January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Calories In Indian food


Please read through before you go to an Indian restaurant buffet on the weekend!! Indians love to eat  traditional Indian dishes. India is a country with  diverse languages, dialect, cultures and cuisines. All the cuisines are mouth watering and have their own distinct  taste.One cannot even dare to compare one to the other.  As a Gujarati lady  I love my staple meals with sweets with ghee - high in fat content and savory snacks........   But, do we know the calorie content of that food?

Here is a quick cheat sheet to get an idea so we can cut back on fried and sweet dishes. Personally I believe all food is good in if we can control the portions and frequency to consume that particular dishes or food preparations.Our basic meal components are vegetables.--Dals /lentils/legumes -- curries beans base. Rice,roti,dosa,paratha--grain based meals with some carbohydrates.

Basic calorie counts are: 

Puri--150 calories whole wheat
Rotis-- 85 calories of 6" diameter fat content -0.5 gms  whole wheat flour
Dal urad /split matepa beans--154 calories per one bowl fat content --6gms
Rajama/chana--153 calories per 150 gms  fat content -5gms
mixed vegetables 142 calories per 150 gms .  Fat content- 15 gms  based on oil
Plain dosa - 125 calories meduim dosa . fat content 3gms
Idlis -132 calories for 2 pc. Fat content: 3 gms
yougurt rice-190 calories per 100 gms. Fat content- 7gms
Typical Gujarati Thali
coconut rice 368 calories per 100 gms fat content 15 gms
Fried rice-120 calories
Brown bread 1pc-70 calories
Naan bread 1pc-317 calories
Jalebi: 100 gm-1 pc 380 calories
Gulab Jamun 2pc -280 calories
Rasgullas 2pc- 110 calories
Sandesh 2pc- 60 calories
Gajar/ carrot halwa-150 gm-260 calories
Barfi 1pc-103 calories
Ras malai 2pc-250 calories
Potatowada  2small pc -170 calories
Indian tea with 2tsp skim milk and 2tsp sugar  200 calories
sweet lassi -150 calories
Milkshake -185 calories
coconut chutney-64 calories
Papad- 142 calories
one Traditional Samosa- 252 calories
Steamed one piece Dhokla- 150 calories
hand full of Chivda- 201 calories
4 pieces of Chakli/ Muruku- 140 Calories
2 pieces Pakora- 90 calories
1 piece of Chana dal vada- 100 pieces
1 piece of Aloo tikki- 275 calories
1 plate of Papri chat with 6 pieces- 712 calories
100 gms of Bhel Puri- 176 calories

This is just the estimate of numbers. Calorie counts in Indian food  may differ with the type oil used and other ingredients like cream in north Indian dishes. Staple foods such as roti, rice, beans, vegetables are very healthy and does not depend on processing. Indian meal is low fat and low in calories. It consist of  carbohydrates, natural proteins and healthy starch which is required for the human body.

Healthy Substitutes
Bake in oven  instead of frying
 Substitute with agave nectar for regular cane sugar
Controlling portions is also a good way to cut down calories.
steamed, boiled, stir fried, sauteed ,pressure-cooked rice can be an excellent.
Salt intake can be reduced watch for sodium content like papad
Use of fresh herbs and spices to flavor the dishes instead of oil and sugar
Use of whole grains
For tampering use healthy oil like 1tsp instead of 3tsp

Traditional way of grinding

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Spice of the Week: Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is often used to add its unique flavor to sweet dishes. In addition to the flavor it can add to a recipe. Vanilla extract also has some great health benefits. It can help to relieve nausea, it can reduce anxiety and stress, and some studies have even linked vanilla extract to weight loss. Great flavor and great health benefits make vanilla extract worth keeping in any kitchen

This week we’re going to take a look at three great recipes with use vanilla extract

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Making Ghee @ Home Old Fashion Way

Ready to use Ghee

According to AYURVEDA, milk is nectar for the human system.   Milk is the most natural food for human being. Anywhere in the world; one would find the status of milk peerless in human diet. Right from the birth a human being takes milk as his natural diet. And milk has very many other forms, which we use in our diet. Ghee or clarified butter  one such form.  The Aryans'  believed that one should have an   uninterrupted supply of milk and Ghee at home in ancient times.

