Easy Chicken Sandwich Recipe – For Kids

easy chicken sandwich recipe

easy chicken sandwich recipe

A yummy chicken sandwich is a lip smacking 4 pm, after-school snack for kids. This one doesn’t take forever to make. All you need is a simple list of ingredients and you’re done!

So here we go!

Chicken Sandwich Recipe – For Kids

What you need for this chicken sandwich

Bread slices
Minced chicken – 250 gm
(I sourced it online at Big Basket)

Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Mayonnaise – 3 tablespoons
Chopped garlic – 3 teaspoons
Chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya) – 1 small cup
Cooking oil – 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste

How to prepare chicken sandwiches?

Heat oil in a pan. Saute chopped garlic. Add minced chicken, pepper powder and salt. Close the pan. Allow the chicken to cook well, on a slow flame till its soft and juicy. Chicken mince must have just enough water content to keep it moist. Once done, garnish with chopped coriander. Allow to cool.

Take two slices of bread. Apply mayonnaise liberally on each slice. Place some cooked chicken mince in between the slices and you are done. Serve with some tangy Maggi tomato ketchup.

This is a very easy to cook recipe that takes just 20 minutes to prepare. You can always stock some minced chicken at home for a variety of sandwiches, cutlets and kebabs for kids.

Nutritious Homemade Almond Health Drink Mix Recipe For Kids

Horlicks, Pediasure, Bournvita, Amway Protein Powder…the list goes on… You try to get the best health drink mix for your kids. T.V. commercials and enticing newspaper advertisements feature happy and healthy kids consuming these health drinks. And then you end up buying the same for your family. Of course, they have nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but in addition these are also loaded with added flavours and lots of synthetic stuff with confusing hard to pronounce names. In fact, I just noticed MTR badam mix has just 8.5 percent badam in it. The rest of it is made up of milk solids, sugar, starch, saffron, preservatives and the like. That’s when I decided to formulate a homemade health drink mix that would be pure and healthy for my child.

 

 

Homemade Health Drink Mix Recipe

This is what you need to make a pure and nutritious health drink mix at home.
Almonds – 250 grams
Refined Sugar / Organic Sugar– 100 grams
Cardamoms – 2
Saffron(Kesar) – 5 grams – optional
Water – ½ litre

How To Make It

home made almond powder

 

blanched almonds

home made health drink powder for kids
home made health drink powder for kids

Boil water till it begins to bubble. Add almonds and keep them for 2 minutes. Turn off the flame. Transfer the almonds in another vessel and rinse them under cold tap water for another minute. Throw away the water. Place these almonds on a dry, absorbent cloth. The skins come off easily. Peel all the almonds and keep them on an absorbent cloth under the fan so that they dry well.

Now, dry roast the almonds in a pan over a low flame for 1 minute. Allow them to cool. Add sugar and cardamoms along with the almonds into a mixer. Grind the contents to a fine powder. Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This quantity will last for a week if you use 2 teaspoons per glass for three glasses. I suggest making this mix twice a month. Double the quantity of ingredients in that case. I used organic sugar from 24Mantra.

Why do we peel off the skins?

The reason we blanch the almonds is to peel off the skins. According to Ayurveda, almond skins are difficult to digest and aggravates pitta in the body. Ayurvedic practitioners always favor soaking almonds overnight and peeling off the skins before consuming.

How Is This Homemade Health Drink Beneficial For Kids?

We all know the goodness of almonds. They are power packed with proteins, vitaminE and minerals like zinc. Almonds are excellent for brain and body development plus they impart excellent skin health. The best part is you can be absolutely sure of what goes in your health drink mix. So try this at home and enjoy its benefits!

For once, I wanted to get rid of everything chocolaty that has permeated our tastes! There are advertorials that show kids drinking milk only when it has chocolate mixed in it!  Not quite what I approve of! I was quite happy with this health drink mix. The results are equally good. My kid enjoys this drink. You can add saffron and dry dates powder too. It will turn out to be great!

Shelled Almonds: PhotoCreditsMandorle sgusciate” by Luigi ChiesaOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Nutritious ‘Eggs Benefits’ For Kids

eggs benefits for kids

Are eggs good for kids? This is an interesting question asked by so many moms. I was kind of skeptical about giving a boiled egg daily to my little boy. I felt that an egg on a daily basis, may aggravate his constipation problems, make him obese etc. And then my son fell ill with the flu. He lost a lot of weight. On doctor’s advice, I started giving him one boiled egg to eat, daily. It sure does improve your child’s appetite and overall health. I’ll give you good reasons why you should crack one open right away!

Eggs Benefits

A Few Eggy Facts

Eggs are power packed with a lot of vital nutrients which are essential for the growth and development of a child. Did you know that the yolk contains more than 90 percent of the calcium and iron found in an egg and that the egg whites are super rich in protein?

Eggs are rich in vitamins and minerals – the two essential nutrients that boost immunity and protect your child from diseases. No wonder my son’s pediatrician recommended giving him a boiled egg to eat, daily.

Vitamins in an egg

Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin – This helps your body to convert food into energy.
Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin- This is necessary for producing red blood cells.
Vitamin A or Retinol – As the name suggests, this one is what you need for great eyesight.
Vitamins A and B2 – These are important for growth.

Minerals In An Egg

Eggs contain these minerals –
Zinc – essential for a healthy immune system
Phosphorus – required for healthy bones and teeth
Iron – needed for healthy haemoglobin levels in blood and  helps a child not to feel tired easily.

It also has iodine and selenium in small traces. Iodine is essential for proper working of the thyroid gland. Selenium is an antioxidant that fights inflammation and reduces the risk of getting affected by cancer.

Eggs Reduce Chances Of Obesity

Many parents feel that eggs can fatten their child. This is not true.
Here is the reason why – Eggs keep you feeling full for a longer time. They limit your calorie intake by as much as 400 calories. So it is less likely that little tummies will feel hunger pangs immediately after eating a boiled egg. Besides, the cholesterol present in eggs is ‘dietary’ cholesterol that is not as harmful as the bad cholesterol present in blood.

