Thursday, 23 April 2015

Soya Veg Manchurian - Low Fat Version #Indo Chinese #SwwetandSpicy

It was a new beginning for her, as she bid farewell to her parents and siblings and moved to a totally new country to join her husband and his family. She left her home with joy and sadness, joy because she is excited about starting her new life with her husband and sadness because she had to leave her parents and family behind, and that girl was ME !!

Leaving everything behind, wasn't easy for me, it was very painful yet very beautiful, as I was to settle in a country which was totally different in every aspects , than the country where I was born and spent my early years.   Definitely, I entered into a new whirlpool with responsibility with happiness and excitement.  Yet, there was a time when I used to burst into tears with no reason, felt nervousness and sometimes completely lost. One phone call from parents or hand written letter I always craved for the most. The letters I used to get from MUM, same letters I used to read again and again until another one comes.

Second or third letter came and mum wrote to me " You were my backbone Jagruti, I never realised that how much I used to rely on you. You were always on my side, and how gracefully you took a responsibility of our house. I never thought I was raising a girl, actually you raised me.  I am lost in my own house, don't know where to start once again..I am totally stranger in this house" Love and blessings from Mummy !

One might think that always a girl who leaves her parent's house finds it difficult to adjust, it's not just that, parents and siblings go through that pain too..well, I realized that recently too. Our daughter studies away from home, and she was four week at home with us. We had great fun with her, went shopping together, played cards, watched so many her favourite TV shows , went to movies and of course we cooked together or rather I say she cooked so many dishes for us. We just got used to getting most of the dinner dishes from her. In four weeks we never ate same dish again except Soya Veg Manchurian ! Now after she is back to UNI, I am on my own in the kitchen :(

I never had any clue about this over so popular Indo Chinese cuisine until few years back, when internet entered our lives and few times whenever I visited India, my family members brag about this cuisine and take me to restaurants or sloppy joints at street side. I wasn't particularly bowled over to this cuisine first time, but when I started preparing at home by trying out different recipes, family members started appreciate and started demanding, and oh yes, husband became a soy sauce lover that he wants to add in anything and everything,  my family is to be held responsible for acclimatization of my fondness towards Indo Chinese.

Many vegetarian Indo Chinese recipe has stayed in my kitchen past few years, we often prepare when we crave for something else than usual Indian affair. So this time , daughter being at home everyday, kitchen was buzzing with so many new recipes, tastes and ingredients, and daughter came up with Soya Veg Manchurian because she knew that I would love to have my protein dose in each and every meal. While she got on with the mixing soy and chilli sauces, whizzing up the food processor, I got ready with my camera to click this delicious dishes pictures.
Soya is a great addition to this dish because for us as vegetarians, we can get all our 9 essential amino acids as soya is a complete protein!

One might get stressed out for handling so many vegetables, chopping them or shredding them finding it as chor, and don't want to spend whole afternoon in the kitchen, please don't, just use your food processor, in less than an hour this amazing meal you can bring on the dining table from your very own kitchen. By adding soya granules into this dish, made this dish protein rich and totally skipped frying..can you believe, I know you won't but trust me you can make this dish without frying the Veg balls. Almost any kofta recipes, needs frying I do skip and I make my koftas in a paniyaram pan. So what about taste ? Let me assure you there is not a fraction of a difference in taste or texture, actually both times when we made this, the pan was wiped clean everyone found it so yummy!

Just dig into this most popular indo chinese delight, and enjoy healthy and flavourful dish !

You will need - Soya Veg Balls

  • 200 g soya granules
  • 150 g white cabbage 
  • 150 g cauliflower florets
  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • 1 big green capsicum
  • 100 g green beans
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 5-6 tbsp. wholemeal plain flour or plain flour
  • 3-4 tbsp. corn starch
  • salt to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper powder  

