Sunday, 31 March 2013

Chas a cool-cool Drink (Indian cooling, Healthy drink made of curd)

Chas with Mint, Cumin powder and Lemon Wedge
Chas with Mint and Roasted Cumin powder

Lassi is the drink made from Curd and sugar. Sweet lassi is generally taken as cooling drink during summer season in northern part of India and is very thick. In whole of Southern India the meal is followed with either curd rice or butter milk (chas). Butter milk is another form of chas except that it is almost fat less as it is the sour milk left after removal of butter from whole cream milk. Chas is either taken without adding salt / sugar or is salted and seasoned. Whichever version of chas is taken it is extremely cooling, healthy and aids digestion. Makke ki roti and Sarson ka sag (vegetable made of mustard leaves) and lassi (Chas) is a combination which has become synonymous with Punjab (India). Makke ki roti (Indian flat bread made from unrefined corn flour) in which spinach / onion / fenugreek / Dhania (coriander leaves) is added to the dough can be had with a dollop of butter and glass full of chas.
Chas is also very good to fight sunstroke and indigestion. My suggestion is if you are looking for a healthy, low calorie, refreshing drink then try chas for a change rather than diet coke etc.

Preparation Time: 5 min.
Making Time: 5 min
Servings: 500 ml. Chas

Ingredients required for making Chas:
  • 500gm. Curd of 2-3 % fat milk
  • 150 ml. water
  • 5-6 sprigs of coriander leaves
  • 1 Green Chili
  • 1/4Teaspoon Black Salt
  • 1/2Tea spoon salt
  • 1/2Lemon
Directions for Making Chas:
  • Wash and drain excess water from coriander (Dhania)
  • Wash green chili
  • Cut green chili and coriander sprigs finely.
  • In a mixer-blender take
    • Chopped green chili
    • Chopped coriander
    • Curd
  • Blend to make a homogenous mix of curd, coriander and green chili.
Curd with coriander-green chili
Curd blended with coriander leaves and green chilli
  • Take out the curd mixture in a jug.
  • Add 250ml.water in small proportions, with continuous stirring.
  • There should be no globules of curd in the mixture.
  • Squeeze half lemon and add the juice to the curd, chili, and coriander and water mixture.
  • Give a nice stir to mix the lemon juice.
  • Add black salt and table salt.
  • Stir to mix salt nicely.
  • Pour in a glass.
  • Sprinkle a dash of cumin powder.
Chas with Dash of Cumin powder and a Mint sprig
  • Chas is ready to be consumed.
  • Enjoy this Indian cool-cool healthy chemical free low calorie fat free drink whenever you want with meals, without meals or after meals.
Chas with cumin powder, mint and lemon wedge
  • Make your own curd at home rather than purchase from market. This will not only save money but will ensure the quality of curd also.
  • Curd can be blended to smooth paste with the help of egg beater also.
  • Coriander and green chili can be made to paste and kept in freezer and used in required amount as and when chas is being made.
Suggested Variations:
  • Curd can be made at home by
    •  removing the cream from boiled cooled milk and reheating the milk with out cream to 35-40centigrade.
    • Adding 2 teaspoon of curd/yoghurt in the milk mixing thoroughly.
    • Cover and keep aside for 8-10hrs. Curd will be set.
  • Mint leaves (Pudina) can be taken instead of coriander leaves. Pudina (Mint) not only changes the flavor but it also has anti-flatulence properties.
  • Powder of roasted cumin seeds can be sprinkled before serving the chas.
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar can be added to chas to give it sweet and sour taste.
  • Seasoning can be added to chas.
  • For seasoning
    • Heat 1/2ml. cooking oil in a small pan
    • Add
      •  1/2Teaspoon mustard seeds
      • 1/2Tea spoon cumin seeds
      • 4-5 curry leaves (Kadi patta)
    • When the seeds have spluttered and curry leaves have become crisp, pour the seasoning on the chas.
    • Mix and serve in a glass with a wedge of lemon.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Healthy least oily Tomato Pickle

