I’ve eaten chicken teriyaki many times in restaurants and finally I decided to make it at home. Made with a few ingredients, this is a surprisingly tasty dish to conjure. It is also versatile, and I did innovate a bit with the ingredients. The best part about making this is that you just need to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes, and hence it is a tasty dish that you can make in a rush.
Here is my recipe:
2 chicken breast fillets (further cut into thinner fillets)
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. miso (optional)
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
A little salt
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sesame seeds for garnish
Add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken breast fillets and let them marinate for about 15 minutes. Now take a hot pan. Add sesame oil and then add in the fillets. Cook on both sides till well cooked and caramelly.
Serve hot, garnished with sesame seeds. It truly is delicious. Sweet, peppery and salty, you will love it. Have it as is or with sticky rice/fried rice.
Bengalis along with the Malayalis know how to cook their seafood well. I remember falling in love with the mustard curry that they cook their fish in, the first time I tasted it at a Bengali friend’s house. I tried making it multiple times till I got the proportion of mustard right and since then I cook it regularly with rohu or catla fish at home. I love prawns. I really do. And, it was on one stray talk that my Bengali neighbour promised to show me a prawn recipe that was so simple that no one could go wrong with it. I have to give it to her. This is .a fool proof recipe, ready in minutes and delicious. Even a novice will be able to get it right.
So here is the recipe that I saw her make in her kitchen and later duplicated at home:
About 25 large prawns
2 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
250 ml. coconut milk or 1/2 fresh grated coconut
5-6 green chillies slit
3-4 tsp. mustard oil
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
a pinch of sugar
salt to taste
Clean and devein prawns. Leave the tails on. Marinate them in turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
Soak mustard seeds and poppy seeds in warm water for about 10 minutes and make a thick paste with a little salt and 2-3 green chillies. I steamed the prawns in a pressure cooker. You can use any steaming vessel. In a steel container, mix together the marinated prawns, mustard-poppy seeds paste, slit green chillies and coconut milk/grated coconut. Add salt and sugar and generously sprinkle mustard oil on top.
Now steam this container in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes.
That’s it. Your Shorshe bhapa chingri is ready to serve with some steaming hot rice. Enjoy this delicious gravy that has the punch of mustard complementing the sweetness of prawns. You will love it.
You can vary the quantity of mustard used depending upon how much pungency you enjoy. Bengalis like it more pungent. I have reduced the quantity of mustard seeds to my taste.
Don’t overcook the prawns. Keep their size in mind while deciding the steaming time. 10 minutes is right time for medium large prawns.
Using fresh coconut gives a thicker gravy. As I like my gravies runnier, I used coconut milk. Both taste great.
Methi thepla or fenugreek paratha is a favourite of mine and is made regularly at home. When I was in my second year of MBA, I lived as a paying guest with a very affectionate Gujarati lady in Bombay who made some delectable food. Most of my friends in MBA class were also Gujarati and I got the taste of the best of their cuisine in their homes. Hence, I have a special spot for Gujarati food. Thepla is a great dish to carry with you for excursions or trips as it does not spoil even at room temperature for 2-3 days. Have it with a curry, curd or just pickle, it is delicious.
Here is my recipe of methi thepla for you:
1 cup wholewheat flour
¼ cup besan (gram) flour
¼ cup bajra (pearl millet) flour
1 cup methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chilly powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. cumin powder
½ tsp. ajwain (carom) seeds
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
2 green chillies finely chopped
½ cup curd
salt to taste
Oil to roast
Mix the wholewheat, besan and bajra flours together. Add in the methi leaves, all the spices, ginger-garlic paste, chopped chillies and salt and mix well. Now knead a soft dough using curd. Add water only if needed. Keep the dough aside for about 15 minutes.
Now, roll out the dough to form a disc. Roast it on tava/griddle using a little oil on both sides. Cook till brown spots appear. Serve hot or at room temperature with chutney or pickle or with a curry as per your taste. Enjoy. It’s really tasty and very nutritious as well. Works very well in the children’s lunchboxes too.
