Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Date & Nut Cake(Eggless)


Baking is definitely therapeutic, if you love to bake you know what I am talking about. I used to bake a lot few years back when gluten was still a part of our diet. It is definitely lot of fun and very easy to bake with flours containing gluten. So I seriously look forward for opportunities to bake with wheat and make it for people who include them. My Parents include wheat in their diet and I baked these cup cakes few months back and sent it to them. This recipe I saw in a magazine  few years back and the recipe was for making the cake in Microwave. This is such a simple recipe and a definite keeper. I have changed the recipe slightly replaced the all purpose flour with whole wheat,  added more dates, as I had ton of them and cut down slightly on the sugar.

Dates are healthy alternate for refined sugar, but still are sugar and in fact very high in sugar. All dried fruits have more sugar than when they are fresh. So this recipe is not recommended for people with diabetes. If you can include gluten and dates in your diet, do give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time – 20 Minutes

Cooking Time – 12-15 Minutes

Makes - 24 mini cup cakes + 4 regular cup cakes


Whole Wheat Flour - 1 1/4 Cups

Dates - around 25

Raw sugar - 1/2 cup

Brown butter/Clarified butter/Ghee - 1/4 cup

Warm Milk - 1 + 1/4 cup

Salt – pinch

Baking Soda - 1 tsp

Chopped walnuts - 1/2 cup

Vinegar -1 Tbsp

Vanilla extract – 1 Tsp (Cardamom + Nutmeg + Cinnamon also will work to give a fruit cake flavor)


1) Soak the dates in warm milk and set this aside for an hour till the dates are soft and tender.

2) Puree the dates in a food processor to a fine a paste.

3) Add salt, baking soda, chopped walnuts  to the whole wheat flour, combine it and set it aside.

4) To the date and milk puree, add the melted clarified butter, raw sugar, vanilla extract and combine well.

5) Preheat a baking oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit and  line a 24 mini cup cake mould  cups and also another 4 cup cake mould with paper cups.

6) Slowly add the combined dry ingredients to the wet ones and gently stir and combine well with a spatula without over mixing. Now add the vinegar and give one last stir.

7). Fill the lined moulds till 3/4th of their height and bake for 12-15 minutes till a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8) Cool in a wire rack and enjoy!!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Black Chick Pea Snack(Kala Channa Chat)


Black chick peas are a good source of protein and Iron and of course complex carbohydrates.  They are nutritionally superior than the light colored garbanzo beans. As a quick snack I prepare sundal a traditional South Indian seasoned and stir fried snack with grated coconut. When I was half way making this dish, my elder one said asked me if, I can make something else instead of sundal.  After a little thinking I changed the supposed to be Sundal in to a much healthier snack by adding veggies and coconut and spiced it up with the sweet and spicy chutney.

If you are looking for a low carb snack you should definitely try this, the veggies like cucumber, tomato, onion are safe for people who count carbs in their diet. Coconut is good source of protein and apart from a good taste it gives a sense of fullness. So try this and let me know, how you liked it.

Preparation Time – 10 to 15 Minutes

Cooking Time – 10 – 15 Minutes (If you have pre cooked chick peas – nil)

Serves – 2


Cooked black chick peas – 1 Cup

Cucumber and Tomato – 1 1/2 Cups(Chopped)

Chopped or grated coconut pieces – 1/2 Cup

Onion – 1/2 medium sized onion finely chopped

Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste

lime juice – 1 Tsp or taste

chat masala – 1/2 Tsp

chopped cilantro – handful

Green chutney – 1 Tsp

Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 Tsp(optional)

Sweet chutney – 1/2 Tsp(omit this if you are looking for a low carb version)

Sev – 1 Tbsp(this is once again optional)


1) Combine the cooked chick peas, cucumber, tomato, onion, coconut, chopped cilantro, salt, lime juice, roasted cumin powder, green chutney and toss well.

2) Top it with sweet chutney and sev and serve, this is very much optional and you can even drizzle some yogurt on top and serve it.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mixed Bean & Vegetable Rice Flakes(Aval/Poha)


Of late my week ends are becoming more hectic than the week days. Especially Saturdays with too many activities for the kids, the day is very busy and exhausting too. So Sunday morning, I  try to relax from the previous hectic day/week, wake up little late than usual.  Every body is hungry including me and I open the refrigerator and have a little bit  of different vegetables and don’t have any kind of batter to come up with a quick breakfast. With pretty much no options and some left over veggies and boiled beans in my refrigerator I came up with this quick and well balanced breakfast. I always have some kind of boiled beans kept  either in the refrigerator or freezer to whip up some thing quick on un-predictable days like this.

