Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Spicy Lady's finger; Healthy way to life

Lady's finger in selected spices
 Lady’s finger (bhindi) is a great source of active protein. People who are on restricted diet and on the verge of struggling against obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illness opt for healthy food. But it does not necessarily means that healthy food has to be tasteless. With the incremental percentage of health hazards, people have shifted to spicy health foods. Inspired by one of my friends staying in the US who’s a culinary expert, I have tried a dish with lady’s finger which turned out to be extremely delicious.

Ingredients: (for 2 persons)

Lady’s finger (250 gms.),

Cloves (5 gms. crushed),

Cardamom (2 pieces),

Mangosteen juice,( 1 tablespoon),

Salt as per taste,

Black pepper powder (1 teaspoon),

Olive oil (2 tablespoon).

Procedure: Mangosteen is a tropical fruit found in south East Asian countries. It has got anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. Boil the lady’s finger for 5 minutes and drain the water. Prepare a paste of crushed cloves, crushed cardamom, mangosteen, black pepper in olive oil. Blend the mixture of spices with the lady’s finger and then toss in a pan for 3 minutes. The vegetable along with the spice will give a nice taste. This health food can be tried by people who suffer from all sorts of health problems. Moreover, use of mangosteen is a preventive measure against all the health hazards mentioned above.

You may enjoy this as a salad.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chicken in South Indian style- love the fiery coconutty taste

Yummy chicken in coocnut gravy.

Chicken is the ultimate source of protein. It has high dietary fiber content. Rich in Niacin and Selenium, chicken is categorized as lean meat that protects against cancer and age related deterioration. Chicken can be cooked in a marvelous way when combined with ingredients like coconut. One day I went to a friend’s house who was a South Indian by origin and I was bewildered by the South Indian style of cooking. Chicken cooked with ground coconut, Kari leaves and mustard added a different degree in taste, aroma and I must say that the taste was simply superb. Let me share the recipe with all my readers.

Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Whole chicken (medium sized about 750 gms, cut and cleaned nicely),

Curd (3 tablespoons),

Turmeric powder (1 ½ teaspoons),

Kari leaves (2-3 streams),

Green chilies (10 pcs.)

Mustard seeds (about a pinch),

Coconut oil for frying (preferably),

Grated coconut (1/2 piece),

Saunf or Fennel seeds( 10 gms.),

Poppy seeds ( 10gms.),

Salt according to taste.

Procedure: Cut the chicken into medium pieces and marinate it with curd, salt and turmeric powder for about 10 minutes. Make a blend with ½ pieces of grated coconut, saunf, poppy seeds and green chilies in a mixer grinder. Keep the paste apart. Heat coconut oil in a container and dash mustard seeds, Kari leaves to it. Release the already marinated chicken to it. Cook it for about 5-7 minutes till the chicken gets soft. Add the blend of coconut, saunf and poppy seeds to it. Cook for about 4 minutes till the mixture gets an even blend. Add green chilies slit from between. Add the rest of the curd to it. Cook well till the chicken gets well mixed with all other ingredients. Add ½ cup of water to it. You will get thick gravy which is yellowish white in color. The aroma of Kari leaves is simply mind boggling and you will get the ambience of a typical south Indian cuisine from your kitchen.

You may enjoy this with rice /chapatti. I bet you will enjoy the hot taste madly.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Palak Mushroom- the truly mindblowing innovative experience!

The use of mushroom is becoming popular among the majority of Indian population. The success of a housewife/ chef remains in the fact that how efficiently she combines the ingredients to obtain innovative mouthwatering dishes. Apart from traditional, noveau recipes with an ‘out of the box’ savor are what very much desired out of daily cooking. One such experiment lead me to a great creation of non- traditional recipe ‘Palak mushroom’ which ended in a nice, mind boggling flavor. Let me share the recipe with all of my friends.

Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Button mushroom (1 packet about 250 gms.),

Spinach (4 bundles, normal size),

Ginger-garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Onions (2 medium sized grated),

Tomato (1 medium sized grated nicely),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Green peas ( 20 gms, optional).

Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon),

Chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Garam masala (1 teaspoon) [it is a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves]

Salt according to taste.

Procedure: The spinach has to be cleaned under running tap water in order to clean the least amount of dirt attached with it. Boil water for 5 minutes and then dip the spinach bundles into it so as to disinfect from the least strain of bacteria /germs present in it. The spinach becomes soft. Blend the spinach in a blender so as to obtain a smooth paste. Keep it aside. Take the button mushrooms and put it in boiling water. Boil it for 5 minutes till it becomes soft. Remove the water and allow it to dry. Heat oil in a container and dash the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, green peas) into it. Cook till the vegetables become soft. Add ginger-garlic paste to it. Add the spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric powder, garam masala) to it. It will emit a nice flavor. Cook well till all the ingredients take a nice blend and then add the mushrooms to it. When the mushrooms are nicely cooked then add the palak/spinach paste with it. Cook well for about 10 minutes. The spinach should be well cooked and blend with the other ingredients. I will take a nice green texture and a very even contour. Remove it from the cooking pan and it’s ready to be served.

