Sunday, 26 February 2017

MINTY VEG YOGHURT SALAD (RAITA) AND A POST ON A HERB-MINT

MINTY VEG YOGHURT SALAD (RAITA)
AND POST ON A HERB- MINT


Mint is a powerful herb, which has a freshening flavour. That is the reason; it is used in many modern products like toothpastes, chewing gum, mouth fresheners, chocolates, inhalers etc. In India, I have seen mint capsules (Pudin hara) are available for indigestion, which is a very effective medicine to calm stomach cramps.

 
This is a tender herb like coriander and basil. These tender herbs are not used, straight in the pot, while cooking or baking an item, because chances are excessive heat will cause the mint leaves to lose their colour, aroma and nutrients during the process of cooking. Their optimum benefits can only be obtained when they are garnished fresh on top of food.

 
Normally, we use fresh green mint leaves which are easily available everywhere. In the absence of fresh mint, dry mint leaves can also be used. Dried mint leaves give almost the same flavour and taste like the fresh ones. I use these dried mint leaves to garnish veg and fruit salads, yoghurt raitas, chats and drinks etc.

 
It is very easy to dry the mint leaves, they can be dried in the shade and don’t need to be directly in the sun. The best place can be the dining table because mint leaves need a shady area to dry out. If mint leaves are dried in the sun, the colour and aroma will not be sustained. I always dry extra mint leaves and keep it for future use, these dry leaves can last in a glass jar for many months. That's how I do it – after rinsing the leaves with the stems, I spread them on a kitchen towel in a shady area. Next day I transfer them on a kitchen paper, they can take around 2-3 days to dry completely.  When they are dried, I crush the dry leaves in small pieces and fill them in a glass jar. This can last on the shelf for many months.

 
In Indian cuisine, a very tasty and flavourful mint chutney is made with fresh mint leaves, which is a famous restaurant chutney, available and served in almost all Indian restaurants with fritters and samosas in India and abroad. Apart from the freshness, aroma and taste of this mint leaves chutney, it has a nice pleasing green colour.



It is also very easy to grow mint. If you are planning to grow some mint leaves, take some stems and put in a jar with some fresh water, change the water every day. Within few days you will see the roots in the jar, as you can see in my picture. Within a few days, you may see plenty of roots in the jar, then transfer them in a pot with some nice soil. Mint plant needs a lot of sunlight and dripping water, I mean the soil should always be moist. I had grown mint leaves, many times in my kitchen garden when I lived in Africa.




Apart from such a nice flavour, mint leaves have many health benefits, check this website-organic facts.net

 
This is a very simple but tasty salad or a side dish, in which I have just folded the fresh vegetables in yoghurt and added some spices and garnished it with fresh mint. 

 

RECIPE



INGREDIENTS



  • 500 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 100 grams cucumber (1/4 English cucumber)
  • 100 grams tomato (one medium)
  • 100 grams boiled potato (one medium)
  • 50 grams onion ( one small)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed roasted cumin seeds
  • Few mint leaves to garnish



METHOD

  • Chop all vegetables except onions into small pieces
  • Finely chop the onion, and mix with other vegetables.
  • Mix salt, black pepper, cumin and Himalayan pink salt in yoghurt.
  • Fold yoghurt in all the vegetables and garnish with fresh chopped mint leaves and keep it in the fridge.
  • Serve cold. This can be served to 4-6 people as a salad or a side dish.

I am sharing this recipe as my blog post entry with Way wow link party, Hearth and Soul blog party, Sunday Food and Fitness party, Sweet Inspiration link party, Cook blog share, Healthy Living Link party, Meat less Monday ling party and Fiesta Friday link party.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

BAKED STUFFED APPLE

BAKED STUFFED APPLE


Happy Valentine's day!

I am sharing this recipe for Valentine's day, so that you can cook this special sweet item, on a special day for someone who is really special to you and enjoy the day.



There is a proverb in English language, it says -An apple a day, keeps the doctor away, if that is the case then why not eat an apple in a style and use it in our recipes also, like this one which I am sharing and get more benefit of this nutritional fruit. Apple is actually used in many cuisines of the world, many baked and sweet recipes are made with it.

 
When I talk about apples and fruits in general, I really miss South Africa. In South Africa, many fruits are grown on a very large scale by commercial farmers, which are exported to many neighbouring countries like- Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia. Even exported to other countries which are far from South Africa. In Calgary, Canada, I have seen South African oranges are sold in some of the shops. 

 
I remember, when I was in South Africa, our drive from Rustenburg to Pretoria, which is around 100 km, was so enchanting and cool because our eyes could see only orange orchards on the right side of the road, for kilometres and kilometres in our journey. And if the season is winter, those short orange trees were bending down with the weight of hundreds of oranges on them. The mixed colour of orange and green was really pleasing to the eyes.




When we drove from three sisters to Cape town, views near Cape town were breathtaking, beautiful green valleys, hills, rivers, mountains and vineyards. Most of these vineyards in valleys with elegant farm houses. On the sides of the roads there are many farm stalls, if you are traveling in a summer season, you will find those farm stalls selling fresh grapes straight from the farms at a very reasonable price. A lot of variety of grapes are grown in South Africa of beautiful colours of red, purple and green.

