Khaman Dhokla for Indian Cooking Challenge!

>>  Friday, July 31, 2009

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It was like eating in your dreams! Exactly the same feeling ok, you get such a high finally making something that's been in your mind for years and finally enjoying your homemade. And that's what it felt to me when I finally made Khaman Dhoklas for the Indian Cooking Challenge, for the month of July. When I had that list prepared and had a poll, Dhoklas had the highest votes. But believe that wasn't the sole reason for me to choose it for the first official Challenge for ICC.

There are couple of reasons, first being its my most favorite snack and second being I have a foolproof recipe! If I really have to think back when I first tasted Dhoklas and loved it, I won't be able to tell you! Because it feels forever. Maybe it all began during my college where I had a gujju friend to boot or the many occasions we dropped in to Sree Mithai to eat this. Whatever, I always wanted to make this at home. Second being, my colleague's Mom made us some awesome Dhoklas and its been on mind ever since. So I knew I can trust her to give me a good solid recipe.

The entire process was very interesting. First I got the recipe from her and then posted on the ICC blog for the members to read and ask back questions. Wow there were so many questions which never struck me. So I again had to call her and get them all clarified. Some wanted to know if Eno can be avoided, Citric Acid can be avoided etc! Aunty was so sweet enough to explain everything in detail. She confessed of never trying it without Eno, but she said since this is a challenge, why don't you try making it with Baking soda?

Well well, we want a challenge, this one poses too many is what I thought. But I couldn't find Eno anywhere. I finally decided halve the recipe and to make it with baking soda. But the mistake I did was adding it in the beginning and allowing it to rest. So my first trail was a hard and thin dhoklas. Not a matter, I made it as upma and enjoyed it.

So I was determined to get hold of Eno and get it right this time round. Finally got hold of the Eno and set out to make this Saturday. I decided I would steam like Idlis. Mixed and set it aside for more than 1 hour. But I guess it didn't have any effect on the Dhoklas. I could sense the consistency was fine. But as I realized when you are serving, please don't serve as you might serve idlies, people don't like it. Or at least hubby dear didn't like it.

But I waited for some 10 minutes after the tadka, and tasted very awesome. This is a recipe I am sure will be making it again!

Recipe for Khaman Dhokla

Makes 20 medium sized pieces

For Batter:

Bengal Gram flour / Besan - 250 gms (1 & 1/2 cup)
Curd - 1/2 cup (not very sour)
Water - 1/2 cup
Cooking Soda - 1/2 tsp

For seasoning to be mixed to the batter (to be added just before cooking)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric a pinch
G. Chili paste - 1 - 2 long (as per taste)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Citric acid - quarter tsp
Salt to taste

Eno - 1 packet (green colour fruit lime) + sprinkle or dust few bits on the plate

For tempering

Sesame seeds
Mustard Seeds
Curry leaves
Grated coconut
Coriander leaves

Little water + Oil to be topped on dhoklas


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Method to prepare:

Mix first 1/2 cup curds with 1/2 water. To this add the besan and mix well to get a lump less batter, the consistency should be of idli batter, more of dropping not pouring consistency. Slowly add more water if needed else, add the soda. Keep it aside to rise for 1 hour.

If you are using a pressure cooker, fill the pan with water, place a plate over which you will have to use a plate for steaming the dhoklas. Thali plate can be used for steaming.

To the batter mix in the citric acid, oil, salt, sugar, green chili paste and turmeric powder. Mix well. This has to be done just before pouring to the plate.

Meanwhile have the pan on stove, and let the water start boiling. When the water reaches the rolling stage, you can mix the eno to the batter (Save little of eno for dusting on the plate), mix gently, you will see bubbles coming out.

Dust or sprinkle the plate with eno. Then immediately pour the batter to the plate. Place the plate carefully inside the pressure pan and cover with lid. You need not use the whistle. After covering you will find steam coming out of the outlet, simmer and don't disturb for almost 5 -7 minutes.

