baking, healthy baking, oats, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Of seeing joy in simple things…and Wholewheat Oats Jeera(Cumin) Kasoori Methi Crackers

IMG_5750One of the ‘big’ super-special outings my son and I shared while staying in Richmond Town, was to suddenly plan a visit to Cubbon Park ( The above picture is not of Cubbon Park, but another park in Wellington 🙂 ) . The serenity of the park especially on a week-day would re-energize me while the old-world no-frills rides, the toy train, a pack of juice and hot popcorn from the vendor there would fill my son with glee.
We shifted homes some months ago and the Park became very far to go to, in a spontaneous manner. I was a little worried  about how I might explain the sudden drop in our visits to my son when he asks about it again. In addition to that when we moved homes, I was 6 months pregnant with my second baby so I wasn’t looking forward to traversing the breadth of the city.
But, explaining things like distance and traffic to a 4 year old and then seeing his disappointed face- I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Then, he woke up one morning and said “After a while can I have some juice and popcorn?” My response – “Yes you can”. His reply – “Wow, that will be just like a ‘picnic’ , like when we would go to the Cubbon Park”.
A child’s mind is like a natural receptor for picking up the positives, absorbing the fun part of each situation and moving on. The child sees joy in the simplest of things.
An adult’s mind, on the other hand, worries and worries about the negatives and mundane issues. I learnt that from my son that day.
In line with seeing joy in simple things, here is a recipe that is not only simple, but brings together warm and hearty flavours that can create a sense of winter for you, even if you live in a city that does not have winters. Like me.
Wholewheat Oats Jeera-Kasoori Methi Biscuits
Final

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup Oats ( Rolled)

Jeera and Kasoori Methi, as much as you prefer

Salt as per your preference

Homemade garam masala, as per your preference

Red chilly powder , as per your preference

4 tablespoons of oil + 2 / 3 tbsp of ghee ( to make a vegan version, exclude ghee and add only oil)

Warm water to bring the dough together

Method

Mix together whole wheat flour, oats( I ground them roughly), salt, jeera, kasoori methi in a big bowl.

Add the oil and ghee, into the above mix and rub into it till it turns crumby. Add only as much warm water is needed to bring the dough together. 

Preheat oven to 165 degrees Centigrade and prepare your biscuit tray. 

Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut out the crackers with a cookie cutter. Arrange them on the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes till it turns crispy. Cool it off and store. 

 

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baking, gluten-free, healthy baking, millet, rice flour, savoury, Uncategorized, vegan, vegan baking

Being “Grounded” and Gluten-free, Vegan Spicy Jeera Crackers

Final picThe lady who was my house help at my previous home came to meet me a couple of days ago. We started catching up about each other’s lives – her by asking me about how I was coping up with the baby and me by asking her about whether she had found sufficient work. Somewhere along the line the conversation drifted into areas that I realized mattered to both of us, as mothers and working women – children’s education and schools, and rising house rents and inflation.

Life has a funny way of bringing back people from your past always – it’s just an amazing thing because while it’s great to be able to talk about larger complex issues to a wide audience, it’s as important to connect to someone who you can exchange ideas with on the ground level issues at hand – it keeps you grounded. It keeps you wanting to always come back to earth no matter how high you fly. 

Our link to the earth is what drives all else, no matter how widely we travel through the vast, blue skies. And on that note, here is a recipe which is earthy, uses flours and spices are more connected to our Indian taste-buds and fairly easily available locally.

1 1/2 cups Bajra / Pearl Millet flour

1/2 cup Rice flour

Salt , red chilly powder as per your taste

1 tsp of Amchoor powder

1-2 garlic pods that are mashed

2 tbsp Jeera

2 tsp homemade Biryani masala

3 tbsp oil

Hot water to bring it together.

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the oil and rub it in. Add the hot water and knead it. Cover and keep for 30 minutes to rest the dough.

Roll out the dough. Cut the shapes you want ( I used a pizza cutter for this). Roll it very thin so that they are thin and super crisp.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. And let them cool off. Store in an air tight container.

