Rachna, Author at Rachna cooks

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How to Incorporate Protein in a Vegetarian Diet?

How to Incorporate Protein in a Vegetarian Diet?

This is a question my vegetarian friends share constantly. It is obviously easier to incorporate protein in your diet if you eat meat and eggs. But, if you don’t, there are many ways that you can incorporate protein in every meal. Protein is needed for growth of children, to repair and form muscles, to maintain organs, for immunity and also for satiety at every meal. Ideally, each meal that you have must incorporate protein in some form. On an average, you need about 1 gm. of protein per Kg. of bodyweight. So an adult of 60 Kgs. will need 60 gms. of protein approximately daily. Growing children and children undergoing growth spurts will need much more. If you are an adult who works out regularly, you may need more protein in your diet. Now break that down to 3 meals in a day and accordingly incorporate about 20 gm. each meal (for a 60 kg. adult).

Our Indian diet may sometimes neglect protein as we pair chapatis with sabzi or have things like upma, rice dishes, dosa with chutney etc. Here are some ideas to incorporate protein in a vegetarian diet:

Dairy

protein vegetarian diet

Most vegetarians consume milk and its products. If you do drink milk, include curd in your diet, add paneer and cheese for a good protein add-on. I religiously add a bowl of curd to my meals.

Beans/Lentils

protein vegetarian diet

Indian cuisine is rich in the preparation of pulses. Black gram, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils are tasty as curries, in salads when boiled, as dips, as cutlets, made as dal and its preparations. Pulses like green gram, moth, lobia etc. are wonderful in curries and also in salads. You can up their nutrition by sprouting them. When you are in a rush, just pair your sabzi and roti with a bowl of cooked pulses that could be a quick stir fry or salad of pulses. Or pair with a bowl of curd. Or of course a hearty bowl of thick dal. When I pack the tiffin for my children, I ensure that they get dal, roti and sabzi or a protein curry and rice or a similar combination. I always pack sambhar with idlis and chutney. Don’t skip your dal.

Nuts and Seeds

protein vegetarian diet

Dry fruits, seeds and nuts are a wonderful source of protein. You can pack a handful of nuts in your child’s tiffin or have it as a snack mid morning or evening. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and good fats. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts along with seeds like sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds are excellent in salads or as sprinkling on your food or in your curries. I sometimes powder them and add them to my atta dough. Do remember that they are pretty high in fats so don’t binge eat them. They are also a great source of good cholesterol or HDL. The same stuff that gets better with exercise.

Soy

Soy milk, soya bean nuggets, edamame and tofu are excellent sources of protein for those who do not like milk or even otherwise. Add them to your diet.

Egg

Many vegetarians eat eggs. If you do, you have an excellent source of cheap protein that you can pair with almost anything to make a complete meal. We serve upma with egg, egg fried rice, sabzi roti with boiled egg to make it a wholesome meal.

Protein powder/Nutritional supplements

You can add protein powder to your child’s milk to up its protein quotient or add that to your smoothie. Add fruit and nuts along with milk and protein and you have a power smoothie for after workout or for an on-the-go liquid breakfast.  If your child is fussy, try a smoothie. Most kids love them. Spirulina is an algae that is very high in protein. You can incorporate that in your diet.Your muscles need protein within 30 – 45 minutes after the workout to repair themselves.

protein vegetarian diet

Whole grains and legumes are a good combination to get all amino acids needed. Hence whole grain rotis with a pulse curry is a good wholesome choice. Also pay attention to your vitamin deficit. Meats are a good source of Vitamin B12. If you don’t consume much dairy and greens, you may be low on calcium. Ensure that you take a good multivitamin or foods fortified with vitamins and minerals.

protein vegetarian diet

All it requires is a bit of planning, and having wholesome meals daily is achievable. You can have adequate protein in your diet even if you are a vegetarian. Just make a chart of all the protein foods that you can eat and how much protein they have and voila you can plan excellent well-balanced meals. There are many apps that you can use that can help you calculate the nutritional information of your foods.

Do share any ideas you have of adding protein to your vegetarian diet. 

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult a nutritionist/physician for specific requirements.

Did You Know About the Things Your Electric Blender Can Make?

Did You Know About the Things Your Electric Blender Can Make?

Imagine making more than just batter and smoothies from your electric blender. Most people underutilize their electric blender and only stick to the traditional forms of cooking. However, certain technologically advanced electric blenders can be utilized for cooking a plethora of food items, and are highly underrated when it comes to their use cases.

