Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Another Quinoa Love-Salad with Kale and What are you Thankful For?

I can’t get enough of Quinoa Love,it is so versatile that can be consumed without spicing up ,
just with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of Olive oil.Kale,one of the ingredients has health and numerable nutritional benefits ,like lowering cholesterol by steam cooking it.Kale also has antioxidants properties that it has been included as one of the super foods to prevent 5 types of Cancer.Good things come the harder way ,so is, Kale has a  bland taste ,slightly sour, that I have to combine in a chick peas or a bean salad to camouflage its properties.This time,tried with Quinoa salad spiking just with minimal ingredients and tasted perfect.This healthy Quinoa Salad can be included as part of Thanks Giving Menu.

Speaking of TG,what am I thankful For in my life,

1. My Parents and Family.
2. My better half “A”-Who tries to accomplish and maintain sanity in our house.
3. My Friends and extended family.
4. For the World I live in.
5. My culture and am Proud of it.
6. Last but not the least and the most important “My two Minions (A&A)-who are  apple of  our eyes,brings smile on Mine and A’s face end of each day.
 I love to be squished between "A Cube" all the time.

What are you Thankful for?.   Happy Thanks Giving. 

                                                   Quinoa Salad with Kale.
1. Quinoa (boiled) -1 cup
2. Kale (chopped) -2 handfuls.
3. Ginger (grated) -1 teaspoon.
4. Garlic (diced) -1 teaspoon
5. Olive Oil-1/2 teaspoon
6. Salt – to taste

1.In a Wide bottomed pan add oil, when smoke start to come out of the oil saute garlic on medium        flame.
2.Add the chopped Kale and saute until it reduces  to half  in volume maintaining the green.
3.Add the boiled Quinoa, salt, grated ginger and give it a toss.
4.Switch off the flame.
5. Enjoy with chopped nuts of your choice on top.

Usually I cut kale and freeze in glass containers ,as I will not be able to use all in one time.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Kashayam- A herbal Concoction to ease out Sore Throat and Cold- Re-Post

It is the time of the year we will be under the weather very often, catching cold with climate changing slowly from fall to winter, engulfing my part of the world for the next six months. Kashayam is a herbal concoction made using several herbs mentioned in the original post.If you can't find all of the herbs from the original post,it can be made with ingredients available from the pantry which is also effective and soothe the throat.

Original Version
Kashayam-A Herbal Concotion to ease out Sore Throat and Cold

                                                  Kashayam-Simple Version


1.Coriander Seed /Dhania Powder- 2 teaspoon.
2.Black Pepper Powder - 2 teaspoon.
3.Cumin /Jeera Powder -  2 teaspoon.
4.Fresh Ginger Grated - 2 teaspoon.
5.Dry Ginger Powder  -2 teaspoon.
6.Water - 1&1/2 cup
7.Honey  - 1 teaspoon


1.Bring all ingredients from 1-6 except honey to a rolling boil and allow the water to reduce little bit.
2.Strain and mix honey to the mixture.
3.It can be consumed warm or lukewarm.
4.Enjoy the soothing drink !!!

Please adjust the ingredients according to taste and spice level ,especially  ginger and black pepper .

Kashayam works well for our family.I am no expert in herbs and not sure if any of the ingredients contains allergens.Ensure it will suit you and your family prior to consumption.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kuzhi Paniyaram- Quick Version Loaded with Veggies.

Kuzhi Paniyaram is a famous delicacy of Chettinad, a southern part of India. Anytime you crave spicy, devour in to Chettinad Cuisine, well known for myriad of vegetarian dishes like puli kuzhambu,idiyappam,vegetable kurma and the list goes on. Chettinad city is also famous for its cotton sarees. The designs are very unique like their cuisine and stands out from others. Authentic Paniyaram is prepared by grinding the soaked raw and boiled rice along with urad dal, fermenting the batter like idly/dosa prior to making it. When it comes to breakfast both my parents and in-laws prefer the traditional items, mostly idly/dosa .For a matter of fact my Mother-in-law believes that idly/dosa nutritious than the modern day options. She once told me when she went to get her monthly sugar levels checked the Diabetician mentioned urad dal helps in controlling the sugar levels by keeping the glycemic index low. Though calories from rice is present, there is no added sugar . As I have explained in my previous post white sugar produces empty calories . My kids undergo high endurance physical activities at least 12- 15 hours in a week apart from their recess time playing, I need to ensure , they get enough of carbs balanced with protein and fiber in their diet. Kids generally move in fast pace and they are in constant motion, unlike the adults which increases their metabolic process and the carbs produced from rice are burnt  and converted as energy .If anyone peeks in to my refrigerator any day of the week, you can find a batch of idly/dosa batter in stock, it comes very handy for impromptu guests and last minute lunch box meals for the kids. My older one loves this version of Paniyaram for her lunch to school, since it’s easy to eat with a fork and  no messy hands. Any type of veggies can be mixed with the batter, depending on the kids’ taste and spice level. 

