Pallipalayam Chicken Fry (Kongunadu Cuisine)




My new found taste for Kongunadu Cuisine continues with many recipes that I have been trying for the last couple of days and this chicken fry is my favorite of all. I love this simple preparation yet the taste of this dish is very different and unique than any other chicken dishes that I have tasted. This recipe only uses small onions andd garlic and the only heat added to the chicken was from the broken red chilies and there are no tomatoes added here. This is a dry curry and the only variation that I did was to add some fennel seeds during the seasoning.A simple and satisfying dish when combined with rice and simple gravies like dhal or rasam. The original recipe is from the same "Kongunadu Kuzumbu Page" like my previous recipe.  Surprisingly the kids also liked this dish even though it was a little spicy for their tastes.

Ingredients:
1. Chicken, 1 pounds, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces. I have used boneless, skinless chicken pieces here.
2. Dry red chilies, 5-6, broken and seeds removed.  The original recipe used around 10-12 chilies. For us, just using around 5-6 was way too spicy.
3. Peeled small onions, 1 cup, chopped finely.
4. Garlic, 4 cloves.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup.
9. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
10. Fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon. (optional).

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the fennel seeds  and the broken red chilies and fry for a few seconds. Now add the chopped onions, curry leaves, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Now lower the flame and add the turmeric powder, salt, and the chicken pieces and mix everything well. Keep the flame and keep stirring in between and let the chicken cook in its own juices. Once the chicken is cooked and the cilantro, mix well and switch off the stove. Serve hot as a side dish for rice, dosas or chapathis.

Saamai (little millet) Arisi Paruppu Sadam (Kongunadu Cuisine)




Any one pot, dhal-based dishes are a comfort food for me. I love these kinds of dishes since it is easy for lunch box packing as well. Recently I came across this Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Kongucurry?fref=ts  and I am a fan of this site now. I love their simple narration filled with nostalgia and with all traditional recipes. The arisi paruppu sadam was inspired from this page. I chose millet instead of rice used in the original recipe and the  only difference in my recipe is that I added some vegetables and omitted the mustard seeds and made this as a one-pot, oil-free dish.  This pairs well with any spicy side dishes like potato fry, any non-vegetarian dish, pickles and chips. To summarize, this is a low-carb, oil-free, one-pot, tasty dish :)

Ingredients:
1. Saamai millet or any other grains, 1-1/2 cup.
2. Dhal,(toor or masoor or moong), 1/2 cup.
3. Garlic, 2 cloves.
4. Green chilies, 2, slit into two.
5. Peeled small onions, 1 cup.
6. Chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
7. Curry leaves a few.
8. Cinnamon, a small stick.
9. Cloves, 2.
10. Turmeric powder.
11. Mixed vegetables like carrots, beans etc, 1 cup. (Since this is a one pot dish, make sure to cut into big pieces, so they along with the rice and dhal without turning mushy). You can also cook the vegetables separately and add in the end.

Preparation (pressure cooker):
Add all the ingredients in a pressure cooker along with 2-1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for 15 minutes for up to 3 whistles. Once the pressure is off, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot. If preferred, ghee can be added on top before serving.

Alternate method of cooking:
Cook the dhal separately until it is mushy and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of  mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cloves and cinnamon stick and saute for a few seconds. Now add the small onions, curry leaves, garlic, and green chiles and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Then add the turmeric powder and the chopped tomatoes and keep sauteing until everything is well blended. Now add salt and 2-1/2 cups of water along with the dhal, millet, and chopped vegetables and cook under medium flame until the millets and the vegetables are cooked and the dish reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with ghee and chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Creamy Green Lentils Curry



I don't prepare dhal makhani or any rajma curries at home since hubby is not a big fan off these.  I wanted to try an almost similar version with a regular lentil that we consume on a regular basis and came up with this dish.  This is a big hit even with the kids (especially my little girl who is very specific about not seeing any onions, tomatoes or mustard seeds or pretty much everything....then my little madam put up a show of almost throwing up saying that she threw up because I added the "black things" : ) .   A great and different side dish for chapthis and rice. I did not add any cream to the curry, just some almonds and cashews to give a creamy texture without making it too heavy. The combination of the green lentils with the gravy was very good. You can also use rajma whole masoor dhal here instead of the green lentils.