For those who hate milk…

You have kids who hate milk? Why not give a nourishing and tasty boiled egg instead? Eggs are also good for children with lactose intolerance.

Here is a funny incident that took place a few months back. I happened to buy half a dozen hen’s eggs. Every single one of them had a double yolk. People have a lot of apprehensions about eggs with two yolks in them. I just made some scrumptious omelettes with them 😉

NECC, India, has time and again emphasized “Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande”. I couldn’t agree more. In case you decide to implement this, check out these yummy Indian egg recipes for kids.

 

Eggs Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Know your Cheese – Types Of Cheese In India

 

different types of cheese in india

Did you know that there are several types of cheese available in India? A few consider it safe to stick to a particular brand and kind of cheese. Since India is not a traditional cheese making country, most of us know nothing beyond the humble cottage cheese or Paneer. So when it comes to picking up cheese from the endless racks of dairy products at shopping malls, people stick to the basic processed cheese slices manufactured by Amul, Gowardhan, Mother Dairy and the like.

But then, you are losing out on a wonderfully delectable opportunity to taste some equally delicious varieties of cheese just because you don’t know all of them too well. From the easy- to- melt Mozarella to the firm and hard Parmesan cheese, how can you tell them apart? What are the benefits of each? And what the heck is Blue Cheese?

All said and done, we’re more than happy to show you the different types of cheese in India.

Types Of Cheese In India

Cheese Basics

To begin with, let’s get the basics right. The taste and texture of cheese is based on criteria like the duration of ageing, fat content, country of origin, the moisture content, the curing method used and whether it is goat, buffalo, cow or sheep milk. Did you know that a farm known as The Elk House in Sweden actually produces cheese from Moose milk?

Natural Cheese Vs Processed

Natural cheese is usually made by separating milk from water with the help of lemon, bacteria or vinegar. This is then mixed with curd in the coagulation process. The taste develops as the cheese ages. No preservatives, no chemicals. It is more solid in texture as compared to processed cheese and has lesser amount of moisture. However, unlike processed cheese, natural cheese separates into solids and oil when melted.

Processed cheese has a longer shelf life as a result of preservatives that go into them. It has more fat content, added flavours, emulsifying agents, whey, food colour and what not. It is creamier in texture and melts uniformly on your burger. It is cheaper than natural cheese.

It is for you to decide which one is a healthier option. Check out this link for how cheese is made .

 

Types of cheese available in India

Mozzarella Cheese

mozarella cheese, types of cheese in india

This semi solid cheese has a very creamy texture. Made from pasteurized buffalo or cow’s milk, it has very high moisture content. The colour is mostly white or a slight yellow depending on what the animal has been feeding on. It is mostly used in Pizza, Lasagne and Pasta on account of its stringy texture when melted. Mozzarella goes down well with raw salads too.

Emmental Cheese

Emmental Cheese, types of cheese available in India

A large rind of yellow Emmental cheese with lots of holes in it – I used to love watching poor Jerry save his cheese from the wily Tom. (These were a few cartoon shows kids watched back in the 80s – that’s when I grew up )
This is originally a Swiss cheese made of unpasteurised cow’s milk. This is a medium hard cheese with a nice, yellow colour. The flavour is a bit sharp and nutty. A typical slice of Emmental cheese has holes made by the release of gases caused by bacteria. It melts really well and is mostly used in grilled sandwiches and sauces or dips. In fact, it is traditionally used in making fondue.

Parmesan

different types of cheese in India, parmesan cheese

Parmesan is always on the list for a top cheese connoisseur. This is a hard grating cheese made of unpasteurised cow’s milk. It has a light brown shade of dry, crumbly straw. It can be grated over Pizzas, Pastas and soups. This cheese has a strong aroma and sharp, nutty flavour. The calcium content in this cheese is quite good.

Ricotta Cheese

ricotta cheese
By Daniele Pugliesi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dieter’s delight, fresh ricotta cheese is low in fat and high in protein. This cheese is made from milk whey that is usually left after cheese production. It tastes mildly sweet and can be used in desserts like cheesecake and Tiramisu. You can use it to thicken sauces and make dips for bread. Use ricotta cheese instead of paneer for a low fat version of palak paneer. You can even beat this cheese with sugar and used it in pastry stuffing.

Halloumi Cheese

different types of cheese in india
By Ewan Munro from London, UK (Clifton, St John’s Wood, LondonUploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Make spicy and yummy kebabs with this cheese. Halloumi is perfectly grillable. Made from sheep’s raw milk (some cheese makers take a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk), it tastes salty with a rubbery texture. This is meant to be grilled and eaten instead of eating it as it is. On grilling, it tastes crisp outside with a nice buttery centre.

Feta Cheese

types of cheese in india

This cheese is made from sheep’s whole milk. Loaded with 60 percent fat, this is a soft, crumbly textured cheese with small holes, which can be eaten as a snack or used as a salad dressing. It is usually kept to age for 4 to 6 weeks in salty whey and brine – so it’s also known as pickled cheese.

Blue Cheese

blue cheese
Blauschimmelkäse IMGP5469 wp by smial (talk) – Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t get flabbergasted with the varieties of blue cheeses available in the market. Blue veined cheese is marked by a distinct pungent flavour and rich, creamy texture. It is not a vegetarian cheese. You can buy the Danish daniblu variety of blue cheese here in India. It is very interesting to note how blue cheese is made . This can be sliced and placed on crusty brown bread or even added as a salad dressing. What makes it blue is Pencillium roqueforti which is a fungus that breeds on curds.

Seasoned Cheese

You can buy a whole lot of seasoned cheeses like Jeera Cheese by La Ferme, Auroville.