                                                  Kuzhi Paniyaram


1.Dosa Batter- 2 cups
2.Salt - to taste
3.Hing/Asafoetida- a pinch
4.Black Pepper Powder -1/2 tea Spoon(Kids version I replace Green Chillies with Black Pepper) 
5.Green chilies - 3cut to small pieces.
6.Red Onion- 2 table spoons(diced)
7.Carrots- 2  table spoon (grated)
8.Cabbage - 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
9.Cilantro/Coriander Leaves - 1 teaspoon(finely chopped)
10.Oil - 1/4 teaspoon for each hole.

1.In a mixing bowl mix all ingredients together except the oil with dosa making consistency not too thick ,not too watery.

2.Mount Paniyaram Pan on a stove top with 1/4 teaspoon of oil filled in each hole on medium flame.

3.Make sure oil is hot enough ,indication steam comes out from the pan.If you drop a pinch of batter in the oil  it should sizzle.

4.Pour 1 Table spoon of Mixed batter from step 1 in each hole and cover the top.

5.Few Minutes later with a fork prick and turn to other side to cook.If the batter sticks to the pan while turning leave it on the same side extra couple of minutes .

5.Brown Crisp Texture on the outer side indicates  fully cooked and ready to eat.

6.Enjoy with Coconut Chutney.

1.If you don't have a Paniyaram pan , it can be made like a Uthappam on a regular Dosa Pan.
2.For kids it can be served with Ketchup.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rice or Quinoa what’s your Take?: Quinoa & Purple Cabbage Salad Spiked with Asian Flavors.

Quinoa & Purple Cabbage Salad Spiked with Asian Flavors.
When I discovered Quinoa few years back, loved for its versatility but the calorie comparison varies all over the internet. Some of the health website, concluded that one cup of cooked Quinoa calorie higher than One cup of cooked brown rice. But where we see the differences is most important. Following lists some nutritional values based on recommended value for daily intake.

One Cup Cooked Brown Rice                      One Cup Cooked Quinoa
Fiber- 14%                                                        Fiber-21%
Protein – 5gms/cup                                           Protein-8.1gms/cup
Folate: 2%                                                        Folate: 19%
Iron – 2%                                                          Iron-15%
Riboflavin – 3%                                               Riboflavin – 12%
Zinc - 8%                                                          Zinc-13%
Vitamin B3- 15%                                              Vitamin B3-4%

Brown rise may be high in other nutrients contents. With impressive Fiber, Protein and Iron content from a plant based source “Quinoa” has it beat. Soluble Fiber helps to reduce Fat & Cholesterol. Foods that lack Fiber spikes the sugar level quickly with hunger kicking in quiet frequently and that leads to over eating. Food rich in fiber tend to be low calorie, so you can consume little more than the usual portion.

Protein is the one activating the liver-the main organ and control operator for the fat burning .Studies have shown that if liver is working well it can increase metabolic rate which means Food rich in Protein and Fiber will keep you full for longer hours than food rich in Carbohydrate or fat can reduce the metabolic rate. My Verdict & Mantra, you might have heard already from health experts “Eat a protein Rich Breakfast” to start off my morning with minimal sugar .I have saved the “Sugar” topic for another post.

There are umpteen number of educative articles all over the internet about Fiber & Protein. Keeping in mind the listed key points helped me to make good food choices. Nutrients listed in the comparison also helps to fight against heart disease, cancer .

Being brought up in a south Indian home it will be surprising to hear I am not a big fan of rice. When we were growing up my mom used to make tiffin items for my lunch box .My friends can vouch for it. I love roti, can far and by live on it. How can god make my life simple, the man I am married to, he is Iconic figure of a typical South Indian male who wants to consume rice at least one time a day.
He will mope around, if rice is not in his vicinity consecutively for couple of days. But his eating and fitness habits are way healthier than mine.

Though I cook proper ‘southie’ meal for the man of the house daily, my intake of rice in a week is only during the weekends one time a day. Here we go to one of my favorite Quinoa salad with purple cabbage spiked with Asian Flavors. Would love to hear from you all your variations of Quinoa.

Quinoa & Purple Cabbage Salad Spiked with Asian Flavors.

Dry Ingredients.

