Monday, 20 August 2018

Kathal ki Dum Biryani!!

Do you struggle with the word Biryani? Do you think that you need to buy the ready made Biryani Masala to make a proper biryani? For me both these answers are a straight No. Read on if you wanna join my club.


Kachche Kathal ki Biryani

Almost 400 gms of cut and cleaned Echor / Kachcha Kathal / unripe Jack fruit. Boil it in water along with some salt and turmeric, till its 50 % done. Using a pressure cooker may not be a good idea.

7 onions chopped and fried till brown

About 300 gms good long grain rice, soaked for 1 hour

Masala For the Rice
2 tbsp Oil
A nice mix of whole Garam Masala-
·       1 star Anise
·       1 cinnamon Stick
·       2 to 3 cloves
·       3 to 4 Green cardamom
·       ½ black cardamom
·       2 big leaves of tez patta (bay leaf)
·       1 tsp of Shah jeera
A lot of water and salt to taste.

Masala for the Jackfruit
2 heaped tbsp curd
3 tbsp oil
All the Whole Garam masala as mentioned up for the rice preparation.
3 tbsp Ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Coriander powder
½ tsp Cumin powder
½ tsp Chilly powder
A few shakes of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon separately.
2 big pinches of cashew nuts and 2 more of raisins
A big handful each of chopped mint and coriander leaves
3 slit green chillies, or to taste

For Assembling
2 tbsp ghee                                                                    
2 steel containers with lid
1 small pinch of real kesar and warm milk

Procedure-

During biryani making, its best to keep all ingredients out and handy. Also this same process could be used for any other Dum cooked Meat or veggie biryani.

First in a kettle boil a litre of water.

Get a big sauce pot and put it on heat. We would make the whole spice tadka for the rice first, before proceeding for other stuff.

Pour in a few tbsp of oil. Once it heats up, drop in all the whole spices; and on low flame cook till it is fragrant.

Carefully pour in the hot water on the tadka and salt it generously. Add some more cold water and bring it up to a rolling boil before adding the soaked rice. Cook the soaked rice on a rolling boil for 5 to 7 minutes. It should be about 50 to 60 percent done. Drain it out on a plate and let it air dry. I mostly just take my spider ladle and drain out the rice from the starchy water onto a bowl. Then I quickly topple it out on a flat plate and let the rice air dry for a few minutes. Repeat with the remaining rice. The second batch of rice should be kept to air dry on a separate plate.

So by now, you have fried onion kept in one corner . Rice half cooked and air drying in another.

Lets start making the jackfruit masal now.

In a wok/kadhai heat some oil. Once hot, temper in the whole spices along with a sole red chilly. Wait for it to get fragrant.

Add in the cashew nuts and raisins and fry them lightly in this flavour ful oil on low to medim heat.

Now beat the curd with all the dry masala powder, and set it aside.

Now one after another, we would add different elements to the wok and get it frying.
·       The first to go would be a big pinch of fried onion along with the ginger garlic paste. Fry till we get rid of the raw smell of ginger and garlic.
·       The next would be the curd mix along with all dry spices. Cook it till oil separates out of the masala.
·       Now would be perfect to add 2 big pinches each of mint and coriander. Add in the green chilies too for an added kick. 
·       Adjust salt and sugar and this stage. And, add in our already cooked jackfruit to pan fry in the masala and absorb its flavour.

Taste again for salt and sugar, and adjust accordingly. 2 big pinches of sugar was good enough for me. you can even omit sugar, but I highly recommend adding it to lessen the tang of homemade curd.
Now its time for the assembly.
·       You have the jack fruit prepared.
·       You have onions fried.
·       You have half cooked rice
·       You have chopped coriander and mint ready.
·       This would be the right time to create the saffron mix. Just warm up a few tbsp of milk in microwave and drop in a few strands of kesar on to it. Let it bloom and get flavourful.
Now all you need is to set up a steaming station- gas or electric. 

Generously put ghee on the steel containers you choose to steam the biryani in. Put a thin layer of the most uncooked rice of the lot you have made earlier, in the bottom of the pan. Top it all with jackfruit masala. Now an even layer of onions needs to be followed with an even layer of chopped herbs. Top it all with rice once again.

