28 February 2017

Mixed Vegetable ishtu - A vegetable stew Kerala style


kerala-ishtu-recipe


Mixed vegetable ishtu is actually the Malayalam/Kerala version of the vegetable stew .This stew is easy to prepare one .Lots of vegetables added to this Kerala curry and simmered in coconut milk and seasoned with mild spices .Vegetable Ishtu is a classic traditional Kerala dish that goes well with appam/Palappam/Velyappam/idiyappam mostly . Unlike other stews,Kerala ishtu doesn't need to be simmered for long .So,it is quick and easy stew recipe .

vegetable-potato-ishtu-recipe


I wonder how it got its name "Ishtu" like "is stew" ,may be ,I remember how my mom would tell me a few items got its name when pronounced in Malayalam, mimicking the British style (and vice versa) during British era in India ...Perhaps,ishtu also falls in that category ...

And this is how I make mixed vegetable ishtu Kerala style .

Mixed Vegetable Ishtu Recipe

Ingredients
Carrot,diced - 1 No.
Beans,chopped - 3-4 Nos.
Green Peas - 1-2 Tbsp
Potatoes,boiled - 3 Nos.
Onion,medium,sliced - 1/2
Green Chilies,sliced - 3-4 Nos.
Ginger,sliced/julienne - 1 Tbsp
Cloves - 2 Nos.
Cardamom - 2 Nos.
Cinnamon -1 inch
Black pepper - 8-10 Nos.
Black Pepper powder - 1 Tsp (optional)
Thick Coconut milk/Onnam Pal - 1 cup
Semi-thick coconut milk /Randaam Pal- 1 cup 
Salt to taste
Coconut oil - 1-2 Tbsp
Curry leaves,a sprig


Preparation method of vegetable ishtu :Pls watch my video that will show you step by step how to make vegetable ishtu/Vegetable stew Kerala style :


Usually,appam and idiyappams are served with spicy curries and also with non-vegetable curries but if you are not into a spicy curry or a non-vegetarian fan,then this mixed vegetable ishtu is meant exclusively for you .

Try this stew/Ishtu from God's own country that is subtle,creamy,light,mild,aromatic and delicious.


22 February 2017

How I made homemade ghee /Clarified butter with homemade butter and WHY ?

homemade-ghee-recipe

 Bhagavad-gita.org - The Vedas have stated that the milk of a cow is equivalent to ambrosial nectar and that ghee derived from cows milk is the best of all libations poured onto the sacred fires of Brahmins.
 The word ghee is derived from the Sanskrit language: ΰ€˜ृΰ€€ (ghαΉ›ta meaning'sprinkled').

When my favorite butter got clarified by its nature,qualities,properties annd benefits ,it became Ghee ,a clarified butter . (Ironically speaking !)

If butter is considered sacred and beneficial ,ghee is considered a tad more special and spiritual - pure flowing golden elixir since ancient days especially in India and that's why we (Hindus) worship cow .

kamadhenu-cow
Picture credit :http://www.harekrsna.de/kamadhenu.htm


Our Holy Cow (no pun intended!)  and Ghee  :

Indians, especially Hindus ,consider cows just like mother nature ; Simply natural and life promoting.In every cow,we believe is a descendant of the holy God-ly cow,Kamadhenu/Surabhi ,Cow of God ,especially supreme Hindu God,Lord Shri Krishna's and why shouldn't we even if it didn't have any importance in our ancient scriptures,stories/puranas .

It is pure common sense ; I mean look at this humble selfless cow (unconditional love),it provides us milk which as a matter of fact , belongs to its calf ,which we may further culture it into a yogurt and or homemade Indian cheese,paneer or churn it into a butter or clarify it into ghee and then use any of these dairy products or by-products into any recipe and it becomes tad more special ,taste wise and health wise .

ghee-made-at-home
Ghee is known as "Neyy/neyi" in Malayalam -Language of Kerala

Not only that,even cow urine is considered to possess pious and medicinal properties and even cow dung is used for religious ceremonies, like in South India,before preparing a home for some special puja/worship/festival/religious ceremony by Hindu priest/pujari,the house premises where puja will be conducted are usually smeared with cow dung and washed off with water,that is considered to spiritually/religiously purify that area like remove any negativity from that place and make it ready to fill in with positivity .

