Full Tummy

Come join me in seeing and tasting food the way I do, take a sniff with me and enjoy the flavors like I do.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paalak Saag

We had a very sweet family as our two-floors-below-us neighbor, back in Moscow. Roshni aunty. With two very cute little daughters. They were from Delhi. Aunty's food was very different from Mom's. Mom's was always focused on nutrition, health, etc. Aunty had a lot more of a free hand.

Here is one of her healthy recipes that Mom (and eventually I) adopted into our regular menus. This recipe is to Roshni aunty, and all the love she has given to our family over the years.

Paalak Saag

1 packet Frozen spinach (Deep brand's frozen spinach works best for this recipe, you can find it in indian stores)
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons besan
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
2-3 green chillies, chopped
red chilli powder

1. Pressure cook the spinach cubes (no need to thaw) with 3/4 cup water for 1 whistle.
2. In a bowl mix yogurt and besan until smooth.
3. When steam of the spinach pressure cooker settles down, open it, and add to it the yogurt-besan mix. Keep stirring with a whisk, while heating on medium flame.
4. In a separate pan, heat oil, add jeera. Then add onions and green chillies. Saute till brownish. 5. Add the ginger and garlic pastes, fry for a couple of minutes.
6. Add tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Cook till mixed up well, and tomatoes get tender.
7. Add this mix to the spinach pressure cooker, and give yet another whistle.
8. Serve with rice or rotis.

Paalak Saag

Grainy Low-fat Cranberry Nut Bread

To satisfy my immensely large sweet tooth, I try to incorporate fair amount of healthy sweets into my diet. This keeps me away from the unhealthy stuff that I keep on eyeing in the cafeterias at work :) I like easy baking recipes too. Quick sweet breads are my favorite. I had already posted my banana nut bread recipe last week, here is yet another. I made this yesterday for husband and me to have for breakfast / afternoon snack.

This bread is loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C, because of all the cranberries and orange juice that goes into it. Cranberries are very good for women, they help us with our menstrual health - they reduce cramps, help in yeast infections and UTIs, etc.

I buy cranberries in fall when they are abundant in local european-style produce store Milk Pail. I then transfer them in freezer ziploc bags and freeze them. They last me all the way until the next fall!

Grainy Low-fat Cranberry Nut Bread

This is my submission for Saffron Trail's WBB# 7: Baking for Breakfast

1 .25 cups all purpose flour
0.75 cup whole wheat flour (substitute with all purpose flour if not on hand, reduce baking powder by 1/4 tspn too in that case)
1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice (no or low pulp)
1 tbsp grated orange peel or orange extract
2 tbsp shortening
1 well beaten egg
1.5 cups fresh/frozen cranberries
0.75 cups nuts (walnuts / pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bow mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
3. Stir in Orange juice, orange peel / extract / shortening / egg. Mix well with hand whisk until blended
4. Stir in cranberries (I dont even chop them) and nuts (I get the halves from costco, and dont chop these either)
5. Turn into a greased (with butter) 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
6. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
7. Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 mins, then remove from pan. This is important, this resting time eases the loaf out from the pan.
8. When cooled down, cut into thick 1 inch slices. I individually wrap these up in sandwich ziploc bags for easy portability to work for breakfast with some yummy soymilk.

Grainy Low-fat Cranberry Nut Bread

Aloo - Zucchini Sabzi

We lived in Moscow (Russia) for a long-long time. The most popular and readily available vegetable out there is Potato! A close second are cabbage, carrots and beets. Russian food is predominantly potatoes and meat.

No wonder that my Mom had to find out newer ways to keep us busy with potatoes. This is one of her dishes. I vaguely remember her picking this up and adapting from an ages old Sumeet food processor's accompanying cookbook.

Aloo - Zucchini

2 medium sized white potatoes
1 medium or 2 small green zucchini
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 chopped onion
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 tspn kalonji seeds (black onion seeds, they look very similar to black sesame seeds)
red chilli powder
garam masala

1. Clean potatoes. No need to peel if using white potatoes. Slice into thin slices with a slicer.
2. Slice zucchini using a slicer too.
3. Heat oil
4. Add hing and kalonji seeds.
5. Add onions and saute on medium till 3/4 done.
6. Then add potatoes and cook covered on medium till 1/2 done
7. Add zucchini, and cook covered
8. In a separate small pan, saute tomatoes till they are soft.
9. Add to the potatoes-zuchhini pan, add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder
10. When almost done, add some garam masala and amchoor.

Aloo Zucchini

Eggplant Raita

Eggplants have hardly any nutritional value. They are low in calories, and in fat, and in sodium. They have not much vitamin content, some cancer fighting minerals in under-decent quantity. Not a major source of protein either. If you take the skin off the eggplant, there is hardly any fiber content to boast about either.

Having said all of this, we still happen to like eggplants. A lot. Here is one of our favorite ways to cook eggplant.

