Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan

Water Spinach Dry Subzi (Vayal Cheera Thoran)

When you visit a new place, visiting the local vegetable market is such a delightful way
of getting to know locally grown vegetables and greens. You discover and learn so many
new things. One such really exciting discovery is the semi-aquatic perennial Water
Spinach or the Swamp Cabbage called Kalmi saag (Hindi) and Vayal cheera (Malayalam).
Like most other greens, there are numerous health benefits of consuming this spinach. It is rich in antioxidants and strengthens the immune system. It is also excellent to relieve issues of constipation and even reduce menstrual pain! Water spinach is a rich source of calcium, iron, amino acids, and vitamins B. The plant, its leaves and flowers look very similar to that of sweet potato. They belong to the same genus of plants. The stems are hollow. You can use the leaves and tender parts of the stem for this dish.

Ingredients:
Water spinach leaves (cleaned and chopped) – 3 cups tightly packed
Onion – 1 small
Garlic – 1 clove
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Green chilies – 2
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2

Method:
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
When they splutter, add the split green chilies.
Add finely chopped onion and garlic. Saute until they turn pink.
Add chopped water spinach leaves and turmeric powder. Mix well and close with a lid.
Cook in slow fire for about 5 mins stirring occasionally. The leaves will shrink and
become soft and darker in color.
Turn off the fire. Add salt and grated coconut. Mix well.

Bachelor-friendly, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Vegan

Simple Spinach Curry

Spinach/Palak leaves are healthy, rich in iron and nutrition. This super simple palak recipe is made with limited ingredients and goes well with rice as well as roti. In this recipe, I have steamed and pureed the spinach leaves. You may choose to just use chopped spinach leaves. I prefer the pureed spinach. You may also add cooked tur dal/split pigeon peas or split mung dal to this curry to increase volume and nutrition.

Ingredients:
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch
Green chilies – 1-2
Garlic – 1 clove
Onion – 1/2
Tomato – 1
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Lemon – 1/4
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins to steam and 7 mins to cook

Method:
Clean and wash the spinach leaves well in water.
Drain and place in a double boiler or pressure cooker to steam the leaves. You will notice that the leaves have wilted, turned dark green, and reduced significantly.
Peel the garlic and onion. Chop finely and keep aside.
When the steamed spinach leaves cool down a bit, puree it using a mixer. Keep aside.
In a wok, add oil and jeera, slit green chilies and garlic. Saute.
Add finely chopped onion and tomato. Saute for 2-3 mins.
Add the pureed spinach into this. Bring to boil. Add salt.
Add lime juice just before serving.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Main Dish, Rotis/Parathas, Vegan

Amaranth/Rajgira Flour Roti

Amaranth / Rajgira seeds is a grain/seed that has been cultivated for more than 5000
years and has an incredibly high nutritional profile. The name itself means immortal /
everlasting. It contains twice times the amount of calcium when compared to milk and is
high in elements like iron, magnesium, phosphorous and is the only grain that contains
vitamin C. It has a mild nutty flavor and is gluten free. These seeds can be cooked as
is to make upma. Amaranth flour can be used to make delicious rotis, parathas, or puris. Amaranth seeds can be popped to make super healthy satiating desserts such as kheer or chikki. Since the amaranth flour is gluten free, the rotis can be slightly tricky to roll out. If you are not gluten allergic, you may add some wheat flour along to get the elasticity so that
you can roll out the rotis well. Use warm water to knead the dough. You may also mix mashed potato to the flour while kneading the dough. This will make the rotis very soft. Use amaranth flour/wheat flour to dust the dough and roll out the rotis.


We need to seek more native grains such as Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millets that are power
houses of nutrition. This would also support our local farmers.

Recipe for Amaranth seeds upma: https://samagni.com/2016/05/amaranth-seeds-upma/

Festival Recipes, Indian, Snacks, Sweets, Tiffin

Shakkar Para (Sweet Diamond Cuts)

Mildly sweet and crunchy deep fried bits. A snack for evening or to munch for no reason at all. Has a good shelf life. So you can make it and store it for Diwali or before guests are expected. This sweet is usually made of maida but I made this with whole wheat.

