Quick Lauki Barfi without Mawa/Khoya

Lauki Barfi .jpg
Had this huge lauki/ gheeya/ bottle gourd staring at me each time I opened the fridge. No one wanted lauki.
So whipped up this in about 20 mins.
And 3 ingredients  (give or take a few!)
A large lauki, peeled, seeds removed and grated
1 tbsp ghee
2 Tbsp milkmaid ( or more as per taste)
3 cardamoms, peeled and pounded fine
Nuts of choice, chopped coarse

Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan and cook the grated lauki till it is almost dry. Add 2 tbsp milkmaid and continue to stir and cook till it forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Add nuts and cardamom powder and mix well. Spread in a greased plate/pan. Stick nuts on the top.
Cut into squares and leave to set.
It won’t be firm like mawa/khoya barfi, but a nice soft concoction with a bite. Somewhat reminiscent on gajar ka halwa…Yum!

Ragi Unniyappam/ Ragi Jaggery Banana Pancakes

Ragi Unniyappam.jpg

Breakfast is a very important meal, in general. It marks a good, healthy ( or otherwise) start to a day. I attack my breakfast which gusto as it is right after my workouts. I try and make it wholesome and filling and am always looking for interesting options.
This Unniyappam recipe was recently shared by a dear friend and a fitness co-enthusiast Shruti Shehnaaz Khan. Made some minor tweaks and made pancakes also with the same recipe.

Here goes

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup ragi flour ( can use any other of choice)
1 large banana mashed
1/3 cup jaggery, chopped into small chunks  ( can use less or more as per taste)
2 cardamoms, shelled and pounded fine
10 almonds, chopped coarse
2 tbsp fresh coconut small cubes
1/4 tsp baking soda
Some ghee for brushing the appe/paniyaram pan

Take 1 cup of water and add jaggery to it. Heat it till the jaggery melts. Switch off flame and cool for few minutes. Now pour this jaggery syrup through filter to remove any impurities from it.
Next in a wide bowl, add all ingredients and mix well. If needed, add water slowly and make a smooth batter, it should not be too thick or too thin. Set the batter aside for an hour.
Brush each cavity of paniyaram pan with ghee. Pour the batter into cavities once it’s hot. Pour a spoonful of batter into each mould until 3/4 full and cook covered, over medium flame until the bottoms of the unniyappams become crisp. Brush the tops with ghee. Then flip and cook on other side, uncovered this time.
Unniyappam is ready to be serve.
Originally raw rice is soaked and then dried and ground to make rice flour. Using rice flour shortens the process.
For variation replace 1/2 cup rice flour with any flour of you choice and increase or decrease water for the batter consistency.

To make pancakes, spread ladlefuls on a non stick pan. Cook. Flip. Cook and serve! 

 Ragi Jaggery Banana Mini Pancakes .jpg

Make your own Energy Bar

Energy Bar
Ever since I discovered these, the whole family is hooked and I have no hassles getting the guys to eat the healthy seeds and nuts! Gets made in a jiffy, no preservatives and you control the sweet that goes in! Win-win, right?

So it is the texture of a soft sweet chikki/ brittle. And you can go crazy with the ingredients, really 😀
These are what I used
150 grams jaggery, chopped fine
100 grams peanuts, roasted, shelled and broken
100 grams sesame, roasted and coarse ground
100 grams roasted flax seeds (half of it coarse ground)
100 grams roasted pumpkin seeds
3-4 cardamoms, shelled and pounded fine
(feel free to change any of the seeds to nuts or other seeds: I once added roasted chana when I ran out of pumpkin seeds and plan to make these with cashews, almonds and walnuts too. Play with them the way you like!)

Mix the peanuts, sesame, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and cardamom powder.
In a heavy bottomed pan add a tbsp of water and the jaggery and let in melt on low heat. Once it has melted, take off heat. Add the seed and nut mixture and mix well. Spread on parchment paper and cover with another sheet. Roll out with the rolling pin and cut into squares while still warm. Let cool. Store in air tight box separated with parchment paper in between layers of the bars.
Recipe Credit: The basic idea came from Madhuli’s Tilgul recipe. Thanks darling.

