Tizan/Nachni porridge


I remember my aunt making Tizan for me when I had visited her during my school vacation.  It was something new to me and like all children I was fussy to try it out.  Of course aunty tried to tell me to eat it as it was good for kids etc.  I managed to gulp it down but wasn’t aware of the benefits of it.  

Years later after my eldest son was born my mother and mother-in-law both introduced nachni to us.  So during winters I make it a point to make some tizan for my entire family.  

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup nachni cleaned, washed and soaked overnight
  • 2 cups water + water for grinding 
  • 1 cup milk/1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp honey/1 tbs. Jaggery grated
  • Chopped fruits (optional as desired)

    Method: After soaking the nachni strain the water and grind the nachni along with enough water to form a homogenous paste.  Now take 2 cups water in a vessel and boil the water on a medium flame.  Slowly add the ground nachni paste and with a whisk keeping stirring constantly to avoid any lumps from forming.  Keep stirring till the nachni thickens and the nachni starts frothing. Now add the milk and cardamom powder and stir well.  Pour into individual serving bowls and add jaggery/honey.  Enjoy your nachni porridge with nuts as desired. 

    Benefits of nachni: 

    • It is alkaline and easy to digest.
    • It keeps your colon hydrated and is a prebiotic food
    • It helps in calming moods.
    • It has plenty if fibre, simple sugars and low glycemic index.  
    • It stops migraines, heart attacks, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
    • It’s gluten free non-allergenic
    • It’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, has a good source of copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus 
    • It prevents diabetes, cancer and detoxifies the body
    • Helps to optimize kidney, liver and immune system health

    Notes:    1. Nachni is called Finger Millet in English. 

    2.  After grinding you can strain the pulp.  I haven’t done so because being diabetic I need the fibre.  

    3. It takes almost 10-15 minutes to cook the porridge. 

    4.  You can add little or more water while cooking the porridge depending on the thickness preferred by you and keep whisking to avoid lumps 

    Source : 1. www. Whfoods.com 

     2. http://www.organicfacts.net 

    3. http://www.care2.com

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    Puran Poli

    During my stay in Mumbai returning home tired after work and 1 1/2 hours train journey I was always looking at snacking options.  The options available in the local train itself were wafers, chaklis and Puran Poli.  Of course I avoid the empty calories and jump at the option of eating this nutritious snack Puran Poli.  So I would always relish this but didnt know how to prepare it.

    Then one particular time after marriage I returned home and to my delight my neighbour gave me Puran Poli.  I of course polished it off.  

    Mum who was alive back then, told me to learn the process from my neighbour which I immediately did.  

    Now I prepare Puran Poli for the family who relish it like I do.  

    Ingredients for the dough :

    • 1 cup wholewheat flour 
    • A pinch of salt 
    • 2 tbs. Ghee/Oil
    • 1/2 Water  (more or less as required to bring the dough together )

    Ingredients for the stuffing:

    1. 5/8 cup/125 gms. Channa Dal washed and soaked for a minimum of 3-4 hours
    2. 1/2 cup water
    3. 1 pinch tumeric (optional)
    4. 1/8 cup/25 gms. Grated jaggery (as per taste)
    5. 1 tsp cardamom powder
    6. Oil for frying the puran poli (as required)

    Method: In a bowl add the wholewheat flour and make a well adding the salt, ghee and water to make a stiff dough.  Cover and keep aside.

    Now boil the dal with water for 15-20 minutes in a cooker/vessel.  Continue cooking till the water nearly dries up.  With the back of a spatula smash the dal.  Add the cardamom powder and grated jaggery and mix well till the entire mixture becomes a round ball.

    If using a cooker 3-4 whistles and then switch the cooker off.

    Let the cooker cool naturally then open the cooker. Now if there is any water light the gas and add cardamom powder and jaggery.   Stir and gently smash the dal till all the water has evaporated.  The dal will form into a round ball with all the stirring.  Then you switch off the gas and let it cool.

    Now make small balls of the dough.  With the help of a rolling pin roll out a small round flatbread/chapatti.  Take about 1 1/2 tablespoon of the filling and stuff it into flatbread.  Bring it together and close to form a small ball.  Dust the ball with wheatflour and roll out to the size of a cheeseplate.

