Croissants for Friday Morning

croissant Photo from Bint Abdul Wahid

Baked a small batch of lovely plain croissants today for breakfast:)

Wintermelon Smoothie

Healthy green smoothie for the whole family, juicing vegetables with fruits is a better alternative to cooking it and losing all the vitamins. I was surprised that Winter melon benefits include preventing migraines, strokes, best for heart, eye, digestive, kidney health and its loaded with vitamins. Adding pear and green apple to the smoothie sweetens the drink because winter melon itself is bland tasting. Wintermelon has a lot of water content, so I dont add extra water but if I find the smoothie is too sweet, I add a glass of water to balance the taste.

Ingredients:

Wintermelon (Ashgourd) – 1 whole,peeled and quartered

Pear – 1 no, peeled and quartered

Green apple – 1 no, Peeled and quartered

Water – 1 glass (optional)

Method:

I use my juicer machine for this recipe and I run all the ingredients through the Juicer and its ready to drink!

 

Home Appliances Review: Preethi Blue Leaf vs Kenwood multione

preethi-blue-leaf

Preethi Blue Leaf blender is excellent for Indian cooking especially for wet grinding, dry grinding and extracting coconut milk. I occasionally prepared wet ingredients for cake batter using the big jar but was careless in handling the blender jars and over time the jars got damaged, incidentally experimented mincing cold cut meats in the jars to prepare kebabs,thus damaging the blades,yes, I damaged two jars in one day.

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So the next time we went shopping for a blender, I decided to look into food processors with extra attachments.We bought Kenwood multione Kitchen machine. The salesman was confident that a 1000w machine will generate better dosa batter than a 750w blender,so I looked no further and bought it right away.He was wrong. Definitely the Kenwood multione is a life saver when it comes to preparing dough for any recipe that calls for the use of flour. I can extract juice using Kenwood multione, citrus juicing, slicing,grating, meat grinding and any type of whipping, creaming etc is possible. But Preethi is still the best for dry and wet grinding. I have to dedicate a whole work surface for storing and using Kenwood Kitchen machine. But when everything is organized and proper workflow is achieved,then I would definitely recommend Kenwood multione for all kinds of cooking except dry,wet grinding and extracting coconut milk.

Fresh Banana – Cake Truffles

Ingredients needed for cake truffles:

Ripe banana – 1 no

Chocolate Cake – 10 medium pieces

Nutella – 1/2 cup, to coat the truffles

Heavy Cream – 1/4 cup

 

Method:

Mash the banana in a deep bowl and add crumbled chocolate cake to it. Form truffle balls and freeze it. Prepare the Nutella by heating it in the microwave for one minute and add cream to dilute it to get the right coating consistency. Dip the truffles in the chocolate sauce and freeze it again. These truffles are best eaten cold.

 

Hot/Iced Lemon Tea with Rooh Afza

I love coffee but I try to detox occasionally with plain lemon water right away although it can be very difficult. So I tried to discover ways I can start the detox in stages and Hot/Iced Lemon Tea with Rooh Afza is a brilliant recipe I could come up with. The rose syrup imparts a deep red color to the tea,increasing its palatability to the eyes. The tangy lemon flavor in this tea compliments the rose flavored Rooh Afza syrup.And its really easy to drink plain lemon water after having this tea for the first couple of days. Results are good, no coffee cravings or headaches.

Ingredients: (for one cup of tea)

Tea Bag – 1 no ( I prefer Lipton, can use caffeine-free teabag also)

Lemon – 1/2 no (or 1 whole lime)

Rooh Afza Syrup – 1 tsp

Sugar – 1 – 2 tsp

Ice cubes – (for iced tea)

Method:

Prepare the glass, add juice from one whole lime or 1/2 lemon juice , stir in the sugar and rooh afza syrup. Pour boiling water, add the tea bag and let it steep until strong flavor is released. Stir well and enjoy it piping hot.

