January 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kulfi - Indian Ice Cream

Kulfi with Falooda & Nuts

This recipe is very easy to make, is always a hit at parties and looks very presentable. Above all it tastes very yummy! No one knows it's a snap. I make this kulfi in advance so I always have it ready for my guests.  The Indian community believes in always being a gracious host. This is one of my most popular dishes that my guests crave.  The rule of thumb here is that I use up leftover milk which is close to its expiration date. I also cook this with my daily meals to have on the side. Once the milk is half-boiled, I move it from the pot to a microwaveable container and the rest of the boiling is done in the microwave oven. Every so often I stir the milk until it changes color to a vanilla hue.  Then I cool it down and add my flavoring of choice.  Let me know how it turns out. I love to hear from my readers!

Preparation Time: One hour
Serves: 10-12


2    Quart Milk
1    Cup Sugar
Choose Flavoring: Mango
Choose Garnish: Almonds
Cardamom Powder

  1. Boil milk for half an hour until it reduces to half the amount. The color of the milk will change. (The color of the milk in the photo (vanilla-colored) is the correct color for freezing.  If I'm having a party, I will add color to it to make it more festive which will freeze as well.)
  2. Add sugar and continue to boil for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved and milk is thickened.
  3. Stir very carefully so the milk does not stick to the bottom.
  4. For rose and vanilla add the flavor and set in a flat plastic container so it can be cut into pieces.
  5. For mango and sapota flavor, fruit can be drained and blended and added in cold milk.  Set in a flat plastic container so it can be easily cut.  Freeze it for at least 3 hours.
Easy Directions: 

Blend together:

1    Pint Whipping Cream
1    Can Condensed Milk
1    Can Evaporated Milk
                          Few drops of green color

  1. Add flavor of your choice and set it in a flat plastic container. 
  2. Freeze it for 3 hours.
  3. I usually add green color to it (Photo is natural vanilla coloring). I like to garnish kulfi with falooda, rose syrup and some ground nuts.
  4. Falooda noodles, or "Sev," are available in Indian stores. Just boil for couple of minutes, drain and set aside. 
To Garnish Kulfi:
  1. Cut the desired number of pieces with a knife and place it in a bowl. 
  2. Add falooda.  
  3. Drizzle some rose essence and top it off with grounded nuts of your choice.

Serving Size is 1/2 Serving.

Health benefits of Sapodilla/Sapota


  • Sapodilla is rich in dietary fiber (5.6 g/100g), which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps relieve constipation episodes and helps protect the mucous membrane of the colon from cancer causing toxins by firmly binding to them.
  • The fruit is rich in antioxidant poly-phenolic compound tannin. Tannins are a complex family of naturally occurring polyphenols that neutralize acids by precipitating proteins. Research studies found that tannins have shown to have potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. Hence, these compounds have many useful medicinal applications such as anti-diarrheal, hemostatic (stops bleeding) and as a remedy for hemorrhoids.
  • Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effect of tannins help limit conditions like erosive gastritis, reflux-esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders. Some other fruits that are rich in tannins include pomegranatepersimmongrapes..etc.
  • Sapote contains good amount of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C (24.5% of recommended daily intake per 100 g of fruit) and vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has been known to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. So also, consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
  • Fresh ripen sapodilla are good source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for optimal health as they involve in various metabolic processes in the body as cofactors for the enzymes.
There are many cultivars of sapodilla are grown worldwide like-
  • Brown Sugar variety -  Fruit is medium to small, 2 to 2-1/2 inches long, nearly round. Skin is light, scruffy brown. Flesh pale brown, fragrant, juicy, very sweet, and rich, texture slightly granular. Quality is very good.

  • Prolific variety –  The fruit is round-conical, 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long and broad. Skin is scruffy, brown, becoming nearly smooth at maturity. Flesh light pinkish, mildly fragrant, texture smooth, flavor sweet, quality good. Tree bears early, consistently and heavily.
  • Russel type-  The fruit is large, round, 3 to 5 inches in diameter and length. Skin is scruffy brown with gray patches. Flesh is pinkish, mildly fragrant, texture somewhat granular. Flavor is rich and sweet.
  • Tikal - A new seedling selection with excellent flavor. Elliptic in shape, light brown in color, smaller than Prolific. Ripens very early.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! 
I love to hear from my readers!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Facts About Cereals

We all love the the sugary sweet crunch of cereal in the morning. It is what most of us would like to have for our morning breakfast. If we can not avoid sugary cereal totally, we can reduce the amount at least by half. According to The Environmental Working Group, there are ten sugary children's cereals on the supermarket shelf.

These facts are based on percentage of sugar by weight:

Kellogg's Honey Smacks 56%
Post Golden Crisp         52%
Kellogg'S Froot Loops Marshmallow   48%
Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch's All Berries   47%
Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch Original   44%
Quaker Oats Oh!s       44%
Kellogg's Apple Jacks             43%
Kellogg's Froot Loops Original   41%

How much sugar is in a one cup of cereal?  It is interesting to find that at least 47 popular children's cereals pack more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy Cookies and a Twinkie.

Healthier cereals have a short ingredient list, lots of fiber, few or no added sugars and they are always placed higher on the shelf.  Mothers want to serve healthier cereals that also taste great to their children.  There are a lot of good options that many kids will like.

Better Cereal Choices:

Kellogg's Mini-Wheats
General Mills Cheerios Original
General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
Kix Original
Quaker Natural Granola

I've found that oatmeal is the best, but it, too, has lots of sugar.  It is better to have plain oatmeal where you can add your own ingredients like agave nectar, pitted dates, cranberries, walnuts and your choice of fruit like bananas and strawberries. McCann's Irish oatmeal is great tasting. I love my oatmeal well done.  I cook it little more than recommended.

