Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Creamy-Mushroom Soup

Mushrooms are easy and fast to cook, healthy and absolutely tasty. My love for mushrooms is well known in my family. Mushrooms in salad, caramelized mushrooms, stuffed mushrooms, grilled mushrooms or mushroom soup, in any meal. is just lapped up by me. In mushroom soups my favorite are cream of mushroom soup and Coconutty mushroom soup having that sweet, sour and fragrance of lemon grass mingling with mushrooms. My version of creamy  mushroom soup is cooked in just ten minutes, has very low fat content, and is as yummy as it can get. With rich creamy texture of mushrooms, sweetness of mushrooms and milk balanced by salt and hint of pepper. I find it a perfectly balanced mushroom soup where mushroom dominated the flavor and basil adds that wonderful fragrance to the whole soup. This soup is rich in Vitamin B, D and in many other micro nutrients. Milk adds to the calcium, protein, Vitamin A and other micronutrients thus making the soup very healthy for all, specially fro pregnant ladies and growing children.

Nutritional Value of Cream- Mushrooms Made from 200 gm. Button Mushrooms/ Table Mushrooms and 500 ml. Low fat milk: (Approx)
Calories: 250
Proteins: 20.9-21..98gm.
Carbs: 25.7-25.8 gm.
Fat : 5.4-5.5gm (Taking low fat milk with 5 gm/500 ml fat content)
Fibers: 1.2 gm.
Sugar: 27.01gm.
Micro nutrients from Mushrooms: ( Source link given below)
B2: 0..3mg; Niacin equivalent: 3.7mg;  Biotin: 8.9mcg; Folate: 18mcg; Vitamin D: 10-15 gm in sunexposed mushrooms; Vitamin A; 21%( from milk)
Copper: 342 mcg; Selinium: 15.4 mcg; Phosphorous: 110mg; Potassium: 310 mg; Chromium:13.4 mg; Calcium 62%(from milk )
The values are not exact but approximate estimation, as taken from different source from internet. The nutritional value will change slightly with the type of mushrooms taken and type of low fat milk taken to make the soup.

Preparation Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min
Servings: 500 ml. soup (Approx.)

Ingredients Required For Making Creamy-Mushroom Soup:
  • 200 gm, Button Mushrooms.
  • 500 ml Milk (I used low fat milk)
  • 3-4 Fresh Basil Leafs
  • 1/2Teaspoon White Pepper Powder
  • 1/2Teaspoon Salt or to taste
Direction For Making Creamy-Mushroom Soup:
  • Wash mushrooms under flowing water.
    Washed and Wiped Button Mushrooms
  • Chop Mushrooms to pieces.
Chopped Button Mushrooms
      • Divide the chopped Mushrooms to 2 parts. Pulse one part of chopped Mushrooms to fine paste.
      • Keep aside for further use. No water is required to pulse mushrooms.
      • Pulse the rest half of the mushrooms to a near coarse paste without adding water.
      Coarse paste of Mushrooms
      • Boil milk in a thick bottom pan and when the milk comes to boil bring the heat to low, add the paste of mushrooms and cook with continuous stirring.
      • After cooking for a minute or so add the coarse paste of mushrooms and again cook on low heat with continuous stirring for just one minute. This is sufficient time for the coarsely pulsed mushroom pieces to cook.
      Fine and Coarse Mushroom paste cooking in Milk
      • Shred basil leafs with hands and add to the milk mushroom mixture.
      • Switch off the heat and add white pepper powder. In case white pepper powder is not available black pepper powder also can be used.
      • Mix and add salt to taste and mix.
      • Cover and let it stand for a minute or so for the flavor of pepper and basil to mingle with mushroom.
      • Serve it piping hot. You can warm it up again before serving.
      • As mushrooms start getting discolored if kept for long time after pulsing, pulse the mushrooms while the milk is kept for boiling so that the discoloration of mushrooms does not take place.
      • Though white pepper powder can be replaced by black pepper powder, it will cause slight change in color of the soup.
      • Do not overcook the soup as not only the nutrients but the delicate texture and flavor of mushrooms will be lost.
      Suggested Variations:
      • Portbello  and oyester mushrooms acn be taken but Portbello mushrooms will change the consistency as well as color of the soup.
      • Any other variety of mushrooms can be taken. But the cooking time will change due to different degree of moisture and delicacy of the different type of mushrooms.
      • For coarse grinding of mushrooms only caps of button mushrooms can be kept aside. All stalks and rest of the caps of mushrooms can be made to smooth paste.
      • Basil can be replaced by celery / Parsley. I prefer basil over other herbs in any preparation of mushrooms.
      • In the absence of frfesh herbs dried herbs can be used, But the dried herbs will have to be boiled along with milk to get maximum flavor.