In Ayurveda, Ghee is believed to be the best for human consumption. It is full of nutrients  and ideal diet for these heart patients who suffer due to excessive cholesterol in their blood. In moderate quantities It enhances physical and mental strength.  It also helps in purifying the body and flexibility in muscles, smooth skin an detoxification but moderation is the key.
  • Ghee (11.66gm) is used in sacrificial rite (yagna, religious ceremony), lighting lamps  because  it has the ability to remove  atomic Radiation from atmosphere and produces one ton of fresh oxygen in the atmosphere. 
  • Cow’s ghee increases  the good cholesterol in the body. 
  • In Ayurveda, applying ghee via Nasya. It will balance Tridosha (Vata (the Air), Pitta (the fire) & Kapha (the water).
 Ghee is not the hydrogenated clarified butter but pure Ghee or Shudh Ghee. This is a form of naturally saturated fat, which has a very conductive effect on the human system consumed in moderation.  Ghee is believed to be used to cure the ailments such as Acidity, Anemia, Anti-dote of poison, Asthma, Bilious Irruption, Boils on the tongue and palate, Blood Impurity, Bleeding Dysentery, Burning sensation of eyes, Constipation, Chronic cough, Chronic fever, Chilblains of sole, Dark complexion, Dark freckles on the face, Diarrhea, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Gonorrhea, Gout, General Debility, Jaundice, Nose Bleeding, Natural sleep inducing tonic, Piles, Rashes due to Biliousness. Modi, R. (2002, November). Ghee- Ayurveda's milk of life. World Ayurveda congress 2002, Cochin, Kerala, India. Retrieved from

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cooking level:  easy

Prepa       Ingredients:
Two    Two pounds of whipped butter(preferable) or sweet cream unsalted butter

step 1
Preparation :

1. In a stainless steel heavy pot add  the whipped butter or butter sticks

 2. Once the Ghee begins to boil, turn it down to the lowest flame at which it will continue to boil. As it boils, moisture evaporates off it and it will begin to “clarify”- the butter will 
turn from cloudy yellowish liquid to a more golden color.
step 2
 Whitish cloudy milk solids will rise to the top and
 sink to the bottom.

3. After 10-15 minutes it clarifies and you will see
 debris on the bottom of the pot. After the Ghee is done, 
you skim off the top light crust of whitish milk solids. 
These and the heavier ones at the bottom of the pot 
are traditionally used to make sweets.
Then, you pour the golden, sweet-smelling liquid 
 through layered cheesecloth- or fine mesh sieve to                         
step 3
catch any last impurities into a bottle,
 leaving the slightly burned milk solids (caramelized lactose)
 on the bottom of the pot you cooked it in (Ghee has no lactose or milk sugars in it).

4. Let it cool down for 15-20 minutes.

5. Store it in a cool dry place. Be sure to not close the glass jar into which you pour the hot Ghee until it comes to room temperature.The reason for this is that there should not be 
step 4
any moisture from condensation that may form on the
 inside of the jar. It is moisture that spoils Ghee, allowing a mold to grow and causing it to go bad. 
This is the reason that you always use a clean and dry spoon to take your Ghee out of its container. It is also a reason not to refrigerate your Ghee. One, because it is not necessary and two, it causes condensation to form inside the jar as you take it in and out of the refrigerator

step  5
step 6

CAUTION- Do not stir it. After an hour and half to several hours, depending on the amount and the size of the pot and the amount of Ghee compared to the flame, your Ghee will be ready. The moment Ghee is “ready” is very critical. If you cook the Ghee too little, you will be left with moisture in the Ghee and it will lack the exquisite taste and qualities that it can develop, also, it will tend to spoil or sour. If you cook it too much, it will burn and impart a certain nutty flavor to the Ghee. This does not ruin the Ghee at all, but it is to be noticed, so that over time you  can capture the “perfect”Ghee to be experienced between  these two “extremes”. Caramelized lactose is unhealthy for consumption. 

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Spice of the Week: Sesame Seeds

This week we’re going to take a look at three great recipes that use sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds have been used for thousands of years to add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Sesame seeds have been proven to contain a number of health benefits. They have been linked to the treatment of diabetes, high blood pressure, and gingivitis. So give these great recipes a try! 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Aloo Batata/ Potato Wada

Potato Wada
Potato Wada is the fried potato dumplings. It is one of the yummy snacks enjoyed with ketchup or pickle on holidays in Gujarat, India. When I moved to USA in 1970s' Italian, Mexican, American, pizza were all new to me and I used to make these wada it home for my family.

DF = Dairy Free GF = Gluten Free V= Vegan

Preparation time: 10 Minutes
Peeled and mashed potatoes
Cooking time: 25 Minutes
Cooking level:  Easy

Ingredients for Potato
5 medium Idaho potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp of grated ginger
 2 tsp of grated garlic
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of green chilli paste

Ingredients for Tampering
Ready to fry wada
2 tbsp of oil
2 tsp of mate pa beans/ Urad dal
Finely chopped full curry leaves
1/2cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Ingredients for Batter
8 tbsp of besan or chick pea flour
1 tsp of red chili powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of turmeric
Pinch of baking soda
water to make batter
1 and 1/2 cup of oil for deep frying

1Boil the potatoes and mash without any lumps in order to make smooth dough balls.

