Monday, January 13, 2014

Makara Sankranti Subhakanshalu

Wishing all of my readers a very happy Sankranti/Lohri. May the New Year bring in lots of happiness and peace. Growing up Sankranti was one of my favorite, it was time spent at grandparents, time spent with cousins, time spent playing endless hours of cards. Pongal brought festivities lasting for four days, the dressing up, the food and not to mention all the loot in the form of presents. Those were good old times and times that I will cherish forever. Today, thanks to the community I live in, kids get to experience a flavor of the same.

My previous blog post about Sankranti in pictures can be found here.
Made Sweet Saffron Rice as an offering. There are many flavors of the recipe which include cloves and cinnamon but today my version is the minimalistic few ingredients and cooked slowly with love. This recipe works best with Basmathi rice.

Ingredients
1 cup Basmathi rice washed and soaked in water for about 10 min
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp. Ghee/ Clarified butter
pinch of elachi/Cardamon pods (optional)
2 tbsp. of saffron soaked in warm milk or warm water
2~3 drops of orange food color
2 tbsp. of rose water (optional)
1 cup water

Process
1. In a thick bottom pan add two cups of water and then soaked basmathi rice and cook for about 8~10 minutes, till rice is well cooked.
2. While the rice is cooking, take a thick bottom pan add sugar and water and allow to boil
3. While the sugar syrup is boiling take two table spoons of saffron and allow to dissolve in warm water. Once the color comes out which takes about 2 minutes, add the water to boiling sugar syrup.
4. Add elachi and raisins which are sautéed in ghee.
5. Add orange color and optionally rose water for additional flavoring.
6. Allow sugar syrup to come to boil which is when you see small bubbles around the rim.
7. Now add cooked rice to the sugar syrup and cook closed for about 20~25 minutes on slow/medium flame. The rice grain absorbs the sugar and turns yellow.

Remove from heat and serve. Can be served both hot and cold.

Check out other delicacies for Pongal on my blog here

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Aaaaa The New Years Resolutions - Eat Healthy - Stay Healthy


"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
– Mark Twain

It's start of the year and like many I am on Resolutions high, resolve to exercise regularly, eat healthy and stay healthy. My weight scale is pretty evident of the all the parties, dinners and pigging out that happened for the last few weeks. Its time to cleanse, get organized and get back on track. 

Weather is the bay area is still very cold, when I say cold I mean by California standards. Cold weather call for warm and comfort food and hence my soup recipe today. Heart, healthy, warm, spicy and delicious.


Ingredients
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup cubed yellow carrot
1/2 cup cubed red/violet carrots
1/2 shredded brussel sprouts
1/3 cup frozen red bell pepper ( since I did not have fresh one)
1/2 cup shredded leeks
1/2 green onion finely chopped
1 cup canned white beam
1 tbsp of minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups of vegetable broth optionally you can add water
1/3 tsp of oregano 
1/3 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp of pesto 
1/3rd cup milk 
1 tbsp of olive oil or butter
This soup can be made with your choice of vegetables and dressings, you could use diced potato, shredded cabbage, finely chopped kale/spinach or other green. Recipe is very versatile change it up according to your taste and add your choice of flavorings.

Process
1. Heat oil/butter in a pot big enough to hold about 5 cups of water, when hot add garlic and crushed pepper flakes and saute for few minutes.
2. Now add leeks, carrots, brussel sprouts, bell pepper and all the vegetables along with white beans.
3. Fill the pot with either broth or water.
4. Add seasonings and salt
5. Simmer for about half an hour, mixing in between.
6. Check to see if carrots and other vegetables are done.
7. Add a tbsp of pesto or any other dressing of your choice and milk as well.
8. Allow to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes
9. Remove from heat and garnish with Parsley and cilantro.


Serve hot with sourdough bread or some croutons.

As they say the greatest of the joy comes from the simplest of things. Healthy and simple foods equals healthy mind.

Here is wishing everyone a happy and a healthy new year. 


 
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