In rural areas,where people don't have gas stove,they use cow dung/gobar ,sundried like a pancake as a fuel to burn or cook food in place of woods.

krishna
Picture credit :http://www.blog.gomataseva.org/cows-in-vedic-tradition/
In the Hindu's Holy book,Bhagawad Gita,Cow has got a supreme respectful status .To emphasize it in true /practical sense,Lord Shri Krishna,the supreme God of Hindus ,himself,took an earthly incarnation/ birth as a human and spent his childhood days among cows as a cow herd with his Gopis/milkmaid girl friends(though he was a prince of Mathura ) and so he is popularly known as Govinda or Gopala,the protector of cows ...Jai Govinda!

old-Indian-stamp
An old Indian stamp via Pinterest
Sad,that our modern era is forgetting the importance of cows,natural organic milks etc etc day by day.Today,cows roam loosely in the busy streets especially in North India,are neglected or butchered for meat or hardly well taken care of, even by the dairy farms or people who own them.Though during my childhood days,I was fortunate enough to enjoy fresh milk we got from the local milkman with healthy cows,unfortunately,today,milks are sold more in packets - plastic packets/bottles.

Pic credit - http://www.fullsirclefarms.com/omaha-steaks/

Today ,these innocent animals-cows are fed non-organic fodders or injected with dangerous hormones to produce high quantity of milk (loaded with hormones harmful to human consumption) and or meat,likewise,butters ,yogurts,ghees are all adulterated for commercial purpose. πŸ˜”πŸ˜‘

Pic credit - http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-milk-ncr-safety-standards-2880323/

Neither there are fresh milk widely available today ,even if they do,hardly anyone wants to or finds time to make fresh homemade yogurts,butter,ghee etc like olden days as even people want to live an easy -ready made,pre-prepared life ,a materialistic life,the result - stressful,unhealthy life where money can solve any problems but mostly in vain.I wonder where are we heading to ?πŸ˜’

Ayurveda and Ghee 

According to Ayurveda,the ancient purely natural healthcare system of India,a science of life ,which relies on balance of mind,body and spirit ,Ghee is considered the natural miracle elixir . Why ?

Look at the benefits of ghee :
  1. Ghee is a great energy booster and improves overall metabolism
  2. Ghee promotes ojas and tejas - rejuvenates the body inside out by lubricating the connective tissues,digestion,detoxification,promotes the essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy body.
  3. Ghee improves immune system and has anti-oxidant properties ,protects body from deadly diseases like Cancer,Cholesterol,controls thyroid issues,various allergies etc.
  4. Ghee is lactose and gluten friendly.
  5. Ghee is excellent for growing kids ,healthy pregnant women and recovering patients the most.
  6. Ghee improves memory,intelligence and overall brain functions.
  7. Ghee has a high smoking point than butter and is therefore excellent for cooking without burning or splattering or losing it's vital properties on high heat and producing any dangerous free radicals thereby.
  8. Ghee has an anti-inflammatory property and is easier to digest than butter.
  9. Ghee even helps in weight loss ,though moderation is the key .
  10. Ghee is great for dry skin,hair growth ,eyes,dark lips and under eyes dark circles or an overall natural moisturizing age-defying skin enhancing home remedy.
  11. Ghee is also an excellent natural anti-septic remedy ,used since olden days to treat wounds,burns,scars etc.
  12. Ghee has a longer shelf life and doesn't spoil easily even when kept in room temperature. 
how-to-make-ghee

In India,ghee is used in cooking and for religious purpose.Ghee is exclusively used for making sweets,savory and day to day cooking tad more special all over India.Ghee can make any recipes especially Indian, extraordinary ,at the same time,it is not that affordable for everyone and too much of ghee can be harmful in the long run.That's why not every household would be willing to cook using ghee everyday .

Types of Ghee :

According to Ayurveda, there are almost eight kinds of ghee and the best ghee-s are those made up of human breast milk and cow (Purely grass fed or organic cattle foods feds) ~ Wiki.

