Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Baked Sorghum Flour Crackers/Jowar Methi Mathri (Gluten Free recipe)

In some of my previous post I have mentioned how I have embarked on a journey to stay fit and healthy and wrote a really long post on my struggles to maintain a healthy weight. Its a very touchy topic for me or for any woman for that matter. Hence sometimes I get carried away and I write whatever comes to my mind at that very moment because of which I end up with a lonngg post. Ok I should stop now...hehehe. 

Anyhow, since the past few months I have been making a conscious effort to stay away from refined sugar, anything that has all purpose flour and deep fried foods as much as I can. Its not like I don't indulge in them once in a while but its a complete no for me on a daily basis. Somehow it can be a tad bit difficult to say no to some of my favorite fried Indian snacks like chakali, chips, bhajjis,  vadas etc...you get the idea right? :P. Also if anything that has a methi (fenugreek) in it then I can gorge on it endlessly :P. One such Indian snack is Methi Mathri which I love munching with a hot cup of ginger infused chai. Originally mathris are made with all purpose flour or combination of whole wheat flour and APF. These are also deep fried....Sighhhh. But if you are currently in a situation like me :P and are searching for a yummy baked version, then fret not. I have come up with the perfect recipe for thin, crispy gluten free and healthy baked version of these goodies. It is quite easy and fuss free recipe. Give this a try and I am sure you will love it. 






This recipe will yield around 30-40 mathris/crackers

Ingredients:

2 cups of sorghum flour/jowar flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Salt to taste (i used around 1/2 tsp of salt)
Warm water for making the dough
2 tsp of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of carom seeds
1 tsp of crushed black pepper
4 tbsp of oil

You can skip the kasuri methi and instead use other herbs like thyme, rosemary etc.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan. In a bowl add the sorghum flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Now add the hot oil. Mix in and rub the oil onto the flour with your hands. At this stage the flour should resemble the texture of bread crumbs. 

2) Now add rest of the ingredients that is kasuri methi, sesame seeds, carom seeds and crushed black pepper. Mix everything well.

3) Start adding warm water little a time till all the mixture comes together and forms a dough. I used approximately 3/4 cup of warm water. Gently knead it and cover it with a plastic wrap/clingwrap and let it rest for 10-12 mins. This dough does not much of kneading so do not knead it too much. 

4) While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and place the oven rack one level below the top rack. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep this ready.

5) Time to make some crackers. Divide the dough into two or three portions. Take a piece of cling wrap or plastic wrap and place it on your counter top or rolling board. Place a portion of the dough on top of it. Now place another piece of cling wrap on top of the dough and start to roll it with the help of a rolling pin. 

6) There is no need to roll it very thin else the dough will form cracks and it will be difficult to lift the crackers. Roll it nice and even as much as possible. Now remove the cling wrap from the top and using a cookie cutter or pizza cutter cut the crackers in any shape of your liking. I used a pizza cutter and cut it into small squares. Brush the crackers with a little oil on top. You may poke holes on the crackers with the help of a fork but you can skip this step. 

7) Gently lift the crackers with a help of a spatula (I used a frosting spatula) and place it on the lined baking sheet. 

8) Bake at 350F(180C) on a preheated oven for 25- 30 mins. Turn the crackers midway after 10 -15mins for even baking on both sides. I baked them for around 30 mins to get a nice color all over them. But 20 -25 mins of baking should be fine. However keep checking on them in between as different ovens can vary with respect to temperature. 

9) After baking transfer the crackers/mathris onto a plate and let them cool completely. They will be more crispy after cooling. 

Enjoy these baked goodies with a hot cup a chai or coffee. 








Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cocoa and Quinoa Energy Bars

Ever since I started making energy bars at home I have not bought a single pack from any grocery store. I absolutely enjoy making my very own version of energy bars wherein I can add ingredients of my choice and the fact that it is naturally sweetened and free of preservatives takes the cake. 

I have already made a baked version (Oats and Nuts Energy Bars) and my favorite non baked version (Amarantha and Dates Energy Bars) of energy bars. You can take a look at the recipes here and here

This energy bar is also a no bake, super easy like throw in everything and mix kinda recipe. I have used cocoa powder to add a different flavor profile. But do not expect this to have an intense chocolate flavor. This energy bar is mildly chocolaty,  super crunchy because of the popped/puffed quinoa and very much chewy in texture. You can add chopped chunks of dark chocolate for an extra kick of chocolate.






This is a small recipe and makes about 8 - 10 energy bars.

Ingredients:

1 cup pureed/crushed medjool dates (approx 14 -16 pitted soft medjool dates)
1/3 cup of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup of popped/puffed quinoa (If you want to know how to make popped/puffed quinoa click here)
1/2 cup of popped/puffed amaranth (You can skip this and add more quinoa or more nuts of your choice)
A little less than 1/4 of chopped almonds
A little less than 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
You can use any nuts of your choice.

