mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Low Fat’ Category

Getting into Spring: Paneer Tikka

In Low Fat, on the side, Punjab, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on March 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm


Spring is here and Delhi is a riot of colour. There are the myriad shades of green and now the blooms. To all this, Holi added its bright colours this week.


It has been a while since we joined in the revelry that Holi is but a party is always welcome. My MIL would always make fruit salad on this day. But who can handle all that cream in this day and age. One Holi we ate homemade pizza and ordered ice cream. If I feel like I will sometimes make gujiya, the traditional Holi sweet here in the North.  [Some other traditional Holi recipes here.]

This year all I did was cut up great looking purple carrots and start the process of preparing a cooling fermented drink… (yes, Pel are you listening?) As it turns out, it is a traditional drink for Holi second only to the frothy bhang! It is an apt one alright – with that deep purple colour…

While you wait for that recipe, here’s the one I promised last time – great party fare this one too. Read the rest of this entry »

You could call it Kootu, I suppose

In Low Fat, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on September 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm

At the end of a more-than-full work day we all deserve to put our feet up and get the much needed rest.  Recharge our batteries.  Good wholesome food contributes much to this recharge.  Many of us also admit to the therapeutic qualities of the act of cooking itself!


Roth – the baked kind. Crusty, you think?
This is my entry for the September edition of Click! the photo event at Jugalbandi.

The last couple of weeks have been more fast paced than ever for me.  Work, work related travel, sister’s visit, Ganesh Chaturthi and the Pun Pooza, and the continuing house renovation, all came to a head. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, the maid had to make a sudden visit to her hometown – an extended three week visit.  Which isn’t so bad actually.  Now I can multitask – plan the meal as I brew my evening cup of tea, have all the burners going and cook the veggies as I temper the dal, or roll out roti, and not have to deal with less-than-perfect food prep.  Much better.

Last night, after a grueling 11 hour work day (when I was lucky to have two additional people helping out!) I knew I needed a special meal.  TH brought me a Toro Bravo while I was still at my desk.  It needed to be a rice-night (that means, rice as the main starch for me), I could tell. Nothing short of the comfort of good old Kashmiri food would do.  Though it was late, I prepared dum aloo along with my nani’s special mung dal and served it with steamed rice (and roti – for the undiscerning).

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Caronde he Caronde

In Bread, Chutneys, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 19, 2008 at 12:25 am

caronde ki chutney

Please don’t mention Caronda* for some time…it is in every jar I had spare!  There is no room for any more pickles or preserves…As I mentioned last time, I made some caronda chutney a week ago, to use up part of my Dad’d harvest from a bush I planted about ten years ago in the front yard of their house.  I used the idea of a sweet-tangy Indian chutney such as saunth (sweet and sour tamarind chutney) or a mango chutney made with unripe mangoes.  The effort was much appreciated. Since it was a trial batch I got just enough to fill two tiny jars that I sent off to my mum and sister.  The next batch was a repeat of the recipe and this time the effort yielded a big jar – plenty, I thought.

There were still some carondas left which then went into a pickle, pits and all, along with some unripe mango, lotus root, and green chillies. I keep that stoneware jar in the sun, what little there is of it at this time, bring it in every evening, and give it a good stir.  It is looking good.

So far so good.  My mum liked the relish a lot.  She doesn’t eat too much pickle because of the high salt content.  I told her that pitting the fruit was a pain in the rear.  She pitted about a kilo with the help of her maid and presented it to me.  I had thought more like: ok, here’s a recipe you might like to try… But I came home and made my third batch of caronda chutney.  This batch had fewer ingredients – I had already used up my dates; no gur – I couldn’t be bothered; less sugar – I had used up a lot of sugar in the past couple of weeks between the caronda relish and the mango jam, and was making statements with big exclamatory marks regarding the sugar content of the chutney.  The fruit for this batch had ripened further on the plant, was a deeper pink, and there was a subtle change in texture too.  What a pretty pink it turned in the pan!  And the texture – why, it reminded me of sour cherries in syrup!  The slight crispness as you bite into one was so similar!  That made me Google for recipes using sour cherries and I found a bunch that hold promise for next year!  I make no promises…but there might even be Caronda Liqueur on these pages one day!

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The Mangoes are Sour

In Chutneys, Dips and Spreads, From the Garden, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on May 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm

chopped mango

A big chunk of my readers live outside India. And all of them will appreciate how I have tried not to rub salt on their mangoes wounds this year. There has been no talk of mangoes, whatsoever, on this blog so far this year; no debate on which mango is the King, or that mango is King.

But ’tis the season and you all have access to reasonably good unripe sour mangoes. Sour mangoes are loved all over Asia, cooked with dal, with vegetables (it is the perfect foil for bittergourd), or enjoyed as a relish such as Pel’s nam prik wan kap mamuang khiew. And when you don’t want to fuss, just slice them up, dip in salt, and taste nirvana. Not as much fun today when my teeth sour much too quick, but a favourite summer activity when we were kids. Read the rest of this entry »

The Old Faithful: Aloo Parantha

In Bread, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Vegetables, Vegetarian on May 11, 2008 at 2:48 am

aloo parantha

Usually, I love my time in the kitchen. More often than not, TH stays out, and is very appreciative of the food I put on the table (even when it is store-bought bread on days such as today when I am too rushed for even a 30-minute meal). But there are (many) days when I am not inclined to step into the kitchen at all.