Other popular ghee is made from Buffalo milk which is thicker in consistency and has even slightly more vitamins and minerals than cow's milk but cow's milk is easily digestible especially for babies or patients and soothing for proper digestion yet nourishment .

There is also camel milk and goat milk with amazing health benefits .

Now there is another dangerous ghee,also popularly used in North India,vanaspati ghee ,vanaspati means vegetable ,but is actually a hydrogenated solidified vegetable oil (usually palm oil) that looks like ghee and is a cheaper substitute to ghee and is also therefore widely used in Indian restaurants and health wise it is very high in trans fat making it very harmful for creating deadly health conditions."Dalda" is one of the most popular vanaspati ghee used in India.

ghee-recipe


Nutrition

Ghee is composed of 62% of saturated fat about 8mg of cholesterol per teaspoon.1 Tbsp ghee = 112 calories and no sugar,sodium,fiber or carbs.

More or less Ghee alike-s outside India:
  1. Egypt -Samna Baladi meade especially with Buffalo milk .
  2. Ethipoia - niter kibbeh
  3. Eritrea - Tesmi
  4. North Africa-Smen
  5. North Eastern Brazil - Manteiga-de-garrafa (butter-in-a-bottle) or Manteiga-da-terra (butter of the land) 
  6. Europe- Butterschmalz
  7. Japan - Ghee is mentioned in Nirvaan sutra to make  Daigo.  
  8. Ghee is also used in Srilanka,Pakistan etc

How much ghee is recommended as a part of a healthy diet?

3-4 Teaspoons or less per day .People with pre-existing bad cholesterol,obesity or  heart diseases should consume ghee carefully.

How is ghee made with butter?

Ghee is made by melting butter on low flame until all water evaporates and milk solids deposits at the bottom and the pure fat is extracted and it turns golden clear liquid  a.k.a Ghee /clarified butter .

Ingredients for making butter are just butter (preferably unsalted) ,LOTS of patience and a non-stick saucepan (as it is easy to clean it up)

Preparation of ghee at home using butter - Pls watch my video that will demo step by step how to make homemade ghee or clarified butter at home using my homemade butter :



NOTE: 
  • Ghee should be stored in an airtight container and it is not must to store it in refrigerator but it is good to ,the ghee can be kept outside the refrigerator as well.Just make sure that ,it remains moisture free like use only dry spoons to scoop out ghee or it will encourage bacterial growth and spoil the ghee.This homemade ghee remains fresh for 6 months approx and if stored in the freezer can remain fresh for a year.
  • You can add spices to flavor the butter .
  • The milk solids left after making butter can be eaten by itself or add little sugar or spice and eat it.It tastes good but some may not like it.
  • I got approx 200 gm of butter here. 
  • I am still trying to find the best organic butter or milk I can trust for making shudh ghee or desi ghee and this is to show how I make ghee at home with butter mainly.
 
Namo Brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah ~ Vishnu Purana 1.19.65

Meaning : “I offer repeated obeisances unto Lord Krishna, who is the protector and well-wisher of the cows and the Brahmanas. He is also the protector of the entire society. Unto that Lord, who is always satisfying the senses of the cows, I offer my obeisances again and again.” (via gomataseva.org)

In this kali yuga,may we always remind ourselves to respect everyone ,everything whether it is a humble cow,any other living things,women,any person from different religion,caste,creed,color,any harmless religious practice etc - regardless ,that purifies our soul day by day..May we protect them ,respect them ,nurture them and value them always...

P.S.:Dear western society ,when we say "HOLY COW!",we (Hindus) mean it (Pun intended yet no pun intended) πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

Hare Govinda,Hare Gopala...