For instance, the KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender comes with a heating function, and 12 presets for your innovative cooking needs. Its high-speed operation lets you grind and blend any food item. However, our favorite feature is its heating function, which allows the user to make hot beverages such as tea, soup, and soy milk.

Here is a list of items that you did not know you could make from an electric blender!

Pancakes

Everybody loves pancakes! Imagine banana pancakes and the best of taste with the added health benefits. They are among the healthiest breakfast options and are known for being light-weight. The batter for pancakes can be easily made using an electric blender. Just put the ingredients such as oats, banana, cinnamon, eggs, almond milk in the electric blender and blend for a smooth batter. High-speed operation of the KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender ensures that every ingredient is smoothly combined.

Soups

Yes, you can make creamy soups from an electric blender! The variety of recipes you can cook may surprise you. Forget about cooking blending vegetables and cooking the batter in a separate pan. With KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender, you can blend and cook your soup in the same jar. It comes with a soup preset, and all you need to do is put in the vegetables, required water and press the ‘Soup’ button on the menu. Your delicious soup is ready in straight twenty minutes. Easy, right?

Ice Creams and Sorbets

We know your electric blender is incapable of making ice cream. However, Turbo Grinder and Blender by KENT can make an ice cream chef in under a minute. Put frozen fruit, cream and ice into the jar and press the ice cream button on the menu. With its large LCD, the user can check the current menu in operation along with the temperature.

 

Condiments

No need to buy condiments from the super store anymore! Homemade condiments such as mayonnaise or ketchup are far superior to the bottled counterparts. Making mayonnaise is easy, and all you need is four ingredients viz. Olive Oil, Eggs, Lemon Juice and Salt. Blend all the ingredients together except olive oil. Once smooth, let the oil drizzle in the mix. Similarly, condiments like tomato ketchup are easy to make with an electric blender.

Porridge

Porridge is another breakfast option for the health-conscious people. Cooking porridge with a KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender is easy. The dedicated preset menu on the appliance allows you to cook porridge within twenty minutes. Put whole grains, water, milk, sugar and select the porridge option from the menu.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is high in protein and has an adequate amount of potassium which is essential for the body. With the goodness of soybeans and milk, soy milk can be a healthy option for people who want milk full of flavors. Grind overnight soaked soybeans in the KENT Grinder and Blender. Once smooth add milk and select the Soy Milk option on the appliance to have your soy milk ready.

An electric blender can be used for preparing a host of items and is a perfect cooking appliance for the modern kitchen. Today, people are adopting kitchen appliances that simplify their lives and add a range of options they can cook. With KENT Turbo Grinder and Blender is among the most useful kitchen appliances, and is known for its state-of-the-art features.

Bharwan Karela Recipe | Stuffed Karela/Bitter Gourd Recipe | भरवाँ करेले

Bharwan Karela Recipe | Stuffed Karela/Bitter Gourd Recipe | भरवाँ करेले

Stuffed Karela or bharwan karela is a delicacy. Don’t screw your nose — bitter gourd if pre-treated correctly and cooked well is delicious. This is a recipe which requires time but rewards you generously in terms of flavour. This is my late mother’s recipe. As this was dad’s favourite, she would make it often and for some reason I’ve loved it since childhood. My kids are not so fond of the karela though they love to eat the stuffing. I am gently nudging them to try out the karela too. 🙂 After all, they enjoy bitter chocolate and coffee now.

So, whenever I can get the smaller, rounder variety, I make a large batch of stuffed karela. You can keep it in fridge for 3-4 days and keep frying them as per need.

bharwan karela stuffed karela

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

8-9 small bittergourd (karelas)

2 onions sliced

1 onion chopped

1 tbsp. ginger paste

1 tbsp. garlic paste

1 tbsp. cumin powder

2 tbsp. coriander powder

1 tbsp. aniseed (saunf) powder

1 tbsp. red chilly powder

1 tbsp. tamarind paste

salt to taste

1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds

Mustard oil to fry

Recipe:

Take the bittergourd and scrape lightly with a knife. Now make a vertical slit from top to the bottom and scoop out the flesh and seeds of the karela. Discard the seeds if hard. Keep the scrapings and scooped flesh. Generally to reduce the bitterness of karela, I apply some salt both inside and outside and keep aside for half an hour. You can apply salt to the scrapings as well and keep aside.

After half an hour, wash off the karelas off all the salt, dry and keep aside.

