Sunday, April 2, 2017

Steel Cut Oats - Using a Pressure Cooker - Sweet and Savory

My presence here has been few and far between. One reason being life happens and some things fall on the way side. Life sometimes throws unexpected curve balls. How we come out on the other side depends a lot on our personalities, our support networks and what we do to unwind. My biggest relaxation is this blog. So keeping away from it means losing that and it has been hard.

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but in the mornings time is at a premium and preparing breakfast might even sound like a luxury. But it does have to be that way. Pressure cooker has been invented just for this purpose. Seriously.

Something happened around here, kids who complained about eating oatmeal actually started enjoying it. The reason? we switched from quick oats to steel cut oats. I have been avoiding using steel cut oats because it takes longer to cook and 45 minutes in the morning is a luxury that I don't have. This is until my mom cooked steel cut coats in 8 minutes - how? In the pressure cooker of course. So now steel cut oats is the only kind of oats we all eat. The crunch and texture is what has made it an acceptable choice. No need of soaking and prepping the previous night.

Steel Cut Oats with yogurt and pickles

The DDs and DH eat steel cut oats with milk and slightly sweet with nuts, dried and fresh fruit. You might even mistake it for dessert. I eat it with yogurt and pickles because sweet in the morning is not my thing.

Here is the recipe in pictures,

Add the steel cut oats to the pressure cooker along with water.
Close the lid and let it cook for 3 whistles.
Prepare the dried fruits and the palm sugar ready.
Add the dried fruit/nuts, fresh fruit and sugar/honey.
Turn on heat to medium low and add the milk. Turn off the heat in 2 minutes. Spoon into bowls and add more fresh fruit if desired.

Steel Cut Oats - Using a Pressure Cooker
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
  1. 2 cups of steel cut oats
  2. 4 cups of water (or as per cooking directions on package)
  3. 1-2 cups of milk
  4. 1/4 cup of roasted nuts and dried fruits - almonds, cashews, raisins, dates - chopped
  5. Fresh Fruit - apples, pears, mangoes cut or berries(optional)
  6. 2 tsp of palm sugar or honey (optional)

  1. Wash steel cut oats and add it to the pressure cooker along with the water and cook for 3 sounds. I like the oats to be a bit soggy but if you like it just cooked reduce the water by a cup.
  2. Let the pressure release. Open the lid and set aside some of the cooked steel cut oats if you desire to eat it with yogurt and pickles.
  3. Add the dried fruits/nuts, fresh fruit and sugar, mix it in, start the heat to low medium and add the milk and mix it well. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add more of the cubed fresh fruit and breakfast is ready.
  5. Note:Palm sugar needs to be powdered a bit before adding. Cut fruits are optional.
  6. Note:Place the palm sugar in the microwave to soften it a little bit to powder it.

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Monday, March 27, 2017


Spring is hopefully here to stay. February felt like Spring and even the plants got fooled.


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Monday, March 6, 2017

Indian Style Chicken Liver - Quick Meal Bowl

Lots of women usually middle aged or sometimes even younger women suffer from iron deficiency. Our diet definitely plays a part. The Indian diet while good in many ways is not high on iron content unless you make a conscious effort to include foods high in iron.

Leafy green vegetables (spinach & kale), mushrooms, dried fruits like dates and obviously meats like chicken and beef are all good sources of iron. An iron powerhouse is liver but it is not a good idea to eat liver everyday but occasionally like once a couple of weeks or once in a month should be beneficial. Here is a link for the iron content in everyday foods.

Everyone in our house likes livers be it chicken or goat liver. Even then it is delicious to eat it once in a way. Quick to cook and works very well in a quick meal in a bowl along with some roasted vegetables and corn or rice.

The recipe is very simple with onions, ginger, garlic and some spice powders. The bowl is easy to make with some boiled corn, roasted vegetable and some black bean - chipotle style. Makes a filling and very comforting meal.

Chicken Liver - Quick Meal Bowl
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  1. 1/2 lb of chicken liver
  2. 1/2 cup of sliced onions
  3. 3-4 garlic cloves chopped fine
  4. 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  5. 2-3 tsp chili powder
  6. 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder (optional)
  7. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1/4 tsp cumin powder + 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  9. salt to taste
  10. 2 tsp of oil
  11. Seasonings: cumin seeds and fennel seeds
  12. half a lime (optional)
  1. Wash and cut it into bite size pieces if required and drain the water completely. Pat dry or let sit in a colander.
  2. Add oil and when hot add the seasonings followed by the onions. Saute till the onions start to turn brown. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple of minutes more.
  3. Add the liver, gently mix it into the onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin and pepper powders. Toss to mix and when the liver is cooked and if using squeeze the lime over, toss and turn off the heat.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Simple Chicken Curry wth Quick Masala Powder

We are all afraid of somethings sometimes but there are some of us who are afraid of everything isn't? At work, in personal life and all spheres of life fear keeps people from achieving their potential. I have met lots of them personally, been one, people mumble behind the back but would not speak up when the opportunity presents itself.