After 5 -7 minutes, remove the lid and proof it using toothpick or knife. If the knife comes out clean and does not have any batter sticking, then its done. Cover back and let it remain on flame for 1 min and switch off the gas and allow it for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix 3 tsp of water along with a tsp of oil
Remove the plate from the pan, pour the water and oil mix over the top.

For seasoning, heat a pan with oil, add curry leaves, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and finely chopped green chilies. When mustard starts popping, remove and pour over the dhokla

Serve it with Green Chutney:

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Notes and doubts clarified:

Any small plate also can be used, but the batter should be filled to only 1/2 as it will rise up. After adding eno the batter should not rest.

Amount of sugar can be increased on preference.

If you want perfect shaped ones and not the crumbling, cut and handle gently

Dhokla can also be steamed in kadai filled with water and a plated titled over it.

Dhoklas can also be steamed in Idli molds but if you can't think it as Dhoklas but idlies, I suggest you don't as it will spoil the fun!

Lemon can be used instead of citric acid. Citric acid is basically used for giving the sourness. So Citric acid cab be replaced by adding lemon juice or sour curds.

Eno is normally not replaced with anything else. This is added to give the spongy texture. Alternate to Eno is to make it with baking soda, but the result is not accurate.

Approximately for the flour mentioned we might require 5 gms. Eno is also dusted on the plate before pouring the batter, to get the holes on the bottom.

Rolling stage in water, is when the water starts boiling and reaches peek.

Water and oil (at room tempt) is just mixed together and added to the cooked dhoklas immediately after removing from pan, Since the dhoklas will be hot and this mixture will make it more soft and spongy. This is just to prevent the surface from getting dry. So the oil need not be hot.

Another way is to temper the mustard, curry leaves, remove the pan from heat, add water to that and pour over the dhoklas, either way is fine.

You can use idly cooker too.. the vessel used for cooking is left to the member's choice, only thing is you should steam the dhoklas. Nowadays we get steamers for dhoklas too.

If you want to make this vegan by avoiding yogurt/curds, you can use soy yogurt or else just plain water.

Few members got back after their experiments that the besan mentioned in the recipe was more, so they had to increase the curd and water content. I have also given their experience.

Updates from Lata raja

1 and 1/2 cups measured in 240 ml cup (standard cup) is 200 grams. This matches the rest of the ingredients quantity well.1 sachet ENO 5 grams is exactly 1 teaspoon measure.
Add salt to the batter,though it did not show when had with the delicious chutney.
Grease the plate with cooking oil and sprinkle ENO as if you would dust a cake tin.This makes the bottom porous too.

Wait patiently for the dhokla to cool in the plate before cutting shapes.Loosen sides with a blunt knife and overturn on another plate. Then make the tempering.

Few felt that more water needs to be added to make the Dhoklas moist.


Green chutney

Green chili - 4-5 no
coconut - 4- 5 pieces
coriander leaves - one bunch
Few mint leaves
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lime -1 big
Salt to taste

In a food processor, take half of the lime along with all the ingredients except coriander. Grind to a smooth paste.

Then add the coriander leaves and again grind. Remove to a bowl, add the remaining lime and serve with Dhoklas.

I am hoping everybody enjoyed this month's challenge with the response has been. Thanks everybody!

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Jamun Seed Powder ~ Diet for Diabetics!

>>  Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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I am sure as a kid you would remember eating this delicious fruit! For me, the memories were mostly on the lines of climbing the branches of a very huge tree in our friends house. And watching my friends climb up the tree while I wait eagerly down for my share of plum, juicy Nava Pazham. I wasn't big on climbing trees, so allowed myself just the share of playing the guard and share the bounty with them.

Somehow our memories of our wonderful childhood never leaves us right. Though after so many years, I could very well lay hands on even plumper and juicer Jamuns, those from memory refuses to pass. And every time I pop in one to enjoy those memories of a 7 yrs old comes back haunting! And to imagine those lovely ones are not only tasty but are so healthy makes it all the more dear.

