Surprise Tropical Fry (Sambharo/Poriyal)

I was at the grocery store last weekend,  and I start collecting the groceries for the week. Just like any other week, I am looking forward to making the greens and try out some new recipes if I could. The luscious smell of the fresh green herbs, the sweet smell of fruits and flowers… The beautiful berries of all kinds. It is just so amazing. Always happy to be at the grocery store.

Anyways, back to picking up groceries for the week, the husband gets paranoid when I start picking up beetroots. He calls out to me and says… “oh … not again Aayushi babes”. I turn and ask what is it? He continues,” I won’t eat beetroots, I don’t like them”. This happens every week. He instead points out to mangoes. Mangoes are everyone’s favourite and so is ours. Like every other week, he wanted a dish full of mango rice with tomato and onion pachdi (raita). Along with the side of the potato, turnip fry or broccoli-peas -tomato fry. Now the husband doesn’t know how I am thinking to take a roll on his taste buds, but that leaves me with a question of how?

On a Thursday afternoon, I was sitting on my couch watching TV, sunk in the thoughts what can I possibly do to make the beetroots so tasty, that the husband cannot say no to beetroots ever. A salad is definitely not going to be an option for making the husband like beetroots. I know what’s going to happen if I make a salad! The husband is going to savour on all the mangoes and leave me with a bowl full of beetroots, kale and lettuce. I imagined so and laughed to myself. I make beetroot poriyal quite often. So I use the same recipe, and I add the king of fruits mangoes along with coconut.

IMG_0347

The recipe speaks for itself to be a surprise, so let us see how. The beetroots and mangoes are going to take you to sweet and savoury side. The flavours of mangoes, beetroots and fresh shredded coconut took me to a private island hanging out with the husband enjoying virgin margaritas, a plate of freshly cut tropical fruits and some pina coladas. As always amazed by the beauty of nature, at my dinner I enjoyed how nature created such great flavours. Trust me, I didn’t put any spices to flavour this wonderful treat.

IMG_0354

 

Let’s start cooking this tropical deliciousness!!!

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil – 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp
  • Green Chilli – 2
  • Onion- 1 small (finely chopped or julienned)
  • Beetroots – 2 medium sized, 1 if big beetroot- Shredded
  • Mango- 1 big mango- Shredded
  • Coconut- Freshly shredded/frozen shredded – 1/2 cup
  • Salt- To Taste
  • Dry Coconut Shreddings- For topping

Now is the time to put the ingredients on flame!!!

  • Place a pan on a medium flame. Add a Tbsp of oil, I used coconut oil, but you can use any oil of your choice. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add the two slit green chillies now and saute.
  • It’s time to throw in the finely chopped or julienned onions, in any way you like them.
  • Once the onions turn translucent, add the beetroots, salt to taste and cover the pan.
  • The beetroots will take maybe 5-7 mins to cook. Keep stirring them every 2 mins, to avoid the beetroots sticking to the pan.
  • Once the beetroots are soft… add the shredded mangoes. The mangoes cook in no time. and they get to take the colour of the beetroots and start turning to be a savoury surprise for our tropical fry.
  • Add the coconut and close the pan for a minute.
  • The Suprise Tropical Fry is ready. Take it out in a serving bowl and add some dry shredded coconut for the topping and serve.

Give this recipe a star, if you like it and give it a try… it is awesome!!! It was a definite hit for us!!

 


Cluster Beans in Yoghurt Curry

Whenever I start preparing the raw materials for the daily meals, there is always one thing that makes me walk down a memory trail. My mom in the kitchen preparing us her beautiful home cooking recipes. She makes utmost tasty, scrumptious, simple and beautiful food for us. Her recipes are so easy to follow. When I moved to the United States, she used to guide me to prepare food on facetime. I would just follow what she says and then there it goes …just perfect and easy. I attempt to make just like hers, but there will always be an element missing. The element is missing the food my mom used to cook.

I used to talk to my mom in the kitchen while she prepared food for dinner. At the time, I thought that I am just in the kitchen because my mom is preparing the dinner and that’s the time of the day I can talk to her after finishing up with my daily chores.  She used to tell me she was always in the kitchen as I was a hungry baby of all times and if she is around me I still am. But, know when I think about it, as I stood there in the kitchen with her, I used to observe her, while preparing the raw material, cooking like 4-5 different dishes at the same time, the spices she will use, and of course the lessons she will give about cooking while she is cooking. As my mother quotes “I don’t like cooking” she says and I go back to her and ask her, then how do you cook everything so delicious. She would just smile back. She didn’t like cooking, but she would still attend cooking classes so she can make us all the food we like at home… in all her glory of healthy and fresh cooking.

