Sunday, December 26, 2010

MasterChef India Grand Finale

The masterchef india winner has been declared yesterday !! ...

This has been the best reality show I have ever watched. A unique identity for cooking skills has been created with a more serious flavor. The contestants have not been shown any favoritism and have been tested only based on the taste of the food.

The three finalists are a teacher in her 40s who quit her job as the school principal did not give permission to participate, a young lady in her 20s whose husband is a marine engineer living away from home for at least 6 months a year and cooking keeps her active, and a young man in his 30s who had to close down his restaurant due to personal difficulties.

This grand finale is a dream come true with a cash prize of 1 crore and book that will be authored by the winner and a cookery show that will be hosted by the winner.

So have fun watching the Masterchef Grand Finale ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Spirulina The Best Whole Food On Earth

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My FIL who is 73 years old has been eating Spirulina for the last 15 yrs, and recently I did some research online and amazed by its nutritional value. I have begun to eat this and also told my hubby to have it regularly.

So what is Spirulina ?

UN-WHO ranks the Spirulina the "Most Ideal Food of Mankind in 21st Century", UNFC evaluates it as "Super Nourishing Food"

Upon testing it NASA scientists found 1 kg of Spirulina nutritionally equal to 1000 kg of assorted vegetables.

This superfood is a immortal life form renewing it self for over 3.3 billion years.Today it is consumed by health conscious people all over the world.Its exceptional nutritional value was recognized and consumed by ancient aztecs.

For Protien:
Spirulina is the richest source of protien in the world. It contains all the 18 amino acids the building blocks of protien.

For Iron:
Spirulina is the richest source of assimilable iron in the world

Other Vitamins and Minerals
Spirulina contains all the essential vitamins and minerals like B1, B2, B6, B12, Vitamin E, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Iron, Phosphorus. Know more

For Anti-aging Benefits:
It is the ideal anti-aging food: high nutrient value,easily digestable and loaded with antioxidants. It is the richest source of beta-carotene required for healthy eyes and vision.As people age many dont eat enough and experience low energy can benefit with spirulina.

Over the last 30 years worldwide medical research has discovered spirulina helps combat problems like diabetes,anaemia and atmospheric pollutio.It helps combat free radicals which are produced by every human being which are assentially unstable molecules that cause ailments like cancer,arthiritis,cataract and premature aging.

For Pregnancy:
The best food for pregnant women as it a perfectly balanced amino acid profile.It natural iron and folic acid improve haemoglobin levels in the blood and also increases lactation in nursing mothers. Spirulina contains all the 18 amino acids in the exact proportion to mother’s breast milk.

For Cancer Prevention
Spirulian has phycocyanin which stimulates hematopoiesis (the creation of blood) and regulates bone marrow stem cell production of red blood cells. Based on this effect it has been approved in Russia as a medicine food for treating radiation sickness. Studies have shown spirulina or its extracts can prevent or inhibit cancers in

For Stress Management
The richest source of vitamin B-12 which helps to over stress by soothing the nerves.

For Skin
Spirulina contain polysaccharides like green (chlorophyll) which harnesses the suns energy which is considered to be a natural cleanser.

For Heart
The richest source of GLA. Most heart ailments are caused by buildup of low density lipids (low cholesterol). GLA dissolves these deposits. It is the perfect heart healthy food.

For Children
For children there can be no better source of nutrition. Read more on how malnutrition in children has been combated with spirulina ..

How much Spirulina is needed for health ?
It is recommended to have 3 gms a day for adults and 1 gm for children

How to eat Spirulina ?
As Spirulina is a whole food it can be taken alone or with meals

How to compare the nutritional value of Spirulina with other food ?

Is spirulina considered vegetarian food ?
It is one of the chosen food eaten by vegetarians and vegans all over the world

Where to buy Spirulina ?
It is available in most indian pharmacuetical shops

Which brand to use ?
There are many brands that manufacture spirulina , I use Parry Brand which manufactures organic spirulina , approved by USFDA, Japanese and European Health Standards.

How much does it cost ?
Rs 225 (approx 5 USD) in India (for 100 capsules , 500mg/capsule)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Superfast Rava Idli With Sesame Tomato Dip

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If you are looking for quick,tasty south indian breakfast without any long process of soaking, fermenting , grinding then this rava idli is the best option.I learnt this recipe from my SIL and the accompanying chutney is so perfect you will be asking for more.