Ingredients:
1. Green lentils or any other preferred lentils or legumes, 1 cup.
2. Onion, large, diced into big cubes, 1.
3. Tomato, small, 2, chopped.
4. Garlic, 2 cloves,
5. Ginger, a small piece.
6. Fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon.
7. Cinnamon, a small piece.
8. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
9. Coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
10. Salt, as per taste.
11. Cashews and almonds, 2-3 of each.
12. Curry leaves, and chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Preparation:
Wash the lentils well and cook them until they are just tender and not too mushy and keep them aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and add the fennel seeds and the cinnamon stick. Fry for a few seconds and then add the diced onion, ginger, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Then add the chopped tomatoes and keep sauteing for a few more minutes until everything is well blended.  Let the mixture cool  and add the almonds and cashews to this and grind into a smooth paste. Dilute it with 3/4 cup of water and transfer the contents back to the pan on low heat. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, and salt and cook for 2 minutes on low flame. Finally add the lentils and let it simmer for a minute and garnish with ghee and chopped cilantro, curry leaves. This curry goes well with ghee rice, plain rice, chapathis and dosas.

Oats Yogurt (Buttermilk) Porridge



A very easy-to-make and healthy porridge, ideal for breakfast or even dinner during summer . I usually make this a little bit thick, so it is filling as well.  This can be had by itself or with any preferred side dishes. Here I have paired this porridge with a simple beans stir fry.

Ingredients (For 2 servings):
1. Quick cooking or regular rolled oats, 2/3 cup.
2. Ginger, a small piece.
3. Green chilies, 1, I just used 1/2 for this recipe.
4. Chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon.
5. Salt, as per taste.
6. Yogurt, 1/2 cup.

Preparation:
Grind the ginger, chili, and cilantro into a smooth paste and keep aside.  Cook the oats with a cup and a half of water and the ground paste and let it cool. The consistency should be a little dilute and not too thick. Once the oats is cooled, add the yogurt along with some more water and salt and mix well. Dilute the porridge if it is too thick and serve with any preferred side dish.

Mushroom and Peas Curry (Mushroom Mutter Masala)




A different and tasty side dish when you are bored with the usual dhals, paneer and channa masala. The flavor combination of the mushrooms with the ground masalas blends well and we love with puris, chapathis, and rice.

Ingredients:

Dry roast under low flame and grind into a fine powder:
1. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
2. Clove, 1.
3. Cardamom, 2 pods.
4. Cinnamon, 1 small stick.
5. Coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Dried red chilies, 2-3, depending upon heat preference.


Other Ingredients:
1. Onion, medium size, 3, cut into large pieces.
2. Tomatoes, 2 medium side, cut into small pieces.
3. Garlic, 3 cloves.
4. Ginger, a small piece, cut into small pieces.
5. Mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly, 1-1/2 cups.
6. Fresh peas, 1 cup.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.
9. Cashews, 1 tablespoon.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Now add the chopped onions and saute  for a few minutes until tender.  Then add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and ginger and keep sauteing until everything is well blended.  Let it cool and grind the mixture into a smooth paste along with cashews. Meanwhile in the same pan, add one more tablespoon of oil and add the sliced mushrooms and saute for around minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Then add the peas, ground powder, ground paste, along with some salt and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes and turn off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice and chapathis.

Kids and Toddler Recipes: Cream Of Chicken Mac and Cheese




This is a different take on the regular mac and cheese with a tasty twist and is one of the favorite mac and cheese recipes for my kids. I make this whenever I am short on time on extra busy days. The dish can be prepared in a short time.  I usually stock up on the organic condensed soup cartons, bouillon cubes, and stewed tomato cartons from Sprouts. These always comes in handy when I am need to make something quick and tasty and without any artificial ingredients or preservatives. This mac and cheese is almost like assembling everything and the kids loves the chicken flavor in their favorite dish. Cream of mushroom soup can also be used instead of cream of chicken soup.

Ingredients:
1. Condensed organic cream of chicken or mushroom soup. 1 small carton or a cup.
2. Macaroni pasta, 2 cups.
3. Mild cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup.
4. Grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoon.
5. Salt and pepper as per taste.
6. Butter, 1 tablespoon.

Preparation:
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Meanwhile thin out the soup  by adding 1 cup of water and whisk everything together.  Heat a pan with a tablespoon of butter and add the soup along with salt, pepper, cheddar and Parmesan cheese and keep stirring under low flame until the mixture comes to a boil and the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta into this and cook for a minute and turn off the stove. Cream of chicken mac and cheese is ready.

