Palate Taste

 Egg Flower Chicken Soup
Whether you want a break from heavy food or something to soothe your lungs on a cold day... you are on the right page. What is more comforting than a pot of hot hearty homemade delicious chicken soup? 


My personal spin on this steaming bowl of "Egg Flower Chicken Soup" is a simplified and quick one-pot dish method prepared in 30 minutes. Its satisfying classic flavors are sure to top your comfort food list. The ingredients added relieve you when down with sore throat or cold and flu. A study of the "Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" was an awakening for me with the health benefits we gain from the regular usage of Indian spices when consumed correctly. 


This "Egg Flower Chicken Soup" will instantly take you to heaven as it's so good for your body, mind, and soul. My family loves it when served with a warm toast or a dinner roll.  



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Category: Soup, Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Level: Easy
Serves: 5
Requirement: Pressure Cooker


Nutrition Facts
Servings 5.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 194
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16 g25 %
Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 398 mg17 %
Potassium 56 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate 2 g1 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g1 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 51 g103%
Vitamin A2 %
Vitamin C2 %
Calcium0 %
Iron1 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
INGREDIENTS

1. Chicken - 2 pounds (skinless, bone-in)-I used breast and thighs
2. Pearl onions - 6 (peeled and chopped)- Check notes
3. Cinnamon - 1-inch stick
4. Bay leaf - 1
5. Cloves - 4 nos
6. Cumin/ Jeera powder - 1/4 teaspoon 
7. Pepper Powder- 1/2 teaspoon or as required
8. Ginger and Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
9. Turmeric Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
10. Mint - 1 sprig
11. Coriander leaves - 4-5 sprigs (chopped)
12. Water - 8 cups (cold)
13. Salt to taste
14. Organic Egg - 2 (whites only)

DIRECTIONS
1. In a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients except the egg and coriander leaves. Ensure that the chicken is submerged completely. Close the lid and turn the heat to medium-high. (Check notes)

2. Cook until 2 whistles and set aside for the pressure to release.

3. Carefully open the lid to fish out the whole spices (cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf, and mint sprig).

4. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the chicken to bite size pieces and discard the bones.

5. Return the shredded chicken to the cooker and turn the heat again to bring it to a boil.


6. Lower the heat and pour the egg white into the soup in a slow but steady stream. Gently give it a stir only in 1 direction. In less than a minute you will find the cooked egg whites flowering up. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

7. Ladle into serving bowls and serve piping hot with a warm toast or dinner roll.

NOTES AND TIPS

1. Peeled pearl onions and be chopped or just smash it with your knife to release flavor. 

2. The whole spices can be bundled in a small cheesecloth for easy removal.
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Sweet Brown Rice Sarkarai Pongal

It's time to celebrate prosperity, the festival of abundance. Happy Pongal to you and your family!  Our Pongal special is "Sweet/Sarkarai Pongal" with a slight variation using "Sweet Brown Rice" and Dates.


Pongal is a Hindu festival celebrated on the 1st day of the 10th month (Thai) according to the Lunar calendar. Traditionally on this auspicious day, freshly harvested rice is boiled with fresh milk and jaggery in clay pots. While boiling the concoction, people allow the milk to spill over the pot as an auspicious sign of abundance and prosperity. This Pongal is then seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, and raisins usually. I have added dates to this recipe taken from my mom. Also, my ratio of dal is slightly on the higher side for more protein, you may reduce it to your taste. This being brown rice, I used the pressure cooker for an effortless cooking.


Sweet brown rice has a shiny and smooth exterior. Once it is cooked with lentils it tends to get mushy like our regular rice. Although this mushiness keeps the pongal from getting too dry /hard; cooked sweet brown rice retains a slight and perfect crunchiness with each bit that you will love. Without any delay let's get started with this "Sweet Brown Rice Pongal"...




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Category: Dessert 
Cuisine: South Indian
Level: Easy
Serves: 5

Nutrition Facts
Servings 5.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 649
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14 g21 %
Saturated Fat 5 g27 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg2 %
Sodium 28 mg1 %
Potassium 296mg8 %
Total Carbohydrate 119g40 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g21 %
Sugars 64 g
Protein 13 g25 %
Vitamin A7 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium8 %
Iron14 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
INGREDIENTS
  1. Sweet Brown Rice (organic)- 1 cup
  2. Yellow Moong Dal (Paasi paruppu)- 1/2 cup
  3. Milk (Organic or A2) - 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup 
  4. Water - 3 cups
  5. Jaggery (powder) - 1 cup (check notes)
  6. Cardamom powder - 1/4 teaspoon
  7. Ghee - 2 tablespoons
  8. Raisins - 3 tablespoons
  9. Broken cashew nuts - 3 tablespoons
  10. Dates - 6-7 nos (pitted)
DIRECTIONS

1. Rinse and soak the sweet brown rice for about an hour. Drain and set aside.

2. Lightly roast the dry moong dal for approximately 3 minutes until aromatic, making sure you do not brown it.


3. In a pressure cooker, take the drained rice, roasted moong dal along with half a cup of milk and 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. 


4. Once the cooker is cooled, add the remaining milk(1/4 cup), jaggery powder, and cardamom powder (check notes). Bring this to a boil.


5. Heat the ghee in a tadka ladle or a small pan, and add the cashew nuts until it turns golden brown. You may add the raisins to puff up. But I prefer the raisins raw. 


6. Add the above along with raisins and dates (cut into fours lengthwise) and give it a good stir. Now it's ready to serve:)


NOTES AND TIPS
1. Jaggery powder is readily available, which doesn't require grating/ crushing or straining the syrup. When heated it automatically dissolves.

2. Cardamom powder can be replaced with 2 pods of cardamom in ghee along with cashew nuts. Since we don't like it whole, I always have them stocked powdered.

3. Adding milk to cooked rice and dal adds flavor to the Pongal.

4. Sweet Brown Rice is available in Whole Foods.

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Eggless Wheat Banana Bread

"Happy 2017", a brand new beginning for your dreams and desires to come to reality and efforts turn into great achievements. Starting this new year with the most popular and ultimate "Banana Bread", a healthy recipe as my 1st post this year.


You don't want to miss this extremely moist, sweet, nutty, and most importantly healthy recipe. This delicious bread is an anytime healthy bread prepared with wheat, jaggery, and banana as the key ingredients. It's a big no to the all-purpose or maida flour. Banana Bread can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack, or even as a dessert for lunch or dinner.


When my good and long-time friend Kirthika Kameshwaran shared this healthy recipe, my family relished every bit of it. I slightly modified her recipe with a few additions as well. Thanks again Kirthika for your sharing and being supportive always :)


Overripe bananas don't go to waste anymore, you can instantly start baking with the ingredients you will readily have at home. Are you geared up for some easy baking? Here we go...






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Category:Breakfast,Dessert
Cuisine: International
Level: Easy
Serves: 1 loaf (9x3)
Source:Kirthika Kameshwaran

Nutrition Facts
Servings 10.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 309
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g21 %
Saturated Fat 2 g9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 187 mg8 %
Potassium 129mg4 %
Total Carbohydrate 42g14 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g3 %
Sugars 22 g
Protein 3 g6 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C3 %
Calcium2 %
Iron6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
INGREDIENTS

1. Whole Wheat Flour / Atta - 1 1/2 cups
2. Baking Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
3. Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
4. Cardamom Powder - 1/2 tsp
5. Nutmeg Powder - 1/2 tsp
6. Powdered Jaggery - 1 cup
7. Vegetable Oil - 1/2 cup
8. Organic Milk - 1/2 cup
9. Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
10. Banana - 2 (medium-sized - ripened) 

11. Walnuts (chopped) - 1/4 cup 


DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the dry ingredients (1-5 ) in a bowl and sieve it using a sifter and set aside. 

3. Blend the jaggery along with wet ingredients (6-9) in a mixer to a smooth paste.


4. Now combine the dry and wet mixtures together using a hand blender or a whisk. 


5. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and fold them gently to spread evenly.

6. Transfer to batter to a prepared bread loaf (check notes) and bake in the middle rack for about 50-55 mins.

7. While baking, in the middle about 25-30 mins, cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent the top layer from getting burnt.

8. Once the bread is done, allow it to rest in the pan for 5-7 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

9. Let sit on the wired cooling rack until room temperature to slice and serve. 

Enjoy baking!



NOTES AND TIPS
  • To prepare the pan, use a teaspoon of vegetable oil and brush the pan evenly. you may dust it with some dry flour or simply use a lining of parchment paper for the bottom for easy removal. The oil will help keep the liner in place.
  • This bread keeps well refrigerated, after 24 hours but ours was over on the same day ;)
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Cabbage Mushroom Soup

You will love this nourishing vegetarian quick-to-fix comfort soup with just 2 main ingredients rich in antioxidants. The convenience of a one-pot meal on a busy cold night makes this a no-fuss soup. 


Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and B6. It is also a fiber-rich and a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate, and copper. It is low in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Mushrooms being a good source of protein (especially for vegetarians), dietary fiber, iron, zinc, and vitamins C, D and B6 add more flavor to this dish.

With great depth of flavor, the deliciously thick soup will steal your heart away when served in a bread bowl. Although I have embellished my hot soup with potato boro's this time. Well, it's about time to enjoy easy and simple healthy warm comfort soup this winter. You sure will impress your guests effortlessly!








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Category: Soup, Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian 
Serves: 4
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 33
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg0 %
Sodium 280 mg10 %
Potassium 90 mg3 %
Total Carbohydrate 6 g2 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g7 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 2 g4 %
Vitamin A3 %
Vitamin C29 %
Calcium2 %
Iron1 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
INGREDIENTS
  1. Butter - 1 teaspoon (melted)
  2. Mushroom - 2 cups (chopped) 
  3. Cabbage - 2 cups (roughly chopped)
  4. Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
  5. Onions (white) - 1/4 cup (optional)
  6. Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup (chopped)
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Water as required (approximately 3 cups)
DIRECTIONS
1. Heat a large saucepan with butter and ginger garlic paste, chopped mushrooms, and onions to saute for 3-4 minutes. 

2. Pour in the water and add cabbage and coriander leaves along with required salt. Bring it to a boil.

3. Using a hand blender, directly puree the soup in the same pot. You may reserve some cooked cabbage to float in your soup.

4. Embellish with croutons/ potato boro or a slice of toasted bread on the side of the hot soup. Although serving in a bread bowl would be ideal. YUM!


NOTES AND TIPS
1. Let cool for a few minutes if using a blender. 

2. Button mushrooms result in light creamy colored soup. Whereas, Shiitake mushrooms add more flavor but result in a light brown color.

3. Notice I haven't added any spice as the natural flavor will be thoroughly enjoyed. The mild heat from the ginger and garlic would suffice. You may add ground black pepper if required.

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Cheesy Shiitake Mushroom Crescent Roll

Craving for a rich and freshly baked tasty twist? A perfect Thanksgiving cheesy savory appetizer wrapped in Pillsbury's flaky crescent roll. 


Flakey buttery goodness with Indian spiced mushrooms and melted cheese is mouth-watering. This dish can be a quick last-minute addition to any party. It's a semi-home-made recipe, where the stuffing can be made ahead of time and freshly baked with the readily available crescent roll dough. The French pastry bread or dinner roll is usually shaped up in a unique crescent shape, but I have mine rolled and covered completely for the stuffing to stay intact to look like a bundle. 

These crescent rolls were transformed into a large Cornucopia using a cone-shaped aluminum foil and baked longer until they turned crisp. This cornucopia was filled with fresh fruits for our previous Thanksgiving Feast.

Last-minute non-traditional Thanksgiving menu ideas:

Bruschetta - Sun-dried Tomato Basil pesto
Caramel Spiced Rosemary Walnut
Six Tastes Watermelon Salad
Lobster Popcorn
BelVita Blueberry Cheesecake
European Tiramisu Cake
Strawberry Ale Mojito - Mocktail
Blueberry Infused Fizz

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 124
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g7 %
Saturated Fat 3 g14 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 299 mg12 %
Potassium 14 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 11g4 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g2 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 1 g3 %
Vitamin A3 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium0 %
Iron3 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.




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Category: Appetizer
Cuisine: Fusion
Level: Medium
Serves: 8 nos
INGREDIENTS
  • 1. Pillsbury Crescent roll - 1(8oz)can refrigerated 
  • 2. Shiitake Mushrooms - 1/2 cup (sliced)
  • 3. Onion - 1/4 cup (julienne)
  • 4. Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 teaspoon
  • 5. Chilly powder/ Paprika - 1/4 teaspoon
  • 6. Coriander powder/ Dhanya powder - 1/4 teaspoon
  • 7. Cumin powder/ Jeera - 1/8 teaspoon
  • 8. Garam Masala - 1/8 teaspoon
  • 9. Salt to taste
  • 10. Pepper Jack (or any preferred)- 1 slice (cut into 8 small pieces)
  • 11. Coriander leaves - garnish
  • 12. Oil - 2 teaspoons
DIRECTIONS

STUFFING:

1. To make the Shiitake mushroom stuffing, in a saucepan/ kadai heat a couple of teaspoons of oil on medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and garlic paste and saute until golden brown.


2. Now add the sliced mushrooms, required salt, cumin powder, garam masala, chilly powder and coriander powder. Continue cooking for close to 7-8 mins. 


3. Once done, garnish with coriander leaves remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Open the can as per the directions stated. Unroll the dough and separate it into 8 triangles. 


 2. Place a small cheese slice or shredded cheese of your choice. Top it with approximately 2 teaspoons of prepared mushroom stuffing (as mentioned above) on the wider edge of the triangle dough.


3. Roll up to the narrow end (opposite point). The side of the rolls can be closed and wrapped completely to prevent the cheese from leaking.


4. Place rolls on cookie sheets leaving enough space to raise and fluff. I like to line my sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper. 


5. Bake at 375°F for 10- 12 minutes or until light golden color. Remove from the cookie sheet and serve immediately to enjoy the melted cheese with just the right amount of spice to this fluffy dinner roll.

NOTES AND TIPS
1. Keep the Pillsbury crescent rolls refrigerated until you are ready to bake. Keeping it at room temperature causes the dough to loosen its firmness which is difficult to roll.

2. Don't forget to cool your stuffing before you remove the dough from the refrigerator. 

3. If you do not prefer masalas in your stuffing, you may simply add Spanish, cheese, and garlic powder and season with fresh ground pepper. 

4. The bake time varies according to the construction of your oven and its settings.

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Salmon with Peanut Sauce and Papaya Salsa

Looking for an Asian-inspired seafood dish? Oven-roasted salmon is simply delicious when dipped in peanut dipping sauce and served with ripe papaya salsa. 

This beautifully seared and roasted Salmon with Peanut sauce (Satay sauce) and Papaya salsa provides a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Salmon is seared using a cast iron skillet on the stovetop first, which crisps the outer layer delectably. Then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. This method is highly recommended if cooking a few fillets that fit in the skillet. Do not crowd it with too many pieces of fish. You can prepare chicken the same way however cooking time in the oven is longer. 


You will love this Asian-flavored peanut dipping sauce with the little crunchy texture. Always use the freshly pressed peanut butter (with no added ingredients), once you relish it, you will never prefer to buy the ones previously packed in jars. 

The fresh and tropical fruity Papaya salsa is a great accompaniment to a grilled fish or chicken. The pickled dill slice can be replaced with some lime juice and salt.

For more Seafood recipes check out my:



SALMON WITH PEANUT SAUCE AND PAPAYA SALSA



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Category: Main
Cuisine: Fusion
Serves: 2

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 203
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7 g10 %
Saturated Fat 1 g3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 11mg4 %
Sodium 324 mg13 %
Potassium 426mg12 %
Total Carbohydrate 36g12 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g18 %
Sugars 19 g
Protein 8 g17 %
Vitamin A40 %
Vitamin C178%
Calcium6 %
Iron3 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

  • INGREDIENTS

  • Salmon:
  1. Salmon - 2 boneless, skinless fillet
  2. Oil - 1 tablespoon
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Black Pepper (freshly grounded) - as required
  5. Peanut sauce - 1 teaspoon 
  6. Sesame seeds (white) - for garnishing

  • Peanut Sauce/ Satay Sauce:
Peanut butter 1/4 cup (freshly pressed from Whole Foods)

    • Papaya Salsa:
    1. Ripe papaya - 2 cups (peeled and chopped into small cubes)
    2. Red onions - 1/4 (finely chopped)
    3. Red bell pepper - 1/4 cup (chopped)
    4. Pickled dill -1 slice (drained, chopped)
    5. Red chilli flakes or Thai green chilly (finely chopped)  - as required
    DIRECTIONS

    Salmon:


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    2. Rinse the fish fillet and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a spoonful of peanut sauce for the honey or brown sugar to caramelize to give a rich color and add more flavor to the fish.

    3. In a heated cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

    4. Place the fish fillets gently in the skillet and cook for 3 mins over high heat to crisp. Flip using a broad spatula and cook for another 3 mins. 

    5. Now transfer the hot skillet into the preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes until the fish is cooked through. 

    Peanut sauce:


    Stir together all the ingredients mentioned in a bowl. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate in an airtight container or freeze until required. This sauce is too good that I am sure you might not have leftovers ;)

    Papaya Salsa:


    Stir all the ingredients mentioned in the papaya salsa above in a bowl. Serve immediately to enjoy or cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

    For presentation:


    I used a basting brush to brush some peanut sauce onto the plate and placed the roasted salmon. Using a flower-shaped cookie cutter I filled in with the papaya salsa. Thinly sliced papaya and a blueberry is arranged like a bird. More dipping sauce on the side finishes the presentation. Enjoy relishing this appetizing main course!