    Now on medium heat keep a pan and fry the Puran Poli.  First fry the sides and then the middle.  Add oil all over the Puran and fry till you see golden brown spots on the Puran Poli.  With the help of a spatullas turn to the other side and repeat the process.  Enjoy hot with a cup of tea or cold as a snack/Tiffin item. 

    Notes: Recipe: 1. Courtsey Meena Tai.  

     2. Roll the edges of the stuffed Puran Poli thin.  This will ensure that the Puran Poli fries well.  

    3. Channa Dal is called split Chickpeas in English.

    4.  I have used very less jaggery but you can always increase it or add sugar as per your taste.

    5. People also use coconut and sesame seeds which is optional too.

    Vegetable Curry

    My neighbour would prepare this vegetable curry on some special days.  So we were lucky to have such a good rapport that we would get to taste their food on a regular basis.  So without much ado let’s get to the recipe:

    Ingredients to grind for vegetable curry:

    1.  Scrapped Coconut 1/2
    2. 7 kashmir chillies 
    3. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
    4. 3 tbs. Coriander seeds
    5. 3 pods garlic 
    6. Water for grinding 
    7. 1 small lemon size ball of tamarind soaked in water 

      Vegetables for the curry:

      1. 100 gms. Lady fingers washed head and end cut and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
      2. 100 gms. Drumsticks wash, clean, scrape and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
      3. 100 gms. carrots clean and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes.
      4. 100 gms. Raw banana cut the skin and remove and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
      5. 100 gms. Brinjals cut into cubes
      6. 100 gms. Snake gourd scrape, remove the innards and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
      7. 100 gms. Yam cleaned washed and cut into cubes
      8. 2 cups water for washing and boiling the vegetables

      Ingredients for sauteeing:

      • 7 garlic pods cleaned and crush with the back of the knife to release the flavours 
      • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
      • 7 button red chillies
      • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
      • 10-15 curry leaves
      • 1 tsp mustard seeds
      • 2-3 tbs. Oil
      • Salt to taste

        Grind the masala along with items (1-6) for three times adding enough water to make a smooth homogenous water.

        Then add the soaked tamarind and grind again.

        In the meanwhile wash all the cut vegetables and boil 1 by 1 in batches till they are semi soft.  Keep aside the vegetables. Now  add the ground masala and boil the curry till the curry is nice and frothy.  Add a little water to the mixer and add this water to the curry.

        Now in a non-stick vessel add oil and add the asafoetida.  Let it turn golden and release it’s aroma.  Now add the mustard.  When the mustard stops spluttering add the cumin.  When the cumin turns golden add the crushed garlic and fry.  When the garlic turns golden add the button chillies and curry leaves.  Let it release its aroma.  Add the entire sauteed ingredients to your curry.  Cook for 2-5 minutes after adding the sauteed ingredients.  Switch off and enjoy with steamed cooked rice.

        Fish Paste/Fish Dip

        Now the name doesn’t sound appetizing but believe me when I say that is such an easy peasy tasty starter done in minutes.  This tastes so yummy that it gets swipped off in minutes.  This dip can double as a party starter or a snack for your kid’s Tiffin.

        Ingredients for fish paste:

        1. 1 tin 450 gms. fish chunks in brine/oil  (drained and reserve the fish chunks)
        2. 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup 
        3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
        4. 3 green chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
        5. 3 tablespoons coriander cleaned, washed and finely chopped

        In a bowl add the fish along with tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, chillies and coriander.  Mix well and serve as a starter with crackers or spread on bread and enjoy as a snack.

        Notes:

        1. :Recipe is courtesy my sister-in-law’s family.  
        2. You can use the fish type of your choice.  I have used tuna.
        3. You can reduce the amount of green chillies to suit your taste.
        4. You can also substitute coriander/cilantro and use the herb of your choice.  (Pref. Parsley and Dill)
        5. You can prepare in advance and keep in the fridge.  To bring to room temperature remove from the fridge and keep it out till it comes to room temperature.

        Chicken Vindalho


        A Goan must have dish called Vindalho.  Almost every Goan house has their own version of Vindalho masala.  So without much ado let’s get to the recipe.

