Saturday, 24 December 2016

LLWT 6- Loving DALIYA, 4 ways!!

Lets Lose Weight Together Part 6 (LLWT-6)

Since the time my last post went up about all the myths surrounding carbohydrates, I got a lot of messages talking about the article and the recipe corresponding it. Why am I asking you guys to not to leave out white flour from your diet? Why am I encouraging more of its use? Many asked, what’s the catch? And hence I write the catch…

Basically all I want to promote is healthy eating. And eliminating anything from your diet is not healthy. I have many many extremely healthy bread recipes. But still more often than not, I make this particular recipe for 3 reasons-

1.       Ease of making it- with such a small ingredient list, mostly everything is always available to me.
2.       My family loves the texture- It’s such a soft and supple bread, crunchy from outside and soft and pillowy inside. In fact my toddler is a huge fan of this bread.
3.       You can just about make anything out of this dough- hamburger buns, hot cross buns, loaves, cheesy pull apart bread, pizza, garlic bread etc etc etc.

If I had shared a recipe of a salad with my earlier article, it wouldn’t have that effect. All I want is to take you guys on a journey with me to a clean and healthy lifestyle, which is more delicious than that sukha boiled veggie and iceberg lettuce. Just for the sake of it, to tell you that I mean business, here is my before and after pictures and you decide if the lifestyle change worked for me or not.

So what do I want from you guys?
  1.    Stop buying bread and breakfast cereals from outside as much as possible and stop eating them basically.
  2.    Don’t think that tasteless oats porridge is the only thing in world which is healthy.
  3.     Carbohydrates are your natural food, children have grown eating it; so stop attributing them as your enemy. Just choose your carbs wisely.

BULGUR WHEAT is all the craze in west. Do you know what do we call it in Hindi? DALIYA!!!
And truly so it is daliya which everyone in our elder generation has grown up eating, but thought wasn’t posh enough to feed their children. It’s the best possible food to have. In fact more often than not, I prefer having simple boiled daliya over rice. I mix it with my fish curry, exactly the way I would have done with white rice. But it’s five times healthier, fibrous and nuttier in flavour. Don’t buy that cardboard stuff from the expensive supermarket. Get it at your local kirana store and eat it more often than not. It shouldn’t be more than 15-20 INR per KG there. Today I am about to share with you 4 ways to use daliya which is a meal in itself. So literally 4 different recipes in one post. It’s quick and easy and perfect for busy days, when you don’t feel like doing a lot and yet can’t order in due to DEMONETIZATION. Try these, I guarantee you are going to fall in love with this carbohydrate.

1.       How to make basic boiled and drained medium grained daliya.
Simple enough, just cook it like rice. Rinse properly and soak for 15 minutes.

To cook, combine 1 cup daliya with 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Pour in some cold water and drain thoroughly.

To speed things up, you could alternately put it in a pressure cooker and cook till tender. I personally prefer the first method as the pressure cooked daliya is mushy and watery, while the other way’s texture is much fluffier and even.   
This is a great substitute for white rice on a daily basis. You can use it to sop up a curry nicely.

2.       Now let’s jazz things up with an Italian twist for a mid-week friends visit. Paired with a nice and robust red wine, and the host in you just became a superstar.

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
¼ tsp dried basil or oregano (whatever is available)
Salt and pepper
1 cup spinach
1 tsp garlic chopped
1/3 cup cooked daliya, cooled to room temperature
1 mozzarella ball, cut into thin rounds or ricotta (which basically is chenna made with full fat milk)
1 roasted chicken breast, cut into strips or diced
Some jarred olives and sundried tomatoes chopped

Combine the vinegar, oil, and the herb of your choice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
In a cold pan, pour in a tsp of olive oil and garlic and set it on medium heat till fragrant. As an optional spice, add in a sprinkling of chilly flakes.
Cook the spinach in the flavourful oil until soft and tender. Cool slightly.
Now just assemble everything together in a big mixing bowl. Toss in the vinegar and oil dressing, and serve.
I must say, it does taste a bit better chilled, especially if it sits around for some time before being eaten, marinating in the flavours.

3.       How about an Indian Chinese fried daliya recipe?

Basically just follow any fried rice recipe as you have earlier, substitute the rice for daliya. The egg and soya sauce with the nutty daliya makes such a sumptuous fast meal.

4.       Have you ever had a daliya porridge? If you are an Indian, chances are that you have eaten and savoured them before. I am sharing a very easy daliya porridge recipe that you can whip up in a jiffy.

1/4 cup dalia, raw
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp of cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp of milk
A pinch of salt
A few strands of saffron dissolved in another tbsp of warm milk
¼ cup of chopped pista.

Wash and soak daliya in ½ cup of water for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

Now in a deep dish, combine the soaked daliya with 1 cup of water and mix well. Cook on a medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes or till the water evaporates fully, while stirring occasionally.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix in the milk, sugar, pinch of salt and cornflour together. Whisk well to combine.