If you include grains in your diet you should try this gluten free rice flakes. Poha or Aval can be found in Asian Indian stores and resembles pale, elongated and smaller variety of oats and is made from rice that is parboiled, pressed and dried. With some beans, vegetables and nuts they make a totally delectable dish which is very quick to make too. Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, it is very easy recipe and also very forgiving.  Do try it out and let me know how you liked them.

Preparation Time – 10 to 15 Minutes

Cooking Time – 10 Minutes

Serves – 4 to 5


Onion – 1 big

Green chili – 2 to 4 or more to taste

Ginger – 1 inch piece

Green and red bell pepper, tindora(small gourd) – 1 1/2 to 2 Cups

Boiled green mung bean & black chick pea(kala channa) – 1 to 1/2 Cups

Roasted peanuts – 1/3 Cup

Fresh grated coconut – 1 Cup

Lime juice – Juice of 1 lime or more to taste

Cilantro – handful (chopped)

Poha/Aval/Rice flakes – 2 Cups

Salt – 1 1/2 Tsp or to taste

Turmeric powder – 1 Tsp


Coconut oil – 2 Tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 Tsp

Split urad dal – 1 Tbsp

Split channa dal – 1 Tsp

Curry leaves – handful(Definitely add this for a lovely aroma but I didn’t have it in hand so left it out)


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1) Heat a wide mouthed pan and once it is hot add the coconut oil. Once the oil is warm add the mustard seeds.

2) After the seeds stop spluttering add the split urad dal, channa dal and after they slightly brown add the onions, green chilies and chopped ginger and a pinch of salt and saute till the onions become translucent.

3) Now add the chopped peppers, tindora half tsp of salt and turmeric powder and saute for five minutes.

4) Soak the poha in water and the dirt and husk if any will float on top, remove the impurities and then set it aside to drain in a colander.

5) Now add the cooked beans give a quick stir, squeeze out the water from the poha and add it to the pan and add the remaining salt and stir and switch off the stove.

6) Now add the lemon juice, grated coconut, roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro and stir and serve with some yogurt and pickle.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dahi Bhalla/Bhalle (White Lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce – not deep fried)


Which do you think is the challenging meal of the day? I think it is snacks that too when you have to make a different snack every day for hungry kids back from school and at the same time not to indulge on sinful ones. In my quest to make not so sinful snacks, I modify some of the recipes and try to make it little guilt free and this is one such one. If you are familiar with Indian cuisine, this bhalla/bhalle is a slightly jazzed up version of the South Indian Thayir vadai. If you are not familiar with Indian cuisine Soaked and ground white lentil dumplings are deep fried and soaked in yogurt pepped up with red chili powder, tangy and sweet chutneys. Even though I seriously don’t have anything against fried snacks, I normally stay away from fried food because I either use coconut oil or organic clarified butter(for sweets) for deep frying. These are slightly calorie dense and are also pretty expensive, so I try to find alternate methods like pan frying or baking. I used the Aebleskiver pan/ appam pam/ appe pan the magic utensil I love the most to pan fry this instead of deep frying. Very easy to put together if you have the basic ingredients in hand and serves as a quick snack or even as a gluten free party appetizer. If you haven’t tried this out before do try it and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time – 20 to 30 Minutes

Cooking Time – 20 to 30 Minutes

Serves – Makes around 24


Urad Dal – 1 Cups

Salt – 1 Tsp or to taste

Raisins – 48

Cashews – 24(Toasted and split into half)

Oil – 2 Tbsp

Water – 3 to 4 Cups

For the yogurt sauce

Yogurt – Around 3 to 4 Cups

Black salt  - 1/2 Tsp or to taste

Mint chutney  - 2 Tbsp or to taste

Sweet date and tamarind chutney – 2 Tbsp or to taste

Kashmiri chili powder – 2 Tsp or to taste

Roasted cumin powder - 2 teaspoons

Chat masala powder – 1/2 Tsp

Fresh coriander leaves,chopped - 2 tablespoons

Ginger,cut into thin strips 1 inch piece – 1 Tbsp


1) Rinse and drain urad dal and soak it in water just covering an inch over  the surface for 2-3 hours. Now drain the water and reserve the excess water. Add little by little of the reserved water and grind into a smooth paste adding salt and keep it aside.

