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The Ragi flour is an understated ingredient in the current food market. Rich in Calcium and Iron it is one of the few less talked about diet friendly grain in the Indian Pantry. Almost every toddler that was born in the 80s and earlier has had a taste of this almost funny tasting flour in many forms - porridge, tortillas, puddings, soups to name a few.

When my Mother was diagnosed with high BP she started going on the meds that the doctor prescribed. One of the medication did not agree with her and her health took a turn for the worse. After a little research and help from friends we changed the doctor and the medication but no medication can help you if you don’t make changes to your diet!

My Mother then went back to basics - changed the ingredients used in daily meals, switched to healthier options and ate multiple small meals. One such ingredient that she added to her diet was the Ragi flour. Such a versatile ingredient this is that we encourage one and all to take to it. Inspired by my Mom, I decided to get some and turn it to my breakfast. It can be made in less than 2 minutes and can be flavoured anyway you like - sweet or savoury.

Watch the video to follow the easy steps…

Rubios and Baja Fresh are two restaurants that ‘the boy’ and ‘the girl’ often eat at during weekends. At Baja Fresh they love the mango salsa and at Rubios the Chipotle sauce is what makes them keep going back. One day ‘the boy’ says to the girl ‘how do these guys make this sauce?’ and ‘the girl’ takes it up as a challenge!

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About 4 months back I got a lovely present from Tracy. I opened it up and found this beautifully aromatic almond paste by Mandelin. Did you know that California is known for its Almonds? Also almonds are not as fattening as Cashews and so I can get away with using it in anything I please. 

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As a south Indian I grew up eating these for snacks - Achappams - crispy, light, slightly sweet and fun! It wasn’t until recently that I found out that they were called Rosettes out here. 

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I never realized how much I would grow to love these weird tomato-ish looking fruit in such a short time. Mostly it was used for juicing with the juicing buddies and the fruit came straight from their family gardens. Recently a neighbor dropped by and game me some because, she said, her brother in law gave her so many, she didn’t know what to do with them all. I decided I’d make Persimmon Jam and then use that in a puff pastry! How ingenious is that! 

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Also I have been waiting a week for these beauties to ripen a bit more. Would it be weird if I offered some of the jam to the kind lady that gave me the fruit in the first place?

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I have been trying out puff pastry bite size dessert ideas for sometime now. Apricot preserve, Pumpkin butter, pineapple jam, strawberry preserve, orange marmalade, chocolate sauce, cheese, spinach - you name it. In India I used to love the egg puff although not as much the mess it made while eating though. And i think that is one of my main reasons to make them bite size - no mess. These can be devoured by the dozen, can be made healthy(using whole wheat puff pastry) and are fast and easy to make as well.

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I obviously had to pinterest all the little bite size treats i could. And I almost got lost deciding what I wanted to make. Finally i decided on giving these a try with what I had on hand before I went and splurged on fillings.

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Pretty simple, right? These are as simple and straightforward as they look. The prep time is about 15 minutes and the cook time - about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold, they are definitely a treat to the eye and the tastebuds.

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Preheat oven to 375 F. Get puff pastry at the grocery store and thaw for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired shape and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you like to add egg wash to the top of the puff pastry, thats a good touch as well.

Once done, use a fork or your hand to make a small depression in the middle and add any pre-made topping you like!

One of the simplest and healthiest dishes I’ve made. This vegetable literally takes care of itself. Olan is about simple ingredients, involves a simple cooking process and has a very rich flavor…

Cut up the winter melon, green chillies, ginger. Add curry leaves, salt, 1 tsp coconut milk and water and cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes or till it comes to a boil.

You’ll know its done when the melon pieces turn translucent. If you like taste it  now and add salt if needed.

Turn off heat and stir in another tablespoon of coconut milk. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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For some odd reason I don’t like any fruit or vegetable that is deemed healthy. Turns out my ‘homies’ - Mom and (R)oomie are the complete opposite. A visit to a steak house where the chef kindly served up a huge vegetarian platter to (R)oomie who was the only vegetarian in the group, turned him into an instant Brussels sprouts lover.

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The next few days were spent listening to (R)oomie praise the chef and his brussels sprouts - how perfectly tender they were and how well the flavor was captured with simple ingredients. Gritting my teeth, I got out and bought some from Wholefoods, cleaned em up, blanched them for a full 6 minutes.

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Let cold water run over it and drained it. Heated 1/2 a Tbsp of butter and roasted the blanched brussels sprouts with salt and pepper for another 10 minutes.

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I love how blanching retains the lovely color of the veggies!

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Roasted to our perfection. I even tasted some of it! At least my phobia of cooking these troublesome veggies has been conquered. 

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I love kitchen gadgets… When I get them as a gift I adore them so much more… Recently Mark came home and surprised us with a bag of goodies. I couldn’t wait to open it up and was so pleasantly surprised to see that it had to do with my favourite place - the kitchen!!!

The ball whisk was one of the gadgets and I am completely in love with it. I’ve used it so many many times in the past two weeks that I am sure if the whisk could speak it would ask for some time off…

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I’ve mostly used it to make omelettes and crepes(oats dosa that is)…

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I kept taking the whisk around trying to get the perfect shot… I dont believe I’ve done it justice though.

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Sometimes you just gotta keep trying… Have I mentioned previously how much I love eggs? This wasn’t always the case. A long long time ago when I was all but 10, I cracked open an egg and suddenly had no appetite foe it for a good 5 years… I slowly brought it back into my diet although I still have nightmares about cracking open an egg and not liking what I see inside.

