November 24, 2014

Homemade Yogurt-Coconut Granola

Do you still take store brought breakfast cereals? If yes, then is is time for a rethink. Now what if we can make our own healthy breakfast cereals ahead on weekends?, and that too if they are easy to do and tastes better than those store brought stuff that is highly processed, may contain GMOs and laden with sugar and what not. 

I have made different varieties of homemade granolas before, but since we have started learning about soaking and activating nuts and grains, I have been making less of them. Recently I have been experimenting a lot with soaking and dehydrating my nuts and grains. Maybe it is time for me to invest in a dehydrator. For now, I am using my oven at the lowest temperature setting as my makeshift defydrator. Idea is to keep as much of the nutrients and active enzymes from the ingredints intact by not heating at a higher temperature. In this granola for example, I use soaked oats, soaked nuts, honey and homemade yogurt, and all of them have active nutrients which are high heat sensitive. 




Ingredients:
  • Organic rolled oats - 4 cups
  • Filtered water - 1 cup
  • Homemade organic yogurt - cup
  • Homemade organic ghee - 2 Tbs (optional)
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1/4 cup
  • Raw unpasteurized honey - 1/4- 1/2 cup
  • Himalayan pink salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1 cup
  • Chopped nuts - 1 cup
Directions:
  • In a bowl, mix yogurt, water, ghee and melted coconut oil. Add oats and let it soak for 24 hours on your countertop.
  • Soak nuts in a seperate bowl in enough filtered water to cover completely.
  • The next day, start by preheating the oven to 175 deg F.
  • Drain the nuts, rinse well with cold water and spread on a clean kitchen towel.
  • Melt honey over warm water, mix cinnamon and salt. Add this along with coconut to the oats mixture.
  • Add drained nuts to the oats mixture too.  
  • Spread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or silicon liner. Bake at 170 deg F for about 7-8 hours or till completely dry and crispy. 
  • Let it cool completely before storing in air tight containers. 
  • Serve with milk or yogurt along with fresh fruits. Enjoy!!

Recipe source:

November 22, 2014

Purple Puttu

Purple is the color of the season at the QuicknHealthy kitchen :-). I have been using a lot of purple vegetables this season including sweet potatoes, cabbages, potatoes and cauliflowers. Have used the sweet potato more than others this season in a variety of ways. The recipe today is a variation of a staple breakfast from Kerala. 'Puttu' is very nostalgic to every malayali. They are steaming hot rice cakes traditionally made with roasted rice flour, slightly moist, put in a cylinder shaped mold with layers of coconut and steamed. Most non-malayalees find it hard to understand how the rice powder holds together to stay in shape, and that is a secret known only to us mallus :-). In olden days, when people used to work in the fields, it was probably a good idea to eat a high carb breakfast like this one. I think it is not really a good idea for people like us, who sit in front of a computer for a living, to do the same. So while we try to indulge in our traditional delicacies we often restrict the quantity. This is a very healthy breakfast if you can control the quantity, as it is made of whole grains, has good fat from the coconut and is steamed. We could also make it with whole grain rice varieties, instead of white rice and also with other grains/seeds (whole grain rice varieties like black rice & red rice, millets, quinoa, etc). In today's recipe I have substituted half the rice with purple sweet potato.  It needs a little prep work ahead of time, but then homemade food always come with some amount of prep and planning. 

Ingredients
  • Rice flour - 1 cup 
  • Purple sweet potato - 1 (medium)
  • Finely shredded dried coconut - 1 cup 
  • Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 - 1 cup 
  • Sea salt - about a tsp (as per taste) 


