Beerakaya Thokku Pachadi/ Ridge-gourd skin chutney

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

IMG_6027

Ridge gourd known as Beerakaya (telugu) or Turai (hindi) or Luffa (in other countries) is a dark green vegetable which is ridged on outside with white fibrous pulp inside. Ridge gourd contains abundant dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine, iron, magnesium and manganese.

It is highly recommended by health experts and doctors for its medicinal properties. Ridge-gourd is good for stomach and effective in reducing constipation, purifies blood, cures jaundice, beneficial for diabetics due to the existence of insulin,  aids weight loss due to its low saturated fat content, possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties, strengthens  immune system, excellent for skin care  and is utilized in making loofah sponge which is used as a body scrub.

Ridge-gourd is abundantly used in Indian cooking for making curry, dal or sambhar. We usually peel off the skin and use only the inner parts of the vegetables while cooking. In the case of ridge gourd, the maximum amount of nutrients are present in its skin. Once you taste this yummy chutney I am sure you will never throw away the skin again.

So here’s how we use the rough ridgy skin and make a delicious chutney which is best eaten by mixing with steamed rice and with a dollop of ghee on top….slurrrppp !!

Ingredients:

Ridge-gourd peel – 1 cup

Tomato – 1 small

Green chilli – 1 or 2 (as per taste)

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera – 1/2 tsp

Methi – 4-5 seeds

Urad Dal – 1 tsp

Chana dal – 1 tsp

Sesame seeds – 1 1/2 tbsp

Dry Red chilli –  2

Tamarind – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – pinch

Salt – 1 1/2 tsp

Oil – 2 tbsp

For seasoning:

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Urad dal – 1/4 tsp

Hing – pinch

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method:

1. Peel the skin, wash and cut into 1 inch pieces. Chop tomato into cubes.

(Tip: Separate and discard the stringy hard edges of the peel, if any)

2. Heat oil  in a pan. Add mustard seeds, jeera, methi, urad dal, chana dal and fry till dals turn slightly  brown. Next add dry red chilli, sesame seeds and fry for another minute. Drain the oil and transfer the mixture onto a plate.

3. In the same oil, add tomato, green chilli, ridge-gourd peels, salt, turmeric and mix well. Cook under cover till the peels become soft. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

5. Transfer the dals mixture into a grinder. Add dhania powder, tamarind and grind into a coarse powder. Next transfer the cooked vegetables into the same grinder, add little water if required and grind till it becomes a coarse paste. Transfer the chutney into a bowl.

6. For the seasoning, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add all seasoning ingredients in the given sequence. Once the dal turns slightly brown, pour on this on the chutney and mix well.

7. Serve as a side with rice or rotis or dosas.

Carrot Peas Capsicum curry

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

IMG_20140201_130931

Winter is when carrots and peas are abundantly available and I love to use them in all the ways possible.  Carrot, peas and capsicum curry is not only very appealing to the eye, but also a perfect nutritional combination. The vitamins in carrots, carbs and protein in peas and antioxidant properties of capsicum make this dish a powerhouse of vital nutrients.

This dish goes well with rice, roti or puri’s. You can also use it as a stuffing for making kati rolls. Here’s the recipe..

Ingredients:

Carrot – 3-4 (cut into cubes)

Capsicum – 1 ( cut into squares)

Fresh/Frozen Green peas – 1 cup

Green chilli – 2

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera –  1/2 tsp

Urad dal – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – pinch

Salt – 1 tsp (vary as per taste)

Roasted peanut powder – 2 tbsp

Fresh coconut gratings – 1 tbsp

Coriander – 1 sprig

IMG_20140201_123629

Method:

1. Wash and chop all the veggies.

2. If you are using fresh green peas, boil for 5-10 mins.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, jeera and urad dal.

4. Next add green chilli, carrots, capsicum and boiled peas.

5. Add turmeric, salt and cook under cover for 10 mins. Sprinkle water if required.

(Tip: I like all my curries dry, if you wish to make it like a gravy, you can add 1 tbsp of tomato puree here)

6.  Once the vegetables are cooked add roasted peanut powder, fresh coconut gratings, mix well and let it cook for 1 minute.

7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

Sarson ka saag (Mustard greens curry)

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time – 25 mins

Serves: 4

IMG_20140219_210139

Sarson ka saag (mustard greens curry) is an authentic Punjabi delicacy which is traditionally served along with Makki ki roti (Maize/Corn roti).

Mustard leaves are considered as the most nutritious leafy vegetables. They are rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, carotenes, folic acid, calcium and iron. The anti-oxidant properties of mustard greens help in preventing many chronic diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, cardiovascular diseases, asthma and colon and prostate cancers.