The consequences after you have expressed yourself is perhaps better than bottling it up and letting that anger get the better of you. Easier said than done. But we all need to stand up for ourselves some time or the other. It does not come easily and has to be practiced. With anger everywhere and around us and the consequences not as pleasant it is time to stop feeling like victims and being to feel empowered to standup and speak up.

It is nice to have a few recipes for those week nights when you want something quick or on a weekend when you are in a movie watching binge and want some comfort food on a cold windy evening.

The recipe in pictures,

Get the quick masala powder and onions, ginger and garlic chopped and ready.
Heat oil and add the cinnamon-cloves powder. Add in the chopped onions and when transparent add in the ginger and garlic.
Add in the chicken and turmeric powder and mix with the onions and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes till the chicken loses pink color.
Add the quick masala powder and mix into the chicken well and add salt. Let it cook till the chicken is fully cooked and the desired consistency.

Simple Chicken Curry with Quick Masala Powder
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 1/2 lbs of chicken (I used chicken thighs with bones) cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 1/2 cup of onions sliced thin
  3. 5 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1 tbsp grated ginger
  5. 2 tbsp Quick Masala Powder
  6. handful of curry leaves
  7. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (optional)
  8. 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  9. 1/2 tsp powdered garam masala (cinnamon, cloves, star anise)
  10. salt to taste
  11. 2 tsp oil

  1. If using whole spices powder them using a spice grinder and set aside.
  2. In a pressure cooker heat oil and when hot add in the powdered whole spices.
  3. Add in the chopped onions and saute for 3-4 minutes till it is translucent. Add in the ginger and garlic and continue to saute for a couple of minutes more. Don't let it stick to the pot.
  4. Add in the chicken pieces and the turmeric powder and saute till the chicken changes color from pink to white.
  5. Add in the quick masala powder, chili powder if using and salt and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes till the chicken is completely cooked and the desired consistency is reached. Add the curry leaves towards the end of the cooking process.
  6. Note:I wanted to leave the chicken a little bit watery. It was going into a rice bowl. Continue to cook for a few more minutes if you wanted it thicker or drier.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mango Ginger Pickle - maanga inji oorugai

Last week we went to watch Hidden Figures a true story about 3 African American women who worked for NASA. The story is inspiring, moving and leaves you wondering what happened to the culture of math and engineering education among women in general and black women in particular. Taraji.P.Henson one of the actresses in the movie had said that even though she had gone to college she had not heard about the women before starting to make the movie.

These women are inspiring by not only overcoming the racial prejudice of the time which in unimaginable to begin with besides working in a men dominated field as space engineering and holding their own while also having families. If you have daughters in particular take them to the movie and see how easy it is for some of us today and also to give them the confidence they are no less.

With a new twitter happy thin skinned president in the white house it is good to go lose your self in something that is fun. With the man in the white house who seems more like a school yard bully than a president it is going to be 4 long years. The current occupant is not any less experienced than the previous one who promised a lot of things and ended up doing pretty much nothing. While I am not completely torn and am ready for some of the silliness and political correctness to stop I am not sure how much I can take of the bully and his rants.

If the rallies around the world on the first day of his presidency is any indication he is not a very popular person leave alone a leader. Moreover the news focus is the so called president's issue is with the crowd numbers that came to witness his inauguration as if that matters. This is the person that people elected to solve the problems of unemployment and other serious problems. Seriously?

I for one will be doing a lot of cooking just to immerse myself in something fun and interesting. Now on to the recipe,

I found fresh mango ginger in the Indian grocery store and bought some on a whim. They look like fresh turmeric or thin ginger and have an amazing scent similar to mangoes hence the name mango ginger.

Scrape the skin of the mango ginger and slice them into thin round. Heat oil in a kadai, season and add the mango ginger pieces.
Add in the lemon juice and cook for 6-8 minutes. Add the chili powder and powdered fenugreek and mustard powder and turn off the heat after cooking for 2-3 minutes more.

This is also a very easy and not very time consuming.

Mango Ginger Pickle
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1/2 lb of mango ginger
  2. 1/2 cup of sesame oil
  3. 3 tbsp of red chili powder
  4. 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
  5. a little less than 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
  6. salt to taste
  7. seasoning: a pinch of mustard seeds and few fenugreek seeds
  8. juice from 2 lime/lemons

  1. Wash and dry the mango ginger, use a knife to gently peel of the skin and cut into thin rounds.
  2. Heat a small saute pan and roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds, cool and powder and set aside.
  3. Heat a kadai or wide mouthed pan and heat the oil.
  4. When hot add in the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and let the mustard seeds pop.
  5. Add in the chopped mango ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pour in the lemon juice and salt and let it boil and cook for about 6-8 minutes or so.
  7. Add in the chili powder and the roasted mustard and fenugreek powder and cook for 2-3 minutes more and turn off the heat.
  8. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar.
  9. Stays fresh for 2-3 weeks and a lot longer refrigerated.

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