Cheddar Cheese

types of cheese available in india

Cheddar is always made of pasteurised cow’s milk. Dense and creamy, it earns its name from a process called cheddaring – in which stacks of pressed curds are placed on one another to remove moisture. Then these are cut into small pieces and again stacked up in layers. This process is repeated till almost all the whey and moisture goes out of the cheese. This accounts for the crumbly, layered texture of cheddar cheese after it is aged for around 9 months or more.

Gouda Cheese

aged gouda cheese in india

One of the oldest cheeses in the world, Gouda cheese traces its origin to Netherlands. It has a high calcium and fat content. It can be aged anywhere between 3 months to five years. Properly aged Gouda cheese has a sweet milky flavour. Usually it is given an orange colour by adding natural colouring pigments like carotene. Relish it with fruit and wine or sandwiches. You can add it to salads too.

Of course, this is a very teeny weeny list of types of cheese available in India. More and more cheese makers in India are venturing into the manufacture of exotic European cheeses.

Where to buy good quality natural cheese online

All leading online grocery stores like Bigbasket.com, Nature’s basket by Godrej, Localbanya etc. sell leading brands of good quality natural cheese. In fact, Nature’s Basket has an entire section devoted to cheese. You’ll find a good variety – Brie, Emmental, Cheddar, Blue cheese and some nice goat cheese too.

A basic search on JustDial or Google Search will give you a comprehensive list of gourmet cheese retailers and shops in Mumbai. Buying online is more convenient I guess if you don’t have the time, that is.

Check out this interesting and inspiring list of excellent quality natural cheese makers in India .

And Yes! Please do share with our readers in case you know of good cheese retailers or shops in India, in the comments section below.

5 Easy Salad Dressing Recipes – Make them at home

easy salad dressing recipes

Munching on a freshly tossed salad feels divine when you’re all geared up for eating healthy. However you are bound to take a bite and stop at that. Since most of us prefer some peppery or a slight spicy flavor, you may end up screwing your nose at the sight of a plain salad that tastes equally bland and boring. Use these flavorsome and appetizing salad dressings to add some punch to your  vegetable and meat salads.

easy salad dressing recipes Original image: lydiajoy1 Licensed under Creative Commons Text added

Easy Salad Dressing Recipes – Make them at home

Simple Curd Dressing (a commonly used Indian salad dressing)

Hung curd – 3 tsp
Cumin – coriander powder – ¼ tsp
Red chilly powder – a little bit
Sugar – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

Blend these ingredients well. This dressing is great for sprouts (moong or bean) that have been steamed lightly. If you want it low fat and less creamy, use buttermilk instead.

Carrot – Mayo Dressing

Diced and blanched carrots – ¼ cup
Mayonnaise – 2 tablespoons
Black pepper powder (a little)
Salt to taste.
Chopped Dill leaves (Shepu in Marathi) or chopped Dhania – ½ teaspoon

Blend all the ingredients except for the dill or dhania leaves, to get a smooth consistency. Sprinkle chopped dill or coriander on top and mix well. This dressing is ideal for crunchy leafy greens like spinach and lettuce.

Olive Oil Dressing

Finely chopped garlic – 1 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
Salt
Black pepper powder – a little bit
Vinegar – 2 tsp
Paprika (optional)

Mix these ingredients well and pour into a glass or plastic jar. Add your salad to the jar. Shake well and you’re done.

Tomato – Cream Cheese Dressing

Cream cheese – 3 tablespoons
Tomato puree – 1 tsp
Oregano powder
Red chilly flakes or powder – ¼ spoon.
Salt to taste

Mix well. Use this dressing for salads with baby corn.

Spicy Mustard Dressing

Mustard sauce – 2 to 4 tablespoons
Red chilly powder – ¼ tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Dry herbs(optional)

Mix all these ingredients well in a bowl. Add your salad to the bowl and mix well.

Use these recipes to toss up some appetizing salads.

Organic Food In India: Where to buy?

organic food india
The demand for organic food in India is slowly on the rise. In fact before independence, farming was indeed organic in India. Fertilizers, pesticides, artificial growth hormones given to poultry and livestock were typically unheard of, back then. However, farmers started using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, bypassing traditional methods to get more produce and double profits.  This has invariably led to soil and water pollution along with a total disturbance of our biorhythm (Absolutely true, whether you realize it or not!)

organic food in India

Organic Food in India

24 Letter Mantra , Organic Garden and Farm2Kitchen are a few organic food stores that sell online as well. In case, these organic stores are not available in your locality or they do not deliver in your area, you can buy their products from other grocery shopping stores like Big Basket or LocalBanya.

Where to buy organic food online in India?

You can buy organic food online at   24 Letter Mantra, Organic Garden or farm2kitchen. In fact, 24 Letter Mantra has more than 200 organic food products including breakfast cereals, juices, cookies, spices, pulses etc.  You can buy your monthly groceries from here. Organic garden offers farm fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to other groceries. But they operate only in Mumbai as of now. Both 24 Letter Mantra and Organic Garden have been certified ‘Organic’ by ECOCERT. I haven’t tried out farm2kitchen, though. Check out their websites for quality guidelines and organic certifications before you buy stuff.

 Still hesistant?

Trying out organic food in India will give you a better idea. It all depends on your experience.  For instance, I tried using organic garden wheat flour. I was disappointed with the way the rotis turned out. They were far from soft. However,whole organic wheat turned out to be so good. I got it ground from the local flour mill and the rotis seemed to melt in my mouth.

Check out powdered spices like turmeric, dried red chilly etc. from 24 letter mantra. Compare them with other brands like Everest. You can feel the difference immediately. Spices from the former have a fresh aroma and taste better.

Yeah organic food in India is expensive! So what?

Organic food is slightly more expensive that non organic brands. But then, don’t you end up buying so much junk on every trip to the supermarket. Packets of cheese balls, ready to eat meals, fried potato snacks and the like. Doesn’t it make sense to allocate a budget for some healthy organic food rather than mindlessly opting for food loaded with Trans fats, preservatives and what not? So either you pay the farmer or your doctor – the choice is yours.

Why organic food?

