Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Deli- Milk -Shake

·  It was most difficult time for me when I had to make my children aged 8 1nd 12 yrs. eat Lauki (Bottle guard) sabji. They always wanted me to make Koftas of Lauki. Though I had no difficulty in slogging in kitchen for my family yet how many times one make and eat Koftas. So to make sure this cooling and healthy summer vegetable is eaten without much of ado and get maximum benefit of it I came up with a brilliant idea of making shake and passing it off as Pista milk shake with few pieces of pistachios sprinkled on the top of the shake. The Pistachios  made it look absolutely authentic and they lapped it up. But then came the end of honeymoon with Lauki. My daughter who is elder by 4 yrs. to her brother returned earlier than expected from evening games time and saw what I was doing and then onwards refused to have that shake. Reason? There is Lauki in it!
      I fail to understand this fixation of not wanting to eat Lauki once they grow up.
Well years later I gave it to my daughter-in-law and after she said it is yummy ija  (term for mother in our language), I told her the ingredients and she just could not believe. This shake is very cooling and perfect for summers. It helps reduce acidity and is perfect drink for person suffering with sun stroke as it is light to digest, cooling to whole system, nourishing and yet easy to digest.
One precaution when you make it sure kids are not around. They will love it till they are not told it has Lauki, it does not take to be Einstien to guess the rest :) 

Preparation Time: 10 min
Making Time: 15 min
Servings: Makes approx. 300 ml Shake

Ingredients Required for Making Deli-Milk-Shake:
  • 100 gm Tender Green Lauki (Bottle gourd)
  • 250 ml. Full cream milk
  • 5-10 pistachios
  • 1 Teaspoon Green Cardamom Powder
  • 5 Teaspoon Sugar powder /to taste
  • 10-15 ml. Water
Directions For Making Deli-Milk-Shake:
  • Wash the bottle gourd and cut the 1 inch part with stalk and little from the lower end.
  • Cut into two halves and if there are seeds in the bottle gourd then remove the soft portion with seeds.
  • Grate the gourd and place it in a thick bottom container.
  • Add
    • Water
    • 2 Teaspoon sugar
    • Mix nicely
  • Cook on low flame with continuous stirring till the gourd shreds change color and are cooked soft.
  • Cover and let it cool.
  • When the cooked gourd is cooled pulse it in a mixer-grinder to make absolutely smooth paste.
  • Add
    • Chilled milk
    • Cardamom powder
    • Sugar powder
  • Churn nicely to get a uniform light green milk shake.
  • Pour the mixture in glasses and top it with finely cut pistachio pieces.
  • Serve this chilled milk shake and pass it off as Pistachio shake to children as well as elders. Believe me until unless they are told they will not be able to find the ingredients used to make this wonderful shake.
Enjoy this cooling, healthy milk shake this summer.
  • Make sure there are no seeds and pulp when you grate the bottle gourd.
  • Do not worry about the change in color as it may turn little dark on grating. Faster it goes for cooking lesser will be the color change.
  • The gourd has to be tender else the peeling will make the paste coarse this will make the shake unpalatable.
  • Removing the peeling from the gourd may be an option but this reduces the green color as well as the nutritional value of the shake.
Alternate Suggestions:
  • It can be decorated with rose petals along with pistachio flakes
  • Rose flavor can be added instead of cardamom.
  • The shake can be topped with little cream and cherry to make it tempting to kids.
  • 1 lt. milk can be boiled till it reduces to 250-300 ml. This thickened milk can replace normal milk. The resulting mixture can be frozen to make ice cream. Children love it. I have done it so many times while making kulfi (A type of ice-cream made from thickened milk) also.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Lai-Ki-sabji(Indian savory of Leafy Vegetable of Mustard family)

Lai I sabji
Lai is green leafy vegetable of mustard family grown in hills of Himalayan range. In summers it provides much needed warmth to the body. It is tangy and very tasty leafy vegetable. As Pahari people are very fond of potatoes so it is cooked with potatoes (I omit potatoes) or made with thick gravy with the milk of seeds called bhanga (Not to be confused with bhang). Bhanga is the seed of the plant called Hemp from which charas, ganja bhang is obtained but the seeds are used as condiment, which are not intoxicating and very delicious. Wild variety of the same plant does not provide edible seeds but only intoxicants. Thus is prohibited to grow in fields.. Even the cultivation of hemp is done in few places with govt. approval for much required seeds for the regular cooking in Kumaon hills.
In the absence of bhang groundnut milk is used which though does not give the same taste but is very delicious preparation. Our liking for this vegetable was so much that we used to get seeds from Kumaon and grow lai in our garden till we had an open space to grow vegetables. I could not take pic. of the leafs as I was impatient to cook this lovely vegetable.
Lai is rich in Iron, Vitamins and micro nutrients.

