Flaxseed Molaga Podi | Spiced Flaxseed Lentil powder

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Flaxseed is a powerhouse of nutrition, one of the highly rated antioxidant rich foods. Its antioxidant nature exerts a preventive effect on cardiac disease and some cancers. It also reduces insulin resistance. 

Lignans are phytonutrients present in plant food and flaxseeds are very rich in lignans. They are a part of the fiber componenet, and besides the good effects of fiber, they are also a potent antioxidant. Flaxseeds are rich in phytoestrogens, which is why regular intake of ground flaxseed provides relief from hot flushes in post-menopausal women. 
The importance of including a good source of omega 3 in your diet cannot be stressed upon enough, whether it is for generating energy or for protecting cardiac health. 

To get the most health benefits from flaxseeds, they must be ingested in the ground form for best absorption. Recommended quantity is 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in a day. 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed gives you 130% of daily requirement of omega 3 fatty acids and 15% of the daily required fiber. 

How to include more flaxseeds in your daily diet

  1. Roasted and powdered flaxseed can be added to burgers / patties as a binder. Add it to alu-tikkis for your radga patties. (RECIPE: Veggie Burger]
  2. Powdered flaxseed is a great addition to smoothies and protein shakes (RECIPE: Green Smoothie]
  3. Easily disguised into soups, rasams and sambars
  4. As an egg substitute in cookies, cakes and muffins - 'flax egg' is 1 tbsp flaxseed powder whisked into 2.5-3 tbsp boiling hot water, letting it sit until it turns a bit viscous. Flaxseed meal added to home baked bread reduces the glycemic index of bread, making it much healthier. [RECIPE: Eggless Savoury Muffins | Ragi Ginger Cookies ]
  5. Flaxseeds make a great addition to any podi, which is a staple in many South Indian kitchens. Try and make your own gunpowder (molagapodi) which has so much more flavour than a store bought one.
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Idli & Flaxseed Podi

My grouse with store bought molagapodi is that they grind it too fine. Texture is such a key element in molagapodi, the crunch from the coarsely powdered dals is part of the joy in eating idlis smeared with molagapodi. Also, the rich aromas from freshly roasted dals and toasted seeds is something else, never to be found in a mass produced and packaged podi. My mum, aunt and grandmum typically make one 'Horlicks bottle' measure at a time, so it never loses its flavour.

Amma's molaga podi recipe has been shared in this video on my youtube channel. This is my healthier version of molagapodi / milagapodi made using two dals, red chillies, sesame seeds and flaxseeds. Sesame seeds add a rich deep aroma to the podi. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will already know that I love sesame seeds in every form :)

Do remember to toast each of the ingredients separately as each takes a different temperature and time to reach optimum aroma and golden brown colour, so putting them all together may not be a great idea.

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This recipe has been developed in association with Phalada Pure and Sure - Organic Flaxseeds.

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Flaxseed Podi (Molagapodi with flaxseed)
Time taken: Under 20 minutes
Makes 3/4 cup

1/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup tur dal
1/4 cup whole flaxseeds (Phalada Pure and Sure)
1 tsp oil
6 dried red chillies - I use Bedgi / Byadagi
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp rock salt

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/2 tsp oil. Roast the chana dal and tur dal on medium flame, constantly stirring, until they turn light brown and aromatic. This will take around 8 minutes. Remove this into a dish to cool.
Dry roast the whole flaxseeds over medium flame for 3-5 minutes, until you begin to hear popping sounds. Remove this and keep aside to cool.
In the same pan, roast the sesame seeds for 1 minute, until you get a toasty aroma and they start popping. Remove this and keep aside to cool.
Heat the remaining 1/2 tsp oil. Break the dried chillies into halves and roast them for 3-4 minutes on low flame until they turn bright red and crisp up. Allow this to cool.

In a mixer jar, first grind the fried red chillies with salt. Add the chana dal, tur dal and grind until coarsely ground.
Add the flaxseeds, sesame seeds and pulse a few times until coarsely powdered. 
Remove into a dish and cool. Fill this into an airtight bottle. 
To mix the podi, add required quantity of gingelly oil (South Indian sesame oil) or for the calorie conscious people, you can mix the podi in dahi (yogurt) and eat with dosas or smear over the idlis.

Pure and Sure

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Recipe for Kanda-Kairi Chutney - Onion and Raw Mango Chutney

What's the best way to jazz up an Indian meal? I'd say "condiments". Chutneys, pickles, podis, kachumber added to a couple of vegetables, dal, rotis and rice can turn your dish into a full fledged Indian thaali. Goodness, my mouth waters even as I type out these words! Sigh, there's no hope for me :-/

Gujarati cuisine is full of such condiments and they do know how to make use of them mangoes, raw or ripe! The Gujarati aamras is just the best in the world (my opinion, of course), but there is also this chutney with raw mangoes, that you can make for more months in a year as raw mangoes are more accessible pretty much round the year. Also, you gotta love a chutney that comes together without much effort or without any cooking on the stove top. 

This kanda kairi chutney, which essentially means onion and raw mango chutney is one such condiment that will make your salivary glands see green as soon as you spot it on your plate. It is a fine balance of sour-salty-spicy, you can add a pinch of sugar if you find that the raw mangoes you are using are too sour. I left out the sugar in this recipe as the mangoes were mildly sweet. Don't be too worried about the raw onions, as the sourness from the mangoes kind of cures it and mellows it down. This recipe is adapted from what a friend shared with me. 