2) Heat the appam pan and once it is hot add few drops of oil in each of the groove and pour batter till 3/4 of the groove and insert two raisins and  the half piece cashew and cover and cook on one side.

3) Now flip and cook the other side. Take this out of the pan and repeat the steps for the rest of the batter. Once all the vadas/appam/bhallas what ever you call is done. Heat another wide mouthed pan and boil the water. Once the water comes to rolling boil. Put the bhallas in hot water and leave it for 2 minutes.

4) Remove the bhallas and set it aside to cool as they will be little hot to touch. Once they are cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water and set the bhallas aside.

5) Now add the salt, chat masala to the yogurt and whisk it without any lumps. Place the bhallas in individual serving bowls or in a place and pour the yogurt mixture over it. Top it with red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, ginger pieces, chopped cilantro and the sweet & spicy chutney and serve.

Note – You can also substitute half of the urad dal with mung dal as mung is a superior lentil than urad as far as nutrition is concerned.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quinoa Pulao(Pilaf)


If you are in quest to adapt a low carbohydrate and high protein vegetarian diet, then you should definitely try quinoa. Quinoa is a protein rich pseudo grain, meaning a seed actually used as grain and is of South American origin. With a slightly crunchy texture and a nutty flavor this can be substituted in place of rice in most of the dishes. You can buy Quinoa in your local health food store or you can order online and ordering in bulk works out much cheaper than buying it in store in pounds. When you use quinoa take care to soak and rinse it thoroughly because some of the bitter saponin covering on the grain can still be present even though most quinoa is washed before being sold, you should thoroughly rinse the dry grain until the water runs clear. Quinoa is an every day staple in my house and can be easily substituted for rice in different main dishes, this pulao is normally made with fragrant basmati rice but I substituted it with quinoa. The spices surely gave a lovely flavor and taste to this versatile grain. Do try this and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time – 10 Minutes

Cooking Time – 20 to 30 Minutes

Serves – 2 to 3


Quinoa – 1 Cup

Water – 2 Cups

Cinnamon – 1 stick

Clove – 1

Salt – 1/2 Tsp or to taste

Coconut Oil – 1 Tsp

Onion – 1 Sliced into thin slices

Green Beans – Cut into 1 inch pieces 1/3 Cup

Frozen and thawed peas – 1/3 Cup

Cauliflower florets – 2 Cups

Carrots – Peeled and cut into sticks – 1/2 Cup

Bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, coriander seeds, pepper corns, cloves(whole garam masala) –1 Tbsp

Salt – 1/2 Tsp or to taste

Slit green chilies – 2 or to taste

Ghee ( Clarified butter) – 2 Tsp

Cashews – 8 to 10

Raisins – few


1) Soak quinoa for 30 minutes and rinse, drain and add half tsp salt, cinnamon stick and clove and cook on stove top adding 2 cups of water or in a pressure cooker for two whistles. Once the pressure is released, take it out and make sure the quinoa is completely cooled then refrigerate preferably overnight. For pulao, the previous day cooked and refrigerated quinoa works better than the quinoa cooked on the same day.

2) Heat a pan add the coconut oil and the whole garam masala and the slit chilies, sliced onions and saute till the onions become translucent.

3) Now add the chopped beans and saute for few minutes 3 to 5 and after that add the carrots, cauliflower, peas and add salt and slightly cover and cook till tender.

4) Now add the quinoa and give a quick stir and switch off. Heat the remaining ghee and once it is warm add the cashews and fry till golden. Now add the raisins and heat till the raisins swell and add this cashew, raisin ghee to the cooked veggies and quinoa. Combine and serve with some raita.