Method:

1) Lightly grease an 8"x 8" baking dish with coconut oil or vegetable oil or any baking dish in which you will be able to spread the mixture to make bars. Keep this aside.

1) In a blender/mixer puree the pitted medjool dates until it is gooey in texture. If you are using dates other than medjool which are hard in texture, soak them in little warm water for few minutes before making a puree.

2) In another bowl add the rest of the ingredients. To this add the pureed dates and vanilla extract.

3) Mix everything thoroughly until nicely combined. If you are finding it hard to mix everything with a spatula then just grease your hand with coconut oil and use you hand to combine everything nicely.

4) Spread the mixture evenly into the greased baking dish pressing with your fingers. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly. Cover with a cling wrap/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1- 2 hrs.

5) Cut into squares or any shape of your liking.

Crunchy and yummy cocoa and quinoa energy bars are ready.

Have you tried Quinoa yet? Do you have questions about what exactly quinoa is and why you should include it in your diet? If you are not aware of the health benefits of Quinoa, then you should check out the below article by Marry Spencer in which she has explained everything you need to know about the mighty Quinoa. :)





How to make popped/puffed quinoa?

Puffed or popped quinoa is a fun way to enjoy this super healthy grain. Top it over your morning cereal bowl, smoothie bowl, salad, add them in your homemade energy bars, homemade granola or simply snack on them. The options are endless. 

Homemade popped quinoa tastes very much like popcorn but is very crispy but unlike popcorn it will not be fluffy after popping. It is very easy to make your very own puffed quinoa at home. Let see how. 





Method:

1) Take quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and wash it under cold running tap water thoroughly. This procedure is required to wash off the saponin that coats the quinoa which gives off a very bitter taste. Hence rinse the quinoa nice and good before proceeding with rest of the steps. 

2) Spread the washed quinoa with the help of a spoon or spatula onto an ungreased baking sheet. 

3) Dry the quinoa in the oven set at the lowest temperature (mine is 170F) with the oven door open.

4) Stir the quinoa frequently to ensure all the grains dries evenly and thoroughly for around 30mins. 

5) Take a regular sauce pan or a heavy bottomed pan and heat it on a medium flame. Add around a teaspoon of any oil like coconut, vegetable or peanut oil in the pan. I used a non stick saucepan, added no oil and it worked perfectly fine. 

6) Add 3 - 4 tsp of quinoa at a time so that there is an even layer of quinoa in the pan. You can add more if you are using a large pan. Cover with lid or hold the lid in your direction as the quinoa starts popping. Shake the saucepan in between when the quinoa starts popping. Trust me you will need a lid for this because they will start jumping and flying out of the pan.

7) You will know its done when the popping sounds reduces/stops. Immediately transfer the quinoa into a bowl or a dish and repeat the same procedure with rest of the quinoa. As seen in the picture the quinoa will be brown in color post popping/puffing. 

Enjoy :)

Friday, 13 May 2016

Kerala Fish Curry Recipe

I have been wanting to post this recipe of my favorite fish curry for a really long time. I generally prepare this curry during weekends and for us weekends are mostly lazed out and hence until now couldn't find time to click pics. Anyhow, today was the day when I finally found time to click some pics especially of the cooking procedure. Hubby had an off today and it was because of his help that I could capture some pics of the cooking procedure as well.   

My mom prepares two types of fish curry at home, one with coconut and another without coconut. We always have this curry with steaming hot rice, tempered boiled tapioca and a side veggie. This Kerala fish curry with malabar tamarind or kudampuli as we call it in Malayalam gives it a very unique tangy flavor and the coconut gives it a rich super creamy texture. I once served this curry to a guest and he thought I had used yogurt in the curry because of its creamy texture. This is my hubs favorite and he always asks me to make this whenever we buy fish. 

Now if you love coconut like I do I am sure you will love this recipe. I obviously learned this recipe from my mother. Although I never cooked it back home in India :P, it has now become a favorite must have weekend fish recipe for us here in US. So lets take a look at how this delicious dish is made :).



Ingredients:

Serves: 2- 3 or maybe 2 if you love eating more than 1 piece of fish at a time...hehehe

For the Fish:
Fish of your choice have the scales removed, cleaned, washed and cut into pieces. I used 1 large golden pomfret for this recipe and cut it vertically. Made slits on the sides of the fish pieces so that the all the flavors of the spices can blend in with the fish.
I used 4 pieces for the curry and the rest I fried...yummmmm!!!

For the curry:
1/2  to 3/4 cup of freshly grated coconut
1 - 2 whole dry red chili (I used 1 whole dry kashmiri red chili for color and 1 regular dry red chili for spiciness)
1 tsp of kashmiri chili powder (if not using whole dry red kashmiri chili)
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
1 - 2 pearl onions
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 - 2 kudampuli/malabar tamarind/garcinia cambogia
1/4 tsp powder of roasted fenugreek seeds
Water as needed
Salt to taste

For tempering:
1- 2 tsp of coconut oil
1 green chili (optional; add only if you want the curry to be more spicy)
4 - 5 curry leaves
1 inch of ginger julienned or finely chopped

Method:

1) Add all of the mentioned ingredients for the curry except the malabar tamarind and fenugreek seeds powder in a blender/mixer grinder bowl. Add enough water and grind to make a smooth paste. Keep this aside.

