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COVID Travels

So, we are home in Kingston after a long wait and a considerable amount of anxiety about travel plans over the last few months. Although we are very comfortable in our second home in Kenya, getting back to our first home in Canada and seeing the kids has constantly been on our minds during these uncertain COVID times. It was a long wait for international travel to open back up in Kenya and the very day it opened, we were on a plane. We for sure had a distinctive travel experience this time compared to all the travels we have done throughout our lives.
What an experience it was see so few people at all the 3 airports we travelled through. No long queues at check-in or immigration or security. Though our flight was in the evening that day, we were the first ones to use the lounge so were greeted by lounge staff with a lot of excitement and attention. They even took pictures with us as we were their first clients in the last five months. We have been traveling on Ethiopian Airways for some years now as we love their excellent staff, good connections, great food, lounges and of course their fares. Things that were clearly unusual and unexpected for us this time were: having no entertainment system in the plane throughout Ethiopian airlines, no magazines/newspapers on board and no add-on authentic Ethiopian meals. We really did not mind all this because we realize that all airlines have been running into billions of dollars of losses, and they may not be left with many choices other than to shave off unnecessary costs. As for procedures and protocols at the airports, masks were required everywhere, but no COVID test reports were required by airport authorities or by the airline. The plane was only at 1/3 of its capacity, maybe because it was the first day of the travel or maybe people are just not traveling again yet. While everyone was wearing masks, the airport in Addis did not have strict social distancing protocols when getting people on buses offloading the plane. At the Toronto airport only 50 people were allowed to get off from the plane at one time and walk through the hanger and then after 5-10 minutes the next lot of people were offloaded. A buffet was laid out at both the lounges in Nairobi as well at Addis, but Nairobi airport staff served it at the tables to meet COVID related health requirements whereas Addis lounge did not follow this protocol. Seating was however set up to follow social distancing requirements at both the lounges. Airline staff wore masks all the time and gloves only when serving food, but they did not have face shields or other more intense PPE for their own safety.

While all of us are feeling completely healthy and asymptomatic, we are now in self isolation with both the kids for 14 days in our home in Kingston and have been thoroughly enjoying their company and the quality time we have with them. Having said that, the mere thought that we might have contracted the virus while traveling and may pass it on to somebody here is the heaviest burden on my mind at this time while we are in isolation. Looking forward to catching up with friends after the isolation period.

This post would be incomplete if I did not thank Sanjiv Sam Kapoor and Aparna Kapoor who graciously made sure that we were stocked up with everything we might need during this isolation period.

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Almond flour gluten-free Vegan cup cakes

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This is a quick recipe that requires very few ingredients . It is loaded with vitamin E and is perfect for gluten free and vegan diets. This recipe also does not require any oil or butter as almonds have enough natural grease to make the cupcakes soft and moist. Honey replaces sugar to make it even more healthier.

COOKING TIME- 20-25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups blanched almond flour
3 eggs
1 ripe banana
3 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup berries (whatever you like)

STEPS
1. Mix whisked eggs, honey and mashed banana together with vanilla essence.
2. Add baking powder and salt to the almond flour..
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together along with berries.
4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake moulds and bake for 15-20 minutes on 180C in a preheated oven on the middle rack or until brown.

HANDY TIPS:
1. You can choose to put any fresh berries to your liking. I use strawberries, blueberries or raspberries alternatively or together sometimes. You can also use thawed frozen berries by removing their excess water.
2. If you do not find almond flour in the market, grind almonds at home, this will give you unblanched flour which maybe a little darker in colour.

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Will the compassion last beyond COVID-19?

My thoughts today-
COVID-19 has taken over the world stage. As infections rise to an alarming number of 1.6 million globally, and with the whole or most of the world locked down, I am feeling compelled to share some thoughts that have been troubling me for the last few days. While it is encouraging to see that the whole world is coming together to combat this challenging fight against this extraordinary virus that does not differentiate between rich and poor, urban or rural, powerful or weak, Prime Ministers or clerks, I wonder why is this difficult time so different than other difficult times and tragedies that the world has seen and is going through as we speak? Why is everybody so in sync and collected this time?

Isn’t it just because it has now been proven that this pandemic affects the affluent, the powerful, the middle class, anybody and everybody alike so the world is taking note of it because we want to save our own precious lives?

What I find strange is how we have rarely given a thought or paid attention to the 1.5 million people from low-income and marginalized populations that die every year due to Tuberculosis. Or that about 3 million people do not even get the treatment for this ailment at all. This is because unlike COVID-19, TB is predominantly a poor man’s disease that breeds due to unhygienic and impoverished living conditions. It is contagious, but it does not affect affluent people as they are not exposed to those living conditions. I wonder if any of today’s self-sufficient souls, with well-stocked kitchens, secure homes, working-from-home status and maintaining social distancing have ever felt or done anything for these 1.5 million dying each year? They are just numbers, merely statistics for all. On the contrary, as COVID-19 kills rich and poor alike, the whole world seems be together in its fight.

I wish that this wave of compassion and empathy that has now suddenly but pleasantly emerged in the world stays for times to come, and that some attention is given to the eternally existing humanitarian catastrophes that continue to affect the world population. As an example, there are more than 71 million refugees around the world, some in camps, some in very dangerous conditions. There are people dying in hundreds of thousands due to HIV and malaria and much more. In India itself, there are now 5 million internally displaced migrants in isolation camps getting barely enough to eat, no money at hand, nowhere to go. All this due to incredibly harsh measures against the poor to enforce the lockdown. Wish it was handled better with some empathy.

People that are in their comfort zones are able to follow the precautions to prevent spread of this virus, but they often very comfortably look at the underprivileged with disdain for furthering its spread. Unfortunately, it’s not that people stuck in deprived conditions aren’t serious or sane, or do not love their lives or of their loved ones, or are not sensible human beings, or want to expose others to the deadly virus. They are simply unfortunate. We cannot blame them for prioritizing their day-to-day survival over the spread of the pandemic. We have to be sensitive to their conditions, their psychology and their limitations when it comes to blaming them. We need to push for a collective action to create conditions that enable them to take the measures necessary to contain the spread.

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Daily crunchy Guacamole

Living in Kenya is a blessing when it comes to availability of fresh vegetables and flowers . It is such a delight to have avocados in abundance and pay less than 40 cents for a big one. Getting raw avocados , tracking them each day as they ripe, move them into the refrigerator and then savour them every morning at breakfast time is kind of a ritual for us now. Here is a simple recipe for a crunchy guacamole that I make every day. I like broccoli and green pepper finely chopped to get the crunch and fresh feel. You could replace these with spring onions or regular onion or with any other raw crunchy vegetable you fancy. I add a bit of lemon juice, coriander leaves, hot green chillies too. A bit of salt and a pinch of all spice (गरम मसाला) makes it yummy!

 

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While at home..what to do?

So many lives have been lost and disrupted by the deadly corona virus all over the world. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who have lost their loved ones. As the situation continues to escalate, we must try to stay safe and not expose ourselves and others to risk of catching the virus. So stay at home please!
I have been reflecting on the “side effects” of the social distancing being practiced across the world: people are working from home with nowhere to go, no pubs, no bars, no restaurants, no cinema , no theatre and no socializing. WOW ! That is big!
To add to this, fewer flights , fewer cars on the road , less industrial pollution – perhaps Mother Earth is healing.
I wanted to write this post to offer some suggestions to people who are not used to being at home all the time and are in a dilemma about how to stay productive. If you are not used to it, it can be challenging to stay disciplined enough to be productive. However, this situation also could present a great opportunity to do those things that we never otherwise get the time for.
As for us, it is good to see Manoj at home now, though he is working most of the time with his conference calls and desktop big screen installed on the dining table. But it’s good to see him around all day and I try to make the most of the time that we get together at doing things for which Manoj never had the time or gave any attention to, like looking at family videos and pictures.
This is coming from my experience of being at home for the past few years. After you are through with Netflix and other binge watching, you might need something else to do.
Here is what you can try:
1. Dig out old home videos and watch them with the family – they could even be running in the background while you work or take a break from work at home.
2. Cast pictures on your phone on the TV screen. Trust me, you will enjoy it. Your family and any companion at home may have never seen these pictures ever.
3. Find out where all the board games are hiding in the house. I can assure you, this will be the quality time with the family that you have not had in last many months.
4. Think of what you always want to do if you were not working full time or having to go for work each day. Do it now.
5. Try your hands at things you have never done, maybe cooking , some Arts and crafts, abstract painting, gardening at home, growing plants in water or jars or make some lamps out of used wine bottles. Pinterest actually has lots of great ideas. I am sure you will find something very interesting for you to do and you will be proud of yourself when you make something out of nothing.
6. Read the books you never got time to read.
Remember this opportunity of being at home with the family with nowhere to go may not ever come back again (not that it should come back, at least not in this kind of medical scare situation), so make the most of it.
Bonding does need some time and undivided attention for all.
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Photo Culture..3

Continuing from my earlier posts on photo culture, I have to say that recently I have been taken aback by the undying love for perfect pictures at family events and celebrations. You would think that the most important purpose of these events would be to ensure everyone savours the moments, ceremonies and rituals. I have been both amused and annoyed at times when it seems that the primary privilege of doing so has been bestowed on several teams of professional photographers who get the best access and view. Not only this, they often have to push back the invited guests to ensure pictures are perfect.
I wonder what happens with these professional photos taken at private events. And to what end? I have witnessed first-hand that by the time the pictures are printed and ready to be shared, the intended audience is lost. I think the majority of those pictures/recordings are only seen a few times later likely by close family members who are privy to that professionally created memory. At some events like this, it seems like invited distinguished guests and family members are secondary guests and the photographers are the most important and primary ones.

Considering that it is important to create memories of the event in pictures and save them for future.. I feel instead of paying big money to these photographers with big bodies and big equipment blocking our view, there could be a couple of tech savvy family members taking pictures or a drone camera that does the job without making guests feel secondary, even though at the cost of not having some perfect pictures.

What do you think? Have your experienced something like this?

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The Sindhi Karhi

GLUTEN FREE
I usually make this karhi when I have varied veggies in small quantities in my fridge that I want to finish off: and also when I have lots of guests to entertain and I need to make something easy and delicious but in large quantities. A variety of vegetables in this recipe adds to the quantity and also makes it more flavourful.
IMG_6522

SERVES: 6-8

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

In an effort to continue to promote use of energy and time saving tools and gadgets, using pressure cooker for this recipe will take about 5 minutes to make the vegetables tender whereas it will take 20-30 minutes in a regular pan. The conventional recipe requires vegetables to be fried to make them tender and then put in the karhi. This alternative will have high trans fat content, 

You save: 70% to 80% of fuel energy and 15 to 20 minutes of your precious time that is about 10 to 15% of the total time you spend in the kitchen on an average(assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen).

COOKING TIME- 20-25 minutes
INGREDIENTS:
2 Tablespoon besan (chickpea flour)
1 Litre water
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
2 Teaspoons fenugreek seeds (Methi seeds)
2 Teaspoons cumin seeds (Jeera)
4 Whole dried red chillies (i like using rounds more than the long ones)
1 Tablespoon turmeric powder (Haldi)
1/2 Tablespoon red chilli powder
50 gms of tamarind pulp (without seeds) after soaking in water
1 Kilo assorted vegetables cut into 2 inch dices (I use all veggies that are available in my fridge like Okra (bhindi), egg plant, zucchini, beans, any kind of guard, cauliflower, lotus stem, potatoes, broccoli, carrots).
Salt to taste ( approximately 4 teaspoons)
STEPS
1. Heat oil in the pressure cooker, add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and whole red chillies, once flavour is released, add chickpea flour and sauté it for 2-3 minutes
2. Add water, cut vegetables, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it get one whistle or 5 minutes until pressure is built in the cooker. (just enough to get the vegetables tender, this is to save time)
3. Open the lid after the pressure is released, add tamarind pulp and let the karhi boil for 10-12 minutes .. And it is ready…
HANDY TIPS:
1. Keep the karhi on low heat even when it is being served.. The more it boils, more flavours are released of different vegetables, it continues to get more delicious.
2. Sindhi Karhi typically is served first as a stew or soup, and in the main meal with rice and sweet boondi (chickpea flour droplets fried and then dipped in sugar syrup, see picture above)
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No hassle-No sugar-Easiest Gajar Halwa