My mom nurtured me and my sister for what we are today. Two days back I was talking to my dad about what he had for dinner. My mom that day, prepared sev tameta nu shaak and bhakri. It’s a kathiyawadi delicacy, which is prepared at least once a week at our home. My dad says, my sister and I are good cooks, just because of our mom. She has passed her cooking legacy to us, and I totally agree with him on this. My mom was sitting next to him, blushes a little and goes back to catching up with her Instagram.

I know you are going to read this, my dear mother … just to let you know, you will always be an idol to me in every way, and I hope I will be able to nurture my family the way you did.

This one is for you mumma.

A little bit about cluster beans,

Cluster beans are low carb veggies, which is an excellent source of nutritional value added to our plate. They are rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. These also have foliates which help with maintaining reproductive health. These veggies help in resolving anaemia, control diabetes, and stronger bone health. And these are a very good source of plant-based protein too.

For Cluster Beans in Yoghurt Curry,

IMG_0281

Ingredients,

  • Boiled Cluster beans- 250 gms
  • Oil – 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Asofoteida- a pinch of asafoetida
  • Ginger-garlic Paste- 1 Tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder- 2 Tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 Tsp
  • Coriander and Cumin Powder- 1 Tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1/2 Tsp (optional)
  • Yoghurt – Beaten – 1 cup
  • Salt- to taste

Let’s start preparing the recipe,

On a medium-high flame, place a pan and add I tbsp oil. Once the pan is heated, add cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds splutter and add a pinch of asafoetida. Turn the flame to medium-low. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute it until it is cooked. Now it is time to add the spices. Start with adding turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander-cumin powder. You can also add little garam masala at this time. Saute them well. Now add the beaten yoghurt. Keep stirring so the yoghurt cooks well and doesn’t get separated with water. Once cooked, add half cup water (I used the same water used for boiling the cluster beans- this will help the curry with maintaining the nutrition and taste) and keep stirring. Now add the boiled cluster beans to the curry. Let it boil for a minute. And top the curry with some Kasuri methi ( dried fenugreek leaves).

Let’s dig in…I served this curry with Split Back Urad Dal and Phulka’s (Chapatis). A perfect healthy meal to balance the daily intake of carbs, protein and healthy fat and fibre.

IMG_0343

 


Healthy Dates Ladoos with Almonds and Pistachio Fillings

This is a major throwback. The ladoos we make for Ganesh Chaturthi (Indian Festival) are a fun filled pack of sugar/ jaggery delight as I may say. These dates ladoos are very common and I assume this recipe is quite well known. The good thing about them is that they are very filling and give you a lot of energy. These ladoos are our family fav and our go to if we have sweet cravings and if you haven’t tried these well you should.

For these yummy delights, I chose almonds and pistachios for the fillings tossed in ghee. The ingredients of these dates ladoos make them very healthy, easy and hassle-free cooking. It takes about 10 mins to get them ready if we have all the ingredients ready.

You guys can also add other nuts like walnuts, hazelnut, macadamia nut, pecans, etc anything you want. Cut them into small pieces and use these in the fillings. For the base, you can use a combination of figs and dates if you want to mix it up a little. After all, we want them to taste delicious and make them in a way what we like the most.

IMG_0060.jpg

Ingredients

  • Seedless Dates- 10 oz
  • Almonds – 1/2 cup
  • Pistachios- 1/2 cup
  • Ghee- 5 Tbsp
  • White Roasted Poopy Seeds – For Topping

Let’s start making the Dates Ladoos.

We grind the dates first. Make sure they are seedless or remove the seeds first. I ground the dates using my food processor. Keep them aside. Get the almonds and pistachios chopped into small chunks for the filling ready.  In a pan heat 2 and 1/2 Tbsp ghee on a low flame. Once the ghee heats up, add the almonds and pistachios. Toss them for 2 mins. Keep them aside. In the same pan, again add 2 and 1/2 Tbsp ghee, add the ground dates now. Toss them in Ghee for about three minutes until it all comes together. Add the fillings mixture to the dates and start rolling it. Once everything is mixed properly, set it aside. Once it cools down from hot to warm, start rolling them in rounds or the shape you like, and then top them with white roasted poppy seeds. You can also choose what to top them with, perhaps you can use the ground mixture of the nuts used for the fillings too.

