Flaxseed Chutney Powder with Garlic

flaxseed with garlic chutney powder

Chutney powders are meant to save you on a lazy day when you run out of sambar, rasam or whatever you are ‘supposed’ to prepare. Even with all the extensive dishes, a little bit of chutney powder on the corner of your plate with ghee can add so much character to your meal. I think south Indians can truly identify with the feeling.

This coarse chutney powder tastes heavenly when mixed with rice and hot ghee. It is also a healthy combination of flaxseed and garlic. This powder with gingelly(sesame) oil also goes well as an accompaniment for idlis and dosas. Try this simple chutney powder and enjoy its health benefits as well.

Ingredients

Flax seeds – 200 grams

Garlic – 10-15 pods

Urad dal – 50 grams

Tamarind – 1 marble sized piece

Red chillies – 10-15 numbers

Jaggery – a small bit

Salt – as required

Oil – to roast

Procedure

Heat a pan. Add the flax seeds and roast till they pop. Switch off the flame when the popping slows down. Add garlic. The retained heat is enough for the garlic to be lightly roasted. Transfer the roasted flax seeds and garlic to a plate and cool.

Heat half a teaspoon of oil and roast urad dal till it turns golden brown. Add in the red chillies and tamarind. Give a stir and switch off the flame. Transfer to a plate and add jaggery and required salt. Blend these ingredients along with roasted flax seeds and garlic in a mixer jar. You can choose to grind it into a fine or coarse powder. If you like coarse powder like me, save a tablespoon of roasted urad dal and grind the rest of the ingredients into fine powder. Now add the saved urad dal and grind it for a few seconds. The crunch from roasted urad dal will add an interesting texture to this chutney powder. Enjoy your health booster chutney powder with hot rice and ghee.

Know Your Ingredient

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Garlic, the most versatile spice in many global cuisines, helps make your dishes taste delicious. A compound called allicin present in garlic gives it its distinct smell. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which makes it a favourite spice for home-made remedies in treating various ailments. Garlic is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B6.

The spice can be called a miracle spice because right from treating common cold to helping lower cholesterol, it has innumerable health benefits. Eating garlic regularly can help detoxify heavy metals in our body. It is also a cancer fighter as it blocks the formation of cancer-causing substances and improves cell repair.

Personally, I prefer to use garlic regularly in the dishes I prepare. When the kids are down with a cold, I boil garlic with peppercorns and cumin seeds in water for about 15-20 minutes. Then I strain the drink and give it to them to reduce symptoms.

When my kiddo complainsof an earache, the first thing I do is crush a pod of garlic with one peppercorn, roll it into a piece of cotton and stuff it in their earlobe. This helps in easing out the pain before I get to the doctor.

Type Root Vegetable
Form Fresh
How to Buy Look for plump and unbroken skin. Gently squeeze the whole bulb between your fingers to check if they are firm.
Storage Store in an uncovered/loosely covered container in a cool, dark place away from moisture to avoid sprouting.  Do not refrigerate. Whole garlic bulbs can be stored for more than a month.

 

Home made Peanut Butter

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Imagine a morning, you snoozed your alarm couple of times and for some odd reason it failed to go off again. You wake up well past your usual time and have nothing ready to prepare breakfast. The kids are also in a sleepy mode and whine at the idea of plain bread toast for breakfast. I’m sure most of you can relate to this.

Being the super health conscious mom, I try to keep homemade peanut butter in the pantry. It comes in handy in these situations and gives a perfect kick start to a busy day.

Once you try it at home, I am sure you will never go back to the store bought version for three reasons. 1. It is extremely easy and 2. It is super tasty and 3. It has absolutely zero preservatives, additives or added flavours.

Ingredients

Peanuts – 1 ½ cups (roasted and peeled)

Salt – ½ teaspoon (or more to taste)

Sugar – 2 tablespoons (adjust according to your preference)

Oil – 2 tablespoons (I used peanut oil)

Procedure

Blend everything in a mixer or blender until smooth. If you like your peanut butter chunky, keep aside half a cup of peanuts before blending. You can add this at the end and blend for just a few seconds.

If you don’t get roasted peanuts in a store near you, you can roast them yourself by spreading on a plate and microwaving on high for approximately 5 minutes.

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Know Your Ingredient

Peanut, also known as groundnut, is one of the healthiest foods.  Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E, manganese, niacin and folate. They are also rich in protein and monounsaturated fats. This kind of fat makes it a great food for heart health. Among a host of other health benefits, peanuts offer an excellent source of resveratrol, a polyphenolic antioxidant which helps in cancer prevention, reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.  So, what’s stopping you? Go indulge yourself with a handful of peanuts.

Type Technically legume; a nut for common culinary purposes
Form Dried
How to Buy Look for a fresh pack which has been stored in clean, moisture free environment. Check if the nuts are whole and are not cracked.
Storage Store in a cool, airtight container. Peanuts can be refrigerated for longer shelf life.

Samosa

Hello people! That was one long break, I know! This time it was due to technical reasons that I couldn’t blog. When it (never mind; that was just a non-functioning keyboard, which I couldn’t get serviced) cropped up, I was happy to leave the blog behind and say goodbye to it. But, one fine day I started missing this little space I’m so proud of. Due to constant encouragement and support from my dear sis, I thought I should come back to it… So, here I am with one of my favourite recipes.
For a long time, I’ve been craving to make samosas just like the store-bought ones. Crispy on the outer edges and lip-smacking savoury on the inside… and, they stay that way even the next day!

