Dance is something that I associate with the emotion happiness. Anything that is a source of happiness makes the heart leap with joy. One who loves dancing would do so when favorite music is played, it is an action that happens automatically.
We too have a lot of fun dancing in our family functions, all members be it the seniors to the juniors join in. Occasions like marriage celebrations, birthday parties or say like winning a Cricket match ( I was just watching on TV-India won a Cricket match) or any sports game is a normal sight. When India wins a cricket match not only the spectators jump up with joy, the whole country celebrates, every household. Music and dance are such an essential part of our Bollywood movies.
It is not only music that makes us dance. Submitting below a few pictures that are my source of happiness. The pictures are of the tea lights/candles that I light at home for the Diwali festival. Diwali is an Indian festival of lights, we perform puja and the whole house is lit up with diyas. The dancing flames of these diyas or candles is always a fascinating experience for me, I love to keep looking at the light the small wick gives out and thus illuminates the surroundings. Everyone of us is special and has that light that can illuminate the lives of others, be it the family, the kids, the parents or the friends we have. The pictures are from the last five Diwali celebrations at home, one from each Diwali.
Hope you all enjoyed my pictures for this WPC-Dance. Stay happy and keep dancing with joy :).
How many of you have thought to eat light, maybe only some salad or soup for a meal. Well, some days I do get that kind of a feeling, lately a frequent one. I have tried making salads that would suffice as a whole meal, and they taste good too, and hence it is time to share it here.
Couple days back, I had a get-together of my girlfriends at my home, and had made a vegetarian lunch. A meal that is set on a table should have a fantastic salad display is always my thought. I decided on this salad as I had some of the leftover boiled cowpeas, and I like to season them and make this salad, looks appealing and tastes good too. This is less time consuming and when one has to cook lot of dishes and keep the food ready before your friends turn up, then this is perfect.
Cowpeas: 100 Gm (Boiled)
Red Bell pepper: 1
Fine Sev: 2 Tbsp
Chaat Masala: 1 Tsp
Black Pepper: 1 Tsp
Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp
Salt: To taste
Oil: 1 Tsp
Chop finely half of the onion and tomato.
Heat a pan, add the oil, then the chopped onion, sautee till pinkish. Then add the finely chopped tomato and cook.
Add the seasonings -cumin powder, salt, chaat masala and black pepper and then the boiled cowpeas and cook for 5 min and switch off the gas flame.
Chop the salad vegetables-cucumber, onion, bell pepper and tomato and put in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and lime juice.
Take a round deep dish. Place the cowpeas in the center. Arrange the salad vegetables around the cowpeas. Sprinkle the Sev in the center over the cowpeas. Place round lime slices as eyes and a green chili as the nose. Cut thin tomato slice and place it as the lips, and we have our salad face ready :).
Have fun trying this out. When the dinning table is laid with food, the salad face sure looks appealing and tastes great too. I enjoyed setting this salad on my dining table for my friends.
We all know the importance of food in our lives. It is a medium that also helps us to connect with one another. One easily gets connected with like minded foodies through the food that they love, and now with the help of social media through the pictures that one shares. For me the food journey has seen bringing the people together, and one can see the influence of Indian food, its spices and curries spread to so many countries across the globe. It gives great happiness and a fascinating feeling to see the love of Indian cuisine shared by so many non-Indians.
I have always enjoyed this bond that is created by the food I cook. Travelling to places makes us aware of the different landscapes, but also brings us closer to the community or people in that place. This incident happened with me during a sightseeing visit to Cologne, Germany, when I was on a short visit to Frankfurt couple years back. We were visiting the Chocolate Museum in Cologne and during lunch time were seated and had just opened the home packed lunch, an elderly lady stopped by, started talking with us and so we offered and shared our food with her. She was telling us how she loved the Indian food and was so happy to eat with us, and it was this same Cowpea curry that we were eating that noon. Every time I cook this legume, I am fondly reminded of that total stranger who shared the food with us that day. It was the food that had connected us at that moment, and though I am not aware where she must be at this moment but I always get this warmth thinking about that afternoon.
Most Indian families makes use of Lentils and Legumes in their daily food. Most of the legumes are sprouted before use to make them more nutritious, and also for fast cooking and better absorption. The sprouts increase the nutritive value of the legumes. Legumes are a source of good dietary fiber in our diet and also are a good vegetarian protein source. The legumes cooked in the form of usal or curry are eaten with pav, parathas or roti and can be eaten as a breakfast food or main meal and it as well adds as a curry component of the regular vegetarian meal served in hotels or canteens etc.
