Blog Archives

Easy Recipe for Indonesian Nasi Kuning – Festive Yellow Turmeric Rice

Traditional Festive Indonesian Dish - Yellow Turmeric Rice Rice colored with turmeric and shaped into a cone is a common sight during festive occasions in Bali and Java. The conical shape echoes that of the mythical Hindu mountain, Meru, while yellow is the color of royalty and one of the four sacred colors for Hindus.

Even in Muslim Java, this traditional festive dish remains popular, and is accompanied by sambal trasi, classic grilled chicken, and eggs in fragrant lemongrass sauce.

Ingredients for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. 2 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced and two tsp ground turmeric
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1.5 (300 g) cup uncooked rice, washed and drained
  4. 1.5 cups (375 ml) thin coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or 1/4 tsp chicken stock granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm milk
  6. 1 salam or pandanus leaf
  7. 1 stalk lemongrass, thich bottom third only, outer layers discarded, inner part bruised
  8. 1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
  9. 1 tsp salt

Accompaniments for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. Easy Recipe for Indonesian Nasi Kuning - Festive Yellow Turmeric Rice Freshly sliced cucumber and tomato
  2. 1 portion sambal trasi
  3. 1 portion grilled Indonesian chicken
  4. 1 portion sambal goreng tempeh
  5. 1 portion eggs in fragrant lemongrass sauce
  6. Emping (melinjo nut wafers)

Procedure for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. Grind the turmeric and water in a mortar until fine. Strain through a sieve to extract all the juice. Discard the solids. If using ground turmeric, dissolve the powder in two tsp of water
  2. Combine the rice, turmeric juice, coconut milk, chicken stock, salam or pandanus leaf, lemongrass, galangal, and salt in pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer cooked until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the rice is dry and fluffy. Remove from the heat and mix well. Alternatively, cook the rice and ingredients in a rice cooker.
  3. Discard the salam or pandanus leaf, lemongrass, and galangal.
  4. Press the cooked turmeric rice into a cone shaped, if desired. Serve the cooked rice with the accompaniments on the side.
Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Travels and Journeys

Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Recipe

Banaras or Kasi or Varanasi---Religious Pilgrimage City on the Holy River Ganges

Banaras (also Kasi or Varanasi) is a tirtha, a religious pilgrimage city on the sacred Ganges River in northern India. Pilgrims come from all over India to cleanse in the river at Banaras.

Banaras is the most distinguished and consecrated of the seven ancient holy cities of India, stationed on the west bank of the Ganga (Ganges) in modern day Uttar Pradesh in India.

Lionized in numerous Hindu texts, it is the emphasis of a whole series of homologies which at the same time place it at the center of the world, make it the complete cosmos and position it as the ford or doorway to heaven or liberation (moksha). This last transition is thought to be ensured by dying there—the explicit aim of many ageing and sickly pilgrims. Theoretically, the entire city may consequently be viewed as one great cosmic cremation ground.

Banaras is also an ageless center of long-established Sanskrit learning, since 1916 Varanasi has been home to what is now the biggest residential university in India, Benares Hindu University.

Ingredients for Banarasi Pilau

  • Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Vegetarian Recipe 1.25 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
  • 3/4 cup carrots, cut into small cubes (about 2 carrots)
  • 2.5 cups hot water
  • 2 strands saffron
  • 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp nuts, such as pistachios or cashews, sliced

Procedure for Banarasi Pilau

  1. Wash the rice in several changes of warm water and leave to soak in cold water for half an hour. Drain in a sieve.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom pods, bay leaves
  3. After about two minutes add the rice and stir gently on medium heat.
  4. When all the grains are coated with oil) this usually takes three minutes, add the peas and carrots and pour the hot water. Add the saffron and salt. Stir and adjust the salt if necessary before leaving to cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes. When most of the water has been absorbed, cover, lower the heat and continue cooking for a further 8-10 minutes.
  5. Fluff up the rice with a fork prior to serving.
  6. Sprinkle over the sliced nuts and serve piping hot
Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

Traditional Recipe: Baingan Aloo (Potato-Eggplant Indian Curry)

Baingan Aloo - Recipe for Potato-Eggplant Indian Curry

The simple and yet so scrumptious Aloo baingan sabji is a delicately spiced up Indian vegetarian recipe with diced aloo or potatoes stir fried with chopped baigan or brinjals. Aloo Baingan is an easy to make dish from North India. Eggplant and potato make for a fantastic combo and when roasted together in a shallow pan. Serve with bread or rice.