Health Benefits of Granola

Lower Blood Pressure

Granola may lower your blood pressure, which is a health benefit because hypertension increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Whole grains, such as oats, may lower your blood pressure because they are high in potassium and low in sodium, according to the Mayo Clinic. For some extra potassium, purchase or make your granola with dried fruit, and eat it with skim milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, such as bananas. Read the label when you purchase granola to make sure that it is not too high in sodium.

Prevent Anemia
A health benefit of granola is that it may reduce your risk for iron-deficiency anemia because oats are naturally high in iron. Iron is an essential mineral for healthy red blood cells, and children and women of child-bearing age are at higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Each cup of homemade granola may have more than 5 g iron, or nearly one-third of the daily value for iron. For extra iron, choose a ready-made granola that is enriched with iron.

Control Your Weight

Granola may help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, which can reduce your risk for obesity-related chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. Oats supply dietary fiber, and a high-fiber diet may help you control your weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Increase the fiber content of your granola by buying a high-fiber brand, or making your own with flax seed, nuts or dried fruit. Granola is high in sugars and calories, so only have a small portion as part of your reduced-calorie breakfast for weight control.

Lower Cholesterol

Granola may lower your cholesterol as part of a high-fiber diet. Soluble fiber, which is in fruit, beans and oats, lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are making your own granola, add some flax seed for extra fiber and heart-healthy omega-three fats. Read the ingredients list before you purchase a ready-made granola to make sure that it does not have partially hydrogenated oils. These oils supply trans fats, which not only raise your LDL cholesterol, but also lower your levels of good HDL cholesterol.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below! I love to hear from my readers!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Masala Chai Tea

Chai  is the drink offered everywhere in India. No doubt it is a little bit habit-forming, but it is great way to start the day. It has antioxidant proprieties and gives relief from the common cold and allergies. Different varieties of this tea are available and the recipe below is more for black tea. I like Tetley Tea bags which are good to use. You can also find many different kinds of tea leaves in Indian grocery stores. Fresh ginger and Lemon grass and/or fresh mint can give a very nice flavor and punch to the taste. This recipe will also work with soy milk.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes


1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Water
1 Pinch Tea Masala
2 Tea Bags
2 Tsp Sugar

  1. Mix all of the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Let simmer for a few seconds. 
  4. Chai is ready and tastes great with biscuits!
  • Tea Masala is a mix of 2 Tbsp Dry Ginger Powder & 2 Tbsp Cinnamon and Cardamom Powder with a pinch of black pepper.  
  • If you mix ingredients together you can store the mixture in a jar and use as needed.
Nutrition Facts are for 1/2 Serving.

Health Benefits of Chai Tea:
Tea Leaf
Tea Leaves (Camellia sinensis)
Tea is full of healthy substances, including antioxidants, that may help prevent everything from heart disease to strokes to cancer.
Ginger Chai
Ginger (Zingiberaceae)
Ginger root is believed to strengthen and heal the digestive and respiratory system, as well as to fight off colds/flu. Removes congestion, soothes sore throats, and relieves body aches. Recent studies have shown it to be effective in preventing motion sickness as well.
Cinnamon Chai
Cinnamon (Cinnamonum Zeylanicum)
This herb is a stimulant to other herbs enabling them to work faster.
Pepper (Piper nigrum)
Imparts an underlying warmth to the body
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Stimulates the mind and gives clarity

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below! I love to hear from my readers!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spinach Rice

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


2 Cups Rice, uncooked
2 Cups Spinach, frozen
1 Small Ginger
2 Sticks Cinnamon
4 TBsp Coriander & Cumin Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 Tsp Chili or Cayenne Pepper
Salt to Taste

  1. Wash rice finely and soak for an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a sauce pan and add cinnamon, cloves, onions, grated ginger, and chili and fry them.
  3. Add spinach and sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Add rice and 6 cups of water.
  5. Add all of the spices and stir and mix them well.
  6. Stir frequently. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Then reduce the heat.
  7. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  8. Serve it warm with chilled ratio.
   Nutrition Facts are for 1/2 Serving.

Health Benefits of Spinach

One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.

Flavonoids -- a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach -- have been shown to slow down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells. Furthermore, spinach has shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.

Neoxanthin and violaxanthin are two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that play an important role in regulation of inflammation and are present in unusual amounts in spinach.

The vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure 
By inhibiting the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, peptides within spinach have been shown to effectively lower blood pressure.

Both antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are especially plentiful in spinach and protect the eye from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

One cup of spinach contains over 337% of the RDA of vitamin A that not only protects and strengthens "entry points" into the human body, such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts, but is also a key component of lymphocytes (or white blood cells) that fight infection.

The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, thus fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and even wrinkles.

One cup of boiled spinach provides over 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K that can prevent excess activation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones), as well as promote the synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein that is essential for maintaining the strength and density of our bones.

Vitamin K is a crucial component of the process called carboxylation, which produces the matrix Gla protein that directly prevents calcium from forming in tissue. Eating one cup of spinach contributes to this process that fights atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Brain and Nervous Function
The abundance of vitamin K in spinach contributes greatly to a healthy nervous system and brain function by providing an essential part for the synthesis of sphingolipids, the crucial fat that makes up the Myelin sheath around our nerves.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below! I love to hear from my readers!

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Video: "Preparing Dal Dhokli"