You may alternatively leave this tea to cool down and add ice cubes to enjoy a nice glass of iced tea. Tastes great either ways.Garnish this red tea with mint leaves or sliced lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kayachar (kaichar) or Dalcha Recipe

Kayachar (kaichar) or Dalcha – Rawther recipe

Thanks to my sister in law (lubi) for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.
Kayachar is also known as Dalcha in Tamil Nadu and can be made into a thick or thin gravy, depending on how you want to enjoy it with the rawther biriyani. Popularly served in functions including marriages, it can be enjoyed with dosa and idlis too.
This recipe may mimic the humble sambhar, but it is a non-veg preparation and does not include the spice asafoetida.
Souring agents in this gravy are tomatoes and green mango. If green mango is not available, tamarind paste can be used instead.
Ingredients:
Tuvar dal – 100 gms, soaked in water for one hour
Chana dal – 100 gms, soaked in water for one hour
Potato – 2 nos, cut into medium chunks
Brinjal – 2 nos medium, cut into medium chunks
Ash Gourd (Winter melon) – one half, cut into medium chunks
Drumsticks – 2 whole, cut into equal lengths
Ghee – 1tbls
Cooking Oil – 1 tblsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1tsp
Garlic – 4-5 nos
mustard seeds – 1tsp
fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds(Green large jeera)-1tsp
Cumin (Small Jeera) – 1tsp
Curry Leaves – 10 nos
Green chilly – 2 nos,slitted
Tomato – 2 small, sliced
Green Mango – 1/2 (or whole if small, may include seed for extra sourness)
Small Onion – 5-6 (optional), sliced or paste
Coriander Leaves – 1 bunch
mutton (‘kozhup’ pcs) – 3 or 4 medium pcs, preferred bones with a little fat and meat on it. You may increase the portions if needed
Turmeric Powder – 1tsp
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tblsp
Coriander Powder – 1tblsp
Water – 4 cups
Method:
In a small pressure cooker, add the drained dals, garlic and 2-3 stems of coriander leaves and a tsp of turmeric powder with two cups of water. Close and cook until one-two whistles are complete. Leave the pressure cooker to cool completely and open the lid after releasing any leftover steam. At this stage, you may decide to cook the potatoes, drumsticks and ashgourd separately in another pot of water (to evenly cook the veges and avoid overcooking it in the pressure cooker) or add the vegetables to cook with the dal in the pressure cooker for an additional one more whistle.
In another large bottomed pan, heat the oil and ghee and splutter mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, large and small jeeras, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste and small onions(optional). Add the mutton pcs, sliced tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder.Add in the green chillies, brinjal chunks and season with salt. Add 2 cups of water and let the brinjals and mutton cook for sometime.Half way through, add sliced raw mango and rest of the cooked vegetables with dal. Finally add some chopped coriander and serve it hot with biriyani, dosa and idli.

Food lifestyle changes

Sometimes I suffer from gluten problems. My body do not accept rice very well either, although I can tolerate fermented foods occasionally. Till recently I was down on bed almost all day with moodiness, headaches and tiredness for a whole two weeks. Then I googled to find out where am I going wrong with my food. I would feel better when I take calcium and Vitamin D supplements. But the good effects dont last for more than a day.

My searches landed me to an ayurvedic practitioner’s videos in youtube. Mohanan vaidyar explains why our foods are not healthy anymore.

I was very disturbed after learning that iodized table salt and vegetable oils are harmful for our health. It increases appetite and diabetes, cancer, infertility, and major other diseases. Now I switched to sea salt and increased usage of olive oil and coconut oil. Planning on incorporating rock salt in my diet as well. Less processed, the better. But that two changes dramatically improved my health. It cleared my head and I feel energetic.

There are a few links below to know more about the pros and cons of table salt and vegetable oils.

http://wellnessmama.com/2193/never-eat-vegetable-oil/

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-salt/

I am hooked onto coffee a lot, which is like wise dangerous in the long run and am currently trying to switch to healthy alternatives. Recently I roasted barley seeds and ground them up and brewed a light colored barley tea. I also plan to roast date fruit seeds and grind them up, then brew a nice cup of date seed coffee.

