बीटाची कोशिंबीर Beetachi koshimbir (Beet Salad)

Sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy beet salad 

Beets are highly nutritious and calorie friendly root vegetables. They are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains which provide antioxiadant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. These betalains undergo a steady loss as cooking time increases, so make sure you keep steaming time for beets under 15 minutes. Reference – whfoods.com

This is a simple, easy to make, yet a tasty recipe from my mom.

beetachi_koshimbir

Ingredients

2 cups shredded steamed beet (around 2 medium beets)
1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (optional See Notes below)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp तिळाची चटणी or 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato (optional)
2-3 chopped green chilies
3-4 curry leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing
1 tsp oil
salt to taste

Wash and peel beets and cut them into halves. I usually steam beets along with rice in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles. It takes around 10-12 minutes if you are using a steamer.
Once they are cooked properly, transfer them into a pot containing ice water before you start gratin;. so that they cool down quickly.

Add chopped tomato, roasted peanut powder (roughly grounded), sesame seeds, fennel seeds lemon juice and salt and mix well.

Heat oil in a small tadka pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds when oil becomes hot. Add hing powder, chopped green chilies and curry leaves. Transfer this seasoned oil to the bowl containing beets and mix well.

Notes –

You can substitue lemon juice with yogurt if you like, but make sure it brings enough tanginess to the dish.

Beets contain lot of natural sugar, so don’t add sugar until you taste it.

Roughly grounded peanuts add a nice crunch. I also like to use pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds instead of peanuts.

I love fennel seeds in such recipes, but they are completely optional.

Sesame seeds are also optional, they don’t add any taste but make the dish healthier with good fats. You can also try flaxseed powder instead.

Since beet juice can stain your skin, wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets. If your hands become stained during the cleaning and cooking process, simply rub some lemon juice on them to remove the stain.

Hope you will enjoy it!

Sending this to ‘Flavors of Maharashtra‘ event hosted by SeduceYourTasteBuds and Simply.Food 

Palak Methi na Muthiya

“They look green, so they must be healthy!”

I must admit, I love Gujarati Farsan. Khaman, dhokala, shev-khamni, khandvi, locho, muthiya, mathiya, handva …. so much variety and so yummy!

Muthiyas caught my attention because these can be made healthier as compared to other fried items. They get the name from the way they are made using feasts. Muthiyas can be made with different vegetables. Here is my version of spinach and fenugreek muthiya. They taste slightly bitter and I think that’s the best part. My neighbor once said “they look green, so they must be healthy!”.

Palak methi na muthiya

Ingredients –

2 cups spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 cup fenugreek leaves, rough chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
4-5 green chiliis finely chopped
3-4 tbsp besan
1 tbsp semolina (rava)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
For seasoning -
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)

Method –

Wash and rinse spinach and fenugreek leaves, leave them in a colander to be completely drained.

In a mixing bowl, mix everything together to prepare dough. Start with few tsp of water and add floor or water as needed. You can also use whole wheat floor together with besan. The stickiness of the dough should be similar to roti dough. Make cylindrical shaped rolls. Cut them into pieces if your steamer pan is smaller.

I used a colander over simmering water to steam the dumplings, but you can use any steamer you like. Grease it with some ghee or oil and steam these dumplings until toothpick comes out clean. It takes about 20 – 25 minutes but also depends on the size.

Once done, let them cool for 10 minutes before you cut them into smaller pieces.

In a frying pan, prepare tadka with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Add the muthiyas and mix. Remove them in a minute or so. Sprinkle some roasted fennel seeds on top. Serve them with ketchup or green and tamarind chutney.

Side Note –

Fennel seeds are not at all traditional to any Muthiya recipe, but I love the byte with fennel seeds.

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!

Blackberry Smoothie

Nutritious yet delicious delight

The easiest way to enjoy fresh blackberries is to have thick creamy blackberry smoothie. Add fresh washed blackberries with thick greek yogurt, honey and some milk and give it a quick whisk in a blender. Nothing can be more filling than a glass of sweet creamy blackberry smoothie loaded with antioxidants.

Blackberry Smoothie

Blackberry Benefits
1. Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants. The anthocyanin, the antioxidants give blackberries their deep purple color help in memory retention and prevent the risk of hypertension.
2. Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.
3. Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease
4. The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.
5. The high fiber content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.

