Sunday, March 27, 2011

Its Summer Time!

Its Summer Time! This is a very busy time for us women. Well Indian women are always busy with home and kitchen. We pickle various seasonal vegetables and fruits as and when they are abundant and cheap. In Summer, we prepare so many pickles, vadiyaalu i.e crispies, dried vegetables and many more .

So join me and learn our traditional pickles, crispies, dried vegetables and other such recipes which come in handy during the rainy season when one does not get any vegetables. Moreover these are eaten as side dishes along with lentils, Sambar or Rasam.

Here I have already started with tasty dried chillies:

These chillies are soaked in sour buttermilk and then dried in sun till they are very crisp and dried.
The Recipe is here:

Watch out for more such recipes

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Healthy N Nutritious Snacks-5

Nuts N Seeds-1-Sun Flower Seeds-3

Some more recipes...

1. Fruit N Seed Chat
Here is something for those who love sweet, spicy and tangy..Indian chat recipe...


Musk Melon cubes        1 cup
Chickoo pieces           1cup
Pomegranate  seeds     1 cup
Grapes                       100gms
Sunflower seeds          1-2 fistfuls
Lemon Juice               1-2 tsps
Pepper powder           1/2 tsp
Chat Masala powder     1 tsp
Salt                            To taste
      Sapota or Chickoo

  • Musk Melons are available in very small sizes. Peel, de seed and cube them.
  • Chickoo as known in Hindi is known as Sapodilla in English and Sapota in Telugu. Peel de seed and cube.
  • Separate the seeds of pomegranate from the skin and keep aside.
  • You can use any type of grapes. If you are using green, red or black bigger sized grapes cut into halves, de seed and keep aside. Black ones are sweet as well as sour. Small variety of seed less grapes are also available. They can be used as it is. But soak any grapes in water for 10 to 15 minutes rinse well, drain and use.
  • Use roasted and shelled sunflower seeds.
  • In a bowl toss together all the fruit and chill them till serving time.
  • Before serving, add seeds, lemon juice, salt and spices. Toss them well and serve.
  • Adjust the quantity of spices according to your taste.
  • You can omit pepper powder as chat masala powder is enough for a spicy taste.

2.  Summer Time Chat
This one is best for Summers

Ripe Mango cubes      1 cup
Musk Melon cubes       1/2 cup
Pomegranate seeds    1 cup
Sunflower seeds         1-2 fistful
Chat Masala powder   1 tsp
Salt                           To Taste
         Golden Yellow
  • Mangoes are basically available in two varieties- for juice and for cut and serve. Choose those mangoes which are ideal for cut and serve. Banginapalli or Benishan  variety is the best. They are golden yellow in colour with good sweet and tasty flesh and also a great smell. Red and yellow varieties are also good. Alphonso is the most costliest of the mangoes and preferred one. But I don't like that variety.
  • The mangoes should be ripe. It should be fresh and  firm to touch. The skin should be clear of all blemishes and of good colour and good to smell
  • Peel and de stone Mango and cut into cubes
  • Peel and de seed and cube the musk melon
  • Separate the seeds of pomegranate from the skin and keep aside.
  • Mix all the fruit and chill till serving time
  • Just before serving toss the fruits along with salt and chat masala powder and sun flower seeds
These snacks are healthy and can be eaten any time. Try these recipes and let me know how you feel...

Keep a watch on my blog...more to come....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Healthy N Nutritious Snacks-4

Nuts N Seeds-1-Sun Flower Seeds-2

Here is a glimpse the seeds with stripes...
            Sun Flower Seeds
These are not that costly when compared other nuts like cashews or pistachios and have more plus points then them.

Here are some recipes. In all these recipes, you have to used roasted and shelled sun flower seeds:

1. Carrot Sunflower Seeds Salad
          Grated Carrot

Carrots grated        1cup
Sun flower seeds    1-2 Tbsp
Lemon juice           2 tsps
Olive oil                2 tsps
Pepper Powder      To taste
Salt                       To taste

  • Clean scrape and grate carrots. The quantity should be one full cup. Sore it in fridge till it is time to serve but don't keep for long that they loose their nutritional values
  • In bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, pepper powder and salt thoroughly.
  • Just before serving, add grated carrots and seeds to the bowl, mix well or toss and serve
  • Adjust the lemon juice and pepper powder according to your taste.
  • You can add a little of castor sugar if you like it to be a bit sweet. Though I feel that carrots would fill in for sweetness.
2.Carrot -Tomato -Seeds Salad
      Chopped Tomatoes

Carrots grated        1cup
Tomatoes               2-3 Tbsps
(chopped  fine)
Sun flower seeds    1-2 Tbsp
Lemon juice           1 tsps
Olive oil                2 tsps
Pepper Powder      To taste
Salt                       To taste

  • Mix or toss together grated carrots, tomatoes and seeds along with all other ingredients and serve immediately
3. Cool Cool- Summer Salad

         Cucumber or Kheera
         For Tempering

I have used Mustard, cumin, curry leaves and asafoetida in this recipe

Carrots grated        1cup
Cucumber              1/2 to 1 cup
(chopped fine)
Tomatoes               1/2 cup     
(chopped fine)    
Sun flower seeds     a fistful
Green chilli          1
(chopped fine)   
Coriander Greens     1 tbsp
(chopped fine)   
Sugar                     1-2 tsp
Salt                       To taste