Ingredients

  1. 3/4 cup (170 ml) new potatoes, cut in half (1 small potato)
  2. 2 tsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  3. 1 tsp / 5 ml black mustard seeds
  4. 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin seeds
  5. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  6. 2 tsp (30 ml) Patak’s Madras Curry Paste
  7. 1.25 cups (300 ml) tomatoes, chopped (about 2 tomatoes)
  8. 1 cup (230 ml) eggplants, diced (about 1/4 eggplant)
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  11. 1 tsp (1 15 ml) cilantro, chopped
  12. 1 tsp (5 ml) shredded coconut to garnish

Method

  1. Patak's Madras Curry Paste In a pan of boiling water, cook the new potatoes for 15 minutes, until they are almost cooked trough yet give some resistance when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the garlic and Patak’s Madras Curry Paste. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the aubergines (eggplants) and potatoes and cook, covered at a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add salt to taste and stire in the sugar.
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro and shredded coconut.

Notes

  • Aubergines (eggplants) begin to discolor once cut so put them in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice
Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

Breakfast of Champions: Dark Cocoa Almond Oats Topped with Espresso Yogurt

Breakfast of Champions: Dark Cocoa Almond Oats Topped with Espresso Yogurt

A key contributor to obesity in the United States is the rise in unwholesome eating habits, with particular prominence on skipping breakfast, which has been associated with overeating, weight gain, and obesity. It is presently indeterminate as to whether the daily consumption of breakfast could bring about better appetite control and energy intake regulation in adults.

For a speedy, make-ahead breakfast that’ll endure you through the work week, combine the following in a Tupperware or another covered container. Place this container in the fridge, and in the morning, you’ll have a creamy, no-cook oatmeal breakfast.

  • 2.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 2.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1.25 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of sea salt

For a topping, mix the following in another container till no lumps remain:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt,
  • 1 shot or about 2 ounces of espresso
  • 1 tablespoons of maple syrup

If you’d like a booster, add blueberries. They add vitamin C and other antioxidants to whatsoever you’re intending to eat.

This recipe brings out the richness of the dark cocoa by the espresso yogurt. In addition, the fiber and healthy fats will keep you filled and dynamic all morning.

Tagged
Posted in Health and Fitness

Yummy Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tasty Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan cooking is exemplified by having simple food—food that is not covered in heavy sauces. Cooking is done with olive oil (not butter, as is used further north.) Olive oil is used as a salad dressing, is poured over bread, and is used in soups and stews. Beans are a staple. Sage, rosemary, and basil are popular spices.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced white onions
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup roasted Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (navy beans are best)
  • 1 small potato, diced (preferably Yukon Gold)
  • Water or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Optional Toppings: Crispy bacon, truffle oil, kale threads, Grana Padano, fresh basil

Method

  • In a thick-bottomed pot, heat butter and olive oil
  • Cook onions and garlic until translucent. Deglaze with white wine.
  • Add tomatoes, beans and potato; cover with water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Remove from heat and puree in blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for one day before serving to allow flavors to build. Reheat and garnish with the options listed above or get creative.
Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

Recipe: Make Basmati Rice the Traditional Way

Traditional Basmati Rice Recipe

Arguably the most famous rice in the world, basmati rice is a variety of long grain rice renowned for its fragrance and delicate flavor. In Hindi, basmati literally means “queen of fragrance.” Characteristically, the grains of basmati rice are longer than usual forms of rice. The grains grow longer as they cook. They aren’t sticky and remain firm and separate.

