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GUR KA PARANTHA / गुड़ का परांठा (Jaggery Flatbread)

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HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI EVERYONE

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“Let food be your medicine” is an excellent piece of advice, one that we all should abide by. Winters truly are the times for indulgence and when one is able to indulge in foods that not just please your taste buds but also do you good by protecting you against cold, cough and flu, you know you are in a win win situation. Gur ka parantha is one of those dishes. I was introduced to gur ka parantha by my late Nani (maternal grandmother). As kids we used to religiously visit her during every summer vacation but as we grew older, the pressures of high school and college ensured that we spent lesser and lesser time with her. So once during my college winter break I decided to visit her for a short time. She always had this thing in her mind whenever any of her grand kids visited her, that they should not fall sick or injure themselves while on their holiday with her. She would always feel that we kids should go back to our homes safe and sound, just as we had arrived. And it so happened that I managed to catch a nasty cold on that visit to her. She was all worked up and instead of taking me to the doctor, made gur ka parantha for me. She fed me with the parantha twice that day. The gur was so helpful in arresting the cold that the next day I had no runny or stuffy nose. I was amazed at the healing quality of gur. She had simply used the grated jaggery for using as a filling for the flatbread. I have tried to amp the health value and enhance the taste of her recipe by adding spices and nuts to it. You can swap nuts with sesame seeds if you are allergic to nuts.

Gur is made and used extensively across north India during winter season. Swap it with sugar in your Kheer or Cake or Chutney. I developed taste of jaggery pretty late in life but once I did, there has been no looking back.

For Dough

1½ C Aata (Whole Meal/ Wheat Flour) plus extra for rolling

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Ghee or Oil

½ C plus a few tbsp Water

For Filling

½ C grated Gur (Jaggery)

½ C Shredded Dry Coconut (Khopa)

1/3 C slivered Almonds (or you can crush the almonds and use them)

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

2 tsp Fennel Seeds

2 tbsp Chhuhara / Dried Dates (optional) finely chopped

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In a plate or thali, mix turmeric with flour. Add the oil and mix with hands. Now using water, a little at a time, make medium soft dough. Keep it aside for 20 minutes.

Gently mix together the grated jaggery, almonds, cardamom powder, fennel seeds and chhuhara using a fork or spoon. (do not use hands to mix as the warmth of hands will melt jaggery and the mixture will be turn lumpy)

Make six equal sized balls of the dough and keep aside. Place the tawa or griddle on heat.

Using a rolling pin and flour, roll one ball to four inch size disc. Scoop in the filling and bring the edges together. Seal the edges and flatten it over the dough. Dust it in flour and roll it again, using a little flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll to six inch size disc/ parantha.

Transfer the parantha to the tawa and cook on medium heat. Flip the parantha once the top begins to change colour. Flip again when you see the parantha rising at places or when the bottom begins to turn light brown in colour. Apply oil and flip to fry it. Keep rotating the parantha to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and apply ghee. Serve hot.

Roll and cook the rest of the balls in the similar fashion and serve hot.

Note: Once you are handling the parantha on heat, be very careful as the melting hot jaggery is capable of giving a nasty burn.

Note: Feel free to alter the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

Yield: 6 Parathas

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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DAHI CHIWDA / दही चिवड़ा (Fruit, Yogurt & Beaten Rice Breakfast Parfait) + HOME MADE FLAVORED YOGURT

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Here comes my next recipe from my Bihari  [bɪˈɦaːri] cuisine repertoire that is a ‘no cook’ one actually. I have been posting a series of Bihari food recipes since February and also in the past years of blogging and the intention is to upload at least one recipe a month. I also wish to bring up Bihari food to the status that it rightly deserves amongst the various regional cuisines of India. But one thing that I missed telling you guys earlier is that the cuisine from the state of Bihar is similar to that of Jharkhand since they were 15 years ago one consolidated state. And there are also some parallels with eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and Oriya & Bengali food. However, I plan to bring to you the distinctive dishes that have been synonymous to the state.

Chewda / Chewra or Chivda / Chiwda refers to flattened/ beaten rice that is often used to make namkeen mixtures (savory trail mixes) and also a dish called Poha which is a Maharashtrian breakfast and snacking dish. However, I avoid having the trail mix since it is deep fried (to make it crisp). Before my marriage, my only introduction to Chiwda was via Poha. However post marriage I was somewhat taken aback seeing my husband and his family enjoying chiwda uncooked for their breakfast meal. It is actually a staple for a Bihari family. It is eaten unfailingly on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, which is a harvest festival however it is typically eaten for breakfast and only two ingredients are usually added to it before consuming – yogurt and some sort of sweetener (honey or palm sugar). Since I have never enjoyed sweet lassi or sweet yogurt, this sweetened yogurt chiwra breakfast was a complete no-no for me. My husband, meanwhile, can have this for breakfast every day of the year…yes 365 days. Unbelievable! Isn’t it? Yet, I am not complaining since it is a no cook breakfast dish, so it makes hectic mornings easy:)

