Microwave Besan Ladoo!

>>  Monday, November 30, 2009

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You know I have always known it is easy to dish out of microwave but only after making Besan Laddo, I reconfirmed to myself how really easy it is. As usual I had to wait till the last moment to make for the Microwave Easy Cooking Event, and finally what, the microwave Besan Ladoo ends up as such a lovely recipe for keepers.

If you have a sweet tooth and craving for something nice, this is a dish that you can whip within 10 mins. There really can't be something quickly than this. And the ingredients are something so easily accessible that you don't have to fret about! I remember seeing this in Tee's space and saw it was almost the same way I do. Its lovely that she had sent her entry to the same event years back!

This is something you can make as quick treat to your kid and very healthy too.

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Quick Besan Ladoo in Microwave

Ingredients Needed:

Besan/ Chickpea flour - 1 cup / 50 gms app
Ghee/ Clarified Butter - 3 -4 tsp or as required
Sugar - 3/4 cup - 1 cup of same measure.
Cardamom powder - 2 pinches

Microwave safe bowl
ar (Powdered or the regular fine variety that is found in the US)

Method to prepare:

Mix the besan and ghee in a microwave safe bowl.

Micro for 2 -3 minutes. Stir in intervals after a minute and continue heating.

Keep checking and stirring after a minute. At the end of 3 minutes, the mixture will be a nice reddish brown and will have a nice aroma to it.

If the mixtuer doesn't come together, add more ghee.

Add powdered sugar or fine variety if you have along with cardamom powder. Micro for another 2 minutes. The mixture should not look too dry, otherwise the ladoos will not hold up their shape.

When it is still warm, hold together to form ladoos.

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Notes: If you like biting into sugar, use as such else powder it. If the balls are not holding shape, then add 1 tsp more of ghee.

Roasted nuts can be added to the mixture.

From the quantity I made, I got about 4 ladoos.

Sending this to Paru who is hosting MEC event for this month themed on Sweets 'n' Savories.

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Tips to make the food tasty, healthy and attractive ~ Guest Post by PJ!

>>  Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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Read the article on Nutrition for Children and Nutrients – Functions and sources by Padmajha Suresh.

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We sure know that how much ever we talk about nutrition and other important facts about food for children, finally we have the task of getting them eat. So making the food more attractive helps.

Having said this, here are some tips to make the food tasty, healthy and attractive.
  1. Rice can be made interesting by adding vegetables to give a different color and flavor -like beetroot rice, coriander rice and children will never be bored.
  2. Adding oats to other dishes like dosa, Chapathi or in desserts is a definite way to assure that the cereal is consumed.
  3. If buckwheat flour is available, it can be mixed with wheat flour to make chapathis and buckwheat noodles will make the child more inclined to savor it due to its color. Addition of vegetables in it will make it healthier.
  4. Pulses/legumes can be included by preparing dishes like adai which are different and preparing them in interesting shapes will defiantly make them attractive to eat.
  5. If the child does not like to eat a single fruit then they can be given as a salad in an attractive bowl and adding honey to it for sweetness which is more healthier than adding sugar
  6. Nuts and dried fruits can be mixed to the breakfast cereals
  7. Children don’t like Popeye’s favorite spinach as much as they love him. Yet we can trick them to eating the greens by adding a handful of them to dhals, using them as gravy bases [Palak paneer], chutney [coriander,mint etc]
  8. Milk and milk products are the easiest to feed a child as they can be given in many forms and sometimes the little one doesn’t even realize what he is eating!! Adding a teaspoon of grated cheese to soups, mixing tofu with other dishes, and flavored milk like strawberry milk prepared with home made strawberry syrup, milkshakes, smoothies, adding a teaspoon of ghee to the rice dishes, serving raitas are all ways to ensure they get the proper nutrition.
  9. Mask eggs in other dishes, by sandwiching them between idlis or as omlettes, bhurji [scramble] with some coriander leaves/mint to mask the odor -if that’s what is preventing them from eating eggs.
  10. Whenever possible substitute jaggery/honey for sugar
The most important thing is that parents should not show their likes or dislikes towards a particular food during the meal time as children imitate the adults and it can form a bad impression on them!