Multi-grain Adai With Kara Chutney Recipe



This recipe request from one of my readers. She specifically wanted only multi-grain adai and also the perfect side dish to go with that.  We usually make kara chutney for adais and these adais also go well with  jaggery. I even use palm sugar or coconut palm sugar these days. The only difference between the regular adais and these ones are that I have added some more legumes, horse gram, brown rice, and barley to this ideal for a tasty and protein-packed breakfast or dinner.


Multi-grain Adai

Ingredients:
Brown rice, ¼ cup.
Toor dhal, ¼ cup.
Moon dhal, ¼ cup.
Channa dhal, ¼ cup.
Urad dhal, ¼ cup.
Horsegram, ¼ cup
Any legumes or beans of choice like rajma, white beans, black-eyed peas, ¼ cup and soaked overnight.
Barley, ¼ cup, soaked overnight (optional)
Dried red chilies, 2-3 depending upon preferred heat level. These days I use only 1 chili since the kids don’t eat too much heat.
Curry leaves, a sprig.
Diced onions, 1 cup.
Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon.
Salt as per taste.
Asafetida, a pinch.

Preparation:
Wash the brown rice and all the pulses and soak them for an hour. Add any of the legumes, which were soaked overnight to the rice and pulses mixture and grind it to a smooth paste along with the red chilies.  Meanwhile sauté the diced onions, cumin seeds, and curry leaves until the onions are translucent. Add the sautéed onions to the batter along with some salt. The consistency for the adai batter should be like that of a dosa batter. It should be thin enough to be poured from a ladle onto a pan.  Heat a flat bottomed pan and rub the surface of the pan with a soft cloth soaked in oil. Once the pan is hot, pour a ladle full of the batter onto the pan and gently spread them evenly throughout the pan. Pour a teaspoon of oil over the edges of the adai and let it cook under medium flame for a minute and then flip the adai to the other side. Let the other side cook for another minute or two and serve the adais hot with kara (hot) chutney.

Kara Chutney For Adai

Ingredients:
Peeled pearl onions, 1 cup.
Dried red chilies, 6-8 depending upon preferred heat level.
Chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon
Tamarind, a small gooseberry size.
Salt as per taste.

Preparation:
Sauté the onions along with the red chilies and ginger and let it cool.  Grind everything into a smooth paste along with salt and tamarind and dilute with some water to get the desired consistency.


Note: This chutney is not usually seasoned. If preferred, regular seasonings of mustard seeds and urad dhal can be added.

Black-Eyed Peas and Eggplant Curry




One of the signature dishes of my mother-in-law. She usually makes it like a one-pot dish in the pressure cooker and then add the seasonings in the end (if you want a fat-free curry, you can skip the tadka part). I usually cook the beans first and then add them to the sauteed  vegetable mixture. A good combination with rice and just rasam or curd. This also goes well with chapathis and dosas. I usually make this with rice and rasam for lunch and rotate the same with chapathis for dinner.

Ingredients:
1. Black-eyed peas, 1 cup, washed and soaked for 3-4 hours.
2. Diced onion, 1/2 cup.
3. Chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
4. Eggplants, any type, diced into wedges or small pieces, around 2 cups. I used a small Japanese eggplant. Soak the cut pieces in water until it is ready to be cooked to prevent blackening.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Curry leaves, a few.
7. Chopped cilantro, close to a tablespoon, for garnishing.
8. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
9. Chili powder or sambar powder,1 teaspoon or less depending upon preferred heat level.
10. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
11. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
12. Salt, as per taste.

Preparation.
Cook the black-eyed peas until tender and keep aside. I used a pressure cooker and cooked the beans for 7 minutes for up to 2 whistles. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter, Then add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until tender. Now add the chopped tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, and keep sauteing until everything is blended. Now add the turmeric powder, chili powder, and chopped eggplants and mix everything well. Add 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the eggplants are cooked. Finally add the black-eyed peas, mix well, and let it simmer for 2 more minutes and switch off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or chapathis.

Chapathi/Roti Upma





This is one my foodie friend's recipe. She had been raving about this recipe and asking me to try it with any leftover rotis and parathas and I did try it finally. I just followed her exact recipe and the taste and flavor was very good. Peanut lovers will like this style of upma. Adding peanut powder at the end  gives a good taste to this upma. Nice variation from the usual kothu chapathis or chili chapathis that I usually make and is  healthy as well!