     -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dulce de leche Molten Cake

    Exactly a year ago on this day, I hit the "Publish" button on my very first blog post. Celebrating 1st Blog-versary with warm "Dulce de leche Molten Cake" paired with cool "Banana Crunchy Ice Cream".

    "Life is short. Eat dessert first". - Ernestine Ulmer

    This 1 year journey indeed has been a great roller coaster ride at my end. I was so excited and also ignorant of what exactly I was into. It has been a fantabulous year of great learning experiences from food photography, reading HTML codes, getting creative, and most importantly scheduling each day differently; as I have involved myself in various voluntary work apart from blogging and painting.


    Many many thanks to all my blog followers and readers who continue to be supportive by liking my posts and commenting as well. Many bloggers have been an inspiration especially when it comes to food photography. Passion and perfection go hand in hand. Wish me luck and stay blessed friends!

    You may be interested in viewing my very 1st post "Homemade Fudge Cocoa Brownie"

    DULCE DE LECHE MOLTEN CAKE 

    Who does not like this insanely delicious dulce de leche flavor?  An incredibly quick molten cake with your favorite flavor is surely gonna be a big hit. Baked in high temperature for the outer layer to set as a sturdy foundation to ensure the gooey center oozes out. Say yes to this sexy indulgent dessert even if you are watching your diet ;)


    Prep time - 30 minutes
    Cooking time - 13 mins
    Yields - 6
    Category - Dessert
    Cuisine - French and Spanish-inspired
    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 6.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 185
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 8 g12 %
    Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 1g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 97mg32 %
    Sodium 102 mg4 %
    Potassium 30 mg1 %
    Total Carbohydrate 25g8 %
    Dietary Fiber 0 g1 %
    Sugars 0 g
    Protein 8 g16 %
    Vitamin A4 %
    Vitamin C0 %
    Calcium1 %
    Iron4 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
    Ingredients:

    1. Unsalted butter - 1 tablespoon + some for coating the ramekins
    2. All-purpose flour/ maida - 2.5 cups + more for dusting ramekins
    3. Salt - 1 pinch
    4. Egg yolks - 2 large
    5. Whole egg - 1 large
    6. Dulce de leche - 2/3 cup (scroll down for homemade recipe)

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 425°. Butter and dust the ramekins with flour to place them on a baking sheet. 

    2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and egg in a medium bowl until doubled in volume and eggs hold a slight ribbon (check notes for this term) which takes about 3 minutes. 



    • 3. Add dulce de leche and butter to beat until well combined. Then gradually sift in 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour and salt to beat until well incorporated. Divide batter among all the 6 ramekins almost to the top leaving about a centimeter on top.

    • 4. Transfer the baking sheet to oven. Bake cakes until the outsides are golden brown in color but the centers still jiggle. Mine too exactly 13 minutes.

    • 5. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack. Let it sit for 10 seconds for the sides to loosen. Also, run the tip of a small knife around the edges of ramekins to remove easily. Invert onto serving plates and carefully lift off the ramekins. Serve immediately with ice cream (in this case Banana Crunchy Ice cream).

    Notes and Tips:

    • The Ribbon Stage is a cooking term used to measure how well egg yolk and sugar are beaten together. When a whisk or spoon is moved through the mixture it leaves a trail behind that is visible for a split-second before merging back into the mixture. Another way to check is to spoon the mixture back into the bowl in ribbons for a short period to disappear is the right consistency. 

    DULCE DE LECHE (Homemade)

    A fudge-like caramel is basically simmering milk and sugar. It is a combination of two common browning reactions called Caramelization and the Maillard Reaction. This pressure cooker method makes the tedious task easy.


    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes
    Level: Easy

    Ingredient and Requirement
    • Condensed milk (fat-free) - 1 can
    • Pressure cooker 


    Directions:
    Remove the label from the condensed milk can and wash it thoroughly. Place it in a pressure cooker horizontally and fill water until half the can is immersed. Close and turn on the flame to high and cook for 1 whistle. Now is the time to simmer the flame to low and continue cooking for another 25 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Allow the pressure to release and open the lid for further cooling time. Do not touch or try lifting the can when hot to avoid burns. When the can cool completely wipe dry and open to find the delicious dulce de leche.


    BANANA CRUNCHY ICE CREAM

    Cold stone Banana Caramel Crunch is the flavor I can never give up. Just came up with a shortcut to enjoy any day at home. Skipped the caramel as we are enjoying it with Dulce de leche Molten Cakes.

    Ingredients:
    • Vanilla ice cream - 6 scoops (Cold Stone - optional)
    • Banana - 1/2 
    • Granola or Toasted Almonds- 2 tablespoons (my choice - Granola)

    Directions:
    Chill a marble slab in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Use two large spoons to fold in the ice cream and the mix-ins on the chilled marble slab. Scoop to serve immediately along with the Dulce de leche Molten cake.

    Notes and Tips:
    If you choose to have just the ice cream, add a swirl of dulce de leche or caramel to the prepared ice cream as an extra topping.

    Always remember good things are coming to you. Just keep going!

             ----------------------------------------------------
    Chum Chum/ Chom Chom (Semi-homemade version included)

    Stuffed and spongy like a teddy is not huggable but enjoyable with its sweet and soft texture. The most popular and all-time favorite Bengali milk sweet is similar to Rasgulla. It is stuffed with saffron-flavored Mawa/Khoya made from scratch. Comes in a variety of colors (pink, yellow, white) and is all the favorite milk sweet in our family. 


    To make Mawa using Ricotta cheese and evaporated milk please check Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun with Fig MawaIf you are looking for more Indian dessert recipes for this Diwali, you might want to check out my Peda - 3 variations, Badhusha and Wheat Nutty Rawa Laddu.


    Like "make your own teddy" here is a Semi-home and no-cooking version of Chum Chums especially for bachelors and working moms. Buy canned chum chum or rasgulla. Drain and squeeze out the excess sugar syrup. Slit with a knife and stuff with store-bought mawa (mix confectioners sugar and saffron strands soaked in warm milk for added flavor). Top it with chopped nuts and desiccated coconut flakes. Vola! You made it in less than 10 minutes. Pat your back and enjoy with your family!


    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 45 minutes
    Cuisine - Indian (Bengali)
    Category: Sweets/ Dessert

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 12.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 157
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 4 g6 %
    Saturated Fat 2 g12 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 10mg3 %
    Sodium 99 mg4 %
    Potassium 0 mg0 %
    Total Carbohydrate 30g10 %
    Dietary Fiber 0 g1 %
    Sugars 29 g
    Protein 3 g6 %
    Vitamin A4 %
    Vitamin C2 %
    Calcium10 %
    Iron0 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
    Ingredients:
    1. Organic Whole Milk - 4 cups/ 1 quart/ 1 liter
    2. Rice Vinegar or Lemon Juice - 3 tablespoons
    3. Granulated Sugar - 1.5 cups
    4. Water - 3 cups
    5. Desiccated Coconut - 3 tablespoons
    6. Food color - Pink or Yellow (optional) I liked the natural white and skipped coloring.
    7. Ice cubes or cold water (for cooling the chena/ paneer)


    Stuffing:
    1. Mawa/ Khoya - 1/4 cup (crumbled/ grated) 
    Check  Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun with Fig Mawa for homemade fig mawa using Ricotta cheese.
    2. Saffron strands - few approximately 4-5 strands
    3. Milk - 1/2 Teaspoon
    4. Confectioners sugar - 1 teaspoon or as required (optional)
    5. Cardamom powder - 1/8 teaspoon
    6. Pistachio (chopped) - 3 tablespoons

    Directions:
    Boil whole milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Turn off the flame once it comes to a boil. 


    Let cool for 5 minutes and the vinegar or lemon juice for milk to curdle. 


    Once curdled,  add ice cubes or cold water to stop the cooking process. This keeps the fresh chena/ paneer soft and the lemon juice/ vinegar is washed away as well.


    Using a strainer, drain all the whey (water) to collect the panner/ chena in a muslin cloth or any thin cloth to remove excess moisture. Gently twist the cloth to squeeze out the remaining whey. 


    I used a clip and tied it to my microwave handle for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to keep a bowl underneath to collect the drippings. 


     Untie to see crumbled paneer / chena.


     Mash and knead the panner to form dough-like. Stop kneading when you feel the fat releasing and your palms get greasy. 


    Now you may add the food color of your choice and mix well if you desire. Divide into 12 equal parts and shape them into thick oval patties as shown in the picture. 


    Remember the size will double as it cooks in the sugar syrup.


