Spinach Pancakes

Hearty and Healthy twist to traditional pancakes

Pancakes are not known for their health benefits. But just imagine a light fluffy pancake topped with butter, maple syrup, some whipped cream and fresh berries. I cannot deprive myself from this pleasure. But today I decided to go on healthier way and prepared savory pancakes.

I substituted sugar with salt and red chili powder, stirred in some veggies like spinach, tomato and red onion with some dhana-jeera powder and some fennel seeds and ajwain seeds for the extra kick. The result? Outstandingly tasty and healthy pancakes – made from scratch using whole wheat flour and some homemade “bhajani” flour!

spinach pancake

1/2 pound chopped spinach
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup low-fat milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon dhana-jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds
oil as needed
optional ingredients:
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion or scallions, finely chopped.

Method –
Finely chop spinach leaves, a small tomato and a red onion.

Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix. Whisk an egg in a separate bowl. Add milk and all dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth batter forms. Then stir in all veggies. The batter should be spoonable but not pourable. Adjust the consistency by adding either spoonful of water or flour as needed.
Heat a skillet over medium-high flame, add little oil or use non-stick oil spray.

Place a ladle full of batter on the skillet and spread it into a pancake. Cook until the wet side of pancake bubbles. Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes until brown.

These savory pancakes are packed with flavor, good amount of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A and fibre.

Bon Apetite!

My new affection : Oatmeal

When I saw my friend eating oatmeal at Starbucks, I literally laughed at him. It looked like baby food to me. But the price and especially the three toppings – brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts caught my attention. Since then I have become a big fan of oatmeal.

Chinese tradition believes that the most important meal of the day is the first. So why not make it nutritious and delicious? I like to start my day off with this big bowl of warm and hearty old-fashioned oatmeal graced with fresh fruits such as strawberries, banana, red apple and walnuts and honey.

And here is another way to have it as a snack – Healthy and Hearty Homemade Granola Bars

Stay tuned for more info on instant oatmeal vs old-fashioned rolled oats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pongal

It was a Saturday morning, 11 am; my friend and I were waiting to be seated in a room packed with people and filled with aromas of Sambar and Madras Coffee. The heavy rains did not have any effect on turnout at this small local restaurant, ‘The Pongal’. As soon as we settled down, my friend ordered two plates of pongal. Wait, what? Isn’t it a name of a festival? Before he could explain, the food arrived. And oh my god it was nothing less than a festive moment. On a big banana leaf, there lies a big serving of ‘pongal’, two very tempting Medhu Vadas along with green chutney, red chutney and a bowl of Sambar. It looked like rice and dal with no tadka but lots of ghee, quite similar to our Moogachi Khichadi. I have never had pongal like ‘The Pongal’ anywhere else. This is an humble attempt to recreate the taste of Venn (Khara) Pongal.

Serves :4 Prep time + Cooking Time : 20 mins

Ingredients :

1 cup Rice
1 cup moong dal
4 cups water
2 tbsp fresh coconut
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp peppercorns
For Seasoning 
2 tbspn ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 green chillies
a pinch of hing powder
4-5 curry leaves
handful of chopped cashew nuts

Soak rice and moong dal in cold water and keep it aside as you prepare other ingredients. Finely chop fresh coconut and ginger. Slice green chilies in halves. Add 4 cups of water in pressure cooker, few peppercorns, ginger and coconut pieces. Drain the excess water from rice and dal and add both to this water. Add turmeric powder and close the lid. Let it whistle for 2-3 times. Once pressure goes down, open the lid and mix salt with it. Transfer it to a serving bowl, so that it retains the water content. If you keep it in pressure cooker for longer, the pongal may become dry.

It’s tadka time! Heat the ghee in a small tadka pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing powder in the same order. Add curry leaves, cashew nuts and green chilies. Wait for 1-2 minutes till cashew become golden brown. Add this sizzling ghee on the pongal. The cumin seeds, curry leaves and hing add so many flavors to this simple dish, you won’t be able to wait longer. Traditionally it’s served with coconut chutney, sambar and Medhu vada.

Pongal 101 –

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamilnadu and it coincides with the festival Makar Sankranti celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means “boiling over” or “spill over” which symbolizes material abundance in household.

Pongal is also a name of a popular rice dish unique to Tamil cuisine. There are two varieties – Venn (white) pongal which is a spicy (khara) version made using rice and moong dal quite similar yet different than moogachi khichadi (Maharashtrian comfort food); typically served at breakfast or brunch.

Sakkarai (pronounced Shakra) Pongal which is sweet, similar to Narali bhaat but it contains jaggery typically made during festivals and offered to God as prasadam.

Homemade Granola Bars

Everyone loves oatmeal right? I mean the flavored ones.. I had a bunch of plain oatmeal packets stacked in my pantry and I used to wonder there has to be a better way of having original/old fashioned oatmeal. I saw this recipe by Ina Garten on Food network and I was so happy to discover my new favorite snack – “Granola Bars”. They look like just out of wrapper – healthy and delicious 🙂 Here is a slight modified version of the original recipe –

Ingredients -
5-6 packets of old-fashioned instant oatmeal
1 cup sliced walnuts (or almonds if you like)
1 cup shredded coconut
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried blueberries (or cranberries if you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You can use any flat surfaced baking dish and line it with a parchment paper. No need to butter it additionally.

Mix the oatmeal, walnuts, and coconut together on the baking dish and bake for 10 to 12 minutesuntil lightly browned. Stir it occasionally.

Place the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before cutting into squares.

The yummy healthy granola bars are ready to eat!

Sending this to Breakfast Club – More than Tea & Toast hosted by Ruth’s Deliciously Dairy Free