Tomato pickle
Pickles make regular appearance in the dining table and are most welcome guests. They have an intrinsic property to make a most dull platter of food look enticing and change the taste to mouthwatering. We Indians are blessed with different variety of food because of the diversity in weather, culture and eating habits of people of different part of our country. Tomato soup, ketchup, sauce etc. are well known as frequently used form of tomato but tomato pickle? It was a surprise to me in late seventies, when I had tomato pickle at my friends place while doing Ph.D. and wondered how the lady converted tomatoes to such innovative yum tasting pickle have. Later when I got married tips from my Andhrite friends and habit of experimenting in the kitchen resulted in this less oily healthy pickle.
 I love having it not only with rice and chapatti but love  using it for making sandwich also. My family loves having curd and rice with tangy spicy Tomato pickle.
Preparation Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min
Servings  500 gm. pickle.
Materials Required for Making Tomato Pickle:
  • 500 gm. Red Ripe Fleshy Tomatoes
  • 100 gm. Tamarind
  • 100 gm. Jaggery
  • 50 gm. Salt
  • 25 gm. Red chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tea spoon Chana dal
  • 1 Tea spoon Dhuli Urd dal ( Urd dal without green / black cover)
  • 15-20Whole Red chilies
Spices for seasoning
  • 50 ml. Cooking oil (Ground nut oil / sesame oil / soya oil / olive oil/ Mustard oil)
  • 1/4Teaspoon Asafoetida powder
  • 5-10 Kadi Patta (Curry leaves)
  • 4 Teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 10 ml. Vinegar
Directions For Masking Tomato Pickle:
  • Wash and dry tomatoes nicely.
  • Cut tomatoes thin long pieces.
Tomato pieces for Pickle
  • Take thinly cut pieces of tomatoes in a glass / stainless steel container and mix 25 gm. salt and 1 tea spoon turmeric powder in the tomato.
  • If the pickle is being made in hot weather / summers then cut and mix salt and turmeric in night cover and leave overnight but if pickle is being made in cold weather / winters then cut and mix salt and turmeric in morning cover and leave for 24 hrs.
After 24 hrs of soaking Juices squeezed from tomato pieces
  • Sieve the juices and squeeze the tomato pieces by pressing between the palms.
  • Mix the squeezed juice to the sieved juice.
  • Keep the squeezed tomato pieces under the s8un for drying on a stainless plate / plastic sheet / glass plate for 4-5 hrs. when the temperature is high ( 40 o C or more), 7-8 hrs. in winters when the temperature is 30o C – 35oC.
Tomato pieces kept under the sun for drying after squeezing the juices
  • Clean the tamarind of the seeds and soak cleaned tamarind and whole red chilies in the tomato juices for 5-6 hrs.  under the sun.
Tamarind and whole red chilli soaking in tomato juices under the sun
  • Tomato pieces will become semi dry and the tamarind will soak the juices of tomato and become soft.
Tomato pieces drying under the sun

Dried Tomato Pieces
  • Blend the soaked tamarind and chilies to pulp along with juices. Keep extra juices aside.
Juice from tomato pieces , chilies and Tamarind pulp
  • Take oil in a thick bottom wok (I always cook in anodized / non-stick wok / pans) and heat on high flame.
  • When the oil is smoking hot lower the flame and add mustard seeds. Mustard seeds will splutter immediately.
  • Add chana dal and urd dal and cook on low flame till touch of pink starts coming on them.
  • Add 4-5 whole red chilies and kadi patta.
  • Cook for 30 seconds.
Seasoning getting ready for pickle
Add Asafoetida and immediately add semi dried tomato pieces.
Ready for Tomato pieces to be added
  • Stir and mix spices and tomato pieces nicely. Cook with continuous stirring for 3-4 minutes on low flame.
Tomato pieces added to the seasoning
  • Add the mixture of tamarind pulp and tomato juices.

Tomato juice left after making pulp of the soaked tamarind added

After 10 min of cooking 
  • Mix nicely and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add
    • Salt red chili powder
    • Jaggery
  • Mix and cook with regular stirring till all juices are absorbed and the pickle starts leaving the edges of wok.
  • Add vinegar and mix nicely.
  • Cook again for one minute with continuous stirring.
  • Switch off the gas and let the pickle cool without covering the wok.
Pickle ready for bottling
  • Store the cooled tomato pickle in a dry glass bottle.
Tomato Pickle
  • Enjoy the Tomato pickle with Dosa/ Pesarattu / Idli / da-chawal / mutton or chicken biryan / Stuffed paranthas.It goes well with all vegetarian and non- vegetarian foods.
  • Do not dry the tomato pieces so much that they become hard.
  • Remove the seeds and hard cover of tamarind before soaking in tomato juices.
  • Preferably used fruit based vinegar rather than synthetic vinegar because fruit based vinegar has nutritional values.
  • Pound /cut the jaggery before adding to the pickle it will dissolve faster.
  • Always break whole red chili before adding to oil otherwise it may burst and cause accident.
  • Tomato taken for pickling should be fleshier. Lesser fleshy and more juicy the tomato will require more cooking time and hard work.
  • Jaggery, salt and red chili powder can be increased or decreased according to the taste.
  • Always add red chili powder in small amounts and check the taste for hotness before adding all  said amount of chili powder. The grade of hotness for chili powder differs from one chili powder brand to other and homemade chili powder may have altogether different degree of hotness.
Suggested Variations:
  • Peeled whole or sliced garlic can be added to the pickle just before adding the vinegar.
Ready to be bottled
  • Grated 4-5 cm. piece of ginger can be added to the oil after adding kadi patta and cooked till the foam due to the moisture of ginger stops coming from oil. Then the semi dried tomato pieces can be added.
  • Sugar / brown sugar can be taken in the absence of jaggery.

