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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.

Quick Palak Paneer in less than 10 minutes


SERVES: 4

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

Using Pressure Cooker will take 8-10 minutes whereas it will take 25-30 minutes in a regular pan. 

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 10 minutes of your precious time that is about 5 to 8% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen)

COOKING TIME: 8-10 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cinnamon stick (daal chini)
1 star anise (Chakraphool)
1 brown cardamom (elaichi)
2 bay leaf (tez patta)
½ kilo bag of frozen spinach pellets or
1 kg of fresh spinach leaves
1 large onion – chopped any size
1 large tomato -chopped any size
1 fresh green chilli or 1 inch frozen crushed green chilli
4 cloves of garlic or 2 inch frozen garlic
50 grams freshly grated ginger or 2 inch frozen ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons red chilly powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoons garam masala (all spice)
1/2 kilo Paneer (cottage cheese)cut to 1 inch pieces
Butter oil for topping (if preferred)

STEP 1. Put all whole spices into heated oil, let them get brown
STEP 2. Add rest of the ingredients and cook for 2 whistles (4-6 minutes) in cooker or in the pan until all tender
STEP 3. Remove whole spices and run the hand grinder for 1-2 minutes right into the cooker/pan to make it smooth. You can then put the whole spices back in if you want to.
STEP 4. Add garam masala and the paneer/tofu pieces and let it simmer for 5 minutes before serving

HANDY TIP:
1. As no oils are needed to prepare the dish, you can add a dollop of butter or butter oil (butter oil) when serving, Spinach is supposed to be dry in nature for body so some healthy grease is advisable.
2. Feel free to replace paneer (cottage cheese) with sautéd Tofu or grilled potatoes.
3. For non vegetarian option replace paneer with boneless chicken tikka.

Tandoori Naan in Toaster

thumb_img_3032_1024 SERVES: 3-4

Quick Light Fresh Baked Bread

COOKING TIME: 5-7 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 
400 grams all purpose flour
400 ml plain yogurt
5-10 drops of oil

STEPS:
thumb_img_3033_1024STEP 1.  Add yogurt to the flour, make dough soft enough that is not sticking to your hands. Take oil on your hand and roll the dough with greased palm to finish. Wrap the dough in wet cloth napkin (water squeezed). Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling into naan.
STEP 2.  Make balls of dough for the size and thickness that you want the naan to be. Roll the balls with pastry roller to make naan.
STEP 3.  Place rolled naan on to heated non-stick pan, turn it around when you see brown dots on one side.
thumb_img_3031_1024Step 4.  Once both sides of the roti have been on the heated pan once, move the naan into the toaster on high setting. Fluffed and crisp tandoori naan will pop out of the toaster.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Keep rolling the dough balls into naan while one is cooking on the pan so that next one is ready as soon as you move the first one into the toaster.
2. Usually a tennis ball size of roll would make a 6-8 inch diameter naan.
3. Due to elasticity of all purpose flour the dough may not be able to be rolled in round shaped naan, they usually come out oblong shaped. This shape fits well into toaster slots.
4. Depending on the size of the slot of your toaster you may want to cut the naan in half before sliding it into the toaster so that all of it bakes well.

 

Flavourful Tip-ज़ायकेदार सलाह

thumb_IMG_0237_1024Bhuna Jeera, as it is called in India, roasted cumin seeds can add a distinct tangy flavour to any recipe. It can be used a spice while cooking and it goes really well when added to yogurt drinks, cocktails, fruit punches and salads. Prepare Bhuna Jeera (roasted cumin powder) at home by simply roasting cumin seeds in microwave for 1-2 minutes moving it every 30 seconds so that it does not burn. Grind the roasted seeds to a coarse powder and store in air tight container.

Roast Eggplant Mash (Baingun Bharta)-गुणों वाला बैगुन भर्था

Why this recipe? How is it green? Am I saving some time by following four steps or less recipes?

GLUTEN FREE, Source of  dietary fibre, vitamins and rich in antioxidants compounds

Using Pre sautéed onions and pre roasted eggplant/Aubergine is saving 15-25 minutes of your time.

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 15-25 minutes of your precious time that is about 8 to 10% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average(assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen).

