The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

December 27, 2020

All-in-One Cheesy Pepper Cups

Although I started my vegetable garden later than expected this year, I managed to grow some delicious vegetables like sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. 

One of my favorite ways to cook sweet bell peppers (red, orange, and yellow-colored ones) is by stuffing and then baking them. The flesh gets soft when you grill or char it and then you can stuff it with whatever you want. 

I've made this dish several times but never wrote the recipe down. My mom nudged me to share it since I'm always at her back to write all of her recipes so I can make them at my leisure. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. 


Ingredients


  • 3 Bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow can be used) 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 10 oz mushrooms (Baby Bell or white button mushrooms), chopped
  • 1 tomato (vine or plum variety), finely chopped
  • 8 oz fresh spinach* leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (adjust salt as per your taste)
  • 1.5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cooked rice* (plain or brown)
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (or mozzarella cheese)

Instructions
  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add ginger-garlic paste and onions. Saute them until the onions are translucent, and then add garam masala, turmeric powder, and chili powder. Mix well. 

  • Reduce the heat to low-medium and add mushrooms. Cover with lid and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms reduce in size. Remove the lid and add tomato and salt and cook for a few more minutes. Next, add spinach and cook uncovered until the leaves are wilted and the mixture is not as watery. 


  • Lastly, add the cooked rice or your favorite carb like quinoa or brown rice. Mix well and remove from heat. 
  • Chop the bell peppers in half so you end up with 6 halves (or cups) so they can be stuffed. Then place them on a dinner plate, season each pepper cup with a little salt, and microwave them for 4 to 5 minutes. Let them cool down. 

  • Grill/char the halves on a griddle or flat pan to your liking. Transfer the pepper cups to the desired baking sheet/dish safe to use in the oven. Sprinkle cheese into each of the grilled pepper cups. 


  • Scoop about 1/3 cup of stuffing into each pepper cup. You can stuff as much as you want. 


  • Sprinkle the top of each stuffed pepper with more cheese. 


  • Preheat oven to 350 °F and bake peppers for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.


  • The stuffed peppers are ready to be served. I can easily eat one to two pepper halves for lunch or dinner. 

Quick Tips
  1. Frozen spinach can be used but make sure that you pick up frozen spinach leaves. 
  2. You can substitute with quinoa as well. 
  3. You can make the stuffing, while you are preparing the bell peppers.  
  4. I sometimes add some cheese to the stuffing to hold it together. 

I like using red, orange, and yellow bell peppers because they have a sweeter flavor than the green ones. Add some cooked lentils or legumes to increase the nutritional value of this recipe. I like making this dish because it is heart-healthy and you can use up whatever vegetables and/or rice you have on hand for the stuffing. 

Please feel free to share your comments about this recipe. Let us know if you end up making it or have any questions. πŸ™

πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‡ Happy Holidays πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

December 25, 2020

Season's Greetings

 


May the timeless message of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy now and throughout the coming year.

Lime and Coconut Rasam

Rasam is a South Indian dish that is typically eaten with rice. Did you know there are 25 variations of rasam? A well-known rasam that is offered in most Indian restaurants is Mulligatawny soup (made with pepper). 

How many rasams can you name? Which ones have you tried? We like eating rasam because it is warm and soothing. It is not a seasonal dish and can be enjoyed throughout the year. 

Below is a recipe for Lime and Coconut Rasam. We hope you enjoy it. 

 


Ingredients
- 1 Plum tomato, diced into cubes
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Milk Powder (or 2 to 3 Tbsp of unsweetened coconut milk if coconut milk powder is not available)
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ Tbsp Salt
- 400 ml Water
- Finely chopped Fresh Coriander for garnish

Ingredients for Seasoning (Taalimpu):
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Whole Cumin seeds
- A pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)


Instructions
  1. Blend together tomato, coconut powder, rasam powder, and water to mix well. (Hint: mix the coconut powder with a little bit of water so when it is mixed into the tomato sauce, it doesn't clump). 
  2. Transfer the mixture into a (2qt) medium saucepan and add salt. Bring the rasam mixture to a boil on medium heat (approx. 5 to 7 minutes). Continue to boil for another 2 minutes and remove from heat. 
  3. Add the lime juice and mix well. 
  4. In a smaller saucepan (tadka pan), heat oil on low-medium heat. When you feel the heat on your palm, add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add hing. After about 1-2 minutes, remove from heat, and add directly to the rasam. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with rice or as soup with croutons.

