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.

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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!

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 

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!

Spinach Soup (Palak Soup)

I wanted to make something using a rich source of iron which can help boost up haemoglobin for my father-in-law. I saw some baby spinach in the crisper and decided to make creamy spinach soup. Even if you don’t like spinach, I bet you will love this soup. It takes hardly 10 mins to prepare it. This is what you need :

Spinach leaves                   1 medium bunch
onion, finely chopped       1 medium
Garlic cloves                      1-2
Ginger, finely grated        1/2 tea spoon
Black peppercorns          1/4 tea spoon ( or to taste)
Corn flour                          1 tea spoon
sour cream                        3 tea spoons
Oil                                        1/2 tea spoon
Butter                                  1 tea spoon
You can substitute cream with either yogurt or milk.

Roughly chop the spinach leaves after washing them carefully. Add the butter in a sauce pan. Add few drops of oil before adding the butter so that the butter does not burn and turn the heat on. Add chopped onions into the melted butter and sprinkle some salt to quicken the frying process. Also add some fresh black pepper.

Grind garlic cloves, ginger and 1/2 black peppercorns preferably in a khal batta. Add a pinch of sugar and few cumin seeds while grinding. Add this mixture to onions and fry it till the onions become translucent. (no need to caramelize) Add spinach leaves and 1 cup of water. Let it cook for 5-6 minutes with a lid on.  Spinach will shrink in volume as it cooks. Transfer this mixture to a grinder along with the water. Mix the corn flour with some water and add it to the mixture. Grind everything together and transfer it back into the sauce pan. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Let it boil for 2 minutes. Add some water if needed. Add sour cream on top while serving. The creamy, healthy palak soup is ready! I added some palak shev instead of croûtons.

Palak soup

Myth-buster

Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E.

Though it contains good amount of iron, it also contains an acid called “oxalate” which binds with the iron, making it unavailable for human body. So do not rely on spinach for your iron intake.

(reference – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=43)

Hmmm, my main intention of serving iron rich food still remains unresolved. Next time I am gonna use California Dates which are also a very good source of iron.