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Monday, June 19, 2017


I came across bionico when looking for an easy dessert recipe from the Latin cuisine. It is one of the popular street snacks from Mexico and is a perfect treat to serve on a hot day. It is along the similar lines as the popular fruit custard from India though no cooking is involved in the case of bionico. A medley of chopped fruits are drenched with a sweetened sauce, made primarily with dairy products and  coffee granules.
It takes only a couple of minutes to prepare the sweetened sauce but it is a very delicious and interesting base to the fruit medley. Any combination of fruits you have on hand can go into this recipe as long as they are sweeter. Similarly, any toppings of your choice can go into bionico. We didn't feel that granola complimented bionico well but it can be included if proffered.
Recipe source: Here
Ingredients: (Yield 4 servings)
About 5 cups of chopped mixed fruits
(The original recipe had banana, apple, papaya, strawberries and grapes. I used banana, cherries, mango, peaches and strawberries.)
Ingredients for the sweet sauce:
Half of 14 oz. condensed milk can
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt / low fat sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp. instant coffee granules

Ingredients for toppings:
Chopped pecans (I used walnuts instead.)
Sweetened coconut flakes
* Add all the ingredients mentioned under the sweet sauce into a bowl and whisk to combine.
* Add fruit pieces to parfait glasses / bowls. Pour the prepared sweet sauce as needed over the fruit pieces and garnish with preferred toppings.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Latin American Recipes". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Avena Colombiana

Avena means oats in Spanish and avena is also an oatmeal based drink from South America that is quite popular locally. There are subtle variations in the recipe depending upon where it is prepared in the Latin American regions. However, generally rolled oats are stewed in a mixture of milk, water, cinnamon and cloves and finally sweetened with sugar.
Avena is usually served as a breakfast drink both for kids and adults though serving it as an evening snack is also not uncommon. This thick and creamy drink can be served either warm or cold, depending upon the seasons. I prepared it past this week when we had the heat wave going on and obviously, I had served it chilled.
Recipe Source: Here
Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
A pinch of ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Sugar to taste
* Cook oatmeal, milk, water and cinnamon together for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium flame. Add ground cloves and sugar to the mixture and cook for about 5 minutes more.
* Let cool the mixture and chill it, covered.
* Discard the cinnamon stick and blend the oat mixture fine. Add extra water if thinner consistency is preferred. Serve it cold.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Latin American Recipes". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pan de Coco - Coconut Bread from Dominican Republic

Pan de Coco is a coconut bread from the Latin region and the version here today comes from 'The Dominican Republic'. The recipe varies region wise and comes in both sweet and plain versions. This Dominican version is not on the sweet side and  instead these are 'heavy and salty' kind flat breads. According to the the original recipe, these are usually served with fish or meat dishes that have lot of sauce so that these breads are used to scoop those gravy kind dishes and soak up the juices.

These coconut breads are supposedly evolved from a combination of a recipe of 'Johnny cakes' brought by the English immigrants to the region and coconut, which is locally available in abundance. The coconut flavor is not pronounced much in this version though they are called coconut buns and coconut flakes are not an usual addition. These breads are more like biscuits with a crispy exterior and we had them hot from the oven, slathered with butter. 

Recipe source: Here
Ingredients: (Yields 6 breads)
2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (Reduce the qty by 1/2 tsp if salty breads are not preferred.)
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp. coconut oil + extra for greasing baking sheet and palms 
1/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)

* Preheat the oven to 300 deg F. Grease a baking sheet and keep aside.
* Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add coconut milk and oil to the dry ingredients and knead together to a dough. Grease your palms with oil and work the dough if it is sticky.
* Divide the dough into 6 portions and roll them into balls. Flatten them on the greased baking sheet, into discs of about 6 inches diameter. 
* Sprinkle the coconut flakes if using, on the top of the discs.
* Bake them for about 25 minutes or a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. They are not going to get brown but remain pale after baking.
* Once cool, they can be toasted quickly but at high temperature to brown them. (I skipped the step.)

