Thursday, October 1, 2015

Prepare Yogurt, Butter and Buttermilk


Preparing yogurt at home is not that difficult. All you need is milk and active culture. Milk has to have a little bit of fat in it (at least 1%) or yogurt will be sticky. More the fat in the milk, better tasting
yogurt you will have.

Heat up milk in a pan on the stove or in a microwave at lower power. By heating milk, fat will make milk rise to the top. Remove the pan from the heat. Depending on fat contents of the milk, there will be a thin or thick layer of cream on top of the milk. Transfer it to a container/ bowl you want to make yogurt in.  Let the milk cool off to luke warm state.

Buy yogurt from the store that has active culture. While milk is cooling down, take 2 tsp yogurt in a small bowl and add 2 tsp warm water to it. Mix well and keep. When milk gets luke warm, add this culture to it. Stir well and cover partially or with a thin cloth. Keep the pan in a warmer place. If you make this at night, check in the morning if the yogurt has set. Store it in the refrigerator. If the yogurt is not set,  then keep checking until the yogurt has set. In winter time, yogurt can take upto a day to set.

Remember not to cover yogurt competely until it is set. If you covered it with a lid completely, yogurt will have a funny smell to it and it might get sticky. Home made yogurt will always have more watery stuff. Don't discard it. This is whey. Whey protein derived from this whey is often sold as nutritional supplement.

My mom makes buttermilk from the yogurt that is made from the full fat milk. She uses wooden
churner to churn yogurt. This process can easily take 10-15 minutes and cream floats to the top. This
is home made butter. It has a hint of sourness of yogurt and tastes heavenly. She takes out this butter and stores it in the refrigerator. After 4-5 days she cooks this butter to make clarified butter or brown butter or ghee. After the butter is removed, remaining liquid is called as buttermilk. You can use this buttermilk as a drink or in cooking.

Home made butter does not have any hormones, preservatives or additives. Ghee made from this butter is used in many Ayurvedic medicines (Indian Medicine). When the yogurt is churned to make butter, whey remains in the buttermilk and that is why drinking fresh buttermilk is good for your
health. This buttermilk also tastes really good and refreshing, especially in summer months.



Dal - split legume or split beans

dal - split legume, split beans

Buy most of the spices and dals in Indian stores. I store my spices in glass jars in the freezer. It is best to use legumes and dals within 4-6 months but when I purchase them in bulk and need to store them outside the refrigerator, I add 1 tsp of boric acid to them and store them in a tight lid container. Always wash these dal (rubbing with your fingers) at least 3 times to wash off the boric powder.

Dals and beans have high protein so it takes longer time to cook them. I use pressure cooker to cook them. I use pans that are made for pressure cooker. You can use any stainless steel pan that will fit inside a cooker. If you take 1/2 cups of dal or soaked/roasted beans, add 1.5 cups of water. I also add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (makes dal/beans more permissible to water, spices, salt etc and speeds cooking process) and 1/8 tsp asafoetida (anti-gas). Don't add asafoetida if you will be using garlic in the recipe.

Pressure cooker saves time and energy and cooks dals/beans well without fail.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kohlrabi Salad 2


Ingredients:


Kohlrabi - 2-3 tender bulbs
Peanut oil - 2-3 Tb
Mustard seeds, hing powder, turmeric
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Peanut powder - 3-4 tsp
Green chilis - 1 cut into 1/2" pieces
Sugar - 1 tsp
Fresh cilantro leaves - washed and chopped 3-4 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 Tb
Salt - to taste

Recipe:


Wash and peal kohlrabi.
Grate kohlrabi on larger holes on the grater and steam in microwave for 4-5 minutes.
Cool and add yogurt.
Add peanut powder + sugar + lemon Juice + salt to taste
Prepare oil seasoning and green chillies and add this to kohlrabi.

Notes:


1) Use the same recipe for cubed and steamed white gourd (also called as Dudhi or Lauki)
2) Wash and cut french beans at an angle into long thin slender strips - about one cup. Steam them in microwave for 4-5 minutes. Follow the recipe.
3) Add 1tsp urad dal to oil seasoning after mustard seeds pop. Let urad dal turn lightly brown. Add
7-8 curry leaves, chilis and hing powder and add this to kohlrabi or Dudhi or french beans
4) Add 4 Tb fresh grated coconut ( adds fiber and a bit different taste).

Kohlrabi Salad 1


Ingredients:


Kohlrabi - 2-3 tender bulbs/ roots
Peanut oil - 2-3 Tb
Mustard seeds, hing powder, turmeric
Peanut powder - 3-4 tsp
Green chilis - 1 cut into 1/2" pieces
Fresh cilantro leaves - washed and chopped 3-4 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 Tb
Salt - to taste

Recipe:

Wash and peal kohlrabi.
Grate kohlrabi on larger holes on the grater
mix with peanut powder + sugar 1  + lemon Juice + salt to taste
Prepare oil seasoning and green chillies and add this to grated kohlrabi.

Notes:

1) Use the same recipe for grated cabbage, grated carrots, grated turnips
2) Use the same recipe for grated white radish (with tender green leaves). Use about 3/4 cup grated radish. Squeeze a little to remove some water. Chop green leaves fine and mix with the grated radish and follow rest of the recipe.
3) Use the same recipe for finely cut iceberg lettuce, romain lettuce. Also add 1 bunch of chopped scallions or 1 small finely cut onion to a cup of shredded lettuce.
4) Wash and cut french beans at an angle into long thin slender strips - about one cup. Steam them in microwave for 4-5 minutes. Follow the recipe.
5) Add 4 Tb fresh grated coconut ( adds fiber and a bit different taste)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fresh black eyed peas


Ingredients:

Fresh black eyed peas - 1 cup (clean and wash well)
For oil tempering - peanut oil, black mustard seeds, turmeric, hing powder
Chili powder - 1/4 tsp (or to your taste)
Black masala - 1 tsp
Gud or brown sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Chopped cilantro leaves - 2-3 tsps
Freshly grated coconut - 3-4 Tb (look in the frozen section of your grocery store).


Recipe:

Heat a pan and add 2 tsp peanut oil.
Prepare oil tempering and add fresh peas.
Add 1/2 cup water. water, cover the pan with the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Add gud, black masala, chili powder and salt and stir well.
Check if the peas are cooked.
If they are not cooked, add little water and cover and cook some more.
When cooked, they should not be mushy and very little water should be left in the pan.
Sprinkle with cilantro and coconut.
Serve as a side dish with Indian bread, or rice.

Notes:

1) You can use any other fresh beans for this recipe.
2) Fresh beans do not need to be cooked in pressure cooker.
3) For the dried beans (soaked or roasted) use pressure cooker to cook them quickly.
4) Adding turmeric powder (1/4 tsp) to the beans in pressure cooker will help cooking faster. Turmeric powder makes things permissible to enter the vegetables, beans so spices, salt can get infused in them and not remain only on the surface. When you bite into them it is the same taste through and through.
3) You can find fresh coconut (unsweetened, unsalted) in the frozen section of your grocery store. You can take out a small portion and thaw it in microwave before using it. Coconut adds flavor, fibers and a little thickness to your vegetables, curries or beans.

Vegetable Masala Bhat (Spicy Rice with vegetable)


Ingredients:

Basamati rice - 1 cup (don't use old rice)
For oil tempering - peanut oil, black mustard seeds, turmeric, hing powder
Green chili paste - 1 tsp (to your taste)
Red chili powder - 1/4 tsp (to your taste)
Curry leaves - 2 branches or about 20 leaves
Ginger - freshly grated - 1 Tb
Vegetable - 1 cup - cut into 1" pieces (potato, eggplant, green peas, cauliflower, cabbage, bell peppers)
Black masala - 2 tsp
Raw masala powder - 1 Tb (or to your taste)
Gud or brown sugar - 1 Tb
Salt to taste.
Cashews - handful and raw - roast them in Microwave or fry them in little oil
Chopped cilantro leaves - 2-3 Tbs
Freshly grated coconut - 3-4 Tbs


Recipe:

Heat 2.5 cups water in a pan on another burner.
Wash basamati rice at least 3 times and keep aside.
Heat pan and add 4 tsp peanut oil.
Prepare oil tempering and add curry leaves and green chili paste.
Add cut vegetables and sauté. Cook them half way.
Add Raw Masala and cook for a minute.
Add washed rice (and green peas if using) and stir well and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cups boiling water. Keep 1/2 cup water warm on the side to use if needed.
Add black masala, chili powder, gud or brown sugar, ginger and salt to taste.
Let the rice cook until you see holes in them.
Check if the rice is al dente.
If not, add hot water and cook more until the rice is al dente.
Cover the rice with the lid and keep it on low flame to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Sprinkle with cashews, cilantro and fresh coconut (a must).
Serve hot with ghee on top or yogurt on the side.


Variations:

1) Rice will taste different depending on the vegetable used.
2) If you use eggplant - cut eggplant into 1" cubes and soak them in salted water (1 tsp salt to 2-3 cups of water) for 10-15 minutes. Remove from water and use the eggplant. Discard blakish water that has removed bitterness of eggplant.
3) If you use cabbage - cut lengthwise into thin 2-3" pieces.
4)  You can use frozen green peas with other vegetables.
5) If you want to use frozen peas, add them with rice and saute them together and then add hot water to cook the rice.
6) As a variation - Before you cover the rice with the lid, add 1/4 cup of yogurt (full fat), stir and cover with the lid and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
7) As another variation - After the rice is all cooked, add 3-4 tsp ghee from the side of the pan and stir with a fork and serve.
8) You can add handful of raw peanuts with washed rice brfore adding water.
9) This rice recipe is specifically from my state Maharashtra.


Notes:

1) I use Tilda basamati rice from Indian store. It is not old and has no old smell. Many people like to
use old basamati rice as it absorbs more water and gets fluffier after cooking. If you cook the rice as I
have suggested, rice will be fluffy. As we are not using onions and garlic in the recipe, the smell from old rice won't be covered up)
2) You can serve the rice with ghee (add 1 tsp ghee on top of the individual servings).
3) You can serve the rice with yogurt on the side.
4)  Serve with mango pickle (buy it in Indian store and serve as a condiment - 1 tsp) and fried papad (buy them in Indian store - they have many variety of papads like moong, urad, potato, poha)
5) You can serve the rice with slices of red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mustard seeds


The earliest reference to mustard is in India from a story of Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BC. Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving mother (Kisa Gotami) and the mustard seed. When a mother loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. When the mother is unable to find such a house in her village, she realizes death is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief.

Mustard seed is a rich source of oil and protein. The seed has oil as high as 46-48%, and whole seed meal has 43.6% protein.
It has high amounts of calcium -52%, potassium - 15%, magnesium - 84%, phosphorus -120 %, 
Zinc - 60%, Iron - 77%, and Vit. B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, Vit. E, small amounts of Vit. C and Vit. K

I use mustard seeds in oil tempering. When mustard seeds are added to the oil, they start popping when the oil reaches right temperature so that curcumin becomes available when turmeric is added and oil gets blended well with whatever is added to it.