The thepla dough will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
You can skip the curd but it helps to reduce the bitterness of methi leaves.
Avakaya or Mango pickle Andhra style takes me back to my childhood when I had tasted it for the first time. Baffled? You should be because I tasted it in the small town of Unnao close to Kanpur which was my maternal grandparents’ home. My aunt’s sister-in-law belonged to the city of Hyderabad, which was as exotic as Paris or London for us because we only heard tales of such places far far away. So this lovely lady once served us parathas with this mango pickle that tickled our taste buds and enticed us with its fiery deliciousness. Intrigued, mom immediately asked her for the recipe. But back then women held their recipes close to their chests. Little did I know that one day the city of Hyderabad would hold a very special place in my life. It is my sasural or in-laws place and I’ve not only had Avakaya multiple times but have made this pickle myself as well. 🙂 Life, I tell you!
So here goes the recipe. It is simple but one has to be a stickler for proportions. Also remember to maintain absolute hygiene or the pickle can spoil.
1 Kg. green firm and sour mangoes (the ones with fibre that are meant for pickling)
200 gm. mustard seeds
200 gm. red chilly powder
200 gm. sea salt
2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds
½ cup garlic cloves whole
500 ml. sesame oil
Soak the mangoes for a few hours in water. Wash well; remove any dried sap. Dry them thoroughly and cut the mangoes into quarters. Discard the seed. Remove the white skin that is attached to the kernel. Now spread them out on a towel to dry for a few hours (either under the fan or in the sun).
Sun dry your spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds etc. so that they have no moisture. Powder mustard seeds in a blender. Add chilly powder and salt and mix well. Now add fenugreek seeds and garlic to this spice mix and add half the oil. You will get a mix that is slightly wet. It must not be runny.
Now take a few dry mango pieces at a time, coat them with this spice mix and then put them in a barni (earthenware or ceramic container used for pickles). Repeat this till all the pieces have been well coated. Any leftover spice mix can be added on top of all the pieces. Add some more oil on the top. Save the leftover oil for later.
Now close the lid and tie it with a muslin cloth. Leave it in a dry, dark place for 4 days. After 4 days, open the pickle jar. You will find that the volume of the pickled pieces must have come down by half. Give everything a nice stir with a dry ladle or spoon. You can use your hands as well. You will find that the pickle must have become oily by now. Taste it to check for seasoning. You should not need to but if it tastes less salty, add some more salt. The oil must cover the pickle and float on top. If not, add the leftover oil that you saved earlier.
Now let the pickle mature for 4 more days after putting the lid on and covering it with a muslin cloth. On the 8th day, open the jar and you can begin consuming the pickle. Always ensure that a layer of oil covers your pickle. This prevents it from spoiling.
Have it with your regular meal or like me with parathas and curd rice. It is delicious. It will last you easily for a year. It generally gets consumed before that.
Do follow the instructions to the T. You may change the proportion of the spices to your taste but if you are making it for the first time, I would suggest sticking to these quantities.
Every masala must be completely dry, so must the mango pieces, pickle jar and your hands.
You may use the spicy chilly powder or use half the spicy chilly powder and half Kashmiri chilly powder for the bright red colour.
Use cold pressed sesame oil and not refined one.
Since we do not use any preservative, salt and oil are the only preserving mediums.
Once the pickle is ready, take some quantity in a smaller jar/bottle for daily consumption. Keep the remaining pickle in a cool, dry place. Always use dry spoons for taking out pickle.
You may substitute garlic with chickpeas. I prefer garlic.
I regularly make stuffed parathas at home. They are a favourite weekend breakfast. Served with curd and pickle, they provide a balanced start to a day. Mooli paratha or the one made with radish stuffing is a bit tricky to get right. At my home, my mum would used the raw radish stuffing but my husband enjoys the cooked stuffing more. It is also easier to roll out the paratha when you used cooked stuffing. So here’s that recipe for you.