The lyohe fertile plains in the Indian subcontinent have cultivated basmati rice since the dawn of civilization. The best basmati rice grows in the foothills of the Himalaya range of mountains in Northern India, where the rice crops are fed by the mineral-rich rivers sourced in the melting snow of the Himalaya mountains. The best of basmati rice, traditionally aged for several years before it is milled and sold, consists of lower moisture content and therefore rice cooks better.

Basmati Rice Recipe: Traditional Method

  1. Clean the rice. Soak it in water for five to seven minutes. Never soak Basmati for too long since the grains are softer than most varieties of rice and over soaking makes it soggy when you cook.
  2. Boil water first and then add the rice to it.
  3. Cook till the grains get tender. This generally does not take much time. You have to check repeatedly to make sure that the rice is not overcooked. Now, since I cook rice such that there is water to be drained, I have a specific measurement for water. But generally I pour enough to ensure that the rice is completely soaked and if the water gets less due to evaporation, I add some more so that it does not get sticky or dry.
  4. Drain the extra water. You can do this by letting the rice settle first at the bottom of the container and then drain as much water as you can on the top. There will be some water still remaining. Cover the container with a dish of the same size as the rim of the container and gradually pour out the rest of the water. Now, with the mouth covered with the dish/lid invert the container completely and let it rest on the kitchen slab near the sink for a while so that most of the water drains out and flows into the sink. (you don’t want a mess right! Also remember to be careful while draining the water. Hold the dish/lid with a cloth so that you don’t burn yourself.
  5. To ensure that the grains are completely separated add some cold (room temperature) water into the rice again and repeat step 4. I have found that this really helps and separates the grain.

I always cook rice by draining the extra water and thus the starch.

Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

Winter Superfoods

As the temperature dips, resist the urge to reach for an unhealthy snack. Take a pick from this list of healthy options instead.

Kale

Kale - Winter Superfoods Hailed as the ‘green of the moment’ and the ‘”it” green’, kale is the trendiest vegetable in town right now. In fact, this curly, leafy vegetable has become so famous that it has even collected some critics who’ve accused kale and its advocates as being “pretentious”.

Love it or hate it, kale is the undisputed powerhouse of Vitamin K. It helps in the prevention of various types of cancer, improves bone health and joint flexibility. The vitamin A in kale is great for improving vision and gives you glowing skin.

Nutritional Value of Kale

  • Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Fiber
  • Calories: 49 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Try various versions of kale soups for a bowl of warm winter delight

Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds - Winter Superfoods Fennel seeds are stocked with many vital vitamins and minerals. It is effective in treating common winter complaints like cold, cough and a sore throat.

Fennel seeds are also effective in keeping degenerative neurological disorders at bay and fighting the signs of ageing because of its high content of antioxidants. The seeds also help relieve menstrual pain in women.

Nutritional Value of Fennel Seeds

  • Nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, Dietary fiber, Iron, Calcium
  • Calories: 7 per one teaspoon
  • Best Enjoyed: Boil fennel seeds and a teaspoon of honey in water for a cup of herbal tea.

Salmon

Salmon - Winter Superfoods Come winter and Vitamin D (or the sunshine vitamin) deficiency becomes a concern for many. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which plays an important role in increasing the body’s immunity It also aids in strengthening the bones. If you’re not getting enough sun then make sure that you have some salmon which is one of the richest sources of this vitamin.

Nutritional Value of Salmon

  • Nutrients: Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D
  • Calories: 200 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Grilled salmon is the most popular and also the healthiest.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash - Winter Superfoods There are many different types of winter squash available in the market. Butternut squash, which is the pear shaped yellow variety, is just one among the healthiest of vegetables. Butternut squash contains high levels of folic acid that is especially good for pregnant women because the nutrient helps in the development of the baby’s brain.

Butternut squash is also a warehouse of beta carotene. The human body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for healthy vision. It is also said to prevent breast cancer in women.

Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash

  • Nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Dietary fiber, Folic acid, Potassium
  • Calories: 38 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: A bowl of thick warm squash soup makes for the perfect winter starter. Choose a squash that is heavy and still contains the stem.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek - Winter Superfoods Fenugreek has several health benefits for women. It increases milk production in lactating mothers, helps in elevating iron deficiency, and eases menopausal symptoms.