One such day last year was my birthday. It is rather pathetic to have to cook yourself a special meal when it’s the perfect opportunity for others to show their love for a change. Yet, neither my son nor TH can be expected to bake a cake (not everyone is like Jai!). Every time I am not inclined to cook, the son is willing to order pizza and TH is only too happy to step out to get a fresh loaf of bread. But that day I insisted on a home cooked meal, and varan-bhaat was not going to cut it.

As it crawled towards dinner time and I showed no signs of getting off the couch, TH finally got the message and decided to grab the bull by the horns :D . Off he went into the kitchen and busied himself to prepare paranthas stuffed with my favourite vegetable – no prizes for guessing this time – potatoes. To bide my time till the paranthas were ready was a seasonal twist on my favourite drink – mango margaritas! Yes, he excelled himself.

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Buried under…

In Bread, Low Fat, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on March 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm

buried under

This month I have been mostly…

…buried deep in work. I want so much to surface, get a breath of fresh air, and share my notes with you. But work takes priority; it does, after all, help pay the bills.

ragi idli

I have been eating healthy…mostly. Fresh cooked breakfasts had been sacrificed for the convenience of industrial bread…till the guilt caught up with me, and I decided yesterday that enough (of white bread) was enough. And how much work is idli, right?! Wrong. If you want sambar and chutney with it. Still, in about an hour this morning, much of which overlapped with my morning tea-and-newspaper-time, I had fluffy healthful ragi idlies! And there are leftovers for breakfast tomorrow as well! Read the rest of this entry »

Moongre ki Subzi (Radish Pods)

In Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

radish blooms

I seem to gravitate towards strong tasting vegetables – the pungent and very-brassica smells and tastes my husband likes to categorise as oogra. Nothing brings out the link between all the diverse members of the brassica family (such as broccoli, kohlrabi, haak, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, mustard, kale, and collard) like their flowers and seeds. All of them have the characteristic four-petal blooms (thus the name crusiferae – from ‘cross’ – for this group of plants, also collectively called the mustard family) and the brown-to-black oval-spherical seeds borne in tapering bean-like seedpods (a silique). Maybe now Nabeela will see why I first identified the mustard pods in her quiz as radish pods. The flowers vary in colour from white or cream to lavender or yellow, and are all edible! Read the rest of this entry »

Quinoa Soup with Spinach and Pumpkin

In Low Fat, Soup, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on January 25, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Snap, snap…blink, blink… Okay, I am really trying hard to snap out of it. The blog-lethargy that I have slumped into. Maybe it really is the cold (it was a freezing 2 degrees Celsius here in Delhi yesterday) and my brain has frozen over, in addition to my hands and feet. I have been sipping endless cups of tea everyday, hugging the cup in my hands to warm them briefly.

And it isn’t just cups of tea that I have been downing. Winter makes it hard to control calories. This is the time when peanuts (and all nuts and fruits that make up dry fruits) are consumed in large quantities in North India. The most popular way to consume peanuts is to throw a lot of woolens on and around yourself, huddle in a familial group, shelling and stuffing yourself while watching TV. They are the preferred snack at most Delhi bus stops where the peanut seller sits with his pile of peanuts-in-their-shells. He picks the nuts from just under the small earthen pot that has a gently smoldering piece of cow-chip in it, to weighs out hot peanuts that give sustenance and warmth, and also pass time while you wait for your ride to arrive.

Soups do that too – warm us up from the inside out. Winter is also particularly bountiful where vegetables are concerned. There is an abundance of greens: spinach, mustard greens, dill, methi, bathua, kohl rabi, and of course, haak and soutchal, two wonderful Kashmiri greens. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, corn, carrots, and tomatoes, add to this bounty, and make this a great season for soup.

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101 uses for Mystery Powder

In Low Fat, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on January 8, 2008 at 1:39 am

masala aloo

Before Srivalli completely gives up on me, here I am with my experiments with the mystery powder I received through our very own Arusuvai Friendship chain last month. For all my professed past-life claims, the podi Srivalli sent me had me at a complete loss. I have already admitted I am not good at de-constructing spice blends; I totally relied on Manisha’s intuition for kanda-lassun masala.

After staring at the yellow-orange-powder sitting in a packet on my kitchen counter for two days, I gingerly wrote to Srivalli about my predicament… The yellow powder was going to test my self-professed Southie-ness. I could taste turmeric… dhaniya… and… the rest was a mystery. Now, I have made a few South Indian podis: kootu podi, bisibele hulianna podi, milagai podi; this was definitely not one of those. Well, that left only one other podi I knew: sambar masala! So, I prayed and sent an apologetic note to Srivalli asking if that was Sambar podi I had in my possession. It amused her that I was so unsure… but of course, it was! Whew! I heaved a sigh of relief. My reputation (rather, claim) was intact; at least, for now. Read the rest of this entry »

A hearty dish of Beans and Rice

In Low Fat, Punjab, Rice, Vegetarian on December 16, 2007 at 12:37 am

We are in the grip of winter here in Delhi. Not quite freezing but close; cold enough for a hearty dish of beans and rice.

rajma chaval

Our hills are home to an amazing variety of beans. If you remember I mentioned that on one of my visits I found 200 kinds of beans on display at Dilli Haat! I bought two varieties that time – one was chitre rajma, very similar to cranberry beans I received from a friend in the US, and another was a smooth tan-colour.

How many have you? Clockwise from top: lobia (black eyed peas), varya muth (black beans), chitre rajma, cranberry beans, Kashmiri rajma

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