Saturday, 2 March 2013

Courgette Patties

I had courgettes in the refrigerator and wanted to be creative in using them. I have decided to prepare this dish with all that is in my refrigerator!

So lets see what I have in veggies: 
Frozen peas and spinach

So what do you think we should be making????

How about making Patties! :-) 

Here is how I went on making my own recipe: 

Boiled Potatoes-peas-spinach 
Grated courgettes and carrots
Added 2 slice of low fat cheese for smooth, creamy texture

Mashed all the veggies and cheese together. Added spices: Red chilly powder and salt. 

Shaped the mixture into round balls, flattened them and coated with bread crumbs (Made breadcrumbs from toasted bread).
Heated a non stick pan, added oil and pan fried the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
 Served them hot with fresh lettuce and home made yoghurt coleslaw.

They were perfectly crisp and tender.  Healthy and full of flavour, very much similar to crab cakes but without the meat in it! 

A good veggie main that can help you use all the left over vegetables. So what are you waiting for....Get grating those veggies!

Amzu x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Going nuts on Chestnuts

When aunty Farida asked me Did I enjoy reaction was CHESTNUTS???

I thought that she meant water chestnuts!!!
I thought about these

Water chestnuts are not nuts at all, but a vegetable that grows in marshes

Then I realised I was missing the point....


Chest nuts are these

They are shiny brown nuts whose thick casing has long, sharp, needle-like spikes (burrs). There are usually two to four nuts per casing.

Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are 
↑ Starch
↑ Water
↓ Protein 
↓ Fat 
↓ Calories 
↑ Minerals, Vitamins & phyto nutrients (only nut with Vitamin C)

A simple way to roast chestnuts (courtesy Aunty Farida): To microwave your chestnuts, cut the shell of the nuts in an "X" pattern. If you forget to make the cuts then the steam captured in the shell will cause mini explosions in the microwave. Cook nuts on High setting for 30 seconds. Cool, peel, eat. Vary cooking time to suit, overcooking will dry the nut and make it rubbery.

My verdict: Nuts which taste less like other nuts but have a delicate sweet flavour. The texture is more like baked potato when cooked! 

1 kernel is around 20 calories and I would suggest eating 6 kernels in a serving. 

Good to know: Studies indicate that during the winter, people retain more insulin and gain weight. This is not just due to the holidays. As the days get shorter, the body starts craving carbohydrate rich snacks in order to maintain mood and build up calories for the cold.

Chestnuts thus can be a healthy snack on hand this winter!! 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Oats Revamped - from Oats porridge to Oats Uttapam!!

Most of us are used to having oats in this form!! 


 How about having Oats in this form??

OATS UTTAPAM (Savoury Pancake)

This was so tasty that my husband asked me to share with you all that ''It was actually better than the normal rice flour uttapam!!'' Big compliment from the man who speaks less. So here is a snack that has the healthy oats in it and yummy for the tummy!!

Why eat Oats??
Oat is rich is both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Soluble fibre called beta glucans acts like tiny sponges, trapping and removing bad LDL cholesterol from the body. The dietary fiber also helps to make one feel fuller faster and longer. This helps to reduce cravings and leads to better chance to losing weight. 

It is recommended to have at least 1/2 - 1 cup of oats everyday to derive its health benefits. 

So here is another healthy and tasty recipe.....

Makes 8 uttapams
1 cup Oats 
1 cup Urad dal (Black gram dal) 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon oil for the uttapams

1/2  medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 tablespoon green peas 
1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling, heat a non- stick pan. Add the veggies and season with salt and red chilly powder.

You can use different toppings made of vegetables like carrot, capsicum, onions or cabbage or any other that you have.

Soak the urad dal in water for 1 hour 
Grind Oats and urad dal seperately into a thick paste 

 Combine Oats and urad dal paste together and add water accordingly to form a pouring consistency batter. Add salt.  

Heat a pan and add oil. Spread batter and make pancakes. When the edges turn brown and loosen sides, add some fillings. 
Flip and cook on both sides. 
Here are hot uttapams ready to eat!!
Serve with Tamrind chutney (seen in the earlier post here)

While making these oats uttapams, I remembered the recipe of oats sandwiches shared by a friend with me!! Eyes set on it....will try it soon!! ;-)

Amzu xx  

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Puffed Rice Bhel (Indian Puffed Rice Salad)

Bhel is one of the popular Indian snacks loved my almost everyone. It is a spicy, tangy snack made of puffed rice! BTW, if you are not sure what Bhelpuri is, look it up here

Its been ages when I actually used to enjoy this at street corners in the evenings. Wow! what an experience. 

Making bhel is almost similar to making a salad.....puffed rice+veggies+ dressings and garnished with generous amount of sev (small pieces of chrunky noodles made of chick pea flour which is deep fried!). Everybody add their own blends of chutney (dressings) to make it as per their taste. 

I too love to make it at home. I prefer to avoid anything deep fried so I try to replace sev with corn flakes (though wheat flakes would have been better option) to make it healthier and also avoided the boiled potatoes. It taste as good without it too. 

