Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ginger & Curry Leaf Rasam(Spiced Soup)

With the temperature dropping down to below freezing and with snow all around, it is very much common to find signs of cold and cough in the house hold. Apart from a healthy diet, exercise and optimum levels of Vitamin D, certain spices like ginger which is a warming herb can help knock out a fever. The warming effects make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds.

This rasam(a spiced soup) can be had with warm rice or warm quinoa. It not only tastes excellent, stimulating your taste buds but really helps out when you have a cold, fever or any kind of digestive disorder. There is no reason for not trying this easy, healthy and tasty one. Do let me know how you like it.

Preparation Time - 5 Minutes
Cooking Time - 15 Minutes
Serves - 4


Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized ball
Red Chili - 4 or to taste
Black Pepper - 1 Tsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Thoor Dal - 1 Tsp
Curry leaves - handful
Salt - 1 1/2 Tsp or to taste
Water - 4 Cups
Rasam Powder - 1/2 Tsp (This is optional and you can add it or skip it, but adding it gives little bit more flavor)


Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1 Tsp

Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp

Cumin Seeds - 1/2 Tsp


1) Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water and let this sit down for few minutes. You can even presoak in the night for making an instant rasam in the morning.

2) Heat a pan and dry roast black pepper, red chili, thoor dal till the raw smell is gone and they slightly brown. Switch of the stove and to this add the curry leaves and the peeled chopped ginger piece and set it aside.

3) Squeeze out the pulp from the soaked tamarind, by adding 3 cups of water little by little. Make sure it is thoroughly squeezed and the pulp is all extracted. Boil this tamarind juice by adding salt and rasam powder.

4) Now grind all the roasted ingredients into a fine powder and i use this left out 1/2 cup of water to rinse the blender with any of the powder sticking to it.

5) Once the tamarind juice boils for 10 minutes and the raw tamarind smell is gone, add the ground spices along with the 1/2 cup of water and let this simmer for another 2 minutes and switch off the stove.

6) Now heat a pan and add the ghee, once it is warm add the mustard seeds. After they stop spluttering add the cumin seeds and after they turn golden transfer it to the hot rasam. Serve this with steaming hot brown rice, or quinoa.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sugar free Badam Halwa (Almond Fudge) using Xylitol as a Sugar substitute


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and can be used a substitute for sugar. It is found naturally in fibers of many fruits and vegetables. For people with diabetes the best form of natural sugar alternate are Xylitol and Stevia. With a low glycemic index, xylitol doesn't have any aftertaste. Xylitol also doesn't cause any cavities like sugar so can be used as a sugar substitute and is safe even for kids. The only side effect of xylitol is consuming large amounts will cause abdominal discomfort. So watch out the quantity you eat. Almonds are high in protein, containing about 12% of our needs. They contain no cholesterol and are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus. They also contain potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and trace amounts of B vitamins. Almonds have a higher calcium level than other nuts and are high in fiber, high in fat, but low in unsaturated fat. Most of the fat is monounsaturated and considered quite beneficial.

So with the goodness of Almonds, and a safest natural sugar substitute, this sweet is the best bet for a guilt free and tasty dessert.

Preparation Time - 15 Minutes

Cooking Time - 20 Minutes

Serves - 6


Almonds - 1 Cup

Water or Milk - 1/2 Cup

Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp

Xylitol - 1/2 Cup

Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp

Chopped cashews - 1 Tbsp

Saffron few strands


1) In half cup warm milk or warm water soak the saffron threads and let this sit for a while.

2) Boil 2 cups of water and once they come to rolling boil, add the almonds and let this boil for 3-5 minutes and switch off.

3) Rinse the almonds in cold water and once they are cool enough to handle, just press them in between your thumb and index finger and the almonds will pop out of their outer peel. They are very easy to peel this way and do the same with each one of the almond.

4) Now grind the peeled almonds into a fine paste by adding the saffron soaked milk or water into a fine paste.

5) Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add a Table spoon of ghee. Once the ghee melts, becomes warm add the chopped cashew nuts and fry till golden. To this add the cardamom powder saute for a second and transfer the contents to cup and keep this aside.

6)  To the warm pan add  the ground almond paste, xylitol and half of the 1/4 cup of ghee and keep stirring.

The almond mass will start thickening and once it is semi solid keep adding the rest of the ghee slowly.

At one point the almond halwa will start leaving the sides and at this time add the cashews along with the cardamom powder and little bit of ghee and switch off.

7) Serve this halwa warm, they do taste fantastic when served warm.

