Dates Cake (Eggless & Butterless)

Hi!!
Here is a kind of healthy baking.. The fancy words “eggless” & “butterless” doesn’t mean so much to me…However I would prefer to use less fat as much as I can. We may have read in many health articles that “Butter” has high calories from its saturated fat and also has high cholesterol which is bad for heart.. So nowadays I am using Olive oil instead of butter. And “eggless” was unintentional. I didn’t have egg in my fridge so I didn’t use it. But the cake turned out just fine and super moist. Unbelievable!! Therefore I have to admit that we can also go healthy in baking without losing the divine taste of real baking.For me healthy baking is all about no butter, no white sugar and no white flour..Rest all fine..
Since I cook eggs daily in various form, a piece of advice for you guys out there..Do not ignore the eggs if you ain’t vegan or allergic. Egg is a good source of protein. In fact many agree that it helps to reduce weight ūüėČ Good news isn’t it?? Why wait?? Try it out !!

Servings: 3
Preparation time: 15 mins + 30 mins soaking time (optional)
Cooking time: 30 – 40 mins
Level : Moderate

Ingredients:

Dates 12-15 nos
Whole Wheat Flour ¬Ĺ Cup
Milk ¬Ĺ Cup
Brown sugar 50 gm
Olive oil / Canola oil 30 gm / 2 Tbsp
Baking soda ¬Ĺ Tsp
Walnut 10 nos
Raisins 1 Tbsp
Cinnamon Powder ¬ľ Tsp

 

Method:

1. Soak the dates in warm milk for about 30 mins if it is too dry.
2. Preheat oven to 175¬į C.
3. Sieve the flour along with baking soda & cinnamon powder and keep it in a large bowl.
    Add the sugar and chopped walnuts. Mix to combine.
4. Grind together the milk and dates to a paste.
5. In another bowl pour the dates paste and oil. Whisk to combine well.
6. Pour the dates mixture to the flour and mix to form batter with no lumps.
7. Grease the cake pan with little oil and pour the batter.
8. Sprinkle some raisins on the top.
9. Bake for 30 -40 mins or till toothpicks comes out clean when inserted.
10. Serving option: Serve with maple syrup or chocolate syrup or condensed milk or whipped cream
      or honey..

 

Notes:

  1. Increase/decrease the qty of sugar according to the quality of dates and its sweetness. If your dates are too sweet reduce the sugar. 
  2. If you want more moist add some more milk.
  3. You can use spices like nutmeg, clove, ginger along with cinnamon.


Aloo Palak / Spinach & Potato Masala

Aloo palak is a subtle spinach dish with potato. This is a healthy and delicious veggie delight to go with roti or any other Indian bread. I have seen some people use pureed spinach in this. But I use chopped spinach along with stems. I believe pureeing would kill all the nutrition the spinach holds. Anyways thats all upto to you.. For me I like the texture of my aloo palak more than that of pureed spinach masala.. And also I use to saute them in brief so that I can get most of its vitamins ūüėČ Such a health freak huh??… So here’s my Aloo palak in my style.. 

Servings: 2
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level : Moderate
Ingredients:

Potato 250 gm (1 Big)
Spinach 250 gm
Onion 200 gm (1 Medium)
Tomato 150 gm (1 Medium)
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger 15 gm
Green chilli 2 nos
Musturd seeds ¬ľ Tsp
Cumin seeds 1 Tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Turmeric powder ¬ľ Tsp
Red chilli powder 1 Tsp
Coriander powder 1 Tsp
Kasoori methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves) ¬Ĺ Tsp
Garam masala (Optional) ¬Ĺ Tsp
Salt as req
Vegetable Oil 1 Tbsp
Preparation:

1. Clean the spinach in cold water and drain the water. Chop them roughly.
2. Boil the potatoes with skins on and cube them into large chunks.
3. Finely chop the onion and tomato. Chop one green chilli.. 
4. Grind together garlic, ginger and one green chilli
Cooking:

1. Heat oil in a large pan.
2. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
3. Now add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
4. When cumin seeds stop spluttering, add in the onion and green chilli with little salt.
5. Stir fry till onion turns brown and nicely fried. 
6. Add ginger,garlic & green chilli paste and saute well for 1-2 mins.
7. Add turmeric powder and tomato now.
8. Saute for few more mins or till the tomato softens.
9. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder and fenugreek leaves. Saute well. 
10. Now add the spinach and drizzle some water.
12. Cook in medium flame till the spinach gets cooked well.
13. Add the boiled potato and stir well.
14. Check for seasoning and adjust salt .
15. Let the gravy thickens a bit. Turn off the heat and add garam masala.
16. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with rotis.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Crostini

It’s been a while I made this luscious appetizer. This is one appetizer never be left lonely on the plate at the end of a meal. Creamy & nutty red pepper pesto is divine, comfort & lip smacking sauce I ever made. Goes well with pasta, as a dipping sauce and in crostini. The roasted red pepper adds more flavor to the pesto. Never be lazy to roast the pepper.

Whenever I see the vibrant red peppers I just dream of the pesto I used to make long back when we were in North China. You find ample quantity of red pepper there. I used to make in large quantity and freeze them for later use. Here in Guangzhou I see them on & off. So I bought them last week when I found them in farmers market.

Here we go with nice & crisp crostini with red pepper pesto. I am bit unhappy that I totally lost the original recipe owner as I have been making this pesto since long time & never had any record of the original recipe. Anyway I am very much grateful to the person who shared this awesome recipe in web. ūüôā

Servings: 3-4
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Level : Moderate

Ingredients:

Baguette 1 loaf
Red pepper 3 nos
Walnut 10 nos
Basil (Dried) 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
Garlic 3 Cloves
Parmesan cheese 2 Tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp
Salt & Pepper For seasoning
Mozzarella 2 Tbsp

Method:

  1. Slice the baguette (Narrow French stick loaf) into thick slices.
  2. Preheat oven to 210¬į C. 
  3. Wash the red peppers thoroughly, cut into halves and remove the seeds.
  4. Place the peppers on the baking tray and sprinkle half the quantity of following ingredients : olive oil, finely chopped garlic, basil, salt & pepper on the top.
  5. Bake for 30 mins or till the peppers are roasted well.
  6. Transfer to mixer jar along with walnut, Parmesan cheese, and remaining olive oil, chopped garlic, basil, salt & pepper. Blend them to a rough paste. 
  7. You can toast the baguette slices first and top with the pesto and mozzarella cheese. Or else top with pesto, cheese & basil and toast till cheese melts. 

Notes:

  1. Tastes good when used fresh basil. Since it is unavailable in here I have used dried basil. 
  2. You can try with different nuts like almonds, pine nuts etc. instead of walnut. If you would like the pesto more heavy add more cheese/cream.
  3. Also discover some unique flavors by including different Italian herbs.
  4. You can also roast the pepper on direct fire.
  5. This pesto goes well with pasta too.

Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is my childhood favourite. I used to get this during X’mas from a dear friend of mine from school. He used to make it by himself and that too an amazingly perfect pudding. After schooling neither of us had time for it. I’d wrote him couple of months ago and asked for the recipe. I got the reply with his recipe card yay!! ūüôā Tnx dude!

So now not wasting a single day I started making my bread pudding. Instead of steaming the pudding I have baked it.  It turned out very well.. As good as original recipe..
Every spoon full is a bliss & satisfying memory. This scrumptious dessert is all what we need at the end of a busy day. Stretch, relax & start diggin in the pudding.

Servings: 2-3Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Level : Easy

Ingredients

Wheat bread/White bread 2 slices
Milk 1 Cup
Egg 2 nos
Sugar 1/2 Cup
Butter 1 Tbsp
Cinnamon Powder 1/4 Tsp
Raisins 2 Tbsp
Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 175¬į C. Grease the baking dish with butter or oil. I have used 630 ml rectangular glassware.
  2. Tear the bread into small cubes and place it in the baking dish.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon powder and butter (Room temperature) for 5-7 mins.
  4. Sprinkle the raisins on the bread and pour the egg mixture to it evenly.
  5. Press down the bread to soak well.
  6. Place the dish in the center of middle rack and bake for 45 mins or bake till when a toothpick inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean. 
  7. Serve warm or chill.
Plating:  

  1. Cut to desire shapes and pieces. Serve warm with ice cream on the top.
  2. Serve chill with condensed milk (or) whipped cream (or) honey (or) chocolate syrup (or) any other toppings of your kind. 