I have a plan to include the following flours in my family’s diet:

Oat flour, barley flour, coconut flour, almond flour, moong dal flour, sunflower seed powder and chickpea flour. My dad got me a good bulk of little millet grains from Kerala (chama ari). It stabilizes blood sugar and excellent for idli/dosa recipes.

Usually I give my son gluten sandwiches for school breakfast and mid break. It would be good if I reduce gluten in my children’s diets and balance it with fermented foods made from whole grains and different varieties of rice grains and dals.

I want to reduce non vegetarian foods and increase vegetarian meals, and include organic produce as much as possible. So basically this is my plan for now. And I hope to come back to this post in another year (if possible) and see if I reached my goal.

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Husband got me some chocolates from Hersheys and Ghirardelli and I made these cookies last night, just followed the soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe from martha stewart website.

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Hot Chocolate – topped off with chocolate ice cream

IMAG0901Totally loved it. Got the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube Ultimate Hot Chocolate recipe by Mike Cooper

 

Rawther Biriyani

rawther biriyani
Popularly known in my husband’s family as Coimbatore Biriyani and Palakkad Biriyani, my brother in law’s wife and cousin (lubi) got me hooked on to this recipe. You’d love it if you are already a fan of different varieties of pulav. The richness of South Indian spices and mint leaves and their aroma wafting through the house excites quite an appetite.

This spicy dum biriyani is naturally deep red colored (by using plenty of ripe tomatoes and kashmiri red chilli powder) and made from an aromatic variety of short rice grains called Jeerakasala rice. It is popular in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Particularly found in the Rawther Muslim Community in Coimbatore and Palakkad district in Kerala, it is getting popular outside the Rawther communities too.

Served even during celebrations and weddings, Rawther Biriyani is served alongside non-veg sambhar popularly known as ‘Kaichar‘ and melon halwa (rich,red and yummy halwa).I found this link to the halwa recipe:

http://www.spicytasty.com/indian-sweets/kasi-halwa/

Very recently, I tried this recipe (thank you Lubi) at home with my mother in law. We used pre-marinated and lightly fried chicken in this recipe. You may reduce the amount of green chillies, ginger paste and red chilli powder to reduce the biriyani’s spice. Alternatively you may grill two large red peppers, remove the skin, blend the red flesh and add the ground paste to the biriyani masala for rich red color.

Ingredients:

Big Onions – 5 nos medium

Small Onions – 20 nos

Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp

Ripe Tomatoes – 5 large

Green Chillies – 3 or 4 nos

Cilantro Leaves – one handful

Mint Leaves – one handful

Red Capsicum (optional) – 1 no

Red Chilli powder – 3 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1.5 tsp

lime juice – (juice of one lime)

garam masala – a pinch

ghee – for taste

salt – as per taste

Jeerakasaala rice – 1.5 kilo

Chicken (biriyani cuts) – 2 kilo (optional – marinate it with turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and shallow fry it before adding to the biriyani masala)

 

Method: 

Soak jeerakasaala rice in water for 15 minutes and then rinse it well. Saute finely sliced onions in a deep bottomed pan, followed by green chillies, ginger garlic paste, and then add tomatoes. Add chopped cilantro and mint leaves, followed by red chilli powder, turmeric powder and lime juice.

You may grill one red capsicum, remove the black skin and pulse the flesh to add to the masala at this stage if you want to naturally deepen the reddish color of the masala.Add the (fried)chicken pieces and mix well.

Add enough water to the masala, season with salt and then add the rinsed rice. The water level should be 1.5 inches above the rice level. Cover it and cook it in high heat for 15 minutes. Lower the heat.Season it with some ghee and garam masala at this stage, cover it again and leave it for additional 10 minutes. Take the biriyani off the heat, fluff it up and serve it with raita and pappadums.