Note - If making the halwa with sugar, you might have to increase the quantity of the sweetner from 1/2 to 1. Since xylitol has a chilling effect on the tongue, the lesser the quantity of sweet the better it is. You can allow the halwa to cool and cut them into pieces. But they taste better when served warm, so warm the halwa pieces before serving.


Event Participation

1) This warm halwa goes to Veggie Hut's Winter Warmer

2) This goes to Celebrate Sweet - Sugarless event hosted by Sara's Corner.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blackchickpea Snack (Konda Kadalai Sundal)

Looking for a super healthy snack, low in carbohydrate, high in protein, gluten free, filling, inspite of all these good things still tastes great. Then this one is a must try for you. If you are of a South Indian (South East Asian - South Indian) then this sundal is a no big deal and you would have tasted it so many times. If not do try this out and i am sure you will be glad you did.

You can get this black chick pea, in an Asian Indian store. This is a much more nutritionally superior variety than garbanzo in terms of protein and lower in glycemic index. So if you are a carb watcher either to watch your weight or to watch your sugar level, this one will fit the bill.

Preparation Time - 10 Minutes
Cooking Time - 25 Minutes
Serves - 2


Kala Channa (Blackchick pea) - 1 Cup
Salt - 1/2 Tsp or to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch(avoid this if you are allergic to wheat)
Ginger strips - 1 inch piece (optional)


Coconut oil - 2 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves -1 Tbsp chopped
Curry powder - 1 Tsp or to taste
Grated coconut - 2 Tbsp
Grated or Chopped raw mango pieces - 2 Tbsp


1) Soak the kala channa over night.

2) In the morning rinse the kala channa thoroughly for few times and just add enough water to cover the surface. Add salt, asafoetida powder and ginger piece(this will help in reducing the gas when added to beans, legumes while cooking) and cook in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles and then switch off.

3) Once the pressure cooker is cooled down, take out the cooked kala channa and drain out the water and take out the ginger piece. You can use this water, ginger etc for soups, rasam etc.

4) Heat a pan, add coconut oil. Once the oil is hot add mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add curry leaves, drained kala channa and saute for 3-5 minutes. At this stage check if the salt is up to your taste, if not add little more.

5) Add the curry powder, grated coconut and saute for 2 more minutes and switch off.

6) After the sundal is cooled down little bit, add the chopped or grated mango to and enjoy.

Note - If you don't have raw mango, you can squeeze little bit of lemon juice to give a nice tangy taste.
You can also add chopped onions while sauteeing or add chopped raw onions, cucumber, cilantro lemon juice and little bit of chat masala to give a nice twist to the taste.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Black Eyed Beans Sundal (snack)

Good to KnowBeans supply high quality protein which provides a healthy alternative to meat or other animal protein. Beans also contain protease inhibitors which frustrate the development of cancerous cells.


Black eyed bean - 2 cups (Soaked and Cooked)

Coconut Oil - 1 tsp

Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

Curry leaves few

Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp

Curry powder - 1 tsp

Fresh grated Coconut - 2 table spoons

Salt to taste

Lime juice - 1/4 tsp (optional)


1) Heat oil and add the mustard seeds, once it stops spluttering add the asafetida powder, curry leaves and black eyed bean.

2) Add salt and curry powder and stir and switch off in a minute.

3) Once it slightly cools down add the lemon juice and the freshly grated coconut.

4) Enjoy this protein rich guilt free sundal .
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Preparation Time: 5-10 mins

Serves: 4

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Morkuzhambu (Spicy Yogurt Sauce)

Have you tried Morkuzhambu before, it is a spicy, tangy sauce made with Yogurt and spices and tastes fantastic with cooked Quinoa, rice or flat breads. You can add your choice of vegetables like eggplant, white pumpkin etc. This yogurt sauce is made in different regions of Indian and they are called by different names with different recipes. This is my Mom's recipe and we all love it.

Preparation Time - 15 Minutes
Cooking Time - 10 Minutes
Serves - 4


Thick Sour Yogurt - 1 Cup
Water - 3 Cups
Asafoetida - pinch
White pumpkin pieces - 1 cup cubed
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Salt - 1 Tsp or to taste

For grinding

Grated Coconut - 4 Tbsp
Split Chick Pea - 1/2 Tbsp
Rice - 1/2 Tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 Tsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chili - 2 or to taste
Coriander seeds - 1 Tsp

For tempering

Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Red chili - 2 or taste
Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
Asafoetida powder - pinch


1) Soak the channa dal, rice, cumin seeds, corainder seeds in 1/4 cup of water.