References :
  1. http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Articles/holy-cow.html 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghee
  3.  https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/ghee/
  4. http://vrindavanmilk.com/blog/buffalo-milk-vs-cow-milk/
  5. http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-butters-ghee-clarified_f-ZmlkPTEzMTA2MA.html
  6. http://www.blog.gomataseva.org/cows-in-vedic-tradition/
  7. http://www.harekrsna.de/kamadhenu.htm 
  8. http://www.fullsirclefarms.com/omaha-steaks/
  9. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-milk-ncr-safety-standards-2880323/

15 February 2017

Crispy crunchy Ulli Vada recipe |Onion Fritters Kerala Style|Pyaaz Pakoda


ulli-vada-recipe-kerala-style


Ulli vada is nothing but Onion fritters Kerala style /Onion Pakoda (Pyaaz Pakoda) in Hindi .Ulli vada ,I believe, is the easiest fritters among the vadas ,which doesn't require any soaking lentils ,grinding into any sorta paste ,neither,like any other fritters that require a liquid-y batter to make them .Yes,this Ulli vada has in itself the magic to make the batter and that's exactly what I love about them and what made me a fan of this crispy crunchy ulli vada .

It was my better 1/2 who introduced me to this onion fritters in Kerala because he is a die hard fan of snacks and ulli vada from Kerala tops that list .However,there are two different kinds of ulli vada it seems - one ulli vada made with Gram flour/Kadalamaavu and other Ulli vada made with All purpose flour/Maida which is quite sold in almost all restaurants from small scale to upscale restaurants in Kerala.Both vadas look different and so are their taste .However,my hubby loves both Ulli vadas and I am a fan of the ulli vada made with gram flour only and that is the one I make at home mostly .

kerala-ulli-vada-recipe


This ulli vada made with besan/Gram Flour/Kadalamaavu is quite easy to make and sooo tasty ...Some people prefer to eat this vada with ketchup especially kids but myself and my better 1/2 loves to eat this ulli vada with hot cup of tea and if it is raining outside or is cloudy or is chilly or is weekend ,then it becomes tad more special .πŸ’•πŸ˜

There are even two ways to make this ulli vada.So,first let's see how I make the ulli vada recipe Kerala style at home :

Ulli Vada recipe 

Ingredients

Onion,sliced - 1 big
Salt to taste
Gram Flour/Besan/Kadalamaavu - 2- 4 Tbsp
Rice Flour - 1-2 Tbsp
Green Chillies,chopped - 3-4 nos.
Ginger,chopped - 1-2 Tsp
Curry leaf- a sprig
Red chilli powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Oil,for deep frying


Preparation method of Ulli Vada - Pls watch my videos that will show how to make Ulli vada at home


This is that vada,that you can prepare in jiffy and everyone is surely gonna love it..It is thaaat crunchy,crispy,TASTY...

Cheers to Ulli Vada,




11 February 2017

Quick and easy Bread Rasmalai


Instant-bread-rasmalai
Bread Rasmalai is a famous Indian sweet or dessert that was derived or say inspired by the original authentic sweet ,"Rasmalai " (My mouth is watering!😝) ,which is one of the popular sweet in India.However,to make the original Rasmalai,it can be little time consuming .

bread-rasmalai-recipe

 So,bread Rasmalai is an easy version of the authentic version,Rasmalai - say a poor man's Rasmalai πŸ˜‹or a lazy man's Rasmalai πŸ˜‰; That can be quickly made with a few breads at home .If you are tired of eating bread and butter or bread sandwiches ,French toast etc etc and want a change and if you have a sweet tooth then this Bread Rasmalai is certainly for you ,even if you don't have a sweet tooth you should also give it a try .You won't regret ! Add little sweet-ness to your lifeπŸ˜πŸ˜†


Look at those bread slices ,it is like they are having a luxurious shweet spa treatment !

Moreover,I am going to share how to make an instant Bread Rasmalai recipe that you can prepare more quickly ,easily annd it tastes awesome in its own way .


bread-rasmalai-recipe


So,this is how I make my quick and easy Bread Rasmalai at home :

Instant Bread Rasmalai Recipe

Makes 2-4 Nos.

Ingredients

Bread slices - 2-4 Nos.
Milk - 1/2 cup
Condensed Milk - 1/2 Cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 - 1/2 Tsp
A few Saffron strands
A few broken nuts- Pistachios and Almond slivers


Preparation method to make bread Rasmalai : Pls watch my video that will show you how to make this quick and easy tasty Rasmalai at home .