      Monday, 11 May 2015

      Kathal-Ka-Achar (Pickle of Raw Jackfruit):

      Katahal Ka Achar
      Jack fruit is endemic to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and few other Asian countries. Raw jack fruit is also termed as vegetarian mutton. Savories for main course either dry or with gravy are made with it. Cutlets of raw jackfruit are very tasty and can be had for snack as well as breakfast along with bread and Indian sauces (chutney) 
      The fibrous nature of Jack fruit helps in overcoming the problem of constipation and it leaches out the cancer causing chemicals from body to the large intestine thus ultimately causing their elimination. Low sodium and high vitamin contents add to its nutritional value. Ripe Jack fruit is rich in sugars and carbohydrates along with dietary fibers, protein and vitamins. The seeds of ripe fruit can be dried cleaned of the tough covering then made to fine powder. This flour of the Jackfruit seeds is used to make Halwa (an Indian dessert), chillas (Indian savory or sweet eggless pancakes).
      I love all preparation of Jackfruit only the ripe one exudes very strong sweet odor which is too strong for my senses, but taste is real yummy.
      Pickle of Jackfruit is very easy to make and requires a month time to mature. I make this pickle every season and my family looks forward to Jackfruit season for all the goodies I make out of raw Jackfruit. Old mango masala as well as pieces can be utilized while making this pickle.

      Nutritional facts of Raw Jackfruit/100 gm.:
      Calories 95
      Total Fat 0.6gm
      Sodium 2mg
      Carbohydrates 23gm
      Dietary fibers 1.5 gm
      Protein 2.7gm
      Sugar 19gm.
      Vitamin A:2%
      Vitamin C 23%
      Calcium 2%
      Iron 1%

      Preparation Time: 30-40 min
      Cooking Time: 10 min.
      Maturing Time: 20-30 Days
      Servings: Makes 300-350 gm. Pickle (Approx)

      Ingredients Required For Making Pickle of Raw Jackfruit:
      • 500 gm. Raw Jackfruit
      • 100 gm. Raw Mango (1 large)
      • 50 gm. Fennel Seeds
      • 10-15 gm .Fenugreek Seeds
      • 10-15 gm. Seeds
      • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
      • 4-5 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder or to taste
      • 2 Teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder (Optional)
      • 4-5 Whole Red Chilies (optional)
      • 100 ml. Mustard oil / any cooking oil
      • 10ml.Vinegar. I use apple cider.
      • Salt to taste
      Directions For Making Raw Jackfruit Pickle:
      • Remove the thick peeling of Jackfruit keeping the white portion intact with rest of the fruit.
      • Remove the central hard portion which is to be discarded.
      • Cut the peeled jackfruit to 2-3 cm. size with the base and the fibers together (Intact).

      Katahal Pieces For Pickle
      • Roast the spices seeds individually till the fenugreek seeds just start turning golden and the fennel seeds change the color slightly and become crisp. The color of nigella seeds will change in two to three minutes of roasting o high flame.
      • Mix all roasted seeds and let them cool.

      Roasted Spices
      • Wash, deseed and cut the mango to small pieces.
      • Take all pieces of mango in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon salt 1/2teaspoon turmeric and mix.
      • Cover and keep aside.
      • Meanwhile boil 1 lt. water along with 2 teaspoon of salt and pinch of turmeric.
      • When water comes to boil add the cleaned and cut jackfruit pieces in it.
      • Cook till the base of the pieces become soft to touch.

      Katahal pieces being Par boiled

      Cooked Jackfruit pieces
      • Drain all water and keep the boiled jackfruit pieces under the sun for 25-20 minutes. This is done basically to remove the excess water.

      Par boiled pices of Katahal drying
      • Pulse the mixture of roasted spices to make a coarse powder.

      Roasted and coarsely ground spices 
      • Drain all juices from mango pieces and keep them separately for further use.
      • Heat oil in a thick bottom wok and when the oil is smoking hot switch off the heat and add
        • Red chilies
        • Coarse powder of the spices,
        • Turmeric
        • Salt
        • Red chili powder
        • Kashmiri Red chili powder
        • Add the juices of Mango and vinegar.

