Palak Paratha (Spinach Paratha)

I still remember those kiddo days when I was a lot repulsive towards spinach. My mommy used to sit with a ruler and shove the “palak bhaji” down my throat while explaining its importance to me and my siblings…leaving us teary-eyed.
Spinach or Palak is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. Its a powerhouse of fibre, minerals, vitamins, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.
I now see the history repeating itself when I see my sis facing the same humongous problem with her 3 year old. But she’s found a smart way out and my nephew just loves it – The ‘Palak Paratha’ way. I’ve borrowed this recipe from her. Its incredibly easy, tasty and loaded with nutrition.

So here’s to taste and good health!!

Palak parantha
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Makes 8 parathas

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 large bunch spinach coarsely chopped (approximately 1 lb or 500 gms)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (can add a bit more for colour)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee (clarified butter) to pan-fry the parathas

Method:

  1. Blitz the spinach with all the other powders and lemon juice in a mixer into fine paste . Do not add water as the paste will become very watery and difficult to knead. You can add little water while kneading.
  2. Spinach already has salt in itself. So do not add salt while blitzing
  3. Combine the flour, sesame seeds, spinach paste and salt and knead into dough, soft enough to roll into a paratha.
  4. Divide the dough in equal portions and roll it into balls
  5. Dust the rolling board or a clean flat surface with flour so that the dough doesn’t stick while rolling
  6. With a rolling pin, roll the balls into parathas, depending on the size and thickness you desire.
  7. Heat a non-stick tawa or griddle and put a paratha on the griddle. Do the first flip when you see tiny bubbles rise on the surface of the paratha. As soon as the first flip is done, drizzle a bit of ghee on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip again in 30 seconds and drizzle ghee on this surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown.
  8. Serve hot with sweet curds, pickle or my favourite hot and sweet sauce.

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Tangy Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice… this tangy, one-pot recipe is a breakfast/lunch/dinner staple in any South Indian household. No side dishes necessary, you can enjoy the best of it with just the papadum or raita and an equally tangy sour pickle. Gosh! My tastebuds have got the goose-bums already 😛  It used to be a tiffin-regular of my Keralite friend, thus the recipe. I remember exchanging my tiffin with hers so that I could gobble down all of it alone, without a thread of shame 😛
Tomato Rice
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
1 cup (250 gm) cooked basmati rice
3 big size tomatoes, finely chopped
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chilies, chopped
2 heaped tsps kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsps mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
Asafoetida, a pinch
Oil for frying
Salt for seasoning

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Add asafoetida and mustard seeds and let them temper.
  3. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds.
  4. Now add the whole spices – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and fry till they release their aroma.
  5. Add curry leaves, chopped green chilies and stir for a bit.
  6. Tumble in the onions and fry till soft and translucent.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir till the raw smell of ginger goes away.
  8. Add tomatoes and cook till they turn soft and mushy.
  9. Add the spice powders – kashmiri chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Add salt and fry on medium till the oil starts separating at the sides. Lid on and cook on for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes and onions look completely dissolved in each other..
  10. Spoon in the cooked rice and mix gently with fork till the entire rice is coated with this super-tangy spice mix. Don’t use spoon here as spoon tends to break the rice.

P.S: Serve with plain yogurt / raita / crispy papadum and pickle. Once cooled completely, it can be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days in an air-tight container.

Green pea soup with fresh basil and cream

Its monsoon time, folks! Monsoon is best experienced by having a hearty meal sitting besides the window enjoying the pitter-patter of the rains.
My green pea and basil soup is my rainy companion… very warm, healthy and super-easy to make. A blitz is all it takes and the soup is ready.
Peasoup

Ingredients: (Serves 2)
3 cups water
2 cups frozen peas
Half a bunch of roughly chopped spring onions
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves
2 tbps of grated cheese
3 tbps of fresh cream
1 tsp of black pepper powder
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Boil water and then add the peas, basil, spring onions and boil again till peas become soft
2. Discard the spring onions and blitz all the remaining along with cheese, cream, and pepper till u get a puree
3. Take out all the mixture in a pan and boil for 3-4 minutes. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency
4. Add salt to taste

P.S.: Calorie conscious – you may skip the cream or cheese part