Saturday, March 30, 2013

Homemade Applesauce

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!! Well, I am sure most of us have heard this age old saying when growing up. Apple has many health benefits and works well in sweet or savory dishes. Apple is the most common fruit available in any household. It can be used in several different ways and is a good substitute for eggs in baking. I always have a jar of applesauce in my pantry which I use mostly for baking. Of course, you can't deny the convenience of store-bought applesauce, but it is simple and preservative-free when you make them at home and hardly takes any time. So, here's the basic recipe....


2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup filtered water
1 - 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sweetener of choice - raw sugar / agave syrup (optional)
Flavoring of choice (optional)


To prepare the applesauce, use any variety of apple. I used red delicious for this recipe but prefer fuji or royal gala as it tastes a whole lot better.

In a mixing bowl, add the sliced apples and lemon juice and toss well to coat them.

On medium high flame, pressure cook the sliced apples for 3-4 whistles (or you can alternatively cook it in a saucepan for 10-15 mins until the apples are soft). If you want to flavor with cinnamon powder, add 1/4 tsp over the apple slices when cooking them.

Cool the apples and grind finely along with sweetener of choice.  Mostly, apples tend to be naturally sweet and so, I use sweetener sparingly. Normally, I use about 1/2 - 1 tbsp sugar depending on the apples but adjust to taste, if you like it sweeter.

Store the applesauce in an airtight container and use within 2-3 days. It can be used as a baby food or use in baking recipes.

Yields 1 cup.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mung Bean Dhokla

Mung Beans (with & without skin) has always been an ingredient available in my pantry. Mostly, people use either of the variety in preparing dishes although whole mung beans usage is a lot limited. During growing up years, we tend to adapt to many things from parents that you wouldn't bother trying/doing on your own (moreover, I wasn't that inquisitive back then!!) and mung beans was probably one such unappealing ingredient to me. At home, mom used both varieties and normally reserved the whole mung beans to make pancakes (mung beans dosa a.k.a pesarattu) or in gravies. This is a recipe my grandma makes whenever I visit her and it never fails to serve as a good snack or replace even a meal as its packed with proteins. Being a vegetarian, my grandpa used to enjoy this dish and often called it 'veggie meat' because of its looks as well as texture. Although, he is not with our family anymore, this is dedicated in fond memory of him. So, here's to one of your favorites grandpa!!!


For the dhokla batter:

2 cups mung or green gram dhal, soaked overnight or atleast 8 hrs.
1/4 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup red pearl onions
6-8 dry red chillies, adjust to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds 
3 tsp coriander seeds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
Few curry leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp oil
Salt, to taste

For  seasoning:

2 big red onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp urad dhal
Few curry leaves
3-4 tbsp oil


In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil, add coriander seeds, cumin seeds and onions. Fry for few mins and then add coconut and curry leaves. Fry until golden brown. Cool and grind separately.

Grind the green gram dhal coarsely with salt and ginger. Mix the ground spice paste with the ground green gram dhal.

In a greased flat steel plate (or alternatively you can use greased idli plates and pressure cook without using the weight), add the ground paste and steam for 15 mins (in a deep pan, pour sufficient water and place the plate on a metal ring) or so. Allow it to cool and cut into small cubes.

In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds and urad dhal. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the chopped onions, curry leaves and sauté for few mins until the onions turn translucent.

Add the steamed green gram dhal cubes and fry for few mins until they turn slightly brown. 

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve.

Makes 5-6 servings. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sprouted Mung Beans Salad

It is surprising how spending the vacation visiting your family can take up all your time (with not much time to spare for yourself) and sometimes it feels like 24 hrs is not enough to accomplish all the tasks you set out to do, let alone taking care of a baby, amidst all that's happening around you. Vacations are not meant to be this way, are they?? At the end of the day, its is definitely time well spent and creating memories that will be cherished for a long time...

Anyway, coming to the recipe, mung beans (also known as green gram) is available with and without skin. Mung beans with their outer coating is a much healthier form among the two varieties. It is good source of protein and sprouted beans is considered as super food as it can be easily digested, low in calories but packed with essential nutrients. Did you know that a small bowl of sprouts can bring down your cholesterol levels significantly??

Any grain, legume or seed is best eaten in its sprouted form as it increases its nutritional value when sprouting. It is easy to make fresh sprouts at home by either following Padhu's Kitchen for the traditional process or choose an easier option like me and use a 2 bean bowl sprout maker (which makes it easier to use different legume in each layer or mix them up with the bottom-most for water). Sprouted beans can be used in a variety of recipes like salads, stir-fries, pancakes and curries.


1- 1 1/2 cups sprouted green gram dhal
1 medium onion, thinly, cut lengthwise 
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced, pulp & seed removed
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and thinly, cut lengthwise, seeds removed
1/2 cup raw mango, peeled and grated
1/2 cup colored bell pepper ( you can use any color of choice), thinly, cut lengthwise
1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, unsalted (optional)

For salad dressing:

1 tsp olive oil (optional)
 Juice of 1 lemon (adjust to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large mixing bowl, add the sprouts, onions, tomatoes, green chillies, bell pepper, cucumber and grated raw mango. Mix well and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad. If you like some crunch in your salad, you can add some dry roasted peanuts. For variation, you can add dry mango powder instead of lemon juice. Toss well. 

Serve immediately or chill for 15-20 mins (add dressing just before serving) and serve.  Enjoy your protein packed nutritious bowl of salad!!

Makes 4 servings.