Friday, March 26, 2010

Watermelon-Mint Crush- Beat the Heat!

Since its the first time I am blogging on the watermelon I thought of doing some research on this refreshing fruit. Was I in for a surprise with some of the facts I found!

Health Benefits
  • Watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight, thus has an excellent capacity to rehydrate and gives a special cooling effect.
  • It is packed with some of the most important antioxidants found in nature.
  • Contains large amounts of beta-carotene (one can guess with the colour).
  • The red flesh is a significant source of lycopene. This can help reduce the risk of prostrate cancer. Infact it is the only fruit that contains higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.
  • It is rich in electrolytes sodium and potassium that we lose through our perspiration.
  • Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Food experts recommend watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Because of its higher water content approximately ninety percent and calorie value it is ranked more valuable than other fruits. 

Did You Know?
  • Watermelon rinds are also edible, and sometimes used as a vegetable. In China, they are stir-fried, stewed, or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the de-skinned and de-fruited rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, scallions, sugar and rum. Pickled watermelon rind is also commonly consumed in the Southern US, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.
  • In Japan, farmers of the Zentsuji region found a way to grow cubic watermelons, by growing the fruits in glass boxes and letting them naturally assume the shape of the receptacle. The square shape is designed to make the melons easier to stack and store, but the square watermelons are often more than double the price of normal ones. Pyramid shaped watermelons have also been developed and any polygonal shape may potentially also be used.
  • There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon ranging in size from less than a pound, to more than 200 pounds with flesh that is red, orange, yellow, or white.
  • Yellow Crimson Watermelon has been described as "sweeter" and more "honey" flavoured than the more popular red flesh watermelon.
Watermelon-Mint Crush

A sprig of mint leaves
Chilled watermelon cubes
2 ice cubes


  • In a juicer, run the washed mint leaves, with a cube of ice.
  • Add the deseeded watermelon cubes with another cube and juice.
  • Serve chilled and Beat the Heat!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alphabet Soup

I have not been able to blog of late, no thanks to the summer viral flu in the air. The kids took turns with it. But it gets even better now! Joel's got summer vacations, begining tomorrow. So I would be busy thinking of ways to keep my busy bodies busy. If I do think of sneaking in a post, the brother-sister duo would be at their creative best, with their freedom, and I would have to be prepared for surprises not necessarily pleasant. Hmm I would have to think of a few strategies here.

So here's some Alphabet Soup to herald the summer vacations! Simple to make easy to fascinate kids.

1 onion sliced
1 carrot cubed
2 cloves of oven roasted garlic
1tsp butter
Alphabet pasta
salt to taste

  • Heat butter in a heavy bottomed vessel, saute the onions.
  • Add the cubed carrots, garlic and 1 cup water, cover and cook.
  • When done, cool, drain(reserve) and puree the veggies.
  • In a separate dish, boil water and cook the pasta and drain.
  • Mix the puree, pasta, add the reserve to change the consistency, add salt and give it a boil.
  • Add freshly ground pepper and serve hot.
Now how many letters and numbers can you spot?

Sending this post for Souper Sundays

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

We finally have the results of the Giveaway sponsored by CSN stores. The winner of this yoghurt maker worth $30 was picked up randomly.

The 6th comment. Who is it???
Mary Ann Dames

Congratulations Mary Ann. Do mail me your postal address so that I can inform CSN stores to send you this gift. Hope you enjoy this product.
A big thank you to CSN stores for making this giveaway possible. Hoping to make many more possible for my lovely readers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Choco-Dates Compound Butter

Compound butters (French: "Beurre composé") are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce.

Compound butters can be sweet or savoury. I ventured into compound butters thanks to a challenge by Natasha from 5Star Foodie. Its by far the simplest recipe I've blogged about till date. No cook, no bake, just mix, roll, chill, cut and use. I decided to make mine sweet and I did enjoy it. My kids think its chocolate.

Special thanks to Mary Ann who is always ready to answer my queries on nutrition.

No proportions for this one, just follow your taste-buds.

Choco-Dates Compound Butter
Unsalted butter
Cocoa powder
Icing sugar
Chopped dates

  • Bring the butter to room temperature.
  • Combine all the ingredients well.