      Spices and Oil
      Spices and Oil mixture for Katahal Pickle
      • Cook for 1 minute.Then add:
      • Jackfruit pieces
      • Pieces of Mango
      • Mix and cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes.

      Spices mixed with Parboiled Katahal pieces
      • Switch off the heat and let it cool without covering.
      • Take out he pickle in a steel / glass container, cover with a muslin cloth and keep under the sun for 4-5 days.

      Katahal Achar To be Kwpt For Maturing
      • Fill it in clean dry bottle and put the lid on.

      Katahal Ka Achar
      • Allow it to mature for 20-30 days before consuming it.
      • Enjoy the pickle of Raw Jackfruit through out the year.

      Katahal Ka Achar

      • This pickle tastes best in mustard seed oil but except coconut any other cooking oil of choice can be taken.
      • While peeling the Jackfruit make sure as less as possible white portion on which the fibrous mass is attached comes out.
      • Remove the central hard mass completely.
      • Oil your palms and the knife to avoid the sticky white liquid from the central hard aprt to stick on palms and knife.
      • To clean your palms and knife first scrub them with little oil apply water and soap.
      • Do not overcook while boiling. The pieces should be just soft.
      • Do not dry the boiled pieces too much under the sun. This will cause all juices to dry up and the pickle pieces even after maturing will not be soft and succulent.

      Suggested Variations:
      • The left over pieces o old mango pickle along with its masala can be added to the pickle before bottling. If old mango pickle is being added then the amount of mango can be reduced accordingly otherwise the original flavor and taste of jackfruit pickle will be overshadowed by mango pickle.
      • Seeds of Jackfruit can be added after cleaning and parboiling. Seeds should be boiled separately as they take more time than jackfruit pieces.
      • I do not add asafoetida but if you want you can add.
      • Some people love it sweet and sour thus little jaggery can be added to the hot pickle before bottling. 

      Friday, 8 May 2015

      Carrot soup

      Carrot soup

      Carrot is rich in vitamin A, carbohydrates, sugar and dietary fibers. It is taken in the form of salad, vegetable, soup cakes, desserts and all for are nutritive but the healthiest form is the one where it is not cooked at very high temperature. Soups are healthy option for a lean but nutritious diet. 100 gm. of carrots have: 0.93gm. Proteins, 9.58gm. Carbs, 0.24 gm. fats,2.8 gm. dietary fibers, sodium  69 gm. , Potassium 320 mg., Sugars 4.5 gm.  Carrots are extremely rich source of Vitamin A and contain reasonably good amount of Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium (336% A, 10% C, 3% iron and 2% Iron). 90% of energy provided by carrots comes from carbs and rest from fats and proteins. Since carrots are very low on fat and rich in vitamins and minerals therefore they are very good for convulsing persons. Making soup does not destroy the nutrients. For those who are on strict diet regime for weight, soups are the best nourishing, make full dinner along with greens, whole wheat bread and chicken / fish.

      Preparation Time: 10 min.
      Cooking Time: 15 min
      Servings : 400 ml. soup

      Nutritional Value of Carrot Soup (For 400 ml of soup):
      Calories: 71
      Total Fat:0.403gm (sturated0.118gm. , Polysaturatd0.174gm,mono saturated0.026gm.)
      Potassium: 5410mg.
      Sodium: 73 mg.
      Total Carb:72.03gm.
      Sugars: 7.50gm.
      Protein: 14.16gm.
      Vitamin A:344%
      Vitamin C: 26%
      Calcium: 4%
      Dietary Fibers:10.28gm.
      Garlic is good source of Phosphorous,Selenium,Manganese, Vitamin B6