This is where you need to be creative. Get a proper layer of fried onion on top. Now another generous sprinkle of herbs. Now get that saffron milk and spoon it all over the while rice. 

Close the lid, and let it steam for 30 minutes.

And when you open that lid once done, you will be transported to another world it self. Biryani is a soul food, which is made and perfected with love. Make it to believe it.
Cheers!!

Monday, 6 August 2018

Lets talk vegetarianism today...

What is vegetables to you judgmental vegetarian? Its just food, right? Then why so judgemental about other’s kind of food?

And you Non-vegetarian lover, no one asked you to smile away. You too are as judgmental to the vegetarian crowd as they are to you. 

Basically, I am not here to solve this tussle. But I am here to understand humanity from a different angle all together. Before all my gyaan pours in, note that I have an amazing recipe of Kachche Kathal ki Dum Biryani down after the post. Do make it a point to read that at least.
Now food is what we need to survive. Yes, survival makes us selfish. Yes, humans were created to be socially selfish. What we didn’t understand was the fine line in the middle which was defined as responsibility. Today, its easier to bombard your judgement on others about their choices, just because its different from yours. I have personally felt it from many vegetarians across communities who were so unreceptive to other’s choice. And by no means am I here to praise non-vegetarian sentiments. I am only here to talk about a choice of lifestyle and the fact that people need to respect it even if it is different than others’.

Vegetarians, you are killing too-

Yes, you read it right. The day you stop buying things with roots to your house, you may absolve from calling yourself a killer. But while chewing on a carrot stick and digging into a spinach salad; you are killing too. And at times, you even make sprouts, to kill it the very next day. How insensitive, you killed an infant which would have become a full-blown plant if you gave it that chance.

See, I get it. You feel we are butchers. But is it too much to ask that we are different and what you think may not be what I am thinking. I like meat and I have it. Doesn’t mean I don’t like carrots or tomatoes. I like myself and I nourish myself to the best of my ability. This is all we need to understand. As every ‘I’ is different, every ‘ability’ would also be different. All we need is to keep a responsibility tab on our ability and we are good to go. I request you to be just a bit more receptive. Yes, animals are animals, but the one you are speaking to is a human with feelings. Be truly responsible to his or her feelings first.  

Non-vegetarians, stop being wasteful-

I have noticed that most of the lavish households in this world don’t feel a thing when they toss out that perfectly edible offal down in the trash can. Please respect the food. Understand your need, and buy only what you need. Don’t stock up just for a good discount. Instead donate it to a needy right then and there. In our supermarket culture, discounts speak. But just respect it enough to not waste.

In early days, sausages and dry fish were invented to keep wastage at the minimal level, and to stock up for the winter which was harsh. These were pure sentiments designed to pay homage to the life of that animal who was sacrificed to keep humans healthy. Sin is not killing, but being unrespectful to the purpose of the kill. Today, those pure sentiments are lost upon a flimsy coat of civilization. When you get something so easily, its much easier to forget the real cost behind that.
Cow Vigilantism… Really??

Don’t even get me started on this point. I mean what was the government thinking while banning cow slaughter is beyond my understanding of un-discriminatory India. ‘Gaay hamari Mata Hai’ – ‘Cows are our mother’- a direct translation of the phrase. And upon asking a reason for this phrase, pat comes the answer- ‘because it gives us milk.’ But did you forget how much you grew up on buffalo milk? Or the pristine white clarified butter that was added to your vegetables? You know whose milk that came from- our humble buffalo. And still so discriminatory towards that big black beauty? I feel this is to do with India’s obsession with anything white. Too much I say!!!!

And even the fact about the milk production. Don’t you feel the only one supposed to drink that milk is the calf? Why are you bottling and selling it? When your mother, sister, wife birthed; was the milk extracted to feed a population? I am just asking the question without meaning harm. Don't you feel its time that you questioned this ban too?



Respect greenery-

The bigger issue to solve in today’s India is that every Indian needs to respect the green trees that surrounds us. I am educated enough to understand cutting trees for development is needed. I mean wider roads would solve many traffic jams. Or an extra residential complex may help lower the sky rocketing prices of flats. But all I am saying is for every Indian to rise up to this pollution with a solution that is as simple as can be. All we need to do is plant 15 plants in and outside our houses. That's all. Just plant flowers or herbs or vegetables, and keep them alive. Don’t be afraid of the mosquitoes or earth worm that they might get into your house. Yes, to start with they would; but eventually it is only going to better the situation that we are in right now. Imagine if all the four flats in every floor of a 12 floored society, planted 15 plants for every bedroom they had. Do the maths and then you would know. We would be able to purify our air much faster than an electronic air purifier. Plant more, grow more and buy less veggies should be the new urban mantra. 