        Ingredients:

        1. 1 1/2kg chicken cut into 16 medium size pieces skinned, fat removed and washed
        2. 1 tsp salt (As per taste)
        3. 1″ fresh tumeric or 1 tsp tumeric powder 
        4. 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
        5. 5 garlic cloves 
        6. 1″ ginger
        7. 10-12 dry red chillies (mix of bedki and kashmir chillies as required)
        8. 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
        9. 1/2 tsp. peppercorns 
        10. 1 1/2″ thick cinnamon stick
        11. 3/4 tsp. Cloves
        12. 4-5 slit green chillies 
        13. 1 lemon size ball of tamarind soaked in water
        14. 1 tbs. grated jaggery/Palm sugar
        15. 4 tbs. Oil (As required)
        16. 3 onions washed, cleaned and finely chopped
        17. 2 tbs. Coconut vinegar/any good quality vinegar
        18. Water as required 

          Method:

          In a bowl marinate the chicken with ginger garlic paste, salt and tumeric and keep aside.  Grind items nos (5-11) in a mixer adding enough water to make a homogenous paste for 2-3 times.   Add the tamrind and grind again.  Now add about 1 tbs. Of the vinegar along with 1 tsp grated jaggery.  Grind again.  Remove the ground masala from the mixer into a bowl.  Wash the mixer with a little water and keep aside in another bowl.

          In a non-stick vessel heat oil and add the sliced onions.  Saute till the onions turn golden brown.  Now add the green chillies and fry.   Add the chicken cover

          and saute till the chicken turns opaque.  Now add the ground masala and mix well with the chicken and fry.  Add the remaining vinegar and jaggery to taste.  Add the masala water and let it cook covered till the chicken is done.   Switch off and remove from the gas and enjoy.

          Mushrooms, peas and cottage curry

          During the week I love to make a vegetarian dish.  So I decided why not notch up the normal Matar Paneer with some mushrooms.  I did so and it was a hit at home.  

          Now without much ado let’s get to the recipe.

          Ingredients:

          1. 10 gms. ginger
          2. 5-7 garlic flakes
          3. 3-4 tbs. vegetable oil
          4. 4 medium onions cleaned, washed and finely chopped 
          5. 1 tsp tumeric powder
          6. 2 tsp red chilli powder 
          7. 1 1/2 tbs. coriander powder 
          8. 1 tbs. cumin powder
          9. 1 tsp salt
          10. 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
          11. Water as required (About 3/4 cup)
          12. 2 large tomatoes washed and finely chopped
          13. 1/3 cup peas frozen or fresh
          14. 400 gms. paneer (store bought)
          15. 350 gms button mushrooms 
          16. 1 tbs Coriander leaves 

            Method: In a mixer make a paste of ginger and garlic.  In a non-stick vessel add oil and the onions.  Fry till golden brown.  Add the ginger garlic paste and stir till the raw taste disappears.   Now add tomatoes and item nos. 5-9.  Cover and cook till tomatoes are pulpy and oil separates.  Add the peas and mushrooms.  Stir and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.   Soak the paneer in water for sometime and add the soaked paneer into the curry.   Add water if you feel the gravy is too thick.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir and add garam masala powder and coriander leaves.  Cook for another 2 minutes till the flavour of the garam masala is absorbed into the curry.  Switch off and serve hot with chapattis/phulkas etc.  Enjoy.

            Notes : 

            • Paneer also known as cottage cheese.
            • Garam masala also known as allspice powder 
            • Mushrooms also known as khumb.

             

            Baingan Ka Bharta

            I love brinjals/baingan specially because I know it’s low in calories.  Brinjal, the king of all vegetables is so versatile that I cant help loving and enjoy eating this vegetable.  

            I remember my ex-colleague getting to work, specially Thursdays which was his fast and vegetarian day.   The aroma was so wonderful that it would stir up hunger pangs in me.  

            Now without much ado lets get to the recipe, for you to enjoy and prepare in your kitchen.