      Ingredients required For making Carrot soup:
      • 100 gm. Carrots 
      • 50 gm. Onion 
      • 4-5 cloves of garlic
      • 50 gm. (One medium size) Tomato
      • Salt to taste
      • 2-3 cm. Long Stick of Cinnamon
      • Water.
      Directions For making Carrot Soup:
      • Wash the carrots and remove the thin roots sticking to them.
      • Remove the top where leaves were attached.
      • Cut carrots to on 2-3 cm. big pieces.
      • Peel onion and cut it to 2-3 cm. big pieces or slice to long thin pieces.
      Sliced Onion
      • Peel garlic and pound it.
      • Wash and cut tomato to 2-3 cm. big pieces.
      Tomatoes cut to 2-3 cm. pieces
      • Take all carrot, tomato, onion, garlic, cinnamon and 150 ml. water into a pressure cooker.
      • Close the lid of pressure cooker and keep it on high flame till pressure is formed in the cooker.
      • Lower the flame and cook for 2-3 min.
      • Remove the cooker from gas and allow it to cool.
      Carrots, onion, onion, garlic boiled with a cinnamon stick
      • Sieve the liquid from boiled solid.
      Liquid separated from solid pieces
      • Mash all solid and pass the contents of cooker through a sieve.
      All solid made to fine pulp
      • While passing the mashed contents through the sieve make sure maximum mashed vegetables pass through it. You may require 100-200ml. water to sieve the solid through the sieve.
      • Throw the little solid left on the sieve. They will mostly be seeds of tomato and cinnamon stick.
      • Add the pulp to the liquid you get after sieving, add salt and give one boil.
      Pulp and liquid mixed
      • Take out the hot soup in a soup bowl / glass sprinkle some pepper powder and serve hot.
      Carrot soup
      • Do not peel the carrots as peeling carrots will cause loss of vitamins.
      • Do not throw the central part of carrot even if it is yellow /white as it contains most of vitamin A.
      • Do not take only liquid from boiled carrots, tomato etc. mash all vegetables and pass them through the sieve. This will make sure all fiber content is retained in soup.
      • Add salt after sieving, while giving last boil, just before serving.
      • Prefer not to keep / serve hot food / soup in plastic containers. Keep / serve in steel / glass containers. Plastic has plasticizers which dissolve fast in hot food.
      Suggested Variations:
      • If you are having tendency / or suffering from any type of stone (Kidney, gall bladder etc.) then remove the seeds of tomato before chopping it to pieces.
      • While giving last boil dry herbs like parsley / celery / basil can be added to the soup.
      • If dry herbs have been boiled with soup then fresh springs of the same herb can shredded and placed on the top of soup before serving.
      • If you like your soup less sour and more sweet then amount of tomatoes can be reduced to half of carrots can be increased to 150 gm. This will change the nutritional values given above.
      • While boiling the vegetables cinnamon can be replaced by China grass. No other herb is required with china grass. It has its own great flavor as well as medicinal values.

      Thursday, 7 May 2015

      Gahat-Ke-Dubke (Thick Broth Of Gahat with Spicy Dumplings)

      Gahat-ke-Dubke with Bathua-Raita and Palak-ka-Kapa
      Gahat is grown from hills of Himalayan range to south of India Tamil Nadu. Its botanical name is Macrotyloma Uniflorum.  Kulthi / Hulga / Kuleeth /Hurali / Horse gram / Madras gram are the few common names of Gahat.
      It is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating numerous health disorders including rheumatism, worm, conjunctivitis and piles. Gahat have astringent and diuretic properties and is believed to be beneficial for treating kidney stones, help to control various menstrual problems, reducing flatulence, for treating peptic ulcer, to lower cholesterol levels, helps to reduce excessive weight, controlling fever, for extracting phlegm, helpful for keeping the body warm during winter.
      Well now a day we speak of health benefit and nutritional values but in good old days when people used to have this legume in Kumaon in two different ways. It can be cooked after soaking or without soaking, either as whole / powder or paste. All preparations are delectable and are cooked throughout the year in hilly regions of India. The reason behind this is, it is widely cultivated in Himalayan range, provides the much needed heat in cold climate of Kumaon and is highly nutritive. In my earlier blog I have written about a supremely tasty preparation called Ras which is made in winters. Gahat ke dubke is a thick broth of the paste of Gahat with dumplings of spicy Gahat. It is taken with steamed rice/Mandira (Barnyard millet/Mandira/Bhagar).
      Folklores say that in earlier days when dynamite was not available to villagers for breaking the rocks they used to boil Gahat and pour the boiling water of Gahat in the crevices of rocks. Twelve hours alter the rock developed big cracks and thus easy to breakdown. How far there is truth in this folk I do not know but this much I know that it is used to break the stone of kidney. I can vouch the veracity of this concoction as the kidney stone cure. My husband’s kidney stone was broken to small pieces and thus got flushed out by taking hot soup of Gahat.

