Vegetable Daliya / Bulgur Porridge

Breakfast 1

I am always on the look out for healthy recipes which are quick to make and are comforting as well. Past few weeks have not been great health wise and thus comes the focus on nutritious food packed with goodness of essential nutrients.

I love having couscous in my salads but this time around I was running out of it hence decided to go for a porridge like dish made of bulgur or broken wheat. I was bored with oats so did not opt for it.

It is a diabetic friendly dish which is high on fibre and protein. Easy to make and something which you can lay on the table in 20 minutes.

Daliya 1

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup daliya / broken wheat / bulgur
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped capsicum
1/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
1/4 cup peas
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp carrom seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups water
Salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add cumin seeds followed by carom seeds.

Once they sizzle, add some green chillies followed by onions.

Cook them until translucent, add tomatoes and cook them for a minute.

Add capsicum, peas and sautee them well. You could also add broccoli, sweet corn to the mixture.

Add all the dry spices and mix well and season it with salt as required.

Vegetables

Add bulgur to this mixture and roast it well until the spices are coated well with it.

Daliya

Add 3 cup warm water to the mixture, mix well and close the lid of the pressure cooker.

Pressure cook until 3 whistles and turn off the heat.

Breakfast

I served this with mango milkshake on a weekend taking in the views from my balcony. Until next time happy cooking!

Besan Ka Chilla – Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes / Crepe

This is a recipe for Besan ka Chilla, simply put Indian savory pancakes made with chickpea / garbanzo bean / gram flour. This is a very easy to make recipe and is perfect for winter mornings or evenings. Goes perfectly with a cup of hot masala chai.

Assembling the ingredients is also very easy. This is my go-to weekend breakfast recipe and is quite filling as well. Chickpeas are an excellent source of proteins and this is an easy gluten free option as well. You can add any vegetables to this versatile crepe / pancake recipe. Sometimes I like to add capsicum or shredded carrots to the mix.

Serves : 3
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup besan / gram four
3 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 finely chopped green chilly
1 medium sized finely chopped onion
1 medium sized finely chopped tomato
1/2 cup coarsely chopped spinach leaves
1/2 tsp zataar powder
1 tsp carrom seeds
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala
A pinch of turmeric powder
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Water to the consistency desired

In a mixing bowl, sieve the besan and add all the dry spices and salt. Mix well with a spoon.

Add chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach, coriander and chillies to this mixture.

Add little water and mix. Keep adding until it reaches desired consistency.

Some people like the batter to be thick while some like it runny. I prefer reaching a mid point. Here’s how my batter looks like.

Batter

Now on a greased hot pan over low heat, drop a ladle full of the batter and let it take shape. Let the mixture cook.

Besan Ka Chilla

Add any regular oil to the sides and gently flip it over. Here’s where practice comes to the rescue.

Besan Ka Chilla1

Let both the sides get evenly cooked. You are looking for a lovely brown look. I wish I had better pictures for this post.

Besan Ka Chilla2

Serve with tomato chutney or any dip that takes your fancy. I prefer it with toasted bread and butter.

Side Notes:
Adding carom seeds aids digestion.
Zataar powder can be skipped if you do not like it.

Homemade Granola Bars

Thou shall be more regular with the blog! I usually keep repeating this to myself but never get around to clearing the drafts in my folder. Nonetheless here I am, if you are someone who enjoys a good breakfast then read on.

It’s one of the most blissful feelings waking up early on weekday and fixing yourself a good hearty meal just when life takes over. An empty stomach growling on a busy work day in the middle of a business meeting is never a good call.

I’m not much of a morning person but having a steaming hot cup of masala chai followed by breakfast definitely helps me begin the day beautifully.

It’s actually an indulgence for some but for me it’s a necessity. I never ever skip a breakfast.

I usually like savory in my breakfast so most mornings consist a sandwich, toasted brown bread layered with peanut butter or labneh and topped up with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and some crumbled feta or cheese.