People are generally not convinced to buy organic food as they are unaware of its benefits. I love the fresh aroma of organic spices, especially spices from 24 Letter Mantra. Organically grown wheat gives you soft flour and even softer rotis. I have been opting for organic produce since a year.  Try to understand why organic food is good for you.

Benefits of organic food in India

Strict Quality Guidelines

Unlike  conventional farming, organic farming requires adherence to strict quality guidelines. ‘Organic’ certification indicates that the produce meets strict quality regulations for organic farming. It means the produce is completely free from toxic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, sewage waste or even genetically modified organisms(GMOs). In India, every organic food store must be certified ‘ORGANIC’ from an organic certification agency accredited under the National Programme for Organic Production (INDIA NPOP). Check out this list of organic certification agencies in India .

Environment friendly

Conventional farming methods use pesticides and fertilizers indiscriminately. These chemicals leach into the soil and pollute water resources. Eventually we are affected by way of direct consumption of such produce as well as via supply of drinking water among others.

Organic farming nurtures the soil and makes it fertile. The farming methods used are energy efficient. Good soil filters water passing thru it which means no chemicals affect potable water.

Tastes better

Organic food tastes better. Be it spices, pulses, sea food or meat, organic food tastes better than produce cultivated using conventional farming methods.

Organic Meat is healthy

Organic livestock are not administered artificial growth hormones. Organic livestock are kept in healthy living conditions, fed well and given more room to move about. Unnecessary antibiotics are not administered either.  These chemicals can cause digestive disorders and allergies on entering our blood stream.

Advantage for traditional farmers

Organic producers keep a direct relation with rural farmers in India. Farmers can bypass middlemen. Farmers get to earn better. By buying organic produce, you help these farmers indirectly. Organic food farmers market is held at many places in India.

In case you have no organic food stores nearby or if online stores do not deliver to your area, you can still try to eat healthy. Check out how to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables right at home.

Organic food lovers do share with our readers, your choice of online organic stores and organic food products, in the comments section.

How to make pani puri at home?

Is it one of those days when your kids ask you for a snack – something different and you wonder what to make? – Something that is healthy and wholesome… Pani puri is a good bet.  You can add sprouts, date chutney, pudina dhania chutney and pomegranate seeds to make it nutritious. You put different filling in the puris to make them look colorful, flavorful and lip smacking.

Here is how you have a nice pani puri party at home for kids!

recipe of pani puri

How to make pani puri at home?

For the puris

Get Natural’s ready to fry puri from any local supermarket like D’Mart. They are so easy to fry. You don’t even have to turn them over in oil. The puffed puris turn themselves over due to their unique machine cut shape. For the Pani – You can buy a pack of Everest pani puri masala.

Pani puri filling recipe – for 50 puris

Potato Filling

Boiled potatoes – 4 large ones

Coriander leaves – dhania (cleaned and chopped ) – 1 cups

Cumin powder – ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Mash boiled potatoes and mix with the above ingredients and keep aside in a serving bowl.

Sprout Filling

Whole Moong (green gram) –  2 cups

Soak moong overnight till you get sprouts. Lightly steam the sprouts with some salt and chilli powder. Keep aside.

Ragda Filling

Dried white peas – 6 cups

Soak  dried white peas in water for 3 hours. Cook them in pressure cooker for 15 minutes and mash them. Add salt and keep aside in a serving bowl.

Pani Puri Chutney

Date Tamarind Chutney

Dates – deseeded and chopped – 3 cups

Tamarind – a medium sized ball.

Jaggery – a small piece (optional)

Mix these together and pressure cook them for 10 minutes. After it cools down, grind them to a smooth paste. This chutney has a sweet and sour taste that make the puris yummier.

Coriander Mint Chutney

Coriander leaves – 5 cups

Mint leaves – 5 cups

Lemon juice – ½ tsp or kokum – 1 piece

Grind these leaves with some salt and lemon juice or kokum for a sour taste. You can put a few cashewnuts while grinding so that the chutney doesn’t get too runny.

Paani puri ka pani

Take ½ a liter of water in large bowl. Add 3 tsps of paani puri masala. Add ½ tsp of min coriander chutney and mix well.

Sev

Bhujia Sev or Nylon Sev – 500 gm packet.

How to eat pani puri?

Now arrange these bowls at the centre of a mat – yes on a mat – thats how you enjoy pani puri the Indian way!

Take a small spoon, make a small hole on one side of the puri. Add potato, ragda, date-tamarind chutney and mint-coriander chutney. Add sprouts and top it with some sev. Add a spoonful of paani.

Open you mouth wide and pop your puri in! Slurrrrp it up! And I can’t describe the awesome taste here – You have to eat it to believe it. I simply forget everything when a pani puri pops into my mouth!

 

Fresh Crab Recipes – How to cook crab: The Indian way?

South Indian Crab Masala Recipe

Want to cook up some delectable and flavorful fresh crab recipes – the Indian way? Let me make this easy for you. Most Indian crab recipes use coconut, fresh spices and fresh crab  for this preparation, also known as Crab Masala in some places. I’ ll show you two variations of fresh crab recipes – one is pure south Indian style and the other would be Malvani crab masala.

 

fresh crab recipes - Indian style

Fresh Crab Recipes – South Indian Style

Ingredients

8 – 9 freshly cleaned medium to large size crabs
Onions – 8 (sliced)
Ginger – a 1” piece
Garlic – 15 pods
Curry leaves – as much as you want
Tomatoes – 3
Coconut milk – 1 small cup
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Garam Masala powder – ½ teaspoon(optional)
Cooking oil – Coconut oil or Sunflower oil (as required)
Black pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
Red Chilly powder – 3 – 4 teaspoon(depends on how hot you want it to be)
Fenugreek seeds(methi) – ¼ teaspoon

How to cook crab?