Rava idlis have a unique taste that cannot be described easily, it feels spongy, light and has a soft texture that make them even tastier with every bite. This recipe makes 16 idlis of medium size So here is the recipe...

  • 2 cup rava/sooji (semolina)
  • 2 cup thick butter milk
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp chopped cashew
  • 1/2 tsp chana dal
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 chopped green chillies
  • 1 spring curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • a pinch of hing
  • 1 tbsp fruit salt or ENO
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • salt to taste
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Cooking Procedure:

Take the idly racks and spray oil on each idli mould and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan ,add chana dal ,cashew n fry till light golden brown ,then add mustard seeds,cumin seed and once they splutter add green chilli,curry leaves,hing ,carrot fry for a min ,then add sooji n fry till it become golden brown .

Shift it to some bowl and let it cool ,once cool add the buttermilk and blend it nicely to semi thick batter like idli batter.

Add ENO to this batter ,and immediatly it become fluffy.

Now put 2 tbsp of batter into each idli mould depression, and stack the racks one above the other and steam in the pressure cooker or steamer for 15min on medium flame.

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Remove them carefully from steamer and let it cool, take a sharp spoon and scoop them out into the plate.

Your rava idli is ready.Serve it with your choice of chutney BTW I made sesame tomato chutney for this ,which was the super hit combo for my family .Here is the recipe

Sesame Tomato Chutney

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  • 1 cup chopped tomatos
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 spring curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of hing
Dry roast sesame seeds and keep aside

Heat 1 tsp oil and add green chilli, red chilli and fry for a min, now add tomato, cilantro and turmeric powder, cover and cook till it becomes soft.Switch off flame and let it cool.

Take the roasted sesame seeds and grind it finely, then add the above tomato mixture and make a smooth paste.

Now prepare the tempering by heating 1 tsp oil, add mustard, cumin, hing and once mustard start to splutter add the curry leaves. Then add the tempering to the above grinded paste.

Your chutney is ready. Serve it with idli, dosa or rice too

Note: You can store the roasted rava in air tight container for later use

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yummy Vanilla Cake With Microwave

I began my experiments with baking when I came to US last year, but after returning to India I was wondering how it would turn out if I use my microwave for baking. Today I made a simple vanilla cake and I was pleasantly surprised as it came out so well soft moist with a nice brown shade. So here is the recipe ...

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp chopped almonds for garnishing
  • pinch of salt

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Cooking Procedure

Grease the 8x8 inch pan and sprinkle some flour and keep aside. ( This will ensure the cake does not stick to the pan as seen above )

Preheat the microwave in convection mode at 180 C

Seive the flour,cinnamon powder,salt, baking soda and baking powder atleast twice so that they mix properly.

Beat 2 cups with hand blender till it become fluffy, add buttermilk, vanilla extract, sugar and butter and beat again till it mix nicely.

Now mix the flour to above mixture and fold it smoothly with spatulla until it blends completely.

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Now pour the mixture into the pan,sprinkle the almonds and bake for 35 min or till golden brown. Check with a toothpick.

Your vanilla cake is ready, let it rest for it to cool for serving

  • The batter of the cake should be flowy.
  • The original recipe demands 3 eggs but I was having only two so I used 1/2 cup buttermilk in place of egg.
  • The time for baking varies from microwave to microwave. Adjust accordingly

Monday, December 6, 2010

Makai Ki Gravy ( Sweet Corn Gravy )

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I learnt this recipe while watching masterchef. This recipe is very simple and as a big fan of sweet corn I wanted to try something different. This dish was taught to one of the contestants of masterchef by a royal chef of a palace in Rajastan.

In this makai ki gravy sweet corn is simmered in milk with a light blend of spices to give it a unique taste. The dish I have prepared is ideal for summer. But to make it a winter dish we need to add cashew and almond paste. Which also makes it more rich.

  • 1.5 cup sweet corn
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp curd
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 red chilli deseeded
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • salt to taste
Cooking Procedure

Heat the ghee in a pan , add onion and saute it for 2 min on medium flame and garlic ginger paste and fry. To avoid the onion from changing color add little water.

