There are days when you don't have a good vegetable in the refrigerator and you are forced to think "out of the box"....literally. I usually alternate a day of vegetable and a day of legume since dinner is the only meal the whole family has together. I want to make sure its healthy, nutritious, but ofcourse...suits everybody's taste buds :)

I stack up a whole set of legumes in my little pantry and they are real life savers I must say!!! Black-eyed beans or Lobiya as its commonly called in India, is not a very common dish at home. However, I try and include it in some form or the other. I prefer it in my salads..it adds a beautiful crunch apart from the fact that they are low in fat!!!


Black-eyed beans are rich in soluble fiber which helps to eliminate cholestrol from the body. As a high-potassium, low-sodium food they help reduce blood pressure too. When combined with grains, beans supply high quality proteins which provides a healthy alternative to meat and animal protein.

I wanted to serve a curry dish yesterday night with chappatis so I decided to make Lobiya Masala....

Ingredients: Serves 4 portions
1-1/2 cup black-eyed beans, washed, soaked in water for 2-3 hrs,
1 inch cinnamon,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
2 tsp red chilli powder,
3 tbsp oil,
Salt as per taste,
Fresh coriander,

To grind:
2 medium sized onions, coarsely chopped,
2 medium sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped,
1 inch ginger,
6 cloves of garlic,
1 tsp cumin seeds,
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds,
2 dried red chillies,

Method:
1.) Boil the soaked beans until its three-fouth cooked and set aside.
2.) Heat a little oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, whole red chillies, onions, tomatoes, ginger, & garlic. Saute for 2-3 mins over low heat, stirring continuously until the aromas are released. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3.) When cooled, grind the mixture into a fine paste.
4.) Heat the remaining oil in a wok, add the cinamon, ground paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and little salt. Stir contiously until oil seperates.
5.) Add the boiled beans along with the boiled water and mix evenly. Adjust the seasoning. Cover and cook in sim for 7-8 mins.
6.) Garnish with coriander and serve hot with chapatties,rice, or neer dosa.

Sneek Peek:


I added more water above the boiled water of the beans since I wanted it to be quite liquidy. However, if you do not want a watery gravy, do not add extra water.


This is my second entry for Suganya's My Legume Love Affair, Sixth Helping - Hot & Spicy event.
Matki Chi Usal is a famous Maharashtrian dish. Its usually eaten for breakfast and it tastes wonderful!!! Moth Bean or matki bean or dew gram is high in protein and we make it quite often at home.

A slightly watery version of this can be eaten with chappati and serves as a curry in itself. Wonderful to taste..its smells divine as well..

It was my son's birthday..last week..and for breakfast we made Matki Chi Usal. Most appreciated dish in our house, we enjoyed it thoroughly...:-)


Ingredients: Serves 6 portions
2-1/2 cups Moth bean,soaked, sprouted,
3 large onions,finely chopped,
3-4 green chillies, finely chopped,
8-10 curry leaves,
3 tbsp oil,
2 tsp coriander powder,
2 tsp dry mango powder,
2 tsp garam masala powder,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
1 tsp red chilly powder,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
Salt as per taste,
Fresh coriander,


Sprouting the beans:
1.) Soak the bean overnight or atleast for 8 hrs.
2.) Strain the soaked beans and remove over a clean muslin cloth. Tie the cloth around the beans, ensuring no space is available for air to pass through. The humidity of the beans inside the tied cloth allows the beans to sprout.
This is my MILs method of sprouting...
I use a sprout maker which is readily available in the market these days.


Method:
1.) In a deep bottomed pan/wok, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add the curry leaves and green chillies. Stir for a minute and add the chopped onions. Stir until the onions turn golden brown.
2.) Add the moth bean sprouts and stir evenly. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder, and salt. Check for seasoning and adjust as per taste.
3.) Cover with a lid and allow it to cook in sim for 7-8 mins.
4.) Remove the lid and add the garam masala powder.
5.) Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with sev and khara boondi.

Note:
If you want to make a curry, add about a cup of water at step 3.

Sneek Peek:




I'm sending a helping of this hot and spicy Moth Bean Stir Fry to My Legume Love Affair: Sixth Helping - Hot & Spicy hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes, started by Susan and to Winter Treats hosted by Trupti.
For breakfast today I decided to make Corn Croquettes. Corn is high on proteins and carbohydrates which makes it an ideal ingredient for kids. They are a good source of Vitamin C and yellow corn has a small percentage of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Corn is also rich in fiber so its a great way to start your day..it keeps your stomach full for a long time.

Ingredients: Makes 16 medium sized croquettes approx
2 cups fresh corn kernels, cleaned, par boiled,
2 medium sized onions, very finely chopped,
1 cup boiled potatoes, grated,
2 tbsp, green coriander, finely chopped,
2 tbsp, cornflour,
1 green chilly, very finely chopped,
1 tsp lemon juice,
2 tbsp oil,
Salt as per taste,

Method:

1.) Boil the corn kernels (par boil) and potatoes and set aside. This can be done well in advance which saves a lot of cooking time.
2.) Coarsely grind the corn kernels in the mixer. Grate the potatoes. Chop the onions, green chilly, and coriander finely.
3.) In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Add salt, cornflour, and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning.
4.) Take 2 tbsps of the mixture and place it on your palm. Slightly flatten it and give it a round shape.
5.) Heat a non-stick girdle with a tsp of oil.
6.) Place the croquettes one beside the other allowing enough space to turn them. Shallow fry until golden brown on both sides.
7.) Serve hot with tomato sauce or mint chutney.

