Spinach Soup, The Winter Treats

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Chilly winters call for some warm treats and as we step into this new year, I wanted to bring to you all my favourite quick, go to recipes in winters under a series, The Winter Treats. Spinach, I love it for the nutrition, deliciousness and the ease at which it can be added into any savoury dish or curry. Handful of sauteed spinach and a bowl of curd is just enough to to meet your protein, probiotic, fiber needs for a day. Not to forget the vitamin and mineral profile of greens, especially spinach. So, here I bring you the first recipe of this series – the humble spinach soup. The beauty of the recipe lies in the simplicity of ingredients and execution. Also, it doesn’t have corn starch or maida. So, all the people conscious about healthy choices – fret not. That said, it’s a yummilicious hearty treat to anyone!

spinach-soup

Do let me know about your favorite winter treats as well! 😀 Try this recipe and tag your post with the hashtag #tadkatales . I would love to hear your reviews 😀

 

 

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NO Onion – NO Garlic PUMPKIN DAL recipe| Gummadikaaya Pappu Recipe| Red Lentils Soup with Pumpkin Recipe| Gluten-free Lentil Soup with Pumpkin

It’s the Pumpkin season! Closer we are getting to Thanksgiving, my email feed is being stuffed up with recommendations of Pumpkin recipes. While pumpkin occupies a huge part on the tables at homes across the world in the form of pancakes,cakes, pies and warm winter soups, Indian cuisine owned this orange fleshy goodness with an unique adaa in the form of comforting dals or humble curries. Did you hear about the quintessential dish from Andhra cuisine, `Gummadikaya Pulsu‘? Will share the dish once I nail the recipe. Somehow I forget to pick up this vegetable on regular market visits. Now that I am adamant to relish this famous vegetable in all the myriad tastes, I am sure you’ll find more recipes around this golu-molu vegetable here.

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There is an other variant – the white pumpkin which is usually savoured in the form of a sweet, halwa or a vadiyams (fryums). The halwa is a pretty time consuming task hence got only cameo roles during festive occasions, Sankranthi most often. ;P And the fried vadiyams, favorites from childhood are beauties! Crushing and mixing them on the top of steaming hot white rice in the company of ghee is a food habit I picked up from mom which she picked up from grand ma. More and more I learn about food habits that define and differentiate our taste preferences and cuisines, I have been growing eager to dig up the anthropology of Indian food. How incredible it is that one life is just not enough to savour food in its uncountable forms! 😀

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November is the month of no onion and no garlic addendum, a practice which I couldn’t come to terms with any rationale till date. Would be happy to hear if you have any idea about this. Fed up looking at mom’s plate with plain dal or rice since the start of this month (Karteeka, its called in Telugu Calendar), I took it upon myself as a challenge to break the monotony. I wanted to have both dal and pumpkin curry one day and I was too lazy and thought why not mix them both, which brought Pumpkin Dal to the table. While I usually steam vegetables and add tadka for no onion, no garlic versions of curries, I wondered if a dal would sing the right tunes without the magic of garlic and onions. This recipe of Pumpkin Dal surprised me in all ways reimbursing belief in conjuring good dishes even without the usual ingredients. I have adapted Swasthi’s recipe from here.

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Ingredients:

1 cup chopped Pumpkin

½ cup lentils ( Here, I used Masoor Dal aka Red lentils)

3- 6 green chillies (adjust according to your spice levels and hotness of a mirchi)

2 medium sized chopped Tomatoes

¼ cup Evaporated/Pasteurized Milk

1 tbsp Mustard Oil

Salt (to taste)

Spices:

15-20 nos peppercorn

1/8 tsp Asafoetida

Handful of curry leaves

½ tsp Cumin seeds

¼ tsp Turmeric

Procedure:

  1. 1.Pressure cook lentils with 1.5 cups of water and chopped pumpkin with peppercorns, green chillies for 3-4 whistles. If you are using split pigeon pea or bengal gram, soak the dal before cooking so that it mashes up easily within 3-4 whistles.
  2. Add mustard oil into a heated up pan. Followed by asafoetida, cumin seeds and turmeric.
  3. As the cumin crackle, add chopped tomatoes. Cook them in medium flame until tomatoes come together mushy.
  4. Now, pour milk into it and simmer for 5 mins.
  5. To this, add the pressure cooked pumpkin-lentil mixture along with salt.
  6. Let the dal boil in low flame along with the tadka for 2-3 minutes and adjust the consistency of the dal with water.

