Sprouting Moong

Sprouting whole green gram or Sabut Moong/Hari Moong is quite simple. Here is a simple tutorial showing the procedure. Moong is the most widely sprouted pulses in the world.

Day 1-Night: Wash and soak a cup of whole Moong dal in surplus fresh cool or tepid water in a dark place.

Sabut Moong/Whole Green Gram Soaking in water

Day 2-Morning: Drain the dal and shower wash them gently under cool or tepid water. Soak them again the same way.
Day 2-Night: Before you go to sleep, line a colander with wet muslin cloth and drain the plumped up dal. Tie the ends of the cloth into a knot. Hang in a dark place at room temperature where it wont be disturbed.
Day 3-Morning: Check the dal if they have started sprouting. The dal should have sprouted usually by this time if you happen to live in warmer areas.

Sabut Moong~Whole Green gram (behind),
and Spouted Sabut Moong~Green gram (front)

If it hasnt, which happens if you are living in colder areas, use a sprinkler to spray some fresh cool water on the cloth if its dry.
Day 4-Night: Your sprouted moong is ready. If they have not much sprouted, leave them for the night and enjoy these sprouted Moong.

Note:
1. Do not let the sprout shoots grow too long. It is suggested that they shouldn’t be longer than double the size of seed itself.
2. To store the sprouts, put them in a glass bowl and submerge them in cold water. Refrigerate it and they stay crisp for almost 5 days. I had read about this tip in a magazine which I thought to share.

Sprouted Moong are a good source of proteins, vitamin-C, iron and potassium. They are best eaten raw in salads, or very lightly cooked. Long cooking methods destroys the vital vitamins and disrupts the flavor. I usually prepare a light snack using sprouts. You can also add sprouts to pasta and noodles, or salads for some extra nutrition. I also like to use the sprouted moong as a stuffing in the wraps and fajitas along with the other ingredients and also in the Fried rice.


Picture Source: Flickr
I leave you with the snapshot of a Velvet Mite which we call ‘Birbabuti’ in Urdu. We witness a lot of them just after the first rains in Hyderabad. These harmless mites are so tiny and very restless arthropods. Their sensory velvety red covering is gorgeous. Children were always very attracted to them. Are you guys familiar with it?

Luv,
Mona

Soya Palak

The combination of Soya nuggets and Spinach is very healthy with added nutrition from Soya proteins. Soya is an excellent source of protein including all amino acids, being the only vegetable whose protein is complete. It is also a good source of calcium, vitamins, omega-3-fatty acids and dietary fiber. Benefits of Soya include promoting heart health with LDL cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol); preventing Cancer and alleviating menopausal symptoms.

Dried Soya Nuggets available in the market  ~  Soaked Soya Nuggets

Soak Soya nuggets in surplus fresh cool water for 1-2 hours. Later, squeeze them, drain the water and put the squeezed nuggets in a dry bowl. Add fresh cool water to it and again squeeze them, drain the water and put them in a bowl. Repeat this about 8 times, until there is no lather in the water when you squeeze them while washing them up. This is important, otherwise the lather in soya will cause severe flatulence. So, be careful there.

Likewise, Spinach or Palak, the most common green leafy vegetable is rich in iron, hence valuable for the treatment of anemia. It is also full of various antioxidants and vitamin A,B and C, folate, potassium and ample dietary fiber. Including Spinach regularly in your diet also improves eye health and fights against cancer.

Soya palak along with Rice and Lemon Dal ~ My Lunch plate

Wash the leaves thoroughly and pat them dry before you chop them to ensure that there are no pesticides.

I prepare this curry quite often in my house as a replacement for Palak Gosht. The Soya nuggets that I have used here taste yummy paired with spinach. They are available at various food stores very commonly.

Soya Palak – Spinach with Soya Nuggets

Ingredients:

Spinach/Palak – 300 gms, chopped (Fresh or frozen)
Canola oil – 1 tbsp
Yellow onion – 1, large, finely sliced
Dried Soya nuggets/Soya Vadi – 3/4 cup
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin seed powder – 1 tsp
Roasted coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Tomato – 1, large, finely chopped

Method:

-In a pan, add the sliced onion and stir fry it for a few seconds. Add the soya nuggets and fry them along stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
-Add spinach and the remaining ingredients. Pour in half cup water and mix well. Cover the lid and let it cook until the spinach is tender. Serve warm.