Sneek Peek:


You could also add grated carrots and par boiled peas to give it more color. Ofcourse its very healthy and a great way to make kids eat a lot of vegetables together.


The croquettes came out very well. It was well appreciated by my son..the taste was perfect..with a touch of sweetness from the corn, to the spice of green chilly, to the tang of lemon..its was a thumbs up from my son!!!



I'm sending this entry to Sharmi's Cooking for Kids - Event

Sharmi has chosen Corn as the ingredient for the month of December.
I'm a big muffin fan..and I love them completely..They are so easy to make..and can be made within minutes. I've baked Banana muffins before..but this time I wanted to add something more.. I didn't have walnuts..which is the ideal combination..so I thought of trying out with raisins.

As I started off with the preparation, a bunch of friends pleasantly surprised me by turning up for lunch!!! I wasn't prepared for this..and obviously there wasn't much I could offer them. So we decided to cook some rice and rasam at home. Everybody lend a helping hand. We all chatted..giggled..and ofcourse discussed lots of ideas in the kitchen..Kitchen conversations are great bonding agents :-). It was an absolutely ideal time for some hot muffins..and what a coincidence..the muffins were in the oven already!!!

Here's how I made them...

Ingredients: Makes 16 big muffins approx
150 gms flour,
150 gms unsalted butter, softened,
150 gms or 2 ripe bananas, mashed,
100 gms sugar, powdered,
3 eggs,
1 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp vanilla essense,
3 tbsp golden raisins,

Method:
1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for 10 mins.
2.) Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3.) In a bowl, cream the sugar and butter together for few mins. Add vanilla essence and mix well.
4.) Add the eggs one at a time, continuously beating the mixture.
5.) Mash the ripe bananas and fold it into the mixture along with the raisins.
6.) Fill 3/4 of the paper cupcake moulds with the batter.
7.) Bake the muffins at 180 degrees for approx 10-15 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot.

Sneek Peek:


They turned out well..but the texture could have been better..I didnt sift the flour and baking powder together..i guess thats why..my mistake :-(. As the saying goes.."there are no shortcuts to success and baking".


The flavor of the banana made quite a strong presence...the raisins along with the banana was a beautiful blend!!!


My friends quite enjoyed it..and we had a blast together!!!
Strawberries are all over in the market now. My son loves them. He loves the taste and especially the milkshake. He's quite hungry once he's back from school, and a good glass full of this milkshake just does the trick. Its an instant energizer and at the same time fills up the stomach.


How to find that perfect strawberry? Well here are some things that I follow..A good strawberry must be bright red in color, particularly on the shoulder and at the cap of leaflets around the stem. The cap should be green (indicates its been plucked a couple of days ago), and the berry should have a distinct strawberry aroma. The flesh should be firm but not mushy, with an even sprinkling of seeds. Large and showy strawberries are beautiful to look at, while smaller strawberries are always more flavorful. Look for a strawberry with evenly spaced seeds along the bottom tip. Most importantly, no dark spots.


While buying a container/box of strawberries, discard any that are seeping strawberry juice, or contain strawberries with obvious dark spots or brown spots. Often prepackaged strawberries would have the poor quality strawberries in the bottom, so always check the bottom of the container before buying. I've been fooled a couple of times...experience speaks you see :) Strawberries will stay fresh and flavorful in the fridge for four days. Its highly perishable by nature, they are best if eaten within a couple of days of purchasing.

Ingredients: Makes 1 glass
7-8 fresh strawberries,
1-2 tbsp powdered sugar or as per taste,
50 ml fresh cream (I use Amul low-fat tetra pack),
25 ml cold milk,

Method:
Whip all the ingredients in the mixer. Serve chilled.

Sneek Peek:

Its a perfect drink for those milk-fussy kids, like mine :)

Cheers!!!
I'm am honoured and very happy to recieve my first blog award from AK Mom who is an excellent baker herself.

AK Mom from What's Baking has awarded me the I Love Your Blog Award.



Thank you so much AK Mom for this award..I'm quite excited about this for sure :)

Ok, so as per the rule, I need to link this post back to the person who gave me this award. Done!!!

Next, I need to pass this one to 7 of my favourite blogs. Hmmmm...Thats a difficult one, since there are a lot many of my favorite blogs and to pick out just 7 is extremely difficult..Nevertheless..here's my list in alphabetical order..

eCurry
Escapades
Food-n-more
Passionate About Baking
Sunita's World
Veg Inspirations
Vegetable Platter

I'm new to the blogging world and I cherish and draw inspirations from each one of your blogs..Thank you all for making the whole blogging experience so special...:)
My little baby turns 4 today..My world, my darling..suddenly looks so grown up to me..Just sometime back he entered our world..and today he stands tall, talks like a mature man, knows what he wants, and does exactly what he wants to do..

