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Friday, March 29, 2013

Fried, Spicy Dhokla


Dhokla, in short, is the pride of the Gujarati culture in the western regions of India. It is a snack that is relished by people all across the country. This is made with shredded cabbage, grated cauliflower, crushed Dhokla and a few spices. It is an easy to make Gujarati dish, that takes up just 10-15 minutes of your time and produces a mouth watering taste that captures the interest of all the people. It has a rich yellow color, with a thick texture. The best part about Dhokla is that it can be eaten for breakfast, as a main course, as a side dish or even as a snack!
Ingredients for 4 servings of Dhokla:
·         Dhokla, 250 grams
·         1 small finely shredded Cabbage,
·         1 Cauliflower
·         2 tablespoons of Oil       
·         4-5 dried red chilies
·         Asafetida, 1/4th teaspoon
·         1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds    
·         1 tablespoon, split black gram skinless (dhuli urad dal)
·         1/2 teaspoon of Carom seeds   
·         6-8 Curry leaves
·         1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder           
·         Salt, to taste
·         1 tablespoon of lemon juice       
Preparation:
·         The oil is heated in a frying pan. The red chilies are cut into 4 pieces and the seeds are removed.
·         Asafetida, mustard seeds, urad dal, carom seeds, curry leaves and red chilies are added to the pan and they are mixed well.
·         The cauliflower and cabbage pieces are then added to the pan and mixed. This is followed by turmeric powder and salt. This is allowed to cook for 5-7 minutes, under covered conditions.
·         The Dhokla is crushed and added to the pan. This needs to be mixed well.
·         Add lemon juice to taste.
This is then served hot and enjoyed with friends and family, alike. Dhokla has been cherished for years and has been passed down the generations, as one of the most traditional Gujarati dishes. It has an easy preparation and requires just a few ingredients to create a mouth watering dish! Dhokla has a lot of carbohydrates and proteins. However, one should refrain from regular consumption if there is an excessive level of cholesterol in the body. This contains a lot of fat. Occasional consumption of Dhokla however does not create any issues in the body.
This ecstasy from Gujarat has been made popular all across the country!


Bhatura


Bhatura is a fluffy fried bread from the food loving states of Northern India! It is one of the most favorite mouth watering dishes in the country. It is eaten mostly with chickpea, curry or chole. When it is accompanied with chole, the preparation is called chole bhature. It can be enjoyed as an evening snack or even as an appetizer. It is recognized in all the Indian states as one of the most conventional Indian dishes.
Ingredients for the preparation of 12 servings of Bhatura are given below:
·         500 grams of refined flour or Maida
·         1 teaspoon of baking powder
·         ½ cup of yogurt
·         3 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and mashed
·         2 tablespoons of milk
·         Salt to taste
·         Oil for deep frying
Procedure for preparation:
·         Add refined flour, baking powder, whisked yogurt, sweet potatoes, milk, salt and oil in a dish. This is mixed well enough to form a dough. This is set aside for 4 hours.
·         After the dough rises to double its initial size, it is divided into equal portions of small balls. Each ball is rolled into small discs sized round shaped structures called puris.
·         The oil is heated in a kadai or deep frying pan and each puri is deep fried, till it becomes golden brown.
·         It is removed onto an absorbent paper to drain out the excess oil.
These deep fried puris are then served with chole. A salad comprising of onion rings and tomato slices gels well with this combined dish. A non fried variant of the same preparation is called the ‘kulcha’. A kulcha is prepared by baking or cooking the puris on a flat pan, along with coriander leaves. It is essentially a part of Punjabi cuisine, but is enjoyed as a specialty by most of India.
Bhatura is a very nutritive preparation in India. It is a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Each serving contains 15 grams of proteins, 10% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 9% calcium and 30% iron. It is a simple preparation with flour and proves to be very nutritious for your health.
It can be consumed by people of all ages, anyone who has a knack for Indian dishes. The oil content should be made as less as possible for people with high cholesterol levels, or with heart issues. In general, this dish is best consumed occasionally, and not regularly, keeping in mind the cholesterol content.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bedmi: A Rajshtani Puri


