Thursday, September 11, 2014

Green Apple Pachadi

We Malayalees have very few festivals when compared to the rest of the country, and Onam is one of them. Like any Indian festival there is always food involved in the celebration and we too had a modest sadhya (feast) at home, with a couple of friends.
A few tart green apples have been sitting on my kitchen counter for over a week and  when the menu planning for the sadhya was going on, I told my husband that I might make apple pickle instead of the traditional mango pickle. He wasn’t too thrilled about the idea because he loves the mango pickle I make. The idea was in the back of my head when we went shopping, and to his joy, the store had fresh mangoes. With the mango safely in the shopping basket, he happily says, “Why not make both?”
Anyway, on the day of the sadhya, I was contemplating about making a pachadi with okra when he suggested making it with the apples instead. I thought it was a brilliant idea and the result…an absolutely delicious pachadi, with crunchy apple pieces and a mild pungency of the ground mustard. Here’s what I did.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
Chopped green apple – ¼ cup
Grated coconut – 3 tbsps
Mustard seeds – 2 tsps
Curd – 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Grind together the coconut and mustard seeds to make a smooth paste. Remove into a bowl, add salt, and curd. Mix well to combine.
Add the chopped apples and mix.
Though I served it at room temperature for the sadhya, I realized that it actually tastes better chilled. So you could make this ahead and enjoy with a sadhya or simply with rotis. Tastes great either way. Bon Appètit.
Note: Raw mustard has a slightly pungent taste, which some people may not savor.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A No Cook, Healthy Breakfast: Chia-Soy Pudding

Have you been looking for a tasty, yet healthy alternative to the regular breakfast items like cereal, oats, idly etc? I present to you the Chia Seeds. Grown in parts of South America, these seeds can be called a super food. A big trend among raw food enthusiasts, chia seeds are an excellent source of mega fatty acids, which are essential for our body. Click here to learn  more about the health benefits and side effects of chia seeds. 
To be honest, the first time I had chia seeds, I wasn't a big fan. I think it was the gelatinous texture that didn't win my vote. But I happened to have it for breakfast last week, and loved it. What was more surprising? My husband loved it too. He was all for having chia seeds for breakfast everyday and why would I say no? 
We have been struggling to get out of the rut of eating typical Indian foods in the morning and this seemed like the right option. Trust me, I have nothing against idlys and dosas but it is a fact that our food is loaded with carbs. which is something we should try and avoid having an excess of.  I know that habits can’t be changed overnight, so maybe we’ll alternate chia seeds and regular foods for a while before switching over completely.
The most attractive feature of these seeds is that there is no cooking involved; all they needs is a little bit of soaking time. The best thing would be to soak it in water and milk (regular/soy) overnight to enjoy in the morning. If not, please soak it for at least 45 minutes-an hour before consumption.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Chia seeds – 3 tbsps
Water – ½ cup
Soy milk – ½- ¾ cup
Fruits of your choice
Place the chia seeds in a bowl or large mug, pour water and milk, and allow to soak overnight or at least for 45 minutes. As the seeds soak, they expand and form a gelatinous mixture. Meanwhile, chop the fruits and keep ready. Today I used half a mango, half a plum, and a small apple. You could of course add whatever is available at home. Nuts can be added for an extra crunch.
After 45 minutes, the chia seeds would have expanded and increased in quantity. Mix in the fruits and enjoy a filling breakfast. Bon Appétit.  

Note: We bought the chia seeds from here.