Roasted Chana Dal & Curry leaves Chutney (Indian Hummus ;)

Who does not love dosas or idlis (the South Indian crepes and soft steamed cakes) ??? They go so well with tomato chutney, coconut chutneys and sambar (South Indian Lentil Soup). But have you tried a chana dal chutney with it? If not, this is a must-try healthy chutney to compliment your favorite idlis and dosas!!¬†I call it the Indian Hummus ūüėÄ

My mom makes this chutney every time she makes dosas (with or without sambar). I like how simple, yet flavorful this chutneys is, even without coconut!!

Chana dal chutney 3

Know your nutrients: This is a low calorie, protein dip. Chana dal like most pulses is a good source of proteins for vegetarians, and a complete protein when combined with cereals (rice, wheat etc). Roasted chana dal contains more Iron than regular chana dal because it is usually roasted in iron woks that introduces iron into the dal. Dals (& whole beans) are a good source of Magnesium and Potassium, valued for lowering blood pressure.

Per serving: 44 cals | 2 g protein | 2 g total fat 

Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients (6 servings)

1/2 cup roasted chana dal (split chickpeas) (~ 2oz, 56g)

1 large clove of garlic

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

1 green chili or 1/4 tsp red chili powder

6-8 curry leaves

salt to taste

For tempering

2 tsp oil

1/8 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch of asafetida

Chana dal chutney 2

Procedure:

  1. Blenderize roasted chana dal, garlic, chili/ red chili powder, curry leaves and cilantro leaves with 1/2 cup of water to make a smooth paste. Add additional water (~1/4 cup) & blenderize again, if you prefer less thick.
  2. Heat oil in a small steel pot. When it is hot enough, but not smoking, add mustard seeds and turn off the heat. After the seeds crackle add asafetida.
  3. Allow the oil to cool down & then pour the smooth chana dal paste over the oil and mix well. Serve with idlis or dosas, and enjoy!

Chana dal chutney 4

Variations:

  • You can reserve a few curry leaves and use them for tempering.
  • You can even add the red chili powder to the tempering for deeper flavor and color.
  • Adjust the spice level by adding less or more chili/ chili powder, per your preference.

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roasted chana dal chutney

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Mango Lassi/ Mango Smoothie (mmm mangolicious~)

This 2 ingredient beverage will keep you going for hours, unless you are crazy about mango, like me! Lassi, if made the right way, can be a good way to keep¬†your hunger at bay, especially when you are fasting (Hindu Fasts). Enjoy it solo¬†or with a snack but not with lunch or dinner,¬†as it will really fill you up and you will probably doze off! Even half a glass (1 full small glass) will suffice! When you drink a lot of it, that’s when you need to start keeping track of your calories from this nourishing, summer drink, or just go outside &¬†get those calories burning! ūüėÄ

mango lassi

Know your nutrients: Mango lassi in restaurants can be super rich (high calorie beverage that comes in generous serving size), but if you make it at home, you get the benefits without the disadvantage! ūüėČ It has the goodness that comes with low fat, plain, unsweetened, yogurt- good quality protein, calcium, vit A and the bacteria (probiotics) ! Mango…besides the deliciousness, is rich in beta carotene (which converts to vit A in our body), which you might¬†already know.

mango lassi b

I love Alphonso mango (the King of Mangoes), and haven’t quite learned to appreciate the¬†taste of other mangoes. I am sometimes okay with Kesar variety, but would rather reserve my loyalty for the Alphonso. Since, fresh Alphonso is not easily available here at affordable rates, I am happy to use the canned pulp (94% pulp). However, you can try this recipe with any variety. Instead of pulp, just chop up the flesh of the mango variety you like.

Here’s how to enjoy a guilt-free mango lassi, with the real taste of Alphonso.

Per serving: 107 cals | 2 g fiber | 4 g protein | 1 g total fat | Calcium & vitamin A

Nutrient-dense, lower calorie beverage 

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 cup Alphonso mango pulp, fresh pulp from ripe mango or canned (94% pulp) or chopped pieces of ripe mango of your choice

1 cup low fat, plain, unsweetened yogurt

Water for your desired consistency

Procedure:

  1. Blenderize pulp/ chopped mango and yogurt together till smooth.
  2. Then add water to get your desired consistency. Run the blender once more or just stir well.
  3. Serve chilled &/or with topping of ice cubes or a pinch of nutmeg in small glasses.
  4. Say yumm and lick your lips!

mango lassi with nutmeg2

 

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Mango lassi

Yummy Lauki/doodhi Dhokla (steamed calabash savory cake)

After spending about 2 years (on and off) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, it was hard to not fall in love with the Gujarati delicacies- khaman dhokla, dhokli, theplas, handva, muthiyas, undhiya etc. However, the generous use of oil/ghee made it a little hard for me to enjoy those dishes without critical evaluation. So, with some determination and courage to try out a hybrid of two of my favorites – lauki muthiya and handva, I conjured up this “formula with halves” ūüôā This makes it easier to remember the recipe too!

