Saturday, 23 December 2017

Basil Pesto sauce

Basil Pesto Sauce
Topping up Pesto before Storing
Fresh homemade pesto from freshly plucked Basil leafs has great flavor and color. I had grown a Basil plant in a pot in my balcony, and the seeds were transported to other pots by wind thus it was like basil basil every where filling my balcony with fragrance. I used it in salad, mushroom baked sandwiches, pasta etc. They would start making appearance in abundance so I decided to make Pesto. After using bottled pesto from market I realized the difference between homemade pesto from garden fresh Basil and the bottled one from market. The addition of few walnuts gives a wonderful earthy taste. I just love this Pesto.

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Making Time: 10 minutes
Makes 400-450 gm of Pesto

Ingredients Required for Making Pesto:
  • 100-120 Fresh basil leafs.

Fresh Basil Leafs
  • 8-10 pods of Garlic.

  • 10-15 Almonds.

Almonds and 
  • 4-5 Walnuts.
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt (or to taste).
  • 100 ml. Extra Virgin Olive oil for Pesto sauce.
  • 10-15 ml. Extra Virgin Olive oil for topping up.

Directions For Making Basil Pesto:
  • Remove the stalk from leafs.
  • Roast Almonds and soak them in water.
  • Once almonds are soaked remove the peel (Brown covering) from roasted, soaked almonds.
  • In a mixer-grinder take Basil leafs and grind them thoroughly.
  • Add
    • Garlic
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Salt
  • Grind. If required very little amount of water can be added to make a fine paste.
  • Add half the amount (50ml) of olive oil slowly to the paste along with pulsing the paste in mixer. Do not run the mixer at high speed. Otherwise the color of Pesto will become foamy and whitish.

Thick Pesto Paste
  • Remove the paste in a big bowl and add the remaining 50 ml of olive oil along with mixing with the help of a spoon.

Pesto After Adding Olive oil
  • Fill the container in which you wish to store the Pesto with your freshly made Pesto sauce and top it up with 10-15 ml of olive oil.

Topping up Pesto before Storing
  • It lasts for months in freezer and in fridge at least for 6 months, but I bet you it will finish before that long. For experimenting I kept some amount in a little bottle but after 6 months my patients gave way to polising it off.

  • Make sure the smallest stalk is removed for best texture.
  • Garlic can be adjusted according to taste and the size of pods.
  • More Almonds can be added if one wishes but do not add more walnuts, they may leave a little bitter taste if added in excess.
  • Do not add excess of water, else the Pesto sauce will become runny and no one wants runny Pesto. One or two teaspoon will be enough.
  • Suggested Variations: None.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Beetroot Cutlets

Cutlets With Coriander-Mint Chutney

Cutlets served with Tomato Ketchup
Beetroot is not only nutritious alongwith being tasty, but it is also a very good root vegetable helpful for controlling weight. It is rich dietary fibers, Vitamins, minerals and low on calories. This red tuber can be made to savory, salads, sliced and put in sandwiches, burgers. I love cutlets of beetroot. They can be had as snacks with tomato ketchup or green chutney; they can be placed between slices of bread with chutney, ketchup or humus to make a delicious, healthy nutritious sandwich.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Servings: makes 6-8 Medium size cutlets

Nutritional Value: (Approx.)
  • Calories: 510
  • Fat: 11gm
  • Carb: 100gm
  • Sugars: 15gm
  • Protein: 10gm
  • Calcium: 100gm
  • Dietary fibers: 19gm
  • Sodium: 1200mg
  • Potassium: 2010mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and calcium
Ingredients Required For Making Beetroot Cutlets:
  • Beetroot: 2 medium size or 150 gm
  • Potatoes: 2 Medium size or 100 gm
  • Ginger: 1inch piece (Optional)
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves (Optional)
  • Dry ginger powder: 1 Teaspoon
  • Green chilies: 1 or according to taste
  • Green coriander leafs: 3-4 sprigs
  • White Sesame seeds: 2-3 table spoon
  • Olive oil: 1 Teaspoon is using nonstick pan else more
  • Salt to taste
Directions for Making Beetroot cutlets:
  • Boil beetroots and potatoes with jacket. Make sure they are tender but not too soft.
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Remove thin peel of boiled beetroots.
  • Roast sesame seeds on low flame till they gain light brown color.
  • Peel and chop garlic finely.
  • Chop coriander leafs finely.
  • Chop green chilies finely.
  • Grate or chop ginger as per your liking.
  • Grate beetroots and potatoes.
Ingredients For Cutlets
  • Take the grated potatoes and beetroot in a bowl and mix all
    • Salt
    • Garlic
    • Ginger powder
    • Chopped ginger
    • Green chilies
    • Corianders leaf and mix well.
Mixture of Beetroot, Potatoes and spices
  • Make 6-8 balls from the mixture.
  • Flatten the balls between your palms to give the shape.
  • Coat each raw cutlets with roasted sesame seeds.
  • Take a non-stick pan and heat on high flame.
  • Sprinkle few drops of olive oil on the pan once it is hot.
Rounds of cutlets coated with White Sesame seeds
  • Bring the heat to medium and place the raw cutlets on the hot pan with oil.
  • Cook on medium flame for two minutes and then flip them carefully. Making sure they do not break.
Cutlets Being Cooked in Spoonfull of Oil
Cutlets ready for serving
  • Cook the other side also for two minutes. By now both side of cutlets should be brownish.
  • The cutlets will be on soft. Do not cover them once they are done.
  • Take then on a plate serve them hot with chutney/ketchup or if you want to store let them cool without covering before storing.