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 4 Large servings

Ingredients Required For Making Lai-Ki-Sabji:
  • 10-12 Large leafs of fresh Lai
  • 2 Medium size potatoes(optional) 
  • 10 ml. Mustard oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 2 Whole Red Chilies broken to pieces
  • 1/4Teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste
Directions For Making Lai-Ki-Sabji:
  • Remove the tough stem from the base of leafs.
  • Check for any infestation in the leafs if they are infested (Being a herb they grow near the soil this makes them prone to pest infestation), remove that part and clean them.
  • Wash the leafs in lots of water to make sure they are absolutely clean.
  • Cut leafs very fine, finer they are cut tastier is the cooked vegetable.
Finely cut Lai leafs
  • Peel and wash the potatoes.
  • Cut potatoes to small pieces.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottom wok (I use iron wok).
  • When the oil is smoking hot lower the flame and add
    • Cumin seeds
    • Broken whole red chilies
  • Let the seeds splutter and chili pieces become dark red. Do not let them to become black.
  • Add asafoetida and cook for 2-3 sec.
Tadka TEmparing ready)
  • Add potatoes and mix nicely.
  • Cover the wok and allow the potatoes to cook for 4-5 min. stirring 2-3 times.
  • Add finely cut Lai and mix. If not using potatoes then add the ali to the tempering dierectly.
Finely cut Lai added to tadka
  • Add
    • Turmeric powder
    • Salt
Salt and Turmeric added 
Mixed nicely to mix the oil and spices
  • Mix nicely and cover. Allow the vegetable to cook on low flame till the potatoes and leafy vegetable becomes soft. It will take 10-12 minutes. Stir the vegetable every 2-3 minutes else the lower portion which is in contact with wok will get over cooked whereas the upper portion will not get cooked.
Covered and cooking
  • The vegetable after cooking should not have any liquid but should not lose its moistness.
Ready for Serving
  • Serve the delicious Lai-Ki-Sabji with Dal, Chawal, Chutney and Kumaoni-Kheere-Ka-Raita.
Lai I sabji

Enjoy staple Kumaoni food full of taste and nutrition.

  • Always clean leafy vegetable with utmost care and wash them two or three times.
  • Break the whole red chili before adding else it will burst while cooking.
  • Iron wok enhances the taste.
  • Mustard oil is best but any other oil can be taken.
  • Donot over cook. If the vegetable color becomes very dark this is indication of over cooking.
  • To keep the color nice green of the cooked vegetable 1 teaspoon of lemon juice can be added to the vegetable when it is getting cooked.
Suggested variations:
  • The preparation with potatoes tastes very nice so they can be added I have omitted it so that diabetic people can also enjoy this preparation.
  • 10-15 gm. of ground nut can be made to paste then its milk can be taken out by adding 100 ml. water, and sieving. This milk can be added to the vegetable 2-3 min. before switching off the gas. After adding groundnut milk it should be cooked on high flame with constant stirring so that the vegetable thickens. Cook for 2-3 minutes and vegetable with groundnut milk is ready. (Coconut milk does not go well with it).
  • Paste of green chili can be added if you like spicy food. Red chili powder changes the color a bit but can be added.
  • Few leafs of spinach (Palak) can be added along with the lai leafs.
Happy healthy cooking and eating.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

How To Preserve Lemon Juice

Frozen Lemon Juice ice Cubes
In rainy season and in winters lemon crop is harvested as they ripen in these season but in summers when we aspire to have cool lemonade/ lemon sherbet / or we need to fresh lemon juice for any savory or dessert then we have to make do with expensive and less juicy lemons. Normally it is seen that citrus fruits are converted to sherbet concentrate by mixing it with sugar syrup and adding preservatives or making pickle. But these are useful to make sweet cold drinks only. What do we do when we want to have only salted lemon sherbet or want to have fresh lime soda with salt? What do we do when we want fresh lemon juice in any recipe? This kept on bugging me till one day when I had lots of lemon and tried this method to keep the juice fresh and nice. Wow what a discovery! It solved all my problems and now I get lemons in scores when least expensive in market and preserve them. 
I had blogged about how to preserve whole lemon also but if they are in large number then space crunch in freezer occurs. This metod solves problem of space crunch and bringing the frozen lemons to room temperature before squeezing.

Preparation time: Depends upon the number of lemons used
Cooking time: None

Ingredients Required:
  • Lemons as many as you can lay hand in crop season
Direction To Preserve The Lemon Juice:
  • Wash the lemons and dry with a cloth.
  • Count the number of lemons you are squeezing.
  • Cut them to half and squeeze the juice.
  • When juice of all lemons has been removed then sieve them to remove seeds.
  • Take ice trays and pour the juice in them and put in freezer for setting to ice cubes.
  • Count the number of cubes and find out how many cubes have been made out of the lemons you had taken this way you will be able to calculate one cube is equal to how many cubes.
Lemon Juice Cubes
  • Take out the lemon juice cubes and store in a good plastic container and use as and when required.
  • Do not store them in metal container as lemon juice is corrosive.
  • Cubes can be made of any size. If they are of small size then you will not have to break them if less quantity is required.
Suggested Variations:
  • Some juice can be flavored with ginger juice and frozen.
Frozen Lemon and Ginger Juice  Cubes


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