2) Put the vegetables in a pan and add 1 cup of water or just to cover the top of the vegetables, asafoetida powder, salt and turmeric powder.


3) Grind the soaked masala and rest of the ingredients left out in the For grinding section into a smooth paste adding enough water.

4) Now combine the left out water, ground masala, yogurt and whisk smoothly.

5) Once the vegetables are cooked thoroughly add the yogurt mixture to it and leave it in the stove for 3-5 minutes. Once the whole thing becomes frothy and comes up, switch off the stove. Do not overcook this as the yogurt will curdle.

6) Now heat a pan add oil and then asafoetida, mustard seeds and after the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add red chili and curry leaves. Once the chili becomes slightly brown, switch off and add the tempering to Morkuzhambu.

7) Serve with hot cooked Quinoa and enjoy..

Note - If you are sensitive to gluten, exclude Asafoetida as it contains wheat.

Yogurt on Foodista

Monday, December 6, 2010

Split Chick Pea Savory Pancake (Besan Puda/Pudla)

If you are looking for a protein rich, low carb, gluten free, infact grain free breakfast or lunch option, this spicy pancake would fit perfect for all the above dietary requirements. I make it atleast once a week, and you can add different vegetables like spinach, cabbage to suit your taste buds. Try this and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time - 10 Minutes
Cooking Time - 15 Minutes
Makes - 4 Pancakes (This depends on the size and the thickness of the pancake you make)


Besan Flour (Split Chick Pea Flour) -1 Cup
Yogurt - 1/4 Cup
Water - 1/4 Cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Green Chili - 2 or to taste
Salt - 3/4 th Tsp or to taste
Chopped Cilantro or Spinach - 1/4 Cup
Grated Ginger - 1/2 Tsp
Onion - 1
Garlic - 1 Clove (optional)
Ajwain (Carom seeds) - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 4 Tsp


1) Combine the besan flour, turmeric powder, salt, chopped spinach or cilantro, grated ginger, garlic, onion and ajwain.

2) To this add the yogurt and water and make a batter.

3) Heat an iron griddle, once it is hot take a ladle of batter and spread into thin circle.

4) Add a tsp of oil around the pancake, once the panckae is cooked on one side and flip and cook the other side.

5) Remove from the griddle and serve hot with Chutney or Pickle of your choice. I served it with mint chutney.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trail Mix - Easy, Healthy & On the go Snack

What else can be easier to make snack than a trail mix? Healthy, easy and quick to make and on the go snack. Make them at home so that you can mix and match ingredients based on your diet needs and is much easier on your wallet than store bought ones. Takes less than 15 minutes to make and you can make batches to satisfy craving attacks.

I make these on a regular basis, you can make it without adding raisins and cranberries if you are looking for no sugar snacks. For kids you can add some toasted peanuts and dry fruits or choco chips. My little one insisted on adding candy, so i added a few of Sunspire Natural Chocolates  - Sundrop. Lesser evil than the other ones available in the store. For the sake of taking photos, i added few m & m's. Yes they look fantastic, but not so for your health.

Preparation Time - 15 Minutes

Cooking Time - 0


Roasted & Salted Organic Sunflower seeds - 1 1/2 Cups

Roasted Organic Pumpking Seeds - 1 1/2 Cups

Roasted Chopped Almonds - 1 Cup

Roasted Chopped Cashews -1 Cup

Roasted Chopped Macadamia nuts - 1 Cup

Roasted Chopped Walnuts - 1/2 Cup

Roasted Salted Pistachio    - 1/2 Cup

Dried Cranberries (optional) - 1/2 Cup (Avoid these two if you on a no sugar diet)

Dried raisins (optional)        - 1/2 Cup


1) I use a normal toaster oven and toast each one of the ingredient in a medium heat which will take 2-3 minutes or you can buy roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raw chopped macadamia nuts and chop the rest of the ingredients Almonds, Cashews, walnuts etc.

2) Combine all the above ingredients, store in a airtight jar. This trail mix is good for atleast a week to 10 days in normal room temperature, or if you are going to keep it longer refrigerate.

Trail Mix 2


Roasted Chopped Almonds - 1 Cup

Roasted Chopped Cashews - 1 Cup

Roasted Peeled Peanuts - 1 Cup

Sunspire Sundrops - 1 small pack

Raisins - 1/2 Cup

Salt - 1/2 tsp (optional)


Combine all of the ingredients listed above and enjoy.

Event Participation

1) This goes straight to Champa's - Kid's Delight Restaurant recreation an event started by Srivalli.

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