Avoiding processed /preserved foods, instant foods –like instant noodles and too many servings of deep fried foods and chocolates will definitely pave wave for a healthy body. That does not mean they should be deprived of all the goodies but they can be given occasionally and substituting baked and roasted foods instead of deep fried foods all the time.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and many a times children tend to miss/avoid it. We must ensure that they have a cereal based dish,fruit and milk [or milk product] for breakfast as it will help them perform better in school.

Did you know that the child’s lunch box must provide 1/3rd of the daily nutrient requirement? So when packing a lunch box for the kids, it is better to keep a small portion of all foods groups so that they are not bored with a single item in the box and this way we can meet the 1/3rd need as well.

When the child is at home, it is better to serve small frequent meals that are nutrient dense so that they provide variety and also meet the requirements.

Many parents prefer to watch TV during the meal time especially during dinner time and hence neither the parent nor the child knows how much food is being consumed!!! It is best that the meal time environment is calm, relaxing and pleasant.

And last but not the least, here are some more Tips to make kids eat better

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Thank you PJ for your wonderful post!

If you are interested to share your knowledge on food or other things related to Kids, please mail me at spicingyourlife@gmail.com

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Gulab Jamun Recipe for Indian Cooking Challenge ~ Step by Step

>>  Sunday, November 15, 2009

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For this month's Indian Cooking Challenge, I decided on Gulab Jamun. Deciding on that wasn't very difficult. It is one of those delicious sweets that is so much a part of my childhood. Be it any festival or a birthday at home, Amma for sure makes this the previous night. However late it is, she makes it and only then sleeps.

But she has always made from the ready mix from MTR. I have always remember soft as a cotton, sweet as a sugar and tempting as the devil, if I think of Gulab Jamun. And it is always the same vessel that is used for making this sweet at home. Even if I didn't' know that Amma is making, seeing that vessel, I know immediately that a treat is in waiting. The number of jamuns that disappear thereof, one never knows. Amma never allows us to take it directly from the vessel and pop into our mouth. But I secretly know it is more sweeter when one disobeys. I know Amma doesn't read the blog, but if she gets to know if this secret, then sorry Amma, this is the only mischievous thing I have done..:)

We have always wanted to make it from scratch. And Indian Cooking Challenge present the perfect opportunity for me. I selected three recipes from Indo, Lakshmi and Alka. I tried from Lakshmi. I know for sure it is very tasty as I eat it at her home, when Lathamma had made it. Their blog is a versatile place for many different recipes, only sad that they are not blogging anymore.

I made modification to the measurements, though not the ingredients. The original recipe can be found here.

I thought I might as well make this a Step by Step post to make it more clear to all.


You can refer Homemade Khoa before proceeding to make the jamuns.

After slogging over the stove for over an hour and half, you get soft khova. Don't overcook the khoa, it should not become too dry. Take the sugar required, along with 1 cup of maida. 3 -4 pinches of cooking soda, saffron and whole cardamom.

In a thick bottom pan, take 3 cups of sugar and add 1 cup of water, bring to boil. Sieve for impurities. And put it back to boil, after 1 min, add the cardamom and saffron. Switch off the gas.

While the sugar was getting melted, you take the khova, add soda and knead well. Slowly add the maida and knead well.

I didn't use all the 1 cup of maida, half way through it I felt the thickness was enough. The consistency should be soft and well knead dough.

Pinch out small balls and quickly heat kadai with equal portion of oil and ghee.

Simmer the flame, gently drop in the balls and cook over low flame for the center to get cooked as well. Don't touch the balls, rather stir the oil so that the balls get turned and cooked on all sides.


They swell up after getting cooked.


Once they are golden in colour, immediately drop them in the hot sugar syrup.


When you are done with all the balls, cover the soaking jamuns and leave it aside atleast for half hour to one hour, before succumbing to the tempting of tasting it!

Gulab Jamun Recipe

Makes: around 25 jamuns

Ingredients

Khova – 1 & 1/2 cups
Maida – 1 cup (I used 1/2 cup)
Sugar – 3 cups (if you want excess syrup i.e floating jamuns increase by a cup)
Water – 1 cup (increase if you’re increasing sugar)
Cooking Soda – 3 pinches
Cardamom – 4 pods
Saffron strands – a few
Oil + Ghee – 1 cup (for deep frying)
Rose water - 2 drops

Method

  1. Combine sugar and water in a thick flat bottomed broad pan and simmer on a low heat until sugar dissolves. Sieve to remove impurities Add cardamom powder, saffron strands and remove from fire. Finally add rose water.
  2. Knead khova, maida and soda and quickly shape into balls.
  3. Heat oil and ghee on a medium flame. Fry the jamuns till golden brown over a low to medium flame, keeping oil temperature uniform. Oil should not smoke.
  4. Drain the jamuns and soak in the warm sugar syrup.


