. Peas - 1 c

1. Heat oil in a big pan, add minced garlic and ginger and let it infuse oil for about a min.
2. Add onions and saute for about 3-5 min or until it turns brown.
3. Add diced potatoes and saute for about 5 min.
4. Now add turmeric, chili powder, cumin powder, Coriander powder and garam masala. Saute for about 2-3 min in a very low flame( dry masala burns quickly) and nice aroma fills the air.
5. Now add the florets and stir to make sure the masala coats each floret well.
6. Stir in diced tomatoes.
7. Add about 1/2 c water. (Skip water if you haven't drained the florets well.) Cover and cook for about 10-15 min on a med flame. Do not stir often, as the florets break easily once cooked.
8. Add frozen peas. Stir to incorporate it well in the dish. Again cover and cook for 10 more min.
9. At this point add salt. The vegetables give out water on its own, so let it finish cooking uncovered for about 10 min for a dry dish. Stir gently(only to make sure it doesn't burn on the bottom).

Serve it with warm rotis or flavored rice. This dish tastes even better the next day. So, be sure to make a big batch. :-)


Monday, April 20, 2009

Peerkanga Kootu

1. Peerkanga - 1 long.
2. Onion - 1/2 med diced
3. Tomato - 1/2 med diced (optional)
4. Toor or Moong Dal - 1/4 c cooked.
5. Garlic - 4-5 pods minced
6. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
7. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
8. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
9. Split urad dal( odacha uluthamparuppu) - 1 tsp
10. Curry leaves - few

1. Cook toor dal with a tsp of cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric until done.
2. Heat oil in a small pressure cooker, add mustard seeds and split urad dal. After it splutters add curry leaves and minced garlic. Saute for <1min.
3. Peel and cube Peerkanga in the mean time.
4. Add onion, tomatoes, cubed peerkanga to the pan. Mix in cooked toor dal and 1 c water. ( If I were to use moong dal, I don't cook it before. I just add the dry ones here. )
5. Close the pressure cooker and let it cook on a low flame for 2 whistles.

Serve it with hot idli or as a side for puli kolumbu.


Weekly Menu

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Avarakkai Sambhar, rice, Pavakkai poriyal
Dinner: Idli, Avarakkai Sambhar, Aloo Gobi

Breakfast: Egg white omelete with green/red pepper/onion/tomato sauce, Raisin bread toast and Chai
Lunch: Aloo gobi, Roti, Palak Dal
Snack: Kondakadalai sundal
Dinner: Baingan Ka Bartha, Roti, Palak Dal

Breakfast: Egg burji(diced boiled eggs with sauted onions, tomatoes & chilies) with Raisin bread toast and Chai
Lunch: Roti, Baingan Ka Bartha, Kovakka kootu
Dinner: Idli, Kovakka kootu, Chutney

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Sambhar, Beans&carrot poriyal, Idli
Dinner: Sambhar, Dosai, leftover chutney

Breakfast: French toast with Raisin bread or Raisin Bread toast
Lunch: Palak Dal, Idli/Rice, Rasam, Broccoli Poriyal
Dinner: Whole Wheat pasta with Veggies and/or chicken. Or Leftovers.. ;-)

Updated to add:
Tuesday: I was pressing for time, so opted just toasted Raisin bread with Chai and skipped Kondakadalai sundal.
Wenesday: Opted again for just Raisin bread and Chai.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beetroot kadala parupu poriyal

I never liked beetroot when I was growing up. The only time, I remember enjoying it was when my fav aunt made a jam out of it. I enjoyed every bit of it. But, this post is not a recipe for beetroot jam, althought it would be a wonderful post idea.
My mom, being a Botany professor, always tells me about what a wonder vegetable beets are. It has lots of soluble fiber, potassium and protein.(yes, protein!). Inspite of high carb content, it has an extremely low Glycemic index, which means it’s converted into sugars very slowly which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. It also contains the phytochemicals carotenoids and flavonoids which help lower bad cholesterol.
I never ate it for its nutrition value, but for the effort my mom put into it during her hectic weekday morning and I hated to disappoint her.