Quick Tips
  • If using unsweetened coconut milk from a can, please make sure to mix the contents before use. 
  • Instead of using a blender, cook the tomatoes with little water for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave, and add it to the coconut powder paste. Mix the rasam powder, water, and salt and continue from step 2. 

December 24, 2020

Carrot and Almond Kheer

There's just a week left of 2020! Who is ready to say Goodbye to this year and say Hello to 2021? 

We are going to take the next 7 days to reflect and think about our goals for next year. This year has been tough on everyone.  Thank you for your continued support. 

Check out this quick and easy kheer made with carrots and almonds. It is gluten-free and not much sugar. 




Ingredients
- 200g (or 7 oz) of carrots
- 1 cup of milk
- 25g or slightly less than 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 6 to 7 cardamom pods, seeded and powdered
- 2 Tbsp Almond flour (or use 7 to 8 almonds, soaked and skin removed)
- 3 drops of Vanilla extract

Instructions
  • Wash and peel the carrots and then slice them into 1/2" thick pieces. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked carrots into the blender*, add milk, sugar, cardamom powder, almond flour, vanilla extract, and blend into a smoothie consistency.  
  • Pour into a microwaveable bowl and heat it for 2 to 3 minutes depending on your microwave until the kheer (pudding) bubbles up. 


  • Serve hot. 

Quick Tips
- We used the Vitamix blender and blended the ingredients on Smoothie mode; about 90 seconds. 
- For a creamier taste, you can use whole milk or 2 Tbsp of heavy cream. 

November 21, 2020

Tip Six - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Dal Chawal (Rice and Lentils)

 

Dosakaya pappu with rice and crispies

Dal Chawal is considered to be basic food for Indians who consume a good amount of both rice and lentils. However, did our ancestors know the importance of this food pairing?

All over India, it is a commonly practiced combination among rich and poor eaten with love or times when vegetables are not available or too expensive to buy them. Little did we know the nutrition pack and health benefits of this pack. Even though we make it and eat it routinely, these facts might make us give this poor man's food a little more appreciation next time we eat it.

Lentils fall into the category of legumes and have a row of seeds enclosed by a fibrous shell. Whole grain rice is rice that has the germ, endosperm, and bran intact, and as a result, is considered a whole grain. Let us consider their health benefits in various ways.

1. Digestive Health

Legumes such as lentils are high in dietary fiber at 16 grams per cup; whole-grain brown rice contains just 2 grams in a cup. Fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Lentils contain a higher amount of insoluble than soluble fiber, and whole grain rice contains more soluble than insoluble. Eating the two together gives you a good balance of each. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the stomach, helps reduce cholesterol, and promotes stable blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber creates bulk in the stool, which helps it pass easily and prevents constipation and other intestinal disturbances.

2. Stable Blood Sugar Levels

The glycemic index, or GI, is a chart that ranks how fast a carb-containing food elevates blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods cause a slow increase in blood sugar, which, in turn, gives you stable energy levels. High-GI foods cause a fast spike in blood sugar, which leads to a fast rise in energy, usually followed by a sudden "crash," or dip in energy. High-fiber complex carbs, such as lentils rank low on the glycemic index GI = 21 - 32 (<55). Whole-grain brown rice is in the middle-level (56-69) with a value of 68 whereas white rice falls in High Index at GI of 73. Low-GI foods have been shown to help keep type 2 diabetes under control and they also aid weight loss, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A ranking of 55 or less out of 100 is considered low. Together consumed, rice and lentils fall in the low GI category even with white rice (lacks other nutrients removed during polishing).

3. Stronger Integumentary System

The integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, and nails. Protein is a key macronutrient needed for integumentary strength, and it also helps with immune function and muscle growth. Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. Foods that have all the essential amino acids present are called complete proteins. Foods that lack one or more essential amino acids are called incomplete. Pairing two incomplete protein foods together, such as lentils and whole grain rice, will form a complete protein. This is important if you happen to be a vegan or strict vegetarian.