Friday, 15 March 2013

All Stir Fry Veggies and Chicken

All Stir fried veggies
All Stir Fry Veggies With  Chicken
Vegetables as well as chicken when stir fried retain their crispness, juices and none of the nutrients are destroyed while cooking and taste delicious. My daughter made this dish of stir fried vegetables and vegetables with chicken for me.I loved it so much that had no option but to learn it from her so that I can cook it at my home also. It is light to digest and goes very well with Garlic bread. But can be had with roti (Indian puffed bread).  So from mom’s kitchen comes the recipe lovingly made by her daughter. I never fail to thank God for the two wonderful daughters he has given me.

Preparation Time: 20-30 min.
Cooking Time: 20 min.
Servings: 4 Large servings

Ingredients Required For Making All Stir Fry:
  • 100 gm. French Beans
  • 100 gm. Carrots
  • 100 gm. Capsicum
  • 1 medium size Onion
  • 100 gm. Fresh / Preserved Peas
  • 4-5 Cloves of garlic
  • 200 gm. Button Mushroom
  • 250 gm. Boneless Chicken
  • Green Chili sauce
  • Black Pepper sauce
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tea spoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Vinegar
  • Salt to Taste
  • Olive oil
  • Ice
  • Water

Direction For Making All Stir Fry:
                                                             Marinating the Chicken:
  • Wash the boneless chicken thoroughly and pat dry the washed chicken.
  • Cut the boneless chicken to 2 cm thick and -5 cm. long pieces.
4-5 cm. long and 1-1/2cm. thick pieces of washed Chicken
  • Take the washed and cut chicken in a bowl and add:
    • 2 Teaspoon Dark Soy sauce
    • 2 Teaspoon Green chili sauce
    • 2 Teaspoon Garlic paste
    • 2 Teaspoon Ginger Paste
    • 2 Teaspoon Vinegar
Chicken Ginger Paste,Garlic Paste, Dark Soya sauce, Green Chili sauce, Black Pepper sauce, Vinegar
  • Mix all the ingredients of the bowl with chicken pieces nicely, cover and keep aside for 15 min. for marination.
Sauces and spices mixed with chicken and kept for marination for 30 min.
Veggies All Stir Fry:
  • Wash the vegetables.
  • De-vein the beans and slice them from the middle. Cut them to 4-5 cm. long thin pieces.
  • Scrap the carrots and cut them to1/2cm. thick 4-5 cm. long pieces.
Par boiled Peas and Cut carrot and Beans
  • Cut large mushroom to 4 pieces and smaller ones to 2 pieces lengthwise.
  • De-seed them capsicum and cut them to 1/2cm thick long pieces.
 Slices of Mushrooms,Capsicum along with par boiled peas and blanched carrots and beans
  • If you are using the preserved peas then defrost them and give nice wash with fresh water, If fresh peas are being used then keep the peas aside after removing them from the pods.
  • Par boil the fresh peas in salted water. 