    In a deep pan, boil the 3 cups of water add sugar to it, and stir to dissolve completely to make the sugar syrup. 


    Gently add the chum chums into the sugar syrup. Cover and cook on medium heat for 12 minutes. Flip the patties in between once after 6 minutes or so.



    Once cooked, drain them and let them cool completely to prevent the chum chums from breaking. Gently press to remove excess syrup. Using a knife make a slit horizontally (with one end still connected) to stuff with Mawa. 


    To make the stuffing, add the saffron strands to the 1/2 teaspoon warm milk and let sit for a few mins to release the saffron color. Add this to Mawa/Khoya along with cardamom powder. I did not add Sugar as my homemade mawa (made with Ricotta cheese and evaporated milk) was sweet enough. 


    Take about 1/2 teaspoon of mawa stuffing and stuff the chum chum. Now repeat the same with the remaining chum chums. Top the stuffing with a generous amount of chopped pistachios and roll the chum chums in a bed of desiccated coconut for a finished look. 


    Malai/ Rabri Chum Chum 
    An instant version of sweet and creamy Rabri Chum Chum great for unexpected guests or last-minute dessert ideas. Preparation time is 5 minutes or less. Also, an excellent party dessert that can be made ahead of time.

    Ingredients:
    Condensed Milk - 1/2 can (7 oz)
    Organic Whole Milk - 1 cup
    Pistachios -1 tablespoon (chopped)
    Slivered Almonds - 1 tablespoon 
    Saffron strands - a few
    Cardamom powder - 1/8 teaspoon

    Directions:

    In a saucepan pour the milk and bring it to a boil. To this add the condensed milk and stir well.
    Now add the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat.
    In a bowl arrange unstuffed chum chums and pour in the Rabri/malai to it. Ready to be served.



    Indulge life is sweet and delicious! Happy Diwali!

    Notes and Tips:
    1. When the milk curdles, immediately add the ice cubes to the chena/ paneer in order to stop cooking. this step helps retain the soft texture of chena.
    2. Keep the chum chums covered while cooking. 
    3. Always cool the chum chums completely before slitting to avoid breaking.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun with Fig Mawa
    Purple Sweet Potato gives a slight mutation from the authentic Gulab Jamun. Layers of rich, unexpected flavors and color make this delicacy a succulent Indian treat that melts in your mouth. It is a wondrous way to sneak in some goodies, especially on special occasions. 


    A perfect festive delight to feed your loved ones or for give aways to your near and dear on this Diwali. Gulab Jamuns are usually made with Mawa or khoya which is nothing but evaporated milk solids. Mashed purple sweet potato is the main ingredient in this recipe. These sweet potato darlings are stuffed with homemade fig mawa/ khoya made with Ricotta cheese and Fig to add more flavor and irresistible. 


    Preparation time: 20 mins
    Cooking time: 20 minutes 
    Soaking time: 1/2 to 1 hour
    Yields: 30-35 jamuns

    You might be interested in checking out my


    Ingredients:
    Sweet potatoes - 2 medium (purple - optional)
    Evaporated milk - 1 tablespoon (check notes)
    Maida/All-purpose flour - 2 tablespoons
    Salt - 1 pinch
    Oil or Ghee for deep frying ( check notes)
    Pistachios (chopped) - for garnishing

    Sugar Syrup:
    Water - 2 cups
    Sugar - 2 cups
    Rose essence or Rose milk syrup - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
    Cardamom powder - 1/8 teaspoon

    Fig Mawa / Khoya:
    Fig / Athipazham/ Anjeer - 2 nos (peeled and mashed)
    Ricotta cheese - 1/2 small tub (4 oz)
    Evaporated milk or sugar -2 tablespoons


    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 30.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 98
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 4 g7 %
    Saturated Fat 1 g6 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 1g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 2 mg1 %
    Sodium 13 mg1 %
    Potassium 41 mg1 %
    Total Carbohydrate 15g5 %
    Dietary Fiber 0 g1 %
    Sugars 14 g
    Protein 1 g1 %
    Vitamin A26 %
    Vitamin C1 %
    Calcium1 %
    Iron0 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
    Directions:
    Cut the sweet potatoes into large chunks and steam them in a pressure cooker or a steamer for 10 minutes. 


    Cool and peel to mash with potato masher or puree it in a blender to make it fast. You may add approximately a tablespoon of water or as required to blend it. To this add the evaporated milk, all purpose flour, salt and knead to a soft smooth dough for about 5 minutes. 

    For the Fig Mawa/khoya, in a large pan add the ricotta cheese and stir well on medium heat. It will turn into soup consistency and then start to evaporate the water to transform into milk solids. This will take approximately 15 minutes. Now add the evaporated milk or sugar and the mashed fig. You may remove the fig seeds by running through a sieve. But I prefer to leave the seeds in. Stir until it solidifies. 


    Sugar Syrup
    In a large saucepan, add the water, sugar, and bring it to a boil, and simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens to a syrup consistency. Now add the rose essence, or rose milk syrup and cardamom powder. Turn off the heat and set aside.

    Gulab Jamun
    Now is the time to make Jamuns, take a small portion of the dough, about half the size of amla (Indian gooseberry). Flatten it slightly place a small quantity of fig mawa in the middle and roll it into a smooth ball.


    Heat the Ghee and oil in a kadai for deep frying. Gently drop the jamuns and fry on medium heat until it turns brown. Since the sweet potatoes are purple colored, a rich reddish brown color is what we will see. Now drain them and place them on a paper towel-lined plate or container to cool. 


    Since these jamuns are delicate darlings, adding them to the sugar syrup immediately will break the jamuns easily. Let them rest for 5 minutes before you transfer them to the sugar syrup to soak for half to 1-hour maximum. Serve them at room temperature or chilled with some chopped pistachios as garnishing.


    Notes and Tips:
    • Evaporated milk gives the necessary sweetness and moisture to mash the potatoes well. You can substitute it with cream/milk as required along with 2 tablespoons of powdered or confectioner sugar. 
    • Ghee adds more flavor and richness to any Indian dessert, to deep fry I have modified the ratio of ghee and oil to 1:2 to incorporate the ghee flavor and aroma.
    • If you want to eliminate the mawa/ khoya procedure, you may buy the mawa at any Indian store and add the pureed fig and required confectioners sugar and mix well. 
    • Always fry the jamuns in medium to low heat only. Do not stir the jamuns as soon as you drop them in the oil/ghee for deep frying. Allow the other layer to get crisp before turning them to avoid breaking.
    • Good for 1 week when refrigerated.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thattuvadai set and Norukal

    A unique savory snack similar to chaat is a popular street food that was commenced in Salem (Southern India). Although the spices vary from regular chaat, the green and red chutney is used to kick in your spice buds. 

    Thattuvadai basically is a sandwich of Thattai/ Thattu murrukku/ Chekkalu/ Nippattu with a salad of grated veggies and spicy chutneys.  Along with Thattuvadai Set I also prepared Norukal. Norukal is similar to Bhel puri. It is a mixture of crumbled Thattai and grated veggies that is topped with a generous amount of thin sev to make it flavorful and crunchy. 

    My in-laws from Salem introduced me and made sure I relished my favorite snack on all my visits. They never failed to pack us with homemade Kai Murruku and Thattai as well, which I get to share with all my friends here. Feeling blessed! 

    If Thattai is not readily available or if you opt not to prepare them on your own, try substituting with Papdi (fried flour crisps) that are used for papdi chaat. Despite being a popular snack in Salem it is now growing much in Chennai as well. Do not miss this snack as I am sure kids will enjoy it as well (request for mild spice). A great way to have the kids intake veggies. Enjoy munching these crip sandwiches!
    You might be interested in Khakhara Dahi Chaat, for a healthier base chaat.