As part of the diet for diabetics, Jamuns are one of the fruits that a diabetic can eat without hesitation. Not only are the fruit so healthy, the Jamun seed powder is very good for diabetes.

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"Jambul (Syzygium cumini) is an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant family Myrtaceae native to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. It is also known as Jamun, Nerale Hannu, Njaval, Jamblang, Jambolan, Black Plum, Damson Plum, Duhat Plum, Jambolan Plum, Java Plum or Portuguese Plum. "Malabar plum" may also refer to other species of Syzygium.

Jamun trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers of Jamun are fragrant and small, about 5 mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries. The fruit is oblong, ovoid, starts green and turns pink to shining crimson black as it matures. A variant of the tree produces white coloured fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavour and tends to colour the tongue purple. The seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example), Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments. The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C." - Source Wiki

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Diabetics are advised to consume 1 tsp of this jamun seed powder in empty stomach early morning. Lets see how we can prepare this powder.

There are two ways of making this powder, one with drying in sun and the other without by dry roast the seeds.

Sun Dried Jamun Seeds Powder

Once you eat the fleshy part of the fruit, wash the seeds and dry in sun for a week. By then you will have really dry seed, whose outer skin will peel off and inside berry would be more like a pistachio.

You can pound the seeds along with the outer skin and make into a fine powder. Since this is sun dried, it becomes really hard and your mixer blades might go for a toss if you try to make a powder of it! So take caution to pound it into smaller pieces before running in the food processor or mixer.

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Once you have a fine powder, store it in a container and eat 1 tsp first thing in the morning on empty stomach.

Powder from wet seeds

The powder can also be made immediately after you wash off the flesh.

Heat a pan, and dry roast the seeds till they turn crispy. Pound them into fine powder and store for consumption.

The only difference I found in this method is, at times it becomes difficult to get it roasted well and dry.

Choice is your, but consume a teaspoon of Jamun powder for a better management of Diabetes!

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Dietary aspects in the management of diabetes ~ Glycemic Index!

>>  Monday, July 20, 2009

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Source: Written for Spice your Life, by Dr. Nagarathnam Jetti, MBBS,DPH,DIH,FIAOH.


In the previous article, we discussed about few myths and realities related to the diet a Diabetic should follow or not follow.

We also discussed about how to calculate the calories required for daily consumption. Which leads us to discuss the different proportions Carbohydrates, Proteins, and fats are required on per day requirements.

When we discuss food requirement, we will have to base it on Glycemic Index.

What is Glycemic Index?

Glycemic Index lets you know how fast a particular food is likely to raise your blood sugar. When your blood sugar levels have gone down, you can get it to normal by eating those foods that tend to increase the blood sugar levels. Likewise when you know that during a particular period, there is not much physical activity scheduled, one can consume foods that have lower glycemic index.

Low Glycemic Index:

Glycemic Index 50 and below, should be selected for meeting the daily requirement

Medium Glycemic Index

Foods with Glycemic Index between 50 and 70 maybe taken in a restricted way but the quantity must be monitored. If diabetic likes a particular food falling within this category he should practice caution in consuming it on small quantity. For example, if one is fond of sweets, there is no harm in tasting a small piece. Satisfying the tongue is more important than working up your cravings for it.

High Glycemic Index

Foods with glycemic index between 70 and above are generally to be avoided because the blood glucose will rise very sharp and fast.

So once you know the Glycemic Index of each food that you consume on daily basis, you can plan and co-ordinate foods accordingly!

Tips regarding for buying and consuming common food items:

While buying tinned and packed foods, one has to always see the date of packing and date of expiry.

Watch out for those bulged tins, which indicate spoiled food.

Looking at the label where it is mandatory to give the composition, total calories, and addition of colours, flavoring agents, addition of sugar and indication of vegetarian or Non vegetarian.