COOKING TIME: 10-15 Minutes with preparation following time saving tips 

INGREDIENTS:
1 teaspoon oil
1 large roasted egg plant, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 big tomato chopped
2 big onions chopped small (and sautéed, if you followed save time for next time tip)
2 inch frozen ginger
1 inch frozen chopped green chilli
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon of mango powder or pomegranate powder
Coriander leaves or spring onion for garnish

STEP 1. Put bay leaf and cinnamon into heated oil, let them get brown and add sautéed onion (If using fresh cut onion , sauté until they are translucent)
STEP 2. Add chopped roasted aubergine, salt, chilli powder and coriander powder
STEP 3. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté until all water from tomatoes dries out
STEP 4. Add pomegranate powder or mango powder before putting it in serving dish.

HANDY TIPS:
Aubergine/eggplant can be roasted right on the stove by putting it on a metal mesh or in the oven. Conventional recipe requires it to be roasted in a clay oven called tandoor. To get the smoky flavour on an oven or stove roasted eggplant, follow the process in smoking hot tip

To ensure energy efficiency and minimize carbon footprint of your cooking, put the eggplant in the oven when you are using the oven for some other baking. Roasted eggplant can be stored in fridge for days before you make the bhartha/Mash.

To save time for this recipe use pre sautéed onions that you stored in your fridge the last the time around. (remember the save time for next time tip)

More Pondering

It has now been over a week since I launched my blog and website. All of the last week went by in the excitement of picking up a new technology and social media skills. I thoroughly enjoyed brainstorming how best to convey all that’s on my mind. The more I think about it, the more I feel that it is quite a task to be able to connect to people through writing. I am glad I am giving it a shot, though not sure how much time it will take for me to learn this craft. This is one thing I have not done much of in my life so far.

When I ponder over some reactions from family and friends on the blog, I feel, maybe I have not fully accomplished articulating my drive behind this initiative.  It is really not the recipes that I want to share,lavina masand mehra it is through the recipes that I wish to talk about some quick cooking methods, the urge to optimize time in the kitchen, and the zeal to save energy – both fuel and human. And through all this, to make this planet more green, use energies smartly, and squeeze more time out of our busy lives for the family to create some special moments and memories. Moments that are lost do not come back – गुज़र जाते है॑ जो पल वो फिर नही॑ आते, so we must seize the opportunity to enjoy precious moments with our loved ones. And, the best thing about memories is that we make them. So we need to find time to continue to create more memories. If my blog can help you save some time in your kitchen (to start with), it will be a feat for me.

Another reflection that I would like to share at this time is that being creative with cooking is not just replacing one ingredient with an alternate one, or decorating or garnishing the dish differently each time. What it really means to me, is to be able to connect things. Some salty flavour mingled with a sweet or sour flavour, or a regular bland soup infused with a spice or herb can do the trick to tingle ones tastebuds. Creativity requires one to be bold and use ingredients from conventional recipes in an unconventional one, or experiment with something different and unique. Just like some people simply follow fashion trends and others create trends. Be the trendsetter not the follower. With confidence and creativity you will have won even before you have started.

I will continue to jot down more of my thoughts as I look at reorienting my posts and work on sharing my underlying thoughts for this initiative. I genuinely appreciate all the valuable advice and feedback some friends have offered and would love to continue receiving more.

Save Time for the Next Time-एक सलाह वक़्त बचाने वाली


Here is a tip to get the quick cooking going and to save time on the days you are really pressed for it and yet want to make something nice and elaborate. Most sumptuous indian curries and dishes require sautéed onion and this is what takes time. So, be smart and keep some chopped sautéed onions in your refrigerator. The day you are making a recipe with onions, plan on peeling and chopping some extra onions to save them for the next time. You can also do this on a weekend or at a time when you are anyway in the kitchen cooking something else and have your hands free in between to peel the onions and drop them in a chopper. Sauté all onions together for your current recipe as well as for the next one. Save sautéed onion in small freezer bags/containers for the next time for quick use. This has been a trick that has saved me time on many occasions. For some my upcoming recipes I will be using ready sautéed onions from my fridge. It’s all about saving time, the most precious thing..efficient use of time in the kitchen this time around will save some time for the next time you are in the kitchen.

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Time is Precious-एक सलाह काम की

Time is precious, value your time. When in the kitchen preparing a meal, use the same time to do other preparatory things for future use while your food is on the stove getting tender. For example, as I mentioned in a previous post, you could peel and grind ginger and garlic to freeze for future use. Or you could prepare a broth or sauté chopped onions for the next day (as I will explain in an upcoming post). This will save cooking time for your next meal and you get some more time each day to spend with your loved ones!