* In case you do not have parchment paper, grease the back of a large plate or thaali with little ghee and roll with a greased rolling pin.
Energy Bar 2


 Waffles from Dosa batter 

Craving waffles? I was the other day and didn’t want to have refined flour. Peeped into the fridge and found dosa batter!

Added some left over veggies and made these beauties in my sandwich maker! (It comes with removable waffle plates too!)

The next morning, added some condensed milk and made sweet waffles and served them with fresh fruit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream!

Such awesome fun!

Buckwheat Pancakes

I had these first at a breakfast place called Suzette and quite liked the idea of these earthy tasting pancaked served with hummus and salad.
Now I keep trying them with various flour combinations and toppings.
The recipe is simplicity itself.
Buckwheat Crepes.jpg
You need
A fantastic quality non-stick pan
1/2 cup buckwheat flour ( or a mix of buckwheat, amaranth and rice flour, just amaranth, just play with flour combos!)
Salt to taste
Water to get a runny batter

On a hot pan, pour the batter with a ladle. Cover and cook. Flip after one side is done. Cook uncovered. Can brush with butter or oil if desired. If the pan is good, it won’t stick at all.
Serve with Hummus and some salad.

Buckwheat pancakes

Or serve with any sides of your choice!
Buckwheat Pancake

Mango Vanilla Shots

These little ones are mangoey delights. I have recently started doing this ‘desi’ custard using rice flour to thicken the milk and there are so many ways to play with it!
Mango Vanilla Shots
All you need it a litre of milk ( I use cow milk) and 2 tablespoons of rice flour,
Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling on a low flame for ten odd minutes. Mix rice flour with half a cup of milk to make a smooth slurry paste. Add to the boiling milk and stir non-stop till it thickens and is cooked, say another ten mins.

Add brown sugar/ white sugar/organic sugar as per taste.

I added generous amounts of saffron to it and some fresh Alphonso mango to get this mango custard.
Mango Custard
Yesterday, I added a few dropped of vanilla extract and chopped mangoes to make these cute Mango vanilla shots.

I kept some without sugar and added some palm date jaggery and froze it as kulfi. More yumminess 😀
Nolen Gurer Kulfi

Seeds and Sprouts Trail

This is so perfect for that 4 PM craving or the 11 AM hunger pangs! Chock-a-block with proteins and nutrition, it keeps you feeling full for hours.
Seeds and Sprouts Trail

Half a cup of mixed sprouts
1 Tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds, melon seeds (roasted cashews, almonds, coconut chips)
3 Tbsp roasted chana

Mix and enjoy!

Dahi Idli

This is so good on the palate in the hot summer! A power packed way to begin the day
Dahi Idli
You need
A cupful fresh curd
2-3 idlis
1 tsp mustard seeds (Rai)
1/2 tsp oil
2-3 curry leaves
2 tsp chana daal

Make sure the curd is fresh and sweet, else strain and add some milk and a tsp of powdered sugar.
Dip the idlis in. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and chana daal, Spread on the curd soaked idlis and enjoy! 

Sprouts Filled Dosa

I was looking for ways to make sprouts more interesting, so coarse-ground a cupful of them and added to a cupful of dosa batter.
It translated into two beautifully textured and super yum dosas.
Sprouts Filled Dosa
A sprinkle of molgapodi and breakfast sorted
So basically that’s all to this recipe.
One cup idli batter
One cup coarse ground mixed sprouts ( I used moong, moth and chana)
Hint of salt

Mix well. Spread on non-stick pan, Make dosas. Sprinkle gun powder/ molgapodi and enjoy!
These will be thicker than regular dosas but so beautifully textured and yum that you just won’t notice 😀

My Fitness Journey

Today marks a new beginning in my food blogging journey. I was on a sort of hiatus, unintentional really. Work and life took over, what with my new venture Jaipuriya and kids growing up too fast, too soon etc etc.

For the past two years I have started to look at food differently. I enjoy it as much, but now I have started to incorporate things I had never thought of before. The last two years have been life altering for me.

Here is an account of that  journey. From 92 kilos to 62 kilos. This is what I looked like in March 2015, and in fact most part of my life.

Garima Sarolia Narera Before

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. Through my school and college years I was sometimes kindly referred to as ‘pleasantly plump and cute’ and at other times blatantly made fun of.