Simply add in the whisked milk mixture to the softened daliya and cook on a medium flame for 6 to 7 minutes, until the cornflour starts acting and thickening the milk.

Add the saffron-milk mixture at the last and mix well.

Keep aside to cool slightly and refrigerate before serving.

Adjust the sweetness if you need more. Garnish with the chopped nuts for added nutrition and color.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

LLWT-5 Tackling Carbohydrates; the What, Why & How!!

Let’s Lose Weight Together Part 5 (LLWT-5)

Weekend over, and it’s time to fall back on the Lets LooseWeight Together seriesToday I want to deal with a myth that has plagued the weight loss regimes pretty much since the start- CARBOHYDRATES. I am trying to write in a detailed understanding of this ‘macronutrient’, what and when is it required, and why can we not go without it.
Many diets are based on premises claiming that it promotes carbohydrate free meal plans. They promise drastic results, which is not easy to maintain, and as soon as one falls back into a normal routine, the weight comes raging back. If this has happened to you, then read 
on to find why and how to correct it.

To correct anything, you and I need to couple together to understand what are we fighting and why. We are not chasing 6 pack abs, all we want is a healthy weight, which is easy to maintain all lifelong. For a more permanent change, we need to adapt a lot of nice healthy and clean habits of eating in home or out in the restaurants. So today, let’s tackle the word ‘carbohydrate’ and see what we may be doing wrong that’s leading to the undesirable results so far.

  1.     Carbohydrates don’t only mean rice and roti. Carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients present in the world which helps maintain a healthy body. So, it can’t be that it’s just the grains that contain such an important nutrient solely. Carbohydrates are present in beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, potatoes, corn, parsnips etc. In fact even vegetables like lettuces, kale, green beans, carrots and broccoli; all contain carbs. So you literally can’t go carb – free for even a day, not possible at all.
  2.       Then why do the diets talk of going carbohydrate free? Because, it’s just a term used loosely for processed grains (white rice and white flour) that are extremely easy to digest and hence become fat reserves if you don’t properly use up the calories it provides.
  3.        So does white rice and Maida become your enemy? No, of course not. They are delicious and quite addictive. As much as you would want to keep them away, they will sneak up to you and make you love them even more. This is one of the reasons why crash diet plans fail to work. When you starve your body off something, it starts to crave for it more and more. That one biscuit or that one piece of bread starts comparing itself with the best orgasm you have ever had. And in that frame of mind, how do you continue on a strict diet plan?
Now that we have tackled most of the myths that comes to mind, let’s embark on the journey to understand why I am not asking you to let go of white rice and white flour fully. If you notice, a lot of my recipes call for white flour. But, they contain other ingredients too which are high in fibres and hence neutralises the use of white flour in it. To make matters easy to understand, basically grains are a great source of good carbohydrates for the body. Carbohydrates provide the much needed fuel for the body to function and sustain day to day life. Grains are packed with nutrients and fibres too, but man learnt to strip it off for aiding better digestion. For the era which had no lap tops and sedentary life was not a norm, human body needed to eat things that can provide energy faster and efficiently so. That time the body worked for long hours and hence the fuel needed to sustain itself. So, processed food was made and cherished by everyone. But today times have changed. Something that gets easily digested, doesn’t get used up; and hence they form a mass around the skeleton, as reserve. This is called fat.

How do we stop making this fat? Simply by-
1.       Understanding the portion size needed by each individual bodies,  
2.       Alternating the meals to include fibrous carbohydrates more than simple carbs,
3.       Utilising the calories efficiently and effectively.

Sounds much more complex, but it’s easier than you think. Basically opting to use whole grains more than processed is a start. But what is more important is to substantiate the use of grains with fibres that are healthy and eating smaller nutrition packed meals. Snacks are important, and finding the right balance of a clean and healthy snack is extremely important to achieve a healthy weight loss. I would continue to write more on the snacking bit in my coming articles.

So now I feel you are with me in saying that carbohydrates are not your enemy. They in fact are your best of friends which will help you to digest protein better and utilise it to form muscle, rather than fat.

White rice and white bread, cakes and pastries are definitely not your friends. But let’s face it, it’s delicious. So elimination is out of bounds. What you need to do is follow these simple tips-
  1.          If you can forgo store brought bread/cereals, even if it claims to be 100% atta, then do that. Substitute the breakfast with roti, paratha (with or without oil), poha and upma. It gives you a better start to a day. Add veggies in your poha or upma or namkeen sevaiya for a nutrient packed delicious start of the day.
  2.         Don’t kid yourself and attempt to have oats porridge every single morning. You won’t be able to keep it up. Instead opt for oats upma, not bought from the market in the little packets of dried spices and condiments mixed with preservatives and chemicals. But instead make it from scratch. It’s much easier than you think. Here is a detailed recipe to make you started on it.
  3.          Now, desserts- cakes, pastries and even our desi halwa. How can we let go of a perfect winter without these celebratory sweets. You cant, and you shouldn’t. Just treat these treats as a meal in itself. Have it after 2 hrs of breakfast, 2 hours before lunch. This way your body has time to utilise the calories well and would send in signals of being moderately full during lunch. I love to have sweets first thing in the morning. Elders in my family find it strange, but it really fills me up with a good boost of energy for the day ahead.  