The cowpeas are usually preferred as a weekend breakfast dish in my house. It is easy and fast to cook, and does not matter even if one forgets to soak them the previous night. All the ingredients required are always present in the house, and hence one does not need any planning to make this dish.
Cowpeas: 250 gm
Onion: 2 Medium
Tomatoes: 1 Big
Ginger Garlic paste: 1 Tbsp
Oil: 2 Tbsp
Chilli Powder: 1 Tbsp
Coriander Cumin Powder: 1 Tbsp
Salt: To Taste
Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp
Green Coriander: 2 Tbsp finely chopped
Water: 1 Glass
Boil the Cowpeas/Lobia/Chavli in a pressure cooker upto 2-3 whistle.
Finely chop the onions and tomatoes. Make the ginger garlic paste using 3-4 garlic cloves and small piece of ginger. Finely chop the green coriander that would be used for garnishing after the dish is prepared.
Heat a Kadai or pot and add the oil. Then add the finely chopped onions and sauté till they are pinkish. Then add the ginger garlic paste, and after it is cooked for 1-2 minutes add the tomatoes and cook well till all are completely mashed. Then add all the spices and chili powder and salt and stir, and as soon as we see oil separate from the masala in the pan then add the boiled cowpeas.
Mix everything, add some water and let it cook on slow flame. Once it is boiled and all the masala is mixed evenly and a curry is formed, switch off the flame. Adjust adding the water quantity according to the thickness of the curry required.
Then lastly add the garam masala and finely chopped green coriander and keep it covered for sometime.
TIP: Serve this along with Roti, Paratha, Bread or Pav, or one could also eat this with steaming white rice at lunch time.
This was one more of my favorite foods that I loved sharing with you all. Hope you would try it out someday. Till then enjoy the goodness of eating nutritious, yummy homemade food :). Have a wonderful day friends.
For this week’s photo challenge theme: One Love, I find this homemade pizza perfectly depicts my love for food, for trying out different recipes. The photo is of my handmade pizza that was coincidently made this Friday for our weekend brunch. (It is a Fri/Sat weekend in the middle east).
Salads are an essential part of the regular Indian meal. Most meals do have some or the other type of salad, chutney, koshimbirs, raitas etc as a component of the Indian Thali. Foodies who love salads would understand how one is drawn towards the salad table at the buffets. I am very fond of salads and lately have been adding dried fruits too to my salads, it helps us to eat the daily intake that should be part of our food. Fiber is the undigested part of our food that is present in the whole grains, vegetables and fruits, whole pulses or legumes etc. that provide us with the essential roughage or bulk and thus aid in proper bowel movement and helps to prevent constipation .
I won’t be wrong if I write that for most Indians the word Chaat results in instant tingling of the taste buds and sudden mouth-watering moments. Chaats are blend of sweet, sour and spicy taste with the savory factor added too. It is a dish that creates a happy riot in the mouth with the over production of saliva by the salivary glands and one is left drooling till the Chaat vendor serves the ready dish in our hands.
When I am looking out to make easy, yet interesting, menu options at home from the ingredients that are almost always available in the refrigerator, I came up with this simple, refreshing, mouth tantalizing dish that I am sharing with you all.
One can call it a Chaat or Salad as I have added the sweetcorn for the fiber and its sweetness, crunchy salad vegetables, threw in some dried berries to give out the sweetness, sprinkled the lemon juice for the sourness, added the green chili/red chili powder for the spice, added the nuts for the nutty crunch in the bite and lastly sprinkled with the savory food-the fine Sev. I made this as a light dinner menu and served with lot of fine Sev sprinkled on top and savory Papdi and hence I called it Sweetcorn Chaat. If I avoid the Sev, then I would call it a salad and serve it with roasted Papad along with meals.
Sweetcorn Chaat/ Salad:
Sweetcorn: 2 Corn cob (Boiled)
Bell Peppers: 1/2 each Red/Yellow/Orange
Cucumber: 1 Medium-sized
Onion: 1 Medium-sized
Tomato: 1 Medium-sized
Fine Sev: 100 gm
Mixed nuts: 30 gm (Almonds, Pistachios, walnuts)
Dried Berries: 2 Tbsp (Blueberries/Cranberries)
Raisins: 1 Tbsp
Lemon: 1 Medium-sized
Green Coriander: 1 Tbsp finely chopped
Green Chilli: 2 or Red Chilli powder 1 Tsp
Salt: To Taste
Pepper: 1 Tsp
Chaat Masala: 2 Tsp
Boil the corn in a Pressure cooker, 2 whistles. (I used raw corn and hence preferred to boil it in cooker). Then remove the corn from the cob.
