Thursday, 17 July 2014

KALE AND GRAPE TOMATO SALAD



  
Kale leaves have drawn my attention only in Canada, when I have seen them available throughout the year and in plenty. When I have shown interest in Kale I realized it is very good vegetable, with lots of health benefits because it has a lot of minerals and vitamins . These days I am using kale in many dishes. In my family, all are salad fans and almost every day we eat salad in some form.


When I was in Botswana, kale was not available there. Some other vegetables and fruits were also difficult to get there partly because they were not grown locally and also because there was a low demand of those vegetables. Most of the vegetables which were available were imported from South Africa or other neighbouring countries.


Sometimes during holidays, we visited South Africa, and in our return journey we were buying vegetables. My problem is that once I am in a specialized fruit and veg shop, I am tempted to buy many of them. That is the reason sometimes we had to declare these items at the border post, the officers were laughing and asking us “why are you buying the veggies and fruits from other country”. Our simple answer was that they are not available in Botswana and being vegetarians we need them.


This morning, I thought how can I make salad with only Kale as a main ingredient, next question came to my mind was that, what type of dressing can I use in it. Then I thought of making some white dressing, which can go with the dark green colour of kale, so I went to my pantry looked around for some white ingredients, which should not only be tasty but healthy and this is the result. The final product is in front of you, which the whole family have really enjoyed.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-250 grams kale leaves
-100 grams grape (cherry) tomatoes
-10 grams dried cranberries
-2 tablespoon roasted sunflower seeds
-1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

For Dressing

-200 grams onion (one large)
-4-5 garlic cloves
-50 grams sesame seeds
-2 tablespoon oil
-2 tablespoon white vinegar
-2 tablespoon castor sugar
-salt to taste
-black pepper powder to taste


METHOD


FOR DRESSING:-
  1. In a fry pan dry roast the sesame seeds and leave it to cool.
  2. Heat oil in a fry pan and roast garlic and onion together. When it is lightly brown switch off the gas and leave it to cool.
  3. Take roasted garlic and onion, add sesame seeds, vinegar and castor sugar, salt, add little water and pulse all the material together in a food processor for 2-3 minutes till it looks like a liquid paste. Take it out in a container.
  4. Rinse kale 3-5 times in running water, remove the hard stem and chop the leaves in small pieces. Spread it in a wide open salad bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the washed and half cut grape tomatoes on top together with cranberries.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper powder.
  7. Sprinkle sunflower seeds
  8. Decorate on top with the dressing (white paste) and serve.
    It can be served cold as salad to 4-5 people.






Thursday, 3 July 2014

FIG HALWA



Fig is not a very common fruit like apple or pear which is available throughout the year. Fresh fig is available here for a short time, but dried fig is available throughout the year. Fig is called anjeer in hindi language. Figs are famous for its nutritional value, I have seen a very big list of its health benefits in Ayurvedic treatment which is an ancient hindu art of healing with natural fruits, herbs and spices.


I have tried and tasted fresh fig, but was not a big fan of it. But I really like cooking with fig and have several recipes which use fig, like this halwa. So even though I am not eating this fruit but getting the benefit of all the nutrients in it by eating other dishes made with it. Most of the time in my recipes I have used dried fig, because fresh fig was not easily available in Africa where I lived for many years. The other reason I started using these dried figs in my recipes is that they were always there in my pantry, because my husband always buys them, as it is my husband's favourite fruit.

In July Hindus fast from grain on Mondays of sharavan month. According to Hindu Calender, shravan month falls in July and August. This Fig halwa is suitable for those fasting mondays and other hindu fasting days, like Ekadashi and Navratri too (when they fast from grains but are allowed to eat fruits). This halwa is very nutritious and healthy.



INGREDIENTS
  • 200 grams dried fig
  • 100 gram sugar
  • 100 grams finely grated mava (khoya)
  • 50 grams ghee
  • 50 grams sliced almonds
  • 1tsp cardamom powder
  • 1- 1/2 cup water
METHOD

  1. Wash and remove the top stem if it is hard and soak dried figs overnight in around one and half cup of water .
  2. Next day morning make a paste in a food processor.
  3. Heat the ghee in a wok or fry pan, add the paste and saute till water evaporates and it is changing the colour.
  4. Add sugar and stir for 5-10 minutes more so that water from the sugar evaporates.
  5. Leave it to cool, when cold, add grated mava and cardamom powder.
  6. Garnish with sliced almonds.

