Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Why you should use Buckwheat ?

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I knew what was Buckwheat flour, in Hindi aka Kuttu Ka Aata and in Gujarati Kuttu No Daro, which I use to prepare Farali recipes but never came across Buckwheat Groats until I saw a small packet of Buckwheat in a health shop a few years back. I was intrigued, quickly checked nutritious value on the pack, without giving a second thought I bought Buckwheat and came home.

As soon as I reached home, I searched about Buckwheat on Google, I was amazed to read that how highly nourishing, energising Buckwheat is!  As I read on, I was getting excited to use Buckwheat, I thought that Buckwheat is right up my street.

No wonder Buckwheats are often called-superfood, They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals with health benefits.

Buckwheat is not a grain, it is a fruit seed and not in any way related to wheat, therefore Indians use Buckwheat flour in making the fasting food. Buckwheat is full of high essential nutrients and gluten free. The nutrients in Buckwheat may help in controlling blood sugar levels and can help prevent diabetes, especially if Buckwheat groats are consumed.  Buckwheat improves health by lowering lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Buckwheat provides a highly digestible protein containing eight amino acids, also help fight disease like Cancer.

I was impressed and pat my own back for buying such a wonderful product for my family. Next day, according to packet instructions, I cooked Buckwheat and used in one of the recipes, took us more than an hour to finish that dish, due to the stickiness of buckwheat or simply we weren't ready to accept new flavours and textures. Since that day I did not touch Buckwheat therefore not many recipes of Buckwheat on this blog,  however, I did include various kinds of super foods like quinoa, amaranth, bulgar wheat, faro, chia seeds, cacao nibs and much more.

After I joined Pinterest I saw many Buckwheat recipe pins, I felt like using it and once again I reintroduced Buckwheat to the family. Surprise surprise four of us are enjoying to the fullest almost 3-4 times in a week, stay tuned for some tasty and easy to prepare buckwheat recipes.

Buckwheat is becoming very popular for many good reasons amongst westerners, are you eating Buckwheat? If not, you may consider using it. Trust me you won't regret it !!

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post! We hope to see you again soon :)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

My Mother's Day getaway - Switzerland - part 1 #Zurich #Travelpost #swissadventure

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Last week I made some incredible memories and now I'm back to reality!

My early Mothers days consisted of a card and flowers (actually bought by my husband on behalf of my kids), a couple of years later, I'd be treated to breakfast in bed prepared by the kids. Fast-forward a couple of years and my they would buy me clothes/bath treats. And now that they have got older and understand me more, they gave me the ULTIMATE treat - a weekend getaway. And they couldn't have chosen a better destination.

Switzerland has always wooed me. As a child who grew up with Bollywood, I can speak for myself and many others, that visiting Switzerland was something out of a fairy tale. My dream came true once I got married, and I've been several times since. It's one of those countries that I can not describe to you in words or even pictures - you have to see it to believe it. Even this post is insufficient!

My kids know that I like to visit different places each time so, we went to a new part of Switzerland that we hadn't visited before - Zurich and Chur. For once, I didn't have to worry or make the arrangements on this trip, all was already planned and researched by my daughter.

On the first day we went to Zurich. We flew with British Airways from London Heathrow to Zurich Airport on an early morning flight lasting 1hr 40 minutes. Relaxing in the Business lounge made this early morning a lot more manageable.

Once we landed in Zurich, we bought ZurichCARDs which we could use on any mode of public transport unlimited for 24 hours. We then checked into our hotel and were ready to spend the day exploring the city!

We firstly took a train to Zurich HB (the main station) and then took a connecting train to Uetliberg - Zurich's own mountain. The journey uphill boasted wonderful views of the surrounding area. The final view from the peak was breath taking, offering panoramic views of the city of Zurich, Lake Zurich and the Alps.

We then came back down to the main station and walked along Bahnhofstrasse - a 1.2 km link between Central station and Burkliplatz and is one of the world's most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues (my daughter was in her element). We were charmed by the numerous water fountains where we could fill up our water bottles with crisp, cold water - I've always had a love affair with Swiss water.

Walking the stretch of Bahnhofstrasse led us to Lake Zurich. Sitting by Lake Zurich and soaking in the natural beauty of the water and the beautiful mountains was certainly a highlight. It was also definitely time for some ice cream ;)

My daughter, being a university student herself was keen to check out the Polyterrasse, a building between the ETH and the university. Even from here, there were beautiful views of Zurich all within a 3 minute ride on the red Polybahn Furnincular from Central.