Finely chop all the salad vegetables (bell peppers, cucumber, tomato, onion, green coriander, chili as shown in the picture below.
Take a big glass bowl, add the boiled corn, the cut vegetables, the dried chopped nuts, the dried berries, raisins, the seasonings, chopped chilli and green coriander, sprinkle the lemon juice and then mix/toss all the ingredients. Check the seasoning and adjust according to ones taste. I have also added sliced almonds. (I oven roasted the Almonds, coarsely chopped and then added.)
Just before serving add the fine Sev on top and give the final toss and serve along with papdi.
This chaat tasted so yum and ended up becoming the dinner menu. As one can note the salad is full of fiber and hence it becomes filling for the tummy. The fresh berries might not be regularly available at home, as here in the UAE it is not locally produced. We all are aware of the importance of including the berries in our diet and I keep the dried ones handy, works well to toss them into lot many dishes. These dried berries and raisins impart the necessary sweetness to the chaat, hence we do not need to add any sweet chutney which is essential for any chaat preparation. If one has mint and coriander chutney handy, one could also use that or the freshly chopped herbs too work well as they add the required freshness. Do give this sumptuous healthy dish a try to enjoy with each bite the different flavors and texture of this delicious Sweetcorn Chaat or salad from ashuskitchen :).
I wanted to share a healthy, nutritious snack menu with you all and hence the post for this March month. Do also give importance to include some part of physical activity in your daily schedules, apart from eating healthy meals.
Greetings from Ashu to all the readers. It has been a sudden unexpected absence from this online space of mine and I sure missed posting new posts. Starting this new day of March with one of my healthier recipes, Green Papaya Paratha that uses raw papaya as the main ingredient of the recipe.
Parathas are a common menu item in the Indian household, a well accepted food by all, be it the kids, young or old folks. One can have any number of possibilities or types of parathas. It is one of my favorite dishes to make for breakfast, nothing beats the hot stuffed parathas and achar/pickle on a chilly winter morning. I have very fond memories of the yummy parathas that I used to make in the winter months during my stay in North India.
Breakfast happens to be the most essential meal of the day and hence one should try and make sure to eat a wholesome, healthy one on a regular basis. The necessity to make a nutritious breakfast made me try out this different paratha, making use of the raw papaya that I had got from the market. Papaya fruit has lot of health benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients that work against free radicals, is great source of Vitamins A, B, C and K, a good source of fiber, also has the digestive enzyme Papain and thus helps in digestion too. It is also rich in calcium and some other minerals. The taste of grated raw papaya is also very refreshing and one can make use of it to make many dishes, but here I incorporated it to make the filling of the parathas and with little addition of oil, the crispy and hot parathas were heartily devoured. If you have not tried this paratha then I suggest you to try once and then decide.
Many a times one is faced with taking care of a sick loved one and is faced with the question to what type of food to include in the regular diet. This Paratha would make an excellent snack or meal menu option as it is wholesome, with vegetable that has fiber, vitamins, is good for digestion and as is a regularly made food item in Indian houses hence one does not have to put extra efforts in its preparation. When cooking for family or loved ones, do make the food with a smile and add loads of your love to it.
Recipe for Green Papaya Paratha:
Raw Green Papaya: 1 Small
Green Chilli: 2
Green Coriander: 1 Tbsp
Sesame seeds: 2 Tbsp
Carrom seeds: 1 Tsp
Wheat Flour: 250 Gm
Water: 1 Glass
Oil: 50 ml
Turmeric: 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp (Optional)
Salt : To Taste
Chaat Masala: 2 Tsp
Wash and dry the raw papaya. Cut into half and remove the seeds if any. Grate both the halves of the papaya and put in a bowl.
Finely chop the green chilies and green coriander and add to the bowl of grated papaya.
Add sesame seeds, carom seeds, red chili powder, salt, turmeric, and mix all the ingredients of the bowl.
In another bowl make a medium-soft dough of the wheat flour using water. For method of making wheat flour dough click here.
Make lemon-sized balls of the dough. Take a dough ball and roll out a small round puri and add the raw papaya filling, close the edges and again roll to make a circular Paratha.
Heat a Frypan or Tava on the gas flame and cook both side of the paratha, apply oil as per taste.
Once the parathas are ready, one can sprinkle Chaat masala powder over them and serve with either a yogurt raita or a mint yogurt chutney or Tomato Ketchup.