Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spinach Dhokla ~ Healthy & Savory Steamed Indian Cake

Having a good homemade breakfast made with fresh ingredients is a key to achieve healthy body. Before I used to rely on cereals and white breads smothered with nutella for my quick breakfasts but now no more of that junk to start my day. Instead I prefer healthy breakfast with does take some time and effort to prepare,  but my body is loving this change. I am mostly full till lunch so no more mid morning binge eating, my digestive system is back on track, I feel energetic and the most important thing...I am loosing weight :) 

Including green vegetables in the breakfast is the best way to add fiber in the diet. And weekly three to four times I include greens in some form or the other... green chutney...or a simple stir fry with rotis is the easiest way to sneak some greens into the body. But occasionally I make this Spinach Dhokla for a change. Dhoklas being steamed are very healthy and light on the stomach. And as gram flour ( besan ) is the main ingredient it makes a wonderful gluten free option as well. Have it with a spicy coconut chutney to kick start the day. 


Gram Flour (Besan) - 1 Cup
Spinach Puree - 1 Cup
Curd - 1/4 Cup ( Well Beaten )
Water - 1/4 Cup or Less
Ginger - 1 Inch Piece
Green Chillies - 2 or 3
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Salt - To Taste
Fruit Salt - 1 Tsp

For Tempering:

Oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard - 1 Tsp
Sesame Seeds - 2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs ( Optional )
Asafoetida - A Generous Pinch
Water - 3 Tbsp

Procedure :
  • Make puree of spinach by blanching the leaves along with stalks and grind it fine in a mixer along with ginger and green chilies . Puree should be around 1 cup. I used a medium sized spinach bunch. Do not throw away the stalks as they add more fiber.
  • In a wide bowl take gram flour and add spinach puree, curd and oil. Mix well. Add water according to requirement. The batter should be of dropping consistency, neither too thin nor too thick.
  • Now add in salt, sugar and lemon juice and mix well so that there are no lumps in the batter.
  • Let the batter sit for around 15 minutes. Meanwhile grease a steamer plate and keep ready. 
  • I steam the batter in my rice cooker. But any kind of steamer will work fine. Even a pressure cooker without putting whistle can be used.
  • Now add fruit salt ( Eno ) in the batter and mix well once without much beating. Immediately pour the batter in the greased plate and keep it for steaming. 
  • Steam on high in the steamer for around 15-20 minutes, check by inserting a knife in the middle of the cake. If the knife comes out clean the dhokla is ready...else steam further for 5 minutes.
  • Take out the plate from the steamer and let it cool for 10 minutes before inverting the dhokla onto another plate.
  • Prepare tempering by heating oil in a frying pan. Add asafoetida and mustard, once mustard starts crackling add in sesame seeds and curry leaves. Take out pan from the fire and carefully add water in the tempering. The oil will start spluttering so being careful is important. Adding water is necessary as it helps in keeping the dhokla soft and moist.
  • Spread this tempering on top of the dhokla and cut the dhokla into square pieces.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Vegetable Barley Soup

I have grown up with a love hate relationship with soups. My mother never made soups for us at home...basically the whole concept of soups was very alien to her. Being a Tamilian and growing up in Kerala she never had exposure to any international cuisines. The only soup made at her house was good old rasam. So we were denied the pleasure of sipping warm soups.

 I grew up in a small town in M.P and had only North Indian friends who used to boast about tomato and sweet corn soups made by their mothers. And so my tastebuds so much more wanted to be soaked in the sourness of tomato soups and sweetness of sweet corn soups. Then finally that day came when my mom did make soup...the first ever soup of my life..tomato soup. I liked that but did not love it. Felt that something is missing, but never complained.

Then one day we went to a newly opened restaurant, I ordered sweet and sour soup. When I tasted it I got the shock of my life, it was bad...really BAD. Wasted the whole bowl and my soup tastebuds went dormant for a while.