Ingredients:
1. Leftover chapathis, shredded into small bite-size pieces, 2 cups.
2. Onion, medium-size, 1, diced finely.
3. Green onion, 1-2, slit into 2.
4. Finely chopped ginger, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Tomato, 1, chopped.
7. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
8. Chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
9. Salt, as per taste.
11. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Urad dhal and channa dhal, 1/4 teaspoon each.
13, Roasted or raw peanuts, 1 tablespoon.
14. Peanut powder, 2 tablespoons. (roast around 10 peanuts and grind them into a coarse powder).
15. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal, channa dhal, peanuts and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until tender. Add the diced tomatoes, chopped ginger, slit green chili, curry leaves and mix everything well. Add the chili powder, salt, and turmeric powder and keep sauteing under low flame until everything is blended. Add 1/4 cup of water now along with the shredded chapathi pieces and mix well. Keep frying under low flame until the dish turns dry. Add the powdered peanuts and cilantro and mix well and switch off the stove. Serve hot by itself or with pickle or curd.

Side Dish Idea: Baked Jalapenos with Chaat Masala



The name says it all; not much of a recipe but I love this very much and I had to share it.  I had this recently at a nearby Indian restaurant. This was served alongside with a thaali. Though the concept was very simple, these bakes jalapenos were the perfect accompaniment for the thaali and tasted so good.  The next day as well I was craving for these and I made the same for lunch. These  go very well with any rice dishes especially variety rices like curd rice, lemon rice etc.

Preparation:
You can use either jalapenos or any other mild peppers for this.  With a help of a spoon, remove the seeds and the white part. Arrange the peppers on a baking dish and sprinkle some chaat masala powder on each and spray them with any oil spray. Bake them at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they are soft. You can also leave the stem intact for a nicer presentation.

Cauliflower Achaar (Pickle) Curry



This recipe is from my close friend during our Virginia stay. She is from Pakistan and we loved this dish when she cooked this for us the first time. The taste was very different and the recipe was also very easy to prepare, a very different preparation from our usual cauliflower curry.  The main ingredient which adds so much of flavor to the dish is the pickle masala, which adds a big flavor to the cauliflower. I usually serve this rice and chappathis.

Ingredients:
1. Cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets, 2 cups.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Green chilies, slit into 2.
4. Ginger-ginger paste, 1 teaspoon.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6, Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoon.
7. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
8. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
9. Achaar masala, 1 teaspoon. (If the powder used is spicy, cut down on the chilies).
10, Turmeric powder, a pinch.
11. Salt, as per taste.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for  a seconds. Now add the onions and saute for a few minutes until they are tender. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric powder, achaar masala, salt, and the cauliflower florets along with 1/4 cup of water and mix everything well.  Cook closed for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked and the dish turns a little dry. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve as a side dish with rice and chappathis.

Kids Snack Box Idea: Pancake "muffin"





A simple breakfast/snack that I have been packing for my picky eaters these days.  Sometimes when they do not want to eat anything for breakfast, I pack these kinds of snacks, which they typically have after their morning play break at school. I pack some orange juice or milk along with this as well.

This a mess-free version of a regular pancake, ideal for toddlers who are starting to self-feed. Use any preferred homemade of store-bought pancake mix. You can add any chopped fruits like apples, berries, or even mini chocolate chips and sweeten the batter with syrup, honey, or sugar. Pour the pancake batter into the greased muffin pans and bake them for 10 minutes in a 350 degrees preheated oven. Remove the muffins once cooled.

My recipe at World of Moms: Sukku(Dry Ginger) Kuhzambu





This is a convalescent food loaded with all the healing spices like dry ginger, pepper, garlic, and turmeric, when I refer to as "flu busters" :). I make this at home when everybody are down with a bad bout of cold, flu or cough and when you feel like eating something warm and spicy and yet simple. I usually pair this with just rice and papad for a total comfort food.

For the full recipe, please go to :http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/sukkudry-ginger-kuhzambu/19/2

Mushroom and Spinach Stir Fry




Recipe idea from my hubby when I was preparing mushroom my usual way. He gives surprising suggestions like adding peanuts, spinach, or even chia seeds for a healthy twist :) I added some meat masala and this combination was very good. We paired it with vegetable kurma and brown rice.