 Notes:

  1. If you want to make simple pudding avoid bread pieces. Use all other ingredients.
  2. Not only raisins you can also use any dried fruits to the pudding.

Poori Masala / Deep fried Indian Bread with Mashed Potato

Poori Masal or Poori Kizhangu as referred by my dear hubby is a classic south Indian breakfast combo. Pooris are deep fried indian bread made with wheat flour. And masala is nothing but mashed potato with Indian tadka.
Alas, I have a slight food aversion towards this dish since many years ūüė¶ , but on the other hand my sweetheart crave for poori kizhangu ;).. I rarely prepare this at my kitchen due to my aversion. I cooked poori masala last week since he was starving for it for long time. I am glad to dedicate this wonderful recipe to my sweet hubby.

Poori

Servings:  2 
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
Wheat Flour 200 gm
Sooji / Rava/ Semolina 1 Tbsp
Salt 1/4 Tsp
Vegetable Oil For deep frying + 1 Tbsp
Warm water For kneading


Method:
  1. Sieve the flour and salt together.
  2. Add the sooji and oil to the flour. Add warm water little by little and knead well.
  3. Dough should be little harder than roti dough.
  4. Keep covered with damp cloth.
  5. After 10-15 mins, knead the dough again by adding little oil.
  6. Divide the dough into gooseberry sized balls.
  7. Roll them round using rolling pin and rubbing oil on both sides.
  8. In a shallow pan heat oil for deep frying.
  9. Fry the poori till it puffs up by turning both sides.
Potato Masala:


Servings:  2 
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:

Potato 250 gm /1 no. Big
Onion                                                     150 gm /1 no. Medium
Tomato                                                   100 gm /1 no. Medium
Green chilli                                            2 nos
Ginger                                                    15 gm
Garlic                                                    5 cloves or 20 gm
Mustard seeds ¬Ĺ¬†Tsp
Cumin seeds                                       1 Tsp
Curry leaves 8 nos
Asafoetida  a pinch
Turmeric powder¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬ľ¬†Tsp
Salt                                                        as required
Vegetable oil                                     1 Tbsp
Water 1¬Ĺ¬† Cups
Coriander leaves For garnishing

Preparation:
  1. Boil the potatoes in a cooker or pan with skins on.
  2. Once cooked remove from heat and drain the water. Run cold water over the potatoes & peel off the skin. Mash it using potato masher or spatula.
  3. Chop the onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and green chillies finely.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Allow to splutter.
  5. Add curry leaves and onion. Saute for 3 mins till onion turns golden brown.
  6. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute well.
  7. Add turmeric powder and tomatoes. Mix well and cook till tomatoes become soft.
  8. Add the mashed potatoes and 11/2 cups water. Mix well till it blends with the masalas.
  9. Let it boil for 5 mins. Check for salt.
  10. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and transfer to serving bowl.

Notes:

  1. Adding sooji to the dough makes crispy pooris and retain the crispyness for long time.
  2. My husband’s aunt used to add ground pottukadalai / poricha kadalai/ fried channa dal to the¬†masala while adding water to increase the gravy quantity. I didn’t use due to unavailability. But that part is best when you make masala for many.¬†

Mixed Pepper Salad

This colorful salad holds so many nutrition. Red and yellow peppers are attractive in color & contains plenty of health benefits. Here’s the recipe for making easy & tasty Mixed pepper salad with vinaigrette dressing in my way.


Servings:  2        

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Level:  Easy
Ingredients:
1)      Red pepper                                      75 gm ( Half of a medium size pepper)
2)      Yellow Pepper                                  75 gm ( Half of a medium size pepper)
3)      Pepperoncini                                    2 nos
4)      Lettuce                                             2 leaves
5)      Cucumber                                         1 small
For Dressing:

6)      Wine Vinegar/Rice vinegar             2 Tbsp
7)      Olive oil                                           1 Tbsp
8)      Dried Oregano                                 1 Tsp
For Seasoning:
9)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Black pepper powder ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬Ĺ¬†Tsp
10)   Salt                                                   as req


Method:
1)      Wash all the vegetables thoroughly and dry them using kitchen towel.
2)      Dice the peppers and cucumber. Roughly chop the lettuce and pepperoncini.
3)      Place them in the mixing bowl.
4)      For making vinaigrette, take wine vinegar and olive oil in a medium sized bowl.
5)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Whisk them for 2 ‚Äď 3¬†mins¬†or till it blends well and become thick.
6)      Add the dried oregano, black pepper powder and salt.
7)      Pour the vinaigrette on to the vegetables and combine well.
  