Fenugreek also makes for an excellent ingredient for home made face and hair masks and can be used to treat blackheads and blemishes and to cure hair fall and dandruff.

  • Nutrients: Vitamins, Potassium, Iron
  • Calories: 50 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Fenugreek leaves can be used as seasoning in curries while fenugreek seeds can be used to prepare healthy herbal tea.

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi Fruit - Winter Superfoods Kiwi is just the fruit you’re looking for if wrinkles and fine lines are causing you concern. Vitamin C plays a major role in collagen synthesis while Vitamin E fights against the formation of free radicals. These two processes together help in keeping the skin younger. Besides its potent beauty benefits, kiwi also provides several health advantages.

The high potassium level in kiwi helps stabilize the blood sugar level. The high amount of dietary fiber in kiwi acts as a detoxifying agent for the body, while Vitamin C plays the part of an immunity booster against several diseases. Enough reasons to stock the fridge with this super fruit this winter.

Nutritional Value of Kiwi Fruit

  • Nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folic acid, Dietary fiber, Potassium
  • Calories: 60 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Piping hot kiwi pancakes for breakfast make for a healthy and delicious start to cold winter days.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nuts - Winter Superfoods For a strong immune boosting winter super food, look no further than Brazil nuts. These nuts are also called nature’s vitamin pill because of its many disease fighting properties. Brazil nuts are said to be the richest sources of selenium which gets converted into an effective antioxidant—selenoproteins—when consumed. Selenium reduces the risks of cancer and heart disease. Brazil nuts also have several beauty benefits.

Regular consumption of Brazil nuts imparts natural luster to the hair. These nuts also make for an excellent homemade exfoliater for the skin

Nutritional Value of Brazil Nuts

  • Nutrients: Selenium, Protein, Potassium, Dietary Fiber
  • Calories: 650 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Since Brazil nuts contain very high levels of selenium (almost twice the recommended daily dose), eating them on a daily basis is not recommended. Instead, eat a couple of nuts once or twice a week.

Eggs

Eggs - Winter Superfoods Egg yolks maybe infamous for their high levels of cholesterol but if eaten within recommended limits, they can prove to be one of the healthiest foods. Protein, the body’s building block, is the hero nutrient in eggs. Eggs also contain the nutrient chlorine that can help prevent breast cancer.

  • Nutrients: Protein, Vitamin D Vitamin A, Zinc
  • Calories: 150 per 100 grams
  • Best Enjoyed: Whether you like them poached, boiled or sunny side up, eggs should form a healthy part of your breakfast. But avoid combining them with foods which are high in fat and cholesterol like bacon and butter.

Green Tea

Green Tea - Winter Superfoods Coffee’s nutrient-laden cousin, green tea is fast becoming the go-to health infusion for all. When it comes to the ideal beverage, experts say that green tea is second only to water. Regular consumption of green tea is known to protect against various types of cancer, including those of skin, breast and lungs.

Green tea relieves stress by keeping blood pressure in check. It also helps speed up the metabolic rate because of its antioxidant effects. Green tea is also known to boost immunity against diseases like influenza and flu.

Nutritional Value of Green Tea

  • Nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Antioxidants
  • Calories: 2 per 100 milliliter
  • Best Consumed: Experts recommend drinking two to three cups a day after a meal.
Tagged
Posted in Health and Fitness

A Quick Fix of Nourishing Breakfast

Nourishing Breakfast

There is a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good meal in the morning increases your energy, sharpens your memory, improves your mood, and maintains your waistline. If skipping breakfast has become a ritual then these healthy quick fix ideas will ensure you never miss another one. Regularly eating a healthy breakfast may help you lose excess weight and maintain your weight loss.