  • Place the mixture into a cling film and roll into desired shape. I chose to use a triangular shape to get more of a chocolate effect.
  • Chill.
  • When its half set, press wedges with the side of a spoon. This will make it easier to slice into proportions when you want to use it.

  • When its fully set remove the cling film, slice and serve over a toast.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Falooda- Beat the Heat!

In our home Falooda is the top ranking Beat the Heat drink/dessert
Hubby and I are addicted to Falooda and what's better than preparing your own. One hot day when we were out on errands and shopping we stopped at a Cool bar for Falooda. We were so disappointed,- it was too sweet, the jelly was too thick and there was sago used. We usually relish Falooda, but after having that version I didnt want to have Falooda for sometime.

Here's my version to share with you, but dont forget to garnish with some chopped nuts. I was in a mighty hurry to photograph this one. My little girl loves Falooda, she can gulp it all down in one go. So I had to prepare this while she was napping in order to click a picture. At the age of 2 she does not understand why something that looks so good needs to be photographed, instead of devoured. Often she is so impatient as I try to take a picture of my food, that after I have clicked and check if its good enough, I find a little hand in the picture edging towards the dish!

1tbs rose syrup
2tsps basil seeds/sabja
2cups milk
Rice vermicilli
Ice cream
Condensed milk to sweeten
Chopped nuts
1 cardamom

  • Basil seeds- soak in water till they swell. Drain after they are ready.
  • Vermicilli- cook in boiling water and drain.
  • Milk- boil and reduce to half, sweeten with condensed milk. Peel, and crush cardamom and add to the milk.
  • Jelly- scrape it with a fork, to get blobs.
  • Chill all the above before layering.
Some recipes for Falooda suggest mixing all the ingredients in the milk. I believe Falooda must be layered with all the chilled ingredients.
  1. Take a tall glass and pour in the rose syrup.
  2. Add the basil seeds.
  3. Layer the vermicilli.
  4. Add the jelly.
  5. Pour in the sweetened, flavoured milk.
  6. Top with scoops of ice-cream.
  7. Garnish with chopped nuts
Enjoy and Beat the Heat!

You might also like-

Sending this for 5Star Makeover Smoothies and Shakes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pav Bhaji

 Pav bhaji (also transliterated as pao bhaji and pau bhaji) is a classic fast food dish native to Maharashtrians and is popular in most metropolitan areas in India, particularly in the Maharashtrian city of Mumbai and Pune. "Pav" in Marathi means bread. "Bhaji" is a term for a curry and vegetable dish. 

The origin of this dish is traced to the heyday of the textile mills in Mumbai. The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. Roti or rice was replaced with pav and the curries that usually go with Indian bread or rice were amalgamated into just one spicy concoction-the 'bhaji'. Initially, it remained the food of the mill-workers. With time the dish found its way into restaurants and spread over Central Mumbai and other parts of the city. Such is popularity of this dish, that it is common to find it on the menu of most Indian restaurants serving fast food in Asia (especially Singapore, Hong Kong), America, UK (London), Switzerland and elsewhere.

It is consumed as a snack, between lunch and dinner, particularly by individuals in western India. Pav bhaji is available on hand carts. It is also available in almost all hotels and eateries. In recent years, pav bhaji is also being consumed as a light evening meal, and is also a party favorite.

To sum up its a fast food that is a dream of every mom- an ideal way of getting kids to eat a medley of veggies with no resistance!

So here's the classic Pav Bhaji with just one small twist. In addition to all the regular veggies used for this dish, I also use Drumstick/Moringa.

It is known to be a great source of calcium and a blood purifier.


Veggies 1

2 large potatoes
1 carrot
3 florets of cauliflower
1 drumstick

Veggies 2
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 onion minced
2 tomatoes minced
1/2  green pepper/capsicum minced
1/2 cup green peas
1-2 tsp Pav Bhaji masala
(availabe at stores, if you cant get it, it contains a combination of the following spices)
ground cumin
ground pepper
ground cardamom
chilli powder
ground fennel
ground cinnamon
salt to taste