      Nutritional fact for 100 gm of Gahat/Kuleeth/Hulga:
      Cal: 321
      Moisture: 12 gm.
      Proteins: 22gm.
      Fat: 0 gm.
      Fiber: 5gm.
      Carbohydrates: 57gm
      Minerals: 3gm.
      Calcium: 287 mg.
      Phosphorus: 311mg.
      Iron: 7mg.
      Preparation Time: 20 min (Soaking time not included)
      Cooking Time: 45-60-min
      Servings: 8 large servings
      Ingredients Required For making Gahat Ke Dubke:
      • 100 gm Gahat
      • 4-5 Cloves of Garlic (Optional)
      • 1inch piece Ginger
      • 2-3 Green chilies
      • 1 Pinch of Asafoetida
      • 2 teaspoon of Atta (Whole wheat flour)
      • 1 Teaspoon Red chili powder or to taste
      • 4-5 sprigs of fresh coriander leafs
      • 1Teaspoon Turmeric powder
      • 2-3 whole Red chilies
      • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
      • 10ml. cooking oil
      • Salt to taste

      For Seasoning:
      • 1/2Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (optional)
      • I teaspoon Ghee (clarified butter)
      • 1/2Teaspoon Cumin seeds
      • Pinch of asafoetida
      • 2-3 Whole Red chilies
      • 2-3 Sprigs of Fresh Coriander leafs

      Directions For Making Gahat-Ke-Dubke:
      • Clean Gahat and wash nicely.
      • Soak in water for 5-6 hrs.
      • Drain the water and wash in running water.
      • Take 1/4th of the soaked Gahat and grind then coarsely.

      Coarsely Ground Gahat
      • Chop garlic and grate ginger.
      • Wash and chop coriander and green chilies finely.
      • Mix:
        • Coarsely ground paste of Gaht
        • Green chilies
        • Garlic
        • Ginger
        • Chopped Coriander 
        • Chopped Green chilies
        • 1/4Teaspoon Turmeric powder
        • Atta
        • Salt
      • Take 2-3 ml. oil in a wok and cook the mixture with continuous stirring till it changes the color and becomes thick enough to be made to balls.

      Coarsely ground gahat cooked with spices
      • Cool the cooked mixture and make small balls and keep aside.

      Balls of Cooked coarsely Gahat
      • Make fine paste of the remaining Gahat.

      Fine Paste of Gahat
      • In a thick bottom wok take 2-3 ml. of oil and heat it.
      • When the oil is hot add:
        • 1/2Teaspoon cumin seeds
        • Asafoetida
        • Red chilies (broken to pieces)

      Tempering Ready
      • When the seeds splutter and the chilies change the color, add:
        • Fine paste of Gahat
        • Salt
        • Turmeric powder
        • Red chili powder to it and bring the flame to low.

      Fine paste of Gahat added to Tempering
      • Mix nicely and cook for 10 min on low flame with continuous stirring. The paste will become thick and change the color. The cooked paste will start leaving the edges of wok.

      Fine paste cooked and ready for water to be added
      • Add 200 ml. of water and mix till a smooth mixture is formed.
      • Add 200-300 ml. of water and cook on low flame with continuous stirring.

      Water added and mixture made to lumpless mixture
      • When the mixture comes to boil add the balls of coarse paste of Gahat. Bring the flame to high and turn the balls in the broth nicely. Make sure the balls do not break.
      • Bring the flame to low, cover the wok and cook for 10 min. with intermittent stirring delicately.
      • Add water to bring the broth to the consistency you want and cook for another 2-3 min. on high flame.

      Ball of Gahat added to boiling gahat paste solution
      • Heat ghee in a pan and to the hot ghee add:
        • Cumin seeds
        • Red chilies
        • 1/2Teaspoon Red chili powder (Optional)
        • Asafoetida
      • When the seeds splutter, the chilies become darker in color seasonings ready. Pour the mixture over the Gahat-Ke-Dubke.

      Gahat dubke with Seasoning
      • Remove the cooked Gahat- ke-Dubke in a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander leafs.
      • Enjoy Gahat-Ke-Dubke with steamed rice or Mandira ka bhat.

      • The paste for Balls should be coarse not roughly ground.
      • Do not add too much water while grinding the soaked Gahat. Add in small proportions so that the coarsely ground paste as well as the finely ground paste is thick.
      • While stirring after adding the Gahat balls stir with light hand so that the balls do not break.
      • To avoid the Dubke to stick at the bottom use either non-stick wok or while stirring let the ladle go till the bottom of the wok.
      • Check the degree of hotness of the chilies before adding.
      • While adding water to cooked fine paste of Gaht to make the lump less mixture you can switch off the gas and once the mixture is formed start cooking again.

      Suggested Variations:
      • While tempering Gandrainy a spice of immense medicinal value can be added along with rest of the spices before adding the fine paste.
      • Red chili powder can be replaced with green chili paste.  


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