Method :- Making soya and Veg Balls

Wash soya granules with the water, discard the water.
Place in a pressure cooker with 200-250 ml water and let it cook till 3 whistle.
Transfer the cooked soya granules and strain the water. Do not discard the water.
Let it cool completely and once again squeeze as much water you can.
Now was and pat dry all the vegetables.
Roughly chop them.
Place them into vegetable chopper or food processor with onion, chillies, garlic and ginger and mince them. Do not make puree, but same size as soya granules.
Transfer into another bowl and again squeeze as much water you can. Do not discard the water.
Now add minced vegetable into another bowl, add both flours and salt and pepper.
Mix everything gently and form a dough and shape this dough into small balls.
Heat Paniyaram pan, add few drops of oil into each cavity ( whole ) and put balls into each whole.
Keep heat low to medium, keep turning them and very close eye on them.
Cook them for 6-8 minutes till nice and golden brown and crispy.
Leave it aside for later use.

You will need - For the Manchurian sauce

  • 2 big red onions 
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2" fresh root ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 5-6 tbsp. white parts of spring onion
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup 
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin and coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper powder
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch + 1/4 cup water mixed
  • 1 vegetable stock cube diluted in 250 ml water + saved water from the soya and vegetables.
  • 3-4 tbsp. spring onion green part for garnishing.
  • 2-3 tbsp. vinegar

Method :- Making Manchurian sauce

Once again use food processor to chop onion, garlic , ginger and chillies.
Mix soy, red chilli, sweet chilli sauce and ketchup in a bowl.
Heat the oil in a wok or kadai, add chopped onion mixture.
saute for few minutes, and add white parts of spring onion.
Add the red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and immediately add soy sauce mix.
Stir this mixture for few minutes and add vegetable stock.
Simmer this mixture for 2-3 minutes, or starts to bubble on the sides add cornstarch mix.
Keep stirring and mixing and cook for 4-5 minutes, if mixtures gets thicken add hot water.
Now add salt and black pepper powder.
Keep stirring add vinegar and switch off the heat.
Add soya and veg balls and keep them in for 2 minutes.
Garnish with the spring onion greens and serve immediately with fried rice or noodles.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post :)

Monday, 20 April 2015

Giveaway Beets Blu HRM - Curried Nuts with a touch of Honey #Giveaway #Win #BeetsBluHRM

Before I start my rant to you all about my likes and dislikes and of course rave about this delicious recipe, I quickly want to share an exciting thing with you. I am pleased that Beets Blu HRM agreed to send one Beets Blu Heart Rate Monitor to one lucky reader of Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey (JCO)!

My very first interests in cricket began as a child when I first heard cricket commentry on the radio and my interests built up around 1983 when India first won the world cup which is when I was watching on the television, it wasn't the cricket itself but rather winning the game that caught my attention ! Ever since the world cup win in back in 1983 it must be rare that I missed any Indian cricket matches on the TV right up to the time I moved to England. But after a gap of some years me and family revived our love of the game and on several occasion have been to live cricket matches. It's a joy to watch all forms of the game whether is is short formats or the test matches !

But recently I have lost interest in the star studded IPL...No particular reason. But IPL brings lots of interests in other family members without supporting any team. Also it is exciting for girl commentators to take part like British born Woman cricketer Isha Guha..Girl Power :)

As IPL season is in full swing, being in scorching temperatures in India, there seems to be demands for snacks and munchies. Even after meals there is a always room for extra nibbles while watching TV.

But approach is still as usual healthy snacks, so many times plain nuts and raisins are popular with the kids. These include Chatpata Nuts  Mexican masala roasted peanuts, Chana Masala and Kasoori Methi Peanuts, or spiced Nuts.

As new players are being seen in the IPL season 8, at the same time new flavours are being introduced on the snacks, don't know about the new players but the new flavours have been a hit in the family as duo of honey and curry powder gave a blasting effect.

Family has declared that these to be  regular in the snack cupboards, these munchies are favourites to win, hands down !! Also daughter took big jar of these nuts with her, as she is fond of sweet and salty flavours together.  These nuts have that sweet and salty thing going on with just a hint of spicy, and they are so moreish. There is a plus point in making that they are really easy to put together !

