March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fruit Cup for the Spring

Fruit cup

This is a great recipe for any season.  It is versatile with many fruits. Here, I've used mostly pears, apples and cherries.

Cooking Preparation Time: 30 Minutes                          
Cooking Assembly Time: 10 Minutes        
Serves: 12
Recipe Type: Vegan


6    Peeled & Sliced Fresh Pears or Apples
1/2 Cup Pitted Fresh or Dried Cherries
1    TBsp Lemon Juice
2    Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1    TBsp Cornstarch
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon


 1/3 Cup Toasted Chopped Pecans
 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
 1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
 1/4 Cup Butter
 3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
 1/3 Cup Flour

How to Prepare:

  1. Combine apples or pears, cherries and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Set aside so it won't go black.
  3. In a different bowl, combine vanilla, brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.
  4. Gently mix pears or apples with the cornstarch mixture. 
  5. Let it sit for an hour or two.
  6. Refrigerate.
  7. For the Topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. 
  8. Add butter.
  9. Mix it well and set aside.
  10. After refrigeration, place apple or pear mixture in a small 9 inch baking dish.
  11. Garnish with oat topping mixture.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. 
  13. When it starts to bubble or turn golden brown, it is ready to eat.

I enjoy my fruits with dash of sweetness, warm and healthy.  Vanilla ice cream is best with the warm fruit.  Oberweis Vanilla Ice Cream is my favorite.

Fruit cup

Nutrition Facts based on original recipe.
Substitutions will cause values to change.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mutter Methi Malai - Peas with Fenugreek Leaves

Methi Mutter Malai
This is a very simple, no-fuss recipe with touch of elegance. It is very quick and healthy. It is also very versatile with many ingredients that can be easily substituted and it still remains very tasty. The goodness of the leaves and peas served in this way will be delightful to everyone in your party.

Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4
Recipe Type: Vegan (omit milk for water & butter for oil)
                      Jain (omit garlic, ginger and onion)

Fresh Methi & Frozen Peas


1    Cup Frozen Thawed Peas
1    Cup Frozen Thawed Fenugreek Leaves
1    Cup Fresh Fenugreek/Spinach Leaves
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion (optional)
2    Cloves Garlic (optional)
Salt to taste
1    Tsp Green Chili (optional)
1    Tsp Ginger Paste
1    Tsp Cornstarch
2    Cup Milk/Water
3    TBsp Butter/Oil
1    Tsp Coriander Powder
1    Tsp Fennel Seed Powder
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg Powder
1/4 Tsp White Pepper
1/2 Cup Cashews

Instead of taking the time to blend all of the spices, you can cook this dish faster by using Suhana, Rasoi, a ready-made package mix. All of the spice packages vary in taste. You may like one particular brand over another. I have tried the Suhana name brand package and I thought it was little sweet for me.  Some ready-made packages are spicy so I add only a spoonful and add the rest of the spices on my own. The advantage to making it this way is that it is very quick and it gives the dish a very unique taste.

How to Prepare:

  1. For Gravy, soak the cashews in a 1/2 cup milk or water for at least an hour. 
  2. Blend it very well.  
  3. Add ginger, garlic, onion and spices (omit ginger, garlic, onion & fennel seeds for Jain recipe)
  4. In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter (oil for vegan) and add the gravy. 
  5. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Gravy will start to change color.
  7. Mix 1 tsp of corn starch with milk/water on the side.
  8. Add peas, fenugreek leaves and fresh leaves if you have them. 
  9. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Add remaining milk with corn starch. 
  11. Stir continuously.
  12. Cover and let it cook for 6-7 minutes on low heat.
  13. You will notice that the gravy is thick and when the peas and leaves are cooked it changes color.
  14. Serve it wit Naan or roti.  
  15. It also complements rice dishes. 
  16. Garnish with cream.
  17. Green peas can be easily substituted with paneer.
  18. Mushrooms or baby corn also taste great in this gravy.
Nutrition Facts based on original recipe.  
Jain or Vegan versions and substitutions will cause values to change.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mutter Paneer

Mutter Paneer

Mutter Paneer is a very tasty vegetable dish in North India. It takes a little bit of time to prepare but it is worth it. It takes a few steps to prepare this dish. The steps can be done in advance so it is done quickly.

Cooking Level: Intermediate
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Recipe Type: Jain (omit ginger, garlic and onion) & Gluten Free



2 Cups Paneer- Indian cottage cheese that can be made at home 
or store-bought.  Fried paneer is also available at some 
grocery stores. If it is in a bar, cut the bar into small
cubes as shown in the picture.
1    Cup 1 cup frozen thawed peas
Salt to taste
2    TBsp Oil
3    Medium Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Cashews/Almonds
1    Tsp Ginger Paste
1    Tsp Green Chili Paste
1    TBsp Coriander Seeds
1    Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 Tsp Red Chili
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1    Small Chopped Onion
2    Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Water

Fried Paneer

How To Prepare:
  1. Soak all the spices including cashews/almonds in a half cup of water for about half an hour. 
  2. You can add onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes (omit if Jain Recipe) to spice and nut mixture. 
  3. Blend mixture in a blender and set aside. 
  4. In a skillet on medium heat, fry the paneer cubes until golden brown. 
  5. Take them out and set aside.
  6. In the same skillet, fry the spice, nut, onion, garlic and tomato mixture.
  7. Add peas and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Add fried paneer and simmer for 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat.
Tips: It is a very good idea to make this recipe a couple of hours ahead so paneer can soak in some gravy until it settles.  I like to serve it with rice and warm tortillas.