Makes about 10 parathas
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
For the stuffing
1/2 Kg radish, scraped and grated
1 tsp. green chilly grated (optional)
1 tsp. carrom seeds (ajwain)
1 tsp. cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. red chilly powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
Some grated coriander leaves
salt to taste
For the dough
2 cups wholewheat flour
Water to knead
Some vegetable oil or ghee
First take the grated radish and add some salt to it. Keep aside for 5 minutes. Now squeeze it well to drain out all water. You can use this water to knead your dough.
Once the radish mix is dry, add all the dry masalas mentioned in the stuffing to it and mix well. Take a little oil in a kadhai/pan and cook this mooli mix for about 3-5 minutes till it does not seem raw. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Set aside and allow to completely cool.
Now knead your wholewheat flour with water till you have a chapati dough. Set is aside to rest for about 10 minutes.
To make parathas, take two small balls of dough and roll them out into smallish discs. Add sufficient stuffing on one disc (I like more stuffing in my paratha). Put the other disc on top and seal the edges with fingers. Now take a little dry flour and roll out the paratha gently so as not to break it.
Cook them on a tava/griddle applying oil or ghee on both sides. Serve hot with pickle/chutney and curd (seasoned with black salt and cumin powder). It is delicious. Do try it and let me know. This tastes good in your child’s lunch box too.
I remember vividly when Maggi was launched in India. This ‘2-minute’ noodle took the market by storm and captured the fancy of practically all kids and parents. There is no child who is immune to the taste of Maggi. I speak from experience of my own childhood and that of my two children. So when Nestlé India invited me to a select gathering for the launch of four new flavours of Maggi, I was excited. #MasalasofIndia is their new range which is exclusively available only on PayTm just now and will roll out in stores soon.
This trendy 4 pack comes with single serve packs of the new flavours: Mumbaiya Chatak, Bengali Jhaal, Amritsari Achari and Super Chennai covering four regions of the country. India is the land of spices and considering that the original masala Maggi sells like hotcakes, I think bringing in more masala flavours in our familiar palates made a lot of sense. Will the flavours live up to their names? Will they be delicious? All these questions dogged my mind when I headed to the Slurp Studio in Bangalore on a Friday evening.
Terrible traffic aside, it is always a pleasure to meet with fellow bloggers and food enthusiasts. To take us on a fun culinary ride, Chef Zaheer from Nestlé India R&D team had flown in. The adventure kicked off when we had a blind tasting of sorts. Though I had some expectation about the taste, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how authentic and delicious each flavour was. My favourite was Mumbaiya Chatak, must have been coined due to the chatkaara it brings to your tongue as you slurp this delicious riot of delightfully tangy and spicy flavours. Bengali Jhaal was the surprise packet with its uniquely Bengali appeal in its pungency and heat. Chennai Masala was comforting with its hint of sambar powder, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Amritsari Achari encapsulated the robust flavours of the Punjabi heartland with a very pickle feel with its saunf and kalonji flavours.
Having tasted each one, Chef Zaheer showed us two delightful recipes with the new flavours. Chicken Teriyaki paired with Mumbaiya Chatak may have gone either way when it comes to fusion cooking but turned out to be quite a delightful twist where the milder chicken teriyaki perfectly complemented the lovely spicy Maggi.
The second dish was a version of the popular street food Jhaal muri which looked divine and tasted something between a salad and a murmura mix.
That done, it was our turn to don the mantle of chefs and innovate with the new Maggi flavours. My team included Monika, Raksha and I.