    Preparation Time: 10 mins
    Cooking time: 5 minutes
    Cuisine: Indian
    Category: Snacks
    Yields: 4

    Ingredients:
    • Thattai / Milagu Thattai  or Papdi (fried flour crispies) - 8 pieces + 4 pieces for Norukal 
    • Thin Sev - 1/2 cup (only for Norukal)

    Filling:
    • Beetroot (grated) - 1/2 cup
    • Carrot (grated) - 1/2 cup
    • Raw Mango (grated) - 1/2 cup
    • Red onion (finely chopped) - 1/2 cup 
    • Coriander leaves (finely chopped) -  1/4 cup
    • Lime juice - few drops

    Green Chutney:
    • Mint leaves - 1 cup
    • Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
    • Green chillies - 2-3
    • Lime juice - few drops
    • Salt to taste
    • Water as required

    Red Chutney:
    • Cooking oil - 2 teaspoons
    • Tomato- 2 nos
    • Red onion - 1/4 (small) 
    • Chilly powder - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Garlic - 2 cloves (optional)
    • Salt to taste
    • Water as required

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 4.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 438
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 18 g28 %
    Saturated Fat 1 g3 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 1g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
    Sodium 375 mg16 %
    Potassium 503mg14 %
    Total Carbohydrate 52g17 %
    Dietary Fiber 4 g15 %
    Sugars 8 g
    Protein 8 g15 %
    Vitamin A56 %
    Vitamin C58 %
    Calcium3 %
    Iron3 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


    Directions for Thattuvadai Set and Norukal:
    1. For Red chutney, saute the chopped onion, garlic, tomato, chilly powder in oil for about 4-5 mins. Once cooled, grind it with required salt and water to a fine paste. 
    2. For Green chutney, grind all the ingredients (raw) as specified under "Green chutney" to a fine paste. 
    3. To prepare the filling, in a large bowl mix all the ingredients listed. Sprinkle the lime juice right before you serve, else it can get the veggies soggy. 
    4. To serve, take two thattuvadai's for each set. Apply the red chutney on one and green on the other. Now is the time to sandwich both with a generous quantity of filling to serve immediately!
    5. For Norukal, crumble approximately 3-4 Thattaies and mix it with rest of the filling ingredients. Drizzle few drops of lime juice, red and green chutneys and sprinkle some   thin sev and serve it immediately. 

    Notes and Tips:
    • Adding lime juice to the raw veggies give a sharp zesty flavor. A few drops goes a long way.  
    • Add the lime juice right before its time to serve to avoid it getting soggy.
    • Extra spicy chutneys give the extra kick that you will enjoy!  

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Blueberry Infused Fizz

    Are you in the mood for a nipping and bubbly refreshment? Naturally flavorful and delicious Blueberry Infused Fizz is a wonderful departure from mundane juice blends to a fizzy concoction of goodness that will cool you off. 

    You can enjoy this lip-smacking bevy blends of two flavors that dances across your tongue. Freshly Squeezed Apple or Celery along with infused blueberry and ginger will knock your sock off. "Snapple" (Soda-Apple) is sweet and slightly sharp due to the infused ginger and berry. "Celda"(Celery-Soda) Blueberry Infused Fizz has a sharp, spicy and peppery taste yet a bit of sweetness from rock candy/sugar (crystalized cane sugar) is fascinating. You may pick your choice of flavor according to your taste buds. Both versions are exquisitely refreshing and a fantastic recipe for kids and teetotalers. You will need at least 12-24 hours for this comfort drink to infuse at its best. As I enjoy berry bits in my drink, some blueberries are punctured or gently crushed and incorporated into this thirst quencher.

    For garnishing I skewered few berries and rested them on top of the cocktail glass. This beverage can be prepared in advance and kept chilled. Whether you are brunching, picnicking or be it any occasion that needs a special drink; this perfect blend of flavors will compliment the natural goodness that is made from earth's best stuffs (organic produce).
    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Chill: 6 - 24 hours
    Type: Beverages/ Drinks
    Yields: 4 servings

    Ingredients:

    Apple or Celery Juice (freshly squeezed) - 2 cups

    Blueberries - 1/2 cup
    Ginger - 1 inch (peeled and cut into fourths)
    Ginger ale / Club soda - 1 can (small)
    Palm rock sugar/candy (panam kalkandu) - as required 
    Chia seeds - 1 teaspoon (optional)
    Ice cubes (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Wash the apples or celery well and freshly squeeze the juices out. 

    2. In an infuser or a mason jar, add the cut ginger, slightly crushed or punctured blueberries, chia seeds and about 1-2 teaspoons of rock sugar/candy. 
    3. Close the jar and refrigerate it for 12-24 hours to infuse. You will note the change of color. 
    4. Add ice cubes if you desire and top off with ginger ale or club soda. 
    5. Garnished with blueberries, mint or lemon wedges and serve immediately.



    Notes and Tips:
    • Apples must be cored before adding them to the juice maker.
    • If you have difficulty finding rock candy/sugar the best substitute will be a natural sweetener like raw honey. Avoid processed sugar.
    • The ginger can be cut into fourths or just give it a whack in order to it release its flavors easily. 
    • For more twists you can add mint leaves or lemon wedges just 2 hours before serving.
    • For parties or any large gatherings, simply buy store bought organic apple juice to make work easy.


    Slowly but surely I reached my 50th post:) Wish me luck! Cheers!! 







    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sweet and Spicy Kozhukatai/ Modak

    Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all readers celebrating! 

    Kozhukattai/ Modak is an easy sweet/ savory dish that is prepared mainly on Ganesh Chaturthi. 





    Being a Labor day long weekend, we Indians residing in America gets to celebrate this special occasion in an elaborate manner. Lord Ganesha is born in our home this year. An incredible activity to involve kids to enjoy as we create an eco-friendly (edible) idol to celebrate Lord Ganesh's Birthday. We made the idol using rice flour (dough) and decorated with pulses and lentils. Be wary, as it dries it doesn't withstand for long. Lesson learnt to use clay on our next to preserve the idol to a certain extent.


    Kozhukattai/ Modak being Lord Ganesha's favorite is offered as prashad on his day. I have 3 different delicious versions that are easy to make with assorted shapes here. The coconut stuffing and the spicy kozhukattai is inherited from my grandmother who passed it to my mom and now to me. I came up with the sesame and nuts stuffing. 


    The authentic elaborate method to make kozhukattai is quite time consuming. The soaked rice is ground like idly batter and then cooked in a pan for close to 10 mins. To prevent lumps continuous stirring is required until right consistency - soft and smooth dough. But for the past few years I picked up the easy version of using idiyappam flour, which even bachelors can enjoy making these effortless kozhukattais. Trust me you can never go wrong with this method of preparation. Enjoy shaping and hogging!


    Preparation: 10 mins
    Cook time: 10 mins
    Cuisine: Indian
    Yields: 20-25 nos

    Ingredients:
    Outer layer:
    Rice flour (Idiyappam flour) 1- cup
    Oil - for greasing and seasoning
    Salt - generous pinch
    Warm water - 1 cup (approximately)

    Stuffing or Pooranam:
    Sesame and Nut poornam:
    Sesame seeds (white) - 2 teaspoons
    Nuts (almonds, cashew-nuts, walnuts) - 1/2 cup
    Brown cane sugar/ Karumbu Sarkarai (powdered) - 4 teaspoons
    Cardamom powder - 1 pinch

    Coconut poornam:
    Coconut (grated) - 4 teaspoons
    Sugar - 2 teaspoons
    Cardamom powder - 2 pinches

    Spicy Kozhukattai:
    Oil - for seasoning
    Mustand - 1/4 teaspoons
    Urad dal - 1/4 teaspoons
    Channa dal - 1/4 teaspoons
    Asafoetida - 1 pinch
    Salt to taste
    Green chillies (finely chopped) - 2-3 nos
    Coriander leaves (finely chopped) - few
    Curry leaves (finely chopped)- Few 


    Directions:
    Sesame and Nut poornam:
    Dry roast the nuts and the sesame seeds until aromatic. Grind to a fine powder. To this add the brown cane sugar powder and cardamom powder, mix well and set aside to use as stuffing. 

    Coconut poornam:
    Mix all the 3 ingredients together and set aside. You may fry the grated coconut in ghee if you prefer.


    Outer layer:
    1. In a large bowl add the rice flour and salt. Slowly pour in warm water little by little to the flour and knead the dough until you get a soft and smooth dough. For the right consistency you should be able to make a ball with no cracks. (check tips #2)
    2. Grease your palms and divide the dough into small balls. I also divided them for all three versions. 
    3. Use a ziplock or banana leaf (greased with oil) as a base to make the desired shapes effortlessly.   
    4. Flatten the ball into round shape using greased finger tips and in the center add about 1/2 teaspoon of your desired poornam and make any shape you like. Make sure the seams are closed well and no cracks are visible.
    5. Place them in a greased idly pan or a bamboo steamer and steam for 10 minutes. (Check Tips #1)


    For the spicy version:
    1. Heat about 1 teaspoon of oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and allow it to splutter. now add the green chillies, asafetida, salt, curry leaves and remove from heat. 
    2. Now add the coriander leaves and tennis ball sized dough (for approximately10 spicy kozhukattai). Mix well. 
    3. I usually place a small ball of dough (gooseberry size) in between my 4 fingers and palm. By giving it a gentle press/squeeze to get the spicy kozhukattai shape.
    4. Steam as stated above for 10 minutes.


    Notes and Tips:
    1.  Make sure the steamer basket/ idly pan has at least 2 inches of boiling water and also check if the water is below the idly plate or steamer.
    2. There is a quick fix if the dough seem to get dried, or if it breaks or cracks while shaping. Sprinkle some warm water to the dough and knead again until a soft and smooth dough is formed. Vola! Also keep the dough closed while preparing the kozhukattai. 
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chocolate Raspberry Tofu Tart

    Chocolates and Raspberries are match made in heaven. This red-berry is sinfully delicious and elegantly presented dessert will melt in your mouth. Silken tofu is an excellent guiltless alternative to the heavy cream used in making the classic filling. Smooth, creamy and rich texture is truly divine with its enticing taste.