And the most controversial for the last – Understand Halal before passing a judgement over it.

Yes I am Hindu, and yet I am telling you that I love to buy Halal as far as my meat and poultry needs go. Halal doesn’t mean an inhuman way to cut. It means that we are making sure that impurities run out and the meat is fit for consumption. Scientifically it is a better process for storage and safer to eat too. Ideologically too, these days most of the supermarkets make sure that the butchers stun the animals before the halal process begins. Understand the origin of this process. It has stemmed from a pure emotion of survival in a hot sunny dessert area. Survival of healthy humans in a far flung dessert area with limited water supply was tough. And yet, they survived. Truly, Necessity is the mother of all inventions!!
This article is written with a pure intention to ask relevant questions about our choices. In no way am I to favor one to another forms of eating habit. Both these eating habits (veg and non-veg) makes for a balanced country. So literally a balance is all we should crave for.
Kachchi Kathal ki Dum Biryani-

Cheers!!


Friday, 15 June 2018

Remove Plastic- Own a Cup Instead!

June is the plastic month of the year where every one of us are talking about how to remove plastic from our life. This one product- man-made product has taken our world into a whirlwind. It has become an evil necessity, which we can’t live with or without. But its ok, I have a plan to make it more sustainable. Let’s embark on this plan together.

So, ladies (and you gents if you are reading me, but I highly doubt it) let’s do this together. Let’s make a list of disposable plastic materials we use in a month. Let’s recycle some from the list. And then let’s try to replace some in the list. For example, my list was-

  • 1.       Plastic water bottles, especially for my avengers’ 5 year-old-fan.
  • 2.       Plastic tiffin boxes
  • 3.       I have replaced most of my carry bags from plastic to cloth, but its still available for most.
  • 4.       Sanitary pads.

Now with great persuasion, I have taken my 5-year-old to like matt finish steel bottles. Today he happily takes that to school, while his plastic spider-man bottle bit the dust a few weeks ago. If nothing works for a mom, it’s the safest bet to take- out of sight is out of mind.

My husband could take glass tiffin boxes, but the little son still wants some cartoon on it. So, this time I bought a plastic on outside, but steel on inside tiffin box for him. Once the school reopens, we will find out whether I was successful or not in this attempt.

Now for the last and the final bit, I can now very confidently claim that I have replaced most kinds of sanitary pads in my house. And instead have started using a miracle silicone-based product, called Menstrual Cups.


If you truly want to do something for the environment, then with shaky baby steps, go towards this product. Let me begin by first tackling some myths surrounding this product-

