Posts Tagged ‘health’

Pudina or Mint is God’s gift to mankind – its green, it smells like a beautiful dream, it tastes like heaven, it adds a flavour to anything and its perennially available. According to the Wikipedia, Mint is a diuretic, its good for your digestion and it whitens teeth. So its like this super efficient smart leaf with a zillion desirable qualities rolled into one.

Kalanda Sadam (literally Mixed Rice) is the Maami brigade’s gift for people like me who scratch their heads each time they need to fix a meal. Make the perfect pot of rice, put together a few simple ingredients, mix and you’re done.


  • Rice – 1/2 cup
  • Pudina Leaves – 1 cup (washed and tightly packed)
  • Onion – 1 (fine chopped)
  • Green Chilly – 1 (seeds removed and cut into long strips)
  • Peanuts – 1/4 cup (or more if you like)
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter) – 1 tsp


  1. Cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Each grain of rice must be separate.
  2. In a pot, heat some oil, add the mustard seeds and channa dal.
  3. Add green chilly and onions and saute till onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the pudina/ mint leaves, turmeric, hing and salt. Saute till the leaves are cooked and water content is reduced. Take off from heat.
  5. Add Ghee to the Rice. Toast peanuts in a microwave for 1minute or so.
  6. Add Rice and toasted peanuts to the Pudina/Mint saute in the pot. Mix well using a flat ladle (thuduppu in Tamizh). Be careful not to mash or break any rice.

Transfer to a serving dish. Serve hot with Raita or Curd.

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Kashayams are magical medicinal drinks conjured with a few simple kitchen ingredients. Think of a singular drink that takes less than 5 minutes to cook and that can cure nausea, drive away cold, take care of that nagging lack of appetite or those digestion problems after an unnecessary binge – that’s a typical Kashayam for you.

Maamis (the south indian women brigade) in the part of the world that I live in don’t just excel at making Kashayams but also excel in feeding their children Kashayams with smart techniques for taste acquisition and negotiation that would put a ninja to shame.


  • Ajwain (Carom Seeds) – 1/2 tsp
  • Black Pepper Corns – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Jeera (Cumin) – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • Honey – 2 tsp (adjust to taste)
  • Water – 3/4 cup


  1. In a dry skillet on medium heat, roast the ajwain, black pepper corns, coriander seeds and jeera till you get an aroma.
  2. Skin the Ginger piece and crush. Add water and followed by ginger to the rest of the ingredients in the skillet.
  3. Let it simmer till the water is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. Strain the kashayam. Add honey and serve warm.

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Chocolate Apple Brownies – low fat and vegan

My “bestest” days are when my kitchen experiments translate into success. One of the interesting food events that I stumbled upon is the Heart of the Matter – eating for life that rounds up heart friendly recipes each month based on a theme. This month’s theme is Baking. I find it interesting not because I am a health fanatic – in fact most of my favourite indulgences are far from low fat – but because:

a. Zero Butter low fat cooking opens up a whole world of amazing possibilities – Cakes and Brownies can graduate from a “once in a while” indulgences to a routine snacks.

b. I find it challenging to recreate the magic of food for those whose health affinities don’t permit these indulgences cooked the conventional way.

Here’s a “low fat- no dairy” recipe that I adapted using Emeril’s Microwave Double Chocolate Brownies as a reference. It qualifies as both low fat and vegan – and personally I am very satisfied with the yummy result it produced.

Chocolate Apple Cake

Chocolate Brownie with an Apple flavour

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Baking time: 5 minutes, Yield: 10 brownies


  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Nuts (Powdered)##
  • 1/4 cups Nuts (Chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar (40 grams Powdered) (or 1/2 a cup for a sweeter taste)
  • 3 ounces Dark Chocolate (or 4 ounces for more chocolatey taste)
  • 1/2 cup Apple Puree* ##
  • 1 large Banana (Pureed) **
  • 1 tbsp Coffee (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence (or flavourings of your choice)
  • a pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder**

cups = 8oz measures .


  1. Line a baking dish (an 8 inch square dish or equivalent in other shapes) with wax paper.
  2. Coarsely chop the Dark chocolate into small pieces and transfer to a microwave safe glass dish. Micro on high for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate every 30 seconds. Whisk into a smooth paste with the Apple Puree and Banana Puree. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix the All purpose flour, powdered nuts, chopped nuts, salt and sugar.
  4. Add chocolate mixture, flavorings – coffee and vanilla and whisk into a smooth batter. Add baking powder and mix well.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and Microwave on high for 5 minutes (Timings for a 900 watts oven). Stick a plastic knife or toothpick in the center to check for doneness. #

Cut into pieces after cake cools completely and store in an air tight container.

*Slice Apples and micro on high for 4 minutes and blend in a blender. Strain the puree and blend the coarse lump that is left on the strainer. Repeat till you get a smooth puree.
Alternatively if you puree raw apples, melt Chocolate along with the Apple Puree for 2 minutes.

##Apple Puree and Powdered Nuts have been used as butter substitutes to add richness to the Cake. Apple Sauce can be used in place of Apple Puree though this might make the cake sweeter.

**Banana and Baking Powder have been used as substitutes for Egg. Banana also serves as a natural sweetener.
# Over cooking can result in cake becoming very crumbly.

The brownies were mildly fruity in taste and had a wonderful crust for something that’s been baked in a microwave. People with a sweet tooth might find the sweetness on the lower side and chocolate fanatics might need an ounce more of chocolate to make it more decadent. For Brownies that are richer, I suggest increasing the chocolate by an ounce and sugar by a few tablespoons.


Heart friendly low fat vegan Chocolate Apple Brownies for Heart of the Matter 8: Baking hosted by Joanna.

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