GLUTEN FREE- SUGAR FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Easy to make, gluten free and sugar free classic indian dessert made in less than half the time of usual conventional recipe. Saving time and energy thereby reducing the carbon footprint on our precious planet. 

 

gajar halwa 1
SERVES- 6
COOKING TIME- 30-45 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 kilogram carrots grated
1 litre fresh Milk (full cream optional)
½ tablespoon Ghee
2 green cardamoms
10-15 pitted dates(about 100 grams) cut in small pieces
15-20 almonds cut in slices (about 25 grams) (optional)
15-20 cashews halves (about 25 grans) (optional)
20-25 raisins (about 25 grams) (optional)
10 strands of saffron beaten on a cutting board or pastel (optional)
 
STEPS
1. Put ghee in the pan and add cardamoms after cracking them open so that the flavour is released.
2. After a minute or so add grated carrots and sauté them for 3-5 minutes until the colour changes to little dark (excess moisture will evaporate during this process).
3. Add milk and place the heat on low after the milk starts to boil. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring at intervals of 3-4 minutes. You will notice carrots cooking, absorbing milk, becoming more tender and getting cooked in milk.
4. Add cut dates , saffron and nuts and let it cook for another 10-12 minutes until all milk is absorbed and the milk dries out.. surface f the pan will greasy now without traces of water/milk…and it is ready to serve..
 
HANDY TIPS:
1. If you leave the heat on low all through the process you don’t need to stir as often.
2. I usually use low fat milk, you could use full cream milk to make it more creamy and rich.
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Photo Culture..2

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are many changes happening in the world that I am just not able to fully grasp. Continuing on the trend of talking about photos, I wanted to share some thoughts and see whether my friends can share their experiences to help me learn more on this topic.

In today’s maddening photo culture, life seems to revolve around the camera. If you wear something nice, eat something good, go to a beautiful place, meet friends, celebrate an occasion or simply go to work, the first instinct is often to take a picture.

It commonly seems that if you go somewhere or do something without taking a picture, you have not been there or have not done it.

This and the innumerable selfies that people take worries me that this is a sign that society is moving towards more self-centredness.

I wonder — what are the unintended consequences of this phenomenon?

We have taken many technologies for granted without fully understanding their broader social impacts. In this case too, I fear that the easy access to taking countless photos, and the way this is promoted in the media and popular culture, is leading to society falling prey to the natural human tendency of narcissism, in some cases perhaps even bordering on a diagnosis of NPD (Narcissist Personality Disorder).

What do you think?

Do you think our photo culture enables/promotes narcissism?

Is this a problem? If so, how can we solve it?

 

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Photo Culture..1

Continuing on with my musings, I wanted to share my thoughts on a subject that is very close to my heart: the changing trends in photo culture. I often think about photos because I enjoy taking lots of photos myself, especially of special moments with family.

I think one of the most dramatic changes to our society has happened because of the advances in technology that allow billions of photographers to use their smartphones to take trillions of photos every day.

Photos were once precious, and I still think they are. There used to be a time when we had to be very careful and conservative because of the cost of taking and developing pictures – they were reserved for those most special moments and printed to cherish the memories at a later time.

I still think that there are many benefits to everyone having a camera. This easy access has empowered many to showcase their artistic talents, capturing amazing images of new places or experiences and sharing them with useful information. This is so valuable for others that may not have a chance to travel or have those same firsthand experiences. Seeing such pictures is always a delight — it’s something I look forward to when using social media.