And now I feel too much of gyaan has already been passed. Let’s now come to the recipe for this post. I have shared many many bread recipes over the years. But today again I embark on sharing one that I make every single week for my family and friends. Now why do I choose to ignore the healthier recipes that I have shared earlier and rather opt for this recipe which has a higher amount of white processed flour? Simply because it’s easier to make with lesser ingredients and is still much healthier than anything you buy from outside. I bought a kitchen aid mixer last year, and since then I resolved to bake my own bread as much as possible. This way I am eating cleaner and healthier every single day or week. I bake the whole batch and freeze most of the loaves. This recipe freezes well and I have fresh bread anytime my child wants a treat, or a midweek flash party thanks to friends visiting from other cities. It’s a great recipe to mark and keep and it never ever fails me. If you are intimidated by baking breads, this is definitely the recipe to start u off.

3 cups of water (lukewarm)
3 tsp yeast
A couple of tbsp. of honey
2 and 2/3 cups of All-purpose flour aka white flour
3 cups plus extra for kneading, whole wheat flour, straight out of the chakki.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt

Foamy Yeast
Activate the yeast by mixing in honey to the lukewarm water and sprinkling on the yeast on top of the water. Cover and keep till foamy and yeasty.

Now in the bowl of kitchen aid mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt and mix well.

Pour in the foamy water and on low speed mix till all flour has incorporated well into a dough. Drizzle in the olive oil and mix well.
Gluten strands!

Keep adding more whole wheat flour if it sticks to the side of the bowl. The dough should come together in a mass, cleaning the side of the bowl, yet sticking at the bottom of the bowl.
Knead for 5 minutes on medium speed to activate the gluten. If kneading by hand, knead a bit longer.

Once the dough has gathered up beautifully, transfer onto a well-floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes by hand till an indentation on the surface of the dough springs back with vigour.

At this stage, form it into a smooth ball and place it in an oiled bowl to rise in a draft free, dark place like a cupboard or an oven which is plugged off.   
Once dough doubles in size, form it into 4 loaves, or 3 loaves and 3 burger buns and put it back for the second rise.

After about an hour or so, preheat your oven, score the loaves on top and bake in a preheated 180 to 200 degrees c temperature oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The time would depend on the shape of the loaves. But a 'knife inserted in the middle test' does help, just as if baking a cake, it should come out clean without wet dough.
Jelly Filled Hot Cross Buns for my little ones snack.

Cool thoroughly before wrapping the loaves well in cling film. Freeze the ones you don’t require right away. Defrost by putting it in the refrigerator overnight. Slice just before toasting and eating.

P.S.- the recipe would make 4 such loaves. Each loaves are made with approximately 400 gms of wet dough.


Friday, 9 December 2016

Weekend in Pictures!!

Are you set with a weekend plan already? Its Friday, and most of us don’t have an extra buck to spend outside. The restaurateur in me is reeling under losses, but the blogger in me has taken over to celebrate these barren weeks. So this is what I plan to do this weekend.

Gardening would be  the first thing indeed. I need to ensure such harvests all month long.

8th of December harvest.

4th of December Harvest!
from garden to table! Fresh Zucchini harvested to be stirfried  and served over a crisp salad.

Stocking up the refrigerator and the freezer is always on my weekend To-Do list.

Turmeric is a great spice with anti bacterial properties. It helps preserve the meats better!
What better than to cook up a few sauces and condiments in advance and refrigerate and/or freeze them for the naughty times to come. After the demonetization drive, I am pretty sure many of you restrain from ordering out. This is an excellent way to ensure that your cravings are fulfilled in a healthier and cleaner fashion.
Marinara Sauce is a great homemade sauce which can be refrigerated for a week, and it tastes even better as it ages.
Breakfast cookies couldn't be better than this- Whole wheat Kesar Pista Cookies and hot Bournvita
A pizza in a swirly bread form! Yum breakfast up ahead.

Some romantic family cooking with both my boys on toes, is my favourite Saturday dinner activity. My little one loves to bake bread, while my elder one loves to chop veggies. I absolutely love to stir up this storm!!

Apple Pie to the perfection!
Shakshuka with homemade whole wheat bread!
Hubby requested an Orange Cake for his Birthday!

And an Orange Cake he got!

Stocking up on good wine and booze never seems to be a bad idea, especially since New Year is around the corner.

Have you tried making a cocktail with 24 hours refrigerated flavoured water like so?? A must try!!
Lastly, some homemade spicy caramel popcorn with a great movie on Hotstar should sum up the weekend beautifully.

So this is how I would be spending my weekend. Drop in a comment to tell me how you are placed during this weekend. Cheers!!


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