My team chose to prepare a Burger with a Bengali twist. We loosely called it Bengali Jhaal Ramen burger. A dish very simple, it did turn out pretty well. Since we had chosen the flavours of Bengal, fish was definitely on the cards. We wanted the fish to speak for itself hence it was lightly marinated in salt, turmeric powder and panch phoron powder. Then it was shallow fried. Similarly aubergine was sliced and marinated in salt and chilly powder. This was shallow fried as well. A quick salad of lettuce, onion and zuchhini was rustled up with a light dressing of the Bengal Jhaal tastemaker and some oil to further accentuate this flavour. Then Bengali Jhaal maggi was cooked with tastemaker till done. The buns were cut into half and toasted with butter.
Plating was done by piling up the aubergine, topped with maggi and finished with the cooked fish fillet garnished with some pomegranate seeds and sev followed by the other half of the bun. This was served with the mixed salad garnished with pomegranate seeds and sev. The chef loved our dish and admired the innovation. Isn’t it true that sometimes the simplest flavours are the best?
The second team made a lovely veg version of moussaka which was cheesy, spicy and delicious. It looked gorgeous too. What was not to like?
The chef played safe when he announced both the teams joint winners. No one wishes to annoy so many women. 🙂 This brought down the curtains to a fun event filled with laughter, chatter and of course Maggi.
A lovely event that not only introduced the new flavours in a unique fun way but helped us experience the flavours and also get our creative juices going.
I am itching to try out new recipes with these flavours and here’s one that has come from my kitchen.
Delicious Veg Upma with Super Chennai Maggi
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. urad dal (white lentils)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 onion finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
2 slit green chillies
4-5 button mushroom chopped (you can use green beans, peas or any other vegetable you like)
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
2 packet Maggi Super Chennai
Heat oil in a pan. Tip in mustard seeds and urad dal. When they sputter, add curry leaves and green chillies. Fry for 30 seconds. Now add onion and cook till it is golden brown. Now add in the tomatoes. Allow to cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Now add chopped mushroom and cook for a minute. Add half a packet of the tastemaker to this mixture.
Simultaneously cook Maggi Super Chennai as per instructions on the pack. Keep a little of tastemaker aside. Add this to the upma seasoning you were preparing in the other pan.
Add the cooked maggi to the Upma seasoning and mix well. Serve it hot garnished with coriander leaves and some khara boondi. Got a thumbs up from the kids.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Do share some of your Maggi memories and which is your favourite from the new ones introduced.
Metabolism is a term that has been in the limelight a lot these days. Since a lot of us are concerned with weight management, metabolism is what we equate with how many calories our body burns. In reality, that is only a part of what metabolism is. Metabolism is every chemical process of every cell in the body.
So metabolic health refers to the function of every cell in your body. Only when the cells function optimally can we expect to have proper endocrine function that leads to adequate secretion of hormones and good metabolic health. Metabolic health combines organs, hormones and enzymes working well together. Any dysfunction can cause a metabolic disorder adversely affecting your body. Good metabolic health is regulated by exercise, nutritionally balanced diet that gives your body adequate energy, good sleep and sunshine. You can achieve good metabolic health by looking at your body in a holistic manner instead of just counting calories.
Metabolic health markers measure whether the different systems in your body are working optimally.
Common metabolic risk factors are:
High Triglycerides in your blood
High Blood Pressure
High Fasting Blood Sugar
By doing regular health checks, you can catch any problems in your body and do something to bring your parameters back to normal.
Here’s what I do for my family:
Exercise: Right from the adults to the kids and the dog, everyone exercises daily. Our bodies are machines that stay well oiled only when they are used regularly. As we age, our metabolism slows down. It is imperative to include weight-bearing exercise along with cardio to help exercise muscles, joints, organs as well as maintain bone health. Exercise helps our kids grow to their potential.