It’s always better to avoid soft drinks as they contain unknown chemicals. In addition they also contain colouring agents, flavouring agents, stabilizers, homogenizers and preservatives. Most of these chemicals are derived from dyes which have to pass through the kidneys and maybe harmful to the kidneys. Most of the soft drinks contain saccharin which is considered to carcinogenic.

Alcohol: It’s always better to avoid alcoholic drinks. But if one likes to have, it should be restricted to not more than 60 – 90 ml per day. Alcohol gives 4 kcals per gram and they are empty calories. And should always be consumed within the allowed calories.

All said and done, the diabetics should always remember that when a diet and drugs are prescribed, eating more food and taking extra oral dose or insulin does not work because at least in India we have too many festivals which varieties of food prepared.

So exercising caution and control on intake with enough physical exercise is the best way to lead a healthy diabetic way!

As the saying goes a diabetic may not follow the “Lankanam Praramoushadham” (Fasting is the best medicine) dictum but should definitely not over eat!

Next article will discuss the Glycemic Index of each food or ingredients.

Looking forward to know your feedback!

===================================================================
Earlier on Diabetes:

General Notes on Diabetes
Introduction to Diabetes ~ What Is Diabetes?
Why Early Diagnosis Is Important?
Diagnosing Diabetes ~ Different Types Of Diabetes
Dietary aspects in the management of diabetes

Diabetes Diet:

Appey or Paniyaram with Jowar Four
Healthly Snack with Chickpea Salad
Gooseberry Rice
Guava ~ the Wonder Fruit
=================================================================

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Quick Tomato Chutney!

>>  Monday, July 13, 2009

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When you are in hurry, it always helps to have some handy dishes that you can whip in minutes. Yes that refers to our traditional Indian Dosa batter or Idli batter. I have always seen Amma storing this for ever. The moment it gets over, she has a fresh batch ready. It also helped that her kids were fond of dosas. Not that mine aren't ok. All 3 of them, even when asked at different periods of the day, would shout out Dosa! Its actually such a relief most of the times. But I do try to give them different things for breakfasts.

So when it comes to our south Indian breakfasts, they always go hand in hand with some dips. And believe me, I can never get tired of eating Coconut chutney or groundnut chutney. But hubby dear desists monotony. So I got to think of some quick tomato chutneys. Both Amma and Athamma have their version of tomato chutneys. So naturally when I am blending it together, I ought to come up with something in common right!

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This quick Tomato Chutney takes just 5 mins! If you don't believe me, then try it yourself and enjoy. I believe this fits the label of Bachelor cooking as my bachelor colleagues have asked me for ideas and this was one of the few that I shared with them. They were amazed that such a lip smacking dish can be prepared in just 5 mins! You can double the quantities for more.

Remember the Jowar Appayes, well I served it with these quick tomato chutneys.

Makes a cup enough for two people, of course depends on how much you eat!

Ingredients Needed:

Tomatoes - 2 medium
Onion - 2 medium
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Garlic - 3- 4 pods

Mustard, Urad dal and curry leaves for seasoning.

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Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil, fry roughly chopped onions till they are pink, add garlic and sauté well. Remove.

Then add roughly chopped tomatoes for 2 minutes. Cool and grind to smooth paste along with chili powder, salt and onions.

Heat the pan with remaining oil, temper with mustard, urad and curry leaves. Add the ground chutney, sauté for 2 minutes.

Serve with Dosas or idles.

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Indian Cooking Challenge Logo

>>  Monday, July 6, 2009

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Finally here comes the logo to depict the essence of Indian Cooking Challenge. I was thinking of having an Indian woman cooking or atleast have a woman in the logo to convey the meaning of the event name. But this logo that's decided depicts it far better than anything else.


In passing I requested my friend to create one based on the theme. He took less than 5 minutes to come up with the concept. Its a mixture of Indian flag colours, with the Tilakam or Bindi as worn by the Indian women. The font used looks more like the Indian script.


And the background with square board with four corners shows the small stool used in older days for cooking.

