Friday, March 26, 2010

Minestrone soup

Ingredients -

Penne Pasta - 1/2 cup
Black eyed peas-  1 cup ( cooked )
Cannellini beans - 1 cup ( cooked)
Tomato puree or crushed tomatoes -  1/2 cup
Whole tomatoes - 1 ( chopped)
Celery ( chopped) -1/2 cup
Zucchini - 2 ( cut and cubed )
water / vegetable stock - 5 cups
V8 juice - 1 cup ( opt.)
Parsley leaves - 1 Tbsp ( chopped)
Onion -  1 ( finely chopped )
Carrot -  1/4 cup ( chopped)
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp'
Basil  - 1/2 tsp
Dried oregano - 1/4 tsp
Garlic  ( minced ) - 1tsp
Sugar - 1tsp ( opt.)
Olive oil  - 1 Tbsp
Parmesan cheese -1 Tbsp For garnishing
Bay leaf - for garnishing
Recipe -

1.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil in the pan. Saute garlic,onion,celery , zuchhini onion, carrot,pasta whole tomatoes and tomato puree for 5 mins.
 2. Now add the cooked beans, dried oregano, black pepper and salt.
3. Mix 1 cup V8 juice into 5 cups of water ( if vegetable stock is not available ) and then add this into the pan. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes as pasta takes 12 mins. to cook.

4. Garnish it with Parmesan cheese, bay leaf and now add 2 tsp olive oil on the top. Serve hot.
5. One can only use Kidney beans or black eyed peas if the cannellini beans are not availale.

This healthy soup contains pasta ( cereal ) , Beans ( pulses and legumes) and Parmesan as a protein source  , vegetables ( source of fibre), water, Olive oil ( good quality fat).
Italian dictionary describes Minestrone ( Minestra) as a medium thick vegetable soup. The authentic origin of Minestrone comes from countryside contadina families. To use the leftovers , they invented this dish, so the ingredients vary from time to time and place to place. One thing doesn't vary, however is the fact that it's a staple of Italian cuisine.
( source - Where is the Minestrone ? By Peter Carusone )
According to Angello Pellegrini , Italian -American writer of great heart , soul and humor says of Minestrone, the best time to go for Minestrone with a vengeance is in the Fall. Its a seasonal as well as regional dish. By using the dry beans and the whatever vegetables available one may prepare it during any time of the year, But if one wants the best , it must be made in the early fall months when all the fresh ingredients like fresh Basil the real secret ingredient of the soup is available. ( A country inn cookbook )

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dal - fry

Ingredients -

Toor dal -  ( cooked ) - 2 cups
Tomatoes - 2 small ( chopped )
Onions -  1 med. ( chopped )
Garlic paste  -   1 tbsp
cumin seeds -    1 tsp
Red chilies - 3-4
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric -  1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 2tsp
Ghee  - 1tsp
Kasuri methi - 1 tsp
Salt -

1. Heat the oil in a pan.  Give the tempering with cumin seeds and red chillies.
2. Then add  1 Tbsp garlic paste and chopped onions and chopped tomatoes. Saute it till 5 mins.
3. Then add the cooked dal, salt turmeric and chili powder and kasuri methi.
4. Garnish it with red chilies and kasuri methi and 1 tsp ghee ( opt.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Baked chicken fritters / chicken kababs

Ingredients -

Ground / chopped chicken - 250 gm
Egg - whites - 2
Lime juice - few drops
Ginger paste -  1tsp
Garlic paste  -  1 tsp
Green chilies -  3-4 ( chopped )
Onion - 1 med. ( chopped )
Red chili powder -  1 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Cilantro , salt - 
Cornstarch - 1 Tbsp

Recipe  -
1. Mix all the above ingredients.
2. Beat the egg-whites and mix it with above mixture.
3. Make the small balls. Grease the tray with the cooking spray and place these kababs.
4. Preheat the oven at  350 degree F. and then bake it for 25 minutes.
5. Serve with dips available or mint chutney or sauce.
I  have used  egg- whites instead of the whole eggs and also, baking saves few calories here !!!  Enjoy the recipe !!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Black Forest cake

