Sweet Potato Paratha

Flat bread stuffed with spiced, sweet potato mash. Though it is a fancy explanation, this dish is just a healthy cousin of the well-loved aloo paratha. Most people wouldn’t even find the difference this paratha and its potato version. It’s yummy and nutritious. Give it a try!

Ingredients

For the filling

Sweet potato – 1 medium(boiled and mashed)

Horse gram sprouts – 2 spoons (steamed)

Onions – 1 medium (finely chopped)

Green chillies – 1-2 small (finely minced)

Red chilli powder – ¼ teaspoon

Garam masala – ½ teaspoon

Jeera powder – ½ teaspoon

Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon

Amchoor(dry mango) powder – ¼ teaspoon

Salt – as needed

Fresh coriander – 1 teaspoon (finely chopped)

For the dough

Whole wheat flour – 2 cups

Salt – as needed

Water – to knead into smooth, firm dough

IMG_20170316_192618 (1)

Method

Mix flour, salt and water to make a firm, smooth dough.  Keep aside for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, to make the filling, mash or grate the boiled sweet potatoes. Add steamed sprouts and mash again. Add the other ingredients mentioned for filling in the ingredients list, making sure that items like onion and green chillies are free from extra moisture. Mix well. Your filling is ready.

Take a lemon sized ball of the whole wheat dough and shape it into a large cup using your fingers. Take an almost equal quantity of filling. Place it in the dough cup and bring the edges together so that the dough completely covers the filling. Roll this filled cup in your hands to form a ball, dust the filled ball with flour and roll it into parathas using light strokes (without exerting pressure). Heat a pan and cook the parathas on both sides with oil or ghee.

Notes:

* The sweet potatoes have to be mashed well. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to roll out the parathas. I find that grating the boiled potatoes makes the filling finer, thereby the rolling out easier.

* I have added steamed horse gram sprouts for extra nutrition. You can replace that with other small sized sprouts or omit adding sprouts. It will not hamper the taste of parathas.

* Onions, green chillies and coriander should be chopped finely. This, again, ensures easy rolling of parathas.

* Ensure the ingredients are free of any extra moisture. Otherwise the parathas will turn out soggy.

* The spices mentioned in this recipe are basically of my choice. You can adjust according to your taste and preferences.

Know Your Ingredient

sweet-potato

pic courtesy: mayakitchenette.com

 

Sweet potato is an underground tuber and grows on the root of the plant. It is rich in fiber and highly nutritious. It’s also rich in beta carotene, which gets transformed to vitamin A in the body.

It is an excellent food for people looking to gain healthy weight and hence a great option for kids (well, my kids 😉).

Sweet potatoes are rich in zinc, magnesium and vitamin B complex making it an excellent food for managing arthritis.

They also have high levels of potassium, which helps in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.

Choline, a nutrient present in sweet potatoes, is a water soluble, vitamin-like nutrient which is important for liver function, brain development, muscle movement and nerve function.

Now, you know why sweet potatoes can be considered a super health food.Feel free to add it in large quantities to your daily diet. Check out the table below on how to buy and store sweet potatoes.

Type Vegetable
Form Fresh
How to Buy Look for firm, heavy (for their size) potatoes which are free from bruises, soft spots or sprouts.
Storage Store in a cool, dry place away from moisture. Stays good for up to two weeks. Do not refrigerate.

 

Ragi Pancakes

Hi! I’m back with a kid-friendly recipe.

Breakfast is always trouble around here with the kids. They don’t like idli, pongal,or any of the other regular breakfast items in a typical South Indian menu. I would always be in a fix when I wake up without having planned for the day’s first meal. So, when I thought I will try something new from the dosa variety, I discovered Ragi Pancakes. And! Here is a secret! Because of the colour, my little one calls this choco pancake… and hence, I consider myself to be the winner in this breakfast war, having given them a healthy, yet tasty dish.

I tweaked the basic eggless pancake recipe and added jaggery as a healthy alternative for sugar… and here comes the recipe.

Ingredients

Ragi flour – 1/2 cup

Wheat flour -1/4 cup

Milk – as needed

Jaggerysyrup (jaggery, dissolved in water) – 1/2 cup (increase if you or your brats have a sweet tooth)

Baking soda – a pinch

Cardamom (powdered) – a pinch (can be substituted with flavourings of your choice)

Method

Add jaggerysyrup, milk and flavouring of your choice to ragi and wheat flour and make a thick batter of pouring consistency. Add a pinch of baking soda and give it a gentle mix. Pour the mixture on to a hot pan and let it take the shape of a circle (no need to spread the batter). Add a little butter if you are in for indulgence, or a bit of your favourite fat will do. Once cooked, flip the pancake to cook theother side. The pancakes turn to a nice deep brown and give a chocolaty effect.

I’ve added home-made whipped cream to make it more interesting.

 pancake with cream

Know Your Ingredient

Ragi (nachni, kezhvaragu, bhakri)

ragi

Ragi is a finger millet, which is high in protein and minerals (in comparison to all other cereals and millets). Being a good source of protein, it is perfect for vegetarians.