  • 1.       ‘it feels unhygienic to insert something inside my vagina.’ Now this is the most classic myth that I hear from most of my friends when I approach them to talk about menstrual cups. It is the other way around when it comes to hygiene issues. Menstrual pads are unhygienic. They come in contact with air, and hence germs get a moist warm place to breed. Instead the menstrual cup seals the cervix, and in the limited air supply nothing substantially harmful can breed inside your body. By far it is the safest and the most hygienic sanitary products available in the market.
  • 2.       ‘too big to manually insert it.’ That’s a fair concern, it is a bit big, especially if you have had a child and you need to use the larger size like I do. But when you have a very natural lubricant flowing out of vagina(aka- blood, no yuck pls), it just slides inside with no effort. I tried it and then only am I writing about it. Even if you are scared, just try it out once. If you don’t like it, its ok. All I request is to not give it up entirely. After all, let me remind you that removing plastic from your life is and should be a goal you feel dearly for.
  • 3.       reusing poses to be a greater problem. I feel yuck to boil it all the time.’ Well, for this one let me start with an example. Do you think Swara Bhasker’s character in Veere de Wedding was concerned about boiling the toy in the Masturbation scene? Or do you as a mom or wife or a girl boil each fruit and vegetables before putting it into your mouth? Both these answers tend to go towards a 'no', so similarly, you don’t need to boil the cup every time you tip its contents out. Just wash it in clear water and its ready to be inserted again. When you open a new pack, its just then that the boiling is mandatory. After that, it’s up to you to boil or not to boil.
  • 4.       the thought of pulling out a cup full of menstrual blood … naaahhh’ on this one I have nothing to say. This is a reality and using a cup does make you come closer to your body. It is to see and witness this amazing system which is the reason life sustains in this world.
  • 5.       I won’t feel comfortable to exercise in the cup.’ Another myth, our vagina is mostly a very sensitive opening, but once you get snugly past that, there is no feeling. You won’t feel something in your legs if you have a tampon or a cup inserted inside. You wont even realise something is inserted until the body gives you the sign that it is full. Any physical exercise would be much more comfortable if compared to pads. Pads with friction and the moistness would lead to a delicate rash. This would never happen with a cup.
  • 6.       And saving the best for the last- ‘would the vagina stretch too much if I use it’ well after having a baby and still enjoying a happy sex life, I don’t think inserting a cup would change anything to do with parameters of the holy grail. This is not such a big thing, that your vagina has to stretch out to accommodate. So, fear not. I think I safely can put this out as a myth.
I think I have covered most of the myths about this wonderful product. Silicone is a highly elastic material which gets folded quite small and can be quite comfortable to take a shape once inside. If you get past the initial hitch, trust me you too would love the product. The sanitary pads that we use are 90% plastic with super absorbent polymers and non-woven plastic components. Some even come laced with much harmful chemicals which promises to turn blood into gel and keep it locked. This is not natural. And something that is causing so much of harm to environment, can’t be safe for us to use. If plastic bothers you, stem it out of our systems first. The picture below depicts a dump yard, full of diapers and sanitary pads from one small area of a metro city, for a week. We can truly take baby steps to change this reality.


Akshay Kumar starrer Pad-Man has gotten India to talk about periods and menstruation. I salute Arunachalam Muruganantham for what he achieved out of a simple emotion of love. Sir, however difficult your name is for me to pronounce, as much difficult is for me to comprehend you deed. I am just taking your fight on the urban level, a bit farther. Hope we do understand and more and more people join me in this fight! Cheers!!


POST SCRIPT- 

Maybe I started the article mid-way. But as the greatest non-conformist in the world, I chose to end it. Actually, I started this article with an assumption that everyone would know about this product. But I stand corrected as the amazing girl gang of my niece bombarded me with very relevant questions about this product. So here are some excerpts from all of my conversation from last night-

1. Define Menstrual Cup- A menstrual cup is a hygiene product which needs to be inserted in the vagina during menstruation. It is made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem. Its purpose is to prevent menstrual blood containing uterine lining from leaking onto our clothes. The stem is used for insertion and removal. The bell-shaped cup seals against the vaginal wall just below the cervix, hence making the process extremely leak proof. Every 6 to 12 hours, depending on the amount of flow, the cup is to be removed, emptied, rinsed, and reinserted.
After each period, the cup should be boiled for at least 5 minutes and stored in a clean box for use the next month.    

2. Menstrual pads vs cup- yes one cup costs 600 INR average, while a pad costs 10 INR. But, you can’t reuse the pad as you would with a cup. And the cup is completely chemical free and is made of food grade silicone which is great in reusing and is quite biodegradable unlike pads.

3. To be used only after marriage or after the girl has had sexual intercourse- no even young girls can use it, completely safe and won’t interfere in the reproductive system later on. Its just that you need to be eased on to this product. Talk to friends, family and doctors and then decide whether you are ready to try this revolutionary product or not.

4. Size issues- a general rule of thumb would be to opt for small before you have had a baby. Opt for large if you have had a baby.

5. Leaking? - Negligible, in fact you will get to know when its time for it to emptied out. Trust your instincts.

I feel now my article is complete. If you have any other question, drop in a comment or mail me at antara1061@gmail.com, with a subject title- ‘menstrual cups’.

Cheers!!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Fat to Fit- Take a Break with Frappe!

Break is as important for me, as is work. And I guess we creative people understand the value of these 2 things together. Routine can never lead up to outstanding results in life. Its what we learn from these breaks, that provides the fuel to the feed. And I make it a habit to take a break in everything I do. Today I am writing about how to incorporate break in a rigorous calorie counted diet, and why it works well.