Ingredients -

Cake mix - 1 packet
Oil           - 1/3 cup
Egg          -1
Egg - whites - 2
Cherry rum  - 1/4 cup
Sugar          -  1 Tbsp

For Frosting

Egg whites -  3
Water        -  1/2 cup
Sugar        - 3Tbsp
Cream of tartar - 1/4  tsp
Vanilla essence  - 3-4 drops

For Decoration

Canned cherries and  chocolate chips

Recipe -
1   .Beat the egg, egg whites. Mix the oil , and cake mix well . Bake 2 cakes at 350 F for 30 minutes.
(     Instructions are given on the packet. )
2. Cook the cream of tartar, water and sugar in a pan and then cool it for 5 mins . Then in another bowl  take egg whites,  a few drops of vanilla essence and mixture in the pan  and  then whip the mixture with hand blender till it reaches the frosting consistency.
( Cream of tartar helps to make the frosting airy and fluffy. )
3.  Mix the rum and sugar . ( one can replace the sugar with sweetener )
4.  Cut the cake into heart shape or any desired shape . Then slowly sprinkle ( rum + sugar) mixture on it.
5.  Place the cake and spread some frosting over it and then place other cake over it. then again spread the frosting. ( One can use chocolate sauce ) on the second layer.
6.  Decorate the cake with  cherries and chocolate chips.

I  have used  2 egg whites per whole egg to bake the cakes which saves extra calories and cholesterol  from the whole eggs. Instead of using heavy whipping cream , I have prepared frosting made from egg whites which is low fat , no cholesterol and high protein.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Tuesday was an auspicious day of Gudi -Padwa / Ugadi. Its considered the beginning of the new year for people from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Happy Gudi - padwa  and Ugadi to all of you !!!
The above image is my last year's Gudi padwa menu.White- peas usal, dal ( varan ) , rice, Batatyachi bhaji , puri, papad and homemade shrikhand  was the menu. This year I didn't make any sweets on that day as few months back I lost my granny.



Yogurt -   1 container
Sugar   -  1/2 cup 
Saffron - few threads
Nutmeg powder - 1/8 tsp
Roasted nuts -  1 Tbsp

Recipe -
1. Put curd in a soft cloth and tie it. Then put a sieve on a bowl and put the curd on the sieve. Keep it overnight so that extra water in the curd will drain off.
2. Add all the above ingredients except nuts and mix it well.
3. Set the shrikhand  in a bowl and refrigerate it.
4. Garnish it with roasted nuts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

kakdi nu pudala / Cucumber pancakes

Ingredients -
Cucumber  ( Grated ) - 2
Rice flour    -  1 cup
Wheat flour  - 1 cup
Semolina OR rawa - 1 tbsp 
Curd            -  1/2 cup
Green chilies  - 3-4
Ginger           - 1 tsp
cumin seeds   - 1 tsp
Amchur OR dry mango powder - 1/2tsp
Cilantro, salt
Oil  - 

Recipe -
1. Grate cucumber and then mix all the ingredients in the bowl.
2. Then add the water and make a pancake like consistency.Use semolina only if the coarsely ground rice flour is not available.
3. Grease the pan or put some oil in the pan and heat it .
4. Put these pancakes or pudalas.
5. Put a lid n let it cook for 2-3 mins and then turn it.
6. It  should be served with the hot tomato chutney, lasun chutney or thecha ... tastes awesome !!!