 

Vegetable Biriyani

Biriyani!!! This dish stands for herbs and spices… Travelled long way from Iran to India..Biriyani is a dish made of rice with the combination of veg/non veg and spices. It is enormously popular in India and liked by many. While dining out I have seen many people consider this dish as mandatory to be in the table. Yogurt sauce called “Raita” is served along with biriyani to calm down the spiciness. Raita is a simple yogurt seasoned with selected vegetables.

Servings:  2        

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
*        Rice                                                      1 Cup
*        Green peas                                           30 gm
*        Carrot                                                    50 gm (Half of big size carrot)
*        Cauli flower                                          100 gm
*        Green beans                                         5 nos
*        Onion                                                    150 gm (1 no. Medium)
*        Tomato                                                  100 gm  (1 no. Medium)
*        Green chilli                                            2 nos
*        Bay leaves                                             2 nos
*        Cloves                                                    2 nos
*        Green cardamom                                   2 nos
*        Mace                                                      a pinch
*        Cinnamon                                               1 no , 5cm stick
*¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Turmeric powder ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬ľ¬†Tsp
*        Salt                                                         as req
*        Curd/Yogurt/lemon jucie                       2 Tbsp
*        Ghee                                                      2 Tbsp
*        Vegetable Oil                                        1 Tbsp  
For grinding:
*        Ginger                                                   15 gm
*        Garlic                                                    5 cloves or 20 gm
*        Green chilli                                           1 no
*        Mint leaves                                          15 gm
*        Coriander leaves                                  15 gm
*        Cloves                                                  2 nos
*        Green cardamom                                 1 no
*¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Fennel seeds ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬Ĺ¬†Tsp
*        Cumin seeds                                        1 Tsp
Method:
Preparation:
·         Wash rice 2-3 times or till water runs clear. Fry them gently in a kadai by adding 2 Tbsp Ghee.
         Boil the rice till it is half done in a vessel with 2 cups of water and 1 no. of  clove, cardamom, 
         cinnamon and bay leaves. Drain the water completely and keep the rice separately.
·         Chop the onion, tomato & green chillies. Roughly chop the carrot and green beans. Wash green peas
         and cauliflower. Use medium size florets of cauliflower.
·        Roast few cashew nuts in ghee till brown.      
·         Make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chilli, mint leaves, coriander leaves, cloves, cardamom, mace
   fennel seeds and cumin seeds by adding little water. 
Cooking:
·         Heat 1 Tbsp Oil in a pressure cooker. I used 2 litres Hawkins’s cooker.
·         Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves respectively.
·         Add the sliced onion. Fry till onion turns golden brown.
·         Add turmeric powder and sauté well.  
·         Add the ground paste and salt. Stir fry for a minute and add vegetables.
·         Mix to combine masala and the vegetables well.
·         Pour 1 cup of water drained from the rice. Check for salt and seasoning. Adjust if required.
·         Add 2 tbsp of curd or yogurt or lemon juice at this stage.
·         Now spread the rice on top. Sprinkle some coriander leaves and fried onions (Optional).
·         Close the lid. Bring it to full pressure. Reduce the flame to low and cook for another 2 mins.
·         Turn off the heat and allow to cool naturally. Mix the rice with the vegetables before serving.
·         Garnish with cashew nuts.
·         Serve warm with raita




For Onion Raita
·         Slice the onion and green chilli.
·         Beat 1 cup of curd/yogurt adding little salt.
·         Mix the onion, green chilli and coriander leaves with the curd/yogurt.
·         Raita can be made with many variations. You can add diced cucumber, shredded carrot, mint leaves
         cumin etc.. to the yogurt