This halwa can be kept in the fridge for 8-10 days. It can be served hot or cold. Can be served as a sweet dish to 6-8 people. It can also be kept in a deep fridge for few months, and when required can be heated in the microwave.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

KHASTA KACHORI WITH BESAN



Khasta Kachori is a popular savory snack of India. Throughout north India in many states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and in some other states different version of kachories are available.


Traditionally the kachories that were available in Delhi had a filling of spilt urad dal. But these days I find kachories in delhi have different fillings with elaborate names (Raj kachori with exotic spices, Matar kachorie with green peas filling and Besan kachorie with roasted besan (chickpeas flour and spices).


Kachories are easy to take for picnics and long journeys because it has a long shelf life, which is around 20-30 days. In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh it is also served as chat, with sweet and sour tamarind chutney and yogurt.


For many years I have made this kachori with urad dal filling. Few years ago when we were visiting my sister-in-law in delhi, she had made delicious kachories with a filling of roasted besan (chick peas flour) and spices and it was really yummy. When she told me the recipe I realized that the filling requires far less oil (than the urad dal filling) and was equally delicious. And since then this gram flour filling one is my favourite and has joined my kitchen.

RECIPE

INGREDIENT:-
-1 kg all purpose flour (maida)
-200 ml oil
-1 lit oil for frying
-1 tsp salt

For filling

-250 grams chick peas flour (besan)
-500ml water
-50 ml oil
-1 tsp carom seeds
-2 tsp coriander seeds
-50 grams cashew nuts( sliced)
-chilli powder to taste
-salt to taste

METHOD

For Filling:-

  1. Take oil in a thick bottomed small wok or fry pan.
  2. Heat the oil on medium flame.
  3. Put carom and coriander seeds, roast for few seconds.
  4. Add water, then salt and chilli powder and let it boil.
  5. When it starts boiling add chick peas flour and roast for 12-15 minutes, till water evaporates and chick peas flour will change its colour to light brown.
  6. Leave it to cool, when cold add cashew nuts.

For dough

  1. Take the flour in a big bowl, add salt (around 1tsp)
  2. Add oil and rub together well, till oil is merging properly in the flour and it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add some water and make a hard dough.
  4. Make small balls from the dough and flatten them with your palm.
  5. Take one tablespoon of filling, put inside and fold the edges together and join them.
  6. Flatten it again and roll lightly to give a round shape with the rolling pin, it should not be very thick.
  7. 8- 10 kacories can be rolled out before frying them together, i e they can be fried in batches.
  8. Heat the oil on a medium flame for frying the kachories. When oil is hot, fry them in batches of 8-10 kachories on medium-low heat till they are golden brown in colour. Leave them to cool on a paper towel.
  9. Finish making all the kachories from the dough.
Around 50-60 kachories can be made depending on the size of the kachorie. They can be served hot or cold with any pickle or chutney of taste. Some people eat with potato curry. It is a good evening snack or morning breakfast.



Sunday, 15 June 2014

WHOLE BAKED CAULIFLOWER

(GHOBHI MUSSALAM)

In Indian cuisine different kinds of curries and dry subzi are made out of cauliflower florets and they are also used in some rice preparations.



The mughals ruled India for a very long time. The dishes that were prepared in mughali kitchens for the emperors were called mughlai cuisine. Many recipes and many names of the dishes from mughlai cuisine are still common and famous in some northern states of India like Punjab, Delhi and U.P. mughlai cuisine is famous for rich, creamy and aromatic curries, rice preparations and sweet dishes. Mussalam word is also derived from the mughlai cuisine, which means whole, in this recipe the whole cauliflower is cooked and baked.


I remember once I was in a remote area of Kenya, Africa, where there was only a Boarding School with teachers houses and a few shops. At that time we were going to the nearest city once a month to buy Indian groceries and vegetables. Cauliflower was the one vegetable which we were buying in bulk because of its use in multiple recipes in my kitchen.


Later my husband started growing vegetables in our kitchen garden. We had a big kitchen garden, moreover the equatorial climate of Kenya is very good for growing fruits and vegetables. It is considered to be the best climate of the world because it is neither cold nor hot. In an equatorial climate, sun light is in plenty and rainfall is after every second day. He got success in growing almost all the vegetables including cauliflower and we had not only stopped buying them from the city, but we were taking surplus vegetables from our garden back to the city to our friends there.