    A tart is a sweet or savory dish with only a bottom crust. Usually a pastry dough is used to get a firm and crumbly crust. I have replaced the meticulous traditional way of making the base with flavorful Belvita made with ease. Be well assured this souped up version is simple as using Graham crackers with no compromise with its rich flavor. Indeed, it tastes way better with its cinnamon and brown sugar flavor. 



    The raspberry and chocolate overpowers with its flavor leaving tofu as a secret ingredient. Nevertheless, the silky texture is obtained from the tofu itself. The Belvita crust along with the silky chocolaty raspberry and the sauce goes very well together that tastes heavenly.

    Decorate this decadent dessert with chocolate, raspberries, nectarous pecans and edible flowers or as you like. Enjoy!
    Preparation: 20 minutes
    Baking time: 10 minutes (optional)
    Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
    Level: Medium
    Category: Dessert
    Yields: 9 inch pie pan

    You might also be interested in my 'Belvita Blueberry Pie', a similar dessert. 


    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 8.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 180
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 9 g14 %
    Saturated Fat 4 g19 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 2g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 8 mg3 %
    Sodium 80 mg3 %
    Potassium 99 mg3 %
    Total Carbohydrate 22g7 %
    Dietary Fiber 3 g12 %
    Sugars 9 g
    Protein 4 g7 %
    Vitamin A2 %
    Vitamin C10 %
    Calcium5 %
    Iron7 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
    Ingredients:
    Crust: (baking can be eliminated)
    BelVita (cinnamon brown sugar flavor) - 2 packs (8 biscuits)
    Butter - 2 tablespoon (melted)

    Sauce:
    Raspberries (pureed and deseeded) - 1/2 cup (see notes)
    Confectioners sugar - 1 teaspoon
    Water - 1 tablespoon

    Filling:
    Silken tofu - 1 (12.3 ounce) (check notes)
    Semi-sweet chocolate chips- 1/2 cup
    Raspberries (fresh) - 1 cup + 1/2 cup (for sauce)
    Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoon
    Confectioners sugar - 1-2 teaspoons
    Honey - 1 tablespoon



    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), although baking can be eliminated. Please check note for details.

    Crust

    1. Crumble the biscuits in a blender until fine crumbs.

    2. Coat the pie pan with cooking spray or melted butter on the bottom and sides to remove the crust easily after baking. 

    3. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter. To check for the right consistency, you should be able to make a rough ball when compressed. 

    4. Now spread the crust mixture evenly flattening on the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Press firmly using the bottom of a flat glass and set aside.


    Filling

    1. Puree all the raspberries in a blender and run it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Use 1 cup for the filling and save 1/2 cup pureed raspberries for the sauce.

    2. Process the tofu in the same blender  until smooth.

    3. Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute. Stir well and add to the tofu. 

    4. Add honey, vanilla essence and 1 cup of pureed raspberries and blend everything together until a smooth mixture. 

    5. Now, pour the filling in the prepared crust pan and refrigerate for 2-3 hours minimum to set. 

    6. Disposable pie pan works like a gem to transfer the tart from the pan easily. Run a clean knife along the edges to separate the tart from the pan. Make a small cut on the edge to peel the pan off to retain the shape. 

    Sauce

    Add all the sauce ingredients (1/2 cup pureed raspberries, sugar and water) in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for few extra minutes to get the right consistency. Once done turn the heat off and set aside. The topping gets thicker like a syrup consistency as it cools down.

    Serve with warm sauce and decorate with fresh berries, chocolate, or honeyed/ caramelized nuts.


    Notes and Tips:



    • Shelf-stable firm Silken Tofu package seems to work better than regular refrigerated tofu given the texture.
    • Please check Belvita Blueberry Pie "Notes and Tips" to wash and store fresh berries. 
    • Only the crust is baked for the crunchy crust to set well to prevent crumbs. You may eliminate this baking step, but be careful while removing the tart from the pan to avoid too much crumbs. 
    Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment with your suggestions if any. Your support will be appreciated :)



    Morning Glory Detox

    Begin your day with a glass of extremely potent, refreshingly tasty and rejuvenating mocktail. 




    Whether or not cleansing is your thing, this healthy juicing recipe will aid in nourishing and gets rid of the toxins from your body. Even kids would enjoy this exotic combination and would get full benefits of its vitamins and minerals. Don't be surprised if they thank you for such a palatable and refreshing drink.

    Celery being the base for this juice is little known powerhouse. It's loaded with potassium, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and essential amino acids. It also provides dietary fiber with low calorie weight loss diets. Get full benefits of its fibers and minerals. This vitamins rich celery contains a neutral taste and does not possess any palatable appeal. The apples just do the trick with its sweeter touch to increase the celery's palatability. 



    Apples help-regulate detoxifying enzymes and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Green apples are ideal for this drink, if unavailable, the best reds to substitute are Fuji and Gala. Granny Smiths is naturally low sugar and is great for juices.

    Amla or Indian gooseberry is highly rich in Vitamin C and packed with minerals like iron and zinc. This humble fruit benefits the circulatory system, purifies blood, detoxifies the body, and strengthens the immune system. Amla can definitely keep a number of diseases at bay. 

    Parsley can help stimulate bile production that can help with detoxification process. Its folic acid clears out the uric acid in joins to relieve from pain.

    Ginger helps benefit with detoxification process, improves digestion and its rich in antioxidants.  

    Limes deserves to be in the limelight for its remarkable healing properties. They are great detox and known for weight loss, cold preventives, antibiotic properties, vitamins, minerals, alkalizing, anti-cancer etc.


    Ingredients:
    Celery - 3 stalks
    Apple -  2 (Green or Gala/Fuji)
    Amla/ Indian gooseberry - 3 
    Ginger root - 1 inch
    Parsley - few
    Lime juice - 2 teaspoons
    Ice cubes - 4-6

    Preparation : 10 minutes
    Yields: 2 servings
    Category - Beverages/ Drinks/ Mocktails  
    Level : Easy


    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 2.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 79
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 0 g1 %
    Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
    Sodium 1 mg0 %
    Potassium 157mg4 %
    Total Carbohydrate 20g7 %
    Dietary Fiber 2 g10 %
    Sugars 13 g
    Protein 1 g1 %
    Vitamin A0 %
    Vitamin C17 %
    Calcium17 %
    Iron1 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

    Directions:
    • Wash all produce well. 
    • Core the apples and cut into quarters. Deseed amlas and peel ginger root.
    • Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend well.
    • Serve immediately. Cheers! 

    Tips and Notes:
    • I prefer a blender for a juicer to keep all of the nutrients and fiber of the fruits and vegetables. A great way for picky eaters especially kids to intake some naturally grown fresh produce.



    Khakhara Dahi Chat

    Who does not love sweet, spicy and tangy Chat? Khakhara Dahi Chat is an easy and healthy snack that can be made in a jiffy. 




    Chat is a popular street food in Maharashtra, India. My favorite Dhai Poori and Dahi Papadi chat urged me try a quick and nutritive version to satisfy my cravings. Used store bought Khakhara as the base for this chat. Khakhara is a traditional Gujarati healthy snack. It is crispy, light and deliciously flavored with different masalas to pick from. It's usually cooked on low heat while continuously pressing the flattened dough (roti like) using a wooden press, potato masher or a folded cloth until it becomes crispy. It is readily available in Indian grocery stores with its different flavors. If you are planning to pick one, find for the one which is vacuum sealed which retains its freshness. 



    Sweet Dahi/ yogurt gives this chat more flavors to the already tangy tamarind sauce and the spicy mint sauce. This light and flavorful snack contains freshly grated raw vegetables. Minimal cooking is required to prepare the sweet and tangy sauce. This sauce can be refrigerated and stored in airtight container for couple of weeks.



    Cuisine: Indian 
    Category: Snack, Chat
    Preparation: 15-20 mins
    Level: Easy
    Serves: 4

    Ingredients:

    Khakhara - 1 pack (Vacuum sealed, your choice of flavor) . 
    Red onion - 1 (finely chopped)
    Green mango - 1 (grated)
    Carrot - 1 (grated)
    Beetroot - 1 (grated)
    Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
    Thin sev - 1 cup

    Green Chutney:
    Coriander leaves - 1 cup (chopped)
    Mint leaves - 1 cup (chopped)
    Green chilly - 2-3 nos
    Cumin powder - 1/4 teaspoon
    Lemon juice - 1/2 teaspoon 
    Salt to taste

    Sweet and tangy chutney / Tamarind chutney:
    Tamarind paste - 2 tablespoons
    Dates - 4 - 6 nos (pitted)
    Brown sugar - 1 teaspoon (optional)

    Dahi sauce:
    Yogurt / Curd (whisked) - 1 cup
    Chat masala or Khakhara seasoning - 1/2 teaspoon
    Sugar -  1/2 teaspoon


    Chutney/ Sauce Directions:
    Green Chutney preparation:
    Blend all the green chutney ingredients in a blender  with a table spoon of water.  Check for the seasoning and set aside.