Notes:
  • You will achieve correct consistency for jamun syrup when 3 cups of sugar dissolves 1 cup water over low heat. There is no need to get any thread consistency.
  • Only when the syrup is ready, mix the jamun dough. Since the dough has soda, if its kept aside the jamuns will disperse while frying and will not hold well.
  • Right temperature of oil of utmost importance to get soft jamuns.
  • The khova consistency is also very important. It should not be dry, based on the touch add all the maida mentioned, otherwise little more than half of the maida is enough.
  • Never refrigerate jamuns. Jamuns when refrigerated will shrink and become hard. Jamuns will stay fresh for 4 days when stored in air tight containers.


My first attempt gave me little hard ones, I again made khova, this time with more softness, the jamuns were not hard.

To all my ICC members, please link your Gulab Jamun post to Mr. Linky.

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Nutrients – Functions and sources - A quick guide ~ Guest Post by PJ!

>>  Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Read the article on Nutrition for Children part 1 by Padmajha Suresh.

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In my previous article, I discussed on Nutrition for Children, with brief introduction to various aspects related to it.

Today I will focus on some facts that you may want to consider while planning a meal for the little one..

Nutrients – Functions and sources- A quick guide

1.Energy – It is required for the overall growth and development of the child and the sources include cereals, pulses, milk products, nuts, fats and oils.

2. Protein – It is the basis for tissue building and development of skeletal muscles. Sources – Pulses[lentils/legumes],milk and milk products[including cheese, yogurt etc], tofu, nuts, egg whites, soy products, meat, etc

3. Fats – These are the concentrates source of energy and are also the carriers of fat soluble vitamins- A,D,E,K. Major sources- Oil, Ghee, butter, margarine, nuts and egg yolk, cream

4. Fibre – As we are aware, fiber gives satiety and avoids constipation. Sources - Raw fruits, vegetables, cereals and pulses.

5. Vitamins-We can classify them as Fat soluble and water soluble vitamins…

A] Fat soluble vitamins –

i] Vitamin A – Needed for good vision, immunity and an adequate diet with Vitamin A prevents night blindness. Green leafy vegetables are the best source, along with yellow/orange colored vegetables/fruits like papaya, mango, carrots, pumpkin, papaya, mango, sweet potato, winter squash, cantaloupe and spinach, eggs and milk.

ii] Vitamin D- It is needed to help the body assimilate Calcium from our diet and hence indirectly helps in building strong teeth and healthy bones. Milk and egg yolk are the best sources of this vitamin. It is also found in Fatty fish, liver and fortified milk. 5-10 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight 3-4 times a week also an additional way to get this vitamin.

iii] Vitamin E- It is an anti-oxidant and is required for proper cell functioning. Sources include vegetable oils, butter and margarine, broccoli, whole grains, peanuts, sunflower seeds, mayonnaise, wheat germ, yam and sweet potato.

iv] Vitamin K – This vitamin is vital for normal blood clotting and is found in Green leafy vegetables, fruits, potato, beets, fruits, dairy products, eggs, seeds, and meats.

B]Water soluble vitamins

i] Vitamin B – It is a group of vitamins, each one performing a crucial function in our body.

ii] Vitamin B1 –It is needed for energy production and also for transmitting the nerve impulses. It can be found in cereals, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, pork, and seafood.

iii] Vitamin B2 – It aids in the release of energy and promotes healthy skin and eyes. Its sources include milk, yogurt, milk, breads, green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits, almond and chicken.

iv] Vitamin B6 – Its functions are to maintain the nervous tissue and regeneration of red cells and can be found in whole grains, fortified cereals, oats, chick peas, banana ,vegetables, baked potatoes, chicken and peanuts.

v] Vitamin B12 – Proper functioning of the cells are ensured by including adequate quantities of this vitamin by including a liberal portion of dairy products in the diet along with eggs, fish, beef, pork, yeast and fermented foods.

vi] Niacin – Helps to convert food to energy. It is found in breads, cereal grains, nuts, vegetables, peanut butter, brewers yeast, tuna, chicken breast, sunflower seeds and beans.

vii] Folacin- It is required by the body to use up the proteins and also to prevent blood disorders. Include dried beans, wheat germ, nuts, oranges, bananas, beets, beans, peas, , broccoli ,Popeye’s favorite-spinach, other green leafy vegetables and mushrooms.