My mother-in-law was drying cauliflower florets in the sun and using them later in the summer. In her times, vegetables were available in seasons only, and for cauliflower, winter was the season in India. When she was using those florets in summer in her recipes, very different taste and aroma was coming from the dried cauliflower. These days because of modernization and improvement in transport and communication all vegetables are available throughout the year every where, or we can use them frozen.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole cauliflower (medium size)
  • 300 grams onion (2 big)
  • 500 grams tomatoes (3 big)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chillies (Optional)
  • Few leaves of green coriander for garnishing
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt and chili powder to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 50 grams roasted cashew nuts
  • 100 ml fresh cream
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 200 grams grated mozzarella cheese
METHOD

  1. Chop the leaves and stem of the cauliflower and wash.
  2. Put it in microwave for 4-5 minutes, it will become slightly tender but still crunchy. Leave it aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan, add cumin seeds and roast for 2 minutes.
  4. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute till brown.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and saute for 6-8 minutes till tomatoes are soft, add cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, chilli powder and cardamom.
  6. Remove the pan from the gas and add garam masala and cashew nuts, leave it to cool.
  7. When cold, make a paste in the blander of this mixture, take it out of the blender and add cream in it.
  8. In a round baking dish, keep the whole cauliflower in the middle of the tray, and pour the thick paste on top and on sides. Decorate with green coriander.
  9. Heat the oven at 200 degree C, keep the cauliflower in the oven for 10-15 minutes till the colour of the mixture is darker.
  10. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the cauliflower and leave it in the oven for 2-3 more minutes so that cheese can melt.
    Cut and make slices of the cauliflower, serve hot with roti, nan or dinner bun.
    This can be served to 5-6 people.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

THREE BEAN SALAD

(Suitable for Vegans)

In 2009 in Botswana, I made three bean salad for the first time when I was throwing a welcome party for my friend who was coming back from India. This friend is now my relative because her daughter is married to my son. Everybody enjoyed this dish in the party. Now it is often made in my kitchen, because it tastes great and it is full of nutrition. It is considered very good because of its high protein content, and therefore great addition in a vegetarian diet. The other good thing about this recipe is that it is really low in fat though it is little bit time consuming to make.


For vegetarians lentils and beans are the main source of protein. That is why I make sure that every day in one meal I make one dish of these beans or lentils. Around16 types of beans or lentils are cooked in my kitchen, I try to variate not only the lentils but also how they are cooked. Some are cooked dry, some are with added vegetables and some other preparations of mix and match are made with these lentils. Variety of sweet and savory dishes and snacks are also made.


After making this several times, I added one more bean (chick peas) to this recipe to increase its nutritional content and taste; now I call it four bean salad. Another thing I do when I make this salad is, I soak extra of all the beans, and use the extra left over and the water that was used to soak this to make a four bean curry which I will talk about in another blog entry.


RECIPE

Ingredients

-100 grams red kidney beans
-100 grams black eyed beans
-100 grams White soya beans or broad beans
-200 grams onion (One big)
-200 grams tomatoes (One big)
-4-5 green chillies (Optional)
-1 lemon (to squeeze)
-green coriander for garnishing
-4 Tablespoon olive oil.
-2 Teaspoon salt (To taste)
-2 Teaspoon black pepper powder (Freshly ground)

METHOD
  1. Rinse, wash and soak red kidney beans, and soya beans, separately in different bowls for 7-8 hour or overnight. Too much water is not required at the time of soaking and boiling because the beans will be dry in the salad.
  2. Rinse the black eyed beans 3-4 times in water. Pressure cook them together with the soaked soya beans, with one teaspoon salt and cook for about 5 minutes after the whistle. We can boil them together because they all have the same white (cream) colour.
  3. Drain the water and leave it to cool; don't throw the water, it can be used later in other curries etc, because it is full of nutrients.
  4. Now boil the red kidney beans with some salt for 5 minutes in the pressure cooker after the whistle , leave it to cool. Once cold drain the water, mix all the beans.
  5. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes and green chillies, and add them to the beans. Add the olive oil, black pepper and squeeze juice from one lemon, transfer in a serving bowl, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve at room temperature as a side dish or accompaniment. It goes great with garlic bread, toasted bread or with any soup. This can be served to 4-6 people.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

GULAB JAMUN



Gulab Jamun is a very famous South Asian dessert, which people are eating from ages. Gulab Jamun is often prepared in weddings, functions and parties. This dessert is very popular throughout India from north to south, in many states people enjoy this dessert.