To serve-
Lemon juice
freshly chopped coriander
Pav/ wholemeal buns


  • Boil "veggies1"- Cut the drumstick into 2 inches sticks and boil with other vegetables.
  • When done peel the potatoes, open the drumsticks and scoop out the flesh and seeds.
  • Then mash all the vegetables roughly.
  • Heat oil in a pan, saute the onions and garlic.
  • Add the green pepper and peas, cover and cook.
  • Add the tomatoes, cover and cook.
  • When "veggies2" are all cooked, add salt to taste and pav bhaji masala.
  • To this mixture add 1/4 cup water and the mashed veggies1.
  • Stir till well combined.
  • Switch off the heat
To Serve-

  • Slit the buns in the centre, butter them and toast lightly on a girdle/tawa, till they are crisp on one side.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the bhaji, garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
  • Drop a cube of butter in the centre. This is placed over the pipping hot bhaji such that it melts and infuses into the dish before your eyes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Homemade Jelly- Beat the Heat

With your responses to my post on Pineapple-Barley Squash I realised that many of you are trying to "Beat the Heat" with full-blown summer in your side of the world as well. So I decided to do a "Beat the Heat" series to fall back on a collection of chilled desserts and drinks.

Ever tried to take a picture of Jelly? It seems to wobble forever! My kids had fun poking it and watching it wobble. And I am feeling quite good at being successful at my first try at homemade jelly.

25gms gelatine
3-4tbs rose syrup/cordial
3-4 tbs honey(according to taste)
3cups water

  • Heat the water in a dish, add the rose syrup and stir well.
  • When the water boils, add honey and the gelatine and stir well. Take off the heat.
  • Keep stirring till you can no longer see any gelatine crystals.
  • Pour into mould and let it set.
  • Once it cools completely, chill.
  • Your jelly is ready to serve!

If you havent participated in the giveaway yet, dont forget to check out how you can win this yoghurt maker. Click here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Semolina Upma

Of late, whenever I serve Joel his food, he tells me," Wait, I need to take a picture." Then he pretends to take a picture of the food with his pretend camera and shows it to me, asks me how it looks and then proceeds to eat. So much for having a food blogger for his mom!

Upma is a classic South Indian breakfast preparation. A great way of including a lot of veggies and a filling dish to give you a headstart for the day. I usually include tomatoes and peas as well, but hubby prefers his upma without them. However I've included them in the recipe for you, though you dont see them in the picture.

1 cup semolina
1tsp mustard seeds
1 green chilli minced
1/2 inch ginger peeled and crushed
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
1 onion minced
1/4 cup carrot grated
1 tomato minced
1/4 cup green peas

To garnish-
Fresh coriander
Grated coconut(optional)

  • Roast the semolina in 1 tsp oil and keep aside.
  • Heat oil, crackle mustard seeds.
  • Add the minced onions, chilli and ginger and saute.
  • Add all the vegetables, cover and cook.
  • Add the water and let it boil on medium flame. Add the salt. Taste and check at this point.
  • Reduce the flame and drop the roasted semolina slowly stirring all the time, so that lumps do not form.
  • Mix all the veggies well and when the semolina is cooked take off the heat.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.

  • If you like the grated coconut as well, here's what it will look like.

  • Serve hot.

You might like

Oatmeal Upma

Vermicilli Upma

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paneer Burji/Scrambled Cottage Cheese

I know all of you are familiar with scrambled eggs, but I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with scrambled cottage cheese. An Indian favourite with rotis and very easy to prepare. If you dont make rotis you can serve it with wholemeal bread and you wont be disappointed. If you like it spicy you can add a chopped green chilli as well.
Tip- Dont overcook the cottage cheese. If overcooked it turns chewy and loses its soft texture. So for best results in a paneer preparation always add it last and take it off the heat once you have stirred well.

If you'd like to try a hand at homemade Paneer, click here.

Paneer Burji/Scrambled Cottage Cheese
Ingredients-200gms Paneer/Cottage cheese
1onion sliced
1 green pepper/capsicum sliced
1 tomato sliced
1/4tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4tsp garam masala
salt to taste
To garnish
Freshly chopped coriander
  • Heat oil in a pan, and crackle the mustard seeds.
  • Add sliced onions and saute. Then add the sliced green pepper/capsicum, stir, cover and cook. When half cooked add the tomatoes, cover and cook.
  • Add the tumeric, chilli garam masala powders and salt. Stir well.
  • Add crumbled cottage cheese/paneer and stir well. Take off the heat.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
  • Serve hot with hot rotis.
Sending this for Side Dish Showdown


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