Ingredients:
1. Button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into small pieces, 2 cup.
2. Chopped spinach, 1 cup.
3. Medium-szie onion, 1, diced finely.
4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
6. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
8. Coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
9. Meat masala or any other masala of choice like garam masala or chicken masala, 1 teaspoon.
10. Curry leaves, a sprig,
11. Salt, as per taste.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds. Then add the diced onions and curry leaves and saute for a few minutes until the onions turn brown.  Then add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, meat masala powder, salt along with the mushrooms and mix everything well. Cook closed under low-to-medium flame until the mushrooms are done and the dish turns a little dry. Add the chopped spinach now and mix well. Let the spinach wilt for 2 minutes and turn off the stove. Serve with rice, idlis, dosas, or chapathis.

Kids Recipes: Chicken Meat Balls For World of Moms



This is one of my kid’s favorites.  A very simple recipe and easy to make in a jiffy. These meat balls freeze beautifully and they can be used in many recipes like pasta, soups, fried rice, or even as a simple snack served with marinara sauce. My kids’ favorite are meat ball sandwiches where I serve them on a buttered roll with a drizzle of marinara sauce on each meat ball. I usually store them in single serve zip-lock bags with just the ones required for that particular recipe in each bag. You can make these meat balls smaller or bigger depending upon your kid’s preference. For my kids, I make them a bit small and I cut into half while adding them to pastas, so that it is easy for the kids to pick up with the fork.

For the detailed recipe, please check it out at http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/easy-chicken-meat-balls-recipe/7/2


Roasted Asparagus With Farfalle Pasta




This recipe can also be called as roasted asparagus and onion pasta.  The roasted asparagus gives a unique taste to the pasta dish. I have added only 1/2 cup of tomato puree here since we prefer the sauce to be less sour. Any kind of pasta sauce can also be added instead of the tomatoes here for a quicker pasta dish. In this case, you can just add the pasta sauce to the cooked pasta and the roasted vegetables along with the cheese.

Ingredients:
1. Asparagus, 1 bunch, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces.
2. Any kind of whole wheat or whole grain pasta, 2 cups. ( I have used farfalle pasta here).
3. Garlic, 2 cloves.
4. Crushed or pureed tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
5. Large onion, 1, cut into thin slices.
6. Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup.
7. Dried parsley and basil, a pinch of each.
8. Chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup. (optional but makes a great difference in taste).
9. No salt vegetable bouillon cube, 1. (optional).
10. Salt and pepper  as per taste. (Red chili flakes can also be added here for some more heat to the dish).

Preparation:
Arrange the asparagus and onion on a large baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper on them. Spray with oil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions and while the pasta is getting cooked, heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds. Now add the crushed tomatoes along with the dried basil and parsley, bouillon cube, salt and pepper and mix everything well. Cook under low flame for 10 minutes and add the cooked pasta, the roasted asparagus and onion along with the Parmesan cheese and chopped basil and mix everything well and serve hot.

Tilapia Fish Puttu/ Scramble




This is one of the easiest fish puttu recipes. Tilapia is a light textured and delicate fish and cooks in no time and hence does not required to be precooked unlike the other fish puttu recipes.  The taste is also very good compared to the other fish puttu recipes like with shark, tuna, or salmon.

Ingredients:
1. Tilapia, 3 slices, cut into cubes.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Green chilies, slit into two.
4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
5. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
7. Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
8. Salt, as needed.
9. Curry leaves, a sprig.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds. Add the diced onions and curry leaves and saute for a few minutes until brown. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, slit green chilies, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and the cubed fish and cook closedd under low flame until the fish is cooked. Once the fish is cooked, scramble it finely under medium flame until it gets light brown. Serve with rice and any spicy gravies.

Whole Wheat Eggless Strawberry Cake




We have had a good share of this flu season. Everyone in my house have been taking turns with the flu. I am just waiting for the days to get warmer and we can start our regular walks and outdoor activities,  There is not much cooking these days and mostly of the time it is just soups and sandwiches or simple one pot dishes. The only cake baking that I made was this strawberry cake for my hubby's birthday, This was perfect for us since we do not prefer icing cakes and the taste was very good as well. This recipe is from a vegan cookbook and the original recipe used raspberries instead. I also used whole wheat flour and used coconut palm sugar instead of regular white sugar. Coconut palm sugar is a natural sugar and is a good choice for low-carb baking choices because of its inulin  content. The whole cake just 10 minutes to assemble.

