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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Low Fat Panjeeri (No added sugar)


Low Fat Panjeeri
We used to wait eagerly for the fasting and Puja to finish so that we could partake the yummiest Panjeeri my mother used to make on the day of Krishna Janam ashtami. Panjeeri is usually made in liquid/laddu (balls) or barfi form. Normally loads of ghee (Clarified butter) is used in all forms. This is a quintessential nutritional thing included in post-natal diet in most of the India.
I tried to make more healthier and nutritious version and made the powder form of Panjeeri. It does not have white sugar and very less ghee, Thus best for not only diet watchers but for diabetic people and people suffering from high cholesterol. This Panjeeri is full of energy, proteins, vitamins, essential oils, micro nutrients.
This Panjeeri is extremely good for the mother (post-natal) as it helps alleviate joints and back pain, increases lactation, has many remedial properties along with being very tasty.
This version of Panjeeri can not only be taken by ladies after delivery but by one and all replacing energy bar and drinks. Just take two spoons after meal instead of dessert. It is nutritious as well as satiates the sweet tooth.
I usually add Asteracanth Longifola/Starthom/ Talmakhana to add body to the Pangeeri. Again Talmakhana also has immense medicinal and nutritive value. 
Due to different weather, climatic conditionds and local produce few ingredients may differ from state to state but Nuts, Gond (Dragon Gum), Turmeric Sunth (Dry ginger powder) aare few common ingredients.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Making Time: 30 minutes (Roasting)
Grinding Time: 20 minutes
Servings: Makes approximately 2 kg

Nutrition value For 20 gm of Panjeeri Powder (Approximate values)
  • Energy: 69.50 Cal
  • Carbs: 15.00 gm
  • Fats: 5.695 gm (Mostly Polyunsaturated)
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Proteins: 12.2gm
  • Sugar: 3.25 gm
  • Sodium: 0.135 mg
  • Potassium: 83.50 mg
  • Extremely rich in Rich in Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12,
  • Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D
  • Rich in essential oils
Thus it can be evaluated that apart from having energy it also provides with much needed Micronutrients , Vitamins and is also good for digestion (Due to presence of Carom seeds). Turmeric, Ginger powder and Carom seeds also impart anti-bacterial properties.
Gond/Dragon Gum/Goats horn/Gum elect helps to regularize the blood flow after delivery and helps in back and body pain and aches. Strengthens the body on the whole.