After coming to Dubai I dined in finest of restaurants and loved the variety of soups in the menu. But it's only very recently that I started to make soups at home and am loving it. With the winters slowly creeping in a bowl of warm soups with some roasted papad is all what I need for my dinner.


Pearl Barley - 1/4 Cup ( Soaked for 7-8 hours )
Tomato - 1 ( Blanch, peel the skin and chop finely )
Carrots - 3 tbsp finely chopped
Green Peas - 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 medium sized 
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece 
Garlic- 2 cloves 
Green Chilies- 2
Coriander- Chopped for garnishing
Salt- As required
Pav Bhaji Masala- 1 tsp (Optional )
White Pepper Powder- 1/4 tsp 
Olive Oil- 1tbsp

  • Clean the soaked barley two,three times in fresh water. 
  • Boil the barley in around 3 cups of water till it gets cooked well. Strain the barley but do not discard the water. We will use it as stock for the soup.
  • I used my chopper to chop onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies together. Heat oil in a wok and add these chopped veggies. Slightly fry these till raw aroma fades, no need to brown the veggies.
  • Now add in chopped tomatoes, carrots, green peas and fry these till all the vegetables get tender. 
  • Add salt and pav bhaji masala. Mix everything and add in the boiled barley. 
  • Add the barley stock and required amount of water. Boil the soup for 3-4 minutes. Add in white pepper powder. Take out the soup from the heat..
  • Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve the soup warm. 

Sending this to Priya's Fast & Quick Healthy Dishes Event hosted by Life With Spices

Friday, November 16, 2012

Barley Dosa And Flax seed Garlic Chutney ( Thin Barley Crepes With Flax Seed Garlic Dry Chutney )

After enjoying all the Diwali treats I am sure everyone would be craving simple meal. This is one such recipe, the dosa does not require long fermentation time and tastes really fantastic. I have recently started using barley and am loving it. Now I use barley to make my dosas, khichdis, rotis etc. 

This flax seed chutney is perfect accompaniment with any kind of idli, dosa even parathas. I find it difficult to control myself and am always digging the chutney with a's that addictive. 

The chutney recipe is from Sangeeta Khanna's blog healthfood desivideshi . Try this for once and you will always end up in making this. My love for gun powder chutney (molha podi) has vanished and this flax chutney has taken its place.Thank you Sangeeta for making me eat and most importantly like these new flavors which I never dared before to try. 

Barley Dosa ( Barley Crepes )

Ingredients :

Pearl Barley - 2 Cups
Brown Rice - 1/4 Cup
Urad Dal ( Whole Black Gram ) - 1/2 Cup
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- To Taste

Procedure : 

Soak pearl barley and brown rice in water together for minimum 7-8 hours. I normally soak them in the early morning. Also in another bowl soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in water. I soak the dal and fenugreek at the same time when I soak barley but I keep the soaked dal in refrigerator. 

Before grinding wash the soaked ingredients well for 2-3 times. In mixer or grinder add the washed urad dal, fenugreek first. Add cold water little by little and grind into smooth paste. Then transfer this paste into a bowl. Now add the washed barley and brown rice in the mixer and grind into smooth paste with the help of water. If the barley has not been soaked for enough time, it will not grind smooth. So always remember to soak barely for atleast 7-8 hours.

Now transfer this ground barley and rice paste into the same bowl as the urad dal paste. The batter should of medium flowing consistency, neither too thin nor thick. Add in required amount of salt mix well and close the lid of the bowl and keep it for fermentation for around 3-4 hours. 

After this the batter is ready to be made into thin crepes. Heat an iron or non stick skillet. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it in circular motion to the desired thickness. And add in few drops of oil if required and let the dosa turn light brown before flipping it over. Cook it for a minute and remove from the skillet. Store the remaining batter in a closed bowl in the refrigerator. Use whenever required. The batter stays good for 3-4 days. 

If the batter remains out for long time then it turns sour quickly so always remember not to ferment it for long.