    Sweet and Tangy Chutney/ Tamarind Chutney preparation:
    Grind all the tamarind chutney ingredients in a blender. Add required water and bring it to a boil on stove top, stir occasionally until you get the sauce consistency. Set aside to cool.

    Dahi Sauce/ Sweetened yogurt preparation:
    Whisk the yogurt/ curd along with sugar and Khakhara seasoning/ chat masala. Add water if required to have a sauce consistency. 


    Assembling:
    1. Place a Khakhara on a serving plate/platter. Apply a layer of Green chutney as a base for the ingredients to set on place. 

    2. Now spread a layer of grated beetroot, carrot, mango and chopped onions. 

    3. Generously top it with sweetened Dahi and drizzle some tamarind sauce.

    4. Sprinkle thin sev and chopped coriander and serve immediately.


    Notes and Tips:

    • Remember Chat masala already has salt so add accordingly if necessary.
    • I used pizza cutter to cut my khakhara's before adding the topping for easy individual servings.
    • Used masala khakhara as my base and the seasoning that came along with the packet is used as Dahi/yogurt sauce seasoning.

    Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll

    Spicy tuna is always classic. Requires very less cooking and definitely easy to make. All the spicy kick comes from the Homemade spicy mayo sauce. Substituted uncooked tuna with canned tuna by preference. 




    When it comes to sushi, presentation is key. I have laid pink sushi ginger and sprinkles of black sesame seed on this particular Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll for a dramatic effect.

    For step by step instruction with pictures, check my Philadelphia Crab Sushi Roll. You might want to take a look at my Tricolored California Roll.



    Yields: 3 Rolls
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Level: Easy

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 3.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 155
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 0 g1 %
    Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 10mg3 %
    Sodium 237 mg10 %
    Potassium 101mg3 %
    Total Carbohydrate 29g10 %
    Dietary Fiber 0 g2 %
    Sugars 3 g
    Protein 7 g13 %
    Vitamin A1 %
    Vitamin C1 %
    Calcium1 %
    Iron2 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


    Ingredients:

    1. Sushi Rice - 1 cup (Homai or California Calrose)
    2. Nori/Roasted seaweed - 1 pack (1 half sheet for each roll) 
    3. Vinegar water - (1/4 cup rice vinegar + 1 cup water) for dipping your hands.
    4. Tuna - 1 canned in water (Strained)
    5. Cucumber - 1 (peeled, seeded and cut into match sticks/strips)
    6. Carrot - 1 (peeled and cut into match stick/strips)
    7. Roasted black sesame seeds - 1 teaspoon
    8. Wasabi - 1 teaspoon + to serve
    9. Soy sauce (low sodium) - to serve
    10. Sushi ginger - to serve
    11. Spicy mayo  sauce - to serve . (Homemade - 3 parts of Vegenaise or Mayonnaise and 1 part of Sriracha hot sauce mixed together.) 
    Requirement:


    1. Bamboo sushi rolling mat - 1 
    2. 1 Gallon ziplock bag or cling wrap (optional)

    Directions: 

    1. Check my Sushi Rice for detailed steps and guideline to cook perfect rice to make sushi. Remember to work when its warm.
    2. Insert the sushi mat in a gallon zip lock bag and place it on a flat surface with wider side closer to you. 
    3. We will work with just one half nori sheet for each sushi roll.
    4. Take about a cup of rice and spread it on the nori sheet evenly. Now is the time to flip the sheet (optional).
    Assemble cucumber (2), carrots sticks (2), Tuna meat (2 tbs approximately), and drizzle spicy mayo  and sparingly add wasabi across the center of the rice/ nori sheet.



    5. Using the rolling mat start rolling tightly, use your fingers to tuck in the fillings to hold in place. You will have to keep rolling a few times little by little simultaneously giving it a tight hug to make it into a log.

    6. Now cut the roll into 6 equal pieces in all. Make sure you don't remove or move the sushi. 
    7. Once its all cut, using the rolling mat I like to give them another tight hug to retain its shape.
    8. For presentation, I laid thinly sliced pink sushi ginger and spread it evenly on the sushi roll. You might want to use the bamboo sheet to give it a tight hug for the ginger to set in place. Sprinkle roasted black sesame seeds. For different presentations please check my other sushi posts.



      Notes:

      • Dip your hands in the vinegar-water and remove excess water by tapping on a damn cloth each time you handle the sushi rice being sticky.
      • For a clean cut I prefer to wrap my sushi log in a cling/plastic wrap. Dip the knife each time in the vinegar-water and wipe clean for a clean cut. Cut the edged off to look even on the sides.
      • If you are using raw sushi, make sure you dice them into small pieces. If you opt canned tuna (cooked), always remember to use only canned tuna in water.  Do not pick the ones in oil, they might get your sushi roll mushy.

      Six Taste Watermelon Salad

      Nothing can beat this refreshing six taste salad which is sure to impress your family and guests. This salad is great for summer potlucks or picnics being a no cook dish that can be increased to large quantities easily. Savor all the 6 tastes instantaneously in one meal!


      Ayurveda teaches that all six tastes should be eaten at every meal for us to feel satisfied and to ensure that all major food groups and nutrients are represented to stay healthy. The six tastes includes sweet (watermelon, blueberries), sour (orange), salty (salty olives), pungent (green chilly, pepper, onion, mint) and astringent (cucumber, blueberries). For more details dip into "Eat Taste Heal"An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living.


      Watermelon salad can also be perfect as a side to a grilled dish. This effortless six taste salad is naturally flavorful and attractive with its vibrant colors yet the best coolant for summer.


      A melon baller is a small spoon-like prepping tool used to cut round shaped sections of melons. Gently press the tool into the melon's flesh and rotate it to scoop out the melon balls. If you do not want to make balls, you may simply dice them into small chunks.




      Cuisine: International
      Category: Salad, Appetizer, Side
      Level: Very Easy
      Servings: 4

      Nutrition Facts
      Servings 4.0
      Amount Per Serving
      calories 148
      % Daily Value *
      Total Fat 8 g12 %
      Saturated Fat 2 g8 %
      Monounsaturated Fat 5g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
      Trans Fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 2 mg1 %
      Sodium 162 mg7 %
      Potassium 198mg6 %
      Total Carbohydrate 17g6 %
      Dietary Fiber 2 g7 %
      Sugars 12 g
      Protein 2 g4 %
      Vitamin A14 %
      Vitamin C38 %
      Calcium2 %
      Iron3 %
      * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

      Ingredients:

      Extra virgin olive oil - 1 tablespoon
      Black pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon
      Thai green chilly - 1- 2 (chopped)
      Watermelon - 3 cups (balls or diced)
      Cucumber (small) - 1 thinly sliced
      Red onions - 1/2 cup (julienned)
      Orange - 1 (peeled and cut into thin wedges)
      Blueberries - 1 cup
      Green olives stuffed with pimentos - 1 cup
      Cheese - 1/4 cup ( check notes)
      Mint leaves - 1/4 cup ( thinly sliced)

      Tools required :

      Melon Baller - optional

      Preparation:

      1. Using a melon baller scoop out the watermelons into your desired size or you can simple cut the melons into cube as well. 
      2. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, pepper and green chillies and give it a good stir. 
      3. To this add the fruits and veggies. Toss them gently to coat well. Sprinkle the grated cheese and mint leaves evenly.
      4. Serve immediately or good to refrigerate up to 4 hours. 

      Tips and Notes:

      • I did not add salt to this salad as olives are always salty. Since olives contain a chemical that makes the skin bitter, salt is added to balance it out. 
      • If you opt crumbled feta cheese or go with any grated cheese you like. I had pepper jack  handy to simply julienne and toss it. 

      Lobster Popcorn

      Crunchy appetizer made in a snap. This is a quick deep fry and would be perfect to treat yourself to feel special on any day.


      "Popcorn Chicken" also known as "Salt and Pepper Chicken" originated from Taiwan. It is a street food with great influence from China and Japan. They have used Tapioca flour also known as Sweet potato flour. This is a slightly different variation made with lobster chunks that is flavorful, juicy and crispy on the outside is a perfect snack or an appetizer. Lobster has a firm texture and a sweet, mild yet distinctive flavor which is accentuated in this recipe. Vegetarians try tofu (firm), its awesome!