This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Latin American Recipes". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Bajra - Methi Rotis / Methi Dhebra / Indian, Millet Flour Flatbreads

Here are some millet flour based flatbreads as part of the 'healthy lunches' I am posting this week. These are inspired from the western state of India, Gujarat and can be converted to a gluten free version if wheat flour is left out from the recipe. These wholesome rotis are spicy on their own and do not need any side dish as such but a spicy pickle and some cool yogurt would make great accompaniments. Dhebras can be made two ways. The first one where wheat flour is completely eliminated, shaped into smaller and thicker discs and are deep fried. The second method is where they are rolled out into thin rotis like I did and are cooked with little oil. The deep fried dhebra make a great evening snack while the thinner version makes a great addition to lunch or dinner menu.
Ingredients: (Yield 8 - 9 dhebra)
About 2 cups firmly packed fresh fenugreek greens / methi leaves 
1 or 2 green chillies
1 tsp. grated ginger 
1 and 1/2 cups millet flour / bajra flour 
1/2 cup wheat flour (optional)  + extra for dusting
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
2 pinches of asafoetida
1 tbsp. white sesame seeds
1/4 cup yogurt
Oil for toasting dhebras

* Coarsely chop the fenugreek greens and finely chop green chillies.
* Combine flours, turmeric, salt, chili powder, asafoetida and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Next add fenugreek greens, green chillies, ginger and yogurt to the bowl and mix well.
* Add water in small increments and form a firm but a pliable dough. Cover and rest the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes.
* Grease your palms with oil and divide the dough into 8 or 10 portions and shape each ball into a disc between palms. Work with one dough portion at a time and keep the rest covered.
* There are two ways to proceed after this step. Method one involves rolling out the dough balls into thin circles and toasting them on a hot skillet. Method two involves directly placing the dough ball on an unheated, oiled tawa / flat pan, shaping it and then toasting. I am giving below both methods though I don't follow the rolling method. I find the second method convenient and easier since the millet dough tends to be on the stickier side. 
Method 1: 
* Heat a skillet on medium flame.
* Roll out each portion into a thin circle of about 5 - 6 inches diameter, dusting with flour if necessary.
* Place the rolled out disc on the hot skillet. Flip it when you notice bubbles on top. Apply oil on the surface after about 10 seconds and then flip it again. Continue  to cook gently pressing it with a spatula until brown spots appear on the bottom side. 
* Apply a little oil over the top side, flip it and cook until the bottom side now develops brown spots. 
* Remove the dhebra and cook the remaining dhebras following the same steps.
* Keep the cooked dhebras covered until serving.
Method 2:
* Pour a tsp. of oil at the center of an unheated tawa / skillet / flat pan. Place a portion of the dough at the center and shape it into a thin circle using fingertips. Turn on the stove and cook on medium flame until there are brown spots on the bottom side, . Brush some oil over the top side and flip it. Cook until the bottom side develops brown spots. Remove the dhebra once it is cooked on both sides.
* Let the skillet cool down a bit before cooking the next one since the dough can not be shaped on a hot skillet. To cut down the waiting time, the skillet can be washed in cold water or two skillets can be used instead. 
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Healthy Lunches". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Oats Khichdi

Here is a healthy, tasty and quick version of khichdi using oats and masoor dal. I opted for masoor dal here since it is one of those lentils that cook faster even without a pressure cooker but moong dal or toor dal can also be substituted here. This is a great recipe to try if looking for ways to incorporate oats in spicy dishes.

Ingredients: (Yield 2 - 3 servings)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup to 1 cup masoor dal / red lentils
1 to 1.5 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used beans, carrots and peas.)
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. cashews
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 to 3 red chillies, broken into bits
A pinch of asafoetida powder
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
* Wash masoor dal / lentils in two exchanges of water and drain. Add masoor dal, chopped vegetables, about 2 cups of water and turmeric to a sauce pan. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently and add water if needed. 
* Add oats and salt when the dal is cooked and continue cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the oats soften.
* Heat ghee in a small pan and toast cashews until they turn golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Next add ginger to the same ghee and saute until it starts to turn golden. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies and asafoetida. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, turn off the stove and add it to the cooked oat - dal mixture.
* Add the toasted cashews and ground pepper to the oats and mix well.
* Serve warm with pickle and papad.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Healthy Lunches". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Y for Yard Long Beans Sandiga Koora / Patoli

Sandiga Koora / Patoli / Paruppu usili is one of the traditional and healthy side dishes served in south Indian regions to go along with rice. Of course the health factor comes into picture only when the spicy lentil paste is steamed instead of being sauteed in a generous amount oil. It is a dry curry prepared using a vegetable with a sauteed or steamed and sauteed spicy lentil paste. And I obviously prefer the latter because of the less usage of oil in the recipe. The vegetables that usually go into the dish are green beans, fresh fenugreek greens, cabbage and such.

The legume that usually goes in the preparation of this delicious would be split chick peas (chana dal) whereas in Andhra regions, split pigeon peas (toordal), yellow lentils (moong dal) or even a combo of legumes are used. I heard the name sandiga koora for patoli for the first time from one of my husband's aunts and so, I assume that is Rayalaseema in origin and the version uses split pigeon peas rather than split chick peas.