            Ingredients:

            1. 350 gms. Brinjal (I chose a big size single purple brinjal)
            2. 3 tbs. Oil
            3. Asafoetida a pinch
            4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
            5. 2 medium size tomatoes, washed and finely chopped 
            6. 2 medium size Onions cleaned, washed and finely chopped
            7. 3 green chillies finely chopped 
            8. 1″ ginger finely chopped 
            9. 5-6 garlic cloves finely chopped 
            10. 1/2 tsp. Red chilli powder  (you can use kashmir/bedki chilli powder)
            11. 1/2 tsp. Tumeric powder 
            12. 1 tsp Coriander powder 
            13. 1 tsp Allspice powder 
            14. 1 tsp salt
            15. 2-3 tbs. Coriander/cilantro leaves finely chopped 
            16. 1/3 cup roasted peanuts

              Method: Wash and pat dry the brinjal.  Rub the brinjal all over with oil.  Now make a few slits all over in the brinjal.   Roast the brinjal on the stove top turning after regular intervals.  When the brinjal is soft and mushy to the touch switch off the gas and keep the brinjal aside to cool.

              Now start the preparations for the baingan bharta.  

              In a non-stick vessel add oil and add the asafoetida.  When it gives off it’s aroma add cumin.  When the seeds turn golden add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies.  Stir and cover.  When the onions turn translucent add the chopped tomatoes.  Stir and cover.  When the tomatoes start becoming mushy add items nos. (10-12).  Stir well to incorporate and cover.  

              In the meanwhile scrape the outer skin and cut the head of the brinjal.  Chop finely and keep the brinjal ready.  Add the brinjal and stir nicely for about 1 minute.  Add the allspice powder and salt.  Cover and cook till the oil is released.  Now add the peanuts and stir well.  Before shutting off the gas add the coriander leaves.  Enjoy with phulkas/chappatis/rotis.  

              Benefits of brinjals: 

              1. Prevents cancer
              2. Promotes weight loss 
              3. Lowers bad cholesterol 
              4. Keeps blood sugar under control
              5. Prevents cellular damage in the brain
              6. Helps skin tone 
              7. Good in fibre, folate, vitamins A, B, C, Beta Carotene, Potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphate
              8. Good immunity booster
              9. Aids digestion
              10. Helps to prevent birth defects in foetus.
              11. Improves bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

              Notes: 

              • Recipe developed from the taste of my ex-colleague Sachin’s tiffin.
              • Brinjals also known as aubergine/eggplants/baingan.
              • When shopping to buy brinjals they should be fairly firm and heavy.  Skin should be smooth and glossy.  The head should be dark green and look fresh.  
              • I have included bits of the skin as I love the charred flavour.  

              Tandoori Chicken 

              • The aroma of Tandoori Chicken takes me back to the lanes of Byculla where we would enjoy yummy Tandoori chicken.   The aroma of chicken cooking on the hot coals was worth every effort of getting steamed in the bargain.  Since there is no tandoor here I made mine on a gas stove.  So without much ado let’s get to the recipe

                Ingredients:

                1.  1 kg chicken cut into 8 pieces (or as required)
                2. 1 tsp salt
                3. 1 tsp red chilli powder 
                4. Juice of 1 lemon/lime
                5. 1/8 tsp tumeric powder 
                6. 2-3 tbs of hung and beaten curds
                7. 2 tbs. Cream/butter/oil
                8. 1 tsp garam masala/allspice powder
                9. 1 tbs. Of Ginger garlic paste
                10. 1 tsp roasted cumin powder 
                11. 1/8 tsp. red/orange food colour
                12. Butter for basting
                13. Basting brush
                14. 2 tbs. Oil for cooking
                15. 1 small aluminium round vessel for giving the smoky effect
                16. Coal for giving the tandoor effect

                  Method: Clean the chicken and remove the skin from the chicken.  Remove all the insides from the stomach of the chicken.  Cut into 8 pieces and make cuts in the chicken.  Apply ingredients 2-5 and leave the chicken aside for 1/2 an hour covered.  Marinate the chicken with items 6-11 and keep aside for 4 hours.   