Mustard leaves are pungent and slightly bitter in taste. To reduce the bitterness and to make the saag creamier, we add spinach and corn flour (or regular atta) while making this heavenly dish.

Here’s my recipe for making Sarson ka saag…I followed Chef Harpal Singh’s recipe and  modified a bit as per my taste.

IMG_20140219_195920

Ingredients:

Mustard leaves – 1 bunch

Spinach leaves  – 3/4th bunch

Onion – 1 medium (finely chopped)

Green chillies – 4-5 (finely chopped)

Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp   (alternatively use chopped garlic and ginger – 1 tbsp each)

Corn flour (or Regular Atta) – 1 tbsp

Garam masala – 1 tsp

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Butter – 1 tsp

Salt – 1 tsp ( vary as per taste)

Lemon – for garnishing

Method:

1. Wash the mustard and spinach leaves thoroughly. Discard all tough stems and finely chop the leaves.

Fotor021923176

2.  In a deep bottomed vessel, boil 1 cup of water. Transfer the mustard leaves, spinach and half the green chillies into the vessel. Put a lid and let the leaves cook for 10 – 15 mins on medium high.

Fotor021923183

3. Once all the water evaporates and the leaves become soft, turn off the heat. Take a masher and gently mash the cooked leaves. Add the corn flour or regular atta and mix well. This acts as a binding agent.

Fotor0219231830

4. Now heat ghee in a pan and fry the chopped onions  for 2 mins till oil oozes out.

5. Next add ginger-garlic paste (or chopped ginger and garlic)  and green  chilies and fry for another 2-3 mins. Add the garam masala and mix well.

6. Now transfer the cooked leaves mixture into this pan, add salt and mix well. Cook for 2 mins  so that all the spices blend well.

Fotor0219231919

7. Transfer into a serving bowl, squeeze in some lemon juice, put a dollop of butter and serve.

IMG_20140219_210219

8. Enjoy with hot Roti’s or Paratha !!

IMG_20140219_211904

Vegetable Oats Porridge

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time – 10 mins

My mornings are always in a mad rush… cook breakfast, pack lunch and run !! So I always look for quick breakfast ideas which are also healthy.  Oats porridge is one such quick on-the-go meal which is considered as the healthiest breakfast option. But for people like me who don’t like their porridge sweet… here’s my Oats Vegetable Porridge recipe…..its irresistibly delicious !!

IMG_5133

Ingredients:

Instant Oats – 1 cup

Water – 2 cups

Onion – 1/2 chopped

Green peas – 2 tbsp

Carrot – 1 finely chopped

Green beans – 3 No’s (finely chopped)

Oil – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera – 1/2 tsp

Hing – pinch

Salt – 1 tsp

Sambar powder – 1 tsp

(If you don’t have sambar powder use jeera powder, dhania powder and chilli powder 1/2 tsp of each.)

Turmeric – pinch

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Coriander – 1 sprig

Method:

1. Boil the green peas, carrot and beans with a pinch of salt.

2. Dry roast the oats for 2 mins in a pan and transfer onto a plate.

3. Heat oil in the pan and add mustard, jeera, hing.

4. Add onion, curry leaves and fry till onion turns golden brown.

5. Next add all the veggies, turmeric and fry for 2-3 mins.

6. Add water, oats, salt, sambar powder (or the masala powders) and stir well. Put a lid and let it cook for 3-4 mins.

7. Once the oats are cooked well,  turn off the gas, add the lemon juice, garnish with coriander and serve hot  with a scoop of ghee on top!

Raagi Rotte

Preparation Time: 5  mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Servings: 3 rotte

2013-09-26 20.09.08

Ragi is one of the favourite cereals used in Karnataka households.  In one of my previous posts here, I have written about the various uses and health benefits of ragi. Ragi rotte is a breakfast item which is highly nutritious, simple and delicious.

Ingredients:

Ragi flour – 1 cup

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Jeera – 1/2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Oil – for cooking

Grated Vegetables –  1 ½ cup (vary vegetables as per taste)

Onion – 1/2  (finely chopped)

Carrot – 1 (grated)

Cabbage – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)

Cucumber – 1/4 cup (grated)

Coriander – 2 sprigs (finely chopped)

Fresh coconut gratings – 1 tbsp

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl  add the vegetables, salt, jeera, chilli powder and mix.