Just before I turned 30, I decided to shed and was able to lose 18 kilos in three months with 3 hours of exercise daily and very restrictive meals. But it all came back within a few months because both the exercise schedule and the diet plan weren’t doable.
In June 2015, my doctor told me to loose 20 kilos if I wanted to keep disease at bay.
This opened my eyes nice and wide and I started my brisk walk (2 kilometres to start with) and small meal schedule.
Today 22 months down the line, at 44, I am 30 kilos lighter. I walk at least 10000 steps daily, practice 30 mins of yoga every day and eat sensible clean meals ( 6 or 7 a day)
I eat everything but in moderation. No cheat days. Any day that I feel like a dessert, I have a small serve.
I eat every 3 to four hours. And make sure to eat nothing 2 hours before bed time. I make sure I drink 12 glasses of water daily and get 71/2 hours of sound sleep.
I am now at my ideal weight but need toning. Will go about it slowly.
For me, that’s been the key- going slow and steady 😀

As for dietary changes, I eat fresh and simple vegetarian food. I don’t drink and smoke and strictly avoid eating out more than once a week. My typical day looks like this
12 glasses of water spaced through the days, 2 as soon as I wake.
5.45 : a banana before the morning walk
8 AM : coconut water
10AM : breakfast (milk with muesli/ oats/poha/ sandwich/ idli/dosa/I even had a gond ka laddoo all winter )
12: one orange or Apple (any fruit)
2 PM : lunch (2 chapatis, daal or curry, curd and some salad) I make rajma, chole, paneer at least once a week
5 PM : sprouts/ handful peanuts/cashews/almonds or a small cheese sandwich
7PM: dinner (similar to lunch or soup and toast or idli sambar)
9PM: a cup of warm milk (and a whole wheat biscuit only if feeling hungry)
10PM-5.30 AM: 71/2 hours of sleep

This is what I look like now. Far from perfect but I am happy with how energetic I feel!

Garima Sarolia Narera After 5
Recently got featured in Times of India for the weight loss, It was surreal 😀

I indulge in:
Whatever I fancy, be it a slice of cake/a small scoop of ice cream or a freshly made pathishapta (a popular Bengali sweet), but strictly in moderation. Then I make sure I burn it off!

My workout: I walk 10000 steps a day, practice yoga after my walk, dance three days a week and strength train three days a week. Also, I make sure I remain active throughout the day. I leave my chair every 30 minutes in the middle of long working hours and take a little walk. Walking was all I did for the first 12 months and I lost gradually, only 2 kilos in the first six months. Then the pace picked up. After 18 months when I was around 72 kilos, I started yoga. When I got under 70, I started jogging (which I always thought was impossible for me!)

Low-calorie recipes I swear by: I cook all my food in 2 tbsp oil (for a family of four). Fried food is something I try and steer clear of. I eat everything but in moderation. There are days when I crave for dessert, I have a small serving.
I eat every three to four hours and try not to eat anything 2 hours before bed time. I make sure I drink 12 glasses of water daily and get 7 1/2 hours of sound sleep.

Fitness secrets I unveiled: Consistency is the key. There are no secrets, no shortcuts. One needs to keep at it. The more you make your body work, the fitter it gets. I started with a 2 Km walk which used to take me 30 minutes to complete. I slowly picked pace and worked it up to 10 Kms. Now, I happily jog, even sprint and participate in a high energy dance class. And enjoy all of it!

How do I stay motivated?
 Weight loss is the biggest motivation for weight loss I say! It’s one thing that keeps me inspired. And of course being able to shop in regular shopping sections rather than plus zones is a great push in the right direction. Also I keep varying my routine, do fun stuff like dancing to break the boredom.

Lessons learnt from weight loss: Weight loss is not something one can take up and leave. ‘Going on a diet’ is the biggest misconception. Fitness is a lifestyle change one needs to make, for good. Clean eating and staying active is vital. I am now at my ideal weight but need toning. Will go about it slowly. For me, that’s been the key- going slow and steady.

Stay happy Stay fit!
I will share a lot of healthy clean recipes hereon! Desserts too, yeah. They are never far away ❤