The taste is really awesome and I guarantee your family will enjoy this new dish. For mushroom lovers it is a heavenly dish. Try the variety of life and enjoy every moment of it.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Soyasambu Conservancy; Simply Heaven on Earth indeed

The peak resembles a shape called Delamere's nose

Kenya is a place of natural wonders. Nowhere on the world can you get such a combination of wildlife, picturesque nature, ravishing waterfalls and prehistoric remains. My recent visit to the Lake Elementeita gives me a fresh lease of opportunity where I could experience the nature from such proximity that I felt myself truly pampered in the lap of Mother Nature. Soyasambu conservancy was created in the year 2008 with a view to protect the flora, fauna of the life bordering Lake Elementita which is to the North West of Gilgil, Rift valley province. Hardly a drive of 2 hours from Nairobi will take you to the land of magical fauna. This place is quite close to Gilgil, a prominent landmark. Soyasambu conservancy which shares it’s boundary on the west with Nakuru National park and is spread over an area of 48,000 acres of land.

The famous Mereroni river

The entry fee at the gate was about 35 $ for the foreign tourists which was a narrow steep road that lead us to the lake. The lake is said to be the home of the pelicans which feed on the Tilapia grahamii available in the water. They breed in the Kekopey hot springs This is a perfect place for bird lovers and a commercial package for this Bird watchers’ sanctuary is a real value for money. The hill at the background of the famous Mereroni river is called the Delamere’s nose. This has been named after Lord Delamere who is the founder of the Soyasambu ranch. The sight of bird catching its prey from the serene water is a very exciting sight.

Glimpse of the wild beauties

Nearly 50 species of mammals are found in the Soyasambu conservancy which includes jackals, hyenas, Rothschild giraffes, Giraffe Manor, Columbus monkeys and other grass eaters. Carnivores are there, but  we were  not lucky to get a glimpse of these wild beauties. Zebras and giraffes were seen hopping and crossing the roads.

Beautiful lodges built beside the serene lake

This famous game drive has been commercialized by famous lodges which provide all facilities for a tourist to spend his day, relax and enjoy world class cuisine over here. The famous Elementita County lodge is surrounded by the Kariandusi prehistoric site where fossils of pre historic animals, axes, and cleavers were found in the year 1928 by the famous archaeologist Louis Leakey. The typical cottages built for tourist represents Afro- British structure and are quite attractive in architecture. We halted here for some refreshment and lunch. The rates of these lodges vary from 150 to 260 US dollars per person per night.

Air ballooning at Soyasambu

For fun loving tourists, there are arrangements for balloon ride. Half an hour ride will give an exciting experience and the view of the entire game drive from several hundred heights above the ground level is a treasured asset. Balloon rides are generally conducted during the morning and afternoons.

There is a famous site called Sleeping Warrior Camp, which is a dormant volcano spread in an area of 20,000 hectares of land. While observed from a distance the partially eroded crater resembles a sleeping warrior. There are accomodations for tents here.

Soyasambu conservancy records visits of famous personalities like Winston Churchill, Evelyn Waugh, Jomo Kenyatta, and Prince Amyn Aga Khan. In fact it’s said that a part of the film’ Tomb Rider ‘was shot over here.

The number of wild beauties in Kenya had gone down tremendously due to illegal poachers and ecological imbalances. But the government has taken strict steps to protect them; laws were enforced so that the merciless killers are prosecuted. So, I must say that nature is at her best in Kenya. I love to visit her treasured wealth and watch the wild beauties again and again.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Vermicelli Upma- exceptionally good, innovative dish! Variety is exciting;

Every one of us is bore with the same type of food, ingredients and combinations. I was watching a game show when an idea of an exceptional dish came to my mind and I thought, let’s give it a try. A fusion of the Western and the Indian culinary art- cooking vermicelli in the style of traditional upma of south Indian style. The blend of vermicelli with Indian spices and herbs were simply superb, and it gave a melt in mouth experience. Let me share this easy yet delicious recipe 'Vermicelli Upma' with all my readers.

Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Vermicelli (1 packet),

Mustard seeds (a pinch),

Kari leaves (about 2 streams),

Tomatoes (1 medium sized chopped),

Onions (1 medium sized chopped),

Potatoes (1 medium sized chopped).

Oil for frying.

Procedure: Boil the vermicelli sticks in hot water till it becomes soft but should be over boiled. The best way to avoid sticking of the vermicelli strips is to boil along with 1 teaspoon oil. Drain the water and allow it to dry. Pour oil in a frying pan and heat it. Dash the chopped vegetables (tomatoes, onions, potatoes) into it. Cook till they become soft. Dash Kari leaves and mustard seeds into the container. You will hear the sizzling of mustards seeds. Add salt according to your taste. Add the already boiled vermicelli into it. Mix well till the whole of the vermicelli mixes well with the vegetables till it gets the aroma of Kari leaves. Remove it from the frying pan and serve it to your family.