Ingredients: (Yield 6 servings)
3 cups finely chopped yard long beans
4 to 6 tbsp. toor dal / split pigeon peas / kandi pappu
2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 to 4 tbsp. shredded dry coconut / copra / endu kobbari
4 dried Indian variety or any spicy red chillies
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. chana dal / split chickpeas
1 tsp. urad dal / skinned, split black gram
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste

* Soak split pigeon peas in water for at least 2 hours and drain.
* Coarsely grind split pigeon peas, cumin seeds, coconut and red chilies with as little water as possible. 
* Place this mixture in a container and steam on medium flame in a pressure cooker without the weight on until it is done (as one would steam idlis). The mixture should be dry and crumbly by the time it is cooked and it usually takes about 30 minutes. Let it cool for a while. 
* Crumble the steamed mixture, which would have become dry at this point. It can be immediately used or frozen to use later.
* Heat oil in a pan and add split chickpeas, black gram, cumin and mustard seeds. When split chickpeas and black gram begin to turn reddish, add curry leaves and turmeric powder. Stir once and add yard long beans to the pan. Cook on low flame until the beans are cooked. Next add the crumbled steamed mixture and salt. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the stove.
* Serve warm with rice or rotis.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Healthy Lunches". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Whole Wheat Waffles

The recipes I try from kingarthurflour website usually turn out to be hits and these waffles are no exception. These whole wheat waffles are adapted from this recipe and they yield light, little crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside kind waffles. I cooked them for extra time and so, they have a dark hue. I was planning to freeze them and so, there are not any toppings in the pictures.

Yield: 4 generous, round 7 inched Belgian style waffles
1 flax egg or any substitute for 1 egg
1.5 cup white whole wheat flour *
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. sugar (I used Splenda sweetener.)
1.5 cup like warm milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup oil / melted butter (I used scant 1/4 cup canola oil.) 
* I used atta, Indian style whole wheat flour 
* For flax egg, combine 1 tbsp. flax meal and 3 tbsp. warm water in a small bowl and leave aside for about 5 minutes.
* Preheat the waffle iron.
* Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
* Whisk together egg, milk, vanilla and oil / butter in another bowl.
* Mix together the dry and wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
* Cook waffles according to your waffle iron instructions. 
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Whole Grains". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ragi Vermicelli Upma

Ragi - Finger Millet
Upma- A south Indian savory breakfast usually made with semolina with a thick porridge like consistency.

Ragi aka finger millet is a whole grain which is beneficial when included in any one's diet, especially the diabetics. This upma uses the vermicelli made with finger millet and whole wheat flours. Unlike the wheat vermicelli which is cooked in boiling water, this vermicelli is soaked in cold water for a few minutes, drained and then steamed.

Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
2 cups ragi vermicelli
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 green chillies, finely chopped
10 - 12 curry leaves
1 big onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
Mixed vegetables *
1 tsp. salt
* I used frozen carrot and peas. Finely chopped potato, beans and chayote can also be used.
* Heat oil in a pan and split chickpeas, skinned black gram, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the split chickpeas start to turn golden brown, add green chillies and curry leaves. Saute for few seconds and add onion. If using any chopped fresh vegetables, it is time to add them too. Stir intermittently and cook covered on low flame until the onion (and vegetables) turns soft. Next add tomatoes, salt and frozen vegetables if using. Cook until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
* Soak the ragi vermicelli in cold water for 3 minutes such that all the vermicelli strands are immersed completely in water. Soak for not more than three minutes. Drain the vermicelli completely after three minutes.
* Add vermicelli to the onion - tomato mixture and cook covered on low flame for about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with chutney.bmlogo
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Whole Grains". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mango - Coconut Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is a make-ahead and no cook option when looking for a fuss free breakfast. It is also an easier and quicker way to include whole grains into one's diet. The humble bowl of oats could be transformed from a boring one to a delicious one with the add-ons that can go into an overnight oats dish. Besides, overnight oats can get interesting since there are plenty of variations one could think of depending upon the fresh / dried fruits, nuts, liquid base choices, sweeteners and flavorings that can go into the bowl of oats.
Ingredients: (Yield 1 serving) 
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup milk or milk + yogurt
1/4 cup or more mango cubes
2 tbsp. grated fresh coconut or coconut flakes
A sweetener to taste

* Combine oats and milk or milk and yogurt in a closable container. Close the lid and refrigerate overnight.
* Add mango cubes and coconut to the oats before serving. Stir in a sweetener of your choice as needed and serve.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #77 under the theme "Whole Grains". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.