Diet: A balanced nutritious diet is of utmost importance. It goes hand in hand with exercise. Eat smaller meals spread throughout the day. Let each meal have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, minerals and fats. Fats are essential to assimilate certain vitamins and minerals and are important for us. Don’t shirk them. Just have them in moderation. It is also important to use good quality oils while cooking. MUFA (mono-unsaturated fatty acids) oil are good for your health. Olive oil has high MUFA > 75%. They help reduce the bad LDL in your blood, whereas, they maintain the good HDL. They are also considered better for diabetics as they improve insulin and blood sugar control. They are plant-based oils egs. olive oil, etc. I regularly use olive oil-extra light for my stir fries, sautéing and xtra virgin olive oil for that burst of flavor and nutrition in my salads. Leonardo olive oil is a brand of choice for me as they are high quality and high in flavor and nutrition.
Limit empty calorie consumption: Food is much more than calories. Make sure that you make every calorie that you ingest count. I avoid processed food as much as possible. I cook regularly at home and incorporate whole grains, fresh veggies, legumes, pulses, fruits, eggs and meat in my family’s diet. I do not stock chips, biscuits, colas etc. and only buy them as treats once in a while. You are what you eat. Eating well will have a great effect on your body, skin and health.
Incorporate the lifestyle changes I have mentioned above to lead a life where your metabolic health stays good giving you enough energy for your daily activities and helping you maintain a healthy weight and a disease-free body. #IChooseHealth
Share what you do for maintaining good metabolic health for yourself and your family.
Dal or lentils are a staple in Indian diet. Most of us consumer a variety of lentils daily. It is a large component of protein in a vegetarian diet. And in most homes, it is like soul food. Hot and heartwarming when served with plain boiled rice or even chapatis. Technically all dals are dal tadka. Tadka means tempering and dals are always tempered before serving. But, this is the simplest yellow dal that is made in most homes.
In my home, I love the garlic, cumin, asafoetida tempering. This recipe does not take more than 15 minutes. You can make tuar/arhar dal (pigeon peas), masoor dal (split red lentil), moong dal (split green gram) or a combination of these in this manner.
1 cup tuar dal
1 small onion chopped
1-inch piece ginger finely chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1 tomato chopped
½ tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
1 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3-4 cloves garlic chopped
2-3 dry red chillies broken in pieces
1 pinch asafoetida (heeng)
1 tsp. chilly powder
Some chopped coriander
Pressure cook the lentils with green chillies, ginger, onion and tomatoes till mushy. It takes about 15 minutes. You can also cook this in a pan, but it will take longer. To expedite, you can soak the lentils for about an hour before cooking. Cool, mash with the ladle and keep aside.
Now to prepare the tempering keep all the ingredients at hand. Heat a pan. Add ghee. When it melts, add cumin and allow it to sputter. Add garlic, dry red chillies and asafoetida in quick succession. Now add in chilly powder. Take special care not to burn the tempering. Now tip in the prepared dal (lentils). Mix well and simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add some water if it is very thick.
Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice and serve hot with boiled rice. You can also have it as a soup if you so desire. Simple homemade goodness on a plate.
As parents, one of the common complaints we’ve all had is how little our kids eat. I remember trying out innovative ways for them to eat their vegetables and fruits. But, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the protein in their diet hoping that the regular dal and milk will take care of their protein needs. I later realized that they needed much more protein during their growth spurts, and their diet may have been falling short.
But then they crossed the 5-year mark and 10 and I relaxed. They had turned from fussy eaters to voracious eaters. I do crib about the large quantities of food that I cook these days. But you know my biggest challenge? It is to ensure that they do not ingest too many empty calories and to maintain a good protein and carbs balance in their diet. You know, how kids sneak in biscuits and snacks with their sweet smiles and persuasive honey-coated words. My younger son comes often with me for grocery shopping. And you should see his persuasive skills at work to buy the junk he likes. It takes me all my powers of patience to keep his demands at bay only giving in a little.
And then last year, the elder son turned 14. Suddenly the boy shot up in height. He had a huge growth spurt as we parents braced for puberty and teen tantrums. Now, I wanted him to have a perfectly balanced diet. I knew that his weight had to keep up with the changes in his body. Most parents are caught by surprise by what is called the second growth spurt which hits boys between 10 and 15 years of age and girls between 8 to 15 years of age.