Add sweet corn and curd, stir and let it cook till oil saturates. It will take about 5 to 7 min.Then add milk and cook till corn becomes tender.

Add salt,pepper and red chilli with cream and mix nicely at let it cook on low flame for 2 min, cover it for all the flavors to blend with the corn.

Then serve with roti or just have it as snack.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cabbage Rice With Coconut Milk

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I had this rice when I was with my SIL. I love the flavor of this rice so much that I tried it again when I came back to my place. This rice has got a creamy texture as it is simmered in coconut milk and it has a mild sweet taste and pleasant aroma with a little crunch of cabbage. It is a great supplement when we have a spicy menu on the platter.

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1.5 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup diced potato
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste(4 cloves garlic ,1/2" ginger)
  • 2 springs chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2" cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole black peppers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp butter/oil for vegans
  • salt to taste

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Cooking Procedure

Soak rice in 3 cups of water for 20 minute,then drain water and keep rice aside.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker ,add bay leaf fry for 30 seconds then add cardamom , black pepper,cinnamon stick,clove ,cumin seeds and fry till cumin seeds crackle.

Add onion,green chilli,garlic ginger paste to the above ingredients and fry till onion become light golden brown .Add cabbage,potato and chopped mint leaves and fry for 2 min then add the rice n fry for one more min.

Then add 1 cup coconut milk with 2.5 cups water to the above rice and mix nicely,close the lid n pressure cook for 3 whistles.

After 3 whistles switch off the flame and wait for the pressure to settle down, remove lid and mix it softly and serve hot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pinni - A Perfect Energy Laddu

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Hi dearies .... hope u all in good health. It has been a been long vacation and I really missed u all and your wonderfull creations. Thank you so much for all your good wishes and comments.

I spent a good time this whole month, I was tempted to post a recipe but I reminded myself that I am on a vacation : P.In this visit I learnt some new dishes.One of them was this wheat laddu that I learnt from my SIL who is from north india,we had prepared it together. This is made in Rajasthan, Punjab and UP. It is a great treat for kids as it tastes very yummy, also ideal for mothers who have just delivered a baby.As it is also very soft and powdery once in your mouth it would melt easily, it is very ideal for old people too.It is recommended to be eaten with a glass of milk to give complete nutrition.So here is the recipe......

  • 250 gms wheat flour
  • 250 gms sugar
  • 250 gms ghee
  • 15 gms dry ginger
  • 25 gms chopped cashew
  • 25 gms chopped dry coconut
  • 25 gms chopped almonds
  • 25 gms chopped muskmelon seeds
  • 25 gms chopped makhana
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Cooking Procedure

Heat 1/2 of the ghee in a big pan, when it melts completely and begins to simmer add the wheat flour and make the flame to low and stir continously till a nice aroma comes from it and changes its color to light golden brown. Switch off the flame and keep aside for it to cool.

Heat some ghee and deep fry the makhani till it becomes crispy but it should not change its color.Shift the makhani to a plate and let it cool, then crush them with your hands.

Remove all the ghee from the pan into ghee container.

Heat just 1 tbsp ghee and in the same pan and fry the ginger(whole piece) till itbecomes crispy and keep aside to cool. Grind it to a fine powder and keep aside.

Keep 1 tbsp ghee in the pan and fry the chopped chashew on a low flame till golden brown.Shift to plate

And do the same for the rest dry fruits(almonds,muskmelon seeds) and coconut and keep all aside to cool.

Sugar Crystallization Process :
In a deep bottom pan add sugar along with 1 cup of water and stir on medium flame. The sugar will pass through 4 stages (Sugar > Syrup > Thick Syrup > Sugar ) We should be constantly stirring to avoid lumps. In the end it will again be crystal sugar.... if u have some lumps remove them and grind them. Remove to plate and let it cool.

Now take this sugar and with wheat flour evenly, then all the ingredient except ghee.Mix nicely.

Divide the mixture into small portions and add and the required amount of ghee to one portion and shape it into a nice ball.Your Laddus are ready ,shift them to dry container after 2 to 3 hrs.

If it difficult to fry the total wheat flour at a time then mix the ghee n flour first n divide it to 3 parts n individually u can fry each part separately in a pan ,which will make task easy.

You will finally get to make 10 laddus and these ladoos have a shelf life of one month so u can prepare more to keep it in stock .


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