Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ragi Vermicelli Upma

 It some times takes many years for us to understand what is good and what is bad for our health. Simple healthy choices in our day to day cooking like swapping rice with wheat or barley, white bread with brown bread, using whole grains and pulses can create wonders to our overall health and well being.

I was very fond of vermicelli, used to have vermicelli upma atleast twice in a week. But vermicelli is made up of white flour, which we all know is really bad for our health so now my normal vermicelli has been swapped with Ragi vermicelli which is made up of wheat and ragi flour. I have used Anil Ragi Vermicelli, because this is the only Indian brand which I know is available here in Dubai. Also I always use equal quantity of vegetables and vermicelli to make this upma, making this super healthy to start the day. 

Ingredients: ( Serves generous 2 plates )

Ragi Vermicelli - 1 Cup
Mustard Seeds - 1 Tsp
Split Black Gram - 1 Tbsp
Onions - 2 Medium sized chopped
Ginger - 1 Inch piece grated
Green Chilies - 3 chopped
Mixed Vegetables Like Carrot and Peas- 1 Cup ( Boiled )
Peanuts- 2 Tbsp
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs
Salt- To Taste
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
Oil - 1 1/2 Tbsp


  • Soak vermicelli in 5 cups of room temperature salted water for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain the vermicelli.
  • Steam the vermicelli in greased idli plates for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove vermicelli from the plates and keep aside.
  • In a pan add oil and once the oil heats up add in mustard seeds. As soon as mustard starts cracking add split black gram and peanuts. Fry them till peanuts start cracking.
  • Now add onions, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Fry till onions turns translucent.
  • Add in boiled vegetables and salt to taste, mix everything together.
  • Now tip in the steamed vermicelli and combine everything. Close the pan's lid and let the upma cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Take off the pan from heat and pour lemon juice in the upma and mix. 
Serve hot. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Barley Grits Upma/ Barley Grits Savory Porridge

Upma is one of the most popular breakfast in any Indian household. Semolina or vermicelli upma used to feature regularly in my kitchen and once a while cracked wheat upma was made and enjoyed. But now a days barley has become my family's favorite grain and we enjoy it in many forms, be it the rotis made with added barley flour, barley dosa, barley soup or this barley upma. Rice can be easily substituted with barley in most of the dishes like pulao and khichdis too.

This recipe was given by Sangeeta Khanna whose diet plan I follow. She told me to make barley dalia upma but bless my ignorance those days, I combined cracked wheat and pearl barley to make the most unappetizing upma. That was then she introduced me to cracked barley or barley grits. And now there is no slipping back to semolina or vermicelli. 

Ingredients: ( Serves 2 )

Barley Grits - 1/2 Cup
Water- 1 1/2 Cups
Onion- 1 Large ( finely chopped )
Ginger- 1/2 Inch Piece ( grated )
Green Chilies - 2 ( finely chopped )
Carrot - 1 Medium Sized ( cut in small pieces )
French Beans - 10-12 ( finely chopped ) 
Green Peas - 1/4 Cup
Tomato - 1 Small chopped
Peanuts - 2 Tbsp
Oil - 1 or  1 1/2 Tbsp
Mustard Seeds- 1 Tsp
Urad Dal ( Split black gram ) - 1 Tbsp
Salt- To taste
Juice of 1 small lemon
Coriander Leaves - To Garnish

Procedure :
  • Switch on the gas and take a pressure cooker and keep it on heat. Add oil and once it heats up add in mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds crackle add split black gram and peanuts. 
  • When peanuts start cracking add chopped onions, ginger, green chilies and saute till onion turns translucent. 
  • Add carrots, beans, peas and let it all cook for a minute or two stirring in between.
  • Now add barley grits mix well and let it cook for few minutes. Keep stirring else barley may stick to the cookers bottom.
  • Pour water and add salt and tomatoes. Mix well. 
  • Put back the lid of the pressure cooker and let the upma cook in medium flame till 2 whistles come. Take the pressure cooker off the heat and let the cooker cool for some time before opening the lid.
  • Open the lid and add in lemon juice and coriander leaves. Mix well and serve hot.

Barley grits is available in Dubai at  Down To Earth Organic Store.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gulab Jamun

I think that words will get short when we start to describe gulab jamuns. These round sweet balls instantly melt in your mouth giving you the utmost pleasure which no other sweet is capable of. But at the same time these are so sweet that many people avoid having it. Even in my family there are both gulab jamun haters as well as lovers.

It has been long since I made anything sinful but I had to bend down to my kiddos demand and made these for her. Earlier I made gulab jamuns on special occasions using the ready to make packets, I had been terrified that gulab jamuns made from scratch may melt while frying or may turn out like meteors but there are some really talented bloggers out there who take cooking to a new dimension by simplifying even most complicated recipes , one such blogger is Sangee of Spicy Treats, she had posted the gulab jamun recipe using milk powder some time back and I was bowled over seeing the ease to make these. But then somehow never got around to make these, then again saw these in Divya's space and bookmarked the recipe.

The entire process takes less than an hour from start to finish, and the resulting gulab jamuns are soft and juicy. Though I would like to post a word of in moderation else you would surely end up with self induced diabetic coma :)


For the balls :

Milk Powder - 1 Cup
All Purpose Flour - 1/2 Cup
Baking Soda - 1/2 Tsp
Ghee - 2 Tbsp
Milk - To knead the dough
Sugar Candy - Few to stuff inside the balls (optional)
Oil or Ghee for deep frying
Pistachios - For Garnishing

For Sugar Syrup :

Sugar - 2 Cups
Water - 2 Cups
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp

Procedure :
  • Take milk powder, flour, soda in a bowl. Mix well and add melted ghee. Rub the ghee in the flour to resemble bread crumbs texture. 
  • Add milk little by little and knead for couple of minutes to make a smooth and non sticky dough.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile make sugar syrup by mixing sugar and water in a wide bowl and keep for boiling . Let the syrup come to rolling boil and then simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add in the cardamom powder and switch off the gas.
  • Now take the dough and form small marbled sized balls. Take one sugar candy and stuff it in between each ball and make a smooth round ball without crack, but remember not to put much pressure when making the balls.
  • Once all the balls are made keep oil or ghee in a small frying pan for heating. When the oil gets heated up start frying gulab jamuns in small quantities, as they will get little bigger in size while frying. Also fry in low heat to ensure even browning. keep on rotating the balls while they get fried.
  • When the gulab jamuns become dark brown in colour take them off heat and dunk in warm sugar syrup. The jamuns will soak syrup and will become soft and spongy.
  • Serve warm or cold garnished with slivered pistachios.
Check the notes at bottom of the post.

  • I halved the quantity of the ingredients and got around 15 gulab jamuns.
  • In the original recipe milk mawa powder was used but I used ordinary milk powder, milk mawa powder will give you even more smoother and richer jamuns.
  • If you do not mind the extra calories fry the jamuns in ghee for richer taste.
  • The sugar candy will melt when the jamuns are fried, thus creating a hollow center.


Post From The Past

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