Ragi has high amounts of calcium and potassium. It is a great source of iron, making it beneficial for people with low haemoglobin levels. Low in fat and gluten free, ragi is easy to digest. It is therefore given as first food to babies in the form of ragi porridge.

Ragi possesses anti-diabetic, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Ragi and its flour

ragi with flour

Type Millet
Form Powdered
How to Buy If you are planning to buy whole Ragi, check if the packet is free from stones, dust and other impurities; If you buy whole millets, check for impurities
Process Remove impurities and clean with water and dry in sunlight for a day or till it gets completely dried.Make a fine powder by grinding it in a mixer or a mill.
How to cook Ragi flour can be cooked as porridge by adding it to water. Follow the procedure as in any porridge recipe.

Corn Cheese Balls

corn cheese balls2When the kids go shopping with dad, I can always expect a surprise (/shock)… Sure enough, during one of their outings to the mall, they came back with a pack of ready-to-mix cheese balls. For once, that was a pleasant surprise. We were all eager to try it (thinking of the crisp-outside-gooey-inside cheese balls in Italian restaurants!). With lots of expectation, I rolled the powder mix into balls, coated them with bread crumbs and deep fried in hot oil. To our BIG disappointment, the cheese balls failed to impress us except for their looks. The texture and taste were not what we expected at all. Even the kids gave a bored look the moment they had a bite. So I had to promise them that I will make real yum cheese balls very soon. I googled it, and found a recipe that was simple enough to follow, but it seemed to include white sauce. To reduce the chance of one more disaster (shock!), I tweaked the recipe to my preference and taste, and, what do you think? It was a SUPER DUPER hit!!!!! So here goes the recipe….

Ingredients

Sweet corn kernels – 2 cups

Cheese – 1 cup (grated)

Corn flour – ¾ cup

Green chilli – 1 (finely chopped)

Coriander – few sprigs (finely chopped)

Garlic – 2 pods

Oregano – to taste

Salt – to taste

Oil – for deep frying

Bread – 2 slices (to make crumbs for coating)*

ingredients corn cheese collage

Cook the corn in a pressure cooker or microwave oven by adding a pinch of sugar. You can skip the sugar if you want to, but I’ve found that it really brings out the sweetness (and therefore, the flavour) of the sweet corn. Separate the corn kernels and run them in the mixer/blender just for a second or two. Ensure that it doesn’t get mashed. Take the blended corn kernels in a bowl and add the other ingredients. You can add more corn flour depending on the moisture content. Mix well and shape them into small balls.

Make a thin paste of corn flour and water. Coat these balls with this mixture and roll it over the bread crumbs*. Repeat process for all the balls. At this stage, you can choose to store the balls in the freezer (for up to a day or two) before deep frying. Even otherwise, refrigerating the balls for a minimum of half an hour would make the crumbs stick nicely and give a beautiful golden brown colour to the balls.

corn cheese ball ingre collage

Heat oil in a pan and drop them a few at a time. Do not disturb them for a while till they start browning. Then turn them around till they get an even browning. And lo, you have absolutely crispy, yummy cheese balls that kids will really drool over and ask for more (mine did, at least)!

corn cheese balls

* you can make bread crumbs by freezing a couple of slices and running it in the mixer for a few minutes. Hygienic and fresh bread crumbs are ready to use in any recipe of your choice. 

Know Your Ingredient

sweet corn

Sweet corn is a whole grain variety which is used as a vegetable. Apart from being undoubtedly rich in fiber, it is also rich in carotenoids like Lutein and zeaxanthin. However unspellable these words can be, they can make you read better. Yes! They help in improving eye health and also have loads of other benefits like improving cardiovascular health. Recent studies are showing that consuming more of sweet corn might help in improving memory and also in cancer prevention. So, go ahead and include sweet corn in your meal and also make kids happy.

Type

Whole grain

Form

Fresh (used as a vegetable)

How to Buy

Look for a bright, green husk with pale to deep gold silk (corn hair). Always go for ones with plump kernels.

Storage

It is best to use sweet corn as fresh as possible. If you store them for longer periods, the sugar gets converted into starch and they lose their sweetness. At best, store them in a Ziploc cover along with the husk in the refrigerator for not more than 4 to 5 days.

How to cook

You can choose to boil, grill or microwave sweet corns. Remove the husk and silk covering the kernels. Break the cob in half and immerse in water for cooking. Cooking doesn’t take more than 3 – 5 minutes. The fresher the corn, the lesser time it takes to cook. Once the corn is cooked, keep it immersed in water till cool. This avoids the kernels from getting dried.

How to separate the kernels

Take out one whole row (line) of kernels with the help of a sharp edged spoon. The other rows of kernels can be easily separated by slightly bending and turning due to the space made available by the empty row.

I always buy corn on the cob and cook it on microwave for 5 minutes on high. Adding a pinch of sugar while cooking helps to bring out the sweetness of the corn.