Vitamin C-It is an antioxidant vitamin needed for the formation of collagen to hold the cells together and for healthy teeth, gums and blood vessels. It improves iron absorption and resistance to infection. Good sources of this Vitamin include citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, lemons, guava, Indian gooseberry, strawberries, melons, broccoli, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, red peppers and cranberry juice, pineapple.

6] Minerals

A] Calcium, which is required for the formation of healthy bones and teeth, is also needed for blood clotting and proper functioning of the heart .It is found in milk and milk products, green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, kale, tofu, sardines and salmon.

B] Phosphorus works with calcium to promote the formation of teeth and bones, maintain acid base balance in the body. Found in Milk and milk products, grains, nuts and legumes, lean meats

C] Sodium – It regulates the fluids in the body and thus regulates the blood pressure. It is also essential for the nerve function and energy production .It is present in Table salt and most processed foods and hence care should be taken when the diet has too much processed foods as higher sodium levels will lead to increase in blood pressure. Other sources include baking soda, monosodium glutamate (MSG), various seasonings, additives, condiments, meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, eggs, smoked meats, olives, and pickled foods.

D]Potassium – It also balances the fluid level in the body and can be found in milk, yogurt,oranges, bananas, raisins, apricots, oranges, avocadoes, dates, cantaloupe, watermelon, prunes, broccoli, spinach, carrots, potato, sweet potato, winter squash, mushrooms, peas, lentils, dried beans, peanuts, lean meats.

E] Iron –This important mineral is necessary to prevent anemia and is an essential component of hemoglobin. A diet rich in leafy vegetables, dried beans, beaten rice, jaggery, dried fruits, nuts, lentils, meats, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains and enriched food products is a sure way to keep anemia at bay.

F] Zinc- It promotes the tissue growth and also helps prevent anemia. It is found in Eggs, milk, meat, seafood, and liver, whole-grains.

G] Iodine- It is essential for the proper functioning of thyroid gland and can be included in the diet by using iodized salt and milk.

There are quite a few other minerals like Magnesium, chromium which are needed a for energy metabolism. They can be found in whole grains, breads, vegetable oils, milk and cheese.

No single food can meet the total nutritional requirement for a day, hence the meal should be planned in such a way that at least a few foods from each food group are included and distributed in the menu.

Please note that Nutrition in itself is a vast topic and it has been consolidated here to provide the details in a nutshell.

In my next article, I will be talking about how to make food more interesting with the things we learnt from above.


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Kids Delight Round up!

>>  Tuesday, November 3, 2009

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I know this round up is way behind! My only excuse was I never expected such a good response and I was stumbled by it..:)

What a beautiful way to celebrate the first anniversary! I really enjoyed reading each of entries and knowing so many talented and creative kids. A well balanced child is a result of well balanced food both for physical and mental. That involves activities to arouse their creative thinking, plus have introduce them to all good food. Of course at a younger age, say about till 15 years, a child need not be restricted on the diet. They should be free to eat everything and anything.

I got 130 entries, with some great dishes and some cool art works for us to enjoy. Please do take time to check on the entries!

I missed few entries, so the count now is 145! Special thanks to all bloggers who had sent in multiple entries!

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Art works from and for Kids!


Check out these cool activities that you can keep your kid occupied like Acqurium with Carton, Invitation card and PopUp Birthday Card from Avanthi

Art work based on Diwali from Deepika Jain
Another beautiful Painting from Esai Selvi

I was taken in by these beauties when I saw their pictures and even more impressed with their hand works! Nivedita's daughters are very creative. Check out this Multi purpose boxes from her daughter and these paintings

Next set of art work comes from Sireesha's daughter Sreeja. One can't but be impressed with such exquisite Jewellery sets and these drawings.

Then you have a pretty Tricycle from Soumya Arun Son's

Next comes from some delightful crafts from Vidhya Arvind twin daughters

Finally few from my daughter

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Easy Breakfast Dishes for Kids!