This is again one of my favorite recipe and nutritious too !!!  Actually my neighbor use to make these n I use to love it. She taught me how to make these.
Fresh cucumer  has a very high water content ( 95% ) and they are low in calories 15 kcal/ 100gm. They are fair source of iron, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Peeled cucumber have only the traces of Vitamin A. It is cool , refreshing, filling and not fattening.
Also, according to the practitioners of herbal medicine, the consumption of cucumber induces copious urination which helps the body to get rid of the excessive water. ( Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia )

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sago Khichdi

Ingredients -
Sago ( soaked)  -  2 cups
Peanuts ( roasted ) - 2 Tbsp
Potato ( opt.) Boiled & cubed - 1/2 cup
Green chilies  - 4 no.
Cilantro  -
Cumin seeds   -  1 tsp
Curry leaves   -  4-5
Olive oil  OR ghee -  2 tsp
Sugar  -  1 1/2 tsp
Recipe -
1. Soak the sago for at least 6 -8 hrs.
2. Roast the peanuts and crush them. Some people prefer to totally grind  them. But, I don't.
3. Mix the soaked sago and crushed peanuts, sugar and salt in a bowl. It will keep the sago grains separated from each other. and microwave it for 3 minutes.
4. Heat the olive oil or ghee in the pan. I prefer the olive oil.
5. Put the tempering of cumin seeds, chopped chilies, curry leaves, boiled and cubed potatoes.
6. Put the cilantro and garnish it.
7. Serve hot with the curd.
I hardly know someone who doesn't like Sabudana Khichdi. Its a very popular dish. I had some misconception that I can't prepare it without at least 2-3 Tbsps of ghee. But using this microwave option saves many calories that comes from fat and that too without spoiling the texture and consistency of the dish.
Sago is the starch extracted from the trunks of  various tropical palms. It  is the basic food in the southwest pacific where sago meals are used for making various puddings, soups and cookies. To make the sago , the trunks of the palm trees are cut into pieces.The bark is taken off and the inner portion is soaked in water to remove the starch.The pulpy paste that results is dried and used as a sago meal.  When the paste is rubbed through a sieve, it results in the pearl sago.  ( The nutrition and health dictionary - By Percy Russell, Anita Williams )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

pasta salad with pesto sauce

Ingredients -

For Pesto sauce -

Basil leaves  - 20 no.
Pine nuts      - 1 Tbsp
Garlic           -2-3 cloves
Parmesan cheese  - 1 Tbsp
Olive oil         -  1 Tbsp

Boiled wheat pasta -  2 cups
Boiled black beans - 1 /2 cup
Boiled pinto beans  - 1/2  cup
corn                       -  1 cup

Recipe  -

1. Grind all the ingredients for pesto sauce in the grinder.
2.  Boil the wheat pasta and the beans.
3.  Mix the pasta, beans, corn and 3 Tbsp pesto sauce together.

 This dish contains wheat pasta, beans and corn. Also, the pesto sauce has basil, oilve oil and pine nuts. All these  ingredients used in the dish are very nutritious. Wheat pasta as a cereal source, beans as a legumes & pulses source , corn as a veggie source, and nuts ( protein + fats) , oilve oil as a source of good fatty acids makes this dish, a really complete well balanced meal.

Pine- nuts are very good source of iron. It is an excellent source of B1 & B3, manganese ,copper,magnesium, molybdenum,zinc, B2 , vitamin E and potassium.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kerla fish curry

Ingredients -

Tilapia -  100gm
Turmeric -  1 tsp
Mustard seeds -1/4 tsp
kokum - 3-4
Tamrind pulp - 1 Tbsp
Curry leaves  - 8-10
Onion ( shallots )  - 4 no. chopped
Ginger - 2 tsp
Garlic  - 1 tsp
Methi seeds- 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt -
Coconut oil  - 1tsp
Olive oil  - 1tsp

Recipe -
1. Heat the olive oil and coconut oil in the pan.. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, chopped ginger, garlic ,fenugreek seeds, chopped onions ,red chili powder, turmeric and saute for 2-3 minutes.

2. Then add  fish pieces into the gravy.

3. Add tamarind  pulp and kokum. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Don't overcook .
Tilapia is a good source of protein, good amino acid profile and palatability. Proein and amino acid digestibility is high compare to most of the fish species. It is also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids ( good fats) and minerals.
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