Friday, June 17, 2011

Aam Panna - Perfect Thirst Quencher

Summers in India are long and hot. And homes in India are replete with natural thirst quenchers. You have the Nimbu Paani, Lassis, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane Juice. It is absolutely essential to have these natural drinks that combat the heat outside. These drinks which contain herbs and spices work with the body to help you cope with the heat.
The mix of ingredients help in replenishing lost salts, cooling the system down, refreshing the palate, repairing the digestive system...

Aam Panna is one of these heavenly refreshers made with raw mangoes and spices. Mixed with a glass of cold water and few ice cubes clinking in the glass, the sweet and tangy taste ensures that one forgets the heat outside and cools down quickly.

Healthy. Natural. Refreshing. Why will one reach for an aerated artificial drink when there is such a wide choice natural drinks to be had? That is one question to which I have no answer. Kids these days are not even willing to try out these healthy choices when confronted with those ubiquitous cola and aerated drinks.


1 large Raw Mango or 2 small Mangoes
3 tablespoons Mint Leaves
1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Rock Salt
6-8 Black Peppercorns
1/2 cup Sugar


Boil the mango whole in the pressure cooker till well cooked and soft.

Cool and take out the pulp.

Dry roast the cumin seeds and powder coarsely.

Put the mint leaves, sugar, rock salt, peppercorns and cumin seed powder in a blender and blend to a paste.

Now add the mango pulp and blend once again.

Keep the paste aside in the refrigerator till needed. It stays for about a week or so without a problem.

When needed, put about 4 tablespoons of the pulp into a glass.

Top up with about 200 ml of water and ice cubes. This amount of pulp should make about 6 glasses of Aam Panna.

Mix well.

Serve cold immediately.


This is going to SpicyTasty for their Quick and Easy Recipe Mela.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greek Salad

I love eating out. I think that is the absolute single reason I do not end up losing any of the weight that I have gained over the last many years. And going out of town for me is reason enough to pig out. It is a standing joke amongst my friends that I am food obsessed. If I am visiting a new place, I love to research the restaurants there, food specialities there.. Now for the record, that's not the only thing I research. I also look up sightseeing, transportation but checking out food is of paramount importance. Nothing wrong, is there? No wonder I have a food blog...

On a visit to Bangalore, I was determined to eat at Sunny's. Hadn't eaten there for a couple of years. So like a stuck record, I kept repeating Sunnys, Sunnys. Finally out of sheer frustration, my family said okay. Then realised that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the street where we were staying. How fortuitous was that?
When there, my niece ordered a Greek Salad. Tasted divine. Fresh, crunchy with a sweetish tangy dressing. It was outstanding.

This is an attempt to replicate that. A greek salad is a rough country salad.


1 Red Capsicum
1 Yellow Capsicum
1 Green Capsicum
1 Cucumber
1 Small Onion
10 Cherry Tomatoes
10-15 Olives
200 grams Feta Cheese
1 Head Iceberg Lettuce


1 Lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Powdered Sugar
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste


Place all the dressing ingredients in a small screw top bottle and shake well. Keep aside till ready to serve.

Slice the onions finely.

Cut the capsicums into 1" bits.

Wash the lettuce carefully and tear into bite sized pieces.

Slice the cucumber into half moons.

Use the cherry tomoatoes whole or cut them in half. If you cannot source them, use regular tomatoes with each tomato cut into 8 pieces.

Cut the Feta into 1" cubes. (You can use Paneer instead as Feta is an acquired taste).

Assemble in a bowl.

When ready to serve, pour the dressing over and toss well.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Granola - The Health Revolution

Whichever side you turn these days the conversation only revolves around weight loss, health, fitness, exercise... Agree? It seems to have become an obsession with almost everyone. Each one is trying to outdo the other in losing weight and becoming fit.

Now in all this madness, my personal opinion is that moderation is the key. Moderation in eating, exercising. I really think that one needs to stop obsessing on each morsel that crossed one's lips, each gram lifted and each step run. It is a lot easier to make healthy choices than it is being made out to be.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I am the epitome of healthy eating because that is a great untruth. But I for sure do not go crazy about my weight or the food I eat. I try to eat healthy and make the right choices. I try to exercise everyday. But if I feel like eating something sinful, well I go ahead and do it. And I refuse to feel guilty about it. Size zero is not everything...

But at home, in our quest to eat healthy, we introduced granola in the mornings for breakfast. For the first month we bought it from a friend. It turned out to be so expensive. Then I remembered my mother in law making it many years ago. Now with my interest in food, I could not resist the urge to try it out for myself.

Granola is a breakfast or a snack food. It consists essentially of oats, nuts and dried fruit. It is high in calories but very filling and satisfying.

I went through many recipes on the internet and then went off to the market to see what was available for me to put into the granola. The good thing with granola is that you can add anything that catches your fancy. You don't like this ingredient? Just drop it. You like nuts? apples? dried fruit? lot of sugar? more healthy? more tasty? Just add them in. The choice is completely up to you. It is very easy to tweak it to suit you and also to the availability of ingredients.

This is my recipe but feel free to add or subtract as you feel like it....Fair word of warning here. This makes plenty and by that I mean PLENTY. Scale down the recipe to suit your needs.


3 cups Oats
200 grams Barley Flakes
100 grams Sunflower Seeds
100 grams Flax Seeds
200 grams Wheat Flakes
1 cup Almonds chopped
1 cup Walnuts chopped

1 cup Dates chopped
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Sultanas
1/2 cup Figs chopped

1/2 cup Honey
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Oil
3 tablespoons Water


Mix oats, wheat flakes, barley flakes, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds and walnuts.

Mix all the liquids (honey, water, vanilla essence and oil) in a bowl along with the brown sugar and salt.

Stir in the liquids into the oats mixture and mix well.

Bake for 15 minutes at 120 deg C. Stir well and bake again for 15 more minutes.

Add in the dried fruit and bake for another 10 minutes till it starts turning a light brown.

Let it cool down and store in an airtight container.

Serve with milk or over yogurt and fruit.