Prepare the stuffing

Take some mustard oil in a kadhai. Add sliced onions, ginger garlic paste, bitter gourd scrapings and flesh and fry till golden brown. Now blend into a thick paste when it cools down. Fry this paste in the kadhai along with the chopped onion and all the masala powders, salt and tamarind pulp. Let the stuffing be thick. Check taste and adjust seasoning. Let the stuffing cool down.

Prepare the karelas

Now take the split karelas and spoon the stuffing inside generously. To prevent the karelas from opening up while frying, I tie the normal sewing thread around them to keep them intact.

Now heat some more mustard oil. Add fenugreek seeds and allow them to sputter. Shallow fry the karelas on both sides on a low flame till they are well cooked and brown in colour. You can cover the kadhai when they are cooking.

Serve them hot with chapatis and dal. They are delicious.

Try them and let me know how you liked it.

Mirchi Bajji Andhra Style | Mirchi Bhajiya Recipe

Mirchi Bajji Andhra Style | Mirchi Bhajiya Recipe

Mirchi bajji is a delightful evening snack that goes so well with tea. I had it for the first time on the streets of Hyderabad and fell in love with it. My mil who does not eat street food shared this recipe with me which the entire family enjoys. With a tangy sesame seed filling, this is delicious and very filling. It is simple to make as well and goes beautifully with the current monsoon season.

Here is my recipe of mirchi bajji:

mirchi bajji

Ingredients:

8 light green chillies (not too spicy variety)

For the stuffing:

1/2 cup sesame seeds toasted

1 tsp. coriander powder

1 tsp. cumin powder

2 tbsp. tamarind paste

salt to taste

For the batter:

5 tbsp. besan or gram flour

2 tbsp. rice flour

1/2 tsp. carrom seeds

salt to taste

2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tbsp. oil

Oil for deep frying (I prefer mustard oil)

Recipe:

Wash, dry, slit the chillies and deseed them. Keep them aside.

Prepare the stuffing now. Blend together toasted sesame seeds along with the other ingredients and make a thick paste. Now stuff the chillies with this paste. This paste must not be runny but reasonably thick.

Prepare the batter by mixing all the dry ingredients, adding a little water and making a thick batter that is fluffy yet thick. We don’t wan the batter to be very runny. It should coat the mirchi bajjis nicely.

Now heat oil till it is hot. Coat your stuffed chillies in the besan batter. Fry them till golden brown on both sides. Serve them hot with sliced onions and a chutney on the side. They are really delicious. Try them and let me know.

Here is the video recipe to show you how to make mirchi bhajiyas Andhra style.

Tips:

  • Rice flour helps in making the mirchi bajjis crisp.
  • Beat the batter to aerate it and make it fluffy.
  • You can use toasted peanuts instead of sesame seeds for another variation
Step-by-step Recipe of Khatta Meetha Nimbu Ka Achaar I Sweet Sour Lemon Pickle I Lime Pickle

Step-by-step Recipe of Khatta Meetha Nimbu Ka Achaar I Sweet Sour Lemon Pickle I Lime Pickle

You’ve already read the recipe of my tangy Nimbu ka achaar. This is the second version I made with the lemons from my mother-in-law’s tree — a sweet sour pickle. Again, a pretty simple recipe. I love to have it with parathas or as a side for lunch or dinner

So let’s go for the recipe:

Ingredients:

Lemons/lime (500 gms.) I used yellow ripe lemons

2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. black salt

2 tbsp. red chilly powder (Kashmiri red chilly powder if you don’t want your pickle hot)

1 tbsp. turmeric powder

1 tbsp.  ajwain (carrom seeds)

About 10 green chillies (100 gm.) cut into large pieces

1 cup sugar (more if you like your pickle sweeter)

Recipe:

Wash and dry the lemons.

nimbu ka achaar

Cut them into halves, quarters or eight parts as I did. Remove the seeds. Then add chopped chillies

khatta meetha nimbu achaar

Now take a large pan. Add in the salts, chilly powder, carrom seeds and turmeric and mix well.

nimbu ka achaar

Mix well and now add sugar.

khatta meetha nimbu achaar

Mix again and add to a clean and dry pickle jar. Use glass or ceramic barnis (jars). Sterilize the jars with some hot water and dry in the sun if possible.

khatta meetha nimbu achaar

Now comes the maturing part. You will need to keep this glass jar out in the sun from morning to evening during sunlight hours. Shake it well everyday.

I needed about 10 days in the sun for the lemon pickle to mature and for the peel to soften. The pickle will reduce in quantity as water comes out of lemons, and it will also darken and become syrupy with time.