4. Energy Production & Disease Risk

Lentils and Brown rice have B-vitamins useful for digestion and minerals like manganese which are important antioxidants that help absorb free radicals that are responsible for inflammation, heart disease, and aging.

So feel proud of eating rice and lentil combined Indian dishes, like Khichdi, Pongali, Pabiyyam, Undrallu, and Sambhar rice (Bisibelabath). As well as rice with dal (prepared lentil dishes) with tomato, spinach, spinach and green mango, gongura or long gourd, etc. 

Pongali

 

South Indian Khichdi

Undrallu

Gongura pappu


Spinach and Green Mango pappu


Dosakaya pappu

You can check out the recipes of these dishes by clicking the name or by visiting our Recipes page. Be well and healthy everyone. 


*Reference: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-lentils-whole-grain-rice-2159.html

November 12, 2020

Gluten Free Diwali Sweets - Badam Burfi (Almond Treats)



Are you excited about Diwali as much as I am??

πŸͺ” Diwali, the festival of lights, is just days away. Every year, we celebrate this holiday with family and friends, yummy dishes, and desserts. πŸͺ”

πŸͺ” This year, it will be a bit different because of COVID-19. We are only celebrating within our family and keeping the group small. However, I'm still planning to make yummy dishes to enjoy the festivities. πŸͺ”

My sister and I πŸ’“ classic Indian sweets like Kaju Katli or Kaju burfi which is made with cashews. I never thought πŸ€” about making the nutty burfis at home. 


Almond Burfi


My mom decided to give it a try. Instead of making Kaju burfi, she made Almond burfi. She also wanted to make a sweet that is easy and requires few ingredients and calories πŸ˜€. 



Costco to the rescue πŸ‘! She found Almond flour at Costco and made the sweet without making the flour herself. Read below to see how easy it is to make this yummy dessert. πŸ˜‹

Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cups Almond flour (we used Kirkland brand)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup room temperature water
  • 1/4 cup Mavva/Kova (milk powder) optional if not use 1&1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 6 to 7 cardamom, seeded and powdered
  • 1 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
  • 4 to 5 pistachios, finely chopped 


Procedure

1) Heat water and sugar and cardamom powder in a medium non-stick saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. 


2) Slowly add the almond flour, mavva, and ghee and stir continuously until the water is absorbed and the mixture is not sticking to the fingers when tested. It took about 9 minutes until the mixture came together. 





3) Remove from heat and immediately press the burfi dough onto wax paper evenly that is rubbed with ghee to help make it non-stick. Make sure there aren't any bumps. Use a rolling pin gently to press down and adjust to even sides to a rectangle shape.



4) Then, sprinkle the pistachios all over pressed burfi dough and press them down gently with the rolling pin. We evened out the edges so we could cut burfi dough into diamond shapes (as shown below). 


5) Cover the cut burfis with wax paper and put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set. Then place the burfi pieces onto your favorite plate or serving dish and enjoy! 



πŸͺ” From my family to yours...Diwali Mubarak πŸͺ”

November 10, 2020

Tip Five - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Carrots or Sweet Potatoes with Plant fats





Carrots are orange because they are rich in beta-carotene which gives them their trademark orange color. But I was surprised to learn that sweet potatoes are also rich in Carotene. Both of these vegetables contain many healthy nutrients in addition to fiber. 

Let us consider their health benefits:

Carrots are crunchy, tasty and in addition to beta-carotene, they are a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. In addition to these nutrients, carrots are weight-loss friendly due to low calories, reduce risk of cancer, and improve eye health with Vitamin A formed from beta carotene in our body. Carrots also contain a 241% DV, a daily value of Vitamin A.

Carrots contain pectin which is a soluble fiber that can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down our digestion of sugar and starch. It can also feed the friendly bacteria in our gut leading to improved health. It can also impair the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol. The insoluble fibers in carrots are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin which reduces the risk of constipation and promotes regular bowel movement.

Sweet Potato:

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene which raises the blood levels of vitamin A particularly true in children. Betacarotene is an antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals (which damage DNA and trigger inflammation) that are linked to causing cancer, heart disease, and aging. Therefore eating antioxidant-rich foods is good for your health. A 100g serving of sweet potato consists of 769% DV, a daily value of Vitamin A.