Eggplant Raita

1 big eggplant
pinch of hing
1 tspn jeera
1 tspn rai (smaller mustard seeds)
1/2 tspn urad dal
1/4 tspn chana dal
7-8 curry leaves
3 green chilles
1/2 onion - finely chopped
chopped cilantro
2 cups yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Roast baingan like for baingan bharta. I do this in my oven at 450 degrees F. I rub a teaspoon of oil on the eggplant's skin, and put it on a foil-lined tray for around an hour, turning once in between.
2. When done, peel and take the inside stuff out, mash it. I also use any water that got drained from inside the eggplant, adds to the flavor.
3. In oil add tadka of hing, jeera, rai, urad dal, curry leaves, chana dal, chopped green chilles
4. Mix the the tadka in dahi. Add mashed baingan to dahi too. Add salt.
5. Add finely chopped onions for crunch. Add chopped dhaniya.
6. Mix and serve as a thick raita.

Eggplant Raita

Menu for the week of Nov 6 - Nov 10

Here is something new about me that my fellow bloggers didnt know so far. I am a Bollywood dance teacher. Yes - the bollywood kinds. This takes up a lot of my time. I teach for 2 hours each on two weekday evenings, after my regular work day. So I dont get any time to prepare a healthy meal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as I am not home until 9pm !

But this is the last week of classes... the big dance show is this weekend. So its the last week until January when I need to plan really well for the week day menus.. So here we go...

Monday Oct 30:
(I have 2 hours to cook)
- Aloo - zuchhini sabzi
- Guvar with chana dal from Indira's blog
- Paalak Saag (for Tuesday)
- Asparagus sabzi (for Tuesday)
- Eggplant raita (added to the menu on husband's request)
- Toor dal - Sada Varan
- Rice
- Also bake Cranberry Nut Bread for breakfast for the week
- Husband to cut apples and pears and make juice

Tuesday Oct 31: (No time to cook)
- Left overs

Wednesday Nov 1: (No time to cook)
- Leftovers
- Husband to make fresh dal: sada varan
- Husband to make rice

Thursday Nov 2: (30 minutes to cook)
- Borscht soup
- Garlic bread
- Cut carrots and make carrot juice

Friday, November 03, 2006

Asparagus Soup

At our home, we have one day every week which is a soup or salad or sandwich night. This keeps us from getting bored of the regular indian fare, as well as adds a healthy light point to our weekday diet.

This week, it was Asparagus Soup with Ham/Cheese/Basil Paninis.

I should've called this Cream of Asparagus soup, but it really has no cream even though it is a lovely creamy texture. So lets just drop the whole "cream" thing and call it plain ol' asparagus soup :)

Asparagus Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion - chopped roughly
2-3 cloves garlic (optional)
1 white potato - chopped roughly
1 bunch of asparagus - buy the one which is thinner stalks, wash them in cold water, chop off the end 1/4th of throw away (The thicker white part). Chop the rest of it into 1-2 inches spear-lets.
1/2 tspn black pepper
1 tspn chicken stock powder, optional, replace with any other kind of stock if you wish
1 cup milk
1 can corn, drained

1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Add onions and garlic and saute till transluscent
3. Add potatoes and saute for 5 minutes
4. Add asparagus. Add around 4-5 cups hot water.
5. Add black pepper, salt, chicken stock, optionally add 1/2 tspn red chilli powder
6. Boil for 10 minutes or until everything is tender.
7. Blend this whole thing in a blender or an immersion blender along with half the can of corn.
8. Return to the pan adding the rest of the corn kernels. Add milk.
9. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Asparagus and potatoes floating away

Asparagus Soup

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Guilt-Free Banana Bread

So I have said it a million times - I am a health-izer! I try to make every recipe healthy. To me the nutritional value of food takes higher priority over its presentation. For example, I wont add 1/2 a cup of oil to give a glossy-separated look, when only a tablespoon is enough.

So here is yet another of my own recipes. This time, a baked goody. The classic banana nut bread. Believe it or not.. it has no extra fat added to it!!! So it is as healthy as it can get. Also, I have fortified it with more fiber, by adding some whole wheat flour (sometimes I add oat flour instead).

This is a guilt-free dessert you can have to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. I bake it once every few weeks and take it along with me for breakfast.

Guilt-free Grainy Banana Bread with Nuts and Raisins

This is my submission for Saffron Trail's WBB# 7: Baking for Breakfast

4 egg whites
1+ 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour OR oat flour [i use whole oats that i ground in my coffe grinder to make a flour out of it - use 1 cup whole oats to get 3/4 cup oat flour]
3/4 cup sugar
3 very ripe bananas, well-mashed
1.5 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup black raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x5 bread loaf shaped pan with oil/butter/. This is the only fat that goes into the recipe.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites using a whisk / electric mixer. Add bananas to this and mix again.
3. Add sugar, baking powder, salt - mix well.
4. Add white flour, whole wheat/ oat flour. Stir well with spatula till all the batter is wet, dont over stir.
5. Stir in raisins and nuts
4. Pour this batter into the loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around 50 minutes to an hour. Test with toothpick for checking if ready.
5. Run edges with a knife and take the loaf out on a cooling rack. Let sit for 10 minutes.
6. When not hot to touch, slice the bread. I put each slice into individual sandwich ziplocs, for easy portability to work for breakfast each week day!

Grainy Banana Bread with nuts and raisins