Mix well and it is ready to eat. Enjoy this tangy sweet treat.

Tips:

  • Always keep everything very clean and take the pickle out with dry spoon.
  • You can vary the quantity of sugar and chilly powder as per taste.
  • Some people add pepper powder and garam masala to make the pickle more spicy.
  • This pickle will last you for months about 4-6 months if stored in a cool, dry place. No need to refrigerate.

Let me know if you try this pickle. It really is an easy recipe. This khatta meetha nimbu ka achaar goes well with lunch, dinner or with parathas, rotis and pooris.

Gobhi Paratha Recipe | Cauliflower Stuffed Paratha

Gobhi Paratha Recipe | Cauliflower Stuffed Paratha

Gobhi paratha has been a favourite of mine since childhood. There is something about the generous filling that is well cooked in ghee with crispy paratha dough that is the stuff that dreams are made of. Served with chutney or mango pickle and a bowl of curd with black salt and you have a satisfying meal. Sometimes I have it for lunch too. And this works really well in your kids’ tiffin boxes too.

One can experiment with the filling and add other ingredients as well. This is how I make it:

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 parathas

1/2 cauliflower cleaned, washed, dried and grated with 2 green chillies and 1 inch piece ginger

1 tsp. garam masala powder

1 tsp. red chilly powder (optional according to taste)

1 tsp. cumin seeds

chopped coriander leaves

Salt to taste

Wholewheat atta dough

Oil/Ghee to fry the paratha

Recipe:

Prepare the stuffing/filling by adding the spices along with salt and coriander leaves to the grated cauliflower mix. Now roll out two small discs from the dough. Add the filling, seal and roll out the paratha. I prefer my parathas to have more stuffing and less dough hence I roll them out thinner.

Now cook them on a tava/non-stick tava. First slow roast on both sides. Then apply oil or ghee on both sides and cook till the paratha is done.

Do check out the video recipe of the same:

Your paratha is ready to serve. Have it with chutney and curd. it is pure food heaven.

gobhi paratha

You may also wish to try mooli paratha, cabbage cucumber paratha or methi thepla.

Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe

Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe

Plump large eggplants or brinjal have almost exclusively been used to make bharta at my place. This is one simple recipe that can transform this bland vegetable to a delightfully spicy and tasty dish. It is also a very simple dish to prepare. Here is the recipe of baingan ka bharta:

baingan bharta recipe

Ingredients

1/2 Kg large eggplants

1 onion finely chopped

2-3 tomatoes finely chopped

1.5 large tbsp. ginger garlic green chillies minced or crushed

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. chilly powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

2 tsp. mustard oil or any other oil that you have

salt to taste

coriander leaves to garnish

Recipe:

Roast the brinjal on fire till they are charred on the outside and well cooked on the inside. Let them cool and then peel off the burnt skin. Finely chop or mash the pulp and keep aside. Now take oil in a pan. Put in cumin seeds and allow them to sputter. Add onions and ginger-garlic-chilly chopped. Cook for a few minutes till onions are transparent and slightly golden. Now add the tomatoes and cook some more till they have released their water. Add in the brinjal pulp and all the masalas including salt. Mix well. Cover and cook till everything seems well integrated. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Your baingan ka bharta is ready. Serve hot. Have with hot rotis smeared with ghee. Absolute bliss! This is pure homecooked comfort food. Do try this recipe and let me know.

baingan bharta recipe

Tip

Roasted brinjal tastes better if roasted on coal fire.

Some people discard the stub but I enjoy having it.

 

Cabbage and Capsicum Multigrain Paratha

Cabbage and Capsicum Multigrain Paratha

I generally make these paratha doughs with multigrain atta, veggies and masala that can be then made in a jiffy and can be great to eat as breakfast or lunch with the addition of a protein like dal or curd. These are a regular in my kids’ lunch boxes as well. Even if your children do not like veggies, this is a great way to help them eat their veggies with happiness. I’ve already shared the methi thepla recipe earlier. And, of course stuffed parathas like mooli parathas, aloo parathas and gobhi parathas are an all-time favourite.

cabbage capsicum paratha

Here is this simple recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup wholewheat flour

1/2 cup jowar atta (sorghum flour)

1/2 cup bajri atta (pearl millet flour)

2 tbsp. besan (gram flour)

1/2 tsp. ajwain (carrom) seeds

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tbsp. red chilly powder (optional or less as per your taste)