So,if you are craving for some instant sweet and you have some breads playing hide and seek in your refrigerator .Go seek them right away and make their and your's life more sweeter hehee πŸ˜œπŸ’•


08 February 2017

Kundru ki Bhujia/Bhunjia|Ivy Gourd Bihari style recipe


kundru-ki-bhujia


Kundru ki bhujia/bhunjia is a North Indian recipe - An Ivy Gourd stir fry Bihari style recipe .This Ivy Gourd recipe is quite simple to make and it goes really well with roti,chapathi,rice,poori etc .

Whenever I make this Ivy Gourd recipe,the simple aroma emitting from this very simple stir fry,reminds me of my neighbor next door Bihari aunty's kitchen ,which was adjacent to our quarter's kitchen in North India ,during my childhood days.

ivy-gourd-stir-fry-kovakka


It was a clash of Titans..err,I mean kitchens - South (Ours) vs North(Her's) aromas and for me, I loved more North Indian foods and so ,the aroma from Bihari aunty's cooking won my heart which was as beautiful as aunty used to be/is . One of my mom's best friend and amma was so enchanted by aunty's surreal beauty that she named her "Hema Malini" - the yesteryear stunning Bollywood actress .(Shhhh..That was a family shh-ecret !!)πŸ˜†

And as I have mentioned several times,we used to live in an amazing neighborhood or may be it was my parent's amazing rapport with everyone regardless, we all shared food with each other occasionally,special food preparations during festivals or just like that and this Ivy Gourd stir fry /Kovakka mezhukkupurratti /Kovakkai poriyal was one which my dearest Bihari aunty would share with us with hot soft and fluffy poori-s .

And ,
This is how Ivy Gourd stir fry Bihari recipe - kundru in Hindi and bhujia/bhunjia means stir fry is made (by aunty's grace) :

Bihari Kundru ki Bhujia 

Ingredients

Ivy Gourd/Kundru/Kovakka - 3 Cups
Green chillies -3-4 nos
Garlic - 1-2 Nos.
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Mustard oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Salt to taste


Preparation method to make this ivy gourd recipe : Pls watch the video that will guide you how to make this kundru ki bhujia properly.





06 February 2017

How to make quick and easy butter at home|Homemade butter recipe


how-tomake-butter-at-home
I LOVE butter ! However, I hardly use it in my cooking ,mostly restricted to baking cake only .Just like the never-ending debate of butter being harmful to health or not since years and the conclusion that too much of butter is indeed harmful to health and it should be eaten in moderation , I learned (hard-way) to self-control my urge to splurge on butter (Did that rhyme?)

Thing is ,I can eat butter like a dessert and once I  start eating butter ,it becomes totally irresistible for me to eat a little at a time just like Indian sweets and especially if it is "AMUL" brand,the most popular butter of India,I am unstoppable .I am quite brand loyal there !πŸ™Œ

Pic credit :http://wcrcleaders.com

No other brand of butter ever tasted like Amul,I don't know if that's because it has got a nostalgic connection to it as Amul butter was our go-to brand at my home since I was little and my mother had a hard time hiding butter- Whenever,she would be gearing up to whip up some sweets ,desserts that require butter ,she only found a packet with covers smeared with some leftover butter here and there.😏😁

I also had a similar hairstyle like Amul girl.If someone would ask me to draw my cartoon when I was a cutie naughty girl ,don't be surprised if I just drew her. πŸ˜† πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

I wonder if she is my amul-ya kumbh ke mele mein bhichdi hui twin πŸ˜‹πŸ˜…

homemade-butter-recipe


Not only that,I also believe, I have a divine connection with butter because according to our Indian astrology,my nakshatra,the Indian zodiac sign is Ashtami Rohini ,which is also the Supreme Hindu God,Shri Krishna's as well and all Indians are well aware of the fact ,that butter is Lord Shri Krishna's favourite food and his mischievous tales of stealing and eating butter at home non-stop,churned by his mother,Yashoda and Yashoda also had a hard time controlling Lord's splurge thereby.