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Honey Curried Nuts
Spicy curried nuts with a touch of honey, excellent for snacking !
  • 100 g Almonds
  • 100 g Cashew Nuts
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tbsp. Curry powder
  • 1 tsp. Red chilli powder
Pre heat the oven to gas mark 3. or 170C or 325F. 
Place honey, salt and curry and red chilli powder in one bowl and combine everything.And toss with the nuts.Spread the nuts on a baking tray in an even layer and roast for 12-15 minutes.Keep an eye on them as they get burnt very easily.Let it cool completely, store in a airtight container.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings

Now moving onto the Giveaway, generous people from the Beets Blu HRM are giving away one of their awesome device worth £29.98 to our readers. To win , please read rules below and answer of my question.

Question : How many exercise equipments do I own in my house ? to find an answer please read this post. ( Review for Beets Blu HRM )

Rules to be followed to enter this Giveaway.

  1. This giveaway is open to UK and USA only, for bloggers and non bloggers.
  2. Closing date for this Giveaway - 11th May 2015 ( 12 am )
  3. Like JCO on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest .
  4. Please leave my asked question's answer in the comment box below with your name and saying that which social media have you joined of JCO.
  5. Non Bloggers can leave their comment clicking anonymous then put your name down.
  6. Please share this post on your preferable social media site. 
  7. We will pick a winner on 
  8. I will announce winner name on this post on 12th May, lucky winner should provide  their email ID to me in 48 hours on my email  
  9. If winner fails to provide their email to us, we will pick another winner.
Thank you for stopping by and reading this post :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Beets Blu HRM and PagerTag review with Smoothie Galore !

During cold and gloomy mornings, I roll out of bed only when I smell the aroma Masala chai ( tea ) prepared by 'The husband' ;), because really, cold and dark mornings doesn't get me excited or motivates me enough, however I do like all the seasons.  As soon as spring rolls on when you wake up with the sounds of birds singing early in the morning and one of the best thing about spring is opening your curtains in the morning and bright sunlight flooding the room. Spring brings life to everything around it !

Sunny weather makes me happy and excited, which means I can spend more time outdoors and feel the sun, not so many layers on my body, I can introduced salads and smoothies in my diet and definitely massive savings on energy bills!

Sunny days are on the horizon and that means hitting the local parks for walks and smoothies for our breakfasts, which we crave during the cold spell. In my opinion just because a drink is labeled smoothie does not mean it is healthy, In my house those days are gone when we used to have smoothies made out of only fruits or fruit juices, but green smoothies are all the rage these days. For a filling breakfast and plenty of energy for a longer days, I blend real whole foods, make most nutrient rich  and delicious smoothies. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle we have chosen !!!

Average five mornings in one week, we reach out for smoothies in the morning, mostly prepared with large amounts  of  raw green and leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and tiny amount of fruits. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to smoothie recipe, whatever I find in the fridge and in pantry goes in the blender and make new and exciting combination whenever we feel like, just keeping one thing in mind that smoothie has to be packed with fibre, protein and good fats. A handy smoothie help sheet is stuck permanently on our fridge, so any one of us can make a perfect smoothie anytime !

Today I am sharing three smoothie recipes, which can become extremely addictive once you hang on with the taste. They provide a powerful boost that can give a kick start at breakfast time or revive flagging energy in the afternoon, with a healthy nutritional balance !!

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Green Smoothie
Creamy, smooth and awakening !
  • 1 cup Fresh Spinach
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1/2 cup Broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp Parsley
  • 1/4 cup Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Avocado
  • 3 tbsp Pistachio nuts
  • 2 tbsp Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup Green Tea
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground nutmeg
  • to taste Salt and Black Pepper
Place everything in the blender and blend till you get creamy smoothie. It will take about 30-40 seconds. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2-3 servings

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Carrot, Tomato and Red Pepper Smoothie
Truly dynamic fruit-and-vegetable medley.
  • 2 Fresh Carrot chopped
  • 200 mls Tomato Juice
  • 1 deseeded and chopped Red Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Goji Berries
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 200 mls Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh corinader
  • to taste Salt and pepper
Place carrots and water in the blender.Blend till you get the smooth puree.Add tomato juice, red pepper, berries , salt and pepper and fresh coriander.Once again blend everything and serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

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Carrot, Tomato and Red Pepper Smoothie
Truly dynamic fruit-and-vegetable medley.
  • 2 Fresh Carrot chopped
  • 200 mls Tomato Juice
  • 1 deseeded and chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 200 mls Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh corinader
  • to taste Salt and pepper
Place carrots and water in the blender.Blend till you get the smooth puree.Add tomato juice, red pepper, salt and pepper and fresh coriander.Once again blend everything and serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

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Buckwheat, Banana , Cashew and Cinnamon Smoothie
Simple but Splendid !
  • 4 tbsp. Buckwheat flakes
  • 250ml Almond milk or regular skimmed milk
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 4 tbsp. Cashew nuts
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon powder
Dry roast buckwheat flakes. Let it cool.Place everything in the blender and blend till you get smooth and creamy smoothie.Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

On the theme of healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle, I was approached by Beets Blu who kindly gave me some of their products in exchange of a review. I was sent their Heart Rate Monitor and PagerTag, and arrived on time by Amazon.

We as a whole family do exercise at home during the winter as we have a few gym machines like magnetic exercise bike, Elliptical cross trainer, Rowing machine and ab workout chair. As soon as the sun peeps out and temperature starts rising, we prefer to go for walks and jogs and sometime cycling in the local parks as nothing beats fresh air and view of serene beauty, just grab a good pair of running trainers, bottle of water and mobiles.

The gym machines at home have an inbuilt heart rate monitor but during the warmer months while we are in the parks, we have nothing to measure our heart rate by! Monitoring heart rate is important because depending on the type of workout that you do (warm-up, fat burning, endurance) the heart rate to achieve is different.

This is where the heart rate monitor becomes very useful. It's pretty much undetectable under your clothes, fits well and doesn't slip at all and only requires a small battery which is said to last over a year. We all tried out the Heart Rate Monitor and were able to tell if we needed to exercise harder or not. The app alerts you when you have reached your target heart rate or if you are still below the target. The chest strap heart rate monitor measures your heart rate and through bluetooth technology sends the information to an app on your smartphone. The Beets Blu has it's own basic app and works accurate but if you want more out of your Beets Blu then pair it with few other apps like Runkeeper, Map my Run or Endomondo. I was pleased to see that the monitor and app also told me how many calories I was burning.

Beets Blu HRM is smart little device so easy to set up, which is comfortable and easy to use. It comes with one battery and instruction manual which is easy to follow and multiple languages with images.  It's useful for all the family (as its waterproof and can be washed) and I think it would make a good gift for someone who is serious about fitness or looking to get started.

It is available on Amazon at a reasonable price of £29.95. If this review has you interested then watch this space as JCO and Beets Blu are coming together to GIVEAWAY this product for FREE!

The PagerTag is a useful little device for hectic houses like mine. The "Tag" fits onto or into the valuable you want to tag whether its keys, a purse/wallet etc. Using the special PagerTag app (both apps for the heart rate monitor and papertag are FREE), it is possible to find where the valuable is! With my husband during the school run and under time pressure, its easy to misplace keys in the house. With this nifty device, I can now send out a small alarm with my phone and find the keys straight away! Although, better instructions with the Pagertag and app would be nice as I did have to play around with the app for a while to work out what to do nonetheless I am a proud owner of this awesome device !!

The products have been sent complimentary of Beets Blu, however all words are entirely my own.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post :)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Puy Lentils and Swiss Chard Daal

Almost in every Indian kitchens you'll find it whistling away with the sound of pressure cookers, maybe early in the mornings, in the afternoons or in the evenings, and surely you can bet that almost 90% pressure cookers are cooking away the quintessential daal - flavourful, simple and packed with nutrients and one is sure to get an amalgamation of delicious taste with wholesome goodness.

Daal ( lentil soup ) is synonymous with Indians. We 'the Indians' are famous for our daal's as lentils form an important part of any Indian meal preparations and they are a tasty way to get your protein of the day, especially when you are a pure vegetarian. Even, non vegetarian people don't miss out on their dose of daal now and then as it tastes great but is amazingly simple to make! Simple or elaborate cooked daals can be seen in everyday meal or even huge parties, it's a lifeline of a regular indian platter.