Bedmi
Bedmi is a traditional Rajasthani poori which is prepared by kneading dough containing refined flour, ground urad dal or moong dal and some spices. This delicacy is generally relished by the Delhi heights and is available in every corner of the city.
This rajasthani poori should be perfectly fried until it is inflated and acquires a reddish-brown color. The texture of the poori should be crispy, so then only the traditional delicacy can be enjoyed. It should be served hot with a wide range of pickles, sauces, chutneys and sweet dishes. Mostly, this bedmi poori is best accompanied with aloo ki sabji or with any vegetable sabji.
The perfect way to enjoy this cuisine is at breakfast time with hot jalebis. It is a fast food which is less time consuming and easy to prepare. Especially, children enjoy eating bedmi. It is said to be a dish for everyone, but should be consumed occasionally. 
Ingredients:
The key ingredients required for preparing 6 servings of this traditional Rajasthani cuisine are:
  1. 250 grams refined flour
  2. 75 grams semolina
  3. 75 grams urad dal or moong dal
  4. ½ teaspoon garam masala
  5. ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  6. ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  7. Oil for deep frying
  8. Salt to taste
Method of preparing Bedmi Poori
  1. The first and the vital step of preparing this recipe is to grind urad dal or Moong dal, coriander powder, red chili powder and garam masala.
  2. In a mixing bowl, the prepared paste is added in the refined flour. Even, oil is added to the refined flour.
  3. After the oil is added, semolina should also be integrated and mixed thoroughly to prepare dough.
  4. The dough is prepared by kneading the mixture with water. After the dough is done, small balls are equally divided.
  5. These small balls are flattened in a circular shape with the help of a roller and then are deep fried in a shallow pan. The bedmi should be fried until the poori blows up and turns light golden.
  6. Before serving, the Bedmi should be kept on paper towels so that excess oil can be soaked. It should be generally served hot with side dishes.
    This Rajasthani cuisine is a rich source of carbohydrates (refined flour), proteins (moong or urad dal), and fats (oil). It is a food for all, but it should be consumed in lesser amounts due to its oil content as it is deep fried. This may cause harm to people suffering from cholesterol, obesity and heart disorders. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Choco-Related Recipes Using Chocolates from Everywhere


In a nutshell, French chocolates are known for their subtle taste and intricate chocolate designs, while the Swiss are known for their share of chocolates that have the distinctly known milky, smooth texture. The Swiss even have massive manufacturing companies that distribute these favorite treats all over the world. The Belgian chocolates, on the other hand, are known for their flavorful taste and inventive designs ideal for concocting choco-related recipes. Remember, the Belgians were the ones who revolutionized the praline and nougats that we love?

These three have very distinct taste, and for chocolate lovers out there who know them by heart, I am certain they will have neither qualm nor difficulty telling each apart. Really, it should not matter where these delectably enjoyable goodies of sweetness come from; the only sensible thing to know is that we can enjoy these fabulous creations wherever they come from. After all, they are still the same chocolates that we love, and they will always give all chocolate lovers the same tingly and delectable sensation bite after bite! Try these two chocolate-related recipes and see the goodness of chocolates in every kind of recipe!

 BRANCHUMS' CHILI with Chocolate

Ingredients:
1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
½ lb. pork, cubed
4 tbsp. oil
1 ½ c. onions, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. of minced garlic
1 tbsp. of chili powder
1 ½ tbsp. salt
½ tsp. of thyme
½ tsp. of cumin
1 ½ c. of water
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
½ oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 (30 oz.) can kidney beans
3 c. chopped rind

Method

1. Brown the bite size pieces of beef and pork cubes in 3 tablespoons of oil.
2. Add rest of oil, onion, green pepper and garlic.
3. Cook until soft but not browned.
4. Stir in chili powder, salt, thyme and cumin. Cook 1 minute.
5. Add water, heat to boil.
6. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
7. Stir in tomato sauce and chocolate.
8. Simmer uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until thickened.
9. Serve chili on bed of beans and rice.