  • Fresh cheese + 1 sliced tomato + 1 cup of green tea: Cheese is rich in calcium while tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Green tea relieves stress.
  • 1 Apple + a handful of nuts + 1 glass of milk: Apples are instant energy boosters. Nuts help maintain blood sugar levels while milk improves memory.
  • Whole wheat toast with egg + 1 glass of milk: Consuming eggs for breakfast keeps you full for longer which in turn prevents unhealthy snacking, along with providing essential nutrients in a high-protein meal. Whole wheat bread has a high content of dietary fiber, which helps digestion as well as prevents weight gain.
  • Handful of sprouts + plain toast + 1 glass of vegetable juice: Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods in the world. They have very few calories, which helps you shed weight faster.
  • A bowl of muesli + yoghurt: Muesli is known to have fewer calories than most other breakfast cereals. It is also high in fiber and whole grains, which helps to regulate the digestive system and maintain weight. Yoghurt is full of vitamins, which cut calories.
  • A bowl of roasted grains + yoghurt: Roasted grains contain rich fiber that keeps you full for longer. From keeping your heart healthy to strengthening your bones, you cannot go wrong with grain. The pro-biotics in yoghurt helps to keep your digestive tract healthy.
Tagged
Posted in Health and Fitness

Traditional Recipe: Carrot Halwa or Carrot-Milk Concoction

Carrot Halwa or Carrot-Milk Concoction

In the Indian tradition, women learn how to cook from their mothers and their mothers-in-law. Historically, women learned how to run a household and women in elite and upper middle-class families oversaw servants who did the cooking. Every home therefore has collections of interesting traditional recipes. The family’s recipes tell a story, the story of how people lived and cooked at a particular point in time.

The nuances in recipes tell about a family’s place in the social order, their enthusiasm for serving others food as they engage with others in their social class. In India, food can be anything from hunger-satisfier, hedonistic stimulation or merely an object of intellectual and social curiosity that delights the mind and body far from the family’s dining table with one overwhelming bite after another.

Carrot Halwa is a rich concoction of milk-boiled grated carrot and syrup flavoured with cardamom powder. It is a very popular dessert in several parts of India. Across India, the carrot halwa is a cultural phenomenon. Made with various practices and conventions, flavor preferences of carrot halwa is influenced by cultural factors. And these delightful tastes evolve over time with social intermingling and cross-breeding of cooking traditions.

Ingredients

  • Carrot: 2 lb, finely grated
  • 2% Milk: 1/2 of the volume of carrot
  • Sugar: 1/2 of the volume of carrot
  • Half-and-Half: 1/2 a cup
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter): 5 tsp (can substitute with butter)
  • Raisins: 5 tsp
  • Cashew nuts, pistachios, almonds: 10 tsp (broken into small pieces)
  • Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp

Method

  1. Take a sauce pan and heat 2 teaspoons of ghee; fry raisins and cashew nuts on low heat until lightly roasted. Keep aside.
  2. In the same sauce pan, add grated carrot and milk and boil on a low flame until all the milk evaporates and the mixture looks dry. Keep the sauce pan open during this process; keep stirring regularly.
  3. Add sugar and half-and-half to the boiled carrot, keep stirring until all the sugar melts.
  4. Continue to stir regularly until about 80% of water in the sugar has evaporated.
  5. Add cardamom powder, the remainder of ghee and the roasted raisins and cashew nuts. Stir thoroughly and continue to evaporate the rest of the water in the mixture.
  6. When most of the water has evaporated, switch off the flame and stir. Do not allow the mixture to become hard. Remove the sauce pan from the stove, close the sauce pan and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  7. The carrot halwa is now ready. Serve it warm or chilled.

Notes

  • Makes 5 servings
  • Cooking time: about 75 minutes; slower the cooking, tastier the halwa.
  • Adjust sugar based on preference.
  • Grated carrot can be substituted with grated white pumpkin for another very popular dessert known as Kashi Halwa (named after the town of Kashi, a legendary city in the location of modern-day Varanasi and a prominant pilgrimage centre in India).
  • To make Carrot Burfi, continue to heat the preparation on low flame. Take a plate and apply some ghee/oil to the surface of the plate and transfer the mixture on to the plate to prepare a fairly dense bed. After the halwa solidifies down, cut the bed into rhombus shaped blocks using a knife.
Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits