Tag Archives: Indian food

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam By Vikas Khanna

From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe and blog is from renowned chef Vikas Khanna.

By Vikas Khanna

It’s the moment of truth in one’s life: you see something so profound that it leaves a permanent impression on your mind. For me it was everyday food rituals.

I learned to cook at my Biji – my grandmother’s side. It takes many years to understand the intricacies of the spices used in Indian cooking. The interlacing of the whole and ground spices requires a good deal of practice to get just right.

Spices are virtually indispensable in culinary art. Spices tease our senses with their enticing aromas, colors and their distinctive flavors, and have been the catalysts of some of the greatest adventures in human history, over which fortunes were made, nations discovered, and fates met.

The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as civilization itself and is an integral part of Indian Cuisine, which relies on varied use of spices, herbs, and seasonings to create unique tastes and aromas. 

Biji and I ground fresh spices for our every meal at home. That is a practice that I carry with me till today. At my restaurant Junoon, we have a “spice room” where spices are ground fresh every morning. This is one my favorite places at the restaurant. Generally my day begins here (weighting, grinding, creating mixtures).

There are a few things that I always follow while buying spices. I usually rely on the smell of the spices -Pungent smell indicates freshness, if they smell musty, then most likely the spices have been in storage for a while.

Also, buying smaller quantities each time ensures that I have fresh stock at all times. Spices lose flavor fast once ground, so I prefer buying spices whole and then I grind them only when and as much as I need.

The health benefits of spices are universally known. The extensive use of spices in Indian food, not only adds flavoring, but also makes for healthy eating. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies have always been associated with medicinal and healing properties

Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam

(Recipe from “Flavors First: An Indian Chef’s Culinary Journey” by Vikas Khanna)

Rasam is an immensely popular soup of South India and a must in every household. The word “Rasam”, in Tamil language, means essence, or juice and by extension has come to mean a particular type of soup that includes the tartness of tamarind or tomatoes. The ingredients used in a Rasam vary but it is basically a light, spicy soup.

Red Lentils have a tendency to cook quickly and are rich in protein, fiber and anti-oxidants.  Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in India as a major ingredient for cooking and in Ayurveda. My grandmother used to boil it with milk and give it to us when we were kids before sleeping. A small paste was applied when we would cut ourselves and also considered auspicious in ceremonies.

The spiciness can be adjusted to your taste. At times I add vegetables to make this soup a complete meal.

Serves 4

1/2 cup dry red lentils

4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 fresh curry leaves

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

Pinch of asafetida

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 1/4 cups water

1 (12-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to the water along with the turmeric and salt and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils are tender, about half an hour, skimming frequently with a spoon.

In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil and add the curry leaves, stirring until very fragrant, about a minute. Remove 4 leaves and reserve for the garnish. To the oil, add the mustard seeds, asafetida, ginger and tomato and cook until the tomato begins to dry, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved lentils, water, coconut milk, tamarind, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Season it with salt and serve hot, garnished with the fried curry leaves.

Vikas Khanna is an award winning, Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City. To learn more about Vikas Khanna, visit his website www.vkhanna.com

Introduction To Indian Cuisine For Babies

 Indian cuisine seeks a balance of four tastes – sweet, sour, salty and bitter. This goal is based on a 5,000 year-old science that focuses a belief that eating balanced flavors encourages proper digestion and the release of positive, nurturing energy.

The food of India reflects the great variety of Indian life.  What Indian people eat depends on the crops raised locally in their area and the ethnic and religious traditions and their lifestyles. On crowded city streets, vendors peddle a selection of tasty on-the-go food such as samosas, a vegetable (or meat) stuffed pastry. Religious affiliations also dictate Indian diets. As a result, people in India eat far less meat than do other people around the world. This emphasis on meatless dining has led to a unique cuisine of vegetarian delights. 

Common Spices used in Indian Cooking:

  • Curry Powder (Yellow)*

  • Garam Masala*

  • Cumin

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

Note: Curry Powder and Garam Masala are both Spice blends.  They can be purchased in markets or homemade using a variety of spices.

Common Foods Used in Indian Cooking:

  • Lentils

  • Chick Peas

  • Leafy Greens

  • Winter Squashes

  • Yogurt

  • Chutneys (a sweet and sour condiment)

It’s simple to add a "Taste of India" to your baby’s food by making Indian-inspired sauces, freezing these sauces in single-serving cubes and adding them to your baby’s pureed or mashed foods.

Coconut Curry Sauce Cubes

http://www.freshbaby.com/newsletters/images/CoconutCurry.jpgYellow Curry Powder is often associated with Indian cooking.  It’s a blend of spices, which vary by region, food, and cooking style.  Most Indian curry powders contain turmeric, coriander and cumin. At the market, choose a curry powder labeled "mild" for this recipe.

 This recipe uses coconut milk which can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket.  Coconut milk sometimes separates into a thick layer of white coconut and a watery liquid. Shaking the can before opening can recombine it, but if that doesn’t work, pour the contents of the can into a blender and whirl it, or pour it into a bowl and use a whisk to blend it together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (13.5 oz) can Coconut Milk

  • ¼ cup Chicken Broth

  • ¼ cup Onion, chopped

  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

  • 1-2 Tsp. Curry (mild) Powder

  • ¼ tsp. Cinnamon

  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Place all contents in a blender and process to smooth texture. Pour into a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce into an ice cube tray, cover and freeze until ready to use. 

Serving: Remove a sauce cube from the freezer, defrost and combine it with pureed or mashed beans, meats rice or vegetables.  When first introducing the sauce, try a small amount and work your way up to more. Here are some delicious combinations for awesome coconut curries:

  • Lentils, Carrots and Apples

  • Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower and Beef

  • Brown Rice, Spinach and Chicken

Apple Chutney Cubes

http://www.freshbaby.com/newsletters/images/Chutney.jpg

Chutney is a popular Indian Condiment that is made from fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar. It is commonly served with roasted meats or vegetables and curries.  It also makes a great snack with cream cheese and crackers.   

Ingredients: 

  • 3 large Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and chopped

  • 1/2 cup Onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins

  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

 Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Let cool. Pour into a blender or food processor and process to a smooth texture. Pour the sauce into an ice cube tray, cover and freeze until ready to use. 

 Serving:  Remove a chutney cube from the freezer, defrost and combine it with pureed or mashed beans, meats rice or vegetables. At the beginning, try a small amount of chutney and work your way up to more. Here are some winning combinations for tasty chutney-infused dining:

  • Banana and Yogurt

  • Pork, Butternut Squash and Brown Rice

  • Roasted Cauliflower, White Potatoes and Black Beans

  • Combine Apple Chutney with Vanilla Yogurt for great dipping sauce

 About the author: Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food and the new book So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / fatseth

 

Eest Restaurant for a Simple Treat – Restaurant Reviews, TripAdvisor

Does Delhi NCR, floating as it is in a sea of Chinese and south-east Asian flavours, need yet another pan-Asian restaurant? My answer to this rhetorical question is an unqualified ‘yes’ for two reasons. On the evolutionary ladder of eating out, Delhi has barely grown out of its Neanderthal phase, so any addition to its repertoire of options must be welcomed with a hug and a kiss. And if the new kid on the block shows the spunk of a cocky youngster, it deserves a red carpet welcome.
Its decor has all the touches of Super Potato, the much- feted Japanese design firm that believes in being stylish without showing signs of being a fashion victim. Its menu doesn’t go overboard with creativity — I wish it did, though, with the portions — yet it has a surprise tucked away in every page. The service is friendly, efficient and unobtrusive — moving like a well- oiled machine under the watchful eye of an Australian manager who was a tad apologetic about his country’s cricketing reputation.
We were served by a young woman from Mizoram who had an inspiring personal story to narrate — a recent migrant to the city, she takes care of her widowed mother, pays for her brother’s college education, and yet doesn’t look stressed. She was friendly without being familiar; she was knowledgeable about the menu without overwhelming us with the information at her command. This is the kind of service that makes me feel at ease, and inspires my older son, who has just entered his awkward teens, to strike up a conversation.
How did I decide that Eest is a welcome new addition to the city’s dining scene? Notice I’m not mentioning the name Gurgaon, for Westin, which is bang opposite IFFCO Chowk, can be reached in 20 minutes from Vasant Vihar at night. That’s about half the time it takes me to reach the Saket malls. But that’s not the reason why I will go back to Eest. It’s the food that’ll be my hook.
The food at Eest is just the kind that your little ones — like my perennially hungry son — will give a 9.7 out of 10 rating. That’s being over- generous but you’ll also be inclined to be so after you’ve had the cheong fun , the softness of the rice wrapping contrasting the crunchiness of the shrimp inside; the honey BBQ chicken puffs made to perfection; and the sushi rolls — the California rolls with crab meat thankfully underwhelmed by either guacamole or cream cheese and the prawn tempura rolls where the bite of the filling contrasts with the slush of the fish roe.
 
