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.
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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 ❤

Rob-e-Anar Kaashta or Pomegranate Cheesecake Ice Cream served with Cocktail Shikaf

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I present Rob-e-Anar Kaashta Ice cream ,served over a bed of Cocktail Shikaf.
A Pomegranate Cheesecake Ice cream served with Fruit Cocktail, Lebanese style!
This Frozen Treat is my tribute to all the lovely Lebanese desserts I saw on this wonderful blog- Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen , which I have been closely following for  the past month in the course of my Lebanese quest.
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This month onward, I have joined the ‘Kitchen Divas’ and will be doing a theme based post every month. The theme for April is Frozen Treats.

I have incorporated Kaashta/Clotted milk with rose water, Rob-e-Anar/Pomegranate molasses and Cocktail Shikaf to get this gorgeous dessert.

Kaashta/Astha is clotted cream prepared with rose water and orange blossom water. To prepare it add a tsp of sugar to 3 cups of whole milk. Bring this mixture to boil and add a few drops of lemon juice. The milk starts to clot immediately. Add rose water and orange blossom water and mix well. With a strainer, collect the clotted cream (or chhena as we call it!) and transfer it to another vessel. Keep collecting till the liquid gets clear.  Add a few drops more of lemon juice if required.
To incorporate into the ice cream, I drained the Kaashta a little to get rid of the excess liquid.
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To get this frozen treat together you need

400 mils heavy cream/whipping cream (I used Rich’s heavy cream)
200 gms condensed milk
All the kaashta prepared
½ cup of mixed nuts, raisins and tutti frutii
½ cup of pomegranate molasses/ Rob-e-Anar
100 gms of digestive biscuits/graham crackers
30 gms softened butter
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Make sure the cream is chilled before you start making the ice cream.
I like to set the ice cream in a butter paper lined tin. It is easy to get it out neatly. Any metal or plastic container may be used.
Because I wanted to make a cheesecake style ice cream, I used a spring form tin. In fact, any tin can be lined with butter paper and used.
Crush the biscuits and mix with the butter to form a bread crumb like mixture.
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Spread HALF of the of the biscuit crumb mixture at the bottom of the tin and press it in nicely. Save the other half for layering the ice cream.
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Leave the tin in the freezer for about fifteen minutes.
Crumble the kaashta into the mixer and add about 7-8 tbsp cream.
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Blend till mixed well.
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With an electric hand mixer, mix the kaashta and condensed milk. Beat well for half a minute on low.
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Fold in the mixed nuts, raisins and tutti frutii.
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In a separate bowl beat the cream till peaks form.
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Gently fold in the condensed milk mixture into the cream.
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Take the tin out of the freezer and gently transfer a layer of ice cream mixture over the biscuit layer, sprinkle with some crumb and repeat till the mixture is used up.
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Generously sprinkle the top of the ice cream cake with slivered pistachios, cashews and almonds.
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Seal it nicely with cling film and a layer of aluminium foil.
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Let it set for 5-6 hours.

Remove from the freezer fifteen minutes before serving.
Prepare fruit cocktail or Cocktail Shikaf by chopping a cup of mixed fruits per serving.
I used mangoes, banans, apples, grapes,oranges and strawberries.Any seasonal or tinned fruits may be used.
Puree a few strawberries or kiwi fruits and mix well with the fruits. Drizzle some honey and throw in some chopped walnuts.
Serve a slice of ice cream over a bed of fruit cocktail and drizzle all over with pomegranate molasses 😀
Enjoy!!

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Check out the other #FrozenTreats my blogger friends have dished out this month!
Dolphia @ The Story of Cooks
Anjana @ At The Corner Of Happy And Harried
Jyothi @ Curry Trail
Sujatha @ Spices and Treats
Subhasmita @ The Flavours of Kitchen
Madhuri @MAD About Kitchen

Vegetable Manchurian

Low oil Chinese food! And Manchurian at that! This wonder called the ‘paniyaram pan’ helps achieve this- yeah, truly does! I am so delighted with the numerous ways in which this wonder-pan can be used. Chinese is now a weekly affair in my kitchen, thanks to this. Joy,Ahoy 😀
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To make the Manchurian balls we need

2 cups of very fine chopped mixed vegetables- carrots, beans, capsicum, cabbage and onions.
1 Tsp Garlic, minced
8-10 Tbsp all purpose flour/maida (add as required to get the right consistency of batter)
1 ½  Tbsp corn flour
¾ tsp Salt
¼ tsp crushed pepper
½ tsp each of soya sauce and red/green chilli sauce
½ cup water ( add gradually as required to get the right consistency of batter)
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Mix all the ingredients and make small balls.
Brush oil in the paniyaram pan and drop each ball into a cavity.
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Cover and cook. Flip every 5-6 minutes till evenly browned on all sides. (Alternatively, the Manchurian balls can be fried. Add a couple of tablespoons more flour if frying )

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To make the sauce
1 medium onion, chopped fine
5-6 spring onions, white and green parts chopped separately
1 green capsicum, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine (use more or less to adjust heat)
8-10 garlic cloves, minced
Mix together in a cup- 2 Tbsp Soy sauce, 8 Tbsp red chilli sauce and 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
½  cup of water+ 3 tbsp corn flour (mix well)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 large pinch MSG or ajinomoto (skip if not comfortable using it)
Salt and pepper to taste (add at the end only if required)
3 Tbsp Oil

Heat the oil and add garlic, onions and the white part of spring onions. Fry till slightly browned and add the capsicum and green chilli. Cook stirring for two minutes.
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Lower the heat and add the sauce mix.
Add the water and corn flour mix and bring to boil.
Add the green parts of the spring onions. (Save some for garnishing).
Keep stirring and cook for another five minutes till the gravy thickens and becomes dark in colour. Stir in the vinegar.
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Check for salt and pepper and add only if required. Do NOT add any salt at the beginning as the sauces are pretty high in salt content.
Add the Manchurian calls and mix gently.
Top with green parts of the spring onion and serve immediately.
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In case you wish to make ahead and keep, keep the sauce and the Manchurian balls separately. Heat the sauce just before serving and add the Manchurian balls. Serve with Chinese Fried Rice or Hakka Noodles.
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