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Well, I don’t mind having it with a fruit compote or pureed fruit mixed into yogurt (sort of flavored yogurt). To me it feels similar to granola or oats parfait. And chia seed parfait is quite popular too, so why not a Chivda Parfait – it looks chic and appetising and what’s better, it is gluten free. This easy to digest breakfast dish keeps your tummy cool and satiated during the suppressing summer heat thereby makes it ideal for toddlers and elderly. Chewra should be easily available at Indian grocery stores since it is a popular ingredient used by many Indians.

One key point that needs a mention here is that unlike other chewra dishes that one gets to see, in Bihar people essentially use the basmati chewra and not the thin flattened chewra used to make trail mixtures and poha. The chewra is washed and soaked in water for just a few minutes to soften it a bit before it is added to the yogurt but my husband does not enjoy the ‘soft and soggy’ texture (his words) and he prefers to have it straight away with yogurt so he can enjoy the crunchy texture. Feel free to use nuts or seeds or raisins for texture if you wish to. For this simple and nutritious no cook breakfast you would need the following.

1 Cup Chiwda

¾ – 1 Cup Yogurt (or as required)

1 cup Mangoes (diced)

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1 Cup Strawberries (hulled, washed and chopped or sliced)

2 tbsp mixed Nuts (optional)

Honey / Sugar / Palm Sugar to sweeten the yogurt

Rinse the chiwda twice and then drain excess water using a big sieve or colander. Keep it aside for approximately 2 minutes or till the chiwda is soft. Fluff the chiwda using a fork.

Transfer the chiwda to a mixing bowl and add gently whipped yogurt (adjust the amount).

Meanwhile take the glasses in which you intend to serve the dahi chiwra and start layering as desired. I started with dahi chiwda mix at the bottom and topped it with chopped mangoes. Then, again a layer of dahi chiwda and topped with chopped strawberries. Sprinkle nuts on the top if using.

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Note: Feel free to use fruits of your choice.

Note: Add some nuts for texture and some healthy goodness.

Note: Preferably serve it chilled

Note: I drizzled over some strawberry compote and its juices (instead of simple chopped strawberries) over the Dahi Chiwda and it tasted fabulous. Do try it!!

HOME MADE STRAWBERRY FLAVORED YOGURT

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I also took the opportunity to post Flavored Strawberry Yogurt Recipe along with this Dahi Chiwda since my daughter loves it. Flavored yogurt are not just great and healthy way to snack on or to pack for kid’s lunch. It is a great way to end a meal especially during summer. So rather than just snacking on it, this summer serve your favorite flavored yogurt as a dessert. But mind you, when I say flavored yogurt, I mean the ones that are home-made and not the store brought ones. And whats best, you can make the flavored yogurt a day or two ahead since it is meant to be served chilled.

There is no specific amount of ingredients here since the strength of flavors is totally a matter of personal taste. (Although I have provided a rough estimate further on) I used hung yogurt (you can use Greek yogurt). I used this Strawberry Compote recipe since it is full of flavors however you can choose to simply blitz the strawberries along with some caster sugar. Make the compote and once it is cool, spoon it into glasses and refrigerate it while you move on to prepping the yogurt.

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I kept aside few tablespoons of the compote to spoon at the bottom of the glass and blitzed the rest in a liquidizer. Add the pureed strawberry compote to the yogurt (you can roughly puree it so as to allow a few bits of fruits to provide some texture to the yogurt) and mix well. (I used approximately 4 table spoons of hung yogurt to which I added generous ¼ cup of liquidized compote) Refrigerate this for half an hour to 45 minutes. Top the compote glasses with the yogurt and chill again or if you wish to, serve it right away. If refrigerating, remember to cover the individual serving glasses with cling wrap to prevent the yogurt from drying on the top.

Note: For this recipe, I halved the amount of orange juice while making the compote. Adjust the amount to suit your taste.

Note: The amount of compote was sufficient to serve 4 people. Rest it depends on how much strong flavours you prefer for the fruit yogurt.

Note: You can make the fruit yogurt with any fruit of your choice. So play around with ingredients and have fun!

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Try some of these recipes made with yogurt…

Dahi ke Kebab (Yogurt Patties)

Yogurt Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Doi Maachh (Fish in Yogurt Sauce)

Chili Vanilla Yogurt Pannacotta

Paalak Patta Chaat (Spinach Fritters w/ Spiced Yogurt & Tamarind n Green Chutney)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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