Picture credit : EVERAFTERGUIDE.COM


And so ,my mother would always pull my leg reminding me every now and then ,why I adore butter so much ! Guess what, even our house name in Kerala is related to Shri Krishna's native place.

Jai Shri Krishna ! Well,sab bhagwaan Shri Krishna ki maya hain maa 😊😜

quick-and-easy-butter-recipe


So,well,it's in-built in my nakshatra.You see,I can't help it .That's why, I only buy butter when I have to by any means use butter in my recipes and butter substitutes like margarine etc are certainly a no-no for me and I consider them more unsafe for health.

Butter has been used since millennia from civilization to civilization ,culture to culture,country to countries,recipes to cooking and is considered sacred physically,mentally and spiritually from time immemorial around the world.

The name ,"Butter", originated form the term "Bou-Tyron" meaning,Cow cheese in Greek .

Pure butter is in fact very beneficial for good health and well-being overall : BUT,moderation is the key!

Benefits of butter:

Credit:OrganicFacts
  • Butter has loads of vitamins and minerals .
  • Provides healthy saturated fats to build metabolism and when taken in moderation even helps in promoting weight loss.
  • Helps in hormone production - especially thyroid related ones.
  • Keeps our immune system strong.
  • Maintains strong bone and teeth.
  • Helps in the development of brain,nervous system etc.
  • Protects against any gastrointestinal infections or arthritis in joints.
  • Good for skin ,hair and eyes.
Did You Know ?
  1. The first reference to butter was found 4,500 years ago on a limestone illustrating how butter was made in ancient times.
  2. Greeks ,Romans and Egyptians used butter for cosmetic use for soft skin and hair and for medicinal purpose to soothe cough ,infections,eye problems  etc
  3. In India,butter was considered holy and used for religious purpose and also to light lamps.
  4. In Northern Europe,butter was used for preventing any kidney or bladder stone formation .
  5. In Bible ,butter is considered divine as well,mentioned as special offering to three angels by Abraham and Sarah.
Aaand,

Did you know,I made quick and easy homemade butter in just 10 minutes?

This butter recipe is quite easy and simple .There is only one ingredient for making this super quick butter at home by using a blender and just Heavy whipping cream (I used 1 Quart - 946 ml but any amount can be used ,just follow the exact method to make this butter) .What I loved the most was the transformation process of becoming flavorful butter from cream, which tastes better than a store-bought one .It is pure magic !!

So,why don't you watch my video that will show you how I made this easy homemade butter recipe:



My most favorite comfort food to eat and I wish I could eat it every morning every day is simple-y - Warm soft White bread ,smeared with pale ,smooth,soft ,lukewarm butter - oh Utterly butter-ly delicious (Right Amul ?) !!!



01 February 2017

Tricolor Puttu recipe|Indian Republic Day special tricolor food dedication

Republic-Day-India-Tricolor-puttu-recipe


On the eve of the 68th Republic day celebration in India on January 26th ,even my food ,as most of the time, got a patriotic makeover by becoming a simple humble puttu to a Tricolor Puttu .

The basic Kerala puttu is made up of rice powder and coconut which may not be thaaat healthy .So,I infused some grated carrots,green mung beans and turned it into a healthy and republic day special tricolor food

India-Independence-day-tricolor-recipe


So,Tricolor puttu is a healthy version of Kerala puttu recipe with the goodness of vitamins in carrot,fiber and protein in mung beans/cherupayar and rice is carb and coconut is a good fat ,nutritious and so they are as colorful and meaningful like the Indian flag.So,this is an Indian Republic day's special tri color food representing India /my humble dedication as always.


Please watch my video to see ,the tricolor puttu recipe and how to make step by step this tricolor recipe :



Khoob bahthi hai, aman ki ye Ganga bahne do,
Math phehalao desh mein danga,ye rehne do,
Laal harein rang mein na baaton humko,
Mere chathh par ye tiranga rehne do...

May the Indian tricolor flag always fly high and proud,
May every Indians mingle well wherever they go ,whichever crowd,
May humanity and love be our religion,
May we spread peace,happiness and prosperity as our passion..

Jai Hind !!

Happy Belated Republic Day India,

Miss you !