Friday, August 01, 2014

Grain of the Week - 31 - Golden Flax Seeds

I still remember the time that flax seeds were the new superfood and everybody was telling me how they were incorporating it into their everyday meals. That was when I went and bought a pound of it and it has been in my pantry ever since. The Brown Flax Seeds have already been showcased in the Grain of the Week.

I regularly add some to make Idli Podi. I have added powdered flaxseeds to muffins and cakes. While there is debate between which is more nutritious golden or brown, I bought the golden seeds because they are much more attractive looking than brown. In the final analysis there is not much difference in nutrition between golden and brown flax seeds.

Flax seeds are high in fiber and since the demand for flax seeds has gone up, the area under cultivation also has gone up. While the brown flax seeds are grown for commercial industries like paint, golden is mostly grown for human consumption. Source. Flax seeds are also fed to chicken for better eggs with more omega 3 fatty acids which flax seeds have plenty of.

I also learned this little tidbit that most brown flax seeds are grown in Canada and golden flax seeds are grown in the US. Though the health benefits of flax seeds have not been established by research, Flax seeds are supposed to offer prevention against cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

Be it brown or golden you should consider adding flax seeds to your diet. It provides much needed fiber that all of us need in our diets. Consider adding a tbsp to your breakfast be it cereal, muffins or pancakes when you make them at home.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quick and Easy Bottle Gourd (Sorakkai) Sambhar (no tamarind or tomatoes)

The deal is grinding idli batter is not one of my most enjoyable activities but I do it every week anyway. If I don't, weeknight dinners on days that I just don't want to think get kind of hard. So I bite my tongue and grind the batter. I usually soak the rice and lentils the previous night normally Friday or Saturday and grind the batter first thing in the morning. The work is out of the way before the family wakes up and by evening the batter is fermented in summers. Winter time it usually takes overnight for the fermentation to be done.

I can't sleep past 5:30/6:00 usually and while breakfast is getting done this job also gets done. If you are interested in why I am talking about making batter is because this recipe if perfect as a side for ildli or dosai and also pairs great with rice. If all else fails it is also perfect as is. If you are interested in making idli batter click here.

The other great thing it is one of those recipes that you can do with your eyes closed with ingredients that are on hand and I always wonder how just a few ingredients in their right proportions make everything taste good. Give this a try and you will know what I am talking about.

I usually cook this in the pressure cooker but stove top is fine too but takes a little bit longer, still easy but not quick.

Roast the moong dal and get the vegetables ready.
Combine the lentils, onions, vegetables, green chilies and turmeric powder and the sesame oil and let pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Season oil with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and add it to the cooked lentils on low heat along with salt. Mix and turn off the heat.

Quick and Easy Bottle Gourd (Sorakkai) Sambhar
Preparation Time:5 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 1/2 cup of split green moong dal or split yellow moong
  2. 1/2 cup of toor dal
  3. 1 bottle gourd peeled, seeds removed and diced into small pieces (ridge gourd, snake gourd, chard leaves, green beans, spinach all work well in this recipe)
  4. 5-6 green chilies slit and shake to remove the seeds
  5. 1/4 cup of onions
  6. seasonings: cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves
  7. salt to taste
  8. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tsp of oil + 1 tsp of sesame oil

  1. If using moong dal, dry roast the dal till it gets slightly browned. This is optional of course but roasting gives it a good aroma and taste.
  2. Wash the lentils and add to the pressure along with the sesame oil, turmeric powder, onions, bottle gourd and green chiles and 3 cups of water. (I like it to be a little watery but if you want it thick reduce the water quantity.)
  3. Place the weight on the cooker and cook in medium heat for 2 whistles.
  4. Let the heat subside, open the cooker keep the flame on low and add salt.
  5. For the seasoning, take a small sauce pan, add oil add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and when the mustard starts to pop add to the lentils in the pressure cooker, mix and turn off the heat.
  6. Serve as a side with dosai or idli. Goes well with rice also.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fresh Maize (Makka Cholam) Paniyaram - Minced Fresh Corn Danish style Pancakes

Have lots of fresh sweet corn and tired of eating them on the cob grilled or boiled? They are in season now and available fresh in farmers markets and grocery stores. These fresh sweet corn can be put to good use in a breakfast dish. If you have some left over sour idli batter look no further. Or the batter can be made from scratch if you prefer.

The slight sweetness these sweet corn impart to the paniyarams makes them a special treat. The recipe for how to make idli batter is here.

Separate the corn kernels, blend and add to the idli batter.
Take the onions, cumin seeds and curry leaves and blend to a coarse paste.
Add the onion paste to the corn-idli batter and mix it in.
Make the paniyarams in the paniyaram pan.

Fresh Maize (Makka Cholam) Paniyaram - Minced Fresh Corn Danish style pancakes
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 3 cups of idli batter
  2. 3 fresh sweet corn kernels removed
  3. 1/4 red onion
  4. a sprig of curry leaves
  5. a tsp of cumin seeds
  6. oil for cooking the paniyaram

  1. Using a knife slice corn kernels from the cob. In a grinder or blender grind to a fairly smooth without adding too much water.
  2. Mix the corn paste to the idli batter.
  3. In a blender take the onions, curry leaves and cumin seeds and blend to a coarse paste and mix into the batter.
  4. Put the paniyaram pan on the stove and add a bit of oil to each hole and add the batter. Let cook on one side(about 2-3 minutes). Cover with a lid if required to cook faster.
  5. Flip cook on the other side. Repeat.
  6. Serve with coconut chutney.
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