It was meant to be shared in the height of summer, but better late than never and a peek into the regular online grocery shopping sites tells me that they are still available. So HURRY and try it out!

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Recipe for Kanda Kairi Chutney - Onion and Raw Mango Chutney
Serves 4

1/2 cup grated raw mango
1/2 cup grated onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp anaardana powder (dried pomegranate powder)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp red chilli powder
pinch of asafoetida

In a medium bowl, mix the grated raw mango, grated onion, salt, sugar, anardaana powder and roasted cumin powder.
In a tempering ladle, heat the oil. Add the chilli powder and asafoetida. Turn off the flame immediately. Pour this over the mixed ingredients in the bowl. Toss well and cover and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
Serve along with parathas or dal and rice.
Save the leftover chutney in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Use it within 2-3 days.

Weekly Menu Plan 27 July, 2015 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Kid Lunchbox

As promised, here is the weekly menu covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and kiddie lunchbox. 

You'll find links to some of the recipes below.
Pin it or save the image to your phone / tablet/ computer, for easy reference or ideas.

Here are links to some of the recipes from the blog: 

Red Rice Poha
Green Smoothie
Methi Paratha
Vegetarian Dhansak
Cucumber Sassive
Cabbage curry
Alu Subzi
Marinated tofu pumpkin rice

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13 things that totally rocked Masterchef Australia Season 7

Masterchef Australia Season 7 has reached its helm and the finals scheduled to wrap up over this weekend. And boy, did it keep us hooked or what! 
Having watched almost every episode, here are some of the trends that I feel rocked season 7, stuff that made an impression on us :-)

  1. BEETS - From spuds being the most popular root vegetable on the show, this season saw beets totally dethrone them taters. They literally pushed them out just like the third person sitting in a Mumbai local train seat gives a nudge to the person hanging onto the fourth seat. Jessie, my favourite contestant was truly a beet queen! She knew how to play the beets to perfection. Pun intended.

  2. PUREES - Whether to smear on the plate, or to serve with steak, we saw a variety of purées this season. From Sarah's much applauded miso sweet corn purée to Billie's silky smooth cauliflower and speck purée, never has baby food look this glamorous. 

  3. SOIL- I haven't associated soil to food ever since my son turned 2. Soils ruled desserts this season. An extra component that went with chocolate desserts, adding texture to plating and tasting. The judges seemed to love this.

  4. CRUMBS - This is not what's leftover in your bread packet when you go beyond the best-by date. Crumbs were to savory dishes what soils were to desserts. A mix of bread, herbs, seasoning, blitzed and crisped up in the oven added the required crunch to soup or other savory dishes. From duck skin to potatoes, everything was made into crumbs this season.

  5. PARFAIT - From macadamia to honey and curry leaves to ants, yes, ants, parfaits were in vogue this season or what! Like one of the judges pointed out, this was the season of parfaits. While I'd love to sink my teeth into a lime and curry leaf parfait, I'd draw the line at ant parfait, thank you.

  6. PICKLES - Got vegetable? Shall pickle! That seemed to be the mantra this year. Cucumber, carrots, beets, cauliflower stems, you name it, they pickled it!

  7. BLACKBERRIES - This berry saw itself in a savory dish on more than one occasion - Sarah's blackberry vinaigrette over quail with miso corn purée that the judges loved; her blackberry, chocolate beef jus with lamb that tasted odd to the judges and blackberry served with marron and crispy chicken skin that almost won Georgia the immunity pin. Phew.

  8. CURRY LEAVES - While we had no Rishi Desai or Kumar Pereira this season, the curry leaves kinda represented the Indian delegation and the feelings of the million foodie Indians like myself who religiously watched this show. 

  9. OOZING EGG - The judges' unadulterated obsession for the soft yolk continued unbroken from the previous seasons. The look of love and longing when cutting open an egg....sigh, you have to be a Masterchef Australia fan and hear your heart thudding in your ears at this moment. The moment which decides the contestants fate.

  10. BLOOMING PASSION FLOWER - Darren Purchase's dessert that he set for an elimination challenge knocked the air out of our collective lungs. Rated 9.9/10 on a difficulty scale of 1-10, I'd say this becomes the most memorable dessert on Masterchef Australia ever, overtaking Adriano Zumbo's croquembouche tower by a mile! 

  11. REYNOLD'S DESSERTS - I think for the first time ever, a contestant has been (almost) consistently plating up desserts that are totally top pastry chef level. And he's just 21, I found that insanely inspiring!

  12. PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH  - I'm sure women who've naturally birthed four babies wouldn't have heard this word as many times in their collective deliveries as we heard it towards the end of season 7. Also, #YESMARCO.

  13. A photo posted by Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) on

  14. MATT PRESTON'S PANTS - All Masterchef Australia fans know of Matt's eclectic and exuberant dressing style. Famous for his cravats, his pants made all Indians nostalgic about the 90s dancing Bollywood star Govinda (even more than the other seasons). This season, Matt's wardrobe blew us away with the argyle pants in psychedelic colors-  the pink, white and black combination, especially! More on these pants here. They fully deserve their own tumblr blog, those pants! 
What did not change however was how encouraging the judges always were. Forever seeing the positives and pushing the contestants to better themselves. The camaraderie between the contestants was as endearing as the previous seasons too! We did miss the regular master classes and the excitement that a foreign trip brought to the show in the earlier seasons.
This wraps up the things that totally rocked Masterchef Australia season 7! Season 8, cannot wait!
(All images embedded from @masterchefau Instagram account)

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