पालकाची ताकातली भाजी (Palakachi patal bhaji)

Spinach goodness with Garlic tadka in one pot dish 

This is yet another Maharashtrian classic recipe. Spinach cooked with buttermilk and besan (chick pea flour), ginger and green chilis, chana daal and peanuts for added crunch; topped with garlic tadka; you cannot go wrong with this one. I  enjoy it with rice, bhakri or even like soup. It’s quick and delicious.

palkachi patal bhaji

Ingredients

a bunch of spinach - washed and chopped
1-2 tea spoon grated ginger
1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk
4-5 tea spoons besan (chana daal flour)
3-4 tea spoon chana dal
3-4 tb spoon peanuts (ground nuts)
4-5 green chillies - chopped.
3-4 aamsul / or 1/2 tea spoon tamarind paste
1 tea spoon sugar
For tadka -
mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, turmeric curry leaves, garlic, green chillies 
and oil/ghee
salt to taste

Soak chana daal and peanuts in water for an hour so that they cook faster. It’s better to use non-roasted peanuts as they absorb water nicely and taste better when cooked.
Get water boiling, add chopped spinach leaves, peanuts and chana daal and grated ginger and aamsul. Use just enough water to immerse spinach. Let the spinach and daal cook for 5-7 minutes. In another bowl, whisk yogurt and besan and add it to the cooked spinach, let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes. I like to add one/two chillies while the spinach is cooking and rest I use in tadka.

Nest step is to prepare tadka and add it to the cooked spinach. I prefer Ghee to oil for this dish. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and if you like, add a few coriander seeds. Once they start splattering, add hing and turmeric powder and then garlic and green chillies and curry leaves. Add this seasoned ghee/oil to the spinach mixture. Add salt and little bit sugar. The “patal bhaji” is ready.

A little bit of sugar nicely compliments the tangy touch added by aamsul. The garlic tadka makes this simple dish out-of-this world! i

A Quick Note –
To maintain the nutritional value of spinach, it’s important not to overcook the tender leaves. Add spinach after daal and peanuts are cooked, spinach takes hardly 2-3 minutes of cooking time.

Sending this to ‘Flavors of Maharashtra‘ event hosted by SeduceYourTasteBuds and Simply.Food 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Salad

Once my friend from China shared her secret behind her zero size figure – ‘Jīng jìjié xìng chī’ That means ‘Eat Seasonally’, a basic mantra of Chinese Medicine. What could be a better season to enjoy salads other than Spring? The vegetables at farmer’s market looked so fresh and luscious, even I was tempted to try my hands on salad. I am not a salad person but I am proud of my creation 😛 So simple and so yummy!

Prep time : less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients :

a bunch of your favourite greens - lettuce, spinach, arugula
2-3 tangerines
1 medium cucumber
1 small avocado
1 medium beet - boiled, peeled and sliced (optional)
1/2 cup boiled red beans
handful of chopped roasted walnuts
handful of dried cranberries

For Dressing -
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-4 springs of fresh cilantro or your fav herb
black pepper
a pinch of salt
olive oil (optional)

Arugula and baby spinach are my favorites in salads. As you can notice, this is a salad with bold flavors; peppery and slightly bitter arugula, tangy and sweet tangerines, sweet beet roots, smooth avocado, creamy goat cheese and crunchy walnuts; all add a different dimension to the big bowl.

The amount of ingredients depend on how much salad you intent to prepare.

Wash the greens and chop roughly if necessary. Slice tangerines into pieces, dice cucumber and avocado into small pieces. Don’t forget to dress avocado with some lemon juice or orange juice immediately. Beet is optional and can be replace with carrots to balance the sweetness. Beans are also optional but they add protein boost to any salad. Mix all ingredients together except for cheese and walnuts.

In a separate bowl, prepare the dressings. I like to use juice from tangerines but fresh orange juice works equally well. Add some salt and black pepper and finely chopped cilantro or mint or any other mildly flavored herb. Add some olive oil, if you like. Toss it with the salad and garnish it with crumbled feta / goat cheese and some walnuts.

Sit back, relax and enjoy your hard!