Like carrots, sweet potatoes also contain a soluble fiber called viscous fiber that absorbs water in our gut and softens the stool. The insoluble fibers add bulk and also get fermented by the bacteria in the colon release short-chain fatty acids that feed the cells of the intestinal lining and keep them strong and healthy.

As we have seen here both carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in betacarotene that forms into Vitamin A to boost our eye health. But beta-carotene absorption is boosted in our body when these vegetables were eaten along with some plant fat as it is a fat-soluble nutrient.

We propose to pair carrots with hummus (or some type of fat like peanut butter) as an excellent snack, the oil content in hummus from the sesame paste will help absorb more beta-carotene.

For sweet potatoes, it is a better option to saute or steam them and cut into pieces and pair them with nuts like sunflower or pumpkin seeds to enhance the carotene absorption. Cooking reduces the beta-carotene but it can retain 70% of this nutrient and still considered an excellent source.

So next time you are at a supermarket, remember to grab a few carrots or sweet potatoes or both to help boost your health in many good ways.

October 27, 2020

Tip Four - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Vitamin C and Plant-based Iron

Spinach with Vitamin C (Orange or lime juice)


Iron is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. A diet lacking in iron can result in low energy levels, shortness of breath, irritability, headaches, dizziness, or anemia.

Iron can be found in two forms in foods - heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in animal products, whereas non-heme is only found in plants. The recommended daily allowance/ intake (RDA/ RDI) is based on a person's gender and life stage.

-Post-menopausal women and men, 8mg/ day
-Mensurating women, 18g/ day
-Pregnant women 27g/ day

Non-heme iron tends to be less easily absorbed by our bodies than heme iron. Hence the RDI for vegetarians or vegans is 1.8 times higher than for meat-eaters.

To best absorb non-heme iron (plant-based), we need to pair it with a source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps break the iron down into a form that the body can more easily absorb. Absorption will be much greater if both the nutrients are in a single meal. 

Spinach provides many health benefits but very few calories. About 3.5 oz (100g) of raw spinach contains 2.7mg of iron or a 15% daily allowance. Leafy greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, and beet greens contain between 2.4 - 6.4mg of iron per cooked cup. For example, 100g of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times more than 100g of salmon.

Below is a salad recipe that pairs the non-heme goodness of plant-based food with Vitamin C enriched food:
 
Spinach and Orange Salad

Baby Spinach                2 cups packed
Orange (any type)         10 - 12 wedges de-skinned
Olive oil                        1 tbsp
Black pepper                  To taste or 1/4th tsp.
Walnuts (optional)        10 - 12 pieces

Place spinach in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, add pepper, and garnish it with orange wedges and walnuts. Toss well and serve. You can also make a colorful salad with spinach and sliced strawberries that have a good amount of Vitamin C (a 3.5oz contains 59mg of Vit C or 98% daily value). Other combos: Broccoli with bell Peppers, chickpeas with tomatoes.

Who would have thought these simple ingredients would make such a yummy salad. We couldn't wait to share it with all of you. 

We hope you are enjoying our tips on food pairings to boost nutrition. Keep posted for more tips. 

October 23, 2020

Poornalu - A Gluten Free Festival Sweet

Yummy Poornalu!


Today is Durga Ashtami. It is celebrated with great passion and fervor, all over India and especially in West Bengal. 


Ashtami marks the eighth day of the Navratri and on this auspicious day, devotees observe rigorous fast, feast, and worship Goddess Durga who symbolizes πŸ’ͺ strength. A celebration of traditional culture and customs, massive idols of Goddess Durga are installed throughout India while enormous puja pandals are set up at various places for devotees to visit and worship.

 


Poornalu (or Boorelu, as known in Telugu speaking regions) is a traditional Andhra sweet that is most commonly made for festivals like Dussehra, Varalakshmi Puja, Ugadi, etc, and also served at weddings. With the advent of milk-based sweets, the popularity of traditional sweets has dwindled in the past few years. Lately, sweets like Poornalu are making a comeback along with the interest in traditional culture habits.

This Poornalu recipe was passed down to my mom from her mother who learned to make it from her mother-in-law. I love learning about these dishes because it is a way for me to learn about culture and family history. This year has been especially difficult because my maternal grandmother passed away at the end of March. She used to visit us during the festival season and shared stories about the festivals and the food. She was a vivacious spirit. 