Let’s eat…


Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s amazing how the weekend brings a big glittery smile on everyone’s face, and when the weekend comes to an end it brings with it a big drop of that glittery smile. I believe in ending the weekends well. That’s why it calls for CAKE….. This weekend it calls for my favourite lemon cake. I usually used to bake my cakes in the traditional way. But then, I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance, aka polycystic ovary syndrome. It was my nightmare which came true and I asked myself “why me?”. There was no reason to sit and cry. Instead, I decided to fight it. I know it’s going to be there with me for the lifetime, there is no way it’s going away. I also knew I can’t stop eating cakes.

I have made this lemon cake using almond flour and I replaced the sweetener (white sugar) with honey and coconut palm sugar. I know I know, by using honey and coconut palm sugar I am not totally avoiding the sugar. But these have those tiny nutrients like magnesium, zinc and antioxidants. Don’t worry, I have just used a little bit of it. I just to add stevia if your case is very severe, or if you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.

Lets Bake…The beautiful and moist lemon cake.

IMG_0315

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

  • Almond Flour – 1 cup + 3/4th cup
  • Coconut Palm Sugar-little  2 Tbsp
  • Lemon Zest- 2 Tbsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/4th Tsp
  • Pinch of Salt

Wet Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice- 1/4th cup
  • Honey- 1/3rd cup
  • Egg Whites- 2
  • Olive Oil- 1/4th cup
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp

Frosting

  • Cream Cheese – 8 oz
  • Unsalted Butter- 2 cubes
  • Sweetener of your choice- I added stevia almost 1 and 1/2 Tbsp (I don’t like my frostings very sweet)

Let’s start baking now…

Take two bowls. Add the dry ingredients in a bowl- almond flour, sweetener of your choice(here I have used coconut palm sugar, I have added just a little because my main sweetener is organic, natural honey which I will be adding with wet ingredients), lemon zest, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Mix all the dry ingredients well.

In another bowl, add lemon juice and egg whites. Whisk it till fluffy. Add honey, olive oil and vanilla essence. Whisk all the wet ingredients very well. Let the honey mix well.

Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and fold the mixture well. But don’t fold it a lot of times, the cake might lose its moisture. Ohh, you can also add blueberries and fold them in the mixture at this point. They bring out a lovely flavour in the cake. Quick tip, rinse the blueberries well and marinate them with some flour. This will help your blueberries not sink in the bottom of the cake.

Preheat your oven at 350F for 10 minutes. In a cake mould of your choice, place the baking paper and add the cake batter in it. Set it equally by tapping the sides.

Once, the oven is pre-heated and ready, get your cake in to bake at 350F for 30 mins.

Let’s prepare the frosting in the meantime.

In a bowl, take 8oz of creme cheese. Mash the cream cheese bar using a spoon or a fork. Start adding the butter cubes one by one and mixing them with a hand mixer. mix it until nice a fluffy. Add the frosting in the piping bag and chill for some time.

Our lemon cake is out of the oven now, and its time for it to cool down.

Once the cake is cool, you can start icing the cake.

IMG_0317

 


Okra with Coconut Milk Curry

My head spins off when I think of preparing okra. There are so many ways to prepare these green deliciousness and all of them taste awesome. This happens to me every single week. My husband and I have an undying love for okra. We literally binge eat okra crisps, we call them kurkuri bhindi. Like every other week, I was thinking about how to prepare okra for the week, I see my jar of coconut milk sitting in my refrigerator. You guys know what I did with the okras…

IMG_0258

Okra is a beautiful vegetable with great taste and health benefits. The rare combination isn’t it. Okras are a very healthy source of vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium. I am sure everyone is aware of the vitamins and calcium but consuming folic acid naturally is so important for women, especially during their conceiving years. Okras also help to control obesity and keep in check the insulin levels with people suffering from Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and women suffering from PCOS.

Let’s get started to prepare this Creamy Coconutty Garlicky Okras

First things first, wash your okras well and completely dry them. Then,

.

.

Let’s chop them, try to cut them the same size, so they cook equally and well.

IMG_0256

Our okras are chopped and ready, so let us jump into the ingredients followed by the recipe.

IMG_0186.jpg

 

  • Okra – 1 lb
  • Coconut Oil – 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds for tempering
  • Chopped Garlic – 2 tbsp
  • Minced Ginger- 1/2 tbsp
  • Chopped Green Chillies-  1tbsp
  • Curry Leaves – 4-5
  • Coconut Milk- 1 cup
  • Onions and Shallots – 1 cup
  • red chilli powder- 3 Tsp (if you use the spicy and coloured mix red chilli powder)
  • Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander-cumin (dhania-jeera powder) – 2 Tsp
  • Salt to taste

Let’s get started!!