Batter for Wada
Deep frying potato wada

2. Add ginger, cumin powder, lemon juice, salt, green chilli to the mashed potatoes
3. In a small pan,  add 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat,  add mate pa beans/ urad dal until it turns golden brown
4. add garlic, cilantro, finely chopped curry leaves
5. add the tamper to the mashed potatoes
6. mix the tamper and mashed potatoes and make 20-25 medium size balls as shown in the picture above
 7. For the batter, In a mixing bowl add chickpea flour, red chili powder, salt, baking soda, turmeric and water so that the it makes a correct consistency which is neither  thick or watery. 
8. In a frying pan, add oil and heat it for deep frying. Add the potato balls/wada into the batter and deep fry the dumplings.
9. Turn the dumplings in order to cook it evenly
10. Place them on the paper towel in order to absorb the extra oil
11. Serve with your favorite cilantro, Mint, Tamarind, or ketchup.


Dry mango powder/ amchur powder can be substituted for lemon juice

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Spice of the Week: Saffron

This week we’re going to take a look at three great recipes that use saffron.

Saffron is known for being the most expensive spice available, and it’s used in both sweet and savory dishes. Saffron also carries a number of health benefits. It has been used to treat stomach problems, it inhibits skin tumors, and it even helps to improve eye and vision health. It may be pricey, but this unique spice packs a great flavor, and a lot of wonderful health benefits. 

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paemlo-Tropical Exotic Fruit


Pamelo fruit is native of Asia and is the largest citrus fruit. Pamelo is a pale green to yellow when ripe it tastes like mild sweet grapefruit. It is a amazing citrus fruit with lots of vitamin C. When I saw it the other day at the super market I could not resist buying it. We grew up enjoying this exotic tropical fruit and would consume almost once a week.  I used to enjoy it with some sprinkled salt (black rock salt) and black pepper.
In some places, it is available to us perfectly peeled in half.
Cut Pamelo
It is unique in taste ,loaded with antioxidants, low in calories and fat,good amount of  fiber,good for heart health, fights against cancer, anti aging benefit. Sometimes. given the size of the fruit  one would wonder how to cut and open the fruit. Here I am trying to explain in detail step by step procedure:

1.Cut the cap off of the fruit with a knife

2. Cut the bottom of the fruit with a knife

3. Slice the fruit into 4-6 pieces

4. Peel the rind and membranes of the fruit as you do it for the orange

5. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper or you can enjoy with salads, juice or pickle.


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Spice of the Week: Nutmeg

This week we’re going to take a look at three great recipes that use nutmeg.

Nutmeg adds a strong unique flavor to both sweet and savory dishes, and it also has a lot of health benefits. Nutmeg has antibacterial properties, and as such, it can help to kill bacterial in the mouth that can lead to cavities. Myristicin, which is found in nutmeg, has been linked to improving memory. Nutmeg has also been proven to aid in digestion making it ideal to help treat an upset stomache. 

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ginger Beer/Ale -Non Alcholic

Ready to Serve Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is ginger ale's sinister cousin: much more ginger and a little less sweet, but still  it is non-alcoholic. It can be made easily at home with simple ingredients and materials.
This is my first try and I am pleased with the results. For more information about please click on the link Ginger
1/2 kg of roughly chopped ginger
2.5 cups of sugar or I tried 1/4 cup agave nectar and 10 individual packets of stevia in the raw and a one cup of regular cane sugar
10 cups of water
juice of 2 lemons equals 3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp of yeast
1.Mix sugar, ginger, and 4 cups water in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, stevia and agave nectar. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour to steep.
2. Strain syrup through strainer and funnel into 2-liter soda bottle. Add lime juice. Fill with cold water to within 2 inches of top. Cap and cool in refrigerator or ice bath until about 65°F.
3. Add 1/4 teaspoon dry active or champagne yeast. 

4. Transfer all the contents in a bottle (except glass). Cap bottle and let stand at room temperature for about 2 days, checking bottle pressure intermittently by squeezing it or releasing the cap slightly and briefly. You can save the leftover ginger for other dishes. 
5. When ginger beer has achieved desired carbonation level, refrigerate. Please try ginger beer at home and leave your valuable suggestions or comments. Enjoy!
I would like to serve my ginger beer in a tulip beer glass ,the shape locks in carbonation so you can watch more bubbles float up the beautiful tall glass.

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