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Showing posts from March, 2015

Gluten Free Naan!

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Naans are soft pillowy yeasty bread, made with white flour, baked in a hot earthen kiln called the tandoor. They are part of Mughlai cuisine available in most Indian restaurants. Of all the different varieties of flat breads made in India homes, this one is reserved for restaurants only, rarely made at home. Of course my dear daughter always felt left out so i set out to find a Gluten free recipe which could be made at home. I was lucky enough to find this amazing recipe here which i could easily adapt to make it egg free and corn free too. I cooked the naans on the stove top instead of the oven and they still turned out deliciously soft and spongy.

Makes:7-8 medium sized naans

Ingredients
1/2 cup water, heated to 110 degrees F
1  tablespoon sugar
2  teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk( or mix little water into yogurt to create instant buttermilk)
3/4 cup rice flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp potato starch
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp tapioca …

Emotions of a Child with allergies!

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Today my daughter had a cooking session at School - making pancakes (with syrup) and butter (to be eaten with crackers). This educational session can seems like a nightmare for a gluten sensitive child. I informed her teacher about her allergies and requested her to take precautions to avoid contamination. She very graciously agreed and took all the necessary care. I had sent gluten free pancakes and crackers from home.

My daughter came home very happy with the whole experience. She was also overjoyed that her pancakes were bigger and more in number than what the other kids got at school. She felt special in her own way.

Most kids with allergies have to often abstain themselves from everyday foods consumed by other kids. This abstinence affects them deeply at an emotional level. They can get negative feeling about themselves or their caregivers. They may even misinterpret abstinence as punishment. It's absolutely essential for parents to empathize with their children and explain to …

Butter Chicken / Murg Makhani

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Every Sunday I like to treat my family to a special meal. Since I have been under the weather last few days, I didn't have the energy for an extensive preparation but had the enthusiasm to try a new recipe. When the request for butter chicken was made, I just wondered how such an elaborate dish could be quick fixed. I browsed the internet for solutions but recipes involving overnight marination threw me off. I decided to create my own shortcuts. To my own surprise, the outcome was delicious restaurant quality butter chicken!

Serves:4-5

Ingredients -

For marinating the chicken:
marinate 1:
1 pound of boneless chicken cut into small pieces
1 tsp. Kashmiri chili pdr
lemon juice

marinate 2:
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1/2 tsp. Kashmiri chili pdr
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. grated garlic
1/2 tsp. garam masala pdr
salt (half of the required salt)

For gravy
21/2 cups of tomato puree (fresh or canned)
3 tbsp. butter
6 green cardamoms
1 mace
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. grated garlic
salt (other half)
1 tsp. Kashmir…

Shrikhand - Gluten Free Puri !

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A very Happy Gudi Padwa to all of you!
May the New year bring along good health and loads of happiness!

Gudi Padva is the Sanskrit name for Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. It is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the New year according to the Hindu calendar. (WIKI)

Every Indian festival is celebrated with spiritual grace and loads of good food which is shared with family and friends. On Gudi Padwa, the star of the meal is Shrikhand - Puri.

Shrikhand is a yogurt based dessert which is flavored traditionally with saffron, cardamoms and nuts. This is a humble yogurt transformed into a decadent richly flavored dessert. You just cant have enough of this creamy goodness. And it is slurped up with fried bread (puris).

This is my first attempt at making these traditional recipes from scratch. The main challenge was making gluten free puris. I used Amaranth flour or Rajgira which is traditionally used in meals during fasts. Amaranth is way more nutritious than whea…

Fresh Turmeric Pickle

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Turmeric maybe a new super food in the West but its been the star of Indian kitchens since ancient times. It is indiscriminately added to every lentil, vegetable, seafood or meat dish prepared. In fact the only time we spare its usage is when we consciously need the ingredient to retain its color or avoid the flavor of turmeric as in the preparations of sweets.

Turmeric also has a significant place in Hindu spiritual rituals. During weddings, we have a pre wedding ceremony called Haldi, wherein the bride and groom are smeared with turmeric paste by family and friends. It is believed to improve the skin and bring out the glow.
The priest also ties a piece of dried turmeric to the wrist of the bride and groom as part of the wedding rituals.

Like every Indian home, I always have a bottle of ground turmeric powder. But just recently I was introduced to fresh turmeric. Fresh turmeric rhizome looks very similar to a fresh ginger, only much smaller and unbranched. When sliced, it shows off a be…

Gluten Free Indian Pau /Dinner rolls

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Pav or Pau or Pao is the Portuguese word for bread (small rolls). It was introduced by them in Maharashtra, India during their brief presence there. Maharashtra was later gifted to the English as part of the dowry for Catherine of Braganza's marriage to Charles II.(WIKI).

Pau is very popular in Goa too where the Portuguese ruled for about 450 years. Every morning the Poder/baker would himself deliver the freshly baked rolls to his customers. Its enjoyed every morning with butter or any left over spicy curry made the previous day. Their size varies from small dinner rolls to huge hard crust bread which are super soft on the inside.