That little story aside - I enjoy eggs hardboiled, as a french toast and also in a tomato based curry but mostly I just enjoy it the plain old way - in an indian omelette.

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Ingredients:

3 eggs at room temperature 

Tomato - 1/4 Cup

Onion - 1/4 Cup

Curry leaves - a few leaves finely cut

Turmeric power - 1 generous pinch

Paprika powder - 1/4 Tsp (or according to taste. Feel free to substitute with pepper)

Salt to taste

Whisk  up the eggs and add the above ingredients and miss well. Heat a pan/skillet and spray some canola oil and pour out half the mixture spreading the veggies evenly on the surface. Cook on medium high for about 2 min and then toss to cook the other side. 

Serve hot with crusty toast for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This makes about two 6 inch omelettes. 

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Finger licking food…

How this post came about:

     About 3-4 dys ago I saw Sala’s facebook update about her interview with mrsmakicooks and to be very honest I was curious to hear her voice. So I listened and enjoyed it. Towards the end she surprised me with a simple yet delicious sounding recipe with tofu. You can find the original detailed recipe with gorgeous pictures here

I tweaked the recipe because I didnt have all the ingredients in my pantry.

Get some extra firm tofu and drain it and press it to get as much water out of it as possible.

Slice it up into thin triangles.

Heat your favourite cast iron skillet and roast the tofu evenly on both sides. I roasted 5-6 pieces at a time. You are welcome at add some oil if you like. I skipped it.

Keep aside as you get ready to prepare the glaze.

Mix together 2 Tbsps of Soy sauce(low sodium), 1 generous Tbsp of Red pepper jelly, 1 tsp of chili garlic sauce and 1 tsp of honey or brown sugar. Keep aside.

Turn the heat back on and add the tofu and the glaze and let simmer for about 5 min. Take the tofu out into a serving dish and turn off the heat. Let the excess glaze remain in the skillet.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm.

To make it a complete meal boil some water and add soba noodles and let soak for about 8 minutes. Drain and add to the remaining glaze in the skillet. Toss around so the noodles soak in the glaze. 

Enjoy! Off this goes to Presto Pasta Nights after a really long time! Heather of Girlichef is hosting PPN #270.

P.S: I totally enjoyed instagraming at night :)

(R)oomie and I have been having ice-cream cravings on and off. The Magnum ice-cream ads don’t help either. I called up Amma and asked her for her ice-cream recipes and it’s been like 15 years since she made some at home and so she had to get her recipe book out. She has made tons of egg-less ice-cream for me especially when we were living in Kuwait and she had all the time to experiment with food - elaichi, pistachios, mango, plain vanilla, chocolate, you name it!

Btw just FYI I love Chocolate ice-cream with chocolate chips(belgium chocolate helps) and drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Her recipes are like her - simple and straightforward, plus point is that the ingredients are readily/easily available. I did a bit of googling for the ice-cream recipes and it seemed way too complex for me and the ice-cream maker(i didn’t want to be ‘buying’ that) was a huge turn-off. Since she had to dig out her recipe book, I decided to work on it based on my taste-buds. I remember how she used to beat up the mixture in the blender and freeze it and beat it up again, freeze and repeat till the ice-cream was smooth and creamy.

My ice-cream recipe has just 3 ingredients

*)     Whipping cream - 1 Pint/473ml (Ultra pasteurized Grade A)

**)   Condensed milk - 1 Can/14 Oz/396gms (@room temperature)

***) Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 Tsp

****) White food colouring - completely optional, if you like the ice-cream to have a snow-white colour add a drop or two.

Using a hand mixer, I whipped the whipping cream on high for 5-6 minutes or till whipping consistency is reached in a large glass mixing bowl. Add the condensed milk and vanilla extract (and food colouring if using) and combine. scrap the sides with a rubber spatula and combine again. DO NOT over-beat after you add the condensed milk because the cream kinda breaks up and the creamy texture is lost(trust me I tried!). Cover the mixing bowl with a plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour.

Take out the semi-frozen mixture and beat again on medium high for 2 minutes. Make sure you scrap the sides because the sides freeze up first. Cover again with the plastic wrap and freeze for atleast 4 hours or over night.

Serve a scoop topped with some homemade cherry preserve or a topping of your choice.

As I was making the ice-cream on one side I kinda got temped to make some kulfi too. And since I was going the simple way I decided to try and use just 3 ingredients here too.

Kulfi:

Whole Milk - 2 Cups

Sugar - 2 Tbps

Cardamom - 2 whole

Boil the milk till it reduces to less than 1/2 its quantity. You can replace this with evaporated milk too which you can find in the baking section of your grocery store. The boiling takes time and patience and needs you right by its side. Once the milk has reduced, add the sugar and mix well. Add the cardamom and let it boil for some a few more minutes to absorb the flavour. Take off heat and let it cool completely. Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

To take out the kulfi from the mould, simply dip the mould in warm water for a few second and gently pull. You can experiment with almond extract or any other flavour of your choice.

I was inspired to make cherry preserve after I saw this post at the Cilantropist. I followed the recipe to the dot. Don’t you just wish you had that cherry pitter-it took me ages & ages to get the cherries ready. 

I’ve previously tried Plum Preserve, Nectarine preserve & Golden Raspberry preserve… and even some strawberry preserve!