Directions:
  • To make rice flour, refer to my recipe here. 
  • Roast the rice flour by method 1 - heat a pan on medium heat and roast by keep stirring the rice flour till you get a nice aroma- about 10 -15 minutes. 
  • Or roast the rice flour by method 2 - heat oven at a very low temperature, around 170-180 deg F, spread the rice flour on a baking sheet and leave it in for 20 -30 minutes, till you get a nice aroma. 
  • Let the roasted rice flour cool completely. This can be done ahead of time. This can also be done in big batches and stored in air tight containers. 
  • Boil the sweet potato till cooked just enough (still firm and not mushy). Let it cool completely. Peel and chop it roughly. This can be done ahead of time too.
  • When you are ready to make puttu, measure equal amounts of rice flour, chopped cooked sweet potato, dried coconut. Add along with salt into your blender or food processor and run it slowly so that the sweet potato powders along with the rice flour and coconut to make a slightly moist meal. It should be moist just enough for you to hold together with your palm, but still crumbles on applying a little pressure. 
  • Fill the puttu mold with a small layer of coconut, followed by about 2 handfuls of prepared flour mixture. Repeat till you fill the whole mold. Steam for about 3-5 minutes. 
  • If you don't have a puttu mold, but would still like to try this, you can line your steamer with a clean cheese cloth and use that as your make shift puttu steamer. Just that you will get a flat puttu disk instead of a cylindrical puttu ;-)
  • Serve hot with your favorite puttu accompaniment. It can be enjoyed in many ways. I prefer to have it with a chickpea or lentil curry with a coconut base. My husband prefers it with ghee and honey or coconut sugar, while my son prefers it with a banana (and this combo is a classic). You can also have it with pappadam or the spicy mixture too. 
  • Enjoy!!




November 17, 2014

Purple Olan

Olan is probably is the most simple dish from kerala. This 'semi-cooked seasonal vegetables simmered in coconut milk' is very mild and oh-so-easy to make. There are variations as we go from North to South of Kerala, so why not add a New England fall version too :-). This version of olan is made with purple sweet potato and ash gourd cooked in homemade coconut milk.

Purple sweet potato, which is found mostly during the fall season in our grocery stores, is one of my favorite because of the color it brings to your table. It is also versatile enough to be added to many dishes like mashed potatoes (err..mashed sweet potatoes) for your breakfast, roasted sweet potato salad for your lunch or oven roasted purple sweet potato fries for an evening snack. This season though, I have recreated our favorite olan with purple sweet potato giving it a different color and flavor. Purple sweet potatoes are a high source of antioxidants from anthocyanins which gives them the rich purple color. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, calcium and iron. It also has low glycemic index making it a diabetic friendly carbohydrate.




Ingredients:

  • Purple Yam - 1 medium
  • Ash gourd - 1 lb
  • Homemade coconut milk - 2 cups
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs
  • Sea salt - as per taste

Directions:

  • Wash the yam well, peel skin and slice into thin rounds (about 1/8th of an inch)
  • Peel ash gourd and slice into about 1 inch square disks (about 1/8th of an inch)
  • Start cooking the yam slices along with green chillies slit into half and with 1/2 cup of water on medium heat. Cook covered.
  • While the yam is cooking, you can make the coconut milk.
  • Once yam is half cooked (most of the water will be absorbed by now) add the ash gourd slices and coconut milk and continue cooking. 
  • Once the yam is cooked well, add salt and adjust taste. 
  • Switch off the flame and drizzle coconut oil on top.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!!


November 12, 2014

Asian Style Coleslaw

What do we do with all those green and purple cabbage that you find in abundance during this season? I have been doing a lot of pickling projects these days. Still mastering the 'kimchi making'..a post will soon follow. Today's recipe though is one of my favorite salads. Though it has been my favorite, it was not selling much with my family until I added an asian touch to it with some peanuts and ginger in the dressing. Fresh purple cabbage and Mutsu apple right from our farm stand mixed with some nice yogurt based dressing strikes a right balance of crunchiness and flavors.

Ingredients for coleslaw:
  • Purple cabbage - 1/4 of a medium head
  • Green apple - 1/2 (Mutsu or Granny Smith)
  • Apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbs
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs
For dressing:
  • Organic peanuts - a handful (lightly roasted)
  • Garlic - 1 clove
  • Onion - 1 Tbs (chopped)
  • Fresh ginger - 1 tsp (chopped)
  • Red chilly -1-2
  • Apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbs
  • EV olive oil - 2 Tbs
  • Himalayan salt - as per taste
  • Homemade organic yogurt - 1/2 cup
Directions:
  • Slice the cabbage very thin. Toss with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Keep aside for about 30 minutes or till ready to serve. 
  • Blend dressing ingredients using a blender till nice and creamy.
  • Just before serving, slice apple into thin matchsticks. Mix with cabbage, toss well with the dressing.
  • This serves 2. Enjoy!!