Below is the recipe for this sweet. Hope you like it as much as I do. 


Ingredients for the lentil filling
- 1 cup channa dal or yellow split peas
- 1 cup grated jaggery 
- 10 to 12 cardamom pods, seeded and (powdered with a pinch of sugar)


Ingredients for the dough
- 3/4 cup urad dal (husked black gram dal), soaked for 5-6 hours or overnight and ground to a thick fine paste
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of baking soda

Ingredients for frying
- 3 cups of vegetable oil

Procedure
1) Pressure cook channa dal with plenty of water until dal is soft but not soupy. Using a colander, drain the excess water. Transfer the dal into a flat container and mash well until it is in paste consistency.

2) Add the jaggery and cardamom to the dal paste into a non-stick pan and keep mixing under low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes together (approx. 10 minutes) without sticking to the walls. Transfer it into a container and cool it for 15-20 minutes. 

3) Grease a plate with 1/2 tsp of oil and make lime size balls of the lentil mixture and arrange them on the plate without touching each other. 



4) Mix the rice flour, salt, and baking soda into the ground urad dal paste and add water as needed to loosen it to a pancake batter consistency. 


5) Heat oil in the frying pan on medium heat, when heat it felt to your palm placed safely at a distance above the oil, drop a small amount of dough into the oil. If the dough rises up to the surface of the oil quickly, the oil is ready for frying. 





6) Take a lentil ball and dip in the coating dough well to cover all over and gently drop it into the oil. Continue this step with an additional 3-4 balls coated and gently dropped into the oil. After a couple of minutes when the oil bubbles subside on the Purnalu, turn them over and continue to fry them to golden brown color. Using a slotted ladle, collect them from the oil, and let the oil drain further by placing them into a strainer. In a couple of minutes, transfer them onto a flat serving dish. Continue these frying steps with remaining lentil balls. 


7) Serve them hot to experience the crunchy coating. 




Quick Tips
- Brown sugar can be substituted for jaggery; if jaggery is not readily available. Keep in mind, it will have a slightly different taste. Adjust the brown sugar as per your taste. 
- Store-bought dosa dough can be used instead of making your own coating batter. 
- Cold Purnalu can be reheated in the toaster oven for a better taste; just dab the oozed-out oil after heating. 
- Dry coconut can be substituted if fresh coconut is not available. 

October 22, 2020

Tip Three: Boost Nutrition to Food Items - Wheat and Ragi Flatbread

Wheat and Ragi Roti or Flatbread

Roti or fire-toasted/puffed flatbread is the most common part of the meal all over India, but more prevalent in the Central and Northern parts of the country. It is made with whole wheat flour and comparatively nutritious as compared to another basic grain such as Rice. 

Diabetes is very prevalent among Indians because carbohydrates are a major portion of Indian food which increases the glucose release in the system. This value is called as Glycemic Index (GI).

In simple words, the Glycemic Index is explained as the measurement of glucose release after the intake of carbohydrate-containing food. It is a carbohydrate ranking based on its impact on glucose release levels. The GI index is measured from 1 - 100 and is divided into three levels as follows:

  • Low GI: 1 to 55
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69
  • High GI: 70 to 100
However, the GI index does not take into account other nutritional content of the food such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals. To counteract the quantity issue, researchers developed the glycemic load (GL) measurement, which accounts for the quantity of the food being eaten. The glycemic load looks at both the quality and the quantity of the carb. It is calculated by multiplying the GI by the number of carbohydrates (in grams) in your portion size, then dividing that number by 100. It is recommended to keep your daily GL under 100.

For example, an apple has a GI of 40 and contains 15 grams of carbs. (40 x 15)/100 = 6, so the glycemic load of an apple is 6. This is considered a low GL food.

The GL values can also be broken down into three ranges.

  • Low GL: 1 to 10
  • Medium GL: 11 to 19
  • High GL: 20 or more
Depending on your health goals, following a GI-based diet might mean you'll be able to rely less on standard dieting measures such as calorie counting or regimented portion control. Simply being more mindful of your carb choices rather than severely limiting them can also be more sustainable in the long run, as compared to more restrictive diets.

Any guesses what is the GI value of Whole Wheat Roti is? It stands at 69; at an upper Medium level. That's pretty high πŸ˜” !