So, we started with a fairly balanced diet, wherein now everyone of you know my aim, and the health goal I need to achieve. I don’t have a strict timeline. But before the summer hits us hard, I need to lose a couple of kgs, and inches too. But for all of the last week and this, I am on a break. I don’t have a set meal plan for this break. I am eating regular meals, which is high on protein, but less on carbohydrates. But I ate 2 gujiyas last week, along with 3 glasses of wine. But of course, within a span of a whole week. So see, I want my body to not feel restricted. In fact, the restrictions play on the mind more than the body and trust me it never leads to good. Instead I want to lose weight while keeping my body and mind completely satisfied. That is holistic weight loss, and that will make sure I keep the weight lost for years to come.

Confused, I don’t blame you. It is a bit confusing when you let go. It is a natural process that you and I can’t change. But I would try simplifying a bit further through these easy to read pointers-

First step is always to initiate our body into the weight loss journey. We start slowly, taking care that we don’t suddenly remove a major nutrient from our diet. That’s why my first meal plan was perfect. It had everything, but in the right form and quantity. See, I am a working mom who doesn’t have the luxury of fussing about myself all day long. So, I need to keep myself hydrated and well fed, in order to make sure a good environment in my restaurant and home is maintained. The very first problem serial dieters face is irritability and temper tantrums. And mind you, these tantrums are never normal or forgivable. The first meal plan is right here.

Second step was to initiate the body on burning some insane fat deposited in some invisible corner of my body, and hence; a slightly more calorie reduced meal plan. Now this well-structured meal plan was great for me as in a week, with right amount of exercise and activity, I shed 1.5 kg with this. The second meal plan, if you haven’t already seen it, is right here.

Third step was to be comfortable in the 3 kg loss that I did within these 3 weeks, right after I was back from Goa. And that’s why, I rested all of last week, where in I indulged in my favourite treats, still managing to keep the weight to constant till today. Today grudgingly, I will stop my break time and get to a meal plan. But for you my readers, you break has just started. Enjoy to the fullest, but just keep following the golden rules of the game.
  • 1.       3 drinks of alcohol only in a day, that too just once a week.
  • 2.       6 glasses of water need to go in along with it.
  • 3.       No carbohydrates after 7 pm.
  • 4.       Sweets in moderation only, properly portioned.
If you can go without any wine, then my blessings are with you. However, I couldn’t even stop at 2 so I mentioned 3 here. I drank 3 glasses, while watching Baywatch on amazon prime. And frankly, it was a good Saturday spent, so no complaints. The day you drink, steer clear of sweets. Also, try to drink or eat irresponsibly only for lunch. Evenings need to be boring.
So going with the theme of cheating, here is my recipe for the day. I created a fat free frappe, with real sugar and cream, but took the fat out with the help of science, not chemicals. It is one of my video productions, and the measurement of any ingredients mentioned here doesn’t matter. With the summer approaching, this along with a shot of Kahlua could very well be a killer treat for a person like me. Cheers!

Ingredients
Whipping cream- 200 ml
Sugar powder to taste
Ice cubes to taste
500 ml of Recently boiled water
Instant espresso powder – 2 tbsp or to taste


Cheers!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Fat to Fit- Khandvi in the Week 2 Plan!

A week has past since I came back from my holiday in Goa. Holidays for me is a time to let go. I didn’t think calories or flab, and enjoyed every moment on sand as if it were my last moment on this beautiful earth. I didn’t have a worry. Went inside the lagoon fearlessly while I knew, I couldn’t swim. But now I am back, and after a week of carefully moderated meals and a bit of exercise thrown in, I am a kg lighter, and back to my goal of losing another 3 to 4 kgs in the next 6 weeks. Now would be the time for all of you to join in, if you want to begin on this journey with me.

Last week, I had shared a simple balanced meal plan. That plan was for all, everyone who wants to be healthy and is roughly 5 feet 2 inches tall. Today, I am leaping into deeper water, writing out a meal plan that I would base on my health goals, metabolism and my nutrition essentials. I understand if such a personalized meal plan is being published, then obviously my personal goals and parameters are to be spelled out first. So, its more of a personal rant which would follow in the next paragraph, which I would suggest you to read before u start on this plan along with me. Make sure that you customize the plan accordingly to suit your nutritional intake.