After my marriage(read as: when I started to cook ), I never picked it up from the Indian store for the same reason. But, after I got pregnant, I wanted to eat all healthy foods and beetroot, certainly, topped the list. I remember vaguely enjoying Beets with Chana dal ( kadalai paruppu ) somewhere. I made it once or twice and started to like it. Now, it has become my favourite. I wouldn't say the same with my husband and kid. But, Im pretty sure, they will begin to appreciate its taste as time goes by. My daughter certainly likes "Beet root arachuvita kootu";( that is again a new post idea). Its takes a bit of time to make that. So, I normally reserve that for the weekends.

"Beetroot kadala paruppu poriyal" is low-cal, practically fat-free if you skip the thalippu. Its a wonderful weightloss food and there is no compromise with nutrients either. So, try it!

Beetroot - 2 small or 1 medium
Chana dal/Kadali paruppu - 1/4 c
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
Curry leaves
Green chili - 1

1. Soak dry chana dal in warm water for about 30 min. Boil it for about 20 min until its perfectly cooked. Add a tsp of salt to the boiling water at the end and turn off the stove. If you add salt to the water in the beginning, it would take longer to cook chana dal.
2. In a kadai, add a tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds. Wait till it splutters and add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add chopped green chili and saute for less than a min.
3. Add chopped beetroot. Add 1 c water. Cover and let is cook on low flame for about 15 min or until the water has evaporated and beets are cooked. If they are still undercooked, add 1/2 cup more water and cook it for a little longer. Once done, add salt as per your taste.
4. Drain Chana dal and add it to the beets.

Serve it hot as a side for Rasam or any Puli kolumbu or serve it cold as a salad.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Breakfast Ideas

Here are some healthy flavourful and kid-appealing breakfast ideas:

1. Egg white omlete with Onions, green peppers and tomato:
I make a simple omlete with egg whites(6 whites) and keep it aside. In the same pan, add 1/2 a onion saute for about a min. Add diced green peppers and saute for about 4-5 min. Add 1/2 a tomato. Add about 1/2 c water and cook until tomatoes soften. Serve it on the side of Egg white omelete.
Serves: 2
Time: 15-18 min. ( you can save time, by making onion/green pepper/tomato sauce the night before)

2. Oatmeal with plump raisins and brown sugar: I add 1 c of oats, 1/4 cup of raisins and 2 c water to a small pressure cooker. Cook it on low flame for about 15-18min. I love this as it is very easy to make and putting this on pressure cooker, lets me do other stuff while its cooking. Serve it with 1/4 c milk and 1tsp brown sugar sprinkled on top.
Serves: 2
Time:18 min( if you include the cooking time.)

3. French toast with whole wheat raisin bread: beat a egg white, 1/4 c milk and 1 tsp brown sugar(optional). Keep a pan on low flame. Dip 4 Raisin breads in egg mixture and lay it on oiled pan. Let it cook for about 2 min on each side. You can do the same with whole wheat bread, but add a tsp more of brown sugar. Serve it with couple of Strawberries. Slice it up and serve it with a tsp of maple syrup drizzled on top. I reserve this for the weekends. Takes about 10 min from start to finish.
Serves: 2
Time: 10 min.

4. Pita omelete sandwich: Make an egg white omelete. Stuff it in whole wheat pita breads with a tsp of ketchup or hot&sweet sauce. Its awesome with a cup of chai or orange juice!!
Time: 15 min

5. For a grab-and-go, whip up a batch of awesome, whole wheat muffins with berries or Oat bran muffin(will post recipe soon..) the night ahead or even during the weekend.
Time: <1 min?!?!

6. Oat bran with craisins: I take about a 3tbsp of oat bran in a bowl. add a handful of craisins, 1 cup water. Cook it in microwave for about 3 min high. Stir once. Add 1/2 c milk and microwave for another 2 min. Add a tsp of brown sugar and enjoy!! You can do the exact same with oatmeal. For anyone, who thinks, this doesn't taste good: try it.... for alteast 3 times.. when you are TERRIBLY hungry in the morning. You will love it. I do and so does my kid.
Serves: 1
Time: 6 min

Make breakfast the MOST important meal of the day. STUFF as much as you want without feeling guilty. not any stuff... I meant healthy stuff. Whole grain stuff. You'll love it. :-)

Have the best start you deserve!!

Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat pasta - 2 c
green beans - 1/2 c chopped
Broccoli florets - 1 c
Mushroom - 1 c sliced
Tomatoes - 2 diced
Onion - 1 finely diced
Garlic pods - 4-5 finely minced
Red pepper - 1 tsp (optional)
Shredded cooked chicken - 1 cup (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
2. Add Olive oil in a separate pan, add garlic and let it infuse oil. For a spicier version, add a tsp of crushed red pepper(optional).
3. Add oinions and satue until it turns lightly brown. This will take about 2 min.
4. Now add mushrooms and saute until cooked. This will take about 4 min on high flame.
5. In the meantime, add a tsp of olive oil and a tsp of salt to the boiling water. Add dry pasta. Stir it once to make sure its not sticking to each other. Let it cook for about 7-8 min.
6. Add half cooked broccoli and green beans and add 1/2 cup water to onion and mushroom mixture. Cover and let it cook for about 5-6 min.
7. Add tomatoes and chicken to the pan and cover again to cook for about 2-3 min. Adjust salt. ( Skip chicken altogether for a vegetarian version. Its still delicious!!)
8. Add 1/2 c of store bought Marinara sauce for the spices.
9. Add 1tsp of italian seasoning.
10. Drain and add cooked pasta to the pan. Add a cup of pasta water in the sauce. Add more for desirable consistency.
11. Serve it hot with grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.



Dry Rajma - 1 cup
Tomatoes - 2 med
Onion - 2 med
Ginger - 1tbsp
Garlic - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Bay leaves - 2 or 3
Cloves - 3
Asafoetida - a pinch
Chole Masala - 1/2 tbsp
Coriander/Malli powder - 1tbsp
Coriander leaves - few to garnish

1. Soak dry rajma overnight and cook it in pressure cooker with little salt and asafoetida until tender.
2. Finely chop garlic and ginger.
3. Dice onions and tomatoes.

1. Add little oil to the tava. Add the cumin, fennel, bay leaves, cloves and let it fry for less than min.
2. Add ginger/garlic, saute for a min.
3. Add onions and little bit of salt. Saute until onions turn translucent and lightly brown.
4. Add Chole masala, coriander powder, turmeric and tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are soft and incorporated well in the sauce.
5. Add Cooked Rajma. Let it simmer for about 10 min. Adjust seasoning.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with Hot roti or Rice.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Menu

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Baingan ka Bhartha, Rotis, Peerkanga Pachadi
Dinner: Rajma, Idlis, Peerkanga Pachadi

Breakfast: Onion, Green Pepper, White omlete with Pita bread.
Lunch: Roti, Rajma, yogur, Palak Dal
Dinner: Idli, Palak Dal, Rajma

Breakfast: Onion, green Pepper, white omelete, with pita bread
Lunch: Idli, Sambhar, Beetroot poriyal
Dinner: Dosai, Sambhar, Beetroot poriyal, Rajma

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Roti with Kurma kolumbu, carrot poriyal
Dinner: Roti, Kurma Kolumbu, Dal Makhni

Breakfast:Whole wheat raisin bread
Lunch: Roti, yogurt, Kurma Kolumbu, Dal Makhni
Dinner: Impromptu meal

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Whole Wheat muffins

Canola oil - 1/2 c
Milk - 3/4 c
Brown sugar - 1/2 c
Fax seeds - 1/4 c
Whole wheat flour - 2 c
1/2 c thawed blueberries - 1/2 c
Few oat meal for topping
Baking powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Eggs - 2
Cinnamon - 1tsp

1. Preheat oven 400F.
2. In a big bowl beat eggs till fluffy, add oil milk and brown sugar and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamong and flax seeds.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Mix until blended well.
5. Spray the muffin tray with cooking spray.
6. spoon in the muffin mix and cook for 15-20 min ( until toothpick inserted comes out clean )
7. Remove the muffins from the tray and let it cool on a rack.