Cutlets served with Tomato Ketchup
MY favorite breakfast is grilled sandwich (Call it a taco) made by palcing these cutlets between two folds of chapati, grilling it and pairing it with homemade humus or coriander-mint chutney.

  • Do not overcook beetroot and potatoes else the cutlets mixture will become too wet and gooey, resulting not so firm cutlets.
  • Dry ginger gives good flavor and absorbs moisture thus is essential to be added.
  • Red chilies powder spoils the flavor so avoid it.
  • All chopped ingredients should be chopped finely , big pieces of chilies, garlic are very unsavory in soft cutlets.
  • Adjust the flame according to your cooking equipment, that is pan and gas stove/hot plate.
Suggested Variations:
  • I am a big fan of garlic and ginger thus I have added chopped ginger also, if you wish you can avoid chopped ginger.
  • The cutlets after being coated with roasted sesame seeds can be coated in egg white, then with all purpose flour and deep fried.
  • To a cup of all-purpose flour add salt and make batter using soda. The batter should be thick but of flowing consistency. Dip each sesame coated raw cutlets and deep fry them. I prefer my cutlets pan fried with as little oil as possible, this is simply to keep them on healthier side.
  • Butter can replace olive oil. It certainly adds a wonderful flavor to the cutlets.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Tips For Mothers With Small Children.

   Often young mothers are heard complaining that the little ones do not like eating vegetables. Well first of all cook all type of vegetables at home even if you do not have a taste for them, and eat along with the children. As they say good habits are inculcated right in the childhood. 
Apart from this there are few tips which may be helpful.
  • If your child has a dislike for Spinach/ Methi /Carrot then :-
    • Grate the carrot/ Cut the washed spinach/ methi
    • Add to whole wheat flour.
Carrot, flour,ajwain (caraway seeds) and salt for dough
    • Add salt to taste, and 1 tea spoon of caraway seeds.(ajwain).
    • Make dough from it.
    • Make parathas out of the dough 
Dough for paratha
    • Serve hot with tangy / sweet pickle / chutney/ sauce.
Palak paratha and carrot paratha
    • Keep it in the lunch box with pickle or chutney
    They will love the colorful parathas and also develop the taste of the vegetable.
        • Bottle guard (Lauki) is one vegetable very few children like. You are lucky if your children like its vegetable!
          • But in summers bottle gourd provides with much needed nutrition and its juice is very cooling to our system. So what to do?
          • Simply take a soft Lauki wash it.
          •  Grate the required amount, add ajwain (caraway seeds ), salt, chopped coriander leaves, and besan and make loose dough.
          •   Make small balls.
          •  Fry these balls and let children enjoy them as snacks with chutney / sauce.
          •  You can make gravy of your liking and dunk the fried balls to the gravy and presto! Nice vegetable is ready:)

        Do not squeeze water from lauki as it is cooling in summers. It will get absorbed in besan.
          • Make milk shake from Lauki.
            • Pista Shake Using Tender Lauki(Bottle Gourd):
            • Take a very tender Lauki do not peel.
            • Wash it and grate it.
            • Boil the grated Lauki with little milk till cooked.
            • Cool and grind it in a mixer to fine paste.
            • Take 150ml. of milk at room temperature.
            •  Add 4-5 tea spoons of paste of cooked Lauki.
            • Churn in mixer.
            • Add pinch of cardamom powder mix, pour the mixture in a tall glass.
            •  Cool it in fridge for 3-4 hrs.
            •  Top it up with 1 tea spoon of finely cut Pista  (pistachio) and serve it as pista shake to the children.
            • The green color of the peel will ensure it looks green like pista shake.
            •  They will love it and lap it up till they do not see you Making It!!!!
            • You can freeze it and serve as pista ice cream.:)
          • Children love cheese : -
            •  so try to make parathas stuffed with cheese.
            •  Uttapa topped with onion, cheese, tomato.
            • Omelets topped with onions, tomatoes, cheese, and some greens.
            • Little cheating with children for their good is not a bad idea so sneak some greens like methi, spinach, coriander.
           This will make sure your child is  hooked to homemade food. Remember occasional pizzas and burger will not harm the child but frequent use is not good for health.
          • Make Sandwiches from whole wheat bread / multi grain bread instead of white bread : -
            •  Use cucumber, onion , tomato, chicken,eggs, cheese and sneak in few shreds of Raw spinach / Salad leaves / Mint / Coriander/ Celery /Parsley.
            •  Using different ingredients and herbs will change the flavor and taste of sandwiches and the child gets complete nutrition.
            • Remember everybody likes change in the taste so surprise your children and entice them to eat homemade delicious, nutritious sandwiches.
          • Noodles are another favorite of children so do not get worked up about their nutrition if they ask for noodles / pasta time and again.
            • Instead just boiling the noodles/ pasta and giving them to the children.
            • Cut cabbage, French beans, Carrot, Onion some peas, shredded chicken and sauté them
            • Add to boiled noodles along with grated cheese, tomato sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce (optional).
          This way child get the food they want along with full nutrition! Child is happy and Mom is also happy.