For Tempering:
Refined or sunflower oil     1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds                    1 tsp
Cumin seeds                      1 tsp
Asafoetida                         a pinch   (optional)
Turmeric                           a pinch
Curry  leaves                     one sprig

  • I have used long green cucumber known as kheera in Hindi.  Peel the skin and remove seeds if they are too hard.
  • Mix in or toss together grated carrots, chopped tomatoes and cucumber in abowl and keep in refrigerator till it is to be served
  • Just before serving, add the seeds and coriander greens, slat and sugar and toss well
  • Heat oil to a smoking point in a pan, add mustard seeds, fry for a minute. Add cumin seeds, green chilli, curry leaves. when the seeds start spluttering add asafoetida and turmeric. Remove from fire and pour the mixture into the bowl. Close with a lid, toss well for a minute and serve
  • Reduce the quantity of spices especially green chilli according to your taste as it is quite spicy
Adjust the ingredients and spices according to your taste. These can also be eaten as an afternoon snack or any time snack as these are healthy .
You can avoid oil or use very less quantity of oil as per you requirement.

Watch my blog for more recipes in next post......

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Healthy N Nutritious Snacks-3

Nuts N Seeds-1-Sun Flower Seeds-1

I have started doing a series of posts on Healthy N Nutritious Snacks.My previous posts are here:

I have not yet completed posting on the puffed rice recipes. But I have to do this post as I want to share with you something else.

One of the healthy N nutritious Snacks are Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are tasty healthy can be eaten as a snack or added to some of our foods and consumed. Now here is one of them...

Recently I have been on a visit to Rayalaseema area of Andhra Pradesh- a very dry area, where climate is dry and very hot. Added to that they have scarcity of water. Ground nuts are major crop and are used very extensively in their recipes. However I am not going to talk about it here. I will post about it separately.

On one of my walks in the evening, I came across some street vendors, selling roasted peanuts, salted peanuts, and fried and spiced lentils. I came across Sunflower seeds. I know Sunflower seeds as I grow them in my garden, and I also know that Sunflower oil is being widely used in Indian homes as a medium of cooking, I was surprised to know that the seeds are eaten as a snack. Many people were buying a handful or two to munch along their shopping or walking. 

So I bought some...and they were very tasty. Here is a glimpse for you..
Here are the flowers. These are of small variety. There are also very huge flowers. I used to grow them. The flowers used to attract parrots in large numbers. I think they like the seeds. Now I have enquired around and found that the parrot feed contains these seeds as these are very healthy. 
These are the seeds. They have tear drop shape. Their husks are black or grey with black stripes. These seeds are small. I have seen bigger seeds.
I removed the husks with my hands as I didn't have any other method. Here are the nuts inside. These are roasted and salted. They have mild nutty flavour and very tasty. They are also eaten with out roasting. But since they are high in oil content it is better to roast them before eating. Sunflower oil is extracted from these seeds. Today it is the most popular medium for cooking in Indian homes because of various health benefits.

Benefits from Sunflower Seeds
  • Sunflower seeds are the best whole food source of vitamin E. They contain around 90% of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant and protects against heart disease . 
  • They also contain 30% of Selenium which along with vitamin E works as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage that may lead to cancer, heart disease, and other health problems.
  • They also contain contain  Manganese  36%, Magnesium 31%, Phosphorus 25%, Copper, Iron Zinc  etc which are good for our health.
  • Sunflower seeds are a good source of plant protein, which supplies amino acids, that build, maintain and repair body tissues.  
  • Sunflower seeds contain Folate or B vitamin for a good and healthy heart and Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Thiamin and Niacin which give energy.  
  • Sunflower seeds and oil contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat which lowers Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and Triglycerides,  maintaining beneficial High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is needed to carry the “bad” cholesterol away. Around 90% of the fat in sunflower seeds is good, unsaturated fat.
  • They contain Fiber which help in easy digestion, lowering constipation and there by many diseases.
However since these seeds contain high amounts of oil, and source of high energy level, one should consume them moderately as per their life styles.

Tips for buying and storing:
  • They are available unshelled where I saw but may be available shelled too. I have to enquire. In other countries shelled and unshelled are available.
  • They should smell fresh
  • The unshelled ones should be firm and not limp or soft and the shells should not be broken 
  • The shelled ones should not be yellowish in colour. 
  • Due to oil content these seeds turn rancid quickly.
  • Store them in air tight container and better not to store for long
  • Store them in air tight package in the deep freezer
Tips for using:
  • Shelling is a problem especially with hand is painstaking and difficult
  • Few handfuls at a time can be put in small container of the Mixie and just on and off few times. This way some of the seeds might be crushed but many may be shelled. Pour the mixture into this bamboo kitchen aid which is available in all Indian homes known as Chaata in Telugu and Soop in Hindi. I don't know the English equivalent. The crushed seeds are then tossed which throws out the husk and seeds remain back.

  • These seeds (with shells) can be roasted in a thick bottomed pan and then shells removed before eating. Traditionally in India, these are roasted over hot sand. While roasting them salt water is sprinkled to give them salty taste. These salted ones are easily available in Indian markets. Roasted one keep for a long time.
  • But I feel it is better to avoid salted ones as the salt intake of Indians as it is , is very high
  • A handful of roasted or unroasted and shelled seeds can be eaten as it is. These can be added to salads, sweets and desserts like halwa, burfi etc. Add these slightly crushed or whole to curries or chutneys.

Watch my blog for recipes using Sunflower seeds...