I am a healthy woman who can be described verbatim as being ‘petite.’ I have a BMI rate of 24.1, which though falls in normal category, still I would want to lower it furthermore. My health goal is not to just lose weight, but to achieve a higher metabolic rate. My second health goal is to defeat my chronic condition of Low Blood pressure, which for times more than my liking, cripples me to be on house arrest. There are no medication for the same, and so rest and protein rich food is the only way out of this condition. So undoubtedly, my aim at forming any meal plans for self is to ensure that I have enough protein in my diet and enough physical exercise to digest the difficult protein off my body. My biggest problem area in my body has to be my face, which just fluffs up in a kgs. gain, and comes down only when I loose around 3 kgs. The second problem area is my back, which accumulates a lot of fat, as if overnight I have grown 2 bulges which makes me look as if I am stooping even when I am standing upright. Sigh…

Honest confessions to internet is not easy, but well if I started on this journey, I better continue on it till end. So, coming back to my plan; this week I plan to keep it simple yet doable. I don’t want to include any high-profile superfood in my diet. Simple homemade Indian food and bonus recipe at the end for you to get it right.

Meal Plan for week 2-

7 am- Early morning starts with a glass of plain warm water followed by a glass of coriander and lime water. All I need to do is boil coriander for 10 mins strain, add lime and drink. I mostly do the boiling in the night and let it cool overnight, in the fridge.

7.15 am – 3 soaked almonds and a cup of black coffee without sugar.

Breakfast- 1 egg with 1 slice of whole wheat toast or 1 serving of khandvi which is made of all protein rich ingredients. For breakfast, you can include the tadka too.
11.30 am would be the best time to have a bowl of papaya and if hungry, then some pcs of apples too.

Lunch- it is the most favorite meal of mine so I will have it like a queen. A lean protein like egg/chicken or fish with a bowl of cut carrots and cucumbers, followed by a phulka and cooked vegetable.  (full Indian thali)

5 pm – would be the right time to work on my metabolism, so a cup of curd and flax meal would be perfect.

7.30 pm can start with some protein filled food- like sprout salad or khandvi without tadka and a cup of earl grey tea.

9 pm- would be the last meal of the day wherein keep it protein and cucumbers only. Like humus and salad or grilled chicken and vegetables.

And by 11 pm, sleep!

I would need to exercise in the day, mostly I will either skip for 500 times or brisk walk for 45 minutes. After diligently following this meal plan and responsibly cheating during the weekend, I would report back my findings here next week. For the last week, the cheating included a spoonful of rice for Saturday dinner, along with 2 glasses of wine.

Next week, I will talk about why I am keeping so many meals planned for the night, while I eat scarcely during the day. If the principal I am testing, works; then my friends you are in for a great trick which would help you loose weight easily, without achieving a plateau. Also, I am working on another article trying to point out mistakes that people commit during the night which leads them to reach a plateau in their weight loss goals. Now to the recipe that everyone must be waiting for- Khandvi!!
Ingredients
1 cup gram flour or besan
1 cup curd
1 chilly grated
1 inch ginger grated
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
Salt to taste
Haldi or turmeric for the bright colour
Water as needed

For tadka which is optional-
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 slit green chillies
And a big pinch of fresh curry leaves
Grated Carrots are extremely optional, a more traditional ingredient would be coconut grated. But I am using carrots today as it is healthy and looks veraciously red and decadent

This is a recipe that needs to be seen. But in my experience, I have seen many YouTube videos that do not cover the finer details of this recipe. I am doing something I have never done before. Instead of making video recipes, I am actually pasting links of people who have posted the recipe in their respective vlog channels, with footnotes of things that either they missed, or could be introduced in the method which would alter the results quite a bit.