Other days I like a hearty poha or upma but it’s a task to make them and means dedicating 20 minutes in the morning for this. Then there was a phase where all I would want to eat was granola bars so I loaded the pantry with some oats and honey crunchy granola bars.

After spending a fortune on store bought artificially sweetened and calorie heavy variety, I decided to bake some at home. I baked some chewy granola bars fews weeks back and some more over the last fortnight for Mum-in-law to take them home.

I personally love them to be crunchy however since mum-in-law was in town, I decided to make them chewy so that she can eat them easily.

Granola Square

Prep Time : 10 minutes
Ready in 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 cups organic oats
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and cashews, the ratio was 70:30)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup date syrup
2 tsp brown sugar (skip if you want them to be less sweet)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of sea salt

Pre-heat oven at 175 degrees Celcius.

Toast the Oats slightly, it gives them a good crunch. You could toast them in the oven for 3-5 minutes or just dry roast in a wok.

Granola

Mix oats, chopped nuts, raisins, almond meal and cranberries really well in a big mixing bowl.

Granola Mix 2

On low heat, add oil, sugar, peanut butter, honey and date syrup in a saucepan and keep stirring it so that it does not stick to the bottom of the same.

Sugar Syrup

Take off heat once all the ingredients have blended well, add vanilla essence and mix well.

Pour the hot mixture over the oats mixture and with the help of a spatula mix them well.

Scrap the mixture from sides of the bowl and let it rest for a few minutes.

Grease a baking tray and layer the oats mixture on the same. Bake for 20 minutes and voila you are saying good bye to hungry mornings!

My first attempt at this was not that great and I wasn’t happy with the shape for the granola bars since I tried them in a 9 inch cake mould. I just couldn’t find my baking tray.

So there you see chunky bits of granola however this time around I spend some time on doing my prep right. I used a baking tray and dumped the mixture on the same.

With help of greased spatula I spread the mixture and had a thin layer on to the tray. You can even grease your fingertips and flatten the mixture on the surface.

Let the mixture cool down for a while before you cut them in neat squares. Store in an airtight container, they will stay well for a 7-10 days.

Granola Bars
The sides which were uneven at my end were crumbled and used as granola later on. I simply topped them with yoghurt and fresh diced kiwis and strawberries! Win 😀

In the next few posts, I would be bringing you my experiences from my recent and the very first trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Till then, happy cooking 🙂

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love having cookies and biscuits, blame it on me being an avid tea drinker. I love my morning tea and then again in the evenings and just when feeling under weather. I make myself a nice cuppa of steaming hot ginger tea or masala chai as they say.

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The chai masala can be easily bought from any groceries selling Indian food. Here in Dubai, you can find nice homely and fragrant chai masala at Al Adil, they have branches across UAE. However I have a time tested chai masala recipe used in my household. I will share the same in the blog soon!

Cookies can be quite filling when busy mornings leave you with no room to fix breakfast. A cup of tea, a couple of cookies and the morning is sorted. I love double chocolate chip, coconut orange blossom water and oatmeal honey cookies. This time however I was in mood for something healthy.

Oats are a healthy option to feed on. Now I am someone who is fond of having breakfast the traditional way so give me parathas, poha, upma, idli, wada sambhar and you see me grinning. Eating muesli or cereal is never my idea for breakfast. When me and S got married, difference in breakfast options came to the forefront. He insisted that I start eating healthy but I was too adamant to give up my butter laden parathas with a side of pickle.

Cooking breakfast every morning while struggling to get out for work, seems a task in itself and hence cookies with a side of peanut butter toast is a staple go-to breakfast option on most of the crazy weekdays.

So this recipe for oatmeal cookies seemed like the easy way out to incorporate healthy options and give up the store bought flour laden cookies and biscuits.

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Adapted from Joy of Baking website
2 sticks / 200 grams unsalted butter
200 grams light brown sugar
1/3 cup regular white sugar
2  eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
250 grams old-fashioned rolled oats
100 grams dark raisins
50 grams coarsely chopped walnuts
a handful of dried cranberries

When baking goodies, prep time is crucial. Start with having all the ingredients assembled so that you don’t have to keep looking for them once you get started.