Ingredients For Making Panjeeri:
  • 250 gm Almonds
  • 250 gm Cashew nuts
  • 250 gm Pistachio
  • 250 gm Walnuts
  • 150-200 gm Raisins (Kishmish)
  • 750 gm Dry Dates Powder/ Dry dates pitted (Chuhara/Khari/Kharik)
  • 200 gm Gond/ Tragacant Gum/ Cooking gum/ Dragon Gum
  • 100 gm Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
  • 50 gm Dry Ginger Powder (Sunth)
  • 50 gm Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 3-4 Teaspoon Ghee (Clarified butter) / Olive oil
Direction For Preparing Panjeeri Powder:
  • In a thick bottom wok roast Almonds, Cashew, Pistachio and walnuts separately.
  • While roasting, keep the heat in medium/low depending upon your stove heating. High heat will cause the nuts to get over cooked/ burn.
  • The nuts should be removed from hot wok immediately when the change color and nice roasting aroma stats coming. Since nuts are full of essential oil thus they tend to keep cooking while in the process of cooling also.
  • Once the nuts are roasted allow them to cool.
Roasted Nuts
  • While roasting walnuts special care should be taken as they turn bitter if overcooked. In a hot wok they will take 4-5 minutes only to get roasted.
Walnuts roasted
  • Keep stirring continuously while roasting to avoid some nuts to get burnt and some remaining unroasted.
  • After nuts roast ajwain with continuous stirring.
  • Pound the gum to small pieces and roast it in medium heat with continuous stirring. After two three minutes of roasting they will start swelling, popping and will change the color to white.
Dry Roasted Gum
  • Add 5-6 tea spoons of ghee and bring the heat to high, stir continuously. Further popping will occur. Bring the heat to medium again till all pieces have been cooked. It will take another 4-5 minutes maximum. Some small pieces may get charred, they can be discarded later. But all pieces should be cooked nicely.
Roasted Gum  Cooking with Ghee
Gum Cooked after adding Ghee
  • Switch off the heating and remove the popped up gum from wok and allow it to cool. Removed the pieces which have black due to charring. (They will be few but should be removed)
Cooked Gum after removing all blackend particles
  • In the same wok add 1 teaspoon ghee and roast Turmeric and Dry Ginger powder separately. Remove the roasted ginger powder and turmeric from wok and let it cool.
Turmeric and Dry Ginger Powder roasted on low heat
  • Again in the same wok roast dry dated powder in manageable portions for 3-4 minutes on low flame(Just to remove if any moisture).
  • On low flame dry roast Raisins for 2-3 minutes.
Roasted rasins
  • If you are takingDry  Date pieces then roast them, cool them and then grind to make nearly fine powder. Do not sieve because the slightly coarse pieces will add texture to the powder.
  • Grind all roasted nuts together to fine powder.
  • Grind ajwain to fine powder. if required sieve and grind the coarser particles again to get fine powder.
  • Now grind the cooked gum. After pulsing the gum for a minute or so add little dry dates powder, then pulse again to get fine powder. The dates powder is added to absorb the ghee and facilitate the grinding.
  • Take 4-5 Tablespoon of dry dates powder and add the roasted raisins to it. Pulse so that the raisins become small pieces. The raisins are not to be pulsed much else the whole mixture will become gooey.
  • In a big shallow plate/container place:
    • Nuts powder
    • Dates powder
    • Ajwain powder
    • Raisin ground coarsely
    • Gum powder
    • Dry Ginger and Turmeric powder
  • Mix with your fingers or using a ladle till all ingredients are mixed nicely to give a homogenous mixture.
Low Fat Panjeeri
  • The sweetness will be imparted by Dry Dates powder, so sugar/jaggery is not to be added.
  • Store it in an airtight container.
  • This mixture lasts for more than six months in fridge and more than three months 0utside fridge, provided it does not finish before that time.
How To Take It and Who Can Take It:
  • Post-natal it should be taken 3-4 days after delivery; 2 teaspoons with cup of milk (Do not mix it in milk. Eat it and drink milk) twice a day, preferably before breakfast and before going to bed.
  • Apart from this it can be taken by anyone after meal instead of regular desserts.
  • Anyone suffering from anemia or weakness, this powder is very helpful.
  • Apart from being nutritious it helps the feeding mother to overcome flatulence, reduces the body pain, lactation increases and the milk is healthier for the baby.
  • Even though Panjeeri does not have anything causing adverse reaction yet one should be careful if allergic to any ingredient mentioned above in the article.
Tips:
  • Remember that nuts and seeds have essential oils thus they keep on cooking while kept for cooling thus remove them from heat when the color starts changing and the aroma of roasted nuts/seeds starts coming. Care should be taken that over roasting does not happen. Else the taste will be spoilt beyond redemption.
  • All burnt particle of gum should be removed before grinding.
  • Turmeric should be roasted on low heat.
Suggested Variations:
  • Grated coconut can be added to the mixture after roasting and grinding.
  • Melted hot ghee can be added to the mixture of all powders and small size balls can be made out of it. But this will turn rancid in a month in hot weather, and if stored in fridge the ball before eating should be heated to room temperature. Beware it will increase the fat content of Panjeeri.
  • If making balls/laddu some of the roasted nuts can be cut to fine pieces and then added to the Panjeeri.
  • To bring the cost down some of the Dates powder can be replaced by sugar/jaggery, but this will bring down the nutritional value and add pure calories to Panjeeri. Sugar powder will change the physical state of Panjeeri but jaggery may make it a little gooey.
  • If you want to add more body to the Panjeeri then roast 100 gm of Tal makhana (Astaracanth Longifola/Starthom), grind to fine powder and add to the rest of the powders before mixing. 
  • For slight sharp taste the amount of Dry Ginger powder can be increased to 100 gm and Ajwain (carom seeds) to 150 gm.  