In my case, I love taking photos and capturing videos of my family. I think it is so important to keep these records of all the special events, family get togethers, travels and new milestones.

I also spend lots of time curating and archiving photos – many times getting frustrated with the Apple Photos app which I use to store and catalogue.

I like to revisit them to keep the best ones in my records and organize them in an accessible manner. I now have a reservoir of about 40,000 pictures capturing memories of 6 to 7 decades of the whole Mehra and Masand Families.

With many technological advancements over the years, I have found many ways to put these photos to use to create memories for family, friends and myself in the form of coffee table books, personalized daily use items, home décor items that carry pictures that we all love to see often. Memorializing pictures on these personalized items and coffee table books seems to be appreciated by almost everyone I know. Every time I have tried it, I have seen peoples face light up with that smile.

I am curious — how do others approach photos?

Do you take many photos? What do you do with them? Do you have any tips or tricks on curating or archiving the many photos we take? Any suggestions on how to best memorialize special photos or bulk photos?

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Missing you so much..

mummy oct 2019.jpg
आज दो साल हो गए आपको miss करते हुए..
मेरे सामने की मेज़ पर आपकी यह फ़ोटो हर समय रहती है
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
फ़ोन पर तो बात नहीं हो पाती पर अब तस्वीर से ही बातें कर लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपको पुरानी विडीओज़ में आपको जीवंत देख लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
ढेरों कॉफ़ी table बुक्स जो बनवाती रही हूँ, उनमें आपको देख लेती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
हर त्यौहार मौक़े पर आपकी बातें याद करती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपके अक्सर बोले जाने वाले मुहावरे दोहराती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
आपसे सीखा खाना-पकवान बनाती हूँ
तो लगता है आप पास ही हो।
पर असलियत तो यह है ना – कि आप पास नहीं हो।
आपकी सुंदर साड़ियों में आपकी प्यारी छवि बहुत याद आती है, मेरी हर साल की April fool tricks और मेरी बहुत सी और अजीब बातों पर आपकी हैरानी बहुत याद आती है, फिर पड़ने वाली आपकी प्यार भरी डाँट बहुत याद आती है, आपकी जीने की ललक बहुत याद आती है, आपकी हर नयी चीज़ करने कि चाहत बहुत याद आती है।
यह बात बहुत ही खलती है कि मेरी बातों का अब कोई जवाब नहीं मिलता।
कहाँ चले गए आप और इतनी जल्दी क्यों?
पच्चीस साल की थी जब आपके पास आयी थी। इतने ही सालों से कुछ ज़्यादा उम्र आप के साथ बिताने का मौक़ा तो मिला पर यह काफ़ी नहीं था। क्या है यार मम्मा …अभी हमें इतना कुछ साथ में करना था।
Your not being around is simply not acceptable- Come Back!
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Torn Clothing