Recipe#2
POT ROAST WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Ingredients:
3 lb. rump of veal or bottom round roast
3 tbsp. of olive oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp.of flour
1 bay leaf
1 c. of water
1 lg. of sliced onion
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 c. dry of white wine
1/2 tbsp.of vinegar
1 tbsp. of grated bitter chocolate

Method:
1. Brown the meat in olive oil in a fireproof casserole or Dutch oven.
2. Add the garlic and onion and cook until they are soft.
3. Blend in some flour and salt and stir until smooth.
4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate.
5. Cover and simmer gently for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
6. Remove meat, add chocolate to sauce and cook until thickened and smooth.
7. If much liquid has cooked away, you may add water to make about 2 cups.
8. Add salt to taste.

Surprising as it can be, these delectable dishes using a wide array of chocolates from places al over the world were born from many years of experimenting in the kitchen. The nutty, creamy flavor of bittersweet chocolate is perfect for any kind of dish you might want to concoct as of the moment. Try these chocolate-related recipes at home and make it a family recipe everyone in your family will truly surely love!

Friday, August 31, 2012

How To Cook For A Vegetarian This Holiday Season


Are you worried about cooking for a vegetarian in your
family this upcoming holiday season? Well, worry no more.
This article will tell you exactly what you need to do
and know before you start cooking this holiday season.

You can start off by finding out what type of vegetarian
your guest is. For instance, if she is a strict
vegan, then there’s a chance she will not eat food
that contains honey or yeast; however, if on the other
hand, she is a "semi" or "pseudo" vegetarian, there is a
chance she will actually eat the meal as it is prepared,
including the meat. And if she’s a lacto-ovo-vegetarian,
she might eat anything with eggs and milk, but will
probably avoid meat dishes.

If you talk to the vegetarian in your family before you
prepare your holiday meal, you should consider asking the
following five questions:

1. Do you eat certain types of meat or none at all?

If the vegetarian in your family will eat certain meats
(generally fish, chicken, and turkey), then you should
consider preparing that as a side dish or asking them if
they would like to bring a small dish of it for their
own meal.

2. Will you use serving utensils that have been placed in dishes
containing meat?

Some vegetarians experience severe gastrointestinal stress when they
consume meat and grease from meat, so it is a good idea to find
out whether or not they can do so ahead of time. If they can’t,
you can simply put out one utensil for all non-meat dishes and
ask that guests do not cross-contaminate.

3. Do you eat foods that contain milk and eggs?

As I mentioned above, lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat milk
and eggs, but other sub-categories of vegetarian will not.
Some  wont do it for health reasons; others wont for
ethical reasons. Whatever the case, you can get around this
problem by either creating more dishes that do not contain
milk and eggs or by using egg replacer, which you can find
at most supermarkets, and milk replacements, such as soy
milk.

4. Do you eat honey and yeast?

Some vegetarians do not eat honey and yeast for ethical
reasons. If you find out that the vegetarian in your family
does not eat honey and yeast ahead of time, you can either
prepare alternate dishes or ask if they are willing to
bring an alternate dish.

5. Would you like to bring your own main dish (to replace
the turkey, ham, etc.)?

Many vegetarians eat popular meat-replacement dishes,
such as "tofurkey" and "veggie burgers." Your guest will
probably be more than willing to bring her own meat-
replacement dish if you ask.

To reiterate, there are a number of things you should take
into consideration when you cook for a vegetarian
this holiday season; however, the single most important
thing you can do is actually approach the vegetarian
and ask how you can accommodate her and if she would
like to cook with you or bring her own dish.