Sending this to Julie’s Show me your HITS – Iron rich foods an event started by Sangee of Spicy Treats.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ragi, Green Mung, Kala Channa Sweet Puttu using Coconut Palm Sugar(Finger Millet & Bean flour steamed sweet)


Ragi or Finger Millet is a staple in the part of the Country I am coming from. Ragi porridge is one of the first semi solid food an infant is introduced to in our house holds.  This healthy and cheap pseudo grain is a rich source of Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fiber and other minerals. The cereal has low fat content and contains mainly unsaturated fat. It is easy to digest and does not contain gluten; people who are sensitive to gluten can easily consume Finger Millet.  The break fast porridge using ragi was one of the time tested one in lot of house holds in the Southern districts of India. Unfortunately now I see lot of house holds are replacing this with Oats. Oats surely is healthy, but ragi is much much more superior in terms of the nutritional profile and also doesn’t cause any health issues for people with gluten sensitivity.

This sweet is very simple to make and a perfectly healthy dessert with the iron rich ragi, protein rich bean flour and coconut and sweetened with low glycemic coconut palm sugar. Try it out and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time – 10 to 15 Minutes

Cooking Time – 10 to 15 Minutes

Serves – 2


Ragi Flour – 1 Cup (8 oz)

Whole Green Mung flour – 1/4 Cup (2 oz)

Whole Black Chick Pea Flour(Kala Channa Besan) – 1/4 Cup(2 oz)

Water - 1/3 Cup

Salt -  pinch

Grated Coconut – 1/2 to 3/4 Cup (Adjust this depending on your liking)

Coconut Palm Sugar – 2 Tbsp or more to suit your taste(You can replace this with raw sugar or grated jaggery)

Ghee Clarified butter - 1 Tbsp

Cashews – Around 6 to 8

Cardamom powder – 1/4 Tsp


1)  Combine the ragi and the bean flours. Heat a heavy bottom pan, keep it in low to medium heat. Dry roast the flour till the raw smell is gone stirring in between and to make sure that the flours are not burnt.

2) Warm the water slightly. Add salt, cardamom powder  to the ragi flour and set it aside.

3) To this slowly add the water little by little and combining it nicely, the flour should be slightly wet and damp enough for steaming. If you take a small amount of flour in your hands and give a slight pressure and set it down, the flour should be able to hold it's shape. If not add little more water and try. (Do not pour a lot of water at the same time,  since you are not trying to form a dough).

3) Grease a flat, wide bowl and keep the dough mixture in this bowl steam it for 10 minutes. Remove this steamed flour and set it out to cool slightly.

4) Warm the clarified butter and to this add the chopped cashews and fry till golden and remove it from heat.

5) To the steamed flour mixture add the grated coconut, fried cashews with ghee and combine thoroughly. Once the flour is cold enough to handle by hand add the coconut palm sugar and mix evenly and serve.



Sending this to Divya’s Show case Dessert event.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Green Apple, Cucumber, Onion Salad/Chat


What do you think is good combination Banana with peanut butter or Apple with Almond Butter. Even though I like the second one much better than the first one, I was totally getting bored with the sight of loads of green apple lying in my refrigerator and snacking on them with nut butters. I some times make pickle out of these tart apples and for a change and as a easy and healthy snack tried this green apple, cucumber, onion salad spiced up with red chili powder. I wanted to give it a little more twist and  added little bit of black salt and chat masala which you can get in the Indian grocery stores with a dash of lemon. The result was a very interesting and healthy snack. Next time make sure to pick some tart green apples and try this one out and let me know how you liked them.

Preparation Time – 15 Minutes

Cooking Time – None

Serves – 1 to 2


Green Apple – 1

Cucumber – 1 (Peeled and diced into small cubes)

Onion – 1 small(Washed, peeled and sliced)

Red chili powder – 1/4 Tsp or to taste

Salt – 1/4 Tsp or to taste

Black salt – 1/4 Tsp

Chat masala – 1/2 Tsp

Chopped cilantro – handful

Juice of a lime – 1/2 Tsp


1) If using organic apples wash, core and cut into small cubes or pieces. If you are not using organic variety make sure to peel the apples. You will be better off without eating those waxed peels than getting the nutrients from the skin of the apples.

2) Add the cucumber, onion, cayenne pepper, salt, black salt, chat masala, cilantro, lemon juice. Toss and serve.



Sending this to Let’s Cook with Fruits an event by Radhika of Tickling Palates.

Also sending this to Bon Vivant #4 – Fruit recipes.

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