1 tbsp. coriander powder

1 tbsp. cumin powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste

some finely chopped coriander leaves

2 tbsp. oil

Water for the dough

2 cups finely shredded cabbage and capsicum (1/2 cabbage and 1 capsicum)

Recipe:

Mix all the flours together. Add in all the masala powders, ajwain seeds, salt, ginger garlic paste, coriander leaves and shredded cabbage and capsicum. Don’t add water just now. Try to form a dough by mixing all of these. Add oil. Now add a little water to help form dough. Form a stiff dough. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Roll out a disc or paratha. Cook on both sides after smearing with ghee/oil. Your paratha is ready to serve. It is delicious just with pickle and curd. Or you could have it instead of roti with your meal. Try and let me know.

Tip:

  • This is a versatile recipe. You can add other veggies like shredded carrot, spinach etc. to this recipe.
  • You can try out different flours as well.
  • Add some shredded paneer/cottage cheese to make this even more nutritious.
Homemade Mango Jam with Chilli Flakes and Cinnamon

Homemade Mango Jam with Chilli Flakes and Cinnamon

Last week, I got a batch of ripe mangoes that were in the danger of going overripe, hence I decided to make mango jam at home. My jam has no preservatives and can stay in the fridge for upto a week. It is a very simple recipe to make, and the taste is quite fresh and different from the store-bought stuff. Here is the recipe:

Makes 500 gm. jam

Ingredients:

4 large ripe mangoes (flesh cut in cubes)

3 large tbsp. honey (You can use sugar)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tbsp. chilli flakes (optional)

1 tsp. lemon juice

mango jam

Recipe:

Take the ripe mango cubes in a thick bottomed pan. Start cooking these on a low flame. You will find the mango cubes dissolving as it leaves a lot of water. Keep on stirring and cooking it gently for about 10 minutes. Add in the honey and cook for another 20 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and become glossier.

Add in the chilli flakes and mix well.  Add lemon juice and mix. You will see the jam get thicker. To test whether it is done, take a drop on to a ceramic plate. It should stick to the plate and not roll off. Your jam is done. Let it cool a bit before filling it in a sterilized glass bottle. You can discard the cinnamon while bottling.

Your delicious mango jam with a kick of chilli is ready to eat. Have it with toasted bread.

Tips:

  1. Refrigerate the jam as soon as it comes to room temperature. Always use a clean, dry spoon to take out jam from the bottle.
  2. This jam lasts for about a week in the fridge.
  3. Vary the quantity of honey or sugar used depending upon the sweetness of mangoes and how sweet you like your jam. Remember sugar helps to preserve the jam.
Moringa Leaves Stir fry | Drumstick Leaves Stir fry Recipe

Moringa Leaves Stir fry | Drumstick Leaves Stir fry Recipe

Drumstick leaves are a treasure trove of nutrients ranging from B and C vitamins to iron and manganese, calcium and proteins.  It is known to reduce blood pressure and regulate blood sugar levels. Of late, they have joined the bandwagon of superfoods. I do sincerely hope that it does mean that this indigenous green becomes exorbitantly expensive. My mother-in-law has a drumstick tree at her place, and she has been consuming the leaves for decades now along with the drumsticks. Cooked simply, you can have it as a side dish or even put it in your dal/lentils or dosa batter. It has a slightly pungent taste, and it took me a bit getting used to. You can also wash and dry the leaves to increase their shelf life. Just like in the picture below. Then you can consume a tbsp. of powder twice daily to enjoy its health benefits. You can also use it in curries, soups or in your roti dough.

moringa

Here is a simple South Indian stir fry. I have to warn you that these greens take quite a lot of time to clean. Aside from that they are a breeze to cook with:

moringa stir fry

Ingredients:

2 cups cleaned and washed tender drumstick/moringa leaves

1 tbsp. oil

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. udad dal (split black lentils)

2-3 dry red chillies

1 onion finely chopped

salt to taste

1/2 tsp. amchur powder (optional)

2 tbsp. grated coconut

Recipe:

Heat oil in a pan. Tip in mustard seeds, udad dal and dry red chillies. Wait for mustard seeds to pop. Now add the chopped onion and cook till it is slightly browned. Add in moringa leaves and salt and cook covered for a few minutes till the moisture has evaporated. Add amchur powder (if using). Cook for a minute more. Now add grated coconut, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Serve hot with rotis and dal. It is a nice healthy green to include in your diet.

moringa stir fry

Do you cook with moringa?

 

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