It is low-fat, nutritious and delicious! What more you can ask for ;-)

Serves 2
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of puffed rice

2 tablespoon corn flakes/wheat flakes
1/2 green chilly, chopped
1 medium slice of raw mango, chopped (adds to the tanginess) 
Lemon juice 
A generous handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
About 1 teaspoon salt


Coriander & Mint Chutney (we have made this earlier I had told you then also this chutney is good on its own and great when used to prepare dips, starters, mains & sides!!.) 
You can find it here on how to make it 

Tamarind & Jaggery Chutney: 
200 gm Tamarind paste (you can use also the raw tamrind, after boiling remove the seeds from the pulp)
300 gm Jaggery (you can use sugar instead, it makes a less sticky dressing)
2 teaspoon Cumin powder
2 teaspoon Red chilli powder
1 teaspoon Black Salt  (I used regular salt instead)

Boil with a cup of water and simmer till it thickens

In a mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients like cornflakes, puffed rice,and mix them well.
Now add chopped veggies including the green chilly (if you can't handle too much spice then omit chilly) followed by coriander & mint chutney, tamarind& jaggery chutney and salt. Toss all these things nicely and serve immediately otherwise it may turn soggy. 

A nice, guilt free and scrumptious snack!! The end result: 2 empty bowls and 2 filled tummies!! You must surely try this one if you haven't had it before. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Indian Adaptation of 'Hakka' Chinese

This is chinese food that you get even on the streets of India. Some people also call it 'Hakka ciusine' as many owners of restaurants that serve this cuisine are Hakka origin. It is actually an Indian adaptation of original Hakka dishes. 

Typical dishes include 'chilli chicken' and 'Manchurian chicken'. I really enjoyed this back home especially as a university student for a quick-affordable meal. It is full of flavours and predominates on chilli and soya sauce. Once I moved here....this kind of chinese was seen no where. I always make it a point to check the menu of all the chinese restaurants to find the familiar dishes on their menu. 

Atlast in London, I found this on the menu of a restaurant called 'Desi Dragon' in South hall. Address: 13 South Road, UB1 1SU.  A simple sit in restaurant but serving my kind of chinese dishes. 


Here are the few clicks I could manage before we all forked into it!! 

Chicken lollypop ;-) starters that we finished in a jffy!!

 Vegetarian Manchurian gravy & burnt garlic fried rice.....

Vegetarian Fried rice & Burnt garlic rice 

I have to admit that knowing that this kind of chinese cooking involves a lot of frying, high levels of fat and salt, I found it hard to resist this on my festive holiday, especially with food all around us! It reinforced the fact that the more food we have around us the more we always keep a healthy food option in your reach. 

All right, festivals and holidays are behind us now and it is time to get back on track with healthy eating and regular exercise. Have you too made a New Year's resolution??

Although studies show we are not very good at sticking to our resolutions, I still believe that setting of goals makes a positive mindset and reinforces the need for change, providing the much needed inspiration. 

I wish you all best of luck in your New Years endeavours!! 


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Missing from Action

Happy New Year!! 

You'll must be wondering where have I disappeared...but I have been just into networking after gaining my registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, followed by quick holidays in London. 

Photos of my best meal in London of Hakka Chinese a fusion with Indian flavours!! Had to search a lot for the flavours to match the taste I have developed of Chinese served on the streets of India. It had all that I could crave for from chicken lollypops to burnt chilli-garlic fried rice!! 

Will share a whole review with tempting snaps soon!! Craving so strong that it keeps coming back.......;)

Amzu xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Journey of flavours - Island Curries

The only thing I thought when I received this parcel was curry flavours Authentic to India- Made in Australia- Enjoyed in UK!! Truly a journey of flavours!!


When I opened the pack the aroma of the spices were so enticing and the texture of the mixture was so similar to the fresh ground spices that were made back home. 

Being mid week, it had to  be the vegetable curry that I had to try first!  I followed the instructions on the pack and the vegetables that I went for was green gawar. 

 (Gawar or Mattikayalu, the beautiful pale green colored beans, they may not be as popular as regular green beans, but they have a serious following among Indians. Nutty, delicate, mellow ruchi (flavor) of gawar beans has an addictive quality and when seasoned with Indian ingredients, they literally shine and become quite irresistible). 

So here I go to prepare my vegetable curry. Add the onions and fry them in 1 tsp of oil --> add the Island Vegetable Curry Paste & fry the paste --> followed by the vegetables (potato & gawar bean). Perfect when you need a quick 15 minute meal. Before I knew ...the food was cooking away.

Wholaa and that was my curry made!! 

I decided to enjoy the curry with wheat chapati (Indian flat breads) ...took me longer to roll them round then it took to make the curry ;-) But there is nothing like enjoying a home made curry (not really home made, made at a place which is home away from home) with hot puffed chapati!!

Dinner served...Lets eat 
I could capture the steam out of the curry in this snap...this spread the aroma in the whole kitchen...wish I could share that aroma virtually!!

The first bite reminded me of the Bengali restaurant I used to visit in India with my parents to enjoy fish and their sides. The vegetable side always made my mother wonder what went in that Simple Vegetable Curry....she used to say 'These kids eat vegetable here with so much interest and at home if you make they run away from it'...hehehehe Mom this is so close to that taste!

In all a great taste and sure as Rob had said, the spices were coarse and had the distinct flavour due the freshly ground spices. The only thing I would say is that the curry paste is richly flavoured and add the curry paste as per your taste.


Amzu x