Clean the crabs and keep aside. Make a paste of ginger and garlic, keep aside. Take a thick bottomed vessel. Sauté the onions, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves till the onions turn golden brown. Add coriander powder, chilly powder, fenugreek seeds, black pepper powder, chopped tomatoes and the garam masala powder to this. Sauté on a low flame till tomatoes are well cooked. Allow this mix to cool down. Roughly grind this in a mixer to form a very coarse paste, coarse enough for us to see the onion pieces and other stuff. Put this paste back into the vessel. Toss in the cleaned crabs. Cover this vessel for 25-30 minutes and allow the crab to cook on a low flame. Add coconut milk in the end and close the vessel. Turn off the flame. Keep it closed for 10 more minutes.

Your south Indian stylecrab curry  is ready with a fresh aroma of exotic Indian spices mixed with a mouth-watering whiff of crab meat. This crab masala gravy goes well with steamed rice.

South Indian Crab Masala Recipe

Note:
Clean live crabs and use them instantly within half an hour of cleaning.
Crab meat is tender and gets easily cooked. We need to keep it in the vessel for 30 minutes to 40 minutes, turning the gravy occasionally for the taste of all spices to seep into the crab.

Fresh crab recipes – Malvani crab masala

Ingredients

8 – 9 freshly cleaned medium to large size crabs
Onions – 2 (chopped)
Ginger –  1” piece
Garlic – 5- 6 pods
Kokum – 4 – 5 pieces soaked in water
Malvani Masala Powder – 1 ½ teaspoons (you can buy this online at www.bigbasket.com or any online store or at your local supermarket)
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Cooking oil – Sunflower oil (as required)
Red Chilly powder – 3 – 4 teaspoon(depends on how hot you want it to be)
Cilantro or Dhania(chopped) – 4 cups
White poppy seeds – 1 teaspoon

How to prepare?

As mentioned earlier, sauté all the ingredients in cooking oil, without the (crabs,kokum and cilantro) in a thick bottomed vessel. Grind to a fine paste. Put in the crabs and kokum. Let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes. Once done, garnish with chopped cilantro. Malvani crab masala goes well with steamed rice or bhakris(rice flour or jowar flour breads)

Pan Fried Fish – Sardines In A Banana Leaf – Kerala Style

fish fry in banana leaf

Pan Fried Fish in a banana leaf  – A  spicy treat that tantalizes your taste buds! Fish fry in banana leaves – Kerala Style – is a healthy recipe!  This post also covers the technique of  using a banana leaf for frying fish on a low flame. Cooking on a low flame makes sure the fish is cooked well, with all flavors seeping into the fish. Let us check out how to make this.

fish fry in banana leaf - recipe

Fish Fry – Sardines In A Banana Leaf

How To Prepare Pan Fried Fish In A Banana Leaf

Ingredients

Sardines – 15 – cleaned and washed. You may use mackarel or any other fish.
Garlic – 10-15 pods
Curry Leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Onion – 1 medium sized
Pepper powder – ½ tsp
Chilly Powder – ½ tsp
Juice of a lemon
Salt to taste
Cooking Oil – 1 and 1/2 tsp

Fish Fry Masala Or Spice Mix

For the masala or spice mix, grind these ingredients to a smooth paste. Marinate the fish with this spice mix for 30 minutes.

Method – Pan Fried Fish In A Banana Leaf

Cut a banana leaf to the size of your frying pan. Apply ½ cooking oil on the frying pan. Place the banana leaf on the pan. Apply 1 tsp cooking oil on the banana leaf. Place 2-3 fish over this leaf. Cover the frying pan for 3 minutes till the fish gets cooked. During this time, the banana leaf may release some water, but do not bother. Now remove the lid of the pan and cook the fish on a low flame, without covering the pan. After 5 minutes, turn the pieces of fish over. Continue frying the fish without covering the frying pan. Your pan fried fish or Kerala fish fry in banana leaves will be ready to eat in 15 minutes.

Health Factor 
Did you notice? We just used one and a half tsp cooking oil for this Kerala fish fry recipe. This recipe tastes just as good as a normal fish fry recipe, without using too much of oil. Also, the smell that emanates when frying fish is minimal if you use banana leaves for the purpose.

In India, plantains are in plenty. You also get fresh banana leaves at the local grocers’ if you place an order for it, a day before. You can substitute banana leaves with any other locally available leaves which are big enough to hold at least 2 pieces of fish.

Roasted Potatoes – The Fiery Spicy Indian Way

Roasted Potatoes - The Indian Way!

Roasted Potatoes - The Indian Way! To start with,recipes for  Roasted Potatoes are quite common. The reason why this recipe is so different is that its ingredients are special – as in – not used often in daily cooking. This roast potato recipe is an excellent culinary handover from my mom-in-law especially when it comes to taste. It immediately finds fans among even those who hate potatoes.

Cut to the point and here is the entire recipe – ingredients and all.

 

Roasted Potatoes – The Indian Way

Ingredients

For making spicy roasted potatoes you need

Potatoes – 3 medium sized ones
Chilly powder, Pepper powder – (quantity depends on how spicy you want your roasted potatoes to be)

Fennel Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 5 pods
Onion – 1/2 a medium sized onion – chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – a few sprigs
Cooking oil – 1 tblsp (I prefer refined sunflower oil or rice bran oil)
Salt – as required

 How to make roasted potatoes

Steam the potatoes in a pressure pan or boil them. Peel them, cut them into cubes and keep aside. Roast the fennel seeds on low heat for a few seconds. Crush the roasted seeds with a mortar pestle or a rolling pin to get a coarse texture. Heat cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan. Saute mustard seeds, curry leaves, crushed garlic and chopped onion in the oil till the onion turns pink and soft. Add the chopped potatoes and roast them over medium heat. Add salt, chilly powder, pepper powder, coriander powder,fennel seed powder and salt to the potatoes and mix well. Do not end up mashing the potato cubes. Keep roasting them till they are well done and nice and brown.

Serve hot with chapatis or pita bread. This roasted potato recipe goes down well with steamed rice and dal. These can be a yummy addition to sandwiches for kids,  with cheese slices in them. Kids love roasted potatoes in sandwiches. You just have to keep the spice factor a little low.