Par boiled peas
  • Peel and cut garlic very fine.
Finely cut Garlic
  •  Peel and cut onion into thin long slices
Long thin slices of Onion
  • In bowl take 1lt. water add 1 teaspoon salt and keep on the gas for boiling.
  • When the water starts boiling put cut beans and carrots in it.
Carrots and Beans added to boiled water
  •  Let the vegetables boil win water for 2-3 min. The texture and color of vegetables will change but they should remain crunchy.
Carrots and Beans ready for dunking in ice
  • By the time vegetables are boiling in water take out ice in a sieve and keep the sieve with ice on an empty container.
Ice in a sieve for dunking hot boiled vegetables
  • Strain all water from vegetables and dunk the hot vegetables on ice and toss the vegetables and ice two or three times to make sure vegetables are in contact with ice.
Boiled vegetables dunked into ice
  • Let the vegetables cool on ice.
  • In thick bottom wok/pan take 2 ml.Olive oil and heat it.
1 Tea spoon of oil heating in a non-stick pan
  • When the oil is hot add finely cut garlic and cook till garlic attains light brown color.
Finely cut Garlic cooked to brown color in hot oil
  • Add onion and cook on high flame till onion become transparent. It will take 2-3 minutes only.
Long thin sliced Onions added to the browned Garlic
  • Add blanched beans and carrots. Cook on high flame with regular tossing for 2-3 minutes.
To the cooked onion blanched vegetables are added
  • Add capsicum and toss nicely so that the vegetables get mixed nicely. Cook on high flame for just one minute.
Capsicum added to the blanched vegetable and Onion mixture
  • Add peas mix and cook for just one minute on high flame. Keep tossing regularly.
  • Add Mushrooms and mix nicely and cook on high flame for 2 minutes.
Mushrooms added to the vegetable mixture and stir fried on high flame
 vegetable ready for sauces to be added
  • Add :
    •  2 Teaspoons black pepper sauce
    • 2 Teaspoons vinegar
    • 2 Teaspoons dark soy sauce
    • 2 Teaspoons green chili sauce
  • Toss the vegetables in the sauce while cooking continuously on the high flame.
Cooking for 1 min. on high flame with continuous stirring chicken cooked and kept aside
  • Lots of steam will be formed, sauces will be reduced and vegetables will get the flavor and color of sauces.
  • Place hot All stir fry vegetables in a serving plate and serve with hot garlic bread / Roti.
All Stir Fry Veggies
Chicken vegetable all stir fry:
  • If you are chicken lovers then while vegetables are being stir fried heat a thick bottom pan on high flame.
  • When pan is hot add marinated chicken pieces and cook on high flame for 3 minutes with regular tossing to make sure even cooking of chicken pieces.
Chicken cooked in it own juices while being stir fried
  • Add salt to taste and mix nicely and stir fry on high flame for another 3 min. with regular tossing.
Vegetables being stir fried on high flame ans chicken being cooked with out oil in non-stick pan on high flame
  •  Stir fry chicken first and keep aside then cook veggies. 
  • Once veggies are cooked then add cooked chicken to the stir fried veggies and mix nicely.
  • Add :
    •  21/2 Teaspoons black pepper sauce
    • 21/2 Teaspoons vinegar
    • 21/2 Teaspoons dark soy sauce
    • 21/2 Teaspoons green chili sauce
  • Cook for a min after adding the sauces. 
  • Other option is to cook the veggies and chicken side by side on high flame with regular stirring.
  • Mix the stir fried chicken to stir fried vegetables (which are cooking side by side).
  • Add  :
    •  21/2 Teaspoons black pepper sauce
    • 21/2 Teaspoons vinegar
    • 21/2 Teaspoons dark soy sauce
    • 21/2 Teaspoons green chili sauce
  • Cook on high flame for a min. with constant stirring.
  • Take out in a serving plate and serve hot Chicken-Veggie All stir fry with garlic bread or roti.
All Stir Fry Veggies with Chicken
  • Cooking for All stir fry is done always on high flame and the vessel is never covered.
  • Tossing and stirring regularly is a must to ensure even cooking of vegetables and chicken as well even mixing of sauces with the vegetables and chicken.
  • The container in which cooking is done should be thick bottom otherwise while stir frying on high flame vegetables and chicken will get burnt,
  • Since Soy sauce has salt in it so before adding salt taste the vegetables and chicken to make sure All stir fry does not become too salty.
  • While blanching the vegetables do not boil the carrots and beans to soft texture boil just for 2-3 min. so that the color changes and the crunchiness of the vegetables is maintained.
  • Remember the beauty of All stir fry is that the vegetables are always cooked to crunchiness and chicken to soft texture but never over cooked.
Suggested Variations:
  • Cottage cheese can be cut to 1 cm. thick and 3-4 cm. long pieces and added along with mushrooms in All  Stir Fry.
  • Long thin strips of cauliflower, Broccoli can be added to vegetables while blanching them for All Stir Fry.
  • Red bell pepper, Yellow bell pepper (Pepperoni) can be added along with capsicum.
  • Fresh basil can be added along with mushrooms. Basil flavor tastes great in All Stir fry.
  • Roasted crushed Almonds, Hazel nut,walnut can be added to the veggie all Stir Fry just before serving. It adds crunchiness, Nutrition to all stir fry.   


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