                  In a non-stick pan add a little oil.  When the oil is hot enough slowly introduce the chicken into the pan.  Don’t overcrowd the pan as it will be difficult to turn the chicken.  Now let the chicken cook for 10 minutes on each side.  Keep basting butter/oil as required.  After that you can turn and cook the other side too for another 7 minutes. Repeat basting on the other side too.

                   On another gas burner place a coal.  Let it become hot and red.  When the chicken is nearly done place the  lit coal in the aluminium vessel which should be placed in the frying pan.  Add 1 tsp of oil on the lit coal.  Cover and the smoke will give the chicken the tandoori effect.

                  Serve with a salad of your choice and Kubooz or Roti.

                   

                  Pizza

                  Nothing special, but just fulfilling my children’s demands gives me so much happiness.  So I prepared Pizza for their tiffin.

                  Ingredients for the pizza base : (A)

                  1. Flour 2 1/2 cups
                  2. Dry yeast 1 1/2 tsp
                  3. Sugar 1 tsp.
                  4. Salt 1/2 tsp
                  5. Oil 2 tbs
                  6. Lukewarm water to knead as required.  (I used about 1 1/2 cup)

                  Ingredients for topping: (B)

                  • 1 Green capsicum cut into juliens
                  • 1 packet chicken sausages cut lengthwise 
                  • Cheese 1/2 cup of your choice (you can mix different types of cheeses)
                  • Tomato based sauce 1/2 cup
                  • Italian seasonings 1 tbs. (Mixed herbs)
                  • 2 Onions cut into rounds
                  • Black olives cut into rounds 1/4 cup

                  Ingredients for tomato based sauce: (C)

                  • 1 cup tomato puree
                  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
                  • 1 small onion finely chopped
                  • 5-6 leaves basil
                  • 4-5 tbs Olive oil
                  • 1 tsp Salt 
                  • 1/2 tsp sugar

                    Method for pizza preparation (A):   In 1/2 cup lukewarm water add sugar and yeast.  Stir and keep aside in a warm place to activate aside for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes you will see the mixture has become frothy and doubled in volume. Now in a bowl add flour and make a well in the middle of the flour.  Now add the salt, the yeast mixture and keep adding little by little the lukewarm water.  Try to get the dough together and make a smooth dough.  Add the remaining lukewarm and mix well to form a smooth dough.  Now scrape the sides of the bowl and add the dough if any to the dough.  Add the olive oil and cover the dough with the oil.  

                    Cover the bowl and keep aside in a warm  place for atleast 1 hour for the yeast to activate the dough. After 1 hour you will see the dough has doubled and risen. 

                    Remove the dough from the bowl onto the table counter and punch the dough knocking off the air.  Now bring the dough together and knead.  Apply flour if the dough is too sticky and knead again.  Then bang the dough again.   Now smooth the dough into a round ball.  Repeat this process for 3-4 times.   With your fingers poke the dough.  When it springs back it means your dough is ready to use.  Divide the dough using a knife to cut the dough.  Don’t tear the dough by hand as this breaks down the gluten.  Shape the dough into a round ball.  Now roll the dough with a rolling pin or flatten it out with your finger tips. (I have kept the base medium width about 1/2″ in height) 

                    Method for tomato based sauce (C): In a non-stick vessel add olive oil. Let it become hot then add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute. Now add the onion and saute till they become soft and translucent. Now add the puree and cover and cook for 5 minutes. The tomato puree will become thick. Now add salt, sugar and stir for a minute. Add the basil and switch off the gas.

                    For assembling the pizza prick the base with a fork all over.  Now cover the base with the tomato sauce and the toppings as required.  Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven cut and enjoy.

                     

                    Garlic Rice

                    A very easy rice preparation.  Easy to make and combine with any side dish or main dish of your choice.  

                    Ingredients as mentioned below:

                    1. Boiled rice 3 cups (cooked and kept aside)
                    2. Crushed garlic 2 tbs.
                    3. Salt 1 tsp
                    4. White pepper powder 1/4 tsp.
                    5. Soya sauce 2 tbs.
                    6. Oil 1/4 cup

                    Method : In a non stick pan add the oil.  Heat the oil and add the garlic and saute till golden brown.  Then add the soya sauce, pepper and salt.  Add the rice and saute to mix well.  Switch off the gas and enjoy your garlic rice.