Cooking Tips To Overcome Culinary Malfunctions

cooking disasters - Tips to overcome

cooking tips - cooking disasters Image credits – Dollen

Going bonkers for some neat cooking tips that cover up culinary malfunctions? For those who came in late, this is a term I use to cover goof ups while cooking. How often have you ended up putting in too much of salt, sugar or condiments in food just before guests arrive? Not to mention scorched food burned to the core while talking over the phone. So here are a few cooking tips to cover cooking disasters – Oops! Did I just say cooking disasters? I  actually meant culinary malfunctions – sounds sophisticated enough? Phew!

Cooking Tips To Overcome Culinary Malfunctions

Too Much Of Salt

Blame it on everything else but me – I just added too much of salt to the soup. Now what? With my hard to please mother-in-law coming home in ten minutes, what do I do? Well, here are some great cooking tips – Make a salt free dough ball of flour,  preferably corn flour or wheat flour and put it in the soup. Or better still, add a few slices of raw potatoes to salty soups and gravies. This will eventually absorb all the salt. For sauteed veggies that turn out too salty, sprinkle corn flour or chick pea flour (besan) to reduce saltiness.

Watery Batter For Pancakes And Dosas

Too much water in batter meant for pancakes or dosas can absolutely ruin them. All you need to do is add semolina or sooji or powdered oats to the batter, wait for a few minutes and then make pancakes and dosas. Rava or sooji and powdered oats will absorb excess water. Another one of my mom’s clever cooking tips 😉

Overcooked Rice Or Pasta

Overcooked rice or pasta that is all stuck together isn’t as bad as you think. Just transform it into something different. Stir fry veggies and eggs(optional) or cornflour(for vegetarians) in a tablespoon of cooking oil, added to a non stick frying pan. Add a few spices or soy sauce and black pepper powder. Add the rice or pasta and keep frying till it separates a bit, covered in egg. You can’t expect to see separate rice grains, but yes, this version is much better than the earlier gooey mess that it was.

Cooking Tips To Avoid Culinary Malfunctions

There are quite a few useful cooking tips to avoid culinary malfunctions as well.

Make Curd Without Curd

Now curd is an integral part of Indian cooking, used in curries, gravies and meat preparations. So what do you do when you need some curd to ferment left over milk and you remember this late in the night, when it is inconvenient to go to a grocery store nearby? Take a whole green chilly, not sliced; and put it in a cup containing lukewarm milk. Or add a few drops of lemon juice. Leave this overnight. The next day, you have curd. Magical cooking tips? Naah…Just nature and science at work!

Appams That Never Turn Out Well

‘Appams with stew’ is a highly relished breakfast delicacy loved by Keralites (Kerala – South India) all over the world. Making an appam is an art, which many do not get right, the first time. For newly wed brides and those who wish to make the perfect Appams, this is a smart cooking tip I learned from my mom-in-law. When you grind the soaked rice meant for appams, add some cooked rice, grated coconut and the most important special ingredient – A yellow banana – (Elaichi Kela), followed by sugar to taste. The banana and sugar make the batter ferment and you get fluffy, soft appams with holes in them. With this tip, you can simply stop using yeast or soda bi carb to the Appam batter.

Chinese chicken recipe with green chillies,soya sauce

chinese chicken

chinese chicken recipe with green chillies and soya sauce

 Chinese chicken recipe

A tasty side dish that doubles up as a starter or a quick snack for kids. Always keep a few boneless pieces of chicken aside whenever you prepare chicken curry. This Chinese chicken recipe is a quick fix one that makes you go slurrrrrp!

Here is how you make it

Boneless chicken – 1/4 kg
Corn flour – 3 tablespoons
Ginger – finely chopped – 2 teaspoons
Finely chopped garlic cloves – 2 teaspoons
Finely chopped green chillies – 1 tsp
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Finely shredded cabbage – half a cabbage
Soya Sauce – 1 tsp
Oil for cooking – 4 tablespoons (I used sunflower oil)
Salt to taste

Method of preparation

Clean the pieces of chicken  with salt, turmeric, wash and keep aside. Prepare a paste of corn flour, a little quantity each of chopped green chillies and garlic, salt and ground black pepper and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, stir fry the shredded cabbage in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Keep this aside.

After 10 minutes, heat some oil in a non stick frying pan or a wok. Add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute till the flavors are released into the oil and a beautiful aroma of fried ginger emanates. Add the chicken pieces. Close the pan with a lid for 5 minutes. Then turn the pieces of chicken  over. Add soya sauce, turn the pieces again and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Keep the frying pan closed with a lid. Once the chicken starts cooking, it releases some water. But in this case, the corn flour may have already absorbed all the water at the time of marination.  Just to be sure that the chicken has a somewhat fried texture sans any gravy, after 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook the chicken  till there is no trace of any gravy.

Once it is done, transfer the fried Chinese chicken  – to a bowl. Garnish it with crunchy, stir fried cabbage.

Kids would love a quick snack of Chinese chicken to ward off hunger pangs.

The 5 day tiffin challenge – Lunch box ideas and School lunches

Lunch box ideas | School lunches

Racking your brains for new lunch box ideas and recipes for kids school lunches? All you frustrated moms out there, who keep wondering on what to pack for kids lunch boxes, this article is exclusively for you! Come and take this 5 day tiffin challenge with me. I am a mom with just two hands(wish I had a dozen!) who keeps thinking how to make school lunches more yummy and at the same time healthy, for my 6yr old son.  Somehow he feels healthy food is not tasty! And this time I have decided to prove him wrong with these nutritious lunch box ideas and recipes for kids school lunches.

Note: Click on the images or on the links below them for the detailed recipes of the food featured here.