          Tuesday, 2 May 2017

          Palak-Mushroom ( Mushrooms In Green Sauce)

          Musrooms In Green Sauce

          Palak-Mushroom (Mushrooms In Green Sauce)

          This recipe is very close to my heart for two reasons
          1. It requires least efforts and oil
          2. It is very nutritious and yummy
          Mushrooms are fleshy, fat free, gluten free, and cholesterol free, rich in nutrients and low in calories. So is true for spinach and coriander. Thus using Spinach and coriander to make sauce not only makes it rich in nutrients but also a visual treat.
          Green gravy/sauce with mushrooms is feast to eyes.  Simple roti (Indian flat bread), Parathas, Nan and Steamed rice all go well with it.
           Nutritional facts: (Approximately)
          Cal 52
          Fat 4.5gm
          Cholesterol 5mg
          Dietary Fibers 4gm
          Carbs 6.4 gm
          Sugar 3.5 gm
          Sodium 1.2gm
          Potassium 1gm
          Proteins 3.5gm
          Rich in Vitamin C, B-6, B-12, A and D
          Minerals in abundance Iron, Calcium
          Micronutrients Manganese, Magnesium, Selenium, Phosphorous

          Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
          Cooking Time: 15 minutes
          Servings: 6 Large Servings

          Ingredients Required For Making Mushroom In Green Sauce:
          • Button Mushrooms: 100gm
          • 100 gm Button Mushrooms
          • 100 gm Spinach leafs (Stalks removed)
          • 25 gm Coriander Leafs (Stalks removed)
          • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
          • 1 Small Onion 
          • 10-15 gm Cream (Optional)
          • 1 Teaspoon Olive oil
          • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
          • 2 Green chilies or to taste
          • Salt to taste
          Direction to Make Mushroom In Green sauce:
          • Wash spinach and coriander leafs separately and drain.
          • Wash mushrooms and remove any stalks which look discolored.
          • Cut spinach.
          • Boil 50 ml. water and when water starts boiling add spinach. Give a stir and switch off the heat. Cover water and spinach mixture and allow to cook in its own heat. Spinach should not lose its beautiful green color.
          Cooked Spinach
          • Chop coriander leafs and keep aside.
          Chopped Coriander leafs 
          • Chop garlic to fine pieces and keep aside.
          • Cut mushrooms to required size as per your liking. I prefer my mushrooms to be little thick pieces so if they are of small size then each is cut to 4 pieces, bigger ones are cut to 6 pieces.
          • Cut onions and green chilies and saute then in 1/2 teaspoon oil till translucent
          Sauteed Onion and Green Chilies
          • Blitz spinach with water and coriander leafs and green chilies-onion mixture in a grinder/ mixer to make a fine paste. The paste will be fragrant green color.
          Paste of Spinac, Coriander leafs, Onion and Green chilies
          • In a wok take olive oil and heat.
          • Add cumin seeds and when they start spluttering add finely chopped garlic. Cook on low heat till the garlic attains light brown color.
          • Add Mushrooms and cook on low heat with costant stirring for 2 minutes.
          Mushroom with cumin Seeds and Garlic
          After 1 Minute of Cooking
          • Add spinach and coriander leaf’s paste. Stir and cook on low heat for about a minute not more.
          • Cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat wtih rgular stirring.
          Mushrooms Ready for the Green Paste

          Green Paste added to Mushrooms
          After 3 Minutes of Cooking
          • Add salt and mix.
          • Add 100 ml. water and mix.
          • Bring neat to high and give one quick boil.
          • Switch off the heat add cream and mix.
          Ready to be Served

          Palak Mushroom (Mushrooms In Green Sauce)
          • Serve hot with Flat bread/rice/nan/paranthas.
          • Stalks should be removed else the fibers from stalks will give unpleasant texture to sauce/gravy.
          • Spinach should not be boiled else the green color will turn of darker shade and the gravy/sauce will not be of the beautiful green color.
          • Mushrooms should not be cut too small or thin they should be thick enough to be juicy in sauce/gravy.
          • Taste the chilies before grinding some are bland some super-hot.
          • Too long cooking of mushrooms or gravy/sauce will cause mushrooms to lose their water and become rubbery and sauce to become of darker shade than we want in this recipe.
          • Do not use red chilies as it will change the color and flavor of sauce.
          Alternate Suggestions:
          • Cream and water can be replaced by 100 ml. full cream/ low fat milk. If you are using milk then add it in the step where water is to be added, replacing water by milk. Using milk will reduce the fat content in the sauce.No water should be added when milk is being used. 
          • You can omit onions. If onions are being omitted then green chilies should be added raw to spinach and coriander for making pastee.
          • For those who do not partake or are allergic to garlic it can be omitted.


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