It’s quite easy, takes minimum time and a very mush desired item for lunch box. It’s wholesome and convenient. Being a woman of 21st century it’s mandatory for you to adopt easy, smart ways to wholesome food.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Apple Pie - simply irresistible treat for this Easter!

Easter is approaching and it’s high time that the family should sit together to enjoy special delicacies. Let’s make a sweet introduction to this festive season and experience something very different and westernized - Apple pie. Believe me my friends, baking item like this is simply superb in taste but it’s really an easy task to prepare them. All you need to do is put it inside the oven and relax. Your favorite apple pie is ready …………………..indulge yourself to get a bite of the very desired awaited masterpiece culinary creation of yours. Let me share the secret of this recipe with all of my readers.

Ingredients: (for preparing a medium sized one)

Apples medium sized (4 nos. sliced into equal longitudinal pieces),

Lemon juice (squeezed out of 2 medium sized juicy ones),

Sugar (150 gms.),

Cardamom powder (1/3 rd teaspoon),

Unsalted butter (250 gms.),

White flour (350 gms.),

Baking powder (1 teaspoon),

Baking soda (½ teaspoon),

Equipments used:

Pie tray,

Brush to apply oil on surface,


Procedure: The process for making apple pie is depicted in a step wise manner with the help of pictorial illustration.

Step1: Prepare a white flour dough with little oil and water. In case if you are not using self raising flour, please use baking soda and baking powder in the dough. Peel the skin of apples and marinate with freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar (you may even use honey 4-5 teaspoons) and cardamom powder. Keep this marinate for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Roll rounded dough and place it in the pie tray. Apply unsalted butter on the sides of the rim with the help of a brush. The size of the rolled dough should be such that it should hang over minimum 1 inch on the sides of the tray.

Step 3: Blend the already marinated apple slices. It should be roughly blend and then carefully put over the pie.

Step 4: Place another rolled dough over the apple mixture in such a way that it covers the same. This layer also should be minimum ½ inch spread over the pie tray. Then close the two ends in the way shown in the figure. The ends should be folded outside so that they take the shape of a half crown.

Step 5: Preheat the oven at 150 degree Celsius. Bake it inside the oven at 120 degree for 75 minutes. Meanwhile you should check the color of the pie cover. You may apply extra butter over it from time to time. This may be repeated up to four times. You may check with the help of a fork.

Step 6: Make sure that whenever you remove the pie from the oven it should be crunchy and turn to a golden brownish color. Place it on a plate. If you cut from the middle it will be crunchy from outside.

It will be a lovely Easter this time. Enjoy apple pie with your family and friends. Discover the never before taste this festive season.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Oyster mushroom peas curry- Wow! Can simply knock off any non vegetarian item

Taste uncomparable- Oyster mushroom peas curry
Oyster mushroom is growingly popular food stuff available in departmental store. It has got very high nutritional value can be prepared easily and is quite tasty. Well, the western countries are acquainted with the use of oyster mushroom and it marks a different degree in taste while used in sandwiches, soups, stuffed or baked items. I thought in my mind; why not give it a try with the regular Indian spices? I prepared an item which can very well be relished with rice, chapatti and of course can give a blow to mutton, chicken or any non- vegetarian items. Believe it or not, Oyster mushroom peas curry it was simply unparallel in taste. Let me share the recipe with all my readers.

Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Oyster mushroom [1 packet, consists of 350 gms.],

Onions (2 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Tomato (1 big sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Yoghurt/curd (2 teaspoons),

Ginger- garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Potato (1 medium sized chopped into medium pieces),

Green peas (about 20 gms.)

Turmeric powder (½ teaspoon),

Red chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Salt as per taste.

Procedure: Boil water in a container and dip the oyster mushrooms into it. Keep for about 4 minutes and drain the water. This will help to make the mushrooms soft and remove any dirt/germs retained inside. Drain the rice and allow it to dry in open air. Marinate it with ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder for about 10 minutes. Heat oil in a container and dash the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, potatoes) into it. Stir till the vegetables become soft. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and curd into it. Add the already marinated oyster mushroom into it. Mix well with the help of a spatula till the mixture gets an even texture. You may add ½ cup water to it so that the mixture gets a thick gravy appearance. Cook for 5 minutes till the mixture gets a very nice reddish brown color, and then switch off the gas. You may garnish it with slit green chilies and fresh coriander leaves.

You may serve it with chapattis, rice, fried rice or naan. This is a quick item, very nutritious and I guarantee your guests will finish it off to the last stain. Explore the easy culinary skills with easily available food items and get unbelievable results.