Preheat the pan on a medium-high flame. Add 2 tbsp coconut oil, once heated add the okra. Saute them until they become little crispy, (if you like your okras well done then saute them until they turn brown, make sure they don’t burn) and put them aside on the oil soaking paper.

You can also bake them for 15 mins on 300 F and they will be ready. Just brush some oil and add okras to the baking tray. And BAKE…

IMG_0263

The okras are now done, so we start the preparation for the curry. In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil on a medium high flame. Add mustard seeds, once tempered start adding garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Saute them until the raw smell is gone.

IMG_0257

Add the onions now and saute them well, until they appear translucent. Add salt, it will help the onion to cook faster. Set the flame to medium-low. Add turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the onions. Let the spices cook for a minute.

Umm.. quick tip.. if you like your curries red in colour, I suggest adding the Kashmiri red chilli powder right away after the mustard seeds temper.. this way the curry will have a nice rich red colour.

Once the spices are well cooked, start adding coconut milk. Continuously stir, to avoid milk sticking on the pan if the pan is very hot. Bring the coconut milk to a boil and add the fried okras.

IMG_0212

 

Transfer the curry in a serving bowl… if you try this at home send me the pictures

IMG_0261

I served the curry with phulka rotis aka chapathis and moong dal.

IMG_0265

If you like this recipe, give it a thumbs up.

Let’s eat…

 

 


Kuzhi Paniyaram ( Crispy Rice Balls)

Soft winds, light drizzle, birds chirping and beautiful tender sunshine in my patio. It glazed my home garden with a beautiful view. While admiring the beauty, my tummy grunts and says I am hungry!!! After a while, I open my refrigerator glance through and think about eating something yummy but quick to make. Something quick and yummy I say to myself, umm.. ooh  yes.. I see leftover dosa batter!! Yaaayyyy!!! I finally decide to make our family favourite kuzhi paniyarams (I call them little tots of goodness). I decide to make the spicy paniyarams. While I am at it, paniyarams are made from rice and black lentil batter. I used the left over dosa batter, next I want to try ragi dosa batter to make a healthier version of these little tots. I choose to flavour my paniyarams with lots of green chillies, ginger, shallots, curry leaves, carrots and green peppers. I chop all my veggies finely making sure that my shallots, carrots and green peppers are of the same size and shape.  I saute everything in coconut oil and add my fillings to the dosa batter. Now this yumminess is ready to be steamed. I love to serve these tiny tots with onion tomato chutney and ellu podi. For the recipe keep scrolling..

Awwh there they are!!!!!!IMG_0124

 

Recipe for Kuzhi Paniyarams

Total time for prep – 10 mins and Total time to steam- 5 mins

  • Leftover Idli/Dosa Batter – 4 cups
  • Green Chillies- 6 green Chillies finely chopped
  • Ginger 1 tbsp minced
  • Shallots or Onions- 1 cup
  • Carrots 1/2 cup
  • Green Pepper 1/2 cup
  • Curry Leave
  • Salt to taste

Transfer the batter in a bowl. Let it set to room temperature. In the meantime, take a pan, on a medium flame, heat some coconut oil. Once the coconut oil heats up, add ginger, curry leaves, green chillies and sauté them for a half-minute. Add shallots, carrots and green peppers to the pan. Sauté them for a minute. Turn off the flames (this step is the most important one) Let the filling cool down a little and add it to the dosa batter. Add salt to taste and mix the batter well. Preheat the paniyaram pan on medium heat. Pour little coconut oil in each mold (nonstick pans will need less oil than the iron cast pans) and let it heat. Once ready, pour a spoonful batter in each mold and close it with a lid. Give it a minute to a minute and half.. and flip them to the other side. After flipping again give it a minute. And they are ready !!!!!! Little tots of goodness are all ready to be served!!!!

Umm wait…. Tomato Onion Chutney… Lets make it quickly –  Dice one onion and one tomato. You will need two dry red chillies too. Take a pan, heat up the coconut oil and add dry red chillies and Onions. Let onions caramelise.. my friend Dharini says that’s the secret to this amazing tasting chutney(Thanks Dharini for giving me the recipe for this chutney).  Once the onions are caramelised add the tomatoes. Add salt to taste. It will help the tomatoes cook faster. Once they cool down, make a soft puree of this mixture. Add the tadka with some mustard seeds and the chutney is ready!!

Lets eat !!!