So I start with removing the butter from the fridge and bringing it to room temperature.

Preheat the oven oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line the baking sheet  with parchment paper. You could buy store bought ready to use parchment paper sheets, Lakeland has some good options.

I use parchment paper rolls bought from Waitrose which I cut individually for every batch of cookies. They are quite economical and just need 2 minutes to cut in the size you need. Also keeps reminding me of my craft lessons at school *chuckles*

In a big bowl, beat butter using the hand mixer for 1 minute until nice and creamy. I usually use Lurpak or Elle & Vire brand unsalted butter. You could also use salted butter, if that’s what you’d use, omit the salt in the recipe.

Now, add the brown sugar and white sugar to the butter. I use Whitworth’s light brown sugar and SIS brand for the white granulated sugar. I would love to use the dark brown sugar next time since it gives a rich brown color to the cookie batter.

Beat until sugar gets mixed well and the mixture does not appear grainy. It usually takes 3minutes for the mixture to look fluffy.

Add one egg at a time to the mixture and beat well maybe for 1 minute each.  I use Omega 3 large or medium eggs.

You can add the vanilla extract at this point and let it blend together with the batter.

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In a different bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and whisk it well so that the baking soda is mixed with the entire dry ingredients.

The original recipe called for cinnamon however I did not have the same handy and hence skipped it completely from the recipe.

Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well with a spatula.

Add oats walnuts, raisins and cranberries to the mixture and combine everything together. While walnuts give the cookies a nice crunch, raisins and cranberries give a nice sweet and soggy feel to them. It is a beautiful contrast in textures.

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Now take a small ice cream scoop and take the cookie batter. You can dab the cookie ball slightly and flatten them with your fingertips, Make sure to keep adequate space between two cookies allowing them to bake well.

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Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. The corners will be soft but the center for the cookie will be soft and chewy, If you want them crisp increase the flour in the recipe and bake for 2-3 minutes more.

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Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet. Store them in an airtight container, they stay well for 10 days. This is when they do not get polished off!

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I love how my kitchen smells heavenly while these cookies are baked. Until my next post, happy food memories ahead!

Vegetable Poha (Flattened Rice Flakes Cooked with Spices & Veggies)

This popular breakfast dish is made using flattened rice flakes also known as poha. These swell when water is added at room temperature as they are super absorbent.

Having born and brought up in Mumbai, I have had any variations of this yummy easy to make, light to digest snack. I have listed here the recipe my mother used to cook for us on Sunday mornings. Traditionally the dish is called “Kande Pohe” i.e. Flattened rice flakes cooked with spices and thinly sliced onions.

 

 

 

However my mother used to add lot of veggies so that we get our fill our nutrients. My brother was a fussy kid when it came to eating vegetables hence mum smuggled it into our lunch boxes by way of Pohe. She used to make a smiley face using tomato ketchup to distract my brother, so that he did not end up weeding out the veggies.

She used to dice the veggies, I have used finely chopped and shredded versions of the same. I have skipped french beans in the recipe. I hope you like it.

2 1/2 cup flattened rice flakes (Poha)
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 medium sized capsicum finely chopped
1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
1 big onion thinly sliced
2 green chillies finely chopped
7-8 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp coriander powder
5 tsp canola oil
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Few sprigs of coriander leaves

Sprinkle water on the poha and mix it well and keep it aside for 20 minutes. Use water only to coat the poha well.
Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder to the poha and allow it to bloom. This is how it will look after this step.

 

In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. Once they start popping add onions.
Cook onions until they are translucent and have a pale pink color.

 

Add tomatoes, cook until they are soft but let them not reach them to a level where they look mashed.

 

Add capsicum and carrot together and mix well. Now time to spice up things, add 1/2 tsp salt followed by all the spices.

 

Mix well and let the mixture cook for 2 minutes. Now add the poha and fold it in the vegetables lightly.

Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add juice of 1 seedless lemon and finish it with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with toasted bread with garlic butter and masala chai. This is a perfect and easy breakfast option to feed when you have guests.