Can we reduce the GI value so that the basic food item can still be enjoyed and will be nutritious? 

By pairing the Whole Wheat flour with Ragi flour, you can reduce the GI value. Ragi Flour stands at <40 GI value (finger millet). It is considered a poor man's food. I wonder why? 




Make the roti dough using Whole Wheat /Ragi flour in a 1:1 ratio that will reduce the GI value and GL too, ultimately. In such a ratio, the GI will be 69+40/2 = 54.5, taking it to a low GI level. In addition to lowering the GI value, Ragi flour has many other nutritious qualities.

Ragi is finger millet, which is high in protein and minerals in comparison to all other cereals and millets. It is also a source of protein, which is perfect for vegetarians. Ragi is a great source of iron making it beneficial for individuals with low hemoglobin levels. 

Below are the instructions on how we made the whole wheat and ragi roti or flatbread:

The ingredients needed to make the dough for flatbread are 1/2 cup of Whole Wheat flour (atta), 1/2 cup of Ragi flour, 2 pinches salt, and 100 ml of lukewarm water. Combine the dry ingredients and slowly add the water to bring the ingredients together. Make sure to gather all the mixture from the sides and knead the dough until it's not sticky and make it into a ball. Rub a teaspoon of cooking oil on the surface of the dough and place it in a bowl with a lid to cover. Put it aside for 15 -30 minutes. 



Quick Tips: Add water slowly as sometimes based on the flour, it may not require all the amount. If the dough seems flaky and dry, add a little more water.  However, if the dough seems sticky, add more flour to absorb the water.

                                         

Make lime size balls and then roll out each ball into flat roti with a rolling pin. Make sure each roti is evenly rolled out. 



Then toast each of the roti for a couple of minutes on each side on the Tawa (or flat pan). Next, transfer the toasted rotis onto the round stainless steel BBQ Grill Netted Mesh with Handle. Once the roti or flatbread puffs up, transfer into a flat container with a lid to keep the rotis warm. Rub or spray oil or butter to keep them soft.

The rotis or flatbread are now ready to be served and enjoyed with your favorite curry. We have a great selection of curries as well; check them out on our recipes page. 

We hope you are enjoying reading about our tips during this Navratri. If you have a good tip to share, please post a comment. We love hearing from our readers. 


*Reference Materials: https://www.verywellhealth.com/glycemic-index-chart-for-common-foods-1087476

October 20, 2020

Tip Two: Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings - Apple with Peanut Butter

What is your favorite type of Apple?
Empire, Mutsu Crispin, Gala, Red Delicious, Cortland, or Jonagold? 


There is a saying that...

🍎🍏 AN APPLE A DAY, KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY! πŸ πŸŽ

How many of us really believe that?


 

My husband and I went apple picking two weeks ago and picked about half a bushel bag of apples. And since then, we've been eating 2-3 apples a day. 

I will tell you this...an apple actually has plenty of nutrients in it that helps us keep many health conditions at bay. Below are some nutritional facts about Apples:

  • A medium-sized apple has 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, potassium, magnesium, Vit K, as well as other B-Vitamins. It also has 95 calories. 
  • An apple contains fiber and water, two qualities that make them filling and aids in weight loss. Half of the fiber is in the skin so eat it with the skin as it also contains some polyphenols.
    • However, make sure to wash it thoroughly before eating. 
  • The high soluble fiber in apples helps lower cholesterol and heart health and the polyphenols help with blood pressure, stroke risk, and Type-2 Diabetes. 
  • The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in apples help preserve bone mass as we age.

You've heard about...





However, did you know about Peanut Butter Apple time? 🍎 Apples are often eaten as a snack. Its nutrition can be boosted further by pairing it with protein-rich peanut butter to make a wholesome sustenance snack that fuels our body. This snack can even appeal to muscle-building πŸ’ͺ men. πŸ




Peanut butter contains protein, essential vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Below are some health facts about peanut butter.  In every 2 tablespoons of the butter, there is:
  • Protein: 7.02 grams. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for average women is 46 grams and for men is 56 grams. 
  • Magnesium: Contains 57 milligrams; RDA of 310-320 milligrams, for women and 400-420 milligrams, for men. It plays a key role in many chemical processes of the body. 
  • Phosphorous: 107 milligrams, providing 15.3% of the RDA. Phosphorous helps build healthy cells and bones. 
  • Zinc, Niacin, and Vitamin B6 that are helpful for various body functions like immunity, digestion, enzyme reactions, and protein synthesis. 