Quinoa- 1/2 Cup Cooked
Cucumber Diced- ½ Cup
Cherry Tomatoes– Few (Not in the Pic shown usually add them when I have in stock.)
Purple Cabbage Shredded- 1 Cup
Spring Onions Diced- 1 Bunch
Carrots Shredded- 1 Cup
Cilantro Chopped- 1 Tea Spoon
Almonds (Sliced/Whole) - Few
Cashews (Sliced/Whole) - Few
Roasted Chick Peas - Few (optional- I had bought a pack of Good Beans Roasted Chick Peas for Snack to take to work.http://www.thegoodbean.com/snacks/)
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 1 Cup


Peanut Butter (Crunchy/Creamy) -2 Tea Spoon
Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 Tea Spoon
Soy Sauce (The Authentic Fermented way) - ½ Tea Spoon
Honey - 1 Tea spoon
Ginger Grated - ½ tea spoon
Pepper Powder - 1/ Tea Spoon (to preferred taste)
Salt -  ½ teaspoon
Water - 2-3 Tea Spoon (to preferred consistency)
Sesame Oil - 1 Tea Spoon


1. Wash Quinoa thoroughly and ensure the outer skin is washed away as it will give a sour taste if not removed properly.

2.Combine 1/2 cup Quinoa with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until Quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it's cooked.

3.Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

4.Combine all the ingredients listed under dressing in a bowl and set aside.

5. In a Salad Bowl Mix well ,Dry Ingredients and Dressing bowl contents. Garnish with Few cashew Pieces.

6.   Enjoy your Salad!!!

-Be creative, add any veggies of your choice to your salad.
-Use Soy Sauce that has been produced the authentic fermented way as the modern Soy sauces     has MSG (a form of sodium contains non-essential amino acids).
-Ingredients listed under dressing can be increased and reduced according to your taste.

Quinoa & Purple Cabbage Salad Spiked with Asian Flavors.
I am not a professional health expert or nutritionist .

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sweet Thengai Aval/Sweet Coconut Poha.


Sweet Thengai Aval/ Sweet Coconut Poha

This dish again, very simple yet divine. When we were fresher’s a company in India, sponsored bunch of us for a Software  degree  from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and we used to stay in downtown Pittsburgh .From there we used to take the city bus to commute to the college. Very commute friendly and never had the need for a car. Inside the campus there is a desi grocery store, subsidized    stationery shop for students etc. Those were the days ‘earn and study ‘, the income used to be meager just to meet our weekly needs .We will find all possibilities to reduce our expenses .To our rescue the cafe in the famous Srinivasar temple there, sells food for very subsidized rates for Devotees, $1 for a bowl of Sambar Rice (Note: Anyone who visited Pittsburgh temple never ever will forget the taste and aroma of that Sambar Rice) and we will make a trip almost every day.
For me, double purpose solved being brought up in a typical Iyengar home, am used to visiting temple almost every other day, so my perumal darshan and food is done at one place. Coming to the point aval/poha is one ingredient which is healthy, reasonably priced, easy to make and will get in bulk. Used to make this dish quiet often and my roommates relished it .Well, now my husband is ardent lover of this dish for the taste and simplicity.
Epic Story believed -Lord Krishna’s friend Sudhama and his family were living in poverty and when Krishna visited him once, he offered Aval with Sugar and the contended Krishna blessed him with kingdom of wealth.
In southern India during Krishna Jayanthi (janmashtami) folks offer a dish made of aval/Poha along with other Prasadams to gain prosperity.

Pittsburgh weather is very sporadic and I must thank our desi professors for the car trips they had helped us with. It’s time to dive in to the recipe.


Thick Flattened Poha  1 cup

Fresh Coconut Grated  ¼ Cup

Cardamom Pod Powdered  2 (According to your taste)

Sugar/Jaggery  5Tsps (According to your taste)


1. Wash poha 2-3 times, drain the water well  and leave it for 5minutes for the poha to absorb all the remaining water.

2. Few minutes later the poha will turn soft.

3.Add the grated coconut, sugar/jaggery, powdered cardamom.

4. Mix well and enjoy

Note: Do not soak the poha in water, will become soggy and won’t taste good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oats Porridge Hot,Oats Porridge Cold

Oats/(peas) porridge hot ,Oats/ Porridge(Peas) cold
Oats Porridge in the pot ,Nine days Old
Some like it hot,some like it cold
Some like it in the pot, nine days old 

Love singing the rhyme to my older daughter when she started to consume solids and rather the excitement of eating she will be excited to hear me sing with my not so smooth voice.Anyway let's come to the details of the drink.This is again a very simple recipe ,put together by incorporating the idea from my mother's ragi Kanji/porridge.The main ingredient of this drink should be ragi.Cleansing and preparing ragi for this drink is cumbersome .Subbed with oats for ragi.When we were in our teens my mom used to make this every day and make us drink early morning .No cofee or tea those days.It is packed with full of proteins and good nutrients .Drinking a cup or two will keep us energetic until lunch.My brother and myself used to grudge so much to drink .My mom miles apart now , realize the value of this drink and prepares the powder when the stock from India gets over.This is a very healthy drink and during pregnancy helps sustain the nausea .