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Sol-kadi [Coconut-Kokum(Garcinia Indica) Summer drink]


Sol-Kadi Coconut-Kokum summer drimk)
Kokum is used to impart sour taste to food in western and southern states of India. Dry mango powder is used not very often. Main reason of kokum being used primarily is because it is local fruit of these states. Kokum apart from being sour in taste is rich in nutrients, is great antioxidant and has a cooling effect. This cooling prowess makes it very useful in preparing the sour and sweet drink, which is very useful during intense heat of summers. Apart from the above said use, Kokum and coconut pair up very well and an amazing cooling drink is made by the combination of the two. This drink is called Sol-Kadi. Indeed it does justification to it’s name, it’s taste and cooling effect satiates not only the taste buds, stomach but Soul also.
Some people do not have much fancy for coconut they may disagree with me. But I am a great fan of freshly squeezed coconut milk thus a big fan of Sol-Kadi.
I had Sol-Kadi first in 2009 in Kerela. Since then I always wanted to make it. In restaurant we usually get slightly watered down version, (for obvious reasons). I like slightly thicker. Also I change the original recipe according to my own taste. Hope it is well received.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 lt. (Approximately)

Nutritional Values of 1 lt. Sol- Kadi (Approximate Values)
Calories: 350
Fat: 36.0 gm
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: .2gm
Potassium: 3.9gm
Carbs: 0
Sugar: 4.0-5.0gm
Protein: 3.0gm
Micro nutrients Iron, Selenium, Magnesium, Phosphorous
Vitamins: C, B­1, B5, B6, E
Lactose free
Kokum is an antioxidant and thus has many health benefits.

Ingredients for Making Sol-Kadi:
  • 1 Coconut
  • 750 ml. Water (For taking out milk and diluting the sol-Kadi)
  • 150 ml. Kokum concentrate (Unsweetened)
Kokum Concentrate
  • 1-2 Whole Red dry Chili
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 2 Sprigs Curry Leafs
  • 1/2 Inch cinnamon
  • 2-3 Sprigs Fresh Coriander leafs
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 -2 Teaspoon Sugar
Directions To Make Solo-Kadi:
  • Remove the Kernel (Meat) from Coconut.
  • Either grate the kernel or cut it to small pieces. (I cut them up. Find it easier than grating).
  • Grind the coconut kernel with 50 water, add 50 ml water and grind till it turns to paste. If more water is required to be added, add water in small portions as and when required.
  • Take out the paste of coconut in a fine cloth or sieve and squeeze as much milk as possible. (I used sieve and press the paste with fingers). This is called first milk of coconut and is thick.
  • Return the left over residue to grinder/mixer and add 100 ml water and grind again. When it turn to a homogenous mass (which will be paste like) squeeze it to take out thin second milk.
  • The rough fibrous mass will not have any milk left and can be discarded. If you feel the need the above process can be repeated third time to ensure all milk has been squeezed out of coconut kernel.
  • Mix all of the coconut milk and give a stir.
Coconut Milk
  • Add 100 ml. of Kokum concentrate and stir. Taste it and if you want it a little more sour like I do then add another 100 ml. in two batches tasting in between.
  • Take the mixture of coconut milk and Kokum concentrate in a thick bottom pan. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes with continuous stirring. Do not boil it.
Coconut milk and Kokum concentrate after cooking 
  • The moment foam to start appearing, switch off the heat and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add 200 ml. cold water in two batches, all the while stirring continuously.
  • Add sugar and Cumin powder, stir till it dissolves.  
  • Taste it and then salt according to taste. Stir to dissolve.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and add
    • Mustard seeds
    • Cinnamon stick
    • Curry leafs
    • Red chili
  • Let the seeds splutter. Do not let the chili become black.
  • Pour the tempering on to the above prepared coconut Kokum mixture. Cover and keep in fridge to chill. (Though the container is on stove the kadi is not heated . It was kept to gain height for picture.)
Sol-Kadi After Tempering
  • Serve chilled Sol-Kadi after garnishing it with Fresh coriander leafs.
Sol Kadi

  • This drink can be had like any other cooling summer drink or it can be had with food like Chas.
Sol-Kadi Coconut-Kokum summer drimk)
Tips:
  •  Since Kokum concentrate has salt in it so salt should be added only after adding the kokum concentrate. I learnt it hard ways.
  • Heating is done to warm up enough to remove raw taste from coconut, so make sure the mixture is not cooked too long. Also continuous stirring is very important, else the milk may split.
  • Salt should be added after cooking is done to avoid splitiing and over salting.
  • Thick bottom container is must for cooking else quick heating will take place and may result in splitting.
Suggested Variations:
  • I like slight sweet note in Sol-Kadi so I add sugar. Sugar can be replaced with jaggery. If you do not sweet taste you can avoid adding it.
  • As I told earlier I like slightly thicker so water amount is accordingly. It can be increased oe decreased according to liking.
  • Kokum concentrate amount can be changed according to taste.

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