Here are more fun facts for the Health Nuts

By bringing these two nutrient-filled food items together, we are boosting their health benefits. The ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats in peanut butter is similar to Olive oil which is considered a Heart-healthy option. However, its consumption should be limited to a moderate level as each serving also has 3.05 grams or 23.5% of RDA of saturated fats (to aim for less than 13 grams per day). 

So, next time instead of thinking...peanut butter jelly time, think of Peanut Butter 🍎Apple time and enjoy its benefits!  

October 18, 2020

Tip One: Boost Nutrition to Food items - Sprouted Mung Beans

 



Mung Beans are small green-colored beans that are most commonly used in Indian cooking. We make many delicious dishes using these mung beans: dal, dosas, moong dal kattu (soup), as well as adding them to vegetable curries like carrots and moong. Steamed or cooked beans can also be added to chaat or bhel puri. The dried version of the whole mung bean is typically used and carries lots of nutrition and protein. However, it can be difficult to digest for some people and can cause abdominal distress like gas and cramps which limits their use. 

Surprisingly, the simplest way to enjoy mung beans is by sprouting them. By sprouting them, you avoid the issues, boost the nutrition value, and improve digestion. Boost their strength by getting some help from the water!


How to sprout Mung Beans

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight or for at least 10 to 12 hours. Drain the water and transfer them onto muslin or cheesecloth. Then tie them loosely, and leave them to sprout for an additional 24 to 48 hours. Sprinkle some water every few hours to keep them moist. You will notice white shoots arising from the beans. Plan to use them in 2 to 3 days' time as they tend to attract bacteria. If time is an issue, you can also buy them in grocery stores. 



Benefits of Eating Sprouts

  • Improve digestion as sprouting breaks down complex carbohydrates, and also increases the fiber content.
  • Have a good source of B-Vitamins, Potassium, and Magnesium. 
  • Pack lots of Protein as with Amino acids which help cell growth and maintenance, build strong bones and improve immunity by capturing free radicals. 
  • The high fiber content of sprouted beans helps in Weight Loss by keeping the stomach fuller for a longer time and avoid unhealthy snacking.
  • Their high Iron count helps improve the Hemoglobin levels. 
  • The high fiber in sprouts helps Cholesterol (LDL - Low-Density Lipoprotein) and decreases the risk of heart diseases.
  • Their good source of Potassium and Magnesium help maintain Blood Pressure.
  • The abundant source of Folates in sprouts help pregnant women from Neural tube defects.

 Tips to keep in mind when eating Sprouts
  • Eat them raw or steam them, but cooking kills all the nutrients in them
  • Even when sprouted at home, wash them thoroughly before eating. 
  • You can add them to salads, sandwiches, or eat just as a snack.
  • Eat sprouts in the morning or before dinner
  • In addition to Mung, wheat, Chick-peas or any other beans can be sprouted for consumption.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the first tip. Stay tuned for more tips to be shared during this Navratri. 

October 17, 2020

Legends behind Navratri and Dusshera Festivals

Every Indian looks forward to October/ November time as it marks the beginning of the major festival season bringing families together for a celebration. 

This year, we are in the midst of a pandemic which may not allow us to join together with friends and relatives as much as we want. However, we can use some novel thinking to connect with each other and enjoy the season with positive thinking. Relating to the gist of the upcoming holidays, Dusshera and Diwali, are the basis of 'the good wins over the evil'.

Dusshera Navratri begins on October 17th and culminates on October 25th which is known as Vijayadashami. Various epic stories are associated with this festival in different parts of India, such as:

  • In Northern, Western, and Central parts of India, they believe that the demon Ravana was killed on this day, hence many towns enact 'Ramleela' for nine days, and on the 10th day, effigies of Ravana are burned. 
  • In Southern India, it is believed that on Vijayadashami, the demon 'Mahishasura' was killed by the goddess Durga also called 'Mahishasura Mardini. 
  • In the Eastern part of India, it is considered that the goddess, Durga, Mahishasura Mardini comes to earth, her natal home, every year at the start of Navratri. She is welcomed with joy and festivities held in every neighborhood. On the 10th day, her idol is immersed in water denoting that she is sent home. 
Most commonly, Dusshera is associated with goddess Durga who is considered as an embodiment of strength, courage, and fierceness. Legend says that the goddess Durga defeated and killed the demon through the strength and power the other gods and goddesses transferred to her. 

