Kale chips

Ewwww…that is the reaction I get from the husband. But he is over-reacting! How do I know? Because I don’t remember him putting even put one of these in his mouth 😛 Most people I know don’t like kale. I must admit that I’m not super-fond of it either. However, I do enjoy them in this form.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale also contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Need I say more about it’s nutritional value?

There are some people who claim that these chips are akin to potato chips. they are L-Y-I-N-G! It is sacrilegious to put potato chips and kale chips in the same category. They are both nice in their own ways. Ever since I start low-carbing, I’ve enjoyed kale chips as a snack. The best part is that they are really simple to make. I hope you take the step towards making these 🙂 Also, you must keep in mind that the more fresh the kale, the better tasting the chips will be.

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale (I get the triple washed packet from Trader Joe’s)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper and paprika – to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300F.

If you have the washed and chopped variety of kale, it does take less time to put this together. I simply air dry the already chopped kale from the packet for a little bit before continuing with the rest of the recipe.

If you are buying a whole bunch of kale, make sure you remove the ribs, tear them into bite sized pieces, wash and THOROUGHLY dry them. This step is very important, because even if the kale has an iota of water, you will have soggy kale, no chips!

Once the kale is completely dry, put it in a bowl, drizzle it with olive oil and season it with salt, pepper and paprika.

Lay the leaves on a baking or cookie sheet and bake them until crisp, turning about half way through – approximately 10-20 mins. Every oven is different so make sure to keep an eye on it after about 10 mins. they do have a tendency to burn quickly.

You can serve these as snacks or finger foods. You can store these chips in an airtight container for a few weeks. The chips in the pictures are slightly darker because I had to bake them a second time, they got soft because I failed to notice that my airtight container had lost its seal 😛

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Nutty banana-fig bread

My tryst with low-carb food has been going pretty well. Apart from the occasional spoon of sugar in my tea, I haven’t had the urge to splurge on high carb food. And after losing 12-15 lbs on this diet, I am a pretty happy camper. I recently ordered Kal brand Stevia and my first few experiences were bad. It made everything super-sweet! But then I realized that I needed to know exactly how to use it. For my first baking experience, I tried an almond flour plum bread, which in the end was weirdly sweet and had a pudding consistency. Thankfully it wasn’t so bad that I had to throw it away. For my second baking experiment, I wanted to make a banana bread and this time I was determined to use less stevia. Surprise! It’s so good, just like normal moist banana bread. This banana bread is low-carb and you can’t even tell 😀 I did cheat a little bit with the chocolate chunks. Next time around I will substitute those with homemade sugar free chocolate chunks.

Ingredients:

5 small overripe bananas

6 Calimyrna figs (I used the ones available in a container at Trader Joes)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla essence/extract

1/4 tsp stevia (appx. 1/2 cup sugar equivalent, or more if you like it sweeter)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville) (Substitute 1 1/2 cups regular all purpose flour/maida for all of you high-carb people out there!)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup walnuts, broken into pieces

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put bananas, figs, eggs, vanilla, stevia and oil in a food processor. Pulse ingredients together until completely mixed.

Add the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Pulse everything again until well blended.

Pour batter into a greased 7.5″x3.5″ bread loaf pan and put the nuts and chocolate chips on the top. Shake the pan to make sure the batter is evenly distributed.

Bake it in the pre-heated oven for appx. 55-60 mins. Keep an eye on it after 40-45 mins and cover it with foil, if you think it’s getting too dark on the top. I baked mine on the middle shelf and I didn’t have to cover it.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 -15 mins before  turning it out and cooling it completely, right side up.

Bon Appetit! I have already eaten two slices since I baked it 😀

Nan khatai

Happy New Year everyone! I know that I am really behind on updating this blog. I didn’t want to start the year by rushing things, so I thought I’d take it slow. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We traveled to the Northeast and took in the beauty as we drove up there. It was good to catch up with friends and share the joy of the birth of Christ with them.

Since we weren’t home for Christmas, I didn’t make any traditional “thindi” (snacks) we traditionally make for Christmas. After we got back from our trip, however, I decided to make at least one thing. I decided to try out some nan khatai. They are the Indian version of shortbread cookies. They even taste similar.

Here’s the recipe –

Ingredients:

Self-rising flour – 1 cup

Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup

Unsalted butter – 1 stick, room temperature

Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300 F.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until well combined. You can use an electric mixer or you can use your hands.

Add the nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and mix well.

Slowly incorporate the self rising flour, little by little, until the mixture forms a soft dough.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it rest for 15-20 mins.

Knead the dough once again and divide it into 12 equal portions.

Pat each portion into a smooth circle with no cracks. The circle with be about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not be make it too large and thin (I made that mistake and the cookies browned a little by the time they were cooked).

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that is lined. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will expand while baking.

Bake them on the middle rack for about 20-25 mins. Make sure they don’t brown too much, they should maintain the color.

Remove from the oven and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Enjoy! These scrumptious nan khatais were gone in a few days.

Tomato ketchup!