He's brought us so much of joy, a reason to smile, a reason to look forward to the new tomorrow. Everyday, in the last 4 years, has been a learning curve, for him as well as for us, as parents. His world is full of fun, love, toys, bikes, cars, chocolates, going out, parks, slides, computer games, masti, lots and lots of questions, and lots of naughtiness..He's brought out the child in us and given us a reason to have fun.

We intend to celebrate this day with as much fun as possible. Recipes will follow in a couple of days.

We wish Aryan a very Happy Birthday with lots of blessings and good wishes for a bright and prosperous future!!!

Lots of Love..Mummy & Daddy & All family members...
I've been looking for a good chocochip cookie recipe for quite some time. Last time I followed a recipe from a magazine..and needless to say..was an outright disaster!!! They turned out quite dark in color on top and almost burnt at the bottom. The only feel good factor at that time was I had halved all the ingredients..so the damage was minimized and we managed to finish the cookies fast.

I recently read the post on Chocolate Chip Cookies by Deesha. I wanted to give it a shot...though was quite skeptical, courtesy the previous disaster.

As always I halved the ingredients. I did make some changes to the sweetness..since I have a diabetic FIL, who, given a chance would lap up any sweet in top gear :). The results were stunning!!! I must thank Deesha for her tips which indeed were quite helpful.

Ingredients: (Halved and slightly changed from Deesha's recipe)
Makes Approx 15-18
1 cup + 2 tbsps flour,
1/2 cup butter, softened,
1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/2 cup Demerara sugar,
1 egg,
1/2 tsp vanilla essence,
1/2 tsp salt,
1/2 tsp lemon juice,
1/2 tsp baking soda,
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips,

Method:
1.) Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees for 10 mins.
2.) Sift the flour, baking soda and salt thrice and set aside.
3.) In a bowl, mix granulated sugar, Demerara sugar, butter, vanilla essence, and beat well. Add the eggs and beat well.
4.) Add the flour mixture slowly and mix well. Mix in the chocolate chips.
5.) Drop spoonful of the mixture on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for approximately 9-10 mins.
6.) Allow them to cool before removing from the baking sheets.

Sneek Peek:


They were perfect with a hot cup of coffee. I prefer to have cookies or biscuits dunked in coffee..and it tasted so good :)


The sweetness was just right for us and the little chocolate chips added the right amount of crunch and sweetness. The lemon juice did add the chewy texture as Deesha mentioned and I would not make any changes to that one.


I'm glad I found that perfect Chocochip cookie recipe...and wouldn't stop myself from making big batches from now on!!!

I'm sending this entry to Sharmi for her Cookie Baking Event.
I've been thinking of posting this recipe for sometime now..It was tucked in the "drafts" section. Honestly, it was under analysis. I wanted to be perfectly sure of the taste..and today, I finally decided to complete the post!!!

Just a little story behind the Shahi Garam Masala...I was tired of using Everest Garam Masala, which we've been using for quite some years now. I switched over to Priya, MTR, something something...but it didnt quite appeal. My grandmom used to make garam masala at home when I was a kid. I remember helping her sift the powder after she would powder it in the mixer. The aroma would linger in the house for atleast a day or two..

I took the recipe from grandmom but was not satisfied with the ingredients. They were too less, plus I wanted something exotic to add to the gravies. Mom suggested I look up on the internet or the cover of the Everest Masala packet. Did that..wasn't satisfied. I decided to experiment with the flavours...I know I can really be paranoid sometimes!!!

I wrote down all the khada masalas (whole spices) I knew. A visit to the supermarket, and got all the ingredients home. I bought little quantities for the experiment. Next, opened every packet and smelled each ingredient and made my observation. Based on that I decided, how much of each ingredient should be added. Dry roasted them individually, powdered them in the mixer, and by then I was absolutely impatient to use it :-)


A series of tasting and observation sessions followed, comments from hubby were invited everytime food was served, long conversations with mom about how it should taste, analysing flavors in restaurant foods to rate my masala against there's. And finally, after about a month's hard work and analysis, I present to you..my Shahi Garam Masala

Ingredients: Makes 500 gms approx.

250 gms coriander seeds,
100 gms cumin seeds,
50 gms pepper,
20 gms green cardamom,
20 gms clove,
20 gms cinnamon,
10 gms bay leaves,
10 gms fennel seeds,
10 gms black cardamom,
5 gms star anise,
5 gms mace (javitri),
1 whole nutmeg

Method:

1.) Dry roast each item individually. Roasting heightens the flavors of the spices.
2.) Allow them to cool down completely.
3.) Put all the spices together in the grinder and powder them finely.
4.) Sift the powder to get a superfine texture.
5.) Store in an air tight container to retain the flavors.

Note:
I've invented this version of garam masala as per our tastes and eating patterns. Its always good to try in little quantities to check if it suits your pallets.

Sneek Peek:

I feel proud for the heroic deed of experimenting with spicies..I'm happy that it came out as I wanted...


I love the beautiful blend of all the spices..Each ingredient has its importance and flavor...its exotic!!!