Ingredients:
Wheat Flour – 2 cups
Jaggery – 3/4 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Roasted Fennel seeds/saunf (optional)- 1 teaspoon
Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
Water – 1/3 cup
Oil for deep frying

Preparation Time: 10 mins + 30 mins (Resting time for dough)
Cooking Time: 30 – 40 mins
Makes: 1 liter jar full of Sharkara para

Method:
Heat a pan and add water and jaggery. Heat until the jaggery dissolves completely. No need to bring to boil or thicken into a syrup. Filter the diluted jaggery to remove any impurities.
Take 2 cups of wheat flour, cardamom powder, roasted fennel seeds, and mix well. If you are adding baking soda, you may add now. This will make the shakkar para crispy.
Heat ghee to melt it. Add ghee to the flour mixture. Mix well. Add the jaggery syrup in small quantities, mixing it into the flour. Knead the flour to make a smooth dough. If the dough is dry, you may added small quantities of water. Keep aside to rest for for an half hour.
Take small portions of the dough and shape into lemon-sized balls.
Use a rolling pin and a smooth surface to roll them into thick chapathis. You can use dry wheat flour to dust the surface. Can be a little tricky as the dough is very dense and a little sticky because of the jaggery.
Use a dull-edged knife to cut the chapathis horizontally and vertically to cut them into diamond shapes.
Place a thick iron wok on fire and pour oil into it. When the oil is adequately heated, drop the diamond shapes into the oil gently taking care not to splash oil. Keep the flame low. Due to the presence of jaggery, the shakkar paras could get really dark. When they start turning darker and gets roasted, remove from oil and place on an absorbing paper to drain oil. Fry the remaining diamond cuts in batches.
Cool and transfer into an airtight container.

Note: You can make salty and spicy variations by substituting jaggery with salt, chilly powder, and asafetida.

Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Indian, Snacks, Tiffin, Vegan

Sabudana Upma / Khichdi

Sabudana / sago / Javvarisi is preferred food across India during fasting and for festivals. It is also a good snack item. Sabudana is nothing but tapioca pearls and hence mostly starch / carbohydrate. Sabudana pearls cooked in a tadka of cumin seeds, chilies, boiled and roasted potatoes added, garnished with grated coconut, coriander leaves, and lemon juice make a delicious item that can be easily cooked. Although easy to prepare, you need to understand the different kinds of sabudana available in the market – big pearls, small pearls, nylon variety are some. Each requires a different cooking method to get the perfect texture. If it is normal sabudana (not the nylon variety), I recommend soaking the pearls in water overnight. If using the nylon sago variety, 1-hr soaking time is sufficient.

Preparation Time: Overnight or 1 hr (Soaking time) + 10 mins
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
Sabudana – 1 cup
Potato – 1 medium sized
Capsicum – 1 medium sized (optional)
Oil / ghee – 1-1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 3-4
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Salt to taste

For Garnishing:
Crushed roasted peanuts (deskinned) – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsp

Method:
Rinse and wash one cup of sabudana pearls in water two to three times. If using normal sabudana (not the nylon variety), soak in two cups of water overnight. If using the nylon sago variety, fill water just enough to touch the top level of the sabudana pearls and soak for an hour.
Chop potatoes into small cubes. Cook the cubed potato in little bit of oil until well cooked and the sides turn golden color. Add salt and stir well. Remove and keep aside.
Add oil in a kadai. When heated, add cumin seeds and finely chopped green chilies. Shallow fry for a minute. Add curry leaves and chopped capsicum. Stir for a minute or so.
Add the soaked sabudana pearls into this. Stir well. Close with a lid and cook for about 5 mins. Keep stirring every 30 seconds in between. As the sabudana pearls get cooked, they start turning translucent. Check for this. If the sabudana pearls have become too dry and is undercooked, you can sprinkle water (very little).
When the capsicum gets cooked and the sabudana pearls start turning transparent and start sticking together, add salt, stir well. Add the roasted potato cubes into this and stir well. Add grated coconut and crushed roasted peanuts, finely chopped coriander leaves and stir well. Add lemon juice and serve hot.

Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads, Vegan

Sprouted Moth Beans Salad

Sprouts for breakfast – one of the best ways to ensure great nutrition minus fat. Fitness experts recommend eating sprouts for breakfast for its good nutrition value and protein content. You can have this dish for breakfast, lunch, or snack. I would not advise having it for dinner as sprouts can be a little difficult for some people to digest at night. A simple but delicious dish that require very few ingredients. You can easily sprout beans at home.

The way you cook beans is very important to avoid any kind of uneasiness, gas, belching, or bloating that many people suffer after consumption of beans. Beans have been around for thousands of years and have been consumed all around the world. Traditionally beans were slow cooked which made them more digestible. Soaking / sprouting beans and then slow cooking them makes them easier on the belly and ensures proper absorption and digestion rather than cooking dry beans or cooking them on high flame.

Ingredients:
Moth/matki bean sprouts – 1 cup
Onion (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp (optional)
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida/Hing powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chili (finely chopped) – 1
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Pomegranate seeds – 2 tbsp (Optional)
Lime juice – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 24-36 hours of soaking and sprouting, 40 mins of steaming time
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes 2 cups

Method:
For making sprouts:
Soak the moth beans in water for 6-8 hours.
After 8 hours, drain the water, wash and rinse the soaked seeds and keep them on the same vessel to rest for the next 24 hours or so. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice tiny sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate and humidity in your region. In warmer climatic regions, it is enough to keep the vessel for sprouting the beans in a dark corner of the kitchen.
It is better to consume the sprouts immediately. But they can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Before cooking the sprouts, ensure that you rinse them thoroughly and carefully without breaking the tender sprouts. Do not use the sprouts if they emit odor.

For making salad:
Pressure cook the sprouted moth beans. Slow cooking is ideal as this retains the nutrients and also helps easy digestion.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter, add hing powder, turmeric powder, and finely chopped green chilies. Saute the green chilies until they change color and the raw smell goes away.
Add cooked moth beans to this. Add coriander powder and sugar. Mix well and bring to boil. Retaining some amount of moisture/water is desirable as it would be easier to eat and swallow.
Turn off the heat and add finely chopped onions (optional), salt, and coriander leaves.
Add lime juice and pomegranate seeds if desired. Serve warm.

Notes:
You can make the same with other kinds of beans such as mung bean or chickpeas.
You may add tomatoes and ginger to the salad.

Indian

Amaranth Seeds Upma

Amaranth seeds are powerhouses rich in protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, bone-building manganese, fiber, and other nutrients compared to rice or wheat. Amaranth is one of the most protein-rich plant-based food that can rival even animal-based foods. It helps prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Amaranth seeds are available in many online stores and some supermarkets. In Maharashtra, these are called Rajgira and Rajgira chikki is available in almost all supermarkets.
Instead of making rawa/sooji/semolina upma, make upma with amaranth seeds and gain immense benefits. Amaranth seeds are easily available in online stores

Ingredients:
Amaranth grains – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups
Green chilies (finely chopped)
Ginger chopped (finely chopped) – 1/2 tsp
Onion chopped – 1
Tomato (chopped) – 1
Carrot (chopped) – 1 small
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Capsicum / Bell pepper – 1 small
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Hing / asafetida powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1-2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 stalk

For garnishing:
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp
Lime juice – 1 tbsp

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Yield 3 cups

Method:
Drain and rinse amaranth seeds thoroughly with clear water. This removes the bitter taste that is inherently present in these seeds. Drain using a colander.

Transfer the washed and cleaned amaranth seeds into a pan and dry roast in slow-to-medium flame for about 4-5 mins until the seeds starts changing color. Roasting the seeds prevent them from being sticky when cooked.
Add the dry roasted seeds into two cups of water (seeds to water ratio is 1:2). Stir occasionally. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to minimum and slow cook. Cook until the water evaporates and the seeds turn soft. Turn off the heat and keep aside to let it cool.

In a pan, add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add the dals (urad dal and chana dal). When the dals start to turn red, add hing powder and then finely chopped green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, and finely chopped onion. Stir and cook until onion turns translucent. Add chopped tomato, carrot, green peas, and capsicum. Stir well. Close with a lid, lower the heat and cook in slow fire for about 5-7 mins, stirring occasionally.
When the vegetables are cooked, add the cooked amaranth seeds. Mix well and cook for about 2 mins.
Turn off the heat and add grated coconut, finely chopped coriander leaves, and lime juice. Mix and serve hot with chutney or pickle.

Note: You may add finely chopped beans, potato, beet or such vegetables of your choice.