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.

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

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

*🌹*🌹*🌹*Happy Navratri to all! *🌹*🌹*🌹*