In my kitchen, they are made on wholesale, because my son-in-law loves them a lot. “I could eat this the whole day long!”, he told me last time when I made them. This is his favorite sweet dish. He not only says this but really means it and I have seen him consuming a whole bunch of them in one go. Knowing that when he starts he can't help eating a whole bowl, I try to make them only on special occasions or birthdays.

I remember one incident, after coming back from a party, we were all discussing about the food and the general opinion was that the caterer was not good because no body enjoyed the food that day. My son-in-law said, “I had no problem, my meal was there - gulab jamun, and they were very nice!”. Later we came to know that the gulab jamuns were prepared by the lady herself who organized the party, not by the caterer.

Gulab jamuns can also be made using milk powder instead of mava or khoya. During my long stay in Africa I always made gulab jamun with full cream milk powder, because mava was not available there. Though making them with milk powder is a bit time consuming because first we will have to make mava out of milk powder and then make gulab jamun out of that, but they taste as good as the traditional mava ones.



In this recipe I used mava, because it is easily available in Calgary, (Canada) this recipe is the traditional one, my sister-in-law gave me this recipe many years ago.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-½ kg mava or khoya
-100 gram white flour/ all purpose flour
-50 gram chhena (home made paneer)
-¼ teaspoon soda bicarb
-½ cup water
-½ liter oil for frying

For Sugar Syrup

-750 grams sugar
-500 grams water

METHOD
  1. Finely grate mava and mash chhena with fingers.
  2. Take all purpose flour, mix soda-bicarb in it.
  3. Now add mava and chhena in the flour, mix well, slowly, add water to make the soft dough.
  4. Pinch small amount of dough and make small balls.
  5. Keep oil on a medium heat, once hot, reduce the flame, fry around 10 gulab jamuns, till golden brown on a slow flam.
  6. Take them out on a paper towel leave it to cool.
  7. In this way fry all of them.
  8. On the other gas, keep sugar and water in a sauce pan to make sugar syrup, boil for 10-15 minutes. Switch off the gas, leave it to cool a bit.
  9. When the syrup and the gulab jamuns are warm, put them in the syrup and leave them in a flat tray so that gulab Jamun can absorb the syrup.

Around 40-45 gulab jamuns can be made with this material depending on the size. They should be served hot, can be kept in a fridge for 2-3 weeks and can be warmed in microwave for few seconds, care should be taken, they should not break. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

HOMEMADE LEMONADE

Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere, though this is not my favorite season, but I like it when everything is green around here in Calgary. The best part of summer for me is when my grand children run around in the garden and enjoy their water bath with sprinklers, I know running around the garden means, coming again and again for a glass of water. Even us, in summer, we drink endless glasses of water.

Lemonade is the best summer drink and this recipe is very easy to make and very little ingredients are required. In this lemonade no preservative or colour is added and it can last in the fridge for one month or more. I call it all-season-drink because it helps in managing symptoms like nausea, disturbances in stomach or indigestion. According to my explanation it sounds like this is a medicine but actually it is a cool drink which I can say from personal experience that it helps in managing these symptoms.

In 2011, I went to Delhi in July, to enjoy my holidays, which is the onset of the monsoon rains. This season is not good if you are traveling to Delhi because it is very hot and humid. Almost everyday in the evening I was feeling uncomfortable as if I can not breathe properly or some thing like that because of the humidity. This lemonade was the only remedy, with added black salt and black pepper. A cool glass of this was all I needed to cool me down.

Instead of buying from the shop it is better to make lemonade at home. I tried many ready made ones from the shops but never enjoyed the taste as compared to this home made one. It is much better compared to fizzy drinks. According to Ayurveda, lemons have cooling effect on the skin because they help us sweat and sweat facilitates the elimination of toxin through the skin so it is good in summer.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-1 kg sugar
-300 ml lemon juice ( 6-8 big lemons)
-½ litter water for syrup

Black salt and pepper to taste, few leaves of mint.
(to be added later individually for one serving)

METHOD
  1. Put water and sugar in a pot on a medium flame to make sugar syrup.
  2. One thread sugar syrup is required, it will take 15-20 minutes. Leave it to cool.
  3. Squeeze the juice from lemons carefully, and measure 300ml.
  4. When the sugar syrup is cold add the lemon juice in it.
  5. Keep in a sterilize glass jar or bottle is the fridge.

When serving add 2-3 tablespoon of this lemonade (according to your taste) in a 250 ml cold water with some ice cubes, sprinkle pinch black salt and black pepper in it (optional), add few chopped fresh mint leaves. This can be served with or without food.