Following up on my last post, here are some of my thoughts on a trend that has baffled me since I first started seeing it many years ago. Would love to hear from you on whether you agree or if you can enlighten me on what I’m missing.
Why would you pay top dollars for torn jeans?
This seems pretty straight forward – we mend or throw away most of our clothes that have tears in them. Why doesn’t this apply to jeans and certain other kinds of clothes? With most of our other clothes we seem to concur that a tear, rip, stain or other damage isn’t acceptable — not just because it looks shabby — but also because in many cases the comfort and durability of the clothes are compromised.
I have noticed this trend rise and fall for many years and have been perplexed by how people blindly follow this “fashion” while ignoring their own comfort or rationality. Is it because some celebrity wore torn jeans in a certain way someday and that led to a cascading sequence where others followed, and now their friends followed as well, so now it’s our turn to follow the crowd to look cool?
Perhaps some say that they actually like torn clothing for its artistic value. This may well be the case for a few, but the vast majority of people I know that may say so, don’t seem interested in any other form of art.
Early in the onset of this trend, seeing ripped clothes would genuinely have prompted me to sympathize with the person wearing it. I might even have offered to help them out or share a good used pair of jeans with them. In fact, I still get this strong urge to sympathize with people wearing ripped clothes for fashion, even though I know they are financially able to buy a good pair of sturdy jeans or any other designer clothes for that matter. They are in fact sometimes paying hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars for the ripped ones when they could get a perfectly untorn pair for far less. This is especially ironic because this trend originated from a rejection of corporate society and the status quo.
This contradiction is even more clear if you think about how those less fortunate may feel when they see privileged people intentionally damaging their clothes — at best it may be blissful ignorance, at worst a cruel form of mockery.
Young kids blindly following a fashion trend could be forgiven to an extent, but what amazes me is when people who have seen the world for decades get into this follow-the-crowd syndrome and wear torn clothes while paying through their nose. Where has the sense of value for money vanished? Jean or denim fabric is iconically known as being sturdy — it is supposed to last long and provide durable protection from the elements.
To cap it all off, to me, torn and ripped clothes just do not look good on anybody!
So please let me know — what you think? Do you wear ripped jeans? And why? Help me decipher this bizarre trend! Looking forward to your thoughts.
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Story of My Tiramisu

I got the first taste of my now favorite dessert- Tiramisu, about 20 years ago right here in Kenya. I loved it the first time I had it in a small Italian restaurant in Hurlingam, Nairobi. It was made to order with freshly brewed coffee and liqueur, resulting in an incredible taste, delicate flavours and a hot and cold mix that I didn’t find anywhere else in the world for over 20 years. It was always different, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never as amazing. It had not occurred to me to try my hands at making it myself until I had a really terrible one at a new dessert outlet in the modern wing of Village Market in Nairobi. The dessert place was so fancy, but the Tiramisu was so bad! I could not see how difficult it could be for an expert desert chef at a high-end cafe to make a decent Tiramisu.

I started out by looking for various recipes available online, but all asked for lots of cream and cheese. I tried a couple and then came with up my own recipe that uses all the essential ingredients and follows the general process but makes a moderately less rich Tiramisu. Having made it so often for the last year or so, I now find it to be the easiest thing to make! I feel now it is time that I share this on my blog for my friends to try and enjoy. Check out the Quick recipes page on my blog to see the full recipe..Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

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Quick and Easy – My Tiramisu

SERVES- 3-4
COOKING TIME- 20 minutes

TiramisuINGREDIENTS
2 eggs
100 grams Mascarpone cheese
50 ml brewed coffee
25 ml Irish cream liqueur (optional)
50 grams sugar powder
20-25 lady finger Italian biscuits (or left over bread or cake)
50 grams whipped cream(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

PREPERATION
-Brew coffee and put it in the fridge to cool down
-Keep Mascarpone cheese outside the fridge to bring it to room temperature
-Separate egg yolks from whites and keep whites in the fridge until you need them in the recipe

STEPS
STEP 1. Mix egg yolks and sugar and put it on a double boiler pan. Keep stirring it until it gets a little thick and sugar looks cooked (about 4-5 minutes). Put this in fridge to cool down. You will start making Tiramisu once this is cooled down.
STEP 2. Beat egg whites with electric beater to a point where whites are drip free and form soft peaks. Similarly, beat whipped cream to a point where is becomes thick and soft NOT to make butter, stop just before that.
STEP 3. Fold in egg yolks mixture, egg whites mix, cheese and whipped cream softly.
Step 4. Mix coffee and Irish cream liqueur in a shallow dish, dip the biscuits in a quick motion into this mixture (do not dip them in the liquid too long as the biscuits are very light and may melt away) and layer them in the serving dish. Spread the cream mixture as per step 3 over the dipped layered biscuits, place another layer of coffee dipped biscuits and then another layer of the cream mixture. Sprinkle cocoa powder and cinnamon powder over this using a small sieve.