While the gods and goddesses share their strength and tools with Durga to fight the demon, they stand as idols at that time. In some southern regions of India, a 'Gollu' is displayed with the arrangement of idols of gods and goddesses depicting this story.




In the spirit of this festival, using the theme of pairing to boost the strength, we're going to share 9-food tips for each day of Navratri: 
  1. Sprouted mung beans
  2. Apples with Peanut Butter
  3. Wheat and Ragi Roti (flatbread)
  4. Spinach and Orange salad
  5. Turmeric
  6. Carrots and hummus
  7. Tomato and Olive oil
  8. Beans or chickpeas with rice
  9. Avocado

We hope you will enjoy them and adopt them to boost your strength and immunity in this uncertain time.

*🌹*🌹*🌹*Happy Navratri to all! *🌹*🌹*🌹*

August 9, 2020

You're Never Too Old to Enjoy Murukku!!

Pretzels, potato chips, and Chex Mix are some examples of crunchy and fun snacks we all enjoy!

However, have you ever tried Indian snacks? Most Indian snacks are also gluten-free. Some examples are Murukku or Chakralu, Pappuchekkalu, Corn Flakes Mixture, and nutty pakoda


Whenever my relatives from India visit, they always bring these tasty and spicy snacks for us. It feels like Christmas but instead of presents, we receive snacks! 
I'm a big fan of edible presents any day! 

Murukku is a pretzel-like Indian snack. I love murukku because they are light and crunchy. Besides using gluten-free flours, you can also add ajwain seeds, whole cumin, or sesame into the mix. Every ingredient adds more flavor and taste to these snacks. 

Aren't you curious how we make this snack? Let's take a look:

Ingredients for the Dough:
3-1/2 cups rice flour
- 1 cup Roasted chana dal, finely powdered
- 1 tbsp Ajwain or Carom seeds
- 2 to 3 tsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 pinches of Hing (Asafoetida)
- 5 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil, lukewarm (to mix into the dough)
- Water (as needed to mix flours into a tight dough, not sticky or wet)

Utensils needed:
Kitchen Press (use the single star disc in the press)
Large mixing bowl
Frying pan
Mesh strainer

Ingredients for Frying:
- 2 to 3 cups Vegetable oil 

Procedure

1) Sieve together rice flour and chana dal powder into a large mixing bowl, and then add the dry ingredients as listed above. Mix well and adjust the salt and chili powder at this time by tasting a pinch of the mixture. 

2) Next, add the warm vegetable oil into the mixture and coat it well. Slowly, add water to the flour until it forms into a soft and tight lump, but it's not sticky. Keep the dough covered. 

3) Insert the single star disc into the kitchen press. Take a handful of dough, and form a log and insert it into the press cylinder and then close the cylinder with the screw-on cap. 


Make murukku in spiral design starting from the center and then circling and towards outward circle to the desired size on a greased plate or on wax paper. Cover all the spirals with a towel until you have made 10 to 15 or so to fry.  



4) Heat the oil for frying until you feel the heat when you place your palm at a safe height above the frying pan. Test the heat by dropping a small ball of dough into the oil. If the ball sizzles and surfaces to the top, then it is ready. 


Slowly insert approximately 10 murukkus (reduce the number based on your frying pan size) into the oil and fry them until golden brown by turning them over in between for uniform frying. 


Remove them from oil using a slotted ladle and put them into a mesh strainer for the oil to drain further. Later transfer into a container. 

5) Cool them for 10 to 15 minutes to attain the proper crunchiness to serve. Store them in a tight lid container after it is cooled for 1 hour. Makes approximately 30 to 40 murukkus. It is best to store this snack in a tight lid container and can be enjoyed for 15 to 20 days. 


I like stacking my murukku or chakralu as high as I can before I pop them into my mouth. How do you enjoy murukku?