Go Unplugged: Earth hour, a worldwide voluntary movement initiated by WWF in the year 2007, to raise global awareness against climate change, is 1 day, 5 hours and 18 minutes from now, depending on where in the world you live. Be sure to participate by turning off all non-essential lights and electrical appliances for an hour on March 28, 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, that is tomorrow ~ www.earthhour.org

Remember it is not only at the Earth Hour to do our part to save the earth, we have to be conscious all the time and practice ways to save our earth for a healthier, safe and cleaner place to live. Teach your kids to always shut down lights when not in use. It is one thing my parents have always taught me. Contributes a lot in conserving energy.

Also, head over here to watch the very pleasant Hyderabadi culinary celebrity – ‘Kunwar Rani Kulsum Begum’, the niece of Salar Jung III, dishing out a wonderful TAMATAI MURGH. Enjoy the video!

Luv,
Mona

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

The beautiful aroma that fills my house when I bake these beauties revs up my appetite for them. These beautiful mini loafs are perfect for breakfast along with a cup of warm coffee or tea, or you could also enjoy them as a snack. Children will especially love these butterscotch mini loafs, as well as adults.

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

Just put all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix them well using a rubber spatula until everything is well blended together, and pour the batter into the moulds to get perfect results. There is no need for an electric mixer or a food processor for the mixing.

Butterscotch chips

Stock up your pantry with chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch chips. They come extremely handy when baking to flavor up the goodies.

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

Makes – 8 mini loafs (I have used a mini-loaf tin, instead you could use use around 20 muffin cups)
Source: Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world

Ingredients:

All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 2 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Granulated sugar – 1/4 cup
Butterscotch chips – 1 1/2 cups
Milk – 1 cup
Butter – 4 tbsp (1/2 stick), melted
Egg – 1, large, lightly beaten
Honey – 2 tbsp
Vanilla powder – 2 tsp

Method:

-Preheat the oven to 400°F.
-Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and butterscotch chips. Make a well in the center and pour in milk, butter, egg, honey and vanilla. Mix well with a rubber spatula until you get a smooth batter. Spoon the batter into the mini loaf pan, filling each 3/4 full.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the muffins on racks.

Luv,
Mona

Sheekh Kawab Series~II

Sheekh kawabs are quite interesting and fun finger foods to prepare, and very versatile too. I love to mix and match and play with a variety of ingredients to flavor the sheekh kawabs and alter the tastes deliciously for a change. I had also posted an another version of sheekh kawabs a few months back. The main ingredients in todays version of sheekh kawabs are dhaniya/cilantro and hari mirch/green chillies, lending a faint tangy yet fresh flavor to them. These kababs are sure to whet your taste buds.

My lunch plate – Khushka with Khatti dal and Sheekh Kawab
(Plain boiled rice with sweet and sour lentil soup and Meat Kababs)

Marinate the meat in the spice mixture for atleast 6-8 hours or overnight for the best results, so that it absorbs all the flavors and the meat gets tender. One of my close friends S was telling me that she sun-dries the peels of very raw young papaya and once completely dry, powders them to store in jars in cool dark place at room temperature. It has a long shelf life. She added that she uses about a pinch or two of this powder as a tenderizer for the meat and leaves it to marinate for delicate melt in mouth kawabs. This I thought is a useful tip to share with my readers.

Sheekh Kababs – Minced meat Kebabs (II)

Makes: 15-18, enough for a large gathering

Ingredients:

Dry roasted and powdered Cumin seeds/Zeera – 1/2 tsp
Dry roasted and powdered Coriander seeds/Dhaniya – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies/Hari mirch – 8, roughly chopped
Lean Lamb meat (boneless) – 900 gms, cubed into bite size pieces (or) Minced Lamb/Veal meat – 900 gms
Thick yogurt – 2 tbsp
Chopped blanched almonds – 1 tbsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Egg -1, large
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Khoa – 1 tbsp
Raw papaya skin paste – 2 tbsp
Roughly chopped Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 cup, loosely packed
Lemon zest – 1/2 tsp

Kawabs ready to be grilled

Method:

1. Wash the meat and drain it well till all the water has been removed completely and the meat is dry. This is important or else the shape does not come out very well.
2. If using meat cubes, add the meat to a food processor along with all the other ingerdients and pulse just until the meat is minced. Do not make it into a paste. Transfer the minced meat into a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients and mix/knead well using hands. If using minced meat, simply mix/knead it with all other ingredients until well combined in a mixing bowl. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight for for minimum 2 hours.
3. The next day bring it back to room temperature. Dip your fingertips in a little canola oil and smear you palms with it. Take a large lemon size ball of the meat mixture in your hands and shape it into a sausage. Insert a metal skewer into it to make hole all the way through it. Enlarge the hole by rotating the kawab a few times around the skewer. Remove the skewer and place the kawab on a greased baking pan lined with aluminium foil. Keep repeating until the whole mixture is used up.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the baking tray uncovered in the middle rack. Turn the kawabs once after 15 mins. Let cook for a furthur 15 mins. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: For a simple meal, serve these kawabs warm along with Khatti dal and Khushka. You could also serve it along with Dalcha, Baghara khana and a salad for a party meal, or simply along with a chutney as a snack.

Tip: Leftovers? Chop up the two Kawabs roughly and keep aside. Warm a pita bread, cut it onto halves, open it up and add some chopped fresh lettuce, cucumber, sliced avocado, tomato, and the chopped kawabs. Add a few drops of Chipotle hot sauce and some low-fat yogurt as topping. Serve these delicious pita pockets immediately.

Luv,
Mona

Puran ke Laoz

Chana dal, or split bengal gram are an essential item among Pulses in Indian cooking. The other dals most commonly used by indians in their everyday cooking are Tuvar dal or yellow lentils, Masoor dal or Red lentils. These three pulses or dals are the basic source of protein intake in an Indian, chiefly vegetarian diet. Mostly savory dishes are prepared out of dals, but a few of the sweet dishes like the one I am writing today are my favorites.

Chana dal and a block of Jaggery/Gud

My Ammi prepares the following halwa a lot. It brings back many sweet memories from my childhood. It is a simple meetha, which everyone will enjoy, and it is healthy too. It has got chana dal which are rich in proteins, ghee which has got many health benefits and lots of nuts to add flavor and richness.

This meetha is quite subtly sweetish in taste. Once this meetha is done, it is spread out evenly on a flat greased dish and left to set until cool. It is then cut into diagonal pieces, hence called laoz. You can always add more sugar or khoa for flavor according to your preferences. The prepared chana dal or split bengal gram paste is called as ‘Puran’. It is also used as a stuffing for Parathas, just like Aloo Parathas, to prepare ‘Mitthi Roti’, and also as a filling in the ‘Halwa/Puran Puri’ which are the halwa stuffed deep fried pastries/puri which I will write about soon. Khoa and nuts are added to the Puran for that purpose.

Kadai

It is better to prepare this meetha in a non-stick heavy bottomed kadai or saucepan, so that it wont stick to the bottom and burn. A kadai is a deep Indian kitchen utensil. It is wok shaped, has thick walls, usually used to for deep frying purpose. Mine is a new addition to my kitchen utensils, recently gifted to me by my MIL.

Puran ke Laoz – Bengal gram Halva

Ingredients:

Chana Dal – 1 cup
Sugar – 75 grams
Jaggery – 40 grams
Powdered cardamom pods – 1/4 tsp
Khoa – 3 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachio, almond, pine nut) – 1/8 cup
Slivered nuts – for garnish

Puran ke Laoz – Bengal gram Halva

Method:
-Soak the dal for about 3-6 hours in surplus cool water. Later, drain and wash the dal. Pressure cook the dal in fresh cool water, until it is soft. Let cook until there is little or no water left. Once cool, puree it to a fine paste in a blender.
-Grease a stainless steel thali or any swiss roll tin with a little oil/ghee. Keep aside.
-Put the paste into a non-stick Kadai at medium heat. Add the powdered cardamom powder, ghee, jaggery, sugar and khoa. Mix well and keep stirring continously and let it cook until it thickens, no longer sticks and leaves sides of the pan. It will take around 20 minutes (time depends on the amount of water in the paste). Once done, stir in the chopped nuts. This is the Puran. Put the puran on the greased thali or swiss roll tin and spread it evenly to a thickness of 1 cm or half inch. Flatten the surface using a flat spatula. Once a little bit cool, put it in the refrigerator for an hour to serve later.
You can store these meetha stacked in an air tight food storage box for upto a month.

Luv,
Mona