2) Wash the malabar tamarind/kudampuli and soak it in warm water. Keep this aside.

3) Heat a cooking vessel/kadai or if you have a cooking claypot then even more better (it enhances the taste of this dish). Once hot add the coconut oil.

4) To the hot coconut oil add the ginger and curry leaves, if using green chili add it at this time. Saute on a medium flame until the raw smell of ginger goes away.

5) Now add the prepared coconut paste, salt and add water as needed. I prefer my curry to be little on the thicker side so I added accordingly. Here add water as per your liking.

6) Cook the curry on a medium flame and once it starts boiling add the soaked tamarind. Boil the curry for 5 - 10 mins on a medium flame. After few mins you will notice the curry will be more deeper in color because of the tamarind. Check and adjust seasoning.

7) Now add the fish pieces into the curry. Stir and let it cook on a medium for another 10-12mins or until the fish is completely cooked. Finally add the roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds and stir. Let it cook for a min or two and switch of the flame.

And thats it....delicious Kerala Fish curry is ready to be served with hot steaming rice. :)








Saturday, 7 May 2016

Chicken and Roasted Veggies Lettuce Wraps

So today was one of those days when I wanted to eat something that was healthy, light (yet filling) on my tummy and something that wouldn't require too much of time in the kitchen. So after a lot of pondering I remembered I had a bunch of lettuce in the refrigerator. So what better than a good lettuce wrap. Grabbed all the veggies I could find in the refrigerator and some chicken breast. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips added some salt, pepper, lemon juice, red chili powder, minced ginger and cilantro paste. Roasted the veggies with some salt, pepper, olive oil and minced garlic and pan fried the chicken. Tossed and mixed everything and served warm over some lettuce leaves. Finally garnished with my favorite cubed avocados and drizzled with a bit of lemon juice. And my lunch was served. Yummm!!!

This is a super easy recipe that uses very less and basic ingredients yet tastes really good. Do give this recipe a try on days when you what something simple to eat or when you are not in a mood to cook anything elaborate. :)




Ingredients:

Serves  1 to 2

For roasted vegetables:
You can use any veggies of your choice and chop or cut into cubes however you like it. They is no hard and fast rule as to how much or what should be the quantity of the veggies. This is what I did.

1/2 cup of zucchini chopped
4 - 5 portobello mushrooms chopped
5 - 6 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup of cubed green/yellow or red bell pepper
1/3 cup of cubed onions
1/2 an avocado for garnishing (optional)
Washed and cleaned lettuce leaves for serving
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 clove of garlic minced
1 - 2 tsp of olive oil

For the Chicken:

Around 1/2 - 3/4 cup of chicken breast sliced into strips
1 tbsp of cilantro paste
1 tsp of minced ginger
Salt, pepper and chili powder for seasoning.
1 tsp of lemon juice
Oil for roasting
Here you can also use any of your favorite chicken seasoning

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 450F.

2) In a bowl add the cilantro paste, ginger, salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and mix well. To this add the chicken and mix thoroughly. Keep this aside and let the chicken sit in the marinade for 15- 20mins.

3) In an another bowl add olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic and mix it thoroughly. To this add the washed, cleaned and chopped veggies. Toss it nicely to coat the veggies with the seasoning.

4) Spread the veggies onto a baking sheet and bake the veggies at 450F for 15 to 20mins. Keep stirring the veggies in between for even cooking.

5) While the veggies are roasting in the oven, heat a pan with 1 - 2 tsp of oil. To the hot pan add the chicken and cook for 10- 12 mins or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

6) Mix the roasted veggies and chicken together. Serve warm on the lettuce leaves and garnish with a drizzle of lemon juice and chopped avocados.

And thatssss a wraaapppp :P



Friday, 6 May 2016

I met the Coolest Pigeon on Earth :D

Hey guys.....

So yesterday I was accompanying my friend who is here for a vacation to NYC and she wanted to check out the very last attraction on her list, the Empire State Building. 
The weather was nice, a little windy though. My dear friend was happily clicking photographs and that is when I spotted something very interesting. A cute pigeon sitting on the other side of the fence of the observatory. I know that doesn't sound interesting at all. What made it interesting was the fact that it was so close to the fence and to all the people clicking pictures. But this fellow just didn't care even as everyone around was frantically clicking pictures and were too close for comfort. It was as if the pigeon was more than happy to pose for all the photographers. And to my surprise Mr. Pigeon was sitting at a perfect position. Can you spot the Freedom Tower in the background? Clicked this picture with my LG G3. 

Introducing the most coolest pigeon on Earth or should I say in NYC :P.....hahahahaha.

Happy Weekend Everyone:)



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