IMG_20140209_212825

2. Add ragi flour and dry mix. Add water drop by drop and form a tight dough.

IMG_20140209_213109

3. Portion the dough into 3-4 balls of required size.

Fotor0211201738

4. Take a tawa and brush it with a layer of oil.

5. Place of ball in the centre of the tawa and slowly spread the dough into a thin rotte with your fingers .

IMG_20140209_214959

6. Make few holes and put a drop of oil in each hole so that the rotte can come out neat without sticking to the tawa.

IMG_20140209_215055

7. Place the tawa on the stove, put a lid and cook the rotte till the base cooks. Now turn over and cook on the other side.Transfer the rotte onto a plate.

2013-09-26 20.01.14

8. After the first rotte is done, turn the tawa upside down and place it under running water for 2 mins till it cools down. Make sure there is no water on the cooking side of the tawa .

9. Repeat steps 4-8 and make more rottes.

10. Serve with sambar, chutney or raita or can be eaten as it is.

Cooking Tip: While washing the hot tawa make sure the water doesn’t spill on your hand. To skip the washing tawa part, alternatively you can use 2 tawas or use a thin plastic sheet to make the rotte and transfer onto the tawa for cooking.

Barley Mung Bean Soup

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

IMG_4096

Loaded with the goodness of mung sprouts, barley and vegetables, this nutritious soup will surely satisfy your evening cravings on a rainy day. This is an experimental recipe which is a mix of misal (Maharastrian dish) and the traditional bean soup. This is a very good dinner option for weight watchers, as the rich Indian flavors will keep your taste buds alive and make you wanna eat it every day 🙂

Yield: Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients: 

To be pressure cooked:

Sprouted mung beans – 1 cup

Barley – 1/2 cup

Green Peas – 2 Tbsp

Vegetables:

Onion – 1/2 (finely chopped)

Tomato – 2 No’s (finely chopped)

Carrot – 1 No (chopped thin 1 inch pieces)

Baby Corn – 3 No’s (chopped thin and long)

Capsicum – 1/2 (chopped into 1/2 inch cubes)

Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Spice powders:

Jeera powder – 1 tsp

Dhania powder – 1 tsp

Chilli powder – 1  tsp (vary spice level as per taste)

Chana Masala powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric – pinch

Salt – 1 Tbsp (vary as per taste)

Seasoning:

Oil – 1 Tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera seeds – 1/2 tsp

2013-06-20 20.42.10

Method:

1. Pressure cook sprouted mung beans, barley and green peas for 2 whistles. Do not add excess water as it will make the beans mushy.

2. Chop all the vegetables into small cubes and  set aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and jeera seeds. Once it starts sputtering, add onion and fry till it turns slightly brown. Next add ginger garlic paste, tomatoes and cook till tomatoes turn soft.

4. Now add carrot, capsicum and baby corn. Mix salt and turmeric and cook under cover for 10 mins.

5. Once the vegetables become soft, transfer the pressure cooked items and mix well.

6. Add all the spice powders. Adjust the spice levels as per your taste.

7. The soup should not be too watery or too thick. Add water as required and cook for 10 mins.

8. Squeeze lemon juice, garnish with coriander and serve with Pav/ bread on the side.

2013-06-20 21.02.58

Palak Paratha (Spinach Flat Bread)

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

IMG_4130

Adding greens to Roti/Paratha not only makes it appealing to the eye but also nutritious. When I think of greens, the first thing that comes to my mind is Palak/Spinach.

Palak/ Spinach is rated as the World’s Best Healthiest food !! This vibrant looking leaf is a powerhouse of nutrients and is used in all forms – raw, cooked, blanched, dried, pureed, juiced.  Spinach is found to fight cancer, curb blood pressure, improve vision, immunity, bone strength, and improve functioning of brain and nervous system due to  the presence of phytonutients, flavonoids , anti-oxidants, vitamin-k, vitamin-A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium.

Here’s my Palak paratha recipe which is as easy as making a simple roti.

Ingredients:

Palak – 1 cup (chopped)

Corinader – 1/4 cup

Wheat Flour/Atta – 3-4 cups

Cumin/Jeera powder – 1/2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Ajwain – 1/2 tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Oil/Ghee/Butter – for smearing on the paratha

Method:

1. Grind palak and coriander into a coarse paste by adding little water.

2. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and dry mix.

Fotor062203913

3. Transfer the paste into the bowl and knead all the ingredients together into a soft dough by adding water as required.

4. Cover the dough and set is aside for 20-30 mins.

5. Now, divide the dough into 4-5 equal balls and roll them out into thin parathas.

IMG_4128

6. Place the paratha on a tava on medium heat and cook for a minute till brown spots appear. Flip it over and similarly cook the other side. Once both the sides are cooked well, transfer onto a plate and apply ghee/butter on both the sides.

7. Serve hot with raita/curd/pickle or you can try this Brinjal Raita .