Carrot Pudding (Gajar Ka Halwa)

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Ingredients

8 – 10 Carrots (grated)
3T. Ghee (clarified butter)
¼ T. Green cardamom powder
¾ C. Sugar
5 – 6 Almonds (sliced)
5 – 6 Cashew nuts
10 – 15 Raisins
1C. Khoya (grated)
10 – 15 Pistachios chopped

Recipe

Heat pure ghee in a thick-bottomed pan, add grated carrots and sauté till aromatic.

Add milk, green cardamom powder and cook on medium heat for ten to twelve minutes or until the milk evaporates and the carrots are cooked.

Stir in the grated khoya and sugar and cook for two to three minutes or till the sugar melts and mixes well, stirring continuously.

Garnish with chopped cashew nuts, sliced almonds and raisins. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: To make khoya boil 5 cups of milk until only 1/5th is left.

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Rigatoni with broccoli sauce

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Ingredients:

2C. Rigatoni or any small pasta
4C. Broccoli florets
2C. Broccoli stems (peeled & chopped)
02 Garlic cloves
3T. Olive Oil
1T. Lemon zest
1C. Parmesan cheese (grated)

Recipe

Start cooking pasta; 3 minutes before it’s done, add broccoli florets.

Once cooked, drain & reserve ½ cup pasta water.

In a food processor, finely chop broccoli stems and garlic.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add chopped stems and lemon zest; cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Now add 1 more cup of water and cook for 5 more minutes.

Mix in cheese, pasta, florets and reserved pasta water.

Cook till it gets a saucy consistency.

Serve hot.

Chicken Manchurian

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Ingredients

2C. Chicken (minced)
2 Eggs (beaten)
¾ C. Refined flour
½ T. Garlic paste
½ T. Ginger paste
½ T. MSG or Ajinomoto (optional)
1T. Garlic (chopped)
½ C. Onions (chopped)
1 Capsicum (chopped)
Oil for deep frying 

For Sauce

3T. Corn flour
½ C. Water
2T. Vinegar
2T. Salt
2T. Soya sauce
½ C. Tomato puree
2C. Water

Recipe

Mix together the chicken, egg, flour, garlic and ginger paste, ajinomoto and enough water so as to have a thick batter. Leave this for 5-10 minutes.

Heat the oil, drop small lumps of batter in it and fry to golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper till required. 

For the sauce mix all the sauce ingredients together and leave aside.

Stir-fry the garlic, onion and capsicum in it over high heat for few minutes.

 Add the sauce mixture, and simmer till the sauce thickens slightly. 

Add the fried balls, turn around a few times and serve hot with rice or noodles.

Tip: a Chinese sauce mix can also be bought from a grocery store to save time.   

Berries

Small in size but big at benefits. This colorful, fleshy, super food always attracts me whenever I am strolling in the busy streets of Germany. Not only are berries delicious and convenient to eat, their antioxidant qualities make them the essential component in the diet of anyone who wants to be healthy.

All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but berries have something extra to offer. The antioxidants contained within these berries are known to help cells across the body to fight cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It also helps your body fight stress that can lead to illness. Vitamin C is another strong antioxidant found in berries. Eating vitamin C–rich berries adds to the radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis and cataracts.

In addition to antioxidants, berries are fibrous juicy foods, which mean they contain mostly water (up to 85%). Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill you up quickly and drive down the calories. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Frozen (unsweetened) berries are a good substitute during off seasons, but if you are a berry freak just like me try going on a berry picking spree. There are many berry farms where you can spend a day picking berries right from the bush, eating it there or taking home as much as you like. The best time to go berry picking is July to August. For more information refer to http://www.hofreiter.de/

Eat them fresh or juice them all! Do whatever it takes to utilize this fat-free, low in sodium and nearly calorie-free gift of mother nature.

Books and their importance !

While I travel, mostly I see people around me reading. Probably that’s the best thing that could be done to keep the boredom away. Reading can make us more intelligent. At the same time they take us in a dream world and inspire us; remember, Alice in wonderland or Romeo and Juliet.

The writers of these books put in a lot of efforts, imagination and time along with their experiences with which we learn today and behave in the society. Their ideas could be anything from a loyal animal to a beautiful fairy.

I don’t read books any more but what my mother read out to me while I was young has helped molding my strengths and shape me for what I am in today’s world. Certainly, books are the foundation stone of what this world is all about.

Books are present in our world from many centuries in different forms and shapes.
Our forefathers have taught us more than we use to know. That’s only possible because of the preserved text which we received in today’s world from different places.

Books also play a very important role in a child’s development. They are the primary tools for children as they are fascinated by the color, contents and texture of a book. They might throw or destroy a book initially but this will be the beginning for them to become a successful reader. A book provides a child with vocabulary & helps them understand the world better and develops Social skills.

Today, we can find books in digital formats as per the need of people. Though, all these books provide same knowledge but at the same time they have reduced our packing weight. Imagine if you have to carry a dozen of books for a vacation??

We might be living in a time where computers have become the source of entertainment and knowledge, but the wonderful world of books is still alive. Traditional or digital, both the reading tools can be a faithful friend or a companion and that someone who can guide us forever.

Chicken Fried Rice

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Ingredients

1C. Boneless chicken (cut into thin strips)
1C. Rice soaked
4T. Oil
2 Spring onions(chopped)
3-4 Garlic cloves (chopped)
2 Eggs (whisked)
1T. Soy sauce
¼ T. MSG or ajinomoto (optional)
½ T. White pepper powder
1T. Vinegar
Salt

Recipe

Cook rice in three cups of water until just cooked. Drain & leave aside.

Heat oil in a wok, add spring onions and garlic and stir-fry for a minute. Add chicken pieces and stir-fry for few more minutes.

Add eggs and cook for half a minute. Add rice and cook for a minute, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add soy sauce, MSG, salt, white pepper powder and mix thoroughly.

Add vinegar, mix well and serve hot.

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The Perfect Barbeque

Flaming Barbeque

A little barbeque now and then is enjoyed by everyone.The winter approaches, the sun gets cooler, and the backyard invites you. Everyone with a love of smoked meat in their heart feels like heating up the barbeque too. After all, it’s so much fun gathering friends and family for a sunny backyard get together or an evening garden party. But, before we start it is always better to keep few things in mind so that the meat cooked is actually worth the efforts.

The plain fact remains that the outdoor cooking shouldn’t taste like indoor cooking.
The characteristic taste of barbeque comes from the fragrant fumes of slowly burning hardwood or charcoal. At the same time using a right marinade to tenderize & flavor the meat is also essential.

Marinade is a combination of acids, oil and spices.
The acid is used to help break down the meat, the oil is used to keep the meat from drying out, and the spices are used to add additional flavor to the meat.

However you need to make sure that you do not keep the food in marinades for too long. Surfaces in direct contact with a marinade can become soft and mushy, not something you would want to serve. This is particularly important with seafood, which can actually cook, in an acidic environment.

Whether it’s a steak or a chop, tenderness and texture is also associated with the quality of the meat.

I personally believe that a little bit of planning can take a perfectly nice meal outside to the next level and make it a truly memorable event. While the grilled meat remains the evening attraction, side dishes are important too, especially if you have vegans in the group. Take advantage of seasonal vegetables to prepare amazing salads which goes really well along with brazier food.

Feel free to share some chilled beers .

Chin Chin!