We surprised ourselves with having a bit of spare time before dinner, so we hopped on and off the trams using our ZurichCARDs to check out Grossmunster Church (Zurich's landmark), Fraumunster Church and the historical Old Town.

We finally ended our day in Zurich with a memorable dinner at the Oldest Vegetarian restaurant in the world, the Hiltl. Review coming soon.

Zurich buzzed with life. In the day, the bustle of people hard at work demonstrated determination and discipline. As evening fell, almost all restaurants and bars were spilling over with young professionals catching up over a drink. To put it simply, in Zurich, you work hard and play hard.

 Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Aloo aur Pyaz Ke Parathe - Stuffed Pan fried Indian Flatbread with Potato and Onion

Aloo aur Pyaz ke Paratha
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Aloo aur Pyaz ke parathe, delicious and sumptuous!  These whole wheat paratha stuffed with a filling of spiced mashed potato and sauteed onion worked wonderfully.

The raucous festival of colours HOLI is here, a celebration of vibrant spring, fertility and the triumph of good over evil. Wishing you all a very happy and safe Holi!

Stuffed Parathas filled with potatoes, are hugely popular in most of the Indian household, but for my dad, it was an exciting treat, especially on his birthday. He wouldn't ask for any special treat but only would request to have these humble aloo aur pyaz ke parathe! Today, is his birthday, if he was still with us today, this Aloo aur Pyaz ke Parathe would be at the top of his list. So today's recipe is dedicated to my dad!

In my parent's house and here in mine, we hardly eat potatoes so these Aloo ke Parathe always considered as a treat. This recipe belongs to my Dad, his recipe is with little variation. These stuffed parathas can be served alongside with curry, sabji or can be eaten with various kind of dips, chutneys, and yogurt.

To get perfect Aloo paratha, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.

Notes :-
Always make Aloo Paratha with floury potatoes like King Edward and Maris Piper.
Mash potatoes completely.
Let the stuffing completely cool.
Keep dough little softer side as stiff dough get cracks while rolling.
Roll paratha without any pressure, so the filling doesn't ooze out.

You will need: - For the Dough - outer layer

  • 2 cup chapatti flour ( I used wholemeal, that is why my parathas are in dark brown colour )
  • Pinch Salt
  • Pinch ajwain ( carom seeds )
  • Few drops oil
You will need: - For the stuffing 
  • 2 cup boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes 
  • 2 white onion cut lengthwise 
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced ginger and green chillies
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • Pinch hing 
  • Pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves 

Method : - Dough
In a wide plate ( Parat ) combine flour, salt and ajwain.
Add enough water and knead the softer pliable dough.
Rub oil, cover and leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Method : - Stuffing
Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add cumin seeds, once it crackles add hing.
Add onion and saute till transparent, add minced ginger and chillies.
Cook for few seconds then add turmeric powder.
Quickly mix everything and add mashed potato and salt.
Stir well and cook for only couple of minutes.
Switch off the heat, add freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice and mix once again.
Take it out on a plate and let it cool completely.
Now add coriander, mix again and divide the stuffing into equal portions and keep it aside.

Method :- Paratha
Once you are ready to make paratha, divide the dough into equal portions and make balls.
Roll thin out one ball on a floured surface about 4-5" diameter.
Place a one stuffing bowl on a rolled dough.
Gather the sides and bring them together, once again make a ball.
Press gently the stuffed dough ball and roll once again on a floured surface.
Heat griddle or frying pan and cook both sides applying little oil till light golden.
Serve hot with any curry, chutney, dips, raita, lassi or tea.
This time I served mine with  Raw Mango, Red Chilli and garlic Dip and Green Chutney.

 Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Raw Mango, Red Chilli and Garlic Dip - Kachi Keri, Lal Mirch and Lasan Chutney

Raw mango, Red Chilli and Garlic Dip
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Raw Mango, Red Chilli and Garlic Dip is a fier, utterly delicious and ridiculously easy to prepare. Almost as easy as opening a jar. This dip comes together easily with just a few ingredients in less than 10 minutes.

