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Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Amaranth Leaves

The other day, my vegetable seller knocked on my door to deliver the vegetables. He had a big bunch of red leaves in his hand. It was an order from my neighbour. He said that he had specially bought for her since not many people ask for these leaves.

I have never before cooked these leaves but I wanted to taste it. I asked him to get a bunch for me. I learnt that these leaves are called Amaranth leaves and are called Lal Maat in Marathi. They come in red and green colors and smaller the leaves, the tastier they are. Before I could cook it, I googled to understand the nutritional value of these leaves. This is what I discovered.

The leaves don’t fall behind in terms of nutritional value. According to Ayurveda, the juice extracted from amaranth leaves help in treating diarrhoea and haemorrhage conditions. It is packed with carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and regular consumption helps in easing digestion, excessive menstruation and weight management. Since it is high in iron content and dietary fibre, it is good for anaemic patients, and reduces cholesterol and risks of cardiovascular diseases. The presence of an essential amino acids called lysine along with other elements are said to help fight against free radicals that result in aging or the formation of malignant cells.
The leaves are also deemed to be an effective measure against hair loss and premature greying. They act as a natural astringent and work wonders for skin problems like eczema and acne. It also contributes significantly to dental care and works as an effective mouthwash for treating mouth and gum related conditions.

I cooked amaranth leaves with potatoes using only garlic, chilies, salt and turmeric.

So simple to cook and so very tasty. I loved it.

I went to my neighbors home to ask her the recipe.


1 bunch Amaranth leaves
1tbsp jaggery
few Kokum leaves
50grams coconut
2 green chilies
5 cloves garlic
1tsp turmeric
2tsp coriander leaves
1tsp mustard seeds
6-7 curry leaves
salt to taste


Boil the Amaranth leaves with jaggery , salt and kokum.
Make the paste of masala by mixing coconut , green chilies, garlic, turmeric and coriander powder.
Stir fry the paste, add the boiled leaves and the stock.
Let it slow cook till creamy.
Temper with mustard seed and curry leaves
temper with deep fried crushed garlic.

Two days later she invited me for lunch and served me this

Monday, February 27, 2017

Product Review: iDFresh

There are many South Indian super stores in Mumbai where freshly ground Idly and Dosa batter is sold in plastic bag with a string tied around it, but the problem is that it should be used within two days or the batter might get sour.

Last week iDFresh send me their read-to-cook packets of idly Dosa Batter, chappatis and Malbar Parotas.

I normally don’t like to eat packed food but iDFresh company claims that it uses no preservatives, that it is 100% natural and authentic tasting Indian meal.

The chapatis are “Life savers”. One afternoon my maid forgot to roll rotis for me and I was too lazy, this was the day I decided to try these chapatis.

Good thing about these chapatis is that it can be roasted directly from fridge on to the hot plate, it fluffs like a balloon and tastes good with pure ghee. The only difference is that it becomes hard and stiff if kept for too long.

I took the frozen packets of Malabar and Wheat paratas to my sister’s house to share with her family

The parotas are fluffy and tasty. I would recommend these if you have too many guests at home, when you don’t have helper, when making a bulk is a tedious task. Just heat and serve is the best option.

The idly and Dosa batter was lying in my fridge for more than a week, till I convinced my friends to join me for a dosa party.The packets once opened should be used immediately, but I couldn’t possibly eat all that alone…needed a company to help me finish all.

Since we were a big group, my friend made home-made batter too, while I took the packet of iDfresh batter to her house.

This was a good opportunity to compare the packets with the home-made ones. My friend made delicious coconut chutney and sambar to pair it with idly and dosa.

Home made idlis were softer and also it was easier to get thin crispy dosa from home-made batter. With the packet batter, it tends to get lumpy and sticks to the hot plate. (if you are not expert in spreading the batter on the hot plate) Nevertheless, the iDfresh are equally good and the best thing is that it can be stored in the fridge till you are ready to eat. The taste is good, since there are no preservatives used, it can pass off as an instant meal.

“We are very clear about our brand philosophy and we will continue to add products to our portfolio which is fresh, natural, preservative-free, authentic, Indian home-style food.The future of ready-to-cook/ ready-to-eat industry in India is expected to grow exponentially with changing lifestyles, higher disposable income and increase in working population who are time crunched. Says Musthafa, the CEO of iD Fresh Food, who started this company with just Rs25000  and now is the proud owner of 100 crore company.

You can read his story here

I would recommend these packets for working people who have no time to cook and still want to try the home style recipes. Go on, save these iDFresh packets in your fridge for those lazy days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fish Curry from Kochi

The first thing that caught my attention during my drive from Cochin to Peermedu was the number of stores selling fresh fish. While our car waited at traffic signal, I saw great variety of fresh fish, carefully displayed. In Mumbai, this sight is rare, we get fish only in fish market or in cold storage store.

So, I gathered that fish is the favorite meal in Cochin. We drove four hours away from Cochin to high altitude of Peermedu, surrounded by lush green tea gardens. We  stayed in a private bunglow and we were lucky to have three cooks on call. Kitchen was the interesting place to be, it always is, for me. It was well stocked with fresh organic vegetables from nearby farm and ofcourse fish. During our five days stay at tea gardens, we had fish almost everyday. My vegetarian friends wondered how we could eat fish everyday. They know not that taste differs from different fishes.

Moreover. Fish is good for health

Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits. White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the "good" fats. Since the human body can’t make significant amounts of these essential nutrients, fish are an important part of the diet. Also, fish are low in the "bad" fats commonly found in red meat, called omega-6 fatty acids.
Source: http://seafood.edf.org/benefits-eating-fish

One afternoon I decided to watch the cook prepare the typical fish curry. I am always interested in learning new traditional ways of cooking. Each region in India have their own style of cooking. This one was really tasty, luckily I had clicked pictures so now I will be able to reproduce the dish whenever I wish.

The helpers were most willing to teach us.

All the ingredients were kept ready for the demo. 
The fish cleaned and chopped in square pieces, 
coconut, turmeric powder and onions ground to a thick paste. 
Garlic, ginger and chilies chopped and 
chopped tomatoes ready for use.

Cooking becomes easy if all the ingredients are kept ready for use and within easy reach.

Step by step for making fish curry

Heat oil

Add musturd seeds

Add garlic ginger small onions and green chillies

Add tomatoes

Add turmeric, coconut and red chillie paste

Add kokum

Add fish

Add Salt

Add Curry leaves

Cover n let it cook

Add roasted, ground fenugreek seeds for garnishing

It tasted great with steamed rice and tomato chili chutney (cooked specially for me).
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