 

The majority of South African apples are grown in Elgin valley, in the Western cape. There are many varieties of apples are available there. My favourite type of the apple was “Pink lady”, which has attractive pink colour, exquisite taste and slightly oblong in shape while eating you can feel the crunch, crisp and sweetness of the fruit. Other varieties available were- gala, golden delicious, granny smith, Fuji, royal gala and much more.

 

Coming to the recipe, the original idea of this recipe I got from Winnie’s blog Something Sweet. Check here-winnish.net When I had seen this recipe I really liked it and bookmarked it to try soon. I thought I will give the Indian twist to the recipe when I made it this very, the very first time, it was a super hit in my house, and my family members were demanding again and again. Now I am sharing with my readers on my blog. 

 


RECIPE

INGREDIENTS



  • 4 large apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts of your choice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 200 grams khoya/ mava
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut powder
  • 1/4 nutmeg or cardamom powder
  • 4 tablespoon roohafza sherbet or pink sugar syrup/squash.



METHOD


  • Rinse and dry the apples.
  • Cut out holes in apples for stuffing. Use a sharp knife remove the stem area than the seeds and make the hole in apples.
  • Grate the khoya.
  • Mix all dry ingredients with grated khoya and add milk.
  • In a fry pan, heat this mixture on a gas stove for few minutes till khoya is melted.
  • Stuff this mixture inside apples.
  • Heat the oven at 180 degrees C, bake these apples on a baking tray for 15-20 minutes till you see the apple's soft skin from outside.
  • Garnish with rooh awza sherbet and serve at room temperature.
 

I am sharing this recipe with Recipe of the week and with Sunday Food and Fitness and Meatless Monday and with Fiesta Friday and Sweet Inspiration Link party and with Hearth and Soul blog hop, and Cook Blog share and Meat up Monday Link party and Way wow link party. and with Real Food Friday and with Healthy Living link party and Plant based party  and with I am pinnable link party

 










 






















Friday, 27 January 2017

SWEET POTATO PUDDING

SWEET POTATO PUDDING

EDITED : This recipe was featured at Healthy Living Link party on 9th February 2017, Check here.


 In my long stay in Africa, and before in India, I had only seen one colour of sweet potato flesh, that is white, with light brown skin colour, like potatoes. This off-whitish colour was a bit drab to use in recipes and because, as I’ve mentioned before, I do not use artificial food colour in my cooking, it was not very exciting. To my big surprise, when I came to Canada, I have seen two more colours of sweet potato flesh that is orange and purple, their skin colour ranges from shades of white and yellow to red, purple and brown.

 
I was glad that now I can have a variety of colours of this healthy vegetable to try and test in my kitchen. I really liked cooking with the orange coloured ones, because orange gives a warm feeling and it looks particularly good on sweet items like this pudding. Though the purple colour of sweet potato is also fine, but the colour is not that appealing for some items, which I make, like soup. Now whenever I buy sweet potatoes, the first thing I see is the colour of its flesh.

 
These days, sweet potatoes are ranked as having the highest nutritional value among other foods. It is considered as the best complex carbohydrate, and people are encouraged to use more sweet potatoes in their diet. It is considered as one of the healthiest carbs. Check this website

 
 
I used this recipe many times before and made this pudding with white sweet potatoes. But this time I really enjoyed cooking this pudding (with orange sweet potatoes), because of its colour. Using orange sweet potato is a different experience for this recipe, because this colour gives life to this pudding or maybe, I am the one who is attracted by this colour.

 
While I was planning to prepare this pudding, my daughter suggested, to use jaggery instead of white sugar, because jaggery can enhance the colour, aroma and taste of a sweet item like this one. Jaggery is used in Indian cuisine a lot in many sweet recipes.

  
For those readers who do not know jaggery, it is the traditional raw form of sugar which is golden in colour. This is a concentrated product of sugar cane which is used in Asia, Africa and South America. Jaggery contains many minerals which are healthy and not found in white sugar. (Source Wikipedia)

 
In Hindi, we call it ‘Gur’, in different languages different names are there for jaggery. In north India, people eat a small amount of jaggery after dinner in winter, not only to satisfy their sweet tooth but also to get the health benefits of it. There are many health benefits of eating jaggery in winter. You can check 15 health benefits of jaggery in this website.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 200 grams orange sweet potato
  • 500 grams full-fat milk
  • 100 grams jaggery or brown sugar
  • 20 grams sliced pistachios
  • 200 ml sweetened condensed milk

METHOD
  • Wash, boil and chop sweet potatoes in small pieces or grate it.
  • Boil milk in a heavy bottomed pot; let it reduce to half the amount.
  • Add sweet potato and leave it to boil till it is thick enough like pudding.
  • Add jaggery and mix well, boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add condensed milk and boil again.
  • Garnish with pistachios.
  • This can be served hot or cold, depending on the taste.