Today, I take on 2 master chefs- Tarla Dalal the legend in herself and Kunal Kapoor, the Master chef judge. They both have millions of admirers online, including me. And I always love to see their take on recipes before I start off in the kitchen. I will start today with K kitchen- the video is here

Chef Kunal does what chefs do the best, beautify the dish so so much that it becomes too pretty to eat.
  • 1.       .43 seconds – I suggest we actually mix the besan with curd first and then add water. In fact I suggest we add the water just last and about 1.5 cups does a better job, than 2 cups of water.
  • 2.       Add hing in the batter, trust me on this.
  • 3.       1.19 sec- never should you pour the batter in a hot kadahai. It forms lumps immediately. Pour first and then put it on flame always.
  • 4.       4.19 sec- instead of coconut, I suggest using carrots for a healthier lighter, yet a pretty coloured dish. You can leave it plain too, as I mostly do anyways.
  • 5.       I loved the fact that he never asked you to grease the thali. You don’t need to grease it at all. If it is cooked well, it rolls out beautifully. And greasing can actually prevent you from spreading evenly.

The legend that was Tarla Dalal (video), she made it as a home cook would- that is without a care in the world that she could go wrong. After all she must have made this recipe so many times before. Her batter was a bit lumpy, but much drier than chef Kapoor’s and I feel it is advisable to keep the batter thicker like so. 

Another important step that she mentions is testing the batter before spreading it fully on the plate. Do make it a point to do so, as it is the most important step to get it right, without fail.

Both these people are great in the recipe. And both their styles are much different to each other. Hopefully with my pointers, you too would be able to make khandvi like a pro. If you do, please do not forget to let me see a picture of it soon! Cheers!!

P.S. - Khandvi is a protein rich food which is low on fat, and could be your ideal post work out snack. That's why, enjoy a good plate of khandvi this week. Next week, there will be more bonus recipes which you never thought could be this healthy!

Monday, 5 March 2018

Fat to Fit- Intermittent Fasting, My Foot!!


Its amazing when u eat all you crave, drink like a fish, and yet see fat melting out. That is the feeling that I want returned to me. Who wouldn’t, tell me? Am sure most of you are reading me right now, looking for exactly that. Even if I can not tell you how this would return back to us, especially us in the 30s, I can tell you how it won’t. It wont return with Intermittent Fasting for sure.

As I had mentioned in the earlier article, I braved the meal plan for 5 days. I lost a kg, yes. And then I lost another trying to nurse myself back to being me. And that next week wasn’t all that fun. What happened was that I was acutely gaseous and developed gastric indigestion, wherein my body kind of repelled food. I have not been prone to stomach gas or flu in the past, so it was extremely uncomfortable, and more so as the week after, I had planned a vacation to Goa. So, in my current lifestyle, wherein I wake up early and sleep by 10.30 pm, I couldn’t follow the meal plan of skipping breakfast. When I was in college, I used to most of the days, skip breakfast, and my body metabolised it very nicely; but now it’s a decade older, and used to the pattern of smaller meals in the day. No point trying to change its rhythm with newer discoveries of the day. Stick to the basic, is all my advice going to be.

So, once again, lets try what we had done earlier on! Simple meal plan with fewer, smaller meals. This week its gonna be this-

Early morning – 500 ml lukewarm water followed with a bowl full of fresh fruits.
A cup of black coffee

Intense activity                 (exercise)

Breakfast- a healthy combination of whole carbs with vegetables/egg. Eg-1 whole wheat veg sandwich or a roti-egg roll or oats upma with a lot of veggies and curd.

Mid-morning- Green tea with a healthy snack. Eg- 1 cream cracker biscuit or roasted chana or 5 pcs of soaked almond.  

Lunch- would be a good mix of vegetables (cooked and/or raw) with whole carbohydrates. Eg- salad with ‘1 or 2 roti or boiled daliya’ and 1 - 2 bowl veg with 1/2 bowl curd/dal. If I choose to eat non veg, then I will cancel the carb and take 100 gms chicken/fish with 1-2 katori veg and salad.

Evening- earl grey tea with 2 cream cracker biscuits or green tea with a small bowl roasted channa

Dinner- same as lunch just that I will try to go skimpy on the carbs. Eg-1 wheat chapatti with 1 or 2 bowl veg and Salad; or 50gms chicken/ fish with 1 or 2 bowl veg and salad.

Bedtime if hungry- 1 cup toned milk.

So I am aiming at following this diet for the next two weeks. It’s doable, in fact very easy too. And I have done it earlier last year to have some great results!
So here is a compilation of all my lip smacking snacks, that I could eat for breakfast or evening tea.



And one of the best- steamed idly with this sambhar chutney- http://antaras-zouqh.blogspot.in/2017/02/sambhar-in-chutney.html


This time, I would surely catch up next week with you guys, because with this meal plan, I can’t, not have the desired result as I seek.