DAY 1

Well on the first day, I’m a bit nervous. But this is a “sure to be eaten stuff” kind of lunch box idea. So I begin the first day of my challenge with yummy veg cutlets. Made of bread, boiled potatoes and fresh vegetables, this is a great choice for quick fix school lunches, especially if you have left over vegetable side dishes from the day before. Just make sure you warm refrigerated left overs properly before using them for veg cutlets.

Veg cutlet recipe for kids Veg cutlets for kids

DAY 2

For day 2, I decided to stick to traditional Indian flat bread- Methi Paratha, made of Wheat flour, fenugreek leaves and spices. Methi Paratha with Boondi Raita is nutritious and filling for kids. Clean and chop the fenugreek leaves the day before and refrigerate. Methi i.e. fenugreek has many health benefits. You may substitute fenugreek leaves with spinach or coriander leaves.

Methi paratha for kids Methi paratha for kids


DAY 3

Day 3 of my tiffin challenge – I decide to stick to some tangy lemon rice for my kids school lunch . Lemon rice is a treat for your taste buds when teamed with a spicy side dish made of chick peas and some curd.

tangy south indian lemon rice recipe Lemon rice for kids

 DAY 4

Day 4 arrives. I have not given up as yet. This time it is going to be veg patties with Quaker Oats and  fresh vegetables for my kids school lunch, very nutritious. Oats is rich in fiber and relieves constipation. It is great for kids who hate having oats in any other form especially with sweetened milk.

Oats and vegetable patty recipe Veg patties for kids

 DAY 5

Keeping Day 5 simple, I decide to make some healthy Rava Upma made of wheat semolina. I put in carrots, cashews, green peas, some beans and pack some sliced bananas and sugar separately for my kid’s lunch box.

rawa upma with vegetables and cashews Rawa Upma – Semolina Upma for kids

The verdict
1. Veg cutlets – 5 stars
2. Methi Paratha with Boondi Raita – 5 stars
3. Lemon Rice – 3 stars – My kid ate the lemon rice all right, but did not touch the chick pea side dish. I guess it was too spicy for him.
4. Veg patties – 5 stars
5. Upma – 5 stars.  My son loved eating this with sliced bananas and sugar.

Lessons learned

Put yourself in your kids shoes to understand what they would like to have for school lunches. The side dishes and accompaniments matter. They may make your child eat the food or leave it untouched. Variety is the main spice of lunch box ideas for kids.

So are you ready to take the 5 day tiffin challenge?

You can read this helpful post on Handling picky eating habits in kids.

Quaker Oats Recipe – Oatmeal and veggies

oats patty with Quaker oats

vegetable patty recipe

 Oatmeal and vegetable patty recipe

Healthy Oatmeal Recipe

Oatmeal and vegetable patties are super healthy snacks for fussy kids! My little one refuses to have oats in any other form esp. when cooked with sweetened milk. Vegetable patties with boiled veggies and oats is power packed with nutrients, fiber and energy, enough to get your little ones up and dancing on their little feet.

Ingredients
Oats – 5 tablespoons
Boiled potatoes – 2
Boiled and mashed veggies (carrots, green peas, french beans) – 1 cup
Coriander-Cumin(dhania zeera) roasted and powdered – 1/4 teaspoon
Carom seeds(ajwain) – 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilly powder – as required or optional
Salt – as required
Onion finally chopped – 1 teaspoon
Fennel seed powder – 1/4 teaspoon

How to prepare
Powder oats in a mixer to a rough consistency. Mix together mashed vegetables, boiled potatoes, onion and all spices/condiments together. Make small oblong flattened balls and shallow fry on a non-stick frying pan with very less oil. Use just enough oil to grease the pan, that is all. You can even use a microwave. Keep it on a HIGH for 50 secs or so, till the vegetable patties are cooked thoroughly.

Serve hot with tomato sauce or cheese dips!

High fiber foods like Oats eases  constipation in children. Made these today morning for kiddo’s first snack break at school. Make sure you let these oats vegetable patties cool off .Wrap them in foil,when  packing for kids lunch boxes. And don’t worry, its not time consuming. You can even boil the veggies the night before and refrigerate.

Pudina chutney recipe

pudina chutney recipe

pudina chutney

This sweet and sour pudina chutney reminds me of fun school days when mom kept yummy vegetable sandwiches ready when I returned from school.  She would put this delicious spread on all bread slices with tomato ketchup and good old ‘aloo ki sabzi’ – potato side dish, capsicum and thin slices of onion. Sometimes, I preferred plain cheese spread to tomato ketchup. Pudina chutney is also super tasty when served as mint dips for starters, both vegetarian and non vegetarian.

Well, the other day, I called her up and got the recipe. Decided to recreate the pudina chutney sandwich magic for my 6 year old son.

So here is how you make it!

You will need:

Fresh mint leaves (Pudina) – 2 cups
Fresh Cilantro / coriander leaves / Dhaniya – 1/2 cup
Raw mango pieces – 1/2 cup
Coconut grated – 1 cup
Green chillies – 1
Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

How to prepare
Grind all these ingredients to form a smooth paste like consistency. Spread this on brown bread sandwiches or use this as tangy mint dips for starters. This sweet, sour and spicy pudina chutney with a mouth watering aroma of cilantro and mint will remind you of good old days and everything mom-made 😉

And don’t forget to check out my crispy prawn starter recipe !

 

Bread Recipes – Bread Roll / Bread Pakoda

 Bread roll recipe or Bread Pakoda is a tea time snack loved by all. Ideal for serving with cups of steaming hot tea. You can even make this from leftover bread.

bread roll/bread pakoda

Bread Rolls with Cheese dips and Heinz tomato ketchup

You will need:

Bread slices – 10
Boiled Potato – 1
Garlic – 4 pods
Red chilly powder
Salt
Chopped Cilantro  ( Dhania )
Curry leaves ( optional )
Chickpea flour ( besan ) – 3 small cups
Turmeric powder

How to prepare bread rolls

bread roll/bread pakoda
Make a batter of gram flour and keep aside. Pound the garlic pods, slightly. Mix together the bread slices, boiled potato, crushed garlic, chilly powder, turmeric powder, chopped cilantro and salt to form a dough. Make rolls from this dough.