This spicy, tangy and tantalising dip is remarkably versatile. Use it as a spread on sandwiches or burgers, can be relished with paratha, Thepla or simply dip your snacks into it. This version is so good that it deserves a spotlight of its own.

If you can get hold of raw mango, do not miss the opportunity to make this lip-smacking dip. You can alter the spice by going easy on the red chillies. You will absolutely fall in love with its finger-licking flavours!

Notes :-
If you have time use dry red chillies instead of red chilli powder. Soak them in warm water for half an hour.

You will need:-

  • 1 cup raw mango peeled and cubed
  • 4-5 tbsp. red chilli powder ( use less if you can't tolerate spicy food )
  • 5-6 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp. Jaggery ( more or less )
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/4 cup water

Method :-

Place everything in a blender, add a little water and blend everything, add more water if needed.
Blend till you get a smooth dip.

 Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Sun dried Tomato, Chickpea Cakes with Cashew and Oats

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These Sun dried Tomato, Chickpea Cakes with Cashew and Oats are easy to make and a great vegan and gluten-free option to try at lunch time or kids can enjoy it after school.

These cakes have become my new to go protein packed and wholesome lunch option. These 'extra special' cakes right off the pan with their crispy crust on the outside and softer delicate flavours on the inside always makes me more hungry. I've prepared so many batches of these cakes already, and we would finish them without any fuss. What's the worst that could happen when you use good ingredients!

For my kids,  I like serving them on a wholemeal burger bun or tortilla with a variety of toppings for a healthy and filling meal, where I love to devour them on their own dipped in a spicy dip with fresh salad and sometimes with oven baked sweet potato wedges. These scrumptious and goodies galore cakes are a real winner!

This recipe of Sun dried Tomato, Chickpea Cakes with Cashew and Oats is quintessential, a little tang from the sun dried tomatoes lifts up the mild and creamy chickpeas with the basic spices and herbs where oats provide beautiful crunch on the outside.

Notes :-
Make sure water is well drained from the cooked chickpeas to reduce moisture.
Ground almonds can be used instead of cashews.
These cakes freeze well.

You will need:-

  • 250 g cooked chickpeas ( well drained )
  • 100 g sun dried tomatoes 
  • 1 small red onion roughly chopped 
  • 1 big fat garlic clove 
  • 3 tbsp. fresh coriander or basil leaves or parsley 
  • 3 tbsp. cashew nuts
  • 3-4 tbsp. rolled oats 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Black pepper
  • Red chilli flakes 
  • Oil ( I used leftover oil from the sun dried tomato )

Method :-
Place sun dried tomatoes, garlic, onion and cashews in a food processor and pulse few times.
Add chickpeas to a food processor along with coriander or basil leaves and once again pulse just a few times. ( don't make a paste, leave it little chunky )
Add black pepper, red chilli flakes and salt per your liking. ( maybe you will need less salt as sun dried tomatoes already have salt or if you are using canned chickpeas )
Combine well, and rest the mixture wrapped in cling film in a fridge for half an hour minimum. ( if you want to prepare straight away, maybe you need to add one spoon wholemeal flour )
Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat.
Scoop about 1/4 cup mixture per cake and make round patty.
Roll them in oats.
Add 3-4 cakes and pan fry each side until lightly golden.
Repeat with remaining cakes.
Serve with lots of fresh salad or with your favourite toppings.
I served with spicy raw mango and garlic dip. ( recipe coming soon )

 Thank you for stopping by and reading this post! We hope to see you again soon :)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dhaba Style Daal / Dal / Dahl Fry

Dhaba style Daal Fry
There is no doubt that life is beautiful, but it comes with it's own terms and conditions. It has it's ups and downs, yes, life is like a roller coaster !!!

Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey 
My new year 2017 was off to a rocky start, My dad passed away in India, he was 70+ and left behind his three children and grand children, my mum died few years before him. It is very hard for anyone to accept the death of their loved ones, and ones are left behind are left in so much pain. For me this pain is only made easier by knowing that his suffering over at last, he suffered so much in his entire life - now he is in a much better place !!! I was going through so many different emotions because life is raw and make you feel every emotion, time is the best healer and I found comfort in the following weeks and came to accept that now he is at peace.  He still lives in my heart and memories - I Love you Dad 💚

Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey
Dhaba Style Daal Fry, not only dad but rest of our family has a soft spot for this healthy, flavoursome and aromatic daal. Day before he passed away I called him, he had a temperature and said to me that he didn't feel like eating anything, so I suggest him to have Daal Fry with Rice and he said he will ask his caretaker to do a takeaway. Next day I received news that he passed away. I had made a plan to post Daal Fry recipe on a coming Father's Day and wanted to dedicate a post on him, but.. Life is full of surprises!

Chana, Masoor and Tuar Daal
So here I am, dedicating this post to my beloved dad who used to cook this Daal so often and also taught my mum to make it too. For Dad 'Bombay' was always 'Aamchi Mumbai' and loved staying and working over the years in Bombay film industry. While he was staying away from home he relied on restaurants and dhaba food. This punjabi  Dhaba Style Daal Fry always stayed on top of his menu list. Many moons ago Daal cooked with so much onions and garlic never to be seen in any Gujarati kitchens, maybe that was the reason Dad was so fascinated by this dish.

Dhaba style Daal Fry
So why its called Dhaba Style Daal Fry ? The answer is simple, once you reach restaurants or dhaba and order any kind of Daal, no one is going to prepare fresh daal for you. They have their secrets, daals cooked beforehand need only be heated through to enhances the flavours and texture once again with generous amount of fats, spices, onion and garlic for service, depends on individual restaurants what ingredients they would use. So now that beans are spilt, and no more secrets to reveal for dhaba style food, cook and enjoy this Dhaba Style Daal Fry !

Notes :-
You can use any combination and amount from these five kind of daal -

Chana Daal - Split Bengal Gram
Tuar / Tuver/ Arhar Daal - Split Red Gram ( You can get this lentils 'with Oil' too )
Masoor Daal - Split Red lentils
Dhooli Moong Daal - Split yellow Gram ( without green skin )
Dhooli Urad Daal - Split Black Gram ( without black skin )

Second Tadka ( tempering ) can be done with cumin and red chilli powder or onion and garlic can be added too.

Daal Fry can be accompanied with Creamy Palak and mixed vegetables , Aloo Gobi, Aloo Matar Gobi , Matar Paneer ,Khada Masala Rice and Triangle Paratha.

I forgot to take pictures of Moong and Urad daal here, but I did use it.

You will need :-

  • 4 tbsp. Chana Daal
  • 4 tbsp. Tuar Daal
  • 4 tbsp. Masoor Daal
  • 4 tbsp. Moong Daal
  • 2 tbsp. Urad Daal 
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • Pinch hing  
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee or unslated butter ( Vegan use oil ) 
  • 1 tbsp. whole spices ( cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, black cardamom )
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic clove minced
  • 1" ginger minced
  • 2 green chillies split 
  • 1 big fresh tomato chopped ( you can use canned tomato too ) 
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves - kasoori Methi 
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin and coriander 
  • Fresh chopped coriander 
  • Lemon wedges 

Method :-
Thoroughly clean lentils and wash couple of times with clean water.
Soak for half an hour if you are cooking in a pan.
I always cook lentils and beans in pressure cooker.
Add daal, water, salt and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker.
Put it on a stove without lid, let the first boil come then put the lid on.
Cook for 3-5 whistles and switch it off.
Let the pressure cooker cool off naturally.
Lightly mash cooked daal with the back of the ladle, no need to mash completley.
In a heavy bottom pan or kadai heat oil, add whole spices.
Once they splutter, add hing and onion.
Once onion started getting pink, add garlic and ginger.
Sauté the mixture for couple of minutes then add split green chillies.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook until completely cooked, then add all the masala one by one.
Careful not to burn the spices, rub kasoori methi between your palms and add in the masala mixture.
Once you see oil is separating the masala, add boiled daal and check the consistency, if it's too thick add little water.
Add salt and bring it to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Switch off the heat.
For best taste and texture leave the cooked daal to rest for couple of hours, but if you are pressed for time prepare second tadka ( now this dish is going to be daal fry )
Heat ghee is small pan, add cumin seeds, dried red chilli and red chilli powder. ( If you want to add garlic or onion or both then sauté in ghee until light brown then add red chilli powder, once you add red chilli powder, immediately pour on cooked daal.)
After pouring second tadka once again re heat daal thoroughly.
Squeeze lemon juice, garnish it with coriander and serve piping hot with salad, Jeera rice, Roti or Naan and many Punjabi style sabji or curry for a complete meal.
Enjoy !

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