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baking, biscuits, cane sugar, chocolate, coconut sugar, cookies, eggless, gluten-free, healthy baking, liquid jaggery, vegan, vegan baking

The Sounds of the Night and Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits ( Vegan version also)

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It’s 3 weeks since we welcomed our second baby into this world – our little girl.
As it is with newborns – the erratic pattern that sets in with their arrival , seems to be overwhelming at first. You start taking it a day at a time. Then you tell yourself that as a second time mom you are seasoned and will handle it with ease.  Much to your shock you realize that each baby is different ( yes, everyone might say it to you but it’s only when it happens that you realize it )  and while you might be able to handle it a bit better, you still tend to struggle with a lot of the basics.
Then you calm yourself down.  Your mind makes the effort to find the high points in seemingly crazy days that flow so rapidly and fluidly into each other, that you stop seeing the calendar.
I have found those moments of re-connecting with the positive elements around me, in the middle of the nights that I am spending awake. Since those times always seems to go by slowly  in order to bring some calmness to one’s tired soul I have rediscovered the sounds and sights of the night – the sky at 3 AM, the moth flitting under the dim night lamp , the rotating fan’s monotonous and comforting sound, the slight drizzle that falls on the road beyond the curtains, the occasional dog barking up a storm, the quiet breathing of my other child sleeping.  Nothing can break that rhythm of the night sounds – and that is the peace that every new mother clings to, as she remains awake with her newborn baby and manages a slight smile.
The darkness of the night always reminds me of one of the flours I discovered when I moved to Bangalore 5 years ago – Ragi. Apart from being highly nutritious, I realized that being a naturally gluten-free flour it lends itself to so many recipes. So I tried using it along with Amaranth seeds in a biscuit recipe. And these beautifully flavoursome bites emerged as a result of the experiment.
Gluten-Free Eggless Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits

1 cup organic ragi flour

½ cup amaranth seeds

½ cup organic cane or coconut sugar

100 gms unsalted butter ( for vegan version use peanut / apple butter or oil – texture will change)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp organic liquid jaggery

Add the dry ingredients together and whisk them well. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients and add the liquid jaggery. Mix well and keep in the fridge overnight after cling wrapping.

Shape them into cookies, place them onto a greased tray and bake at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes, in a preheated oven.

 

baking, eggless, flourless, gluten-free, healthy baking, savoury, vegan, vegan baking

Leftovers and Baked Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk ( Oil & Butter free)

Zero-fat Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk (2)

Leftovers – As mothers we know all about leftovers, whether it is food or memories. For both these, we have an inherent quality – of how to innovate and create magic by meshing things that might be so different that putting them together seems impossible 🙂 Not only that, they also know how to cherish it, how not to not waste – whether it is food or memories.

Different elements of leftover food come together in our kitchens regularly just as we weave a pattern from diverse memories to create something to hold dear in our twilight years. So hold onto those leftovers – whether it is food or memories, conserve and recreate them. Because both form the foundation of what we call “living” .

Why am I talking about leftovers today ? Because what I baked is not even a proper well-defined dish, but just a one-pot healthy bake that came about because I had some portions leftover from other things that I had made.

 

Baked Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk ( Oil / Butter free ) 

Recipe –

1 cup sprouted green moong dal

1 1/2 cups coconut milk, homemade

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 tomato, 1/4 onion, 2 garlic cloves, small piece of ginger – chop and grind well into a paste.

1 small piece of cinnamon

Salt as per your preference

2 tbsp Malvani masala , homemade

1 tbsp Grated coconut ( optional)

Method –

Put the coconut milk, sprouted green moong/gram dal and warm water into an oven-safe dish. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, at 170-180 degrees Celsius. Take it out. Add the paste made with tomato, onion, garlic and ginger to it and mix well. Add the cinnamon, malvani masala and salt, and the grated coconut.

Put it back into the oven. Bake for another 40 minutes at the same temperature.

Take it out and serve hot.

 

butter-free, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, rice flour, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Shifting Lives and Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives2.JPG

How would you sum up 11 months of stay in a place – moved in, settled in, moved out ? That’s pretty much the way I would have thought probably a decade ago. But today it seems like even in those short 11 months, one can fit in so much into one’s life in a place.

It starts with being unfamiliar and you yearn for your earlier comfort zone.