Cardamom /Elaichi Pods - 6
Clove Pods - 6
Almonds -10
Pecans - 10
Walnuts- 10
Oats - 2 cups
Wheat Husk - 1 cup
Moong Dal - 1 cup
Par Boiled Rice - 1Cup
Sago - 1 Cup
Buck Wheat - 1/2 cup
Quinoa - 1/4 Cup
Pop Corn -1 Cup
Agave Nectar/Sugar - 1Tsp

1.Dry Roast all the ingredients one by one in the order mentioned on the ingredients list
2.Let it cool .Grind it in a blender or mixer coarse or to a smooth powder.(Used Vitamix )
3.Take 3 spoons of the Protein powder and mix it with 1 cup of water and break out any lumps with a fork.
4.Bring it to a boil until it starts to solidify ,add 1 spoon of agave nectar or sugar
5.Add 1 cup of milk and switch off the flame.
6.Enjoy it Hot or Cold.

Way to Serenity....

Note:Store the remaining powder in an airtight container in a cool dry place and it stays for several months.
Folks  who would like to add ragi ,wash the ragi throughly ,tie it in a soft cloth and let the water drain and leave it for a day to sprout .Once the ragi  begins to sprout  dry roast and grind it along with other ingredients.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter -Jackets - A Thought

This Post is not to hurt anyone or taunt any cultural cooking. As we can feel winter officially in the winds and it is time to get our jackets/coats, sweaters, gloves, ear warmers out .How many of you have really given it a thought about the jackets having the cooking smell/oil on them?.I can see many ‘Why do you care?’ expressions. I really about mine because few years back when I came to the US in September and my first winter getting used to the cold, wearing jackets, gloves etc, every time I went out wearing the jacket I could notice a staunch mix of onion, garlic and all spices following me from home to wherever I went, surprisingly not my husband (I thought: May be that’s the fate of the person who is cooking). Before I could figure out what it was I used to wash my hands, take a shower just before heading out still it didn’t help. This was killing my excitement of going out and one day I popped the question to my husband ‘Why is just my coat is being very smelly and not yours and added don’t think me as unclean person (Look at my ego here) and started to give explanation about my showering schedules’. To my husband that day I was a comedy piece and rather answering the question he started to LOL by my explanations. Finally he gave me the answer ‘You have to have the closet door closed while cooking and turn on the exhaust’. Since it is winter, we will not be able to open the windows and the air is being circulated inside the house and the jackets whatever laying out catches that cooking smell. Having solved the puzzle, immediately I put my jacket to wash with extra detergent and extra fabric softener .I felt happy getting back a cleaner one. From then on following few simple tips I was never a smelly Queen :).Glad I realized in my first winter.I travel to work by train and I feel many of the jackets that have lingering cooking smell. It is never a pleasant commute during winter.My profession involves many meetings in a day and sometime I would head directly to the conference room from the train station and imagine how would people's face turn if they experience a container of spices walking in.I am sure many of you are in the same situation as I am .There is very simple ways that you can have your jackets/coats, ear warmers, gloves fresh. Please if you are interested please take advantage of the following tips.

1. While Cooking always keep all the closet doors closed, if possible the doors of the bedrooms, bedroom closet doors so that your daily outfits be saved from cooking smell/oil.

2. Turn on the exhaust always when you turn on the gas stove knob.

3. If possible have the kitchen windows or patio doors open for sometime after cooking or at least for 15 minutes in winter.

4. Wash the jackets/coats and tumble dry once in three weeks if the texture is not Wool, Suede, fur or any delicate material.Dry clean once a while the delicate ones. Please always check the washing instructions on the make label before washing.

5. If dry-cleaning is a costly affair turn on the Iron with steam and Iron them, this will remove any lingering smell.

6. While hanging the jackets in the closet insert a sheet of scented fabric softener to the hanger. Change the sheet once a month.

7. Always place pack of scented baking soda /baking soda in the closets. Baking Soda is odor neutralizer and will keep the closet fresh.

8. Stow all the winter accessories in a closed closet. I would say store your wallet, bags, cell phones in a closed closet/room. It is just not the jackets that catch the cooking smell and oil; it applies to bags, mobiles etc.

9. Once the winter is over store the winter accessories in a closed bag and put it in one of your bedroom closets.

10. Place pack of baking soda in every room .Remember to put them in a place where it is not reachable by small children/kids. Baking soda is inexpensive way of keeping your house clean and fresh. Especially in shoe closets, garages, basements.

Try these out people you will feel fresh in winter. Self hygiene is very important .