Upma Pesarattu from Avanthi
Bread Utthapam from Indrani dhar
Scrambled Eggs and Sausages from Jisha Joy
Colourful Mini Idlis from Lata Raja
Alphabet Idli from Meera S
Tacos with Kidney Bean Salsa from Parita
Masala poori from PJ
Coriander Pesto Pasta and Mini Omelettes from Priya Suresh
Pasta Fusion from Radhika Vasanth
Homemade Pizza from Ramya Sankar
Taco with Kidney bean & Veggies from Sadhana & Muskaan
Banana Pancake from Saju Sharfu
Ghee Mini Dosa, Puris and Veg. Sandwich from Saraswathi
Ghavne from SE
Pasta Primavera from Spice Buds
Grilled Paneer Carrot Snadwich from Sree Vidya
Banana wheat pancake and Chocolate Milk Tasty Toast from Swarnalatha Vijayakumar
Wheat Rava Dosa from Uma Priya
Oats Sweet Puttu from Usha Nandini
Kids Friendly Chapathi and Lemon Poha from Vidhya Arvind

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Delightful Drinks for the Little ones!


Chikoo Choco Shake from Kanchan Kamat
Gulab-e-aab from Lata Raja
Tomato-Garlic Rasam from Priya Srinivasan
Watermelon Peach And Plum Trio from Sadhana & Muskaan
Rose Milk from Saraswathi

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Some Salads n Sauce!

Home made Apple Sauce and Mixed Fruit Raitha from Radhika Vasanth
Fruit Arrangement from SE
Tomato Basil Linguine from Shubha
Green Beans Salad from Supriya Natu

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Sinful Snacks for all!


Crunchy Cheesy Potato Balls and Mini Mosa from Cool Lassi
Omapodi Sev from Divya Vikram
Peanut Sundal from EC
Sprouted Mong Sundal from Esai Selvi
Soy Wadi Fry from Gethan
Cajun style Potatoes from Humaira Khan
Mung/Moong Pakode from Kanchan Kamat
Muruku and Sweet Potato Fry from Priya Srinivasan
Black Channa Sundal,
Dry Green Peas Masala Vadai , Gramflour Murukku, and Oats Crackers from Priya Suresh
Mysore Bhajji from Raje
Paneer Puff Flowers from Rohini Vijay
French Fries from Saraswathi
Rice Krispy Treats from Shri
Capsicum Ring, Potato Murukku, Ribbon Pakoda and Spinach Paneer Balls from Usha Nandini
Candied Sweet Potato from Kamala Bhoopathy
Mani Kozhakkatai from Vidya
Finally Ribbon Pakoda and Muruku from me!

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Handful of Rice!


Mint Ghee Rice from Ammu Madhu
Stuffed Acorn Squash from DK
Peas Pulao from PJ
Simple Carrot Rice from Priya Srinivasan
Rajma with Basmati Rice from Ramya Sankar
Chenna Pulao from Shanthi krishnakumar

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Baked Goods!


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Delicious Desserts!

Paala Aatukulu Poha from Avanthi
Fruit Trifle from Barnali
Ice cream lollipops from Cool Lassi
Aloo Halwa and Makhana Kheer from Deepti Srivastava
Coconut Suhiyan from Esai Selvi
No Bake Chocolate Pinwheel from Jayasree Satish
Choco dates from Lata Raja
Banana Halwa from Prajusha
Condesed Milk RAva Kesari from Priya Srinivasan
Moongdal Laddoos, Puran poli and Tapioca & Tutty Fruity Sweet Balls from Priya Suresh
Classic Oat Wheat Date Bars and Urad Dal Laddu from Renu Roy
Sweet-colourful-boondi from Usha Nandini
Urad Dal Laddu from me!

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Update entries!


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Nigella lawson's Chocolate Pistachio Fudge, Healthy Wheat Chocolate, Paneer Kaju Pasanda, Garlic Naan, Bread and Butter Pudding, Cheesy Bread Rolls, Stuffed potato bread rolls from Pari
Rekha's Mini Dosa Sandwich
Saritha's Sugar Paratha
Saritha's Crochet

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Thank you everybody who participated! I really enjoyed reading through each and every entry, though for some entries I did not get around leaving a comment. Will do it shortly!

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