It goes into a resigned kind of acceptance of what you have currently and even if its different, you can live with it.

It changes to looking at the goodness that is present in parts of it, and which you probably overlooked before.

It moves to liking the place, forming a few relationships and getting involved with the community.

It escalates into enjoying your stay there, waiting to see the neighbourhood dog who wags her tail, the same children cycling around each day, the same help who cleans the apartment, the same person in the flat above who you havent had a chance to know by name yet but who smiles at you each time.

And then you pack and move on.

Such is life. That fragile. That ever-changing. That is how it shifts, it moves and changes shape each day for us. We wait for it to “settle” into a routine. But of course, it has its own plans.

So here is a quick, simple and versatile recipe which is simple to life in all those qualities-

Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

1 cup wholewheat

1 tbsp of rice flour

1 cup boiled and pureed spinach ( I added ½ a green chilly, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a little chopped coriander to it while pureeing)

3-4 tbsp chopped chives

2-3 tbsp black sesame

1 tbsp white pepper

Salt as per requirement ( I used rock salt)

Add some warm water to make the dough pliable.

 

Mix all the above dry ingredients well. Then add the spinach puree and the warm water ( if needed). Cling wrap it and store it in the fridge for about an hour.

Take it out, roll it into a rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut long strips/sticks. Place them onto a baking tray which is lightly greased. Sprinkle some chives and black sesame. Bake in a pre-heated oven ( preheat for 10 minutes) at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. You need to turn the sticks around mid way. Allow it to cool entirely for it to become crisp.

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

 

baking, healthy baking, savoury, vegan, vegan baking

Dusting away hesitation & Baking Zero-Fat Vegan Soya and Chana Dal Cutlets

 

zero-fat-soya-and-chana-dal-cutlets3

Last night as I was getting my 4 year old son to sleep, as usual he had some questions that he needed answers before he decided that it was time to sleep off 🙂

We were speaking about how he loves to swimming and that there was a pool close to our home that he wanted to go to. The first question he asked me was “Will I go in the big pool or the small one when I go there?” My response was what it usually is “Whichever one you want to go to first and then to the other one as well” .

While I was responding to his queries my mind was a little preoccupied with some things I wanted to undertake and an internal confusion prevailed over whether I would be able to manage those or not.

His next question shook me out of my thoughts in ways I had not imagined – “So Mamma, anything is possible for me-any pool ?” As a parent there are so many times when you are deeply uncertain about yourself or what you want to pursue and the what-ifs around that. But when your child asks you that question and you look into his soul through his eyes you will always, always smile back and say “Anything is possible for you, any pool, little one”.

And when I said those words to him, I really felt I was talking to myself – telling myself yet again, that its time to wipe off the dust that comes from one’s hesitation and raise the bar of one’s self-belief.

On that note, sharing a recipe that is close to my heart and I find comforting in such perplexing times- because it is pretty much like I am as a person : No-frills, put together with different textures but in the least amount of time and yet an improvisation of the ingredients at hand, so that they do not get wasted. Its also special because it contains the Biryani Masala ( spicemix) that my Nani , maternal grandmother makes. She makes it with a lot of care and love, and I thoroughly enjoy using it in different dishes.

Zero-Fat Baked Soya and Chana Dal Cutlets 

Recipe

1 cup boiled soya ( I used nuggets)
½ cup chana dal, partially boiled
1 tsp freshly grated ginger and garlic paste
Salt as per your preference
1 tbsp biryani masala
Chopped coriander

Grind all the above together into a rough paste ( not too smooth). If you find it has too much moisture, add a tbsp of sooji/semolina.

Make small discs, place them on a lightly greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Midway you need to flip all the cutlets to the other side.

Biryani masala –

On a tawa lightly roast till the aroma starts coming off the tawa- 2 tbsp saunf/fennel seeds, 1 tbsp jeera seeds, 1 tbsp dhaniya seeds, ½ tbsp black peppercorns, 2-3 big elaichi, 2-3 small elaichi, 3-4 cloves, a small piece of cinnamon. Dry grind in a grinder all the above once it is cooled off after dry roasting. This powder can be made and kept in a bottle.