Pav in Maharashtra are the small dinner rolls and eaten more as a mid day/evening  snack. It is usually paired with a medley of mashed vegetables slathered with butter (pav bhaji), or as a burger with a potato patty sandwiched in between (pav wada), or with spiced minced meat (kheema pav) or with spicy lentil gravy (misal pav).

These dishes are doled…

Gluten Free Puran Poli

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Happy Holi to all of you!
May Holi bright up all your lives with beautiful colors!

Holi -  a spring festival also known as the festival of colors is celebrated today. It marks the occasion when Lord Krishna killed the demon Holika. Celebration start a night before when a Bonfire is lit symbolizing the destruction of evil and prayers are performed. After which sweets are shared and then the fun begins. As kids, this was our most favorite festival. The day would begin with us filling out the water balloons, water guns called pichkaris and getting all our colors ready. We had to wear clothes meant to be discarded as you can never wash off the colors. For some people, its a custom to wear white. Mom would lovingly prepare Puran polis - which is a flatbread with a sweet lentil stuffing inside. This was always served with a dollop of ghee and some warm milk for dipping the flatbread. Since I lived in a cosmopolitan part of India, we had neighbors from all over the country celebrating festival…

Rice Pudding/ Chaler Payesh / Kheer

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Few weeks back was Mahashivratri, a very important festival in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Since Rice Kheer is known to be his favorite dish, I decided to make that as bhog (offering). This recipe is a traditional Bengali dessert called Chaler Payesh or rice pudding.

Rice puddings are made all over Indian in very similar ways yet this recipe is distinctly different. The main ingredient here is a specific variety of rice called GobindoBhog rice. This is a short grain fragrant rice used exclusively for payesh. Also the mixture is cooked till most of the milk is absorbed and it reaches a thick creamy consistency.
Payesh can also be made with the regular fragrant basmati rice. I love to add saffron to most Indian desserts as it gives a beautiful pale yellow hue and lends an exotic aroma and taste to milk based desserts.
Makes: 6 - 8 bowls

Ingredients:
1 pkt milk ( In Canada, its usually 1 1/3 litre in a pkt)
1/2 cup GobindoBhog rice or basmati rice
1 tsp. of ghee
1 cup sugar
2 b…

Chicken Kheema

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I had minced chicken meat on hand and usually i would make koftas/meatballs curry. My daughter loves fried koftas so much that once she ate almost all of them even before i had a chance to add them to the gravy. We adults had to only settle for a couple of koftas and loads of plain gravy. But today i had no time for a leisurely dinner. Racing back home from class, I only had 30 mins before dinner time. After wasting 5 more mins on deciding what to make, I finally settled for a street styled but healthy homemade Chicken Kheema.

Kheema or spiced mince meat is usually made with lamb or goat meat. But you can try it with any ground meat. This recipe is made with chicken.  Vegetarians can make this with Indian cottage cheese also called as paneer. This a quick finger licking good recipe.
You can also stuff it into a bun and make your own version of Indian flavored sloppy joes. 

Ingredients:
1/2 pound mince chicken
1 large onion diced finely
1 tomato chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic grated
1/2 i…

Valentine Sugar Cookies

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My daughter's excitement for Valentine's day was more in anticipation of the sugar cookies we were planning to make. And of course they had to be heart shaped. Adding to the hearts mania, she also quilled beautiful hearts for all her classmates at school.

Though its a nice tradition to express love for the people in your life, the marketing of this occasion goes beyond reasonable limits at times. This year Valentine's day was stretched to a week with a chocolate day, promise day, teddy day, rose day and what not added before the final valentine's day. Retail marketing at its best!

I found this amazing recipe on Sarah Bakes. I also used her homemade Gluten free flour recipe.

Verdict: Cookies were awesome! With just the right sweetness and an undertone of coconut flavor, even the adults couldn't resist from having a few too many. My daughter proudly claimed that cookies turned out so good as she had poured her love into it when she did most of the work.

Makes: 30 cookie…

Gluten Free Upma

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Upma is traditionally made for breakfast in South Indian homes . Its main component is Rava or Cream of wheat. To make this gluten free, i have swapped the Rava for cream of rice or Idli Rava which is easily available at Indian grocery stores. This is a mild tasting but very filling breakfast. You can add more vegetables if you like.

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Cream of Rice /Idli Rava
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 green chili finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger finely grated
1/2 cup peas
salt to taste
1 tsp. sugar
handful of raisins and cashew nuts(optional)
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1 tbsp. oil

Directions:
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
Temper with mustard seeds and let them pop.
Add chopped onions and sauté till soft. Add grated ginger and chopped chilies.
Add raisins and cashew nuts if using.
Add peas and the water. Let it come to a boil.
Flavor it with salt and sugar.
Add the idli rava and stir to mix well.
Lower the heat to lo…