Archive for November, 2009

Carefree Cracked wheat Upma

This was a very common breakfast at my home, simply because it is very easy to prepare , wholesome and very yummy.With some salad and yogurt, can be had at lunch or dinner too.

Upma is usually made with Sooji or Semolina in most parts of India and most are not aware that cracked wheat can be an awesome substitute in this recipe.

Why cracked wheat upma?

Sooji is a refined product and cracked wheat is not

Cracked wheat need not be pre-toasted, this reduces the cooking time considerably

Cracked wheat does not form lumps when you cook…so you can make a Carefree cracked wheat upma!!! absolutely zero concentration required.

Now to the recipe…


Cracked wheat – 1 cup

Water – 2.25 cups

green chillies – 3

red chillies – 3

carrots+peas – 1 cup (if not using veggies reduce the water to 2 cups)

1 mediu onion sliced thin

Mustard seeds – tsp

Channa dal aka broken chickpeas – 1 tsp

chopped ginger – 1 inch piece


oil – 2 tbsp


Heat a wide thick-bottomed vessel with 2 tablespoons of oil and let it reach smoking point. Now crackle the mustard seeds, fry the channa dal to a light pink, add the chillies , ginger and onions.

Once the onions are translucent add the veggies, saute for a minute, add the 2.25 cups of water, season with salt and close it with a lid. It is important that the water is slightly salty than how you want your upma to be. Once the water starts boiling, add the cracked wheat, give it a stir, close the lid and cook it for a couple of minutes till it is done. Once you feel the upma is done and soft, switch off the stove, close it with the lid and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. This step is very important if you do not want a gooey upma. Enjoy the wholesome upma with some pickle and yogurt or coconut chutney.


Golden Temple(GT) Aata Pancakes!

I strongly believe “Necessity is the mother of invention”, otherwise why would I make pancakes and not rotis out of GT durum wheat flour?? For one thing, it does not turn out to be rotis, but something like a flattened bubble gum…eh! guess no one will prefer such a huge gum to chew on that too with some Indian dal and subji!!

I had some yummy homemade cranberry orange preserve , some leftover Kefir and an ultra-ripened banana…perfect to whip up some pancakes.


pancake batter

1 cup GT durum flour

a pinch of baking powder

5 pods of powdered cardamom

1.5 cups of kefir/buttermilk

1 banana cut to small pieces

1 egg (optional)

a pinch of salt

2 tbsp of  sugar (I used raw brown cane sugar)


Mix everything together and leave it for 10-15 minutes.The batter should not be too runny and it should be more or less like a cake batter.Heat a griddle with few drops of oil and pour the pancake batter into a half inch thick circles. Cook it on both sides till lightly brown.

Serving options:

I served mine with some wildflower honey and some homemade cranberry preserve

Can be served with some sliced stawberries & maple syrup.

Goes wonderful with whipped cream too, if you do not mind the calories.

P.S Usually pancake recipe calls for milk or buttermilk, but I refrain from using milk and salt together in any recipe for the reasons mentioned here . Friends who are regular on cereals, take note whether it has salt in it or have your cereal with beaten yogurt or Kefir.

With cranberry jam, honey & frozen strawberries

Poha – all time fav brkfst/lunch/dinner…period!!

Yes, it is  because of the following reasons

1.It can be made in 15 min flat

2.It tastes good

3.Very apt for lunchbox

4.It can be made with normal  ingredients

5.It can be made nutritious  and it still tastes good!!!

It was a sin not to post this recipe for so long, since I end up making it atleast twice a week, today I did the photo shoot and hence thought will post it before I procrastinate.


Poha(thick variety) – 1 cup

grated carrots – 1/2 cup (diced carrots take little longer to cook)

frozen peas – 1/4 cup

chopped onions – 1 small

finely chopped chillies – 4 or 5

salt & sugar

Half a lemon juice

Haldiram’s bhujia / Grated coconut for garnish


Well…cooking poha is pretty simple, it does not involve a process, just a few tips. Whenever I skipped one of these tips, my poha did not turn quite right. So you can skip the steps and just read the tips and that will suffice.

Tip #1 Make sure the poha is of thick variety and make sure you wash it nicely till it is little soft to touch , drain it in a colander and leave it for 10 minutes. This 10 minute wait time is very important, after all cooking it takes only 5 min.

Tip #2 Please try to add the mentioned number of green chillies, because somehow red chilly powder does not go well with this dish and without green chillies this dish will turn out bland

Ok, now coming to the steps…the usual

1.Heat oil in a wok and splutter some mustard and cumin seeds.

2.Add turmeric , green chillies and onion and saute for a couple of minutes till the onions soften

Tip #3 It is important to add turmeric to the oil, else the poha does not get a uniform color!

3.Add the grated carrots & peas and cook them for not more than 2 mins.

Tip #4 Season the veggie mixture with sufficient salt & sugar before mixing in the poha. If you try to add salt in the end, it never mixes up properly and you will salty & bland poha in the same bowl!!

4.Season with salt & sugar, mix in the poha immediatly and switch off the stove. Pour in the lemon juice,some chopped coriander and mix it up well

Tip #5 Make sure the contents in the wok have little bit of moisture when you mix in the poha. Otherwise sprinkle few drops of water. The poha soaks up that little moisture and it stays soft , without this moisture it ends up dry and hard.

I know…there are more tips than the actual steps!!


Garnish with bhujia/coconut depending on your undying love for whichever

You can add raw peanuts/finely diced potatoes while sauteing onions

Spanish rice and beans

Made this for lunch today. It was a breeze to prepare this , delicious , somewhat similar to the Chipotle rice bowl.

There are three recipes here, the spanish rice, beans and the guacomole. I am listing the ingredients and recipe for each of them one by one

Spanish rice


Rice – 1 cup

Tomato puree – 1 cup

Water – 1 .5 cups

Oil – 1 tsp

salt and chilly powder to taste

Spring onions chopped to garnish


Wash and drain the rice. Heat the oil in a wok and throw in the washed rice and saute for a few mins. Add the tomato puree , water, salt and chilly powder and cook till the rice is done. Garnish with green onions. If you like it more spicy, can add a couple of chopped green chillies.The rice has to have a little gooey texture.



Canned Pinto beans (Rajma soaked & cooked would work too)

Chopped green chillies – to taste

a medium onion chopped

Oil – 1 tsp

cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Garlic minced – 1 tsp

Salt and chilly powder to tasta


Rinse out the canned beans and keep it aside. Follow the normal seasoning drill, heat oil, add the cumin seeds and allow it to splutter. Saute the onion to translucent, add the garlic and green chillies. Now add the washed beans , salt and chilly powder. Add a little water and allow it to come to boil.



Avacado – 1 ripe

Tomato – 1 chopped

lemon juice – 2 tbsp

Chipotle chillies/Jalapenos – 2

salt and pepper to taste


If using chipotle chillies, cut them to halves and soak them in warm water for 10 mins. Squeeze out the bitter water and chop them fine. Scoop out the avacado pulp and mash fine. Add chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, chillies, salt & pepper and give it a good mix and guacamole dip is ready.

The chipotle chillies give a smoky flavour whereas Jalapenos give a sharp kick to the guacamole, so it is a personal choice.

Assembling the spanish rice

Spoon the spanish rice onto a plate with a generous amount of beans.Top it off with the guacamole , sour cream/whipped yogurt and some grated cheese. Dig in when it is warm 🙂