HANDY TIPS:
1. As a substitute to Italian lady finger biscuits you could use left over bread or cake and dip it well in the coffee and liquor mixture before spreading the eggs and cream mixture. It comes out quite close to the original taste.
2. You can avoid putting whipped cream if you are counting on calories. I have skipped it quite a few times and it has come out well.
3. I also use reduced amount of sugar and cheese at times.
4. You could also sprinkle nutmeg powder as per you taste buds.
5. Irish cream liquor can be substituted with any other liqueur like Amarula, Baileys or other cocoa /coffee based liqueurs.

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Easiest Homemade Dhokla

SERVES: 4

GLUTEN FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Quick to make, great to store, quick to steam in a pressure cooker or in microwave. 

Dhokla is chickpea flour steamed savoury cake. It is one of the most healthy snacks to have at a time when you carve for something savoury but do not want to have some off the shelf that has pastry flour or shortening in abundance.

COOKING TIME- 5-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoon oil
100 grams Besan (chickpea flour)
½ cup yogurt
150 ml water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 inch frozen or fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon of sugar
3-4 figs of fresh coriander or parsley
1 tablespoon mustard seeds(for garnish)
2-3 green chillies

You will need a regular vegetable steamer or a microwaveable dish that you can use steam the dhokla.

dhoklaSTEPS
1. Mix oil, yogurt, 50 ml of water, chickpea flour, turmeric powder and salt in a mixing bowl and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
2. This mixture has to be steamed for 8-10 minutes in a regular steamer or 5 minutes in microwave. Just before pouring the mixture in the steamer mould, add antacid powder to the mixture and stir it for a minute, you will see it will start coming up because of the soda in antacid powder.
3. While the steaming is on, take a separate small pan and add 1 teaspoon of oil, mustard seeds and split whole green chillies, once splattering starts, add 100 ml of water and sugar to it. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
4. Let the steamed dhokla cake cool down for 5-10 minutes and then pour this sweetened water mixture on it before you cut it into pieces to serve. Sprinkle fresh coriander or parsley before serving.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Dhokla goes very well with spicy hot and sweet chutneys and home made dips.
2. This snack is considered one of the most healthy and nutritive ones as it is steamed.

Featured

Why Spices?

Spices offer exotic flavours to food, and flavourful food is divine. But spices are not just used to appease our taste.In fact, some spices can be a real boost to the body, and help rid it of toxins. Here are some benefits of spices used in most of my recipes:

1. Turmeric (haldi): Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Arthritis, joint pains, and Alzheimer are some of the known medical problems that turmeric helps in curing. It has been used in India for ages for cosmetic benefits like bringing radiance to skin, curing acne and skin related medical problems.
2. Cloves (laung): Anti-viral, Anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, source of many minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids
3. Cumin seeds (jeera): helps remove toxins, helps with digestion, lactation, common cold, diabetes, insomnia, prevents memory loss.
4. Bay leaf (tez patta): boosts immunity, improves nervous system function, protects oral health, regulates body metabolism and prevents blood-related conditions like anemia.
5. Star Anise (chakraphool): antioxidant, rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Has stomachic, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, digestive, expectorant, and stimulant properties. Helps to increase the circulation and oxygenation of body parts.
6. Caraway Seeds (ajwain): improve digestion, reduce constipation, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces bloating, belching, gas and gas pains and improves blood pressure. A source for thiamine, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and niacin, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. This is most commonly used as a safe treatment in India for stomach related medical problems for infants and kids.
7. Cardamom (elaichi): Aids in digestion and increased frequency and volume of urination, reduces spasms, lowers blood pressure and increases metabolism. A source of vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, iron, manganese and potassium.
8. Cinnamon (dal chini): Reduces inflammation, eliminates pain and infections, manages diabetes, reduces bloating, belching, gas and gas pains , increases cognitive function, good for bones, prevents cancer and good for the health of eyes and skin.

These are all mild flavoured spices used commonly in an Indian household. All of these are easily available in asian grocery stores all over the world. It is also good to know that they are quite inexpensive.

Spices should be used according to personal preferences/palates and in moderate quantities.