If you keep this in mind, your holiday meal will be a
success with everyone - even the vegetarian in your family!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Delicious Companion To Good Health: The Olive Oil Story









The health benefits of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet has become more than a novel observation. Clinical research is substantiating healthy benefits, but the gourmet tastes and flavors are bonuses well worth mentioning too.

“The… patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don’t take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop.” -- Quentin Regestein

Highly favored as a cooking oil, or for use in a variety of classic dressings, olive oil is being touted in some quarters as a delicious companion to good health. Research on the health benefits of olive oil is impressive, so is the affects of the Mediterranean diet.

Recent Findings

Olive Oil as a Cholesterol Reducer

Compared to American cuisine, especially the snack and fast foods prevalent in the US, the Mediterranean Diet has intrigued the medical world. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published findings that indicate the introduction of olive oil into our regular diet has demonstrated a reduction in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This is significant because once LDL cholesterol has oxidized it often results in artery rigidity and accompanying heart disease.

Olive Oil in Cancer Prevention

In a comparison study at the University Hospital Germans Trias Pujol in Barcelona there seems to be an indication that the health benefits of olive oil may also be useful in the prevention or slowing of cancer cells. In the study, lab rats were introduced to a carcinogen that resulted in cancerous tumors. The study provides evidence that a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil prevents colonic carcinogenesis reducing precancerous tissue which resulted in fewer tumors when compared to a controlled sample of rats ingesting foods containing other types of cooking oils.

Researchers at Oxford University in England have seen indications that olive oil may actually be as good for our digestive system as fresh fruit and vegetables in preventing or reducing the incidence of colon cancer. While red meat seems to be linked to the development of colon cancer, fish and olive oil seemed to reduce the incidence of colon cancer. The reasons behind this phenomena are still being considered, but it is believed that the olive oil may help regulate the bile acid in the stomach while increasing useful enzymes within the stomach that contribute to optimal colon health.

Olive Oil and Heart Health

The American Heart Association has also noted that consumption of olive oil has “clear health benefits”.

Olive Oil and Lower Blood Pressure

By substituting virgin olive oil for other fats within your diet, the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates a substantial reduction in drug dosage requirements for the management of high blood pressure. Initial findings indicate dosage reductions could be as high as 50%.

Additional Findings

By lowering the level of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) there is an increase of the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). The antioxidant effects of olive oil have also been widely reported and are effective in reducing free radicals within the body that may prove to be a causal agent in pre cancerous and cancerous growth.

Additional health benefits of olive oil may be found in a Mediterranean diet which explores the varied uses of olive oil in both food preparation as well as additional balanced meal choices. Combined, olive oil and appropriate food choice seem to enhance the overall health of those subscribing to the Mediterranean diet.

Final Word

While studies remain ongoing, it is encouraging to note that something that has long been noted for good taste may also be a link to positive health benefits and longevity of life. An adaptation of the Mediterranean diet may be a healthy, yet palatable change well worth considering.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your BBQ a Memorable Family Event



Since Americans in the South began roasting pigs publicly, Barbecues have been a staple of North American living. For many, grilling becomes a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties. But grillers do not have to choose between boring repetition and outrageous get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience:

1) Who said you have to stick to meat? Much can be done with bread and fruits over an open flame. To make this into a fun activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like “animals” and “letters” or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit.

2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Children will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas. 

3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old beef burgers and pork wieners, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa instead. Look online where you’ll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces.

4) Barbecues don’t have to be rushed. In fact, barbecue devotees will tell you that today’s quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many slow cooker recipes online, and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends. Entertaining backyard activities include creating an outdoor canvas to paint on or playing backyard bowling with household items. 

5) Mom said not to play with your food, but there’s always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game Glutton, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize!

Finally, don’t fret! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food. So kick back, bask in the relaxing sun and prepare for a summer of unforgettable barbecues!