I had paired it up with sauteed greens along with steamed rice. It tasted good with phulkas/rotis as well.

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Note: One could swap normal milk for coconut milk.

Did you try this recipe? Would love to hear about trial. Tag your dish @9sowmya9 with the hashtag #tadkatales on Instagram.

BADAM LADDU RECIPE| FLAX SEED LADDU RECIPE | RECIPE FOR ALMOND FUDGE BALLS | RECIPE FOR FLAXSEED FUDGE BALLS| INSTANT ENERGY SNACKS RECIPE| GHEE FREE ALMOND LADDU RECIPE| EVERYDAY HEALTHY SNACK RECIPE

 

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Here kicks off another week! Weekdays often remind me of the skipped meals to our infrequent food consumption throughout the day. Either caught up in busy meetings or wrapping up cascade communications over emails and phone calls, eating right takes a back seat! Your mind would let you grab innumerable cups of tea, coffee or sometimes even a shot of alcohol too. But, does that help? I am sure you know the answer. It’s a ‘NO’ !

Amidst the hola-pola of busy schedules, what can we do to keep up our energy levels and take care of our health? Isn’t handy to have something in your bag to endure quick hunger pangs during the busy week days?! No, do not get the idea of chocolates or the touted energy bars. How about some homemade fudge balls aka laddus made out of almonds and flax seeds. The health conscious folk might already have an idea about this powerful nut and seed. For the lesser known people, almonds are the best source of the good fats essential to our body along with Vitamin E, fiber and folic acid. Flaxseeds on the other hand are good sources of omega-3-fatty acids and antioxidants.

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This Diwali I got bored with the Burelu (fried sweet lentil stuffed dumplings) and Bobbatlu (Sweetened lentil stuffed Indian bread) sweet routine at home and decided on making laddus using dry fruits and flax seeds in particular. I experimented with the proportions and it worked out.  Such a relief to get something right at the first attempt! I was contemplating on what kind of binding agent should be used in the flaxseed laddu and this post cleared my confusion in picking up roasted gram dal flour over instant oats. Rolling onto the recipes –  

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Badam Laddu| Almond Fudge Balls:

Ingredients:

½ cup dry roasted Almonds

1 tbsp dry roasted Cashew

¼ cup Jaggery ( Bellam/gud)

1 tbsp Raisins (kismis)

2 pods Cardamom

Procedure:

  1. Roast the almonds and cashew on medium to low heat till they get crunchy.
  2. Grate the jaggery or chop it into smaller chunks to ease the process of grinding.
  3. Remove the husk of the cardamom pod.
  4. Once the roasted nuts cool down, take all the ingredients into the mixer-jar and run it on pulse mode till you get it together.
  5. If you don’t have pulse option in your grinder, run the mixture in intervals lasting only few seconds. Else, the mixture would turn into a nut butter. The oil released from the nuts would be optimum when pulsed at short bursts, helps getting the laddus in shape.
  6. Roll the mixture into balls between your palms. Delicious almond laddus are ready! Roll them in shredded coconut for mix of flavours or fine chopped almonds for the crunch.
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Almond laddus- didn’t need a drop of ghee! Natural almond oil was enough to roll the magic.

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Flaxseed Laddu| Flaxseed and Gram flour Fudge Balls

Ingredients:

½ cup Roasted Chana Dal (veyinchina sengapappu/chutney senagapappu/bengal gram dal)

¼ cup Roasted Flax seeds

¼ cup Jaggery ( Bellam/gud)

2 pods Cardamom Seeds

3tbsp Ghee

Procedure:

  1. Roast chana dal and flax seeds on slow flame till you get the roasted fragrance and slight change in colour.
  2. Grate the jaggery.
  3. Take the roasted chana dal and flax seeds at room temperature and powder them using the grinder.
  4. Add cardamom seeds, jaggery and ghee to the jar and give it a pulse.
  5. Roll the mixture into laddus between your palms. Unlike most of the laddus, you don’t need the extra splash of ghee on your palms to roll them.  Add a bit of ghee only when the mixture doesn’t bind well into a round shape.

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And that’s it! SEE how simple these are to make! Make new batches every Sunday and stash them in the fridge to keep them fresh. It’s a crowd-pleaser – from children to adults. 

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Note: Diabetics and people who are recommended to avoid sugar and jaggery for medical reasons, please avoid this sweet. Plain nuts or powdered almond meal or flaxseed meal can be mixed with your rotis (Indian flat bread) or you could make chutney powder or add them in dips.