      Preparation: 5 minutes
      Cook time: 10 minutes
      Marinade time: 20 - 30 minutes
      Category - Appetizer / snack
      Level - Easy
      Servings - 4 

      Nutrition Facts
      Servings 4.0
      Amount Per Serving
      calories 127
      % Daily Value *
      Total Fat 5 g7 %
      Saturated Fat 0 g2 %
      Monounsaturated Fat 3g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
      Trans Fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 3 mg1 %
      Sodium 341 mg14 %
      Potassium 35 mg1 %
      Total Carbohydrate 17g6 %
      Dietary Fiber 0 g1 %
      Sugars 1 g
      Protein 1 g2 %
      Vitamin A3 %
      Vitamin C1 %
      Calcium1 %
      Iron1 %
      * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

      Ingredients:

      Cooked lobster tail - 3 cups (chunks)
      Cornstarch - 1 cup
      Curry leaves - few 
      Cayenne pepper or Chilly powder - (Optional) few dashes
      Hot and sweet dipping sauce - to serve 
      Oil for deep frying

      Marinade:
      Ginger and Garlic - 1 teaspoon (paste)
      Soy sauce - 1 tablespoon
      Oyster sauce - 1 tablespoon (optional)
      Rice vinegar - 1 tablespoon
      Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
      Salt to taste
      Sesame oil- 1 teaspoon
      Dried basil - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)

      Directions:

      1. In a large bowl combine all the marinade ingredients and mix it well. Add the cooked lobster chunks and gently coat them well. Set aside for 20-30 mins.
      2. In a pan heat oil in medium high. Coat the lobster chunks individually with cornstarch evenly. Shake the excess off. 
      3. Deep fry the lobsters in small batches, giving room to fry evenly until golden brown. It may take about a couple of minutes only to flip the lobsters. Put few fresh curry leaves or basil leaves for another 2 mins. Remove and drain the oil. 
      4. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper or chilly powder for some spicy kick. Serve immediately with hot and sweet sauce.

      Tips and Notes:

      • Fresh basil leaves is preferred over curry leaves as it adds a unique flavor and aroma to the popcorn. But since it was not readily available at home, I used curry leaves and added dried basil to the marinade for added flavor.
      • Always remember to drain the water well before adding the marinade. You may even lie them on a paper towel to remove the excess moisture.
      • You may substitute lobster with shrimp or chicken. If the marinade doesn't coat well, add an egg to the mixture before coating the meat in the corn starch.
      • For vegetarians, firm tofu and paneer are good options. 




      Strawberry Ale Mojito - Mocktail

      Ready to beat the heat with a glass of refreshing mocktail?


      Imagine your in a paradise with this summer thirst quencher, to treat yourself with an invigorating virgin drink (non-alcohol) that is full of flavor. Yes, this mocktail is great for the whole family and good for parties too as it is incredibly easy to make.

      Mojito is basically an alcohol drink that contains, lime-lemon juice, mint and sugar. This virgin drink is substituted with ginger ale and a mixture of fruit juices making this an incredulous fizz. 

      Ginger ale is a common home remedy that soothes sore throat, an upset stomach and also possible reduction in diarrhea and nausea. It is truly a treat for my kids when they are unwell to consume a cool ginger ale mocktail with some electrolyte, a secret ingredient. For beneficial effects, read the label of a ginger ale to choose an all-natural organic brand that includes ginger root in the ingredients. 

      Enjoy this cool mocktail as the minty, lime-y tang flavors slowly seeps in with each sip, along with the little punch from the ginger ale. Cheers!

      Cuisine - Cuban
      Category - Beverage/Drink/Mocktail
      Level- Easy
      Servings - 1


      Nutrition Facts
      Servings 1.0
      Amount Per Serving
      calories 68
      % Daily Value *
      Total Fat 0 g0 %
      Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
      Monounsaturated Fat 0g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
      Trans Fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
      Sodium 21 mg1 %
      Potassium 31 mg1 %
      Total Carbohydrate 18g6 %
      Dietary Fiber 0 g0 %
      Sugars 16 g
      Protein 0 g0 %
      Vitamin A0 %
      Vitamin C24 %
      Calcium0 %
      Iron0 %
      * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

      Ingredients:

      1. Mint leaves - 8-10 large leaves
      2. Granulated fine sugar (unbleached) - 1-2 teaspoons (as required)
      3. Lemon , lime - 1 each (2 tablespoons  of juice)
      4. Strawberries - 4-5 (cleaned)
      5. Ginger ale - 1 small bottle
      6. Ice cubes or crushed ice


      Directions:

      1. In a blender add strawberries (cleaned)  and sugar and puree it with minimal water if required. 
      2. In a tall serving glass (previously prepped - check notes) add lime juice and mint leaves. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon (unfinished) to gently muddle and twist the mint leaves to release its essential oils. 
      3. Add 3/4 glass with ice cubes or crushed ice. Now pour 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry puree. I like to add few thinly sliced strawberries to float.
      4. Top it off with the chilled ginger ale or any aerated drink of your choice( check notes). 
      5. Garnish with a slice of lime, thinly sliced strawberry and sprigs of mint leaves. Serve immediately!

      Notes and Tips:

      • Mocktails are usually served in tall glasses to avoid crowding while adding plenty of ice. Also, choose a heavy bottomed glass to avoid breaking while muddling.  
      • Do not chop, shred or crush the mint leaves as it can release the chlorophyll that makes your drink slightly bitter.  
      • Chilled aerated drinks like flavored sparking water, club soda, lemon-lime soda (sprite) or root beer can be an alternative option for any mocktail. But remember the medicinal value from the ginger root will be missed out except for all natural root beer. 
      • For presentation, you may prep the glass rims with a slice lemon to moisten the rim and dip it in fine granulated sugar before you add your ingredients in. 





      Caramel Spiced Rosemary Walnut

      Crunchy, delicious and easy savory snack or topping for a salad will sure be on your favorite party add-ins or on the go healthy snack. 



      Organic walnuts straight from farm and freshly picked rosemary from my garden tempted to make this easy-peasy, nevertheless a yummy and fragrant treat. I have been making this Caramel spiced rosemary walnut / mixed nuts for more than a decade and always been a smash hit in my parties especially Thanksgiving feasts.  You may add different nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and also peanuts to make it a mixed nuts snack. 



      Preparation time: 10 minutes
      Level: Easy
      Cuisine: International
      Type: Appetizer, Snack
      Yields: 1 cup

      Nutrition Facts
      Servings 6.0
      Amount Per Serving
      calories 64
      % Daily Value *
      Total Fat 12 g19 %
      Saturated Fat 1 g7 %
      Monounsaturated Fat 0g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
      Trans Fat 0 g
      Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
      Sodium 53 mg2 %
      Potassium 4 mg0 %
      Total Carbohydrate 8 g3 %
      Dietary Fiber 3 g11 %
      Sugars 4 g
      Protein 5 g11 %
      Vitamin A4 %
      Vitamin C2 %
      Calcium4 %
      Iron7 %
      * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.



      Ingredients:

      Walnuts - 1 cup (halves)
      Rosemary -  2 tablespoons (fresh and chopped)
      Brown sugar - 1/4 cup 
      Salt to taste
      Cayenne pepper / Chilly powder - 1 teaspoon
      Water - 3 tablespoons


      Directions:
      1. Heat a skillet/ pan in medium heat and add the walnuts to roast for approximately 5 mins or less. Stirring constantly to roast evenly and to prevent burns. 
      2. Now add the rest of the ingredients and allow the brown sugar to melt and start to boil. Continue stirring until the water evaporates to get the glossy caramel consistency.  
      3. Transfer the nuts to a plate/tray to spreading them using forks to cool. Once it cooled the sticky coating tends to harden yet slightly sticky and crunchy.

      Notes and Tips:
      • Store the walnuts at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 10 days if they last that long ;) 
      • You may toast the nuts in 300 degree pre-heated oven for 10-15 mins before tossing it into the caramel sauce. 

      Steamed Banana Blossom Falafel/ Vazhaipoo Kondai Kadalai Urundai (Vada)

      Mediterranean and Indian fusion falafel is a protein rich healthy savory snack. This snack comprises 2 different healthy versions - steamed and baked without compromising flavor. The traditional South Indian Vada with a twist is sure gonna knock your sock off. 


      The dried garbanzo beans/ chickpeas/ konda kadalai/ kabuli chana is a nutty tasting legume. Its is an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, copper, folate and manganese. Also helps lower LDL cholesterol (the 'bad cholesterol") levels and consequently reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
      Banana Blossom is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It wards of infections, manages diabetics and anemia, helps nursing mothers and also boost moods and reduces anxiety. 


      The steamed version with soft inside is slightly roasted in a kadai/pan for a thin crip outer layer for just the perfect crunch to savor this savory. 

      The next variant is slightly easier  as it is baked in the oven and then broiled for added crispiness. This version is crispier  and similar to the traditional deep fried vada texture. 


      How to clean the banana blossom: