Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keerai Masial (Tempered Spinach Puree)

Like most new Mom's, I worry myself silly over what goes into my nearly 4 year old's tummy. I try sneaking in things, I know, he will not eat if presented to him on a silver platter, these are the things every Mommy knows are 'good' for her baby. I get so mad that I have to put junk in his lunch box, just so he'll eat and not go hungry in school and later curse myself for being a weakling and letting him have his way with 'fun food'. 

So the meals he eats at home are ones which are sneaky 'good'. So sue me!  

Strange, how these things come back at ya. I can see where this will lead to in a few years when Little S is not so little and goes to school and demands his version of 'good food', like his Mommy did, years and years and years ago. I can see myself pulling at my graying hair, trying to  give my son a good ( my version) food and getting flippant answers, that I voiced, long ago. Oh!Aitch!


All these wicked thoughts of a childhood spent in wickedness is coming to get me, attack me and I run off to the stores and grab packs of Spinach, fresh Fenugreek leaves and anything I can , come home arms weighed down by all the greens and stuff feeling virtuous.

I turned to Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin for this simple and quick preparation. Works well on weekends when you do not want to slave over a stove or even on busy week nights when you want something quick before you flop into bed. Either way, you will go to bed feeling good about serving this iron rich Keerai Masial to your family!




You need:
1/2 Cup or  4 Tbsp split Green Gram daal (Moong beans, split and yellow in this case)
1 Cup Water
2 bunches Spinach leaves (the original recipe calls for Amaranth leaves)
Salt to taste
For Tempering:
2 tsp Ghee
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp Black Gram Daal  (urad daal) 
1 Red Chilli pepper halved
1/2 tsp Asafetida powder


Rinse the moong daal and cook it in the pressure cooker (2 whistles). The original recipe recommends cooking this daal on the stove top - that is not my cup of tea, I am not that patient. Do not drain any excess water.


Wash thoroughly and finely chop the Spinach (or Amaranth) . Lightly boil or steam, taking care that the leaves do not lose their color. Blend to a puree. Set aside


Add salt to the cooked daal. mix well and reheat.


Heat the ghee in a heavy frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad daal, halved red chilli and asafetida powder.
When the mustard splutters, add the tempering to the mashed  greens, mix with the cooked lentils and heat through  gently.
Serve hot with rice.






Peace out and enjoy the weekend, folks!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eating healthy with Bean Burgers and Quinoa Nuggets.

As a child, I loved dogs and cats, well, cats came in second. Dogs ruled. 
I picked up strays and caused mayhem on the home front on regular basis. I lived in a big community of corporate apartments and many people ( lucky people) had dogs, I'd befriend them all and  offer to take their dogs for walks. The owners liked this arrangement and for the space of a few minutes, I liked to pretend  that they were my dogs! 
I've been bitten by dogs, twice. This was enough to scare the living daylights out of my Mother, who by the way, is terrified of dogs big, small or tiny. I'll tell you her story some other time! 

Now, the other day, I was coming home after dropping little S off to school and just as I was climbing the steps, a small furry little dog rushed out of nowhere, yapping. It just stood in front of me and yapped, barring tiny, sharp teeth. 
I froze.
Why? Why? I kept asking myself. The dog's Mommy came  and wiggled her (human) brows at him and waggled her finger and commanded him and the ball of fur trotted back, meekly. And I tottered home, sat down to think and from the haze emerged an answer... 
I could not risk anything, even a nip, who would take care of me? My boy? Home? Cooking? cleaning? And worst, shots? The needle scared the daylights out of me, I closed my eyes, opened them and was glad I froze. 
Later, I got to thinking, why can I not take good care of me? I mean, real care, as in care that does not make me quake when I have to go for my annual physical at the Doctors. 


Step one, good food (yes!yes! it has to start with food). And I set off on a quest. 
I remembered days when I HAD to eat a ton of protein and little else, why did I just give up on that? And so I  got searching and found something I really liked.


I made patties, again. I like patties. This time I found a variation I liked and pounced on it.  Take a look.

Adapted from : One Perfect Bite 
Ingredients: My variations are in bold

2 cups cooked Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained if canned (I used Black Eyed Peas/ Lobhia/ chawli)
1-1/2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced ( I used regular red onions)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided use (Canola Oil)
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (used regular bread crumbs, reduced quantity to 1/4 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Black pepper to taste (used red chili powder)


Directions:


 Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large pan and saute onions until they are soft and begin to caramelize. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Place caramelized onions in a large mixing bowl and set aside.


Place beans in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Add bean mixture to bowl containing onions.


Add all remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly. Form into patties. (I used a third cup measure to make 6 patties.)


Heat remaining coconut oil in pan and cook burgers until done, flipping once. (I cooked mine over medium heat, 5 minutes per side.) Serve with avocado slices and sprouts. Yield; 6 servings.


Continuing this theme, I had Quinoa on hand. I wanted to make something super tasty and appealing with that. 
My hunt landed me on Spices and Aroma, the  stunning pictures  had me hooked. I HAD to make these!


My variations in bold
Ingredients
1/2 cup organic Quinoa
1/4 cup yellow split peas (toor daal)
1/4 cup Bengal gram dhal (channa daal)
5 dry red chillies (more if you want)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 cup cilantro -chopped
1 cup onions - finely chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt to taste - about 1 or 2 teaspoon
5 cups water - to soak the grains and lentils
1 teaspoon oil to grease
Idly plates

Directions

Soak quinoa, lentils, garlic and dry red chilly in a bowl with water covering them all. Let it soak for 3-4 hours.

Drain water and grind them to a coarse paste in a food processor. Don't add any excess water. May be add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water if needed.

Add asafoetida, onions, cilantro, garam masala and salt. Mix with hand. 
I cooked the onions  and then added them to the mixture. 
I used Rajwadi  Garam masala.

Grease the idly plates with little oil (less than 1 teaspoon for the entire plate). I used mini idly plates and steamed them in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.

For those of you who don't have a idly maker,I would suggest greasing a ramekin with oil and steaming them in a large cooking pot with water. Key is to have a bowl (preferably inverted) so you can place your ramekin on top. You don't want the water to touch your cake mixture. The inverted bowl would serve as a platform and you could cover the vessel and steam cook them for 15 minutes. 

Turn off the flame and let it settle down before you remove. 


I used the counter top oven and baked the nuggets at 350 for about 10-12 mins until they were crisp on the outside and soft inside.


Vijitha, the blog owner of the recipe has a fantastic yogurt dip to accompany these nuggets, please head over there to check it out. 






Thank You, Mary & Vijitha for the fantastic recipes and making healthy eating easier!

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