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So when I heard this recipe a few months back from a friend, I just couldn’t wait to try it. So I did, and whoa! What results! Since then, I’ve made these marvels a dozen times at least, and every time, people have come up and asked me where I bought them. Well they didn’t a couple of times because of some mistake I made, but hey, that’s what this blog post is all about, so you can avoid the same pitfalls I made, and dish out some great, drool-worthy, compliment-fetching samosas!

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For the dough:

All purpose flour (maida) – 1 cup
Rice flour – less than 1/2 cup
Fine semolina (rava) – 1 tablespoon (for extra crispness)
Oil – steaming hot – 1 tablespoon
Ajwain – 2 teaspoons
Salt – to taste

For the filling:

Potatoes – 2 big (boiled and peeled)
Onions – 1
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon (or as per taste)
Salt – to taste
Coriander leaves – for garnish

For seasoning:

Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Oil – 2 teaspoons for seasoning (and more for deep frying)

Procedure:

Bring together maida, rice flour, semolina, ajwain and salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, and add it, steaming hot, to the mixture. Mix well with a ladle. Remember, the mixture will be very hot at this stage. Let it cool for a while and then mix with your hands. At one point, you will start feeling crumbs of flour between your fingers. Now, add enough water and make it into a smooth dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Creative_Cravings_Samosa_Dough

Now for the filling. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and cumin seeds. Add onions and fry till soft. Add boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes along with turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Lightly smash the potatoes with the back of a ladle to blend with the other ingredients. Add garam masala and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes for the mixture to incorporate the flavours. Garnish with coriander leaves. Switch off and let it cool completely.

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To make the samosas:

Step 1

Roll the dough into a circle / oval shape of medium thickness.

Step 2

Cut into two halves. You will have two semi-circles now.

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Step 3

Take a semi-circle and shape it into a cone.

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Step 4

Fill the cone with the prepared stuffing.

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Step 5

Fold one side of the open ended cone.

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Step 6

Fold the other side so that the edges meet.

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Step 7

Press firmly to close.

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Ensure that the oil is hot and drop two at a time (max) and fry till golden brown. Crisp, hot samosas are ready!

Know Your Ingredients:

Most of us know potatoes aren’t as unhealthy as they are portrayed to be. It is only the fat that we add that makes the dish sinful, just as I have done with the samosas. We can enjoy the nutritional benefits of potatoes when we consume them boiled, steamed or cooked with other vegetables without adding excess fat.

Potatoes are a rich source of potassium and vitamin B6. Potassium helps in regulating blood pressure, while B6 helps in breaking down protein and in keeping blood sugar levels under the normal range.

Type : Vegetable
How to buy : It is better to select individual pieces than to buy packaged potatoes. Look for firm potatoes and avoid the ones with a greenish tinge.
How to store : Potatoes need not be, or rather should not be, refrigerated. Refrigeration would cause the starch in the potato to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discolouration when cooked. Keep them in a cool, dry and shady place and they will stay good for more than a month.

Bloopers:

On a cheerful day, you try a new recipe which you think looks simple and easy. But for some reason it turns out be a blunder. Yes! I have been there and done exactly that. Not once, but many times. I’m sure people out there shout out “that’s the way you learn”. I do agree. Here, I present a few of my bloopers to help you through your bad cooking days. Some are serious. Some are merely funny. Come along and enjoy!

Samosa Bloopers:

Blooper 1: I forgot to add ‘steaming’ hot oil to the flour.
After trying the samosa half a dozen times, I was over confident (sigh!) about my final outcome. I missed out adding hot oil to the flour and realized it soon after frying the first batch. The samosas were soggy and soaked in oil. Here is the evidence.

Creative_Cravings_Samosa_Blooper

Blooper 2: A few ‘imperfect’ trials before I got the perfect ‘standing’ samosa.

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Colour Rangoli

This festival season, the one thing I can say I’ve mastered is the colour rangoli. Initially, the thought of decorating the entrance with a colour rangoli didn’t seem to be good, since it would mean a lot of mess with the kids stamping it and spreading the colours inside the house. Then I started using the place just in front of our gate which doesn’t have any footfall. (I would always suggest a place which doesn’t have any footfall but in case you just want it to be in front of the door, leave some space in the entrance and do it a little farther from it. This way, you can enjoy the rangoli for a few days at least.)

There are two ways to do the rangoli:

  • Drawing lines (either with or without dots) and filling each area with colour by dropping them using your fingers
  • Filling the colours first and drawing the patterns on top of these colours

In the second method, we use a small sieve and fill small areas at a time. I have found the second method to be much better. This is because even as a kid I was never good at drawing! So the very first outcome of a colour rangoli using this method got me inspired.

colour rangoli

Here’s my first attempt at a colour rangoli (I drew the lines first and filled the colours by dropping them with my fingers). You can see that the finish isn’t great. But this one took me a little more than 2 hours. So, I felt I have to somehow tweak the process so that it can be done faster. And I knew there was a method using the filter. But I had to try it to really understand how it works.

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You can see the result. The colours are bright because I didn’t have to add marble (white) powder to make it droppable and hence the finish is much better. So here’s the process I followed.

Items Required:

  • Colour powders
  • Marble powder (white)
  • Cloth rag
  • A sieve (tea filter)
  • A chalk piece

Start with a design which is easy. Draw an outline with a chalk. Starting with one small area at a time, fill the colours using the tea filter.

  • Pour the colour powder onto the tea filter by holding it above the area you want filled
  • Slowly shake the filter over the designated area

Note that any extra powders on it sides can either be cleared with the cloth rag or can be merged with the next colour for a beautiful effect. After filling one portion, draw free hand designs over it using the marble (white) powder. Ensure your hand doesn’t touch the floor while doing this. You can make the rangoli as big as you want. I take 30 to 45 minutes for a decent sized one. Just try and enjoy the “wow” feeling once you finish it.

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