Nutrition Facts based on original recipe.  
Jain version and substitutions will cause values to change.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dahi Wada - Dal Balls with Yogurt

Dahi Wada
Dahi wada is very famous all over India and is a very popular dish in Northern India. It is also in the chaat family. This is how I make Dahi Wada for my family.  It is made from Urad Dal, also known as Black Split Dal or Split Matep Beans. It is full of protein and is an excellent source of many minerals, calcium and potassium. The high fiber content yields complex carbohydrates which aids digestion and is effective in stabilizing blood sugar.

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Recipe Type: Jain, Gluten Free & Vegan (by omitting yogurt)
Frying Time: 20 Minutes
Assembly Time: 10 Minutes
Serves: 12

Wada Can be eaten with Chutney and Sambhar  without yogurt..

Urad Dal/Split Matepa Beans


1    Cup Urad Dal
2    TBsp Green Chili Paste
2    TBsp Fresh Ginger Paste (omit for Jain recipe)
Salt to taste
Few pieces of cashews and raisins (optional)
6-7 Tbsp Tamarind and Date Chutney
4    Cups Whipped Yogurt
Big Bowl of Cold Water Room Temperature
Salt to Taste
Roasted Cumin Powder
Red Chili Powder
Canola Oil to Deep Fry
Chopped Cilantro

Frying Dal Balls

Soaking in Water

How To Prepare:
  1. Clean Dal so that there are no small stones that are sometimes found with them.
  2. Wash thoroughly.  
  3. Soak for 3-4 hours.
  4. Strain Dal and blend with just the right amount of water, not too much, until it blends smoothly.  
  5. Grind to a little coarse consistency.  
  6. Add green chili, ginger paste, salt, a handful of cashews and raisins.
  7. Mix it well.  
  8. Dough is ready for frying.
  9. To deep fry, heat the oil in  a wok. 
  10. Either with your fingertips or with a tablespoon gently ease the Dal mixture into the heated oil. Care should be taken not to scald yourself. The Dal mixture will puff up in the hot oil.  
  11. Gently turn them over and fry until they are golden brown. 
  12. Take them out of the frying pan and drain on a paper napkin. 
  13. Fry only 4-5 balls at a time so you don't overcrowd the wok. 
  14. Wada is ready.
  15. Soak the balls or wada in a large bowl of about 3 glasses of room-temperature cold water for about 20 minutes.  
  16. Gently remove the wada from the water and press them between your palms to remove any oil and water. 
  17. Place the dry wada on a platter.
  18. Whip up the fresh low fat Dannon plain yogurt.  Add salt.  If the yogurt is old and sour, add one teaspoon of sugar (optional).
  19. Pour whipped yogurt on wada on the platter.
  20. Pour date and tamarind sauce- sweet chutney on top of yogurt.
  21. Garnish with chili, roasted cumin powder and cilantro. 
  22. I sometimes add black rock salt and black pepper (optional).
  23. Refrigerate it for an hour or two. 
  24. It makes almost 40-45 wada.
  25. ENJOY!!

Garnish of Yogurt, Tamarind Date Sauce & Spices

    Ready Dahi Wada

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    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Onion Pakora - Fritters

    Onion Pakora
    Onion fritters are very popular all over India. It is a great wonder that even though hygiene is still very poor, the rate of illness is very low in India.  Research shows that most of the poorest people eat warm or hot both in temprature and in taste.  Even today, when I visit India, I try to stay away from cold cuts.  Pakora is deep-fried, instant and satisfying. Another benefit is that after eating pakora you want to drink more water to help it digest.  In warm weather it is good for you to drink alot of water.

    Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
    Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
    Recipe Type: Vegan & Gluten Free
    Cooking Time: 20 minutes

    1    Medium Onion Peeled and Cut Lengthwise
    1    Medium Pepper of your choice
    (bell pepper is not too spicy or two JalapeƱo
    cut length wise, seeded)
    Oil for deep frying
    2    Cups Chickpea Flour or Sifted Besan
    1/4 Cup Rice Flour
    Salt to taste
    3/4 Cup Water as needed
    1/4 Tsp Chili Powder
    1/4 Tsp Turmeric
    1    Tsp Coriander
    1    Tsp Cumin Powder
    1    Tsp Lemon Juice

    How To Prepare:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix the cut onion, green chili of your choice (mild, hot and/or finger hot chili), salt, lemon juice, red chili, coriander, cumin powder, rice flour and chickpea flour . 
    2. Mix with fingers. 
    3. Add water as needed but do not add too much water.  You want the batter to be dry but mixed properly so that the flour and spice coat the onions.
    4. Heat the oil in a fryer.
    5. Once the oil is heated, precautions should be taken all the time when frying so that you do not scald yourself.
    6. Add the onions coated with batter to the frying pan. 
    7. Fry until golden brown.
    8. If the temperature is right, the fritters will pop up right away. 
    9. Take them out and place on a paper towel.

    Serve with chutneys: 

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