Ingredients:
1. Whole Wheat flour, 1 cup.
2. Strawberries, 1 cup, chopped small, and a few slices for garnishing.
3. Buttermilk, 1 cup, or yogurt 1/2 cup mixed with 1/3 cup of water.
4. Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Baking Powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Vanilla essence, 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Salt, a pinch.
8. Sugar or preferred sugar substitute, 2/3 cup, ( I have used coconut palm sugar).

Preparation:
Beat the sugar, salt, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla essence on low speed for 5 minutes  until the mixture is frothy. Add the flour slowly and mix until there are no lumps in the batter. Now add the chopped strawberries and mix once without crushing the strawberries. Transfer the contents to a greased baking dish and garnish with sliced strawberries. Bake for 25 -30 minutes at 350 degrees until the cake is done. Serve with whipped cream or by itself.

Spicy Bread And Eggs Scramble




This is one of our easy weekday breakfast recipes. I make this on days when we are in the mood for something spicy and takes a little time to prepare in the morning rush.  You can also just make this with only ground pepper and salt instead of the spices I have used.  That combination also tastes great.

Ingredients:
1. Toasted whole wheat bread slices, 3. (crust removed).
2. Onion, medium size, 1, diced.
3. Green chilies, 2, chopped finely. (Ground pepper or 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder can also be used instead of chilies)
4. Fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon, (optional).
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon.
6. Salt, as per taste.
7. Eggs, 2, or a cup of egg whites.
8. Curry leaves, a handful.

Preparation:
Cut the bread into small cubes and keep aside.Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Add the salt now and mix well.  Mix in the bread cubes now and saute for a minute. Now break in the eggs and scramble them with this mixture. Cook under low flame until the bread pieces are fully coated with the eggs and becomes a little soft.

Quinoa Kara Pongal And Some More Pongal Recipes




Here is another healthy, low-carb pongal that I like very much. Quinoa blends very well with lentils and is my favorite grain whenever I am preparing dishes like kichadi, pongal, bisiblebath etc. To cut down the calories, instead of ghee I usually add low-fat butter like Smart Balance. It does not make a big difference in taste and this pongal goes well with coocnut chutney and sambar.

Ingredients:
1. Quinoa, 1 cup, washed thoroughly.
2. Moong dhal, 1/2 cup, washed and cooked.
3. Finely chopped ginger, 1/2 tablespoon.
4. Broken cashews, 1/2 tablespoon.
5. Peppercorns, 1/2 tablespoon.
6. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
7. Curry leaves, a sprig.
9. Salt, as per taste.
10. Ghee or butter, 1 tablespoon.

Preparation:
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the broken cashews, peppercorns and cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until the cashews are brown. Add the chopped ginger and curry leaves and fry for 2 more seconds. Add 3 cups of water along with the salt, quinoa, and cooked dhal and let everything come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the flame and cook under low-to-moderate flame until the quinoa is cooked and the desired consistency is reached. Garnish with ghee or butter and serve hot with coconut chuntey and sambar.

Here are some more interesting low-carb and low-calorie pongal recipes from my kitchen:

Quinoa Sweet Pongal






Sugar-Free Sweet Pongal







Wheat Rava Vegetable Pongal






Little Millet/Saamai Pongal







Oats Keerai Pongal






Paripoorana Pongal or Thalitha Pongal with Wheat Rava






Cracked Wheat Rava Pongal






Oats Pongal


List of Low Calorie Soups For Winter

Dear friends here is a compiled list of warming soups for the weather. Most of these soups are balanced and make a complete meal all by itself.  Enjoy this cold weather with a hot bowl of soup!


Mixed Vegetable Soup



Asparagus Soup



Brocoli And Cheddar Cheese Soup





Barley, Lentils, and Vegetable Soup





Cream Of Mushroom Soup




Drumstick Leaves Soup





Homemade Chicken Broth




Chicken Noodle Soup




Chicken Soup For Kids




Brown Rice And Lentil Soup





Lentil Soup






Middle Eastern Lentil Soup





Spicy Oats Soup





Barley Mixed Vegetable Soup





Black Bean Soup





Split Peas Soup





Egg Drop And Egg Noodle Soup






Tomato And Fava Bean Soup






Sweet And Sour Noodle Soup






Tomato Soup With Barley and Pasta






Spinach Soup






Minestrone Soup






Red Bell Pepper Soup