I ran out of tomato ketchup this week. Instead of going to the store and buying a bottle of Heinz I decided to make some at home! The end result wasn’t exactly like Heinz ketchup, but it tasted like ketchup nonetheless. This recipe is definitely worth a try…best part – it’s super simple 🙂 I always contemplate about what I will do to make it better. Next time I might reduce the sugar a tad bit. For those of you who like your ketchup on the sweeter side, these measurements should be perfect.

Ingredients

Tomato puree – 18 oz

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.

Let the mixture come to a boil and continue stirring it for a minute at the same temperature

Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 mins, stirring often, until it is half the original quantity.

Remove from heat and let it cool. It will thicken just a little bit more as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate.

 

Khakhra

I love snacks of all kinds, but I try eating fruits instead so that I can stick to my diet. The husband, however, will hear none of that. He’d rather eat and follow it with exercise than show restraint 😛 Recently on my trip to India I went to Baroda to visit my grandma. While I was there my aunt bought me many Gujarati snacks. The Gujarati community is famous for its snack items. C and I enjoyed the khakhra, thepla, and other farsan..until they got over. After my khakhra eating episode I decided to make some of my own to see if it even came close. And I am proud to say that my husband gobbled the home made khakhras up 🙂 It is a little time consuming to make, so make sure you have enough time before making this yummy snack. The recipe makes about 6-8 large khakhras. The number of khakhras will untilmately depend on how thin you can roll them out!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup

Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1 tsp.

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp.

Haldi (turmeric) – 1/2 tsp

Ajwain/oma (carom seeds) – a pinch

Salt – to taste

Oil – 1 tbsp to knead and more if reqd. to roast

Method:

Put whole wheat flour in a large bowl. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to it. Crush the kasuri methi between your palms and add them along with the carom seeds to the dry mixture. Go easy on the kasuri methi. You want the flavor to permeate the dough, but too much will make the dough bitter.

Add water to the bowl, a little at a time to make a fairly stiff dough. Add the tbsp of oil and knead it well.

Keep the dough aside for 10-15 mins.

Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sized balls and roll each one out paper thin on the rolling board. Using a stone surface might work better than a wooden one.

Apply a little bit of oil to the rolling surface before rolling out the dough. The thinner the khakhra is the better it will be. The oil makes the process easier.

After rolling it out, roast the raw khakhra on a nonstick pan or tawa on low-medium heat. You can add oil while doing this if you want. I kept it to a minimum. But, the oiled ones did taste better 🙂

The temperature is very important so that the khakhra cooks equally and becomes crisp.

When you see bubbles forming on the khakhra, press them down with a cloth or paper towel. Press the entire surface of each side of the khakhra as it cooks. Ultimately the khakhra is ready when the surface is golden brown and crisp.

Enjoy! I know my khakhras don’t have the prettiest shape, but the taste was pretty good 🙂 If you try the recipe please let me know how it turns out and provide feedback!

Whole wheat pancakes

I got a little tired with monotonous breakfasts, so I decided to try pancakes today. I decided not to use all purpose flour and that obviously made a huge difference! I think I was happy with the outcome though. I decided to use some of the strawberries that I bought on sale. Hubby wasn’t too enthralled about that so I made plain ones for him. I’m definitely going to play around with this recipe until I’m totally pleased with the end result. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour (atta) 1.5 cups

Baking powder – 3.5 tsps

Salt – 1 tsp (I used 3/4 tsp for a low sodium alternative)

Sugar – 1 tbsp (next time I might try brown sugar)

Milk – 1 1/4 cups milk

Egg – 1 large

Butter – 3 tbsps, melted

Water – 1/2 – 3/4 cup (It will depend on how thick your batter is)

Method:

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

The batter will be thick. Add enough water to bring it to pancake batter consistency.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.

Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. If you want to add toppings like strawberries or blueberries do it before you flip it. Brown on both sides and serve hot with butter or syrup.  We had ours with pure maple syrup and it was yum! 🙂

I wanted to include a pic of the plain pancake, so here is a pic (it’s on the far left, it looked so plain compared to my colorful ones!) On a side note, I also need to spruce up my pictures. I’m using my point and shoot for all the pictures here. I should probably take lessons from hubby to take better pics. Also, I don’t have too many props to make them look nice 😛 and more often than not, it takes a lot of effort to take these pics because the husband is very keen on eating first! By the time we finish eating, there’s nothing left to take pics of 🙂

Ragi(millet flour) dosa

I must be on a roll to be posting on two consecutive days, right?  🙂 I never know when that will end though, so here is another recipe I made for breakfast. I love dosa, but the regular dosas contain rice. Rice is something I am trying to avoid for the next few months. Because it’s so tempting to eat rice I have stopped buying it altogether!

I have adapted this recipe from my mom’s recipe. She uses whole millet or ragi, I was unable to find it in the Indian store and so I used ragi flour. It still turned out pretty good. And I say that not to comfort myself, but because the husband who is not particularly fond of dosa said he actually liked it (after I asked him if he liked it :P) The procedure is similar to rava dosa. I’ve heard that ragi flour doesn’t keep for very long, so it’s best not to buy it in huge quantities. Hubby also likes ragi porridge for breakfast in the morning, although I, personally, am not a huge fan. So I think this dosa is quite the compromise for both parties involved 😀

Ingredients:

Urad dal – 1/2 cup

Ginger – 1 inch piece

Chilli peppers – to taste (I used 2 serrano peppers)

Cilantro – 5-6 sprigs

Salt – to taste

Ragi flour – 1 cup

Water – as much as required

Oil or cooking spray – to apply on the skillet

Procedure:

Wash and soak the urad dal for at least 2 hours. I let it soak for about 6-7 hours.