Heat some oil in a frying pan. Dip each roll in the batter and deep fry in oil till golden brown. Serve hot with yummy cheese dips and Heinz tomato ketchup or Maggi tamarind sauce.

  

Vegetable Cutlets

veg cutlets for kids

A tasty and quick tiffin idea for kids – yummy vegetable cutlets. These can be made in minutes from fresh ingredients as well as left-overs, mainly left-over bread slices and left-over aloo ki sabji (spicy potato side dish).

vegetable cutlet recipe Vegetable Cutlets

You will need:

Bread slices – 6
Roasted cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder – 2/8 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp
Boiled vegetables(potato, green peas,carrots and french beans)
or
Left over vegetable side dish(potato,green peas,french beans or brinjals)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Salt to taste
Semolina(Rawa) – 3 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Cooking oil for shallow frying
Salt

 

How to prepare Vegetable Cutlets

Mash the bread slices with the boiled vegetables or the left over side dish. Make sure that you go easy on the spices in case you are using a left over side dish. Add coriander powder, chilly powder, cumin powder, lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste. Mix well. Make flattened balls of the mixture. Coat them evenly with semolina and shallow fry in a non-stick fry pan. Semolina makes crispy cutlets. You can substitute semolina with dry bread crumbs.

Serve crispy veg cutlets with tomato sauce or mint chutney. You can even pack this for kids lunchboxes. Veg cutlets are equally enjoyed as a tea time snack and are easy to make especially when unexpected guests turn up.

Fried prawns recipe

Crispy prawns fritters are lip smacking accompaniments to elaborate lunches and dinners. No lengthy procedures, this prawns recipe is a quick fix guide to making the perfect, crunchy prawn fritters.

prawn starters                                                      Crispy Prawn Fritters

You will need:

Medium sized prawns(cleaned and de-veined) –  1/4 kg
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder – 2 tsp
Black pepper powder(optional) – 1/4 tsp
Fennel seed powder – 2 tsp
Garlic – 25 pods
Lemon – 1/2
Semolina(rawa) – 5 tsp
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp

Method of preparation

Make a fine paste of garlic pods and fennel seed powder. Add red chilly powder, salt, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, juice of half a lemon to this paste. Marinate cleaned and de-veined prawns with this paste for 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan. Roll each prawn in semolina and deep fry till crisp and light brown.
Place the fried prawns on absorbent paper to get rid of excess oil.

Crispy prawn fritters are ready to eat!

Chicken curry recipe – Easy chicken curry

Interested in cooking up some spicy and easy Indian chicken curry? But then you don’t want to go into that elaborate cooking method and procure a really long list of spices. Besides,  you  just have 30 minutes in hand to whip up a spicy chicken side dish with some gravy. Never mind, this simple and instant chicken curry recipe is sure to get you going!

Instant chicken curry recipe Easy Indian Chicken Curry

You will need

Chicken legs – 6 or  Boneless chicken – 1/2 kg
Garlic – 25 pods
Fennel seeds – dry roasted and ground to a fine powder – 1 tsp
Onion – 2 (chopped)
Tomatoes – 2
Coriander leaves – 2 medium cups
Mint leaves – 1/2 small cup
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Curd – 1 cup
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp

Easy Chicken Curry

Clean the chicken legs/boneless chicken pieces and keep aside. Make a paste of garlic pods, fennel powder, yoghurt, mint leaves, red chilly powder and salt. Marinate the chicken with this paste for 5 minutes. Grind chopped onions and tomatoes to a fine paste.

Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a fry pan. Add the onion-tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces. Turn them over so that they are evenly covered with the onion tomato gravy. Cover the pan and cook over low flame for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken pieces, add some 1 tbsp oil and cook for 10 minutes on low flame without covering the pan.

Do not add water as the chicken pieces release water when cooked. Continue cooking till the gravy reaches a thick consistency. Garnish with lots of chopped coriander leaves/ cilantro.

Slurp up this easy chicken curry with steamed rice or Indian breads.

Methi Roti

Methi roti is a healthy and nutritious Indian bread made of whole wheat flour, Methi(fenugreek) leaves and other spices. It can be had for lunch, dinner or can be packed for kids’ lunches.

Methi roti  - Indian Flatbread Recipe
Methi roti with boondi raita

You will need:
Whole wheat flour – 4 cups
Methi(fenugreek) leaves – 1/2  a bundle
Cumin powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Curd(optional) – 1 tbsp
Carom seeds (ajwain) – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chillies – 2
Garlic – 4 pods
Onion – 1/2 (chopped)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp

Method of preparation
Clean the fenugreek leaves, wash and rinse well. Coarsely chop fenugreek leaves and keep aside. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onions and saute till pink. Add chopped fenugreek/methi leaves and cover for 2 mins. Turn off the flame.

Make a coarse paste of green chillies and garlic. Take the wheat flour in a mixing bowl, add cumin powder, coriander powder, carom seeds, chilly-garlic paste, curd, steamed methi leaves and salt. Mix well and knead into a  dough. Prepare the dough with warm water and add 1tbsp of oil while kneading the dough. This makes soft methi rotis that melt in your mouth!

Next, make small balls of the dough and roll rotis out with a rolling pin. Fry the rotis using a roti maker or a tava. Apply butter on both sides and serve with raita!

When packing methi rotis for kids’ lunches, wrapping them in aluminium foil for food packaging will keep them fresh for many hours.

The best part is you can prepare the dough for 2 days and refrigerate. That way you can save preparation time. Just remember to take the dough out of the refrigerator and keep it aside for an hour before rolling out the paratha / roti .

Fenugreek leaves are an excellent source of  iron, protein, calcium and phosphorus and this is easily assimilated by our body. Cumin and carom seeds aid digestion and eliminate flatulence. Garlic has several medicinal properties as well. All in all  methi paratha / methi roti  is a very healthy recipe for the entire family!