Serve this with any chutney or sambaar. 

Another close look at the crispy dosa.

Flax Seed Garlic Dry Chutney 


Flax seed - 1/2 Cup
Grated Dry Coconut or Dessicated Coconut - 1/2 Cup
Sesame Seeds ( Toasted ) - 1/2 Cup
Garlic Pods Peeled - Around 20 or 1/2 Cup ( Chopped )
Tamarind - Lemon Sized Ball ( Chop into small pieces )
Dry Red Chilli - 10 ( Break into small pieces )
Sesame Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - To Tate

Procedure :

In a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai heat the oil and add in garlic, chillies and tamarind . Fry these on a low heat till the garlic gets browned and mixture gets dehydrated. Switch off the gas and let the mixture cool. 

Now powder this mixture with other things in a coffee grinder or mixie. 

Keep this chutney in an airtight container and use as and when required. Normally I keep this in my refrigerator. My whole family loves this chutney and so it vanishes quickly. 

Sending this to Cooking With Seeds - Barley event started by Priya and hosted by Roshni

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cornflakes Namkeen ~ An easy snack made with dry conflakes

My blogger dashboard and Facebook timeline has been flooded with Diwali blog posts. Almost everybody is posting some delicious festive treats and I am loving all the festivities around. It has been long since I posted anything, after coming back from holidays I became lazy...the task of taking pictures, editing, writing blog post seemed very cumbersome to me. It's not that I had not been cooking but only cooked for eating and not for blogging. Some of my dear friends, my family members constantly reminded me to feed my blog but somehow I never came around doing it.

But better be late than here I am with Cornflakes Namkeen or Mixture. I learned this recipe from my sister-in-law who is herself an expert cook. This namkeen tastes really yum, is very easy to make too....just requires frying time and being mildly spiced is hit with kids too.

The proportions I have mentioned are just approximate as this is a very versatile recipe. The choice of ingredients and the amount of each ingredient used is completely flexible, one can increase or decrease the number of ingredients depending on the availability and liking.


Cornflakes Chivda ( Dry Cornflakes ) - 2 Cups
Saboodana Chivda ( Sago Flakes) - 1 Cup
Potato Flakes - 1/4 Cup 
Mota Poha ( Thick Beaten Rice ) - 1/2 Cup
Cashew nuts ( Whole ) - 1/4 Cup
Almonds ( Whole ) - 1/4 Cup
Peanuts - 1/2 Cup
Curry Leaves - 1/4 Cup packed
Salt , Sugar , Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - To Taste
Oil - For Deep Frying


Heat oil in a deep pan. When the oil gets hot start frying each ingredient in the order I have listed. After frying take out the ingredient in a deep bowl, and add in salt, sugar and chilli powder. Do this when the fried items are still hot as the spices will better stick to them. 

Repeat this process with each ingredient. Fry it, take out and add in spices. Adding spices after frying each ingredient makes the flakes and other nuts well coated with the spices.

Cashwenuts should be fried till they turn golden brown and almonds should turn deep brown in colour. Peanuts should be fried till they start cracking and turn deep brown in colour. Add spices to these as well.

In another small pan add in a tablespoon of oil and fry the curry leaves till they turn crisp.

Mix together all the fried items together and check for seasoning again. If required add in more spices. We prefer our namkeen mildly spiced. 

Please refer to the notes below as well.

  1. Before frying make sure that the oil is hot else the flakes will not puff nicely. Check if the oil is hot by putting 1 or 2 flakes first. If they puff up nicely then oil is ready.
  2. Always fry in small batches to ensure uniform frying.
  3. Fry the ingredients in the order listed in the ingredient list as cornflakes and sago absorb less oil while beaten rice absorbs more oil.
  4. Peanuts should be fried at last or in a separate pan with some oil as the oil tend to get brown once peanuts are fried.
For some more Diwali treats check out these posts as well-


Post From The Past

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