This is also the time when his academics require a lot of attention and he is also at the peak of his playing and other co-curricular activities. There have been days in the past year when he has had activities all 7 days a week. Just seeing the way he studies, plays and attends quizzes makes my mind reel. I don’t want his body and mind to burn out. Of late, he has started hating milk. He wants coffee or tea these days and there goes another source of protein. He does like curd or yoghurt though and hence that is a good option that he has daily.
Good diet and exercise plays a crucial role now.
According to studies, children in the second growth spurt need 2X Protein as per Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA), as compared to protein intake during childhood years (4-6yrs).
It is no surprise that their demand of protein touches sky high, as it is the most important component for growth and repair of muscles, organs and bones which is important for a child’s growth and development.
Then I came across this chart from National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau report (India). As the chart above shows, both girls and boys are consuming much less protein than they require even before they hit puberty and this deficit only widens in their second growth spurt. This compromises reaching their optimum growth in terms of height and weight.
Another important point to note is that the best quality protein (that contains all amino acids) comes from:
Milk and milk products
Since I became aware of this, I’ve incorporated more proteins in his diet to ensure that his mind and body stay sharp and fit. I also took a look at the protein component in my son’s health drink. It had only 7.6 gm protein/100 gm. That cannot be enough. I needed a protein supplement that had at least 50% more protein than this. I found out that Protinex Grow had more protein per gram, suitable for my child’s second growth spurt.
Eggs, chicken, curd, paneer, milk (morning cornflakes) and loads of lentils and pulses are now a part of his regular diet.
Do you pay special attention to the protein intake of your kids especially during this second growth spurt?
Sabudana khichdi was made at my home by mum when she was fasting during the navratras. While none of us fasted, we eagerly looked forward to the vrat or diet fare which was innovative and quite delicious. So whether it was singhade ke aate ki pooris, fried aloo chips with sendha namak or sabudana khichdi, it was all very delicious.
Even though I never fast during navratras or actually follow any special diet, I wanted to make this sabudana khichdi for breakfast yesterday. All the planning that one needs to do is in soaking the sabudana or sago pearls. The rest of the recipe is quite simple.
Pro Tip: So, I soak the sabudana overnight. I use medium to large-sized pearls, wash them once and then soak them in water just adequate to cover the sabudana. It must not be completely immersed in water but popping out a bit. If you add a lot of water, your sabudana will be sticky and soggy. So do remember to keep the water level just on par with the level of sabudana and let them soak overnight. In the morning, your sabudana will have absorbed all the water and have fluffed up. You will not need to drain any water. Just fluff them a bit. Now, they are ready to cook with.
So here is the recipe:
250 gms. sabudana (sago pearls)
2 boiled potatoes chopped
3-4 green chillies (split and chopped)
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp. grated ginger (optional)
black salt to taste (You can use normal salt as well)
1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
coriander leaves for garnish
Oil 3 tbsp.
1 tsp. jeera (cumin seeds)
3-4 tbsp. raw peanuts (you can crush them if you like)
Follow the above method for soaking your sabudana. Now add salt and sugar to sabudana and mix well.
Take oil in a kadhai (wok). Add in the cumin seeds and let them sputter. Now add the curry leaves and raw peanuts. Cook for about a couple of minutes till the peanuts are well cooked. Tip in the ginger (if you are using it) and green chillies. Now add the boiled potatoes and saute them for about a minute. Add in your sabudana now and mix well.
Cover and cook on a low flame for about 5- 10 minutes. You should not need to add any water but if your sabudana is looking too dry, just sprinkle some. Don’t use too much or your sabudana will start sticking to each other and you don’t want a sticky mass. You can add more oil too if it looks too dry.
Taste and check for salt. Add more if needed and mix well.
Once done, serve it hot after sprinkling lemon juice and garnishing with coriander leaves. Enjoy your sabudana khichdi hot and delicious off the stove.
It is quite filling as well. Try it and let me know.