To test out the restaurant’s ability to pull off disparate cuisine offerings we asked for chicken bulgogi ( though it was tenderloin on the menu) and it just melted in the mouth; the Thai stir- fried prawns with chilli, garlic and hot basil, a welcome diversion from the curries; and a pad thai with a gentle tamarind sauce that stirred my soul. This was simple — and simply good — food that kept pace with the wine ( I suggest the Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion blend from Australia) and the languid conversation. As long as Eest is Eest, I’ll be happy to go back.

NutriiVeda Ingrediants – Ayurvedic Weight Loss

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NutriiVeda Ingrediants

Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre)
Often called the "sugar destroyer," Gymnema has been used by Ayurvedic healers to help support healthy blood sugar levels for thousands of years. In addition, Gymnema supports a healthy metabolism and acts as a catalyst for the weight management activity of Garcinia.

Guggul (Commiphora mukul)
Known as the "fat killer" in Ayurvedic medicine, Guggul is a powerful resin extract that comes from the small, thorny mukul myrrh tree. It is known in Ayurveda for its ability to help rid the body of unwanted fat, increase cellular fire, and support healthy cholesterol levels and liver function.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric root, one of the most widely studied botanicals today, is often combined with Amalaki because of the duo’s potency and power. Turmeric works to boost cardiovascular health by purifying the blood, regulating blood sugar levels, supporting healthy insulin levels, and promoting a healthy inflammatory response in the body.

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
A powerful antioxidant, green tea contains high concentrated levels of EGCG that neutralize toxic free radicals within the body. It also works to protect the DNA, regulate blood sugar levels, increase thermogenesis, and boost energy.

Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Known as the "great rejuvenator," Amalaki is revered for over 5,000 years in Ayurveda for its rejuvenating properties. This superfood promotes energy and vitality, supports immune function, promotes the digestive system, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and has an overall rejuvenating effect on the body required during weight loss.

Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
The date-like Haritaki fruit serves as a gentle and effective detoxifying agent for the body. Through its astringent taste, the Haritaki stimulates the metabolic fire of the cells and promotes the body’s ability to burn fat.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)—used in the Vanilla version of NutriiVeda
Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. Cinnamon aids with problems in the digestive system and is high in antioxidants. Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)—used in the Chocolate version of NutriiVeda
Many herbalists believe that cayenne acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used with them. Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb. Medicinally it aids in elimination and assimilation and promotes the entire digestion system. Nutritionally it is a very high source of Vitamins A and C, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium.

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Mint Pilaf with Potatoes and Cumin – Recipes from Modern Indian Cooking

This recipe serves six and takes about 30 minutes to make. It is also vegetarian and very flavorful. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small potato, peeled and cut into ½ – inch dices
1 ½ tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons mint leaves, minced
1 fresh green chili, minced
1¼ cups basmati rice, soaked, rinsed and drained
2 ¼ cups water Salt to taste
3 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potato, ginger, half the mint, and the green chili and cook, stir­ring, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the water and the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and cook until the rice is done, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not stir the rice while it cooks. Remove from the heat and let the rice rest for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle the roasted cumin and the remaining mint leaves on top, and serve.

Recipe: Paneer Picatta

SERVES 6

8 ounces paneer cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup drained capers
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 fresh green chilies, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter

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