There is a variety of types of lentils and beans used and different style they are made in. India is a huge country, means in every corner of the country you'll find different type of tastes, textures and recipes of daals. When you get used to with different flavours and tastes you are spoilt for choice, which means you will never ever get bored and you'll have different daal every day !

In every Gujju kitchen five out of seven days you will find Gujarati Daal in our thali, most Gujju families are fond of this daal, then maybe sometime chanadaal, Moongdaal or desi chana (black chana ) can be seen. Many Gujju families were reluctant to use Rajma ( red kidney beans ), Masoor and whole Urad daal few decades ago, however sometimes I ventured in making Rajma, Chole ( chickpea curry ) and Daal Makhni ( whole Matpe beans curry ) in my teenage days, which resulted in getting told off or maybe one slap by my Mum, maybe I used to spoil the dish or simply someone doesn't wanted to accept the new taste. Nonetheless, I never quit in taking crash course to crack the art of cooking Daal and indulging them. 

When I got married and settled down with my own family, my horizon broaden in many aspects of my life, specially in cooking as every member of my family never shys away in experiencing new dish or taste, Blessings for me ! I get to know huge variety of beans and lentils which I never saw in India, Nyayo Beans from Kenya , Pinto Beans, Rosecoco beans (aka borlotti beans ) Cannellini beans, puy lentils from France, to name a few.

This cute clay pot was made by daughter when in chokhi dhani, India !

These international lentils and beans are a regular stock along with many Indian beans and lentils and I make a good use all the traditional recipes of Indian daal and beans and create a few recipes with beans and lentils which I find them here to make a fusion dishes to suit my cooking and taste.

Puy lentils (aka dark green or slate green speckled lentils ) and swiss chard daal, it's a remake version with little change of my recipe Trevti Daal with Spinach and Spinach Daal, replacing Spinach with Swiss Chard ( beetroot leaves ) and instead of regular lentils I've used Puy lentils. We absolutely love this version, brings so much satisfaction to our tummies, especially when cooked with Swiss Chard. There is just something about the creaminess of the lentils and strong taste of the swiss chard that makes me sing with joy whenever I put them together. 

This delicious and healthy daal is our ultimate go to comfort food during rainy and cold days, easy to prepare, uses the most basic ingredients and doesn't take more than 30-40 minutes and so amazingly satisfying that we always end up eating too much :)

print recipe

Puy Lentils and Swiss Chard Daal
This delicious and tasty daal is our ultimate go to comfort food during rainy and cold days, easy to prepare, uses the most basic ingredients and doesn't take more than 30-40 minutes and so amazingly satisfying.
  • 250 g Puy Lentils
  • 250 g Swiss Chard
  • 3 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Large tomato chopped
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves
  • 5-6 Green chillies slit
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. Kasoori Methi ( dried fenugreek leaves )
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 tsp. Madras Curry Powder ( optional )
  • 1 tsp. Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin and coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
  • Pinch Hing ( asafoetida )
Clean, wash and soak lentils in water for half an hour to one hour.Wash and roughly chop the swiss chard, tomato.Place lentils, swiss chard, tomato, garlic cloves, green chillies in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and cook till three whistle.Let the pressure cooker cool naturally.Open the pressure cooker lid and mush the lentil slightly with back of the spoon or ladle.Heat oil in a heavy based pan or kadai, add cumin seeds.As soon as they crackle add hing and chopped onion.Saute the onion till light pink, add ginger-garlic paste and cook further 2 minutes.Add kasoori methi, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin and coriander powder and curry powder.Cook the mixture for few seconds and add cooked lentils.Mix everything, add salt and simmer the daal for 7-8 minutes or your desire consistency. Turn off the heat, garnish with fresh coriander and serve HOT with Roti, Rice and salad.Enjoy !
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings

Notes :-
Whole brown Masoor can be used instead of Puy Lentils.
Mustard leaves, Amaranth or Spinach can be used instead of swiss chard.

Thank you for stopping by :)


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