 

baking, cake, chocolate, jowar, Uncategorized, vegan, vegan baking

Vegan Diwali Treat? Yes, Please! (Published first on Pyjama People)

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There are hardly any Vegan Indian sweets to speak of, or to taste. While many Indians are vegan, gluten, dairy products, and sugar are pretty much the main ingredients to all our sweets. So what’s a vegan to do on Diwali?

First, remember, history’s got your back. There are a few gluten-free Indian sweets you can gorge on.

Boondi Laddoo are made made entirely with gram flour or besan entirely, plus who doesn’t love this classic, right? Similarly, Coconut Barfi or Laddoo with its grated coconut base makes it fully gluten-free!There are also other usual suspects such as Besan Laddoo, which is made with gram flour, and Til Laddo, which is made with sesame.

But, these ain’t no Jalebi, I know. You could try and fry yours in a vegan-friendly oil… but I can’t guarantee that how that’ll turn out.
Instead, why not try my Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake instead?
You know what they say? If you can’t join the treat time, beat them with your own-made deliciousness!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Jowar flour,
  • 1/2 cup Ragi flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Cane Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Oil

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, grease a round baking pan and keep aside.
  2. Sieve together the flours,baking powder, cocoa and keep aside.
  3. Whisk together the applesauce,oil and sugar, beat together until the sugar gets dissolves.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet one. Dont over beat.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes till the toothpick comes clean at the center.
  6. ENJOY!

Article Link :

http://pyjamapeople.in/index.php/2016/10/29/vegan-diwali-treat-yes-please/

organic, Uncategorized, vegan

Where can you buy Organic and Vegan Products in India? ( Published in Pyjama People)

vegan.jpg

Sikkim was declared a 100% organic farming state in January this year, making it a benchmark for the world. Yet, the growth and availability of organic products — particularly those that are certified and credible — remains a challenge in India. It’s the irony we live with in today’s world.

In the same vein, vegan products should also have been readily available in vegetarian-majority India. But because vegan excludes dairy, white sugar and honey as well, options are pretty much limited.

India, in fact, is the highest producer of cows and buffalo milk, which results in it being part of most diets or food products.

As limited as they may be, there are a few options where you can get organic and vegan products online. Here are some options you can go through to get a better understanding of what they have to offer:

Sharan Group

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsharan.india%2Fposts%2F1782798265069460&width=500

Go Organic India

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D1447356878614019%26id%3D144274758922244%26substory_index%3D0&width=500

24Mantra

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F24MantraOrganic%2Fposts%2F1196997777053438%3A0&width=500

Conscious Food

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FConsciousFood%2Fposts%2F1422202994461798%3A0&width=500

Vegalyfe

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVegaLyfe%2Fposts%2F596872680519917&width=500

Staeta

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLifeHealthFoods%2Fposts%2F557894351062751%3A0&width=500

Apart from these, you will find several vegan and organic products on platforms like Amazon, Towness, Giskaa, FabIndia , Godrej Nature’s Basket and iHerb.

And finally, you can check out this list of some popular consumer products that are vegan.

Original Article Link –

http://pyjamapeople.in/index.php/2016/10/26/we-know-its-a-struggle/

 

 

 

 

apple butter, vegan, vegan baking

Homemade Vegan Apple Butter

At the start of this year I had planned to work further with healthy fats in baking – while butter does has a crucial role in the bakes, ghee and oil work well too and so a range of oils can be worked with depending on their smoking point and resistance to high temperature. Then came some exploratory baking with nut-based butters and avocado. They work very well in many bakes. Continue reading “Homemade Vegan Apple Butter”

apple butter, cane sugar, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, oats, vegan, vegan baking

Vegan baking and Apple Butter experiments!

As some folks might know I try to experiment with various flours,sweeteners and fat as well to work on expanding my choice of healthier variants using these. So I prepared some ‪#‎vegan‬ Apple Butter yesterday and have been really thinking of using that in a bake by completing eliminating all other forms of fat. You may seen a range of experiments using Apple Butter on my page so here’s the first one ( and I am super thrilled to say that its been superbly successful!)
Continue reading “Vegan baking and Apple Butter experiments!”