Cheers!!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Fat to Fit- Basics about Intermittent Fasting!

A random picture of my tomato vines!

I don’t much know or care about these ‘they-s’ we always refer to, but they say that in winter you make your summer body. It could be ‘you’ who can agree or disagree, but I am going with it for the simple reason that soon the warming protection of an over the top jacket is going to go, and we would end up with a flabby arm in a sleeveless dress, showing unflatteringly. So here is our ‘Lets Lose Weight Together’ winter series to get you up and tidy for the coming seasons!

Now if someone isn’t familiar with our earlier series, than a link is embossed for you to check it out. That series did pretty well on my blog, and if emails are to be believed, many came forward to tell me how it helped them achieve a good weight. That time, a couple of years ago, natural sciences told us that 2-hour-eating pattern was the healthiest way to life!! But as Darwin stated, evolution happened in the sector of natural sciences; and scientists claim that they have found a better solution of weight loss in the form of intermittent fasting. Now I am as confused as you are, but more and more I read about IF, I become more and more certain that it must be a healthy pattern of eating. Now let’s give it to our ancestors, in the name of religion, they did devise this healthy alternative lifestyle in the way of Ramadan, where you fast for most hours with just a small period of time allotted to feasting. But the non inclusion of water is still a problem, and that gets eliminated in the Intermittent fasting pattern of eating. Similarly, in our Hindu tradition, especially in Bengal, we have ‘uposh’ till the time we offer our prayers to Ma Durga, which is exactly what we do in Intermittent fasting. We fast till 11 am, and then start eating and continue eating till 9 pm. The only way ‘uposh’ is different to our fast is that, we don’t start our day eating deep fried dough and potato curry!

So, I have decided to test this scientifically proven method of eating and write about my journey for the others to get benefited from. I start today, that is the 12th of February, with a 12 hour fasting to 12 hour eating window. I have always had little meals, which lately weren’t so little which obviously led me to gain a couple of kgs. My idea is to lose just about 3 to 4 kgs, following this way of eating, and then be able to maintain this for the rest of my life! But then again, you never know because losing and gaining weight is so much a part of the recent lifestyle, that we are prisoners of. Yet, I am confident that by Holi, when the sweaters go away, I should not feel too bad about looking in the mirror, especially since I have not exercised seriously since the smog hit Delhi.

My eating pattern would look a lot like so-

Waking up at 6.30 – 7 am to 500 ml of lemon and ginger steeped water.
By 7.30, to have a cup of coffee, that I am not too happy of having on an empty stomach, but really, I cant do with out it anyways. I don’t add any sugar or milk to it.
8 am – a brisk walk for 30 minutes, followed by some fresh veggies shopping for the day. I try to buy things, to be eaten just in that day.
9 am- I will break my fast with a bowl of fruits
By 10, a fibre -rich breakfast
1 pm, a fibre rich balanced lunch which should have all components of nutrition, including carbohydrates.
4 pm – 100 gms of fruits once again
6 pm tea and a handful of roasted Bengal gram, or chana chapta jor garam
8 pm – dinner which will not include carbohydrates, but is large portions of vegetables and lean protein.
By 9 pm, I stop eating, only to have a cup of warm cinnamon water before bed time, about `10.30 types.
By 11, I should snooze!

Now, this is wat I am going to be following, and by no means I am a nutritionist who can try devise meal charts for people apart from family. Yet, if you so wish to follow me on this journey, then please do write in a comment to encourage me to go further up on the road! But before you do, you need to know of these pointers-

  • 1.       I do this 12 hour fasting for a week, and then I would gradually increase the time to hit a ratio of 16:8 hours!
  • 2.       For the first 2 days, I will have some sort of carbohydrates in the night, and then would I try to eliminate it and see how much I feel hungry the next morning. Again, all this pattern of eating should definitely include my comfort. And so, I will take it as it goes, and write about it the next week.
  • 3.       Sugar, I can eliminate, and so I will. But I would continue having some processed stuff, especially wine, because I can’t dine without wine! And no point trying.. HIC! HIC!

So, here you go. Extremely candid confessions made. Now lets see, how we fare on this pattern of eating. Cheers!!

P.S. - no recipes this time.. 

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