I will let you try this recipe, as I reminisce the days we spent in Ahmedabad. The aroma of methi theplas being roasted early in the morning by my neighbor, while I prepared tea with lemon grass, is a fond memory.

DSC_0012

View from our kitchen window

How to serve: Enjoy this dish with a cup of masala chai.

Know your nutrients: This dish serves as a good low calorie, nutritious snack with moderate amount of protein. Most of the snacks can be high in calories & sugar, and/or low in protein. I have used coarse semolina which contains more fiber than fine semolina or semolina flour. However, there was no source to quote its nutrient content. As such, I have used values for semolina flour.

Per serving: 103 cals | 4 g protein | 1 g fiber | 3 g total fat 

doodhi dhokla 3

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Chatpata Aloo Gobi (Spiced cauliflower potato filling for your tacos/ wraps)

A dear friend requested I post some recipes without onion and garlic. I know its not just me but a lot of people love O & G; they really make food flavorful and are part of most cuisines. I thought it would be a bit difficult to make food as delicious without these ingredients. However, my mom reminded me of¬†some of her recipes that¬†are in fact quite delicious, and don’t require O & G. I had somehow forgotten about those dishes :). During certain religious celebrations as well, Hindus are required to cook without O & G. Its only a matter of¬†different combination of ingredients that¬†make a dish lip smacking, without using a whole lot of oil! So, I hope you enjoy and let me know if you liked this dish. More such recipes on their way ~~~

How to serve: This dish can be served as a subzi with whole wheat roti, or a filling for your tacos and wraps. Add lettuce, tomatoes (and onion for those who love raw onion), lemon juice, cilantro etc over your tacos or serve as a side salad along with beaten, low fat yogurt dressing.

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Know your nutrients: Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc. It is valued for its anti-cancer properties attributed by glucosinolates. Make sure you prepare any of these vegetables at least once a week! Enjoy 2-3 servings of this dish and reap the benefits as well. It also contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect your body from oxidative stress and builds resistance.

This is a low calorie, high fiber dish with vitamin C.

Per serving: 97 cals| 3 g protein | 3 g fiber | 5 g total fat | 56 mg vitamin C

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Palak with Panfried Tofu Pakora (Panfried Tofu fritters in Spinach Curry)

To all the palak paneer lovers, this dish might be a pleasant surprise! I love paneer and a lip smacking¬†palak paneer for sure. Every bite of this home-made dish sort of has a calming effect on you!! This palak curry is inspired by mom’s palak paneer, which I attempted several times with disappointment. One time there was too much onion, another time too much tomato and other times God knows what. Seriously, for a while, I did not even bother to make it. Yesterday, for some reason, I just got the courage to try it one more time. I went by my instincts to get the proportions in order and followed her steps without slacking. And yes!! I was super happy with the outcome, which is good- it means I will be happier taking photos even in low light with whatever gear I have. I wanted to try it¬†with¬†tofu. But tofu by itself is quite bland and so I thought of turning it into a pakora, the¬†Indian fritter.¬†Sometimes, I feel pakora might be an easy solution to making anything you don’t like into something you will enjoy~ :))¬†Of course, you guessed it – I wasn’t going to deep fry – use of too much oil and smoke in the house….and then you are left with oil that you shouldn’t really use again…. na-a. So yeah, pan-frying it is! The pakoras turned out quite good and I ended up eating quite a bit while photographing. And it wasn’t even lunch time…:O

Now,¬†a few seconds¬†for learning…

Know your nutrients:¬†Tofu not only¬†adds variety to the usual palak paneer dish, but it also incorporates some more Iron. Spinach is rich in iron¬†and the tomatoes in the dish provide some vitamin C that can promote its absorption. Ideally, serve this dish with a fresh tomato side salad as well or serve a citrus fruit for¬†dessert. These tips are especially useful for vegetarians, who may have difficulty consuming sufficient amounts of iron. Paneer is quite rich in Calcium and may inhibit the absorption of iron in the spinach, which also contains some calcium, folate and beta carotene. So, try alternating between your favorite palak paneer and palak with tofu pakoras ūüôā to get your calcium as well as iron.

Per serving

Palak curry: 68 cals | 3 g protein | 2 g fiber | 5 g total fat | Good source of Iron, Vitamin A, C, Folate

Tofu Pakoras: 95 cals | 6 g protein | 1 g fiber | 6 g total fat | Good source of Iron

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