Please update this logo in your blog to show that you are a member of the Indian Cooking Challenge.

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Dietary aspects in the management of diabetes

>>  Thursday, July 2, 2009

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My sincere apologies to my readers who were waiting for the next edition on the Diabetes. My father was most interested to know how the articles are received. Let me continue with the rest without much ado!

Source: Written for Spice your Life, by Dr. Nagarathnam Jetti, MBBS,DPH,DIH,FIAOH.

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Before we go deep into the details of diet and how a diabetic should go about knowing and adapting the food, lets take a look at some of our famous sayings

In pre-diabetic stage and for those who are potential diabetic, diet plays an important role in postponing the occurrence of diabetes to a great extant.

The 'Diet’ as we refer is extremely complicated, it is as complicated as man himself.

Its an elaborate study on its own, so to understand and to benefit out of the knowledge gained, one needs involvement and commitment.

All of us have to eat to live but we come across some people who live to eat. Diabetics have to eat healthy food to live healthy.

There is a saying in Sanskrit “Lankanam Praramoushadham” (Fasting is the best medicine) this may be true for normal people, but this cannot be practiced by diabetics.

Another saying goes as “Koti Vidyalu Kooti Korake, which in English can be translated as "All the millions skills a man has, is all only a means to sustenance. And even if a diabetic has millions of skills, should always be cautious about the diet.

Eka Bhojan Maha Yogi, Dwi bhojan Maha Bhogi, Thri Bhojan Maha Drohi, Chatur Bhojan Maha paapi which means "A Man who takes food only once a day is a blessed man, taking a meal twice a day, is one who enjoys his food, thrice a day a fraud, and four times a day, is a sinner.

But in case of a diabetic, he/she has to divide the total consumption allowed per day, into 5 to 6 small portions through out the day.

The diabetic has to consult a dietitian and arrive at the balance diet suitable for him/her. While arriving at the balance diet, one has to consider the total calories permitted per day, which is arrived at, based on the height, weight and the occupation of the diabetic (expenditure of the calorie involved)

A person with normal work of height 5.5” and medium frame may generally require 1800 KCal per day.

These calories have to be obtained from the total food taken per day, consisting of carbohydrates 60 – 65%, proteins 20 – 25% and fats not more than 15%.

The food chosen should also have sufficient quantities of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Once the types of food and the quantity are chosen, this may be divided into five to six portions, to be consumed through the day.

While calculating the calories, one should keep in mind that carbohydrates and proteins give 4 kcal per gram and fats give 9 kcal per gram. While selecting the carbohydrates (which are generally met from cereals, pulses and roots), one has to select complex carbohydrates, so that they undergo full process of digestion and release the simple sugar (glucose) in a slow manner. And the most important note is to avoid foods containing ready made sugars.

Proteins are generally obtained from pulses, nuts, meat, fish and eggs. It’s always better to take lean meat and more of fish and in the egg its better to avoid the yellow.

For fats we can consume nuts, vegetable oils and the proportion has to be a good mixture of only unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and Mono unsaturated fatty acids and some saturated fats.

Dieting always puts off people, so its very important to select and make the food interesting but also meets the requirement.

So this can be best achieved by adding seasonal foods, fruits and vegetables in their diet. And other factors like regional and racial cultures and habits, family culture, social habits, personal tastes and personal restrictions like nature of job, always take precedence.


While selecting the foods, one has to keep in mind, the glycemic Index, load of carbohydrates and load of calories.

In the forthcoming articles, I will be discussing more on the Glycemic Index and give more elaborate diet plan.

*************************************************************************************
Earlier on Diabetes:

General Notes on Diabetes
Introduction to Diabetes ~ What Is Diabetes?
Why Early Diagnosis Is Important?
Diagnosing Diabetes ~ Different Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes Diet:

Appey or Paniyaram with Jowar Four
Healthly Snack with Chickpea Salad
Gooseberry Rice
Guava ~ the Wonder Fruit

Read more...

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