After soaking it, grind it to a fine paste with the ginger and chilli pepper and let it rest untouched in a warm place for about 8 hours. If you are making this for breakfast it works well if you grind the dal at night and let it sit overnight in a warm place. Since the weather here in the U.S. is very different from India, I have found it difficult to ferment foodstuff. It’s helpful to leave the batter inside the oven. I’ve heard of some people who keep it in an oven that is turned to the ‘warm’ setting and then turned off before going to bed. I have personally never tried it (partly because I’m afraid I will forget to turn it off!), but even an oven that is turned off works just fine for me. It’s warmer in there than on the kitchen counter.

After 8 hours mix in the ragi flour, cilantro and salt. Mix in enough water to have a dropping consistency.

Heat the skillet to medium-high. Lightly apply oil to the skillet.

Spread the batter like a dosa or pancake. Once it has browned a little turn it over and let it cook for a minute or two. Take it off the skillet and serve hot with chutney of your choice. It goes well with both cilantro chutney or podi chutney. Hubby had it with garlic chutney. To each his/her own!

Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, but I have good reason. For one, I was busy packing to move to DC. Secondly, I have found out in the past few weeks that I need to change my food habits. Due to my sluggish thyroid I need to eat low carb food and low GI food too. Since then I have been on the lookout for all kinds of food that my body can process well. This search has led me to look at various recipes online and in books. It also means that I cannot eat something I used to eat very often – rice. I have now started making rotis or chapatis (Indian unleavened whole-wheat bread) more often and we eat them with various meats and vegetables.

I have also tried to eat more fruit and go easy on dessert. It has worked for a few days, but then my sweet tooth got the better of me and I decided to bake something that would satisfy my craving and still not contain white flour. This is what I came up with – trust me, they are simply delish!! I made smaller cookies, so I could eat 1 or 2 and not feel guilty 🙂

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 tbsp vanilla essence or extract

1/4 tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

1 cup heaped whole wheat flour or chapati flour

1/4 cup walnuts cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl use a whip to cream together the melted butter , white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Make sure the brown sugar is not hard or lumpy (you can nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds and crumble it before adding it in.)

Add in the egg and mix well.

Stir in the vanilla essence, baking soda and salt until well blended and then add in the walnuts. Add flour and chocolate chips last. Mix well enough to make a dough, but don’t over mix.

Bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins. (I didn’t have to bake them for more than 12 mins – each oven is different though so keep a watch after 10 mins.)

The dough was not of dropping consistency so I tried making them two ways. I took small golf sized balls and rolled them between my hands and then pressed them slightly into 1.5 inch circles to get some shape. They ended up looking like little cookies. For another batch I used a spoon to drop the dough onto the pan in little lumps. Both of them taste really good. They made about 25-30 small cookies. My sweet tooth is very excited at the moment. I have promised myself not to overeat though, especially after I have seen the weigh scale dip since I last stepped on it 🙂 Enjoy!!

P.S. Sorry about the pictures, it’s a real cloudy day here in Arlington, VA 😦

Pundi

I’ll begin blogging by something I cooked recently. That happens to be pundi, or in other words Mangalorean rice balls. Indian cuisine varies from state to state. My family is from the south, from the state of Karnataka. Mangalore is one of the larger towns in southern Karnataka. My grandparents migrated to Bombay, which is in the West, for work. I was born and brought up in the Bombay, but grew up eating primarily South Indian food. However, I am certainly not partial towards it. I don’t normally make all the traditional foods I grew up eating. I do make them when I crave them, or to finish some of the ingredients in my pantry. This pundi cooking spree was a mix of both. I called my mom and asked her to give me the recipe. I used different ingredients from the ones that she mentioned, but that’s just me, I love experimenting 😛

Here’s the recipe

1 cup rice flour (normally idli rawa is used, I used Japanese rice powder!)

1 cup water

1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 red chillies, broken in 3 pieces

1-2 tsp urad dal (husked black gram – you’ll find it in the Indian store)

sugar – 1 tsp (optional)

salt to taste

Procedure:

Keep oil to heat in a thick bottomed pan on medium heat.

Add mustard seeds and let them splutter, add the urad dal and red chillies.

Add water. When it boils turn off the stove and add the sugar, salt and rice flour. Mix it and cover the pan for 5 mins.

After 5 mins, open the pan and take the pan off of the stove. Make sure the dough inside is not too hot. Mix it again and form golf sized balls.

Now steam these golf sized balls in a steamer for 15-20 mins.

The pundi can be eaten with sambhar or any type of chutney. We normally had it for breakfast or as a snack in the evenings. I personally like to eat it with coconut and cilantro chutney or pudi chutney (powdered chutney). The recipes for those will be coming up next!